Thursday, August 03, 2006

What about Lebanon

I've received a couple of requests for comment on Lebanon.

I will not jump into the great media pile-on of Israel, for reasons both instinctual and rational. Instinctually, I'm averse to taking any stand that would put me in league with Ahmadinejad (who is evil) or Mark Malloch Brown (who is an idiot). I also see much of the Israel-bashing of late as a clever retread of good-ol'-fashioned antisemitism. Rationally, I see little argument that Israel should be expected to stay its hand. Israel agreed in 2000 to withdraw from these same territories on the assurance that the U.N. would disarm Hizb'allah and prevent rocket attacks and guerilla incursions by Hizb'allah from Lebanon. Far from fulfilling its promise, the U.N. has stood idly by while Hizb'allah has consolidated power in the south and in Beirut. On the issue of disarmament, I think the volleys of hundreds of rockets fired over the border speak for themselves. Let's not forget also that the casus belli, Hizb'allah's July 12 kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in an ambush on Israeli soil, was not merely a kidnapping. Hizb'allah killed seven other Israeli soldiers in that attack, a fact that the mainstream media seem to be shoving down the memory hole. Israel was attacked, in violation of international law and U.N. resolutions. Concern for civilian casualties in Lebanon would seem more genuine had there been equal concern for Israeli civilian casualties, similar cries to "cease fire," during the past two decades of terror and intifada.

Muslims are fond of pointing out all the good works that Hizb'allah does, arguing that we in the west are wrong to condemn the Party of Allah as a terrorist organization. They build hospitals, don't they? Right, so does the Red Cross. And the Red Cross chooses not to get involved in politics (ever heard of a Red Cross candidate?), and they do not have a "military wing" that fires rockets blindly across international borders. Hizb'allah came into existence as a military force (and an Iranian proxy military force to boot), moved into politics and then into public relations, and (with the help of Bill Clinton and the 1996 April Agreement) gradually succeeded in legitimizing itself in the eyes of non-Shiite Muslims (which is quite an achievement) and Europeans (which is hardly any achievement at all). What makes this transformation remarkable is that they pulled it off without ever renouncing the goals set out in their charter: the absolute destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in Lebanon. I haven't read the charter of the Red Cross, but I suspect we will find neither any talk of destroying anyone, nor any plans to establish a Christian theocracy anywhere. So I will not play relativist games with the nature of Hizb'allah. They are a violent Islamist organization, and readers of Commoner Sense know pretty well how I feel about those. Whether they're running from IDF tanks in Lebanon, CIA drones in Waziristan, or tsunamis in Banda Aceh, I just like to see them on the defensive. To paraphrase an observation Hitchens made on Zarqawi's anger at U.S. policy in the Muslim world: Do we really want a foreign policy that pleases Hizb'allah?

So let the Israelis attack. No point in postponing the inevitable. Civilian casualties are also inevitable, given that without hiding among women and children and firing rockets from beside UN observer outposts, Hizb'allah would not stand a chance against the superior weaponry, training, and determination of the IDF. And no, pious kamikazes do not possess similar determination. They are merely murderous and suicidal. Let the martyrs be martyrs, and the sooner the better.


Anonymous pok said...

or, as Rummy said some time ago:

"The only way to defend against terrorists is to go after the terrorists."

The difficulty here is that our traditional ethical sensibility makes the criminality of conspiracy difficult to embrace wholeheartedly.

Thank Heaven for those who, like Hezbollah, cross the line and make themselves legitimate targets.

2:52 PM  

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