« Off To The Races | Main | Quote of the Day: Lee Siegel Edition »

July 28, 2006

Cure Worse Than Disease

To follow up on Lindsay's comments here, I think the whole question of whether Israel should have to "put up" with rocket attacks is something of a red herring. As it looks to me, there are really two questions:

1) Can they stop the rocket attacks?

2) If they can't, what's a reasonable course of action?

As basically all military observers, analysts, and reporters agree that Israel stands precisely no chance of grounding Hezbollah's artillery, the question moves onto number two. As it is, some folks seem to believe that nothing save full cessation of Hezbollah's strikes justifies a change in strategy -- Israel obviously can't live with a terrorist group flinging rockets over their borders. But that's not actually true. There are all manner of unpleasant, even deadly, occurrences that societies choose to "live" with all the time. In DC, people get murdered. When that spikes, we put more cops on the street. But we don't declare martial law, and Congress doesn't authorize the US Army to occupy the district. We've all decided that there's a certain number of murders we can live with, because the costs of trying to drop the rate further are too heavy to bear.

Meanwhile, back in Israel, Hezbollah has been tossing rockets into the country for years now, with Tel Aviv hardly judging the bush league provocations worthy of response. Indeed, even during this period, with Hezbollah launching concentrated attacks meant to murder the maximum number of civilians, the death toll has remained rather low, with a couple dozen Israelis killed compared to an assumed 600 or so Lebanese. Indeed, that's still more Israeli dead than Hezbollah killed all throughout the previous period. It seems clear now that a more measured response could've averted extraordinary suffering on both sides. It seems clear now that Israel must figure out what it can live with, because too many are dying within this response.

July 28, 2006 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d834db45bc69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cure Worse Than Disease:

Comments

This "live with" language is ridiculous as it can be easily misconstrued as "do nothing." Israel could have a more measure response while working toward a solution that includes cessation and not have decided to, again, "live with" rocket attacks on their own civilians. Noone should have to "put up" with rocket attacks or murders on their own civilians. The only question is what to do about it and whether it will actually work. With due respect, daily rocket attacks or murders are actually a big f'n problem. But if proven that mass suffering isn't stopping the rocket attacks (and making the political and humanitarian situation worse,) then Israel should just shift tactics, not decide to "live with" the situation.

Posted by: Adrock | Jul 28, 2006 11:48:05 AM

You are not overcome with wrath at the very idea of mentioning Hezbollah in the same sentence as domestic law enforcement?

I predict 50 comments, at least six of which by Captain Toke.

On a marginally more substantive note, I'm no longer really bewildered about why Israel is doing this; now I'm curious. A week ago I thought Israel wanted what they seem to want and they were just choosing a stupid way to pursue it, but no longer. Their alleged goals have become so divergent from their actions that I have to figure different goals and/or different actors driving the actions. Has Jerry Falwell made any massive withdrawals from his bank account lately? Are Israel's leaders taking a page from Nader's well-meaning but fucked-up book and deliberately making things worse in hopes of some cathartic change?

Posted by: Cyrus | Jul 28, 2006 11:50:50 AM

"As basically all military observers, analysts, and reporters agree that Israel stands precisely no chance of grounding Hezbollah's artillery,"

Can you back up that assertion? From what I've heard it is just going to take more time. Since when is a war supposed to take no longer than 3 weeks? And enemy collateral damage be considered above the safety of your own troops?

Israel drops warnings on Lebanese civilians, Hezbollah drops bombs on Israeli civilians. If I was a Lebanese civilian and I saw someone storing rockets or firing rockets in Israel's direction, I would get the hell out of there.

Would we tolerate 100 rockets a day landing in MN cities or TX cities, killing US citizens?

No.

If ten Canadians, most of them terrorists or sympathisizers, had to die for every US citizen killed, so be it. Until either they or us got a handle on the problem, we would have to do whatever we had to to protect our citizens.

We would not just 'get used to it'!

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 28, 2006 11:56:37 AM

Meanwhile, back in Israel, Hezbollah has been tossing rockets into the country for years now, with Tel Aviv hardly judging the bush league provocations worthy of response.

This simply isn't true, Ezra. I agree that a more targeted response would have been the right way for Israel to go, but you're simply wrong to characterize what's been going as "business as usual" in any way for Israel vis-a-vis Hezbollah.

Posted by: Haggai | Jul 28, 2006 12:26:10 PM

I'm speechless.

Posted by: slickdpdx | Jul 28, 2006 12:29:07 PM

I think the problem is that Israel seems to be bombing roads, bridges and even cars full of people trying to "get the hell out of there."

Posted by: john I | Jul 28, 2006 12:35:42 PM

"I think the problem is that Israel seems to be bombing roads, bridges and even cars full of people trying to "get the hell out of there.""

Do you blame Israel for trying to prevent the re-arming of Hezbollah?

Maybe the people should use bicycles or walk. Israeli citizens are suffering as well.

Maybe the Lebanese people should blame Hezbollah, and take action against Hezbollah.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 28, 2006 12:56:14 PM

Adrock's got it right. Despite what people might think, DC or even Detroit have not made a decision to "live with" a certain number of murders - murders which would go away if only we had the army move in.

A nation's military is a tool, and it needs to be used for the right jobs. Soldiers on street corners will not reduce the murder rate.

Blowing up Lebanon will not get rid of Hezbollah.

Posted by: Stephen | Jul 28, 2006 2:12:48 PM

We've all decided that there's a certain number of murders we can live with, because the costs of trying to drop the rate further are too heavy to bear.

The amount tolerated has, indeed, changed. 50 years ago, we didn't have this murder rate, not because people were different, but because society simply didn't tolerate it. No one was wringing their hands over devil's island type punishment. Death penalty was not something that was subject to re-evaluation.

This would stop if we, as a society, have the will to stop it. Currently, we don't.

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jul 28, 2006 2:25:41 PM

I suspect there are larger goals by Israel than retaliation on Hezbollah in Lebanon. They put up with much worse from the Palestinians over the years. Perhaps the more aggressive politicians in Israel are working with the neocons in the US on a new roadmap of the Mideast...I mean why has there been no serious talk of ceasefire from the US?

Posted by: Steve Mudge | Jul 28, 2006 2:25:43 PM

Maybe the Lebanese people should blame Hezbollah, and take action against Hezbollah.

Posted by: Captain Toke

We agree, this would be great, if it were to happen. Why do you think that bombing Lebanon indiscriminately makes it more likely? Semi-serious question there; but the way I understand, you know, politics and human nature and stuff, the current actions of Israel make that outcome less likely, not more. If you need elaboration, read the first paragraph or two of this. Do you disagree?

Posted by: Cyrus | Jul 28, 2006 2:57:41 PM

The amount tolerated has, indeed, changed. 50 years ago, we didn't have this murder rate, not because people were different, but because society simply didn't tolerate it.

Fifty years ago, the murder rate in DC was underreported because most of the victims - just like today - were black.

While we're talking about change and Fred being an idiot, if we're going to discuss society's standards regarding these things we should use national crime stats, rather than just DC, which is an outlier. If we do that, fifty years ago the national murder rate was 5.2 per hundred thousand, and in 2004 the national murder rate was... 5.5 per hundred thousand.

So Fred is full of crap. Pause for surprise!

Posted by: chdb | Jul 28, 2006 3:36:05 PM

I don't think murder is tolerated. Even in Detroit.

Posted by: slickdpdx | Jul 28, 2006 4:14:56 PM

"Why do you think that bombing Lebanon indiscriminately makes it more likely?"

Who is bombing Lebanon indiscriminately?

Hezbollah hides among civilians.

Remember the UN outpost that got hit the other day? The one Kofi Annan said was "deliberate"? One of the UN soldiers who died sent an e-mail to the UN a few days before saying Hezbollah was firing from their (the UN)position and that is why Israel was bombing them. Look it up.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 28, 2006 4:23:21 PM

"Who is bombing Lebanon indiscriminately?"

Israel. Well, it isn't indiscriminate if you consider following every rumor and hunch with a missile to be careful deliberation. But I don't.

"Hezbollah hides among civilians."

Yes. And when we kill those civilians trying to get at Hezbollah, we make the surviving citizens hate us and rally around Hezbollah. Why? Because we dropped the bombs, and Hezbollah is fighting the people who dropped those bombs. Doesn't matter what we think they should do, this is what they actually do.

And don't be so lazy as to refuse to provide a link to something. You goty proof, cite it, don't pull the internet equivalent of referring to "these papers in my hand."

Posted by: Kylroy | Jul 28, 2006 4:42:21 PM

UN Press release - Hezbollah firing from near UN positions

UN Press release, more firing from near UN positions

UN press release, yet more

Retired Canadian General states email from UN soldier killed indicated Hezbollah firing from around their position

Posted by: slickdpdx | Jul 28, 2006 7:00:33 PM

It's a compliment to Israel that they are bearing the brunt of the responsibility to stop the violence. It's because we believe they're reasonable enough to listen. While it would be simple enough to shout at Hezbollah: "Hey! Knock off that terrorizin' already!", we don't expect that message will get through.

Posted by: Grumpy | Jul 28, 2006 7:29:43 PM

"A week ago I thought Israel wanted what they seem to want and they were just choosing a stupid way to pursue it, but no longer. Their alleged goals have become so divergent from their actions that I have to figure different goals and/or different actors driving the actions."

Michael Oren outlines an alternative motive in the Los Angeles Times: “Israel is drawing a line in the sand against the Iranian leaders” and trying to “prevent Lebanon from becoming a fully armed outpost of Iran.” Oren warns of an Iranian “dream of establishing an unbroken arc of Shiite militancy from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf” and points out that one objective in 1982 “was to install a pro-Israeli government in Beirut,” so to allow Iran to dominate Lebanon would be an embarrassment to Israeli prestige. In other words, this had very little to do with security from Hezbollah but was part of a broader political strategy to undercut Iran.

Posted by: Justin | Jul 28, 2006 9:59:44 PM

link

"A retired Canadian General says one of the four U.N. observers killed when Israeli shells smashed into their position in southern Lebanon told him just days before that "Hezbollah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them."

You guys would be so much better informed if you watched FoxNews Channel, the most trusted news organization in America.


Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 28, 2006 11:31:07 PM

Who is bombing Lebanon indiscriminately?

Hezbollah hides among civilians.

Oh, for god's sake. I ask a simple, straightforward, polite and relevant question, and this is your response? Nitpicking one adjective I used? Fine. Forget I said "bombing Lebanon indiscriminately". Instead, the question was "Why do you think that whatever it is Israel has been doing, which at the very least has involved hitting civilian infrastructure apparently intentionally, makes it more likely?" Do you know how to answer a simple question honestly? Are you even interested in trying?

Posted by: Cyrus | Jul 28, 2006 11:40:40 PM

You guys would be so much better informed if you watched FoxNews Channel, the most trusted news organization in America.

Supporting Fox by citing Newsmax? Oh, damn. Was I DougJ'ed? I think so. Got me again.

Posted by: Cyrus | Jul 28, 2006 11:50:03 PM

The poll was done by the BBC and Reuters.

"The Fox News Channel is the most trusted news source in America, according to a new poll released by the BBC and Reuters that surveyed 10,000 news consumers around the world.

Asked which news source they most trusted, 11 percent of Americans named Fox News - more than any other news source in the U.S.

Fox News led the broadcast networks by substantial margins, with ABC coming in at 4 percent, NBC - 4 percent and CBS - 3 percent."

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 29, 2006 12:03:24 AM

"Why do you think that whatever it is Israel has been doing, which at the very least has involved hitting civilian infrastructure apparently intentionally, makes it more likely?"

No, but Israel's top priorty is to protect Israeli citizens. If the Lebanese people choose to blame Israel for their suffering, instead of the true culprit Hezbollah, Israel can't worry about that.

If Hezbollah is using civilian infrastructure to attack Israel, Israel has the duty to take out that infrastructure.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 29, 2006 12:19:13 AM

Captain Toke...about dropping leaflets....Perhaps you should be aware of the fact that this means squat, since the highway leading out of South Lebanon have been bombed, the Airport has been bombed, and South Lebanon continues to be bombed, and this includes roads and civilian buildings. The bombing of all major highways makes the once 1 hour journey to leave Beirut now take 5 hours, which needs to be taken on the very roads that are continuously being bomed. How very kind of the IDF. Those brave Israelis. Might as well put the Lebanese in a cell, lock it up, throw the key in the Atlantic, and then send them a message saying their cell will be bombed in the next few hours, so please leave.

Posted by: Jim | Jul 29, 2006 7:58:57 AM

Captain Toke, nice attempt at being intellectual. Stick to "they started it" and you will have a better argument. I recommend you google Geneva Conovention, or he is the relevant Paragraph for you:

3. In addition to the grave breaches defined in Article 11, the following acts shall be regarded as grave breaches of this Protocol, when committed wilfully, in violation of the relevant provisions of this Protocol, and causing death or serious injury to body or health:
(a) making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack;
(b) launching an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, as defined in Article 57, paragraph 2 (a)(iii);

You see point (b)? It states that if an attack kills civilians, and you have the knowledge that your attack will do so, it is a breach of convention. So it is not, as you would like to believe, the intent that counts. I have never heard such a stupid thing in my life. Israel is aware of the consequences of bombing a civilian building, and does so anyway, and this is against the law. The responsiblity lies on Israel, once it has chosen to drop a bomb that will "cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects."

Also here is a very disturbing pic of something the Israeli's are having their children do. Do people know they are doing this. This is one of the most twisted things I have seen, and I never imagined Israel would stoop to this level. It is the first two pics in this link. I apologise in advance, but I did not have a link with just the two pictures, and got this link from another post elsewhere. The pictures below are VERY DISTURBING, and I really do recommend you not view them. I did, and I am sorry I did.

Sad World

Posted by: Jim | Jul 29, 2006 8:07:46 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.