Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stupid US-Israeli strategy plays into the hands of Hezbollah

By Nancy Jane Moore

Hezbollah may have won the war in Lebanon after all. The New York Times reports this morning that they are already dominating the rebuilding efforts, using money from Iran.

The Times observes:
Hezbollah's reputation as an efficient grass-roots social service network -- as opposed to the Lebanese government, regarded by many here as sleek men in suits doing well -- was in evidence everywhere. Young men with walkie-talkies and clipboards were in the battered Shiite neighborhoods on the southern edge of Bint Jbail, taking notes on the extent of the damage.
So Hezbollah will get credit for rebuilding and Iran's reputation will be solidified, even among Sunnis and Lebanese Christians. The US can't block Iranian aid without looking even more like the bad guy than it does right now.

It's amazing how everyone plays into the hands of a group like Hezbollah. Despite their ability to provide good social services in Lebanon, they are certainly not the good guys. They are religious fundamentalists and they are committed to getting rid of Israel. Their very presence undermines the current government of Lebanon, and I imagine that they make other Lebanese religious groups -- different sects of Muslims as well as Christians -- very nervous indeed.

But Israel is so frightened of them that it rose to their bait and attacked. Hezbollah couldn't have asked for anything better.

I said before and I'll say again: Violence won't solve the conflicts in the Middle East. I notice that David Ignatius of The Washington Post agrees with me:
The Lebanon war was damaging for Israel, the United States and, most of all, Lebanon itself. But it may have taught everyone a lesson that will be immensely important to the future of the Middle East: The solutions to the big problems that afflict the region are not military but political.
His column is headlined "After the Bombs, Politics." But it should have been titled "Instead of Bombs, Politics." The bombs should have been avoided in the first place.

Juan Cole, as usual, has an excellent analysis of just how stupid this war was on today's Informed Comment.

The wars in Lebanon and Iraq are both prime examples of how trying to resolve complex problems with brute force is bad strategy. Unfortunately, such mistakes are not only unsuccessful, but the repercussions from them will haunt us all for years to come.


Anonymous said...

Well, I agreed with everything you said until the "no violence" part. It is almost scary how close strategy war games are to the real thing.

Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea and who knows who else have been having private meetings. North Korea and Iran are building nuclear weapons without worry because they know our hands are tied right now. China and Venezuela are spending millions on their military budgets.

Don't forget about Russia. We helped Afghanistan with stinger missiles to bring down the Soviet Union's helicopters. They say the Soviet Union became cash strapped because of that war. Our propagand machine helped to tear down the Soviet Union. You think they have forgotten or forgiven? Putin is KGB. How many underground cities does Russia have? How many weapons are being developed underground and out of site? They needed money. We had it. They were forced into playing ball with us to get it. We destroyed one of their trading partners. Where will they be if we attack Iran. The Russians are enjoying every minute of this.

They hate us. Iran has attacked us. Terrorists have attacked us. Iran backs terrorists. Hezbollah is Lebanon, lets face it. Iran owns Hezbollah. They have coordinated everything beautifully. Politics is going to get us all killed and they know it. They are going to continue to nibble at our sides until our resources and war support from the citizens is dried up.

People say, why attack Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Come on now. Offense is the best defense. Would you rather have them fighting us here. We didn't do anything to provoke such a malicious attack as 911. They did it.

We have to attack them and get rid of them before they get to strong. If they get to strong, we will lose many more lives. Innocent and Military. They are aggressive and want to see us fall. We have to take them out before it is to late.

One more thing. The battle of Armageddon may or may not be true, but these guys think it is and are trying to make it happen. I think it says that there will be a conventional war. The East shall march to the West. Freaky, isn't it.

The tired of this pussy footing around guy.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

Gee, I didn't realize G.W. Bush read this blog! Or if you're not Bush, Anonymous, you sound an awful lot like him when you say things like "We have to take them out before it's too late" and "Offense is the best defense." Preemptive war, anyone?
I'm not a pacifist -- I do think that violence is sometimes the answer and that war is still, unfortunately, a necessary tool.
But the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was not one of those occasions. It destroyed Lebanon when it was just getting on its feet again as an independent country. It turned Lebanese civilians who don't support Hezbollah into enemies of the US and Israel. And -- most obviously -- it didn't work militarily. Hezbollah is still there! In fact, it's out there taking care of the civilians Israel bombed! Strategically, it was a very stupid move.
Violence begats more violence and so on ad infinitum. The people of the Middle East have to start talking to each other or this situation will last forever.

jamie lynk, sarasota, fl said...

I find hearing things like "we've got to get them before they get us"
or "we've got to get them because they might do such-and-such" very disturbing.

Conducting foreign policy,military operations, or our own internal political affairs from a position of FEAR isn't very wise.

A lot of that fear comes from not understanding and/or just not liking people because they are Muslim (Yes, I must admit that there are things I don't understand, things I don't like about the religion as-well-as the socio-political practices of some Muslim countries...And Yes, 9/11 scared the shit out of me -- I didn't fly for about 2-years after that horror -- BUT, that does not mean I want to or that I HAVE THE RIGHT "to get them before they get me"

We need to work on eradicating that fear before we start engaging in actions that are based merely on

Watch Ridley Scott's film, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Yes, it's a dramatized depiction of history. But, the film does illustrate how fear of the "other" produces hate and discord.

These issues have been around for almost one thousand years - If it were easy, the problems would've already been solved. It's going to
take patience, time & dialogue.
And, if it's really going to work -no country is going to come out a
WINNER - but, all countries should come out buying into the solution.