This axiom is strangely neglected in the American TV coverage of the war in Lebanon. While some scenes of devastation have been shown, the greatest emphasis is on interviews with Israeli generals and political figures. The invasion and the purported suppression of Hezbollah are treated, it seems, as mere technical problems. The Israeli authorities have been issued carte blanche to solve them any way they deem necessary.
Three weeks ago there was considerable sympathy with the Israeli position, even in countries that do not normally adopt this view. Hezbollah was (and is) firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel with the intent of causing damage and killing people. The Hezbollah raid and the kidnapping of the two soldiers were an additional provocation.
However, the Israeli response has been so disproportionate and indiscriminately vengeful as to evaporate the well of sympathy--everywhere except in the US, which by the will of the Bush administration remains bound at the hip to the state of Israel. Many have bought into the "unified-field" theory of terror, holding that an attack on one set of such people is an attack on "terror" tout court. Not to be discounted is the Israel Lobby, fear of which keeps our media and politicians silent.
The Israelis seem determined to reduce as much of Lebanon into rubble as they can. The scenes of destruction appear constantly on world TV--everywhere but the US.
The effect of this divide in perception will be to complete the isolation of the United States from the rest of the world.