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July 25, 2006

Comments

Okay, you're saying that if Hezbollah took up residence in Ontario, and started firing rockets on Buffalo, you'd advocate negotiations?

There's a huge difference between Hezbollah moving to Ontario and a large percentage of native Canadians deciding that they hate the US and sponsoring / supporting local groups launching cross-border raids.

when "wiping them out" is a practical impossibility

Eh? What makes you say that?

The international community seems perfectly happy to let the rockets rain down on Israel indefinitely.

and they're perfectly happy to watch millions die in Africa or war and hunger. what makes Israel's plight more urgent than, say, the Sudan's ?

"So is it your opinion, Gary, that Israel's current campaign has favorable chances of wiping out Hezbollah?"

Nah. Wiping out most of the major missiles, and moving the rocket threat down to minor, though, yes.

Beyond that, I have no problem with Hezbollah being a political and social movement in Lebanon, and neither do 95% or so of Israelis. Of course.

They're Shi'ites. If they want to worship the Supreme Leader of Iran, hey, fine, whatever. (As Hezbollah, of course, claims to do, with the huge portraits everywhere, etc.)

Hezbollah, I couldn't care less about per se, any more than I do any other religious movement anywhere else on planet earth.

It's those large missiles they keep firing that I care about. And the numbers of Katyushas, and the interest they have in firing them on their neighbors.

Those are physical objects. They are destroyable. And borders are enforceable as regards large rockets.

That's that.

Beyond that, if Lebanese Shi'ites want to make fists and thrust them in the air, hey, go for it.

SH: in the first few days of the war, Israel actually had support from Saudi Arabia. Don't be too quick to play the international-condemnation card.

Andrew: "If Israel wanted to destroy Hezbollah, then they should have attacked them with the level of force necessary to do that. That would have meant full-scale war in southern Lebanon, of course, but it was the only chance Israel had to eliminate Hezbollah as a serious military force. Once they chose not to do that, their attempts to take out Hezbollah from the air became little more than symbolic."

I'm not seeing this as true for a variety of reason. Perhaps you could elaborate a little more. Doesn't the US routinely 'prep' gound action by air strikes? Is it fair to say they haven't chosen to eliminate Hezbollah? I would highly doubt the Israeli plan here is to achieve some symbolic notion.

Okay, you're saying that if Hezbollah took up residence in Ontario, and started firing rockets on Buffalo, you'd advocate negotiations? And oppose wiping them out?

Speaking as someone who lives in Buffalo, yes. Pretty much because practically you couldn't eliminate the rockets without destroying the non-Hezbollah Canadians. And there would be very bad consequences for that.

Answer me this, though, because I don't know. Prior to this, were there many Hezbollah rocket attacks on anyplace besides the Shebaa farms area?

cleek: "...and they're perfectly happy to watch millions die in Africa or war and hunger. what makes Israel's plight more urgent than, say, the Sudan's ?"

Welll, y'know, if you want to claim I don't care about African causes, I'll bombard you with umpty hundred posts I've made on African topics.

So: wrong.

And have I posted on Sudan? Got you there, too.

"and they're perfectly happy to watch millions die in Africa or war and hunger. what makes Israel's plight more urgent than, say, the Sudan's ?"

Nothing. But you should note that if Israel chooses to fight back for one week, the international community takes a much keener interest than they do after three years of genocide.
So the answer apparently isn't "nothing".

Gary: let's imagine that the Canadian government is extremely weak, having been occupied first by us and then by -- Greenland? Russia? -- for several decades, and having only freed itself about a year ago. It doesn't have Canada's infrastructure, skilled work force, or natural resources, and civil war is always an option. It lacks the power to control its territory, and while helping it to get back on its feet would make a lot of sense, expecting it to have disarmed Hezbollah is not realistic. Let's imagine further that we have, as I said, occupied most of Canada for a few years, and southern Canada for several decades, during which time we utterly failed to root out Hezbollah and strike the 'decisive blow' we're now after, despite actually having deployed the ground troops Andrew is talking about. And let's suppose further that one of the things that makes it possible for Hezbollah to operate is the fact that so many Canadians bitterly hate us for a variety of reasons, some bad, but some understandable -- and among these, the resentment produced by our last occupation, which was, as occupations tend to be, unpleasant for those who live under it.

Under these circumstances, if someone said to me: bombing the hell out of Canada will cripple Hezbollah, I'd wonder what makes now so different from a few years ago, when we did a lot more and failed to achieve that objective.

The absurdity of the notion that the military offensive will convince the people of Lebanon to reject and expel Hezbollah is pretty clear from a thought experiment.

Imagine a counterfactual world where Iran had the capability to launch air strikes on U.S. territory without facing massive military retribution from the USA. Now imagine that Iran launched such strikes, on the theory that they were necessary to dissuade the dominant neoconservative faction in the U.S. from pursuing military action against Iran. How would those strikes affect my thinking? Right now I'm about as opposed to the neocon right as you can get. I wish they had no power at all in setting American policy. Would I, then, take Iranian airstrikes on major parts of the U.S. infrastructure as a "lesson" that we in America need to be even more proactive in rejecting the neocons and expelling them from positions of power? Hardly. Like just about all Americans, I'd react with visceral fury at the country that was turning parts of my own nation into smoky rubble. Whatever anger I felt at Rumsfeld, Ledeen, et al., for provoking the attack, would be dwarfed by my anger at the immediate aggressor whose daily bombing runs shaped my daily existence.

The same is surely true of the Lebanese. The idea that they -- even the ones who are predisposed to dislike Hezbollah -- will react by learning some lesson about the need to "respect" Israel is just laughable. Why people lose track of basic, obvious truths about human psychology -- things they know perfectly well about themselves -- when they think about people in other countries is beyond me.

I'm going to now point out that if we were being rocketed from Canada, we'd be asking Canada if they needed any of our assistance in their diligent efforts to root out foreign agents attempting to foment war from their soil.

And I'd guess that Canada would probably use us as much as they needed to. Now, is there still a parallel?

Welll, y'know, if you want to claim I don't care about African causes, I'll bombard you with umpty hundred posts I've made on African topics.

go right ahead. but first double check that i said anything at all about your level of concern for African causes.

So: wrong.

yeah. congrats on defeating your own homebuilt cleek.

Doesn't the US routinely 'prep' gound action by air strikes?

Yes, it does. And while the fighting is going on you'll hear the Air Force extolling their success. But when push comes to shove, it inevitably turns out the air bombardment was of limited to no utility. Taking out point targets is simply not something aircraft can do effectively, and ground forces are nothing but point targets. In order to seriously degrade Hezbollah, Israel is going to have to go in on the ground in force. But Hezbollah isn't like a normal army: they don't have to wait for Israel to invade, they can just go where the Israeli army isn't. If Israel seriously intended to wipe out Hezbollah, their first step had to be cordoning southern Lebanon to prevent the escape of Hezbollah forces. That takes boots on the ground.

But you should note that if Israel chooses to fight back for one week, the international community takes a much keener interest than they do after three years of genocide

and you think the reason for that is.... ?

Dantheman writes: "Are you also saying Jews should also not be permitted to live in England? France? Russia? Poland?"

Of course not. Those are jus places to live like anyone else. There is no Jewish claim to having some God-given right of ownership of those places, as there is in Israel, which results in the tenacious clinging to the place.

@rilkefan: Okay, I made an assertion, not an argument. I retract it. Please respond to this revised version of my earlier comment:

rilkefan, if the IDF were limiting their assault to actions that had a plausible connection to "degrading Hezbollah's military and missile capability", you might have a point.

Hilzoy is referring to the massive bombing, indiscriminate killing of civilians, destruction of infrastructure, and more that make it clear that the objective is
something other than that limited goal.

That is what must stop, and that point is entirely separate from the pragmatic question of how much the IDF can degrade Hezbollah's capacity to attack Israel.

your own homebuilt cleek.

Can I get a kit to make one of those? They sound pretty cool.

"(i'm married to a jew)"

Non-capitalization isn't a good idea here, given the history of that.

Can I get a kit to make one of those?

they were only available in the winter of 1970. i think my mom bought the last one. sorry.

they were only available in the winter of 1970.

Just my luck.

Jon H,

Funny, but I think the person who brought into this discussion the issue of God's desires was you, by saying that history suggests God does not want Jews to live there.

ahem. I'm married to a Jew. (12 years quite happily, thanks very much.)

(You'd think that GF might have noticed by now that my capitalization is pretty erratic. but given the level of tension in this thread, I wouldn't want to offend unnecessarily.)

About targeting: having just defended Israel on this score, what do I find on Billmon but this from the Jerusalem Post:

"A high-ranking IAF officer caused a storm on Monday in an off-record briefing during which he told reporters that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz had ordered the military to destroy 10 buildings in Beirut in retaliation to every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa.

The officer said that the equation was created by Halutz and that every rocket strike on Haifa would be answered by IAF missile strikes on 10 12-story buildings in the Beirut neighborhood of Dahiya, a Hizbullah stronghold. Since the beginning of Operation Change of Direction, launched on July 12 following the abduction of two soldiers during a Hizbullah cross-border attack, over 80 buildings in the neighborhood have been destroyed.

After the officer's remarks were published on The Jerusalem Post website as well as other Israeli news sites, the IDF Spokesperson's Office released a statement insinuating that reporters had misquoted the senior officer and claimed that the publications were false and that Halutz had never issued such a directive.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office later retracted its accusation that reporters had misquoted the officer and issued a second statement claiming that the high-ranking officer had made a mistake and was wrong in claiming that Halutz had issued such a directive."

If true, that's awful. And while obviously I wasn't there, etc., it's hard to see how someone could think that that order had been given if something pretty much like it hadn't been. (I mean, what confusion, exactly, leads to someone thinking that this particular directive has been given, when in fact the orders are something more like: here's a target list of known Hezbollah hideouts; take care to minimize civilian casualties"?)

I hope it's wrong.

"(i'm married to a jew)"

Non-capitalization isn't a good idea here, given the history of that.

My beloved Nell: "....the massive bombing, indiscriminate killing of civilians...."

Indiscriminate? Massive?

I'd be fine with "horrible," or "terrible," or any number of other condemnatory adjectives, because, indeed, it is, and no one should deny that. But it seems to be quite discriminative, and while "massive" might be a matter of numbers, it's hardly "massive" in terms of targets.

Killing civilians? Yes. Awful. Horrible. Everyone opposes that.

War? Always evil? Yes.

Unopposed? Not so simple.

Started by Israel? Not hardly.

Condemnation of Hezbollah and Hamas rockets? Always not bad to hear.

I'm at the point where I find jews and muslims batshit-crazy. Or is it bat-shit crazy? Just such irrational god-fearing crap and the world would be a better place without gods.

Sebastian: "And from the international community that condemnation only happens when Israel fights back. I didn't see people freaking out when the rockets were launched in December, or October. The international community seems perfectly happy to let the rockets rain down on Israel indefinitely."

I quite thought about bringing this up, but was lazy, as ever.

I don't recall posts here about that. Hey, one nation is raining down assaults on another? It's just Israel. Same old same old. Not remarkable.

Turnabout?

The whole world goes front page.

Same old same old.

Gary: But making Lebanon, as a political entity, make it stop, in the long run, is a political solution. That happens when the country has the means and force and will to stop it.

Surely what Israeli forces are now doing to Lebanon decreases rather than strengthens Lebanon's ability and will to do that?

Also, the fact that the current and previous government of Israel have failed to pursue specific political solutions aimed at making Hezbollah attacks stop weighs quite heavily against Israel in evaluating this episode.

As does the fact that during the very period during which the Likud and Kadima governments have been ignoring concrete political initiatives, their representatives have been reviewing with foreign governments the details of the very military operation which they are now conducting. Defenses of the variety 'of course they have a plan, it would be irresponsible of them not to have a plan' don't wash with me; in the absence of any efforts to resolve the border threat politically, this looks very much like an offensive plan waiting for the right provocation to be put into effect.

Related tangent: Can anyone point me to solid information about where the two IDF soldiers were captured, and what were the circumstances?

"I'm at the point where I find jews and muslims batshit-crazy."

Great and ignorant stuff. (Also, a violation of the posting rules, hello?)

Israel was, as anyone with a clue knows, a secular project of socialists, opposed to religion, and opposed by religious Jews.

And when time came, many leftists dropped Israel.

Kibbutz's: socialism, leftist, not religious.

Stating otherwise is complete crap, but also constant.

Also, again with the derogatory "jews." That was a Nazi expression. Could we please put a stop to it here? It's a pretty minimal request, after all. Stop being Nazi with the "jews" references. Thanks.

Hey, one nation is raining down assaults on another? It's just Israel. Same old same old. Not remarkable.

Turnabout?
The whole world goes front page.

Same old same old.

The blindness in these kinds of claims that the world is unfairly picking on Israel to distinctions of scale, proportionality, and access to alternatives just leaves me speechless. I'm leaving this thread for my own good and that of the level of discussion.

Gary, you're way past enough already with the backhanded insinuations that anyone who disagrees with you on Israel is anti-Semitic, and that last comment is a long way over the line. Irregular capitalization is not Naziism.

"I hope it's wrong."

And if it's true, then wouldn't it have been rather more effective had they said so beforehand?

"Surely what Israeli forces are now doing to Lebanon decreases rather than strengthens Lebanon's ability and will to do that?"

I sure don't know. It's perfectly clear that Lebanon, per se, has no military abilitary to resist Hezbollah (I kinda looked into this further over the weekend, and the notion became an even huger bad joke than before, no matter that I didn't post about it, as I usually don't).

So the question is who would degrade Hezbollah? And the answer seems very clear. (Given that, of course, Europe or the US or Russia or China wouldn't do the trick.)

So, there we are.

After Hezbollah gets beaten down, the rest of the world should build up Lebanon's armed forces, of course.

Hey, maybe they might even give them a Piper Cub, and create a fixed wing Air Force.

Crazy, I know.

Hilzoy, Tim pointed out the article linked by Billmon at 2:08, but it's understandable that it got lost in this thread.

Stop being Nazi with the "jews" references

this is too far, dammit. there is not a poster here who is in any way advocating the extermination either of Israel or of Jews worldwide.

Most people's capitalization on blogs is at best erratic. You have NO BUSINESS lecturing others on their typing.

"Gary, you're way past enough already with the backhanded insinuations that anyone who disagrees with you on Israel is anti-Semitic...."

I am?

Link to two such comments, please.

Or withdraw that claim.

Let's be clear. Link to two of my said comments.

Francis,

"there is not a poster here who is in any way advocating the extermination either of Israel or of Jews worldwide."

Overstated, somewhat. Change to very few and I'd agreed.

And Gary, you are definitely overdoing it with the Nazi references.

"Overstated, somewhat. Change to very few and I'd agreed."

Other than Jake's "move Israel to Palm Springs" line, which I didn't exactly take to be a serious policy proposal, who's advocating the extermination of either Israel or of Jews worldwide here?

Gary, I imagine DaveL is bringing over the conversation from Unfogged, where he made a similar (far as I can tell baseless) claim.

And, uhh, you just kinda savaged Francis by accident.

"Other than Jake's "move Israel to Palm Springs" line, which I didn't exactly take to be a serious policy proposal, who's advocating the extermination of either Israel or of Jews worldwide here?"

That was mine, not Jake's, and was not meant to demonstrate animosity to Jewish *people*, but to the 100 year old utopian practice of clinging to a scrap of dirt based on a claim about as strong as China's claim to Tibet.

Well, let's see, the "stop being a Nazi" one would probably do pretty well for starters, as would the one that I quoted back to you at Unfogged. Unless you're objecting to the "anyone who disagrees with you" part, in which case I'll withdraw it and substitute "many" for "anyone." I don't think it's a close call. You're strongly, repeatedly insinuating that people disagree with you because they aren't adequately attentive to the history and just claims of the Jews. What would you call that?

And if you're in the mood, I'd still be curious about your answer to the questions I asked upthread. To repeat, they were:

If the only way for Israel to be secure from rocket attacks were to expel everyone within 25 miles of its border and then try very hard to kill anyone who entered that zone, would you consider that policy acceptable? You seem to be saying that the fact that Israel is in a very, very difficult security situation makes it morally acceptable for Israel to use force in ways that might otherwise be unacceptable. How far does that principle go?

Having said that,I really shouldn't be fighting with you when you've said over and over again that you don't want to fight. But you keep fighting, and not, to my eyes, fighting fair, and it's hard not to respond.

Ten buildings in Beirut for every rocket attack on Haifa.

That is collective punishment. Which is a war crime.

Or shall we assume that every one of those ten buildings in Beirut will be precision-targeted Hezbollah safehouses?

Israel is now losing an international public relations war with Hezbollah. One might have thought that impossible just two weeks ago, but there you have it.

Gary, I'm confident that the undercapitalization of the 'J' in "Jew" was not an intentional slight. You have now, correctly noted that it has an ugly history and I am certain we will all endeavor to be careful about that. Let's all move on.

"there is not a poster here who is in any way advocating the extermination either of Israel or of Jews worldwide."

I am becoming convinced that JonH is such a person for the extermination of Israel part. JonH, you are welcome to disabuse me of the notion.

A fairer thing to say might be that we disagree about how Israel is permitted to protect itself, and given the history of Jews in general and Israel specifically such arguments are likely to become heated.

We can make pointed arguments without descending into madness.

We can't all get angry at once--I hate having to be the reasonable one. Can't you all calm down so I can fly off the handle?

:)


Oh, also, moving every Jew in Israel to Palm Springs isn't exactly "extermination".

Stop being Nazi with the "jews" references. Thanks.

Honestly, Gary, that's really over the line. I have to think you do this unconsciously, and remain mostly unaware of how you're basically bullying people who even mildly disagree with your views on Israel, because throughout this thread at Unfogged you seem to think that the idea of Israel critics being pressured into silence by accusations of antisemitism is crazy. But here you are implying that Francis espouses Nazi beliefs because her capitalization is spotty, a not-uncommon condition on the internet.

Christmas,

I'd put Jon H in that category for his "But then, the religious evidence is that God seems to prefer a diaspora to a Jewish state in the eastern Mediterranean" comment. Certainly that suggests extermination of Israel is something that may not be so bad.

judson's bat-sh!t crazy comment may count, as well, though he seems to be an equal opportunity attacker.

seb writes: "You have now, correctly noted that it has an ugly history and I am certain we will all endeavor to be careful about that."

I'll just point out that one can be aware of a capitalization issue, but not be aware of which one is the negative one.

Oh, also, moving every Jew in Israel to Palm Springs isn't exactly "extermination".

No, it's really not, but I was trying to take the most generous possible take on what appeared to be a pretty ugly insinuation (that is, that there were in fact people on this thread advocating the extermination of the Jews).

And I apologize to you and Jake for wrongly attributing that comment.

Ok. I hope the rest of the ObsidianWings hive mind will forgive me if this is a bad choice, but to calm things down we are going to take a very short break.

I am closing comments to this post for 5-10 minutes. They will reopen shortly. Let all just take a breath.

Ok, that was a bit longer than expected because Typepad was resisting me.

Funny thing happened on the way to the forum.

Even though part of brain knew that I had closed comments here, another part was surprised to see no new comments after so long.

Ok, then.

I'd just like to point out that Palm Springs isn't really quite the right locale, and suggest that Jon H alter his proposal to include all of Southern California from Los Angeles down to San Diego, with some nontrivial amount of inland territory thrown in.

Upside: we get rid of LA in the process. Downside: we'd have to relocate Camp Pendleton, and figure out some way to reproduce La Jolla in some other place.

I was waiting for the "10 buildings per missile" item to pop up.

Looking WAY upthread, I see Gary making bad analogies to the Normandy invasion, etc.

IIRC, Germany had a regular army in the field, its instrument of exerting military force over Europe. To destroy that army, the Allies had to invade Europe with their own army and engage the Germany army. After that army was defeated, the Allies could occupy Germany and end the war.

There were a few millenia of experience to back up that theory. And it worked, as it turned out.

Also, as always, there were many, many civilian casualties, largely due to no one's having figured out a feasible way to avoid them. (I omit the terror bombing of Germany's cities as morally indefensible; others disagree of course.) But it was deemed worse to let the Germans continue to rule Europe.

Whereas in the present war in Lebanon, Israel is trying to use conventional military weapons and tactics against a guerrilla/insurgent enemy. It doesn't work. It won't work now.

And the civilian casualties incurred are thus sheer waste, if not a deliberate terror policy (which the "10 for 1" story certainly suggests it is).

I have always been skeptical of there being a 100% match b/t Israel's interests and the U.S.'s, but I have never been anti-Israel. That is starting to change, and would've changed already were my own gov't not engaged in so much comparable wickedness.

hope on one front, anyway :

    Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have agreed to stop firing rockets at Israel and to free a captured Israeli soldier in a deal brokered by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.


The deal, agreed on Sunday, is to halt the rocket attacks in return for a cessation of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, and to release Corporal Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured on June 25, in exchange for the freeing of Palestinian prisoners at some point in the future.

i'm sure many here have linked to this and written 500 words on it. but, i'm going to post it anyway.

cleek, that's awesome, thanks.

My own feelings in this matter is that Israel needs to safeguard its citizens and security, but the current strategy is failing. I'm surprised that they have taken this disasterous course, and can only speculate that something fundamental is broken in either the government or military, or both.

Nothing good will come of this, for Israel, for Middle Eastern peace, or for us.

Interesting last sentence in that article, cleek.

Good news. Thanks for linking, Cleek, I hadn't seen it yet.

Hopefully, my Palestinian co-worker (who is from Gaza) will be able to lower his blood pressure now.

Slarti: Interesting last sentence in that article, cleek.

Why? That was announced last year.

I actually think the second to last sentence is the really interesting one:

"If Syria could be assured that the investigation does not continue, there are indications that Syria would be willing to be helpful on many issues, not just the release of Israeli soldiers," Mr Abbas's aide said."

The story Cleek reports says there's no Israeli agreement to the deal yet, right?

For some representative right-wing responses, see James Joyner & his links:

"While this looks at first glance like a victory for Israel, it’s mostly a sign that the terrorists have gotten all they can hope for in this conflict and wish to regroup."

Oh, just a bit of a shock to see all of that matter-of-fact tracing-back of money and influence through Syria to Iran. And of course if Syria's willing to assassinate Hariri, what else might they be willing to do? Perhaps foment some nontrivial armed conflict between Lebanon and Israel?

I heard the Syrian ambassador to the US on NPR this morning sounding eager to be of assistance.

xmas: "her capitalization"

[checks pants.] nope, no sex change this morning. "his" not "hers".

[the male reproductive organ is shaped much more like an "i" than an "e".]

thanks.

Remember to dot your "i".

Slarti writes: "I'd just like to point out that Palm Springs isn't really quite the right locale, and suggest that Jon H alter his proposal to include all of Southern California from Los Angeles down to San Diego, with some nontrivial amount of inland territory thrown in."

Well, yeah, if one insists that they have a coastline, as opposed to just having an equivalent amount of land. At least I didn't suggest that they be given the depopulating areas of the upper Great Plains. ;^)

It would actually be interesting to see what would happen if AIPAC started lobbying for this...

I'd just like to point out that all of this talk of moving Israel (just ponder on that idea for a few seconds, ok?) is, like, way silly (sorry, Southern California is throwing me off a bit) without the willingness of Israelis to be moved. Completely, utterly silly.

the male reproductive organ is shaped much more like an "i" than an "e".

depends how you're sitting

Um, guys, the key fact is that the Grauniad as regards I/P is rubbish.

Aside from that, great.

Gary, could you catch up on the capitalization stuff above re Francis, please?

"Completely, utterly silly."

Well, the movement of all those people *into* Israel wasn't all that silly, was it?

"Gary, could you catch up on the capitalization stuff above re Francis, please?"

Sure. As per 04:39 PM he's a he. And I've never said otherwise.

Well, the movement of all those people *into* Israel wasn't all that silly, was it?

No, not trivial. I think you're making my point for me.

How do you propose to move them out, Jon?

let's try to take this in a new direction.

what happens next?

A. Israel sooner rather than later stands down. Subsequent rocket attacks are met with minor artillery barrages and airstrikes. Iraq slowly slides into ever-worsening violence but the gov't, protected by Americans, nominally stays in power. No international force for Lebanon; the US stays in Iraq until the end of the Bush admin.

B. Israel re-occupies a 15-mile buffer zone and insists that it will not leave until it is replaced by an international force with the authority and responsibility to prevent further rocket attacks. Muslim rhetoric against Israel and the US heats up rapidly, and Americans are once again forced to move even more troops to Bagdad to protect the Green Zone and the govt and to try to put a lid on the violence.

then what?

The Kurds use the opportunity to ramp up ethnic cleansing of Kirkuk and opens discussions with the Chinese to have them pay the Kurdish govt directly for oil from northern "iraq".

The Iranians and Syrians openly attack Israeli forces in south Lebanon, purportedly with the support of the Lebanese govt. The Bush admin., tired of the Iranians feeling their oats, launches airstrikes against a range of Iranian and Syrian assets. Iran then ... what? starts WWIII?

Gary, sorry, meant Francis's comment here.

Umm, lets let the grammar flame die down for now.

what happens next?

Speculation at this point has about as much bearing on reality as an evening playing Dungeons and Dragons™

There are now so many elements and forces at work that small events can trigger large reactions, and so there is little that can be guessed at as to what tomorrow's headlines might be.

This is the folly of destabilization. It makes diplomacy difficult, if not impossible, it provides very little in the way of comfortably predicting outcomes, and it usually ends in bright lights, loud noises, and lots of smoke and dismembered people.

Heh, especially if I'm going to screw up.

"Umm, lets let the grammar flame die down for now."

What will we use to light the torch at the Grammar Olympics, then?

what happens next?

GWB gets his war on! Yeee-hah, Jester's dead!!

Speculation at this point has about as much bearing on reality as an evening playing Dungeons and Dragons™

You did NOT just put the "TM" by D & D. Omigod you *did*. In *superscript* no less.

Do you work for Wizards of the Coast, or are you just an IP attorney with a keyboard shortcut for that?

"How do you propose to move them out, Jon?"

Gradually. Jerusalem West wouldn't be built in a day.

All I'm really getting at is that despite the historical and religious landmarks, the plot of land we call Israel might not have been the best choice for a new Jewish state in the 1940s. Because, like, it was occupied already.

Granted there wasn't really any other option at the time. And the desire for a state, self-determination, and self-defense was certainly about as well-founded as can be.

But they have better options now, should they wish to pursue them. They could acquire or be granted land in the US that is not contested, set up a soverign nation there, live peacefully, and have a dramatically lower likelihood of being exterminated by Islamist nukes.

You did NOT just put the "TM" by D & D. Omigod you *did*. In *superscript* no less


I played a once-weekly D&D™ campaign that lasted more than a decade. I am a WOTC thrall.

Well, no, I thought it would be funny, and I wanted to use the ™ tag.

a keyboard shortcut for that?

&trade + a semicolon

Ha ha, Cleek screwed up.

<html_geekiness>

Try &amp;trade;

</html_geekiness>

d-p-u: we might as well start speculating about the future, because rehashing the past and discussing the present has already lead to use of the N--- word and a shutdown.

from what i've read, it seems that Hezbollah is dug in and itching for a fight. on the plus side, this gives the Israelis a fixed target. but it also means that Israel is going to need to commit substantial ground forces to kill the enemy.

Condi has pretty clearly given the green light to a lengthy operation and the Israelis have been pretty blunt that this may last a while.

If we didn't have 150000 troops in Iraq I wouldn't be so worried. But if the Lebanon war drags on, I imagine that those troops will start looking more and more like possible targets.

I doubt that "Dungeons and Dragons" is really the trademarked phrase. It is "Dungeons & Dragons". :)

"the plot of land we call Israel might not have been the best choice for a new Jewish state in the 1940s.[...]

Granted there wasn't really any other option at the time"

This seems like a bit of a contradiction - the only possible place for X is surely the best place.

Are you an advocate of giving the Palestinians a plot of land, say next to the Navahos, for them to have their own sovereign country in peace and prosperity?

I played a once-weekly D&D™ campaign that lasted more than a decade. I am a WOTC thrall.

I am so jealous. I can handle fidelity as a consequence of marriage/kids, but the fact that I will never play D&D again is harder to bear.

&trade; Doesn't work on preview ...

Drop the "amp;"

Are you an advocate of giving the Palestinians a plot of land, say next to the Navahos, for them to have their own sovereign country in peace and prosperity?

Myself, I was thinking of letting them stay at JonH's place. You have a big back yard, doncha, JonH?

rilkefan writes: "Are you an advocate of giving the Palestinians a plot of land, say next to the Navahos, for them to have their own sovereign country in peace and prosperity?"

The Palestinians don't include lots of immigrants from all over the world. They're local.

from what i've read, it seems that Hezbollah is dug in and itching for a fight. on the plus side, this gives the Israelis a fixed target. but it also means that Israel is going to need to commit substantial ground forces to kill the enemy.

From what I've read, the Hezbollah military may be the second most effectivbe and well-trained military in the region, right after the IDF. Even if substantial ground forces are committed, there will be heavy casualties, as this is no longer a ragtag bunch of suicide bombers. They've had years to build up weapons caches, fortified bunkers, booby-traps, and military plans.

Add to that the threat of volunteers arriving from the Iraq Shia, thousands of them. Then there's the question of what role the Sunni/Shiite conflict is playing in the whoile mess.

Regardless, it will be unlikely that the IDF will effectively wipe out or even weaken Hezbollah. That will raise their reputation considerably in the region. Indeed, it already has.

Drop the "amp;"

Sorry, that was aimed at Cleek's attempt to display the tag to use.

If you type this: &trade;

...you will get the superscript trademark.

I am so jealous. I can handle fidelity as a consequence of marriage/kids, but the fact that I will never play D&D again is harder to bear.

I stopped playing once the children arrived, but I still have all my manuals and dice, as well as maps and campaign notes. I regale the children with tales of Gronk the Mighty Warrior, and his adventures on the high seas with his band of merry adventurers, and hold high hopes that they will ask me to DM a game some evening.

They, on the other hand, may think I'm just aweird old fart, so that may not happen.

Jon h,

First, my compliments on your first name.

Second, may I make a gentle suggestion? Your points about moving Israel, etc. may be in a purely intellectual sense right. However, this really, really, really isn't a purely intellectual issue. And saying what you are will cause many people who might otherwise be amenable to your general perspective to just shut down and stop listening.

Again, I'm not saying you're "wrong." I'm just saying that we should keep uppermost in our minds what we're trying to accomplish (i.e., some measure of justice and security for everyone concerned), rather than look for opportunities to show ourselves to be intellectually correct.

The reason I bring this up is that I have similar tendencies myself, and so am sensitive to them in others.

Sebastian:

...the number of civilian deaths caused by the US in Germany and Japan far outstrip the number of civilian deaths in the US caused by Germany and Japan. Tallying the total number of civilians killed by one side is not in itself indicative of anything particularly useful for analytic discussion of the justice of a war or just means in a war.

I believe this argument was first popularized by Netanyahu. (Campaign slogan -- "Israel: This Country Can Burn!")

I always thought it was created as a soundbite for cable TV appearances. Because in other places, people might take the time to ask some basic questions. Like: did Germany and Japan do anything else in World War II besides kill U.S. civilians? Or: if the only thing they'd done was kill the number of U.S. civilians they killed, what would we then think about the actions of the U.S.?

Try &trade;

i think i like my explanation better :)

oh see now it works. to hell with HTML and clever server apps. hell, i say!

I feel so ... fulfilled. Nunc dimittis!

I feel so ... fulfilled.

Someday, Grasshopper, you may be ready for ... ©

and so this thread draws to a close. not with a bang, but with a copyright.

r.i.p.

Hey, guess what? I could start another comment war, just by saying:

On my Mac, I can just insert these things at will, without playing with html at all! ™®©!!!

℻ ₤ ௹ ₪ ɠ ʣ ʨ ʥ !!!

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