July 29, 2006

The Real Middle East

The Middle East isn't a cartoon. It's a rich and complex place. Many, if not most, of its citizens refuse to submit to the dumb little categories fanatics and outsiders like to impose on them.

Latest example:
Being interviewed on a European radio station, the interviewer snarls at me when I mention that Haifa has a mixed Jewish/Arab population and that as we speak, many of them were sitting in bomb shelters together, hiding from Nasrallah's rockets.

I was surprised this information could be so irritating. I didn't dare tell him about the guy who came up to me in downtown Haifa, showed me his bombed shop front and told me he was an Arab who wants the IDF to destroy the Hizbullah.

Hat tip: Allison Kaplan Sommer.

UPDATE: Here's another example, this one from Lebanon.

The situation in Ain Ebel is unbearable. Thousands of civilians have fled to the village from nearby villages and more than 1000 rockets have hit the village, there is no more food neither clean water and diseases r spreading.

Now here comes the most sickening part:

Hezbollah has been firing rockets from the village since Day 1 hiding behind innocent people’s places and even CHURCHES. No one is allowed to argue with the Hezbollah gunmen who wont hesitate to shoot you and i ve heard about more than one shooting incident including young men from the village and Hezbollah.

Urgent appeals have been done through phone calls from terrified people who wouldnt give out their name fearing Hezbollah might harm or even eliminate them.

This is the true image of our brave Islamic Resistance, putting the civilians and their homes as body shields to the Israeli bombardements.

Let the message spread and let those criminals move out of the village once and for all.

Free Ain Ebel from the terrorists !
Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2006 10:18 AM
Comments

Change the phrase from "The Middle East" to, oh, America, India, Japan, Italy, Russia or any other country and the concept holds equally true.

I do not care WHY Muslim Extremists/Fanatics/Terrorists commit violent acts, only that they do. I would be quite happy to turn their homeland into a glass parking lot, town by town, if that is what it takes to stop them.

And yes, I do believe the Lebanese are responsible for allowing Hezbollah to become so strong in their country.

Ron

Posted by: Ron Snyder at July 29, 2006 10:37 AM

Ron Snyder: I would be quite happy to turn their homeland into a glass parking lot...Lebanese are responsible for allowing Hezbollah to become so strong in their country.

Let me repeat myself:

Many, if not most, of its citizens refuse to submit to the dumb little categories fanatics and outsiders like to impose on them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2006 10:46 AM

I suppose Mr. Snyder would also support turning American cities "into glass" on account of their being violent people there too...

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 29, 2006 10:50 AM

From a pure military standpoint, where would you expect Hezbollah to stage a fight...??? they are essentially a civilian militia, mere ants compared to Israel's crows.
Does anyone actually suggest that Hezbollah line up like the British at Saratoga?
they'd last 2 seconds...
Besides, the mass civilian deaths serve two purposes, every time you lift a battered corpse to the heavens, it enrages the populace and shames Israel... a point succinctly made by a gentleman named Chris Hedges...
I can only assume you refer to him as an "asshat" as well...
name calling... how utterly juvenile...

Posted by: Roy El Saghir at July 29, 2006 12:17 PM

Ron andn Roy, may both be outsiders who with embarrassingly counter productive views.. But still I see no reason why it's relevent that Lebonese refuse to "submit" to the judgement of "outsiders".

When you start making rules that limit who I'm allowed to think about the results are always absurd.

I refuse to submit to the dumb little categories like "outsider".

Posted by: Josh Scholar at July 29, 2006 12:50 PM

Outsiders?
What the hell are you going on about?
My family hails from a little village in the Bekaa, J'ub Jannin...
And how is that anything I stated could be deemed counter productive???
I just explained the military facts.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 01:46 PM

The issue with Hezbollah is not simply their tactics, but their intentions and the character of the movement. They want to destroy Israel and are profoundly anti-semetic. How can you reason with a group that tells people that Jews kill gentile children to make Matzoh.

First of all, there is absolutely nothing Israel can give them that would cause them to end their war. Their goal is destruction. Secondly, how can any organization that traffics in blood libel be trusted?

The issue is what Hezbollah would do if it could and the harm they do today with their antisemitism. Anyone who supports that is implicated to some degree, just as Germans were who supported the Nazis.

Posted by: steve at July 29, 2006 01:47 PM

Josh, I am sorry that you are embarrassed by my opinion. I may be wrong in my opinion, but I have no sympathy for a country that, voluntarily, votes Hezbollah into almost 20% of their government, including Cabinet level positions, and at least as best I can tell as done nothing in six years to stop Hezbollah from taking over southern Lebanon.

If the Lebanese do not have the desire and courage (and I am talking about taking action, not just talking) to do whatever it takes to free their country, including a civil war, then I do not care what level of violence other countries take to stop being attacked from Lebanon.

I keep reading about how Beirut was the "Paris" of the Middle East and that the Lebanese just want to be left alone; I'm afraid I think of Lebanon as today's version of Vichy France in 1940. If the Lebanese want freedom then they have to be willing to pay the price.

Mr. Totten's blog is one of the best I've read (many of the articles multiple times both because of the content and the pleasure of his literary style). I am trying to have a reasonably intelligent level of understanding about the Middle East, though I disagree with some of Michaels positions, especially those about Lebanon.

On another note, I'm not sure that Israel would dismiss Hezbollah as just a "civilian militia".

With regret for causing you discomfort.

Ron

Posted by: Ron Snyder at July 29, 2006 01:50 PM

I don't actively support Hezbollah. But I sure as hell understand why Hezbollah exists... and it's pretty simplistic to blame the Lebanese for not "shedding" themselves of Hezbollah. That stinks to high heaven of the "blame the victim" mentality that pervades Western society...

Don't blame the crack infested slum created by corrupt socio-economic practices, blame the 17-year-old-murdering criminal grew up there...

As I stated in other comments on another part of this blog.

Count me among those who you feel are making the choice of strange bedfellows...
I saw good people in Central America align themselves with the most horrible deathsquads, if only to be heard, buy safety and gain vengeance...

I am a Lebanese American and a veteran of the 82nd Airborne... I have Israeli IDF jump wings... yet, in a way, I see the justification of both sides in this fight...

And I am mad as hell at both of them...

Hezbollah for being self-centered, arrogant thugs, Israel for acting like an enraged 3-year-old having temper tantrum...

Israel is ruled by loony likkudniks bent on theft and destruction. The United States is ruled by loony evangelists bent on theft and destruction. Lebanon is... well, it's ruled by whoever has the biggest guns. And right now, sadly, it's Hezbollah. We all eventually get what we deserve, don't we?

This moderate Arab majority you speak of will gladly live in peace with Israel once Israel stops stealing people's land and resources, and holding millions hostage in prison-like slums. It's really that simple.

There will always be extremists among us. But it's the idiotic, cruel, uneducated and racist foreign policies that give extremists credence among the general populace...

Stop the robbing of natural resources, stop supporting oppressive regimes, stop killing innocent civilians, stop treating people like vermin... and guess what...???

Peace.

The extremists are marginalized and much easier to deal with.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 02:11 PM

Israel for acting like an enraged 3-year-old having temper tantrum...

I have a feeling that there's a method to their madness - an enraged 3-year-old with the Israeli army to play with would be a lot more fearsome.

Israel is ruled by loony likkudniks bent on theft and destruction.

Shows how much you know about Israel. The Likud has just had their worst electoral loss ever. Olmert wanted to withdraw from the West Bank. Looks like that's not going to happen now.

This moderate Arab majority you speak of will gladly live in peace with Israel once Israel stops stealing people's land and resources, and holding millions hostage in prison-like slums. It's really that simple.

A lot of Israelis were going along with that line of reasoning. First Oslo failed. Then the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza. Looks like things aren't so simple after all. (Maybe you're the one who's acting like a 3-year-old?)

Stop the robbing of natural resources, stop supporting oppressive regimes, stop killing innocent civilians, stop treating people like vermin... and guess what...???

Peace.

QED

Posted by: Yafawi at July 29, 2006 02:33 PM

Well said, R. El.

But as long as the people who profit from war plus the people who enjoy war because of their religious and racial prejudices are in the majority...it will continue.

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 02:54 PM

R. El Saghir:

One of the best posts I've read anywhere over the past couple of weeks.

Peace.

Posted by: H. Roberts at July 29, 2006 03:02 PM

oooo.... tit for tat...
much fun indeed...

Your quote: I have a feeling that there's a method to their madness - an enraged 3-year-old with the Israeli army to play with would be a lot more fearsome.

method? their method is to shoot at anything that moves... kinda the same method we Americans are using so effectively in Iraq. 600-700 dead civilians, an environmental disaster, a shattered infrastructure and maybe 30 hezbollah fighters... nice job boys... maybe you should stick to video games til you get your shit together...

Your quote: Shows how much you know about Israel. The Likud has just had their worst electoral loss ever. Olmert wanted to withdraw from the West Bank. Looks like that's not going to happen now.

Oh lord, that is funny... so the Likud loses votes and now Israel is ruled by the flower children? The "spirit" of expansionist Israel is alive and well and behind the violence we see right now... Call it Likud or not... it is a violent right-wing pro-military agenda... Hmmm... I wonder why the Litani River is so important to them...

Your quote: A lot of Israelis were going along with that line of reasoning. First Oslo failed. Then the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza. Looks like things aren't so simple after all. (Maybe you're the one who's acting like a 3-year-old?)

Name calling... how friendly of you...
And why did Oslo fail?
Why did the Barak-Arafat deal fall through?
Because none of the parties EVER deal in good faith, as they simply don't trust each other, big surprise huh?
Anyone really educated in the matter knows that any land for peace deal essentially carved up occupied Palestinian territory like South African townships. With no water or mineral rights. Or basic human rights either.
Gaza is a prison cell ruled by Israeli gunships circling overhead. Israel essentially builds a massive prison camp, and then complains that there are criminals there...

QED
QED?

bah...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 03:11 PM

R. El.

Interesting history:
- Nicaragua? - My wife is from there during the Samoza period and from one of the upper families.
- 82nd and IDF Jump Wings – Delta Force? And the aborted desert rescue?
Hmmnn.

Just read that Amir Peretz once a protester in Peace Now calling Ariel Sharon a ‘murderer’ and now he is the defense minister and the protesters are now chanting ‘murderer’ at him. What a twist of fate. I think you are wrong to call the current Israeli government ‘likkudniks’.

All,

Thomas L. Friedman
is writing from outside of the Emerald Palace and has this to say:

There is nothing that you can't do to someone in the Middle East today, and there is no leader or movement — no Nelson Mandela and no million-mom march — coming out of this region, or into this region, to put a stop to the madness.

and …

In part, though, this madness is home-grown. I sat at a swank rooftop restaurant the other night with some young Syrian writers and listened to a discussion between a young woman dressed in trendy clothes, talking about how she would prefer to see Israel disappear, another writer who argued that Nasrallah was an Arab disaster, and an Arab journalist who described the "pride" and "dignity" every Arab felt at seeing Hezbollah fight Israel to a standstill.

There’s that dignity/shame/face thing again. The Dearborn Hezbollah contingent just finished a big show near my home – many of the same things said. Very troubling.

PS RES, Focus, man, focus.

Posted by: jdwill at July 29, 2006 03:17 PM

Those attacking Israel here are missing something very critical: Israel is a liberal democracy, and its opponents rule by the gun.

Israel can make mistakes, and Israel has some forces that want to take land. On the other hand, the idea that Jews cannot be allowed live in the West Bank is racist, but try living there (as a Jew) without the guns of the Israeli government and see how long you last!

For that matter, when a country has been attacked a couple of times from a chunk of territory, capturing it and establishing more defensible boundaries makes a lot of sense. The situation is way too complex for some of the cryto-Marxism in the anti-Israeli arguments above.

Almost all Israelis want to just get on with their lives. Too many Palestinians, subject to years of vicious propaganda from their earliest ages, celebrate when civilians are killed, and live on hatred. In the same way, Hezbollah exists to kill Israelis and destroy the state of Israel. The Palestinians have been the pawns of the Arab dictatorships, who use Palestinian problems to distract their populace from their own despotic regimes. Hezbollah is used by Iran as part of its imperialism and insane jihad.

If you still choose moral equivalency between Israel and its enemies, you are either sick or confused.

As for the Lebanese, they seem as doomed to conflict as Israel, although they have had times of no strife. Blaming them for not controlling Hezbollah is easy to say, but it is hard to show how they could have done that.

There are people who are mostly interesting in ordinary lives, and there are those who thrive on hate. Asserting moral equivalency between the two is wrong.

Posted by: John Moore at July 29, 2006 03:57 PM

If there isn't a moral "equivalency" between Israel and its enemies...what is the proper formula, John?

The life of one Israeli civilian = the lives of how many Lebanese civilians?

Are Israeli civilians worth 2 Lebannese civilians?

3?
10?

Perhaps you could supply us with the exact figure?

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 04:05 PM

monkyboy,

That question doesn't deserve an answer. It is absurdly simplistic.

Posted by: John Moore at July 29, 2006 04:23 PM

I figure a couple of carpet bombings will do the trick in Ein Abel.

Apparently its inhabitants aren't the brightest of the bunch and still have not understood that it's a bad idea to let yourself be used as a human shield. If Hezbollah had no qualms using all of Lebanon as a human shield, it certainly won't treat some village dwellers any better.

I guess the Israeli flyers didn't mean much to them. The bombing of a UN post hasn't made much of an impression either.

If the terrorists don't leave, it's no use whining about it. The conclusion is pretty obvious: YOU have to leave.

Posted by: Kim Hartveld at July 29, 2006 04:30 PM

MJT on the Lebanese: 'rich and complex', 'not a cartoon'.

MJT on someone who criticizes the Lebanese:
Fanatic! Outsider!

Michael, I'm sure there are all manner of fascinating people in Lebanon. But as Ron said, so what? Your friend LP wants us to know that there are lots of different kinds of people involved in Hezbollah. But they all work together to murder people. Is it cartoonish of me to want the murderers to be stopped, even if they are pretty university students, even if you had coffee with some of them?

Posted by: bgates at July 29, 2006 04:31 PM

This moderate Arab majority you speak of will gladly live in peace with Israel once Israel stops stealing people's land and resources, and holding millions hostage in prison-like slums. It's really that simple.

I disagree. The Arab majority (Lebanon is perhaps an exception) hasn't really come to terms with the existence of Israel full stop. By way of illustration, take a look at a 'dialogue' on itoot: http://itoot.net/crisis/2006/07/29/i-am-jewish-and-would-like-a-dialog/

Posted by: Nana Poku at July 29, 2006 04:39 PM

Still, there was a strategy. If you looked at a map you might see it. Iran's imbedded inland. Not really near the shipping lanes. And, syria's piece is way too small. And, it could face real jeopardy if missiles suddenly got shot out to see.

nasrallah got desperate. And, with iranian help landed a missile rather far out from Lebanon, crippling an Israeli ship. Sure, you heard the bragging. But the aftermath was that the Israelis shot out all the radar. As much as they could of telecommunications. And, even a lighthouse.

But if you think only Israel's at risk, here, I beg to differ. If iran got a toe hold, and I don't think they have, or will ... but that's just me. Then, having a firing range where they could blackmail the world, it would make a lot of sense, then, to understand what's been happening.

Yes, Lebanon let this get built. No, Nasrallah didn't share the strategy. He was going to do so at the victory party.

While right now it's hard to tell what's next? It's possible "cease fire" talks are just a decoy? And, Assad's being tempted to jump right in. (Here, kitty, kitty.)

There's more important things happening than just empty swimming pools at Beirut's hotels. But that news is sorely lacking. Give this a few more weeks, and I think the picture will clear up.

I find it very interesting that Abbas went out of his way to say that the palestinian problem is in no way linked to hezbollah's. Alas, I also think the kidnapped soldiers are all dead. But that presents a problem to Geneva. Because wiping one's butt with the Geneva Conventions have unforeseen problems attached. For the Europeans. Even though they live with two sets of rules books; you don't brag about stuff like that.

Posted by: Carol Herman at July 29, 2006 04:39 PM

No monkeyboy, at the last trading day (2 years ago) 1 Israeli was exchanged for, I believe, 435 Lebanese. That should provide you with a ballpark number.
The most recent opening bid came from Hesbollah, offering 2 Israelis for 1,000 Lebanese, 500 a pop. This would represent a 7% annual depreciation of the value of a Lebanese citizen.

Am I being accurate enough for you, monkeyboy?

Posted by: Kim Hartveld at July 29, 2006 04:43 PM

Why is it a simplistic question, John?

Israel has killed at least 10 Lebanese civilians for every Israeli civilian killied in this conflict.

Yet you claim Israel still has the moral high ground.

The only way you can reach that conclusion is if you think an Israeli civilian is worth far more than a Lebanese civilain.

I'm just asking for a ballpark number...you don't have to be exact.

How many Lebanese civilians is an Israeli civilian worth?

50?

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 04:50 PM

No country puts the life of foreigners over the live of its own. Whether one Israeli is worth 10 or 50 Lebanese lives is besides the point. No one else is going to protect Israeli lives so they have to whatever it takes to protect themselves.
I garuntee that if 50 Jews were dying for every Arab you wouldn't be harping on this point.

Suppose the Arabs decide collectively it is worth losing one of their own to cause one Israeli death? Since their are 250 million Arabs and 5 million Israeli Jews it means Israel cannot survive. Does Israel have to accept that bargain? No.

No concession of Israel will placate Hezbollah. That is the problem.

Posted by: steve at July 29, 2006 05:08 PM

Kim Hartveld:

I guess people "let themselves be used as human shields" willfully. Huh?
I guess it's their fault. They should've ran away from their homes and everything they hold dear. Just because they didn't means it's all their fault.

Let me guess. You probably also think that any woman who gets raped was asking for it. After all "Why didn't she run away? She must've let herself be "used" willfully.

And then on top of it all, you want to carpet bomb them. Nice. Let's also carpet bomb all rape victims while we're at it. And anyone who's been mugged in a shady neighbourhood of New York City or Los Angeles. Because clearly, they didn't run away when they had a chance. Clearly it's their fault.

Good to see there are still people in this world who still think like cavemen.

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 29, 2006 05:08 PM

Steve,

Why do you assume I'm pro-Hezbollah?

I'm just curious about why people feel Israel is more "moral" in this conflict.

If there is no morality in war, why make the claim?

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 05:23 PM

Michael,

I referenced what you wrote in Lebanon's Premature Liberalism in my post on the Bush strategy. You can find it at: http://theinformationprocessor.blogspot.com if you want to take a look. The gist: the fires of war will soon be put out, and the Lebanese government will be annealed.

Keep up the good work.

Aristides

Posted by: Aristides at July 29, 2006 06:06 PM
monkyboy:
I'm just curious about why people feel Israel is more "moral" in this conflict.

Israel is defending itself (using tactics that I fear may cause a defeat). It is being attacked on three fronts. Hezbollah routinely attacks Israel, and it has no reason other than its oft stated desire to kill Israelis and ultimately destroy Israel.

If you can't understand the moral difference between self defense against genocidal aggressors and the aggressors themselves, I pity you.

Oh, and moral people try to act moral in wars. Doing the right thing counts for them, which means they have to agonize over some of their decisions.

Amoral psychopaths like the Hezbollah leaders have no problem killing innocents - for example sending rockets, modified for maximum anti-personnel effect, intentionally against civilians with the intent of killing civilians.

Intent counts.

Posted by: John Moore at July 29, 2006 06:15 PM

Josh Scholar: I refuse to submit to the dumb little categories like "outsider".

This was a reference to the European who is annoyed to learn that Haifa is both Jewish and Arab. Too bad for him if he prefers the fantasy Middle East that only exists in his head.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2006 06:34 PM

JM - I trained and served alongside the IDF.
As long as they assumed I was an American of Austrian-Jewish descent (I am, and I served under my European name), I couldn't have been more welcome. They moment they found out I was also Lebanese, I became a filthy Arab.
My unit commander was told I could not be trusted, because I dared question some of the shit I had witnessed in the Sinai.
Trust me when I tell you that the IDF had no "moral" issues when it came to shooting kids at checkpoints, denying mothers in labor access to hospitals, or beating and humiliating men in front of their families...
Hezbollah is a bunch of self-serving thugs who are gaining converts every day... but the enemy of my enemy is my friend...
And Israel is doing nothing but empowering them... and while we are on the subject... let us just make the wild assumption that this is all part of GWB's "big plan" to "pacify" the Arabs into a bunch of camel herders who willingly give up their oil for free.
After all, the plan worked on the Native Americans...
With so many brown people to kill, subvert and inslave... it is a wonder we get anything else done...
Sorry, but Israel leapt off the SS Moral Equivalancy several oceans ago...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 06:53 PM

John,

One can still question the tactics used and even the stated reasons.

In light of the fact that America and Israel have now invaded two Muslims countries apiece...

...can they still call the Iran, Syria & Co. "The Aggressors?"

I'm not sure how anyone can still make that claim with a straight face.

Perhaps the desire to wage war, which tends to be amoral, and still claim to be moral, is why America and Israel are losing this battle?

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 06:54 PM

If you are stressed out with all of the war and anger, this video is just so zany, it might make you feel better

I think this really Eleanor Holmes Norton - she could do Comedy Club if she wanted

Posted by: jdwill at July 29, 2006 06:55 PM

Monkyboy,

Was Hezbollah just sitting arount the campfire singing girl scout songs when Israel invaded out of the blue for shits and giggles?

You don't have to agree with the Israeli reaction to understand that they have a casus belli.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2006 06:59 PM

I don't deny Hezbollah's actions were a cause for Israel to go to war, Michael.

Nor do I deny that Israel's killing of a Chinese national is a cause for China to go to war against Israel, if they choose to. There is certainly pressure in China to do it. They will probably use their proxies in Iran to exact their revenge.

Morality and causes seem like such inadequate words here.

I'm not sure what the right words are...

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 07:20 PM

RES,
Frankly, I don't believe you. Shooting kids at checkpoints with no regrets? Does this apply to all Israelis, as you imply? Does it apply to the whole IDF? How about the entire unit?

What unit? What year? What commander? Did you file war crimes charges? Are you planning to? And what do you mean "served alongside the IDF?" In what unit?

Your comments about GW's goals or brown people don't do much credit to your credibility either.

monkyboy - I realize you are clueless about the WOT. I am not surprised. Just out of curiousity, what should we have done when an Afghanistan-based terrorist group murdered 3000 people in our territory in one attack? Sent them flowers?

Posted by: John Moore at July 29, 2006 07:27 PM

John,

Do you feel that killing 3000 Iraqi civilians a month is the proper response to losing 3000 Americans on 9/11?

I would have gone after the guys who actually attacked us.

I think the neocons refer to that plan as a "police action."

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 07:32 PM

monkyboy - we did go after the guys - in Afghanistan. And we killed a bunch and caught a bunch more. And we are still doing it.

I'm not going to argue Iraq with you here. It is way too far off subject, but I will say the following:

I think our invasion was justified - so did the congress, on a wide number of counts, most of which had nothing to do with WMD's, so you can ignore that red herring..

I think our goals were noble. I don't know, however, if trying to create a democracy there is a wise tactic.

By the way, Iraq attacked our aircraft almost every day for over a decade. Each of those attacks was an act of war. That was ONE of the counts. Of course, I guess liberation from a fascist dictator doesn't count at all.

Posted by: John Moore at July 29, 2006 07:42 PM

Aaah...noble...another one of those inadequate words.

If I'm right and the neocons are wrong, should they pay any price for their mistakes?

If Israel falls.
If Iraq winds up being run by Ayatollah Sadr.
If the Taliban retake Afghanistan.

Should Tommy Franks have to give back his $4 million book deal?

Should Paul Wolfowitz lose his job at the World Bank?

Should Rush lose his $30 million Pleasure Palace?

Should Bushie, Cheney, Rummy, Condi & Co. be forced to give back the millions they've made over the years selling government influence?

I think they should.

At the very least, they should all be forced to live in Baghdad for a few years...outside the Green Zone.

Somehow I think they'd do things a lot differently if they actually risked losing something in all this.

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 08:06 PM

monkyboy :== troll

Posted by: John Moore at July 29, 2006 08:44 PM

monkyboy, your approach is intellectually lazy. It's too stressful for you to take a side, especially knowing that your side is less than morally pure (even though it's still better than the other side)

Life is complicated, but we do the best we can. Do you think the American north should have allowed slavery to continue in the south in order to avoid civilian casualties (of which there were certainly tens of thousands)?

Posted by: Stacy at July 29, 2006 08:51 PM

Hehe, John,

Yeah, I'm a troll.

Why?

Because I refuse to believe bombing people will make them love us...or even do what we want.

And that's the only plan the neocons have to offer.

Let me ask you this, John...

Why didn't America turn into a Muslim theocracy after 9/11?

If the neocons are right...we should have.

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 08:59 PM

Monkeyboy,

No, you're a troll because you make such patently risible claims. Once they get to the end of your first sentence, no one takes you seriously.

I'm pretty sure you've already had a brain-scan to see if Karl Rove had secretly placed a microchip somewhere in your gray matter to monitor your movements and even your thoughts.

I see you every day sitting in the back of Dunkin' Donuts wearing dark shades and feverishly underlining phrases in your stack of morning papers. Only someone as brilliant as yourself is capable of discerning the clandestine maneuvers of the neo-cons and their many proxies.

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at July 29, 2006 09:19 PM

Jeffery,

Whether my posts contain "patently risible claims" or not depends on your beliefs, doesn't it?

I've never had a neocon debate me using logic...they just call me a troll.

Why aren't Bushie's claims about Afghanistan "patently risible claims?"

We've been there almost five years now.

They've had their Parliament up and running quite a while.

The Afghan army has been training almost as long WWII lasted.

Why can't our troops come home?

Iraq is looking the same way.

We're actually sending in more troops there this week.

And all Israel's military actions over the past few weeks have actually increased the number of attacks on them.

Perhaps you could explain why Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon don't represent complete failure for the neocon strategy.

Bonus points if you work the need to cut taxes on the rich into your explaination!

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 09:32 PM

monkeyboy... apt name that... not responding with force to terrorist attacks certainly makes Islamic extremists love us... vis. the first WTC attack, the bombing of the Marines in Beruit back in the day (add any one of dozens of other examples here)... it just MIGHT be that laying off has just the opposite effect and lets the nutjobs grow stronger and more easily overwhelm any of their co-religionists who may be more able to follow the dicates of reason... of course, the psyhcopath who shot up the Jewish Federation office in Seattle was probably not influenced by the teaching of contempt in the mosque his father helped found... how can anyone negotiate with people who want you dead (no compromise possible here) no matter where you live. The extremists (and they are legion) are destrying Islam, not the Jews or the West.

Posted by: Sleepless in Portland at July 29, 2006 10:04 PM

method? their method is to shoot at anything that moves... kinda the same method we Americans are using so effectively in Iraq. 600-700 dead civilians, an environmental disaster, a shattered infrastructure and maybe 30 hezbollah fighters... nice job boys... maybe you should stick to video games til you get your shit together...

You are simply telling lies. What can I say, this is simply fact-free, as are most of your other assertions. I can play that game too, but I won't. I have moral standards.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 29, 2006 10:27 PM

I don't think anyone doubts terrorism is a problem, SiP.

It's the methods being employed to "fix" the problem I question.

An example of how I see things:

A boy gets sick and everyone, parents, relatives, friends and doctors, all agree he needs an operation to get better.

They gather in an operating theater and...

...the surgeon whips out a chainsaw and starts hacking limbs off the child without even giving him anesthesa.

The child's parents protest, but everyone else says, "It's okay, he needs an operation to get better!"

I understand the problem.
I understand the plan.

I don't understand refusing to change the plan after it has proven to be costly and ineffective.

Posted by: monkyboy at July 29, 2006 10:50 PM

Roy El Saqhir writes, "Don't blame the crack infested slum created by corrupt socio-economic practices, blame the 17-year-old-murdering criminal grew up there..."

.....because why should anybody have to be held responsible for their actions?

and writes as well, "From a pure military standpoint, where would you expect Hezbollah to stage a fight...??? they are essentially a civilian militia, mere ants compared to Israel's crows.
Does anyone actually suggest that Hezbollah line up like the British at Saratoga?
they'd last 2 seconds..."

....because why should cowards have to come out in the open and fight?

Love the "logic".

Posted by: antimedia at July 29, 2006 11:44 PM

JM -
You just dont get it...
Leave these people the fuck alone...
its that simple...
WE DON'T BELONG THERE.
PEOPLE DO NOT ENJOY BEING IMPOSED UPON BY FOREIGNERS WHO TELL THEM HOW THEY SHOULD LIVE THEIR LIVES.
WHY IS THAT SO FUCKING DIFFICULT FOR AMERICANS TO UNDERSTAND?
As for my credibility - I'm not here to impress you. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I have a combat patch, a CIB, and DD214 that would make your head spin.
US and Israeli forces train and serve together all the time. Right now there are IDF soldiers in Iraq serving alongside us. Who do you think taught us how to waterboard?
I've seen things that could be considered war crimes but since they were under the cover of an American (or Israeli) flag everyone looked the other way.
I'm not about to bear my soul regarding things I've done personally... I'm not that dumb and I dont need the attention. For all the bloody details, all one has to do is pay a visit to Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International
History is written by the winners... and the winners aren't prosecuted for war crimes...
You think any of us gave a shit over how many villages we shot up? Remember Panama in 1989... a civilian death toll of 3,000 to 5,000... no one gave a fuck... no one said a word... A fucking killing spree... The list goes on and on...
Most of the deaths in Afghanistan have been to civilians. Iraq? civilians. Lebanon? civilians.
The blowback from our crimes will be felt for generations.
The shit you hear coming out of Iraq right now is just the tip of the iceberg... trust me... there are all kinds of moronic infantrymen running around unchecked doing all kinds horrible shit.
From your comments, I can only assume that you are the typical naive American who has bought this whole bullshit scenario hook line and sinker.
You fly your flag on the porch and put the fucking sticker on your SUV and your moral compass goes true north.
You are being lied to and stolen from and you are too lazy and ignorant to realize it.
Perhaps it is only justifiable that the American Empire is about to collapse under the weight of it's own arrongance, greed, and stupidity.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 11:46 PM

Calm down, people. I have better things to do than babysit.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2006 11:50 PM

dearest antimedia...

I'm all for holding those who created those crack infested slums responsible and accountable... how about you?

As for Hezbollah being cowards... Let Hezbollah arm themselves with billions of dollars worth of American military hardware and I'm quite sure they'd be more than willing to come out into the open and fight.

checkmate.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 11:52 PM

Sweet Yafawi

lies?

what lies?

600-700 dead civilians (true... probably more once they actually recover the bodies), an environmental disaster (true), a shattered infrastructure (true) and maybe 30 hezbollah fighters (true... ok, maybe you've hit 40 by now...)

???

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 29, 2006 11:56 PM

The Algerians have been fighting the GIA Armed Islamic Group for 20 years now. Like the Hizzies they terrorize the locals FIRST. Sadly, to get to the bad the innocent suffer, it's a truism. C'est la guerre. What makes me sick is the Western people who tacitly or openly support the causes of Hizbollah/GIA/Hamas/Taliban. They should be forced to go live with those a-holes for a spell.

Posted by: phatballedvoyager at July 30, 2006 12:03 AM

The Algerians have been fighting the GIA Armed Islamic Group for 20 years now. Like the Hizzies they terrorize the locals FIRST. Sadly, to get to the bad the innocent suffer, it's a truism. C'est la guerre. What makes me sick is the Western people who tacitly or openly support the causes of Hizbollah/GIA/Hamas/Taliban. They should be forced to go live with those a-holes for a spell.

Posted by: phatballedvoyager at July 30, 2006 12:04 AM

It at least appears someone up thread has just, in a very thinly veiled way, outed himself as a war criminal who has somehow avoided prosecution.
Then this person has the gall to lecture another commenter wrt his moral compass.
He also hints at having witnessed war crimes.

I'm going to say this in plain words.
Blog comments sections are not the most appropriate place for such disclosures.

To anyone on this thread or reading this thread who has committed a war crime:
Present yourself to the proper authorities.

To anyone on this thread or reading this thread who has witnessed a war crime:
Report that crime to the proper authorities.

Apologies Michael.
I know this is your blog and not mine.
I just very strongly needed to say that.
Feel free to ban me for overstepping.
No hard feelings.

Semper Fi

Posted by: Stephen_M at July 30, 2006 04:15 AM

"I'm all for holding those who created those crack infested slums responsible and accountable... how about you?"

Gosh, some people actually believe that crack infested slums are "created" by outsiders. That's funny.

Posted by: maor at July 30, 2006 05:34 AM

monkeyboy said:
“Perhaps you could explain why Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon don't represent complete failure for the neocon strategy.”

Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon represent the failure of “partial, limited war“ that seeks to remove only the most immediate and obvious threat -- and do so while minimizing civilian casualties -- instead of seeking permanent victory by destroying the enemy‘s will to fight. If the enemy’s will to fight is left intact -- and if the heart and soul of the axis of jihad, Iran and her allies, is left untouched to provide spiritual and financial support -- then the damaged -- but undefeated -- enemy eventually regroups, rearms and attacks again.

America and Israel fight partial, limited war because their leaders (and much of the population) have swallowed one of the left’s most egregious premises: namely, that America and Israel are responsible for any civilian casualties that result in any war they fight. But this premise is false.

In any conflict between a free nation -- that is, a nation whose government recognizes and protects individual rights -- and any sort of totalitarian dictatorship that threatens it (which includes Islamic theocracies), the moral responsibility for all civilian casualties rests solely and squarely with the totalitarians that create the threat and make the war necessary. In the conflict in Lebanon, every man, woman and child that dies as a result of Israel’s effort to destroy Hizbullah is the moral responsibility of Hizbullah and those that sponsor and support it.

This does not mean that the free nation should kill civilians gratuitously, but it does mean that it has the moral right to use the sort of overwhelming force the United States did in WWII to destroy the enemy’s will to fight and win their unconditional surrender.

The partial, limited war approach gives the enemy crucial tactical and moral advantages. Tactically, it tells him to hide behind civilians -- to put his rocket launchers on top of schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, nurseries, etc. This guarantees civilian casualties while allowing the terrorists to spread out and minimize the danger to themselves. Morally, it allows them to express outrage each time civilians are killed, an outrage which is picked up and echoed by the axis of appeasement: the UN, France, Germany, Russia, the global media and vast numbers of unwitting accomplices like monkey boy, R El Sighir, and any number of others expressing their disapproval of Israel and America at this web site.

The combined effect of giving the enemy these advantages is to virtually guarantee that his will to fight remains intact. He may be damaged, but he has every reason to believe that he can survive to fight again in the future.

It has been said that war has never solved anything. The truth is that it is partial, limited war that solves nothing. Total war -- the use of overwhelming force against not only the enemy’s military forces but his civilian population and infrastructure to achieve unconditional surrender -- has solved a number of things. It destroyed (American) slavery, Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism.

To win the war against Islamic totalitarianism, the west must reject and repudiate the notion that our right to self-defense is attenuated or negated by the prospect of civilian casualties. We must grasp that no civilians can claim the right to remain free and untouched, with murderers in their midst or running their government, while others suffer death and terror at the hands of those murderers. We must see the clear moral principle that the responsibility for death in war rests with the nation that makes that war necessary -- not with the nation that seeks only to defend its freedom and the rights of its citizens.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 30, 2006 05:45 AM

Michael Smith,

I posted an addendum to our discussion of the feasibility of total war.

Michael Totten: Shadows : Commentary 100-101 scroll to bottom for last comment (w/ correction) if you are interested.

Posted by: jdwill at July 30, 2006 07:03 AM

Hizballah, caught in the act:

The images include one of a group of men and youths preparing to fire an anti-aircraft gun metres from an apartment block with sheets hanging out on a balcony to dry.

Others show a militant with AK47 rifle guarding no-go zones after Israeli blitzes.

Another depicts the remnants of a Hezbollah Katyusha rocket in the middle of a residential block blown up in an Israeli air attack.

The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut and did not wish to be named said he was less than 400m from the block when it was obliterated.

"Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets, then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets," he said.

"Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at July 30, 2006 07:21 AM

I keep hearing how small and weak Hezbollah are compared to Israel. Has anyone thought about why that is? I don't think it's purely money - Hezbollah (and the Palestinians for that matter) have received millions of dollars from various foreign governments, but much of it - certainly in the case of the Palestinians - went into the pockets of corrupt leaders (has anyone checked out Suha Arafat's luxurious abode lately?).
I think they want to remain small, it serves their purpose:
1) They don't have to be a proper army bound by the Geneva Convention. (Has anyone heard from the Red Cross about being allowed to visit the kidnapped Israelis?)
2) They only have to survive to present themselves to potential supporters as heroic.
3) They immediately get the underdog vote.
4) At this point, they don't actually want to really defeat Israel, just cause it lots of grief, with irritating/ painful pinpricks, calculating that if Israel ever responds, it will be seen as a bully. Defeating Israel can wait until Iran has a nuclear bomb.
5) The numbers who are actually prepared to fight for their Islamofascist beliefs is relatively small.
But remember, just as might doesn't always make right, neither does weakness.

Posted by: ilana at July 30, 2006 07:41 AM

Here in Tbilisi, we are cheering the folks who smashed the UN building in Beirut today. It seems appropriate, considering all theUN has failed at and all the money they have spent to make sure that this war would happen. The looters got the ATM too. Good.I hope they have a party or feed some people or escape Lebanon with the cash. I suppose Jewish ladies like me shouldn't cheer rampaging crowds bearing Hizbollah flags.

Posted by: Tatiana at July 30, 2006 08:35 AM

The protests this morning in Beirut, and ensuing looting of the UN building goes to show that the longer this goes on, the longer the populace is polarizing AGAINST Israel. Those of you who keep wondering why people don't rise up against Hezbollah should take a good look.

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 30, 2006 10:10 AM

Another OT

I'm suprised I haven't seen this on Hot Air or other blogs. Its a perfect blogger vs Media item.

Day of the Longtail

Posted by: jdwill at July 30, 2006 10:49 AM

Stephen M -
I think you need to better understand nuance...
If you think I should be prosecuted for War Crimes, perhaps Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. should be as well... and my entire unit... since the entire Central America/Panama slaughters were entirely illegal in the first place... Perhaps the current administration needs it feet held to the same fire... Iraq is hardly a legal war... Israel's total destruction of Lebanon can hardly be seen as legal either... so yes... let us prosecute anyone who has served in a dodgy, corrupt defense contractor sponsored war... I'll get in line right behind you. It always makes me laugh when I see some poor schmuck private get taken away in irons for war crimes, when the entire operation he is involved in is a war crime in the first place. No one sees the irony.

Michael Smith - you are an absolutist who needs to check out a little film called "the fog of war"

Ilana - I think you made some outstanding points...

I think some people need to come to terms with reality, they need to understand how we are all pawns in this lovely game... shit gets real interesting once bullets start to fly...

And to clear another thing up... Just because I am against Israel's current action, hardly means I am FOR Hezbollah, who I consider to be about as moral as Columbian coke dealers...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 30, 2006 10:51 AM

jdwill:

Essentially, you are saying that to avoid the hypothetical risk of an interruption in oil supply, and the hypothetical risk that this will cause mass starvation, we must not stop a regime that is seeking nuclear weapons for purposes of controlling ever more oil.

Oil is so crucial we dare not do anything about madmen who seek to control ever more of it?

I say the opposite: the more crucially we need oil, the more urgent the need to stop Iran.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 30, 2006 12:00 PM

Michael Smith,

No. I am saying the world oil system is so tight that any fight has to be controlled. I think (I am just a citizen guessing here) that this means that Iran and the US will fight by proxy as the US and USSR did and perhaps never physically clash. Better an Iranian meltdown like the USSR system. Regardless of why you think Iran’s mad mullahs need to be stopped, you can’t overturn the system to get at them.

Which is why I think the current attempt to reduce Hezbollah and bring Lebanon fully into the Western or EU camp is so important that we can’t allow stupid errors like Qana to stop it. It would be better if the Israeli’s left the rocket launchers alone, have their civilian that are in range hunker down, and concentrate on fixing and closing with Hezbollah on the ground. My fervent hope is that they stop hitting towns and civilians and instead hurt Hezbollah enough that the Lebanese can evict or marginalize them.

Do you find it curious or perhaps ironic that the shelling in 1996 that shut down the Israeli’s is the same town?

Posted by: jdwill at July 30, 2006 01:13 PM

Q: How do you say "Jesse Macbeth" in Lebanese?

A: Roy El Saghir.

Posted by: Shad at July 30, 2006 02:07 PM

shad:
oh lord... that is TOO funny...
once again - someone who does NOT understand simple nuance...
Just another person who needs a basic reading comprehension class.
If your opinion of me makes you sleep better at night, then by all means... I am the Lebanese Jesse Macbeth...
cheers

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 30, 2006 02:30 PM

If you think I should be prosecuted for War Crimes, perhaps Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. should be as well... and my entire unit... since the entire Central America/Panama slaughters were entirely illegal in the first place...

I call troll.

This reads too much like someone's fantasy of what a former-black-ops-commando-develops-a-conscience would be like for me to take seriously, and claiming a higher number of dead civilians in the Panama invasion that Ramsey Clark is confirmation.

If anyone's curious as to what a visit to leftie-conspiracy-land is like, it's right here.

Posted by: rosignol at August 1, 2006 03:02 AM

R. El Saghir: Just because I am against Israel's current action, hardly means I am FOR Hezbollah, who I consider to be about as moral as Columbian coke dealers...

Interesting comparison.

'Hezbollah drugs ring' broken up

Police in Ecuador say they have broken up an international drugs ring which was raising money for the Islamic militant group, Hezbollah.

... Police say that the gang were obtaining cocaine from neighbouring Colombia and trafficking it to Europe, the Middle East and the rest of South America.

Posted by: Lopakhin at August 4, 2006 09:23 AM
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