January 26, 2007

“They Had Machine Guns Welded in Windows”

Blown Up House South Lebanon.jpg

I went to South Lebanon looking for Lebanese civilians who witnessed the July War between Israel and Hezbollah and who could, perhaps, clarify some controversial claims. Did Israel bomb indiscriminately? Did Hezbollah use human shields?

Some civilians did testify that Hezbollah used people in their village as human shields. And I found evidence that Israel at least sometimes struck with precision, if not at all times.

Lebanese civilians, though, weren’t the only witnesses to the war. Hezbollah was there, too – although I’m officially blacklisted with the organization and am denied access to interviews.

The Israeli Defense Forces also were there. I found a soldier who spent the entire war in and out of South Lebanon. He was willing to talk to me by phone even though our interview was illegal – he’s still in the army and is not supposed to talk to anyone in the media about what he did and what he saw. He did anyway, though, and he did not say what I thought he would say. The number of people killed in South Lebanon may be more heavily tilted toward Hezbollah fighters than most of us realized.

To preserve his anonymity I can only identify him as “an Israeli soldier in a long-range patrol unit.” So I’ll just call him Eli, which isn’t his name. Our conversation by phone was recorded. Here is the transcript.

MJT: There is a controversy about whether or not Hezbollah was using the civilian population and infrastructure as shields, whether were hiding behind people and apartment buildings and the like.

Eli: Did they use populated areas to fire? It was clear that they did. Except Israel also dispersed flyers ordering all the civilian population of South Lebanon to leave. So it was in those villages after the, I don’t remember the date, except anyone who was in those villages was probably helping Hezbollah fighters.

MJT: Where in Lebanon was your unit?

Eli: We went all around the West. Opposite Metulla there’s all these villages called Hula, Abbasieh, Markaba, Jwayya. It was 15 kilometers in. So we would go in 15 kilometers, mark targets.

MJT: So you were marking targets yourself? What kind of targets were you marking? I was on the border at the end of the war, and I watched a lot of Israeli artillery being fired, but it was impossible to tell what you guys were shooting at.

Eli: I can’t explain exactly what we use, but we use very advanced scopes and thermal scopes and stuff like that so you can see exactly what’s going on in villages at night or during the day or whenever. We could see armed personnel walking around there, carrying big bags. So as long as they’re armed they are targets for us to mark, for Air Force and artillery.

MJT: The reason I ask what kind of targets you were marking is because the majority of people inside Lebanon think the Israelis were firing at civilians deliberately.

Eli: If you ask me what should have been done in the villages in Lebanon during this war, I think Israel wasn’t harsh enough. Now, I’m not right-wing, I’m not…I just think that if we are in a war…it’s like, if you play with fire, people get burned. There’s nothing you can do about it. These whole villages, they were empty, just filled with Hezbollah terrorists. They should have been totally wiped off the map. Except Israel left them standing. Many of our soldiers were killed because of that, so Israel wouldn’t be blamed after the war for war crimes and destroying civilian houses.

When they say that Israeli artillery was aimed at civilian targets, I can tell you a bit about how the artillery works. If I find a target in the middle of a village, like one house that I see that there are armed people going in, and I will aim artillery, heavy artillery, on it. Not Air Force, not like pin-pointed targets. Artillery will dispense rounds 100 meters from that target also. It’s not accurate. Anyway, even if a target is next to it, these houses were empty. No civilians were walking around South Lebanon. I know. I was in their villages. In their houses. Anyone who was there was definitely working for the Hezbollah or working as a Hezbollah fighter.

MJT: So you didn’t see any women? It was mostly men and no children?

Eli: I never saw one woman or any children in Lebanon. I was going in and out for the whole time since the day when the soldiers were kidnapped. We flew from my unit straight to the north in helicopters, and since then we were there until a week after the cease-fire.

MJT: An article was recently published in the Washington Times, and it wasn’t sourced very well, that said…Hezbollah is known for doing charity work in South Lebanon. One of the things that they had supposedly done, according to the article, was build houses for poor people with Katyusha rocket launchers embedded inside the center of the house, walled off on four sides in sealed rooms so the residents didn’t even know they were there. And supposedly when the war started Hezbollah peeled off the roofs and fired rockets from inside the houses. Did you see anything like this?

Eli: I didn’t see any Katyusha rockets being installed inside houses. But I’ve seen stuff…like we went toward this house, we were fired upon from inside the house. We went into the house. We cleared the house. Anyone who was in the house was neutralized. We went down to the basement. And also in the basement everything was neutralized. And we saw a periscope in the basement that was looking up toward the main road.

MJT: A periscope like something they use in a submarine?

Eli: Yeah, a periscope. You know, you can be underground and see above. It was a pipe that had mirrors that were reflecting up. And a small kind of detonator. Our team checked it out. There were 500 kilos of explosives under the road waiting for Israeli tanks. There were really ready. They built these houses for that purpose because they knew this was going to happen some day. They were just waiting for the tanks to roll in.

MJT: Do you have any idea when you found houses that were being used militarily if they were Hezbollah houses per se, or had they taken over other people’s civilian houses?

Eli: I don’t know.

MJT: You couldn’t tell.

Eli: No. But they could take any house they wanted because the whole place was empty. Everyone left. When we were fighting we were fighting from house to house. They would just skip houses, they would go a different house. We would detonate one house, they would fire a few from another house, and skip to yet another house. They would go wherever they want, it was their area in South Lebanon. It’s not like they thought about them as civilian houses.

MJT: What do you know about that went on in South Lebanon that has been under-reported in the media?

Eli: Not so much in South Lebanon, but in Israel. The way the Israeli army and the prime minister and the chief of staff, the chief of military staff, used the war and controlled the war, if you ask me, was wrong.

MJT: In what ways?

Eli: The chief of the military in Israel did not come from the army. He came from the Air Force. He used to be an Air Force Commander. He was not an army grunt. And the first three weeks of the war he tried to really win this war with air strikes, in the South and in the area in Beirut, what do you call it?

MJT: The dahiyeh.

Eli: Yeah, the dahiyeh. The dahiyeh area. He did not use the ground troops as well as he should have. He would send ground troops one kilometer in, they would stay for a few days, and walk out. Only during the last week of the war did the army take up the war. And every time we went in and went out, people got killed.

MJT: Do you think the air war was effective at all? Or should the war have been fought on the ground only?

Eli: Of course it should always be together, air and ground. You can’t win one without the other. You have to place your air strikes exactly where you need them. Just dropping thousands of tons of bombs on that area in Beirut was useless if you ask me.

Because they couldn’t get Nasrallah. He’s planned this out for how many years? I mean, he knew where he was going to go and how to avoid Israeli intelligence in Lebanon. The bottom line is that they should have aimed more air strikes in the area of South Lebanon.

For the first few weeks they called it a mission. They didn’t call it a war. The enemy was firing rockets from inside Lebanon. And Israel went out to stop that enemy. Which is…kind of like a war. It is war. In any war civilian houses get damaged and there’s nothing you can to do stop it. When you play with fire, people get burned.

Israeli troops went into standing villages where they just were ambushed. Our unit was ambushed also once. And I know lots of other units who were ambushed. Standing villages were there. There could have been nothing, we could have rolled into rubble.

MJT: Hezbollah claims they tried to keep their fighters away from civilian areas, that they keep their fighters away from the towns and the villages and more out in the countryside. So, when you say that you were ambushed, were you inside one of the towns when this happened?

Eli: Yes. We were also ambushed in more open areas. They have these small bunkers, they built bunkers and caves and stuff in open areas. They were ready. They had machine guns welded in windows. They were welded in already. They were ready. They were ready for urban warfare. That’s where they killed the most Israeli soldiers, in urban warfare.

In open warfare? They didn’t have much of a chance. It’s in urban warfare where they can skip house to house and leave very large amounts of explosives under asphalt where you can’t even see it.

MJT: So you’re saying that a lot of the damage done in South Lebanon towns was done by Hezbollah themselves, not all of it was by the Israeli Defense Forces?

Eli: I can tell you about the places I’ve been. Some of the places you’ve heard about, like Bint Jbail, I haven’t been there. My unit didn’t go there.

We got to one village one time and the information was that there weren’t going to be very many armed Hezbollah. It was just going to be like a few helpers or spotters. So the whole village was going to be left standing and there was not going to be any problem.

As soon as we got around 500 meters from the village they started firing everything they had at us. From inside the village. So of course Israel retaliated with a few rounds of artillery, some war planes came down on the place. It wasn’t really…a round of artillery won’t bring a house down. It will make a big hole in it. And the airplane, unless it’s a big bomb, it won’t bring a house down. You know, maybe it will make it an unsafe house to live in. So you’ll see big holes in walls, and some tank shells blew holes in walls. Except the only reason why those holes are there is because they were shooting from these villages. They were shooting from within mosques. They were firing Katyushas from behind mosques and stuff.

MJT: Were they also firing from churches?

Eli: I didn’t see any churches. I wasn’t in any Christian villages. Most of the Christian villages, the Israelis detoured around them because they thought they were probably anti-Hezbollah, that Hezbollah would not be in there. Except the Hezbollah, they often dressed up as Israeli soldiers.

MJT: Did you actually see this yourself? Hezbollah wearing Israeli uniforms?

Eli: Yes.

MJT: Really. How many Hezbollah soldiers did you see wearing Israeli uniforms?

Eli: Once they hit us with a few anti-tank missiles. And I saw straight away like six of them.

MJT: Was it just the one time that you saw this?

Eli: I’m not the only one who has seen this happen in Lebanon. There are lots of other people from lots of other units who have seen this. It’s, it’s guerilla warfare.

MJT: Where do you suppose they get the uniforms? Do they make them themselves? Or are they stealing them?

Eli: Well, all of them are probably stolen. When Israel left Lebanon in 2000 they left a ton of army supply stuff.

MJT: They claim that they have their own uniforms.

Eli: Yeah, they have like a kind of a dark khaki colored, like dark American colors. They have camouflage and stuff like that. But they’re also wearing, they’re people walking around towns, with weapons, who aren’t wearing uniforms. They look like civilians. I mean, in every civilian house in Lebanon there is a shotgun. And that’s not because they’re against the IDF or because they’re against Israel, it’s that most people in the small villages, they’re hunters. They hunt for food. But we also saw people walking around with AK-47s and hand guns and stuff. There are definitely Hezbollah people in, in civilian clothes.

MJT: So, okay, what’s the most common appearance for a Hezbollah fighter in South Lebanon during a war? Do most wear civilian clothes? Hezbollah uniforms? Israeli uniforms?

Eli: It changes all the time.

MJT: Hezbollah claims they had some missiles from Iran, specifically the Zelzal missiles, and that they chose not to fire them. I wonder, do you know if they’re lying about that, if the Israelis perhaps took the Zelzal missiles out at the beginning of the war and that they were unable to fire them?

Eli: The greatest bulk of the long-range missiles that they had were destroyed. By the Air Force. This is what I heard, but I don’t really know, it’s not what I do in the army.

MJT: Have you fought in the West Bank or Gaza?

Eli: Yes.

MJT: How much more skilled are Hezbollah than Hamas and Islamic Jihad?

Eli: Much more skilled. Much more skilled. You can’t compare with fighting against Hezbollah and fighting against Palestinians. Hezbollah has had such a long time to get prepared for these attacks. And they were dug in. Everything was planned, and the weapons, the ammunition, everything was accurate, everything. And the mortar rounds they were all fixed, everything, all the mortars were already fixed on targets where they knew the Israelis were going to come through.

With the Palestinians, it’s very amateur with the Palestinian freedom fighters or whatever they call themselves.

MJT: Alright. From where I was during the war, which was the Israeli side, it looked like the Israelis won every engagement with Hezbollah.

Eli: In the end, Israel won every engagement, this is true. Except the problem is winning an engagement against people who are fighting guerilla warfare. You will win, but you will sustain losses, heavy losses. With guerilla warfare you have one or two guys on a mountain hidden in small holes holding an anti-tank missile. And really at the end of the day he’ll shoot the missile at a few soldiers. He’ll maybe kill one or two, I don’t know. Except you won’t be able to find him afterwards. Unless you were looking in exactly the same direction when it was fired, you won’t. That’s the problem with guerilla warfare.

If there was a full-out war, you know, tanks against tanks, combat units against combat units, and everything done out in the open, Israel would definitely, totally defeat and win. Except the problem is guerilla warfare is extremely hard, it’s, I don’t know how to explain it except that it’s stressful because it’s not a real army, it’s not an army, it’s like cells. Fighting against cells that are operated by bigger cells, you don’t know where they could be, it’s not a big army.

MJT: Do you think it would be possible for Israel to defeat Hezbollah completely in a future war? If you killed every Hezbollah fighter they could always recruit more, but that aside, do you think you could eliminate all or most of them? Or would it just take too long because of the nature of the fighting?

Eli: The problem is, if you kill their combat units…which was possible, during the war the Israelis killed 700 to 800 Hezbollah fighters, which is a third of their whole combat fighters. Which is quite a lot of people.

MJT: It is, yeah.

Eli: Except killing them all…I’ve read MEMRI where there are Arab newspapers translated into English. It’s on the Internet. You can read it. Hezbollah said they were bringing in 3,000 to 4,000 Somali fighters.

MJT: I remember reading that. Did you see anybody who looked Somali, like they were from Africa?

Eli: No.

MJT: A lot of Lebanese people think this is just Hezbollah propaganda, that it’s not true. And I suspect they’re right. Like you said, Hezbollah is a professional guerilla army, whereas Somali fighters are pretty amateurish, like Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Eli: Hmm. You can’t compare the Hezbollah fighter to the Israeli soldier. The Israeli soldier is much better trained. He’s much more fit. Better weapons. And they’re trained for much longer. Except fighting guerilla warfare is just much harder than fighting a regular war.

MJT: Right.

Eli: That’s just it, at the end. And you asked me about getting rid of Hezbollah. Surely getting rid of all the Hezbollah fighters is not the solution. You have to get it from the root. And the root of the Hezbollah is, in the end, it’s the road toward Syria, and from Syria toward Iran. They are the big funders and the people who give Hezbollah the ok. In the end.

MJT: It looks like it’s an unresolvable problem without dealing with Syria and Iran in some way, somehow.

Eli: It’s a matter of time. Because the way I see it, the way I look at the situation now in Lebanon, at the parliament there, that within a few months or a year, I don’t know, the Hezbollah are getting stronger again. And they might push out the Lebanese government. They’ll take over the government there. And they’ll ask the UN peacekeepers to leave. And they will have to leave. And then we’ll have it all over again.

Post-script: If you like what I write, please click the Pay Pal button and help make it happen. I have to eat and pay bills, and your donations are the only thing that makes my work possible. I would do this for free if I could, but we don’t live in a Star Trek money-free universe yet.

If you would like to donate money for travel expenses and you don't want to use Pay Pal, you can send a check or money order to:

Michael Totten
P.O. Box 312
Portland, OR 97207-0312

Many thanks in advance.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 12:39 PM
Comments

If you ask me what should have been done in the villages in Lebanon during this war, I think Israel wasn’t harsh enough. Now, I’m not right-wing, I’m not…

You may not CALL yourself "rightwing", but your views sure do MAKE you rightwing. LOL. In Israel, even people who don't know they are rightwing ARE rightwing.

Fantastic interview. Michael has earned a tip to his jar.

Posted by: Carlos at January 26, 2007 01:03 PM

Carlos, ha ha, yes I had the same thought. That's much harsher than what I've heard most Israelis say, even most Israeli right-wingers.

And thanks for the tip!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 01:12 PM

The number of people killed in South Lebanon may be more heavily tilted toward Hezbollah fighters than most of us realized.

Well dahh! Anyone who believed the amazing lies coming out of the media in Lebanon was a complete fool. The media let Hezbollah write their stories for them. Civilians targeted and no fighters killed? How stupid did they thing we were?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 26, 2007 01:25 PM

Michael,

Is it rightwing to criticize failure? What value does the center have if it embraces failure? How long does it the center hold if it keeps using methods that are shown to fail?

I'm all for humane behavior in war, as long as it doesn't get my family, friends and fellow sailors killed. The essential disconnect seems to be in the understanding that civilized soldiers can step back from brutality while barbarian warriors cannot. It is a question of belief in the redemtion by civilized society. One of those things about civilians that bugs their protectors the most is unwillingness to believe in our capacity to act differently to our friends and foes.

I've been trying to teach you this for years and you still keep missing it.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 26, 2007 01:30 PM

Rightwing-leftwing:

Colin Powell was for overwhelming firepower. Donald Rumsfeld was for a more surgical war. Does this say anything about their respective political views?

Posted by: Disk on Key at January 26, 2007 01:48 PM

Patrick, saying entire villages should be wiped off the map is not "criticizing failure."

I, too, criticized Israel's failure in the war. But I didn't say that.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 01:48 PM

By the way, since I have to work, I haven't had a chance to read the article except for that opening paragraph yet...

Posted by: Josh Scholar at January 26, 2007 01:50 PM

Well, I understood it this way: The more structures left standing, the better able the guerilla fighter is to ambush an attacking force. Remove the structures, and the ability to affect a proper urban ambush is reduced to nil.

I don't think that's right-wing or left-wing; I think it's just an old-school mindset on how to prosecute warfare.

Posted by: Nate at January 26, 2007 02:00 PM

Colin Powell was for overwhelming firepower. Donald Rumsfeld was for a more surgical war.

An interesting observation. Just like last year Pelosi was saying Rumsfeld should deploy more troops but this year she's saying less.

Posted by: Carlos at January 26, 2007 02:26 PM

TO the first two comments. I am afraid the issue isnt political orientation but knowledge of military history and tactics. As someone who researcehd the topic extensively, you really cant defeat a guerilla army/insurgency without 'heavyhanded actions'. Its a simple, objective fact. 'Eli' is just giving a realistic assessment without sugarcoating it or making it PR compatible. Furthermore, nowhere does he advocate committing any aggression against actual civilians.
I can tell you that most people who fought in guerilla warfare, and people who researched it will conclude that israeli actions in lebanon were pretty soft (regardless of what one thinks of israel or IDF per se)

Posted by: Aleksandr at January 26, 2007 02:31 PM

My biggest problem with the war is that Israel dispersed flyers ordering all the civilian population of South Lebanon to leave but bridges and roads were destroyed already! How do you expect them to leave? Also, when they leave, Israeli airplanes target them!!!

Another problem is the destruction of the infrastructure!

Other than that, have fun with Hizb-Iran!

Posted by: Ghassan at January 26, 2007 03:19 PM

Until you have been on the military and trained and fought in Urban Warfare, it is easy to be the armchair general and say 'do this' & 'do that.'

I was trained for house to house fighting and decision making is more difficult than anyone can imagine, for the soldiers on the ground and for top decision makers.

Posted by: A at January 26, 2007 03:22 PM

Excellent, MJT. And I don't see the soldier's comments as right wing, but as a cold assessment of unforgiving fact. Villages were emptied of civilians, IDF chose not to level them for fear of the 'disproportionate' and war crimes labels, HB used that knowledge to their advantage.

Since Israel got its PR ass handed to it anyhow, I assume next time they won't worry so much about looking benign to the MSM or the useless UN -- they'll just do the damn job. It's war. It's hell. Israel only seems to earn respect by being militarily ruthless.

Posted by: Pam at January 26, 2007 03:23 PM

I assume next time they won't worry so much about looking benign to the MSM or the useless UN

You don't sound like a Liberal to me. The UN is to liberals what the Federation is to trekkies. It's like a secular Kingdom of heaven. Also, "MSM" isn't a term used by liberals. You sure you're a Lib?

Posted by: Carlos at January 26, 2007 04:36 PM

I am neither a liberal or a conservative. But if I am atacked I am going to respond. War is HELL...
In my opinion ( and I am an armchair general) Israel was to soft on Hezbollah. And Lebanon has been to soft on Hezbollah and now Hezbollah is out of control. The best outcome would be for Lebanon to make peace with Israel. But of course it is wishful thinking..............

Posted by: diana at January 26, 2007 05:32 PM

"BEtter war than an unjust peace"
History of the 20th century confirms this Roman statement. 'Liberal' or 'Concservative' alike.

P.S. I did not know that political affiliation had a direct effect on your vocabulary, and terminology.

Posted by: Aleksandr at January 26, 2007 05:56 PM

Michael, thank you for these reports. It's important that someone is documenting the facts that the media as a whole ignored during the war.

Here is Israeli TV footage of an IDF patrol in Lebanon, from Lisa Goldman's blog (Warning: video includes scenes of violence, wounded men, etc.):

http://ontheface.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/8/29/2276029.html

Before you judge Eli, ladies and gents, watch the video and ask yourself what you would think in Eli's place. The villages he entered were empty except for Hizballah guerillas. He never met unarmed civilians in the villages. He was ambushed there, though, and fought from house to house and room to room battles in boobytrapped, unoccupied towns, against heavily-armed Hizballah men who used mosques as firing platforms and often dressed as civilians. He saw close friends wounded and perhaps killed.

Yet, Eli is ISN'T a right-winger, nor is he bloodthirsty. He's not calling for the leveling of Shia areas like the dahiyeh; in fact, he thinks that bombing the dahiyeh intensively was pointless. He doesn't want to kill civilians; he wants to get rid of the terrorists.

Posted by: Zvi at January 26, 2007 08:02 PM

>>>P.S. I did not know that political affiliation had a direct effect on your vocabulary, and terminology.

Not vocabulary, but it often does on your terminology. For instance, if someone refers to Hezbollah or Hamas as 'militants' instead of terrorists, I'm willing to give good odds on what their political affiliation is.

Posted by: Carlos at January 26, 2007 08:18 PM

Given the fact that the civilian population was urged to leave, and most did, we are not talking about "innocent civilians" remaining in the villages. Complicit civilians and civilian combatants, yes, but not innocent ones.

And if an enemy chooses to fight from such a villiage, the villiage really isn't exactly a civilian venue anymore -- no more so than a mosque is a holy site once someone has chosen to turn it into a fighting position.

Eli's views are neither left nor right; they merely reflect the realities of guerrilla warfare and asymetrical warfare. If our side -- the side of the United States, Israel, and what is wryly called "western civilization" -- inteneds to win the Long War, it needs to start facing up to the sort of inconvenient truths that Eli is highlighting.

Posted by: pauldanish at January 26, 2007 08:24 PM

I linked to that video right after the war. It is extraordinary. Anyone who hasn't seen it, should. I watched it three times from beginning to end.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 08:31 PM

The streaming makes the clip very erratic and frustrating to watch. Is it available for download somewhere?

Posted by: Carlos at January 26, 2007 08:42 PM

Carlos,

From Lisa's post:

Tech update: For those who cannot view the embedded video, copy and paste the following code into a new window on your browser. If that doesn't work then I'm afraid I don't know how to help. http://switch248-01.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ClipMediaID=209947&ak=63628786

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 09:52 PM

Carlos, on a local forum I had people arguing with one another over my political affiliation, and I delight in confounding their simplistic stereotypes. The thing is, in my experience a very large proportion of moderate American Dems have much more patriotic, even militaristic, views than anyone realizes. They are also universally against corporate governance, if you want something that connects us with old-style liberals, and almost as concerned about creeping Christian extremism as Islamist extremism.

A retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice nicely expressed my idea of modern security-conscious liberalism, and every single Dem I have talked to has agreed: "You still consider privacy a right -- for us it's a luxury. Your privacy cannot be more important than the life of your neighbor's child. So I will not protect your absolute right to private communication, but I absolutely will protect how information is obtained, and who gets the information and how it is used, and I will keep it within a rule of law."

Posted by: Pam at January 26, 2007 09:57 PM

Oh, and how can you be an American and have a shred of respect for the UN? I know NO one, Dem or Republican, who thinks the UN is worth squat.

Posted by: Pam at January 26, 2007 09:59 PM

On the spot MJT and Eli; the real issue here is that Israel has substituted a strategy of restraint for its long-standing strategy of deterrence. That did not work and will not work with the kind of zero-sum mentality that the Palestinians and most Arab intellectuals behind them (not to mention Arab dictators) have ingrained in the minds of the Arab-speaking people of Lebanon and elsewhere. What is intreguing in all this is the fact that the Lebanese should know better or at least are expected to know better. Unfortunately they don't. Even when the resent Hizballa's actions, they refer to Israel as the "enemy". This has to stop. Only then we can start discussing whose fault or mistake was this or that action.

Posted by: aboujahl at January 26, 2007 11:14 PM

That's a good quote, Pam, and I solidly agree as well.

I'm not as liberal in the conventional sense as you are, but I am more so than Carlos and several others here. (Pretty much in the middle, really.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 11:34 PM

Even when the resent Hizballa's actions, they refer to Israel as the "enemy"

Some Lebanese say it when they don't mean it so they don't get branded as collaborators. I also am sick to death of it, though. More people should stand up and say enough. Seniora, etc, is accused of being a "Zionist hand" anyway.

That's why when Walid Jumblatt made a point of saying "We don't want to destroy Israel" I drew attention to it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2007 11:38 PM

Michael,

If the choice is between turning a reinforced concrete, combattant filled, purpose built deathtrap of a village into rubble or watching twenty of my closest friends die, guess my pick. This does not make me rightwing. The difference here is that I am making a specific decision on the basis of a real set of circumstances that existed. This is a judgement based on historical facts that you gathered and I believe to be accurate.

I could kind of understand the labling if we were playing BS college-freshman hypothetical question games about what if we were in Vietnam. Twenty-five years ago I might have considered a person who advocated destroying villages a rightwing jerk, but time and experience have helped clear those muddy waters for me. I'm not going talking pointless weasle-words about destroying the village to save it. I am talking about leveling an prepared enemy position filled with entrenched belligerants.

My question is: what makes the villages sacred? Why is the real estate more valuable than the soldiers? If we learned nothing from last summer's debacle, we have learned that Israel is not invincible and that there are rules of engagement so restrictive as to make the entire military effort pointless.

I think what irritates me most about this is the presumption that politics is the relevant framework for making tactical military decisions. Assertions of the strategic grunt notwithstanding, some things need to be abstracted from the political in order to be effective. This is more true today when the military comprehension of the average pundit approaches the non-existant, and the reaction to death is so hyperbolic.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 01:22 AM

Patrick Lasswell: If the choice is between turning a reinforced concrete, combattant filled, purpose built deathtrap of a village into rubble or watching twenty of my closest friends die, guess my pick

Well, when you put it that way...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 27, 2007 03:06 AM

Michael:

Great post; you are performing a heck of a service by keeping all of us not familiar with the area or situation informed. I also greatly appreciate the time and effort you take to keep tabs on your comments' section. You handle this the best of anyone I am familiar with on the net.

Regarding destroying towns or villages, I conducted both civic and combat operations among the villagers who lived in our AO in nam. Like these islamic fanatics the communists had no qualms about hiding behind civilians and often would deliberately do so among those whose loyalties were not to them, to provoke a hostile response from the south Vietnmese or US forces. Your best resource in cases like this is good intel, plus staying flexible so even if you took rounds from a village you didn't necessarily have to respond. However, when all is said and done, Sherman and Sheridan and Grant wrote the book on breaking an enemy's will to fight. Total war means exactly that and it is not pretty. Hopefully Iran and Syria will find this out by being on the receiving end for a change in the not too distant future.

Posted by: H. Short at January 27, 2007 04:35 AM

"You may not CALL yourself "rightwing", but your views sure do MAKE you rightwing."

Hmm. Taking a strong position against a fundamentalist religious fascist militia = rightwing?

You may think you're liberal, but...

Posted by: Israeli at January 27, 2007 06:10 AM

You know in Germany, it's the far right who protests the allied bombing of Dresden.

To confuse this soldier's hard line against Hez nad his pragmatic desire to actually end the conflict on the Lebanese border once and for all (with more freedom for army operations in the inevitable future conflict) as "right wing" misses the point of this interview terribly.

One of the reasons these conflicts drag on, is that nobody is allowed to win.

Posted by: Israeli at January 27, 2007 06:17 AM

Pam,

perhaps you are a very moderate Liberal and not the kind I'm used to encountering on blogs. Although I must acknowledge this blog-- being more moderate-- doesn't attract too many leftwing extremists. So my usual contempt for them would probably be wasted around here and seem heavy-handed. Maybe it's time to drop it as a subject. By the way, I grew up a Liberal and only in the last 5-6 have I called myself a conservative. I grew up with Liberal friends. It's interesting that I never considered Liberals/Liberalism to be so contemptuos until I started arguing with them on blogs. And nor are they complete monsters when I meet them in person. Perhaps that says something about the medium.

And one more thing before I drop the subject. folks above have said war is not a right/left topic. But let me ask you, was Hezbollah's propaganda campaign during the recent war with Israel directed at the western Right? or Left. Methinks the latter.

Posted by: Carlos at January 27, 2007 06:18 AM

Taking a strong position against a fundamentalist religious fascist militia = rightwing?

Was it the voices on the Right calling for a ceasefire in Lebanon? No. In the West, it was primarily the Left. It was the western rightwing who wanted Israel to finish off Hezbollah. We didn't fall one minute for Hezbollah's phony baloney PR campaign.

Posted by: Carlos at January 27, 2007 06:31 AM

Thanks, Michael. I tried what she suggested but it was still choppy. The sound came through perfect, but the video images would freeze, so I missed a lot of subtitled translation. I got the gist of it though.

Posted by: Carlos at January 27, 2007 06:35 AM

so, who wants to answer the following: 1) Is Lebanon going to make peace with Israel?.....and why not? Jordan and Egypt have done it. Why not take a bolden step? there are so many good reasons............

Posted by: diana at January 27, 2007 06:55 AM

"right-wing" "left-wing" : still the same essentialist quest for definitions that turn up more terms or words themselves in need of definitions ... to infinite regress!

if we agree to ignore all this (the what is question) and focus on why? how? what-for? etc. it all had to be that way, perhaps we can arrive one day to value the individual in the israeli and the individual in the lebanese...in this sense Eli appeared far closer to me than many of my countrymen!

there is no way for Lebanon out of this mess unless we abandon once and for all the heavy inheritance of arabo-paletinno anti-american and anti-israeli once nationalist-fascist, another time marxist-maoest, and most lately islamist-jihadist, lingo; now is the time or never...

Posted by: aboujahl at January 27, 2007 07:10 AM

"right-wing" "left-wing" : still the same essentialist quest for definitions that turn up more terms or words themselves in need of definitions ... to infinite regress!

if we agree to ignore all this (the what is question) and focus on why? how? what-for? etc. it all had to be that way, perhaps we can arrive one day to value the individual in the israeli and the individual in the lebanese...in this sense Eli appeared far closer to me than many of my countrymen!

there is no way for Lebanon out of this mess unless we abandon once and for all the heavy inheritance of arabo-paletinno anti-american and anti-israeli once nationalist-fascist, another time marxist-maoest, and most lately islamist-jihadist, lingo; now is the time or never...

Posted by: aboujahl at January 27, 2007 07:11 AM

Great post! Interviews with soldiers, people who have lived through a conflict are, to me, more interesting than interviews with politicians. It's not just their straightforward expression of their opinions and their experiences, it's the pragmatism. I've read lots of interviews with polticians, and with them, pragmatism is never a feature.

If you ask me what should have been done in the villages in Lebanon during this war, I think Israel wasn’t harsh enough. Now, I’m not right-wing, I’m not…I just think that if we are in a war…it’s like, if you play with fire, people get burned. There’s nothing you can do about it. These whole villages, they were empty, just filled with Hezbollah terrorists. They should have been totally wiped off the map.

One of the reasons these conflicts drag on, is that nobody is allowed to win.

My question is: what makes the villages sacred? Why is the real estate more valuable than the soldiers?

Lately, I've begun to realize that I don't understand modern warfare at all. We're supposed to be fighting an asymetric war, a war that is heavily reliant on intelligence gathering, and now we discover that we've been catching and releasing enemy operatives - in an effort to win goodwill from the Iranians?

Israel was waging war to rescue two soldiers, yet they were apparently willing to risk hundreds of soldiers' lives to preserve real estate?

Politicians sell wars to the public by telling us that their goal is to win, but with these tactics, it's obvious that winning isn't the goal. The fact that modern warfare has become such a realpolitik/peacekeeping/nation-building/cultural-outreach muddle may explain why so many people are leaning towards defeatism.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2007 07:35 AM

The thing is, in my experience a very large proportion of moderate American Dems have much more patriotic, even militaristic, views than anyone realizes. They are also universally against corporate governance, if you want something that connects us with old-style liberals, and almost as concerned about creeping Christian extremism as Islamist extremism.

In the leftish NYC area there are a lot of Democrats like that. Some are more likely than I am to support military action. They're kind of old-fashioned liberals, or FDR Liberals. As a liberal-ish moderate, I mostly agree with them.

A lot of extreme leftists activists call themselves 'Liberals' too, which only causes more confusion. This groups tends to call FDR liberals 'neo-cons' or 'right wingers'.

I call these extremists 'Stalinists' (which they object to) but when it comes to the whole mislabelling argument, you know, they started it...

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2007 07:55 AM

Why is the real estate more valuable than the soldiers? If we learned nothing from last summer's debacle, we have learned that Israel is not invincible and that there are rules of engagement so restrictive as to make the entire military effort pointless.

Perfectly put.

I'll drop the labeling argument, too (for now, until it pisses me off again -- one minute I'm 'an ignorant whore' then I'm clumped with left-wing moonbats, now Carlos wants to claim me as a misfiled neo-con!). My original point was that if you persist in dismissing all USA 'liberals' as if they were Euromarxist academics, you show your silly stereotypes and ignore and potentially alienate a lot of people willing to be allies in this long fight we face.

That was a good video. I imagine you're familiar with the 'Brothers in Arms' video making the rounds last summer? Definitely an IDF PR piece, but beautifully done.

Posted by: Pam at January 27, 2007 08:04 AM

Pam asks (back about 10 PM) "how can you be an American and have a shred of respect for the UN?" Well, it's not that hard actually -- even for a conservative and life-long Republican. All you have to do is look at all the useful things that the UN does, instead of concentrating solely on it (manifold) short-comings.

And even if you focus just on places where it doesn't manage to accomplish much of anything (e.g. in the Security Council or in whatever the Human Rights body is called this week), it still has a use: it provides a place for governments which have no relations at all to make contacts which might solve small problems or even someday make the world better. Does it always work? Of course not. But there is value in providing a slim chance when the alternative is none at all.

Posted by: wj at January 27, 2007 09:54 AM

Does it always work? Of course not. But there is value in providing a slim chance when the alternative is none at all.

I find that those who are generally the most critical of the organization for not being powerful enough are the same people who claim that it is too powerful. In other words, to overcome the failings that it is being criticized for, it would need to have more central control, and to even have its own military wing. Yet suggest that, and UN critics nearly have a seizure.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 27, 2007 10:12 AM

OT, but still about HA.

Last Friday the Washington Post ran an article (Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq) that made me do a double take.

Notice a couple of quotes from that article:

The new "kill or capture" program was authorized by President Bush in a meeting of his most senior advisers last fall, along with other measures meant to curtail Iranian influence from Kabul to Beirut and, ultimately, to shake Iran's commitment to its nuclear efforts.

The administration's plans contain five "theaters of interest," as one senior official put it, with military, intelligence, political and diplomatic strategies designed to target Iranian interests across the Middle East.

The White House has authorized a widening of what is known inside the intelligence community as the "Blue Game Matrix" -- a list of approved operations that can be carried out against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

With aspects of the plan also targeting Iran's influence in Lebanon, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, the policy goes beyond the threats Bush issued earlier this month to "interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria" into Iraq.

Okay. When I saw that, I thought it meant that the US was going after Hizballah now. Then I thought....naw. Well, check out this article over at Y'net, and read the comments.

Bush's Backdoor Attack: Iran via Hizbullah

Here's one quote from that Y'net article:

As part of the new plan, US intelligence has now begun covert operations against Hizbullah.

Posted by: Renée C. at January 27, 2007 10:41 AM

Pam: Lately, I've begun to realize that I don't understand modern warfare at all. We're supposed to be fighting an asymetric war, a war that is heavily reliant on intelligence gathering, and now we discover that we've been catching and releasing enemy operatives - in an effort to win goodwill from the Iranians?

This is a classic insurgency method, using sanctuary zones and people. Iran and Syria are being used as sanctuary areas where the insurgents and terrorists can train, equip, and recover from operations. Additionally, Iranians are not being specifically targeted. It is worth noting that some of the most important religious sites for the dominant religion of Iran are in Iraq and that the overwhelming majority of Iranians entering Iraq are doing so for legitimate religious reasons. Millions of Iranians have made a pilgrimage to Najaf since 2003, if they were all bad guys we would be taking Iwo Jima levels of casualties.

Having said that, more than a few members of the Revolutionary Guards are operating in Iraq to engage in a variety of illegal activities. Previously, we have avoided confrontation with them because they were operating under tacit protection of the government of Iraq. Specifcally, Sadr's political pull was giving them cover.

While it is always BAD to allow insurgents and other dirtbags a sanctuary area or condition, putting together an Iraqi government has not been easy. One of Saddam's clever little ways of staying in power was to systematically eliminate anyone with the capacity to govern who wasn't deeply in his pocket or genetically linked. Allowing the new Iraqi government to establish policy was a necessary step to getting them to govern at all. Sadr used his political pull to create a sanctuary condition for Iranian operatives. It is not like he actually cares if this government succeeds or survives.

Additionally, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards operatives probably have at least some level of diplomatic cover because it's not like their government actually cares about international law or anything else to do with integrity. This provides the IRG with international sanctuary conditions. Since our forces carry the burden of proof for violating these sanctuary conditions, the IRG has been getting a free ride.

President Bush cut the Gordian Knot and decided to stop pretending that Sadr or the Islamic Republic of Iran are worth losing the war over.

I hope this clears things up.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 10:58 AM

President Bush cut the Gordian Knot and decided to stop pretending that Sadr or the Islamic Republic of Iran are worth losing the war over.

I've read from some military analysts that they think that there hasn't been significant Iranian involvement against US forces so far in Iraq, and that one of the concerns about war with Iran was an escalation of interference in Iraq.

Anyone have any indications as to whether that's the case or not?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 27, 2007 11:04 AM

dpu: I find that those who are generally the most critical of the organization for not being powerful enough are the same people who claim that it is too powerful. In other words, to overcome the failings that it is being criticized for, it would need to have more central control, and to even have its own military wing. Yet suggest that, and UN critics nearly have a seizure.

For me the problem is the lack of executive oversight. Nobody votes these people out or even looks at the books. I am deeply uncomfortable giving independant military power to such fundamentally unaccountable entities.

Think about it this way, the executive branch of the UN is run by diplomats, people trained for years at accomodation, not accomplishment. They can't run a refurbishing project on their headquarters without catastrophic corruption. Giving them independant troops is a really bad plan. The two primary ways this fails is that the military becomes a disintegrating deathtrap for the members or it siezes power and the UN becomes a dictatorship. It is even possible that some combination of both occurs.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 11:12 AM

It seems that most US casualties are occurring in Sunni provinces where it is unlikely that Iranians would have much luck operating. So the contention that I mention above would seem likely, that Iran is not really involved in any significant way in regards to conflict with US forces.

I guess the question would then be whether the Shia militias would react negatively to this, especially if there is a measure of Iranian influence there.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 27, 2007 11:14 AM

I am deeply uncomfortable giving independant military power to such fundamentally unaccountable entities.

Absolutely, me too. I just mentioned it in that the UN gets criticized for, say, not sending troops to Darfur, despite the UN not having any troops of its own. It relies on member nations to supply troops, and it relies on the political will of the UNSC to take action.

Yet for the UN to take action on its own would require central command of a purely UN military force.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 27, 2007 11:17 AM

http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/01/the_karbala_attack_a.php
The Karbala attack and the IRGC

dpu: Check the above link. There is substantial indication that an attack earlier this week in Karbala was Iranian.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 11:27 AM

dpu: Check the above link.

Interesting. If these were Iranians, then this might explain yesterday's article.

However, I have a really hard time believing (as stated in that post) that Iran is in any way involved with al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Sunni insurgency at the same time they're supposed to be involved in Shia death squad activity. That's just a bizarre scenario.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 27, 2007 11:36 AM

Patrick -- I find your comments extremely interesting and thoughtful -- but that wasn't me saying I don't understand modern warfare.

I heard a British former general the other day saying that modern warfare has really become largely a public negotiating tool and the PR piece is now every bit as important -- maybe moreso -- as actual military impact, because the kind of deadly blow to the enemy's neck that used to decide the outcome is virtually impossible -- for reasons ranging from increasing risk of 'war crimes' to the complexities of fighting guerilla-style campaigns.

For me the problem is the lack of executive oversight. Nobody votes these people out or even looks at the books. I am deeply uncomfortable giving independant military power to such fundamentally unaccountable entities.

I overstated general disdain for the UN a little, sure -- the fact that it gives nations a place to blow off steam verbally is perhaps not a totally bad thing. Some of the humanitarian programs likely do more good than harm, and maybe funds and services occasionally get to the intended recipients. So maybe it gets a shred of respect.

But for the reasons listed above, I am uncomfortable giving ANY independent power, military or other, to it. It's a huge, cumbersome, badly organized and badly mismanaged megacorporation.

Posted by: Pam at January 27, 2007 11:37 AM

dpu: It seems that most US casualties are occurring in Sunni provinces where it is unlikely that Iranians would have much luck operating. So the contention that I mention above would seem likely, that Iran is not really involved in any significant way in regards to conflict with US forces.

I guess the question would then be whether the Shia militias would react negatively to this, especially if there is a measure of Iranian influence there.

The overwhelming majority of US casualties are coming from Baghdad and Anbar provinces. While Anbar is Sunni, there are indications that the local Sheiks are coming around. Baghdad is a different situation. As reported here: http://hotair.com/archives/2007/01/24/baghdad-report-reporting-in-iraq/ it appears that the bulk of the fighting recently in Baghdad is in areas of Sunni-Shia overlap.

I think it is a mistake to think of this strictly in terms of area limitations. Last year I was 15 minutes from Mosul, but I was safer than at home because there were a thousand Peshmerga between me and the bad guys. (I do not have any Peshmerga guards in Portland, but not because they wouldn't gladly come.) There are a lot of players in this fight and only some of them are concerned about who has control of districts in Baghdad or smuggling routes in Anbar. There are plenty of Sunni and Shia outsiders who are quite willing to detonate a useful idiot anywhere the cameras are rolling.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 11:41 AM

Re: modern warfare

The thing that has changed most is the immediate, live television coverage that brings the horrors of war into the living room.

So when people in the West see the devastating effects of a bomb on the enemy, they demand that the war ends before tactical victory has been achieved.

However, when Islamic fundamentalists see the effects of their bomb on their enemy they start celebrating, gain more support, and begin planning their next campaign.

The formula can only need to western retreat and increasing terrorism.

Posted by: mertel at January 27, 2007 12:59 PM

Iraq and Isreal's most recent venture into Lebanon have shown that the Western playbook for fighting the Media arm of asymetric war -well it could use a re-write. I know that I am not saying anything new or insightful-but I think it is where the discussion is headed. I think we are doing better than we think in the meeting tactical and strategic milestones needed to win a war. BUT our defense forces are babes in the woods on the PR war. You mave have killed fewer and detroyed less, BUT you still killed and destroyed. It seems only the lecturers at West Point are going to give you extra credit. The bad guys will gnash teeth and beat chests over a hole in the wall and a single casualty just as indignantly as they will a pile of rubble and a dozen bodies. That they will lie unabashedly compounds the issue. That your own Media gives them a pass too, well that's a problem.
We have already had minor flame war over "left" and "right" in regards to the MSM, so I apologize for venturing into the DMZ. Suffice it to say I HOPE the Pentagon and IDF have learned they are alone in the Propaganda War. File the Western Media under enemy psyops and do your own reporting. The military just needs to go back to good old fashioned one-sided, partisan us=good them=bad. Any honesty is being used against them and the other side is lying too.

The views on limited vs total war need to be reevaluated as well. We went away from the winning strategy (total war) to gain style points in the propaganda war. And style points are getting us nowhere or being used against us. Time to go back to the winning strategy.

Posted by: Ross at January 27, 2007 01:15 PM

MJT: Another excellent article. Thanks again for your effort.

My synopsis of your articles:

Supremacists are sure to violate the human and civil rights of others. These set aside morals and ethics both within their borders and beyond borders. The treatment of natives (an ethical issue) and any other incidental residents who may differ in race or creed are subjugated with whippings, beatings and other depravities in torture chambers, murder with impunity including genocide, often without any declaration of war. In the declared wars of supremacists, of course, Geneva Conventions be damned. These are not simply the enemies of one nation or another, but the enemies of humanity everywhere.

No greater misfortune than to host supremacists, and that is the current condition in southern Lebanon. Both disarmament and keeping Hezbollah’s political power at bay are necessary to protect the innocent from further depravities, for terrorists have no scruples or conscience and lawlessness is their MO.

Exactly those who remain morally and ethically ‘challenged’ argue against the Jewish State of Israel and its existence. For supremacists are always the last to identify any fault embedded in their own societies, and humanitarians fail to notice that the faults are embedded. Reform is the bottom line and it must occur from within those societies.

Posted by: JAS at January 27, 2007 01:25 PM

We have already had minor flame war over "left" and "right" in regards to the MSM, so I apologize for venturing into the DMZ. Suffice it to say I HOPE the Pentagon and IDF have learned they are alone in the Propaganda War. File the Western Media under enemy psyops and do your own reporting.

Gosh I thought it was a civil, informative discussion.

I said I wouldn't do this, so flog me, but -- most liberals don't really trust the MSM either (and yes, we have picked up that term, too). It brown-nosed the white house to an appalling degree early in the war, bypassing any responsibility for public criticism and scrutiny. It participated gleefully in the mass hysteria over Clinton's blowjob.
We may be more distrustful of some media outlets than others, as are people on the right -- when we should all be equally and totally skeptical of every damn one of them, IMO.

Israel must have the worst PR people on the planet, I swear. I met the former PM's PR guy and he was a real nitwit, but it seems to be a systemic, passive mea culpa thing. Like the Palestinians killed on the beach last June -- Israel apologized first, then found out they didn't do it -- well, unfortunately no one pays any attention to retractions.

Posted by: Pam at January 27, 2007 02:16 PM

I agree that all media is suspect. It may be an overstatement but those reading/commenting on blogs likely have little use for Major Media of any stripe. But the volume of noise major media makes gives it incrediblepower. Bold headlines read from newspaper stands (even when the story contradicts the headline) and 10 second teasers between sitcoms are where most people get their news. To informed citizens it is white noise, but to the uninformed citizen it is how they shape their world view. It becomes a "known fact" that "they say". This is why I think the deathwatch of Dinosaur Media is overstated. The shear number of 5-10 second casual interactions major media have with a consumer insures their voice will be heard.
Unless the Dept of Defense is going to start sending uplifting text msgs to the next generation of news consumers, they are in an uphill battle for the hearts and minds of the vast majority of people back home. That is the key to winning the asymetric war.

Posted by: Ross at January 27, 2007 03:03 PM

Patrick - I was the one who questioned modern warfare. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Iranians are not being specifically targeted. It is worth noting that some of the most important religious sites for the dominant religion of Iran are in Iraq and that the overwhelming majority of Iranians entering Iraq are doing so for legitimate religious reasons.

I was thinking of the 'catch and release' Iranian intelligence agents, who are essential to the Iranian govt. in this war - I don't think Iranian civilians should be targeted.

The fact that these intelligence agents are protected in some way by Sadr probably indicates that he's working with them, that they're useful to him (or to the Mullahs) While Sadr and his ilk are well-armed and fairly well-protected, these intelligence agents (comparatively) not. Yet, their value to the Iranian/terrorist infrastructure is probably just as high. That's why I find it hard to believe that we were throwing away these valuable targets for the futile goal of winning terrorist/Mullah favor via "catch and release"

In the modern insurgent/terrorist organization, the terrorists are well protected but their political/financial/weapons support structure is not. It would seem to be a good idea to hit them hardest, and first.

Additionally, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards operatives probably have at least some level of diplomatic cover because it's not like their government actually cares about international law or anything else to do with integrity. This provides the IRG with international sanctuary conditions. Since our forces carry the burden of proof for violating these sanctuary conditions, the IRG has been getting a free ride.

I never thought that we could establish a democracy or install a Marshall plan without first getting rid of all the fascists/enemy organizations in the area. It's like trying to apply new paint to rotten wood. It's just not going to work, no matter how cleverly or thoroughly the paint is applied.

Sending the insurgent/terrorists in to wear an enemy down during a post-war occupation is how most Arab states fight their wars. That's how they've fought wars for decades. It seems that a lot of talented people are required to do fairly absurd things because the administration never planned for this inevitable insurgency.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2007 03:49 PM

Ross,

Based on several sources I have seen if Israel had started taking and holding ground on day one of the conflict, or even day fourteen, Hezbollah would have lost 70-90% of their trained combattants instead of only 30-40%. That means they would have stopped being a significant threat to the government of Lebanon or a useful tool to Iran and Syria. Asymmetrical warfare only goes on as long as the supporting population puts up with it and the foriegn instigators keep paying for it.

It remains to be seen what the hell the Israeli commanders were pursuing that kept them from victory, but they sure were persuing it pretty damned hard. The nasty little secret about Asymmetrical warfare is that it usually fails, mostly because it is war on the cheap supplied by those who don't want to pay full measure. If Hezbollah fails, most of the people in Iran and Syria just won't care.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 03:57 PM

MJT,
Sounds about right. Except for (some) of the artillery bit; while most of the targets were military, many did not make sense.

Similarly, the Air Force did hit a few targets that were not military, such as Liban Lait and Jiyeh. And they did destroy most long range missiles, but those could easily have been replaced since.

And what's with those balloons today, anyway?

Posted by: Jeha at January 27, 2007 04:36 PM

Jeha,

Something is very wrong with that story about the balloons. I don't believe it's true at all, at least not as it is being reported. That is just not the sort of thing Israel does.

If I'm wrong and it is true, as reported, then it's an Israeli war crime -- and during a cease-fire, no less. But again, this is not how Israel is known to behave outside the world of propaganda. I am surprised to see that story in Naharnet.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 27, 2007 04:50 PM

An Israeli promotional campaign involving balloons caused panic among Lebanese civilians Saturday when the wind carried them over the border into southern Lebanon.

The Lebanese media reported that some civilians were hospitalized after inhaling the gas in the balloons.

However, the photographs published on the Web site of Hezbollah's TV station Al-Manar show green balloons from a promotional campaign for Ha'ir, a Schocken group newspaper.





Lebanese sources said the balloons reached the southern Lebanese cities of Nabatiyeh and Tyre, and the Lebanese army warned civilians not to touch them. Some were brought to Italian UN troops for examination.

Lebanon's official news agency claimed that they were "poisoned balloons" dispersed by IDF aircraft.

From Ha'aretz

Posted by: Pam at January 27, 2007 05:07 PM

Patrick
My poorly made point: PR is a MAJOR part of asymetric warfare. Our forces are doing NOT well on the PR front. The powers that be thought new tactics-surgical strikes, etc- would help with the inherent propaganda problems of war (civilian casulties, not blowing up hopsitals, etc.). But even with that-still losing the propaganda war.

Lesson learned. New rules:
1)Do your own propaganda(Hire a good PR firm, lots of posters with people with sleeves rolled up looking determined and 'ware the NYT).
2) Let the military fight with all they have because you loose the same number of friends firing one shot or one thousand and you will only have a narrow window of time to be under arms.

Posted by: Ross at January 27, 2007 05:23 PM

"Well, I understood it this way: The more structures left standing, the better able the guerilla fighter is to ambush an attacking force."

So how did Hizbollah stay holding on in the battle for the triangle - Maroun Al Ras, Aita Al Sha'b and Bint jbeil? The former 2 villages were totally "wiped off the map", not only by artilery and airstrikes, but by bulldozers too.

I think there are many misteries in the summer war which have been kept secret. Hizbollah does not want to reveal their secrets because they believe doing so may blow any future success, and israel hides them so not to be criticised in case the public believes that the elements in the secrets were stratigically/surgically wrong.

By far this war must have been the most interesting of all. In part because of the huge gap in which both predictions go towards the ammount of hizbollah fighters killed. Hizbollah claims 93 combatants died in the war, and 250 member fighters all together. Different has different claims depending on who you ask. Sometimes it's 500, 400, 300, 600, 700 or 800. I would like to focus on the 700-800 this IDF interviewee claimed was correvt.

In the war, 1100 people died in lebanon. One third were claimed to be children under the age 12/13. One third of that number of people wold be around 367 children under 12/13. This results in 733 other people. Already, 733 is under 800 so it can't be 800. Then, unless not one child over the age of 12/13 died, or no teenagers, no women (hizbollah has no women fighters), no girl teenagers, no elderly people, no non-shia men (hizbollah is exclusively shia) died, then maybe the number of 700-800 hizbollah men dying in war would be true.

The only thing i have with the above concept is that it scratches the impossible, don't you think?

Posted by: NoN at January 27, 2007 05:39 PM

Hi, Jeha.

When you say that a lot of the targets did not make sense, remember that last week, the Lebanese army found Syrian rockets hidden in a flour mill in south Lebanon, and that Hizballah fired from mosques at Israelis. When HA used civilian installations for military purposes, it DID make sense for Israel to target those installations. But Hizballah does not tell you that it was using those locations; it only says "see, Israel attacked a mosque; Israelis are monsters." Blind hatred keeps people from stopping to think about where HA is taking them.

Power plants were hit in order to deprive Hizballah of electrical power, hampering its war efforts. Imagine trying to conduct a war with only the electricity from temporary generators. For a month. The highways that were hit were SUPPOSED to stop HA from transporting weapons and men, but obviously HA managed to do it anyway. That's hardly Israel's fault. Hizballah is certainly a resourceful organization.

Hizballah had underground command bunkers in the dahiyeh, but obviously Israel didn't have sufficiently good intelligence to take out Nasrallah. Oh well.

I mourn for the Lebanese civilians who died, and I think that the government made a lot of poor choices during the war (most Israelis agree), but Israel DID make a HUGE effort to spare civilians from danger, where those civilians wanted to be spared. They just failed sometimes. There's a myth out there that Israel was going out and trying to flatten Lebanon. Had Israel been trying to do so, it would have been a very, very different war. For one thing, the number of Lebanese deaths per day would have been much greater than 40.

Regarding the "poisonous balloons," please see this.

As the Haaretz article states, the balloons were part of a promotional ad campaign by an Israeli newspaper called Ha’Ir (that’s the word written on the balloons; the word means “The City”, nothing mysterious or evil).

The IAF does not take commissions from private companies to drop advertisements from the air lol.

The balloons were released IN ISRAEL and apparently A FEW of them drifted on the wind across the border. Unless the newspaper is trying to poison its Israeli customers, you can chalk this story up to another bout of hysteria on the part of certain Lebanese media outlets.

If anyone had any problems after seeing the balloons, chalk them up to panic attacks brought on by their own stress and by wild imaginations fed by decades of conspiracy theories.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: Zvi at January 27, 2007 05:46 PM

mary,

I apologize for calling you Pam earlier.

Michael and I were talking about this earlier this month and we came to an interesting conclusion. The angry jerks over there agitating for war at any cost and the angry jerks over here agitating for peace at any cost are being paid for by the same jerks. What I wouldn't give for the chance to audit the books of ANSWER and MoveOn.org and their key staffers.

Sadr got in the business because his dad was an important cleric, he is a power right now because he is Iran's bought dog. Nazrallah is not the wisest or most worthy cleric in Shia Lebanon, he is just Iran's best bought dog. These two jerks are in power because somebody is funding them, not because destitute Shia in Lebanon and Iraq pitched in enough pennies to buy them armies.

Please note that the mullah's in power in Iran are not the only threat to decent people in the world, they are just a lot more competitive right now than the other jerks. The disintegration of China is a much bigger threat to the stability of the world in the long term, but just now Iran is the tallest nail.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 06:27 PM

There's nothing like rallying the Lebanese together with the good ole standy - the Israeli conspiracy theory.

Israeli warplanes dropping deadly BALLOONS??!?!? And why are Lebanese inhaling from balloons with Israeli lettering, knowing they are from "Evil Zionists?" Don't these people know that Israelis were responsible for the tsunami and Hurricaine Katrina?

This thing has Hezbollah propaganda written all over it and some Lebanese media are just eating it up. Pathetic.

Posted by: Katy at January 27, 2007 06:32 PM

Noh: The former 2 villages were totally "wiped off the map", not only by artilery and airstrikes, but by bulldozers too.

No they weren't. Only the center of town was wiped out. The rest was left completely alone. I was just there in person.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 27, 2007 06:56 PM

Michael:

Thanks for posting this. It's good for people to hear the truth.

Frankly, after the exposure of the lies about the "Jenin Massacre" that wasn't, the phony "martyrdom" of Mohammed al-Dura and all of the doctored and posed photos from Lebanon ("fauxtography"), I can't believe that anyone actually believes anything that they read in the media, most especially anything that comes from an Arab source.

Anything and everything that Hizb'allah, the PLO, or Hamas, etc., says is a complete and utter lie. Any rational analysis of the situation must start with that assumption.

Posted by: Ephraim at January 27, 2007 07:26 PM

Non -

Israel has historically been highly accurate and detailed in its reporting of its own casualty figures and of those on the other side. Accuracy in its reports is the only sensible policy for a small, democratic country; the truth DOES come out regardless in a free society that has compulsory military service.

Hizballah, on the other hand, has repeatedly been caught lying and staging "evidence" - faked photos, faked news events using actors, false claims - intended to convince the world that Israel was committing all manner of war crimes and firing indiscriminately at civilians and that Hizballah suffered almost no casualties.

The guys who originated these claims are by and large the same guys who, today, are making up all kinds of false accusations about their fellow Lebanese.

Since Hizballah was in total control of the areas that were heavily bombed, you can't really trust the information that came out of the officials in those areas. You have no idea whether the % of children was really 1/3. That's a claim. But it comes from Hizballah officials, because the Lebanese government was not sovereign in south Lebanon before or during the war.

And then there's Hizballah's decision NOT to hold its usual parade this year. I would suggest that Hizballah is hiding the damage that was done to it in the war. Had it REALLY suffered only light damage, it would have been out in force, showing off the fact.

Finally, Michael's interviews with south Lebanese civilians make it clear that at least in some locations, Hizballah lied about its behavior and that of the Israelis.

I'm not saying that no kids were killed. But I AM saying that Israel's claims are demonstrably credible, whereas those of Hizballah are not.

Posted by: Zvi at January 27, 2007 07:33 PM

I haven't read through all the comments, so it may have already been asked, but has anyone taken video of these built in rocket launchers or machine gun emplacements, etc.

I, for one, would like to see it.

Posted by: Fred at January 27, 2007 07:40 PM

The rocket launchers are all on the backs of flatbed trucks. Youtube is full of videos.

Btw I have read that in Iraq, the Persian dog is not Sadr but the head of the Badr militia. There seems to be some opinion that Sadr is too independent.

Posted by: ankhfkhonsu at January 27, 2007 08:06 PM

Michael and I were talking about this earlier this month and we came to an interesting conclusion. The angry jerks over there agitating for war at any cost and the angry jerks over here agitating for peace at any cost are being paid for by the same jerks. What I wouldn't give for the chance to audit the books of ANSWER and MoveOn.org and their key staffers.

That's got to be true. I just went to an ANSWER style meeting a few weeks ago (Activists for the Liberation of Palestine) where the speaker described his Hezbollah-sponsored guided tour through Lebanon.

I'm not sure how closely Hezbollah works with the Sunni groups they supposedly oppose, but they are supporting Hamas' Kassam rocket attacks against Israel...

The Muslim Brotherhood are the money managers for Saudi al Qaeda and other Salafist/Wahhabi/Islamist terrorist groups - The Muslim American Society (MAS) represents the Muslim Brotherhood in America, running community outreach programs, schools, camps, etc. -
Not coincidentally, they also regularly sponsor and participate in ANSWER marches. A quick google search shows that the "Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation" is listed as a sponsor and provider of a "leadership" role in these marches.

You don't have to look through their books, ANSWER is proud that the guys who killed Sadat are sponsoring their efforts towards peace

Please note that the mullah's in power in Iran are not the only threat to decent people in the world, they are just a lot more competitive right now than the other jerks. The disintegration of China is a much bigger threat to the stability of the world in the long term, but just now Iran is the tallest nail.

Since 9/11 I've thought that the biggest threat(s) to decent people in the world were the Saudis who sponsored the attacks, but Iran is a close second. However, if China really is a threat, the fact that we are currently borrowing money like crazy from China to finance this war means that we should be fighting it more ruthlessly and efficiently. We really can't afford to lose.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2007 09:41 PM

And why are Lebanese inhaling from balloons with Israeli lettering, knowing they are from "Evil Zionists?"

That was my first thought, too. Bunch of Lebanese kids were snorting helium to get the chipmunk voices, somebody barfed, and the PR blitz was on.

I agree, Mary -- the biggest near term threat is probably Iran, but patiently lurking in the mid-to-long range are the Saudis (and don't overlook our own Evangelicals. Patriarchal fundamentalism by any name behaves the same.). The Chinese piece is out there -- they were among the crankiest, bossiest folks I've ever met -- but I suspect we'd be foolish to ignore Russia. In short -- it looks increasingly like really bad weather ahead. Bummer, when you almost start to hope for hostile aliens to attack Earth.

Posted by: Pam at January 27, 2007 10:15 PM

We had a Powell doctrine, I would like to offer similar advice to a little jewish nation:

Don't count on anyone for anything. Most of the major "players" in the western media/prof's/politics will use you to find common ground with an enemy. They are not interested in finding any "common ground", but they need a quick fix for a problem they can't solve.

When you fight a war accept the fact that you have no friends. Your enemies hate you, the I.C. hates you and the "thinkers" don't like you. Don't worry about them, worry about that war and the next.

If you have to fight make sure the cause of the war is worth it to the people in the nation. Take the gloves off.

An enemy that hates you at the end of the war should be expected. War is horrible, the M.E. is horrible and it won't improve. Make sure that they cry from regret more than anything else. A nasty war today will not result in another war. You have to break their (whoever) will, if they want to fight you are not doing it right.

Posted by: mikek at January 27, 2007 10:19 PM

...are currently borrowing money like crazy from China to finance this war...

That's not exactly the way it works. You think politics are complex, global financial markets are so much more. In a simplistic way of looking at it, true, we are debtors to those that buy our govt bonds. However, we are not "borrowing" as in a typical loan scenario. Countries who sell goods and services to the US are paid in dollars. Long ago these dollars were exchanged for gold. Now days these countries either buy American assets, including Treasuries, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.; or they buy from other countries using these dollars. For example, China has been using these dollars to buy up oil rights in Africa, along with other natural resources around the globe. So, although it's not a loan technically speaking, our huge current account deficits are debts and are being further expanded by necessitated sales of Treasuries to fund our global policing policies on top of our consumer excesses. IE, we are drastically weakening our financial strength in order to do what we do with our military actions and financial aid. Like I said, this is over simplified, but perhaps gets the picture across.

It's also the very situation that existed at the end of most empires of the past. That is, power and influence spread thinly and diminishing returns on invested resources. We are broke and getting broker. The last figure I've seen is that 'known' (no one really knows!!) US debt amounts to over 90,000 for every man, woman, and child. If you taxed everyone 100% it would take over 250 years to pay off the existing debt. The only realistic way the debt will be handled is through default or devaluation of the dollar. Neither one is nice. I've been buying as much as gold and silver as I can afford (not much sadly). It will probably be confiscated when things get very bad just as FDR did back in the 1930's, but there's nothing else viable. There is no currency in the world that is backed by anything other than a promise from the issuing govt. That does not give me any comfidence whatsoever.

You can discount and scoff at all this if you want. It won't matter in the least to me. And I care nothing about debating. That's for all you political guys. I just visit to hear the unvarnished truth about Lebanon and the region. And give what I think is a fair price for a a subscription for the excellent job MJT does. As an aside, Pam and Mary, you two are excellent in getting your points across without acrimony or snide remarks. Well done.

Posted by: allan at January 27, 2007 11:01 PM

allan,

Not to be mean, but it is a bad idea to put out hyperbolic figures on the internet or anywhere else people have ready access to a calculator. For instance, your 250 years of taxation is sort of ludicrous, especially since you put out a figure of $90K. Even the National Debt Clock people only say we have a national debt of $8 Trillion. Since we have a GDP of about $13 Trillion per annum, this is not terrifying. The average corporation has a market capitalization of 10 to 1 or more, so having a national capitalization of less than 1 to 1 is just not a scary thing.

I hate to be a buzz kill if being afraid is how you get your jollies. It just bothers me when people go "BOO!" with obviously bad math.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 27, 2007 11:16 PM

The rocket launchers are all on the backs of flatbed trucks. Youtube is full of videos.

I meant the ones that Hizballa supposedly built into the charity houeses that they built for folks in southern Lebabnon.

It would be very nce to see one of those on a video. Or any of this stuff that they built into civilian houses.

Posted by: fred at January 28, 2007 01:42 AM

This was very interesting indeed.

I think that the soldier you spoke to is wrong about killing 800 HA fighters though. As I understand it, the best top end estimate is that about 250 fighters were killed. Someone devised a brilliantly simple way for getting this figure: they counted the number of "martyr funerals" that Hezbollah conducted.

Unlike most conventional military forces - where keeping the numbers of your dead hidden may have some morale boosting value, Hezbollah is the opposite. Because their military "aspires to martyrdom" they always, always make a big deal when one of their guys is rubbed out.

For reasons of popular support, they simply could not afford to give any one of their "martyrs" anything less that the proper and fitting sending off they and their families would expect the organisation to conduct. This is an organisation that celebrates death in battle like almost no other. Michael will confirm that if you go into Hezbollah areas you hardly ever see advertising on billboards; instead you see images of "martyrs" everywhere. It is very unlikely that Hezbollah would hide the sacrifice made by hundreds of their men, so it is quite reasonable to assume that if 250 odd martyr funerals were conducted, then 250 odd fighters were killed.

Of course, if the Israeli attitude that any human left in south Lebanon after a certain time was definately a fighter - and therefore a legitimate military target - then the remaining dead could have been non-combatants who for one reason or another could not flee the conflict area when they were so very kindly told to by the IAF. The elderly, infirm, those who had no access to motorised transport or whose vehicles were already destroyed - or simply those who were to poor to afford the ride out of there are all possibilities that spring to mind.

The other possibility is the remaining 550 dead "fighters" were all from that top secret legion of renegade East African Jihadists that never actually existed...

;)

Posted by: Microraptor at January 28, 2007 03:04 AM

Hi, i found this link on LGF, i think its related,

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8326734789464462895&q=zarka&hl=en

Posted by: LittleTinSoldier at January 28, 2007 04:44 AM

"An enemy that hates you at the end of the war should be expected. War is horrible, the M.E. is horrible and it won't improve. Make sure that they cry from regret more than anything else. A nasty war today will not result in another war. You have to break their (whoever) will, if they want to fight you are not doing it right."

Really? That much hatred?? So we are horrible and you had nothing to do with that, right?

I think your logic is quite messed up. You don't understand that the more you fight and create wars the more hatred you will seed.

Syria, Iran, and Iraq are all countries that used to be close friends to the US. How did they turn on the US? Osama Bin Laden (remember him? The idiot that killed civilians in New York not so long ago and is still hiding somewhere not close to the Middle East?) was also not only a friend of the US but trained by them. How did he turn on the US?

The US created these so-called monsters.

I am not defending any of the above countries, by all means no but am just curious how you have all this hatred bottled up in you. I am also so curious by seeing how easy you find it to ruin millions of peoples lives over a maximum of a few hundred terrorists who agree should be taken care of but not by bombing the entire Middle East! Millions of people are trying to live the same way you do... yes the exact same way you do. By pursuing an education, getting jobs, going up the corporate ladder and being part of the global village.

Your mentality my dear mikek is not so different than Al Qaeda's. You seem to be the American version of them.

shudders

How scary!

Posted by: rampurple at January 28, 2007 07:36 AM

agree, Mary -- the biggest near term threat is probably Iran, but patiently lurking in the mid-to-long range are the Saudis (and don't overlook our own Evangelicals. Patriarchal fundamentalism by any name behaves the same.). The Chinese piece is out there -- they were among the crankiest, bossiest folks I've ever met -- but I suspect we'd be foolish to ignore Russia.

You are forget the savages from the great white north and the messicans and em Anabaptists and that damn Missouri Lutherian Synod.

Posted by: HalfEmpty at January 28, 2007 07:52 AM

The US created these so-called monsters.
Rumsfield is the factory manager which is under the new Denver airport.

Posted by: HalfEmpty at January 28, 2007 07:54 AM

MJT,

I know about the ballons; I was just joking about it. It is as if the Montgolfier brothers were managing the Israeli air force. I recall some people has similar schemes for balloon invasions of England during Napoleon's time.

Zvi,

I know the facts you are talking about. But I also know that I almost got killed a couple of times; in one such attack, and I know that there were no missiles or any thing like it. But I understand why they did hit it, since a (very) long time ago, it was used by militias as a tank depot / artillery position. But it only showed how bad their itelligence was.

I can assure you that Liban Lait and Jiyeh had nothing to do with Hezb. Israeli intelligence about Lebanon is, at best crapola, at worst, directed to maximize hurt on our country. Either way, it is bad. I have some experience; I can tell the difference between a misplaced Israeli balloon and a misdirected Israeli bomb. On average, they were better at targeting than the Syrian Army, and slightless less than Lebanese Army.

Posted by: Jeha at January 28, 2007 08:37 AM

I wish you had teh chance to ask Eli: If the war was against Hizballah only, why the IAF destroyed that many bridges, why they destroyed manufacturing plants that had contracts to supply the US Army. These things don't add up to clear Israel from its anymosity against the "Complete" lebanese population, nit just Hizballah. That is why you see now more Hatred agianst the Israelies in Lebanon (not necessarily the Jews) and some positive feeling to Hizballah.

Posted by: Abu Noor at January 28, 2007 08:46 AM

rampurple,

I think your logic is quite messed up. You don't understand that the more you fight and create wars the more hatred you will seed.

I think you are unclear on how this actually works. Your words are dogmatic boilerplate for the pacifism crowd, so they can be understood as a reflex action, if not excused. In tribal warfare you go and kill, steal, and rape in your enemies camp until they are weakened beyond immediate retaliation, hatred and blood feuds ensue. In total warfare, you go and beat down anyone of significance who hates you until they can no longer fight because they are either dead or exhausted beyond caring.

You may not have noticed, but you don't see Japanese people out counting coup on Americans much anymore, because they had the hatred pulverized out of them. The only country in the middle east that has recieved total war is Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire), and they didn't get a full dose. While I am not advocating grinding people to emotionless cinders, it is worth pointing out that your axiom is severely flawed.

There are ways of using military force to overcome hatred, the essential step of which is to apply it professionally. If I saw in the peace movements one tenth of the analytical skill, introspection, and professionalism I regularly encounter in military personnel, I might consider giving them credit. Since the peace movements all prostitute themselves to various seekers of political power as the basis of their existance today, I do not give their drivel a pass.

I grew up in the peace movement when it had some integrity. I maintained my integrity, which is why I am in the US Military now.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 28, 2007 09:51 AM

The US created these so-called monsters.

We are horrible and you had nothing to do with that, right? Yes, hundreds of years ago Americans must have managed to sneak into the northeast Nejd and secretly create the Wahhabi death cult that Osama was raised in, the Wahhabi death cult that also inspired groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and the Afghan Deobandi which have been wreaking havoc across the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

America must also be somehow responsible for creating the European fascist and communist movements which inspired the growth of Baathism, totalitarianism, centralized government, nationalism and poor economic planning in the Middle East.

We were proabably also behind that balloon attack yesterday. Because we're just that evil.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2007 09:53 AM

Thought I would drop in, hope you don't mind.

So now, the book of the week for the middle east is, or as we in the intelligence community call it; the near east: "God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad." by Charles Allen.

Just trying to guide people to the right answers.

Posted by: James Just at January 28, 2007 10:21 AM

Rampurple: Syria, Iran, and Iraq are all countries that used to be close friends to the US

Syria was never a close friend of the US while the Assad's ruled it. And Syria shouldn't be, considering what that country does in Iraq and in Lebanon.

We lost our friendship with Iran when the Ayatollah Khomeini seized control of it.

And we turned against Saddam Hussein because he invaded Kuwait.

Don't blame us because the Syrian regime hates us. The Syrian regime hates you, too, and that isn't your fault.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 28, 2007 10:35 AM

Also, Rampurple, while I think Americans should be concerned with the fact that many people hate us, I cannot blame us for being hated by the likes of Osama bin Laden. He hates everybody, including you -- because you're a Christian. It really is that simple with some people.

Anyway, the US is the most powerful country in the world right now, and world powers are always hated no matter what they do. Be glad we're the most powerful instead of the Russians. We're nicer.

The Israelis would be nicer, too, if they weren't attacked all the time. Most of them really do want a fair settlement with the Palestinians and peace with Lebanon. Trust me, I've been there, I know.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 28, 2007 10:49 AM

Patrick,

I AM aware on how the US makes it work. Iraq is right next door to me. Did I forget to thank your men for making Iraq a safer place to live in and for saving us all from WMDs?

Once again, keep in mind that I never was such a huge fan of Saddam... you're talking to a person who was living in Kuwait (and still is) when it got invaded so trust me you are not going to find Saddam love here. BUT I do think that Iraq is the perfect example to show you how your way fails.

Mary... sweetheart... so why was the US friendly with the "Wahhabi death cult" and a "baathist" country? Did Syria, Iran, and Iraq play a role in 9/11? Instead of sending 20 000 soldiers to Iraq take them to Afghanistan.. find Osama. Over 5 years have passed since 9/11 and Osama haven't been found yet??? I mean seriously how hard can it be?? Saddam was found in a rat hole 2 years after the fall of Iraq!! Go aim your guns elsewhere.

FYI: For those of you who failed in Geography, Afghanistan is not in the Middle East.

Posted by: rampurple at January 28, 2007 10:51 AM
Slightly OT - a couple of weeks ago, I said on this thread here:
If the Bush administration can find a way to deal with the militias that doesn't cause more problems than they do, great, I'm all for it. But I think that what will actually happen is that US forces will go after the Sunni militias while the Iraqi government gets the Shia militias to temporarily quiet down while they do so.
Today, there's this:
DEATH SQUAD leaders have fled Baghdad to evade capture or killing by American and Iraqi forces before the start of the troop “surge” and security crackdown in the capital.

A former senior Iraqi minister said most of the leaders loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical anti-American cleric, had gone into hiding in Iran.

Among those said to have fled is Abu Deraa, the Shi’ite militia leader whose appetite for sectarian savagery has been compared to that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who was killed last year.

The former minister, who did not want to be named for security reasons, backed Sunni MPs’ claims that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, had encouraged their flight. He alleged that weapons belonging to Sadr’s Mahdi Army had been hidden inside the Iraqi interior ministry to prevent confiscation.

Maliki said last week: “I know that senior criminals have left Baghdad, others have left the country. This is good — this shows that our message is being taken seriously.”

Sadr has been unexpectedly subdued about the coming purge, prompting allegations of a deal between the radical cleric and the Iraqi prime minister.

A commenter at the time, notorious for getting things consistently wrong, said that my speculation was based on Bush Derangement Syndrome. That too, it seems, was incorrect. Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 28, 2007 10:53 AM

I don't hate the US.
I just cannot tolerate some Americans who sit on high horses and act like they are perfect and superior PLUS act like they know what we're about. It's OK to look at yourself in the mirror sometimes and criticize your own self.

Posted by: rampurple at January 28, 2007 11:00 AM

Rampurple: why was the US friendly with the "Wahhabi death cult" and a "baathist" country?

For very stupid reasons that most of us aren't happy about at all. Foreign policy decisions at that level are made with almost no democratic oversight.

We're not friendly with any Baathist country today, though. Your country (both your home country of Lebanon and your adopted country of Kuwait) would be screwed if we didn't figure out that the Baathist countries are trouble.

Most of us are still waiting for our government to figure out that the Saudis are a big problem, too. The Saudis seem to be a good influence on Lebanon, though, at least from the point of view of a Hariri supporter.

Over 5 years have passed since 9/11 and Osama haven't been found yet??? I mean seriously how hard can it be??

I think he's probably dead. We haven't seen a single video with him in it since right after 9/11. I could be wrong, though. It's hard to say.

He might be in Pakistan. And since the US is not free to operate in Pakistan (unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan) it would make a good hiding place.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 28, 2007 11:10 AM

Mary... sweetheart... so why was the US friendly with the "Wahhabi death cult" and a "baathist" country? Did Syria, Iran, and Iraq play a role in 9/11? Instead of sending 20 000 soldiers to Iraq take them to Afghanistan.. find Osama. Over 5 years have passed since 9/11 and Osama haven't been found yet??? I mean seriously how hard can it be?? Saddam was found in a rat hole 2 years after the fall of Iraq!! Go aim your guns elsewhere.

Osama is a small part of a large problem that affects, not only the Middle East but Europe, Asia, Central Asia, and even Trinidad/Tobago.

We're not currently friendly with a Ba'thist country, but we are friendly with the Wahhabi death cult, something that I've been criticizing and questioning for years. There is no good reason why any nation should be friendly with them when we all know how self-destructive these alliances will be in the long term.

..and that's one of the reasons why we should point our guns elsewhere.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2007 11:24 AM

Good Stuff!

Posted by: Shimon at January 28, 2007 11:33 AM

He might be in Pakistan. And since the US is not free to operate in Pakistan...

Speaking of Pakistan, Passport has a report on the topic of nuclear terrorism from the Davos conference. This might explain why I am a hell of alot more concerned about Pakistan than I am with Iranian nukes or threadbare Ba'athist states:
Even more frightening, one of the themes that came up several times yesterday was nuclear terrorism. A very senior Wall Street banker with whom I spoke said the session he attended on the subject made him want to run screaming into the night. One panelist on that session was the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz, who had early in the day been on the terrorism panel I chaired. In both sessions, he displayed both articulate aplomb and a deft ability to sidestep any question that he felt was uncomfortable.

"Everything is fine with Pakistan's nuclear facilities, everything is safe," he assured unconvinced observers. One such man, a former foreign minister who now heads a well-respected NGO, noted to me (in the men's room of the Congress Hall, where polite urinal chit-chat inevitably turns to WMD proliferation) that he emphatically disagreed, asserting that "Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world." It's a refrain I have heard several times in the past few days, as the precariousness of the broader Middle East situation reminds observers that Pakistan's nuclear stockpile is only a coup away from falling into the hands of radical elements who might well be allied with al Qaeda.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 28, 2007 11:59 AM

Osama is a small part of a large problem that affects, not only the Middle East but Europe, Asia, Central Asia, and even Trinidad/Tobago.

Osama is unrelated to Trinidad and Tobago. There's a very tenuous connection to Libya, but that's it.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 28, 2007 12:32 PM

Great article and great comments thread! How nice it is to be among mostly grown-ups.

rampurple, I think the majority of Americans, although no doubt for different reasons, agree that US foreign policy has all too often been short-sighted, fear- and greed-based, arrogant, crude, and simple-minded for a very long time... and still is. Need only look to Latin America to see how smooth and savvy we've been.

Mary is absolutely right about how most U.S. civilians feel about the Saudis, and the more they spend to change our opinions, the more stubbornly suspicious we are getting. I say, let CAIR keep ranting over every imagined slight -- people get more cynical every time; a backlash is around the bend. I think people who pay even slight attention to the world beyond American Idol agree that Pakistan is disturbing, also.

The inchoate frustration with our Tweedledee administration and Tweedledum congressional branch, (and what is the judiciary -- Red Queen? or Cheshire Cat?) just barely broke surface this past November, and it is a deep frustration felt by socially-moderate and fiscally moderate, security-conscious people on all sides.

I believe to interpret the noise of November as merely a condemnation of the FACT of a war in Iraq is missing the point. The issue for most people was broader, and Iraq is only the glaring neon evidence of the corrupt, self-serving, dithering and incompetent prosecution of anti-terrorist security efforts here and abroad since 2001. The Port Security issue may have been overblown, but it painted a pretty stark image of our leadership's utter hypocrisy - that they would cheerfully sell our future and our security to old pals with big bucks.

Posted by: Pam at January 28, 2007 12:59 PM

Osama is unrelated to Trinidad and Tobago. There's a very tenuous connection to Libya, but that's it.

That's the point. Osama is a smaller part of a larger problem, the larger problem being the fact that the world lets nations like Libya, the KSA, Iran, Syria, etc. sponsor terrorism.

Then there's the standard 'modern' response to terrorist attacks:

After seven days, the insurrectionists surrendered and the hostages freed, but not after Diego Martin Central MP Leo Des Vignes was killed. About 24 persons were killed and more than $150 million looted and burned in Port-of-Spain and other areas. Bakr and 114 Muslimeen members were charged with murder, treason and other offences. But they never went to trial because they were freed by Justice Clebert Brooks on the ground that they were the beneficiaries of a Presidential Pardon. Although the Privy Council found this ruling was wrong, Bakr and his followers were never re-arrested.

Bakr filed a constitutional motion against the State for the destruction of buildings and other property at Mucurapo Road during the insurrection. He won the case and was awarded $2.1 million in damages which he received.

Sponsoring terrorism offers few risks and lots of rewards. Why are we surprised that it's a growing business?

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2007 01:02 PM

Sponsoring terrorism offers few risks and lots of rewards. Why are we surprised that it's a growing business?

Well, it looks like that if you present the facts only up to a point. But Bakr is in jail, is being tried for conspiracy to murder, the Jamaat al Muslimeen headquarters was destroyed, and the group under close surveillance for ties to terrorism, and for drug-related activity. So it's not quite that profitable.

Regarding the al Qaeda ties, they don't seem to exist, at least in a form that is anything close to worth mentioning.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 28, 2007 01:15 PM

Then there's the standard 'modern' response to terrorist attacks:

...and to nitpick, a coup attempt isn't a terrorist attack, technically.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 28, 2007 01:45 PM

But Bakr is in jail, is being tried for conspiracy to murder, the Jamaat al Muslimeen headquarters was destroyed, and the group under close surveillance for ties to terrorism, and for drug-related activity. So it's not quite that profitable..

The Libyans and the Saudis who sponsor this kind of 'militant' action/drug trafficking, etc., like the Iranians, Syrians, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. who sponsor this kind thing are not in jail. As far as they can tell, they never will be. And they are profiting.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2007 02:23 PM

Be on the known that the American Generals wanted to get rid of Sadr at the beg. The British did not agree. Thus we let him fester................

Posted by: diana at January 28, 2007 02:38 PM

Rampurple and et al: STOP THE BLOODSHEDDING.
MAKE PEACE WITH ISRAEL. You are being used and abused by some of the most unscrupulous leaders in the world.
Anyway I prefer to live and prosper under American or Israeli rule rather than live under Saudi/Kuwati/Mubarak, et al rule.

Posted by: diana at January 28, 2007 02:48 PM

rampurple,

I know people who used to be part of my unit who are successful military professionals who just don't get what we are trying to accomplish and they irritate the hell out of me with their ignorance, so this is not about your level of comprehension per se.

Limited use of force is a hard thing to do well. One of the biggest problems is that you are trying to achieve a certain balance and all the enemy has to do is get your stupidest jerks to screw up on camera to defeat your mission. It is amazing to me not that stupid things like Abu Ghraib and Haditha occur, but that they have happened so rarely.

We are trying to do more than quell tribal, sectarian, and external violence in Iraq. We are trying to create conditions in Iraq so that they no longer are interested in persuing violence for power. If possible, we would like to create a future partner we can trust to help us stabilize the rest of the world.

We are not fighting a war of retribution, this is not about 9/11 or any other form of tit for tat.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at January 28, 2007 03:02 PM

"And Syria shouldn't be, considering what that country does in Iraq and in Lebanon."

You trying to say what they do/did is worse than what america + allies did/do to it to this day?

Come on mna...

Posted by: NoN at January 28, 2007 05:38 PM

I don't hate you rampurple and I don't think the entire M.E. should be bombed. My first comment was not clear.

When I said the M.E. is horrible I wasn't talking about the people I was talking about the way things work in the region. I think it would be great if Israel signed peace deals with its neighbors, but that probably isn't going to happen in the near future.

"You don't understand that the more you fight and create wars the more hatred you will seed."

I hadn't thought of that;p Israeli's, the next time someone is kidnapping people or blowing themselves up in your cities all you have to do is sing them a song about love and peace and everything will be okay.

Posted by: mikek at January 28, 2007 06:23 PM

Limited use of force is a hard thing to do well. One of the biggest problems is that you are trying to achieve a certain balance and all the enemy has to do is get your stupidest jerks to screw up on camera to defeat your mission. It is amazing to me not that stupid things like Abu Ghraib and Haditha occur, but that they have happened so rarely.

It probably helps that the US military is probably the best trained and one of the most humane fighting forces in history. That said, as I've mentioned here before, it is extremely difficult for democratic nations to fight these kinds of wars. Other more brutal and less humanitarian societies have done so and won, but democratic nations need to restrain themselves simply because of the humanist philosophy underlying their cultures.

Israel could have probably destroyed Hezbollah last summer within days had it not restrained itself. But had it done so, it wouldn't have been Israel.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 28, 2007 07:11 PM

Jeha,

I am willing to trust your words regarding your personal experiences. Thank you for sharing them, and especially for looking at them from several angles.

In a war against an enemy like Hizballah, even pretty good intelligence will be right in a lot of cases, but not all the time. Battle planning likewise.

Good reason for there to be an end to these pointless proxy wars in Lebanon. You all deserve better than this.

I'm glad you survived.

Posted by: Zvi at January 28, 2007 07:14 PM

rampurple at January 28, 2007 11:00 AM

It's OK to look at yourself in the mirror sometimes and criticize your own self.

We do that all the time. Every 2 years we have an election to see where we are at.

Notice the change in our Congress?

I don't like it, but you know what we say in America? "The people have spoken."

Posted by: M. Simon at January 28, 2007 08:40 PM

The whole left-wing-right-wing debate is silly. How many millions of people have been slaughtered by communist regimes? In the modern world it's usually the left-wing politicians and regimes that get away with all sorts of heavy-handed tactics, because they can always use the excuse that they're doing it "for the people". They're not taxing you to death because they're corrupt and useless, they're taxing you to death so that they can take care of the poor. They're not killing people for their political beliefs, they're "eliminating sources of friction in order to ensure the happiness of the people". Right-wing governments and organizations, on the other hand, automatically get accused of imperialism or of being slaves to the capitalist economy, so they're much less likely to behave in a way which would fuel the negative PR.

Posted by: Alex at January 28, 2007 11:31 PM

On Tuesday Future TV aired interviews with several women conducted in the streets of Lebanon against the backdrop of opposition riots. The women criticized Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. One woman asserted "Olmert is more honorable than you. I hope he [Nasrallah] hears this. I am not afraid of him." Another woman stated, " Nasrallah, are you happy now? You've driven the Lebanese to fight one another."

Source: Future TV, Lebanon, January 24, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/487.htm

Posted by: Shmuel at January 29, 2007 12:33 AM

*"Rampurple and et al: STOP THE BLOODSHEDDING.
MAKE PEACE WITH ISRAEL. You are being used and abused by some of the most unscrupulous leaders in the world.
Anyway I prefer to live and prosper under American or Israeli rule rather than live under Saudi/Kuwati/Mubarak, et al rule."*

Diana, I would also love Lebanon to be at peace with all their neighbors. I really do. What is wrong with Kuwaiti rule??

I hadn't thought of that;p Israeli's, the next time someone is kidnapping people or blowing themselves up in your cities all you have to do is sing them a song about love and peace and everything will be okay.

Mikek, I didn't say sing to them! lol Although, I still believe that the Israeli attack on Lebanon last summer was an overly exaggerated attack. I also did criticize when Hizballah crossed the border and kidnapped soldiers...

*We do that all the time. Every 2 years we have an election to see where we are at.

Notice the change in our Congress?*

M.Simon, we do that too... the people did speak in Lebanon and they did vote for our parliamentary members. Again, Lebanon is a democratic country and has been since it got its independance in 1942. From 1990 until 2005 our elections were controlled by Syria, but we are trying to do things right now.

Posted by: rampurple at January 29, 2007 04:24 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/29/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by: David M at January 29, 2007 08:16 AM

"Although, I still believe that the Israeli attack on Lebanon last summer was an overly exaggerated attack. I also did criticize when Hizballah crossed the border and kidnapped soldiers..."

Criticism huh?

Why didn't the Israelis think of that! You should be thanking Israel for letting any building in the south of Lebanon stand. If Hezb had half of Israel's arsenal there would be no Israel.

Posted by: Shmuel at January 29, 2007 10:18 AM

Don't ask questions about Kats being fired from inside houses and expect to be taken seriously. Agenda driven drivel.

Posted by: madmel at January 29, 2007 11:47 AM

Diana, please don't shout at Rampurple. She's a decent person. She is not a warmonger. And she has said all along that she isn't defending those who are.

It's a lot easier for us (non-Lebanese) to demand that the Lebanese do something about Hizballah, than it is for Lebanese citizens to do something about this heavily-armed cancer in their midst. And until that problem is dealt with, it's going to be a LITTLE bit difficult for a Lebanese government to make peace with Israel. Which is the real reason why Hizballah is armed to the teeth.

Instead of shouting at moderate Lebanese people, try offering them some support and understanding. They are a lot more upset about the situation in their home country than we are.

Posted by: Zvi at January 29, 2007 03:03 PM

Thank you Zvi! :)

Posted by: rampurple at January 29, 2007 09:12 PM

Yes, Rampurple is a decent person and runs a good blog. Please don't yell at her. Thanks.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 29, 2007 09:50 PM

Awwwww how sweeeeet :D
Thanks Michael.

Posted by: rampurple at January 30, 2007 04:10 AM

You're still wrong sometimes, though, Rampurple, so don't let it go to your head!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 30, 2007 09:50 AM

That was meant good-naturedly, by the way.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 30, 2007 09:51 AM

Michael...nobody is perfect. Seriously though, no one on earth can agree on all points.

Posted by: rampurple at January 30, 2007 01:11 PM

no one on earth can agree on all points.

Only in a Borg cube...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 30, 2007 01:17 PM

Dear Sir/Madam
We are fourth class students at Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey. We have a project lesson. Our project subject is Odunpazarı’s houses in Eskişehir. Odunpazarı’s house are very old, historical houes. Before 2 years the houses were started to restore by Odunpazarı municipality. This houeses are very important for municipality and mayor. They are ready to do everything for this valuable houses. I add photografes of the house end the mail.
We prepear a progam . This includes visiting the houses and other historical area, tasteing historical food, going to historical some places (yazılıkaya, turkish batrooms), meeting poeple who make meerschaum, and the program is for two days. This program must be real in three mounts.
Other historical places are Safranbolu and Beypazarı houeses. They are famous but Odunpazarı houses are not. We want to everbody who like historical places know Odunpazarı in Eskişehir and other historical things (food, turkish bathooms, meerschaum ) in Eskişehir.
We know that japanese people are interested hictorical tourism. Do you want to help to us. How can you help. You can be participant for our project. If you will be participant, you can learn new culture about our coutry and we can learn yours. There can be beneficial exprience for you and us. If you want to come, you will be guest for our scholl and Odunpazarı Municipality. If you want to know more information we can sent more and we can organize a meeting about this subject with my lesson teacher and authoriezs from belediye.

We will be waiting for your e-mail. Thank you for your interest. And we are sory about english.
We hope that we will comminicate again.

Team Leader: Özlay Bülbül Communication Address:Anadolu Üniversitesi
CoordinatOr: Gönül Örün İletişim Bilimleri Fakültesi, İletişim Bölümü
Secretary: Canan Öztürk Eskişehir/Turkey
Spokesman: Can Alkan e-mail address: gorun@anadolu.edu.tr
Researcer: Eser Semiz Phone Number: 90 544 581 32 54
(Coordinator: Gönül Örün)

Posted by: Gönül Örün at February 7, 2007 10:23 PM

are these means what? our country mission was operated by unknown power in this section ı think. this decision wasn't bring us any good anvantages.

Posted by: eser at April 28, 2007 12:32 PM

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

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

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

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

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

runescape gold buy runescape money <a

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

runescapegold.cn">runescape gold runescape money <a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1102.html">Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London

Palladium Hellgate money <a

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

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

buy lotro gold <a

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

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

Hellgate London gold <a

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

dofus kamas 血管瘤 肝血管瘤 <a

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

电视 富码电视台 7天酒店 <a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


eve isk
eve online isk
eve isk
eve online isk

Posted by: runescape money at November 30, 2007 07:27 PM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






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

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

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

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

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

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

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


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

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

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

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

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn