July 30, 2006

Al Qaeda Heading to Lebanon - And Why Israel Needs to Help Reconstruct Lebanon

Before this war even started I wrote that Israel should leave Lebanon as a whole out of its fight with Hezbollah, that the real enemies were in Syria and Iran. War in Lebanon has destroyed almost every last scrap of political capital Israel had in that country, it has a reduced a modern almost-democracy to a Third World beggar nation de-facto ruled by Hassan Nasrallah, cruelly punished the most liberal and moderate Arab population in the world, and exploded the extraordinarily fragile stability that recently was.

Now Al Qaeda says they are heading to Lebanon.

There is a lot of talk now about a multinational force (made up of who?) to enter Lebanon to protect the Israelis. If there is to be a multinational force, it will also need to protect Lebanese.

The United States contributes millions of dollars to rebuild infrastructure (etc) destroyed in wars that it fights. Afghanistan received post-war aid. Iraq received post-war aid.

If Israel prefers Lebanon on its border instead of chaos, Israel needs to seriously consider paying war reparations. The US does this as a matter of course, out of a sense of decency as well as an understanding that it helps prevent even more conflict. I see no reason why Israel cannot or should not do the same, and for the same reasons.

UPDATE: DP points out in the comments:
The US had never paid war reparations and probably never will. War reparations are what you pay if you lose a war...What the US has done is give assistance in rebuilding. This might sound like the same thing, but it is not. War reparations are mandatory. Assistance in rebuilding is conditional...Assistance to rebuild a devastated country is a wise choice.
Okay then, if "reparations" is the wrong word (and perhaps it is) I suggest Israel contribute to the reconstruction of Lebanon. This will be good for Lebanon and good for Israel...assuming Hezbollah does not become the government or get any of the money.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 09:52 AM

Comments

You took the words from my mouth Michael. I salute your position and support it without exception.

Reparations continue to be hungrily collected by Israelis and Jews world-wide for the events of 60 years ago... The world watches and waits for the day when the IDF is charged with war crimes and pays reparations to IT'S victims, for once. It would come as no surprise, if and when reparations are paid, that us US taxpayers end up footing the bill somehow.

Posted by: Amerikan Turk at July 30, 2006 10:36 AM

Amerikan Turk,

Don't compare this to the Holocaust.

Anyway, I hope US taxpayer money does go to Lebanon. Lebanon is supposed to be an ally of the United States, although very few Lebanese see it that way right now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 10:44 AM

This morning on MTP I heard the Israeli commentator - maybe an ambassador I don't recall, make just that promise.

Posted by: Jane at July 30, 2006 10:53 AM

Michael clearly there is no comparison, that wasn't my point. I was just trying to say that the knife cuts two ways when it comes to reparations, and the collection of such reparations does not preclude anyone from re-paying them to others... unless you're Israel.

If US money goes to Lebanon for re-building infrastructure or to cover the cost of Israel's reparations, I hope that it is back-charged to the billions of dollars sent to Israel every year.

Posted by: Amerikan Turk at July 30, 2006 10:56 AM

Hey Mr. Totten, how do you like your "freedom-lovin'" American right-wingers now?

Remember when you all were peas-in-a-pod liberty spreaders?

Good times. Good times.

Posted by: NeoHaven at July 30, 2006 11:08 AM

Yes, Neohaven, I remember the days when liberal Americans sneered at Lebanese while conservative Americans supported them.

Good times. Good times.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 11:14 AM

A coup d'etat has taken place. Nasrallah rules Lebanon because he alone has the power to declare war and make peace and because all members of the government serve at his pleasure and he can remove whomever he pleases by assassination.

Any reparations paid to Lebanon will go to Nasrallah because he is Lebanon. I imagine the money will first be used to replace rockets used up by the war and then to rebuild homes of those loyal to him and to punish those who were disloyal. S.O.P.

Posted by: sol vason at July 30, 2006 11:14 AM

My taxes go to pay for bombs that are being dropped on my cousins and uncles and aunts... that makes me feel GREAT...
Even better... when I fielded frantic phones calls from them, asking me if I could do anything (as if I had Olmert and Condi Rice on speed dial)

They are too terrified to get into a car and go to Syria or Jordan, because they have been told that the Israeli jets strafe any vehicle on the road, white flag be damned... So they sit and wait... until Hezbollah takes their positions among them, fires their rockets, and then scurries off into the dark. 5 minutes later the Israeli jets will come and turn my family into dust. And so this is how it may likely play itself out. Over and over again.

So, the Al Qaeda world tour is coming to Lebanon... woo hoo!!! where do we get tickets?
just terrific...
one of these days, one of these crazies is going to have a WMD... and a whole lot of innocent people are going to die... and the people responsible for keeping us all safe will somehow escape justice once again... the war on terrorism is a sick joke. You cannot make war on an ideology, all you can do is stop emboldening it.

And Michael - I don't see Israel paying any kind of reparations... paying reparations would in a sense admit wrong-doing on their part. And we all know the IDF never does anything wrong. Besides, how do you repair for the loss of someone loved one? There is no price on that...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 30, 2006 11:21 AM

Israel should not do the same, because Israel is not reponsible for the chaos going on in Lebanon.

The UN is.

The UN is the one who initiated the 1559 resolution, demanding a full deployement of the libanese army in south Labanon, and the disarmememnt of the Hezbollah.
The UN is the one who didn't care the libanese people and governement beeing held hostages by terrorists.

Remember : the israelis left Lebanon 6 years ago, with the assurance that the UN will fullfill its own resolution.
The UN failed, and now the israelis are doing the job, losing soldiers and civilians as well.

The UN should pay, both for Lebanon and for Israel, who suffers lost and destruction as well (you seem to forget that...)

Posted by: mickey57 at July 30, 2006 11:23 AM

I am open to reparations when the Lebanese government has control over every inch of its territory and its armed forces control the border with Israel. Until then, not one cent.

This filthy war is to be blamed on Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian handlers. The Lebanese people however must hold some responsibility as well, regardless of how difficult it is/was to clean up the southern border. It is not fair to simply say, "Sorry Israel, we can't control our border so you have to suffer from the threat of Hizbollah's missiles, and if you do take them on (which we can't/won't do) you gotta pay us back if you break anything or hurt anyone."

Hezbollah is part of the democratically elected government of Lebanon. Every Hezbollah voter/supporter has blood on his/her hands as well.

Posted by: Randy at July 30, 2006 11:27 AM

Michael,

SCREW U has a screw loose, but unfortunately his threat about Lebanon being too small to hide in is credible. Hezbollah has already threatened you, and individuals may also bear a serious grudge against you for telling it like it is. Has it occurred to you that Lebanon that you love may be lost to you now, that you may not be able to travel there freely again for many years to come, if ever?

Also, why is it that people from the Middle East always put so much effort into silencing moderate voices? In my opinion Michael has a pretty balanced take on things. To sum up, he seems to think Hezbollah started this war but that Israel has shot itself in the foot with its response, and now he's suggesting ways to salvage a decent outcome for both countries. And for that he gets threatened????

Posted by: american in europe at July 30, 2006 11:28 AM

Mr. SCREWU (who is banned and gets all comments deleted) is not in Lebanon and is not Lebanese. He's been here (in the comments) before. And he's wasting his time. He doesn't even read what I write or know what I think.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 11:43 AM

I would have no problem whatsoever with the US helping Lebanon to rebuild when, as Randy says, " the Lebanese government has control over every inch of its territory". In fact, it doesn't even have to cost us anything more. We can just deduct it from the billions we're giving Egypt and Saudi.

Posted by: Matt at July 30, 2006 11:46 AM

Hi Michael,

Your love for Lebanon and its people is obvious in
all your posts. Your pain and anguish at the
events of the past weeks is also apparent. But placing the full blame on Israel (at least that's how it seems to read) is not really fair. Hezbollah has been coiled around the Lebanese body politic for a long time. Lately, it has allowed the North of the country to have its illusion of being on the road to democracy and progress -- as long as Lebanon looked the other way as Hezbollah created its proto-state on Israel's border. They have been attacking Israel from that position for years. And since Hezbollah is a powerful actor in Lebanon, it has the ability to access and use major infracture/facilties (ports, airfields etc) in the entire country. Lebanon, in the quest for stability and prosperity that we all crave, may have inadvertently made a deal with the devil, and signed it in Israeli blood. Going to war with Syria and Iran,as you suggest, without dealing with the immediate threat on their border, makes no sense.

I guess because I have no ties to either Lebanon or Israeli, I feel for both countries equally.
It's been a no-win situation for both. Only Hezbollah has been "winning" something in all of this -- Israel-bashing is reaching renewed levels of frenzy again all over the world, and poor Lebanon has been made to re-live a part of its past it had hoped was forever behind it.

Posted by: lin at July 30, 2006 11:58 AM

Michael,

it all makes sense - but only as part of an arrangement. israel will need a lot of internal political clout to pull it. without an arrangement that would appease the israeli public opinion, it won't happen.
there will also be fears of the money going to HA for rearmament.

yes, it makes sense, but only as part of an agreement.

Posted by: peace_head at July 30, 2006 12:08 PM

Before this war even started I wrote that Israel should leave Lebanon as a whole out of its fight with Hezbollah - MJT

How? I'm sure the Israelis considered this and I believe desire this but came to the conclusion it was impossible to do this and also defend themselves. As Victor Davis Hanson is fond of saying ..."war is often a choice between something bad and something worse."

Posted by: Joe Marino at July 30, 2006 12:29 PM

Michael,

I'm glad you put this out here. I would like to see a counter argument against reparations, but I don't think it would win me over (unless it was really, really intelligent). Dershowitz couldn't convince me, but someone like Judge Posner could.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at July 30, 2006 12:38 PM

How? I'm sure the Israelis considered this and I believe desire this but came to the conclusion it was impossible to do this and also defend themselves.

It's very well to be wise after the event, but how about if Israel had:

Taken prisoners themselves (high level Hezb leaders) and held them in exchange for their two soliders

Done what many commentators suggested (including a Haaretz editorial as I remember) and after the first wave of bombing, called a unilateral cease fire for several days.

This would have allowed internal Lebanese dynamics to take effect, and everyone would have seen that Israel meant business. By temporarily stopping the bombing at a moment of its choosing, Israel would have shown it was operating from a position of strength.

Posted by: Dirk at July 30, 2006 12:44 PM

Surely it's all a question of semantics. "Reparations" implies, as someone's already said here, an admission of guilt - something the Israelis would never agree to.

As a result, this would need to be positioned as aid and funneled through the US and other Western states.

Whatever you call it, clearly once this is all over, the Lebanese need to be given a helping hand to get back on their feet.

Posted by: Dirk at July 30, 2006 12:49 PM

Michael,

First, I want to thank you for all of these continued updates. They are greatly appreciated.
Second, I feel that the more certain people push for Lebanon's cause, the less I relate to the cause, and frankly I feel like an outsider because I would never advocate what they are saying.

Case in point: American Turk (the very first commenter here) starts going off on a tangent, and he starts pushing agenda's that sound like Hezballah(The militant part, at least). Even though I agree with the premise that Israel should help in the reconstruction of Lebanon, once he said the rest, he lost me.

Please, indulge me and show me that you don't agree with this, much less condone it.

Posted by: Brooklyn at July 30, 2006 12:53 PM

Brooklyn,

American Turk speaks for himself, not for me.

If the US pays war reparations, let Israel pay war reparations.

It will be a disaster for Lebanon, for Israel, and for the US if Lebanon fails.

It will be a boon, though, to Syria and Iran.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 12:56 PM

I think that Israel will offer aid after this is over. But will Lebanon accept it?

Israel has a long history of offering aid (e.g. during the Tsunami) only to have it refused.

In fact, in the best of all worlds (yeah, I know, not this one) Israel would help build the Lebanese Army.

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

Yes indeed. Reparations are due.
Then sanctions, embargos and a war crimes tribunal for the leaders of israel and their imperialist racist supporters in london and washington.

Posted by: kevser at July 30, 2006 01:17 PM

Michael,

Thank you. I feel much better now. I just can't stand when someone Hijacks a good cause, and it pissed me off when I saw him try to veer your positive sentiment, into something else.

BTW it's great to Lebop, back here. Welcome back, and stay safe.

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

Yes indeed. Reparations are due.
Then sanctions, embargos and a war crimes tribunal for the leaders of israel and their imperialist racist supporters in london and washington.

I didn't know you used the Internet, President Ahmadinejad?

Posted by: Dirk at July 30, 2006 01:22 PM

Lebanon owed reparations to Israel.

Nasrallah, the true ruler of Lebanon, declared war on Israel. Lebanon started the war by invading Israel and capturimg two Israeli soldiers. To this date the Red Cross has not been allowed to visit these POWs.

Having started the war, Lebanon owes Israel reparations. Since Lebanon has no money, Lebanon should cede the lands and people south of the Litani to the UN to be used as a UN state, like the Vatican, wher UN headquarters can be located. This gives Israel a permanent buffer and the people south of the Litani true peace since no one will ever attack the UN.

Posted by: sol vason at July 30, 2006 01:23 PM

Michael,

Just carrying my previous thought a little further. You are always talking about how HA is the strongest force in Lebanon. There's a reason for that: something like $100 million a year. Would money be enough to form a strong Lebanese Army that can control the country? $100 million would be a small price to pay for a stable Lebanon.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 30, 2006 01:32 PM

Or, is fanatical Islamic jihadism a necessary ingredient?

Posted by: Yafawi at July 30, 2006 01:34 PM

Or fanatical Zionist expansionism?
the case can be made for both...
food for thought...
there will only be real peace when both sides admit to their atrocities, come to respect each other, end racism, and make reparations to each other in good faith...
And the skies will be filled with flying pink elephants before we see that happen...
I can be such a bummer sometimes...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 30, 2006 01:43 PM

Imagine if all Lebanese were heros like these guys.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 30, 2006 01:52 PM

I doubt that you'd agree with my initial view: no reparations for soldiers, only civilians -- no S. Lebanon men/boys from 16 - 56 are "civilians". Israel targets fighters, kills some civilians, some 1/100th of the wrong of Hezbollah targeting civilians.
Hez & Lebanon pay $10 000 000 (ten million) per Israel civilian, each a target; Israel pays $100 000, each a non-target?

Reparations are an important point; so is justice; so is moral issues of who is targeting who. And if you disagree with these numbers, what numbers do you agree with?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at July 30, 2006 01:54 PM

Why in the world should Israel be expected to pay reparations?? This is a war. At the end of the day, this is the fault of the Lebanese themselves for not securing their own country. I understand that Hez probably used the fear of renewed civil war to gain advantage but that is not an excuse (and I don't think the Lebanese are nearly so innocent in all this as they would have the West believe). Rather, the Lebanese are like Europeans and, indeed, most of the West - they would rather sacrifice their morals and long-term stability for short-term (false) peace. It should be abundantly clear in 2006, after all of the catastrophes of the 20th century, that true peace is earned not bought.

And a note to Amerikan Turk: who are you to fire self-righteous missles at anyone? The Turks won't even admit to the genocides against the Armenians and Kurds, much less pay reparations.

Liam

Posted by: liam at July 30, 2006 01:54 PM

Why in the world should Israel be expected to pay reparations?

Israel should not be expected to pay reparations. But it should give aid, if it is accepted.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 30, 2006 02:01 PM

Liam: Why in the world should Israel be expected to pay reparations??

I already explained why. Anyway, the US always does this after a war.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 02:02 PM

Mr. Totten said:

"Before this war even started I wrote that Israel should leave Lebanon as a whole out of its fight with Hezbollah, that the real enemies were in Syria and Iran."

I have yet to read anything that explains how Israel can "leave Lebanon out of its fight with Hezbullah". If Israel fights only against "Hizbullahland" as you suggested earlier, does this not tell Hizbullah exactly where to set-up its rocket and missile launchers?

Someone suggested that Israel should have kidnapped two high-level Hizbullah leaders. Even if this were possible, would this not have simply encouraged Hizbullah to kidnap more Israelis?

That same person suggested that Israel should have unilaterally stopped the bombing after the first wave, so as to appear to be operating from a position of strength and allow the " internal Lebanese dynamics to take effect". What internal dynamic? I thought the universal opinion is that Lebanon is helpless to do anything about Hizbullah.

I fully agree that Iran and its allies are the primary enemy. But I don't know whether or not Israel has the power to take them out. The US has the power, but our intellectuals have convinced us that we do not have the right to attack Iran.

So what is Israel to do?

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 30, 2006 02:09 PM

How much aid has America given Vietnam in the past 30 years? America spent money in Germany and Japan to build those nations as it saw fit. Since those nations were built according to American specifications, they became stable, prosperous, and free. In Iraq, we're throwing some money at Arabs but are too timid to shape the nation according to our demands.

Which of those scenarios would be more likely if Israel handed money to Lebanon?

If Israel gives money to the people who shot at their cities, Hezbollah would be seen throughout the region as the power that forced tribute from the Jews, cementing their hold on Lebanon. Reparations would also give at least two justifications for further war to the Arabs: they would be taken as proof of Israeli guilt, so that Israel deserved to be attacked further, and I'm certain the Arabs would be able to convince themselves that the amount given was insultingly low, which insult would also justify further attacks on Israel.

Israel should seriously consider war reparations the way Hezbollah seriously considers disarming.

Posted by: bgates at July 30, 2006 02:26 PM

Michael Totten's moral inversion is now complete. I apologize for my contribution to your "reporting". "War Reparations" is paid by the side that unjustly started the war and loses it. It is not paid as blood money by the victim of aggression, which Israel is in this case. What a bizarro-view of reality, Michael. Shame.

Posted by: quantum at July 30, 2006 02:35 PM

Michael: As others have noted, war reparations by Israel does not seem appropriate. I do think Lebanon owes Israel money for the destruction wrought by Hezbollah, but good luck getting that.

It would be a good step if the Leb government stopped lionizing Hezbollah. As long as it explicitly sides with Hezbollah, it really has no moral standing. I watched the pm interviewed on CNN and nothing by the reporter could get him to even slightly hint that Hez was a problem.

The Lebanese are really not served by these people. It would go a long way if the Lebanese government at some future time apologized to the Israel and to the victims of Hezbollah. If they did that I would say they have become a decent country.

Posted by: seymourpaine at July 30, 2006 02:45 PM

The US had never paid war reparations and probably never will. War reparations are what you pay if you lose a war. Germany paid war reparations after WWI and that bankrupted them. The US waived war reparations for Germany and Japan after WWII (though not every nation did).

What the US has done is give assistance in rebuilding. This might sound like the same thing, but it is not. War reparations are mandatory. Assistance in rebuilding is conditional. The US and Israel should only help Lebanon rebuild if and only if they renounce all support for Hezbollah and attempt to anhilate Hezbollah.

Assistance to rebuild a devastated country is a wise choice. It is the difference between modern Germany and Nazi Germany.

Posted by: DP at July 30, 2006 02:46 PM

WEll, Michael, it seems your dreams will finally come true. Lebanon (under Hezbollah) will flourish and Israel will be terminated. No need for the Israeli's to pay Lebanon. Once they cease to exist, the middle-east's money can be used to exterminate the USA. You will then have your paradise in Lebanon. Are you now satisfied?

Posted by: Judith at July 30, 2006 02:47 PM

Amerikan Turk said:
Reparations continue to be hungrily collected by Israelis and Jews world-wide for the events of 60 years ago...

What a disgusting thing to say, both in tone and implication.

Having said that, I do agree that Israel has to have an active role in the rebuilding of Lebanon, not in the form of reparations, as DP said, but as a gesture of good will. Both because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s just common sense: HA enjoys such support in Southern Lebanon because the populace believes that HA is the only force that’s willing and able to help them. Now imagine if the Lebanese government, hand-in-hand with Israel, started building schools and hospitals in Southern Lebanon and feeding the hungry and employing the unemployed. The loyalties would change a bit, wouldn’t they?

In fact, I always thought that, instead of fighting, suppressing, and humiliating Palestinians, Israel should have helped them build their own state and then worked hard to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people, to build their economy and rally the world to invest in their enterprises. No people that lives in peace and prosperity would send its sons and daughters to blow themselves up for an abstract cause. When twenty-something youths have their minds occupied by sectional anatomy or string theory or comparative linguistics, the Middle East – indeed, the whole world – will be a much happier and safer place. (I know, I know: some of the 911 hijackers were educated middle class, but Palestinians are not Al Qayda, even Hamas is not Al Qayda. And even if there remain elements bent on violence and distraction, they will be completely marginalized.)

And one more thing to those of you spewing Jew-hating crap: don’t confuse us all with the pimply lads from the territories. Please.

Posted by: allpeaceallthetime at July 30, 2006 03:04 PM

Perhaps Czechoslovakia should have paid war reparations to the Nazis to "increase their political capital", eh? The contortions of those who refuse to see the true reality of the Jihadists become more and more despicable.

Posted by: quantum at July 30, 2006 03:11 PM

Michael, it does appear that your articles about Lebanon are a bit biased. As a Nation/State, Lebanon has to earn the support of other nations, and if it continues to support terrorist groups I do not want my tax dollars to go there.

Ron

Posted by: Ron Snyder at July 30, 2006 03:11 PM

Judith: WEll, Michael, it seems your dreams will finally come true. Lebanon (under Hezbollah) will flourish and Israel will be terminated.

You are banned for trolling.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 03:18 PM

Okay then, if "reparations" is the wrong word (and perhaps it is) I suggest Israel contribute to the reconstruction of Lebanon. This will be good for Lebanon and good for Israel...assuming Hezbollah does not become the government or get any of the money.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 03:18 PM

Quantum,

Perhaps (as I mentioned above) I misused the word "reparations."

I have absolutely NO illusions about Hezbollah whatsoever. I know very well who they are, what they are doing, and why. I met these people myself, I have been to their little Hezbollahstans, and I have been personally threatened by them with physical violence.

What I did say, and will say again, is that I think Israel should do the same thing the US does after invading a country. If you still think, after this, that I have become "morally inverted" for expecting Israel to behave as we do then I don't know what to tell ya.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 03:22 PM

The Lebanese government is boxing itself into a very tiny corner. As the war continues, its support for Hezbollah, at least to listen to the PM, is becoming stronger and stronger. If you read what he says now, Leb and Hez are basically one and share the same goals. This is a very bad development for Leb, for Israel, for the region.

Posted by: seymourpaine at July 30, 2006 03:27 PM

America is a superpower with 300 million people. It attempts to "reconstruct" nations in huge post-war maneuvers. This is not working out in Iraq and it is questionable about whether it's working in Afghanistan. Israel is a tiny nation with six million people surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs -- all hostile to Israel -- including fantastically rich petro-states. Israel is not trying nor is it able to "nation build" is merely trying to root out terrorists and re-establish deterrance. Lebanon has no "right" to Israel's "reparations", and if it would like Israel's support then perhaps it should not allow Hezbollah to attack Israel from its land, figuring it can go on dancing in Beirut night clubs while Jews die.

Posted by: Quantum at July 30, 2006 05:48 PM

I am a proud supporter of Israel. I have given money to Israeli charities every year.
If Hezbollah is declawed I will donate 50% of what I normally give to Israel to Lebanon in their rebuilding efforts. If the Lebanese refuse to assert themselves and toss out Nassrallah and his gang I don't plan on donating anything.

Ben Rivers
Cherry Hill, NJ
USA

Posted by: American Jew at July 30, 2006 06:39 PM

What is or isn't working in Iraq isn't going to become clear for some years yet. Suffice to say that the US rebuilt Germany and Japan as unquestioned and absolute conquerors, in Iraq they are trying to rebuild as liberators. Note that I'm talking about their military position here, not their intent; they smashed Germany and Japan utterly.

The question is, can Israel pull the same pacification of Lebanon's extremists without causing the same damage to Lebanon?

Another question is this: how long would Hizballah have been happy to allow Lebanon its illusion of democracy?

Perhaps Israel is Lebanon's best hope of being rid of the extremists? Or is their only real hope contingent on Iran or Syria doing something stupid enough to excuse US involvement? If the world were less obsessed with the idea of holding an imagined aggressive, parasitic Jewish state in check, would the US be cleared by world opinion to act in support of its ally (two of its allies, in fact) and break the supply lines of men and munitions to Hizballah through decisive military action against their state sponsors?

Posted by: sam at July 30, 2006 07:36 PM

Guys, guys, guys, you're all talking about whether Israel will/should help in the reconstruction of Lebanon. It is the wrong question!! The real question is whether Lebanon will accept money from the Zionist Entity. That would require a public acceptance of Israel's existence. It would require something very close to a peace treaty. I would very much like it to happen, but will it? That is the question.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 30, 2006 10:05 PM

Yafawi,

Fouad Seniora has already threatened to "sue" Israel for money. So, yeah, they'll take it. They're beggars now.

Anyway, Lebanon's anti-Zionism was not all that serious before this shit started. As I've been trying to say for months now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 10:16 PM

Anyway, Lebanon's anti-Zionism was not all that serious before this shit started. As I've been trying to say for months now.

That's true, but not at an official level. Taking the money would require Lebanon working with Israel at an official level - I would like to see that happen, but I'm not sure that it will, even if "they're beggars now".

Posted by: Yafawi at July 30, 2006 10:29 PM

At an official level it was more serious. But also not serious.

Lebanon cannot have a separate peace with Israel without Syria. Syria holds a gun to Lebanon's head. Never forget that.

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 10:33 PM

Germany and Japan surrendered.
If Lebanon surrenders, which I've called for, I fully support shifting US aid from Egypt to Israel so as to allow Israel to help rebuild Lebanon.

Reparations is certainly the wrong word.

The US gave nothing to Vietnam, after the N. Viet commies violated the Paris Peace Accord and beat the crap out of the corrupt S. Viet forces, who were relying on a personal guarantee by Pres. Nixon (who became ex-pres. Nixon).

Support for rebuilding AFTER surrender; in this case, AFTER Hezbollah disarms. Which I don't see happening.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at July 31, 2006 01:52 AM

Israel will support aid to Lebanon, but will not give anything significant, as it has its own rebuilding to take care of.
Lebanon will want money from Israel, but not if it comes in the form of "aid". Lebanon has officially been in a state of war with Israel for decades (even though it never really wanted to be), and one doesn't accept aid from enemies.
The US or EU will give aid to Lebanon in order to convince Lebanon to concede on some point. So in the end, everyone will be happy.

Posted by: maor at July 31, 2006 02:18 AM

So to take the question a step further, who helps rebuild Israel's north, and who compensates Israel for its massive economic damages?

Israeli reconstruction aid to Lebanon needs to be contingent on victory - meaning the destruction of Hezbollah as a significant military and political force in Lebanese life.

Posted by: Joshua Sharf at July 31, 2006 06:38 AM

Lebanon cannot have a separate peace with Israel without Syria. Syria holds a gun to Lebanon's head. Never forget that.

That's why Lebanon won't accept aid from Israel, no matter how much they might want it.

Posted by: Yafawi at July 31, 2006 10:43 AM

Sol Vason said, "Lebanon owed reparations to Israel. Nasrallah, the true ruler of Lebanon, declared war on Israel. Lebanon started the war by invading Israel and capturimg two Israeli soldiers.

I would agree that Hezbollah owes Israel compensation and Lebanon has a degree of responsibility (with the understanding that they cannot control the militia). Unfortunately, it is highly unrealistic to even think of such a scenario.

While I dont think Israel owes anyone reparations or reconstruction money, I think it would be a prudent thing to do. It probably wont win too much good will from the Lebanese, but it is a morally righteous thing to do.

As far as the Al Qaeda statement goes, its one thing to make a proclaimation from a remote cave in the tribal regions of Pakistan and quite another to have the operational and logistical ability to undertake such an occupation of southern Lebanon.

Posted by: Freedom Now at July 31, 2006 06:01 PM

Those of you who are accusing Michael of being anti-Israel are misreading what he's saying (and also have not been reading his posts over a months-long period.)

Following the Olso peace agreements, Israel gave money to the Palestinian Authority for development and also encouraged American Jews to contribute funds, which they did. Well, as we all know, Israel and us American Jews got snookered on this deal.

But Lebanon could be a differnt story if the Lebanese get their act together and make the necessary difficult choices to eliminate Hizbollah as a military force and to recognize Israel. The Lebanese have to take a lesson from the early history of the State of Israel, the "Atelena Affair" (you can look it up on Wikipedia.) In a nutshell, the nascent Israeli goverment decided that there could only be one military force in the new State, and it engaged in a battle with Irgun in order to eliminate it as a separate force. A more recent example was the nationally-painful decision to withdraw from Gaza.

If Lebanon makes similar difficult choices required to make the transition to becoming a "normal," peaceful state, then I believe the Israelis should and will provide reconstruction assistance. And I, for one, will be happy to donate money myself.

Posted by: Steve Rosenbach at August 1, 2006 07:54 AM

Michael J. Totten said--
Anyway, I hope US taxpayer money does go to Lebanon. Lebanon is supposed to be an ally of the United States, although very few Lebanese see it that way right now.

We’re overstretched economically (as well as militarily) as it is.

We need to organize rebuilding money but avoid paying too much of it. Some, for sure. The Saudis have already pledged 1.5 billion. The EU will cough up some. France and others feel close to the Lebanese.

I think the really smart move will be to try to get donors to agree that much of this money, beyond the basic humanitarian food and other aid for refugees, must be conditional. Conditional on Hezbollah disarming and agreeing to accept the multinational force as a watchdog of that and of an arms embargo on Lebanon’s borders against any arms going to militia groups, i.e. Hezbollah.

After all other than the bridges (where generally it’s a single span that’s been blow up rather than the whole structure), most of the damage is to Hezbollah and supporting Shi’a buildings and villages. So they have a direct sectarian interest as well as the nationalist interest in securing maximum rebuilding money.

As against arguments that Lebanon and the Shi’a deserve the rebuilding money regardless is the argument that if Hezbollah doesn’t get rid of it’s rockets all this is likely to happen again and the rebuilding is rather pointless.

Posted by: dougjnn at August 1, 2006 09:13 AM

tell you what. israel will help to rebuild lebanon if jews - and israelis - are allowed to own property in lebanon. fair?

you know where this one is going, michael, do you?

Posted by: Poul at August 1, 2006 05:37 PM

"Lebanon's anti-Zionism was not all that serious before this shit started." this argument makes my skin crawl. michael, if you want to be taken seriously by jews, never, ever, bring it again.

Posted by: Poul at August 1, 2006 05:40 PM

I THINK THAT IF THE UNITED STATES WENT TO FIGHT IRAQ FOR NO REASON OTHER THAT OIL. THIS IS A PERFECT WAY TO REDEEM OURSELVES AS A NATION AND BRING FORTH THE REAL QUALITY OF OUR CITIZENS LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR THOSE IN NEED.

WE MUST PLACE FORCE AGAINST ISRAEL AND GIVE THEM A TASTE OF THEIR OWN MEDICINE.THREATEN ISRAEL WITH MILITARY FORCE.

AS THE NAZIS DID TO JEWISH PEOPLE; NOW THEY TURN THE TABLES OF HISTORY. PROVES THAT HISTORY REPEATS IT'S SELF; NOW, THEY ARE WASHING THEIR HANDS IN BLOOD OF ANOTHER RACE AND RELIGION.

THIS IS NOT THE HOLOCAUST AND I'M NOT ANN FRANK, BUT IT SEEM TO ME THAT ISREAL IS BLOWING OVER LEBANON LIKE THE NAZIS BLEW OVER POLAND AS THE WORLD WATCHED. WE THE AMERICAN NATION NEED TO STOP ISRAEL NOW BEFORE OTHER ELEMENTS COME INTO PLAY. ONLY THEN WILL ISREAL STOP FIGHTING AND BE THE PEACE LOVING NATION IT ONCE WAS.

I'M A PROUD AMERICAN.I LIKE TO THINK AMERICA STANDS FOR A COUNTRY THAT HAS THAT MIX OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS. THAT MAKES THIS THE GREATEST NATION IN THE WORLD. WE ALL LIVE IN PEACE WITH EACH OTHER AND RESPECT THE IDEAS AND CUSTOMS AND EMBRACE THAT SOMETHING THAT WE ALL GIVE TO EACH OTHERS LIFE'S. GOD BLESS AMERICA

I HOPE YOU ALL DON'T LET YOUR EMOTIONS TAKE CONTROL AND BASH MY POINT OF VIEW,WE ARE ALL TALKING ABOUT BULDING A BETTER TOMRROW AND THE CEASE TO THE BLOODSHED OF THE PEOPLE OF LEBANON.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING THIS IF YOU RESPONS IS POSITIVE. I'LL WRITE SOME MORE TO FEED MORE UNDERSTANDING TO EACH OTHERS THOGHTS.
THANK YOU ALL AGAIN

Posted by: Robert Escobar at August 5, 2006 03:22 AM

runescape money <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-

c-599.html">runescape gold runescape money <a

href="http://www.runescape2store.com">runescape gold wow power leveling <a

href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com">wow powerleveling Warcraft Power Leveling <a

href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com">Warcraft PowerLeveling buy

runescape gold buy runescape money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-c-599.html">runescape items <a href="http://www.runescapemoney-

runescapegold.cn">runescape gold runescape money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-runescape-accounts-c-599_988.html">runescape accounts <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-c-599.html">runescape gp <a href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com/dofus-c-

1054.html">dofus kamas buy dofus kamas <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/guild-wars-c-389.html">Guild Wars Gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/guild-wars-c

-389.html">buy Guild Wars Gold lotro gold <a

href="http://www.buylotrogold.org">buy lotro gold lotro gold <a

href="http://www.buy-lotro-gold.cn">buy lotro gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/lord-rings-onlineus-c-

975.html">lotro gold buy lotro gold <a

href="http://www.800millions.com">runescape money runescape power leveling <a

href="http://www.runescape2vip.cn">runescape money runescape gold <a

href="http://www.buydofuskamas.com">dofus kamas cheap runescape money <a

href="http://www.runescape4money.net">cheap runescape gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/hellgate-london-c-

1102.html">Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London

Palladium Hellgate money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-

rasa-c-1107.html">tabula rasa money lotro gold

buy lotro gold <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa Credit <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-

rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa Credits Hellgate gold

Hellgate London gold <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/dofus-c-891.html">dofus kamas buy

dofus kamas 血管瘤 肝血管瘤 <a

href=http://www.nncbroadway.com>音乐剧 北京富码电视 富码

电视 富码电视台 7天酒店 <a

href=http://www.innhot.com/7daysinn>7天连锁酒店 7天连锁 <a

href=http://www.filt.cn>自清洗过滤器 过滤器 压力开关 <a

href=http://www.bf-rae.cn>压力传感器 流量开关 流量计 <a

href=http://www.bf-rae.cn>液位计 液位开关 温湿度记录仪

风速仪 可燃气体检测仪 <a href="http://www.wow-power-

leveling.net">wow power leveling wow powerleveling <a

href=http://"www.wow-power-leveling.net">Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft

Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling <a href=http://"www.wow-

power-leveling.net">World of Warcraft Power Leveling runescape

power leveling runescape powerleveling
runescape money <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-

c-599.html">runescape gold wow power leveling 棕榈树


eve isk
eve online isk
eve isk
eve online isk

Posted by: runescape money at November 30, 2007 06:56 PM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn