Nothing Left

What's with the lovefest for Hezbollah?

When Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated earlier this month in Damascus, the collateral damage was felt in academic departments, newsrooms, think tanks, and cafes far and wide. That's because it quickly became apparent how wrong many of the alleged "experts" writing about the militant Shiite organization had been.

At Mughniyeh's funeral, Hezbollah leaders placed him in a trinity of party heroes "martyred" at Israeli hands. The secretary general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, vowed "open war" against Israel in retaliation. Tens of thousands of people attended the ceremony, and for days Hezbollah received condolences. Iranian officials stepped over each other to condemn the assassination, many of them affirming that Israel's demise was inevitable. In the midst of all this one thing was plain: Mughniyeh was a highly significant figure in Hezbollah, and the party didn't hide it.

And yet over the years, an embarrassing number of writers and academics with some access to Hezbollah dutifully relayed what party cadres had told them about Mughniyeh: He was unimportant and may even have been a figment of our imagination. It was understandable that Hezbollah would blur the trail of so vital an official, but how could those writing about the party swallow this line without pursuing the numerous sources that could confirm details of Mughniyeh's past? Their fault was laziness, and at times tendentiousness.

Hezbollah is adept at turning contacts with the party into valuable favors. Writers and scholars, particularly Westerners, who lay claim to Hezbollah sources, are regarded as special for penetrating so closed a society. That's why their writing is often edited with minimal rigor. Hezbollah always denied everything that was said about Mughniyeh, and few authors (or editors) showed the curiosity to push further than that. The mere fact of getting such a denial was considered an achievement in itself, a sign of rare access, and no one was about to jeopardize that access by calling Hezbollah liars.

But there was more here than just manipulation. The Mughniyeh affair highlights a deeper problem long obvious to those who follow Hezbollah: The party, though it is religious, autocratic, and armed to the teeth, often elicits approval from secular, liberal Westerners who otherwise share nothing of its values. This reaction, in its more extreme forms, is reflected in the way many on the far left have embraced Hezbollah's militancy, but also that of other Islamist groups like Hamas or Islamic Jihad—thoroughly undermining their ideological principles in the process.

The primary emotion driving together the far-left and militant Islamists, but also frequently prompting secular liberals to applaud armed Islamic groups as well, is hostility toward the United States, toward Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, and, more broadly, toward what is seen as Western-dominated, capitalist-driven globalization.

Fred Halliday, himself a man of the left, wrote scathingly of the dangers in the accommodation between Islamists and the left based on a perception of shared anti-imperialism: "All of this is—at least to those with historical awareness, skeptical political intelligence, or merely a long memory—disturbing. This is because its effect is to reinforce one of the most pernicious and inaccurate of all political claims, and one made not by the left but by the imperialist right. It is also one that underlies the U.S.-declared ‘war on terror' and the policies that have resulted from 9/11: namely, that Islamism is a movement aimed against 'the west.'"

A bizarre offshoot of this trend has been the left's elevation of Islamist "resistance" to the level of a fetish. You know something has gone horribly wrong when the writer and academic Norman Finkelstein volunteers to interpret Hezbollah for you, before prefacing his comments with: "I don't care about Hezbollah as a political organization. I don't know much about their politics, and anyhow, it's irrelevant. I don't live in Lebanon."

In a recent interview on Lebanese television, Finkelstein made it a point of expressing his "solidarity" with Hezbollah, on the grounds that "there is a fundamental principle. People have the right to defend their country from foreign occupiers, and people have the right to defend their country from invaders who are destroying their country. That to me is a very basic, elementary and uncomplicated question."

It is indeed uncomplicated if you remain mulishly unwilling to move beyond the narrow parameters you've set for discussion. But the reality is that Hezbollah is an immensely complicated question in Lebanon, where a majority of people are at a loss about what to do with a heavily armed organization that has no patience for state authority, that refuses to hand its weapons over to the national army, that is advancing an Iranian and Syrian agenda against the legal Lebanese government, and that functions as a secretive Shiite paramilitary militia in a country where sectarian religious assertiveness often leads to conflict. That many Lebanese should have seen Finkelstein praise what they feel is Hezbollah's most dangerous attributes was surpassed in its capacity to irritate only by the fact that he lectured them on how armed resistance was the sole option against Israel, regardless of the anticipated destruction, "unless you choose to be [Israeli] slaves—and many people here have chosen that."

But Finkelstein is no worse than Noam Chomsky, or that clutter of "progressive" academics and intellectuals who, at the height of the carnage during the 2006 Lebanon war, signed on to a petition declaring their "conscious support for the Lebanese national resistance," described resistance as "an intellectual act par excellence" and condemned the Lebanese government for having distanced itself from Hezbollah, even though the party had unnecessarily provoked a devastating Israeli military onslaught that led to the death of over 1,200 people.

This behavior comes full circle especially for the revolutionary fringe on the left, which seems invariably to find its way back to violence. In the same way that Finkelstein can compare Hezbollah admiringly to the Soviet Red Army and the communist resistance during World War II ("it was brutal, it was ruthless"), he sees in resistance a quasi-religious act that brooks no challenge, even from its likely victims. What is so odd in Finkelstein and those like him is that the universalism and humanism at the heart of the left's view of itself has evaporated, to be replaced by categorical imperatives usually associated with the extreme right: blood; honor; solidarity; and the defense of near-hallowed land.

Blind faith in the service of total principle is what makes those like Finkelstein and Chomsky so vile. But their posturing is made possible because of the less ardent secular liberal publicists out there who surrender to the narratives that Islamists such as Hezbollah, Hamas, or others peddle to them—lending them legitimacy. That's because modern scholarship, like liberalism itself, refuses to impose Western cultural standards on non-Westerners. Fine. But as the Mughniyeh case shows, when Islamists dominate the debate affecting them, there are plenty of fools out there dying to be tossed a bone.

reason
contributing editor Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon.

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  • Drake||

    I'll take Hezbollah over the State of Israel any day of the week.

  • ||

    "I'll take Hezbollah over the State of Israel any day of the week."

    As someone who often argues against Israel's positions here on H&R I think hte above comment to be crazy. I take the side of Israel when they are right, and against them when they are wrong, and the same for Hezbollah. I would think that if a left-wing, or right-wing for that matter academic happens to find Hezbollah to be in the right in some specific instance then that hardly makes him in their camp.

  • ||

    Uggh, just read the Young article...For Young to write about the Israeli attacks that caused 1,200 deaths without any hint of criticism of Israel (you know, the ones who did those attacks) is ballsy even for the "US/Israel always right and now let me tell you how I understand the Arab street" Young...It's folks like Young who make Chomsky and Finkelstein seem like level headed fair-minded observers...Sheesh

  • ||

    Just curious, MNG: How many rocket attacks per day should Israel absorb before it takes any kind of effective military response?

    Who is ultimately responsible for what happens in Lebanon? Israel, or the Lebanese government that asserts sovereignty over Lebanon? Who should be held responsible for the predictable results of Hez rocketing civilians in Israel from inside Lebanon?

    Yeah, its a shame that 1,200 Lebanese died. But do you really think the would be dead today if Hez hadn't been rocketing the Israelis?

  • ||

    Thanks for reading the article MNG so I don't have to. I figured that would be about it.

  • ||

    Michael Young tells us that you're either with us or with the terrorists.

    RC,

    You do know that the Israeli attack on Lebanon greatly INCREASED the rocket attadcks, right? That they launched that offensive in response to the capture of two of its soldiers, and not rocket attacks, right?

  • ||

    Which means the answer to the question

    But do you really think the would be dead today if Hez hadn't been rocketing the Israelis?

    is "Yes."

  • ||

    Also, I was unaware that the 1200 dead Lebanese civilians were all government employees.

    But that's probably because they weren't.

    I'm not sure what's more libertarian: collective punishment of civilians for the acts of other civilians, or collective punishment of civilians for the acts of their government.

  • Episiarch||

    I love Michael Young posts. The beatdown in the comments section always makes me wonder if he reads the threads like the other writers obviously do.

    Now, if he'd get into it here, that would be entertainment.

  • Gui||

    Hezbollah, is arabic for termites.

    So how do you pro-Hezbollah types justify them even being in Lebanon? Are they there at the invitation of the Lebanese government / people? Would you be okay with Hezbollah setting up shop in the US and shooting rockets at Canada? If it's okay for the Lebanese to accept them in their country then certainly it would be okay for you Americans too. Right?

  • stuartl||

    joe, you are kidding aren't you?

    What is the appropriate response to another country allowing regular rocket attacks and then capturing some of your soldiers?

    Just grin and bear it? Or is there some formula for a precise and appropriate response that is guaranteed to work?

  • Colin||

    Drake would probably also take Hezbollah over the State of America. And he'd be one of the first they'd eliminate.

    The Left likes Hezbollah because they like anything runs counter to an established conservative order.

  • Neu Mejican||

    any kind of effective military response?

    Is there an effective military response? The IDF certainly hasn't found it.

  • ||

    Israel can react however they please to whomever they want. They're a sovreign nation.

    I don't think, however, they have a right to expect the United States to fund them or be their personal cheerleader at the UN.

  • ||

    Nobody is entirely blameless in this. Not Israel, not Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government, not even the Lebanese civilians. Israel took their retaliation/self defense way too far and killed too many people without achieving any progress. Hezbollah may do some good for Lebanese people, but they are hate-mongering murderers who will never stop call for attacks on Israel. The Lebanese government is responsible for what goes on inside it's borders, though they may be unable to control Hezbollah, that does not excuse their responsibility. And the Lebanese people who house and support Hezbollah and share their jew-hating ideals can hardly be called innocent civilians when Israel retaliates/defends herself.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And the Lebanese people who house and support Hezbollah and share their jew-hating ideals can hardly be called innocent civilians when Israel retaliates/defends herself.

    The trick the IDF hasn't figured out, is distinguishing between these and they majority of the Lebanese civilians.

  • ||

    NM,
    I feel really dirty trying to say that one civilian death is better than another. That said, my understanding was that most of the bombing during the Israel offensive against Hezbollah took place in parts of the country where the populace is very pro-Hezbollah.
    i might be wrong.

  • Kolohe||

    The suprising thing to me at least about this article is the assertion that Mughniyeh is not a big poo-bah in hezbollah. I think the official position of the united states government is that he was a pretty big deal even at the time of his death. But I have not got a chance to read Young's link-thru's

  • ||

    Of course I read the threads Episiarch, and take bets on how many comments before someone calls me a mass murderer or brings up a topic related to World War II. Haven't lost yet.

  • nameless joe baiter||


    stuartl | February 28, 2008, 1:11pm | #
    joe, you are kidding aren't you?



    joe doesn't kid about stuff like this... and when anyone questions him when he knows he's "right" - he'll start calling you nasty names and go all flame on ya.


    Colin | February 28, 2008, 1:15pm | #

    The Left likes Hezbollah because they like anything runs counter to an established conservative order.



    Let me just fix that sentence: The Left joe likes Hezbollah because they like he likes anything (that) runs counter to an established conservative order.

    There, you've got joe...

  • ||

    You do know that the Israeli attack on Lebanon greatly INCREASED the rocket attadcks, right?

    Sure. You can expect that Hez would discharge its rockets when they were in danger of losing them. So? That doesn't answer my questions about the responsibility of the various parties.

    That they launched that offensive in response to the capture of two of its soldiers, and not rocket attacks, right?

    That was certainly the political trigger within Israel. However, it doesn't change the fact that Hez was also rocketing Israel before and after the "capture". This observation also doesn't answer my questions about the responsibilities of the parties involved.

    I find it a little ingenuous to refer to the Israeli soldiers as "captured". Hez is not a sovereign nation, and as such was not at war with Israel. Thus, when Hez crossed the border and seized these soldies, I believe the term "kidnapping" is more accurate than "capture.

  • ||

    Michael Young | February 28, 2008, 1:29pm | #
    Of course I read the threads Episiarch, and take bets on how many comments before someone calls me a mass murderer or brings up a topic related to World War II. Haven't lost yet.



    Psst Michael, if you are willing to cut me in on the winnings (...take bets... Haven't lost yet.) I'll call you a Nazi/Fascist/genocidal mass murderer right here and now.

  • Paul||

    Israel acted foolishly in the response to Hezbollah, which is precisely what Hezbollah (and other organizations like them) want.

    It's unfortunate for the Lebanese civilians, and it's unfortunate for Israel.

    The fact of the matter is that Israel is going to be condemned no matter what action they take. However, Israel shouldn't use this as an excuse to simly indiscriminately bomb everything because they know they're going to be criticized anyway.

    Having said that, to expect Israel to have no response, or only a diplomatic one when their soldiers are being captured and they're absorbing rocket attacks is just plain foolish.

  • LarryA||

    It would be really interesting if, one bright morning, the Israelis woke up and said, "Enough is enough. We're going to buy Baja California and move."

    The day after they left, all the Arabs would throw a huge celebration. About the time the bullets they fired into the air hit the ground, they'd go back to killing each other.

    And the liberal professors would say, "Oh, dear. Look what Israel and the U.S. caused."

  • Ali||

    The day after they left, all the Arabs would throw a huge celebration. About the time the bullets they fired into the air hit the ground, they'd go back to killing each other.

    When did they do that? LarryA, that is such a collectivist and cruel thing to say! Unless of course you mean they killed each other like in the American civil war, or the Spanish civil war, or loyalists versus Americans in 1812, French against French in the revolution, etc.

  • Ali||

    Oh, and I forgot, of course to add "like European vs. European in WWII."

  • Ali||

    Of course, amiss from this discussion is the possibility that the Lebanese tolerate of the militant, racist, terroristic HA as a reaction to the Israelis toleration of militant, racist, terroristic Israeli paramilitaries and terrorist groups (haggana, to name one) that existed in the formative years of the Israeli state. Of course the militancy, racism and intolerance of the latter does not justify the former. Both are bloodthirsty bastards. But putting all the blame on one side while coming up with all sorts of excuses for the party you're supporting does not make either right. In fact it only blinds you. So keep up with the blind support here and there, and somehow peace will come to the middle east. If it never comes around, its always easy to blame the other side*.

    * It is funny how those who criticize the liberals and the Arabs for always blaming the West for the demise of the Palestinians is sooooo similar to those Israeli-supporters who blame none except the Arabs and the liberals for the demise of Israel. Ha!

  • Paul||

    When did they do that? LarryA, that is such a collectivist and cruel thing to say! Unless of course you mean they killed each other like in the American civil war, or

    Ali, LarryA was visualizing a mock scenario. Hezbollah, Hamas et. al. are famous for firing their AK's into the air in "celebration". LarryA is suggesting that sans Israel, the Arabs would continue (and return to) their centuries old tribal warfare patterns and find a new (old) reason to kill eachother, instead of blaming Israel for everything.

  • GILMORE||

    In unrelated news, Hamas fires rockets into Israel again today

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/world/middleeast/29mideast.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    Unfortunately, retaliatory airstrikes failed to kill any American liberal-arts college professors. Just some kids watching the guys "resist" israel.

    I think the best thing one can say about the whole Israel/Palestine/Neighborhood issue is this =

    "The deserve one another"

  • ||

    stuartl,

    What is the appropriate response to another country allowing regular rocket attacks and then capturing some of your soldiers? Why, launching your own rocket attacks onto apartment buildings in order to create a four-digit civilian death toll, of course. I'm sorry, did I not make that clear enough?

    I'm not demanding absolute precision in the targeting of military installations. Just a good-faith effort.

  • GILMORE||

    @#$&@#$

    "They deserve"

  • ||

    Gui,

    I don't know any "pro-Hezbollah types," but if I may:

    So how do you pro-Hezbollah types justify them even being in Lebanon?

    Because they're Lebanese? And keep getting elected?

  • Ali||

    Paul, I still don't get it. Give me one example where "all the Arabs" (and I am quoting LarryA here) or a big chunk of them killed each others like savages. The infighting between the Palestinian factions is a modern thing. In fact, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, they rarely fought each other prior to the 20th century (which is not true of other Arab regions, I grant you that, but in those cases it is no different than any infighting between any other groups of people throughout history). In any case, LarryA's comment, as stated, comes across as very condescending. Libertarian disclaimer: "I respect the right of LarryA to say whatever he wants as much as my right to express the fact that what he said was offensive must be respected."

  • stuartl||

    he'll start calling you nasty names and go all flame on ya.

    I don't think joe will flame me. Even though I may have done a little joe-baiting, I think he will understand my point that the situation is very complex. Short of one side just giving up there is no easy solution for Israel, the Lebanese government, or the west. It doesn't take much effort to point out mistakes every group has made in the region.

    As Michael Young points out:
    But the reality is that Hezbollah is an immensely complicated question in Lebanon, where a majority of people are at a loss about what to do with a heavily armed organization that has no patience for state authority, that refuses to hand its weapons over to the national army, that is advancing an Iranian and Syrian agenda against the legal Lebanese government, and that functions as a secretive Shiite paramilitary militia in a country where sectarian religious assertiveness often leads to conflict.

    LarryA's is the best solution I've seen in a while, but we'd have to get Disney to build a Jerusalem theme park for the Passover Seder.

  • GILMORE||

    Because they're Lebanese? And keep getting elected?

    Joe, you ever read "Beirut to Jerusalem"?

  • I luv dum ppl||

    "When did they do that? LarryA"

    It IS what Hamas did (and is doing) in Gaza.

  • Ali||

    Gilmore- Israel killed 150+ Palestinians over the last few days, including bystanders and children. That does not justify the barbarity of Hamas, but if you're giving some news, give it complete.

  • alan||

    "I'll take Hezbollah over the State of Israel any day of the week."

    Personally, I would not be caught dead supporting either side. Before any one can finger wag 'moral equivelance', the
    simple truth of the matter is if the Israelis had any interest in peace, the government would not have allowed, encouraged, and subsidized settlements in occupied territory.

    Also, Hezbollah has a history of blurring the distinctions between guerrilla warfare, and terrorism and the type of extortion against civilians one expects of criminal organizations.

    I plead neutrality in the matters of old world tribalism I'm only interested in it because a portion of my taxes goes to ensuring that the outcome of these conflicts is actually worse than they otherwise would be.

  • Ali||

    alan- amen my friend!

  • alan||

    for the sake of decent grammar, that should read:

    Also, Hezbollah has a history of blurring the distinctions between guerrilla warfare and terrorism. They also engage in the type of extortion against civilians one expects of criminal organizations.

  • ||

    to expect Israel to have no response, or only a diplomatic one when their soldiers are being captured and they're absorbing rocket attacks is just plain foolish.

    Absolutely. At the same time, it is equally foolish to believe that Israel's legitimate right to respond to such provocations justifies the targetting of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

    And even more foolish is the belief that such an act is useful. Remember when the pro-western, Cedar-tree types were more popular thasn Hezbollah among the Lebanese population? That was nice while it lasted.

  • alan||

    cheers Ali, I do find myself in agreement with you on most topics I read on Hit&Run.

  • GILMORE||

    Ali | February 28, 2008, 2:18pm | #
    Gilmore- Israel killed 150+ Palestinians over the last few days, including bystanders and children. That does not justify the barbarity of Hamas, but if you're giving some news, give it complete.


    I posted a link. Was that not enough?

    Post your own link if you think there's a more enlightening news source. Dont complain to me.

    Al-J says "Dozens". Where's your "150" number come from?

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/38D843CC-4209-4643-A04A-F755BDCC01C7.htm

  • ||

    I'll take the State of Israel over Hezbollah any day, if it comes to that.

    Fortunately, I'm neither a six-year-old nor a lobotomy patient, so I can come up with a more intelligent and decent stance than that.

  • GILMORE||

    as I'd said earlier, which is consonent with Alan's comment, they can all go to hell as far as i'm concerned. Holy Land be damned.

  • Gui||

    "Paul, I still don't get it. Give me one example where "all the Arabs" (and I am quoting LarryA here) or a big chunk of them killed each others like savages."

    Darfur, bitch.

  • ||

    GILMORE,

    I started it, then put it down after the Very Serious Author's "Suck. On. This." statement about showing Arabs who's boss made me reconsider the use of my time.

  • ||

    Darfuris aren't Arabs.

    How does somebody manage not to know that?

  • LT Nixon||

    Mr. Young,

    Interesting article thank you. I'm definitely no Hezbollah sympathizer as they are actively targeting US forces, as evidenced by their botched kidnapping in Karbala last year which resulted in 5 US KIAs. Not exactly your garden variety "Workers of the World Unite!" type organization.

  • Gui||

    "Darfur, bitch."

    No wait, I just remembered. That's Arabs killing black folk. My bad.

  • Ali||

    Hilmore- I meant 15+. That was an honest mistake. Of those 28 mentioned in the Al-J article, 8 or 9 were children.

  • Gui||

    The War in Darfur (called by some, including the American Government[1], the Darfur Genocide) is a military conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Unlike the Second Sudanese Civil War, the current lines of conflict are seen to be ethnic and tribal, rather than religious.[2] One side of the armed conflict is composed mainly of the Sudanese military and the Janjawid, a militia group recruited mostly from the Arab Baggara tribes of the northern Rizeigat, camel-herding nomads. The other side comprises a variety of rebel groups, notably the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, recruited primarily from the land-tilling non-Arab Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups. The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided money and assistance to the militia and has participated in joint attacks targeting the tribes from which the rebels draw support.[3] The conflict began in February of 2003.

  • Ali||

    Gui- So does that make "all Arabs" killing each other? FWIW, what happens in Darfur is absolutely barbaric, criminal and should be stopped.

  • Ali||

    Alan- sure, thanks!

  • Gui||

    "or a big chunk of them"

    Your words. Granted "big chuck" is open to interpretation.

  • Gui||

    "FWIW, what happens in Darfur is absolutely barbaric, criminal and should be stopped."

    So what are the Arabs doing to stop it?

  • Ali||

    Gui- I was giving LarryA some slack in case he really did not mean "all Arabs". What's your point?

  • ||

    Without getting into the weeds of the Israel vs. Some Subset of Arabs argument, it is my observation that the Left, broadly speaking, is not supportive of any government that supports US policy, and is supportive of any government that resists US policy. The policies in question, and the nature of the governments in question (democratic vs dictatorial) are usually (though not always) immaterial.

    Hezbollah is anti-US via being anti-Israel. This is why (some) lefties can be seen supporting Hezbollah. Simple, really.

  • ||

    or that of other Islamist groups like Hamas or Islamic Jihad-thoroughly undermining their ideological principles in the process.

    Good one! Seriously, what principles?

  • Ali||

    Gui- What is the world doing to stop it? Plus, where have I been saying that Arabs are innocent angels? I only expressed my distaste for a collectivist offending statement that I do not think is true. "People not killing each other does not automatically make them angels"!

  • Ali||

    If nothing else, Gui, many on this forum know of my criticism of the victomhood (is that not a word? Firefox does not like it) of the Arabs and the complacency of the Arab governments! Many Arabs and Muslims need to grow up and grow some balls!

  • Gui||

    "Gui- I was giving LarryA some slack in case he really did not mean "all Arabs". What's your point?"

    Well Iraq, then. That's Arabs killing Arabs by the thousands. Do you deny Arabs are fighting Arabs in Iraq?

  • Gui||

    "Gui- What is the world doing to stop it?"

    Why is it up to the world? Are you saying Arabs are so impotant that they can't stop killing each other without an "Intervention"?

  • Gui||

    "If nothing else, Gui, many on this forum know of my criticism of the victomhood (is that not a word? Firefox does not like it) of the Arabs and the complacency of the Arab governments!"

    I see. So you ARE saying Arabs are impotant. Man, that's goota be tough to face.

  • Ali||

    Well Iraq, then. That's Arabs killing Arabs by the thousands. Do you deny Arabs are fighting Arabs in Iraq?

    No I do not. But are they killing each other for the joy of it? For the fact that they are Arabs? Not for the fact that there are some serious (in this case) non-ethnic problems? Anyhow, sure that is one case. Is it a social norm among Arabs to go about killing each other? How is that conflict between Iraqis any different than the conflict between protestant and catholic Irish? That does not make all the Irish killing each other because they are Irish, does it?

  • Ali||

    Why is it up to the world? Are you saying Arabs are so impotant that they can't stop killing each other without an "Intervention"?

    No, where have I said that?

    To you, they are all Arabs. So why aren't one kind of Arabs stopping other Arabs from killing someone else? It is like a monolith. It is NOT! Why is that so hard to understand? I mean, shouldn't we, by the same token, expected Europeans outside of Spain to intervene to stop the Spanish civil war? In fact it was the fascist nations of Europe that intervened to support the nacionales.

    And, I certainly do not advocate intervention. Anywhere! With the exception of a stated request by a nation or a group asking for the help of another nation in defense of their property rights. If another nation, with a popular support of the people, decides to intervene, then this is perfectly legitimate an intervention.

    Now you also seem oblivious of the inherent political constraints that prevents Arab leaders from intervening against the government of Sudan. Am I defending those leaders? Hell no! But your blaming of "Arabs" for not intervening in Darfur instead of their corrupt governments tells me that you are either not all that knowledgeable of the workings of the middle east, or that you, well, tend to think of "Arabs" in one "monolithic" way, and that they are all equally... hmmm... let me not put words in your mouth.

  • Gui||

    "But are they killing each other for the joy of it? For the fact that they are Arabs?"

    I actually believe they are. And the fact that Arabs are killing Black Folk in Darfur serves to underscore that belief.

    We are taught in school that there are many different cultures and I would posit that one of the cultural traits of Arabs, be they in Iraq, Afganastan, Egypt, Gaza, Lebanon, etc., they, Arabs, as a people, have a boner for death.

  • Gui||

    "How is that conflict between Iraqis any different than the conflict between protestant and catholic Irish?"

    Protestantism and Catholicism are religions. Arab is not.

  • ||

    Afghans aren't Arabs.

  • Ali||

    I see. So you ARE saying Arabs are impotant. Man, that's goota be tough to face.

    Huh?

  • Gui||

    "Hell no! But your blaming of "Arabs" for not intervening in Darfur instead of their corrupt governments tells me that you are either not all that knowledgeable of the workings of the middle east, or that you, well, tend to think of "Arabs" in one "monolithic" way, and that they are all equally... "

    Yes, that's it. I am just stupid. How convenient for you (and oh so sad for me!).

    So by all means, keep the global kill-machine running. Good luck with that and all...

  • ||

    Quick, now do Iranians!

  • Gui||

    "Afghans aren't Arabs."

    That would be correct. My error. Did I mention I'm stupid? I forget?

  • Gui||

    "Quick, now do Iranians!"

    I love Iranians. We have many here in France. Very decent people.

  • Gui||

    Iranian Addendum -- Very educated and civilized.

  • GILMORE||

    Gui | February 28, 2008, 2:30pm | #

    this guy's an idiot.

    Oh, wait, he already said that himself

    Anybody think his 'footnotes' were funny? I did

  • ||

    Michael Young,

    That's because modern scholarship, like liberalism itself, refuses to impose Western cultural standards on non-Westerners. Fine.

    Of course, putting on the hat of the cynic, one could argue that if one were to make such judgments it would merely lead to arguments over what cultural standards the West holds to.

  • GILMORE||

    Oh, and French.

    tough breaks

  • Ali||

    Gui- I meant no offense, but you do seem to put all Arabs in one basket. I simply that that is not right, and may harm your cause. If you understand something, how are you going to change it? And I really think that your understanding of the middle east is very shallow.

    Regarding my comments about Arabs always blaming the West, you seem to somehow see that as if I am glorifying the Arab race. I am not sure how, so let me clarify. What I was saying is that as long as Arabs keep blaming others, they are bound to be stuck in the hellhole that they're in. If they do not grow up and stop getting all mad and crazy on the streets whenever some cartoons are published in Denmark, how would one expect that they advance? But the same way I criticize Arabs for their plaing the victim to everything the West does, I also blame some (not all, otherwise I will, yes, be a "stupid" collectivist ;-) ) in the West who blame only Arabs and Palestinians for all the problems in the middle east. Neither is right!

  • Daldude||

    Let's try to put ourselves in the position of the Palestinians for a moment. Imagine that some powerful outside entity (extra-terrestrials, if you like) decide to annex a large swath of America's most productive regions and give them to some other cultural group - a group that just happens to have been our mortal enemies for generations, with fundamental ideological differences (we'll use communists for this scenario). Even if these communists had been the subjects of horrible persecution and genocide by some other nation, and were given our lands as restitution and insurance against future persecution, its unlikely that any of us would find that of much comfort - especially as foreign soldiers were removing us from our homes and businesses by gunpoint.
    Its very likely that many of us would react violently, and justifiably so, and that many of us would be driven to publicly rail against all commies everywhere (unjust, but understandable). It's also quite likely in that the earliest and strongest opposition to this occupation might come from certain American militant groups (especially if they were already organized, well-armed and morally ruthless prior to the occupation) - the White Supremacists, for example, who would capitalize on this anti-communist sentiment and preexisting organization to become the predominant force of resistance. Imagine that the communist occupiers use these incidents of violent rebellion, anti-communist rhetoric, and support of the racist-led resistance as justification to seize much of the land we have left, and to engage in long-term systematic oppression, which might appear to us as having the ultimate intent of either relegating Americans to the status of a permanent subservient underclass, or wiping us out altogether (especially in light of our daily encounters with bigoted and power-drunk soldiers, and the fact that certain occupation leaders had expressly stated that intent).

    In this scenario, it seems likely that many Americans - as well as sympathetic foreign liberals and civil rights activists - would suspend their revulsion for the Supremacist's racist principles for the sake of fighting the greater and more immediate evil of murderous tyranny. It's also seems probable that the likes of Michael Young or other Reason contributors would not only lavish praise on these foreign supporters for their "solidarity" with the resistance, but accuse any left-wingers who did not express their support as being hypocritical, morally bankrupt, and lacking in "categorical imperatives" - imperatives such as finding active genocide, tyranny, and systematic enslavement to be somewhat more important than racial intolerance, at least in the immediate term.

    "We are dying by the 1000s over here, and you want condemn us for being violent!" such a Reason article might say. "Our women are raped, our men humiliated, and our property seized on a daily basis, and you sit there blathering about your conscience not allowing you to support a resistance led by racists! Get your goddamn priorities straight! Hell, if you actually helped us end the atrocities and regain our independence - or at the very least stopped giving our oppressors all your military, financial, and political support - we'd likely oust these extremists on our own. Instead, you've got self-righteous columnists condemning those few of you with the moral clarity and courage to merely empathize with our ongoing tragedy, thus insuring that we have no option but to give our support to the cruelest and most violent members of our society - because they are the only ones actually fighting for our survival!"

    It's interesting how being the one with the boot on your neck - or at least imagining that you are the one with the boot on your neck - puts things in a different perspective…

  • ||

    Love this "libertarian" magazine that employs a rabid neo-conservative as their foreign policy-guy and refers to the most popular libertarian candidate running for office as "far right." This is why I have stopped subscribing to your rag, you guys just want to fit in with the douchebags you have happy hour with in DC and LA. Stop ruining a once excellent magazine, go work for New Republican or something, please!

  • Hal||

    ""We are dying by the 1000s over here, and you want condemn us for being violent!""

    Everyone is dying over imaginary lines, be they geographical or ancestral.

  • ||

    I'm not demanding absolute precision in the targeting of military installations. Just a good-faith effort.

    Of course, when Hez insists on setting up its rocket launchers next to schools and apartment buildings, the results of the good faith effort are likely to include a lot of collateral damage.

  • Wendy||

    "We are dying by the 1000s over here, and you want condemn us for being violent!"

    Nonviolence worked for both Gandhi and King.

  • ||

    stuartl | February 28, 2008, 1:11pm | #

    "joe, you are kidding aren't you?

    What is the appropriate response to another country allowing regular rocket attacks and then capturing some of your soldiers?

    Just grin and bear it? Or is there some formula for a precise and appropriate response that is guaranteed to work?"

    no clearly the appropriate response is to take out the most secular Islamic neghbor of Iran and then allow the Shiites to start committing genocide on the Sunnis. Then let the turks come in and do a beat down on those troublesome Kurds who seem to be ready for another chemical weapons attack(compliments of US imperialism)...then give 30 billion dollars in weapons to the radicalizing agent know as "the house of Saud"...once we do all that we should give a bunch of weapons and money to Israel, but tell them not to use them because we have a lot of extra cannon fodder over here in the states we need to get rid of and Israel taxpayers aren't dumb enough to pay for the ridiculous military contracts to Halliburton and Blackwater that Americans will just eat up.

    and if you think all of this is a bad idea then you clearly love Hezbollah and are probably a anti-semite...it is a good thing William F Buckly got rid of all those racist anti-semites like ron paul who don't like giving 30 billion dollar deals to freedom loving Burka-libertarians in Saudi Arabia.

    and if you think any of that 30 billion goes to someone named Bin Laden then you are a conspiracy theorist. get real.

  • Gui||

    "Nonviolence worked for both Gandhi and King."

    There will never be an Arab equivalent.

  • ||

    Joe,
    Us Cosmos like you for havign the same heros as us FDR, Wilson Mandell House etc...but don't you realize that having some big wars is the best way to grow the governemnt budgets and allow us to have some more protections against market failure...if you didn't allow us to have these wars we'd never get all the selfish, racist, rednecks to expand the government enough to achieve our dreams of a more efficient social-libertarian economy.

  • Ali||

    "Nonviolence worked for both Gandhi and King."

    There will never be an Arab equivalent.


    Enough said.

  • Daldude||

    "Nonviolence worked for both Gandhi and King."

    Not so much for the Tibetans, though.

    There's a lot of factors that have to fall into place for the non-violent solution to work. First, you need a truly extraordinary individual like Gandhi or King - people who don't come along very often (and may never again, since tyrants have likely gotten wise to the power of such individuals, and have taken advantage of new advancements in surveilance and intelligence to keep them from ever gaining national prominence). Second, you need a significant segment of sympathetic and conscientious activists within the oppressor's population. Third, you need the morale high ground to get the support of the global community, which is generally gained because the oppressors have a centuries-old history of oppression. The Israelis seem to get a "get out of jail free" card in this regard - likely because they haven't been doing for it that long (yet), still have the sympathetic momentum of the holocaust, and are in the unique position of having a special status in two of the world's most powerful religions...

  • Gui||

    "Enough said."

    So you admit it is true?

  • Bags||

    Unsubscriber | February 28, 2008, 3:47pm | #


    Drink!

  • ||

    R.C. Dean,

    I've never quite understood what the point of attacking the Jiyeh power station was. Do you know why they attacked it?

  • M. Simon||

    Give me one example where "all the Arabs" (and I am quoting LarryA here) or a big chunk of them killed each others like savages.

    I believe the Hamas takeover of Gaza was done that way.

    In fact if you read Wm. Burroughs "Naked Lunch" (Islam Inc. chapter) you will find that Arab hatred of each other and love of suicide bombing is nothing new in inter Arab struggles. The book was published around 1960.

  • Ali||

    "Enough said."

    So you admit it is true?


    That you are a collectivist? Knowing what I know about middle easterners, yes I think it is true that you are a collectivist and that you are dead wrong about your assessments and perspectives of Arab people.

  • ||

    M. Simon,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Burroughs only went to Tangiers. Now Tangiers is in Morocco and most Morrocans are to my knowledge Berbers.

  • Ali||

    Simon,

    How come your reference (published in 1960) asserts that Arab love of suicide attacks on one another "is nothing new" if suicide attacks as practiced by Palestinian terrorists only started in the last quarter of the 20th century?

    If you are referring to regional empires and sovereigns in-fighting for power in history, then how is that any different from the fighting between Europeans since before the dark ages, and leading up to WWII?

  • Daldude||

    "the Arabs would continue (and return to) their centuries old tribal warfare patterns and find a new (old) reason to kill eachother, instead of blaming Israel for everything"

    It particularly galling to me how an ethic group having a history of internal violence and oppression somehow excuses or justifies violence and oppresion from an outside group. Europeans aren't to be held responsible for enslaving Africans because the Africans also did that to each other. Americans have no culpabilty for wiping out the Indians because inter-tribal warfare was common.

    Again, a little outside perspective is needed. If aliens invaded earth, killing and enslaving humanity. Would they be validated simply be saying "Hey, you people do it to yourselves all the time!"

  • Daldude||

    Damn the spell/grammar check! Full speed ahead!

  • ||

    Of course, when Hez insists on setting up its rocket launchers next to schools and apartment buildings, the results of the good faith effort are likely to include a lot of collateral damage.

    In such a circumstance, a good faith effort would cause some collateral damage, but less than we've seen, since a good-faith effort would involve doing something that doesn't involve pancaking the building.

    But a power station? Cell phone towers? This was deliberate collective punishment, and those of you who supported Israel's disproportionate response made it quite clear during the war that you supported that collective punishment. Heck, look upthread - simply living in an area where people voted for Hezbollah is provided as just cause for the Israelis to kill civilians.

    And that is the morality of bin Laden.

  • ||

    Uhhh, Hezbollah was formed to repel the invasion of Lebanon by the IDF. Said invasion lasted years. People don't like being invaded I hear, even if it's by someone you like. They are just so darned hard to convince when it's them being invaded and occupied. Darn 'em!

  • ||

    Joe,
    Come on get with the program....we know that we killed those radical extremsit jihadist and their children on purpose...but come one if you don't agree with it then you are a anti-semite...you don't want to be a anti-semite do you?...did you happen to ghost write for Ron Paul once?

  • StateofIsrael||

    Relax Simon, Gui, and R C Dean, I'm here to help you out . . . woah, I need to sit down for a minute, helping others is not what I do. That was completely out of character to give a damn about anyone else. Okay, I'm out of here -- but you boys better keep at it, ciao

  • Paul||

    the
    simple truth of the matter is if the Israelis had any interest in peace, the government would not have allowed, encouraged, and subsidized settlements in occupied territory.


    I agree with this... kind of. I think it's more complicated than that. Remember when the Western left would defend the imperialistic actions of the Soviets absorbing all the surrounding countries as a reasonable attempt to create a "buffer zone"? I think one might be able to attribute some of settlements to exactly that. There is evidence that the settlements (contrary to Israeli claims) contained military hardware, even tanks. This, to the Arabs was seen as a hostile action. To the Israeli's, this was probably seen as a defensive action. Ie, if rocket attacks started coming in from the surrounding hills, the Israeli's had military capability on the "frontier" immediately. An oversimplification? Probably. But I think it's probably a good starting point.

    Unfortunately, the Palestinian "cause" lost most of its credibility under Arafat- especially in those couple of years before he died. Oh damn, I promised myself I'd endeavor to forget him.

  • Paul||

    It particularly galling to me how an ethic group having a history of internal violence and oppression somehow excuses or justifies violence and oppresion from an outside group.
    Daldude.

    It might in your mind, it doesn't in mine. I think maybe what you're blowing right past is that there is no clear agreement on what's oppression and what's a defensive action.

    To some Arabs, and the organized militants, the very existence of the Israeli state constitutes oppression.

    Although Hamas omitted its call for the destruction of Israel from its election manifesto, calling instead for "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem," several Hamas candidates insisted that the charter remains in force.[41][42] On February 8, Hamas head Khaled Mashal speaking in Cairo had clarified that "Anyone who thinks Hamas will change is wrong", stating that while Hamas is willing for a ceasefire with Israel, its long term goal remains: elimination of Israel by Islam via a jihad against what Hamas sees as Zionist Jewish settler-colonial invaders in all of what he called Palestine.[43]



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

  • Paul||

    Again, a little outside perspective is needed. If [Jews] invaded [the middle east], killing and enslaving [the Palestinians]. Would they be validated simply be saying "Hey, you people do it to yourselves all the time!"

    And with reasoning like this, one can't even get a dialog going.

    I'm taking the liberty of changing "the earth", "aliens" and "humanity" because I'm understanding your remark to draw a straight line analogy between what the state of Israel represents, and your mock scenario. Talk about perspective...

  • Paul||

    There's a lot of factors that have to fall into place for the non-violent solution to work. First, you need a truly extraordinary individual like Gandhi or King -

    Daldude, you think the Palestinians will ever get one?

  • ||

    the simple truth of the matter is if the Israelis had any interest in peace, the government would not have allowed, encouraged, and subsidized settlements in occupied territory.

    This truth is way to simple.

    Israel is not a dictatorship. It's a democratic republic, like ours, with competing political forces. Some of whom want peace, and some of whom have an imperialist, manifest-destiny, theocratic vision of "from the Jordan to the Sea." What's more, settlement activity is the status quo, so shutting it down - especially outside of some deal with the Palestinians that got Israel something in return - would require the expenditure of a great deal of political capital by a peace-inclined leader.

    When discussing Israeli government policy, it's better to think in terms of our own messy, bipartisan, sausage-making politics, and not in terms of the government's action being the expression of a single, unified vision.

  • ||

    I have a fair and novel solution for this mess.

    Vacate everyone from the Holy Land and then Chernobyl the entire area. Get the Wall/Temple, the Dome of the Rock, the shrines of the Christ-Nutters, destroy it all.

    Then let them back in on the glowing sand.

    That would take care of things for a few half-lifes.

    Monotheism is a step backward for mankind - pull the string on it.

  • ala||

    When discussing Israeli government policy, it's better to think in terms of our own messy, bipartisan, sausage-making politics, and not in terms of the government's action being the expression of a single, unified vision.


    When the world gauges the actions of the United States, they would be wise to consider the actual actions of our military and its support infrastructures rather than the intentions of those of us Americans who disagree with the warfare state like you, or I, or Nancy Pelosi, or the majority of Americans, for that matter.

    Likewise, to gauge the intent and seriousness of the state of Israel in seeking peace, you have to look at the permissive acceptance of the settlements by the government.

    As the leftist Israelis academic Ran HaCohen would put it, the question whether or not civilians have control of the military in Israel is a rather allusive proposition.

  • ||

    Paul
    You're just muddying the waters. There are some people who think the mere existence of Israel is oppression (though give them some credit, what they mean is that the European Jews who came in and tried to create a nation where there were folks living for centuries [and where those same European Jews ancestors had not lived for about 20 centuries] did a bad thing and should be forced to leave). But the existence of some state of Israel and the current occupation by Israel of thousands of people, depriving them of self-government, or the invasion of neighboring states like Lebanon, are different matters entirely.

    You use the analogy of Soviet Russia creating a buffer zone. That analogy suits me fine, but perhaps you're missing the bad implications of Israel in that analogy (hint: they are the Soviets and the Palestianians are the Czechs)...

    BTW-I think Israel has the right to strike back whenver Hez or whoever hits them. But some sense of proportion is ethically called for. If you kick my shin I'm not entitled to shoot you in the stomach and then cut off your ears with a machete. Killing 1,200 people and destroying the infrastructure of a struggling democracy is totally out of line in retaliation for the despicable kidnapping of 2 people...

  • GILMORE||

    Ali | February 28, 2008, 2:16pm | #
    Paul, I still don't get it. Give me one example where "all the Arabs" (and I am quoting LarryA here) or a big chunk of them killed each others like savages.


    Well, here's a few examples of them not exactly getting along like brothers in the unified caliphate =

    - Egypt/Yemen/Saudi Arabia in the 60s

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Yemen_Civil_War

    - Syrians/Lebanese vs Themselves in the 70s
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Civil_War

    - Iran/Iraq in the 80s (ok, only 1 being "arab", but then you get...)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_iraq_war

    - Iraq/Kuwait in the 90s
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_invasion_of_Kuwait

    You could also add the '48 fights against Israel, but obviously thats not them fighting *each other*, but is an example of a wide range of Arab countries getting their pissed-offness on against the joos.

    And of course in the pre WWI arab world, it was pretty much tribe on tribe for quite a while.

    I am not busting your balls, but as far as "the peace loving arabs"... it's a stretch to make the case that Arabs havent had serious fraternal struggles in the 20th century. The story of arabs "unifying" during the revolt in WWI ended in intranecine conflict as well. Sykes-Picot was only possible because there wasnt a unified diplomatic front from the Arab parties, really.

    Compared to Europe/Americans? It's not much different longerterm. If you include colonial wars, sure Europe has had a bunch in the last 2 centuries. But there is certainly no history of comity and multilateral diplomacy in the arab states.

  • GILMORE||

    I should probably add the ongoing Iraq civil war, but thats a given.

  • anonymous coward||

    Gee, what a surprise. Of the three bone fide communists I got to know well in my life, (an Amreican, an Englishman, and a German), they all shared a blood lust. In the first two cases combined with a deep father-hatred...don't know about the third.

    So...any wonder that all the other garden variety commies want to see certain "classes" in their native culture slaughtered? They just don't have the balls to do the dirty work themselves.

  • GILMORE||

    anonymous coward | February 28, 2008, 10:29pm | #

    Yeah.

    This guy shows up like, once a month or so on H&R, says something kind of out of context and stupid, then vanishes without defending his dumbness.

    Wasnt the last one something about your racism? Cant remember exactly. You and Chalupa or something were on some silly thing.

  • ||

    So can I say that the left is fucked for supporting Hezbollah?

    Or am I evil now?

    By the way...that is what Young said in his article.

    And the only argument here that I have seen is that Young didn't mention how fucked Israel was for hitting the wrong target in this particular article.

  • ||

    Michael Young tells us that you're either with us or with the terrorists.

    No he doesn't.

    He calls into question lefties support for a Terrorist organization.

  • ||

    Michael Young tells us that you're either with us or with the terrorists.

    What is most funny about this claim is that no where in the article does Young make such a claim but in fact puts up a quote by Finkelstein that is remarkably similar.

    "unless you choose to be [Israeli] slaves-and many people here have chosen that."

    So in other words Finkelstein is saying that you are either with Hezbollah or you are slaves .

    Sure is informative to read that joe supports this view.

  • DOB||

    the simple truth of the matter is if the Israelis had any interest in peace, the government would not have allowed, encouraged, and subsidized settlements in occupied territory.

    Umm, did you miss the withdrawal from Gaza?

    The people of Israel have demonstrated that if there is even the slightest possibility of peace, they are ready to make the difficult decisions. It is a terrible tragedy for all involved that the Palestinians have never had the courage to do the same.

    I never liked the settlements, but the notion that the settlements are the cause of Arab hatred for Israel is nonsense. Those who continue to believe this argument are either ignorant of history or simply delusional.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Pinette | February 28, 2008, 1:27pm | #
    NM,
    I feel really dirty trying to say that one civilian death is better than another. That said, my understanding was that most of the bombing during the Israel offensive against Hezbollah took place in parts of the country where the populace is very pro-Hezbollah.
    i might be wrong.


    Wow.

    Just.

    Wow.

  • ||

    Oh, for crying out loud! Terrorists exist to further their bloodlust. Pure insatiable bloodlust. They will NEVER stop killing because they don't want to. They often use excuses, i.e. occupation, oppresion, racism; defense against (enter culture here)al domination, invasion, to justify mass murder. And that's all the are, excuses. They are no better than war criminals. Why should we treat them differently than say the mass murderers of the Balkan Wars of the 1990's? Since Jihad is a "Holy WAR" and a Crusade is also a "Holy WAR" then there should be War Crimes trials. This is not to say that officers or men from Isreal or any other country should not be investigated or tried for War Crimes. Not at all. What I Am saying is that terrorists are not to be treated as if they are the innocent victims when they go on their killing sprees. They made their choice. They must be held to account for their bloodlust. I would compare them to rabid animals but rabid animals don't have a choice, terrorists do.

  • ||

    Without getting into the weeds of the Israel vs. Some Subset of Arabs argument, it is my observation that the Left, broadly speaking, is not supportive of any government that supports US policy, and is supportive of any government that resists US policy. The policies in question, and the nature of the governments in question (democratic vs dictatorial) are usually (though not always) immaterial.

    Hezbollah is anti-US via being anti-Israel. This is why (some) lefties can be seen supporting Hezbollah. Simple, really.



    That is an accurate summary. Thanks.

  • ||

    And yet over the years, an embarrassing number of writers and academics with some access to Hezbollah dutifully relayed what party cadres had told them about Mughniyeh: He was unimportant and may even have been a figment of our imagination. It was understandable that Hezbollah would blur the trail of so vital an official, but how could those writing about the party swallow this line without pursuing the numerous sources that could confirm details of Mughniyeh's past? Their fault was laziness, and at times tendentiousness.



    Actually, Mr. Young, I think a better description of their fault would be complicity.

  • ||

    Michael Young is right Hezbollah is a bunch of ignorant, fundamentalist, violent, radical, extremist...that is why we must keep supporting the House of Saud and the new shiite government in Iraq. Those two groups will lead the mid-east into a new rationally secular world. On top of that we need to support the good religous state of Israel because they have a better religion.

    It is so clear cut that this is the correct thing to do that we should increase our taxes on the american middle class to help fund these great mid-east regimes. If we can't increase taxes enough to pay for it then we shuold borrow a few trillion from Russia and China and jsut make the amercians pay interest on that debt for the next 100 years.

  • The Expatriate||

    It's Tool Time!:
    Comments from the wing of the Libertarian Party that think the evil "JOOS" are conspiring to rule the world through globalized banking and gun control legislation.

  • alan||

    Umm,

    Yes, please start your rant with the signifier of disbelief that has been time tested at least a hundred million times before you came along. No, it doesn't get more annoying with each iteration of the same damn thing you see on every damn forum on the planet.

    did you miss the withdrawal from Gaza?

    Whoopy-de-shit, on the most choice lands in Palestine even. A quarter million more settlers to go and you may just have a worth while argument to make.

    The people of Israel have demonstrated that if there is even the slightest possibility of peace, they are ready to make the difficult decisions.

    Sounds like a good start there from your description. If they try a hell of a lot harder, they may even deserve a fraction of the billions the US has sent over the last forty years.

    It is a terrible tragedy for all involved that the Palestinians have never had the courage to do the same.

    I'm not sure what to make of this. Pot shot at the poor masses in refugee camps by a Westerner living comfortably in a heated room and a laptop, maybe? For all I know, you scrape together enough money from working forteen hours a day in your village in Timbuktu so you can walk
    ten miles into town and rent a station at an internet cafe for thirty minutes. I kind of doubt it though. Some forms of rhetoric reek of privilege.

    I never liked the settlements, but the notion that the settlements are the cause of Arab hatred for Israel is nonsense.

    After the death of Rabin, the settlement enterprise went into hyper overdrive. That is what spurred the second intifada.


    Those who continue to believe this argument are either ignorant of history or simply delusional.

    I know history all too well, my friend. I can also spot a con job a mile a way, and that is exactly what we have been paying for for the past forty years.

  • ||

    It is hopeless Alan. If we conduct any rational study of the situation and find that maybe the US should stop supporting radicalizing agents on both sides of the mid-east conflict, then we are automatically considered conspiracy theorist who are anti-semitic.

    The pure hatred towards peaceful foreign policy initiatives is cult like.

    If people at Reason truly believe that our wars in the mid-east are about "spreading freedom" then the guilibilty and ignorance are worse than I thought.

    We are wasting our time, just keep investing in commodities. I'm finished with my creative writing therapy experiments here.

  • ||

    "If people at Reason truly believe that our wars in the mid-east are about "spreading freedom" then the guilibilty and ignorance are worse than I thought."

    They are not saying the wars in the Middle East are about spreading freedom. They are just saying that Hamas is evil and they are basically right.

  • assman||

    Sorry I meant Hezbollah. But both statements are basically correct.

  • ||

    assman,
    They aren't jsut saying Hezbollah is evil, they are saying "they are evil, so we should continue our interventionist foreign policy."

    Michael Young and others here have a long history of denouncing those who claim it is a bad idea to give hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons and aid to the combination of:(House of Saud, Israel, Eygpt, Turkey Shiites in Iraq etc).

    Their defense of this policy amounts to we have "to try and spread freedom/democracy". These people refuse to admit that funding the House of Saud and overthrowing the secular Sunnis in Iraq and funding Eypgt are READICALIZING things.

    These same people have barney fyfe like eagerness to pull the (anti-semite)trigger on ANYONE who questions the idea of taxing middle class americans to send over to Israel so they can better enforce curfews and create orphans amongst people who don't share their religion.

  • RMH||

    Are there increasing numbers of new people coming to this site? I just don't remember so many idiots on here.

    Young's point is that there are those in the academic left that are willing to ignore there own beliefs, in order to have a more positive view of a group they would never normally feel this way towards, simply because the group is anti-US.

    Unless you believe that Hezbollah is an organization that is a positive force in the world, or you believe that Young is exaggerating the affinity of the academic left for Hezbollah, I don't see what there is to disagree with. Young doesn't present an opinion of Israel, or its relations with Hezbollah, or Lebanon, or the history of the region, or any of the other BS some people are introducing to the discussion.

    Oh, and if you think that Young is wrong, because Hezbollah is indeed a positive force, I seriously question your cognitive abilities.

  • alan||

    RMH, my post on the topic began with,

    Personally, I would not be caught dead supporting either side.

    After which I briefly explained why I find neither side of this conflict appealing, and felt it necessary to include both sides of the conflict because Hezbollah, after all, wasn't created in a vacuum.

    After which, I only responded to those who expressed an opinion on my original post. Funny thing is, those responses, except for Ali's, have been from those who have a problem with my opinion that the we, the US owes Israel nothing.

    Personally, I feel no obligation to jump to the defense of any nation, much less as Bill Clinton would have us believe, he would 'fight and die for', the nation we are discussing, but others do feel this obligation. Maybe it is just me, but I find this to be -- funny.

  • alan||

    dear grammar maven,

    my apologies,

    my opinion that the we, the US owes Israel

    should read,

    my opinion that the we in the US owe Israel

  • anonymous coward||

    Gilmore,

    just so you know I am NOT the same anonymous coward. The Nothing Left article is about leftist intellectuals supporting a particular murderous organization. Making a general observation on the proclivity of the particlular brand of leftists who call themselves communists is not off topic.

    Hey, just because everyone else wants to talk about Hezbollah doesn't mean I can't comment on another aspect of the article.

  • Abu Omar||

    I'm no fan of Hizbullah, but how is Finkelstein praising the Lebanese group any worse than "conservative" figures in the US rubbing noses with the likes of Binny Netanyahu and the Likudniks?

  • GILMORE||

  • GILMORE||

    fuck

    anonymous coward | February 29, 2008, 10:02pm | #
    Gilmore,

    just so you know I am NOT the same anonymous coward.


    Comment was = You could probably use a better self-identifier either way

  • Abercrombie and Fitch||

    thank you!

  • ||

    Bosnian ex-official who may face extradition there was osama bin laden, there was imad mughniyeh members of the lebanese terrorist group hezbollah, outlet led by mughniyeh. Death of hezbollah leader could mean threat to jewish syria had no official comment although there have been periodic clashes in the the world in retaliation for what he said was its role in assassinating imad mughniyah, a hezbollah. The cutting edge news hezbollah and iran have blamed israel for the death of imad mughniyeh, who died in bomb blast in damascus on tuesday one official said the high alert could remain in place for. Bombing kills top figure in hezbollah - washingtonpost senior hezbollah abercrombie terrorist imad mughniyeh has been placed on a pedestal of glory in various articles in the official palestinian authority fatah daily. When hezbollah official imad mughniyeh the recent killing of imad fayez mughniyeh will not preclude hezbollah from striking again -- and, judging mughniyeh, the second highest official in the islamic extremist group.

  • ||

    Michael Young has as much credibility in understanding Lebanon as a turd fly understanding Hegel. Mr. Finkelstein and Mr. Chomsky at least have a grasp of the larger picture. Sad thing is that Young is a part of the Lebanese society, whereas Mr. Finkelstein and Mr. Chomsky have an occasional (but professional) look at it.

  • ||

    And to the plethora of pro-zionists (or plain stupid people) out there:

    1) Israel has been created by the British, lobbied by mostly Ashkenazi Zionists (i.e.: they have nothing to do in the Levant, not now, not 3000 years ago.)

    2) The colonial state of Israel (sharing features with apartheid regimes) has been practicing mass terrorism against a population that was Christian before converting to Islam, and Jews / Hebrew before converting to Christianism, and pagan before converting to Judaism.

    3) Hezbollah has not been "BROUGHT" to Lebanon you dumbasses, Hezbollah IS a Lebanese party, created in the 80's (and financed by Iran, yes, it has to be financed by someone) to resist OCCUPATION, and liberate the national land.

    For the rest, please, just bother yourselves and do your homework, asses.

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