Saturday, July 15, 2006

A fight for Lebanon, not against it 

A recent post at Little Green Footballs exploring some Lebanese responses to Hizbullah and the present conflict with Israel pointed out a number of comments such as this:

Please no more empty words
I beg of Israel not to back off!!!!!!
Please ignore the world and really go after hizbalah.
hizbalah is a foreign iranian/syrian implant in our beloved lebanon.
wipe them out , kill their leaders one by one. we want to live in peace with civilized nations.
This kind of response might be surprising to some who expect all Lebanese to support Hizbullah. I know I was surprised about 10 years ago to discover this sentiment in person.

I was living in the US at the time, and worked at a job with a Lebanese coworker with whom I was quite friendly. I had just begun wearing a kippah (Jewish male head-covering) in public on a regular basis, and since I was the only kippah-wearing Jew for many miles around I felt like a fairly conspicuous representative of both Judaism and, by association, Israel. It was about that time that Israel bombed the UN refugee camp in Qana, killing approximately 100 civilians. Without knowing any of the details of what happened or why, all I knew was that I felt terrible for my friend. When I saw him that morning, I told him I was very sorry for what had happened and all of the people who had been killed.

His shocking response surprised me. "More bombs. Keep bombing." He didn't mean that he wanted more civilians killed, obviously. But he told me about the suffering of Lebanese Christians and how much they wanted Hizbullah driven away. He understood that, regrettably, civilians sometimes suffer in war, but that he didn't want Hizbullah granted victory and control over his people just because no one had the stomach to fight them.

I guess I should apologize again to him, that Hizbullah was indeed left in place in control of his people. I hope that the present conflict will have the positive aim of freeing the many Lebanese who want Hizbullah driven out. And as I said before, I hope Hizbullah can be defeated with minimal harm to Lebanese civilians and their infrastructure, because the suffering of the Lebanese people means nothing to Hizbullah, and is useless as a lever for prying Hizbullah loose from the Lebanese people.

Hit Hizullah's leaders and fighters, one by one. Destroy their terrorist infrastructure and weaponry. And perhaps at some point, when circumstances warrant it, the ultimate Syrian responsibility and oversight of Hizbullah can be considered and addressed. Syria's Lebanese proxy can no longer be left to fester in place, launching rockets at Israel with no concern for the sovereign Lebanese people they endanger. Hizbullah cannot be allowed to continue subverting the will of those Lebanese who yearn for peace with Israel just because it does not serve the interests of Hizbullah's Syrian (and Iranian) masters.

I also hope the spirit that drove last year's Cedar Revolution can be rekindled once more, and that the Lebanese who reject Hizbullah's usurpation of their government's sovereign right and responsibility to control the use of arms will rise up to help defeat Hizbullah and establish Lebanese control of its own borders.


Powerline notes the growing Iranian entanglements in the conflict.

SandMonkey has a righteous rant that you'll have to read for yourself, because I'm afraid if I quoted too much of it my blog might melt.

Michael Totten:

the guilty parties - the Baath regime in Syria and the Jihad regime in Iran - sleep warm in their beds while Beirut, a libertine city they hate, takes the punishment for them?

The dictators in the region have always been happy to fight the Israelis to the last Palestinian. Now it looks like they're happy to fight the Israelis to the last Lebanese, too. And why not? Lebanon is a relatively liberal and almost half Christian sort-of democracy. Can't have any of that in the region if you're a totalitarian mullah. It suits Tehran just fine if the Jews slug it out with such people.

Bashar al-Assad promised to make Lebanon burn if his Syrian occupation soldiers were forced out of the country. No doubt he is ecstatic at this latest turn of events. His principal enemies are killing each other instead of teaming up against him like they would in a better and more intelligent world.
RTWT (Read The Whole Thing)

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: