The Latest from Lebanon

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More than two weeks into the Lebanon war several thing are becoming slightly more obvious. The first is that the dynamics of the conflict are changing. Whereas for the first two weeks the Israelis imposed a blockade on all ports and systematically destroyed roads, bridges, Beirut's Shiite southern suburbs, and large areas of the mainly Shiite south and the northern Bekaa Valley, now we seem to have moved to a ground war focused in the border region. After the heavy casualties the Israelis took yesterday in Bint Jubail, I imagine Israel will escalate its air campaigns and essentially try to grind down and overcome the entrenched Hezbollah combatants through massive firepower. That will mean heavy civilian casualties.

Can it do so before a cease-fire? Because of the relative (and I mean very relative) normalization in the rest of the country, and the imminent opening of so-called humanitarian corridors to allow supplies and aid into Lebanon, it seems to me that Israel has bought several more weeks in which to hit Hezbollah, particularly in the south. There is also an embarrassed understanding, both inside Lebanon and out, that if things were to stop now, Hezbollah would emerge much stronger from the fight, and would be in a position to stage an effective coup against the Lebanese state, by virtue of its weapons and its ability (and visible desire today) to seek retribution against its critics.

Where will this lead? That depends on how well Hezbollah fights back. But the Israeli government has two contracts to fulfill: one toward its own people (and PM Ehud Olmert needs to prove that he can defend Israel, particularly if he goes through with a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank in the future); and a contract with the Bush administration, which has asked Israel to cut down Hezbollah. Both objectives mean this is a fight Israel cannot afford to lose; and one Hezbollah cannot either.

On the diplomatic front, Condoleezza Rice's visit to Beirut earlier this week showed two things: that the U.S. doesn't have a clear idea how to deploy an international force in the border area; and that Rice is open to ideas. In a lunch session with representatives of political forces opposed to Syria, and critical of Hezbollah, she initially said that her plan called for clearing out a 20 kilometer area in the south where an international force would deploy. When the assembled politicians said this was ridiculous, since Hezbollah would only fire at Israel from behind the peacekeepers, Rice backtracked, saying that hers was only a proposal. She reportedly told assistant secretary David Welch to note that the plan had to be changed, and that the U.S. would aim for a demilitarization of the south. Quite how the U.S. intends to do this remains utterly unclear.

My own view is that this is a long work in progress, so that it is senseless to draw too many conclusions today. This is going to last for several more weeks, and the diplomacy will only really begin making inroads if Hezbollah agrees to compromise. We're far from that yet, but facing 500,000-700,000 displaced people, mounting economic costs estimated at $2 billion, the displeasure of much of Lebanese society, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, needs his militia to come out of the Israeli land operation looking more or less intact, otherwise his margin to delay on a compromise will become narrower and narrower.

Most alarming, however, is that there are increasing calls in the U.S. for the Bush administration to engage Syria, so that it can help control Hezbollah, on the assumption that if you deal with Syria, you can isolate Iran. One wonders if those peddling the idea have any memory at all: it was under Syria that Hezbollah became a military power, and what the Syrians will demand, or maneuver to achieve, in exchange for "helping" would be onerous. They will want the international investigation of Rafiq Hariri's murder to be dropped, to save their regime that ordered the crime; and they will want oversight power over Lebanese affairs, which, with an armed Hezbollah as Praetorian Guard, would effectively mean they would again rule the country.

My own suspicion is that this is also Israel's Plan B if the international peacekeeping force project doesn't work out. The Israelis have always preferred dealing with predictable Syria in Lebanon than with a weak state that cannot control Hezbollah and is open to myriad outside irritants. Because the Israelis have no confidence in Lebanon's innate stability, they have no qualms about making that stability increasingly impossible.

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  1. This article by Michael Totten is worth reading.

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001203.html

  2. Thanks, Jacob, for the link to a really insightful and interesting read.

  3. Michael Young,

    After the heavy casualties the Israelis took yesterday in Bint Jubail, I imagine Israel will escalate its air campaigns and essentially try to grind down and overcome the entrenched Hezbollah combatants through massive firepower.

    Sorry, but even for Israel, 9 killed doesn’t qualify as “heavy casualties” especially for taking a heavily fortified position. Basically, it qualifies as a lucky shot. Israel won’t switch back to air power because most of what can be struck by air power has already been hit. Air power won’t let them dig out networked bunkers. They have the Hez pinned down and now they are going to root them out.

  4. Lebanon needs Syria like Iraq needed Saddam Hussein. Not a perfect arrangement but the best that could be hoped for. Let Syria come back, keep Hezbollah in check and forget this democracy nonsense.

  5. Having the opportunity to read analysis like this from Michael Young makes subscribing to Reason seem like being a lousy tipper. (I also have the Reason bumper sticker on my Geo Metro “stickermobile,” but that doesn’t seem quite adequate either.)
    Let’s do some brainstorming here in the Temple of the Vestal Virgins about maybe a little human cyber-sacrifice.
    The Reason Gods have been good. They deserve some Thanksgiving.
    (I, being of Scottish ancestry, am always more amenable to non-monetary contributions.)

  6. Nice posting by Michael Young, thank you.

    And thanks to Jacob for that other link. An illuminating, if depressing, article.

    Why can’t CNN and FOX get analysis like this?

  7. Here are some taking points for discussion
    Question: Why is Israel conducting military operations in Lebanon?

    Short Answer: ?Israel is conducting military operations in Lebanon in order to put an end to the threat Hezbollah poses to the Israeli population.?

    Explanation:
    On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah a terrorist organization based in Lebanon and represented in the Lebanese government killed 8 and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on sovereign Israeli territory.
    This unprovoked act of war made it necessary for Israel to respond.
    Israel could no longer allow its citizens to be threatened by Hezbollah?s missile fire.
    Israel would have been negligent in its responsibility towards its citizens had it not responded.
    Like Canadians, Israelis have the right to live their lives without the threat of constant violence.
    The purpose of this operation is to free the abducted soldiers and to remove the threat that Hezbollah has posed and continues to pose to the men, women and children of Israel.

    Question: Is Israel using disproportionate force?

    Short Answer: ?Israel must respond with enough force to put an end to the threat Hezbollah poses to the men, women and children of Israel.?

    Explanation:
    Proportionality must be measured in terms of the extent of the threat. With over 12,000 missiles targeted at Israel and a mandate to oy the Jewish state. Hezbollah is a direct threat not only to the one million Israelis who live within the range of the rockets, but to the Jewish people as a whole.
    All democratic nations have the obligation to defend their citizens from attack and harm?s way.
    Failure to face the threat head on and with the amount of force needed to destroy it would be irresponsible.
    Israel?s use of force is directly proportionate to the threat that Hezbollah poses to Israeli civilians.

    Question: Why does Israel bomb civilian buildings and infrastructure in Lebanon?

    Short Answer: ?Israel does everything within its power to prevent civilian casualties. Only terrorist groups like Hezbollah aim to maximize civilian deaths.?

    Explanation:
    Israel is a democratic country with a moral army that makes every effort to avoid involving civilians in conflicts and causing civilian casualties.
    By contrast, Hezbollah deliberately tries to maximize civilian casualties by targeting major Israeli population centres and by using civilians as human shields.
    Israel only targets facilities in southern Lebanon which serve the supply and command capacity of Hezbollah.
    Israel targeted the runways of the Beirut airport and the Beirut-Damascus highway in order to stop Hezbollah from smuggling the two abducted Israelis out of Lebanon and to destroy the routes through which Hezbollah is re-supplied with weapons.
    Israel did not target the airport control tower or any other installation not directly used by the terrorists.

    Question: Is Israel not concerned about the growing number of civilian casualties?

    Short Answer: ?Israel does everything it can to minimize civilian casualties. When terrorists use civilians as human shields, it is the terrorists and not Israel who are criminally responsible for any loss of life.?

    Explanation:
    As a moral country, Israel does not target civilians and regrets any loss of innocent life.
    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a disciplined army which adheres to a strict code of conduct.
    In this current crisis, the IDF has gone out of its way to try and save the lives of Lebanese civilians.
    Prior to attacking an area, the IDF makes announcements and drops pamphlets urging civilians to vacate Hezbollah areas.
    Hezbollah, on the other hand, embeds itself in residential neighborhoods, fires missiles out of private homes and cynically uses civilians as human shields
    When terrorists use civilians as human shields, it is the terrorists who are criminally responsible for the deaths of Lebanese civilians, not Israel.

    Question: Following the July 16, 2006 death of 7 Canadians, what is Israel doing to help foreign nationals get out of Lebanon?

    Short Answer: ?Israel is working with the international community to ensure that foreign nationals leave Lebanon swiftly and safely.?

    Explanation:
    Israel has expressed its profound sorrow to the government of Canada over the tragic death of the Lebanese Canadian family.
    Israel unconditionally regrets the deaths of any foreign nationals in Lebanon who are not involved in the violence.
    Israel has established a safe corridor and humanitarian task force to facilitate the evacuation of people not involved in the conflict.
    Presently, over 70 evacuee ships have left Lebanon without incident.

    Q. What is Israel doing in order to help address the humanitarian needs of the Lebanese population?

    ?Unlike Hezbollah, which seeks to inflict maximum pain and suffering on the Israeli civilian population, Israel is doing everything within its power to help Lebanese civilians.?

    Explanation:
    The government of Israel has created special passageways to allow Lebanese civilians to vacate Hezbollah areas under attack.
    It has created special corridors to allow for the free flow of food, medicine and other necessities.
    A new Israeli task force has been formed to coordinate the distribution of humanitarian aid.

  8. Most alarming, however, is that there are increasing calls in the U.S. for the Bush administration to engage Syria, so that it can help control Hezbollah, on the assumption that if you deal with Syria, you can isolate Iran.

    Syria was in the Gulf War I coalition. If Syria no longer participated… That would be a good thing.

    One wonders if those peddling the idea have any memory at all: it was under Syria that Hezbollah became a military power, and what the Syrians will demand, or maneuver to achieve, in exchange for “helping” would be onerous. They will want the international investigation of Rafiq Hariri’s murder to be dropped, to save their regime that ordered the crime; and they will want oversight power over Lebanese affairs, which, with an armed Hezbollah as Praetorian Guard, would effectively mean they would again rule the country.

    I don’t doubt that Syria wants these things, still I hope our leaders do what’s best for the American people. I wish the best for the people of Lebanon and people everywhere else in the world too, but I can imagine how sometimes what’s best for the American people might not be what’s best for everyone.

  9. What do you guys think about the “It’s all about Iran” hypothesis? The theory is that it doesn’t matter what Israel does here. Unless Iran is crushed to rubble or at least positively contained from nuclear development, this goes on forever and in the latter case gets waaay out of hand.

  10. “”?Israel is conducting military operations in Lebanon in order to put an end to the threat Hezbollah poses to the Israeli population.?
    “””

    This will probably not be true because of a key phrase, “put an end to”. They failed the last time. They will have about equal success this time.

    Once Hezbollah gets knocked down some, they will change to insurgency tactics. This will require Israel’s attention for years until they decide to withdraw. Can we say Iraq?

  11. Air power won’t let them dig out networked bunkers. They have the Hez pinned down and now they are going to root them out.

    How odd – I was under the impression that the Israelis were fighting an indigenous guerilla organization, not the Imperial Japanese Army. I see zero indications that the Israelis have pinned anyone down so far – the casualties they took the other day were in a village that they had already declared “secured.” The bit about “rooting out” Hezbollah sounds like vintage material from the Saigon Five O’Clock Follies, circa 1967.

    Young’s hypothesis that the Israelis might actually welcome the Syrians back under “Plan B” hadn’t occurred to me before, but it’s definitely a possibility. Hezbollah isn’t some alien terrorist group like Al-Qaeda – they are deeply embedded in the Shia community of south Lebanon, which is how they ended up with 20% of the seats in the Lebanese Parliament. Trying to wipe them out or forcibly disarm them would probably require the depopulation of most of southern Lebanon, a fairly impractical proposition at this time. Israel could very well consider dealing with a Syria directly in control of Lebanon again to be preferable.

  12. Gosh, Joe- I feel much better now.

  13. Good to see Michael around again.

    Shannon Love that’s what I thought too. But it was about a week ago that diminishing marginal returns hit Israeli air power. I expected ground operations to start Sunday. They didn’t. I am afraid that Olmert is working from an unfinished manual left by Sharon.

  14. It seems to me Israel took the bait Hezbollah wanted them to take — overreact to a small incursion into Israel with full war but no plan or means to win. Its not like the border was quite before the kidnappings, there were recent Israeli incursions before and Hez missiles shot into Israel in the recent past. I think Israel overreacted, overplayed its hand and was over confident and it now finds itseld in a quagmire that will not destory Hezbollah and cannot win, and shows the Arab world that the Israeli military is simply competent and not some superhuman structure able to defeats anyone in six days or less.

    I also have a sneaking feeling Israel don’t like stable, prosperous Arab nations moving in a more liberal and positive direction…

  15. Thanks for the update Michael, I’m also glad to see you around.

    Thanks too for the link Jacob, very interesting.

    I find it exceedingly difficult to tell what all details really matter, and in some ways what the truth really is.

    Is Hezbollah a Syrian or Iranian pawn/front? Neither, either, or both? See for example

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=072806C

    (though I’m often skeptical of what I find here). If it’s true that Shias outside Iran, don’t generally take direction from Iran, then this problem really is local and not a regional power play. From my reading of history I could see the Arabs not being too cozy with Persia.

    None of which changes the immediate problem the Israelis face, but it has entirely different long term strategic implications for the region.

    Far as I can tell Hezbollah has been getting ready for some kind of confrontation (given how well dug in they are). Whether they’d expected the show down to happen right now or not is an open question. But either way, I am still left to conclude that the Israelis have called it right by confronting Hezbollah now instead of later. Poor Lebanon….

    I have seen reports claiming that Hezbollah has declared itself dedicated to destroying Israel, and others claiming “that’s just made up BS”.

    But if all this really was just a local mess, and Hezb. really is the only serious armed force in Lebanon, then why the hell did they hit Israel at all? Why not just impose their rule on Lebanon directly?

    And why did Hezb. hit Israel, and kidnap soldiers, at the same as Hamas? These things lead me to believe it’s more than just a local Lebanese problem.

    But this is something like the lead-up to Iraq. Look around and you can find websites that will tell you almost anything you want to believe.

    a) “There are clearly WMDs in Iraq.”

    b) “There are at least good reasons to believe WMDs exist in Iraq.” (which made a lot of sense to me before and now).

    c) “There are clearly no WMDs in Iraq.”

    To someone who is trying to be rational and objective, it often isn’t easy to tell who’s giving you the truth and who isn’t. I was never sure about a) and c). I just never understood why, if you’re going to hit a major ME country, you would choose Iraq. Didn’t seem like the biggest fish in the pond needing to be shot at.

    Not that it matters now. I’m just saying, it’s hard figuring out the truth.

    Well, it’s still way better than having no info at all.

  16. Thanks for the update Michael, I’m also glad to see you around.

    Thanks too for the link Jacob, very interesting.

    I find it exceedingly difficult to tell what all details really matter, and in some ways what the truth really is.

    Is Hezbollah a Syrian or Iranian pawn/front? Neither, either, or both? See for example

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=072806C

    (though I’m often skeptical of what I find here). If it’s true that Shias outside Iran, don’t generally take direction from Iran, then this problem really is local and not a regional power play. From my reading of history I could see the Arabs not being too cozy with Persia.

    None of which changes the immediate problem the Israelis face, but it has entirely different long term strategic implications for the region.

    Far as I can tell Hezbollah has been getting ready for some kind of confrontation (given how well dug in they are). Whether they’d expected the show down to happen right now or not is an open question. But either way, I am still left to conclude that the Israelis have called it right by confronting Hezbollah now instead of later. Poor Lebanon….

    I have seen reports claiming that Hezbollah has declared itself dedicated to destroying Israel, and others claiming “that’s just made up BS”.

    But if all this really was just a local mess, and Hezb. really is the only serious armed force in Lebanon, then why the hell did they hit Israel at all? Why not just impose their rule on Lebanon directly?

    And why did Hezb. hit Israel, and kidnap soldiers, at the same as Hamas? These things lead me to believe it’s more than just a local Lebanese problem.

    But this is something like the lead-up to Iraq. Look around and you can find websites that will tell you almost anything you want to believe.

    a) “There are clearly WMDs in Iraq.”

    b) “There are at least good reasons to believe WMDs exist in Iraq.” (which made a lot of sense to me before and now).

    c) “There are clearly no WMDs in Iraq.”

    To someone who is trying to be rational and objective, it often isn’t easy to tell who’s giving you the truth and who isn’t. I was never sure about a) and c). I just never understood why, if you’re going to hit a major ME country, you would choose Iraq. Didn’t seem like the biggest fish in the pond needing to be shot at.

    Not that it matters now. I’m just saying, it’s hard figuring out the truth.

    Well, it’s still way better than having no info at all.

  17. The pro-Hezbollah Christian Science Monitor 😉 says Hez support in Lebanon is now at 87%

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0728/p06s01-wome.html

    “The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines.According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah’s fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah’s resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.”

    Is this true? Is it temporary if true?

  18. “it’s hard figuring out the truth.”

    Some things are not so hard to figure out.
    Maybe Hizbollah is recruiting it’s militants from the Shia population of Lebanon, but who is financing them and supplying all those rockets ?
    Of course, Iran, via Syria.
    They also supply the rabid Islamist and anti Israel ideology – a genocide ideology.

    If Lebanon had been left alone, the Lebanese shia have no special motivation to sacrifice their lives toward the attempt to annihilate Israel.

  19. The United Nations had no right to take land away from the Palestinians to give to the Israelis in 1947. The Israelis had no right to forcibly take land away from the Palestinians in 1948. Sure, the Jews once controlled that land, but so did the Indians once control America. How would we feel if the United Nations gave America back to the Indians?

    This doesn’t mean that the Israelis should give all of Palestine back to the Palestinians or that we should give America back to the Indians. What’s done is done. The Israelis should at the least stop treating the Palestinians as second rate citizens. These are the roots of the Palestinians’ rebellion just as the Indians rebelled.

    I know this is kind of off the subject as far as Lebanon goes, but I just wanted to enter this into the dialogue.

  20. ” The Israelis should at the least stop treating the Palestinians as second rate citizens. These are the roots of the Palestinians’ rebellion ”

    “the roots of the Palestinians’ rebellion ” is their unwillingness to accept the existence of Israel, and their never ending attempts to annihilate Israel, which entails genocide.

  21. “Israel could no longer allow its citizens to be threatened by Hezbollah?s missile fire.”

    It was Israel that fired first. The Hezbollah missile fire was self defense. Granted, the Hezbollah did start it with capturing Israeli soldiers, but the Israeli response is overkill, especially when civilians are targeted, especially civilians in ambulances. The Israelis are even going after wounded civilians.

    Jacob, does Israel have a right to exist? Did the UN have the right to take land from others to give Jews a homeland? That is the beginning of all this violence. Even Michael Neuman realizes that. Michael Neuman is a German Jew who sympathises with Israel and the Jews, but looking at it objectively, he feels that most of the blame for all the violence lies with Zionism. Read his book “The Case Against Israel”.

  22. “Hezbollah deliberately tries to maximize civilian casualties by targeting major Israeli population centres and by using civilians as human shields.”

    Isn’t Israel’s placing munitions plants in Arab districts a case of using human shields?

  23. Good summary Joe. Maybe the first time I’ve agreed with one of your posts.

  24. “The Hezbollah missile fire was self defense.”

    Eh, that is generous. The rockets and missiles they are firing may be many things, but self defense against the IDF is not among them. They were an escalation tactic.

  25. “I also have a sneaking feeling Israel don’t like stable, prosperous Arab nations moving in a more liberal and positive direction…”

    Agreed. The neocons may love Israel, but Israel doesn’t seem to be on board with their Arab Democracy Crusade. The Israelis seem to be pretty hard core practitioners of realpolitik. Remember the head of Shin Bet predicted that Israel would miss Saddam Hussein?

    It’s easy to say you support something like supporing democracy when doing so furthers your realist foreign policy goals – we’re going to disarm Saddam Hussein, eliminate a belligerent government and, oh yeah, spread democracy.

    But the real test of your commitment to a foreign policy ideal is you willingness to support it when there is a cost, when it conflicts with something else you want to achieve.

    So, uh, how many of the Bush supporting, neoconservative war hawks, the ones who pointed to the so-called “Cedar Revolution” as the most importantant development in the Levant in decades and gave Georeg Bush all the credit, have been spotted criticizing the Israeli government for undermining that democracy?

    My count is zero.

  26. “Jacob, does Israel have a right to exist?”

    That’s a somewhat academic question… not terribly useful.
    The fact is that as long as you try to annihilate Israel – which enatils the murder of some 5 million people – you get a war on your hands… maybe you think it’s a just war, but still it is a war, and wars have ugly and unpredictable consequences.

    Those who keep talking about Israel having no right to exist are in fact promoting total war.

  27. Some things are not so hard to figure out.

    …who is financing them and supplying all those rockets ? Of course, Iran, via Syria.

    If Lebanon had been left alone, the Lebanese shia have no special motivation to sacrifice their lives toward the attempt to annihilate Israel.

    All of which goes to say, the “it’s just a local Lebanese thing” thesis doesn’t hold water. And this means, those who would like to claim it’s not about destroying Israel are full of it.

    Which means, in turn, that the Israelis are in fact doing the right thing in trying to root Hezb. out now rather than waiting.

    Which is the conclusion I’d already been coming to.

    I’ve read a lot of history, but even at that the problem is that I don’t know anywhere near enough about people’s motives in the ME to always be sure what makes sense and what doesn’t. Sometimes have to do a lot of sifting.

  28. The Israelis should at the least stop treating the Palestinians as second rate citizens. These are the roots of the Palestinians’ rebellion

    What Israel wants, more than anything else, is security. Until they’ve got it, every other thing you can put up on the table is going to be a secondary consideration.

    The US didn’t stop treating Indians as “second class citizens” until long after the Indians no longer posed any sort of threat. Israel will not be much different. Saving your own hide is priority one.

    I agree that carving Israel out of the ME back in ’47-’48 was a really stupid idea. But it’s done. Everybody has to deal with it now.

  29. A year or two ago a major international survey found, much to the surprise and horror of most American pundits, that the world viewed Israel and the U.S. as greater threats to peace than they did China, Iran, or N. Korea. This was across the board, save of course for Israel and US. It seems that recent events have indeed validated the world’s opinion. The United States has invaded two nations in the last five years and now Israel has invaded two (I count the Palestenian Authority as a nation).
    So let’s forgive groups like Hez if they fail to disarm per Israel’s request. They, and many Lebanese, know that Lebanon or the world will not stand up to Israel’s aggressions (this is their third invasion of Lebanon). That they call for Israel’s destruction is a little more understandable when you realize that Hez was created to kick out Israel when they occupied their territory in a blatant invasion that was condemned by the UN.
    The Hez attack on Israel and the abduction of two soldiers must be considered with the fact that Israel has literally dozens of Lebanese citizens in their prisons. Ditto for the Palestinians.
    Israel bolsters this view of them as scary to their neighbors by their (US sanctioned) devil-may-care attitude, blowing up the Red Cross, children, civilian infrastructure, UN observers, etc. They appear to have little or no restraint…

  30. Hold on there, Genghis. The involvement of foreign parties = it’s about destroying Israel?

    First of all, as America’s support of terrorist gangs and governments in central America during the 1980s, as well as the French crown’s support for the American Revolution, demonstrate, it is quite common for the locals to have different goals than foreign patrons.

    Second, Syria spent decades ruling Lebanon as a fiefdom with the help of Hezbollah, and Iran is currently being called before the world for its nuclear program. And you can’t think of any reasons why these two countries would support a Hezbollah offensive besides a desire to wipe out Israel?

  31. Joes post seems to come straight from the IDF or FOX. Its ridiculous. Where did you hear that:
    “The government of Israel has created special passageways to allow Lebanese civilians to vacate Hezbollah areas under attack.
    It has created special corridors to allow for the free flow of food, medicine and other necessities.
    A new Israeli task force has been formed to coordinate the distribution of humanitarian aid.”

    In fact, independent monitors find otherwise:
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/22/lebano13799.htm

    Here’s another laugher:
    “The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a disciplined army which adheres to a strict code of conduct.
    In this current crisis, the IDF has gone out of its way to try and save the lives of Lebanese civilians.”

    UN observers, Red Cross, literally hundreds of civilians. Man, I’d hate to see them undisciplined without a strict code of conduct.

  32. Sorry for the broken link. You can go here and see HRW’s position on a variety of Israel-Lebanon issues.
    http://hrw.org/doc/?t=news

  33. No snark here. I’ve forgotten some of the positions people are staking out.

    To those who view this as unjustified Israeli aggression. What was the correct course of action for Israel to have followed? What should they do now?

    To those who view this as something in excess of an appropriate response, what is the appropriate response?

  34. UN observers, Red Cross, literally hundreds of civilians. Man, I’d hate to see them undisciplined without a strict code of conduct.

    Well, Ken, that might look alot more like the Hez tactics, the Taliban tactics, and al Qaeda tactics…except that without discipline and democratic system, they’d probably just drop the bomb on Lebanon.

  35. The US didn’t stop treating Indians as “second class citizens” until long after the Indians no longer posed any sort of threat.

    For some reason, that analogy doesn’t do much to assure me of the righteousness of Israel’s cause.

  36. UN observers, Red Cross, literally hundreds of civilians. Man, I’d hate to see them undisciplined without a strict code of conduct.

    (1) The UN outposts that were hit were legitimate tactical targets because Hez was using them. Email from UN observers on the spot confirms this. The blame for any attacks on any location being used by Hez falls on Hez.

    (2) Red Cross ambulances have been used by Hez to transport ammo, supplies, and fighters. The blame for any attacks on ambulances being used by Hez.

    (3) Hez dresses as civilians, making their corpses hard to distinguish from the innocent. Hez also uses civilians as human shields. The blame for any deaths of civilians being used as human shields by Hez falls on Hez.

    I’m sure there are a few attacks and deaths that don’t fall into these categories, but I think they are far fewer than you seem to imagine, Ken.

  37. RC
    I’d like some proof of those assertions. According to the Globe and Mail (and every other major world newspaper that I have seen) the following is reported:
    “The Israel Defence Forces received repeated and increasingly urgent warnings, both in the field and from New York, that they were targeting a United Nations monitoring post before they delivered a bomb that killed four peacekeepers, including a Canadian, UN officials said yesterday.”

    The Times Online (England) reports of Joe’s famous IDF facilitation of corridors of escape and assistance for civilians:
    “”This talk of a humanitarian corridor should not mask the real situation,” said Christopher Stokes, director of operations for Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) Belgium.

    “In effect there is no real humanitarian access in the south. And we are deluding ourselves, the international community is deluding itself, if it believes there is.”

    In response to Jason, the destruction of Hez’s leaders compound was, in my opinion, the only appropriate response to the abductions.

  38. There was mention that Israel may be lacking in intelligence and possibly underestimated the strength of Hezbollah. As there seems to be vast storage of missiles hidden underground, have there been investigations into the usage of underground tunnels from Syria to Lebanon for the transport of missiles from Syria to Hezbollah?

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