Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, July 17, 2006

Give War a Chance

With its attacks on Haifa, Hizbollah has now demonstrated it can strike deep into Israel. Hizbollah is a terrorist organization that has been allowed to develop a military infrastructure in Lebanon--a state which, if not precisely a "failed state," is at least incapable of governing its Southern half. When Al-Qaeda attacked New York and Washington D.C., we went after them and their base of operations in Afghanistan. Is this not the same policy Israel now pursues in Lebanon?

Though Israel may engender more hatred on the Arab stret through its counterstrikes (if such a thing is possible) angry words are not what kill people, nor does their hate. Guns and rockets are what kill people. Hizbollah's infrastructure of terror must be disarmed or destroyed. I am angry, too, that Hizbollah deliberately hides its rockets and launchers in villages and houses, effectively making the villagers human shields. It is despicable and cowardly.

And I am disturbed by a quote from Bush today. He said that he wanted to be clear that the root cause of the violence was, "Hizbollah, its relation to Syria, its relation Iran, and the relations between Syria and Iran." That's about as direct a threat to Syria and Iran as I have heard from Bush so far. If Hizbollah cannot be stopped, this may precipitate a wider war in the Middle East--and drag the U.S. in too.

Maybe the international community will heed the call of Kofi Annan and Tony Blair to deploy an international force in Lebanon to stop Hizbollah (there already is a U.N. force there--presumably the idea is to deploy one with teeth). But more likely they will do nothing. The policy of appeasing and tolerating Hizbollah in Southern Lebanon has failed to provide security to anyone. Maybe we need to give war a chance.


Anonymous said...

In other news, I just heard on my local NPR station that a number of Arab governments have essentially blamed Hizbollah for the crisis. The local analyst suggested that their motive was fear of the growth of Iranian strength in the region (Iran is the ultimate backer of both Hamas and Hizbollah).

But as US West has pointed out, Iran's increasing influence is largely a result of Bush's policies in the Middle East. What we seem to have here is a situation where so policies have backfired that some of them appear to be bearing fruit (i.e. Arab opposition to Hizbollah/Iran). But at what cost? Could we not have achieved this goal without provoking so much chaos? 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

I also think that Hizbollah and Hamas have some kind of agreement going on. As Hamas got squeezed in Gaza, Hizbollah popped in Lebanon. How ironic that it may be Syria that we need in order to help contain the situtaion. I also heard the story that RBR refers to. And they even pointed out that Shia/Sunni situation.

Shias form a majority of the population in Yemen and Azerbaijan and 40 to 50% of the population of Iraq. There are also sizeable Shia communities in Bahrain, the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in the Lebanon. Hizbollah is Shia as is Hamas. Here is a table  that shows the rations of Shias to Sunnis by country.

I bring this up because I am not sure if what we are seeing is, as I previously stated, a proxy war between Iran and the rest of the Arab world, or an extension of Iraq's civil war, or a combination of the two.

I do not think that the U.S. will support a UN force in Lebanon. As has been said, the UN has a small one there now and even if they send a bigger one with teeth, U.S. troops won't be involved. We did that once and lost 300 of our soliders when their barraks were bombed. 

// posted by US West

Anonymous said...

As for the Afghanistan/Lebanonc comparison, I see differences. The USA invaded Afghanistan and dismantled the Taliban and Al Qaeda, mostly. It did not launch a "punitive" air campaign against unrelated civilian targets to persuade the Taliban to evict Al Qaeda. We would have viewed that as idiotic, in the Afghan case. I think it makes no more sense in Lebanon.

I think the USA might go back to Lebanon. Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rice were all highly critical of Reagan's decision to evacuate US peacekeepers in 1983, and they may want a do-over. 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

The U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan (and Iraq, incidentally) are quite similar to those Israel is now conducting in Lebanon. The targets of these operations are (were) the terrorists themselves, their weapons, their training camps, and all infrastructure--a broad category including roads, airports, telecommunications, etc. Israel also seeks to cut off Hizbollah's options to retreat by northward, and they are sealing the coast to prevent a seaborne escape.

I disagree with the characterization of the Israeli offensive as a, "'punitive' air campaign against unrelated civilian targets." There is a strategic objective: to wound Hizbollah so badly that the Lebanese Army can (finally) move in and re-take its Southern territory. And as for the use of air strikes to apply pressure, do Israel's tactics differ significantly from NATO's use of air power against Serbia in the Kosovo conflict?

I don't think the U.S. wants to put troops in Lebanon. Bush is happy to let Israel handle that. What I worry about is that Iran and Syria are the real targets. Bush may be intent on radically changing the political map of the Middle East before his term ends.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are unaware that the Israeli air force has, in addition to attacking Hizbollah, attacked the Beirut airport, the main square in Southern Beirut, power plants, and various other targets designed to put pressure on the Lebanese government.

According to the New York Times : "The Israeli chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said the airstrikes would continue until the Israeli soldiers were returned and the Lebanese government took responsibility for Hezbollah’s actions. Israel, he said, also wanted to deliver “a clear message to both greater Beirut and Lebanon that they’ve swallowed a cancer and have to vomit it up, because if they don’t their country will pay a very high price.”

In my prior post, I complained that these actions were counterproductive.  

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

I was well aware of that. Targeting the airports is a typical strategy. If you will recall the map, Beirut is smack in the middle of Lebanon, and all of about 30 miles from Israel.

Anonymous said...

In some ways, the Isarelis are more targeted in their attacks that we were in Afghanistan. We dropped cluster bombs, daisy cutters, and bunker busters. And we dumped them on heavily populated areas in what appeared to be an indiscriminate way.

The Israelis don't seem to be doing that. But AL Jazerra reports that they have disucssed sending in ground forces.

To date, Al Jazerra  , as well as NPR and other US news sources, is reporting that over 230 Lebanese and 25 Israelis have been killed in Isreal's 7 days of airstrikes. Al Jaz doesn't say how may of the Lebanese deaths are miltiary, but it does say that 13 of the 24 Israelis killed are military.

Even if the action taken by Israel is arguably disproportionate, the death tolls surely are. 

// posted by USWest