July 19, 2006

Back in Three Days

by Michael J. Totten

Once again, I apologize for not being able to write much right now, especially at a time like this.

I am in a Third World country (to be revealed after I leave). I have limited access to telecommunications, and I have little or no time to write. I also have little or no time to moderate comments, and that is one of the reasons I felt the need to temporarily shut them down earlier. (They're back now. Please be reasonable. Thanks in advance.) I have not been in a time or place where I can deal with this crisis properly. Please cut me some slack. I'll be back in three days. Thanks again to Callimachus for helping me out when I really need it.

Some people have emailed and asked if my consulting job is just a ruse, that perhaps I'm in Iran and don't want to say so. I really am consulting right now, and no I am not in Iran.

I won't have much material for the blog because I'm not doing journalism work. But I did get a professional photojournalist camera, and I will have lots of better-quality photographs to publish.

The people of both Lebanon and Israel have my deepest sympathies. The Israelis do not deserve to be bombed by Hezbollah, and the Lebanese do not deserve to be bombed because of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, though, deserves every last bomb that lands on their heads. There is a special circle in Hell dedicated to terrorists who hijack countries and use civilian populations as human shields. Hassan Nasrallah is using some of my personal friends as human shields, and for that I hope he dies twice.

UPDATE: A tiny scrap of good news. Thank you, Lisa.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 19, 2006 08:07 AM
Comments

If I bring a murderer to your house and he kills your family, do I get off scott free?

Of course I don't. You'd beat the shit out of me, and rightly so.

And of course the Lebanese deserve every bomb that falls on their head. If I see a blood-stained little girl on TV that was hit by IDF shrapnel, the blame for that rests squarely on the Lebanese people. 'Cause they don't seem to learn: first they hook up with Arafat and his thugs, now it's Nasrallah. Both with the same result. So they can stop their whining and start looking in the mirror.

Hope that's reasonable enough for ya.

Posted by: Kim Hartveld at July 19, 2006 08:37 AM

Yes, it makes total sense to attack the hostages to get at the hostage-taker. Thanks for that insight.

Posted by: John Jenkins at July 19, 2006 08:41 AM

I hope things are really boring whereever you are hanging out in this big violent world. Can't wait to hear from ya in few!

Posted by: dawnsblood at July 19, 2006 08:47 AM

Travel safe, Michael.

And here's hoping that, once you are back here again, we can return to commenters who, while occasionally disagreeing with you and each other, manage to be civil and reasonable about it. The last few weeks have been somewhat painful.

Posted by: wj at July 19, 2006 08:49 AM

John Jenkins: If the hostage taker is shooting at your family, then yes.

Posted by: SirGlubb at July 19, 2006 09:10 AM

The Lebanese have learned the local rules: Arab terrorists are, most of the time, allowed to hide behind civilians. (It's a wonder that they don't go into 'battle' wearing infants as body armor, although the pallies come awfully close to that.)

Which is why the non-terrorist Lebanese -- and the folks what love 'em -- are shocked on the rare occasions when that rule is lifted, to some limited extent, for some limited time. It's why making peace with Hezbollah seemed to be a great idea to the Lebanese. After all, it wasn't like Israel was ever going to go after the Hezzbollards in Beirut --

Oops.

Hassan Nasrallah did not invent, refine, or expand the use of human shields by Arab terrorists. He didn't even pioneer it in Lebanon; in 1982, Arafat retreated to Beirut specifically to get the local protoplasmic body armor, after the IDF's ability to knock out the gun emplacements put next to schools and hospitals and such in the South made it necessary to get a denser pack of human body armor.

Nasrallah's innovation is to have locals in the South hide the Iranian/Syrian missiles in their homes, rendering all in the area legitimate military targets, and planning to keep it up . . .

. . . as soon as Israel can be, once again, persuaded that the terrorists are to be allowed to hide behind their living body armor.

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg at July 19, 2006 09:29 AM

I believe in both the wisdom of crowds and the general commonsense of most humans on this planet and by that metric this debate is resolved. In country after country Israel ranks dead last or close to dead last as the nation that people are most critical of. And the behaviour exhibited by Israel this week explains why. I don't think most people except for a fringe group of Israel haters would object to Israel pounding Hizb. positions to the ground or dropping a n a-bomb on the hq of hizb. in south. lebanon. But the notion that annihilating Lebanon's newly rebuilt infrastructure, stomping the cedar revolution in the bud, and murdering dozens of entirely innocent civilians is the proper response to hizb. provocations is morally reprehensible to most of this planet's inhabitants. Sure, the U.S. media will continue its propagandish and unquestioning defense of Israel but you must ask yrself how this helps America. This type of delusion and self-denials lead to the type of situation the U.S. is now mired in in Iraq.

Posted by: Nigel at July 19, 2006 09:30 AM

Hang in there, Michael. I hope that commenters here recognize that you are 'personally' involved in this mess through your friends in Lebanon, and are finding it painful on many levels to see the damage inflicted while trying to pry the rats out of their holes. If I could push a button and wink every last one of the fascist theocrats out of existence, without harming anyone else, that poor button would be worn down to a nub at this point.

Unhappily as we all are learning, that button does not exist in the real world.

I will surely try not to pour salt in the wounds so to speak just because I might have a different opinion, and perhaps others will exercise some discretion as well.

Disagreement need not be disagreeable.

Stay safe. Be well.

Posted by: dougf at July 19, 2006 09:57 AM

Michael,
All the best on your travels. I've been thinking of you often lately.
Harry

Posted by: Harry at July 19, 2006 10:04 AM

And of course the Lebanese deserve every bomb that falls on their head. If I see a blood-stained little girl on TV that was hit by IDF shrapnel, the blame for that rests squarely on the Lebanese people. 'Cause they don't seem to learn: first they hook up with Arafat and his thugs, now it's Nasrallah.

You are correct. Those blood-stained little girls never seem to learn.

Posted by: Harry at July 19, 2006 10:05 AM

Be safe Michael. Very much appreciate your comments this morning and agree with you totally.

Israel seems to want this over quickly--they have said weeks, not months are required--and the US appears to be giving them the room to do that (they have given a week). Moreover, the Arab League and other Arab nations remarkably also seem to be putting the blame on Hizbollah. At the end of this it will be in Israel's, Lebanon's and the world's long term benefit to rid the region of this cancer.

Posted by: jsstag at July 19, 2006 10:25 AM

I like how it is assumed in some of these comments that the Lebanese people have a choice about Hezbollah (or the PLO before them).

You think we LIKE being made into human shields? If we could kick the bastards out, we would. But they have guns, missiles, and weapons, the Lebanese civilians do not. They have money, thanks to Iran's $500M a year, the Lebanese civilians don't.

Yes, if some guy is squatting in my house, and throwing stones at you (my neighbour), you have every right to defend yourself. But if I'm powerless to get the squatter out, because he has guns, and i don't. What am I supposed to do?

Posted by: Anonymous at July 19, 2006 10:34 AM

President Bush said that he will go "after the terrorists and countries who harbor them." Why has it been acceptable for Lebanon to proceed with having Hizbollah terrorists (who have killed 300+ Americans) as 1/3 of their gov't?

Posted by: Tanya at July 19, 2006 10:40 AM

Kim Hartveld,

That was a remarkably cold statement. Lebanon was just taking its baby steps to being a real democracy. Unlike Afghanistan or Iraq, there was nobody who would catch them if they fell. Hezbollah knows this and this is why they acted. They knew how Israel would respond after the recent incident in Gaza. Israel claims that it is trying to destroy Hezbollah, and that is probably accurate. But Hezbollah is smart enough to know how to destroy the Cedar Revolution in the process. After all, any losses that Hezbollah suffers in the short term can always be replenished by Iran and Syria. The same cannot be said about the poor people who were trying to make democracy work. The more chaotic the situation after this war ends, the better strategic position Hezbollah will be. To me, this situation is like two of our brothers fighting. No matter which brother kills the other, you still lose.

Posted by: Dave P. at July 19, 2006 10:43 AM

MT:
Regarding the "wisdom of the crowds". When Stalin, regarded by most sane individuals as a truly evil human being, died the nationwide, (and a large section of the Western world too), mourning was deep, heartfelt, and the "crowds" weeped tears that were not just for show. Castro, who has created a police state, don't rely on me check Human Rights watch, is truly loved by his people. And until the war was lost there was even love for Hitler amongst many Germans. And examine the wisdom of the "crowds" during the French Revolution where the chopping off of heads was a popular spectator sport. Heck, the video of the beheadings by Al Queda of non-combatants is a big seller. And by the popularity metric Bill O'Reilly is a great journalist. I am not a monarchist and I am a strong backer of Republican-Democratic governments but policy by polls can be a dangerous and schizophrenic gambit.

Posted by: kevin peters at July 19, 2006 11:00 AM

Anonymous Said: You think we LIKE being made into human shields? If we could kick the bastards out, we would. But they have guns, missiles, and weapons, the Lebanese civilians do not. They have money, thanks to Iran's $500M a year, the Lebanese civilians don't. Yes, if some guy is squatting in my house, and throwing stones at you (my neighbour), you have every right to defend yourself. But if I'm powerless to get the squatter out, because he has guns, and i don't. What am I supposed to do?

This self-denial of the Lebanese is part of why you are responsible along with Hizbullah. When you wanted to you were able to get together and kick Syria and its 40,000 occupation troops out of your country. If I recall correctly they had guns, missiles and weapons too.

But when it came to Hizbullah it was easier just to pretend they weren't really there and just focus on the pretty beaches and cafes of Beirut. And besides, those 10,000 missiles Hizbullah has down there were at aimed at the Jews anyways, so it wasn't really your problem even if they were on your sovereign territory.

You made a deal with the devil and you lost. And now it's time for the piper to get paid. It is a terrible shame to see so many civilians die, but this is war and you had your chance to deal with Hizbullah and you chose not to.

Sp please, though doth protest too much. You were not held hostage,you allowed Hizbullah to fester (again, you kicked Syria out so stop telling us you could do nothing about Hizbullah).

Let's hope Israel smashes Hizbullah soon and this will be over.

Posted by: Jeff at July 19, 2006 11:09 AM

Kevin P: Interesting. The difference I think is that people today are a lot better informed than they were in the past. And they get their information from many different sources. People did make excuses for the Soviet regime and there was a tendancy to diminish its crimes but once they started getting exposed in the mid 50s a smaller and smaller number of people continued to support stalinism. My point is that as humans we are equipped with an innate (?) sense of what is right and wrong and that there is a wide consensus across cultures on what this means in practice. The mideast conflict is complex and steeped in history and most people have no patience or sympathy for consequentialist arguments that attempt to excuse observable bad behaviour on the premise that it is justifiable in the long term because it will put in motion a chain of completely unpredictable and hypothetical events that will lead to an outcome we can all agree on as desirable.

Posted by: Nigel at July 19, 2006 11:43 AM

It's easy to understand the confusion about who, what and why. There is no doubt that the Lebanese welcomed Hezbollah into their government and gave them a veto over anything the Government wanted to do. That said, was there anything Lebanon could do to satisfy UN Resolution 1559? The government gave away all their independence to Hezbollah... the Christians, the Marists and the other Muslim groups decided to turn a blind eye to Hezbollah. They deserve to have their infrastructure blasted into kingdom come because Israel and the US and their allies, no longer trust the Lebanese government... and rightly so. This is war, and there is no place for measured response. This is about Israeli lives. Israel hopefully, will destroy Hezbollah's ability to make war... if there are some Lebanese casualties, then the gambit didn't work and the Lebanese can only blame their government.

Posted by: rkroof at July 19, 2006 11:47 AM

Nigel, do you get mail delivered to your separate universe?

I just don't recognize the real world in your description, nice though it is.

I seem to remember Israel being listed as the greatest threat to world peace in a recent survey of European attitudes.

Hell, the only reason Hezbollah is getting critisized in the middle east is that they're shias and these days the sunnis are more freightened of the shia than of Israel, and, possibly, hate them even more - though I'm not sure how you compare extreme hatred to extreme hatred.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at July 19, 2006 11:50 AM

Anonymous said: But if I'm powerless to get the squatter out, because he has guns, and i don't. What am I supposed to do?

The answer is obvious: work with your neighbor.
He'd be more than happy to help you out.

I haven't seen any evidence of Lebanon working with Israel to solve the problem.
Or with its Arab neighbors or the UN for that matter.

Because, like Jeff said, it wasn't their problem.

Well, now it is.

Posted by: Kim Hartveld at July 19, 2006 11:51 AM

This self-denial of the Lebanese is part of why you are responsible along with Hizbullah. When you wanted to you were able to get together and kick Syria and its 40,000 occupation troops out of your country. If I recall correctly they had guns, missiles and weapons too.

This "tough shit Lebanese, you had it coming" stuff is doing the rounds again and again and again in these comments. What are you guys driving at? That somehow the Lebanese deserve to die because they didn't run down to their local anti Hezbollah recruiting station, get an AK47 and take them on in the hills?

Yes, they succeeded in getting the Syrians to leave. Thanks to the Lebanese taking to the streets after a spate of political assasinations (which should at least show you that these people aren't cowards) helped by foreign pressure.

Hezbollah stood by during this process in exchange for the status quo and common sense tells you that you fight one battle at a time. Political leaders in Lebanon were starting to be more vocal about Hezbollah's role and things were moving in the right direction.

The right direction for the Lebanese, not for Hezbollah which is one of the reasons why they provoked the current conflict.

There are three responsible parties here - Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. The (admittedly weak) Lebanese Govt and Lebanese people aren't among them.

Posted by: Dirk at July 19, 2006 12:06 PM

Nice post, MJT.

Hope your project is going well and that your friends in Lebanon (and who have left for safety reasons) are safe and sound, all things considered.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 19, 2006 12:07 PM

Yes, if some guy is squatting in my house, and throwing stones at you (my neighbour), you have every right to defend yourself. But if I'm powerless to get the squatter out, because he has guns, and i don't. What am I supposed to do?

That's exactly right. Sometimes life sucks.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 19, 2006 12:23 PM

Nigel:
Our inate reaction to any child or old person being killed or injured is of course outrage. It is what makes us human. And I understand the Lebanese reaction to their country being bombed. It would probably be my reaction too. But the 'crowds" reaction is often limited to the short term and not the long term. Stop Israel, you must stop. And they could stop. And the new pictures of injured little girls would stop. But then what? Thats the big question. Do you think Hezbolah would stop shelling for good? Do you think Hezbolah would not take the cease fire opportunity to rearm their rocket caches so they could start the whole 'cycle of violence" at a time of their choosing? And do you think that Hamas, Hezbolah, Syria, and Iran would give up their openly stated goal of the utter demolition of Israel? Will the U.N be able to disarm Hezbolah? Will the Lebanese goverment be able to? These are the ugly questions that have to be considered when we as a crowd look at those heartbreaking pictures of innocent death and injury. I can't honestly say I know the perfect answers and I can't honestly say that I know for sure that the current battle will end up positivly for Israel or the rest of the world. But my gut reaction is that the battle will not stop until the "death to Israel" sickness in the middle east is purged. And this attitude seems to fester whether Israel gives land back, attacks, occupies, uses limited surgical proportional attacks or goes to full fledged battles. And since the last 'traditional" Arab -Israel war in the seventies the "human sheild" tactic and the resulting pictures of innocent life dying seems to be a net plus for those who practice it. Why? Because of our inante reactions to it. The anger always seems to shift away from those who grab the child and shoot behind the innocent and towards those who react to getting shot. great P.R.

Posted by: kevin peters at July 19, 2006 12:31 PM

A series of questions.

Who exactly are all these people who make up Hezbollah and its supporters? Who are the people who voted for Hezbollah, allowing them to obtain almost 20% of the seats in the Lebanese parliament and two ministers in the actual "ruling" Lebanese government? Who are Christians behind Michel Aoun who got into bed with Hezbollah? And who are the people who allow Hezbollah to store their weaponry in their homes?

I was under the impression that the answer to each of the above questions is the same: Lebanese.

Posted by: Josh at July 19, 2006 01:02 PM

Regarding the calls for a "proportional" reponse to Hezbolah. This sounds like the strategy that Israel used in responding to the 800 rockets that were launched at Israel in the last ten months since they pulled out of Gaza, before the Hezbolah attack. Yet Israel was attacked by a large section of the world community for their "proportional" attacks at the sites where the rockets were launched and the targeted attacks at the leaders who ordered the attacks. And we saw the pictures of the innocent victims during the proportional reaction to the rockets. Either tactic seems to generate scorn towards Israel.

Posted by: kevin peters at July 19, 2006 01:04 PM

Israel's right. It's never been wrong. Israel is perfect. Those who disagree are obviously subhuman Arabs or Jew-hating crypto-Nazis dreaming of another Holocaust.

(And the American Israel "Amen corner" wonder why Israel has become one of the most hated countries on earth.)

Posted by: Jack Tar at July 19, 2006 01:14 PM

Michael's personal involvement is one of the reasons I read the site. He's someone I recognize -- I've never met him, but we have similar backgrounds, similar cultural contexts.

And he's on the scene in the hot spots, where I'm straining to see through the dark glass of journalistic filters.

And he has that quintessential American poker-playing quality of being able to dope out who's honest and who's full of shit. Or, more likely, the degree of both qualities present on any given side.

It's a part of what helps me see the picture more clearly. It necessarily requires him to be more passionate and personal in his writing. Which means he's not Dexter Filkins or Robert Reid, but there are dozens of them and only one of him.

Posted by: Callimachus at July 19, 2006 01:27 PM

Jack Tar,

Israel is hated because Americans tend to like it and defend it? That doesn't make much sense to me. Unless you start wth the supposition that "the rest of the world hates America;" then it begins to make sense.

Posted by: Callimachus at July 19, 2006 01:30 PM

(In response to Jeff's comments about my "How do you get the squatter out with no guns" comment):

The Lebanese certainly bare some responsibility for being easily manipulated by foreign powers (be it Iran, Syria, the PLO in the past, or Israel (lest we forget their strong support of the LF during the lebanese civil war).

I understand the frustrations on the Israeli side. Yes, Hezbollah are Lebanese. Yes, we should've kicked them out of government. Yes, we should've disarmed them by banding together like we did to kick out the Syrians last year.

But it's not that easy. You don't just close your eyes, twiddle your magic slippers, and make it happen. You have to go through a process. It took us 30 years to kick out the Syrians. And even that wasn't possible without the strong support of the USA, France, and the UN resolution. Make no mistake about it, if the world powers hadn't helped out by threatening Syria with sanctions, the Syrians would still be here. They didn't leave because 250,000 people went down to martyr square (Sorry to break it to you, all you noble folk of the Cedar Revolution).

So yes, I understand Israel's frustration. But I don't think the Lebanese COULD have kicked out Hezbollah on their own. I was hoping for a lesser violent way to accomplish this (world pressure on Iran/Syria, same as what happened to get the Syrians out), but sadly, some people (Iran/Hezbollah) acted to prevempt any sort of peaceful solution (since it would have been at their detriment).

Posted by: Anon at July 19, 2006 01:35 PM

Enjoy:

www.fromisraeltolebanon.org

Killers, Murderers, the IDF are not better than the Hezbollah, and if you blame the Lebanese people for not restraining Hezbollah, then the Lebanese people blame you even more for not restraining the IDF, especially when your democracy allows you to prevent the IDF from committing those massacres while our "democracy" would mean a civil war if we wanted to stop Hezbollah, a civil war that will not prevent Hezbollah from still firing rockets into Israel. A civil war that will not succeed in disarming Hezbollah, similar to that massacre war of the IDF that will not succeed in disarming Hezbollah.

I hope that you've had enough innocent blood at the hands of the criminal Hezbollah and IDF, somehow some illuminated "people" are still calling for a continuation of war.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 01:48 PM

I sure hope all the armchair philosophers are able to find this broad, "fair's fair", "they had it coming" theory towards the Lebanese just as applicable the next time someone decides to bring down a building in New York City because of some horror the U.S. has perpetrated abroad.

To the armchair philosophers in question: have you ever stopped to consider that maybe Israel and Hezbollah are both wrong?

I thought not.

Posted by: naha at July 19, 2006 02:02 PM

I'm really not sure why Isreal did what they did... it seems to me that this provocation was a perfect gambit and Isreal took the bait. Lebanon's government seems more likely to fail every day that this mess continues. If it fails, do you think a democratic government will replace it? Or, do you think a Syria backed government will return to power?

Better yet, how much longer will this continue before Iran and Syria can jusitfy stepping in as "humanitarian aid"?

Its really terrible what's happened to Isreal. I support their right to defend themslves, but I think that they will do more lasting harm than good.

Lebanon was a single successful (in some sense) democracy in an Arab nation. Iraq and Afganistan are fast failing attempts. If the Lebanese government fails, and Iraq and Afganistan continue do the path they're headed... there will be no democracy in the Middle East, except for Isreal... and that's gonna depend on how badly Iran wants to lob radioactive material into Tel Aviv.

Sometime in chess, you shouldn't take the queen... esp if its an obvious gambit.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 19, 2006 02:05 PM

Generally countries are "liked" relative to the degree they can get their asses kicked. The world loves "underdogs" and the hates overdogs. Doesn't matter if they're right or wrong, because just being an "overdog" makes you wrong, and vice versa. Strong=wrong, Weak=right. The stronger you are, the more they hate you. Thus, if they had armed the Poles and disarmed Hitler, guess who would have been the most hated. Israel is strong, while it's enemies are individually weak/weaker. It's not more complicated than that.

Posted by: Carlos at July 19, 2006 02:06 PM

No Carlos, some people see state-sponsored terrorism vs militia terrorism.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 02:30 PM

Jack Tar: "the American Israel "Amen corner" wonder why Israel has become one of the most hated countries on earth"

"Become?" If the Israelis are forced out of Israel tomorrow, you think the hate situation will change? Jews being killed and persecuted vastly proceeds the 1948 Israel. Likewise, if a bomb blew up Mecca tomorrow, would the people who hate Arabs change their tune?

Kevin Peters: "...calls for a "proportional" reponse to Hezbolah."

I think your comments are more than fair. A "proportional response" just enables the situation to never get settled, causing a lot more casualties.

My question is would Hezbollah ever allow Lebanon to ever be more than a nascent democracy? They're on a holy mission to kill off the infidel Jews, but what is in store for the infidel Lebanese except the same? Both Lebanon and Israel are on borrowed time with Hezbollah getting stronger every day. I don't see how its any comfort for the Lebanese to be second in line.

Anonymous: "I like how it is assumed in some of these comments that the Lebanese people have a choice about Hezbollah"

It seems like a fair point to me - - not even the USA, Britain, et al, want to have to deal with Hezbollah/Syria/Iran, and Israel is reluctantly doing so now - - I don't see why anyone should be expecting the Lebanese to do so under the same terms when they do not have the military to do it.

On the other-hand, many Lebanese have beefs with Israel - - I saw the Lebanese leader Fuad Saniora on the news complaining not just about the fighting & death going on, but about Sheba Farms and a litany of other things he reeled off quickly. From what he was saying, Israel is the problem, not Hezbollah. Who cares about Katyusha rockets and kidnappings as long as it happens to Israelis?

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 19, 2006 02:35 PM

Who cares about Katyusha rockets and kidnappings as long as it happens to Israelis?

Apparently the whole world, who is turning a blind eye at Israel's tragicomedy of a "war against Hezbollah" that is more of a series of massacres by errors:

You have just created another generation of children that would learn to hate Israel and strike it back.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 02:43 PM

These various postings make me wonder: Do Lebanese consider Hezbollah a part of Lebanonese society, though unwelcome? Or is it a foreign thing set up in their midst? I see these polls and of course the attitudes of commentators and news people, and the answer seems to be all over the place.

lira: "...the whole world, who is turning a blind eye at Israel's tragicomedy of a "war against Hezbollah" that is more of a series of massacres by errors: You have just created another generation of children that would learn to hate Israel and strike it back."

Do you hate Israel or this is what you see as the inevitable result?

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 19, 2006 02:56 PM

Who cares about Katyusha rockets and kidnappings as long as it happens to Israelis?

I don't understand how you could possibly make that statement. Just look at the portrayal of Israel in the news. Israel gets attacked, but the newstory is all about Israel's response, not the initial attack. It's a pattern you can set your clock to. In the news, Israel's violence always comes out as if from a vaccum, out of the blue just because they bloody damn well felt like it. You'd think from the media's portrayal that Jews wake up in the morning saying Oh, what a lovely day! Let's go bomb some Arabs! The fact is, nobody cares about katyushas unless Israel is dropping bombs on them. If Israel doesn't respond, those Katyushas flying into Israel do not make the 6 oclock news. Thus the truth is OPPOSITE of what you say. If you haven't noticed this, then you are willfully BLIND.

Posted by: Carlos at July 19, 2006 02:57 PM

Lisa G's site has another fine Another Israeli view arguing that the IDF should have attacked Syria.

I agree with that. Israel was wrong to hit Lebanon so much harder than Syria.

But if Israel "sticks to its guns" until there is a PEACE, not a ceasefire, I can easily imagine a stronger Lebanese democracy in two or three years. Without much support for Hezbollah.

Of course, I also think Lebanon should surrender now, to Israel, and call for it to be an Occupying Power and bring peace and order ... and human rights and soon a new election. Dreams, half-dreams, half-nightmares.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at July 19, 2006 03:00 PM
If the Israelis are forced out of Israel tomorrow, you think the hate situation will change? Jews being killed and persecuted vastly proceeds the 1948 Israel.
Uh, yes, the situation would change. Persecution of Jews certainly precedes the creation of Israel, but widespread animosity between the Jewish state and the Muslim states does not. I guarantee that if certain Allied powers in their infinite wisdom and infinite guilt had decided to create the Jewish state in, say, Florida, we would not be having this discussion. Posted by: naha at July 19, 2006 03:02 PM

Johnny, my contempt to what the IDF is doing is not to be compared to those whom parents and families were wiped by the F-16s.

You will face their hate and Hezbollah will definitely capitalize on that.

That is a fact.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 03:05 PM

Johnny Eck asks:
"These various postings make me wonder: Do Lebanese consider Hezbollah a part of Lebanonese society, though unwelcome? Or is it a foreign thing set up in their midst? I see these polls and of course the attitudes of commentators and news people, and the answer seems to be all over the place."

That's a very pertinent question.
I personally tend to view Hezbollah as a foreign-setup (given that it owes all its funding to Iran). However, it is important to remember that Hezbollah spent a good 20 years spending at least part of that money building schools, hospitals, and the such for the Shia in Lebanon, thus buying a certain form of legitimacy (in the eyes of the Shia).

It is sad that money (basically) has always spoken louder than pretty much everything else. My point is, it's gonna take a lot of money and effort to regain the loyalty of this portion of the Lebanese people who see Hezbollah as a benefactor, rather than the foreign proxy organization that they really are.

It's really easy for us armchair quarterbacks to say "Hezbollah is not acting in the best interests of Lebanon" (which they are not). But try explaining that to the people who were neglected by the Lebanese society for decades before Hezbollah suddenly showed up with schools and hospitals and the such. Sometimes you have to put yourself in the shoes of those folks (not necessarily because they're right, but in order to UNDERSTAND the problem, so as to better resolve it). The way I see it, that particular segment of the population is being currently pushed even deeper into Hezbollah's web of lies and deceit, because now, Hezbollah can point to the skies and say "See? We built you hospitals and those evil zionists bombed them to the ground."

Truely sad.

Posted by: Anon at July 19, 2006 03:12 PM

Carlos, your inability to see what the Hezbollah means to a large segment of the Lebanese population prevents you from doing a clear analysis of why the IDF will not be able to break that party.

I wish you luck.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 03:12 PM

Lira: "...my contempt to what the IDF is doing is not to be compared to those whom parents and families were wiped by the F-16s."

Do you expect the same (reverse) result when a Hezbollah katyusha nails a group of Israelis in Israel?

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 19, 2006 03:14 PM

Anon, thank you for summarizing one of the most important keys to a peaceful Lebanon and Israel.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 03:15 PM

I expect you to hate Hezbollah if it kills your family, however would your hate bring an end to Hezbollah?

I invite you to read carefully what Anon said.

Posted by: Lira at July 19, 2006 03:17 PM

naha: "I guarantee that if certain Allied powers in their infinite wisdom and infinite guilt had decided to create the Jewish state in, say, Florida, we would not be having this discussion."

What if instead in 1948 they'd created a state for Palestinian Arabs in Florida, would that have worked out for the same result you're proposing?

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 19, 2006 03:21 PM

Mr. Totten, I have thought of you frequently this week and kept you and my Lebanese family and friends in my prayers. I have heard from many of them; most have gone up to the mountains and do not plan to evacuate.
I DID evacuate in 1967. How sad that almost 40 years later, this wonderful country is still caught in a tug of war.
We certainly won't solve this situation arguing on a message board. Pray for wisdom, few casualities and some sort of peace soon.

Posted by: LibraryLady at July 19, 2006 03:25 PM

Carlos, your inability to see what the Hezbollah means to a large segment of the Lebanese population prevents you from doing a clear analysis of why the IDF will not be able to break that party.

Lira,

I know what Hesbollah means to them. It means their "resistance" against the evil zionazis. But I don't believe the IDF has to break them at all, only weaken them enough to allow the Lebanese army to take over south Lebanon. When that happens, they will replace Hesbollah as the "guardian" of the southern border, which will make Hez politically irrelevant. Thus, weakened military and politically irrelevant, Hesbollah will die a natural death. That's the plan, and everybody's onboard with it, including most Lebanese.

Posted by: Carlos at July 19, 2006 04:23 PM
Johnny Eck:
What if instead in 1948 they'd created a state for Palestinian Arabs in Florida, would that have worked out for the same result you're proposing?
The only result I was explicitly proposing was not having this discussion. But my point was that the current issue with Israel is not the result of some thousand-year-old conflict between Jews and Muslims but rather a relatively recent one composed chiefly of geography. Posted by: naha at July 19, 2006 05:40 PM

Michael-

"There is a special circle in Hell dedicated to terrorists"

Are you implying that Hezbollah will be met by thousands of Israelis even in hell? Interesting
point if so.

Can't we all just get along?

Posted by: peace-nick at July 19, 2006 05:54 PM

Best to ya Michael J.
Take all the slack you need.
Looking forward to seeing what you post with that fancy new camera.

Sometime in chess, you shouldn't take the queen... esp if its an obvious gambit.
The queen remains unmolested... to date.
Have another look at the board.
(hint - you've misidentified the pieces)
(another hint - S***a)

Posted by: Stephen_M at July 19, 2006 06:40 PM

naha: "But my point was that the current issue with Israel is not the result of some thousand-year-old conflict between Jews and Muslims but rather a relatively recent one composed chiefly of geography"

I still don't get what you're saying. The geography is compelling a conflict with WHOMEVER is on the land?

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 19, 2006 06:56 PM

Lira: "I expect you to hate Hezbollah if it kills your family, however would your hate bring an end to Hezbollah?"

If "hate" is armed and plans well, it can bring an end to its target.

I do not think I undertsand what you're saying about 'hate' as an agent for or against Hezbollah.

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 19, 2006 07:00 PM

Some of these posts are naive to say the least! Do any of you really believe that the Lebanese were not in cohoots with Hezbollah??? HUH??? The ME is a jungle and the Lebanese are just as savage as their neighbours and they know the rules. Kim Hartveld is right - cold as it may sound. But in case you didn't realize, Arabs and Muslims are a pretty cold lot. After all, they cheerfully send their children to kill themselves and others and pass candy out afterwards. They would be confirmed as criminally insane anywhere in North America (not so sure about those arsehole Europeans!). So, yes, they deserve all that they get and more - if only for endangering the rest of us. I care nothing for their asses but I highly value my own and I don't want to see it endangered by a bunch of fanatics.

Posted by: liam moredburn at July 19, 2006 08:37 PM

Johnny I am telling you that all this excessive violence by the IDF will not lead to an unarmed Hezbollah and is adding more fuel to the fire.

So the hate, from any side, will play in favor of Hezbollah and in disfacor of Israel.

Posted by: Lira at July 20, 2006 01:12 AM

Carlos, I sure hope that this "weakening" of Hezbollah will lead to a Lebanese Army presence on the borders, however the Lebanese Army and its Government have been weakened as much if not more than the Hezbollah.

Posted by: Lira at July 20, 2006 01:15 AM
Eck:
I still don't get what you're saying. The geography is compelling a conflict with WHOMEVER is on the land?
You certainly don't.

You said, basically: "People have always hated Jews and will always hate Jews and even if they left Israel they would still be hated"

To which I said, basically: "The first part may be true, but the animosity between Jews and Muslims in the region is specifically linked to the creation of the Israeli state, not some ingrained antagonism."

Maybe what is confusing you is that you think that I am trying to make a "who deserves to be there" argument, which I am not. Obviously they both deserve to be there (you can't unbreak the 1948 egg), but all parties need to chill out and follow the rules.

Posted by: naha at July 20, 2006 06:35 AM

naha: "Obviously they both deserve to be there (you can't unbreak the 1948 egg), but all parties need to chill out and follow the rules."

I think your earlier comments were rather short and required me to jump to conclusions, hence I was trying to get you to explain exactly what you meant versus me having to guess - - hence the questions, thanks for answering it in a complete fashion.

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