July 19, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
Israel and the US were shocked to discover that some of the missiles and rockets fired by Hezbollah were created in Iran and Syria, giving Hezbollah greater accuracy and firepower than previously realized.

The response from former CIA director James Woolsey, as reported by FOX News?

WOOLSEY: Without talking to Lebanon about it, frankly, John, I think we ought to execute some air strikes against Syria, against the instruments of power of that state, against the airport, which is the place where the weapons shuttle through from Iran to Hezbollah and Hamas. I think both Syria and Iran think that we're cowards. They saw us leave Lebanon after the '83 Marine Corps bombing. They saw us leave Mogadishu in 1993. They saw us back off in 1991 when we had Saddam on the ropes and there were revolts in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces, and we stood there. I think they think Israel, similarly, by backing out of Lebanon a few years ago, and by backing out of Gaza, they're fielding their oats. In that part of the world, the most dangerous thing to do is look like cowards in the face of these totalitarian groups.

That's right. Drop MORE bombs. Kill MORE people.

And... his reasoning is strange. According to Woosley, if Hezbollah (and Hamas) are receiving weapons from Iran and Syria, that makes them valid US targets in this conflict. By that same logic, the US is now a valid target of Hezbollah, because Israeli bombs dropped onto Lebanon were made in the US...

As a side note, Hezbollah's rockets fired into Israel have been reported to contain ball-bearings, which are designed to cause the most damage to human bodies. Civilian human bodies.

Hezbollah is no different than the Israeli army. Both can shoot rockets and missiles and turn a blind eye to dying men, women, and children.
np category: politics


Mark Glesne said:
"Hezbollah is no different than the Israeli army. Both can shoot rockets and missiles and turn a blind eye to dying men, women, and children."

You are right about one thing: they both can shoot rockets.

However, Israel does not purposely target civilian targets like their military counterparts.

While civilians will and do die at the hands of Israeli strikes, civilian casualties are not an objective of the Israeli military. Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations admittedly target schools, hospitals and universities - they admittedly aim to kill innocents.

To say the uniformed Israel military is the same as disguised terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah is simply misguided.

July 19, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Well, by "the same" I certainly don't mean to say that they're identical. But they both turn a blind eye to dying men, women, and children.

A footnote to all of this is that many more Palestinian (and now Lebanese) civilians have been killed as a result of Israeli action than Israeli civilians from Hamas and Hezbollah action. Israel is the more powerful country, and I might argue that Israel is held up to a greater level of responsibility to avoid killing innocents. It doesn't appear that Israel actively or even passively avoids civilian targets. Israel seems willing to level a populated city to capture a single enemy. And I think you can only do that when you've convinced your army to dehumanize the enemy... and that almost always happens, and it's always horrible.

But yes, you are right -- ignoring civilian deaths is not the same as plotting civilian deaths, although I'm sure the civilians on both sides don't really care which of the two is happening.

July 19, 2006

Luke said:
Both of you are right, not to puss-out. More innocent deaths have resulted from Israeli attacks than Hezbollah (I've seen it spelled at least 4 different ways). And Hezbollah seems to intentionally target Israeli citizens because of their hatred for the Jews.

But I'd add that when a nation is attacked it must come back with greater force. As a State Trooper I regularly hear from ignorant citizens that wonder why we pull guns when our assailant has a club; or why we punch when they just push. The concept is one of "using the necessary force to affect the lawful purpose intended." The idea is to convince the enemy not to attack again or worse things may befall them.

I think Israel has a right to fight back all things truthfully considered. Hezbollah are cowards and hide in citizen houses unlike an army that goes toe to toe so-to-speak. By nature of their cowardice innocent civillians will suffer. Not that Hezbollah cares but everything is an 'ends justify the means' philosophy with them. They have to be fought and there really is no effective means of fighting this type of war without jeopardizing the safety of the army greatly by going in with small forces on the ground (which is an extremely dangerous measure and very risky).

July 19, 2006

Luke said:
Oh, and former CIA director James Woolsey, is obviously not president for a reason. That's a very pre-emptive statement to make at this point.

I'm tired of alarmists that predict doomsday prophecies at the hint of any kind of uprising. Your commentary on the Palesinian who discussed Iran and Syria as basically regimes that don't want to risk their power, was great.

I've been thinking about that and I totally agree. Unless something really big and desperate happens, there's no way Iran or Syria would risk going to war with Israel and the US. No way (in my mind at least). It's all big talk but no real balls.

July 19, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Well, that is, unless Bush decides to attack Syria and Iran for providing weapons to Hezbollah. Violation of non-proliferation of weapons and all. I think that might escalate things... and escalation, as we've seen, leads to more escalation. Hezbollah didn't start sending rockets into Israel until Israel attacked; Israel didn't attack Lebanon until soldiers were kidnapped; soldiers weren't kidnapped until civilians were kidnapped... who's to blame? Who carries the burden of responsibility?

I understand that greater force is sometimes necessary. But I don't think that has to be related to greater civilian deaths. I don't think civilian deaths should be casually considered a natural consequence of the increase of force, as though it doesn't matter... but I think that's a common mindset.

July 19, 2006

Mark Glesne said:
"A footnote to all of this is that many more Palestinian (and now Lebanese) civilians have been killed as a result of Israeli action than Israeli civilians from Hamas and Hezbollah action."

First, I would like to see where you are getting that from - not that I don't believe you. I'm just curious.

It does make sense however. Considering the cowardice nature of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations who hide among civilians and wear no uniform.

July 19, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I get all of my information from

haha... just kidding.

As of yesterday at noon, after seven days of the current Israeli/Lebanese conflict, both the Washington Post and the NY Times posted 230+ civilian Lebanese deaths, and 13 Israeli civilian deaths.

I did some more research (with the help of my local library's reference/help desk), and found this page. It's a detailed report of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict over the course of two years (2000-2002), and it reports that during that time, the number of deaths of noncombatants on both sides is pretty close.

What's particularly interesting in the report is the explanation of the difference between "noncombatant" and "civilian." On both sides of the conflict, there are non-uniformed folks with guns or bombs, and if they die, reports often list them as "civilians," when in fact they are combatants. This report attempts to sort all of that out, and the results from the data are quite interesting. It does paint a clearer picture of the conflict, which is always good.

I don't have any handy information for dates outside the 2000-2002 period.

July 20, 2006

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