A House Divided…

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Subscribers to the listserv of the Columbia Student Solidarity Network (a liberal umbrella group rejuvenated in the wake of this February’s Ashcroft visit) were treated yesterday to two oddly contrasting invitations. One, forwarded by College Dems president Mike Nadler, exhorts readers to sign a pro-Israel petition that Hillel will send to Kofi Annan. Another promotes an “emergency forum” this Saturday to address Israel’s “barbaric campaign of destruction against the Palestinian and Lebanese people,” endorsed by (among others) the International Socialist Organization.

Bwog holds out the sincere hope that at least some of these people are friends with each other.

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  1. revelation!

    hillel supports israel!? who knew!? kofi's certainly going to have to change course now!

  2. real solutions

    This coming semester, instead of the regular dueling demonstrations, speakers and rallies, I would like to suggest that for the entertainment benefit of all slightly apathetic Columbians that a mud wrestling match between whichever Hillel representative feels up for the challenge against whoever feels like stepping up on behalf of the other side. Winner takes all and the loser cannot program for an entire semester.

  3. J Train

    At least it's balanced...

  4. And...

    It would probably come closer to a solution than the normal bickering does.

  5. i'm confused

    what do the dems have against lebanon?

  6. Seth Low

    Since it's happened on virtually every other online forum, I thank bwog for giving its readers the opportunity to engage in an Israel vs. The World pissing match.

  7. interesting  

    Wow. Talk about hacing discussion within the dems. Not. Fuck the dems, I'm quitting them. Thanks for unilaterally deciding this Nadler. Not all dems are blindly "pro-Israel."

    • disinterested  

      I think you're missing the crux of it. This could just as easilly be misconstrued as someone else unilaterally deciding all dems are "pro-palestine/lebanon" which is equally as untrue. The point is that you can choose to sign any petition or go to any event that you choose to go to. The humor is in the irony. Cheers.

      • i don't know

        i think the point was about CSSN..which is the umbrella group and how they're trying to walk a fine line about this conflict...from the blog post it seems that Nadler on behalf of the dems is encouraging the CSSN to sign a pro-israel petition. However at the same time there is a pro-palestinian conference which is being urged on by the ISO amongst others. Unless the dems are amongst the 'others' (and from the article, their absence either means they aren't or somebody didn't include all they should) it's fair to say they're pushing the pro-israel position (though whether its done blindly is up to debate).

        What is certainly true is that the president of one of the biggest political clubs on campus has chosen to send out a political request supporting one particular side during the middle of summer. It would probably wouldn't be as a big a deal if it was about the death penalty or the pro-choice debate, but because israel-palestine is more controversial for the left, bwog right wanted to point out the tight line CSSN has to walk.

  8. bipartisanship at work

    I love how there's never any discord among the major political parties when it comes to endorsing bloodshed and suffering in the middle east. the israel lobby: a uniter, not a divider...

  9. to be fair

    your generalization suggests that you have an anti-israeli bias when you try to smear the israel lobby by trying to simply the complexity of the situation.

    though i guess israeli's love to commit themselves to mindless bloodshed and suffering of other arabs in the middle east right? at least in your world.

    (i wonder for those at columbia who holds this posters view and the view of the other anti-israeli above---don't you find your preconceptions of israeli's as ethnocentric, mindless, indiscriminate killers as a little silly considering all the jewish kids at our university? i mean, i know a lot of folks from hillel who'd be considered hardliners and i swear to whatever deity you want that they're actually decent human beings and not the strawmen you're setting them up as)

    • I was referring

      not to hillel but to the congressional resolution vote on israel's actions.

      and by the "israel lobby," I did not mean to "smear israelis," but those people in the US who unquestionably support israeli policy and who do everything in their power to ensure the US government supports it just as unhesitatingly.

      btw, the perspectives of the "jewish kids at our university" and those of "israelis" cannot be equated. it would be trying to "simply" the complexity of the situation, wouldn't it?

      lots of people, irrespective of religion, feel this dismemberment of lebanon and lebanese alike is somehow justified.

      • Wiltord

        your generalization suggests that you have an anti-nazi bias when you try to smear the brownshirts by trying to simplify the complexity of the situation.

        though i guess nazi's love to commit themselves to mindless bloodshed and suffering of nonaryans in europe right? at least in your world.

        (i wonder for those at columbia who holds this posters view and the view of the other anti-nazis above---don't you find your preconceptions of nazi's as ethnocentric, mindless, indiscriminate killers as a little silly considering all the nazi kids(ie ruggles boys and cracker leaving ppl) at our university? i mean, i know a lot of folks from the KKK and aryan nation who'd be considered hardliners and i swear to whatever deity you want that they're actually decent human beings and not the strawmen you're setting them up as)

  10. Mike Nadler

    I’m posting to clarify a couple of things that are clearly not understood, based on the previous discussion.

    First, for reference, here is the message/link I forwarded to the CSSN: http://www.hillel.org/supportisrael/?ref=support1

    Second, CSSN is a group that operates an email list to foster discussion and to help disseminate information about upcoming events. For more information, check out their website (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssn/). As far as I am aware, CSSN is not a group in the sense that it does not/has not sponsored events or policies itself. Rather, it allows members of the political left to discuss issues and coordinate campaigns. It doesn’t take positions or act on its own. I was not “encouraging the CSSN to sign a pro-israel petition,” as someone asserted. If individuals who are on the CSSN list want to sign it, which I hope they do, then they are free to do so.

    Third, I was not doing anything “on behalf of the Democrats.” I was not acting on behalf of any organized group. I individually chose to pass the message on because someone had previously sent an email to the CSSN email list inviting people to “an ‘emergency forum’ to address Israel's ‘barbaric campaign of destruction against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.” The College Democrats haven’t taken any stance on this issue. My email was sent in response to this previous message.

    Lastly, my was sent because many on the political left do support Israel’s policies, both in general, as well as in the current conflict, and should not be afraid of saying so. If CSSN can be used to promote and disseminate anti-Israel messages, then people who support Israel have a responsibility to respond. It is wrong to assume that those on the left should have an a priori objection to Israeli actions and policies.

    I don’t assume that all Democrats are “blindly pro-israel,” as someone put it. I would hope that most people, Democrats included, wouldn’t blindly follow any position, but rather would consider both sides of an issue. Supporting or opposing Israel, however, isn’t a partisan issue. Last week, the Senate passed a resolution supporting Israel with overwhelming bipartisan support (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d109:13:./temp/~bssujEE::). The House of Represenatives passed a similar resolution, (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.res.00921:) again with overwhelming bipartisan support: 410 congressmen voted for it, and only 8 voted against it. Those 8 included members of both parties.

  11. why is war

    the least controversial thing congress votes on?

  12. BB2

    "....from the blog post it seems that Nadler on behalf of the dems is encouraging the CSSN to sign a pro-israel petition.


    What is certainly true is that the president of one of the biggest political clubs on campus has chosen to send out a political request supporting one particular side during the middle of summer."

    Exactly how it was presented. I agree, # 12. There was one endorsement on a sharply dividing issue. If I'm not mistaken, there's a specific group in the College Democrats, pro- Israel Progressives that could have taken up that stance. But the president of an entire political club is quite another matter and makes is making a decisive statement this way.

  13. Alfred

    I suggest everyone read my article on the CSSN from back in 2002. I see they are up to their old tricks again. This is disgraceful. I wish Israel the best in her campaign to defend herself.

  14. beth

    When was the last time the israelis did anything good for the USA? last time I checked all they've done is blow US war ships, spy on us constantly, steal of our military secrets, make the arabs hate us more through their aggression. I would not be surprised if they engineered 9/11 to draw the US into a war to take out one of their enemies in the middle east. and we give these bastards 3 billion dollars a year to support their foul deeds when so many americans can't even afford proper healthcare? I can think of much better ways to use theat foriegn aid then to give it to those war monggers, buying AIDS medication of africa for one. not to mention we just rushed over a shipment of bombs so they can continue their campaign of terror against the citizens of lebannon and palestine. fuck israel they've been nothing but a pain in the ass for the USA. And for all the american jews who are blindly supporting israel I don't know which side you're on, but you're certainly not putting the interest of this country first. I mean look it wolferwitz he engineered the iraq war just to draw attention away from link between the 3000 american deaths on 9/11 and the palestinian issue. Now another 3000 americans and hundreds of thousands of iraqis have died.

  15. uhoh...

    i believe the blog has now descended to level of the democratic underground

    p.s. wake up...any major political figure..which the guy on campus now is has no 'private' opinions..its the reason why you see tight lipped statements in the spec from pres' generally

  16. a question, seriously

    what scares me is that the right doesn't do this. this is why they remain in power. when they disagree to the death about a single issue they don't let it effect the fact that they agree on the other 99. They keep their eye on the ball, that is, making sure that someone of their ideological flavor is making the big decisions.

    what scares me is the second anyone on the left disagrees with anyone in the Democratic party in a large way on any one issue they immediately jump to "Fuck the dems, I'm quitting them."

    yeah maybe Nadler should have realized that when he says something people immediately think all the Dems have taken a position, but more importantly, could the left just fucking figure out how to disagree to death over a single issue (umm, israel) but not just give up on working together entirealy without any hesitation. wouldn't we rather have liberals in charge that we agree with 9 times out of 10 than conservatives that we almost never agree with anything on?

    even better, could we have a discussion about israel that simultaneously recognizes that what israel does to other people in countries around them is disgusting but that they also have the right to defend their own existence?

  17. this is a good debatable point

    can one understand that to israelis (just so that we can try and understand where they're coming from while we disagree with them) a status quo that says it is ok to kidnap israeli soldiers, is a threat to their existence

    what would have been a good response for Israel in reaction to the kidnappings?

    • Hans Brix

      Perhaps poster #28 thinks an acceptable response would be for Israel to get very angry and to write Hassan Nasrallah a letter telling him how angry Israel is with him and Hezbollah.

      • hey Brix

        that wasn't very helpful, you can calm down and try to be constructive too - just because you think the other side is being irrational doesn't mean you make your point more eloquently by being a jerk

      • or

        they could be INTELLIGENT and PROPORTIONAL about it and try to locate their soldiers, target those directly responsible, and maybe not attempt to completely unravel lebanon's government while driving more people into hezbollah's hands by indiscriminately bombing their neighborhoods...just a thought.

        • true

          internecine conflict in lebanon, israel inextricably involved...this is like 1982 all over again, except this time everyone is far angrier with israel. how is this a good security situation for them? instead of defending themselves, they've made the region far worse off, and the world a more dangerous place.

        • and..

          And who is "directly responsible"? Hezbollah, of course. And how do they target Hezbollah, given that Hezbollah uses the population of southern Lebanon as human shields? I'd say Israel is doing a bang-up job in trying to minimize innocent casualties and collateral damage. They dropped Arabic leaflets and made telemarketing-style phone calls to Lebanon's residents warning them to leave.

          Who the hell else does that? Nobody in the World Trade Center got a call on 9/11. Nobody in in the Haifa got a leaflet saying "Warning, we're going to start shooting rockets at you. Now would be a good time to leave."

          • the thing about this conflict

            yeah, they did a pretty bang-up job on beirut by destroying it just after it had begun to be rebuilt. lebanon's economy is set back another 20 years. lebanon's democracy is finished. popular sentiment for hezbollah is stronger than ever. playing theoretical polisci tit-for-tat games does not make these realities disappear.

            nor does pretending israel and hezbollah are comparable entities. the reason the burden is on israel not to overreact is precisely because israel is a responsible state that CAN respond to international pressure and CAN negotiate directly with parties like the US. and because it stands more chance of actually listening. of course hezbollah are rennegades; that's why it makes no sense to try and impose some moral equivalency on them. it helps no one. what does help is doing what is far more possible than hoping hezbollah will shrink in the face of moral accusations: directly pressuring israel to end its brutal overreactions, which drive the retributionary cycle all over the region even further. take a hint: this conflict has only escalated every time israel decides to pursue a unilateral solution that winds up disproportionately injuring civilians. trust is entirely lost.

            casting blame and demanding responsibility are one thing. actually determining that it will achieve something when applied to only one party, israel, is what the US needs to do if it's ever going to get anywhere with this conflict.

        • catch22

          Agree with that. Or, maybe the said motivation behind this "proportional" response is a smokescreen for something else. Two kidnapped do not in any universe justify the indiscriminate bombing of civilian residences and installations, the utter devestation wreaked. It was a slimey thing to do to capture those two soldiers to force negotiations for some of the thousands of people Israel imprisons and brutalizes without due process, but why wouldn't Israel consider it before these measures? It's supposed to be a democratic state. All the lives of those over ten thousand prisoners and all the civilians being killed now are obviously not worth those two captured soldiers, apparantly. Atleast it should stop painting itself as simply reacting when there are obvious triggers all along, extra judicial imprisonment and assassinations, the walls, the subjugation, well before the violence starts in earnest. "Peace" or violence there's one side that loses tremendously either way.

          • you see trees...

            How can you, or anyone, say that Israel is indiscriminately bombing civilians for 2 soldiers? These soldiers were just the final straw, the catalyst. The kidnapping in conjunction with the jeopardy in which daily Israeli society is steeped culminated in this war. War was inevitable regardless of the kidnapping. This has happened before, namely in World War I.

          • more trees

            you assume that every action against israel is an isolated act of terrror or part of a long string of unprovked hostilties while failing to acknowledge that there are underlying factors, often leading back to israeli policy- see the jpost column.

  18. ehh

    its more realistic if you change "right to defend their own existence" to "right to defend themselves" -and thus to- "a status quo that allows the kidnapping of israeli soldiers can definitely be seen as something they need to defend themselves from"

  19. intifada fun

    NYT features "peacemakers," a game centered around the israeli palestinian conflict...maybe we could all learn something:


  20. and another thing

    a "human shield" is still a human. the fact that it's more difficult not to harm civilians does not mean that that responsibility may be abrogated. assuming israel had the right to do so, it OBLIGATES it to pursue its targets in a more sophisticated manner. anyone who saw "munich" knows it has the capability to do so. israel is bombing a haystack in the attempt to dislodge needles; in the process it's burning down the entire barn.

    • are you trying to tell me...

      that Israel's decision on how to react to this crisis should be modeled after a movie?

      For the record, I am perfectly in favor of Israel sending swarms of under-the-radar covert operatives across the world to hunt down and kill those motherfuckers. Except the guys who masterminded Munich could fit into the Lerner Piano Lounge.

      How big is Hezbollah?

      Also, with regards to "pursuing targets in a more sophisticated manner", well if the world worked like that, we'd have Osama bin Laden by now.

      No wait, we'd have him a month after 9/11.

      • yeah

        i'm not sure what a more 'sophisticated' manner is.

        if countries could take out terrorists surgically using some type of new technological expertise which also somehow outweighed the fact that dedicated terrorists who are willing to sacrifice there life are very resourceful then heck yes, they'd employ it--who knows, perhaps they're trying to now (moving troops into higher risk but more surgical operations?)--however for the most part the types of thing you're suggesting are a fantasy.

        the sad fact of war and armed conflicts are innocent people and children get hurt and killed. nobody supports that (w/a small exception that doesn't see anyone as 'innocent'), and while its reasonable to call for a cessation of violence (a realistation fair one), its silly to say somebody's attacks are too indiscriminate unless you have a plausible and equally effective alternative (not a like that movie did suggestion)

    • incredible

      are you seriously trying to use a movie, which is dated off of a semi-historical set of events that took place thirty years ago as a blueprint for fighting large terrorist groups that control parts of countries and also have social and political wings? You really might want to step out of that international relations course and consider that terrorists aren't idiots..they understand spies and mercenaries infiltrate their groups and hunt them (a somewhat suprising fact is that some separatist/terrorist groups are more famed for targeting there own out of suspicion in order to ensure loyalty)...they are savvy individuals (which is why they've reverted to the cell like structures that which bear a slight resemblance to the battle of algiers like blocks), often w/highly educated members at their head who are versed in warfare who know how manipulate the media and how to use propaganda..They're not going to be professors teaching theories that a bunch of random mossad members can just take out...

      i mean good god, you're aware that even in munich the mossad members nearly killed civilians numerous times? now consider not frolicking aroudn europe hunting for terrorists but instead entering a terrain which is controlled and overflowing w/the enemy..an enemy who is resourceful, tactical, disregards life and is on their hometurf. Surgical operations of the type you're suggesting are the thing fairy tales are made of.

      By the way, you're kidding yourself if you think that the mossad wouldn't use a less discretionary method of execution w/regards to the possible death of civilians if they really believed they needed to get someone.

  21. the thing is

    israel is stuck between a rock and a hard place. yes, it would look bad and possibly invite further infractions if israel stood by and did nothing. but its response will clearly further alienate the lebanese and engender a far more destablized condition for israel in the long term. hezbollah WANTED to provoke israel's attack for this very reason; now it has international opinion against israel and the IDF bogged down in a war that could last who knows how long. syria and iran are sitting pretty because all kinds of pressure is taken off of them. the escalating violence will spark more conflict against the US and israel all over the place. israel had a choice between two evils and, trying to act macho, chose the worst one, strategically.

  22. it's amusing

    that you guys can think of so many reasons why more targeting killing wouldn't work, but you can't at all see the long term political implications of invading lebanon, and how much more things will be fucked up for israel (and the rest of us who are lashed to the consequences of its blunt war machine because of the money and influence of AIPAC et al in congress)

  23. perspective

    As Americans sitting on our couches watching CNN or reading the NY Times, we miss a fundamental aspect of the Middle East conflict. The attacks on Israel and on Lebanon can't be compared to 9/11 in the least. When two buildings came crashing down in NY, and thousands of people died, it was certainly a tragedy. But it did not make people question whether or not America would exist 5, or 50 years from now. Our country is here to stay. There may be people who hate us, and who can certainly cause us harm, but we continue to exist and prosper and flourish.

    This is not the case with Israel. Israel is surrounded by countries and peoples it feels seek its destruction (and most of them do). The battle it wages is for its existence and we must view it as such in order to understand the conflict. The Israelis see their homes threatened every day. When a rocket hits Haifa, it may as well have hit Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, too. If Israel had simply exchanged prisoners for the first captured soldier, it would have had to give up more and more soldiers for the next one, and the one after that. This is not an exchange it could afford to make. The enemy Israel fights does not wear a uniform -- the women and minors demanded for release are not innocent simply because of their gender or age. (Women can blow themselves up, as can 16-year old.)

    At the same time, a war cannot be waged without casualties on both sides. Hezbollah has purposely created a situation wherein more civilians die on the Lebanese side than necessary - Hezbollah purposely imbedded itself within a civilian population so as to make its extraction and eradication more painful for both sides.

    • anti-zionist

      what an absurd little screed. rockets falling on haifa affect tel aviv and jerusalem and therefore threaten israel's existence? are you out of your mind? israel isn't going to disappear because of a few rockets. this is hyped scaremongering to an absurd extreme. the IDF is by far the most powerful military in that part of the world. stop spinning myths in order to get people to feel sorry for israel.

      hezbollah is not blockading lebanon's ports or dismantling its airport. there are thousands of americans still trapped in lebanon, fearing for their lives, fearing israel. hezbollah operates in discrete parts of the country, but israel has defined the conflict between itself and any possible person, place, or thing that could ever assist hezbollah, and put far more civilians than hezbollah could ever dream of in its crosshairs.

  24. btw

    movie was a pop culture example meant to illustrate a perfectly legitimate tactic. kudos to those of you who actually debated that rather than remarking "a movie? are you kidding?"

    no, a movie is not a proper cue for the conduct of international relations. but neither are platitudinous statements regarding the need for israel to "defend itself" when no one has demonstrated conclusively that this action will lead to that (but many have explained why it will result in the polar opposite). step out of international relations class? get a clue: responding to a hostility in the manner prescribed by some cold war game theory formula is not the way a conflict this complicated is going to be resolved. and every member of hezbollah and every arab state knows exactly what israel is capable of; they're VERY aware of what happened in 1948, 1967, 1973, and especially in the case of hezbollah, 1982. what kind of crackbrained theory dictates that israel would "look weak" if it didn't carpet-bomb lebanon? the weakness is going to be exposed when hezbollah's recruits swell their ranks and israel is up to its waist in bloody guerilla conflict in lebanon.

    you guys were probably the same people who advocated for the iraq war because of all those weapons of mass destruction saddam was supposed to possess. ridiculously myopic.

  25. Mod - eye on the ball

    make your point and stay with it, that last paragraph was useless. no, i did not advocate for the iraq war because of all those weapons of mass destruction

    the point that israel is known to be a strong enough force in the Middle East that it doesn't have to prove itself every time it is attacked is a good one - stick with it - you almost had me, one oh so ridiculously myopic, convinced.

    also, crackbrained, i am not. throwing things like that into arguments with people who disagree with you, and who are willing to be convinced of another point of view, doesn't help your case.

    It also doesn't help prove your point to readers because it's a flag to mean "I don't know what I'm talking about so I'm just going to fling mud around"

    that said, what say you 'perspective' to the fact that Israel's strike at Hezbollah in Lebanon only makes Hezbollah stronger by swelling their ranks, does not give Israel a strong image as it already possesses one, and even hurts Israel in the long run by making it even more hated?

  26. Yours Truly

    This thread is interesting to read.

    It would be nice if the organizers of the "emergency forum" this Saturday to address Israel's "barbaric campaign of destruction against the Palestinian and Lebanese people," would invite some people from Hillel to tell their side of the story, and then, while consciously taking the high road and making sure to provide a nonhostile atmosphere, actually listen and ask thoughtful questions aimed at convincing their guests that Israel's action was poorly conceived -- because it doesn't hurts rather than helps Israel.

    I'm very "proisrael" and could be convinced of that too if it wasn't for all these idiots yelling about everything.

  27. in short

    there is no right more sacred than that of Israel's to a sense of security in the Middle East. The US has backed this. The US essentially threw the people of Lebanon under the bus, sacrificing them to Israel's need to free the region of potential threats.

    That's at the heart of every aspect and facet of the Israeli relations with it's environment- the massive power imbalance.

    Israel was born of conflict, and throughout it's history has chosen the path of armed conflict to secure itself. When was the last time Israel made a truly meaningful sacrifice of something of their own in the cause of peace? Everything they've returned- the Sinai, Southern Lebanon, Gaza, has all been things they took by force. Whether it was out of necessity or not that force was brought to bear is not the point here.

    Israel has always dictated the terms of every interaction- in the latest case its that hezbollah must either be destroyed regardless of the costs to Lebanon, or disarmed. The kidnapped soldiers must be returned. And then they'll consider discussing anything else.

    I reiterate, the instability and hostility will continue in perpetuity until either side is annihalated so long as Israel insists on its need to maintain the power imbalance in the name of security. Anyone who thinks true peace can be born out of such a situation is a fool in my opinion.

    • just

      how did the US throw Lebanon under the bus? oh that's right by telling our only friend in teh middle east that it's OK to continue bombing lebanon for another week before we'd intervene. that's so impartial I feel like crying. and we wonder why we have no other friends?

  28. it should be noted

    that the ostensible reasoning behind the kidnapping was to gain leverage in negotiations with Israel- which as I've argued never needs to negotiate unless it feels like it. they'll negotiate after the status quo is returned, i.e. theres no leverage, or even better, they are even further satisfied in their control of the situation.

    Israel, the most paranoid state of our time?

  29. hey guys

    MSNBC interviews Richard Bulliet for their flashpoint israel-hezbollah special tonight- go columbia!

  30. Unscared

    what scares me is that the right doesn't do this. this is why they remain in power. when they disagree to the death about a single issue they don't let it effect the fact that they agree on the other 99. They keep their eye on the ball, that is, making sure that someone of their ideological flavor is making the big decisions.

    what scares me is the second anyone on the left disagrees with anyone in the Democratic party in a large way on any one issue they immediately jump to "Fuck the dems, I'm quitting them."

    What a joke. Have you considered that the worth of hundreds (and if you count the thousands now without water, electricity, mobility, the right to education) of civilian lives taken over these two kidnapped soldiers is worth more to this person than some crappy club? It's about priorities baby.

  31. they probably  

    should have just put the jewish state in germany. they after all were the nation that theoretically 'lost' world war ii.

  32. Why is it....

    that Israel is held to a standard of restraint to which no other country is held?

  33. are you

    seriously silly enough to believe that this entire thing is about 2 soldiers? fine...it may have been 2 soldiers on this particular occasion that hezbollah kidnapped adn are probably lying decapitated by now, but the truth is this war was began because teh escalation of violence and discrete target of israeli soldiers was advanced by hezbollah. it is amazing that the people here think that all hezbollah wanted was two soldiers as negotiating pawns and as a consequence it was fine to have that and shouldn't be considered an escalation.

    hezbollah has a past history of killing many more innocents and israeli soldiers. they are a terrorist group. they called for war by engaging in an ambush and attack. they escalated the situation from a cease fire (surprise at the same time the un was asking for promptness from iran regarding the sanction/nukes issue) to an open attack/ambush. This was an act of agression across israel's border. Hezbollah act was criminal and violent and while you may claim retaliation was disproportionate, what was it disproportionate to? Is there a surgical alternative that isn't based on speilberg flicks? Combing through the timeline fo this you'll see the intial response by israel was a bombing of bridges and paths in southern lebanon in order prevent a path of transportign the kidnapped victims. Then after having that effort frustrated israel responded by taking out public and private means of communication and organization of hezbollah. I know all the folks here would love to feed teh idea that israel is indiscriminately carpet bombing southern beirut, tripoli, zalah, and ba'aboa but the truth is that despite teh coverage of reporters who don't even dare go into those cities from bbc, cnn adn others, most of these are targeted precision guided attacks. The fact is terrorist groups like hezbollah disregard life and purposely exploit civilian deaths. On that as, I woudl ask any of teh critical posters to give me a definite answer of how many hezbollah members have been killed. It's simple, the lack of reporting from the lebanese side and the hezbollah propaganda campaign has made it common knowledge taht 300 civilians have died and no hezbollah figthers, despite the fact planes have dropped numerous bombs in the south and had precision based attacks south of bayt ad din. So before terms like 'utter devestation' orthings like that are thrown out or claims of indiscriminate brutalized killings are made, please support it was justifiable source. Civilian deaths are horrible, however it is foolish and naive to think that attacking a foreign state supported terrorist group that has became enmeshed in lebanon's society largely though violence and brutal tactics can be attacked without tragic unintended casualties. As for 'supposed to be a democratic state', do you understand separation of powers or how decisions of war are made, or how direct elections or referendums aren't called on every single issue? There are advisors and analysts for that reason and its silly to speculate and claim there weren't a multitude of responses considered. As for the ridiculous conflation with the palestinian case with the lebanese/hizbollah and throwing in the screechign cries of the wall, assassinations, extra judicial imprisionments like a broken record, take a minute and think about how these individual issues stand within their larger complex issues. if you wish to argue each i'm sure you'll find outlets, but right now the issue is hezbollah so stick to the point. and despite your unambiguous claims israel's actions are obviously now not worth it that's disingenuous. remember the bombing of beirut and other places started occuring especially after the rocket attacks began. they were obviously meant to cut off centers of hezbollah in those cities (for example teh bombing of roads to syria). thus lets consider the 3 or 4 dozen israeli's killed, teh hundreds injured, the escalation from ceasefire to a war by a group that is a terrorist group which has killed numerous israeli's before and hopes to wipe israel of teh map versus the casualties sustained in lebanon--make no mistake every engagement such as this or kidnapping has teh potential to be a battle for the fate of israel

    the truth is that if have of you had the gall to criticize hezbollah in lebanon even a tenth as much as you criticize a wall in israel there woudl be much more pressure against teh group and it might actually help innocent lebanese people (who are in the most tragic position of any of the three groups) help them free themselves of these terrorists who have wrought havoc upon their lives, goverment and relationship with israel.

    its really sad because this situation isn't one which parallels other current or recent situations where a moderate faction of a terrorist group can be negotiated w/and the violent faction hunted down (as perhaps in palestine), but instead the goverment is already in place. the lebanese government, that not under the pay of syria, is an honest, hardworking and peace wanting government. israel did not provoke this attack--they wish peace as well. the problem is hezbollah. it is time to focus on how to disable them and israel's intention is obviously that---regardless of their effectiveness in the air campaign, israel has now moved to the laudable stategy of the much more risky, in terms of israeli lives, operation of a ground strategy..the fact nobody's mentioned that is also a stunning indication there is a reflexive tendency to criticize israel ahead of terrorists of any sort..there's somethign very wrong w/descriptions of hezbollah as slimy while israel are murderers

    • so what's achieved

      by condemning hezbollah? the fact is everyone agrees it's a rogue terrorist group that can't be influenced by the vicissitudes of politics. israel can. hence, people criticise israel, hoping that as a responsible party it will bow to pressure to change things.

      to reiterate: it's because people trust/credit israel more that they hope they can influence it. and they criticize it from israel's own perspective, hoping to do it good. opposing this action in lebanon ought not be construed as anti-israeli.

      • i'm glad to see this reply

        it polite and reasonable. that's an understandable view however it unfair to suggest that hezbollah cannot be affected by politics--they are obviously obtaining some weapons from foreign sources--that can directly be affected by politics (as our uncouth leader of the US tried to so eloquently express to his lapdog blair)..hezbollah has tried to stake its reputation as being part of lebanese society but has really had a knife to the throat of the country for a while

        politics is precisely the thing that would allow other arab states to support the lebanese goverment to finally come out again hezbollah.

        its certainly true the lebanese army would stand no chance against hezbollah, however their position is not as bad as it seems. if arab states supported them is trying to get rid of hezbollah..fighting from the north against hezbollah compounded by israel from the south could seriously threaten hezbollah's existence..that's what european leaders should be lobbyign for

        • the arab states

          have no motivation from below to oppose hezbollah. why should they be seen as kowtowing to bush or even european leaders? or worse, aiding israel in some way? hezbollah's biggest backers, syria and iran, are the least amenable to criticism from the US et al.

          within lebanon, hezbollah is not so uncontroversially despised. the lebanese government is weak and divided, and hezbollah has stepped into the breach to provide services for many in south lebanon. they've even managed to keep schools open during this very crisis! and of course there's the issue of foreign involvement producing a "rally around the flag" effect for hezbollah.

          perhaps some progress could be made negotiating with hezbollah on a direct basis, but the "we don't negotiate with terrorists" stance of the US and others effectively precludes this. meanwhile israel has finally let aid into lebanon and has considered the idea of an international force on the border. it seems clear which side the international community has more success in dealing with.

          successful pressure on hezbollah is only going to come from those already perceived within its camp, just as israel would never be pressured into doing anything by the arab league like it could be (and has) by the US and EU.

    • how do you

      know what's going on in lebanon if you're not getting your news from the international media? are you there? claiming to know what's happening there is the opposite of what's being reported because of the lack of sources is a logically untenable position.

      • i'm not sure that the poster

        did claim what you're saying. it was obviously hyperbole by the poster, but (assuming the person is not from the area) the claim was that there were conclusions being made or drawn by debators here of how 'indiscriminate' the israeli bombing was. in fact every news service has reported that there is so little information of teh nature of teh casualties in lebanon that it's not easy to discern whether hezbollah has suffered major losses..otherwise its just the competing claims of the ever so trustworthy lebanese public affairs announcements and teh fact that everyone know israel's capablities in the air consist of highly developed precision guided weapons.

        nice job try to set up that straw man by thew way

        • regardless

          all of us are only guessing as to what's going on, other than the fact that a lot of people are dead and a lot of stuff destroyed. I think it's fair to say that just because something is untrustworthy does not mean it isn't telling the truth (perhaps inadvertently). I've been studying formal logic and this is a classic problem. nothing about this situation allows us to assume that lots of hezbollah fighters are dead. not that it would matter, as so many lebanese are discontented about the situation that hezbollah should have no troube replentishing itself. any of the pro-war on lebanon people care to actually refute that point?

          • again..

            it's a farking farmyard out here w/ the strawmen you're constructing..yeah i'm sure everyone who's anti-hezbollah is pro killing innocent lebanese--go back to you lakoffian kumbayyah circle

            and despite your wish to avoid unsubstantiated statements youre claim that hezbollah will be replenished by lebanese is a very far leap..do you have documented evidence that the lebanese (the demographics of the lebanese are much different from teh largely syrian immigrant hezbollah members--though its plausible they could replenish from teh 150-250 syrian immigrant residents)

            in fact it certainly understandable to question untrustworthy sources if they haven't exceeded a burden of proof in their reporting which legitimizes there story---i ahven't seen a single story out of lebanon which has done so, largely because nobody dares go there

          • the only thing I'm doing

            is asking questions. I said we don't know anything about the casualties. you claimed I was assuming you couldn't question unreliable sources. you're shifting the argument all over the place; I can't even cast a shadow of reasonable doubt over your leaps of logic without being accused of setting up straw men!

            so many presumptions...so many loyalties...I guess there's no room for reason.

          • what leaps of logic

            is there anything concrete you said in that first post? you claimed that it wasn't unreasonable to use information from questionable sources..i told you why it was..the reports themselves weren't conclusive

            then you made an assumption about hezbollah's forces--an amateur one--and now claim to be a logical arbiter? nice try

          • read it again

            I said it wasn't reasonable to assume that questionable sources were necessarily wrong.

    • um

      is there a difference between the kidnapping of the soldiers and the "targeting and escalation," or is this just your rephrased spin of the same event?

      even if it's true, israel is to blame for escalating the situation even further. it's not to be taken for granted that every piece of lebanon's infrastructure is part of hezbollah's support network. israel, one of the most divisive political forces on the planet, waded bluntly into one of the most politically sensitive places on the planet. one would think there would have been more of a cost/benefit analysis of the effects of this beyond the belief that it provided the opportunity to hit hezbollah hard.

      • there have

        been documented cases of fighters in conflicts being captured w/forewarnign that they will be used as bargaining chips. however i suspect this poster wanted to emphasize what the kidnapping meant.

        which coincidentally went over your head despite a pretty clear explication. as for escalation..this is a brilliant argument your posing. perhaps israel shoudl have released numerous confirmed killers in exchange for the two soldiers? or kidnapped two hezbollah rebels in a deliciously provocative game of tit-for tat?

        are you an idiot? once a group escalates a conflict they can't all of a sudden claim that there has to be some type of boundary with regards to a retatiation. therefore that arguement is bull. however your second is meaningful--there are certainly in good faith elements of teh lebanese government--therefore the risks had to be weighed of a possibly costly attack on lebanaon. the previous poster mentioned wha the larger picture was and what was to be gained by isreal in this attack.. there unless you can delineate a realistically better solution which wouldn't result in isreal esseintly coming off as beaten by hezbollah..the group that has continuously tormented them across the unfil region..its silly to say that their current decision was a completely foolish move---it may not have been the best--but so far nobody here has laid out a better plan

        i think everybody agree innocents dying is horrible--there has to be an explanation however of a realistic way of minimizing these casualties while still protecting israel from israel's vantage point, because it is they who react

        • wouldn't

          israel making its case in the UN, negotiating with the lebanese government and at least approaching hezbollah's leaders have made a better prelude to this than coming out and bombing lebanon's airport on the first day while americans and europeans were flying in and out of their vacations?

          if israel had taken all the pro forma prerequisites possible prior to commencing hostilities, people would be far less shocked and appalled. there would have been evacuations beforehand. everyone was caught offguard by the suddenness of this, which struck many as crude and callous, and made israel seem like it could play outside the rules whenever it wanted.

          inter arma silent leges, I guess, even when it probably only would have delayed the inevitable

          • in the land of peppermint kisses perhaps

            the un is a constant critic of israel who has just recently actually had some of their peacekeepers watch as hezbollah kidnapped 4 israeli soldiers. the lebanese government is a powerless figurehead controlled by syria and iran. approaching hezbollah would be akin to us approaching al qaeda or putin approachig the beslan masterminds. all of your solutions suggest israel come out w/a weak diplomatic claim which will look like an inability to protect itself and at the same time will give the hezbollah guerillas time to transport the kindapped soldiers north which would effectively end any chance of retrievign them.

            Nobody believes israel's at fault here for notting dotting all the i's and crossing the t's. the reasonable worry is that israel's retaliation isn't focused enough and is killing to many innocents. that is the issue and is open to legitimate debate

            by the way for the above poster..i think you underestimate the power of the arab league. if they did oppose hezbollah, it would mean either the end of that group's power int he region or a schism into an iran/syria bloc versus a kuwait/saudi/jordan bloc, which may actually ahve been beneficial.

            and yes..hezbollah provides many social services in the south..but generally they are viewed w/suspicion and dislike as demonstrated by election demonstrations against the hariri killing..the separation of their social/political bloc fromt eh military could be one route a hypothetical arab league bloc could suggest

    • Look who's stawmanning

      How do you know this person DOESN'T criticize Hezbollah? Typical. Your personal attacks (which, in fact, make YOU look "silly") and strawmanning are typical of how nuts people like you get when Israel is critiqued and when it's pointed out that there is more to it than Israel reacting. When the larger issues that LEAD UP to these instances of escalated violence are mentioned, it's "stick to the point." all while saying to consider the larger issue at hand, whereas you meander all over the damn place in your rambling.

      It's either that or imputing motive the like "Anti-Israel" crap before. I critizice Russia and it's not "anti-Russia" or "anti-France" when I criticize France. But when people criticize the excessive military actions and toll on civilian lives against Israel there's an agenda. There's an "anti" automatically. They automatically didn't or never "had the gall to criticize Hezbollah." Cut the crap.

      Why even bother debating with you when you BEGIN with insults and the tone that you are beyond correction.

      • nice to see the reflexive  

        wailing now that your position has been shown to be a sham..the poster you're referring to stuck to exactly the issues which are being discussed here..namely what exactly to "criticize the excessive military actions and toll on civilian lives" entails. nobody, least of all your vague and so presumably idiotic voice has clarified anyway in which the israeli actions in this particular incident are 'excessive' or too costly in terms of a human toll given possible alternatives and the narrow situation they're exposed too. unless you can give a definitive response that doesn't involve a spielberg flick your entire post amounts to the other bs which has criticized israel's particular campaign against hezbollah over the last 80 posts

        by the way..as for the hezbollah issue you must be an intellectually vapid nitwit if you haven't noticed that one of the two parties who is centrally and actively involved in the violence has barely been discussed by those critical of this war. to ask for what approach one should take towards the murderer terrorists and how they are to be condemned and handled in light of the fact some of the idiots here want to hold israel in this situation to impossible standards while not mentioning hezbollah is warranted...what is reprehensible is that even in your screeching rant you still didn't condemn hezbollah and then are trying to defend an idiotic rant about the wall, etc. (mostly palestinian issues) in order to incorporate them into the lebanese theatre as a pretext for condoning hezbollah's kidnapping actions. everyone see's through youre anti-israeli stance--if you want to include everything that leads up to a conflict why stop there? why not include the fact that every single economic and political act that has an effect and in some way contributed to conflicts..or neo-marxist theories of poverty-terrorist connections?

        As for the declaration of anti-israel vs anti france etc--you're once again displaying your ineptitude in understanding what positions one can honestly hold. first, there are those who disagree w/france's actions simply because they're anti france (where do you think cheese eating surrender monkeys was born?)..but in this particular case, your anti-israeli stance is obvious along with some other posters there has not been a single specific allegation of what exactly israel has done that was unwarranted w/a plausible alternative available...then further tryign to justify anti-israeli sentiment w/palestinian causes (where israel is to be found at fault, even in their most recent illegal excursion into gaza was-[uh oh, turns out i'm not a crazy zionist reflexive israel defender which is what your israel hating ass was hoping in order to attack me]) and trying to relate it to these lebanese issues where there was a discrete, uncontestably wrong event which brought the peace to an end (this is all ignorign the fact that the meandering you claim was all about the internal politics and struggle in LEBANON--one of the parties involved here and the most important background in this conflict---and not PALESTINE, which you like the racist-israel-shoudl-not exist haters always try to use as the bloody flag) was actually just a way to deflect from the fact that you can't continue your screeching israel hate without some type of pretext

        everyone knows which posters here who've been critical of israel's actions have been in good faith (there are even posts above here which say exactly that--see 65) and who has cared about this issue because it fits into their anti-israeli agenda...if you want to say that civilian deaths are tragic and need to be curtailed if possible, give a reasonable alternative, one poster even tried to talk about hte more risky ground troops incursions, and don't just try to equate israel=indiscriminate killing=oppressors=evil

  34. this is all the fault

    of mcbush chimpy mchitlers cheneyhaliburtonkellogbrownandrootredstateconservativewingnutscolumbiacollegerepublicans

    i swear, they and teh other israeli vampires have been trying to bomb the lebanese because just because they're miffed over a negotiating tactic by a shrewd and peaceloving group they want to bomb brown people

    don't you get it...the people who believe the goverment 9/11 hijacker story/ orwellian scare mongers/ red staters/ zionists all want to exterminate us

    we must protect this house

  35. um

    notice the lack of any mention of the surprising positions of turkey, egypt, saudi arabia, jordan and kuwait on this issue? namely the uncommonly slight more lukewarm support of israel in this instant. maybe there's something to that?

    • yes

      they're all sunni states who aren't at all happy with growing shiite influence represented by hezbollah. you wish those countries gave a rat's ass for israel; expressing anything but contempt for it is a politically dangerous position for leaders in each.

  36. DHI

    This is all happening on account of one thing: it's too damn hot over there. Folks is mighty short-tempered when it's hot out. What we should do is ship air conditioners, ice, and those mist fans where you spray the water through the middle of the fans, and also those bandana things with the gel that you dip in water and it stays cool all day that I sell at the store I work at.

    This would help to COOL down the HEATED tensions between these HOTHEADS before tempers FLARE and this VOLATILE situation reaches a BOILING point at which gunFIRE will break out.

  37. do any of you work?

    we need to have a bwog night when school starts where you can just get all bwoggers out to like hungarian pastry--have them debate crazy political and barnard/cu issues and stop polluting bwog w/this

    and damn you nadler..all i wanted to do was oogle columbia gossip and now we have a flamewar

  38. so what's israel going to do

    now that it's "defended itself" and created an even more failed state than before in lebanon? hope the UN comes to clean up the mess? hope hezbollah disappears without a messy ground war or a wider regional conflict? hope it inspires enough awe to keep all the muslims quiet (because that's really put an end to things in the past, hasn't it?)...

    the thing that disturbs me about this is really how shortsighted and open ended it all is.

  39. New Plan

    Instead of criticizing Israel, Lebanon, and/or Hezbollah, I think we should, instead, shift our focus to the next person to use the term "straw man." Enough is enough.

  40. didn't

    john ashcroft visit in november?

  41. psh  

    f this, everyone should be like the peaceful hindus and buddhists. we don't care bout ya'll

  42. My view

    1. I hate Hezbollah.

    2. I hate AIPAC.

    3. I hate Democrats.

    4. I hate Republicans.

    But I'm not so idiotic as to go suicide bomb them.

    • I'm guessing  

      You aren't living with no rights, subjugation with no potential recourse ever on the horizon, have a house you can be assured won't be razed over, and will likely be afforded due process should you ever be taken by the police. This is by no means a justification for any resort to violence, no matter what Fanon might have you think, but context and persepective are key.What I fear the most is the long term consequences on the people here. People who are already oppressed will turn to whoever appears in their corner. For lack of a better analogy, I'm afraid of the palestinian-equivalent of future Biggers growing up. Peace seems to be a long distant dream. :(

  43. tears

    I'm just sad.

    Just sad.

  44. Jih Ader

    The Israelis learned well from their former enemies, the nazis. Its interesting to note that the IDF is approaching QANA where Ariel Sharon carried out a massacre in the 80's. Maybe they'll do the samething again.

    • speaking

      of Sharon and massacres...

      "On June 18, 2001, relatives of the victims of the Sabra massacre began proceedings in Belgium to have Ariel Sharon indicted on war crimes charges.[9] In June 2002, a Brussels Appeals Court rejected the lawsuit because the law was subsequently changed under heavy U.S. pressure to disallow such lawsuits unless a Belgian citizen is involved.[10]"

      Yup the US is clearly the impartial arbiter in the Middle East.

      • extraterritorial jurisdiction

        is a hotly debated issue in legal circles. don't let your anti american/anti israeli bias cloud your thinking to the realistic truth that not everything is related to israel/america's imperialism. In fact, you didn't even discuss the merits of the change. Yep, very balanced on your part.

  45. all these words are boring  

    doing what is right should be easy.

  46. wake up

    You have no ground to stand on if you're defending Israel's targeting of civilian airports, bridges, and many areas far removed from Hezbollah's influence. That is just as defensible as blowing up Iraelis in cafes and nightclubs. To any rational human being, neither case is acceptable as a strike against legitimate targets. Either you're striking military targets or not. This is a campaign of terror against civilians.

    • take a step back

      I think we all need to take a step back and realize that all of our rationalizing is based on information from international media, and heavily influenced by what we want to believe (i.e. either Israel is the unjustified aggressor, or Hezbollah/Hamas are unjustified). We don't have the same intelligence information as the Israeli military commanders (who may have had very good reason to bomb the airport, or maybe not -- we don't know).

  47. newsweek has a great story


    What sense could be made of this conflagration in which Israel, under merciless attack from Hizbullah rockets, demanded that the Lebanese Army take responsibility for disarming Hizbullah militias—then bombed the Army, too? The Lebanese government—supported by Washington as a promising democracy—is crumbling beneath an Israeli military assault—also supported by Washington. "What is the United States doing? What is Israel doing?" asks Saad Hariri, a Lebanese member of Parliament whose father was assassinated last year while trying to free the country from Syrian domination. "You promote democracy and then you allow it to be destroyed."


    "We certainly do not attack Lebanese Army bases," said Israeli military spokesman Capt. Jacob Dallal. He suggested, without further elaboration, that Hizbullah might have had some presence there. Any building where Hizbullah hides is "a legitimate target," said Dallal. In effect, that definition also includes any building where Hizbullah is thought to hide. Lebanese Brig. Gen. Salih Suleiman told NEWSWEEK that Israel's planes had followed military firetrucks returning to the base from town.


    That's some awesome "intelligence". Convenient that it post facto serves as further legitimation for Israel's assault as well.

  48. defend the UN

    israel has killed four UN soldiers who were just sitting around as observers. I think that constitutes a greater infraction than two israeli soldiers kidnapped. by israel's definition, the UN has the right to defend itself by bombing civilian targets across northern israel.

  49. If only there was an Ignore feature

    Here Here to those who can make their points without lashing out at people and flinging ad hominem attacks. Well, it's all but that one ::cough::81:cough:: pretending to be two. Jesus at least mask your righting style and style of insults.

    • here, here

      to folks who make smear accusations against entire ethnicities and nations and then don't expect to be called on it. some of the poster have gone overboard w/ad hominems, but if you see somebody trying to hide under the veil of just criticizing tactics so as to mask the fact they really just approve generally of a group, its fair to call it

  50. Uh

    Entire ethnicities? Criticizing a government is criticizing an ethnicity? I'm friends with JATO members who beg to differ. Why conflate the two things, rendering all criticism of the Israeli government or military "anti-semetic" and smearing an entire ethnicity. Absurd.

    • bears a faint ring to

      'my best friends black/gay/etc"

      fine though..concentrate on that and ignore the content in the links i gave

      • Len

        Ridiculous analogy. I'm a Jew and feel comfortable slamming the Israeli government. How is that smearing my ethnicity? How is criticizing a government and pointing out that it's not intrinsically racist -what a crutch this has become. Debating the debate- the same as a same as a bigot using some ethnic friend as evidence of non-bigotry. Ya lost me.

        • that's the problem w/idiots

          like that poster....they try to put down valid information and then put down gratuitous, unneeded and unfounded insults and ad hominems along with it

          this at the least distracts from their point and at most reduces others' perception of them to coutleresque where nobody even takes legitimate points by them seriously

        • has anybody adressed my

          points though or legitimately made any post criticizing the israeli government w/substantive evidence? i don't care about attacks on my character. it just shows you can refute my points

  51. the problem

    with folks on both sides and it is evident in the past couple comments and in this thread is that even if they have valid points, they shoudl refrain from namecalling or outright accusations and instead let their evidence or points talk for themselves

    for those defending israel and those critical of their tactics, both of you would be more well recieved if you just tried to put out evidence

  52. can we lock this thread?

    and send it back to the halls of mealac/hillel/jpost/cair/horowitz/juancole where it belongs?

    • The

      realization that I go to school with some of these people makes me sad. I agree with whoever said there are too many loyalties for reason to shine through. What place to insults have in a debate? Even if it's anonymous, it just makes whatever side look weaker. Like "Please. Please stop arguing for my side, thanks."

    • you gotta give it to him

      the man is consistently shrill.

      looks like the dems are aggressively courting the israel lobby this election cycle. let the debate over which party will be more deferential to israel begin!

  53. Dean

    doesn't speak for me or for a lot of other people who associate themselves with the democratic party

    first, he's pretty hyprocritical about maliki after in the past saying he was willing to bring hamas (a known anti-semitic terrorist organization) into the fold as a 'responsible' government http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183120,00.html

    I agree that we need to attack republicans' corruption, ineptitude and often lies, but their actions' should speak for themselves (wmd's, katrina, etc)

    instead we have a guy who's quickly becoming our coulter and taking away attention from who the real idiots are--frost, webb and roemer would have been much better

  54. Newcomer

    What would the US do if Al Qaeda set up a base right across the Canadian border and started shooting rockets into Boston or New York City and kidnapped 2 American citizens?

    • apples

      and oranges. terrible hypo that isolates the event from its circumstances. the US doesn't have a history of aggression with its neighbors and nearly a centuries worth of axes to grind.

      a much better example would be the pancho villa raids of the early 20th century when the US reacted by invading mexico.

  55. 123 cont.

    where the US ahd a terrible relationship with mexico, took a condescending approach, and it didn't end too well.

    more than anything this just exposes how much of a double standard you hold, one the one hand those supporting israel claim that the death of civilians is missing the forest for the trees. yet tahts exactly what they do when they ask 'what would you have done if...' and isolate the scenario from a 50 years of continuing conflict.

  56. obviously

    not based on some of the comments here.

  57. RE: UN troops

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Canadian General: UN Observer Post Used By Hizballah

    Retired Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie was interviewed on CBC radio, and had some very interesting news about the UN observer post hit by Israeli shells; the Canadian peacekeeper killed there had previously emailed Mackenzie telling him that Hizballah was using their post as cover. (Hat tip: Isadore.)

    The entire interview is a breath of fresh air:


    We received emails from him a few days ago, and he was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three meters of his position for tactical necessity, not being targeted. Now that's veiled speech in the military. What he was telling us was Hezbollah soldiers were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them. And that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it.

    1:51 PM PDT


    Hezbollah was using UN post as 'shield'

    Canadian wrote of militia's presence, 'necessity' of bombing

    Joel Kom, with files from Steven Edwards, CanWest News Service

    The Ottawa Citizen

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a "shield" to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia.

    Those words, written in an e-mail dated just nine days ago, offer a possible explanation as to why the post -- which according to UN officials was clearly marked and known to Israeli forces -- was hit by Israel on Tuesday night, said retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie yesterday.

    The strike hit the UN observation post in the southern Lebanese village of El Khiam, killing Canadian Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener and three others serving as unarmed UN military observers in the area.

    Just last week, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener wrote an e-mail about his experiences after nine months in the area, words Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie said are an obvious allusion to Hezbollah tactics.

    "What I can tell you is this," he wrote in an e-mail to CTV dated July 18. "We have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both (Israeli) artillery and aerial bombing.

    "The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity."

    Those words, particularly the last sentence, are not-so-veiled language indicating Israeli strikes were aimed at Hezbollah targets near the post, said Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie.

    "What that means is, in plain English, 'We've got Hezbollah fighters running around in our positions, taking our positions here and then using us for shields and then engaging the (Israeli Defence Forces)," he said.

    That would mean Hezbollah was purposely setting up near the UN post, he added. It's a tactic Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie, who was the first UN commander in Sarajevo during the Bosnia civil war, said he's seen in past international missions: Aside from UN posts, fighters would set up near hospitals, mosques and orphanages.

    A Canadian Forces infantry officer with the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the only Canadian serving as a UN military observer in Lebanon, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener was no stranger to fighting nearby.

    The UN post, he wrote in the e-mail, afforded a view of the "Hezbollah static positions in and around our patrol Base."

    "It appears that the lion's share of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah has taken place in our area," he wrote, noting later it was too dangerous to venture out on patrols.

    The e-mail appears to contradict the UN's claim there had been no Hezbollah activity in the vicinity of the strike.

    The question of Hezbollah's infiltration of the area is significant because UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking Tuesday just hours after the bombing, accused the Israelis of the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the base near Khiam in southern Lebanon.

    A senior UN official, asked about the information contained in Maj. Hess-von Kruedener's e-mail concerning Hezbollah presence in the vicinity of the Khiam base, denied the world body had been caught in a contradiction.

    "At the time, there had been no Hezbollah activity reported in the area," he said. "So it was quite clear they were not going after other targets; that, for whatever reason, our position was being fired upon.

    "Whether or not they thought they were going after something else, we don't know. The fact was, we told them where we were. They knew where we were. The position was clearly marked, and they pounded the hell out of us."

    Even if Hezbollah was not firing rockets at the time of the bombing, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener's e-mail indicates they were using a terrorist tactic of purposely drawing out enemy forces near a neutral site, said retired Capt. Peter Forsberg, who did two UN tours between 1993 and 1995 during the Bosnian war.

    The UN's limited mandate, meaning that its observers are unarmed and have few options, put the observers in a poor position, he said.

    If indeed Israel was attempting to hit Hezbollah fighters in the area, it hasn't yet used the excuse to explain its actions because it wouldn't make it any less guilty in the world's eyes, Capt. Forsberg said.

    © The Ottawa Citizen 2006

    Copyright © 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

  58. i wonder

    why Hezbollah doesn't use that excuse with Israel. "we fire our rockets at military targets, but they're near civilian towns and our aim simply isn't that good. it's Israel's fault we kill civilians."

    oh, wait, because it's a lousy excuse and they'd be excoriated for it.

  59. posts deleted

    someone is editing this discussion, and given the balance of opinion I wonder what their leanings are...

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