Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Lebanon quandary

An Alabama native checks in today with a haunting first-person account of the fighting in Lebanon. Needless to say, it's tough to find many people in a very rosy mood there lately.

In Lebanon, I see Israel confronted with a situation much like the one the United States faced in Afghanistan: a country that is not doing enough to combat militants who use it as an operating base from which to plot attacks. (One difference, of course, is that the Taliban's inaction was rooted in unwillingness, whereas Lebanon's inaction has more to do with inability.) Just as Americans had the right to retaliate against the al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked us, so too do Israelis have the right to attack the Hezbollah terrorists who kill their soldiers and fire rockets into their cities.

Despite my great sympathy for Israel's position, I can't help but wonder, much as PoliBlog's Steven Taylor has, what Israel expects to accomplish by bombing so many civilian targets and whether that strategy might backfire in the long term. History has shown repeatedly that civilian deaths, even entirely accidental ones, have a way of galvanizing the surrounding population against the people who caused those casualties. That phenomenon only prolongs a cycle of violence that leaves everyone insecure.

3 Comments:

Blogger Kathy said...

When the conflict first started, I heard speculation that Israel expected the Lebanese people to rise up against Hezbollah. I didn't think that made much sense -- even if they oppose Hezbollah for the most part, why would they support attackers from another country?

The American people in general don't see that there is more than one valid viewpoint. It's hard to work for a peaceful solution without recognizing both sides.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

As it turns out, the Lebanese army does plan to rise up -- against the Israeli army in case of a full-scale ground invasion.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Altoid said...

I just think Israel has helped to re-energize Hezbollah that was greately weakened by Israel's exit 6 years ago.

4:05 PM  

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