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It's the thought that counts

I've been pretty hard on the "proportionality" argument as to why Israel should ease up on Hezbollah in the current fighting taking place in Lebanon. But of late I've been reconsidering my position, and I find myself wondering if Israel's response is indeed out of proportion to the attacks.

The key word here is "proportional." It can mean "roughly equal," but it can also mean "roughly equal when adjusted for scale." Blueprints and models are often proportional; they are identical to the depicted item in question, but reduced in scale.

There is no equivalence in military power between Hezbollah and Israel. In fact, Hezbollah tends to keep its power secret, so it's hard to determine just how much more powerful Israel is than Hezbollah, so no ready scale lends itself.

A better way might be in measuring potential versus applied power in this situation. Just how hard is each side trying? How much of their total might are they dedicating to the fight?

In Israel's case, it's simple: they are holding back. They have a lot more bombs, tanks, missiles, soldiers, and whatnot than they are using in southern Lebanon. Some are tied up fighting in the Gaza Strip, and many more are being held in reserve. They are restraining themselves from waging a total war.

For Hezbollah, again it's murky to work out the details. But it seems to me that they're already doing pretty much all they can to fight back.

Hezbollah is fighting its only enemy on its own home turf. (The Lebanese goverment ought to have something to say about Hezbollah having southern Lebanon as "its own home turf," but they haven't made a fuss out of this de facto annexation.) It is in a fight for its very survival (the same place Israel has been in each of its declared wars against its Arab neighbors, ironically enough), with very few options to retreat. Out of necessity, it should be using every available weapon at its disposal, or risk suffering a grave defeat -- or worse.

The fact that they have killed so few Israeli civilians (relatively speaking) is not a testament to their restraint, but Israel's success. They're doing their damndest, and those relatively low numbers are a mark of impotence and shame to them. Nearly every building in Israel has to have a bomb shelter, and they have developed a remarkably successful civil-defense system, with sirens and highly skilled first responders. (Oddly enough, for all the "social services" Hezbollah has allegedly provided in Lebanon, "bomb shelters for when Israel finally hits back at us for all the attacks we make against them" doesn't seem to have been a priority for them.)

Also, the fact that Hezbollah hasn't killed the two soldiers whose kidnapping triggered the latest fighting is no sign of moderation. For one, they know that live soldiers are more valuable hostages than corpses (but they've bargained with dead bodies before, after torturing to death prior prisoners). Secondly, there is no evidence that the two are even still alive -- they've declared them "prisoners of war," but won't let the Red Cross have any contact with them. (Funny how that little war crime, along with the bombardment of civilians, failing to wear distinctive uniforms, and avoiding being among civilians, tends to get brushed under the rug.)

The next time a critic of Israel denounces their response as "disproportionate," ask them to show a single sign that Hezbollah has shown the slightest restraint, the slightest moderation, in their attacks. That Hezbollah has declared certain targets off limits. That it has abided by the accepted standards of warfare. As long as Israel continues to show its own restraint, there is absolutely no cause for criticizing their level of response.


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Comments (45)

Hellsballsa has learned muc... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Hellsballsa has learned much from Paliwood and Michael Moore in the production of staged videos to mislead the public. Too bad for them that folks are catching on to their tricks.

Israel needs to pound and pound till there is no more terrorist left in Lebanon, and then start on Syria next.

"proportionality" is strang... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

"proportionality" is strange to me. Does it mean that China can shoot missles at us killing say 230 million of us, and we can only send missiles back killing 230 million or so? This being the case, China is the most powerfull nation in the world. And it also shows, that you need to hit first, cause the other side must use proportionality. Not the attacker.

I suspect that Israel isnt ... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

I suspect that Israel isnt even considering 'proportionate'. Unlike what they were able to do in 1967, this time they are taking their time performing surgical strikes and carefully planned insurgencies. Suspect they'll move large forces for short term attacks when ready. Their goal is as close to total elimination of Hezbolo as possible. Just heard that Israel announced they will keep pounding at Hezbollah until an international force can be moved in to control Hezbollah - like that's going to happen any time soon! The great part is that the Hezbollah troops cant run without being gunned down. Hope our military commanders are carefully watching this surgical operation.

I've got your "DISPROPORTIO... (Below threshold)

I've got your "DISPROPORTIONATE" right here, enemedia: The Hellsbullies target civilians. Israel does NOT. Period.

A proportionate response is... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

A proportionate response is really code for, we expect you to slap Hezbullah around a bit but we don't want you to put them out of business.

In contrast to the image of... (Below threshold)

In contrast to the image of Hizbullah frothing at the mouth to destroy Israel, its leader Hassan Nasrallah held off from serious retaliation. For the first day and a half, he limited his strikes to the northern borders areas, which have faced Hizbullah attacks in the past and are well protected. He waited till late on June 13 before turning his guns on Haifa, even though we now know he could have targeted Israel's third largest city from the outset. A small volley of rockets directed at Haifa caused no injuries and looked more like a warning than an escalation.

It was another three days -- days of constant Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, destroying the country and injuring countless civilians -- before Nasrallah hit Haifa again, including a shell that killed eight workers in a railway depot.

No one should have been surprised. Nasrallah was doing exactly what he had threatened to do if Israel refused to negotiate and chose the path of war instead. Although the international media quoted his ominous televised message that 'Haifa is just the beginning�', Nasrallah in fact made his threat conditional on Israel's continuing strikes against Lebanon. In the same speech he warned: " As long as the enemy pursues its aggression without limits and red lines , we will pursue the confrontation without limits and red lines." Well, Israel did, and so now has Nasrallah."

When Israel infiltrated the Gaza border in a brazen raid on June 24th and kidnapped two civilians, did that give the Palestinians the right to do to Israel what Israel is doing to Lebanon? This incursion was the first into Gaza since the implementation of the Israeli Disengagement Plan in September 2005!

Israel kidnaps Palestinians and Lebanese and hold them as "barganing chips" Israel still occupies the Golan Heights in addition to the West Bank.

Israel refuses to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended.

At least,(up until now in ... (Below threshold)
SWteve Crickmore:

At least,(up until now in this latest conflict) Hezbollah haven't unleashed suicide bombers..We can be grateful for this restraint..Maybe the Hezbollah are aware of growing public opinion against this tactic..Which takes me to the central incoherence of the Republican administration support for the IDF strategy "heavy bombing today for a brighter tommorrow" . Dubya couldn't have said it any better than in his radio address on the weekend "The lack of freedom in that region created conditions where anger and resentment grew, radicalism thrived, and terrorists found willing recruits."Now that Lebanon and Palestine, with Dubya's encouragement have democratically elected governments, they are receiving a lesson in the benefits of having gone to the ballot box....and anger and resentment, spurred by the Israeli bombing is definitely rising, but is not directed at their home governments but at..(you can fill in the blanks)...and the future in the region looks even more that of the black veil...exactly the opposite of what the Administration sought.

m'kay...Nasrallah is a Prin... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

m'kay...Nasrallah is a Prince o' Peace. Check. We just don't understand him. Check. Admirable restraint. Small volley of rockets. Check. Just a warning. Check. Waited a respectful amount of time. Check. He warned Israel. Check. Only retailiated because Israel insisted on continuing attacks. Check. Israel takes hostages. Check. Bargaining chips. Check. Israel won't hand over maps to mine fields. Check.

Nice thinking there, Tom.

m'kay...Nasrallah is a Prin... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

m'kay...Nasrallah is a Prince o' Peace. Check. We just don't understand him. Check. Admirable restraint. Small volley of rockets. Check. Just a warning. Check. Waited a respectful amount of time. Check. He warned Israel. Check. Only retailiated because Israel insisted on continuing attacks. Check. Israel takes hostages. Check. Bargaining chips. Check. Israel won't hand over maps to mine fields. Check.

Nice thinking there, Tom.

You scared me there for a s... (Below threshold)
CraigC:

You scared me there for a second.

I meant that Jay scared me ... (Below threshold)
CraigC:

I meant that Jay scared me for a second at the beginning of the post.

Tom, did your mother have any kids that lived?

bobdog, could you make an e... (Below threshold)

bobdog, could you make an effort to THINK about what I posted. what the heck was the point of your post? "Check, Check, Check" is this the best reponse you can make?

Israel kidnapped two civilians the day before any Israeli soldiers were taken, you didn't even know about that? The media's non-reporting is all the more amazing since, as mentioned, this incursion was the first into Gaza since the implementation of the Israeli Disengagement Plan in September 2005! If you think Hezbollah 's capturing two Israeli SOLDIERS counts as "starting it" why doesn't Israel's crossing over the border into Gaza and kidnapping two civilians count as "starting it"? since that happened first! And that was much worse than going after a military target.

Tom Murphy, aka 9/11... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Tom Murphy, aka 9/11 conspiracy KoolAid drinker, had this to say:

He waited till late on June 13 before turning his guns on Haifa, even though we now know he could have targeted Israel's third largest city from the outset. A small volley of rockets directed at Haifa caused no injuries and looked more like a warning than an escalation.

and

Israel refuses to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended.

Care to give sources other than your own echo chamber blog, Tommy Boy...?

OT: Meanwhile, the IDF SF incursion into Baalbek and resultant capture of Hezbollah officers is now being called a "kidnapping" (Lebanese media, quoted on Yoni the Blogger's site

Hey, boys, if it's "capture" when you do it, it's "capture" when IDF does it back to you.

Poor islamofascists. Don't they know that Allah never, ever delivers on his promises?

Another brilliant analysis.... (Below threshold)

Another brilliant analysis....if you were a 14 year-old. Jay, just go away.

CraigC, I am presenting fac... (Below threshold)

CraigC, I am presenting facts and being civil. All you can do is be nasty. Can you dispute a single thing I posted? Why are you so scared of THINKING about what I wrote? The MSM is playing the public for fools, don't get angry at me for what they are doing to you. You might want to check out his video: Lebanon Israel Facts the Media Isn't Telling You

Yes, Tom. I did think about... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Yes, Tom. I did think about your post, for much longer than I should have. You make no sense and I won't waste any more time on you. But thanks for your concern.

"aka 9/11 conspiracy KoolAi... (Below threshold)

"aka 9/11 conspiracy KoolAid drinker"

Wanderlust, what the heck is with you guys, you throw tantrums when facts are presented to you in a civilized and decent manner.
And how dare you post trash about "aka 9/11 conspiracy KoolAid drinker," I have been working for years to debunk the asinine theories. I would hope you have the decency to retract such an offensive statement. Like I said, I have litteraly been working for years fighting these "inside job" BS theories. Here is my video Facts the "9/11 Skeptics" don't want you to see
You guys are reckless, you don't care about the facts. throwing insults around without having a clue.

Tommy! I seem to remember t... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

Tommy! I seem to remember this threat before from hezbullshi&t. Per http://www.freelebanon.org/articles/a246.htm
Maybe he held off serious retaliation, or he found out how hard it is to shoot when being shot at.
The problem is he had settled into the tit for tat, and Israel said no more. Been happening since at least 2002 as per above article.

"Proportionality", as used ... (Below threshold)
David Hecht:

"Proportionality", as used in this context, is a technical term referring to the relationship between means and ends, not between the relative power of the combatants.

Thus, what "proportionality" requires here, is that Israel refrain from the wanton and reckless disregard for civilian casualties that Hezbollah and others seem to find perfectly acceptable when they fight Israel.

If anyone is violating the requirements of "proportionality" here, it is the side which, deliberately and with malice, targets civilians *in preference to military targets*.

Hmmm...wonder who *that* might be?

Soldiers are military targe... (Below threshold)

Soldiers are military targets. You can ignore this all you want but that is the case. Hezbollah has publicly stated for months that they wanted the hostages freed that Israel was holding. Hezbollah said they would capture soldiers to make it happen since Israel was refusing. Israel turned around and attacked the Lebanese people, Israel attacked the UN and Israel Bombed the Infrastructure, Relief Trucks and even Ambulances! The rockets you guys are now screaming about were in response to Israel's criminal bombardment of Lebanon. Look at the timeline.

Sorry Tom. But in the artli... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

Sorry Tom. But in the artlicle I linked earlier
http://www.freelebanon.org/articles/a246.htm
was written in 2002. Not quite sure why you don't consider the rockets then as part of the equation.
Do you believe that if the rockets are shot, and Israel retaliates, then we are not allowed to mention that again.
If my neighbor does something to my property, I'm going to complain to him. Next time to the cops. next, time retaliate.

plainslow,I was ob... (Below threshold)

plainslow,

I was obviously talking about the most recent events but if you want to go back, "Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern. In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians." - Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon By Anders Strindberg

Contrary to the claims made by Israel that they left for good in 2000, they were back to their games in 2001: UN Official Confirms Israeli Violation of Lebanese Territory The U.N. drew the line to authenticate the completeness of Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000.
BUT A senior United Nations official in Beirut on Friday confirmed Israeli violation of the U.N.-drawn Blue Line and the Lebanese territory.

the U.N. peacekeeping force recently observed (see article) the Ghajar village on the eastern side of the Blue Line with helicopters and found that Israeli troops violated the Blue Line and intruded into the Lebanese territory by about 20 meters.

The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) confirmed on Thursday that Israeli troops have established an observation post, north of the Blue Line, in the village.

Finally, Israel was forced to abandon the plan after the violation was protested by Lebanon and the U.N.

But according to the rules you guys want to play by, Lebanon had the right to bomb the crap out of Israel for violating Lebanese territory. according to the rules you guys want to play by, Lebanon had the right to bomb the crap out of Israel. according to the rules you guys want to play by, Lebanon had the right to kill hundreds of Israeli civilians.

<a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)
SurlyNerd:
Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon By Anders Strindberg(pops)

Holy anti-semites, Batman! What a piece of crap this article was.
From the credits on the article:


Anders Strindberg, formerly a visiting professor at Damascus University, Syria, is a consultant on Middle East politics working with European government and law-enforcement agencies. He has also covered Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories as a journalist since the late 1990s, primarily for European publications.

Methinks that ol' Anders is suffering from a touch of something akin to Stockholm Syndrome. Either that or he was a smidge biased before he left or Damascus.

Let me get this thinking st... (Below threshold)
millco88:

Let me get this thinking straight. Because Israeli's "fighters" wear uniforms that easily identify them as soldiers that makes them legitimate targets, but because Hezbollah doesn't wear any uniforms, none of them are legitimate targets?? Is that really the point Tom is making??

Who cares what kind of poin... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Who cares what kind of point Tom is trying to make, the first thing you see from his "ambulances" link is him and Noam getting cozy. He has zero crediblity.

Tom, You are either... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Tom,
You are either naive, willfully ignorant, or a pure propagandist for the most depraved terrorists. I don't know how any objective person can take seriously. the anti-semitic article by Strinberg. So many things wrong with this article.
Just pick one thing obvious for you: Strinberg claimed that Is is a profoundly racist state. Yet there are Arab MPs advocating opposing view in Knesset right now.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/745288.html
Can Jews live safely anywhere in the Arab world now?

Your use of moral equivalency is astoundingly blind to the atrocities committed by the Hez terrorists. Even from your own biased source, the worst Is has committed is to build a security fence 20m across the border! Yet here in 2002, Hez had murdered Is civilians and fired rockets indiscriminately into Is.
http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_lebanon.php

In March 2002, Hezbollah terrorists used a collapsible ladder to get over the electronic security fence on the Lebanon border without tripping any alarms. They then carried out a murderous shooting attack against motorists near Kibbutz Matzuva in the western Galilee, in which six Israelis were killed and seven wounded.

Thank you surlynerd. Nice t... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

Thank you surlynerd. Nice to know where this stuff is coming from.
Tom
But if Lebanon played by the rules you want them to play by, I don't see how a missle into Israel for this
"The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) confirmed on Thursday that Israeli troops have established an observation post, north of the Blue Line, in the village.

Finally, Israel was forced to abandon the plan after the violation was protested by Lebanon and the U.N. '

is a proportional response, you want to live by.
Showing Israel's breaking of the rules, then backing off when the Un and rest of the world complains is good. Unlike being told to disarm and building up 13,000 weapons that are of no use militarily other then maybe killing civilians.

DHoggs,Oh, I agree... (Below threshold)
millco88:

DHoggs,

Oh, I agree that Tom's ramblings can take on a surreal quality. But I was mainly addressing his complaint that no one seems to be THINKING about his posts. Perhaps an illustration of what his points actually were could show him why that is. At least we can hope.

millco88,I think t... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

millco88,

I think the best illustration and reasoning is very few here want to support a terrorist group like Tom does.

At the end of the day, it comes down to Hezbollah being terrorists, murderers if you will. Therefore I really care not a whit if they and Tom feel they are justified in their actions.

Maybe if he thought about his own posts it'd help.

<a href="http://representat... (Below threshold)
bobdog:
I hear you millco88, I agre... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

I hear you millco88, I agree with you. I have no idea who Tom is, but in my THINKING about his posts, I clicked on his link, the second I saw his love for Chomsky, he became irrelevant. Best to just not even entertain his ramblings I guess.

Heralder/DHoggs,I'... (Below threshold)
millco88:

Heralder/DHoggs,

I'm only an infrequent contributor to the comments section on this blog, so I haven't had the experience with Tom that you have. If it's really a waste of time, sorry for that.

Not at all millco88, I'm no... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Not at all millco88, I'm not familiar with his posts either.

Come to think of it, I'm pretty infreqeunt contribution-wise as well.

Tom is a Troll, pretending ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Tom is a Troll, pretending to be Tom Murphy. The real Murphy is too busy spinning conspiracies and felating Noam Chompsky to be found posting on a right of center blog.

No need to be sorry at all.... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

No need to be sorry at all. I am not familiar with him either, I am simply stating that anyone that tied in with the beliefs of Noam Chomsky does not deserve any of my serious thinking. Obviously this comments section is for discourse, so if someone wants to engage with him, more power to 'em. I am just thinking that it is most likely not going to get you anywhere.

From an earlier post- Chin... (Below threshold)
blaze:

From an earlier post- China is not the most powerful nation you idiot. just because they have billions of people means nothing. There military is unorganized and corrupt in many aspects, most (not all) but most of there planes and military vehicles are outdated. Please dont get me started.

Israel can do whatever the ... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Israel can do whatever the hell it wants. More power to em. They're killin ay-rabs right and left. Who's gonna stop em anyway? Syria(fags)? Nope. Iran(sissies)? Nope. France(pussies)? Nope. Russia(vodka soaked dipshits)? Nope.

You misunderstood the post,... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

You misunderstood the post, blaze. Re-read it, it's the second one in the thread.

Nothing ever changes on the... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Nothing ever changes on the left. Terrorists attack and lefties line up the lies to support them. They are all anti-american and will remain so until the terrorists kill their families and then they'll scream for the real Americans to protect them. The object of going to war when someone attacks you is to kill enough of the suckers in any way possible that they holler uncle. Simple process. Go Israel, if necessary launch the nukes on Syria and Iran. Two blank spots on the map for the next 500 years will look pretty good.

JT,Nice post. I was ... (Below threshold)
tblubrd:

JT,
Nice post. I was like CraigC at first, whew! Good thread of comments - at least until TomM jumped with his falling off the cliff assertions.

Who the hell ever came up with the term "disproportionate" anyway? Wasn't that Kofi Kuffar and his UN burglary group?

During WWII, we recognized ... (Below threshold)
Adjoran:

During WWII, we recognized that those among us who sympathize with and apologize for the enemy are, in fact, a part of the enemy itself.

Of course, back then, these would have been decrying the American "disproportionate response" in virtually every island battle in the Pacific and major engagement in occupied Europe.

Thanks Heralder . I ... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

Thanks Heralder .
I was going to have to retaliate proportionally with blaze. Did'nt want the UN getting involved it that.

Hopefully this will turn th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Hopefully this will turn the leftists against Hezbollah (HT: the corner)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060802/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_scorched_forests
Nature, wildlife also victims of rockets

I don't think so.LoveAmeric... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I don't think so.LoveAmerica Immigrant href="http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=74428">Jiyye oil spill threatens environmental clamity The war like most has been a catatastrophe, yet most of you want more of it, lots of it..a Sherman march to the Sea..That should work wonders for the American image abroad, as it seeks to convince moderate muslims the rightness of our cause, against fanatical extremists.

Steve, I don't know... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Steve,
I don't know the leftist who chanted "America is the greatest terrorist nation on earth" would want to live here in any case. I knew first hand how people who lived in leftist communist utopia has to risk death to escape those countries.
The point is to bring up the hypocrisy of the left. And again you just prove my point. THe moderate Muslims are welcomed to go to any Muslim country to enjoy their Islamic rule. Why go to America or the decadent West?
It is America that saved the world from fascism and communism. The "world opinion" didn't do much for the sexual victims of UN troops in Congo or the civilians that are inhumanely used as shields by Hez terrorists.
I remember your logic that we should envy the period where the West appeased Hitler. SOunds like your peace means the destruction of the Jewish state.




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