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16 July 2006

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ckrantz

All the neocons where certainly out in force on the talkshows today including newt declaring ww3 on MTP. The question is what happens when Israel is stuck in lebanon. Can the olmert goverment pullback without anything to show for it. And if Hezbollah can be resupplied through syria with weapons the only way to permanently take them out goes to syria and iran. Logically everything seems to indicate a widened war assuming of course israeli declarations can be taken seriously. And in washington I suspect there are plenty of people eager to take advantage of the situation and coordinate a strike on syria.

jonst

Did you hear Newt's answer to the question regarding bombing the missile in N.Korea? Russert asked him...."well, what you DO if after you took the missile out the N. Koreans stormed across the border?" Nothing...nada, zip. He went off on a rant that had absolutly nothing to do with the issue... but would not touch the question. And big Tim would not follow up. This is the neocons in a nutshell. And BushCo in a nutshell. Did you see what Rich wrote about them in the Times today? "...the core values of this White House are marketing and political expediency".

Dr Slop

The lack of obvious follow-up questions is a hallmark of mainstream media these days - though it does seem at long last slightly to be changing.

Another characteristic is not asking for some evidence for or clarification of supremely nonsensical or contradictory statements - such as suggesting civilians in southern Lebanon evacuate after (so we are told) roads and bridges have been destroyed and road traffic attacked.

That high-pitched squealing noise we are now hearing from chickenhawks in media studios far from the sound of the guns may be fantasy meeting reality but the neocons (perhaps more properly neo-Hobbesians - nasty, brutish and short) will never admit that they were wrong about anything ever.

canuck

Could we get a clear definition as to what a terrorist is? The term is now used carelessly to include almost anyone that uses armed resistance without wearing a uniform.

It is my understanding the weapons Hizbollah has aren't classified as nuclear weapons and therefore, should be legitimate weapons for resistance fighters or citizens to use within their own borders. I don't condemn all Hizbollah's targets. If their targets are Israeli troops, their weapons or troop encampments, that doesn't qualify as an act of terrorism.

To me a terrorist is someone or a group that isn't selective and routinely kills innocent civilians.

Given that definition, Israel is guilty of being a terrorist when they don't direct their missiles and bombs to members of Hizbelloah. Civilian infrastracture would also fall under my definition of terrorism because those targets severely weaken the civilian population's ability to survive. That applies to both Israel and Hizbollah.

I'll make further comments to this topic, once I know what this blog's definition is of a terrorist.

To the best of my knowledge, Israel is the only country in the Middle East who has nuclear weapons and its technology. That is not documented, but may we assume that it is a near certainty?

Another element or armed conflict would be proportionality when responding or initiating. 'Preventative aggression' does not qualify as just cause for conflict--those two terms when used together are an oxymoron.

JL


The escallation started anew with the second attack on Haifa by Hizballah. At this point can the President assert influence or just spout platitudes? Also I'm still confused about the area the soldiers were kidnapped from. On Newshour they said they were kidnapped from Sheeba Farms. Isn't that Israeli occupied but not part of Israel?? Does anyone know?

ckrantz

Jonst:

Newt is blowhard but is apparently taken seriously in some quarters. To bad it wasnt Dana Priest asking the questions. She did a good job smacking down Bill Bennett a while back. I didn't see Rich colume but I do agree. Unfortunately for the Administration reality have intruded in the marketing of the president recently. That is where a repeat of 03 might be useful?

ckrantz

Canuck:
To use a cliché, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” It all depends on the perspective I think. By todays values Nelson Mandela would have ended up in Gitmo. ANC was listed as terrorist organisation during the 70 and 80s.

I believe Israel also have stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons something that seems to get very little notice.

zanzibar

Excellent post PL. Very insightful.

"US/Israeli policy has provided an opportunity for Hizballah and their Iranian friends to learn the limits of the "ants" abilities."-PL

What more do they need to learn? Wouldn't Israel have also learnt from the 18 year occupation of south Lebanon?

Clearly Israel and the US believe that Hizballah can be destroyed. IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz has stated they will destroy Hizballah once and for all. As Syria assists Hizballah with resupply, Israel could attack them and widen the conflict. It seems the neocon war cheerleaders in the US and Israel would like to see escalation and a wider conflict. It serves their purpose and helps Rove rescue the Nov congressional election.

On the other hand Iran probably helped promote the instigation by Hizballah calculating that Israel would respond with an invasion and then get bogged down as happened when they occupied South Lebanon in 1982. They may be assuming that with both the US and Israel bogged down in Arab lands it would prevent any attack on them and give them more chips to bargain with.

I am curious to see how the Iraqi Shia respond and if this unrest spills over to other Arab countries.

lina

Frank Rich, NYTimes, 7/16/06:

“The Bush doctrine was a doctrine in name only, a sales strategy contrived to dress up the single mission of regime change in Iraq with philosophical grandiosity worthy of F.D.R. There was never any serious intention of militarily pre-empting either Iran or North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions were as naked then as they are now, or of striking the countries that unlike Iraq were major enablers of Islamic terrorism. Axis of Evil was merely a clever brand name from the same sloganeering folks who gave us “compassionate conservatism” and “a uniter, not a divider” — so clever that the wife of a presidential speechwriter, David Frum, sent e-mails around Washington boasting that her husband was the “Axis of Evil” author. (Actually, only “axis” was his.)

Since then, the administration has fiddled in Iraq while Islamic radicalism has burned brighter and the rest of the Axis of Evil, not to mention Afghanistan and the Middle East, have grown into just the gathering threat that Saddam was not. And there’s still no policy. As Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution writes on his foreign-affairs blog, Mr. Bush isn’t pursuing diplomacy in his post-cowboy phase so much as “a foreign policy of empty gestures” consisting of “strong words here; a soothing telephone call and hasty meetings there.” The ambition is not to control events but “to kick the proverbial can down the road —far enough so the next president can deal with it.” There is no plan for victory in Iraq, only a wish and a prayer that the apocalypse won’t arrive before Mr. Bush retires to his ranch.”

Jerry Thompson

Seems to me there are two realities somewhat obscured by the fireworks in Israel and Lebanon and the mouthworks in Washington. (1) Deterrence works -- we are deterred by the North Koreans and by the Iranians. By the North Koreans by their actual possession of nuclear capability and by the Iranians by their demonstrated capacity to disrupt progress toward political transition in Iraq, PLUS the uncertainties about their nuclear capabilities.
(2) We are at war with Iran now, in Iraq and, through our respective surrogates, in Lebanon and Gaza. The elephants and ants analogy is apt. At least the elephant has the wisdom to acknowledge when he is being bitten. The decision we face is not whether we will have war with the Iranians -- they have made that decision for us. We do have some latitude in deciding what kind of war we will fight with them and our strategy for pursuing it -- can't make those decisions until we recognize the reality however.

ikonoklast

Whoever recently wrote here that insanity was performing the same actions while expecting different results had it correct. (Sorry, I can't find the quote for attribution.) Ants and elephants alike seem to have succumbed to the madness. As the Bushites and neocons have long eschewed diplomacy as being unmanly, even if someone would listen to them they wouldn't know what to say.

The Princess of State displayed true candor when asked if she would personally travel to the region to mediate. "Let's recognize that simply going in and shuttling back and forth, if you don't know where you're trying to go, is not going to help." Amen, although it wouldn't hurt, either. Maybe you could find someone knowledgeable who could help, Mme. Rice?

But of course real hyperpowers don't need that wimpy diplomatic stuff - Kristol to the rescue with the Straussian big guns! THIS time it'll really work!

"[T]his aggression is a great opportunity to begin resuming the offensive against the terrorist groups. Israel is fighting four of our five enemies in the Middle East, in a sense. Iran, Syria, sponsors of terror; Hezbollah and Hamas. Al Qaeda doesn’t seem to be involved. We have to take care of them in Iraq. This is an opportunity to begin to reverse the unfortunate direction of the last six to nine months and get the terrorists and the jihadists back on the defensive."

Madness. Blind insanity.
(But hey, see how the overnights go, check the demographics, Karl will be back from Colorado tomorrow, we'll tweak this puppy ...)

Mac Nayeri

Zanzibar:

I think u have raised an interesting question with respect to the Iraqi Shia - I read that Sadr made an announcement that, I'm paraphrasing here, Iraqi Shia wouldn't be sitting on their hands while their co-religionists are at war.

Another thing I've been wondering about is where is OBL et al in all this. I can't imagine it will be too long b4 we hear from him or Dr. Z.

Anyone reckon that Israel's underlying (captured soldiers notwithstanding) aims are to limit DC's ability to deal with Tehran per some sort of negotiated settlement to the nuclear program/regional security environment?

Excellent article PL.

M

Nadifa Smith

People all over the world have began to realize that past injustices have run its course, no one wants to axcept the old rules. I, for one, want justice, not one for you and a different one for me. I want justice for all, regardeless of color, creed and religion. I want a world that is just. I want a world where just is for everyone, then the world will be for everyone regardless of who they are...I think others will do so once the wrong powerful ones come to accept these rules. Enough is enough...

canuck

Article about living http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3695/is_200301/ai_n9204019>In the Giant’s Shadow.

Repercussions forhttp://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=10734> US Ambassador John Bolton, the appointed obstructionist. His tactics at the UN empowers adversaries like Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other spoilers content with a UN that is tied in knots.

Hamas, and Hizbollah have grown in influence in the Middle East. Iraq has deteriorated into civil war. Pakistan grows terrorists who proliferate like weeds. Israel threatens to engulf the Middle East into all out war. Russia and China grew closer together by reaffirming their ties with each at the annual meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation (SCO). Afghanistan will have their biggest opium coup this year that funds the Taliban and assorted drug dealers. The price of gasoline is at record highs around the world. Climate change threatens more severe storms—hurricanes in Florida last year resulted in substantial damage to the refineries in the gulf and displaced thousands of Americans from states in Louisiana, Texas and Alabama. The December 2004 tsunami deaths soared past 212,000 victims. The list of distress is much longer, but everyone here knows it to be representative of today’s world and is free to contribute their own countries’ ‘unique’ brand of suffering.

So although it is painful at times to live in the shadow of the elephant, and be one of the ants, America itself is suffering from her own policies. That doesn’t bring anyone any consolation—it just spreads the misery around to affect as many populations as possible. Other nations don’t get to vote for any of America’s representatives, but they do get to experience the result of their incompetence. I do request the United States electorate vote for someone better next time to lessen the severity of the pain.

W. Patrick Lang

Nadifa

There is no justice. IMO you should learn to settle for common sense. pl

dan

It's worth noting that one factor in the IDF's eventual withdrawal from Lebanon was the effect of the 2 Intifadas in stretching the Israelis militarily.

Whilst the Eretz Gadol crowd has always coveted the part of Lebanon south of the Litani river, even the "simple", more limited, task of uprooting Hizbullah from South Lebanon, whilst simultaneously waging a low-intensity war in Gaza and maintaining military deployments to protect settlers on the West Bank and keep the Palestinians "quiet" there would require a full-scale mobilisation of Israel's reserve forces for a protracted period.

Needless to say, Israel's somewhat shaky economy would come to a screeching halt. Perhaps more ominously, Israel's net emigration trend would likely accelerate under these circumstances, as the recent influx of Russian migrants decide that Putin-land looks a lot rosier than the chaotic Yeltsin-land that they abandoned ten years ago.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

My concern is that this will spiral into a prolonged war (more than 8 years) of all-against-all in the Middle East; specifically this: Shia vs. Sunni, Mulsim vs. Christian, Israel & US vs. Everyone Else.

wtofd

"There is no justice. IMO you should learn to settle for common sense. pl"

Spot on. This craving for "justice" sparks the tit-for-tat, but-they-started-it cycle. Scripturally it's linked to an eye for an eye.

wtofd

dan, how serious is the emigration trend?

Babak Makkinejad

wtofd:

I once read that 20% of Israel's citizens (according to the Government of Israel statistics) live abroad.

The figure for Lebeanon is probably higher than that.

Both Lebeanon & Israel are small countries with limited economic opportunities thus emigration.

Both could substantially benefit from a generalized peace in the Levant.

dan

wt:

This is a political hot potato - the Israeli government produces no meaningful statistics on emigration.

The flow of migrants to Israel has more or less collapsed since 2000. The last official statistics that I saw suggested that there were only 22,000 immigrants to Israel for the year ( 2003 IIRC ).

Survey data suggests that at any one time some 20% of the Israeli Jewish/Russian population is thinking of leaving.

It's generally assumed that of the 1 million or so Russians that arrived between 1989 and 2000, at least 1/3 will leave as part of the normal pattern of migration ( "natural wastage" ). That would suggest that, before any extraneous factors are taken into account, there is already a net outflow from Israel comprised of recent Russian migrants alone.

wtofd

Is anybody else thinking Sabra and Shatila while listening to US officials say "Israel must be allowed to defend itself"?

Keone  Michaels

"I am filled with suspicion that US/Israeli policy has provided an opportunity for Hizballah and their Iranian friends to learn the limits of the "ants" abilities. If you listened to Hassan Nasrallah's speech today you could hear, not boasting, but rather an attempt to provoke an Israeli advance."

Your words, I agree, it has that "please don't throw me in the briar patch" feel to it!

confusedponderer

I read the notion that the IDF, after being degraded to be a jailer in the occupied territories was looking to kick some butt to restore their 'deterrent image'. Might be. I agree with Putin, that the snatching to the troopers was a welcome excuse and not the actual reason and that their liberation is not the goal this escalation is about.

I think that, while the more western Jews might think about leaving, the orthodox and hardcore Zionists will never do. With an outflux of frustrated moderates, considering the birthrates, the wackos will gain the upperhand in the long run. The result will be an apartheid look-alike.

The zionist enterprise, taken seriously, is about 'ius sanguis' and 'blood and soil' and 'never again' - there won't be a reconciliation - it's just that the the Arabs will have to pay the price, and suck it up. The Arabs on the other hand aren't any better, even though they don't have much reason to be happy to be on the losing end.

Sadly, PL, I don't think there is much room for common sense (there, however, should be, I strogly agree).

I doubt that Israel will ever become more moderate, to the contrary, this mess will become SOP too soon for my liking.

I strongly I hope I won't see the end of Israel in my lifetime, but then, I'm just 32.

confusedponderer

In 66 a.c. and the following years jewish zealots brought upon Israel the end of their kingdom. How bitter an irony would it be to see history reapeated 2000 years later, doom brought upon Israel again by zealots, now jeawish and muslim.

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