Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Charles Krauthammer has a very clear wish list regarding Lebanon at Real Clear Politics. The situation might resolve itself in the manner which he suggests, but I wouldn't bet on it. Even if it does, how long would a multinational force remain in place and who will foot the bill?

I've been somewhat hopeful that Israel would be able to destroy a sufficient amount of Hezbollah infrastructure (and kill a fair number of terrorists) before the hand wringers are able to slow them down but Hezbollah seems to have done a surprisingly good job in making their zone in Lebanon very dangerous. So dangerous that Israel is examining its options very closely and continuing with reconnaissance in force rather than invasion.

Will the hard strikes in Gaza today increase the yammering of the hand wringers to the point where the US intervenes before Israel invades?


Knucklehead said...

Not that I am politically astute or atuned but I see no indication so far that the US is in any hurry to intervene in any way.

Any "international" force that would be sent in to secure Lebanon, and presumably finish the job of disarming Hezbollah once Israel has sufficiently bludgeoned the bastids, should, IMO, have ZERO US component. France, Germany, whoever else is interested, let them staff and fund it.

I've been trying to get some handle on this thing for days now. I keep reading that we're on the verge of WW(n) but I just don't see it. Iran was sitting on aq pair of 10s and thought they had a royal flush. They overplayed their hand and I think it is now obvious to them.

The Palis have also gone too far.

The fact of the matter is that the handwringing is the residue of old habit. The usual suspects are pouring forth tears but the very different fact of the matter today is that few people in the world actually give a rat's patoot if Hezbollah and the Palis get stomped on for several months.

This is not WWIII. It is yet another example of yet another Middle Eastern, Arab/Muslim group thinking that NOW everything is finally right to kill the hated Jews. They overestimated, yet again, their own power. The big difference this time is that they have no real support. Hezbollah and Hama have hung themselves out to dry.

Unfortunately a lot of Lebanese are suffering for it, but they didn't want to suffer the pain of dealing with Hezbollah in their country so now they have this. As for the Palis suffering... I don't think anyone really cares anymore. That "cause" has lost its cache.

Rick Ballard said...

"That "cause" has lost its cache."

That's what I'm seeing too, Knuck. I keep wondering if Israel is measuring its response to world opinion. I don't see a down side to continuing to raid Hezbollah for an indefinite period. As long as they're dumb enough to keep firing rockets I doubt that "world opinion" will rise above a whisper of negativity.

Knucklehead said...


I've been wondering a bit about why the Palis seem to have been somewhat "abandoned" - why going bonkers in support of them isn't nearly as fashionable as it has been.

In part this is probably due to some people observing that they got a very goodly portion of what they have so long claimed to want and yet they continue to be a disgusting death cult. Some portion of their supporters have surely been disconvinced of their worthiness.

The flip side to that has long been, of course, "anti-zionism". The venom spewing against Israel has become, over the years, so strident and even rabid that only the cloak of Caring About The Poor, Oppressed and Disposessed Palis gave it protection from being openly identified for what it really is. Once the bloom started to fade from the Pali rose the veil started to fall away from the miserable face of "anti-zionism". Its one thing to be a rabid, vocal Jew-hater when one can claim to be just sticking up for the admirable Palis and another when the Palis are no longer seen as nearly so admirable by nearly so wide an audience.

But ultimately I speculate that the most important event was when the Cult lost the Personality. Without the fugly, murdering, two-legged rodent the hero worshippers lost a lotta zeal.

Rick Ballard said...

It may be just a brief period of remission in the terminal brainrot known as multiculturalism. Perhaps the exposure to the sayings of Ahmasmadasahatter* coupled with Mumbai and the anniversary of the Tube bombings have created a moronic convergence that allows an occasional rational thought to flicker through otherwise empty minds.

I don't particularly care why the morons aren't in full throat, I just hope that Israel is able to achieve its objectives. Whatever they are.

I really do appreciate the President's position on this and the fact that the G8 was swayed to the point that they did nothing of a negative nature. The only thing that could be better is for an announcement to be made that the government is going to "study the matter thoroughly before making any recommendations". Something about "consultation with all interested parties" would be helpful too. Preferably the consultations would be held in Terra del Fuego in late fall.

Next year.

*h/t PeterUK

truepeers said...

In the long run, i fear the deal will be to let Syria back into Lebanon in full force as responsible guarantor for Hezbollah. The Lebanese state is not so far standing up in its do or die moment.

terrye said...

I think that the Islamists really began to lose supporters over the Cartoon riots. So stupid.

And then there is Iraq. I think it is beginning to dawn on people that these jihadis are really crazy, just look at what they do to other Muslims.

Then the Palestianians showed no interest at all it acting like sane people. Vtoing for Hamas just made people throw up their hands.

I think most people want to get back to a normal life. Moives, vacations, making money, scientific advances...something positive rather than the usual story of some crazed fanatic blowing someone up somewhere.

Enough already.

terrye said...


I don't think the Israelis will go for that.

Besides not only was there a UN resolution calling for the disarmment of Hizbellah, it is also true that Syria was supposed to leave Lebanon. I don't think that will change and I don't think the Lebanese want to test the Israelis with that suggestion.

Rick Ballard said...


Wouldn't Israel have a better chance for calm with a UN force in place? Syria is less stable today than ever and letting them back in would be totally contrary (as Terrye notes) to the thrust of efforts over the past ten years.

Lebanon's first pass at democracy may still turn out OK - they are paying for their initial error in blood and they may decide that HA is simply too expensive. They can have HA and war or see what life is like without them. It's their choice and their responsibility.

truepeers said...

Terrye, it seems to me it is a choice either to destroy Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in a nasty war, or make Damascus directly accountable for anyone crossing the line. There doesn't seem to be much of a Lebanese state in a position to be held responsible for anything much.

truepeers said...


a UN force might work if we could construct one that could actually keep Hezbollah under control, but they seem firmly entrenched in the south of Lebanon and it would take a serious committment from the "world community" to sit on them hard; it's not something we have much reason to expect from the UN

truepeers said...

Of course, I would like Lebanon to become a nation that can rid itself of this evil... don't know enough to judge well how much hope there is of that but it seems small.

truepeers said...

UN still trying to decide if HA is a terrorist group:

The United Nations High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana said during a press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni that the UN has no sufficient data to determine whether the Hizbullah can be included in the list of terror organizations. He also added that the issue at hand is legal, not ethical."

Knucklehead said...


Wouldn't Israel have a better chance for calm with a UN force in place?

I was watching some news bit, almost certainly on Fox, with one of the Foxettes reporting from along the Israel-Lebanon border.

It was largely information-free as are all TV news reports but at least she took a moment to point out that there, if one looked through the vision slot in the little Israeli outpost bunker, peering just over those pink flowers, one could see the UN watch tower overlooking that little slice of Southern Lebanese Hezbollah Heaven.

Yuppers, the UN watch tower that had been there for years overlooking the buildup of 13,000 rockets stashed in every hovel. Yeah, the UN can provide security for Israel (or anyone else).

terrye said...


A my Grandma used to say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. I do not know if Israeli will go head to head with Syria or not, but if Syrians troops come into Lebanon that will make it all that much more likely.

I have no desire to seem Lebanon occupied by either the Syrians or the Israelis. And I hope the Lebanese do not turn their backs on democracy, but for heaven's sake they should have known that Hezbellah and democracy are not compatable.

Luther McLeod said...

Well, a contrary thought here, any reason why Lebanon could not invite the US in? With full latitude given by the Lebanese Parliament, etc. We could work with the Lebanese army, air force?, etc... a la Iraq.

Anyone up for that?

Knucklehead said...


Lebanon is roughly 3/4 the size of CT, has about 4M people.

I think Italy, France, and Germany could handle the job of helping the Lebanese secure their territory. The US is busy at the moment with a larger problem.

Luther McLeod said...

Perhaps they could Knuck, but I would not trust them to do the job nor to do it right. I just think Lebanon is important, regardless of its size. I say security and a Marshall plan. It was a mistake to have left in 83.

Rick Ballard said...


There is no question in my mind that pulling out in '83 was a mistake. Going in was a mistake too.

Muslims have never played by 'Westphalian Rules' and there is nothing to suggest that they will in the future. The concept of a nation state is abhorrent to Islamic theology and our decisions have reflected a denial of the truth of that statement.

Eventually we're going to have to shift to their rules in order to achieve an approximation of 'peace'. It's going to be a long process and I believe that eventually a part of that process will be walling them off. I don't think that providing them targets without adopting their rules first is a good idea.

Luther McLeod said...


Well, honestly, without research, I don't know if 'going in' was a mistake or not. Too many gap's in the neuronal structure to remember the particulars.

But I confess confusion at the rest of your thought. I understand that the 'nation state' is abhorrent to Islamic theology, and, where it is in place nowadays, it is being used to reap the benefits of our civilizational structure while plotting the destruction of same. At least that's my take. IOW's they care not too co-exist, expansion is the game.

But I digress, my confusion comes from your "shifting to their rules". Do you mean strategically or tactically? I can't follow the implementation. Examples?

As for walls, while I don't necessarily disagree and while I presume you are speaking figuratively, how do we disengage from 1/6 of the world's population?

I suppose I am seeing the half full glass in Lebanon. What, 40% Christian, and there must be a percentage of secularists and even "moderate" Muslims who would wish to live in peace.

It just looks like an opportunity and a good starting point to try and tip the scales to the side of sanity. But even at my 'advanced' age I can still be hopelessly naive at times.

Luther McLeod said...

Of course, OTOH, There’s this. HT LGF.

Rick Ballard said...


By "their rules" I mean the logical conclusion of the series of syllogisms of which Islam is comprised. The primary syllogism can be stated:

A. Nothing occurs that is not according to the will of Allah.

B. X occured

C. X is the will of Allah.

In other words, free will is not just prohibited, it's impossible.

Not only does the syllogism provide the basis for any act by the thug-in-chief, it also establishes that any ill that befalls an individual was the will of Allah and must be endured. It is a perfect rationale for "might makes right" - which is why Mohammad cooked it up in the first place and it provides a perfect rationale for subjugating a Moslem population using any means that one might wish.

One can read that and justifiably think "Boy, that's really dumb." but it is the cornerstone of Islam and has been since its inception. The rest of the Koran is basically either "how to be a thug" or "why you should love the thug that Allah has ordained as your 'leader'".

Islam decrees that the world is divided in two. My point is that we should accept that division and help its enforcement.


Luther McLeod said...

Gotcha Rick. Thanks for the explanation.

"Islam decrees that the world is divided in two"

Yes but they do hanker for it to be a world undivided, no?

And, forgive me, but I don't see how that ties into my thoughts on Lebanon. Unless you are saying we should just leave the ME to its own device's as its hopeless. Which, except for oil and Israel, half of me says is a good idea. The other (soft) half of me says a lot of the folks there desire to live in a world such as ours. I feel a duty to help them in that endeavor. Romantic at heart, I guess.

Response not necessary.

Rick Ballard said...

A response is necessary because I didn't carry "their rules" to a conclusion. I suppose my thesis would be "we can't and shouldn't go in expecting anything like a Westphalian state as an outcome". If we're clear from the start that we would help the Lebanese do for Lebanon what Attaturk did for Turkey it could be worth the risk. What Attaturk did wasn't pretty but it has given Turkey eighty years of democracy. It appears to be breaking down a bit because the army - the only real check on the government - has been infiltrated.

Checks and balances in the Islamic world are going to remain rather simplistic - the power of the purse countered by the power of the sword. When the sword is corrupted democracy ends for a while, as it has in Pakistan and Eygpt.

I doubt that the American electorate would stand for the use of force necessary to firmly establish democracy in a Moslem country. We'll see, as Iraq heats up and the Iraqi government starts real crack downs.

Luther McLeod said...

"Westphalian state as an outcome"

Well, why not. As I mentioned above the percentage of those in Lebanon who might desire such a thing (not just democracy (which in muslim states is obviously a chimera) but freedom) is most likely higher in Lebanon than Iraq.

Do your syllogisms hold true for Lebanon? Is it that far gone? Listening to Mark Styen (whose opinion I respect) on HH, while driving home, that would seem to be the case. If so, there is no disagreement. Treat it as if a rabid dog.

OTOH, were there to be a million Lebanese march in the streets, chanting 'please help us', directly to the USA, I would be inclined to do so.

Because Rick, at heart, despite delusional teen hood and reasons that weren't reasons, that is why I went to Vietnam. And why I would do it again, if forty years younger. To help more people live free. Please forgive my sophomoric sentiments. They at times overwhelm my reason.

Rick Ballard said...

I don't consider the sentiments to be sophmoric at all. If the initial objective were stated to be a secular state on the order of Turkey and if the means to be used were absolutely clear at the beginning then I would wish to be a part of it (if it were possible) too.

Even knowing that there were more than 400 years between the Magna Carta and the Treaty of Westphalia and another 150 years before the ratification of the Constitution I would feel it worthwhile. But not without a clear objective and not without the political will to acknowledge that the means necessary were very unpleasant. And not without a vow of support to the death by at least a third of the population.

Luther McLeod said...

No problem with your conditions. We agree then?

I just note, that in WWII, there were no guarantees of success. Except, perhaps, among the very far thinkers/lookers. Those who intuitively knew the strength of this country. More precisely, those who knew the 'depth' of the strength of this country. Perhaps we do our best work, in doubt.

Because really, our recent appearances assume short term about us. But when truly threatened, we will be here for the long haul (which GWB has told us, again and again).

Take it to the bank. We will (eventually) defeat that 'nasahralh' (sp, of course) bastard, even if it depends on my dying breath.

Evil will not prevail.