Michael Totten Gets It Wrong

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Instapundit.com: "This war in the Middle East nearly demolishes the theory that democracies don't go to war with each other. Lebanon, aside from Hezbollah's state-within-a-state, is a democracy. At least it's an almost-democracy. Aside from my personal affection for Lebanon, the country where I recently lived, the only country other than the US where I've ever lived, this is what anguishes me the most: The Arab world's only democracy is being torn to pieces by another democracy."

Emphasis is mine, and shows that Totten is self-refuting. Israel wouldn't be in Lebanon now if it weren't for Hezbullah; Hezbullah started the war, and got Lebanon involved, because they weren't constrained by merely being co-located with a democracy.

[Updated to correct some really egregious typos.]


CF said...

I can't wait for Glenn to return from vacation.

Fresh Air said...

You can see the heartstrings of liberalism are still being plucked in Mr. Totten's chest. It's okay. He's only completed Step 1 of the Twelve Step Process to Pulling Your Head Out of Your Ass.

Barry Dauphin said...

When Totten is good, he's very good, and when he's not, well... This is an example of the latter.

The issue would be that this is the first "democracy" that allowed a terrorist group free reign to do what it pleased, even provoking war with a neighboring country. Totten is too close to the situation. He has friends and associates in Lebanon who are surely suffering. But how long should Israel tolerate a totally crazy situation like having a terrorist organization shoot rockets at them and simply let it happen in perpetuity? Lebanon did not take care of it themselves, now someone else is. At the end of the day, if Israel can decimate Hezzbollah, Lebanese democracy will be a winner and farther along toward fulfilling the explicit and implicit promises of democracy than they would be had the satus quo and stability crowd had its way.

Skookumchuk said...

Barry Dauphin:

At the end of the day, if Israel can decimate Hezzbollah, Lebanese democracy will be a winner and farther along toward fulfilling the explicit and implicit promises of democracy...

Not if Lebanese institutions and society keep giving an organization like Hezballah (how do you spell it, anyway - I've seen many variations) a pass by looking the other way, or by giving it tacit support. All that will mean is that in five years Israel will have to do it all over again.

But if Lebanon itself can change, there may be hope.

ex-democrat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ex-democrat said...

Totten's post has to be one of the dumbest things i've read in a very long time.

i couldn't agree more, cf.

JB said...

"I can't wait for Glenn to return from vacation."

My sentiments exactly (hard to believe.)

It's Silly Substitutes week on there.

Syl said...

Democracy is a process. He should know that. Citizens learn from experience what works best for them. Unfortunately it seems that in the M.E. the process may involve something akin to civil war before it all settles out.

Those who understand this also understand Iraq. Even though patience is growing thin.

Rick Ballard said...


It will require a bloody civil war in both countries to resolve the issues. Lebanon pretended to have one before but there wasn't a clear victor and what finally emerged is a simulacrum of democracy. Iraq may go the same way if the US doesn't pick a side - or a couple of sides. A coalition of the Kurds and Sistani's Shia would be the best bet but no one seems to have the stomach for assasinating Sadr and wiping out his militia. The Sunni would still have to be subjugated and isolated but that is not as difficult a task as weeding out the Qum backed Shia.

As to the subject of the post - watching Tinkerbelle die is very hard on those who believe that Tinkerbelle lived. A rich fantasy life is very difficult to maintain.

Peter UK said...

How can Lebanon be a democrstic country with a heavily armed religio-political group astride its body politic?
Lebanon is lucky that Hezbollah,like the Nazis before them has an ideological external enemy it chooses to attack first.Just as the world is fortunate that the Nazis were decimated on the Russian front,so should Lebanon be grateful to Israel for taking the brunt of Hezbollah's fighting force.
If Hezbollah had consolidated control of Lebanon first,there would be no democracy,only Sharia.

Skookumchuk said...

Rick, StY:

but no one seems to have the stomach for assasinating [insert name] and wiping out his militia.

Where in the Islamic world do they have the stomach? In Turkey maybe, but where else?

As I've said before, what we need is clarity. Either they want to enter the modern world or they don't. Either they want to rat out the bombers and assassins or they don't. Either they want to display the corpses of dead babies for the international press or they don't. "Nuance" and "delicate negotiations" and all the other Scowcroftian euphemisms indicate a kind of resignation in the speaker that these peoples are incapable of change. I still hope for their sakes that at least some of them can change. Because by mid-century, it may come down to change or salvoes of Trident missiles. I don't think they see that at all.

Either way, we need to know.

Rick Ballard said...


Syria, Jordan and Algeria have all used the tactic 'successfully' within the last forty years. There are more examples but they occur in areas of the world where photoghouls are properly shot on sight. No pictures, no news - vide central Asia.

terrye said...

This is going to sound nasty but it takes more than some cute little democracy babe shaking her titties for the camera to make a Democratic country.

How the hell can you have a democracy with a terrorist group free to start a war with a neighboring country operating free as you please in your borders? And I am supposed to feel bad because the Lebanese people are mad at us?

Last time I looked nutjobs at Hezbellah were still doing their Death to America thing so I really don't think that Lebanon is in any position to expect me to consider that country an ally.

Let's see...on one side we have Israel who did not dance in the streets when the World Trade Center came crashing down and on the other side we have Hezbellah who was partying in the streets and handing out candy. But they say that the Lebanese are either a} hostage or b} supportive of Hezbellah because they are not corrupt. Puhleaze. These people feed off the poor like a tic feeds off a dog.

So I guess I feel like Lebanon should have gone to the UN or someone and said, hey help us get rid of the fanatics...but noooo, they said come on in to hezbellah and then just expected the Israelis and everyone else to overlook the vermin problem they had in the basement.

I was a realtor, and full disclosure would require me to inform any potential buyer of a problem like that and if Lebanon wants to sell themselves as a democracy they need to get to work and clean that place up. Or the rats might turn on them.

Stephen_M said...

Terrifically well put.

Fresh Air,
Thanks for the reminder.
Somehow I'd let myself forget Totten's roots.

Totten's notion - Hey Israel, ignore where the rocket plumes originate. Go bomb Iran or Syria or something.

It was getting impossibly tough for me to attribute that 'thinking' to mere sentimentality.