Blogs > HNN > Historical Analogies, the Middle East, and World War

Jul 31, 2006 12:46 pm


Historical Analogies, the Middle East, and World War



Mr. Kimball is emeritus professor of history at Miami University and the author of To Reason Why, Nixon's Vietnam War, and The Vietnam War Files.

In recent days, certain pundits have subsumed the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the current fighting between Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah under the rubric of the so-called"global war on terror." Some of these pundits, like Fox News monologist Bill O'Reilly, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former CIA officer Robert Baer, and columnist Michael Goodwin have also declared that the"global war on terror" is tantamount to "World War III." Neocons Michael Ledeen and Norman Podhoretz and CNBC host Lawrence Kudlow, however, see the"war on terror" as"World War IV," because they consider the Cold War as having been"World War III." My major objection to these analogies and comparisons is that the"war on terror" is not a"war."

In any case and at the same time, the fighting in the Middle East has caused other pundits and average citizens to draw other, more plausible, analogies.

Polls indicate, for example, that 60 percent of Americans, as well as many editorialists across the political spectrum, believe that the fighting in Lebanon could or might lead to a larger war in a manner similar to the onset of World War I, when the assassination of one high official and his consort escalated into a global war. Encouraging such concerns is the fear that Israel's incursion into Lebanon will draw Syria into the fighting. Because Syria has a security treaty with Iran, some believe that the conflict could escalate and spread. Israel's and the Bush administration's speculative claims linking Hezbollah's actions to Iranian machinations and the neocons' calls for attacks on Iran do little to calm concerns about a wider war.

Historian John Keegan , however, has rejected the World War I analogy, largely by emphasizing the fine historical details of how World War I came about. Essentially, his argument is that World War I escalation will not be repeated, because, well, the current fighting in the Middle East and the current structure of alliances do not precisely match the conditions of 1914. If we followed Keegan's logic, we could never draw any analogies.

In any event, there was at least one element in the lead-up to World War I that to my mind serves as a useful analogy in the Middle East imbroglio. In 1914, the status-quo government of Austria-Hungary foolishly decided, with the support of imperial aspirant Germany, to militarily punish Serbia for having supported the nationalist assassins of the Austrian archduke. Austria-Hungary cared little about the assassination compared to its larger purpose: by seizing upon the event to teach the Serbs a lesson, pan-Slavism might be contained and the old order preserved. In our day, the status-quo government of Israel, supported by hegemonic America, decided to punish Hamas and Hezbollah, and collaterally Lebanon—not for the kidnapping of a few soldiers but to teach them a lesson in military power and perhaps even to"root out" Hamas and Hezbollah. Both Austria-Hungary/Germany and Israel/United States chose military force over real diplomacy; that is, they chose the sword over a political solution to a deeply-rooted struggle between status-quo governments and the tide of nationalistic/religious/ideological rebellion.

No, I don't think that the current conflict in the Middle East will lead to a world war, though it might lead to a larger regional conflict. Even if no wider war comes about, we should nonetheless remember one of the lessons of the onset of World War I: explosive political issues cannot be solved with brute force in an age of"people's war," or weapon-rich guerrilla war. Political problems mainly require political solutions. Conventional military responses alone produce conventional failures.




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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Once again are you a simpleton or pretending to be?
To range Spain and France with the USA in the book of pro Israel, anti Arab is ridiculous and, if sincerely held, mega ignorant .
You know that or supposed to .
Come on be serious, show respect to the readers of this Forum.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr E Simon
To the best of my knowledge this is a PUBLIC FORUM and Mr Clarle's opinion is as valid as anybody else's; actually more so than most, being based on more knowledge, and particularly of the robotic Friedman's and yours, Mr Simon.

Your , compulsive impulsive ?,reaction to Mr Clarke's comments, which is far from wholeheartedly siding with the case of JUSTICE against the racist , alien aggressor, is typical of the Zionist blindness which had, historically, led them, and the decent anti Zionist Jews, into an impasse that they will eventually deeply regret ever venturing into.

You simply can not see anything beyond your tragedy, the horrible heinous Holocaust,nor beyond your desires and racist ambitions.

You are deaf to reason and immune to the natural law of universal justice.

In your blindness that there are OTHER human beings in this world besides yourself and your tragedy you kill, rob, betray and trample on the most basic inalienable rights of OTHERS and expect to be supported, financed and applauded.

A case of collective sickness; blindness, closed mindedness, mental and ethical perversion cum distortion with no parallel.

I advise you to reread my "What did Zionism Achieve ?" and consider the pit you have fallen into sadly dragging along the innocent and, hopefully, the decent anti Zionist majority of Jews.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Noting that your reply confirms the veracity of each and every reason I gave why Zionist Israel is our enemy I would like to make the following points.

Despite the fact that your response was made in a most eloquent language with a masterly choice of words, an unremitting show of "humane" considerations , a pretended appeal to "reason" and a feigned concern for the Palestinian people you failed to hide your stand which simply and unequivocally boils down to:

1-Yes we have committed all the criminal acts you enumerate BUT we insist on keeping the loot and the spoils whether you like it or not.

2-You, Palestinians, Arabs and Moslems better accept that fact, live with it and hope that we, at our convenience and leisure, might allow you some scraps.

That is something WE ALL understand perfectly well and that is why you are our "enemy".

However you fail to note:
1- Although we understand your stand WE DO NOT accept it as final , irrevocable and irreversible.
2- Although you have won the initial battles the war is not yet concluded and our chances to win the coming battles increases with every passing day.

****Why go on fighting ?
1-For the very basic reason that drives any normal human being to seek redress in law, if possible, and by taking matters into his own hand if there is no law.
We want back our homeland and our possessions therein.

2-From day one of its establishment Israel has shown, beyond any reasonable doubt, that it was NOT satisfied with what it got.
Starting from going beyond its land allocation by the UNGA Partition plan ( 1948/49)to its policies and practices post 1967 : annexation of Jerusalem and surrounding lands, building of Settlements on occupied territories, the Wall and Sharon/Olmert plans.
Irrespective of any justifications you may come up with the inescapable objective fact is that Israel is an expansionist state out to grab more and more land.

3-Recent developments have unquestionably confirmed what we have suspected all along:that Israel, per se and as major outpost and regional ally of Western imperialism, long term plan is to redraw the map of the Middle East in a manner to make it the prime regional power.
This redrawing shall include the destruction of all potential rivals; substantially achieved by the Zionist inspired and Zionist/neocon implemented destruction of Iraq, and on the present "book" for Syria and Iran and for Egypt and Saudi Arabia at a later stage..

4-Israel's outlook, behaviour, ambitions ( all natural outcome from its genesis) and future plans NOT only confirm its non integrability in the region as an alien body but equally demonstrate its fervent DESIRE to preserve and maintain its alien status as an outpost of Western (presently predominantly US) Imperialism to partake in the domination and share the spoils.

5-Israel's model in nation building: dislocate, dispossess, disfranchise, subjugate and supplant the indigenous population is universally unacceptable , denotes a pernicious doctrine and smacks badly of old fashioned racism.
For the above (5) reasons Zionist Israel is neither integrable nor acceptable in our midst and the struggle against it, and its ally(s), is not only inevitable in the cause of self preservation, self defense and independence but is equally mandated by legal and ethical considerations of universal application.

Hence the solid Arab/Moslem anti Zionist Israel front and the ever growing world wide anti imperialism/anti Zionism/anti Israel league.

(You failed to answer my question:what would you call that alien body if you were in our shoes?)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


It is neither WW III nor WW IV despite the fact that the human and geographical reach of this war is expanding geometrically.
If a historical analogy is needed at all it would be more like The Hundred Years’ War or ,rather, the Hundred Years Plus War for it would take longer than a hundred years to settle this one..
Dangerous as it is to stretch an analogy some significant similarities do exist: England( the USA) fighting abroad an expanding France (the Arab/Moslem World) to preserve its continental outposts Normandy and Aquitaine (Israel) having earlier lost Burgundy ( Iran) a major ally; all ultimately leading to British withdrawal from France.
However the most striking similarity is the seminal casus belli of both wars that made their vehemence and duration inevitably preordained: the, almost physiological, French (Arab/Moslem world) body rejection of the pernicious , alien Anglo Saxon (Israel) implant.
This war, which started some in the late 1920s with Zionist/Jewish immigration into Palestine against the express will and unflinching opposition of the indigenous Arab Palestinian people, is now some 8-9 decades old seems to be destined for another good number of decades, possibly centuries.
The thing to note about this war is that, contrary to the envisaged gradual accommodation of the alien body, its rejection has increased and contrary to the expected contraction of the rejecting body, from Arab to Palestinian only, it has expanded to include on top of Palestinian and Arab, for now, Iran.
Had the West anticipated that would it have made the Balfour Declaration?
According to Richard Cohen of the Washington Post that was a big mistake; let us hope it will not turn out to be a fatal mistake although the way things are unfolding in the Israeli/neocon camp its seems to be predetermined to be fatal for ALL.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Ebbitt
""Israel is important to the United States for its major military presence and for its ability to keep the Arab allies, such as the Saudis, in line. Israel is important because of the Israeli Defense Force and Mossad, not the mythical 'Jewish lobby'."You quote.
Do not you see the fallacy of this argument:
1-America , before its whole hearted devotion to the aggressive and racist Zionist cause , had NO enemies in the Arab world.
On the contrary it was the Arab preferred mandatory power post WWI' if mandate was inevitable post Ottoman collapse.
Without Israel as your major ally/Quisling/master? you would not need a military ally against the Arabs.

2-Saudi Arabian, and other Arab, oil is for sale not for drinking why not sell it to the USA?
Japan and Western Europe are buying it and they do not need an armed ally to maintain their supply.
Oil rich countries need to sell oil as much as others need to buy it.
If more people were as "simple" as you are things would look different and brighter.
Always a pleasure to read you.
Keep well.
Regards.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Are you that much of a simpleton or you pretend to be?
Did anybody in history go into war against a "loved" adversary?
Is it love and hatred that we are looking at here or the cause of a dislocated, dispossessed, disfranchised and subjugated indigenous people that was supplanted by aliens in his homeland?
I propose you preach your brethren about love and hatred not their victims.
Kindly drop the unconvincing "humane" posture.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Millions of Arab Moslems live in western Christian countries without "contraction of the rejecting bodies.""
None of these millions went in intent on colonizing their host countries nor ceding them from their
surrounding environment to establish "Arab/Islamic" imperialist outposts in collusion with, say, Pakistan , Indonesia or China.

Should they ever harbour such designs and ambitions they would be rejected by their Christian hosts and rightly so.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"In 2006 the war aims of Hamas and Hizballah, acting as proxies for Iran, are to destroy the State of Israel and kill as many Jews as possible."
Wrong and fallacious in general and in details.
Neither Hamas nor Hizb Allah are acting as proxies for Iran.
Their implacable enmity to the racist aggressive state that is Zionist Israel which dislocated, dispossessed , disfranchised their compatriots and coreligionists and supplanted them with aliens from all over the world selected and admitted into Palestine on a purely racist/confessional basis, predates their present alliance with Iran and will continue unchanged should Iran change course.
Equally wrong to claim that their objective is to:" ... destroy the State of Israel and kill as many Jews as possible."
-RE the Zionist usurping state: the goal is to deZionize Palestine ie rid it of the racist and aggressive Zionist doctrine and "state" whose policies aim at an exclusively, or predominantly, Jewish Palestine .
The "state" that denies the indigenous Palestinian Arab refugees their inalienable Right of Return to their homeland.
DeZionizing "Israel" will make Palestine the home and state of all Palestinians, including returning refugees and their descendants, be they Moslem, Christian or Jewish.
-Re killing as many Jews as possible:equally fallacious and misleading; Zionism, the racist pernicious creed, is the enemy NOT the Jews many of whom are non Zionists or anti Zionists.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke et ALL
I read with appreciation, but equally with many reservations, your post # 94454, hopefully still posted above this mine.
As you implicitly note the historical facts of the issue are beyond dispute and present Israeli policies and practices in Lebanon ,in Gaza and the occupied territories in general are for all concerned to see.
Efforts to portray Zionist/Israeli actions as a reaction, and thus justifiable, to Arab actions pretend that the circumstantial , the collateral, as of equal validity as the seminal and intrinsic can only obfuscate the issue and confound the uninitiated in the complex, but basically straightforward, matter of the Arab/Palestinian -Zionist conflict.
Efforts to negate and belie history, as Mr Friedman's often repeated " there is, there was, NO Palestinian people in Palestine", ridiculous as it is, only add to the confusion of the newcomer.
At the risk of boring the few who read me but for the benefit of the many who do not the unassailable facts of the matter are: in collusion with British imperialism at the outset the Zionist movement forced its way into Palestine against the express will of the indigenous Palestinian Arab people and ended by dislocating, dispossessing, disfranchising , subjugating them in their native land then supplanting them with alien , ie non Palestinian, Jews gathered from all over the world for the express purpose of establishing a " Jewish Homeland" .
Thus Israel came into being.
The point of this post is to examine what Israel did afterwards.
This can be simply summarized as:
1-Refused to implement the UNGA Partition of Palestine resolution, its supposedly sole "legitimacy" basis, and held on to lands beyond its allocation in the said resolution.
2-Rejected and refused to implement UNGA resolution which mandated the Return of all displaced Palestinians to their homes and lands.
3-Actively participated in the 1956 British/French invasion of Egypt.
4-Acquired the A bomb.
5-Invaded and occupied the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights (1967).And is still holding on to all except the Sinai.
6-Annexed Jerusalem and surroundings , initiated a massive construction of Settlements on occupied land in the WB, Gaza and the Golan, then the WALL.
7-Forged an open military alliance with USA to frustrate Egyptian and Syrian attempts to liberate their occupied lands.(1973)
8-Invaded and occupied half the Lebanon, 1982,up to and including Beirut.
9-Demolished the Iraqi nuclear facilities
10-Actively encouraged and lent crucial intelligence and logistic support to the US invasion of Iraq.
11- Is presently killing thousands of civilians and systematically destroying the infrastructure of the Lebanon.
12-Is still fervently denying the Palestinian people their right to self determination in what remained, ie not officially annexed, from their homeland.
My question is:
***How far is this state from the supposedly Utopian " Jewish Homeland"?
***Is this state in any way desirous to live in peace with its neighbours and integrate in the region?
***Are not these policies and practices the actions and practices of a state intent on expansion and on dominating the region by military means?
***Is not this state in an open accord with the USA plan to redraw the map of the Middle East to ensure its continued military supremacy?
***How can any nation, people, community live with it?
*****YOU TELL ME.****


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
"Too bad. It really would be helpful to know if Nasrallah really did say that. I'm guessing he probably did, ..."

Pity that you can NOT hear what Hassan Nasr Allah says, nor allowed to watch Al Manar (Hizb Allah TV station) being taken off the air in democratic USA and Western Europe.

For your information Nasr Allah is a man of very few, extremely well and carefully selected words.

The few words he said on the subject, and often repeated by Al Manar by Hisb Allah ideologues, re the Jewish colonialist community presently residing in Palestine were:

"...(after the dismantlement of the Zionist state( not Nation) of Israel) Arab Jews are welcome to stay (Palestine being an Arab country)non Arab newcomer Jews should return to their homelands."

If you have access to a news agency which correctly reports what goes on at Al Manar look it up and look up Anis Al Nakkash.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Ebbitt
Your interpretation of ongoing events is an unconscious echoing of a US/Israeli/SA line that pretends that Iran (ie Shiism), not Israel, is the enemy of the Arabs (ie Sunnism).

A point earlier made here by E Simon.
This line of thought is based on the long standing Sunni/Shiite feud/rivalry and the undeniable Arab/Persian endemic animosity lately manifested in the Iraq/Iran war.

However the following developments that have taken place in the last two decades demand a careful reevaluation of the these a priori(s), namely :

1-The rise of the Islamist element in the Iranian ruling establishment, best represented by Ahmadi Nejjad, and the relative decline of the Islamist/Persian (chauvinist?) tendency represented by Rafsanjani and the lukewarm Islamist Khatimi.

2-The steep decline of the secular progressive Arab nationalist (Nasserist/Baathist/Marxist)movement, particularly after the fall of Iraq and the sharp rise of the Islamist movement in Arab countries mainly as regards the leadership of the fight against US imperialism and Israeli Zionism , the unanimously adopted prime cause of both.

3-The bridging role played by the achievements of Hizb Allah, Shiite faith and Arab national human resources, in the prime cause.

4-The patent rapprochement between main stream Sunni movements, the Moslem Brothers, and theological authorities , Al Quardawi etc and the Shiite Iranian clergy mainly through people as MH Fadl Allah and ,YES, Hassan Nasr Allah both Arabs of the Shiite faith.

I do not pretend that the issue(s) has been irrevocably resolved but it certainly seems to be on its way to a substantial resolution.
(Hence the paramount significance of the ongoing war to both issues: Arab/Persian and Sunni/Shiite and the need for reevaluation.)

Regards


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
If that is everything you "submit" then you need to do some real thinking.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
That it is :"a legitimate distinction and a fair point, Mr. Baker. " concedes or ,at least , implies acceptance of the fact that Israel, in Palestine, is a colonialist undertaking .

What makes it different from the colonialism of past centuries which was, substantially , rule and pillage is that on top of rule and pillage it entailed the dislocation, dispossession, disfranchisement of an indigenous people from and in his own homeland plus supplanting it with aliens, mainly of East European provenance, to take over their possessions and rule over the nondislocated indigenous who became a minority in their own homeland.

As such Israel is unparalleled in modern history.

Peace with Israel on Israeli terms , mainly NO Right of Return, would legitimize the process described above i.e. total submission to Israeli dictates.

There is NO real reason why the Palestinian Arab people should submit and give up as long as there is a possibility to undo that process and regain his legitimate rights in his homeland.
The passage of time has, if anything, not only increased that possibility through the expansion of the anti Zionist Israel camp but unfolding Israeli policies and ambitions has made it harder to accept it.
What started as a "Jewish homeland" is now the regional super power, irrespective of who or what led to that, intent on dominating the whole region in all aspects including rewriting school curricula.

Had there, ever, been a genuine Jewish/Israeli wish for only "a Jewish homeland" the 1948 victorious party would have relinquished all lands not appropriated to it in the Partition Plan, thus allowing the establishment of a corresponding Palestinian state and allowed the Palestinians displaced by that war to return.
Victory in 1948 revealed the true intentions of the Zionist/Jewish establishment: territorial expansionism and ethnic cleansing of the "natives".

Ditto 1967.

Peace with Israel , on Israeli terms which now also include the (practical) disarming of all its Arab neighbours , is to submit to it and accept it as the dominant regional power with unconcealed expansionist and domineering designs.

No nation on earth would accept that as long as a fighting chance exists. And such a chance, in a historical perspective, surely DOES exist.

Hence the Hundred Years'Plus War!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Simon
You have often referred to Egypt and Jordan as models.
Pray tell how deep ,genuine and lasting you think both agreements are.

Are you not aware that both agreements were imposed on both Arab peoples by their governments and that they have been utterly rejected by almost unanimous public opinion.
All you have to do is look up "free" , as in professional associations etc, election results in both countries and consider the platforms that led to victory.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

TOTAL blindness; the affliction that led you earlier to your historical impasse!
Read my comment re Egypt and Jordan.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr E Simon
Besides the fact that you are a master at evading the really meaningful points raised, with impromptu digressions and tangential proununciations, you are now keen to lecture and proselyte.
Democracy being the latest subject.
Fair enough except that it was in response to a point I raised ( Egypt's and Jordan's peace agreements with Israel ) that you also masterfully evaded.
Re democracy : we believe it is absolutely and solely up to us to chose the political system that will regulate our lives.
IT is no body else's business and I , for one, resent being lectured at on such a purely internal and sovereign affair particularly from foreign parties with an agenda of their own and their own interests, naturally, at their heart and our interests , at best, in second place equally naturally enough.
As long as we are on the subject; the fact that Bush , Israel and the EU are the present most vociferous advocates of "Democracy" was on the verge of giving it a bad name, but our people knew better and tested their sincerity in the occupied territories.
The Palestinian people was punished for making a free democratic choice and all three failed miserably the test, as expected.
To all three a free democratic choice seems to mean " you chose what WE, NOT you, consider best for you."
So it is with a, hopefully understandable, grain of salt that we listen to their and your advocacies re democracy and all other affairs that affect our public life.
A truly tragic situation in which major human communities are increasingly unable to exchange opinion and, yes, advise because of the very deep, but totally justified, state of mistrust that prevail between them.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Ebbitt
Your stand is 100% understandable and , to me, perfectly acceptable.

I only wish more Americans partake in it: America first.

Unfortunately for both of us Israel/Zionism/AIPAC&Co have managed through lies, fabrications, moral blackmail, perverted religious interpretations and a shameless exploitation of the Holocaust dead (plus some well placed moles at the decision centers) to lay a moral, and increasingly political, stranglehold on the American public and American public life that made us enemies to each other where NO real reason for such an enmity exists.

That is where your real battle , as an American patriot, is: to liberate America from the undue influence on American destiny of this un American alliance.

Like always I wish you well and look forward to read more of your perceptive, and often hilarious, comments and contributions that ,patently, spring from an open mind, a progressive and humane heart and a keen intellect.
Take care my friend.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Why need there be ANY enemy at all? (viz. "the enemy")" E.Simon #94376.

Because, sadly, that is the only way to perceive and call the party that:

1-Forced its way into my homeland,Palestine, against my express wish and will and colonized it.

2-Dislocated, dispossessed, disfranchised my people in our homeland and supplanted them with aliens from all over the world selected on a pure racist, racial/confessional basis.

3-Lives in my home, works out of my work shop and office and cultivates my land to its own exclusive benefit.

4-Denies me my inalienable Right to Return to my homeland to make room for more aliens.

5-Kills my brothers, destroy their homes and uproots their olive trees and orchards when they protest and try to redress these untenable conditions

Had you been in our/my shoes Mr Simon what would you call that party?

Can I hope for a simple straight forward answer, Mr Simon?
(Do not hang on and hide behind a word here or an expression there; address the unassailable facts noted above, then comment to your heart's content. OK Mr E. Simon?)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
The Egypt/Israel "peace " treaty restricts the amount and type of arms Egypt can maintain on Egyptian soil in Sinai; that is "practical" disarmament.
However if that is the only remark you have it is OK with me.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


Mr Henslee
Israeli expansionist policies are now in the open and declared only in the occupied Palestinian territories.
-East Jerusalem an surroundings was officially "annexed".
-All land on which Settlements were built on occupied territories are "de facto" annexed.
-The Wall has practically annexed all those portions of land that fall between it and , to the West, the Green line; a great deal of land by Palestinian measures.

All of the above are acts of expansion by an expansionist state.

Had you ever had the opportunity to look at maps drawn to implement the Olmert "convergence" Plan?
According to those maps practically all of the occupied lands West of the Jordan River will remain under Israeli control and will be practically annexed.

That is expansionist pure and simple for all objective eyes to see!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


The following is an ISRAELI view of Israeli expansionist policies.
Enjoy.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/746698.html


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

In the prior post above, I meant Bill Clinton in the first instance, who engineered the nearly successful Barak-Arafat discussion, and Hillary Clinton in the second instance who voted for the infamous and everlastingly disgraceful Iraq "blank check" resolution.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Brilliant article by Gideon Levy at Haaretz. Thank you, Mr. Baker.

Two comments:

1) As you probably appreciate all too well already, AIPAC and its slimey ilk have for years had scores of skilled propoganda writers working full time to use obfuscation, confusion and deception against precisely these common sense arguments advanced by Levy. And legions of dupes in America ready to lap up and sloppily recycle this garbage, e.g. into hundreds of articles and tens of thousands of comments posts on HNN. These propagandists and their echoers are, of course, anything but consistent, so they will certainly change their tunes to fit changing circumstances (e.g. Hezbollah's growing triumph over the blunders of their incompetent masters). But one ought not to expect any reduction in the deceptions, the cloaked arrogant selfishness, or the monumental stubbornness from those quarters. These Israel Firsters are more comfortable contemplating a global nuclear holocaust than uttering the words "I was wrong, I'm sorry."

2. Levy is NOT writing in favor of an absolutely uncompromised and uncompensated return of all Palestinians to Israeli territory, nor the abolition of Israel as a Jewish homeland, nor the return of Jews of European ancestry from Israel to Europe. He wants to live in a Jewish-dominated Israel within its pre 1967 borders and at peace with its neighbors. I think most Israelis want the same. It is up to people of goodwill elsewhere to help support those sensible Israelis, such as Levy, who realize that it is hypocritical shortsighted, and boneheaded to continuously worship the bigoted fantasy that Israeli Jews have this unconditional right to their own state and that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza do not. It goes without saying (but if I don't say it I will be excused of all sorts of eonic crimes) that the same rejection of stubborn hypocrisy needs to be applied to Arabs, Palestinians, Europeans, Americans and everyone else, not just to Israelis.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I meant "be ACCUSED of all sort of eonic crimes" in the last sentence of my last post

I think it is probably time for me to shut up. My disgust at how the leaders of my country, the USA, are willfully hurting it on behalf of a few Israeli extremists is not a sufficient reason to blast every silly comment here ritually denying that outrageous reality.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Iranian-Israeli relations are a topic for another time and place. I know there is a view that Hezbollah is just a pawn of Iran, and its kidnapping a proxy action on behalf of its sponsor. I consider this view to be as dubious as the notion that Olmert is a pawn of Bush. There are also the notoriouis statements of Ahmadinejad against Israel. I believe that these are mainly for domestic consumption, and in any case the appropriate way for dealing with them is not to engage in some complicated emotion-laden litmus-test exercise in literary de-construction, but to strive to develop a hardhead, pragmatic, and effective strategy for keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of such reckless rulers, a strategy which as far as I can see is not even on the to-do list of any politician in Israel, America, or Europe. But, again, I don't see any of this being critical to the common sense need to rein in the blundering and disastrous (for America) failed warmongering of Bush and Olmert.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I also "fail to see" how children in Qana "support directly or indirectly" Hezbollah. Apparently Prime Minister Olmert agrees with me, and not with you, otherwise what was he apologizing for today?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Okay, now its your turn, Mr. Anti-Omar.

"I do not take the view that all of the wrong belongs to Israel"

No you certainly do not, Mr. Friedman. But you very often imply the 180 degree opposite view: that zero blame applies to Israel.

Both positions are patently absurd. You and Omar both have legitimate points and both of you sorely need to be less crudely one-sided. There is need for airing grievances, correcting factual errors, and distortions of history, rectifying injustices, etc..

There is also a need for Americans to look at this as Americans and realize that no side is without blame (including America) and that both the Israelis and the Palestinians need to be forced to compromise in their own best interests, in the interest of world peace and stability and in America's national security interest.

Israel has never found security by relying solely on military force (even in the past when that force was used skillfully and judiciously, as it most blatantly and assuredly is NOT today) and it never will. Israel's interests are not 100% identical to America's and they never will be. But, at the moment, the interest of every non-murderer is the same: to act vigorously and decisively to condemn and halt ALL willful massive taking of innocent lives in Lebanon and Palestine by Israelis, in Israel by Hezbollah or Hamas, in Iraq or anywhere else.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Pleased to hear that you think Israel is also blameworthy. I think I recall reading a vague admission along such lines once every couple of hundred of your posts or so. A foggy, conditional acknowledgement of Arab failings comes out of Omar with approximately equally frequency.

By the way, I do not "accept Omar's view uncritically" on the explusion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 or on anything else. That is in YOUR head.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks Patrick, but other personal priorities loom. Hang in there with your very welcome "let the chips fall where they may" comments. I'll check in when I can in future weeks.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Bower You write in a thoughtful and concerned tone, which is certainlly appreciated, but much of the content of your comment is one-sided propaganda straight from the militant Israel lobby play book.

It strains credulity beyond the breaking point to claim that a complex, many-faceted, decades-long conflict, such as that between Israelis and Palestinians can be ultimately blamed on only one side.

The notions that 100% of Palestinians are opposed to a two-state solution or that there is "no peace movement" among Palestinians are absurd myths. (One can, by the way, read even more ridiculously biased nonsense from the Arab side, but such views are rarely aired in the American news media or on HNN).

As one of numerous examples, here is Haaretz's story on the Dec03 Geneva plan which AIPAC does not want you to know about:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=349832

January 11, 2004

The Geneva Accord

The start of December saw the official launch of a peace proposal that members of the Israeli leftist opposition and Palestinian officials have been working on for the past two-and-a-half years.

Dozens of Israeli delegates, including members of the world of entertainment, several literati and a number of Labor MKs, joined the authors of the accord to mark its launch at a ceremony on December 1, hosted by Hollywood actor Richard Dreyfuss. The several dozen Palestinians who attended, among them Yasser Arafat's national security advisor Jibril Rajoub, traveled to Geneva after the PA chairman gave his last-minute blessing.

The initiative, which was unveiled in mid-October, was spearheaded by Oslo architect Yossi Beilin on the Israeli side and former minister Yasser Abed Rabbo for the Palestinians.

The plan, dubbed the Geneva Accord in tribute to the funding and support supplied by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, offers itself as a decisive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the plan drawn up by former U.S. president Bill Clinton after the breakdown in the July 2000 talks between former prime minister Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat.

Fifty-eight former presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other global leaders, among them former presidents Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union and F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, issued a statement expressing "strong support" for the plan. Other world leaders who voiced their backing included King Hassan III of Morocco, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Clinton.

Speaking at the start of ceremony, former U.S. president and Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter hailed the accord as offering an end to bloodshed, while Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey dubbed it "a little light in the darkness."

At the heart of the proposal is a Palestinian concession on the right of return to lands within the State of Israel, in exchange for sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The plan also calls for an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip.

The proposal was met with furious disapproval by the Sharon government, which accused Israelis involved in the initiative of trying to act in place of a democratically-elected government.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Come off the high horse, Simon. You know as well as I that nobody owns any portion of any comment thread on this HNN free-for-all circus. Save your adhominens for a moment when we are going head to head on something.

I considered Baker's post to be worthy of a conscientious response. It was addressed to you, but clearly went considerably beyond the rather narrow initial point you made (questioning his use of the word "enemy"). You are as free as ever to respond to it as well, and in any fashion (within whatever vestiges of HNN rules remain) you choose.

You are right that in a normal civilized discussion I ought to have waited until you had first crack at a reply. Frankly, your track record on this website is often so remote from civilized discourse that I assumed that any desire for such as had long since been abandoned, if it ever existed. If you would like to clean up your act, I am happy to respond in kind. Meanwhile, I don't see how anything I have done here stops you from still making a thoughtful reply to Baker.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Apparently you think education and secularization in Moslems countries is going to be a slow, uneven process, and will proceed differently than in Europe.
I agree. All the more reason to get going with it. There is a long rocky road ahead and it has become harder thanks to the upsurge violence in Israel and Palestine and the unprecedented incompetence in Washington D.C. over the past 6 years.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The genocide of Armenians, European Jews, Cambodians, and Rwandese are historical facts. As is the (currently) circa 5 to 1 ratio of civilian deaths in Lebanon and Israel. Genocide of Israelis is hypothetical. That is the outrageous atrocity. Using as an excuse -at least in the hands of the junior propagandist wannabes here- the vague possibility of future genocide, Olmert and his clumsy cronies are (a) committing actual mass killings of innocents today (b) INCREASING the threat to innocent Israelis in the future.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Well, I again agree, mostly.

Tuchman's Proud Tower compared to present is also a positive example of how rapidly peoples' values and mentalities can change. Hopefully something like World Wars I and II won't be required in the Mideast.

Certainly just blowing up a lot of stuff and killing manyinnocent bystanders using fancy expensive high tech military toys in Lebanon and Iraq is not going to do it.

By the way, you can bet that staffers at Economist have read and absorbed all your favorite books on Islam. They just don't rely as heavily on them as you do. And, from what I've seen, their historical parallels -in general, not just on the Mideast- are much sharper and believable than what you find on HNN, although history is of course only an occasional side focus for them.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

That was my interpretation of your weird cryptic remark above:

"Apparently, voters think the Republicans have more of a plan than Democrats, and, as you've quantified above, they do."


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Friedman,

In reply to your post #94242:

Since you have jumped into the fray, I though we better step away from the right wing fringe of the page and into a new thread.

1. I do not know to which “myth” of mine you thought you were referring in your prior post (#94242) above. I did, in my comment #94162, express skepticism about the implication of Mr. Henslee’s remark (in #94145) about “all their talk about exterminating Jews.” If you check your dictionary, you will see that “myth” is not a synonym for “skepticism”. While we are reviewing high school vocabulary here, please also note that “Anti-Semitism” is not a synonym for “genocide.” Pol Pot did not become famous for his Anti-Semitism nor Henry Ford for his advocacy of genocide.

2. Your track record is not very good on such matters, but I am willing to entertain the possibility that your Daily Star quote

‘"If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them world wide"

attributed to the head of Hezbollah,
is legitimate, if you can manage to provide a proper citation or link to an unbiased informational website. I am not prejudging this one way or another, but a huge percentage of quotes bouncing around the blogosphere are actually untraceable to any real source, and presumably in many instances fabrications. In this case, I think it is important to be sure we have it right.

3. Let us suppose, however, for sake of argument, that this quote IS legitimate and meant in earnest and that it is a true central objective of Nasrallah to murder as many millions of Jews as possible. Or, even if the quote is bogus, that he, or someone of his stature, does harbor such genocidal intentions. In that case, I stand by my prior position (in #94138) that this would still not justify the Israel'

“policy of combating terrorist cells by massive bombardment of civilian areas and civilian infrastructure in the hopes of knocking out a few terrorists and a few of their rockets, as well. I consider this cowardly: a brave army would not make innocents pay for its desire to avoid its own casualties. By way of analogy, it would have been morally justified had Britain and America bombed the railroads to Auschwitz in 1942-44 so as to slow the supply of victims to it, but not to have bombed Polish towns for hundreds of miles around in hopes of killing the odd guard or janitor employed at the death camp while off-duty.”

4. I would also note, finally (I made a point along these lines a couple of weeks ago on HNN already) that the ACTUAL serious threat to Israel, posed by folks such as Nasrallah, would be if he and his thugs were to get their hands on nuclear warheads (e.g. supplied by Iran, circa midway through the first term of, say, President Condi Rice), and put a few of THOSE on their rockets. I see no evidence of any credible strategy -in Tel Aviv, Washington D.C. or anywhere else- to head off that real, and truly genocidal threat. Indeed, by behaving so arrogantly, ineptly, and selfishly cruel towards Lebanon, it very much looks as though Olmert et. al. have set back the likelihood of concerted international action to keep Iran from going nuclear.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It is a minor detail, but Economist is certainly not "slanted to advance European interests" whatever the hell that might mean. It has many slants on many issue, and is not shy about admitting them, but its foreign policy positions are much closer to those of the USA (except for our more stupid excess of which there have of course been rather more than fewer of late) than to those of France or Germany, for example. Its topical and geographical scope is famously broad. It has many foibles and shortcomings but is a cut above any American weekly and is praised by readers across the political spectrum. I have no doubt your knowledge of the world, even the Mideast, would benefit from reading it.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Friedman, this is a new low for you.

You ignore everything I wrote, make absurd and childish blurrings of radically distinct catogories such as Anti-Semitism and genocide, and you lump hundreds of disparate groups together under dubious umbrella categories such as "Islamist Jihadis." You would make a perfect early 20th century Anti-Semite raving about Marxist-International-Banker-Jewish conspiracies. Your hypocrisy is unstoppable.

Everybody knows fanatical Moslems are anti-Jewish, and fantical Hindus are anti-Moslem and fanatical Red Sox fans are anti-Yankee. And that fanatical Jews care only for themselves. This does not mean that genocide is therefore imminent from Kashmir to Fenway Park to Coney Island.

We are way off the topic of Lebanon. Your Islamophobia has reared its ugly head once again and smothered the discussion.

Too bad. It really would be helpful to know if Nasrallah really did say that. I'm guessing he probably did, and that armies of propaganda writers far more skilled than you will spin this into their despicable justifications for the brutal and utterly unnecessary slaughter of Lebanese children, and the atrocious inability of the American president to do anything other than take orders from whichever maniac runs the Israeli killing machine at the moment.

In the words of the Rovians, Hezbollah is "winning," and dupes such as you are helping them.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I never said "no one had evidence that Nasarallah wanted to kill all Jews."
Go back and read more carefully. I still do not see solid proof that he actually called for genocide, but I think we can both agree that we are talking about a dangerous, evil Anti-Semite and leave unagreed upon his precise degree of mass-murderous intent. Maybe the Jihadologists can read the tea leaves and reveal more.

Omar can speak for himself (and confuse us better than we can confuse ourselves as to what he means). I don't think he is very typical of other Arabs. His prejudice (like yours, I might say) is more informed than that of the great masses who have less free time for goofing off on HNN.

Inadvertently perhaps, you have hit upon a very key aspect in your remark:

"peace will only be available to those who demonstrate their ability to deter groups like Hezbollah. Whether or not Hezbollah increases its standing among Muslims, it also will think long and hard, after the fighting is over, before acting quite as it did."

You said (on another page) that you do not believe peace is possible between Israelis and Palestinians. This is not the place to debate that, but I have a similar belief: I do not believe groups such as Hezbollah can be "deterred." They can be monitored, protected against, killed off (in ways that do not cause hydra-like growth of greater numbers of successors, though that is difficult to pull off), but they cannot be dissuaded by fear of death. The willingness to die, become suicide attackers, the exultation of matryrs, etc. all argue against any real lasting deterent possibility.

The problem with the current Israeli-American strategy (e.g. the Israeli strategy and the American non-strategy of doing whatever the Israelis want) is that (in a weird way you are right) Hezbollah and its many sympathisizers, emulators, observers will will indeed "think long and hard, after the fighting is over" and try to figure out how they scored such a tremendous victory. Bush and Olmert fell straight into their trap, and now they (Hezbollah) are being considered heros by Arabs who disliked them before. Far from deterring future terrorists, Bush and Olmert are helping to inspire, motivate and train them.

These "Jihadis" are not dumb. The 9-11
attacks might look like a failure from their viewpoint: America did not cower in fear, it did not incarcerate its domestic Moslem population, it took action against the Taliban (with unprecedented near unanimous international approval and support), got at least slight action by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan against their Islamic radical production mills, and it made, albeit slowly and rather clumsily, needed improvements to safety and intelligence-gathering. But Al Qaeda DID score a great a victory as a result of 9-11. It provoked the Bushies, hubristic, arrogant, and utterly unprepared, into the hornets' nest of Iraq. The infidel occupier in the Islamic territory using "Zionist" tactics, blowing up villages, killing women and children etc., and using the same misguided delusion about this sort of bungling being necessary to make America safer or "deterring" future attacks. Dead wrong. As dead as the babies in Qana.



Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Why can't we have more articles like this one from real historians on HNN?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr Baker, Thank you for rejecting Mr. Simon's intemperate claim to exclusive dialogue priveleges. I would like to suggest however, that I was wrong (please note -and this applies to Mr. Simon too- I say these words "I was wrong" and yet live, breath, and am able to waste more time typing messages to HNN) in my initial assumption that Mr. Simon would evade meaningful reply to your explanation of your lasting emnity towards the Israeli state. Atypical as it may be, my sense is that the response he gave back to you -after my interjection- was actually intended as a constructive suggestion. I think he is misguided in what he says there, partly for the reasons you state, but it seems to me that on that occasion at least, he is sincerely seeking to promote understanding and does not deserve to be rejected out of hand.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You still don't get it. Israel has not declared war on Lebanon, but is waging war on Lebanon and for no good reason. America, in WWII, did not blow up the infrastructure and cause massive civilian casualities in Sweden or Switzerland just because there were Nazi sympathisizers (along with anti-Nazis, and refugees from Nazism) in those neutral countries. And America's war was fought to conclusive decisive, and -by the time of the heaviest bombing- inevitable victory. Israel is at best going to end up with face-saving buffer zone that does not improve the fundamental and worsening dynamics: a Palestinian state which it refuses to allow to be formed, massive and growing resentment amongst Arabs, increasing numbers of new recruits for terrorist groups set against it (and against rubberstamp America, by the way), and no strategy for keeping nukes out of Iran.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Going after terrorists, guerilla fighters, stateless militias etc. by bombing villages of civilians is a deliberate act of cowardice, not an "accident." Of course there is a difference between (a) deliberate killing and (b) reckless bombing that is known to involve unavoidable killing as a by-product. But there is still no justification for such cowardly brutality under any bonafide religion, nor does that fact that others have done the same or that even worse things have been done to innocent Israeli civilians give any moral approval for the Israeli authorities to carry out such cowardly slaughter. Even Condi Rice knows this and that why she finally told the Israelis they had to stop.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Slowly you are arriving at insight, Mr. F. IF your latest book's theory is true and Moslem beliefs (which certainly have SOME degree, though not a total orientation, of affinity towards politics, medieval-like absolutism, settling differences by violent means, etc.) are shaped by a relatively narrow range of books they read, then the most effective means to reduce the power of Islamic terrorists would be to change the kind of books read (and the schooling taught) to their potential recruitees.

I will agree -before you get hot and bothered about it- that fighting religous extremism with education is a long term project with potential pitfalls along the way. The Turks went down that road a century ago, and one of the first major results was the Armenian genocide. (A real genocide, not a rhetorical one, by the way.)

Nevertheless, it is difficult to see a long term prevention strategy being worse than the present cure-that-is-worse-than-the-illness approach. People living in the "Hezbollah waste land" are not going think that Hezbollah pilots were flying the Israeli planes which produced that waste land. Nor will they be confused as to which major leader of which major country stood like a nitwit waterboy behind the military dispatching those killer planes. Bombing with books instead of missiles and explosives would also certainly be massively cheaper and less damaging to the international support and solidarity without which the struggle against Islamic terrorism will continue to be hamstrung.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

...and countries/regions/religions are not organisms.

Furthermore, people migrate between countries, countries involve mixtures of peoples, and people are not one-dimensional.

Millions of Arab Moslems live in western Christian countries without "contraction of the rejecting bodies." Hundreds of thousands of Arabs live and vote in Israel without jeopardizing the existence of Israel.
For that matter, the English Kings fighting to retain their domains in France in the 14th centuries were direct descendants of French-speaking "Normans" of Scandinavian origin.

Trying to interpret history through preconceived ideological lenses leads to distortion and confusion, Mr. Baker. That is why the article here is such a welcome contrast to that more normal practice on HNN.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You make a good point, Patrick, except that who in their right mind would now want to follow Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc. into battle against Syria and Iran, after their track-record in Iraq?

Meanwhile, alongside your inestimable commentary and video-tracking services, you may like to check out my answer to your “major question from this end” contained in your comment #93960

found here:

http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=93962&;bheaders=1#93962


under this article from last week:

http://hnn.us/articles/28635.html

Best, PKC


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You make a legitimate distinction and a fair point, Mr. Baker. It does not follow, however, that a "hundred years plus war" between Jews and Arabs in the Mideast is inevitable. THAT outcome depends on a host of other factors and circumstances, not the least of which is the quality of leadership amongst the various parties. Under other leaders, for example, Israel signed a lasting "land for peace" deal with Egypt, an amicable agreement with Jordan, and a (non-lasting) initial agreement with the Palestinians. Six years ago, an inflexible Mr. Arafat was the principal obstacle to a more permanent settlement in the West Bank and Gaza. Today it is the Israeli and American leaders who (due to incomptence as much as stubborness) are the main hindrance to the long obvious deal of Israel withdrawing to some slightly modified version of its pre 1967 borders and recognizing a real Palestinian state, in return for the various Arab parties recognizing Israel and enforcing a real cessation of hostilities against it. The Arab side is not without blame today either (for example what earthly good can it do any Arab to have Israeli civilians in cafes and marketplaces blown up?).
Nevertheless, the most blatant difficulty at the moment is the leadership in my country, the USA, which is clearly the blindest and most clumsy since at least the formation of Israel 60 years ago.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

And the (US) president has my vote to become doorman of the Paris Hilton.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

One should also consider the possibility that Nasrallah (at different times and to different audiences) made both the semi-ethnic cleansing remark attributed to him by Mr. Baker, and the not-very veiled genocidal comment (all over the web) picked up by Mr. Friedman. Again, the importance of proper citation, and the lack of it, are underscored. I don't there is much more to be said on the subject of Nasrallah's ultimate intentions without better information than any of us has at this point. I also don't think it changes the either the murderous barbarity or futility of the actions of both Nasrallah (aka Nasr Allah) and Olmert. Or the pigheaded lame cowardice of Bush.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Simon. You merit a B+ for effort, but only a D+ for historical execution, in your latest exchange here with Mr. Baker.

Your comparison to the Nazis may be understandable but it is quite historically absurd, in addition to being practically guaranteed to tick off your counterpart. Historians nearly all agree and I am sure you would be with them, and probably Omar Baker too, that Nazi Germany was much more evil than Israel in even its most evil episodes. But Nazi Germany was also wiped out, and then made the grounds for decades of near revolutionary changes, almost religious-like apologies, and massive reparations to an extent that Israel certainly never will be not even in Nasrallah's wildest dreams. You could hardly expect to get Jews interested in reconciliation with Germans if Auschwitz were still up and running.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Spain and France are arguably as friendly with Israel as they are with Arab countries, and even if not, it is not Omar who wants to fly a plane into the Eiffel Tower.

Mr. Baker is the lone Arab voice on comment boards heavily loaded with almost full time advocates of "Israel is always right no matter what and must be defended by all means and utterly heedless of facts, truth, history, logic and often [though rarely in your case which should also be acknowledged] civility." THAT is absolutely not his fault (he has enough other faults already) and it certainly is the height of absurdity to make him into some kind of representative for all Arabs.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I understand your first comment and agree with the current formulation of it.

I agree with your second statement and look forward to future posts in accordance with it.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Agree except

"Israel should even be allowed to retain political autonomy, a view which - if I'm not mistaken - you seem to legitimate."

This is totally ridiculous, and of course I never implied anything of the sort.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The only possible way to categorize as "world war" the current struggle against fanatical Islam by the forces of civilization is to define "terrorism" to be equal to "war". That absurd definition, however, insults millions of American World War II veterans, and is thereby vastly more "anti-American" than anything anybody could possibly imagine Mr. Kimball to have implied.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Peace with Israel, on Israeli terms which now also include[s] the (practical) disarming of all its Arab neighbours" ??? With due respect Mr. Baker, this is not one of your more intelligent statements.

When has anyone in Israel, or anywhere else, called for the "practical disarmament" of Egypt?

To be sure, Israel has demanded that Hezbollah disarm. But why not? What good are Hezbollah's rockets? Israel has come under considerable criticism from around the world IN SPITE of the Hezbollah killing Israeli civilians not because of it. If you don't approve of Israel (and its ruthless and reckless attack on Lebanese civilians certainly merits dispproval), then you should not approve of armed groups of anti-Israel murders and terrorists that help Israel gain sympathy in places (such as America, Britain, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands) that also have been the object of brutal and barbaric attacks by such terrorists and their sympathizers.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks for your insights, Professor Kimball. I am afraid, however, that you have only scratched a superficial surface of the fossilized mindset of the "partisans" to whom you refer.

It is a ultimately problem of the abuse of history, to which -I regret to opine- this website is probably a net contributor. To the "My Israel right or wrong" way of thinking war IS the solution because it worked in 1948, 1967, and (ultimately) in 1973 for Israel, and several times for the US since. The inability to distinguish between states vs non-states, between war vs other forms of mass violence, and between skillful leaders and clever political tricksters is endemic and set in subconscious concrete amongst all segments of the U.S. political spectrum. I thank you for pounding on what should be obvious, but the correlation of thick-skulledness and outspokeness in this area, and especially on this topic, is extremely and intractably high, and you probably have much better things to do with your time than to tangle repeatedly with the sort of immature and stubborn bias that is so antagonistic to historical understanding in America of the Israeli-Arab dispute.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"It is difficult for me to understand exactly what outcomes and actions - politically, that is - you would find acceptable." Try reading the now multiple-times-reproduced subject line above.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Israel is blame for many current evils across the Mideast. The fact that no Arab country anywhere has ever come very close to becoming a democracy is not among those evils.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

In the rather unlikely event that indeed, amongst many Arabs and Iranians "genocide of the Jews through military means is not only politically desirable and obtainable but religiously ordained," therefore WHAT ?

Two wrongs make a right?

According to which religious scripture?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Had I understood Mr. Henslees curious use of stock propaganda lines I would not have attached question marks to my comments. I DO understand punctuation.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Henslee, I do not think anyone in power in any of major belligerent or otherwise involved factions in the current Lebanon mess intends to commit genocide. At least I am aware of no good evidence to that effect, at this point. Forcing Israel to concede territory or power to others is not genocide. Even forcing Israel out of existence (a fool's fantasy, of course, since even a nuclear Iran, for instance would face a already nuclear Israel) is not automatically identical to genocide. Sharon forced Jewish settlers out of Gaza, without killing any of them, let alone all of them.

You seemed to be saying (but I am not sure, because you still have made yourself clear) that if Israelis were somehow the target of intended genocide that would somehow justify the sort of futile military action which Mr. Kimball decries (e.g. what to me looks like a policy of combating terrorist cells by massive bombardment of civilian areas and civilian infrastructure in the hopes of knocking out a few of the terrorists and a few of their rockets, as well. I consider this cowardly: a brave army would not make innocents pay for its desire to avoid its own casualties). By way of analogy, it would have been morally justified had Britain and America bombed the railroads to Auschwitz in 1942-44 so as to slow the supply of victims to it, but not to have bombed Polish towns for hundreds of miles around in hopes of killing the odd guard or janitor employed at the death camp while off-duty.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

They are certainly insulted daily by the arrogant incompetent chickenhawks who sent so many of them to be sitting ducks in Iraq without either a credible plan or clue about how to develop one. It is not insulting, however, to tell these loyal soldiers the truth about how they have been shamefully betrayed.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I meant "you have NOT made yourself clear" (in the first line of my last paragraph in my most recent post above).


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I actually was NOT referring to you (though I guess Kimball was), but to others who have made thousands of much more ridiculous posts over past years. You are a newcomer here, and deserve benefit of the doubt despite the your highly unoriginal recitations.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Hezbollah is far worse than the Israeli government. But, they are not also trying to claim status as a civilized member of the international community, as Israel is, with plumetting credibility since the days when war criminal Sharon was let back into the government he was previously banned from. Olmert is less evil, but also much less competent. The greater evilness of Hezbollah is the best reason why the inept counterproductive and blundering neophyte Israeli regime should stop strengthening the appeal of their terrorist opponents across the Arab world by its (the Israeli regime's) worthless massacring of innocent Lebanese.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Did some major Arab leader actually call for the "extermination of Jews"? How could I have missed such a blockbuster headline? Or are you perhaps just sloppily paraphrasing, Mr. H., to fit your prejudices ? I look forward to your full citation or retraction.

Hezbollah is indeed behaving atrociously and cowardly. But Olmert & Co are far ahead in the slaughtering of civilians. And please cut the crap about how every dead Lebanese kid is just some kind of unavoidable accident. If a gov't is so cowardly as to blow up whole buildings, if not whole villages, to maybe, one time out ten, hit one crouching terrorist in the back alley, its KNOWS, as Olmert & Co D--- well know, that much larger numbers of civilians will die.
This barbaric policy would be unacceptable even if were helping Israel's security, which it is almost surely NOT doing. And the fact the Bush and his chickenhawk regime have often acted along somewhat similar lines in Iraq does not mean that suddenly two wrongs make a right or that Israel can do as it pleases and pretend that it is 1943, they are in the Warsaw ghetto, and the whole world is against it or abandoning it.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

nice website link that last one.
wish it played properly on my computer.

The WWI analogy is less far-fetched, though i agree, hardly well-fitting, if you focus on the RESPONSE of the Austrians: a very clumsy and bungled attempt to use war as a tool of collective punishment/revenge for terrorism.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

As I suspect, you clowns have come up with not a single quote calling for the "extermination of Jews," by anyone, let alone a meaningful Arab or Moslem leader, let alone the multiple quotes claimed by Henslee ((#94145): "all their talk about exterminating Jews"

Guess what, guys:

(a) most of the world's Jews do NOT even live in Israel

(b) a call for the destruction of the state of Israel, whether demagagogic bluster or serious policy, is not the same as the intention to kill all the inhabitants thereof

(c) making up scenarios about the outcome of nuclear exchanges, which you can be assured every half-sane government defense agency has some staffer doing at least part time, is not the same as the intention to perpetrate a nuclear holocaust

(d) "regional hegemony" is not the same as "genocide"

(e) genocide: "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group" (http://en.wikipedia.org/)

Such minor distinctions of fact and language need not be heeded amidst the fast-flowing BS you are both full of, but they actually do matter to those of us who want to understand what has actually gone on in the past, and is going on in the present, rather than simply fling half-baked fables to accompany prefabricated and regurgitated propaganda.

Buy a dictionary, get a clue, and find something to Google other than AIPAC BS.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

In the well-founded expectation that Mr. Simon will evade your well-formulated rationale above, I will take a crack at what you have said.

1. The grievances of the Palestinian people are numerous and legitimate, and anyone who tries to whitewash what happenned to them as the result of the formation of Israel, and on numerous occasions since, is not a fair-minded observer of the Mideast.

2. I am sorry that your family was among the victims of these injustices. I hope you realize that George W. Bush does not speak for all Americans in his failure to dissent in any meaningful lasting way from what the powers-that-be in Israel want of him, and to take a more even-handed approach as a competent and farsighted politician concered about AMERICA's interests would.

3. I think if your "brothers" were to voice their grievances in the sober matter-of-fact way that you have done here, and follow that up with non-violent, diplomatic, literary, artistic, political and economic means, that those grievances, and to a considerable extent the overall conflict as well, could have been addressed and largely (though not entirely of course) resolved long ago. Unfortunately, however, too many of them too often have been silent against the most horrific and heinous acts of terrorism committed against Israelis doing nothing more than going about daily business on buses, in markets, in cafes. Aliens they may well be, but even aliens have the right not to be foully murdered. If you cannot bring yourself to forthrightly condemn these atrocities, then you are little better than the Israel warhawk echo machines here who come up with one contorted rationalization after another for the atrocities of the IDF in Palestine and Lebanon. Not only is it immoral and hypocritical, the manifest -though fortunately not total- failure to condemn the barbaric terrorism in their own ranks, furthers no legitimate goal of the Palestine people and has led them from one miserable failure to the next.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

A very strange definition of "practical disarmament", Mr. Baker. Using such vocabulary you could declare the USA "pratically disarmed," because it does not have tanks lining the border with Canada, or a policeman disarmed, because he has a safety catch on his pistol. You are more convincing when you don't play silly games with language.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Disarming Saddam? Regime change? Defeating "evildoers", death, taxes, and the commmon cold? A BS slogan that changes every 2-3 months is not a plan.

I agree that the Democrats have no plan for Iraq (or much of anything else, either). That does not, however, mean that Republicans therefore have one. Nor does it follow, except in your immature illogic, that if you are a Republican and I disagree with your irrational claims, that I am therefore a Democrat.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Israel needs to finally cut the bull, and find a way to strike a deal with the Palestinians. Rabin almost had one, before Jewish terrorists murdered him. Barak got even closer to one before letting Sharon and Arafat torpedo the discussions. The Geneva plan of a couple of years laid out the basics. We all know what they are, and there is no other way forward on the horizon: Two states side by side, in peace, with security arrangements, and a series of compromises on land, water, return of refugees, border lines, etc.

For years, the semi-legitimate excuse was that Arafat was not a reliable negotiating counterpart for Israel. Now Abbas is in, and the new opportunity of a new dialogue -which has been squandered so far- is not completely dead yet.

There will be NO solution to the Hezbollah problem without tangible progress with the Palestinians, and ALL possible alternative approaches vis-vis Hezbollah and, ultimately Syria and Iran, will be vastly easier, although still not at all easy, if there is solid evidence of negotiations towards a lasting settlement between Israel and a Palestinian state.

At any rate, Olmert's wanting to show toughness, Bush's pathological incompetence, and America's most vocal Israel backers wanting to show idiotic blind loyalty, are not good reasons for continuing to support a bungled operation that has already seriously weakened Israeli and American long term security, and produced the needless slaughter of hundreds of innocent Lebanese.

America needs new, less incompetent leaders, that can get it back to working WITH Europe, and the moderate Arabs, and (where possible) with China and Russia to push the peace process in the Mideast. As was the case with Kissinger, Habib, Nobel laureate Carter, Daddy Bush, Clinton, etc.

The impeachment of Cheney, the resignation of Rumsfeld, and a movement to rid the Democratic party of spineless traitors like Kerry, Clinton and Lieberman are long overdue first steps.

Hardly likely, you may well say. Neither is Pax Likudania.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Peter,

Never shut up/ never stop. We need this issue fully aired/vented from all sides/point of view. It's that important and your keen/learned insight is absolutely invaluable to us all.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Omar,

Good evening. You write. "That is where your real battle , as an American patriot, is: to liberate America from the undue influence on American destiny of this un American alliance."

Honestly, I would not even know where to start in the first place to effect positive change in US policy. If I did, so much of my free time would not be spent here at HNN venting. I'd be in the streets proactively leading the charge.

Another problem, as I have expressed here before, is money or more precisely, lack of it. The USG doesn't do anything unless ducats can be generated. That's why big business/select elite dominate the rest of us. I avoided comment at "The Road to a New American Aristocracy" essay this week for fear of blowing a gasket and dying of an aneurysm, mid-sentence, during a scathing rant. Now that would have been truly hilarious albeit, tragic from my vantage point.

I am not fully sold on your Jewish lobby conspiracy as espoused by the likes of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

There are other well documented voices of refutation that claim that the Jewish Lobby sway is overblown.

"Israel is important to the United States for its major military presence and for its ability to keep the Arab allies, such as the Saudis, in line. Israel is important because of the Israeli Defense Force and Mossad, not the mythical 'Jewish lobby'."

http://www.hirhome.com/israel/aipac.htm

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2020/stories/20031010000906000.htm

There is no question that Jewish interests are heavily entrenched in the banking/investment/real estate and media/entertainment sectors of the US economy and hold sway on US-Israel policy but, really to what extent? There are many Arab money men why aren't they able to buy equal influence?

Again, as I stated to you last week US policy over the past (20) years has been perverted by Evangelical Christians more than any Jewish efforts. The USG is all things Jesus and therefore, protecting the 'Holy Land' has become paramount to foreign policy initiatives. Jews just happen to live, for now, on Jesus' turf. Evangelical's have no love for the Jews. Just ask Billy Graham.

What I find amazing is that good people/Patriots/ true Americans like me let these camouflaged Christians/Jesus hating liars in the USG hoodwink us into believing that they are serving the best interest of us people when in reality they are robbing the treasury, killing our troops/ innocent foreigners and pissing all over the US Constitution.

Hillary 'Criminal Enabler' Klinton grilled Donald 'Senile As A Fox' Rumsfeld today in Senate Hearings on the flagging Iraq War and Rummy laughed in her face. Be prepared for more of the same... lying, looting, killing and the methodic destruction of the United States of America and in turn the world.

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Video__Clinton_to_Rumsfeld_Why_0803.html

Talk to you tomorrow. Good night.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Mr. Kolli,

You may have missed my point. That a racist/drunk like Mr. Mel is just as just as qualified/ legitimate to pontificate as the suited racists/drunks (Chris Hitchens readily comes to mind under the latter heading) such as Bill 'Loofah Boy' O'Reilly, Sean 'Insanity' Hannity, Oxy Rush Limbaugh or Michael 'Weiner' Savage some as highlighted by Professor Kimball as experts/voices of reason/ truth on world geopolitics is far fetched as viewed by this reader. Professor Kimball could have cited the sources I mentioned or found other more legitimate sources... Patrick Cockburn/ Robert Fisk/ Juan Cole... to make/ solidify his case.

Don't forget, what you and I view as "silly" movies were viewed/ embraced by the right in the case of 'The Patriot' for example, as a true work of Americana/ truth/ patriotic fervor despite being a gross bastardization/ distortion of fact. This was followed by the drooling religious rights creamed jeans for the 'Passion Of The Christ' another extreme distortion of truth. Mr. Mel was their darling and the antithesis of all things Liberal/ Jewish/ Hollywood.

Mr Mel or Arnold or Ozzie do not have to run for anything. They have a bully pulpit to the public ear as powerful as any politician and what they say/do/ eat/marry/drive is of great interest/holds sway over many within the ignorant masses. Check out some of the message boards at entertainment/ rightist sites. There are a great many sadly supportive of Mr. Mel. I on the other hand find him just as deplorable as always.

Take care.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Peter,

You're correct in that the WW I analogy is a poor fit. The War On Terror is no more a war than the one on drugs, The only thing these two have in common is that they are absolute abject miserable failures/ have caused many innocent deaths/ countless dollars.

The Iraq War is without precedence/ historical reference. A one eyed beast all it's own. The 'Un-war'-- undefined/ unpredictable/ uncontrolled/ unplanned/ unrelenting and unending.

Unfortunately, the American people have failed to find those responsible for this gross debacle as unfit/ unaware/ uninformed/ unwilling to change, adapt, learn or admit errors and most troubling un-indicted.

Have a good evening.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

N.,

1.) Iran is attacking Israel on the cheap. Hizbollah sets them back, according to the CIA figures, only 31M annually. A mere 3B since their inception. A real bargain compared to any US proxy, including Israel.

2.) Iran is creating a 'Shiite Crescent' stretching from Tehran through Egypt around the horn toward Mecca. If Iran can get more action from Moslem Brotherhood radicals in Egypt against the Hitler-like Mubarak and greater activity against the Saudi totalitarian brutal US puppet/propped-up House of Saud regime, Israel will be surrounded by a far greater enemy than current.

Israel needs to expand it's war front against Syria and the US must move against Iran. As of now the Iranian's are winning this conflict in both Iraq and against Israel without taking a single casualty.

The end game is now.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

N.

1.) Spain was attacked by Al Qaeda for being a member dupe of the US phony 'Coalition Of The Killing' in Iraq if, it really was Al Qaeda who pulled the trigger as this terror had all the markings of Basque separatists.

2.) France is a target for her outrageous mistreatment/ ghettoization/ economic & labor slavery/ lack of education opportunity/ social stigmatism & religious intolerance (outlaw headscarves on women) they exhibited towards/against it's Moslem population. Nearly 100% who are citizens and vast majority Algerian natives/ancestry. Remember, the Algiers War?

If you're looking for a troublesome issue how about the mistreatment/attack on Jews across Russia by a resurgent Neo-Nazi movement?


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Fred,

POW !!! Way to hit. I am still wiping blood from my nose/holding ice to my face to ease the swelling from that straight overhand right.

Whether Gibson is a prince or pauper he has every right to his opinion and being a movie star allows his voice to be heard by the masses. He is no more a racist than O'Reilly or Limbaugh nor a gay basher/ homophobe than Michael Savage. For me he's high on the intolerance scale for both as a first class racist/anti-Semite and a homophobe. For an alleged Christian to spew such vile hate he's also a hypocrite.

Driving drunk, in some countries conviction brings the death penalty, is clearly the actions of a moron. You'd have a hard time explaining away this truth to any MADD mother. By the way, what is an alleged Christian married man with kids doing out drunk at 2:00 am anyway? Good family values worthy of Republican's wouldn't you agree?

Abusing/ challenging police authority is another sure sign of a major league dummy regardless whether this fruit loop owns Malibu or not.

I was never a fan of this jackass so my boycotting his movies that, I would not have been in attendance for anyway, isn't going to effect the wallet of this multimillionaire one iota. Therefore, I am in no position to comment on the quality or lack thereof in his work. If you enjoy his films that's all that counts.

My courage/moxie has no bearing on this mans actions/inactions but, my intelligence level is light years beyond this monkey's uncle as I have never made an ass of myself at this high degree/ quality level of idiocy.

I am not throwing stones being the World's Greatest Sinner but, a racist/ homophobe and drunk are not black marks in my list of misdeeds.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Omar,

Good morning. Your first point is well taken in that prior to WWI the United States was an isolationist nation to a far greater extent than following that war.

Between the Civil War and WWI we were too busy solidifying 'Manifest Destiny' killing the 'Redman'/stealing his land. We also had to butt in/settle issues within our own hemisphere (Spain) to clean up/subjugate the Caribbean/ central America/ Hawaii & Pacific outposts/ Philippines. Protectoring is hard work.

This convenient isolationism card played by the US, fostered by two oceans, was troublesome to the Europeans who feared that Germany would overrun them if the US didn't enter WWII. Coupled with our ever growing desire to conquer the Pacific rim and Japan's steadfast resolve to do same we entered/ won/ was thrust to exulted status as world heavyweight champion.

Britain, even though it was on the winning side, suffered a terrible pounding resultant from WWII/it's empire virtually collapsed overnight forcing the US into her vacated void. Instead of the UK being the Arab enemy the US inherited the mantle. Arabs have always had enemies, now it was the US turn. Prior to the 1973 Israeli-Arab War the US was lukewarm toward Israel. Nixon disliked Jews and so did many Beltway hardliners. Jews were wrongly associated with communism. You remember, communism BAD!!!

Israel is a strong military/policeman buffer for the US. A very worthy proxy who proved her loyal/ obedience/mettle in Gulf War I by sustaining Saddam's attacks without retaliation. This little act won bountiful of praise/ attention/ kudos/ silenced skeptics & anti-Israel crowd in Washington. The US had a loyal partner and one that was willing to use force/die when called upon. What Arab nation is willing to do such bidding for the Pentagon?

Your second point is far off base. The west is not just only a viable consumer market. Yes, we cannot drink oil but, without the west Arabs can't pump it. Name one Saudi Arabian steel manufacturing company? How about a major machining company? Or, a world class engineering/geological firm? Or, a noted oil services company? You need technical knowhow/ hardware (valves, pipes, pumps, processing equipment) to get at the oil. Not to mention logistics/shipping concerns.

The US is the world leader in oil extraction/ technology/ processing and hardware. Japan/ China/ Europe could fill the void but, the US provides so much more at the table. Try dealing with China see how much of a deal you come up with. Will China provide aid dollars? How about defense capabilities? The US provides both and props up a Saudi dictatorship with unquestioned loyalty. Who did the Saud's call when Saddam moved on Kuwait, Beijing?

This issue is so complicated but at least great men like you, Mr. Friedman and Mr. Clarke can come together here to discuss the history, ramifications and possible solutions. For me, we as a group need to drive more solutions here and hopefully, we will over the next few months.

Have a great day. Enjoy & relax.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Although. Mel Gibson is a proven moron/anti-semite he is as equally qualified to proselytize about world events as any O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Kudlow, Ledeen et al.

The real hard hitting analysis/credible guests are on the Sunday morning talk with McLaughlin Group (Clift, Blankley, Buchanan)/ Tim Russert/ George Stephanopoulos and high profile/ powerhouse guests such as Condoleezza Rice/ Donald Rumsfeld/ Richard B. Cheney/ Bill Frist/ John Murtha/ George Will/ Robert Reich. Even Sunday FOX provides a forum for the intellectual Bill Kristol/ Charles Krauthammer/ Juan Williams albeit, grouped with dumb-as-bag-o'hammers Fred Barnes/ Brit Hume.

The daily talk is more a cable ratings bonanza than any real substance as seen in the current Olbermann/ O'Reilly tussle. The guests Newt/ Bill Bennett/ Ann Coulter/ cookie cutter Nazi's/ looney moonbats are valued more for their outrageousness than opinion/intellect. The nightly talk targets an older demographic, that reads little, doubtful to limited internet access and probably never heard of an alternate source like Media Matters for America.

Contrasting definitions to place the current war(s) into historical context/benchmark is more feel good effort/ hug the unknown than actual analytical study of events. For many years the absolutely outstanding William S. Lind has pegged the current/unfolding geopolitical happenings with uncanny accuracy to define the war in 4th Generation Warfare terms of state versus stateless entities. He correctly called the Iraq War a civil war two years ago yet, has not ever used the term World War III.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lind/lind3b.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lind/lind32.html

The comparisons to World War i may be the least of all analogous descriptives. The evolution of each is as far apart as the the sun is from Pluto. The event of Franz Ferdinand/ assassin Gavrilo Princip were just a small scene in the opening act of a major Shakespearean like drama. A more striking aspect of each is the role of Mesopotamia/Iraq at front/center in the mix of each conflict. Britain and Germany were on a collision course whether the good Duke was shot through the neck or in the foot. The German economic/engineering juggernaut was putting the finishing touches on a rail line to Baghdad to secure oil access that was unacceptable to the British. Economic competition, then as now, was World War I prime motivator.

Off topic: For anyone interested who may have missed this site as posted yesterday it is definitely worth a view.

City of David

http://www.cityofdavid.org.il/hp_eng.asp


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

N.

I understand/agree. I believe the issues/pressures on the Moslems is strictly operational. They can only tackle/ stage one attack at a time being of limited resources/ target selection/ window of opportunity/ logistical constraints/ scale of attack.

This is why the movement is so dangerous as WMD/ nuclear capability would allow that one big hit... grand slam... against a prime target for maximum impact. It will interesting and unfortunately, for some quite deadly, as to how this all unfolds/plays out.

Have a great afternoon.


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Omar,

How are you? As an American first/foremost my allegiance is to this country and my blood will be spilled only in her name. I am not here to echo anyones opinion other than my own based upon the limited time/access/information available to me and the severe constraints of my mental capacity or lack thereof.

The facts are quite clear. The US is currently losing the Iraq War regardless, of what the Republican/rightists here at HNN promote/propagandize. Israel is losing in the court of world opinion in her cross border misadventures. Iran, on the other hand, is for now enjoying the faltering fortunes of both to parlay these failings to her own advantage as, to be expected.

My comment is only a belief as to what the US and Israel need to do if they want to possibly reverse their present downward spiraling trend. Personally, it is only the US that I am concerned over. Unfortunately, the US has strapped itself to Israel as tag-team partner. So they (Israel) are now also my burden. If the US was not tied at the hip to Israel I personally could care less if they (Israel) survives or not. As they say, they don't put any bread on my table. When Jerusalem cries over the historic ill fate dealt to the Irish maybe, then I will change my tune.

Sorry my good friend but, I did not choose this path/fought gamely against each stupendously foolhardy misstep and for me only the US matters/rest of the world be damned. If that means to shatter Tehran to rubble dust in order/effort to win this ill begotten war/ bring home our troops then order out the B2's from Whiteman AFB and crank up the sorties/heavy salvo.

All the best...


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

So basically, the Patriots of the American Revolution are forebearers/kindred spirits of Hizbollah...

http://www.time.com/time/columnist/printout/0,8816,439122,00.html

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/AMH/AMH-04.htm


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Mr. Kolli,

Arnold is a celeb who smoked pot, abused steroids, fondled women other than his wife Lady Skeletor, made anti-Semitic/ racist remarks and plenty of folks listen to his spiel as the Governator of Calleyfornyia.

Kinda shoots your 'who gives a rat's ass' premise out of the sky wouldn't ya think?

Don't forget Ronald 'B Actor' Raygun. He became... well, he became something or other that's for sure.

Ah, President Hilton. Has a nice ring to it don't you think?


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Fred,

Some Jewish leaders are in support of your position. Interesting read...

http://www.towardtradition.org/Mel_Gibson.htm

It will be interesting to see what the Forward has to say on this flap.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Who said you are a democrat?


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

The article was thought out okay. But it is obviously anti-American and anti-Israel in its perception.

We ARE engaged in a world war against terrorism; it may not fit the Author's preconception based on past European world wars, nonetheless, it is a world war.

Over the past 4 decades, it has been the mistake of American Presidents and other world leaders to try to categorize terrorism as a mere "criminal" endeavor. We are now reaping the product of that failed perception.

And NO, this latest battle will not lead to a larger regional battle. Islamofascists are geared up to murder as much as they possibly can while trying to appear the victim. It is incredulous that people defend Islamofascist murdering because of some obscure "past mistreatments" but, even the wackiest of apologists would have a hard time defending an Islamofascist escalation of murder.

Ultimately, an entre of Iran to some regional thing would be great, but they will not consider it. They would no longer be able to do their hide and seek thing. And they know they’d give the west an excuse to blow them back 100 years.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Oh, I see. You'd rather insult our brave young men and women serving currently.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

No, I am only discussing the parties. Not you, and not me. But actually, I thought I was on the Adlai Stevenson thread where you acknowledged Democrats lack of initiative when I said, "as you've quantified above." Anyway, Democrats are in the awkward place of not having anything to offer that the Republicans aren't doing...Not the best way to try to win over the center.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Come on Peter! Talk about rote. Apparently, voters think the Republicans have more of a plan than Democrats, and, as you've quantified above, they do.


Moshe Mizrahi - 9/9/2006

We, all Arab-Jews or more specifically Mizrahim know that there is no genetic link with any European, so they are not Jews. Welcome because they converted to Jew, however they are not Semites, so they are not Middle Eastern, and that mean that they must go back to Europe. We Jews are not a race. We are Arab, more specifically Semites with a Jewish religion as Muslims and Christian Arabs. Stop pretending being Jews and stop telling a mythology that we all know that is almost over. Ashkenazim are not Jews, nor Semite, nor Middle Eastern, so go back to Europe and leave us alone.


Leena Marie Langlois - 8/25/2006

Sure, Okay Mr. Kimball...In an Idealistic World...


Leena Marie Langlois - 8/25/2006

think u not that it would be thousands more if Hezbollah had the military capability? What do you think would actually happen if they be given that capability? Don't you think they would not hesitate to flatten the Israeli state to a pancake? Give me a break>


E. Simon - 8/6/2006

Omar,

I have to get up early tomorrow and will respond selectively, (at least for now). No one's evading anything other than perhaps a larger point. I'll let you decide who that would be.

Point #1. The Palestinians were not "punished for making a free democratic choice." Rather, their bad choice of leaders that had a foreign policy platform that no sane government outside of the Middle East would endorse (not recognizing a U.N. member state - Israel), came with consequences. Having a choice does not mean that everyone has to agree with and work with people who have made the worst of all possible choices. In fact, refusing funds to the rejectionist government of Hamas was also a choice. It was, furthermore, a good choice. Having a choice doesn't mean you aren't responsible for the decisions made possible by having a choice; it generally means the opposite. So perhaps the Palestinians will now have to learn to be responsible for the consequences of their decisions, instead of childishly thinking they can make everyone else assume responsibility for their bad and often stupid choices. If they willingly choose war and rejectionism instead of peace and moderation, let those decisions go unfunded. Boo Hoo.

The other point was in response to your protest over disapproval with Egypt and Jordan's decisions to conclude peace treaties w/Israel. I responded with the topic of democracy because if you don't like those choices, it doesn't matter anyway since neither they - nor just about any Arab country - IS democratically governed. I brought up that point to illustrate that, perhaps if they were, like with the Palestinians, they would learn that while rejecting peace overtures might bring immediate satisfaction, they would soon learn that the consequences of those bad decisions (which they would then be responsible for) is the same misery that the Palestinians suffer as a result of losing the wars they have chosen to launch.

Choices, my friend. In life, we all have them. Choose wisely and choose soon lest you unwittingly give someone else the opportunity to choose your fate for you.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

of what? not of war. lack of democracy is conducive to war, not a symptom of it. these countries are undemocratic because their leadership has not been in a position to liberalize and modernize them, make them culturally ready for the responsibility of self-government. what passes for journalism and its relationship with popular sentiment there is an abject joke.


N. Friedman - 8/5/2006

Omar,

I think the Israelis do not hate people like you. I think they find you to be lost in a Medieval hatefest to the extent that people like you have lost the ability to think.


N. Friedman - 8/5/2006

Mr. Simon,

My point is that the lack of democracy is symptom, not cause.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

...by the population /of that country/ in order to facilitate...


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

I'm talking specifically about which intentions and actions of the Iranian regime toward Israel and which forms of political control by others in the region over Israel.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

A lack of democracy is pretty darn helpful in disconnecting the decision to maintain an optional state of war, from the many kinds of costs borne by the population in order to facilitate that decision.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

Peter,

Thanks so much, but your post has nothing to do with Omar's post, or my response to it.


N. Friedman - 8/5/2006

Peter,

Israel is to blame for some and democracy is not likely to blame for that much, if any, of the problems. Medievalism, however, is to blame for 99% of what is wrong in the Middle East.


N. Friedman - 8/5/2006

Patrick,

You make my point for me. The attacks do not have to do with Israel.

I question your theory, by the way, about France since the simiar sorts of ghettoization exists all across Europe. I might add: there was an attempt this last week to set off massive explosions in Germany on trains. The attempt was foiled by the police.


john crocker - 8/5/2006

"...and with sponsor Iran's nuclear threats to back those up"

Last I heard Iran has no nukes and is at least 5 years, more likely more away from any nuclear weapons capability.

"Surely you are not suggesting that Israel has a greater or even equal responsibility to Lebanese civilians than it does to its own."

No, I suggested that YOU seem to take their deaths less seriously.

Israel doesn't have to give equal weight to the deaths of Lebanese civilians, but they should give them weight beyond their PR value. Dropping leaflets telling civilians to evacuate is not enough when you are bombing the roads on which they could evacuate, assuming they have the means to evacuate. Both sides in this conflict seem give the civilians caught in the crossfire value only as PR weapons either for or against.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

...or rather, what outcomes and actions you would find unacceptable.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

Omar, all governments make decisions on behalf of their people - that is what they do - that may be met with differing degrees of approval or disapproval. Although you are right that neither country offers much in the way of personal freedoms or political participation (although Jordan had been on a better trajectory in both regards than has been Egypt), neither does just about any Arab country, which vary all the way to those whose freedoms are so severely restricted as to vie for a virtually entrenched authoritarianism. So yes, there is a disconnect between what some of these governments have done and what "their" people have wanted.

But since public opinion can vary so much within any given country on any given issue - even if it doesn't on how to approach Israel, it is important to note that no decision a government will make will please everyone. That is why wise leadership is important - especially given the absence of democracy that characterizes the Arab world.

I personally believe that the depth of democratic participation, while an important statement on the nature of a country, is less important than what a government does beforehand to ready its people for self-government. Wise leadership in foreign affairs and domestically - by introducing one's public to greater amounts of freedom and the connection necessitated therein to the greater amounts of responsibility that accompany it, are crucial in countries that have not yet transitioned to democratic self-government.

But that's just my personal opinion since, as you know, I am more partial to the meaning of liberal democratic self-government than are some.

As I said before, successful self-government requires participants who understand the meaning of self-control and the wisdom of their actions. That might sound like just a silly platitude, but I think it reflects as deep an understanding of the relationship between democracy and a successful government as one can simply sum up.


E. Simon - 8/5/2006

Well, I hope you accept my apologies if you perceive that I've tried to or have otherwise mistakenly misrepresented your views. It's just that there are so many "red lines" in the current picture that I find so objectionable (Ahmadenijad's threats and actions, for one example, the often stated "destruction" or "illegitimacy" of Israel, for another) whose meanings, interpretations and historical significance we seem to have disagreed so about much about lately that it is difficult for me to understand exactly what outcomes and actions - politically, that is - you would find acceptable.


E. Simon - 8/4/2006

Fair enough, and there's not much with which I'd disagree here. At the same time, your contrasts w/Germany highlight its asymmetry w/what's occuring in the conflict in question. There are grievances which Israel could bring against a combined Arab front as well as the Palestinian leadership itself for putting it in a position that is in no way, shape or form conducive to resolution. Omar himself seems ever unrelenting on whether Israel should even be allowed to retain political autonomy, a view which - if I'm not mistaken - you seem to legitimate. (Perhaps due to a banking on the success of its hoped-for annihilation). Bad leadership and over-zealous willingness to war are as much in the Palestinian/Arab domain as they ever are Israel's and to not acknowledge how greatly that complicates things is not at all conducive to resolution.

Again, I refer to Egypt and Jordan.

Even Lebanon could probably have made a peace w/Israel were it not for Syrian hegemony and the militant zealotry and influence of Hizbullah. That leaves Syria and the Palestinians. Perhaps the Palestinians meant well; but with "Trojan Horses" being what they are, perhaps they didn't.

Again I ask, what is it about the approaches taken by Egypt and Jordan that the remaining 1/4 of countries bordering Israel find so difficult?

Other than, of course, a change of heart.

(I've subtracted a Lebanon that was too politically weak even 2 months ago from this analysis.)


E. Simon - 8/4/2006

***How far is this state from the supposedly Utopian " Jewish Homeland"?

It's certainly not a utopia, nor do I think it ever claimed to be one. But it provided a place where Jews will never be persecuted by the government that exists there.


***Is this state in any way desirous to live in peace with its neighbours and integrate in the region?

Why don't the Egyptian and Jordanian governments agree with you?


***Are not these policies and practices the actions and practices of a state intent on expansion and on dominating the region by military means?

I think this is what you want to believe.


***Is not this state in an open accord with the USA plan to redraw the map of the Middle East to ensure its continued military supremacy?

I don't know, but I doubt it. Conspiracy theories tend to not require much evidence. They also tend to be swarmed over by people who don't apply much critical or liberal thinking in their worldviews, among the paranoid, and grow where free and independent media are not allowed to flourish.


***How can any nation, people, community live with it?

Again, the borders of Jordan and Egypt
provide the majority of Israel's boundaries. I don't see anything that seems to indicate these nations, their people, their communities have a problem living.


*****YOU TELL ME.****

Why not tell me if your anger has not become a more important end than anything else having to do with your understanding of this conflict?


E. Simon - 8/4/2006

Mr Clarke, Your second statement describes more accurately where I was coming from than does the first. I wouldn't have had any problem with others jumping back into this thread, which I obviously recognized as a public forum, as long as a pre-emptive dismissal by someone else of what I might have had to say wasn't the first stone thrown out there.

I honestly don't see any reason why these threads (or their real-life parallels) couldn't be better pursued at understanding and accomodation. The two goals, however, require each other for either to be meaningful.


E. Simon - 8/4/2006

Who asked to be "loved?" There are more possibilities in this universe than simply two extremes. But I suggest that if you perhaps learn to love something worthy of love in yourself first, you may not have so much hate left over to spit in the faces of anyone who tries so much as to accomodate you in the slightest degree that you ever seem to make even remotely possible.


E. Simon - 8/4/2006

Well, it certainly sounds like you've got a lot of things on your mind - most of which we've heard many times before.

The only thing different here is that when faced with a more positive tone and opportunity for a more positive and creative starting basis for understanding and resolution, you revert to the same blood-curdling anger and name calling once again.

If that's the sum total of what you can make of my response, which I took for an opportunity to look at things in a more constructive way - due to my perhaps mistaken interpretation of what seemed like an invitation for such a thing on your part, then there's really not much more to say.

I hope you enjoy the invigorating organization of your angry diatribe, and the incredible negativity of the approach it represents. I don't think it's likely that at the end of the day, you will have much else to show for it. But that's something you'll now have to deal with on your own, as I'm sure you're used to. Don't be surprised if burning every bridge others suggest they might see around you leaves you enclosed in an unremitting circle of fire that no one else would waste their time to save you from, lest they burn up with you in your self-destruction.

I look forward to seeing whether you might be interested in perhaps trying to break this habit at another time, but of course, that would entirely be your own decision to do or not to do.


N. Friedman - 8/4/2006

Omar,

You would have it that people in the Arab regions would be friendly to the US if only the US were not friends with Israel. Consider: Spain is not friendly with Israel yet Arabs see fit to attack Spain. France is not friendly to Israel yet Arabs attempted to fly a plane into the Eifel Tower.

In short, your theory is incorrect.


N. Friedman - 8/4/2006

Omar,

You should re-read your post and then substitute your name for that of Mr. Simon. Ask yourself the last question: what has hating Israel done for you?


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

Peter,

Maybe I would benefit from it. My dad reads it. I prefer to get most of my information from books and take magazine articles to be mostly babble.


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

Peter,

The Israelis are not trying to change the Middle East. They are trying to survive in the current historical storm. My bet is that they will largely succeed in their current endeavor, whether or not those who hate Israel decide they now will really hate Israel. Which is to say, I think they will succeed in obtaining a degree of deterrence with the external Jihadist movements and with Iran.

Since I am not an Economist devotee, I can only say that the few articles I have read on the Middle East from the magazine have not much impressed me. Euro-babble. My impression is that the magazine is slanted to advance European interests, which means, denigrating Israel in order to ingratiate Europeans with Arabs. That strategy has sure brought peace in our time!!!

There is nothing quite like WWI and WWII to change the Middle East. And, religiously speaking, war is a very different thing in Muslim theology than in Christian or Jewish theology. Jihad, while, on the surface, somewhat similar to Western holy war, is, on actual examination, really an unique institution. And, so long as war is connected with religion, a basic change about war will not come. And, so long as the holy men are the ones controlling what people think, attitudes about war will not change. And, for the holy men to give up on Jihad would mean the loss of their lever on power so that will not change easily either.


E. Simon - 8/3/2006

I disagree. I think the more accurate description is that Hizbullah takes their deaths less seriously (as far as non-P.R. priorities go) than Israel takes the deaths of its civilians. That's a big part of why the latest provocation (at the point of the threat of an arsenal of 13,000 missiles, and with sponsor Iran's nuclear threats to back those up) was seen as unacceptable.

Surely you are not suggesting that Israel has a greater or even equal responsibility to Lebanese civilians than it does to its own. Otherwise I would be interested in seeing your correlative argument that Lebanon's responsibility to the contribution of innocent Israeli deaths extends beyond merely living up to its responsibilities in reining in the actions of a non-loyal proxy from within its borders.

But if Israel didn't care at all it wouldn't have made such a brou-ha-ha about Lebanon exercising sufficient sovereignty to prevent the provocative border skirmishes that lead to these things.


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

Peter,

The process here will take not years and not even decades - no matter what we do. That, frankly, is why the Iraq war is so pointless.

Were it the case that people stuck in the Middle Ages wanted to adopt a more modern way of thinking - and regardless of the politics of any given country, from quasi moderate Jordan to theocratic Saudi Arabia to even Shah era modernizing Iran, a very substantial portion of the world's Muslims mentally inhabit the Middle Ages - , then the Iraq project might have made some sense. But that is simply not so, as ought to be clear to even those who supported the war.

The fact is that a very large percentage of people in that part of the world are, in fact, where they want to be, notwithstanding all the violence and dysfunctionality, except that they would prefer to be the world's dominant group. And nothing the West is going to do is going to change that. Only Muslims can change that and, thus far, not enough of them seem to want to. And many will do anything to keep modern ways of thinking out. And that has not one thing to do with Israel or even the Arab obsession with destroying Israel - which are symptoms of that viewpoint, not causes -.

I think that a most useful thing an observer examining that part of the world would do as a public service would be to bring alive just how different the mindset of belief is among people in that part of the world. In this regard, I am reminded of Barbara Tuchman's A Proud Tower, which brings alive a period in European history which is unimaginably different than modern Europe, particularly as it relates to people's view of society and of combat.

To understand the Arab regions adequately, you must go back to a much, much earlier age in order to find a fair reference point for Westerners to latch onto. I might add - and not to stick a needle in - but that is something that newspapers and magazines, including, I am willing to bet, your esteemed Economist have difficulty understanding.

In this regard, I note that in the Lebanese war, we have discussions regarding settlement. What is it that Hezbollah's arms supplier (i.e. Iran) demands as terms to end the fighting? Israel's destruction, which they term elimination of the Zionist entity infesting Palestine. Change a few names and places and we have the Crusades, with European leaders attempting to throw out the infidel Muslims.


E. Simon - 8/3/2006

It's hard to find words to describe how uncivilized someone would have to be to comandeer another's discussion - addressed specifically NOT to you - about ostensibly personal feelings, only to inject your own ever-pervasive agenda - replete with what you reveal daily to be your incredible f-cking ignorance on the details of this situation - into which you regularly butt your thick head and wayward opinions for everyone else to gape at in some kind of expected awe. But I guess that's just the person you are, Peter K. Clarke: the very of antithesis of the classy, respectful, humane and responsible guy you try so hard to present yourself as. You just couldn't wait to prove yourself incapable of letting someone else say the words that you think it's your right to put in their mouth for them, couldn't you? Your lack of civility and your unwillingness to ever take the opportunity to prove yourself incapable of reading or listening to someone else is probably the reason you have 24 hours a day to publish endless manifestoes on a website that could in no way benefit whatever primary occupation you must or must not have, or a social life for that matter. It makes more sense now. And what you've presented of yourself is as pathetic as it gets.


E. Simon - 8/3/2006

It's unfortunate that Peter Clarke yanked the rug out of an opportunity addressed not to him, but for me, to sincerely address your questions. Although I don't expect him to respect personal exchanges, I would have at least figured that he could have understood that many of us work during the day and it is not very easy to be productive in our employment while publishing numerous posts a day on a website that isn't a part of our primary occupations. But although it is so firmly ingrained in his nature to misjudge others, and I should have expected that he would so rudely and pompously not grant me the courtesy of the opportunity to first answer on my own behalf, there is no reason for his uncivilized and thoughtless side shows sidetrack the original exchange that you intended.

With that said, my answer to you is the following:

The Nazis and many European peoples and countries did much worse than that, and for much longer, to the party in question. But that party does not see much point to calling these peoples "enemies."

The point is not to trivialize or extend your anger, frustration and grief over things that actually occurred to you personally or to people you know.

What I would do is my best to find whether there are reasons for why these things might have occurred that - while they might require redressing - might not have been intended with the same kind of malice one assumes in an "enemy," reasons that might go beyond my desire for revenge, and seek to find whether good faith exists in enough of them and their leadership to make my situation closer to what it was, even if a return to the status quo exactly as it was is impossible.

I would seek people who could represent my interests in regaining as much of these things as possible, rather than encourage me to stoke and nurse my anger and make things worse through an appeal to turn back the clock of time to a place where it cannot go any longer. I would not seek to create so many further wrongs in trying to make right the wrongs that occurred to me. I would recognize that finding a better way for my situation might not require actions that make things so much worse for both myself and so many others.

I would not tease them into thinking that they could do something good to help me, only to turn around and fall prey to my anger once they clumsily work toward trying to help out in that regard. If they knew I was not against them but only wanted something better and right for myself, I would realize that I could probably come closer to my goals than by making sure that I will only allow them to see themselves as my "enemy."

I would accept that making them my enemy is what helped make these problems so much worse in the first place. I would accept that the urge to destroy others is more destructive to myself than I want to realize.


Frederick Thomas - 8/3/2006

"Although Mel Gibson is a proven moron/anti-semite he is as equally qualified to proselytize about world events as any O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Kudlow, Ledeen et al."

No, Mr. Gibson is no moron, and no anti-semite. He is "proven" the most talented actor/director/producer extant, in terms of earnings, audience appeal, and range of subjects, as opposed to the usual Hollywood fatboy who endlessly sells the same pornography over and over.

Mel has had the misfortune to be able to do his own productions, very successfully, which makes him highly non-grata among his lessers in Hollywood, who want that money for themselves.

He is also unfortunate enough to actually believe his religion, which caused him to be subject to unbelievable interference from Jewish organizations for following the Gospels and St Teresa carefully in making his "Passion," something he has every right to do, except in anti-Christian Hollywood. He has assimilated all of that abuse, and fought it off, quite a feat while also making his film.

We may note that screaming mobs of Christians did NOT descend upon Jews and tear them limb from limb, as was hysterically predicted by his Hollywood persecutors. In fact there was not a single incident, although the movie had the second largest box office of all time. (Perhaps that is what Abe Foxman & Co. were really upset about?)

Now Mel gets plastered one night at lovely "Moonshadows," and resentment for a year's worth of persecution boils up at a traffic stop, and he says a couple of impolite things about "the Jews." Big deal. Let him who has not sinned cast the first stone, and that does not include anyone who has tried to persecute him.

Mr. Ebbitt, you can't "cut Mel off." You don't have the money, moxie, courage or intelligence.


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

Peter,

I note that you overlooked responding to my post 94323 at http://hnn.us/comments/94323.html , which is in response to your post 94305 at http://hnn.us/comments/94305.html . I thus repost my comment below:

Peter,

Peter, you write: IF your latest book's theory is true and Moslem beliefs (which certainly have SOME degree, though not a total orientation, of affinity towards politics, medieval-like absolutism, settling differences by violent means, etc.) are shaped by a relatively narrow range of books they read, then the most effective means to reduce the power of Islamic terrorists would be to change the kind of books read (and the schooling taught) to their potential recruitees.

First, I have not discussed the theory set forth in Tim Furnish’s very interesting book. I have mentioned a fact he discusses (i.e. about the percentage of religious books) and which I describe with the word "astounding." So, his theories are not in issue.

Second, the question about how Islam understands political activity is not captured by your phrase "SOME degree, though not a total orientation, of affinity towards politics, medieval-like absolutism, settling differences by violent means, etc." That is a misunderstanding.

Addressing my second point, classical Islamic thinking - which, so far as I know, is overwhelmingly the dominant strand - simply does not distinguish the political from the religious or vice versa. In that, classical Islam is somewhat like classical Judaism, meaning, classical Islam, notwithstanding the talk of 72 virgins and loving death, is a this world oriented religion. And, like classical Judaism, classical Islam attempts to regulate, with laws, all - not some but all - aspects of life, from politics to sex to business to warfare, to the treatment of non-Muslims, etc., etc. In classical Islam, one should enjoin the good and not merely, as our law oriented societies do, forbid what is evil. Like evangelical Christianity - but unlike Judaism -, classical Islamic theology advocates spreading the faith but, unlike Judaism, the goal has far more political implications than in Christianity. The goal is to spread Muslim rule, meaning government under Sharia law, throughout the world and, as necessary, by means of violence. Traditionally, the view was, in Sunni Islam, that the Khalif (i.e. Mohamed’s successors) who, traditionally, is also political ruler, determined how to accomplish the noted goal but, in fact, the traditional view and reality have never quite been one.

Obviously, rulers have employed religious ideology for their own agendas and interests - often an ordinary imperial agenda - and not to or, at least, not only to spread the faith. Also, not all Muslims have been willing to await the rightful call to Jihad by the Caliph Sultan. Such was particularly the case in Andalusia but also along the other boundaries between Islam and infidel nations. Hence, there were Muslims who would settle near the borders and conduct razzias into infidel territory whether or not the Caliph approved. Interestingly, sufis have played a major role in such activity.

Third, I do not think the issue to affect is so much one of education although that is clearly part of the mix. In this regard, Muslims with exposure to the West who return home have not infrequently been major advocates for theocracy. I think this is because they perceive religion to be a means to power.

More generally, with reference to my point three, the question is one of secularization and I think there is a lot more to secularizing people than their education. While I do not claim any particular knowledge of European history, I do note my impression - and correct me if I am wrong - that what most drove religion into a less all consuming thing was the terrible religion wars between Protestants and Catholics. These wars forced, eventually, the political structure to permit religions to co-exist with each other. That plus the development of a more scientific mind set - education’s role, at least in part - conquered religion.

Secularization is, I think, not something that will be readily achieved in the Muslim regions and almost certainly not in our life time or that of our children. Among other things, Islam has had the problem of schism longer than Christianity has. [Note: Such occurred nearly from the beginning with, among other things, the dispute that broke out regarding who could be Khalif and which, in time, created the sects we recognize today: Shi’a, Sunni, etc. These were, to us, profoundly political questions, by the way, but were not seen that way by Muslims. As Patricia Crone writes, the issue was akin to who would lead the caravan from the wilderness to salvation; hence, who the ruler was and how he was chosen - what we call politics - were central.] And there have been no shortage of wars between the sects yet the profound political question still deeply divides Muslims as a religious, not a political, question. So, I think secularization will have to develop, if at all, differently in the Muslim regions than in the West.


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

Peter,

I have never suggested that Israel had no blame. That is in your head.

My point is that your view, which accepts Omar's view uncritically - which you do - in the view that Arabs were merely pushed out of their homes, a fact that is not universally accepted and which, in fact, is unlikely.


john crocker - 8/3/2006

"There's no crying "uncle" simply because the losing side is losing /numbers/ too badly in the course of the other side not yet having achieved their proportionate aims within the just war limitations."

The problem is that the losing side is made up of innocent Lebanese civilians caught between Hezbollah and the Israelis. You seem to take their death and suffering far less seriously than the death and suffering of the Israelis.


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

typo correction. The sentence that now reads: "Such population is the very population which Omar would not claim has a right to stay" should read: "Such population is the very population which Omar would now claim has a right to stay.


N. Friedman - 8/3/2006

Peter,

A fair-minded view of what occured in the land that became Israel is that Palestinian Arabs were not merely victims but actively helped to cause the mess they complain about and, moreover, sought to drive out people that the rulers of the land - the only opinion that anywhere else on Earth is considered in such situations - said could live in the land.

Moreover, rather than work with their neighbors, Palestinian Arabs attacked their neighbors - against the will of the land's rulers. Further, Palestinian Arabs ignored the possibility, presented repeatedly, to find compromises. And, then they aligned themselves with forces which sought - giving the matter the most congenial spin - to drive their neighbors into the sea or, less charitably and to use their leaders' langauge, to commit a great massacre.

Moreover, their leaders, rather than seeking compromise, also entered into an alliance with the Nazis. This alliance was not even sought by the Nazis but, instead, was sought by the leader of the Palestinian Arabs.

Notwithstanding Omar's allegations to the contrary, there was no land of Palestine and there were, historically, no distinct Palestinian people. There were people - not that many of them - living in what was a barren land (as described in detail by numerous credible people including Mark Twain). These Arabs thought they were Syrian Arabs or just plain Arabs. Which is to say, the people now called Palestinian Arabs were forged out of the dispute with the Israelis. So, frankly, Omar's claim is not as much as he makes it out to be.

There is also the fact - not at all mentioned by Omar -, that the Arab armies expelled in its entirety the Jewish community which had lived in Gaza, in Judea, in Sumaria and in Jerusalem. Such population is the very population which Omar would not claim has a right to stay. And, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs worked with the Nazis in their efforts to control Iraq, in the process expelling a substantial portion of that region's Jewish community. And their leader was also active in Europe promoting the demise of European Jewry and, evidently - as reported by Bernard Lewis - knew how many people were being killed. So, we are not talking the mere sin of convenient alliance but acting in concert with the Nazis. Frankly, Peter, this is a very significant point which casts the cries of innocent victimhood into grave doubt.

I might add, the alliance between ex-Nazi figures and Arab resistence to Jews did not end with WWII. Ex-Nazis continued to work for the Arab cause thereafter. While dislaced people are not expected to be angels, displacement does not excuse the ongoing relationship with extremists. Such, you might consider, is one reason that Palestinian Arabs refuse to settle as they are ideologically tied to the extreme, thus making compromise all the more difficult.

After Israel's war of Independence, the Arab regions, in a despicable uproar, took out their frustration on their native Jewish population - people who had nothing at all to do with Israel or its founding -. There were massacres and pogroms, etc., etc. resulting in large scale expulsions such that what was a Jewish community of nearly a million people now has about 20,000 people in it. Most of those who were expelled or who fled, etc. ended up in Israel, thus assuring, ironically, Israel's early years survival.

There is the point that, while these people lived for years in tent cities, Israel eventually settled all of them, as all civilized countries do.

Which leads us to the last outrage, namely, the unwillingness of the Arab side of the dispute to resettle their own, like Israel did for the Jews expelled from areas controlled by Arabs, like Germany did with the Sudeten population - a far larger group of people, by the way -, what Pakistan did with the refugees from India and what India did with the refugees from Pakistan.

The above is not intended to be harsh. It is, however, to tell something closer to the truth than what you were prepared to accept. I do accept, by the way, that Omar has rights. And I accept that he may have been wronged. But, I do not take the view that all of the wrong belongs to Israel - because no reasonable person can see the matter that way - or that the appropriate remedy is what he would have, namely, Israel's demise. I await his acceptance for the serious wrongs committed by the Arab side, just as serious as those he alleges Israel committed (e.g. the effective expulsion of the Arab regions' entire Jewish population).

My suggestion to Omar is that it is time to move on. Displaced people are nothing new to the world. Palestinian Arabs were no more displaced than Jews were. If anything, Jews from the Arab regions were displaced into a vastly different environment - something which was not the case for Palestinian Arabs. Palestinian Arabs are, ethnically, linquistically, culturally, historically and every other way no different from Arabs in Jordan and Syria. Jordan recognized that fact long ago, and allows displaced people from historic Palestine to be citizens - except that Jordan's repatriation law forbids repatriation of Jews displaced from Jordan. Syria has not so agreed.


E. Simon - 8/2/2006

We could go back and forth like this, or we could decide whether to mutually recognize the larger doctrines guiding the conflict as a whole.

I'm not aware of the use of specific, discrete numeric ratios in justifying action. Since neither one of us seems interested in supplying one, it seems beside the point in any event. The laws of war focus on principles such as necessity, and proportionality applies mainly to match degree of action against threat proposed. (And in Party of God's case, threat delivered).

Since their tactics are deliberately indiscriminate, they are, a priori, a war crime. Since their threat potential seems to hinge on their having every last qassam, katyusha and fajr available I don't see anything disproportionate about Israel doing what it must to destroy every last one.

One doesn't get "blamed" simply for deaths, as I understand it. They get blamed for their decisions in causing deaths. Building schools directly on top of munitions depots for ensuing P.R. value seems a pretty deliberate way, (to me at least), to move noncombattants into the way of fire. I don't see any specific language preventing a belligerent from returning fire. And I don't see any language saying that one side has to make a mathematical calcuation and stop hostilities if the casualties, either civilian or otherwise, don't match up as well as some would like - or even conform to some hypothetically prescribed ration. It's not a game of "catch-up." There's no crying "uncle" simply because the losing side is losing /numbers/ too badly in the course of the other side not yet having achieved their proportionate aims within the just war limitations.

I've found this site and post useful. I'm sure there are many others as well:

http://kennethandersonlawofwar.blogspot.com/2006/07/quick-note-on-proportionality-jus-ad.html


john crocker - 8/2/2006

I would like to ask you the same in reverse. What would the ratio need to be for you to find Israel's actions unethical? 10 to 1? 100 to 1? 1000 to 1? 1,000,000 to 1?

Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that deliberately targets civilians, has only managed less than 1 to 1 so far.

There are tactics other than aerial and artillery bombardment.

Article 51 doesn't apportion blame for civilian deaths one way or another. Hezbollah certainly bears blame for the deaths of the civilians it hides amongst, but the people who drop the bombs and fire the artillery cannot escape blame for the people those bombs and shells kill.


E. Simon - 8/2/2006

1. Why need there be ANY enemy at all? (viz. "the enemy")

2. Why an analysis of /stability/, as a priority consideration of divergent significance between Arab leaders, takes a backseat to religious and sectarian distinctions as the primary considerations dividing them - in Omar's posts?


E. Simon - 8/2/2006

Really? What of descendents of "mixed" European/Middle Eastern origin? Does your spokesman offer a plan there (perhaps something along the lines of the Nuremburg Laws, perchance?) or was he just not thinking about how to handle that as well?

I submit to you that your scaled-down re-incarnation of Salah Din is not only a bigot, but an idiot - and a nihilistic one at that.


N. Friedman - 8/2/2006

Omar,

Since "Arab Jews" and Jews from Europe are genetically from the same group, by and large, how would Hezbollah decide who can stay and who must go? Moreover, since world standards hold that a person is a citizen of the place the person is born, most of Israel's Jews are native to the region.

I submit that your Mr. Nasrallah is an old fashioned bigot.


N. Friedman - 8/2/2006

Peter,

Peter, you write: IF your latest book's theory is true and Moslem beliefs (which certainly have SOME degree, though not a total orientation, of affinity towards politics, medieval-like absolutism, settling differences by violent means, etc.) are shaped by a relatively narrow range of books they read, then the most effective means to reduce the power of Islamic terrorists would be to change the kind of books read (and the schooling taught) to their potential recruitees.

First, I have not discussed the theory set forth in Tim Furnish’s very interesting book. I have mentioned a fact he discusses (i.e. about the percentage of religious books) and which I describe with the word "astounding." So, his theories are not in issue.

Second, the question about how Islam understands political activity is not captured by your phrase "SOME degree, though not a total orientation, of affinity towards politics, medieval-like absolutism, settling differences by violent means, etc." That is a misunderstanding.

Addressing my second point, classical Islamic thinking - which, so far as I know, is overwhelmingly the dominant strand - simply does not distinguish the political from the religious or vice versa. In that, classical Islam is somewhat like classical Judaism, meaning, classical Islam, notwithstanding the talk of 72 virgins and loving death, is a this world oriented religion. And, like classical Judaism, classical Islam attempts to regulate, with laws, all - not some but all - aspects of life, from politics to sex to business to warfare, to the treatment of non-Muslims, etc., etc. In classical Islam, one should enjoin the good and not merely, as our law oriented societies do, forbid what is evil. Like evangelical Christianity - but unlike Judaism -, classical Islamic theology advocates spreading the faith but, unlike Judaism, the goal has far more political implications than in Christianity. The goal is to spread Muslim rule, meaning government under Sharia law, throughout the world and, as necessary, by means of violence. Traditionally, the view was, in Sunni Islam, that the Khalif (i.e. Mohamed’s successors) who, traditionally, is also political ruler, determined how to accomplish the noted goal but, in fact, the traditional view and reality have never quite been one.

Obviously, rulers have employed religious ideology for their own agendas and interests - often an ordinary imperial agenda - and not to or, at least, not only to spread the faith. Also, not all Muslims have been willing to await the rightful call to Jihad by the Caliph Sultan. Such was particularly the case in Andalusia but also along the other boundaries between Islam and infidel nations. Hence, there were Muslims who would settle near the borders and conduct razzias into infidel territory whether or not the Caliph approved. Interestingly, sufis have played a major role in such activity.

Third, I do not think the issue to affect is so much one of education although that is clearly part of the mix. In this regard, Muslims with exposure to the West who return home have not infrequently been major advocates for theocracy. I think this is because they perceive religion to be a means to power.

More generally, with reference to my point three, the question is one of secularization and I think there is a lot more to secularizing people than their education. While I do not claim any particular knowledge of European history, I do note my impression - and correct me if I am wrong - that what most drove religion into a less all consuming thing was the terrible religion wars between Protestants and Catholics. These wars forced, eventually, the political structure to permit religions to co-exist with each other. That plus the development of a more scientific mind set - education’s role, at least in part - conquered religion.

Secularization is, I think, not something that will be readily achieved in the Muslim regions and almost certainly not in our life time or that of our children. Among other things, Islam has had the problem of schism longer than Christianity has. [Note: Such occurred nearly from the beginning with, among other things, the dispute that broke out regarding who could be Khalif and which, in time, created the sects we recognize today: Shi’a, Sunni, etc. These were, to us, profoundly political questions, by the way, but were not seen that way by Muslims. As Patricia Crone writes, the issue was akin to who would lead the caravan from the wilderness to salvation; hence, who the ruler was and how he was chosen - what we call politics - were central.] And there have been no shortage of wars between the sects yet the profound political question still deeply divides Muslims as a religious, not a political, question. So, I think secularization will have to develop, if at all, differently in the Muslim regions than in the West.


paul kolli - 8/2/2006

Meanwhile Paris Hilton still has my vote for President.


Charles Edward Heisler - 8/2/2006

Peter, was he apologizing for dropping the bombs or was he merely regretting that civilians had been killed?
Doesn't matter, the point is the same, throughout the history of warfare, civilian populations have been targeted in one form or another to suffer the consequences of being associated with combatants.
I am making no ethical judgement here, merely pointing out that there is a history of killing innocents iin order to effect victory. This was especially the case in WWII with the allied bombing of Japan and Germany.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

My only question to Peter is why we must put up with so much drivel before you actually ever bother to publish a post as intelligent as this one.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

So an atomic war of choice aimed at slaughtering enough Jews to bring down their government and take over their country is a hypothetical, but Israel's current current actions will somehow make that hypothetical a certainty.

For someone who thinks that Ahmadenijad's threatening utterances are beyond understanding, you display incredible confidence in what you pass off as your understanding of the future impact of Israel's current actions.

I think the "ON/OFF" switch on your crystal ball is flickering.


N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

Peter,

You say some interesting things. I, for one, think that the world still, somehow, someway, operates in reality. And the reality is that Hezbollah Land lays in waste. And, to those living in Hezbollah Land, after the dispute is over, there will be this lingering question whether they want their land to be laid waste to win a propaganda battle that, in the end, does not put food on the table, does not take land from Israel, etc..

I might add: in a few months, Arab opinion makers will remind their minions that Hezbollah is Iran's agent and, hence, to be despised by Arabs and, most especially, Sunnis. At that point, Hezbollah's newfound popularity will fall back to Earth.

As for the greater fight between Islam and nearly everyone else in the world, the reality is that we do not have the ability to win the hearts of Muslims, any more than do Europeans or Japanese or Indians. I know you think mine a prejudiced statement but, if you consider my point carefully, you will see that what I am saying has historical, not prejudicial, significance.

Further to the noted point, I am reading Tim Furnish's book about Mahdis. It is really quite good.

In the book, Tim notes the writing - and, hence, likely the reading - habits of literate Arabs in the Arab regions. While the Arab regions produce rather little in the way of books, he reports that there are three times as many books written on religious topics in the Arab regions - as a percentage of books on all topics written in Arabic speaking countries - than are written, by percentage, in other parts of the world. That, to me, is an astounding fact, particular given that a very large percentage of Arabs are illiterate.

What that tells me is (a) that religion is, as I have often argued, far more important in the Arab regions than it is elsewhere in the world and (b) that, given the high illiteracy rate, the average Arab is not only more likely to be manipulated by opinion makers than people elsewhere but that, far more likely - again as I have argued -, the manipulation comes from people with a religious agenda.

Given that Islam is, by world's standards, a particularly political faith - if not the most political of all major faiths -, that means that a goodly amount of politics is based on religious ideals which, as understood by illiterate people, tends to be rather absolutist and Medieval.

Hence, my view that the there is really no way for the West to win hearts and minds in the Arab regions. We have no access as those with a religious political agenda control the gates of access. And, the only cure to what is going on among Muslims is their possible tiring of all the bloodshed or, alternatively, time. People do not tend to tire of bloodshed so easily so my bet is that only time will heal things.


N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

Peter,

This began with you saying that no one had evidence that Nassarallah wanted to kill all Jews. I then reported him saying just that. Then you changed the topic, claiming I was speaking of something I was not speaking of.

Now, Peter, there is a distance from wanting to kill people and being able to, which, it appears, is your current point. That is certainly the case.

However, the reason the Israelis are doing what they are doing is that they want to make sure that the bright line between desire and result remains in place.

You would have it that the Israelis are overreacting. I think that is not the case. I think that it is terrible that people are dying.

But, I also recognized that, at present, peace will only be available to those who demonstrate their ability to deter groups like Hezbollah. Whether or not Hezbollah increases its standing among Muslims, it also will think long and hard, after the fighting is over, before acting quite as it did.

I might add, whenever you read someone who claims that the Israelis will cause Arabs to hate them when Israelis act, I always wonder how much more they can be hated. Just read Omar's rants, if you do not see the point. His is likely the most prevalent view among Arabs.


N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

Peter,

As usual, you play games with words. Your skepticism that groups like Hezbollah lack genocidal agenda surprises even me.

Now, I am not your student or employee. If you doubt the quote I provided, show me it is wrong. In the meanwhile, it has appeared in numerous sources that can be found in Google.

I reiterate my view that the Islamist movement has, from the beginning, had a close relationship with the Nazis to the extent of sharing the Nazi's eliminationist Antisemitism. Such has been rather well documented by, among others, Bernard Lewis. Matthias Küntzel, a German scholar whose work has been translated into English and who has been published in reputable publications, such as The New Republic, has also provided substantiation for the connection. http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/islamic-antisemitism-and-its-nazi-roots As has reporter John Loftus. http://www.navyseals.com/community/articles/print.cfm?id=4328 As has scholar - whom you have an irrational dislike for - Bat Ye'or, among many others. More generally, Bernard Lewis has provided information about Arab Antisemitism. http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/21832.html

Now, Hezbollah claims to be an Islamist movement. Even if my quote were bogus - something I doubt -, the connection between Islamist Jihadi groups (not to mention people from the Arab regions) and eliminationist Antisemitism is sufficiently strong that one hardly needs to find quotes to make a case. In fact, it is the other way around: if you doubt that such groups are eliminationist Antisemites, you have the burden to make your case.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

But moral guideposts are selective in your blurry field of vision, I suppose. As long as they suit your policy advisements.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

Which "deal" did Rabin almost have?

Anyone following this site knows that when Arafat was alive, you pronounced the "excuse" of his incompetence wholly illegitimate.

And whitewashing the intentions of the Ayatollahs (at the expense of your expressed consternation for what must be a much worse bogeyman, AIPAC) is nice.

Many thought what they could glean in their interpretations from the intentions of the author of Mein Kampf before 1939 to be just as vague. Maybe the ayatollahs want just a few hundred thousand dead, maybe more. Maybe your distinction between five million dead in Israel versus a complete genocide of those around the world is a comforting rebuttal to someone other than just yourself. Genocide still applies, at it did to the "partially" exterminated Armenians. But then don't give us your disingenuous bullshit and feigned outrage about the slaughter of a few hundred in Lebanon and your never-ending scorn for Sharon based on his actions in the 1980s. Someone's not being even-handed and it's not me.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

How many times more civilians would the Party of God need to shield their military hardware before you would restrict Israel from any military operations against them? Conversely, what smaller proportion than five civilians to Hizbullans would the Party of God need to shield its operations from in order for Israel to ethically attack?

I think the language in part 7 says what parties are prohibitted from doing vis a vis Hizbollah's movements and strategies. Unless I am mistaken, it doesn't then apportion blame to the other side for attacking in response. Israel is not moving civilians into the line of fire.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

Peter,

Steven Colbert wants his act back. You need to stop ripping him off.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

Have you ever considered writing material for "The Colbert Report?"


john crocker - 8/1/2006

Israel would be more ethical in its response if its response if it were not killing more than five times as many civilians as enemy combatants. The implosion bombing of a building that killed nearly 60 people (37 children) in the hopes of killing less than a dozen fighters is not ethical.

They are in contravention of article 51 part 7 of the Geneva Convention, to which they are not signatories. Nothing in the language of article 51 assigns exclusive blame to any party. The party that drops the bomb or shoots the artillery shell that kills the civilian can't escape a share of the blame. Again no one is arguing that the methods of Hezbollah are ethical.


N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

Peter,

You will find that the Daily Star, a Beirut paper, reported on October 22, 2002 that Nasrallah said:

"If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them world wide."

Another one of Peter's myths is crushed.

Peter, you would do well to pick up some books about the Islamist Jihad movement. Eliminationist Antisemitism is rather central to the ideology.


jack quon - 8/1/2006

"I find it scary that this sort of medieval cant can motivate political acts and find favor in wide sectors of the Muslim populace in this modern age."

And what of the Christian fundamentalist belief in the return of 'god's chosen people' to the Eretz Israel to facilitate 'the end of days' and conversion of those worthy to Christanity, leaving all others to destruction?

While the muslim populace can claim some 'backwardness' since countless scribes in the U.S. & Israel complain of the lack of progress and development in region, americans have no such excuse.


Hank Bower - 8/1/2006

Even Bill Clinton could not get the Palestinians to agree to a settlement. The problem was not simply Yasser Arafat's walking away from a deal that would have created a Palestinian state. Too many Palestinians do not want a state that lives in peace with Israel. They want to take control of Israel itself.

As long as that is the case, no real negotiations are possible. Certainly, people can talk, but ultimately the Palestinian negotiator will have to walk away from the table just as Arafat did. Abu Mazen would have to do the same; he simply lacks the support of the people for a two state solution.

Israel pulled settlers out of Gaza. Sharon clearly indicated a willingness to withdraw from much of the West Bank. Unfortunately, the Palestinian response was to use Gaza not as a foundation for the construction of a Palestinian state, but as the launching pad for rockets against Israeli civilians for the entire period after Israel's withdrawal. This raises serious questions as to what Palestinians would do if they received control of the West Bank.

Israel has clearly shown a willingness to create a two State solution. The Palestinians have not shown a willingness to accept anything but a one state solution with them in control of all of Israel.

One may choose to deny that and blame Israel or George Bush or whomever, but that does not change reality. I've always thought that one telling fact captures the reality of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians. There is a very active peace movement in Israel. There is none among the Palestinians. That is unfortunate.

A peaceful Israel and Palestine would unleash tremendous economic growth that could provide wonderful opportunities for all of the Israeli and Palestinian people.


Arch Huidepohl - 8/1/2006

Amazing but utterly worthless opinion......use the political process to solve the issue.
Unfortunately the political processes of Hamas and Hezbollah place confer the status of "Raison d'Etre" on violent actions.

Zionism in its current form will never permit a peaceful solution in Palestine. Quite possibly the visions in the Book of Revelations are about to be revealed to the world as true..........


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

"How could I have missed such a blockbuster headline?"

That's funny. Famous soon-to-be-eaten words by Peter. Perhaps it also escaped his notice that they call it "nuclear 'holocaust'" for a reason. Surely for the rhetorical terms he uses for quantifying civilian dead in Lebanon, the "hundred thousand or so" smugly anticipated by Rafsanjani to be reciprocated within Israel isn't too insignificant to find an equally appropriate rhetorical banner. Assuming Peter cares about such things, in any event. But obviously he must, since not revealing "prejudices" in doling out the callous disregard for human life is something with which he should surely not want to be accused. At least not according to his own words, anyway.


William A. Henslee - 8/1/2006

Hamas Deputy Marzouk: Non-Recognition of Israel A Hamas Founding Principle

In an interview posted April 24, 2006 on the Muslim Brotherhood's English-language website (www.ikhwanweb.com ), Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, reiterates Hamas's commitment to the resistance, and states that recognizing Israel is not on the movement's agenda.


Charles Edward Heisler - 8/1/2006

"In WW2 the Allied war aims were to destroy the Nazi regime, not the German people."

Really? I expect you would find many Germans and Japanese survivors of Allied bombing that would disagree with you on this!
The point is that in WW2 and in Lebanon, the intent and effect is the same, destroy the will of the people that support directly or indirectly the Nazis, Imperialist military, or Hizballah by the infliction of overwhelming force and damage and you have won the war.
I fail to see why Israel is accused of a "disproportionate response" as if war is some contest that required fairness and parity when in fact, it does not. Have we become so out of touch with reality that we demand combatants adhere to "rules" of equality.
Israel was attacked and it has responded, that is all the proportion that is necessary to understand. Once the game begins, let's not squall about the size of the opponents.


William A. Henslee - 8/1/2006

Ho-hum, I could bury you in similar quotations my friend.

"Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin: ‘The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel’

On June 9, 2006, the reformist online daily Rooz reported that during a visit with students at Gilan University in Rasht, Iran, Mohammad Ali Ramin, advisor to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, discussed historical accusations against the Jews and questioned the Holocaust."

http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&;Area=sd&ID=SP118606


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

Do you believe the bomb shelters throughout Northern Israel were made and maintained from over a decade ago because they thought conflict with the Party of God could be so easily avoided? Last I heard over a million Israelis have evacuated from Party of God's indiscriminate attacks. In greater numbers than at any time before, but certainly not unprecedented.

Do you not take seriously the assertion that Iran would like regional hegemony over the Arab world, and that conflict with Israel is a major part of how it would like to garner the respect it desires in thinking it can achieve this?

Do you honestly think 5 million Jews (and millions more Arabs) would be better led, defended, and their rights better upheld under the regimes that Hizbullah and Hamas are creating and intend to use to replace "The Zionist Entity?"

Oh, that's right. Ahmadenejad says they should go to Alaska. Assuming he gets the evidence he demands as to whether the Holocaust even happened.

He's still waiting, last I heard.

But as evil as all these parties are, they surely are achieving the goals they would like to see. Does that mean that they at least achieve the sole determinant of respect in your book, the quality of being "competent?"

Israel may be playing into their hands - especially, many would argue, if Hizbullah is seen to "survive" the onslaught. Pretending you lived in Israel, Peter, exactly what course of action would you advise?

Or more importantly, what would you advise of Iran's proxies? Or is taking a position on their behaviors and policies somehow less important to you?



William A. Henslee - 8/1/2006

Re: Muslim leaders and extermination re: Arab leaders and extermination of the Jews.

see:http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/ahmadinejads-world

"In December 2001, then Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani broached this question. He explained that “the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything”. On the other hand, even in the case of a nuclear response on the part of Israel, it “will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”[35] Rafsanjani thus spelled out the terms of a macabre cost-benefit analysis. It will not be possible to destroy Israel without suffering damage in turn. But for Islam the level of damage that Israel’s nuclear response could inflict is, nonetheless, bearable. Some hundred thousand or so additional martyrs for Islam – the price is not to high to pay."

[35] Cited in Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Iran Bares ,Genocidal Intent’, in: The Sun, November 3, 2005 and MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series – No. 325, January 3, 2002.




paul kolli - 8/1/2006

I'd agree with you IF Mel was running for Office or doing anything other than making silly movies but the ONLY reason anyone is interested in him is that he is an Entertainer. If you accept that Mel's opinion is important then you probably won't be able to get any sleep after you hear what Ossie Osbourne has to say.


paul kolli - 8/1/2006

I'd agree with you IF Mel was running for Office or doing anything other than making silly movies but the ONLY reason anyone is interested in him is that he is an Entertainer. If you accept that Mel's opinion is important then you probably won't be able to get any sleep after you hear what Ossie Osbourne has to say.


E. Simon - 8/1/2006

Evil and incompetence aside (as important they are in your rhetorical toolkit) - you seem to focus entirely on P.R. Whether Israel "makes" more terrorists (who actually, were trained in camps in Lebanon - recently targetted by Israel - before any of this started) seems to be a greater consideration for you than whether or not Party of God imports 13,000 medium- and long-range missiles with which to threaten and target major Israeli cities such as Haifa. I'm tempted to wonder if a more "competent" neutralization of Hizbullah by Israel would really escape falling equally prey to your scorn, or if that's not just a cover for some over-riding concern on your part for P.R. in a part of the world that doesn't really get to express how they feel about such P.R. by voting on their countries' ensuing policy anyway.

The implied alternative of negotiating with Party of God over every "claim" they decide to throw Israel's way - lest they threaten further attacks, hostage-taking, and civilian shield tactics for you to blame on Israel, is a great way to strengthen such agitations by non-state actors across the region. Great for stability (and P.R.). At least in the short term, anyway. But for how long?


paul kolli - 7/31/2006

Who cares what a drunken celeb says about anything. What's the media going to obsess about next? Paris Hilton's plan for world peace maybe.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

Where to start? So many errors and so little time.

re "I don't think any major belligerent or otherwise involved factions in the current Lebanon mess intends to commit genocide. At least I am aware of no good evidence to that effect."

Do you not read their manifestos? Should we think all their talk about exterminating Jews is merely bluster?

I suppose the only evidence that would convince you would be dead bodies--but the death toll in Israel for the past few years would be the equivilent in the US of over 50,000 dead. How much evidence do you need that these guys are serious about killing Jews?


re: "a policy of combating terrorist cells by massive bombardment of civilian areas and civilian infrastructure in the hopes of knocking out a few of the terrorists and a few of their rockets."

Believe me, if the Israelis truly wanted to do "a massive bombardment of civilian areas" there would have been a hell of a lot more casualties. They have tried to target Hezbollah installations which are interspersed among the civilian areas.

Have you not seen the recently released video which shows Hezbollah rockets being fired from the apartment area where the Israelis bombed?

I consider this hiding behind civilians cowardly: a brave army would not make innocents pay.


E. Simon - 7/31/2006

Who is MAKING innocents pay, Peter?

"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men.

Did you realize that you're saying that Hizbullah's tactics (intentional commingling of military assets within civilian populations to score subsequent propaganda points once hit) can be used to limit Israel's military response? Geneva disagrees with this implication.

[The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.]

Whatever does displacing settlements/settlers in disputed territory have to do with the externally forced dismantling of one's state?


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

re: "According to which relgious scripture?"

My, my, first you resort to ad hominem attacks and now I sense a 'put-down' here, Mr. Clarke--as if my arguments were somehow based on religion and therefore suspect.

Sorry, but I'm an atheist. I have no dog in their religious fight.

Nevertheless, I think the smug Jewish notion of being God's chosen people is infinitely better than the Muslim's notion of infidels being dhimmis, worthy only of killing, conversion or enslavement.

And frankly, I think the idea of suicide martyrs going to a heaven with 72 virgins awaiting is barking mad.

I find it scary that this sort of medieval cant can motivate political acts and find favor in wide sectors of the Muslim populace in this modern age.




E. Simon - 7/31/2006

So Israel would be more ethical in its responses were it not currently attempting to hamper the ability of the Party of God (Hizbullah) to engage in and threaten its choice of even more destructive tactics in the future?

By the way, Geneva disagrees with you that the Party of God shares in the blame. They are wholly responsible for casualties resulting from the intentional placement of military hardware among them and the intentional opening of hostilities from within what should be their places of refuge.

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/93.htm

(Article 51)


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

Re: "Two wrongs make a right?"

Am I to infer from this post that you believe Israel, as a matter of policy, intends to commit genocide--defined as the deliberate extermination of a people or ethnic group--on the population of Lebanon and Gaza?

Or would you concede that targeted non-combatant civilan deaths are not a deliberate Israeli policy?


E. Simon - 7/31/2006

Well, as long as you understand whose stock propaganda is feasible and sincere as opposed to whose stock propoganda is someone else's tenuously demonstrated straw man.

I do wish I could get into Mr. Kimball's essay and associated posts more. They seem to offer so much hope and complexly demonstrated examples - even if parallels to the actual composition of specific events in the Middle East are conspicuously lacking - (I do realize that Kimball compensates for that by disclaiming his lack of specialization of knowledge in this area). Do you see any other points of concern worth addressing or do the insights contained constitute a successful totality in its approach?

I'll kick it off and note one, (which you may or may not choose to engage depending on how you feel inclined): I have not heard any Israeli official or any other official claim that its military objectives (whether achievable or not) may be considered equivalent to political successes. Conversely I would offer that Iran and Hizbullah's military stances vis a vis Israel could in all likelihood not be swayed by political approaches. The hope alluded to by Kimball would indicate that they could, though.


E. Simon - 7/31/2006

You don't seem to understand the difference between what is right, what is possible, and what is likely - which is precisely what so often makes your posts, like those of some others, more interesting and occasionally entertaining than they are meaningful or helpful.

No one argued that any "genocide" of anyone would be right.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

I beg your pardon for my "thickskulled(ness), superficial, fossilized mindset and immature stubborn bias" in the discussion--but I missed any substantive discussion of my humble contributions in your post, just a lot of name calling.

I usually associate that type of personal attack in discussions as the failure to have a good rebuttal.

FYI, I'm not a Jew, nor am I particularly a partisan of Israel in every case--but I can pick out the agressors in this matter.


Jeffrey P. Kimball - 7/31/2006

Thanks for your insightful observation.... I'll let it rest and move on to other postings.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

An admission that none of us are experts in Arab/Israeli relations or "specialist on Israel-Hezbollah" is the first step toward wisdom. But I, at least, didn't step forward with an essay on the subject.

" So, all we need are the details of a political-diplomatic-international solution, which no doubt will include compromises that extremists for Israel will not understand or accept."

Given that Hezbollah, Hamas and much of the Arab/Persian world has a non-negotiable bottom line for over half a century that Israel should not exist, such a blithely expressed naive belief that reasonable compromises are available is breathtaking.

Re: "unless you want to commit genocide against Palestinians and the population of Lebanon"

Have you ever considered that the Arab/Persian position is exactly that in reverse--that genocide of the Jews through military means is not only politically desirable and obtainable but relgiously ordained?


john crocker - 7/31/2006

"What makes it different from the colonialism of past centuries which was, substantially , rule and pillage is that on top of rule and pillage it entailed the dislocation, dispossession, disfranchisement of an indigenous people from and in his own homeland plus supplanting it with aliens, mainly of East European provenance, to take over their possessions and rule over the nondislocated indigenous who became a minority in their own homeland."

So, the difference between this colonialism and colonialism of earlier centuries is that this is colonialism by Eastern Europeans?

Come on "dislocation, dispossession, disfranchisement of an indigenous people" are the three Ds of colonialism of past centuries.


john crocker - 7/31/2006

I agree that Hezbollah shares the blame for those civilian deaths, but no one is arguing that Hezbollah is ethical in their choice of tactics.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

re: "unconcealed expansionist and domineering designs."

You are talking about a country that voluntarily gave up land which it had militarily won in the Sinai, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

It has kept the treaties it made with Egypt and Jordan, keeping only some small area necessary for its protection against fanatical neighbors, assisted by States with no connection to the land but connected only by an expansionist jihad fueled by a radical relgious movement.

It's impossible to reconcile these historical facts with your characteriztion of Israel as expanionistic.

I firmly believe, however, that your side will continue the violence for decades to come, rather than seek a modus vivendi that would see the region in peace.


Jeffrey P. Kimball - 7/31/2006

It's just so pleasant and so much fun corresponding with commentators like you: your response, "yeah right" is such a nice and oh so clever come back from you. I do plan to write about what I said. I have many ideas. But I am not a specialist on Israel-Hezbollah, and I would want to do a little more research. Nonetheless, my point is still valid: unless you want to commit genocide against Palestinians and the population of Lebanon, a military solution, as the experts agree---as opposed to partisans like yourself---will not work. It is counterproductive and will produce more recruits for Hezbollah, as well as the disdain of world opinion, which is not good for Israel. A political solution---which doesn't mean surrender---is the only way. So, all we need are the details of a political-diplomatic-international solution, which no doubt will include compromises that extremists for Israel will not understand or accept. A start in the process would be for the United States to reduce its aid to Israel. Other elements would have to include territorial measures and discussions between the parties, including discussions with Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and iran. Each side would have to make reasonable concessions. War is not the solution. It hasn't worked for decades.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

Although days too late, the Israelis have released videos of Hezbollah rockets being fired from the area.

It's clear that Hezbollah puts innocent civilians at risk by hiding behind them. Their blood is on Hezbollah's hands, but they believe these civilians are martyrs to their religion--and so they are justified.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

Yeah, right.

Why call for a political solution if you have no viable plan to offer that would contain the situation?

When Israel gave up the occupation of Lebanese territory, Hezbollah build bunkers and established rocket launchers. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas didn't build schools, they built tunnels into Israel and fired more rockets than ever before.

This is not a conventional political problem between states but an unconventional religious war and you can't negotiate religion with radical fanatics.

I'll look forward to your future posting.




Jeffrey P. Kimball - 7/31/2006

Thanks for your interest. I'll try to deal with that issue in a future posting.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

Who are the Israelis to talk to in order to reach a political solution?

Do you believe Hezbollah will agree to a political solution? Their entire raison de etre--as directed by their sponsor states--is the complete eradication of Israel from the Middle East.

This has been a non-negotiable tenet of their faith and politics since the inception of the State of Israel. Sometimes you have to take people at their word--and the evidence of their agression by rockets, terrorist bombs, and cross border invasions--rather than give them a wink and a nod in the naive belief that 'after all, they're reasonable chaps and no one wants more violence."

What kind of political solution do YOU propose that would satisfy the basic aim of the Hezbollah--the destruction of Israel?

How does Israel negotiate its own extermination?


N. Friedman - 7/31/2006

Peter,

I also agree that the article is an interesting one. While I disagree with quite a bit of what you wrote, you have at least written intelligently.


Michael Dunning - 7/31/2006

I agree, Mr. Clarke. The article was well thought out, wasn't strident or didactic and was able to convey a point using (shock!) logic and argumentation.


Jeffrey P. Kimball - 7/31/2006

Mr. Henslee, You misread my essay. I used "status-quo" in reference to Israel and the United States, analogizing their response to the current situation (July 2006) with that of Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1914. I didn't say anything about Lebanon's government as a status-quo government. As for the remainder of your comments, I stand by my point about status-quo powers (who are trying to preserve or expand the status-quo) v. non-state actors (who are rebelling against the status-quo). Whether or not the latter are aided by governments such as Syria and Iran, is irrelevant to my point. In any case, and by the way, Iran and Syria are also rebelling against the global/regional status-quo, whether we like it or not. Furthermore, your call for "total war" not only violates the laws of war but also good sense and practicality. How about dealing with my point about political solutions v. military solutioins.


William A. Henslee - 7/31/2006

[US/Israel]....chose the sword over a political solution to a deeply-rooted struggle between status-quo governments..."

Hezbollah is NOT a status quo government at all, but is a proxy guerilla organization, financed and operated by outside states which are not for the status quo at all. These states are not for the status quo but dedicated to the overthrow of a soverign state but don't want to show their hand lest they be drawn into a war.

Lebanon is not a soverign status quo government at all or it would use its army to extend its soverignity over the Hezbollah and disarm them. Failure to do this merely shows it to be either against the status quo or hostage to a stronger force within its territory.

Arguendo that Hezbollah is a de facto government, then acts of war against a soverign state should be met with total war--and supporting civilian populations must expect they will be in harm's way if they remain in the war zone.


john crocker - 7/31/2006

"When innocents are hurt on the Arab side of the border it is accidental.And regrettable. When innocents are hurt in Israel -THAT IS DELIBERATE.And the Arabs exult in glee."

Hezbollah has now killed 52 Israelis (19 of them civilians) and have displaced 10s of thousands of Israelis. Israel has killed at least 545 (over 475 of them civilians) and have created about 900,000 refugees.

Perhaps accidental and certainly regretable also unacceptable.


David Moshe Zohar - 7/31/2006

In WW2 the Allied war aims were to destroy the Nazi regime, not the German people. But the Nazi war aims included the physical destruction of an entire nation- the Jews. They almost succeeded.Today history is in danger of being repeated.

In 2006 the war aims of Hamas and Hizballah, acting as proxies for Iran, are to destroy the State of Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. That is why hundreds of rockets rain down DAILY on Israeli towns and villages from Gaza and Lebanon, with Iranian blessing.

As we Jews prefer to fight back in self defence- we do so,with steely determination, much to the indignation -and surprise- of our oppressors.

When innocents are hurt on the Arab side of the border it is accidental.And regrettable. When innocents are hurt in Israel -THAT IS DELIBERATE.And the Arabs exult in glee.

That is a difference our critics should never forget.But they do.....