Hezbollah: Hiding Among Civilians?

Salon has an interesting long piece by Mitch Prothero (you'll have to sit through an ad to see the whole thing) attempting to debunk the notion that Hezbollah's military troops are "hiding among civilians." While it will not be completely convincing to those not inclined to be convinced (or those who see no important distinction between "civilian" Hezbollah and "military" Hezbollah), here are some interesting excerpts:

My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters--as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers--avoid civilians....
............
Although Israel targets apartments and offices because they are considered "Hezbollah" installations, the group has a clear policy of keeping its fighters away from civilians as much as possible. This is not for humanitarian reasons -- they did, after all, take over an apartment building against the protests of the landlord, knowing full well it would be bombed -- but for military ones.

"You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing fighter with a weapon," a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired, once told me. "They do not come out with their masks off and never operate around people if they can avoid it. They're completely afraid of collaborators. They know this is what breaks the Palestinians -- no discipline and too much showing off."
............
Hezbollah's political members say they have little or no access to the workings of the fighters. This seems to be largely true: While they obviously hear and know more than the outside world, the firewall is strong.

Israel, however, has chosen to treat the political members of Hezbollah as if they were fighters. And by targeting the civilian wing of the group, which supplies much of the humanitarian aid and social protection for the poorest people in the south, they are targeting civilians.

UPDATE: David Bernstein over at Volokh Conspiracy discusses how the Salon article, while trying to argue that Hezbollah does not have a policy of hiding among civilians, undercuts itself by reporting some specific examples of them doing exactly that.

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  • ||

    "While it will not be completely convincing to those not inclined to be convinced (or those who see no important distinction between "civilian" Hezbollah and "military" Hezbollah)..."

    This should be most people. Do the political Hezbollah pay for the rocket artillery?

  • ||

    In this NY Times article, eywitnesses tell a different story;
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28refugees.html?ref=middleeast

  • ||

    Who trains and supplies weapons to the fighters? Who positions them? Who coordinates supply/re-supply of outside sources? Who conditions their minds, makes plans and oversees operations?

    To kill a snake you smash it's fk'n head.

    The "targeting of civilians" is becoming old drama for other agendas. One would hope that none would want any harm to come to our leaders, government or country to further the hope of a political party. Sadder things have happened.

  • ||

    While it will not be completely convincing to those not inclined to be convinced (or those who see no important distinction between "civilian" Hezbollah and "military" Hezbollah)

    I guess that's me.

    If the US is at war, aren't civilian employees of the Pentagon legitimate targets for the enemy? Weren't Hitler's propaganda ministries legitimate targets? The US arrests and prosecutes those who they can prove fund terrorism and provide safe houses for those terrorists etc. If an arrest is not possible due to the reasonable expectation of a fight to the death or from their protectors, then isn't a military strike against them reasonable?

    It is important to remember that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. When they fight Israeli ground troops they might act and fight like a military force. But they also fire rockets from civilian locations at civilian towns and cities that have no legitimate military value.

    I defy anyone to show from the outside how a Hezbollah military facility looks like something other than the civilian locations it is surrounded by.

    If terrorists have no military bases and instead live in amongst civilians, then you have a choice. You can say they are inviolate because they live and operate amongst civilians and you can't ever legitimately harm civilians, or you can say they are legitimate targets who will inevitably bring with them civilian deaths when they are attacked.

    Israel is fighting for its right to exist and to exist peacefully. Telling them they aren't allowed to do so because their enemies fire rockets from civilian locations, and because they meet in "offices" instead of "military planning rooms", and because they sleep near civilians is absurd and a totally sophist argument.

  • ||

    In what way do the fighters not hide among civilians?

  • ||

    These have a point. Being a member of a political movement, regardless of how odious does not make you a lawful target. It may make you a criminal subject to arrest, but not a lawful target. In addition, if you are part of guirilla movement, you are only a lawful target when you are carrying a weapon. This means that I can farm or run my roasted goat shop all day and put on my Hezbollah uniform at night to fire rockets at Israel and at least if Israel is following the strict letter of international law have no worries about an F 16 rocketing my shop during the day.

    During the cold war and during post colonial struggles, there was a real push to give more protection to gurilla fighters. It made sense before the age of terror. Now it is making less and less sense.

  • ||

    Do the political Hezbollah pay for the rocket artillery?

    That's an excellent question.

    Is it political Hezbollah that coordinates rocket delivery and training or whatever else needs to be coordinated with their external support?

    If Sinn Fein's leadership really was part of the IRA's governing council, I don't think you could completely ignore it as a military target just because it was a political organization. You might think it strategically valuable to have a part of the orgainziation you can communicate with and negotiate with, but they're not civilians.

  • ||

    Hezbollah's political members say they have little or no access to the workings of the fighters. This seems to be largely true:

    Oh, ok, well if the political members of Hez say something, then it must be largely true...

  • ||

    Hezbollah's political members say they have little or no access to the workings of the fighters. This seems to be largely true:

    Oh, ok, well if the political members of Hez say something, then it must be largely true...

  • ||

    "If the US is at war, aren't civilian employees of the Pentagon legitimate targets for the enemy? Weren't Hitler's propaganda ministries legitimate targets?"

    What about HHS? How about Congress?

    "If an arrest is not possible due to the reasonable expectation of a fight to the death or from their protectors, then isn't a military strike against them reasonable?" It depends on the type of "military strike" you're talking about. A sniper may well be legitimate, but your choice of the word "strike," as in airstrike, is an attempt to steal a base.

    As you try to do here:

    "If terrorists have no military bases and instead live in amongst civilians, then you have a choice. You can say they are inviolate because they live and operate amongst civilians and you can't ever legitimately harm civilians, or you can say they are legitimate targets who will inevitably bring with them civilian deaths when they are attacked."

    You most certainly do not have two choices. You can say they are legitimate targets, and employ the discretion around civilians that every recruit in every branch of our armed services has drilled into his head.

    I'm glad you're not on a SWAT team, happyjuggler.

  • ||

    I do find the typical charge about the enemy placing military targets in civilian areas slightly suspect. ...I'm not sure the enemy is morally compelled to surround military installations with a civilian free blast zone.

  • ||

    "If the US is at war, aren't civilian employees of the Pentagon legitimate targets for the enemy? Weren't Hitler's propaganda ministries legitimate targets"

    If the civilians are doing things in direct support of the war effort, absolutely they are lawful targets, but only when they are actually doing those things, not when they are in their beds at home asleep.

  • ||

    Do the political Hezbollah pay for the rocket artillery?

    I see. So, if you pay for artillery, you are not a civilian? Does that include tax-payers?

  • ||

    I see. So, if you pay for artillery, you are not a civilian? Does that include tax-payers?

    I believe that argument was made in regards to the difference between political Hezbollah and military Hezbollah. ...I don't think Jason was suggesting that, as far as legitimate military targets are concerned, political Hezbollah, military Hezbollah and taxpayers are all the same thing.

  • ||

    "If the civilians are doing things in direct support of the war effort, absolutely they are lawful targets, but only when they are actually doing those things, not when they are in their beds at home asleep."

    What if they're on break in the pentagon cafeteria?

  • ||

    I don't think Jason was suggesting that, as far as legitimate military targets are concerned, political Hezbollah, military Hezbollah and taxpayers are all the same thing.

    Why stop with Hezbollah? If a political supporter of war isn't a civilan by virtue of their financial support of the war, then, why should tax-payer-supporters of the war (any war) be any different. What is so special about Hezbollah other than they are being "them"?

    Any how: it seems that there are a lot of Israeli-apologists who are playing with words to execuse Israeli actions. Here is a quote from the Israel Justice Minister that seems relevant and may explain the Israeli mentality towards what constitute a legitimate target:

    "All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah," Mr Ramon said.

  • ||

    How's this? If you're not actively fighting (or supporting the resistance movement) against an illegitimate regime (one that does not derive its consent from the governed), I think you're a target.

  • ||

    If terrorists have no military bases and instead live in amongst civilians, then you have a choice. You can say they are inviolate because they live and operate amongst civilians and you can't ever legitimately harm civilians, or you can say they are legitimate targets who will inevitably bring with them civilian deaths when they are attacked.

    I think you cast the choice inaccurately here. These are the extreme options on a whole spectrum of possible responses. To be justifiable, a response has to be proportional to the threat faced. Believing that Israel's response has been far too massive does not imply that terrorists who live among civilians are inviolate. And believing that civilian casualties are inevitable does not justify the particular actions the Israelis have taken, even as they are facing rocket attacks to their cities. My opinion: Israel's response is way over the top. They are not responding to the situation at hand but rather are using the situation to do what they have wanted to do for a long time--control southern Lebanon.

    Israel is fighting for its right to exist and to exist peacefully. Telling them they aren't allowed to do so because their enemies fire rockets from civilian locations, and because they meet in "offices" instead of "military planning rooms", and because they sleep near civilians is absurd and a totally sophist argument.

    Hez-B can't eliminate Israel. Most people aren't telling Israel that they are "allowed" to defend themselves, only that their "defense" has not been proportional. And I don't think it is absurd to claim that the Israelis are not justified in bombing highly populated areas. If self-defense is the justification for your action, your action needs to be directed at those directly responsible for the situation against which your self needs defending. If you can't get at those people without killing a bunch of noncombatants, well, then that's your problem. Why should Lebanese civilians die to protect Israeli citizens? Israeli citizens aren't worth more. Or are they?

  • ||

    Great article. It is interesting to hear things repeated that "everyone knows" is true, like that Hez uses human sheilds all the time but Israel takes the utmost precautions all the time. What a load of crap. I'm sure Hez does many unethical things, and so does the IDF. I wonder if Israel fanatics know how much their refusal to ever let even the tiniest criticism of the IDF get out undermines their case. They ask us to believe the IDF are some inhuman saints. Methinks they dost protest too much. This also forces their "arguments" to always appear as apologies for the IDF. It must be quite a challenge (i.e., the IDF uses precision bombing, wait, they just hit a bunch of UN observers after repeated warnings...well, the UN observers must have been working with Hez...They hit a Red Cross truck?...hmmm, must be a reasonable explanation. Wait, I've got it, Hiz has been using those Red Cross trucks! etc.)
    I geuss they realize that an objective view will not always give us a pro-Israel result and so they are against it.

  • ||

    Is it not true that Israel has a universal military obligation? Every Israeli citizen is presumptively a soldier; past, present or future. Therefor, there is no such thing as a civilian casualty in Israel.

    How does that logic grab you?

  • ||

    Ken,

    I don't think the IDF are saints and admit above that specifically targeting Hezbolloah politicians, while admirable is probably a violation of international law. There is a question of degrees however. It is not criticism of Israel I object to. It is the moral equivilence I object. Killing civilians as a side effect of military raids to kill Hezbollah who firing unguided rockets at Israeli civilians is in no way comparable to firing said rockets at civilians. Hezbollah is firing unguided rockets with military purpose but to terroize and kill Israeli civilians. If Israelis critics would willingly admit the obvious evil of Hezbollah and their actions and not follow such admission with the prefunctory "yes, but", there criticisms of Israel would hold a lot more weight.

  • ||

    "My opinion: Israel's response is way over the top. They are not responding to the situation at hand but rather are using the situation to do what they have wanted to do for a long time--control southern Lebanon."

    Israel's responsibility is to it's own citizens first. Israel is not the only actor in this drama. The Lebanese people, government and army could have taken many steps to reduce Hezbollah's power. They are culpable as well in the current situation.

  • ||

    In the article I linked to above (in the NY Times), an American citizen who was visiting his relatives in Yaroun, Southern Lebanon, and fled to Tyre tells explicitly that Hizbollah were intentionally firing their rockets from the backyards of civilian houses.
    He also tells of someone beeing killed by Hizbollah for trying to flee Bint Jbail thereby depriving them of human shields.

  • ||

    How is political leadership not a legitimate military target? Of course congress is a "legitimate" target. Didn't any of you see Mars Attacks?

    If Hezbollah politicians were NOT connected to the Hezbollah military, then presumably they'd pick a different name, don't you think? At least Sinn Fein was smart enough not to call themselves the Irish Republican Assemblymen.

    HHS is probably an odd example, because we give special status to medical efforts but the DOE sure as hell is a legitimate target. Who built the atomic bomb?

    Israel's willingness to distinguish between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government is more than enough "restraint."

  • ||

    This thread, and many like it in this petting zoo atmoshpere, reminds me of the Heimlich Maneuver commerical where we have more talk and less happening.

    I say Israel should smash Hezbollah's ass across the Syrian border (where I'm sure they would run). Those "civilians" that want to go with Hezbollah can, but never a right of return. Then establish the Multinational Mideast force in a buffer zone between Lebanon and Syria. Free Lebanon and Israel. Get Lebanon to sign on now showing their desire to control their country. Then, and only then, provide aid to Lebanon.

  • ||

    "If Israelis critics would willingly admit the obvious evil of Hezbollah and their actions and not follow such admission with the prefunctory "yes, but", there criticisms of Israel would hold a lot more weight."

    Israel's actions can be criticized independent of their motivation. And independent of any discussion of Hezb.

    Your claim that critics of Israel do not admit that Hezb actions are evil is (for the most part) false. And beside the point anyway.

    At what point does criticizing Israel (or supporting their critics/enemies) make you a legitimate target of the IDF. It seems the IDF thinks that the mere act of living in an area that includes Hezb. is enough. I would hope that most people on the planet set the bar somewhat higher (see the Geneva convention). And for this reason, it is unimportant whether or not I think Hezb are a bunch of murderous thugs. Israel has acted in such a way as to loose any moral cover with their claims of self-defense.

    Israel has a policy of collective punishment in its dealings with the Palestinians and seems to, perhaps, be extending that policy into its neighbor's territory.

    An unwise move on their part, and certainly deserving of criticism.

  • ||

    this shit makes me really sad. i wish abraham was stillborn and then maybe we wouldnt have these goddamn idiots destroying the one thing any theoretical godhead may want, peaceful exercise of free will.

  • ||

    "While it will not be completely convincing to those not inclined to be convinced (or those who see no important distinction between "civilian" Hezbollah and 'military' Hezbollah)"

    I guess that's me.


    So I guess you'd have applauded if the SAS had raided the homes of Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein MPs and killed them in their beds, huh?

  • Robert||

    I forgot where we left this argument off in another thread in this "hit and run" format. Anyway, if I were in charge of all war, I'd target only civilians. To put it another way, the civilian is the person holding the gun, and the military is the gun; it being too hard to shoot the gun out of the person's hand, I'm aiming at the person holding the gun. The gun is harmless without someone holding it; a military is similarly harmless without people behind them.

    The way I argued before, if nobody ever attacked civilians, then there'd never have been a need for a military. Seems the most effective way to make war is to go after the civilians the most direct way you can; it may in some cases be necessary to fight the military if they're in the way, but that is to be avoided if possible.

  • ||

    "Seems the most effective way to make war is to go after the civilians the most direct way you can; it may in some cases be necessary to fight the military if they're in the way, but that is to be avoided if possible."

    Absolutely correct. This is what General Sherman did in the Civil War, and this brought this most bloody conflict to a fast conclusion.

  • ||

    To be justifiable, a response has to be proportional to the threat faced. Believing that Israel's response has been far too massive does not imply that terrorists who live among civilians are inviolate. And believing that civilian casualties are inevitable does not justify the particular actions the Israelis have taken, even as they are facing rocket attacks to their cities. My opinion: Israel's response is way over the top. They are not responding to the situation at hand but rather are using the situation to do what they have wanted to do for a long time--control southern Lebanon.

    Im always a bit dumbfounded by the argument of proportional response. I see it everywhere but nowhere do I see it specified exactly what proportionality is. Are u suggesting that Israel's appropriate response should have been to kidnap 2 Hezbollah members and kill 3. Or is there some magic ratio that Im not aware of? What about the rockets that Hezbollah fired into Israel even prior to this conflict? Is Israel then justified to indiscrimenantely fire rockets into Lebanese civilian center's? Or do you feel that since Hezbollah's rockets are relatively inaccurate and ineffective where as Israel is capable of much more destruction via their aresenal that Israel should have continued to turn the other cheek? Far too many posters seem to forget (or maybe ignore) the fact that Hezbollah had been violating the Israely border long before the kinapping triggered the current conflict.

  • ||

    This article has scant evidence to back up the author's claims. The best he has is some quote from a former Lebanese military officer and his own experience that Hezbollah doesn't invite him to watch it shoot rockets. It doesn't back up his assertions. Then there are the articles, like the NYTimes article linked above that flatly contradict him with, you know, actual evidence-like interviews with people who have watched Hezbollah shooting rockets from between civilian houses and using civilians as shields.

  • ||

    I think Hezballah has a valid complaint here. After all Hezballah and other anti-Israel groups have always made a point of only carefully striking Israeli military targets and they should expect the same consideration in return. After all, its only sporting.

    Why I understand that Hezballah invested vast sums in creating expensive precision rockets which they regretfully fire into Israel. Amazingly, the rockets reliably land within a 2 mile radius of their aim point. You can't ask much more than that. I am sure that if they found themselves unable to reliably strike only military targets they would refrain from attacking out of concern for civilian casualties.

    Likewise, I am sure that the civilian Hezballah's communication, transportation, medical and financial assets are never used for military purposes. To do otherwise would make the assets military targets regardless of location and they wouldn't want that. After all, protecting civilian lives in their areas of control is the long recognized responsibility of each side of a war. If Hezballah were careless in protecting the civilians around them the outrage from the world would be deafening. The world community would ban together and see that Hezballah suffered some type of serious penalty. They would have to. I mean imagine a bizarre world where the blame for all the casualties in a war were assigned only to one side regardless of how they occurred. Why, that kind of madness might encourage the other side to maximize civilian casualties for their propaganda value!

    Nobody is that stupid.

  • ||

    Why stop with Hezbollah?

    Why stop with Jason? Why not twist everyone's commments into arguments they didn't make?

    I think Hezballah has a valid complaint here. After all Hezballah and other anti-Israel groups have always made a point of only carefully striking Israeli military targets and they should expect the same consideration in return. After all, its only sporting.

    Yeah, that's exactly what people were saying, Shannon. That, and that Hezbollah should wear bright red clothing and paint big red targets on the roofs of their homes. ...and that if they don't, then Hezbollah just doesn't care about people. That's what people were saying.

  • ||

    To add to Shannon Love's post. Why haven't the Israeli critics here posted every time there's a suicide bomber or rocket barrage criticizing them? These actions certainly put the Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in peril. It seems to only be an issue when there's a response.

  • ||

    How's this? If you're not actively fighting (or supporting the resistance movement) against an illegitimate regime (one that does not derive its consent from the governed), I think you're a target.

    Using your logic Randian, Israeli civilians not actively resisting their government are valid targets if Israel is being attacked for its actions in Gaza and the WB.

    Hezbollah is firing unguided rockets with military purpose but to terroize and kill Israeli civilians.

    I'm sure Hez would be perfectly happy to trade their inferior unguided rockets for the guided type. Are only rich technologically advanced countries allowed to fight? Should the poor countries just bend over and take it because they can't afford to wage war in a manner we find acceptable? Maybe we should just give them the right kind of arms that they can use so that they can fight in a moral way.

    And Shannon, lay off the straw men. Hez gets plenty of ire from the global community, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. However, when a country kills orders of magnitude more civilians than military targets, many multiples more civilians and calls all civilians left behind terrorists, they're going to (and deserve to) get criticized.

  • ||

    val,

    Im always a bit dumbfounded by the argument of proportional response. I see it everywhere but nowhere do I see it specified exactly what proportionality is.

    You poor little naif. You can't define proportionality anymore than you can define a beautiful sunset! You must understand that modern warfare has nothing to do with a brutish attempt to physically impose one's well on the enemy. Todays enlightened warrior understands that war is about symbolism. Its how everyone feels about how the war is fought that counts. We should think of military operations as huge pieces of performance art.

    The Israeli labor under the delusion that they can physically force a change in their enemies behavior by blowing up their toys and actually killing their combatants. For the Israeli, proportionality means using the minimum amount of force to accomplish their goals. . They try to actually disrupt Hezballah's ability to physically fight! I suspect they have some quaint notion that doing so might make it possible for Lebanon to reassert it's sovereignty or at least let a real multinational force take over the area. Its a surprisingly workman like, one is even tempted to say bourgeois, concept of warfare. I am a little embarrassed for them. I don't understand what I am supposed to feel about their side of the conflict at all. Its an artistic muddle.

    Hezballah on the hand! What true artist! They don't bother striking at military targets at all! They just rain down missiles virtually at random all over northern Israel. Any damage is completely haphazard and ultimately inconsequential. Understand? They disdain accomplishing anything on the mundane physical level but instead grandly convey that they feel self-rightous anger. And just look at how all the intelligent and aware people of the world have responded to them! They know great art when they see it.

    Now, some reactionaries hold that killing people for reasons of mere symbolism is immoral but people must suffer for art. Usually, of course, its the actual artist but there you go.

  • ||

    I'm sure Hez would be perfectly happy to trade their inferior unguided rockets for the guided type. Are only rich technologically advanced countries allowed to fight? Should the poor countries just bend over and take it because they can't afford to wage war in a manner we find acceptable?

    That's part of what I was trying to say. It seems strange to criticize those without sophisticated weapons for not making better, cleaner, civilian free targets of themselves.

    ...which in no way implies that it's okay to target civilians specifically. ...doesn't imply that it's okay for Israel to bomb civilian targets with impunity. ...and doesn't excuse Hezbollah for targeting civilians.

  • ||

    I think that the best way to wage war is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Then one side or the other has an incentive to end it.

    I'm with Robert up there...these people don't just materialize with rockets, weapons and support from nowhere, they have the support of so-called "civilians"; kill the support, end the war.

  • ||

    mo,

    However, when a country kills orders of magnitude more civilians than military targets, many multiples more civilians and calls all civilians left behind terrorists, they're going to (and deserve to) get criticized.

    I couldn't agree more! Israel is behaving in a most brutish manner according to reports from areas controlled by none other than Hezballah. Since Hezballah takes such care to distinguish all its military assets and personnel from civilians, it is no doubt very easy for even the most casual observe to determine who is and is not a military casualty.

    I have even read that Hezballah carefully guides members of the world media around the scenes of carnage so they get exactly the right story without coming to any harm. Hezballah has even graciously refused to force the nominal Lebanese authorities to have to dig through the rubble and have instead untaken the burden of virtually all search and rescue operations themselves. I can confidently say without any irony that the resulting reports of civilian deaths are most carefully compiled.

    Don't forget the UN. They've been right there from the very beginning for some reason. They make little forts on hilltops or something. I sure its all terribly au courant. We all remember how useful the UN was in sorting out that dreadful Jena massacre business. (What a dreadful name! Does any actually say massacre anymore?)

    Of course, the wise observer would ask: Why would anyone in Lebanon have a motive to miss-report civilian casualties? What could they hope to gain? If too many people die world opinion might shut down the entire war and then were would they be. One doesn't get that much media exposure every day you know.

    Sadly, the Israeli have no motive to prevent non-combatent casualties. Certainly, the Jews have no cultural memory of what it is like to attacked and have no means of response and as the bullies on the block, everyone is to afraid to say anything to them about it.

  • Rick H.||

    Shannon, I would really like to absorb your argument, but it's drenched in so much postmodern irony and double sarcasm and straw-sauce that I admit I'm having trouble following along. I take it that you are accusing Israel's critics of being "objectively pro-Hezbollah" or something like that. Correct me if I'm reading you wrongly.

    In my opinion, this sneering style (which I have wielded on more than one occasion) lends itself more to the one-liner than a five-paragraph essay... but hey, whatever's comfy.

  • ||

    I see Haim Ramon, Israeli Justice Minister, has been hanging out with Shannon:

    "All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5219360.stm

  • ||

    From the Salon article

    The Israelis are consistent: They bomb everyone and everything remotely associated with Hezbollah, including noncombatants. In effect, that means punishing Lebanon. The nation is 40 percent Shiite, and of that 40 percent, tens of thousands are employed by Hezbollah's social services, political operations, schools, and other nonmilitary functions. The "terrorist" organization Hezbollah is Lebanon's second-biggest employer.

    So if a terrorist orginization gets big enough then they shouldn't be considered a terrorist orginization?

    Look, war is war. German civillians had to suffer for the crimes of the Nazis and the Shiite in Lebanon meed to suffer for Hezoballah. Nobody's denying they support the movement through civillian work or propoganda or whatever, who cares if its not with guns?

  • Brad||

    I'm reminded of the Battle of Britain in World War II when Germany failed to break the will of England by attacking civilian targets rather than military ones.

  • ||

    If Sinn Fein's leadership really was part of the IRA's governing council, I don't think you could completely ignore it as a military target just because it was a political organization. You might think it strategically valuable to have a part of the orgainziation you can communicate with and negotiate with, but they're not civilians."

    It has been a very well known secret that Gerry Adams, martin mcGuiness are on the IRA's governing council (I forget its actual name), but Britian saw there might be a reason to negotiate with terrorists to bring about peace. Since it is illegal to this day under British law to be a member of the IRA, let alone its governing council, British authorities chose to ignire this and allow Sinn Fein to operate and raise a lot of cash for the IRA in America in the process. The Israeli's would do themselves a favour to try and copy the British dealings with the IRA in the 90s toward the goal of the Good Friday aggreeement (far from perfect but better than say the situation in Lebanon).

  • marc||

    Maybe he could explain these videos then.

    http://ussneverdock.blogspot.com/2006/07/lebanon-hiding-among-civilians-myth.html

  • ||

    Perhaps some of the people posting here could read the article?

    The reporter has visited Hezbollah territory many times. He tells a compelling story that the soldiers are extremely secretive.

    It all has to do with maintaining security. Hezbollah doesn't trust all of its members and employees not to be spies for Israel.

    By "political" Hezbollah, the reporter doesn't just mean the senior leadership
    So, the vast majority of civilians in South Lebanon are "political" Hezbollah. They support Hezbollah, but they don't have weapons and they aren't used for fighting.

    Then there are all these Hezbollah workers who are involved in providing social services to the supporters. Military matters are hidden from them as well.

    Presumably, they "support" the military wing. But they don't do anything concrete.

    Anyway, the article also suggests (and other sources suggest) that Hezbollah fighters hide things like launch sites and bunkers in places where they won't be seen by Israeli spies, and because they think there are Shia in south Lebanon who will sell them out to Isreal, they have to hide them from even "Hezbollah" civilians. And so, they are not located in places crowded with civilians.

    It looks like they correctly determined that trucking rockets into the middle of a residential area of a town, where there are many eyes likely to see the location, will provide no protection from Israel. It will be bombed.

    So, they don't put them in places like that. They put them in places where there are few eyes to see the location.

    And what is the proof? Israel is bombing residential areas. And they aren't getting the missles to stop.

    Israel is attacking town centers and the like. According to the reporter, they are blowing up things that aren't involved in the fighting.

    Suppose U.S. submarines were being used to bomb Israel.

    It would be like Israel bombing social security offices or post offices in the U.S. Or the office or home of local mayors.

    They are all part of the U.S. government. There location is well known.

    Again, read the article. Perhaps it is in error. But many of the comments here appear to be very ignorant.

    I would note that senior Israeli forces have admitted that they are bombing north Lebanon just to punish the rest of the Lebanese for their toleration of Hezbollah. Supposedly, this will motivate them to defeat Hezbollah themselves.

    While I haven't seen any relevant quotes, it is hard to imagine that they aren't bombing the civilian side of Hezbollah for the same reason. To convince the senior political leadership to disband the military side by destroying their assets used for civilian services.

    Of course, this is all "terrorism," almost exactly like the bombing campaigns in WW2, both by the Germans and British. And of course, by the U.S. to a smaller degree. You know, destroy the enemies moral and make them give up fighting.

    The problem, of couse, is that what really happens is the targeted population hates the enemy more when they are directly attacked.

  • ||

    marc: Maybe he could explain these videos then.

    Okay, that may seem to prove 2 incidents. However the drivers probably didn't have GPS and were lost. They were also probably on their way to church or McDonalds after dropping off some clothes and stuff at Gooddeal. I really hate to think they had their families with them. It is all so sad.

    Also, what about all the little puppies and kitties that were hurt and now homeless? I need a kleenex.

  • ||

    Things are complex. Hezbollah millitary members are circumspect, as they know that's how the palestians keep on getting played. There's also the charity wings which are designed to romance the populace. Then there is the Shia vs Sunni angle, as another player on this game. Proper partitioning (into incredibly small feifdoms) might actually cause the intended federalist response, but it's about 5 years too late for that. If only basic economics were a required class. You can't get something just by wishing for it, no matter how hard you wish.

    Unless of course you're a trust fund baby.

  • Mark Fox||

    I don't see how Hezbollah conducts its military training operations during peace time would impact how it positions it's fighters during times of fighting. During peace time they would want to keep their equipment secret, while fighting positioning them in civilian areas is a way of both shielding them and trying to draw Israel into killing civilians. Basically the article has no relevance to current events

  • ||


    Maybe he could explain these videos then.
    http://ussneverdock.blogspot.com/2006/07/lebanon-hiding-among-civilians-myth.html


    marc, you will notice that not a single Israel critic will actually comment on these videos. Its very difficult to argue against issues which have basis in fact. Instead we shall focus on more ambiguous issues such as proportionality of response and the creation of Israel in 1948. And if by some chance someone actually chooses to address these videos the argument will start something like this. "Well no one is saying that Hezbollah is comepletely blameless in this BUT ISRAEL......"

  • ||

    ""Well no one is saying that Hezbollah is comepletely blameless in this BUT ISRAEL......"

    Well no one is saying that Israel is completely blameless, but Hezb. shouldn't target civilians.

    Two way street.

  • ||

    I am curious as to why anyone would feel justified in making any moral or political judgement based on information coming out of Lebanon. Why does anyone believe that the casualty ratios that people act so unset over are in anyway valid? Just because a piece of information gets reported in a major media outlet, doesn't mean that the information originated there.

    This is fourth generation warfare. Control of information about the conflict is THE CENTRAL TACTIC. Virtually every piece of information that comes out from Lebanon is scripted. Hezballah cannot hope to prevail in a conventional conflict they can only win by controlling world opinion.

    Stop being so damn gullible.

  • ||

    One also wonders that even if someone is objective, how they can tell that someone not in uniform is a civilian or a terrorist? How would an unbiased person make such a judgement? I'd have to come up with three categories. 1) Terrorist. 2) Civilian. 3) Unknown.

    With the exception of young children (teenagers aren't exempt) and old ladies, I'd think an honest person would have to put most non-uniformed casualties in category 3.

  • ||

    Stop being so damn gullible.

    Physician heal thyself!

  • ||

    Hezbollah does have some precision weapons. They used an anti-ship missiles to hit a Israeli warship and interesingly, a frieghter with a predominately Egyptian crew. This happened in the first days of the conflict.

  • ||

    I would say these photos amounts to hiding among civilians:

    http://www.news.com.au/sundayheraldsun/story/0,,19955774-5007220,00.html

  • Brian Carnell||

    Yeah, you look at these photos:

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,19955774-5007220,00.html

    and clearly you've got Hezbollah fighters in uniform. Casual shirts and jeans -- it's the new camoflauge.

  • ||

    When the people in Brian's link get killed by the IDF, the headlines will read "more civilian deaths in Lebanon"

    Hezbollah's goal is eleimination of Israel. A well-proportioned response would be to kill them all. I know that's unchristian (as Pat would say), but fortunately these are jews.

    The best and most well-proportioned solution to this crisis is compromise. Hezzz should return one of the two kidnapped IDF soldiers, and put the dead ones on life support. In return, Israel should execute half of its own population. Now everyone's happy.

  • Koby||

    Somehow, it is exactly the same people who justify Al Qaeda attack against the Pentagon (as a military target) who denounce Israeli or American attacks against the military command of terrorist organizations simply because they might be doing some charity work on the side.

    Make no mistake, Hezbollah is a predominately military organization which does some social work which helps recruit more soldier. It is not a social welfare organization which does some war.

  • Koby||

    Somehow, it is exactly the same people who justify Al Qaeda attack against the Pentagon (as a military target) who denounce Israeli or American attacks against the military command of terrorist organizations simply because they might be doing some charity work on the side.

    Make no mistake, Hezbollah is a predominately military organization which does some social work which helps recruit more soldier. It is not a social welfare organization which does some war.

  • ||

    I don't get how people can parse a moral difference between the Israelis hitting the civilian supporters of Hizbollah, but Hizbollah hitting the civilian supporters of Israel is immoral.

  • ||

    I don't get how people can parse a moral difference between the Israelis hitting the civilian supporters of Hizbollah, but Hizbollah hitting the civilian supporters of Israel is immoral.

    The "it's okay when my side does it" phenomenon?

    ...It's a function of bias and prejudice; it's the result of propaganda, a break down in morality in an environment of fear and a symptom of the inability to think critically.

    I'd suggest we shouldn't waste too much time reasoning with the irrational, but I do it all the time.

  • ||

    HAVE ANY OF YOU ACTUALLY READ THE SALON ARTICLE?

    Not just the headline.

    THE ARTICLE.

    Beause the headline does not jibe with what the article contains, which is some fairly damning discussion revealing that Hezbollah DOES, IN FACT, use human shields.
    -----------------------------------

    Israel has taken precautions to avoid hurting Lebanese civilians that our military, or Putin's in Chechnya, have failed to do. Still, you can rationally, even if incorrectly, criticize Israel for not being careful enough.

    However, to say that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians, or to equate Israel's unintentional, even if reckless, killing of civilians with Hezbollah's plainly intentional targeting of civilians -- that requires complete lack of rational thought, anti-semitism, or most likely both.

  • ||

    Israel is losing the propaganda war and we currently have no idea how successful they will ultimately be at reducing the power and influence of Hezbollah. We won't know immediately after this latest skirmish is over.

    Has Hezbollah been successful in drawing Isreal into killing civilians? Is Israel intending to kill civilians to turn the Leb population against Hez? Who knows.

    If the killing is to stop, then the best way is to isolate muslims to their corners of the world. Let them sort themselves out and when they are ready, they can then join this modern world. Unfortunately, with the hornets nest of Jews in the middle, they will keep poking it with sticks and whine when they get stung.

    Perhaps it would be more appropriately proportional if Israel simply stopped their air-raid warnings and locked up their bunkers. Then, finally, Kofi and the mufti would bless the vermicide of Hezbollah if they could be assisted in killing more Jewish children.

    The fact that Hezbollah targets civilians is not so bad IMO. The citizens of Israel are all legitimate targets because that is the only target that Hez can effectively hit. Like the poor sot who is emasculated on the job and at sport, goes home to kick the dog and beat his wife. He is powerless to defend himself from his peers, so his bruised ego needs a pick me up. Perfectly normal, very human response... just like Hezbollah.

    It sure looks like there are a boatload of Mel Gibson fans on H&R.

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