Saturday, July 29


From Salon: The "hiding among civilians" myth.

An American journalist reporting from Lebanon says that unlike most insurgents, including Hamas and the PLO, Hezbollah fighters stay as far away from civilians as they can and keep very mum about their status lest they be betrayed by collaborators. The better-disciplined Hezbollah fighters prefer to move the civilian population out of areas where they fight.

Hezbollah, he says, is the second largest employer in Lebanon; additional tens of thousands of people belong to the political wing or are beholden to Hezbollah social services. He poses the question: does "supporting" Hezbollah make them fair targets for Israeli bombs?

Well, Bush's answer would clearly be "yes." He has made no bones about it since 911, stressing that if you are not "against" the terrorists you are with them.

So the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah "hiding within the civilian population" clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don't know what they're talking about. Hezbollah doesn't trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well -- with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli ground incursion.

And the civilians? They see themselves as targeted regardless of their affiliation. They are enraged at Israel and at the United States, the only two countries on earth not calling for an immediate cease-fire. Lebanese of all persuasions think the United States and Israel believe that Lebanese lives are cheaper than Israeli ones. And many are now saying that they want to fight.

Clearly, Israel cannot accept the shelling of its people or towns. Hezbollah's practice of packing their rockets with ballbearings to inflict maximum human damage is despicable. And Lebanon is such a small nation that no "buffer zone" would be large enough to protect Israel from the range of missiles Hezbollah is believed to have in its armory. Hezbollah MUST be disarmed. But by its systematic devastation of the Lebanese infrastructure and incessant bombing of civilian areas, Israel is creating more recruiting opportunities for Islamist terrorists every day, just as the U.S. has been doing in Iraq. What is to be done? Where are the Carter- and Clinton-era diplomats and foreign policy experts who have influence in that region? Are there no cooler and wiser heads that can offer a solution?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well fortunately for our efforts in Iraq, we've shown little reluctance to mow down civilians to find an insurgent, whether they're hiding there or not.

3:50 PM  

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