#AmbHale in Lebanon unnecessarily follows same old script of exaggeration re: US weapons for LAF
Over the last ten years since Syrian troops were deftly forced to leave Lebanon, largely as a result of well-considered pressure by the Bush administration, the embassy in Beirut has stuck to the same script when touting support for the Lebanese army that has ranged from obfuscation to occasional honesty when talking about the inherent limitations of aid by the US. Today’s press release is per usual: It will be ridiculed in some of the opposed Lebanese press, mocked in close quarters by some in the army and security sectors, used by Hizbullah as PR and maybe even questioned by pro-M14 outlets (as has sometimes happened over the years). More likely is that maybe no one will discuss the transfer…. since it is an old story that everyone knows.
My problem is that if we leave aside whether or not the US should be truly supporting a “real” equipping of the LAF – and we are decidedly NOT on this course and never have been as I have argued here and here – then we are left with a more basic issue: It is counter-productive and unnecessary to use language in press statements that exaggerate the US role and that obfuscates US limitations (especially the Israeli QME issue). It would be better for the embassy to say the truth since Lebanese are not stupid and treating them as such undercuts public diplomacy: That this is the maximum the US can do for now…. and there are real reasons why this is the max that are reasonable to the US and to our elected government… and either way, we are the MAIN supporters of the LAF and are indeed supplying VITAL stuff like bullets!
It is too controversial of course as yet, but we could mention that our unprecedented intel cooperation with all the security services here is also saving lives….
The release portion is below but the carefully crafted sentences are literally the same since 2006 period!: “…the equipment we are providing is exactly with the army leadership has asked for, and exactly what the army needs.”
This is simply not true – they need to drop the word “exact” since everyone is well aware that the ammo and howitzers are not exactly what has been asked for and certainly not EXACTLY what the army needs now, in the sense of ALL that the LAF has asked for, or even a small portion of the items which have long been asked for and which are desperately needed as soon as possible to fight ISIS, Nusrah and others.
Just a simple re-write for accuracy only: “…the equipment we are providing is what the army leadership has asked for, and what the army needs.”
Today’s shipment, from the generosity of the American people, is valued at over $25 million. It includes 70 M198 howitzers and almost 26 million rounds of ammunition and artillery of various shapes and sizes, including heavy artillery. Lebanon is now the 5th largest recipient in the world of U.S. military foreign assistance. Over $100 million last year, and over $1 billion in the last 8 years. This is top of the line equipment, the best that is on the market. It is what our soldiers use, and we’re proud to know that very soon, your brave soldiers will be using it too, along with other U.S.-supplied equipment, to defeat the terrorist and extremist threat from Syria. We are fighting the same enemy, so our support for you has been swift and continuous. I am confident that, with the right equipment, Lebanon’s soldiers can defend Lebanon successfully. And the equipment we are providing is exactly with the army leadership has asked for, and exactly what the army needs.”