Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

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Postby BigJon@Work » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:34 pm

Hasn't stopped us before. :P
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Postby Marye » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:35 pm

True :P :P
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Postby GreatCarouser » Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:31 pm

I believe most civilized people detest 'war' as a solution. I'd certainly prefer a negotiated win/win. I believe the Isrealis have always shown a willingness to seek out and 'try' that approach. It is easy to sit in safety and abhor the actions of people who are currently under attack. The unfortunate truth History teaches us is that there are times when combat was the only viable solution. I still don't believe the action in Iraq was sound policy or warranted, but I feel the Isrealis have every reason to reoccupy and secure areas their enemies use to flagrantly attack them; areas Isreal left once the UN negotiated an agreement. The Hezbollah attacks are flagrant violations of that agreement. I append a speech given in 2004. It appears as true today as it was when delivered:

Dr. Harari's 2004 address
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:32 pm

great link, thanks.
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Postby BigJon@Work » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:04 pm

It should be required reading in many places.
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Postby bignaf » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:32 pm

wishful thinking!
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Postby jamiebk » Fri Jul 28, 2006 4:41 pm

The Buffalo Springfield said it best in "For What It's Worth"

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Jamie

"Leave it better than you found it"
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Postby bignaf » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:59 pm

I'm right!
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Postby GreatCarouser » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:06 pm

This was e-mailed to me....it is from Slate:
Made in the USA
Failed U.S. policies caused the mess in Lebanon.
By Daniel Benjamin
Updated Wednesday, July 26, 2006, at 12:24 PM ET

The most frequent criticism about U.S. policy in Lebanon is that we are up a
creek without a paddle because for years the Bush administration has not
been talking to two of the chief malefactors in this crackup: Hezbollah's
sponsors, Syria and Iran. This is true, and it will hinder our ability to
achieve a cease-fire and a longer-term resolution. But it is a footnote to a
bigger failure, namely that the immolation of Lebanon is the natural
consequence of U.S. policy toward Iran in particular and the greater Middle
East in general.

How, you ask, could an administration that put Iran smack dab in the middle
of the "axis of evil" in early 2002 and that has never relented in its
denunciation of the clerics in Tehran be accused of opening the door to this
catastrophe? The answer lies in the contrast between the appearance of
hostility and the reality that American policy has consistently reduced the
pressure on Iran to behave and has thus emboldened it to take a more
aggressive course.

First, it is important to understand the Iran-Hezbollah relationship. Yes,
Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party and social-welfare organization, but
as a terrorist organization, it is an arm of Tehran. Everyone, it seems, has
become so accustomed to hearing about the independence of terrorist groups
like al-Qaida and its imitators that we have forgotten that some terrorists
have state sponsors—and it would be hard to find any that are more creatures
of their masters than Hezbollah is of Tehran. Syria provides the group with
a supply line to Tehran, and it has an interest in supporting the group's
effort to bleed Israel. But it is Tehran that provides the $100 million or
more per year in funds and arms, as well as the organization's strategic
direction. (For more on Iran's relationship with Hezbollah and other global
terror groups, see "Proxy Power," by Daniel Byman.)

As former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross has noted, Hezbollah had respected
the Israeli-Lebanese border (save for a contested postage stamp of territory
called Shebaa Farms) for the six years since Ehud Barak pulled Israeli
troops out of southern Lebanon. Although Hezbollah may have had an interest
in carrying out the latest attack as a push-back against internal Lebanese
pressure to disarm, it is difficult to imagine that the group would have
kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed several others without orders from
Iran.

The context for Iranian approval for the attacks is five years of unintended
U.S. assistance to the theocrats of Tehran. By toppling the Taliban in
2001-02, the United States removed the threat to Iran's east. The Taliban
were not a great danger to Iran, but, in a foretaste of the sectarian
murderousness of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, they had the habit of slaughtering
Hazaras, the Shiites of Afghanistan's western provinces, whose protection is
an Iranian concern. The Taliban also murdered nine Iranian diplomats in
1998, almost causing a war.

Dispatching the Taliban was a small favor compared with the removal of
Saddam Hussein's regime, which had been the biggest check on Tehran since
the two countries' war of 1980-88, in which Iran suffered roughly 1 million
casualties in some of the most senseless fighting since the trench warfare
of World War I. As home of the Iranian opposition Mujahedin e-Khalq, Iraq
remained a permanent thorn in the clerics' side.

The Bush administration believed that the post-9/11 wars would result in
U.S. troops and American-leaning regimes on either side of Iran and
therefore a more airtight containment of the Islamic republic. With all its
prewar talk of "shock and awe," the Bush team was also convinced that the
demonstration effect of U.S. military power would have the mullahs quivering
in their robes.

It didn't work out that way. No one can say if any U.S. occupation would
have worked out, but if the Pentagon had put 400,000 troops on the ground in
Iraq, the chances are greater that the Sunni insurgency could have been
extinguished early on, and Iran would have felt significant pressure even as
a Shiite majority came to power in Baghdad. But the comprehensive botch of
the occupation has had the opposite effect. One Middle Eastern diplomat put
it perfectly last week when he told me the Iranians have the United States
exactly where they want it: tied down in Iraq, overcommitted, and incapable
of acting.

As Steven Simon and Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations pointed
out in a Washington Post op-ed, the 135,000 overburdened U.S. troops are
potential hostages—or targets—for Iran should the United States take
military action to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. With many of Iraq's
Shiite militias and major Shiite political organizations subsidized by
Tehran, life for the U.S. forces could become very unpleasant very quickly.
America has waged two wars in five years; Iran has been the big winner.

It's also important to note that the Bush administration did not just put
all its military eggs in the Iraqi basket; it put all its diplomatic efforts
there too. The administration refused to engage Iran directly after the 2002
revelation of Iran's clandestine nuclear programs, instead sending numerous
rhetorical signals that the Islamic republic was also destined for a
U.S-engineered regime change. That was not, as Slate's Fred Kaplan has
pointed out, a good way to persuade the leadership that it should forswear
nuclear weapons.

Washington has also been frustrated by its inability to persuade Russia and
China to support a Security Council resolution against Iran under Chapter
VII of the U.N. Charter, which would make the issue "a threat to peace."
Those countries do not want to see a repeat of 2003, when Washington, citing
earlier U.N. Chapter VII resolutions against Iraq, appointed itself to
enforce them without an additional vote. Moscow and Beijing are not prepared
to legitimize U.S. efforts to be a globo-cop, even though the indications of
Iran's desire to acquire nuclear weapons are far more numerous and concrete
than Saddam's were after 1991.

The sum of all these missteps is that the Iranians feel they are in the
driver's seat. When Condoleezza Rice persuaded Bush to commit his about-face
in June and offer a package of incentives and direct talks over the nuclear
issue, the Iranians felt confident enough to ignore our deadlines and tell
us they'd get back to us in late August. Hezbollah's kidnapping of the
Israeli soldiers should also be seen as a response to U.S. pressure on the
nuclear issue: By having terrorists nab the Israelis, the Iranians both
upended the G8 summit discussions about their nuclear program and sent a
clear reminder of the tools at their disposal should there be a
confrontation. They probably miscalculated regarding Israel's reaction, but
the message was unmistakable.

That Iran has broad regional ambitions—to steal the mantle of leadership in
the Arab-Israeli conflict, ride the Shiite revival that began with the fall
of Saddam, and fulfill its ambition to become a regional hegemon—is
increasingly clear. The containment strategy that had held the line on Iran
for more than a decade looks to be in tatters.

It is tempting to say that the destruction of Lebanon is the culmination of
the administration's failed policy for the region. At this point, though,
that might just be too optimistic.
Daniel Benjamin served on the National Security Council staff from 1994 to
1999. He is co-author of The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror
and a Strategy for Getting It Right," which is being published in paperback
in July 2006.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:23 pm

Interesting

Failed U.S. policies caused the mess in Lebanon.
It was my impression that there's been a mess in Lebanon longer than there's been a U.S. Retroactive diplomacy, maybe? With time warps? Hezbollah and the governments of Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iran, et al have no culpability in this?

Mr. Benjamin undoubtedly points out a number of valid U.S. policy problems, but anybody with any common sense whatsoever would stop short of blaming chronic strife as old as that of the middle east on any country as young as the U.S. We may have failed to fix the problem, but we have lots of company in that boat.
>^..^<
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Postby GreatCarouser » Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:48 pm

Selma in Sandy Eggo wrote:Interesting

Failed U.S. policies caused the mess in Lebanon.
It was my impression that there's been a mess in Lebanon longer than there's been a U.S. Retroactive diplomacy, maybe? With time warps? Hezbollah and the governments of Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iran, et al have no culpability in this?

Mr. Benjamin undoubtedly points out a number of valid U.S. policy problems, but anybody with any common sense whatsoever would stop short of blaming chronic strife as old as that of the middle east on any country as young as the U.S. We may have failed to fix the problem, but we have lots of company in that boat.


I think he's referring to the recent events, starting with the kidnapping of the Isreali soldiers, Selma. I think his basic premise is that Bush's post 9/11 actions have allowed/forced Iran to 'raise the ante' (if you'll pardon the poker analogy). I don't feel he's saying that the US is responsible for the whole problem.
Sacred cows make the best hamburger.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:09 pm

Poker analogies are fine by me, though you may have to explain occasionally.

I don't think there's any doubt Iran is doing everything it can to encourage disorder. They have lots of help, too. I just don't think that there's any point to attributing Iranian, or Hezbollite, or Lebanese, or Syrian actions to anybody but the Iranians, Hezbolli, Lebanese, and Syrians. U.S. presidents don't get a box full of miracles at the inauguration, and their crystal balls don't seem to work any better than mine. And I think the pope is in charge of the miracles, to make the fanatics reasonable. He also seems to be having limited success.

Seems to me Mr. Benjamin is trying to raise some noise, hoping to improve book sales.
>^..^<
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Postby bignaf » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:06 pm

it's part of the American centrism. they think they cause everything. Arabs always wanted to kill Jews, before the US even existed.
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Postby GreatCarouser » Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:45 pm

I found the following article interesting:
Melanie Phillips
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Postby Shapley » Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:57 pm

Here's a brief history of the U.N.'s peacekeeping role in the area, courtesy of Wikipedia (I know, I know, not a defenitive source, etc. etc.)

The United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon, or UNIFIL, was created by the United Nations, with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 and 426 on 19 March 1978, to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon (following its incursion a few days earlier in Operation Litani), restore the international peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area. The first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978; these troops were reassigned from other UN peacekeeping operations in the area (namely UNEF and UNDOF).

When Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982 (1982 Lebanon War), U.N. positions were overrun. During the occupation, UNIFIL's function was mainly the provision of food and aid to locals in Southern Lebanon. Beginning in 1985, Israel scaled back its permanent positions in Lebanon, although this process was punctuated by brief invasions and bombings, as in the 1993 Operation Accountability and the 1996 Operation Grapes of Wrath. In 1999, it undertook a full withdrawal, which concluded in 2000 and enabled UNIFIL to resume its military tasks. The Lebanese government claims that the Shebaa Farms area, which Israel and others in the international community view as part of the occupied Golan Heights, is Lebanese territory. They contend that this dispute gives continued legal sanction to armed anti-Israeli groups in Lebanon (though the UN has officially certified that Israel has fully withdrawn from all areas it occupied after 1973). At the request of the country of Lebanon in January 2006, the UN extended UNIFIL's mandate to expire 31 July 2006.


The United Nations has been keeping peace in the area for nearly thrirty years, yet it becomes a failure on President Bush's part when there is not peace, even though he has repeated appealed to the United Nations for assistance in defusing the Iran situation. And this is from Slate, which faults President Bush for going into Iraq without the United Nations. You'll forgive me if I don't find Mr. Benjamin credible.

V/R
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Postby analog » Sun Jul 30, 2006 5:46 pm

Re the Melanie Phillips article:

"In other words, Israel is to be allowed to do absolutely nothing to defend itself. This, apparently, is the proportionate response to annihilation."

Eric Hoffer commented on this, succinctly, in 1968:
http://www.netanyahu.org/ispecposorwr.html , it's quoted a lot lately...
"Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jewsto be the only real Christians in this world.......
Other nations when they are defeated survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed."

The west has a strange attitude toward Israel, as if it were a child we had to rein in to keep it from fighting. Perhaps because the UN created it?

Who's really the neighborhood bully over there?
Cogito ergo doleo.
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Postby Shapley » Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:12 pm

Neighborhood Bully - by Bob Dylan

Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.
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Postby GreatCarouser » Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:23 pm

From today's NY Times:

Monday, July 31, 2006
Paul Krugman: Shock and Awe

--The New York Times, July 31, 2006

For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish
things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same
mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It’s as if Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld.

Yes, I know that there are big differences in the origins of the two wars.
There’s no question of this war having been sold on false pretenses; unlike
America in Iraq, Israel is clearly acting in self-defense.

But both Clausewitz and Sherman were right: war is both a continuation of
policy by other means, and all hell. It’s a terrible mistake to start a
major military operation, regardless of the moral justification, unless you
have very good reason to believe that the action will improve matters.

The most compelling argument against an invasion of Iraq wasn’t the
suspicion many of us had, which turned out to be correct, that the
administration’s case for war was fraudulent. It was the fact that the real
reason government officials and many pundits wanted a war — their belief
that if the United States used its military might to “hit someone” in the
Arab world, never mind exactly who, it would shock and awe Islamic radicals
into giving up terrorism — was, all too obviously, a childish fantasy.

And the results of going to war on the basis of that fantasy were
predictably disastrous: the fiasco in Iraq has ended up demonstrating the
limits of U.S. power, strengthening radical Islam — especially radical
Shiites allied with Iran, a group that includes Hezbollah — and losing
America the moral high ground.

What I never expected was that Israel — a nation that has unfortunately had
plenty of experience with both war and insurgency — would be susceptible to
similar fantasies. Yet that’s what seems to have happened.

There is a case for a full-scale Israeli ground offensive against Hezbollah.
It may yet come to that, if Israel can’t find any other way to protect
itself. There is also a case for restraint — limited counterstrikes combined
with diplomacy, an effort to get other players to rein Hezbollah in, with
the option of that full-scale offensive always in the background.

But the actual course Israel has chosen — a bombing campaign that clearly
isn’t crippling Hezbollah, but is destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure and
killing lots of civilians — achieves the worst of both worlds. Presumably
there were people in the Israeli government who assured the political
leadership that a rain of smart bombs would smash and/or intimidate
Hezbollah into submission. Those people should be fired.

Israel’s decision to rely on shock and awe rather than either diplomacy or
boots on the ground, like the U.S. decision to order the U.N. inspectors out
and invade Iraq without sufficient troops or a plan to stabilize the
country, is having the opposite of its intended effect. Hezbollah has
acquired heroic status, while Israel has both damaged its reputation as a
regional superpower and made itself a villain in the eyes of the world.

Complaining that this is unfair does no good, just as repeating “but Saddam
was evil” does nothing to improve the situation in Iraq. What Israel needs
now is a way out of the quagmire. And since Israel doesn’t appear ready to
reoccupy southern Lebanon, that means doing what it should have done from
the beginning: try restraint and diplomacy. And Israel will negotiate from a
far weaker position than seemed possible just three weeks ago.

And what about the role of the United States, which should be trying to
contain the crisis? Our response has been both hapless and malign.

For the moment, U.S. policy seems to be to stall and divert efforts to
negotiate a cease-fire as long as possible, so as to give Israel a chance to
dig its hole even deeper. Also, we aren’t talking to Syria, which might hold
the key to resolving the crisis, because President Bush doesn’t believe in
talking to bad people, and anyway that’s the kind of thing Bill Clinton did.
Did I mention that these people are childish?

Again, Israel has the right to protect itself. If all-out war with Hezbollah
becomes impossible to avoid, so be it. But bombing Lebanon isn’t making
Israel more secure.

As this column was going to press, Israel — responding to the horror at
Qana, where missiles killed dozens of civilians, many of them children —
announced a 48-hour suspension of aerial bombardment. But why resume that
bombardment when the 48 hours are up? The hard truth is that Israel needs,
for its own sake, to stop a bombing campaign that is making its enemies
stronger, not weaker.
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Postby shostakovich » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:42 pm

I think that article is very well thought out. But what to do? There are no good solutions. There is no right vs wrong, only a choice of least evil wrong, whatever that might be.

The comparison of the messes in Iraq and Lebanon is a good one. That also explains why Bush can not call for a cease fire in Lebanon. Cease fire has not been "on the table" in Iraq.
Shos
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Postby bignaf » Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:24 am

What the media forget to mention regarding the Qana incident (espcially note that building colapsed 7 hours after the bombing):
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2006/Incident+in+Qana+-+IDF+Spokesman+30-Jul-2006.htm
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