‘We are all Hezbollah now’

The Guardian’s Comment is Free brings out the big guns to debate the Hezbollah-Israel war. Jimmy Carter delivers a mealy-mouthed post that ends up attacking Israel. But Harold Evans reminds us of the moral quagmire — can we use that word again — of backing Hezbollah and he does it masterfully:

“We are all Hizbullah now,” proclaimed one of the banners at the Stop the War coalition’s London march. Really? Is it possible that more than one person has taken leave of their senses?

It was a sign either of profound ignorance or a depraved indifference to human life. Either way, the moral idiocy of the sentiment betrayed the higher purpose of the march.

If we are all Hizbullah now, who are we?

Are we the violent hijackers of the state of Lebanon who started this war without provocation and without reference to the elected government? Are we the “democrats” who hold hostages for years and murder political opponents?

Are we the suicide bombers, Hizbullah’s contribution to civilization, randomly murdering innocents in the thousands – Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, for this cause or that, it makes no difference?

Are we Hassan Nasrullah, the latest pin up boy of terrorism, who competes with Iran’s mad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the most dedicated to kill Jews? He makes no secret of Hizbullah’s genocidal ambitions. “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel,” he says, “it will save us the trouble of going after them on a world wide basis.” Big joke.

Are we the puppets of our paymasters in Iran?

Are we the cowards condemned as such by the UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, for hiding our fighters and rocket launchers among women and children?

Are we not the cleverest of tacticians? If the human shield works, we are free to attack, and if it fails, Israel will bear the odium. What does it matter that our cruel deceit violates Article 58 of the Geneva Convention?

Are we the renegades who have for six years shown what we think of the Geneva Convention, international law (and UN resolution 1559) by regularly launching rockets across the border into Israel loaded with ball-bearings to shred human flesh. Yes, people died, six in a school bus, but they were only Jews and did you see the world take any notice? Nobody marched in London.

Are we the fiends who over two decades of Islamic terrorism have kidnapped, tortured and killed numerous peacekeepers?

Read the rest. It gets even better, even stronger.

Carter, on the other hand, stays true to his tapioca soul and mumbles support for Israel before giving them the back of his hand, while not criticizing Hezbollah in the least. A shocking performance:

It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hizbullah for provoking the devastating response.

And how about blaming Hezbollah for hiding behind those civilians and launching attacks on civilians from their homes? Not our ex-President. He just returns to his own failed roadmaps to nowhere.

  • http://rafaelsidi.blogspot.com Rafael Sidi

    Jimmy Carter says that “There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key UN resolutions, official American policy and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians”

    Road map, schmop map… President Carter unfortunately does not understand the radical islam’s “mentality”. Unless their mentality changes- like start valueing life, there won’t be any permenant peace in the region.

  • Max E. Edison

    Jimmy Carter is exactly right, as usual. Israel is sowing the wind, and will reap the whirlwind, as it does everything in its power to ensure the growth of Hezbollah. “Condemn Hezbollah” until the cows come home, and it will not affect one stone in the Middle East. The US has no leverage with the Arabs, and damn little with the Israelis. In the oil patch, when things got tough, we had a saying: Do something. If that don’t work, do something different. It is time for something different, but we don’t have the imagination or the guts to make it so.

  • http://pallywood.blogspot.com Abu

    Rafael, what do you say we don’t value life. Of course we do! – Abu values the life hereafter.

    But seriously: The problem of you infidels is, that you are very religious in believing that everybody ticks like you do. Or, to be more precise: That other more “primitive” nations tick like you believe that “really good people” should tick. I think your infidel authors call this the “noble savage”.

    So, everything we do we can hide behind this magic cloak. We can do things horrible beyond your worst horror films – you will always find an argument, why we had understandable (and hereby excusable) reasons to do so.

    Abu is not quite sure why the Infidel Media apply the opposite position when it comes to the Jews. Maybe deep underneath your official culture there is a lot of anti-semanticism.

    Abu is confused about the infidels, but likes their media a lot!

  • Seppo

    Is there a more despicable American retired politician than Jimmy Carter? There is never an anti-American tyrant he does not leap to appease and praise, in a vain hope that by showing shame and weakness he may evoke sympathy and peaceful compromise. That is granting him the benevolent assumption of naive goodwill and weak-mindedness, which is perhaps over-generous, given his long, consistent quarrelsomeness regarding Israel.

    It is necessary to remember that Iran was allowed to violate all norms of civilized behavior in relations between states, encouraging them to further undermine traditional notions of sovereignty while they developed the unbounded terrorist capacities we see today, under Mr. Carter’s leadership. His moral vanity permits him to always place the blame for his own policy failings elsewhere, however, demonstrating the power of rationalization. And always, always, it is America and/or Israel to blame for not sufficiently accomodating the tyrants and terrorists.

  • penny

    “We are all Hizbullah now,” proclaimed one of the banners at the Stop the War coalition’s London march.

    Jimmy Carter was and is a nitwit. His inane mutterings only live on because the inane MSM trots his corpse out from time to time. It’s hardly the public that finds him relevant.

    Anyone not noticing, since 9/11, the radical left’s alignment with terrorists really isn’t connected with reality. These little fascists have been employing anti-semitism, spewing vile garbage on the Kos site and college campuses and recently physically threatening opponents as Democrat Lonnie Davis recently discovered in his WSJ article today.

    None of these stupid terrorist sympathizers gives a damn about the consequences, if Israel were to lose this war. If Israel never existed, the Islamofascists would still be threatening their non-Islamic neighbors like they do in Darfur, India, Nigeria and Indonesia. The Taliban are the classic example of Muslim violence upon other Muslims. In the amoral world of leftist terrorist sympathizers that and the suppression of women do not matter.

    And, Max E, your naivety is incredible. Please share with us what that “different” action, other than wiping terrorists off of the face of the earth in earnest, should be? Perhaps you are unaware that for months Israel has had missiles fired upon its citizens before they took action. It is reasonable for any country to defend its citizens, you agree?

  • http://www.wingercomics.com/ Carson Fire

    Woof, “Jimmy Carter is exactly right, as usual.” That’s like saying arsenic tastes like chocolate — as usual!

    This is the Jeff Jarvis I like — the one who’s threatening to become one of us right wing neocons! But reading his conservative-style take on Carter does make me want to ask: JJ, what’s the difference between Carter-style foreign policy and Kerry-style foreign policy? Wouldn’t Carter’s views on this prevail now, if Kerry had prevailed in 2004?

    It was this concern, moreso than anything else, that made me want to run instead of walk to go vote for Bush. Not the Swiftboating so much, or anything else. It was the fact that Kerry meant a return to that exact Carterian mindset, the one that you seem to see so clearly now for what it is.

  • http://jimbobbysez.blogspot.com JimBobby

    Whooee! Greetin’s, my Merkin friends. Here’s a little hist’ry fer you t’ ponder. Back not too long ago, there was a terrist organization killin’ innocent civilians an’ killin’ army men, too. The organization was called the Irish Republican Army. It planted bigass bombs in pubs an’ mailboxes over in Merrie Olde Englande. It killed British army men patrollin’ Belfast. It had representation in gummint with it’s political wing, Sinn Fein.

    Fer decades, the IRA waged a guerilla war on Great Britain. The IRA fighters hid among the Irish civilians. They din’t wear uniforms. They targeted civilians. Lotsa money fer the IRA came from Merkins livin’ in places like Boston an’ Providence. Lotsa innocent Brits got their asses blowed off by the IRA. I know sum Canajuns who sent money over t’ their IRA buddyboys, too.

    Anybody remember when Great Britain bombed the Republic of Ireland into the stone age on accounta they couldn’t stop the terrists livin’ amongst ‘em an’ usin’ their land as a base fer terrism? If you don’t remember, it’s on accounta it never happened. Even though the IRA did pretty much the same thing t’ the Brits as the hezballers done t’ Israel, the Brits never woulda thought o’ bombin’ the hell outta Ireland.

    Why d’ya figger the Brits din’t do t’ Ireland what Israel’s doin’ t’ Lebanon? D’ya think mebbe if the Irish was Muslims instead o’ Catholics, the Brits mighta flattened Dublin? Mebbe if they wore funny hats an’ their skin was brown they’d o’ been easier t’ kill.

    It jest makes me wonder why there’s such a double standard. Now, here’s the part that really gets me wond’rin’. After all o’ them there “Troubles” as they called ‘em, the talkers got t’gether an’ talked out a solution. The IRA bombers din’t win. They ended up bein’ disarmed by their own political wing.

    Whaddya figger woulda happened if the Brits had bombed Ireland an’ killed hunnerts o’ innocent Irish babies an’ kiddies? Does anybuddy think there’d be peace in Ireland like there is today?

    JimBobby

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    The thing I’ve never seen discussed is what Hezbollah’s objectives were.
    Were they just trying to snatch some soliders for a prisoner exchange? Was the amount of response greater than they anticipated and thus it forced them into taking offensive action?

    Even if we leave aside the latest flare up, what were their long term goals? Were they planning to take control of Lebanon, or at least part of it? Were they trying to establish a permanent state within a state?

    If so, then what? Were they then going just administer their region as they wished or did they think that they would be able to destroy Israel eventually?

    It is one thing to go around saying “Death to Israel” to keep the populace energized, it is another to put a military plan into effect to try to carry it out.

    While I’m asking questions: what is the purpose of the UN resolution? Many have been created in the past and been completely ignored, not just in the middle east but in Africa and elsewhere. What effect does the wording have? Suppose a document is finalized and perhaps even signed, and then ignored. Then what, there is no penalty for disregarding it.

    If the US, for example, gets mad at Israel and wants to pressure them to into changing their present policy we don’t need to wait for a UN resolution, we just use our usual means to keep client states in line.

    Just wondering…

  • steve

    JimBobby, you have the most bizarre and uninformed view of Irish/British history imaginable. Brits OCCUPIED Ireland, literally took it over and held it for centuries, and in fact still do hold Northern Ireland. And Irish history is chock full of massacres perpetrated on the rebel Irish by the Brits. No they didn’t drop bombs from airplanes –they sent in the army and fired into crowds of angry civilians, and destroyed farmland deliberately causing famine and massive starvation. Etc.

    By the way JimBobby, its your twisted logic about skin color that is at the root of the issue but not in the way you think: the world is so suffused with guilt that any conflict between white skin and dark skin people is always assumed to be white skin oppression of dark skin. Which also allows folks like you to conveniently ignore the massive horrors being perpetrated (often in the name of Allah) by dark skinned peoples on other dark skinned peoples, e.g. Darfur Sudan Saudi Arabia India Pakistan Rwanda Bali and of course, ever-bloody Iraq.

    We are all Hezbollah? Hardly. But we are all hypocrites.

    The bottom line is, the billions of dark skinned Arabs on their gazillion square miles of territory are brutalizing and oppressing the 6 million white skinned Israelis on their postage stamp sized homeland. What other country is expcted to co-exist — negotiate — with groups who don’t recognize its right to exist and call for its destruction?

  • penny

    Anybody remember when Great Britain bombed the Republic of Ireland into the stone age on accounta they couldn’t stop the terrists livin’ amongst ‘em an’ usin’ their land as a base fer terrism?

    For starters, why would Britain bomb the Irish Republic? They denounced the IRA, made them illegal, gave them no official shelter and assisted the Brits in the peace process. The vast majority of Republic Irish were anti-IRA and not sympathetic. A few IRA guys running across a rural border in no way meant approval by the Irish public or government. The IRA faded after 9/11 when funds dried up and they needed to sanitize their image in the US. They also weren’t global jihadist. You point is lame.

    Robert, just to get you up to speed. Hezbollah controls Lebanon. It is funded by Iran and supplied by Syria. After Israel, pressured by the likes of yourself I’m sure, demanded they leave Lebanon 6 years ago, the perfect and predicted vacuum occurred for Hezbollah to reclaim and fortify their position in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has for months been firing upon Israeli citizens with an arsenal of about 13,000 Iranian missiles.

    I hope this helps you. You seem a little muddled when it comes to the sequence of events, players and motives in the region.

    Oh, and, the UN is probably one of the most corrupt and worthless organizations that ever existed.

  • http://www.tyndallreport.com Andrew Tyndall

    Jeff –

    I believe you mischaracterize Carter’s post at Comment is Free. You say it “ends up attacking Israel.” My reading is that it ends up attacking the Bush Administration for six years of inaction with regards to a state of Palestine.

    As for Carter’s criticism of Israel for attacking Hezbollah, he called it “illogical” and “counterproductive” not immoral.

    In other words, it was the strategic efficiacy of a military response to a demand for a prisoner exchange that Carter was criticizing. Nowhere did he support or endorse Hezbollah’s initial border raid. Nowhere did he suggest that Israel’s response was unjust — merely unwise.

  • http://www.wingercomics.com/ Carson Fire

    “Even though the IRA did pretty much the same thing t’ the Brits as the hezballers done t’ Israel”

    What, threaten to completely eradicate them, and impose worldwide Islamic law? Teach their children that Englanders eat babies and drink blood? Did the larger Irish nations around Ireland, that far outweighed Israel in territory, support them in their struggle? Did they kidnap US civilians and execute them to protest their support of England? Did the Irish strap bombs to their young and send them into crowded areas so they could blow themselves up? Did the Irish blow up bars in Bali, or barracks in Lebanon?

    D’ya figger, JimmyBob, that yer comparin’ th’ wee oranges an’ apples? Or are ye sufferin’ a bit from th’ smokin’ of the green?

  • http://jimbobbysez.blogspot.com JimBobby

    Whooee! SteveFeller, you sed –
    “Brits OCCUPIED Ireland, literally took it over and held it for centuries, and in fact still do hold Northern Ireland. And Irish history is chock full of massacres perpetrated on the rebel Irish by the Brits. No they didn’t drop bombs from airplanes –they sent in the army and fired into crowds of angry civilians, and destroyed farmland deliberately causing famine and massive starvation. Etc.”

    Allow me t’ put a pair o’ phrases t’ that -
    Israelis OCCUPIED Lebanon, literally took it over and held it from 1982 to 2000, and in fact still do hold Shebaa Farms. And Lebanese history is chock full of extra-territorial kidnappings perpetrated on the hezballers by the Israelis. Israelis did drop bombs from airplanes. In Gaza, they sent in the army and fired into crowds of angry civilians, and destroyed farmland, bulldozed homes and built a wall deliberately causing economic desperation. Etc.

    The one is absolutely nuthin’ like the other.

    JB

  • http://www.theincipient.com Robert Taylor

    Mr. Feinman, I believe Hezbollah’s goal was said Mahmoud Komati, the deputy chief of the Hizbullah politburo. Of course the mainstream media probably wouldn’t report it, and neither would Mr. Jarvis. It was precisely a prisoner exchange. They captured 2 Israeli soldiers and took them hostage, while Israel has 9000 Palestinians hostages. 1,000 of them being held without charges. The other 8,000 were tried and convicted, but the information retrieved from them was acquired through torture.

    The fact is, this may have been one of the most disgusting posts Mr Jarvis has ever dared to publish. The article is blatantly ignorant. Breaking internation and UN law? First speak to Israel. Read any human rights organization and see the atrocious disregard for human life Israel has had.

    “Are we the renegades who have for six years shown what we think of the Geneva Convention, international law (and UN resolution 1559) by regularly launching rockets across the border”

    Six years? Try 60 years of opression. Try the denial of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s also very easy to forget that the British branded the incoming Jewish rebels Terrorists.

    The problem with Jeff Jarvis, and the rest of the so called “liberals” is that they believe that to try to find out why the Arabs attack the way they do is to try to justify their acts. So if I try to look at the causes of terror, that’s rationalization. We’re not supposed to look at the causes like any sane person would do, we’re just supposed to throw tantrums and yell about Islamofascism and blame it on the bad genes on the Arabs. Why? Because as soon as we look at the causes, we look in a mirror. And that’s not acceptable. We never look at ourselves, we only judge others.

  • penny

    JimBobby

    You still aren’t getting it. Israel left Lebanon 6 years ago. It complied with that agreement even at the expense of its own security. 13,000 missiles were moved into the area by Hezbollah, an agent of Iran, which has been firing missiles for months on Israeli civilians. Hezbollah has refused to comply with UN Resolution 1559.

    It’s a free country. Defend away Hezbollah, but, do it with all of the facts. We’d be glad to listen. You can also kill your little country moniker and shtik. It’s a turnoff to serious and intelligent people.

  • Alan

    “It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hizbullah for provoking the devastating response.”

    Jeff, I admit I didn’t link to read President Carter’s full statement, but is this the excerpt you meant to cut-and-paste in order to show that his comments were mealy-mouthed or that they attack Israel?

  • Alan

    “It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hizbullah for provoking the devastating response.”

    Jeff, I admit I didn’t link to read President Carter’s full statement, but is this the excerpt you meant to cut-and-paste in order to show that his comments were mealy-mouthed or that they attack Israel?

    ps I only ask because I just read that New Yorker article where you were mean-spiritedly quoted to almost no effect for his larger points.

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    Penny:
    If Hezbollah “controls” Lebanon why is it that they only have about 20% of the seats in the legislature?

    It may be that they are the strongest (or only) militia operating outside the control of the Lebanese army, but it would seems as if they only “control” the southern region.

    No one has answered the question about their long-term objectives (beyond a prisoner exchange) or whether the response to the kidnap of the Israeli soldiers was unexpected by them and caused them to take a more offensive position than they had intended.

    I think it is clear that Israel would like to see Hezbollah eliminated as a military (and perhaps civilian) force. This is similar to the types of statements the Bushies make about Al Qaeda.

    What is still not clear is what Hezbollah is trying to achieve? Eliminating Israel is not a realistic goal (although some may be deluded enough to think this can be accomplished). So what is Hezbollah really after?

  • penny

    “It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hizbullah for provoking the devastating response.”

    I’m with Jeff. Carter is implying that Israel is intentionally punishing Lebanese citizens. What a cheap statement by Carter, a spineless wimp, who fails at logic, denies the context leading up to Israel’s actions and tries to make Israel morally equivalent to Hezbollah. He’s the idiot that allowed our embassy to be held hostage for more than a year which in turn empowered the thugs that are running Iran today. His next photo-op will be as a Castro pallbearer.

    Israel has made every effort possible to minimize civilian casualties.

    Of course, lost in this devisive lefty obsession with casualties is the hard cold fact that the Lebanese don’t exactly have clean hands in this. If you were and are aiding and abetting Hezbollah by stashing their arms on your property, how innocent are you? Firing rockets with impunity into Israel for months, it’s hard to imagine that no one thought payback time wasn’t coming.

    Alan, share with us the admirable highlights of Carter’s presidency?

  • penny

    What is still not clear is what Hezbollah is trying to achieve?

    Howard, Hezbollah is Iran’s mercenary force. It is funded, equipped and directed by Iran. Syria, no slouch when it comes to murderer and mayhem, has its finger in this pie too. Their objective is the collapse of any democratic entity in the ME be it Israel, Iraq, and the nacent democracy movement in Lebanon.

    Is it really so hard for you to connect the dots across the ME and not see that the WOT is an interconnect network of affiliated terrorists.

    I think Carolyn Glick sums up the inter-connectivity best:

    http://politicscentral.com/2006/08/03/will_lebanon_be_the_next_iran.php

    A few minutes at the Belmont Club has thoughtful discussions on the global nature of the WOT in which Hezbollah is a key player.

    http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com//

    PS Your photography is lovely.

  • Ravo

    but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hizbullah for provoking the devastating response.”

    It’s inhumane the way Hamas and Hizbullah surround themselves with civilians of their own populations and use their resultant deaths to inflame the world, all the while congratulating themselves on losing more civilians than soldiers.

    Palestinian Human Shield Watch
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21993_Palestinian_Human_Shield_Watch
    “A Palestinian militant fires toward Israeli troops during an arrest raid – in civilian clothes right next to civilian kids, shooting at Israelies.” (since he’s dressed as a civilian, the shooter’s death will likely count as civilian as well)

    One expects there will be return fire. When the civilian(s) all around this guys gun are hurt or killed, guess who is blamed?

  • Tom

    Carson Fire asks: Did the larger Irish nations around Ireland, that far outweighed Israel in territory, support them in their struggle? . . . [Yes, in a way similar to the way the government of Lebanon supports Hez.]

    Did the Irish blow up bars in Bali, or barracks in Lebanon?

    Carson, I am an American expat living in the UK. The IRA didn’t blow up bars in Bali, but they did blow up a few shops, bars, hotels, railway stations and such in the UK. At one point they even deliberately targeted tourists, reasoning that scaring tourists off would hurt the UK economy. They also fired mortar rounds at Heathrow. The IRA was quite willing to kill innocent civilians. Personally, I think the armed wing of the IRA every bit as objectionable as Hez.

    I sleep better knowing it (the IRA) has decommissioned its fighting force. That decommissioning didn’t happen because the Brits bombed the Hell out of IRA neighbouhoods (or the regions in the Republic they operated out of). It happened because the political leaders on both sides finally sought a political solution.

  • Ravo

    I saw a cartoon recently that well sums up the civilian death situation:

    Hizbollah was aiming his rifle while standing BEHIND a baby carriage.
    On the other side,
    the Israeli soldier aimed his rifle, while standing in FRONT of the baby carriage.

    Truly the world is upside down.
    The side that surgically targets to AVOID civilians, is condemned, while the media barely mentions the other side is putting ballbearings in it’s bombs to kill as many civilians as possible.

  • bittorent

    I’m going to have to stop reading your blog Jeff. Like most of your fellow countrymen, you are so blinkered to the real situation.

    Israel is reaping the whirlwind due to decades of land grabs, mistreatment of the Palestinian Arabs and human rights abuses. Please! Read the history. Don’t start froma few weeks ago.

    Nothing that you or any other apologist for Israel says will change history. This is why Israel is hated. This is why America is, increasingly, hated (due to its support and finace of the terror state Israel).

    Just keep on this path and things will get worse and worse. You aren’t fooling anyone. Most of the world sees the situation for what it is. It is only Israelis and Americans who don’t.

  • bittorent

    Americans were raising funds for the IRA while they were bombing Britain and killing civillians. No it wasn’t just a few bars. They very nearly killed Margaret Thatcher. Then a few years later, they fired a rocket which landed in the garden of Ten Downing Street, almost killing Prime Minister John Major. Ten years ago the Real IRA bombed Manchester causing enormous damage to the city centre.

    When I lived in London for four months in 1992 there were several bombs just in that brief period.

    Many Americans need some international history lessons.

  • http://frumiousb.livejournal.com/ frumiousb

    Why is it seemingly impossible to both recognize that Hizbollah is a real threat and barbaric *and* to believe that Israel’s response is disproportionate (and even barbaric)? Why is it unacceptable to insist that we expect better from a government than we do from an insurgent group? Perhaps I’ve got a particular point of view because I have a number of close Lebanese Christian friends, but why do people persist in conflating Lebanon and Hizbollah? Have we forgotten the Cedar Revolution so quickly?

  • Tom

    bittorent writes: Americans were raising funds for the IRA while they were bombing Britain and killing civillians. No it wasn’t just a few bars. They very nearly killed Margaret Thatcher. Then a few years later, they fired a rocket which landed in the garden of Ten Downing Street, almost killing Prime Minister John Major. Ten years ago the Real IRA bombed Manchester causing enormous damage to the city centre.

    Your assessment is essentially correct. However, it isn’t the IRA’s targeting of Thatcher and Major that defines its true character. It is the IRA’s deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, many children, to achieve its political objectives that marks it as a terrorist organisation.

    There are IRA terrorists in the US that the British would like to put on trial. Unfortunately, the US government won’t extradite them. This reluctance to return terrorists to face justice suggests we operate a double standard. I wonder if we would refuse to extradite a Hez terrorist to Israel?

  • Tom

    fromousb asks: Why is it seemingly impossible to both recognize that Hizbollah is a real threat and barbaric *and* to believe that Israel’s response is disproportionate (and even barbaric)?’

    Good question. We have managed to do something like that with Serbia. It is well established that Islamic terrorist organisations were operating on Serbia’s borders. Even Sec Albright has admitted this. Some 80 terrorists connected to bin Laden have Bosinian passports. The KLA has acted as a proxy organisation for AQ, and large numbers of Islamic terrorists (from outside the region) have fought in the region. Indeed have committed acts of terror in the region. In 1995 the Serbian government even provided the US and Canada with detailed briefs on the problem. One of Canada’s former ambassadors to the region has testified to this at the Milosevic trial (war crimes tribunal).

    The Serbs responded to the terrorists in a manner we deemed disproportionate. Our response was to bomb Serbia (Including my mother-in-law’s farm. She owned a few pigs, but none, to our knowledge, were members of the Serbian army.), and put the Serbian leadership on trial.

    Most of the Serbs I know think we have a double standard when it comes to fighting terrorism. I do too.

    By the way, most of the Serbs I know didn’t support Milosevic on issues other than his response to the terrorist. They are happy to see him gone. However, during the period of our bombing campaign against Serbia they supported him. (There may be a lesson in that for bombers of all stripes.)

  • Jim Karna

    It strikes me as incredible that it took, what, 25/ 26 posts before frumiousb suggests both sides may be at fault. There’s very little to afford Hezbollah any moral high ground in all this there’s also little doubting Israel has behaved little better; i’d suggest Penny that dropping leaflets into towns and villages telling people to leave before dropping bombs on all roads leaving those towns is far from Israel making every effort possible to minimize civilian casualties.

    Its a sense of disproportionality in the Israeli response that has outraged.

    Interesting comment on the senselessness of what’s happening:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1840130,00.html

    As with all metaphors they don’t really stand up to close inspection, but i continue to find the parallels with Ireland interesting; the IRA’s aims were not as extreme (though i’d also suggest the Palestinian struggle has more to do with sovereignty than the spread of global Islamism) their methods of targeting civilians, kidnapping and torture were similar.

    Serbia, of course, is a whole world of contradictions and confusion…

  • bittorent

    > There are IRA terrorists in the US that the British would like to put
    > on trial. Unfortunately, the US government won’t extradite them

    Tom, as a Brit, I honestly don’t believe there is much desire at all to put any IRA member on trial. Everything Tony Blair’s Government has done has been to try and put all of this behind us. Prosecutions would be counter-productive.

    I believe most people in Britain and our Government would dearly love Northern Ireland to become part of one big Eire and that has been the situation for the last ten years at least.

    As someone who grew up watching the violence on TV and experiencing it to an extent (I was about a mile away and heard and felt the Canary Wharf bomb go off in 1992) I am happy that the bombings have stopped and there is much less violence now.

  • Tom

    bittorent writes: Tom, as a Brit, I honestly don’t believe there is much desire at all to put any IRA member on trial.

    Bittorent, I don’t think the desire is intense, but events like the recent NatWest bankers extradition fuss do stir it up. I’ve lived in the UK on and off for nearly 30 years, and in that time I’ve met many Brits who resent the US refusal to extradite. That said, I think most who have made that complaint realise that prosecutions now would be counter-productive.

    As an aside, the IRA planted a bomb in a bookstore in the city where I live. It’s a bookstore more frequented by tourists than locals. Fortunately the device failed to explode, but the terrorist intent is quite clear to me.

  • http://www.wingercomics.com/ Carson Fire

    “Carson, I am an American expat living in the UK. The IRA didn’t blow up bars in Bali, but they did blow up a few shops, bars, hotels, railway stations and such in the UK.”

    Who said they didn’t, and what does that have to do with Bali??? The IRA blowing up shops in the UK is like Arabs blowing up things in the Middle East, not like Arabs blowing up things in every other freaking country they can post sleeper cells in.

    It’s not history lessons that are needed here, but lessons in logic and comparative thinking. One proper comparison between the IRA might be the US South during the Civil War. The South battled the North over internal differences; they did not send soldiers off to shoot at other nations they thought might be sympathetic with the North.

    This doesn’t mean that the IRA is guiltless of violence against civilians, any more than the South was. But the struggle was internal; that’s the difference. Arab terrorists have externalized their battles by attacking disparate people around the world. Did the IRA ever bomb Bali? Did they ever bomb Spain?

    I did mistype something, before: “Did the larger Irish nations around Ireland, that far outweighed Israel in territory, support them in their struggle?” I meant to say “Irish nations that far outweigh England in territory”, trying to make the point that the Palestinians are *not* equivalent to the IRA, in that they are already part of a huge Arab region. Try to imagine a huge Irish territory that dwarves England, and yet a small segment of the Irish want to “push England into the sea”, and make vows that England will be destroyed, eliminated, etc.

    But that’s not the case, and so patching things up in Great Britain is Great Britain’s business, just as patching things up after the Civil War here was ours. The Middle East is simply not comparable, and trying to draw parallels between the IRA and globally-focused terrorists simply betrays shallow thinking.

  • Tom

    Carson Fire states: This doesn’t mean that the IRA is guiltless of violence against civilians, any more than the South was. But the struggle was internal; that’s the difference. Arab terrorists have externalized their battles by attacking disparate people around the world. Did the IRA ever bomb Bali? Did they ever bomb Spain?’

    I don’t know Carson, it seems to me that deliberatly tageting innocent tourists externalised the conflict.

  • http://www.wingercomics.com/ Carson Fire

    bittorrent: “Israel is reaping the whirlwind due to decades of land grabs, mistreatment of the Palestinian Arabs and human rights abuses. Please! Read the history. Don’t start froma few weeks ago.”

    You want to go back farther than a few weeks ago? Fine, then… Israel is the historic Jewish homeland. The Romans kicked them out, and Arabs from other-already existing regions moved in. Anti-semites like you then consigned Jews to ghettos and slums around the world for generations. Jew-hating became the most accepted, world-wide ethnic hatred, which is the real excuse for wanting to displace the Evil Jews once again, by maintaining a bizarre pretense that Arabs don’t have enough land already.

    Oh, wait, you just wanted history to go back a few decades, didn’t you? You have to have a more convenient place to begin.

  • Tom

    Carson Fire writes: One proper comparison between the IRA might be the US South during the Civil War.’

    Risible

  • Jim Karna

    While the Palestinian struggle for independence has been adopted by the Islamist movement it is at its heart a political struggle opposed to a theological struggle which makes the IRA comparisons more salient.

    I’m not sure really going back to Roman times (although, granted, Roman laws forbidding Jews from participating in most economic activity that lead to the ghetto-isation both socially and economically added to the early Roman-Christian church’s scapegoating of Jews for the death of Jesus are at the root of European anti-Semitism) is that useful a point of reference. You can go back further than Roman times of course to when the Jews returned to the Holy Land from Egypt and kicked out the Arabs living there then… Going back further of course the 12 tribes of Israel followed Joseph to Egypt of their own volition to escape drought… and we’re into the realms of theological myth…

  • kl

    I’m going to have to stop reading your blog Jeff.

    Bye.

  • Marko

    As far as I know, the Palestinians in the Gaza strip kidnapped the Israeli soldier to try to swap prisoners. That didn’t work, so Hezbollah thought, lets help. And they kidnapped two more soldiers, and said they wanted to let them go after Israel released Palestinian and Libanese women and children allegedly imprisoned in Israeli jails. Israel responded by escalating the conflict into a war. And Hezbollah responded to that by fring thousands of rockets. Big question: Is it true that there are many women and children held in Israeli prisons (possibly without trial)?

  • http://fxtalks.blogspot.com Paris ib

    The violence must end. The war must be brought to a halt as soon as possible. Making Lebanon into a car park is not the answer.

    Open Letter to Hezbollah

  • bittorent

    Everyone who criticises Israel is labelled an anti-semite. It’s like criticising something Italy does and being labelled anti-Catholic. Ridiculous. Go ahead, I don’t hate Jewish people, I hate fascist terror states which ignore human rights, which is what Israel is. Remind me, how many UN resolutions are they in breach of? Of course the answer to that is attack the UN.

    I know these anti-semite smears are enough to scare and shut up a lot of Americans. But I’m not going to be intimidated.

    If you are so keen that land should be returned to its original owner then please America hand back land to the Native Americans. Many of your ancestors stole it and cheated them out of it.

    The IRA had links with ETA in Spain and other countries (Columbia?). Not to mention the Nazis from what I hear… But then so did the Bush family.

    I am well aware that in the Arab-Israeli conflict there is evil on both sides. Let’s not mention the Palestianian record on gay rights. But America has made Israel the third best equipped army in the world? Now Iran is equipping the Arabs.

    America’s power and influence is about to decline. Fifty years from now, the US could be like Britain was after WW2. Israel should start getting along with its neighbours now.

  • Jh


    Not our ex-President. He just returns to his own failed roadmaps to nowhere.

    Jarvis, I know youre an utter moron, but what happened to that peace treaty between Israel and Egypt now ? It seems to have held after 25 years. So who’s really failed here ?


    Did the IRA ever bomb Bali? Did they ever bomb Spain?

    The IRA did carry out some bombings in Gibraltar, IIRC.

    And in WW-II, England seriously considered invading Ireland a couple of times. A number of reasons held them up, including possible American reaction.

    It is also false to claim that the IRish Republic did not turn a blind eye to the IRA’s activities. There was plenty of wink-wink, nudge going on till the assasination of Mountbatten.


    The bottom line is, the billions of dark skinned Arabs on their gazillion square miles of territory are brutalizing and oppressing the 6 million white skinned Israelis on their postage stamp sized homeland.

    The numbers are somewhat irrelevant because Israel has a huge miitary advantage over its adversaries, including nukes.

  • Tom

    Steve says “The bottom line is, the billions of dark skinned Arabs on their gazillion square miles of territory are brutalizing and oppressing the 6 million white skinned Israelis on their postage stamp sized homeland.”

    What on earth does the colour of Arab or Israeli/Jewish skin have to do with anything? Is this some sort of appeal to racist sentiments?

    Disgusting

  • http://www.minihansworld.typepad.com John Tieso

    Perhaps we have forgotten that those ‘gazillon miles’ of arab territory included the land that Israel claimed as their own, got the UN to approve, and then drove bunches of those ‘dark skinned arabs’ off their land so that the Israelis could settle it with their own immigrants.

    Right now those brown-skinned arabs are making the IDF look like a second-rate power that still does not have their soldiers back.

  • clinton

    what i understand by the banner’s message isnt that people in lebanon have found an organization that so perfectly represents their religious beleifs and political ideology and that therefore they are ready to sign on for anything but rather its a reaction of the most human kind. the kind of reaction you have when your son is killed by an israeli bomb or your neighbors daugther or your sisters husband. when the rumors of death reach a certain point you react, you grab on to what you can, you come to hate those responsible even in if it was an accident. this article is sick because it attacks people who are already under constant attack and generally lack understanding while gloating in it’s wordy political cleverness and abundant oximoron. i cannot pick a side, i just think its fucking unfortunate

  • BS

    I have nothing to comment on the middle east problem but the lack of objectivity in your post and comments below them has definitely brought you down on my list of rational commentors.

    Both sides are wrong for historical reasons. It’s how frame the problem decides the character of the person. In your frame of reference there is no door open for the solution.

    Sir you are too old and mature to miss that.

  • Tom

    Note to IRA terrorism apologists:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=JXTBPAHDIJVXTQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/08/10/nira10.xml

    I do not expect that the United Kingdom will now level Armagh.

  • http://none Mark John Hunter

    Who is Hezbollah now? Why is Hezbollah accepted as the voice to celebrate in the Middle East? Do we celebrate George W. Bush? What do we celebrate GWB for? We can say to George W. Bush that elections do not legitimate violence, torture and secret prisons. Bombs dropped by Israel do not make the Jews the one people of God. Hamas and Hezbollah must learn that being elected does not legitimate kidnaping, violence, secret prisons and torture. There is no party which is God’s political party. Many of us in the West know that the George W. Bush’s Republican Party is not God’s political party, but neither is Hamas God’s political party. Hezbollah is not God’s political party. Political parties pretending to be God’s party were born after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. ( PBUH).
    Under democracy, voting replaces violence. Abraham Lincoln wrote that under democracy, ballots replace bullets. The great Civil War of the United States ended the idea that violence was a legitimate political method within the United States. So much of the Middle East is today engaged in a great civil war, a war in which foreign powers took their part.
    Democracy is not established until voting replaces political violence, and ballots replace bullets. Under Islam each man prays to God. No man rightly prays to his political party. A political party rightly does not dictate faith. Under democracy a citizen may ask, what is the political candidate’s faith? Under Islam, a voter may ask, from whom who does a Muslim political candidate receive his spiritual guidance? No man rightly receives his religious teaching from a political party.
    Oil is used in some religions as part of blessings. To be anointed with oil is a blessing. Nations anointed with oil are seldom blessed by their oil. Capitalists know that oil used for political reasons, only increases the price of the oil. Oil used for violence, the money paid for oil used for violence, violence used to take control of oil.
    If a dictator sells his oil for the highest price he can find, and uses it not for political reasons, then the world will ignore any horror the dictator puts upon his people. When a dictator stops the flow of oil, or stops the flow of natural gas for political reasons, the dictator becomes an enemy to the world. When the money from oil is used to sponsor terrorism, the dictator becomes an enemy of the world. Rightly, nothing human is alien to a man, and nothing human is to be left unknown and ignored by a man. The horrors within a dictator’s nation are every man’s horror.
    Hostility will not end hostility in this world. Yet in the West, we are told that only force is respected in the Middle East. What if not hostility will end the hostility of the Middle East? I see no Mahatma Ghandi, no Nelson Mandela, no Lech Walesa, no Martin Luther King for the Middle East. If the West neatly leaves the Middle East, then the civil war will be different, but not less bloody.
    God has only one people, who is all people.

  • LanceThruster

    I guess it would worth checking the archives to see the outrage at the pronouncements of “We are all Americans” (post 9/11) or “We are all Israelis” – post missile hits?

    MURDER as cover for THEFT is *not* SELF-DEFENSE!

    Hezbollah is fighting a defensive war. I hope they get help to turn back the forces of Israeli aggression. This is about Israel’s plan to control the water of the Litani river. Expect Israel to create a “buffer zone” all the way up to Beirut and beyond.

  • penny

    Right now those brown-skinned arabs are making the IDF look like a second-rate power that still does not have their soldiers back

    John, you idiot, Israeli are brown skinned too.

    Oil is used in some religions as part of blessings. To be anointed with oil is a blessing. Nations anointed with oil are seldom blessed by their oil. Capitalists know that oil used for political reasons, only increases the price of the oil. Oil used for violence, the money paid for oil used for violence, violence used to take control of oil.

    Mark John Hunter – whatever the hell your rant is about, I know that my car won’t run on Pepsi, that we cue up to pay the world’s spot price on imported oil like everyone else(hint: as a commodity it has peaked and reserves are decreasing worldwide) and that Ghandi was a Hindu and not real relevant to the here and now.

    clinton – whatever?

  • DBL

    I would like to correct one misperception of Israel that some of you have.

    Somewhat over half of the Jews in Israel are Sephardic Jews who were driven out of, or are descended from Jews who were driven out of, the Moslem countries of the middle east (Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, etc., etc.). Physically, they are indistinguishable from Arabs. Thus, it is false to say that Israel is a country of 5 million white Jews surrounded by 300 million dark skinned moslems. It would be accurate to say that Israel is a country of about 2-1/2 million dark skinned Jews and 2-1/2 million light skinned Jews and 1 million Arabs. I hope this clarifies matters for you.

    As for what Hezbollah wants, I don’t think that’s a big mystery. They want the state of Israel (as they and their Iranian paymasters put it, the “Zionist entity”) to go away, to disappear, to vanish from the face of the earth. I don’t think they care very much if the Jews flee or if they are all killed, but they want to create a judenfrei Islamic state out of all of the land between the Jordan River and the sea. I don’t understand why some of you seem to have such a hard time understanding this.

  • Tom

    DBL states: ‘it is false to say that Israel is a country of 5 million white Jews surrounded by 300 million dark skinned moslems.’

    Absolutely! Now the question remains, why are some people posting here arguing the merits of Israels case in terms of skin colour?

    I think the answer is obvious, and I would encourage all of citizens of Israel both to repudiate the argument and those who offer it (Israel) support on that basis.

  • http://www.digitalcameraplus.info Josh Hallett

    Israel has what it takes to lay any and all of her enemies to waste. It’s just a question of escalation and political will.

    Israel could end this current conflict by tonight if they wanted to, but they’d face international condemnation for reducing Lebanon- and Hezbollah- to glowing green shards of glass.

  • LC

    Mr. Feinman, I believe Hezbollah’s goal was said Mahmoud Komati, the deputy chief of the Hizbullah politburo. Of course the mainstream media probably wouldn’t
    report it, and neither would Mr. Jarvis. It was precisely a prisoner exchange. They captured 2 Israeli soldiers and took them hostage, while Israel has
    9000 Palestinians hostages.

    1,000 of them being held without charges. The other 8,000 were tried and convicted, but the information retrieved from them
    was acquired through torture.

    This claim is pure bunk.
    Are you claiming that those Palestinians held in Israeli prison (and by the way very few of them are of Lebanese nationality) are innocent?
    Those imprisoned are persons convicted of acts of murder and terrorism having no right under the laws of war to participate in armed hostilities.
    Foreign citizens of whatever nationality sneaking into Israel without observing the laws of war — wearing no uniforms and answering to no lawful command structure — in order to commit acts of murder and attacks on civilian infrastructure are simple criminals and have no right to release.

  • http://www.theincipient.com Robert Taylor

    How do you know what those 1000 prisoners are being held for? I just told you they are being held without charges. Do you know more than the Israeli government?

    Just look at the Human Rights organizations, you’ll see all the atrocities commited to prisoners. Until recently, Israel was the only country in the world to have legalized torture.

  • LC

    How do you know what those 1000 prisoners are being held for? I just told you they are being held without charges. Do you know more than the Israeli government?

    Come on, you are making a specific claim as to the innocence of the prisoners. I don’t know all the individual cases but it is the official position of the Israeli government that fighters sneaking into the country with no uniforms are criminals entitled to no protection under the laws of war. That applies equally to resistance by individual civilians to an occupying power, civilians being obliged to sstay out of the fighting or loosing their protection.

    The act of participation in armed conflict by civilians wearing no uniforms is by itself a war crime, and provided that the Israeli government has convinced a court that a civilian person had a gun, the person wouldn’t be innocent.
    But let’s take a specific example – Sameer Kuntar a “freedom fighter” who sneaked into Israel crushing the skull of a child. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

  • http://kalipuna.blogspot.com Dr. Mathews

    How about we examine the wider implications of this for a moment, instead of endlessly arguing who is right and who is wrong?

    In the case of the American quagmire in Iraq, courtesy of Seymour Hersh (http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060821fa_fact):

    At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on August 3rd, Rumsfeld was less than enthusiastic about the war’s implications for the American troops in Iraq. Asked whether the Administration was mindful of the war’s impact on Iraq, he testified that, in his meetings with Bush and Condoleezza Rice, “there is a sensitivity to the desire to not have our country or our interests or our forces put at greater risk as a result of what’s taking place between Israel and Hezbollah. . . . There are a variety of risks that we face in that region, and it’s a difficult and delicate situation.”

    And if, as Hersh avers, this Israeli war in Lebanon was a dress rehearsal for a US incursion into Iraq, the implications should be well heeded by the wise (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0721/p09s01-coop.html):

    Until now the Shiite Arabs of Iraq have been told by their leaders to leave American forces alone. But an escalation of tensions between Iran and the US could change that overnight. Moreover, the ever-increasing violence of the civil war in Iraq can change the alignment of forces there unexpectedly

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  • penny

    I read it and he nails it. I’m amazed that Harold Evans made it past the burqa clad cowering wimps controlling the Guardian.

  • Devin

    The reason Britian never attacked Dublin in Respons to the IRA…is because Dublin would have joined forces with the IRA, and together they would have “DEVESTATED” Britian….and guess what, us Americans would have helped. Got that, punk.

    PS. Don’t compare Hezbollah to the IRA. For one thing the IRA is much tougher, and more skilled. Second, IRA members don’t hate jews. and Third, the IRA are ‘freedom Fighters”, not terrorists like Hezbollah or Al Qaida.

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