Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Dust Settles

As the dust settles, it’s become clear that America was the big loser in Lebanon. For more than a month, President Bush gave the Israeli Army free rein and insisted there could be no cease-fire until Hezbollah was disarmed. Well, that didn’t happen, and the failure of Israel to quickly meet its strategic goals in Lebanon also means the defeat of American strategic aims in the Greater Middle East.

The cease-fire in Lebanon does not include concrete provisions to disarm Hezbollah, nor does the UN peacekeeping force have a mandate to disarm them. In fact, Hezbollah, despite admitting they didn't anticipate Israel's massive retaliation for their kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in an attempt to arrange a prisoner swap, now has the respect and admiration of Lebanese of every faction from Communists to Christians. They're not going away anytime soon.

And if Israel's war against Hezbollah was a proxy war for the US and Iran, then it's clear that Ahmadinejad beat the pants off President Bush. Diplomatic attempts to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions -- on the verge of success after Dr. Rice convinced Russia and China to come on board with sanctions -- are forgotten, if not gone; Syria's relationship with Iran is stronger than ever and both countries are becoming bolder in their support of anti-American forces in Iraq; the Iraqi government itself is running to distance itself from President Bush in the wake of massive anti-American Shiite rallies in Baghdad; Ahmadinejad has become a folk hero in the Middle East for standing up to President Bush, much as Hugo Chavez is an anti-Bush hero in South America; and reformers all across the Middle East are keeping their heads down because anything remotely connected to President Bush -- including democracy itself -- is now poison.

The maddening thing is that Democrats, led by Joe Biden, saw the opportunities an immediate cease-fire offered in the first days of the conflict, but could not convince President Bush or their Republican colleagues to act upon it. At that time, we had the entire Arab world from Saudi Arabia to Jordan to Egypt condemning Hezbollah and supporting Israel(!), and even French President Jacque Chirac was screaming for a robust international force with a mandate to disarm Hezbollah by any means necessary. It was rare opportunity to mend bridges with allies, create a new Arab regional alliance as a check on Iranian ambitions and perhaps even finally solve the Palestinian problem with the support of a newly united Arab world, pry Syria from Iran's orbit, and dismantle Hezbollah's terrorist wing the same way Sinn Fein's terrorist wing, the IRA, was disarmed in Ireland.

But with every passing day of war and with every dead Lebanese civilian, that opportunity faded away, and now it's gone -- and there's not even a good chance of disarming Hezbollah. Watching America stand by as Israeli forces killed or wounded 4,000 men, women and children, governments all over the world -- and especially in the Middle East -- started thinking, Why shouldn't Lebanon have the means to protect itself from Israel? Never mind that Hezbollah started the conflict -- with every day of fighting and every picture of dead Lebanese children beamed around the world, that fact became less and less relevant.

There was a rare and shining opportunity in Lebanon for greater peace and stability in the region. And now it's gone. Just as with Iraq, President Bush made a high-stakes, high-risk gamble in Lebanon -- and he lost again.

Posted by American Pundit at August 16, 2006 1:15 AM
Comments
Comment #175783

AP,

The UN agreement clearly says that Hezbollah will be disarmed. Now, I don’t believe it will happen because I think the UN has turned into an overwhelmingly ineffective & corrupt organization and I condemn the Bush Administration for not pointing that out more aggressively. But the idea to disarm Hezbollah is definitely part of the deal.

And don’t be one of the Islamo Fascists Propaganda Props who say “Hezbollah won!”. I think Israel should’ve continued until Hezbollah was eradicated, they didn’t, so Israel didn’t win. But I didn’t see Hezbollah fighters press 20 miles into Israel with their ground troops (aka armed “civilians”). More Hezbollah clearly died than the # of Israelis. Hezbollah still intentionally targeted civilians via unguided, haphazard weapons. They were as indiscriminate as ever. Hezbollah was also responsible for Lebanon civilian deaths since they hid out among them. Wouldn’t you blame the US Military for the deaths of your neighbors if they set up rocket launchers in all of the neighborhood playgrounds? So Hezbollah was hardly a “military force”. They simply fought in the same ole terrorist fashion.

Your comments that Iran’s nuclear sanctions are forgotten are ridiculous. There was a 15-0 security council vote in the middle of this recent war which was supposed to take the mind off Iran. This tactic backfired however since Iran’s military arsenal provided to the “state within a state” only put more focus on Iran. So yes, the UN continues their slow, ineffective, and eventually meaningless condemnation of Iran’s goal of nuclear weapons … only to then eventually damn any country which actually has the gonads to do something about it.

And the idea that the US could’ve stepped in a day or two after the Israeli soldiers were taken hostage and stopped everything is a preposterous assertion. Despite your lofty goals of claiming Israel is akin to our 51st state, they are very much an independent country, they were rightly pissed off, and they acted accordingly. King David couldn’t have stopped them from taking their reprisals during the first 2 or 3 days of the war.

And finally, this statement is laughable:

“There was a rare and shining opportunity in Lebanon for greater peace and stability in the region. And now it’s gone. Just as with Iraq, President Bush made a high-stakes, high-risk gamble in Lebanon — and he lost again.”

What rare and shining opportunity pray tell? Exactly which mid-east show are you watching? Exactly which Hezbollah leader was calling for peace? And what gamble did Bush make in Lebanon? Is he a closet blackjack player and we just don’t know it?

I think you wrote that last paragraph within the first 24 hours of the war starting.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 16, 2006 3:10 AM
Comment #175784

***********************************************

For photo fraud on the Israeli-Hezbollah war go to: http://www.aish.com/movies/PhotoFraud.asp

***********************************************

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 16, 2006 3:14 AM
Comment #175785

Ken, you know as well as I do that international will to disarm Hezbollah is weaker today than it was a month ago. Chirac was ready to commit the EU rapid reaction force immediately back then, now he’s hemming and hawing. Israel no longer has the international support it had at the beginning of the conflict.

And that matters because Israel’s failure to achieve victory by force means that Hezbollah isn’t going to disarm any time soon.

Far from dismantling Hezbollah’s terrorist wing, Israel’s failure actually resulted in a stronger Hezbollah. And I’m talking about politically stronger, which is worse. Israel’s failure enhanced Hezbollah’s stature in the region and within Lebanon and made it easier for them to replace their losses and eventually become even stronger than they were a month ago.

And yes, Bush could have stepped in and stopped Israel while they still had the support of the Arab world. We give Israel billions of dollars in aid every year. We have plenty of leverage. And think about that: Israel had the support of the Arab world against other Muslims. That’s completely unprecedented.

No, there was clearly a chance to take rhe Middle East in a completely new direction, and by allowing the conflict to drag on, a rare opportunity was lost. And Israel’s failure to achieve it’s goal clearly leaves them and the United States in a weaker position.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 3:29 AM
Comment #175789
So Hezbollah was hardly a “military force”. They simply fought in the same ole terrorist fashion.

…and won. They achieved their political goal and Israel and President Bush failed to achieve theirs.

You’re little photo fraud doesn’t change the result on the ground. You’re like the Dems in 2000 complaining that Bush stole the election. You can cry all you want about Hezbollah using unfair terrorist tactics, but all that matters is the situation on the ground. Hezbollah achieved their goal — to survive as a military and political entity within Lebanon — and Israel and Bush failed to achieve theirs — to destroy Hezbollah.

Hey… Wait a minute. I just re-read your post, and you’re agreeing with me on everything. You acknowledge that Hezbollah will not be disarmed, that Iran’s uranium enrichment will not be stopped, and that Israel could have been held back after the first 2 or 3 days.

Nice spin there, Ken. You had me going. Good one.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 3:41 AM
Comment #175800

AP, American strategic aims fell with the Iraqi Civil War. The Domino theory was then, and shall remain, a failed concept as regards the Middle East and external force.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 16, 2006 8:01 AM
Comment #175803

AP:

A mistake that you make in your logic is in assuming that what is discussed will actually happen. Yes, the rhetoric for a disarmament was higher a month ago, but we have little reason to believe it would have actually happened. The logic for disarmament of Hezbollah is just as true now as it was then. It’s very likely that had an immediate ceasefire been created, that the cries for disarmament would have lessened on their own.

Chirac may be hemming and hawing now, but that does not mean he’d have followed through on providing forces had a cease fire occurred. Again the logic is the same, but the raw emotion is gone. I doubt that Chirac as a leader relies only on raw emotion in his decision making process (he’s not Bush y’know—-there, i provided the obligatory jab at Bush for all who want it).

If he truly meant to send forces, he should do so now, for the same reasons. Given Chirac’s, France’s and Europe’s history of appeasement, I don’t see that this was the slam dunk that you present it as. It may well have never happened regardless of what went on.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 16, 2006 8:14 AM
Comment #175840

Israel’s stated goal was never to eradicate Hezbollah. The goal was to make Israel safe by destroying Hezbollah’s missiles and infrastructure, which was largely done, unfortunately at great cost to Lebanon. In the process Israel killed roughly half the Hezbollah fighters. I count that as a win for Israel. Not to mention they avoided the conflict becoming an Iraq-like quagmire.

Total destruction of Hezbollah or any terrorist group in general is probably impossible. There will always be dissidents. That’s why Kerry argued that the correct way to manage terrorism is through police forces and international law. He was right. Hopefully that’s what’s going to happen (at least enough so that risks are manageable) now that an international peacekeeping force will be in the area. Maybe they weren’t eradicated, but I think they were weakened to the point where the risk of future attacks (for the foreseeable future) are neglible.

The alternative would have been to try and occupy a country of dissidents, and I think the U.S. has shown that doesn’t work too well. Frankly, I think Lebanon might be the new model for how to successfully address terrorism, though we’ll see how good a job the peacekeeping force does. I see it as a big success, no failure. I am relieved they didn’t take Hezbollah’s bait and try to occupy the country the way we did with Iraq, which was probably Osama’s dream come true.

Posted by: Max at August 16, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #175845
but we have little reason to believe it would have actually happened.

And yet, I predicted what would happen if we didn’t choose that course. We lost the moral high ground, the support of the Lebanese people of all sects, and we lost the support of the international community and the Arab world. The Arabs supportedd Israel, for Christ’s sake!

I can’t see the future, JBOD, but knowledge, common sense and experience give one a pretty good basis for extrapolation.

Bush and Israel failed to achieve their goals and Hezbollah emerged stronger as a movement within Lebanon, and you guys are reduced to arguing that it would have happened anyhow — and in Ken’s case, actually calling all those bad outcomes a great victory for President Bush.

You can play those games if you want, but I can’t imagine what the point is, other than a desire to put politics over the good of our country.

And here’s another instance where we have a chance to mitigate some of the damage to our Middle East policy: Rep. Issa is urging President Bush and Congress to immediately send hundreds of millions in aid to the Hezbollah-supporting southern Lebanese Shiites,

“We have only days to act,” said Issa, the Vista Republican and Lebanese-American who just returned from Lebanon and other Middle Eastern nations. “Only days to seize this opportunity, if we’re going to win back the hearts and minds” of the Arab nation that is “most favorable to the West and to the United States– and the longest standing democracy in the Middle East.”

The Unites States should help in the “most important part of rebuilding - housing. Thousands of Lebanese are displaced because their housing was destroyed,” he added.

Asked why the United States should help rebuild Lebanon when Hezbollah, a known terrorist organization, is still armed and occupying much of southern Lebanon, Issa countered by asking: “What if we don’t?

“What if we, in fact, simply walk away from this special time, and instead of competing with Hezbollah for the hearts and minds of the Lebanese people and instead of beefing up the legitimate, democratic, elected government of Lebanon, we simply let the Iranians do the rebuilding?

“Can there be any doubt that if Hezbollah does the rebuilding, Hezbollah will only gain both democratically and as a terrorist organization?” he asked.

Using my amazing powers of prediction, I’ll tell you right now that the Bush administration will act slowly — if at all — and Hezbollah will gain even more influence in Lebanon and completely undermine the legitimate Lebanese government in the South.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #175848
The goal was to make Israel safe by destroying Hezbollah’s missiles and infrastructure, which was largely done.

No it wasn’t. Hezbollah still has thousands of missiles and an open corridor through Syria to Iran to get more. They’ve also got more new recruits than they know what to do with and the wholehearted support of the Shiite community (inside and outside Lebanon) as well as new respect from every other Lebanese faction including the Christians and the Communists.

Hezbollah is still armed and operating on the Israeli border. They may be a little gun shy for the moment, but they’re not gone. They won what the region considers a great and just victory, and they’re still a threat to Israel. Ask Netanyahu.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 11:55 AM
Comment #175850

Here’s what we’re up against:

As stunned Lebanese returned Tuesday over broken roads to shattered apartments in the south, it increasingly seemed that the beneficiary of the destruction was most likely to be Hezbollah.

A major reason - in addition to its hard-won reputation as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill - is that it is already dominating the efforts to rebuild with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran.

In his victory speech on Monday night, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for “decent and suitable furniture” and a year’s rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.

“Completing the victory,” he said, “can come with reconstruction.”

In Sreifa, a Hezbollah official said the group would offer an initial $10,000 to residents to help pay for the year of rent, to buy new furniture and to help feed families.

Think what that’s going to do for Hezbollah’s stature. Without massive amounts of US aid for reconstruction, the legitimate Lebanese government will de facto cede control of the Israeli border back to Hezbollah.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #175869

And so what does all this mean?

We’ll have a few months of peace and then Hezbollah will kidnap a couple of more of soldiers…or they will shoot a couple of missiles…and it’s on again.

Nice cease fire.

Hez rearms and regroups and uses the experience gained to be even tougher the next time…and there will be a next time.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world pisses on Isreal’s head.

Posted by: Jim T at August 16, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #175873

Exactly Jim T.

And Hezbollah might be getting support now in Lebanon as they go around promising to rebuild everyone’s home. But 3 years from now, when they’re about 15% the way done with their promise, folks still living under a Lebanon bridge will start to assess Hezbollah’s “power” and remember that none of the last month’s horror would’ve happened without Hezbollah’s standard terrorist nonsense.

And Lebanese people are fine people I’m sure, but when you happily let a state exist within your state then you become complicit with their actions to a large degree. I feel sorry for them in the way I feel sorry for a 9th grader getting bad grades in school … I wish things were different, but let’s face it, things could’ve happened to prevent what took place. Lebanon chose not to do anything, and they’ll continue to let the state within a state continue … causing it all to happen again relatively soon.

Israel pulled out of Gaza and all they’ve gotten, as Jim T said, is urine in their face from the world community. That ain’t exactly “positive reinforcement”. The world should rethink that tactic because despite the gleeful yelps from American liberals that “Israel Lost! Hezbollah won! Bad on ya W!” Israel committed only a small morsel of their power this last month. They could’ve done what they did to Hezbollah and beat to death Iran & Syria in their own homelands while they were handling issues in Lebanon. Underestimating Israel is not a wise choice for the world community.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 16, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #175887

How does anyone plan on getting rid of Hezbullah anymore? Israel just heroified them throughout the Muslim world. Sure, we can wipe out a few more thousands of them, but tens of thousands will fill their places. At some point we need to counter the influence of radicals on young muslims so that they do not join the next group that offers them 72 virgins in paradise if they blow themselves and a bunch of infidels to smithereens.

Posted by: Silima at August 16, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #175891

“And Lebanese people are fine people I’m sure, but when you happily let a state exist within your state then you become complicit with their actions to a large degree.”

Um, so any state that feels miffed that Britain has still not rid itself of indigenous terrorist organisations like the UDA, UDF, IRA, CIRA, RIRA etc. should just flatten as much of Britain as possible? Should Spain be bombed as ETA are not dead and gone yet? What if ETA capture and kill some French soldiers…should France level Spain?

Are you a believer in 5,000 lb “surgical” weapons? Are B24 cluster missles “precise”? Do kids ever get killed by unexploded ordinances after a battle is over? What about landmines? Are they “surgical” too?

Oh wait even for a military power like Britain (far stronger than post-civil war Lebanon - with a population of only 4million and barely recovered economy) can’t terrorists cannot be defeated by force.

I doubt the people of Lebanon as a whole were “happy” about the “state within a state” as you call it but there was undoubtedly not much they could do about particularly post a nasty civil war. The fact that Hezbollah are also a political party is no matter. Sinn Fein and the PUP are the political wings of republican and loyalist terrorist organisations respectively both were in government in Stormont the Northern Irish Assembley - encouraging former terrorists to give up terror and use democratic means to achieve their aims instead is one way of ending terrorism - these former enemies had to work together, yes there is a lot of foot-dragging, but there are fewer deaths than there used to be and peace has prevailed.

Try not to think in such black and white, bomb and worry about the consequences later terms.

85% of Lebanese inc. 80% of Christian Lebanese now support Hezbollah (source: Newsweek International Ed)…Israel was foolish enough to become an enemy of all of Lebanon again. A lot of lives lost and for what?

Counter-productive foreign policy should not be pursued merely because it sounded kinda cool in macho armchair hero way.

The grave misery that nationalism causes is a total disregard for the lives of the citzens of other countries (including neighbours). The value of a life is determined by the passport carried…Israelis, like any other nationalistic people will tolerate grossly disproportionate civilian deaths in response to terrorist acts simply because an Israeli life matter more (to Israelis than a Lebanese). Unfortunately, such ill-begotten foreign policy tends to be so counter-productive that ultimately acts of agression make the aggressor less secure.

In short, bombing Lebanon was bad for Israel and has made the state and it’s citizens less safe in the long run. It’s better to be liked than feared and hated.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 16, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #175892

I think the question is,

Why did the United States hold off on pushing for a cease fire? I believe we knew that Israel couldn’t really take out Hizbollah — crush it, and new militants rise under its banner, armed by outside forces. Lebanon has now been radicalized in a way it wasn’t before. Just as a thought excercise, assume conditions right now were entirely expected. What is the United States hoping to achieve?

Posted by: Trent at August 16, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #175895

“Israel’s stated goal was never to eradicate Hezbollah.”

You’re absolutely correct Max. THAT WAS BUSHES STATED GOAL.

(Sept. 21, 2001, joint session of congress): Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.
It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

Below is a list of terrorist organizations put together by the US State department on 10/5/01. bushes ‘war on terror’ has not resulted in the death or capture of one single leader of any of those organizations.

1. Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
2. Abu Sayyaf Group
3. Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
4. Aum Shinrikyo
5. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
6. Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
7. HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
8. Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
9. Hizballah (Party of God)
10. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
11. al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
12. Kahane Chai (Kach)
13. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
14. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
15. Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
16. National Liberation Army (ELN) 17. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
18. Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
19. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
20. PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)
21. al-Qa’ida
22. Real IRA
23. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
24. Revolutionary Nuclei (formerly ELA)
25. Revolutionary Organization 17 November
26. Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C)
27. Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
28. United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)


bush has failed America. He has failed Israel. He has failed the world.

Posted by: Thom Houts at August 16, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #175894

If the fighting had stopped within a few days, we would have gone back to the previous situation with Hezbollah camped on the border waiting to attack at the time and place of their choosing. That would have been very bad.

If Israel had managed to wipe out Hezbollah, that would have been very good. A border with UN peacekeepers and Lebanese military is not an optimal situation, but it is better than the one before the war or the one that would have been obtained with an immediate cease fire.

The international community is angry at Israel. The Muslim street hates Israel. Big deal. When has the international community not angry at Israel? Recently? When did the Muslim street want to do anything but wipe it out. As for Muslim public opinion or even official opinion supporting Israel - that is not worth a bucket of puss. I think if you look up words like ephemeral, perfidious or capricious they include a picture of the “Muslim street.”

Hezbollah fought well and they did not run away as such groups often do. Too bad Israel didn’t beat them. That is my only regret. Hezbollah respects a cease fire only as long as it takes to reload. The actual fighting went on about as long as it should have. It was clear that continued Israeli efforts would not achieve more. They could only get a half a loaf. I do not see how any outcome other than victory (which they tried to do) could have achieved any more. Good we didn’t have an immediate cease fire. A few more Hezbollah fighers are dead and someone other than Hezbollah will patrol. In return, Israel lost the support of the perfidious. So what?

Posted by: Jack at August 16, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #175896

In relation to the fewer violent deaths in Northern Ireland. Terrorists are still thugs, they are in organised crime and protection rackets, they intimitade people in their own communities execute (suposed spies) and use “punishment beatings” and “knee-cappings”. They are criminals - they rob banks, they deal in drugs.

As with other forms of crime and other criminal organisations.

It’s a police matter.

Bomb whole cities and you just lose credibility - is the aerial bombardment of civilian areas not terrifying?

Posted by: abhcoide at August 16, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #175897

…despite the gleeful yelps from American liberals that “Israel Lost! Hezbollah won! Bad on ya W!”

From where I sit, it seems to me that the divisions of opinion do not fall along the Conservative-Liberal scale. It is something different, and not esy to categorize.
Frankly, I think everybody lost. We will see how it plays out, but it depends on the long run how the international forces and the Lebanon army function.
Actually, any conclusions now are just spin.

Posted by: dana at August 16, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #175900

“What is the United States hoping to achieve?”

Ordinary Americans want to feel secure, to be safe, they want to do good…etc. as reasonable people do.

The neo-cons however, want a never ending war “clash of civilisations”. The Cold War is over and they need to replace it - otherwise there is less need for massive spending on their constituents (i.e. the arms industry).

The whole we need a “war on terror” thing is really just another way of saying we need and excuse to wage war…terrorism will do just fine (it scares people, could strike at any time and the enemy could be virtually anyone, nevermind that every other country deals with terrorism through police work - and with a lot more success). Giving one all the justification one needs to bomb anyone…as any dead person is bound to generate at least a few others who “hate our freedoms” code for hate our freedom to bomb others without consequence.
Declare war on extremists within a religion, bomb people of that religion and make as many extremists as you can. As long as you can escallate the threat by bombing others, invading countries and generally causing misery and mayhem, you’ll need guns, more bombs and more money for Bechtel et al you get permanent military bases in the middle east so long as you get to stay there (i.e. so long as it’s a mess - so keep up the good work!), pipelines in Afghanistan (when you remove one government and replace it with another)- did invading Afghanistan lead to the capture of Bin Laden?

Not so much steal from the rich and give to the poor as steal from the American people and give to the military industrialists (“our friends” to the neo-cons).

The mistake would be to assume that the neo-cons actually want peace in the middle east in the long term. That would be bad for business.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 16, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #175902

Here’s a BBC documentary that features the involvement of some key neo-cons in the current administration in hyping the cold war (Team B).

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7930933565201168

Good for arms sales. Could have led to unnecessary nuclear war (i.e. based on cherry-picked intelligence about a susposed threat) sound familiar, it should.

Like the cold war, the war on terror is fought in a series of proxy wars (Israel v. Lebanon - to get at supposedly Iranian controlled Hezbollah - an indigenous Lebanese group). The war is not against anyone in particular rather a very broadly defined ideology and yes just as every dead Vietnamese civilian was a “gook” every dead Iraqi is an “insurgent” and many will claim, including one commentator above that most of the dead Lebanese were “Hezbollah”.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 16, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #175906

Trent,
The only way the bombing of Lebanon made any sense at all is if it were a first step within a larger plan, rather than an end in itself. As an end in itself, the Israeli bombing of Lebanon was a disaster for the Israelis, Bush, and Lebanon. As the preliminary move setting up the bombing of Syria & Iran, it might make sense, but only if one approves of such a colossally stupid idea in the first place.

Posted by: phx8 at August 16, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #175913

“Sure, we can wipe out a few more thousands of them, but tens of thousands will fill their places. At some point we need to counter the influence of radicals on young muslims so that they do not join the next group that offers them 72 virgins in paradise if they blow themselves and a bunch of infidels to smithereens.”

Maybe Israel could invade Iraq?

Posted by: Observer at August 16, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #175917

phx8

According to Seymour Hersh in the latest The New Yorker it is Bush and Cheney’s plan. They pre-planned the bombing of Lebanon as a set-up for the bombing of Iran. Will it happen just in time for the fall elections?(read about it at: newsinfo.inq7.net) I completly agree with your assessment of it as a stupid idea.

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #175919

KansasDem

Right on in your assessment. I know you supported Israel’s right to defend themselves, as I did, but I always thught they were going about it in the wrong way with all the indiscriminate bombing leading to the large numbers of civilian deaths. This was playing right into the hands of the terrorists as they now have many more on their side.

What I didn’t realize was this was actually pre-planned by Bush and Co. w/ Israel(read Seymour Hersh’s article in the most recent The New Yorker. That is why he DID NOTHING! This is his prelude to attacking Iran. Will it work? I sure as hell hope not.

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #175920

Mark -

Did you see Seymour Hersh on Hardball a few nights ago?

—- about a strategic bombing campaign:

“HERSH: Well, because they believe in strategic bombing. You know, bomb them back to the Stone Age, Curtis LeMay. That‘s …

MATTHEWS: Did that work in the Second World War?

HERSH: Of course not. Studies show that …

MATTHEWS: Hitler was still fighting when the Soviets got to his bunker.

HERSH: He made more tanks in ‘44 than he did in the previous years after intensive bombings of all the wars that he did. But, nonetheless, you know, McNamara, by the way, Robert McNamara was one of the leaders of the study—the strategic study after World War II, and he, of course, pushed for bombing in Vietnam. Everybody wants to bomb.

MATTHEWS: It doesn‘t work. So Curtis LeMay didn‘t know what he was doing?

HERSH: No, he was a pretty good officer.

MATTHEWS: But he wasn‘t right about this?

HERSH: You know what he said? He said at one point—and I think in February of 1945 — I actually spent a lot of time looking at this. And he said, “I‘m out of targets, I can‘t bomb anything, I‘ve leveled everything and they‘re still fighting.”

—-

Sound familiar.

Posted by: tony at August 16, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #175921

sorry - here’s the link.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14360351/

Posted by: tony at August 16, 2006 5:39 PM
Comment #175923

Tony, Mark, and all,

Do any of you recall a few months ago the reports of Bush being shot down on his idea of using nukes against Iran?

I’ll see what I can google.

Maybe you’ll beat me to it!

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 16, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #175924

tony
No, I did not see that. Thanks. Yes it does sound familiar….way too familiar.

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 5:45 PM
Comment #175925

Kansas Dem

Back in April he called bombing Iran “wild speculation”

Wasn’t GWB a speculator(in oil) before he became a decider?

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #175926

Ah, grand memories, more Seymour M. Hersh:

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060417fa_fact

“Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out”—remove the nuclear option—“they’re shouted down.”

THAT BEARS REPEATING:
“whenever anybody tries to get it out”—remove the nuclear option—“they’re shouted down.”

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 16, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #175927

Anyone who doesn’t think that certain factions in the Bush administration(perhaps the real deciders) have attacking Iran on the agenda needs a reality check.

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #175929

“MATTHEWS: Does he—let me cut you off here, because we always conflate these issues. Does he see Iran as a regional threat to countries who are on our side, like Israel and the other so many Arab countries, or does he see it as a strategic threat?

Because this was the whole fight over Saddam Hussein. Of course he was a regional pain in the butt, of course he was a problem to some tactical extent to Israel—he wasn‘t a strategic threat to Israel—but is Iran a strategic threat to the United States? Does he believe that?

HERSH: I don‘t know what he believes.

MATTHEWS: How could he be a strategic threat to the United States?

HERSH: I don‘t know what he believes. He said today Hezbollah lost the war. I mean, I don‘t know. Is the moon made of green cheese? I don‘t know what he believe.”

——-

The moon is made of green cheese… priceless if it wasn’t so scary and on target.

Posted by: tony at August 16, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #175930

tony KansasDem

Speaking of agendas I have a meeting to go to. I’ll check back later.

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #175933
If the fighting had stopped within a few days, we would have gone back to the previous situation with Hezbollah camped on the border waiting to attack at the time and place of their choosing.

Wrong, Jack. a few days into the war, the Lebanese were pissed off at Hezbollah; Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt condemned Hezbollah; and even the French were screamed for a robust international force with a mandate to disarm Hezbollah by any means possible.

None of those things are true anymore. It was a shining opportunity and Biden made the right call at the right time to take advantage of it. But Bush had his own ideas, and blew it.

Frankly, America is not well served by Bush’s wacko high-risk foreign policy. The conservative foreign policy of Bush Sr. and Clinton served America’s interests far better.

And I don’t uderstand why conservative Republicans like yourself aren’t raising big red flags over Bush’s reckless agenda — no, wait. I do: Politics.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #175934
Right now all we’ve done in the Muslim world is reinforce our image as a “Paper Tiger”.

Damned straight, KansasDem. Two-thirds(!) of the US Army and National Guard are rated unfit for combat. Think about that. Every single combat capable military unit America has is in Iraq.

For all President Bush’s talk about not relying on oceans and great distances to protect the homeland from terrorists, he’s shure betting on it where defense from conventional attack is concerned.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #175936

“The moon is made of green cheese… priceless if it wasn’t so scary and on target.”

Tony,

Sorry friend, it’s not priceless. The price is measured in human life.

3,000+ dead 9-11-2001
30,000+ dead Iraqi’s not involved in 9-11
2,600+ dead American troops in Iraq
1 Stupid President still in power
1 Worthless National Security Advisor promoted to Sec. of State! (That’s priceless)
1 Lawyer/WH Counsel/Attorney General that would sell out his own grandparents and his entire race.
1 Vice President that can’t shoot straight.
2 Daughters that must be hidden from the public eye.

Anyone care to add anything?

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 16, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #175937

Abhoicide,

I’m sure aerial bombardment is terrifying, which is probably why Hezbollah shouldn’t intentionally camp out square in the middle of populated civilian centers.

I say again, if the US Military set up arms in the 10 school playgrounds in your neighborhood, and there was an enemy attack killing your neighbors and family members, you wouldn’t yell at the enemy, you would ask what in the Hell the US Military was doing on Main Street. Think the same way with Hezbollah!

And to compare the contentious relationship of groups like the IRA with the UK, and Lebanon & Hezbollah. Hmmm, yeah I don’t remember the UK being not only complicit but helpful with the arming of the IRA. That analogy is obviously absurd.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 16, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #175939

“Biden made the right call”

AP,

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel also called for more immediate action. I’d lived in Nebraska my entire life before moving to Kansas a few years ago, and although I was a registered Democrat, I called Senator Hagel’s office over concern of John Ashcroft’s nomination as AG and I’ll be damned if Hagel didn’t call me back.

We disagreed but Hagel is IMO a really decent guy that’s not likely to go with the “ebb-n-flow”. There are still a very few Republicans that truly understand what representing the people means. VERY FEW!

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 16, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #175942

Ken Strong,

Just imagine living in a KKK neighorhood in the 60’s. Imagine that Kennedy or Johnson decided to bomb the whole neighborhood to rid you of the KKK. If half of your family was killed and your home was destroyed would you have still thanked the government for ridding you of the KKK?

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 16, 2006 7:29 PM
Comment #175990

American Pundit,
An excellent analysis - missing one piece, I think. You are correct Bush took a sucker bet, made a high stakes gamble and lost, but it could be much worse… At least it appears that the Israelis were smart enough to know that they were beat and not get bogged down in a quagmire… According to Sy Hersh in the New Yorker, Bush encouraged Israel to attack Lebanon as a proxy, practice, dry run for a planned U.S. bombing attack on Iran after the mid-term elections. That being the case, the fact that this was an unmitigated disaster, is the good news. Had it been any less than an unmitigated disaster, this jack ass, dry drunk, gunslinger would have taken us to war with Iran and he still might. As it is, the fact that this was a catastrophe may deter them from war - or maybe not - but at least there is a chance that this will stop them. I have written that going to war with Syria and Iran would make more sense than staying bogged down in a quagmire civil war in Iraq - but that does mean that it would be a good idea - only that it would be less idiotic than the sheer idiocy of staying in a civil war fueled by Iran and Syria. But that idiocy is not sheer enough for this idiot. He would stay bogged down in Iraq and bog us down in Iran - So thank God Lebanon was a mess… With this President disaster is the best that we can hope for. It is good.

Posted by: Ray Guest at August 16, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #176030

Ray Guest

I agree with your analysis but does GWB? Does he have the capability to see what happened in Lebanon as the disaster you describe. According to what he has said so far I think not.

Posted by: mark at August 17, 2006 7:26 AM
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