Beirut: Syrian Puppet Government Resigns

|

Naharnet is reporting that "Premier Omar Karami announced his resignation under fire from Parliament over his government's failure to prevent ex-Premier Hariri's assassination."

"I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said according to wire reports.

Democracy "is now coming to our region," Druze leader Walid Jumblatt told Lebanese who were gathering Sunday for today's dramatic protests. "There is no going back."

[Note: This post has been updated.]

NEXT: Fake News, California Style

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. q: why is everyone in the west quoting this asshole?

    a: because he is telling the deluded what they wish to hear.

  2. Just because you have an election doesn't mean you have a democracy because afterall these people might elect someone we dont' like. They are just animals in the middle east and they need to guided and kept down. We need get Saddam back in power in Iraq and the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan and do something to pay off the Mullahs in Iran and make sure that those towell heads there don't get upidy and demand things like an election or some say in how their government works. As far as the strong men in charge, if we just grovell and debase ourselves enough and pay enough tribute, they will leave us alone and we can get back to important things over here like legalizing drugs getting federal subsidies for Burning Man this year.

  3. And the Oscar for most unoriginal strawman goes to John!

  4. In other news, the pot just called the kettle black at 2:24 pm! 😉

  5. joe? joe? Where are you joe? I can't wait to hear your spin.

  6. Doug,

    Of course I thrilled. I hope this movement actually goes somewhere. Syrian Intelligence really shot themselves in the foot this time. This has been a long time coming.

    What, I wonder, makes you see a particularly joe-esque gloss to this? Is there an urban design angle I'm missing?

  7. When people in Lebanon demand the end of occupation, their ultimate inspiration is the occupation of Iraq. If the United States hadn't invaded Iraq, none of the liberal movements anywhere else in the world would have any momentum. Everyone concerned about what sort of government that would likely replace Musharraf or Fahd/Abdullah is a racist.

    ...See, I can make a straw man too! And, quite frankly, I think my strawmen are much less original than his. The truly talented always get ignored by the Academy...I tell ya!

  8. The truly talented always get ignored by the Academy...I tell ya!

    Ken, your tits aren't big enough.

  9. I'm curious - when did the people who wanted to demonstrate the inferiority of backwards Arab culture by visiting on the Middle East a humiliating, sanguinary military catastrophe develop such a...LIBERAL concern about anti-Arab racism?

  10. Ken Shultz,

    I think there ultimate inspiration was the growing economic downturn Lebanon has witnessed since the late 1990s; that has lead to the string of street protests that have happened since 2000; the most recent being over the Harriri murder.

  11. What, I wonder, makes you see a particularly joe-esque gloss to this? Is there an urban design angle I'm missing?

    I think it's carbombs in an area not zoned for it..... 🙂

  12. As a religious use, jihadist carbombs are exempt from zoning.

  13. "I think there ultimate inspiration was the growing economic downturn Lebanon has witnessed since the late 1990s; that has lead to the string of street protests that have happened since 2000; the most recent being over the Harriri murder."

    I think you're right about that Gary. Of course, ultimately, when the people of Lebanon demand an end to the occupation, their ultimate inspiration is a desire for the Syrians to end the occupation.

  14. joe, that is the second funniest thing you've ever posted here.

    The funniest was the bit about the Baptist minister and his family running in hamster wheels connected to a generator in your basement.

  15. I thought that the first bit was true...

  16. I think Hit & Run should create a "Good News For Neo-Cons" post...I get a feeling you're gonna need it, 'cause the pace of change is so accelerated in the 21st Century, and this sort of thing is gonna be rolling in almost daily.

    Joe, Ken, thoreau and Gary can work out an automatic joint response:

    A.) We didn't forsee this, but...anyone coulda seen it comin', 'cause it must have been due to happen, anyway and...

    B.) ...it COULDN'T be Iraq ('cause Mama says, no profit comes of mischief!) and...

    C.) it probably isn't a good thing, anyway and...

    D.)...if it IS a good thing, the credit has got to go to the EU, the UN or Clinton - anybody but the Administration.

    Have I got it right?

  17. I dunno, I've got three or comments on the thread - do ANY of them approximate ANY of your points?

  18. Andrew, for the record I think that the resignation of a Syrian stooge is a very good thing, and I will be very happy if more good things continue to happen in Lebanon.

    Is there anything else you would like me to say?

    Prior to this post, I did the following in this thread:

    1) Criticized John for his use of strawmen
    2) Mocked myself for my previous uses of strawmen
    3) Responded to one of Ken's jokes about the Academy Awards
    4) Gave joe props for a joke about zoning

  19. In all fairness, joe wants to make the points that Andrew has accused him of, but his computer is running low on power because the Baptist Minister on the hamster wheel just took a break.

  20. I think it's pretty clear that the events and Lebanon and Egypt are the consequence of Bush's efforts to cultivate closer relationships with European countries these past weeks.

    I mean, one thing happened, then the other happened, and you can't argue with that.

  21. Oops, looks like the good Reverend is back on the wheel!

  22. By the way, I'd like to point out that it's absurd to put Joe, Ken, Thoreau and Gary in the same bucket.

    I'm comin' from an old school Republican, ultra-pragmatic perspective. My idea of a smart, America first, foreign policy looks like what Shultz, Kirkpatrick and other pragmatists did in the 80's under Reagan and Bush the Elder.

    Both Joe and Gunnels, mind you, have lambasted this era of foreign policy pragmatism. I won't speak for them, but my guess is that they probably don't appreciate being forced into a category with old school Republicans like me.

    As for Thoreau, I don't know where he fits on the spectrum. I'm not sure he's married to any particular flavor of foreign policy--he just seems like a free thinker to me, but, once again, I'll let Thoreau speak for himself.

    P.S. Please don't call me a paleo-con. When I see a list of paleo-cons, anti-immigration folks and, especially, anti-free traders typically dominate the list. The list typically includes a few people who are known to bash our traditional allies too. None of that describes me.

    ...Besides, the term "paleo-con" seems to presume that the whole world is a reaction to neoconservatism--it isn't, you know.

  23. I don't think what I wrote is a straw man at all. you either support elections and view people having a say in their government as a good thing or you don't. The people on this thread who opposed the war in Iraq and discount these developments have a pretty low view of the people of the middle-east's ability to govern themselves. As these stories unfold, there is always an "and but" from these people. "Yes there has been an election but the wrong people won and its therefore not a good thing and not really a democracy or anything positive." That just another way of saying that these people are not really worthy of having a democracy. Its interesting, you people claim to be libertarians but you will defend and support any two bit, oppressive thug in the world that will keep things quiet so you don't have to extend one drop of blood or dollar of tax money for anyone's liberty but you own. In that sense what I wrote is not a strawman but the ugly truth.

  24. John --

    It may be worth remembering that the US originally supported the Syrian army entering Lebanon because the alternative was civil war and nothing to restrain Hizbulah. If that situation returns, it will be hard to say things have improved.

  25. If you beleive the Syrians are going to do anything to restrain terrorism, I have a bridge to sell you. Reagan's cowardice in Lebanon in 1983 is the biggest black mark against his foreign policy. They killed 300 marines and we did nothing about it but turn tail and run and turn the country over to the Syrians. If we had actually gone in and kicked the hell out of Hizbulah then, perhaps we wouldn't have been viewed as so weak by Islamist radicals before 9-11.

  26. Andrew,

    It is not clear to me that the public reaction we're seeing in Lebanon is a reaction to our efforts in Iraq. Even if this is a reaction to our efforts in Iraq, is the galvanization of liberal movements in Lebanon sufficient justification for killing thousands of Iraqi civilians and sacrificing hundreds of American lives? Answer in the affirmative, and I'll remind you that the Administration never asked the people of the United States this question.

    Until the 9/11 Commission Report came out, a majority of Americans believed that Iraq was complacent in 9/11. That is to say, I believe that the people of the United States are still coming to terms with the realization that the Iraq War was not a war of self-defense.

    That having been said, do I welcome peaceful progress in the people of Lebanon's struggle for freedom? Of course I do! But the mechanism by which Reverse Domino Theory works continues to elude me, and I will continue to resist people spinning every positive development in the Middle East as further evidence that bombing, invading and occupying a nation like Iraq somehow boosts liberal movements in third party countries.

    ...and, even if our efforts in Iraq are shown to boost liberal movements in third party nations, I'll continue to deny that this is a proper use of American troops.

  27. John, let's look back at your original post to see if you used any strawmen. But before we do that, let's review the definition of the word "strawman."

    from Merriam-Webster.com:
    Main Entry: straw man
    Function: noun
    1 : a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted
    2 : a person set up to serve as a cover for a usually questionable transaction

    Just because you have an election doesn't mean you have a democracy

    That much is true. The first election is a very important step, but the most important step is when an incumbent loses an election or runs up against term limits. FWIW, my reading of US history is that the 2 most important elections in US history were 1796 (when Washington voluntarily stepped down) and 1800 (when Adams handed over power to Jefferson, a bitter rival, after losing in a fairly clean election). Only in 1800 did the US really earn the title "healthy democracy". (And yes, I know, it's actually a republic, not a democracy, but I'm just using the word that John used for convenience.)

    So far you've characterized my stance reasonably.

    because afterall these people might elect someone we dont' like

    I've never said that the election of somebody that I don't like would mean that Iraq isn't a democracy. That's our first example of "imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted".

    They are just animals in the middle east and they need to guided and kept down.

    I've never said anything remotely like that.

    We need get Saddam back in power in Iraq

    I never said that. There's a difference between wanting somebody to stay in power and not wanting to spend the blood and treasure to remove him. If you can't see the difference, I don't know what to say.

    and the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan

    I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, and I wish we hadn't diverted resources away from tracking down the remaining Taliban fighters.

    and do something to pay off the Mullahs in Iran

    I've suggested bombing Iranian nuclear facilities, even though I oppose a full-scale invasion and overthrow of the Iranian gov't.

    and make sure that those towell heads there don't get upidy and demand things like an election or some say in how their government works.

    I've never opposed that.

    As far as the strong men in charge, if we just grovell and debase ourselves enough and pay enough tribute, they will leave us alone

    Well, with regard to one of the strong men currently in charge, I've suggested ending our subsidy to Egypt.

    we can get back to important things over here like legalizing drugs

    Given how much street crime and corruption of law enforcement is driven by prohibition, I'd say that drug legalization is very important. So at least you've accurately characterized my stance on that issue.

    getting federal subsidies for Burning Man this year.

    I would oppose such subsidies.

    Let's see, you only said 2 accurate things about my stances. I'd say you used strawmen.

  28. Word, Ken. If the question had been framed like this mainly (I realise it was posed very weakly), then at least there could have been dialogue about that potential reason for going to war. I'm with you that it still would not have made me support the war.

    For instance, the military is having a hard time over in Iraq. I saw the recent Frontline that showed a few months in the field with a certain platoon over there, and the language barrier, the logistics of fighting in a place where people are trying to live their lives, not to mention a place where it's nearly impossible to discern friend from foe, makes it seem like a daunting task for us. Why no one realised this at the beginning eludes me. Yes, it's great that there were actual elections, but it's far from over in Iraq. I personally believe that countries like Lebannon and Iran will eventually throw off their oppressive rulers without our help and without pre-emptive strikes, a thing which still bothers me greatly.

    Ok, enough rambling - too much caffine.

  29. Reagan's cowardice in Lebanon in 1983 is the biggest black mark against his foreign policy.

    I never knew that there were people who think Reagan was too much of a softy.

    You learn something new every day.

  30. "Reagan's cowardice in Lebanon in 1983 is the biggest black mark against his foreign policy. They killed 300 marines and we did nothing about it but turn tail and run and turn the country over to the Syrians. If we had actually gone in and kicked the hell out of Hizbulah then, perhaps we wouldn't have been viewed as so weak by Islamist radicals before 9-11."

    You're projecting cowardice onto President Reagan. It's hard to go back in time and see things the way people saw them then, but I'll remind you that Reagan had bigger fish to fry in 1983.

    Having said that, I agree that Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism, and you're absolutely right about Syria supporting Hezbollah, elements of which murdered hundreds of American Marines. I might have supported an invasion of Syria as a part of the War on Terror.

    In regards to the suggestion that 9/11 may not have happened if we had invaded Lebanon in response to the murders in 1983, I disagree. We had a long history of tepid responses to terror including our responses to the more immediate bombing of the Cole and the whole episode in Somalia.

    ...Reagan's response to Libya's sponsorship of terrorism was more effective, was it not?

  31. John and Ted,

    Hizbollah did not exist in 1976, when the Syrians entered Lebanon (at the invitation of the nearly defeated Christians and with, as Ted notes, the approval of the Ford Administration). Nor did Hizbollah exist in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon; in fact, the Shi'ites of South Lebanon largely welcomed that invasion initially, as it cleared the PLO out of the area. Nor did Hizbollah exist in 1983, when the U.S. Marines were dispatched to Lebanon to oversee the evacuation of the PLO. And while the bomber of the Marine barracks may well have come from one of the Shi'ite factions which later coalesced into Hizbollah, Hizbollah did not exist at that time either. Hizbollah does not even have the distinction of being the first Shi'ite militia; that was Amal. In evacuating the Marines from Lebanon, Reagan was not turning the country over to the Syrians; at the time, Israel occupied the entire country up to and including Beirut, and the Syrians were in severe disarray. (Do you people know anything about this stuff?)

    These are all facts. Now for some interpretation: The idea that President Reagan showed cowardice and emboldened Islamists by leaving Lebanon is a fantasy in which the neocons and Osama bin Laden have both found it convenient to believe. This was an insignificant country of no strategic interest to the United States. The American military had punished the countryside of Lebanon through naval shelling that nobody maintains had any strategic value. The American mission in Lebanon had from the start been a limited operation with strictly defined goals and a minimal commitment. The only known American client in Lebanon had been assassinated months before, and there was no perceivable solution to the country's woes. (In fact, looking back from more than twenty years' distance, it's still not clear what might have solved the Lebanese situation in 1984.) The Marines had just lost 241 people in a matter of seconds, most likely (if we assume they were Shi'ites) at the hands of people whose existence the U.S. had been barely aware of before entering Lebanon. There was absolutely no national will to remain in a country diseased in countless ways, with no plan of action, no local allies, and no credible hope for pacifying the place. Reagan did the right thing in cutting his losses. To pretend that there is a straight line from Beirut to 9/11 is to ignore nearly two decades of history that include the end of the Afghan war, the downfall of the USSR, the first Gulf War, etc.

  32. joe,

    That was funny I have to admit. 🙂

    Ken Shultz,

    I am pretty much in favor of very limited military engagements worldwide and expanding free trade.

    John,

    I think its you who has a dim view of the Lebanese actually. After all, its the hawks who are always arguing that the Lebanese can't act without some external catalyst, namely the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

    Indeed, if you actually read my comments on the situation in Lebanon, its pretty clear that I am stating that the actions there are the result of the actions of the Lebanese. But you probably can't be bothered with the whole reading bit.

    If you beleive the Syrians are going to do anything to restrain terrorism, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Supporting Syria was the position of the Bush administration through the start of 2003. Indeed, while the Lebanese were protesting in the streets in 2000, 2001, 2002 and into 2003 the U.S. ignored their efforts. For all the boastfulness of the U.S. efforts in Lebanon, just like in Poland in the 1980s, the U.S. is the late-comer to the game trying to claim all the success for themselves when in fact the success is based on the efforts of others.

  33. Aw, Tim, way to ruin things with facts 🙁

  34. It's hard to go back in time and see things the way people saw them then, but I'll remind you that Reagan had bigger fish to fry in 1983.

    ...it's hard to go back in time and see things the way people saw them then, but Cavanaugh can do it with ease.

    Thanks Tim.

  35. Tim Cavanaugh,

    Nice exposition. 🙂

  36. Tim:

    I bet a dollar that many of those Syrian withdrawal entusiasts from Lebanon had no problem with the Israeli occupation of Lebanon or the atrocities they committed there.

    I just wanted to add a word about the Taif agreement which ended the Lebanese civil war. It has specifics about the Syrian military presence in Lebanon many of the bushites do not want you to know.

    From the agreement:

    "the Syrian forces shall
    thankfully assist the forces of the legitimate Lebanese government to
    spread the authority of the State of Lebanon within a set period of no
    more than 2 years, beginning with ratification of the national accord
    charter, election of the president of the republic, formation of the
    national accord cabinet, and approval of the political reforms
    constitutionally. At the end of this period, the two governments --
    the Syrian Government and the Lebanese National Accord Government --
    shall decide to redeploy the Syrian forces in Al-Biq'a area from Dahr
    al-Baydar to the Hammana-al-Mudayrij-'Ayn Darah line, and if necessary,
    at other points to be determined by a joint Lebanese-Syrian military
    committee."

    Full Text http://www.meij.or.jp/text/PeaceProcess/taif.htm.

  37. "that many of those Syrian withdrawal entusiasts from Lebanon"

    should be "that many of those Syrian withdrawal enthusiats here .."

  38. Tim --

    I should have been more specific - I was referring to the post-civil war era in Lebanon, and my understanding of that is this: "In 1989, the civil war was brought to an end under Syrian sponsorship by the National Reconciliation Accord, commonly known as the Taif Accord, which provided for an even distribution of seats between Christians and Muslims, divided the three top political positions among Maronites, Sunnis and Shi'ites, and cast Syria as the guarantor of the Lebanese political system. The first postwar election in 1992 was held under the Taif system, as have the subsequent elections of 1996 and 2000." (Taken from here: http://headheeb.blogmosis.com/ which a colleague of mine from Egypt who does Mideast politics took a quick look at and said it looked accurate to him, but perhaps it's bad information nonetheless). So that was what I knew, or thought I knew, and what I was trying to refer to, though possibly not clearly; after the civil war ended, the Syrians stayed, and part of why the US wanted them to do that is that unlike the Lebanese government they were actually stronger than Hizbulah and could control them. And Hizbulah clearly did exist in 1989. I may misunderstand what's going on here, but I'm not just pulling stuff out of the air, so there's no need to be unpleasant. I suppose one test of whether they were needed to control Hizbulah will come after they leave, although obviously the situation was different fifteen years ago.

    Also, contrary to what you say above, there are a number of websites that claim that Hizbulah was founded in 1982 by Sheik Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah; but I'm no expert in this matter and perhaps you are.

  39. Gotcha, Ted. By the way, there's considerable dispute over whether Fadlallah is in fact the "spiritual leader" of Hizbollah. Michael Young, for one, always dings people when they refer to him this way. 1984-85 is generally seen as the birthday of Hizbollah, although it's not set in stone. There was a period, beginning in 1982, when Shi'ite militants first started appearing in force, and nobody knew what to call them. A Hizbollah member told me in an interview that they didn't exist in 1983, although this was in the context of of denying involvement in the barracks bombing, so take it with a grain of salt. In any event, if you go back and read newspaper coverage from the period of the Marine deployment, you'll see that Hizbollah was not on anybody's radar screen: It was all about "Christians vs. Muslims," "Druze strongholds in the mountains," "Phalangists," etc.-terms that now seem almost nostalgic.

  40. Aw thoreau!

    I wuz bein' SARCASTIC...whazzmatta, can't you take a joke?

    I feel like my post was the seed-chrystal that caused the solution to set - NOW you.re all making the Four Points, right?

    joe...I am trying to picture Lebanon shaking off the Syrian yoke, or Egypt experimenting with multi-party democrqacy IF a.) President Gore is enlisting Mubarak's and Baby Assad's help in "keeping Saddam contained" or b.) President Kerry is enlisting the same rogues to "stabilize" Iraq while we follow a rapid withdrawl from Iraq...and my mind just won't run to it.

    How about you, joe? Do you picture effective international pressure on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon. if we were say...trying to "replace" Americans with Egyptian and Syrian troops- that make sense to you joe?

    Tim, I suppose the principal reason neo-cons, and other naifs, think Reagan's abrupt departure from Beirut had a lot to do with bin-Ladin and his movement's assessment of American resolve, is because he says so...a lot. He talks about it all the time, along with Mogadishu - he almost never talks about America's under-reaction to Cole and Kenya...although, I'm sure that didn't help.

  41. Andrew,

    It would be helpful if you could use standard English. Thanks. 🙂

    I am trying to picture Lebanon shaking off the Syrian yoke, or Egypt experimenting with multi-party democrqacy IF ... President Kerry is enlisting the same rogues to "stabilize" Iraq while we follow a rapid withdrawl from Iraq...and my mind just won't run to it.

    That's or course exactly what the Bush administration was doing re: Syria until quite recently. Post-9/11 Bush administration policy was to stop needling Syria about Lebanon. Oh how quickly you forget.

    And its easy to imagine Lebanon doing this entirely on its own. Again, because there have been protests in the streets, articles in the papers, etc. about Syria's occupation since at least 2000. Syria is the catalyst for the most recent reaction; not the U.S. Not murder of Harriri, no march to protest his death. Why is the chronology of these events so hard for you to bend your mind around?

    Do you picture effective international pressure on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon.

    Well, "international pressure" isn't causing the events on the ground in Syria; the Lebanese are causing those events on the ground. Why you so blithely discount the efforts of the Lebanese I cannot say; but its quite insulting to the years of effort they put in so far into gaining their freedom.

  42. Andrew,

    I do expect you to avoid my statements, BTW. I know that they are hard for a TBer like you to take. 🙂

  43. BTW, I now see that neo-conservatives are now claiming that events in the Ukraine are all about Bush. *shakes head in incredulity*

  44. John:

    They killed 300 marines and we did nothing about it but turn tail and run and turn the country over to the Syrians.

    To Tim Cavanaugh's response, I would only add that our government shouldn't have had troops there in the first place.

  45. Andrew:

    I suppose the principal reason neo-cons, and other naifs, think Reagan's abrupt departure from Beirut had a lot to do with bin-Ladin and his movement's assessment of American resolve, is because he says so.

    The important point is that we were targeted by bin-Laden's gang because of our government's Mid-east interventions, especially for our government's financing the Israeli government's occupation. Note that the findings of the 9/11 commission reveal:

    "Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission."

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

    The neocons prevailed with their interventionist ways and disaster befell us.

  46. Ok, everyone keeps on tossing around this 300 number and stating that they were all U.S. Marines; this is incorrect. This is what actually happened.

    Early in the morning of October 23 one truck struck the Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport and another attacked the French military barracks some kilometers away. The first of these attacks left 241 Marines dead; while the latter left 56 French soldiers dead. The total dead that day came to 297. Note that there were approximately 800 Marines in Lebanon and another 800 French Marines.

    Postscript: The following March (I believe) the U.S. embassy in Lebanon was attacked in the same manner (the dead ranged in the 60s). And in December 1984 the American and French embassies in Kuwait were also attacked by trucks armed with explosives and driven by suicide bombs. A couple of other truck bombings followed this at U.S. installations in the middle east after this. Are we just stupid or what?

  47. Syria is the catalyst for the most recent reaction; not the U.S. Not murder of Harriri, no march to protest his death

    This is surely true, Gary.
    Lebanese people have been reeling from Syria's military occupation since 29 years now.As it is known,Lebanon is very different from Syria in terms of its openness to Western culture and norms . This is what Syria's minority rulers cannot tolerate. They are one-party rulers;the infamous Baath party. They fear that the Lebanese political situation in terms of freedom and democratic values would be contagious and would spread to their own country. They are trying to subdue and tame the Lebanese society by killing its strong independent leaders.
    Facts:
    1) Kamal Joumblatt had been killed for opposing the Syrian army.
    2) The president Bashir Gemayel had been assassinated 20 days after being elected in 1982.
    3) Mufti Hassan Khaled, a moderated sunnite religious leader was killed too.
    4) Rene Mouawad, another president elect, was killed in a car explosion very similar to Hariri's.

    Hariri's death galvanized the country because, unlike the other instances which happened during the civil war, he was liked by various portions of Lebanese: Christians, Muslims and Druze.

    Reagan's cowardice in Lebanon in 1983 is the biggest black mark against his foreign policy. They killed 300 marines and we did nothing about it but turn tail and run and turn the country over to the Syrians

    A large portion of Lebanese saw it this way too.
    After this hasty departure of the Marines, the Iranians and Syrians took a hard grip on the country. The first arming Hizbollah and extending its influence to the Middle East, the second, controlling Lebanese political and business lives.
    Unfortunately, this kind of thing (turning blind eye) happened again when the U.S. gave the green light for Syrian troops to enter by force the Christian regions in 1990, which incidentally happened the same time as the U.S. freed Kuwait of Saddam's army.

    Things are different now after 9/11, the U.S. willing to foresee things for the longer terms and to embrace freedom movements in the world. Let's hope this time it will be fruitful for the Lebanese cause for freedom.

  48. gee GG

    So...the demonstrations of this past week have nothing to do with the assassination of Hariri? You're right - I DON"T know how to respond to a "point" like that.

    I am waiting for you and joe to concoct the grand Theory of Theories: where the downfall of Saddam has nothing to do with the Bush administration...all those American troops milling around Baghdad were a mere coincidence to the dissolution of the Iraqi tyranny.

    Demonstrations("articles in the paper, etc.") in 2002-2003 are followed by Syria illegally extends the term of the puppet President.

    Demonstrations in 2005 bring down the government...in a week. Silly me - to think this had anything to do with elections in Iraq.

  49. Still waiting for joe on how many revolutions - "velvet", or otherwise - he expected to see, if the President of the world's most powerful nation had been a NOT-COWBOY trying to be friends with every crap-artist who was a leader of state.

    Always amusing to see Ken learning from gaius that the international order in March 2003 was the Best Of All Possible Worlds...and all the departures since are unpleasantly scary.

    God, it's rich to see you guys make fools of your selves!

  50. Andrew,

    So...the demonstrations of this past week have nothing to do with the assassination of Hariri?

    "Not murder..." should read "No murder..." Of course the fact that you chose to ignore my earlier, clearer statement is telling. This is one of your typical obfuscating tactics. And note that you undermine the whole "USA is the reason" argument by admitting that it was Harrari's death at the heart of the most recent protests. You can't have it both ways.

    I am waiting for you and joe to concoct the grand Theory of Theories: where the downfall of Saddam has nothing to do with the Bush administration...

    And I am waiting for you stop building strawmen. Do quit being such a prat.

    Demonstrations("articles in the paper, etc.") in 2002-2003 are followed by Syria illegally extends the term of the puppet President.

    Get the dates right prat; 2000-2005. You're so dishonest you'll even fudge the dates.

    Demonstrations in 2005 bring down the government.

    These demonstrations were part of a long-standing protest and not isolated incidents. Of course, that was the whole point of my argument to begin with. That you blithely ignored it and then tried to portray my argument as if it created some sort of chasm between 2003 and 2005 is just further evidence of your intellectual dishonesty.

  51. Andrew,

    Now, if you could give us something more than a claim of causality based on chronology I'd be interested in seeing it. But any understanding of Lebanese politics must acknowledge that the events of today are not predicated on the invasion of Iraq but the frustration with the regime dating back to the initial protests of 2000.

    That you choose to treat the Lebanese as helpless slugs instead of as agents of change in their society isn't very endearing, BTW. Neo-conservatives always characterize those doubtful of the Iraqi war as "racists" and the like, but it appears that the real "racists" are people like you who cannot fathom a world where people do not work via the signals of U.S. foreign policy.

  52. Ted:

    I'm acquainted with The Head Heeb from a USENET group we both participate in. He is one sharp guy, and very knowledgeable.

    Kevin

  53. Tim Cavanaugh,

    Its interesting how we can get so wedded to terminology that it gets in the way of rational analysis.

  54. Has it occured to you, Andrew, that the Lebanese people might be capable of generating their own polical activities without the Great White Fathers in Washington putting them up to it?

    However, I'm glad to see so many rightists coming around to the importance of democratic governance in the developing world. We certainly are a long way from the days when you were cheerleading for coups against the presidents of Haiti and Venezuela.

  55. "I am waiting for you and joe to concoct the grand Theory of Theories: where the downfall of Saddam has nothing to do with the Bush administration"

    You're going to be waiting a long time, then. Are there American troops milling around Beirut? No? Those are Lebanese people? That can't be right; people in the middle east can't possibly act of their own volition. There must be some AEI interns hiding under chadors and telling everyone what to do.

  56. "Always amusing to see Ken learning from gaius that the international order in March 2003 was the Best Of All Possible Worlds...and all the departures since are unpleasantly scary."

    I wish I knew what you were talking about.

  57. "Tim, I suppose the principal reason neo-cons, and other naifs, think Reagan's abrupt departure from Beirut had a lot to do with bin-Ladin and his movement's assessment of American resolve, is because he says so...a lot. He talks about it all the time, along with Mogadishu"

    Which is probably why I said

    The idea that President Reagan showed cowardice and emboldened Islamists by leaving Lebanon is a fantasy in which the neocons and Osama bin Laden have both found it convenient to believe.

    It's really a puzzler that a sworn enemy who has declared war on the United States would choose to keep talking about the only two recent cases where U.S. troops were defeated in the field.

  58. That's point for Mr. Cavanaugh-Game, set, thread.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.