Monday, July 31, 2006
The Guardian, which does some great stuff even if it is suffused with the paper's lefty politics, is embedded with Hezbollah fighters. The most astonishing thing about linked article is the degree to which Hezbollah fighters admit to outrageous and illegal conduct, confident that the world will simply blame Israel. All emphasis added.
On living with civilians:
Inside a well-furnished apartment in a village on the outskirts of Tyre, with shelves of books piled from floor to ceiling, a black turbaned cleric and three men sit sipping bitter coffee. By the door is a pile of Kalashnikovs and ammunition boxes; handguns are tucked into the men's trousers. The four are Hizbullah fighters, waiting for the Israelis.
On patience, which a Hez cleric correctly identifies as their "main virtue":
"Patience is our main virtue, we can wait for days, weeks, months before we attack. The Israelis are always impatient in battle and in strategy," says the cleric, Sayed Ali, who claims to be a descendant of the prophet. "I know them very well."
I suppose that hints at the planning that went into this war.
On education "abroad" and coming home:
Ali does know the Israelis. He started fighting them at the age of 17 when they invaded Lebanon in 1982. Three years later he was arrested with two of his comrades and spent a few months in an Israeli prison. Within weeks of his release he was fighting them again.That's what he did for the next six years.
For the last five years he has been finishing his theology studies in Tehran. A month ago, he was asked by Hizbullah to return to southern Lebanon. He arrived a week before the fighting began.
Got that? He was summoned back to Lebanon before the fighting began. To put it in World War I terms, Hezbollah is admitting to have mobilized first. If that does not reflect its state of mind just before their attack, I'm not sure what would.
On the equity of Hezbollah's system of "taxation":
According to Ali, Hizbullah operates as "a state within the state", with its own hospitals, social organisations and social security system. "But we are also an Islamic resistance movement, an indoctrinated army," he adds. "I would go and knock the door at someone and say we need $50,000, he would give me [that] because they trust us."
Oh, sure. The Lebanese guy forks over his fifty grand to an "indoctrinated Islamic resistance movement" because he trusts them to provide excellent social services.
On free will, and child labor:
Hizbullah prides itself on its secretiveness and discipline. "We don't take anyone who knocks at our door and says 'I want to join'. We raise our fighters. We take them when they are young kids and raise them to become Hizbullah fighters. Every fighter we have believes that the ultimate form of being is martyrdom." The three men nod their assent.
"Every one of those fighters is a true believer, he has been not only trained to use guns and weapons but [indoctrinated] in the Shia faith and the Husseini beliefs," Ali says.
On the war of the Shia against the Sunnis:
For Ali and his comrades, the latest conflict is a war of survival not only for Hizbullah but for the whole Shia community. It is not only as a war with Israel, their enemy for decades, but also with the Sunni community. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have all expressed fears of Iranian domination over the Middle East.
"If Israel comes out victorious from this conflict, this will be a victory for the Sunnis and they will take the Shia community back in history dozens of years to the time when we were only allowed to work as garbage collectors in this country. The Shia will all die before letting this happen again."
Unfortunately for Israel, the typical Sunni does not see it this way. Hezbollah seems to have pulled something over on them.
On the futility of a diplomatic solution:
He says that even if the international community calls on Hizbullah to disarm as part of a peace deal, he and his men will not lay down their arms. "This war is episode two in disarming Hizbullah. First they tried to do it through the Lebanese government and the UN. When they failed, the Americans asked the Israelis to do the job."
On fighting to the last Lebanese civilian:
"Things are going very well now, whatever happens we are winning. If they keep bombing us we will stay in the shelters, and with each bomb more people support the resistance. If they invade they will repeat the miserable fate they had in 1982, and if they hold one square foot they will give the Islamic resistance all the legitimacy. If they want to kill Hizbullah they have to kill every Shia in the south of Lebanon."
On next steps:
And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."
Bear in mind, this isn't Fox News writing this, it is The Guardian. And yet, the entire world wants Israel to lay down its arms unilaterally. Why? I think we all know the reason. The world supports an organization such as Hezbollah in its fight against Israel for only one reason: deep regret that Hitler didn't finish the job. What other reason could there be?
We are back to the time of Chamberlain and Hitler.
On one side a world to scared or complacent to contemplate doing what must be done. On the other side those willing to do anything, use anything or anyone, to get to victory.
"We take them when they are young kids and raise them to become Hizbullah fighters. Every fighter we have believes that the ultimate form of being is martyrdom."
Like the ancient Chinese practice of binding women's feet, their child-rearing practices stilt the growing mind and turn it into a grotesque, stilted version of the real thing. The Wikipedia description resonates:
"The feet would remain small and dysfunctional, prone to infection, paralysis, and muscular atrophy."
"The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."
First they went after the Jews, then they went after the Lebanese politicians and anyone who spoke out against them...
This is all so familiar somehow.
Screwy and Lanky, the demands of the demonstrators (and, to some degree, the politicians) are not for a bilateral ceasefire, but for a unilateral one. The practical effect is that Hezbollah should be allowed to shoot at Israelis but Israel should not respond. What explanation is there for this other than a desire to see Hezbollah achieve its war aims? Please explain.
Dude, you're going off the deep-end and losing credibility when you start seeing Hitlers everywhere. That's no different than calling Israel's actions some sort of new holocaust (though, come to think of it, your friend Dan-O seems close to advocating a final solution to the Muslim problem).
There are arguments for "hard-nosed realism", peace-through-strength, etc., and perhaps calls for a cease fire can be labelled "naive". But I think that's a mighty big leap you're making to get to genocide. If anything, calls for a cease fire actually show great faith in the strength in Israel: a lot of people don't really see Hezbollah as a threat to Israel's existence, and therefore bombing the crap out of Beirut seems like a severe over-reaction. Again, you could reasonably argue that Hez IS such a threat, but just because you disagree with their analysis doesn't make them Hitler.
There's a few who would like to see the Jews exterminated, but they aren't many.
There are antisemites-lite, who "just" want Israel to be destroyed on the curious assumption that afterwards the Jews will be just fine.
The majority are, I think, tranzists who see a ceasefire of any kind as an end in itself, without regard for the reasons of the conflict. It's the same of those wanting to "negotiate" al lthe time: for them, negotiating is a success in itself even if no real progress is made.
That's my opinion.
OK, so violating Godwin's law isn't the most effective rhetorical device -- point taken. But Fabio's argument cannot be true either, or we would see signs demanding a ceasefire from Hezbollah. No, the demands from most world leaders and virtually all demonstrators are for a unilateral cease fire. Without the Hitler rhetoric -- my bad -- why would you advocate a unilateral ceasefire unless you wanted Hezbollah to achieve its war aims?
Tigerhawk -- If you look at the visceral anti-Semitism (Israeli flags with swastikas on it) of "anti-war" demonstrations, your "my bad" Nazi suspicions are not far off.
There's another explanation, however -- the Gramscian Left believes that any action in defense of white, capitalist culture is ipso facto wrong. The oppressed brown people can do anything, we cannot attack or criticize them because that is racist. Get it?
quantum - These people hated Israel when it was socialist. As for being "white" -- I have never met an Arab who didn't consider himself white. Jews and Arabs come from the same part of the world. Oh, sure, many Jews lived in Europe for 15 centuries or so, but not many Europeans converted to Judaism. So I still don't get it.
Without using "tainting" analogies, I think at best one can call implicit support of Hezbollah misguided, and calls for a ceasefire idealized or utopian. To defend the ceasefire crowd, they could argue that they think a cease fire is in Israel's best interests, preserving their morality, etc etc.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I disagree completely with that logic, as does the democratically elected leadership of Israel and the US. (at least for the moment).
To suggest that Israel is somehow better served by unilaterally stnading down to Hezbollah is a tough argument to argue for -- and I somehow doubt our cease fire crcowd will adopt that posture. Instead, they will presume that Hezbollah will stand down -- in good faith I suppose, or because it will be "in their interests." I hardly see where the empirical evidence resides to make that argument, but it is the only plausible argument to be made other than just acknowledging you wish Israel didn't exist and wnat them to lose.
Frankly, I wish those who feel that way would just acknowledge it. Have a few drinks, drive around and open up on the Jews...oh, Mel gibson just did that I see...
The world supports an organization such as Hezbollah in its fight against Israel for only one reason: deep regret that Hitler didn't finish the job. What other reason could there be?
While the rest of your post is fine (and appreciated), I find this conclusion a little biased. I don't think the collective terrorist mind of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, yada, yada, yada, have any particular knowledge of Hitler or his minions - except perhaps some superficial awareness that it happened. While our parents and grandparents remember WWII and Hitler quite well, the average terrorist seems to me to be unaware of that cause.
It's more of a "us against the world" mentality - driven by an ideology that says 7th century Islamic law is the only law. If Israel ceased to exist today there would still be no peace in the Middle East. Terrorists hate anything that smells of freedom or liberty - they cannot make those free decisions. Lebanon would be the first casualty - if not already occuring. If it ain't in the Koran, it's evil. If it were Italians in Israel, there would be an all out campaign specifically aimed at Socialism and the Roman Catholics. If Jordan had been given the Israel land, there would be a Sunni-Shia war still going on. The barbarian mind behind Hezbollah wants to rule the world - regardless of the price they pay. And until the rest of the world - particularly the free world - turns on their collective moral clarity in firm condemnation of Iran sponsored and Syrian implemented terrorism, it will continue.
Don't apologize, Tigerhawk. It is NOT a violation of Godwin's law to bring up the Nazis when you're talking about people who actually want to annihilate the Jews. This category includes at a minimum Hizbullah, Hamas, and the rulers of Iran since 1979.
tblubrd: TH's point wasn't about Hezbollah's mindset, it was about "the world's" mindset in supporting Hezbollah. You're probably right that Hezbollah couldn't give two s**ts about Hitler apart from his hatred for the Jooooooz (after all, once the Jooooooz are gone Hitler would become just another dhimmi to them), but to the extent that "the world" fits TH's characterization of it, that shared anti-Semitism would be all they'd need to make implicit common cause.
That said, I'm not sure it's exactly anti-Semitism that's behind it. Instead, I suspect that what we're witnessing, at least from western Europe, is the result of two longstanding pieties coming into conflict: On the one hand, the "never again" ethos adopted in response to the Holocaust; on the other, the Euro-PC repentance against Europe's colonial legacy.
Since the state of Israel amounts to both an attempt at restitution for the Holocaust and a de facto European colony carved out of the Muslim world, it represents a touchstone for both of these memes. As such, it has left Europe's PTB in the unenviable position of having to choose which of these memes should be given precedence - or perhaps more accurately, of prioritizing the "colonial repentance" meme while at the same time trying to maintain plausible deniability that the "never again" meme has been de-valued or abandoned.