Executive Summary

From a helpful comment in the previous thread and recent news accounts, here is a summary of the basic motivations driving this conflict. In choosing what to listen to and what to ignore the most important feature for me is the basic assumption that all of the major players are fundamentally rational people acting for understandable reasons. Any appeal to one side or the other being some shade of evil (e.g. demented, blinded by religious hysteria, etc; See Tim F’s Law) strikes me as unserious and not worth listening to.

So here goes:

* The Hamas kidnapping required at least a month of preparation, so whatever they were reacting to happened long before the event itself. It is quite obvious that the move was meant to provoke Israel, possibly to create favorable terms for a prisoner exchange.

* On the other hand, Hezbollah seems to have merely seen an opportunity and siezed it. Mark Perry explains at TAP:

Oy vey. There are a lot of people in Washington trying to walk that story back right now, because it’s not true.

Hezbollah and Israel stand along this border every day observing each other through binoculars and waiting for an opportunity to kill each other. They are at war. They have been for 25 years, no one ever declared a cease-fire between them. … They stand on the border every day and just wait for an opportunity. And on Tuesday morning there were two Humvees full of Israeli soldiers, not under observation from the Israeli side, not under covering fire, sitting out there all alone. The Hezbollah militia commander just couldn’t believe it — so he went and got them.

* Where Israel might (but probably would not) have negotiated with Hamas, the Hezbollah provocation made it simply impossible not to respond militarily. This set off a choreographed kabuki dance that both sides have no doubt wargamed for years. Hezbollah’s long rockets, the Katyushas, Fajr-2′ sand Fajr-5’s, have more of a strategic significance here than tactical in the sense that the rockets will do little to nothing to degrade Israel’s warfighting ability. In fact their purpose is precisely the opposite – the incessant rain of rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities makes it politically impossible for Israel to entertain any moderated peace plan.

* Why doesn’t Hezbollah want Israel to stop fighting? Hezbollah believes that it has made sufficient advances in its fighting ability to inflict grevious losses on Israeli forces if they attempt a land invasion. If that happened and Israel was forced to withdraw the strategic loss for Israel would be enormous – Hezbollah could continue raining ever-more-sophisticated rockets on northern and (eventually) central Israel and the point would be made that Israel can do nothing about it. This change would shift the bargaining table dramatically in favor of the Palestinians in the neverending tug-of-war over demands like 1967 borders and the right-of-return.

* Contrariwise, Israel hopes that a sustained bombing campaign will degrade Hezbollah’s capabilities and morale to the point where they will be unable to effectively resist a land incursion. Olmert has two problems here. First, the aforementioned rain of rockets creates a near-irresistible political pressure to invade immediately. Second, a UN force in Lebanon would effectively prevent an invasion but may also sit by while Hezbollah continues raining rockets on northern Israel. This is not unheard of in the history of smurfs (blue-helmeted UN troops) in the middle east.

There you have the basic outlines of what I think is happening right now. I have left out Iran because at the moment I have seen no evidence that they have done anything more than not actively rein in Hezbollah’s enthusiasm. Israel acting prremptively against Iran or Syria would massively change the balance of forces that I have described here and for that reason I would not expect it. Needless to say such an action would also do incalculable damage to our posture in Iraq, so unless we have dumber leaders than even I thought phone calls are being made right now to nip that possibility in the bud.

What does America do? I think that for credibility’s sake we need to at least put on a very good show of appealing for peace. I don’t expect that anything short of entering the fray ourselves will deter either side at the moment, so as long as our noises will have no consequence there is no reason in the world why we shouldn’t make them. Behind the scenes I think that it in Israel’s interest to continue bombing Hezbollah until it loses the will to fight, but even more in her interests to avoid killing innocent Lebanese in the process. If we are doing anything at all behind the scenes it should be 1) pushing Israel to keep its bombing within a certain reasonable range of actual Hezbollah targets, and 2) engaging Iran and Syria to keep this from growing into a regional conflict before the UN has a chance to do its thing.

As a side note, I am extremely amused by rightwing calls for UN troops to swoop into Lebanon and forcibly disarm Hezbollah. Grab their guns, if you will. One supposes that this UN force would arrive in some sort of helicopter…painted dark so that you can’t see them at night…why does this sound familiar?

(*) Insofar as it matters the writer supports Israel’s right to exist and any criticism directed at it comes from concern that the state is acting contrary to her own best interests.

***Update***

Two more analyses, not necessarily in agreement with mine, which I find compelling:

AJ at Americablog – Bad strategy all around
Bliss Street Journal – Nefarious Intent






103 replies
  1. 1
    Pb says:

    They stand on the border every day and just wait for an opportunity. And on Tuesday morning there were two Humvees full of Israeli soldiers, not under observation from the Israeli side, not under covering fire, sitting out there all alone. The Hezbollah militia commander just couldn’t believe it—so he went and got them.

    I wouldn’t believe it either–isn’t Israel generally more careful than that?

  2. 2
    srv says:

    The Hamas kidnapping required at least a month of preparation, so whatever they were reacting to happened long before the event itself. It is quite obvious that the move was meant to provoke Israel, possibly to create favorable terms for a prisoner exchange.

    The tunnel could have been there for years, unfinished, and they just got back to it after the gunboat beach party.

  3. 3
    Pb says:

    Israel acting prremptively against Iran or Syria would massively change the balance of forces that I have described here and for that reason I would not expect it. Needless to say such an action would also do incalculable damage to our posture in Iraq, so unless we have dumber leaders than even I thought

    It’s not a question of ‘dumb’ necessarily–it’s a question of what their beliefs and goals actually are here. There’s the WWIII / WWIV crowd that’s placed highly on the right, who desperately *wants* this to turn into a gigantic conflict–because they think that they will prevail, and reshape (read: dominate) the Middle East, etc., etc.

  4. 4
    srv says:

    And on Tuesday morning there were two Humvees full of Israeli soldiers, not under observation from the Israeli side, not under covering fire, sitting out there all alone. The Hezbollah militia commander just couldn’t believe it—so he went and got them.

    This version, if true, has no presence in the MSM. I haven’t seen corrections of the original story.

    If we are doing anything at all behind the scenes it should be 1) pushing Israel to keep its bombing within a certain reasonable range of actual Hezbollah targets, and 2) engaging Iran and Syria to keep this from growing into a regional conflict before the UN has a chance to do its thing.

    Hezbollah isn’t worried – they dealt with an Israeli occupation for what, 17 years? They can drop all the bombs they want, it isn’t going to make any difference. So it’s just going to escalate and further destabalize Lebanon. Ohmert is stuck now. If he just wanted to pound some sand as an example, he’s got a bloody nose now. What an idiot.

    Iran is laughing now. If they weren’t smart enough to provoke this, they certainly are smart enough not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

  5. 5
    Richard Bottoms says:

    Any reason the Republicans aren’t being eviserated about the bumbling Katrina-like piecemeal evacuation of Americans from Lebanon?

  6. 6
    Pb says:

    srv,

    Iran is laughing now.

    They were laughing about Iraq before–now they’re probably rolling on the floor. Iran has been doing rather well by just sitting there and watching other countries screw up. Very Zen, although of course it makes me wonder what they’ve been doing behind the scenes.

  7. 7
    Northman says:

    the possibility that a UN force in Lebanon would prevent an invasion but would also sit by while Hezbollah continues raining rockets on northern Israel. This is not unheard of in the history of smurfs (blue-helmeted UN troops) in the middle east.

    As I understand it, there is a 2,000 man UN force on the Israeli-Lebanese border already. I’m kind of curious just what it is they’re doing these days. Ineffective doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  8. 8
    Trevor says:

    I am extremely amused by rightwing calls for UN troops to swoop into Lebanon and forcibly disarm Hezbollah.

    I hadn’t seen anything like that yet, I guess I haven’t been to the right blogs. Got a link? Who’s foolish enough to suggest that as a strategy?

  9. 9
    Tim F. says:

    I hadn’t seen anything like that yet, I guess I haven’t been to the right blogs. Got a link? Who’s foolish enough to suggest that as a strategy?

    A reasonable request. If I recall where I picked it up (it was part of a general commentary on the uselessness of the UN) I will put up a link.

  10. 10
    Punchy says:

    This seems somewhat funny

    The idea that this Admin will broker this deal? With as much fear- and hate-mongering that goes on in ‘Merica with respect to Arabs?

    Sorry Brown Guys…this country has been brainwashed into hating all of you. I don’t think you’ll like our “diplomacy”…

  11. 11
    Steve says:

    Heck, Darrell was trying to make a case like that in the long thread. “The UN has a resolution, they ought to enforce it!”

    it should be 1) pushing Israel to keep its bombing within a certain reasonable range of actual Hezbollah targets

    I think that ship has sailed. Israel is determined to go ahead with its own agenda, which doesn’t precisely coincide with ours. They know we want them to stick to Hezbollah areas, they just don’t care what we want.

  12. 12

    The Hamas kidnapping required at least a month of preparation, so whatever they were reacting to happened long before the event itself. It is quite obvious that the move was meant to provoke Israel, possibly to create favorable terms for a prisoner exchange.

    They tried it before in November of 2005

    At least four Hezbollah gunmen were killed yesterday trying to kidnap soldiers from IDF outposts on the Lebanese border, and seven soldiers and four civilians were wounded in the series of clashes.

    It was a coordinated attack, with Hezbollah launching artillery and small raids as a distraction, and then a more specialized force tried to sneak up on an IDF outpost.

    I think too often, people take these events in singular without seeing the broader picture.

  13. 13

    Any reason the Republicans aren’t being eviserated about the bumbling Katrina-like piecemeal evacuation of Americans from Lebanon?

    It was Clinton’s fault.

  14. 14
    Jill says:

    “The Hamas kidnapping required at least a month of preparation, so whatever they were reacting to happened long before the event itself. It is quite obvious that the move was meant to provoke Israel, possibly to create favorable terms for a prisoner exchange.”

    And the picnic on the beach was interrupted by bombs on June 9th…a month+ ago.

  15. 15
    Pb says:

    The Other Steve,

    They tried it before in November of 2005

    Yeah, I saw that too. And, as you probably know, they also have successfully done the soldier/prisoner exchange thing, several times before.

  16. 16
    VidaLoca says:

    Trevor,

    For some of this see Glenn Greenwald in his article from yesterday ” Openly debating U.S. involvement in Israel’s war”. Follow the links from there (there are so many they’ll never get through the filtration system here…).

    Also, “Crooks and Liars” yesterday had James Woolsey’s call for immediate US attacks on Syria under the argument that it’s really all about Iran.

    I’m less sure about sources calling for UN (as opposed to US) intervention; the neocons seem to be calling for action by Israel/US.

  17. 17
    Nikki says:

    Very Zen, although of course it makes me wonder what they’ve been doing behind the scenes.

    Wasn’t Iran the one whispering to Chalabi and the other Iraqi exiles what to tell the US to get it to attack Saddam?

  18. 18
    Pb says:

    Nikki,

    Wasn’t Iran the one whispering to Chalabi and the other Iraqi exiles what to tell the US to get it to attack Saddam?

    It’s certainly possible, but you’d think that Iran could have found some people with more credibility–I mean, every intelligence service in the world knew that these guys were jokes! Then again, it worked–maybe Iran wouldn’t have even needed to do it in the first place.

  19. 19
    LITBMueller says:

    Behind the scenes I think that it in Israel’s interest to continue bombing Hezbollah until it loses the will to fight, but even more in her interests to avoid killing innocent Lebanese in the process.

    But, here’s the problem, Tim: they aren’t bombing Hezbollah – they are bombing Lebanon. There aren’t Hezbollah bases, barracks, factories, identifiable weapons and equipment depots, etc., etc. for Israel to bomb. They are just lobbing shells and dropping bombs.

    And, there is no rhyme or reason to where the shells are landing: civilian neighborhoods, infrastructure (roads, the airport), Hezbollah HQs, different neighbordhoods (Hezbollah, Christian), the coast, upland, inland, north, south…you name it, they are hitting it.

    How can a sustained shelling campaign destroy Hezbollah? It really can’t. So, what is the end game? Well, this kind of campaign sure won’t do Lebanon any good. And, if Lebanon falls apart, that sure will hurt Syria, as their economy has become very dependent on Lebanon’s.

  20. 20
    skip says:

    It speaks volumes that Tim felt required to state the following: “Insofar as it matters, the writer supports Israel’s right to exist and any criticism directed at it comes from concern that the state is acting contrary to her own best interests.”

    Gee. me too.

    Meanwhile, there is this:

    “From 1982 to 1996, not more than ten Israelis died in northern Israel from Arab attack and this period includes the 1982 invasion itself, which brought death to over 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinians’—a kill ratio of one Israeli for every 1,889 Lebanese or Palestinians killed.”

    Amazing restraint, no?

    .

  21. 21
    Jackmormon says:

    The tunnel could have been built for smuggling.

  22. 22
    Marty says:

    I am still trying to understand, WHY THE FUCK, does one have to state they support Israel’s right ot exist.

    I thought it was understood.

    No one is questioning Syria’s right to exist. Or France’s. Or Iran’s. Or Sudan’s. Or the US.

    I get it… it’s because the majority of people in Israel are Jews and they don’t get to make decisions on defense or existence.

    If only we (the USA & other loose allies) would let the Arab hoards over run Israel and drive every last jew into the sea, there would be no more problems in the ME.

    Are you understanding this? The right to exist?

    Let’s talk about the right of Russia to exist after their DISPROPORTIONATE shelling of Grozny.

    These standards against Israel are disgusting.

  23. 23
    Marty says:

    LITB Meuller

    By the way, the anti-war link you gave me is to a sight that is as bat-shit (your word), if not more, than the Neoconservative view on war.

    The Justin guy from antiwar writes about nothing but the Jewish agenda to control everything including the spin of the earth.

    To quote James Lileks, “It takes a certain kind of person to see a liberal free society attacked by Islamicists, and find himself wondering: what are those crafty Jews up to now?

  24. 24
    Pb says:

    Marty,

    WHY THE FUCK, does one have to state they support Israel’s right ot exist.

    Because there are some people who perceive even the mildest criticisms of Israel as rank anti-semitism, and the resulting shouting match generally results in less than productive discussion. FYI.

    The Justin guy from antiwar writes about nothing but the Jewish agenda to control everything including the spin of the earth.

    To quote James Lileks, “It takes a certain kind of person to see a liberal free society attacked by Islamicists, and find himself wondering: what are those crafty Jews up to now?

    …but maybe you already knew that…

  25. 25
    Trevor says:

    Thanks, Vidaloca. I was mostly just curious about who was suggesting U.N. intervention only. Considering their history as a protection force, I personally think that their involvement would be a disastrous turn of events.

    Direct U.S. involvement is something I haven’t fully thought through yet though, and am happy to see debate about it.

    It’s probably a moot point though. I think it was just a throwaway line from Tim and of no consequence.

  26. 26
    Marty says:

    Pb,

    Critisize Israel all the way! I am telling you, as a former IDF soldier, Israel’s handling of the Palestinian situation is disgusting.

    The extreme right wing and the Haredis have a grip on the government and are causing peace making overtures to be nearly inpossible.

    Heavy handedness of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians is scary. There are so many good people there, I know because I met them, that we must not be so heavy handed. We must reach to these people.

    But we aren’t.

    The bombing of so many instillations in Lebanon makes my heart sink because I know that Lebanon is as Pro Western and liberal as Israel. I want Lebanon to be friends with Israel.

    I would like to travel to Beirut one day without being asked if I am a jew.

    So no, Pb, critisizing Israel is fine. As a democracy, it’s mandated.

    But don’t tell me Justin Rimando’s diatribes against Israeli spying and underhandedness and cells of neocons in the US and Europe that do her bidding is any type of legit criticism. It’s all that asshole cares about… that and impressing his Buchananite readership. He seems to be in a comptetition with Juan Cole about who can find a more clever way to blame the jews for everything evil that happens in the world.

  27. 27

    No one is questioning Syria’s right to exist. Or France’s. Or Iran’s. Or Sudan’s. Or the US.

    Because… Some people do question Israel’s right to exist.

    As you note, there are a lot of whackos out there, and sadly they’re much more mainstream than say the KKK and such.

    By the way, the anti-war link you gave me is to a sight that is as bat-shit (your word), if not more, than the Neoconservative view on war.

    The Justin guy from antiwar writes about nothing but the Jewish agenda to control everything including the spin of the earth.

  28. 28

    But don’t tell me Justin Rimando’s diatribes against Israeli spying and underhandedness and cells of neocons in the US and Europe that do her bidding is any type of legit criticism. It’s all that asshole cares about… that and impressing his Buchananite readership. He seems to be in a comptetition with Juan Cole about who can find a more clever way to blame the jews for everything evil that happens in the world.

    I see you arrived to the same point yourself. Nevermind. :-)

  29. 29

    And the picnic on the beach was interrupted by bombs on June 9th…a month+ ago.

    I thought it was interrupted Weapons of Mass Destruction?

  30. 30
    Pb says:

    Marty,

    Critisize Israel all the way! I am telling you, as a former IDF soldier, Israel’s handling of the Palestinian situation is disgusting.

    In that case, thank you for offering an informed opinion–I know that I often don’t. :)

    But don’t tell me Justin Rimando’s diatribes against Israeli spying and underhandedness and cells of neocons in the US and Europe that do her bidding is any type of legit criticism. It’s all that asshole cares about… that and impressing his Buchananite readership. He seems to be in a comptetition with Juan Cole about who can find a more clever way to blame the jews for everything evil that happens in the world.

    I’ve probably read more from Juan Cole than I have from Raimondo, so I’ll speak to that–obviously he’s no fan of the state of Israel and its current policies, but he doesn’t strike me as being the ‘vast-Jewish-conspiracy’ theorist sort either. I’ve run into those too, (and their counterparts on the other side) and they can be quite nutty indeed.

  31. 31
    Marty says:

    Pb,

    Just read Juan Cole’s comments from today, accusing Israel of ETHINIC CLEANSING of Lebanon.

    It’s that kind of cleverness, used to disguise his absolute jew-hatred that is Raimando-like.

  32. 32
    Pb says:

    Marty,

    Just read Juan Cole’s comments from today, accusing Israel of ETHINIC CLEANSING of Lebanon.

    Although his original statement was considerably more qualified than that, he definitely stepped in it there–qualified or not, ‘ethnic cleansing’ is pretty inflammatory. Let’s see if he says anything about that choice of words.

    Juan Cole’s original statement (embedded in his usual polemic-length commentary):

    If the reports coming out of Lebanon can be believed, the Israelis are only sometimes striking known Hizbullah safe houses or facilities or missile emplacements. A lot of their bombardment appears aimed at punishing civilian populations and forcing them north to Beirut. Such an approach would help explain the high number of civilian casualties. That is, there may be an element of ethnic cleansing in Israeli tactics.

    And from a comment downthread regarding it:

    I am Jewish, American, leftist, I love Israel and I have family in Haifa. I’m sympathetic to your analysis to a point, and I very much hope that Israel should strictly limit any bombing to its goal of hitting Hezbollah. Based on what I have read, I can’t be sure that’s the case.

    But your incendiary accusation that Israel is engaged in “ethnic cleansing” isn’t substantiated. Why do you think Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing? Of whom? What do you think Israel wants Southern Lebanon to look like?

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    I think that is worth noting. The reason “you’re just a bunch of anti-semites” gets kicked around so much is because you don’t have to look far to find a bunch of anti-semites.

    Every time Isreal goes over the top, you’ve got a core of people crying “The Jewish Control the World!”, a core of people crying “Isreal never does anything wrong!”, a a clusterfuck of morons in Jerry Falwell’s basement jacking off to the second coming of Christ.

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    But your incendiary accusation that Israel is engaged in “ethnic cleansing” isn’t substantiated. Why do you think Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing? Of whom? What do you think Israel wants Southern Lebanon to look like?

    They’re using hi-tech shiksa-eking missles.

  35. 35
    Professor Chaos says:

    But, here’s the problem, Tim: they aren’t bombing Hezbollah – they are bombing Lebanon. There aren’t Hezbollah bases, barracks, factories, identifiable weapons and equipment depots, etc., etc. for Israel to bomb. They are just lobbing shells and dropping bombs.

    And, there is no rhyme or reason to where the shells are landing: civilian neighborhoods, infrastructure (roads, the airport), Hezbollah HQs, different neighbordhoods (Hezbollah, Christian), the coast, upland, inland, north, south…you name it, they are hitting it.

    How can a sustained shelling campaign destroy Hezbollah? It really can’t. So, what is the end game? Well, this kind of campaign sure won’t do Lebanon any good. And, if Lebanon falls apart, that sure will hurt Syria, as their economy has become very dependent on Lebanon’s.

    It’s called warfare, imposed on the State of Israel by a non-state actor who is holding hostage an entire state for its own purposes. While I agree that Israel has to be very careful about what it chooses to target and bomb, the military objective is to destroy Hizbollah as an effective military force. In order to do that, unfortunately, you need to isolate them completely and ensure that they can no longer have sufficient reinforcements, specifically from Syria. As a result, since Hizbollah hides behind the civilian population and uses Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and communication networks, it means that, unfortunately, these are no longer civilian infrastructures, but military infrastructures that need to be taken out.

    If Israel did not give a shit about civilian casualties and wanted to punish Lebanon as a whole, they would, a la Russia and other powers, turn the entire country into rubble, civilians be damned. You wouldn’t only have 200+ unfortunate civilian deaths, but deaths in the (tens) of thousands. The same principle applies in Gaza.

    At the end of the day, Hizbollah like Hamas, does not give a shit about civilians. They are a means to an end and in any case, will be rewarded in paradise for their “sacrifices”. In fact, the more civilian casualties there are, the better off it is for them, propoganda wise.

  36. 36
    Pb says:

    Zifnab,

    Every time Isreal goes over the top, you’ve got a core of people crying “The Jewish Control the World!”, a core of people crying “Isreal never does anything wrong!”, a a clusterfuck of morons in Jerry Falwell’s basement jacking off to the second coming of Christ.

    No doubt, there’s no shortage of idiots out there. I just saw this on Atlas Shrugs (not surprising I suppose):

    These casualties are “terrorists” and terrorist families and sympathizers. […] the majority of the Muslims have connections to Husballah.

    It’s like six degrees of terrorism over there. Terrorists, terrorist families, sympathizers, connections… I guess if you or your family or your children got hit by a bomb, you must have known a terrorist at some point or another, so it’s ok!

  37. 37
    Pb says:

    Professor Chaos,

    It’s called warfare, imposed on the State of Israel by a non-state actor who is holding hostage an entire state for its own purposes.

    I’ve heard other people say similar things, and I find it fascinating–from that statement, it sounds like Hezbollah is using the state of Israel to attack Lebanon. I guess that’s cheaper than building your own army…

  38. 38
    LITBMueller says:

    Hey, Marty – I cited Antiwar simply because I’m a firm believer if that you take the two extremes of blog writing (i.e., Neocon diatribes vs. antiwar conspiracy theories), and compare them to a less biased source, you can often find the truth somewhere in between. Know what I mean? Most of the crap on they Net is just that…crap. :)

    Prof. Chaos: I have a one word example of why this:

    the military objective is to destroy Hizbollah as an effective military force. In order to do that, unfortunately, you need to isolate them completely and ensure that they can no longer have sufficient reinforcements, specifically from Syria.

    The one word: “Iraq.” We’ve spent the past few years levelling whole cities like Fallujah and patrolling borders, trying to stop an insurgency – without any luck.

    And that’s with a whole military force in-country! How can shelling of civilian targets from the other side of the border be any more effective than the Iraq debacle????

    As a result, since Hizbollah hides behind the civilian population and uses Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and communication networks, it means that, unfortunately, these are no longer civilian infrastructures, but military infrastructures that need to be taken out.

    And how do you determine which are civilian targets that are used to assist Hezbollah, and which ones are just normal homes/gas stations/toilet paper factories (yep, they blew one of those up, too). You CAN’T! Especially when all you’re doing is lobbing shells across the Blue Line.

    And, Israel has also attacked the Lebanese military – the very military they want to go out there and stop Hezbollah for them. How does that make any sense?

    Sorry, buddy, but no matter what military commander says, artilery shells are not capable of “precision.” The question becomes: at what point does indisriminately lobbing shells into a neighboring country in civilian areas become war crimes?

  39. 39
    Professor Chaos says:

    I’ve heard other people say similar things, and I find it fascinating—from that statement, it sounds like Hezbollah is using the state of Israel to attack Lebanon. I guess that’s cheaper than building your own army…

    From what I’ve read, I think that that’s exactly what they’re doing, among other things. That’s just my opinion of course. There’s an interesting post about that here.

  40. 40
    Darrell says:

    As a side note, I am extremely amused by rightwing calls for UN troops to swoop into Lebanon and forcibly disarm Hezbollah.

    Swoop in? They’ve been there ‘keeping the peace’. What the hell are those UN security forces in Southern Lebanon doing anyway?

  41. 41
    Darrell says:

    It’s like six degrees of terrorism over there. Terrorists, terrorist families, sympathizers, connections… I guess if you or your family or your children got hit by a bomb, you must have known a terrorist at some point or another, so it’s ok!

    Israel has a good track record of solid intelligence gathering and of extraordinary efforts to minimize civilian casualties. Given that track record, I think it’s entirely reasonable to question how many of the reported “civilians” killed in Lebanon were really civilians. I have no doubt that many/most were Hezbollah jihadists and supporters.

  42. 42
    Professor Chaos says:

    The one word: “Iraq.” We’ve spent the past few years levelling whole cities like Fallujah and patrolling borders, trying to stop an insurgency – without any luck.

    I won’t touch Iraq here. But Israel has held back a response for 6 bloody years AFTER having WITHDRAWN from Lebanese territory. A withdrawal that was seen in Hizbollah’s bizzaro world as a sign of weakness and has effectively rendered any talk of further Israeli withdrawals from the Palestinian territories DOA, a position that Olmert heavily based his party’s essential platform on. This despite continued provocations by Hizbollah. What would you have them do, bend over and take one in the ass while Hizbollah kidnaps Israeli citizens and soldiers with impunity and amasses an ever more sophisticated arsenal capable of reaching Tel Aviv and beyond??????

    And how do you determine which are civilian targets that are used to assist Hezbollah, and which ones are just normal homes/gas stations/toilet paper factories (yep, they blew one of those up, too). You CAN’T! Especially when all you’re doing is lobbing shells across the Blue Line.

    You’ve deliberately ignored my entire point, which is that Hizbollah DOES NOT GIVE A RAT’S ASS ABOUT CIVILIAN CASUALTIES. In point of fact, the more civilians that are killed, the better off they will be, the better to garner sympathy and support for themselves. You do the stategic math on that.

    That was also my entire point of how Hizbollah is holding the entire Lebanese country hostage. Giving in to Hizbollah’s demands only invites more and more of this type of behaviour. You can either take a stand or watch as Hizbollah and their masters in Syria and Iran get increasingly stronger and bolder as time goes by.

    The Lebanese DO NOT DESERVE any of this. It is profoundly unfair and unjust. BUT, if you want to blame someone, I suggest you but the blame where it belongs, at Hizbollah’s feet.

  43. 43
    Pb says:

    LITBMueller,

    And how do you determine which are civilian targets that are used to assist Hezbollah, and which ones are just normal homes/gas stations/toilet paper factories (yep, they blew one of those up, too). You CAN’T!

    I agree. However, Darrell says:

    I think it’s entirely reasonable to question how many of the reported “civilians” killed in Lebanon were really civilians. I have no doubt that many/most were Hezbollah jihadists and supporters.

    Which would lead me to the conclusion that either “the majority of the Muslims have connections to Husballah”, or–as usual–Darrell is full of crap, or both.

    Professor Chaos,

    That’s an interesting theory, thanks for the link. I still find your original line of reasoning somewhat disturbing, though, even if it’s true–that a terrorist organization is using the Israeli military towards its own ends. Of course, some have speculated the same regarding the possibility that Iran could have been using the US military towards its own ends (to oust Saddam). But in the end I guess it’s the results that will matter.

  44. 44
    Zifnab says:

    As a result, since Hizbollah hides behind the civilian population and uses Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and communication networks, it means that, unfortunately, these are no longer civilian infrastructures, but military infrastructures that need to be taken out.

    You’ve deliberately ignored my entire point, which is that Hizbollah DOES NOT GIVE A RAT’S ASS ABOUT CIVILIAN CASUALTIES. In point of fact, the more civilians that are killed, the better off they will be, the better to garner sympathy and support for themselves. You do the stategic math on that.

    It would be nice if somebody gave a rat’s ass about civilian casaulties, but ever since Desert Fox (which, admittedly, was under Clinton) it seems that you are totally within your rights to shell the crap out of a civilian target if you think a non-civilian is, or at one time has been, inside.

    I don’t doubt Isreali intelligence (no pun intended), and I’m very confident that the gas stations and airport they’re bombing have been used by Hezbollah (or Hizbollah or whatever) before, perhaps even on a regular basis. But it raises the question, if Hezbollah were to order a Big Mac from your local McDonalds, would that give Isreal the right to blow it up? What if said Hezbollah terrorist were to then eat his Big Mac while lobbing shells into Jewish synogogues? Frankly, I question the wisdom or prudence of blowing up the McDonalds even then. But that’s just me.

  45. 45
    Darrell says:

    I think it’s entirely reasonable to question how many of the reported “civilians” killed in Lebanon were really civilians. I have no doubt that many/most were Hezbollah jihadists and supporters.

    Which would lead me to the conclusion that either “the majority of the Muslims have connections to Husballah

    Well, you might be led to that conclusion if you’re a severely retarded teenager.. your ‘logic’ is no different than assuming 100% of those killed in a police shootout during a drug raid in a known crack house were all innocent.

  46. 46
    LITBMueller says:

    I blame all of them, Chaos. There is no “right” or “wrong” side here – just a big fat sea of gray with plenty of blame to go around. Are there easy answers? No. Does any of this bode well for American interests in the reason? Absolutely not. Nor will continued hostilitied do any good for oil prices or our economy.

    I’m sure that Hezbollah couldn’t care who dies. At this point, Israel doesn’t seem to care too much either. But will the current fighting really help anything? Will it be any better than taking it up the ass? If history shows us anything, violence only begets violence in this part of the world, so, if you think what the Israelis are doing now will lead to any solution, or will make them better off in the long run, I highly doubt it.

  47. 47
    Pb says:

    Zifnab,

    What if said Hezbollah terrorist were to then eat his Big Mac while lobbing shells into Jewish synogogues?

    Well, obviously, the McDonald’s(c) corporation would be obligated to send in the Ronald McDonald Militia(r)–led by Supreme Allied Commander Grimace–to hunt down the terorrist immediately, instead of letting him shell the Jewish synogogue. If they didn’t do that, then they’d be complicit in the harboring of a terrorist, and thus, they’d be terrorists themselves, by the six degrees of terrorism rules as stated above. I mean, it’s bad enough that they sold him the Big Mac in the first place, and accepted his terrorist blood money! They could likely be prosecuted for that as well, under the laws relating to terrorist financing!

    …or at least, that’s what I’m able to extrapolate from what I hear around here. Personally, I agree with you–bombing the McDonald’s is probably a bad idea. If only there were some *other* tool that could be used in situations like that, *besides* just air strikes.

    Oh well.

  48. 48
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    your ‘logic’ is no different than assuming 100% of those killed in a police shootout during a drug raid in a known crack house were all innocent.

    The ‘known crack house’ in this case being… the entire country of Lebanon? You should really quit while you’re behind, Darrell.

  49. 49
    Darrell says:

    If history shows us anything, violence only begets violence in this part of the world

    So Israel should just take it? History shows us that violence substantially reduces violence when the other side is forced to surrender.. See 1967 Six day war as one example

  50. 50
    Darrell says:

    The ‘known crack house’ in this case being… the entire country of Lebanon?

    Yes halfwit, Israel is carpet bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon.

    Do you ever feel ashamed by your stupidity? Just curious

  51. 51
    Pb says:

    Ah yes, the only two choices of the military mind… fight, or surrender.

  52. 52
    Steve says:

    Well, you might be led to that conclusion if you’re a severely retarded teenager.. your ‘logic’ is no different than assuming 100% of those killed in a police shootout during a drug raid in a known crack house were all innocent.

    So if someone disagrees with your “many/most” statement, they’re saying not a single one was Hezbollah? More Darrell logic at work.

    I think “many/most” is a ridiculous overstatement. There’s only so much damage control you can do when it comes to bombing raids, as we’re constantly being reminded with regard to Bosnia.

    And there have been many, many reports of Israeli airstrikes in non-Hezbollah areas.

  53. 53
    Darrell says:

    So if someone disagrees with your “many/most” statement, they’re saying not a single one was Hezbollah?

    No jackass. Re-read what I actually wrote and then come back and tell us what you’ve learned

  54. 54
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Yes halfwit, Israel is carpet bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon.

    Then let me be a bit more specific, so you understand. A bus full of civilians was blown up. A house full of civilians was blown up. Different neighborhoods, all over the country, have been bombed. There’s no particular ‘known crack house’ here. The only thing that all the targets seem to have in common, in fact, is that they’re *all in Lebanon*. Clear?

    Do you ever feel ashamed by your stupidity?

    Will you ever learn stop projecting your faults onto others? Seriously, man, you’re a laughingstock over here. It really is just pathetic after a while.

  55. 55
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    Two points. One, I don’t think that Israelis will demand a land invasion prematurely. Remember, that’s a country with a universal draft. The casualties of lazy generalship hit home more than they do here. The running clock on that is international pressure for a ceasefire. Whether an EU buffer force is willing to shoot Hezbollah if they detonate rockets is an open, and very important, question.

    Second point: Marty writes upthread: I would like to travel to Beirut one day without being asked if I am a jew. Have you ever looked at an Israel visa application for anything other than the standard tourist visa? You want a work permit, you fill in your religion on the form. I don’t have to tell you one answer works better than the others. Almost every time I left the country, too, the first question at the security interview was “Do you speak Hebrew”. (My answer to that, BTW, was ‘Yes’.) There’s a certain goose/gander problem here.

  56. 56
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Re-read what I actually wrote

    Ok. You wrote this:

    your ‘logic’ is no different than assuming 100% of those killed in a police shootout during a drug raid in a known crack house were all innocent.

    Which is analogous to this:

    So if someone disagrees with your “many/most” statement, they’re saying not a single one was Hezbollah?

    Therefore, Steve was right, and you were wrong.

    Now take your insulting bullshit elsewhere, you arrogant yet incredibly moronic prick.

  57. 57
    Darrell says:

    A bus full of civilians was blown up. A house full of civilians was blown up

    In my very first post I merely questioned whether all those being classified as “civilians” were innocent civilians. You throw out the ‘civilian’ description as if you have some definitive knowledge on who they were rather than being a pea brain making statements without having the first clue.

  58. 58
    LITBMueller says:

    History shows us that violence substantially reduces violence when the other side is forced to surrender.. See 1967 Six day war as one example.

    Darrell, you dufus. At leat check Wikipedia before you make assinine comments like that. The Six Day War was probably the biggest reason for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because Israel took, and kept, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. The result? The creation and rise of groups like the PLO, Hamas, Fatah, etc.

  59. 59
    Darrell says:

    So if someone disagrees with your “many/most” statement, they’re saying not a single one was Hezbollah?

    Problem is, you weren’t disagreeing with my “many/most” statement, you were declaring that Israel was bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon indiscriminately

  60. 60
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, you dufus. At leat check Wikipedia before you make assinine comments like that. The Six Day War was probably the biggest reason for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because Israel took, and kept, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. The result?

    The result was that the arab armies trying to drive Israel “into the sea” had their asses handed to them and were forced to retreat. This arab surrender resulted in FAR fewer Jews being killed than your suggestion of having Israel sit there and ‘take it up the ass’ (your words). Do you see what a moron you are? Has it dawned on you yet?
    To recap, LITBM wrote:

    But will the current fighting really help anything? Will it be any better than taking it up the ass?

    Nuff said

  61. 61
    Zifnab says:

    In my very first post I merely questioned whether all those being classified as “civilians” were innocent civilians. You throw out the ‘civilian’ description as if you have some definitive knowledge on who they were rather than being a pea brain making statements without having the first clue.

    This raises another interesting question. How many terrorists does it take to blow up a bus? Let’s assume that the bus just happened to pick up in southern Hezbollah-stan and 1/3 of the bus was full of baby-eating Muslim radicals. Let’s assume another 1/3 of those on the bus were devote Muslims who had at one point in time donated money to a pro-Hezbollah mosque. So only 1 in 3 on the bus could be considered innocent. Should Isreal’s conscience be clean?

    Now add a German to that bus. How about now? Can Isreal bomb the bus now? Now add a rich white blonde girl who just got married. Can we still blow up the bus to get all those terrorists and terrorist sympathizers?

  62. 62
    LITBMueller says:

    The result was that the arab armies trying to drive Israel “into the sea” had their asses handed to them and were forced to retreat. This arab surrender resulted in FAR fewer Jews being killed than your suggestion of having Israel sit there and ‘take it up the ass’ (your words). Do you see what a moron you are? Has it dawned on you yet?

    Listen here, you ignorant little shit. Actually take the time to read what happened to Israel in the years AFTER the Six Day War, remove your hand from the bag of Cheetos, and use your brain: the very terrorism and battles that Israel is dealing with today were spawned by the results of the Six Day War. I don’t want Israel, OR Lebanon, to take it up any orifice. But, any person who has taken them time to look casually at history (which you haven’t) can see that this sort of tit for tat violence solves nothing at all.

    Get a clue.

  63. 63
    PeterJ says:

    Hey, I know what the UK should have done if they really wanted to get rid of the IRA.

    They should have bombed Dublin.

    Boston too maybe.

  64. 64
    Steve says:

    Darrell Says:

    So if someone disagrees with your “many/most” statement, they’re saying not a single one was Hezbollah?

    Problem is, you weren’t disagreeing with my “many/most” statement, you were declaring that Israel was bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon indiscriminately

    Problem is, you’re wrong, and I never said that.

    In my very first post I merely questioned whether all those being classified as “civilians” were innocent civilians.

    You didn’t “merely question” it. You said you believed “many/most” of the so-called civilians were actually Hezbollah. I think most people would reasonably question whether ALL the civilians were non-Hezbollah, sure, but you should be more honest when you walk back one of your overstated claims.

  65. 65
    Pb says:

    Steve,

    I think most people would reasonably question whether ALL the civilians were non-Hezbollah, sure

    Last I’d heard, they’d managed to kill two (2) confirmed “Hezbollah guerrillas”, out of 240 or so total casualties (also including 20 Lebanese army soldiers and 8 Canadians).

  66. 66
    Steve says:

    Last I’d heard, they’d managed to kill two (2) confirmed “Hezbollah guerrillas”, out of 240 or so total casualties (also including 20 Lebanese army soldiers and 8 Canadians).

    Word on the street is that Hezbollah is very secretive about its casualties, and certainly doesn’t report them. And it’s not like there are Israelis on the ground to ascertain what they’ve killed.

    I think it’s implausible to postulate that Israel’s aim could be THAT poor.

  67. 67
    Darrell says:

    Problem is, you’re wrong, and I never said that.

    That’s because my response which you blockquoted was in response to Pb who made the Israel bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon comment. Again Steve, you should be more honest when making your overstated accusations..

  68. 68
    Darrell says:

    You said you believed “many/most” of the so-called civilians were actually Hezbollah

    What I actually wrote, since you’re having difficulty quoting me accurately, is that I believed many/most of those killed probably were “Hezbollah jihadists or their supporters”. But to you, that was such a wild “overstatement” that you felt compelled to respond to it. I think it’s entirely reasonable to suggest that many, perhaps most of those killed, probably fall into the Hezbollah jihadist or supporter category. I’m not so sure why you feel so strongly that my belief is such an extreme ‘overstatement’ given Israel’s track record in the past

  69. 69
    LITBMueller says:

    I think it’s implausible to postulate that Israel’s aim could be THAT poor.

    But its even more improbable that Israel has developed artillery shells and bombs that can be aimed at specific people. Just sayin’…

  70. 70
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Pb who made the Israel bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon comment

    And I never said that. However, I did explain my reasoning at length, so if you don’t get it, I’m not surprised.

    Now fuck off, liar.

  71. 71
    Darrell says:

    Darrell wrote:

    your ‘logic’ is no different than assuming 100% of those killed in a police shootout during a drug raid in a known crack house were all innocent.

    to which Pb responded

    The ‘known crack house’ in this case being… the entire country of Lebanon?

    yep, that’s what I was responding to, in which Steve tried to accuse me of responding to him with that post. You further suggest that Israel’s bombing in Lebanon was indisciminate in this post

    There’s no particular ‘known crack house’ here. The only thing that all the targets seem to have in common, in fact, is that they’re all in Lebanon

    I see no other rational interpretation of your comments Pb other than you asserting that Israel is indiscriminately bombing Lebanon.

  72. 72
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    I see no other rational interpretation of your comments Pb other than you asserting that Israel is indiscriminately bombing Lebanon.

    Then I guess my logic escapes you. However, in the meantime, while you ponder, note that my first statement was actually a question, which have not yet managed to answer, and as for my second statement, you have not yet managed to refute it.

    So although I do not expect you to come to the conclusion that Israel is indiscriminately bombing Lebanon, (and indeed I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to even if you conceded my two statements) it seems that you might be forced to concede the point, regardless.

  73. 73
    Steve says:

    That’s because my response which you blockquoted was in response to Pb who made the Israel bombing the “entire country” of Lebanon comment. Again Steve, you should be more honest when making your overstated accusations..

    You blockquoted me. Sorry for not reading your mind to know you were actually responding to Pb. As ever, you fling accusations of “dishonesty” so often that they have no meaning.

  74. 74
    Zifnab says:

    Once again Darrell, we’re left asking how many dead innocent people justifies the Isreali attack?

    Were the 8 dead Canadians too many or too little a sacrifice for Isreali security? Even with a generous estimate that 50% of dead not specificly confirmed as Hezbollah were in fact Hezbollah, that leaves 120 dead Lebanon citizens who were completely innocent. How is that fair? How is that justifiable?

    Seriously, I’d like an answer.

  75. 75
    skip says:

    Darrel says, “Israel has a good track record of solid intelligence gathering and of extraordinary efforts to minimize civilian casualties.”

    Really? DOD doc: From 1982 to 1996, not more than ten Israelis died in northern Israel from Arab attack and this period includes the 1982 invasion itself, which brought death to over 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinians’—a kill ratio of one Israeli for every 1,889 Lebanese or Palestinians killed.

  76. 76
    Professor Chaos says:

    What if said Hezbollah terrorist were to then eat his Big Mac while lobbing shells into Jewish synogogues? Frankly, I question the wisdom or prudence of blowing up the McDonalds even then. But that’s just me.

    I would question it too. But then, I don’t live over there. I live in Canada and my neighbors are all peaceful.

    It would be nice if somebody gave a rat’s ass about civilian casaulties, but ever since Desert Fox (which, admittedly, was under Clinton) it seems that you are totally within your rights to shell the crap out of a civilian target if you think a non-civilian is, or at one time has been, inside.

    Civilians have always been the ones to bare a disproportionate amount of the violence and abuse in war time or in war zones. That isn’t anything new at all. It is only in recent times and I would add pretty much only in the West that great care has been placed to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. Look at any other conflict around the world where no western power is involved. Hell, Russia is supposed to be part of the West and it has reduced Chechnya to rubble.

    I blame all of them, Chaos. There is no “right” or “wrong” side here – just a big fat sea of gray with plenty of blame to go around. Are there easy answers? No. Does any of this bode well for American interests in the reason? Absolutely not. Nor will continued hostilitied do any good for oil prices or our economy.

    If I thought the Palestinians desired a state of their own living along Israel side by side in peace more than they desired Greater Palestine, then I would agree with you and say they’re all to blame “equally”. In fact, I once did. I’m no longer convinced about that…but that’s just my opinion. Now, I don’t think for a moment that all Palestinians are raving lunatics, far from it. I just think that most of them can’t let go of their past enough to live for their future. And organizations like Hamas, Hizbollah and their masters in Syria and Iran feed off that to pursue their own plans. The Palestinians and the Lebanese are their cannnon fodder, but then, so are their own populations.

    I’m sure that Hezbollah couldn’t care who dies. At this point, Israel doesn’t seem to care too much either. But will the current fighting really help anything? Will it be any better than taking it up the ass? If history shows us anything, violence only begets violence in this part of the world, so, if you think what the Israelis are doing now will lead to any solution, or will make them better off in the long run, I highly doubt it.

    I disagree. If history shows us anything is that if you don’t take a stand and fight, you’ll eventually be defeated regardeless of your good intentions. There are just some ideologies, usually very vare, that are just not open to dialogue, negotiations or rational arguments. If Israel doesn’t fight, she will be perceived as weak and the wolves will be emboldened. I mean for goodness sake, the withdrawals from Gaza and Lebanon were perceived as signs of WEAKNESS, as a “victory” by the “resistance”. This is the psychology one has to face over there.

  77. 77
    Darrell says:

    You blockquoted me. Sorry for not reading your mind to know you were actually responding to Pb

    Pb included your quotes in his post

  78. 78
    Pb says:

    Zifnab,

    Even with a generous estimate that 50% of dead not specificly confirmed as Hezbollah were in fact Hezbollah, that leaves 120 dead Lebanon citizens who were completely innocent.

    Meanwhile, a similar accounting for the other side would make even Hezbollah look good–considering that 50% of the Israeli dead are already counted as IDF, that’d bring them up to 75%!

  79. 79
    Steve says:

    Pb included your quotes in his post

    That’s really awesome, but seriously, if you quote something I said and NOTHING ELSE, do you see how it’s not “dishonest” for me to assume you’re responding to me?

  80. 80
    Zifnab says:

    Prof. Chaos,

    Your name is awesome. I’ve been meaning to say that.

    But seriously, I mean, you’re right. You’re in Canada, I’m in the US. Neither of us have been bombed recently and we most likely never will. That said, I think not being bombed gives us a very practical and valuable view on how people should act. True, holding a soldier to a police officer’s standards looks unfair and foolish in the short run. But in the long run, you see alot more successful societies patrolled by policemen than soldiers. And there’s a reason for that. We should be moving more towards a police-army than a murder-for-hire-army in a post-world-war age.

    I also agree, civilians have always taken the lion’s share of misfortune in war zones. But in the past five years, rather than trying to take the edge off of war by sparing civilians pain, we seem to be again moving in the opposite direction. Legalized torture. Abandonment of the Geneva Conventions. “Enemy combatants” without the protections afforded POWs, the legal rights afforded criminals, or the humanitarian concerns devoted to civilians trapped in the crossfire. Joseph Stalin would have been proud if he could see how America treats its enemies.

    Finally, I think it is worth noting that the initial candle in the fireworks shop that set all this off – kidnapping Isreali soldiers for a prisoner exchange – has to be the absolute least bad thing Hizbollah or Hamas could have done. I hate to defend a bunch of guys who fire rockets into the houses of old women, but here we have a manuveur who’s targets are strictly military and who’s goals (a release primarily of female captives) would have been considered, had they been stated by any Western nation, as noble and chivalrous. If we are concede that Hizbollah and Isreal are at war and that Isreal has the right to conduct bombing runs over Lebanon, how can we in good conscience condemn this act as anything less than another act of war in a wartorn region? For once, it seems like Hamas and Hizbollah were playing by something approaching the rules. I’m sure Isreal has discouraged them from ever attempting such a thing again.

  81. 81
    CaseyL says:

    Hezbollah had amassed 12,000 missiles which have enough range to strike deep into Israel.

    Let’s say Israel had not responded to this provocation with bombing raids. Let’s say Israel had tried to negotiate for the soldiers’ return.

    Would they have gotten the soldiers back in one piece?

    Who would they have had to release from prison as their part of the deal?

    And what would Hezbollah have done with those 12,000 missiles? What do you think they were stockpiling them for?

  82. 82
    Pb says:

    CaseyL,

    what would Hezbollah have done with those 12,000 missiles? What do you think they were stockpiling them for?

    A situation like this one, apparently.

  83. 83
    CaseyL says:

    Meaning what, though? That if this situation hadn’t happened, those missiles never would have been used?

  84. 84
    Zifnab says:

    Let’s say Israel had not responded to this provocation with bombing raids. Let’s say Israel had tried to negotiate for the soldiers’ return.

    Would they have gotten the soldiers back in one piece?

    Who would they have had to release from prison as their part of the deal?

    To answer that: (link)

    The soldier’s captors from the armed wing of Hamas and two allied groups, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Army of Islam, have demanded the release of 1,000 Palestinian and other Arab prisoners in exchange for the soldier, and the preliminary release of about 500 women and minors held in Israeli jails in return for information on the serviceman. Israel holds more than 9,000 Palestinians in its prisons.

    Seems like mostly women and children. Hmmm…

  85. 85
    Pb says:

    CaseyL,

    Meaning what, though? That if this situation hadn’t happened, those missiles never would have been used?

    Look, I’m no mind reader. If I had asked you a couple of weeks ago, why Israel had all those planes and bombs, would your answer have been, so they can bomb the hell out of Lebanon? Israel is believed to have ~100 nuclear weapons. Why do they have those? What targets, if any, are they eventually going to use them on?

  86. 86
    Professor Chaos says:

    Zifnab a few points,

    Your name is awesome. I’ve been meaning to say that.

    Thanks. :) It’s from South Park, a character’s (Butters) alternate ego. If you know anything about the character and the context within which the name is used, well, I find it very amusing. But then I have a rather twisted sense of humour. :)

    We should be moving more towards a police-army than a murder-for-hire-army in a post-world-war age.

    I share your sentiment, but it’s wishful thinking. It’s an increasingly chaotic and dangerous post-Cold War age in which an increasing number of non-state actors can, either with the help of state actors and/or WMDs, create enormous havoc and damage all around the world.

    Now, if you’re referring to western armies, what makes you think other powers on the planet who don’t share our values will do the same? They’ll just fill in the vaccum left by our absence and hold us hostages to their own ambitions and pursuits. It’s human nature and no amount of social engineering will ever change that. So yeah, thank you but no, I prefer the American, Canadian and other western armies to remain the best possible and most effective “killing machines” on the planet, with the sincere hope that we never or rarely ever have to use them.

    Joseph Stalin would have been proud if he could see how America treats its enemies.

    Your point is well made and I share some of your concerns. It is difficult to find a correct balance between civil liberties and national security. The US is after all not the only country to struggle with this balance. And I’m not entirely convinced that Democrats would have necessarily done a better job though that doesn’t completely excuse the instances where Bush has overreached.

    Also be mindful of your comparisons. Stalin is responsible for the murders of tens of millions of human beings, maybe close to 25 million if not more by some estimates. The imprisoment of millions more. Wholesale population transfers of the Caucusus into Siberia. The slaughter and rape of countless Germans during the Red Army’s “liberation” of Soviet, Polish, Ukrainian, German territory. Only Mao himself can possibly surpass his brutality. Would Stalin be proud? I’m kinda thinking he’d be on the floor, laughing his ass off at how weak, divided, gutless and indecisive the capitalists are.

    Finally, I think it is worth noting that the initial candle in the fireworks shop that set all this off – kidnapping Isreali soldiers for a prisoner exchange – has to be the absolute least bad thing Hizbollah or Hamas could have done.

    Whether it is the least bad thing they could have done is debatable. I disagree, but regardless. What you describe is quite simply an act of war. And it is something that they have done repeatedly. Not too mention lob rockets at northern Israeli towns. Israel felt that enough was enough and this kind of behaviour was unacceptable. I agree.

    I hate to defend a bunch of guys who fire rockets into the houses of old women, but here we have a manuveur who’s targets are strictly military and who’s goals (a release primarily of female captives) would have been considered, had they been stated by any Western nation, as noble and chivalrous.

    Ummm, no. You’d have a better case if Israel was occupying Lebanese lands. They were not. What Hizbollah wants is the release of convicted murderers and terrorists. And they want to keep kidnapping Israeli civilians and military with impunity to keep releasing convicted murderers and terrorists. You want to defend that, by all means.

    If we are concede that Hizbollah and Isreal are at war and that Isreal has the right to conduct bombing runs over Lebanon, how can we in good conscience condemn this act as anything less than another act of war in a wartorn region? For once, it seems like Hamas and Hizbollah were playing by something approaching the rules. I’m sure Isreal has discouraged them from ever attempting such a thing again.

    But Israel and Hizbollah were NOT at war, much less Lebanon. Israel was NOT occupying any Lebanese or Hizbollah land. And Israel had withdrawn from Gaza, only to have rockets constantly rain on its cities and its soldier kidnapped.

    But regardless, Hizbollah and Hamas know NO rules. There are no rules for them. I don’t get why that is so hard to grasp as a concept. I suppose it’s difficult from a secular, Western enlightement perspective. But, there is no “international law”, no Geneva conventions, none of that. These are irrelevant “western” things. They apply these things to their enemies (us) to restrain their(our) power but flaunt them and routinely ignore them at will themselves. We apply these to ourselves, we restrain ourselves because we value all human life and try to protect it. For some of these guys, human life is secondary to their higher cause, their mission, their warped version of God. There is only victory and what one needs to do to achieve that. That or a display of force and/or raw power. That is what is respected and/or feared. It’s frightenning.

    None of this is to endorse an Israeli or even American carte blance in conducting war…just to add some perspective.

  87. 87
    srv says:

    Hezbollah had amassed 12,000 missiles which have enough range to strike deep into Israel.

    Funny, we know exactly how many they have but not where they are.

  88. 88
    Pb says:

    srv,

    Funny, we know exactly how many they have but not where they are.

    Yeah, that does sound strangely familiar, doesn’t it? However, unlike Iraq’s WMDs, Hezbollah already has fired hundreds of rockets.

  89. 89
    Professor Chaos says:

    And judging from this article, it doesn’t seem like this will end any time soon.

  90. 90

    According to news reports, Israel has started moving in troops.

  91. 91

    But regardless, Hizbollah and Hamas know NO rules. There are no rules for them. I don’t get why that is so hard to grasp as a concept. I suppose it’s difficult from a secular, Western enlightement perspective. But, there is no “international law”, no Geneva conventions, none of that. These are irrelevant “western” things. They apply these things to their enemies (us) to restrain their(our) power but flaunt them and routinely ignore them at will themselves.

    This is a good point, and does need to be understood.

    They think they are being clever, and perhaps they are. But the Geneva conventions and other laws of war are designed to try to prevent collateral damage. Don’t use ambulances for troop transport, or they’ll get searched which means slow response for aid.

    But they feel that since they aren’t searching ambulances, they can move our troops under their noses. And then when the ambulances are slowed down, they can whine on television and get western sympathies all riled up.

    It’s a dangerous game.

  92. 92
    Beej says:

    Just a few things that I can’t help noting:

    1. Every time Israel gives the Palestinians what they say they want, attacks on Israel increase. Israel pulls out of Gaza, lock, stock, and settlers, and their reward is to have Hamas lob shells across the border into Israel. Israel retaliates and the world press rushes to inform us about the Palestinian “civilians” who were just having a picnic on the beach. Really? Are you sure they were just civilians having a picnic? Why are you so sure? Who said so?

    2. Hezbollah lobs shells into Israel, kidnaps Israeli soldiers on Israeli territory, and demands the release of every Palestinian prisoner Israel holds as ransom. Another reward for Israel pulling out of Gaza. Could it be that Hezbollah doesn’t like it that Hamas is now the governing power of an autonomous area? Could it be that Hezbollah has to flex their muscles to show supporters they are the true “liberators”, not Hamas?

    3. Even now, Hezbollah is lobbing mortars and a few rockets into Haifa. They’re not aiming for military targets. Their intent is to inflict damage on the civilian population and the morale of the Israelis. Why isn’t anyone but Fox covering this? Is it okay to deliberately target civilians if you don’t possess “smart” weapons? And just how many “smart” weapons do the Israelis have?

    4. Where do we get the idea that the Israelis and, for that matter, the U.S. have the absolute ability to hit only what we aim for?

    5. What constitutes a “civilian” in Lebanon? Particularly in southern Lebanon? Last I heard, Hezbollah supporters do not wear uniforms. If they place their installations and hide among the general population, how does Israel avoid civilian casualties?

    6. Isn’t it interesting that the focus of the G8 shifted dramatically from Iranian nukes to the Lebanon question? You don’t suppose Iran had any conversations with Hezbollah about that, do you?

    Anybody have any answers to any of the above? I don’t, but I’d like to hear from anyone who does.

  93. 93
    Pb says:

    Beej,

    the world press rushes to inform us about the Palestinian “civilians” who were just having a picnic on the beach. Really? Are you sure they were just civilians having a picnic? Why are you so sure? Who said so?

    That’s a dangerous game. Of course press reports aren’t always right, some sources are biased, misinformation can get propagated, etc., etc. So if something doesn’t sound right, then check it out.

    However, who’s to say they weren’t just civilians having a picnic on a beach? Chances are, if that was widely reported, then there was probably a source or two behind it, which is two more sources than you’d have for questioning it. So don’t just disbelieve it out of hand because it doesn’t necessarily fit in with your preconceived notions.

    However, with Israel/Palestine, generally there are at least two versions of every story (neither of which may be the truth)–the one released by Israel, and the one released by Palestine, and it’s not that hard to track how the two versions spread throughout the world. However, it does make it that much harder to find the truth.

    Even now, Hezbollah is lobbing mortars and a few rockets into Haifa. They’re not aiming for military targets.

    Considering the number of rockets fired vs. the number of casualties, they don’t seem to be aiming much, period–I’m not sure that they have the capacity to do so.

    Why isn’t anyone but Fox covering this?

    Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Or do you only watch Fox? Everyone has covered this.

    You don’t suppose Iran had any conversations with Hezbollah about that, do you?

    I’ve seen no evidence that Iran, Syria, North Korea, Israel, Palestine, the US, or Puff the Magic Dragon have been co-ordinating with Hezbollah, or that this has necessarily been anything other than a typical prisoner exchange attempt gone horribly wrong. Nevertheless, some people (who seem to have a vested interest in starting WWIII!) seem awfully quick to blame this current conflict on Iran and/or Syria, regardless.

  94. 94
    Pb says:

    Meanwhile, back in Gaza

    With Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon, the fighting in Gaza has been largely overlooked. But people continue to die daily in the territory, with 103 Palestinians killed so far, and Palestinian fighters continue to fire rockets into Israel.

  95. 95
    LITBMueller says:

    Now THIS in interesting:

    The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.

    So, if this is true, then in a few weeks we’ll really know if Israel is now playing out the “Clean Break” scenario suggested to it by Perle, Feith, Wurmser and others in 1996. IMO, Bush was genuinely surprised at the beginning of the conflict. But, if Bush’s “one week green light” is ignored by Israel, and they move lots of troops in, he’ll probably get that same look on his face as during the “My Pet Goat” seven minutes!

  96. 96

    silence?

    From reading RedState, one might conclude that the left-sphere is somehow silent on the matter of the Israel-Lebanon conflict.

    Are we at Nati…

  97. 97

    PB, I’m going to have to correct myself. I went back over the news reports online regarding the initial kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers and I can’t confirm that soldiers were seized at the Shebaa Farms. Apparently, Hezbollah were shelling at two places along the border, Shebaa Farms and another location at the regular Israel-Lebanon border. The commentary is a bit confused (as war reporting can be) and I haven’t found the exact location and name of town. In absence of any other information I’ll have to presume that the kidnapping took place on Israeli soil.

    While a kidnapping at Shebaa Farms would have given a very thin veil of legalistic justification, it really is irrelevant. Kidnapping is kidnapping, whether it’s a border raid by the Hezbollah, Hamas, Israel, or our CIA agents plucking a guy off the streets of Rome for our rendition program.

  98. 98
    Pb says:

    Bob In Pacifica,

    Thanks for the update!

    The commentary is a bit confused (as war reporting can be)

    I’ve run into this as well. :)

    it really is irrelevant. Kidnapping is kidnapping, whether it’s a border raid by the Hezbollah, Hamas, Israel, or our CIA agents plucking a guy off the streets of Rome for our rendition program.

    A linguistic footnote: Kidnapping is “kidnapping” (“kidnapping civilians”), except when it’s “capturing” (“capturing soldiers”).

  99. 99
    ats says:

    “But regardless, Hizbollah and Hamas know NO rules. There are no rules for them. I don’t get why that is so hard to grasp as a concept.”

    Ah, so myabe Hamas and Hezzbollah were the “foreign MI experts” at Abu Ghraib! Funny, that’s not what the intel reports say. Unless H &H are now “allies”.
    All we know is that these experts were “highly skilled and very familiar with interrogation techniques effective against muslim extremists.” Now who could that be?

  100. 100
    Beej says:

    ats,

    So, let me get this straight, since U.S. interrogators did disgraceful, disgusting things at Abu Ghraib, that now makes it okay for Hamas and/or Hezbollah to do the same kind of disgracefula d disgusting things? It’s understandable? and excusable? Okay, got it.

  101. 101
    Pb says:

    Beej,

    since U.S. interrogators did disgraceful, disgusting things at Abu Ghraib, that now makes it okay for Hamas and/or Hezbollah to do the same kind of disgracefula d disgusting things?

    No, I think he was running with the ‘no rules’ comment to Abu Ghraib (where rules weren’t in evidence), and his implication was that Israel (not Hamas or Hezbollah) might have had a hand in that:

    All we know is that these experts were “highly skilled and very familiar with interrogation techniques effective against muslim extremists.” Now who could that be?

    I don’t know what intel reports he’s talking about, though.

  102. 102

    […] Executive Summary […]

  103. 103
    skip says:

    I believe Mayne Madsen had something on this, including a photo of a Black Scorpion Israeli MI guy at Abu Ghraib.

    It is a lot to ask to belive that yahoos from out beyond Cumberland MD thought up the pig/hood stuff out of the blue.

    If we used IDF house-to-house insurgency specialists as instructors for Iraq, one need only connect the dots.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Executive Summary […]

  2. silence?

    From reading RedState, one might conclude that the left-sphere is somehow silent on the matter of the Israel-Lebanon conflict.

    Are we at Nati…

Comments are closed.