What's the problem with a ceasefire?

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For obvious reasons, I very desperately want a ceasefire in Lebanon, so I won't do any special pleading, but here's a question: What would be the problem with a ceasefire now?

More directly, what will a nation that defeated the entire Arab world in six days accomplish next week that it hasn't accomplished this week?

OK, one piece of special pleading by comparison: Speaking strictly as an American, if the insurgents in Iraq offered a ceasefire, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

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  1. It’s tough to say, but it may take the total destruction of Lebanon for a second time in order to drive home the point about the consequences of letting Iran interfere with the internal operation of your country. This could have a benificial effect on the attitudes of Iraqi politicians, where the same thing is happening.

  2. Or unless the ceasefire is subterfuge to get a reprieve to rearm/resupply/flee/etc. If ceasing hostilities means you’ll face a stronger opponent (unlikely, in regards to anything other than manpower with Hezbollah) then I can see why it might not be a good idea.

    What should an person base a ceasefire agreement on? The word of the opponent?

  3. What would be the problem with a ceasefire now?

    It would give no advantage to the Israelis, and would give Hez a chance to regroup.

    Speaking strictly as an American, if the insurgents in Iraq offered a ceasefire, I’d take it in a heartbeat.

    If I thought there was any reason to believe it would actually take hold, I would too. When you are dealing with loosely affiliated groups whose stock in trade is stealth, deception, and treachery, though, the chances that any offer of a cease-fire would be legitimate are pretty slim.

  4. loosely affiliated groups whose stock in trade is stealth, deception, and treachery

    I like the Navy, Air Force, and Marines as much as the next guy, but it seems to me the Israelis are in position to set their own ceasefire terms now, including something like a no-fly zone south of the Litani.

    Next week, they may be in better position, but possibly not in better position to set their own ceasefire terms.

  5. All this makes me wonder about the way Hezbollah conducts itself in skirmishes… Do they follow techniques that match the typical guerilla-type of warfare that was practiced by the NVA or Afghanis? Is there any sort of a defacto text on this sort of warfare or dealing with opponents who use it?

  6. Is there any sort of a defacto text on this sort of warfare or dealing with opponents who use it?

    Reality.

  7. FD&S —

    So, we should destroy Lebanon (a pro-American, capitalistic democracy) to teach the Lebanese that the Hezbollah crazies hiding in their country are bad guys?

    It’s interesting to see libertarians, who have steadfastly trounced on the Iraq invasion and related Bush policies, supporting Israel’s invasion (and destruction?) of Lebanon in the name of national security.

    By way of comparison, the question that keeps rolling through my mind is what the international reaction would have been to the British government if they had blown up the Belfast airport, sea port, and power plants every time an IRA bomber killed a British soldier.

  8. That must make the open-book tests a breeze!

    Not sure I follow, but I guess I was trying to figure out the general way guerilla movements tent to operate and mature for lack of a better word. Also are there any good instances where a guerilla force with civilian roots has been defeated and wiped out?

  9. For the record, I’m of the armchair opinion that Israel is overreacting on this and losing any goodwill and partnerships that could’ve been favored in a growing democracy. Not sure that there’s any conceivable way back from this. Marshall-plan type reconstruction of Lebanon?

    It seems like the Olmert govt is grown hawkish and tired of the daily rocket attacks. Relinquishing land, whether it be south Lebanon or Gaza, seems to allow the people who hate you to launch their attacks closer.

  10. the Israelis are in position to set their own ceasefire terms now

    And they’ve set them. Problem is, the terms are not being met, so no cease-fire.

    I don’t think there are any potential terms that are acceptable to both the IDF and Hezb. just now. I suspect, but don’t know, that Hezb. would benefit more from a cease-fire because it has greater need of more time to organize itself and prepare for more fighting. Until a cease-fire will NOT be used by either side to prepare for more fighting, the other side would be foolish to agree to it.

  11. Hezbollah? Cease fire? Hah hah hah. Funny funny. You almost had me there for a minute.

    Hezbollah will only “cease fire” when Israel is destroyed. This is not a secret. If you sincerely want a true cease fire, you are implicitly wishing for Hezbollah’s genocidal dreams to come true. Now, if by “cease fire”, you mean a unilateral cease fire by the Israelies, well, I can understand wishing for that…but why should they?

    I do not feel sorry for the Lebanese. They had six years to disarm Hezbollah. It was their responsibility as a soveriegn nation. They failed to even try. If they refuse to do it, Israel has every right to step in and do it for them. If the Lebanese don’t like the Israeli methods, well, tough titty. They had their chance.

  12. Crusader,
    I’m not saying that we should destroy Lenabon. We shouldn’t be doing anything. It’s not our war. But reality is reality and no matter how liberal the Lebanese government is, it isn’t really worth its salt if it can’t keep Iran from funding a private army in the South that engages in war on Lebanon’s neighbor at the behest of Damascus and Tehran. And the British analogy is flawed. The IRA’s goal was never the complete destruction of Great Britian. Nor did they have the means to carry it out if it was.

  13. Hez is a logical response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
    Resistance is the logical response to occupation/theft/repression.
    Blowing up the Marine barracks in Beirut was the logical response to the New Jersey (or was it the Mighty Mo) dropping 1900 lb shells up and down the Bekaa Valley. (Touted as “pinpoint attacks” those of us who knew better were not surprised to see the Pentagon allot 11m within the year to restart the powder line for the big guns. The powder, of Korean War vintage, had so degraded that accuracy within FOUR MILES was problematic. So stated the Navy. )
    Nothing like a good, one sided massacre to bring the chickenhawks out from under thier rocks.
    Supporting more of the same is not a logical response for putative libertarians.

  14. I don’t see what this has to do with Libertarian thought. If a private army of ten thousand soldiers was massed at the Mexican Border launching mortars and missiles at us, the US response would make what the Israelis are doing look like a picnic. A country has the right to defend itself. The problem in the middle east is that Israel isn’t strong enough to end the war and the Arabs aren’t rational enough to understand they can never win. Until one of those dynamics changes, the violence will never end. Hoping that the destruction of Lebanon for the second time in 30 years might finally drive home the point that groups like Hezbollah are the problem and not the solution is not a non-libertian line of thought. I love Lebanon. I want to see it have the future it deserves. But as long as Hezbollah remains a viable political and millitary force, the country is doomed.

  15. Avoiding most of the baiting comments and the wild fargin tangent Mutt, especially about what Libertarians should or shouldnt buy into…

    If you’re calling Hezbollah’s actions a “logical response” to occupation, then shouldn’t that have ceased to exist after the pullout in 2000?

    Nothing like diplomacy to get what you want before going ahead with violence that you prepped for.

  16. “Israel has every right to step in and do it for them.”

    We all have every right to do a lot of things.

  17. (Hand raised)
    Oooh, oooh, oooh! Tim, call on me. Call on me!
    Can I finish it?
    “Just because we have the right doesn’t mean we should.”
    (Smiling, he receives his gold star for the day.)

  18. I do not feel sorry for the Lebanese. They had six years to disarm Hezbollah. It was their responsibility as a soveriegn nation. They failed to even try. If they refuse to do it, Israel has every right to step in and do it for them. If the Lebanese don’t like the Israeli methods, well, tough titty. They had their chance.

    And what of the civilian men, women, and children who are being blown to pieces in areas where Hezbollah members are not known to be? Any sympathy for them? What could they have done to avoid being blown up? And after it decided that many, many innocent men, women and children had to die for the sins of Hezbollah, what evidence is there that Israel will be more secure than it was before it made that decision? Was there NOTHING else Israel could have done to defeat Hezbollah?

    I’m kind of a radical in that I think blowing up innocent men, women, and children should be a “last resort” type of problem solver.

  19. Where were all the calls for a ceasefire when Hezbollah shooting rockets/missiles etc. at Israel while Israel wasn’t attacking Hezbollah positions, nor attacking Lebanon at all?

    Is Jewish blood not worthy of saving with a ceasefire? Or is it only when Israelis are causing others’ blood to be shed that it is worthy of ceasing?

    Israel withdrew from Lebanaon 6 years ago, and got attacked in response. Israel withdrew from Gaza, and got attacked in response. A ceasefire now accomplishes what exactly in the long term?

    Quite frankly Israel has been too restrained until now. If Cuba started rocketing US civilians, would our response be less restrained? If one of Russia’s neighbors started rocketing Russian civilians, would Russia be less restrained? If Algeria started rocketing France, would the French response be less restrained?

    Ok, the French would surrender, bad example. But Israel can’t afford to surrender.

  20. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I often am), but didn’t Israel begin its recent bombing of Lebanon because Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers?

    I’ll just add that I loathe Hezbollah as much as I loathe any terrorist fundamentalist group, but I expect a disregard for human life from terrorist groups and I expect more from Israel.

  21. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I often am), but didn’t Israel begin its recent bombing of Lebanon because Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers?

    I’ll just add that I loathe Hezbollah as much as I loathe any terrorist fundamentalist group, but I expect a disregard for human life from terrorist groups and I expect more from Israel.

  22. If you’re calling Hezbollah’s actions a “logical response” to occupation, then shouldn’t that have ceased to exist after the pullout in 2000?

    They became the defacto local government, responsible for roads, sewers, schools, electricity….and defense. they were/are a voluntary association born of a seriously repressed social minority. (This happens from time to time)
    And by providing same, when no other entity did, they became as legitimate a group as, say, the government of
    Israel, or anywhere else.
    Saying that is far removed from saying what they believe, beyond in sanitation, etc, I share. Philosophically, maybe we share a serious dislike of whats called imperialism…..beyond that, Im sure any number would shoot me for my serious dislike, of, o, killing gay people, or repressing wimminfolk, or seeing a clear distinction between folks who practice Judaism, & folks who practice zionism. Dont know if Hez sees that clear distinction or not; hard to see clearly much of anything when theres so much blood in your eyes….. and what other “baiting” comments do you refer to?
    I soldiered for this Empire, brother. No Rambo, but I killed some sorry assed farmer (brave, tho, dont get me wrong there) in what well could have been his own field one afternoon.
    We killed THOUSANDS in the Bekaa, with naval gunfire, while the Marine commander on the ground damn near begged Reagan et al to stop.(he was, of course, scapegoated by the chickenhawks of the day…..some of them being the chickenhawks of today) There went our neutrality. Hez acted like soldiers, they pretty much always do.
    Why would a group- say, libertarians- swallow State propaganda and support a war against peasants? Why would people rightfully suspicious of the State support foriegn wars on behalf of occupiers? a fair question, i posit. mutt, soldaten du indochine…….

  23. It increasingly seems to me that both right and left-wingers make a serious error when they view Israel as a purely Western country, rather than one that’s at least partly Middle Eastern in nature. Projecting their own sensibilities onto Israel, conservatives end up seeing it as a bulwark of Western civilization against Islamist and pan-Arabist fanaticism, while liberals end up seeing it as a racist, colonialist occupier. The notion that Israel is a country which, although having taken in some Western cultural and political influences, has deeply Middle Eastern attitudes towards diplomacy, warfare, and retribution, doesn’t register.

    Viewed in that light, Israel’s recent actions, ranging from the aggressive response to the abduction of its soldiers, to its willingness to use violence primarily to create a deterrent by means of “sending a message,” to its willingness to make all of Lebanon pay for the actions of Hizbollah, make more sense. And they suggest to me that, barring American pressure, the Israeli government will stop only when it feels satisfied that Hizbollah and Lebanon have received a sufficient pounding.

  24. Les,

    They didn’t merely cross the border into Israel and kill several Israeli soldiers and kidnap a couple of others. They rained rockets down on Israeli towns, again and again and again. Why is it that finally responding after tons of (pointless?) restraint is now regarded as an unjustified escalation? Or for that matter, why is self-defense regarded as an escalation, justified or not? Why must there be a ceasefire now that both sides are getting killed instead of merely Israeli Jews?

    At least Palestinians can claim they are fighting for their country of Palestine to be liberated when they murder innocent women and innocent children, and yes, innocent men. What is Hezbollah’s excuse? Israel hasn’t been an occupier of Lebanaon for six years now.

  25. This discussion seems insufficient without rick barton claiming it’s all a ploy by the israelis to hate the israelis because the israelis are behind the israelis.

    JG

  26. I do not feel sorry for the Lebanese. They had six years to disarm Hezbollah. It was their responsibility as a soveriegn nation. They failed to even try. If they refuse to do it, Israel has every right to step in and do it for them.

    Lebanon’s inability to get rid of Hez during the past six years also might have had something to do with the presence of Syrian troops on its soil until last year.

    Not to mention the fact that what Israel’s doing right now goes far, far beyond disarming Hezbollah.

  27. To crimethink and les: Any credible attempt to remove Hezbollah (asking for real international help would be a starter) would suffice. The Lebanese did nothing, largely because far too many of them SUPPORT Hezbollah. They are reaping what they have sown. I am sure some of them are good people, but those good people were guilty of inaction and irresponsibility.

  28. an idiotic number of my countrymen support(ed) the contras, and the gvts of El Sal & the loons in Guatemala……so, latinos detonate truck bombs in shopping malls in DeMoine.
    They got what they deserved. So goes the logic here.
    The “withdrawl” from Gaza was boob bait: the prize is the West Bank. It was a distraction, nothing more. And after the “withdrawl”- Gaza remained what it was: a huge prison.
    Nah. My take home lesson from Viet Nam was “the State is NOT my friend”.
    So, I question the motives & actions of The State, be it here, in Beirut, or Tel Aviv.
    Im new here, and I dont mean to offend simply to offend……is this perspective out of line?

  29. Les: That’s the problem – everyone expects “more from Israel.” Israel is held to a standard no other civilized nation is expected to meet. And I’m convinced that the reason Western countries, and most esp. the Western media, cry constantly for Israel to behave “responsibly,” “proportionately,” “humanely,” no matter the danger or provocation, is because everyone knows (though few admit) that Israel is a rational actor and a civilized nation adhering to Western norms of conduct. And Israel’s tormentors are not.

    Was reffered to a blog I’d never heard of before who used the barroom bully analogy I’ve thought of before (but he claims to have actually seen such a barfight), and he brings up something I had never stopped to think of:

    “…Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in ’56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success:

    Instigate a war.

    Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you… get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire.

    Whatever you do, don’t surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy. That would ruin everything! All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population… and will force a truce.

    Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.

    This tactic has never failed. Not once.

    In fact it worked so will for the Egyptians in 1973, that to this day they celebrate the Yom Kippur War – a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel – as a military victory! No kidding… it’s a national holiday over there!

    President Lahoud has already begun to shriek like a school girl to the UN Security Council to “Stop the violence and arrange a cease-fire, and then after that we’ll be ready to discuss all matters.”

    Uh huh. Forgive me if I find that a tad hard to swallow. He allowed Hezbollah to take over his country. He allowed the regular Lebanese army to provide radar targeting data for the Hezbollah missile that struck the Israeli destroyer. He has turned a blind eye while Iranian and Syrian weapons, advisers and money have poured into his country.

    And now that his country is in ruins he wants to call it a draw.”

    I found the guy’s other remarks to be thought provoking as well…of course, he’s an Israeli and he expresses a lot of opinions that many on this board would find distressing.

  30. The Iraq hawks’ responses to Israel’s military attack on the anti-Syrian, pro-Western, democratic government in Lebanon prove the doves right about two things:

    The shallowness of neocons’ commitment to democracy as the solution to terrorism, and

    The supine sycophancy towards the Israeli right that underlies neoconservative thinking.

    They spent the last four+ years declaring their moral superiority, based on their willingness to use lethal force to try to democratize the region. And the moment it becomes convenient for Israel to destroy a democratic state, all that goes right out the window.

    Which is not really a surprise, if you’ve been paying attention.

  31. “Where were all the calls for a ceasefire when Hezbollah shooting rockets/missiles etc. at Israel while Israel wasn’t attacking Hezbollah positions, nor attacking Lebanon at all?”

    Well, there was every single country in the G8 summmit, including France, Russia, and China.

    There was the United States government.

    There was the Pope.

    But that was a really good question. And why didn’t any feminists ever complain about the Taliban? And why doesn’t Amnesty International ever denounce Cuba and North Korea?

  32. Semi-Off Topic Onion post I stumbled on just now titled U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We’re At War With. This is from Sept 26 2001. At least someone was cracking jokes back then….

  33. “To crimethink and les: Any credible attempt to remove Hezbollah (asking for real international help would be a starter) would suffice. The Lebanese did nothing, largely because far too many of them SUPPORT Hezbollah. They are reaping what they have sown. I am sure some of them are good people, but those good people were guilty of inaction and irresponsibility.”

    I certainly hope “chad” didn’t spill any Cheetos dust or Diet Coke into his keyboard while typing this comment about the 800,000 people who marched on Beirut last year and succeeded in driving Hezbollah’s patron, Syria, out of their country.

    In full plummage, the common chickenhawk can be quite striking.

  34. happyjuggler,

    You and I agree that Israel has a right to defend itself. I merely think that the way it’s defending itself is sloppier than it needs to be. I actually think most, if not all, countries do this because most, if not all, countries believe that the lives of their soldiers are inherently more valuable than the lives of civilians.

    Chad,

    What exactly have the civilians (especially the children) “sewn” to deserve indiscriminate death from above?

    Stubby,

    I agree with your analysis of the tactics of the Arabs and I understand your frustration. But I don’t hold Israel to a higher standard than other countries. I hold them all to the same standard. Civilians are not fodder, are not less valuable than soldiers. Stones are not bullets. Any action that includes the high probability of children being torn and blown to bloody bits should be a last resort.

  35. MUTT,

    Not out of line. I haven’t been here much longer than you, but I can tell you that you’ll find different types and stripes of libertarians and others here. Any point of view is welcome as long as it comes from a thoughtful mind.
    (Insider tip: the most important thing to these people seems to be your attitude towards high fructose corn syrup. No, I don’t get it, either.)

    By the way, I have enjoyed your posts immensely. Do you read a lot of Hunter Thompson or the beat writers? Just a vibe I caught from your posts.

  36. You haven’t offended me, MUTT; for what that’s worth. (Little to Nothing)

    ————-

    Eric II-

    Your comment regarding the “filter” through which Americans view Israel is valuable. I suspect that I am not on the same page as you, however, when I say that I find it intensely irksome that so much of Israel’s fan base in this country believe, or profess to believe, that Israel is a little tiny America, surrounded by big bad Islamist maniacs.

    Israel is not mirror-America. Israel is a theocracy. As such, the non-“chosen” are by definition second class citizens. There is no First Amendment in Israel; the same people who completely freak out when some hillbilly plants a monument to the Christian Ten Commandments on some rural courthouse lawn give Israel a free pass on the fact that it is a country run by and for a specific religious sect. (Can you say “Sharia?”)

    There is no Fifth Amendment in Israel, and there definitely is no Fourteenth.

  37. I gotta agree with joe and Roger Simon on this one. The 151st Lebanese Chickenhawk Keyboarders have been talking their shit on Israel for some time now, while poor Shiites with no other job prospects joined Hezbollah and bled and died protecting Lebanon when its own army wouldn’t do squat. Now these feathered fellows are spilling Cheeto dust in their lattes while they get bombs rained down on them. Meanwhile, up at the front, the real Hezbollah soldiers are fighting and dying to get freedom from the jews. I’m a pacifist and abhor violence, but I support the Hezbollah troops with my words and support. I’d join and clean latrines and such but I’m not a Muslim yet.

  38. P Brooks,

    I’d say Israel is more of an ethnicity-based nationalist state that, like all of them, uses the religious imagery familiar to people of that national group to proclaim that God is on their side.

    It’s not as though the government is banning pork or mandating modest dress. And, if I have my facts straight, Israel’s constitution does, in fact, guarantee the freedom to practice different religions.

  39. There was a cease fire two weeks ago and Hez didn’t like it. In the last week a lot of Lebanese have died from Israel’s effort to demilitarize southern Lebanon and it’s all for nothing if they don’t finish the job. That’s what’s why the time is not right for a cease fire.

    When Israel has pushed Hez into Tyre and has artillery on the hills around it, when the UN has arrangements with countries that have won a war in the last 500 years (Germany, Sweden, …) to send 15k peacekeepers, then it will be time for a cease fire.

  40. Hey joe. Actually there was talk of banning pork a few years ago. I can’t see how there could really be that much of a market anyway.

  41. Joe-

    It is difficult for me to distinguish the subtle gradations of “chosen-ness” in the Israeli sphere. The Gazans are definitely not chosen. Nor the Palestinians currently being walled up in the outer orbit of the West Bank. But then, it seems, the thing gets rather complicated. American Christians, presumably, are “pretty chosen” but not likely to make the cut. As for the “not- chosen” who are unfortunate enough to have their roots in wrong part of the middle east….

    The last time this came up (at my instigation) I was treated to some fascinating crypto-eugenic quibbles as to what constituted a non-jewish Israeli citizen. It was pointed out to me that they (these “not- Palestinian” Israelis) were allowed to attend schools. How lovely for them; are these educational facilities, by any chance, “separate but equal?” [D’oh!]

    I am offended not so much by the fact that Israel is a theocracy; what galls me is the image projected in this country that they are “just like us” when they are not.

  42. I know this isn’t anyones favorite place to get information from but Znet has a translation of an israeli article about israeli rabbis opposing an integrated school.

    “The (ha-mekubal) Rabbi David Bazri said: “The establishment of such a school is a foul, disgraceful deed. You can’t mix pure and foul. They are a disease, a disaster, a devil. The Arabs are asses, and the question must be asked, why did God did not create them walking on their fours? The answer is that they need to build and wash. They have no place in our school”.

    His son, Rabbi Itzhak Bazri, also referred to the interpretation of Ishmaelites ? people similar to donkeys, and said “the Arabs are inferior. What do they want? To take our daughters. They say we are racists. Well, they are the evil, they are the cruel, they have the foulness of snakes. There’s foul and there’s pure, and they are foul”.”

    http://blogs.zmag.org/ee_links/an_experiment_in_anti_semitism_vs_anti_arab_racism

    Also Israel has a few anti-arb parties similar to hezbollah in Lebanon but the reverse. The Jewish Front, and Kach group.

    And well some nice words from Israeli officials have been said.

    In 2004, then Deputy Defense Minister Ze’ev Boim asked “What is it about Islam as a whole and the Palestinians in particular? Is it some form of cultural deprivation? Is it some genetic defect? There is something that defies explanation in this continued murderousness.”

    And many Israeli textbooks are as bad as the arab textbooks in painting a picture of inferiority of the opposite.

  43. Buck Nail,

    You’re kidding right?

    Meanwhile, up at the front, the real Hezbollah soldiers are fighting and dying to get freedom from the jews

    I’ve got news for you. Lebanon is not occupied by the Jews and hasn’t been for 6 years. The only thing Hezbollah up at the front are doing is shelling Israeli civilian towns and cities. It is Hezbollah’s repeatedly stated goal that Israel should cease to exist. Perhaps you meant “freedom from knowing Jews still live”.

  44. 6 years is too short a time to expect someoen to real in an extremist group that did fend off a 20 year occupation. Oh and I hate this constant citing of UN resolutions for hezbollah to disarm. Israel ignored UN resolutions for 20 years while it occupied Lebanon and Israel still ignores UN resolutions or has the US veto any resolutions condeming israel.

    Israel constantly speaks out of both sides of it is mouth and is as hypocrytical and wrong as the terrorists it fights.

  45. I keep hearing Fouad Saniora use the phrase “torn to pieces” to describe the effect of the bombing. I wonder if that’s a code. Maybe it means “invade already”.

  46. Saniora on CNN now is taking a very hard line. No demilitarization of the south. No return of the kidnapped soldiers without a “comprehensive agreement” that includes a return of Lebanese prisoners in Israel and Saba Farms. That’s not code. Thats “invade already”. Come on Tim and Michael, why are you not talking about why Saniora wants war?

  47. Crusader Rabbit,

    It’s interesting to see libertarians, who have steadfastly trounced on the Iraq invasion and related Bush policies, supporting Israel’s invasion (and destruction?) of Lebanon in the name of national security.

    It’s interesting that you are unable to see the difference between the two cases.

    the question that keeps rolling through my mind is what the international reaction would have been

    Since when was that ever a reliable gage of anything? “Oh I can’t do that, somebody might not like me anymore.”

    It’s interesting to see that being a libertarian has nothing whatsoever to do with being an independent thinker.

  48. Les,

    Was there NOTHING else Israel could have done to defeat Hezbollah?

    Do you have any realistic suggestions? But before you answer that pretend, for just a moment, that the scenerio is a private army attacking the US from just over the Mexican border.

    I’m kind of a radical in that I think blowing up innocent men, women, and children should be a “last resort” type of problem solver.

    At what point do you bestow your “okay it’s last resort time” award? When Hizb. kidnaps Isrealis? When they shoot rockets into Isreali apartment buildings?

  49. What’s the problem with a ceasefire?

    If you had to walk from NYC to LA, you probably wouldn’t get very far before asking what’s the problem with a car?

    But before you can have a car, somebody has to go to the trouble of designing one. Then somebody has to go to the trouble of building one. And then, somebody has to go to the trouble of putting up a few gas stations along the way.

    There’s a lot of dirty jobs that have to be done before you can have a car.

    The necessary but dirty work that has to be done before peace is possible in the ME really hasn’t been done yet.

  50. Genghis,

    Do you have any realistic suggestions?

    No realist ones, because I don’t value the lives of soldiers over the lives of civilians. My unrealistic suggestion would be to work hard to avoid killing civilians instead of apparently not caring. Maybe not bombing the bridges and roads that civilians need to flee the city would be a good idea, too.

    But before you answer that pretend, for just a moment, that the scenerio is a private army attacking the US from just over the Mexican border.

    Well, if we’re talking Tijuana, would you suggest that we simply destroy the city with bombs? If a score of Americans were killed, would you recommend killing two hundred Mexicans?

    At what point do you bestow your “okay it’s last resort time” award? When Hizb. kidnaps Isrealis? When they shoot rockets into Isreali apartment buildings?

    Yeah, I can pretty much say that I think kidnapping doesn’t justify killing innocent men, women, and children. How many Israelis were killed by Hezbollah rockets before Israel’s retaliation? 330 Lebonese and 31 Israelis have been killed since this tantrum began . How does destroying the lives of hundreds and dislocating hundreds of thousands (creating allies for Hezbollah who otherwise would have been happy to share the Middle East with Jews) make Israel more secure?

    I would never argue that Israel shouldn’t defend itself. But the way it’s attempting to do so is, in my opinion, as inept as it is immoral.

  51. That’s the problem – everyone expects “more from Israel.” Israel is held to a standard no other civilized nation is expected to meet

    Is that so? Were the British this brutal with Ireland due to IRA attacks? I don’t remember missiles lobbed into Dublin during that. I don’t remember Americans sending money and support to Ireland being called terrorist appeasers.

  52. Brit savagry in Ireland is quite under reported. A heck of a start can be found at the link below. Try googling Easter Rising and see what Brit artillery did to Dublin.
    And raising $ for the IRA here was always potentially dangerous work. John Bull had a long reach.

    Is that so? Were the British this brutal with Ireland due to IRA attacks? I don’t remember missiles lobbed into Dublin during that. I don’t remember Americans sending money and support to Ireland being called terrorist appeasers.

    http://lark.phoblacht.net/index.html

  53. Let’s apply some game theory to the notion that Israel is using excessive force because its response is disproportionate.

    If a proportionate response means that you kill no more than your opponent kills, the non-aggressor will always inflict the same or fewer casualties on its aggressor. Essentially, the aggressor can choose (by its conduct) a ceiling on the number of casualties it will suffer.
    Obviously, this gives the aggressor an advantage, because it would never choose an unfavorable exchange of casualties. This is even more of an advantage when the aggressor is a group like Hezbollah that values the lives of its civilians and soldiers less than its opponent. Because Hezbollah heavily discounts the value of human life relative to a Western-style nation-state such as Israel, it will always win the casualty game if its opponent adopts a proportional response.

    Thus we can conclude that only a *disproportionate* response would result in even a draw for Israel. Furthermore, only a radically disproportionate response is likely to provide a credible threat to deter the aggressor in future iterations of the game.

    Of course the present conflict has many more dimensions than casualties. But I think it is clear that Israel must engage in a completely disproportionate response to deter Hezbollah and governments that permit Hezbollah to operate within their territory. It is unfortunate if inflicting sufficient harm on Hezbollah and the Lebanese government also means that a large number of Lebanese civilians are killed, but I don’t see that Israel has any other option.

  54. Mo –

    Mutt beat me to it – the British were often quite brutal in Ireland and frequently engaged in collective punishment, including the the kind employing artillery.

    And yes, many people who sent money to the IRA have been called terrorist appeasers (by people like me, for instance, altho I preferred the term “enablers”. The IRA were, and still are, thugs.)

  55. But I think it is clear that Israel must engage in a completely disproportionate response to deter Hezbollah and governments that permit Hezbollah to operate within their territory.

    The question is, when has this strategy worked for Israel? Will this make Israel more secure in the long run? They are making many, many more enemies of people who were not sympathetic to Hezbollah.

  56. “This is even more of an advantage when the aggressor is a group like Hezbollah that values the lives of its civilians and soldiers less than its opponent. Because Hezbollah heavily discounts the value of human life relative to a Western-style nation-state such as Israel, it will always win the casualty game if its opponent adopts a proportional response.”

    Sorry, but I think that this is a fundamentally meaningless assertion. Whether or not Hezbollah “values the lives of its civilians and soldiers less” doesn’t matter if the recipients of Israeli retaliation are not Hezbollah “assets.” How much would we care if, every time we attacked bin Laden’s hideout in Afghanistan, he responded by bombing Mexico City or Montreal?

  57. Les,

    I don’t know if Israel’s current response will make it more secure–maybe they are going too far. But I can’t see how no response or a merely proportionate response would do anything but encourage its enemies to chip away at it.

    P Brooks,

    My argument doesn’t assume that Lebanese civilians are Hezbollah assets. In fact, it is strongest if they aren’t because then Hezbollah may value those lives at zero.

    I merely assume that some civilians will be killed in harming Hezbollah. If civilians killed (and casualties generally) is part or all of the definition of a proportional response, this poses a problem for Israel. Surely part of the reason that Hezbollah chooses to locate its assets in civilians areas is to take advantage of the casualty proportionality law/norm.

    I am not claiming that slaughtering civilians to destroy your enemies is necessarily moral, but I still think Israel’s response may be rational.

  58. “My argument doesn’t assume that Lebanese civilians are Hezbollah assets. In fact, it is strongest if they aren’t because then Hezbollah may value those lives at zero.”

    Ok- then why is it not counterproductive for Israel to target Lebanese civilians and the infrastructure on which they rely? If the Lebanese targets have no appreciable value to Hezbollah, and their destruction will most likely cause a backlash against Israel, why would they continue the assault?

    A more “practical” tactic, used many times and many places through the years, would be for Israel to carry out large scale and avowedly retributive attacks in Gaza and the West Bank, as these are assets which have value to Hezbollah.

    (*just so you know* This would, I believe, constitute a war crime of major significance, and a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions, impossible for anyone to ignore.)

  59. I have issues with the IRA comparison with Hezbollah I have been hearing in various media lately.

    Without my claiming justification by any means whatsoever, the IRA had two basic grievances. 1) Northern Ireland was occupied by the British. 2) In Northern Ireland Catholics were severely discriminated against by the ruling Protestants, and mistreated by the police etc.

    Thus, the IRA’s beef was with what one can say were either occupiers of their country, or mistreatment in various ways by their countrymen. One could make similar comparisons with the Palestinians, but definitely not with Hezbollah. Lebanon is not occupied by Israel. Hezbollah is therefore not fighting for liberation of their country, nor liberation from unjust treatment from their countrymen.

    Hezbollah is deliberately attacking innocent foreigners (Israelis) because they hate them and they don’t want them to exist at all. It is not clear how a ceasefire would do anything at all to end. It would merely allow Hezbollah to regroup.

    The only solution would seem to be for Israel to end, as much as is practical, Hezbollah’s ability to inflict harm on Israel.

    Not a pretty picture eh?

  60. I think whats being missed here is that Hez in involved in regular skirmishes w/ the IDF over contested border areas, they are also exacting (prior to the unguided rocketing of Israeli towns, etc) a price for the sadistic reign of Israels creatures, the “christian” Phalange, (betrayed & abandoned, HahHAH) AND……this is important!- they are acting in support of the Palestinians, unlike ANY other Arab/ Muslim government/entity.
    Knowing full well the Israeli State would kill indiscriminatly, they started the rocket campaign. Shame on them. Puts them on the same level as, say, Russia. Or Israel. Or the US.
    Oddly enough, Hez blasting IDF missile launching ships is considered unfair, or something. Go figure.
    Reminds me of when the Long Veh Special forces camp was overrun by Viets in TANKS!!! The Treachery!!
    And they had the absolute gall to use spotter p;lanes during the Cambodia incursion! Is there NO END to their perfidy?
    What sorry assed shit.

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