July 25, 2006
Things Worth Fighting For
The Seattle Times' op-ed page today included two columns regarding current events in the Middle East, one a guest op-ed from former Seattle City Councilman and journalist Jim Compton, and a syndicated column from Eugene Robinson. Both showcase a classic flaw in liberal thinking on this current fight between Israel and Hezbollah, and reveal what charades pass for critical thinking in some circles on such matters.
In a nutshell, Compton and Robinson, like many liberal commentators in the news today, are simply aghast at the mere presence violence in Lebanon and Israel today. Robinson quails at the "disproportionate" response from Israel, and the impact of violence on civilian populations. It would be fascinating to know what Mr. Robinson believes the Israeli response should be to a terrorist militia occupying the southern half of its northern neighbor, pledged to destroying Israel, that crossed UN recognized and observed borders, killed and captured Israeli soldiers, and is raining down rockets indiscriminately on Israeli civilians? Moreover, his thoughts on Hezbollah dramatically increasing the likelihood of civilian casualties in Lebanon by placing its arms and infrastructure in the middle of civilian population centers might be interesting as well. Better yet, how would he define a properly "proportionate response" to the attacks of 9/11? That answer would be enlightening.
Personally, my first thought in responding to Hezbollah if I were Prime Minster Olmert would not be to call an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Diplomacy? It has a role. As commentator Michael Barone notes, however, Hamas and Hezbollah "have made it clear that they will never willingly make peace." Maybe I was sick the day they taught International Relations and Diplomatic History in college, but I think I remember something about both sides having to be willing to negotiate in something near good faith for negotiations to mean anything.
Robinson would clearly disagree with such a skeptical view of the diplomacy-first option in this case, and claims the Bush administration doesn't want to be an "honest broker for peace." Compton piles on lamenting we are supposedly trashing our prestige as a "moderate peacemaking force in the world's most-volatile region." Of course as the world's lone superpower, and Israel's staunchest ally, we have a role to play. But does anyone really think we can be an "honest broker" when one side of the conflict, Hezbollah and its backers, ultimately want their opponent, Israel, destroyed, period, no questions asked? How quaintly naive.
Compton also whines about current events creating "decades of profound Arab resentment" toward the United States. Perhaps. Though skepticism of that notion is warranted given one fascinating development that many observers such as Barone have noted: a significant number of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt are denouncing Hezbollah's role in this affair. These are the same countries that have fought bitter wars with Israel in recent memory, and/or whose response to such eruptions of violence in the past has been to harshly condemn Israel. The feeling of the masses may be one thing, but foreign affairs is driven the needs of nation-states...and the Arab nation-states in question clearly see decreasing value in Hezbollah and nations that support it.
In fairness, we can all recognize the value of peace. Yet, history also tells us peace for its own sake rarely solves the problems that lead to war. Liberal commentators like Robinson and Compton seem to have forgotten, or never learned, such lessons. In succinct demonstration of the absence of such knowledge, Compton laments "we were once an acknowledged moral force for Mideast peace." On the contrary, those with knowledge of conflict in human history would argue that we would rightly be acknowledged as an inadequate moral force if we did not support Israel's rightful attempts to defend her people, and defeat Hezbollah.
UPDATE: Typos fixed in 2nd and 4th paragraph. And for those readers interested in further flawed thinking on this issue, Kofi Annan's hasty accusation of Israel engaging in "deliberate targeting" of a UN observation post is sure to capture some attention in the coming days. I heard Israel's Ambassador to the UN on CNN responding to the charge; he was not amused.
Posted by Eric Earling at July 25, 2006
07:45 PM | Email This
Well, what's really wrong with people who promote this is the dishonesty of that second word. Hey folks: Hizbollah isn't a newcomer on the scene! This isn't the first interaction Israel has ever had with them.
2. That kind of political correctness makes me nauseous !
Compton is infected with institutional liberalism.
3. When, if ever, was the USA "an acknowledged moral force for Mideast peace?" Periodically, the USA was useful in restraining Israel from completely pasting its tormentors (so as to give the tormentors time and breathing space to regroup and hit again). The terrorists and jihadis may have said nice things about the USA when it was useful in getting a desired hudna in place but I can't really see a time when the USA efforts at middle east peace brokering was viewed in the arab world as anything other than useful idiocy.
Do you think Compton and Robinson would push for negotiations with Hitler and the Nazi's? I bet to them it all would have been better if we just used diplomacy....oh wait the world did and gee look what happened.
So 'ol lap-dance-Compton comes out of exile. He of all people should know what it means to be "trussed up and immobilized..."
Hezbollah is to the Middle East as the Mafia was to the U.S.--an organization of murderous thugs that uses terror to stay in power. The U.N. humanitarian head said it right: If Israel could only get Hezbollah to come out from behind women and children, they could be eradicated once and for all.
Do you have it right...if Heir Compton und Heir Robinson had their way, we would all be drinking our Latte's from Der Starbucks and basking in the sunshine at the Pike Place Market and Stalag before they might ever consider doing something!!!
There can be no peace when one side believes it is good and right to exterminate the civilian population of the other.
What we have in today's world is a bunch of cowards. Many of today's leftist commentators are now so sanctimonious and pacifist towards any violence that it would take nothing short of a masked Hezbollah gunman coming in to their own houses and shooting their families dead before they recognized the threat.
War is moral. The only way to eliminate the suicide bomb mentality and culture of rabid Islam is to confront it with enough force that it will either fight to the death, or stand down.
But in the terror culture the value is not in life, it is death. The highest aspiration is martydom and victory means having one guy left alive to declare Hezbollah the victor. They welcome death, and that's why they have continued their terror campaign for the past 40 years in spite of almost nothing but losses. And its also why they use their own children as human shields.
Diplomacy is grand, but we've watched 40 years of appeasment Diplomacy go nowhere with the ultimate in "peace process" commitment of Israel pulling out of many of the settlements, only to be bombed by Hezbollah in outright defiance of UN 1559.
It's time for Palestinian terror to back up its peacock strutting with a real fight. The Israelis should keep fighting until Hezbollah is gone and Syrian and Iranian leadership start to think otherwise of their mounting losses.
Fanatical Islam has a deathwish. Let's grant it.
Thomas Sowell had a very relavant column today: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=then_and_now&ns=ThomasSowell&dt=07/25/2006&page=full&comments=true
These liberal lunatics are so out of touch with reality it is scary. The fact they think the Arabs are going to resent us because of President Bush not coming to their aid is absolutely ridiculous. The Hezbollah want to eliminate all who oppose it. These idiots can't seem to grasp that there are some very mean people in the world who would like nothing better than to bring America to her knees. The ignorance of these writers is absolutely frightening. Too bad we can give these chickensh*ts one way tickets to the terrorist regime of their choice.
9. I keep hearing and reading that it's nearly impossible to deal with islamic terrorists who have no fear of dying, even welcome it as holy martyrs, and many editorialists even believe they are indeed holy martyrs rather than the murdering thugs they really are. I seem to remember reading about the problem of suicide bombers in WWII in the Phillipines. Can't remember which general it was, but he knew he had to put a stop to it, and did in short order. He decreed that the body of every islamic suicide bomber would be buried wrapped in pig skin. He disseminated this information, and then followed through with two such burials. The suicide bombings stopped immediately thereafter. I guess you just have to get creative with what matters to them.
This isn't about the mafia group called Hezbollah.
It is all about Iran and its desire to throw the world back to the Dark Ages. This skirmish is setup so Iran can smuggle and finish their nuclear bomb capabilities to start the last war while we are distracted with their mafia group.
The biggest thing that all those who are calling for more UN-led 'diplomacy' are ignoring is that fact that a UN resolution already exists which calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah. Since the Hezbos are quite obviously defying this resolution, the only logical thing the UN can do is is to authorize the use of military force to disarm Hezbollah.
Which is exactly what Israel is now doing. I really don't think anyone else would do a better job.
12. Compton? Why should this local politician care? Because it diverts from putting his own track record under a microscope; his ilk made it illegal to ask if you're an illegal alien in Seattle; easier to take shots at world events from a far away liberal city council than fix his street potholes at home; do these 'enlightened-elected's' write condemnations and assign blame for the chaos in Africa and their religious-civil wars? nope--too p.c.; what is Compton going to do at the first discovery of something WMD-like in his port's shipping containers? do you trust him with your safety or for the words to the next stanza of Kumbaya?
Eric said: : "It would be fascinating to know what Mr. Robinson believes the Israeli response should be to a terrorist militia occupying the southern half of its northern neighbor, pledged to destroying Israel, that crossed UN recognized and observed borders, killed and captured Israeli soldiers, and is raining down rockets indiscriminately on Israeli civilians."
What needs to ba added to this is thatthe UN "peacekeepers" sat in their enclaves and (1) allowed the terrorists to bring in a large number of rockets, and (2) those same "peace keepers" allowed the terrorists to fire them repeatedly.
14. Saw a sticker on a car yesterday: Peace is Patriotic. Hmm. My initial reaction was of course to wish I could append a note: Is surrender also patriotic? The Comptons and Robinsons are simply people who believe if we surrender to out enemies they will leave us alone. Any rational analysis of Israel's position indicates that surrendering is not an option unless death is your preferred result. Is this stuff really that hard to understand? In the case of Mr. Robinson he has never seen an enemy of the US he wouldn't prefer to have rule over us.
15. The term "UN Peacekeepers" is a joke. Anyone remember when the UN peacekeepers were in Bosnia during that conflict and transporting the current VP of Bosnia in a UN car which was stopped by Serbs? The UN "peacekeepers" sat there, allowed them to pull the VP from the UN car, and watched as they shot him in the head. Some peacekeepers, huh? The UN has no credibility with me, and hasn't for many years.
This is one of those all-too-frequent "Gee...hmmm...where do I begin?" topics presented by convoluted leftist thinking.
One thing I noted and not mentioned by other posters was this comment from Compton: "For half a century, a generation of American leaders, including Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Cyrus Vance, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, tried to knit together the forces of moderation and compromise, gradually shifting the parties toward talking, not killing." Even going as far as including the detestable Nixon. He wouldn't stoop so low as including Reagan, however. He did manage to include Bush the elder among his pantheon of "good" American foreign policy leaders; a notation that I suspect is unique amongst his collective public writings.
Come to think of it, it's Compton's perception of inherent evil in Bush that allows him to resolve his cognitive dissonance in including Kissinger, Nixon, and Bush Sr. in a positive statement, contrasting how truly evil Bush the Younger is.
Well of course he didn't include Reagan; Reagan tended to deal with thugs as if he was negotiating from a position of strength and moral propriety, a notion that is anathema to America last thinkers.
Act as if people/groups whose raison d'etre is to annihilate you are actually reasonable and that you can have paper agreements that ensure the real impact of lasting peace, and somehow symbolism and unilateral good intentions will win out. It's the music man "think" school of international diplomacy. It's so simple that thinking people would have never thought of it.
17. Compton is a pathetic idealogue who is incapable of critical analysis. How can a person write about the Middle East without mentioning the influence and actions of Iran and Syria? Compton did. He and his ilk offer the mushroom cloud strategy; do nothing until one of ours or Isreal's cities is incinerated. One of N Korea's nuclear bombs is only a long flight away from Terhan or Damascus.
While I agree wholehearedly with Isreal's pounding of the terrorist Hezbollah group and bemoan the far left's too easy tendency to think they can reason with religious fundamentalists, I have to take issue with the view expressed above that Reagan was tough in negotiating with terrorists: in truth, Reagan was a hypocrite in his dealing with terrorists, and was suckered by them repeatedly.
If you're going to condemn the left for its dealings with terrorism, you have to include Reagan, both for his public duplicity and for his cutting and running after the slaughter of 240 marines on his watch.