July 30, 2006

Grim Days Ahead

A Hezbollah member named Ali speaks to the Guardian:

Despite Israel's claims to have inflicted heavy losses on Hizbullah, Ali insists his side is in a strong position. "Things are going very well now, whatever happens we are winning. If they keep bombing us we will stay in the shelters, and with each bomb more people support the resistance. If they invade they will repeat the miserable fate they had in 1982, and if they hold one square foot they will give the Islamic resistance all the legitimacy. If they want to kill Hizbullah they have to kill every Shia in the south of Lebanon."

And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 11:00 PM
Comments

So it looks as though if Israel loses, Lebanon loses. How long would it have been before Hezbollah took this road, left to its own devices? I'd suggest "not long at all".

Posted by: sam at July 30, 2006 11:51 PM

So it looks as though if Israel loses, Lebanon loses.

And if Lebanon loses, Israel loses. I've been trying to say this from the very beginning.

How long would it have been before Hezbollah took this road, left to its own devices?

Hezbollah could never pull this off without outside "help."

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 11:54 PM

So the question is: can this be won by coercing Syria - either by sanctions or direct attacks (which would threaten escalation into a WMD war of the cities, given Syrian chemical-tipped SCUD's and Israel's nuclear arsenal).

Syria needs to be taken down a few notches. It causes trouble all around, and then plays games (like giving US important intelligence) to avoid negative consequences.

There is one thing about all of this that is a victory for Israel and the US: Iran's use of Hezb ollah as a "deterrent" against a strike against their nuclear facilities has so far been shown to be relatively empty - more of a nuisance than an existential threat to Israel.

It may be unpleasant and scary to have unguided rockets raining down, but I suspect Israelis could get used to it (given the very low casualty rate) and just start ignoring them (until the US-built laser-based anti-Katyusha systems are brought into action). Compared to the London blitz, Israel is experiencing a pretty ineffective attack (not that I want to experience it).

Posted by: John Moore at July 30, 2006 11:59 PM

Mike,

Come on, man. With that excerpt, I dont think that anyone would expect anything less of HizbAllah. Their strong-sounding vacuous threats do nothing but vindicate the assessment that HizbAllah is receiving nothing short of an unexpected ass-kicking by the IDF. Although I agree with you that the jury is still out as to whether Israel's bombardment of Lebanese positions was the right long-term choice to make, HizbAllah is unquestionably getting a thorugh beating from Israel that it didnt quite expect.

Let them make their threats to Lebanese politicans, and we'll see where that gets them.

Posted by: Joe at July 31, 2006 12:04 AM

You people have to undertand one very simple fact: Hezbollah is Lebanon. A huge portion of the Lebanese population is Shia and supports Hezbollah. You can't separate the two.

Posted by: Poster at July 31, 2006 12:05 AM

The U.S. has been workin' on laser-based anti-missile systems for over 25 years, John.

I wouldn't hold my breath if I were an Israeli.

How do you suggest we take Syria down a few notches, btw?

America and Israel seem to lack the ability to control exactly how much blowback they get from their actions.

It's not like ordering burgers off a drive-through menu...

Posted by: monkyboy at July 31, 2006 12:12 AM

OH Gawd we're all doomed..

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound --- 'Look, up in the sky,' 'It's a bird,' 'It's a plane,' 'It's Hezbollah....

~~~~~~~~~~

Damning Pics, the ones on MT's eairler thread

Immage #2

Watch Video for man in immage #2

Hizbullah'ın El Manar televizyonu, 2 İsrailli pilotun tutuklandığı iddiasını geri [back] çekti ve yanarak düşen parçaların, uçaklardan küçük paraşütlerle atılan bildirilere ait olabileceği belirtti.

Lübnan televizyonları, yanarak düşen uçağı ve düştüğü yerden yükselen yoğun dumanları yayınlıyor ancak İsrail, uçağın pilotlarının da tutuklandığı açıklamasına rağmen iddiayı yalanlıyor.

İşte uçak düştükten sonra yaşananlar...

Ok this next translation here is weaker than old mule piss watered down with Sarsaparilla

Hizbullah'ın it is handmade Manar it is her television, 2 her Israeli claim experimental is arrested it is slow back she was a check yanarak it is the pieces which fall and it is smaller than the airplanes paraşütlerle it is to the announcements which are thrown ait she will become belirtti.

Lübnan it is her televisions, yanarak it is her airplane which falls and it is their intense smoke which rises from the place which she fell yayınlıyor it is however İsrail the claim which the airplane's pilots were arrested she explains it yalanlıyor.

Is after the airplane falls here... [sic DRONE]

~~~~~~~~~~

What's the frequency on Lebanon Michael?

Posted by: Dan Rather at July 31, 2006 12:18 AM

Post in English or go away, Dan.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2006 12:21 AM

At least pick a language spoken by humans...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2006 12:22 AM

If the “government” sanctioned importation of 12,000 Katyusha rockets in March was part of a deliberate plan by Hizbollah with, and on behalf of its nasty allies, to have a fight at some time of their choosing in the near future with Israel, I think it is reasonable to assume that the postprandial killing of Lebanese was planned also.

The shootings of so-called spies occurring currently could well be the entree. The Lebanese people have some serious thinking to do about Hizbollah and their so-called democratic government.

Posted by: Ros at July 31, 2006 12:23 AM

Yikes, Michael.

Aren't the Turks human?

Posted by: monkyboy at July 31, 2006 12:37 AM

This is not Turkish: Hizbullah'ın it is handmade Manar it is her television, 2 her Israeli claim experimental is arrested it is slow back she was a check,

It is gibberish.

This is Turkish: Hizbullah'ın El Manar televizyonu, 2 İsrailli pilotun tutuklandığı iddiasını geri [back] çekti ve yanarak düşen parçaların, uçaklardan küçük paraşütlerle atılan bildirilere ait olabileceği belirtti.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2006 12:40 AM

Impressive Michael, Turkish as well.

That interview, which would be Hizbollah’s not an individual’s view, has to have started the civil war again. Jumblatt doesn’t strike me as the suicidal type and Nasrallah has already told him he is on the list, so he has to be organising his troops.

And those Druze and Christians who are currently putting up Shias from the south must be having another look at their guests.

Posted by: Ros at July 31, 2006 12:46 AM

Ros, I don't speak Turkish. I recognize it and can copy and paste.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2006 12:49 AM

Michael the Beirut Centre for Research and Information, 87% support Hizbollah, and Cable News says 82% support Sionora.

Are you able to direct us to either of those surveys please? Nitpicking probably, but I would be interested in looking for myself at how these surveys were done.

Posted by: Ros at July 31, 2006 01:43 AM

Interesting article from The Times today about the extent to which Hezb. calls the shots:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2292917,00.html


Hezbollah shows its authority as mob raids UN
From Daniel McGrory in Beirut

BRANDISHING Hezbollah flags and portraits of its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, thousands of enraged protesters smashed their way into the United Nations building in Beirut yesterday, where they ransacked offices and started fires.

Brushing aside an ineffectual cordon of armed police, the mob hurled stones at the glass-fronted tower and tore up metal railings to use as battering rams to break down fortified doors.

For an hour they were allowed to run wild in the compound, breaking into offices, destroying furniture and looting desks and filing cabinets until a squad of Hezbollah’s security guards showed up.

If anyone wanted a demonstration of who exerts effective control on the streets of Beirut, the Shia militia provided one.

The militiamen watched impassively as youths ripped down the UN flag and replaced it with Hezbollah’s yellow colours and stood by as half a dozen demonstrators beat up a security guard. They used their walkie-talkies to monitor the invaders’ progress.

Only when a gang began torching rooms on the first floor and threatened to seize the 80 UN staff working upstairs on a ceasefire plan and the humanitarian relief operation did Hezbollah step in and the mob melted away without argument.

Last night Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, thanked Lebanon’s forces for rescuing his staff and handing the headquarters back to his shaken envoys. All those who had witnessed the mayhem realised that Hezbollah alone had prevented further destruction.

Fouad Siniora, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, saluted the outlawed Hezbollah organisation last night for “its sacrifices” as he summoned international diplomats to explain why he had told Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, that there was no point in her travelling to Beirut yesterday unless it was to agree an immediate and unconditional surrender, as demanded by his country.

Mr Siniora accused Israel of war crimes and almost broke down as he told the diplomatic corps that one of the Qana victims was a one-day-old baby.

Amin Khoudouri, a 23-year-old US educated computer analyst, expressed the view of many when he shouted during a demonstration: “I was never Hezbollah before, but now I swear I will join them.”

Posted by: Dirk at July 31, 2006 01:45 AM

Oh that is just fucking lovely...
Nice job boys...
Yeah, make those lists... get that payback...
What the hell, just like the good old days...
Let's have another Black Saturday...
Christian Militia fascists, Hezbollah thugs, Non-Hezbollah Shia, Sunnis, Druze PSP, Syrian SSNP, Marada, Maronite Phalangists, Muslim Brotherhood, PLO, PFLP, LAF, NLP, SLA, COA, CIA, IDF, (tell me Mike, am I forgetting anyone? I'm quite sure I am naming some twice... I can't even figure it out anymore...)
And for good measure, let us have all the alliances shifting daily, everyone allied with and/or betraying every other group simultaneously...
You know, just to make things more interesting...
Let us have more death squads, car bombs, slit throats, mass rapes, babies with gunshot wounds to the head, jumper cable burns while being duct taped around the wrists and ankles, 50 cals mounted onto bullet riddled Mercs, extortion, sectarian checkpoints, crime bosses, drug smuggling, weapons dealing... more wailing women and children with dead eyes... more plywood coffins... more stench of corpses rotting in the rubble in the 90 degree heat...
good times man, good times...
Why are we Lebanese so desperate to re-live this sad old tale OVER AND OVER AGAIN...
I somehow knew it would come to this...
Why do these vermin never go away?

check this guy out...
http://www.mazenkerblog.blogspot.com/

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 31, 2006 01:46 AM

Speaking of drug smuggling - I've had several relatives from the Bekaa tell me that when the Syrians got booted they were extraordinarily pissed that they weren't going to have their sticky mitts on the substantial hash profits any longer... and that they were going to make someone pay for their "losses"
I wonder what that has to do with what is going on right now... if anything...
just wondering out loud...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 31, 2006 01:54 AM

America and Israel seem to lack the ability to control exactly how much blowback they get from their actions. - Monkeyboy

You said a mouthful there. So maybe the Israelis should just roll up and die huh?

Posted by: Joe Marino at July 31, 2006 02:17 AM

Michael, I should say the charges of anti-Israel and anti-Semitism against you are a disgrace.

Posted by: Joe Marino at July 31, 2006 02:23 AM

Hez murdering Lebanese who disagree and calling them "spies of Israel" means they continue to rule wide areas.

The lack of publicity about how Hez uses civilian areas as mobile strike zones, and thus civilians as human shields/ PR weapons, is terrible.

Their strategy is clear: wear no uniforms, attempt murder from civilian areas, run away, when Israel tries to strike back, mostly civilians will be hurt -- Israel loses in the Hez strike, Israel loses in the PR aftermath of their response.

What should Israel do? (I wish they had been more careful earlier; I wish they had tried a massive anti-Hez strike then a much more targeted response.)

Maybe: 48 hr truce -- get all civilians out.
Next Hez rocket attack, full blitz of Hez land until the Lebanon gov't agrees that it will disarm Hez, and only allow people with uniforms who work for the Lebanon gov't, or multinational/NATO peacekeeper force, to have guns.

But somebody must protect the Lebanese people who speak out against Hez. If such people are murdered, as looks likely, Hez wins.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at July 31, 2006 02:32 AM

"Why do these vermin never go away?"

The only way to make them go away is to kil them. But that involves civilian casualties that you are not willing to tolerate. So stow your phony outrage. You cannot have it both ways.

If you are not willing to allow Israel to finish the job, don't complain about the job not being done.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 31, 2006 02:32 AM

oh... so according to you, ONLY Israel can get the "job" done... because Israel has been doing such a bang-up job of getting the "job" done throughout the years... right?

Because it makes a lot of sense for the IDF to hit a building full of children 15 minutes after Hezbollah fires their rockets and have long departed... What brilliant strategy...
What the hell, did you honestly expect Hezbollah to stick around for baklava and tea?
The IDF continues to act like the bull in the china shop, pummelling the innocent while missing their actual enemy...
And Nasrallah the butcher has another dead baby to hold over his head to "prove" his point.

How about marginalizing groups like Hezbollah instead of helping them gain sympathizers and followers...?
That might be a good start... but that would mean that you'd have to own up to your own crimes and intolerances and make amends... and we won't be having any of that now, will we?

You prefer to kill 'em all... perpetual war... damn the consequences, damn the morality, and damn the loss of your own soul.

And I can have it both ways, I am Lebanese (and Jewish) after all...

wink wink

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 31, 2006 03:36 AM

"whatever happens we are winning" - that about says it all. No matter what havoc Israel wreaks upon Hizbullah and Lebanon, no matter what destruction is laid waste upon south Lebanon, Nasrallah is going to claim victory over Israel in spite of the smoking ash heap of south Lebanon.

There is no negotiating or reasoning with such insanity. And then when I hear the Lebanese Prime Minister strike his colors with the "resistance" which invited all of this, knowing that the hand of the Islamists will be strengthened to his people's detriment, it is hard for me to feel sorry for their situation.

Democracy and freedom come with a price and if the Lebanese people are willing to take their chances by siding with Hizbullah, then they do not deserve to be free and should accept their dhimmitute in silence.

Posted by: mike at July 31, 2006 03:53 AM

R El Saghir,

Are you capable of anything other than sarcasm, lame straw man arguments, unsupported smears and a general outpouring of venom toward Israel and the U.S.?

You prefer to kill 'em all... perpetual war... damn the consequences, damn the morality, and damn the loss of your own soul.

A statement like this indicates that you either didn't read any of my previous posts or you are preposterously hoping that I will forget my own words.

1) It is partial, limited war that results in perpetual war, because the enemy's will to fight remains intact.

2) And all the civilian casualties that result from a free nation defending itself against totalitarian threats are the moral responsibility of the totalitarians that make the war necessary. No civilians can claim the right to remain safe and free, with murderers in their midst, while others are suffering death and terror at the hands of those murderers.

I have explained and defended both of these points in detail. If you wish to be participate in a rational exchange of views, you are obligated to address my actual arguments, not ascribe to me outrageous positions that are obviously NOT the same as mine.

If your motivation is something other than a rational exchange of views, you should be honest enough to so indicate so those of us seeking rationality can ignore you.

If you would like to make an effort at rationality, perhaps you could elaborate on the one suggestion buried in your last outpouring of hostility: please explain how Israel can "marginalize" Hezbollah and how that will stop the rocket attacks and kidnappings.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 31, 2006 04:05 AM

So the woman and children of Qana should have charged the armed Hezbollah fighters and taken out their rocket launcers, Michael?

Posted by: monkyboy at July 31, 2006 04:20 AM

That fairly well puts the meat on the plate, a complete takeover of lebanon by hezbollah.

Posted by: pacific_waters at July 31, 2006 04:30 AM

"So the woman and children of Qana should have charged the armed Hezbollah fighters and taken out their rocket launcers, Michael?"

The women and children of Qana are victims -- of Hezbollah. But they cannot demand that Israeli women and children should die so that Qana remains safe. No one has the right to demand that others sacrifice their right to self-defense.

The moral responsibility for all deaths in a war between a free nation and totalitarians that threaten it rests soley and squarely with the totalitarians that make the war necessary.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 31, 2006 05:12 AM

"If they want to kill Hizbullah they have to kill every Shia in the south of Lebanon."

That's an interesting quote because to say something like that, the guy must have totally internalized the east-west moral divide i.e. no western democracy would ever wipe out an entire population in order to eliminate a violent subset of that population.

Thing is, every suicide bomb, every insurgency, every katyusha hastens the end of that inhibition. And a WMD terrorist incident could bring it in one fell swoop. Maybe these guys want that to happen for some twisted reason, but their investment in setting up a state suggests otherwise. I and most people would be content to let them alone with their little fascist oligarchy if they would just stop twisting our tails. Why do they do it???

Posted by: Stacy at July 31, 2006 05:54 AM

There is too much hysteria on this site. We are in the middle of the fog and some of you have lost your bearings and are starting to panic unecessarily. Let's get back to the ultimate goal of both sides - victory.

Israel's victory is to destroy Hizbollah's ability to attack Israel. What they mean by this is to so seriously degrade Hizbollah that Iran and Syria will have to close the operation down. Hizbollah as an extreme political party poses no problems for me, but it must cease to exist as an armed terror group. I'd say that we're watching the elimination of this group as a serious fighting force right now.

Victory for Hizbollah is the elimination of Israel. This is a messianic vision, doomed to failure. Hizbollah portray themselves as victors by virtue of surviving, as well as by firing little rockets into Israel. That's not victory - unless your a journalist - that's just self-delusion. The reverse is true. Hizbollah is being soundly beaten in the field and is under assault from sea, air and land, its survival dependent on the restraint being placed on an already overly cautious Israel. It is a good thing that Israel continues to fight.

Some of you claim Israel is losing the battle of 'perceptions', ergo the war. What garbage. Wars are won by killing on the ground and Hizbollah is being smashed. Others whine about Lebanon being targeted. Sorry, but the Lebanese permitted this armed force to prosper in its major cities as well as its borders. Something had to give sooner or later. They are now seeing the folly of their inaction.

Israel will always lose the propaganda battle. The military victory matters more, as it deprives Iran and Syria of a useful proxy, not to mention men and materiel on the ground. One hopes that Israel sees this to its conclusion.

Expect an escalation from Hizbollah - prob. a long range missile into Tel Aviv and precisely because they are losing. Qana provides the pretext to CNN, but it will be Damascus and Teheran calling the shots.

Posted by: TD at July 31, 2006 06:50 AM

TD,

Agree with the analysis. Quibble about loss in media not being significant, though. Also have concern about the degree that the Shia are entwined with Hezbollah – how will they be integrated into a Lebanon without Hezbollah?

If you read the previous thread you will see that several posters here essentially share your view.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 07:09 AM

"I'd say that we're watching the elimination of this group as a serious fighting force right now.

One hopes that Israel sees this to its conclusion."

Well said, TD, and I fervently hope you are correct about Hezbollah being eliminated.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 31, 2006 07:14 AM

jdwill - The integration of the Shia without Hizbollah is not a concern of mine. It's an internal matter for Lebanon. If they have to kill each other to sort it out, then so be it - just as long as Israel is not being attacked.

Posted by: TD at July 31, 2006 07:23 AM

Michael,

This is totally off subject, but too bad, it's warranted.

Congratulations, on your position as a fill in over at Instapundit!

That is how I originally got to your site, when you subbed last time. I hope it does you good.

Posted by: Brooklyn at July 31, 2006 07:25 AM

A couple of things

Michael Totten, best commentary on the web w/r/t the war.

Roy El Saghir

I would like nothing more than a couple of hours and cup of coffee with you. Not toconvince you by to understand your point of view. You are on both sides of this horrible horrible war and I find your views fascinating.

And I am saying that as an Israeli.

Posted by: Marty at July 31, 2006 08:02 AM

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0%2C%2C19955774-5007220%2C00.html

Michael check this out...

Posted by: Vlad leshinsky at July 31, 2006 08:53 AM

Here’s something for the Lebanese who are reading and posting here to think about.

I am assuming that you understand that Lebanon is and has been the staging area and battleground of others that would destroy the state of Israel; the PLO from 1968 to 1982, Hezbollah since then. I also believe you understand that the arm that now wields the hand is Iran. I take this thinking one more step and guess that you have some inkling that Iran wants to spread the Shiite dominion and that the Shia of the South and Hezbollah are only the beginning.

I believe a large portion of you know these things based on several Lebanese blogs that I have been reading.

My question to you is; do you want to live under the arm of Iran? What do you think will be the fate of the café society in this future?

I have seen a lot of Lebanese posting gruesome images of war dead. War is barbaric. But consider the barbarism you may face due inaction and acquiescence to the actions of Hezbollah, albeit during ‘peace’.

View this heart wrenching and disturbing preparation for a stoning – and think.

Think carefully. There is a global war between the old way and the new and unfortunately you are on the front line.

My heart aches for the children that died at Qana, but I challenge you to study the face of this woman and realize that she had living children that would live with the loss of her.

There is a memorial to WWII that bears the inscription “Here We Mark The Price Of Freedom”. 1000 dead for each star.

What price are you willing to pay?

Here is an exercise, if you are not faint hearted. Save off the picture at the first link, and open it in a view that expands it. There is quite a bit of resolution here, so you will be able to study her face. Someone risked their life to smuggle out this picture in 1992. Today another woman faces this fate in Iran. Tomorrow, one of you may face such harsh ‘justice’.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 09:42 AM

Boy, i step away for a few hours and all hell breaks loose over here :)

To whomever said "Both Lebanon and Israel are losers"...Well duh! Some of us have been trying to get that very point across for weeks now.

About the 82% support for Hezbollah in Lebanon - or whatever that number is. Don't put too much stock in it. Right now, when the country is under attack (no matter if for valid reasons or not) it is normal for any populace to express support for their compatriots over an external foreign side. Every populace in the world would react the same exact way. I'd be far more curious to hear the numbers once the dust has settled, specially amongst the sunni and christian communities.

As for the guy who posts The integration of the Shia without Hizbollah is not a concern of mine. It's an internal matter for Lebanon. If they have to kill each other to sort it out, then so be it - just as long as Israel is not being attacked.

Have you learned nothing over the past 50 years? It's exactly this "not a concern of mine" that has resulted in the current problems. A civil war in Lebanon (for the sake of this argument) would NOT serve Israel's interests. You really don't want Israel turned into another Iraq, with Al-Qaeda using it as a safe haven and all that jazz...do you? It is in both Israel and Lebanon's interests to have a strong Lebanese state, free of Hezbollah.

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 09:51 AM

Michael:
The attack on the U.N. headquarters was a heads up to the proposed Multi national force that might come to Lebanon-"Come into Lebanon and you will get killed, unless you let Hezbollah operate freely." Lebanon is going to become a Mullahocracy, eventually. Civil War will break out, eventually "world opinion" will demand peace and invite Syria back in to resume some form of occupation, you know the good Muslim on Muslim kind. The low grade war attacks on Israel will go on for the next decade or two. As Michael said on another post "The Cedar Revolution is dead."

Posted by: kevin peters at July 31, 2006 09:59 AM

jdwill,

I can assure neither I, nor a lot of other Lebanese want to live "under the arm of Iran".
I can also assure you that I and a lot of other Lebanese know quite well that we've been the battleground for others, for decades, and that Iran curently wants to spread their dominion over the Middle East. And we don't like it.

This is why I've been trying to get the following point across for the past few weeks: We (Lebanese) are more than willing to take the steps necessary to avoid all this mess, but we DO need help.
I have been of the opinion that the current round of hostilities is NOT helping. I think people are starting to realize that. (Mind you, that doesn't mean Israel didn't have a just reason to respond. But one has to look at the long term strategic consequences of such an action).

I have also stated over and over that the Lebanese alone could not have gotten rid of Hezbollah. As much as the west and Israel would've loved to see that, the dumb refrain of "You should've done it yourselves, but you didn't, so now you must pay" leads us nowhere but further from an actual solution.

Having said that, you're observations and questions are absolutely valid and pertinent. I think EVERYONE knows the questions now. The real hurdle is in finding the ANSWERS. No one seems to have any REALISTIC ones ("nuke em all" doesn't count).

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 10:02 AM

Bad Vilbel

Some of you are mistakenly assuming that Israel's military intervention is aimed at bringing the Lebanese on side. In fact, the Lebanese have never sided with Israel and never will - therefore the ebst Israel can hope for is a secure northern border and a Lebanese government interested in peace, not warfare.

I posted the comment about Shia and Sunni killing each other - in response to another post about the outcome for the Shia without Hizbollah. Please do not put my comment in another context - naturally, I would hope that they don't fight each other and my guess is that they won't.

You say :
''It's exactly this "not a concern of mine" that has resulted in the current problems (for Israel)''

In fact the reverse is true. Israel's genuine concern in implementing UN resolutions, withdrawing from Lebanon, releasing prisoners and trusting the UN to disarm Hizbollah have provided Israel with nothing but terror. Genuine and sincere Israeli concessions to 'Palestinians' and the Lebanese have brought nothing but more death and less security for Israel. Simply out, 'being concerned' does not work. The best policy now is to accept the reality that Israel is surrounded by mortal enemies and to secure the borders, not freelance national security to outsiders.

What am I guessing will happen? Hizbollah will be disarmed and will play a minor, extreme role in Lebanese politics. The Lebanese will reconvene their parliament and Israel as well as the 'international community' will help rebuild the infrastructure. There will always be hatred of Israel but a far greater threat on the northern border.

In the last hour the Israelis have stated that HIzbollah's ability to launch long range missiles is hugely diminished. There has also been a dramatic decrease in smaller rocket/missile fire. Gradually Hiz is being worn down and, barring a spectacular attack on Tel Aviv etc, will soon fade from view, defeated, claiming that they won.

Posted by: TD at July 31, 2006 10:17 AM

TD,

I have made it a point to be fair here, and critcize both sides equally. I would expect the same from you.

When you say: "In fact the reverse is true. Israel's genuine concern in implementing UN resolutions, withdrawing from Lebanon, releasing prisoners and trusting the UN to disarm Hizbollah have provided Israel with nothing but terror. Genuine and sincere Israeli concessions to 'Palestinians' and the Lebanese have brought nothing but more death and less security for Israel. Simply out, 'being concerned' does not work. The best policy now is to accept the reality that Israel is surrounded by mortal enemies and to secure the borders, not freelance national security to outsiders."

I kinda have to stop you right there.
Israel has only started being interested in UN resolutions recently.
Let's see. There's a UN resolution asking Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders. This one has been around for about 30 years and has not been implemented.
There was also a couple of UN resolutions asking Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 1982...This was implemented 18 years later in 2000.

So, let's be honest here. I'm all for disarming Hezbollah, and I'm all for Israel and Lebanon living in peace. But let's not take the high road and pretend that Israel's never violated any international resolutions.

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 31, 2006 10:23 AM

TD,

A couple more things (I was posting in haste):

- Israel is not surrounded by mortal enemies anymore. It's made peace with Jordan and Egypt. It will eventually make peace with Lebanon.
I think at this stage your mortal enemies are Syria and Iran. The threat is shifting from arab-israeli to a more specific "islamo-israeli" threat. I think it is important for both Israel and the US to recognize that we're moving into a new paradigm.

- What am I guessing will happen? Hizbollah will be disarmed and will play a minor, extreme role in Lebanese politics. The Lebanese will reconvene their parliament and Israel as well as the 'international community' will help rebuild the infrastructure. There will always be hatred of Israel but a far greater threat on the northern border.
I think you meant "far lesser threat? And i sure hope your prediction is correct here. I for one, happen to think that is the best formula for both countries.

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 31, 2006 10:28 AM

Am I the only one who stops reading a post as soon as he sees the shiboleth "straw man"?

As near as I can tell it means "I can't believe you disagree with me, let me state my lame opinion again!"

Posted by: moptop at July 31, 2006 11:09 AM

Bad Vilbel,

… dumb refrain of "You should've done it yourselves, but you didn't, so now you must pay" leads us nowhere but further from an actual solution.

True. That is not my message. Right now, this moment, what should be done?

How about some demonstrations to the Lebanese government to take positive steps to subdue (actually remove) and disarm Hezbollah.
Demand the government get off its ass and do something. Just exactly what is their problem. Just put pressure on them. Get some people in the street.
Be generic, protest that all warring idiots leave Lebanon. “Hands off Lebanon”.

I think any arguments about who deserves what are counterproductive and futile. What should matter is getting democratic control of the country. There is potentially a huge price to be paid for not taking some risks now. That is my point.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 11:09 AM

jdwill,

I wasn't referring to you in my comments. Yours have been fairly constructive and rational. You know some other commenters haven't been :)

The trouble I'm seeing here, with the notion that the Lebanese take to the streets, and the govt act against Hezbollah is that it's near impossible at THIS juncture. I think any move against Hezbollah, internatlly, will have to wait till after the guns are silent.
I'm not saying that's what I want, or what you should want, but i think that's the hard reality.
There is simply no way any people or government can move AGAINST an internal force while the country is under attack (be it rightly or wrongly). It's not only political suicide for the Siniora govt. to declare war on part of its populace along side a FOREIGN power, but it's also practically not feasible.

Again, this takes me back to the point I've been making over and over. Israel SHOULD have stopped when Siniora first came out, asked for a cease fire, and pledged to spread the army and disarm Hezbollah. At that point, he had the political capital to do so. As witnessed by his comments yesterday, following Qana, he doesn't have that political capital anymore.

There is simply no way ANY government can go up against its own people while under attack from abroad.

I've used the following examples before: A lot of Americans might disagree with their governments actions in Iraq, but you'd be hard pressed to find a single American who does not support the Troops.
Many Israelis often disagree with their government's actions, but you'd be hard pressed to find a single one who doesn't support the IDF while Katyushas are raining down. Right?

You get the idea.

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 11:19 AM

more tit for tat... and passive aggressive as well...

Michael Smith: Are you capable of anything other than sarcasm, lame straw man arguments, unsupported smears and a general outpouring of venom toward Israel and the U.S.?

Apparently not. I'm sorry that I am not equal to your obviously superior intellect. Thank you for even paying attention to anything I say. I know it must be so frustrating to have to deal with such an inferior wit. Oh, and just for the record, I think I provided plenty of venom for Hezbollah.

Michael Smith: 1) It is partial, limited war that results in perpetual war, because the enemy's will to fight remains intact.

So Israel should take on a billion Muslims and wipe them all out? Carpet bomb Morocco to Indonesia? Because that is what it will take.
Or how about no war at all? Nah... that wouldn't work... no money in that...

2) And all the civilian casualties that result from a free nation defending itself against totalitarian threats are the moral responsibility of the totalitarians that make the war necessary. No civilians can claim the right to remain safe and free, with murderers in their midst, while others are suffering death and terror at the hands of those murderers.

Bullshit. So it's the hostages fault if he does not kill his kidnapper? And why are the kidnappers there in the first place? Things are so simple in Michael Smith's universe.

Michael Smith: I have explained and defended both of these points in detail. If you wish to be participate in a rational exchange of views, you are obligated to address my actual arguments, not ascribe to me outrageous positions that are obviously NOT the same as mine.

But they ARE the same... you just cant see through the smokescreen of your own words... your politspeak veils the utter disregard you have for any life not on your side... like I said before - rent "Fog of War"... You might learn a couple of things. Your absolutist views are exactly what inflames the situation. You believe that you are 100% correct (and so do the extreme among your enemy), that you know the one true way, which is to kill everyone on the other side. That may work in conventional warfare, but not in ideological warfare. Because you end up losing your moral compass, your soul... you can't kill an idea, but you CAN marginalize it. We are all in the bottom of a hole, and your suggestion is that we dig harder...

Michael Smith: If you would like to make an effort at rationality, perhaps you could elaborate on the one suggestion buried in your last outpouring of hostility: please explain how Israel can "marginalize" Hezbollah and how that will stop the rocket attacks and kidnappings.

I already did (and in my defense, I'm not being hostile, I'm being desperate, desperately sad that it has come to this, desperately sad for the innocent on both sides of the fence) - my exact quote was: How about marginalizing groups like Hezbollah instead of helping them gain sympathizers and followers...?
That might be a good start... but that would mean that you'd have to own up to your own crimes and intolerances and make amends...

End terrorism by ending the CAUSE of terrorism: gross injustice. Terrorists are the shitheads who make bread out of this gross injustice and feed it to the hungry and desperate among them. Wiping out mass civilians populations to kill terrorists will only get terrorists to build more bakeries...

Once again, please accept my apologies in advance for not being your intellectual equal. Thank you so much for even considering the opinion of a mere drooling idiot such as I.

Marty - I'd love to have coffee with you... I'm sure I could learn some things from you... If you are in LA... drop me an email...

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 31, 2006 11:27 AM

Bad Vilbel, if you start a blog I will read it and link to it. Good comments, thanks.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2006 11:30 AM

Bad Vilbel,

I think at this stage your mortal enemies are Syria and Iran.

Which also means Hizballah, which also, unfortunately means, (at least a large portion of) Lebanon.

What other country is forced to deal with an aggressive, competent "proxy militia" on its border while the rest of the world winks, nods and yawns?

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 31, 2006 11:38 AM

Bad Vilbel,

In reverse order:

… you'd be hard pressed to find a single American who does not support the Troops.

Poor choice of analogy, I think. Are Hezbollah your ‘troops’?

…no way ANY government can go up against its own people while under attack from abroad.

Whoa. Maybe this is not an accident?

…to declare war on part of its populace along side a FOREIGN power

This is the confusion that is a mortal danger to you. Hezbollah is armed, financed, and directed by a Foreign Power that has designs on you. Israel is a Foreign Power that would be your friend and is in fact assisting you with dealing with Hezbollah.

You have to choose now, IMO.

This Paean to HA ala Reuters is what I am talking about when I say there is a risk that Lebanon will go the other way. That you will then live under the arm(pit) of Iran. At least until either a hot or a cold war between Iran and the West is concluded.

Think Poland, 1945-1990.

What say you?

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 11:38 AM

Michael,

Thank you for the compliment:

I'm afraid it's rather...rough around the edges, but:
http://vilbel.blogspot.com/

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 11:38 AM

jdwill,

Excellent points. And i had indeed thought of that. Apples and Oranges, I know...

I think you're missing my point though. If Iran was actively raining down missiles on Lebanon, i guarantee you most Lebanese would be hating Iran actively.

You know very well I am not trying to JUSTIFY Hezbollah here (I hope you do). I'm simply trying to explain that WHILE the bombs are falling (after they're done is a whole different story), any populace tends to unite against the DIRECT actor, the guy dropping the bombs. The "Why?" and the "How?" tend to be forgotten in the immediate, and revisited later, when things quiet down, and divisions resurface (which they will, rapidly, you have my word on that).

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 11:43 AM

Pull no punches! . . . Israeli motto?

48 hours be dammed! Olmert*s statement to Rice makes it clear to me that Israel has thorough intelligence and plans to take out pre-defined military assets in order to reduce Hezbollah as much as possible.

10 to 14 days seems to be Olmert*s estimate of how long that will take and heaven help any Lebanese woman and children who refuse to leave the area.

Olmert told Rice over the weekend that Israel would need 10 to14 more days to finish its offensive, and Justice Minister Haim Ramon told Army Radio on Monday he did not believe the fighting was over yet.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2006/07/27/1705970-ap.html

http://tinyurl.com/ovt4l

Israel is desperate to get this done. Should there be a face-off between Israel and an opponent like Iran, Israel realizes they cannot have a well equipped Hezbollah at their back. This is an essential security measure that cannot fail.

The plan is here: http://tinyurl.com/r5wwd

Just scroll down past the history for the meat of today*s plan if you are pressed for time. =TG

Posted by: TG at July 31, 2006 11:44 AM

Bad Vilbel,

Simple design is good. Someone needs to think up a catchy subtitle, though.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 11:46 AM

Bad Vilbel,

Have to work now or else. Hope to continue discussion some other time.

News Item Via Pajamas Media

Refugees on the Move

I am wondering what the last two lines mean. Where is home? Is the return happening now or later? Is this possibly a Hezbollah guerrilla bugging out?

By late afternoon Monday, hundreds of Lebanese refugees fleeing from the south had finally made it in their cars to the outskirts of Beirut. "We will go back home!" shouted one young man, making the victory sign from the top of a pick-up as it whizzed by.
Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 11:58 AM

Going back to the original article, a movement of unquestioning myrmidons who are willing to sit in a building for days without questioning is a movement which, in all liklihood, simply does not know what is going on except at the highest levels.

I leave the question of what is going on in Lebanon to those with more direct knowledge but anybody from that movement spouting off about how well they are doing should be treated as merely spouting the party line without knowledge because, in all likelihood, they are.

Posted by: TM Lutas at July 31, 2006 12:27 PM

I think we're all in the dark to a certain extent, TM.

I saw a report on the BBC that some of Hezbollah's rockets are in fact hitting IDF positions on the border...yet these rocket attacks are being reported in America as just failed attempts to kill Israeli civilians...

Posted by: monkyboy at July 31, 2006 12:36 PM

jdwill,

"We will go back home!" shouted one young man, making the victory sign from the top of a pick-up as it whizzed by.

It's nothing more than a typical comment anyone would make when fleeing their home.
No different than New Orleans residents after feeling Katrina: "We will rebuild our homes. blahblahblah."

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 31, 2006 12:48 PM

R. El. Saghir said:

So Israel should take on a billion Muslims and wipe them all out? Carpet bomb Morocco to Indonesia? ........But they ARE the same... you just cant see through the smokescreen of your own words... your politspeak veils the utter disregard you have for any life not on your side..

Once again you caricature my position into something you can attack rather than discuss what I actually advocate. So either your reading comprehension skills are very poor (which I do not believe for a moment) or you are so dominated by your emotions that you are unable to rein them in and read carefully.

What I have proposed is that the U.S. do the same thing it did in WWII: use overwhelming force to destroy the enemy.

In this case the enemy is the beating heart of the axis of jihad -- Iran. Taking out Iran(and its allies if necessary) will eliminate the greatest state sponsor of terrorism on the globe and make it clear that we will not tolerate states that sponsor terrorism. (Israel and anyone else that wants to help in this effort is welcome, but I don't think anyone else can do it alone). We may have to eliminate other states that currently sponsor terrorism, but I doubt it. I think Iran will be enough, if we do it right. I further claim that this is a completely moral response to a mortal threat. But here is how you describe my position:

You prefer to kill 'em all... perpetual war... damn the consequences, damn the morality, and damn the loss of your own soul.

If you are unable to see the distinction between what I have actually proposed versus your description, then no communication is possible between us because apparently, to you, words do not have specific meanings.

Bullshit. So it's the hostages fault if he does not kill his kidnapper?

Once again, that is not what I said. I did not say it was the hostages fault. I said it is the kidnapper’s fault. What part of that do you not understand?

There are three parties involved in this issue: Hezbollah, the Lebanese people, and Israel. Of the three, it is Hezbollah that is creating the threat and launching the attacks that necessitate a military response on Israel's part -- therefore, it is Hezbollah that must be held responsible for the consequences. You cannot twist that into claiming that I blame the Lebanese people. I blame Hezbollah.


Your absolutist views are exactly what inflames the situation. You believe that you are 100% correct (and so do the extreme among your enemy), that you know the one true way, which is to kill everyone on the other side. That may work in conventional warfare, but not in ideological warfare.

How interesting. You are condemning, with absolute certainty, the very idea of being absolute and certain, thereby contradicting yourself. By the way, I never advocated “killing everyone on the other side”.

I asked you to explain how Israel should “marginalize” Hezbollah and how that would stop the rocket attacks and kidnappings. The only thing resembling an answer that I can see is this:

End terrorism by ending the CAUSE of terrorism: gross injustice. Terrorists are the shitheads who make bread out of this gross injustice and feed it to the hungry and desperate among them.

What “gross injustice”? The stated goal of the global jihadists is the extermination of Israel and America. Is the existence of Israel and America a “gross injustice”?

Wiping out mass civilians populations to kill terrorists will only get terrorists to build more bakeries...

That sure sounds like an absolutist statement, like you believe you are 100% correct and I am 100% wrong.

But setting aside for a moment the fact that you are making the sort of absolutists claims that you previously condemned, how do you know that wiping out mass civilian populations will create more terrorists? The closest we have come to "wiping out mass civilian populations" was in Japan and Germany in WWII. Did that create more terrorists? No.

Regarding the use of overwhelming force in war, I am still waiting for someone to explain how a war can be won without destroying the enemy’s will to fight.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 31, 2006 01:17 PM

Assad is on the TV saying that he wont stand by and let the Lebanese suffer and has placed Syria's defence forces on high alert.

This is perfect for Israel. Part of Israel's strategy is to draw Syria in to the fight. They do this by feigning weakness on the border - and it is feigned, make no mistake - and exploiting the usual media speculation which overhypes Hizbollah and understates Israel's superiority.

Let's be clear - any agressive move by Syria will result in them being smashed - no army, no air force, nada. The hope is that with Syria being defeated, Iran will come in - providing the pretext for the Americans to destroy the mulah's power base. Suddenly the Iraq venture is being seen in its proper strategic light, as it has split Syria and Iran from each other.

Assad has been playing the arab street and is steadily losing face doing nothing while Hizbollah is slowly being crushed. Sooner or later - probably sooner - Hiz will run out of rockets and men. That much is certain. If Baby Assad is smart, he will stay out of the conflict and accept the loss of Lebanon and his proxy. But he aint smart and therefore I expect he will fall straight into Israel's hands.

Posted by: TD at July 31, 2006 01:29 PM

TD,

Your scenario is highly unlikely. Assad's "alert" is mere posturing. And neither Israel nor the USA want a full scale war with Syria or Iran at this juncture.

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 31, 2006 01:33 PM

Apples and Oranges...

You are advocating fighting an unconventional war using conventional means... it simply won't work. Any military historian will tell you this. So now you want to wipe out Iran, who by the way is also full of progressive pro-western Muslims (they listen to 50 Cent and wear Levis fer crissakes) living under the yoke of an oppressive regime... and that, according to you will "solve" the problem...

It will just further inflame aggression...

There lies your error - the problem will merely shift somewhere else, where attacks will continue to be launched... that is the reason I described your position as "perpetual war"... where you will eventually have to kill everybody... in order to achieve your stated goal you'd have to wipe out half the Islamic world... this isn't Germany and Japan my friend, those ideas simply do not apply here...

you don't seem to understand the consequences of the actions you are proposing... much like the current administration's folly in Iraq... always planning for the best case scenario instead of the REALITY OF THE SITUATION.

As far as the kidnapper/hostages are concerned... you do justify the killing of the hostages to get at the kidnappers. You seem to have no moral issues with that. The IDF knows damn well that when they hit a building full of civilians that Hezbollah has long departed the scene. Blaming Hezbollah won't make the innocent feel any better about their fate. Israel is not going to wipe out Hezbollah militarily... all that is going to happen is that a fresh generation of otherwise moderate Arabs will take it upon themselves to become Jihadists...

I challenge you to show me one example of where a powerful insurgency has been defeated militarily. I'm all ears. Please prove me wrong.

It is interesting that you would leap to the conclusion that I meant the mere existence of Israel and the US is a "gross injustice"... quite the contrary... among the Arab mainstream it is not our existence that is the problem, but our repeated acts of killing, theft, oppression, and humiliation... if we treated these people like we would want to be treated, the terrorists would be marginalized and dealt with harshly by their own... win over the populace and the terrorists will fade into the abyss...

Why can't we use our powers for good instead of evil?

;-)

If you can't see out guilt in these matters, well then, we have nothing more to speak about.

You cannot kill an idea. You can only discredit it by actions of good faith.

And never did I say I was correct... for all I know you may be right, and I may be wrong... but at least I have the sense to understand that this is the first step into a constructive diologue...

one last time... rent "Fog of War"

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 31, 2006 01:57 PM

Bad Vilbel

On the contrary, both Israel and the Americans want a fight with Syria and Iran now. That's the major strategic thrust behind this operation. Forget Hizbollah , they are almost finished. The aim is to draw Syria into the fight asap, as Iran can do very little to protect Baby Assad.

Posted by: TD at July 31, 2006 02:38 PM

Yeah, well, there definitely seem to be some elements in the U.s.government that do want a war with Syria and Iran. And since after the Iraq debacle they have zero chance of selling such a wonderful venture to the American vote, they'll settle for getting Israel to do the bombing... and to be the recipients of the inevitable return fire...

I think the Israelis are beyond crazy to go along with this neocon fantasy, though. After the previous Lebanese invasion they must know that the very last thing they should be drawn into is another ground invasion of Lebanon, and therefore that the one thing Hezbollah must want the Israelis to do is a ground invasionof Lebanon. If the Israelis could not take out all the rocket launchers by airpower alone -- and they must have known that was impossible -- what on earth was the point of trying, failing, and then discovering themselves faced with either a doomed invasion or an escalation of war with Syria?

They should say they won and stop fighting now, because militarily it can only get worse.

Posted by: Diana at July 31, 2006 02:46 PM

Wrong.

Think about it for a minute:
- Syria does not have a viable replacement for Assad (whether we like it or not) except perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel would rather keep Assad in power than have another Iraq next door, or a Muslim Brotherhood run Syria.
This is one of the main reasons they've been very careful NOT to draw Syria into this conflict. Peretz has repeatedly reassured Syria that Israel had no intention of going in that direction.
This is also a source of weakness for Israel at the bargaining table. The US and Israel don't have much to pressure Syria with right now, which is why they've both resorted to "If Syria would stop supporting this "shit", this mess would stop." (to paraphrase GW Bush).

Both Israel and the US have been clear about blaming Iran and Syria for Hezbollah's actions. If they wanted a war, they would have started it by now. Instead, they wage war in Lebanon and posture towards Syria and Iran with verbal comments like today's comments from GW Bush: "Syria and Iran must cease supporting Hezbollah."

Yeah, thanks George...Or else what? There's no leverage to those threats, sadly. The US has said this before, and Assad's response has been basically "Oh yeah? Make me."

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 31, 2006 02:47 PM

Once again you caricature my position into something you can attack rather than discuss what I actually advocate.

For the benefit of moptop, this is pretty neatly the definition of a straw man argument.

one last time... rent "Fog of War"

You promise?

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 04:01 PM

jdwill, Looking at that wikipedia link you just posted:

The origin of the film's lesson concept, these eleven came from McNamara's book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam:

1.We misjudged then — and we have since — the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries … and we exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions.
2.We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience … We totally misjudged the political forces within the country.
3.We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values.
4.Our judgments of friend and foe alike reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders.
5.We failed then — and have since — to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces and doctrine…
6.We failed as well to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.
7.We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement … before we initiated the action.
8.After the action got under way and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course … we did not fully explain what was happening and why we were doing what we did.
9.We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people's or country's best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose.
10.We did not hold to the principle that U.S. military action … should be carried out only in conjunction with multinational forces supported fully (and not merely cosmetically) by the international community.
11.We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions … At times, we may have to live with an imperfect, untidy world.

Amazingly enough, every single one of those points applies today, both in Iraq and Lebanon/Israel/Gaza.

I thought history was meant to serve as a set of lessons to our leaders. Clearly, they learned nothing from the mistakes of the past.

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 31, 2006 04:13 PM

If you want to dredge up a guerilla war to make points, please don't use Vietnam. The story is still way too polarized, and Wikipedia is hardly an accurate source. Almost every point cited applies primarily to the Johnson administration.

Although the most popular views of Vietnam seem to stop at 1968, there is a lot more of the story to tell. There is good reason to believe that had Nixon not fallen to Watergate, Vietnam today would be like South Korea today, and for the same reasons. Popular myths about it being a locally supported insurgency are just that - myths.

Hence comparing Hezbollah, which enjoys widespread support among Shia, with the VC, who had little support in South Vietnam (as demonstrated dramatically by their lack of support when they took Hue, among other thihngs), is silly. Almost every point in the list applies only under Johnson/Westmoreland. We adapted, because it was a long war and under a leadership change, we had the time. Israel has little time to adapt in this current conflict.

Points 7 and 8 are valid. Point 10 is utter nonsense. The rest were valid for a time, but only for a time.

The situations are different. Very different. The lessons are different. Let's not mix them up.

Posted by: John Moore at July 31, 2006 04:54 PM

Bad Vilbel,

First, Robert McNamara has engaged some history revision:

a. The Japan mega bombing was all LeMay's fault (RM was a statistician who made his nut by increasing the efficiency of killing during WWII)
b. We lucked out on the Cuba Missile Crisis (he was cut out of the loop)
c. He was one of the mechanists that tried to run Vietnam like a mathematical model (war of attrition)
d. He was thrown overboard by LBJ / Resigned out of conviction that his own plan was wrong – you choose

He has grasped at theories that others handed him after his own failed career and engaged in self-flagellation to be acclaimed by the left as an eminence grise.

Second, the 10 points of advice in the movie are maybe OK, but don’t jump out at me as amazing in their application to the current conflict. Some are mundane, others just don’t apply.

Now what RM is being used for here, IMO, is to push a more modern concept of proportionality than that outlined in Just War and which is being heavily debated – Callimachus ran a very heavily commented thread on this site - Shadows.

I don’t have a ready made position on proportionality beyond what is given in the Wiki link and perhaps the medical analogy of taking decisive action that hurts (say amputation) in order to avoid graver harm (death by gangrene) by ‘coddling’ the patient.

The RM model is not clearly set forth; it is as are many leftist arguments, arrived at emotionally. But, in this model, it was wrong for the US to bomb Japan as it did, because at this point they were on the ropes and unable to defend themselves, and would have collapsed anyway (they say). This is the RM lesson, and I don’t really agree with it. The position the US took was better them in firestorms than us on the Japanese beaches. Context is everything here, read up on the Rape of Nanking for example.

What we are debating in the Israeli / [Your Arab Revanchist / Islamist Group Here] conflict is different because the oil in the Middle East makes the power structure very complicated. The world community will not allow the Israelis to really crush their enemies and probably would stop a rout in the other direction as well (though in 1948, I don’t think that was the case).

So we are left with deterrence.

However, I think the Middle Eastern model of punishment as deterrence is faulty. I believe the Israeli’s have been drawn into this model from fighting essentially tribal groups since 1920 where this was the accepted model. Punishment as deterrence seems to break down when modern sensitivities hold the conflict in stasis.

From the other side, it’s a game of endless do overs, with an endless supply of cheap people that are happily traded to kill a people that highly value their lives and have a smaller pool to work with.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 05:18 PM

Syria is not going to go near Lebanon,even if Israel sends in ground troops. They will try to supply Hezbollah, Hezbollah will lose men and rockets but they will get replaced. Hezbollah is eventually going to take over Lebanon and set up an Iran style Mullahocracy.They will slowly eliminate or cow any political opposition. If a multi-national force is sent in it will either sit and watch the action or if they decide to use force they will get blown up and eventually leave. And Syria will take their place, for the sake of "stability" or some other cynical form of U.N. double speak.Hell, France is already practicing by praising Iran's "stabilizing" prescence. Syria and Iran will use Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanon to wage war and stay out of the fight. And they are going to win. They don't have to hold territory, they just have to keep up the killing. The west doesn't have the stomach to fight them and the countries in the Middle East are going to be under either Sunni or Shia dictatorships. The moderates in the region will either leave or hunker down for the long darkness.

Posted by: kevin peters at July 31, 2006 05:37 PM

There is much complaining about Israeli morals in this thread. I choose not to confront anyone, so no names.

This is a comment from a site in Canada that balances the morals question somewhat.

.judeoscope.ca/article.php3?id_article=0429

"30 July 2006
A Lebanese Shia explains how Hezbollah uses human shields

Judeoscope
In a letter to the editor of the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel a Lebanese Shia explains how after Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon, Hezbollah stored rockets in bunkers in his town and built a school and residence over it.

I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajun that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me.

After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to have the say in our town and all other towns.

Received as successful resistance fighters, they appeared armed to the teeth and dug rocket depots in bunkers in our town as well.

The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers!

A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rocket depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians.

These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.

Dr. Mounir Herzallah
Berlin-Wedding

.tagesspiegel.de/politik/archiv/30.07.2006/2660279.asp
(translated from the German by David Ouellette)"
Posted by: Buffalo Bean at July 31, 2006 12:30 AM

Borrowed with gratitude from SmallDeadAnimals =TG

Posted by: TG at July 31, 2006 05:39 PM

R El Sighir said:

You are advocating fighting an unconventional war using conventional means... it simply won't work. Any military historian will tell you this.

In the first place, this form of argument is called the appeal to authority. It is invalid.

In the second place, my proposal is not that we simply try "conventional war" against“unconventional war”; I am not simply advocating the use of overwhelming force against Lebanon to kill Hezbollah. I am advocating the elimination of the states that make the “unconventional war” possible -- and that is, in fact, an "unconventional" approach.

In the third place, if it is true that history does not apply because, as you say, “ this isn't Germany and Japan my friend, those ideas simply do not apply here…” then history is ruled out and the military historian would have nothing to say.

In the fourth place, and most important, we must discriminate between the way WWII was fought versus what was done in Vietnam, Korea, Gulf War I and, now, Iraq. You cannot lump them together as all being conventional warfare. There are huge differences in the way WWII was fought and these later campaigns. More on this later.

It will just further inflame aggression…

Why? Because you say so?

There lies your error - the problem will merely shift somewhere else, where attacks will continue to be launched... that is the reason I described your position as "perpetual war"... where you will eventually have to kill everybody... in order to achieve your stated goal you'd have to wipe out half the Islamic world…

How will attacks “continue to be launched” if the states that supply, feed, house, equip and train the attackers can no longer do so? Without Iran to supply Hezbollah with thousands of rockets, training in their use and funds to support the terrorists who transport, assemble and fire the weapons -- and remember, these people do not generally have day jobs -- how will they be able to continue attacking? What other state will begin supporting them after seeing Iran eliminated for the same act?

And what is true of rockets as a weapon is even truer of nuclear, biological or chemical agents. The development of such weapons requires even greater state support. Please explain where that support will come from after we eliminate Iran.

Bear in mind that I am not advocating regime change; I am advocating regime destruction along with all of the supporting infrastructure that generates the revenue that makes a weapons development program possible.

A word about Iraq.

Iraq illustrates the inherent problem of trying to fight limited, partial war for regime change. What did we do on the front end of this war? We declared that our targets were limited to regime structures, top regime members, and the Iraq military. Our fight, we said, is not with the Iraqi people, for whom we only want the best.

Translation: to all who wish to resist the American occupation, here is what you should do. Take off your uniforms and dress as civilians. Transport all guns, ammunition, mortars, artillery shells, rations, etc to private homes or schools or mosques or hospitals because these will not be attacked. Contact Syria and Iran for assistance, they are also not targets. Maximize civilian casualties among the Iraqi population since the Americans claim to care so much about them, and make sure Al Jazeera and all the western media get plenty of pictures of dead women and children. Have a happy insurgency!

When you declare the safe zones and the limits of what you are willing to do to win, you simply tell the enemy where to go and what to do.

We should now be surprised that Iranian mass-produced IEDs and shaped charge weapons are being deployed against us? See this: http://www.iranpolicy.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=151&Itemid=1

If you want a reason to condemn America, here it is. Iran is arming and fueling the insurgency against our boys and we do nothing about it.

As far as the kidnapper/hostages are concerned... you do justify the killing of the hostages to get at the kidnappers. You seem to have no moral issues with that.

I have absolutely no problem with it if the kidnappers are actively murdering other people.

The IDF knows damn well that when they hit a building full of civilians that Hezbollah has long departed the scene.

I don’t know this and neither do you. If you are going to level an accusation of that sort, you are obliged to back it up.

I challenge you to show me one example of where a powerful insurgency has been defeated militarily. I'm all ears. Please prove me wrong.

It is disingenuous to first rule out my historical examples of Japan and Germany on the grounds that the middle east is unique and such history does not apply -- and then turn around and claim that the lack of a historical example of defeating an insurgency is proof it cannot be done. You are trying to have it both ways.

So you have to make up your mind. Is history admissible or not? If it is, then I’ll give you a very good example of a determined insurgency that got whipped: the Confederacy during the American Civil War. And the way the Union won is also instructive. Sherman’s destruction of civilian infrastructure and population in the South eventually broke the morale of the rebels and they surrendered. Plans for a guerilla campaign were abandoned when it became obvious that the Union troops would so annihilate the south that there would be nothing left to go back to even if the rebels were victorious.

Now, go ahead and scream that Dixie isn’t the middle east and that the rebels were not Islamic terrorists and so the whole thing proves nothing -- but if you do, don’t ask for any more historical examples or try to use their absence as proof of anything.

among the Arab mainstream it is not our existence that is the problem, but our repeated acts of killing, theft, oppression, and humiliation...

Please give us examples of the killing, theft, oppression and humiliation we have inflicted on the Arabs.

if we treated these people like we would want to be treated, the terrorists would be marginalized and dealt with harshly by their own... win over the populace and the terrorists will fade into the abyss…

Really? Then why didn’t Hezbollah fade away after Israel withdrew from Lebanon? Why is every Israeli concession met with increasing terrorism? Please give me an example of where such a thing has happened with Islamic totalitarians.

You cannot kill an idea. You can only discredit it by actions of good faith. What killed Nazism, Japanese Imperialism and slavery in America? Please give an example of a “good faith action” that would “discredit” the idea of global Islamic domination and cause the jihadists to go home and accept peaceful co-existence.

And never did I say I was correct... for all I know you may be right, and I may be wrong…

Well, that statement takes the cake. If you haven’t been saying that you are correct and I am wrong, then what have you been saying and why?

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 31, 2006 05:49 PM

You dance quite well... considering you aren't wearing any shoes...

Your arguments simply aren't realistic (my opinion)
You don't understand human nature, nor do you understand the Arab world, nor do you understand the Islamic mindset. These people will fight us to their last remaining soul. Are you prepared to do the same? Then pick up a gun.
Yeah, I think not. You are trying to fit your western thought process onto the mindset of another culture, a culture you seem to be clueless about (no insult there, not your fault I am sure)
This is the same mistake we are making in Iraq, and Palestine, and Lebanon, and Irag, and and and...

I have another movie for you to rent... "The Battle of Algiers"

I can go round and round with you all day, and if you don't see the screamingly blatant fallacies in your arguments or you won't admit how we in the west have steadfastly abused Arabs, Africans, and South/Central Americans... well... I can't help you... perhaps you need to read some history... go do some homework that isn't based upon the Western mindset... or if you want an educated wetern mindset, read some books by Robert Baer...

Thanks again for spending such a liberal amount of time with someone you consider to be so below your standard of intellect... it is good of you to share your vast knowledge and wisdom with dullards such as myself.

As for your diatribe, I have one last perfect rebuttal for you...

Dude, you really need to get laid...

wink wink

;-)

Posted by: R. El Saghir at July 31, 2006 06:44 PM

Bad Vilbel,

You know, I took a closer look at the 10 ‘life lessons’ that the eminent Robert McNamara has handed down to us and I am less impressed than ever. In fact I find large portions dubious and risible.

1. The human race will not eliminate war in this century but we can reduce war, the level of killing, by adhering to the principles of a just war, in particular of proportionality.

Depends how you define it. See my previous comment.

2. The indefinite combinations of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will lead to the destruction of nations.

MAD worked, so far. You could argue it prevented large scale conventional conflict and saved lives. This is an open ended question (I hope).

3. We are the most powerful nation in the world … But we are not omniscient. … we should not proceed unilaterally except …

Read world history. If the tables were turned? Say Russia? You could also launch into a long long long discussion of whether or not the US is a classical empire and how empires must behave.

4. Moral principles are often ambiguous guides to foreign policy and defense policy, but surely we can agree that we should establish as a major goal of U.S. foreign policy and, indeed, of foreign policy across the globe : the avoidance in this century of the carnage--160 million dead--caused by conflict in the 20th century.

You can agree with this for many reasons, not just moral. And it has been a goal and it has been achieved.

5. We, the richest nation in the world, have failed in our responsibility to our own poor and to the disadvantaged across the world to help them advance their welfare in the most fundamental terms of nutrition, literacy, health, and employment.

This is risible. The poor in the 20th vs. any century, you name it. Go back a hundred years and you have mass starvation and epidemics that percentage wise would make your brain melt today.

6. Corporate executives must recognize there is no contradiction between a soft heart and a hard head. Of course, they have responsibilities to their employees, their customers and to society as a whole.

I think this was a personal RM item. Pabulum. I work in a corporation, they will say anything, watch what they do.

7. President Kennedy believed a primary responsibility of a president--indeed "the" primary responsibility of a president--is to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible.

Strange: Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis (remember the Turkish connection?)

8. War is a blunt instrument by which to settle disputes between or within nations, and economic sanctions are rarely effective. Therefore, we should build a system of jurisprudence based on the International Court--that the U.S. has refused to support--which would hold individuals responsible for crimes against humanity.

This is a string of non sequiturs with a damp spongy lie in the middle. Yech! Seriously, how long would the ICC last? Until the first power player decided that the rules didn’t really apply to them. Ref: France, economic rules, EU.

9. If we are to deal effectively with terrorists across the globe, we must develop a sense of empathy--I don't mean "sympathy" but rather "understanding" to counter their attacks on us and the Western World.

I actually think there is something there – know your enemy, know what motivates him. Fortunately, the Jihadists are very forthcoming in their doctrine. Its all over the web.

10. One of the greatest dangers we face today is the risk of mass destruction as a result of the breakdown of the Non-Proliferation Regime. We--the U.S. are contributing to that breakdown.

How? Should we bother to mention that Russian renegades, Pakistani’s and North Koreans are running a frantic swap meet in the back room?
Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 07:03 PM

Quick question: how many Lebanese will Hezbollah have to kill in order for the Lebanese to understand that a Concordat with Hezbollah is a bad idea, from their POV?

How much will Hezbollah have to "settle scores" before the lesson is learned?

If history is any guide, it's at least tens of thousands . . .

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg at July 31, 2006 07:16 PM

I'll certainly read Bad's blog, too. I think he's incredibly smart, and so smart he's capable of completely missing the point.

I don't really mean that as a personal insult; I do mean that as an observation about how the Lebanese badly need to change their collective paradigm.

(And, for those who have asked, no, I'm not Joel C. Rosenberg. I'm the other one.)

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg at July 31, 2006 07:19 PM

jdwill, I'm confused. If you think McNamara is such a dope, why did you recommend seeing "Fog of War"? Am I missing something?

Posted by: vlad at July 31, 2006 07:21 PM

jdwill,

You notice I didn't quote those same 10 points you quoted because I agree they seem somewhat dubious.

The ones I listed had a lot more to do about the US not understanding the cultures and underlying dynamics of the countries we've tried to pacify (for lack of a better term). I think THAT is the salient point in the McNamara stuff I listed. And I don't care to defend McNamara and his other accomplishments or lack thereof, that's besides the point, i'm sticking to a set of statements that made sense to me here. I'll restate, with some commentary added:

1. exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions.

I think this one applies to Iraq. (Not so much Lebanon).

2. We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience … We totally misjudged the political forces within the country.

I think this one is key to both Iraq and Lebanon today. When I hear Bush speak about the middle east, and Iran and Syria and Lebanon. I sense a huge disconnect as to his grasp of the internal dynamics of local politics. This was very clear to me around the time of the Cedar Revolution last year. I've also seen this same lack of "getting it" applied to Iraq and Afghanistan over the past couple of years.

3.We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values.
and
4. 4.Our judgments of friend and foe alike reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders.

Again. This resonates today with this whole "march to freedom and democracy" we hear coming from Washington. As i said elsewhere, noble thoughts, but sometimes, these concepts don't translate very well in the miasma of middle east politics.

5.We failed then — and have since — to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces and doctrine…

This one has been on display for the past 3 years in Iraq. How long did it take the current US command to recognize that it needed to be fighting an insurgency? 2? 3 YEARS?
Israel is also coming to see that sometimes, technological superiority (read F-16s and whatnot) doesn't necessarily win you the war (although it might win you the battle).

and lastly

6.We failed as well to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.

Again, see Iraq. See Afghanistan. See Lebanon.

Don't get me wrong (and I know some who read this will do just that). I am not here defending who is right and who is wrong. This is not about whether Israel was justified in responding to Hezbollah (They are) or whether the US was justified in going to Iraq (maybe?). This is about the methods and strategies and tactics employed. There seems to be a certain lack of forethought (despite all the very capable military planning, and whatnot) apparent even today. All I'm saying is: Previous conflicts have taught us some lessons. Why aren't we using these lessons? Why are we making the same mistakes made in the past with this stubborn sense that this time, things might work out differently? They won't!

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 07:22 PM

vlad,

That wasn't me. "You promise?" was intended as a joke. See preceding 3 or 4 references recommending it. Or not, it wasn't that funny.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 07:28 PM

Joel Rosenberg,

No offense taken. I don't claim to know everything or always get the point others are making. I'm a fallible human being, who's not even an expert on a lot of this. I just happen to have lived in the area for my formative years.

You say: Quick question: how many Lebanese will Hezbollah have to kill in order for the Lebanese to understand that a Concordat with Hezbollah is a bad idea, from their POV?

I don't know about other Lebanese. The shia specifically. But I can tell you that this here Lebanese fellow (me) has never thought that a concordat with Hezbollah is a good idea. I've hated those guys since 1982 and have never stopped hating them.
I'd like for them to go away. Vanish into thin air or go to hell. I blame the current hostilities on them and them alone.

I simply happen to think that the current response by Israel is not working and will not produce the result we all want. And I am voicing that opinion. Nothing more.

And my hatred of HA doesn't mean I enjoy watching my country burning. So forgive me my anger and frustration.

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 07:28 PM

Bad Vilbel,

Syria does not have a viable replacement for Assad (whether we like it or not) except perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood.

I think this is spot on. So was the rest of that post. Are you picking up on Spengler?

You notice I didn't quote those same 10 points you quoted because I agree they seem somewhat dubious.

Well crap. That page which shall not be linked again has too many ‘lessons’. Three sets to be precise. I took the wrong one. Good exercise for me, though.

I think John Moore addressed this set pretty well up thread. I won’t add much except that:

1. We misjudged then — and we have since — the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries …

seems a very insular statement given the fact that the Islamists have been very open about their intentions. And its too late tonight to start on Iraq. There is a very complicated argument to be made there.

I've also seen this same lack of "getting it" applied to Iraq and Afghanistan over the past couple of years.

It’s a dialog, ‘getting it’ is a two way street. Comprende? This is not personal, but I will go as far to say that huge portions of what I read from the Arab world show a stupendous disconnect with reality. We will have to keep trying from both sides.

We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values.

Again. A two way street. Bin Laden underestimated the USA. My main point here is that there is a larger war of which Lebanon’s liberation (and that is how I see it) is only a part. Washington often sounds tone deaf to me as well, though. They seem a rabble at times. Often there will be two steps forward, one back.

This one has been on display for the past 3 years in Iraq. How long did it take the current US command to recognize that it needed to be fighting an insurgency? 2? 3 YEARS?

Michael Smith addresses this pretty eloquently up thread. I have some disagreements about total war, though. Again, it’s too late to start on Iraq tonight.

This is about the methods and strategies and tactics employed. There seems to be a certain lack of forethought (despite all the very capable military planning, and whatnot) apparent even today.

Google and read Michael Yon. The US military is very adaptive and many of the mistakes are being rectified. The problem of the Middle East has been building since 1917. That’s when the stasis was molded. Patience will be required. Participation would be good, too.

Best wishes and goodnight.

Posted by: jdwill at July 31, 2006 08:07 PM

jdwill,

All your points are well taken (and spot on). You're a good man. And it's been a pleasure.

Patience is indeed the key here. That's why I got quite incensed about the Lebanese government only being given a year to deal with Hezbollah.
Not the point you were making, i know, but that rationale still applies. Lots of patience will be needed by all sides now and in the future.

Sadly, a lot of the people making decisions often seem way too shortsighted (in my humble opinion).

Posted by: bad vilbel at July 31, 2006 08:20 PM

Stacy wrote the bulk of my post at 0554. :~>

I want the killing to stop.

I've wanted it to stop since 1983.

And it becomes more brilliantly clear that that is only going to happen when the mainspring of the killing is shattered to the point that it will never drive anything again.

It will happen. Stacy is right.

Why do they do it?

Everybody slams Americans because they want the fast solution. We've had decades of murder, years of death porn in our living rooms via Rueters and al Jazeera headchoppers I mean stringers...

There will come a point where enough of us say "enough". If Democracy and freedom and self determination don't get the job done, well, we've got other tools in the box. Pricey, but only in cash and not our blood.

We've got plenty of cash.

And the saddest thing is, that will be the intellectual core of the argument. When the push becomes the last shove.

Why do they do it?

Because they'd rather kill than live.

Posted by: TmjUtah at July 31, 2006 08:23 PM

Let me clarify, in case it wasn't clear before--I DON'T want genocide to become the solution. I am just afraid that if state-sponsored terrorists have a long enough run, it will happen. Let's all remember that a scant 60 years ago, the world's most advanced democracy deliberately destroyed entire cities in Germany and Japan in a bid to break the will of their governments. If a Hamas or a Hezbollah is armed with modern, highly destructive weapons and can't be dealt with any other way, the day will arrive when the polities of previously civilized nations will take the decision to hold the entire peoples of those regions accountable for the bloodthirsty actions of the few, and the world will be poorer (though safer) and sadder for it. God willing, may a better answer arrive.

Posted by: Stacy at July 31, 2006 09:05 PM

Joel Rosenberg said: how many Lebanese will Hezbollah have to kill in order for the Lebanese to understand that a Concordat with Hezbollah is a bad idea, from their POV?

Joel, again: Israel is killing those Lebanese, make no mistake.

Thanks

Posted by: Lira at July 31, 2006 09:08 PM

Stacy -

I don't condone genocide, either. Our common enemy does, though.

They will never have the technological nor military nor economic clout to actually win, though. They do have the capability to destabilize civilized societies around the world now, though, and their capabilities will continue to expand the longer they live on the end of the world's fuel supply.

A few here. A score there. This week it's Iraqi Chamber of Commerce personnel in Iraq, Lebanese civilians, the odd Thai schoolteacher, and Israeli soldiers at the front and Israeli plumbers in the rear. Oh, and Jewish ladies in Seattle. Next week it will be somebody else. Singles, dozens, scores, sometimes hundreds, and on genuine candy - in- the- street days, thousands. Not might be - will be.

It's been fifty years, and only the pace has changed.

In terms of logistical prep and preparation of the battlespace, I judge the Israelis intend to be able to end this fight somewhere north of the Litani. And given the right set of circumstances, a bit further east than anyone is thinking about right now.

The best thing the Lebanese government could do would be to covertly escape Beirut, appeal for a NATO intervention with the explicit goal of ridding their country of Hezbollah and Syria, and arriving at a demarcation line with the Israelis. They could choose a side, instead of trying to flap that sad, cowardly victim card there on the blue felt table.

Won't happen, though.

"Israel is killing those Lebanese, make no mistake."

Yes. Yes, they certainly are. Israel is certainly killing Lebanese people, and Hezbollah is killing Lebanese people who don't show the proper comittment to the cause. And as long as Lebanon hosts Hezbollah, more will continue to die.

Posted by: TmjUtah at July 31, 2006 09:39 PM

Just heard German television make the point that Hizbollah is using ambulances to move weapons, as we have seen others do in videos. Not been reported by our journos, why if Israelis shoot at ambulances does the western press not say that this could be the reason.

Any further information on this barabric practice.

But then being Germany they went on to point out that Israel was losing didn't know what Hizbollah what where etc Hizbollah was doig so should cease.

Usual code for surrender and die. Europe has some seriously unpleasant memes prevalent in their society that they need to come to terms with.

Posted by: Ros at August 1, 2006 12:35 AM

I am unable to relate to a people who throw their Sri Lankan maids out on the street or leave them behind. Or who leave the old behind when they move themselves to safety.

Posted by: Ros at August 1, 2006 02:09 AM

R El Sighir said

You don't understand human nature, nor do you understand the Arab world, nor do you understand the Islamic mindset. These people will fight us to their last remaining soul.

So let them fight. As long as they are limited to rifles and mortars and suicide bombs, the damage they can do is limited. The damage they can do to American is even more limited. And we can keep them at that level indefinitely -- provided we act now to stop Iran and don’t let people like you scare us with the bogeyman of the invincible, all-powerful Arab and the inevitable apocalyptic blowback of vast unintended consequences.

By the way, given the all-powerful nature of the Arabs and Muslims, why did Saddam’s vaunted Republican Guard surrender to US forces after only 100 hours of ground war in Desert Storm? Why didn’t they “fight us to their last remaining soul.”? Why did we see vast lines of Muslims with their hands in the air marching across the desert guarded by a handful of American troops?

Why didn't the Egyptians and the Syrians and the Jordanians "fight to their last remaining soul" in their wars with Israel? Why didn't the Egyptians "fight to the last remaining soul" after they were surrounded by Israeli forces in the Sinia in the 6 Day War?

Where is this indomitable Arab fighting spirit when it faces vastly superior firepower?

On what basis is this history to be discounted and thrown out?

You are trying to fit your western thought process onto the mindset of another culture, a culture you seem to be clueless about (no insult there, not your fault I am sure)
This is the same mistake we are making in Iraq, and Palestine, and Lebanon, and Irag, and and and…

It is now overwhelmingly clear that you have no facts, reasons or logic to support your position. You simply feel that you are right, but cannot give any reasons to back up your argument. So you are left to simply repeat the same assertions over and over while evading all the points I make and the questions I raise.

I have another movie for you to rent... "The Battle of Algiers"

Do you have anything in the way of valid argument that you can articulate -- or are you limited to argument-by-cinema?

I can go round and round with you all day, and if you don't see the screamingly blatant fallacies in your arguments or you won't admit how we in the west have steadfastly abused Arabs, Africans, and South/Central Americans... well... I can't help you

You can help by giving examples. You state that we have repeatedly killed, stolen, abused and humiliated the Arabs. But you are unable to give us anything to back up this accusation.

Thanks again for spending such a liberal amount of time with someone you consider to be so below your standard of intellect... it is good of you to share your vast knowledge and wisdom with dullards such as myself.

Why do you resort to this sort of lame sarcasm? Surely you don’t expect it to be persuasive, do you?

As for your diatribe, I have one last perfect rebuttal for you...
Dude, you really need to get laid...
wink wink
;-)

The intellectual stature of that statement speaks for itself.

Posted by: Michael Smith at August 1, 2006 05:15 AM

Israel is winning. In fact it has already won.

Tactics, Strategy, Grand Strategy

Posted by: M. Simon at August 1, 2006 06:22 AM

A light moment.

Winning, and the Russians are helping...[a little].

I saw a comment where Russian made rockets oftem misfired backwards.

Must be hair raising for the Hez... poor bastards. =TG

Posted by: TG at August 2, 2006 11:53 AM
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