Blogging Lebanese Democracy

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Michael Totten and his boss Jim Hake, who heads the Spirit of America organization, are in Beirut to help pro-democracy activists, and have started a weblog (including video) to describe what they're doing. SoA sees its mission as extending "the goodwill of the American people to assist those advancing freedom, democracy and peace abroad. We provide support to those on the front lines: American military and civilian personnel and people who call to Americans for help in their struggle for freedom and democracy."

One can already hear the sneers of conspiracy theorists on the political left in the U.S. and Lebanon, who will see the effort as a CIA front. Totten insists, however, that it is an entirely private initiative and that there are many people on the left working with SoA. The group is onto something: The youths at Martyrs Square are the unknown force in Lebanon's future; they are politically inexperienced but are also those who have largely spearheaded the popular protest movement in the wake of Rafik Hariri's assassination, even though they have not been asked by anyone what their political preferences are for the future. That may come back to haunt the political class–both opposition members and what remains of the pro-Syrians.

Among the things SoA are doing is raising private money for the democracy groups, but are also teaching them how to do simple things such as set up weblogs. Where this will lead, I can't possibly imagine; but it is a pleasure to see that there are people who refuse to shoot down the endeavors of the Lebanese protestors because they cannot stomach the idea that if the protestors are successful, this might somehow benefit the Bush administration.

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  1. This whole Lebanese democracy thing is bullshit. To think that blogs have any influence is ridiculous. The only thing it does is get hawks in a lather. Neocon libertarians should fight against the CIA, not be their goons for world domination.

  2. Perhaps “Neocon libertarians” shouldn’t support The Lebanese protesters. I, however, will.

    I think you are giving the CIA too much credit really.

  3. “This whole Lebanese democracy thing is bullshit.”

    Please do the rest of us critics of Reverse Domino Theory a favor and join the other side.

    “…it is a pleasure to see that there are people who refuse to shoot down the endeavors of the Lebanese protestors because they cannot stomach the idea that if the protestors are successful, this might somehow benefit the Bush administration.”

    Speaking as a critic myself, the Bush Administration isn’t my primary concern.

  4. When will Reason finally start investigating Spirit of America’s Likud Party ties?

  5. Anyone who thinks that Spirit of America is a CIA front should get off their tie-dyed asses and meet the people involved in it. SoA could use the extra volunteer help.

  6. “Please do the rest of us critics of Reverse Domino Theory a favor and join the other side.”

    That is to say, surely there are people in Lebanon who are legitimately weary of occupation, Hezbollah, etc.

  7. I was, and remain, against the Iraq war, but if SoA wants to provide moral support to the Lebanese against Syrian terrorism and interference, more power to them! I might even ask how I can join the cause. It’s private, and it supports liberty abroad. Exactly the antidote needed to US gov’t interference abroad AND apathy toward the world.

  8. Man, I wish I could jet off to foreign countries and organize protests! But I don’t have anyone popping up to foot the bill.

    Has anyone else ever noticed how often Michael Young’s posts take the form of pre-emptive defense of whatever he’s blogging about? “Here’s Spirit of America,” and oh by the way, they’re not a CIA front. You aren’t one of those conspiracy theorists on the political left, are you? ARE YOU?!?”

    One thing for sure, though; leftists and anti-war types shouldn’t let this buffoonery sour them on the progressives in Lebanon. Go Hariri protestors!

  9. I think this spirit of america group is a front not for the neo-cons but the syrians — I mean what a way to pacify the opposition than give them a blog no one reads — blogs are in essence an extension of the opinion/editorial piece which is similar to pissing yourself in a dark blue suit — you feel all warm inside and no one really notices.

  10. I think the answer is bigger tits.

    Oh, wait.

    Wrong thread.

    Never mind.

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