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July 25, 2006

Comments

Slarti,

"So, to turn the whole U.S./Canada thing around, if some extremist group in the US were attacking civilians in Canada, it'd be absolutely incumbent on the US to address the problem, and address it promptly. And if we didn't do that, it'd be within Canada's rights to take them out. If we actually declined to take action, it might even be within Canada's rights to declare war on us."

Exactly. I've still not seen anyone refute the precedent of the US invading Mexico to capture Pancho Villa, even though I've posted it twice now in other threads.

Jake,

"And a final note - apparently Hezbollah has a few rockets that could reach Tel Aviv. Those have not been used. It seems that Hezbollah, at least, has some sense of proportion - or consequences. Either way, they at least are thinking."

Or their masters are thinking. I am guessing that Assad doesn't want his residence to get buzzed again. Or worse.

Get this crap over with once and for all.

this statement fills me with horror.

francis,

What's so horrible about getting rid of terrorists once and for all?

What's so horrible about getting rid of terrorists once and for all?

Because that statement's been made, time and time again, and the same tactics used, time and time again. It's gotten a zombie-like existence.

because the only way to prevent a person from hating you is to kill him.

OCSteve apparently wants to invade and occupy, with a force large enough to bring peace and security, Lebanon, Syria and Iran (oh, and Iraq).

Alternatively, OCSteve wants to kill a significant percentage of the adult male population of those countries.

so, instead of using nauseatingly vague and cutesy language that is far too evocative of a Final Solution, I'd prefer that people be honest about their goals. what, exactly, does solving the ME problem "once and for all" entail?

gwang,

"Because that statement's been made, time and time again, and the same tactics used, time and time again. "

By Israel? What should the statement be then? "Let's not get rid of the terorrists once and for all"?

Francis,

"Alternatively, OCSteve wants to kill a significant percentage of the adult male population of those countries."

I am guessing that killing would involve combatants, so no, that wouldn't qualify as genocide.

"so, instead of using nauseatingly vague and cutesy language that is far too evocative of a Final Solution,"

Cheap trick right there. Final Solution was not about killing combatants on the battlefield, was it?

"does solving the ME problem "once and for all" entail?"

I think Israel should stop giving in to the "international pressure" and not agree to any more ceasefires which are merely ways for the terrorists to regroup and resupply.

that, Stan LS, is a perfect strawman argument.

let's try this again.

1. You and OCSteve apparently desire to solve the ME Problem "once and for all".

2. I pointed out that this language is evocative of genocide.

3. In a neat rhetorical trick which might be a little more persuasive if it weren't used about a million times a day on blogs, you completely misrepresent what i wrote.

3a. Here's a tip. If you kill a significant percentage of the adult male population of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran (ie, those who are now radicalized and those who will become radicalized by your various rounds of killing), you will be killing a LOT more than just combatants.

4. And your answer to the basic question of what "once and for all" means was two things that Israel shouldn't do.

well, duh. There's an infinite list of things that both the US and Israel should Not do to solve problems in the ME.

but since you're the one, Stan LS, buying into the idea of permanent solutions, i'm naturally curious as to what you think the affirmative steps should be.

1. Yes, I guess we oppose it going on forever.

2. I don't see it that way.

3. No tricks

3a. "If"? That whiffs of a strawman. "If you molest children...". We are talking strictly combatants.

"buying into the idea of permanent solutions"

The problem with Hitler was permanently solved, wasn't it? Too bad it wasn't done in the 1930's.

I think Israel should root out the Hezbollah and put Syria and Iran on notice that they no longer can fight their proxy war against Israel without repercussion. THe ME conflict went on for this long precisely because of the dozens of useless ceasefires which do nothing but prolong the fighting in the long term.

OCSteve: "Wrong. You honor the threat. You don’t stop until you wipe it out. Do you prescribe a half dose of chemo when you are dealing with a cancer? Do you want the surgeon to remove half of your inflamed appendix?"

According to me, there is no way to "wipe it out" short of either exterminating populations or declaring war on Iran and Syria. In either case, you would end up killing untold numbers of people who bear no responsibility for this, and creating a nightmare the likes of which it's hard to imagine.

Some solutions have no quick fixes.

Slarti: I think it is incumbent on states to police their own territories. The problem is that not all states have the capacity to do this. Lebanon in particular did not, nor (frankly) do I see how it could have been expected to acquire it between the time it got its independence and now. I think that we, as well as other countries, including Israel, could have done a lot more to help it, but we didn't.

Hezbollah is stronger than the Lebanese army. They would have defeated it in battle, had the government engaged it militarily. I don't see how the Lebanese government could have disarmed Hezbollah between when the Syrians left and now.

One thing that I think is a constant with this administration is that they systematically underestimate the importance of nations having a monopoly of force within their own borders. Either that, or they expect a monopoly of force to appear spontaneously, as though setting up something called a government automatically conferred it. It does not. That's why militias were always a serious threat in Iraq, why we badly needed to help the Afghan government assert itself over the entire country, and why it's not nearly enough just to clap when the Lebanese throw out their occupiers. (When I lived in Israel, there were no license plates in Lebanon, because no one had the power to enforce their use. And that was after Fatah had been kicked out.)

And StanLS: "We are talking strictly combatants."

You may be talking strictly combatants, but it will not be strictly combatants who die, any more than it's strictly combatants who are dying now.

As I said earlier (or on the last thread?), I don't think that any possibility of civilian casualties makes war unjustifiable. But neither do I think that any number of civilian casualties -- any at all -- is OK as long as you're aiming at combatants. Any of the courses of action that would "solve" this problem permanently would in fact lead to a large number of civilian deaths. We can debate whether that number is too large or not; but we shouldn't pretend that it is zero, unless we're discussing a war in an alternate universe in which Hezbollah members are always correctly identified, mistakes are never made, and weapons are so smart that there is no collateral damage.

Either that, or they expect a monopoly of force to appear spontaneously, as though setting up something called a government automatically conferred it.

Very good. We destroyed the Iraqi gov't, then expected order to spontaneously arise, like everyone had been studying Hayek in Arabic translation.

This sort of problem is one rationale for tolerating authoritarian despots. You can't have a democracy without a monopoly of force's being well-established. From there maybe you can gradually move on to the rule of law (assuming despots and not tyrants like Saddam), and from there to democracy. I am very skeptical whether one can start with democracy and try to do the rest later.

I'm always stunned by the level of thinking indicated by the belief that there are a finite number of terrorist, and that the problem will simply go away, with no messy reprecussions, if you simply kill them all.

I mean, we saw this flawed thinking again and again during the Iraq insurgency.

C'mon guys, even mice have shown a tendency to learn from experience.

We used the first order, then democracy argument consistently during the Cold War: Yes, we're supporting military dictatorships, but we'll reform them later, whereas the Commies will never reform unless it's at gunpoint!

Didn't work then, doubt it'll work now. For one thing, we've never had the stomach to actually push our client despots to embrace democracy (which might mean a government that doesn't do what we want). We supported Marcos in the Philippines long after the country wanted him gone, and Noriega and Saddam both outlasted the USSR.

And I'm not sure it's that easy to distinguish despots from tyrants (other than "well, he's working for us, guess he's a despot").

"Exactly. I've still not seen anyone refute the precedent of the US invading Mexico to capture Pancho Villa, even though I've posted it twice now in other threads."

I saw you mention this once, dantheman, and don't know enough about the details to say for sure, but going on what I think you said, Pancho Villa invaded the US and killed maybe dozens of US civilians and then we sent in General Pershing and killed hundreds of Mexican civilians. If that's how it went, then we were dead wrong. Going in to catch a bandit killer was defensible, but not whatever actions we took if it led to that many deaths. I don't know the history. (Google is a few clicks away, but I'll do it later.)

There are all kinds of parallels to the Israeli situation in American history, mostly having to do with the Native Americans, and to my mind most of them reflect badly on both America and Israel. And on Native Americans and Palestinians and Lebanese, since I don't think atrocities are defensible no matter what the cause.

Donald,

More or less accurate on facts, other than Wikipedia puts the number of dead Americans as "several". I'll disagree with you on the "dead wrong" part, though.

It seems to me completely obvious that both sides here have done something very wrong and that both sides must stop immediately. I really wonder about the moral competence of anyone who thinks otherwise. Most people who think Israel should not stop at all have managed to mentally block out the 4 million Lebanese and the impact of these actions on their lives: they have become hostages, in effect.

Having said that, I actually think talking about right and wrong is doing more harm than good here. Easy to build an argument, ignoring salient moral facts, that the Israelis are justified in responding because they were attacked. Most conversation starts from the situation and then we proceed to ask ourselves: who is permitted to do what? I will focus on the innocent Lebanese. Another person will focus on Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah (which makes all of this offensive rosier in that mental frame because it is then an action just between states). This just gets us nowhere. But the irony is that both I and my imaginary interlocutor here have the same goals: disarming Hezbollah, peace in Lebanon, peace in northern Israel. Wouldn't it be better if we just started our conversation from the endpoint we wanted to reach, where at least there is some common ground, and move backwards to the means by which we can achieve these ends?

The salient question from my point of view is not whether Israel has the right to pursue Hezbollah, but whether their strategy here will be effective. They are not simply at liberty to choose what ever strategy they would like, with a disregard for weighing the effectiveness of that strategy against the civilian mayhem, displacement, and that they will cause by it.

If Lebanon desires to disarm Hezbollah, but cannot do so, why has it not asked someone for help?

If Lebanon desires to disarm Hezbollah, but cannot do so, why has it not asked someone for help?

Probably because they understand that transforming Hezbollah from a military organization to a political one requires a political solution, not a military one. A military solution from the Lebanese government would probably return the country to rule-by-militia, whereas a military solution has suddenly catapulted Hezbollah into a David vs Goliath role that will undoubtably increase its fortunes both in Lebanon and across the Arab world.

Sebastian: who?

And do remember that there was 15 years of civil war in Lebanon, between parties with the same ethnic allegiances. So, as a Lebanese politician would you call for outside help to disarm a paramilitary widely regarded by half your population as having defended the country against Israel and widely despised by the other half? Would you escalate hostilities in that way, risking an armed confrontation? Or would you try to resolve the problem in as quiet a manner as possible, hoping that the integration of Hezbollah is a Lebanese politics leads to their gradual moderation? If you do decide to call in a foreign power, realize that you will face insurrection within your own Lebanese army. The anti-Syrian PM who never proposed anything so drastic was assassinated last year. Are you going to stick your neck out? And whom would you turn to? The Americans? The Israelis? The Sunni Arab states are not going to confront Shia fundamentalism for you. So tell me, Sebastian, just what do you propose?

Interesting, but not well-sourced:

Nor has the situation changed much now that the conflict is “hot.” UNIFIL’s only apparent action this past week has been to voice concerns that its troops might get hit in the crossfire. This is indeed a risk — because UNIFIL has long permitted Hezbollah to locate its forces, including its missile batteries, in the very shadow of installations belonging to the “peacekeepers.” UNIFIL has thus turned into a very convenient and high-profile human shield for terrorists.

So I believe you are telling me that the government of Lebanon does not want (in any politically viable sense of the word 'want') to disarm Hezbollah. Is that correct?

Also, would you please explain why the integration of Hezbollah into the government is likely to lead to Hezbollah's moderation rather than the government's radicalization?

I wonder why this is not getting much play:

It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri. All UNIFIL positions remain occupied and maintained by the troops.

From UN's press release no less!

http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unifil/pr010.pdf

So I believe you are telling me that the government of Lebanon does not want (in any politically viable sense of the word 'want') to disarm Hezbollah. Is that correct?

Not sure if that's addressed to me or not. If so, then no, that is not correct.

Also, would you please explain why the integration of Hezbollah into the government is likely to lead to Hezbollah's moderation rather than the government's radicalization?

Because radicalization is a product of conflict, not one of comprimise.

Sebastian: Not sure what you mean by a "politically viable" sense of want. I'm quite sure that they would want it dearly. But you tell me how they can have it without getting their heads cut off?

Your point about radicalization is well taken. I meant only to suggest that it could go that way. Quite correct to say that it could go the other way. I'm just thinking from the point of view of an anti-Hezbollah Lebanese politician. Her best hope might be that radicalization leads to moderation.

It was addressed to Ara.

"Because radicalization is a product of conflict, not one of comprimise."

Conflict with whom?

Compromise with whom?

Couldn't Hezbollah compromise with the government of Lebanon in order to further the conflict against Israel?

Furthermore it seems almost ridiculous to believe that the power of "compromise" between radical groups and mainstream governments works ONLY to moderate the radical group. What is the government giving the radical group in order to induce this change? It seems likely they will have to become more radical in order to "compromise".

Sebastian: you are diverting attention away from the question which you first proposed to attack something which is not really anything I am defending, but rather something that I am claiming a Lebanese politician might prefer to gamble on.

And incidentally you are oversimplifying. It really depends on how much more radicalized the Lebanese government would become. Not all radicals are made the same. I'm pretty sure Israel would prefer a slightly more radical Lebanese government in exchange for the elimination of the completely radical paramilitary which the government has no control over, for example. Obviously, at some level of radicalization, you are worse off with the radical government. It's just a matter of degree and preferences and what you can accomplish.

Sebastian, obviously I haven't been clear.

The process of radicalization occurs when individuals are exposed to conflict or extreme conditions without recourse to prevent it. For example, a pacifist may change his or her mind if you smack them hard. Or having a family member killed by a bomb may drive a young man from moderation to seeking revenge.

The opposite occurs when people are given choices, when they have the opportunity and resources to influence their own lives, and when they are able to go about their lives with a sense of pride and honour.

This, to my mind, is what gives democratic societies their strength. We have a sense of self-determination and we feel that we have the space to comprimise (for example, having to put up with an idiot in charge of your government for a year or two, if you live in Canada).

De-radicalizing a significant portion of your population is necessary in order to have democracy. Simply shooting all the radicals will cause friends and family members of the deceased to go from moderate to radical, so that doesn't work.

In the case of Lebanon, Hezbollah has a great deal of popular support because it is source of pride and strength for a significant segment of that society. One does not simply sweep that away, as it will simply reform, or support will switch to another organization that fills the same role. Which is what has been happening for the last fifty years or so.

"In the case of Lebanon, Hezbollah has a great deal of popular support because it is source of pride and strength for a significant segment of that society. One does not simply sweep that away, as it will simply reform, or support will switch to another organization that fills the same role. Which is what has been happening for the last fifty years or so."

And so, if I am correct, you prescription for Israel would be to accept missile attacks from Hezbollah for a generation until it dies out? And this as the missiles become more powerful each year? I suspect that might 'radicalize' Israel.

Double,

"Or having a family member killed by a bomb may drive a young man from moderation to seeking revenge."

Or being a young man in a sexually repressed society and being promised 72 virgins for blowing yourself up, maybe? I did not see the word "Islam" or "religious incitement" anywhere in your post. Are there palestinian christians who are members of Hamas? Fatah? Are there any Christian Palestinian terrorist groups? Have you heard of any? I hadn't...

"I'm pretty sure Israel would prefer a slightly more radical Lebanese government in exchange for the elimination of the completely radical paramilitary which the government has no control over, for example."

I'm sure they would. But considering the unwillingness to confront Hezbollah which you have explained, is it not at least as likely that Hezbollah could take control of the government--leading to Iran-on-the-border? That would be a rather catastrophic outcome. And if Hezbollah is as strong as you say, why should it be considered an unlikely outcome?

Stan, I would suspect that there are a small but non-zero number of Christians in Palestinian terrorist groups (though not likely many in Hamas itself). Your point is just as strong with being absolutist.

And so, if I am correct, you prescription for Israel would be to accept missile attacks from Hezbollah for a generation until it dies out?

And how many missile attacks were launched prior to this invasion?

And no, I don't think that it has to be endured. But the current action by Israel is simply strengthening Hezbollah's reputation considerably in the Arab world, and has weakened (and probably destroyed) the most valuable tools to defanging the organization, democray and the Lebanese economy.

Or being a young man in a sexually repressed society and being promised 72 virgins for blowing yourself up, maybe? I did not see the word "Islam" or "religious incitement" anywhere in your post. Are there palestinian christians who are members of Hamas? Fatah? Are there any Christian Palestinian terrorist groups? Have you heard of any? I hadn't...

Oooooh, it's the Muslim thing. Well, on with the crusades then.

double,

You're right. What was I thinking. Religious incitement has nothing to do with anything. Carry on.

What was I thinking.

Something about Muslims being bad, I think.

"And how many missile attacks were launched prior to this invasion?"

This is an interesting question. I know of attacks in October 2005 and December 2005. (No noticeable international community panic at the time either). Does anyone know of a source which tracks all the missile attacks--maybe by date and/or number of attacks?

Before we find out, it might be fun to establish how many missle attacks you think Israel should tolerate on say a yearly basis. 20? 50? 100? 250?

Now I'm certain that if we got 3 attacks from Mexico hitting San Diego, we would invade Mexico or otherwise ensure the attacks stopped. So I wonder how high we can 'justify' for Israel.

double,

"Something about Muslims being bad, I think."

Quote me.

Sebastian,

Hezbollah attacked Israel in April of 2001, as well...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1279456.stm

Does anyone know of a source which tracks all the missile attacks--maybe by date and/or number of attacks?

Here.

In six years, nineteen or so incidents in total, most of them military skirmishes, with several rocket or missile attacks.

Quote me.

Why would that even be required? Or should I assume that you think Islam peachy?

double,

You accused me of something. Back it up.

Interesting...that NRO bit that I quoted was swiped directly from the Wikipedia entry on Hezbollah (which, I might add, has been edited at least 1400 times since the beginning of the month of July). Plagiarism at NRO? Or did one of the NRO authoris edit the Wiki entry?

Wiki passage:

In January 2005, Hezbollah planted five camouflaged “improvised explosive devices” (IEDs), inches on the Israeli side of the border near Zarit, 15 mountainous miles inland from the Mediterranean coast. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) detected these IEDs and, following procedure, notified UNIFIL. A French UNIFIL engineer duly certified that the devices were indeed IEDs, then “requested” that Hezbollah remove them. Hezbollah, not denying it had planted them, flatly refused, stating that since the mines were (just barely) inside the “Zionist” border, it was up to the “Zionists” to remove them. So the IDF sent in a large armored bulldozer to carry the mines off for disposal. This task required making a sharp 90-degree right turn from an Israeli road onto the narrow border trail where the IEDs were located. Making this sharp right turn, the left front corner of the bulldozer inevitably occupied, for a couple of seconds, about a meter of land on the Lebanese side. During those seconds a Hezbollah fighter directed an anti-tank missile at the narrow, unarmored windshield of the bulldozer. The pinpoint strike, which Israeli sources stated required extraordinary training and skill, killed the bulldozer’s driver, Sgt. Maj. Jan Rotzanski, a 21-year-old Russian immigrant from Herzliya.

Corresponding NRO passage:

In January 2005, Hezbollah planted five camouflaged “improvised explosive devices” (IEDs), inches on the Israeli side of the border near Zarit, 15 mountainous miles inland from the Mediterranean coast. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) detected these IEDs and, following procedure, notified UNIFIL. A French UNIFIL engineer duly certified that the devices were indeed IEDs, then “requested” that Hezbollah remove them. Hezbollah, not denying it had planted them, flatly refused, stating that since the mines were (just barely) inside the “Zionist” border, it was up to the “Zionists” to remove them. So the IDF sent in a large armored bulldozer to carry the mines off for disposal. This task required making a sharp 90-degree right turn from an Israeli road onto the narrow border trail where the IEDs were located. Making this sharp right turn, the left front corner of the bulldozer inevitably occupied, for a couple of seconds, about a meter of land on the Lebanese side. During those seconds a Hezbollah fighter directed an anti-tank missile at the narrow, unguarded windshield of the bulldozer. The pinpoint strike, which our Israeli sources have admitted required extraordinary training and skill, killed the bulldozer’s driver, Sgt. Maj. Jan Rotzanski, a 21-year-old Russian immigrant from Herzliya.

Could be just a coincidence, though.

Or could be that someone picked it off NRO since yesterday morning, and added it to Wiki. You just never know.

So I wonder how high we can 'justify' for Israel.

There is a strange disconnect here that I find hard to understand. There's a lot of weight put on justifying the attack rather than determining goals and the best path to them.

If the goal is to disarm Hezbollah, reduce its influence and power, or to deradicalize it, then Israel's approach here is wrong. It cannot be disarmed, and its ability to engage Israel is providing it with a great deal of stature, recruits, and funding from all over the Arab world. In addition to that, Israel now finds itself in a position where it cannot withdraw without losing a lot of stature and encouraging other attacks across its border, yet it cannot destroy Hezbollah either.

This kind of stubborn insistence that its within its rights to do this is the same kind of foolishness that led to the Iraqi catastrophy. Gut reactions to international events is not a sound basis for foreign policy. These things aren't settled in the same way that a schoolyard fight can be settled.

You accused me of something. Back it up.

No, accusing you would be like this: "You think Muslims are bad".

What I said in response to your question "What was I thinking?" was this: "Something about Muslims being bad, I think."

If my thinking, based on what you wrote, was incorrect, I'd love to hear it. Then I will apologize.

Didn't work then, doubt it'll work now. For one thing, we've never had the stomach to actually push our client despots to embrace democracy (which might mean a government that doesn't do what we want).

"Haven't tried" doesn't equal "doesn't work." Of course you are right that there are problems, but then, given that liberal democracy has only stumbled onto the scene in the past 150-200 years, it stands to reason that there *would* be problems.

It shouldn't be a chicken/egg problem; you can probably advance towards force-monopoly, rule of law, & democracy all at once. But you should expect that advance to be a slow one.

In Iraq, we acted as democracy would just natually lead to the other two, a breathtaking act of naive incompetence that casts serious doubts on the ability of the U.S. to excel at anything besides munitions and soft porn.

Seb: when you ask questions like: "And so, if I am correct, you prescription for Israel would be to accept missile attacks from Hezbollah for a generation until it dies out? And this as the missiles become more powerful each year?", I wonder: what exactly do you take the alternative to be?

Let's suppose that Israel has no course of action open to it that will prevent missile attacks entirely: then the answer would probably have to be: well, this should not happen, but Israel will probably have to accept it, since there is no alternative.

Let's suppose that there is something Israel could do, but it would be appalling, like, oh, wiping out the entire Arab population of the world. In that case, I'd say: well, frankly, yes, they should accept it, given the alternative (19 episodes in 6 years.)

Let's suppose that Israel could stop the attacks by waving a magic wand, with no harm to anyone: then of course it should not accept missile attacks.

But it's useless to ask this question without saying what the alternatives are.

Sebastian: I agree with you. This situation to be avoided here is Iran on the border. The problem is I just don't see how this attack prevents that, but I see plenty of ways in which it facilitates that. So we agree on the strategic goal. Even if they are wiped out militarily, Hezbollah wins this conflict, because they will not be wiped out politically. If they are not wiped out, Hezbollah certainly wins this conflict. In general, the principle is that if you weaken a state and if you impoverish a state, you make it more susceptible to foreign influence. What we need is a wealthy Lebanon and a strong Lebanese government to resist Iranian influence. The only military way to destroy Hezbollah would be an occupation that destroys Hezbollah in the way that we destroyed the Baath party of Iraq. The other tactic you could take is purely political: playing Syria against Iran while supporting the anti-Syrian Lebanese government. And that way you would not have a million displaced Lebanese, and surely that counts for something.

double,

"If my thinking, based on what you wrote, was incorrect, I'd love to hear it. "

Ok, let's try this again. Can you please point to what I wrote that lead you to your thinking?

hilzoy,

"given the alternative (19 episodes in 6 years.)"

The alternative is waiting till Hezbollah gets some really nasty weapons (maybe even nukes) down the line.

Even if they are wiped out militarily, Hezbollah wins this conflict, because they will not be wiped out politically. If they are not wiped out, Hezbollah certainly wins this conflict.

And the worst case scenario is Hezbollah actually giving the IDF a bloody nose and driving them from Lebanon. Which I understand is a possible scenario that the IDF is now privately worried about.

Stan : here.

The implication is that people are radicalized because Islam tells them to be.

Again, if my thinking is wrong on what you said, I'd love to hear it.

Ah crap, can't make the comment linkie thing. This quote:

Or being a young man in a sexually repressed society and being promised 72 virgins for blowing yourself up, maybe? I did not see the word "Islam" or "religious incitement" anywhere in your post. Are there palestinian christians who are members of Hamas? Fatah? Are there any Christian Palestinian terrorist groups? Have you heard of any? I hadn't...

The alternative is waiting till Hezbollah gets some really nasty weapons (maybe even nukes) down the line.

News flash: Everyone will eventually have nukes. Everyone.

Now, how do we resolve this stuff before that happens?

double,

Well, the problem is the constant religious incitement. Watch MEMRI.

"Now, how do we resolve this stuff before that happens?"

As long as there are people in power who think they'll get to heaven via martyrdom we are screwed.

Alternatives, lets see if I can game some up.

Scenario: Player A wants Player B removed from the field. Player A at the moment is too weak to be anything then annoyance to Player B.

1. Player B can ignore Player A, and let the pin-pricks continue.

2. Player B can attempt to negotiate with Player A, but unless there is a moderate position from the removal of Player B from the field, then no good faith negotiation can continue.

3. Player B can engage militarily Player A with absolute force until Player A is eliminated. Yes, I mean absolute force in its grimmest form.

4. Player B can engage militarily Player A with moderate force.

5. Player B can engage militarily Player with minimal force.

6. Outside Players can separate the two.

---
Option 1 is doable, for all intents and purposes Hezbollah is no threat to the integrity of the nation state. The number of deaths is miniscule. But utilizing this sort of Cost Benefit Analysis is right up there with saying that we should move all of the money on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to better motor vehicle safety. Therefore, I would strike this option out.

Option 2, I believe is not an option, because it requires for both players to negotiate in good faith to reach a middle point. And at this point, I believe there's been too much bad blood, AND that the acceptable negotiable outcomes will be unpalatable to the other side.

Options 3-5, are all military, and the usefulness of them in this 4th generational warfare situation is self-evident. Any gains will be temporary at best.

Option 6, is the only viable one that I can see working in the long time. Take a 25 mile chunk of the border from each side, creating a 50 mile no-man's zone, or however, large to make it No foot traffic, no vehicular traffic. Anything that crosses in there is obviously an act of aggression and will be met with force. This however, will require an act of will on the side of international community, a community that is derisively split on this and many other issues, so this is also probably not viable.

As long as there are people in power who think they'll get to heaven via martyrdom we are screwed.

Wow. I ... Wow.

"nineteen or so incidents in total"

Your link isn't working. And is that 19 missiles or 19 days of missiles or some other definition of "incident"? Because I can think of a pretty easy definition of "incident" which counts the number of Israeli bombing incidents in Lebanon at "1". (One currently ongoing incident to be sure.)

double,

"Wow. I ... Wow."

Yep. It sucks. We got people willing to blow themselves and others up, and a nuke is just a bigger bomb.

Sorry, I previewed it and it worked at that time.

Try it off this page, then open the "Hizbullah attacks along Israel's northern border May 2000 - June 2006" link.

And the 19 incidents refers to a total of 19 seperate clashes with Hezbollah forces during the time period (6 years), including rocket, missile, and mortar attacks over the border into Israel.

I count 5 rocket attacks in six years, resulting in 1 death. Mortar, shell, and other ezplosions killed an additional three during those six years.

Yep. It sucks.

No, I was wowed by the reasoning that must form the basis of your interpretation of international events.

No wonder you're scared.

To clarify, Stan. The basis of any dialog between opposing parties is the belief that the other side is sane. If you believe that they are insane to the point that they will commit suicide, then there is no basis for rational dialog, diplomacy, or anything other than brute force.

double,

uhmm.. So if some fanatic got his hands on a nuke you wouldn't be scared?

double,

"If you believe that they are insane to the point that they will commit suicide, then there is no basis for rational dialog, diplomacy, or anything other than brute force."

I agree. Hence, I am against Israel negotiating with Hezbollah + Hamas.

uhmm.. So if some fanatic got his hands on a nuke you wouldn't be scared?

Scared to death, which is why I'm alarmed by the situation in Pakistan.

But as events of the last few years have encouraged nuclear proliferation to a staggering degree, it's fairly obvious that something needs to be done in order to limit the kinds of disasterous wars we've been seeing recently, and a way to settle disputes that avoids the use of military force. Or sometime soon someone will fly a nuke over an Israeli city in a civilian Lear Jet.

"and a way to settle disputes that avoids the use of military force"

That would require for both parties to be sane :)

With the USSR it was different, because communists valued life (their life, anyway), too. Now we are up against people who seek martyrdom*.

*That's why I had major probs with Maher saying that the 911 hijackers were "not cowardly". Utter BS.

That would require for both parties to be sane :)

Which is why I prefer my version of the world. They are sane. They are human beings, they want what all human being want and need, and they can be talked to.

In your world, we'll all be dead soon.

By the way, in one of the early battles in the Pacific War, a US airman crashed his disabled fighter into the super structure of a Japanese battleship in order to put it out of action.

He was awarded a medal posthumously. I haven't seen anything about him being insane or a fanatic yet, but I'll keep looking.

Oh, no double-plus-ungood. You aren't reading that list properly at all. That is ONLY "Chronological list of events along Israel's northern border in which Israeli civilians and/or soldiers were killed". That doesn't include people who were wounded or maimed but not killed.

If you click on "Main Events on the Israel Lebanese Border" on this page you can see incidents between May 2000 and August 2003 (two years ago).

I see 27 incidents of cross-border mortar fire. Including at least 6 civilian casualties.

I see 5 incidents of rocket attacks in that period. 2/4/02--two rockets, 3/4/02--one rocket, 8/4/02,9/4/02, and 10/4/02--several rockets each. Now if we count "several" as exactly three I see 12 rockets in that period.

I know of (from other reports) attacks in December and October of 2005. I'm not sure how many rockets at that time.

I'm still looking for more updated lists.

double,

"Which is why I prefer my version of the world. They are sane."
I prefer your version, too. Unfortunately we have to face reality. If I had to come up with comic book villains, my imagination would've never take me as far as what we are seeing today. People blowing themselves up in a crowd of civilians thinking they'll get 72 virgins? Their religions leaders encouraging them? What about the rhetoric:

"We are a nation that drinks blood, and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews."

"My dear mother ... wipe your tears... Don't let me see you sad on my wedding day with the Maidens of Paradise."

"Escort our souls to Heaven after we fulfill this duty of crushing the descendents of monkeys and pigs."

"I hoped that the shredded limbs of my body would be shrapnel, tearing the Zionists to pieces, knocking on Heavens door with the skulls of Zionists... My blood shall be my path to march to Heaven."

This is comic book villain stuff and the scary part is that those are all real quotes, see videos here:

http://www.pmw.org.il/Latest%20bulletins%20new.htm

Sane?

And don't get me started on the outfits :)
Comic book stuff for sure http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.image?id=3750

double,

"By the way, in one of the early battles in the Pacific War, a US airman crashed his disabled fighter into the super structure of a Japanese battleship in order to put it out of action."

Apples and oranges. As you said, his fighter was disabled, perhaps he felt he was going to die anyway so he crashed into the enemy. Is there proof that he sought his own death prior to getting into that plane?

I thought this was the link?

“Events along Israel's northern border in which Israeli civilians or soldiers were killed or wounded.”

Ah! The first paragraph contradicts the heading.

Suicide attacks on military and suicide attacks on civilians are equal, somehow?

Slarti,

"Suicide attacks"

I don't think it was a suicide attack anyway, since his fighter was disabled he might have thought that he was going to die anyway.

Slarti,

I haven't been following the argument carefully, but I'm pretty sure the general idea is that people who are prepared to die for a cause are insane. If that is the idea it is completely wrong.

Oh, no double-plus-ungood. You aren't reading that list properly at all.

Well, that wasa confusing way for them to do it. Thanks for clarifying, and I'll take a look.

What about the rhetoric:

Looks like the comments section of LGF, actually. Fortunately, I do not base my perception of conservatives based on comments at LGF.

Is there proof that he sought his own death prior to getting into that plane?

Wow, getting all nitpicky, aincha?

It is not unheard of for people to commit suicide in order to strike a blow against their enemies for their family, clan, tribe, religious group, or country. Far from being considered insane, most cultures recognize it as an act of extreme bravery, unless they're on the other side, in which case they're obviously insane.

The Spartans at Thermopylae? Obviously cuckoo.

The Spartans at Thermopylae? Obviously cuckoo.

Not to mention, flaming queers. You can't compare them to real Americans.

double,

"Looks like the comments section of LGF, actually."

I don't understand your analogy. Are you saying that those guys in the videos don't represent Hamas?

"The Spartans at Thermopylae"

Suicide bombing is hardly a defensive act.

I'm not gonna read all 500 comments over this and the prior posts, but we all must have settled on a reasonable position by now, right? Right? Hello?

I don't understand your analogy. Are you saying that those guys in the videos don't represent Hamas?

No, I'm saying that I know honest-to-gosh Palestinians in the flesh who are angered and dismayed at what is going on, and they don't talk like that. But, k'know, whatever floats your boogyman boat...

Suicide bombing is hardly a defensive act.

Eye of the beholder.

But, k'know, whatever floats your boogyman boat...

Boogyman? Hardly. Didn't Hamas win the election? Aren't those Hamas members in the videos? Don't those videos get posted on the official Hamas website and played on the Palestinian television?

Just close your eyes and lalalalalalalala.

Charley,

"Eye of the beholder."

Sorry, I assumed that everybody here was on the same page suicide-bombing wise. My mistake.

Boogyman? Hardly. Didn't Hamas win the election?

Cue scary music.

Aren't those Hamas members in the videos?

Chills up my spine.

Don't those videos get posted on the official Hamas website and played on the Palestinian television?

Booogada-boogadaa!

Yes to all of the above. Now, as boogymen have been apparently democratically elected by what appear to be a nation of boogymen, probably inspired by a suicide-cult boogyman religion, what is to be done?

Apparently nothing, because they're all insane in your books.

Give one of those dudes a nuke, see what he does with it... Probably nothing, cause in your version of the world "they want what all human being want and need, and they can be talked to." Yep, that's it. How crazy of me to even mention the rhetoric, the videos and the suicide bombings. Perhaps its me who's insane, huh?

The people who are engaging in suicide bombing, imo, think they are engaging in a defensive act, and it doesn't matter what you think, I think, or anyone reading these words thinks. Plenty of folks thought the US invasion of Iraq was defensive. I'm not (and wasn't) one of them, but I understood their logic.

Perhaps its me who's insane, huh?

No Stan, but your perspective on this is a dead-end, literally. According to your worldview, there can never be any negotiation.

It's a pessimistic outlook, and it's probably shared by many on both sides. Including the ones you're most scared of.

I presume we all understand that suicide bombing is done by humans?

I presume we all understand that suicide bombing is done by humans?

Yup.

I presume we all understand that suicide bombing is done by humans?

Well I believe the Red Army used to train dogs to run under tanks, where the explosives they were carrying would go off. I don't count that as suicide however because the dogs were expecting to get biscuits. What are you trying to clarify here?

Guess not.

After reading through the comments on the last two posts, I have developed outrage fatigue and am embracing my inner Kissinger. The only thing about the conflict in Lebanon that concerns me now is how it affects U.S. interests. I don't think we have much of a dog in this fight, frankly. Our sole concern in Lebanon should be to prevent it from becoming a failed state and a haven for al-Qaeda and like-minded terrorist groups (i.e., those dedicated to attacking Americans).

To the extent that Israel's attacks increase the likelihood of Lebanon collapsing into chaos, I oppose them and would hope that we are pressuring Israel behind the scenes to alter its strategy. If there are concessions we can offer Syria to decrease support for Hezbollah, we should make them. If there are measures we can take to strengthen the Lebanese government, we should do so. Who's right and who's wrong doesn't enter into it.

3GB,
you and the Editors. I would say strange bedfellows except that they use the bed image and I wouldn't want to put you in there.

double,

"No Stan, but your perspective on this is a dead-end, literally."

How does one negotiate with someone who doesn't recognize your right to exist? What's there to negotiate about? Your last meal? Or the manner in which you die?

If someone attacks you, there's a point at which your response crosses a line and stops being mere self-defense and becomes a horror of its own.

Wrong. You honor the threat. You don’t stop until you wipe it out.

So, if some guy punches you in the nose in a bar, OCSteve advocates -- explicitly -- beating him to death where he stands. Noted.

Soldiers are expected to give their life for their country. What does a country owe them in return? Is this about 2 soldiers? Of course not – it is about the almost daily attacks over many years. But as a pretext it sits very nicely with me…

Of course it does. No bill is too large for the guy who's not picking up the tab. You risk nothing, so what the hell do you care? Just more dead bodies for you to not give a shit about.

How about 241 dead Marines in 1983? We should not just be supplying arms in this war – we should be directly involved. Is 23 years too long to wait for payback?

Might I suggest that, among grownups, among all the possible reasons to spend money and lives, and to launch bombs and bullets at people, "payback" should be . . . oh, let's say #51 on a list of 50 really good reasons?

I revere RR – but withdrawing from Lebanon then was a huge mistake, the biggest of his presidency.

Oh, let's be generous here. Reagan made way bigger mistakes than that.

The ME has been a festering boil on the armpit of the world for decades – it is time to settle it. We should directly help Israel in Lebanon, and use this opportunity to settle things with Syria and Iran both. The time has passed for half-baked “peace” treaties that only one side honors and roadmaps to hell. Get this crap over with once and for all.

And that encompasses what, exactly? And what are you willing to risk to make it happen?

Phil,

So, if some guy punches you in the nose in a bar, OCSteve advocates -- explicitly -- beating him to death where he stands. Noted.

Actually, if somebody punches you in the nose you'll call the cops. They'll come down and if the perp resists enough he just might get shot.

No bill is too large for the guy who's not picking up the tab. You risk nothing, so what the hell do you care? Just more dead bodies for you to not give a shit about.

That's rich! Do you live in Israel? They should just the attacks, right? Cause you don't live there.

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