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Saturday, July 22, 2006

U.S. declares war on Iran and Syria

But for now, let's use our proxies.

UPDATE, 3:02 a.m.: Here's something to go with it.

Comments (1)

A Practical Suggestion for Ending the Wars and Enmities in the Middle East

Does anybody really believe that Iran is a treat to the world peace?
If you have been programmed by the CIA and Pentagon controlled media for a YES answer, please read on.
Aren't the U.S.A., the British, and the French governments that should be taken to the Security Council under non-compliance with the N.P.T for illegally arming the 60-year old state of Israel with nukes and related technology? Israel (a U.S. ally) has not signed the NPT and has about 250 nuclear warheads! Not to mention non-compliance with article six of the NPT which requires nuclear disarmament for the nuclear member parties, knowing that our country has admitted working on a new generation of nuclear warheads.
It was the U.S.A. that used nukes in a won war just for the sake of blackmailing the world and for performing real testing on real human samples. Don't forget that the state of Israel has invaded all its neighbors (with no exception) in the past forty years. Also, remember that the USA has illegally (without U.N. permission) invaded sovereign countries like Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq. As a result of these aggressions, millions of innocent people have died and many more have suffered. Adding to above the tens of military coups engineered by our country around the world to switch democratically elected governments with bloody tyrants like Somoza, Shah, Pinochet, Marcos, etc. Never forget the million tons of chemical bombs (Agent Orange) and the UN banned Napalm dropped on the civilians in Vietnam.
The USA has used constantly WMD in all of its important wars of aggression, e.g. illegally using the depleted uranium weapons (DU) in Iraq since 1991 in huge quantities (officially admitting to 320 tons but to some reports more than 1000 tons). In a UN resolution the DU has been classified as WMD. The latter is enough for the war crimes tribunal to be held instantly for the USA and the British governments. Surprisingly, Iran has never invaded another country in its long history, and has never used weapons of mass destruction or any other illegal weapons, even when it was invaded and partly occupied by then U.S. ally "Saddam Hussein".
I believe that for those of us living in the USA, it is very important to have different sources of information so that we wouldn't be misguided again by misinformation and disinformation campaign led by the CIA. Getting some of our information from the Iranian papers and sites is simple and essential. Doing so helps our analysis capabilities for better judgments.
All this mess we are facing with today is about Israel. I found out (by simply searching Iranian papers on sites) that what Ahmadinejad had said about Israel was the exact words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini and he was just quoting him. Besides, according to the Iranian constitution, it's the supreme leader and not the president who has the last say on basic state policies. It is interesting to know that Iran's supreme leader officially has declared (in past ten years) that Iran does not believe in eradicating the state of Israel or any use of force against it. He rather says that the Palestinian refugees should be allowed to go back to their homes in Israel (basic human rights) and a national referendum to be held under world supervision for the future of Israel. He added that every Jew, Christian, and Muslim should have his vote accounted for (principles of democracy).
This democratic course of action (suggested by the Iranian leaders) will indeed solve all these problems. What ever the outcome, the world will support it and the sixty year old (and never ending) conflict will cease without the need to nuke anyone and therefore no need to add to our already dark record of crimes against humanity.
We allowed the refugees to come back to Iraq and then conducted a fair election there. We can repeat the same process in Israel
It is disgraceful for our great nation that our neo-con low IQ president has acquired the humiliating reputation of Public Enemy No.1 worldwide.

US forces' use of depleted uranium weapons is 'illegal'
By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor
BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.
DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.
Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defense with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.
Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: 'Such double-standards are repellent.'
The latest use of DU in the current conflict came on Friday when an American A10 tank buster plane fired a DU shell, killing one British soldier and injuring three others in a 'friendly fire' incident.
According to a August 2002 report by the UN sub commission, laws which are breached by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'. All of these laws are designed to spare civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.
DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.
It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of birth deformities and cancer in Iraq' following the first Gulf war.
'Cancer appears to have increased between seven and 10 times and deformities between four and six times,' according to the UN sub commission.
The Pentagon has admitted that 320 metric tons of DU was left on the battlefield after the first Gulf war, although Russian military experts say 1000 metric tons is a more accurate figure.
In 1991, the Allies fired 944,000 DU rounds or some 2700 tons of DU tipped bombs. A UK Atomic Energy Authority report said that some 500,000 people would die before the end of this century, due to radioactive debris left in the desert.
The use of DU has also led to birth defects in the children of Allied veterans and is believed to be the cause of the 'worrying number of anophthalmos cases -- babies born without eyes' in Iraq. Only one in 50 million births should be anophthalmic, yet one Baghdad hospital had eight cases in just two years. Seven of the fathers had been exposed to American DU anti-tank rounds in 1991. There have also been cases of Iraqi babies born without the crowns of their skulls, a deformity also linked to DU shelling.
A study of Gulf war veterans showed that 67% had children with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers.
Rokke told the Sunday Herald: 'A nation's military personnel cannot willfully contaminate any other nation, cause harm to persons and the environment and then ignore the consequences of their actions.
'To do so is a crime against humanity.
'We must do what is right for the citizens of the world -- ban DU.'
He called on the US and UK to recognize the immoral consequences of their actions and assume responsibility for medical care and thorough environmental remediation'.
He added: 'We can't just use munitions which leave a toxic wasteland behind them and kill indiscriminately.
'It is equivalent to a war crime.'
Rokke said that coalition troops were currently fighting in the Gulf without adequate respiratory protection against DU contamination.
The Sunday Herald has previously revealed how the Ministry of Defense had test-fired some 6350 DU rounds into the Solway Firth over more than a decade, from 1989 to 1999.

Posted by: John Casey at July 22, 2006 01:15 AM

My heart sank when I read that article in the Times this morning.

Proxy war...and killing a few Lebanese here and there on the side, in the name of security and self-preservation. Making new enemies by the hour. Insanity.

I'll say it again: War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at July 22, 2006 04:17 AM

When the kids have marched to protest, I've stayed home so far. Maybe it's time to get out there.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 22, 2006 04:34 AM

There is a need to put a few hundred thousand on the streets of Portland and every other major city in America. That includes a hundred thousand around the Capitol and the White House in D.C.
As Edwin Starr sang and Frank noted; "War what is it good for? Absolutley nothin'. Say it again."
We need that as a chant all across this country.

Posted by: Michael Wilson at July 22, 2006 07:34 AM

"Proxies" could go either way here, Jack. The foreign policy of the United States could have been hijacked by the Neo-Cons to do the bidding of Israel.
While iraq was not a Clear and Present Danger to us, nobody could argue it wasn't a Clear and Present Danger to Israel. How nice of us to fight a war for them. I wonder how many of our dead soldiers were under the impression they were fighting for the United States?

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 07:34 AM

The second link strongly implies that House Resolution 921 declared war on Iran and Syria. The author, Mover Mike, says 921 is like the Authorization to Use Military Force Against Iraq Resolultion ("AUMF"). I haven't fully read both Resolutions but I did read the part this guy quoted from 921 and the first part of AUMF. Let's just say Mover Mike has some reading comprehension issues.

Here's the closest his 921 quote comes to war language:

"(10) urges the President of the United States to bring the full force of political, diplomatic, and economic sanctions available to the Government of the United States against the Governments of Syria and Iran."

And here's a quote from the AUMF:

"Section 2 - Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force..."

Do you think "full force of political, diplomatic, and economic sanctions" approximates "the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force"? Of course not.

[Not that much Congress says about war matters anyway. Congress really has more power over declaring war by explicitly denying war declarations and through military appropriations than by affirmatively declaring war.]

Maybe there's more meat here than Mover Mike carved for us, but what he quoted appears to be just another example of people destroying their side's credibility with baseless histrionics.

Posted by: Anahit at July 22, 2006 08:09 AM

"...baseless histrionics."

What a charitable description of what is really a callous, calculated use of misinformation and lies (whee! what fun to use that word).

The implication that this guy just got "carried away" misses the mark - he's a poster boy for the lefty, anti-any-war, anti-Bush, knee-jerk group whose moral(?) compass needle always points toward the center of the self.

Posted by: rickyragg at July 22, 2006 08:25 AM

"A callous, calculated use of misinformation and lies"? Sounds like how we got into Iraq.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 08:30 AM

Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means.

Well DUH. Why the hell was the NYT asking questions like that?

But an arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28’s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.

Jeebus.....I swear all Hezbulla and the rest of the terrorists need to plan their defense is a subscription to the NYT.

You know, I dont agree with a lot of the stuff our government does, but I sure dont sit back and hope we fail...and thats what it sounds like the MSM does today.

Posted by: Jon at July 22, 2006 08:48 AM

Israel has it right.

So-called "peace" movements never bring peace, but instead bring more and worse war. So if you march and protest for peace, you are in actuality helping to bring more war. And really bloody butchering war a that.

The one and only way to bring true peace is to unequivocally and unambiguously win the war. Sorry, there's no easy or fairy-tale-world way out.

Posted by: Rusty at July 22, 2006 08:52 AM

Here's the link I was trying to code in the previous post:


Posted by: Rusty at July 22, 2006 08:55 AM

I can't believe the crap coming out of people's mouths...

Posted by: TKrueg at July 22, 2006 09:06 AM

War equals Peace then. How do you unequivocally win the war, so that the problem is over once and for all, without wiping out one side completely? If you haven't been following the Middle East and you are under the impression that Israel's plan is going to work long-term, then why hasn't it worked before?
The only solution I can think of unless you recommend genocide, is technological. Some kind of security shield that eliminates all threats from rockets, etc... That's all I've got on it: Peace through technology.
This attitude of "Finally Israel is doing the one thing that will work" is hopelessly naive. I know Rush Limbaugh thinks this is the way to lasting peace, but the reason the Middle East is such a tough problem is that there are no solutions, short of eliminating one side completely, which I hope you aren't recommending.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 09:35 AM

It is difficult to accept that not everyone agrees with you.

I share your disbelief.

Oh, of course, I also feel your pain.

Posted by: rickyragg at July 22, 2006 09:37 AM

We have all become too accustomed to obtaining our own personal financial security, among our fellow residents, by way of casting stones that I do not see Liberty raining down, but someone's stone. So long as the stone I toss does not land on my head it is OK, I quess. We are already conditioned to point outward to find a villain, across national boundaries just as easily as we are within.

Is the root cause of the lack of sufficient ideological allure of the US-way-of-life, abroad, that something might actually be flawed at home?

We seem preoccupied by ducking rather than to halting the tossing-game. We could call it Bi-Partisanship, and expect all the prospect of clear thinking as if we called it Bi-Polar.

A three hour walk would be little more than a Three Hour Journey.

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at July 22, 2006 09:40 AM

Let's see, Japan and Germany were completely depopulated out by the US (and its evil proxies) in WWII?

I forget... are they shooting rockets at us and blowing themselves up in our malls these days?

I'm just axin', Bill?

Posted by: rickyragg at July 22, 2006 09:44 AM

There's an element those conflicts didn't have: Religion...on all sides. The Middle East is where religions collide, and waiting for someone's religion to fade away is very unlikely.
I don't recall anyone cheering on the attack of Japan so that prophesy can be fulfilled but that's happening right now in some circles with a war on Iran. Religion is the wild card element in the Middle East that the wars against Japan and Germany didn't have.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 09:51 AM

If that last answer wasn't helpful enough, Ricky, go to Google and search for "Dome of the Rock", then search for "Wailing Wall", then hit "Crusades Lebanon". It's a complicated place, Ricky. I don't recall anyone referring to Berlin or Tokyo as the Holy Land.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 10:01 AM

If we think Global War brings Global Peace are we saying that we didn't fight hard enough in WWII or WWI which was supposed to be "the war to end all wars"? I hardly think anyone hung back any way back then but it didn't bring about a lasting peace or a safer world. The world after 1945 is a much more dangerous place then it was before 1939.

Posted by: Tom at July 22, 2006 10:25 AM

A truly vanquished foe throws down his arms, drops to his knees quaking in fear, and vows to fight no more.

An appeased foe snickers at your weakness and awaits his next opportunity to better his position so he can eventually vanquish you.

So just go out and march and carry signs and stomp your feet and chant for "peace." Just be aware of what really happens if you get your way.

Posted by: Rusty at July 22, 2006 10:41 AM

There's only one way to stop people from hating us in the middle east: require diesel engines with Biodiesel capability in as many types of vehicles as we can muster... Our nation's farmers begin to produce the lifeblood for our economy, rather than meddling in other country's affairs to get oil. The war on Terror is a war of ideas... YOU CAN NEVER WIN WHEN YOU'RE SEEN AS THE AGGRESSORS. What beef would they have with us if we just extracted ourselves from the region? What if we played neutral mediator between Isreal and Islamic groups? Right now, we don't hold any credibility here, given our vast military militaristic support. How can we be seen as anything but meddlers??

You have to be naive to underestimate the human tendancy to be nationalistic. I mean, I hate what Bush has done to our country, but if another country invaded the U.S., I'd grab my gun and do what any person would... defend our country. It's no different over there, or anywhere! That's why politicians LOVE war and ongoing conflict... it's a rallying point for a nation, an opportunity to rally seemingly EVERYONE behind you.

That's also why defense contractors and profiteers in other sectors swarm to the GOP, who seem intent to pimp the war-card for decades or longer. The stink of that GOP corruption is really starting to hit people, as they see all the layers peeling away. If we don't have whistleblowers, a free press, accountability, and oversight, how the hell can we ensure the wingnuts aren't robbing us blind and jeopardizing our country?

You know it's bad when Libertarians suddenly find Democrats to be an attractive option at the polls...

Posted by: TKrueg at July 22, 2006 10:42 AM

meant to say "vast militaristic support of Isreal"

Posted by: TKrueg at July 22, 2006 10:43 AM

What's going to happen if you get your way? Armageddon?

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 10:44 AM

it would also help if I spelled 'Israel; right next time... :0

Posted by: TKrueg at July 22, 2006 10:48 AM

What's going to happen if you get your way?

A permanent end to that dispute, and those parties will thereafter live in peace as between each other.


What do you think is going to happen if Iran, as presently constituted, gets nukes?

Posted by: Rusty at July 22, 2006 11:14 AM

Anybody else wonder how our double standard on possessing nuclear technology affects how people around the world view us? That we hand-pick who can be in the nuclear club? Bush trumpeted a sale of nuke tech to India, which makes Pakistan, China and Iran nervous (among others), so of course they want to arm up.

These are obvious points that our media fails to press on Bush and Co.

Posted by: TKrueg at July 22, 2006 11:22 AM

I do not like religious wars. It is time to take care of America. We should offer a fair settlement between Israel and the arabs. Israel shuld give back more land. If Israel does not go along, the USA should cut them off (no more weapons and US money). We should not get dragged into a religious war by special interest politics and propaganda. The boundary lines and water rights should have been settled long ago.

Posted by: Joel at July 22, 2006 11:26 AM

In my defense, let me say I am no "poster boy for the lefty, anti-any-war, anti-Bush, knee-jerk group whose moral(?) compass needle always points toward the center of the self"..

I was merely amazed at the similarity of language of the two resolutions and the strident language used. If we make war on Syria and Iran, and I'm not arguing either way, don't we deserve a Congress that stands up and declares war rather than some weasley little document that gets so little attention? You know politicians.

The quote "full force of political, diplomatic, and economic sanctions" can justify anything by Bush or a Clinton. What is war but an extension of politics? We have so many different kinds of wars today, war on drugs, poverty, etc. What's one more "little war"?

Posted by: Mover Mike at July 22, 2006 12:09 PM

What beef would they have with us if we just extracted ourselves from the region?

Mostly the same beef they have had all along...that were are not a religious society, (ie: we dont rule with the Bible or Quran), that we let women do as they please, that we generally are flaunting our "democracy" all over the place.

And that last one...if we stopped that, I really dont think that would change anything. They still wouldnt like us because of who we are, and how we live our lives. The oil thing has always been second to all the rest for why they hate us.

Posted by: Jon at July 22, 2006 12:26 PM

"A truly vanquished foe throws down his arms, drops to his knees quaking in fear, and vows to fight no more."

What comic book did you read that in?

Posted by: Tom at July 22, 2006 12:28 PM

Excuse me I'm showing my age. What Graphic Novel did you read that in?

Posted by: Tom at July 22, 2006 12:30 PM

I admire Rusty's confidence in his plan for peace in the Middle East, but I'm going to paraphase a Mideast "joke" my father related to me. This man had three questions of God. The first was what would happen to him. It was bad news so when God told him the man cried. The second was what would happen to his family. It was also bad news and when God told him the man cried again. His third question was when would there be peace in the Middle East and this time God cried.
If there is a day when peace comes to the Middle East, the events of this week could have hastened it, but they also could have delayed it by another generation. It's easy for people like Rusty to propose a plan when they don't have to pay the consequences when it fails. I don't think the Middle East is a problem that's just waiting for the right approach. Maybe if something happened that made everyone realize all at once that their ancient religions were not true. Maybe then. But people are very reluctant to let go of their faith. So it would have to be something dramatic to say the least, and even then it might not work.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 12:59 PM

Life 101: Japan

Posted by: Rusty at July 22, 2006 02:46 PM

This looks like WW3 in the making to me, a concept, BTW, that I have actually heard Fox Network PROMOTE. If today's big O lead editorial is any indication, my guess is that the NYT crowd and Fox will reach "consensus" on the protect Israel schtick-and things will escalate from there.

Regarding the American jihad angle, there was a baptist in town about a year and a half ago, Tony Compolo (Duin wrote a column about him, who said that Christians are misinterpreting the significance of Israel, in that spiritual Israel, from a New Testament perspective, is believers in Christ, Jew or Gentile. Plus Christ's example isn't warmongering. But there isn't much parsing of scripture in some of these big mega churches where critical thinking is looked upon with suspicion as "from the Devil". It was a stroke of genuis that the Bush campaign captured these gullible, naive people, some of whom are now very, very sorry they voted for him.

Posted by: Cynthis at July 22, 2006 03:08 PM

Why shouldn't the U.S. support its ally? Why are so many people so concerned about that and not about the role of Syria and Iran, and the murderous, hateful nature of Hizbollah and Israel's other enemies?

Israel is the only functional country in the region. It is the only country that has mastered the arts of peace, being a very productive society that makes contributions to the arts, industry and sciences.

Iran and Hizbollah are forthright about their dedication to hatred and war. Hizbollah is about as moral an organization as the KKK, and yet many turn a blind eye to their habitual atrocities and only get worked up when Israel fights back. I find that perverse.

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 03:35 PM

Israel is hardly a US ally. Israel only takes from the US. Israel should have settled with the arabs long ago on a fair basis. That refusal to settle, defended by repeated wars, prevents the US from having good relations with arab countries. I talked to a retired US diplomat who spent his whole career in US embassies in the middle east. He said that Israel is the third rail of US politics. Almost no politician can afford to speak the truth. This war is now being prmoted by special interests.

Posted by: Joel at July 22, 2006 04:05 PM


What's a fair basis? Unless you haven't been paying attention, Hizbollah's idea of a fair basis is the non-existence of Israel.

How have the Palestinians rewarded Israel's concessions? What precisely does Israel have to do, short of ceasing to exist? What ought to be expected of the Arabs?

As always, Israel's critics, ready to pounce on any faults, real or imagined, of Israel, take for granted that the Arabs act in good faith. It takes a special kind of denial to maintain that point of view.

It's all very well to speak of shadowy figures who are supposed to know. Spell it out or spare us the important sounding but unsubstantiated insinuations.

I'll say again, Israel's enemies behave like a well-armed KKK. Ethnic hatred and targeting civilians are their stock-in-trade.

I thik it's also interesting concern about who is bankrolling their activities, nor about the tenor of those activities.

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 05:42 PM

The US helped people in Ireland and Northern Ireland stop killing and talk. The US was an honest broker. The US helped with the talking (and did not help with the killing). With Israel, the US helps with the killing. That makes is very hard for the US to help with the talking. In business, disageements are settled all the time. Find the middle ground and settle. But, if the parties want to go on killing, they can: just leave the US out of it. The US does not belong in a religious war.

Posted by: Joel at July 22, 2006 06:15 PM

Hear, hear Joel. The whole concept of a killing war on terror has always seemed to me a little like Elmer Fudd going after the cwazy wrabbit and ruining everything in his path in the process-while the rabbit stands behind him amused, chewing on a carrot.

Posted by: Cynthia at July 22, 2006 06:26 PM

A "killing war" is what Hizbollah is dedicated. What do you recommend Israel do, Cynthia?

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 06:36 PM

Permit me to amend my last comment. I hit "post" meaning to hit "preview."

A "killing war" is what Hizbollah is dedicated to, as are its sponsors in Syria and Iran. What do you recommend Israel do, Cynthia? What do you recommend Hizbollah and its sponsors do?

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 06:38 PM


The question remains as to how analogous the Irish situation is to the Israeli situation. The first thing to notice is that Northern Ireland is still administered by the U.K.

The U.S. helped the U.K. with intelligence and law enforcement resources related to Northern Ireland. If it didn't often take a stronger hand it's because there was an influential (however misguided) Irish-American lobby that made it difficult to do so.

It should also be noted that 9/11 was a watershed moment for the IRA. It made a big impression on Americans with regard to what terrorism was really about. It's one thing to set off bombs in Manchester or Omagh, another to kill a couple of hundred firefighters and a couple thousand civilians in New York, etc.

Israel has shown a great willingness not only to talk, but to act, unlike its supposed negotiating partners on the other side. Again, what have been the results of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza?

Given that Israel has shown a willingness to negotiate, why should it be blamed if the other side has not? What willingness does Hizbollah or Hamas shown (leaving aside Fatah and others for the moment)?

Hizbollah and Hamas refuse even to sign on to a commitment to recognize that Israel has a right to exist. How does one find a "middle ground" with such parties?

Once again, why the focus on Israel's actions and the silence about the actions and the ongoing conduct of Israel's enemies? Why have any sympathy at all for a terrorist group that deliberately kills civilians and hides among them for protection? Does it not trouble you that they commit such war crimes?

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 07:18 PM

If Israel "saw the light" so to speak and unilaterally disarmed themselves and refused to defend themselves, a wholesale slaughter would ensue, a slaughter of Jews that would rival if not surpass Hitler's efforts.

If the Arab and Islamic terrorists were to unilaterally disarm themselves, the mideast would be peaceful for the first time in 60 years.

Which speaks volumes, telling you everything you need to know about that conflict, who's right, who's wrong, and whose side to be on.

Posted by: Rusty at July 22, 2006 07:34 PM

Anybody read Seymour Hersh in the July 10-17 New Yorker? It would seem that the Bushies really want to nuke Iran.
me...I'm currently living very well "off the grid", but who knows what the future will bring.
I think this could be the tipping point to the end of life as we all know it.

Posted by: anne at July 22, 2006 08:24 PM

You settle things by understanding the other side's concerns. Forget words like terrorist. Think outside the box, and put other things on the table. There is land, water, and money to bargain with. The US could pay money to arab refugees (that would be cheap compared to what we are paying for war). Think about what the US could give Iran. We have told Iran that we want regime change in Iran. That is a threat. We could, as part of an overall deal, withdraw that threat. There is lots of middle ground. I have met people all over the world, and I think they are fundamentally the same.

But, if the parties in the middle east want to keep fighting, so be it. Just keep the US out of it. As Mohamed Ali said: "I ain't got no fight with them Viet Congs."

Posted by: Joel at July 22, 2006 09:15 PM

"A "killing war" is what Hizbollah is dedicated. What do you recommend Israel do...?" They might have shown some restraint in their reaction to the kidnapping of their soldiers by a terrorist group inside Lebanon. Air strikes, missles, and ground troops strikes a lot of people around the world (I bet even in Israel as well)as overkill. Israel is killing a lot more Lebanese civilians, then Hezbollah is taking out Israelis. Hezbollah are terrorists, Israel is a country. It has a greater moral responsibility and one would hope more enlightened goals then a rag tag bunch of zealots.

Posted by: Tom at July 22, 2006 09:52 PM

If a Muslim cleric could rise up like Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Jesus Christ and declare the sanctity and dignity of human life, especially innocent life, there could be hope. Why hasn't such a person come forward?

Posted by: patrick b at July 22, 2006 09:58 PM


What you stubbornly refuse to acknowledge is the "concerns" of Hizbollah are understood perfectly well, and they involve the extinction of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants. What if what one party wants is something incompatible with the other party's survival and/or the standards of civilized behavior?

Don't you have anything to say about the fact that all Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza got it was for those places to be converted in military staging points for attacks on Israel's civilians and military? What does that tell you about Israel's enemies and how likely they are to be good-faith bargaining partners? Come now, give us an answer on that.

Furthermore, it's one thing to negotiate with other sovereign states, it's another to negotiate with bands of terrorists and criminals. Perhaps law enforcement agencies should negotiate with organized criminals with municipal, state and federal resources. Something tells me that the FBI doesn't adequately understand the mafia's concerns. Maybe there's something they'd like that will make them treat us all a little nicer.

You argue as if people or nations can't have ambitions that one must stand against. "I have met people all over the world, and I think they are fundamentally the same," you say. Well, that's true in some some sense, but it is no guide to how to manage any confrontation. By your standard the Nazi SS is fundamentally the same as the local ladies' auxiliary. So what's the answer? "Yes, Mr. Hizbollah Leader, we understand that Jews are monkeys and pigs and must be driven to the sea. I'm sure we can work something out now. So sorry we failed to acknowledge your grievances before."

Civilized countries ought to put their energy into wiping out organizations dedicated to civilian slaughter and genocide such as Hizbollah. They should also put the suppliers of Hizbollah on notice.

And speaking of genocide, why are so many people suddenly shrieking at Israel trying to remove a band of terrorists threatening their civilians and demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities while they remain unmoved by the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Darfur? Why must something be done about Israel right now, but it's OK to twiddle our thumbs while ethnic cleansing goes on in the Sudan? That ought to tell you something about the cynical nature of international politics and the biases at play here.

Tom, if Lebanese civilians are being killed the responsibility resides with the combatants that are hiding among them. Do you not recognize that aspect of the Geneva Conventions? Greater moral responsibility doesn't mean allowing a heavily armed force to continue to menace both your armed forces and your civilians because they resort to the criminal ruse of hiding among a population.

What do we do about organizations that operate this way? Appease them, as Joel recommends?

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 10:35 PM

Last time Israel went into Lebanon in the early 80s one of the results was that a new party came into being. Guess who? That's right, it was Hezbollah. I've lived my whole life with this Middle Eastern problem. I've been to Lebanon quite a few times, and Jerusalem, etc... I'm telling you this attitude that what Israel is doing is a solution to the problem seems crazy to me. I mean,,,you can argue what else can they do and I understand that. But don't kid yourself that doing what is being done to Lebanon is going to help long-term. This is a disaster. A major humanitarian crisis, which I understand won't bother some people. But as with Iraq - the worst part of the plan is that it won't work.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 22, 2006 11:16 PM

Bill, I submit that one of the reasons it hasn't worked is because the world has long excused the tactics of terrorism on nationalistic or post-colonialist grounds and has tolerated the machinations of Syria and Iran. If it weren't for the support of the latter--a country that never paid for its outrageous abduction of embassy personnel--Hizbollah wouldn't exist.

Piecemeal actions may have failed not because they were too much, but because they weren't enough. But the responsibility ought to fall not just to Israel but to the most powerful nations who could put a stop to this if they were committed to doing so.

Posted by: Idler at July 22, 2006 11:30 PM

These are obvious points that our media fails to press on Bush and Co.

Funny, I thought the media was there to report, not press a political agenda on the government.

Posted by: Jon at July 23, 2006 01:13 AM

Some seems to have forgotten that it was the U.S. and Britian that overthrew a properly elected government in Iran in 1953. Which apparently we expect the Iranians to forget about as well.
But the biggest problem here may be the international press. Brian Williams of NBC reported on Friday night that, and I paraphrase, 334 Lebenese mostly civilians had died and 34 Israelis, mostly soldiers had died. As long as number like that continue to comeout Israel is in a box it can't get out of.

Posted by: Michael Wilson at July 23, 2006 06:53 AM

Idler, The phrase that gets me is "could put a stop to this if they were committed to doing so." I just wonder how? I mean nobody is more committed than Israel to solving the problem of terrorism and they can't stop it within their own borders, with a Palestinian population that is living under their tight control.
Let's say you're right and through intense warfare, the problem is solved. One thing we ought to tuck away in our memory banks is that it is very difficult to defend against people who feel so wronged that they are willing to die to hurt you.
We might all be better off if these dramatic injustices didn't start up in the first place.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 23, 2006 07:11 AM

Bill, I don't deny you have a point. At the same time, whatever has happened in the past one has to deal with the present. One of the problems is that the special pleading arguments of terrorist have been given credence, only encouraging them and their sympathizers to feel justified and continue behaving in the same vein.

I recall walking through New York's Garment/Fashion district a couple of years ago (post-9/11) and seeing a Palestinian demonstration. It was full of irate people in kafiyehs (if that's the word) yelling provocatively and taunting the Orthodox Jews so prevalent in that neighborhood. The Palestinians held up pictures of children who were victims of violence. To borrow a Jewish word, that took a lot of chutzpah, considering that the Palestinians deliberately inflict such violence on Israeli civilians as a matter of routine. But somehow the nature of this special pleading goes unnoticed.

Michael Wilson raises a related point. But much of the force of Michael's point comes from the failure of the civilized world to make some of the distinctions that I've been arguing. As long as there is insufficient outrage against the use of terrorism for political purposes in the first place, and until terrorism's enablers either get smart or honest about how the likes of Hizbollah foster the kind of casualty ratio Michael refers to, it is indeed unlikely that we'll see progress.

It ought to be obvious, and may be to some cynics, but the tactics of using the populations as shields will result in some number of that population being killed in the event of military action. The rules of warfare are clear: hiding among civilians is a war crime and the death of those civilians caused in the pursuit of a legitimate military objective (e.g., an ammunition dump, an artillery/rocket location, a command post) is the responsibility of those hiding among the civilians.

Why is there not clarity about that?

I think the situation is actually worse, since the civilian population in many of these cases is materially supportive of the military operations in question.

The result is that the terrorists create a situation wherein outsiders are willingly or simply stupidly manipulated: Hizbollah attacks, and some Israeli civilians and/or soldiers may be killed. If Israel mounts any degree of response, a larger number of civilians among whom Hizbollah is hiding are likely to be killed. Result: Israel gets critized. Works like a charm. Every time.

Posted by: Idler at July 23, 2006 07:31 AM

"Israel gets critized. Works like a charm. Every time." Yet Israel still is being armed and financially supported by the U.S government. Since the 1982 invasion of Lebanon Israel has won it's financial aid, and weaponry but it's lost the hearts and minds of the American public. You can't win them all. Shalom.

Posted by: Tom at July 23, 2006 08:24 AM

There is a big difference between Daffur and Lebanon. In Daffur, the US is ot involved in the killing. For the action in Lebanon, to a significant extent, the US has supplied the planes, the bombs, and other weapons.

To fight the terrorists that attached us on 9/11, we should be fighting a narrow war against Osama Bin Landen. Osama would like us to get into a broader war against many Muslims. The Israeli/US war in Lebanon plays into his hands.

The US military should defend the US (I think I understand; I spent 3 years in the US Marines). We should not get involved in other people's wars (particularly religious wars, which tend to go on for many decardes).

Posted by: Joel at July 23, 2006 09:09 AM

No argument, I see, Tom. Just a sniping comment. I guess if that's all you've got...

And yes, lots of concern about the U.S. arming and financially supporting Israel but no comment on who's arming and financially supporting Hizbollah. Hardly surprising. Par for the course.

Joel, sure, there are lots of differences between Darfur and Lebanon. My only point is that for some reason there's urgency about stopping Israel but not about stopping what's going on in Sudan, even though many more people are being killed, and those doing the killing were not provoked. Why is that?

Isolationism isn't an option for the most powerful country in the world. Nor should any country abandon its allies when the going gets tough.

I'll tell you what the Lebanon situation plays into: distracting the world from Iran's headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons. No doubt we should just stick our heads in the sand in response to that threat as well.

I'll take your word that you were in the Marines, and take the opportunity to thank you for your service. I'm surprised, however, that you wouldn't have a more, shall we say, robust attitude toward the organization that killed over 200 of your bretheren.

Posted by: Idler at July 23, 2006 10:24 AM

Since the 1982 invasion of Lebanon Israel has won it's financial aid, and weaponry but it's lost the hearts and minds of the American public.

"Lost the hearts and minds of the American public"? Please show evidence of that, because it sure seems the opposite to me.

Posted by: Jon at July 23, 2006 10:24 AM

It's little incidental things that I notice. Last week I was listening to an NPR reporter interviewing an Israeli official who made a point that Israel was only striking at military objectives, but that Hezbollah was firing at civilian targets, their only objective was to kill and maim innocent civilians. I was shocked to hear the NPR reporter ask him why then were the Lebanese civilian casualties so high and Israeli civilian casualties so low. The Israeli official went ballistic and began to spout pretty much the exact same line as you Idler. Most of the stories I have been seeing on the news or even reading in liberal blogs on the internet are critical of Israel something that would have been unheard of 30 years ago from the same sources. Israel is being portrayed not as the plucky little nation in the Leon Uris novel Exodus, but an aggressive bully backed up by the U.S. I sense a shift in the focus of how Israel is being portrayed in the mainstream media and I think this is being reflected in public opinion. Of course we are all being manipulated as Idler points out but I think when you are presented with two opposing points of view the truth lies somewhere between the two.

Posted by: Tom at July 23, 2006 01:03 PM

In other words the NPR reporter was ignorant or disingenuous. Is that your point?

Everybody knows, or everybody ought to know, that the Israelis have become so thoroughly inured to the constant attacks on their civilians that bomb shelters are ubiquitous there. That's why their casulties are far less.

Puh-leeze Tom.

Posted by: Rusty at July 23, 2006 02:27 PM

"I guess if that's all you've got..."
That's it, just like a Palestinian with a pocketfull of rocks I'm outgunned by you're logic. I'm waving the white flag(for all the good that will do me).

Posted by: Tom at July 23, 2006 05:43 PM

Yeah, a pocket full or rocks... or maybe a nail bomb on a metro bus or in a crowded mall. Then there's also a rocket shot into the suburbs, hoping for good luck. But those aren't your images of a Palestinian. Why is that?

For the same reason, no doubt, that you won't address the actual ethical issues that I raised. They certainly are inconvenient.

Posted by: Idler at July 23, 2006 07:08 PM

Yeah, a pocket full or rocks... or maybe a nail bomb on a metro bus or in a crowded mall. Then there's also a rocket shot into the suburbs, hoping for good luck. But those aren't your images of a Palestinian. Why is that?

For the same reason, no doubt, that you won't address the actual ethical issues that I raised. They certainly are inconvenient.

Posted by: Idler at July 23, 2006 07:09 PM

I resent that you think I'm ignoring the ethical issues in the Israel/Arab conflict because I thought I was trying to draw attention to them by pointing out the inequities in the way Israel reacts to it's neighbors and the double standard of American foreign policy. That the Palestinians have any less of a right to exist than the Israelis or that their life or rights have less weight then the Jews of Israel is a racist view that has been embraced by the U.S. Government and in what I think is ironic the national policy of a people who suffered some of the worst excesses of racism in the 20th century. The oppressed have become the oppressors with our blessing and our help. You're okay with it, and I am not so I guess we can only agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

Posted by: Tom at July 23, 2006 08:04 PM

Tom, what you say is false and ridiculous. How do you arrive at the assertion that the U.S. says the Palestinians have no right to exist? The United States has worked arduously toward a two-state solution. If you want racist, look at the people who want to wipe out the Jews. They say they want to do that, but you're just not listening. Have you read Hizbollah's charter? Have you heard their public statements?

What exactly is the double standard? That the U.S. treats civilized sovereign states differently than barbarous terrorist organizations?

Again, though Israel's enemies are actual genocidal war criminals dedicated to a violent solution, you're obsessing on Israel's defensive actions and calling Americans racist.

Your answer to my invitation to actually address the ethical issues I raise is simply to change the subject and reiterate the incomplete picture that I took issue with in the first place.

You still won't grapple with the fact that Israel's enemies' tactic of first resort is to use deadly force against civilians, while Israel deliberately avoids targeting civilians. You also fail to acknowledge that hiding among civilians is a war crime, according to the Geneva Conventions, and that it is the chief cause of civilian casualties resulting from Israel's actions. Furthermore, you blame Israel even though you've been reminded that the Geneva Conventions explicitly state that those who hide among civilians are responsible for such casualties.

Now you don't merely change the subject, but you imply I'm a racist? Is that your idea of arguing "without being disagreeable"?

Posted by: Idler at July 23, 2006 09:24 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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