As the TV networks give unlimited airtime to Israel's apologists, the message rolls out that no nation, least of all Israel, can permit bombardment or armed incursion across its borders without retaliation.
The guiding rule in this tsunami of drivel is an utter lack of historical context. Indeed, the media seems unaware of anything that happened prior to June 25, when an Israeli soldier was captured and two others killed by Hamas, soon followed by an attack by Hezbollah's fighters.
Let's go on a brief excursion into pre-history. I'm talking about June 20, when Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempted extrajudicial assassination between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car and instead killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.
In another attempted assassination on June 13, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van, killing nine. And on June 9, Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya, killing eight civilians and injuring 32.
That's just a brief trip down Memory Lane, where we trip over the bodies of 20 dead and 47 wounded, all Palestinians, most women and children.
Israel regrets... But no! Most of the time, Israel doesn't even pretend to regret. It says, "We reserve the right to slaughter Palestinians whenever we want. We reserve the right to assassinate their leaders, crush their homes, steal their water, tear out their olive groves, and when they try to resist we call them terrorists intent on wrecking the 'peace process.'"
Now Israel says it wants to wipe out Hezbollah. It wishes no harm to the people of Lebanon, so long as they're not supporters of Hezbollah, or standing anywhere near any person, house, car, truck, road, bus, field, power station or port that might, in the mind of an Israeli commander or pilot, have something to do with Hezbollah. In any of those eventualities, all bets are off.
None of them regrets. Not George Bush, or Condoleezza Rice or John Bolton, who just told the world that a dead Israel civilian is worth a lot more in terms of moral outrage than a Lebanese one. They say Hezbollah is a cancer in the body of Lebanon. Sometimes, to kill the cancer, you end up killing the body. Or bodies. Go to the Web site fromisraeltolebanon.info and take a look.
You can say that Israel brought Hezbollah into the world. You can prove it too, though this involves another frightening excursion into history.
This time we must go almost unimaginably far back, to 1982, before the dinosaurs, before Fox News. But not before the neocons had already crawled from the primal slime to do exactly what they're doing now: advising an American president to give Israel a green light to "solve its security problems" by destroying Lebanon.
Back then, Yasir Arafat was prepared to sit down with Israel and embark on good-faith negotiations towards a two-state solution. Israel didn't want a two-state solution, which meant a Palestinian state right next door. So Israel announced that Palestinian fighters had broken the year-long cease-fire by lobbing shells into northern Israel.
Palestinians had done no such thing. I remember this well because Brian Urquhart, the official in charge of observers on Israel's northern border, invited me to his office at the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan and showed me all the current reports from the zone. For over a year, there'd been no shelling from north of the border. Israel was lying.
Israel invaded Lebanon and rolled up to Beirut. It shelled Lebanese towns and villages and bombed them from the air. Sharon's forces killed maybe 20,000 people, and let Lebanese Christians slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatila.
The killing got so bad that Ronald Reagan awoke from his slumbers to tell Israel to stop. Sharon gave the White House the finger by bombing Beirut at times - 2:42 and 3:38 - coinciding with two Security Council resolutions that called for a peaceful settlement.
When the dust settled, Israel bunkered down several miles inside Lebanese territory, in defiance of all U.N. resolutions, for years, supervising a brutal local militia and running the torture center prison of Al-Khiam.
Occupy a country, torture its citizens and in the end you face resistance. In Israel's case it was Hezbollah, which eventually ran Israel out of Lebanon, leading many Lebanese to regard Hezbollah as liberators.
Over the years, Israel has done its best to destroy all possibility of a two-state solution. It built illegal settlements. It chopped up Palestine with Jews-only roads. It cordoned off Jerusalem. It bisected Palestinian territory with its "fence." Anyone trying to organize resistance was jailed, tortured or killed.
Sick of their terrible trials, Palestinians elected Hamas, whose leaders stand ready to pursue the old two-state solution. But Israel doesn't want any solution that gives the Palestinians anything more than a few trashed-out acres surrounded with barbed wire, between Israeli settlements.
So here we are, 24 years after Sharon attacked Lebanon, and his heirs are doing it again. It's the only thing they know how to do. Call Lebanon a terror-haven and bomb it back to the stone age. Call Gaza a terror-haven and bomb its power plant. Bomb Damascus. Bomb Teheran.
Of course, they won't destroy Hezbollah. Every time they kill another Lebanese family, they multiply hatred of Israel and support for Hezbollah. They've even unified the parliament in Baghdad, which voted unanimously - Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds alike - to deplore Israel's conduct and to call for a ceasefire.
History can be dangerous, which is why the U.S. press gives it wide birth. Even without historical instruction, though, most Americans don't like what Israel is up to.
But dislike, at least in the short term, doesn't help much. Pressuring Israel to settle the basic problem takes political courage, and virtually no U.S. politician will buck the Israel lobby, however many bodies are sacrificed on the altar of such cowardice.