Monday, July 31, 2006

Sucker Punch.....

A large portion of the civilized world looked on in revulsion yesterday when Israeli warplanes struck an apartment complex in the City of Qana. The Huffington Post has a summary:

The attack took place in the southern Lebanese town of Qana, killing mainly women and children who were taking refuge in the basement of an apartment building. It was the bloodiest clash in this conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Worldwide condemnation of the offensive intensified calls for cease-fire, while protests in Beirut drew international attention. United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a scheduled trip to Beirut and is returning to Washington to work on a resolution to the conflict, although she stopped short of calling for an immediate cease-fire.

This bloody conflict has been going on for more than two weeks now and the death toll mounts alarmingly every day. The situation is being managed by people who are, in my humble opinion, ...let's just say, less than wise. In fact, I might even go so far as saying that the situation is being managed by people who are too foolish, impatient, idealistically driven and, above all, arrogant.

Supporters of Israel point out that the massive and disproportionate loss of civilian life in Lebanon is the fault of the Hizbollah because they use civilians as sheilds and often launch their random but deadly rocket attacks from the middle of civilian neighborhoods. In fact, the killing of four UN Observer personnel in an outpost in Southern Lebanon was blamed on Hizbollah for launching rockets either from or "near" that site (depending on whose propaganda you want to believe).

Make no mistake about it. Hizbollah is bad news. Their random rocket attacks kill Israeli civilians with sickening regularity. An also make no mistake about this: Hizbollah DOES use civilian populations as cover. But for Israel to strike those targets regardless of the presence of civilians under the guise of self-defense is just, plain stupid.

Why stupid?

Well, for one thing, deaths of civilians do nothing but bring more recruits to the ranks of Hizbollah. For another, civilian deaths bring about world-wide condemnation and erode international support for Israel and finally, because (as my old farmer friend, Russ, used to say) "This ain't my (or Israel's) first load of cabbages!"

Not only has Israel been down this road before, but they have also had the luxury of watching the United States bat it's figurative head against the proverbial wall trying to fight a popular insurgency in Iraq with little or no success since 2003. Anybody who has paid attention to the news or world events in general for the past 30 years or so knows that any extremeist organization with even a modicum of popular support in the general populace, will hide among them and, hence, use them as a defacto shield. Striking those civilian "shields", or "targets" (again depending on which press releases you read) is self-defeating for all the reasons cited above but the leadership of Israel, backed by the leadership (puke) of the United States, believes that they have to play the John Wayne role with their electorate in order to stay in power. Even if John Wayne foolishly walks into the trap Hizbollah has set.

I'm not even going to get into the purported reasons that George W. Bush has for allowing the conflict to go on, or, for that matter, the total incompetence of Condi Rice...just one issue at a time here.....and this one is simple, Israel is being "sucker punched" by Hizbollah.....

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