Ben Stein

Saturday, July 22, 2006
The American Spectator: "By any historic measure, Israel's response to a decade of torment is extremely restrained -- maybe too restrained. And it can stop any time the Hezbollah says they will use peaceful means to get their aims. I don't hear them saying that. What I hear is a thousand Hezbollah rockets falling on exclusively civilian targets in Eretz Israel. There's your answer about whether Israel's response is disproportionate."

18 comments:

David Thomson said...

“The Lebanese have been sheltering Hezbollah killers who have been rocketing and bombing Israel for ten years almost every day.”

Many Lebanese citizens have never directly supported Hezbollah. Unfortunately, they minimally looked the other way while the violence against Israel continued unabated. A citizen in our own country may also be caught in the cross fire when police officers are pursuing criminals. It’s tough luck, but that’s the way it is.

Seneca the Younger said...

Yeah, pretty much. As someone or other poitned out, if the Parti Quebecois were shooting rockets into upstate New York, we still would justly be a little sharp with the Canadian government in Ottowa.

Buddy Larsen said...

Stein is a helluva character. Good economist, great sense of humor (rare combo).

Coisty said...

Hezbollah is the dominant party of the Shia population. In Lebanon Shias make up a much greater percentage of the population as Sunnis do in Iraq. Yet in Iraq a mostly Sunni rebellion has been going on for three years and the government forces and the most powerful armed forces on earth have been unable to crush it. Indeed the situation is worse than ever in Iraq.

With that in mind I'd like to ask those who support the ongoing destruction of Lebanon (including Christian areas) how they would've gone about defeating Hezbollah had they been the Lebanese PM? Remember Hezbollah is much stronger than the Lebanese army - an army with many Shias who would undoubtedly resist attacking Hezbollah.

There are no easy answers here. Israel had to respond to Hezbollah's provocations but I don't see how people living far from the action can so casually assert that the Lebanese people are to blame. Does democracy building in Lebanon just not matter as much as it does in Iraq?

Also, if you support Israel's actions I take it you would also support the recently threatened Turkish incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan?

Buddy Larsen said...

You're going at it from the wrong direction, coisty.

Start with the thousand or so missiles fired into Israel in the year *before* this war started.

If you're Israel, you want to stop that from happening. The PPK hasn't been doing that to Turkey, BTW.

Okay, your turn, missiles are falling all over you, have been for a year, they won't stop--what do you do? What DO you DO?

chuck said...

What DO you DO?

Blame Bush. Then die. For some that would be a life well spent.

Coisty said...

Buddy Larsen - Okay, your turn, missiles are falling all over you, have been for a year, they won't stop--what do you do? What DO you DO?

On the face of it it would appear to make more sense to target those who are firing the rockets at you rather than, say, the Christian TV station the Israelis bombed Saturday. Then again one would imagine that people as smart as the Israelis had already thought of that and for some reason decided against it.

Another option would be to go after the states sponsoring Hezbollah. But that, of course, could lead to a full-scale conflagration.

Like I said there are no easy answers. I just find it interesting that bloggers and journalists who applauded the Cedar Revolution were so quick to diss the Lebanese for not taking on Hezbollah so soon after the Cedar Revolution.

Coisty said...

Buddy - The PPK hasn't been doing that to Turkey, BTW.


From Forbes:

Turkish officials signaled Tuesday they are prepared to send the army into northern Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there - a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the United States.

Turkey is facing increasing domestic pressure to act after 15 soldiers, police and guards were killed fighting the guerrillas in southeastern Turkey in the past week.

"The government is really in a bind," said Seyfi Tashan, director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Bilkent University in Ankara. "On the one hand, they don't want things to break down with the United States. On the other hand, the public is crying for action."

Diplomats and experts cautioned the increasingly aggressive Turkish statements were likely aimed at calming public anger and pressing the U.S. and Iraq to act against the Turkish Kurdish guerrillas. But they also said Turkish politicians and military officers could act if nothing is done.

U.S. officials in Turkey and Washington were in contact with Turkish officials and military commanders to press them to work with Washington to combat the guerrillas and not to act alone, a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Turkey's NTV television and Hurriyet newspaper reported the government has told the military to draw up plans for a push into northern Iraq and to advise on the possibilities such an incursion could lead to a clash with Iraqi Kurds or U.S. troops.

http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/ap/2006/07/18/ap2887214.html

Seneca the Younger said...

On the face of it it would appear to make more sense to target those who are firing the rockets at you rather than, say, the Christian TV station the Israelis bombed Saturday.

Only because you're thinking shallow, off the cuff thoughts regurgitated from thoughtless, shallow commenters.

First off (as Ben Stein points out) if the IDF wanted civilian casualties they could do a helluva lot better job of it than they have.

Now, stretch youself and think about what the IDF wants to defeat Hezbullah:

(1) cut off logistical support --- so bomb bridges, roads, and airports
(2) make life very unpleasant in the areas that are launching the rockets --- so bomb wherever a rocket leaves. Sadly, since the Hezbullah war criminals are firing from in the midst of civilian populations, that means some civilians are being killed, so ...
(3) warn the civilian population to get moving, using every means available (like leaflets, repeated warnigns, and individual phone calls to every home in the southern area for crying out loud.)
(4) Limit hezbullah communications in order to impede their tactical effectiveness --- so knock down major comms, like phones and TV. But notice the phones didn't get it until after the IDF calling campaign.

chuck said...

I just find it interesting that bloggers and journalists who applauded the Cedar Revolution were so quick to diss the Lebanese for not taking on Hezbollah so soon after the Cedar Revolution.

Oh, I haven't dissed the Lebanese, it's not like Lebanon was a nation. On the other hand, Hezbollah needs to be dealt with. The Shia can find someone else to follow, Sistani for instance. Eliminating one of the three Shia centers fighting for religious dominance in the new century is a plus if Sistani's version gains favor.

I haven't called for Israel to go after Syria or Iran either, why should they expand the war more than necessary, that would be foolish. I don't think Syria is much longer for this world in any case. It consists of several ethnic and religious parts, just as Iraq and Lebanon do, and eventually they will come to a parting of the ways.

By the way, the Sunni insurgency in Iraq has pretty much collapsed. What is going on now is a mini civil war in Baghdad where the Sunni and Shia meet.

Coisty said...

seneca - Only because you're thinking shallow, off the cuff thoughts regurgitated from thoughtless, shallow commenters.


...and then he/she quotes Ben Stein!! I listened to him on Cavuto this morning. I forget the exact phrase he used but he seemed to suggest that Arabs are not a part of civilisation. I wish some Republicans were as gung-ho about the Mexican invasion as they are about the Middle East.

Israel is making life miserable in areas that are not pro-Hezbollah. It's a humanitarian catastrophe. I also strongly doubt that Hezbollah were relying on a Christian TV station or for that matter the one owned by Hariri's pro-American son.

To be honest I don't have a big problem with Israel's actions as it is in a difficult position. But if Serbia had responded to KLA terrorism by bombing Albania itself one can only imagine what the US and NATO would have done to them. Double standards like that are part of life but I hate the way those who defend such double standards resort to phoney moralising.

Anyway, my main problem is the way the democracy-mongers suddenly dumped Lebanon and then blamed its people for not crushing Hezbollah. It seems rather uncharitable to condemn the Lebanese for failing to do what Israel couldn't do during nearly two decades of occupation of South Lebanon.

chuck said...

Anyway, my main problem is the way the democracy-mongers suddenly dumped Lebanon and then blamed its people for not crushing Hezbollah.

I take it you aren't a democracy-monger. Just what *do* you monger?

Fresh Air said...

Fish.

Peter UK said...

It seems more than a little naive to see this in terms of Lebanon alone,Hezbollah is the creature of Syria and Iran,a de facto army of occupation.A not insignificant number of Hezbollah's membership are Iranian Revolutionary Guards who changed their names and married into the population.Very similar to the garrisons of native troops the Romans left when they withdrew the legions,the Lebanon is not a democracy,it is an occupied country.
It is no coincidence that this has flared up just as Iranian ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons,the plain fact is that Lebanon is the frontline between Israel and Iran.
In my view Iran has acted pematurely and is about to lose an asset which would have been vital in any direct conflict.

Buddy Larsen said...

Coisty, as you well know, politics is the art of the possible. If you looking for pattern deviations, they are everywhere--always have been, always will be. You go with lesser evils. If you find hypocrisy on one side, at least look for the same on the other--and then weigh your interests. Pick a side. But please, no textual substitute for equivalence between Israel's war-fighting vs Islamism's. It just gags me to read it--please--have a heart.

Rick Ballard said...

Peter,

Iran only loses a rook - and that applies only if the Israelis get Nasrullah. Otherwise this counts as an exchange of pawns, although Iran is being tossed back on defense.

Peter UK said...

Rick,
I think President Ahmasmadasahatter has trapped himself with his own rhetoric,so entranced has he become with his own Jolly Green Aura, the coming of the Twelfth Imam and the race to get nuclear weapons that he has acted precipitately.There is no doubt in my mind that Tehran instructed Hezbollah to conduct an event to show the world that thwarting Iranian ambitions has serious consequences.The muscular response of the Israelis caught the Iranians unawares,hence the meme which has been planted of "proprtionality",why planted? Because the vast slush fund which Iran set up to combat the invasion of Iraq is still slopping around the world,because it cry has been taken up by the usual suspects.
There is a probability that if Hezbollah is in trouble that the classic midle eastern diversionary attack will take place...where.
This will be a serious setback for Iran if Hezbollah is defanged,since,whilst the Iranians might be willing to fight to the last Syrian,the border is now Iran's.

Peter UK said...
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