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Admirable Restraint [The debate over Israeli force and Lebanese victimhood] ^ | July 19, 2006 | J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss

Posted on 07/19/2006 10:20:45 AM PDT by Tolik

"Israel's war is just -- and justly waged." The debate over Israeli force and Lebanese victimhood rages on.

As the armed conflict continues in the Middle East, many are finally starting to acknowledge that the connections between the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian patrons represent a significant strategic threat not only to Israel, but also to the United States, as we warned in an article published a week before the current outbreak. Unfortunately, many policymakers and analysts have been unable or unwilling to understand the connection between the act of war that provoked today's crisis and the government of Lebanon.

President George W. Bush, for example, while supportive of Israel, expressed concern that "whatever Israel does...should not weaken the Sinioura government in Lebanon." Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the soon-to-be-replaced Vatican Secretary of State and great admirer of Yassir Arafat, issued a statement that omitted any mention of Israel ever being attacked, but "deplored the attack now on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation" and praised its people "who have already suffered so much in defense of their independence."

The picture that emerges is that of a Lebanese government as victim who must be protected from Israeli bullying, rather than a party complicit in and responsible for the current crisis. In these very pages, Stephen Bainbridge has now chimed in, criticizing Israel for waging an unjust war on Lebanon after the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. We both have great respect for Professor Bainbridge, but he is absolutely wrong on this question. His error seems to be a product of up to three misunderstandings: about the complicity of the Lebanese government in Hezbollah's actions, the nature of Hezbollah's threat to Israel's security, and the nature of the Israel's response.

1. Responsibility of Lebanon's government for the attacks on Israel.

A little over a year ago, Lebanese masses took to the streets in the so-called "Cedar Revolution," demanding democracy and the end of Syrian domination of Lebanese politics and society. While the demonstrators succeeded in forcing the public withdrawal of Syrian forces from their country and the holding of elections, the Lebanese revolution was stillborn. Quite simply, the country's politicians proved themselves more interested in carving themselves larger slices of the pie than in carrying out the hoped for transition to normalcy.

As we noted in January, it was bad enough that Hezbollah was allowed to compete in Lebanese elections without disarming. Worse, the terrorist group's vise-like grip on Shi'ite southern Lebanon gave it fourteen seats in parliament. With the seats of Amal, another armed Shi'ite group, and of other fellow travelers, Hezbollah acquired indirect control of thirty-five seats, making it the second-largest grouping in the Lebanese parliament. From this position of strength, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah -- the "spiritual leader" who is confidently predicting the liquidation of Israel -- demanded at least two cabinet posts, including that of foreign minister, from Prime Minister Sinioura. Nasrallah got what he wanted: Hezbollah MP Mohammed Fneish received the energy ministry, Hezbollah-backed "independent" Shi'ite Fawzi Saloukh was given the foreign ministry, and an Amal Shi'ite, Tarad Hamadeh, was appointed labor minister. Fneish is a veteran Hezbollah warrior, who won notoriety in 1997 for holding hostage the desecrated remains of Israeli commandos killed in action, parceling their body parts out to Amal and the Lebanese military for "safekeeping" until Israel agreed to release a number of (live) terrorists. Fneish's participation in electoral politics has not moderated his views: in a March 2004 interview, for example, he continued to describe the mere existence of Israel as "immoral and illegitimate."

In law and in fact, Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese government. As long as that government continues to legitimize Hezbollah, it must bear responsibility for the consequences of the actions of the radicals.

2. The attack on Israel: no mere 'kidnapping'

While the proximate cause for the current hostilities was the Hezbollah invasion of Israeli territory and abduction of two Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers -- as well as the killing of several others -- last week, this war had been brewing for some time. The Lebanese government's refusal to live up to its formal obligation under United Nations Security Council 1559, which required the disarmament of Hezbollah and government control of Lebanon's borders with the Jewish state, is the causa causans. As we stated in an essay published last week: "The Lebanese government has allowed Hezbollah to control Lebanon's border with Israel, and to act as a government in the largely Shi'ite southern part of the country... Pleas of helplessness are unacceptable; the Lebanese government has never invoked its inability to control its territory or asked for foreign assistance in fulfilling its obligations. No, Hezbollah controls its territory as part and parcel of Lebanese sovereignty. That case is closed."

This is what sovereignty means, by the way, power and responsibility. Since at least the War of 1812, states have been held responsible for "guerilla" actions launched from their territory. Hezbollah isn't even guerilla -- it is part of Lebanon's de jure government, and the de facto sovereign in southern Lebanon.

Nor were two "mere" kidnappings (as if the invasion and abduction of two government representatives is trivial) involved. Lebanon has persistently invaded Israel. Last January, we publicized a story (well known inside Israel) about IED's that Hezbollah placed inches inside Israel's border two years ago. Israel asked Lebanon to remove them, and of course the Lebanese declined. Israel then used a bulldozer to remove the IED. The one time that the slope of the terrain forced the bulldozer to maneuver slightly over the border line into Lebanese ground, the bulldozer operator was killed with a very skillfully and deliberately aimed rocket propelled by Hezbollah. This diabolical murder was widely celebrated by Hezbollah as a confirmation of its desire to kill "Zionists". IDF Northern Command soldiers remain embittered to this day by this killing (and by the callous indifference of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) "peacekeepers"). In June 2005, an elite Hezbollah team equipped with high-tech optical gear (cameras, binoculars and night-vision equipment) penetrated into Israel from Lebanon to kidnap Israelis, whom Hezbollah planned to torture and kill, eventually exchanging their corpses for imprisoned terrorists in Israel. Intercepted by an Israeli border patrol, the team opened fire and ordered mortar rounds lobbed from Lebanon onto the Israeli defenders. Two of the three Hezbollah terrorists were killed or wounded, as was one Israeli officer.

Over 800 bombs had been dropped on Israel from Lebanon in the months preceding the "mere" invasions, abductions and attempted abductions. What country would have held its fire this long? Hezbollah is probing Israel's defenses, purposefully trying to keep each aggression under the threshold of just war casus belli, precisely so that observers such as Professor Bainbridge and Cardinal Sodano will not sanction or approve Israel's defensive response. To repeat -- this case is closed; Israel has been invaded and may wage just war against Lebanon.

3. The means used by Israel have not been unjust.

Unintended collateral civilian damage from just battle, while deplorable, is neither atypical nor illegal. Israel has taken reasonable means to minimize collateral damage. It has warned civilian residents of targeted area to flee. It has attacked infrastructure (airports; roads to and from Syria; etc) where necessary to prevent re-supplying of Hezbollah forces. [Bainbridge cites the firebombing of Dresden and Hamburg; our admiration for him leads us to chalk this utterly irrelevant analogy up to carelessness.] Errors have surely occurred, as they always do in human endeavors. But whereas Hezbollah and Hamas weapons deliberately target civilians, Israel is deliberately targeting the warriors that Lebanon has culpably allowed to store arms in homes, trucks, and warehouses scattered throughout the civilian population. [We will save for another occasion a discussion of the war crimes being committed by Hezbollah not only by willfully targeting civilians, but by using them and their homes as launch pads for the attacks.] Again, it is Lebanon, not Israel, which bears responsibility for the innocent victims created by this Hezbollah aggression.

Hezbollah is always ready to attack Israel. That is what it exists for. As Hassan Nasrallah makes clear every day, Hezbollah sees the destruction of Israel as central to the global jihad. And jihad is all that matters to Hezbollah. In this, Hezbollah is no different from Hamas. Hamas defines itself by its goal of destroying Israel and conquering Jerusalem in the name of jihad.

Dialoguing with such people, appeasing them, costs lives. Israel has appeased those who waged war on it in the past, with Nasrallah himself in 2004. Of course, this only provoked further captures and killings, some doubtless by the very terrorists freed as a result of earlier exchanges. Appeasement is not only a counterproductive strategy when one's adversary is ideologically committed to one's destruction, it is downright immoral. Only "neutralization" will do the trick.

We close with this "everyday" story from the Jerusalem Post, on July 18: "On Monday, hundreds of Palestinians who marched in downtown Ramallah in support of Hezbollah chanted: "Hassan Nasrallah is our hero, the rest of the Arab leaders are cowards" and "O beloved Abu Hadi [Nasrallah's nom de guerre], bomb, bomb Tel Aviv." The second battle cry is identical to the famous slogan the Palestinians used during the first Gulf War: "O beloved Saddam, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv."

This is the war Israel is waging, and from which we all stand to benefit. This is unlike any war the United States, or the Vatican for that matter, has ever fought. This is what makes IDF operations in Lebanon and Gaza just, and what makes Israeli restraint (yes, restraint) so admirable.

Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are adjunct fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2006israelwar; israel; jpeterpham; lebanon; michaelikrauss; wot

1 posted on 07/19/2006 10:20:48 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...

Nailed It!
Moral Clarity BUMP !

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

2 posted on 07/19/2006 10:21:31 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Excellent article. As long as Lebanon has political and military fanatics that are supported by part of the population and those fanatics commit terrorist acts against Israel, Lebanon has to take responsibility for those acts.

3 posted on 07/19/2006 10:41:26 AM PDT by jazusamo (DIANA IREY for Congress, PA 12th District: Retire murtha.)
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To: Tolik

If they cannot fix their terrorist problem, it will be fixed for them.

4 posted on 07/19/2006 10:47:04 AM PDT by TNdandelion
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

High volume. Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking on the Topic or Keyword Israel. also

2006israelwar or WOT


5 posted on 07/19/2006 10:49:00 AM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do!)
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To: NYer; grellis; Mrs. Don-o; Salem; Alouette; SJackson; Sabramerican; Yehuda; Nachum; jabotinsky; ...

Check it out - ping!

6 posted on 07/19/2006 10:49:43 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (The Arab League jihad continues on like a fart in an elevator - FR American in Israel)
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To: Berosus; Cincinatus' Wife; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; FairOpinion; ...
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the soon-to-be-replaced Vatican Secretary of State and great admirer of Yassir Arafat, issued a statement that omitted any mention of Israel ever being attacked, but "deplored the attack now on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation" and praised its people "who have already suffered so much in defense of their independence." The picture that emerges is that of a Lebanese government as victim who must be protected from Israeli bullying, rather than a party complicit in and responsible for the current crisis.
Thanks for the ping, Convert from ECUSA.
7 posted on 07/19/2006 11:05:34 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (updated my FR profile on Wednesday, June 21, 2006.
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To: TNdandelion

You'd be surprised to know how many Lebanese want Israel to finish the job. Hezbollah acted totally independent of the government and has been spoiling for a fight with Israel for years. As long as they are armed and powerful, Lebanon will never have security and stability.

8 posted on 07/19/2006 11:19:41 AM PDT by winner3000
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To: Tolik
"O beloved Abu Hadi [Nasrallah's nom de guerre], bomb, bomb Tel Aviv."


Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb-Iran
Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb-Iran
Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb-Iran
Oh, Bomb Ira-a-a-an

9 posted on 07/19/2006 5:00:13 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Creating the <a href="">straddle</a> Google bomb one post at a time.)
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To: MadLibDisease

Mark for later

10 posted on 07/19/2006 5:42:31 PM PDT by MadLibDisease (The mahdi is full of pig crap)
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To: Tolik; SJackson; yonif; Simcha7; American in Israel; Slings and Arrows; judicial meanz; ...

Zec 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

If you'd like to be on or off this
Christian Supporters of Israel ping list,
please FR mail me ~
High Volume During IDF offensive operations!
  -  -
MikeFromFR ~
There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had
spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:45)

Letter To The President In Support Of Israel ~
'Final Solution,' Phase 2 ~
Warnings ~

"The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets...."—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Holocaust Chronicle ~

The future of Arab controlled Gaza.

" ... It's time we recognized the nature of the conflict. It's total war and we are all involved. Nobody on our side is exempted because of age, gender, or handicap. The Islamofacists have stolen childhood from the world."—FReeper Retief
"Palestine is the wrong name for their State. It should be called Anarchy."—FReeper sgtbono2002
"Then let's wait and see what the Arabs do after they take Gaza. There's nothing like Arab reality to break up a Jewish fantasy."—FReeper Noachian
A student told his professor he was going to "Palestine" to "fight for freedom, peace and justice,"—Orwellian leftist code words that mean "murder Jews."
The Nature Of Bruce ~

11 posted on 07/19/2006 6:20:11 PM PDT by Salem (FREE REPUBLIC - Fighting to win within the Arena of the War of Ideas! So get in the fight!)
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To: Convert from ECUSA

What should be obvious to most observers is that this is a contest between those who want a return to the age-old policy of status quo ante - i.e. moral equivalency, "terrorists you're wrong but so is Israel - show restraint!" - and those who want a serious solution to the problem.

It has been clearly demonstrated that the Palestinian jihadists - Hezbollah, Islmic Jihad, Hamas, etc., - are an inherent part of the global terrorist network.

Israel is a democracy, a U.S. ally, and a progressive island of Judaeo-Christian Western civilization in a sea of Islamofascist failed states living in the 8th century.

To even pretend that we can seriously negotiate with terrorists and expect them to adhere to their "word" is absolutely ludicrous. By definition the terrorists are beyond the pale of civilization.

12 posted on 07/19/2006 7:07:34 PM PDT by T.L.Sink (stopew)
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To: T.L.Sink

Spoke it, told it, and nailed it! Spot on!

13 posted on 07/20/2006 6:34:37 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (The Arab League jihad continues on like a fart in an elevator - FR American in Israel)
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To: Tolik

This is a sober and honest appraisal of the strategic situation regarding Lebanon, its relationship with the terrorist groups, and their joint relation to Israel. Would that our media had the intelligence and integrity to digest such information and report accurately.

14 posted on 07/20/2006 6:42:13 AM PDT by Blennos (Baton Rouge)
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