Tuesday, August 01, 2006

That elusive and mystical 'middle ground'

Kevvyd is a thoughtful liberal blogger who wonders at the reaction of some bloggers on the right, to photographic proof of Hezbollah fighters in residential areas.
I mean, why is this news - we know that is the way terrorists operate. So why do some bloggers feel the need to wave this as if it is some kind of victory in an argument? Is it supposed to convince me somehow that killing more civilians is the answer to the problem? (...) I think that most of us on the peaceful middle ground side and those on the bomb Hezbollah into the earth side want the same thing in the end - an end to killings in Israel and Lebanon and the long-term establishment of peace. It's not like when I write that I think a military solution to this problem is untenable and unlikely to work that I'm really saying "go Hezbollah!" (...) Is that how I'm being heard on the right?
I guess what some of us are hearing is that you peaceful middle grounders feel it's best for Israel to ignore Hizbollah's munition installations when they are within civilian areas.

Given that Hizbollah consistently and deliberately operates within civilian populations -- to the point that their fighters dress in civilian garb -- are those who condemn Israel for civilian deaths suggesting that Israel should simply ignore Hizbollah and allow them to amass arms and launch missles at Israeli civilian targets with impunity?

People on the peaceful middle ground side insist that isn't what they mean, but if Hizbollah hides in neighbourhoods and they believe that Israel should avoid targeting neighbourhoods -- what exactly do they mean?

It is a fiction that there is some magical 'middle ground' ---that if Israel tried hard enough -- it could click its heels and end the annihilative aims of Hizbollah and its fighters. Such a place as middle ground doesn't exist. Impartiality is evil in the face of evil. It opens the door and keeps the door wedged open for fear of stating the truth -- at no time, in no way can Hizbollah ever be 'right' or 'okay' or even tolerated. Some ideologies are wrong. To suggest negotiation or compromise is to give a terrorist group legitimacy.

The peaceful middle ground side relies on words like 'compromise', 'negotiation', and 'neutrality'. It suggests that with enough concessions (by Israel, because Hizbollah is making none), Hizbollah will miraculouslly become a sane, rational entity and abandon its toxic ambitions.

But this isn't a war about a bit of territory as Hizbollah is now trying to pretend. Some farmland that is now a wasteland and which never belonged to Lebanon in the first place, is neither the catalyst to war, nor the key to peace. This is a war about the very existence of Israel. Those who see it as less than all-or-nothing are ignoring history. The Arab-Israeli wars of the past 60 years have been about the destruction of Israel -- the only reason that doesn't seem apparent is because Israel has won. As Golda Meir said of Israel: We don't thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient.

There can be no compromise with the goal that Hizbollah harbours. The fact that their munitions seem unequal to the task of destroying Israel doesn't negate the threat -- they're not only fighting with weapons, they're fighting with lies and strategies that feed the peaceful middle grounders in the West and they're fighting with the souls of men who don't fear death, but welcome it when it comes in pursuit of the destruction of Israel and Jews.

Neutrality is a diplomatic term -- it's meant to imply a goal of peace, and yet when applied to the Middle East it ignores truth. There can't be peace without truth -- the truth is Hizbollah does not want peace. So long as one side in a dispute does not want a peaceful resolution -- the other side can reason, bargain, compromise, and negotiate but peace will never be achieved. To ask Israel to be the sole player in the 'peace process' is just plain stupid.

Even those of us on the bomb Hizbollah into the ground side aren't suggesting that 'killing more civilians' is the answer -- but neither is ignoring Hizbollah and allowing its aggression to go unfettered. It seems that the peaceful middle ground crowd is fantasizing that we live in a world where there are easy answers when dealing with psychopaths. If there were workable alternatives to bombing Hizbollah strongholds while not risking Israeli lives, surely someone would have thought of one by now.

A unilateral ceasefire is suicide. When you tell Israel to stand down, and you know Hizbollah is going to continue to be armed by Syria and Iran while it digs in and maintains its positions in civilian populations and continue its rocket attacks -- you are in fact saying 'Go Hizbollah'. Maybe you aren't meaning to, but you are.



jo said...

I don't understand people in the "peace" movement. Have they never studied history? Have they never seen that evil steps forward every time "peace" steps back. I fear for civilization with people like these asking nothing of evil and everything from the ones who want only to be left alone.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else catch the CPAC farce where the Liberals and NDP laughed and smirked when Hezbollah was refered to as a terrorist group, and the comments from the Separatists was so ironic .

Quebec wants to be it's own Nation while surrounded by parts of Canada and be allowed to have a Army to defend it from any threat
launching an attck from a border province that ignores the risk to civilians from a Military response from Quebec.

Now they jump on Israel for being a Nation with a distinct Culture and Identity they want to protect from a influx of unlike values,languages and a Governing religion base for Laws and Social norms.
Plus , when a request was made to speed up things by having the CIDA witnesses speak and get back to the Humanitarian Crisis that the NDP said should have been Harper's priority , it took about 1 hour to vote on not wasting time while Lebanese die and suffer from a lack of clean water and Medical supplies.

Some Crisis , Oppositions demand a return to Parliament to deal with the Middle east violence and it ends up a Jew-Bashing hatefest by the NDP boasting that Hezbollah now has a 84% support rate from the Lebanese and Israel isn't following the geneva convention rules for dealing with Hezbollah.

Even after we saw a UNIFIL canadian killed the NDP's answer is to call another cease-fire and send in Peacekeepers.
This is the same Alexa McDoughna
that jumped on her moral soapbox and said Afghanistan needed an "Exit" plan before keeping out troops there another Tour of Duty.
Darfur was Layton's big concern, now it's Lebanon , and this while they propped up the Liberals that gutted our Military and toook away any ability to rescue people from Lebanon.

I now see that the so-called massacre in Qoana has doctored photos and bodies that appear to have been dead before going into the building that was hit, several young males have military fatigues with fake blood that stays red on a dark green material.
Reporters can only confirm seeing 4 bodies removed while the news was told almost 60 died , and still no Hezbollah found with all those women and children martyr's.

TrustOnlyMulder said...

Why give them time to reload? What people are failing to understand is how small a nation Lebanon really is.

Even at a snails pace every citizen could have walked to Beirut by now. EVERY Citizen.

If innocent civilians are warned over and over with leaflets, news, etc. and they have not left yet, tough noogies. They are supporting Hezbollah. The babushka'd grandma is cooking them their food. The children are carrying guns now too. The wives are there to give their fighters "release" when they come home from a long day of firing rockets and shooting guns.

They need to just get up off their asses and walk north. It's not hard to understand.

james higham said...

This is only a gesture of solidarity. I am a regular commenter on Stephen Pollard's site, the only real voice for Israel over there. I'm not Jewish but ran a piece called Israel is the vanguard on my site and it's good to see some Canadians are also onside.

kevvyd said...

We are bound to disagree on this, you and I, but I don't think that we differ in our goals. I think that part of the problem is that the use of terms like "evil" when describing the methods and the nature of groups like Hezbollah serves to make it more difficult to find solutions. The one thread running through my thinking and musings on this topic is that there are fundamental reasons that these groups exist, and you can't get rid of the groups until you've dealt with these underlying reasons.

I don't advocate simply giving in to unreasonable demands like "Israel has no right to exist". Their goals may be unattainable and unconscionable, but they feed on the support of people that generally have attainable, indeed mundane goals. Deal with their goals and terrorist organizations have less support and you have a better chance of taking them out with smaller non-military operations.

By ham-handedly attacking Hezbollah, the Israelis might have reduced the number of their fighters and ammunition in the short-term, but they have made it immeasurably easier for them to recruit support in the future. You can't attack these guys and hope they go away - the best you can hope for is to just stay ahead of them in an endless game of whack-a-mole with new terrorist factions, which really is what is happening now.

I don't deign to speak for the "peace movement", because frankly it's silly to think that such a large group of people thinks with one brain. However, I have studied history and I can't help but note that attacking terrorist groups has not lead to their extinction. Maybe we should try to figure out how they come about and attack that instead.

That's all I'm saying.

Canadi-anna said...

kevvyd, in one breath you tell me that groups like Hizbollah are not inherently evil, they must have mundane goals as well as the ultimate one of destruction -- and in the next breath you tell me that this will never be over, it's like a game of whack-a-mole because they are so inherently angered that it's just a matter of time before a new faction appears with the same old 'root causes' and end goals.
Which is it, do they want short-term concessions to make peace, or do they really just want war. This is where we differ. I say they want war. Period.

You suggest that Israel's response to Hizbollah's aggression is a 'recruiting tool' --- give me a break. When are people going to realize that any petty grievance is their recruiting tool -- real or imagined. They don't want peace. Say it with me now They don't want peace.

Evil is the only word for Hizbollah. It is not exaggeration. It is not hyperbole. Their purpose is to destroy. Even if they serve meals to the homeless or love dogs, their goal is to destroy.

Despite what decent, caring people like you might think, there are no 'good people' who just fall in with a terrorist organization and no terrorist organization has a good side.

People can't be pushed into desiring the wholesale destruction of other people --- if normal, sane human beings could be pushed into terrorism because of mistreatment, or because of a 'disproportionate response' by an enemy nation, you'd have to expect the Jews and Israelis to be clamouring for the blood of its persecutors -- think of the history of Jews in Europe and the Middle East --- who has a big bunch of grievances? Israel and the Jews. And what do they do? They live peaceably in the Europe that tore them apart and betrayed them a couple of generations ago and in the midst of a war they drop fliers warning civilians to flee; they telephone before shelling the homes of known terrorists; they wait until they figure Hizbollah has expended all its rockets so they don't create a larger detonation than necessary when they bomb them.

That is the response of good people driven to war.
Hizbollah is evil.
Let's say it again: Hizbollah does not want peace.

Linda said...

Hizbollah and its ilk are to society what cancer is to the human body: an evil that must be destroyed in order that the body may live. And when you're fighting for your life against cancer, there's no 'peaceful middle ground'.

kevvyd said...

I didn't say "Hezbollah isn't evil", what I said was "the use of terms like "evil" when describing the methods and the nature of groups like Hezbollah serves to make it more difficult to find solutions".

The distinction is not even subtle.

kevvyd said...

Clever analogy; haven't read it a hundred times this week. Sorry for sounding snotty, but analogies are only analogies. The fact of the matter is that terrorism is not a disease - people for one aren't cells, and bombing isn't chemotherapy. Fighting cancer might require a harsh solution, and perhaps so does terrorism, but when you apply such harsh solutions to people they often don't simply die, they turn against you.

And if, just if, hopelessness and festering distrust actually serve to fan the flames of terrorism, then harsh responses can only work by killing everyone.

Canadi-anna said...

Kevvyd -- so if we refrain from stating the truth, finding solutions will be less difficult?

I would think that it's easier to find a solution to a problem when one is realistic about what the nature of the problem is.

If I were to say that Hizbollah is a group of misguided, angry people, it would be a partial truth, but it would give the impression that Hizbollah is no more dangerous than a group of teenagers hanging out at the local plaza, tagging to vent their frustrations about their parents.

English gives us the luxury of using precise words to fit the meaning we want to convey. When I express my belief that the methods and nature of Hizbollah are evil -- I am not making them evil. The opinion 'Hizbollah is evil' doesn't make them difficult to deal with --- their being evil is what makes a solution 'difficult'.

Obfuscating is what makes solutions difficult.

Your response to Linda doesn't fly. Alcoholism isn't a disease, and yet people are always claiming it is in order to excuse their actions -- no one puts the bottle to their lips. But Hizbollah and like ideologies are in fact, more similar to a disease. They spread and fester, poisoning the minds of the adherents and threaten the whole society in which they operate.
We use analogy to illustrate a point -- and despite it having been used alraedy, 'cancer' is an apt analogy here.

Terrorists fan the flames of terrorism. It isn't our distrust that drives them - it is their evil ideology. And if terrorists were truly 'hopeless' they would shrivel up and die not turn their venom outward- as it is, their 'hope' of Islamic heaven does more to feed the flames than Israeli retaliation could.

Anonymous said...

I believe the statements with regard to "annihilating Israel from the map" are accumulating to a "disproportionate" degree. Ahmedinejad has reiterated same today.

Put that together with news that bin Laden's son, Saad, has, according to reports, been released from Iranian house arrest to join Hisballah's guerilla forces and that translates to terrorist orgs. readying to take on coalition forces.

Israel is now being besieged on all FOUR SIDES at this writing.

Yesterday, 230 plus rockets assailed its sovereign soil -- with Ahmedinejad reporting he has nuclear capability now. See MEMRI for source.

Israel must stop apologizing for defending its soil and putting its soldiers at risk giving prior notification of targeted Hisballah attacks.

The civilized world better get it straight and fast -- Islamic hegemony is on the move to eradicate not only Israel, but Western civilization itself.

The date of Aug.22nd is significant in Islamic tradition as it relates to the expected 'return of their Mahdi' -- their version of our 'Messiah' and it is on Aug.22nd that Iran has stated it will return its answer to UNSC regarding its nuclear concessions.

Either Ahmedinejad's boast of nuclear capability now is empty 'propaganda' or the threat is real. No wonder region's armies are on 'full alert' status.

Linda said...

Kevvyd -- Been out on the beach and visiting with relatives, so sorry for the delay in responding. Thanks for the lesson on the safe and proper usage of analogies – including ‘stale’ ones. I’ll be sure to let my editor know that I may soon be certified to identify and aptly apply them – he’ll be thrilled, I’m sure.

(WARNING – unoriginal analogous example ahead) I’m sure the Allied Powers were less concerned about the Nazis and their Axis friends turning against them – in fact, I’m quite sure they actually anticipated this (the preceding was thinly veiled sarcasm masquerading as understatement) – than in obliterating the threat they posed. Did the Allies kill every Nazi? No. Does Nazism still exist? Yes. But its most virulent manifestation was destroyed. In this sense, terrorist groups are analogous to Hitler’s Nazis – both are evil ideologies deserving of annihilation. Of course, evil will never be annihilated (on this side of heaven anyway) but the first step in doing so is to acknowledge evil for what it actually is. The West’s current inability to do so is, in large measure, the cause of much of our society’s ills, including the current crisis. As the morally-challenged Captain Jack Sparrow (hilarious fictional pirate currently appearing in summer blockbuster) would say, “Savvy?”

kevvyd said...

When I express my belief that the methods and nature of Hizbollah are evil -- I am not making them evil.

It is the belief element of what is "evil" that makes the term unhelpful. Calling them evil might make you feel better and might even make it easier to do evil things to them in return, but ultimately that just produces more evil. It is over-simplifying to say that this is the reason the mid-east is such a mess now, but it certainly has played a role.

Furthermore, the retaliatory attacks by Israel on civilians and infrastructure in Lebanon has created more Hezbollah than existed before - people will rally when facing an outside invader. If the Israeli goal is really to kill Hezbollah, they are falling behind.

anonymous - Things are indeed getting very scary in the last few days. I hadn't actually heard about bin Laden's son - interesting.

linda - Beach, sounds nice; my holiday starts tonight.

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure if I understand the analogy. If what you are saying is that the Allied nations attacked the "Axis" powers generally and worried not about winnowing away support of the Axis, then you are mainly right, but I'm not sure how it applies here.

terrorist groups are analogous to Hitler’s Nazis – both are evil ideologies deserving of annihilation.

Now this is a bit more clear. I would like to clarify what we're talking about here - we know who the Nazis are, and I assume when you say "terrorist groups" you mean "groups using terrorism as a tool or tactic". As I write in a riff on this conversation here, terrorism is a tactic of battle. It is not nice, maybe "evil", but certainly not unheard of - depending on how you define it, even the Allied nations used similar tactics. Evil?

So perhaps what we really are talking about is not so much terrorism itself, rather the goals of the groups in the Mid East (to keep the discussion germaine) that employ terrorist tactics to further their ends. Therefore what we really are saying is that you oppose the goals of certain groups like Hezbollah, and you term their goals "evil". At the same time there are members of Hezbollah that are also opposed to your views and therefore they can with equal right use the term "evil" to describe you. My point above is simply that the use of this kind of term is so subjective that it proves not to be useful or helpful.

To get to my point, I did have one, oh yeah... To go back to your original comment, I am not advocating a "peaceful middle ground". As we all well know, news coverage in our day broadcasts the hot and the bad ("if it bleeds, it leads"), and the destruction of homes and lives at the hands of the IDF is getting massive coverage in the Arab world. This can only serve to create sympathy for the victims and anger toward the aggressor. That much of the population is pre-disposed to distrust Israel and America already, this might just be a start. I'd be willing to bet that this is exactly what Hezbollah wanted in the first place. I am merely suggesting that we stop playing the terrorists' game.

Anonymous said...

After the allies' have expended thousands of lives, $400 billion and growing particularly in Iraq to bring democratic reform to ME, I don't think it is a fair assessment to sum it up that the West is itself "playing the terrorist game."

Today, tens of thousands of Iraqi shias demonstrated (albeit peacefully according to U.S. military sources) in support of Hisballah and its leader. The majority shia supporting Hisballah terrorist org's first aggression against Israel's sovereign soil.

If Israel at this hour ceased and desisted in war propagation, the state would face extinction probably within days. And this is Hisballah's stated goal (along with dozens of similar factions within Syria and Iran). Israel's current military policy is their only option.

Ahmedinejad reiterated once again at emergency Arab nations meeting in Malaysia his stated objective of eradicating Israel from map. France, condemned the statement unequivocally. The myriad extremist terrorist orgs have cleared solidified their position on Israel's future existence in world forums.

The position simply stated is this: Neighbour, you know that I exist and I have every right to exist, but, you neighbour have no right to exist on your territorial rooted land, therefore, it is my right and obligation (according to the precepts of my fundamental relgion) to eradicate your presence (Israel) from our midst.

That's the situation in a nutshell and extreme Islamists' condemnation of Israel in the self-defense measures it can't afford to continue translates to all semblance of 'rule of law' being abandoned for all time to come.

Iraq as of today proved itself a failed fledgling democratic state by majority (shia) opting to support terrorist org and its charismatic leader, Nasrallah.

Bottom line, the U.S. and allies have wasted lives, resources, finances, reconstruction efforts to have it all divolve to Iraqi nationals supporting terrorist orgs inflicting repeated acts of aggression including suicide bombings, employing a rocket arsenal supplied by Syria and Iran with source of supply from Russia and China. Where is the accountability.

Furthermore, Hisballah, Hamas, Al Qaeda hide their bravado and weapons under the their women and children's beds and cry foul when Israel's precision instruments identify and target the source AFTER having air-dropped leaflets in advance of attack on area. These warnings were not reciprocated by Hamas when conducting scores and scores of suicide bombings on Israeli buses, restaurants, wedding ceremonies, etc. et. al.

All apologists for terrorist attacks on any and sovereign soil must reevaluate their stance based on pinned down FACTS. All legitimate societies must renounce association and approval of internationally identified terrorist factions which have globally wreaked havoc affecting nation after nation.

Today, to my view, Iraqi shias delegitized their whole democratic process and reversed course as reports indicate they are ready to realign themselves with Hisballah's agenda to eradicate Israel.

What part of the speeches of "annihilation" is still not understood by the international body?

As well, Al Qaeda associates have been given 'asylum' by Iran and likely Syria is complicit.

Recommend you peruse Jack's Newswatch for specifics and facts of situation as forum scans critical breaking news supplying concise, forward moving analysis.

Keep in mind as well we have large communities in Canada espousing and supporting Hisballah and Rasmallah its leader citing him as their 'hero' and 'protector'.

For the first time to my knowledge in my country, mobs in Montreal are shouting, " death to Israel" and "death to America" -- These are death threats uttered against nations and death threats of any persuasion are to be condemned by rule of law in any civilized society.

Taking a stand against terrorist factions across board is the only option available left.

Thanks for the forum. Canadian consensus must quickly form on this issue to stave off further degradation of a present serious situation already greatly beyond reasonable control.

Anonymous said...

I meant to add MUCH KUDOS to Canadi-anna for obviously informed, lucied and concise factually based analysis of actual situation and dilemna.

There are few forums of this quality exploring the gravity of the situation in detail based on confirmed facts. This site rates as substantial analysis and I recommend Jack's Newswatch.

Forums should crosspost and push for growing Canadian consensus to act.

As well individuals writing PM Harper's office and MPs advising of our support for our government's firm stance on Israel's absolute right to self-defend from factions with stated goal to annihilate nation, is highly advised.

Written support to government on issue is the way forward along with educating others on rapidly down-spiralling situation is very much our duty as citizen activists.

Again, appreciate the forum.

Canadi-anna said...

Thanks for your comments anonymous.

Unfortunately, despite all evidence to the contrary, the world seems to believe Israel provokes the calls for its demise.

If the demonstrations escalate into riots, Israel will be held to blame for that too.

I'm glad Harper's backbone doesn't bend under the weight of the polls.

-canuck- said...

I wonder if Kevvyd thinks that WWII could somehow have been averted if Churchill would not have used words like 'Evil' to describe the Nazis?

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