Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Already tragic

Since I'm now in the habit of quoting others, here is a smart and eloquent passage from Michael Totten, buried deep in the comments thread of his recent post:

"What should Israel have done instead? They should have treated Hezbollahland as a country, which it basically is, and attacked it. They should have treated Lebanon as a separate country, which it basically is, and left it alone.

They should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also pro-Israel.

Jounieh is no longer pro-Israel.

Israel thinks everyone hates them, and it's not true. But they will make it so if they do not pay more attention to the internal characteristics of neighboring countries. 'The Arabs' do not exist as a bloc except in the feverish dreams of the Nasserists and the Baath.

Bombing neutrals, persuadables, and friends is strategically stupid. And cruel."

It's already tragic.

1 comment:

Zeke said...

Totten makes some good points, especially with regard to the pointlessly indiscriminate attacks that Israel has been launching during the past few days. It really is an arbitrary kind of cruelty to make targets out of Lebanese Christians, who have never had a dog in this fight to begin with.

That being said, you'd have to be magnificently naive to think that Israel should have treated Lebanon as a "separate country" from Hezbollah, and "left it alone." The fact is, Hezbollah has been perhaps the most influential faction within the Lebanese parliament for at least the last three years, and the organization has been deeply connected to the Syrian government since its formation. So to suggest that Hezbollah is independent of other Arab states, and that it can be dealt with separately from them, is simply not accurate.

The real question, of course, is what the endgame is in this conflict. We are clearly in need of international arbitration, and yet the Bush administration has been frighteningly slow in its involvement. And even if Condoleezza Rice were to hop on a plane to Jerusalem tomorrow, is there really that much she could do? Rice herself has said that she does not believe a cease fire is likely in the near future. So, Mr. Rognlie: what do we do now?