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Hezbollah Captures 2 Israeli Soldiers; Israel Strikes Back

Updated

Hezbollah captured 2 Israeli soldiers, which Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called "an act of war."

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - The Hezbollah militant group captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes along the Lebanese border on Wednesday, triggering an Israeli assault with warplanes, tanks and gunboats as Israeli troops crossed the frontier to hunt for the captives.


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the guerrilla attack "an act of war" and warned that Hezbollah would pay a "heavy price" for its actions.

Israeli warplanes struck two bridges over the Litani River deep in southern Lebanon, killing two civilians on the main north-south highway between the port cities of Tyre and Sidon, Lebanese security officials said. The pan-Arab satellite TV al-Arabiya station said that at least seven Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting, and that several more were wounded.

The Israeli army confirmed casualties among the soldiers, but did not comment on the reports of possible deaths.

Israeli troops crossed into a southwestern sector of Lebanon, near where the soldiers were seized, trying to keep their captors from moving them deeper into Lebanon, Israeli security officials said. Hezbollah said it destroyed an Israeli tank as it tried to cross the frontier.

The clashes came after Israel sharply escalated its military campaign in Gaza in an effort to press Palestinian militants to release another Israeli soldier who was captured during a raid across the Israel-Gaza border last month. Israel dropped a quarter-ton bomb on a Gaza home Wednesday in a failed attempt to assassinate top Hamas fugitives, killing seven children and two adults.

"These are difficult days for the state of Israel and its citizens," Olmert said. "There are people ... who are trying to test our resolve. They will fail and they will pay a heavy price for their actions."

Update: The Jerusalem Post reports that world leaders are demanding that Hezbollah release the soldiers:

The European Union called for the immediate release of the kidnapped soldiers, and urged all sides to respect the Blue Line border between Israel and Lebanon.


US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, on a visit to Cairo, said the capture of the two Israeli soldiers was "a very dangerous escalation" that "puts at risk all the effort that's being put forth by many to find a solution to the current situation."

Germany, too, condemned Hizbullah's capture of the two Israeli soldiers, calling it an "irresponsible new escalation" that could set back hopes for peace in the Middle East.

Berlin urges the immediate and unconditional release of the two soldiers, whose capture triggered an Israeli assault on southern Lebanon, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner said.

"In view of this irresponsible escalation in an already tense situation in the region, the danger exists that any agreed solution in the Middle East could be submerged for a long time," he said.

Update II: Also from the Jerusalem Post: Israel rejected Lebanon's request for a cease-fire.

Update III: MK members are demanding a full out war on both Hamas and Hezbollah:

MK Effie Eitam (National Union) called on Defense Minister Amir Peretz to resign his post, claiming that "everything we have warned against is materializing - from the escape from Lebanon to fleeing from Gush Katif. The entire State is being blackmailed by abductions and rockets from the north and south."


"There's no choice. The war has been forced upon us - we must go to war and break the terror siege. We need a response that will rattle the Lebanon government and the Hamas-led government," he stated.

In the Likud, MKs were careful not to lash out at the government in the first hours after the abduction. However, MK Reuven Rivlin said in response to the strike in the north: "We are in a state of war and must not remain silent. Our deterrence capabilities have been seriously undermined. We need to pull ourselves together and realize that this is war, and act accordingly."

"We must make clear to all the elements that encourage terror against Israel that this will not go unanswered," he added.

Fox News reported that Kofi Annan called for the release of the Israel soldiers, but condemned Israel's attack on Lebanon. Of course.

Update IV: Are Hezbollah and Hamas working together? From DEBKA:

There is a strong parallel between the Hizballah kidnap operation and the Hamas attack and abduction of Gilead Shalit on June 25. The result is that Israeli is now fighting on two fronts and forced to stage incursions into two territories evacuated by its troops and used as terrorist strongholds. The Lebanese front differs from the Hamas front in Gaza in that Hizballah has arrayed its 12,000 rockets and missiles on the ready. Within their range are Israel's northern cities from Nahariya to Haifa and Hadera in central Israel. Should the war situation escalate, Syrian military and air intervention cannot be ruled out.

So Hezbollah had this planned and was ready for Israel's response. This could get really ugly really quickly. If the terrorists see even more momentum swinging their way, we could see an attack on Israel from all fronts.

Update V: Israel is calling up the reservists.

Update VI: Syria is jumping into the fray by saying Israel is responsible for the attack it suffered today. Islamic terrorist thugs are so easy to predict.

Update VII: We have some confirmation that Hezbollah is working for the benefit of Hamas. Fox News announced that the Hezbollah leader said during his press conference that today's attack and kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers will "boost the position of Palestinians in Gaza."

Update VIII: Hugh Hewitt on Israel's attack on Lebanon:

The Islamists to Israel's south and now north "would make war" rather than let Israel survive.


Israel will accept war rather than let itself perish.

And so the war has come again. I suspect that it will get much, much worse before peace approaches the region again. And it is the obligation of Western media to again and again announce clearly that it was not Israel's choice, but the Islamists.

Update IX: Airstrikes to start soon.


Comments (49)

The AP report starts with: ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

The AP report starts with: "The Hezbollah militant group".

In the 60s Jane Fonda was a militant.
Hezbollah is a terrorist group, not a militant group.

Go Israel, go.... (Below threshold)

Go Israel, go.

Militant or terrorist, the ... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

Militant or terrorist, the goal is chaos and ultimately the establishment of Islamic rule.

There is going to be a serious backlash against Muslims by non Muslim countries and I am beginning to think we are witnessing the beginnings of a religeous war.Radical Muslims can't keep killing and kidnapping non Muslims with impunity. At some point in the near future feathers are going to fly.
Chuck

So, Chuck... have you misse... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

So, Chuck... have you missed the last few years of history? The war already started... And the Islamists are realizing that we're fighting back.

"Kofi Annan called for the ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"Kofi Annan called for the release......" Geesh, does this guy still believe he is relevant to anything going on in the world today????

Any questions still about t... (Below threshold)

Any questions still about this being a co-ordinated attack? The exiled leader had strong connections with the Gaza kidnapping, and once it proved successful, started a second front. As noted above, expect Syria and others to enter the fray. Once the IDF is fighting on two or more fronts, expect, if they have them, for WMD [I'm thinking chem/bio] to strike civilian targets inside Israel. Perhaps originating from refugee camps now swollen to maximize civilian casualties and the anti-Israeli response in the media.

Hasn't anyone noted thet the terror/Islamofascists are using the media effectively against us with the "massacre" and rape allegations in Iraq? The new assymetrical battlefield, the media, cut its teeth in Vietnam, but now is an art. And we are losing.

"Should the war situa... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

"Should the war situation escalate, Syrian military and air intervention cannot be ruled out."

Anybody remember this little blurb in the news last month...


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060615/wl_mideast_afp/iransyriamilitary_060615131339

Iran, Syria sign defense pact
6/16/2006
Close allies Iran and Syria signed an agreement to expand military cooperation against what they called the "common threats" posed by Israel and the United States, AFP reported.

Listkeeper:You make ... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

Listkeeper:
You make a good point but I was referring to a gloves off backlash. The effort we have put into fighting Islamic Terrorists so far are nothing compared to what I think is on the way.

People will soon get very upset at being bullied and having their governments tippy toe around the terrorist atrocities for fear of hurting the Muslim's feelings or of being politically incorrect.

In my opinion, it is about time to take the situation in hand and kick some Muslim ass. Carpet bombing Tehran would be a wonderful start, then Damascus, then any other large concentration of Muslims we could get a B52 over and a nuke or two in Saudi Arabia.

I'm sick of all this Muslim bullshit. Bomb the shit out of them.
Chuck

kevino, I'm just nitpicking... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

kevino, I'm just nitpicking, but I thought terrorists had to be non-state actors. (I'm not implying that if Hezbollah aren't 'terrorists', that they can't still be Very Bad People.)

Hmmmm.I think the ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I think the terrorists are still thinking that the world's endless supply of liberal defenders will somehow make it all work out.

I think they're completely wrong and Israel has had enough.

Personally if I were in charge I'd simply raze every single building in Gaza and push all of the inhabitants into Egypt. Then annex Gaza and formally make it Israeli territory.

They had their chance.

Hmmmm.kev... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

kevino, I'm just nitpicking, but I thought terrorists had to be non-state actors.

They *are* non-state actors.

Don't tell me you're confusing Hezbollah with the Lebanese government. They are not the same thing.

ed--I guess it's up to the ... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

ed--I guess it's up to the Lebanese government to ensure that that distinction remains useful, then.

Hmmm.ed--... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

ed--I guess it's up to the Lebanese government to ensure that that distinction remains useful, then.

Frankly I have really no idea what on earth you're alluding to.

Hezbollah is not a government.
It is not a part of the government of Lebanon.
It doesn't hold elections.
It isn't recognized by any nation as a nation.
It is not associated with the government of Lebanon.

Hezbollah is an established and recognized terrorist group with affiliations with Syria and Iran, with Iran being the primary funding source.

So if you're trying to assert that Lebanon = Hezbollah or Hezbollah = Lebanon, I think you really need to do some reading up on the issue.

All I meant was that it wou... (Below threshold)
TM:

All I meant was that it would be a good time for the Lebanese gov't to do something substantial about a terrorist group that operates within its borders.

Or have there been crackdowns on Hezbollah since the Syrians were booted out? I don't remember reading anything about it. Are the Lebanese cooperative with the Israelis?

Now, in the name of Israel,... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Now, in the name of Israel, we'll finally get our chance to send alot of teeny tiny muslim body parts up into the stratosphere.

Thank you, ed.Hezb... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Thank you, ed.

Hezbollah is not a government nor a state; it is a terrorist organization. That is, it is a group that commits terrorist acts. Under international law, terrorist acts include planned mass-murder through attacks against civilian transportation systems and schools. Calling Hezbollah "militants" is yet another attempt by the MSM the gloss over the agenda that these animals have and the means that they intend to win their objectives.

I missed this statement, ap... (Below threshold)
kevino:

I missed this statement, apparently made today, by Kofi Annan: "Whatever happens, every effort must be made to protect civilians. The deliberate attack and maiming of unarmed civilians is terrorism pure and simple, whatever the cause."

Unfortunately, the UN has defined some acts as acts of terrorism, but to my knowledge they have never actually defined the term "terrorism", and all attempts to do so have failed. Therefore, his definition is open to debate.

The statement was, of course, aimed at Israel.
It would be interesting if Mr. Annan and his organization would apply that definition to other organizations and governments in the region.

Like that's ever going to happen.
Of course, it's worthless anyway, because the UN is worthless.
Of course, if the UN actually developed and applied moral, ethical, and legal principles, maybe it would become something more useful.
Like that's ever going to happen.

Okay, I know very little ab... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

Okay, I know very little about Hezbollah and Lebanon. Thanks for clarifying for me.

What is the media's motivation for glossing over Hezbollah's agenda? Are they jihadists? Do you really think they want free people to lose the war against Al Qaeda and its allies?

My perception is that Israe... (Below threshold)
d_Brit:

My perception is that Israel is internally divided between its hard liners and its just-give-love-a-chance appeasers. After 50+ yrs. of Wars and 'peacetime' attacks the majority are torn between the right and left and uncertain what to do or who to follow.

If my view is correct, this situation necessarily leads to ineffective actions and inevitably devolves into an essentially reactive posture.

I am becoming convinced that Israel's problem centers more in its unwillingness to take the fight to Islam and continue that fight until its opponents sue for peace.

It's as if in WWII after the liberation of Paris, the allies hadn't invaded Germany but instead had stopped and asked Hitler if he was now willing to sit down and 'make peace'...

I'm absolutely certain that Israel will NOT occupy Lebanese territory or raze Gaza, much less push the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank into Jordan and Egypt, annexing those areas into Israel and making the nation geographically complete with defensible borders.

THAT is precisely what Israel needs to do but unfortunately its 'peaceniks' won't acknowledge the necessity for that and the general public is torn.

So the status quo will continue.

Until the Israeli's learn the wisdom of the old adage;
"Never start a fight but make damn sure you finish it!" it will never stop...

d_Brit, you're EXACTLY righ... (Below threshold)
Lugnut:

d_Brit, you're EXACTLY right.

Well done.

Hold on, Ed:"Hezboll... (Below threshold)

Hold on, Ed:
"Hezbollah is not a government.
It is not a part of the government of Lebanon.
It doesn't hold elections.
It isn't recognized by any nation as a nation.
It is not associated with the government of Lebanon."

I just read this:
"Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed that Israel had launched a ground offensive into southern Lebanon and said he was holding Lebanon responsible for the attack.

"The murderous attack this morning was not a terror attack but an act of war," Olmert said. Lebanon, which has Hizballah members in its parliament, "must bear full responsibility," he said."

That last part sure seems to say to me that they are indeed part of the government, associated with the government, etc.

Here's the link:
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200607/INT20060712b.html

"Hezbollah is not a gove... (Below threshold)

"Hezbollah is not a government nor a state; it is a terrorist organization. That is, it is a group that commits terrorist acts."

Actually, Hezbollah is one of several parties in the main opposition group to the ruling coalition in Lebanon's parliament. See Wikipedia's link that shows Hezbollah and its allies holding 35 seats in the current 128 member assembly.

... it would be a good t... (Below threshold)

... it would be a good time for the Lebanese gov't to do something substantial about a terrorist group that operates within its borders.

The Lebanese government is more nominal than material. They have very little authority, very few resources. A large part of that is due to being veritably colonized by Syria for a few decades -- not that they were any great shakes prior.

Lebanon has a sizable christian minority -- in the middle of islamist hotheads -- and as such tends to be thought of the arab version of the red-headed step-child. Hezbollah operates with more or less impunity in the Bekkah. At least Egypt makes Islamic Jihad skulk around in back alleys most of the time.


Are the Lebanese cooperative with the Israelis?

To a large degree, the formal Lebanese government [sans Syrian puppet strings] wants to be left out of the bombast and bile directed towards Israel. They played that game once, lost miserably, got tired of it and want out. But Arab peoples owe greater allegiance to tribe and clan than to "government", and there's a sizable chunk of the Lebanese who still fan the anti-zionist flame.

Hezbollah is one of several parties in the main opposition group to the ruling coalition ...

And Hamas is the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority. Putting on a coat and tie and bickering in a parliament building doesn't change much in the short-term.

Hezbollah is a terrorist or... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Hezbollah is a terrorist organization like Hamas. Once these terrorists get into the gov, they will not govern but open wars. This is all good because in the past we had an illusion of peace with the terrorists like Arafat and Hezbollah under Syrian control of Lebanon. Now, people cannot hide behind this pretention anymore. UN corruption is exposed for all to see through the oil-for-food bribery in Iraq. UN cannot provide cover for the terrorists to blow up women and children in Is anymore. They have shown the world that they want war. So to war Is must go.

Hezbollah is an establis... (Below threshold)

Hezbollah is an established and recognized terrorist group ...

Personally, I think it's time we stop with "terrorism" verus "insurgent" versus whatever. You get wrapped around the axle on semantics, you lose sight of the objective.

These groups are paramilitary organizations, playing war against recognized nations. Their method of making war uses their own "civilians" in a capacity that -- were they a formal nation -- would make those "civilians" legitimate targets for war.

... according to the GenCon on Civilian Objects, a worker in a war plant, one which makes guns or tanks, e.g., can be killed while he's at his workplace. A Hamas teenager, or young mother, while they're making C4 vests, can be killed.

If these groups want to insinuate themselves into the grown-up world of international power brokering -- and they sure as hell seem to want to -- then we owe it to them to treat them according to the rules of same, and not pussy-foot around "innocent civilians".

Totally Matt:RE: "Wh... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Totally Matt:
RE: "What is the media's motivation for glossing over Hezbollah's agenda?"
Motives include (but are not limited to):
They are playing-down terrorism to make people comfortable with appeasement and isolationism as a policy. They avoid words that might offend Islamic extremists. They are anti-Israel and avoid putting Israel's opponents in a bad light.

RE: "Are they jihadists?"
Yes, in that they want to establish an Shiite Islamic republic in Lebanon. However, this is not really relevant: even the EU has branded the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

RE: "Do you really think they want free people to lose the war against Al Qaeda and its allies?"
No, I think that many liberals and their cheerleaders in the MSM want a new period of isolationism, where the US and its allies withdraw from the middle east, northern Africa, and parts of Asia, and let Islamic extremism take over. If we remove ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil, protect ourselves as best we can, and learn to tolerate the occasional terrorist acts at home, then everything will be fine. It is, primarily, a policy of selfishness: I have my freedom and dignity, and it sucks to be you.

A good example of this are women's rights advocates in the West. They absolutely hate President Bush: he isn't pro-choice. But they won't think about the fact that he's actually fighting Sharia. Their idea of fighting the sexual Apartheid in women from Sharia is to have the US Women's Rights taskforce forward a complaint to the Special UN Subcomittee for Writing Tough-Sounding Resolutions.

Also, consider modifications to your question. Why do only "free people" count? How about "people" - period? Why only "Al Quaeda and its allies?" The enemy is Islamic extremism. It is, truly, a clash of cultures. Now consider this question: "Do you really think the MSM want people to lose the war against Islamic extremism?"
Do they WANT it? Probably not, but most of them are quite willing to accept it. This is not a group that accepts the consequences for their actions. Also, if Bush and the neocons go down in the process, that would make many of them very happy. And finally, if the WOT fails, then the US enters a new post-Vietnam phase where there will be no further large-scale military actions. Those people would LOVE that. Will millions live in slavery without hope? Yes. Will hundreds of thousands of innocent people be killed? Yes. Will that bother them? Not very much, if at all.

The media is NOT anti-Israe... (Below threshold)
TM:

The media is NOT anti-Israel, kevino. It might present two sides to the various crises in the region, but you would have to want to believe that in order to think it's true. Supporting Israel's right to exist does not mean giving them carte blanche when it comes to military strategy and tactics.

I was asking if you think the media are jihadists. I know that Hezbollah are.

Liberals don't want Islamic extremists to take over anything. Liberals don't want to appease them. Liberals just think that there are other ways of dealing with threats and injustices than violence and braggadocio, specifically, convincing subjugated peoples that it's not in their interests to support illiberal totalitarian regimes. I don't think you can do that with bombs. (And I'm not saying that bombs aren't ever necessary.)

You don't support our dependence on foreign oil, do you? I mean, it's obviously a bad thing, right?

The women's rights advocates I know hate Bush because he counts Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as allies. Women in Pakistan get murdered for being raped; that didn't happen in Iraq, although removing a secular dictator in a predominantly Shi'ite nation will make it more likely to occur in the future. (I am not saying that it was therefore a bad idea to depose Saddam; I am saying that Bush and his cronies can't claim to be noble defenders of women's rights, except when it happens to serve some other purpose.)

I dislike the mainstream press and TV "journalism" as much as you do, but not for the exact same reasons. They were pro-war and unreliable until the war started to go badly, and now they continue to try and pander to the majority; the majority of people who oppose the war aren't isolationists, though, so I don't think you can fairly say that the media's intentions are isolationist in principle. (I think their only intentions are to make money and play Gotcha! journalism.) I hope other liberals understand that just because Bush can't be trusted to get it done, doesn't mean we should abandon the liberal task of humanitarian intervention.

TM,But the previous ... (Below threshold)
scsiwuzzy:

TM,
But the previous President supported the same regimes. I'll call bullsh!t on your advocates. Everything you mentioned happened in Afghanistan in spades, and you or they seem to have overlooked the Husseins' rape rooms.
And yes, women in Iraq were murdered for being raped in some parts of the country. It just wasn't as prevalent as some other islamic countries.

So? Women's rights advocate... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

So? Women's rights advocates would have had the same reason for calling out Clinton, then. Lots did. He was a centrist, and a chicken shit isolationist, not a liberal.

So "But Clinton did it too!" hardly ameliorates well-founded criticisms of Bush.

The rape-rooms are closed, but now there is a risk of "honour killings" being codified as law. Trading one wrong for another doesn't strike me as progress.

I still remember Susan Estr... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I still remember Susan Estrich and Patricia Ireland (head of NOW) defending Clinton and was called on by Bennett on Fox. Basically Bennett pointed out these folks would support an alleged rapist (in this case Clinton against Broaddrick) as long as he is pro-choice.

ANother historical fact is that these women groups showed no joy at the propect of Afghanistan women freed from the Islamic rule of the Taliban.

For Iraq, it is now a vast improvement for Iraqui women compared to the old rape rooms. BTW, besides complaining and theorizes, what other alternatives do you want? (Saddam in power with full UN oil-for-food corruption or American imposing our style of democracy on Iraq?)

"Liberals just think tha... (Below threshold)
d_Brit:

"Liberals just think that there are other ways of dealing with threats and injustices than violence and braggadocio, specifically, convincing subjugated peoples that it's not in their interests to support illiberal totalitarian regimes."TM

How do you 'convince' subjugated peoples, who listen to state run and religious media rather than the NYT? How do these subjugated peoples cease to support totalitarian regimes?

d_Brit, We convince... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

d_Brit,
We convinced the subjugated people in the Soviet Union that we meant business when we called them the evil empire and pursued STar War. I just learned that the KGB spent 70% of their budget to stop the STAR war program, which was not supposed to work!
Also we convinced the subjugated people in Europe that we meant business with the fascists. We abandoned the subjugated people of VN, Cambodia, and Laos to the communist genocide and labor camps.

Now it seems that we did convince the subjugated people of Iraq to pursue democracy with their purple fingers. The terrorists and the Baathist insurgents wanted to subjugate the people again.

It is probably a good thing for Is to cleanse out the Hezbollah to allow the subjugated people of Lebanon a chance to be free of these terrorists and Syrian cronies. The Palestians don't seem to be convinced with a state of their own yet and seemed determine to destroy the state of Is. I guess we can send the liberals to talk sense to them and build human shields to protect the Is women and children in the mean time.

"For Iraq, it is now a vast... (Below threshold)
TM:

"For Iraq, it is now a vast improvement for Iraqui women compared to the old rape rooms. BTW, besides complaining and theorizes, what other alternatives do you want? (Saddam in power with full UN oil-for-food corruption or American imposing our style of democracy on Iraq?)"

How about I call that a false dichotomy? How about I state for the record that neither Saddam's nor Bush's Iraq are good enough for women? If you think Bush exhausted his alternatives before invading, then you have a very limited imagination. I think eliminating the fascist freaks in Iran first would have given Saddam cause to listen a little more closely to his international critics, don't you?

Did you hear Western women's rights advocates applauding the Taliban before the war in Afghanistan? Did you hear them bemoaning its demise? No? Yeah, me neither.

d_Brit, how about we ask the French, British, Italians, Germans, Dutch, etc. etc. etc. how they managed to convince themselves that they could do better for themselves than tyrants and autocratic monarchs? They didn't even have blogs!!! =) It's not easy, but neither is it worth giving up on so quickly. Information may be more tightly controlled in Islamic nations than in modern Europe, but still, we should try to show through our words and actions that they're being handed the shitty end of the fascist's stick. Democratic reform tends to work better when it isn't done at gun point, even if it can be agonizingly plodding.

LoveAmerica Immigrant,... (Below threshold)
d_Brit:

LoveAmerica Immigrant,

please reread my comments. I was responding to TM's assertion that "Liberals just think that there are other ways of dealing with threats and injustices than violence and braggadocio"

When one is dealing with extremely violent, murderous fanatics who will only 'settle' for your complete and utter destruction, I maintain that violence is the only appropriate response. Not because we wish it, but because it is the only way to stop evil men who would destroy good.

As for your examples; Soviet Russia was NOT engaged in direct violence against us AND their subjugated people never ceased their 'support'. The Soviet system collapsed out of an inability to economically maintain itself in the face of Reagans' military build-up.

"The subjugated people in Europe" were freed from the fascists by the completely violent defeat of the Axis powers by the Allied forces conducting total war upon them.

"The subjugated people of Iraq pursue(d) democracy with their purple fingers" because the US and our allies violently overthrew Saddam and the Bathists. The Iraqi people never ceased support for Saddam, anyone brave and foolish enough to try was dead.

The Palestinians ARE determined to destroy Israel, one way or the other.

Their 'plan' is simple, time and unending attacks that will in time erode our support for Israel and thus force Israel to concede the 'right of return'. Once they have THAT, its over.

The day they get that 'right', they've won because Israel commits demographic suicide with that concession.

Human life means nothing to them, its built into thier culture, and religious world-view. It doesn't matter how many Palestinians die or how long it takes.

ALL that matters is that Islam wins. The mind-set is that it is better that humanity should ALL die than Islam lose.

"For Iraq, it is now a vast... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

"For Iraq, it is now a vast improvement for Iraqui women compared to the old rape rooms. BTW, besides complaining and theorizes, what other alternatives do you want? (Saddam in power with full UN oil-for-food corruption or American imposing our style of democracy on Iraq?)"

How about I call that a false dichotomy? How about I state for the record that neither Saddam's nor Bush's Iraq are good enough for women? If you think Bush exhausted his alternatives before invading, then you have a very limited imagination. I think eliminating the fascist freaks in Iran first would have given Saddam cause to listen a little more closely to his international critics, don't you?

OK, so you want to continue to have Saddam Hussein in power with his rape rooms and the full UN oil-for-food corruption in place until you can convince the Iranian mullahs to give up their fascist freaks? (How would you accomplish that?)
BTW, compared to Clinton and JFK, Bush took too long to go to Iraq: he waited until he got 2 congressional votes and 2 years at the UN. This is after 17 unenforced UN resolutions. Clinton needed none of those.

Did you hear Western women's rights advocates applauding the Taliban before the war in Afghanistan? Did you hear them bemoaning its demise? No? Yeah, me neither.
I didn't see them clapping their hands after the Afghanistan women were free and girls can go to schools again. IT was a real shame, don't you think?

d_Brit, how about we ask the French, British, Italians, Germans, Dutch, etc. etc. etc. how they managed to convince themselves that they could do better for themselves than tyrants and autocratic monarchs? They didn't even have blogs!!! =) It's not easy, but neither is it worth giving up on so quickly. Information may be more tightly controlled in Islamic nations than in modern Europe, but still, we should try to show through our words and actions that they're being handed the shitty end of the fascist's stick. Democratic reform tends to work better when it isn't done at gun point, even if it can be agonizingly plodding.
OK, we did convince the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese after a long and bloody war. We convinced the Russians after many proxy wars and an star war program. On the other hand, Oslo accord was a failure and it encouraged more attacks against Is women/children. Negotiations so far allowed North Korea to build more missles and nuclear weapons. BTW, the Iraqui people are quite happy with their new found freedom. So we need to convince them that we all mean business with the people who meant to subjugate them again. Also, I guess the liberals can go and form human shields to protect Is women/children while we are negotiating with the terrorists.

d_Brit, I am with y... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

d_Brit,
I am with you. Just tried to use the same terminology so that our liberal "friends" can understand it.

How about I call that (S... (Below threshold)
d_Brit:

How about I call that (Saddam in power with full UN oil-for-food corruption or American imposing our style of democracy on Iraq?)" a false dichotomy?

Saddam and the rape rooms did exist before our invasion of Iraq. No one can seriously suggest they would not have continued had we not intervened. They no longer exist. Ergo things have substantially changed for the better for Iraqi women.

How about I state for the record that neither Saddam's nor Bush's Iraq are good enough for women?

No, Islamic suppression of women is evil and far from ideal but it is a lesser evil. It is better than random, retaliatory raping and murder of women. If you wish to have a serious discussion it would be helpful if you avoided facile, superficial objections.

If you think Bush exhausted his alternatives before invading, then you have a very limited imagination.

Imagination isn't needed in this case. There were numerous and completely ineffective UN resolutions, the supporting status quo nations of France, Germany, Russia and China were never going to allow meaningful UN action to be applied to Saddam, just as they are now doing in regard to Iran.

There were only two alternatives. Leave Saddam in power or violently overthrow him. Waiting for him to die wasn't an option because Islamic terrorism removes that option.

The sanctions weren't working and were going to fall shortly, in which case Saddam would have resumed his pursuit of Nuclear weapons, which he would have gotten from North Korea. He would THEN, at some point, have given them to terrorist groups.

I think eliminating the fascist freaks in Iran first would have given Saddam cause to listen a little more closely to his international critics, don't you?

No I don't though I wish it were so. For a variety of reasons, Iran is geopolitically a much tougher nut to crack than Saddam's Iraq. We had to start somewhere and Iraq was a calculated risk, one that despite all the negative media spin is increasingly bearing out that original assessment.

d_Brit, how about we ask the French, British, Italians, Germans, Dutch, etc. etc. etc. how they managed to convince themselves that they could do better for themselves than tyrants and autocratic monarchs? They didn't even have blogs!!! =)

Humor! Good. Weak humor but welcome nonetheless. Europe has a history of democracy and is culturally amenable to seeking freedom from despotism. More than anything else this is due to the western impulse toward self-determination.

It's not easy, but neither is it worth giving up on so quickly. Information may be more tightly controlled in Islamic nations than in modern Europe, but still, we should try to show through our words and actions that they're being handed the shitty end of the fascist's stick. Democratic reform tends to work better when it isn't done at gun point, even if it can be agonizingly plodding. Posted by: TM

No, its NOT easy and yes it is worth pursuing. IF one picks where and when to use that approach appropriately. When dealing with some countries and cultures, non-violent methods are best.

When dealing with evil, violent regimes bent upon the destruction of the values that all western nations hold most dear, 'smart' violence is the only answer.

If you don't believe that evil exists and is active in the world then we have a very large gulf between us.

TM:RE: The media i... (Below threshold)
kevino:

TM:

RE: The media is NOT anti-Israel.
The MSM does a wonderful job of glossing over what the terrorists really do, then if Israel counterattacks, they cover the story in depth, including coverage of the usual idiots who decry the violence on both sides. And if they get fooled into covering staged events or get the facts wrong in favor of the terrorists, they almost never inform their readers. They aren't just trying to avoid "carte blanche", they are attempting to portray moral equivalency. Consider Reuter's statement: "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter,"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." It's stupidity and moral bankrupcy.

RE: "I was asking if you think the media are jihadists."
You didn't make that clear: I assumed that "they" referred to Hezbollah.
Are the MSM jihadists? No.
Are the MSM apologists for jihadists? Frequently yes.
The same MSM outlets that won't replay 9/11 footage of the WTC going down or Mohammad cartoons will happily reprint Abu Ghraib pictures.

RE: "Liberals don't want Islamic extremists to take over anything."
Most liberals are either refusing to say what they would do (other than end the war at once) or are definitely proposing a new isolationism. Do they want Islamic extremists to take over everything? No. For one thing, they want blue states to be left alone. Do they want the Islamic extremists to win? No, but they aren't prepared to do very much to stop them -- certaqinly not do anything that would upset them (like shooting people).

RE: "Liberals don't want to appease them."
Liberals want so much to appease them that they avoid saying or doing anything that will offend them. (The cartoon wars are over: we lost.) What terrorist do is evil, and that word doesn't seem to be in the liberal lexicon.

RE: "Liberals just think that there are other ways of dealing with threats and injustices than violence and braggadocio, ..."
And they are wrong. The policies that Liberals advocate have been tried and failed. President Clinton, the man that most liberals believe is the smartest political leader of the modern age ran US foreign policy the way that liberals liked, and what did it get us? Bin Laden declared war on the US because he thought (correctly) that the US military was very strong but the US was weak. He openly sneered at Clinton, particularly the withdraw from Somalia. And while Clinton avoided war in places like Iraq and Rowanda, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were murdered.

Here's a simple concept: "Wars start because one side thinks they can win." When you are strong, people won't fight you. "Braggadocio" as you call it, can be used to prevent violence. Sometimes you don't have to hold the winning hand: you just make your opponent THINK that you have the winning hand. (Many valuable lessons in life can be learned playing poker.)

RE: "You don't support our dependence on foreign oil, do you?
No, but that's irrelevant to this discussion.

RE: "The women's rights advocates I know hate Bush because he counts Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as allies."
I'm sure that they hated him LONG before he called Pakistan and Saudi Arabia allies. A manager for NOW said to a conservative journalist when asked about their support for Clinton, "You believe in principle. We believe in politics." Do we support bad regimes to get much-needed support and to encourage them to move forward? Yes. You can't solve all of the world's problems at once, and you fight the fights that you can win.

RE: "I hope other liberals understand that just because Bush can't be trusted to get it done, doesn't mean we should abandon the liberal task of humanitarian intervention."
And you hope in vain, because the majority Liberal opinion is - to quote the sign carried by several in Cambridge one afternoon and in the streets of Nashua the other day: "War doesn't solve anything." If your enemy is willing to fight for what he believes in, but you believe in maintaining peace at all costs, then you lose every time." The only liberal plan that I've heard so far is isolationism. A new post-Vietnam era is where we are heading, and Islamic extremists are ready to fill the void when we step down.

THIS war doesn't seem to ha... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

THIS war doesn't seem to have solved anything, kevino. Rape rooms are closed--good! Does it suck to be a woman in Iraq now, though? Yes. Because now psychoes are trying to impose Sharia law on everyone.

I'm not saying one is better or worse than the other. I'm saying that they are both terrible. Remember that Iraqi woman Bush had to the White House to personally thank him for liberating her people, specifically for making things better for women? (I can't remember her name at all, but I'm 62% sure I'm not making it up.) Well, she doesn't live in Iraq anymore because people threatened to kill her. I don't want to call that progress, 'cause it ain't.

I wouldn't hold up a sign that says "War doesn't solve anything". I WOULD hold up a sign that says "It sucks when the President of the United States is the guy from MAD Magazine"; or perhaps "THIS war, as executed, has thus far not produced promising results (re: solving things)". Bad, I know, but I'll get John Kerry to turn it into a digestable soundbyte. =)

TM:First of all, y... (Below threshold)
kevino:

TM:

First of all, you're not seeing the big picture. The great issue of this generation is Islamic Extremism; it isn't the war in Iraq. We are actively confronting Bin Laden's reasons for declaring war against us (troops in Saudi Arabia and UN sanctions that were killing huge numbers of Iraqi children). We are confronting Islamic Extremists, demonstrating power and resolve (also works against Islamic extremists' talking points), and offerring the Arab Street a clear alternative to Sharia.

My liberal friends in England and Europe were also against the war in Afghanistan, too. Conditions there can be improved, but prospects are very good. The result of military action before the Left undermined the concept and embraced the idea of "Peace at all Costs": progress was being made throughout the region.

Are conditions for women and everyone (except the Sunnis who controlled the country): yes. Look at the numbers of people in Iraq who were being killed every year by Saddam. Look at the official UN relief numbers for the number of people who died due to UN sanctions. Look at the public opinion polls of the Iraqi people. I saw a poll recently where the majority of Sunnis opposed the overthrow of Saddam, but they are only 20% of the population. In every poll that I've seen the rest of the population favored the change. The power to change for the better is in their hands. If they don't want it, then it will fail. We gave them the chance, and they are taking it: even the Sunni are participating in the elections.

I'll stack all of those facts against your one woman. And I'll also point out to you that Ayan Hirsi Ali, the lady born in Somalia who later became an MP in Denmark and critiized Sharia in Europe, has had to flee Denmark after death threats. She's living in the US now. Shall we talk about the failures of democracy in Europe, where women are also gang raped as punishment and honor killings are on the rise? Perhaps it's time to withdraw from Europe: our sixty years of occupation after the failed experiment of WW II have obviously not succeeded.

You may not say that "War never solved anything," but that is the majority opinion of liberals here and abroad. The policies that liberals propose have been tried before. They failed then; they will fail now. They are the policies of defeat against an enemy that is very strong because they are very determined.

Liberal foreign policy is weakness and isolationism.
Weakness is something we dare not show.

"We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier who is ready to wage Cold Wars and unprepared to fight long wars. This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions. It also proves they can run in less than 24 hours, and this was also repeated in Somalia.

. . .

After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle, thinking that the Americans were like the Russians. The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows, ran in defeat. America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda about being the world leader and the leader of the New World Order, and after a few blows they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat.

Osama Bin Laden, 1998 Interview with John Miller of ABC News

If you don't know the word, then you should learn it now: "dhimmi".

I don't know any lib... (Below threshold)
TM:

I don't know any liberal who will tell you that war hasn't solved anything. WW II worked out pretty well. War should have been waged in the Sudan and Congo against the murderers who operate with impunity; the U.N. and the U.S. have both failed in that regard, in my opinion.

You can't call liberal foreign policy "weakness and isolationism" because JFK, LBJ and FDR were liberal presidents who knew America needed to be internationally strong for its own good and the good of others. Clinton and the GOP congress were weak isolationists, but Bush Jr. sure does pick his battles strangely. How ever many people Saddam killed, it wasn't as many as died in the Sudan and the Congo.

As for Sharia law in Europe, that's a red herring. It sucks in Iraq, and it sucks in Europe. Multiculturalism is the norm in Europe, but there are clear-cut distinctions between cultures like our Chinatowns, and illiberal fascists who demand "rights" to deny the same to others (usually women, of course). The provincial Liberal government of Ontario, an extremely multicultural part of an extremely multicultural country, had the good sense to tell the women who were paraded out to lobby for it that Sharia ain't good for them, and it doesn't matter if saying so is paternalistic. Wasn't even put to a parliamentary vote! Liberalism isn't "anything goes", and it ain't weak, although weaklings are often liberal, as they are conservative.

As for Afghanistan, I don't recall that operation being prematurely reduced in scope because of liberal opposition; I think that had something to do with the invasion of Iraq. Talk about making bin Laden happy...

Bush Jr. sure does pick ... (Below threshold)

Bush Jr. sure does pick his battles strangely. How ever many people Saddam killed, it wasn't as many as died in the Sudan and the Congo.

Iraq violated the cease fire, and we had 110,000 troops on UN baby-sitting duty who could not -- because of our commitment to the UN -- leave if they wanted to.

Congo and Sudan are internal problems, and the rest of the world has no authority to intervene, no matter how we moralize upon it.

TM, Sudan and Congo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

TM,
Sudan and Congo are prime examples of failures of liberal foreign policies via the corrupt UN. UN is a corrupt institution. Its corruption is deep and wide.
YOu have to go back more than 30 years ago to find hawkish liberals. The fact that the liberals are cheering for the defeat of Lieberman today show s that they would reject FDR, Truman, and JFK today as well.

Your answer and my intepretation of it seems to indicate a very weak response on you part. If this is typical of the liberals, then they are indeed very weak.

----------------
"For Iraq, it is now a vast improvement for Iraqui women compared to the old rape rooms. BTW, besides complaining and theorizes, what other alternatives do you want? (Saddam in power with full UN oil-for-food corruption or American imposing our style of democracy on Iraq?)"

How about I call that a false dichotomy? How about I state for the record that neither Saddam's nor Bush's Iraq are good enough for women? If you think Bush exhausted his alternatives before invading, then you have a very limited imagination. I think eliminating the fascist freaks in Iran first would have given Saddam cause to listen a little more closely to his international critics, don't you?

OK, so you want to continue to have Saddam Hussein in power with his rape rooms and the full UN oil-for-food corruption in place until you can convince the Iranian mullahs to give up their fascist freaks? (How would you accomplish that?)
BTW, compared to Clinton and JFK, Bush took too long to go to Iraq: he waited until he got 2 congressional votes and 2 years at the UN. This is after 17 unenforced UN resolutions. Clinton needed none of those.

TM:RE: War with Su... (Below threshold)
kevino:

TM:

RE: War with Sudan and the Congo
One of the great unexplored ideas of modern times is the speed with which liberals want to send troops everywhere in the world to solve everyone's problems as long as their national security interests are not at stake. Oh, but send troops to a region where western civilization is really being threatened, and then "War is always wrong"

rwilymz is correct, under international law, a war with Iraq has certain justifications (not to mention 14 UN resolutions and significant threat if/when Iraq transfers CW technology to terrorists). Besides, if you're trying to set up an alternative to Islamic fundamentalism, provide fly-paper to would-be terrorists, trying to undermine Bin Laden's strategy, and trying to save a large number of people, Africa is not where you go. For the love of God, look at a map. Just prior to the war in Iraq, where were the hot spots in spreading Islamic fundamentalism? Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Egypt and Lebanon are interesting, but not primary infection sites. OK, if you're looking for a central location (fly paper strategy) which country touches all of the others?

RE: JFK, LBJ, and FDR
That's ancient history. Liberals long ago abandoned the robust foreign policy of those men. Hell, if the Democratic party was anything like the party of JFK/LBJ, I'd still be a Democrat.

The new policies put forth by Liberals are worthless and weak.

RE: Sharia all over the world.
Silly infidel, "All of the world belongs to Islam." You have to understand why your enemy hates you and what his strategy is. They are speaking plainly.

In terms of Sharia and the threats from Islamic extremists, you gave me an example of an Iraqi woman who elft because she was afraid. I gave you a counter example -- indeed, a who collection of counter examples -- to show that Islamic extremism is on the march everywhere. That is not a red herring: it is precisely on-point. You're searching for bad news, holding it up, saying, "This is a bad, so it was useless to try." It's silly. I can point to European examples as bad, too, and it shows how important it is to confront Islamic extremism in all of its forms. (In a recent poll, 16% of London Muslims believe that the 7/7 bombers should be treated as martyrs.)

RE: Canada
Oh you, let's hear from the Ms. Farooq, one of the wives of the alleged Canadian bombers: "All muslim politicians are corrupt. ... There's no one out there willing to rule the country by the laws of Allah, rather they fight to rule the country by the laws of democracy." When asked what makes Canada unique, she responded, "Who cares? We hate Canada." Ms. Jamaal also hates Canadian society. She tells fellow Muslim readers: "Let them call you a terrorist, let them make you look like a savage, but know that THIS is the filth of the earth, the uncivilised destroyer of humanity.

RE: Afghanistan and Bin Laden
Kill Bin Laden, and another takes his place.
Destroy Al Qaeda, and another organization will be built.
Sun Tzu said, "Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities." We are attempting to undermine the enemy's strategy and discredit the foundations of his philosophy. It is a difficult job, but it is ultimately the only path to peace.

RE: President Clinton
Clinton is the best you've got. You alternative is President Carter, friend and apologist for terrorists and thugs the world over. A man who truly believes in Peace and will do anything to avoid war.

OK, TM, I'm getting bored with this, so I have a challenge for you. Give me the top three Liberal leaders or spokesmen who actually have the guts to put forth a plan of action to combat Islamic extremism. Show me their proposals. I follow DailyKos and FireDogLake and lots of liberal web sites every day. They are very anti-war. The basic philosophy is that the enemy is are people of good will that the world can negotiate with in good faith to avoid conflict. So if you can come up with a plan or two that I've missed, I want to see it.

Let's play a little game. It's very simple. I'll test each plan against the stated goals and philosophies of Islamic fundamentalists. My side seeks to bring all of the world together under Islam, and the rest of you WILL SUBMIT. I don't mind using force. In fact, using force is "a consumation devotely to be wished".

First of all, you're going to have a tough time coming up with anything at all. Almost all liberals avoid any specifics.
Even if you do come up with something, you'll find that it is probably a plan retreat, regroup, and isolate ourselves.
If you do find an active program designed to put boots on the ground and confront radical Islam, my guess is that it is a proposal by someone who doesn't have any political clout and cannot in a million years more the country against the vast tide of peaceniks on the left side of country.

But go ahead: take your best shot.

TM:Hello. Are you... (Below threshold)
kevino:

TM:

Hello. Are you still there?
I'm waiting to hear a strong Liberal response to Islamic extremism.

I stopped reading this thre... (Below threshold)
TM:

I stopped reading this thread as it went onto the second page, kevino.

You don't seem to understand me. I don't care if zero Democrats have articulated a plan for combating extremism. A robust foreign policy that takes into account the univerality of human rights and the moral abritrariness of national boundaries is liberal; a foreign policy designed to extend America's interests by combating extremism is neo-conservative. They may dovetail from time to time, but one is about justice and the other is about dollars and cents. (If it was about protecting Americans, they wouldn't use American troops as "flypaper".)

Do you think a Democrat (a party I hold very little regard for--almost as bad as Republicans) would sever America's ties to its Middle Eastern "allies" in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Pakistan...? Do you think they'd throw up a ten foot chain link fence around the continental U.S. and hang "Terrorists Not Welcome" signs around it, and call that being "tough on terror"?

Hillary Clinton is a moderate hawk. So is Biden. So are a majority of Dems, as is evidenced by their initial support for the war in Iraq. But their lack of support for it now does not demonstrate weakness on their behalf, but 1) a growing national consensus that more American lives will not buy peace in Iraq, and 2) American troops need to be ready to deploy to operations that may actually have something to do with U.S. security. (You might think Iraq is a national security problem. You actually used the term "flypaper". Well, the war wasn't sold as "flypaper", and the troops sure as hell wouldn't like to be referred to as such, dontcha think? The sales pitch for Iraq being a problem for American security is one I find unconvincing.)

__________________________________________________

I don't expect a reply, rwilymz, as the discussion has moved on, but calling the problems in the Congo and the Sudan "internal" and thus none of our business is crass. Millions of children starvig to death is somebody's business. Doesn't matter if intervening benefits anyone other than the victims. Wouldn't that have been a great time for America to show that sometimes when it violates international law, it does so for the right reasons?

Yeah Me too! ... (Below threshold)
ReaMensa^:

Yeah Me too!

No need to be from the indi... (Below threshold)
ReaMensa^:

No need to be from the individual stated above. Anyone will do!

Suggesting

All quiet on the left.

TM:Thanks for your... (Below threshold)
kevino:

TM:

Thanks for your candor. You reply is sufficient: lot of noise and no substance. The bottom line is: there is no Liberal plan.

The enemy is perfectly willing to fight, and Left is not willing to fight. Since one sde can always escalate the violence into a confrontation, the side that will not fight will always loose.




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