Saturday, August 05, 2006

On one condition . . .

Speaking without irony I'm sure, a Hezbollah Minister serving in the Lebanese government says that his terrorist wing will abide by the proposed UN resolution on the condition that Israel withdraw all its troops from Lebanon.
"We will abide by it on condition that no Israeli soldier remains inside Lebanese land. If they stay, we will not abide by it," Mohammed Fneish said when asked whether Hezbollah would stop fighting under a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire or a cessation of hostilities.
I suppose that means they're planning on returning the kidnapped Israeli soldiers to ensure that 'no Israeli soldier remains inside Lebanese land.'

I'm sure France will be pleased that its push for diplomacy has moved this mountain.


Hezbollah are people too

Sometimes I find its easier to respond to certain comments on the front page. If you've been following, kevvyd takes exception to the use of the word 'evil' to describe Hezbullah. He says:

To me, what I call "evil" says as much about me as it does about the creature /object/behaviour that I have decried, therefore the term is itself is too subjective to be really useful.
Later in the comment secition of my post, kevvyd quotes me, emphasizing my use of the word 'belief' when I call Hezbullah evil -- as though believing is a no-no in a political discussion, rather than the basis of one. Everything we state on these blogs represents our beliefs. Opinion pieces on blogs mean we recognise that our understanding world events is not an exact science -- but if were to refrain from posting our beliefs we would be news aggregators parroting stale information.

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 doesn't make me feel better to say Hezbullah is evil, it simply means I'm being honest and not allowing myself to cajoled into couching my words in warm-and-fuzzy terms like 'fundamental reasons' and 'root causes' or pretending that these viscious thugs have been driven to this by something that Israel has done (other than existing).

Do you really believe that good and evil are merely in the eye of the beholder? Do you seriously think that sort of moral relativity and ethical equivalency are helpful?

Why are people so afraid of the word 'evil'? Is it because it conjures up religious imagery? kevvyd has said that he objects because the word is subjective, but all judgements are subjective -- it's when we make them relative that makes them useless -- subjectivity is the object of commentary.

Evil is pure immorality (cruelty, violence, ruthless, savagery, depravity, absence of sympathy). It isn't by accident, or without forethought. Evil is repetative, sustained immorality by choice with no positive or constructive goal -- and therein, to my mind, lies the difference between Israel and the terrorists. One can judge whether Israel has a moral right to respond to assaults-- some people believe that all violence, even in self-defence is wrong -- but I think most people would also say they can identify with, and understand the use of violence in response to violence when the underlying motivation of the response is not simply an expression of hatred.

I don't have difficulty with the use of the word evil when describing Hizbollah or Hamas. They and their ilk are violence personified. They initiate, they don't respond. They attack, they don't defend. They are aggressors, not victims. Their aspirations can only succeed when Israel ceases to exist -- not even because they want the land, or because of some long ago perceived injustices -- there is no reason -- just blind hatred and a desire to see Israel gone. That is their purpose and they are proud of it and I won't pretend they and their actions are as you put it: "simply a tactic, it is a method of organizing and waging war - no more evil than that."

Kevvyd went on to say:
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
Hezbollah is the aggressor, the instigator, the ignitor -- the outside invader -- for six years since Israel withrew from the buffer-zone that provided some protection against attacks, Hezbollah has been randomly launching rockets into Israel's towns and cities.

It is the Israelis who have finally rallied against the relentless and unpredictable attacks launched from the very territory they held for nearly two decades in order to prevent this sort of assault. Their withdrawl from Lebanon was on the understanding that Hezbollah would be disarmed and the government would take control of the southern territory -- not only did that not happen -- Hezbollah is officially part of Lebanese government, and the Lebanese PM Siniora's ceasefire plan includes the same old promises -- and the possible 'integration' of the radicals from Hezbollah into the regular Lebanese army.

A negotiated settlement would be nice, but based on history it won't be honoured by Hezbollah. There will be more concessions required of Israel, and Hamas and Hezbollah will continue to pick at old wounds to see what festers. Israel's aim is to defend itself and prevent future attacks -- but the 'invasion' is not an invasion to grasp territory or resources -- it is to push back an armed militia whose proximity to the border presents no other choice. The Syrian backed conditions for cease fire open up another front where Hezbullah or some other terrorist organisation can set up a staging-ground and start launching their missles for a new and yet to be determined reason.

As kevvyd suggested earlier, Hezbollah might have some mundane nationalistic goals like borders or territory -- but their main objective is not peace, which is why when the present crisis is over, Hezbollah and Hamas will announce new problems to blame Israel for and more excuses to renew terrorist attacks targeting Israeli civilians.

If their aims are mundane and nationalistic, and terror is just a tactic of war -- then Hezbollah and Hamas truly are evil. Rather than build up their societies, they have chosen to create havoc in another -- what is more evil than destroying your own people, body and soul, in an endless and ruthless attempt to destroy someone else?


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.