January 08, 2007

Links

I'm working on the first of a series of long essays documenting a road trip to Hezbollah's stronghold in South Lebanon. While I'm wrapping that up, here are some links.

ESCALATION COMING: Hezbollah says it will escalate its so-far non-violent push to topple the Seniora government.

THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET: Saad Hariri accuses Hezbollah of "political and intellectual terrorism."

DON'T BE A SUCKER: Tony Badran explains why even talking to Syria is dangerous.

THROWING HEZBOLLAH A BONE: Israel says Lebanese murderer Samir Kuntar will be released shortly from prison, which will (in theory) eliminate one of Hezbollah's flimsy excuses for war.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 8, 2007 12:10 PM
Comments

As people who've been here a while know, I've been saying for a long time that they should release Kuntar, because doing so (and publicizing it properly) will be fatal to Hezbollah.

Kuntar should be the millstone around Hezbollah's neck for the next 50 years. No one should ever talk about Hezbollah without mentioning Kuntar. They should never show Nasrallah's picture without showing Kuntar's victims.

This is what Hezbollah started a war for. This is what they are, this is what they stand for. They must stand for hatred, murder and nothing else!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 8, 2007 12:25 PM

It is important to keep the facts in mind; Kuntar's release was linked to Hezb's releasing info on Ron Arad.

In this case, it is Hezb who has reneged on the deal, and is still reneging. The release of this murderer will not be viewed as a "bone", but a sign of weakness, at a moment when Israel has yet to get any news from its captured, most likely dead, prisoners.

Once again, Lebanon will pay the price for other's stupidity and their electoral cycle...

Posted by: Jeha at January 8, 2007 01:12 PM

i just found your site a few weeks ago, thanks for your point of view.
although i may not always agree, it is still a great stride in the right direction for a "non arab" to look at what is going on this complex area of the world while most americans in the u.s. look at the tv and believe almost everything they hear.
As for Josh, Although I agree that hez was using kuntar, but you cannot say that they stand for hate and murder, while sharon and perez are looked at as heroes in Israel and they have done the unthinkable.
Im not a supporter of hez, but Israel did plant mines only 72 hours prior to the end of the july war.
the bottom line is, hez and/or their supporters are part of the fabric that is lebanese society, and in order for them to disarm (if possible), there should be no reason left for them to be armed (i.e. occupation of shebaa).
thx michael.

Posted by: buckeye at January 8, 2007 01:55 PM

Thanks for the links, Michael. I was particularly interested in the ratcheting up of pressure on the Lebanese government by Hizb'Allah and its rather strange allies, at least in some respects. But politics makes strange bedfellows, and I suppose Aoun is also looking for a bone.

As for Hizb'Allah, they have no intention of disarming, no matter the outcome of negociations, or whether they feel safe in their enclaves. Their possession of arms is a projection of their power, and control of Lebanon and as much land in other parts of the ME they can take by force, is their objective.

Posted by: templar knight at January 8, 2007 02:21 PM

they should not release kuntar.

Posted by: tsedek at January 8, 2007 02:28 PM

Buckeye, if an Israeli soldier had done what Kuntar did, the Israelis would put him in jail not make him a hero. Of course making Kuntar a hero means that Hezbollah stands for hatred and murder!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 8, 2007 02:40 PM

Josh, you can't possibly be serious about releasing Kuntar. You actually think this will appease and defang Hezbollah?

NOTHING can ever appease the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas and all the others. Israel lives in a different moral universe than her enemies. Different laws apply, and people so easily lose sight of that.

I pray Kuntar rots in an Israeli prison for the rest of his wretched life.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at January 8, 2007 02:47 PM

No, I don't think it will appease Hezbollah, you misread me.

I think that publicizing the fact that Hezbollah makes a hero and starts a war for the sake of a man who murdered a family in their house demonstrates beyond all doubt that Hezbollah wants genocide of the Jews and nothing less. It demonstrates that they will rally in the streets to make a hero of the murder of children. It demonstrates that they're monsters and nothing else.

Israel is stupid to miss this chance to make Kuntar into Hezbollah's poster child. If there's anyone on the planet who doesn't understand that Samir Kuntar = Hezbollah then Israel is completely incompetent at public relations. Print a million posters with Kuntar's picture, Nasrallah's picture, Hezbollah demonstrators for Kuntar, and the pictures of his victims. Make tee shirts. Fucking drop them on all of the cities of the world. May every introduction that the press ever makes about Hezbollah include Kuntar. May Nasrallah choke to death on Kuntar!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 8, 2007 02:54 PM

Yes, Israel needs to use PR to explain who Kuntar is and why he will never be released, but I think it is naive to assume that his release, even with the best PR push, will not be seen and felt as a victory for 'resistance' against Israel by all her enemies, not just HA.

Huge mistake to release him. Incalculable damage will result.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at January 8, 2007 03:05 PM

Why not inject Kuntar with some sort of poison that will give him a really painful and inoperable cancer or something in a year or two, then release him.

Posted by: Zak at January 8, 2007 03:22 PM

One of my Lebanese friends hopes the Israelis quietly makes sure Kuntar has "an accident" in prison because she doesn't want him walking her streets.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 8, 2007 03:38 PM

Why is the Israeli occupation of the Shebaa Farms viewed as a legitimate reason for Hezbollah to keep their weapons? My understanding is that would be returned to Syria, not Lebanon.

I am honestly curious, not trying to start a flame war. Then again, Michael's post wishing everybody a happy new year started a fire fight.

Michael, the blog is great. Frankly, the fights in the comments section are almost as good as your articles, if not always quite as coherent.

Posted by: Jeff at January 8, 2007 04:34 PM

Jeff,
I don't think the word 'Legitimate' translates into Hezbo-speak. Your understanding is essentially correct. It is a made-up excuse for picking a fight. They are jerks. Welcome to the insanity.
-L

Posted by: lindsey at January 8, 2007 05:18 PM

Lindsey, I appreciate your help, but I wanted to know WHY people believe what you characterize as a made up excuse could be seen as a valid reason for HA to keep their weapons.

Buckeye, you quote that as a reason that legitimizes HA's weapons. I don't think you are a jerk. Why did you site that as an example as to why HA needs to stay armed?

Posted by: Jeff at January 8, 2007 08:34 PM

I think it is naive to assume that his release, even with the best PR push, will not be seen and felt as a victory for 'resistance' against Israel by all her enemies, not just HA.

Of course it will be seen as a victory for the 'resistance' against Israel by all her enemies.

That's the fucking point.

If you can make that one thing clear to the world, along with the implications of it, then you've won the propaganda war. Because then everyone will know exactly how Israel's enemies are soulless, inhuman monsters of hatred and nothing else and from that moment on all of their lies and knashing of teeth will go unheaded and all of their friend will be shamed and people will start drawing distinctions between those who joined the human race and those who have cut themselves off from it.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 8, 2007 09:13 PM

And all I can say is that when Samir Kuntar goes home to his adoring supporters, get it on film.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 8, 2007 09:15 PM

Don't forget that the main propaganda that the US used to convince Americans that we should fight the nazis was just to expose Americans to Nazi propaganda. Really getting to know how the hate-filled have already dehumanize their own hearts tells the story and it answers the questions.

We don't know Hezbollah well enough, yet. Let Kuntar be our introduction.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 8, 2007 09:19 PM

"Because then everyone will know exactly how Israel's enemies are soulless, inhuman monsters of hatred and nothing else"

Everyone knows. The problem is not enough people care, Josh. You don't think the Europeans know what Hamas really is? Yet they willfully shovel cash at them. C'mon, dude. One of the cruelest double-standards in this world is the Israel-double-standard. People know, people know.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at January 9, 2007 12:33 AM

Everyone knows. The problem is not enough people care, Josh. You don't think the Europeans know what Hamas really is? Yet they willfully shovel cash at them. C'mon, dude. One of the cruelest double-standards in this world is the Israel-double-standard. People know, people know.

No, Mamzer, people do not know.

The reason they accept the distortions from the middle east is that they don't understand anything.

We assume that everyone is just like ourselves. We don't know anything about the middle east, so when people talk, we assume that they think the way we do.

But we (at least in Canada and the US where I grew up) come from a culture that has made hatred a deeply shameful taboo. So we assume that no one else is promoting absolute hatred. When people sound angry, it never even occurs to us that they may be responding to hate rather than injustice.

We also teach self reliance. We also teach that our children's lives are their own not ours. We wouldn't dream of foisting hatred or a war on our children. Probably even Americans who do hate wouldn't dream of sacrificing their children's well being to their own feelings.

So, of course, we can't even imagine a culture that promotes victimhood and hatred, let alone violence on its children.

So you can describe and describe and describe the middle east, and no one will believe you. We will just assume that you must be a hate monger yourself to be so slandering another people.

So we listen to stories about the middle east, filted and distant, and we misunderstand all of it.

Tonight there was a show on public television, here in the US called "Antisemitism in the 21st century" that played plenty of antisemetic sermons and interviews and dramas etc. from the Islamic world. They did their own interviews, just as damning. Even after all this time, Americans will be completely shocked to see how absolutely horrible it is.

Let me make this clear, hatred shown in all media and in demonstrations and in interviews on the streets, all of it will be so completely horrifying to a North American audience, that even people who blame Israel, many will say, "these are not our sort of people," and "we simply can't allow haters like that in our country." And more liberal people and perhaps naive like myself will say, "we must reform them."

We, as a culture, have NOT seen how middle easterners think. It takes seeing them, en mass engaged in frenzies of hatred, in speech completely beyond the acceptable, in what they do among themselves when we're not listening, to make it clear.

I've never lived in Europe so I don't know first hand how they think. But I can say that North Americans will be completely shocked. At least socially we will put our foot down, we're not going to ever bend and say that hatred is acceptable as long as it comes from a Muslim, based on some twisted theory of multiculturalism.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 01:23 AM

hatred shown in all media and in demonstrations and in interviews on the streets, all of it will be so completely horrifying to a North American audience, that even people who blame Israel, many will say, "these are not our sort of people," and "we simply can't allow haters like that in our country." And more liberal people and perhaps naive like myself will say, "we must reform them."

Unfortunately there are 2 more common reactions:
1. Whoever is sending us these images is racist and islamophobic and just trying to denigrate a whole religion / race / region

2. There must a rational explanation to explain such hatred. They must have really suffered a lot. Let's find the root cause of these feelings and alleviate the injustice these poor hating people must feel

Posted by: Mertel at January 9, 2007 07:49 AM

Mertel, those are common reactions to hearing about it one-off, filtered.

Seeing what the hatred looks like, first hand, with the insane sermons, the self satisfied propaganda etc. etc. would be a different kettle of fish. The effect of first hand experience tells a different story, it's like watching Hitler screaming at a rally or seeing the old Nazi propaganda. There's no way to doubt that hatred and violence are deliberate creations not reactions.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 10:17 AM

And yes, of course there is a small population that is antisemitic or simply attracted to hatred that gets involved in the middle east conflict because they love the hatred or perhaps what they mistake for righteous anger. Lot's of clueless teenagers and adults who are less mature than teenagers. You run into these people a lot if you deal with the middle east, but they're not representative of the way the mass of the population reacts.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 10:30 AM

jeff,
thanks for asking a very legitimate question. AS I had stated in my post, Iam no fan of hez, but hez views shebaa farms as one of the reasons to keeps their arms.
As for your question, how is it legitimate, well although it sounds complicated, the solution couldn't be simpler. the lebanese are saying it is lebanese land, the israelis are saying it is syrian land and the syrians are saying, nope, it is lebanese land....(this is the dispute part). (now the solution part)....the united nations said, ok syria, you submitted something in writing to the united nations that says you are formally ceding any legitimate claim to this pc of land and now syria is refusing to citing that it is rediculou to ask for such a document and it is lebanese land by law. now the israelis are milking this pc of land, because it is very rich in soil, which in turn is a valuable farming source. I hope that sheds some light jeff.

josh, to say what kuntar did is equivelant to what the israeli soldiers have done in lebanon and are doing in palestine is laughable at best. you did not address my question about the landmines. if israel were truly a peaceful country (yea, right), it would not have left behind such a deadly gift for the lebanese. plus, the picture in the jerusalem post during the war of kids writing messages on rockets to the lebanese was just sick.
give me a break josh. not all israelis are war mongers, but leiberman, who is an extremist wants to wipe out all palestinians, i don't hear you shooting down that kind of rhetoric. I do believe alot of israelis wants peace with palis and all the arab states, but the leaders are nazis at best.
as for the release of kuntar, I don't think this is stupid on the part of israel. I think Israel is putting the ball in hez court. nasrallah had indicated that during the war, there were 3 objectives...1-samir kuntar(and any other lebanese prisoners), 2-hez weapons, 3-shebaa farms. and they were in that order of importance.now israel is saying, ok, here is kuntar, and if syria takes care of the paperwork of shebaa, then you have no reason for your weapons...so now what. I do agree with some of the posts above that NOTHING will apease hez, just like i don't believe the war was about prisoners(israels argument). only time will give us the answers.
p.s.---your anger and violent rhetoric is no better than hezbollah's
peace

Posted by: buckeye at January 9, 2007 12:07 PM

Buckeye, strident criticism is not at all comparable with Hezbollah's hatemongering. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your understanding of English is limited.

In any case what Samir Kuntar did is not comparable to what soldiers do. Any soldier who did what he did would be put in jail by their own courts.

According to Wikipedia:
Samir Kuntar shot the father, Danny, at close range in front of his daughter in the back and drowned him in the sea to ensure he was dead. Next, he smashed the four year old girl's head, Einat, on beach rocks and crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle.

Back in the crawl space, Yael Haran was accidentally suffocated to death by her mother's attempts to quiet her whimpering from revealing their hideout, so that they would not be found by Kuntar's group.

Read the whole thing.

That you make him a hero and post his picture show that you're nothing but genocidal murders. Kill a father in front of his children? Then kill the children? That's Hezbollah's hero.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 12:24 PM

"Hezbollah doesn’t pay taxes, so the rest of us have to pay for all the infrastructure the Israelis destroyed."

I hope the Lebanese government isn't paying anything for reconstruction in areas where they don't collect taxes.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 9, 2007 01:24 PM

josh,
again, you need anger management. thanks for not answering my question. where in my posts did i refer to kuntar a hero or not a hero?
you are so blinded by your hatred, that you have nothing but hate to spew...i yet have to read a spew with some legit info in it. and oh yeah...wikipedia...very credible. anybody can go in and put info into wikipedia...yippeeeeee. i suppose the massacring of many innocent civilians for no reason is ok, because they are in a "soldiers uniform". wow. samir kuntar, for his own purpose was wearing his version of a "uniform. while you point one finger at your opponent, three are pointing at yourself.
i would rather have english language limitations than be a mental midget josh.
get help. really.
peace
buckeye

Posted by: buckeye at January 9, 2007 01:43 PM

Can someone site proof that Lebanon actually does have legal rights to the Shebaa Farms?

Also, why is it HA's responsibility to fight for Lebanon's land? Shouldn't the Lebanese government make that decision as to when to use armed force to protect their territorial rights?

Posted by: Jeff at January 9, 2007 02:12 PM

this is where it gets complicated jeff. in the past, there has been said that there is paperwork and maps that prove that shebaa is lebanese land. Again, as I said previously, Syria can easily solve this problem.
Prior to the protests in downtown beirut, prime minister fouad saniora had come up with the idea of perhaps keeping shebaa farms under temporary control of the u.n. until this mess is resolved, and not the hez but iran stepped in and said no way and it should stay under israel's rule. you may (or may not) ask why. the answer is simple. this gives reason for hez to keep their arms. under the taef accords which was signed 16 years ago and 1559 which are basically the same but some symantics differ...states that once all lebanese land is free of threat of foreign occupation, then all militias or armed organizations must disarm. this would be a problem for hez themselves.
the other problem, hez has been built up with so much weapons, money and support through the syria/iran partnership that they are better equipped and stronger than the lebanese army (as michael had stated in other posts). jeff, i wish i can say that this is as cut and dry and simple as black and white, but unfortunately, it is not.
peace

Posted by: buckeye at January 9, 2007 02:46 PM

one more thing for jeff,
a few years prior to hariri sr. assasination, hariri's cabinet had proposed to put the lebanese army along the border, but hez was dead against it and wouldn't have it. now nasrallah says that he was against it because the lebanese army is not strong enough and equipped well enough to handle the situation (blah blah blah).
you may wonder what changed....the international community is what made the diff this time, and this was agreed upon prior to the end of the july war.
peace again.

Posted by: buckeye at January 9, 2007 02:50 PM

Buckeye, you live in the United States, but you don't understand the United States at all.

If an American Soldier had been guilty of what Samir Kuntar did, there would be no pictures of him posted on the streets. Everyone would resent him for being a monster in our name...

There would be no rally waiting to welcome him home. People would spit on him or beat him up, except that he'd be picked up by military police as soon as he was released and arrested.

Military prisons are probably pretty safe, but after what he did, he'd be in danger if they put him in a regular prison.

But that's not how your Lebanese Jew haters treat that child killer. And that's what I pointed out.

Hatred, massacre, these aren't acceptable to American values. But they're tribal values to the hatred-soaked barbarians in Southern Lebanon. If the world really understood in exactly what way your culture supports hatred, they'd be completely shocked. They wouldn't believe it.

That's what I was pointing out.

You don't know how alien all that hatred is to us. You don't understand us at all.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 04:14 PM

Michael, I can't see why you say Israel announced that it will swap Kuntar, when the JP article you link to makes it quite clear that this is a Hezbollah announcement.

Seems to me Hezbollah has developed to a fine art the making of announcements in which its own maximal demands are presented as ready signed up agreements. It's the same as Hamas does when it regularly announces that Gilad Shalit is going to be freed for mega numbers of prisoners, or that a Palestinian government of national unity is about to be announced.

Perhaps it's all part of the Iranian PR approach so ably fronted by President Ahmadinejad

Posted by: Judy at January 9, 2007 04:26 PM

first of all...it is you that does not understand american culture. i appreciate your posts for they are quite humorous. let me remind you of the soldiers that are standing trial right now for doing what kuntar did and even worse. does the incident in iraq where a 14 year old girl was raped repeatedly and then killed and then burned. that is after her parents and sibling were killed for no reason. and that is one of such incidents. please don't preach to me about your holier than thou wannabes. you obviously don't know squat about the u.s. the u.s. is a great country to live in but that does not mean that this sort of thing does not exist. give me a break. another thing, your posts are perfect examples of what israeli extremists (the flip side of hez) are like. you avoid everything that i had pointed out that are facts. get educated, then, and only then open your pie hole. it is extremely exhausting trying to educate a brainwahsed person like you. good luck.

Posted by: buckeye at January 9, 2007 04:46 PM

Idiot! I didn't say that no Americans do horrible crimes. I said that the fact that you Hezbollah posts pictures of this murderer, makes him a hero, that you will get a rally to welcome him home - that shows that Hezbollah approves of killing Israeli families and that Lebanese Shiites are so compromised by hatred that they approve of killing every Jew, father and daughter, mother and child together.

It's not Kuntar who's the surprise. One monster is never a surpise. It's the fact that Lebanese Shiite culture has be defiled by Hezbollah and turned into a sewer of genocial hatred that's the bit shock.

It's not that Kuntar is a monster, it's that your response to him proves that you are monster.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 04:51 PM

...the big shock...

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 04:53 PM

If one of our soldiers committed a crime like Kuntar's and he was being held as a prisoner for it, and not mistreated, our government wouldn't try very hard to get him back. We certainly wouldn't make it a demand.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 05:03 PM

I was angry (and in a hurry, I have work to do) and typed that last post so quickly that I see four typos in it already. In the interests of making it readable I'm going to repost my response to Buckeye:

Idiot! I didn't say that no Americans commit horrible crimes. I said that the fact that Hezbollah hinges warfare on demanding the release of this murderer, posts pictures of him, makes him a hero, the fact that you will get a rally to welcome him home - these demonstrate that Hezbollah is making a show of publically approving of killing Israeli families and that Lebanese Shiites are so are in such a frenzy of absolute by hatred that they approve of killing every Jew, even fathers and daughters, mothers and their children together. This man made a mother kill her own daughter - and you Lebanese are waiting to welcome him back as a hero!!!

It's not Kuntar who's the surprise! One monster is never a surpise. It's the fact that Lebanese Shiite culture has been defiled by Hezbollah and turned into a sewer of genocidal hatred that's the big shock.

It's not that Kuntar is a monster, it's that your response to Kuntar proves that your people, your culture has become monsterous.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 05:16 PM

ok josh.....all i hear from you is blah blah blah...please learn to read with comprehension. hez does not represent the majority of the lebanese and your generalization by calling a culture monsterous based on what one group believes is ignorant which comes as no surprise. i will leave this post to your stupidity with the fact that you will see things through tunnel vision and we will not agree on anything. samir kuntar took on a hero status because he fought one common enemy among all (at least most) lebanese and that is israel. the lebanese people know exactly what the atrocities that israel invoked on it's people and land, irregardless of your careless responses. you base all your arguments on opinion (which everybody is entitled to), but absolutely very little, if any, fact. please stop making the israelis all peace loving people when the fact is, they are not.
and some jews in this country are just as scary. they place the priority of israel above that of the u.s. (i.e. tom lantos-ca). lantos, during the 9/11 hearing was more concerned with israel's safety rather than that of america's safety. and he is in congress....niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. please don't preach to me. let me remind you of a very important thing about the jews that the arabs never ever did and that is your people killed jesus, beheaded john the baptist and killed zakaria. thanks for nothing.
im finished educating you....lost cause. i see you completely missed my point about the release of kuntar and that whether he is or is not a hero.
i feel pity for you.
peace.

Posted by: buckeye at January 9, 2007 05:59 PM

samir kuntar took on a hero status because he fought one common enemy among all (at least most) lebanese and that is israel.

Exactly. You made such a man a hero. A man who killed a father in front of his four year old daughter, killed the daughter and made the mother kill her child.

That demonstrates exactly what I said it demonstrates about your culture. Your culture is in a frenzy of hatred.

We (Americans, Canadians like myself) could never accept a man who commited such atrocities let alone make him a hero, because we do allow the sort of hatred that makes your society so ugly.

That's just the fact.

We would never allow anyone to teach our children to hate. You teach your children to hate as a matter of course. We would never allow hate speechs on TV or in our Churches or temples, you have the most florid hate propaganda imaginable.

We don't want to see anyone's families slaughtered. We would never accept that anyone among us wants to see genocide. But look in a mirror.

You don't see anything wrong with your culture. Maybe Muslims take the stance that God made their culture perfect and beyond all criticism from infidels like us, who God hates after all... But look what this attitude has turned you into.

No, you can't understand how we think at all.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 06:19 PM

Josh and Buckeye, you two are talking (insulting) right past each other. Neither of you are reading very carefully what the other has written. You don't disagree as much as it appears.

Josh, Buckeye is not a Hezbollah supporter.

And Buckeye, Josh's point about American war criminals is that we Americans despise them for what they have done, not that they do not exist.

And by the way, Buckeye, the whole "Jews killed Jesus" thing is just anti-Semitic propaganda. Jesus was killed by the Roman Empire.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 9, 2007 06:21 PM

Sorry, more typos. I wish we had a system that allowed editting:

samir kuntar took on a hero status because he fought one common enemy among all (at least most) lebanese and that is israel.

Exactly. You made such a man a hero. A man who killed a father in front of his four year old daughter, killed the daughter and made a mother kill her child.

That demonstrates exactly what I said it demonstrates about your culture. Your culture is in a frenzy of hatred.

We (Americans, Canadians like myself) could never accept a man who commited such atrocities let alone make him a hero, because we do not allow this sort of hatred that makes your society so ugly.

That's just the fact.

We would never allow anyone to teach our children to hate. You teach your children to hate as a matter of course. We would never allow hate speechs on TV or in our Churches or temples, and you allow the most florid hate propaganda imaginable.

We don't want to see anyone's families slaughtered. We would never accept that anyone among us wants to see genocide. But look in a mirror. You allowed Hezbollah to become what it is. That was acceptable to you.

You don't see anything wrong with your culture. Maybe Muslims take the stance that God made their culture perfect and beyond all criticism from infidels like us, who God hates after all... Muslims never seem to allow any criticism of their cultures. I've never seen a Muslim admit any fault in his or her culture. But look what this attitude has turned you into.

No, you can't understand how we think at all.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 06:26 PM

Michael, I think Buckeye is talking past me as a rhetorical device.

He simply can't admit that there is any fault in Lebanese Shiite culture, and he absolutely must blame everything on the hated Israelis.

So he pretends that my points are different than they are. This is a very usual thing when arguing with a certain sort.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 06:29 PM

Oh, and if he finds that a point hit home at all, then he must find a way to smear shit on me and my people (Americans in this case).

This is the usual middle east propaganda mode.

This pathetic discourse is what passes for intellectual Jihad among the stupid.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 06:30 PM

Josh, you're going overboard here. Samir Kuntar is a Hezbollah hero, not a Lebanese hero.

Did you see the pictures I included that said "No War," "Wage Peace," "I Love Life"? I wish I had photographs of the billboards last year that said "Say No to Anger," "Say No to War," and "Say No to Terrorism."

All that is also part of the culture of Lebanon, which is part of the reason Lebanon is worth defending.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 9, 2007 06:31 PM

I should make myself clearer then.

Hezbollah is popular among Shiites.

I was talking about Hezbollah culture and about what it says about Shiite culture. And the fact is that these attitudes are not outliers in the middle east. Hezbollah is hardly alone.

So I didn't mean that all Lebanese are Hezbollah. God forbid. I wouldn't even bother with this web site if I thought that.

But the hatred that mars the culture is not a few people, it is the culture as a whole.

An interesting article that touches somewhat on this "The One Narrative Crisis" by Dr. Mohamed Mosaad

You should watch the PBS special on antisemitism in the 21st century that was on last night.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 06:41 PM

That a politican like Nasrallah thinks he can maintain or boost his popularity by lionizing a monster like Kuntar tells you everything you didn't want to know about Shiite culture.

Look around the Muslim world, examples of Muslim polticians who think that showing florid, genocidal Jew hatred will improve their standing are everywhere. That IS the state of the culture. Remember the Malaysian president?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 06:44 PM

I wish I had photographs of the billboards last year that said "Say No to Anger," "Say No to War," and "Say No to Terrorism."

Well I wish every Arab country had billboards which said,
"Shame - not a good enough reason to kill someone.
But if you really, really must - then kill yourself."

Posted by: Stephen M at January 9, 2007 07:03 PM

first of all...it is you that does not understand american culture. i appreciate your posts for they are quite humorous. let me remind you of the soldiers that are standing trial right now for doing what kuntar did and even worse. does the incident in iraq where a 14 year old girl was raped repeatedly and then killed and then burned. that is after her parents and sibling were killed for no reason. [...]

Do you know what is going to happen to those men?

Do you think they will be held up as heroes, examples for others to emulate, as Hizbullah does with Kuntar?

No. They have been arrested, they will be tried, and they are almost certainly going to spend the rest of their lives in a military prison. They will be despised by both the guards and the other prisoners, and will probably spend most of their time in prison in solitary confinement so that the other prisoners will not have an opportunity to kill them.

Compare that to the welcome Kuntar would recieve from Hizbullah if the Israelis released him.

Posted by: rosignol at January 9, 2007 08:58 PM

Why hasn't that Jew-hating cretin, Buck-eye, been banned from this site? If in the year 2006 that thing is saying that the Jews killed Jesus (who was a JEW) then he is just too stupid to be allowed to post. There is no excuse, he supposedly lives in the US, not the Middle East, and as such his ignorant rants are beyond reproach.

Posted by: Corinne at January 9, 2007 10:55 PM

jews that the arabs never ever did and that is your people killed jesus, beheaded john the baptist and killed zakaria. thanks for nothing.

I kind of blocked this crap out...

But reading it carefully, I guess that Buckeye is a Lebanese Christian not Muslim.

Of course all of the sects in Lebanon do share their culture to some extent. I've heard before that religious bigotry can be jaw droppingly shocking among Syrian Christians. Lebanese too, no doubt.

I think this only underlines what I said about the culture.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 11:19 PM

Didn't a Lebanese Christian woman post here two days ago saying that the recent war had turned her into a Hezbollah supporter because "the Jews have just killed the Christ" or some such hate raving?

She just dropped us a line to let us know that she hates.

Beautiful culture.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 11:22 PM

Of course shorter Buckeye would read:

"Hey you're a hater just like Nasrallah for what you say about Hezbollah! Don't hate you God Damn Christ-killing, war-criminal American Jew! No thanks for destroying all of history, Jew!"

His message of love and understanding was appreciated by all, I'm sure.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 9, 2007 11:41 PM

Josh, my family is from the Middle East (they are Jewish) and told me that when they were growing up the Christian Arabs were much worse to the Jews than the Muslim Arabs. Apparently, even today they still believe that the Jews kills Jesus. Nevermind that Jesus himself was a Jew, that fact they conveniently overlook in their demonization of the Jews.

Posted by: Corinne at January 10, 2007 12:21 AM

Of course the Muslims, with some slight of miraculous anachronism, know that Jesus was a Muslim. Oh and that he sent a boy to die in his place, killed by the Jews of course.. But that's another story.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 10, 2007 01:26 AM

If they didn't all have the Jews to blame, hate and attack, middle eastern Christian, Shiites and Sunnis would all kill each other. Jews are doing them all a great humanitarian service, acting as the universal scapegoat. And much safer to hate than Americans.

I've always thought that Qtub was acting, essencially as a coward, like a dog barking safely behind a fence, when he picked Israel and America as the enemies that Muslims should attack. Back then the brand new country of Israel seemed both miniscule and harmless, kind of like beating a puppy, and America seemed so far away that it couldn't possibly be threatening.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 10, 2007 01:33 AM

FYI

Michael Savage, who has a large following on the radio and based on book sales, has rallied his viewers behind supporting the defense fund of soliders accused of the Haditha massacre.

Posted by: NM at January 10, 2007 05:15 AM

It is theoretically possible that the Haditha troops are innocent, unless they've confessed. That's why we have trials and do not simply tear people apart with our bare hands. Nor do we put up billboards on their behalf. Once their guilt and its degree are established, they will be punished in accordance with the law, and that is the end of it. Nobody is going to kidnap anybody to extort their release.

Are Levantine Christians Roman or Orthodox (Catholics, I presume)?

Posted by: nichevo at January 10, 2007 02:49 PM

Nichevo,

Maronite Catholics and Greek Orthodox, mostly. Also a handful of Greek Catholics and Protestants.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 10, 2007 03:08 PM
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