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10 Years Later
July 30, 2006 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Qana 1996. Qana 2006.
posted by pwedza (152 comments total)

 
The real crime against humanity is real-player.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 PM on July 30, 2006


Double.
posted by interrobang at 12:33 PM on July 30, 2006


It's not a double. That post was deleted for editorialising, not the link subject-matter.

Flickr: Photos tagged with Qana (some duplicates).
posted by nthdegx at 12:38 PM on July 30, 2006


Stymied in Mideast, Rice to Head Home
Rice had hoped to leave the region after concrete progress on ending the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon. But her work was hampered severely by Israel's missile strike early Sunday that killed more than 50 people, including many children.
posted by Unregistered User at 12:40 PM on July 30, 2006


Its not a double, that linked post was deleted for being too editorial. This is a significant event in the development of the current middle east crisis.

Fandango: go back to fark. You obviously have nothing intelligent to contribute.

That said, this is horrific. The death of children is deeply saddening. I take no sides in war. As far as i am concerned both hezbollah and israel are barbaric.

I really hope metafilter hasnt devolved so much that it is incapable of discussing events that are having a significant impact on our world.
posted by Merik at 12:42 PM on July 30, 2006


the u s doesn't want hizbollah to agree to a cease fire, they want them to surrender ... they won't say that outright, but that's what they mean

it won't happen
posted by pyramid termite at 12:43 PM on July 30, 2006


And the Lebanese government (of which Shrub was so paternally proud just a few short weeks ago) has just told Madame Supertanker to go take a flying you-know-what at the moon

Lebanon told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday that it could not meet with her before a ceasefire ends a 19-day-old Israeli offensive, Lebanese officials said. The officials said Rice, who was due in Beirut later on Sunday, was informed of the Lebanese position after an Israeli airstrike killed more than 40 civilians in south Lebanon.
And the Kofi Annan has called an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, at which a resolution calling for an immediate cease fire no doubt will be offered, forcing the United States to veto it -- thus officially going on record all by its lonesome in favor of large and horrific massacres.
posted by Unregistered User at 12:44 PM on July 30, 2006


Hmm, apparently Israel has actually appologized for the attack. That must mean it's pretty bad and not on the "schedule." So maybe this is news. Still 50 more civilians in a war that's killed 600+ isn't really news.

Anyway I think it shows a lot about Fandango Matt's character that he would post a pissing elephant picture in a thread about people dying.
posted by delmoi at 1:06 PM on July 30, 2006


Unregistered User - why are you plagiarizing Bilmon for your comment?
posted by nathan_teske at 1:07 PM on July 30, 2006


How do you know I'm not billmon?
posted by Unregistered User at 1:07 PM on July 30, 2006


Some See Hezbollah Leader Gaining in Esteem
As Conflict Continues and Lebanon Suffers, Israel Loses Support

...

It is quite a transformation. Just a couple of weeks ago, moderate Arab allies of the United States were highly critical of Hezbollah and Nasrallah, its leader of 14 years, for picking this fight with the Jewish state.

...

But two things have happened since.

First, Hezbollah fighters on the ground have shocked the Israelis with their tenacity. Into the third week of fighting, Hezbollah rockets still are falling routinely on northern Israel.

Second, Israel's offensive, which has killed more Lebanese civilians than Hezbollah fighters, has inflamed the Arab world.

...

Now, America's friends in places like Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan, are more than worried.

"They are terrified, and they are anxious that the Israeli war in Lebanon de-legitimizes the pro-American regimes..."
posted by taosbat at 1:08 PM on July 30, 2006


It's not a double. That post was deleted for editorialising, not the link subject-matter.

So is fandango_matt's pissing elephant not a double award, for the same reason?
posted by taursir at 1:14 PM on July 30, 2006


Okay, political minded folks: Is there any good way this thing can resolve?

Also... I don't know even understand the significance of the pissing elephant. Is it because this was a dupe?
posted by ®@ at 1:22 PM on July 30, 2006


The Lebanese Army just prevented Israeli helicopters from landing troops.
posted by Unregistered User at 1:22 PM on July 30, 2006


A post that is Fisk is one that is questionable. Here is what the left of center BBC offers, and even they refer back to the earlier attack as indicating Hezbollah hiding amidst UN post...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5228554.stm
The Israel position (thus far) is that civilians had been warned that the spot would be hit because of rockets but that Hezbollah would not allow the civilians to leave. I do not offer this in defense but rather to offer up the Israeli position.

It is always a horror when the innocent get killed, no matter who they may be. Were all military activity to stop at this very moment,what would we have in that region?
posted by Postroad at 1:25 PM on July 30, 2006


This is not best of teh web. This is newsfilter. This is crap. It's also elephant piss.

Hence, the flagging shall commence!
posted by disclaimer at 1:26 PM on July 30, 2006


http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/014841.php
some real question about what took place
posted by Postroad at 1:31 PM on July 30, 2006


The Israel position (thus far) is that civilians had been warned that the spot would be hit because of rockets but that Hezbollah would not allow the civilians to leave. I do not offer this in defense but rather to offer up the Israeli position.

That's their excuse for the 1996 attack, I think, based on reading your link. The article is confusing because it talks about both events.
posted by delmoi at 1:31 PM on July 30, 2006


Were all military activity to stop at this very moment,what would we have in that region?

A bunch of Middle Easterners sitting around OUR birthplace of the American Jesus?
posted by Balisong at 1:31 PM on July 30, 2006


Postroad: Powerline blog is one of the most partisan right-wing blogs out there. It's equivalent to rush Limbaugh or free republic.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on July 30, 2006


As far as i am concerned both hezbollah and israel are barbaric.

It is a cardinal mistake to think that the action taken by hezbollah and Israel is in any way comparable.

Hezbollah has been targeting civilians for years. In fact, it's prime strategy is to target civilians. It also wants to wipe Israel off the map. It is furthermore backed by countries whose heads of state have publicly said that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Israel is certainly not primarily targeting civilians. In fact, I believe them when they say that they are trying to avoid civilian casualties. (If they were actually targetting civilians, casualties would be of an entirely different order.) Yes, there were civilian casualties, but then again, this is a war.

Hezbollah wouldn't think twice about wiping out Tel Aviv if it could.
So comparing the Hezbollah with Israeli tactics is pretty idiotic, if you ask me.

One more thing: sitting on their hands while Hezbollah keeps lobbing bombs into Israel settlements hasn't worked out well for Israel at all. What is Israel supposed to do? Wait until Hezbollah actually does have the capability to wipe out Tel Aviv?
posted by sour cream at 1:35 PM on July 30, 2006


posted by Postroad Were all military activity to stop at this very moment,what would we have in that region?

Fewer excuses for shitty ogrish FPPs.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2006


It is so obvious why the Israelis made this 'mistake'... Hezbollah, like most militant groups have embeded themselves within the community they are fighting for. This type of warfare can only result in collateral damage, and as has been shown with the hit on the UN post, deadly friendly fire. I do blame Israel for being so cavalier with their bombs, but must also blame hezbollah for using the hit-and-hide tactics they use. Sure it may be convenient to lob a few missiles at Haifa and head on back in the house for a PB&J, but Real Men wouldn't use their women as human shields.
posted by Gungho at 1:39 PM on July 30, 2006


How do you know I'm not billmon?

Okay, I'll bite: are you billmon?
posted by spiderwire at 1:43 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hezbollah has been targeting civilians for years. In fact, it's prime strategy is to target civilians.

Israel is certainly not primarily targeting civilians. In fact, I believe them when they say that they are trying to avoid civilian casualties.


Well, this is a rather poor argument, IMO. How do you tell whether or not they're targeting civilians? Trying to figure it out based on what they say is rather poor way to go about it. The proof is in whether or not they are actually killing any civilians.

In fact, trying to determine the 'morality' of an action by trying to analyze what's going on inside someone's head at the moment they do something is an exercise in futility. It's impossible to really ever know, and outsize analysis is entirely subjective.

Israel is killing a lot of civilians. They're killing about ten times as many as Hizbollah, so to me, that makes them about ten times worse.

What other objective, measurable metric would you use to measure barbarism? Again, something that does not rely on internal mental states.
posted by delmoi at 1:45 PM on July 30, 2006


In fact, I believe them when they say that they are trying to avoid civilian casualties.

i don't ... this kind of thing has happened too many times this year to be an accident anymore ... too many civilians are being killed, while few enemies of israel have perished

there comes a time when the results speak for themselves
posted by pyramid termite at 1:47 PM on July 30, 2006


IIRC, the ratio of Israeli to opponent deaths has been about 1:10 for years. Civilians, combatants...any way you want to cut it.
posted by taosbat at 1:52 PM on July 30, 2006


"Still 50 more civilians in a war that's killed 600+ isn't really news."

If you think about that again and still genuinely mean that, it might be indicative of how news media has conned us into thinking it's doing its job if it tells you the latest, rather than telling us what's important. I couldn't disagree with your statement more, delmoi.
posted by nthdegx at 2:02 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Scenes Of Israeli Massacre In Qana 1996 remember that baby in blue? I bet he is was a terrorist ...
posted by Unregistered User at 2:04 PM on July 30, 2006


If you think about that again and still genuinely mean that, it might be indicative of how news media has conned us into thinking it's doing its job if it tells you the latest, rather than telling us what's important. I couldn't disagree with your statement more, delmoi.

It's "news" news but it's not "metafilter" news, is what I mean.
posted by delmoi at 2:05 PM on July 30, 2006


Once Israel has its Lebensraum we shall have peace in our time.
posted by keswick at 2:06 PM on July 30, 2006


Israel is certainly not primarily targeting civilians. In fact, I believe them when they say that they are trying to avoid civilian casualties.

In which case you are deluding yourself. Israel has an undisputed track record of slaughtering civilians, so you are obfuscating the argument by talking about intentions.

Sour cream, you are correct to say that it is a cardinal mistake to think that the action taken by hezbollah and Israel is in any way comparable, but to give Israel any moral credit for its situation in M.E would be willful disregard for the facts.
posted by verisimilitude at 2:06 PM on July 30, 2006


"It's "news" news but it's not "metafilter" news, is what I mean."

Oh. Right. Gotcha. Agreed. Sorry.
posted by nthdegx at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2006


So what's the connection between these two incidents, besides the fact that they happened in the same village? From the article, it seems like the Israeli military attacked the base/village in 1996 perhaps because the UN forces were allowing known Hezbollah operatives into the base; is there still a UN base there?
posted by clockzero at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2006


I agree with sour cream that Israel isn't deliberately targeting civilians and that Hezbollah is. But Israel certainly seems to have a very high tolerance for non-Israeli collateral damage.

If a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed one Israeli soldier and five civilian bystanders, would that be more morally acceptable than if he killed one civilian bystander and no Israeli soldiers?
posted by justkevin at 2:11 PM on July 30, 2006


Bodycount comparison for the Lebanon.

(this is less of a conflict and more of a massacre)
posted by verisimilitude at 2:14 PM on July 30, 2006


The Geneva Conventions were a misguided response to the atrocities of the two World Wars. Their primary function seems to be the military defeat of states idiotic enough to abide by their rules.

The first failing of the Geneva Conventions is the lack of an escape clause, which would allow a signatory to reciprocate a foe's ignorance of the conventions. Absent this, signatories often find themselves at a terminal disadvantage to an unfettered, though otherwise inferior opponent.

The second failing is the failure to recognize that civilian casualties are crucial to the prosecution of wars of invasion, and often necessary to force a surrender (as with Japan) in a defensive/retaliatory war. The military is but one head of a two-headed dragon; the people must also be pacified if the country is to be subdued.

Cognisant of these failings, I will not condemn Israel for inflicting incidental civilian casualties when confronted by an enemy which aims to inflict civilian casualties.

I refuse to sympathize with an organization such as Hezbollah. Furthermore, I refuse to sympathize with any country or people that would harbor such an organization.
posted by The Confessor at 2:15 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


posted by verisimilitude Israel has an undisputed track record of slaughtering civilians, so you are obfuscating the argument by talking about intentions.

As opposed to Hamas and Hezbollah, who have never slaughtered Israeli civilians with rockets and suicide bombers.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:15 PM on July 30, 2006


Israel is certainly not primarily targeting civilians. In fact, I believe them when they say that they are trying to avoid civilian casualties.

When people who are not trying to kill civilians are dispensing with an order of magnitude more of them than those who are, we are truly living in bizarro world.
posted by zarex at 2:19 PM on July 30, 2006


Nothing Israel does can be wrong

Any time an innocent appears to be hurt by Israel, it's a terrorist media conspiracy and there's a good explanation somewhere

Hezbollah does bad things so Israel can kill Lebanese and it would never be wrong

Let's post a pissing elephant because someone criticized Israel


thanks guys
posted by rxrfrx at 2:21 PM on July 30, 2006


My deep support for Israel around here is no secret. Yet, their actions in this endeavor continue to surprise me. It has gone far beyond simple defense. Hezbollah truly is an evil terrorist organization, yet this incursion will not eliminate them, and may actually in the long run strengthen them. I pray that the US will finally put their foot down and insist on a cease fire. Continued attacks do not seem to be further weakening Hezbollah; no purpose is served killing hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians. Just stop, good Lord, please just stop and stop now!
posted by caddis at 2:23 PM on July 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


The ConfessorI refuse to sympathize with an organization such as Hezbollah.

Thanks for the overdue reminder that criticizing Israel is the same as sympathizing with Hezbollah.

Not.
posted by uncle harold at 2:23 PM on July 30, 2006


@The Confessor

You mean such an organization and country as this ? Doh!
posted by Unregistered User at 2:25 PM on July 30, 2006


As opposed to Hamas and Hezbollah, who have never slaughtered Israeli civilians with rockets and suicide bombers.

The orgional argument was that both sides were barbaric. Do try to keep up.
posted by delmoi at 2:28 PM on July 30, 2006


"Once Israel has its Lebensraum we shall have peace in our time."

Ahh, there hasn't been a good Israel=Nazi comparison around here for a long time. Thanks, keswick, for resurrecting that cute little trope. Especially glad you took the time to post this comment again in the new thread.
posted by kosem at 2:31 PM on July 30, 2006


I pray that the US will finally put their foot down and insist on a cease fire. Continued attacks do not seem to be further weakening Hezbollah; no purpose is served killing hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians.

Actually I've read that the Israeli press is saying the US is actually putting pressure on Israelis to expand the war into Syria. I couldn't find the link though. bleh.
posted by delmoi at 2:35 PM on July 30, 2006


>The orgional argument was that both sides were barbaric. Do try to keep up.

Well, one of those sides has nukes. There are limits to the levels one could see.
posted by gsb at 2:36 PM on July 30, 2006



Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity in south Lebanon while it investigates an attack on a Lebanese village that killed a number of children, U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Sunday.

posted by pyramid termite at 2:38 PM on July 30, 2006


Ahhh, looks like the ICS has captured the blue.


You could always book a suite at the Hotel Le Gabriel **** The spirit of England in the heart of Beirut.

Offering today's businessmen four star comfort set in an elegant English style, Le Gabriel is ideal for business and relaxation; and tell us the real unbiased story.

On a side note:
[From an Afghan warlord I spoke with in Kabul, over tea:]

"I love your Jesus, but I hate your Christ."

Jesus (and G-d for that matter) has nothing to
do with Secular NeoConmunism in America today.

Repeat that meme every massacre by PNAC/AIPAC.

Secular Zionist NeoConmunism

G-d need not apply.
posted by Unregistered User at 2:40 PM on July 30, 2006


What?
posted by nthdegx at 2:42 PM on July 30, 2006


How is it, if these civilians were being used as 'human shields', that not one Hezbollah fighter is found among the dozens of dead?
posted by Flashman at 2:45 PM on July 30, 2006


posted by Flashman How is it, if these civilians were being used as 'human shields', that not one Hezbollah fighter is found among the dozens of dead?

Because Hezbollah fighters camoflauge themselves by dressing like and acting like and hiding among civilians.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:52 PM on July 30, 2006


How is it, if these civilians were being used as 'human shields', that not one Hezbollah fighter is found among the dozens of dead?

I bet hir Wolf Blitzer could answer that for ya...
posted by Unregistered User at 2:53 PM on July 30, 2006


How is it, if these civilians were being used as 'human shields', that not one Hezbollah fighter is found among the dozens of dead?

I presume you were there and can vouch for that. Nevertheless, the reason may be that the building collapsed for unknown reasons 8 hours after the actual strike.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:56 PM on July 30, 2006


"sitting on their hands while Hezbollah keeps lobbing bombs into Israel settlements hasn't worked out well for Israel at all. What is Israel supposed to do? Wait until Hezbollah actually does have the capability to wipe out Tel Aviv?"

I like what hilzoy had to say about this.

And what caddis said.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:58 PM on July 30, 2006


From pyramid termite's link:
On Thursday, the Israeli military's Al-Mashriq radio that broadcasts into southern Lebanon warned residents their villages would be "totally destroyed" if missiles were fired from them. Leaflets with similar messages were dropped in some areas Saturday.


Hezbollah likely fired rockets from near the village; Israel responded by indiscriminately blowing up every structure within a certain radius.
posted by Merik at 2:59 PM on July 30, 2006


ICS on recognisance...lol
posted by Unregistered User at 3:01 PM on July 30, 2006


So Unregistered User, I'm still curious if you're billmon or you were, in fact, plagiarizing.
posted by spiderwire at 3:02 PM on July 30, 2006


And if I said I was how would you know spider? Funny how that works eh?

Our hope for peace for boys and girls everywhere extends across the world, especially in the Middle East," the president said before the start of a children's baseball game at the White House today.

A great humanitarian in the model of King Leopold...
posted by Unregistered User at 3:07 PM on July 30, 2006


delmoi, linky:

Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the United States that the US would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.
posted by ryoshu at 3:08 PM on July 30, 2006


From Krrrlson's link:
An IDF investigation has found that the building in Qana struck by the Air Force fell around eight hours after being hit by the IDF.

Oh, so they've investigated themselves and found that they are not at fault. Sort of like Gonzales seeking protection from Geneva Convention violation prosecution because nothing was violated.

Because Hezbollah fighters camoflauge themselves by dressing like and acting like and hiding among civilians.

Yeah, like little dead babies with missing heads. Those devious terrorists!
posted by c13 at 3:08 PM on July 30, 2006


< /melgibsonfilter>
posted by TetrisKid at 3:14 PM on July 30, 2006


An IDF investigation has found that the building in Qana struck by the Air Force fell around eight hours after being hit by the IDF.
Yeah, after the twin towers were struck by a couple of airplanes, hours later, for some unknown reason, the buildings collapsed. How strange.
posted by mulligan at 3:14 PM on July 30, 2006


Because Hezbollah fighters camoflauge themselves by dressing like and acting like and hiding among civilians.

anybody who runs is hezbollah. anybody who stands still is well-disciplined hezbollah.

what a shitty place this planet is sometimes. how is that we still haven't figured out how to resolve disagreements in a manner that doesn't involve slaughtering each other? a karate teacher i once had said to the class "if you ever actually find yourself in a fight, you've already lost, regardless of the outcome." we used to laugh at that -- after class -- thinking it was some psuedo-mystical bullshit. "fuck that," we'd say, "what's the point of learning this if i'm not ever supposed to use it? and if i get into a fight, i win as long as the other guy's still on the ground when i walk away afterwards."

i see now that our instructor was wiser than just about any so-called leader in the world today.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:17 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


I presume you were there and can vouch for that. Nevertheless, the reason may be that the building collapsed for unknown reasons 8 hours after the actual strike.

so they say ... by the way, the wtc collapsed an hour after the actual strike ... does that mean al quada's off the hook?

were there professional building engineers around that building in qana to tell those kids it was going down?

how is that buildings collapse all the time and yet most of the people survive?

and most interesting of all, why is israel quitting their bombing campaign if it's not causing any problems?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:18 PM on July 30, 2006


An IDF investigation has found that the building in Qana struck by the Air Force fell around eight hours after being hit by the IDF/

Not according to Haaretz:

"Witnesses at the scene corroborated the IDF claim that the strike on the building, which is located in the Hariva neighborhood of Qana, was carried out at 1:00 A.M. After the initial strike, some of the building's residents exited in an attempt to survey the damage, in effect saving themselves.

"A few minutes later, IAF planes struck the building once again, causing the walls to collapse on the residents who did not vacate, killing them in the process."
posted by carter at 3:21 PM on July 30, 2006


posted by lord_wolf how is that we still haven't figured out how to resolve disagreements in a manner that doesn't involve slaughtering each other?

Too few role models.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:23 PM on July 30, 2006


If the Israeli attacks are surgical, remind me never to trust an Israeli surgeon. IDF has the worst aim ever.
posted by b_thinky at 3:24 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Jim Muir, BBC correspondent, writes
"The three storey building where families have been sheltering in the basement was crushed sideways into an enormous crater by the Israeli bomb strike - a site all too familiar throughout south Lebanon today."

So, extrapolating
+ the initial strike partially destroys the building and crushes and seals the basement.
+ hours later the weakened structure on a precipice fails completely, the falling walls compressing any remaining survival space in the basement.

But anyone know of an independent timeline for Qana? It's probably impossible as only the IDF and US will have been examining the area, but I'd rather take faith in something other than Israeli news outlets.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 3:28 PM on July 30, 2006


If Israel really were the butchers some here proclaim them to be, Lebanese civilian casualties wouldn't number 600, they'd number 600 thousand.

It should be pretty clear by now that their policy is simply one of killing Hezbollah fighters at all costs, regardless of who gets in the way. Israeli civilians would count themselves lucky to have an enemy so disinterested.

I'm going to go on a tangent here: I used to genuinely believe in the moral equivalence of Israel and Palestine. Israel was headed by a war criminal (Sharon) and constantly acting in bad faith - using every suicide bombing as an excuse to kill dozens of Palestineans, despite knowing full well that no amount of effort would ever root out all the people making the explosives and recruiting the bombers. The Palestinean government was at best failing to make any sort of real effort to rein in the bombers, if not outright colluding with them, and were themselves constantly acting in bad faith at every step along the supposed path to peace. Moreover, far too many prominent Palestineans unashamedly proclaimed their desire to drive Israel into the sea, while at the same time Israel appeared to have its own plan - in the form of the settlements - to breed out the Palestineans entirely.

All of that has changed in the past year. Sharon had what appears to have been a last-minute attack of conscience and pulled out the settlements. Did the Palestineans respond with an equal showing of good faith? To the contrary, they did the exact opposite and elected Hamas. That, to me, was the breaking point as far as viewing Israel as the moral equal to its opponents. I may not think very much of either side in that conflict, nor in this related one with Hezbollah, but it is clear to me now that Israel is in both cases, at the very least, a lighter shade of black.
posted by Ryvar at 3:28 PM on July 30, 2006 [3 favorites]


Thanks Carter, that's a different light.
I know it's just another Israeli news outlet, but Haaretz is continually taking a non-standard position in this conflict. I wonder how it's being regarded within Israel right now.
I know it took an oddly pro-Oslo stance with the PLO, but offering possible cause for accusation against the IDF during a time of serious conflict seems a great deal more... I don't know.
Seditious, almost.

I don't say that because I think a free press is dangerous, but I suppose I'd assumed that the Israeli leadership did.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 3:39 PM on July 30, 2006


Ryvar: are you saying that because the Palestinians voted for Hamas, they deserve what they are getting?
posted by verisimilitude at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2006


versimilitude: Please don't put words in my mouth.

I'm saying that they responded to a tremendous show of good faith on Israel's part with a slap in the face directly from the body politic. I don't think anyone deserves to be killed, ever, but I no longer subscribe to the theory of moral equivalence as regards Israel and its neighbors.
posted by Ryvar at 3:49 PM on July 30, 2006


b_thinky: Why do you hate America!?
posted by delmoi at 3:51 PM on July 30, 2006


well put, ryvar.

By the way - those calling for an immediate cease fire are falling prey to the Arab propaganda machine. I too want ALL the killing to stop ASAP - but setting a cease fire as the CONDITION on which negotiations begin is, in effect, meeting one of the essential Hezbollah positions BEFORE the negotiations start.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:53 PM on July 30, 2006


post a pissing elephant picture in a thread about people dying.

because threads about people dying are sacrosanct.
posted by quonsar at 3:54 PM on July 30, 2006 [3 favorites]


verisimilitude

I'll take that bait, and say 'yes,' at least so long as Hamas fails to recognize Israel's legitimacy. If Mexico legitimately elected a government which campaigned on a "death to America" platform, I'd expect our government to launch a preemptive invasion in response, civilian casualties be damned... because they asked for it.

In my opinion, Israel showed incredible restraint by not immediately seeking to kill elected Palestinian officials affiliated with Hamas.
posted by The Confessor at 4:03 PM on July 30, 2006


"falling prey to the Arab propaganda machine"
My... that's a mighty wide brush you have there.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 4:03 PM on July 30, 2006


Someone should post that link about the Israelis and their sympathisers going out and trying to influence debate on the web. That's really pretty interesting.

Has anyone seen a link to what public opinion around the world is on the current Israeli actions?
posted by sien at 4:18 PM on July 30, 2006


setting a cease fire as the CONDITION on which negotiations begin is, in effect, meeting one of the essential Hezbollah positions BEFORE the negotiations start.

perhaps ... but claiming that the said ceasefire has to be "sustainable" is, as far as i'm concerned, saying that hizbollah needs to at least partially surrender (by agreeing to disarm) before the ceasefire happens

realistically, why should hizbollah give israel something that israel hasn't so far managed to get in nearly 3 weeks of bloody fighting? ... why should an international force sacrifice its soldiers for israel's war aims?

this is one of those situations where consessions are going to have to be made by both sides for there to be any real chance at peace ... a ceasefire would in fact be a victory for hizbollah ... but, what other options does israel have?

they can admit that they've escalated this conflict beyond what was good for their own self-interest ... or they can escalate it more and endanger the world with the stepping up of a serious war

and that's my real bottom line right there ... whatever israel's and hizbollah's interests may be in this, the world's best interest is in having this war stopped ... and guess what? ... that's more important than what either of them want
posted by pyramid termite at 4:26 PM on July 30, 2006


Ryvar, just seeking clarification a assure you. As far as I can tell the Palestinian's reasons for voting for Hamas remain unclear. Perhaps they were viewed as less corrupt and better steward of social services. Or perhaps the votes were an indication of its support of terrorism. Perhaps the The Confessor will be able to cite otherwise but I'm pretty certian did not adopt an overtly anti-isreal platform during their campaign, so its difficult for anyone to be certain.

Given that, how can you square your view that Israel is in both cases, at the very least, a lighter shade of black
with a death toll that suggests moral disparity rather than moral equivalence? What better measure of morality could you possibly be using?
posted by verisimilitude at 4:27 PM on July 30, 2006


What better measure of morality could you possibly be using?

don't you understand? ... civilian deaths only count if you SAY you meant them to happen ... all you have to say are the magic words, "oh, i'm so sorry, i didn't mean that", and it's all ok ...

it's somewhere in the "bush guide to the middle east", i believe ...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:34 PM on July 30, 2006


pyramid termite: Hezbollah SHOULD AT LEAST partially surrender, in accordance with the UN vote that recognized Israel's existence almost 60 years ago. Hezbollah SHOULD surrender because using terror as a tactic is morally reprehensible. Hezbollah SHOULD surrender it's military goals - ie the destruction of the state of Israel.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 4:37 PM on July 30, 2006


keswick: "Once Israel has its Lebensraum we shall have peace in our time."

Many might read this as a recapitulation of the "Israel = Nazis" canard. But let's not underestimate our friend keswick. Look a little closer at the comment, and we see that it's actually a reference to the historic cowardice of a certain british leader before world war two.

Fitting, too. The leaders of Europe sound a hell of a lot like Neville Chamberlain to me at the moment. If the UN really cared about peace in the middle east, it would've established martial law in Lebanon a month ago. Where are they now?
posted by koeselitz at 4:38 PM on July 30, 2006


Hezbollah SHOULD surrender because using terror as a tactic is morally reprehensible

Shock and awe?

Tell me how killing 600 civillians in return for about 20 isn't a terror tactic.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:41 PM on July 30, 2006


pyramid termite - you can belittle it all you want, but Hezbollah (and Hamas, and Al Qaeda, etc) WANT to kill as many civilians as possible. Period. If Israel had such a goal, then (as ryvar has pointed out) the civilian death toll in Lebanon (and the West Bank, and Gaza) would be exponentially higher. When Israel kills civilians, there is frequently an investigation, and frequently there are consequences (eg Sharon being driven from office back in the 80s - too bad it didn't stick). There is NO kind of self-examination and recrimination on the part of ANY Arab actors WHATSOEVER. To say that there is a moral equivalence is just way too over-simplistic. Intent matters.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 4:41 PM on July 30, 2006


well, there's all sorts of things all sorts of people SHOULD be doing, isn't there?

but, realistically, what are they WILLING to do? ... i would hope that both sides would be willing to stand down for a bit ... if they're not, then it's pretty much useless

no ceasefire, no hope ...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:42 PM on July 30, 2006


you can belittle it all you want, but Hezbollah (and Hamas, and Al Qaeda, etc) WANT to kill as many civilians as possible.

wrong ... they are willing to kill as many civilians as they need to, to gain their political ends ... reprehensible, but different than how you've stated it ... supposedly, hizbollah is capable of doing more ... at least that's what they claim

hizbollah has clearly committed war crimes in this battle

Intent matters.

the israeli government is lying about its intent ... period
posted by pyramid termite at 4:47 PM on July 30, 2006


how can you square your view that Israel is in both cases, at the very least, a lighter shade of black
with a death toll that suggests moral disparity rather than moral equivalence? What better measure of morality could you possibly be using?


The measure I'm using is to what degree both sides act in good faith to attempt to bring a permanent end to hostilities. Israel will inflict, on its worst day, several times more casualties than it will receive because its training, technology, and funding are so superior. That is not in question. What is in question is the degree to which they honestly pursue peace, rather than make excuses.

One of the worst examples of this, as I mentioned above, was using rogue suicide bombings as justification for incursions into Palestinean territory, resulting in dozens of deaths. They had to know that even if the Palestinean government went all out to stop the bombings, they would still occur from time to time.

That's acting in bad faith, and it is the sort of thing which exposes the true intent and beliefs of each side. It is that intent and the actions that result which matter, not the bodycount.

In the current situation, Hezbollah very clearly has the extermination of all Israelis - civilian and military alike - as their ultimate goal. Israel has the extermination of Hezbollah fighters as their ultimate goal, but they're clearly not terribly concerned with who gets in the way.

It's a lighter shade of black.
posted by Ryvar at 4:52 PM on July 30, 2006


On the subject of Israel's policy toward killing civilians, there is one simple thought which makes all of it make sense. Consider this:

They learn exactly what is "acceptable" from the US.

The US got away with killing 30K+ civilians in Iraq and calling it "progress" and "freedom."

Israel now knows that all they have to do is invoke phrases like "war on terror" and "we are doing everything we can" and the world will give them quite a bit of latitude to destroy innocent life in pursuit of strategic aims.
posted by scarabic at 4:52 PM on July 30, 2006


Arguing about "terror" vs. "non-terror" leads nowhere. It's entirely subjective. We need objective measures of reprehensibility in order to get anywhere. The civilian death toll seems like a good measure to me.

Invariably supporters of Israel ask us to peer inside the minds of both sides in order to gauge the "morality" of the actions. That's not something we can really ever do, and I think it would be irresponsible to try.
posted by delmoi at 4:52 PM on July 30, 2006


verisimilitude:

Apologies, verisimilitude, for the (possibly false) implication that Hamas actively campaigned for the death of Israel in the run-up to their recent elections.

I was "reaching" for a fictitious analogue for America simply because no actual one has ever existed... save possibly for Native Americans in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Even communist Cuba, our nearest antagonistic neighbor, has always been more inclined to flip a birdie in our general direction than to shoot missiles at us.

It's not particularly important to my argument, however; the average Palestinian would have been well aware of Hamas' history, and their continued refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist. They willing chose to be represented by the less conciliatory party. Should they have expected Israel to be more conciliatory in return?

T'would be interesting to search for parallels between Native American aggression in America's history and Palestinian aggression in Israel's history.
posted by The Confessor at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2006


Hezbollah very clearly has the extermination of all Israelis - civilian and military alike - as their ultimate goal.

Hezbollah wants to "wipe Israel off the map" This does not mean the death of all Israelis, it just means renaming the region, as it was renamed 60 years ago. The Israelis didn't need to kill all the Palestinians in order to "wipe Palestine off the map"

There's a big difference between renaming a country and slaughtering millions of people.
posted by delmoi at 4:58 PM on July 30, 2006


I think Hezbollah seek something a little more serious than revisionist cartographers.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 5:04 PM on July 30, 2006


Ryvar

I see your point but surely you have to judge all parties actions based on their positions relative to eachother.

Isreal is in a stronger position than all their enemies, they have been the occupying power in gaza and the west bank (and in lebanon until 2000) and they are lightyears ahead in terms of economic and military power.

Its not hard to look like the slightly better party when you are already holding most of the marbles.

Although they could be worse they are already causing more civillian deaths than their enemies by a massive margin.

You can say that Hamas and Hezbollah are committed to the destruction of isreal but they have never been in anything like a position to achieve such an end.

Yet Isreal, in just 19 days, may very well have set the entire nation of Lebanon back 20 years.

Their stated targets may be restricted to Hezbollah fighters but they have fucked up the entire country.

Intentions only matter upto a point, when you destroy an entire countries infrastructure you are past that point.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 5:05 PM on July 30, 2006


The civilian death toll seems like a good measure to me.

It seems like a good measure to me as well, if only by showing how pathetic Hezbollah are as an "enemy". They're trying as hard as they can and have only killed a few dozen people?

Meanwhile Israel is launching "surgical strikes" and as a result has massacred civillians by the hundreds.

It says a little something about the balance of power here - for some big, scary millitant group with aims of "wiping Israel off the map", they don't seem to be having that much of an impact.

You could say that about the whole region, really. We're constantly told that Israel is surrounded on all sides by countries that want to "wipe it off the map". But if they really wanted to, and if they were really a threat, they would have done so by now.
posted by Jimbob at 5:06 PM on July 30, 2006


There's a big difference between renaming a country and slaughtering millions of people.

To rename the country would require the destruction of Israel's military. In the absence of that military, can you tell me that you honestly believe that the majority of Israeli civilians would be left alone by people so determined to kill them that they use their own children as walking bombs?

I could always be wrong, of course, but that seems a bit naive.
posted by Ryvar at 5:08 PM on July 30, 2006


sien: this link: http://www.giyus.org?
posted by little miss manners at 5:09 PM on July 30, 2006


Ryvar: my first thought when Sharon pulled the settlements out of Gaza was that this had to be a Good Thing, and that maybe, just maybe, Sharon was genuinely interested in a negotiated peace.

Then I found out about the simultaneous ramping-up of the settlement program in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and realized that once again he was just doing something that would look good in the media.

It seems to me that the use of the term "moral equivalence" in any discussion of a situation characterized by gross immorality is an impediment to clear thinking. To claim that there is no moral equivalence between the government of Israel and assorted local terrorist outfits - which is the term's usual context - is to imply that the Israeli government's policy and actions are in fact less disgustingly immoral than those of Hezbollah, Hamas et al.

I completely reject that suggestion. As far as I can tell, there is a complete immoral equivalence between those individuals within the Israeli government and military who order and facilitate the bulldozing of Palestinian houses and the bombing of Lebanon, and those individuals within Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah et al. who order and facilitate the firing of rockets into Israel and the attacks of suicide bombers. There are barbaric and rotten people on all sides of this conflict. Barbaric and rotten Israelis get no special Get Out Of Jail Free card just for being citizens of a democracy. Barbaric and rotten Palestinians get no special Get Out Of Jail Free card just for living under occupation.

I am sickened by the justifications offered by leaders on both sides, and their supporters in other countries, for their actions.

It seems to me that the Israeli government is and always has been more concerned with winning hearts and minds in the countries that supply its weaponry than in those it actually adjoins.

It seems to me that the Israeli Right, in particular, has never paid more than lip service to the idea of a negotiated peace, and that its constant harping on the lack of a "partner for peace" in its region is disgustingly hypocritical.

It seems to me that the US has never been an honest broker in the Middle East, and it's absolutely no surprise that the Lebanese government sent Dr. Rice packing.

There is no moral justification for bombings, or kidnappings, or forcible annexation of territory. These are tactical and strategic actions. To contemplate their use is to work outside any moral framework.

In the context of the Middle East, it seems to me that none of these things constitute a workable defence, in that they do not promote anybody's security - they simply perpetuate deep hatreds. So were I to find myself in conversation with any Middle Eastern leader who seems determined to keep on attacking until the enemy gives up, I would ask: how much damage would an enemy have to do to your community to make you give up? What leads you to think that your enemy's resolve (as opposed to its available weaponry) is any less strong than your own? Why do you think you can win by turning your enemy into your victim instead of into your neighbour?
posted by flabdablet at 5:13 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think the idea of comparing the morality of Israel and Palestine would be valid if Palestine were an actual, functioning, sovereign nation rather than a de facto open-air prison.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:20 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ryvar, to repeat the point that everyone is making: constant killing of civilians is inexcusable because the total destruction of Israel seems to be a long way off right now.

Most of the grandiose 'wipe Israel off the face of the map' type statements have come from the mouths of despotic populists, there is no likelihood/capacity/intent whatsoever.

Israel is not protecting anyone, all they are doing is feeding the resentment and murdering hundreds of innocent people.

They need to stop while the situation is still solvable.
posted by verisimilitude at 5:22 PM on July 30, 2006


flabdablet: I agree with you that actions on both sides are barbaric, hence my use of the phrase 'lighter shade of black.' What both sides are doing is wrong - it's just that one seems to act in bad faith slightly less. We may have to simply disagree here.

That being said, this:

It seems to me that the Israeli government is and always has been more concerned with winning hearts and minds in the countries that supply its weaponry than in those it actually adjoins.

It seems to me that the Israeli Right, in particular, has never paid more than lip service to the idea of a negotiated peace, and that its constant harping on the lack of a "partner for peace" in its region is disgustingly hypocritical.

It seems to me that the US has never been an honest broker in the Middle East, and it's absolutely no surprise that the Lebanese government sent Dr. Rice packing.


is spot-on.
posted by Ryvar at 5:22 PM on July 30, 2006


I stand by my assertion that the entire region should be demilitarized, and no one there should be allowed to own so much as a pointed stick.
posted by mullingitover at 5:29 PM on July 30, 2006


"If Israel really were the butchers some here proclaim them to be, Lebanese civilian casualties wouldn't number 600, they'd number 600 thousand"
Hey, they are just getting started, like Frank Sinatra clearing his throat before he sings.
posted by hortense at 5:32 PM on July 30, 2006


little miss manners: Thanks for that. The times link about how it is all being done is interesting.

With the polling I was looking for something a bit different.

It would be really interesting to see some international polling results on what people think. I'm amazed at what I'm hearing from friends and co-workers about who they think is to blame and what they think about it in general. Everyone I know has remarked on how out of control Israel is. This is in contrst to Australian politicians who are almost all very supportive of Israel. It would be interesting to see how this goes in different countries.
posted by sien at 5:33 PM on July 30, 2006


Ryvar, you said that the measure of morality you are using is...

the degree both sides act in good faith to attempt to bring a permanent end to hostilities.

But then you agree that the...

Israeli Right, in particular, has never paid more than lip service to the idea of a negotiated peace


isn't there a huge contradiction there?
posted by verisimilitude at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2006


Israel's response to Hezbollah reminds me of the opening scene of Team America where in order to stop a terrorist attack, the good guys destroy much of Paris.

It's Ironic that in order to stop a "terrorist" group that targets civilians, the Israelis are actually killing more civilians than the terrorists are. Even if you were to look at the ratio of military:civilians killed or wounded, I think Hezbollah might actually post the better ratio here.

Israel as a nation will continue to exist only as long as they can keep Arab nations from attacking them, so they'd better not piss them off. With this massacre, two more generations of Arabs will grow up hating Israelis (and with very good reason).

(I know somebody will jump in here and say "Arabs are taught to hate and kill Israel/Jews" but if you deflame the situation enough to make people ignore the extremists, their voices will become smaller and smaller. And besides, look at our own history in America. Most of our grandparents were raised in a culture of racism and segregation. Is your family racist? Are you racist? At some point, are population has ignored the "conventional wisdom" on this issue - and we're better off for it. No reason the same can't happen for Jews/Arabs.)

Saudi Arabia claims every Arab state will recognize Israel and declare peace with them if they retreat to the UN recognized 1967 borders. Why doens't Israel accept this proposal and why doesn't the international community pressure them into doing so? In negotiations, both sides must give up something. When it comes to peace, Israel always fails to give up anything more than the "we'll stop oppressing you" card.

Until Israel actually demonstrates they want peace and equality for all, they'll continue to get what they deserve.
posted by b_thinky at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2006


Since Yassir Arafat died, doesn't it seem like suicide bombings within Israeli territory have nearly stopped?
posted by netbros at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2006


isn't there a huge contradiction there?

verisimilitude: Not at all. I blame the Israeli right for the overwhelming majority of bad faith actions performed by the Israeli government.
posted by Ryvar at 5:47 PM on July 30, 2006


and, yes, I realize that they are no longer in power.
posted by Ryvar at 5:48 PM on July 30, 2006


can you tell me that you honestly believe that the majority of Israeli civilians would be left alone by people so determined to kill them that they use their own children as walking bombs?
Yes, I can tell you that I honestly believe that. I also believe that the only way to get there would be for the Israeli government - which is the least badly organized and least ineffective decision-making body in the region, which controls most of the strategic resources in the region, and whose decisions have by far the most long-reaching consequences for the region - to be wiilling, even at some cost in Israeli civilian lives, to stop acting in ways that fuel hatred of Israelis among Israel's neighbors.

Most people don't want to blow up their children in other people's countries.

Most people don't want to bulldoze houses and blow up refugee camps in other people's countries.

Most people just want to get on with their lives.

Suicide bombings are very much the pursuit of a fanatical minority.

As things stand at present, that fanatical minority finds it easy to gain supporters, because the jackbooted Israeli government is so, so easy to hate.

If the Israeli government were seriously to pursue a negotiated peace - which pursuit would require it not to react with all-out or even "proportionate" violence in response to every suicide bombing or rocket attack - two things would happen: first, there would be an increase in the number of Israeli civilian deaths by violence, due to lowered security; second, the fanatical minority responsible for those murders would start to find it much harder to attract support.

Over the next hundred years of this scenario, I would expect there to be many fewer Israeli citizens blown up than there are likely to be if the present policy is continued.

It's worth keeping in mind that the leading cause of death in Israel is heart disease, not bombs.
posted by flabdablet at 5:53 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Lebanon oil slick 'worst environmental disaster' in Mediterranean

Qana attack stirs worldwide outcry


U.S. Inaction in Mideast Undercuts Bush's Goals

President's Radio Address to the Nation - July 29, 2006
posted by taosbat at 6:03 PM on July 30, 2006


sien: I think the great Australian public doesn't care enough about this issue to make it a vote-affector one way or the other, leaving the pollies conveniently free to play their usual games of Who Can Look Least Likely To Fuck Up The Sacred US Alliance.
posted by flabdablet at 6:04 PM on July 30, 2006


Clearly, violence prevents future violence.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:09 PM on July 30, 2006


taosbat: there's a lot in the President's address about what the Lebanese government must do, and what Hezbollah must do, and what the UN must to. Bugger all about what Israel must do.

W is spot on when he says
For decades, American policy sought to achieve peace in the Middle East by promoting stability in the Middle East, yet these policies gave us neither. The lack of freedom in that region created conditions where anger and resentment grew, radicalism thrived, and terrorists found willing recruits. We saw the consequences on September the 11th, 2001, when terrorists brought death and destruction to our country, killing nearly 3,000 innocent Americans.
It's just a shame that he thinks of "freedom" as meaning something more like "being on our team" than something like "not having to queue at a checkpoint every day just to get to work, and having a reasonable expectation that your house will not be demolished by the occupying army".
posted by flabdablet at 6:11 PM on July 30, 2006


MetaFilter: falling prey to the Arab propaganda machine.
posted by homunculus at 6:16 PM on July 30, 2006


flabdablet: True about Oz and the sacred link to the US, Latham's conga line seems to always get some new people on the end of it.

But if the situation in Australia is anything like the situation in the UK and other European countries then the politicians are remarkably out of step with public opinion. This may matter at some point.

Even on the net, it is surprising to see how many Americans are deeply disturbed by all this. Admittedly, the sample is biased, but still.
posted by sien at 6:17 PM on July 30, 2006


Hi flabdablet, I think the real issue here is the further polorization of the Middle East. Arab governments like the Saudi's and Egypt have done an about face from chastizing Hezbollah to condemning the Israeli's and US in the last 2 weeks.

Yes, it's "a shame that he thinks of "freedom" as meaning something more like "being on our team" than something like "not having to queue at a checkpoint every day just to get to work..."

It's also a shame that we 'expedited' delivery of bombs to Israel. I think a lot of folks will remember that for a long time.
posted by taosbat at 6:21 PM on July 30, 2006


I think that's the same issue. Israel's On Our Freedom Team!

Remember, what Kofi has to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doin' this shit.
posted by flabdablet at 6:24 PM on July 30, 2006


First, shoot missiles at any moving vehicle to make travel unthinkable.

Second, bomb the bridges and roads to make travel impossible.

Third, leaflet areas between your army and the road carnage warning that area residents will have to get out or be bombed.

Fourth, bomb every intact structure, the ones with basements twice.

Fifth, tell yourself and the world you are morally superior to your enemies.

Six, pause for effect.

Hanady Salman, an editor at as-Safir newspaper, writes about today’s massacre in Qana:


Qana - Sunday July 30th , 2006

Only to let you know that these are 55 civilians, all killed , 20 of them are kids betwween 7 months and 12 years old.

Only to let you know that a number of these children are handicapped, they were hit in the last Qana massacre in 1996.

Only to let you know CNN and BBC are hosting IDF spokespeople who tell the world that these civilians were warned to leave, but they just didn’t.

Only to let you know the air strikes took place at 1:00 am, all they people were sleeping, in their pyjamas, bare feet, in a shelter. The house was hit twice. Twice. To make sure they will all die.

Only to let you know that despite the fact that we’re animals, but it would have been impossible for animals to sleep had there been any shelling from anywhere close, as the IDF alleges.

Only to let you know you free media won’t show you these pictures.

Only to let you know that this is not the first time this happens, and I can promise you it won’t be the last time.

See, the Olmert government does have a strategy!
posted by Unregistered User at 6:25 PM on July 30, 2006


In the current situation, Hezbollah very clearly has the extermination of all Israelis - civilian and military alike - as their ultimate goal. Israel has the extermination of Hezbollah fighters as their ultimate goal, but they're clearly not terribly concerned with who gets in the way.

It's a lighter shade of black.


Personally, I love this logic. When you judge people by their goals, rather than what they can actually do, you acquire an eternal moral license for genocide. It doesn't matter that the threat posed by the Enemy is ultimately negligent. It doesn't matter that you possess one of the most powerful armies in the world. The Enemy wants to destroy you. What I want to know is how could you apply this sort of simplistic black-and-white thinking to marketing? Imagine if you could get people to shop for clothes using such a rigid framework. Instead of advertising as a means to tell, you could use 'objective' journalism. This would be perfect: a fusion of advertising and propaganda who's purpose wouldn't be to sell so much as to compel.
posted by nixerman at 6:26 PM on July 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


.
posted by lester at 6:37 PM on July 30, 2006


Josh Marshall today brought up the neocons' plan for "transformation through destabilization," which he wrote about in April 2003. His subtitle: "Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare agenda--it's their plan."

Practice to Deceive

More to come so says Dante'
posted by Unregistered User at 6:38 PM on July 30, 2006


In the absence of that military, can you tell me that you honestly believe that the majority of Israeli civilians would be left alone by people so determined to kill them that they use their own children as walking bombs?

I think the conflict would be over much sooner if both sides had to resort to suicide bombing and throwing stones. At the very least the death toll would decrease by about 90% or so - mostly the victims of IDF's hi-tech weaponry.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:08 PM on July 30, 2006


Suicide bombings are very much the pursuit of a fanatical minority.

I don't know about that. It's a little facile and dismissive. The question most people usually ask is:

"How fucking radical do you have to be to celebrate your child's suicide bombing of the enemy?"

What we should be asking is:

"How can ordinary people be brought, en masse, to a collective position where any or all of them might celebrate their child's suicide bombing of the enemy?"

It's always easy to use the "few bad apples" argument. But the reality is that GENERATIONS of oppression following the theft of ancestral lands have brought perfectly ordinary people to a desperate end. It's not just religious zealots. It's regular folk, too. That's the scary part for all concerned. Scary for them because it's a chilling perversion of their entire way of life and collective culture, and chilling for the Israelis, because there's no way to just eliminate the bad apples.
posted by scarabic at 7:14 PM on July 30, 2006


It's inaccurate to consider Israel as a quasi-Nazi state, as some of its critics here have done. Germany was one of the great imperialist powers in Europe. Israel is a colonial client state of imperialism. Completely different circumstances. There are two good historical analogies, both of which explain part of what Israel is and does. On the one hand, it is a settler state, much like the early United States, and there are some limited parallels one could draw to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the European-Native conflict in the Americas. (However, the situation in the US was outright genocide on a level that is not comparable to Israel, and the analogy ends rather abruptly.) On the other hand, it is an apartheid state like South Africa or the US South under Jim Crow, with institutionalized inequality and repression against part of the population. Of course, neither analogy is even vaguely complete.

The upshot of the policy of the Israeli government is and has been to make any settlement with the Palestinians impossible and force the entire indigenous population of the region into the neighboring states. Since 1967, this has been accomplished by the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The state sponsored settlement program has allowed Israel to colonize the West Bank and put the Palestinians into a fundamentally unworkable situation. The Palestinian state as it would exist after the Israeli wall is complete in the West Bank is not viable (and not meant to be viable) and its failure would be the pretext for enduring pressure and a last expulsion of Palestinians.

Israel is permitted to do this because it is a proxy for imperialism (represented mostly today by the US) to neutralize any and all political opposition to the imperialist agenda in the region. Israel's current offensive in Lebanon is a blatant example of this; consider the circumstances and the timing. American imperialism is losing badly (and losing face) in Iraq inasmuch as its goal is to create a new client state. American threats and bullying have not scared the Iranian government away from nuclear testing. Israel, on the most hollow imaginable pretext, has preceded at this juncture to lay waste to a neighboring country because of a resistance movement that captured two soldiers. It has made clear its intent to crush any opposition, civilians be damned. It would be disingenuous or naïve to say that the timing of this is coincidental.

What about Hizbullah? In the past, their actions were directly aimed at the end to the military occupation of Lebanon by Israel. They were a resistance movement. In the present, the prisoner raid was a response -- the only response other than stunned silence throughout the world -- to the collective punishment of Palestinians on the basis that militants captured one active duty soldier intending a prisoner exchange. (Israel holds over 9,000 Palestinians as prisoners today.) This is a legitimate act of resistance by a people under occupation, but Israel lashed out against the whole population of the Gaza Strip. The present conflict in Lebanon is an extension of Israel/Palestine conflict.

The point of the current offensive in Lebanon is to say that anyone who resists the will of the US and Israel in the Middle East or even lives in the same country as their opponents will be punished. That is collective punishment, which is totally divorced from morality of any sort.
posted by graymouser at 7:14 PM on July 30, 2006 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: falling prey to the Arab propaganda machine.

Right, Homonuculus.

Let me turn my brain off and go back to watching Blitzer, Ollie North, O'Reily, and the rest of the US news media whose main goal is so clearly objective and integral journalism.

I think it was Hannity who asked an Israeli diplomat stationed in New York tonight why the Qana incident was such a big deal in light of so many Israeli lives lost as a result of Hezbollah rockets. -- But my mind is still in a haze because of that horrible old Arab propaganda machine...

You must be right. Please help us from being manipulated. Who can deny what Hannity says -- he showed us a photo of a couple of guys in a military-style vehicle with a big gun in the back of it.
--click on the video 'Obsession' -- its a real doozy!!!
The 'Doomsday Scenario' link is tops too -- lots of solid theories and fireballs.
-- Enjoy the 30 second ad before.


Get your radiation detector ready!!
posted by pwedza at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2006


And your sarcasm detector. ;) A comment that silly screams tagline.
posted by homunculus at 7:33 PM on July 30, 2006


It's not just religious zealots. It's regular folk, too. That's the scary part for all concerned.
Not all fanaticism is religious. I agree that it's a terrible thing that grinding oppression can push otherwise ordinary people into political fanaticism.

It still seems to me that fanatics will be quite a small minority in any community, and that regardless of provocation, most people do just want to get on with their lives.
posted by flabdablet at 7:39 PM on July 30, 2006


well, i watched the doomsday scenario tape ... and what terrorist organization in their right mind is going to turn a substantial portion of the "palestinian homeland" into a radioactive mess to "liberate" it?

that just doesn't make any sense ... even to people who would like to "push all the jews into the sea" ...

anything to scare people ... (i remember 1962 vaguely ... now THAT was scary)
posted by pyramid termite at 7:39 PM on July 30, 2006


Random tidbit of interestingness: the site that little miss manners linked to is named giyus.org, as an acronym for Give Israel Your United Support. Giyus, in Hebrew, means 'conscription' or 'military call-up.'

Personally, I think flabdablet's got it. Let people live happy, productive lives, and the violence will stop. I hope.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:44 PM on July 30, 2006


;)
posted by pwedza at 7:45 PM on July 30, 2006


Late to the thread, but in case anybody wants to see it, here's War Nerd's take on the sitch....
posted by pax digita at 10:05 PM on July 30, 2006


homunculus - it actually IS possible that some people might see things differently than you do and NOT be completely off-base. You COULD be wrong. It's also possible that the situation is sufficiently complex that neither of us really has a grasp on the whole picture.

Thanks, though, for the ad hominem. Shalom. Salaam.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:15 PM on July 30, 2006


pax: Brecher is a vicious amoral little fuck, but he really does write like an angel. I love reading his stuff. Thanks for the link.
posted by flabdablet at 10:29 PM on July 30, 2006


You COULD be wrong. It's also possible that the situation is sufficiently complex that neither of us really has a grasp on the whole picture.

f_o_f: Indeed. But I promise you that my repulsion to this event AND my wish to see an immediate cease fire is not simply manufactured by the "Arab propaganda machine." It's more empathic and viseral than that (as it is with many others, I believe.) But I don't see how anyone can expect there to be effective negotiations while events like this are ongoing, and these civilian deaths must stop.

I apologize for the ad hominem, but you should realize that your statement sounds insulting. But you're right, I was being bitchy and I apologize. Thanks for spelling my name right. ;)
posted by homunculus at 11:43 PM on July 30, 2006


The Geneva Conventions were a misguided response to the atrocities of the two World Wars. Their primary function seems to be the military defeat of states idiotic enough to abide by their rules.

The Confessor, just so you know, the first convention was signed in 1864. See here.
posted by Cassford at 12:02 AM on July 31, 2006


When you judge people by their goals, rather than what they can actually do, you acquire an eternal moral license for genocide.

Only if you believe that an extremely slight moral superiority somehow automatically grants license to begin killing people. I don't, as I've said above, believe that.

That people on either side of this are dying is wrong, period, and I find the idea that you can use bodycount to somehow make one side more wrong than the other a little nauseating. The morality of an individual or group should be based upon both their intent and the honesty of their actions - there's something sickening about keeping score with people's lives.

It doesn't matter that the threat posed by the Enemy is ultimately negligent. It doesn't matter that you possess one of the most powerful armies in the world. The Enemy wants to destroy you.

That would depend on just how implacable your foe really is. If there's really no way of dissuading them from killing you, then yes, action is justified. I'm not sure that it's appropriate for me to try to project my personal determinist ethics on a situation so complex and involving so many people, but for what it's worth here's the relevant part: the only law higher than "thou shalt not kill" is "thou shalt not die."

What about Hizbullah? In the past, their actions were directly aimed at the end to the military occupation of Lebanon by Israel. They were a resistance movement. In the present, the prisoner raid was a response -- the only response other than stunned silence throughout the world -- to the collective punishment of Palestinians on the basis that militants captured one active duty soldier intending a prisoner exchange. (Israel holds over 9,000 Palestinians as prisoners today.) This is a legitimate act of resistance by a people under occupation, but Israel lashed out against the whole population of the Gaza Strip. The present conflict in Lebanon is an extension of Israel/Palestine conflict.

This is, to me, an extremely interesting take on the situation. Definitely a perspective I hadn't considered. Thanks.
posted by Ryvar at 12:25 AM on July 31, 2006


That people on either side of this are dying is wrong, period, and I find the idea that you can use bodycount to somehow make one side more wrong than the other a little nauseating.

Okay

The morality of an individual or group should be based upon both their intent and the honesty of their actions - there's something sickening about keeping score with people's lives.

But again, how can you possibly measure that? How can you ever really know what's someone's real desires are inside? You can't.

Sure you can examine statements made, examine the history but all of that analysis is subjective it's no more true or real then a Post modern Feminist Studies major arguing that Freud's theory of the ego was an enabler of the patriarchy. I seriously, to try to argue morality based on Literary Analysis? That's only a recipe for endless argument that leads nowhere.

I think that the morality you discuss has less to do with the motivations of Israel then your conception of the idea of Israel, which to you seems morally good, compared with the idea of Hizbollah, or even the idea of Lebanon. In your mind the idea of Israel is pure of heart and therefore Israel is pure of heart, and therefore they are morally correct.

But that's just no way to communicate between people, because people's ideas differ. We need to have either uniform metric or give up on the idea of objective morality entirely. Morality based on internal states is moral relativism, because different people can project different internal states on to people, based on different parsing and literary analysis of their statements.
posted by delmoi at 12:42 AM on July 31, 2006


OK, I'll bite.
Firstly, the hypocrisy of all this completely sickens me. Suddenly everyone is urgently looking for a solution when yesterday they weren't. What's the difference ? On Sunday 60 or 70 people were killed all in the same place - which made for a good media story, and there were pictures and everything. On Saturday 60 or 70 people were killed, but in different places - hard to use as a focus for the news, so therefore nothing to really worry about. This makes me want to puke.
Secondly, I'm sick of this "human shield" argument. I'm not particularly keen on Hezbollah, but it's disingenuous in the extreme to claim they are using people in these villages as a "human shield". The members of Hezbollah come from these villages. That's where they live. That's where their families live. When the tanks and planes arrive, that's the place where they tend to (rather foolishly) take a stand. If they wanted to hide, it would actually be much more effective to disperse into the countryside full of caves and hiding places and fight from there, which is exactly what the majority of them seem to have done. Indeed, the success of Hezbollah in this battle at the moment seems to be mainly attributable to exactly this tactic.
posted by silence at 2:38 AM on July 31, 2006


It seems to me that Israel has a predetermined 'acceptable' level of civilian casualies... Any more than a certain level will effectively defeat their military action due to the political fallout, both domestically and internationally...

Maybe Qana has tipped the balance, although hearing the Israeli commentators saying that its all Hezbollah's fault that those people died (ugh) makes me doubt that.


One incredible thing about this conflict is that how the goals have changed...
First it was the complete destruction of Hezbollah requring 3 days (impossible short of genocide)
Then it was the disarming of Hezbollah (impossible by military means -- there will always be hidden arms caches)
Then it was the reduction of the threat of Hezbollah (well, so far they have managed only to increase the threat)
What is is now that they need 2 more weeks to do?

In the meantime, the only thing that Israel have managed to achieve is to further damage their standing in the world (US excepted), kill a few hundred civillians and a few 10s of Hezbollah fighters, and destroy the civillian infrastructure in one of the most pro-western neighboring countries.

But most importantly (and dangeously) they have INCREASED the respect and popular support for Hezbollah to incredible levels both in lebanon and in the wider Arab and Islamic world. They are now seen (again) as the 'defenders' of Lebanon, as the plucky little David standing up to Israels Goliath (deliberate choice of analogy).

What is also incredible to me is that after 2 weeks of attacks by the regional military superpower, Hezbollah's ability to launch their rockets is unaffected... Makes you wonder about how effective this operation really is.

Maybe this is israels strategy: continue provoking Hezbollah until they run out of ammo...

In the meantime the pictures too extreme for the press to print (dead mutilated babies and children) are being circulated in the Arab world, generating yet more hate against the US, the UN, the UK, and Israel.
posted by nielm at 3:48 AM on July 31, 2006


flabdablet: You're more than welcome. :o)

Brecher...I dunno about the "amoral" and "vicious;" he's probably pretty personable and well-behaved in spite of his viewpoints, which I find a refreshing counterpoint to the CNN and FOX News ret'd-mil carefully groomed analysts. I might, with prior negotiation, even trust him with my cat, my car keys, or my six o'clock, mostly because he calls BS on BS pretty appropriately and knows his limitations.

He strikes me as what you'd get if you crossed Dorothy Parker with Tom Clancy. In another life, he could have been an adversarial analyst (or whatever they call it) at DIA or CIA -- one of those guys who writes the obligatory "minority report" counter-opinions that only responsible highers-up want to read (a/o/t certain current Administration types who merely want their beliefs confirmed in a lite 'n' easy way, without any challenging contrary detail).

Here's Brecher on Brecher, and here's an index of his "War Nerd" columns.
posted by pax digita at 5:35 AM on July 31, 2006


Israeli air force hits Lebanon despite agreement to halt raids for 48 hours
posted by taosbat at 6:03 AM on July 31, 2006


Gerald Kaufman (UK Labour MP, former minister and shadow minister) is getting very outspoken on this...
Israel's current adventure has turned out to be a disaster not only for the Lebanese, being slaughtered in increasing numbers by Israeli attacks, but for Israel itself and its sponsor, the United States. Three weeks after their invasion, the Israelis have accomplished none of their objectives.

Taking into account that previous Israeli incursions into Lebanon were total failures, with no objectives attained and many Israeli servicemen killed, and taking into account, too, that the Americans suffered 241 servicemen killed in Beirut at the hands of Hizbullah, it is difficult to understand how even ultimate buffoons like Ehud Olmert and George Bush could have expected anything else.
posted by nielm at 6:11 AM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


...and another thing...
Those talking about how Hezbollah are "killing Israeli civilians" should maybe take a look at the maths. As I write the score is currently 51 Israeli dead, with 18 of those being civilians. That's 65% military, 35% civilian. I haven't managed to find figures for the civilian vs military toll due to Israeli "precision bombing", but I very, very much doubt that they are anywhere near 65%.
posted by silence at 8:09 AM on July 31, 2006


That's mostly because the Hezbollah rockets are hitting towns where people have bomb shelters and are in them. They just haven't been terribly effective. The IDF toll comes from the army engaging fighters in ground warfare. Hezbollah is trying to kill civilians, they just aren't all that good at it. Israel, which says it's trying not to kill civilians, is managing to kill far more of them.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2006



First, shoot missiles at any moving vehicle to make travel unthinkable.

Second, bomb the bridges and roads to make travel impossible.

Third, leaflet areas between your army and the road carnage warning that area residents will have to get out or be bombed.

Fourth, bomb every intact structure, the ones with basements twice.

Fifth, tell yourself and the world you are morally superior to your enemies.

Six, pause for effect.


Actually sixth is: Demand that the people you've now utterly crippled mount a more effective containment campaign against a popular military front in their country.
posted by scarabic at 8:55 AM on July 31, 2006


nielm scroll down and read about Kaufman on Jews, Israel and Zionism. He is running true to form as one of the leading Jewish critics of Israel.
posted by adamvasco at 9:53 AM on July 31, 2006


Rice hopeful after Mideast trial by fire

SHANNON, Ireland (AFP) - Chided by Lebanon, criticised by allies, and sniped at in the press, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ended her testy Middle East peace mission with fighting still raging.

But though she did not secure a ceasefire, Rice said on the way home Monday that she may have conjured enough progress to forge peace in Lebanon this week.

In perhaps the toughest week on the job so far, Rice endured a trial by fire in Middle East negotiating, global outrage over bloody Israeli airstrikes and carping from Washington foreign policy sages.

She left with only a temporary victory -- a 48-hour suspension of Israeli air strikes in southern Lebanon after a raid on the village of Qana killed more than 50 people, many children, as they slept.

Even that was thrown into question Monday as the Israeli air force carried out fresh air attacks in a border region in support of troops carrying out a ground incursion.

A US official said on condition of anonymity that the United States was informed that the incident was "close air support" linked to a ground operation which he said was permitted within the terms of the moratorium.

He said the suspension of aerial activity in southern Lebanon remained in effect.

Rice and other US officials learned about the incident on the plane during a flight from Tel Aviv to Shannon, Ireland, where she landed for a refueling stop.

The US view was that the incident did not detract from the successes of Rice's trip. "We have moved the ball forward," the official said.

Rice said the much criticised US policy of addressing the "root causes" of the fighting in search of a permanent resolution, rather than an immediate ceasefire, was about to bear fruit...

Residents flee south Lebanon as Israel eases air strikes

SIDON, Lebanon (AFP) - Thousands of exhausted residents of south Lebanon heaped their possessions into cars and fled northward, taking advantage of a pause in Israeli bombardments after being trapped in villages for almost three weeks.

Israel had agreed overnight to suspend air raids for 48 hours following global outrage over the killing of 52 civilians in strikes on the village of Qana, giving civilians the chance to flee to safer havens Monday.

The region around the southern port city of Tyre was spared the air strikes that have battered the area over the past weeks as escaping villagers clogged the roads heading to the city of Sidon further to the north and Beirut.

But despite the promised halt, the Israeli air force carried out fresh air strikes in a border region in support of troops carrying out a ground incursion and also attacked a Lebanese customs post on the Syrian border...
posted by taosbat at 9:54 AM on July 31, 2006


By secretly providing NSA intelligence to Israel and undermining the hapless Condi Rice, hardliners in the Bush administration are trying to widen the Middle East conflict to Iran and Syria, not stop it.
posted by homunculus at 8:44 PM on August 2, 2006


Digitalglobe now has satellite photos of the southern Beirut suburb that was bombed..


Berut Harat suburb before...

(Google Earth , lat/long: 33.854451,35.506568)


Berut Harat suburb after

(Digital Globe sample imagery)
posted by nielm at 1:38 AM on August 4, 2006


Freedom on the march:

Hundreds of thousands of Shiites in Iraq hold pro-Hezbollah rally

BAGHDAD (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Shiites chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" marched through the streets of Baghdad's biggest Shiite district Friday in a show of support for Hezbollah militants battling Israeli troops in Lebanon.
· · ·
The demonstration was the biggest in the Middle East in support of Hezbollah since the Israeli army launched an offensive July 12 after a guerrilla raid on northern Israel. The protest was organized by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political movement built around the Mahdi Army militia has been modeled after Hezbollah...
posted by taosbat at 11:43 AM on August 4, 2006


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