Enough

I understand the rationale.

Israel is surrounded by people who wish to do it harm. History has taught the Jews that they cannot hope such hatred will come to nothing. Certainly, Arab governments do not do enough to control the terrorists in their midst and Israel rightly feels that something must be done. This has little to do with captured soldiers.

But the collective punishment of Lebanese civilians for the sins of Hezbollah goes too far. Realpolitik dictates that one famous Jew’s maxim about turning the other cheek is an impossible policy. Still, if you strike me on the cheek, should I pummel your face? As Mormons, we believe in the concept of just war, but the Book of Mormon teaches us that war must be proportionate. Israel has stepped widely over that line.

Israel wishes to defend herself, but the sight of Arab children killed by Israeli bombs may well put the Jewish state in greater danger. And when those bombs are paid for by American taxpayers, the US may also reap the whirlwind.

Comments

  1. Ronan, I agree. Since its inception, I have felt that Israel’s response to this most recent crisis has been overkill. While I’m sure everyone shares concern for the kidnapped soldiers I think it clear that the current escalation is not only unwarranted but more dangerous than doing nothing. The Arab world needs little encouragement to further hate either Israel or the United States.

  2. lamonte says:

    With the U.S. as Isreal’s most loyal ally and, one might assume, Isreal’s most influencial mentor, does it surprise anyone that overwhelming and exaggerated military force causing significant “collateral” damage is their most creative response to conflict and trouble?

  3. I wish there was a way to get Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah themselves as the U.N. has demanded. It’s their responsibility to do so and now they’re paying for their failure. That’s not to say that I think that Israel’s (and the U.S.’s) current actions are fully justified, and I know it’s not a simple thing for the Lebanese to do given Syria’s influence in their government and support of Hezbollah, it’s just a shame all around. It’s especially sad that it’s Lebanon that’s paying the price given that they are one of the more moderate governments in the immediate vicinty. They may not remain so for long.

  4. Yes, Tom, Lebanon’s the last place that deserved such fury, and I’m heartbroken that Beirut may now return to hell.

    But when our dear leaders appear so weak and clueless (witness the “Yo Blair” conversation and puke), I despair.

  5. I agree with Tom’s comments; this is really a shame all around.

    One of the principles of the just war doctrine (no, not an LDS doctrine, but one that appears to be endorsed by the Church) is proportionality; another is that noncombatants should be protected. The Hezbollah are rightly criticized for shooting rockets into Israeli cities and putting civilians in danger. But the Israelis are doing the same thing by shooting shells 20 or more miles into Hezbollah positions; you simply can’t protect civilians from that distance.

    And I’m sad for the extensive infrastructure damage that is taking place in Lebanon (and to a lesser extent in Israel); this, too, hurts civilians and goes far beyond the need for self-protection. The long-term result will be a further radicalization of the Arab world; already, many formerly neutral Lebanese are blaming the U.S. for this, for not pushing for a cease-fire. (I’m not saying that blaming the U.S. is the right thing to do, just that it is understandable.)

    I don’t have any simple answers here; there are none. But neither is the simplistic reaction we get from the Bush administration — we gotta get those terrorists and Israel has a right to defend itself — the answer some would like it to be.

  6. I hear people use the phrase “dispraportionate response” when discussing Israel’s current attack on Hezbollah and I have to agree- I don’t think the attack is sufficiently strong.

    Lebanon is much to weak to disarm Hezbollah and there is no one else in the region–except for Israel–who is ready, willing and able to do it.

    Ronan, you say “the Book of Mormon teaches us that war must be proportionate.” I am not sure which verses and instances to which you are referring, but I believe that Israel’s current response fits within the guidelines of proportionate responses.

    In the Book of Mormon we read about the Nephite commanders who charge the Lamanites to disarm and leave with a treaty of peace, or the work of death would continue. That, in essence, and in my opinion, is what is happening in Lebanon today.

    Hezbollah will continue to launch rockets and kill Israeli civillians; kidnap Israeli soldiers; plan and execute terrorist attacks. Israel must complete its mission and force Hezbollah to disarm, or face death. It’s that simple.

    The Israeli army warned the civillians to leave the targeted areas. They are concerned about civillian casualties and want to avoid them. The death of non-combatants is indeed tragic. That said, Israel has a right to defend herself and her citizens from the terror of Hezbollah.

  7. Israel’s actions will not end Hezbollah. They won’t have the time. Israel is on a time limit and on a death limit (i.e. they have to watch how many people they kill). Modern warfare does not allow anymore the total destruction of an enemy, because we care these days about collateral damage. (at least some do. Bush apparently doesn’t mind sacrificing the Cedar Revolution in an attempt to get rid of Hezbollah. Too bad for him that he will lose both).

    This should show two things.

    1. If you want war, get your gloves off and annihilate your enemy.

    2. Vie for peace.

    Those who talk of war cannot talk of peace. It is impossible. It is a contradiction in terms. It is a lie. It is impossible to have peace come by the means of war.

    While the Book of Mormon talks of just war, never have a righteous Nephite nation/army ever invaded or brought the battle to the homes of the Lamanites. Never. The Nephites believed that in righteous, just war, all you do is defend your home and send the invader back to his land. This was best exemplified by Gidgiddoni in 3 Nephi 3:20-21:

    20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
    21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.

  8. Brian,

    RT’s post (linked) outlines the BoM just war doctrine well. I believe that the Nephites righteously defended their lands “even unto bloodshed”; I am not, however, familiar with instances where Nephite campaigns risked the lives of civilian Lamanites.

    Anyway, 360+ Lebanese dead vs. 30+ Israali dead does seem to indicate some degree of proportionality, or lack thereof.

    In my lifetime, I have seen peace come to Northern Ireland. This was not achieved by bombing IRA fund-raisers in Boston or Dublin, nor by a “War on (Irish Republican) Terror.” At some point the British government was forced to talk to those it felt repelled by. It worked.

  9. Ronan, I didn’t see the link. Thanks. I’ll have to go back and read RT’s post.

    The method of warfare for the Nephite/Lamanite armies was likely did not include missiles and bombs. It is much harder to control civillian casualties when using these weapons.

    While the number dead is dispraportionate, I don’t see how Israel could execute their campaign any better than they have already. (How many armies drop leaflets warning the people of impending attacks and ask them to leave??)

    You mention the IRA and the peace that came after talks. Well, the IRA was not hell bent on seeing the destruction of the Brittish state and her citizens. Hezbollah’s stated objective is to obliterate Israel and her people. How do you negotitate in the face of that? How do you negotiate with terrorists of Hezbollah’s ilk???

  10. Paul Mortensen says:

    I find it ironic that self-described liberals/progressives have allied themselves– at least philisophically– with the likes of Iran and Syria. With the exception of Syria all of the Arab countries have made the decision at the very least to just look away while pointing out that both Hizbollah and Lebanon have brought the current situation upon themselves– Hizbollah for lauching the rocket attacks (more than 1,000 to date) and Lebanon for not doing anything to prevent it. Earlier in the week a couple influential Saudi clerics even issued fatwahs critical of Hizbollah.

    The concept of proportional response is completely asinine and counterproductive. Tit-for-tat warfare merely ensures that warfare will likely continue indefinitely– especially in such an unconvential war as the one Israel faces now. Israel is attempting to disarm Hizbollah and decapitate its leadership in order to bring a swift end to the conflict and exterminate completely one of the most vicious pests to scourge the earth. Disproportionate response is a hallmark of Western law and is the foundational basis for punitive damages. I don’t hear the left clamoring for the elimiation of punitive damages in judgements.

    Playing the “proportionality” card is a cowardly attempt at supporting the aims and tactics of Hizbollah.

  11. Brian, you cut off their funding. This comes through Iran and Syria. Unlike some, I do not believe that these countries represent lost causes. Witness what diplomacy did with Libya.

    In the meantime, yeah, I realise Israel has to do something. Quite what bombing Beirut airpost achieves, I have no idea.

    Iraq. Lebanon. Palestine. Hearts and minds lost for another generation.

  12. Eh? Nony Moose says:

    I think it’s a mistake to compare the wars of the Book of Mormon with today’s war. There are good points to be made about just wars and acceptable fighting but until the day someone gets the Israelis and Hezbollah to put down the rockets, guns and explosives and take up bows, arrows and swords and hurl themselves at each other in good, old-fashioned chivalric warfare (you know, the kind that the American Revolution put the nail in the coffin of) I think we’re going to have situations that just aren’t covered by the BOM’s guide to war. Spirutually yes– they ought to stop entirely. In terms of tactics? I don’t think so. Too much has changed. Among other things, the Nephites may never have taken the war to the Lamanites but neither did the Lamanites send warriors strapped with explosives into the Nephite market places.

    I see so many articles saying “Gee Israel’s stupid! Don’t they know that with every person they kill they’re just creating more vendetta-driven fighters?” Why does no one turn that around and say “Gee Hezbollah’s stupid! Don’t they know that with every person they kill they’re just proving Israel’s point?”

    I ask you: truly, what can Israel do? They are surrounded by countries that have sworn to see them destroyed. Hammas sits inside their borders like a cancer. The Islamic militants who start and perpetuate these fights have no compunctions about civillians so why does Israel come out looking like the bad guy? It’s okay to kill 5 civillians but not 50? NEITHER is okay but Isreal is the one that gets sanctioned. They have no Utah to retreat to. They are between a rock and a hard place. The Book of Mormon version of war says that it’s okay to fight to protect your homes and families. What else would you have Israel do?

  13. rleonard says:

    Yeah,

    I am always surprised that so many in the West seem to be allied with or sympathetic to terrorist entities. The end to this conflict with Hiz.. will only end with the destruction of Hiz…

    Lets also remember that Hiz was involved in the 1983 attacks on the marines and US embassy in Beriut that killed hundreds. I believe that since Hiz is the enemy of the US that we should support attempts to destroy this terrorist entity

    To quote Sean Connery in the movies. “there is a peace that is only found on the other side of war”

    Hiz, Iran, Syria and Al Queda depend on soft westerners to be afraid of them and sympathetic to their causes.

  14. rleonard says:

    Ronan,

    Your IRA comparison does not work either.

    Muslim terrorism is in no way comparable to the IRA. Did the IRA strap bombs on their children and send them into pizza shops in London? Did the IRA kill a British soldier with their bare hands and wave their bloodstained hands to the crowd for applause?

    Isreals enemies will not stop until the Jews are driven into the sea. The peace efforts of the 1990′s are an abject failure as demonstrated by the recent conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon.

  15. Of course I know that the IRA (though vile — don’t get nostalgic for them) are Serie B compared with Islamic terrorists. I am just utterly unconvinced that you can bomb Hezbollah (or the IRA) into defeat. You just cannot.

    And this is utter bollocks, rleonard: “so many in the West seem to be allied with or sympathetic to terrorist entities.” I have no sympathy for these people, thank you very much. I want them neutralised as much as you do; I just do not think bombing West-looking civilian Lebanese and undermining the Cedar Revolution will achieve this.

  16. Paul Mortensen says:

    So, Ronan, you imply in #15 that all the Lebanese killed are “West-looking”. Would you grant that the “civilians” killed may actually be those who directly support Hizbollah? Would that change your perspective? My guess is you’d still be bellyaching over the issue.

  17. I’d be happy to bellyache over dead civilians any day of the week.

  18. rleonard says:

    Ronan,

    Its called being a “fellow traveler”. Hiz counts on Libs in the west carrying water for them and putting pressure on Isreal.

    Isreal will send in the ground troops shortly. Hiz is counting on the west stopping the ground offensive so they can live and fight Isreal another day.

    Also the demographics in Lebanon are very different than what they used to be. The Western looking Christians are now a minority due to emigration and low birthrates. If the system of government was changed in Lebanon and it was one man one vote with proportional representation in the government Hiz would probably be the Government based on Demographic shifts sicne the weird religious based allotment of power was implemented in the 1930′s

  19. I don’t have any problem at all with Israel bombing Hezbollah into oblivion. What I’m concerned about, and what we should all be concerned about, is the toll this current campaign is taking on Lebanon. President Bush is ostensibly concerned about this, though he hasn’t been too urgent in his calls for restraint and he hasn’t sent Secretary Rice to lean on Israel to be more discriminating.

    The crucial question is whether it’s possible to do serious damage to Hezbollah without doing serious damage to the Lebanese government and Lebanese civilians. Hezbollah, being the immoral cowards that they are, will hide behind civilian shields. This should get the Lebanese army up in arms, arresting or killing militants and seizing their weapons stockpiles, but it seems like they’re pretty ineffectual and they’re certainly scared to death of angering Syria. It seems, though, that Hezbollah fighters can only do any harm to Israel from relatively close to Israel’s northern border. They’re not firing rockets from downtown Beirut. So a reasonable response might be to destroy the militants near the border and establish a buffer zone into which militants enter at their own risk. It’s probably pie-in-the-sky to hope that international pressure could then get Syria and Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah, but that’s what should happen.

  20. Paul Mortensen says:

    I’d be happy to bellyache over dead civilians any day of the week.

    And Ronan, I guess you count yourself a righteous person as a result. Such responses reflect a severe aversion to dealing with the actual issues. Dead civilians is not the issue. You initially addressed the issue of proportional response and the the actual status of those “civilians” is a crucial component of how to address the question as to what a proportional response might be.

    You still have not made a coherent argument for why disproportionate response is evil– you just assume that it is.

  21. As Mormons, we believe in the concept of just war….

    I’m Mormon, and I don’t.

  22. What I am saying is that Israel does not have the opportunity to hit hard enough in order to accomplish its goals. Modern warfare does not allow that anymore. Israel wishes to wipe out the threat of Hezbollah. It is impossible to do so with the strategy they are currently undertaking. Saying so does not make one sympathetic to any terrorist group. Telling anyone that they are sympathetic to terrorist groups for criticizing Israel’s strategies is weak partisanship and untruthful. I can only hope for a better counter than “those who criticize Israel are appeasing terrorists.”

    Israel cannot defeat its enemies by attacking and destroying Lebanon. It cannot either by attacking Syria or Iran. It is impossible. Modern Warfare does not allow for that.

    There are only two options that actually will work.

    1. Total annihilation. As in previous wars that achieved peace, only the total subjugation of its enemies can one nation achieve its goals of unconditional surrender. Israel and America (and the rest of the modern Western world), thinks they can get unconditional surrenders from their enemies without utterly and completely defeating them. It is impossible. This is why the Taleban are still active in Afghanistan. This is why the insurgency in Iraq is so potent. This is why Hezbollah is alive and well. This is why Hamas is still so strong.

    Modern warfare does not allow for this, because in modern warfare, we believe in the protection of the “innocent civilian,” and thus when innocent civilians die, our actions are undermined, and we lose the hearts and minds of those we want to change to our side. We should cut the crap and thoroughly defeat our enemies if we wish to wage war. In other words, thrust Rumsfeld’s doctrines into the garbage pail and go with ultimate overwhelming force.

    or…..

    2. The other option is peace. The reason a comparison to the Book of Mormon is actually quite viable to modern warfare has nothing to do with the tools used in war. It does not matter if they used bows and arrows then and we use missiles now. The reason the Nephites were able to live with the Lamanites, even under constant threat, for nearly 1000 years is because the Nephites never invaded Lamanite lands. The core goal of the Nephites was to live in peace, and they exemplified this by the way they treated their neighbors. While the Lamanites thirsted for war on occasion, the Nephites never thirsted for war, and they never sought war, irrespective of the actions of the Lamanites or the Gadianton Robbers. If we at our core desire peace, then our actions must inexorably show it, else we be hypocrites.

    Our actions are the fruits of our desires, irrespective of what others desire to do to us. When we “take the bait,” of war that others bring on us, we in effect are letting others control our actions and desires, and we lower our own standards.

    Finally, over on my blog, I quote Ezra Taft Benson who said the following:

    Let me ask, do we need a true prophet of the Lord on the earth today? Did the people in Noah’s day need a prophet to warn them spiritually and temporally? Had a man refused to follow Noah, would he have been saved from the flood? Yet the Bible tells us that in the last days in which we live, the wickedness of the people will become comparable to the wickedness of the people in Noah’s day when God cleansed the earth by flood. Do you think we need a prophet today to warn us and prepare us for the cleansing that God promised will come, this time by fire?”

    I added:

    We know why God destroyed the world through a flood. He said to Noah in the book of Moses:

    28 The earth was corrupt before God, and it was filled with violence. 29 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its away upon the earth. 30 And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth.

    If the last days are like the days before the flood, and God destroyed the earth because it was filled with violence, what does it say is the great sin of the last days? My guess is on violence.

    If we truly are for peace, let us therefore be for peace.

  23. why disproportionate response is evil

    Because the Master suggested we respond not at all.

    (BTW, much as I would love to continue duking this out, I am 5-8 hours ahead of most of you, so that may not be possible. So, when you’re eating lunch, I’m getting my daily dose of BBC anti-Israel propaganda on the nightly news).

    Paul, I’m very righteous. Eveyone knows that.

    Anyway, lest I be accused of shirking issues, let me endorse Tom’s plan (Tom, join the foreign service, man):

    Create a buffer zone in southern Lebanon with a toothed-up international force. And actually talk to Iran and Syria (as we did with that old terrorist Gadaffi). You know, it might just work.

  24. oh I might add one thing about the Book of Mormon. When the Nephites did actually want war with the Lamanites, what happened to them?

    Why does the Book of Mormon end when it does? Because all the Nephites save one, died.

  25. While the Book of Mormon talks of just war, never have a righteous Nephite nation/army ever invaded or brought the battle to the homes of the Lamanites. Never. The Nephites believed that in righteous, just war, all you do is defend your home and send the invader back to his land.

    You don’t know this for a fact. All we know is that whithin the text of the BOM that we have it does not appear to have happened. To say that it NEVER happened goes a bit to far I think as the history we have of the BOM people is extremely limited. There are volumes and volumes of their history that we do not have.

    Like some of the others who have posted here, I find the attempt to compare BOM rules of war to the current situation a stretch at best. There are many tactics mentioned in the BOM that would not agree I’m sure with those who have criticized Israel here, including:

    1) Forced labour of prisoners of war (Alma 53)
    2) Assassination of the enemies leaders (Alma 62, way to go Teancum!)
    3)Capital punishment for those who refused to support the cause of freedom (Alma 46)

    The BOM was a different time and a different place.

  26. Ronan,

    Your point seems to be, essentially, “Israel is going too far.” While nobody (at least not in this little slice of the bloggosphere) is rooting for more indiscriminate death, I think that your entire point is indeed answered by the Connery quote by rleonard.

    Not to be antagonistic, but your point is, I believe, technically naive because it does not consider the precedent causes of Israel’s actions. You would of course be correct observing that Israel is doing grave damage in Lebannon, but the whole issue of proportionality requires an opposite quantity with which to balance. That opposite quantity is not theoretical, it is not speculative, and the grisly quantum of both the actual violence committed and the undilutedly peurile world view of pretty much everyone arrayed against Israel is so overwhelming that the (biased by small sample size) current statistical comparison of 30/300 is still a virtual model of restraint and discipline.

    I have read your commentary for many months in the bloggernacle, and hold you in great respect. I just disagree with, and am frustrated by your position here.

  27. Talon,

    I stand by my assumption. You think Mormon would not have had something to say about the Nephites attempting to invade Lamanite country? They did, during his time. He spoke out strongly about that.

    And secondly, the tactics are not the issue. Where the comparison works is in the relations between the Nephites and Lamanites, and any modern countries. Tactics are secondary.

  28. Paul Mortensen says:

    Because the Master suggested we respond not at all

    This is just another cop-out argument that if followed back int 1939 would have resulted in the complete anihilation of Jews, Slavs, Muslims, etc. and would have us all speaking German today. It’s also a cop-out argument because your initial post uses the “just wars” of the BoM to argue for proportionality. I beg you, please make a coherent, measured argument in place of the tired, lazy cliches you keep throwing out.

  29. Sigh. I already admitted in the post, Paul, that Realpolitik negates turning the other cheek in this context. This is desperately sad, but it is so. We’re starting from a position of failure here; I just wish we could limit the death our further human failure causes. And I honestly (naively? lazily?) think the policy of the bomb will not achieve what it sets out to do. Does anyone here think Israel can bomb Hezbollah into oblivion? At some point, peace will be sought. Too bad for those for whom that will be too late.

  30. I stand by my assumption. You think Mormon would not have had something to say about the Nephites attempting to invade Lamanite country? They did, during his time. He spoke out strongly about that.

    I’m saying that we know that the BOM we have contains what was considered most important for our day. To say something NEVER happened because it is not in the text presumes we know what was considered important for our day. We don’t know what lay on the cutting room floor when Mormon was finished with his abridgement (although I’m dying to know!).

    It’s akin to saying Nephi never had an argument with his wife because its not in the Book, therefore it NEVER happened.

  31. Talon,

    Methinks though that Mormon would have considered it quite important if they did.

    Hezbollah will make it out of this, and Israel will have failed to destroy its enemy, because it cannot conquer with bombs. Meanwhile, Lebanon is destroyed.

    That is not good policy for America.

  32. rleonard says:

    There is a peace that is found on the other side of war.

    Ask Japan or Germany. Or better yet. Ask Egypt or Jordan. Both were defeated multiple times on the battle field and decided to face reality and make peace.

    Victory over Hiz by Isreal leading to the Lebanese government sending troops into South Lebanon is the key to peace. Anything else will prolong the conflict.

  33. Ronan 29, I don’t think Israel can bomb Hezbollah into oblivion.
    I’m not into bombing into oblivion in general but it seems like an even worse idea in this case as Hezbollah is not even a gov’t but a group of well funded ideologists.

    You bomb the hell out of them, kill a bunch of civilians in the process, and generate more support for Hezbollah.

  34. I don’t see much of an alternative to trying to destroy Hezbollah, whether this means that more Hezbollians will be created or not. Even if it is a futile fight, it’s a fight that must be fought because the alternative, suing for peace and trying to defend their borders, leaves Israeli citizens at the mercy of terrorists. Hezbollah isn’t a group with demands that can be met. There are no concessions to be made. It’s a violent agressor that needs to be either disarmed or obliterated. The international community has the power to cause them to be disarmed, but as long as they/we don’t see that that be done, Israel has to make war. Here’s hoping they make smart, merciful war.

  35. Ronan, what do you think about the fact that Israel once occupied both Gaza and southern Lebanon, and no sooner had Israel made a showing of good will by vacating those areas did Hezbollah and Hamas start shooting rockets from those areas into Israel.

    What is the lesson that Israel is to learn from this fact? Ronan, do you believe that Israel’s mistake was pulling out of southern Lebanon and more recently out of Gaza?

    I agree that Israel faces a hopeless fight. The Arab world is thirsty for its blood. The Palestinians and Iran have explicitly stated that their goal is not a sovereign and separate Palestinian state but rather the complete destruction of the state of Israel (Iran going further to imply the complete annihilation of the Jewish people as well). I am not so sure that this fight against Hezbollah is unjustified even if I agree with you that it is hopeless.

    My biggest concern in this situation is the destruction of the rebuilt infrastructure and economy in Lebanon. Lebanon had a lot of potential. My main criticism of current Middle East policy, both of the United States and Israel, is that toppling secular regimes creates a vacuum of power that is filled with Islamicist fanatics bent on setting up their own caliphates. The current Israeli action plays right into the hands of Iran. Iran has been getting a huge windfall for the last three years. The war in Iraq directly benefits it as does Israel’s destruction of Lebanon.

  36. Ronan, admit it. You are nothing but a bellyacher and appeaser of terrorists. :-)

    There is something about this fight that was completely surprising, at least to me, and which I view as a reason for great optimism. So far, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others are sitting it out. Yes, they have issued their pro forma denunciation of the violence of the Zionists, but they have also said a few discouraging words in the direction of Hezbollah. Iran and Syria appear to be isolating themselves from the rest of the Arabs. For the first time since the state of Israel was established, it is not facing a united Arab enemy. I see this as a very good thing, and would like to understand how it came about.

  37. …and you, Mark IV, are part of the Rebel Alliance, and a traitor. Take him away!

  38. Thanks Ronan for your posts and perspective. I agree with you. I disagree with my co-religionists who seem to read the Doctrine & Covenants to mean “Wherefore, renounce [peace] and proclaim [war]” as the solution to our (and Israel’s) problems.

    Let me ask this question of those who believe in total war (i.e., not sparing civilians) and disbelieve in proportionality, should the US (or Israel) threaten or actually use nuclear bombs on Beirut or Tehran? Why wait?

  39. Paul Mortensen says:

    Mark:

    Iranians are not Arabs– they’re Persians. Syria and Iran are also Shiite and not Sunni– like the vast majority of Arabs. Hizbollah is a Shiite organization. The remainder of the Arab states are sitting this one out because of religious and ethnic differences. It’s pretty simple. The Sunni Arabs fear the Shiite Persians more than they hate Israel. Whether or not that is a change from past history, I don’t know.

  40. Paul Mortensen says:

    David H:

    Who in this thread has advocated total war. Please, be specific rather than lazy. The nuclear option is little more than a cute ploy one resorts to when they can’t come up with a legitimate argument.

    Please define proportionality including how it would be measured. Also, please lay out an argument for its moral superiority to punitive response.

  41. Ronan — I don’t know what you are thinking to describe the current state in the Mideast as “Israel is surrounded by people who wish to do it harm.” This is like saying that Pres. Hinckley thinks that sin is a bad idea — true, but ridiculously understated, and vague to the point of meaninglessness.

    Israel has been the continual target of radical Arab regimes since its inception. The only breaks in this constant state of war (there has never been a peace treaty that covered all aggressive parties since Israel was created) have been when Israel has decisively defeated its invaders. The only concessions for the purpose of peace have been made by Israel (the creation of Palestine, the removal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, the removal of settlers in the occupied territories). And the result has been what the Likud party predicted — beach heads for further attacks into the civilian centers of Israel.

    The militias have continually targetted civilians for their attacks, while Israel has sought legitimate military targets as much as possible. The militias have built themselves into civilian locations such that there is no possible way of attacking them without civilian losses. They have essentially held their own people hostage — the ones they claim to care about — to protect them from the enemy that seeks to fight only them.

    This is not a tidy Western-style war (not that such a thing really exists). The purpose of the war is not to “do Israel harm” it’s to kill every man, woman and child of Jewish decent in Israel, dig up the bones of their dead, and push them into the sea. It is part of a 48 year long campaign with that very purpose, and it is an arm of a global war on the part of radical Islam intended force the entire world to choose between conversion to a radicalized form of Islam with them in control on the one hand and death on the other. They will only accept a world in which they are in control, and they have no qualm slaughtering any number of those who refuse to follow them. They would not hesitate to kill you if they had the opportunity to get away with it, and your moderate opposition to Israel wouldn’t buy you an extra breath.

    Syria, Iran and the former Iraqi regime have used the Palestinian people as pawns. Palestinians aren’t beloved Islamic brothers to these people — they are the poor white trash of the Muslim world. Syria and Iran maintain camps for Palestinians to live in, but they don’t naturalize them, they don’t give them opportunities to work and build a life for themselves. They keep them living in camps so they can point to the squalor they live in and blame it on Israel. They teach that Jews use the blood of Palestinian babies in their religious services, and other horrible lies, and then teach that homicide attacks against civilians that take the life of the attacker guarantee him or her special treatment in the next life and financial gain for his or her surviving family.

    This is simply exploitation. Syria, Iran and the militias have absolutely no position of moral authority from which to criticize Israel. They’ve never cared about that — their purpose is the total annihilation of the Jews in Israel, and they’ve never felt a qualm about mass murder, let alone lying, in pursuit of that goal. And they view Israel a the Small Satan. You do remember who the Great Satan is, right? Should they reach their goal in Israel, you know where they will be coming next, right?

    I’ve got to go, but I would like to see a little more reality in this conversation on what the nature of this conflict is.

  42. I’m with you as well, Ronin.

    The assumption that one cannot deal diplomatically, not with terrorists but with those who have employed terrorist tactics… this is part of the problem. And seriously, how one can make the distinction between acts that consider civilian/innocent (men, women, and CHILDREN for god’s sake) death a necessary by-product of a greater good…how one can call the one terrorism and the other defense is beyond me. How one can call it justified by some exegesis of scripture is in my mind the extreme banality of evil. Does one suppose the ‘terrorists’ to have significantly different motives and reasoning? If so, such foolishness.

    That there are some here who continue in this foolishness while suggesting that Ronin is overbearingly self-righteous…this I find distressing to hope and faith.

  43. I’ve enjoyed the Daily Show’s coverage of the events. It has the tag something to the effect of:

    MIDEAST CRISIS Day: 8,736

  44. John Mansfield says:

    Much of the commentary on this Israeli offensive reminds me of the lines between James Bond and Goldfinger when Goldfinger was ready to slice Bond in half: “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” To Israel, it is irrelevant how southern Lebanon feels right now. Israel is out to remove enemy capability, not mold feelings.

  45. Aaron Brown says:

    I haven’t yet read all the threads here — I’ve just skimmed them.

    Whatever the doctrine of “proportionality” might mean, it surely doesn’t mean counting the dead on the Israeli side, counting it on the Lebanese side, and then saying, “Gee, there are more dead Lebanese than Israelis, so Israel is being disproportionate!”

    “It is impossible to have peace comes by the means of war.”

    Sheesh. Do you really need me to point out the obvious counter-examples?

    Truth be told, I have mixed feelings about what is going on in the Middle East, but I’ll still quote Tom Sowell for you all:

    “People are calling for a cease-fire in the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent …

    There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.

    “World opinion,” the U.N. and “peace movements” have eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers demanding a cease fire, negotiations and concessions.”

    Aaron B

  46. John Mansfield wrote:

    “To Israel, it is irrelevant how southern Lebanon feels right now. Israel is out to remove enemy capability, not mold feelings.”

    Not to pick on you, John, but that you represent here a sort of ignorance of the principle “don’t do unto others” that is surprisingly pervasive in this discussion. So if we justify civilian casualties by this kind of rational, are we then also prepared to accept such rational if our own children become the casualties of such heartless self-interest? And in the case where your children were regarded in such a way and became the victims of such thinking, would you not then feel most tempted to repay blood for blood? I know I would.

    This approach is a lie and the evidence should be in your own heart.

  47. #44,

    John Mansfield,

    “Much of the commentary on this Israeli offensive reminds me of the lines between James Bond and Goldfinger when Goldfinger was ready to slice Bond in half: “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” To Israel, it is irrelevant how southern Lebanon feels right now. Israel is out to remove enemy capability, not mold feelings.”

    so are you saying Israel is like Goldfinger and Hezbollah is James Bond? ;)

  48. Paul Mortensen says:

    Matt:

    Terrorists negotiate in good faith? Only when it is in their best interest to do so. It only becomes in their best interest under one of two conditions:

    1) Their tactics have been successful to the extent that their enemy has lost the will to fight and wants peace at any cost. Under this condition terrorists see some of their demands and tactics legitimized. The end result is more terrorism from the same and/or other groups making claims. Over the last decade this is exactly what has happened to Israel.

    2. Their organization is threatened with extinction. The organization leadership, in order to survive (literally and figuratively), must back down on their absolute claims and assimilate into the larger political structure. This is what happened in Northern Ireland and with Lybia.

    You also seem to be making the juvenile assertion that all war is evil and that no self-respecting Christian should engage in war of any kind. Please, come up with a better argument.

  49. Aaron B,

    #46, going back to the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites were constantly a threat to the Nephites, doing among other things, kidnappings, as well as murder. Were the Nephites justified in going into Lamanite lands to “exact revenge,” or even to eliminate the threat? Probably. Did they ever do that? no. Why not?

    My calls for peace fall on deaf ears in these last days, because so many people want violence, have no problem in seeing other people die, no matter where or who they happen to be. It was prophesied that these last days would truly be sad days, with such violence as to make men’s hearts fail them. Why do we choose to destroy other human beings? (I’m speaking to everybody, Israelis, Americans, Iranians, Syrians, etc.).

    The irony in all this is that it is those hardcore religionists on both sides that find it easier to fight and kill and maim and destroy. So ironic.

  50. I just want to register my support for Israel.

  51. Paul,

    “2. Their organization is threatened with extinction. The organization leadership, in order to survive (literally and figuratively), must back down on their absolute claims and assimilate into the larger political structure. This is what happened in Northern Ireland and with Lybia.”

    Lybia is not a success story for Bush’s doctrine, but that’s not my main point. you say, they must be threatened with extinction, but your examples are not about extinction, but rather, inclusion. The IRA was allowed to participate in the governance of Northern Ireland. Hezbollah, by that example, was doing the same in Lebanon. They do have 27 representatives democratically elected in the Lebanese government. I’m not defending them. I am merely pointing at how little it seems Americans know about their “enemy.” As long as we do not know our enemy, we can never defeat them.

  52. Paul wrote:

    “You also seem to be making the juvenile assertion that all war is evil and that no self-respecting Christian should engage in war of any kind.”

    My friend…that would in fact be a juvenile assertion on your part. You seem to be making the further juvenile (and perhaps racist?) assumption that all human beings do not share the same set of needs and tendencies.

    My guess it that the best of us would act in ways which others would call terrorism given the right circumstances. To think otherwise is to think as a juvenile and to fail at any possibility but the most juvenile: war.

  53. I support Israel too. I just think their actions in Lebanon are not going to give them the results they desire.

  54. I just want to register my support for the human race.

  55. I just want to register my support for peace.

  56. rleonard says:

    I think that misguided calls for restraint on Isreal will lead to more casualties and a longer conflict and play into the hands of Iran. Better to get it over with and get the Lebanese Army on the border and the Leader of Hiz in a grave or prison.

  57. a la Iraq, eh?

  58. Prudence McPrude says:

    I just want to register my support for heresy trials and knee-jerk excommunications.

  59. Yes, let burn witches!

  60. I just watched Condi Rice’s press conference, and it was enough to make me sick. Since when did it become an honorable thing to be opposed to a cease-fire? She made clear this is the U.S. position — the U.S. wants the killing to continue. No, we shouldn’t have a cease-fire, she says, because we need to stand strong.

    Tell that to the mother in Haifa, or the mother in Tyre, who just saw her 6-year-old die.

  61. rleonard,

    Israel will not accomplish the desired goal of eliminating Hezbollah with their current strategy. So why support it?

  62. rleonard says:

    Dan,

    The troops are massed at the border. Lets see what happens. Condi is right. Let Isreal fix Hiz and then let Lebanon prosper

  63. Paul Mortensen says:

    Matt:

    Re. #53– To accuse me of racism is to deflect attention from the bankruptcy of your arguments. Please, I would hope you’re above that.

    In addition, you make another weak argument by trying to define away terrorism without giving examples. Please, lets hear some hypothetical examples where tactics someone like me (you seem to assume you know my character) would take would be deemed “terroristic” by my enemies (assuming I have any).

  64. The other day the WSJ had a headline for one of its articles to the effect that “Bush Wants Change, Not Peace, in the Mideast”. Which I read to mean “Bush wants war, not peace.”

    Paul M, my understanding from your posts is that you do not believe in any principle of proportionality in wartime. Did I miss something? If there is no such principle, then why not use total war? Why have any limits on war (so long as we (the right side) always win)?

  65. I just want to register my support for leprechauns, unicorns, middle-east peace, and hobbits. They are all in the same category.

  66. Paul Mortensen says:

    DavidH:

    The fact that you have to ask those questions belies the fact that this is something about which you’ve given very little serious thought. You (and those of your ilk) want to speak about “proportional response” without articulating what a proportional response would be and how such response is to be measured. I firmly believe in a proportional response and I’m willing to use a utilitarian calculation to determine proportionality but that calculation does not rest solely upon body counts. It also includes the relative merits of the endeavor (i.e. the likelihood of a lasting peace)– something about which you and your ilk are loathe to engage in debate. You want to keep the conversation to the level of body counts rather than elevate it to the metaphysical: “What is Israel fighting for?” I find that aversion both juvenile and depressing.

  67. rleonard,

    all we can do now is see what happens. the pieces have been placed on the board and are set to move. I just don’t see Israel achieving their goal (eliminating Hezbollah) based on their current strategy. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I think I’m pretty realistic in my assessment.

  68. Paul Mortensen says:

    Daniel:

    Re. #51– Merely saying that Lybia “is not a success story for Bush’s doctrine” does not make it so. Please, lay out the argument because it is disingenous to make the argument that Bush’s promise to remove any crackpot despot supporter of terrorism from power had little influence on Quadafi’s decision to seek a “peace” with the US. Quadafi initiated the talks with the US and UN in order to get economic sanctions lifted. Regarding the IRA, my whole point was that the IRA began assimilating with the British political structure because too many of its leaders were spending too much time in jail (btw, that’s a success story). And regarding Hizbollah’s representation in Lebanon, I am fully aware of that fact. But they are attacking Israel, not Lebanon. If they want to influence Israeli policy then seek office in Israel (something they can’t do and still maintain their mission statement). The fact that the Lebanese parliament contains members of a terrorist organization that has attacked Israel merely provides more justification for the Israeli army making incursions into Lebanon.

  69. Here’s a commentary from Israel, on Haaretz.com

    “Operations like this do not accomplish everything in one fell swoop. The important thing is that the beating Israel gives them sinks in and traumatizes them to the point where they will not be back on their feet anytime soon. But whatever we do, it had better be soon. Before the planners of the operation lose their faith in the home front. Before America says stop. As of now, it is a race against the clock.

    Based on this assessment, Israel does not have the time to accomplish their desired goal. Hezbollah will continue being who they are, and further emboldened, actually.

  70. Paul wrote:

    “To accuse me of racism is to deflect attention from the bankruptcy of your arguments. Please, I would hope you’re above that.”

    Above thinking that we are all susceptible to racism? I’m not above that. BTW, how exactly are my arguments bankrupt? Or are you just throwing that assertion in with the same flippancy as the one about being juvenile?

    “Please, lets hear some hypothetical examples where tactics someone like me (you seem to assume you know my character) would take would be deemed “terroristic” by my enemies (assuming I have any).”

    Ummm, how about if you happened to grow-up in southern Lebanon and had experiences similar to those folks? True, this is hypothetical, but if you can’t recognize the possibility that those folks are more like you (and me) than they are different then you may be operating on the assumption that you are superior to them…somehow.

  71. Disproportionate?

    Hezbollah indiscriminately showers Israeli cities, towns, and villages with missiles while Israel, at least, has the good graces to issue a warning to Lebonese civilians before bombing strategic targets.

    It’s not Israel’s fault if its citizens are better prepared for an enemy attack than the Lebonese.

    And all of this silliness about BoM warfar might make a dent in the argument if, perhaps, the lamanites had launched their cimiters into Nephite territory with high-powered slingshots.

    Yes there’s a philosophical argument to be made from the BoM but not a tactical one.

  72. Matt, what do you make of the fact that Hezbollah intentionally positions itself among civilians so that any attempt to fight against it (i.e. to retaliate against its repeated attacks on the sovereign state of Israel through firing rockets) necessarily causes civilian collateral damage?

  73. Paul,

    re: #68:

    Lybia’s acknowledgement of its WMDs was a ploy to get oil business into its country. Qadhafi is still a dictator ruling Lybia, and in 2003 made an attempt to assassinate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia decided to pardon the would be assassins. I wonder why….

    It seems oil still pays for dictators. US Lybia ties

    Moreover, it seems that UN sanctions placed in 1992 for the Lockerbie bombing actually worked:

    Another reason for Qaddafi’s shift was the much-derided U.N. sanctions regime imposed on Libya after the Lockerbie bombing. The colonel had long believed that Libya’s oil wealth and commercial appeal would undermine any cohesive opposition to his revolutionary excesses. But the Lockerbie sanctions, enacted by the United Nations in 1992, shattered that conviction. The United States managed to convince even states with close economic ties to Libya, such as Italy and Germany, to support the sanctions as a way to force Qaddafi to hand over the bombing suspects. . . .

    Prior attempts to coerce Libya had proven ineffective: U.S. air strikes in 1986 only enhanced Qaddafi’s domestic power and led to his lionization in the developing world. But the U.N. sanctions — particularly the prohibition on the sale of oil equipment and technology and a ban on financial transfers — hit Qaddafi where it hurt the most, undermining his government’s ability to extract and export its main source of revenue. Libya estimates that the sanctions have deprived its economy of $ 33 billion, whereas the World Bank puts the damage at the lower but still daunting sum of $ 18 billion. Whatever their actual cost, the basic efficacy of the sanctions demonstrated Libya’s special vulnerability to such multilateral coercion. Libya’s economic vitality and its government’s popularity depend on access to international petroleum markets. Thus the same resource that gave Qaddafi the power to upset the international order also let the world community undermine him.”

    and according to another Counterterrorism blog post:

    “U.S. business interests, especially oil companies, have been pressing for Libya’s removal from the terrorism list, just as various financial interests have generally opposed sanctions against other terrorist-supporting countries.”

    Finally, can you prove anywhere that Lybia said, “oh, I see Bush means business, I best divulge my WMD programs.”

    It seems the change was coming irrespective of what actions Bush took in Iraq.

  74. Can’t we all just get along Man!

    Stop the Madness!!!

  75. I realize this discussion is more about impassioned feelings than rational discourse about matters of fact, but I thought I would throw some stuff out there, just for the sake of being informed:

    - Iran has been arming Hizbollah and Hamas for years. Iran trains Hizbollah. Hundreds (reports vary on how many) of Iranian Revolutionary Guard members have been incorporated into Hizbollah, taken Lebanese names and marrying Lebanese wives. In all liklihood, the people who launched the guided missile at the Israeli ship were Iranian. Estimates are there are about 13000 missiles in southern Lebanon, all Iranian manufactured. Israel took out the airports, bridges and ports to prevent Iran from resupplying or shipping more dangerous weapons to Hizbollah and to prevent more Iranians from getting in easily.

    - Hizbollah deliberately places their weapons in the basements and garages of civilians and in civilian centers. They deliberately set up their offices in the first floor spaces of residential buildings so civilians will have to be put in harms way. They want civilians to die with them if they get killed.

    - In the guided missile attack on the Israeli ship, Lebanese military radar stations were certainly invloved because the truck-mounted radar associated with that 3 truck convoy has very limited range and would not have been able to target the ship. The Israelis subsequently took out those coastal Lebanese military radar stations, and exercised extraordinary restraint in not targetting any other Lebanese army sites that are not directly under Hizbollah control. Guess who made that guided missile that his the Israeli warship? Iran.

    - Israel has warned civilians to get out of the way and is making considerable efforts to get humanitarian aid into the affected areas.

    What it boils down to is Hizbollah and Hamas are Iranian meat puppets, and Iran is using them as such. Iranian leaders care not one whit for Lebanese or Palestinian civilians, so they are more than happy to sacrifice them to stir up hatred against Israel by causing conflict. Not to mention distracting everyone away from Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which everyone has happened to stop talking about since this mess started.

    Israel’s intent is to hamstring Hizbollah’s ability to attack them and be puppets for Iran. The more Israel weakens Hizbollah, the more probable Lebanon’s government can actually take control of Lebanon away from Syria and Iran.

    If you want to be informed, try out:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/

    http://counterterrorismblog.org/

    http://www.defensetech.org/

    http://armscontrolwonk.com/

    Nobody wants to see civilians die, but when Iran is doing everything it can to put them on the front line, place the blame where it really belongs.

  76. John,

    re: #72

    “Matt, what do you make of the fact that Hezbollah intentionally positions itself among civilians so that any attempt to fight against it (i.e. to retaliate against its repeated attacks on the sovereign state of Israel through firing rockets) necessarily causes civilian collateral damage?”

    How else do you respond against a vastly superior force?

  77. Extreme Dorito,

    I’ve never liked the argument that “oh those are Iranian rockets.” Israel uses American firepower to pummel Lebanon. Name me one piece of Israeli military equipment that is truly their own, either built in Israel or funded solely by Israeli money.

  78. Daniel, that’s not much of an answer. I was asking Matt, given his statements so far on this blog condemning Israel, what he makes of this fact about Hezbollah’s tactics.

  79. Daniel,

    Hezbollah is an independent terrorist organization, not a country that purchases weapons for defense purposes.

  80. Daniel,

    When Iranians in Lebanon are firing Iranian missiles at Israel at Iran’s behest, who is the meat puppet? It isnt just rockets, Iranians are the ones pulling the triggers on anything that isnt a katyusha and probably on some of them katyushas as well. Hizbollah is nothing but an Iranian meat puppet, and nobody who knows anything about counterterrorism says any different.

    Also, your presentation in #68 is extremely biased, in case anyone cares.

    “How else do you respond against a vastly superior force?”

    By putting ball bearings into your rockets so when they explode they kill and injure as many civilians as possible.

  81. to add on to 80, by strapping bombs filled with nails to the chests of youth disillusioned by the constant preaching of islamicist dogma and then sending them to completely civilian targets such as city buses, restaurants, and hotels, where there is no Israeli military presence at all (i.e. no legitimate or remotely justifiable target at all) and then having them detonate themselves with the goal of mowing down the maximum number of civilans possible under the promise of receiving salvations and virgins in the afterlife for the murderous act. The Hezbollah rockets are only part of the Syrian and Iranian backed effort to destroy Israel.

  82. What I want to ask Matt with # 72 is whether he believes the tactic of Hezbollah to house its facilities in the ground floors of crowded apartment buildings forecloses the possibility for Israel to fight back against Hezbollah by destroying their infrastructure and networks.

  83. Peace… follows victory.

  84. Extreme Dorito,

    re: #80

    “Also, your presentation in #68 is extremely biased, in case anyone cares.”

    #68 was Paul’s comment. Which comment of mine were you referring to?

  85. Jack,

    “Hezbollah is an independent terrorist organization, not a country that purchases weapons for defense purposes.”

    I know. America has supplied such organizations (not Hezbollah specifically) in the past, in return for accomplishing larger goals (fighting against the Soviet Union comes to mind). So again, who cares where the weaponry comes from.

  86. I keep hearing that Syria and Iran are responsible for funding and arming Hizballah. Perhaps their governments should be suffering consequences. If taking on both at once is too much, why not focus attacks on the weaker of the two regimes?

  87. Four things, John F (82) and et al:

    1. You’re mistaken to think that my comments “condemn Israel” while defending Hezbollah. I find the acts of both sides atrocious and the both are to blame…both are to be condemned. I find the death and destruction on both sides to be without justification.

    2. Y’all can spout-off all you want about how warning folks that their homes are about to be destroyed is a distinction of merit when the end is that homes are still destroyed and lives taken…it’s just so much propaganda.

    3. Daniel is correctly countering your one-sided statements. There’s no need or justification for assuming that an attempt to balance consideration for both sides while suing for peace is anything but in the best interest of both sides.

    4. And those who think this discussion is an irrational waste of time: shame on you for seeking to bully folks into submission. There a few topics more important than the welfare of humanity and the grave threat that the perpetuation of war presents.

  88. Paul M. (number 66),

    “you’ve given very little serious thought”
    “[y]ou (and those of your ilk)”
    “you and your ilk are loathe to debate”
    “juvenile and depressing”

    Thank you for your insight.

  89. I don’t know if I’d call it *irrational,* but I would call it a waste of time. But then, that’s what blogging is all about.

  90. What really surprises me is that truly wasteful subject threads (subjects where everyone agrees, or doesn’t care enough to disagree, or are just plain disagreeable) go on uninterrupted. But get a really meaningful subject going and the “this is a waste if time” comments start showing-up. WTF?

  91. Matt, I understand that you condemn the death and destruction on both sides. However, your # 87 does not answer my question to you. Do you believe that Hezbollah’s tactic of housing its facilities in the ground floor of crowded apartment buildings and its weapons in schools and mosques forecloses the possibility for Israel to retaliate against Hezbollah’s rocket attacks by attacking Hezbollah’s infrastructure and networks?

  92. Ronan, you’re statement referring to the injustice of “the collective punishment of Lebanese civilians” is baffling. It makes too many mistakes to enumerate. But allow me to name a few:

    First, you presuppose a western level of separation between the army, the terrorists, and the Lebanese civilians. These Lebanese civilians tend to be very sympathetic to the goals of Hezbollah. Moreover, they incur responsibility as co-conspirators for allowing them to live and function among them.

    Second, the doctrine of collective responsibility is the only one that has ever effectively checked terrorism consistently throughout history. When the US tries everything short of that, liberal anti-semetic types complain that it’s ineffective. Then Israel does something that actually works, and you cry, “No fair!” You can’t have it both ways.

    Third, Israel has the moral authority to defend itself under attack–pure and simple. I do not find their reaction to have been disproportionate. Maybe you think I’m just drunk off of Zionist propaganda, but I’m damned glad that we’ve got an ally in that region that actually has the balls to stand up to terrorism.

  93. Have we forgotten that Hezbollah was founded in the first place to repel the IDF in southern Lebanon?! War and occupation have failed. I understand that the IDF think the current offensive represents some new thing. That remains to be seen.

    John F and others are doing what hawks always do: claim that doves lurrrvv the terrorists.

    Hezbollah are major league ar*seholes. No-one is claiming a moral equivalence between Hezbollah and Israel. I’ve lived there recently and I know how horrible it is to fear indiscrimate death by suicide bombers. But it is precisely because I believe Israel and the West to have a higher ethic in this regard that I pray for a diplomatic solution: lean on Syria, talk to Iran, get a buffer force in southern Lebanon. I am even prepared to agree with a policy of the forceful expulsion of Hezbollah from southern Lebanon by the IDF, but I simply fail to see how bombing Beirut airport (to cite one example) represents a reasonable response. That was simply vengeance against Lebanon. And Lebanon really is the wrong enemy. We cheered them on when they booted Syria; now we welcome the crippling of their country. Awful.

  94. DKL,

    Ah, the old anti-Semitic jibe.

    I see al-Qaida buys into your collective punishment policy: because American citizens do nothing to stop anti-Muslim policies by the US government, the people in the WTC were fair game.

    Hey, it’s your policy.

  95. Where’s the love man?

    DKL
    I don’t know if you would recall this, but I remember Lebanon was not long ago ballyhooed as the fruits of “democratic” reform in the middle East. This was the paragon of a multicultural society surviving and thriving in the midst of all the violent clashes. This was our “model” for Iraq to follow to true happiness.

    Suddenly, everyone is making statements about how those D*** lebanese have only themselves to blame for not taking out the Hezbollah nuts. You are making ridiculous uninformed statements when you say the Lebanese are “sympathetic” to Hezbollah. That is akin to saying the US is sympathetic to the Aryan Nations Church. Sure, there is a militant section of their population, but somehow, I don’t see violence calming them down. Call me crazy.
    We cannot have it both ways. If a democracy, freedom and peace are to ever, ever exist in the middle east, people have to learn somehow to sit down and work things out with our neighbors, offer help, cooperate, take down the crazies through legal or legitimate means, and stop acting in such bad faith and hypocrisy.

  96. John F (91),

    “your # 87 does not answer my question to you”

    Sorry, I assumed I es answering by saying that I found the acts of both sides to be atrocious…this would include things like defensive postures and whatever means are deemed neccessary to defeating those postures.

    But to answer your question more directly: I think Hezbollah’s defensive posture is atrocious in light of the fact that the Israelis have no problem firing rockets anyway. And I find the Israeli’s offensive posture atrocious in light of the fact that Hezbollah has no better alternative for defending itself.

  97. Hezbollah defending itself? Do we live on the same planet?

  98. Oh, and I’m not now hiding from my criticizers, but it’s 11pm in England; I’ve just suckled from the teat of BBC anti-Semitic liberal crap on the late news and it’s time for me to go to bed and dream of women in burkas. Ah, for Andalucia!

  99. Apparently not if you think they have nothing to defend.

  100. Josh Marshall has a good analysis of the problems Israel and America face with the current strategy.

  101. This current situation is Israel’s retaliation against Hezbollah firing rockets and kidnapping soldiers (and killing others) against Israel’s sovereignty. So, it seems you are arguing that, in this situation, Israel has no possibility to retaliate in order to destroy Hezbollah’s infrastructure and rocket arsenal because Hezbollah has no other way of defending itself (!) than by intentionally positioning its terrorist offices and resources in civilian centers.

    The reason Hezbollah does this, Matt, is so that if Israel does decide to strike back and eliminate the sources of Hezbollah terror, people will say, as Ronan has and as you are saying, that Israel is inflicting collective punishment, when, in reality, Israel is performing relatively surgical strikes against known Hezbollah centers which are located intentionally by that terrorist organization in apartment buildings.

    In truth, your answer in # 96 was pretty opaque. Are you saying that because Hezbollah places its offices and arsenal in apartment buildings and hospitals, Israel is not allowed to attack those offices and arsenals after Hezbollah violates its sovereignty?

    (Let’s not forget the facts of history in this situation Matt: Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon years ago. Now, Hezbollah fires rockets on Israel from area that Israel previously occupied. Lebanon’s government is not securing the area to prevent Hezbollah from doing these terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilian centers.)

    In what scenario, in your mind, would Israel ever be justified in attacking Hezbollah’s centers and arsenals? No matter what scenario that might be, it would cause the exact civilian collateral damage that the present strikes are causing. Does that mean that, in your mind, Israel would never be justified in attacking Hezbollah’s centers and arsenals in order to put a stop into the terrorist rocket attacks? This is a serious question and I would appreciate a thoughtful and direct answer.

  102. Also, why do you characterize Hezbollah’s campaign of firing rockets from areas in southern Lebanon previously occupied by the Israelis into Israeli towns near the Lebanese border as Hezbollah “defending itself”?

  103. Ronan, you’re off base here. First, I am not a hawk and am critical of our Middle East policy. But the fact that I am not a hawk does not mean that I am eager to condone your mischaracterization of what is going on. The IDF is not performing collective punishment. The stated objective of destroying the airport was to prevent Hezbollah from re-supplying its rocket arsenals from shipments from Iran.

    And I have not forgotten that southern Lebanon used to be occupied by the IDF and that Hezbollah came into being during that period with the stated objective of liberating that area. This was part of my earlier question to you, which you have not yet answered. Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon. So, according to the caveat that you feel is relevant, there should never have been rockets fired from southern Lebanon into Israel after the IDF pulled out of southern Lebanon. Here’s the rub: no sooner had Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon (Hezbollah’s stated objective in its “resistance”) than Hezbollah began firing rockets at Israel from the exact areas the IDF had vacated. From this we learn that Hezbollah’s objective is not and was not to “liberate” southern Lebanon, since as soon as the area was cleared of the IDF, Hezbollah used the area as a missile launching ground. The same has been true with Israel’s recent withdrawal from Gaza.

  104. I would bet that if the Lamanites sat in their home lands and shot rockets at Nephite cities, Moroni would have been leading the Nephite army to the Lamanite lands in a hurry.

    I think it is completely wrong to assume that the only way an enemy can bring the fight to you is by standing on your doorstep. If someone is standing accross the street from my house, shooting bullets through my window, he has already brought the fight to me. And if I have to cross the street to make him stop, I will. And I think Israel should too.

  105. John,

    re: #103,

    Why do you think Hezbollah continued the firing of rockets into Israel? Do you think it has anything to do with the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

    Did not the Hezbollah leader specifically say that his capturing of the two Israeli soldiers was ordered to draw attention away from the Israelis encroaching in the Gaza Strip?

    I promise all Americans this. There will be no peace in the Middle East as long as there is a conflict between Israel and Palestine. The road to peace in Jerusalem does not go through Baghdad, nor Damascus, nor Tehran. It starts and stops in Jerusalem itself. Israel and Palestine need to learn to live together. America needs to be an honest broker between the two. As long as America continues to side only with Israel, there will never be peace between the two peoples.

    Why was Hezbollah formed? It was formed as an insurgency for Israel’s ground invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Why did Israel enter Lebanon in 1982? To kill Palestinians. Did they succeed? No. Hezbollah was then formed as a second front for the Palestinian cause.

    In the end, it all comes back to Palestine. Fix this conflict, and I promise you peace in the Middle East.

  106. Dan, Hamas is not interested in a separate Palestinian state. Their stated goal is the destruction of Israel and the expulsion of Jews from that land. The Israelis are willing to give them a separate state and have taken the first good-faith steps to achieve that by withdrawing from Gaza. What was the result of that, Dan? Hamas used the territory vacated by the Israelis to launch rockets on Israel and to kidnap an Israeli soldier. Israel was not prepared to accept this and therefore invaded Gaza to recover the soldier and secure the area.

    You wrote Why do you think Hezbollah continued the firing of rockets into Israel? Do you think it has anything to do with the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

    Be careful with this. It sounds like you are endorsing terrorism to achieve political goals. It is as if you are saying — John, you’re wrong, Hezbollah is not firing rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon to liberate southern Lebanon but rather to force the IDF to cease its incursion into Gaza to rescue its kidnapped soldier.

    Hezbollah’s stated objective when it was created, as Ronan points out, was to free southern Lebanon. The IDF cleared out of southern Lebanon but Hezbollah was not satisfied, instead using the vacated territory as a base from which to strike Israel. This reveals that Hezbollah’s actual purpose is the same as its funder and supplier’s Iran: the complete destruction of Israel and nothing less.

  107. John F (101-102),

    “Are you saying that because Hezbollah places its offices and arsenal in apartment buildings and hospitals, Israel is not allowed to attack those offices and arsenals after Hezbollah violates its sovereignty?”

    No, just that the results are atrocious and counter-productive.

    “In what scenario, in your mind, would Israel ever be justified in attacking Hezbollah’s centers and arsenals?”

    In the case where these “centers and arsenals” can be clearly distinguished from the civilian population…which, granted, is apparently not possible…at least not when using conventional tactics and weapons. In a way this is quite similar to the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” in that there’s no winning war scenario. This is the reason why we must chill the f*** out and find none-violent solutions no matter how imperfect.

    “Also, why do you characterize Hezbollah’s campaign of firing rockets from areas in southern Lebanon previously occupied by the Israelis into Israeli towns near the Lebanese border as Hezbollah “defending itself”?”

    I don’t…you misrepresent what I said. I characterize their defensive posture of operating from within the civilian population as “defending itself”…and, as I said, I find this atrocious in light of the fact that it’s a play on Israeli sensibilities which apparently do not exist. So it’s atrocious and stupid and desperate.

  108. Matt, it is not a play on Israeli sensibilities. It is an expression of Hezbollah’s cynicism: they do not care about the civilian consequences of their actions against Israel, neither Israeli civilian casualties, which is Hezbollah’s main target, nor Lebanese civilian casualties that are certain to result from any Israeli strike against Hezbollah’s centers and arsenal. In other words, it is no concern to Hezbollah if Lebanese civilians die as a result of Hezbollah’s tactic of locating itself in entirely civilian centers. This is because of at least three reasons:
    (1) Hezbollah counts on any Lebanese civilian collateral damage to further deepen Arabs’ and Muslims’ hatred of Israel;
    (2) Hezbollah counts on this tactic to force Lebanese civilians to share culpability in Hezbollah’s terrorist attacks;
    (3) Hezbollah, as a Shiite terrorist organization, maintains the belief that the Lebanese civilians who necessarily die in Israel’s retaliation against Hezbollah’s terror attacks are martyrs and are guaranteed salvation by virute of their dying at the hands of Israeli airstrikes against Hezbollah centers and arsenal.

    I would note that, according to your analysis of the unjustifiability of Israel attacking Hezbollah centers and arsenals if Hezbollah has intentionally located those centers and arsenals in civilian centers so as to assure maximum civilian collateral damage should Israel strike back, Hezbollah has employed the perfect tactic. That is, if more people shared your view Matt, then all an aggressor or terrorist organization such as Hezbollah would ever have to do to ensure that its victim could not strike it back would be to embed itself in an apartment building or hospital. I trust you see why this is an untenable position.

  109. John,

    “…it is not a play on Israeli sensibilities. It is an expression of Hezbollah’s cynicism: they do not care about the civilian consequences of their actions…”

    I find your cynically single-sided view of human nature disturbing. You fail to include the fact that Israel is counting on civilian suffering at the hands of Israeli weapons to be interpreted by the civilain population as somthing to blame on Hezbollah. Both sides are playing this cynical game but Israel is appently too drunk with vengance to see that this appraoch will not win the hearts and minds of the Lebanese population.

    “Hezbollah has employed the perfect tactic…”

    Not perfect but proven and particularly effective for a native insurgency with inferior fire-power. We may not like it but its the reality of modern warfare and another reason why war is the wrong choice.

  110. john,

    the whole situation is too complicated to try and get into here. You simplify it as such: “Hezbollah are terrorists, thus they are evil.” Oh if it were that simple. But it is not.

    In the end, the continual killing, one of the other, will only lead to more killing. There is no complete victory in the Middle East when it comes to war. The only option is peace. Peace takes patience. War comes easily.

  111. Matt,

    “You fail to include the fact that Israel is counting on civilian suffering at the hands of Israeli weapons to be interpreted by the civilain population as somthing to blame on Hezbollah.”

    well said. People tend to forget that Israel’s policies in the West Bank are targeting suicide bombers’s families, demolishing their homes in order to deter future attacks.

  112. There is a big difference between endorsing terrorism and merely noting that terrorism/insurgency/violence are often the result of violence imposed by a superiorly armed opponent. The difference is pragmatic. Yes, terrorism is horrible. But terrorists are not created in a vacuum. The political choices we make have consequences. The choice of violence reaps the consequence of an embittered, oppressed, angry people. Peace, negotiation, measured reaction, working to get along with your neighbors, these all benefit everybody in the long run.

  113. Eric Russell says:

    “The assumption that one cannot deal diplomatically, not with terrorists but with those who have employed terrorist tactics… this is part of the problem.”

    A quote in the most recent issue of Time comes to mind. “Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to the question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can bridge it…We, as a nation, want this country to by ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be thiers.” David Ben-Gurion, June 1919

    I tend to think that there is still no solution.

  114. Abraham Lincoln says:

    Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came

    .

    2nd inaugural address

  115. Thomas Parkin says:

    Apparently Captain Moroni believed in establishing peace through the use of overwhleming force and (note in the following) technological superiority. After his repeated attempts at establishing a covenant of peace largely fail, we read this (Alma 44:16-21):

    “Now it came to pass that Zerahemnah was exceedingly wroth, and he did stir up the remainder of his soldiers to anger, to contend more powerfully against the Nephites.
    17 And now Moroni was angry, because of the stubbornness of the Lamanites; therefore he commanded his people that they should fall upon them and slay them. And it came to pass that they began to slay them; yea, and the Lamanites did contend with their swords and their might.
    18 But behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites; yea, behold they were pierced and smitten, yea, and did fall exceedingly fast before the swords of the Nephites; and they began to be swept down, even as the soldier of Moroni had prophesied.
    19 Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them.
    20 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that the work of death should acease again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a covenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.
    21 Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites.”

    Chilling language, some of it – but then we are living in the telestial world, and are subject to this kind of misery.

    Later, this:

    “And Moroni commanded his men that they should fall upon them until they had given up their weapons of war.”

    None of the analogies are perfect, because the Nephites are largely influenced by true prophets at this point, while Israel, while it has the virtue of being an open, free and liberated society, isn’t.

    Finally, my quick bit: love of peace and liberty, and even a profound willingness to forgive and provide amnesty to one’s enemies, hardly preclude a willingness to use violent force against a unrepentant and violent enemy, in an attempt to secure peace, liberty and amnesty, as the example of Moroni abundantly shows, thoughout the Book of Alma -

    ~

  116. The problem with negotiation, measured reaction, diplomacy, patience–well, those things are ideal, of course, but they are seen as weakness and cowardice by terrorists and dictators and the like. Those things invite further attacks. Someone mentioned Libya earlier–Qaddafi (or however you want to spell it)wasn’t tamed by diplomacy–it was that after the weak Clinton years, President Bush went after Iraq and Qaddafi saw that we once again had a strong president–like Reagan, who bombed him twice in the ’80s. At that point, Qaddafi bowed himself right off the world stage.

    This is an imperfect world and we have to play with the hand we are dealt.

  117. Christophe says:

    I’m just jumping in, but I do have a thought…

    The problem with Israel’s response is that killing large numbers of people do not always win modern wars. Think of history, France in Algeria, USSR in Afganistan, and how many people did the U.S kill in Vietnam and we still lost? (or at least we didn’t win, if only we had stayed for another 5, 10 or 20 years.)

    I guess my point is that Israel’s response, proportionate or not, is really not going to work.
    If it were to work would they not have already destroyed Hamas? I mean how many Hamas ‘leaders’ have been killed by Israeli air strikes over the years?

    Yes, Israel did get out of Gaza, but they are still settling the more lucrative West Bank.
    This is not a simple problem and I do not know what the answer would be. It just seems that Israel’s response may not work, at least it hasn’t yet.

  118. Eric Russell,

    “A quote in the most recent issue of Time comes to mind. “Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to the question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can bridge it…We, as a nation, want this country to by ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be thiers.” David Ben-Gurion, June 1919″

    No wonder there is still no peace. The parties involved cannot see it. This is why there is such an absolute need for an outside larger force to act as an honest broker. Where is the United States? Why is she on the sidelines?

  119. Mary,

    re: #116,

    did you read my earlier post regarding Qadhafi?

    Reagan’s bombing did not do anything but further embolden Qadhafi. Read my earlier post. I quote the Counterterrorism blog which states:

    Another reason for Qaddafi’s shift was the much-derided U.N. sanctions regime imposed on Libya after the Lockerbie bombing. The colonel had long believed that Libya’s oil wealth and commercial appeal would undermine any cohesive opposition to his revolutionary excesses. But the Lockerbie sanctions, enacted by the United Nations in 1992, shattered that conviction. The United States managed to convince even states with close economic ties to Libya, such as Italy and Germany, to support the sanctions as a way to force Qaddafi to hand over the bombing suspects. . . .

    Prior attempts to coerce Libya had proven ineffective: U.S. air strikes in 1986 only enhanced Qaddafi’s domestic power and led to his lionization in the developing world. But the U.N. sanctions — particularly the prohibition on the sale of oil equipment and technology and a ban on financial transfers — hit Qaddafi where it hurt the most, undermining his government’s ability to extract and export its main source of revenue. Libya estimates that the sanctions have deprived its economy of $ 33 billion, whereas the World Bank puts the damage at the lower but still daunting sum of $ 18 billion. Whatever their actual cost, the basic efficacy of the sanctions demonstrated Libya’s special vulnerability to such multilateral coercion. Libya’s economic vitality and its government’s popularity depend on access to international petroleum markets. Thus the same resource that gave Qaddafi the power to upset the international order also let the world community undermine him.”

    In other words, the much derided UN was the major factor in turning Qadhafi away from his terrorist ways. Interestingly though, he’s still a dictator…..but he has oil, so all is forgiven. Meanwhile we’re punishing Saddam for his actions in the 1980s, which we happen to have approved/turned a blind eye to.

    Peace works far more effectively than war ever has.

  120. 110 — Peace will only be an option when Syria, Iran, and the militias will accept a real peace that doesn’t involve the slaughter or deportation of every Jew in Israel, and the exhuming of the bodies of their dead and throwing them into the sea.

    With Iran building nuclear weapons and its president encouraging Holocaust denial while refusing to say the word “Israel,” where do you get the idea that they are going to change their tune?

  121. 118 — You do know that the folks you are talking about view Israel as the Small Satan and the US as the Great Satan, right? Yet you expect them to negotiate in good faith with the Great Satan on behalf of the Small Satan for the first time?

    Why?

  122. Blain,

    conversely, we view them as “terrorists.” Is there any real difference in the communication? They view us as the Great Satan, we view them as terrorists. The lack of real communication could not be any worse. No wonder both sides are so itching for a fight.

  123. In comment #105 Dan writes:

    “In the end, it all comes back to Palestine. Fix this conflict, and I promise you peace in the Middle East.”

    That is absurd. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a huge and complicated matter — but if peace were established between Israelis and Palestinians there will still be plenty of Middle East conflicts/problems to resolve.

    There are two main scourges of the Middle East, as I see it. The first: authoritarian governments, whether they are republics or monarchies. The second: Islamists who want to establish sharia law by force or otherwise. Almost any real opportunity for civil society and freedom in the Middle East gets crushed (on a routine basis) between these two forces.

  124. I love peace! I have a good job, I want a good economy, I want my four children to continue growing without having to hear about war every single day of their lives.

    Did someone forget that to have peace requires cooperation from both sides? It is very common for leaders of Middle Eastern countries to call for the complete destruction of Israel. The leader of Iran as well as Hezbollah and Hamas come to my mind as well as others who are not currently at the front of the stage. It is frustrating to hear so many say that they want peace, and that Israel is somehow to blame for not having it. I wonder what those same people would say if Israel said “okay, we want peace too, here are our weopons of war”, only to have Iran and other Israel hating terrorists go in and fulfill their promise to destroy Israel. I don’t think those people would say anything at all other than maybe continue to blame Israel or the U.S.

  125. Hezbollah has the problem of not being corrupt and not being emeshed in graft, which has made it attractive in democratic processes. That causes all sorts of issues.

    My biggest concern in this situation is the destruction of the rebuilt infrastructure and economy in Lebanon. Lebanon had a lot of potential not to mention, the collateral damage tends to make people angry at those who dropped the bombs, not those who provoked them.

    The real problem would have been if the 5current 00,000 displaced persons and refugees had all gone towards the border with Israel to seek sanctuary. That will probably happen next time and will create a serious problem.

    I don’t know the solution. My grandfather almost died from the stress of trying to prepare to transfer to Jordan in the early 60s. He couldn’t work out a solution either.

    It only becomes in their best interest under one of two conditions:

    I’d have to disagree. Things are never that binary.

    Name me one piece of Israeli military equipment that is truly their own, either built in Israel or funded solely by Israeli money

    I do know that they used to sell anti-tank guns on the world market that were entirely domestic manufacture — I remember readign the Armada International advertisements for them. Visit http://www.armada.ch/welcome.cfm to see what is up these days (I’m no longer current).

    Anyway, wish everyone well in thinking about the issues, learning new things, and finding ways to peace.

  126. Think of history, France in Algeria, USSR in Afganistan and more.

  127. I also do not buy into the fact that we created terrorists. Though there may be different definitions of terrorist, a terrorists simply kills the inocent for perhaps political or even for personal gain. I think the Gadianton Robbers were terrorists too. Are the nephites to blame for creating them. I always thought their hatred of the nephites was a result of their character and general disregard for God and civilation. I would love to see the Sunday School class where someone jumps up in defense of the Gadiantion Robber Terrorists and blames the Nephites for occupying Zarahemla, or some other city the Terrorists wanted.

    Terrorists are made through hatred. The command to love our neighbors as ourselves is imporant because the road to terrorism is paved with hate. And history has shown that hatred does not stem easily.

  128. I agree with Brian. I read a really good book by this guy named D’Nesh D’Souza called, What’s so Great About America and he says that the only language terrorists listen to is one of brute force. They do not respect calls for peace or the people who make those calls. They ridicule them and use them as propaganda against their enemies.

    Thus I want to register my support for kicking Hezbollah’s butt. They started it.

  129. I find it interesting that those who advocate what I’ll call (not altogether accurately) the pro-war position are fond of pointing out that negotiations and other peaceful approaches won’t work, but they don’t want themselves to the same standard. As someone who holds to what I’ll call (again, not altogether accurately) the anti-war position, I’ll be the first to admit that restraint and efforts toward peaceful resolution will not always have the desired outcome, and I think that Dan and most of the others on the anti-war side would agree.

    Somehow, the argument seems to be that since peaceful efforts may not work, we must engage in war.

    But can we assume that war will always have the desired outcome? Is there any assurance that even if the Hezbollah is eliminated from southern Lebanon that Israel will be safe?

    The clear answer is no.

    As someone who tilts strongly toward the anti-war position, I acknolwedge that efforts toward peace may result in huge loss of life. Even in the Book of Mormon example of pacifism in action, many were killed. So, yes, there is a cost, potentially a huge cost, in striving toward peace. But is the cost or the risk necessarily any greater than the risk or cost of war? I think not.

  130. Copedi-

    It is true the People of Ammon laid down their weopons of war and allowed their enemies to fall upon them. But when it was clear their enemies would not stop until all of the people of Ammon were destroyed, they moved to a nephite city to be protected by a Nephite army (crazy huh?). Anyway, if Israel could come to America, would you be in favor of us protecting and fighting for them?

    Though that example is in the Book of Mormon, I don’t think there are any examples of the wicked actually changing their policies towards others as a result.

  131. Wes,

    re #127,

    “Terrorists are made through hatred. The command to love our neighbors as ourselves is imporant because the road to terrorism is paved with hate. And history has shown that hatred does not stem easily.”

    So how does bombing end hatred? How does war end hatred?

    Over on my blog I bring up the reaction of the Indians to their horrific terrorist attack.

    Take a look at the response from the Indians who recently just had a horrific attack in their largest city. The Hindustan Times has a section on the Mumbai bombings. Do you see any talk there about taking the fight to the enemy, about saddling up, about war? No. They go after the terrorists, yes, but they don’t start pushing missile buttons at their neighbors as a collective punishment.

    Peace actually can work if the people desire to use it.

    The Indians are going to most likely have another terrorist attack or two or more on their country, but they don’t aggravate their relations with their neighbors by sabre rattling. They nearly did in 1998, but were smart enough to come back from the brink of war. They have every right to call their attackers terrorists, but what do they do? They are arresting them and bringing them to justice.

    I think Western nations ought to learn a lesson from the Indians in regards to how to respond to terrorism.

  132. Copedi,

    “As someone who tilts strongly toward the anti-war position, I acknolwedge that efforts toward peace may result in huge loss of life. Even in the Book of Mormon example of pacifism in action, many were killed. So, yes, there is a cost, potentially a huge cost, in striving toward peace. But is the cost or the risk necessarily any greater than the risk or cost of war? I think not”

    well said. Vying for peace does not equal appeasement, as some fear. Vying for peace means making efforts to stop the killing on both sides. Many who call others terrorists, and on the other side who call westerners the Great Satan, forget that we are all sons and daughters of God and that the worth of all our souls is great in the sight of God.

  133. John Cline says:

    How can you fight a “proportionate” war and still win? Isn’t the idea to fight to the point that your enemy gives up and surrenders? One could argue that we were fighting a proportionate war with Japan and that just led to plans for a full scale invasion of the Japanese mainland, which would’ve resulted in millions of deaths. Instead, we did the unproportionate thing and saved many lives. And put an end to the war, too.

  134. Ronan: I see al-Qaida buys into your collective punishment policy: because American citizens do nothing to stop anti-Muslim policies by the US government, the people in the WTC were fair game.

    First of all, the fact that al-Qaida find it to be an effective policy really isn’t to the point. The primary problem with al-Qaida isn’t that they’ve chosen bad approaches–it’s that they want to destroy the United States.

    Second, as far as al-Qaida’s judgment of my responsibility for American policies that it doesn’t like it, you won’t find me saying, “Attack them instead of me, because I’m not responsible.” I accept that responsibility whole heartedly and without hesitation. It’s not that I don’t have problems with the policies of the US Government (e.g., I object to Social Security policy and at least a few Supreme Court decisions per year–but for some odd reason that doesn’t mean that I love the US as much as those who voice objection for the war), it’s that (to paraphrase Joe Lewis), what’s wrong with my country ain’t nothing al-Qaida can fix.

  135. Doc: I don’t know if you would recall this, but I remember Lebanon was not long ago ballyhooed as the fruits of “democratic” reform in the middle East. This was the paragon of a multicultural society surviving and thriving in the midst of all the violent clashes. This was our “model” for Iraq to follow to true happiness.

    I’m quite familiar with the history of Lebanon and Beirut, once called the Paris of the Middle East. What you fail to note is the role the Carter administration played when they did not adequately respond to Syria’s invasion, and then the subsequent withdrawal of American troops from Lebanon forced on Ronald Reagan by a Democrat-controlled Congress.

    Carter’s idiotic foreign policy was executed under the mantra of “constant decency”–an historical irony without parallel in late-20th century American history. Carter’s “principled” abandonment of American allies engineered the victory of communist guerillas over Somoza in Nicaragua and Eric Gairy in Grenada. It destabilized friendly governments in Guyana, El Salvador, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. Most famously, it brought about the fall of the Shaw of Iran, giving Islamic extremists a foothold in the Middle East, creating the largest sponsor of international terrorism (including Hezbollah, who expressly named the Carter-induced success of the Iranian revolution as its inspiration), and causing the hostage crisis that exposed Carter’s weakness and brought down his administration in shame. And you’re right to add the destruction of a peaceful Lebanon to the atrocities brought about by Carter’s de facto War on Peace. Carter’s administration was a disaster for freedom loving people everywhere.

    Lebanon is indeed a cautionary tale, but not the way that you think that it is. It shows us both what Middle-Eastern culture is capable of in terms of culture and achievement, and it demonstrates the corrosive impact of political extremism unchecked–not the bland, edge-of-mainstream outlook we call, “extremism” with the context of the comparatively flat landscape of American politics, but the kind of extremism that advocates genocide. If we leave Iraq, a result similar to what happened in Lebanon is quite likely.

    Doc: Suddenly, everyone is making statements about how those D*** lebanese have only themselves to blame for not taking out the Hezbollah nuts. You are making ridiculous uninformed statements when you say the Lebanese are “sympathetic” to Hezbollah.

    Uh, the Southern Lebanon has a large proportion of population that came from PLO Palestinians who left Israel. Moreover, Syria did a wonderful job of purging the population of its moderate elements. I had friends in High School that were Lebanese refugees; sadly, most of their friends who couldn’t afford to emigrate were slaughtered.

    Doc: That is akin to saying the US is sympathetic to the Aryan Nations Church.

    This is preposterous. No white supremacist leaning political party could gain more than a small fraction of a percent of support in US national elections. Hezbollah controls nearly a fifth of the Lebanese legislature, primarily elected from Southern Lebanon.

    Doc: We cannot have it both ways. If a democracy, freedom and peace are to ever, ever exist in the middle east, people have to learn somehow to sit down and work things out with our neighbors, offer help, cooperate, take down the crazies through legal or legitimate means, and stop acting in such bad faith and hypocrisy.

    Sounds like a great strategy for obtaining “peace in our time.”

  136. Ronan, another basic problem with the call for a stop is this: Nobody doubts that Israel can withstand Hezbollah’s worst and Hezbollah cannot win against Israel. When you and other’s call for peace, you lower the success criteria for Hezbollah: They needn’t defeat Israel–all they need to do is last until Israel is pushed by the international community into easing up. Thankfully, the US government seems to be trying to prevent Israel from being thus fettered.

  137. Seth R. says:

    Good grief, this thing’s at 136 comments already?

    Well, I initially thought Israel’s response was heavy handed. And maybe I still do. After all, cold as this sounds, it’s just 3 soldiers. Is that really worth a military response?

    Maybe not.

    But Bush is right (wow, did I actually just say that?). Hezbollah and Hamas did start this. This is obviously a coordinated effort on their part.

    And it comes after Israel has been behaving rather nicely as well. All those unilateral pullouts … and for what?

    Possibly, Hamas and company took it as a sign of weakness. Felt that Israel must be wussing-out and the time might be right to start something and see if they cave. And it is true that some people understand no language but force.

    On the other hand, Hamas and Hezbollah are only relevant when there’s trouble and probably have a motive to want bad times. Israel’s reaction probably plays into that. Better to ignore it, and ridicule the kidnappers in press conferences. But that’s too heartless of course.

    But the arms supply and stream of rhetoric coming out of Iran and Syria puts a different spin on it. Hezbollah may only want to pick a fight, but Iran and Syria have different motives.

    They probably are probing Israel for signs of weakness. In which case Israel probably needs to make a forceful response – not for Hamas benefit or Hezbollah’s – but for the benefit of their hostile neighbors.

    The trouble is, Israel has to know when to back-off. Get the message across, and then allow third parties to broker a stand-down. And minimize the “collateral damage” as much as possible. That’s a fine line to walk, and it would be easy for Israel to overplay its hand or get sucked into something ugly.

    Hope they can do it.

  138. Seth, my brain cells are dying by the minute. But when I’m old and feeble and you are there to say goodbye to me, I’m going to say, “Hey, Seth, remember that time you said Bush was right?” I’m an elephant that way.

  139. Paul Wright says:

    A wise quote from Edward Said:

    “The U.S. and Israeli line has it that all parties to the Palestinian-Zionist struggle must not dwell on the past since, as some liberal Israelis have put it, it has been a struggle between right and right. . . . I fail to see how we are supposed to equate the “right” of a largely European people to come to Palestine, pretend that it was empty of inhabitants, conquer it by force, and drive out 70 percent of its inhabitants, with the right of the native people of Palestine to resist these actions and try to remain on their land. It is a grotesque notion to suggest parity in such a situation and then also ask the victims to forget about their past and plan to live together as inferior citizens with their conquerors. The propostion is especially galling since it comes from a movement that claims quite openly never to have forgotten its own history of persecution . . . ”

    As for the notion of a just-war doctrine, just listen to yourself: hideous, everything a Christian should distance herself from.

  140. I always love how Edward Said pretends that history informs his ignorant harangues against Israel.

    You’ll never see Said complaining about the way that Palestinians are treated in other Arab countries, where they suffer from decades of oppression through apartheid. He’s more interested in attacking Jews.

    You’ll never see Said acknowledging that it was Britain who won Palestine fair and square at the end of WWII, because he’s more interested in attacking Jews.

    You’ll never see Said acknowledging that more than 60% of Palestine ended up becoming the nation of Jordan–the notion that there’s no Palestinian state in Palestine is sheer propaganda. But this bothers him not at all. He’s more interested in attacking Jews.

    You’ll never see Said acknowledge that the basis of the land dispute is not whether Palestinians are allowed to have their own areas–they already do, and they have for decades. The dispute is over the fact that Palestinians and extremist Arabs believe that Israel should not be there at all. Sid pretends that the Palestinians extremists are westerners, because he’s more interested in attacking Jews.

    You’ll never see Said acknowledge that the only Palestinians forced out of their homes in the past 3 decades were extremist PLO members who followed Yassur Arafat back in the days when nobody pretended that he wasn’t a terrorist. Sid pretends that they were just fine with Israel’s existence, because he’s more interested in attacking Jews.

    The current war has all the earmarks of a war that Christians can and should embrace.

  141. Paul Wright, that was excellent. Thank you.

    Said clearly doesn’t believe in holy writ ’cause it’s the source of both christian belief that Israel is always justified, as well as the source for the justification of the most hideous atrocities in the name of god.

    These folks really believe that this is how god wants it. There’s no talking them out of it as long as they can’t even imagine that the ‘terrorists’ are empowered by the exact same kind of thinking.

  142. DKL,

    Onward Christian Soldier marching as to war, then…but this time remove the “as” so the truth can come out…the truth that was always there.

  143. Correction: The preceding comment should state that the UK won Palestine at the end of WWI, not WWII.

  144. Matt, I see you do not wish to answer my straightforward question but instead obfuscate by making it seem that I do not understand the nature of this conflict.

  145. DKL,

    re:#141:

    “You’ll never see Said acknowledge that the only Palestinians forced out of their homes in the past 3 decades were extremist PLO members who followed Yassur Arafat back in the days when nobody pretended that he wasn’t a terrorist. Sid pretends that they were just fine with Israel’s existence, because he’s more interested in attacking Jews.”

    quick clarification. Israelis have forced families of suicide bombers out of their homes, demolishing the homes in a flawed logic that it would deter future suicide bombers.

    We cannot take sides in this conflict because both sides have done some pretty stupid and criminal things. I have no problem with the United States providing so much financial and military support to Israel, as Israel cannot stand on her own in the Middle East. But being “God’s people” does not give Israel any justification to do evil things. God is no respecter of person and will hold all accountable on the same level. Thoroughly dismantling the Lebanese infrastructure over the capture of two soldiers is evil, pure and simple. Hezbollah’s responses to randomly lob missiles at civilian targets is equally evil. The United States is sitting back and letting Israel punish all of Lebanon. That too is evil. It’s okay. They will all get their recompense.

    Meanwhile, the Indians are living peaceably with their neighbors while at the same time bringing to justice those who inflict terror upon their people.

    Peace works.

    But you must want peace in order for peace to work. Actions speak louder than words, and lobbing missiles back and forth is a clear indication that neither side wants peace.

  146. re # 109, Matt, from my observation, Israel is not interested in winning hearts and minds but rather in stopping the Hezbollah rocket assaults on its territory from territory previously occupied by Israel.

  147. John F (144), what ever are you talking about?

  148. John F (146):
    “Israel is not interested in winning hearts and minds…”

    Clearly. And they’ll get neither for long.

  149. DKL,

    re #140:

    “You’ll never see Said acknowledging that it was Britain who won Palestine fair and square at the end of WWII, because he’s more interested in attacking Jews”

    Fair and square? And just how much say did the Palestinians have in the British Mandate of Palestine?

  150. re # 145: Thoroughly dismantling the Lebanese infrastructure over the capture of two soldiers is evil, pure and simple.

    This is a hasty and arrogant judgment. Israel cannot avoid civilian casualties in striking back at Hezbollah. This is Hezbollah’s intention. Responsibility for civilian deaths in Lebanon rests with Hezbollah for at least the following reasons:

    (1) Israel would not be attacking inside Lebanon right now if Hezbollah had not been firing rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon for many years and had assaulted Israeli soldiers, killed several, and kidnapped two in an intentional provocation;
    (2) Israel cannot retaliate against Hezbollah without incurring civilian casualties because Hezbollah has chosen to locate itself in civilian centers;
    (3) It is Hezbollah’s intention to force as many civilians to die as possible in an Israeli retaliation against its terrorism for the reasons I listed in # 108;
    (4) It is no longer a viable option for Israel to count on the UN to pressure Lebanon to stop the attacks Hezbollah is making on Israel from southern Lebanon;
    (5) The Arab world is not willing to pressure Lebanon into policing the southern part of its own country to clear it of Hezbollah terrorists who shoot rockets at Israel.

    In this case, Israel really is defending itself, and the civilian collateral damage is exactly what Hezbollah wants. The question remains, does Hezbollah’s decision to locate itself among civilians function as an absolute bar on Israel fighting back against terrorist attacks?

  151. re # 147: Matt, I am referring to the fact that I have repeatedly asked a question that you have not provided a direct answer to.

  152. re # 145: it seems the suggestion is implied in # 145 that the solution here is for Israel to choose not to retaliate when rockets are launched into Israel from southern Lebanon. There are two problems with this implied solution:

    (1) Israel did refrain from retaliating directly against these rocket attacks for many years; nothing changed, the rocket attacks continued, and Hezbollah chose to escalate by attacking Israeli soldiers, killing several and kidnapping two;
    (2) Sovereign states are obliged to protect their citizens from attacks from abroad; it is one of the few generally recognized legitimate purposes of government (i.e. it is a lowest-common-demonitor purpose of government).

  153. Sorry John F, I can’t help it if you have such low regard for the answer I gave that you don’t even recognize it as such. Just to bring some clarity to this disjointed conversation, I’ll restate:

    John F’s question in (82 and 87):

    “What I want to ask Matt with # 72 is whether he believes the tactic of Hezbollah to house its facilities in the ground floors of crowded apartment buildings forecloses the possibility for Israel to fight back against Hezbollah by destroying their infrastructure and networks.”

    …I was asking Matt, given his statements so far on this blog condemning Israel, what he makes of this fact about Hezbollah’s tactics.

    To which I responded (admittedly indirectly) in (87):

    “You’re mistaken to think that my comments “condemn Israel” while defending Hezbollah. I find the acts of both sides atrocious and the both are to blame…both are to be condemned. I find the death and destruction on both sides to be without justification.”

    So I’ll repeat: I find the acts of both sides atrocious and without justification (which implies that my answer to you is that I find Israel’s actions unjustified.) Now if “without justification” means that it precludes Israel’s current actions to your mind (as I hope it does, and as it certainly does for me) then you have your answer.

    But you found this insufficiently direct as you say in (91):

    “Matt, I understand that you condemn the death and destruction on both sides. However, your # 87 does not answer my question to you. Do you believe that Hezbollah’s tactic of housing its facilities in the ground floor of crowded apartment buildings and its weapons in schools and mosques forecloses the possibility for Israel to retaliate against Hezbollah’s rocket attacks by attacking Hezbollah’s infrastructure and networks?”

    To which I responded in (96):

    “Sorry, I assumed I was answering by saying that I found the acts of both sides to be atrocious…this would include things like defensive postures and whatever means are deemed necessary to defeating those postures.

    But to answer your question more directly: I think Hezbollah’s defensive posture is atrocious in light of the fact that the Israelis have no problem firing rockets anyway. And I find the Israeli’s offensive posture atrocious in light of the fact that Hezbollah has no better alternative for defending itself.”

    So if “atrocious” doesn’t mean to you (as it does to me) that the act should be precluded, then I can’t help you and can only hope that you come around before it’s too late.

  154. John F (152) wrote:

    “…it seems the suggestion is implied in # 145 that the solution here is for Israel to choose not to retaliate when rockets are launched into Israel from southern Lebanon.”

    Not quite. The explicit suggestion was that Israel might look to India as an example:

    “Meanwhile, the Indians are living peaceably with their neighbors while at the same time bringing to justice those who inflict terror upon their people.”

    Why folks ignore all the possibilites for justice and jump to war is what baffles me.

  155. re # 153, Matt, so, since you say that Israel’s attack on Hezbollah is atrocious, are you saying that Hezbollah’s decision to locate itself among civilians acts as a bar on Israel’s ability to retaliate by destroying Hezbollah’s centers and arsenals?

    In #153, you imply your answer is yes, as you state that “the act should be precluded.” Thus, according to your perspective, Hezbollah has resorted to the perfect strategy to shield its terrorism. If all people in the West thought as you do, Matt, then Hezbollah could do whatever it wants from southern Lebanon and Israel can never strike back, since Hezbollah has made the choice to locate itself among civilians.

    As to your #154, no one is ignoring the suggestion to look to India. I would suggest it is simply inapposite here. That is, how is Israel to arrest Hezbollah terrorists in southern Lebanon? This is not a possibility. So, since Hezbollah locates itself among civilians, according to you, Israel cannot strike back because there is inevitable civilian collateral damage.

  156. Uh guys.

    Israel isn’t fighting Hezbollah right now.

    Israel is fighting what is essentially a front-army for Syria and Iran. That’s who they are fighting.

    Not terrorists. Nations.

  157. john,

    re, #150,

    “This is a hasty and arrogant judgment. Israel cannot avoid civilian casualties in striking back at Hezbollah. This is Hezbollah’s intention. Responsibility for civilian deaths in Lebanon rests with Hezbollah for at least the following reasons”

    Striking at Hezbollah is one thing. Destroying Beirut is another. The two are not one and the same. There was no need to destroy the airport, for example. I’m sorry, but Israel’s strategy is not clean and will not achieve its goal to remove Hezbollah from its positions.

    re: #152:

    “(1) Israel did refrain from retaliating directly against these rocket attacks for many years; nothing changed, the rocket attacks continued, and Hezbollah chose to escalate by attacking Israeli soldiers, killing several and kidnapping two;”

    Israel has always responded to every single rocket attack since 2000. They just haven’t responded with the dismantling of the entire country of Lebanon as they are doing now.

    re: #155,

    out of curiosity, where does the Israeli military camp out? How about Americans? Where are our military? Are they not among us?

    re: #156:

    no, Israel is fighting against Hezbollah. America is fighting against Iran here, through proxy wars, just like the old Cold War. America supplies the Israelis with political cover and military might, whilst Iran does the same for Hezbollah. Israel and Hezbollah are simply the Knights on a chess board for the two greater powers, Iran and the United States.

  158. Seth R: Not terrorists. Nations.

    Terrorists don’t exist in a vacuum. They need arms and equipment and funding and facilities to train in. There’s a reason why there are is not a preponderance of terrorist camps within the borders of the USA and nobody elected from terrorist organizations in the legislatures (Federal and state), and that reason is that we do not sympathize with them, we do not support them, and we try are darndest to eliminate them wherever we find them.

    And when the USA has been too corrupt or disinterested to put an end to terrorists operating against other countries within its borders, it has been invaded by the aggrieved countries once they offered an ultimatum and saw that they needed to take things into their own hands (e.g., in the mid-19th century, Britain invaded the US from Canada to take out terrorists that were launching attacks from just over the border).

    Nations that harbor terrorists can be justly attacked by those against whom the terrorists are operating. This is not a principle that Bush or Israel invented–it’s the status quo. It is how things work, and it’s how they’ve worked for a long, long time. What’s more important, it’s right and it’s just.

  159. Ronan: Iraq. Lebanon. Palestine. Hearts and minds lost for another generation.

    As though their education/brain-washing system (complete with textbooks that deny the holocaust and that don’t even have Israel on their maps) or the corrupt government controlled press hasn’t taken care of this already.

    But even if what you say is true: So what? Terrorism is a crime of opportunity. That’s why the leaders recruiting the followers don’t do suicide attacks themselves. They get others to, because it affords them some modicum of power. The trick isn’t to win over potential recruits (as I’ve pointed out in the prior paragraph, there’s already a propaganda machine ensuring their participation), the trick is to remove the modicum of power afforded to their leaders. Hearts and minds are completely beside the point.

    I’m reminded of something that Bertrand Russell said about the non-violent tactics of Ghandi. He said that their success relied primarily upon the fact that the Brits were a decent people. Thus, when Indians sat on train tracks, it actually blocked train traffic. An evil people would have shot them or run them over–perhaps with glee. The bottom line: When you’re dealing with evil, there are a great many changes that can only be effected with violence. The end to suicide bombings is one such change.

  160. Dan: Fair and square? And just how much say did the Palestinians have in the British Mandate of Palestine?

    None whatever. That’s beside the point. The standards of international justice were different then. You can’t go undoing the results of wars that ended decades ago just because they aren’t up to current standards.

    Using your logic, we should have to re-ratify the Civil War amendments (ratified in the South by puppet governments put in power by sham elections where voters had to take an oath of loyalty to the Northern government–something strictly forbidden by the North’s constitution), and re-incorporate West Virginia into Virginia, and give back the property seized by the Northern government for lack of payment of extra-constitutional property taxes (I could go on and on) just because they violate our sense of Constitutional rights.

  161. DKL,

    re: 159:

    “The bottom line: When you’re dealing with evil, there are a great many changes that can only be effected with violence. The end to suicide bombings is one such change.”

    It seems the only result of violence against “terrorists” is more terrorism and violence and death rather than less. Could there be a reason why we’ve been warned that the last days will be full of wars and rumors of wars?

    I’ve said earlier, calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the last days.

  162. John F (155):

    First of all, you frame your questions in such a way that to answer contrary to what you suppose would look idiotic (this is fallacious)…which is the reason you didn’t get a yes/no answer from me to begin with. But on to your questions and statements anyway:

    “…Hezbollah’s decision to locate itself among civilians acts as a bar on Israel’s ability to retaliate by destroying Hezbollah’s centers and arsenals?”

    Less so than say the ever-looming threat of nuclear weapons acts as a bar on any nation without such weapons. Which raises a counter question for you: is it possible that the threat of using nuclear weapons is a nation’s way of hiding behind the civilian populations of other nations?

    “Hezbollah has resorted to the perfect strategy to shield its terrorism. If all people in the West thought as you do, Matt, then Hezbollah could do whatever it wants from southern Lebanon and Israel can never strike back, since Hezbollah has made the choice to locate itself among civilians.”

    Not perfect, but highly effective for a native insurgency with inferior fire-power (I already gave you this answer in (109), remember?) But again, the more ‘perfect’ defence is the threat of far superior weapons which of course Israel has and her enemies in this fight do not.

    “…how is Israel to arrest Hezbollah terrorists in southern Lebanon? This is not a possibility. So, since Hezbollah locates itself among civilians, according to you, Israel cannot strike back because there is inevitable civilian collateral damage.”

    You present a single possible form of pursuing justice and then strike it down as impossible. Then you present a single form of retaliation (the kind that kills innocent civilians) and call it the only way to strike back. These are strawmen without the benefit of imagination.

  163. DKL,

    re: 160:

    “None whatever. That’s beside the point. The standards of international justice were different then. You can’t go undoing the results of wars that ended decades ago just because they aren’t up to current standards.”

    That was not my intent. I was merely showing the injustice placed upon the Palestinians from day one. Their grievances are pretty just methinks.

    I have much criticism for colonial powers. They destroyed Africa, wreaked havoc in the Middle East, and messed up Southeast Asia. Moreover, they didn’t care. Now, today, we pay the penalty of their actions.

  164. Dan: Could there be a reason why we’ve been warned that the last days will be full of wars and rumors of wars?

    Yes. The reason is simple. People lose the ability to respond appropriately to evil, and as a consequence evil gains enough power to effect a takeover of most of the globe.

    I remember when I was young, there really were people saying that Reagan’s abandonment of detente would lead to World War III–for decades, everyone had said, “You can’t turn back the clock.” Take, for example, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1970 book Between Two Ages, which posited (in a nutshell) that the world was moving toward communism and socialism, and any impediment that the US offered would make it an enemy to the new rising order. (This philosophy [or rather, Carter's understanding of it] was largely responsible for the debacle that was the Carter administration’s foreign policy.)

    This thesis that countries need to make friends with those who seek to destroy them didn’t begin with Brzezinski–it’s an age old thesis that re-emerges generation after generation. The best one might say about the idea of that such a thesis leads to peace is this: It’s a noble illusion. (Though I’d certainly not call it noble.)

  165. DKL,

    “The best one might say about the idea of that such a thesis leads to peace is this: It’s a noble illusion. “

    Is not the alternative the complete wipeout of your “enemy?” After all, if you are unwilling to communicate with them, they don’t just simply go away. They will still be there.

    And yet, if we go back to the Book of Mormon, were not the Nephites at one point able to normalize their relations with the Lamanites to the point that the Lamanites soon became the righteous people, while the Nephites turned wicked?

    Both sides call the other evil, and in both cases, they have justifiable reasons. Continuing the violence and hatred and spilling of blood will not bring us peace anymore. This should be quite evident from the fact that this is the THIRD time that Israel has bombed or invaded Lebanon in the past thirty years. You’d think with their American-purchased modern weaponry that is vastly superior to that of the Iranian weapons Hezbollah has that the first time should have done it for the Israelis.

    Peace will work when people actually want to live in peace. But from the way you are talking, DKL, I get the impression that you do not want to live at peace with your Muslim neighbors. That’s how you come off, whether intentional or not. No offense is intended.

  166. Seth R. says:

    Lebanon has little say in what Hezbollah does on its turf. Hezbollah is currently better equipped, better trained, better organized, and more numerous than the Lebanese army. If Lebanon tried to pick a fight with them, Hezbollah would likely emerge the winner.

    Lebanon is, unfortunately for the Lebanese, similar to pre WWI Belgium.

    They just happened to be in the way when the local toughs decided to have a scrap. I feel sorry for them and can’t muster much blame in that direction.

  167. Paul Wright says:

    DKL, regarding #140,

    Not fair to say that the late Edward Said was more interested in attacking the Jews. He concurred with many Jewish voices, he accurately critiqued much of Israeli policy, and he certainly had plenty of vitriol for the venality, corruption and misbegotten public behavior of many Arab leaders, including Arafat. Your assertion that “the basis of the land dispute is not whether Palestinians are allowed to have their own areas — they already do and they have for decades” is dubious on many levels: They have only been losing land since 1948. Once land is confiscated for settlement purposes it belongs to the “land of Israel,” and is officially restricted for the exclusive use of Jews. “The racist regulations of the Jewish National Fund which is in charge of such matters, also prohibit its lease or any other use to non-Jews.” (Professor Israel Shahak, Hebrew Univ.) “Allowed” to have land in Palestine is a hideous frame of reference, besides, no less unjust than the appropriation of Native American territory by our American forefathers.

    Paul Wright

    Paul Wright

  168. Paul, your assertion that “[The Palestinians] have only been losing land since 1948″ exposes the tacit assumption that there is something illegitimate about Israel’s self-defense programme per se. When the land is used by enemies to launch attacks aimed at destroying Israel, they can hardly be blamed for taking it.

    Also, your statement that the notion that the Palestinians are ““Allowed” to have land in Palestine is a hideous frame of reference” is terribly wide of the mark. When they’ve demonstrated so much continued hostility to the very existence of Israel, they’ve opened the very legitimate question over whether they should be there at all. If many Palestinians are going to define the issue in terms of “it’s either Israel or me that has to go,” then those Palestinians have to prepare themselves for the contingency that it’s not Israel that is going to have to go.

    Dan, I work with Muslims and I have close friends who are Muslim. Indeed, there is a sense in which the extremist governments in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and elsewhere have been very good for the United States; viz., the United States has been one of the main recipients of Syrians, Iranians, and Lebanese ex-patriots who have fled the area. For example, the Iranian community in the US is primarily populated by those who were obtaining an education in the US when the Shaw fell and elected not to return to Iran (well, at this late date, it’s them and their children and grandchildren). There are far fewer Americans who originally hale from Dubai, because the UAE has comparatively liberal approach to governing. Make no mistake: I’m quite happy that America has been the beneficiary of the harsh domestic policy in extremist Muslim nations.

  169. There’s a lot of talk about how attacking terrorists makes it easier for them to recruit. As though there’s something inherently self-defeating about opposing those who seek to destroy you. But let’s be perfectly clear here: The sleeping giant that has been awakened is not the terrorist recruiting channel; it is the Israeli army.

    Iran’s lunatic president has been making noise all year about wiping Israel off the map. Faced with real war, he hides behind the deaths of the civilians who let Hezbollah keep missiles in their basement, all the while denying any connection to Hezbollah’s affront. This is not the behavior of a leader whose national position is on the upswing. Just a few years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that the world (including pro-Palestinian Continental Europe and the Middle East) would stand idly by and allow Israel to wipe out Hamas and Hezbollah. The sun is setting on the terrorist-sponsoring regimes in Iran and Syria. Hezbollah and Hamas are increasingly isolated, and the probable outcome of the current situation is their humiliation and defeat.

    I’m left to wonder if those who think this is an undesirable outcome aren’t objecting merely because it’s quite obviously part of the impact of the Bush/Blair foreign policy.

  170. Paul Wright says:

    Jewish settlement policy has nothing to do with legitimate self-defense. It has to do with Bible-based fantasies of choseness and entitlement at the hands of their version of the Sky God.

    That you even consider whether Palestinians should be in Palestine at all a legitimate question is, to me, hideous, but I suppose it does represent the logical extension of an agressive social policy that has helped get us to this difficult moment in history.

    The loss (or threat of loss) of anyone — Christian, Jew, Muslim, skeptic — is precisely what is wrong with social life in that part of the world now.

    Paul

  171. DKL,

    re: #169,

    “But let’s be perfectly clear here: The sleeping giant that has been awakened is not the terrorist recruiting channel; it is the Israeli army.”

    I highly doubt it. They don’t have the political cover like the United States had after 9/11. No, the Israeli army will not achieve its goal of removing Hezbollah, because they don’t have the time.

    “I’m left to wonder if those who think this is an undesirable outcome aren’t objecting merely because it’s quite obviously part of the impact of the Bush/Blair foreign policy.”

    If Bush’s policy is for war, then yes, by definition, I am objecting Bush’s policies. It is an undesirable action because it will not actually remove Hezbollah from Lebanon, or reduce the influence of Iran and Syria. Ironically, Bush himself said to Blair in the G8 that he wanted Annan to get Syria to get Hezbollah out. Doesn’t that mean that you get Syria to have more influence in Lebanon once again, rather than the opposite?

    Bush’s policy is to not talk to the only two parties that actually have an influence over Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. Like a 13-year old pouting boy, he folds his arms and says, “I’m not gonna talk to that bully over there,” hoping somehow that by avoiding talking to him, the bully will somehow stop being a bully.

    Probably the last time the Middle East was in such tatters was the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

  172. Seth R. says:

    DKL,

    Isarael has a pretty neat army. Best in the Middle East, in my opinion.

    But the US army is even better equipped and funded than the Israelis, even after years of cutbacks and gutting under both Clinton and Bush Jr.

    And look at what a boppo job we’re doing over there.

    You can write off a portion of that to our fearless leadership, but I have a hard time believing Israel would fare any better on similar adventures. Certainly the political climate over there is no more unified on these topics than the American one.

    Israel has a very credible deterrence tool in its air force, which could easily bomb the snot out of its adjacent neighbors with little credible opposition. That’s a nice deterrent, even if it is highly debatable whether Israel has the capability of bombing nuclear reactors in more distant Iran.

    But their army is mostly useful for its defensive position on the home turf (in which they are quite intimidating). I don’t place high wagers on its chances during foreign expeditions. Israel probably won’t handle a foreign quagmire any better than the US has.

  173. Matt, it is a tired form of argumentation to say that the oppontent is arguing against straw men.

    As to your repeated attempt to grame Hezbollah as an insurgency with inferior fire power, you are implying that Hezbollah is a justified force of freedom fighters. Together with Dan, you are implying (Dan is outright saying) that Hezbollah aren’t terrorists but only “terrorists” because we designate them as such and that they can be legitimately seen as not-terrorists by some subset of people. Here’s the rub: Israel has not occupied southern Lebanon for many years now. And yet, the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians (not on the Israeli military) have continued. From this we learn that Hezbollah really is a terrorist organization and cannot be seen legitimately by anyone as a freedom fighting insurgency.

    My question to you was not a poorly framed, fallacious, or otherwise disfunctional question. I want to know from you when it would be possible for Israel to strike back against Hezbollah given the fact that they locate themselves among civilians. You have answered by stating that, yes, “the act should be precluded” and comparing Hezbollah locating itself among civilians to the strategy of mutually assured destruction of the Cold War. I understand that this is how you view the world. I am less willing to dismiss Israel’s sovereign action in defending itself against a terrorist group whose stated purpose is to destory Israel and that has continuously rained rockets from southern Lebanon onto Israel for years.

  174. John F,
    On strawmen: yo, are you attempting to hide behind the bloggernacle’s many strawmen? It ain’t working.

    “…you are implying that Hezbollah is a justified force of freedom fighters”

    Stop trying to read my mind John. It’s not necessary nor are you particularly good at it.

    “You have answered by stating that, yes, “the act should be precluded”…”

    I’ll say this one more time: the act that takes innocent civilians with it should be precluded. You don’t seem to think that Israel has any other options. This is where imagination fails and war steps in.

    “I am less willing to dismiss Israel’s sovereign action in defending itself against a terrorist group whose stated purpose is to destroy Israel and that has continuously rained rockets from southern Lebanon onto Israel for years.”

    And this is your world view. Forgive me for earnestly hoping that your view fails miserably and mine reigns triumphant…that even the Israelis are capable of ignoring today’s equivalent of the Soviet’s “we will crush you”. The US did and that threat came to naught.

    Peace out.

  175. john,

    re: #173,

    “Together with Dan, you are implying (Dan is outright saying) that Hezbollah aren’t terrorists but only “terrorists” because we designate them as such and that they can be legitimately seen as not-terrorists by some subset of people.”

    I don’t recall ever saying Hezbollah was not a terrorist organization.

  176. Dan, you continually put the word in quotation marks and emphasize that we are just calling them “terrorists” in the same way that they call us the Great Satan, as if terrorist is just some arbitrary designation that we have decided to give them. Please explain why you put terrorist in quotation marks above when discussing Hezbollah if this analysis is not correct.

  177. re 174, you wrote On strawmen: yo, are you attempting to hide behind the bloggernacle’s many strawmen? It ain’t working.

    I don’t understand what you mean with this Matt. It was you who tried to hide behind accusing me of arguing against straw men. I pointed out the substantive weaknesses with your view without claiming to you that you were arguing agaisnt straw men in order to end the argument in my favor.

  178. john,

    re #176,

    I believe that was the only time I put terrorist in quotations. In that particular post, I was actually referencing to Iran, who call us the Great Satan. We call them terrorists, which shows the level of our (us and them) communication. After all, who negotiates with terrorists? If you call all your enemies “terrorists,” there’s no negotiating with them, no use of diplomacy. Conversely, if they consider us Satan, why would you talk to Satan?

    My point was simply that the communication between America and Iran is pathetically worse than school-yard bullies and will only, inevitably and inexorably lead to war. We can’t do better than this?

    In regards to Hezbollah. Their actions towards the Israelis are “terrorist.” Inflicting random violence upon a civilian population is thus. However the action that sparked this current outbreak was not “terrorist,” but one military attacking another. There is nothing “terrorist” about it. Military targets were acquired. The potency of Hezbollah is not in their terror towards Israel, but in their social services for poor Shia in Lebanon who are ostracized by all other groups.

    Notice that civilian populations that are fleeing the area Israel wants to bomb and invade are not heading to Israel for sanctuary or protection. I have not heard of any refugees going towards Israel. Why not? Where do these poor people go? They are going over the border into Syria.

    Compare that to Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida does not provide any kind of social service to anybody. They are simply a terrorist group. They simply want to kill and destroy. To try and label the two groups in the same category is not factually based, but rather propaganda to butter up a political faction in the West and to justify further violence and death.

    Many Westerners (and unfortunately those in power) only see a group of militants hitting civilian targets. They get mad at this. Yet on the other hand, they look back at their own history with pride at the soldiers that firebombed Dresden and Tokyo. It’s okay that civilian targets were destroyed during World War II. It’s okay that we killed over 100,000 civilians in Tokyo. We’re supposed to be more “civilized” today than we were then. So goes the thinking. The hypocrisy!

    I promise you this. If America were as weak as Lebanon is right now, with foreign powers throwing it around like a puppet, Americans would do all they could to inflict as much damage upon their subjugators as they could. Red Dawn was just a movie, but that cold hard reality would happen at the hands of Americans too. We sit comfortably in our wealth and riches fattening ourselves up, pretending to be “civilized,” while the “savages” around us (who today we name “terrorists”) spill blood. Yet we spill plenty of blood. We just don’t see ourselves as “terrorist” when we bomb Iraq to oblivion, or kill civilians, giving their families $2500 for their loss.

    I’m sorry, but I feel very strongly about the amount of violence and hate in this world. Our current policies are only exacerbating the violence and death. Our current policies will not bring us peace, but only further war. The military-industrial complex has no problem with this. We should. It is not Christ-like.

  179. 178 — Dan, do you think that Iran views us as the Great Satan because we describe them as supporting terrorism? Do you think that there is anything we could do that would change the minds of the leaders of Iran, or Bashar al Assad or Osama bin Laden or the leaders of the militias on the matter of us being the Great Satan?

    Even in fantasyland, I can’t think of anything we could do other than converting en masse to a form of Islam where they would be our masters. And that’s not possible, really, let alone something I would support. If you’ve got something else in mind, I’d appreciate knowing what it is.

  180. #161: Calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the last days.

    It’s the Lamanites vs. the Nephites at the end of the Book of Mormon all over again. Neither side could come to grips with the idea that maybe it wasn’t just the “other side” that needed to repent.

  181. Blain,

    re #179:

    “Dan, do you think that Iran views us as the Great Satan because we describe them as supporting terrorism? Do you think that there is anything we could do that would change the minds of the leaders of Iran, or Bashar al Assad or Osama bin Laden or the leaders of the militias on the matter of us being the Great Satan?”

    I wonder how many Americans know the history of Iran. I wonder if they know just why the Iranian Revolution of 1979 happened. A country that large doesn’t just suddenly revolt into a new form. There a reason.

    “If you’ve got something else in mind, I’d appreciate knowing what it is.”

    Communicate with them. The Soviet Union fell not becuase of our bombs, but because of our refrigerators, and lawn mowers and cars. China is reforming towards capitalism not because we have nuclear weapons pointing at them, but because they see the value of commerce. Why are we not communicating with the Iranians? We’re peeved because they revolted against our puppet government that we installed over a democratically elected government in the 1950s. Yes, the Iranians chose for themselves a leader, but led by the British (who didn’t like the Iranians choosing their own leader, because it could affect oil production for BP (British Petroleum—though the company was named something else back in the fifties)…all this can be found if you search for Operation Ajax in any search engine), America’s CIA took down the democratically elected government in Iran and implemented a puppet government that was friendly to BP and the British.

    Can you blame the Iranians for not liking that? Can you blame them for calling us the Great Satan?

    If you want change with Iran today, stop talking about war and start talking about peace. It is not appeasement. It is fruitful and will benefit all. Was Nixon right in going to China? Was Reagan right in meeting with Gorbachev?

  182. Here is a book review that does a great job at describing Operation Ajax in all its infamous glory.

    Before recounting how Roosevelt’s second coup succeeded in overthrowing the democratic government in Tehran, Kinzer provides readers with a quick overview of the history of ancient Persia and modern Iran. In addition, he discusses the role of Islam in Iranian history and pays particular attention to the Shiite Muslim tradition. He focuses primarily on two themes: the historical Iranian desire for just leadership culminating in Iran’s Constitutional Revolution in the early 1900s and the tragic Iranian outlook rooted in the Shiite belief in martyrdom. Kinzer argues that this tradition gave rise to Dr. Mossadegh, a fierce believer in democracy and Iran’s national sovereignty. Predictably these beliefs placed Mossadegh in direct odds with the highly profitable British oil business that operated in Iran according to the inequitable terms agreed to by Iranian monarchs. The concessions leading to the formation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) effectively permitted the British to siphon all oil profits out of Iran, to treat Iranian workers as second-class citizens, and to refuse Iranians the opportunity to audit AIOC’s books.

    Dr. Mossadegh nationalized Iranian oil in 1951 to wide acclaim. He was immensely popular at home and tremendously respected abroad, so much so that he was chosen Time’s “Man of The Year.” Kinzer argues that until Eisenhower’s election to the White House in 1952, American and British approaches to the nationalization of Iranian oil remained widely divergent. He quotes numerous American foreign policy figures expressing disdain for British colonialism and sympathy for the Iranian cause. In fact, Kinzer cites President Truman’s correspondence with Churchill in which he urged the British leader to respect Iranian nationalism. Failure to accommodate Iran’s nationalist aspirations, Truman warned, would allow the Soviets to control this strategically situated country.

    Eisenhower’s election reversed this foreign policy approach, bringing the United States much closer to Britain. The rigidly polarized worldview of John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen Dulles, both high-ranking figures in the Eisenhower administration, allowed the British to enlist American support for the coup. The British, according to Kinzer, merely reformulated their predominantly colonial grievance with Iran using the prevalent Cold War discourse. The Dulles brothers accepted the British argument that Mossadegh was too soft on communists and that the Tudeh (the pro-Soviet Communist party) may soon control Iran. Thus, the CIA backed Operation Ajax and allowed Kermit Roosevelt to ally himself with figures as diverse as the Shah, General Zahedi, Ayatollah Kashani, and local gang-leader Shaban Jafari in order to overthrow Mossadegh. Kinzer superbly describes the chaotic atmosphere in Tehran in August 1953 when Mossadegh was finally driven from power.

    Kinzer’s well-written, quick-paced, and gripping work should be of tremendous interest to those concerned with American foreign policy in the Middle East. The story of Operation Ajax may be worth telling and retelling for those who wonder why the people of the region in general, and Iranians in particular, remain distrustful of the United States. In this book, Kinzer wishes to argue for the existence of a causal connection between the overthrow of Mossadegh and the contemporary terrorist acts directed at the United States. While the strength of this causal chain is perhaps debatable, observant students of history would be hard-pressed to dispute Kinzer’s central assertion.

  183. Sorry, but I have a flaky power supply and all my replies must be short because this will shut down soon.

    I’m just not seeing you even address the global Islamization goal of the Iranian regime. Absent that, your comments simply lack the traction with reality necessary for your point to have persuasive value with me. This is too much of the “everything that’s wrong in the mideast is the fault of England and America” school of thought that is based in white guilt more than the actual flow of events.

    Have England and the US messed things up? Obviously. Does that justify the current positions of the decreasingly internally popular Iranian government, their support for the militias, and their desire to destroy Israel through their nuclear weapons program? Hell, no.

    Gotta run.

  184. Blain,

    What is wrong with strengthening Islam? Or do you like Islam being backwards, still stuck in the 1200s, when they entered their “Dark Ages?”

    If Islam is to modernize, it also means they will strengthen.

    What you are saying, and what neo-conservatives are advocating is keeping Islam stuck in the 1200s with no way of entering the modern world. We’re trying to tell them how to exist, instead of (as it should be) letting them choose for themselves how they should be. Conversely, they are telling the West, “let us be who we are, not who you want us to be.”

    I’m glad you realized that Great Britain and the US have messed things up, big time, in the Middle East. Our current actions will continue the screwing up and the strengthening of Iran.

    The only way to stop the violence in the Middle East is to stop endorsing the use of violence as a means of political points.

    Somehow this position is not pursuasive to you. Peace doesn’t pursuade you?

    Your position is that “global Islamization” is bad. What is “global Islamization” to you? Is it the increasingly influential Iran? How are you going to counter them? Iraq attempted to invade Iran back in the 80s. The only thing that held back the Iranians from destroying Saddam’s Iraq was the chemical weapons Saddam used that he purchased from American and French companies. Israel spent 18 years attempting to dislodge the Iranian backed Hezbollah from southern Lebanon and failed.

    What is it you want said about the Iranians? What do you want done? You think military action will achieve it? Is military action the only thing some Americans have as their option to all of life’s problems?

    As I said earlier, calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the last days.

  185. 184 — Dude, put the strawman away before you put your eye out with it. I never ever said that I have a problem with Islam strengthening itself. I said I have a problem with the world being forced to choose between death and conversion to Islam. You might want to try closer reading.

    Real peace is a worthy goal, but their are prices for peace that can be too high. Being forced to accept Islam is too high a price for peace IMO. This, however, is a non sequitor in the context of anything I was talking about. Where I said you weren’t persuasive was in disregarding the expansionist goals of radical Islamists and laying the blame for all the world’s problems on England and the US. I’m really recommending some closer reading here — that was pretty clear in what I wrote.

    Similarly, I never said I want them stuck in 1200. I would actually like to see them in something closer to 1950, maybe even 2000. This is not the goal of the Islamists. They want to go back to 1100 and refight the battle with Charlemagne such that they get control of Europe, Africa and Asia at the same time. The only things they want to bring from the current century are some of the luxuries, and only for those in control (meaning the radical Islamists). I would like to see them join a more modern world where people actually explore what their scriptures say, rather than what someone once said that they said 1000 years ago. I would like to see them join the modern world where there is an acknowledgment that those who disagree with you don’t need to be killed, where women don’t have to face circumcision due to your paranioa about their infidelity, and the other extremes of sharia (nonscriptural) customs are put into a more reasonable context.

    The Koran may teach a religion of peace, but you’re not going to find anybody in the militias talking about a religion of peace — they will teach a religion of distorted jihad where one is required to fight all who disagree. The Koran teaches the more important jihad is the one within oneself to subject ones own will to that of God — the Book of Mormon teaches a very similar message. Those who distort and pervert the teachings of the Prophet so as to excuse their exploitation of their fellow believers will have much to answer for if the teachings of the Koran are correct. They will have at least as much to answer for if the Book of Mormon is correct.

    I’ve not claimed to have an answer to the problem the current Iranian regime, the regime of Bashar al Assad, and the militias and other organizations who use terrorism as a means of expanding their power and control in pursuit of their goal of a global Islamic state (not merely a stronger Iran) with themselves in totalitarian control. My purpose in this conversation is to stop the obfuscation of what their goals are, and to see if you had any practical solutions to introduce. Apparently, you do not. Not sure if we need to say more at this point. Gotta go.

  186. MikeInWeHo says:

    There’s a great article in Salon.com today explaining why the overwhelming majority of Israelis (even the Left) support the current action in Lebanon.

    Try this link: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/07/25/israeli_opinion/

    Or just go to Salon.com directly. You have to view a little Jet Blue ad first to get to the article, but I wouldn’t think that would trouble anybody in here! Go Mormon Airline!

  187. Blain,

    I did recommend an action, but apparently it isn’t good enough. My recommendation is to talk to them. Talk to the Iranians.

    you say,

    Being forced to accept Islam is too high a price for peace

    who ever said that was the price for peace with Iran? Again, some paint the whole situation now in the most extreme scenarios possible, but which are unrealistic. They are mere hyperbole, mere propaganda to feed partisans.

    We weren’t forced to accept communism when we communicated with the Soviet Union or China. Why would anyone think they would have Islam forced down their throats if they were to communicate with Iranians?

    But alas, calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the last days.

  188. You suggested talking, which is an inadequate response — it assumes that no talking is taking place, which is silly. There is plenty of talking — we are saying lots of stuff, and they are saying lots of stuff. That’s as much talking as is possible under the circumstances, and it’s being used as effectively as it can be.

    The goal of the extreme Islamists is to convert the world at sword point, with them in control of Islam. That’s not what you said — that’s what they said. They view lying to and killing people like you and me in the pursuit of that goal to be admirable.

    I’m tiring of your lack of adequate response to what I’ve actually said, your consistant misreading of what I’ve said. If this doesn’t improve dramatically and soon, I’ll be done with the conversation. Not that I’m sure we have a whole lot left to say at this point anyhow.

  189. Blain,

    I’m sorry, but we are not talking to the Iranians. We have not had an American official meet with an Iranian official since probably before 1979. That will never work for a peaceful Middle East.

    you say the goal of extreme Islamists is to convert the world at sword point. Is that the goal of the Iranians? Or are you infusing them with Al-Qaida? Do you really know who is who in the Middle East and what their goals really are?

    I’m sorry if you think my responses are inadequate. I guess I should advocate some kind of military action and they would then be more adequate. I hope you can see that peace can and will actually work. But too many cannot see peace in their future and think it is impossible. No wonder the world will be at full war when the Savior comes again. Maybe it is inexorable. Maybe that’s the nature of man. Maybe it is inevitable, that when left to their own thinking, all man’s nature leads to total destruction. How sad.

  190. Sorry, but we’re wasting time here. You’re not remotely trying to acknowledge my valid points, and continue to misread as many points as you can so you can disagree with them and try to make me look wrong. I don’t play like that.

    Anybody else want to play, or is it time to stick a fork in this one?

  191. Blain — With all due respect, I think what you may be asking Dan to do is impossible. What you seem to be doing is saying to him is: Give me a nonmilitary solution that is guaranteed to work, and if you can’t do that then you’re being impractical. Blain can’t give any guarantee that any of his proposed courses of action would work, and I don’t think he claims to.

    However, the fact is that neither you nor anyone else here can guarantee that any military solution will have the desired outcome either.

  192. 191 — I think you might want to recall what I asked in the first place.

    You do know that the folks you are talking about view Israel as the Small Satan and the US as the Great Satan, right? Yet you expect them to negotiate in good faith with the Great Satan on behalf of the Small Satan for the first time?

    Why?

    This is the question I asked in the first place. My next question was:

    Dan, do you think that Iran views us as the Great Satan because we describe them as supporting terrorism? Do you think that there is anything we could do that would change the minds of the leaders of Iran, or Bashar al Assad or Osama bin Laden or the leaders of the militias on the matter of us being the Great Satan?

    Even in fantasyland, I can’t think of anything we could do other than converting en masse to a form of Islam where they would be our masters. And that’s not possible, really, let alone something I would support. If you’ve got something else in mind, I’d appreciate knowing what it is.

    I have not presupposed that an effective response must be military in nature, but ignoring the military realities of the situation does push an answer into fantasyland, and I don’t like to play there. The people in question are very, very clear on those military realities, and they take their calculated risks with those realities taken into account.

    There are no guarantees of outcome in these things in anything other than the obvious — people die in war, things get broken in war, war is expensive. As to who gains an advantage, who reaches their goals, or even what all the goals of all the parties are, those matters are only evident in hindsight if at all.

    As to the “we should talk to them” point, it assumes, as I stated, that there is no talking going on. When he first became Surgeon General of the US, C. Everett Koop learned that, when somebody giving a speech says “I call on the Surgeon General to ….” that was all that person was going to do to bring the matter to his attention. It was seen as his responsibility to keep track of the times important people made public references to him. Similarly, even countries that aren’t having formal diplomatic conversations can have very public conversations through the news media, and that has been going on for decades. Formal relations is just a different stage of the diplomatic game, but every country on Earth capable of getting major media coverage of its statements is in communiciation with every other nation in the world, regardless of their diplomatic statuses.

    I hate to hammer on these things because they just strike me as obvious, but I guess they aren’t.

  193. Blain,

    Talking through the media is talking through a majorly distorted lens. You’re asking the “biased” media to relay your message clearly to your political enemy? No wonder neither side trusts the other right now!

    Fantasyland is believing that Iran’s ideal of “peace” is the total conversion of the entire world to Islam. Fantasyland is believing this is the price of peace with Iran. No wonder so many Americans want war with Iran.

  194. Yes Blain, it probably is time to stick a fork in this. I agree with you that Dan is unwilling to actually do a point-by-point analysis of this. He’d rather just seize upon any opportunity in your posts to forward his own pro-piece rhetoric. Regardless of whether his arguments have anything to do with what you actually said.

    But there’s been a bit of that from everybody, so no big deal.

    I’ve heard the rhetoric of “violence cannot bring peace.” I don’t necessarily disagree with it. But I don’t need to hear it re-phrased in 10 different ways. I got the point the first time thanks.

  195. Seth — Thanks.

    I just had an odd thought that might make a point of intersection with the folks I seem to be disagreeing with. It’s based in the talk Pres. Monson gave a while back about octopus baits called maka-fekes iirc.

    The thing about a maka-feke is, to anyone who isn’t the octopus involved, it appears to be a simple matter for the octopus to just let go of the maka-feke and live. However, if the octopus could just do that, there would be no such thing as a maka-feke — it’s used because it works. Similarly, when it comes to things like addictions, and a propensity to violence, it is very easy to those on the outside to see “if you’d just stop doing that, things would be better.”

    I think this is where the folks in the peace movement are (many of them, anyhow). They see how much better things would be without war, and want those who seem to be pushing for the war to *understand* how bad war is.

    The problem is that their understanding of the situation, even if it were perfect (or just better than the understanding of those involved, which is usually not the case), it would no more help those involved than understanding that the octopus could let go of the maka-feke helps the octopus. Anymore than it helps when you see someone struggling with an addiction and tell them that they should quit feeding their addiction. An addiction isn’t the problem — it’s a symptom of the problem, and it contributes to other problems as well. An addiction is a method of coping with the underlying problem. Unless you can help address the underlying problems, stopping the addictive behavior will be temporary at best.

    Similarly, when it comes to the problems in the Mideast, it’s very easy to see that the war is causing lots of harm, and that stopping the war would stop that harm. A cease-fire seems to be the solution to the problem, but it’s not — it’s a band-aid on cancer. The underlying problems are very difficult to address because the coping mechanisms involve rhetoric and belief systems that make addressing the problems virtually impossible. Until and unless their can be a mutual recognition of the rights of all parties to exist and to have a relatively normal life, as a beginning point for having honest, earnest, good-faith negotiations to resolve the few actual points of conflict, and the niggly details attached to them, this situation will not be resolved. Take that to the bank.

    And the belief systems in place undermine any ability for wide-spread acceptance of the rights of all parties to exist and have a relatively normal life. And this is more of a problem on the part of the Muslims involved (not all Muslims) because their particular brand of cultural belief dehumanizes those who disagree with them in a style that Western Culture has eased away from over the past few centuries. Thus, the ability for folks like me and Dan to see the need for peace is less than meanginless to them, because we are infidels (even though we can be seen as people of the Book) — they don’t even accept moderated modern Muslims as people they need to listen to or respect (you know, the ones who talk about Islam as a religion of peace).

    I have thought that peace would come to the Mideast only when everybody interested in killing those on the other side had been killed. I haven’t seen any reason to change that view. It has become very clear to me that every time Israel makes concessions for the purpose of peace, they get bitten in the butt for it, and when they take steps to protect themselves from such butt-bites, they are condemned. The only time I hear their critics criticising the attacks made against them, there is a conscious effort to equate Israel and her attackers in a moral sense, and I don’t care for that. I don’t think Israel has a perfect track record, but I don’t know of a country with one, and I think the fact that they’ve survived 60 years of constant war without becoming a police state is something for which they should be commended. Israel has been willing to accept civilian casualties as the price that must be paid to reach legitimate military targets, but they have done what they could to minimize those civilian casualties. Those who attack them have made every effort to avoid legitimate military targets, and have attacked civilian targets with great preference. I can not see the moral equivalence.

    And I don’t think I have anything more to say — that’s about as clear as I know how to put it.

  196. Blain,

    “I have thought that peace would come to the Mideast only when everybody interested in killing those on the other side had been killed. I haven’t seen any reason to change that view.”

    This thinking right here is exactly why there is a continual cycle of violence. Because some people actually think that by killing off those who advocate violence will somehow make an end to violence. But….is not the party that commits the violence in effect becoming the violent party that needs to be killed? So one side says, “I’m going to terminate those killers on the other side,” and in effect becomes a killer himself, by the same rationale is then the target of termination yet again by the other side. This will continue on until there is nobody left, which unfortunately is not a reality in the Middle East. The birth rate among Arabs is quite high. They are, in effect, out-breeding the Israelis. The more people the Israelis kill, the more killers they create.

    “It has become very clear to me that every time Israel makes concessions for the purpose of peace, they get bitten in the butt for it, and when they take steps to protect themselves from such butt-bites, they are condemned.”

    Hardly. I am very surprised that you have forgotten that Israel has made lasting peace with her neighbors, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Why do advocates for this new war seem to forget this? How were those peace accords done? Were they accomplished during or just after a battle? Peace is possible but only by those who look for peace.

    “I think the fact that they’ve survived 60 years of constant war without becoming a police state is something for which they should be commended.”

    Sure, for Jews, life in Israel is pretty good. Tell me though, do Arabs have the same rights as Jews in Israel? Will an Arab ever become prime minister of Israel? I do commend them for not failing into the trap many Middle East countries have made, of becoming autocracies. That is very commendable. They have a very hard situation to deal with, and I am fine with my country supporting them (Israel cannot exist on its own–it needs America’s help).

    “Those who attack them have made every effort to avoid legitimate military targets, and have attacked civilian targets with great preference.”

    Um….the provocative act that started this all was Hezbollah capturing two soldiers, hardly innocent civilians. But that doesn’t make good copy, being that truthful. I agree that they (Hezbollah) are purposefully targeting civilians in Israel. They are a terrorist organization, and in no way do I support them. I worry about Israel’s actions, because I do not think they will succeed in their goals with the strategy they have taken.

    I bring in the comparison to India once again. India suffered a far greater blow to its civilian population in the train bombings in Mumbai. Apparently the terrorists involved had Pakistani connections. What does India do? Do they bring out their guns itching for a fight? No. Do they arrest those who have connections or were part of the conspiracy? yes. And look, nobody else is dying.

    If Israel wants to live in peace with its neighbors, it cannot go destroying the one and only Arab democracy that was flourishing well. This is the strength of Hezbollah. They placed themselves well forcing Israel to make a choice of priorities. What is more important to Israel? Is it taking out their enemy, or is it protecting the only democracy, the only pro-Western flourishing democracy in the Middle East? Clearly Israel’s (and Bush’s) priority is to sacrifice that democracy and the hearts and minds of the Lebanese (and the rest of the Middle East). Meanwhile, because Israel is restraining its firepower (mistakes aside), it is not succeeding in actually “defanging” Hezbollah, nor in reducing their power and influence among the Shia population in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere.

    All Hezbollah has to do to “win,” is to stand up against Israel. What does Israel have to do in order to “win?” What is a victory for Israel? They are moving their goalposts back from the earlier fiery rhetoric. Now they just want a buffer zone and Hezbollah still around. Meanwhile, they’ve lost the hearts and minds of the country they bombed.

    This was a mistake for Israel. They should have done what they have done in the past when soldiers were abducted (this is not new–abducting of Israeli soldiers). In the past, they simply had prisoner exchanges. Both sides used kidnappings for their strategic goals. But with new leadership in Israel in Olmert, Olmert had to prove himself not a coward. Unfortunately for him, this action will not give Israel the victory they seek.

    Saying these things does not make me, 1) anti-Israel and 2) a peace activist simpleton who has no understanding of the situation. I understand what is going on, and it does not look good for Israel and America. The more America thinks violence will solve their problems in the Middle East, the more violence they will see in the Middle East. The less America advocates violence in the Middle East, the more peace can be achieved.

    Israel made peace with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It is possible. But it means that the guns have to be lowered. Can America tell Israel to lower its guns? Can neo-cons (who would love for Israel to go bombing Iran and Syria)? I doubt neo-cons can. But I have better hope for America.

    Oh, and finally, when Israel made peace with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, did either of those three countries say that their desires for peace be that Israel convert to Islam?

  197. I think it’s human nature to strike back. A guy rammed my car and my first emotion was anger. When I bump my head, I want to hit something.

    If you take that instinct and make the blow more important than a dented car, make it your murdered child, mother, husband, loved one. Revenge is the first thought.

    I believe Israel’s show of force is more considered than simple revenge; however, I don’t see war in the mid east ever stopping. Because the vengeance takes on a domino affect. The emotions magnify exponentially.

  198. rleonard says:

    dan,

    Eygypt and Jordan made peace after they were defeated multiple times on the battlefield and Isreal went nuclear as a deterrent. Peace thru strength.

    Islamic terrorism will be a fact of life going forward. I guess you got to decide whether to fight or to just take it.

  199. rleonard says:

    Oh,

    And Dan. Eygypt and Jordan are nation states. Hezbolah and Hamas (sort of) are not. Its hard to make peace with an armed band. Let alone negotiate.

    realpolitik buddy. Lets keep it real.

  200. rleonard,

    “realpolitik buddy. Lets keep it real.”

    Well, part of today’s reality is that some regional non-state entities can rival nation-states in power and influence. You want realpolitik? How about dealing with reality instead of insisting that only nation-states are valid political forces worthy of diplomatic recognition?

  201. Matt, in my book, if it doesn’t have a published GDP, then it’s (a) not a country, and (b) has no real standing in the international community.

    From the way you talk about “regional non-state entities,” one might think that you were talking about AAA.

  202. DKL,

    “has no real standing in the international community.”

    but it does. Look at their power. Look how they make the mighty dance for them. Snatch two soldiers and the mighty rain bombs over entire countries. We’re playing their game right now, not ours. They have standing. International politics is about real power, not words. Groups like Hezbollah have real power.

  203. DKL,

    As I said, the insistence that an entity be a country (nation-state) before it is recognized … this is simply a paradigm that is quickly losing its sovereignty. And do things like a published GDP really qualify exclusive standing? Is this the reality of international politics? I’m sure there are some who would like to see such entities as the UN disappear…but this is nevertheless one example of a non-state entity with standing.

    As Dan points out, it’s seriously funny (in a ludicrous kind of way) to compare Hezbollah with AAA. Good comic timing though. :)

  204. AAA huh? Interesting.

    Perhaps the real way to deal with Hezbollah, is to send Visa and Mastercard into southern Lebanon, have them set up credit card kiosks and make sure every terrorist gets a piece of plastic with 0% APR.

    Then spring late fees, jacked up interest rates, and such on them shooting their statements through the roof. Then sell the accounts to aggressive collection agencies who call them at all hours of the day or night, smear their names with their employers, rat them out to mom and dad, and generally make their lives miserable.

    I tell you, we’ll bring the terrorists to their knees! They’ll be sorry they ever messed with the US!

  205. Matt, I’m glad you caught the tongue-in-cheek nature of my comment. I’m also glad to see you put the UN on the same level with Hezbollah.

    According to your reasoning for Hezbollah’s standing, a mosquito has standing by virtue of the fact that we smack at it. This is an OK definition of standing, but it reduces the notion that Hezbollah has some kind of standing to a mere triviality.

    This is going to make me sound like a war monger, but I think that every passing day that there is no cease fire is a cause to celebrate. I want to reach out and hug every Jew I see.

  206. DKL,

    I’m all for terrorists not being terrorists anymore, but you cannot defeat terrorism with military force. When will Americans learn this?

    This is what Porter Goss told the Senate back in February of 2005:

    “Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists,” CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    He wasn’t wrong.

    There is a world of difference between standing resolute and going on a killing spree. And the one you would think hurts terrorists in the end actually benefits them the most.

  207. rleonard says:

    I think that the terrorists will have had “enough” when there is a Islamic flag flying over Western capitals. Give it 75 years and this is a real possibility in Europe and India based on current demographic trends.

  208. Daniel, there seems to be a misconception about how terrorism works–as though require less infrastructure, money, or training than a typical Amway business.

    The issue at hand is eliminating the sponsorship of terrorism by countries–not recruiting. It doesn’t much matter how many anti-American jihadists there are, so long as they don’t have any supplies, training grounds, or safe houses for their leaders. This is where Goss missed the point.

    Countries sponsor terrorism by allowing training, funds, and personnel access to their infrastructure and land to further their ends fall into two camps: (a) those who willfully do it (Iran, Syria; Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq used to be among these), and (b) those who haven’t enough control to eliminate them (e.g., Lebanon)–though many of these countries may well be of the first type even if they had control.

    In dealing with type (a) sponsors, the only solution is to convince them that the consequences of sponsoring terrorists are worse than the consequences of ejecting the terrorists. This was the calculation that Libya made, for example. Iraq and Afghanistan were sponsors of terrorism that have become fledgling constitutional republics.

    Thank to the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and Syria have never been more isolated. Aside from them, no Arab nation has been willing to stand up for Hezbollah or give it any pretense of legitimacy. This represents a tremendous sea change. The radical anti-western outlook that used to have global sympathy is being jettisoned by everywhere. This is a direct consequence of the Bush/Blair foreign policy–including the war in Iraq. And it’s of much bigger significance than any supposed increase in people willing to sign up to fight battles for which they can’t get any supplies, training, or leadership.

  209. 208 comments later, still no agreement… Rather apt, I should say.

  210. rleonard,

    “I think that the terrorists will have had “enough” when there is a Islamic flag flying over Western capitals. Give it 75 years and this is a real possibility in Europe and India based on current demographic trends.”

    This kind of “fear” will only lead to further violence. Violence is the lifeblood of terrorists. Their cause is only undermined when we do not strike back at them.

    DKL,

    We need to go over the history a little better.

    1. Lybia

    Bush supporters think that Lybia changed due to the “threat” of war against Lybia by a warrior president Bush. But as I’ve shown already, Lybia made the change because UN sanctions were crippling his economy and he wanted to get back into the oil business. In fact, American oil companies lobbied Congress and the State Department to get Lybia off the terror-sponsoring list, even though Lybia had attempted to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince in 2003. What did Saudi Arabia do? They let the matter drop. they pardoned the men they caught. Interesting, no?

    What does the Lybia example show? That real power is in the economy, not the military. That real power to influence people is in holding back things that benefit their country, not going in to destroy them. In fact, take a look at comment #73 where I bring up the sources. Those sources also say that Lybia dug in when Reagan pounded it with military force.

    But I fear Bush supporters will continue to erroneously think that Lybia is “their” success story. The only success story for Bush and his supporters was Lebanon, which, on its own, broke free of its ties to Syria. Now that is in flames.

    2. Goss’s point was that jihadists were able to use the war in Iraq to recruit more terrorists. Iraq is a mess wherein terrorists have all the training they could ever desire. Target American troops at will. Kill civilians at will. Refine and hone the techniques for better carnage. This is the mightiest failure of Bush’s war in Iraq. Iraq became the very thing Bush went in to supposedly stop.

    What Goss’s statement also implies is that war and military action is the greatest recruitment tool terrorists have, as I’ve been saying. Their lifeblood is war. That is what they thrive on. The more war you give them, the more terrorists there are. Some people cannot seem to grasp this concept, (the Indians can), and I’m afraid we’re not even close to an end to violence in this world. That’s too bad. Perhaps it is an inevitability that entropy destroys humanity also.

    You say:

    “In dealing with type (a) sponsors, the only solution is to convince them that the consequences of sponsoring terrorists are worse than the consequences of ejecting the terrorists.”

    Right. What are the consequences though? Invasion? Regime change? Future nations that might sponsor terrorists will look at Afghanistan and Iraq and laugh in your face. Then again, if they look at Lybia, where sanctions worked to change Lybia (even though it is still a dictatorship), they might say, you know, we don’t want our economy hurt like that.

    “Thank to the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and Syria have never been more isolated. Aside from them, no Arab nation has been willing to stand up for Hezbollah or give it any pretense of legitimacy. This represents a tremendous sea change. The radical anti-western outlook that used to have global sympathy is being jettisoned by everywhere. This is a direct consequence of the Bush/Blair foreign policy–including the war in Iraq. And it’s of much bigger significance than any supposed increase in people willing to sign up to fight battles for which they can’t get any supplies, training, or leadership.”

    Are you kidding? Have you even looked at today’s news? Hezbollah is becoming popular among Arabs. Saudi Arabia is condemning Israel. Syria and Iran are looked at as the only two parties that can actually influence Hezbollah to stop. Meanwhile, Israel is moving their goalposts back from completely wiping out Hezbollah, to creating a mile wide buffer zone in Lebanon. One mile? Is that all? Hezbollah has missiles that can fire 30-60 miles. What is a one mile buffer zone going to do?

    You need to stop watching FoxNews and listening to Rush Limbaugh. Honestly. They are lying to you.

    This is the way to have solved this problem from the start.

    1. The moment Lebanon broke free from Syrian control in their Cedar Revolution, Israel should have begun talks for peace between Israel and Lebanon. America should have come in with aid packages in strengthening their democracy. Isolate Hezbollah, but give Shi’ites in the south aid. Give the Shi’ites a reason to dump Hezbollah support. Right now, they have no incentive to let go of their support for Hezbollah, and because of that, Hezbollah will continue to thrive.

    2. Upon the kidnapping of the soldiers, Israel should have bombed Hezbollah locations in the south and attempted a prisoner swap. It has been done before, and is nothing new. It is not appeasement, but real progress for peace. This would have avoided full international attention as you have now. Olmert did not need to show full force in order to prove his mettle as a newbie.

    Having these two things done would have taken Israel and Lebanon down the long road towards peace and prosperity. Instead, Israel is now isolated in the world once more, and Lebanon is in flames.

    Peace can happen if people look for it. But I think I will be repeating this phrase until the Savior comes again: Calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the last days.

  211. rleonard says:

    Dan,

    lets live in the real world.

    1993 World trade center bombing. No response
    1996 Khobar bombing no response
    2000 USS cole bombing no response

    Terrorist getting bolder and bolder finally 2001 WTC attack

    You have to defeat your enemies or they will eventually defeat you.

  212. rleonard,

    did you forget the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings? Or you don’t mention them because they happened under a Republican president? What was Reagan’s response to 241 American soldiers killed in their sleep?

    I live in the real world, rleonard. This is Satan’s world. It is real. Violence and death are his tools. They are not the Lord’s tools. There is a difference between standing for what is right, defending yourself and going on a killing spree. One will bring you peace, the other will continue the violence.

  213. rleonard says:

    Reagan messed up too as did Carter, Bush 41 and Clinton. They allowed this to get out of hand by not responding

  214. I had in mind to respond with some polemic about Bush Jr. but I reconsidered. It is pointless.

    I believe there are better answers to terrorism than war, and I will stand by that until the Second Coming. It will be until then that we will be at war.

  215. Daniel, Reagan’s response was to topple the Soviet Union, the top sponsor of terrorism at the time (all the terrorists used Soviet weapons, you know). Funny thing, after the Soviet Union fell, there was a 5 year respite in terrorist attacks. The longest we’ve had since Carter engineered the Shaw’s fall in Iran.

  216. DKL,

    “I want to reach out and hug every Jew I see.”

    Heh, my guess is that not every Jew you see would want to be hugged by you…particularly if the hugging is motivated by the belief that what is going on in Lebanon is right.

  217. Matt, you’re right. Jews don’t tend to like me nearly as much as I like them. They tend to think that I’m obnoxious and that I smell funny. But I don’t mean to single them out. I mean, it’s pretty much the standard response among people from all backgrounds.

  218. LOL — you kill with self-deprecating comedy. :)

  219. BTW… I want comment 219. It has Kabalistic significance to me…it predicts that comment end-times are near. Probably within the next 1 to 500 comments.

    Hi Ronan!

  220. DKL,

    “Reagan’s response was to topple the Soviet Union”

    really? did Reagan invade the Soviet Union? Did he demand regime change of the Soviets?

    Were not the actions in the Middle East peripheral to the larger “Cold War” between the Soviets and Americans, therefore Reagan’s desire to see peace with the Soviet Union was not influenced by what happened in the Middle East?

    Once again, a Bush supporter alters history to fit his political framework today. Lybia did not change due to Bush’s war in Iraq, and the Soviet Union was not “toppled” due to a response from Reagan after the barracks bombings in Beirut.

    Instead, what was Reagan’s actual real response to the barracks bombings? What was his response to the loss of 241 American soldiers?

  221. rleonard says:

    Daniel,

    He fired some shells at Hezbollah and pulled out. But he did topple the SU even though the Dems in congress tried to stop him

  222. Seth R. says:

    You guys are changing the subject.

    This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans.

    Stay on topic.

  223. comment #223,
    Is there really any topic left?

  224. /me holds out a fork….

  225. *sticks a fork in this one*

    there is always plenty more to say on this subject. However, I’m going to continue this on my own blog. Come join if you like (though I think many won’t, which is fine). :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,786 other followers