Friday, July 28, 2006

The Choice for Lebanese to Make

I now ask you to signI now ask you to sign this electronic petition set up by Amnesty International addressed to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister..."I urge you to take urgent steps to put an immediate end to deliberate attacks by Israeli forces against civilian and civilian property and infrastructure in Lebanon. These attacks constitute collective punishment. I call on you to end the use of excessive and disproportionate force, and to ensure that Israeli forces respect the principle of proportionality when targeting any military objective or civilian objective that may be used for military purposes."

Not until someone explains to me what, exactly, "the principle of proportionality" is.
Roa said...

Solomon2, I believe I speak for a significant number of Ramzi's readers when I say your contribution to this forum is getting tedious. You've already treated us to a healthy dose of willful blindness, double standards, and pathetic insight into the issue at hand. Now it’s plain stupidity or worse, malice. What part of 400 Lebanese dead, to say nothing of the infrastructure and an evolving environmental disaster on our shores secondary to the leakage of 15,000 tons of fuel oil from the bombarded Jieh power plant, don’t you get?
And can you for the love of God spare us the silly refrain along the lines of “you reap what you sow” for not disarming Hizbollah? For all its military might the US is still unable to stem the insurgency in Iraq after three bloody years. Did you seriously expect a multi-confessional society fresh from its precariously won independence from Syria (no less than 15 prominent journalists and politicians died in that single year); did you seriously expect it to disarm Hizbollah in less than a year? Listen, you’re welcome to live in a fantasy world where most Arabs are feckless or worse evil and most Israelis are God fearing citizens of peace. I’m sure there are many who will share it with you. Likewise, we are plagued “on the other side” with unilateral visions of the world. But if you’re serious about this, I suggest you adopt a more mature attitude towards this tragedy. Our hearts are full with the news of the dead and the destruction so have the decency, if not for the Lebanese casualties then at least for the Israeli ones, to say something constructive and humane.

It's more like "plain stupidity". Please don't mistake wilful blindness for real blindness. I really don't understand this "proportionality" bit. I suppose if Hezbollah hadn't been so competent at hiding away the soldiers they kidnapped and killing the squad that tried to retrieve them the soldiers would have been rescued quickly without a single bomb dropping or artillery shell fired. But Hezbollah has more resources than that so efforts to retrieve them have to be involve more intensive. To accept the principle of trading the kidnapped soldiers for convicted felons sets back international law for hundreds of years and accepting Hezbollah's right to bombard Israel in "peacetime" essentially creates the conditions that make it O.K. to destroy Israel, slowly or quickly, without international repercussions and with great loss of Israeli life. So for Israel this is a struggle for its very existence.

People who accuse other people of "double standards" may themselves simply be insufficiently informed of the complexity of the situation, so always be specific about these things, please.

No, I wouldn't have expected Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah in a year. Things were starting to return to normal, and Hezb saw that very fact as a threat to its power over the country and its citizens, as well as its relevancy to jihad. Yet Hezb knew that all diplomatic avenues to restrain them had been exhausted. So once they kidnapped the soldiers Israel had no choice but to respond militarily and drag most of Lebanon into the current mess. Didn't Nasrallah say that Lebanon is in a war whether it wishes to or not? Is it not true that all that has to be done to stop the war is for Nasrallah to give back the kidnapped soldiers and stop the rockets?

Nasrallah could thus stop the war in an instant, yet he considers Hezbollah's "honor" proportionately more important than the lives of hundreds of Lebanese citizens. Hezb fighters get to stay in bunkers while citizens above them take the punishment. I always expected that Hezb would have to start up the fight again. But I didn't think that after March 14th the Lebanese would be so craven as to fall for this kind of trick.

Tragedy? Decency? Were there mass demonstrations after the kidnappings denouncing Hezbollah or in sympathy to Israel? It is difficult to have sympathy for people who display no sympathy for the sufferings of others.

You can take to the streets en masse or by yourself and make a statement, even at the risk of your life by Hezbollah goons. Is it not better to risk death for a return to a better life than to cower in the shelter, knowing that if you don't act, a miserable existence under Hezbollah rule (with the occasional Israeli bomb thrown in) is certain? That's the choice for you to make.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Michael Totten's Gloom

I spent a total of seven months in Lebanon recently, and I never could quite figure out what prevented the country from flying apart into pieces. It barely held together like unstable chemicals in a nitro glycerin vat. The slightest ripple sent Lebanese scattering from the streets and into their homes. They were far more twitchy than I, in part (I think) because they understood better than I just how precarious their civilized anarchy was. Their country needed several more years of careful nurturing during peace time to fully recover from its status as a carved up failed state...

Lebanese are temporarily more united than ever. No one is running off to join Hezbollah, but tensions are being smoothed over for now while everyone feels they are under attack by the same enemy. Most Lebanese who had warm feelings for Israel -- and there were more of these than you can possibly imagine -- no longer do.

This will not last.

My sources and friends in Beirut tell me most Lebanese are going easy on Hezbollah as much as they can while the bombs are still falling. But a terrible reckoning awaits them once this is over.

Some Lebanese can’t wait even that long -

Although Totten anticipates that the Lebanese will initiate their own War on Hezbollah, he still plans to return to Lebanon before the conflict is over - he's just waiting for the airport to re-open, and financial support from his readers. If you check out his blog, you'll see he's earned such trust and deserves our support, so hit his PayPal button, people!

CNN Interview with Former PLO Terrorist

A little background on the terrorist mentality over at Seraphic Secret:
PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, I'm going to ask you the obvious. Why were you involved in terrorism and who recruited you?

SHOEBAT: Well, you have to understand the recruitment doesn't start at recruitment centers, basically. They start from the mosque. You go daily to pray or to the Friday prayers, whether you go to the Temple Mount, whether you go to the local mosque. And this is not only in the Palestinian areas, this is all throughout the Middle East. It has been going on from the eons of time...

PHILLIPS: Tell me how you were able to carry on terrorist activities and how did you do it here in the U.S.?

SHOEBAT: Well, in the U.S., we didn't -- I didn't do any terrorist activities, but the recruitment of the preparation for jihad in America. My recruiter was -- his name is Jamal Sayid (ph). He's a colleague of Abdullah Azzam, the mentor of Osama bin Laden.

Ironically speaking, Jamal Sayid is freed, in a mosque in Bridgeview, Illinois. The IAP started, as a result -- Islamic Association of Palestine. And after that I left that organization. And then after that, there was training. The head of the IAP was caught in training with car -- how to manufacture car bombs and things like that. So it was -- I have clips, homemade videos that if I show your audience, it will come out of Gaza or it will come out of Iran. I mean, this stuff was happening in the heartland of America, all over in Chicago, and DeKalb and Georgia. All over the United States, it was going on in the mosque and it's going on right now...
I started my first mission in 1993, speaking in churches and synagogues. And people didn't want to believe me when I said, they're going to blow up your buildings, these people are interested in decapitating Americans. And this was too much for us to fathom. Nobody was listening. After September 11, I started getting more phone calls.

PHILLIPS: Did you ever feel guilty?

SHOEBAT: Yes...the denial of the Holocaust is the premise of this education...we denied the Holocaust ever exited. So when we're seeing the -- if we see the footage of the Holocaust in the Middle East, we say, well, how did they have such scrawny bodies?...So the moment I started getting a good grip that the Holocaust was a historical reality, I started to understand that evil cloaks itself in nice, fabricated fashions. Evil cloaks itself, just like Nazism does, that it's a good cause. And Israel becomes a vermin. The Jews are vermin.

This is why Nasrallah doesn't apologize for killing Jewish children. He only apologizes when Arab children are dying in Israel, proper (ph) by his rocket launchings. Why is that? Why does Nasrallah apologize for killing all the Arab children? And the answer is very simple. The problem is racism. Racism on a pandemic scale all throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world, all the way to Pakistan, all the way to Indonesia, all the way to the Philippines, all the way in Jordan, all the way in Cairo, all the way in Syria, all the way to the...

We have to understand, terrorism is a cult-like education to convert masses of people to become remorseless killers. And it's like a drug addiction. It feeds on frenzy-like speeches. It galvanizes people in a euphoric fashion, where an Israeli, when he's killed, they come out with the blood and thy carry guts and hearts and kidneys and, you know, parade them in the streets of Ramallah.

This is a drug addiction that is permeating the teenagers of the Middle East. We have to treat it as such...

Read it all!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hezbollah Knows it is Losing

Not just territory, but the propaganda war as well, as Tigerhawk explains:
Hezbollah is dissembling, or at least being disingenuous, when it says it is surprised by the intensity of the Israeli retaliation. Why would it insincerely confess that it screwed up? Sure, Israel led Hezbollah down the garden path by undermining the credibility of its own threat to retaliate over a period of years, but ultimately Hezbollah's admission reveals its own stupidity, incompetence and folly. Who would brag about that? The only reason to do so would be to avoid the alternative explanation -- that Hezbollah triggered this fight on purpose -- because it was too unpopular. But war with Israel is Hezbollah's raison d'etre, so if it is now denying that it launched the war on purpose it must be because it believes it is losing the propaganda battle. So, the alternative explanations for Hezbollah's statement today are (i) Hezbollah is sincere in its admission, thereby confessing tomfoolery and incompetence, or (ii) Hezbollah is insincere, and only claiming "miscalculation" because the truth -- that it started the war intentionally -- has turned out to be far less popular among Arabs who count than Hezbollah must have predicted in its planning.

Furthermore, expatriate Lebanese groups are gearing up. The Lebanese Foundation for Peace claims that
the majority of the silent Lebanese in Lebanon who are fed up with Hizbullah and are powerless to do anything out of fear of terror retaliation." The LFP also said that "thousands of volunteers in the Diaspora" are "willing to bear arms and liberate their homeland from [Islamic] fundamentalism," with the logistical support of Israel.

Not particularly peaceful, are they? Do the Lebanese want a return to civil war? Remember, if Lebanon just leaves things up to Israel there is no guarantee that Lebanon's interests will be protected. Best to ally with Israel and the U.N. Security Council today so everyone can work together to create a better tomorrow.

Update, 7/27

Here a Christian mob smashes a car in Beirut for displaying a Hezbollah logo. My friend Carine says the atomosphere reeks of impending sectarian conflict like never before.

Has the civil war been rekindled already?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Invitation

It seems that many people are criticizing Israel for not limiting itself to a "proportionate response" to the kidnapping of its soldiers by Hezbollah and the subsequent repulse of the initial effort to rescue them.

This concept is rather woolly in my mind. Why is the concept of "proportionate response" important? What would have been a "proportionate response" on Israel's part? I invite my readers thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Monday, July 24, 2006

End Scenarios

Five of them over at Little Israel.

A Reminder

It wasn't that long ago that Nasrallah said:

“Death to America was, is and will stay our slogan...Death to America is not a slogan. Death to America is a policy, a strategy and a vision.””

Was undoubtedly refers to Hezbollah's 1983 Beirut attack which killed 241 U.S. Marines. If the Hezbollah military machine survives Israel's current assault, it's easy to guess Hezbollah's next target.

The Real Issue

From The Sunday Times: God's army has plans to run the whole Middle East:
What is at stake is not the exchange of kidnapped Israeli soldiers with Arab prisoners in Israel. Such exchanges have happened routinely over five decades. The real issue is who will set the agenda for the Middle East: Iran or America?

But for Iran it isn't just "the agenda" but total rule over the Middle East, the usual dream of violent Persian dictators - the Shah was a notable exception. Highly recommended.

Friday, July 21, 2006

To Save Lebanon

Abu Kais argues:
Faced with the failure of its Air Force, Israel has two options: Back off and let the Lebanese battle it out politically. Or invade the country.

The first option is a gamble for Israel but is really the only one that offers hope in the long run.

How? lebop now admits that at the top, Lebanon is a terror state. So if Hezbollah's military wing is left intact, or if Hezbollah gets the last shot into Israel after a cease-fire has been implemented, or if the fear of Syrian hit-squads remains, how can political progress at de-fanging Hizbollah occur? Lebanon's PM now says that he will only implement the U.N. resolution to disarm Hizbollah with "Lebanese conditions" attached.

There remains a third option: to split with Hezbollah now and openly ally with Israel and the U.N. to implement 1559 in full. Civilian casualties from Israeli attacks would decline precipitously as joint Israeli-Lebanese teams will be far more effective at rooting out terrorists. Israel would be sure to leave once the job is done, and Lebanon could become a fully-functioning democracy, with Western aid and Lebanese enterprise rebuilding the country far more effectively than Iranian money and Hizbollah graft and extortion could.

All that's required is courage from Lebanese politicians. The willingness to put one's life on the line for one's country. The sort of courage Hariri accepted before his assassination. We know exactly how the Lebanese people respond to that kind of courage.

It will also avoid that other conflict I fear, that of Lebanon being used as a battleground in a nuclear conflict between Iran and Israel.

Forget hatred. Choose survival and life instead!

Patronizing Arab Minds

At Strategy Page:
...despite the moral, military and intelligence advantages of Israel, Hizbollah is confident that growing European anti-Semitism (and anti-Israeli attitudes), media willingness to portray Hizbollah as a victim, and Lebanese unwillingness to do anything that would risk another civil war (the last went from 1975 to 1990), they can survive anything the Israelis throw at them, and come out a winner (in the minds of Arabs, at the very least).

Five years ago such an analysis would have been difficult to argue with. In the meantime, however, millions have been liberated from authoritarian rule in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many millions more are seething with democratic aspirations, having experienced the terror and emptiness of Islamist rule. Will the Arabs fall for the hate-Israel-not-your-own-oppressor line again?

Time will tell. If the Iranians don't nuke everybody first, that is.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What Would a Hezbollah Victory Mean for Lebanon?

The Daily Star's perspicacious Michael Young writes:
A Hizbullah victory, by showing that the party can stand up to Israel, and can do so because it mobilized its armed state within the state without consulting any of its Lebanese political partners, may crack the already frayed Lebanese consensus...

What is Nasrallah thinking today, as his exhausted coreligionists stumble into schools and public facilities, their lives in shambles? He's probably focused on the political endgame...To Nasrallah's advantage, he doesn't need a military victory in order to secure his political resurrection. He needs only to survive with his militia intact and Israel sufficiently bloodied...

...If enough international pressure builds up for a cease-fire, Nasrallah must be calculating, then he might be able to turn everything around. Iranian money would finance Shiite reconstruction; he could tell his brethren that they paid a high price, but also preserved their dignity...

...the Israelis may have created years of sectarian resentment. Nasrallah can play on this to rouse his coreligionists out of their stupor. Look, he might say, where our fellow Lebanese were when the Israelis came after us; they criticized the resistance, and by extension all Shiites. Such thinking might help save Nasrallah's skin, but it could push Lebanon over the brink.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Every Moment Increases the Danger

My government (the one I actually voted for...) did not decide to wage war. A crazy man did that.

But they didn't denounce and ask for help subduing him or his organization, either. At least not openly. And after repeated attacks, well, Israel's response is straight out of the Torah.

It is a lesson in responsibility. The quicker Lebanon learns the less the country will be damaged.
The quicker we learn... What silly paternalism.

Sure, Israel, come and teach the stupid Lebanese how to behave a the dinner table.

Give me a break. That is an example of the most insulting type of anti-arab rhetoric that exists.

Sia'a, it isn't anti-Arab. It's a universal rule, required so that peoples can co-exist in peace. Lebanon wished to reap the benefits of peace while hosting a dangerous bull that repeatedly gored its neighbors. Lebanon cannot avoid responsibility for not making the effort to kill it, but being content with making money instead. The lesson is that if you don't meet your legal and moral obligations, in the end you will be denied the enjoyment of your property anyway.

The solution is to team up with Israel and the international community to enforce the U.N. resolution to disarm Hizbollah. That, of course, takes courage. Is it more courageous to sit back and let your homes be destroyed? Or to team up with Hezbollah so your children may forever be denied the benefits of the peace that you so treasure?

And that's the best-case scenario. Nasrallah and Ahmedijad have stopped mentioning the well-being of Lebanese citizens in their speeches, have they not? The New York Times portrays Syrian citizens as foaming at the mouth at the propect of damaging Israel, forgetting about their Lebanese brethren. As long as Lebanon opposes Israel, there is a green light for Iran-Syria-Hezbollah to employ mass-destruction weapons on Lebanese territory - they can always say the Israelis did it. Every moment Lebanon stays in the Hizbollah camp increases this danger!

Forget anger. Choose survival instead!

Update, 7/21

Israel is expanding its ground force in Lebanon after the discovery an extensive network of tunnels up to 120 feet (40 meters) deep. Hezbollah uses these tunnels for shelter and weapons storage.

The depth of the shelters is far more than needed to protect against conventional bombs. However, the depth is correct if they are meant to protect against nuclear weapons. A small armed force sheltering in such tunnels could dominate a devastated Levant following a nuclear conflict.

Monday, July 17, 2006

By Mistake?

Hilal Chouman (CORRECTION: overandout) links to scenes of individuals horribly injured by the Israeli bombing and comments:
Israel didn’t exclude any place. It s targeting civilians -and as usual- .. by mistake!...It is long my friends.. Try to change your priorities according to the current situation as during past raids that Israelis did mistake!

In response to my comment linking to my Friday post, his partner-blogger jij whines
First, look at the pictures and understand what 200+ civilian dead in six days means. Second, go f--k yourselves somewhere, you heartless racist pricks.

Here is my rebuttal:

I feel grief that the children and babies and the innocent to suffer. Not every bomb and missile falls where it is aimed, and those that do may hit civilians who stand between just retribution and cowering terrorist targets.

All the same, these pics are rather pathetic compared to the scenes of true carnage inflicted upon Iraqis, Israelis, Indians, Brits, Americans, Indonesians, Afghans, Australians, and others when a weapon is deliberately targeted to cause mass casualties.

Did you seek to engage public pity then? I would guess not. So it isn't my heart that has hardened, is it?

If this is a representative example of the evidence available, you have proved the OPPOSITE of what you intended!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why I'm Not Criticizing Israel -- Yet!

Several people have asked me why I have no criticisms of Israeli attacks.

The simple answer is, I live far away so I can't see what is going on. Furthermore, it is too early and there is too little information available to fully judge and understand these military activities. I can only judge based on past history, not the immediate present.

Some bloggers, notably Michael Totten, believe that Israel has erred in its wide-spread punishment bombing of Lebanon. They believe the bombing should have been limited to Hizbollahland.

I respectfully disagree. The Lebanese government, although encouraged to do so by Kofi Annan himself, never recognized Hizbollahland as a separate dominion. They instead elected to acquiece to Hezbollah's occupation and profit as best they could from Hezbollah's presence on the ground and in the government, and didn't want to endanger their country's reconstruction from decades of civil war and foreign occupation.

Responsibility for Hezbollah's activities is thus shared, to some extent, by all Lebanese. That is the same reason why the Allies bombed Dresden in 1945, when World War II was almost over. Some have criticized Israel's collective punishment as a violation of the Geneva Convention, but it seems Lebanese civilians don't qualify as a "protected party" for that reason, yet they are supposed to be protected against the retributions of Hezbollah, because it is Hezbollah that is "occupying" them right now.

It is a cruel fate. Lebanese citizens may really have to choose sides very soon, and risk their lives and property in their choice. However, there won't be as much at stake as there was last week, because most of Hizbollah is hiding, and much property has already been destroyed.


I am judging, I guess, by assuming that many Israeli attacks are punitive, rather than tactical in nature. That is a function of the "fog of war" - we just don't know everything important yet, and have to make guesses.

The Anguish of Lebanon, Part II

Last night CBS news aired a short video clip (0:48) of a young Lebanese Shia mother blaming Hizbollah for her family's sufferring and asking why the two soldiers can't simply be returned to Israel. She was immediately interrupted by an older male (a relative? "Walid Abdullah") who (1) asked what she thought she was doing, and (2) reiterated his opposition to Israel and Israel's supporters.

Note that in the previous post lebop admitted that Lebanon, although a seemingly free country, is nevertheless a terror state at the very top. I do not think the young mother paid for her outburst with her life or the life of anyone in her family. A week ago I wouldn't have been so sure about that. The difference is that the Hezbollah gang seems to be hiding now. But until more Lebanese find some guts or the Israelis invade, I think we will continue to see the Lebanese reflexively mouth support for Hizbollah.

To my fellow Americans: don't feel superior about this. Many Americans went through exactly the same swings of emotion during our Civil War, as states and communities alternated between Confederate and Union control. (See the movie Shenandoah, or read the book Crescent City.) And the sufferrings of Americans who vacillated between Loyalist and Revolution during our War of Independence are even less remembered in the U.S. today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Anguish of Lebanon


I'm not an Israeli, but this is how I see it:

Before this evening, opposing politicians could call Hezbollah reckless and the destroyer of Hariri's legacy. Now, all we have to fear is more destruction from Israel.

From Israel, or from a maddended Hizbollah unwilling to depart without wreaking havoc -- the way Saddam did when he burned Iraq's oil fields? Nasrallah's rant might not have worked on Israel, but doesn't it seem to be working on you?

Do they expect us to rise up in arms against Hezbollah? Do they expect us to re-start the Lebanese civil war?

If every faction other than Hez stands firm, then there might not be a civil war if they ally themselves with Israel in wiping out the cancer. If the Lebanese "government" doesn't stand firm, then individual communities might have to negotiate in case of an Israeli invasion. And failing to ally with Israel and the U.N. resolution to disarm Hezbollah makes it far more likely that the Syrians will seize the initiative to re-occupy Lebanon in force.

It means that politician will be a target for assassination by Syrian agents. It means that whatever community does rise up against Hezbollah will be massacred because Hezbollah has all the weapons.

If things go as they should - and I hope its happening this way by now - the terrorists will be too busy ducking bombs to eliminate anybody. That's your opportunity. But you'll have to move qucikly - and before you feel entirely safe, I guess.

Attack Syria. Attack Iran. Then, you'll have a more even match.

Suppose those regimes collapsed overnight. Wouldn't the remnants migrate immediately to a Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon, making your country worse off than ever?

We just want to be left alone. We've been fighting Hezbollah through words, UN resolutions, and actions, all the while being called traitors, Zionists, and becoming targets of violence.

An Israeli could have written those very words.

The Lebanese government is unable to challenge Hezbollah or join in the fight with Hezbollah...However, the government is allowing Hezbollah to decide the fate of the nation.

Then there is no Lebanon. There is only Hizbollahland and its tributary satellites. Hizbollah is trying to stay (fully armed in violation of U.N. resolutions) in Lebanon forever. If you want "to take power of [y]our country" ever again, isn't Israel your only hope?

With Whom Do You Ally?

Interesting. [Michael] Young assumes Israel will end its offensive before Hezbollah is smashed completely. Wouldn't his proposal for gradual disarmament permit Hezbollah to re-group?
Solomon, Israel is not going to smash Hezbollah. Israel is not even trying to smash Hezbollah. Israel tried to smash Hezbollah in 1996 and saw that an air campaign can't unroot a movement that has no physical address and is hiding among the locals. Israel is bombing the infrastructure in order to get the Lebanese government do what the IDF wasn't able to do in 1996 and is still not capable to do today. The problem is that the government won't move, for the simple reason that the government does not have the means to get rid of the yellow pest.

Then why not do what Italy did in WWII and ally with the liberators to seek out and destroy the oppressors? As for fear of alienating the Shia, once Hizbollah is gone won't the local population return to its previous pro-Israel stance and retroactively endorse such an operation?
Solomon, it's the government's fear(which from their perspective is totally justified), not mine. I am not afraid of alienating people who vote for Hezbollah. I do not believe that the Hezbollah can or will launch a civil war.

I guess that at this moment Hizballah is too busy ducking bombs to assassinate dissenting politicians. Tomorrow may be a different story. Why wait? Urge them to act now!

Straight out of the Torah!

The Israelis have bombed the Beirut Rafiq al Hariri International Airport terminal.

There was absolutely no reason to do this. The terminal cost a few hundred million dollars to build. The building is/was a beautiful, modern structure.

The Israelis in Lebanon are out to destroy property, not lives.

Note that the Israelis hit the runways first, and the terminal after MEA's jets departed. That way comparitively few people were in the terminal when it was hit. Just imagine the death and chaos that would have ensued had Israel chosen to attack in reverse order.

It's straight out of the Torah (Exodus 21:28): if you host an ox that repeatedly gores innocent bystanders, you are going to have to pay a material price for being complicit. Furthermore, you are obliged to stone the ox. And if you don't do that, expect others to stone you.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Response to Suha

Ok, I 've had it with this logic:
"Oh, Lebanese, we support you, we feel sorry for you, but we support out country's bombing of Lebanon".

I guess in some warped universe this makes sense. But in my real world, where my family's life is threatened it does not. You cannot support us and other innocent Lebanese and support the IDF's unproprortional use of force which will inevitably cause civilian casualties (what you call "self defense"). You cannot support peace and support the bombing of Lebanon at the same time. It is like me saying "I am against the slaying of innocent Israelis but I support the Palestinian's right to suicide bombing." Well, I have news for you: I don't!

If Hizballah is a rogue element that is causing instability in the region, what does that make Israel? A peace loving country? Spare me the BS!

Suha, in World War II the allies wanted peace but knew they could only achieve it by bombarding and invading Germany. Lots of Germans, innocent or not, died that way.

The Europeans learned a terrible lesson: that war is for self-defense only, not thievery. For the most part, Arab populations were spared that experience.

The "Party of God", tolerated on Lebanese soil, started this fight and their ultimate aims are not pretty. If Israel wasn't a "peace-loving country" they would never have withdrawn from the Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon, etc. at all. It isn't like anybody was powerful enough to force them to do it.

Suha, I'm not there and have never experienced what you are going through, I can only imagine it. You feel powerless. I suppose you rail against Israel and its supporters because you know we are democrats who listen to many points of view. Railing against us might do something. Railing against Hezbollah seems useless or worse.

I have no suggestions as to what you should do. I hope you and your family survive. But I pray that Israel and Lebanon succeed in ridding the world of the great menace of Hezbollah even more.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Humor in the Age of Terror

Courtesy of Wizbang:
One of my prized purchases at Shore Leave 28 today was a button that reads:

Every time I take my shoes off in airport security, I give thanks Richard Reid wasn't known as the underwear bomber.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What Would Be Wrong If...?

I've been posting this note at several blogs over the past few days:
Once upon a time, a country existed that rocketed its neighbors indiscrimately, kidnapped noncombatants for later execution, and whose population sought to conquer as much territory as possible and reduce the rest of the world to slavery.

That country was Nazi Germany. And when avenging Allied tanks encountered resisting German villages, they reduced the buildings to mere memorials, and the villagers to penury.

No one seems to consider these actions a crime today. What would be wrong if Israel levelled Gaza and drove its inhabitants away tomorrow?

I have not yet seen a critical response. I invite my readers to do so.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

'Flag Epidemic' Ire

It's a true epidemic: the red, white and blue, stars-and-stripes banners are everywhere in the United States - on house facades, front lawns, cars and clothes.

Hitting an high point on the July 4 US Independence Day holiday, it is a genuine phenomenon of American national pride that, inevitably, gets a good but also sometimes unwanted boost from commercial exploitation...

The flag also pops up on lawns and balconies, sometimes to the ire of local residents. In the Washington suburbs of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, real estate agencies stick plastic signs adorned with the flag next to people's front porches

Aha, a light begins to dawn. I can confirm that this is indeed a popular practice, the flags usually being set out on July 4th before 9am. However, I suspect that the "resident's ire" in question is none other than that of the author of the article, "Chantal Valery". The two specific areas in question are thickly populated with French nationals, folks who usually gravitate around a favored restaurant in the area to commiserate about their woes.

Note that the article is time-stamped 1:16pm. Would a reporter crank out an article on this subject so quickly unless they actually lived in the neighborhood? I doubt it. I characterize it as propaganda, labelling as repugnant a form of patriotism AFP thinks its audience finds repugnant: pride in one's country.

Correction 11:59pm: Maplewood is NOT, to my knowledge, thickly populated with French nationals. I didn't think they put up flags there on July 4th either, and indeed the article states that flags in this neighborhood were put up several days earlier.

Sky-High Fourth of July

The best fireworks ever!