Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Conflict Comes Home

Shootings in Seattle are reportedly based on the conflict in the Middle East.

This business needs to end, now.


S.A.W.B. said...

There's one real quick way to end it, but, nobody wants to hear about it. Turn the whole damn place into a glass parking lot.

For the record, I think the Israelies are completely in the right for taking on Hezbollah, and the Lebanese/Syrian government that backs them. They should perhaps turn their attention to Terhan after they're done decimating Hezbollah in Lebanon/Syria.

Patrick Armstrong said...

You're right, the initial "King Solomon" reaction - if you women can't decide whose baby it is, we just cut it in half - would likely turn into worldwide rioting of Muslims, Christians and Jews and may result in someone returning the favor and making a few glass parking lots out of major American cities.

So yeah, despite the catharsis that would come from ending this conflict finally and absolutely, we must engage in more reality based problem solving.

While I do not begrudge the Israelis the desire to live in a country where isloated missile attacks are no longer included with the evening weather report, they are going to have to make some very tough choices, strategically to break the cycle.

They cannot hope to live in a secure nation when anarchy and chaos reigns on their borders. We cannot hope to live in a secure nation when anarchy and chaos reigns on Israel's borders.

The Lebanese government created during the Cedar Revolution of last year was anti-Syria and anti-Hezbollah, but they never had a monopoly of power in their own nation. This is a huge problem if getting rid of Hezbollah is our (and Israel's) goal.

We will only gain a true upper hand in the War against non-state actors such as Hezbollah when True Muslims (and Lebanese Christians) are outfitted with the tools necessary to clean out Hezbollah on their own terms. We must come to grips with the fact that right now, there is a brutal schism war being waged by radicals against Muslims, Christians, Jews and the West. We also must come to grips with the fact that right now, we are not involving those who would be our greatest allies in this fight.

And let's not get confused about the strategic goals here: Hezbollah is Hezbolla is Hezbollah. Though they have serious materiel ties to Iran, they are not Iran.

Buzzzbee said...

This seems to have been the problem from the start. The word Patrick used is "strategically". It's all about strategy. Iraq, Lebanon, Iran...We have to be smart.

When the debacle in Iraq broke out, I was very openly against it. Not because I'm one of those peaceniks who believe war is never the answer, but because I thought this was a "strategic" mistake that had nothing to do with al-qaeda, would divert troops from Afghanistan, would weaken our hand against Iran and Korea, etc. The Bush administration's thought was that we would be welcomed with flowers and such. Most ludicrous was the idea that the Iraqis would embrace a form of democracy acceptable by western standards and that such a democracy would spread throughout the middle east. In other words, our "strategy" was a utopian million to one shot. Needless to say, that didn't exactly work out for us.

This Lebanon situation is very similar in that the utopian-idea/plan is that Israel can bomb the hell out this democratic country and destroy Hezbollah, without destroying the Lebanese gov't. Once again this is a million to one shot that will likely turn around and bite Israel on the behind.

Yeah, it seems only right and fair that Israel should be able to strike back, but it's not strategically the right thing to do. Adults are supposed to know the difference and realize that life isn't always fair.

For me the most painful thing is the Irony that Americans have been shedding their blood in Afghanistan and Iraq in an attempt to create just the kind of Democracy that is being destroyed in Lebanon. Our gov't isn't just watching it, they're encouraging it. This should make people question the "motive of the moment" in Iraq. If it's liberation and democracy in the middle east we want, why are we letting this democracy be weakened and possibly destroyed?

I happened to catch few minutes of Dennis Miller on HBO the other night. If by some odd chance you don't know who he is, if there was an award for the dumbest guy with the largest vocabulary he'd win it. Anyway, he said he voted for Bush because Kerry is a chess guy and Bush is a checkers guy. He felt Kerry would overthink things whereas Bush would decisively act. I think, while the logic is very wrong, the characterization is accurate. When you look and the middle east today, you can rest assured that it's the result of Bush's Checkers-style foreign policy.

That's my two cents anyway.