Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

  War profits, then and now

Dan Halutz, the notorious chief of the Israeli Defense Force who masterminded (if that is the right term) the bombing of Lebanon beginning on July 13, was otherwise preoccupied with personal business on July 12.

Israel's armed forces chief came under political fire on Tuesday after a newspaper reported he sold off a stock portfolio just hours after Hizbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers in a raid that triggered a month-long war.

Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz, acknowledging the sale in comments to reporters, denied any impropriety.

The Maariv daily said Halutz went to his bank branch and sold shares worth 120,000 shekels ($27,460) three hours after the soldiers were seized by the Lebanese guerrilla group on July 12.

Key share indexes in Israel fell around 12 percent at the outset of fighting between Israeli forces and Hizbollah after the abduction....

Halutz said: "This is a malicious, biased report. I do not know who is behind it and I do not plan to be dragged into a subject that besmirches my integrity."

The good General has been the subject of a smear, you see. It turns out that there was nothing the matter with selling off his stocks before any opportunity should arise for a war to break out in the neighborhood.

But market analysts said it did not appear Halutz had broken any insider trading laws.

I would not have guessed it, however there it is. More from The Independent:

There is no suggestion General Halutz did anything illegal and the newspaper quoted him responding to what he called the "malicious and tendentious" report that the sale could not be linked to the war. He said he had made the decision because of previous losses and added: "At the time I did not expect or think that there would be a war."

And how could a man in General Halutz's position know that on the next day IDF jets would begin bombing the Beirut airport? He's no longer an air force pilot, and therefore practically out of the loop when it comes to questions of who's going to get bombed.

But the report added a new element to an already mounting post-war debate in the wake of the admission by Ehud Olmert, Israel's Prime Minister, that there had been "deficiencies" in the management of the war.

All these 'issues' swirling around, getting all the attention from reporters. Mismanagement of an air campaign; killing civilians in unseemly ways; insider trading; ghoulishness; fibbing about a little trip to the bank.

And yet the good news is overlooked, as always. Well, I take it as my personal duty privilege to shine light on the good news from the war zone that the MSM would rather suppress. And here it is:

The stock market dropped after the outbreak of the Lebanese war.

Key share indexes in Israel fell around 12 percent at the outset of fighting between Israeli forces and Hizbollah after the abduction. Share prices gradually recovered and now stand slightly below pre-war levels.

Sure, stocks are not down by much, but the key fact overlooked in virtually every report coming out of this war is that share prices did in fact dip somewhat when war broke out.

That is a moral victory, in every sense of the word 'victory'.

How far we have come since 1988! Children born in that year have just reached adulthood in 2006, and what a different world they will be able to enjoy than the one they were born into. You'll recall that 1988 marked the end of the long and bloody Iran-Iraq War. The U.N. brokered a cease-fire that summer between the two bitter enemies. And when the cease-fire was announced? Stock markets around the world plummeted.

So in just 18 years, we've made amazing progress as humans. Where once stock markets dropped when a war ended, now they drop when war begins. In another 100 or 150 years, perhaps we may hope that the stock markets will just outlaw war altogether.


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