Monday, July 17, 2006

War and Boredom

Some of you are bored with the cycle of war in the Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel area. That suggests to me that you (excepting clearly Sean) do not understand what is going on. It is a part of what could call World War III, which is also being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq (though Iraq wouldn't be in the picture, at least in the way it is right now, if the nitwit Bush hadn't invaded Iraq). It is simply the Israeli phase of the continuing war between militant Fundamentalist Muslims and the Judeo-Christian/Agnosto-Atheist (et al) West. What Israel is doing, especially in regard to Lebanon is precisely what the US did in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attack -- attacking terrorists in the country hosting them. That war continues with the Taliban, Al Queda, and imports from some of the Muslim nations of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere who are being trained in Afghanistan to fight there against the Brits, Poles, and the US and in their homelands. Had Bush continued our commitment to wiping out the Taliban and Al Queda in Afghanistan instead of going to war in Iraq, that phase of what I believe will is a 1,000 year war might be mostly over. But he didn't.

Militant Fundamentalist Muslims started this war on 9/11 though there were warm ups such as the 1993 bombing of the WTC, the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Africa, and the 2000 attack on the US vessel, the Cole. This current dust up in the Middle East is not your father's Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, Hezbollah is in a position to go toe to toe with Israel in that they seem to have a lot of rockets that can reach as deeply as Haifa. And these were clearly supplied by Iran and, no doubt, went through Syria. It isn't a fair fight because Israel has overwhelming military superiority. But this, like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aren't about who has the strongest military.

Militant Fundamentalist Muslims and their supporters could point to various "provocations" to "justify" their actions -- the existence of Israel, the US presence in S. Arabia, and elsewhere in the Muslim world but these are largely irrelevant. It is quite clear to anyone familiar with the history of Al Queda, that Israel's existence had nothing whatever to do with 9/11. This is a cultural war and one thing Bush says is right -- these people hate the West because they know that Western values, from a commitment to democracy including the equality of men and women, the supremacy of secular power over religion whether this takes the form of the separation of church and state or the existence of purely secular courts, western materialism, etc. All of this is seen as a threat to Muslim fundamentalist values. And they are right. Also, most of us in the West aren't Muslim. They are religious bigots as well.

Israel, of course, is fully aware of what they are involved in. They are not interested, I think, in a cease fire nor are they interested in negotiations. Negotiations with Lebanon are irrelevant since Lebanon is afraid to control Hezbollah. And Hezbollah has nothing Israel wants. Israel wants peace and that is something that Hezbollah won't give them. Ergo, Israel must kill as many Hezbollah fighters as they can and perhaps show Lebanon that they should perhaps fear what Israel does when attacked by Hezbollah more than Hezbollah.

There are two immutable facts. The Militant Muslims cannot win and the West cannot be defeated. Ergo, a 1,000 year war.

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Blogger Sean said...

The genie is out of the bottle, and it's exceedingly difficult to put him back in. A line has been crossed where fear of loosing ones life is gone, replaced by the ideal of martyrdom and the craving for death. There is no weapon against that. The only thing that can stop it is to give people the desire to want to live, and make them fear their own deaths again, and you can't just hand that to them, nor can you force it upon them. The idea that it's ok, even desirable, to blow yourself up, be blown up by others, and blow up as many as you possibly can is out in the world now, and we will be dealing with it for a long time. Perhaps 1000 years, if we make it that far. We've had major strife amongst ourselves oh so many times throughout human history, but for the first time in that history we have the power to utterly obliterate ourselves. THAT is what scares me here. "Their problems" are now our problems; we can't ignore each other any longer.

5:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unsurprising to see these events being coverd as they are in the media. Israel is in violation of international law, this is simply obvious to anyone who understands or has bothered to read the UN charter, of course our media are careful to avoid this debate, the real debate.

Mounting missile attacks on a country after two soldiers are kidnapped is simply terrorism, "we will not stop bombing until we get the soldiers back" is exactly how terrorists act.

If my daughter is kidnapped, do I have the right either in law or in principle to start bombing bridges, houses, roads until I get my way? If I do not then neither does Israel, if Israel does have that right then so do I in the situation I describe.

In 1999 the KLA were mounting attacks against police stations, schools and civilian villages in Serbia. The KLA were being financed by Muslim extremists in Albania and elsewhere and were receiving arms too, the CIA actually classified the KLA as a terrorist organization.

So on what basis was it right for NATO to bomb Serbia which was fighting a terroris organization but NOT bomb Israel which is doing far worse? Serbia NEVER mounted air and missile strikes against Albania.

Israel has no legal basis for its attack on Lebanon, and if it believes military force is needed then it is THE LAW for it to refer the issue to the security council, after all this is what one agrees to do when one signs the UN charter.

Bottom line? Israel is a terrorist government that has created Hezbollah and other groups because if its ruthless diregard for human rights and international law, it is Israel that disobesy the most UN security council resolutions.

In an ideal situation the UN would take steps to enforce the law that it claims to uphold and give Israel a few days to desist or get bombed itself.

Anyone who actually really believes the fallacy about "poor Israel" having to tolerate "terrorists" is either a fool or utterly disinterested in the facts, many of which are well documented.


7:24 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I don't have time right now to post a full response, but I think it's sad that the word "terrorism" has lost much of its meaning. People generally seem to think that any suicide attack or attack from an unofficial military or a loner is terrorism, or that attacks made "until we get the soldiers back" is terrorism. This is simply not the case. Terrorism is any attack on non-military targets. It has nothing to do with the method of the attack or the identity of the attacker, but rather the nature of the target. If we lose sight of this fundamental fact, then we will lose sight of the reason that terrorism is so bad.

3:59 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh, it is idiotic to compare the actions of states and individuals. No, if someone kidnaps your daughter, you can't start throwing hand grenades at their suspected hangouts. States are not subject to the rules we are and never have been.

And, though Israel's actions have clearly instilled terror in many people, that doesn't make them a terrorist nation nor their actions terrorist. By that standard, every country that has ever been in a war is a terrorist nation since every such nation has instilled terror in some population of people.

You really need some serious work on your thinking, starting with separating feelings from thinking. You may hate Jews and Israel but that must be kept separate from your evaluation of their actions.

4:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Kelly, and the bombing and destruction of civilain infrastructure in Lebanon clearly classifies Israel as being engaged in terrorism.

As for LG's claim that I am idiotic, I dont see why he draws that conclusion. Why cant I start throwing hand grenades at house if my daughter is kidnapped, and why allow Israel in this case to be treated as a "state" it is people giving the orders and people carrying them out, so whats the difference?

I cannot see how the Israeli attacks can seriously be considered anything other than terrorist, number of civilians killed? roads and bridges destroyed, basically this is terrorizing the population for a political objective, which is terrorism. Additionally (as LG carefully avoids) Israel is right now in violation of international law and clearly has utter contempt for law. The UN charter makes it clear that it is a serious crime to launch military attacks on a country that has not attacked your own, kidnapping two soliders is not a military atack by any stretch of the imagination, read the UN charter it may help you.

Finally describing these things as such cannot be used to construe that I hate any race of people, Chomsky is a Jew and is an ardent critic of Israel's ruthless leadership's policies.

If it is legitimate for Israel to invade and bombard Lebanon, then why was it not legitimate for Serbia to attack KLA (read: terrorist) hideouts, ammo dumps etc, which were IN Serbia?


8:17 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

You may agree with me in principle, but characterizing things as "civil" infrastructure may be erroneous. Take our Interstate system, for example. It was built for military purposes and is only used for civilians as long as the military allows it.

Also, just because civilians are harmed collaterally does not make it terrorist either. If that was so, then dictators could just strap civilians to the top of all their weapons and munitions plants to make their enemies the bad guys.

10:14 AM

Blogger Sean said...

Hugh's view, while emotionally compelling, is rationally lacking. Israel may be in violation of international law by some individuals assessments, but then so is the U.S. for attacking Iraq. But to call each act of aggression, as ridiculous as they may be, simply “terrorist actions” is a vast over simplification and is exceedingly naive.

"Civilian infrastructure" is being bombed because Hezbollah uses it, resides in it, and launches attacks from it. Are civilians terrified because of the attacks? Yes. Was that Israel's only goal, the terrorizing of the Lebanese civilians? No, not in the slightest. Is that reason in there somewhere? Without a doubt, and while that leaves a bad taste in the mouth it's not the entire story, and to make it so is hyperbole.

Trying to pin down "The Evil Party” in any of this is going to be impossible; there is no black and white, good and evil, right party and wrong party here. Israel has done things that could certainly be considered bad policy and action, and Hamas and Hezbollah have done the same. Weighing all actions that I know of, I will side with Israel, since Hamas and Hezbollah actually DO partake in full on, unadulterated terrorist activities, and that undermines all credibility they could have possessed.

One last point, Hugh claims Israel is attacking Lebanon, who did not provoke or attack Israel, and this is illegal. Unfortunately this is a twisting of the reality of the situation. Israel is attacking INSIDE Lebanon, and is attacking Hezbollah, and while Israel's actions are extreme, and come with massive counterproductive ramifications, they were provoked by Hezbollah's attack. If Israel where attacking Lebanon they would be trying to blow up the Lebanese government and their military, but they are not. In fact they're trying to get the Lebanese government and military to actually take control of their own country again.

This is a bad situation, brought about by far too many years of bad situations. Blame goes all around the world for the environment that has been created in the Middle East. But to point the finger in one place is far too simple a solution to a vastly complicated problem, and is no solution at all.

12:02 PM


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