TCS Daily


Stretched to All Proportions

By J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss - July 17, 2006 12:00 AM

While Israel continues its war of self-defense following two invasions by neighboring governments, the usual critics of the Jewish state have managed to find a reason to show their disapproval.

The European Union issued a statement noting that it was "greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon" and pronounced the Israeli actions "contrary to international humanitarian law." French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy called Israel's exercise of its right to self-defense "a disproportionate act of war," echoing Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abou Gheit's charge that "Israeli practices violate international law." Not to be left out, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan summoned reporters to tell them of his concern for Lebanon's infrastructure and to condemn actions which were "disproportionate."

Word has gotten round to the anti-Israel coalition: the new talking point is "proportionality." Unfortunately, righteous demagogues are particularly susceptible to the trap against which we warn our (respectively) political science and law students: don't use "big words" unless you know what they mean. The terms "proportionality" and its contrary adjectival "disproportionate" have precise meanings within the context of the classical law of war, meanings that won't get Israel's critics the result they wish, even if they engage in constant repetition.

In terms of the jus ad bellum, or justification for going to war, proportionality means having a reasonable relationship between the goals and objectives to be achieved and the bellicose means being used to achieve them. A country may not go to war to avenge an insult, for example: in simple terms, jus ad bellum reflects the wisdom behind "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words..." To create a just cause for warlike self-defense a serious infraction must occur. Even the obscurantist Saudi regime has characterized Hezbollah's invasion as an "uncalculated adventure;" no respectable legal opinion can fail to see it as a casus belli. Israel's recourse to force is a response to this unjustified act of violence, and its aim of inflicting maximum damage to those who invade its territory and bomb its citizens creates an obvious link between means and objectives. So much for jus ad bellum.

With respect to the jus in bello, or justice in war, proportionality means that the amount and type of force used must be such that unjust consequences do not exceed the legitimate objectives. Compliance with this principle requires an affirmative answer to the question: "If I take this military action, will more good than harm result from it?" To this equation, one must not forget -- as the critics tend to -- the many lives that will be protected by acting vigorously and decisively against the aggressor. Our response to Taliban-launched mayhem in America, massive military responses against an unrelenting and fanatical aggressor in Afghanistan, was proportionate. So is Israel's. The Jewish state's counterattack, focused on targets such as Hezbollah TV and radio studios, and the infrastructure (airports, bridges, highways) used by Hezbollah to wage war, has been absolutely classical.

On Friday, July 14, birthday of Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy's purportedly liberty-loving nation, two Israeli civilians were hurt in a bomb launched at Safed by a component of the government of Lebanon. Another Hezbollah bomb hit a house, setting it on fire. Two Israeli civilians were killed in Nahariya and Safed Thursday. Nearly one hundred Israelis were injured by more than a hundred Hezbollah rockets that same day. Further south, Hamas (a component of the PA government) shot 7 Qassam missiles from Gaza into Sderot on Friday, sending 9 Sderot civilians into shock. These dastardly attacks don't kill civilians accidentally -- are meant to kill civilians, and they are launched by agents of the Lebanese and Palestinian authorities.

Which country in the world would tolerate such attacks on its citizens from neighboring governments? Adherence to the principle of proportionality surely requires judgment and prudence, virtues which, had they been possessed and exercised by some of Israel's latest critics, could have headed off the present conflict by dealing with its real root cause, the irredentist anti-Semitism propagated by states (Syria, Iran and others) bent on fomenting death. This war (and war is what it is) is characterized by disproportionality, all right -- the disproportionality of the West's and the UN's pitiful responses to war being waged on Israel.

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.

160 Comments

More Evidence Against the UN & Islam
The UN is what it always has been, a pie-in-the-sky, testament to the inability of humanity to turn its noble ambitions into an effective and efficient apparatus.

Instead the UN promotes otherwise medoicre bureacrats from inept and or corrupt governments into diplomatic superstars (Kofe Anon)who seem to be able to do little more than pontificate at best or plot the destruction of sovereignty at worse.

Its time to toss these insular, arrogant and self important twits into the dustbin of failed ideas.

Finally, when it comes to disproportionality, lets check the ratio of violent groups and acts claiming Islamn as a justification. Is it Carmelite Nuns, Hassidic Rabbis, TV Evangelists or Bhuddist Monks constantly launching war? No, its DISPROPORTIONATELY readings of the Koran. Worse, the sword of the prophet has been bringing violence for 1200 years. While every religion seems to have a far share of scoundrels, once in a while they produce somebody or something that tends to the needy or promotes peace. No wonder US Islamists do their best recruiting in prisons.




Quite right!
Can someone imagine calls for restraint after 9-11? When has anyone ever adhered or observed such a lame brained theory in time of war?

VICHY-VINTAGE CHIRAC
It is almost laughable; the terms that cowards use to excuse the monsters of Islam , while calling upon Israel to act in a "humane" manner.

Whether they come from Iran, poor Lebanon, or the mouth of the pompous, cowardly Chirac, or the maniac Ahmadbinejad, it still shocks an old WASP who, at 78, had hopes that perhaps this anti-Semitic behavior would wane; at least in Europe.

But the certainty is that Europe will be overrun by Muslims within a few years. Let them then think back to Israel's fight.




Proportionality.
I don't think any 'talking point' was needed; I think it was pretty much a common reaction to think of Israel's response to the kidnappings as excessive.

One certainly wondered how firing rockets into government buildings and kidnapping government officials in Gaza would help find a missing (and presumed kidnapped) Israeli.

When I lost my keys the other day I thought about getting a handgun and shooting up my neighbours house. Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and I found my keys the old fashioned way: by looking for them.

Even more to the point, the innocent civilians of Lebanon - the four visiting Canadian schoolchildren, for example, killed in an Israeli air raid - must be wondering about jus ad bellum themselves.

After all, the Lebanese people being slaughtered by Israeli air raids are not the people kidnapping Israeli citizens or firing missiles at Israeli cities.

Since when has it ever been justified in military law to punish the actions of one group by attacking somebody else?

That's a lot like the other time I lost my keys. I spent the afternoon looking for them on the driveway. Someone asked me why I didn't look in the bushes where my keys had fallen. "Well, it's a lot harder to look in there," I explained, "and if anybody moves them across the driveway, I'll be sure to see them here."

The fact is, kidnappings by outlaws or otherwise autonomous groups over which a government has no control, or minimal control, do not constitute good reasons for going to war against those governments.

The principle of agency applies in all applications of the law. If country A feels it has reason to attack country B because of event E, then either (a) B must have caused E, or B must have been able to prevent E.

The victims of Israels attacks over the last few days manifestly fail both conditions. Therefore, they are innocent victims. Therefore, Israel is attacking and killing innocent victims in order to pressure third parties.

What law?
Your comments exceed proportionality in the idiot sphere. Nice to see terrorist activities are somehow addressed by the law in your little universe.

All you need...
to see your ignorance and moral relativism is this passage:

>"One certainly wondered how firing rockets into government buildings and kidnapping government officials in Gaza would help find a missing (and presumed kidnapped) Israeli."

This totally overlooks that Hamas IS the government while entering the realm of either extreme stupidity or willful ignorance by suggesting the missing Israeli is merely "presumed innocent". Talk about showing were you stand!

I guess they could "presume" a kidnapping because Hamas, the government, wanted to trade prisoners for the captive as well as knowing that several other Israelis bodies were found at the scene of the "presumed" kidnapping.

This is the type of "nuance" that totally overlooks the actions of terrorists while laying the blame firmly on the victims.

ONE SIDED
Apparently ONLY those in Lebanon are suffering.

Who is pointing those rockets at women and children in Israel ?

These Palestinians procreate at a rate of 6 children per family. One woman boasted of 14 - all to the good of Islam, hopefully to fight the Jews by blowing themselves up. Every soldier and every citizen is valued in Israel. The same as every soldier, Marine or sailor in the U.S. The monsters of Hezbollah and Al-Queda don't mind leaving bodies behind but reasonable citizens value everyone.

Two soldiers? chipping away every day by crossing into Israeli land and kidnapping one or two is OK with you? I wonder how you would feel at Islamofascists taking you at gunpoint and the United States doing nothing about it, as Jimmy Carter once did.

The lost keys analogy is lost on me; it's better directed at junior high school kids; not adults. And like the useless corrupt UN, you will no doubt persevere with your unreasonable "blame the Jews" rhetoric.

Lebanese complicity in terror
Some Lebanese support attacking Israeli civilians and kidnapping of soldiers for blackmail.
Since the government of Lebanon will or cannot stop the terrorists, then they will suffer the consequences.
Israel warned civilian populations to leave. Those that remain must support the terrorists.

Read the Bible
The Bible has a recipe for controlling protracted feuds between clans, what we would call proportionate response. The constant of proportionality (this being a technical site) also was specified: C_r = 1. In the pre-algebraic language of our ancestors, this was expressed through examples: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and (this part being less quoted) not more.

In the present conflict, the Iaraeli reaction exceeds the provocation by over a factor of ten.

Bottom line question
Has it worked? Will it work?

Israel occupied Southern Lebanon for an extended period. Was that a success? Do they want to repeat it?

If the strategy isn't kill 'em all, where's the exit plan. How does this help? It so far hasn't worked militarily, and politically, it's a disaster for both the Israelis and for us.

I'll note that namecalling doesn't change this equation.

You really ought to LG
Please explain Sodom for us as a matter of proportionality.

What an idiot.

Time Will Tell
Well, Eric, if Israel can kill a large number of Hezbollah, and destroy a large number of those 13,000 missiles Hezbollah claims to have, and maybe make Hezbollah think twice before they attack again WITHOUT PROVOCATION, and maybe get the Lebanon army and government to go after these militias that think they can operate with impunity, then yes, Eric, it may just be a success.

In any case, Israel really had no other choice, and the very weak condemnation (ans some outright support) of their actions by the world community is some pretty strong evidence that most of the world thinks so, too.

-Bob

So...
the Israelis should have randomly launched rockets over the border and kidnapped people? Or perhaps they could have strapped some explosives on a 15-year old and sent them to a Palestinian falafel stand?

Now apply the converse...
Has giving up land to Hezbollah and Hamas worked? Has attempting to sit down and deal with the Palestinians one on one worked? Has exchanging 1500 prisoners for the bodies of three Israelis worked? Has sitting back and letting rockets fall on their civilians worked?

Or the best one: Does Israel have an exit plan to get all of their citizens out of the Middle East?

Your questions are based on the premise that Israel has never tried peaceful solutions. They have and yet it still continues. Your "bottom line" question fails to address the fact that Israel's neighbors do not just wish to be left alone. They are actively persuing a desire to wipe them out.

That is quite an omission for someone who claims to see a "bottom line".

Chirac and double standards
The one thing Chirac ever got right was when he said the Frenchies just might use a nuke against any nation that sponsored a terrorist attack against them,seems like good advise to all of us including the Israelis.

Are you a member of Hezbollah or just a supporter?
This isn't just about a couple of kidnappings. Yes, Israel wants her people back, alive if possible. But they also killed a few and attacked into Israel to do this. That is an act of war and there is no crying about "excessive response" when a country or groups takes such actions. If Israel did not stop until all non-israeli presence was left in all of Lebanon and Gaza it would be justified.

When you attack a country you should expect no less than all-out war in response. If the response is anything less, it is only at the good graces of the responding nation. Therefore it is not ver smart to partake in acts of war unless you have a superior military position; or at least a very strong one. Hezbollah and Lebanon has neither. The same with Hamas.

The residents of Gaza and Lebanon are now going to have to face the brunt of the IDF might. They will (are) blame Israel, but it is Hamas (Islamic Jihad) and Hezbollah and the governments who allowed them to operate that are to blame here.

all bad
The Sodomites all were bad and all were killed, by G-d.
As opposed to the present situation, no innocents lost their lives, as the story discusses in great detail (name the Bible character who negoatiated over the lives of the Sodomites). On an even larger scale, in the story of Noah, everyone in the world except the immediate family of Noah got it. It seems that G-d has relatiation rights greater than those of even his chosen people.

In other words you expect the Israelis to have the same knowledge as God?
Now I'd like you to explain by what means you sort out terrorists from the innocents. How you sort out the grandma who collects for the terrorists from the kid who merely acts as look out. Or do you qualify these people as innocents?

If if if
The problem is, we've been down this road before. Israel didn't get out of Lebanon as a concession ot anyone: they got out because the occupation was expensive and wasn't helping. If they can successfully neutralize the Hezbollah weapons, great. However, bombing Beirut is not going to motivate the Lebanese government to take of Hezbollah.

>In any case, Israel really had no other choice, and the very weak condemnation (ans some outright support) of their actions by the world community is some pretty strong evidence that most of the world thinks so, too.


I'm not condemning Israel at all. I'm simply questioning if it was the smart thing to do.

So tell us what will work?
you're putting words into my mouth.

>Your questions are based on the premise that Israel has never tried peaceful solutions.

I have no such premise. I'm simply asking where the actions lead in the long term. Perhaps you can suggest what you think the bottom line should be.

Are you serious?
It seems that G-d has relatiation rights greater than those of even his chosen people.

Duh!

The "long term"?
Your current distaste for Israel's reaction tells me that you believe that gain nothing from this. In your mind they have done this before and it has gained them nothing. I, on the other hand, see that they have gained much in the past and in this current instance.

What have they gained? Continued existence.

As the threats around them become more entrenched and emboldened it is the leader's duty to strike out in order to prevent the destruction of their citizens and country. Add to this the fact that most other nations in the world offer no support in your struggle to merely exist and you can understand why Israel does not ask to pass a "global test" before engaging their enemies.

So my answer to your question on a "long term" solution is merely the institution of democracy in the Middle East and the modernization of Islam. With those two things in place deciding on the borders would be infinitely easier. Not easy but easier.

Lessons of Bible stories
It's interesting that you put it this way. The solution for Sodom would have been to spare the town if there were ten good people (non terrorists) in it. G-d would not have killed innocents to get bad guys. Maybe Thomas Jefferson was thinking of this when he said it would be better for 100 guilty men to go free than one innocent man to hang.

The Israelis, on the other hand, have killed Canadians and Sunnis (who hate Hezbollah) in Tripoli (the far north of Lebanon). Killing people in Lebanon may not be the fastest way to peace.

"continued existence?"
It hasn't worked like that.

>In your mind they have done this before and it has gained them nothing. I, on the other hand, see that they have gained much in the past and in this current instance.

I don't think you'll find many Israelis who think that the previous invasion of south lebanon was a good idea.

>So my answer to your question on a "long term" solution is merely the institution of democracy in the Middle East and the modernization of Islam.

How does destabilizing the Lebanese government and building public support for the governments in Syria & Iran move toward this goal?

In other words you have no answer just what you learned at the madrassa
Perhaps if God can find ten good people in Lebannon they will be spared. I doubt it.

Say it again "continued existence"
>"It hasn't worked like that."

Ummm... Israel continues to exist doesn't it?

>"I don't think you'll find many Israelis who think that the previous invasion of south lebanon was a good idea."

I have found quite a few. Lebanon, at the time of the invasion, was worse than it was today. The PLO had quite a presence and was mounting attacks from that region. They would rather fight the war in Lebanon than in their own country.

>"How does destabilizing the Lebanese government and building public support for the governments in Syria & Iran move toward this goal?"

Nothing like a leading question unsupported by fact.

Was the Lebanese government stable? The South was controled by Hezbollah and other terror organizations and the North is ruled by pawns from Syria and Iran. Many in Lebanon are hoping and thanking Israel for the destruction of Hezbollah. Check this out:

http://www.free-lebanon.com/

Perhaps you should read what I wrote again. I did not say that the current actions would result in the institution of democracy in the Middle East and the modernization of Islam. I said that was the solution to trouble there. The current actions are to allow Israel continued existence and nothing more.

Rocket for Rocket
The the appropriate response for Israel is to send unguided rockets into Gaza and Lebanon indiscriminatly targeting civilians?

Oh, and kidnap a few terrorists.

You beat me to it
Good show.

What will work.
Kill all those attacking you until they stop attacking or eliminate their means to attack.

Lebanon
You may have found a few isareals who say that the Lebanan adventure was a good idea that worked out well. I think you can find many more who don't think so.

I agree that the long run in the Middle East is a treacherous place to steer toward. However, in the short run, it's hard to see much good for either Israel or the U.S. coming out of this.The Lebanese government, following the expulsion of the Syrians and the Cedar revolution, had at least a chance to strenghten itself. If the U.S. had backed up its rhetoric, there was a long space in which this could have happened, Instead, we patted ourselves on the back and walked away. The result is destabiliization of the Lebanaese government and creation of public support for Syria and Iran, and also strains on the ostensibly pro-Wetern governments of Jordan and Egypt.

>Many in Lebanon are hoping and thanking Israel for the destruction of Hezbollah.

Lots of people outside of Lebanaon are hoping the same thing. The problem is, Israel couldn't destory Hezbollah when it occupied s. Lebanon. How are they in a better position now? Is the idea, invade again?

>I did not say that the current actions would result in the institution of democracy in the Middle East and the modernization of Islam. I said that was the solution to trouble there. The current actions are to allow Israel continued existence and nothing more.

The question is direction. Is this making Israel & the U.s. more or less secure. It's not clear the answer to this "more."

Appropriate Proportionality Analysis
Israel faces an existential threat. Iran, seeking and, by some accounts, close to obtaining, nuclear weapons, uses Hezbollah as a proxy and has provided them with missiles capable of reaching deep into Israel. Syria has chemical weapons, at least, and supports Hamas as a proxy. A single strike into an Israeli city by a missile carrying VX or sarin could kill hundreds or perhaps thousands. A nuclear strike would certainly kill many thousands. Such enemies, who along with their proxies, openly profess a desire to exterminate the Jews and are determined to obtain the means to do establish the survival of Israel as the good to be achieved and, conversely, the extermination of Israel as the evil that could result from a failure of Israel to destroy the warmaking capability of its enemies. In order for Israel's actions to be disproportionate, the harm that its actions must cause would have to be greater than the harm represented by the extermination of the Israeli people. We're not there yet.

But killing Jews is the fastest way to peace?
The civilian deaths, are completely the responsibility of Hezbollah. They are the ones hiding amongst civilians.

Good point, but missing the point
All you said is true, but I think the author was arguing a different point. Proportionality, as historically defined, especially in warfare, has nothing to do with the size, number, or lethality of your enemy’s weapons. It does not mean that if my enemy shoots 20mm shells, I should restrict my response to similar gauge artillery. Nor does it mean that my response to enemy aggression should be on a similar scale. In fact, it has almost nothing to do with my enemy. It simply means that my choice of weapon should be proportionate for my military objective. If Israel decides that taking out the Lebanese airport is a valid military objective, they should choose an appropriate weapon. Don't use 5,000 pound bombs if 500 pound bombs will do the job. Don't use nuclear weapons if conventional weapons will suffice.

Now, there is the bigger issue of "appropriateness". Is taking out an airport an appropriate response to missiles launched from Lebanon? Is it a valid military target to begin with? Clearly, with Syria and Iran flying the missiles into the area for deployment, the answer is YES.

RE: Proportionality
Innocent victims? Those who allowed Hezbollah launch attacks from their neighborhood and didn't demand that thier government remove the weapons were accomplices. Widespread demonstrations got the Syrian military out of Lebannon. I don't recall a single demonstration against Hezbollah.

Proportionality? Are you an accountant counting the thousands rockets flying in to Israel to make sure that Israel doesn't exceed that number of bombs dropped on Hezbollah?

Speaking of proportionality, Hamas demanded the release of 1,000 Islamic prisoners being held is Israeli jails in exchange for the return one one Israeli soldier. So a Jew is worth 1,000 times that of a Muslim!

Read the Bible in context
The context of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" is for personal injury cases.

Crossing a border to attack is an act of war. In war, proportionality is not an issue, killing the enemy is the goal. If you compare the Islamic practice of strapping bombs on young people to the Cannanite practice of child sacrifice, then wiping out the entire culture would be justified.

What is this fetish with an "exit plan"?
Hezbollah wants to destroy Israel. They've made no secret of that.

Surviving has nothing to do with an "exit plan"?

There is no way Hezbollah will ever accomplish this goal
But they can try all they want. And Israel will continue to kill them off at a very high ratio. Not a good way to win a war.

Downes failed to respond... by northernguy

I have already replied to Downe's false claims about the so called _innocent Canadian tourists in Lebanon_ story in the More Than Hezbollah Can Chew thread.

I note that he has not responded to my post but continues to repeat his false claims. In Canada this is not much of a story. Even the anti-american, anti-Jewish C.B.C. network can't turn it into much.

Anyone interested in the issue can see my post in the above mentioned thread. It currently is the last post there.

northernguy

Proportionality
Of course it has to do with the enemy's weapons -- not directly, but the enemy's weapons are part of what determines the magnitude of the threat a nation faces. Another factor is the enemy's intentions, primarily as demonstrated by its actions, but also indicated by what the enemy says. The magnitude of the threat is at least part of what determines the military objective. If the threat is small, then the response probably doesn't need to be the total destruction of the enemy's capability to use force. If the threat is an existential one, as Israel faces. then a proportionate one, is to destroy all ability the enemy has to use force or gather resources that could be distributed to other enemies. Ideally, from Israel's viewpoint, that would mean destroying both Hamas and Hezbollah and decapitating both the Syrian and Iranian regimes as well as destroying their abilities to project any military force outside their own borders. You are correct in saying that taking out an airport in Beirut is an appropriate and proportionate response. So is the destruction of any structure in which missiles are likely stored, or any area from which missiles are launched, even if it's a neigborhood. It is Hezbollah, not Israel, that bears responsibility for civilian casualties when Israel strikes Hezbollah assets in residential areas. Refraining from attack when an enemy uses human shields just encourages further use -- better to destroy an enemy that uses that tactic than to provide it with an incentive to continue perpetration of such a crime.

As to the "objective," well, deterrence is a proper objective when faced with an enemy that has proven to be aggressive, as Israel's enemies have. Use of a 5,000 pound bomb when a 500 pound bomb will destroy the target is indeed appropriate if it will deter further aggression. Use of a nuke, well, that's a different ballgame entirely -- first use by Israel would be ok if not using it would mean that Israel would face a similar threat. First use by Israel's enemies would never be justified, since Israel's objectives are defensive only (arguments assuming moral equivalence of Israel and its enemies are utter BS and never deserve a hearing).

real Canadians?
He's probably hiding under his desk in his humiliation. Re the so-called canadians. I wonder if they were even real canadians or just some other kinda palestinian immigrants.

proportion this
I think that if the terrorists have already lobbed 1k plus rockets into israel, it should be OK for Israel to lob 1k of their rockets in the opposite direction, right? I think the Romans had the same problem when the Carthaginian kept harassing Rome. Their solution was what I believe you English speakers refer to as a 'punitive war of anihilation'; worked for them, the cart. were not able to bother Rome to this day. I recommend the same for the palestinians.

downes
the few times Downes has posted in the past, that has been his style.
Make outrageous, unsubstantiated charges, then disapear back under his rock.

Kinda like what LG usually does.

Adventure? Excitement? The Israelis crave not these things!
>"You may have found a few isareals who say that the Lebanan adventure was a good idea that worked out well. I think you can find many more who don't think so."

You have a habit of making statements that twist what I say. I said I have found a great many that believe that the military occupation of Lebanon was a good idea. As in it was needed at the time. It was not an "adventure" and you still seem to be stuck on the "worked out well" illusion. They occupied it to root out the PLO that was firmly entrenched there.

The current action in Lebanon has overwhelming support in Israel.

>"However, in the short run, it's hard to see much good for either Israel or the U.S. coming out of this.The Lebanese government, following the expulsion of the Syrians and the Cedar revolution, had at least a chance to strenghten itself."

Here is your first problem: do you think the Israelis considered the good of the US in its military plans? They acted in their own interests and nothing else.

Your second problem is that the Syrians still controled Lebanon through Hezbollah. The Cedar revolution failed and the Lebanese had absolutely no chance to strengthen itself.

>"If the U.S. had backed up its rhetoric, there was a long space in which this could have happened, Instead, we patted ourselves on the back and walked away. The result is destabiliization of the Lebanaese government and creation of public support for Syria and Iran, and also strains on the ostensibly pro-Wetern governments of Jordan and Egypt."

As per the usual, all of this can be firmly placed on the head of the US. Perhaps you would have us occupy Lebanon? How about continued airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon? Or perhaps we should have had the UN draw up a resolution to fix everything? Oh yeah. Did that.

This is what liberals such as yourself always want: to walk away and leave these countries alone but when things go south the cries of US neglegence go up.

What ever you do, don't place judgement on the Syrians or Iranians for destabilizing Lebanon. Don't blame Hezbollah for provoking Israel.

>"Lots of people outside of Lebanaon are hoping the same thing. The problem is, Israel couldn't destory Hezbollah when it occupied s. Lebanon. How are they in a better position now? Is the idea, invade again?"

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Perhaps their goal is to knock Hezbollah back enough for the Lebanese government to deal with. Considering the armaments and external support Hezbollah has this is not such a bad idea.

Although you think you a goal has to be involved in responding to an attack, perhaps the goal is retaliation and nothing else. The first thing to do to an enemy is to destroy their ability to attack your civilians.

>"The question is direction. Is this making Israel & the U.s. more or less secure. It's not clear the answer to this "more.""

As I said, the Israelis don't care about American security. They have a threat and they are dealing with it. Wiping out Hezbollah and Hamas would definitely qualify as a point on the "more secure" side of the scorecard.

I find it interesting that only Israel has to have motive and direction and a vision towards peace. I don't see anyone holding Hezbollah and Hamas up to those standards but that is nothing new.

Agreed - no more quibbling
I hear you. I was just pointing out the difference between military proportionality, as properly understood in military science and law, and the "moral equivalence" idea that people often read into the term. But it’s clear to me that under either definition, Israel is justified. If you ascribe to the moral equivalence version of proportionality, Israel would be justified in demanding the extermination of all Arabs, by whatever means possible, including genocide, suicide bombers, and teaching your children that the most noble calling in life is to kill as many Muslims as possible. Pathetic.

You know, there was a discussion in this thread about whether Israel striking Lebanon would "work". The person asking the question was looking for a long-term solution. But there is no workable solution if one side insists that the only solution is for the other side to be exterminated. The only solution is for Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestine, etc. to find something better to occupy their minds than hatred. I don’t care what it is – virtue or vice - ambition, art, music, math, sports, greed, lust, money, ANYTHING has got to be better than sitting around sulking about perceived injustices of centuries past, and working up your hatred till it boils over. The root of the problem is a religion, a belief system, that sees the activities mentioned above as vices, but hatred, revenge, and bloodshed as virtues. Solution? This IS the solution. This is what they wanted after all. According to their beliefs, this is preferable to the decadence of the West. And this is preferable to living in a world with Jews next door.

From what I've seen, Israel’s enemies have said "We would rather die than to see you live." So be it. Wish granted.

Award of the day
Dietmar you make more snse than most of the people who comment here. When you opt for war you should not count on the mercy or charity of your opponents. I believe Attila the Hun had it right when he said he wished:
To slay his enemies
To hear the lamentations of his women and children
To plunder all their worldly goods

I thought that was Conan
Crush your enemies.
See them driven before you.
Hear the lamentation of the women.

responsibility for cilvilian deaths
since hezbollah refuses to fight as a uniformed military, hides amongst civilians, and provokes israel to the point of a military response, hezbollah and not israel bears the responsibility for any and all innocents killed.

the terrorists are playing on the good nature of the jews. israel has tried to avoid civilian casualties by striking military and dual use sites.
think about it.
if the israeli military force were as ruthless as the islamic instigators, they could have done an all out bombing with anti-personnel weapons and leveled the place in a scorched earth campaign.

that hasn't happened has it?

Actually it was Atilla
Believe the movie makers picked up a good thing. Oh, I believe your quote is the correct one.

Issue avoidance
I think your historical perspective on the Lebanese invasion ("adventure" is a common word in diplomatic practice for an initiative that doesn't work out) is not widely shared.

As for this:

>You have a habit of making statements that twist what I say. I said I have found a great many that believe that the military occupation of Lebanon was a good idea.

And all I said is that you can find a great many more who don't think so. That's not "twisting what you say."

> Here is your first problem: do you think the Israelis considered the good of the US in its military plans? They acted in their own interests and nothing else.

That's fine. How would you feel then, if the U.S. were going to start acting in its own interests and nothing else with respect to decisions that affect the Israelis?

>Your second problem is that the Syrians still controled Lebanon through Hezbollah. The Cedar revolution failed and the Lebanese had absolutely no chance to strengthen itself.

This was not a foregone conclusion. What happened was the U.S. and allies were outmaneuvered by Hezbollah, setting up the present situation. And the reason this happened was because the Bush administration was a) incompetent; and b) totally distracted by Iraq.

>This is what liberals such as yourself always want: to walk away and leave these countries alone but when things go south the cries of US neglegence go up.

It was the Bush administration who walked away. Why shouldn't this be an issue??

> What ever you do, don't place judgement on the Syrians or Iranians for destabilizing Lebanon. Don't blame Hezbollah for provoking Israel.

This is priceless. Of course there are nasty people in the world who want to do bad things to us. That's why we have a government and a foreign policy, to act to protect us and our interests. They failed. What you're doing is the equivalent of blaming Texas for beating USC in the championship game.

>Perhaps their goal is to knock Hezbollah back enough for the Lebanese government to deal with. Considering the armaments and external support Hezbollah has this is not such a bad idea.

If this is their goal -- and it obviously should be -- they don't seem to be doing a very effective job so far. Bombing the Lebanese government and army doesn't really help the Lebanese and government contain Hezbollah. Bombing non-Hezbollah Lebanese doesn't give the Lebanese governmetn and people much of a reason crush Hezbollah.

>I find it interesting that only Israel has to have motive and direction and a vision towards peace. I don't see anyone holding Hezbollah and Hamas up to those standards but that is nothing new.

The question is how to deal with poisonous extremists like Hezbollad and Hamas. I'm not criticizing Israel's ends. I'm questioning the means.


I will serve no condemnation before its time
I am not avoiding questions. I am avoiding making judgements on the success, failure, and implications of the current situation because they can not be know at this time. I would suggest you do the same.

>"And all I said is that you can find a great many more who don't think so. That's not "twisting what you say.""

But saying that I said I found a great many that said it "worked", whatever that means, is.

>"That's fine. How would you feel then, if the U.S. were going to start acting in its own interests and nothing else with respect to decisions that affect the Israelis?"

No problem there. I would expect my President to defend the interests of his country and the lives of its citizens without asking for permission from anyone. I am sure that in Israel's shoes our current President would pursue the same course.

>"This was not a foregone conclusion. What happened was the U.S. and allies were outmaneuvered by Hezbollah, setting up the present situation. And the reason this happened was because the Bush administration was a) incompetent; and b) totally distracted by Iraq."

It absolutely was a foregone conclusion without troops on the ground to enforce it. When all you have is Syrians and Hezbollah intimidating the local population and government it is quite a foregone conclusion that Hezbollah will not leave.

Lay it on Bush if you wish. It is just a demonstration of your myopic vision to only see Bush as the cause. Would you have supported American troops entering Lebanon to oversee the transition? I think not.

>"It was the Bush administration who walked away. Why shouldn't this be an issue??"

Please entail what "walking away" means. He supported the Lebanese government diplomatically and gave grief to Syria diplomatically. The rest was up to the UN. Isn't it amazing how well the Syrians and Hezbollah respond to harsh words of the UN?

Perhaps you should detail exactly what our President should have done instead of throwing out vague DNC talking points.

>"This is priceless. Of course there are nasty people in the world who want to do bad things to us. That's why we have a government and a foreign policy, to act to protect us and our interests. They failed."

Ummm... Hezbollah and Hamas didn't attack us and no clear impact has been made to our interests. I see the Israelis kicking some Hezbollah and Hamas ass as a win, not a failure. Conflict is not immediate failure as your hemp-wearing friends would have you believe. Sometimes conflict generates great benefits.

>"What you're doing is the equivalent of blaming Texas for beating USC in the championship game."

Quite bewildering. Are you saying that blaming Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking an attack is somehow unjustified or misplaced? If so, explain how.

>"If this is their goal -- and it obviously should be -- they don't seem to be doing a very effective job so far."

Leave it you to judge a military action a failure after little more than a week. I know you are past the usual DNC deadline to make the call of "quagmire" but that seems a little early in this case.

>"Bombing the Lebanese government and army doesn't really help the Lebanese and government contain Hezbollah. Bombing non-Hezbollah Lebanese doesn't give the Lebanese governmetn and people much of a reason crush Hezbollah."

And they were doing such a bang-up job "containing" Hezbollah before the attack? They didn't have much of a reason to do it before so maybe this will prod them to remove such a disruptive element from their midst. Perhaps it was because Hezbollah IS part of the government? Could it be?

>"The question is how to deal with poisonous extremists like Hezbollad and Hamas. I'm not criticizing Israel's ends. I'm questioning the means."

Israel seems to have the right idea when it comes to dealing with terrorists: no negotiation and no mercy.

And actually you are questioning the ends AND the means of Israel's actions. By all means do so. They are excepting of such questions while it is quite futile to question the means and ends of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Israelis debate these questions all the time while the terrorists simply behead you for questioning the will of Allah. Easier target.

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