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Old 07-24-2006, 01:56 PM   #1
Neil Mick
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Angry World War 3?

I've been following the ongoing Israeli invasion of Lebanon recently, and my government's non-response (read, thumbs-up support and rush-order issue of more bombs, more weapons) to the war-crimes.

So, where are we at now? The Israeli army has killed 370 people (at about a 10:1 ratio, of the Hizbollah attacks), made about 900,000 refugee's, destroyed wholesale Lebanon's infrastructure, and what does the government of Israel's ally--the US--do? They pass a bill offering 100% support to the war-crimes. Bush gives the military incursion (a well-planned military operation, presented more than a year ago) the green light, while Condi finally (sort of) does her job and arrives in the MidEast, facetiously calling these war-crimes the "birth-pangs of a new MidEast."

And if you're looking for a balanced perspective from the US mainstream media: look elsewhere. Amid the techno-rave soundtrack, we see a completely one-sided perspective from CNN, (of course!) Fox, et al. I had to search to find one carefully worded article on CNN about the costs of war.

BBC, as usual: was a bit more balanced (sort of...the latest was all IDF perspectives), offering pictures of the wholesale destruction, now completely panned by the UN.

What can you do? Well, when the mightiest armies of the world decide that a weak nation in the MidEast needs to be flattened, in order to stop a few hundred extremists: the least you can do is not be fooled by the mainstream media's attempt to act as a press release by the Israeli army. Stay vigilant: read beneath the headlines. To quote one song: don't believe the hype!

Writing your Congressman is good, altho they gave nearly total support in their votes (in the Senate, all 100 voted in support; while in the House, only 8 Congressppl dissented). March in local protests, if/when they are in town. Or, best of all, organize your own. These are OUR tax-dollars going over to drop widespread death on the heads of the Lebanese people: WE bear some of the responsibility.
 
Old 07-24-2006, 02:52 PM   #2
shodan 83
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Re: World War 3?

So solve the problem, you have a government in Lebanon which is one only in name, Hezbollah has a "constitutional clause" to eliminate Israeli, Hezbollah places it infrastructure in civilian locations and launches raids across the border, kidnaps and kills Israelis. Israeli left the northern regions of Lebanon and it was viewed as weakness and an opportunity by Hezbollah. Is the response justified, I don't know, but imagine being Israeli, surrounded by governments and quazi governments bent on its destruction? I don't have any answers, and you won't get one from this administration, that's for sure, the Bush administration has turned a deaf ear to the problems of the Middle East, except for creating a new training ground for the terrorist of the world to cut their teeth. Fix the problem and they'll be giving you the Nobel Prize for peace for the remainder of our lives.
 
Old 07-24-2006, 03:00 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: World War 3?

I think it all sucks. People just keep dying, and no one changes anything. Par for the course I guess.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 07-24-2006, 03:10 PM   #4
ChrisMoses
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Re: World War 3?

Agreed, it sucks, but like the Israeli Embassador said last week, the US is in no position to comment on countries attacking states which harbor terrorist organizations. We set the precident, wrote the rules as it were and Israel is running with it. Boy, sure glad we 'stayed the course....' Next time we should at least elect a *trained* monkey.
 
Old 07-24-2006, 04:02 PM   #5
DanielR
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Re: World War 3?

I thought BBC's coverage was ok.
I'm hoping something good's going to come out of this mess, although it's going to be tough to establish a serious peace-keeping force in southern Lebanon capable of dealing with Hezbollah if necessary.

Daniel
 
Old 07-24-2006, 04:33 PM   #6
shodan 83
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Re: World War 3?

Daniel, do you believe a peacekeeping force is capable of doing what the name implies? Haven't we been here before? I mean when do you engage, who is the enemy when you have ostensibly a guerilla militia who will target peacekeepers as well as their primary objective. Soldiers are just that they need an enemy and an objective. Hezbollah will find all the objectives they need, peacekeepers and Israelis, I hate to sound so pessimistic, but I do not see a change other than a radical approach to oppression and the right to live in a presumed safe environment. You can blame Israeli for a lot, but the right to secure their border is not one of them, there is plenty of blame to go around in this situation.
 
Old 07-24-2006, 05:32 PM   #7
Mike Hamer
 
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Re: World War 3?

I dont like thinking about the harsh truth of the situation, I dont really watch the news, and I hardly ever read the paper....That stuff is messed up.

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
 
Old 07-24-2006, 06:13 PM   #8
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

It's good to see the range of responses, without it spiralling into a "Jew vs. Arab" harangue. Of course, the political situation is far more complex than that. IMO, the IDF "solution" is going to be much more detrimental to Israel, in the end.

Quote:
Eric Lingswiler wrote:
So solve the problem,
An excellent idea. But, do you think that wholesale destruction of Lebanese infrastructure and military actions teetering dangerously close to war with Syria, will solve anything? I sure don't.

Quote:
you have a government in Lebanon which is one only in name,
Sorry, but this is a vast oversimplification. Lebanon certainly DOES have a gov't, in more than name...at least, they DID, before Israel decided to "get medieval." Sure, it was flawed, and probably too much influenced by Syria: but "regime change, at the point of a gun" has been conclusively proven as fallacious (see Iraq).

Quote:
Hezbollah has a "constitutional clause" to eliminate Israeli
Yeah, so? Let's look at the facts:

* Hezbollah has a few missiles with poor accuracy that has, so far, filled about 40 people, while leaving the infrastructure untouched.

Number of people whose lives are upended by the attacks...unknown. But, let's be generous, and say 1000 (grieving relatives, people who had to move, etc).

* Israel, OTOH: has one of the most advanced armies in the world, courtesy of US weapons mfgr's and the US. There is even talk of MacDonnell Douglas and Israel working together to create an Israeli version of their own F-16.

The Israeli attack on Lebanon has left the carefully built-up infrastructure, airport, and facilities in ruins. Life in Lebanon is in a shambles as close to 1 million people had to relocate: people who are told to evacuate southern Lebanon, while the the Israeli military shoots at fleeing vehicles.

Somehow, this collective punishment on the Lebanese seems unbalanced, to put it gently.

Quote:
Hezbollah places it infrastructure in civilian locations and launches raids across the border,
You can't know that, for sure. Not even the Israeli army is conclusive, on where Hezbollah is. More properly, they are mingled within the civilian populations because the southern Lebanese support Hezbollah (for obvious reasons).

And, I'm sure that this latest offensive will be a massive PR coup for Israel, don't you??

Quote:
kidnaps and kills Israelis.
Actually, if you delved a little deeper: you'd know that Israel started the whole mess by kidnapping 2 civilians (odd, isn't it: how this little-known factoid never makes the mainstream press).

And, don't even get me started on the 9000 Palestinian's held in indeterminate "judicial detentions." And, while I don't condone kidnapping anyone: holding hostage military prisoners is not a war-crime (Hezbollah's indiscriminate firing on civilian's IS, tho). But, Israeli offensive certainly DOES qualify as a war-crime.

Quote:
Israeli left the northern regions of Lebanon and it was viewed as weakness and an opportunity by Hezbollah. Is the response justified, I don't know, but imagine being Israeli, surrounded by governments and quazi governments bent on its destruction?
Yes, imagine. Now, imagine being armed with nuclear weapons and having at your beck and call of the most powerful military power ever, in the history of the world? Sorry, Eric: it simply does not equate.

Quote:
I don't have any answers, and you won't get one from this administration, that's for sure, the Bush administration has turned a deaf ear to the problems of the Middle East, except for creating a new training ground for the terrorist of the world to cut their teeth.
Oh, I think the Administration does have answers: Israel, go ahead and slaughter with impunity!

Quote:
Fix the problem and they'll be giving you the Nobel Prize for peace for the remainder of our lives.
Sure enough. But, I humbly suggest, again: that collective punishment is not an answer. We've been there, done that...now it's up to us to demand an alternative.
 
Old 07-24-2006, 06:24 PM   #9
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
no one changes anything. Par for the course I guess.

Ron

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
like the Israeli Embassador said last week, the US is in no position to comment on countries attacking states which harbor terrorist organizations. We set the precident, wrote the rules as it were and Israel is running with it.
Quote:
Mikel Hamer wrote:
I dont like thinking about the harsh truth of the situation, I dont really watch the news, and I hardly ever read the paper....That stuff is messed up.
Sorry, fellas: but this isn't good enough. You can shrug your shoulders and fatalistically mutter "life goes on;" you can pass it off as "situation normal;" you can hide your head and ignore the news (altho, yes, I sympathize)...but the simple fact of the matter is that WE--that is, the US gov't--just approved an emergency shipment of bombs that will be directly sent to Lebanon, courtesy of the F-16's that we so generously gave them. OUR tax dollars are reponsible.

Worse, I have no doubt that people would STILL be dying if Condi, et al, were to do her job and attempt a negotiated end to hostilities yesterday. Perhaps, tho: if Israel's vaunted ally were to take some other stand aside from their Kafka-esque notion that "the threat of Hezbollah must be completely eliminated, before talks resume" (read: the people of Lebanon must be thoroughly punished for voting for Hezbollah); I believe that this exercise in military excess would at least be conducted with a little more restraint.

But, I think you guys are spot-on about Israel taking it's cues from the excesses in Iraq. Imagine if we never invaded: would this "world war 3" have even happened? Who can say...?
 
Old 07-24-2006, 06:32 PM   #10
ChrisMoses
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Re: World War 3?

Short of taking up arms against what I consider to be an administration full of war criminals, what would you have us do? Volunteer with local progressive groups? OK, done that. Get out and vote? Yup, done that too. Write letters to my congresswomen? Yup, done that, and I'm on their mailing-lists. We're seeing the global rise of the religious non-rational right. A lot of us were yelling and screaming about this YEARS ago, but NASCAR was on, so the monkey won.
 
Old 07-24-2006, 07:47 PM   #11
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Re: World War 3?

There will be no 3WW for the moment, because we are talking here about Business. A LOT of money. For example: somebody produces weapons, he must find a market to sell it. If there are no real needs in the moment (Peace&Love), he will create new needs, as in old, good marketing 'routine'.
Hezbollah and Israel are simple pawns on world chess-board. They are being used by powerful groups of interest like marionettes. The real question is no how many ppl will get killed, but how much money some ppl will earn from this investment.

Neil, you seem to be very naïf. Don't take too literary a word ‘democracy'. Wake up, grow up. You have exactly ZERO influence on your government. Me too. We are simple mortals.
However if you represent for example some powerful energy holding, cartel of oil companies, there will be very different story. They will even help you to fake your own death to protect you from Justice, because you covered them during investigations. Everything is possible.
That how the world is working today.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
 
Old 07-24-2006, 08:22 PM   #12
DanielR
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Eric wrote:
do you believe a peacekeeping force is capable of doing what the name implies?
I guess that would depend on the composition of this force, its mandate and lots of other things. Certainly, deployment of such a force would only be possible as part of a political process and only when some sort of settlement is reached, especially with regards to the disputed Sheba Farms territory and the status of the Hizbollah militia.
Short term, I have no illusions about this: even if Hizbollah is pushed away from the border, they have the capability to reach Israel from farther north within Lebanon. However, I don't see what else can be done. Destroying Hizbollah completely would probably require a prolonged and bloody ground operation, and I don't think that's going to happen.

Daniel
 
Old 07-24-2006, 08:41 PM   #13
dps
 
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Re: World War 3?

Neil, you seem very agressive for someone who studies the "Art of Peace".

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
 
Old 07-24-2006, 08:51 PM   #14
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
do you believe a peacekeeping force is capable of doing what the name implies?
No. Peacekeepers would just become targets. For peacekeeping to work you need peace in the first place. Keeping peace.
Western peacekeepers would just be considered an extension of Israel.

Both sides want to kill each other. Both sides feel they have the moral highground. Lebanon government can't do squat about Hezbolah. If they directly oppose them then they will just turn on em. Not to mention hezbolah was democratically voted in to the government.

Szczepan Janczuk echos my thoughts on the matter. It's all about money now. It's a buisness.

I wouldn't think for a minute this isn't exactly what Hezbolah wanted. Israel killing civlians. Osama pulled the same trick against the US. He knew exactly what the US would do when he bombed the twin towers.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
 
Old 07-24-2006, 09:49 PM   #15
aikigirl10
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
... simple mortals
i love it
 
Old 07-24-2006, 11:21 PM   #16
Dajo251
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Re: World War 3?

my only comment on WW3 is god I hope not, no good can come of it.....

Dan Hulley
 
Old 07-24-2006, 11:38 PM   #17
Hucqie
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Re: World War 3?

Neil

I am by no means a supporter of these hostilities (from either side), but I think that you "facts" are a, little biased and misguided.

To say that only about 1000 Israelis have been affected by the incursion is not quite accurate, I have family in Israel that I speak to regularly and right now they are spending most of their days in air-raid bunkers trying to stay safe from the over 2000 missiles that have been fired at them.

There are no winners in any conflict like this, I agree with Szczepan in that Hizbolah and Israel are just pawns in the conflict, I think that it is more about nuclear weapons in Iran than big business.

From the tone of your responses you are clearly passionate about this issue. I am however not sure whether you are looking for a discussion about the conflict in the Middle East, or a soap box from which to state your "facts".

Brandon
 
Old 07-25-2006, 12:10 AM   #18
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Short of taking up arms against what I consider to be an administration full of war criminals, what would you have us do? Volunteer with local progressive groups? OK, done that.
1. Stay vigilant: read beneath the headlines. Go beyond the pablum of the mainstream.

2. March in protests.

3. Write your Congressman.

4. Don't hide your head in the sand. I seem to recall something about Aikido, and posture, and not letting one's head slump forward...

5. Oh, and one other thing: boycott Israeli products.

Now, as far as your message of fatalistic doom and gloom...yes, it IS an uphill battle; and yes, the baddie's often DO win. But, I can quote several historical events where injustice was turned on its ear, through popular struggles, both large and small.

South Africa, and apartheid? Gone now, through international pressure and boycotts. The Vietnam War? Foreshortened because the Pentagon was worried about the Army spread too thin, should the protests break out into revolt (and, another little-known fact: protests WITHIN the Army. Look up the movie "Sir No Sir" for more on this). Child labor? Mother Jones led a parade of 8000 kids to the vacation-spot of Theodore Roosevelt, to protest child labor. Now we have child labor laws, in place.

Yeah, it's an uphill battle and the baddie's often win...but one thing's for sure...if we don't fight the good fight, they certainly WILL win.

To quote Big Bill: Don't mourn: organize!

Writing your Congressman is good, altho they gave nearly total support in their votes (in the Senate, all 100 voted in support; while in the House, only 8 Congressppl dissented). March in local protests, if/when they are in town. Or, best of all, organize your own. These are OUR tax-dollars going over to drop widespread death on the heads of the Lebanese people: WE bear some of the responsibility.
 
Old 07-25-2006, 12:15 AM   #19
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
There will be no 3WW for the moment
Yes, I was speaking ironically.

Quote:
Neil, you seem to be very naïf. Don't take too literary a word ‘democracy'. Wake up, grow up. You have exactly ZERO influence on your government. Me too. We are simple mortals.
And, a government is elected by...whom? That's right: people. WE are responsible. So please, take your defeatist statements elsewhere.

Quote:
However if you represent for example some powerful energy holding, cartel of oil companies, there will be very different story. They will even help you to fake your own death to protect you from Justice, because you covered them during investigations. Everything is possible.
That how the world is working today.
True enough (and, wasn't it awfully convenient for Ken Lay to pass on, shortly before he was to be locked up? Too bad the gov't couldn't sieze the assets of a dead criminal. But, that's the tale for another time). But nonetheless, the people DO have power...unless, of course: they simply take your apathetic homilies to heart and let the Powers that Be just roll them over, like a set of duckpins...
 
Old 07-25-2006, 12:16 AM   #20
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Neil, you seem very agressive for someone who studies the "Art of Peace".
"Peace" does not = "Passivity"

(see Gandhi, for reference)
 
Old 07-25-2006, 12:30 AM   #21
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Brandon Hucq wrote:
Neil

I am by no means a supporter of these hostilities (from either side), but I think that you "facts" are a, little biased and misguided.

To say that only about 1000 Israelis have been affected by the incursion is not quite accurate, I have family in Israel that I speak to regularly and right now they are spending most of their days in air-raid bunkers trying to stay safe from the over 2000 missiles that have been fired at them.
OK, let's say it was more than 1000. How about 10,000?

It's still a drop, compared to the ocean of 1,000,000 displaced. There simply IS no comparison.

Quote:
From the tone of your responses you are clearly passionate about this issue. I am however not sure whether you are looking for a discussion about the conflict in the Middle East, or a soap box from which to state your "facts".

Brandon
Oh, please, Brandon: I humbly suggest that it is you, who are biased. I have no relatives in Israel: I simply look at the news--ALL sides of the news. I see the same old, same old drumbeats for war from mainstream...funny how familiar the tune sounds. Almost exactly the same, as in March, 2003.

And, biased facts? I challenge you to find one fact I've posted, that's incorrect. Is it not true that those 370 victims were mostly civilians? Is it untrue that life in Lebanon has been completely disrupted? Funny, I look to the Israeli news, and I see no such events occurring, in Israel.

But forget all that...tar my opinions with the smear of bias. OK, guilty as charged. But I put it to you: how will this military offensive help the situation? Will a massive aerial bombardment followed by ground troops do squat, to eradicate Hezbollah? Will it show the Lebanese people that supporting Hezbollah is wrong?

No, it won't: if the example of the Iraqi invasion is any indicator. More likely, the support of Hezbollah will widen, and grow; just as the support for Iraqi insurgents grows in response to US occupational excess.
 
Old 07-25-2006, 12:38 AM   #22
Neil Mick
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Re: World War 3?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
what would you have us do?
Oh, one MORE thing, you can do (darn these 15 min edit rules)...write your media outlet, and tell demand a more balanced view, than a perspective from the views of the Israeli Army.

(edit-note: "Don't mourn: organize!" was Joe Hill, NOT Big Bill. Sorry... )
 
Old 07-25-2006, 04:44 AM   #23
Mark Freeman
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Re: World War 3?

The 2 most disturbing things I have seen on the BBC within the last few days are:

Last night John Simpson reporting from Israel, saying the Condi Rice position has been taken by the Israeli's as a 'stalling' strategy, and that Israel are free continue as they wish. The civilian deathcount is approx 10:1 Lebanese/Israeli. So this is set to continue for the time being. I wonder how many young arabs/muslims will be drawn into the wider conflict as a result?

A couple of nights ago Newt Gingrich (sp?) was interviewed, and to be honest my blood ran cold listening to his assertions that we are already in WW3. So the question mark can officially be removed from the head of the thread Neil.

We are all part of this whether we like it or not. There are no easy answers, innocent people are going to die, they always do. That doesn't mean that we can't do 'anything', what we can do is quite limited but Neil does make some good suggestions. US foreign policy is understandably there to look after it's own, foreign lives are expendable when it comes to this administrations desire to rule the roost.

As a citizen of the US's main backer in their current overseas forays, I would like to request that my american cousins throw out this government and re-elect a decent one, and in return we'll try to do the same over here. A poll in one of todays papers show that 60 odd percent of the british people are against Blair's position in relation to Bush. Not a good sign for either of them. I realise that the US doesn't need us to do whatever it wants, but it must be comforting to Bush that Blair will just go along with whatever he want's and then defend that position to the UK electorate as the right and 'moral' thing to do.

I must admit my faith in 'people of faith' is at an all time low, which if you knew from where I started is very low indeed. The slaughter of innocent life seems to be all in a day's work, they will find justification in any weasley way that they can. The hypocrisy of their actions does nothing to instill hope in the secular world.

Anyway, I've got work to do, can't let WW3 get in the way of earning a crust

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
 
Old 07-25-2006, 05:12 AM   #24
dps
 
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Re: World War 3?

Neil, There are many conflicts and wars that the U.S. are involved in. Why do you pick this one to talk about?

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
 
Old 07-25-2006, 06:39 AM   #25
Amir Krause
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Warning - I am an Israeli

I will not claim to be unbiased - I am. I am Israeli and a Jew. I live in Tel-Aviv though, so I was not under attack yet.
But Neil, reading your posts, you are much less balanced then I am. Actually, I have read many Lebanese-Bloggers who are much more balanced then you are.

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
* Hezbollah has a few missiles with poor accuracy that has, so far, filled about 40 people, while leaving the infrastructure untouched.
Number of people whose lives are upended by the attacks...unknown. But, let's be generous, and say 1000 (grieving relatives, people who had to move, etc).
How would you react if Santa Cruz was bombed with 20 missiles a day, falling at random places? What would have been the response you would have expected from your government?

The number of Israeli currently affected in their daily lives is around 1.2 million people (a fifth of the population), of those, many are Israeli Arabs. Relatively, only a very small number were killed or injured, but this is due to a very high level shelters built in Israel, and particularly in the north, which has been bombed around the 70s too. All modern apartments have a room that is a shelter, or a shelter per floor, in places built earlier, the cities built shelter every several hundred meters.
Many of these 1.2 million people stay at the shelter for the second week now, with no recess, most with no air conditioning. Only a minority goes to work. Air raids sirens are activated every few hours, at best, they give you 30 seconds

Hezbollah (HA) targets the larger Israeli cities, and intends to create as many civilians dead as possible. This is evident not only by their targets -- the largest cities in the area, but also according to the timing of the attacks. The HA lower effect has to do with ability, not with intention!



Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
But forget all that...tar my opinions with the smear of bias. OK, guilty as charged. But I put it to you: how will this military offensive help the situation? Will a massive aerial bombardment followed by ground troops do squat, to eradicate Hezbollah? Will it show the Lebanese people that supporting Hezbollah is wrong?

No, it won't: if the example of the Iraqi invasion is any indicator. More likely, the support of Hezbollah will widen, and grow; just as the support for Iraqi insurgents grows in response to US occupational excess.
I do have doubts with regard to the usefulness of the a military response. But, I keep failing over the following problem:
What other option are you offering to Israel to follow that would be truly effective? I found none, and so, I must hope the Israel government will be able to utilize the military in a way that

Do consider the following requirements for your solution:
* It has to do only with the Israeli/Lebanon/Hezbollah conflict, leave the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alone (the latter is so complicated).
* It has to stop all attacks on either side, for at least the next 4 decades (actually, a single decade would suffice).
* This is the middle-east and all parties are likely to behave accordingly. Signing an agreement means nothing without sufficient means of enforcing transgressions.
* The state of Israel has to remain in existence.
* Despite the UN declaration of Israel withdraw of all of Lebanon, you may suggest Israel to enter discussion with regard to the Shabaa-Farms area.
* Tried terrorists (who murdered civilians) should not be released prior to the end of their terms. And again, Palestinians have nothing to do with this conflict.

I have not succeeded in finding any such solution. Since I am aware of the HA theological positions, which they publish; the support HA has in local Shiite population, for multiple reasons, a primary being HA success in establishing a state within a state in Lebanon, in addition to the religious tendencies and local hate of Israel (some of which is justified).

If you can not suggest a good solution. Think again about your own moral right to blame others for choosing a solution you deem as bad



Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
Actually, if you delved a little deeper: you'd know that Israel started the whole mess by kidnapping 2 civilians (odd, isn't it: how this little-known factoid never makes the mainstream press).
I read something about this, it had to do with the Gaza strip situation, Not Lebanon. The Palestinians did not stop firing their rockets into Israel, even after Israel withdrew from Gaza. If anything, the attacks into Israel were intensified, since the Palestinians no longer had settlement to fire at. As far as international law, and realistic views, this is a totally different situation, though similar.


There is a reason all western countries did not condemn the Israeli decision to go to war. In this case there is not doubt about the identity of the aggressor -- HA. HA has attacked Israel 60 times since Israel withdraw of all of Lebanon in 2000, I am writing about attacks -- not transgression, but rather rockets fired, soldiers kidnapped (this is the second such occasion), and such. No serious country can accept such actions of war against it without consequence. Such a war is legitimate related to international law.
The fact most governments try to hide, is the responsibility here belong to the Lebanese government as a whole, and not only to HA. A government has to be responsible for all acts performed from inside its boundary. There is a way for governments to come out clear from attacks on neighboring countries, it has to arrest those perpetrators and bring them to justice. Jordan and Egypt has done this when a single soldier of them fired on Israeli tourists, Israel has done this to Jews establishing "resistance movements" to attack Arabs. The Lebanese government is given leeway in this regard, for two reasons: Its political weakness as a government of a country just coming out of the Syrian occupation, and the possibility it could assist in solving the issue. As a rule of thumb -- Israel attack over Lebanon is as justified a war as can be, not a war crime as you describe.


Comparing the casualty ratios is not a relevant way to make justice. This is logic of the type: "if I attack you for no reason and you win against me in knock-out, living me shattered, then you are at blame and I am righteous". As I wrote previously, the Israeli death toll is mostly limited by the HA abilities compared to the Israeli sheltering. Had the firepower ratio been reversed, with HA having the upper hand, does anyone have any doubt the Israeli death toll would have been a hundred fold? I, and the most other Israelis, are not happy for any civilian who died in Lebanon, does the same sentiment go the other way around?
The facts are that HA uses civilians as shields, hides it's headquarters in residential buildings. Fires from within civilian neighborhoods, and hides weapons inside mosques and private lodgings. Israel can not attack HA without harming "civilian" Lebanese, particularly not those who actively support it.

I can try to give some partial reasoning for the Israeli targets of attack. Do remember, I was not privy to secret intelligence, so I can only speculate:

Beirut, the focus of the attacks is a region that houses the Hezbollah headquarters for years. Reporters who visited there said this area was guarded by Hezbollah activists, foreigners were not allowed to visit without escort. People did live there, the Hezbollah headquarters was housed in several separated floors of a living house, with probably sympathetic tenants. If you listen closely to the news, you will find Israel only bombed specific targets in the city. Israel has not unleashed a full attack against the civilians yet.
Further, it turns out Hezbollah hid long rage weaponry in the city, one such missile launcher was destroyed last week (at first the Lebanese thought it is an Israeli aircraft and were joyous about it).

The airport could have been used by Hezbollah for multiple options: receiving ammunition from Iran directly is one, getting supporters of Jihad (as arrived to Iraq) is another.
The roads and bridges have similar reasons to be targets, it is very difficult to identify ammunition convoys driving in an open and unthreatened freeway, once they have to travel slowly, in narrow roads, and with the population slowing them down as it travels in the opposite direction, the detection and annihilation is much easier. True, it is cold and harsh solution, but wars require such.
Another target Israel is bombing is HA businesses. HA has lots of those, including banks, hotels, houses etc. These are legitimate targets in a war.

I would like to point to you the number of dead Lebanese, as evidence of the Israeli army attempt to lower the civilian casualties. There were about 400 dead reported by the Lebanese government. The Lebanese government says the reports are only on civilians, but, how would one know if a person without a weapon in his arms, had just activated a rocket? What of those who hid them in their houses, are their houses considered as weapon stocks and they are guards, or are they civilians?
How about comparing it to the death toll in Iraq in the last two weeks? Despite the superior firepower, Israel is actually killing less people. You hear all this talk about Israeli ground forces going in. Supposedly it is an escalation that would result in more civilian casualties. What is the alternative solution for a military to stop the missile fire? To annihilate the area into a parking lot? Is this more humane?


War against terrorists is much more difficult, and I doubt the Geneva Convention (http://www.genevaconventions.org/) anticipated this. The problem is that terrorists tend to use the convention rules as their own shield, they hide among the civil population in a way that actually nullifies the convention intention. In cursory reading (you could find more):, I found that people being suspected of hostile activity against an army, are not protected by the convention, see 4th convention
Quote:
Art. 5 Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.
While looking at the convention (did not read it in depth), I was surprised to find out the articles included against misusage, actually nullify it's meaning when fighting terrorists. For example:
The terrorist hiding actions turns everyone around a fighting scene into "person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State". A population which supports the fighting and hides weapon is performing hostile act and no longer protected. Thus, in a struggle such as Israel is facing now, a good lawyer (or better international standings) would probably thwart any accusation. I am not a lawyer, nor a specialist of international legalities. So I would rather not quibble about those particulars based on my cursory reading.


Obviously, this is not the intention of the convention writers. And this does not coincide with the Israeli expectations of our army for morality.
We, the Israelis, demand higher morality of our own army, and often enough, we have paid for it with blood.

Let me paint you a simple situation, and let you understand the real moral dilemma faced by commanders:
Rockets are being fired on a city. The Radar indicates the origin is a particular village, yet the Radar resolution is not sufficient to point you to a single window or house, but rather to large blocks. The houses are so dense armored vehicles are ineffective and would only be a target. The intelligence you have points to great support of the local population towards those firing at you. The intelligence further indicates some people hold rocket shelters in their basements, due to support against you, and also, since this brought them money for renovations. It is also clear the enemy has mined the area and fortified firing positions inside residential houses in anticipation of ground troops entry.
Ask yourself -- How should an army commander respond?
Should he ask for air-strikes and artillery to wipe out the village?
Suppose he has intelligence of several particular houses holding weapons, the weapons accuracy and high density of houses does not enable him to limit the distraction.


What should he do?


The commander decided he will risk it, and send infantry inside despite the risk. One of his platoons is caught in an ambush, many injured and dead. He can not evacuate them in the current situation. What should he do now? Is this time to call in the air/artillery support despite the risks to the locals? Should he decide to level some houses with heavy machinery in order of changing the field of battle.

This is the type of situations commanders face while fighting with terrorists, constant moral dilemmas. The story I wrote above is actually based on the situation that was in Genin. Palestinian propaganda tried to paint it as a massacre, the UN inquiry exonerated Israel of these suspicions.


Personally, I admire those soldiers who are willing to risk their lives not only for the patriotic cause, but to save the lives of innocent among our enemies as well, while the other side uses those people as shields. The Israeli education I grew up on remembers those who died this way, and places them as our martyrs in this war.
I am not sure I could do those acts myself, nor am I sure I would have been happy knowing my child or brother is risking his life when other means are possible, only to reduce the risks for the enemy population, particularly if this same population actively support the enemy (if only in civilian ways). This is a thing people can only expect, we may not demand it.


Amir

Last edited by Amir Krause : 07-25-2006 at 06:53 AM.
 

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