Questions of the Situation in Lebanon

July 21st, 2006 / 5 Comments

Over the course of the growing violence in Lebanon I’ve been reflecting on the words of my friend Phil, who has been studying in Israel this year. His advice:

Don’t believe the American media. They are incredibly biased in Israel’s favor.

In the past week I’ve been trying to put together what Phil meant by that statement. Today, I believe I found a part of that answer. I happened across some photographs detailing the results of Israel’s retaliation against Hezbollah. Somehow I don’t think 5 year olds are the one’s firing rockets into Haifa. From what I can make of some of the pictures, it seems that Israel has managed to practically annihilate the city of Beruit. Given that at most 30% of the Lebanese population would have been in ideological support of Hezbollah (let alone military or financial support), and the fact that Lebanon is one of the youngest and most democratic of Middle Eastern countries, I’m not sure exactly what Israel trying to accomplish with such an onslaught. It seems to me, and others as well, that Israel’s response is grossly disproportional.

Comments (5)

  1. Joe Altorfer / July 31, 2006

    This is in response to your comments about Israel and Lebanon. First of all, your friend says not to believe the American media, well I happen to agree whole heartedly with that comment. I make it a practice to never blindly accept even the hint of an utterance from the media (American or otherwise). However, in this case both you and your friend sound exactly like the media. Watch CNN for 5 minutes and all you will hear about is how evil and oppressive Israel is being to poor Lebanon. Never once in your blog or in the media can I find the semblance of even a minor acceptance of the fact that Israel has been terrorized (even in the slightest bit) for the last 40 years by Iran, Syria, Hamas, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and others. The media also hides the fact that 9 in 10 Israelis support the war.

    My problem with this is the moral equivocation. There is no good guy; there is no bad guy; why can’t we all just get along. There is a good side and a bad side here. Israel is obviously the good guy. For the last 40 years Israel has cooperated with the UN in order to create peace. Israel has been told, give up that plot of land and there will be peace… there is no peace. Give up this other plot of land and there will be peace… and there is no peace. 6 years ago, Israel, Lebanon and the UN negotiated Israel pulling out of Southern Lebanon, and Lebanon would disarm the terrorist militia Hezbollah with the UN’s supervision. Israel pulled out, fulfilling their end of the agreement, while Lebanon continued supporting the Hezbollah terrorists. 6 years later…Hezbollah rockets are being launched into Israel.

    So Israel responds in an effort to protect their country. Is Israel’s response really “grossly disproportional”? What is disproportional when you are fighting a war? Hezbollah gets a free pass in this war because; Israel stole their land any way…right? Well, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and a major political party in Lebanon that is supported by the government. Hezbollah takes its orders straight from Iran. Therefore, this war is being fought by Iran through proxy. The dictator of Iran has called for the complete destruction of Israel. Who has the discriminatory politics here?

    *Side note – Isn’t it just hilarious that this fighting began around the time the world was really starting to focus on Iran becoming a nuclear power?

    Iran is fighting a war by militia. Does anybody care? The only country doing anything is Israel. Israel gave them Gaza, pulled out of south Lebanon, now they want to destroy Israel. Is this overreacting? Hardly. There will be no peace until one side beats the other side. The peace results in the winner setting the terms of surrender to the loser. The U.N. is absolutely worthless. How long have they tried negotiation, diplomacy, diplomatic solution? 40 years?

    All the media can whine about is that Israel should practice restraint. So let’s practice restraint. Well the only one being told to practice restraint is Israel. When was the last time that restraint and cessation of violence resulted in conquering terrorists? Don’t restrain the good guys, restrain Hezbollah and Iran.

    Now back to your point about disproportional fighting. 20 years ago Israel lost a fighter pilot over Lebanon. 20 years later they found out that the pilot was shipped to Iran and was basically chopped up into kitty litter. Israel rarely receives prisoners of war back alive. So, wouldn’t it make sense that Israel could be blowing up bridges and roads to keep the terrorists from transporting any captured Israelis to Iran, where we all know what will slowly and painfully happen to them.

    Your point is that this action affects the people of Lebanon. And you are correct, it does. Just like the people of London were bombed nightly during WWII; just like the people killed when Hiroshima was leveled; just like the people murdered when the trade towers were brought down. War is war. Human life and comfort are unfortunate casualties of war. In Lebanon, the people are in danger because the Hezbollah terrorists are hiding and living, as well as storing and firing their rockets from the people’s homes and apartments. These human shields might be innocent and they might not be innocent. That’s not the point. The point is that this is war, and as such Israel needs to do what it can to win this struggle for their survival. If a strong show of response is not shown to Hezbollah, Lebanon, Hamas, Syria and Iran, then they will be emboldened. By the way, how many of those Hezbollah missiles (tipped with ball bearings to kill better) hitting Haifa were aimed at military instillations? Israel has followed the UN for 40 years in attempt to find peace. During that time, Israel’s soldiers and civilians have been bombed, kidnapped and brutally murdered. You are saying that Israel should just sit there, grab the ankles and take it in order to save a few Lebanon lives? You haven’t once mentioned the innocent lives lost in Israel.

    I think a great question to tackle would be, “why does the world hate the U.S. and Israel so much that they would choose to support terrorist organizations instead?”

  2. Scott Lenger / July 31, 2006 /

    Hey Joe, good to hear from you!

    You’re right to point out that Israel has been terrorized. I think I left that out because I assumed everyone would be on the same page with that - (or at least everyone that reads my bloggy).

    However, I think the point I was trying to make in my post wasn’t clear enough. I wasn’t trying to defend Hezbollah, but instead trying to put a human element to the violence. It’s easy to talk about war when you generalize events with neutral terms like ‘casualty’ but when I viewed the images that had been posted it was like a roundhouse kick to the face.

    Likwise, your description of the Israeli fighter pilot was very powerful.

    At the same time, I’m not sure the bombing of London by Nazi Germany and the United States dropping of the atomic bomb (surely not our finest moment) are good illustrations for validating Israel’s destruction of Lebanon.

    Thanks again for your thoughts :)

  3. Phil / August 22, 2006

    It is completely untrue that Israel has cooperated with the UN. That is either an outright lie or a statement made in complete ignorance. Either apologize for lying or do a little research before you make such statements.

  4. Phil / August 22, 2006

    One more thing,
    The Zionist, before forming the state of Israel, were terrorist by your implied definition of terrorism. The hypocrisy is fantastic, you can walk down streets here (Israel/Palestine) and find memorials to zionists who killed innocent people in the name of zionism (before the state was formed). What’s even more fun is to read the Hebrew versions of the texts marking these memorials. The Hebrew text is usually much more radical than the toned down English texts.

    All of this, of course, is not to mention the fact that, much of the state of Israel’s current actions should be labeled ‘terrorist’. But that’s only if you assume that its possible for a nation state (or Israel at least) to do something wrong, which I’m pretty sure you’ve already decided that’s axiomatically impossible. I guess the only question left is why don’t you just come out in favor of genocide? Why shouldn’t Israel/US just come over here and kill as many Arabs as they can?

  5. Joe Altorfer / September 5, 2006

    Scotty – Sorry I haven’t been back to finish our chat on this…
    Here are a couple checks on your perspective of the “atrocities” in Lebanon.

    Here is a good site for information

    Phil –
    Are you going to respond to my comments or just lob some personal attacks over the pond?
    How can Israel’s actions be considered terrorist? Did you even read the UN’s Resolution 1701? It states that “…since Hizbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons…”. I am not sure how you can argue that Israel is at fault since the resolution says that Hezbollah was the instigator.

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