Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I think Jimmy Carter is wrong

I know this is going against everything I generally stand for, but I think Jimmy Carter is wrong, and {gulp} the Bush administration is closer to being right on the Israel-Lebanon conflict.*

If the U.S. can invade Afghanistan to eliminate al Qaeda, why can't Israel do the same thing in Lebanon in order to remove Hezbollah? Israel constantly has to defend itself from religious extremists who will not be stopped until Israel no longer exists. No matter how many times peace has been negotiated, the terrorists eventually resume their intifada. So, Olmert is completely right to want a different kind of ceasefire.

What Carter is proposing is essentially, "Give them what they want and maybe they'll go away." It hasn't happened before; why would things be different now?

Accordingly, the only response left is to do whatever is necessary to eliminate Hezbollah and, if necessary, Hamas.** Oh, while they're at it, stop Syria and Iran from supporting and arming these terrorist groups. Any backing down now is a sign of weakness, which undoubtedly will be exploited.

Alright, I said it. So, go ahead, give me shit for it. You're not going to change my mind.

*I did not say that they were right. I just think they're a little bit closer.
** I pretty much agree with the Omnipotent Poobah at Bring it On. I don't think Israel is without fault. And I understand that a lengthy war is ultimately going to make things worse. But there is no way that Israel can just go back to business as usual. The aim of the terrorists -- and their sponsors -- is the annihilation of the State of Israel; there is no negotiating with that.


hseldon said...

You are right Israel has a right to defend--but by what measure. I think their response was over the top. Considering their past of handling such things in the past. Lebanon, for all its measure, was still a democracy. It was on its way in making working infrastructure and peaceful coexistence. Lebanon is one of the highly educated countries. What the West and the US failed to do was fully back the moderate in aid and military force so its central government could aid all its to withstand the culling of citizenry in the south.
Lebanon was one of the first democracy in the region and have been through two civil wars in trying to maintain it.

How Israel went about its defending itself is the issue here. Destroying the infrastructure of the entire country is malicious and short sided in this case. Furthermore, their intelligence has been rather bad of the capability of the hezbollah fighters.

There is alot more to be discussed. But the tit for tat displays of violence without a viable endgame must stop. A true coalition of force could have been had, if Israel had stop, thought, and built a coalition of forces to rid themselves of hezbollah. And, it was possible....those are my ramblings?

Dara said...

I'll respectfully disagree. I think Israel's been struggling with the same thing for years now, and this last outbreak was the metaphorical straw that broke the camel's back. Until last month, their response to terrorism has been calm, controlled, and measured -- and look at what it's gotten them.

Absolutely nothing.

Maybe Israel could have done something other than attacking Lebanon and destroying its infrastructure. Maybe. I doubt that it would have done anything but postpone this conflict.

Like I said, this is really no different than what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan. The terrorist groups have been safe in Lebanon (undoubtedly because Syria is pulling the strings) -- same as the al Qaeda cells that were protected by the Taliban. The biggest difference here is that the west -- especially the media -- has taken a decidedly anti-Israel stance.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

The media has taken an anti-Israel stance?!? Are you kidding me? I just spit out my Diet Dr. Pepper? You're delusional. If by some remote chance you can point to any examples of this, then it's a first in the history of Israel and American media.

While I think Israel has the right to fight Hezbollah, it does not have a right to invade a sovereign nation to do it. It has never quesitoned the legitimacy of the Lebanese government or demanded that the government change or be overthrown. That isn't even their goal. That was, however, the United States' goal in Afghanistan. We rid Afghanistan of the Taliban that had control of the country as a whole and were sponsors of terrorism. I would have actually been more comfortable with Israel invading Iran or Syria than Lebanon. What they have done there is nothing short of a disaster and has done nothing to eliminate the funding of terrorism through Hezbollah. All it has done is put an entire nation on it's ass when it was actually clearly working towards a more free and democratic future. It's despicable. I do not support Hezbollah's actions against Israel or the actions of Hamas or any other terrorist organization, but to compare what Israel has done in Lebanon to what we have done in Afghanistan is in every way wrong. Just wrong. Does Israel intend to assist Lebanon rebuild? No. Does it intend to help create a democratic government that will hopefully reduce the influence of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah? Absolutely not. In fact, it has destroyed the already fragile and infantile government that was finally free after years of both Israeli and Syrian occupation.

Israel has the right to exist and defend itself, but it does not have the right to destroy a sovereign democratic nation in the name of its own security, when their fight isn't even with Lebanon. I understand the need to stamp out an element in Lebanon, but its clear to me they have no qualms destroying the political and economic infrastructure of the entire nation to do it.

I see no comparison to this and what we did in Afghanistan, a country that was clearly entirely led by terrorists who opressed their own people and trained them to be mercenaries. Lebanon was doing no such thing. Israel's beef should be with Syria and Iran, as should our own.

Dara said...

Carrie, I'll ignore the name calling and merely point out that the "American media" and "Western media" are not the same thing. Israel plays very different in the U.S. than it does in Europe, or the rest of the civilized world for that matter. The BBC's not the worst offender, but here's an example.

Under your analysis, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Last I checked, al Qaeda and the Taliban were separate entities. Up until 9/11, however, the U.S. didn't want anything to do with removing the Taliban regime -- but after the attacks, the Taliban were magically transformed into sponsors of terrorism.

While the government in Lebanon is admittedly vastly more tolerant of Western culture than the Taliban, by failing to actively take steps to remove/discourage Hezbollah, it's not acting particularly different.

Of course, I think it all would be an easier issue had Syria had the cajones to sponsor a terrorist organization within its own borders. But it doesn't, because it's scared of Israel. So it keeps Hezbollah going in Lebanon instead, and Israel comes out looking like the aggressor. It's well-played.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give you sh*t for having an opinion on a complicated situation. But your basic premise is they should try something new to get rid of Hesbollah, like we did to get rid of Al Qaeda. Well, we did destroy Afghanistani government, and much infrastructure, we've been there for...five years is it now?...and Al Qaeda is not destroyed. Israel isn't going to destroy Hezbollah or Hamas by destroying its neighbor countries. You never destroy terrorist groups by destroying countries which support them--because they flee to other countries that support them.

I live in an area of the country where there are no cockroach problems. But once I didn't and I got stuck in an apartment that was overrun (from day one, we kept all the food in the refrigerator, and very little of that--we ate out all the time and insect-bombed that place every day). The complex claimed it was the neighbors (I still doubt it) and that nothing could be done until they moved. We broke the lease and moved to a nice place with no roaches (and insect bombed the moving truck :-).

I suppose I could have destroyed my neighbor's apartment--except that I know roaches run...and they always come back unless you clean house.

The *only* way to get rid of terrorists is to have every country clean its own house of infestation and keep it clean so that no other country's terrorists will find nourishment in its borders.

Unfortunately, Israel's actions (and our own) have fed the cockroach-like appetites of terrorists around the world.

I wish it weren't so, but history has proven the relentless nature of terrorists over and over again.

Dara said...

Anonymous, fundamentally my premise is that Hezbollah and Hamas need to be eliminated, and that Israel's actions are no different than the U.S.'s.

Did we screw up in Afghanistan? Totally. Was invading the right thing to do? Maybe, maybe not. But arguably it's somewhat better there now than it was 5 years ago.

And, using your housecleaning analysis, Lebanon hasn't been taking responsibility for keeping it's own house clean. Israel may be overreacting, but it has to do something.

Dara said...

Back to the issue of media bias, here's an example of a German article on the conflict, which seems to have a very different tone than what's running here.

And, the Washington Post's World Opinion Roundup ran an article on this very topic the other day.

Bo W. said...

First, I think you set out your position well Dara. I think G.K. did too, so I appreciate reading well-thought out non-attacking debate. I am still trying to sort this one out myself. I was for Afghanistan and against Iraq, but this situation is awfully tricky with regard to what type of force Israel should use to defend itself. I do agree with Dara on one thing: I do not think the terrorists will stop as long as Israel is on the map. Many of them want the total destruction of Israel. It has gone on as long as Ishmael and Isaac and I am not sure we will see the end of the hostilities in our life time.

I know Dara has heard me say it before, but I always chuckle at the “strange bedfellows” that the politics of Israel brings together: a good number of liberal Jewish Americans and the religious right. Sort of like Dara and me (except I disagree often with my fellow evangelicals in the religious right). And everyone quit picturing Dara and I in bed together!

As for the media, it seems like anti-Semitism is on the rise as a whole throughout the world (interestingly enough Drudge points out a lot of the anti-Semitic attacks), and so I would not be surprised that the world media is adopting an anti-Israel point of view. From what I have seen, US coverage has not been anti-Israel, but actually is trying to stay neutral in all of this. Of course I mainly watch Sportscenter as my news base so what do I know.

Of course that is just me . . . . I could be wrong.

Justin S. said...

I'm still sorting this one out too. I'm not sure how I feel, but, I don't think I quite agree with Jimmy Carter, Dara, or anyone else who has posted.

I agree Israel has the right to defend itself, but I'm also pretty sure that, in this case, Israel has acted in a way that will increase terrorism, not decrease it. The vast, vast, vast majority of the Lebanese are not Hezbollah. If Israel has Hezbollah targets and has been wiping them out, good for them, but there seems to be a whole lot of unnecessary military action going on.

As far as whether Lebanon has been working to eliminate Hezbollah, I don't know the answer. But I do know the government doesn't support it.

Think of it this way. Let's say Al Qaeda sets off a car bomb in Toronto, and a dozen or so people are killed. And Canada knows there are Al Qaeda operatives in the US that did some of the planning. Does Canada have the right to invade the U.S.?

Futhermore, the US has bungled both Afghanistan and Iraq majorly. I'm not sure I agree Afghanistan is any better off because of our military action there, the Taliban is on the rise again and much of the little infrastructure they had has been destroyed. Also, Al Qaeda is still strong and Iraq is worse off than when we invaded.

Having said that, I don't agree at all with Jimmy Carter. Changing borders will change nothing.

Quite frankly, I don't know of any solution to the Middle East. I don't even know how I feel about most of the ideas I just raised.

Dara said...

Justin, your al Qaeda-Canada-U.S. allegory is missing a few crucial parallels. For example, in your story, the U.S. would have to know that al Qaeda is hiding out there, planning the attack on Toronto. And along with several neighboring countries, the U.S. would have to be providing al Qaeda with weapons, money, and safe harbor. Oh, and don't forget that it's not just one car bomb going off in Toronto -- it's one car bomb going off in various places in Ontario every week, combined with an occasional bomb on a bus or a train.

The situation gets dicier, doesn't it?

Moreover, I didn't say anything about Iraq. I still maintain that our invasion of Iraq was wholly unjustified, not to mention mishandled. It's a giant clusterfuck.

Afghanistan was more justifiable, and was handled slightly better. The worst thing we did for Afghanistan was divert our attention to Iraq.

Justin S. said...

As I said, I support targeting know Hezbollah sites in Lebanon. I just worry about the attacks becoming too haphazard, Israel's relationship with Lebanon getting damaged beyond repair, and Lebanon turn it's back on the progress it has made towards real democracy.

Again, I don't have answers for anything in the Middle East, but my gut tells me there will be more terrorism after this conflict, not less.

hwh said...

I started to read what the Germans had to say, and quit when I got to the part where it said "Arab goverments even made hushing sounds to Hezbolla."What does that mean?It would be like threating someone with a U.N. resolution. And these are the "moderate" Arabs that we are supposed to woo to our side? Unless and until the so called moderate Arab goverments loudly and constantly condem attacks against Jewish civilians the way they do Arab ones,and back their words up with deeds,Israel will never be able to trust them. And just for the record, why does anyone turn to the U.N.? They are as usless as tits on a bull. HWH

hwh said...

I started to read what the Germans had to say, and quit when I got to the part where it said "Arab goverments even made hushing sounds to Hezbolla."What does that mean?It would be like threating someone with a U.N. resolution. And these are the "moderate" Arabs that we are supposed to woo to our side? Unless and until the so called moderate Arab goverments loudly and constantly condem attacks against Jewish civilians the way they do Arab ones,and back their words up with deeds,Israel will never be able to trust them. And just for the record, why does anyone turn to the U.N.? They are as useless as tits on a bull. HWH

gimmebush said...

I would resolve the middle east crisis through the foreign policy of "assisted naturalization."

Assisted naturalization would require the use of high powered nuclear weaponry, preferrably used by Israel, to bring the middle east back to a more natural setting. By utilizing large scale nuclear weapons, Israel could make Lebanon, Syria, and Iran look like the barren deserts that those lovely nations were 6000 years ago. Plus, it would resolve all problems currently faced by these countries.

Dara said...

Aah, Pigface. Welcome back.