July 30, 2006

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

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

Now Al Qaeda says they are heading to Lebanon.

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

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

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

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

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2006 9:52 AM

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