Northern Fights

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Like Ron, I'm skeptical of the idea that the key to peace along Israel's northern border is to turn the other cheek when Hezbollah crosses the border to attack Israeli soldiers or lobs missiles at Haifa. At the same time, I'm not sure what Israel can reasonably hope to accomplish beyond making Hezbollah think twice next time around. If the Lebanese government were capable of asserting its authority in southern Lebanon, wouldn't it have done so by now? And if Israel could not eliminate the threat posed by hostile groups to the north during its two-decade occupation of southern Lebanon, an occupation that in fact set the stage for the current threat, how can it do so with attacks that fall short of occupation, especially if it strives to minimize the deaths of noncombatants? Terrorists who make their homes among civilians always have an advantage in a conflict like this one, when the military response to their attacks tends to produce lopsided casualty figures that make the defender look like the aggressor.

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  1. Hostile groups can’t be eliminated. Missile batteries can be eliminated while you kill as many of the enemy gathered in a defined geographic region as possible.

  2. If the current situation led to outright war between Israel and Syria, might Israel be able to sufficiently trash Syrian armor and airpower to reduce Syria’s influence over Lebanon? And if Lebanon were thus liberated from Syria’s shadow, might it eventually be able to exercise greater control in the south?

    Opinions?

  3. “Terrorists who make their homes among civilians always have an advantage in a conflict like this one, when the military response to their attacks tends to produce lopsided casualty figures that make the defender look like the aggressor.”

    It might be added that in this instance most of the terrorists are home. Despite the US government’s continuing efforts to treat Hezbollah as some mysterious outside force that’s separate from the Lebanese body politic, it is, in fact, an integral part of many Lebanese’s lives. Various pronouncements about how Hezbollah will be “wiped out”, etc. are as meaningful as some other nation suggesting that the Republican party could be wiped out. It can only be accomplished through conquest of the country and mass extermination of a substantial part of the civilian population.

  4. if the Lebanese government were capable of asserting its authority in southern Lebanon, wouldn’t it have done so by now?

    No. Well, not necessarily…the Lebanese government may tacitly approve of what Hezbollah does and believes while wanting to maintain now-destroyed plausible deniability

    LEBANESE GOV’T: We are shocked, shocked! to find out Hezbollah is operating here…

  5. Ayn Randian,

    Do you remember what Ayn Rand thought of civilian casualities?

  6. Various pronouncements about how Hezbollah will be “wiped out”, etc. are as meaningful as some other nation suggesting that the Republican party could be wiped out. It can only be accomplished through conquest of the country and mass extermination of a substantial part of the civilian population.

    Hmm…

    (Just kidding.)

  7. Does anyone know how many seats Hezbollah holds in Lebanon’s government?

    I may be wrong, but my understanding (as was explained to me by my Jewish co-worker who seems to be following this more than myself) is that Hezbollah has a presense but it isn’t very big and that it was his belief that Lebabon not only wouldn’t be able to control them, but any effort to do so would destabilize the country.

    No. Well, not necessarily…the Lebanese government may tacitly approve of what Hezbollah does and believes while wanting to maintain now-destroyed plausible deniability

    Other than merely wildly speculating — can some kind of tacit support be proven? And is it institutional support, or merely pockets of support within the country.

    It doesn’t seem to me like Lebanon is tacitly supporting Hezbollah, but instead tolerates / accepts them to maintain stability and prevent civil strife.

  8. Umbriel-

    Good point, but I doubt if Syria is going to get involved in open conflict with Israel; a battle they are very unlikely to win in a 1 on 1 situation, and which is hopless given the fact that any Syrian tank columns streaming into a weakened Israel would quickly be destroyed by American aircraft flying out of Iraq.

    What interests me most about this particular branch of the Jihad War/WWIII/Neverending Mideast Conflict/Whatever You Want To Call It is how it will eventually change the rules of war. We continue to fight from a state-vs-state mindset for the most part, when that isn’t the nature of this conflict.
    How many years will this continue before a neighborhood of apartment buildings which is the de-facto HQ of a terrorist group becomes recognized as a legitimate target? Right now, the side protected by international cries of “civilian casualties” is the side that has always intentionally targeted civilians. Think about how twisted that is.
    Will the attitude eventually become “If an area is functioning as a terrorist base, it will be treated as a terrorist base”? Israel could eventually create a no-go zone around it’s borders. While this is an unpalatable idea, this is already the sort of war we’ve got.

  9. PL — if you really want to go down that road, I don’t think you actually know the answer:

    “A government is not an independent entity: it’s supposed to represent the people of a nation.

    If some people put up with dictatorship?as some do in Soviet Russia and as they did in Germany?they deserve whatever their government deserves.”

    Ayn Rand – Ford Hall, 1972

    “Whatever rights the Palestinians may have had — I don’t know the history of the Middle East well enough to know what started the trouble — they have lost all rights to anything: not only to land, but to human intercourse. If they lost land, and in response resorted to terrorism — to the slaughter of innocent citizens — they deserve whatever any commandos anywhere can do to them, and I hope the commandos succeed.”

    Ayn Rand – Q & A

    Oops, PL, try again.

  10. “Does anyone know how many seats Hezbollah holds in Lebanon’s government?”

    14 I believe. Enough to be part of the government.

    “…Hezbollah has a presense but it isn’t very big ”

    Hezbollah is likely more than a small presence – they operate a hospital, have welfare systems, and have basically become a de facto gov’t for the County’s mostly poor, minority Shia. It would certainly and obviously be a small presence among the Christians, though.

    Lebanon is a seriously complicated country. One thing that amazes me about what is happening right now, but probably shouldn’t, is how a lot of supposedly learned pundits so obviously know absolutely nothing about it, despite 16 years of civil war with which to get acquainted with. Makes one pine for a Thomas Friedman column for chirst’s sake!

  11. I think it would be best for Israel to stay out of Lebanon, use strong words, but let the Lebanese central government gain power. Going in and blowing shit up I think just pushes back the progress the Lebanese government has made. I mean Israel has only been withdrawn from lebanon for 6 years it is going to take longer then that for lebanon to get rid of hezzbollah. And getting rid of hezzbollah is obviously going to have to come from within it can’t be pressured by Israel and it is going to take time.

  12. why “oops”?

    That was a good question and interesting response!

    thanks for the info!

    cheers,
    VM

    p.s., I’m afraid I’m gonna have to pull rank on you: “oops” is in clear violation of the second law of Fletch (the first being keeping the tags on the mattresses)

  13. “Oops, PL, try again.”

    Actually, I think that was his point.

  14. SR,

    He he he.

  15. At the same time, I’m not sure what Israel can reasonably hope to accomplish beyond making Hezbollah think twice next time around.

    Sounds good to me.

    I think it would be best for Israel to stay out of Lebanon, use strong words, but let the Lebanese central government gain power.

    While Israeli citizens die in rocket attacks and Hezbollah crosses the border to take prisoners? Give me a break.

  16. ah ha..but was it to question my knowledge or her opinion?

  17. If the current situation led to outright war between Israel and Syria, might Israel be able to sufficiently trash Syrian armor and airpower to reduce Syria’s influence over Lebanon? And if Lebanon were thus liberated from Syria’s shadow, might it eventually be able to exercise greater control in the south?

    Israel could pretty much kick the crap out of the Syrian military (they spend 11 times as much on their military every year and they are using our stuff), the problem (well, one among many others) is that escalating this to include Syria would cause Iran to enter the conflict, which would probably cause the whole thing to spiral into a big crapfest that engulfed the region. Not sure what would happen to Iraq, but it would probably kick-off a full scale civil war, and we’d have to pull out.

    Boy, that would suck. Good thing I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

  18. Ayn Randian,

    I already knew the answer. My point was to draw out the nature of Rand’s view on these matters.

  19. RC Dean and others supporting his point of view vis-a-vis Israel bombing Lebanon (and I assume you are Americans for purposes of this question) –

    Just curious – What good can come out of this in terms of American interests? Maybe the response will deter Hezbollah, maybe not. That seems to be in Israel’s interests, sure. More than likely though, this will only serve to destablize Lebanon’s iffy central government. I fail to see how that can be good for America or the wider world.

  20. While Israeli citizens die in rocket attacks and Hezbollah crosses the border to take prisoners?

    So if tomorrow some militant group in the US bombs a town in Ontario and abducts a Canadian soldier, Canada would be justified in bombing the US and invading ???
    Give me a break!

    Unless there is absolute proof the the Lebanese government is involved in these attacks (something that is completely lacking right now) then the only thing Israel should be doing in Lebanon is dealing with the Lebanese government and working with their agencies / intelligence to try and find these guys. Not engaging in military attacks on foreign soil.

    The attacks in the West Bank are differnent since it was the militant wing of the ruling government who abducted the first soldier — so it seems quite appropriate for Israel to send troops in, but that isn;t the case in Lebanon

  21. RC DEAN
    The bombings are minimal compared to what is going on now because of israels response and the capturing of soldiers is rare. ISraels best option was to make appeals to the international community and possibly work through someone like the french who would be able to help strengthen the Lebanese government. I believe the course of action Israel took only gets more people killed and no one closer to disarming Hezzbollah.

  22. I have to question the conventionaly wisdom about Iran getting directly involved in this conflict (I say directly because they are already involved through Hezbollah). If they want to join the fight….how are they going to get there? I’m pretty sure sending their trucks/armor/planes through Iraq ain’t gonna happen, and NATO member Turkey would not be a good choice for an invasion. So unless they’re going to send a fleet around Africa and through Gibraltar, the only other option is to send that fleet up the Suez to certain destruction by Israel.
    This leaves use of long-range missiles. I suppose this could happen, but I’m sure the Iranians realize doing this would result in the destruction of their long-range missile sites about 30 minutes later, along with any aspirations to regional power they may have had.
    If there’s any other way Iran could enter into this conflict in an open way (as opposed to the funding/training/smuggling they already do), I don’t see it.

  23. ChicagoTom

    What if said U.S. radical group had 14 seats in the House and ran multiple quasi-governmental services? Sorry, but saying Hezbollah is outside the government is being disingenuous.

  24. Hi, Marcvs;

    I agree with you that Israel has nothing to fear of Syria, but not even on the grounds of military spending. Israel has a western type of army and command, whereas the Arab states have armies are nearly feudal in organization. Those armies, even when banded together, have collapsed not once, but four times against Israel’s might. And the same for Iraq: remember how in 1991 they said it was the “fourth army in the world?” (according to military spending). It didn’t stand a second because it was so disorganized. Armies tend to reflect the society where they come from. Arab countries are economically backward, and so are they militarily. Another strong point for capitalism.

  25. I meant “conventional”, not “conventionaly”

  26. Maybe it spiraling out of control is perhaps the best way for us to pull out. It’s not our fault if it happens. With the exception of wasted manpower and resources over the last few years and the guaranteed mile high price of gas, it’s a great way to save face.

    Additionally, shouldn’t Israel be able to attack Iran or at least raise holy hell about Iranian missiles?

    http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/07/17/D8ITS54O8.html

  27. The Israeli apologists will always find a way to justify Israeli aggression. The fact of the matter is Israel resorts to big guns first and always pays the price later. The 6-Day Way led to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank; The invasion of Lebanon under eerily similar justification in 1982 basically created Hezbollah, and their foray into West Bank/Gaza in 2000 definitely greased the slide of Hamas into power. More guns blazing, less security.

    BTW, from USA Today:

    “Hezbollah’s political wing holds 23 seats in Lebanon’s 128-member parliament. Two Lebanese Cabinet ministers are Hezbollah members.”

  28. Obviously Lebanon’s forces can’t control Hezbollah, so does Lebanon deserve to fall? Israel’s forces couldn’t do it when they occupied the country either. How does destroying the nascent Democracy make Israel safer? If Syria and Iran are the culprits, how does bombing Beirut help them? It seems that the entire state of Lebanon will be a civilian casualty. Israel is understandibly desperate, but desperation doesn’t make for good policy choices.

  29. Hezbollah would have a lot more seats in parliment, and Shias in general, but there is an ethnic/religious quota system in place that limits them to fewer seats. Most likely they’d have double that.

    Hezbollah is well engrained in about 20% of of Lebanese society, so wuping them out by default means killing several hundred thousand people — something I wouldn’t put past the Israelis but I don’t think they have the competence to carry it out. Israel has a decent military and intelligence service, but they aren’t as vaunted as everyone says — they didn’t know about the long range rockets hitting Haifa, etc. all — they didn’t know about the shore to sea anti-ship missiles or would have equiped their ships properly to defend against them or stay out of range, etc. Hezbollah has more than the capability to fight this to at least a draw, and I hope they do.

  30. Hezbollah has more than the capability to fight this to at least a draw, and I hope they do.

    You’re a sick bastard.

  31. What if said U.S. radical group had 14 seats in the House and ran multiple quasi-governmental services? Sorry, but saying Hezbollah is outside the government is being disingenuous.

    No it isn’t — Implying 14 out of 128 seats somehow makes Hezbollah and the Lebanese gov’t synonymous is disingenuous.

    Hezbollah is not an agent of the Lebanese government. They are a militant group that is also taking part in the democratic process, that has some support from the public in certain regions.

    And despite all of this, if there were a handful of people members of Congress and who were also associated with said militant group, what would change? Would Canada not have to respect our border? Would that somehow justify an invasion and a bombing attack on US soil that killed US civillians? No it wouldn’t.

  32. Hmmm. Ayn Rand was quite the little anti-Palestinian racist, wasn’t she?

  33. flandrau,

    Much of Iran is outside the distance its aircraft can fly; plus Iran has some fairly advanced air defense systems.

  34. Sorry, Chicago, but our silence/complicity/moral sanction of terrorists in our government, representing the people and their will, makes us guilty, and we would deserve it.

    So, because the President is partisan, or the Congress, they are not agents of the government? So, how much support do you have to have to become an agent of the government. 50% of the seats?

  35. Uh, Bob, what in the hell was racist about her comments on the Palestinians? Or are you just a closet troll?

  36. Bob,

    As far as I can tell Rand didn’t shirk from the concept of “total war” and she apparently didn’t feel that there were any real limitations on the “rules of engagement” either. At least apparently none were morally required to her. I can’t tell you how she came to that conclusion, but it probably isn’t a bad guess to say that WWII heavily influenced her vision of war.

  37. “And despite all of this, if there were a handful of people members of Congress and who were also associated with said militant group, what would change? ”

    You need to flush out the scenario. If there were members of congress who were also militant anti Canadians and they lauched cross border attacks with artillery and mounted kidnapping raids into Ottawa, and the US government said, “We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys, and they are too well armed anyway,” I’m thinking, after at most 2-3 rockets landing, yeah, Canada wouldn’t have to respect our border any more.

  38. Ayn_Randian

    I’m not a troll. I’m just surprised that Rand had so little regard for the humanity of the Palestinians. Personally, I support Israel, but I also believe that Palestinians have some rights, including the right to their own state.

  39. Ayn Randian,

    Does mere presence in a nation equal consent? I don’t think so. That is even true of a long-term presence. Indeed, in any nation of a significant size consent simply isn’t possible. That’s one of the reasons why you need a Constitution of few enumerated powers with appropriate procedures to protect liberty.

  40. The moral status of the palestinians and/or the Lebanese is one of two categories: they are complicit or they are hostages.

  41. The Israelis used a bunch of murdering, torturing, raping fanatics as their fig leaf during their occupation of S Lebanon- the Christian Falange……as far as I know, the same political root as Franco’s Phalange, but perhaps here more than most places someone can shed light on that.
    The end results of that was inevitable: you average, non Hezbollah Lebanesian hates the Zionists a hell of a lot more than they hate Hez.
    And Israels response: to blow up big chunks of non- Hez Lebanon- is as predictable as ….I was gonna say Tommorrow, but maybe not.
    Given the hysteria on US MSM- not to mention the nitwits on Air Amerika- a very big part of this is getting completely ignored.
    I suggest, for SECULAR Palestinian sources, y’all google Mid East Review & look into the archives there, and for on the ground reportage, try Robert Fisk.
    Just to fill in some blanks, maybe, offer up another view……Im among sceptics, right?

  42. If there were members of congress who were also militant anti Canadians and they lauched cross border attacks with artillery and mounted kidnapping raids into Ottawa, and the US government said, “We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys, and they are too well armed anyway,” I’m thinking, after at most 2-3 rockets landing, yeah, Canada wouldn’t have to respect our border any more.

    uhmm…when did the Lebanese gov’t say: “We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys, and they are too well armed anyway” in response to the abducted soldier?

    Don’t confuse being unable to being unwilling. Just because the Lebanese gov’t knows they can’t disarm Hezbollah and knows that they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by trying, doesn’t mean that they are supporting or protecting them.

    If you twist the scenario to fit your beliefs anything can happen…But let’s deal with reality.

    No one refused to help Israel get the soldiers back. So that part of your example is just garbage. Israel should be trying to solve this wil Lebanon, not by bombing them.

  43. The whole situation is really a shame because Lebanon has tons of hot ladies!

  44. Bob: sure, Palestinians have the right to their own state, so why don’t they create one? They’ve got control of Gaza now, but instead of doing much of anything productive, they’re still attacking Israel, using bombs and rockets they make in machine shops in refugee camps that are now almost 60 years old. Time to move on, don’t you think?

    If the Palestinians really wanted a state, they’d renounce terrorism, accept the state of Israel, and go on peaceful Gandhian hunger strikes and such until Israel left most of the West Bank. But their main goal seems to be to destroy Israel and kill Jews no matter what, so I gave up caring about the “plight of the Palestinians” years ago.

    It’s worth noting that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, before there were any occupied territories. Unless you consider all of Israel to be occupied territory.

  45. No problem, Bingo, maybe you can get in on a little refugee action. Because refugees are hot.

  46. “No one refused to help Israel get the soldiers back. So that part of your example is just garbage. Israel should be trying to solve this wil Lebanon, not by bombing them.”

    Under two UN resolutions, the Lebanese government was supposed to have Lebanese forces in the south for years. They have always said, pretty much “We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys, and they are too well armed anyway.”

    Besides, you are ignoring the cross border artillery barrages. Why are you ignoring artillery? It is extremely relevant from where I’m sitting.

  47. Oh lighten up a little guys! I’m definitely in favor of anything that messes with the status quo in the Middle East. God knows how many diplomats and politicians dedicate their careers to keeping the region a goddamn powderkeg.

  48. Why do people keep saying the Palestinians have a “right” to their own state? From whence does this right derive? Do the Nepalese have a “right” to their own state? How about the Mohawks? (Or the libertarians?)

    It seems to me that statehood is essentially a matter of power – military, political, what have you. The chief (or only) way to ascertain whether a particular group has a “right” to a state is whether they have one now, or at least had one recently but were unreasonably deprived of it. When was the last time the Palestinians had a state, again?

    So, what does anyone propose as an alternative way to tell whether a group has this “right”?

  49. Don’t confuse being unable to being unwilling. Just because the Lebanese gov’t knows they can’t disarm Hezbollah and knows that they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by trying, doesn’t mean that they are supporting or protecting them.

    So, Israel is giving them a little extra incentive to get on the stick and do something about Hezbollah.

    I’m not 100% serious with the above comment, but it could be interpreted that way, and I’m ambivalent as to whether it is the right approach, but I do know that passively letting rockets be fired into Israel is not a viable answer for the Israeli government.

  50. The whole situation is really a shame because Lebanon has tons of hot ladies!

    Indeed! And easily the best food in the entire Middle East. And, I must say, one of the two best bottles of wine I’ve ever tasted came from Bekaa Valley.

    As for what Israel can gain here, it could easily be clearing the way for Lebanon to put their military on their border. You know, like what they’ve specifically requested.

  51. What’s that, Bingo Little? Do you have photos? Names? Numbers?
    Give the Horn Dog a little help here.

  52. “Bob: sure, Palestinians have the right to their own state, so why don’t they create one? They’ve got control of Gaza now, but instead of doing much of anything productive, they’re still attacking Israel, using bombs and rockets they make in machine shops in refugee camps that are now almost 60 years old. Time to move on, don’t you think?”

    Well, its a funny kind of state when another state (Israel) can close its ports of entry and roll its tanks in whenver it pleases. Maybe they don’t like that kind of state. Would you?

    “Under two UN resolutions, the Lebanese government was supposed to have Lebanese forces in the south for years. They have always said, pretty much “We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys, and they are too well armed anyway.”

    Yeah, and Israel resisted for a long time UN orders to get out of Lebanon and still defies one to get out of the occupied territories from the 67 war. Nice to pick and choose which UN resolutions you think worthwhile.

    “Why do people keep saying the Palestinians have a “right” to their own state? From whence does this right derive? ”

    By this logic we should have let Saddam stay in Kuwait, right? They have a moral right, and it derives from them working and living there continiously for centuries. I agree that after centuries folks claims get kind of less compelling. Oh wait, that fits Israel’s claim (which was about 1900 years old)!

  53. “What interests me most about this particular branch of the Jihad War/WWIII/Neverending Mideast Conflict/Whatever You Want To Call It is how it will eventually change the rules of war. We continue to fight from a state-vs-state mindset for the most part, when that isn’t the nature of this conflict.
    How many years will this continue before a neighborhood of apartment buildings which is the de-facto HQ of a terrorist group becomes recognized as a legitimate target? Right now, the side protected by international cries of “civilian casualties” is the side that has always intentionally targeted civilians. Think about how twisted that is.
    Will the attitude eventually become “If an area is functioning as a terrorist base, it will be treated as a terrorist base”? Israel could eventually create a no-go zone around it’s borders. While this is an unpalatable idea, this is already the sort of war we’ve got.”

    I’m interested in this too. I was watching some thing on the American Revolution on the history channel the other day. It once wasn’t thought gentlemenly to use guerilla tactics and the like. These ideas gave way when armies realized that they couldn’t win fighting against people who didn’t act like gentlemen. I’m thinking that we’re on the verge of another such change in mindset. We just have to figure out whether there is some ground before all out, no holds barred, war that will assuage some of our humanitarian instincts. Your suggestion of ‘terrorist bases’ is interesting and certainly one possible solution. It seems pretty evident that we can’t keep on with the rules we have- they put us at such a severe disadvantage.

  54. Ken:

    You’ll note I said “or at least had one recently but were unreasonably deprived of it.” Moreover, I don’t think military occupation (even combined with a general “it was always ours anyway” claim) eliminates the occupied state. If it goes on for decades without reversal, then perhaps the occupied state loses its “right” to exist.

    Re Israel/Palestine, there were always (or at least for the past 6000-odd years) Jews living in the area called Palestine, just as there were always others living there as well. You may arguably be right, under my analysis, that Israel did not have a “right” to exist – until it was created. Then, it did.

    The Palestinians have not created a viable state, a going concern that substantially provides for itself, can defend itself, and can police the activities going on within its borders. (Feel free to float your own realistic definition of a state.) Nor, for that matter, have the Kurds, who also meet your definition. Likewise many tribes in the Americas, especially South America. So, how many new “states” will be created if we use your view?

  55. Maybe I’m confused, but don’t Palestinians already HAVE their own state? The Palestinian Authority is a government, elected by Palestinians, to govern the West Bank and now Gaza. They recently elected Hamas to leadership, while Arafat’s successor remains at the helm.

    So, they have their own state, right? They just still want Israel wiped off the map. Am I missing something?

  56. Jonathan,
    If having a government=having a state, then I guess my little town in VA is a state too.

  57. Well, its a funny kind of state when another state (Israel) can close its ports of entry and roll its tanks in whenver it pleases. Maybe they don’t like that kind of state. Would you?

    No, but then I’m not an violent, irrational Jew-hater devoted to destroying Israel, as most Palestinians apparently are. If Palestinians don’t want Israeli tanks, they could try stopping attacks on Israel. “Warning: this animal is vicious; when attacked, it defends itself.”

  58. You might be a violent, irrational Hew-hater devoted to destroying Israel is you had to live in a “state” where Israel regularly invades, strikes, occupies, controls the ports of entry and commerce, collects tax revenue “for you” etc. Or if you lived in a nation, like Lebanon, where your family just got blown up because some faction in the south did something Israel did not like (hey, after all, according to some folks logic here, you were responsponsible). That’s the point here, right?

  59. Ah, yes: “they”. As in “They want to kill all the Jews”.
    They. As in……every person under occupation who isnt Chosen.
    Actually…..well, this would involve remembering things…..Arafat & his bully boys were in Tunisia.
    SECULAR Palestinians- who dont exist, Im told over & over again- had the Zionist State of Israel- a racist entity, no different than aparthiede South Africa- up against the ropes as far as world opinion goes, & it had everything to do w/ the Israeli militarys actions on the ground, in the Occupied Territories. (Full disclosure:
    theres no Northern Ireland, theres Ireland, and Occupied Ireland) Actions so vile a goodly revolt was forming among its own soldiers, just as a goodly revolt started among US troops in Viet Nam, for many of the same reasons.
    Arafat & his bullyboys were airlifted from Tunisia to the West Bank. Given umlimited funds, arms, & political cover. The compromised, corrupted old thug was promised multiple (US) millions to suppress the West Bank secular oppo, & became the Quisling of the US & its client, Israel.
    And when, after uncounted secret trials, and immediate executions, he could no longer keep a lid on legit Palestinian rebellion (not a sin, rebellion, in my book, but Im new here) he was simply flopped back into the “terrorist” bag, his usefulness over.
    The withdrawl from Gaza was boob bait…..for US consumption. Had zip to do w/ the real;deal- the West Bank occupation, water theft, the daily humiliation/repression/terrorizing of Palestinian lands, AKA Greater Israel.
    Back when, Id of run guns to the Souix & Co,mmmanche. Ida run meds to the Viets. As it stands, Ive raised $ for arms for the Salvadoreans, & ran military supp.lies to the Sandinista Army. Glad to help.
    Talks cheap.
    So, after endless years of horror, we are in a place where nietrher side is the “good guys”.
    And, like a goodly amount of theshitstorm we find ourselves (well, Im far from the shrapnel, & so are you, huh?) in today, its nitwits, thugs, scumbags, foriegn and domestic, funded by US taxpayers, who got us here.
    And, hell, I aint no “expert”. Just a sceptic, who reads, travels, & remembers.
    No easy out at this point. Its way past what passes for diplomacy.
    I say: cut off the cash, & let them kill each other, til they come to some understanding.
    Every fuckin rocket that slams into a “suspected” “terrorist” position, apartment block, school bus, fired by a US built chopper/jet, was built in the US.
    As I believe were all the rockets & cannon shells fired into the Liberty.
    My Jewish better half, who was a Young Zionist Commando, or whateverthey called themselves on Long Island summer camps in the 60’s, is thinkin likewise.
    Was it Palmerston who said “States have niether permanent enemies, or permanent friends- they have only permanent interests”

  60. “Warning: this animal is vicious; when attacked, it defends itself.”

    Sorry, I used that one yesterday.

  61. …sure, Palestinians have the right to their own state, so why don’t they create one?

    Well, the Israeli state has made it kinda difficult. There are still Palestinians rotting in Israeli prisons for the “crime” of advocating a Palestinian state. Such advocacy used to be illegal.

  62. We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys

    If you take into consideration the religious makeup of the Lebanese Army, I’d say they couldn’t afford to militarily, either.

  63. Well, the Israeli state has made it kinda difficult. There are still Palestinians rotting in Israeli prisons for the “crime” of advocating a Palestinian state. Such advocacy used to be illegal.

    Reminds me of that Irish poem, writ large on walls in the occupied North:
    “I’ll wear no convicts uniform, nor meekly serve my time,
    That Britain might make Irelands fight
    800 years of crime.

    It was at the time the Thatcher Gvt denied

  64. The IDF’s own military historian reports that in 1948, when the territory was first taken from the Palestinians, the IDF forces would machine gun half a dozen or so prominent men in a village, then poison the wells with typhus and dysentery, to get everyone to clear out.

    So, the Jews felt they had a moral right to use terrorism to take the land away from those living there; ever since, some Palestinians have felt they have the same right to use terrorism to try and get the land back.

    Why so many Americans feel that Israel is on some sort of higher moral ground is beyond me.

    George Marshall was opposed the the establishment of Israel, as he felt it would lead to widespread war and conflict. Phophetic words.

  65. “IDF forces would machine gun half a dozen or so prominent men in a village, then poison the wells with typhus and dysentery, to get everyone to clear out.”

    Umm…
    Dysentery is a general intestinal disorder that can be caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. Essentially bad diarrhea. I guess sick soldiers crapped in the wells? Seems odd behavior for people who want to live on the land.

    Typhus is generally transmitted by fleas or lice. Must have put little leg waders on them.

  66. Geof-

    I thought I’d raised a pretty important issue there, glad at least one person responded!
    This issue seems to be the big question that everyone is dancing around. What happens when the “battlefield” is in the middle of a city? What happens when the enemy lives and operates exclusively out of territory considered to be “civilian”? The Geneva conventions forbid bombing hospitals; the other side of that is that you don’t use hospitals as military staging areas, missile instalations, etc.
    We’ve been fighting a war where only one side takes on the responsibility of those rules, but the other side hides behind their protection, thereby rendering the rules pointless. When do we admit that?

  67. Could anyone enlighten me why Hizbollah rockets are coming through going into Haifa, in the fist place? Wasn’t Israel supposed to have developed this super-duper, ueber-drueber, second-to-none missile defence system to kick the shit out of all scud-scum-whathaveyou missiles the towel-heads could ever launch? I mean to remember having read about it in NRO.

  68. just curious,

    It may be that the flight time is too short to intercept them; especially those which only go 5-6 miles. That’s a guess at least.

  69. StpendousMan

    aspendougy was wrong, it wasn’t typhus, but the commonly mistaken typhoid. From NTI:

    It is believed that one of the largest BW operations was in the Arab coastal town of Acre, north of Haifa, shortly before it was conquered by the IDF on May 17, 1948. According to Dr. Uri Milstein, an Israeli military historian, the typhoid epidemic that spread in Acre in the days before the town fell to the Israeli forces was not due to wartime chaos but rather the result of a deliberate covert action by the IDF–the contamination of Acre’s water supply.[5]

    Then, on 23 May 1948, Egyptian soldiers in the Gaza area caught four Israeli soldiers disguised as Arabs near water wells. A statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense on May 29, 1948, stated that four “Zionists” had been caught trying to infect artesian wells in Gaza with “a liquid, which was discovered to contain the germs of dysentery and typhoid.” The four Israelis were put on trial, convicted, and executed by hanging three months later.

    Armies would never, ever infect indigenous populations for their land. I mean, that’s as ridiculous as giving a native population smallpox.

  70. “Whatever rights the Palestinians may have had — I don’t know the history of the Middle East well enough to know what started the trouble — they have lost all rights to anything: not only to land, but to human intercourse. If they lost land, and in response resorted to terrorism — to the slaughter of innocent citizens — they deserve whatever any commandos anywhere can do to them, and I hope the commandos succeed.”

    Ayn Randian,
    Do you think if Rand knew about the Israelis infecting Paletinians to gain their land and their killing of innocents, that she’d change her tune? To use a quote where she admits her ignorance isn’t exactly one to support the Israelis moral position.

    If Lebanese and Palestinians deserve to die for their government’s tacit support of militants then doesn’t it follow that Israeli citizens deserve the same. In fact, since the IDF is paid for, supported and manned by Israeli citizens, does that not make them even more legitimate targets?

  71. FYI, I do not support the killing of innocents on either side, but am merely pointing out the inconsistency of that logic.

  72. “Under two UN resolutions, the Lebanese government was supposed to have Lebanese forces in the south for years. They have always said, pretty much “We just can’t politically afford to go after these guys, and they are too well armed anyway.”

    Yeah, and Israel resisted for a long time UN orders to get out of Lebanon and still defies one to get out of the occupied territories from the 67 war. Nice to pick and choose which UN resolutions you think worthwhile.”

    Ken,

    You indicated that the Lebanese had never said this, and I pointed out that they have been saying precisely this for years. The presence or absence of UN resolutions was not the point, the point was that Hezbollah acts and the Lebanese government says they can’t stop them. At what number of rockets do you get to act?

  73. Rick Barton thinks all the Palestinians have been doing is advocacy. Anti-Semites have an amazingly selective view of the world. On the one hand you have the vicious, Nazi-like (a code term Holocaust deniers have adopted to describe Israel)Jews (oops…Israelis) oppressing the poor innocent Goyim (oops…Palestinians) for no real reason except maybe to rule the world. I think I’m starting to understand Barton’s underlying message.

  74. No. You’re. Not.

  75. “Armies would never, ever infect indigenous populations for their land. I mean, that’s as ridiculous as giving a native population smallpox.”

    What? Infecting the water supply in the desert seems rather stupid- it would make the land uninhabitable by anyone. Also an artesian well would be hard to contaminate- it’s spring a fed well which would probably mean that the water would be replaced constantly.

    “A statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense…”

    Well whatever the Egyptian Ministry of Defense says must be true.

  76. I think Dr. Uri Milstein*, Israeli military historian, would know more about the IDF’s actions than you. Considering that they weren’t putting cyanide in the water, but bacteria. All you need to remove the infection is boiling or chlorination. Also, if they are constanly replaced, that means a bacterial contamination would last there long enough to cause chaos, but short enough to take over the area.

    * Consider that Dr. Milstein has been called “Israel’s most distinguished military historian”. I think I’ll take his word over yours, no matter how Stupendous you are.

  77. I wasn’t questioning Dr. Milstein’s word only the logic behind the act.

    “Also, if they are constanly replaced, that means a bacterial contamination would last there long enough to cause chaos, but short enough to take over the area.:

    Depending on how the well(s) were built(like a aqueduct filling a basin which then filled another container, etc.) pouring in contaminates may be akin to pouring it down the drain. My guess is that they would pour it in a cistern.

    How dare you question my Stupendousness! I’m sure if Time magazine had a most stupendous person of the year I’d be at the top of the list.

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