Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Vocabularly of the Middle East

Victor Davis Hanson translates for us. A few examples:
Civilians” in Lebanon have munitions in their basements and deliberately wish to draw fire; in Israel they are in bunkers to avoid it. Israel uses precision weapons to avoid hitting them; Hezbollah sends random missiles into Israel to ensure they are struck.

Deliberate” reflects the accuracy of Israeli bombs hitting their targets; it never refers to Hezbollah rockets that are meant to destroy anything they can.
As usual, good reading from Hanson.


  • At 8/03/2006 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As good friend was in the US Army, 1980s as a UN peacekeeper in Lebanon. He came under Israeli fire for 2 days even though no Hezbullah were around. They would repeatedly phone, but no let up by IDF. His conclusion is that it allowed IDF to do illegal acts without witnesses.

    How about the USS Liberty incident? Where Israel attacked a US Navy Intelligence vesel.

    Or the terror campaign Israel organized in Egypt against US funded libraries.

    BS, regarding civilians used as cover. This in from the Israeli paper Haaretz:

    It now appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time.

    The Israel Defense Forces had said after the deadly air-strike that many rockets had been launched from Qana. However, it changed its version on Monday.

    The site was included in an IAF plan to strike at several buildings in proximity to a previous launching site. Similar strikes were carried out in the past. However, there were no rocket launches from Qana on the day of the strike.

    Meanwhile, the Lebanese Red Cross workers reported on Monday that 28 bodies, 19 of them children, were removed from the rubble.

    The count is lower than the some 60 bodies reported by news agencies, quoting Lebanese security officials. Survivors say 60 people were in the building at the time of the strike."

    full article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/745185.html

    And speaking of using children as cover, how about this:

    A 13 y/o palestinian boy used as a human shield by IDF. Tied to the hood of a armored car. With pictures!


  • At 8/03/2006 6:09 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    I love it when people are so chicken-s**t that they hide behind anonymous postings...

    I'm not sure what you're smoking, but it must be hallucinogenic. No serious person is saying a) that Qana wasn't a tragedy; b) that Hezbollah wasn't shooting missiles from Qana; or c) that Hezbollah doesn't hide among civilians.

    It's not hard to find video that disputes your claims about Qana. It's not hard to find evidence that Hezbollah is shooting rockets indiscriminately into Israel, rockets that they can't control and don't care about controlling. It's not hard to find evidence that Israel has been warning residents ahead of time to evacuate. Oh, and it's not hard to find people asking questions about whether Hezbollah staged part or all of Qana.

    Is Israel angelic in all this? Certainly not. But just ask what would happen if Hezbollah stopped fighting vs. what would happen if Israel stopped (a hint: in one scenario, Israel would cease to exist).

  • At 8/03/2006 11:30 PM, Anonymous Morgan said…

    I apologize if my anonymous posting upsets you.

    As for serious people doubting the firing of missles from Qana, that was my point, /Haaretz/, an mainstream Israeli newspaper reports:

    "It now appears that the military had //no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time//." All the reports say that the closest rockets were fired 1/2 mile away. So much for precision!

    I'm not trying to defend Hezbollah. Does Hezbollah launch rockets from villages? Yes, but where else are they going to do it from? Military bases? They are not an army. Just like the Jewish-Palestinian terrorist bands like the Stern Gang used houses to store equipment. Like the Minutemen came out of homes/farms in the US Revolution.

    I find it ironic that the article in the J-Post you link to interviews a MK (member of the Israeli Parliment) of the "National Union Bloc" a political grouping which advocates pushing all Arabs - Christian and Muslem - out of "greater" Israel - eg. old Palestine. Yep, I'm sure he's not biased. Do you quote Slobodan Milošević on Bosnian issues too?

    Does Israel ask civilians to leave? Sure, but of course they blow up the routes to leave beforehand. They say that there is a 48 hour ceasefire after Qana for civilians to leave and start bombing 12 hours later.

    My questions for you are:

    Were the Stern Gang and Irgun legitimate in their tactics? How is Hezbollah different than the Stern Gang and Irgun?

    The State of Israel has confiscated the property of refugee Palestinians without compensation? The Government of Communist Cuba has confiscated the property of exile Cubans. The first is OK by the US government, the later bad.

    When arabs say they will push Israel into the sea, it's a bad thing. True enough. When Israel destroys Palestinian homes, confiscates Arab homes for Jewish settlements, evacuates and destroys 500 Arab towns and villages AND has members of the government advocate the expulsion of all Arabs -Muslem and Christian - out of their ancestrial homes and towns, that's legitimate. How is this a consistent and just policy for the US?

    When hezbollah uses houses to launch missles from that's using civilians as cover. Bad. When IDF kidnaps a child and uses him as a human shield, that's an issue to avoid.

    My point is not that Israel has no right to exist. But that the hypocritical policies of my governement are exacerbating the hardship and sorrow in the middle east. Israel will never be destroyed, the Iranians, etc are not stupid, Israel has nukes (illegally of course) and will use them. My point is that the best policy against Al-Qaeda, etc. is not a heavy hand, and lock step behind Israel, but an ope policy of justice for all.

  • At 8/04/2006 5:24 PM, Blogger Ken said…


    Thanks for posting with a name. For reasons I can't really explain, you rise a notch in my estimation just by attaching a name to your arguments. You make several interesting arguments, some of which I simply don't have enough knowledge to discuss. I will attempt to address what I can.

    I thought it interesting that, in the twice-quoted Haaretz article, it gives no attribution to the claim that the military had no information on rockets from the Qana site. Regardless, I'll accept as fact that the IDF "had no information on rockets" from the site.

    However, I will note that the official IDF investigation (take that for what it's worth) found that the Qana incident did not represent negligence or (unlike Hezbollah) deliberate targeting of civilians:
    The building was targeted in accordance with the military's guidelines regarding the use of fire against suspicious structures inside villages whose residents have been warned to evacuate, and which were adjacent to areas from where rockets are fired towards Israel.
    Since July 12th, over 150 rockets were launched from within the village of Qana itself and the immediate surrounding area. The residents of Qana and the villages surrounding it were warned several times, through various media, to evacuate the area.

    The IDF operated according to information that the building was not inhabited by civilians and was being used as a hiding place for terrorists. Had the information indicated that civilians were present in the building the attack would not have been carried out. Prior to the attack on the aforementioned building several other buildings which were part of the infrastructure for terror activity in the area were targeted.

    Of particular interest was that rockets were coming from all over the area. Even if rockets didn't shoot out of that building that day, it sounds to me like the IDF did all it could to warn the people, and anyone still in the area was playing with fire.

    You wrote:
    Does Hezbollah launch rockets from villages? Yes, but where else are they going to do it from? Military bases? They are not an army.
    The issue is not so much whether Hezbollah shoots from villages -- the issue is that they do so with civilians in the same (or adjacent) buildings, and that they detain civilians to ensure innocent deaths. Unlike their Israeli counterparts.

    And you hit on a key point -- Hezbollah is not an army. They're showing it left and and right by flouting the norms of war: acts of terrorism (in Israel, Germany and Argentina); murder (of Israeli and Lebanese people); incitement to genocide (through Hezbollah TV), deliberate civilian targeting and use as human shields, sickening exploitation of victims (spreading out body parts of POWs until Israel released prisoners); use of minors in armed warfare, and pillaging.

    Regarding your questions:
    The first time I'd ever heard of the "Stern Gang" was your post. From what I have learned about them today, they described themselves as "terrorists" in the mold of the Irish Republican Army. And no, based on what I've read -- sending bombs to opposition politicians? sabotaging infrastructure? -- their tactics are no better. How does that make Hezbollah OK or Israel wrong? If your beef is with American foreign policy, I'm not here to defend that -- you and I could fill endless pages with contradictions in US foreign policy over the centuries.

    Your other points about Israel (confiscations, destructions, yahoo governmental representatives, kidnapping) are certainly unacceptable. However, they also seem (to me) a stretch in their indictments from the standpoint of what Israel has done lately -- they gave up Gaza, only to see Hamas build a tunnel through which they kidnapped an Israeli soldier. They pulled out of Lebanon with the understanding that Hezbollah wouldn't take over, and we've seen how that worked out.

    Israeli politics have loony-toons? Kinda like the Palestinian Authority with Hamas? And it's not limited to the Middle East: in the US, we have Pete Stark and Jim McDermott and John Conyers...oh, and Howard Dean. I also note that Mr. Elon's party has nine members out of 120 in the Knesset, so I hardly see how he or his party are a heavy influence in Israeli politics.

    You say your point is not that Israel has no right to exist, and I'm glad to hear that. However, others are not so generous, so I was amazed to see you make a statement I find incredulous: Iran is not stupid, so it will not destroy Israel (Ahmadinejad's continual threats to the opposite not withstanding) but Israel will use their nuclear weapons. Do you really think Israel would use nuclear weapons without provocation? If Iran would not blow up Israel because it is "not stupid," does that mean you think Israel is that dumb? You can't be serious! A stated goal of Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda is the annihilation of Israel, and if you don't think one of those terrorist organizations wouldn't happily use nukes against Israel, I was right the first time -- you have been smoking something.

    A policy of "justice for all" sounds great, but in some cases, that justice must be earned. Al-Qaeda certainly doesn't deserve that justice as long as they continue to plot the death and destruction of America, its people, its possessions and its allies. And that goes for Hezbollah as well. Again, just ask what would happen if Hezbollah stopped fighting vs. what would happen if Israel stopped?


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