Hugh, whom it turns out is also BegsToDiffer, has posted a question in the comment section of an already archived post that is worth special consideration and needs to be brought to the top of the blog. I quote BegsToDiffer:
Having just read of 54 Lebanese civilians being killed I now pose another question:Required reading for this blog is a Reuters story on the incident, as well as some history involving the same town that goes directly to Hugh's question, as well as some diplomatic consequences of this bombing attack. It should be noted that 37 of these people were children and that Israel does not deny this happened.
IF Israel are justified in bombing Lebanese targets in order to eliminate or incapacitate Hezbollah AND incur some number of Lebanese civilian deaths in doing so, THEN how many Lebanese civilian deaths should we "permit"?
For example would it be acceptable to anyone reading this blog topic, for ALL civilians to be killed in order to achieve the goal or say 50% or 1%? or perhaps some maximum number?
Unless you are prepared to state a limit then your support for Israels action implies you are prepared to accept 100% of all civilians be killed.
Should the UN in such cases say "well you are limited to 1000 civilian deaths 500 of which may be children but after that you MUST stop bombing"?
This should elicit some interesting discourse from the readers of this topic.
Hugh is concerned about Lebanese deaths. He has expressed no concern for Israeli civilian deaths. There have been fewer in part because huge numbers are living in bomb shelters, according to CNN reports I have watched. Certainly Hezbollah has been doing its best to kill Israeli civilians. That is, after all, their modus operandi when they are not kidnapping Israeli soldiers.
We know that Hezbollah has underground facilities. One wonders why they don't make these available for displaced persons who have not left the area. Actually, to be honest, I don't wonder since I know that Hezbollah, in a cynical practice used by many terrorist groups over the years and even a few military leaders (Saddam), routinely puts its weaponry in very close proximity to civilians. There have been CNN reports of their hiding weapons in people's homes. A real question not raised by Hugh is who has less respect for Muslim life, Israel or Hezbollah? I can believe that Hezbollah lured these displaced people into the building knowing that they could make it into a juicy target for Israeli bombs simply by firing some missiles from the roof and then cutting and running for cover.
You get the idea I have no respect for Hezbollah? You are right. Nor do I have any respect for Syria and Iran, who are this group's benefactors, providing Hezbollah with money, weapons, training, and perhaps even a suggestion or two as to how they can repay their benefactors such as kidnapping some Israel soldiers to entice Israel into going ballistic in the way they commonly do. This scenario requires a level of conspiracy theorizing I normally don't like to engage in but I have been a little crazy, maybe more than a little crazy, since 9/11. I don't have a warm feeling inside for Muslim extremists. You know how I feel about fundamentalist Christians so you know this isn't an anti-Muslim sentiment. Its an anti-religious extremist sentiment. But right now, right wing Christians aren't blowing up anything though I fear they are rooting Israel on given their nutty end of the world or second comings of Jesus theories, whatever it is that has led them to be pro-Israel.
One thing I learned a long time ago is that for the most part, revolutionaries are brutal sons of bitches. Not always. The American fighters of our Revolutionary War did not set up a brutal, despotic regime the way all of the Communist revolutionaries did. And, of course, those who engage in military coups are pretty much the same. Though they sometimes talk a good game -- "Elections in 18 months" or the like -- they rarely play one.
I don't know whether Hugh is a pacifist or not. I am not. I rather like our having fought WW2. I am less thrilled by the other wars we have gotten ourselves into except for the attack on Afghanistan, which was righteous. It wasn't completed unfortunately because George allowed himself to get distracted by Cheney, Wolfowitz, and others into invading Iraq. In any event, I am not going to be down on Israel for fighting Hezbollah. They have richly earned the beating they are getting, just as the Taliban and Al Queda richly deserved theirs -- too bad the job wasn't completed, as I noted. Nor will Israel be permitted to complete the job in Lebanon even assuming that doing so is possible, which I doubt.
But the civilians who have been killed didn't deserve what they got. I'm not going to blame Israel alone since I believe them when they say Hezbollah was firing missiles into Israel from that area. The problem is that Hezbollah fires its missiles during the day in a effort to kill Israeli civilians to make the point of origin more difficult to identify in time for Israel to hit them before they move to a new spot. The blame clearly also goes to Hezbollah. So, when someone calls for a cease fire, I hope they mean that Hezbollah will stop raining missiles on Israel. They must also mean that the cease fire comes with the condition that Hezbollah is forcibly disarmed by some multinational force. Otherwise, the cease fire is pointless. Hezbollah will regroup and rebuild, as terrorist groups usually do, and the next reel of Ground Hog Day will be mounted on the projector in a few years, once Hezbollah figures out another way to try to kill Israelis, and we will have to see this "show" again.
In Southern Lebanon there was some sort of rescue of Western, including American, refugees by boat. I heard a story about e-mails and cell phone calls (not sure of the details) between people wanting to get out of the area and the American embassy. Its too bad that some effort was not made, organized, perhaps, by Hezbollah to send a convoy of refugees to Northern Lebanon. Of course, that would never happen.
So, Hugh. There has been too much death in Lebanon, civilian and otherwise. It is definitely time for the bombing to stop but only if the international community, not Lebanon, guarantees the disarming of Hezbollah or Israel can figure out another way of fighting Hezbollah that does not lead to civilian deaths. One thing is for sure. They need to have a better idea who they are likely to be killing with their bombs. So, my answer to your question is conditional -- sure it is time for the bombing to stop. And for the missiles to quit flying into Israel. I presume that's not okay with you either.
[P. S. My spellchecker (the excellent gmail spellchecker) showed that Hugh spells as badly as I do so I fixed his errors along with mine since I didn't realize this was happening until I was well into checking. I hope wrong words didn't result.]