My prior “updates” post was getting too long and unwieldly, so I’m starting a new one which, again, I’ll move to the top whenever I update it. So, if this is at the top, be sure to scroll down for new posts you may not have seen yet.
WEDNESDAY UPDATES: Today, an article that took my fancy came from Jonah Goldberg, and focuses on the charges that Israel is targeting civilians:
Hezbollah’s “brave” soldiers might as well strap babies to their torsos as shields. Morally, what they’re doing is no different and, who knows, it might give them a P.R. boost. Regardless, while Israel goes to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties, it cannot be held hostage to such tactics. Hezbollah’s headquarters cannot get a free pass.
As it stands now, a loose coalition of propagandists, Israel haters and idiots argues that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians in Lebanon. I believe – and hope – this is not true. Of course, Hezbollah is randomly targeting victims in Israel with its missiles. But Israel must have something larger in mind.
Hezbollah is the goon squad of Iran and Syria, and since the Lebanese government is too weak – and too infiltrated by Hezbollah members – to disarm it, the Israelis must do it. Even leading Arab countries want Hezbollah defanged, which is why Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others have put the blame squarely on Hezbollah for this whole mess. For UN fetishists, there’s even a UN Security Council resolution saying Hezbollah must be disarmed.
Even Israel’s Left is able cogently to articulate why this War is different from all other wars. How else to explain this LA Times Op-Ed from Amos Oz, a famous Israeli Leftist who has mostly allied himself with the Chomsky’s of this world:
The Israeli peace movement objects to the occupation and colonization of the West Bank. It objected to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 because the invasion was aimed at distracting world attention from the Palestinian problem. This time, Israel is not invading Lebanon. It is defending itself from daily harassment and bombardment of dozens of our towns and villages by attempting to smash Hezbollah wherever it lurks.
The Israeli peace movement should support Israel’s attempt at self-defense, pure and simple, as long as this operation targets mostly Hezbollah and spares, as much as possible, the lives of Lebanese civilians (not an easy task, as Hezbollah missile launchers are too often using Lebanese civilians as human sandbags).
There can be no moral equation between Hezbollah and Israel. Hezbollah is targeting Israeli civilians wherever they are, while Israel is targeting mostly Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s missiles are supplied by Iran and Syria, sworn enemies of all peace initiatives in the Middle East.
It’s not quite directly on point, because it doesn’t deal with Israel’s initative, but I like the opening to Robert Kaplan’s review of a book that sounds well worth reading:
While the U.S. spends billions of dollars on sophisticated defense systems, the dime-a-dozen kidnapper and suicide bomber have emerged as the most strategic weapons of war. While we tie ourselves in legal knots over war’s acceptable parameters, international law has increasingly less bearing on those whom we fight. And while our commanders declare “force protection” as their highest priority, enemy commanders declare the need for more martyrs. It seems that the more advanced we become, the more at a disadvantage we are in the 21st-century battlefield.
In “Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias,” Richard H. Shultz Jr. and Andrea J. Dew, both of Tufts’s Fletcher School, have produced a wise and cogent briefing book about who our enemies are and how to anticipate their field tactics. The problem, they state early on, is that the Pentagon–the product of a rational, science-based Western culture–relies on objective quantification for its analysis. But what happens, the authors ask, if there is nothing to quantify? What happens if the enemy is merely an organic part of the landscape, revealing its features only at the moment of attack? Well, then all we can do is study these “idiosyncratic” human landscapes and use anthropology to improve our intelligence assessments.
Forget Karl von Clausewitz’s dictum that war is a last resort and circumscribed by the methodical actions and requirements of a state and its army. Forget Hugo Grotius’s notion that war should be circumscribed by a law of nations. As the authors remind us, paraphrasing the anthropologist Harry Turney-High: “Tribal and clan chieftains did not employ war as a cold-blooded and calculated policy instrument. . . . Rather, it was fought for a host of social-psychological purposes and desires, which included . . . honor, glory, revenge, vengeance, and vendetta.” With such motives, torture and beheadings become part of the normal ritual of war.
THURSDAY’S UPDATE: Once again, the Captain has great coverage of what’s going on “over there.”
Joshua Murvachik, one of my favorite writers, demolishes the canard that Israel is using disproportionate force to defend herself. It occurred to me today that part of the problem with this “disproportionality” line is from news report — print and radio — that repeatedly tie the Israeli offensive to the kidnapped soldiers. While those may have been the straws that broke the camels back, they entirely ignore the repeated and deadly acts of aggression against Israel, from both Hamas and Hezbollah, the preceded those events. To the ignorant, with the MSM focusing only on the kidnappings (rocket attacks? what rocket attacks?) it may seem as if there is disproportionality.
I also want to repeat something Mark Steyn said on Hugh Hewitt’s show today. It’s not verbatim, but he compared CNN’s breathless Hezbollah-guided tour of a carefully selected neighborhood — all of which was intended to give the impression that there’s nobody there but those civilian chickens — to the Nazis’ guided tours of Therezienstadt. You know about that, don’t you? Therezienstadt, in Czechoslovakia, was the Nazis’ show concentration camp, where prisoners were forced to play music for their Red Cross guests. Once the guests left, the prisoners were shipped to Auschwitz and gassed. I have the story of one of the rare survivors of that little charade here. CNN has inserted itself into the role of useful idiot with disgusting, immoral gusto.
Speaking of Hugh Hewitt, he really went to town, trashing both the disproportionality criticism and CNN, which is acting as Hezbollah’s shill in more ways than taking the show tours. I hope someone in the heartland is reading what he has to say and switching channels.
Talking to Technorati: Hezbollah, Hizbollah, Lebanon, Israel