Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Diplomacy and the Hounds of Hell

Why do people many consider to be smart keep making the same stupid decisions time and time again? Why do people keep insisting that we have to talk with the terrorists who keep raining down rockets and missiles on Israel? Hamas and Hizbullah are doing all their talking through their ongoing heinous acts. Attacking Israel across internationally recognized borders, killing Israelis, capturing Israelis, and now raining down rockets. Their core beliefs are dominated by the goal of the annihilation of Israel.

That stated goal is completely antithetical to the needs of the State of Israel, which is to continue existing and to protect and defend its citizens against attack.

Tell me, oh wise diplomats, where is the room for compromise? There is no common ground between Hizbullah and Israel. None between Hamas and Israel. If there isn't even common ground, you cannot bridge differences because you're not even talking about the same playing field. Hizbullah and Hamas want to dismantle Israel piece by bloody piece, until such point when they can completely overrun the country. That's a pipedream as far as I'm concerned, but that's their goal.

Kofi Annan keeps thinking that UN peacekeepers is the answer. Of course that's what he thinks, because that's how the UN stays in business. More than 2,000 peacekeepers have been stationed along Israel's northern borders, and they have done nothing to improve Israel's security. Frankly, Israel cannot permit anyone else to provide Israel's security because none will make the surpreme sacrifices needed to deter and prevent future attacks.

The latest plan is to have peacekeepers (now euphemistically called stabilization forces) act as a buffer between Hizbullah and Israel. Why would anyone ever agree to this? Why is the UN and so many countries so keen on protecting a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Israel. The proper buffer between Israel and Lebanon is the Israel/Lebanon border. That can be achieved with the elimination of Hizbullah. No need for stabilization forces thereafter, unless they want to help clean up Southern Lebanon after Israel is through eliminating the regional threat.

Jay Tea makes plenty of sense when he says that the time for talking with the terrorists is long past.
One cannot reason someone out of a position they did not arrive at through reasoning. There are those who cannot be calmly persuaded or enticed out of their goals. North Korea played Clinton like a master, making promises and commitments they had no intention of keeping, and got what they wanted, for one example.

And the Islamist militants in the Middle East are another.

They have their stated goal: the extermination of Israel and the establishment of an Islamist state in its place, on the way to a global Caliphate. Any compromises, any settlements, any agreements they make are all oriented towards achieving that goal.

Israel understands this. They know that Hamas and Hezbollah's compromise is "OK, we won't kill you all. We'll kill half of you now, and the rest later." And the "message" they are sending back to them is a "Candygram for Mongo" to the nth degree.

Let me save Senator Clinton the cost of a telegram. Here's Israel's message to Hamas and Hezbollah: "You're not going to continue killing us with impunity. Now it's your time to die. Have a nice day."
The IDF believes that it has destroyed between 40-50% of Hizbullah's capabilities and that it probably needs another week to finish the job. I think that underestimates the ability to resupply. At least one Israeli general thinks that it might take longer than that. While this approach means that Israel doesn't have to engage in a significant ground action in Lebanon or Syria, the threat will continue to persist, although Iran and Syria have lost a significant piece of their power projection in the region.

And enough with this nonsense about how Israel is using disproportionate force against Hizbullah. Ireland, that means you. The only thing that is disproportionate is the extreme care Israel takes in choosing targets in Lebanon - to kill Hizbullah terrorists and destroy their ability to kill Israelis. Hizbullah indiscriminately fires into Israel seeking to maximize civilian casualties, and hopes for a lucky shot that hits a piece of critical infrastructure causing mass casualties. If Israel kills civilians, it's not done on purpose. When Hizbullah kills Israeli civilians, it's done on purpose.

If Hizbullah had the means to launch aircraft against Israel, they would do so. If they had artillery, they'd use it. They are using all the means at their disposal to try and kill Israelis. Israel is using restrained force to kill Hizbullah instead of turning all of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran into a pile of rubble.

All the same, Hizbullah keeps firing rockets into Israel, and they again targeted the Haifa train station, along with locations in Safed and elsewhere in Northern Israel. Israel, meanwhile, interdicted and destroyed a convoy of four trucks heading from Syria into Lebanon carrying weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert keeps saying it best - the fighting will end when the threat is removed. Why is that so tough to figure out?

In Lebanon, the city of Tyre, which the NYT characterizes as a Hizbullah stronghold, is now under assault from the Israelis. As it should be. Why should Israel cease its operations against Hizbullah if parts remain intact or are capable of reforming shortly after Israel concludes its operations.

The primary bloggers to check with are Carl in Jerusalem, Israellycool, Dave Bender, Meryl Yourish, Euphoric Reality, Pajamas Media, and Hot Air. Check back with them regularly for updates. For more information on those liveblogging the conflict from Israel, see here.

Iran's leader Ahmadinejad says that Israel is trying to conquer Lebanon because of Iran's nuclear program. Um, if Israel wanted to conquer Lebanon, they could have already landed forces everywhere and anywhere they wanted in the country. They don't want to conquer Lebanon. They want to eliminate the threat posed by Iran's proxy army - Hizbullah.

Austin Bay notes how Hizbullah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups are taking advantage of the failings in the Westphalian nation-state system.

Is Iran openly bragging about its role in attacking Israel via Hizbullah? Certainly seems that way.
07:35 A high ranking Iranian military official interviewed by the Asharq al-Awsatt newspaper, indicated that the Hezbollah has not yet revealed the entirety of its arsenal and would not hesitate to ''surprise and horrify Israel'' if the IDF continues its offensive. He added that 130 Iranian intelligence instructors and agents are currently in Lebanon, helping the Hezbollah.
Via Discarded Lies.

Don Surber takes another look at President Bush's unscripted comments about Syria and Hizbullah.

Meryl Yourish notes that Iran is trying to buy time and space for Hizbullah, because it knows just how badly Israel has mauled the terrorists.

And can I add my voice to those who think Richard Cohen's knowledge of history is more than a little flawed? Israel's existence was a mistake? You could say the same thing about every border drawn by Europeans in Africa, the Middle East, and anywhere else for that matter, where countries were invented along borders that never existed before (Palestine, TransJordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey were all part of the Ottoman Empire until its breakup after WWI by the Europeans). Hot Air, Blue Crab Boulevard, and LGF have more. And Kesher Talk notes the Holocaust revisionism going on as well in Cohen's piece.

On moral equivalence. Why do some folks, like Matthew Yglesias, think that Hizbullah's indiscriminate firing of missiles and rockets into Israel is equally indefensible as Israel's response. Never mind that Israel responded after Hizbullah instigated the situation in Lebanon by invading Israel and killing and capturing Israelis in the process. Jonathan Chait takes Yglasias to task. Good on him.

Dr. Sanity notes the paucity of commentary from the Left that directly addresses the conflict. Sure, there are some folks on the Left who are finding their voice to bash Bush for using foul langugage to describe Syrian and Hizbullah's actions, but they have not actually come out against the terrorists and their terror masters. They've remained silent.
Most of the lefty blogsphere are just missing in action (or inaction as the case may be).

These "sophisticated thinkers" who think progressively and wear "reality-based community" t-shirts and scoff at the threat to western civilization; and sneer at the efforts of good people to do something about it, can't be bothered to actually face reality.

It would be far too scary.

It would be way too frightening to face the devastating insight of their own betrayal of reality and the good; all for the sake of a few shiny ideological shekels that trick them into feeling smug and safe and oh so intellectually and morally superior.
Meanwhile, Israel is fighting for its survival. And Saudi Arabia states that the Lebanese government needs to assert itself over the entirety of its country. Yes, that would be a good start. Of course, the same could be said of Saudi Arabia, who has often let terrorists operate freely within the Kingdom as long as they didn't bother the government and focused their attentions elsewhere. This is yet another sign that the Saudis are using this conflict to press their agenda against Iran.

Nazareth's residents are worried that they might come under fire from Hizbullah. Most of the city's residents are Arab, but that doesn't concern Hizbullah, who has shown utter disdain for anyone's lives - Arab or Israeli, Muslim, Christian, or Jew. They have good reason to be worried as they're within range of Hizbullah's rockets, which continue to prove deadly.

The US is ferrying out US citizens from Lebanon, though some are criticizing the pace of the efforts as being far too slow.

Via Zulubaby at LGF, Hizbullah is preventing Lebanese from escaping the violence. Hizbullah is blocking villagers from leaving, or preventing the UN to get in and assist those trying to escape. Gunfights have even broken out at the Hizbullah checkpoints.

And who is trying to get out of Lebanon altogether? Debbie Schlussel seems to think quite a few Hizbullah supporters, and notes the irony of having Marines coming in to aid in their flight from the fighting.

Speaking of irony, Hizbullah says that they're ready to attack US interests. Again. Let's not forget when they tried that last. 1983. 243 Marines died when a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with explosives into the barracks, blowing it to pieces. Those Marines were in Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission. And Hizbullah attacked them nonetheless. That's why peacekeeping operations will not be successful in Lebanon. Hizbullah will simply view them as targets who are unlikely to fire back.

Pierre Lagrande thinks that if Israel doesn't take the next steps and take on Syria and/or Iran, then it will have failed to contain Iran's intentions, much as Europe failed to contain Hitler before WWII. I tend to disagree with that assessment since Israel is eliminating Iran's proxy armies at a fast clip, and that lessens Iran's influence not only in Lebanon, but Syria and elsewhere. Appeasing Iran is not the way to go, and while Israel's patience is not unlimited, neither is its capabilities. We're still very early into this conflict. Israel is shaping the conflict to its strategic and tactical needs. Syria and Iran may yet be the endgame, so as Taranto says - give them a chance to make this fight proportional.

Olmert says that the world has fallen for Iran's trick - using the situation in Gaza/Lebanon to take attention off Iran's nuclear program. Israel is dealing with the imminent problem of Hizbullah firing on Israel, but the world must deal with Iran now, before it is too late.

It figures that al Jazeera thinks that the situation in Lebanon is an international conspiracy. Maybe they've been reading the cesspool of DU or Daily Kos? The facts are just too damn difficult to figure - that Islamic terrorist carried out these attacks from Lebanon out of the blue and that many Arabs find this absolutely loathsome. Israel defends itself instead of rolling over and dying.

Others keeping tabs on the ticker and the ongoing situation in Israel and Lebanon, along with the diplomatic maneuverings (never forget - it's the job of diplomats to talk, hear themselves talk, and to talk to others): Vital Perspective, Liberty and Justice, and Secular Blasphemy.

I have a bad feeling about anyone trying to impose a deadline on Israel's abilities to strike at Hizbullah before world opinion shuts them down. That's a timetable, precisely the kind of thing the world should avoid when dealing with terrorists. Terrorists know full well that they simply have to survive to claim victory, and that means they can simply hide while the bombings continue and emerge unscathed at the end of the day.

I have a real bad feeling about this as well. Hizbullah claims that they have the capability to hit Tel Aviv. Israel says if that happens, all hell breaks loose in Syria and Iran. I doubt both ends of the story, but if Hizbullah does manage to hit Tel Aviv, consider Damascus to be targeted post haste, and we're not talking about buzzing the tower. It's going to be a bombing raid.

Meanwhile, the Israelis haven't stopped dealing with Hamas in Gaza.

Still others blogging: Ed Morrissey, OPFOR, Hot Air, Dan Riehl, Jeff Goldstein, and Pajamas Media.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

No comments: