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.

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