August 02, 2006

Instalinks

OOPS! OR NOT? Hezbollah hit Jenin. In the West Bank. Palestinians cheered: “Even if it fall on our heads it wouldn’t have spoiled the party.”

HEZBOLLAH THREATENS JOURNALISTS: Christopher Allbritton, reporting from Lebanon, says "To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hizbullah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one." They threatened me too, and that was during peace time.

NOT ANTI-WAR BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE: A group that calls itself the Armed Revolutionary Fascists vandalized Jewish stores in Rome and defaced them with swastikas and pro-Hezbollah propaganda.

REMEMBERING STEVEN VINCENT: Judith Weiss hosts a blogburst commemoration to the murdered journalist over at Kesher Talk.

HEZBOLLAH WOKE UP: Allison Kaplan Sommer interviews Erika Galili live from an Israeli bomb shelter in a podcast for Pajamas Media.

"LEBANON IS A FINAL COUNTRY FOR ALL ITS CHILDREN": Robert Rabil says a fresh debate has broken out in Lebanon's Shia community about Hezbollah's allegiance to Iran.

WHY LEBANESE BLAME SYRIA: A timeline of events, beginning in 1976, that led up to the current crisis.

WALID JUMBLATT, Syria's fiercest enemy in Lebanon, says Lebanon is being pushed solidly into the Syrian-Iranian axis. "Our government will be like the government of Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) next to Hamas or maybe worse like the government of [Nouri al] Maliki in Iraq."

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 06:46 PM
Comments

Why is the IDF trying to get civilians to evacuate from south Lebanon but not north Israel?

Is it just politics...or am I missing something?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 06:56 PM

So they don't kill more civilians. What's hard to understand about that?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 06:58 PM

Citizens of Northern Israel are not in the IDF's way. It is not their job to move them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 06:59 PM

I really hope this will end soon.

Posted by: Dawnsblood at August 2, 2006 07:06 PM

It's hard to tell without comments being active at Instapundit, but I'm curious as to how some of Glenn's more rabid readers are taking to Michael's more nuanced approach.

Posted by: Josh at August 2, 2006 07:09 PM

Josh,

Only two complaints (by email) so far.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 07:15 PM

Is it just politics...or am I missing something?

You're missing something.

Many of the civilians in North Israel have fled to central Israel. Kiryat Shemona, Nahariya and Metula are "ghost towns" now:

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&q=northern+israel+ghost+town&btnG=Search+News

Almost all who have stayed are not venturing far from their bomb shelters and are intently listening to the sirens indicating incoming Hizballah rocket fire.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2006 07:17 PM

SPEAKING AS IF israel doesnt threaten the journalists as well.

You know what? i believe who said that all Jews are liers ...creative liers.
God save lebanon from the great vampire!

Posted by: aaa at August 2, 2006 07:20 PM

Mel, I thought you were gonna lay off the sauce for a while.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2006 07:27 PM

aaa is banned for obvious reasons.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 07:31 PM

I've never witnessed anybody get schooled over and over again as much as Monkey Boy gets schooled here. Yet he keeps coming back with ignorant statement after ignorant statement, careless about how much egg is dripping from his face.

Posted by: semite1973 at August 2, 2006 07:38 PM

This whole situation is a great shame on all parties parts. It makes one really evaluate the position and role of Shia in the Arab world now, and what it actually should be. Shias are being chanted on to their doom by the masses in the Arab world, and treated like glorified cannon fodder for the Arab world's pride and Iran's self interest. What Hezb Allah is doing to make the lives Shias or Lebanese better at this point, I don't know.

Just saying...I hope this finishes soon.

Posted by: Nouri at August 2, 2006 07:46 PM

Hehe '73,

I enjoy a good give and take.

Claiming someone is getting "schooled" is almost as lame as calling someone a troll because you don't agree with them.

If the "kill 'em all" crowd actually manages to pull off a win in Lebanon...I'll be surprised but I will certainly give them credit.

After five years of the same losing strategy, you guys gotta feel like Cubs fans, though.

Go team!

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 08:08 PM

"Just saying...I hope this finishes soon"

I doubt it will. My bet would be that Hezboallah is seriously damaged, although nobody in the arab/muslim/whatever the hell it is world will admit it(ever), so they will decide to attack a weaker group in Lebanon once Israel is done with them. There will be a war between arabs (both sides will blame it on the U.S. and Israel) and they will fight until they feel like they have met their political goals (goals=things they could have achieved years ago if they hadn't spent so much time killing each other. Kurdistan vs. the rest of Iraq is a good example).

Oil prices will go up which will bother people in the states (new congress) and various ankle-biters (a random collection of europeons, canucks and jack-ass big men from s. america) will froth on about capitalism. Americans will ignore the frothing and go about their lives which will cause the ankle-biters to accuse Americans of arrogance, hubris and all the usual bullshit. Most Americans will ignore them.

Eventually the Lebanese will agree to a cease fire, and a few years later they will attack Israel again and lose another war.

Posted by: mike at August 2, 2006 08:26 PM

mike,

Bushie conned the "canucks" into taking the mess in Afghanistan off our weary army's hands...and 60% of them are ready to give it right back to us.

Be careful whom you call "ankle-biters," it sounds a touch ungrateful.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 08:36 PM

MJT,

Robert Rabil's piece is strange and misleading, to say the least. Where is that debate he is talking about in the Shia community? He cites one journalist's article and that's it, the rest of the article pieces together information that proves quite the opposite of what he argues. I would love for such a debate to take place, but there was actually more dissent before this war broke out, and definitely during the first few days immediately following the kidnapping of the soldiers. But as the war went on, the dissenters were silenced by Israel's bombs and by Hizbullah's total disregard for the Lebanese government.

Some people are fooling themselves into believing this war is weakening Hizbullah, when it isn't. Just read what Jumblatt told the FT, which I believe you linked to.

Posted by: Abu Kais at August 2, 2006 08:39 PM

Go team!--Monkyboy

And that 'revealing analogy' into motivation and foundations is precisely why you are invariably taken to the intellectual woodshed by all and sundry.

It's not a 'game', and we are not a 'team'. I think the problem(and forgive my rhetoric here) is that for you the ENEMY is Bush and his deluded supporters, and that the Islamofascists(of all variety) are merely 'annoyances', paling into insignificance when compared to the Great Satan in Washington.

For many of us less enlightened folks however, these neo-barbarians, are an existential PROBLEM, and folks who might not agree, transitory, albeit painful 'annoyances'.

We don't find it satisfying or 'useful, that things don't go well. We are disappointed, and more than disappointed. Not because it might affect the next election or lessen support for policies we believe are required. We are disappointed and worried because we really believe that the ENEMY must be defeated and that negative things happening to 'our' interests are not useful in any shape or form.

I frankly don't care what happens to Bush or the Republicans in the long run. I doubt many here do.
I do care what happens to the civilization I inhabit and largely respect. As soon as there is a viable or even rational alternative to Bushie , I think many will be absolutely delighted. I'm sure our host will, because he has said as much on MANY occasions.

Perhaps you could take a stab at 'toning down the politics' for a change. You might be surprised at how the incoming 'negativity' seems to decrease in direct relationship to how many fewer times you feel compelled to relate everything to the Bushies . It really should be all about an external ENEMY, not about picayune 'political gotchas'.

Posted by: dougf at August 2, 2006 09:01 PM

I disagree, dougf,

I think this is all just a game to Republicans...a game they have been losing for five years...but they get to decide when the game ends.

I mean really, all Bushie's support comes from states that are as likely to be terrorist targets as the dark side of the moon is...while Manhattan, the most likely target for a terrorist attack, voted 86% for Kerry.

The Republicans have one strategy...bomb people to make them love us.

Hasn't worked yet.
It won't work in Lebanon
It won't ever work.

Yet you guys cheer on every howitzer shell and cluster bomb like rabid sports fans.

My "go team" was sarcastic...if you hadn't noticed.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 09:26 PM

To preface, I am anti hizbullah , anti Isreali and pro Lebanon.

Hizbullah is basically a mafia and operates on the same principles of might is right and charity among its supporters. While I hope for their destruction I am afraid Israeli went about this the wrong way and sadly only strengthened them.

Collective punishment is not the solution, spare Lebanon and its people...it is time to cut the head off the hizbullah snake.

Posted by: Evil Con Carne at August 2, 2006 09:35 PM

MB, Bush's support comes from people who consider DC and New York parts of their country, even if they don't live there - and even if the people who do live there badly misunderstand the threat we are under.

Oddly, 'bombing people to make them love us' is exactly the subject of Michael's first link. Do you read any of the posts, or just hop into the comment threads to be a jackass?

Posted by: bgates at August 2, 2006 09:51 PM

Monkey Boy,

Dude, you just blew my mind and missed my point at the same time. Fuckin awesome. You should be president and shit.

Posted by: mike at August 2, 2006 10:19 PM

I'm not sure that's the case, bgates. It's hard to imagine anyone in New York "badly misunderstand the threat we are under."

I think that it is the third of the country that still supports the Republicans that badly misunderstand history.

They skip over Vietnam and Korea to focus on the one war where America killed civilians and won. The fact all the civilians we killed during WWII did nothing to aid our victory seems lost on them.

Still, some good may come from all this. After Vietnam, America lived peacefully with the rest of the world (with a few minor exceptions) for 25 years before the neocons took over. When they are gone, maybe we'll get another 25 years of peace.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 10:27 PM

What if the southern Lebanon was partitioned into its own country? Would that be worse than a Lebanon effectively controlled by the Hizbollah?

Posted by: redaktor at August 2, 2006 10:35 PM

"The fact all the civilians we killed during WWII did nothing to aid our victory seems lost on them."

Really?

Posted by: mike at August 2, 2006 10:59 PM

Michael,

Monkeyboy has become very, very tedious. His generalizations are cartoonish. I tire of scrolling through his sophomoric reductions in which the source of all the world's problems is either "Bushie" and the Neocons or the Jooz. It reminds me of George Constanza in that Seinfeld episode where he and Jerry are pretending to be bigwigs in the Aryan nation. Before hanging up the phone in the limo, Constanza says angrily, "You know who's responsible for astroturf, don't you? Yes, the Jews!"

Monkeyboy sounds like that.

Please, no more Sunday Comix featuring Chimpy McHalliburton.

I vote Monkeyboy off the island.

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at August 2, 2006 11:13 PM

Monkyboy, it's time to grow up a little.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 11:16 PM

Let's see here,

In this thread alone, I've been called a jackass, a sophomoric claim I've been "schooled," and now claims that I, Mel Gibson style, blame the "jooz" when I did nothing of the sort.

If this is what passes for rational argument here, maybe I should be banned.

Or maybe you guys could skip the childish name calling and formulate some real arguments...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 11:25 PM

Don't make me babysit. I'm busy.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2006 11:27 PM

Monkeyboy,

Now why in the world should we attempt to advance arguments against your position when YOU ALREADY HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS?

The clarity of your views could not be sharper. Feed data into one of end of your "dialectical engine" and out comes the answer.

The envelope, please.

Standing in a rented tux that's a little snug, Monkeyboy takes the envelope, opens it, pulls out a white slip of paper, grins and turns to the audience.

Monkeyboy: "George Bush. Bushie."

Thunderous applause, some of the loudest clapping come from Michael Moore in the third row, recently released from a year-long stint in a clinic that treats those suffering from BDS -- relapse?

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at August 2, 2006 11:40 PM

Thanks, Jeffrey,

Believe it or not, I don't hate Bushie, I kind of pity him, actually...and I don't think he played a part in my original question that began the name calling:

Why hasn't Israel evacuated its towns near the Lebanon border?

And I ask again...is it political? Would doing so give Hezbollah some kind of victory in the minds of Israel's leaders? Or maybe they just don't have that power?

Anyone know?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 2, 2006 11:55 PM

This is not a blog that gives a shit about Democrats and Republicans. So let's try to stick to the topics at hand.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 3, 2006 12:21 AM

monkyboy:
Why hasn't Israel evacuated its towns near the Lebanon border?

Because Israel has a radar warning system, anti-missile defences, sirens and bomb shelters in all buildings, civilian casualties can be avoided, even in cities in the North.

Without all these, Israel would have lost several hundred additional lives.

Posted by: Jono at August 3, 2006 12:36 AM

Jono,

Leaving aside the missile defense system of questionable value, the same things could be said about New Orleans before Katrina hit and we still tried to evacuate that city.

I can't imagine any other country in the world not evacuating civilians who were subject to hundreds of rocket attacks a day.

Why rely on sirens and bomb shelters when you could just move everyone south?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 12:48 AM

As has been stated before, many of those northern towns have had many people leave. However, there is no mandatory evacuation. That's probably because the country has more important things to worry about at the moment than tying military/police up in an evacuation.

As happened in New Orleans, there are a lot of people who simply don't feel like evacuating approaching danger. Free country, and all that.

I'm not sure why you keep bringing this up, except maybe you think there is some propaganda value to having your own citizens slaughtered by rockets.

Posted by: tptk at August 3, 2006 01:41 AM

One of the complaints I heard from a group of young things interviewed chatting in a cafe in Beirut by the BBC, apart from Hizbollah good, Israel bad, was that Israel looked after their people and the Lebanese politicians didn’t.

The numbers are going down.

“On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch questioned the death toll in the Qana attack. The international group listed the names of 28 known dead from the attack and said that 13 others were missing and might still be buried under the rubble. The discrepancy was attributed to an assumption that only nine of the people who took shelter in the basement of the building survived, but it emerged that at least 22 escaped, the group said.”

Which makes Fisk’s claim interesting

In all, there were 56 corpses brought to the Tyre government hospital and other surgeries, and 34 of them were children. When they ran out of plastic bags, they wrapped the small corpses in carpets. Their hair was matted with dust, most had blood running from their noses.

But only 28 are known to be dead, so where did the bodies of 34 kids come from?

But then Fisk also claimed that a bomb fragment was found saying, "For use on MK-84 Guided Bomb BSU-37-B" This allowed him to Hold the US responsible. And then this “We know that because the computer codes have been found on the bomb fragments.” Any body able to explain.

How reliable are the figures for Lebanese civilian deaths? Lebanese figures would leave the impression there were no such thing as Hezbollah fighters, just random strikes at civilians. But then refugess reported that ambulances weren’t allowed in until Hezbollah had cleaned up all evidence of their presence, so maybe they remove their dead as well. And then Amnesty International for one rushes to places like Qana to “pick over” (BBC reporter) the site to learn what?

Posted by: Ros at August 3, 2006 01:55 AM

Why rely on sirens and bomb shelters when you could just move everyone south?

Most people have moved south (not too far south, or you come into Hamas's firing range, remember them?) I am hosting some northerners in my house right now, as are most of our neighbors who can.

Posted by: Yafawi at August 3, 2006 01:56 AM

Thanks for the info, Yafawi,

I didn't mean to harp on the topic, it just struck me as odd.

In addition to the threat posed by rockets, I read a report today (can't remember where) that the IDF had raided several Hezbollah caches and found IDF uniforms in them.

The confusion of the offensive would be the optimal time to use them to slip into Israel. It's a fair bet there are at least a few Hezbollah agents in N. Israel right now dressed as IDF members.

Has the Israeli government issued any warnings to civilians about this threat?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 02:15 AM

I think a single post covering all your Instalinks is a good idea, even when too many folks allow the thread to be hijacked by a neo-troll (by answering him).

I think Steven Vincent's murder is especially important -- the anti-Israel media has no fear of Israelis murdering them. Anybody being anti-Hezbollah does have such a fear. The fear of being murdered is strong enough to make most folk keep quiet about the illegal actions next door, which aren't directly threatening them.

As was said, Hez is like the Mafia here. No uniforms, not obvious to those not in charge who IS in charge -- yet the (usually) unwritten but known rules are ruthlessly enforced. With the enforcers being also the judges & juries, if not also the legislators.

This "real law" starts with enforcement. Any group that is able to enforce it's rules is exerting "real law" control. Conversely, any group, like the UN, unable (or unwilling) to enforce it's rules does NOT have "real law" control.

Which is why I support a Human Rights Enforcement Group, of democracies, to enforce Free Speech & Free Religion. Which Hezbollah doesn't allow.

I wasn't too surprised, but vey happy, that MT got out of Hez-land safely. I'm sure that, of two societies, if one is safe for journalists to write what they see, but the other isn't, the unsafe for journalist society is violating human rights.

I primarily support democracy as a vehicle towards more human rights.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 3, 2006 02:31 AM

I think prosperity is a better tool than democracy to bring about human rights, Tom.

If you had children, would you rather be rasing them in Baghdad or Beijing right now?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 03:39 AM

I am with Abu Kais on the Robert Rabil piece.

Interesting, strange and a bit contradictory.

Though the wishful thinker in me hopes the intra-Shia debate on Hezballah goes full bore after the clashes are over.

Posted by: JoseyWales at August 3, 2006 04:02 AM

“I really hope this will end soon.”

Sadly, it’s probably best that the fighting continues for at least another month. Hezbollah has apparently run out of the high quality rockets and must now depend on the inferior ones launched from trucks. Israel is winning this war! Hezbollah is similar to the proverbial idiot who start a fight thinking others will save his rear end if it starts going badly for him. Nope, we must hope that these Islamic thugs endure a solid butt kicking.

Arabs are losers. It is not their DNA that makes them so, but their inferior cultural values. Ataturk woke up to this harsh reality some 100 years ago.
There is no possibility of peace until the Arabs cease blaming others for the mistakes of their ancient ancestors.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 04:08 AM

You know what's (not) funny. I come to this site because I hate the shallow MSM coverage, the jingoism on both sides. I look at the politicians and TV pundits we have discussing the problems we face and wince. With few exceptions I have found better analysis and dialog on the comment threads of the better weblogs (and this one is numero uno) than elsewhere. Please don't wreck that. If you have a view present it, don't just use trick questions referencing out of context factoids to score rhetorical wins.

(sigh)

Posted by: jdwill at August 3, 2006 04:15 AM

Time for the daily reminder.

Monkyboy is a well know blog troll that does this same thing on too many blogs to count.

I know it is ungodly hard, but it is best to ignore him until he gets bored and goes away or gets banned.

I've seen him drag conversation on many blogs into the gutter and I'd hate to see that happen here.

Keep up the good work, Michael.

Posted by: SirGlubb at August 3, 2006 05:00 AM

I'd be interested in your informed comments on this recent article regarding the nature of Hezballah: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/opinion/03pape.html

Posted by: Henry Bowman at August 3, 2006 05:33 AM

dear michael,

mana (whom you met in beirut, i believe) & i put something together - a logo which we then put on clothing - and maybe you'd like to check it out, link to it, or even feature it in your sidebar:

http://levantese.blogspot.com/2006/08/lebanon-will-stay-le-liban-restera.html

it's the least we can do.

cheers,

--raf*

levantese.blogspot.com

Posted by: raf* at August 3, 2006 06:03 AM

But then Fisk also claimed that a bomb fragment was found saying, "For use on MK-84 Guided Bomb BSU-37-B" This allowed him to Hold the US responsible. And then this “We know that because the computer codes have been found on the bomb fragments.” Any body able to explain.

Mr Fisk is getting it wrong. Again.

A BSU-37/B is a guidance package used with the mk.84 bomb (which would otherwise be a 'dumb' bomb). That the Israelis are using these weapons indicates that they are trying to hit a specific target instead of dropping unguided weapons in a civilian area.

The US sold Israel several thousand mk.84s with the guidance unit back in '04. At the time, there was considerable speculation that the Israelis were gearing up for a repeat of their Osirak strike. Looks like they just went into the general inventory.

How reliable are the figures for Lebanese civilian deaths? Lebanese figures would leave the impression there were no such thing as Hezbollah fighters, just random strikes at civilians.

Totally unreliable.

According to the New York Times, the Lebanese government does not distinguish between civilian deaths and the deaths of hezbullah fighters.

I can dig up a link if you want.

Posted by: rosignol at August 3, 2006 06:16 AM

Michael

What is it going to take for the world to act against Iran? With his quotes today about destroying Israel, it is clear to me that this isn't about the baloney excuse of "internal consumption."

When is the world going to rise up against Ahemdinejad and his regime and actually defend the Jews a new-and-improved Holocaust.

I can answer that rhetorical question for you...

When all the Jews are dead and gone. That is when the world will erect memorials and talk about the great contributions of Jewish people to the world.

When we are all dead.

If you can refute my line of thinking as crazy, please let me know how it is that my lying Jewish eyes are deceibing me and I am a Jewish alarmist and have nothing to fear??

I ask you Michael Totten to explain this and not others from the right or left because I actually respect your opinion.

Posted by: Marty at August 3, 2006 06:57 AM

What is it going to take for the world to act against Iran?

Dunno about Michael, but I can answer some of that question.

'The world' is going to do diddly/squat, mostly because it can't. The mullahs in Iran are not going to be cast out of power by anything short of military action.

Posted by: rosignol at August 3, 2006 07:24 AM

Great blog, Mr. Totten. I can't remember how I discovered it, but I'm glad I did. I was so impressed at the level of the discussion, and the fact that there was actually a civilized dialog between conservatives and liberals concerning the subject matter. Of course, you have your trolls like MonkeyBoy, whom I recognize from the Captain's Quarters, where he gets much the same treatment as here. I will definitely be back, and you're firmly bookmarked at home.

As to the current topic, why does anybody but the MSM believe anything coming out of the mouths of the Hezzie front men? I mean, I remember Baghdad Bob, and from day one he was telling anybody who would listen that the Americans were getting their butts kicked by Saddam's Fedayeen even as Saddam was climbing into his little spider hole....I believe these folk are of the school that if you deny, deny, deny, either you will wear 'em down, or they will start to believe you after awhile, and God knows the MSM eats it up like buttah. Arabs talk shit when they're losing.

What does it matter that the Hezzies say they're winning anyway? So what if they win the PR war, they will have very little capital left with their own constituency when this is all over and the Lebanese people realize that Hizb'allah dragged them into a war that pretty much nobody wanted but them. I've been reading the internet and the range of opinions on what will happen in the future is staggering.

The truth is, nobody knows. Not even the combatants themselves. I feel for the people of Lebanon, and I can understand why they let this cancer of Hizb'allah fester in their midst, due to the recent civil war they fought and their distaste for doing it all over again so soon, however all they did was put off the inevitable. In order to be a sovereign country and be respected as such, sometimes you have to be the bad guy and enforce the rules or civilization suffers.

I wonder though, even if the Israelis rid the world, themselves and Lebanon of Hizb'allah and Hamas, do the people in those countries, especially the Palis, have the wherewithal to govern themselves? Running a country takes a certain amount of sophistication and education, and how many Palis, for instance, since the average age in Palestine right now is like, 16.2 years, have enough education, sophistication and experience in a peaceful life to even bring their country into the 21st century? How do a bunch of undereducated CHILDREN expect to run a country? Same with the Lebanese now that a big fraction of their middle class and elites have left the country??

Some of the answers are, of course, long term solutions such as dealing with poverty, education, etc., but in the relatively short run, how can a people who have been spoonfed hate and destruction for several generations now overcome all that to actually run a country? I should think that the Israelis withdrawal from Gaza is a prime example. Instead of turning their focus to building an economy would have occupied the Palis, they saw the withdrawal as "weakness" on the part of the Israelis, and promptly started shelling them from closer in. Makes you wonder if self-rule among them is possible.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: DuchessOfAustin at August 3, 2006 08:25 AM

So...Hezbullah has got the Israelis stopped on the ground a mile or so from the border and is keeping them there. The Israelis can't hold any ground without taking casualties. Hezbollah fights when it can damage the Israelis, bleeds them, and then disappears. Israel has never met with such successful resistance before from any adversary. (NB: This is precisely what I told you guys in the very early days of the Israeli response: the toughest adversary Israel has ever faced.)

And you guys think Israel is achieving its goals?

The Israelis have destroyed a few rockets and killed a few fighters. They've made a dramatic raid. They've killed a lot of civilians and enraged vast numbers of people who DON'T seek their destruction, such as King Hussein of Jordan. They've wrecked the chances of a democracy in Lebanon for the time being. They can't stop the rockets and admit they can't. They can't destroy Hezbollah and admit they can't. They can't and won't get a single one of their soldiers back without a trade and they know it. The entire northern third of Israel has been emptied, their only real port is closed, and their economy has been destroyed.

The best they can hope for out of this is a draw. But probably they will have to give up Shebaa Farms and allow a force on their northern border which will effectively block any incursions from Israel in the future but won't be able to help much with rockets or even raids. And Hezbollah will be more dominant in Lebanon than ever. They are far stronger than any other party there, they are armed, they are savvy and courageous and they know how to fight, and are the heroes of the Shia, a plurality in Lebanon. They will have fought better than any other army ever has against Israel and when the Israelis withdraw, it will be seen as a Hezbollah victory.

All for what? For "fighting for their lives"? Nonsense.

This was an extremely foolish adventure which damages no one more than Israel. They got mad and started smashing without thinking it through. Just you watch. When the dust settles, they will be very, very sorry.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2006 08:55 AM

Jeff,
You need to take Jihadi TV a little less seriously.

Michael,
What if the south of Lebanon was partitioned into its own country? Would that be worse than a Lebanon effectively controlled by the Hizbollah?

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 09:07 AM

“They will have fought better than any other army ever has against Israel and when the Israelis withdraw, it will be seen as a Hezbollah victory.”

Baloney. Arabs don’t win modern era wars. They are doomed by their cultural deficiencies. Moishe Dayan was once reported as saying he won so many battles because he only had to fight Arabs. Do you want to read an inadvertently funny book? If so, take a look at Michael Oren’s Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. You will burst out laughing at the idiocy of the Arab armies. They easily compete with the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 09:22 AM

I am actually extremely surprised that Walid Jumblatt is not more involved. Suposedly the kidnapped israeli soldiers are Druze and suposedly the prisoner that Nasrallah would have released from israel (if he had any leverage) is Druze as well.

Posted by: D.B. Shobrawy at August 3, 2006 09:45 AM

Redaktor:
Partion cab be a short term solution that leads to a long term problem. The idea of a united Lebanon would not fade and a Hezbollah southern Lebanon would simply end up dragging northern Lebanon back into war with Israel one way or the other. Bosnia was split up and is currently peaceful but tensions are high and the statelets are politically and economically unstable. The India- Pakistan split was suppossed to bring peace but there has been a low grade war going on for decades.Kosovo looks like it is going to be split off from Serbia soon and there is little that Serbia can do about it at the moment but that will be a war within 10 to 20 years. Many people are suggesting that Iraq be divided into three states but the Sunni state would have little to no economic base and Turkey would not allow an independent Kurdistan to excist so the solution to the Iraq conflict would probably generate a Turkey- Kurdistan dillema. A split up Lebanon would also invite even furhter meddling by Syria and Iran. There is just not a simple solution to this problem.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 3, 2006 10:13 AM

David Thomson:

I've read Oren's fascinating book.

Exactly right--in the past. The conventional armies of Egypt and Syria fought absurdly badly even in the Yom Kippur war when they failed to be able to exploit their initial successes. The only exception is the Arab Legion in the Israeli War of Independence, which aquitted itself fairly well.

But if you think Hezbollah doesn't know how to fight the Israelis or that they the IDF doesn't respect them, then you haven't been reading the news. They don't fight in the least like those poorly trained, poorly led, Laurel-and-Hardy Arab State armies. They fight very, very well. They are patient and careful, they go for substance, not glory, and they know how to exploit their own strengths and Israeli weaknesses. They are not stupid enough to try to stop the Israelis from advancing, they merely keep springing traps and forcing battles BEHIND the lines. Israeli soldiers and generals complain about these tactics in frustration constantly. "We can't FIND them. But they find US and when we try to respond, they melt away."

Hezbollah doesn't run its fighting forces the way the Egyptians run their army. They don't keep incompetent commanders. They promote based on success and competence. They allow lots of room for initiative and decentralized action. They train their fighters to wait, to obey, to retreat strategically instead of fighting for glory, etc., etc. They don't try to hold territory they can't hold. They just make the enemy pay dearly for holding it. The cultural stuff may affect the way conventional armies are run. But it doesn't apply to the guerilla movements, and especially not Hezbollah.

I don't watch Jihadi TV, I just read the papers and the blogs and websites and these things are being said even by conservative pro-Israeli folks. IDF first encountered Hezbollah in its baby form in 1982 south of Beirut and were amazed at the capability and skill of its fighters, and said so. And they had no strategy for stopping the slow bleeding Hezbollah kept inflicting on them in south Lebanon before the withdrawal. Which is why they withdrew--the Israeli public was tired of the constant loss of life.

Hezbollah are not nice people, though some of those fighting with and supporting them do so in the same way Russians supported Stalin during WW II. But they are an extremely effective fighting force. If it isn't obvious to you that Israel is having a tough time in Lebanon, it will become obvious over the next days and weeks. Every venture further than a mile or two north exposes them to more attacks. And they can't hold the villages they "clear."

So what's the point of a military exercise that hurts you and innocent bystanders and strengthens your enemy? And has no ascertainable and achievable goals?

Don't believe me. Just stay tuned. Israel's last Lebanon adventure ended badly. So will this one.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2006 10:21 AM

Jeff,

Anti-tank missiles are Hizbullah's main tactic:
(Via The Jerusalem Post)

Lt. Ohad Shamir was commanding a surveillance team hiding in Maroun a-Ras. Their mission was to locate Hizbullah fighters still operating near the village after it had been captured by Golani and Paratroopers units. Shamir's men felt pretty safe - during the 10 days they spent in the village, not a shot had been fired at their building. But then an antitank missile hit the structure and Shamir was lightly wounded.

On Wednesday, he was being treated at Safed's Ziv Hospital for fragments in his back.

"They are small teams, three of four people, hiding in the undergrowth, firing out of nowhere. They're the biggest danger," he said of the Hizbullah gunmen.

The same story repeats itself time and again in the hospital wards where wounded solders are recovering and comparing experiences. No one has yet begun analyzing the causes of casualties in this war, but the indisputable fact is that the great majority of wounds and deaths were a result of antitank missiles - more than from gunfire, grenades and other explosive devices together.

The term "antitank" is misleading; the missiles were originally designed to be used against tanks, but the IDF's Merkava tanks and upgraded armored fighting vehicles are capable of withstanding most missiles in Hizbullah's arsenal. But Hizbullah isn't using them only against tanks. The range of these missiles - up to three kilometers - and the force of their explosive charges make them ideal for attacking groups of soldiers and IDF positions from afar.

Hizbullah have been preparing for this war for six years, and the two main weapons they have been stockpiling have been the Katyushas and other rockets now being fired at Israeli towns and antitank missiles. The organization has thousands of Soviet-built Sagger, Cornet and Fagot antitank missiles, the French MILAN and the US-built TOW, all supplied by Iran and Syria. These missiles are usually fired by a two- or three-man team.

Over the last two weeks, the tactic used by many of the Hizbullah teams has been to avoid close-range combat, where IDF soldiers' high level of training gives them the upper hand. Instead, the Hizbullah men have been moving to positions high above villages and continuing to fire missiles at the IDF forces. Large stores of missiles were prepared in the hills in advance, for this eventuality.

IDF officers have voiced frustration at the fact that even in areas where the IDF has been operating for more than a week, the missile threat still exists. On Monday, tanks that had been fighting for two days in the villages opposite Metulla came under missile fire when they were returning through the border fence.

Col. Ofek Buchris, a former Golani battalion commander and the officer now in charge of offensive operations on the northern front, said this week, "Hizbullah aren't as good soldiers as people have been saying, they don't have good combat skills. In shooting battles, we beat them every time. What they do have is good antitank capabilities.

"They were trained for this especially by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. For intents and purposes, Hizbullah is Iran's advance division here."

One of the first results of the IDF's experiences facing Hizbullah antitank missiles has been the quick adaptation of new training for reserve units that have just been called up. In addition to weapons and first aid refresher lessons, the men mobilized this week have all received special training on detecting and avoiding the missiles.

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 10:33 AM

Jeff is right about Hezbollah. Ask the IDF, David. I did. And realize that while Israel beat Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in six days, they couldn't beat Hezbollah after more than ten years.

Sorry! That's just how it is. Maybe they'll off a big surprise here, but their war record so far against Hezbollah is nothing at all like their war record against Egypt.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 3, 2006 10:36 AM

Kevin peters,

What about making southern Lebanon a demilitarized international protectorate?

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 10:39 AM

“But if you think Hezbollah doesn't know how to fight the Israelis or that they the IDF doesn't respect them, then you haven't been reading the news.”

I should also cite Victor Davis Hanson criticism of the mediocre fighting abilities of non-democratic armies. Western militaries almost always defeat their foes. The odds are heavily on their side. No, Israel has been mostly hindered by its capitulation to “international opinion.” Its left-wingers are too worried about being popular in the politically correct capitols of Europe. Hezbollah has been allowed to screw around and then inevitably yell for a cease fire.

The Israelis must ignore Condi Rice or anyone else who wants them to “enter into peaceful negotiations.” It’s time to kick butt and adopt the realistic attitude of Winston Churchill towards civilian casualties.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 10:54 AM

Redaktor:
That is what Israel says they want for a cease fire. But Syria has already announced that they won't stand for "foreign occupation of Lebanon" (except of course for Syria) and I don't know how eager the world community will be to stay if Hezbollah starts firing at them. It is probably the only solution but I don't know how long it will last.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 3, 2006 11:05 AM

“And realize that while Israel beat Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in six days, they couldn't beat Hezbollah after more than ten years.”

We should also never forget that the Six Day War was fought by Arabs wearing identifiable uniforms and somewhat complying with the Geneva Conventions. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization hiding behind women and children. Israel must not let the innocent lives of the latter prevent them from doing what’s necessary.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 11:19 AM

Michael

There is a new reality in warfare, which we didn't have even 10 years ago. And that is, missile technology has become accessible to many countries with rogue regimes, and even as we see now, to terror groups. In 1967 and 1973, Syria and Egypt didn't have the means to hit Tel Aviv with missiles. But Saddam did in 1991, and now Hezbollah threatens to do it. A missile is a perfect weapon for a terrorist: death, destruction and terror spread from a far distance and without a signature.

North Korea and Iran are basing their whole strategy on missiles, as neither would have a chance in a land war.

Posted by: NoSleep at August 3, 2006 11:24 AM

David:

Sorry, but you cite Victor Hanson (inappositely; about conventional armies) and Michael and I cite the IDF and the newspapers. We are talking about asymmetrical warfare by guerillas, not the fighting ability of non-democratic state armies.

No one, not you or I, knows for sure how all of this will turn out. But about Hezbollah's fighting abilities, you don't have a leg to stand on. It's not an opinion you're giving, just a mistake. As good ol' Totten says above, "Sorry! That's just how it is."

Israel has been, for all effects and purposes, a Western European state. It is educationally, culturally, militarily "advanced." Its army is a Western army and those of the neighboring states have not been. That's why it has won against much larger populations.

Morality apart, Israel simply CAN'T "kick butt." It is powerless to do so. No matter how much "butt" it kicks in terms of civilian casualties, that doesn't significantly degrade Hezbollah's fighting abilities. They could kill a thousand times the civilians they have killed and...so what? It wouldn't help them a bit.

Killing civilians just doesn't help you much in a war like this. Unless you did a number like Stalin in Kazakhstan and killed off half the population or more. But no one, including George Bush, would let them do that. And even if they did, the Israelis couldn't--*physically* speaking--without the use of nukes or at least incendiaries. Which would be insane from any point of view. And they couldn't occupy and hold the country afterwards. Not enough people. Not enough money.

Michael Totten knew something was up on the border months ago. So did the Israelis. How unutterably STUPID of them to leave a small group of soldiers so unprotected on the frontier right after the Gaza event. Grotesque incompetence for which people should be cashiered.

The Israelis had every right to respond. But they should have done some limited things and then decided whether they wanted to trade prisoners or whether they would do better to "refuse to negotiate" and call it a loss. But instead they have bitten off far more than they can chew. There is no way, strategically, that Israel can win this war. They lashed out from anger and frustration and thus compounded their original unutterable stupidity. Now they are in a cleft stick of their own making. There's a word that a certain group of Levantines calls this kind of behavior: "Chutzpah."

Like I say, don't believe me, just watch. The Israelis will putz around for a few days or weeks and then declare "victory" and withdraw without having accomplished anything. They will bluster that they have "deeply hurt" Hezbollah. But any Israelis left on the Lebanese side of the line will be subject to attack from the "defeated" guerillas.

And good luck with getting Hezbollah's agreement to an international force on the border which has any teeth and will oppose them. Anyway, no international force will be able to control Hezbollah any better than the Israelis did. Fiasco, fiasco, fiasco. From the point of view of Lebanon and from the point of view of Israel.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2006 11:35 AM

Nasrallunatic just gave a televised speech in which he said: "If you bomb our capital we'll bomb your capital. We'll bomb Tel Aviv and we can do this."

David Thomson, if this happens, you may just see the gloves-off response from the Israelis that you are looking for...

Posted by: Josh at August 3, 2006 11:37 AM

Hezbollah has a long track record of using kidnapping as a regular tactic. Does anyone here think that Hezbollah will start scooping up a few journalists if they get pushed beyond the Litani?

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at August 3, 2006 11:41 AM

Jeffrey-NY, I don't think so... Journalists are too valuable to Hezbollah's propaganda machine.

Posted by: Josh at August 3, 2006 11:43 AM

Josh,

Nasrallunatic just gave a televised speech in which he said: "If you bomb our capital we'll bomb your capital. We'll bomb Tel Aviv and we can do this."

Hold it. Hasn't the IAF been bombing the southern/Hezbollah section of Beirut for three weeks now? Why does Nasrallah say "if"?

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at August 3, 2006 11:47 AM

Josh,

Jeffrey-NY, I don't think so... Journalists are too valuable to Hezbollah's propaganda machine.

I wish I could believe you, but I saw Terry Anderson interviewed a few days ago. And I also read Christopher Allbritton's blog entry last night in which he talked about the current friction between the journalists in south Lebanon and their Hezbollah handlers.

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at August 3, 2006 11:56 AM

The default religion of human beings is the practice of human sacrifice. This pathological virus has been planted deep in the heart of the human species. Virtually all primitive cultures and ancient civilizations engage in it.

The foundation stone of the Abrahamic religions is the injunction against human sacrifice.

Paganism has the advantage of being older than Judaism, Christianity, Islam. It is a faith which arouses most hatred in the Bible.

Islam of today seems to have more in common with the pagan religions it tried to supersede than its Abrahamic roots. No clearer case of child sacrifice exists now than Islam\'s cult of suicide bombings and use of human shields. Who is that voice telling Muslims to murder children–both their own and others? Could it be the same voice that told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Could it possibly not be the same voice?

The story of Abraham and Isaac is primordial. It is the archetypal tale of how we as barbarous pagans stopped listening to our psychotic, child-hating god(s) and instead have taken a right turn in history, discovered a new God, and became a new people, a modern people.

Posted by: i saw esau at August 3, 2006 11:56 AM

The default religion of human beings is the practice of human sacrifice. This pathological virus has been planted deep in the heart of the human species. Virtually all primitive cultures and ancient civilizations engage in it.

The foundation stone of the Abrahamic religions is the injunction against human sacrifice.

Paganism has the advantage of being older than Judaism, Christianity, Islam. It is a faith which arouses most hatred in the Bible.

Islam of today seems to have more in common with the pagan religions it tried to supersede than its Abrahamic roots. No clearer case of child sacrifice exists now than Islam\\\'s cult of suicide bombings and use of human shields. Who is that voice telling Muslims to murder children–both their own and others? Could it be the same voice that told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Could it possibly not be the same voice?

The story of Abraham and Isaac is primordial. It is the archetypal tale of how we as barbarous pagans stopped listening to our psychotic, child-hating god(s) and instead have taken a right turn in history, discovered a new God, and became a new people, a modern people.

Posted by: i saw esau at August 3, 2006 11:57 AM

The default religion of human beings is the practice of human sacrifice. This pathological virus has been planted deep in the heart of the human species. Virtually all primitive cultures and ancient civilizations engage in it.

The foundation stone of the Abrahamic religions is the injunction against human sacrifice.

Paganism has the advantage of being older than Judaism, Christianity, Islam. It is a faith which arouses most hatred in the Bible.

Islam of today seems to have more in common with the pagan religions it tried to supersede than its Abrahamic roots. No clearer case of child sacrifice exists now than Islam\\\\\\\'s cult of suicide bombings and use of human shields. Who is that voice telling Muslims to murder children–both their own and others? Could it be the same voice that told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Could it possibly not be the same voice?

The story of Abraham and Isaac is primordial. It is the archetypal tale of how we as barbarous pagans stopped listening to our psychotic, child-hating god(s) and instead have taken a right turn in history, discovered a new God, and became a new people, a modern people.

Posted by: i saw esau at August 3, 2006 11:57 AM

“Sorry, but you cite Victor Hanson (inappositely; about conventional armies) and Michael and I cite the IDF and the newspapers. We are talking about asymmetrical warfare by guerillas, not the fighting ability of non-democratic state armies.”

Victor Davis Hanson’s main point concerns the supremacy of democratic institutions over mere thugs. Arab nations and organizations are authoritarian in nature. Democracies hand over a lot of power over to mere sergeants while Arab warriors rely on strict top down structures.

“No one, not you or I, knows for sure how all of this will turn out.”

I most certainly don’t claim to possess God like powers. However, the odds are clearly on the side of the Israelis. Arabs are cultural nitwits---and yes, I am admittedly not an Arabist. I chuckle whenever I think of T.E. Lawrence and his ilk. The so-called asymmetrical enemies of Western Civilization only have thing really going for them: the leftist crazies who populate our “elite” institutions. These fools must be ignored. Israel must not listen to them. Calls for “a peaceful solution to the present crisis” have to be soundly rejected.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 11:59 AM

Sorry about the multiple posts. I was getting various error messages while trying to post.

Posted by: i saw esau at August 3, 2006 12:04 PM

If you haven't read it yet, you should take a look at Mohammed's latest blog entry over at Iraq the Model:

I wish the world could see what we are watching here and know the truth about this war, if what you outside the middle east are watching is news, know that here we are getting lies, deception, propaganda and slogans in the outfit of news and analysis, all for the purpose of keeping the region and especially Arabs in the seemingly forever lasting dream that is directed to keep them on the same side with terrorists and , sooner rather than later, collapsing regimes.

I have heard many arguments for the positive aspects of media outlets in the Middle East such as Al-Jazeera and their contributions to real discourse, but Mohammed suggests that in the current conflict the viewers are simply fed propaganda and their feelings of victimization are only reaffirmed.

*

Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at August 3, 2006 12:09 PM

So Jeff, why can't the Israeli troops find Hzb fighters?

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 12:12 PM

Iraq the Model is complaining about the media coverage of the Qana incident.

I can't think of a way to spin that one in Israel's favor...is he saying the Arab press should not have reported it at all?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 12:23 PM

No monkeyboy. But at least they could report the correct number of dead at Qana which is about 50% less than initially reported.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 12:27 PM

Joe:

Why can't the Israelis find guerilla fighters in their own landscape and towns filled with bunkers and hidey-holes and tunnels and caves and village habitats that they know how to hide in? When their whole strategy is wait for your moment and then "hit and retreat"? Coz it's a hell of a job, that's why. And these guys know how to work it.

And even when they stand and fight, they try for ambush, maximum casualty and then retreat and disappear.

Same with the rockets. Hezbollah goes into a Christian town, sets up a launcher, fires and rocket and skeedaddles. Israel fires back at the location and kills some Christian villagers. What's the point of that? "Don't harbor Hezbollah?" They can't do a thing about it. Many of them don't even know Hezbollah was there til afterwards.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2006 12:41 PM

“I can't think of a way to spin that one in Israel's favor”

You can’t? Well, I most certainly don’t have any problem doing so. Haven’t you been reading your copy of the Geneva Conventions? Israel is totally guilt free. The Hezbollah war criminals were launching rockets from within a civilian building. Thus, the Islamic terrorists are the culprits. Gee, wasn't that easy? Couldn’t you request something a bit more challenging? You make me feel like Babe Ruth awaiting a slow pitch directly over the plate.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 12:53 PM

“I can't think of a way to spin that one in Israel's favor”

You can’t? Well, I most certainly don’t have any problem doing so. Haven’t you been reading your copy of the Geneva Conventions? Israel is totally guilt free. The Hezbollah war criminals were launching rockets from within a civilian building. Thus, the Islamic terrorists are the culprits. Gee, wasn't that easy? Couldn’t you request something a bit more challenging? You make me feel like Babe Ruth awaiting a slow pitch directly over the plate.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 12:54 PM

Well Jeff, I guess your right - the Israelis should just roll up and die. No stopping those Hzb boys, none. And what exactly is the Hzb goal?

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 12:57 PM

David,

You can't use the Geneva Conventions selectively...they are an all or nothing deal.

Take this article from Convention IV:

Art. 18. Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.

And I don't think anyone involved in the Qana attack is "guilt free." Human nature doesn't work that way...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 01:38 PM

Joe:

I don't say the Israelis should just roll up and die. I say that if a strategy doesn't get you what you want--if it actually WORSENS your position--then you shouldn't pursue that strategy.

The Israelis weren't dying like flies--they had a couple of soldiers hit and kidnapped. I don't blame them for wanting to live totally without things like that. But that's not in the cards, given the neighborhood they're in.

Israel is in a tough neighborhood. There are no perfect choices that it can decide on. It has to patiently pursue a long-term strategy of acceptance with no guarantees of success. If smashing Lebanon to bits actually increased its security, then there might be at least a practical argument for it, if not a moral one. But smashing Lebanon doesn't help.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2006 01:41 PM

“Art. 18. Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.”

A hospital is no longer protected under the Geneva Conventions when it used militarily. The blame for this sad predicament entirely falls upon the side initiating the attack. Israel’s military is merely responding to this war crime perpetuated by Hezbollah. The same similarly holds true for police officers who are compelled to chase armed criminals into a medical facility.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 02:23 PM

Monkey Boy's point is a fair one. In 1939/1940 the UK evacuated London, a far more important city, of at least children. Has the same been done in the northern Israeli cities? Opinions (on this thread) seem to differ.

Posted by: James at August 3, 2006 02:23 PM

What's "Iraq the Model" for?

Posted by: James at August 3, 2006 02:24 PM

Jeff,

Anyone saying that Hizbollah land is part of Lebanon is lying through their teeth. Hizbollah land is not part of Lebanon. It is part of Iran. But smashing Hizbollah land might make for a practical argument that is could again be part of Lebanon. That practical argument will soon depend not so much on Israel, but on those who claim to be friends of Lebanon.

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 02:28 PM

Michael:
If we are going to go down the "who's guilty of a war crime" road lets not forget that indiscriminate shelling without precise military targets is also considered a war crime so Hezbollahs tactic of random launching of missles would also be considered a war crime. And then there is Clinton's air campaign against Serbia. But since the Hague is a joke lets just skip this argument.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 3, 2006 02:40 PM

sigh...

Art. 19. The protection to which civilian hospitals are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded.

I don't remember any warnings...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 02:41 PM

monkyboy,

Hizbollah, its offices and institutions, do not enjoy Geneva Convention protection for the simple fact that they are not state actors. They are illegal combatants. If Hizbollah represented the State of Lebanon, the whole of Lebanon would have been targeted by Israel, and not just Hizbollah strongholds.

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 02:53 PM

“I don't remember any warnings...”

You are either grossly ignorant---or a liar. Israel has gone out of its way to warn innocents. This fact is beyond reasonable doubt. Your sliming of this great country is despicable.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 02:53 PM

David,

I am talking about the Israeli attack on the hospital in Baalbek.

It's obvious Israel is not following the Geneva Conventions in this conflict...and you're the one who used them in Israel's defense.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 03:11 PM

Jeff, Israel was never going to sit back and watch an organization like Hzb continue to accumualate increasingly sophisticated arms on her Northern border given Hzb stated objective of eliminating Israel. The only question was when to go in.

Anytime they went in would be the "wrong" time for Israels detractors and any time would have adverse effects.

If the conventional wisdom is correct - that Hzb is dug in too deep to seriously cripple - then I would argue Israel waited too long to go back in or never should of left.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 03:17 PM

Monkeyboy: What exactly does Israel have to gain from doing the crimes you accuse her of? They are getting condemned nearly globally and then figure well ... "hey, let's raid a hospital - just for the fun of it".

It's funny. The Israelis are viewed as being incredibly cunning and incredibly innept. But from the same people. Actually, not so funny.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 03:23 PM

I'm not accusing Israel of any crimes, Joe.

She has a right to defend herself against the very real and growing threat from Hezbollah.

Some people thnk, however, that simply by being "barbaric," by fighting at "the same level" as Hezbollah, Israel will succeed.

I disagree.

I think some of Israel's defenders are using the morality argument to avoid talking about Israel's poor performance on the battlefield.

Killing civilians isn't a winning strategy in war...you have to kill the other side's fighters.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 03:32 PM

If smashing Lebanon to bits actually increased its security, then there might be at least a practical argument for it, if not a moral one. But smashing Lebanon doesn't help.--Jeff

Perhaps you might consider adding an 'IMO', to opinion statements. Perhaps 'smashing' Hezbollah controlled Lebanon does in fact help. And perhaps since it is Hezbollah we are talking about here, such an action is not only practical but 'moral' as well. Perhaps 'smashing' Hezbollahland even if having negative affects is still only an 'accerlerant' to a process that was probably in any event.

I don't know the answer but I do know that since Hezbollah is the paid agent of a regime that on an almost daily calls for the complete obliteration of Israel, an accommodation such as you blithely propose is a dubious prospect.

"It has to patiently pursue a long-term strategy of acceptance with no guarantees of success."--Jeff

Would that be the same 'acceptance' that the Jews in Europe pursued circa 1933 and onwards ? How dare those uppity people actually pretend to 'learn from history'? Better to be thought a 'brute' than offer your neck to an implacable fanatic enemy. In an area where there are only less-bad choices, the less-bad choice is to kill the other guys, preferably in very large quantities. And to do so whenever and however this can be done, subject ONLY to a strictly utilitarian calculation of costs/benefits.

I wouldn't tolerate my Government 'accepting' my death or the death of my neighbours as just a way to appease the enemy, and I don't want them to simply 'accept' that condition as an inescapable fact of life. Why should the Jews? Especially when you look at the forces opposing them. Especially.

Posted by: dougf at August 3, 2006 03:37 PM

monkeyboy,

I'll give you the same advice I gave Jeff. Don't take Jihadi TV too seriously. That includes CNN, BBC, and the other alpha bet soup, not just Al-Jazeera and Al-Manar. Israel is kicking ass. And the IDF is getting better at it as each day passes.

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 03:39 PM

Don't need to watch TV, red,

Lebanon below the Litani is about 250 square miles.

10,000 soldiers spread out leaves 24 acres for each soldier to cover. Not enough troops...not by a long shot.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 3, 2006 03:50 PM

Michael, you say in Instapundit.
“Lebanon’s “support” for Hezbollah is nothing more than an attempt at national unity during a fight. It will evaporate the instant Israel leaves. It will remain, though, as long as Israel stays and throughout cease-fire talks.”

What exactly do the Lebanese think they are achieving by adopting that position. Maybe the Arabs will love them more, but the sense that Lebanon was something different, modern in a medieval world, is disappearing for me, and I suspect others.

We had a Lebanese fellow being returned to Australia to face charges for attacking the Lakemba Police Station in Sydney (criminal, like many moved on to, or adopted the cover of terrorist). He served time in Lebanon for planning to blow up a McDonald’s However there wasn’t a sense in Australia that Lebanon was a supporter of terrorism. Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation, but not Lebanon.

And for me, whatever the Lebanese politicians cry, I now know this and have a very different view of Lebanon.

Letter dated 18 April 2006 from the Secretary-General
addressed to the President of the Security Council

signed by Kofi
“I was concerned when I was informed in February 2006 of an incident, in which arms destined for Hizbollah had been transferred from the Syrian Arab Republic into Lebanon. Twelve trucks carrying ammunitions and weapons of various kinds, including Katyusha rockets, crossed the border from the Syrian Arab Republic. Discovered a few days later at a checkpoint inside Lebanon, the trucks were allowed to continue their journey towards their destination in south Lebanon. A statement released by the Lebanese Armed Forces following the incident on 6 February 2006 indicated that transportation and storage of ammunition belonging to the "resistance", once inside Lebanon, were subject to the ministerial policy statement of the current Lebanese Government, which considered the "resistance" to be legitimate. As the Government of Lebanon has confirmed, the Lebanese Armed Forces has thus not been authorized to prevent further movement of the ammunitions, which had been a common practice for more than 15 years. Hizbollah publicly confirmed that the arms were destined for the group. The Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese Army Command have informed my Special Envoy that further cases of arms transfers would be subject to the direct decision of Prime Minister Seniora and that no further transfers of ammunitions and weapons have occurred since this incident.”

12,000 improved katyusha rockets, which despite Kofis usual gutless stand, were known to be such by the Lebanese government. What the hell did they think would be the outcome of such behaviour. They were clearly complicit.

So maybe the Lebanese don’t consider the perceptions of the west of them as important. Nevertheless the longer they claim to support Hezbollah the deeper the sense, of Lebanon as just another corrupt Arab state, undemocratic, supporter of terrorism, will go.

And the same mantra, it is never our fault, its all the fault of the west, and of course Israel.

Its a hard world, the victim status is in danger of becoming the agressor status. They have to do more than cry woe is us, and draft documents to get the Israelis on war crimes. Even going after Hezbollah for the same might say something positive about them, but they won't will they.

Posted by: Ros at August 3, 2006 03:52 PM

I'm not accusing Israel of any crimes Joe - Monkeyboy

So you referencing of the Geneva Convention in the context of the hospital raid was just an aside?

As to thread about Israel not evacuating her citizens from Northern Israel. Seems many were evacuated or evacuated on their own and the ones that remained were doing ok with warnings and bomb shelters for a while. They may have been overly confident in their civil defense giving the low number of casualties initially, they may have assumed the IDF would have made better progress by now, who knows. What exactly are some of you suggesting. The government wants those people there to die for PR advantage? Just asking. Sounds like a lot of monday morning quartebacking to me.

As to the progress of the war. Remember the "brutal afghan winter" and the sand storms on the way to Bagdad, Marines going door to door in Bagdad. All bullshit. No I'm not saying Iraq is going well but the conventional wisdom which envisioned all manner of disaster was only correct on one count - civil war. Critics throw 100 darts and one sticks and they act like geniuses. The progress of a war can change dramatically and unpredictably. Yesterdays barrage on Israel could be a "use it or lose it" last gasp from Hzb or the Israelis may have grossly underestimated their capability. Two constants of warfare 1) Most people die just before the end – included the victors 2) Ceasefires favor the weaker side

Just heard seconds ago; Hzb wants to cut a deal. This meansonly one thing - they are in trouble.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 04:03 PM

monkyboy,

Where there is a will there is a way. Israelis have eyes in the sky, and they have sniffer dogs on the ground. They now have command of the high ground, and they will soon have command of the low ground. The Israeli soldiers are VERY motivated. They're gaining experiece with Hizbollah tactics and are learning from mistakes in real time.

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 04:05 PM

“They're gaining experiece with Hizbollah tactics and are learning from mistakes in real time.”

We can be fairly certain that Hezbollah is losing. It is asking for a cease fire. This would not be occurring unless things were going badly. Israel may be able to accomplish its central mission in the next few weeks.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 3, 2006 04:16 PM

If I had the time, I'd love to simulate the World War II timeline overlayed with the kind of micro-critiques we see with today's instantaneous global media technology.

I can't even imagine what it must be like to try to successfully prosecute a war under the microscope of today...

Posted by: Josh at August 3, 2006 04:19 PM

http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=
ZDFmOWE0MTkzOTUyOGY4NGE2MGY3N2M3YmU4MzlmZDk

Posted by: redaktor at August 3, 2006 05:23 PM

We in Australia are now being threatened, for our support of Israel. Indonesian killers, but claiming they have the Hezbollah supporters in Australia.

Australians haven't rolled over before from these threats, so unlikely to now, but whom will we blame if these bastards get us. Not Israel.

Sandmonkey makes an important point for the Lebanese to consider

“Isn't it horrible how after a conflict is going on for a while you feel desensitized to it?”

Sometimes I think that the Lebanese are the Eloi.

“While one initially has the impression that the Eloi live a life of play and toilless abundance, it is revealed that the Morlocks are tending to the Eloi's needs for the same reason a farmer tends to cattle - because the Eloi comprise most (if not all) of the Morlock diet and the Eloi are no longer capable of acting in any other role.”

But then I read the Lebanese Political Journal and know I am wrong.

A commenter on Sandmonkey says a Hizbollah rocket has hit Syria now. Mad.

Posted by: Ros at August 3, 2006 05:44 PM

Good point Josh.

There were enormous intelligence and planning errors by allied forces that cost untold numbers of lives. There were 700 allied forced killed training for D-Day. We have gotten soft.

Could you imagine the Oprah Winfrey show in 1941? "On today’s show we have the wife of a dead American soldier and the wife of dead German soldier discussing how the war has affected their lives".

A Jewish friend of mine told me he is arming himself in case he gets a knock on the door to take a little train ride. That's a bit too much for me but he was serious.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 3, 2006 06:13 PM

A Jewish friend of mine told me he is arming himself in case he gets a knock on the door to take a little train ride.

What country does he live in?

Posted by: rosignol at August 4, 2006 04:43 AM

Excellent Blog, Mike. I got to it from a link from Big Pharaoh's blog. Your experience with Hezbollah could have been taken from a trip to Soviet Russia.

Posted by: methinks at August 16, 2006 08:58 AM
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