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A good reason for Israel to back off a bit
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 14, 2006

***UPDATES BELOW***


I was going to include this in an update on the Israel story, but I felt it deserved a post of its own.

I think Michael Young makes a compelling case for Israel to stand down, or at least back off some in Lebanon.

He sets up his argument:
This is not to say that the cycle of attack and retaliation between Hezbollah and Israel is merely a proxy war. The two sides have long engaged in a conflict in southern Lebanon — albeit, since Israel’s pullout in 2000, one mostly limited to a disputed territory known as the Shebaa Farms and contained by unwritten rules. This week, however, Hezbollah transgressed three political lines.

The first was its expansion of military operations outside the Shebaa area. While Hezbollah has done this before — even killing some Israeli troops — the latest operation was certain to be intolerable to an Israeli government already dealing with the kidnapping of another soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, by Hamas in Gaza.

A second line that Hezbollah crossed was its evident coordination of strategy with Hamas; this went well beyond its stated aim of simply defending Lebanon and left Israel feeling it was fighting a war on two fronts.

The third line crossed was domestic. By unilaterally taking Lebanon into a conflict with Israel, Hezbollah sought to stage a coup d’état against the anti-Syrian parliamentary and government majority, which opposes the militant group’s adventurism.
As I mentioned earlier, Hezbollah is no longer just a terrorist group. It is a part of the government of Lebanon. Their actions now have ramifications they've never had in the past. So while Young's first "line" may appear technical, his second and third show Hezbollah acting in bad faith and unilaterally and thereby involving Lebanon in a war it didn't want.

There is a method to Hezbollah's madness as Young notes:
Hezbollah holds seats in the 128-member Parliament but has an uneasy relationship with the majority, which has been on the defensive as Syria has tried to reassert control over Lebanon after its military withdrawal last year. Hezbollah hoped to humiliate the anti-Syrian politicians by forcing them to endorse the kidnappings and showing how little control the government has over the party.
But at this point that has backfired on them. As mentioned below, they're getting plenty of internal flack from angry Lebanese.

Here's the problem. At some point, should Israel continue to punish Lebanon, that's going to stop. At some point, Israel will become the sole enemy. All that accomplishes then is making Hezbollah successful in their endeavor, weakening the anti-Syrian contingent in government and actually moving away from a solution with Lebanon.

Young's recommendation:
It would be far smarter for Israel, and America, to profit from Hezbollah’s having perhaps overplayed its hand. The popular mood here is one of extreme anger that the group has provoked a conflict Lebanon cannot win. The summer tourism season, a rare source of revenue for a country on the financial ropes, has been ruined. Even Hezbollah’s core supporters, the Shiite Muslims in the south, cannot be happy at seeing their towns and villages turned again into a killing field.

What to do? While the United Nations has been ineffective in its efforts toward Middle East peace, it may be the right body to intervene here, if only because it has the cudgel of Security Council Resolution 1559, which was approved in 2004 and, among other things, calls for Hezbollah’s disarmament.

The five permanent Security Council members, perhaps at this weekend’s Group of 8 meeting, should consider a larger initiative based on the resolution that would include: a proposal for the gradual collection of Hezbollah’s weapons; written guarantees by Israel that it will respect Lebanese sovereignty and pull its forces out of the contested Lebanese land in the Shebaa Farms; and the release of prisoners on both sides. Such a deal could find support among Lebanon’s anti-Syrian politicians, would substantially narrow Hezbollah’s ability to justify retaining its arms, and also send a signal to Syria and particularly Iran that the region is not theirs for the taking.
So yes, smack Hezbollah around a bit. Make the point that Israel will not put up with these sorts of attacks and incursions. Clean up the northern border. But know when to call a halt without crossing the line which sees Hezbollah come out on top of this politically.

Young also points out the elephant in the room, which he notes the US correctly identified, but Israel has avoided condemning:
Israel can brutalize Lebanon all it wants, but unless something is done to stop Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, from exporting instability to buttress his despotic regime, little will change.

Once the Israelis end their offensive, Hezbollah will regroup and continue to hold Lebanon hostage through its militia, arguably the most effective force in the country. Hamas leaders in Damascus will continue derailing any negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. And Syria will continue to eat away at Lebanese independence, reversing the gains of last year when hundreds of thousands of Lebanese marched against Syrian hegemony.
Syria must be stopped and while Israel knows that, it is avoiding the obvious in an effort to keep from widening the war. However, until Syria is unwrapped from around Lebanon, nothing will change. Given Young's thesis here, it seems one way to begin that process would be to humiliate Hezbollah and let them be the focus of the wrath of the people of Lebanon instead of continuing the attacks into Lebanon and turning a potential winning situation into something less.

I'm not making a "proportional response" argument, nor is Young. He's making a "politically smart" argument, and I think it should be considered by Israel.

UPDATE: Israel has now managed to isolate Beruit and has cut the main road to Syria:
Israeil fighter jets have destroyed the main road linking Lebanon to Syria and pounded the Hezbollah heartland in the south of Beirut in a bid to stop militants smuggling two captured soldiers to Iran.

The Lebanese capital is now isolated, with Israeli planes and ships controlling the sky and waterways two days after the soldiers were seized by Hezbollah militants in a cross-border raid that has sparked the most serious violence in Lebanon since the height of its civil war.
Australian PM John Howard, as staunch an ally as the US and Israel could have, worries this may topple the fragile Lebanese government:
John Howard said he feared the siege of Beirut could topple the fragile Lebanese Government. "I don't think Lebanon is in a strong enough position," he said. "One of the worries in all of what is happening is that the present Lebanese Government, weak though it may be, could fall and be replaced by a government even more heavily under the influence of Syria."
Exactly. They'd like nothing more than to have the opportunity to again step into the power vacuum and control the country ... with Hezbollah's help, of course.

UPDATE II: Earlier in the day there were rumors that Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah had been killed in an attack on the Hezbollah headquarters. Apparently not. An Israeli ship has been badly damaged off the coast of Lebanon (by an explosive laden drone) and Nasrallah is the one who announced it. He also had this to say:
Nasrallah said the group would strike deeper inside Israel, which it charged with launching the operation in Lebanon to avenge its failure in preventing the abduction and killing of its soldiers by Hezbollah earlier in the week.

Hezbollah would also strike "beyond Haifa and what is beyond, beyond Haifa," Nasrallah said. He made reference to a new strike on an Israeli naval boat in Lebanese waters.

"You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war," the Hezbollah leader said. "You have chosen an all-out war with a nation which... has the capability, the experience and the courage."

Nasrallah said that Lebanon could either surrender or "have faith in Allah and victory," and said he was sure that most of Lebanese would want to stand side by side with Hezbollah.
Put another way, Nasrallah is now hoping Israel wants "open war". The longer this goes on, the better for Hezbollah. Oh and the foolishness about a nation which has the "capability, the experience and the courage?" Well I won't suggest that the Lebanese aren't courageous, but the rest is pure propaganda. Hopefully they'll be courageous enough at some point to help Nasrallah and the rest of the terrorists find the martyrdom they claim to want so badly.

More here in a previous post.

UPDATE III: Unsurprisingly, the UN has done, uh, nothing:
An emergency session of the U.N. Security Council concluded without producing a resolution on the escalating conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

[...]

The council's failure to arrive at a strong statement on the situation in Israel and Lebanon, which appears to be boiling over into a full-scale regional conflict, further raises doubts over its ability to operate as a unified body.
You know, I really deplore that. Strong words to follow.

As an aside, how many more times must the UN appear totally useless in situations like this before doubts about its ability to operate as a unified body become fact?

UPDATE IV: Now Syria is making some pretty strong declarations:
Syria will support Hizbollah and Lebanon against Israel's attacks on the country, the ruling Baath Party said on Friday, defying the Jewish state and its chief ally Washington.

"The Syrian people are ready to extend full support to the Lebanese people and their heroic resistance to remain steadfast and confront the barbaric Israeli aggression and its crimes," said a communique from the party's national command issued after a meeting.
Translation: We'll spend every Hezbollah "martyr" we need to in order to regain power in and over Lebanon. Don't believe it?
Diplomats in Damascus said Syria was confident it would emerge from the crisis with a stronger position compared with the isolation it has been under since the Lebanese-Saudi billionaire [former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Harir] turned politician was killed.

"The situation is dangerous but look at how many people are contacting Syria now," one Western diplomat said. "Damascus is back as a main player."
Some high-stakes gambling and saber rattling going on in the Middle East.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora appeared on CNN and said:
"Lebanon has been penalised ... the Lebanese government has made it very clear that it had no information about this operation and it takes no responsibility, and in fact, it is disavowing (it)."

"I believe that we should try to arrive at an immediate ceasefire."

"Does it really pay Israel to really cripple, finally, a democracy like Lebanon?"
That's the dilemma, isn't it? How long and how far to go. But I have to tell you, this we take 'no responsiblity' isn't selling well.
 
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Comments
Syria must be stopped and while Israel knows that, it is avoiding the obvious in an effort to keep from widening the war.
I would think bombing the roads and bridges between Lebanon and Syria is meant as a direct message for Syria not to send help.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Yong makes good points, BUT it’s like "Laughing at the Nazi’s." IF all you can do is laugh and make fun, that’s not too effective. And IF all Lebanon can do is complain about Hezbollah, because the Army and State are too fragile to react, Diplomacy and Politcs may turn out to be pretty ineffectual. It might be best to CONTINUE the pressure, on Hezbollah, attempting to disrupt it’s infrastructure in Southern Lebanon. Allowing the Lebenese State a chance to move into the vacuum left by a diminsihed Hezbollah.

A proposal from me would be to ask the Lebanese to "invite" US, Britsh and French forces into the Bekaa and other border areas to hold the ring against Syrian/Hezbollah re-entrance into Southern Lebanon. IF the armed militants can be kept out Lebanon MIGHT have a chance to reestablish full sovereignty over all its territory and Israel might see a much more quiet Northern border.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ:

I agree 100% that Israel (and the world) would be best-served if Israel exercised restraint in Lebanon, which, as you explain, would hopefully lead to marginalizing Hezbollah. Indeed, I think that stragey might also be employed to good effect with regard to Hamas/Palestine. Of course, there is a clear distinction between Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon and Hamas’ in Palestine, namely, that Hamas is in formal, democratically-elected control of the government. Nevertheless, the same strategy of Isaraeli restraint may be successful in Palestine since it may force Hamas into the unfamiliar and far more difficult role of governance (in contrast to acting as an unrestrained opposition force). One thing: I did see the Israeli Ambassador to the U.N speaking to the Security Counsel this morning, and he made it clear that Syria and Iran are the ultimate source of the problem.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
David Ignatius reaches a similar conclusion as Young, albeit from a different premise:
Israeli and American doctrine is premised on the idea that military force will deter adversaries. But as more force has been used in recent years, the deterrent value has inevitably gone down. That’s the inner spring of this crisis: The Iranians (and their clients in Hezbollah and Hamas) watch the American military mired in Iraq and see weakness. They are emboldened rather than intimidated. The same is true for the Israelis in Gaza. Rather than reinforcing the image of strength, the use of force (short of outright, pulverizing invasion and occupation) has encouraged contempt.
 
Written By: cllam
URL: http://
The problem with this approach is that it reflects a combination of Beach Boys "wouldn’t it be nice" and Rodney "can’t we all get along" King and doesn’t reflect reality. Hoping the UN steps in and puts pressure on Hezbollah and Syria and Iran? Hoping the Lebanese rise up and take control of the country? Hezbollah agreeing to give up its weapons (implicit in this is doing so would require Hezbollah to renounce terror and its hopes of destroying Israel)? Young - and anyone who buys his argument - is dreaming if he thinks this will happen. Hezbollah hasn’t overplayed its hand... at least not with anybody who counts in that corner of the world. Syria and Iran - Hezbollah’s backers - certainly have no reason to think so. They haven’t paid a price for what Hezbollah has done (in fact, isn’t Iran making more money the higher oil prices go?). The rest of the ’international community’, while offering up a few "Hezbollah was wrong to do what it did", is rapidly returning to its usual position of condemning Israel. Even Bush is now hedging his positions; while he is saying Israel has a right to defend itself, he is calling for them to exercise restraint and to avoid inflicting civilian casualties... yet - to my knowledge - hasn’t said squat about Hezbollah targeting Israeli civilians with their rocket attacks.

Thus, it’s ridiculous to think that Young’s prescription will accomplish anything of value. It’s emblematic of the ’as long as we’re talking we’re accomplishing something’ school that would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

The (sad) fact is that if Israel’s opponents/neighbors in the area truly wanted to exist peacefully with Israel, they could have accomplished that years and years ago. If the UN wanted to put pressure on Israel’s opponents to stop the attacks, they could have done so years and years ago. If the Lebanese people truly wanted to reclaim their country, they could have done so years and years ago. That none of this happened is proof positive that Israel can not and should not look to anyone else to solve their problems. Only they have the ability to force - yes, force - their opponents to back off... or to push their opponents far enough back that their ability to pose a direct threat to Israel is greatly diminished.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
And, as far as Ignatius goes, military force with one hand tied behind one’s back is often worse than not using military force at all. The US in Iraq hasn’t been able to go after the insurgents as strongly as they would like... not with ROEs that preclude them from firing on mosques being used to house snipers, etc. And Israel sure hasn’t gone after its enemies as strongly as needed. If they did, Gaza would be a barren no-man’s land. And Hezbollah wouldn’t be allowed within 50 miles of the Israeli border. Syria would be picking up the pieces from Israeli attacks.

Interestingly, the same liberals who claim the trouble the military is having is proof that the military shouldn’t be used never said the same when their billions and billions of dollars spent on, for example, social welfare programs failed to eliminate welfare. Then, they cried for more money to truly address the problem. Well, the same holds true now... unleash the military, then evaluate.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Ignatious lives in a somewhat different world than I do...let’s get out talking points straight. The US WON the insurgency, IRAQ IS ON THE BRINK OF CIVIL WAR is the new talking point! We need to redeploy not because the insurgency is too strong, but now that the Government is too bad. My point being that the US is NOT "Bogged down" the war in Iraq IS winding down and the US won, so mayhap the message isn’t that the US and its military are powerless? And Assad and the Iranians might seet his too, but certainly they want cllam to feel that way.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The Israelis aren’t being restrained in Lebanon? How so?

Are the Israelis randomly firing missles, motars and bombs into Southern Lebanon, or are they hitting targets specific to their goals?

update from Beruit... the crux of the problem in Lebanon.

http://instapundit.com/archives/031431.php
2) The Lebanese people seem to be more than turned off by Hizbollah. Their fears are greater, however, that the Lebanese government would turn entirely against Hizbollah. This lies in the fact that they trust the Israelis to hit fewer civilian targets more than they trust a desparate renegade Hizbollah on their soil. There is a lot of fear over another civil war.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Meanwhile: CNN just reported that an Israeli woman and her grandson were killed by a rocket fired out of Lebanon.

It only emphasizes what I was thinking when I read your post, Bruce, which goes like this: "How many people are going to be killed in these utterly random attacks completely without any serious military rationale?" All this, while diplomats are pleased to shuffle around in air-conditioned comfort.

I don’t see how any military professional can be expected to put up with this if they can do anything about it.

Now, as I said at my place — and have many times before — I have nothing for Israel, really. I think the whole idea is flat-out crazy. (I think the Jews should come to America, but that’s just me.) But for sheer range-of-the-moment consideration, I’m with ’em on this. And even if they handle it badly, there is still a crucial difference between the pros in the IDF and those rotten bastards in Hezbollah, who’re killing Jews just for the sheer hell of it. I say they ought to go right ahead and stomp, to the best of their ability, all the way to Damascus. They’re already in the position of USAF from 1965 all the way up to Linebacker II: they were held in check with political considerations so they could only do a half-assed job, but at least they reaped all the opprobrium of world opinion.

They might as well go ahead and get everything they can out of that kind of a deal.

Enough, already.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
He sets up his argument:
This is not to say that the cycle of attack and retaliation between Hezbollah and Israel
he set it up upon an arbitrary - & therefore false - premise.

just wanted to quickly get this in before i read the remaining 99% of the post. i do hope it gets better.

{{{hugs}}}
 
Written By: window licker
URL: http://
Billy Beck:
I think the Jews should come to America, but that’s just me.

Here, here! I agree. If they should so choose, I think we should open our door to all of them.

The problem is that my hypocrisy meter started to peg, because I’m not in favor of a mass uncontrolled influx of Mexicans. Fearful of accusations of racism, here’s what I suggest we should do to make both sides happy. According to 2005 stats, Israel has around 5 million Jews. I say that we open our doors to 10 million immigrants, half Israeli and half Mexican (in the form of amnesty). The only stipulation is that all the Israeli immigrants have to settle within 30 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border. (It’s roughly the same weather, so it won’t be that much of a transition).

Just keepin’ the melting pot real.
 
Written By: rammage
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Steve,
liberals who claim the trouble the military is having is proof that the military shouldn’t be used
Neither Ghandi nor Jesus were Americans. Aside from those two liberals, could you name a couple who believe that the military should never be used. I’ve never met one. Even Cindy Shehan was in favor of our actions in Afghanistan.

Those of you who are fans of history may note that Hezbollah was formed in response to Israel’s last invasion of Lebanon. Once Israel forced the PLO to leave they filled the power vacuum caused by the exodus of the PLO. Had Israel not invaded Lebanon, years ago, there would be no Hezbollah in Lebanon. 22 years of occupation made Israel no safer. They spent a lot of blood and money for nothing. The PLO is looking pretty tame compared to what has grown up since. At least they were secular and not proxies of Iran.

Those of you advocating a US or European force, should be reminded that Ronald Reagan was the first US president to cut and run, after the Marines were blown up in Beirut by a truck bomb in 1983.

We need an Arab force to act as a buffer zone. Israel needs to back off.
 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
We need an Arab force to act as a buffer zone.

Uh those would be the neighbors that by-and-alrge are NOT friendly with Israel? Who would you recommend, Syria?
Israel needs to back off.
Well sure, if the Hezbollah want to cross over into Eretz Ysrael and kill and kidnap, why should those low-rent Zionists complain?
Even Cindy Shehan was in favor of our actions in Afghanistan.
Uh no CindyB, and if I can "google" why can’t you or is simply the narrative we’rre preaching today. From MSN’s website and Harball with Chris Matthews

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8972147/
MATTHEWS: All right. If your son had been killed in Afghanistan, would you have a different feeling?

SHEEHAN: I don’t think so, Chris, because I believe that Afghanistan is almost the same thing. We’re fighting terrorism. Or terrorists, we’re saying. But they’re not contained in a country. This is an ideology and not an enemy. And we know that Iraq, Iraq had no terrorism. They were no threat to the United States of America.


MATTHEWS: But Afghanistan was harboring, the Taliban was harboring al-Qaida which is the group that attacked us on 9/11.

SHEEHAN: Well then we should have gone after al-Qaida and maybe not after the country of Afghanistan.

MATTHEWS: But that’s where they were being harbored. That’s where they were headquartered. Shouldn’t we go after their headquarters? Doesn’t that make sense?

SHEEHAN: Well, but there were a lot of innocent people killed in that invasion, too. ... But I’m seeing that we’re sending our ground troops in to invade countries where the entire country wasn’t the problem. Especially Iraq. Iraq was no problem. And why do we send in invading armies to march into Afghanistan when we’re looking for a select group of people in that country?

So I believe that our troops should be brought home out of both places where we’re obviously not having any success in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and that’s who they told us was responsible for 9/11.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Cindyb:

It’s not that liberals say that the military should never be used, it’s that they always seem to be claiming that the military shouldn’t be used in ’this’ or ’that’ particular instance.... they’re always claiming using the military isn’t the answer. They always claim diplomacy is needed... and, then when diplomacy doesn’t do squat, they’re claiming more diplomacy (appeasement) is the answer.

And you sort of make my point with your history lesson... that the situation there might have been much more to Israel’s favor had they not been forced to pull back in 1982 (I think that’s the year). Imagine if they had been able to go into Beirut and get Arafat... imagine in they had truly been able to destroy the PLO...

And Cindy Sheehan wouldn’t be in favor of our involvement in Afghanistan had her son been killed there.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Steve, Israel didn’t GET stopped from going into Beirut in 1982. It STOPPED from going into Beirut in 1982. Today Israel might do better, but in 1982 Israel saw, correctly, that Beirut was nothing but a "Widow Maker" and did not wish to get involved in a slugfest a la Stalingrad in Beirut.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There is one important plank in this proposal that invalidates the whole thing. Roll tape!
written guarantees by Israel that it will respect Lebanese sovereignty and pull its forces out of the contested Lebanese land in the Shebaa Farms
The "Shebaa Farms" area was never Lebanese! The area was absorbed by Syria before Lebanon became an independent country post French Mandate. Israel captured it from Syria, not Lebanon, in 1967 and Syria has never relinquished its claim to the area. Hizb’ullah’s claims are bogus and bogosity of the highest order and clearly designed to perpetuate unending conflict.

To capitulate on this is merely to peel back another layer of the onion, nothing more.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Isreal will show the necessary restraint because it is playing surgeon right now. And Lebanon is getting the meticulous medical attention that the country’s new leaders know is needed.

After the buzz of the Cedar Revolution wore off, the new government looked around the joint, and discovered that the prior government had ceded the nation’s southern border areas to foreign-backed militias.

Gee, great! And, to think this occurred while the country was under "benign" Syrian military administration?

The question becomes, what should the new, Westward-leaning Lebanese government do when they lack the man-power, armaments and political will to muster what will be a bloody expulsion effort? And knowing full well that they would have Iranian and Syrian reprisals (ie. terrorist attacks) to look forward to?

The answer: do exactly what they did. Sit back, wait for the terrorists to provide a credible casus belli, then stand back while Isreal surgically removes the problem.

Smooth.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
World appeasment of terrorist and terrorist nations, are exactly what has gotten the world in the kaos it is in now. The world watched Hiter’s aggression and did nothing. Look at the price that was paid. These terrorist play the Western world and the international media "like a fiddle". And the sad fact is they appear to be winning, because we are letting them!
 
Written By: John Martin
URL: http://none
"rammage" — let me try to clarify something.

A lot of people might not believe this, but I only very rarely state anything as a hypothetical. I almost always mean every thing I say for immediate practical intent.

My invitation to the Jews is different, simply because I know it could never happen. It could never happen because the whole institution of Israel is insane. That is the only way I can consider any religious state, and that is exactly what it is: no more, and no less. This is a claim that sober reflection on over twenty centuries of mystic nonsense should easily reject on its face.

The insanity is compounded in parking the thing in the middle of about three hundred million dirt-scratching savages who hate it in its blood and bones. From two so diametrically opposed insanities in that sort of proximity, nothing good can ever come.

However, that’s not the same as saying they should not fight for their lives. They have that right as much as anyone else.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy Beck, have you READ ANY HISTORY OF ISRAEL? It’s not a RELIGIOUS state, it’s an ethnic/cultural state*SIGH* The proponents of Zionism were mostly Socialists from Europe, Religious Jews opposed Zionism! The Return was to be the work of the Messiah, not a bunch of European Kibbutzniks. Oi VEY! man...Zionism as a place for the "Jews/Jooos" meant(s) Jew as a Nazi might define, not that you PRACTICE Judaism, but rather someone in your past HAS. So Zionism is NOT about the founding of a Relgious State, it was about a people held and holding themselves apart having a state to go with their nationhood.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war," the Hezbollah leader said. "You have chosen an all-out war with a nation which... has the capability, the experience and the courage
BEAUTIFUL!!

The roaches want to stand and fight rather than scattering?

This can be the Arabic answer to Tet- with the same results
 
Written By: SHARK
URL: http://
cindyb: "Neither Ghandi nor Jesus were Americans. Aside from those two liberals, could you name a couple who believe that the military should never be used."
Can you prove that Ghandi and Jesus thought that the military should never be used?

Many people mistake non-violence as compromise or avoidance of conflict. It is not. On the other hand, it is standing up for what is right (truth) and justice. Fighting a violent war is better than accepting injustice. So, really there is no contradiction in fighting a just war, and believing in non-violence. Both are duties to be carried out to preserve justice and truth.—Ghandi

As for Jesus, he said something to the effect of selling one’s cloake and buying a sword.

Nick Berg’s father has stated that he wouldn’t have killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to save his son’s life.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The roaches want to stand and fight rather than scattering?

This can be the Arabic answer to Tet- with the same results.
Now don’t get too excited Shark. If you’re a student of the region, you know that posturing is expected and results, well, not so much.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Those of you who are fans of history may note that Hezbollah was formed in response to Israel’s last invasion of Lebanon. Once Israel forced the PLO to leave they filled the power vacuum caused by the exodus of the PLO. Had Israel not invaded Lebanon, years ago, there would be no Hezbollah in Lebanon. 22 years of occupation made Israel no safer. They spent a lot of blood and money for nothing. The PLO is looking pretty tame compared to what has grown up since. At least they were secular and not proxies of Iran.
Hezbollah was formed to spread Islamic Revolution. Hence the Iranian backing.
Those of you advocating a US or European force, should be reminded that Ronald Reagan was the first US president to cut and run, after the Marines were blown up in Beirut by a truck bomb in 1983.
Reagan, of course, was dealing with bigger issues at the time, since the Cold War was at its peak.

Hezbollah exists due to the Iranian Islamic Revolution, which was a success due to Jimmy Carter’s cut and run—a major Cold War muck up on top of everything else.
We need an Arab force to act as a buffer zone. Israel needs to back off.
Israel needs to go to town on this people.

Any Arab "buffer force" would end up as a staging force for attacking Israel.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"rammage" — let me try to clarify something.

. . .
My invitation to the Jews is different, simply because I know it could never happen. It could never happen because the whole institution of Israel is insane. That is the only way I can consider any religious state, and that is exactly what it is: no more, and no less. This is a claim that sober reflection on over twenty centuries of mystic nonsense should easily reject on its face.

The insanity is compounded in parking the thing in the middle of about three hundred million dirt-scratching savages who hate it in its blood and bones. From two so diametrically opposed insanities in that sort of proximity, nothing good can ever come.
Assuming you are correct on this, this is an observation that’s 60 years too late to be relevant.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Yes, Joe. I have.

That is all.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
You have and yet you can say what you said? OK. Oh and "dirt scratching savages" is hardly kind viewof the Arabs....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You have and yet you can say what you said? OK. Oh and "dirt scratching savages" is hardly kind viewof the Arabs....
Heh ... Joe, do yourself a favor and just leave it alone. You haven’t got the shoes for the puddle of sh*t you’ll find yourself standing in.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Joe,

Trying to argue with Billy is like arguing with Mona. Nothing you say will even allow you to arrive at common ground, except Mona is a whole lot nicer.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
I find Howard’s comments... interesting. Aside from your lede, your assessment of the situation is spot on McQ. But what happens if we look not through the prism of a fragile Lebanese government, and instead focus on why that government is fragile. It is fragile because of Syrian backed and Iran funded Hezbollah - a recently reduced Tammany Hall on steroids (without Judeao/Christian sense of decency or susceptibilities to externally imposed shame). In other words, what makes Lebanon fragile is the very element Israel is fighting, and removing that element may in fact strengthen the Lebanese government.

But as always in the Middle East, we have to tread delicately – diplomatic missteps on our part and incredibly heavy handed actions on Israel’s part embellished by a huge amount of scapegoating on the Arab world’s part leads to a situation where learned biases supplant pragmatism when sensibilities are insulted.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
"Nothing you say will even allow you to arrive at common ground..."

That’s not true, Lance.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
C’mon Joe, keep going, I’ll get the popcorn.

;)
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Billy,

No, it is true, Mona is much nicer and Jon Henke didn’t compare you to a mass murderer. Two truths I won’t let you find common ground with me on.

Don’t worry Billy, you get a free shot at me because I won’t get into it with you, but you could actually respond to Joe in a way which might lead me to cut you a little slack in the future. If not, I like popcorn as much as the capt.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
OK. [grudgingly] Mona is nice. She would be more effective if she weren’t. IMHO. I am not [obviously] an admirer of "nice". Nice is for the fasion magazines. Wanting to be nice is very costly in dealing with ....terrorists... smart people know what I mean. [Negataive] Nice is bringing no knife to a gunfight. Yes, there is a time to be nice. After you have disarmed everyone and you are in total control of the situation.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"Does it really pay Israel to really cripple, finally, a democracy like Lebanon?"
It sure does. Better Lebanon, weak and worthless and useless as she is, is broken than any Israelis ever have to deal with this sh*t again.

 
Written By: SHARK
URL: http://
Watching CNN International last night it seemed like most of the coverage was focusing on "those poor Lebanese" and the Israeli "offensive." It’s as if Hezbullah’s attack was not really the source of any of the issues.

Hmmm, maybe Israel needs to act like Hamas and Hezbullah and get say 250 Israeli civilians killed by a Hezbelluh rocket...then the media (and the public) will side with Israel. (Just joking there.)

BTW, I am very impressed with Hezbullah’s military: well executed attack inside Israel, an emplaced mine blew up an Israeli APC, and unmanned drone disables a corvette.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
David Shaughnessy wrote:
"Of course, there is a clear distinction between Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon and Hamas’ in Palestine, namely, that Hamas is in formal, democratically-elected control of the government."
But that isn’t a true statement. Hizbollah has a role in the Lebanese government, and the Lebanese government either cannot control its activities or doesn’t want to. They cannot have it both ways. I have some sympathy with the new Lebanese government, but if they are not in control of their border they cannot claim that it is violation of their sovereign status for Israel to take out Hizbollah, and if they are in control then they are sponsoring attacks against another sovereign state.

This is related to the issue of extending the Geneva Convention’s protections to terrorists. The principles of humane warfare impose responsibilities upon both sides, and international laws do also. What we are seeing here is a situation in which the Lebanese government simultaneously disclaims responsibility for attacks launched from its soil and appeals to international law for protection against responses to those attacks. This is not a stance the civilized world should allow. Every civilized nation has the responsibility to rebut the official position of the Lebanese government.

I agree that the world should try to minimize this conflict, but the best thing we can do to minimize it is to point out that the Lebanese government cannot make these claims. The rules of war exist to protect the possibility of peace. The essence of making peace is to be able to declare a truce and protect that truce, which requires accountability. The world must reiterate that, or any attempts to intervene will result in a greater disaster.
 
Written By: MaxedOutMama
URL: http://maxedoutmama.blogspot.com
Hizbollah has a role in the Lebanese government, and the Lebanese government either cannot control its activities or doesn’t want to.
This may well be true, and the same for your more general points regarding accountability, what the civilized world should countenance, etc. However, I think it is clear that the Middle East is a powder keg that is one match away from exploding and perhaps engulfing much of the world, not to mention directly afffecting fundamental U.S. interests. I am looking for a solution; and I approaching the problem pragmatically, not dogmatically. I merely observe that the Israeli military response may backfire, and may play right into the hands of those to whom a conflagration would be welcome.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
David: what’s the basis for saying the Middle East is one match away from exploding? Let’s rachet up the dial and bring Syria (directly) into the fray. So what? While Iran might help Syria, its distance from Israel limits what it can do (and, in turn, what Israel can do to Iran). And I don’t see any other players getting drawn into the fight; Jordan or Egypt aren’t going to be jumping in to attack Israel if Israel decides to go after Syria. Russia isn’t sending down military ’advisors’ to bail out the Syrians. And the same holds true if Israel decides to go after Iran or vice versa. The US isn’t going to commit its military. And the EU isn’t going to send in its military... wait a minute, what military? Sure, the EU will contine to make all sorts of noise about how the Israelis are so wrong, but that’s nothing new either. Yes, that idiot Chavez in Venezuela is making noise but that’s to be expected from him... if he wasn’t complaining about this, he would just complain about something else.

As for the mischief that Iran might try to stir up, they’re already screwing around in Iraq, they’re already supporting terrorists around the world. It’s not as if they’ve been helping us, or even standing on the sidelines, as by any number of accounts, they’ve been providing money, logistical support and even people to help plan and carry out attacks on our troops. And Iran is already working as hard as they can to develop nuclear weapons, so it’s not as if what is going on in Israel and Lebanon right now changes that dynamic much... in fact, it might be better were Iran to ’officially’ jump in.

And as far as this engulfing much of the world, remember the terrorists are and have been doing their best to attack Western interests (or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, non-Muslim interests) wherever and whenever they can. It’s not as if Al Qaeda and the other terrorist groups are only now deciding they don’t like the US, right?
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com/
Steve:

I can’t say that I necessarily disagree with your predictions, though I do think you may be overly-optimistic — too sanguine, perhaps — about the consequences should Israel’s conflict with Palestine & Lebanon expand to include larger regional powers. I just don’t know what will happen and I think it is potentiallly very dangerous. I’m sure you would admit that you don’t know either. Therefore, I would like to avoid it. If there is a chance that Israeli restraint could marginalize Hezbollah and force Hamas to behave more responsibly, I’m all for it. And if it doesn’t work, if (as Israel evidently believes) restraint on its part will only engender more attacks, then Israel retains the capacity for an overwhelming military response, hopefully with the backing of more countries than just the U.S. alone. What’s wrong with that?
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Robert,

I don’t know if Mona would be more effective or not, I am not sure what that even means in this context. Either way it was a description which is accurate. I am not even sure she is nice, just a lot more civil than Billy, and Billy’s method sure hasn’t been all that effective at shedding much light on anything.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
David: agreed to in principle. but how about looking at the situation as thus: Israel has gotten nothing for its restraint over the past years so now is the time for the overwhelming military response? You’re right that I don’t know what would happen were Israel to ratchet things up a bit... it’s just that what Israel has done so far (what I call restraining itself) hasn’t gotten it very far. Better to have the big blow now and get it out of the way than for Israel to keep suffering casualties a little bit at a time. So it’s fine by me if Israel were to start taking out Syrian military facilities and civilian infrastructure... and if Israel has the capability of doing the same to Iran, it’s fine by me as well.

And, no offense, but you ought not to be driving a car or operating heavy machinery while you’re taking whatever it is that allows you to think that Israel could/would ever have the backing of more countries. Israel could lay down its arms and stand waiting to be slaughtered and the world community would complain that Israel was still making things too difficult for the poor Palestinians. The Israelis will never enjoy world support... so they ought to just admit it, ignore the idiots in Berlin, Paris and Moscow who are calling for them to back off... and just finish what needs to be finished.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com/
The best thing Israel can do for Lebanon is to do what Israel herself needs: rid the region of Hezbollah. Israel, however, won’t do this. It would require considerably more collateral damage than she’s willing to inflict. Israel currently warns of attacks and allows Hezbollah to move and regroup. Israel, and the world, is not yet ready to fight the Islamists in a way that can bring victory. The war will get worse before it gets better.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
I know Billy is a big boy and can fend for himself quite nicely, so I will leave that to to him.

That being said, his being "nice" (or not) is completely irrelevent to this discussion. The fact that it even arises when he is so spot on topic with his material speaks to the exact reason I have a hard time taking so many people (on here even!) seriously.
How utterly maddening.

P
 
Written By: Patrick
URL: http://
"How many people are going to be killed in these utterly random attacks completely without any serious military rationale?"

Why do you suppose the wanton murder of infidels is at odds with the military objectives of Islamist fanatics?

Billy: I think the Jews should come to America, but that’s just me.

I think Jews ought to live anywhere they damn well please where a property-owner is glad to take their money in exchange for the land. And they shouldn’t have to take crap about it either. From anyone. No matter how many rats are in the herd.

...the whole institution of Israel is insane.

As opposed to the whole institution of what other state? What nation within five-thousand miles of Israel can lay claim to a more rational inception?

The insanity is compounded in parking the thing in the middle of about three hundred million dirt-scratching savages who hate it in its blood and bones.

Their hatred of the infidel predates Isreal by thirteen centuries.
 
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URL: http://
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Written By: Bent
URL: http://hardcore-techno.afzet.org

 
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