Monday, August 14, 2006

Use Your Delusion

Bush declares victory for Israel:

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that Israel defeated Hezbollah's guerrillas in the monthlong Mideast war and that the Islamic militants were to blame for the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese civilians.

Bush admonished Iran and Syria for backing Hezbollah, which captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12 igniting the conflict. Both sides claimed victory Monday, hours after a U.N.-brokered cease-fire took effect, while Bush said Israel prevailed.

"Hezbollah attacked Israel. Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis," the president said at the State Department after a day of meetings with his top defense, diplomatic and national security advisers.


The president portrayed the war, which killed about 790 Lebanese and 155 Israelis, as part of a broader struggle between freedom and terrorism. He said one can only imagine how much more dangerous such a conflict would be if Iran possessed nuclear weapons.

Bush said Hezbollah lost, though Israel didn't knock out the guerrillas.


"Hezbollah, of course, has got a fantastic propaganda machine, and they're claiming victories," Bush said. "But how can you claim victory when, at one time, you were a state within a state, safe within southern Lebanon, and now you're going to be replaced by a Lebanese army and an international force?"

This man is a whole new kind of fool. At the beginning of this campaign Israel announced that its intention was to destroy Hezbollah once for all. One month later Hezbollah is still there and its supporters are celebrating. Israel claims to have destroyed most of Hezbollah's arsenal but on the last day before the ceasefire was to start Hezbollah rained over 250 rockets on Israel, the highest single-day total of the entire 34 days of conflict so far. In Israel, the Haaretz newspapers says, "We blew it" , most Israelis agree and Olmert's government faces intense opposition in parliament because of its actions.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah has never been so popular in Lebanon. As mentioned here earlier , polls taken since the start of Israel's offensive show a 29% spike in support for Hezbollah in it's battle with Israel. Those numbers feature approvals in the 80% among Shia, Sunnis, Druze and Christians alike. Israeli invasions breathe life into that movement. Some victory.


Brian said...

For some reason, I enjoy reading your blog... even if you are to the super-far extreme left.

I am not understanding under what circumstances you think would have been seen as an Israeli victory. Israel was always on the offensive (in Lebanese territory). Key Hezbollah leaders were killed. Many more Hezbollah were killed than IDF. One of your arguments about Hezbollah launching 250 missiles on the last day shows that they won?

If Israel dropped 500 bombs on the last day would that convince you that Israel was the victor? Some Hezbollah are still standing, therefore they win?

Pretend it is a boxing match. Two people go at it for 5 minutes. One is clearly the aggressor, bloodying up the opponent, even knocking him down a couple of times. The aggressor may have a cut or two, but clearly landed more punches, and definitely put the opponent to the ground a couple of times. The guy who went to the ground has little life left, but the one who knocked him down is not winded at all, and has plenty more life left to him. So, just because the match went to the judges, and one of the boxers was a clear underdog, he is declared the winner even though he clearly was hit harder and fell harder than his opponent? Something does not add up. Just because there was no knock-out victory does not mean that it was a victory for the one people root for.

I understand that the prisoners were not released, but Israel had no choice but to cease fire because the destruction on the Lebanon side was so large. Yes, Israel lost the PR war. Yes, Israel should have staged propaganda videos showing bloody Israeli children crying for help. But, they did not play that game.

So, yes, I guess you are right in a sense, Israel lost, they lost out on trying to trick people, not on the war itself.

Iran wanted the cease fire from day 1, and now that it has happened... they have won the war!!! woohoo!

It is actually a really sad situation, but I really can not believe the media machine that is running this war score card, and the lack of clear thinking involved. I will be the first to admit that I might be wrong, but I see no evidence otherwise, including what is in your blog.

Anyhow, keep up the writing, I enjoy it!

(Please forgive my typos and such!)


FearItself said...

Thank you for your comments, Brian. I'm glad we can disagree without being at one another's throats. Why can't our media pull that off?

Your boxing analogy ignores one key fact. War ain't boxing. The conditions you cite to describe the disposition of this war, though accurate, don't tell the whole picture. Despite what Israel and it's US supporters seem to think, when you fight Hezbollah or any group like it, you are fighting a guerilla war. They are not going to line up with columns of tanks and lines of infantry and artillery so you can't simply count casualties and assume success. The nature of guerilla warfare renders irrelevant casualty figures and damage assessments.

Guerillas don't try to inflict huge losses or hold and control plots of land the way a conventional army would. The whole purpose of guerilla tactics is to compensate for being out-gunned. So what do they do? They hit and run. They do quick attacks and disappear. They hide among the population. It requires an inherent sacrifice of men for the sake of a goal. But that's accepted by the guerilla at the outset. This is a long-term war for them. They are not on a schedule. They have no illusions of being able to rout a superior force. Instead, they will wear you you with their numbers (a nation of 4-million) and their longevity. You kill one "top official" and somebody gets a promotion. Meanwhile, for every "top official" you kill, you've also killed a dozen civilians whose family now wants to help fight you. So their movement grows and your army, away from home, grows tired and little crazy.

That's how guerillas win. Take a look at the casualty figures for the Vietnam war. Absent what we already know from history, those figures would convince you that the US won that war. But it was us being airlifted off the roof our embassy. It was communism that ran that country when we left. We killed millions of them compared to our roughly 58,000 lost and we still lost the war. Why? Because with every blanket, collective punishment act of overkill we committed there we strengthened the movement we were trying to destroy. That's guerilla warfare. That's the goal of the guerilla. They win hearts when we kill innocents.

This is why Hezbollah can declare victory credibly. They did exactly what they set out to do. "I'm still standing", is a victory. They have what is called "street credibility" and the whole nations, Muslims and Christians alike, are now firmly behind them. Israeli invastions are the air Hezbollah breathes.

The way to defeat a good guerilla force is to deny it support. Demand reduction. Eliminate the pretexts for their armed struggle. Our leaders should know this by now. The fact that they don't is a crying shame.

Brian said...

Good comments... Unfortunately, according to your comments, Hezbollah will never lose a fight. If the die they become martyrs, if they stand off, they win. They will never lose support because they are the Muslims fighting the Zionists... irrelevant of what type of Muslim they are.

Israel can never fight on the same playing field (guerilla like). The guerilla can accept the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians on both sides of the border, but Israel can not fight this way.

Nobody ever asks the question... what about the Israelis killed in the conflict? For each Israeli killed, now his/her family will help and join Israel in the cause? The answer is probably no, and the reason is because (more likely than not) they are somewhat peaceful.

I would like to think the same of the people on the Lebanese side. They might be insulted by the thought that if one of their family members is killed in wartime, that they then join the guerilla movement. Yes, initial emotion will lead them to think that Israel is the real enemy... but if they think long and hard about it, it is because Hezbollah decided it was a good idea to build bunkers underneath their apartment building. When they could have built the bunkers under a wheat field or something (or whatever crop they tend to grow).

Once the world becomes accepting of guerilla tactics, then the world should start accepting the fact that the casualties will be huge on the guerillas side, to no fault of the non-guerilla force. But, by design of the guerilla force.

I am afraid that most do not see this. I suppose Israel will have to resort to this game next time... break into Lebanese apartments, hole themselves up and shoot hand launched missles from someone's balcony. This way, they can look like heroes.

Excuse my sarcasism above.

But Israel is fighting a religious war, and since they are a "mostly" global recognized state, they can only engage under certain rules. Given this fact, they are destined to lose no matter what they do.

FearItself said...

Thanks, Brian. But, that's not quite my argument. Hezbollah, like any movement, CAN be defeated, but not with fighter jets and tanks or an occupation. You can't fight a fire with gasoline and you can't fight a guerilla resistance with bombs. What you have to understand is that Hezbollah is not, not, not just a group of guys with guns, rockets and people willing to blow themselves up. That's a gross underestimation. They are a full-fledged social, religious and political movement. They run hospitals, clinics, schools, shelters, food banks, mosques and media organizations. As I said in another post, when Isreal creates "collateral damage" Hezbollah is right there with the survivors to pick them up, dust them off, feed them, clothe them, house them and provide them with an immediate outlet for revenge. So your bombs work against you.

So, It's not that Hezbollah can't be defeated. It's that victory by the military option alone requires genocide. We're not supposed to be into genocide. We can't rely on self-defeating strategies.

You say nobody asks about the Israeli dead. Are you kidding? We have the most pro-Israel media coverage imagineable. Isreal's own coverage isn't as "pro-Israel" as ours (and apparently neither is their parliament compared to our congress). It should make one wonder what it truly means to be "pro-Israel" if more than half of Israelis wont go as far as we do.

But you don't have to worry about deaths among Israeli civilians causing more militancy there because Israel is already one of the most militarized nations in the world and it's Jewish citizens are already subject to compulsory military service whether they like it or not.

Also, Israel seems to have no problem accepting civilian casualties as a result of its operations. Did you hear some of their statements in the early part of the war? Did you see where told people to leave their homes and then sent jets to attack them on the roads? There's enough targeting of civilians to go around, believe me.

Finally, before go too much longer, I don't like the idea of accepting massive casualties as a result of guerilla activity. I think instead we need to look at what causes guerilla activity and what conditions give rise to extremists movements. Exremists don't tend to thrive societies with large middle-class lifestyles. I'll sum it quickly. No justice, no peace. The solution is not withhold justice and slaughter people instead.

Brian said...

I suppose I am confused. On the first hand, Hezbollah is a social, religious and political movement that runs clinics, hospitals, social services, schools, shelters and food banks. Yet, on the other hand they are a legitimate guerilla movement because they have no other means? This two hands do not jive with each other. If they can provide the first, then they are acting like a state entity, therefore have no justification for intentionally fighting in a way to impose more casualities on the people they are trying to clothe, feed, school etc.

I am going to have to disagree with the pro-Israeli US media idea. I never saw ANY footage of what was going on in Israel at the time. The only thing I saw were pictures of bombed out Lebanese buildings and bridges and women and babies crying. And, this was even on the conservative websites...

There are many nations with compulsory military service for the youth, I am sitting in one right now BTW.

I do agree however that bombing a guerilla movement to oblivion will not win a military action. Unfortunately, the guerilla groups want military action, and this is where the problem lies. Key is to root out the source of the problem like you said.

It is not a poverty problem (they are much poorer people who do not behave this way). It is not an education problem (most of these high ranking militia have graduated from the university). It is a religious problem. As long as some people think it is better off to be dead than alive, because of some religious promise, it is going to be a huge problem for any life loving human.

I believe that this cease fire is really just page one of what will happen within the next few months. Israel will not underestimate Iran and Syria's role in this again. And this time, the Iranian and Syrian populations will suffer for it via sanctions and stuff.

As much as I love to believe conspiracy theories, there is not one here with the US planning to attack Iran and the like. It is not politically possible for the administration to do so, nor is it a good idea. Iran will crumble due to sanctions, and that is all that is needed.