Fighting the Long War and Going to the Beach

I am back from Qatar and back at work. I had a very good time. On my last day I went cruising on a dhow and swam in the gulf. Pretty cool. Before I went on pass I received in an e-mail an interesting question. I was asked about what was going on between Lebanon and Israel. I am sure that there are many people back home that are wondering the same thing.

Right now I am reading Stephanie Guttmans book, The Other War, which discusses the media war between Israel and Yasser Arafat’s PLO during the so-called “Second Intifada”. I am continually amazed at the blatant bias directed against Israel in her efforts to secure her borders and protect her people. I knew that Israel always gets a bad rap but Gutmann points out that it didn’t always used to be that way. Israel has morphed from plucky new independent country to monstrous threat to the world at large.

There are a few articles out there that are arguing the case for Israel (and more arguing the case for Hezbollah and Hamas). I have nothing profound to say about the situation that others who are way smarter than me have already said.

Ralph Peters, a former intelligence officer, in his article here points out that the world will eventually pressure the Israelis to stop. Paragraph four is pretty scathing. I quote:

Europeans have more sympathy with Iran's nuclear program than they do with Israel's attempts at self-defense. But, then, the only thing continental Europeans regret about the Holocaust is that they didn't get to finish the job. Even as Europe suffers its own attacks by Islamist terrorists, Europeans defend the selfsame terrorists against Israeli retribution.

LTC (Ret) Peters isn’t kidding. Based on conversations I have overheard at the dining facility and elsewhere, I am embarrassed to report that some of my coalition brethren couldn’t really give one damn about Israel.

There has been much discussion about Israel’s use of force and how it is so disproportionate. For those of you without any military planning experience, you always go into the attack with disproportionate force. In some circles the planning factor for the ratio of attackers to defenders is three to one. When going after an enemy that fights asymmetrically, the ratio is even higher. Pierre Atlas in his article here makes an impassioned defense of Israel’s use of force. Mark Steyn has a biting article here and I quote:

But, when an army goes to war against a terrorist organization, it's like watching the Red Sox play Andre Agassi: Each side is being held to its own set of rules. When Hezbollah launches rockets into Israeli residential neighborhoods with the intention of killing random civilians, that's fine because, after all, they're terrorists and that's what terrorists do. But when, in the course of trying to resist the terrorists, Israel unintentionally kills civilians, that's an appalling act of savagery. Speaking at West Point in 2002, President Bush observed: "Deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend." Actually, it's worse than that. In Hezbollahstan, the deaths of its citizens works to its strategic advantage: Dead Israelis are good news but dead Lebanese are even better, at least on the important battlefield of world opinion.

This supports Guttmann’s thesis that the Israelis are not getting a fair shake in the media.

Speaking of getting a fair shake David Warren in his article here comments on the coverage of the Qana raid. At first the media was screaming that the air raid of Qana was an Israeli massacre and then coverage suddenly stopped. The reason the coverage mysteriously dropped was that the initial coverage was staged by Hezbollah. I quote:

Now look at the media pictures. Immediately you see several fishy things. For one, bodies displayed to media are removed, successively, from a single neat hole in the ruins. There is no evidence of a rescue mission having been mounted, or of a continuing search for bodies elsewhere under the rubble. The battered bodies do not resemble those which are seen after most real explosions and building collapses: their wounds do not look recent. All the blood and gore seems to be on just one body.

Moreover, as bloggers such as "Eureferendum" have demonstrated, by juxtaposing press photos from various newspapers, the men showing off the bodies -- and identified in captions as "Lebanese rescue workers" -- are the same as had been present at previous alleged atrocities. They are obviously not rescue workers, but Hezbollah propaganda agents.

Warren also states in his article that the Israelis dropped leaflets in the area for more than a week telling civilians to leave the area. Hezbollah, after using its rocket launchers from in between the houses in Qana, were moving them into the houses. Unfortunately, Hezbollah has a history of preventing at gun point civilians from leaving an area when Hezbollah needs dead civilians to amplify its message. Hezbollah must bear full blame for any civilian deaths (I am sure that civilians did die at Qana) but we must be cognizant that the Qana raid wasn’t the massacre it is alleged to be.

Why support Israel anyway? Why should we people of the West (North America and Europe) care about the Jews of Israel? What is Israel anyway?

Israel is the only functioning western style democracy in the entire Middle East. They have regular and transparent elections. They have a free market economy. They have an independent judiciary. They have a free press. In short, since Israel became a nation in 1948 they were able to carve out of the desert a pretty nice place to live, prior to that the place was a hovel.

The Israelis have nowhere else to go. They can’t go back to Europe because Europeans can’t stand them and tried to kill them off during WWII (It wasn’t just the Germans, people all over conquered Europe lent the Germans a helping hand). Besides, the enemy of Israel is also our enemy.

Al Qaeda, Hamas, HiG, Hezbollah, et al and their state sponsors (Syria and Iran) want to destroy the west and implement sharia law over the entire world. This is more than forcing Israel to give up land for peace. Israel left Gaza, the West Bank, and southern Lebanon and all they got was more grief. Her enemies want her destroyed.

We should identify with that. We lost close to three thousand people in one day on 11 SEP 2001 and we took the fight to Afghanistan and later Iraq. We need to let Israel do what Israel needs to do. Have I ever criticized Israel? Of course, I am an Information Operations officer and Israel has made some amazing blunders. What I will not criticize is her right to exist.

Victor Hanson, PhD, in this article here sees some similarities between now and the events of the 1930’s. His point is that we westerners are refusing to see what the real enemy is. I quote:

But nevertheless it is still surreal to reread the fantasies of Chamberlain, Daladier, and Pope Pius, or the stump speeches by Charles Lindbergh (“Their [the Jews’] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government”) or Father Coughlin (“Many people are beginning to wonder whom they should fear most — the Roosevelt-Churchill combination or the Hitler-Mussolini combination.”) — and it is even more baffling to consider that such men ever had any influence.

Not any longer.

Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.

Mark my words; we are in for a long war. My sons will probably be called to serve and I will do my best to prepare them for that eventuality. The question remains as to how we are to conduct ourselves. Do we take this seriously or do we just accept the ad hominem attacks to our values.

I close this post with another quote from an article by Peters found here. I quote:

They sunned themselves on the beach where Richard the Lionheart fought. Rockets fell 30 miles up the coast. But these Israelis played volleyball.

They weren't callous. They simply refused to let terror control their lives…………

It's long been a cliche to note that Israel "made the desert bloom" after long centuries of Arab abuse of the soil itself and the destruction of the Biblical landscape of "milk and honey." But the settlers and their children who built Israel did more than irrigate orange groves. They built a civilization where there had been only neglect, decay and oppression.

Above all, the Israelis planted democracy and the rule of law in fields that had been hostile to elementary human decency and dignity for thousands of years.

And on the seventh day, they went to the beach.

CPT NightHawk


Blogger Leo said...

Good Day Capt. Nighthawk; I appreciate your writings. I was on a search for 'carve out' programs and Alternate Dispute Resolution, Conflict Management programs for work injuries and ran accross your column.

First, a little about myself so you get an idea of my world view. I am a RVN vet, 7th/1st Air Cav, 1st Avn Brigade (68-69) Blackhawk.

I believed in what the mission we had in RVN and know it was reinforced by some RVN nationals that escaped and settled in the US. We had a SEATO commitment that was recognized by the civilized communicating (UN) world. But long story short, I feel our values changed and through the political winds abandoned our commitment.

I am not sure if we have the word, values and leadership we had that our forefathers possess. I know they are in the closet, only partially coming out when there is a crisis. But then suppressed due to situational political ethics, greed and believe that is what we maybe engaging today.

My point I want to bring out is the organic or natural laws our Constitution sets forth as the basis of law and order. We are having debates now as in the past "is the Constitution unconstitutional".

In my opinion, it is by those that fail to believe in the Pillars of self evident truth that started this movement. Those 4 pillars of God making all men equal for the pursuit of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. These are 'Judeo-Christian' values. This is what I learned from old school and when we had established international coalitions in the past they generally accepted the same values, and we communicated and found common ground.

My generation celebrated the 'Me' movement which if it felt good, do it, spin it, articulate pyschological socieo-economic multi cultural value and forget the 4 pillars of truth. We incrementally chipped away the bases of these pillars to have an almost free for all society.

In my Conflict Management classes, I find we have scenarios that involve multi-cultural and international relations. We are instructed to leave our biases and try to conform to the others beliefs and cultural attitudes. I try to if we can, but if these self evident truths are not acknowledge we are making irrational escalations to commitment.

One can not talk of peace and live and let live philosophies if one does not believe that God made all men equal. We can try to impart this and hope it is accepted and decern that actions speak louder than words.

Again thanks for your writings.

03 May, 2007 16:10  

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