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In the New York Times magazine, Michael Young recounts the whole pathetic history that has left Hezbollah to fight for the biggest, rottenest bone in the dogpatch that is Lebanon.

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  1. For those who can’t read, yesterday Michael Young discussed Hezbollah on NPR.

  2. Michael, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you advocate democracy in Lebanon, then, let’s abolish Parlimentary sectarian quotas or distribute quotas according to the population now, not 70 years ago. When was the last time Lebanon had a census? was it not in 1932? Why don’t they have a new one?

  3. Yes, a new census should be easy now, with the place wrecked and a million friggin refugees.

  4. But the station’s intent was to sound a persistent Hezbollah trope: those who opposed Syria were really acting on behalf of the United States and Israel–and this was no time for subtlety.

    Denounced as objectively pro-American… I knew these arguments weren’t reserved exclusively for American detractors of the Iraq War.

    The result may be a return to civil war. And if that happens, nothing will put Lebanon–let alone liberal Lebanon–back together again.

    Is it safe to say that President Bush really is objectively pro-civil war in Lebanon?

  5. I’m no fan of Young, but he does give a pretty good idea of just how complicated Lebanese politics really is-and why kicking the hornet’s nest is such a bad idea.

    What everyone agrees on is that war against Israel is Hezbollah’s raison d’etre. It was why they were formed, why they were armed by the Syrians, financed by the Iranians, and tolerated by the Shiites. As Young points out, the hundreds of thousands of Shiites won’t blame Hezbollah for their little raid that started it; this was only the latest episode in a long series of tit-for-tat actions across the border. They will instead blame the enemy that drove them from their homes.

    This is human nature, this is politics, this is the world as it really works. The Shiites will back the most extreme elements among their political class. The liberals are left in disarray. The entreprenurial class will be expending its energies on trying to save their fortunes rather than meddling in politics. The situation in Lebanon is worse from every angle for Israel and the US.

    But, hey, at least they got to look tough, right? In US politics, and Israeli politics, I suppose, it’s always better to look tough than smart. That’s the logic our leaders have in common with theirs. Only the dead have seen the end of war.

  6. “the place wrecked and a million friggin refugees.”

    If that’s what they call victory, I don’t even want to know what a humiliating defeat looks like.

  7. It’s nice to see the NY Times and Wall St Journal turning to M. Young for Lebanon insights; I’ve read multiple pieces in both papers, if I recall correctly. See, it pays to be a libertarian (and in Lebanon)!

  8. A few more victories like these and Hezbollah will rule all of Levant.

  9. this thread is only at a 9 count, there must be a ceasefire.

    As a supporter of the US (brave I know) and Israel, I fail to see how Israel’s ‘wanton’ (to quote Mr. Young’) response to a minor squirmish into a major conflict and at what state Israel, Hezbollah, Lebanon find themselves in now is of any benefit to either the US or Israel.

  10. Explain to me again, if you can, how Israel (or their *puppet* America) has, or could have, benefited from the apparently wholesale destruction of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure.

    Who will rebuild Lebanon, and how will the debts, financial and political, be repaid? And will the terms of repayment be satisfying to those of us not interested in perpetual war in the Middle East?

  11. I’m no fan of Young, but he does give a pretty good idea of just how complicated Lebanese politics really is-and why kicking the hornet’s nest is such a bad idea.

    Hey, when the hornets are lobbing rockets into your cities, you have to get rid of them NOW.

    Not in a generation. NOW.

    Does anyone have a better way to get rid of Hez than to kill them and their supporters?

    From an Israeli point of view, once Hez began crossing the border to attack Israelis and began wholesale indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli cities, there was nothing to be lost by kicking the hornet’s nest.

    From an Israeli point of view, there’s no value in maintaining a status quo that consists of an aggressive Hez controlling a border stronghold with Lebanese complicity, so they might as well give it a kick.

    The result may be a return to civil war. And if that happens, nothing will put Lebanon–let alone liberal Lebanon–back together again.

    Well, the status quo is that liberal Lebanon has no real future without confronting Hez, as Hez controls a big chunk of the land area and has military dominance over the Lebanese army and political dominance over the Lebanese polity. Hez and a liberal Lebanon are mutually exclusive; surely the last year has proven that.

    Does anyone who cares about a liberal Lebanon see a way to get rid of Hez that does not involve an armed confrontation between what is left of “liberal Lebanon” and Hez? A civil war that Hez loses is probably the only hope for a liberal Lebanon.

  12. “Does anyone have a better way to get rid of Hez than to kill them and their supporters?”…
    I see. Lebanese far removed from Hez both physically & politically (by every account but those supplied by those who parrot chickenhawk radio) are blow to bits, entire towns flattened …..this is killing “supporters”.
    Well, no one should be surprised. For decades the IDF have bombed/rocketed/shelled “suspected ” terrorist positions. We (the US) are now using the same language in Iraq & Afghan. “Suspected” ….
    Ive yet, EVER, to hear if the “suspicions” were correct. Ever.
    In Viet Nam, we didnt need to employ this dodge. We simply declared vast swaths of Viet Nam off limits to Viet Namese….it was a no trial capital offense.
    Same idea in Lebanon, as far as the Israelis go: Lebanese! In Lebanon!! How suspicious!!
    Yup, if they are dead, they are suspects.
    This crap will come home- it already has in the form of wacked, trigger happy swat & ATF outfits.

  13. Damn, Mutt. Guess the sanswer is “no”! I was hoping there was a solution to this one. Cats and dogs living together in harmony and all.

    I’ve got one. Everybody gets “can’t we all get along” bumper stickers to show their solidarity with the belief in the inherent goodness of their fellow Jewish, Christian, and Muslim man. Either that, or “mean people suck”. Never underestimate the power of a really good bumper sticker.

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