2006 July 28 Friday
Even Christian Lebanese Support Hezbollah In Poll

Greg Cochran points me to the news on a poll of Lebanese attitudes about Israel and the Hezbollah. Hezbollah wants to show that Israel is not invincible.

TYRE, LEBANON – The ferocity of Israel's onslaught in southern Lebanon and Hizbullah's stubborn battles against Israeli ground forces may be working in the militant group's favor.

"They want to shatter the myth of Israeli invincibility," says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a leading Lebanese expert on Hizbullah. "Being victorious means not allowing Israel to achieve their aims, and so far that is the case."

Israel's prowess is now taking a hit just like America's military power is taking a hit due to events in Iraq.

Hezbollah is getting wide support across sectarian lines - even from Christian Lebanese.

The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines.According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.

Lebanese no longer blame Hizbullah for sparking the war by kidnapping the Israeli soldiers, but Israel and the US instead.

The latest poll by the Beirut Center found that 8 percent of Lebanese feel the US supports Lebanon, down from 38 percent in January.

The government of Lebanon is elected. Lebanon has a democracy. Yet the people of Lebanon support an organization that carries out terrorist attacks and advocates the destruction of Israel. Bush and the neoconservatives argue that democracy and freedom can end the appeal of terrorism in the Middle East and bring peace. The evidence argues otherwise.

Democratically elected Sunni Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani claims Jews are doing the killing in Iraq.

"Some people say, `We saw you beheading, kidnappings and killing. In the end we even started kidnapping women who are our honor,'"al-Mashhadani said."These acts are not the work of Iraqis. I am sure that he who does this is a Jew and the son of a Jew."

My fellow Americans, we helped bring him to power. You see, democratically elected Muslim power brokers are supposed to be better than dictator Arabs. Also, voting Arabs are supposed to be better than Arab subjects of dictators. Really, the democratically elected President of the United States says so.

Democratically elected Shiite Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refuses to condemn Hezbollah while finding fault with Israel's attack on Lebanon.

"The Israeli attacks and airstrikes are completely destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure,” al-Maliki is quoted as saying during a news conference in Baghdad. “I condemn these aggressions and call on the Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo to take quick action to stop these aggressions. We call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression.”

By contrast, some of the Sunni Arab dictatorships have found fault with the Shia Hezbollah.

In contrast to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab countries, Maliki declined to criticize Hezbollah.

That placed Maliki’s US-backed government in the discomfiting company of Algeria and Syria, rejectionist radicals in the Arab world.

Obviously, Israel isn't going to be secure as long as democratic regimes remain in the Middle East. We need to go on a campaign to overthrow democracies.

One of the democracy myths is that democracies will never fight each other. Yet the democratic Israelis are as enthused to kill Hezbollah as the Lebanese are to see Hezbollah hitting at Israel.

A new poll released in Israel confirms that Israelis are united in support of the fight against Hezbollah. 82 percent say the army’s offensive into Lebanon is justified, and 71 percent believe Israel should use even more force in attacking Hezbollah.

Unless a military force from other countries goes into South Lebanon and takes on Hezbollah how will this conflict stop? Can Hezbollah sustain the rocket attacks?

Americans are less enthusiastic about the Israeli attack.

The continued attacks, however, have put a minor dent in American public support for Israel. A recent Gallup Poll found that a large majority of Americans back Israel's military campaign against Hezbollah, although half of those polled thought Israel had gone too far.

Lydia Saad, a senior editor at The Gallup Poll, said the number of civilians killed by the Israeli attacks appeared to be a main reason for that reaction.

Nasrallah has become a hero to the Arab masses because he's standing up to Israel and Israel's vaunted military has failed to stop him.

The survival of Sheikh Nasrallah is already remarkable. Even more so is the West’s sudden obsession with his leadership — not just of Hezbollah but also, for all practical purposes, of Lebanon and of an upsurge of pan-Arab solidarity potentially more powerful than any since the Yom Kippur war of 1973.

His support on the Arab street will not of itself rebuild Lebanon or destroy Israel, which remains a key Hezbollah goal. But it has made him the new face of jihadism, with an appeal transcending border and sectarian divides. This is why, with stunning swiftness, Sheikh Nasrallah has eclipsed even Osama bin Laden as the West’s most potent enemy in the War on Terror.

“Nasser 1956 — Nasrallah 2006” declare the posters on the streets of Cairo. No al- Qaeda figurehead was ever so honoured. “Oh beloved Nasrallah, strike Tel Aviv,” chant protesters in Bahrain, home of the US 5th Fleet. And his latest televised threat is to do just that, with long-range missiles he has not needed to deploy so far.

To Israel, the story of Sheikh Nasrallah is one of toxic extremism and remorseless killing. To his followers, it is of patient planning and heroic defiance. Until this month his greatest triumph, in their eyes, was Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon six years ago. But by taking on the full might of the Israeli Defence Forces in a war of his own timing — and then holding it at bay — he surpassed himself.

The amount of damage the missiles have done to Israel to date is fairly small. Few Israelis have been killed and the physical destruction is small. The economic damage due to disrupted work is probably larger than the damage to buildings. That is worrisome because Hezbollah might be able to keep this attack up for weeks or even months. Longer range missiles could cause economic disruption over most of the Israeli economy. That's a really big problem for Israel, probably the biggest it has faced in decades.

Events in the Middle East are a challenge to the universalist aspirations of Western liberalism. Democracy in the Middle East does not release anywhere near as many suppressed liberal urges as it releases tribal and religiously based motives.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 July 28 10:20 PM  MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis


Comments
mike said at July 29, 2006 4:36 AM:

"Greg Cochran points me to the news on a poll of Lebanese attitudes about Israel and the Hezbollah."

Unfortunately, from a previous poll I recall perhaps a year ago, Lebanese attitudes towards Israel are, somewhat surprisingly (maybe not, when you taken into account the previous civil war), among the most negative in the Middle East anyway. This is in spite of a large Christian population in the country. I have to wonder if there is anyway that Israel could have conducted a battle with Hezbollah that wouldn't have garnered that organization further support.

Also, what does Lebanese support mean to Israel amount to in concrete terms? Israel has responded only mildly to provocations from Hezbollah since the withdrawal in 2000. Has this lead to a weakening of Hezbollah? Hardly. Hezbollah's position among its Shiite supporters is as strong as ever and Hezbollah is far better armed than it has ever been previously. The military gap between the central government's armed forces and Hezbollah's has only grown over the years, making any action by the Lebanese government increasingly unlikely.

Furthermore, with a 40% Shiite population, many strong demographics militates against any strong action by the central government even if Hezbollah was weakened militarily.

Given these facts, why does the support of an ineffectual Sunni or Christian population matter? What magic was the central government going to work to solve the problem that is Hezbollah and when were they going to work it?

"One of the democracy myths is that democracies will never fight each other."

While I am generally skeptical of efforst to get Arabs to embrace western values myself, I have to take issue with this comment. Last I checked, the central government of Lebanon did not actually, in accordance with any democratic process, declare war on Israel. Rather, an undemocratic terrorist organization that controls about half the land and is utterly unaccountable to the central government initiated the provocation. I have seen little evidence to date that, despite hard feelings towards Israel, the Christian or Sunni populations would have done what Hezbollah was willing to do.

While I don't doubt that it isn't impossible that one democracy might declare war on another, that isn't really the problem in this case. The problem with Lebanon isn't so much elections and democratic institutions, it is the ability of the central government to attain a monopoly on force.

In fact, while you are attempting to demolish a myth regarding democracies and terrorism, there is another myth that can be demolished; namely, the idea that attacking terrorists only leads to more terrorism. Judging by Hezbollah's example, avoiding a strong response to terrorism only leads to more and better armed terrorists.

Other causes behind the conflict: a history of engaging in only "proportionate responses" in the past, which is what a Hezbollah spokesman admitted they were expecting after this latest incident, and a history of negotiating with terrorists in the form of prisoner exchanges.

http://www.bigpharaoh.com/2006/07/25/hezbollah-official-strong-israeli-response-was-unexpected/

Groups like Hezbollah will engage in terrorism as long as they see no significant drawback to doing so. Israel has a history, unfortunately, of failing to provide that deterrent.

"The survival of Sheikh Nasrallah is already remarkable. Even more so is the West’s sudden obsession with his leadership."

If you mean his physical survival, there is hardly anything surprising. It is rumored that Nasrallah is most likely holed up in the Iranian embassy or else is hiding out in Syria.

Bob Badour said at July 29, 2006 7:43 AM:
More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.

This suggests to me that it was foolhardy after all not to wage total war on Lebanon in its entirety. It's apparent that the Lebanese need to be defeated and Lebanon divided according to Israel's interests. By fully engaging Lebanon, Israel would better limit the movement of supplies and reinforcements to Hizbollah.

This looks like another fine example of the evil of waging war by half-measures.

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2006 10:45 AM:

Mike,

The existence of democracy in Lebanon has not prevented a large fraction of the Lebanese population from being enthused and supportive of Hezbollah's missike attack on Israel.

The existence of democracy in Lebanon has not caused it to be united under a sovereign government that controls its whole territory.

The existence of democracy in Lebanon has not caused the Lebanese government to shut down the missile shipments to Hezbollah.

If you are opposed to "proportionate responses" then what sort of response do you advocate and what do you think that response will accomplish?

mike said at July 29, 2006 1:00 PM:

"The existence of democracy in Lebanon has not caused it to be united under a sovereign government that controls its whole territory."

The existence of democracy in the United States did not prevent our own country from experiencing a civil war in the mid-1800s.

Would you say that American democracy is a failure given that fact?

It is also important to remember that Syria has only been out of the country for about a year.

Again, I don't agree with the Bush notion that democracy is a magic bullet. But I do think that democracy, over the long run, tends to reduce international conflict.

"If you are opposed to "proportionate responses" then what sort of response do you advocate and what do you think that response will accomplish?"

The force necessary to prevent Hezbollah from rearming while a conflict is ongoing, the force necessary to destroy Hezbollah's weapons stockpiles, and the force necessary to kill most of their guerrilla fighters. In other words, the force necessary to make Hezbollah reassess the risks of attacking Israel in the future.

Surely, withdrawing from Lebanon back in 2000 was a mistake if it enabled Hezbollah to gain as much strength as it has. Given the irrelevancy of Lebanese public opinion as I mentioned earlier, maybe Israel should consider setting up another security zone in southern Lebanon.

One problem with remaining idle in the face of Hezbollah's growing strength over the years, is that Hezbollah has been allowed to move above ground and begin training a regular military, in a manner similar to al-Qaeda's training camps in Afgahnistan. Furthermore, many of Hezbollah's fighters have been seasoned through engagements with Israel previously. This is due precisely to Israel's past use of strictly "proportionate responses." What doesn't kill a terrorist will only make him stronger, or at least, leave him better informed.

In any event, rumor has it that Condoleezza Rice will press for Israel to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms as a condition of the ceasefire. Supposedly, this will take away, as one commentator put it "the logic of resistance" for Hezbollah, as though Hezbollah needed any more justification than the fact that Israel exists in some way, shape, or form. Israel will probably consent. A multinational military force may, very well, prove unable to hold south Lebanon and Hezbollah will find itself empowered as never before.

Speaking of Lebanese Christians and Hezbollah, here are a few items to check out demonstrating that at least some portion of the Christian community is not as diametrically opposed to Hezbollah as many might presume:

http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/07/hezbollah_penetrates_christian.php
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/02/lebanese_antisyrian_leader_agr.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Aoun

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2006 3:01 PM:

Mike,

The US Civil War: We had it and were finished in less than 5 years. The Lebanese Civil War raged for 15 years and yet even after all that Hezbollah and not the Lebanese government controls south Lebanon. Americans were and are very different people than Lebanese.

You do not define what amount of force you think is necessary. You describe a desired outcome.

Hezbollah has weapons stockpiled all over Lebanon. So then do you advocate a repeat of the last Israeli invasion? If so, should the Israelis enter Beirut? They stopped short of that last time.

Kill most of their guerrilla fighters: We can not manage that in Iraq. Why do you think the Israelis can do this in Lebanon? Also, the Israelis could not manage it when they were in Lebanon. Also, they can always recruit replacements.

It is possible for a conventional military force to invade an urban landscape and win. The United States did this most notably to Aachen Germany and the Allies did to other German cities. That involved destruction of most of the city and little regard for civilian casualties. Do you think Israel should do this to South Lebanon all the way up to a big chunk of Beirut?

I figure neither the Israelis nor the US supporters of Israel have the stomach for that type of attack.

CASpears said at July 29, 2006 5:14 PM:

I agree with Randall...what needs to be done to create a decisive victory in order to prevent a reoccurance of similar conflicts can not reasonably be done in this world of 24/7 news coverage...and especially not by a state as controversial as Israel.

mike said at July 29, 2006 5:31 PM:

"We had it and were finished in less than 5 years. The Lebanese Civil War raged for 15 years and yet even after all that Hezbollah and not the Lebanese government controls south Lebanon. Americans were and are very different people than Lebanese."

I wasn't referring to the Lebanese Civil War. I was referring to the present period when the Lebanese government has only been relatively free of Syrian influence for about a year, and has not had either the means or opportunity to deal with Hezbollah.

"You do not define what amount of force you think is necessary."

I would ratchet up the force until it the desired outcome is achieved. Is there any doubt that any particular group of terrorists can be defeated on the battlefield, provided sufficient force is applied? The only open question is how to minimize civilian casualties. I believe Israel should attempt to limit casualties as much as possible for humanitarian purposes, but let us face facts: Israel isn't going to win any friends or PR victories in south Lebanon no matter what it does. Attempting to save face or prevent Shiites from supporting terrorism is a waste of time. Israel will be hated for any occupation, whether it is a matter of days or years, whether it is mild or heavy-handed, and no matter what it does.

"Kill most of their guerrilla fighters: We can not manage that in Iraq. Why do you think the Israelis can do this in Lebanon? Also, the Israelis could not manage it when they were in Lebanon. Also, they can always recruit replacements."

(1) Lebanon is a much smaller and more easily isolated country than Iraq. (2) We are only concerned about the Shiite areas of Lebanon, which are homogeneous unlike, say, Baghdad. Sectarian violence in southern Lebanon not a greate concern. (3) I'm only interested in killing of the present batch of fighters, who have had training under Iranian handlers and have experience attacking Israel in the past and eliminating their armaments and infrastructure (training camps, tunnels, etc.). Yes, they will recruit more, but if Israel denies them the luxury of large-scale training camps in the future (something they should be able to accomplish with air power alone), they will be a much less able body of fighters than today's batch.

Basically, what I advocate is taking Hezbollah a few years back in terms of experience and weaponry.

And no, I don't have a specific plan.

I'm not a general and am not familiar with all the tactical and logistical requirements of these sorts of missions. However, given what I do know of the Israeli army, I think they should be able to reduce Hezbollah's weapons and manpower substantially and, if deemed necessary, establish a security zone in south Lebanon. I don't think such a mission can possibly be bloodless, of course, but I do think in the long-term it would be worth it.

Over time, this security zone could be turned over to an international force that is not as toothless as the United Nations has proven to be, then over to the Lebanese army. Perhaps this security zone can be gradually extended northward. In the first phase, Israeli or international forces would control the extended area, then Lebanese forces would be introduced. Over time, Lebanese forces would gain control of the countryside previously held by Lebanon.

Do you have a plan? What would you have the Israelis do to deter future attacks by Hezbollah and prevent them from becoming increasingly dangerous in any future regional conflagation?

P.S. I greatly admire your pieces on immigration. I was also pleasantly suprised to see the recent piece advocating the partitioning of Iraq (a concrete goal, unlike attempting to "win the hearts and minds" of the Iraqis), something I've been advocating since this conflict began. I just think you are a little off base on this one.

Bob Badour said at July 29, 2006 6:02 PM:
Is there any doubt that any particular group of terrorists can be defeated on the battlefield, provided sufficient force is applied? The only open question is how to minimize civilian casualties.

In the sense that if one applies enough force to end all human life in a region, one will kill all of the terrorists there, and then no there is no doubt that any particular group of terrorists can be defeated on the battlefield provided sufficient force is applied. However, if one tries in any way to limit civilian casualties, then the outcome is very much in doubt.

then over to the Lebanese army.

You don't seem to get it that Lebanon as a polity will never have control of its citizenry. The only way for Israel to deal with the conflict is to break Lebanon up. I don't see that happening without the total defeat of Lebanon. If Lebanon surrenders unconditionally, Israel can partition it however they see fit.

The Lebanese were once ruled by the cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's not like any of them are ever going to be grateful for anything, but it is at least conceivable to create responsible democratic government in northern Lebanon. And whatever government south Lebanon gets would be clearly accountable even if not particularly responsible.

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2006 7:33 PM:

Mike,

The 15 year civil war (which only stopped because the Syrian military invaded) makes the Lebanese very averse to having another civil war. The Christians, Druze, and Sunnis are not going to go to war against Hezbollah for Israel's benefit.

Israel already invaded once and the Israelis view that episode in ways similar to how many Americans view Vietnam. So the Israelis are very reluctant to invade Lebanon again.

No security zone in Lebanon could get turned over to a toothless force. As soon as that happens the Shia men will join insurgency groups and start taking over again. Actually, they'll still be in insurgency groups while a less toothless force is trying to dominate them.

Sufficient force: Israel tried that already. Did they not use sufficient force the first time around? Should they have sent in a larger force back in the early 1980s?

mike said at July 29, 2006 7:34 PM:

Bob Badour,

Your idea is interesting. I do think it would be in the long-term best interest of non-Shiite Lebanese to dissociate completely from south Lebanon. Besides, the Shiites breed rather quickly, and I fear that in decades to come, even a democratic Lebanon will just be a shrinking island in the sea of Hezbollahstan.

A partition would not make Israel immediately safer, but as you suggest, splitting the country would allow the Shiites and their choice of leaders to be held solely accountable for any further aggression.

I'm curious though, as to whether any attempt at breaking the country up would lead to sectarian warfare. Would there be a fight over resources or particular pieces of land? Is anyone familiar enough with Lebanon to say how smoothly such a division might go? Presumably, Beirut would also have to be divided. How difficult would this be?

Polarman said at July 29, 2006 7:40 PM:

I think Israel made a mistake upfront with Hezbollah. After the kidnapping of IDF soldiers that precipitated this whole war, Israel should have asked Lebanon what their position was: Would they actively help get the soldiers back, or would they back Hezbollah. Israel should have forced them to take a public position upfront.

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2006 8:43 PM:

Polarman,

"Israel should have asked Lebanon what their position was": Who exactly in Lebanon should Israel have asked? The Christian President? The Sunni Prime Minister? The Shia Speaker of Parliament? Or whoever nomimally heads their military? Said military would fall apart into factions as soon as it was ordered to take on Hezbollah.

Your question assumes sufficient sovereign power in the Lebanese government that it would actually be capable of answering with a single voice. Lebanon is an ethnic confederacy. As someone (Woody Allen) once said about LA: "There's no there there".

How could the Lebanese government get the Israeli soldiers back? They couldn't find them. They could not put together a force big enough to quickly defeat Hezbollah. Also, the Christians and Sunnis and Druze look at south Lebanon and see a place that they can't control and therefore should not be held responsible for.

mike said at July 29, 2006 11:09 PM:

"Your question assumes sufficient sovereign power in the Lebanese government that it would actually be capable of answering with a single voice."

This is a good point and one that could throw a monkey wrench into Bob's proposed plan. If Israel were to wage war against the central government in Lebanon to force a defeat, who exactly would surrender? The surrender of the type Bob is proposing would have to involve a unified, or at least mostly unified, government. The situation in Lebanon might well dissolve into civil war before any such surrender could be declared. The Baathist party in Iraq never officially surrendered and I don't see why the Lebanese government would either.

Also, in the process of forcing such a defeat, most of the government's military would be destroyed or would disperse. This would leave Hezbollah in a much stronger position compared to the whatever is left of the government. In the aftermath of the defeat, Hezbollah would be able to contest whatever boundaries Israel ultimately decided upon. Without much military support, any attempt to fend off Shiite aggression towards Christians, Druze, or Sunnis would have to be handled by Israel.

A good solution doesn't seem to present itself.

Lebanon is a mess.

I still say the best route at this point is to substantially weaken Hezbollah. Failing to weaken Hezbollah seems likely to spoil any other possible plan that one might come up with.

Stephen said at July 30, 2006 5:36 AM:

There is in fact a good solution, but its so big that people can't see it: Allow the displaced Palestinians back into Israel with all the rights due to citizens. Then let democracy take its course...

Imagine such a middle east:

* The arab street would no longer have a cause célèbre.

* Nations that have had to host several million refugee Palestinians would no longer have that burden.

* George Bush surely would love another example of democracy growing in the mid-east.

* Economic growth in the region.

Sure, there might be some 'birth pains'...

Bob Badour said at July 30, 2006 9:13 AM:

Stephen,

I am well aware that the total defeat of Israel and the elimination of Jews from the area would end the conflict. (And that is exactly what your proposal amounts to.) Personally, I don't want that to happen. Given that at least one side must experience defeat, I prefer the Palestinians experience it.

As victors, the Israelis have already proved they can live peacefully with Palestinians. Victory for Palestine means genocide.

Stephen said at July 30, 2006 3:29 PM:

Bob (fresh from suggesting that Israel ethnically cleans Southern Lebanon), said: As victors, the Israelis have already proved they can live peacefully with Palestinians.

...At least for that set of possible values of 'live peacefully' that excludes Palestinians actually living in their homeland. And there's the rub, Israeli's are happy to demonstrate that "they can live peacefully with Palestinians" so long as those Palestinians don't live in the Palestinian homeland. Because its the Palestinians who want their homeland back, its naturally going to be the Palestinians that come across as the agressor on a superficial analysis.

The Palestinian question is radicalising tens of millions of people, generation after generation. There comes a point when we've got to ask ourselves whether it might be better if we cut our losses.

Stephen said at July 30, 2006 8:38 PM:

I think that the Israeli bombing had the potential to be a great opportunity for Lebanese democracy. Maybe if the other Lebanese factions had come to the aid of Hezbullah, then the sharing of the same foxhole by members of different factions might have had a unifying effect on the entire country. Unfortunately, Lebanon's political parties did what they always do - they decided to watch as a political competitor was weakened.

I fear that Lebanon will now reap the whirlwind as Hezbullah increases its morale, membership and influence.

Bob Badour said at July 31, 2006 10:05 AM:
Bob (fresh from suggesting that Israel ethnically cleans Southern Lebanon),

With all due respect, I never made any such suggestion. Please respond to what I actually write and not to some hallucination. I suggested that Israel only occupy lands sufficient to establish defensible perimeters. It would be utter stupidity to drive the Shia from southern Lebanon into the north. That is the antithesis of the solution whereby the Shia are forced to form their own independent polity that Israel (and the world) could hold solely accountable for their own actions.

excludes Palestinians actually living in their homeland

Bullshit. Plenty of Palestinians live in Israel and the Israelis live peacefully with them. Even more Palestinians work in Israel, and again, the Israelis get along with them just fine.

The Palestinian question is radicalising tens of millions of people, generation after generation.

It's not the Palestinian question that does this. It is the Arab response to the question that does. For example, Jordan and Syria forced the refugees to remain in 'camps' and prevented a Palestinian diaspora from ending the question. Since that option is not available, the only other option is defeat of the Palestinians where they are.

Contrast the Palestinian situation with the situation of the United Empire Loyalists after the American War of Independence. Imagine if--instead of resettling them--Britain forced the United Empire Loyalists into camps on Grand Island in the Niagara River.

There comes a point when we've got to ask ourselves whether it might be better if we cut our losses.

I don't have any losses to cut. Do you? I don't think the Israelis should cut their losses if that means their own genocide and yet another diaspora. That would be the height of suicidal stupidity.

Maybe if the other Lebanese factions had come to the aid of Hezbullah

That's perverse and suggests a psychotic misinterpretation of the facts. Hezbollah's utter contempt for Lebanese sovereignty, for rule of law and for their non-Shia neighbours is what dragged those unwilling participants into a devastating war in the first place. You are asking the victims to rush to the aid of their violators.

Stephen said at July 31, 2006 7:13 PM:

Bob said: With all due respect, I never made any such suggestion. Please respond to what I actually write and not to some hallucination.

Okay:

Bob: "In the sense that if one applies enough force to end all human life in a region, one will kill all of the terrorists there, and then no there is no doubt that any particular group of terrorists can be defeated on the battlefield provided sufficient force is applied. However, if one tries in any way to limit civilian casualties, then the outcome is very much in doubt."


Bob said: Plenty of Palestinians live in Israel and the Israelis live peacefully with them

Ahh, your observation is correct, so maybe we have the basis for agreement - ethnic Palestinians living in Israel live peacefully, but ethnic Palestinians living in the occupied territories and in refugee camps don't behave peacefully. So, maybe if we empty the camps and let the refugees go back to their traditional homes with all the rights and responsibilities of a citizen, then maybe, just maybe, we can begin to see just a glimmer of a spark for peace.


Bob said: I don't have any losses to cut. Do you?

Nope, I don't have a dog in this fight, but that doesn't stop me trying to come up with a plan that doesn't involve the immediate liquidation of several million souls.

Bob said on diasporas:

(1) "...the refugees to remain in 'camps' and prevented a Palestinian diaspora from ending the question."
(2) "I don't think the Israelis should cut their losses if that means their own genocide and yet another diaspora."

So, I take it Bob that the rule is only one diaspora per customer? Why is a Palestinian diaspora good, but an Israeli diaspora is bad?? I'm just wondering what the policy is that you're trying to express?

Bob said: "Hezbollah's utter contempt for Lebanese sovereignty, for rule of law and for their non-Shia neighbours

Oddly enough you are making this claim under Randall's article headed "Even Christian Lebanese Support Hezbollah In Poll"

Bob Badour said at August 1, 2006 8:38 AM:

Stephen,

With all due respect, are you daft? "a plan that doesn't involve the immediate liquidation of several million souls." I have never suggested liquidating millions of souls. Defeat and mass extinction are two very different things.

so maybe we have the basis for agreement - ethnic Palestinians living in Israel live peacefully

Israelis live peacefully with the ethnic Palestinians. Sadly, the converse is not necessarily true. Some of those ethnic Palestinians strap on TNT and blow up pizza parlors.

maybe if we empty the camps and let the refugees go back to their traditional homes with all the rights and responsibilities of a citizen, then maybe, just maybe, we can begin to see just a glimmer of a spark for peace.

I already agreed with you that would lead to peace. It would lead to peace through the utter defeat of the Israelis and the murder and/or expulsion of Jews from the region. I think that's a stupid idea. I prefer the utter defeat of the Palestinians because that will not lead to genocide or any attempt at genocide.

Do you hate the Jews so much that you want to see them murdered?

a plan that doesn't involve the immediate liquidation of several million souls.

Then why do you keep suggesting plans that mean exactly that?

Why is a Palestinian diaspora good, but an Israeli diaspora is bad??

At the time the Palestinian refugees were forced into camps, they were ethnically identical to the Syrians and to the Transjordans with whom they had allied themselves to wage war against Israel. Had those evil regimes had not abandoned them and rejected them after calling them to arms against the newly formed state of Israel, the palestinian ethnicity and the refugee camps would never have existed in the first place. Had those regimes accepted their brothers in arms, they would be leading successful lives as Syrians and Jordanians now.

The Jews have gone through endless diasporas. Oddly enough, precious few seem to have been caused by the Jews rising up in arms against their neighbours.

In your plan to force the Jews out of the middle-east, where do you plan to resettle them? They have already been rejected quite violently by Europe and Asia. They have succeeded in some parts of America but don't exactly receive a warm welcome everywhere over here. Shall we set them up on a reserve and let them run casinos?

Oddly enough you are making this claim under Randall's article headed "Even Christian Lebanese Support Hezbollah In Poll"

The fog of war does strange things to men's minds. If Israel were prosecuting the war as a war against Lebanon with the goal of achieving unconditional surrender, the Lebanese Christians would see things differently. Right now, they have been inconvenienced and somewhat injured, which I am sure they resent. By waging war in half-measures, the Israelis are letting Hezbollah's resistance have some effect, which gives some satisfaction to the resentful.

The headline does not say the Lebanese Christians are rushing to join Hezbollah in their resistance.

If Israel were seeking defeat of Lebanon, the Lebanese Christians would just want it to end as quickly as possible and would want it to never start again. I am sure they would direct more of their hatred toward Hezbollah for dragging them into the conflict, and they would more appreciate a solution that isolates Hezbollah and their Shia supporters from them.

Only a couple years before the Palestinian refugees were forced by their Arab neighbours to live in camps, we kicked the living shit out of Germany and Japan. They love us now. Unconditional surrender--it's is a good thing.

George Carty said at August 4, 2006 4:37 AM:

Germany and Japan are not reasonable analogies because:

1) It was totally clear that the Germans and the Japanese had started the wars which led to their defeat.

2) The Germans and Japanese post-war knew that if they turned against the Americans, they'd be tossing themselves into Stalin's jaws.

Bob Badour said at August 4, 2006 7:40 AM:

George,

One could use any of 1000 earlier examples but many would find them esoteric. Too few people study the classics these days to understand what happened to the Ionians, the Dorics and the Spartans.

Of course, perhaps better examples would be the defeat of the Lakota or the Apache.

On the other hand, none of those earlier defeats included unconditional surrender.

sam said at October 12, 2007 10:03 PM:

Mike,

WITH OVER 600 LEBANESE DEAD AND THOUSANDS IN ISRAELI PRISON, would you explain to me how an act by Hezbollah to kiddnap 2 israeli soilders a "Terrorist move". Sometimes it is good to think in the Arabic street shoes.


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