TCS Daily


Admirable Restraint

By J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss - July 19, 2006 12:00 AM

As the armed conflict continues in the Middle East, many are finally starting to acknowledge that the connections between the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian patrons represent a significant strategic threat not only to Israel, but also to the United States, as we warned in an article published a week before the current outbreak. Unfortunately, many policymakers and analysts have been unable or unwilling to understand the connection between the act of war that provoked today's crisis and the government of Lebanon.

President George W. Bush, for example, while supportive of Israel, expressed concern that "whatever Israel does...should not weaken the Sinioura government in Lebanon." Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the soon-to-be-replaced Vatican Secretary of State and great admirer of Yassir Arafat, issued a statement that omitted any mention of Israel ever being attacked, but "deplored the attack now on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation" and praised its people "who have already suffered so much in defense of their independence."

The picture that emerges is that of a Lebanese government as victim who must be protected from Israeli bullying, rather than a party complicit in and responsible for the current crisis. In these very pages, Stephen Bainbridge has now chimed in, criticizing Israel for waging an unjust war on Lebanon after the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. We both have great respect for Professor Bainbridge, but he is absolutely wrong on this question. His error seems to be a product of up to three misunderstandings: about the complicity of the Lebanese government in Hezbollah's actions, the nature of Hezbollah's threat to Israel's security, and the nature of the Israel's response.

1. Responsibility of Lebanon's government for the attacks on Israel.

A little over a year ago, Lebanese masses took to the streets in the so-called "Cedar Revolution," demanding democracy and the end of Syrian domination of Lebanese politics and society. While the demonstrators succeeded in forcing the public withdrawal of Syrian forces from their country and the holding of elections, the Lebanese revolution was stillborn. Quite simply, the country's politicians proved themselves more interested in carving themselves larger slices of the pie than in carrying out the hoped for transition to normalcy.

As we noted in January, it was bad enough that Hezbollah was allowed to compete in Lebanese elections without disarming. Worse, the terrorist group's vise-like grip on Shi'ite southern Lebanon gave it fourteen seats in parliament. With the seats of Amal, another armed Shi'ite group, and of other fellow travelers, Hezbollah acquired indirect control of thirty-five seats, making it the second-largest grouping in the Lebanese parliament. From this position of strength, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah -- the "spiritual leader" who is confidently predicting the liquidation of Israel -- demanded at least two cabinet posts, including that of foreign minister, from Prime Minister Sinioura. Nasrallah got what he wanted: Hezbollah MP Mohammed Fneish received the energy ministry, Hezbollah-backed "independent" Shi'ite Fawzi Saloukh was given the foreign ministry, and an Amal Shi'ite, Tarad Hamadeh, was appointed labor minister. Fneish is a veteran Hezbollah warrior, who won notoriety in 1997 for holding hostage the desecrated remains of Israeli commandos killed in action, parceling their body parts out to Amal and the Lebanese military for "safekeeping" until Israel agreed to release a number of (live) terrorists. Fneish's participation in electoral politics has not moderated his views: in a March 2004 interview, for example, he continued to describe the mere existence of Israel as "immoral and illegitimate."

In law and in fact, Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese government. As long as that government continues to legitimize Hezbollah, it must bear responsibility for the consequences of the actions of the radicals.

2. The attack on Israel: no mere 'kidnapping'

While the proximate cause for the current hostilities was the Hezbollah invasion of Israeli territory and abduction of two Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers -- as well as the killing of several others -- last week, this war had been brewing for some time. The Lebanese government's refusal to live up to its formal obligation under United Nations Security Council 1559, which required the disarmament of Hezbollah and government control of Lebanon's borders with the Jewish state, is the causa causans. As we stated in an essay published last week: "The Lebanese government has allowed Hezbollah to control Lebanon's border with Israel, and to act as a government in the largely Shi'ite southern part of the country... Pleas of helplessness are unacceptable; the Lebanese government has never invoked its inability to control its territory or asked for foreign assistance in fulfilling its obligations. No, Hezbollah controls its territory as part and parcel of Lebanese sovereignty. That case is closed."

This is what sovereignty means, by the way, power and responsibility. Since at least the War of 1812, states have been held responsible for "guerilla" actions launched from their territory. Hezbollah isn't even guerilla -- it is part of Lebanon's de jure government, and the de facto sovereign in southern Lebanon.

Nor were two "mere" kidnappings (as if the invasion and abduction of two government representatives is trivial) involved. Lebanon has persistently invaded Israel. Last January, we publicized a story (well known inside Israel) about IED's that Hezbollah placed inches inside Israel's border two years ago. Israel asked Lebanon to remove them, and of course the Lebanese declined. Israel then used a bulldozer to remove the IED. The one time that the slope of the terrain forced the bulldozer to maneuver slightly over the border line into Lebanese ground, the bulldozer operator was killed with a very skillfully and deliberately aimed rocket propelled by Hezbollah. This diabolical murder was widely celebrated by Hezbollah as a confirmation of its desire to kill "Zionists". IDF Northern Command soldiers remain embittered to this day by this killing (and by the callous indifference of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) "peacekeepers"). In June 2005, an elite Hezbollah team equipped with high-tech optical gear (cameras, binoculars and night-vision equipment) penetrated into Israel from Lebanon to kidnap Israelis, whom Hezbollah planned to torture and kill, eventually exchanging their corpses for imprisoned terrorists in Israel. Intercepted by an Israeli border patrol, the team opened fire and ordered mortar rounds lobbed from Lebanon onto the Israeli defenders. Two of the three Hezbollah terrorists were killed or wounded, as was one Israeli officer.

Over 800 bombs had been dropped on Israel from Lebanon in the months preceding the "mere" invasions, abductions and attempted abductions. What country would have held its fire this long? Hezbollah is probing Israel's defenses, purposefully trying to keep each aggression under the threshold of just war casus belli, precisely so that observers such as Professor Bainbridge and Cardinal Sodano will not sanction or approve Israel's defensive response. To repeat -- this case is closed; Israel has been invaded and may wage just war against Lebanon.

3. The means used by Israel have not been unjust.

Unintended collateral civilian damage from just battle, while deplorable, is neither atypical nor illegal. Israel has taken reasonable means to minimize collateral damage. It has warned civilian residents of targeted area to flee. It has attacked infrastructure (airports; roads to and from Syria; etc) where necessary to prevent re-supplying of Hezbollah forces. [Bainbridge cites the firebombing of Dresden and Hamburg; our admiration for him leads us to chalk this utterly irrelevant analogy up to carelessness.] Errors have surely occurred, as they always do in human endeavors. But whereas Hezbollah and Hamas weapons deliberately target civilians, Israel is deliberately targeting the warriors that Lebanon has culpably allowed to store arms in homes, trucks, and warehouses scattered throughout the civilian population. [We will save for another occasion a discussion of the war crimes being committed by Hezbollah not only by willfully targeting civilians, but by using them and their homes as launch pads for the attacks.] Again, it is Lebanon, not Israel, which bears responsibility for the innocent victims created by this Hezbollah aggression.

Hezbollah is always ready to attack Israel. That is what it exists for. As Hassan Nasrallah makes clear every day, Hezbollah sees the destruction of Israel as central to the global jihad. And jihad is all that matters to Hezbollah. In this, Hezbollah is no different from Hamas. Hamas defines itself by its goal of destroying Israel and conquering Jerusalem in the name of jihad.

Dialoguing with such people, appeasing them, costs lives. Israel has appeased those who waged war on it in the past, with Nasrallah himself in 2004. Of course, this only provoked further captures and killings, some doubtless by the very terrorists freed as a result of earlier exchanges. Appeasement is not only a counterproductive strategy when one's adversary is ideologically committed to one's destruction, it is downright immoral. Only "neutralization" will do the trick.

We close with this "everyday" story from the Jerusalem Post, on July 18: "On Monday, hundreds of Palestinians who marched in downtown Ramallah in support of Hezbollah chanted: "Hassan Nasrallah is our hero, the rest of the Arab leaders are cowards" and "O beloved Abu Hadi [Nasrallah's nom de guerre], bomb, bomb Tel Aviv." The second battle cry is identical to the famous slogan the Palestinians used during the first Gulf War: "O beloved Saddam, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv."

This is the war Israel is waging, and from which we all stand to benefit. This is unlike any war the United States, or the Vatican for that matter, has ever fought. This is what makes IDF operations in Lebanon and Gaza just, and what makes Israeli restraint (yes, restraint) so admirable.

Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are adjunct fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


71 Comments

Disarming Hezbollah
This is probably not the moment to discuss facts, but I would point out that "the Lebanese government" is hardly in a position to comply with any UN resolution by disarming Hezbollah. Hezbollah is bigger than the government militarily.

Shiites are the largest ethnic group in the country-- yet under the power sharing agreement that ended the Lebanese civil war they are prevented from taking elected office as "the government". That role is shared between minority Christians and Sunnis in the north. So as a de facto matter, the Shiites have been left to govern themselves in the south.

Therefore when someone asks them to disarm the Shiites, they are really asking them to start the civil war again. And I don't think the Lebanese have much taste for that. So it's a falsely premised ultimatum.

As to the just war, justly being waged by just people against injustice, may I note that the tally as of yesterday was Israel 200 civilian fatalities, Hezbollah 24 civilian fatalities? Would that make the Hez eight times more just? Just asking.

in that case
this just proves that Hezbollah is the defacto, if not dejure govt of Lebanon.

If it is true that the Lebanese want to disarm Hezbollah, but can't, then they should be gratefull for this help from Isreal.

Hezbollah and civilians
I read a report last night that Hezbollah has been blocking roads out of southern Lebanon and shooting at civilians who were trying flee.

The blame for any and all civilian deaths lies 100% with Hezbollah.

No Subject
>"As to the just war, justly being waged by just people against injustice, may I note that the tally as of yesterday was Israel 200 civilian fatalities, Hezbollah 24 civilian fatalities? Would that make the Hez eight times more just? Just asking."

Is justice a tally Roy? As Mark pointed out, Hezbollah is the Lebanese government. I know you don't like to lay blame on Hezbollah for all of their wonderful charity work and for keeping the Jews on the other side of the border but is it possible that they were a threat to Israeli citizens and actively pursuing their deaths? Do their actions against Israel, not to mention their stockpiling of armaments in civilian centers, lay the blame for civilian death firmly on their heads?

Just asking.

facts?
Hezbollah has 6000 soldiers, Lebanon has 60,000 soldiers. It's up to the Lebanese people and government whether Hezbollah makes policy for them, the same as Palestine and Hamas.
If they let Hezbollah make war, it's their responsibility.
It should make no difference to Israel who is in control, they were attacked from the sovereign country of Lebanon, apparently with the tacit support of the government and people.
Please keep in mind that the government to be responsible, only needed to keep weapons from getting to Hezbollah through its airport, a battle with Hezbollah would only happen if Hezbollah then attacked the government of Lebanon. By doing nothing the government is responsible.

Price of Oil
Let's look at this conflict through the lens of oil prices. For months, the Iranians have been stirring fear into the oil markets, jacking up the price of a barrel of oil with every foul smelling phrase emitted from Ahmadinejad's pie hole, but finally starting to reach a state of diminishing returns. Perhaps encouraging Hezbollah to attack Israel was a step up in that strategy. Today oil is trading at $72 and headed downward. Perhaps there is a sense that Iran isn't quite so big a threat as it blusters to be, which is good medium term for regional peace and stability. They played a bad gambit.

There was probably a lot of built up anxiety over relative strength of various countries compared to Israel. Gulf War I, where Israel got nailed by Iraqi missiles but wasn't permitted to respond probably didn't help. Eliminating Hezbollah over the course of a couple weeks, then helping the Lebanese government rebuild and keep the terrorists out (the "you breaky, you fixey rule -- count on it) will establish Israel's strength for decades.

Who's to blame?
Hezbollah is quite different than the Lebanese government in Beirut. I know you know this distinction so I won't belabor it here. But the Lebanese government has not the power nor the intent to try to disarm Hezbollah. They would only (1) be ineffective and (2) start another civil war.

Without knowing a great deal yet about what is actually going on, I would think H's decision to attack an IDF outpost was a serious blunder. Such a move was certain to invite escalation, and it was in fact followed by IDF responses against urban Lebanese neighborhoods. Which in turn was followed by Hezbollah missiles falling on Haifa. Neither party comes off well, and Hezbollah certainly was the party who started this latest round.

So are they to blame for starting something they would have known would involve civilian casualties? Of course. Does this absolve the brave fighting forces of Israel for responding by shelling Lebanese cities? I think not.

Deep Reservoirs
The underlying issues of the Right of Return and the Control of Jerusalem will continue to exacerbate the violent extremes.

I still believe peace can only be achieved if Israel to accepts the Right of Return -- but only as financial compensation in lieu of settlement -- for the vast majority of Palestinian descendants and to make a portion of Israel an "International city."

However, I also believe that it will take several more generations for the moderates (on both sides) to dominate the political landscape. Israel will always be dwarfed by the surrounding Arab Muslims nations, so it's only other alternative is to ignore the Right of Return and the Control of Jerusalem in exchange for perpetual war.

Correction
...to make a portion of Jerusalem an "International city."

The Lebanese government
It may be that someone knows how many fighters Hezbollah has, and it may even be that the Lebanese army has ten times more. But it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

I think anyone would admit that the IDF is immensely more powerful than even the Lebanese army. If so, then how come Hezbollah drove the IDF out of southern Lebanon in 2000?

The reason Israel is bombing non-Hezbollah areas is to try to incite them into joining them, so the combined might of Israel and Lebanon can confront Hezbollah. This approach seems to me to be unlikely to be effective, although we can assume there's a lot of public opinion in newly messed up Beirut running against Hezbollah.

You can make what you will about the soverieng soil of Lebanon, Hezbollah areas are not under the control of the central government. To extend the war beyond those areas held by Hezbollah and their sypathizers is a cynical escalation of the war.

Maybe it will work. Or maybe it will backfire, and Lebanese Christians will instead ally themselves with the Hez. We will see.

Motivation?
Why would Lebanon want to disarm Hezbollah? It would just open up a fresh can of worms. They learned at great cost back in the 1970's and 80's they should leave the Shiites in the south to their own devices.

motivation to disarm Hezbollah, isn't it obvious?
Hezbollah has started a war with Israel.
Hezbollah is supplied by Syria and funded by Iran to the tune of 250 million dollars per year.
Lebanon is paying the price of a war being conducted on Lebonese soil by Iran and Syria.
It's pretty obvious if Lebanon wants to control its destiny Hezbollah must be disarmed.

why
because they don't want to be ruled by Hezbollah. They don't want Hezbollah attacking Isreal from their territory.

That you can't imagine why people would want to disarm Hezbollah is indicative of how low you have sunk.

Hezbollah is part of the govt, the distinction is a matter of degree, not kind.
If Lebanon does not have the power to control it's territory, then it is a failed state. If Lebanon is a failed state, then the group that has the power to control Lebanon, is the defacto govt of Lebanon.

Hezbollah started a war with Isreal. Hezbollah is located in the territory known as Lebanon. Isreal has the right to defend itself, this means destroying Hezbollah where ever it is hiding.

As you well know, this issue is about a lot more than a single border instance. It's about years of rocket and mortar attacks. It's about years of Hezbollah sneaking across the border to plant IEDs.

The Israeli's are attacking Hezbollah military resources. The fact that these resources are located within Lebanese cities is the responsibility of Hezbollah, so any deaths that result from the destruction of those resources is the responsibility of Hezbollah.

History
Hezbollah did not drive Isreal out, the international community did.

Isreal is not bombing non-Hezbollah areas, they are bombing Hezbollah resources in civilian areas. There's a distinction there that you seem incapable of recognizing.
Or is it unwilling?

wishing for the impossible
Those who voluntarily left Isreal, are stuck. They need to find homes where they are. Blame the arab countries that keep the palestinians in refugee camps rather than integrating them into their societies. Of course the one country that did that had to expell them, after the palestinians tried to overthrow the govt.

Why, those who hide behind civilians of course!
>"So are they to blame for starting something they would have known would involve civilian casualties? Of course. Does this absolve the brave fighting forces of Israel for responding by shelling Lebanese cities? I think not."

And I think so considering the storage of armaments and materials within civilian centers. Also take note of the many reports of Hezbollah fighters not allowing people to leave cities and towns where they are located.

The Israelis are doing their best under very difficult circumstances to minimize civilian death. I know you think they are carpet bombing civilians but they are picking targets carefully, as usual.

Oh, and could you please source me that report of the Israelis bombing a hospital? I seem to have missed your post where you told me how to find it.

Justice of tactics measured against gravity of evil...
As I explain here, Professor Bainbridge's analysis glosses over a key analytical component of the just war doctrine. Yes, a just war must be fought justly, but the justice of the means is evaluated in reference to the gravity of the evil sought to be eliminated. Any analysis of Israel's retaliatory strikes must evaluate this criteria and decide what, precisely, the evils being fought against are. Here, Israel is reacting not merely to the killing and kidnapping of a few soldiers, but to a much broader range of attacks going back for decades.

In deciding whether a response is proportional or not, it must be measured against the weight of the entire bale of hay, not just the last straw which broke the camel's back.

It's like
The Lebanese government is like the people living on the street with a crack house who refuse to testify against the drug dealers. They are accomplices!

I have no simpathy for any adults in Lebanon.

Have you studied the pre-WW2 peace movement?
You are as naive as those who told the French to give up Alsase-Lorraine and the Czeckoslavakia to give up the Sudetenland to keep Hitler from starting war.

You don't think that the Islamofascists really mean it when they deny the Halocaust happened, but they want to finish it?

Not really
Israel is trying its best to convince the Lebanese government that containing Hezbollah is in their best interest. But I think that approach may backfire. While some Lebanese blame Hezbollah for the current mess, many others are becoming convinced they need Hezbollah as a buffer between Christian and Sunni Lebanon and Israel.

The common wisdom in Lebanon , as opposed to the party line here, is that Hezbollah accepts help wherever it is offered, but accepts orders from no one.

We'll see how all this works out. BTW if Iran is giving Hezbollah a quarter billion a year, they're getting ripped off. All Hezbollah has bought with it appears to be around 16,000 missiles.

Israel's restriant has caused far more casualities than if it had used overwhelming force years ago
Had Israel acted as the Soviets or Japanese acted in WWII toward the conquered Arab populations and devastated them the losses would have been terrible but far fewer than the Mid East has suffered to date.

Israel has to make the decision whether it will wage war so that the choices are a war so terrible that it cannot be endured or a pace that is so attractive to the alternative that it cannot be rejected.


Otherwise it will fight as America has fought since WWII and will eventually lose.

Jews have a long history of shooting the messenger!
Until all factions of this conflict acknowledge they have done the wrong thing then little progress will be made. This is why this conflict has dragged on for all this time. Israel has a right to defend it’s self, but it well knows that this is simply a lashing out in anger and frustration it will not destroy any of the opposition groups. Don’t drag Iran or even Syrian into this because there are KSA backed groups ready to fill the hole and they are much more hostile to the US.
As for those poster having a go at these groups hiding in “non-combatant” places, guess what all such groups do Vietcong, French resistance. When your fighting against a enemy with superior forces that’s what every groups does. This says nothing about whether their fight is valid or not, Hell the Zionist and the Muslim groups used the same tactics against the British 60 years ago.

Maybe the world need to round up all the right wing religious extremist on both side that keep this conflict going and put in a pit.

Since when is defending yourself, doing a wrong thing
The anti-semitism of your title goes without saying.

Complete opposites are completely the same
One thing not mentioned in "Admirable Restraint" is that none of the
"nations" involved can be called "admirable" or "restrained." There's a good reason for this and it's cause for alarm: The present and all past conflicts involving Israel (a religion dominated country) and it's "neighbors" (all religion dominated countries) are due entirely to the fact that they are all - religion dominated countries.

And here we have the Conservative "movement" trying to bring the government of the United States under religious domination. So it's natural they would favor one religion dominated country over others - just because they percieve their "favorite" in this conflict as having a religious domination similar to the one they're trying to establish here.

So what we have are "opposites" which are completely the same in that they all want (their favorite) religion to rule.

I had a right-wing friend tell me just last week that THIS particular Jewish / Moslem fracase is the fulfillment of biblical prophesy. HERE WE GO AGAIN with the whacko right-wing "prophecies!"

I'm getting fed up with this Disneyland version of reality: We cannot afford, either as individuals or as a nation, to stake our lives and future on faith-based-whackoisms.

If we're to support Israel now and in the future: we'll do it with the brains and tools we've always used. And we must learn from our past mistakes (which always involved half-measures and temporary fixes).

The most important fact: None of the Moslem dominated countries can match Israel alone or in any combination. None of those countries will stand up to Israel or the United States if they are confronted with their inevitable, unavoidable distruction. We don't need any religious rallying to make that point. We need only an administration which isn't led by a rich-boy deserter and coward with a big mouth and no brains.

To be clear: Bush has failed to execute his own policy regarding "terrorists and those who support terrorists." By that standard: we should already be engaged in conquering (not playing patty-cake with) Syria and Iran. But nooo. He's an idiot and a failure - we're not going to get rid of terrorist groups and their terrorist tactics until we get rid of Bush.

A convenient pretext for terror
As Hezbollah is essentially the government of the Shiite south, we should not be surprised that they have offices in the middle of town, and not way out in the country. Bombing these offices follows the convenient artifice that they could very well contain caches of weapons. And it serves the very real purpose of killing very real people-- in the furtherance of Israel's plan to turn the country against Hezbollah.

You should certainly know by now that after yesterday's wholesale bombing of refugee camps and other civilian targets, Israel now enjoys a commanding lead in body count-- over 300 Lebanese, as opposed to 29 Israelis killed by Hezbollah missiles. Naturally, despite the fact that they have superior pinpoint aiming capability, this is all just inadvertent collateral damage.

By flattening Ain al-Hilwa they were picking their target with care.

I could spend another ten minutes going back to dig up reports on the hospital attack. But it would be far easier if you just turned on the television instead. Then you could actually watch the footage as the bombs were dropping, rather than read biased and ignorant reports in whatever you're reading these days.

If you have cable you probably don't have access to the best front line footage, which I watch on the Jim Lehrer News Hour and on BBC World. They at least stick their microphones in the face of a person you can see, and not just quote some anonymous source from a government public relations office.

So get rid of cable, which has no news worthy of the name. Buy some five dollar rabbit ears and tune in to the full report from the front(s) every evening.

Evil Jews conspiring to kill civilians!
>"As Hezbollah is essentially the government of the Shiite south, we should not be surprised that they have offices in the middle of town, and not way out in the country. Bombing these offices follows the convenient artifice that they could very well contain caches of weapons. And it serves the very real purpose of killing very real people-- in the furtherance of Israel's plan to turn the country against Hezbollah."

At least you finally admit that Lebanon is run by a terrorist organization.

I find it interesting that you equate targetting an enemies base of operations, the offices, using a "convenient artifice" of concealed missiles as a way of just killing people. It shows that you believe the evil IDF is deliberately targetting civilians.

>"You should certainly know by now that after yesterday's wholesale bombing of refugee camps and other civilian targets, Israel now enjoys a commanding lead in body count-- over 300 Lebanese, as opposed to 29 Israelis killed by Hezbollah missiles. Naturally, despite the fact that they have superior pinpoint aiming capability, this is all just inadvertent collateral damage."

I like how it all comes down to the numbers for you. As I said before, please show me what a Hezbollah uniform looks like and then please show me who is generating the body counts. I mean, the MSM got Jenin right didn't they?

Also, I wonder if it matters to you that Hezbollah is hiding in those refugee camps. For someone who claims to be so well read you seem to have glossed over the fact that Hezbollah, Hamas, and all the little splinter groups hide behind the civilians. If they cared about their "brothers" so much perhaps they wouldn't make targets of them.

So you can lay the blame where it belongs: firmly on the heads of Hezbollah and Hamas. Or you can keep going on about a Zionist conspiracy to kill innocents. Whatever make you happy.

>"I could spend another ten minutes going back to dig up reports on the hospital attack. But it would be far easier if you just turned on the television instead. Then you could actually watch the footage as the bombs were dropping, rather than read biased and ignorant reports in whatever you're reading these days."

In other words, you can't find it.

>"If you have cable you probably don't have access to the best front line footage, which I watch on the Jim Lehrer News Hour and on BBC World. They at least stick their microphones in the face of a person you can see, and not just quote some anonymous source from a government public relations office."

Public television and BBC. Not surprising. Tell me, does "sticking a microphone in the face of a person" equal truth? Dare I bring up Jenin again?

>"So get rid of cable, which has no news worthy of the name. Buy some five dollar rabbit ears and tune in to the full report from the front(s) every evening."

I was looking for the part where you bury your head in the sand. What you are basically saying is to go back to the traditional MSM-monopoly news that generated your views in the first place. How is cutting off other sources of information good for you? I can see why you are so confused and misinformed. I am actually surprised that you even have an internet connection.

As I said before, I watch, read, and listen to all the view points and see which ones stand up to the facts, are logical, or are biased in one way or another. You seem to like an echo chamber.

Simple really... it's the Jews!
>"Maybe the world need to round up all the right wing religious extremist on both side that keep this conflict going and put in a pit."

Liberal thought and tolerance in action. How it differs from stupidity and ignorance is beyond me.

Another anti-religion idiot shows his head.
Let me get this straight, in what passes for your mind, you actually believe that if it weren't for religion, we would all get along?

You honestly see no difference between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, to you they are all nothing more than religion dominated states?

BTW, if you honestly think that Israel is a religion dominated state, then that proves you know nothing about Israel. It is a highly secular state.

But then again you are paranoid that the religious are trying to take over this country, which shows that your powers of cogitation are severly lacking in the first place.

The reliability of news reports
Mister T-- Some times your thought processes are just a total mystery to me. I comment "As Hezbollah is essentially the government of the Shiite south, we should not be surprised that they have offices in the middle of town, and not way out in the country. Bombing these offices follows the convenient artifice that they could very well contain caches of weapons. And it serves the very real purpose of killing very real people-- in the furtherance of Israel's plan to turn the country against Hezbollah."

And you respond "At least you finally admit that Lebanon is run by a terrorist organization." What?

I would point out the distinction, well known to anyone who has looked at the Lebanese power sharing arrangement, whereby the civil war, suspended but never resolved, was put into limbo by a tacit agreement that the north would run the north, the south would run the south, and never the twain should meet. So that while Hezbollah has ended up as the elected government of the southern portion, it shares neither jurisdiction nor common leadership with the Beirut government.

Here is a reliable source, the CFR, on just how all that works:

http://www.cfr.org/publication/8195/lebanon.html

I do not cut off any source of news, and I like to sample the range of opinion from all over. I have generally found even extremes of opinion to make more sense than self serving statements from offical government spokespersons. But there is a crucial distinction between news and opinion. And I always give precedence to reports that contain actual facts about what is happening. Thus all the pundits must take a back seat while I watch actual footage from those agnecies with people reporting from the field. I find ABC, NBC and CBS all approximately equal in the accuracy of their news. And I can subtract any editorial comment they may make on interpretations quite easily, from long practise. Had you had a background in journalism you would automatically do the same, whenever presented with a mix of fact and opinion.

So I really don't think it's me who exists in a blessed state of partial information. I am, after all, right here on extremist, minority-opinion TCS. I am frequently equally amused by events as filtered through the perceptions of the World Socialist Web Site (wsws). I'm suggesting that if you were to expand your own horizons, to include not just opinion you are already in agreement with, but the actual daily footage that is brought back to us at the cost of great personal risk, you might end up knowing more about these complex conflicts and having fewer opinions about them. This is just a suggestion. If the news offends your beliefs, by all means please sit there in the dark.

Jenin
You seem fixated on Jenin, and seem to think it's a prime example of something you want to communicate.

Let me tell you what I saw on the videotape. The IDF cordoned off the town and came in with tanks and bulldozers, widening the streets to give their heavy weapons freedom to maneuver. Most of the housing was destroyed. I didn't read this. I watched it nightly.

Then I read the response. Predictably the official Israeli and American sources offered that nothing had happened to anyone. More surprisingly the Red Cross issued a report absolving the IDF from harm. But what we all saw who were watching was the bull horns commanding everyone to come out. Then the destruction proceeded. How many would not, or could not, come out was never mentioned.

A reasonable person, noting the discord between the official version and that available to people with eyes in their head, would go the extra mile to seek a third opinion. Such an opinion can easily be found on Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B'tselem and other watchdog groups.

So I would offer that an equal proof of your position might be Fallujah. There likewise, the US military said nothing happened. And in response, all we have is the silence of the grave. The MSM of course follows the official line, in interpreting what happened. But they do at least show us the actual footage, so we can see for ourselves. About forty percent of a large city was levelled, and no one knows what happened top a large portion of the population. Why? Because for months the area was closed off to the EMT workers, the Red Crescent, human rights organizations and indeed every NGO and watchdog group. So proof beyond the dribs and drabs we got at second hand are hard to come by.

Regarding the link to the hospital bombing: I gave that to you two days ago. If you lost it, I can't spare the time to find it again. It's unfortunate because I'd like you to read it. But I'm getting several dozen hits a day here, and don't always have time to respond to each at greater length.

Oh wait. Here's something:

"The Israelis targeted buildings they said housed Hezbollah offices and flats, but there is much collateral damage in a crowded area that is home to thousands of Lebanese. At the local hospital, the injured from the raid included people were already patients, cut by flying glass as they lay in bed."

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec06/israel_07-14.html

According to you there is no such thing as dark and light, just shade
I see. So Hezbollah offices in Beirut and Hezbollah ministers in the national government do not equate to Hezbollah being a part of the government? Not to mention the government in Beirut allowing their airport to be used to bring in munitions for Hezbollah. Is that a good separtation of the two? If you say so.

Lovely document by the way.

I am sure you believe yourself to be quite informed and worldly. Sadly your track record and problem with facts do not allow me to put any faith in that statement.

Besides how are you getting all that news with rabbit-ears on your TV? How do you equate your current message with the one that told me to get rid of cable and watch PBS and BBC? I like alot of sources, as you do. What is different is what we take away from them.

Hoo-ray for Pallywood!
You seem to have a total disconnect between what you see and the facts that have come out in the aftermath. But let's take a look at the facts of Jenin shall we?

According to the PA around 500-1500 Palestinians were killed in Jenin depending on which "spokesman's" face the BBC or CNN stuck a mike in. The fact is only 56 Palestinians died and 47 of those were armed. So few civilians died at Jenin because of the incredible caution exercised by the Israeli Defense Forces, which lost 23 of its own. The UN, who you most likely believe to be a firm supporter of Israel, confirms these facts.

Many of those 23 were killed going house to house to make sure no one was inside. Many of the houses were booby-trapped and contained stockpiles of weapons. The ambulances were not allowed because the camp was not secured and it is a known tactic for the Palestinians to use Red Cross and Red Cresent ambulances to move around fighters and armaments.

>"A reasonable person, noting the discord between the official version and that available to people with eyes in their head, would go the extra mile to seek a third opinion. Such an opinion can easily be found on Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B'tselem and other watchdog groups."

So a reasonable person trusts the "opinions" of watchdog groups known for their anti-Israeli bias? Interesting. AI and HRW have been dressed down time and again for lying, altering reports, and bias. When it comes down to it, none of these groups had any factual basis to call Jenin a massacre.

If you have the evidence, outside you watching the same buildings blow up that I did, please present it.

Perhaps you are just a victim of "Pallywood". This term refers to the fabrication of IDF atrocities by Palestinians. Take that Gaza beach incident, the crying girl wailing for her father was stated to have been in the water playing innocently when the cruel IDF shelled her family. What is funny is that she is fully clothed and dry.

Part of the problem is that AP and European media give their cameras to "trusted" Palestinians in order to get those real good pictures that seem to move you so much. Does it matter if they are staged. Not to you it seems.

Your hospital link doesn't cut it. Does a bomb shattering windows constitute a bombing of a hospital to you? Not me. Besides I can't find a single indication that it occurred so most likely you are a victim of that good reporting you get from BBC or Hezbollah TV.

Perhaps the real difference between you and me, since you seem to be hell-bent on trying to figure it out, is that I am able to see pictures on TV and know that those images do not tell the whole story.

I know you think that you are "reasonable" but a reasonable person searches for truth. They do not dig around the internet until they find distortions and conspiracies that fit their views. You claim to like differing views but always seem to source your echo-chambers.

roy's version of reality
Videotapes show what the cameraman wants you to see. Sometimes this corresponds with reality, often it doesn't. If your only source of information is a tape shot by a partisan, then you don't know anything.

I find it funny that roy is so convinced that something bad happened, despite the numerous committees who looked into it, that he declares that even the red cross is part of the conspiracy.

roy knows what he wants to know, incovenient facts are discarded.

in roy's world
a reasonable report is one that reaches the same opinion as roy's gut. All other data is propaganda and must be disgarded.

Do you write for the Guardian or the NY Times?
This is the sort of thing they'd publish. Pravada wouldn't publish such drooling idiocy.

Rabbit ears
I do a lot of travelling, and find that in most parts of the country cable only offers the choice of CNN, MSNBC and Fox. And to me what they all share is a miniscule news office, virtually no hard information and endless rotation of a small handful of ignorant stories, like the Duke lacrosse case.

Jim Lehrer, who I think goes out of his way to straddle the middle of the road, has excellent guests from across the spectrum and has on the scene video as good as anyone's, is rarely available. BBC World, which shows us the news the rest of the world sees, is virtually never available. The CBS, ABC and NBC Evening News programs are hard to find.

When I get home my WalMart rabbit ears give me every important news source except ITN, Sky and Deutsche Welle. I even get unusually good Spanish language news on Univision. And best of all, my monthly bill is nil.

Report of the Secretary General on Jenin
Interesting that you should bring up the Report of the UN Secretary General on Jenin. Let's take a look at the actual document and not the Fox version.

**

Operation Defensive Shield was characterized by extensive curfews on civilian populations and restrictions, indeed occasional prohibitions, on the movement of international personnel, including at times humanitarian and medical personnel as well as human rights monitors and journalists. In many instances, humanitarian workers were not able to reach people in need. Combatants on both sides conducted themselves in ways that, at times, placed civilians in harm's way. Much of the fighting during Operation Defensive Shield occurred in areas heavily populated by civilians and in many cases heavy weaponry was used. As a result of those practices, the populations of the cities covered in this report suffered severe hardships. The Israeli Defence Forces announced the official end of the operation on 21 April but its consequences lasted until the end of the period under review and beyond.

**

The report goes on to describe the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields by IDF troops. This practise was attested to by IDF troops.

Under E. Overall effects of the incursions on the Palestinian population, we read further that there were a confirmed 497 Palestinians killed between March 1 and May 7, 2002. The approx. 1,447 wounded included 538 live ammunition injuries.

And among the many other findings there is

This is the report you heard ABOUT, but never actually read:

http://www.un.org/peace/jenin/index.html

"I know you think that you are "reasonable" but a reasonable person searches for truth. They do not dig around the internet until they find distortions and conspiracies that fit their views. You claim to like differing views but always seem to source your echo-chambers."

Indeed so.

Addendum
Excuse me. HTML instructions removed this portion of my comment:

And among the many other findings there is this:

"(g) Over 2,800 refugee housing units were damaged and 878 homes were demolished or destroyed during the reporting period, leaving more than 17,000 people homeless or in need of shelter rehabilitation;"

Retribution against civilian populations ("collective punishment") is prohibited by the terms of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. I think this would fit the definition, as would the practises described in abundant detail in the rest of the UN document.

Read and enjoy.

Operation Defensive Shield
I would invite you to read the actual Reort of the [UN] Secretary General on Jenin.

http://www.un.org/peace/jenin/index.html

The content is materially different from what was misreported on Fox. Read the original first, then comment.

And speaking of conspiracies, what you are telling me is that the video units of CBS, ABC, NBC, the BBC and PBS have all conspired to show us block after block of destroyed apartment buildings in Tyre and in Beirut-- plus shots of damaged homes in Haifa.

Tell us where they're perpetrating this hoax. Some back lot in Hollywood?

You will not look at the actual footage. Why believe the evidence of your own eyes, when you can believe what others tell you?

Is it as objective as the UN report on its oil for food program?
Or its WMD program in Iraq?

Oil prices
Your thesis, that Iran is engineering this confrontation as a pretext to drive up oil prices, depends on believing that Tehran can bark orders and Hezbollah will respond. And while television commentators may parrot the received wisdom on this point, I think most scholars in the Middle East think it's far fetched. Hezbollah has its own inscrutable reasons for doing the things that it does. At least one career analyst here offers that they're acting out of solidarity with Hamas.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec06/israel_07-14.html

As for the idea that Hezbollah can be eliminated by anyone over the next couple of weeks, I think this misunderstands the most basic facts about what is going on there. Hezbollah has a very large base-- about 40% of the Lebanese people. It's not like cleaning out a patch of pesky redskins in the old West. It would require a war so intense it would ignite a regional conflagration. I'm thinking cooler heads outside the region will prevail long before that happens.

Oil prices? The main concern of buyers seems to be that supply is running flat out at present, with Saudi Arabia having apparently no reserve capacity to satisfy what is a rapidly growing world demand. Ergo, prices go up.

Ad to that mix the antagonism the current people in Washington are showing toward Iran and Venezuela-- two major suppliers-- and you have the mix for continued increases in pump price as the producing nations begin to sell elsewhere.

Our prospects for stability remain in the hands of our other two main suppliers, Canada and Mexico.

The Christian Zionists
Somewhere near the core of Mr Bush's base are the Christian Zionists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Zionism

There are Biblical reasons many voters (well, a couple of million anyway) want Israel to succeed in spreading across all the lands of Zion. These lands, by the way, stretch all the way to Mesopotamia, now known as Iraq. And the reason is that such an event will hasten the coming of End Times, according to Biblical prophesy, when Jesus comes again to defeat the Antichrist. I think you can still buy a video from one of our television preachers that illustrates The Coming Armageddon in vivid detail. He;s the guy whose wife has all the flossy blonde hair.

Just so you know...
check out the weather girl on Univision around 4:30pm Central. Wow. I don't speak Spanish but I don't care. Best weather report ever.

A Tool's Intellectual Dishonesty
Before you pat yourself on the back let me say that your post is one of the most intellectually dishonest piece of crap I have seen in a long time and that is really saying something.

First things first: you have shifted the topic of Jenin to the overall Defensive Shield Operation and you attempt to equate the totality of the Operation to the Jenin non-massacre through the use of selective editing. It is easy to see why you hold the views you do and how you come about them.

First of all, you left out the part of the report that explains that all the information within it is second hand and not the result of an investigation at all. Here is where it says so:

>"The report was written without a visit to Jenin or the other Palestinian cities in question and it therefore relies completely on available resources and information, including submissions from five United Nations Member States and Observer Missions, documents in the public domain and papers submitted by non-governmental organizations. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs wrote to the Permanent Representative of Israel and the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations requesting them to submit information but only the latter did so. In the absence of a response from Israel, the United Nations has relied on public statements of Israeli officials and publicly available documents of the Government of Israel relevant to the request in resolution ES-10/10."

What do you call an investigation that does not actually visit the "crime" scene as well as not including the input of one of the involved parties? Certainly not an "investigation".

I know the Israelis did not take part in the investigation but that is not surprising considering the knee-jerk reaction from the MSM, UN, NGOs, and various governments. Not to mention the anti-Israeli critics the UN chose to investigate them. Oh well.

Now let's go to the part where you discovered I was right. I assume this is also the point that you decided to shift the topic in order to avoid having to admit you were actually wrong. This item is the one:

>"56. Fifty-two Palestinian deaths had been confirmed by the hospital in Jenin by the end of May 2002. IDF also place the death toll at approximately 52. A senior Palestinian Authority official alleged in mid-April that some 500 were killed, a figure that has not been substantiated in the light of the evidence that has emerged."

Hardly a massacre and, while it is true that Israelis used militants found in the camp to knock on the doors of the houses they booby-trapped, the IDF lost 23 men in the house to house fighting. In fact, the families of those men are suing the Israeli government for using tactics that placed the soldiers lives below those of the militants.

Also note that the Israelis blasted their intentions to enter Jenin over loudspeakers so that all non-combatants could leave. If the IDF was really as bloodthirsty as you claim why wouldn't they just use airstrikes at night to maximize the civilian deaths?

What is also left out is the whole reason for this operation. A suicide bomber walked into the middle of the dining hall and blew himself up, killing 29 Israelis and wounding dozens more. The attack brought the Israeli death toll during March to 130. And that was just one month. It was also the last straw.

Another thing left out is that Jenin was point of origin for 25% of the recent outburst of suicide bombings and a major stronghold of Hamas. Not even the PA officials would enter Jenin.

In conclusion Roy, you are a tool. You have fallen for the propaganda of terrorists and have spread it as they have wished you would. The truly sad thing is that you saw the actual document and altered its context to suit your preconceived notions of IDF brutality. You are, therefore, a willing accomplice in their attempts to paint themselves as victims.

So thank you for allowing me to read it since it supports what I had heard in the first place. It showcases that my secondary sources are better than your primary sources. Not to mention that it sheds a pretty harsh light on your tactics, your lack of morality, and your lack of honesty.

Good show, tool!

See above
>"Read and enjoy."

Done and done. My response is posted to your other post.

This is a stupid "point" since many of those houses were full of ordinance and many were booby-trapped since the Israelis broadcasted their intentions well before they entered.

Bikini breaks
Most of Univision's daytime programming used to be so boring back when I was in Ecuador, they used to have bikini breaks to wake people back up again. There was nothing on except the dreariest procession of dumb game shows and telenovelas that the audience would fall asleep. Every fifteen minutes they would have short bikini break before the commercial to get people going again.

Intellectual dishonesty
I think you should be aware that no observers or investigators were allowed into Jenin for an extended period following the destruction. They had to wait for a number of weeks while the entire crime scene was carefully sanitized. Then they were allowed to visit the broom-clean zone that used to be Jenin.

Thus the UN report must rely on every first-hand report they can find, and sift the resulting information as best they can to find concordance. That's the only way the picture can come into focus.

Both the Israeli and the Palestinian observers to the UN were asked to contribute to the substance of the report. The Israeli observer declined. Thus the UN was forced to use official Israeli accounts in his absence. To me that makes the sources used "fair and balanced". It would have been nicer to have had the Secretary General's full investigatory team on hand while the tanks were knocking down buildings, but that didn't happen. So the principal evidence we have that something happened (besides the visual evidence of those camera crews that WERE on hand, filming it) is the fact that on many blocks once there were buildings-- and then when observers were invited back in there were none.

You are alleging that eyewitness accounts by NGO's are somehow in their essence dishonest. Please tell me exactly how they might be any less honest than the accounts of self serving parties like the I's and the P's? These are people who were caught on the scene, and who saw everything. Should we throw those accounts out, in the service of your wish that we must say "there is no evidence"?

The fact that 52 fatalities were recorded at the Jenin hospital is not the final word on what occurred. Bodies buried in the rubble and cleared from the streets would not likely have been transferred to the hospital. The plain fact is that only a portion of the population left when the city was cleared, there were many militants dug in, and that an intense firefight lasting five days ensued. The victors allowed no outside witnesses to enter, and maintained, as they do in Lebanon today, that the IDF "clearly took all possible measures not to hurt civilian life". You can believe that if you like.

Reading the full text of the report, which I would hope anyone following our discussion would do, leaves one with the inescapable conclusion that civilian deaths numbering in the hundreds is highly plausible. Look, for instance, at the total to date in the much less intense Lebanese bombings.

I did excerpt only snippets of the report, in the interest of brevity. But I did include the link, and you did read everything. The substance of it was that by all accounts, a terrible atrocity occurred while the IDF controlled the streets of Jenin. Sorry, but that's our best intel on the matter.

To then resort to gutter tactics such as calling me a tool, dishonest and immoral are injurious to your cause, whatever it is. And to characterise the information in the Secretary General's Report as being "the propaganda of terrorists" is far from a rational response. I note the way your mind works when you can no longer come up with a reasonable argument.

Your contention
... that "many of those houses were full of ordinance and many were booby-trapped" may have been alleged by official military sources but it was not, to my knowledge, confirmed by any independent observers. Did I miss something? Show me the beef.

Quack!
To you this will always be a conspiracy and no amount of proof will alter that. The basic fact is that the UN does not consider this an atrocity nor massacre and their final totals of casualties are exactly what I reported.

Just remember that you wanted to go here. The Palestinians have been caught in these lies before and that is the reason the IDF has to film everything they do. If you would like to engage in facts, fine. If you would like to engage in conjecture and unsubstantiated rumor then have at it but don't expect me not to call you on it.

>"To then resort to gutter tactics such as calling me a tool, dishonest and immoral are injurious to your cause, whatever it is. And to characterise the information in the Secretary General's Report as being "the propaganda of terrorists" is far from a rational response. I note the way your mind works when you can no longer come up with a reasonable argument."

Simply calling it like I see it.

This is not my "cause" rather it is a good example of how your perceptions are very different from the facts. It is also a good example of how you can throw away facts and rely on sources that have already proven to be unreliable. The UN's track record with Israel speaks for itself.

On top of that, you butchered the UN report to fit your thesis and altered the data in a way that can only be considered intentional. That is called dishonesty no matter what you feel about it.

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