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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Israel Cluster-Bombed Lebanon (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Israel Cluster-Bombed Lebanon
Big C
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Jesse:

Sorry I wasn't engaged in the forum when I got you so angry.

If it's a personal conflict you want, I encourage you to bring a knife, or your fists (with well-scarred knuckles?) to the gun fight.

You're not the only one with friends on both sides of the issue. In my home town I worked in a kosher deli in the late 1960s and early 1970s and got a first-hand look at how one side looks at the "troubles" in the Middle East. From 1971 through 1975 I worked summers as a "recreation director" in a neighborhood populated by Syrians and Lebanese. The influx of these folks after 1973 was so significant after 1973 that my home town had the third-largest Arab population in the US after Detroit/Dearborn and Toledo.

I got along well with both groups and in both societies. I could detect no evil on either side.

In the early 1990s, I met a guy who has become best friend. He is Palestinian-American. He grew up alternating his time between the West Bank and and the United States. His mother still laughs at how her boys used to excel at breaking the windows of Israeli jeeps. His father was a close friend and associate of Yasser Arafat.

Since the mid 1970s I have had a job that lets me see behind the scenes regarding the politics and policies of our country and those in the Middle East.

As I move between interacting with friends and at work, I do a lot of compartmentalizing.

I also have come to some personal conclusions about who I'd like to see come out one top and who I'd like to see defeated in this region.

On a personal/people on the ground level, I see (and agree with) many of your points Jesse. On a macro-political/survival of "my culture" level we obviously disagree.

It would be nice if my side (on the macro level) could come up with a "unified field theory" approach that could defeat the forces I find so abhorrent without resorting to means that leave children without hands.

I thought you deserved a serious anwer.

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Big C
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Jesse:

Sorry I wasn't engaged in the forum when I got you so angry.

If it's a personal conflict you want, I encourage you to bring a knife, or your fists (with well-scarred knuckles?) to the gun fight.

You're not the only one with friends on both sides of the issue. In my home town I worked in a kosher deli in the late 1960s and early 1970s and got a first-hand look at how one side looks at the "troubles" in the Middle East. From 1971 through 1975 I worked summers as a "recreation director" in a neighborhood populated by Syrians and Lebanese. The influx of these folks after 1973 was so significant after 1973 that my home town had the third-largest Arab population in the US after Detroit/Dearborn and Toledo.

I got along well with both groups and in both societies. I could detect no evil on either side.

In the early 1990s, I met a guy who has become best friend. He is Palestinian-American. He grew up alternating his time between the West Bank and and the United States. His mother still laughs at how her boys used to excel at breaking the windows of Israeli jeeps. His father was a close friend and associate of Yasser Arafat.

Since the mid 1970s I have had a job that lets me see behind the scenes regarding the politics and policies of our country and those in the Middle East.

As I move between interacting with friends and at work, I do a lot of compartmentalizing.

I also have come to some personal conclusions about who I'd like to see come out one top and who I'd like to see defeated in this region.

On a personal/people on the ground level, I see (and agree with) many of your points Jesse. On a macro-political/survival of "my culture" level we obviously disagree.

It would be nice if my side (on the macro level) could come up with a "unified field theory" approach that could defeat the forces I find so abhorrent without resorting to means that leave children without hands.

I thought you deserved a serious anwer.

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Jesse
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If you're game, I'm serious.

I think it's important to understand *why* Hezbollah is so succesfull, and to understand how playing the game by their rules strengthens them.

Israeli policies have been patently ineffective and they have made Hezbollah a mainstream hero in Lebanon, rather than the fringe extremist group supported by a minority of Shia'a it was 20 years ago.

Israeli policies in Lebanon have been stupid, they have needlessly cost lives, and they have strengthened our common enemy.

Recognizing that does not mean that I bear animus toward Israel or wish it's citizens ill, or adhere to that common enemy.

The test, for me, is simple. The vast, and I mean vast, majority of Israelis, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Druze, or even Ba'hi, want Israel to continue to exist. That's called a right to self determination, and I'm a believer. [Wink]

It's awfully damn hard, ya know, to convince people peace with Israel and negotiation is possible while civilians are still being killed by CBMs every few days.

Imagine, for a momment, that Hezbollah had a bunch of mines planted in Northern Israel...and came out saying they wanted peace and an end to attacks by both sides, but refused to supply maps of those mines?

We're not going to change the minds of hardcore Hezbollah combatants, who number somewhere between 5,000 and 40,000...but pushing others towards them is idiotic.

Israel is a Democracy with a better human rights record than any other nation in it's region. It is a largely tolerant society. Oh, yeah, and it's borderline socialist [Wink] Of course I don't want to see it destroyed.

I haven't said, you'll note, that Israel illegally attacked Lebanon, or that Israel hasn't got the right to defend it's self from Hezbollahs rocket attacks at all times. Israel, like all nations, has the right of self defense.

However, when cluster munitions are used on emergency workers trying to deal with an oil spill, or used on electrical infrastructure, or civilian manufacturing sites, there are some valid questions to ask.

First, what is the legality? Second, is it productive?

Now, I'm the guy who has said on this board a million times or so that we shouldn't take the words of ex-pats as gospel....but...

I've been told by a friend that as a Lebanese Sunni, "everyone he knew" was glad when Israel stepped in to kick out the PLO, that all the PLO did was get Lebanese killed and that they were a brutal and corrupt gang of thugs that needed to go.

Of course, he also claims that opinion changed as Israel remained, taking sides in the civil war and increasing the death toll after the PLO ran off to Tunisia.

There is a battle for hearts and minds here, and sinking to the level of the advesary isn't the way to win it.

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moodi
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I hate to burst so many people's bubbles here, but I don't believe in the common knowledge that some countries trying to protect civilians in war (especially in the Middle East). Human rights and civilian protection are more like a set of guidelines that nations like to be "associated" with in the International media coverage in order to present a justified and a noble cause to the destruction those countries are inflicting upon the masses.

I think a nations' real character appears best at the darkest of times. As losses rise, it's easy to see how the number of "mistakes" skyrockets causing some big numbers in the kill category on the other side.

The term "Most moral army in the world" besides being a complete B.S. ... doesn't really say much at all.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by moodi:
I hate to burst so many people's bubbles here, but I don't believe in the common knowledge that some countries trying to protect civilians in war (especially in the Middle East). Human rights and civilian protection are more like a set of guidelines that nations like to be "associated" with in the International media coverage in order to present a justified and a noble cause to the destruction those countries are inflicting upon the masses.

Even if that were completely true, so what? These nascent mores are keeping millions of people alive.

quote:
I think a nations' real character appears best at the darkest of times.
And most of those that would pass judgment on the Muslim nations would say the same thing -- what you've described is a recipe for simplistic stereotype. I see the American character in the project to rebuild Europe and Japan after WWI and WWII, as well as in Nagasaki. If you focus on the one to the exclusion of the other then you've not got the whole picture.

quote:
As losses rise, it's easy to see how the number of "mistakes" skyrockets causing some big numbers in the kill category on the other side.
Sure. And if you force doctors to work a double shift, or if there's a shootout in the hospital, physician mistakes increase as well and people die. No set of rules would change that. People under fire and under stress tend to make more mistakes. That's part of what terrorism is all about. Kill civillians and trick the enemy into killing civillians.

quote:
The term "Most moral army in the world" besides being a complete B.S. ... doesn't really say much at all.
Whether it's much or not much from an imaginary ideal perspective, it says more than anyone else can say.
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moodi
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quote:

And most of those that would pass judgment on the Muslim nations would say the same thing -- what you've described is a recipe for simplistic stereotype. I see the American character in the project to rebuild Europe and Japan after WWI and WWII, as well as in Nagasaki. If you focus on the one to the exclusion of the other then you've not got the whole picture.


Pete,
I am not defending or accusing one side here. The American character you are talking about only appeared after all the butt whipping was done. That's not the darkest of times, that would be the brightest (although I believe that we were the ones who introduced the protection of civilians idea).

The rest of the world (especially the Middle East) is an entirely different story. During a war, if no one is looking you could go straight for the jewels under the belt. You could say that this is the nature of war, and I agree with that, but please don't come out to the public claiming to be the Gods of morality and human rights.

quote:

Sure. And if you force doctors to work a double shift, or if there's a shootout in the hospital, physician mistakes increase as well and people die. No set of rules would change that. People under fire and under stress tend to make more mistakes. That's part of what terrorism is all about. Kill civilians and trick the enemy into killing civilians.


You completely missed my point here. Mistakes come in two different flavors: Mistakes and "Mistakes [Wink] " the later comes with a wink.

The mistakes you talked about happen at any phase of the war and are followed usually by a sincere apology and clarifications. "Mistakes [Wink] " come after a painful loss or pre and/or during a political negotiation session. Those happen more often than you think and are more like "code red" in the aspect that they are not documented but understood through the chain of command.

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