Wednesday, July 26, 2006

[Middle East, Politics]

From Out of My Spider Hole, to Explain the Obvious.

I'm still on sabbatical, and doing rather well at it. I could go weeks without writing the word "Bush" and suffer very little. However, the righties are behaving more indecently--by an order of magnitude--and I just can't take it anymore. Let's cue Andrew Sullivan, though the numbers are legion:
But I just read the last three pages of posts on the main site, and there's only one even vaguely alluding to the crisis with Hezbollah. That's just plain weird. I know we're not supposed to notice silence on blogs - people are free to ignore all sorts of stories. But the silence can be instructive (hey, I studied with a Straussian).... This would make sense if there were no connections between Hezbollah and Iran and Iraq. Are lefties unable to grapple with complex regional wars? Nah. They're just wimping out.
To recap: the righties, who used 9/11 as an excuse to practice a little masturbatory fantasy and invade Iraq, now criticize the left for being silent on the obvious--and predicted--results of this steaming pile of arrogance and stupidity. The implication is obvious: lefty haters of America love to see Muslim terrorists blow up Jews, particularly when it makes Bush's invasion look like a steaming pile of lies, arrogance, and stupidity. Due to our love of radical terrorism and our hate of America, we can't really bring ourselves to sell out our terrorist champions.

Yeah? Well fuck you and the Hummer you rode in on. No one on the left celebrates the loss of life. We just can't as easily inure ourselves to the deaths of Lebanese innocents and find moral clarity in all of this. The terrorists of Hezbollah are despicable. Nothing excuses their actions, yet reasonable people understand them. The Israeli carpet-bombing of Beirut is despicable. Nothing excuses their actions, yet reasonable people understand them.

Lefties watch, aghast, as events play out. We are mute because, having been sidelined for so long, we are in no position to offer clarifying advice now. Would it have been nice if Pinhead George had called Ehud Olmert and, as his father once did, ask that Israel keep its powder dry while the world came to quick and consensual agreement? Yes. Would it have been nice if George had been engaged in Israel over the past five years? Would we have loved to see a robustly rehabilitated Afghanistan, not a decimated Iraq, form the democratic bulwark upon which peace in the Muslim world might possibly have risen? Would we have appreciated a White House that engaged Iran, rather than call it names and set up a homicidal nut to become President? Yes, yes, yes. But we weren't consulted. We were told that anything short of full agreement with the lies, arrogance, and stupidity of the Bush administration were tantamount to treason.

So to anyone who asserts that our silence amounts to nothing more than further proof of our treason, you can kiss my sweet liberal ass. You're the rat bastards who got us here, you tell us how you're gonna get us out of it.


Anonymous said...

See what happens?! You complain about the news being dull and all hell breaks loose. It's all your fault, you liberal traitor! ;)

Idler said...

"Israeli carpet bombing of Beirut"?

Where's your evidence for this?

This is just unhinged.

Idler said...

Check this out.

Jeff Alworth said...

Idler, it's hard to make a credible claim that I'm unhinged when you send me not to an independent news source, but a right-wing blog. Moreover, the point was clear--go grind your Israel ax elsewhere.

Idler said...

Jeff, you said "carpet bombing," which is beyond inaccurate.

What ax are you grinding?

eRobin said...

I wouldn't invite the people who backed the global pick up truck into the ditch half-full of polluted water and poisonous snakes to be the ones to get it out.

Jeff Alworth said...

Idler, this was a post about Republicans who inexcusably blame Democrats for failing to clean up the mess they made. I said I understand and condemn the actions of both Israel and Hezbollah. I used the phrase "carpet bombing" for effect and I will neither apologize or explain--the intention is obvious to anyone who reads the post.

Idler said...


As tangential as my comment is, I thought it worth making. Carpet bombing has a specific meaning. The "effect" of using it is to magnify Israel's actions in a way that distorts not only the amount but the nature of its use of force.

Hizbollah and its allies work hard to make sure Israel looks as cruel and callous toward civilian life as it can, and comments like this only further the false impression that is already being so effectively spread through the manipulation of reporters.

There is a world of difference between a belligerent that takes trouble to avoid civilian casualties and one that attempts to maximize them—on both sides.

I fear that the failure to recognize the importance of that distinction has helped to legitimize terrorist tactics over the last few decades and has made the world a more brutal place than it already is. That trend is only likely to continue, with results that could be catastrophic for civil society across the globe.

zemeckis said...

way to come out swingin!

and stay away from those easy diversion tactics of rove et al

Jeff Alworth said...

Idler, I don't actually believe that Israel was trying to avoid civilian casualties. In fact, the Israeli ambassador to the UN as much as admitted this on Meet the Press:

"But I believe that after me you will have as a guest my esteemed Lebanese colleague, the special envoy from Lebanon. He’s the one who went on American television only last week and said, and these are his words, “You cannot distinguish between Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanon, between Hezbollah fighters and Lebanese.” In his words, Hezbollah is everywhere in Lebanon. It has become part of Lebanese society. Hezbollah is not just in the south, Hezbollah is everywhere, including in Beirut, including in southern Beirut. It is controlling most of Lebanon. It has headquarters and logistics centers and arms caches all over Lebanon."

He was not particularly coy on this point: Israel, while not exactly targeting civilians, was also not just targeting known Hezbollah strongholds. The morality of their position is in no way clear.

Idler said...


I think you're straining to strike some kind of equivalence where there is a yawning chasm of difference between the two belligerents.

The comments of Gillerman by no means "admit" anything like the deliberate targeting of civilians.

Anyway, it's enough to point out that you at least find it plausible that "Israel doesn't exactly target civilians" while it is abundantly clear that Hizbollah (along with many of Israel's enemies) does. They admit as much and celebrate the killing of civilians when their operations succeed.

One can certainly debate the morality of Israel's actions, given that they have chosen a course that can be assumed to result in some degree of civilian casualties. It could be argued that restraint was a better choice at this point, and that other avenues could be pursued. The contrary can be argued too.

However, knowing that civilians will likely be killed is not enough to render a given campaign immoral. It wasn't in Normandy in 1944, for example.

I don't understand your point about Israel "not just targeting known Hezbollah strongholds." Perhaps you could clarify. I would just note that there are many more legitimate military targets than "strongholds" or bases. Every AAA battery, every rocket launcher, every troop carrier, every arms depot is a legitimate target.