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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Let's Not Squabble About Who Killed Who

Jim Henley details the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs official list of Hezbollah attacks 2000-2006:

"1. Prior to this month, there haven’t been that many incidents: one in May 2006, five in 2005, 3 and 4 in 2004 and 2003 respectively.

"2. Almost without exception, the attacks have been against military targets, usually IDF patrols or bases. One egregious exception is what the IDF calls an attempt to kidnap two Israeli Arab citizens to pump them for information. A Katyusha attack on Kiryat Shemonah in December 2005 also appears to have had purely civilian targets. Almost all the other attacks targeted the Israeli military."

In other words, when our bete noire JIMB claims that Hezbollah has killed thousands of Israeli citizens over the last few years, he's just making it up, exagerating by a factor of, oh, a thousand or so. In fact, the evidence makes it clear that Hezbollah has been far more cautious about hitting Israeli citizens than Israel has about hitting Lebanese civilians.

Of course, JIMB will probably point out that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well-known to be a front for Islamo-Fascism.

19 comments:

  1. Neither side is free from blame. But Israel has inflicted FAR more casualties on civilians and Palestinian militants than the other way around -- something on the order of 9:1. This current war demonstrates that to an extreme.

    It's only logical. Israel is the bigger, more powerful, better supported state.

    Israel's defenders will claim they operate with a "purity of arms," but that is a delusion. This campaign has been far-reaching, generally indiscriminate, and has targeted basic civilian infrastructure that will lead to the deaths of many more civilians than the official death toll will reflect.

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  2. Clint - Equality of guilt is just not accurate. Hezbollah / Iran is dedicated to Jewish extermination, while the reverse isn't true; nor does Israel target intentionally target innocent civilians (or engage in human shields, or send kids out to "find mines" etc.).

    In other words, peace can be had instantly by Arab recognition of the state of Israel as having the right to exist and respecting her borders.

    I suggest that isn't going to happen, because the spread of Islam by violence is in fact supported by a great number of Arab countries, and it is right in line with Muhammed's teaching and practice, as is the violent usurpation of women's rights and subjugation of all people to the religion.

    Neither is the accusation "generally indiscriminate" targeting of civilians correct. Israel knocked out much infrastructure that Hezbollah would have used to rearm / escape, but I note plenty of people get in and out (reporters too). In other words, it is possible for the population to escape in the vast majority.

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  3. "nor does Israel target intentionally target innocent civilians"

    Top Israelis have said they will bomb Lebanon "back 20 years in her history" and that they are pounded Lebanon so that the Lebanese will "vomit" Hezbollah out of their land. That sounds deliberate or, at the very least, indiscriminate.

    "In other words, peace can be had instantly by Arab recognition of the state of Israel as having the right to exist and respecting her borders."

    This is simply incorrect. The US and Israel have repeatedly blocked any semblance of two-state settlement going back about 30 years now.

    "I suggest that isn't going to happen, because the spread of Islam by violence is in fact supported by a great number of Arab countries, and it is right in line with Muhammed's teaching and practice, as is the violent usurpation of women's rights and subjugation of all people to the religion."

    There are violent factions of Islam - just as there are violent factions of any religion. I'm no scholar on Islam, but my understanding from my friends who practice the faith is that the religion has been perverted by fundamentalists.

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  4. JIMB, you've sunk to new levels of stupidity and obnoxiousness. You could have just linked to that giant list, but you pasted the whole thing in, so every reader has to scroll for a couple of minutes to get past your pointless post. I could, of course, paste in a list ten times is long of Israelis killing Arabs, but I don't want to sink to this level.

    Then, you're original opint was that Hezbollah is far worse than Israel when it comes to killing and targeting civilians. When it turns out that the facts, from Israel itself, show that Hezbollah is far better than Israel in these respects, you simply drag in every other Moslem faction in the world, throw the deaths they've caused into the picture, and claim that's OK because Hezbollah is just like them, even though the plain facts from the Israeli government itself show that Hezbollah is not much like them at all.

    OK, no one could really "reason" like this. You're just posting this drivel until we pay you to go away -- so how much will it cost us?

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  5. Gene - Anyone wanting to skip it can go to the end of the web page, then scroll up instead. I'd be more concerned by the amazing list of terrorist attacks inside Israel as disproving your point - the threat of BNC weapons use is real.

    Henley's argument attempts to bifurcate radical Islamic attacks from one another when in reality Hezbollah (Hamas, etc) exercise a continuous policy of terrorist attacks which occur under different sub-organizations but all united under Jihadist Islam. The kidnapping of soldiers was an intentional act of war by an organization that had 12,000 (if the number is to be believed) missiles pointed at Israel. In other words, it is acting as a nation-state without any legitimate authority, not being the democratic government of Lebanon.

    Hezbollah is armed by Iran with firepower and training making them far more dangerous. All Jihadists are committed to eradicating (i.e. genocide) of all the Jews in Israel.

    So the question is: who is more in the right and what action should be taken? First part: Hezbollah is far worse than Israel because their policy is to intentionally target innocent people (and avowed genocide) and not to recognize the right of Jews to live in peace. Israel is responding to this threat by attempting to kill Hezbollah and knock out their capabilities, yet still limit the loss of Lebanese lives - conflicting goals to be sure. Hezbollah intentionally encourages the death of their Arab brothers by placing their armaments in population centers to gain strategic advantage (doing this is an admission that Israel is more moral, as Israel will tend to limit civilian casualties, whereas Hezbollah wants MORE damage, because it makes them look like the "freedom fighters").

    The fact that you can't see the danger of this as BNC proliferation occurs makes your opinion extraordinarily ill-informed. Israel has BNC weapons and won't use them except as a last resort. The Jihadists will immediately use such things as part of their attempt to retake Israel - and now they've the backing of a nation-state.

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  6. Clint - Indiscriminate means without any regard to the number of innocent lives lost. That's just not happening, nor is it a general policy of Israel.

    "The US and Israel have repeatedly blocked any semblance of two-state settlement going back about 30 years now." How?

    The Arabs drove Jews to Israel and confiscated all their property when the state of Israel was created by international agreement. Having .1% of the land mass, Arabia certainly could have absorbed the refugees, many of which left Israel not because of Jewish aggression (1.4M Arabs live in Israel right now) but because they feared Arabia was going to be successful in the first military attempt at eradicating the new state.

    "My understanding from my friends who practice the faith is that the religion has been perverted by fundamentalists". Wrong. The religion - just like the life of Muhammed - has specifically ordained violence against and subjugation of unbelievers.
    You may 1 -convert, 2 - die, or 3 - live under an inhuman repression with special taxes, loss of all rights, etc. That is the religion. It has not been hijacked by a violent few, it is in fact followed correctly by that few, and those few are (unfortunately) very much supported by the majority of Muslims.

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  7. Clint - 2nd paragraph - Israel has less than 1% of the landmass. And the confiscated property could be considered a "settlement". It was the Arabs that rejected Israel in 1948, and did so again in 1967 (remember Israel captured massive amounts of land which it gave back in the majority) in "land for peace" deals (as it did for the Golan heights, and as it did forcibly removing settlers from Lebanon in 2005).

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  8. JIMB, you just say the same thing again and again even when the evidence proves the opposite: "Hezbollah is far worse than Israel because their policy is to intentionally target innocent people."

    No, the evidence presented by Israel shows only two attacks on civilians in the last 6 years prior to this month -- and only two attacks says "Rogue members, not policy." It has clearly been Hezbollah's policy to atttack only military targets, until Israel began slaughtering hundreds of Lebanese. Still, the latest count for this war is 900 Lebanese civilians dead, 27 Israeli civilians. We're are almost halfway to your "thousands" -- are you getting ready to concede?

    (By the way, annyone who thinks I'm being uncivil to JIMB should realize that he has already referred to Bob and me as "evil" on five or six occasions. I donn't go that far -- I just think he's mentally defective, not evil.

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  9. Oh, JIMB, and your long list of Israeli deaths at the hands of terrorists "disprove my point" in the same way as the following "disproves" that Switzerland is a peace-loving country.

    J: Switzerland is very war-like and far worse than the Freedonians who are attacking them.
    G: But Switzerland hasn't gone to war in X hundred years.
    J: Oh yeah! Just look at this list of wars:
    (Prussia attacks France.
    Austria attacks Serbia.
    Germany attacks Belgium.
    Germany attacks Poland.
    etc.)
    G: But none of those attacks involve Switzerland!
    J: Yeah, well, they're all Germans, aren't they?

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  10. Gene said:

    (By the way, annyone who thinks I'm being uncivil to JIMB should realize that he has already referred to Bob and me as "evil" on five or six occasions. I donn't go that far -- I just think he's mentally defective, not evil.

    Did he actually call us evil? At least he closed all his parenthetical paragraphs.

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  11. Gene - If you can show Israel is indiscriminate, you make your case and they should halt. But that's a pretty high hurdle given Tehran's motivations.

    The "Hezbollah doesn't target civilians so Israel should not endanger and kill civilians in the attempt to take them out" argument fails spectacularly.

    If there are 50 Islamic Jihad groups united in violently spreading Islam, 49 kill civilians while one hasn't yet, you cannot properly count the one that hasn't as removing authority for Israel to act.

    Being an extension of Tehran, I'd say Hezbollah poses an enormous threat. They are behaving like trained military, have supplies no terrorist organization has, and are an integral part of Iranian government. In other words, South Lebanon is really ruled by Tehran and Syria and both have attacked Israel. Do you doubt the rhetoric of Tehran's leaders or the conviction of Syria?

    So I'd say that argument is amazingly dishonest on another level as well. After all, all they'd have to do is change their name (none of their beliefs) and they're off scott-free, at least in Henley's book.

    You missed the main point of the list of Israeli deaths: the attacks have occured inside Israel's borders, in other words - Jihadists prove their intent to destroy Israel by their own actions. It sounds as if you say Israel cannot act to take them down if it would cost innocent lives.

    But that can't be right. Common understanding is if country makes a policy of training, supplying, and sheltering attackers which go over a border routinely for attacks, the host nation has committed an act of war.

    So who is to blame in the majority for Lebanon? I say it's partly Syria (who never really withdrew as they continue to support terrorists inside of Lebanon) and also Tehran. Hezbollah is a large part of the government and fighting forces of Iran.

    Finally, I don't believe you're evil at all (I certainly didn't call you evil either - don't know where that came from: also have no idea where "how much do we have to pay you to go away" came from either. You guys are engaging in discussion, hopefully to mutual benefit, or at the least, enjoyable irritation).

    I believe not only is Israel acting as she must, if Israel did what you say (halted the pursuit of Hezbollah), they'd rapidly be a position where Lebanon would fall (even moreso) to forces hostile to Israel's existence, with more loss of life on both sides.

    It's likely the UN's decision to turn over Tehran to the security council (with possible inspections for Tehran) caused an acceleration of Hezbollah's timeline. Tehran is attempting to defend against inspections and dismantlement -- the only way they can is to unite Arabia against Israel (and hopefully shift world opinion). I suggest you not fall for it.

    If you truly feel badly about Lebanese, do the next best thing - donate to a relief fund. I do.

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  12. Gene - I should refute the idea Hezbollah targets purely military objectives which you can find here:

    http://www.cfr.org/publication/9155/

    Hezbollah is a Lebanese umbrella organization of radical Islamic Shiite groups and organizations. It opposes the West, seeks to create a Muslim fundamentalist state modeled on Iran, and is a bitter foe of Israel. Hezbollah, whose name means “party of God,” is a terrorist group believed responsible for nearly 200 attacks since 1982 that have killed more than 800 people, according to the Terrorism Knowledge Base. Experts say Hezbollah is also a significant force in Lebanon’s politics and a major provider of social services, operating schools, hospitals, and agricultural services, for thousands of Lebanese Shiites. It also operates the al-Manar satellite television channel and broadcast station.

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  13. Good God, JIMB, are you able to read English? The report I presented (from the friggin Israeli government!) said from 2000-2006 (NOTE: after Israel and the US had left Lebanon) that Hezbollah had stated very few attacks, almost all of which were against military personnel. Now you "refute" that with a brief list of some civilian attacks they committed in the 1980s and 90s!

    A JIMB "proof": I'm going to prove to people that Bob is an idiot by showing people your comments here, and then declaring, "And after all, Bob posts on the same blog! QED!"

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  14. I must confess I'm a little confused by all the posts referring to other, nonexistent posts--are you guys arguing on multiple threads here?

    Anyway, one little comment: JIMB, I don't think the CFR is a good place to get objective views. It would be like Gene linking to Al Jazeera to prove Israel is in the wrong.

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  15. Gene - the list (Bob - it was removed by someone else), if I recall correctly, was from years 2000 to 2005 (didn't even see a list from the 80s or early 90s ...).

    But aside from that, what I don't get is the inability to put Israeli behavior in context.

    Tell me honestly, do you not believe the leader of Hezbollah (Nasrallah) when he says he wants the eradication of Israel? What about Ahmadinajad? You don't believe Iran has also armed and trained Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

    Or that the Arabs have 3 times attempted to exterminate the Jews in 1948, 1967, and 1973?

    Or that, seeing the immensity of Arab land versus Israel, that if any land should be given, it should not be by Israel (who has given up land again and again for peace), but by Arabia, and that peace could immediately be had if Arabia would absorb Syrians (they now call Palestinians) and create a buffer zone where terrorists cannot make it to Israel rather than Israel having to commit defensive war and taking and holding territory (the so called "occupation")?

    How can you have the longer run sparing of innocent lives in your mind as you post these arguments?

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  16. Bob - Do you believe the Hezbollah facts are incorrect as posted by the CFR?

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  17. No, JIMB, I'm not talking about the list of all the non-Hezbollah crimes you posted as a distraction. I'm talking about the list, right above, on the CFR web site. It mentions several Hezbollah attacks on civilians in the 80s and 90s. And somehow you think this "refutes" that Hezbollah hasn't been targeting civilians in the 00s! But by the Israeli government's own report (which was linked to) Hezbollah has killed 6 civilians since 2000 -- bad enough, but nothing compared to Israel's total! And in the current war, Hezbollah (with its primitive weapons) has hit Israeli soldiers about as often as civilians, while Israel (with its high tech weaponry) has hit 10 Lebanese civilians for every Hezbolllah agent.

    You also keep mendaciously implying that I think Hezbollah is just super cool or its agents aren't legitimate targets. I have never said that. If Israel was killing say, 10 Hezbollah agents for every civilian death, that would be good evidence they are being discriminate. But the ratio is reversed! They have bombed the Lebanese fishing fleet, for criminy's sake! They recently took out a whole apartment building. An Israeli general explained, "We believed there were two Hezbollah agents in it." So everyone else inside gets to die as well!

    Now look, do you see the difference between these two ways of proceeding:
    1) You think there are two enemy agents in a building. You send infantry to flush them out and kill or capture them. This might kill some civilians, but represents a genuine effort to target only combatants. I'm fine with Israel doing this, contrary to your repeated claims that I rule out any action that has any possibility of civilian casualties.
    2) You bomb the building. This guarantees many innocent deaths. Yes, you weren't trying to kill them, you just didn't give a shit if you did. And this is the Israeli attitude today. I've never said they were trying to kill Lebanese civilians, so you're countering that "millions would be dead" if Israeli were trying to do so is irrelevant. They're not trying to kill them, but if it happens they can take out a couple of Hezbollah and lower the risk of Israeli casualties by ignoring the presence of a few dozen civilians, they'll do it. This sort of thinking would create exactly the sort of ratio of combatant/non-combatant death that really has been produced.

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  18. JIMB:

    1) There is no place called "Arabia."
    2) The Iranians are not Arabs at all.
    3) The Palestinians lived in a place called "Palestine," so why you would call them "Syrians" is beyond me.
    4) If Moslems wanted to "exterminate" Jews, they could have killed all those living in Moslem countries centuries ago. However, they were always tolerant of other monotheists, more so, than, say, Europe was. The Crusaders were stunned to find many Christians living peacefully and unmolested in Moslem lands, something they never would have tolerated in reverse! What the Moslem countries sought was to eliminate the State of Israel, a entity imposed by foreigners (as you acknowledge, it was the UN, not the people of Palestine, who created Israel) into what for centuries had been Moslem lands. If the Israeli Jews picked up and moved to Warsaw or Brooklyn, I see no evidence they'd have any more problems with Moslems.

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