Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 5, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ISRAEL AND LEBANON....The conventional wisdom about Israel's campaign in Lebanon is that it's been a strategic failure. They went in assuming they could substantially destroy Hezbollah's military capability with an air campaign, and when that failed they were forced into a costly ground campaign followed by a belated realization that they were trapped in southern Lebanon again unless they could somehow convince a multinational force to take their place.

Jeff Weintraub thinks the conventional wisdom is wrong:

Unlike the situation in previous conflicts, it seems clear that this time around the Israeli government did not believe that Israel could achieve a solution by itself, nor that a solution to the threat posed by Hezbollah could be achieved solely by military force.

Instead, it looks increasingly apparent that a prime Israeli goal was to provoke a multilateral diplomatic and political intervention by the so-called "international community"....It also seems clear that the Israeli & US governments have been roughly in accord on this strategy and, more surprisingly, that the major European governments have signed on to its broad outlines.

....All the commentary that has misunderstood or ignored these connections between the military, diplomatic, and political dimensions of the situation which is to say, most of the commentary in news reports, punditry, and the blogosphere has largely missed the point of what is going on.

In other words, Israel's current miserable situation was actually part of the plan all along. After years of watching Hezbollah build up its border forces, the Israelis finally decided that the only lasting solution required both the diplomatic involvement of the international community as well as a multinational force in southern Lebanon, and they figured the only way to make this happen was to conduct a major assault that would spur the international community into action.

This is a "two cushion bank shot" explanation of Israel's otherwise perplexing actions, and I've noted before that I find such theories generally unconvincing. What's more, I don't see any evidence to persuade me that it applies in this specific case. I asked Jeff about this and he offered some clarification via email:

Do we have any good reason to believe that this was not the idea from the beginning? To conclude that, we have to assume (a) that the Israeli government believed that the Lebanese government would be able and willing to crush Hezbollah by itself, without outside involvement, and (b) that even if Israel managed to knock out a large portion of Hezbollah's 10,000+ Iranian missiles, Iran & Syria wouldn't simply replace them in the absence of some larger political & diplomatic solution. Governments do a lot of stupid things, based on a lot of stupid assumptions, but is it likely that in this case the Israeli government was being that stupid? Unlikely. That requires a more implausible story-line than the one I propose.

Unfortunately, there's still no evidence here, and there are reasons to believe this storyline is wrong. The Israeli security cabinet has been leaking like a sieve during the war the local press practically seems to have minutes of their meetings and no one in Jerusalem has reported anything that supports this theory. On the contrary, all the reporting seems to support the idea that, in this case, a cigar is just a cigar: Hezbollah screwed up by not anticipating the Israeli reaction to their July 12 kidnappings, and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz really did believe that air power would be sufficient to finish the Israeli counterattack. The Israelis were genuinely reluctant to start a ground offensive, and are conducting one now only because they ran out of options when the air attack failed.

(NB: Jeff points to a single New York Times article here that supports his theory that Israel wanted a multinational force in Lebanon all along, but it was published 12 days after the war began and seems to me to be a reaction to the dawning failure of the air war, not evidence that this was Israel's original goal.)

But here's the thing: I don't read everything that's printed and I might have missed something that supports Jeff's theory. So I'm throwing this out for discussion. Has anyone read anything that suggests Israel was trying to provoke an international intervention from the very beginning? Or is a cigar just a cigar?

Kevin Drum 9:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (149)

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Comments

OK, here come all the conspiracy theories.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on August 5, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. and Israel are already at war with Iran. This administration is insane and we need to be marching to Bushs ranch in Crawford with torches and pitchforks to end this once and for all. Who will board a bus for Texas in the morning? Lets mobilize, people.

Posted by: Cindy Sheehan on August 5, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

If it seemed like the multinational fix were the only likely outcome, or even the most likely outcome, I would be willing to credit this explanation. But it seems merely a plausible outcome; equally plausible outcomes would include an Israeli quagmire and WWIII.

Posted by: dj moonbat on August 5, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

I can say this: outside organizations were briefed by the Israeli government just after the beginning of the offensive, and were told that (A) the offensive was expected to last two weeks; and (B) the Israelis characterized the offensive as a demonstration to the U.S. of how to crush an insurgency through intelligence + firepower. It was not directly stated that the U.S. was not informed in advance of Israel's plans, but people who were backbriefed on the talks have told me they believe that to be the case based on other evidence. Since this comports with what I'm reading in the Israeli media, I have no reason to doubt them; it certainly explains how USG was caught up short diplomatically and politico-militarily.

Posted by: WatchfulBabbler on August 5, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't buy it. If the Israelis truly wanted "both the diplomatic involvement of the international community as well as a multinational force in southern Lebanon, and they figured the only way to make this happen was to conduct a major assault that would spur the international community into action," why has the US -- which has been tacitly and not-so-tacitly in Israel's corner in this conflict -- been standing aside while Israel has so manifestly failed to silence Hezbollah's rockets, and succeeded in killing hundreds of civilians? And if a four-week bloodbath was part of the plan all along, is Weintraub really suggesting that the Bush Administration was willing to act so blatantly against the interests of the Us in order to dance to Israel's tune?

No, I don't buy it at all. Weintraub may find it hard to believe that Israel has failed so spectacularly, but so what -- there's still all kinds of denial going on about the debacle in Iraq. Israel screwed the pooch, plain and simple, and did enormous damage to its credibility, prestige and security. And the Bush Administration cheerfully followed Israel right down the bloody garbage disposal. There's a word for this kind of performance, and it isn't a "two-cusion bank shot"; it's good old fashioned incompetence, with a tragic seasing of hubris.

Posted by: Gregory on August 5, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, no one bothered to ask Hisbollah what their opinion might be. What happens if Hisbollah decides that it's not in their best interest to allow the ceasefire and, with it, the multinational enforcers to come into existence. All it would take is one or two "crazy" rocket launchers to keep shooting into northern Israel and the Israelis would keep bouncing the rubble. Hisbollah might decide to keep that situation in effect for a long time, with 30,000 Israeli troops deployed long term in a guerrilla war bleeding them dry and crashing their economy. That's what happens when 4GW concepts get applied.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on August 5, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Or is a cigar just a cigar?"

Not when it belongs to Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Old Coot on August 5, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Good post.

As you suggest, Belmont Club-style theorizing about the deep and subtle strategies behind Middle Eastern events tend to be post-hoc rationalizations. In reality, politicians and generals blunder regularly. Clemenceau said, "War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory."

Posted by: Steve Sailer on August 5, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of a William Arkin analysis in WaPo that Josh Marshall recommended as a corrective to conventional wisdom (that this whole episode is a major screw-up for israel and a disaster for Lebanon). In Arkin's column he makes the point that Hezbollah's arsenal and infrastructure have been degraded. Of 10,000 or so rockets that Hezbollah had the IDF destroyed about 1000 and another 2000 were fired so fully one-third of their rocket arsenal was gone. So in the new accounting, one is to count every casualty Israel sustains as a Hezbollah defeat...one less target for Hezbollah. In this new accounting, it only takes a few of these Israeli "victories" to equal the American "victory" in Iraq.

Posted by: della Rovere on August 5, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Occam's razor, and all that.

Once war is unleashed, all bets are off, including plausible scenarios, likeley outcomes, and wishful thinking. Weintraub's thesis is a bit like Pee-wee Herman falling off his bicycle in front of some teenage boys, and then announcing "I meant to do that!".

Posted by: walt on August 5, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

This seems to me a variation of the argument that the Jews are just too clever to make any real mistakes; they must have some master plan up their sleeves. It's funny how anti-semites and pro-Zionists both believe that the Israelis are supermen who are in command at all times and can do anything.

Posted by: Red on August 5, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Could this be Bush's Bay of Pigs? Did he encourage the Israelis to start this war, believing that they could polish off Hezbollah all by themselves? And now he is faced with the decision: Do we jump in and save the Israelis or leave them on the beach?

Posted by: Speed on August 5, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Since the number of Jews who have addressed the questions raised by this article is few, and the number of Jews who have considered it seriously, is zero, and the number of Jews who have ignored it is almost all, and it is so relevant to what is going on in Gaza and Lebanon, I feel it needs to be posted again:

WHY DOESN'T THE MEDIA PUBLISH THIS? I wonder indeed.

An update of the Israel Fakes a Provocation article for those following the link from www.whatreallyhappened.com

Israel Fakes a Provocation (the "kidnapping" of Cpl Gilad Shalit)

The following passages in italics are from this article published in the Telegraph on 26/06/2006.:

Last night two Israeli soldiers were killed and another kidnapped in a dawn attack by Palestinian militants who tunnelled under Gazas heavily protected border.

The attackers, believed to number seven or eight, surprised Israeli forces when they appeared at first light through a tunnel on open ground 300 yards inside Israel near a kibbutz.

Gaza is built on old semi-consolidated sand dunes. It is extremely unlikely that anyone could tunnel 500, or more, yards in the sandy ground of Gaza (300 yards into Israel plus 200 yards of no-mans land plus more to the tunnel entrance), without the tunnel collapsing at some point, or the Israeli listening equipment, hearing their tunneling activity.

They split into three groups before launching simultaneous attacks on three Israeli defensive positions - a look-out tower, plus a tank and an armoured personnel carrier, both dug in, facing Gaza.

If you were only seven or eight, would you split into three groups? If you were only two, or three, would you attack a tank over flat ground, manned by four soldiers waiting inside to kill you?

They blew open the tanks rear doors with a missile fired from point-blank range before tossing grenades inside. Two of the tank crew died and another was severely wounded but the final crew member, the gunner, was forced out of the wreckage at gunpoint.

The rear doors are blown off and a few grenades popped inside. Tanks are not made to fall apart. Blowing off the rear doors would have taken a blast sufficient to seriously hurt those inside. The grenades would have then made mincemeat of them. One wonders if it is standard practice to wear a bulletproof vest inside a hot tank. One would think that the tank would be bulletproof enough not to require such a vest. Can Israeli tanks stop bullets, or not?

Later reports, from the New York Times and Guardian, tell use that Shalit suffered only minor injuries to his abdomen and one arm, even though everyone else in the tank was severely wounded or killed. Shalit would have been less than three feet away from those killed (there is no spare room in a tank).

Israeli trackers said they found his blood-stained bulletproof vest close to the Gaza perimeter fence.

The militants force Shalit to take off his bulletproof vest and leave it close to the Gaza concentration camp fence, in order to help the Israelis with their investigation.

By the way, whose blood is it on his bulletproof vest? Did his minor wounds bleed profusely, or was it the other soldiers blood and guts all over him. Pity their bulletproof vests didn't save them.

Meanwhile, two other militants attacked a nearby concrete watchtower.... The troop carrier was also damaged in another attack but it was unoccupied. The attackers then escaped back into Gaza by cutting their way through the perimeter fence.

Interestingly, the attackers escaped easily by cutting through the (electrified) perimeter fence, yet cutting through the perimeter fence in order to get in, was so hard to do, that they burrowed through half a mile of sandy ground instead. Something wrong with this story, perhaps?

After all this commotion, the soldiers in all the nearby Gaza concentration camp guard-towers, manage to miss a few Arabs running the 300 yards, over flat ground, back to the perimeter fence, miss them when they cut through it, and miss them running across no-mans land to safety. And why, you may ask, did they not return through the tunnel they had painstakingly dug?

Not only did the Israeli watchers sleep during the explosions and pandamonium, but our heroic freedom fighters did not put a foot wrong as they ran through the no-mans land minefield. Allah, was truly with them.

If you believe this sad tale, I have a bridge to sell you.

The Hamas political leadership sought to distance itself from the incident last night when a spokesman said it had no knowledge of the fate of Cpl Shilat. Ghazi Hamad, a spokesman, said: "We are calling on the resistance groups, if they do have the missing soldier to protect his life and treat him well."

Yes, the Hamas political leadership had no idea of the fate of Cpl Shilat, as the story is a total fabrication.

The Jew press then claims that the Popular Resistance Committees, the armed wing of Hamas and the (previously unknown) Army of Islam were jointly responsible for the kidnapping of Shilat.

Why three groups you may ask?

The reason for three groups, is so that each of them might believe that the other has the "kidnapped" soldier, when, in fact, none of them have him. He is sipping coffee in Tel Aviv.

And why did a "previously unknown" group put up its hand?

Well, just in case one of the groups had doubts that the other group had the "kidnapped" soldier, they certainly couldn't be sure the "previously unknown" group didn't have him,... because after all, they don't have any idea who is leading, or anyone in, this unknown group.

So the reason for the weird "I did it arrangement," is so that the Jew press can claim that the Arabs claimed responsibility, when all they have done, is to NOT deny they did it.

Oh yeah, the "previously unknown" group is a Jew invention. It doesn't exist, except in the Jew newspapers.

Of course, shortly, the Army of Islam will need to be created (by the Jews) in order to negotiate the "release" of Shilat.

As part of the fabrication, the Jews chose to have a Israeli/French citizen "kidnapped," as the French have not been slavishly following the Jew script, and this could be used to force their hand in the desired way.

If you are not already convinced that the whole story is a fabrication, ask yourself; What were the four Israeli soldiers doing in the tiny confines of that dug-in tank? Ask your self; How long were they going to continue sitting in that tank? All day perhaps, or till they roasted in the desert sun? Or, till another group of four took over on the next shift? And of course, having four soldiers in just one tank, wont provide a defense, so there will have to be hundreds of tanks and hundreds of soldiers all sitting in these tanks,...

all waiting,... all waiting,... all waiting,.... for exactly what?

Waiting for Palestinian children to throw stones at them, perhaps? Perhaps, waiting attentively for militants to dig a half mile tunnel through sandy soil, pop up, and rush them over flat ground, but not attentively enough to see them approach? Perhaps, they were waiting for the Egyptian army to materialize, Star Trek like, from their bases hundreds of miles away on the other side of the Suez canal? I dont know,... you tell me why?

Yes, the story is a total fabrication. A fake provocation to start a war. Yes, the Jews are evil people.

Posted by: slim on August 5, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Weintraub's theory is garbage.

Israel hates multilateral solutions. It hates the UN too. It goes out of its way to avoid both at almost any cost. Have a look at the number of UN resolutions directed against Israel, and the number of securty council resolutions the US has had to veto to help Israel out.

The idea they would go to war to get their northern border protected by the and the French does not pass the laugh test.

Posted by: still working it out on August 5, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Yes. I actually think Israel's leaders wanted the outcome to be a multinational peacekeeping force to replace Hezb's fighters in Lebanon. They've been saying that in public since the first few days of the conflict. I don't think it's even that tricky of a strategy.

Posted by: abe on August 5, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Weintraub: "Governments do a lot of stupid things, based on a lot of stupid assumptions, but is it likely that in this case the Israeli government was being that stupid? Unlikely."

Alas my least favorite argument in the world: "How stupid would I/they have to be to...?"

Posted by: Dave in IA on August 5, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

After the Iraq fiasco, I'm not certain that there's ever a single clear reason behind any war.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 5, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

"In other words, Israel's current miserable situation was actually part of the plan all along."

As you serious?

That is the standard Jew answer to all Jew f**kups.

It was part of the plan all along,....

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,...

Posted by: slim on August 5, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

{Groucho}
I love my cigar, but I take it out every once in awhile.
{/Groucho}

Posted by: RT on August 5, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. I actually think Israel's leaders wanted the outcome to be a multinational peacekeeping force to replace Hezb's fighters in Lebanon. They've been saying that in public since the first few days of the conflict.

Much simpler is that the Israelis were simply stunned by the ferocity and effectiveness of Hezbollah resistance and forgot that they did not have control of the images and the message in the way they do in Gaza or in the West Bank. And that this time the US failed to offer the sort of ladder that usually helps the Israelis up from their own excess. The multinational force idea is simply the Israelis lookly wildly around for another ladder.

slim, no point being polite, just go fuck yourself. Just what the fuck you think you're accomplishing with your constant reposting of your hate rants I have no idea.

Posted by: snicker-snack on August 5, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote:

"Has anyone read anything that suggests Israel was trying to provoke an international intervention from the very beginning? Or is a cigar just a cigar?"
_____________

Kevin, if the Israelis thought that their airpower could do the job alone, then it would be the first time they've ever relied on that theory. It certainly isn't US military joint doctrine, though doubtless there are some Air Force types who secretly believe it. (Even the misunderstood "Shock and Awe" is intended as an adjunct to a land assault.)

The Israeli air assault has all the classic qualities of an effort to "shape the battlespace." That's what hitting all those bridges, roads and airports is about, cutting lines of communication. That means they have something long term in mind. Yet, they began the campaign with only two brigades on line at the border and haven't fully mobilized. That suggests they don't intend to do the whole job themselves.

Typical Israeli tactics use a combination of blinding speed and intensely focused force (their version of the German blitzkrieg). If they thought they could clean out all of Hezbollah themselves, they'd have used quick armored thrusts to get well behind the forward positions, then spread out to cut off and kill the remaining pockets of resistance. They're not doing that. Here they are, taking their sweet old time, cleaning out villages in turn on their way to the Litani, giving Hezbollah plenty of time to run away (though without their heavier equipment). It's got the US Army officers I work with scratching their heads.

A possible explanation is that they don't intend to push for a killing blow, but are preparing for an inevitable ceasefire and some kind of robust international force. Cleaning out the border area would enable such a force to deploy without hindrance, leaving Hezbollah as just another armed militia with no immediate purpose if it cannot again threaten the border.

Of course, it you intended such a course of action, you'd almost certainly claim to be doing otherwise. Are you certain all those leaks aren't intentional?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 5, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Israel just wanted to destroy the infrastructure built up by Hezbollah and set them back many years? Afterall, Hezbollah is now pressuring Arab governments to push for a ceasefire. If Israel scerwed up so bad, shouldn't Hezbollah press their advantage and prolong the conflict?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 5, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

The cigar is just a cigar.

Posted by: Occam on August 5, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Slim:

As you serious?

That is the standard Jew answer to all Jew f**kups.

It was part of the plan all along,....

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,...

And yet, according to you, they rule the world. Imagine what they could do if they weren't such fuckups!

Posted by: fatty on August 5, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom F*cker: Hezbollah is now pressuring Arab governments to push for a ceasefire.

And the Iraqi insurgency is on its last legs . . .

And the tooth fairy is real . . . and the tooth fairy is Freedom F*cker!

Posted by: Advocate for God on August 5, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Under a sane U.S. administration the Israelis wouldn't have got a green light to be so savage, and might not have attempted such a disproportionate response if they knew they weren't going to be able to push it as hard as they wanted.

The U.S. acting as a brake on rather than a catalyst for conflict is part of what has kept the ME from blowing up badly over the years. Instead, we have Dubya doing what he does best - producing another horrific intractable problem for his successor to deal with.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 5, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds more like a win-win situation for Iraqi forces right now:

  • They get to pound Hizbollah
  • They don't actually care if they leave chaos in their wake
  • They don't have to say, 'they have missiles!' anymore, because the world can see that indeed, there are missiles and fighters and an army hiding in the Lebonese suburbs.

Which all seem like win situations to me - and they always had the Frence-like attitude of combat-unit searches for captured citizens and military.

Posted by: Crissa on August 5, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

"And yet, according to you, they rule the world."

I have never said any such thing. You piece of lying trailer trash.

Posted by: slim on August 5, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem is that Jews are organized liars. They lie as a community.

One of the major lies spread by Jews, is that Jews are "very smart" people.

But this just isn't true, as the evidence clearly shows.

Look at the amazing miscalculations of the US Jew "intelligentsia" concerning their attack on Iraq.

The list is very long. These guys are really, really, stupid.

Look at the amazing miscalculations of the Israeli Jew "intelligentsia" concerning their attack on Lebanon.

The Janitor at MIT could have predicted the outcomes better.

The real problem is that the Jews who make the decisions are REALLY STUPID.

And the reason this is not clear to all, is that Jews continually lie about their abilities.

A great example of organized Jew lying about how great they are, is the Einstein myth.

Posted by: slim on August 5, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Weintraub seems to have overlooked that PM Olmert promised that the IDF would not stop until Hezbollah was DISARMED. Clearly, the Israelis are not about to accomplish that.

Not to mention that Olmert has been further humiliated by his claims of significantly destroying Hezbollah’s ability to launch rockets with the increased level of rockets launched over recent days.
.

Posted by: VJ on August 5, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

You could be right, JimBOB, but what if they pull it off? Even if the Israelis stumbled into it, wouldn't getting a real international force on the Lebanon border serve to hamstring Hebollah? It might also result in the Lebanese government doing something about their totally inadequate military.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 5, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler

No significant international force is going to step in; W hasn't got the prestige anymore to get it done, and no major international power wants to step into this hornet's nest.

As VJ pointed out, Olmert boasted they were going to completely disarm Hezbollah. Having a few fig leaf blue helmets hiding in barracks doesn't do this, and instead Hezbollah is now seen through the region as an equal partner with Israel in a cease-fire.

Trowel as much lipstick as you want on this pig, it isn't going to fool anyone. Israel tried to take Hezbollah down and failed.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 5, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Under a sane U.S. administration the Israelis wouldn't have got a green light to be so savage, and might not have attempted such a disproportionate response if they knew they weren't going to be able to push it as hard as they wanted."

That's right. Israel should be allowed to kidnap two and kill no more than eight Hezbollah associates. That would be proportionate and wholly acceptable.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 5, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Trowel as much lipstick as you want on this pig, it isn't going to fool anyone. Israel tried to take Hezbollah down and failed."

Does this mean Israel is weak because she doesn't have the fortitude to blow up the civilian human shields the Hezbollah is holding hostage?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 5, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

JimBOB, I'm not trying to dress this up in any way. Kevin asked for indications that might suggest something other than an Israeli/Hezbollah fight to the death and I gave my military observations. I make no claim to know whether they are following the right course. I'm just pointing out some facts. Anyone who thinks the slow Israeli advance is caused by stiff Hezbollah resistance doesn't know much about warfare. Especially as the Israelis normally conduct it.

You are correct about one thing. If they get an international force, it won't be a few blue helmets who spend all their time playing basketball. It will have to be a real fighting force with a flexible enough ROE to stop Hezbollah from reestablishing themselves in the border area. I have no idea if anyone is willing to provide such a force. Perhaps NATO? They've already taken over a fighting role in part of Afghanistan. This would be a simpler task than fighting Taliban in the Hindu Kush.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 5, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter:

What do you call a bunch of people who destroy a whole nation on the basis of two soldiers being taken captive.

What do you call a bunch of people who murder civilians in their hundreds, going on thousands, in a preplanned attack.

You call them EVIL NAZI JEWS.

Posted by: slim on August 5, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

From the Jerusalem Post, 17 july,


http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1150886020732&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter


On Sunday, senior diplomatic officials said
Israel will not rule out an international presence in southern Lebanon to prevent Hizbullah from returning there after the completion of the current military operation.

The official said this would undoubtedly be on the agenda when a high-level delegation headed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's senior adviser V.J. Nambiar and Terje Roed-Larsen arrives on Tuesday.

Diplomatic officials said that what was being discussed was something that went beyond UNIFIL, and would be more like the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai, the multinational peace-keeping force stationed there.

However, a senior source in the Prime Minister's Office said, "We are not even close to that point," and that Israel wanted to see the Lebanese army deploy along Israel's northern border.


You can say that isn't quite what Kevin asked for, but if you're bidding on a house are you going to start low or high?

Posted by: cld on August 5, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Candi must have left some videotapes of the Boy Emperor Clown Criminal with the Israeli government during her last visit. Not only did PM Olmert say the other day that "We're making progress", but today a high-ranking IDF officer said "We have Hezbollah on the run".

What next, "We're bringing freedom and democracy to Lebanon" ?
.

Posted by: VJ on August 5, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

The Israeli message to the Arabs seem pretty clear. Any time they inflict damage on Israel, the Israelis will return the favor a hundred fold. I don't know about you, but this seems a much better deterence to terrorism than understanding root cause and appeasement.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 5, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

"What next, "We're bringing freedom and democracy to Lebanon" ?"

That would be horrible... wouldn't it?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 5, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

slim, I notice that your email address is "home.com."

Home wouldn't happen to be in Beirut, would it?

Please get your cell leader to assign someone else to this site. Either that or swap prepared posts with the person next to you. Your stuff is getting stale.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 5, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think this article by Dan Levy is a better explanation:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/746312.html

The article says, in part:

Witnessing the near-perfect symmetry of Israeli and American policy has been one of the more noteworthy aspects of the latest Lebanon war. A true friend in the White House. No deescalate and stabilize, honest-broker, diplomatic jaw-jaw from this president. Great. Except that Israel was actually in need of an early exit strategy, had its diplomatic options narrowed by American weakness and marginalization in the region, and found itself ratcheting up aerial and ground operations in ways that largely worked to Hezbollah's advantage, the Qana tragedy included. The American ladder had gone AWOL.

More worrying, while everyone here can identify an Israeli interest in securing the northern border and the justification in responding to Hezbollah, the goal of saving Lebanon's fragile Cedar Revolution sounds less distinctly Israeli. Perhaps an agenda invented elsewhere. As hostilities intensified, the phrase "proxy war" gained resonance.

Israelis have grown used to a different kind of American embrace - less instrumental, more emotional, but also responsible. A dependable friend, ready to lend a guiding hand back to the path of stabilization when necessary.

After this crisis will Israel belatedly wake up to the implications of the tectonic shift that has taken place in U.S.-Middle East policy?

In the past, Israel has always known that the US would urge restraint past a certain point when it came to military actions. With this Administration that has not been the case. I don't think there was any plan beforehand to attack and then force the international community to act, that just doesn't make sense by any notion of strategy. My guess is that with this new ballgame of a US administration that is willing to urge Israel to go farther than it would normally, Israeli strategy went a bit wacko.

In any event, I think Weintraub is way off base here.

Posted by: Nightprowlkitty on August 5, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

"What do you call a bunch of people who murder civilians in their hundreds, going on thousands, in a preplanned attack."

Hmmm... which civilians are you talking about? Americans? Britons? Spaniards? Jews? Hindus? Aussies? Buddhists? Africans? Russians? Thais? Moslems?

Are the evil NAZI Jews killing all those people in their hundreds?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 5, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom F*cker: I don't know about you, but this seems a much better deterence to terrorism than understanding root cause and appeasement.

Stalin thought so too.

And Saddam.

How nice of you to compare Bush and Israel's policies to Stalin and Saddam.

Sweet!

Posted by: Advocate for God on August 5, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter wrote:

"The Israeli message to the Arabs seem pretty clear. Any time they inflict damage on Israel, the Israelis will return the favor a hundred fold. I don't know about you, but this seems a much better deterence to terrorism than understanding root cause and appeasement."
____________

Nothing so simplistic as that, FF. The Israelis understand the root cause(s) well enough and are willing to address them, when the situation allows. Who would have thought ten years ago that they'd buy into the idea of a Palestinian state? They know that their economy and that of the Palestinians is inextricably linked and has been for some time. And they've always understood that their fight was not with the Lebanese people as a whole. They just don't buy into the idea that military force solves nothing. From their perspective, it's prevented their destruction several times.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 5, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, by Jeff Weintraub's (mistaken) use of Occam, there is never any gross incompetence, only disguised long-term scheming. For instance, many people I've talked to have concluded that no one could have been so stupid as to have made as many mistakes in Iraq as the Bush administration did, and therefore it's much simpler (and they're right, it is simpler) to assume that massive destabilization of the Middle East was the plan all along.

There seems to be a systematic logical error here, and an interesting failure of occam's razor. Clearly gross incompetence exists, even in those with able reputations, but a secret plan seems almost always a simpler hypothesis than a chain of incomprehensibly stupid decisions.

Perhaps in part the philosophical solution lies in the selection effect: because serious errors are much more noticeable than steady competence, one notices many more instances of strings of stupid decisions than a random sampling would suggest. So even if, in a given instance, a series of incredibly dumb decisions by a previously competent person seems much more unlikely than that the person has a secret scheme, the selection effect means that such surprising dumbness will be noticed much more often than chance would suggest, and thus occam's razor should be biased towards granting extreme incompetence the benefit of the doubt.

Certainly, if Bush and Israel hadn't fucked up their respective wars so badly, no one would even be asking the question of whether things actually went according to some secret plan.

Posted by: Thomas on August 5, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Stalin thought so too.

And Saddam."

As did FDR, JFK and every other US president (maybe with the exception of Jimmy Carter). So your point is?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

"Who would have thought ten years ago that they'd buy into the idea of a Palestinian state?"

With the preview of what a Palestinian state would look like, is anyone still buying into that idea?

"They know that their economy and that of the Palestinians is inextricably linked and has been for some time."

I wouldn't say that. Just because they are linked does not mean they cannot function without each other. My bet is the Israelis will adapt much better than the Palestinians. Much of the cheap labor used to be provided by Palestinians are already being replaced with immigrants from SE Asia.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

They better buy into the idea, FF. Conventional wisdom is very probably right in this case - there must be some sort of two state solution.

It doesn't matter in the greater scheme that Hamas cannot yet control all its members. Incomplete command and control is a characteristic of resistance movements and will take a while to correct. Hamas still has to make things work or be voted out of office. Supporting Palestinian independence was a smart move for both the US and Israel, no matter what the immediate problems are.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

The only question that remains -- that is, once we dispense with the idiotic notion that Israel wanted nothing less than a "robust" international force on its northern border, and concluded the best way to acheive this was to bomb Lebanon back to the stone ages (or at least to the late 1980s) -- is will Israel be able to resist striking out at Syria?

On the surface, it appears Israel has everything to lose the deeper it pushes into Lebanon; it will find itself politically isolated in the region and will suffer all the costs of such an endeavor in terms of lives lost and resources expended. The cost of attacking Syria are even more stark.

But with the neo-cons increasingy desperate and with troops spread through Iraq and Afghanistan, the Cheney administration might sieze this opportunity to unleash the Israeli proxy army. To paraphrase Dick: fuck restraint, on to Damascus!

Consider Hezbollah's initial attack -- even if it was prompted by Israel's reinvasion of Gaza -- as another gift, much like 9/11 was, to the demented neo-con dream of Middle East transformation.

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter said "I don't know about you, but this seems a much better deterence to terrorism than understanding root cause and appeasement."

Sure, nutcase,.... kill more people who's property you've stolen and/or wrecked, just like the Nazis you are.

Continue this policy till everyone on the planet hates Jews,... all Jews.

Continue this policy till one of these "deterred" Arabs sets of a nuke in Tel Aviv.

It will happen. It is only a matter of time.

Why will it happen,... because of nutcases like Freedom Fighter and their policy of "deterrence."

Besides you have it all wrong,... the terrorists here, are the Jews.

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

There's a lot of talk about an international force, but no will. It simply won't happen.

The only plausible outcome is that Israel will be left holding a "security zone" in southern Lebanon - hopefully, not for another 18 years.

Posted by: Mark Gilbert on August 6, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Losing so badly was not the plan. Eventually having a multi-national force instead of Hezbollah in South Lebanon was.

Posted by: Easter Lemming on August 6, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with nightprowlkitty upthread. The most plausible story is that the Israelis expected the US to pull on the leash after a few days of bombing, resulting in a bloody nose for Hezbollah and the restoration of Israel's "deterrent capacity." Trouble is, they forgot who runs US foreign policy these days, and so they got stuck with a no-win campaign.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on August 6, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Since the onset of this war we've seen a steady stream of conspiracy theories. Set side by side, they'd stretch from Tripoli to Eilat. I came to call them blancmangist, recalling Monty Python's sketch about pudding-shaped alien invaders. Its dark punchline: "They mean to take Wimbledon!"

There's less to this war than meets the eye. Read "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," the neocon mission statement, and see. Its scenarios read like that grade school joke: "Germany got Hungary and ate Turkey."

The players here are military, diplomatic and geopolitical dimwits, making it up as they go along. Halutz is IAF, so he thought "air strikes" as Rummy was trimming forces and thought "lean and mean" for Iraq. Why tax ourselves? They're not worth the headache!

Just a cigar? Kinda. Just one twist. For clowns this dangerous, I'd say it's an exploding cigar.

Posted by: Creeping Truth on August 6, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

What is this , a " can't see the purloined letter " routine ?
How long has it been obvious that the PAC wants the Middle East on the boil ? Ordinary considerations of nicely-nicely do not apply.
Whether or not George and the boys are collectively insane is moot : they have their blueprint and are following it through to its logical conclusion. Consequences are the cost of doing business.
Check out Ha'aretz on Aug 5 ( today ) for a rundown of how a tie in with Washington brought credibility to fringe elements in Israeli politics.

Posted by: opit on August 6, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: who are these people who have taken up residence in your comment thread? Yikes.

Personally, I find the idea that Israel was actually trying to get the UN involved completely ludicrous. Israel does not trust the UN. It does not trust most of the Europeans, who would have to provide most of the troops if those troops were to be competent. I mean, would you want even a souped-up UNIFIL guarding your border? Only if that border was as peaceful as, say, our border with Canada.

Plus, if they were actually angling for a multilateral force, why the confused first few days, the failure to really put troops in until after they had been driven back from Bint Jbeil -- if it comes to that, why be driven back from Bint Jbeil? Is there some equally convoluted explanation of why what looks like handing Hezbollah an immense propaganda victory while jeopardizing their own reputation for military awesomeness is somehow part of a very very cleaver plan?

Occam's razor. They thought we'd stop them. It's what a friend would have done.

Posted by: hilzoy on August 6, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

MidEast Security expert Patrick Lane on the "cease-fire" agreement:

1- France and the United States are not at war with each other. They cannot agree to end the fighting.

2- Hizbullah thinks it is winning both tactically and strategically. Why will it agree to anything other than a cease-fire in place?

3- Such a cease-fire will be a victory for Hizbullah.

4- Who will disarm Hizbullah if it accepts such a cease-fire?

The news babble over this non-event is meaningless.

Posted by: Thinker on August 6, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

hizoy, I don't think Israel was confused in the first few days. I think Halutz genuinely beleived he could "shock and awe" hizbollah into submission. Where have we seen this picture before?

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

The Israelis appear largely to support the incursions into Lebanon and Gaza. As with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it's not wise to discount the purely political aspects of the situation. The public wanted something done in the worst way, and that's exactly what they got.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 6, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

smedleybutler: you may be right, though the idea that anyone thought that they could remove, among other things, over 10,000 katyushas from the air is a little hard to comprehend.

In any case, while I still don't buy the story, I came back to eat some of my words. Ha'Aretz:

Israel drops call for immediate deployment of int'l force in S. Lebanon, UNIFIL can oversee cease-fire

Posted by: hilzoy on August 6, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

The cease-fire agreement between the U.S. and France to end the fighting in Lebanaon I think will spur Estonia and Zaire to conclude their own cease-fire agreement to end the bloodletting in Iraq. It's about time!

But seriously, the more I hear administration hacks speaking in terms of "transformational" cease-fires, the more I understand that Rice and Bolton are providing additional cover for Israeli miliatry operations, which may spin wildly out of control to the detriment of Lebanon, Israel, and possibly Syria, which in turn could cause tremors inside Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, which of course is all a prelude to the march on Tehran...

The fact that so many think this "crisis" will be contained inside Lebanon, that it will simply run its course in a few weeks, simply hardens my gut feel that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

smedley, you do know that the "Shock and Awe" concept is not designed to make anyone submit by itself, don't you?

In any case, the Israeli air campaign is nothing similar to the "Shock and Awe" tactic.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

I guess Freedom Fries there doesn't consider someone a civilian if they're not lucky enough to live in a country he likes.

Posted by: Crissa on August 6, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Trash, from what I understand, massive and sustained aerial bombardment is a "type" of shock and awe, as was, say, the German blitzkrieg. Whether or not this alone causes "submission" isn't the point. The point is that since its inception, the proponents of air power have always overstated its effectiveness.

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

"The point is that since its inception, the proponents of air power have always overstated its effectiveness."

No doubt about that, smedley, and I speak as a retired Air Force pilot. :)

However, the concept of "Shock and Awe" as developed in the 1990s is not simply massive, sustained bombardment. Don't bother reading the Wikipedia entry on the subject - it is highly inaccurate.

According to its authors:

http://www.shockandawe.com/shockch2.html

"Shock and Awe are linked to the four core characteristics that define Rapid Dominance: knowledge, rapidity, brilliance, and control."

While they speak of historical examples of how both shock and awe have been used, the type of "Shock and Awe" they hypothesized is only a part of the effort to gain Rapid Dominance. Rapid Dominance is a joint concept, not simply an air concept.

Under the current concept of "Shock and Awe," is part of an extremely rapid campaign that is so violent and overwhelming that the enemy is confused, off-balance, and made unable to react in a coherent fashion so that they can be defeated even without the destruction of most fighting units. A true "Shock and Awe" air campaign would simultaneously hit all command and control nodes, all power grids, lines of communication, and important military and transportation infrastructure. To be effective, it must exploited by an immediate and overwhelming ground assault.

This is not what the Israelis have attempted, in any particular. Their sortie rate has been far below their peak capability. What they have been doing is a very measured shaping of the battlespace. Their ground assault is not designed to overwhelm, but to gradually push the enemy back. Such tactics are a sharp departure from normal Israeli tactics. However, there is no evidence that this departure is unintentional.

Something else is going on here.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

( ) 西西()广广广使

Posted by: ss on August 6, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Every time a major international stupidity happens, various conspiracy theorists offer complicated explanations to explain why it can't be what it seems to be. I mean no one could be that dumbthere have to be secret motives and dealings going on that we can only guess at.

If you can remember the Nixon flameout, you'll remember a half dozen complicated theories floating around that tried to explain the burglary and the tapes that would have made Agatha Christie proud. As it turned out it was just a dumb guy doing dumb things.

We give the politicians too much credit.

Posted by: James of DC on August 6, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

It somehow seems improbable that, after thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel, Iran and Syria (the countries that manufactured and transported them) will emerge from this unscathed.

smedleybutler makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: JS on August 6, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, Shock & Awe doesn't seem like an appropriate approach to a decentralized guerilla organization with loose lines of command & control, which might not even be aware of decapitation.

I wonder if armies have their own version of the Peter Principle, that they tend to develop a capability to overwhelm their last adversary, which most likely no longer exists.

(There used to be a Unix adage, I've heard, that any application tends to be developed to the point that it handles email. This seems vaguely related somehow.)

Posted by: bad Jim on August 6, 2006 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

The thesis is pretty ridiculous. One can imagine that if the plan was to get a multinational force in there, Israel wouldn't have risked committing war crimes and weakening their negotiating position. There have been plenty of mistakes to go around, but pretending that Israel is coming out with a cherry on top of all this, and engineering everything to work out this way, seems to suggest that they are a lot more evil than anyone has imagined to date. If Israel engineered this massacre of Lebanon civilians and infrastructure out of thin air, serious criminal proceedings should follow.

Posted by: Jimm on August 6, 2006 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

JS said: It somehow seems improbable that, after thousands of rockets have been fired at, and thousands of bombs have been dropped on, Lebanon, the US and Britain (the countries that manufactured and transported them) will emerge from this unscathed.

Seems JS is just another one-eyed jerk. Typical nutcase Jew.

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm said: "If Israel engineered this massacre of Lebanon civilians and infrastructure out of thin air, serious criminal proceedings should follow."

Israel did worse, it engineered both of the current massacres from nothing,...

In the case of Gaza, the Jew press fabricated a clearly fraudulent story of a "kidnapped" soldier (see above).

In the case of Lebanon, it appears that the Jew press lied about capture of the two soldiers being "cross-border". Well,... it was cross-border alright, but it was the Jew soldiers that had crossed the border. And even if the press didn't lie, the Jews chose to start the Lebanon massacre, plain and simple.

See: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/israeli_solders.html

One thing you should know about the whatreallyhappened.com site, is that it is Jew false-opposition. So, what is reported here is somewhat suspect.

Usually, such sites are about damage control and therefore most of what is reported is a sanitized version of what really happened.

And yeah, Nuremberg type war crimes trials are a must. When found guilty they should hang.

Not only that, the Jews as a whole should pay from the reconstruction of Lebanon. Jew business' in the US will obviously pay the lions share.

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

JS wrote:

"It somehow seems improbable that, after thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel, Iran and Syria (the countries that manufactured and transported them) will emerge from this unscathed."
______________

Why not, JS? Israel is being pragmatic. They don't want a wider war and they cannot reach Iran anyway.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 6:18 AM | PERMALINK

bad Jim wrote:

"Trashhauler, Shock & Awe doesn't seem like an appropriate approach to a decentralized guerilla organization with loose lines of command & control, which might not even be aware of decapitation."
___________

That was exactly my point, bad Jim. I didn't suggest they should use "Shock and Awe." I made the point that they weren't using it. Although Hezbollah has evolved into something more akin to a conventional force than a guerilla force, "Shock and Awe" is still not an appropriate tactic for the situation, which is why they are not attempting it.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm wrote:

"If Israel engineered this massacre of Lebanon civilians and infrastructure out of thin air, serious criminal proceedings should follow."
____________

Why suggest that Israel engineered anything, Jimm? The Hezbollah attack apparently happened and it apparently convinced Israel that they could no longer ignore the threat.

As for criminal proceedings, under international law, there are no automatic criminal sanctions between nations. One might just as easily point out that Lebanon itself was in violation of international law for permitting the existence within its borders of a force conducting attacks on another country. Neither is going to result in criminal proceedings, just as nothing would have happened to Hezbollah if Israel had chosen to to simply complain to the UN, save perhaps, another resolution. And the ICJ can only act when all parties agree to submit to its jurisdiction.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Please remind Mr. Weintraub that the absence of evidence does not constitute proof.

Posted by: bobbyp on August 6, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Israel's response was a reckless gamble, like ours in Iraq. They underestimed Hezbollah's ability to wage guerrila warfare and control the political public relations campaign in the media.

A few cell phone pictures of dead pregnant women, infants, children and elderly posted on internet sites or in the media equalizes the power dynamics. Few care who fired the first shot.

Daily, each reports the numbers killed as if war is a sports contest where the side with the most dead wins.

"...nobody's right if everybody's wrong...."

Posted by: Jersey-Missouri on August 6, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

"which may spin wildly out of control to the detriment of Lebanon, Israel, and possibly Syria, which in turn could cause tremors inside Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, which of course is all a prelude to the march on Tehran..."

So this is a good thing then?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

"It doesn't matter in the greater scheme that Hamas cannot yet control all its members. Incomplete command and control is a characteristic of resistance movements and will take a while to correct. Hamas still has to make things work or be voted out of office. Supporting Palestinian independence was a smart move for both the US and Israel, no matter what the immediate problems are."

I don't buy the conventional wisdom that having a terrorist state is a good idea, especially since Hamas wasn't voted in to make trians run on time, but rather have Israel wiped off the map.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

There is every reason to believe that Israel's methodic destruction of Lebanon -- and let's be clear here: Israel is engaging in collective punishment both in Lebanon and the Gaza strip, which is strictly prohibited by the Geneva Convention and thus a war crime -- was planned long before Hizbollah's initial excursion into Israeli territory. This was not some knee-jerk reaction to some minor kidnapping but rather the implementaion of an IDF plan to neutralize Hizbollah once and for all.

And I doubt anywhere in that plan there is a provision for a massive U.N. occupation of southern Lebanon.

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

"Israel's response was a reckless gamble, like ours in Iraq. They underestimed Hezbollah's ability to wage guerrila warfare and control the political public relations campaign in the media.

A few cell phone pictures of dead pregnant women, infants, children and elderly posted on internet sites or in the media equalizes the power dynamics. Few care who fired the first shot."

Yeah, especially if media organizations are actively engaged in the conflict.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

My comment last week about France wanting to ante up with the big boys might be an outside possibility here. I've read that the woman currently leading in the polls to replace Chirac as advocated mandatory conscription [a draft for those of you upthread] for all car-burning troublemakers without a job. Maybe trying to support the Lebanese Army in re-establishing control of their own country would be a worthwhile chore, and would signal to the hot-heads in the European Muslim ghettos that there is a limit to multiculti PC tolerance in Old Europe.

Posted by: minion of rove on August 6, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

"I've read that the woman currently leading in the polls to replace Chirac as advocated mandatory conscription [a draft for those of you upthread] for all car-burning troublemakers without a job."

Would this mean the French military will end up comprising of mostly Moslem youths who do not identify themselves as French? This is very interesting. I am not sure I'd be very comfortable with this idea if I were French.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Freedom, answer me this: if the point of the Cheney administration is to spread freedom and democracy throughout the region, then why is the U.S. proxy army in Israel waging a brutal campaign against the only two countries -- Lebanon and Palestine -- which have actually held democratic elections? How can the U.S. on the one hand praise the "Cedar Revolution," then on the other dispactch hundreds of bunker buster bombs to Israel in its effort to destroy the economic and social infrastructure in Lebanon? Furthermore, why force Palestinian's to hold open and free elections, only to then turn around and support a virtual strangulation of the West Bank and Gaza when the results of those elections do not satisfy our expectations?

I mean, aside for killing every fucking Arab and cleaning out Islam's clock, what is the neo-con plan in the region? Surely the democracy motiff is no longer operable, right?

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I just don't buy the bullshit about Israel wanting an international force on their northern border. If such a force is to be regarded as legitimate, it will have to deal with all transgressions on the border equaly and Israel is not going to like that. Contrary to what appears to be frequent transgression by Hezbollah (if you read the MSM), the major transgressor is Israel. That is why many in Lebanon see Israel as the cause of this latest trouble. Many in the west (such as Freedom Fighter and Trashhauler) are either delusional or suffering from amnesia if they think that this started with the capture of the two soldiers. It has been going on at least since Israel unilaterally "evacuated" Lebanon due to the damage that Hezbollah did to the IDF. More likely it has been going on since Israel and Lebanon signed an armistice in 1949 and over all that time Israel has been the major transgressor.

Posted by: blowback on August 6, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

"I mean, aside for killing every fucking Arab and cleaning out Islam's clock, what is the neo-con plan in the region? Surely the democracy motiff is no longer operable, right?"

Well, it's quite clear the neo-cons made a grave mistake in thinking that Islam and democracy could somehow work out to everyone's benefit. It's also quite clear Islam is not capable of co-existing in peace with any other society in this world. It seems Ann Coulter's plan is looking more and more prescient with each passing day.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"If such a force is to be regarded as legitimate, it will have to deal with all transgressions on the border equaly and Israel is not going to like that."

You mean the force would actually have to stop Hezbollha from firing rockets into Israel from UN positions as opposed to just averting their gaze? I can see why Israel wouldn't like this.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Did Israel overreact ? Hah ! What part of "asymmetrical response" is unclear ?
Smedley-Butler
"Democracy Motif"
I like that. Quick quip for advertising theme.

Posted by: opit on August 6, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

'Fighter' posted:

"That would be horrible... wouldn't it?"

Yes, if the Bushies attempted to force democracy the same way they are in Iraq, at the barrel of a gun. It's never happened that way.
.

Posted by: VJ on August 6, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

smedleybutler wrote:

"There is every reason to believe that Israel's methodic destruction of Lebanon -- and let's be clear here: Israel is engaging in collective punishment both in Lebanon and the Gaza strip, which is strictly prohibited by the Geneva Convention and thus a war crime -- was planned long before Hizbollah's initial excursion into Israeli territory. This was not some knee-jerk reaction to some minor kidnapping but rather the implementaion of an IDF plan to neutralize Hizbollah once and for all."
_____________

smedley, as described in the Geneva Conventions, the prohibition of collective punishment is in reference to occupied territories. It is meant to prevent an occupying force from exercising undue punishment of a population under their jurisdiction, e.g., the eradication of Lidice as a revenge punishment for the killing of General Heydrich. It cannot be applied to an active military campaign, except for those portions of enemy territory under the direct control of the occupying power. There is no judicial precedent to support the use of the term as you use it.

As to your main point, what are the reasons to believe that the Israeli campaign was planned before the Hezbollah incursion?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq is in a civil war. Count on it. This so-called war is over. We lost. Start the impeachment proceedings for Bush and Cheney. Hello, President Hastert God help us all.

Posted by: Jay Is A Sissy on August 6, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

blowback wrote:

"Contrary to what appears to be frequent transgression by Hezbollah (if you read the MSM), the major transgressor is Israel. That is why many in Lebanon see Israel as the cause of this latest trouble. Many in the west (such as Freedom Fighter and Trashhauler) are either delusional or suffering from amnesia if they think that this started with the capture of the two soldiers. It has been going on at least since Israel unilaterally "evacuated" Lebanon due to the damage that Hezbollah did to the IDF."
___________

blowback, perhaps I do suffer from amnesia, but didn't Israel leave Lebanese territory six years ago? As I recall, they used the UN demarcation to determine how far back they had to move. The Shebaa Farms region was captured from Syria, not Lebanon. To what transgressions are you referring?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, Jay, even if it is happening, losing a war isn't an impeachable offense.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler - maybe this article from the SF Chronicle:

Israel's military response by air, land and sea to what it considered a provocation last week by Hezbollah militants is unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago.

In the six years since Israel ended its military occupation of southern Lebanon, it watched warily as Hezbollah built up its military presence in the region. When Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers last week, the Israeli military was ready to react almost instantly.

"Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board."

It is a real shame that things are not going to plan for the IDF.

BTW, your knowledge of the Fourth Geneva Convention is just as crappy as your knowledge of current affairs. The Fourth Geneva Convention relates to "the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War". The relevant part here is Part 111 which covers the "Status and Treatment of Protected Persons". Within that we need to look at "Section I. Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories".

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

Posted by: blowback on August 6, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase Napoleon Bonaparte, never ascribe to ulterior motives that which can be adequately explained by mere incomptence. Sure there are occasional cases where, though sheer brilliance (or sheer luck), people do manage to pull off a desired result through such oblique and convoluted strategies. So I guess the double bank shot scenerio is at least possible. Just keep in mind that sheer brilliance, by definition, is extremely rare. Examples of sheer incomptence are much more common in the world (particulary among hard line, ideologically driven politicians). The odds are definitely on incomptence.

Posted by: CalD on August 6, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler - you are telling me that since Israel "pulled out" of Lebanon, they have never once sent troops into Lebanon, they have never once fired into Lebanon or Lebanese territory killing shepherds and fishermen and they have never once sent jets flying over Lebanon.

Posted by: blowback on August 6, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hizbollah killed 10 Israeli soldiers on Sunday in its deadliest rocket strike yet and Israeli bombs killed 11 Lebanese civilians as Lebanon rejected a draft U.N. resolution to end the 26-day-old war.

http://today.reuters.com/news/home.aspx

Posted by: jamatwitsend on August 6, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: like you, I have serious doubts about Weintraubs thesis. Hes strayed a long way from Occams razor.

Israel has never wanted a multinational force; rather it has flaunted U.N. resolutions and solutions for decades. A multinational solution would certainly involve giving back land (Shebaa Farms), something Israel could have done long ago.

Israel and the United States remind me of the careless bully who has made a mistake. The bully has been drawn into a fight while the whole world is watching and judging his strategy and tactics. The whole world has seen him pick up a club and beat the crap out of little guy. Bully claims ad nauseam that little guy hit him first. But everyone notes that Bully has little guys lunch and aint giving it back.

Question. Why do so many people think, including Israeli leaders if you take them at face value, that Lebanon could wipe out Hezbollah? The Israeli military, which is most probably very competent, is trying to do it and look at the huge, expensive, difficult mess thats been created. Leads me to believe that the Lebanon government likely could not have done it.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 6, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Not a big conspiracy buff myself. But Michael Totten's blog detailed his conversations with IDF troops on the northern border quite some time ago (April?). The soldiers told him somethhing big was brewing, and that tensions had been increasing for some time, and that there had been a major increase in Hezbollah provocations for quite a while.

So, who knows? My guess: the Israelis had been preparing for war on their northern frontier for many months, but were perhaps overly optimistic in their assesments as to the efficacy of a campaign conducted mostly by airpower. It wouldn't make sense for them to get bogged down in a largely inneffective ground campaign (which now appears to be the case). Even if one's goal is to corral the international community into forcing an agreement on Hezbollah, one would still be better off negotiating from the greatest possible position of strength. That is something Israel manifestly lacks right now. I suspect Israel could have had such a powerful negotiating perch had she gone in from the getgo with much larger numbers on the ground, and if she had perhaps refrained from such a messy (and disastrous, from a PR standpoint) reliance on air power.

In short, Israel had been planning a war for some time, and seized upon recent provocations to launch it. But Israel badly mucked up the strategy, planning, and preparations. Sound familiar?

Posted by: 99 on August 6, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hizbollah killed 10 Israeli soldiers on Sunday in its deadliest rocket strike yet and Israeli bombs killed 11 Lebanese civilians as Lebanon rejected a draft U.N. resolution to end the 26-day-old war."

I find it strange that with all the smart weapons at Israel's disposal, they always seem to kill civilians while the Hezbollah who randomly fire crude rockets into civilian populations always manage to kill the Israeli soldiers.

But then again, considering the source is Reuters, one wonders how reliable that information really is.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

A better theory than Weintraub's is discussed at Informed Comment, Juan Cole's site today. It's almost too scary to ponder but has to do with peak oil and sees Israel as the US ally who is carrying out Step 3 (Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon) in preparation for going after the prize, Iran.
Any questions?

Posted by: nepeta on August 6, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"But Israel badly mucked up the strategy, planning, and preparations. Sound familiar?"

Yes it sure does. If the good guys can't win a war in 2 weeks, then it's "quagmire", perfectly on queue.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, military campaigns go ever so wonderful when they are led by the Bomber Harris types of the world.

A former Navy pilot at the Pentagon - An Air Force General in charge of the IDF - Had only Curtis LeMay been in charge at DoD.

A better take on the situation is posted at Informed Comment this morning - Oil in Iran and the Iranian ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 6, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"The Iranians this week began a double game in Lebanon best summed up by President Ahmadinejad's message to Muslim nations yesterday in Malaysia: "Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented."

What is it about this statement that liberals don't undertand?

"But then again, considering the source is Reuters, one wonders how reliable that information really is."

Hizbollah fired over 200 Katyusha rockets into Israel on Friday and Reuters was unable to find any destruction. It's a mystery.


"There is every reason to believe that Israel's methodic destruction of Lebanon -- and let's be clear here: Israel is engaging in collective punishment both in Lebanon and the Gaza strip, which is strictly prohibited by the Geneva Convention and thus a war crime -- was planned long before Hizbollah's initial excursion into Israeli territory. This was not some knee-jerk reaction to some minor kidnapping but rather the implementaion of an IDF plan to neutralize Hizbollah once and for all."

But what Hamas and Hizbollah have been doing is allowed by the Geneva Convention?

And Hizbollah has a plan to eliminate Israel, but that's ok in your little mind?

You do remember that Israel left Lebanon and the Gaza with the promise that leaving would maybe bring peace. It's a mystery why working diplomatically with terrorist groups have not brought peace to the area.

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

In the LLL fantasy bubble world, the year 2000 doesn't exist. History began on July 12, 2006 when Israel began fighting back. So you see, if you edit the timeline to when history REALLY begins(according to a leftist) it's easy to show who's the REAL aggressor. In this, Israel.

Posted by: Doug on August 6, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

This war is exposing a lot of weaknesses in American neo-con/Israeli Likudnik plans for Iran. Both have been talking about how they plan on using airpower to destroy Iran's nuclear program. Given how successful Israel has been in taking out Hezbollah's rocket launchers, perhaps they need to rework their plans. I will admit that the rocket launchers are very different as targets to gas centrifuges but the Iranians have probably buried all their centifuges deep underground while the rocket launches although mobile are operated on the surface.

If the US/Israeli plan is for more than just taking out the Iranians' nuclear program such as regime change, then that plan is due a complete rewrite. The air campaign against Lebanon has shown yet again that attacks on civilian targets do not fracture a society, they just unite it behind its leaders and that the attacked civilians don't blame their own government for the damage suffered.

I wish that neo-cons would stop using The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai in their dealings with Arabs.

Posted by: blowback on August 6, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

If the good guys can't win a war in 2 weeks, then it's "quagmire", perfectly on queue.

It's been nearly four weeks -- not two -- , and yes, it is beginning to look like a quaqmire, especially in contrast to past conflicts where the IDF has been the victor. But perhaps you misunderstand me. I want the Israelis to smash Hezbollah. I'd like every Hezbollah terrorist -- every last one of them is an enemy of the US -- dead. I fervantly wish Israel had sent in 100,000 troops to utterly overwhelm southern Lebanon and deal Iran ('cause that's who we're really talking about here) a major defeat. But democratic governments are absurdly casualty-averse, it would appear, and Israel is no different. America's best friend in the Middle East is looking decidedly less valuable as an ally. I recommend Krauthammer's devestating piece on the subject from Friday's WaPo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080301258.html

Posted by: 99 on August 6, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I wish that neo-cons would stop using The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai in their dealings with Arabs"

I wish the liberals would stop using their own minds in dealing with Arabs.

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

blowback wrote:

"BTW, your knowledge of the Fourth Geneva Convention is just as crappy as your knowledge of current affairs. The Fourth Geneva Convention relates to "the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War". The relevant part here is Part 111 which covers the "Status and Treatment of Protected Persons". Within that we need to look at "Section I. Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories"."
_______________

blowback, please, I don't think I've done anything to deserve an insult, nor do I intend to.

Yes, the Protocol covers all protected persons. Other parts of Convention IV state:

"Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations." By the Occupying power. And the last clause includes the concept of military necessity as a mitigating factor.

And further:

"International law also prohibits an occupying power from imposing collective punishment on the occupied population."

Do we know that Israel has been conducting collective punishment in areas under their control? Lest we spend all day bandying Convention quotes, let us agree that the contention is at least debatable - and that insults don't aid the dialogue.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jay said

You do remember that Israel left Lebanon and the Gaza with the promise that leaving would maybe bring peace. It's a mystery why working diplomatically with terrorist groups have not brought peace to the area.

There are a couple of problems with this argument.

1. Israel never really left Lebanon or Gaza. It might have pulled out but has continually re-intervened in both.

2. Isarel, like the US, doesn't negotiate with terrorist groups***. They just operate unilaterally.

***They both do but that dilutes the manichean message.

Posted by: blowback on August 6, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

blowback wrote:

"Trashhauler - you are telling me that since Israel "pulled out" of Lebanon, they have never once sent troops into Lebanon, they have never once fired into Lebanon or Lebanese territory killing shepherds and fishermen and they have never once sent jets flying over Lebanon."
____________

Oh, not at all, blowback. I'm even pretty sure they've killed a few school marms and librarians along with those shepherds and fishermen. :)

No, seriously, I understood you to be referring to something other than retaliation strikes. I simply don't recall any unprovoked incursions by Israeli soldiers since they withdrew six years ago. It's why I asked.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

"2. Isarel, like the US, doesn't negotiate with terrorist groups***. They just operate unilaterally"

Really. So what did take place during the Camp David Peace accords with Arafat and Sharon?


"1. Israel never really left Lebanon or Gaza. It might have pulled out but has continually re-intervened in both."

Are suicide bombers considered interventionists?

Smarter liberals please.

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, it doesn't matter what Hamas or Hezbollah do in regard to the Geneva Conventions. Israel must follow them, just as we must. However, in the real world, any infraction must be substantiated beyond a doubt, otherwise it remains just an opinion.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK


Merely an article to promote the myth of invincibility of Israel. Read some of the Jewish journalists' doubts about PM and Chief of Staff.

The term "disproportionate response" is more shit than I can bear. It is cover language for killing people and more specifically murdering hundreds of innocent civilians and needlessly destroying infrastructure.

Posted by: pete with an attitude today on August 6, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler - what the Fourth Geneva Convention says elsewhere is irrelevant. Article 53 relates to occupied territory and we are not talking about occupied territory.

Posted by: blowback on August 6, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

blowback wrote:

"Both [neocons and Likudniks] have been talking about how they plan on using airpower to destroy Iran's nuclear program...If the US/Israeli plan is for more than just taking out the Iranians' nuclear program such as regime change, then that plan is due a complete rewrite."

I agree with you entirely, blowback. If anyone decides to attack the Iranian nuclear program by air, there is going to be a massive amount of collateral damage and no certainty that the targets will be adequately neutralized. It's probably why the Adminstration is so keen on involving the UN and Europeans in the situation. In my opinion, that's a far better idea than unilateral air strikes.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Israelis kill far more civilians than fighters. Hezbollah appears to have a much different ratio. Who's the real Terrorist?

Posted by: no name on August 6, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Like the infraction of SC 1559?

Or is that opinion?

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

"The Israelis kill far more civilians than fighters. Hezbollah appears to have a much different ratio. Who's the real Terrorist?"

Once again, thank you for Hizbollahs talking points.

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Jay, it doesn't matter what Hamas or Hezbollah do in regard to the Geneva Conventions. Israel must follow them, just as we must"

Why then does anyone advocate diplomacy? If the Islamo-fascist groups are not held to any accountable measure, wouldn't negotitating with them be a colassal waste of time and energy?

So, considering a negotiated cease-fire with Hizbollah, on what grounds then do we hold them to their agreement if they continue to ignore every international rule of engagement?

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Once again, thank you for Hizbollahs talking points."

I think those were Democrat talking point... it's so hard to tell them apart now.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"So, considering a negotiated cease-fire with Hizbollah, on what grounds then do we hold them to their agreement if they continue to ignore every international rule of engagement?"

It has always been Hezbollah's position that they are not fighting so that we'll offer them something, but they fight to eliminate us.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on August 6, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

::sigh::

Okay, point taken.

However, your interpretation of the prohibition in Article 33 assumes that the bombing is intended as punishment. Unless you are arguing that any aerial bombardment is a de facto punishment, then it is difficult to show that the current bombing of Lebanon is intended as such. Without examining each fragord and sortie log, it is impossible to reach such a conclusion.

Further, if we aren't talking about occupied territory, then Article also 28 applies:

"The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations."

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"The Iranians this week began a double game in Lebanon best summed up by President Ahmadinejad's message to Muslim nations yesterday in Malaysia: "Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented."

Well I will ask again, what is it about this statement that the liberals fail to understand?

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"The Israelis kill far more civilians than fighters. Hezbollah appears to have a much different ratio."
_____________

How can anyone confirm either of these statements? Certainly not from press reports, which can only reflect what is shown to the reporters.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"The Israelis kill far more civilians than fighters. Hezbollah appears to have a much different ratio."

Let's talk about "intended" targets. Israel uses guided munitions on pre-supposed hostile targets, Hizbollah fires unguided rockets randomly at civilian targets. Hmmm........

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I am quite sure Hezbollah would love to be hitting power plants, water pumps, high value industries, military bases, etc. Their missiles just can't be aimed that well.

Similarly I am quite sure Israel would love to have a bomb they could drop on an apartment building which would release a bunch of tiny robots that would hunt down Hezbollah members by reading thier minds. But they don't have even one.

Both sides also have thier nutters that just want a couple suitcase nukes.

Posted by: jefff on August 6, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Rhetoric vs. Reality.

Right wingers and Israeli apologists never fail to mention, when talking about Iran, Hamas, or Hizbollah, that each seeks "the destruction of Israel." That is indeed true -- at the level of desire.

What is also true is that Israel is far and away the regions only superpower, its military is the fifth most powerful in the world, and it has at its disposal an arsenal of over 100 warheads and the missle technology to deliver them to the doorsteps of any Arabic, or European capital city.

So on the one hand we have a rhetorical device that is employed by Islamic Fundamentalists that panders to its adherents, but which lacks any basis in reality (unless, of course, you think Hamas and its arsenal of AKs is any match for Israel's U.S. supplied hardware).

Furthermore, it is unmistakably true that Israel is actively engaged in the process of destroying Palestine and Lebanon, and in the case of the former, has be doing so for nearly 40 years.

Thus, on the other hand, we have a very real army inflicting real devastation on two defenseless countries with the explicit aim of depopulating and securing the land for itself.

So we must ask, who is the terrorist, and who is the victim?

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I am quite sure Hezbollah would love to be hitting power plants, water pumps, high value industries, military bases, etc. Their missiles just can't be aimed that well"

Well then until they have those munitions I guess firing unguided rockets into civilian populations is acceptable. ?


"Both sides also have thier nutters that just want a couple suitcase nukes"

I agree, the difference is that Israel has nukes and shows restraint. Hizbollah does not have nukes (yet) nad has never demonstrated restraint.

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

""I am quite sure Hezbollah would love to be hitting power plants, water pumps, high value industries, military bases, etc. Their missiles just can't be aimed that well"

Well then until they have those munitions I guess firing unguided rockets into civilian populations is acceptable. ?"

And until israel has tiny mind reading robots bombing apartment buildings is acceptable?

Posted by: jefff on August 6, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

How could anybody possibly argue that Israel is somehow more circumspect in its bombing approach? Of the nearly 800 Lebanese deaths only several dozen at best can be counted as Hizbollah fighters. Of the nearly 70 Israeli deaths, more than half are soldiers.

Where is the confusion?

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

And Jay, what should Israel nuke? Southern Lebanon, and watch the nuclear fallout contaminate northern Israel and the occupied Golan Heights? Or maybe Beirut, and just wipe that festering sore of a city off the map?

And since when is not engaging in nuclear holocaust a sign of restraint?

These fucking right-wing nutjobs have no clue, no clue whatsoever that on the other end of the headlines are real human beings who suffer greatly.

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

"So on the one hand we have a rhetorical device that is employed by Islamic Fundamentalists that panders to its adherents, but which lacks any basis in reality (unless, of course, you think Hamas and its arsenal of AKs is any match for Israel's U.S. supplied hardware)."

So Ahmendijads words are empty rhetoric? Do you think that if Hizbollah had more powerful munitions they would use them?


"Furthermore, it is unmistakably true that Israel is actively engaged in the process of destroying Palestine and Lebanon, and in the case of the former, has be doing so for nearly 40 years."

"Thus, on the other hand, we have a very real army inflicting real devastation on two defenseless countries with the explicit aim of depopulating and securing the land for itself."


Was Israels defined border agreement, brokered by Clinton, that Arafat walked away from their attempt to destroy Palestine? Was Israels withdrawal from the Gaza in 2005 an attempt to destroy palestine? Was Israels withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 an attempt to destroy Lebanon? Are suicide bombers actions intended to bring Israel back to the negotiating table?

smedley, when did you join Hizbollah?

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Of the nearly 800 Lebanese deaths only several dozen at best can be counted as Hizbollah fighters. Of the nearly 70 Israeli deaths, more than half are soldiers."

So only 70 Israeli deaths despite the fact that Hizbollah has fired over 400 rockets in Israel since Friday. That is complete intellectual dishonesty, quit listening to the liberal media.

And you are aware that those courageous Hizbollah fighters fight from within civilian populations and that a large segment of those populations support Hizbollah. So if hostile munitions are based in civilian populated areas, wouldn't those areas be considered military targets?

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

smedley, the amount of care taken by the Israelis in their bombing campaign cannot be measured against the ground action. It has to be compared to similar bombing campaigns. We lack the information to make an adequate comparison. We killed mostly civilians in Serbia, too, with no ground combat at all. Let's also not forget Article 28 of the Geneva Convention IV: "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations."

But, not to put too fine a point on it, nobody knows how many Hezbollah fighters have been killed. "...as best can be counted" might as well be "from all we've been told."

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 6, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"So Ahmendijads words are empty rhetoric? Do you think that if Hizbollah had more powerful munitions they would use them?"

Isn't that the very definition of empty rhetoric, i.e., saying something without the ability to back it up with concrete actions? Are you that stupid?

"smedley, the amount of care taken by the Israelis in their bombing campaign cannot be measured against the ground action. It has to be compared to similar bombing campaigns."

Au contraire, that seems to be a rather aribrary criterion. Simply look at the devastation in Lebanon -- we're talking about the entire civilian and economic infrastructure practically in ruins, and almost 1/5 of the country's populace turned into refugees. Rather than target Hizbollah positions, which are quite mobile and thus impossible to target, Israel has simply decided to send Lebanon back twenty years. That's Ohmed's words, not mine. Why do you doubt them?

This kinder, gentler bombing you're referring to is an illusion.

Posted by: smedleybutler on August 6, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Isn't that the very definition of empty rhetoric, i.e., saying something without the ability to back it up with concrete actions? Are you that stupid?"

So the 13,000 Katyusha rockets that have been amassed, in violation of SC 1559, were for what? A show of restraint? Non-concrete actions? And Ahmendijads quest for nukes are to "balance" the power in the ME? You must be that one person that still listens to Airhead America.

Posted by: Jay on August 6, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Israel is killing more civilians, we have a rabbinical proclamation that it's OK:

The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy."

All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said.

Link.

Doesn't this seem to justify terrorism? (Or is that website a hoax?)

Posted by: JS on August 6, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe someone in authority is not removing the blatent anti-semitic and bigoted posts that appear here. Similar words would be removed from any public building in this country were they spray painted there.

Most respectable sites -- and blogs -- edit out comments that are racist or which contain slurs against groups of people.

Do you allow any and all ethnic slurs to be printed on this site, with their transmission and further circulation paid for by your publication? Or is it only permitted to hurl slurs at Jews?

This is the last time I will visit this site. Too bad, since some of the comments, on both sides of this issue, are interesting and thought provoking. But one has to wade thru too much bigotry and hate to read them.

What could you folks be thinking in NOT editing these posts to remove such obviously offensive material?

Posted by: Hal on August 6, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

What could you folks be thinking in NOT editing these posts to remove such obviously offensive material?

I don't think it's a matter of "thinking" -- I think it's a matter of manpower. It takes a lot of editor hours to do the job properly, and this is a relatively small operation (that's part of its appeal). Plus, for the most part, truly vile trolls tend to go away if they are ignored. Ignoring them seems to be a far more economical means of dealing with them -- not to mention the fact that this method completely avoids censorship, which is what your preferred method entails. Please come back when you're able, and next time just ignore the trolls.

Posted by: ub41 on August 6, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK
Has anyone read anything that suggests Israel was trying to provoke an international intervention from the very beginning?

Such an intervention was being discussed anyway as part of (or, perhaps better, "in place of") UNIFIL reauthorization as UNIFIL's mandate was expiring and a more robust mandate and force was widely considered essential if a continued international presence was to have any utility.

Israel, of course, was never really on board, and indeed vocally opposed the idea of an outside military effort until well into the war. The idea that this war was planned by Israel to provoke such an international effort is ludicrous.

Its somewhat more tenable that the idea was to delay a decision on such a force, and to guarantee that the status quo when such a force saw established had maximum Israeli penetration into Lebanon, to establish an internationally monitored cease-fire line well North of the border rather than along it.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 6, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting question. Interesting discussion. Only 2 trolls!

What's going on here?

In order to address Kevin's question (and correctly wield Occam's Razor), we must first look at what we are trying to explain: Israel has invaded Lebanon with no apparent strategic purpose in response to the kind of provocation they are long accustomed to from Hezbollah. They relied heavily on air power in the early going. Things have gone badly. They appear to have gone through a series of failed attempts to justify their actions strategically and adjust their strategy to something that is both achievable and to their advantage. They have first pulled back on the ground and then switched a new set of tactics which increase their reliance on progress on the ground.

The simplest explanation: Israel invaded Lebanon without clearcut strategic goals. They decided to rely more heavily than in the past on air power. They failed at the tactical level. They are attempting to come up with a set of strategic goals which get them out of this mess.

Why are we reluctant to accept this explanation? It meets all the criteria of William of Occam: It explains everything we know. It is the simplest explanation we can envision.

Why do we seek more complex, double-bank-shot-carom-off-the-cue ball explanations?

Probably because it does not agree with our expectations about the Israelis.

But are those expectations really very realistic? Have we seen other behavior out of Jerusalem which could have predicted the current situation?

One of the most consistent problems with Israeli military adventures is equally simple: Israeli politicians have repeatedly initiated strategically flawed military campaigns and relied on the Israeli army to win a tactical victory which covers the lack of sound strategic thinking.

Over time, the ability of the Israeli military to deliver those tactical victories has dramatically declined. Arab armies have become more proficient (in part due to on-the-job training administered by the Israelis). Palestinian insurgents and Lebanese militias have adopted tactics more reminiscent of guerrilla armies than of sectarian gangs. Terrorists have adopted more fool-proof weapons (first, suicide-bombers; then, rockets).

Compare the Israeli mistakes in Lebanon in 1982: They went in with a bad strategy (this time, with no strategy). They faced an enemy more prepared for their surprise attack than they expected (this time, against an enemy who provoked the invasion). They faced guerrilla tactics (this time, Hezbollah didn't have to learn them 'cause they had 18 years of practice).

Israeli leaders stretched to the limits of their patience in Gaza made an unwise decision to go into Lebanon on the basis of a flimsy provocation. The Israeli military dusted off an off-the-shelf response plan (which actually had a CHANCE to rescue the captured soldiers). The plan relied on a quick response and air power rather than a big buildup and tank pincer tactics for fairly obvious reasons. The current head of the Israeli military is an Air Force general. (And which would you choose to emulate: the successful U.S. plan from Kosovo or the completely unsuccessful Israeli plan from 1982?)

So Jerusalem's actions and history are in complete accord with the simplest explanation. How about Washington, DC, and the Bush administration's relationship with Israel?

One of the most interesting explanations of this thread was WatchfulBabbler's suggestion the attempt was being made to demonstrate to the U.S. how the combination of intelligence and firepower could crush an insurgency.

I am quite certain there are a number of people in both Tel Aviv and Washington who were already convinced that these tactics (already being tried in Iraq with very flawed intelligence and very poor results). The tactical thinking in Rumsfeld's office isn't far from Freedom Fighter's posts: just a little more ruthlessness and a little better intelligence and this strategy could work.

The people pushing this line in the Pentagon have been rewarded with responsibilities beyond what they are capable of handling. Given these known facts, we can speculate a little and imagine what's been going through their heads on Iraq: Lack of human intelligence (to know who the insurgents are) has been the reason our overwhelming firepower hasn't got us our victory in Iraq. But we need better intel (particularly HUMINT) to prove it will work. Who's got the best intelligence around? Israel! (Mossad's superiority to the CIA's work in the Mideast is another of those hoary "truths" which were truer 30 years ago than today, but the myth is enduring.)

So it's easy to see how the firepower+intel crowds in both Washington and Tel Aviv might want to push the Israeli military into demonstrating the superiority of their proposed tactics. Then they could convince Washington to invest much more in HUMINT in Iraq. Such an investment will be needed in Iraq before they can improve their average there.

But it all went horribly, horribly wrong when it turned out Mossad's human intel was not as good as its reputation. One of the enduring myths about Hezbollah is that it hides behind the general population. But Hezbollah is the child of the Israeli occupation. It grew up during an 18-year period when an enemy with an overwhelming firepower advantage occupied its main territory. Hezbollah is a guerrilla militia with all that entails.

One of the main things it entails is that the fighters maintain a distance from the populations they come from. When a Hezbollah agent disperses food or other aid, no one receiving the food knows whether the agent is a guerrilla warrior or just a social worker.

Another thing it entails is that Hezbollah is constantly working counter-intel. A guerrilla army is always, by definition, its own counter-intelligence agency. They have to blend in to avoid discovery, so there is little difference between a guerrilla and an undercover agent. So, what do you do when someone comes to you and acts like an Israeli agent? One possibility is you tell him the guy you've always hated (maybe he married the girl you had a crush on) is with Hezbollah, maybe a big shot. If his house gets lit up by an Israeli gunship the next week (and YOU're really the Hezbollah guerrilla), you've got the Israeli spy made. "See that family over by the hospital, they're strong Hezbollah supporters. That's why the Party of God built their hospital in that neighborhood, because they have a lot of pull. Three sons in the militia."

I would be very surprised if it doesn't turn out that Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence haven't "played" the Israelis very effectively in this little conflict, just as the Americans have been played in Iraq. Old grudges have been applied. Old enemies eliminated. Old tribal scores have been settled. Ethnic rivalries have played a role.

And it also would be very surprising if Hezbollah hasn't tricked the Israelis into a few massacres.

Just think of someone like Freedom Fighter. How easy would it be to trick him into believing what he wants to believe? And, if he wanted to believe that he could do his part to eliminate terrorists (he does! he does!), how hard would it be to convince him that Cindy Sheehan is a terrorist? Or a terrorist sympathizer?

Never try to explain with a theory of hidden agendas what can be explained by the simple incompetence of politicians.

Posted by: scotus on August 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops. While I was writing my post, the trolls came out in force.

There goes the neighborhood. I knew it was too good to be true.

Posted by: scotus on August 6, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Never try to explain with a theory of hidden agendas what can be explained by the simple incompetence of politicians.

Thank you! Could somebody please organize a presentation on this theme for Oliver Stone?

Though I hear his new movie is actually pretty good - if rah-rah and patriotic, which is not exactly what we need more of right now.

Posted by: brooksfoe on August 6, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

The movie isn't patriotic at all, or certainly not rah-rah, anyway. It really just sticks to the efforts to save two NY cops, played with restraint by Nic Cage (!) and Michael Pea, and doesn't go into context or commentary of any kind.

Personally, while watching I kept thinking of people caught in the rubble of southern Lebanon, but someone else might see different things in it -- which adds up to quite a bit of subtlety by ol' Ollie Stone's standards.

Posted by: Kenji on August 7, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

bush and olmert want to draw Syria and Iran into the fighting, if by nothing more than claiming that Syria and Iran started it, so that bush can attack Iran without needing a UNSC resolution authorizing such.

Posted by: Peter on August 7, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

One particularly depressing and cynical bit I caught while flipping through the Sunday shows is from the WaPo bureau chief who just wrote "Fiasco," about the Iraq war.

His contacts in the intelligence community say that Israel knows where a few of those rocket launcher emplacements are, but has made a deliberate decision not to take them out. Why?

Because civilian casualties on the Israeli side serve a propaganda purpose just as they do for Hezbollah. More wounded and killed Israelis = more support for levelling Lebanon.

As I say --- pretty damned cynical. I'm half-tempted not to believe it ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

For the long-term good of the world, it is good that the Iraq and Lebanon adventures are going badly. (Afganistan is rapidly joining that list.) It proves that aggressors never get the result they hope for in warusually quite the oppositekilling civilians in this time of instant internet communications gets you hated by the whole world, and violence should be the absolute last way to respond to any problem.

Seems to me even the boniest-brained person should have gotten it years ago, but I guess we needed an exclamation mark at the end of this terrible sentence.

Posted by: James of DC on August 7, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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