Another Hot Beirut Summer

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A week into the Israeli onslaught in Lebanon, all I can really say is that I imagined summer rather differently. Many tens of thousands of refugees are on the roads, living in schools, public facilities, convents, etc. Lebanon will have a reconstruction bill in the billions of dollars, not to mention what it has lost in terms of short-term opportunity cost of a summer tourist season up in smoke. I wonder if the Lebanese economy, with a GDP of around $20 billion and a public debt twice that, can escape financial meltdown.

Beirut was mostly quiet today, though the Israelis rocketed some trucks near my home because they looked like missile launchers. In fact they were devices used to dig holes in properties ready for development, to drain water. That closed the neighborhood down even earlier than usual. In the South, along the Israeli border, fighting has been intense, and my friend Nicholas Blanford of the Christian Science Monitor, who is in the southern city of Tyre, told me he saw Hizbullah launch rockets apparently directed at Haifa.

This seems like it will last at least another week or so, by which I mean this intensity of violence. Once negotiations begin, I imagine things will continue, but at a more irregular pace. Israeli generals say that they will complete their operations in 10 days to two weeks. My feeling is that they won't be able to make it: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should be in the region by the end of the week, and while the bombing will continue beyond that, Rice can't discredit her mission by allowing it to go on for too long. There is also the slight matter of casualties. Very soon the green light given to Israel by many in the international community will turn orange, then red, because the death rate is unsustainable: nearly 250 dead in a week of attacks–almost all of them civilians.

As I type, thousands of foreigners are on their way out of Lebanon, heading for Cyprus. I remember such scenes from the war years between 1975 and 1990. The Americans have had the toughest time, it seems, because there are quite a few of them–some 25,000 in Lebanon, though not all are leaving. No one yet knows when their evacuation will be finished, but I suspect there will be some angry citizens when this is all over, even though I know that embassy staff is working 24/7, without much food or sleep.

A final word on political realism. I chatted with a prominent Lebanese politician the other day, who argued that if a ceasefire came too soon, this entire affair would be a victory for Hizbullah. This, he dreaded. Amid all the carnage there is another story: Lebanon is paying the price of a militia that has decided to build a state within a state and to pursue a conflict with Israel, regardless of what the Lebanese majority wants. The result is this calamity.

The Israeli strategy? Simply to make sure the Lebanese, in particular the Shiites, never bomb them again. It's not subtle; it won't disarm Hizbullah; but it will be hard to forget. And the Israelis are proving ruthless in targeting areas.

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  1. Michael, you are in our thoughts (and for those who pray, our prayers). Your service in this conflict has been and continues to be invaluable in helping us better understand the nature of this war, which, while distant geographically, is close to our hearts.

    Do you have a sense of whether Hizbullah had this planned in advance (timed to distract the G8 summit from Iran’s nukes, as some have suggested), or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment action, perhaps undertaken by a Hizbullah unit acting independently, “inspired” by Hamas’ hostage-taking?

  2. Michael Young,

    I am sure that I speak for all of us here at H&R (bloggers and lurkers alike) when I write that I’m grateful for your comments about the Levant (whether I agreed with them or not). I hope that you and yours stay safe and sound. And keep blogging your thoughts.

  3. Civilian casualties? Isn’t that a term that should be dropped or modified? Al Qaeda, Hezbula, Hamas, the Taliban, trigger happy Jewish settlers, the death squads in Yugoslavia and elsewhere, the armed militias in Iraq and elsewhere, most all of them are civilians. And then there are all of the people who support them, finance them, transport them and hide them, most all of them are civilians, as well.
    Some civilian casualties are innocent but a lot of them were asking to be killed, there should be a distinction made.

  4. hillbilly’s post brings the fore what I was vaguely wondering already, ie what constitutes “civilian” casualties in Lebanon? Has someone determined that these people were not Hezbollah fighters? How were the Lebanese soldiers killed in their barracks counted?

    Also, I would be very interested to know more of what Michael Young means by his last sentence.

  5. In this case, hillbilly, I think the civilians mentioned are mostly uninvolved in the conflict. I don’t think most people define members of militias such as Hezbula as “civilians”. And as for those who finance them… well, I paid income tax last year, which went to funding the US Military. Does this make me a legitimate target?

    Good luck to you and yours, Mr. Young.

  6. In this case, hillbilly, I think the civilians mentioned are mostly uninvolved in the conflict. I don’t think most people define members of militias such as Hezbula as “civilians”. And as for those who finance them… well, I paid income tax last year, which went to funding the US Military. Does this make me a legitimate target?

    Good luck to you and yours, Mr. Young.

  7. In this case, hillbilly, I think the civilians mentioned are mostly uninvolved in the conflict. I don’t think most people define members of militias such as Hezbula as “civilians”. And as for those who finance them… well, I paid income tax last year, which went to funding the US Military. Does this make me a legitimate target?

    Good luck to you and yours, Mr. Young.

  8. I’ve said before that the concept of ‘civilian’ is a relic of times when armies would dress in bright colors, line up 200 yards from each other, and blast away (Not that abuse of civilians wasn’t common back then). Things became much messier with the advent of industrial war (after all, British and American firebombing of German cities was euphemistically called ‘de-housing’ of factory workers) and it’s especially messy with the guerrila wars/insurgencies that we see today. How do you know that there are no enemies in that neighborhood? Are you sure? Even the most gentle commander is willing to level civilians’ houses after he loses enough men to ambushes in alleyways.

    In short, it’s a huge shit sandwich and I’m glad that I’m not over there eating it. Stay safe, Michael.

  9. Other Mark — good point. I think Frederick the Great of Prussia said words to this effect: “The peasants in the fields and the burghers in the towns should neither know nor care if their state is at war.” In other words, let the pros fight it out and leave the civilians completely out of it. At least that was the ideal. The ideal has eroded a bit over time.

    But may Michael Young and his family stay safe. Ditto again for Tim Cavanaugh’s family.

  10. Michael has absolutely no basis for stating that almost all of the casualties are “civilians” because no one knows (a) how many of the “civilians” were living in houses hiding hebollah weapons, which in my view makes them terrorists; and (b) how many Hezbollah fighters have been killed, because Hezbollah isn’t saying, and has even reportedly banned burials to cover its losses.

  11. Michael has absolutely no basis for stating that almost all of the casualties are “civilians” because no one knows (a) how many of the “civilians” were living in houses hiding hebollah weapons, which in my view makes them terrorists; and (b) how many Hezbollah fighters have been killed, because Hezbollah isn’t saying, and has even reportedly banned burials to cover its losses.

  12. Michael has absolutely no basis for stating that almost all of the casualties are “civilians” because no one knows (a) how many of the “civilians” were living in houses hiding hebollah weapons, which in my view makes them terrorists; and (b) how many Hezbollah fighters have been killed, because Hezbollah isn’t saying, and has even reportedly banned burials to cover its losses.

  13. Oh c’mon, David. Hezbollah wouldn’t lie about how many casualties it has suffered, and certainly wouldn’t inflate the number of truly civilian casualties.

  14. I’ve said before that the concept of ‘civilian’ is a relic of times when armies would dress in bright colors, line up 200 yards from each other, and blast away (Not that abuse of civilians wasn’t common back then).

    So…um…people in the towers on 9/11, they were what exactly?

    …and the woman who died on her balcony in Nahariya, she wasn’t a “civilian”? The women and children who’ve reportedly been killed in Lebanon, they aren’t “civilians”?

    There’s a huge difference between civilians and combatants and another between those who purposefully target civilians and those who don’t.

  15. R.C. Dean,

    In 2005 you were apparently arguing that the “Cedar Revolution” was a result of the war in Iraq. Is that correct?

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/03/a_domino_effect.shtml

    Is the current situation in Lebanon a result of the war in Iraq?

  16. Yes, there have been civilian casualties in Lebanon. But perhaps this is because Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving! They have actually set up roadblocks to make people stay. This is because they WANT civilians to die to further their agenda.

  17. In fact, I have to ask, whatever happened to the “Democratic Domino Theory” anyway?

  18. Ken:

    My point was that common insurgent tactics of hiding in schools and whatnot make it difficult for even the noblest soldiers to avoid killing innocents, much less soldiers in real life.

    And no, there’s not that huge of a difference between civilians and combatants, at least not for the sufficiently jaded/nihilistic. Prolonged war inevitably brings with it the moral degradation that makes things like 9/11 and Dresden seem acceptable. This is why we like to avoid wars.

  19. Yes, there have been civilian casualties in Lebanon. But perhaps this is because Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving! They have actually set up roadblocks to make people stay. This is because they WANT civilians to die to further their agenda.

    I don’t know it to be true that Hezbollah is preventing people from leaving; regardless, listening to Hezbollah complain about civilian casualties strains…

    …I’ve never been so tempted by the ad hominem fallacy.

  20. My questions on this issue:

    Is the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure to the tune of billions of dollars (as Mr. Young puts the bill), most of it recently built since the civil war as I understand really the best way for the American financed IDF to deal with Iran financed Hezbollah?

    Doesn’t poverty and economic ruin in Lebanon strenghten and radicalize groups like Hezbollah?

    Why are the Israelis bombing Lebanese Army bases, etc. when right now I am watching some Israel government official saying they want the Lebanese Army to be part of the solution in disarming Hezbollah? How can they do this (not that they ever could) if Israel is bombing them?

    Why is the tiny amount of Israeli civilian deaths never pointed out? I’ve read a couple numbers today– from 12-18(?) over the course of 8-9 days of conflict, again a murder rate on par with a few US cities and matches up against 5-600+ or so civilians killed in Lebanon and Gaza (over the last month)?

    Would Hezbollah have started shooting missiles into Haifa, etc. had the Israelis not responded with a massive bombing campaingn in Lebanon? (I would assume the missile assault by Hezbollah was a part of their plan, but the question should be asked)

  21. So, spur, Israel should just accept a “tiny” amount of civilian casualties at the hands of the terrorists as their just desserts for being murderous, land-stealing Jews? Just the price they pay? Aw, hell, just kick some dirt over it and consider it part of the normal murder rate?

  22. In fact, I have to ask, whatever happened to the “Democratic Domino Theory” anyway?

    I’ve been looking for that myself. It’s been evaporating for a long time, certainly since the fundamentalists won elections in Iraq. …but I think it really started to disappear when Hezbollah did so well in Lebanese elections, when Ahmadinejad did so well in Iran and when Hamas won control of the Palestinian legislature.

    It hasn’t been a good year for Reverse Domino Theory.

  23. And no, there’s not that huge of a difference between civilians and combatants, at least not for the sufficiently jaded/nihilistic. Prolonged war inevitably brings with it the moral degradation that makes things like 9/11 and Dresden seem acceptable.

    That distinction my blur in people’s minds over time, but that doesn’t mean the distinction isn’t there. …or that people like me won’t inevitably keep pointing those distinctions out to the morally handicapped.

  24. Why is the tiny amount of Israeli civilian deaths never pointed out? I’ve read a couple numbers today– from 12-18(?) over the course of 8-9 days of conflict, again a murder rate on par with a few US cities…

    <sarcasm>Hey, spur, for that matter, how about the really pretty miniscule number of people killed on 9/11. Compare that to our monthly death toll for traffic accidents, fer cryin’ out loud. What’s the big deal, anyway?</sarcasm>

  25. re: Lebanon is paying the price of a militia that has decided to build a state within a state and to pursue a conflict with Israel, regardless of what the Lebanese majority wants. The result is this calamity.

    Every once in a while I hear a Libertarian making the argument that foreign intervention should be privatized. A private American citizen should be able to give money to any foreign military group. Lebanon is a good example of why that would be a terrible idea to have private groups undermining the official foreign policy.

  26. So, spur, Israel should just accept a “tiny” amount of civilian casualties at the hands of the terrorists as their just desserts for being murderous, land-stealing Jews? Just the price they pay? Aw, hell, just kick some dirt over it and consider it part of the normal murder rate?

    Good response.

    OTOH, however, if annihilating an entire society of millions were the only sure way of avenging a single murder and/or preventing a second, would it be justified?

    Obviously “who started it” is important, not just the relative numbers.

    But it should also be clear that there can be such a thing as going too far for such purposes.

    As well, “who started it” isn’t always so clearcut either. But we needn’t rehash all that now….

  27. Ken –

    Is this you?

  28. As I’ve said elsewhere, and as has been alluded to in other comments in this thread, Hizbullah has sought from the beginning to maximize civilian casualties in this conflict, on both sides.

    Whether it’s pure nihilism, or a calculated attempt to swing world opinion away from supporting Israel, I can’t quite make out.

    I certainly wish that Israel could be more selective with their attacks — but then, I suspect that those undertaking the attacks themselves wish that their weapons could be more selective, and spare the innocents caught up in this.

    I’ll also admit puzzlement as to some of Israel’s targetting choices — but they are likely operating on an incomparably better set of information than am I.

  29. the other Mark,

    No, that’s not me.

  30. SEMI-THREADJACK

    Have any posters here received an e-mail from someone calling himself “CornerMark?” I just got this long, picture-filled e-mail explaining why “Iran and Syria are fueling Mideast violence,” and the only reason I can think why I got it is my posting on some Lebanon threads here.

  31. Ive tipped quite a few jars with honest to goddess hillbillies, and none of them put lipstick on mass slaughter like “hillbilly” has.
    Hmm. “innocent civilians, or terrorist collaborators”.
    Back when I was in Viet Nam, if a Viet was dead, he was VC- “terrorist” to you youngsters. Young, old, infant, pregnant- they ALL were terrorists. Why? Because they were Viets. Dead Viets.
    Our soul dead clients in Israel, & their apologists here, hold to the same standards.
    Lebanon is a Free Fire Zone. The actual combatants: Hez- in hunkered down, waitin it out. The civilians……why, there arent any.
    I usta get in these arguments with “peace movement” typpes re: mass murder, on Uncle Sams dime, in Central America.
    Theyd go on about “innocent civilians”, as if kids in uniform fighting the contras, or FMLN commandos, fightin the oligarchies death armies, were guilty of something.
    The israelis are killing for killings sake, in full knowledge they have the unconditional backing of a seriously crackpot superpower……

  32. CornerMark

    WTF? There are too many inferior Marks ’round these parts.

  33. “So, spur, Israel should just accept a “tiny” amount of civilian casualties at the hands of the terrorists as their just desserts for being murderous, land-stealing Jews? Just the price they pay? Aw, hell, just kick some dirt over it and consider it part of the normal murder rate?”

    A qualified ‘yes’.

    Israel would be better served through the use of other non-violent means than knocking Lebanon back 15 years in terms of liberalism, economic growth, democratic roots, etc. with a sustained bombing campaign of civilians just cause a couple solidiers got kidnapped. In the end their means will only bring them more Israeli civilian death.

    And props to Mutt — dead on.

  34. If I hurt someone dear to you you have the right to try and get back at me, but if you simply can’t get to me you do NOT have the right to bomb my whole city, killing or injuring those whose only “crime” was living in proximity to me.

    CornerMark, whoever you are, if you’re reading this please understand I don’t give a rat’s ass about Iran or Syria; they are evil but so is Israel in this case. And they’re only going to inspire more people to be terrorists.

    Michael Young, if you can’t or won’t leave I hope at least you and your family stay safe. And I hope Tim Cavanaugh’s people make it through as well.

    Damn the stupid fools who think that increasing the net amount of innocents suffering in the world is the way to make it a better place.

  35. “The Israeli strategy? Simply to make sure the Lebanese, in particular the Shiites, never bomb them again. It’s not subtle; it won’t disarm Hizbullah; but it will be hard to forget.”

    Michael Young: here is the whole truth in a nutshell,a truth so glaringly obvious that hundreds of commentators and spokesmen have failed to grasp it.

    I hope it works. At least for a while….

  36. “Yes, there have been civilian casualties in Lebanon. But perhaps this is because Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving! They have actually set up roadblocks to make people stay. This is because they WANT civilians to die to further their agenda.”
    Kara, I’m curious as to how you know this, that they want civilians to die. They spend a great deal of money and effort on social programs to help poor folks in Lebanon (this is part of the reason so many folks over there like them). Maybe they put up the roadblocks to keep Israeli tanks from rolling IN, which they have done on two previous invasions.

    “So, spur, Israel should just accept a “tiny” amount of civilian casualties at the hands of the terrorists as their just desserts for being murderous, land-stealing Jews?”

    Hey, Clean Hands, take a breath and stop hyperventilating! Its a false dilema you present: Israel can A. do nothing or B. bomb the crap out of civilians and infrastructure. There were tons of things in between that could, and should have been done.

    “As I’ve said elsewhere, and as has been alluded to in other comments in this thread, Hizbullah has sought from the beginning to maximize civilian casualties in this conflict, on both sides.”

    How do you know this? I mean, its the IDF that has fired all the rockets, missles and bullets that have killed the most civilians, by FAR. Why assume their killings were accidental or collateral?

    “I’ll also admit puzzlement as to some of Israel’s targetting choices — but they are likely operating on an incomparably better set of information than am I.”

    Ah, faith. You admit your intution rebels, but darn it, those IDF forces are the good guys. If they act in ways contrary they MUST have a reason I don’t know about.

  37. Here’s your link, Ken, not that I expect you to assess it in anything like a rational light. (After all, since it comes from an Israeli source, it must be lies and propoganda, right…?)

    War is hell; the primary objective in any war is to kill people and break things. It sounds as if your primary criticism of Israel here is that it’s better at doing this.

    Knee-jerk pacism is such a pathetic thing… yes, war is hell, but it is sometimes better than the alternative.

  38. Israeli generals say that they will complete their operations in 10 days to two weeks. My feeling is that they won’t be able to make it: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should be in the region by the end of the week, and while the bombing will continue beyond that, Rice can’t discredit her mission by allowing it to go on for too long.

    That part stuck out the first time I read it. Now I’ve just come across this bit at CNN:

    “WASHINGTON (CNN) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not go on a peace mission to the Mideast before next week, giving Israel time to “defang” Hezbollah, a senior administration official said Wednesday.”

    …which leads me to believe that Secretary Rice’s schedule may be more adjustable than Israel’s plans. Indeed, this might suggest more than that.

  39. Philly,

    “In fact, I have to ask, whatever happened to the “Democratic Domino Theory” anyway?”

    It fell down.

  40. Yikes, Clean Hands, this is just terrible. I don’t need to comment on the source, which I know nothing about. Just look at the opening line:

    “The IDF has found that Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon.”

    Well of course, since the IDF said so! I can’t imagine how you can take this as “evidence” of anything…

    Maybe Hizbollah is doing this, maybe not. I like to wait for objective confirmation of things. You like to buy the IDF party line unsubstantiated or not. If you do that and think Israel is not doing anything wrong its no big suprise! (“This just in, IDF declares their actions morally repugnant.” I geuss thats what you’re waiting for ;)).

  41. The issue of roadblocks was reported in the Israeli press thru IDF (Israeli Defense Forces).

    It did cite the UN as also having problems with the road block since Hiz. was preventing them from tending to the wounded. I have not seen any press releases from the UN.

    Citizens of a country have an obligation to cull their nuts. Hiz is a terrorist group that is supported by the people. Dont try to say that the country cant do anything about the group.

    If the Lebonese gov. really wanted to stop it they would. Where there is a will there is a will. The problem is that there is no will here.

  42. hillbilly’s post brings the fore what I was vaguely wondering already, ie what constitutes “civilian” casualties in Lebanon? Has someone determined that these people were not Hezbollah fighters? How were the Lebanese soldiers killed in their barracks counted?

    True that! I mean, if you’re a warblogger or, even, a pro-war commenter on a blog, are you really a civilian? Or are you, really, an armchair bombardier, whose death in a future terrorist attack is really just a casualty of war, not the death of an innocent?

  43. The writing by the Reason authors about Israel’s target selecting has been flatfooted. Israel is targeting the infrastructure because it’s trying to make it impossible to move around. They want to break the place up into disconnected mesas they can then take one at a time using artillery and troops flown in from helicopters.

    It’s hard to sympathize for the Lebanese government officials. It’s hard to believe that they were unaware of the massive supplies of heavy weapons that Hiz has been moving into position to attack Israel. What did they think was going to happen? What were they doing about this a month ago when he had to know it was coming?

  44. It’s unlikely Hiz has made it a goal to slow the evacuation of the south. If they are blocking roads, it’s probably to boost their mobility. Maybe they just want the roads to themselves. Maybe they want to confuse Israel by having their own trucks continue along the path of a refugee they have held up.

  45. True that! I mean, if you’re a warblogger or, even, a pro-war commenter on a blog, are you really a civilian? Or are you, really, an armchair bombardier, whose death in a future terrorist attack is really just a casualty of war, not the death of an innocent?

    Personally, if I support a war yet do not join the fight, I think I should still be considered as valid a target as any member of the military. For me, civilians are pacifists, young children, and those opposed to their government’s warmaking. All others are fair targets.

  46. Israel would be better served through the use of other non-violent means than knocking Lebanon back 15 years in terms of liberalism, economic growth, democratic roots, etc. with a sustained bombing campaign of civilians just cause a couple solidiers got kidnapped. In the end their means will only bring them more Israeli civilian death.

    Sure. Nonviolence always always ALWAYS works. Isreal should just say “STOP it already. Or I’ll say, STOP it already again.”

    If you were right, then Carter would have actually deserved his nobel peace prize.

    Nonviolence has been given ample opportunity to work in the Middle East. Apparently you were asleep at just that particular moment.

    If the pacificst “oh STOP it and be nonviolent” idiots would shut up and get out of the way, the ME might one day get resolved.

    Will the West ever face the fact that the ME is never going to settle down until after there’s been a hellacious, long and bloody war?

  47. Dear Michael,
    we are horrified following the news.
    Everything looks so illogical.
    But your comments are particularly illuminating in a moment of darkness.
    Thanks for your reports.

  48. Dear Michael,
    we are horrified following the news.
    Everything looks so illogical.
    But your comments are particularly illuminating in a moment of darkness.
    Thanks for your reports.

  49. if I support a war yet do not join the fight, I think I should still be considered as valid a target as any member of the military. For me, civilians are pacifists, young children, and those opposed to their government’s warmaking. All others are fair targets.

    So in World War Two, any American who bought war bonds or attended patriotic rallies would have been considered a fair target? By your definition, the majority of the population of a country at war would be considered a fair target.

  50. Jennifer,

    WWII is an example of what I was talking about–Total War.

    By your definition, the majority of the population of a country at war would be considered a fair target.

    Why not? Why should young men and women who are brave enough to defend their nation be the only ones to die? Why shouldn’t it be the old, since they’ve already had most of their lives? I just don’t see how one life is necessarily worth more than another.

    Sure, I’d prefer no war; but war is still with us and will likely be for some generations. I’ve never really understood the idea that warmaking should have rules. War is bloody slaughter. You can put lipstick on a pig… as they say. Why dress it up? War is nasty; we should all realize that. Maybe if people thought that they’d be the ones dying (instead of some nameless and faceless ideological youngsters), they might not be so quick to support a war? Might that knowledge function a bit like MAD?

    Anyway, I realize that I was thinking about myself mostly. I supported the war in Iraq. If some jihadi comes after me, am I supposed to say, “No fair! I’m a civilian. I only support the war; I’m not a soldier!”? No; I consider myself a valid target due to my support for it.

  51. Re: The domino theory.

    Here is the thing, Iran would be doing better, have elected better people were it not for the smart maneuvering.

    I think that a people tend to move towards liberalism, unless there is an outside threat. So Iran that was headed in the right direction, is now headed in the wrong one because the political leaders have managed to create themselves an enemy that is the US.

    Lebanon, was rapidly becoming the place to be in the middle east, but then Hamas and Israel. And now Israel has bombed Lebannon Hamas may become even stronger. Or they might decide they don’t like getting bombed and turn against Hamas. But that would really be the coward move wouldn’t it? That would be like Spain after the 3/11 bombs. I hope they do make the coward move, for them and for the Israelis.

    Also, just because a new democracy chooses the wrong leaders the fist time around does not mean that the democratic way is wrong for those people, it is just what happens when you treat someone like an adult that is being used to being treated like a child. It is going to take them a few to learn from their mistakes.

    Repressing religion is never a good idea.

  52. “A private American citizen should be able to give money to any foreign military group”

    Yes and your govt shold at the same time be able to hang a toe tag on your corsp as a terrorist!

    The arabs have once again brought it upon themselves to clense a region that they have ZERO abaility to perform upon their wild dreams!

    Once again we will see the jews totally deciamte and adversary!

    When they are done, to their own satification they will once again show up at the UN and issue appolgitic statements as required. In the meantime, DUCK YOU SUCKERS!!!!! Cuz it’s raining heavy metal!!

    Oh rumor central…. trucks were carrying medical supplies.

    Cut off means cut off!

    Means NOTHING gets through!

    But most of you can leave!

  53. Why not? Why should young men and women who are brave enough to defend their nation be the only ones to die?

    Yes, putting it that way sounds much better than saying “why should we draw distinctions between comatants and non-combatants?”

  54. Isn’t Israel just creating greater Syria? What will be the result of this war – more pro-Western Lebanese will emigrate, the economy will go to hell, Syria moves back in. Under what set of circumstances is this scenario not likely? Is Israel prepared to occupy Lebanon for the duration? I suppose a reasonable, but horribly cynical view, is that Israel is much safer with a Syrian controlled Lebanon puppet state on her northern border than with a free democratic Lebanon where Hizbollah can run wild. The only logic to Israel’s attack is that they are aiming for just that result.

  55. Isn’t Israel just creating greater Syria? What will be the result of this war – more pro-Western Lebanese will emigrate, the economy will go to hell, Syria moves back in. Under what set of circumstances is this scenario not likely? Is Israel prepared to occupy Lebanon for the duration? I suppose a reasonable, but horribly cynical view, is that Israel is much safer with a Syrian controlled Lebanon puppet state on her northern border than with a free democratic Lebanon where Hizbollah can run wild. The only logic to Israel’s attack is that they are aiming for just that result.

  56. A final word on political realism. I chatted with a prominent Lebanese politician the other day, who argued that if a ceasefire came too soon, this entire affair would be a victory for Hizbullah.

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