Thursday, August 17, 2006

The war aborted, and why not to trust Margarita Mihneva

(Caution: long post)
The war between Hezbollah/Lebanon and Israel I wrote about on July 29 was aborted. The enemy claims they won and Israel lost. In a sense, they are right: without finding the kidnapped soldiers, Israel agreed to a cease-fire and so used the simplest and most reliable way to lose - left the battlefield. Has Israel caught from old Europe the virus of unwillingness to survive?
However, it would be wrong to blame Israeli leadership alone. I cannot imagine the war led logically, i.e. spreading to Hezbollah sponsors Iran and maybe Syria, without the help of the USA. And instead of helping, the Americans were pressing Israel to step back. Somebody rightly described Bush as "all talk, no walk".
Of course it was just a stage in the ongoing global war and, as such, it produced some benefits: revealed the arsenal and capabilities of Hezbollah, the attitudes of key world players and the so-called world opinion (about the latter and how much it costs, read a good essay at http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=23635). However, this knowledge will be useful only if somebody really intends to resume the fight.
As for the Lebanese, it seems that what sympathy I had for them was largely undeserved and the support for Hezbollah actually is much stronger than I thought. I'm translating information by Netinfo: "The (Lebanese) government hasn't even considered disarming Hezbollah, which is one of the basic requirements in the UN Security Council cease-fire resolution... The pro-Syrian president Emil Lahud said it would be a shame to insist for disarming the national resistance (Hezbollah), the only force in the Arab world that stood against Israel..." (http://news.netinfo.bg/?tid=40&oid=923890).
Hezbollah ringleader Hassan Nasrallah became a hero of the Muslim world because of his successes in kidnapping soldiers and shelling Israeli cities and villages. These same Muslims who hail a thug for deliberate killings of civilians are angry when we say they are bad people... I recently commented on Highlander's blog, "Can the Muslim world reach a deeper point in moral degradation? I cannot imagine, but let's wait and see, every time when I think this is impossible they manage to make another step downward. If the Devil exists and makes list of the souls who belong to him, I pity the poor fellow, he must already have arthritis from the too-intensive writing or typing."
Or possibly I'm too pessimistic. Perhaps, when things become much worse, the civilized world will awaken from its lethargy and take care of itself. And at least our media will stop working as enemy PR. Last night, I watched the TV show "Neudobnite (The Inconvenient)". It's broadcasted by cable TV Channel 3 and its host is one of the best known Bulgarian journalists, Margarita Mihneva. She had invited two Lebanese who offered plenty of anti-Israel talk and put photos of killed Lebanese children under our noses (as if the Israeli children killed on Friday are expected, like Jesus Christ, to be alive again on Sunday).
I liked just one of the questions asked by Mihneva: what the ordinary Lebanese think about Hezbollah. The Lebanese guests said that the lack of support of Lebanese to Hezbollah is US media disinformation, in fact all Hezbollah fighters are Lebanese and the population supports them. Unfortunately, Mihneva offered no comment and no further questions to clarify this important issue.
All the time Mihneva was saying that she will present the Jewish viewpoint as well. Only during the last minutes we heard a Bulgarian Jewish intellectual, Jacob Dzherasi. However, he was not in the studio, his voice was taped. And he was not discussing the current conflict but something completely unrelated - the architecture and history of a particular house at Oborishte street in Sofia! She used him just to wash her hands. So much about the honest representation of opposite viewpoints.
Finally, let me quote a different Arab voice, like a beam of light in a realm of darkness: Libyan reformist writer Dr. Muhammad Al-Huni and his article "The lexicon of resistance", presented by MEMRI (http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD125306#_edn1):
"The word 'resistance' has come to be constantly used in the killing fields known as the Middle East... When Shi'ites kill Sunnis and Sunnis kill Shi'ites in Iraq merely for their [sectarian] identity, it is called 'resistance.' When Janjaweed gangs murder unarmed civilians in Darfour, it is called 'resistance.' When year after year, Hamas and Islamic Jihad extinguish any spark of peace which can end the suffering of the Palestinian people, it is called 'resistance.' When Hizbullah takes an entire people hostage and refuses to obey the elected [authorities], dragging Lebanon into destruction, it is called 'resistance.' The war which is being waged by the new global terrorism under the command of bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri and Al-Zarqawi is called 'resistance'... What is common to these types of resistance is that they all present themselves as 'Islamic'... The project of these resistance [groups] has had its day in the Arab world. It made the most noise and the most bloodshed, and therefore its dreadful collapse is highly imminent. They betted on a wild horse, and have left not a single seed that can sprout, nor a single bud that can open. They are the murderers of the future, and therefore they have no future."
Read the whole text, it's worth it. I hope Highlander will see it, too, because it's by her fellow countryman not very likely to be published in Jamahiriya or any other Libyan newspaper. I hope his prognosis will come true.

32 comments:

Winston said...

Re your comment on my blog.

First thanks for it. secondly, Maya, remember that Eastern european bloc dictatorships all collapsed through massive aids from the US and other western governments. Don't you agree?

Non-Blogging said...

Have to reply to this one before Maya has the time to do it ;-).

Yes, the US and the rest of the West really helped in the democratization of the Eastern Block. Not only once but repeatedly which is a proof of an intentionally morale policy. Thanks for reminding me of this.

We all remember how the aforementioned countries first didn't sell half of Europe to Stalin. When that unfortunately happened against the will of the West, then they promised help to Baltic resistance movements and of course delivered it as well. Then they not only hinted about support for Hungarians in 1956 but also delivered that and thus provented the USSR from occupying Hungary for three more decades. (Oops, I forgot to mention the help they gave to East Germans before that, in 1953.)

The next heroic period is of course the assistance the West gave to Czechoslovaks in 1968 to send Soviet tanks to where they belong, after which the West of course helped the Polish solidarity movement to topple the communist dictatorship throughout the 1980s. Last but not least what happened in 1989 was achieved by the Americans, not the peoples themselves.

This extremely helpful policy of course didn't end then. The Balts wouldn't have won their independences back in 1991 had it not been for massive aid from the West. And last but not least, in order to help the suffering non-governmental organizations and civic society in Russia, the West is
actively siding with the KGB officer Putin, the great democraticizer and the biggest friend and patron of the Russian civic society.

Thank you for all this, how could we do without us Westerners ;-).

Maya M said...

Winston, I fully agree with the sarcastic comment of Non-blogging. Although I wouldn't blame anybody for leaving us behind the Iron Curtain at the end of WWII - US and UK had already lost too many men fighting the Axis, I wouldn't want from them to sacrifice more.
There was some help by the West to Eastern Europe, such as sheltering the asylum seekers, financing Radio Free Europe and making media fuss about the most rampant human rights abuses, but I find all this insignificant.
As far as I know, the only important contribution by the West was when Ronald Reagen stopped all material aid to the Soviet Union and accelerated the arms race. This helped bring the Soviet Union to bankrupcy. Gorbachev attempted reforms, it was felt in Eastern Europe that USSR can no longer keep them in its orbit by force and the end of communism in Eastern Europe ensued. I don't think a similar mechanism could work for Iran. Even if all democratic countries stop bying oil from Iran (which is unlikely), China alone will be willing to buy enough to save the regime from bankrupcy.
Until recently, I hesitated whether Iran must be liberated Iraq-style. I was trying to balance the apocalyptic yet hypothetical consequences of Mr. Ahmadinejad having and using nuclear weapons and the sure deaths of innocent Iranians in a case of war. Now, after the destruction of Lebanon, I think Iran should be attacked. I side with those anti-Hezbollah Lebanese who find it unfair that their bridges are destroyed while those in Iran remain. God knows how much doom and gloom the Mullahs will bring while the democratic world is sitting idle, hoping for a miracle. I wonder what you think of my opinion. I'll accept from you many words as a reaction to it, the kindest of them something like "How easy it is for you, it's not your people".

Non-Blogging said...

Maya,

Incredible that we agree at least on something. Doesn't happen too often ;-).

Anyway, although we mostly disagree, your post here and the slightly similar thoughts of yours on Highlander's have really made me think of Hizbollah and the like.

***DISCLAIMER: Maya knows this already but if there are any readers here who don't, I certainly don't support Hizbollah or any other kind of extremism and/or despotism***

Sure there are idiotic Hizbollah supporters who enjoy see them kill Israelis, soldiers or civilians alike. But might it also be possible that there are other reasons for Nasrallah's (temporary) success in parts of the Islamic world (I stress in parts because his support is anything but universal)? That in some circles he's thought to be the lesser evil or he's liked because Hizbollah's resistance was somewhat successful (they didn't win, of course, but during the course of the war we could also see that Israel's military success was far from their own expectations) or because at times of war, even a figure you'd dislike usually is someone you'd sometimes like to group around because he's more 'one of us' than the enemy? Or, in other words, might it be that there are even some people who like Nasrallah/Hizbollah despite their condemnable crimes against Isreali civilians?

The naive Euro-softie I am, I don't believe most people are that hungry for blood that they think killing civilians is the main reason to back a political person or movement. I don't believe most of those who last time voted for Bush or Blair, for example, voted them because they've killed civilians in Afghanistan or Iraq but despite that. And I certainly hope the support Israel receives from parts of the Western right and certain Christian groups is not because of killing Lebanese civilians but because they think Israel has the right to exist and if killing innocents is the price for that, it's worth paying.

Or, from an Old Europe perspective, in Finland it would be close to a minor political suicide especially now just some months before the parliamentary elections for a reputable politician even to hint that Finland should go fight in Iraq or participate in an attack on Iran. We're outside the NATO as well and due to the opposition of the great majority of the citizens, even an eventual NATO membership is a kind of political taboo here if you want to have a high political office.

That's Old Europe reality, like it or not (I like, you don't). Yet, I wouldn't say the majority of Finns think like we do because we're wimps or supporters of Saddam or Ahmadenijad but because we consider different methods more efficient (and as a small country and knowing our history, we're rightfully suspicious of superpowers with tendencies to get involved in other countries' matters). Whether Old Europe or New Europe is right, can only be seen in the very long term, if at all.

Because Eastern Europe is close to my heart and I like comparisons, what about a hypothetical example (hypothetical because as you can see in my sarcastic text above, that would never have been the case). If for some reason the West had decided to invade Bulgaria during the Cold War, how do you think the Bulgarians would have reacted? Supported the dictatorship and grouped around Zhivkov & Co. because they're bad Bulgarians but Bulgarians anyway? And, even better, if the West had invaded in the late 1980s to prevent discrimination against the Turkish minority (the way the West did a decade later to support Kosovo Albanians), which side had the Bulgarians taken? And what if the USA had then invaded together with Turkey?

If we then go to the personal level, those Westerners who in the 1970s supported Solzhenitsyn or those who a decade later supported Walesa, surely didn't all support their conservative and religious worldviews. They were supported because they fought for the freedom of expression or the right to establish free trade unions, not what they'd represent after coming to power. Havel would be a similar example on the liberal side.

I think it's a very interesting play of thoughts. I'm very interested in knowing what your reply would be!

I guess you got my point ;-).

Maya M said...

Non-blogging, it seems to me that you keep idealizing human nature! I see more evil in humans than you do. I have a colleague that sees more evil than I do and when our prognoses differ, she usually turns out to have been right. I don't know who of us two is right, but have you read Sandmonkey's opinion poll at his job? http://www.sandmonkey.org/2006/08/01/some-slightly-uncomfortable-questions/. Humans ARE bloodthirsty.
Of course it makes great difference whether civilians in a war are killed unintentionally (as by US and UK in Iraq and by Israel in Lebanon) or intentionally (as by Islamists anywhere). But let's put this aside. I agree with you that one may have different reason to support a political force or figure. One can support Bush for his economic policies, his attempts to reduce crime, his stand on Terri Schiavo's case etc. The same is true for Blair or any other politician. But for what could you support Hezbollah if not for its purpose to destroy Israel (second Holocaust) which requires killing not only soldiers but also civilians? What else is Hezbollah doing or has ever intended to do?
Well, there may be something else. I don't know about Hezbollah, but I've read that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Palestine have created social nets, embryonic welfare states. I guess it's easy to be thankful to Hamas if they finance the only hospital and school in your town. Or, if you have survived an earthquake in Egypt and no government help comes, it requires extreme moral strength to tell the kind MB helpers that you don't support them and therefore don't want their blanket, they may keep it and put it where the sun doesn't shed daylight. The tendency to become a begger and welfare recipient rather than a proud worker and earner is a built-in defect of human nature that very easily leads to Hell. I think this is why e.g. Latin America never became fully civilized.
I would be very happy if different (non-lethal) methods turn out to be more efficient than war, but this remains to be seen.
About Western intervention in Bulgaria - I'd first like to cite some words from a Bulgarian novel (Ivailo Petrov's "Wolfhunt"). A freedom-loving farmer tells the local Communist gauleiter, "All I said was that the Westerners will come. And I repeat it. If not to us, they'll come to our children or grandchildren. This world wasn't created yesterday and knows its business." During the late 1940s, Bulgarian opposition leaders were trying to negotiate Western intervention to rescue Bulgaria from the Stalinist rule. You know the success of these attempts.
However, as years were passing under Communist dictatorship, it turned into undisputed fact of life. Most Bulgarians, I think, would disapprove military intervention during the late 1980s. This doesn't necessarily mean they would be right.
And of course everybody, including me, would disapprove intervention by Turkey, knowing what happened to Cyprus and remembering our Ottoman past. I (and not only I) think that neighbouring countries should take no part in such military operation (or minimal part, if really necessary). Even if Bulgaria was a NATO member in 1999, I think Bulgarian troops wouldn't take part in the war against Serbia.
It would be better, I think, if Israel were a NATO member. Then we all would be in in the current war and the Lebanese would blame mostly troops of far-away countries rather than of neighbour Israel. I don't know why Israel isn't in NATO. I suppose Europeans don't want to have the obligation to defend Israel in a case of attack. It's much better to have a common defense treaty with countries not likely to need any defense, isn't it? Besides, although present-day Europeans aren't to blame for the Holocaust, I somehow cannot imagine Germans defending Jews with their lives...

programmer craig said...

Excellent post, Maya :)

Sorry I didn't see it earlier.

I agree with you both about the west and the Cold War. Prior to Ronald Reagan, US Cold War policy was one of containment. Not liberation. War by proxy, to prevent Soviet expanison. Primarily in asia, in latin america. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan were the 3 major conflicts but there were dozens of others. Even the middle east was affected - Nixon used the 1973 war to end Soviet influence in the ME for all time. None of that had anything to do with liberating eastern europe.

Reagans plan was different. His plan had nothing to do with liberating eastern europe either. His plan was to destroy the Soviet Union. Which is exactly what he did. He built up the US military to the pint where it was the BEST military force the world has ever seen. The best equipped, the best trained, the most mobile... the USSR literally went into economic collapse trying unsuccessfully to keep up. You may not like it, NBA, but that's exactly what brought the USSR to it's knees. Not "the people" becoming suddenly dissatisfied after 50 years. The timing is no coincidence. You give Ronald Reagan too little credit, and Europeans too much.

Also, NBA, I don't really need an expalnation about why arabs do or don't support Hezbollah. Totally irrelevant to me. The last poll I saw showed that a majority of arabs still support terrorism, and in some countries a majority still support Al Qaeda. That doesn't matter to me, unless they take up arms for their cause, in which case they should be killed as enemy combatants. The US is, after all, at war. We don't need to udnerstand our enemies ideology in order to destroy him. That's a game for you euro-weenies to play. The US was done with that on Spetember 11th, 2001. Maybe some day you'll lose interest in figuring out why suicidal zealots are suicidal zealots. Or not. But understanding their mentality will not stop arab mothers from raising terrorist sons, will it!?

Anyway... back to Lebanon... I have no clue what just happened but I hope Bush has a plan. I'm very unhappy with the way Israel approached the issue. It looks a lot to me like pointless punitive strikes. I don't understand why Israel did not aggressively pursue their stated goal of destroying Hezbollah. I would have re-enlisted in the Marines to help with that! I'd re-enlist tomorrow if I'd get the chance to go to Lebanon and kill Hezbollah. They owe me. Big time. And they are going to pay, sooner or later.

There, try to figure me out now, NBA :P

Non-Blogging said...

Hi Maya, now let's just wait for Highlander and Adam to take part as well :-).

I don't know who of us two is right, but have you read Sandmonkey's opinion poll at his job? http://www.sandmonkey.org/2006/08/01/some-slightly-uncomfortable-questions/. Humans ARE bloodthirsty.

Well, you've got a doctoral degree, so you know asking around a couple of workmates isn't quite an opinion poll, so the results are very unscientific ;-), although I wouldn't be surprised if they showed a general trend as well. But unfortunately we do have idiots like Sandmonkey's workmates around, on both sides. If Arabs view Jews negatively, it's not that one-sided only. Needless to post any links to real horrible opinion polls (Pew for example) here because you might have seen them anyway.

However, the other side of the coin is that huge numbers of Israeli Jews are also openly racist about Arabs, those who are Israeli citizens included, and favour a kind of apartheid type of policy of segregation. So, there's mistrust and racism on both sides. I condemn all racism as hard independent of who it's performed by and against whom.

Check this interesting link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1738508,00.html

But for what could you support Hezbollah if not for its purpose to destroy Israel (second Holocaust) which requires killing not only soldiers but also civilians? What else is Hezbollah doing or has ever intended to do?

Check Wikipedia, for example, to find out more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah

You see, although Hizbollah (or however you write it) is a terrorist organization in the view of a handful of countries (ours not included), it's also a "normal" political party which in addition to that also provides social services the Lebanese government is unable to provide. In the Wikipedia article, you can also see that during the war, it was also overwhelmingly supported by Lebanese Christians.

Of course, I couldn't imagine myself ever voting for a party like this. With my views, I wouldn't survive long in a Hizbollah-dominated country free or alive ;-). But I understand (note: understanding is not supporting or accepting) that in different circumstances there are people who would like to support organizations like Hizbollah, at least temporarily.

I think it's dangerous when we try to understand the popularity of a political movement so that we only pick up one of their goals and explain their popularity by that. You had a very clever point about Bush but in my opinion you should use that approach to all political personalities and movements.

The tendency to become a begger and welfare recipient rather than a proud worker and earner is a built-in defect of human nature that very easily leads to Hell. I think this is why e.g. Latin America never became fully civilized.

Well, myself I wouldn't like to label a whole continent with hundreds of millions of people not fully civilized.

And what is civilization anyway? If we think civilization is among others support for culture, lack of corruption, women's rights, democracy, literacy, high standards of education and such things, actually in many cases exactly those countries - often in Northern Europe - where the welfare state is the strongest and thus there are many recipients, the things I've listed above are the best taken care of.

Thus I wouldn't equate receiving welfare with not being civilized. Because if we follow the logic to the end, then you should label Israel as an uncivilized country because it receives so much US aid. I stress again, I don't think like that myself.

However, as years were passing under Communist dictatorship, it turned into undisputed fact of life. Most Bulgarians, I think, would disapprove military intervention during the late 1980s. This doesn't necessarily mean they would be right.

Exactly that was in fact what I kind of wanted to hear and what in my opinion could perhaps be applied to Hizbollah or despotic Arab governments as well. In times of crises, people support theirs no matter what they are. In the Wikipedia entry for Hezbollah, you can see how its support among Lebanese Christians soared during the war.

That most Bulgarians would have opposed a military intervention doesn't mean they were ardent supporters of communism and dictatorship, willing to throw the Turkish minority out or kill dissidents abroad with poisoned umbrellas.

And of course everybody, including me, would disapprove intervention by Turkey, knowing what happened to Cyprus and remembering our Ottoman past.

Yes and you would be certainly right. Just like I understand that many Lebanese who would never support Hizbollah normally would support them against an Israeli occupation. No living Bulgarian today remembers the Ottoman Empire first hand but many living Lebanese have vivid memories of Israeli (and Syrian) occupations.

It would be better, I think, if Israel were a NATO member. Then we all would be in in the current war and the Lebanese would blame mostly troops of far-away countries rather than of neighbour Israel.

You're really willing to speed the coming of World War III, huh?

Even Israel itself doesn't want to join the NATO. This is from the Wikipedia entry for NATO:

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom stated in February 2005 that his country was looking to upgrade its relationship with NATO from a dialogue to a partnership, but that it wasn't seeking membership, saying that "NATO members are committed to mutual defence and we don't think we are in a position where we can intervene in other struggles in the world," and also that "We don't see that NATO should get engaged in our conflict here in the Middle East."

And this is from Maya:

I don't know why Israel isn't in NATO. I suppose Europeans don't want to have the obligation to defend Israel in a case of attack.

Read above: Israel doesn't want to defend Europeans, neither does it want to have NATO get involved in the Middle East conflict. NATO is not just about receiving defence in times of need but willingness to defend others as well.

Craig, your post appeared here between the moment I started writing mine and the moment I started previewing it. Will comment it in another post if "necessary".

Non-Blogging said...

...the USSR literally went into economic collapse trying unsuccessfully to keep up. You may not like it, NBA, but that's exactly what brought the USSR to it's knees. Not "the people" becoming suddenly dissatisfied after 50 years. The timing is no coincidence. You give Ronald Reagan too little credit, and Europeans too much.

But that's just natural. How could you imagine a Euro-softie giving exactly Reagan any more credit than he'd deserve ;-)? Along with Bush he must be on the top of every Euro-softie's dislike list ;-).

Of course Reagan - or better said the then US government (because it wasn't Reagan's one man show only) - deserves a credit BUT without the Eastern European peoples the change wouldn't have come. The proof is that if the people themselves were insignificant and only an arms race (or embargo) leading to economic problems would count, the world would be full of countries were the people had risen against their corrupt leaders.

Just think about all the impoverished Third World countries. However, usually this hasn't happened. Which can only lead me to thinking that it's because too many people - for various reasons - lack a certain free spirit and will to change. Other reasons might include strong internal security servives but hey, if the people managed to beat Stasi and Securitate (and temporarily even KGB), they should be able to beat anyone.

Remember, Saddam was toppled by a military invasion, and embargoes haven't been able to kick Castro, Kim Jong-il or Gaddafi out.

We don't need to udnerstand our enemies ideology in order to destroy him. That's a game for you euro-weenies to play.

I strongly disagree. Craig, understanding isn't the same as accepting or siding. The better we know our enemy, the better we are aware of what it can and can't do, why it's supported, how it acts and so on. A deep understanding of the enemy is a very efficient way to cut one's own losses as well in contrary to being brainwashed to killing all around you because they're bad guys (just because your superior just told you so).

Last but not least, if knowing the enemy is not at all important, why do all armies have a military intelligence section as well and what do we need all the civilian intelligence services for?

programmer craig said...

Hi there, NBA :)

Thought I'd start with a smiley because I'm goingto strongly disagree with you now!! :P

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah

Did you notice the wikipedia article on Hezbollah is disputed as to it's neutrality?

I'm not going to dissect it, myself, but I was there when Hezbollah was born and feel that I know a thing or two about it, first hand. And it was the murder of my friends that made Hezbollah infamous, as Hezbollah was just an obscure and newly formed militia prior to that. One minor militia amongst dozens, at the time.

You see, although Hizbollah (or however you write it) is a terrorist organization in the view of a handful of countries (ours not included)

Those other countries are wrong. Yours included. People who hijack airplanes, commit mass murders and suicide bombings, perform assassinations, take hostages, etc etc etc are by-the-book terrorists. If you (or your country) will not call HA a a terrorist org, then with all due respect - mind your own business. There's no point in discussing terrorism with somebody who will not identify the world's most influential and powerful terrorist group as a terrorist group.

it's also

There is no "also" that can be put after the word terrorist in my opinion. That's like claiming the mafia is a humanitarian organization because it provides jobs for the poor and unemployed.

it was also overwhelmingly supported by Lebanese Christians.

This is an outright lie. I know it's the wiki author's lie and not yours, but it's still a lie. If HA had any support at all amongst Maronites it was only because they were better than the PLO (and opposed to the PLO) - as the PLO was massacreing Lebanese Christians and Hezbollah was not.

You're really willing to speed the coming of World War III, huh?

World War II has already started. Which side are you (and your country) on?

Along with Bush he must be on the top of every Euro-softie's dislike list

Yes, I recall all teh mass protests Reagan faced on his trips to Europe. When people say that Bush has harmed America's reputation abroad I really think they must have forgotten the Reagan Presidency. Or they are too youg to remember. America has never had a good reputation abroad. Especially in Europe. Teh only President's we ever have that are popular in EUrope are teh ones who harm US interests in favor of "global" interests. I call those bad Presidents, as it is not teh job ofa US president to make people in other countries happy, at the expense of Americans.

The proof is that if the people themselves were insignificant and only an arms race (or embargo) leading to economic problems would count, the world would be full of countries were the people had risen against their corrupt leaders.

I discount your proof, because the USSR was not just another country, it was an empire, and one of two superpowers. It takes money to run an empire, and it takes money to be a superpower. No money no honey, as they say :D

Russia is still there. It's the USSR that is gone.

The better we know our enemy, the better we are aware of what it can and can't do

Yes, Understanding teh capabilities of your enemy is critical. Understanding the *mentality* of your enemy is waste of time. At least, to any degree further than understanding what his likely morale and disposition is, and his willingness to fight.

why it's supported, how it acts and so on.

What good does it do to understand the "why" of support for terrorsim, when there is nothing to be done about it? Regardless of the reason why, the support will fall when the pain of continued support becomes unbearable. For all teh talk of destruction in Iraq and Lebanon, and in other places in the ME the last 60 years, arabs have not yet felt the REAL pain of war. I suspect that level of death and destruction is going to be necessary when all is said and done. All people, of every religion, understand death and destruction. When terrorism gains people nothing but death and destruction, instead of the concessions it has bought it in the past, it will eventually be abandoned. Terrorism is the new jihad. Jihad is not new. Jihadis have been beaten before. Many times. They don't have a good record of success. Even during the "golden age" of Islam, they got beaten pretty badly once Europeans got serious about stopping muslim expansion. And Genghis Khan swatted the Jihadis away like annoying insects.

A deep understanding of the enemy is a very efficient way to cut one's own losses as well in contrary to being brainwashed to killing all around you because they're bad guys

Combatants are to be killed. Period. That's the mission of all military forces, not just America's.

Brainwashing has nothing to do with it, other than indoctrination is what makes a normal well balanced person into somebody who is willing to kill an enemy for no reason other than him being an enemy.

(just because your superior just told you so).

Well, to get back on topic (Hezbollah) nobody had to tell me Hezbollah was "bad guys" - I immediately became aware of that fact on 23 OCT 1983, when Hezbollah murdered friends of mine.

Hezbollah is a terrorsit group.

Hezbollah has murdered hundreds of Americans.

Hezbollah is a combatant organization in teh US war on terror, and is subject to teh same treatment as Al Qaeda, in my opinion.

Whether arabs support tehm or not. Lots of arabs support Al Qaeda too. You think teh US should only attack unpopular terrorist groups, or what?

We're at war with international terrorsit groups. HA is one of the oldest of those, and has committed the most numerous and grave of attacks against the US over the years, although AQ achieved a higher body count on 9/11.

Lets get the show on the road. I'm getting really curious about Bush's plan for Iran and/or HA. I've long been a believer that Hezbollah bought Iran the spot on teh "axis of evil" list, and that teh Bush admin has always planned to deal with HA by dealing with the IRI. But I may be wrong. I've been very dissappointed in Bush the last couple years. He's aggressively done a couple of tehw rong things, and he's been apathetic or complacent on some issues that require action urgently. We'll see.

Last but not least, if knowing the enemy is not at all important, why do all armies have a military intelligence section as well

Determining enemy location, composition, likely tactics, disposition, supply and communications, NUMBERS, etc, etc, etc.

That is the function of military intelligence, despite what they like to show in the movies :)

and what do we need all the civilian intelligence services for?

Currently? To uncover planned attacks, primarily.

Historically, civilian intelligence agencies infiltrate enemy oragnizations, during a war, to gather strategically vital information in most of the same categories military intelligence do on a tactical level. And other such things such as sabotage, assassinations, etc, etc, etc.

MI does assinations and sabotage as well, but not directly. Once they have gathered the necessary information they will pass it on to local commanders to dispatch a sniper team, a recon team, or whatever other elemnt may be required for the task.

Anyway! In case I wasn't clear with all this rambling! I still don't give a flying f%#$ about the mentality of terrorists and/or their supporters :D

I hope you don't take this too negatively, NBA, but I really can't go along with you on this one. It seems like you are trying to encourage me to have compassion and empathy for people I'd like to see dead. I'd rather not! Compassion and empathy makes it harder to kill people who deserve to die! I refuse to moderate my attitude towards hezbollah, and therefore I refuse to consider a viewpoint that suggests Hezbollah can be allowed to survive.

Your whistling in the wind. I hate Hezbollah more than I hate Al Qaeda. And taht's a lot of hate! I've never even said all members of Al Qaeda deserve to die!

programmer craig said...

Wow! I think I set a new personal "best" for typos and grammatical errors there! Sorry about that, I probably should have waited til morning :O

Non-Blogging said...

Hi Craig,

I'm cooking right now, so I've got some minutes to spare on this one before I can fill my belly ;-).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah

Did you notice the wikipedia article on Hezbollah is disputed as to it's neutrality?


I bet everything in Wikipedia which has anything to do with Israel, Palestine etc. is disputed. I guess articles for IDF, Sharon, etc. are as well. That doesn't mean that either the article is completely correct or that the disputers are right. What it means is that my old theory is right: this conflict draws disproportionate atention from all kinds of people ;-).

Those other countries are wrong. Yours included. People who hijack airplanes, commit mass murders and suicide bombings, perform assassinations, take hostages, etc etc etc are by-the-book terrorists. If you (or your country) will not call HA a a terrorist org, then with all due respect - mind your own business. There's no point in discussing terrorism with somebody who will not identify the world's most influential and powerful terrorist group as a terrorist group.

According to Wikipedia, the entire Hizbollah is labelled as a terrorist organization only by the US, Canada, Israel and Netherlands. I don't say the rest of the world is wrong or right, I just want to guess they have (valid or invalid) reasons for not labelling Hizbollah as one. Note that also staunch US allies are missing from among the labellers.

The problem with labelling any organization terrorist is that the listings are often politically motivated. It's also possible to get listed or delisted because it's politically convenient. Think of Gaddafi, for example.

There is no "also" that can be put after the word terrorist in my opinion. That's like claiming the mafia is a humanitarian organization because it provides jobs for the poor and unemployed.

That I write Hizbollah also offers social services has nothing to do with Hizbollah also being or not being a terrorist organization. A terrorist organization can be something else as well which doesn't disqualify its being a terrorist organization. Like, you can say one of the 9/11 terrorist was a terrorist but he was also a trained pilot / engineer student as well.

I wouldn't qualify the Mafia a humanitarian organization but I'm sure they also provide their members
and their families with social services. Even so, the world would be a far better place without the Mafia (and Hizbollah).

it was also overwhelmingly supported by Lebanese Christians.

This is an outright lie. I know it's the wiki author's lie and not yours, but it's still a lie.


Check the Wiki entry, they've got the source as well. If it's a lie, it's not one by the Wiki author but by the source. I'm not in the position to say whether the poll was conducted in a scientific way or not having never been there but I've no reason to believe the foundings are very flawed, like them or not.

You're really willing to speed the coming of World War III, huh?

World War II has already started. Which side are you (and your country) on?


That's old news already. World War II started in 1939 and practically ended in 1945 ;-). Sometimes news travel slowly even in this time of globalization :-).

What good does it do to understand the "why" of support for terrorsim, when there is nothing to be done about it?

You know, Craig, I'm also opposed to terrorism. It's just that I don't myself think this type of war on terror going on is the best way to fight that evil. (And by the way, I might be a Euro-softie but I don't think we should raise our hands when we face threats.) Almost five years since 9/11, almost all the most important al-Qaeda leaders are still on the run, probably in Afghanistan which was invaded in the autumn of 2001 or in Pakistan which is nominally a strong ally in the war. Add to that that al-Qaeda still recruits new members and terrorism is on the growth due to Iraq (which was completely unnecessarily drawn into this war anyway which I've seen you agree with as well), I wouldn't say what was projected in 2001 has come true and the war has been successful. Which is a pity of course.

Anyway, if the goals are not met, there should always be an open discussion on whether the methods or the perpetrators are right or whether they should be changed.

I'm glad that in an open democracy like the USA that's something which can be and is discussed, unlike in some of the allies (or among terrorist supporters).

A deep understanding of the enemy is a very efficient way to cut one's own losses as well in contrary to being brainwashed to killing all around you because they're bad guys

Combatants are to be killed. Period. That's the mission of all military forces, not just America's.


My military training is not as good and throrough as yours but I think the idea is that enemy combatants are killed, not your own buddies ;-).

You think teh US should only attack unpopular terrorist groups, or what?

No way. Popularity is no reason not to be attacked. Kim Jong-il apparently has an enviable 100% rate of support and Castro can't lag far behind him ;-). That Hizbollah is somewhat popular doesn't make it good or bad, or worthy an attack or unworthy. That it's popular only means it's harder to fight, not that it shouldn't be fought.

and what do we need all the civilian intelligence services for?

Currently? To uncover planned attacks, primarily.


Which means we should know the enemy and for example understand terrorists are more likely to try to attack Tel Aviv, New York or London than Reykjavik, Zurich or Bahamas ;-). which of course helps everybody interested in combating terrorism put their efforts where they're most likely to be needed.

I hope you don't take this too negatively, NBA, but I really can't go along with you on this one. It seems like you are trying to encourage me to have compassion and empathy for people I'd like to see dead. I'd rather not!

No way, you're certainly entitled to your opinions. I guess I wrote that earlier already on Highlander's - I don't usually agree with you on these issues, yet I certainly understand where your opinions stem from, for example a different life experience from mine. And you can criticize me as much as you want. Believe me, I do have wrong opinions far too often ;-).

Hey, the meal's almost ready, have to leave now. Soft meat a la Euro-softie ;-).

programmer craig said...

Hi NBA :)

Note that also staunch US allies are missing from among the labellers.

Doesn't matter to me who is "missing" from the list, or what their reasons are. Hezbollah is the prime terror org in the world. Anybody who desnies it is flatly WRONG, NBA. There's no two ways about it.

That wikiepedia article was so full of shit I don't even know where to begin, that's why I didn't. What they said about Lebanese Christians (which you quoted TWICE) would be a good place to start.

The problem with labelling any organization terrorist is that the listings are often politically motivated.

Nonsense. The decision NOT to call a terrorist, a terrorist, iswhat is "politically" motivated. Or, more likely, motivated by simple greed and corruption.

I'm really starting to believe that Maya is right, and the terrorists are winning. They have whole countries so intimidated that they won't dare call them what they are.

What will it take for the reast of the world to wake up? For every single country on the planet to be victimized? Repeatedly? As the US has been? Is that what it will take?

Would that even be aenough? Or would the fear outweigh the outrage?

It's also possible to get listed or delisted because it's politically convenient. Think of Gaddafi, for example.

Q man renounced terror and made restitution. He dismantled his WMD program. He did all that was asked of him.

Who else has?

If Iran wants to be de-listed as a state sponosr of terror, teher are things they can do.

a) Send the thousands of "students" who held the staff of the US embassy hostage for 444 days in 1979/1980 to the US to face prosecution for kidnapping.

b) Disarm Hezbollah. Iran armed HA, Iran should DIS-arm it. De-fund Hezbollah. Denounce Hezbollah. Hey, that's pretty catchy! Disarm, de-fund, denounce! :P

c) Unilaterally end the nuclear weapons program. No blowing smoke up everyone's ass. Just cancel the damn thing, and dismantle it!

d) Make restitution to the victims of Hezbollah/Iranian terrorism. The IRI is making $50 billion extra this year due to higher oil prices. They can afford to make the families of their victims wealthy. They should do so.

e) Deliver HA terrorists who have committed crimes against non-Lebanese up to the countries they committed crimes against, to be prosecuted as the victims see fit.


If all that is done, perhaps Iran will have earned the same sort of reprieve Q man has gotten.

In the meantime, please do not use Q as an example of somebody who beat the system. He did what he was asked to do. What more do you want of him?

I'll be back to reply on teh rest later on, I need to drink some coffeee and make some lunch myself :)

Thanks for the long reply by the way, and for reading all that rambling!

Non-Blogging said...

Hi Craig, nice to see you're really back, so I can also be back to these topics Ia voided for two weeks ;-).

To avoid us once again getting to all these fine nuances, I prefer cutting this short this time ;-). I guess we both understand each other's viewpoints and that we're not going to change them easily.

Just one short note on the Lebanese opinion poll - if you don't like the numbers, blame the opinion poll (or better, those who answered), not Wikipedia or me who are only quoting a study we didn't participate in conducting. It's like despite what leftists would like to see the opinion polls show, Bush and Blair are popular and the rest is wishful thinking ;-).

By the way, I liked your Disarm, de-fund, denounce! slogan, really catchy. Did you think about challenging Schwarzenegger next time ;-)?

Bon appétit, as the the French softies say!

Maya M said...

What a nice discussion! Sorry for my absence - I spent the weekend in a village where Internet is still sci-fi (like most other achievements of modern technology).
Programmer Craig, I mostly agree with you but I think we have to understand the mentality of the enemy. Not in order to aquire compassion for the combatants, but in order to reduce our compassion for the non-combatants and try to impose our conditions on them. I am not the first to think that we are losing because we are misdefining our enemy. It's not terrorism, it's Islam. Westerners needed long centuries to renounce killing Jews, waging aggressive wars, murdering those of different opinion, beating wives and punishing people for sex out of wedlock. Now the Muslims insist that all these things and many others are OK because they are in their religion, and we, to show how tolerant we are, smile at them and pat them on the back. This must be stopped, unless we really want to return to the 7th century.
Non-blogging, I think that Northern European coutries must immediately dismantle their welfare states if they want to survive. Only the strong Protestant moral kept them in good shape through the years. Now these countries are flooded by people who don't share the Protestant values. Many of them will be happy to live on welfare and to produce children just to receive more welfare. We in Bulgaria have created a time bomb by entitling the poorest to 20 leva (EUR 10) monthly aid for each child. There are now many thousand Gipsy babies deliberately conceived to give Dad the EUR 10 income. What life will these babies have and what citizens will they become when they grow up? After the cartoon controversy I've read statistics than Danish Muslims are 5% of the population and 40% of welfare recipients.
Of course, none of these two mentioned minorities can compare to the Israeli Arabs. I am truly sorry for the Israeli Arab patriots who are not only ostracized by other Arabs but suffer undeserved suspicion and discrimination by the Jews. But the vast majority of Israeli Arabs seem to be anything else but patriots. They hate their country, harm it any way they can and produce socccer teams of children in an effort to outnumber the Jews. Of our Israeli Arab students, at least half say they are from "Palestine" and you learn they are from Israel only when you look at their papers. Some sources say that most suicide bombers in Israel have Israeli Arab accomplices. I've myself heard on TV an Israeli Arab MP saying to the Westerners, "Give us all Palestine and take back your Jews and your democracy - we don't want either of them". This MP represents the opinions of thousands Israeli Arabs who have voted for him. And if you say that the Israeli Arabs will be more loyal to the Jewish state if they are treated better by it, I'll say - no way while other Arabs are brainwashing them.
About Sandmonkey's "opinion poll" - I think the situation is in fact even worse. Sandmonkey is educated and smart, he clearly belongs to the elite and presumably so do his colleagues.
I've never said that Latin America doesn't include civilized individuals, I was talking about the societies as a whole. I bet civilized individuals can be found even among Lebanese Shi'ites, but they are rare swallows who can never make a spring. Have you read Latin American literature? Or at least watched the "The House of the Spirits" movie? It's all about how poor the good people are and how work isn't the solution, the more you work the more you are exploited, the solution is a socialist revolution to take the property from the bad rich guys and give it to the good poor people. Now think about the anti-British hysteria in Brazil after the killing of de Menezes. I see a connection. You cannot rely on people willing to be fed by the government to be your allies against evil. They'll most likely take the side of the evil.

Highlander said...

Hi Maya, you have a good post here. I would like to thank NBA for steering me towards it, and also Craig a few days later lol.

I was not in the mood to participate but tonight I am. There will be lots of typos so pls forgive me in advance.

***Disclaimer this comment is not a personal attack on anybody. Warning do not take things personally, please read carefully.

NBA :) I agree 100% with you and the below quotes are my favourites.

"In times of crises, people support theirs no matter what they are"

"Israel doesn't want to defend Europeans, neither does it want to have NATO get involved in the Middle East conflict. NATO is not just about receiving defence in times of need but willingness to defend others as well."



Craig :)
"Teh only President's we ever have that are popular in EUrope are teh ones who harm US interests in favor of "global" interests. I call those bad Presidents, as it is not teh job ofa US president to make people in other countries happy, at the expense of Americans."

Therefore Craig do not be upset if other countries try to do what they think is THEIR interest but is not necessarily in the interest of the US, if they can get away with that in the shadow of a superpower!

"Understanding the *mentality* of your enemy is waste of time."

I think you are correct here if the ultimate goal or one and only goal is just to murder the Arabs. Hearing it spelled out like this I'm afraid reminds me very much of the 'Jihadi' , I'm sure you did not mean it this way ?


"arabs have not yet felt the REAL pain of war. I suspect that level of death and destruction is going to be necessary when all is said and done. All people, of every religion, understand death and destruction. When terrorism gains people nothing but death and destruction, instead of the concessions it has bought it in the past, it will eventually be abandoned. Terrorism is the new jihad. Jihad is not new. Jihadis have been beaten before. Many times. They don't have a good record of success. Even during the "golden age" of Islam, they got beaten pretty badly once Europeans got serious about stopping muslim expansion. And Genghis Khan swatted the Jihadis away like annoying insects."

Again Craig you're mixing up your concepts here, the modern jihadis are not the same as the Muslim army of the Islamic empire. There is nothing shameful in being beaten in war , and there is no infallible army - even the IDF legend has been tainted. As for the modern jihadis these are a new breed. If we are to compare terrorism per terrorism then I have personal grudges against the British, the Italians , the French , the Israelis , the Turks and the Americans . All these in what can be termed recent history. All their tactics could be described as terrorism of the first degree.Yet I do not wish to go after their kids or wish death upon them or enlist to kill each and everyone of them.

"Brainwashing has nothing to do with it, other than indoctrination is what makes a normal well balanced person into somebody who is willing to kill an enemy for no reason other than him being an enemy."

You mean you approve of killing an enemy? right then you must concede the same right to others to feel the same about some entity they assume is their enemy.


"Historically, civilian intelligence agencies infiltrate enemy oragnizations, during a war, to gather strategically vital information in most of the same categories military intelligence do on a tactical level."

Interesting :)

"MI does assinations and sabotage as well, but not directly. Once they have gathered the necessary information they will pass it on to local commanders to dispatch a sniper team, a recon team, or whatever other elemnt may be required for the task"

That is terrorism....for the recipient country.

" Unilaterally end the nuclear weapons program. No blowing smoke up everyone's ass. Just cancel the damn thing, and dismantle it!"

I wish someone would say that about Israel as well.They are the ones who actually have a nuclear programme and have been terrorising the neighbourhood for decades.

Hmmm after reading all this it seems I mostly commented on what Craig said not on Maya's actual post.

Still I know how you think Maya :) and do not wish to influence/change you way of thinking.

Who would have thought that I would agree with NBA on a lot of topics ? seing how we started in the infamous cartoons crisis;)

Craig my friend I have no problem with your ideas, war is war and you are best trained for that,just don't begrudge other partis when they believe they have a cassus belli too ..and I'm not talking here about the AQ and their franchises. I guess I've said it many times before and will say it again. I don't think the current state of Israel should have existed . But now that it does for the last half century.. then might as well accept it and get on with our life. Embrace your enemy and it will dissolve like magic. My choice to accept it does not mean I cannot read, research, study, or find out what is going on...I would like to repeat my theory of what is making the world go round now power, might ! If you have that you literally get away with murder => but to get to that position of power you have to have the scientists, thinkers , technicians, and everything else that makes a country prosperous and flourishing. Petrodollars are not enough. A rentier state does not support that kind of growth.I look forward to that kind of future in the ME and NA, which along with prosperity etc.. will bring raw power - the kind of power which will not need to make it's voice heard . With dedication nothing is impossible...but there are people who do not wish for this vision to take place. "He did what he was asked to do." is the preferred pathway ;) . If I have it my way no one ( foreign) would ever tell anyone in the ME or NA to do their bidding.I understand that first we gotta straighten ourselves first. I'm very tolerant- true- but not blind :)

Highlander said...

Hi again Maya :) I would like to add that I am familiar with Mr. Alhuni's writings he is very famous in the country and his family owns a paper in the UK. I also agree with many of his thoughts, except about pan-arabism (I'm still clinging to that lol ).I must congratulate him on getting published in memri and ranting about AL-Jazeera, that immediately boosts your credibility in the West and with Israelis. In the current world this is the winning streak !

Iraqis fighting occupation military targets is resistances.
Lebanese fighting Israelis is resistance.Palestinians fighting Israeli military is resistance.

The rest is terrorism for 'national interest'or economic gain...
Occupation of Iraq is terrorism, Janjaweed killing Darfurians is terrorism.

Maya M said...

Welcome to the discussion, Highlander!
I think that Non-blogging is not right about Israel and NATO; I even wonder whether he wrote seriously what he wrote. I suppose there is a quiet deal between USA and Israel, "We'll support you, you please don't apply to NATO to spare our kind allies the embarassment to reject you."
What was Israeli FM Shalom expected to say when interviewed in public? "We have partnership with the USA anyway, as about the other NATO members, we know most of them are cowards plus the damn anti-Semites they have always been, so we know we'll have no help from them when we need it, and they can still be insolent enough to demand help from us if they have any security problem not visible with a naked eye."
It is the Europeans who don't want to defend others. Remember, after Sept. 11 Norway declared it would not defend USA. I would ask, After you don't want to defend other countries when they are attacked, why are you signing a treaty for mutual defense, darlings?
Highlander, did you mention that Programmer Craig put "global" interests in quotation mark? This often implies that the word is not to be taken literally. I don't think that the bad presidents Craig was talking about were helping other countries. Are Iranians happy now after Carter let the Mullahs do what they wanted?
Because the USA is a country based on values, the interests of the USA generally are the same as the interests of the good people throughout the world. Therefore I'll be unhappy when the American empire collapses.
What do you mean that countries cannot always do what (they think) is their interest and get away in the shadow of superpower? Norway refused to do what it was obliged to do and got away with it. France, Germany, Zapatero's Spain and other European "allies" harm USA as hard as they can and get away with it. In Afghanistan, a man barely escaped death penalty for leaving Islam and a woman was stoned under the noses of the tolerant US troops. This is the problem of the Americans - that they, unlike Islamists, don't punish countries for not being on their side. Is it such wonder that so many countries prefer to appease the Islamists?
Of course the modern jihadis are a new breed, because their enemy is new: the prosperous, peaceful, tolerant, low-birth-rate-low-mortality, highly vulnerable Western society. In earlier times, they would never be let to operate. You have repeatedly said that Europe is not being invaded by Muslims, because you don't see armies at European borders. Were invaders of the past armed because they liked their luggage heavy or because they thought weapons were making them sexy? No, they were armed because otherwise they would have no chance to succeed. Today, they need no arms. The modern Western societies embrace millions of newcomers from clearly hostile cultures. Each of them, or their children who are full-right citizens, can demand and will receive equal or preferential treatment up to the moment when he decides to explode himself. And he knows that millions remain behind him.
I don't understand you about killing the enemy - of course he must be killed, unless he is captured or surrenders, or does the same things to us first! This is what war has always been about hasn't it? BTW does the original Koranic verse 47:4 contain the phrase "in fight"? Because it was missing in the Bulgarian translation and is not too logical.
About Israel's nuclear program - has Israel threatened to wipe any country off the map? As for the "terrorising the neighbourhood for decades", it was completely unprovoked and nobody ever attacked Israel and sheltered armed groups with declared aim to destroy Israel, right?
I don't wonder that you and Non-blogging agree on most topics but not on the cartoon crisis. Non-blogging and many other Europeans are (to my opinion) too peaceful, too tolerant, too understanding to those who are different. Until they are deprived of their own home. But then it can be too late.
I didn't understand much the last part of your comment but I agree that we must give some right to our enemies. Of course we can keep proving that we are (morally) better, but this is to no avail. As Zakaria wrote, Islamism is an armed doctrine and an armed doctrine can be discredited only after being defeated. So I criticize from moral point of view only the non-combatants, such as the Palestinian voters or Sandmonkey's colleagues. What's the point of proving that Hezbollah are bad because they want all Jews dead and me headscarved, subjected to dhimmi status or dead also? The matter must be fought out and I can only hope that they will be dead at the end.

Maya M said...

Highlander, have you mentioned how selective the resistance is?
I mean, the Iraqis didn't produce much resistance against Saddam but have strong resistance against the Coalition. Of course, it is more pleasant to resist an enemy whose most horrible atrocity is photographing you with your penis exposed.
Also, many Lebanese who didn't resist either Syria or Hezbollah gladly resist Israel.
Or is Hezbollah enjoying majority support in Lebanon? Then the war is indeed Lebanon-Israel and the Lebanese have nothing to complain of.

Non-Blogging said...

Maya,

Non-blogging, I think that Northern European coutries must immediately dismantle their welfare states if they want to survive.

The majority of us dislike with you strongly and I'm very happy about that ;-). I'm not a blind supporter of welfare fundamentalism (an idelogue according to which there shouldn't be an open discussion on the welfare state and its future) but I think I wouldn't change the model for any other one. But this is of course very much out of topic here. Anyway, I'm very interested in debating issues such as this with you in case you have a separate post :-).

Have you read Latin American literature? Or at least watched the "The House of the Spirits" movie? It's all about how poor the good people are and how work isn't the solution, the more you work the more you are exploited, the solution is a socialist revolution to take the property from the bad rich guys and give it to the good poor people.

Maya, seriously, you can't base your opinion about an entire continent on such things as a movie based on a book by a known leftist Chilean author. It's not representative. I don't either base my opinion about Bulgarians on your writings. I also believe there must be some Bulgarian hotties around as well although the ones we saw on TV in the 1980s, I mean those athletic "women", were not hot at all and people like them formed the image of East German, Czechoslovak and Bulgarian feminine beauty in the minds of us Westerners for a long time ;-).

Just wanted to tell you one of my first memories of a Bulgarian-related matter ;-).

You cannot rely on people willing to be fed by the government to be your allies against evil. They'll most likely take the side of the evil.

Am I right you're also a government employee, thus fed by the government ;-)? Yes, I know it's a decent job, not welfare, but anyway. As you know the staunchest anti-walfare statists think government is so evil it should be reduced to the absolute minimum or banned altogether.

I think that Non-blogging is not right about Israel and NATO; I even wonder whether he wrote seriously what he wrote.

I was dead serious and only quoting the official Israeli standpoint on its unwillingness to join NATO. So, if you don't like that standpoint, blame the Israelis, not me, and try to accept the facts without any conspiracy theories about what the Israelis might really mean ;-).

It is the Europeans who don't want to defend others. Remember, after Sept. 11 Norway declared it would not defend USA. I would ask, After you don't want to defend other countries when they are attacked, why are you signing a treaty for mutual defense, darlings?

And the Israeli minister clearly said Israel wouldn't defend Europeans. It's mutual unwillingness which is perfectly acceptable as long as they're not in the same defence alliance because neither part seriously wants that.

As for your last question, once again a hypothetical situation which is extremely unlikely ever to happen. Now that you think NATO members should defend each other, let's say if Israel attacked Turkey, you'd like to send Bulgarian soldiers in Turkey's defence because Turkey is a fellow NATO member and Israel doesn't even want to become one? If you wouldn't like, you've no right to criticize Norway for not willing to defend the USA. Seriously, that's how it is. If you're part a defence alliance, you must defend all of its members whether you like them or not and no matter who attacks them. If not, don't join.

Because the USA is a country based on values, the interests of the USA generally are the same as the interests of the good people throughout the world.

Not necessarily, thank God. Besides I diasgree with you on this value thing. That a country is based on values doesn't mean its interests are the same as those of good people generally. Heck, Iran and Saudi Arabia are also based on values, whether we like those values or not. For example, I don't.

This is the problem of the Americans - that they, unlike Islamists, don't punish countries for not being on their side.

Ah yeah.

The modern Western societies embrace millions of newcomers from clearly hostile cultures. Each of them, or their children who are full-right citizens, can demand and will receive equal or preferential treatment up to the moment when he decides to explode himself. And he knows that millions remain behind him.

Calm down, please, we're not endangered :-).

Non-blogging and many other Europeans are (to my opinion) too peaceful, too tolerant, too understanding to those who are different. Until they are deprived of their own home. But then it can be too late.

If I ever have a blog of my own (that time will come, I predict), I guess this will feature in the About me section. Can I have your permit for that ;-)? No, seriously, I liked this one.

Highlander,

Who would have thought that I would agree with NBA on a lot of topics ? seing how we started in the infamous cartoons crisis;)

LOL my favourite blog hostess ;-). Yes, it didn't start well but see it's become good, hasn't it :-)? And the important thing is that I still keep my opinion on the cartoons, you keep yours and we still strongly disagree but but are still able to share opinions and seemingly agree on many or most other topics.

And to all my critics, I haven't softened. I would have thought about several other issues exactly the same way half a year ago and still defend the cartoons with no plans to surrender on that subject ;-).

So, there's still hope of your blog once receiving a picture of Craig and LW drinking beer together and you and Maya touring together, first to a kibbutz and then helping Lebanese civilians with Hizbollah ;-), no matter how unrealistic that seems now LOL.

Maya M said...

Non-blogging, of course you may take those lines and good luck with the blog :).
I may like Israel more than Turkey (though I don't find it perfect and I'll like it much less if it finds it's just a good idea to attack Turkey). But if Turkey is attacked by Israel, of course I'm all for sending Bulgarian soldiers, giving weapons and intelligence and helping Turkey any way we can and it wants. We have signed that sheet of paper, you are right!
About Latin America - you are right that Aliende is a leftist, but can you name a single rightist intellectual from Latin America? Remember also the actual historical events, e.g. the Zapatista uprising. But I am sure about Latin America because we have the same phenomenon here in Bulgaria, just it's less known worldwide because we haven't Nobel-winning leftist writers and movies with the best known Hollywood actors. Socialism corrupted people's minds. If you ask them what the state, the government exists for, almost everybody will answer - to perform social functions (read: to feed healthy people who don't want to stand on their own feet). Therefore, people keep voting for leftists that only make matters worse; occasionally, when their policies leave almost nothing to eat, voters elect rightists and have a breath of fresh air. But rightists don't do much social talk and demagoguery and so lose the next elections.
I know I'm too harsh on Lebanese civilians, many of them don't support Hezbollah and many of those who do do it because they've been brainwashed since early childhood. But I'm not so good person to have sympathy for everybody. When we win, my losing opponents will have all the sympathy of my heart. But while the enemy boasts they are winning, I'm saving all my sympathy for myself and "my" people.

Non-Blogging said...

Maya,

About Latin America - you are right that Aliende is a leftist, but can you name a single rightist intellectual from Latin America?

Mario Vargas Llosa..? He's the one that came to my mind right away, nobody else so far.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Vargas_Llosa

There must be bunches of others, though, although writers often have leftist tendencies. Think about Garcia Márquez, Castro's friend, for example.

Is this by the way the first time your blog has received more than 20 comments in a thread? Congratulations!

And to cheer you up, here's a link to something which I think will show there's still hope for your world view in Europe:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3293655,00.html

Waiting for your comments ;-).

Maya M said...

I am glad that Finns supporting Israel have made their views public.
It would in fact be absurd for an entire country to be supporting its natural enemies and against its natural allies.

programmer craig said...

Wow! I thought this post had played out, glad I came back to check :)

H,

Therefore Craig do not be upset if other countries try to do what they think is THEIR interest but is not necessarily in the interest of the US, if they can get away with that in the shadow of a superpower!

This never upsets me. It only upsets me when people who are from countries that are clearly no friends of the US blame a particulr President or a particular policy for their hostilty. I don't like being lied to. I'd much rather people were honest about tehir opinions.

However, France is a seperate case and I reserve my right to despise tehm for their duplicity. France doesn't just "opt out" - France actively harms US interests. And France is supposedly an ALLY of teh United States! Really! An ally by treaty, not just an ideological ally. They did it again with the situation in Lebanon. They volunteered to lead the peacekeeping mission, and then negotiated a toothless mandate for the troops, which everyone went along with, because supposedly France would have the largest troop contingent. But then after the resolution got passed, France announced it's sending only a token force. And it seems the majority of the UN troops will be from countries that are hostile to Israel - most of which do not even recoignize the state of Israel's existance! So, they not only have no mandate to do anything about Hezbollah, they will be sympathetic to Hezbollah and hostile to Israel. Worse than nothing. MUCH WORSE THAN NOTHING. Fuck you very much, France. Sorry, but I'm pretty damn hacked off at France. Again. Fucking bastards. Are they born dishonest!? How did the US ever get itself allied with such a sleazy whorish nation as France?

I think you are correct here if the ultimate goal or one and only goal is just to murder the Arabs.

Killing enemy combatants is not "murder" Highlander! At what point did I suggest I thought arabs in general should be killed? Pleasse clarify your statement, it's pretty harsh and it doesn't resemble (to me) what it is I was trying to say.

Again Craig you're mixing up your concepts here, the modern jihadis are not the same as the Muslim army of the Islamic empire.

I don't think that I am mixing anything up, Highlander. Look up the origin of the word "assassin" and see how much the Ishmaeli followers of the Man on the Mountain resemeble today's terrorists. They were infamous nihilists who were promised paradise for murdering their enemies.

There is nothing shameful in being beaten in war , and there is no infallible army - even the IDF legend has been tainted.

Arabs have not been beaten in war in at least 500 years. That's the problem, in my opinion. Arabs don't recall, even in the history books, what war really looks like. The arab tactic in modern times seems to be fight a token battle or two and then paint yourselves as the victims and rely on the magnanimity of your enemies. It's cheezy, Highlander. It'd be almost funny, if people weren't getting killed. Most historians believe Sadat planned the 1973 war with Israel in order to negotiate a favorable treaty wiuth the United States and Israel. How crazy is that? I wouldn't believe it excapt that's exactly what happened after the war.

All their tactics could be described as terrorism of the first degree.

Please do so. I'm tired of the "T" word being thrown around so fast and loose. Looking forward to your definition and explanation. List the number of INNOCENT Libyans deliberately murdered by each country.

You mean you approve of killing an enemy?

You bet. Not only do I approve of killing enemy combatants, I wholeheartedly endorse it. That's the purpose of figting wars.

right then you must concede the same right to others to feel the same about some entity they assume is their enemy.

Nope. You are misinterpreting the whole wartime combatant concept, just like you did with teh word terrorist. Please knock it off. You're smarter than this. Combatants who are waging war lawfully can and should kill enemy combatants. Yes. That goes for enemies of America too, and there isn't anybody over here in teh US who tries to say otherwise. Not that I've ever heard anyway. You are muddying the waters. Please strive for more clarity. I don't get to designate somebody an enemy of mine and then go kill them for it. That's murder. That isn't what I advocate. Don't suggest that it is.

That is terrorism....for the recipient country.

No it's not. That's standard operating procedure for any military force at war. Anybody who is subject to being killed in battle is subject to being killed by assassination, in a war zone. The law makes no distinction between being killed in battle or being killed in bed. You're a dead enemy either way, and one who was subject to death.

As far as sabotage, destroying enemy infrastructure and interfering with his supply routes is vital to any successful military campaign.

Interesting ideas you have about terrorism, Highlander. I suppose the attempt at painting a moral equivalence is meant to make terrorism seem less repugnant? Because everyone does it,. so it's not only a muslim problem? Just throw up your hands and say there's nothing we can do? It's a universal problem?

Well. I don't see it that way. It's attitudes like yours that must be changed before the war on terror can end. Because how can you condemn muslims for doing something that you think everybody does? You can't. And I can't condemn muslims at all, because I'm not a muslim. All I can do is support my government when it wants to protect me from murderous terrorists and the societies who produce them. So that's what I'm doing. I'll continue to do that, until you figure out a way to start condeming people who commit mass murder of the innocent in the name of Islam.

I wish someone would say that about Israel as well.They are the ones who actually have a nuclear programme and have been terrorising the neighbourhood for decades.

More moral equivalency. I expect better from you, Highlander. You must have been in quite a bad mood when you wrote this. I was quite clear in the specific acts of terrorism Iran had committed or sponsored. This isn't about Israel, for me. This is about ME, my country, and my countries enemies. If you want to have a discussion the accuses Israel of being teh same kind of terrorist state that Iran is and has been these last 29 years, you'll have to do it with somebody else. I'll just say, I don't see it that way. I'm not seeing the arab victims. Sorry. I'm seeing arab perpetrators. I don't know how arabs have managed to sell the europeans this bill of goods that the arabs are the world's biggets victims, but I'm not buying it over here.

I'll try to come back and comment on the rest after I calm down some. But, Highlander, if you really want to discuss things like this please keep it real.

Non-Blogging said...

And it seems the majority of the UN troops will be from countries that are hostile to Israel - most of which do not even recoignize the state of Israel's existance!

Craig, I don't want to participate more in the deb... sorry, discussion ;-) between you and Highlander but this is not correct. I think only Indonesia and/or Malaysia offered their troops to Lebanon for the UN peacekeeping forces among those countries that don't recognize Israel which means a tiny minority against countries that do regard Israel as a country among others. And PM Olmert has clearly said that Israel doesn't accept peacekeepers from countries which don't recognize it. So, the end result will be that countries not recognizing Israel won't be involved in that mission.

Besides, is there any direct connection between not recognizing and hostility? The US doesn't recognize Taiwan but has vowed to defend it against the China it recognizes ;-).

Maya M said...

Programmer Craig, I can offer you a tip why Europeans bought the idea that Arabs are the biggest victims: because Europeans had committed the Holocaust.
"The European reaction to the war against the Jews has multiple roots, mostly having to do with a bad collective conscience. The Europeans try to shed the burden of persecutory conscience by removing the title of "Victim" from the Jews and transferring it to the receptive Palestinians. By backing Palestinian claims the Europeans solve their problem vis-à-vis the Jews, and emerge cleansed: no longer victimizers, they are the victim's champion."
(psychologist David Gutmann, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21059)

Non-Blogging said...

Maya, what you claim is just one side of the story and partly nonsense. And why?

First of all, the claim that Europeans have at all bought the claim that Arabs are the biggest victims is based on... what? Some Europeans, yes, but for example neither of us has. You think Jews are the biggest victims and myself, I'm just a Euro-softie who laments all victims. Secondly, you can't blame the whole bunch of Europeans of being behind the Holocaust when most Europeans were born after World War II and even among those who lived at the time of the Holocaust, a very tiny minority (and not even all countries) took part in that. Thirdly, psychologizing like the man you quote is... hmm... political. On the leftist/pro-Palestinian/whatever side we have lots of people who claim Europeans can't handle Israel as critically as they should, just because they are guilty in a politically correct way for something which happened decades ago.

That the writer is a psychologist doesn't make his claim credible just because of his degree.

programmer craig said...

Argh! I didn't even get a chance to reply to the rest! I guess I'll skip it now! I'll just reply to what came after my last comment! :)

NBA,

Besides, is there any direct connection between not recognizing and hostility? The US doesn't recognize Taiwan but has vowed to defend it against the China it recognizes ;-).

That's a special case, NBA, and it's because China insists that Taiwan is not an independent country and anyone who wants diplomatic relations with China must play along. There is no similar circumstance with israel. Now you are playing the obfuscation game :P

Refusal to recognize Israel equates to hostility to Israel. Same as it does most of the time when one nation refuses to recognize the legitimacy of another.

I'll bet you the peacekeepers end up being pro-Hezbollah. People who are pro-Hezbollah are the only ones willing to send troops, because they are the only ones who will not be targetted by Hezbollah. It's bullshit. There should be no UN mission in Lebanon, in my opinion. A UN force would be counter-productive.

Maya, interesting point re: Europeans and Israel. It may have some merit. I suspect oil has something to do with it too. It seems like it was after the embargo of 1973 that arabs could do no wrong in the eyes of the Europeans. Hmmm.... now I'm subscribing to Highlander's "it's all about the oil" theory :P

NBA, I don't agree with your explanation. There is a major discrepancy between US public opinion re: Israel and European public opiniuon re: Israel. Due to the inherent similarities between American culture and most European countries, I cannot explain it. There's something going on that isn't obvious, to explain such a wide divergence.

I also don't understand the European softball reaction to terrorism. Ignore it, and it'll go away? That's what the US tried for over 20 years. It didn't go away. It got progressively worse. Haven't you guys been paying attention? Or do you just expect to shield yourselves from attack by being sympathetic to arabs? Hmmm.... maybe that explains the Israel/Palestine issue as well.

Very frustrating. I've been thinking for a while that Europe is irrelevant to America's future. I think the US needs to abandon the old order and start over. New alliances, with countries that actually have common cause with the US. We've ignored asia too long.

Non-Blogging said...

That's a special case, NBA, and it's because China insists that Taiwan is not an independent country and anyone who wants diplomatic relations with China must play along. There is no similar circumstance with israel. Now you are playing the obfuscation game :P

I had to check my dictionary for the meaning of that ;-). I always like bringing up the issue of Taiwan in the Middle East context because it's telling and shows the hypocrisy of the West, my country and yours included. Taiwan is not an independent country according to the PRC but I think some 20-30 countries, mostly in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, do recognize it as an independent country. as does the Vatican. Except for the Vatican, the only European country that has in recent years recognized Taiwan was Macedonia which had to change its position because the PRC blackmailed them in the UN about peacekeeping in Macedonia.

Most Arab and Muslim countries don't recognize Israel as an independent country, so there's no difference here. Of course both Taiwan and Israel are functional independent countries (and better than their main adversaries).

I'll bet you the peacekeepers end up being pro-Hezbollah. People who are pro-Hezbollah are the only ones willing to send troops, because they are the only ones who will not be targetted by Hezbollah.

Peacekeepers don't take sides, they keep peace.

IDF has also targeted peacekeepers and killed unarmed military observers, one from my country, during this conflict. Claiming that only pro-Hizbollah people will send their troops is akin to claiming that the US and all the rest in Afghanistan are pro-Taliban because they sent their troops there ;-). That's of course nonsense as well.

It seems like it was after the embargo of 1973 that arabs could do no wrong in the eyes of the Europeans. Hmmm.... now I'm subscribing to Highlander's "it's all about the oil" theory :P

NBA, I don't agree with your explanation. There is a major discrepancy between US public opinion re: Israel and European public opiniuon re: Israel.


Generally speaking, the US public opinion is more positive about Israel than the European but as you know, Europe has more than 40 independent countries with quite varying social and political situations, so such a thing as a European public opinion hardly exists anyway.

That there's criticism towards Israel in Europe and even in the US doesn't mean hostility. Criticism is normal, constructive and should be endorsed. Think about the Danish cartoons, for example, which the loudest Muslims thought were outright blasphemous and Islamophobe while in my opinion they were critical and for a very good reason.

Believing in something blindly is dangerous, whether that's the Evangelical Christian belief that Israel never could do anything wrong or the blind Muslim belief that they're always the victims and the USA and Israel are the worst guys in the world.

Due to the inherent similarities between American culture and most European countries, I cannot explain it. There's something going on that isn't obvious, to explain such a wide divergence.

Probably it has something to do with religiosity, seriously? And what about the thing that Europeans, I guess, generally travel more abroad, read more and so on and are thus more used to hearing different opinions instead of one truth? I don't know.

I also don't understand the European softball reaction to terrorism. Ignore it, and it'll go away?

Fight it and it won't go away either. I've written this in this blog and elsewhere already. If terrorism got away by more and more force all the time, I'd support using all possible force of course. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. And I'm repeating again, despite all the force used in this current war on terror, the top al-Qaeda leaders are still on the run, after five years, in Afghanistan or pseudo-ally Pakistan. If efforts were concentrated on capturing them and not doing counterproductive things such as turning Iraq into a terrorist feeding ground by attacking it, things might look better.

Very frustrating. I've been thinking for a while that Europe is irrelevant to America's future. I think the US needs to abandon the old order and start over.

Seriously, there would be nothing wrong about that. Every country should pick up the most suitable allies for itself which doesn't mean geographical or cultural proximity or shared history. Just think about the weird allies countries like Venezuela or China are making.

Maya M said...

I cannot comment everything - it became too long, so just 2 words.
Programmer Craig, you really must start your blog! I like your thoughts, probably because they are quite similar to mine, and think it's a pity to leave them scattered throughout other people's blogs. Plus, hot girls could conveniently leave messages for you barely disguised as blog comments :).
About the influence of the oil thing on the purely humanitarian European concern for the innocent Arab victims - I agree.
Non-blogging, I simply don't know where to begin. I think that, similarly to Highlander, you try to distract your and your opponents' attention from some "red flags" by equating them to other, more innocent but actually irrelevent phenomena. But, while Highlander's position is influenced by her compassion to her people (something I cannot help liking at least a little), I strongly suspect you in denial of reality if it seems unpleasant.
Have I ever said that a psychologist cannot be wrong on a subject related to psychology? But if a person is educated and actually working in a particular field, why not to add some weight to his opinions in this field? Besides, I can partly confirm what he says from my own experience. I've stopped counting how many times I've heard, "See what atrocities are these Jews doing? The Germans must have had a reason to do what they did."
I have never said that Jews presently are the biggest victims in the world. They are something different: our miners' canaries, to cite a blog moto (http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/). I don't forget e.g. the Tutsies, but the Hutus who exterminated them aren't expected to go after us, while the Jews' enemies are mortal enemies of the entire civilization.
I agree with Programmer Craig that WWIII is already underway, but from our side, it's still in the "strange war" phase. You say that our application of force only makes matters worse. Yes, because it's disproportionate! Disproportionately low, I mean. If you apply to your enemy the equivalent of a bee sting, this can only encourage his aggression.
Let me cite a little Bulgarian experience. In 1923, the Communists inspired an uprising. The authorities restored order, sentenced and jailed a number of people. However, next year as a reconciliation effort the insurgents sentenced for high treason were released. In 1925, Communists exploded a church in Sofia, killing about 150 people (as far as I know, this death toll for a single act of terror remained unsurpassed until the 1980s). The authorities made massive arrests. Those direct perpetrators who were caught were sentenced to death and executed. The other detainees were Communist activists, leftist intellectuals and, alas, a number of quite innocent people. They weren't tried, just disappeared. What do you think today's human rights organizations would say? But Bulgaria had no problems with the Communists until the WWII, when the superpower USSR told them to leave their holes because their day had come.
The concept that there is more than one truth in moral matters, as far as I know, is called moral relativism. I agree that it is an important component of European psyche, but I disagree that it is a good thing.
When peacekeepers are under UN mandate and are sent to "keep" peace that actually doesn't exist, they DO take sides. They take the side of the bully, because they, unlike usual soldiers, are concerned above all with their own safety. Just remember how in Bosnia Dutch peacekeepers became accomplices in the Srebrenica massacer and French - in the Turajlic's assassination (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684819031/002-0975220-7715207?v=glance&n=283155). You describe things as they should be, not as they actually are!
In principle Israel and Jews (i.e. Jewish religion and culture) are subject to honest and legitimate criticism. But while the pan-Arab 300-million "nation" and the aspiring nuclear power Iran are openly calling for a second Holocaust and the world stands by, I don't see much honesty and legitimacy in the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish criticism. As said Saint Exupery, "If the woman you love has been run over by a truck, will you think that she hasn't been pretty?".

programmer craig said...

NBA,

Most Arab and Muslim countries don't recognize Israel as an independent country, so there's no difference here.

Yes, there is a difference. I already explained it. Failure to recognize Israel as a legitimate nation is due to hostitilty towards Israel. That is not the case with Taiwan. The difference is clear. You ignore it for your own ideological convenience. Not my issue :)

Peacekeepers don't take sides, they keep peace.

When and wheer have they ever done that?

And of course, tehy have to take sides... against whoever breahces the peace that they are charged with upholding. This is where peacekeepers fail, and the reason why peacekeeping missions fail. It's like saying policemen are supposed to be neutral. Cops are not supposed to be neutral. Cops are supposed to be anti-criminal. Right?

Claiming that only pro-Hizbollah people will send their troops is akin to claiming that...

The UN troops in Lebanon in the recent past have been pro-Hezbollah. Including yours. Hezbollah has been conducted anti-Israel operations right under their noses for over a decade. In some cases, with either co-operation of UN forces, or with an unspoken agreement that the Un troops would not interfere.

Major problem, NBA, and it's a problem that is about to become much much worse. I DO NOT support UN troops in Lebanon. Period.

I say that speaking impersonally. SPeaking personally, I support the US sending a division of Marines to Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah, and anybody who gets in the way. 40,000 Marines is sufficient for the job, and it's a number tyhat can be spared at the moment, as only 1 of the 4 divisions of US Marines is in Iraq.

Generally speaking, the US public opinion is more positive about Israel than the European but as you know, Europe has more than 40 independent countries with quite varying social and political situations, so such a thing as a European public opinion hardly exists anyway.

I don't agree with this. You guys do practice some sort of "group think" despite your national borders. At least, in western europe.

As far as Israel, I think the evidence of hostility is pretty clear. Refusal to recognize the world's leading terrorist organization as a terrorist organization, for instance. That's an open insult to Israel, Hezbollah's number 1 victim. And it's an open insult to America, Hezbollah's number 2 victim.

Fight it and it won't go away either.

I don't agree with this. That's only true if we fight using half-measures. If arab terrorism is consistently seen to cause more suffering and pain for arabs than it does for the victims of arab terrorism, arab terrorism WILL STOP. Terrorists don't live in a vacuum. When the societal and religious factors that are producing terrorists decide that terrorism doesn't serve them, they'll stop producing terrorists.

Just like the Germans (mostly) stopped producing Nazis arfter WW II. I don't buy the idea that nothing can be done about terrorism. I don't buy it at all. You can't kill an idea, granted. But you can kill the people who have that idea. And when you kill enough of them, the rest of the people with that idea will change their fucked up thinking. Right?

It's human nature. It applies to all of us, equally.

programmer craig said...

Maya, thanks for the kind words, and the encouragement to start a blog! But I'd be an awful blogger, you see how often I take breaks from even reading other people's blogs :)

programmer craig said...

Maya, you said something pretty brilliant there:

Disproportionately low, I mean. If you apply to your enemy the equivalent of a bee sting, this can only encourage his aggression.

Sun Tzu (considered one of the best military strategists of all time) said something to the effect of "never do your enemy a minor injury" and for the very same reasons.

Another thing he said is that "your enemy must know that he has lost" - something that hasn't happened in the middle-east in a very long time. Arabs have consistently been able to turn their "losses" into gains, the "humiliations" into indoctrination, etc... it's why (in my opinon) the middle-east is in the state it currently is in, and it's the cause of international terrorism. Future losses must be devastating, and impossible to recover from. Or it's not even worth fighting the war.

Just because arabs want to play the game where they don't take the field against an enemy but then transition over to a terrorist/insurgent movement doesn't mean an invader has to go along with that.