Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The UN Observers

July 26, 2006

Re: The UN Observers

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel

Dear Colleagues:

If all goes as planned, this author shall write a piece tomorrow, Thursday, on Iran and the current war in Lebanon. (Today is given over to taping a one hour television show with the author of The Global Class War, Jeff Faux, and to talks by the author to our faculty at lunch and to citizens of our area this evening.)

Like many others, this writer has spent some time -- in my own case about 45 minutes to an hour per day – watching cable news programs about the fighting in Lebanon. (I have been watching CNN.) One of course sees and hears the same things over and over and over and over again, including repeated interviews about and discussions of the deaths of four UN observers. Kofi Annan’s initial statement accused Israel of “apparently deliberately” targeting the observers. Israel has denied this. Annan later backed off his claim of apparent deliberate intent. But the good looking airheads who are television anchors and reporters for CNN seems never to think of asking the obvious and deeply relevant questions about this matter. To wit, just how close or just how far from the UN post are Hezbollah positions: rocket launchers, bunkers, entrenchments, observation posts, etc. It strikes me that we would have one likely situation if they are within 50 or 100 yards of the UN observation post, and probably a much different situation if they are, say, 3500 yards away (or approximately 2 miles away). Similarly, is it possible that Hezbollah personnel actually were using the UN’s “grounds” or “installation” to do their own observing (or even to launch rockets?).

These questions seem quintessentially simple, do they not? Yet they are never asked. Nor, is it ever said, relatedly, that Hezbollah’s positions or installations are far from the UN observation post rather than close to it. Indeed, the only thing I think I have heard on this score is an interviewee saying very cursorily that Hezbollah positions are close to the UN observation post. But the television airheads seem not to pursue this matter. Nor have I read any information on this question in any print media, almost equally the home of airheads.

Maybe I have simply been missing discussion of the matter on the electronic media or in print, and, if so, should to some extent apologize and eat my words. But the fact remains that I personally have seen virtually nothing on the subject.

One last point. Why haven’t the Israelis themselves brought up the matter? If Hezbollah positions were close by the UN outpost, one would think the Israelis would have said so. But on the other hand, if the Hezbollah positions were nowhere near the UN installation, one would think that Kofi Annan and other UN spokesmen would have said that. What gives?*
* * This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.

VelvelOnNationalAffairs is now available as a podcast. To subscribe please visit, and click on the link on the top left corner of the page. Dean Velvel’s podcast can also be found on Itunes or at