« Universal Health Care | Main | We Get Mail »

August 03, 2006

Comments

According to a Guardian article linked to on Kevin Drum's site, Tony Blair is having some doubts about the wisdom of the policies he and Bush have been pursuing.
Duh.
Well better late than never I guess.

I think our country should focus on things like health care. We obviously suck and being a leader in foreign affairs.

There's really something almost Bolshevik about it, isn't there? I don't mean the body count--I mean the rhetoric justifying it. The Revolution makes all this blood necessary; it will all be worth it after the Revolution--but when this lovely end will come, and how exactly we are going to get there through these means, are never quite explained.

"They forget the present for the future, the fate of humanity for the delusion of power, the misery of the slums for the mirage of the eternal city, ordinary justice for an empty promised land."--Albert Camus

"What kind of beast is it, this Ginger Cat with its insatiable appetite for human sacrifice? This Moloch who promises that everything will be beautiful after we’re dead? A distant end is not an end but a trap. The end we work for must be closer, the labourer’s wage, the pleasure in the work done, the summer lightning of personal happiness."--Tom Stoppard, The Coast of Utopia

It's Springtime for Bush!

Tony Blair said last Friday that the US is prevaricating over the resolution and allowing the conflict to run on too long. I guess even the most long-suffering poodle cracks eventually.

I'm curious if this could happen without Syrian military being kicked out of Lebanon first. Probably not, right?

Kinda makes you wonder about all that cedar revolution/Hariri assassination business, doesn't it.

1. Invade
2. Demolish
3. ????
4. Peace and Prosperity!

"For decades, American policy sought to achieve peace in the Middle East by promoting stability in the Middle East, yet these policies gave us neither."

Somewhere, Mossadegh is laughing.

"The lack of freedom in that region created conditions where anger and resentment grew, radicalism thrived, and terrorists found willing recruits."

(Ok, I now have a mental picture of George and Bandar, the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" playing in the background.)


"We saw the consequences on September the 11th, 2001, when terrorists brought death and destruction to our country, killing nearly 3,000 innocent Americans."

September 11th? September 11th! I had almost forgotten the horror of that day! How kind of you to remind me that Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Iraqi Republican Guard were the masterminds of it!

"So we have launched a forward strategy for freedom in the broader Middle East, and that strategy has set in motion a transformation that is changing millions of lives for the better."

If by "millions of lives for the better" you mean "the Ayatollahs having wiped their brows in relief, are now living high on the hog,", then, yes.


After all this time, either Bush is still clueless about the roots of the terrorism in the Muslim world or he is just being his usual, say what sounds best, even if you know is untrue self.

In 2000, during the debates, he said terrorists were motivated by jealousy of the US. (That statement alone told me he was unqualified to be President.)

After 9/11, he said he couldn't understand why anyone would hate th US enough to do what was done.

Now, it is all a result of the lack of freedom in the Middle East.

Just 2.5 more years.

However, Blair and Bush look so tough and Churchill-esque...and in the end, isn't that what really matters?


(I can't wait to see them dancing to a techno beat, while licking each others nipples in defiance of the world community!)

"The prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy,"

The outgoing British ambassador to Iraq.

SOD: (I can't wait to see them dancing to a techno beat, while licking each others nipples in defiance of the world community!)

*scrubs brain frantically* I didn't want that in there!

I hate to disagree -- well, no, that's a lie -- but...

I'd submit that Lebanon was not, in fact, a free, peaceful, democratic, tolerant country, not so long as it welcomed an armed Islamist militia as part of its civil society. When a country does this, then it is responsible -- and culpable -- for the violence of the militia. Israel is justified in doing exactly what it takes to keep Hezbollah from bombarding its civilians, and this includes attacking both the militia and the government that was its de facto sponsor.

In the modern world, there can only be nation-states; there can be no such thing as a private army. Lebanon has tried to have it both ways, and this cannot be allowed.

So yes, Bush is clueless. Democracy hasn't the first thing to do with it. But I still have to say I believe Israel is in the right.

not so long as it welcomed an armed Islamist militia as part of its civil society

How did this armed Islamist militia come to be, Jake?

I mean Jason

"In the modern world, there can only be nation-states; there can be no such thing as a private army."

Jason, how do you propose to bring this about? What you are terming "private armies" have been involved in the vast majority of armed conflicts over the last 50 years.

Jason: this post was more about Bush's cluelessness than about the justice, or lack thereof, of Israel's response, about which I've written elsewhere. I don't think that there is anything that Israel can do to finish off Hezbollah, and I think that the present course of action will make matters worse.

I also think it's hard to say that Lebanon is responsible. (Parenthetically, what is "Lebanon" here? The government? Any specific group of individuals?) Normally, ought implies can, and I don't see any reason to think that the Lebanese government, or even a majority of its people, could have disarmed Hezbollah, so soon after Syria left.

In any case, though, the whole thing is (imho) counterproductive, so the question how far Israel should be able to go in protecting itself does not apply.

I just want to thank Katherine for quoting Stoppard. I haven't read the Utopia trilogy yet.

There are probably some lovely quotes about revolution in TRAVESTIES.....

Re: Abolishing private armies. "Jason, how do you propose to bring this about?"

It seems to me that the principle here is that governments are to be held responsible for the actions of individuals inside their territories. These governments must either make earnest efforts to punish violent groups and individuals (which Lebanon clearly did not do with Hezbollah) -- or else the violence these elements do is understood to have government approval.

As to whether the Israeli response can be expected to succeed, I admit it's quite a separate question. I also admit I was more optimistic at the outset, and now I'm not so sure.

But what bothers me in any case is how saddened everyone seems about the failure of the Cedar Revolution. We ought not to have expected so much from it in the first place. The settlement did, after all, tolerate an armed Hezbollah. What, may I ask, did we imagine those armaments were for?

It seems to me that the principle here is that governments are to be held responsible for the actions of individuals inside their territories.

Yes, but practicalities will modify principles. An immediately disarmed Hezbollah was never a pratical reality from any agreement; and now, Israeli action has now made it impossible to get that in the near and immediate future.

And so the democratsunami washes back out to sea, leaving behind a ruined world.

Ouch....Charles?

There was an article in the Times that explored how the conflict crushed more than just the political hopes of the Lebanese . . . their cultural progress has been dealt a serious setback as well, knocking the wind out of a broad range of aritsts, musicians, promoters, etc., who were foolish enough (their phrasing) to believe things were actually getting better. They won't be fooled again.

I'd submit that Lebanon was not, in fact, a free, peaceful, democratic, tolerant country, not so long as it welcomed an armed Islamist militia as part of its civil society. When a country does this, then it is responsible -- and culpable -- for the violence of the militia.

I'm beginning to see thinking like this in light of my Pentacostal upbringing. The idea that, like upon asking Jesus to forgive your sins and accepting him into your heart one is "born again" and instantly one with God, a nation working toward Democracy isn't doing it "right" if everything doesn't change into a rosy, problem-free situation overnight. It's so remarkably unrealistic.

What is the difference between Hezb’olah’s militia, in Lebanon and American mercenaries in Iraq?

It seems that American and South African mercenaries operate like private armies, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet are not subject to any laws.

I think many people sense a double standard between American and Israeli’s claim for “right and moral” law and the rest of the world, or at least the “darker” world.

At least the Hezb’olah militia can claim to be "from there".

"I also think it's hard to say that Lebanon is responsible. (Parenthetically, what is "Lebanon" here? The government? Any specific group of individuals?) Normally, ought implies can, and I don't see any reason to think that the Lebanese government, or even a majority of its people, could have disarmed Hezbollah, so soon after Syria left."

I think it is a fair argument to say that for the purpose of applying military force--Hezbollah is Lebanon. Now if it wasn't in fact applying military force to other countries, that wouldn't be a big deal. The contradiction between the civilian pseudo-government and the military pseudo-government wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately for the people of Lebanon, Hezbollah likes to make war against Israel, and felt that it could because they thought Israel wouldn't make war back.

it seems that the US does not grant to others what it reserves to itself. Turkey wishes to go after Kurdish terrorists in Iraq, but this US says no. Interesting, no? It's ok for Israel to go after Hezbollah after only a year, but the US has been in Iraq for 3 years, and Turkey must NOT go after the PKK.

Can anyone say "double standard"?

gathering storm in Kurdistan

Jake

There's really something almost Bolshevik about it, isn't there?

They've been Bolsheviks from the very start, I think. Power, patronage and the sweet purifying fire of action--any action at all--seem to be the only things these guys really believe in. If nothing else, this Administration has been a fascinating lesson in how much people can get away with just by insisting that they can.

I think it is a fair argument to say that for the purpose of applying military force--Hezbollah is Lebanon.

Okay. So it's fair to say that the IDF is Israel? So if it's fair for the IDF to kill Lebanese civilians and damage Lebanese infrastructure, it's fair for Hezbollah to kill Israeli civilians and damage Israeli infrastructure? Hezbollah is in the right to attack Israel, Israel is in the right to attack Hezbollah, what on earth was anyone worrying about?

Jason:

Opinions are fine, but it would be nice if they reasoned from actual facts.

Hezbollah was the result of armed resistance to the Israeli invasion and occupation of south Lebanon. It was nutured and grew into its current form because it was a convenient vehicle of Syrian and Iranian anti-Israeli policy. A radicalized Shia of south Lebanon did not exist prior to 1982. Lebanon as a country had no say or ability to prevent any of this, although in the last year a window of opportunity opened to begin to undo 25 years of Hezbollah armed resistance.

Without question Hezbollah is a serious threat to Israel, although to some extent, its about reap what you sow. Israelis may like to believe that they have always offered peace to Arabs, but that is a fantasy. Israel was founded on and still has a strong credo of expansionism into Arab lands. That requires violence by Israel against Arabs to succeed. The Israelis have been brutal for years and justified it because Arabs are so brutal. From my outside perspective, they each are more than willing to be brutal for their self-interests.

The bottom line is that Israel has decided that a terror campaign against Lebanon in general is the proper response to the Hezbollah threat. You justify this by claiming that Lebanon is allegedly responsible for Hezbollah, and therefore Israel can do whatever it wants -- sorry, but that does not withstand scrutiny.

The bottom line is that Israel has guaranteed instability in Lebanon and guaranteed the impossibility of locals in Lebanon reining in Hezbollah. That is Hilzoy's point -- that US interest in a stable and stronger Lebanon are being completely undone by Israeli nuttiness, and Bush & crew refuse to see the obvious.

So in another 10 or 20 years from now when I hear about how Israel must again commit more atrocities in Lebanon because the Lebanese are allegedly responsible for the presence of radical Hezbollah, I will want to scream.

I'm beginning to see thinking like this in light of my Pentacostal upbringing. The idea that, like upon asking Jesus to forgive your sins and accepting him into your heart one is "born again" and instantly one with God, a nation working toward Democracy isn't doing it "right" if everything doesn't change into a rosy, problem-free situation overnight. It's so remarkably unrealistic.

On the contrary, holding governments accountable for acts perpetrated within their territories is the very height of realism. You can't expect Israel to sit back and get bombed, saying "Oh, not everything can be perfect." That -- that would be idealistic.

Of course attacking Lebanon is an imperfect solution. I don't think it at all disproves the principle, and I think the world would be a more peaceful place if it were followed more universally. (And by the way, Edward, I have no belief whatsoever in God.)

As to Kurdistan, I understand that there has been no actual attack on Turkey. Am I mistaken? Because if an attack has indeed arrived, then I would support Turkey's right to self-defense -- and I would think it incumbent on the United States, as the responsible party in Iraq, to intervene as well against the Kurds.

dmbeaster: So in another 10 or 20 years from now when I hear about how Israel must again commit more atrocities in Lebanon because the Lebanese are allegedly responsible for the presence of radical Hezbollah, I will want to scream.

Optimist. Israel may not exist in 20 years: Lebanon may not exist in 20 years.

"Okay. So it's fair to say that the IDF is Israel? So if it's fair for the IDF to kill Lebanese civilians and damage Lebanese infrastructure, it's fair for Hezbollah to kill Israeli civilians and damage Israeli infrastructure?"

Hezbollah does attack Israel. That is fine if they want war. They are supposed to attack the IDF. The IDF is well marked, is locationally separate and in all the standard respects distinguishable from Israeli civilians.

If Hezbollah did the same, there wouldn't be so many Lebanese civilian deaths.

Your problem analyzing the situation is that you want to have rules that help out Hezbollah and hinder the IDF instead of rules that apply to both.

Sebastian: The IDF is well marked, is locationally separate and in all the standard respects distinguishable from Israeli civilians.

Only when on duty.

Most Israeli civilians have been members of the IDF: many Israeli civilians will be actively serving in the IDF in the future: many Israeli civilians can in fact contact their MK and tell them that they don't want the IDF flattening Lebanon, and in principle, the IDF answers to the Knesset. An ordinary Lebanese civilian has no direct means of contacting Hezbollah leaders and no legal impunity if they tell them they don't want Hezbollah to attack Israel.

If it's legit for the IDF to attack Lebanese civilians because they might be Hezbollah, it's legit for Hezbollah to attack Israeli civilians because they might be IDF. Both or neither. I go for "neither".

On the contrary, holding governments accountable for acts perpetrated within their territories is the very height of realism. You can't expect Israel to sit back and get bombed, saying "Oh, not everything can be perfect." That -- that would be idealistic.

Let's try this again.

My point is that it's unrealistic to expect Lebanon, despite perhaps agreeing with your assessment of what an accountable government should do, to be able to do so immediately. So it's wrong of Israel or anyone to imply they deserve what they're getting because they didn't stomp out a party widely and legitimately elected to the government fast enough to stop them from abusing their new power position. That is the underlying implication in your original statement, no? That Lebanon deserves what they're getting?

Jumping from that into the comicbook depiction of what you think I'm arguing Israel should do deserves to be ignored altogether.

Thanks Katherine for the 2 quotes. I haven't read Stoppard, but his quote seems to concern religious future promises more than political future promises. Was this juxtaposition intentional?

Jason, as I read it, yes, the PKK attacked a police station inside Turkey, killing several. From a link in the article:

The New Anatolian with wires / Ankara
01 August 2006

Terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants opened fire on and hurled hand grenades at police lodgings in eastern Turkey late Sunday, injuring six police officers and a passer-by. The officers were standing guard outside the lodgings in the town of Dogubayazit in the province of Agri when they were attacked, an official at the local governor's office said. The assailants escaped and police set up checkpoints on roads around Dogubayazit to apprehend them.

The PKK's bloody campaign has led to more than 37,000 deaths in Turkey since 1984, when the PKK first took up arms.

There's been escalating tension between Turkey and the PKK, and the deaths of 15 soldiers in three separate attacks this month have promptedPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to disclose that the military is considering a cross-border operation aimed at eradicating PKK bases in northern Iraq. The U.S. is strongly opposed to such an operation.

Clearly, this is a case of what is sauce for the goose is NOT sauce for the gander.

Jake

"If it's legit for the IDF to attack Lebanese civilians because they might be Hezbollah, it's legit for Hezbollah to attack Israeli civilians because they might be IDF. Both or neither. I go for "neither"."

You obscure too much with the verb "to attack".

Is it legitimate "to target" Lebanese civilians? No. Is it legitimate "to hit" Lebanese civilians? It depends on whether or not you are targeting Hezbollah or IDF targets and whether or not you are taking sufficient precautions to make sure your targeting and hitting are closely matched.

This problem is made more complicated by the fact that Hezbollah shelters its military behind civilians. This sheltering is wrong. This sheltering gravely endangers civilians. This sheltering gravely endagers civilians because the IDF is permitted (and in fact should if it is going to fight Hezbollah) attack anyway. These civilians are dying because of the Hezbollah policy to BOTH make war against Israel AND hide behind civilians. Take away either and the number of civilians dying in Lebanon would be much lower.

So, when you try to draw a parallel between hitting Israeli civilians and hitting Lebanese civilians, you are failing to notice the difference in conduct--in targeting, in sheltering, in distinguishing combatants and non-combatants.

"The PKK's bloody campaign has led to more than 37,000 deaths in Turkey since 1984, when the PKK first took up arms."

I hate sentences like that. The PKK is responsible for starting the rebellion and therefore they can be blamed for all the ensuing deaths, but as people at Crooked Timber have been fond of saying lately, responsibility is not a zero sum game. The government of Turkey is also responsible for the deaths since it had been oppressing Kurds and also because they caused many if not the majority of all those deaths.

Sebastian: So, when you try to draw a parallel between hitting Israeli civilians and hitting Lebanese civilians, you are failing to notice the difference in conduct--in targeting, in sheltering, in distinguishing combatants and non-combatants.

Ah. So Israeli civilians never allow anyone into their homes who is currently serving in the IDF - that would be "sheltering", wouldn't it, and make them legitimate targets. Okay. (Oddly, this does not fit with anything I've heard about the IDF or about Israeli civilians, but I'm sure you've studied the situation and can prove it's so via a link or two.)

"So Israeli civilians never allow anyone into their homes who is currently serving in the IDF - that would be "sheltering", wouldn't it"

Nope, that wouldn't be sheltering. But putting an IDF headquarters on top of a civilian apartment complex would. Or even a building that abutted an apartment complex.

HRW has a 51 page report out now (there's also a one or two page summary available) saying that Israel is guilty of indiscriminate attacks and in some cases appears to be targeting civilians.

I left my sheet of paper on how to make links at work and have a rotten memory for such things, so here's the address--

http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/

Donald Johnson: this is one of those archetypal responsibility-not-zero-sum moments. The Turkish government was unbelievably horrible to the Kurds. Not as bad as they were to the Armenians, but that's a pretty high bar. There was an enormous amount of torture, killing, razing of villages en masse, not to mention systematic underdevelopment and such "lesser" things as making it illegal to speak Kurdish.

On the other hand, the PKK is a horrible group. Basically Stalinist, willing to kill civilians. (I asked someone who sympathized with them once to explain to me how the slaughter of a village, which had recently happened, could be justified, and he said: they were collaborators. -- The infants and children? I asked. -- Well, they would have had a blood feud with the Party once they grew up, he said. -- What gets people to the point where they can say things like this without their tongues cleaving to their mouths, their left hand withering, and their right hand forgetting its cunning, I have no idea.)

Moreover, they were, rather like Israel now, pursuing a policy that had zero chance of success: armed struggle against the Turkish government, for which purpose they were willing to bring misery down on a lot of people.

A plague on both their houses; and pity for the people caught in the crossfire.

Hilzoy--Agreed. I've kept my temptation to romanticize guerillas on a tight leash for quite a long time. Actually, the temptation should just be euthanized.

Jesurgislac and Sebastian,

Thank God you're still trying. I'm with you totally. Don't give up!

The war against Israel
A small anecdote from today illustrates a trend which I had been noticing since the current crisis developed. On a bus in London, I was accosted by a middle-aged, West Indian gentleman on the adjacent seat. Recognising me, he congratulated me warmly on what I had been writing about Israel. He had wanted to attend last weekend’s Israel solidarity demonstration organised by the Board of Deputies but had been unable to find where it was being held. But friends of his had attended and shown him photographs they had taken of the event.

‘What no-one has reported’, he said, ‘was that there were many black people, Sikhs and Hindus at that demonstration because we all understand what is at stake here. We all realise that what Israel is fighting is Islamic terrorism, and that this threatens Jews, Christians and all of us. We local people all get it. What I can’t understand is all this stuff about Israel being ‘disproportionate’. Why don’t those people understand what is going on here?’

Also, the definition of what I very well may have been all my life...
Useful Idiot

And my former hero, Gandhi? Here is his advice for Jews during WW2:
"I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions.... If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them. (Non-Violence in Peace and War)
He also urged Jews and Czechs to commit a mass suicide as an act of non-violent resistance against Nazi occupation. In June 1946 he told to his biographer Louis Fischer:
Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs... that would have been heroism."

I am sadly disillusioned, but wiser.

So, when you try to draw a parallel between hitting Israeli civilians and hitting Lebanese civilians, you are failing to notice the difference in conduct--in targeting, in sheltering, in distinguishing combatants and non-combatants.

Excellent points, although they do not seem to apply much to the current situation.

More likely is that the Israelis are falsely justifying a rather indiscriminate terror bombing campaign with assertions of this type. There are simply too many indiscriminate bombings and Israeli obfuscations to believe that high Lebanese cilivian casualties are a byproduct of Hezbollah tactics, which allegedly "force" Israelis to take actions that harm civilians.

Buttresing the likelihood of this is the just completed devastation by Israel in Gaza, including the odious destruction of power facilities there. As if that was somehow a result of Hamas tactics?

Donald J: Luckily, I never had much of an inclination to sympathize with guerillas except in circumstances in which they were fighting a winnable war for a clearly just cause. (The French resistance.)

I have a very limited amount of experience with actual guerillas (not being shot at by them; talking to them), and the ones I talked to were people who had been genuinely, horribly brutalized, and who moreover came from communities that had been genuinely, horribly brutalized -- so it wasn't just about them, but also their families, their friends, their everyone. They desperately needed a way to fight back against that injustice, for what I thought were entirely laudable reasons. (Which is to say: some people might have been inclined to keep their heads down and stay out of trouble in the midst of injustice. The people I knew were the ones who could never do that; who had to oppose it. Which is, I think, basically a very good thing.)

The problem was, first of all, a shortage of decent groups in full-throated, non-apologetic opposition to the bad stuff, and second, whatever it is that makes people think that when you are dealing with something bad, it's the most violent response that's best, not the smartest. (The same instinct, I think, that makes people think that any suggestion that Israel should not attack with everything it has is "appeasement". The thing that makes you feel: how can you possibly suggest something other than just killing them; that makes the question 'is this wise? or decent? seem wimpy. Which of course it isn't.)

Given the first of these, their choices were limited; it was the awful guerilla group or no one, really. The second eased the way. But a large part of it was also how very very badly they needed a way to do something to oppose the absolutely genuine horrors they had seen and experienced.

One of the things that makes me HATE wars -- they just create more and more of this. Not that they aren't necessary sometimes, since sometimes the alternative is worse. But the cost in often quite legitimate hatred and anger is an awful one.

Meanwhile, proof that Hezbollah is parking and firing katushas from next to buildilngs.

http://www.israellycool.com/blog/_archives/2006/8/3/2192471.html

scroll down to the 7:52pm update.

Stan LS -
I've heard that they had converted a hospital into barracks. Also, that an individual will fire off a katyusha and then run back inside to watch TV with his wife and kids. How is Israel supposed to protect itself against this death cult? Does anyone have an answer?

hilzoy, I HATE wars too! But what do we do when the other side WANTS one?

Jake (whichever one you are) --

"Clearly, this is a case of what is sauce for the goose is NOT sauce for the gander."

The hypocrisy does exist, but it is not mine. I wrote, "if an attack has indeed arrived, then I would support Turkey's right to self-defense -- and I would think it incumbent on the United States, as the responsible party in Iraq, to intervene as well against the Kurds."

Now that I understand this to have been the case -- and within the course of recent events -- I have to say that things have changed, and that Turkey is in a position quite similar to Israel's.

Edward_ --

What, then, should Israel do? If it must not attack Lebanon, and it must not simply sit back and allow rockets to fall on its cities... then what?

Does Lebanon deserve what it is getting? Look, no civilian deserves to be killed in war. But as to where the blame should fall, yes, it's unquestionably the fault of the Lebanese government. And the proper response to an approved act of aggression is to reply in such a way that the attacks will cease. This can only mean bombing and/or
occupying Hezbollah and Lebanese military facilities.

(Again, note that I've bracketed the question of effectiveness, which deserves separate consideration.)

How is Israel supposed to protect itself against this death cult?

I think it begins with a different vocabulary, actually. By labeling them as such, you inadvertently (perhaps) leave the innocents in Lebanon out of the equation. It's similar to the other problem perpetuating the situation: neither side sees its own part in the escalation. And they magnify what the other sides does, despite the reality of it all.

There was an op-ed by Daniel Gilbert in the Times that explained how each side in a conflict sees the other side's actions as much more severe than its own, even when they're similar. It went on to explain that

In virtually every human society, “He hit me first” provides an acceptable rationale for doing that which is otherwise forbidden. Both civil and religious law provide long lists of behaviors that are illegal or immoral — unless they are responses in kind, in which case they are perfectly fine.

After all, it is wrong to punch anyone except a puncher, and our language even has special words — like “retaliation” and “retribution” and “revenge” — whose common prefix is meant to remind us that a punch thrown second is legally and morally different than a punch thrown first.

That’s why participants in every one of the globe’s intractable conflicts — from Ireland to the Middle East — offer the even-numberedness of their punches as grounds for exculpation.

So as long as the debate is framed as one of justifyable retribution (and sweeping labeling of [who exactly? just Hezbollah, all the Lebanese, all the Arabs? each statement like this demands precision] folks as "death cults" and such, when it's clearly so much more complicated than that), no progress will be made.

In the end, unless Israel changes its position to one of wanting to wipe out all its Arab neighbors, the Israelis will have to convince the Arabs to like them...peaceful cohabitation will demand it. The onus, like it or not, then is on Israel to be the bigger (in the sense of more tolerant) nation. I know they have tried. I know they've been willing. But they have to sustain the effort to ever get to a place of lasting peace. There will be set-backs and times when retribution is decidedly called for, but the rhetoric can, at least, not follow suit. It can remain more positive and productive.

Edward,

"the Israelis will have to convince the Arabs to like them...peaceful cohabitation will demand it."Israel has to crack that whip and show that it got bite

You are in fantasy land. Israel will never convince the Arabs (the muslim ones, anyway) to like them. Israel just needs to convince them that if they keep attacking their civilians they will get hit back HARD. Look at Egypt and Jordan - you think egyptians and jordanians "like" Israel? Most likely not, but those two countries have made peace with Israel.

Edward_,

"The onus, like it or not, then is on Israel to be the bigger (in the sense of more tolerant) nation. I know they have tried. I know they've been willing. But they have to sustain the effort to ever get to a place of lasting peace."

Several problems:

1. This seems hopelessly utopian. If one takes Hezbollah and Hamas at their words and acknowledge that they genuinely do want to wipe Israel off the map, not responding to attacks means that they will continue to attack, not that they will stop attacking.

2. As a result of the continued attacks, Israel will get weaker, by having less fighters. Hezbollah and Hamas will get stronger, as their successes will cause others to join their cause.

3. Whenever Israel decides it is "the time when retribution is called for", it is likely to face the same reaction among the international community, made worse by the precedent that firing X rockets into Israel, or capturing X soldiers, wasn't enough to call for retribution in the past, so why is it this time?

4. In a democracy, not responding to attacks is a very good way to be voted out of office. And the Israeli leaders are definitely politicians who want to stay in office.

You are in fantasy land. Israel will never convince the Arabs (the muslim ones, anyway) to like them. Israel just needs to convince them that if they keep attacking their civilians they will get hit back HARD.

How well has that been working, Stan?

Edward_,

"How well has that been working"

Pretty well. Israel is still in existence after nearly 60 years, in spite of being surrounded by actively hostile countries with dozens of times more people than it.

Israel is still in existence after nearly 60 years,

Hmmm...I thought we were talking about lasting peace, not simply survival. Lowering the bar to that point suggests all they need is a much bigger wall around the whole country and high enough taxes to have the strongest military in the region. Not exactly my idea of the promise land, but YMMV.

Dan, Israel is a fortified state, with it's lifeline thousands of miles long. In what fantasy does that count as a good existence? Your whole argument rests upon the assumption that there was/is no better outcome than currently exists. I disagree.

Jason, in fact I didn't say or imply that you were guilty of hypocrisy. I believe that WE are guilty of hypocrisy. We as represented by the Bush admin.

Jake

Edward_ and Jake,

I will agree that lasting peace would be better than being an armed fortress. But it takes two sides to create peace, which has not been forthcoming in spite of Israel, as Edward_ said, having repeatedly tried for it. Therefore, I have no problem with Israel, having been forced to choose to fight against persons who sincerely want to eliminate it, fighting hard.

But it takes two sides to create peace, which has not been forthcoming in spite of Israel, as Edward_ said, having repeatedly tried for it. Therefore, I have no problem with Israel, having been forced to choose to fight against persons who sincerely want to eliminate it, fighting hard.

But for eternity? When does it get better?

Edward_,

I don't know. As I noted, it takes 2 sides to want peace. It therefore can only come when the Arab side also wants it. I see far less pressure on them to want peace and coexistence than on Israel not to respond to their attacks. Until then, Israel's survival is success.

Dantheman: a right to fight back is one thing. A right to fight hard and dumb, in ways that get a lot of people killed, and that will almost surely be profoundly destructive to their interests in the long run, is another.

I see far less pressure on them to want peace and coexistence than on Israel not to respond to their attacks. Until then, Israel's survival is success.

I'm not sure that's the key though. As opposed to when Clinton was in office, the US has been much, much more pro-Israel in terms of being anti-Arab. That hasn't led to improvements for Israel.

Both sides have always wanted peace--on their own terms. Both sides are outraged by terrorism--the other side's terrorism, that is.
They have a lot in common. Too darn much, in fact.

hilzoy,

"A right to fight hard and dumb, in ways that get a lot of people killed, and that will almost surely be profoundly destructive to their interests in the long run, is another."

I'll agree fighting dumb is never a good idea. I will disagree that the way Israel has fought this war is more destructive to their interests than not fighting would have been, as Edward_ recommended.

Edward_,

The US is hardly the only source of pressure on the Arab states. Given the level of shifting the blame from Hezbollah and Hamas onto Israel which has been present in other, especially European, parts of the world over the same time period (during which time Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza), the pressure has not been anywhere near as strong as that on Israel.

How well has that been working, Stan?

Let's see... Israel's neighbors are Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Israel defeated Egypt and Jordan and got peace treaties with both. Now it has to defeat Hezbollah or put a sufficient amount of pressure on Lebanon to police its own borders (which it's doing right now). A ceasefire just for the sake of a ceasefire is definately not the way to go.

Donald,

Both sides have always wanted peace--on their own terms.

HAH! Good one. You mean the fact that Arabs wants Israel's destruction is a lie? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad summed it up pretty well today:

"Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate ceasefire must be implemented," he said.

This word has been thrown around before - hudna.

Both sides are outraged by terrorism--the other side's terrorism, that is.

Ah, right. One is as good as the other.

"In the end, unless Israel changes its position to one of wanting to wipe out all its Arab neighbors, the Israelis will have to convince the Arabs to like them...peaceful cohabitation will demand it."

I don't think it is at all necessary to convince Arabs to like them. It is sufficient to convince Arabs not to attack them.

How is Israel supposed to protect itself against this death cult?

I think it begins with a different vocabulary, actually. By labeling them as such, you inadvertently (perhaps) leave the innocents in Lebanon out of the equation.

First, you don't think the jihadis are a death cult? And Israel is worried about the innocents in Lebanon. Are the terrorists?

Please, please look around and do some research on who these people are. Don't take my word for it.

Israel defeated Egypt and Jordan and got peace treaties with both.

The Egypt and Jordan treaties seem to be relatively stable, Stan, but there was a short-lived treaty with Lebanon once too. You're implying that bordering neighbors are key here (conveniently leaving out Syria, Iran, etc.). I hope you're right, but I'm convinced that a big stick alone is a bad policy. You have to keep wielding it, forever, if that's all you got. I think you have to continually lower the temperature of the rhetoric as well, so that when opportunities to repair things diplomatically do appear, there's not a list of hyperbolic statements in the way.

First, you don't think the jihadis are a death cult? And Israel is worried about the innocents in Lebanon. Are the terrorists?

Please, please look around and do some research on who these people are. Don't take my word for it.

God I hate people who resort to that lazy demand. This is a dialog. If you can't make your case, at least spare people the condescending insult that they should run off to the library and learn your case for you.

Which "jihadists"? Who are you including in that? Just Hezbollah? Just the more aggressive members of Hezbollah? Do I think every person who identifies with some part of Hezbollah is a death cultist? No. I think sweeping generalizations like that prevent progress. Statements like "How is Israel supposed to protect itself against this death cult?" are a rhetorical throwing up of one's hands and saying "we can't figure this out, so we might as well just kill them all...that' the only way out of this," foolishly ignoring what killing them all will spawn in their place.

There are sure a lot of "death-cultists" in charge of the current Iraqi government.

God I hate people who resort to that lazy demand. This is a dialog. If you can't make your case, at least spare people the condescending insult that they should run off to the library and learn your case for you.

Edward,
Sorry if I came across as insulting. It wasn't my intention. And it wasn't my intention to imply that we should "just kill them all."
I suppose my only excuse, such as it is, is that I've had a complete shift of consciousness regarding this whole issue over these last six months. I've been hanging out at some of the Middle Eastern blogs (Sandmonkey's for one) and I feel like a naïve idiot for holding the beliefs I've held all my life. I've learned so much over there, that there would be no way to bring it all over here - hence my plea to you and others to search around. I've read plenty of dialogue - and contributed to it as well (often without any links!) but lately, I guess I've become impatient with it all. And tired. It seems that so few are facing what some of us see as the "wolf outside the door." It's like I've caught a glimpse and said, "Say, did you see that?" And people are just saying, "Hey, pass the beer will ya?"

I know, I know. I sound like a whacko. I used to be so intellectually precise about everything and PC about everyone.
Well, I've had a knot in my chest for the last hour which tells me I better think about something else for awhile.
If I can contribute to the "dialogue" at some future date, without relying on links and anxiety, I'll try coming back. Maybe.

I see far less pressure on them to want peace and coexistence than on Israel not to respond to their attacks. Until then, Israel's survival is success.

Israel survives in large part thanks to the enormous largesse of the American taxpayer. It's one thing to say that you're comfortable with the idea Israel existing indefinitely as a fortress state. It's quite another to say that the US should indefinitely foot the bill. Are you saying both of these, or just the first part?

So, using Jes's brilliant logic, when my father was on active duty and serving in the Vietnam War, when he was on a rotation home and visiting my grandparents, it would have been OK -- had the had the ability -- for the Vietnamese to bomb my grandparents' home because they were sheltering a member of the military.

Brillliant.

Stan LS, yeah, the two sides are the same to me as far as their atrocities are concerned. I'd rather live in Israel--Western democracy, etc..., but I don't know where people get the idea that Western democracies can't be guilty of horrific crimes. Certainly not from American or Israeli (or French or British) history.

Since we were bombing North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese and Laotian and Cambodian villages, Phil, that may not be the historical analogy you want to use here, unless the idea is that Western democracies get to bomb civilians, but their enemies don't.

Stan LS, yeah, the two sides are the same to me as far as their atrocities are concerned.

That's telling.

That's telling.

That's meaningless.

Stan LS,

Are you suggesting that morality is relative to culture?

Meanwhile, proof that Hezbollah is parking and firing katushas from next to buildilngs.

The bombing by Israel for the most part has nothing to do with bombing sites from which rockets have been fired. Simply look at a map showing where Israeli airstrikes have occurred (at Juan Cole's site), and compare that with the range of the rockets. Most of the bombing is well outside the range of any of the rockets. The Qana bombing also does not correlate to any rocket fire, which the Israelis now admit.

Hezbollah behaves awfully, but Israel's behavior cannot be justified based on that.

Hezbollah behaves awfully, but Israel's behavior cannot be justified based on that.

Priceless. Gotta save that one. :)

See ya.

Bec, please excuse my over-reaction. I should have chosen my words more carefully. It was a knee-jerk reaction to a personal pet peeve and no reflection on your other valid attempts to communicate.

I've been hanging out at some of the Middle Eastern blogs (Sandmonkey's for one) and I feel like a naïve idiot for holding the beliefs I've held all my life....guess I've become impatient with it all. And tired. It seems that so few are facing what some of us see as the "wolf outside the door." It's like I've caught a glimpse and said, "Say, did you see that?" And people are just saying, "Hey, pass the beer will ya?"

Impatience and tiredness are fully understandable, but I think folks who've reached those points need to step out of the peace process and let other, fresher folks take over (not that you were claiming to be part of the peace process, just that I think that's an important point to make).

I've spent hours reading truly convincing anti-Muslim rhetoric, and left it thinking, hey, they really are the enemy, but then come home to my Muslim husband and friends and realized those sites leave out the most important ingredient in their assessments (at least to me)...the individual.

Individuals decide to be suicide bombers or rape women, and individuals decide to devote their lives to helping others or being decent upstanding citizens. You could focus on the atrocities committed by individual American soldiers in Iraq, to the exclusion of all the very decent people serving over there, and paint a very convincing picture of barbaric crusaders, if you choose to. Just because this or that extremist group is hateful and seeks destruction, doesn't mean it's anything other than laziness to extrapolate that behavior to others outside their group. Hateful, destructive, greedy people have always been part of mankind (just ask the Native Americans, if you doubt it) and sadly probably always will be. No one group is immune either, if they get desperate or greedy enough.

Is that a license for the militia arm of Hezbollah to attack Isreal? Not at all. Israel is remarkably restrained in my view, clearly focused, overall, on their long-term well-being, and I support their targeted efforts to take out Hezbollah terrorists. But to reduce the entirety of Hezbollah to a "death cult" when segments of it are dedicated to improving education and health services and the like is to simplify the party in a counter-productive way, in my opinion. Sound bites may drive the messaging, but they make solving the conflicts much harder.

now, how did my whole name get into that comment?

someotherdude,

"Are you suggesting that morality is relative to culture?"

Am I? How so?

The bombing by Israel for the most part has nothing to do with bombing sites from which rockets have been fired.

They have to do with cutting off the supply routes and hampering hezbollah's movement.

Edward,

"they really are the enemy, but then come home to my Muslim husband"

HAH! Edward, how long would you and your husband last in Hezbollah land or any other Muslim state??? You are comparing apples and oranges here!

"Individuals decide to be suicide bombers"

You'll have a point if you can name a single palestinian suicide bomber who was not affiliated with a terrorist group.

"Is that a license for the militia arm of Hezbollah to attack Isreal?"

Militia arm?? I got an idea. Why won't Israel spawn off a "militia arm" and deploy it in northern Israel and let it operate freely, rocketing Lebanon, crossing into the Lebanese territory, etc. And when complained to, Israel can say, Hey, don't look at me, it's this militia we have no control over and won't confront.

"But to reduce the entirety of Hezbollah to a "death cult" when segments of it are dedicated to improving education and health services"

Well, then let's not reduce Hitler to a simple murderer, did you know that he painted postcards and wanted to become an architect?

"But to reduce the entirety of Hezbollah to a "death cult" when segments of it are dedicated to improving education and health services"

This is a common tactic among gangs to gain local support while continuing their murderous ways. See for example Al Capone or the Medellin drug cartel. So it might not be fair to reduce the Party of God to a death cult... but it would be fair to compare it to a bunch of murderous thugs.

This is a common tactic among gangs to gain local support

The area around John Gotti's house in Ozone Park was pretty crime free, cause criminals knew better. Did that make John Gotti a crime fighter, Edward?

Edward,

No hard feelings. I knew I shouldn't have posted today. I'm glad I came by for one last look, though.

I've spent hours reading truly convincing anti-Muslim rhetoric, and left it thinking, hey, they really are the enemy, but then come home to my Muslim husband and friends and realized those sites leave out the most important ingredient in their assessments (at least to me)...the individual.

It certainly wasn't in my heart or mind to make a blanket statement against all Muslims. I've worked with a few and remain close friends with one (she's Persian, actually). However, I do see a worldwide "movement" of what I can only call a "death cult" that is spreading across the globe - and real Muslims, peaceful Muslims, seem unable to curb it. (Beslan, Mumbai, Bali, Madrid, Darfur...Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Hamas, Janjaweed...) Those are the terrorists to whom I'm referring. It's a worldwide phenomenon which troubles me deeply. I don't see any signs of it stopping any time soon. Israel is the focal point of it and it knows it. That's why all the Western hatred expressed toward Israel troubles me, too. Some say Israel is a proxy for the US; some say the US is a proxy for Israel. I don't see it that way. I see Israel as trying to hang on and survive in a warlike neighborhood. Maybe they could have tried for peace and negotiation, but I think they would not have survived this long if they had. The US is one of the few in the world who are backing it up.
Even if Israel were to cease to exist, I believe these terrorists would focus totally on the West next. They already kill their own who don't agree with them. Look at how Iranian student dissidents like Akbar Mohammedi are treated.

Hateful, destructive, greedy people have always been part of mankind (just ask the Native Americans, if you doubt it) and sadly probably always will be. No one group is immune either, if they get desperate or greedy enough.

I am half Native American, as it happens. :)
You sound like me six months ago. I've changed a lot. One couldn't be philosophical with Hitler or Stalin. I see this threat as being of the same ilk and I think that the sooner we wake up, the better chance we'll have to fight it.

But to reduce the entirety of Hezbollah to a "death cult" when segments of it are dedicated to improving education and health services and the like is to simplify the party in a counter-productive way, in my opinion.

I felt that way, too, in the past. I even felt sorry for Arafat once upon a time. For all the good that Hezbollah does, ask yourself why it allows its citizens to take the brunt of the Israeli military attacks? Why does it provide social services and then hide in bunkers beneath these very civilians, and then parade the dead children for the news media to see? Doesn't that seem callous and calculating to you? I agree with this guy. (My last link, promise!)

Okay, I think I've expressed myself in a nutshell. At least you know where I'm coming from. Thanks, Edward, for reaching out.

BTW, I'd love to know how your family feels about the situation. I hear all sides over at Sandmonkey's, Lebanese Bloggers, etc - from Muslims and Westerners alike.

(I agree with Stan LS and Sebastian, but I don't fault you for your opinions. I was there myself only a little while ago.)

HAH! Edward, how long would you and your husband last in Hezbollah land or any other Muslim state??? You are comparing apples and oranges here!

I'm so tired of that argument. If you took the time to realize that my husband is the product of a moderate Muslim state, you'd have your answer. I truly felt more at home and welcome and accepted in Turkey (a Muslim state) than I do in Red parts of Ohio, which isn't to say I'm ignorant about how gays are murdered in Iran and other Muslim states, just that your sweeping statement is poorly considered.

You'll have a point if you can name a single palestinian suicide bomber who was not affiliated with a terrorist group.

Why do you limit it to Palestinian? The bombers in Madrid and those in London were not affiliated with any terrorist group, per se. They were homegrown...individuals who chose to respond to world events with violence without direction from any group.

moving on....

Why won't Israel spawn off a "militia arm" and deploy it in northern Israel and let it operate freely, rocketing Lebanon, crossing into the Lebanese territory, etc.

You know, switch out just a few words there and you've got the plot for a Steven Spielberg movie.

Well, then let's not reduce Hitler to a simple murderer, did you know that he painted postcards and wanted to become an architect?

And there it is. The conflation of an individual with a group. The laziness I abhor.

Is Hezbollah an invidual, like Hitler? Have I suggested in anyway that each and every member of Hezbollah is a good person? No, I noted very specifically that I support Israel's targeting of individual terrorists.

What I oppose is labeling Hezbollah a "death cult." And not because I care about the feelings of individual party members (I actually feel they should break with the party on princple, but that's easy for me, with my health insurance and food on my table, etc., to say), BUT because it's counterproductive. It's fooder for the Hezbollah PR machine "look at what they said about my mother...they called her, a loyal Hezbollah voter, a death cultist."

It's lazy and harmful. It should stop. For Israel's sake.

Edward,

We posted at the same time! Whoops.

Turkey is beautiful, I hear. And moderate/secular in comparison to other places.

I think it's the education of the Islamist terrorists that makes the difference - the madrassas. That's why we see them as part of a group of brainwashed, hate-filled people.

I've read plenty of moderate Muslim blogs and know moderate Muslims. They are nothing like them. I understand how you would be sensitive to this "labelling" and this is one of the reasons that this issue gets heated and garbled.

Sending this now!

Uncle Kvetch,

"Israel survives in large part thanks to the enormous largesse of the American taxpayer. It's one thing to say that you're comfortable with the idea Israel existing indefinitely as a fortress state. It's quite another to say that the US should indefinitely foot the bill. Are you saying both of these, or just the first part?"

I am saying the first. Whether the US will support Israel is a decision that the US, acting in its own interests needs to make.

Edward: did the two of you get married?

Oops. My last link wasn't there. It was the UN Official who said,
"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."

Of course he criticized Israel too for being disproportionate, but that's an issue that one hears nonstop on the media. True?

Edward_, you've been hanging out at Tbogg's haven't you? :)

Stan LS, assigning collective guilt to an entire nation based on the activities of some of its members, or leaders, isn't a path you should go down - unless you intend to ally yourself with those who say the US deserved the 9/11 attacks because of the foreign policies pursued by our democratically-elected leaders, and by which token deserves any terrorist attacks we suffer in the future.

After devoting a lot of hard thought to what Israel is doing to Lebanon, the conclusion I've come to hurts me deeply. I'm Jewish, I'm pro-Israel, and my criticism of Israeli policies in the past have mostly focused on the effect they have on its national soul. Over the past couple of weeks, I've defended Israel's actions, repeating (and believing) the same justifications Israel itself, and others, have offered.

I can't do that anymore. What Israel is doing to Lebanon is a crime; an atrocity. Pure and simple.

(I agree with Stan LS and Sebastian, but I don't fault you for your opinions. I was there myself only a little while ago.)

All that great communication just to end on a condescending note. ~sigh~

Just because your position has changed doesn't make it more enlightened, Bec.

One chooses to allow the overwhelming challenge of remaining open to change to make them write off large segments of the world, it's not a logical conclusion in any way at all though. It's a personal choice.

I choose to watch my back, but reach out my hand. It sounds trite phrased that way (it's been a long day), but it's the best metaphor I can come up with at the moment.

Once you start resigning yourself to the notion that Islam is the problem you actually serve to make matters worse. The Muslims I know are among the most generous, kind-hearted, fun-loving, family-oriented, hard-working people I've ever met. That kind of personality cannot emerge from a culture of death, so to generalize in such terms is an insult.

Of course all that still leaves what to do about the groups of extremists out there.

Killing them only spawns more. So rather than just a stick, I think a carrot is called for. We're dealing with a resentment of modernization when all is said and done. A resentment borne out of policies that prop up oppressive dictators (e.g., what we were doing in Iran in the 50s is a travesty we should still apologize for). The concept of time is very differnt in Muslim cultures. 1950 was just yesterday to them. They still don't trust the US won't derail their attempts at deomcracy for our oil companies' best interests. None of which excuses the killing of innocents, but if we want to stop it, we should try harder to understand it (as opposed to just labeling them as "evil" or whatever, which doesn't solve sh*t).

I wish Bush had not invaded Iraq, but spent a quarter of that money on building up Afghanistan, proving that we were behind their fledgling democracy. That example might have been the best possible response to 9/11.

Edward: did the two of you get married?

Hilzoy, we would most definitely have invited you if we had. Bambino has taken to calling me his Husband for clarity, and I'm supporting his decision by following suit. Should Spitzer not get the Governorship, we might consider moving to Mass., but until then we're still just recongized as domestic partners by the state.

Truth be told, I'm just weary of calling him something that makes others feel better, when I know in my heart who he is to me.

I truly felt more at home and welcome and accepted in Turkey (a Muslim state) than I do in Red parts of Ohio

Are you saying that you felt more welcome/accepted in *every* part of Turkey then in some parts of Ohio?

just that your sweeping statement is poorly considered.

It's your comparison that's sweeping. We are discussing hezbollah here, and you decide to introduce the fact that your husband is a Muslim here as if his Islam is the same as Hezbollah's Islam and you can somehow relate to Hezbollah through him.

The bombers in Madrid and those in London were not affiliated with any terrorist group, per se.

I dont' recall at the moment if they were official card carrying members of Al Qaeda, but did they not follow a certain groups ideology?

Is Hezbollah an invidual, like Hitler?

What does that matter? Is Hezbollah's goal not destruction of the state of Israel? Did Nasrallah not say "It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth."? What about
"if they all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."? So...

Have I suggested in anyway that each and every member of Hezbollah is a good person?

...given the above quotes from Nasrallah can you say that *any* of Hezbollah members is a "good person"?

look at what they said about my mother...they called her, a loyal Hezbollah voter, a death cultist.

But Edward, that only works with liberals. Americans get called all kinds of names and yet we still dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to countries that are against us. Have you ever seen how they treat Americans and Jews in their media????? Why do you accept this double standard? Are you saying that muslims are subhuman? Should we start treating them like dogs - "he bit you, cause he's scared!". Do you not expect them to be rational?

It's lazy and harmful.

No, it's not. Language is used to communicate reality, and just because you don't like the reality doesn't mean that you change it by changing the language with which you describe it. I know UN wont' say it, but Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. I know many won't say this, but terrorists are scum. Telling young males who are brought up in a sexually repressed society, that they will get 72 virgins if they blow themselves up in a crowd of civilians is *evil*. What's lazy and harmful is pretending that its not.

CaseyL,

Stan LS, assigning collective guilt to an entire nation

I am not. I think Israel shoudl go in and destroy Hezbollah and not get out until Lebanon deploys its troops on the border.

ally yourself with those who say the US deserved the 9/11 attacks because of the foreign policies pursued by our democratically-elected leaders,

What does it matter what I think wether we deserved it or not? My opinion is not entirely objective, right :) What's important is that they attacked us in a cowardly way, by killing civilians. They started this war and we must see it through.

What Israel is doing to Lebanon is a crime; an atrocity. Pure and simple.

Israel must have flown 5,000-6,000 sorties by now. What's the civilian toll? 400? Do the math. Any civilian casualties are regrettable ofcourse, but let's keep in mind that the guilty party is Hezbollah. Their cowardly ways of hiding in civilian areas have been documented.

You lack a perspective. There hasn't been a war in which civilians haven't died. I wonder how WW2 would be viewed had the internet been aroudn back then...


We're so many miles apart on this Stan...it's really surprising I like you as much as I do.

We are discussing hezbollah here, and you decide to introduce the fact that your husband is a Muslim here as if his Islam is the same as Hezbollah's Islam and you can somehow relate to Hezbollah through him.

That explains a lot.

It's the opposite really. I don't care about relating to Hezbollah (I stated that above). I personally write off everyone who resorts to terrorism, whether Muslim, Christian, or whatever. I have a zero tolerance for the individuals stupid and heartless enough to go there.

The groups, on the other hand, are more complicated. To compare Hezbollah to Hitler (rather than the Nazis, which is a much better comparison) is meaningless to me. You argue that language is good for communicating reality (wait, I'm having a post-structuralism lesson deja vu...ahhhh, there... it's passing...), but you refuse to use it precisely. Groups represent such a range of individuals (consider the al Qaida members who were so horrified by 9/11 they turned informant), that terms like "evil" only serve as wedges.

just because you don't like the reality doesn't mean that you change it by changing the language with which you describe it

That's 100% wrong, IMO. You very much change it by changing the language you use.

It's the opposite really. I don't care about relating to Hezbollah (I stated that above).

Ok, that's contradictory. I meant I don't care aboutg relating to terrorists, whether part of Hezbollah or otherwise.

I choose to watch my back, but reach out my hand. It sounds trite phrased that way (it's been a long day), but it's the best metaphor I can come up with at the moment.

It has been a long day. I would say, I'm happy to accept a person no matter what what their religion, gender, nationality - whatever. My only request is that they not make it their bounden duty to kill innocents. It's the best that I can come up with at the moment.

Sorry about the condescension. I was patronizing, too. I was hastening to "protect" you from Stan LS and Sebastian, after you had accidentally "outed" yourself! (I do put my foot in it sometimes.) I really was where you are six months ago. And I don't feel angry toward you for your (to me) mistaken view of things. But then...to jump from there to saying I'm enlightened? Nah. Just worried sick. If you could prove me wrong, I'd be awfully happy.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

I see this as unattainable and maybe I wouldn't even want this as I had once thought. However, I can imagine young people raised without hatred. Can you? I can see Israeli children and Turkish children and so many others out there in a field with flowers. But there are other children who will not be there with them. I want to bring them into the circle, too. How, when they are taught to hate from such a young age?

someotherdude,
"Are you suggesting that morality is relative to culture?"
Am I? How so?
Posted by: Stan LS | August 03, 2006 at 08:40 PM

You seem to be suggesting or implying that because of whom [?] and what Israel is, their murder and mayhem is quite different than the murder and mayhem committed by Hezbo’allah.

Since Israel is the type of culture and ethnicity you approve of, their actions must be judged by a different set of moral laws and the cultures you do not approve of (at worse they are wicked at best you do not like their theories concerning political science) should be judged by a different moral law.

No snark, just curious?

This is a common tactic among gangs to gain local support while continuing their murderous ways. See for example Al Capone or the Medellin drug cartel. So it might not be fair to reduce the Party of God to a death cult... but it would be fair to compare it to a bunch of murderous thugs.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw | August 03, 2006 at 09:15 PM

Are you suggesting collective punishment for the neighborhoods that these criminal gangs live in?

In understand Manhattan and Beverly Hills houses notorious criminals as does Compton and the Bronx…we should just teach those towns lessons about hiding criminal gangs.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad