TCS Daily


Oligopolies of Force

By Melana Zyla Vickers - August 3, 2006 12:00 AM

"I don't see a state of Lebanon surviving with a militia next to an army. That's it."
- Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt

As Lebanon is pounded by Israeli air strikes and as Hezbollah uses Lebanese soil as a staging ground for its war against Israel, the actual Lebanese military is all but lost in the center of the violence. As it has in the past, that country of four million, with its fledgling government and dangerous neighborhood, is exposing what happens when a weak state does not have a monopoly on military power inside its borders.

Armed groups take advantage of the weakness. Outside national borders, they carry out their own foreign policy, or that of their puppet-masters. Within national borders, they wage war against each other. And foreign powers affected by the freelancing retaliate against the weak central state, for lack of a clearer target.

If ever there was a case for a U.S. role in building up the military of weak but geopolitically important states, Lebanon is it.

Trouble is, Lebanon has been "it" for years -- torn apart by what was, at one point, a total of 40 armed groups. Yet little has been done. There was a ray of hope in 1982, when the Reagan Administration formulated and began to implement a $250 million Lebanese Army Modernization Program. The program relied on American and French weapons and training, and saw the deployment of some 80 U.S. military advisers, including Special Forces, to Lebanon. But in the subsequent months, which included the bombings of Americans and other carnage in Lebanon, the nascent program was scuttled. And when there was an opportunity to go back into Lebanon and reward it for democratic governance and the ejection of the Syrians in 2005, the U.S. did nothing.

Lebanon with its parasitic Hezbollah is just one country on a long list. Other countries with the potential to serve as hosts for dangerous, internal predators such as Al Qaeda include those of Trans Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Caucasus, and several in the Middle East. There are also the failed states of Africa such as Somalia, where warlords run amok and the central government means nothing. And of course there are the states that the U.S. currently assisting; such as Iraq and Afghanistan (and Colombia).

Baby Steps in the Sahara: In some hotspots, the U.S. has recognized the risk of states not monopolizing military power. Since 2003, the U.S. has trained and equipped infantry companies in Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Niger, whose border areas have played host to Islamic extremists. The effort was small and underfunded at first, and suffered from inattention by the Pentagon. But it had success in capturing some terrorists, and in 2006, this "Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative" was expanded to include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, and Nigeria, and will be funded to the tune of $100 million per year.

Special Operations Forces expanded: In addition, the Pentagon's new Quadrennial Defense Review pledges an expansion of Special Operations Forces, and particularly Special Forces, by 1/3 over the next four years. These troops are precisely the ones that can train and advise foreign militaries.

The U.S. needs to engage in more of the same. And to overcome the obstacles to building up foreign militaries. Often, in the past, the U.S. and the international community have hesitated to help, or have been hamstrung in building up national militaries. Rights groups oppose the efforts and get Congress to suspend funding, because the militaries of the weak states are often mired in disturbing violations of human rights. Other groups argue the aid stalls the cause of democracy in the country. The human rights and democracy pressure halted aid to Indonesia over military abuses in East Timor, and it has stalled across Latin America as well. There's also huge pressure to suspend assistance to Pakistan, a state penetrated by anti-U.S. terrorists and in even greater need of establishing a monopoly on military power than Lebanon is.

The U.S. should not be so confused about its objectives. It is at war against terrorists who prey on weak states. It needs to prioritize its foreign policy goals and recognize how critical it is to help foreign security forces help themselves.

Helping central governments crush armed opponents is not pretty. But these days, as is evident on television, the risk of not helping them is less attractive, still.

Melana Zyla Vickers is a TCS Daily contributing writer.

Categories:

103 Comments

Blaming the victim
It seems unfair to blame Lebanon, a fragile nation with a weak government and an even weaker armed forces, for failing to disarm Hezbollah when after eighteen years the most powerful military in the region, backed by the most powerful patron of military force on earth, couldn't get the job done.

Yet Lebanon has been destroyed, while to date Hezbollah has seen only light damage.

Lebanese Civil War
They did a pretty good job of destroying Lebanon all by themselves during the civil war.

In the past few weeks, Israeli forces have destroyed key infrastructure to prevent Hezbollah from rearming.

Damage has been localized to targets that would support military operations.

roy's delusions
Nobody's blaming Lebanon. The article pointed out why Lebanon has failed as a state.
Secondly for the last 18 years, Lebanon has been ruled by Syria. Last time I checked, Syria was a client of Iran.

It has only been recently that Syrian troops have been withdrawn, an action that you opposed vehemently.

The Syrians are and remain Hezbollas backers, and through Syria, the Iranians.

As to damage. The damage to Lebanon has been very slight. A few hundred buildings, mostly those owned or controlled by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has lost around a third of it's fighters, a large number of it's senior staff, and over half of it's weapons. I would hardly call that light damage.

Delusions? No. Hypocrisy is the word.
You forgot to point out the hypocritical nature of Roy's post since he is the one most at fault for blaming the victim.

Who is the victim? Israel.

Suicide bombers blowing up Israeli citizens? Israel's fault.

Rockets flying into Israel on a daily basis? Israel's fault.

Military incursion over Israel's border from Lebanon? Israel's fault.

Roy has made quite a past time pointing the finger of blame at Israel. He also has a great love of blaming the US for acts of terror against it to.

Weak governments in Italy and Germany contributed to...
...the renaissance, there was no government is Pennsylvania for a long time and in Iceland for even longer. The fault lies with Hizbullah’s members and the violent branch of Islam that is looking to set itself up with the monopoly on violence.

Roy you must believe too much of what you hear...
...on the news. It sells ads to make the situation look graver than it is. Hezbollah is being crushed.



D'uh!
Um, sure. Now we get it.
Except all this was completely clear a year ago, when the Syrians were finally forced to get their troops out of Lebanon, and new elections were held.

That was a golden opportunity for the U.S. to mobilize allies and the Lebanese to create an effective nation-state, offering carrots and sticks. All the pieces were in place, the Lebanese were motivated.

Instead, Bush & Condi congratulated themselves on the brilliant success of 'democratization," wished the new government good luck, and exited stage left.

They didn't even have enough of an intelligence presence in the country to realize that a major arms buildup was in progress. As a result, a year later, Hezbollah blows up, the Israelis respond, and we have a deer-in-the-headlights response in Washington.

I guess the founders were just a bunch of dumb f___s
"If ever there was a case for a U.S. role in building up the military of weak but geopolitically important states, Lebanon is it."

The author clearly knows more than men like Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Paine and Henry--they all saw the sense in avoiding foreign political entanglements and standing armies (bad for liberty), but what did they know anyway. Just a bunch of dumb f___s founding the only country ever born of ideas and principles that placed liberty as the ultimate goal.

Once again...
>"That was a golden opportunity for the U.S. to mobilize allies and the Lebanese to create an effective nation-state, offering carrots and sticks. All the pieces were in place, the Lebanese were motivated."

You keep repeating this yet you have offered no "carrots and sticks" that would work the magic you claim would have been so easily worked if only Bush had seized the day.

You sound like Kerry who claims things would be so much better in the Middle East if he were president but who can't actually give a solid reason why.

You and your droning buddies seem to be condoning some kind of intervention into the affairs of Lebanon. Curious since to seem to condemn it in every other arena. I am sure that we would have had full support from the world community, especially the Arab nations, to prop up a government against a Islamofascist organization.

So tell us what should have been done, step by step, to help the government rid itself of Hezbollah while also taking into account that Hezbollah is a part of the governmental structure of Lebanon.

This should be good.

Compared to when? Compared to what?
Sorry the "droning" is keeping you awake. But you don't seem to be aware that we have all the same problems you're calling difficult now, except were' in a much worse position to solve them: we have total destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure and turning of Lebanese publc opinion against us.

> I am sure that we would have had full support from the world community, especially the Arab nations, to prop up a government against a Islamofascist organization.

Compared to now? Absolutely. Because our motive would not be solely support of Israel. It would support of an elected Arab government. Is this really hard to grasp/

>So tell us what should have been done, step by step, to help the government rid itself of Hezbollah while also taking into account that Hezbollah is a part of the governmental structure of Lebanon.

Application of a whole range of carrots and sticks;

Carrots: money. military aid for trainng and equipment of Lebanese army. economic aid. a possible multinational force to help enforce Hezbollah disarmament. Intelligence help in monitoriing the border. The carrots have to extend to Syria in addition, to stop transshipping Iranian arms to Hezbollah.

>So tell us what should have been done, step by step, to help the government rid itself of Hezbollah while also taking into account that Hezbollah is a part of the governmental structure of Lebanon.

A whole series of U.N. and Lebanese resulutions have called for disarming of Hezbollah. The moral authority is there.

>This should be good.

How is the worst case worse than what we now have?
And you're still not dealing with the problem: the Bush administration simply declared victory in Lebanon, patted itself on the back, and walked away. Yes, I think another administration could have done better. It's hard to imagine one doing worse.

So, I hear you saying, get rid of the standing armed forces
And let's renounce the Monroe doctrine, while we'ere at it.

Wrong on every point
I was referring to the 18 years that ended in 2000, when Israel was occupying south Lebanon. They were unable to disarm Hezbollah.

Anyone turning on a television can see the toll this has taken on Lebanon.

Finally, taking the IDF's word on how many Hezbollah fighters it has killed is ridiculous. Mossad didn't even know how many fighters they had, or weapons, or senior staff, and had advised against entering into this kind of a war until they could gather better intelligence.

Le Mule is suffering from an identity crisis...
>"Sorry the "droning" is keeping you awake. But you don't seem to be aware that we have all the same problems you're calling difficult now, except were' in a much worse position to solve them: we have total destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure and turning of Lebanese publc opinion against us."

First of all, there is not a "total destruction" of Lebanese infrastructure. I know from your CNN reports you would get that impression but if you actually take time to look at the targets and how they are damaged you will see that the damage is not that extensive.

The "destroyed" airport for example: the ATC tower is still standing and the terminals remain undamaged. All that is needed is to repair the runways and you are up and operational. I would say something about the "bombed" hospital but I haven't found any evidence for that rumor...

As for the Lebanese public: many are thanking the Israelis for finally destroying Hezbollah. Which brings me to the main point: this is an Israeli problem and currently is not ours. If the Lebanese people are stupid enough to blame the US for Israel responding to an act of war then so be it. Try to remember who started this.

>"Compared to now? Absolutely. Because our motive would not be solely support of Israel. It would support of an elected Arab government. Is this really hard to grasp/"

So you really believe that the UN will throw a love fest behind our intentions to help the demise of an Islamofascist organization that threatens Israel? Any way you cut it we would be helping one faction against another with Israel benefiting from our actions. Indeed we would be helping support the elected Arab government that also contains members of the faction we would be assisting the dismantling of. Are you ready to be involved in a civil war? Your other posts suggest this is a bad thing. Getting rid of Hezbollah would be a no-win situation because we would be perceived as helping the Christian and non-Muslims overcome the Muslims.

I would ask if this is so hard to grasp but that is already quite apparent.

>"Carrots: money. military aid for trainng and equipment of Lebanese army. economic aid. a possible multinational force to help enforce Hezbollah disarmament. Intelligence help in monitoriing the border. The carrots have to extend to Syria in addition, to stop transshipping Iranian arms to Hezbollah."

Wow. How utterly out of touch you are.

Multinational force to go into Lebanon... I am sure you were not alive when it happened but we had a President named Reagan who attempted this a long time ago. Google it and see how well that worked.

Not to mention that giving money and military equipment and training to a government whose officials include active members of a terrorist organization created and sponsored by Iran is not only stupid, it's suicidal.

And benefits to Syria? You mean they should benefit from holding Lebanon in thrall all these years as well as sponsoring the spread of Islamofascism? Great deal buddy! I am sure that supplying a dictatorship with economic and military incentives won't come back to bite us in the ass at all.

>"A whole series of U.N. and Lebanese resulutions have called for disarming of Hezbollah. The moral authority is there."

Just like we had the moral authority to go into Iraq?

If we go into Lebanon in any way, shape, or form we had best be prepared for a fight. I don't believe the world community will stand for that and I know you and your kind don't have the stamina to see it to the end.

>"How is the worst case worse than what we now have?"

What we have now is Israel doing the heavy lifting for its own benefit. We are not involved and that is better than us going in.

>"And you're still not dealing with the problem: the Bush administration simply declared victory in Lebanon, patted itself on the back, and walked away. Yes, I think another administration could have done better. It's hard to imagine one doing worse."

First of all, it was not our battle in the first place so Bush never declared victory. He congratulated the new government and the removal of Syrian forces. Did the new government ask for US help? No. Was it our responsibility to aid a government that made no effort to remove Hezbollah in the first place? No.

So if you believe in interfering in the affairs of a sovereign nation, that has not asked for our help, in order to prop up and enable democracy for the benefit of the US and the West then I would say you are a NeoCon.

Welcome to the club just keep it to yourself or Roy and LiberalTalkingPointsMan will disown you. Not to mention your other liberal alter-egos.

"Wrong" all depends on your perspective
>"Finally, taking the IDF's word on how many Hezbollah fighters it has killed is ridiculous. Mossad didn't even know how many fighters they had, or weapons, or senior staff, and had advised against entering into this kind of a war until they could gather better intelligence."

Yet taking Hezbollah's word is sensible? CNN has already admitted that no reporter in Lebanon is without a Hezbollah "media spokesman" directing that reporting.

Please state your source for Mossad's advising against entering into a fight with Hezbollah.

None of what you say makes sense
And your snide and silly insults don't make it more coherent.

off the top:


Finally:
>First of all, there is not a "total destruction" of Lebanese infrastructure. I know from your CNN reports you would get that impression but if you actually take time to look at the targets and how they are damaged you will see that the damage is not that extensive.

The war is continuing, so we don't know what the bottom line is. So far, we have billions of dollars of damage and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

But for the rest:
All of your post is an exercise in simply ignoring my point. We have a war that is damaging and threatens to damage further our interests. Conceivably, this could have been avoided by timely diplomatic intervention to strengthen the Lebanese state.

You bring up all kinds of reasons why we woudn't have wanted to get involved in this. What you're ignoring is the fact that the current war is forcing us to become involved --not on our terms but on terms dictated to us by events.

And this is absurd:

>First of all, it was not our battle in the first place so Bush never declared victory.

Not our battle? I thought we were engaged in a worldwide struggle against "islamofascism." But a state with an armed islamofascist autonomous region doesn't get help because "it's not our battle?" And it may not have been our battle a year ago, but it's going to be our battle now.

Finally, you're sniping at me for imagined inconsistencies with policies I haven't advocated - never intervene anywhere under any circumstances, for example:

>So if you believe in interfering in the affairs of a sovereign nation, that has not asked for our help, i

The Lebanese did and have been asking for our help. They didn't get it before, and they aren't getting it now, despite all our rhetoric about democracy.

>order to prop up and enable democracy for the benefit of the US

I thought the aim of American foreign policy was to benefit the U.s.

>and the West then I would say you are a NeoCon.

It really doesn't' matter what you say I am. The question is what was and is in the interst of the US. The current was is not. The policy I suggest was.

And why not lay off the dumb insults. If you don't think I'm worth talking to, shut up. If you want to talk, your points don't get strong by calling me names.

we also know that unless they are wearing a Hezbollah uniform
any dead Lebanese must be a civilian.

What is that you say, there is no Hezbollah uniform for it's soldiers to wear?

Roy is very consistent on this point. Everything Israel says is a lie. Don't even bother trying to defend it.

Everything Hezbollah says is the truth, and he won't listen to anyone who says otherwise.

Funny thing
In Iraq, Bush is supporting the govt and helping it to destroy insurgents. Does anyone here think eric has been supportive of Bush in Iraq? No he condemns us for even being there.

eric will blame the US, regardless of what the US does.
At least until there is a Democrat in the White House. Then he will return to his "the administration can do no wrong" schtick.

eric admits that he makes it up as he goes
You are the one who had previously declared that Lebanon had been destroyed.
Then when presented with evidence that refutes your position, you retreat to a "we don't know what the final damage will be" position.

So you are admitting that your first statement was a flat out lie?

"nothing more than Cicerone's personal opinion
Weren't you the guy who said that a presentation of an official NAS position paper by the presentident of NAS to the Senate of the United States was just "Cicerone's personal opiion?"

You have nothing to say worth responding to on any topic.

"nothing more than Cicerone's personal opinion
you have nothing to say worth responding to on any topic

Believing only one side is never sensible
You make a perfectly good point. All sides in the conflict are self serving. And I note that every time a story is revisited, the number of dead changes. Israel hasn't been able to decide for the past week, for instance, whether it's 19 or 18 civilians who have died.

And now we're getting radically different numbers from Qana. They can't just line up the dead and count them?

All this is beyond dispute. But also beyond dispute is that whenever a reporter visits a battle zone they are accompanied by a minder from one side or the other. Reporters when they report assume that everyone who reads or watches that report is aware of this subtle filter through which their perceptions are being strained.

Thus the informed viewer understands that when he is given the tour of the Israeli side he will see one thing, and when he is given the tour of the Lebanese side he will see another. We expect that. And we appreciate those news services that give us their best reports from both sides.

My source for the Mossad rumor is in itself unsourced. So I believe it goes into the category of "more information needed". Discount it if you choose.

"An alliance of hawkish Israeli politicians and military top brass is determined to eradicate Hezbollah once and for all from Lebanon, despite warnings from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, Asia Times Online is told.

"Those arguing for restraint say that the Iraqi war has changed the dynamics and mood in the Middle East. The region is no longer the same as when Israel could flex its muscles with impunity: there is now a groundswell of anti-Israeli and anti-US sentiment.

"And Israeli intelligence admitted to the ruling establishment before the war began that it had failed to penetrate the tightly knit folds of the ideologically and religiously motivated cadre and leadership of Hezbollah. Therefore, they opposed the war until their proxy network could gather more information on Hezbollah's military strength, manpower, logistics and positions.

"Israeli intelligence dispatches warned that Hezbollah, with Iranian backing, had grown way beyond a small resistance group like Hamas in Palestine and would fight with much more than small weapons and suicide attacks.

"The dispatches cautioned that before going into any large-scale war, it was essential to measure the full extent of Hezbollah's war machine, otherwise it could turn into a military catastrophe."

http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HH03Ak02.html

To me this is interesting enough to look for supporting evidence.

No wonder... they employ LOGIC!
>"The war is continuing, so we don't know what the bottom line is. So far, we have billions of dollars of damage and hundreds of thousands of refugees."

Not knowing the bottom line doesn't seem to stop you from running off at the mouth. So far, we don't know that we have billions of dollars in damage. These refugees are the smart ones who are getting out of the line of fire. When the war is over they will go home.

>"All of your post is an exercise in simply ignoring my point. We have a war that is damaging and threatens to damage further our interests. Conceivably, this could have been avoided by timely diplomatic intervention to strengthen the Lebanese state."

It is easy to ignore a point that completely lacks substance as yours does.

This war does not damage our interests. In fact, if Israel acheives its aims it will greatly benefit us by wiping out yet another terrorist organization. Once Hezbollah is gone the real Syrian influence in Lebanon will vanish as well.

War is not always bad and we are not currently in this one.

>"You bring up all kinds of reasons why we woudn't have wanted to get involved in this. What you're ignoring is the fact that the current war is forcing us to become involved --not on our terms but on terms dictated to us by events."

We are involved on a diplomatic level and on our terms. I am certainly not ignoring that. What I am ignoring is your hysterics that this was all preventable by "carrots and sticks".

>"Not our battle? I thought we were engaged in a worldwide struggle against "islamofascism." But a state with an armed islamofascist autonomous region doesn't get help because "it's not our battle?"

We are engaged and we are doing what we can. If this is your stance then we should be helping out in Somalia, Sudan, Chechnya, etc. Are you ready to dive in and take it all on?

>"And it may not have been our battle a year ago, but it's going to be our battle now."

This can be said about any conflict in the world. I didn't hear you crowing about this before so I am pretty certain that you didn't see this coming. Or perhaps you knew about Hezbollah's plans to abduct Israeli soldiers before hand?

Perhaps our current diplomacy will work? As you say, "The war is continuing, so we don't know what the bottom line is."

>"Finally, you're sniping at me for imagined inconsistencies with policies I haven't advocated - never intervene anywhere under any circumstances, for example:"

Oh your ramblings are inconsistant across a wide range of subjects. Don't get angry just because someone points them out to you.

>"The Lebanese did and have been asking for our help. They didn't get it before, and they aren't getting it now, despite all our rhetoric about democracy."

Please provide the source of the Lebanese call for help that we should have heeded before. I know they are asking for help and we are providing diplomatic help but we are also quite aware of the benefit of having the Israelis wipe out Hezbollah. Bush stands behind his rhetoric while you seem to be in a constant state of flux in an infantile desire to always oppose him.

>"I thought the aim of American foreign policy was to benefit the U.s."

At least you are coming around. Yes. Our policies are supposed to be to our benefit just like every other nation works towards their own benefit.

The policy of allowing the Israelis to wipe out Hezbollah is bad... how? The policy of not throwing ourselves into a country's civil unrest, again, is bad... how?

>"It really doesn't' matter what you say I am. The question is what was and is in the interst of the US. The current was is not. The policy I suggest was."

It would be nice if you could actually prove those things but you can't. Once again, which is better? Israel wiping out Hezbollah or involving ourselves in a country's internal problems without being invited to do so?

If you wish just to go in and further the aims of democracy then you are a NeoCon. Pure and simple.

>"And why not lay off the dumb insults. If you don't think I'm worth talking to, shut up. If you want to talk, your points don't get strong by calling me names."

I actually use you to sharpen my arguments for all the Bush-haters that abound around me. Insulting you is just icing on the cake. So I guess you are not completely useless.

More lame insults, still no argument
>So far, we don't know that we have billions of dollars in damage

We do know we have billions in damage. For the rest, you are simply repeating the same line.

>The policy of allowing the Israelis to wipe out Hezbollah is bad... how?

They couldn't do it before, with much greater advantages. Why will it work now?

>The policy of not throwing ourselves into a country's civil unrest, again, is bad... how?

Good question, pre-Iraq invasion. I'm not the one carrying the interventionist banner, you are. And I didn't call for anything more than increased diplomatic and other peaceful activity. Worst case, we'd be no worse off than we are now.

>We are engaged and we are doing what we can. If this is your stance then we should be helping out in Somalia, Sudan, Chechnya, etc. Are you ready to dive in and take it all on?

No, we pick our battles, and it's better if we pick them than if they pick us. This was a good place to try to use non-military alternatives.

> Israel wiping out Hezbollah or involving ourselves in a country's internal problems without being invited to do so?

I see. Israel is going to succeed in imposing a military solution in Lebanon, just as we are succeeding in our military solution in Iraq. Sure.

> Insulting you is just icing on the cake. So I guess you are not completely useless.

Shithead, you are as bad at namecalling as you are at debate.

He wasn't presenting an NAS report, he was presenting his opinion
There's a difference, not that you'll ever be to figure it out.

why do you feel the need to lie?
We do not know that they have billions in damage. A few hundred buildings blown up. A couple of holes in runways. A few bridges blown up. That's the extent of the damage so far.

How do you use non-military means with a group that is attacking you?

I guess you feel the jews should just allow themselves to be killed?

The military solution in Iraq is already impossed, and it is accepted and supported by the vast majority of Iraqis.

eric sure gets mad when he's losing
though by now he should be used to it.

"nothing more than Cicerone's personal opinion"
Mark is not worth responding to on any topic.

"nothing more than Cicerone's personal opinion"
Mark is not worth responding to on any topic

then why do you do it
Of course treating both sides as if they were identical in reliability is pretty stupid as well.

The IDF has proven reliable. Hezbollah has proven that they will gladly lie, if it gets them favorable press.

The Qana deaths have been all but proven to be staged by Hezbollah.

you can tell when eric has figured out he's losing
he starts declaring that everyone else isn't worth responding to.

The next thing
he'll do is call me fat, and start making jokes about my sexuality.

eric is nothing if not consistent.

shut up, Mark.
you have nothing to say about this or anything else.

"nothing more than Cicerone's personal opinion"
not everyone, Mark. You.

"nothing more than Cicerone's personal opinion"
you have nothing to say worth responding to.

why don't you....
read Aricle 1, Section 8 of the Consitution. I have and can only find authority for a navy to protect our national interests (commercial interests at that) and shores. I don't see anything there that authorizes the US government to patrol the world setting up standing armies in foreign lands or intervening in their internal affairs for that matter.

If we are going to entertain political and casual rhetoric about the Constitution and "our freedoms" (what's left of them at this point)then the American people damn well ought to honor and adhere to it's words--especially the section referenced which enumerates the powers GRANTED to government BY the PEOPLE. Otherwise, we should at least be straight-up about it and simply declare that fine old document as a dead letter and therfore null and void. Nothing stinks worse than hypocrisy.

Hubris
Apparently the author didn't learn from the hubris of the Reagan example. Lebanon isn't a nation, it is a collection of warlords and mafias. Most third world nations fall into this category. Why should the US get involved in this kind of nation building exercise with states that are creations only due to some artificial borders laid down at some long forgotten summit?

Nice comment
While I don't entirely agree with your position I agree that we should get back to the Constitution, something that is unfortunately doubtful. But the author's "white man's burden" attitude is just unrealistic. Most of the world lacks the social, economic and political institutions to sustain democracy or even stable governments of whatever stripe you care to mention. If we are to build alliances fine but I like you am sorry to see the way we treat our allies. So why bother?

Reliable information
You're saying that (a) the parents of Qana are Hezbollah cadre and that (b) they killed their own children to make a propaganda point. Uh huh.

oligopoly
Great article and accurate. Terrorists can't win against the professional forces of real countries, so they instead try to take over failed states like Lebanon now, and Afgahnistan, somalia, etc before. It's really funny how guys like Roy above say that Lebanon has been destroyed already, as if there's nobody left there, and no buildings at all; ridiculous. And it's also funny how guys like him who side for the enemy say that of whatever the number there killed is, none seems to be hizb. but only poor innocents. But of all the stupid commentators who decry the death of lebanese, none of them mention that there shouldn't be any complaining at all, because those killed are martyrs and thus go dircetly to heaven into the arms of the 72 cherry girls. So I ask again of the liberals who are siding with the enemy, what's the compaint?

Yeah who could believe that Roy?
I mean we all know how much these people care for their children. To show your love and affection don't you strap the toddlers into explosive vests? Doesn't everyone?

How long do you think Roy has belonged to these groups?
Mark:
Considering the canards Roy's laying out there one has to wonder how long he's been a member of one of these groups. How many years membership do you think is requisite before anger and rage so clouds the mind that the truth can no longer make a dent?

Say what?
"The war is continuing, so we don't know what the bottom line is. So far, we have billions of dollars of damage and hundreds of thousands of refugees"

There are over a million displaced Israelis.

Nearly one hundred thousand foreign nationals has to be evacuated.

Where have all the freedom loving "other" western nations been for the last 20 years, while this mess has been going on?

I say give all of Palestine to Israel, and let India and China divide up the rest of the Middle East between them.

China is a Nasty piece of work still, but with all of the extra real estate, and half of all that oil, capitalism just seems to have a liberating effect on people.

Not hardly, Flo
I consider what I hear, knowing that much of it will be revised or discounted in the next day's reporting. But I tend to believe what I see. There is widespread devastation across Lebanon, and a scattering of small holes in the ground in northern Israel. Those things I can see, and so can you.

The news units are looking all over Israel to find evidence of that deadly barrage of Katyushas yesterday or the day before. What they ended up filming was potholes in the streets. They're about 18 inches across, with pieces of rocket scattered around. I'll grant you, if one of those things happened to hit you in the head it could be fatal. But we understand the utter mismatch in firepower because it is shown to us. It's not just told to us.

The people telling us Hezbollah is being crushed are the IDF. It's not even Israeli TV. This is just like the US armed forces spokesmen telling us the insurgency is being crushed. No one even listens to that kind of stuff.

If Hezbollah is actually being crushed the evidence will be in a lasting Israeli occupation of south Lebanon, and a cessation of resistance. Let's see whether that happens, and suspend our judgment until that time.

A milion here, a million there
I can see the problem. It's retention of information.

Actually there are 300,000 displaced Israelis, according to official sources. In Lebanon there are now estimated to be a million refugees, again according to official sources. The UN puts the Lebanese total lower, at 700,000. But it's an easy mistake to make. Israel, Lebanon... Lebanon, Israel. One of those places.

Here's the NYT report:

"Israeli officials have estimated the number of displaced northern Israelis at 300,000 since the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah began more than two weeks ago. Rockets have been falling over Israel’s northern towns and cities, sometimes more than 100 a day, many hitting places that had never before been within Hezbollah’s range. It has created a new kind of war for this generation of Israelis — one in which their homes are on the front line.

"On the Lebanese side of the border, about 700,000 people, about a fifth of Lebanon’s population, have been displaced because of the fighting, the United Nations said."

Your other comments illustrate a very simplified world view. China is not in fact a "nasty piece of work" but a country that is overcoming incredible obstacles, such as finding profitable work for their one billion unemployed, with admirable finesse. I think you have to admire the Chinese for their problem solving abilities.

Starting to make some sense
RSW, now you've got me confused. I really didn't read you as being the type of guy that would come out against foreign entanglements and standing armies.

Are you saying then that America should just go home, defend our shores and not carry the burden of a huge military buildup that stretches across 117 countries?

I apologize. I had you all wrong. That's something I would have said. That America loves liberty so much we would actually allow other countries to have it too.

please learn to read roy
I never said that the parents killed the kids.
It is very obvious that the kids, and everyone else did not die in the building collapse. With the exception of one small child, none of them had any concrete dust on them. None of them showed signs of crush injuries. Heck, several of them had clear signs of rigor mortise, and others appeared to have been dead for several days.

It's also quite possible that the parents of many of the kids were Hezbollah cadre.

at least eric has invented a new nuisance strategy
he brings in irrelevant discussions from another thread.

One that he lost badly as well.

now there's the eric we know and love
falling back on his oldest schtick.

Arguing from the evidence
What you said was "The Qana deaths have been all but proven to be staged by Hezbollah." And I don't quite know how either the refugees hiding in that building or Hezbollah, troops could have staged such a thing without killing their own kids. That's what we mean when we say someone "staged" something.

We all saw children's bodies being pulled from beneath rubble that had not even been cleared. You seem to think there's a big circus going on if their faces appear clean. That's grasping at straws. Do you think the bodies you saw were not dead?

And if you think they weren't pulled out from the rubble do you think they were killed somewhere else and then buried in the rubble of the building? That's how you're implying that the parents killed their own children. There are no other ways those children could possibly be dead. Either (a) killed by bombs or (b) killed by their own parents. Which is it?

One final thing. Estimates of the numbers of actual Hezbollah fighting cadre run as high as 3,000. The population of Lebanon is four million. How certain are you that these two refugee families are Hezbollah? And why were they running from, instead of to, the front?

Yur argument is contrived and bogus.

You have nothing to say worth responding to on any topic
so shut up.

TCS Daily Archives