July 26th, 2006

The plot thickens, but does the fog of war thin?

Today seems to be an all UN, all the time day.

Take a listen to an interview with retired Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie, here. Quote: “there’s an information war going on.” Indeed there is, and I’m afraid Hezbollah, with the cooperation of the UN, is winning.

Other quotes: the UN observer said that “Hezbollah fighters were all over his position.”

And, if this is true, why (as Canadian PM Harper asks) had the position not been evacuated by the UN weeks ago?

And then, take a look at this. I’m not sure about the provenance of the video, or who “Alan Peters” actually is, but things seem to be getting curiouser and curiouser.

48 Responses to “The plot thickens, but does the fog of war thin?”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    The UN are human shields. Blow them up.

  2. grackle Says:

     

    The UN observers evidently did not observe the thousands of missiles that were transported from Syria to the Lebanese terrorists. We won’t go into the ridiculousness of the term “UN peacekeepers.” They can’t keep the peace, they didn’t observe; why are the UN observers still there? One explanation may be to provide cover for the terrorists.

    And I think it is becoming increasingly clear that Lebanon is not governed by the ineffective, feckless, terrorist-corroborating ‘official’ Lebanese government but by the terrorists themselves. I do not worry about a ‘nascent democracy’ being damaged by Israel carrying the battle to the terrorists – because no such government exists in Lebanon. What government exists in Lebanon is nothing more than a front for the terrorists and doesn’t deserve to survive.

     

  3. nomdenet Says:

    I recall Koffi turning down help from Bush for the UN in Baghdad then it got blown up, key UN personal were killed and Koffi “appeared” upset.

    This UN target in Lebanon looks like déjà vu all over again.

    Israel has to date enjoyed an unexpected, in my mind, amount of global support for its actions. Why would Israel run the risk of intentionally taking out UN people and causing a global uproar? Or as our PM Harper wants to know, why was the UN post manned?

    Could it be that this same Koffi that was involved in Oil for Food is deliberately causing this?

    As they say … fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Fire Koffi!

  4. Dave the Rabbit Says:

    neo-neocon asks in her posting: “why (as Canadian PM Harper asks) had the position not been evacuated by the UN weeks ago?”

    Annan’s comments provide an answer to that very question. The L.A. Times reports: “Annan said he had received personal assurances from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that U.N. positions would be spared, and the U.N. force commander for south Lebanon, Gen. Alain Pellegrini, had been in repeated contact with Israeli officers to ensure the post’s protection.”

    Source: Los Angeles Times, July 26,
    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-fg-mideast26jul26,1,1131664.story

    So, Annan had not withdrawn the observers because Israel had promised very specifically that they won’t be attacked. Why did Olmert and the Israeli officers promise to Annan and Pellegrini that the post would be protected, if they weren’t in a position to honor the promise?

    If Olmert has an ounce of honor in his body, he ought to resign. (He probably won’t, because he has none).

    Dave the Rabbit

  5. Herbivorous carnivore Says:

    Yes, USA, withdraw from the UN! And become even more isolated in the world than the USA already ia… and watch India and China become more and more powerful and start to form an alternate power bloc!

    Yeah, make the day for China — withdraw from the UN!

    My, my — what stupidity.

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    Kofi’s one guy I’d like to see dead.

  7. Adam Says:

    What “fog of war”?

    KIRYAT SHEMONA, Israel (AP) – U.N. observers in southern Lebanon called the Israeli military 10 times during a six-hour period to ask it to halt an airstrike before their observation post was hit, according to details of a preliminary U.N. report on the incident. Four U.N. observers were killed in the bombing Tuesday.

    During each phone call, an Israeli official promised to halt the bombing, according to a U.N. official who had seen the preliminary report, which was released to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    The U.N. observers said the area within half a mile of the post was hit with precision munitions, including 17 bombs and 12 artillery shells, four of which directly hit the post Tuesday, the report said.

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1830632,00.html

  8. JonBuck Says:

    Dave, Adam:

    How do you reconcil your position with the UN observer’s statement that Hizbollah was using their post as cover? That Hizbollah was, in effect, using the UN personell as human shields?

    If that isn’t fog of war, I don’t know what is.

  9. Adam Says:

    Dear JonBuck,

    Can you provide a verifiable citation from a neutral source (as opposed to a right-wing/ pro-Israel/ neoconservative publication or web page) confirming that UN observers have made a statement to the effect that “Hizbollah was using their post as cover”, as you claim?

    Thank you,

    Adam.

  10. JonBuck Says:

    Adam:

    The following statement was made by retired Major General Lewis Mackenzie on CBC radio:

    “We received emails from him a few days ago, and he was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three meters of his position for tactical necessity, not being targeted. Now that’s veiled speech in the military. What he was telling us was Hezbollah soldiers were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them. And that’s a favorite trick by people who don’t have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can’t be punished for it.”

    Here are some additional views from a UN Canadian soldier on the front:

    “What I can tell you is this: we have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both artillery and aerial bombing. The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but has rather been due to tactical necessity.”

    I believe this is the information General Mackenzie was referring to.

  11. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Well, JonBuck, that just means the CBC has been taken over by right-wing pro-Israel neoconservatives.

    Run for your lives, liberals! Only the BBC and Al-Jazeera can save you now!

    MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  12. Adam Says:

    Dear JonBuck,

    Thank you for the information. What you posted suggests that the Hezbollah may have been using the UN post as cover, without the UN’s consent, but in no way does it suggest that there was some kind of conspiracy on the part of the UN to “shield” or help the Hezbollah, as has been suggested in some of the posts made here.

    So, I maintain that the bombing of the UN post by the IDF is unforgivable, especially in view of the fact that “U.N. observers in southern Lebanon called the Israeli military 10 times during a six-hour period to ask it to halt an airstrike before their observation post was hit, according to details of a preliminary U.N. report on the incident”, as the Los Angeles Times has reported.

  13. harry mallory Says:

    Adam:
    “Thank you for the information. What you posted suggests that the Hezbollah may have been using the UN post as cover, without the UN’s consent, but in no way does it suggest that there was some kind of conspiracy on the part of the UN to “shield” or help the Hezbollah, as has been suggested in some of the posts made here.

    OK, so why would there naturally be a conspiracy on the part of the IDF to deliberately target UN positions?

    The US Airforce has on numerous occasions bombed and strafed our own ground forces on account of the confusion of battle. You cannot tell me those incidents were deliberate.

    Lets quit trying to make this something its not.

    As “nomdenet” above has pointed out, why would Israel want to target to deliberately target observers?

  14. Adam Says:

    As “nomdenet” above has pointed out, why would Israel want to target to deliberately target observers?

    One word: hubris.

    When people become too drunk on power, they behave irrationally. Israel, because it has the full support of the most powerful country (USA) behind it, thinks it can get away with anything. So Israel probably simply doesn’t care about such things as world opinion, international condemnation, loss of prestige, etc.

    As posts here show, there is a lot of animus among pro-Israeli groups against the UN. One guy here even posted a message saying “Kill Kofi Annan” or something like that. So, presumably, among the IDF or in the higher echelons of the Israeli rulers, similar animosity against the UN also exists. It’s quite conceivable that somewhere giving orders thought “let’s teach the UN a lesson”.

    This kind of reckless disregard is not new among those who become mad with power. Think about how Hitler had some of his best generals executed — surely an irrational thing to do in wartime, yet he did it. Too much power (or the illusion of having it) leads to behavior which is detrimental to one’s own long-term interests, and this may well be what happened here with the decision to bomb the UN post.

  15. Herbivorous carnivore Says:

    Hubris and recklessness may well be the right explanation, or simply lack of caring.

    An op-ed in today’s New York Times says:

    “The estimated death toll from the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was 18,000, about 0.5 percent of the population. Twenty-four years later, I have yet to hear any sign of remorse emanating from Israeli society. Nor were there any reparations for the carnage wrought by the Israeli Army. When the Israeli press, politicians and intellectuals speak with regret about the “Lebanon War,” it is usually to say the cost to Israel was too high or to point out that the invasion failed to achieve its objectives. The Lebanese fatalities are rarely discussed.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/opinion/27el-zein.html

  16. JonBuck Says:

    Adam:

    I counter that it is far too soon to know the exact sequence of events.

    I also counter that when Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000 it was the UN’s mandate to ensure Hizbollah was disarmed and that the Lebanese army took up its positions on the southern border. What happened instead was that the terrorist group was allowed to amass 12,000 rockets and obtain sophisticated arms and equipment from Syria and Iran.

    It’s very clear to me that the UN is unable to do its job. The Israelis and the Lebanese are paying the price for that incompetence.

  17. JonBuck Says:

    Here’s another op-ed for you from an Israeli… in Spiegal online.

    HC: You say there’s no remorse? That war changed Israel.

    “The war in Lebanon 24 years ago turned Israel upside down: A high-ranking officer refused his orders to invade Beirut and thousands of Israelis protested against the war while soldiers were still fighting and dying. After years of being the world’s darlings, international public opinion suddenly turned against us. And then there were the horrors of Sabra and Shatila. There were no glorious photo albums after this war, no heroes. It was Israel’s Vietnam.”

    This same writer went to a military prison for 45 days because he refused to serve in the army.

    Read the whole thing, even if it makes you angry.

  18. Nate Says:

    JonBuck, the UN says that no Hezbollah activity was taking place in the area of the UN post.

    From the New York Times:

    “Jane Holl Lute, the assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council that over the six-hour period in which the United Nations’ warnings were being conveyed to the Israelis, the observation post at Khiam, in southern Lebanon, continued to come under fire.

    “She described the observation post as “well known and clearly marked” and added that no Hezbollah activity was reported in the area.”

    – The New York Times,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/world/middleeast/27nations.html?ref=world

    What do you say to that?

  19. JonBuck Says:

    Nate:

    Should I disregard the word of the Canadian soldier who was there, then?

  20. Nate Says:

    JonBuck,

    The statement from the Canadian soldier that you cited (from http://www.ctv.ca) said the following. Notice that nowhere does the soldier mention anything about Hezbollah.

    “What I can tell you is this: we have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both artillery and aerial bombing. The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but has rather been due to tactical necessity.”

    The interpretation that this statement indicates that Hezbollah was using the UN post as a shield, comes, according to you, from “retired Major General Lewis Mackenzie on CBC radio”. You did not, however, furnish a reference for this. I went to the CBC site, and could not see anything from Lewis Mackenzie to this effect. Can you provide the link to the page at the CBC site where this is reported?

    Thank you.

  21. Rock Says:

    What’s worrisome is that if the Israelis are so callous even with UN forces’ lives (for which there is at least some diplomatic fallout), think of how much more callous they must be with regard to the lives of ordinary Lebanese citizens.

  22. Dave the Rabbit Says:

    Hmm, Lewis Mackenzie…

    “In 1997, Lewis MacKenzie ran against Mitchell as a Conservative candidate and lost. MacKenzie is a retired major-general of the Canadian Forces.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/riding/176/

    In other words, hardly a “neutral” interpreter.

    JonBuck, it was dishonest of you not to disclose that Mackenzie has a conservative political agenda.

  23. Adam Says:

    Thanks for digging out Mackenzie’s conservative background, Dave the Rabbit. It definitely suggests a possible agenda as to why he would want to spin the soldier’s email in the way he did.

    It seems that, with the Internet making so much information accessible, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the spin-meisters to spin undetected these days. No wonder that the big corporations wants to make the Internet less accessible to the unwashed masses!

  24. douglas Says:

    “…tactical necessity…” If there are no terrorists inside the UN post’s perimeter, there is no “tactical necessity”. I know you don’t understand military lingo, but it was explained for you. Here’s a second go so hopefully you can get it.

    Then there’s this-

    The United Nations’ emergency relief co-ordinator, Jan Egeland:

    “But I also clearly see that Hezbollah is trying to blend into the civilian population in too many places and they bear also a heavy responsibility for this. They do not seem to care that they really inflict a lot of suffering on their own population,”

    “Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending … among women and children,” he said. “I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don’t think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men.”

    He’s certainly no fan of Israel either, but that should tell you something about what hizbollah is doing to get a reprimand from him.

  25. douglas Says:

    eee-gads! That General is a CONSERVATIVE!!!
    Surely, then, nothing he says can have even a grain of truth in it. It’s all lies!

    “Open minds” at work.

  26. douglas Says:

    Me: “…tactical necessity…” If there are no terrorists inside the UN post’s perimeter, there is no “tactical necessity”. I know you don’t understand military lingo, but it was explained for you. Here’s a second go so hopefully you can get it.”

    I realize this probably requires a more complete explanation. Picture this- Israeli forces are under fire from hizbollah terrorists launching rockets, and anti-tank missiles at them, and moving closer and closer to the UN position. Israel keeps trying to hit them, without laying one right on the post, and keeps getting closer and closer, and the post keeps getting more and more nervous, and finally, since the hizbollah terrorists are still firing and endangering Israeli forces, the Israelis call in one more close air support action to silence the hizbollah position, closer still to the UN post, but this time it is too close (for the UN guys). That would be an example of tactical necessity, and would be the fault of hizbollah terrorists, not Israelis.

    The real question is why were there still UN observers there? They served no purpose, even before the current events unfolded, unless someone was hoping they’d get hit accidentally, and make Israel look bad…

    But that’s too tinfoil-hat for me. I’ll stick with scenario #1.

  27. Weary_G Says:

    Its truly amazing how some people will hold one side up to an impossibly high standard, and then completely ignore the complicity or responsibility of the other.

    Hezbollah, like so many other terrorist sweethearts, have a long and illustrious history of hiding amid civilian populations from which they conduct “military operations”. The idea that they would do so again, and to use UN positions as part of that strategy is, gasp!, such a ridiculous notion, right?

    Its part of the whole terrorist strategy, because A) civilian casualties mean NOTHING to them, B) they mean something to their opponents, C) sympathizers of the terrorists can be counted on to blame anyone but them for the resulting death and destruction.

    So, Israel is to blame for deaths in Lebanon? Really?

    And no responsibility is due to the terrorists launching attacks from there?

    No responsibility for the Lebanese government who leave them unmolested to do so?

    No blame for the UN who allowed the terrorists to arm themselves heavily contrary to its own resolutions?

    No blame for Iran or Syria for facilitating and supplying this whole setup?

    No one else responsible but Israel, right?

    Oh, right. I forgot. Let’s blame the US and Condi Rice because they’re the ones refusing to push for a cease-fire and give Hezbollah a needed break for round 2.

  28. Painer Man Says:

    Weary_G: Hezbollah have no electoral mandate and they don’t claim to be democratic. Bush and Olmert, however, claim to speak on behalf of democratic states. Why would it be unrealistic to hold Bush and Olmert to higher standards? They *should* be held to a higher standard than Hezbollah.

  29. Weary_G Says:

    Painer,

    I’m sorry but I don’t think you addressed my point, so I’d like to get back to it. I did not mention anything about higher standards, but about responsibility.

    Do any of the parties I mentioned, other than Israel, bear any responsibility for the fighting, death and destruction currently going in Lebanon, or not? If so, how much, percentage wise. If not at all, explain why.

  30. Weary_G Says:

    Painer,

    I’m sorry but I don’t think you addressed my point, so I’d like to get back to it. I did not mention anything about higher standards, but about responsibility.

    Do any of the parties I mentioned, other than Israel, bear any responsibility for the fighting, death and destruction currently going in Lebanon, or not? If so, how much, percentage wise. If not at all, explain why.

  31. Weary_G Says:

    Painer,

    My bad. Rereading my post, I do see I mentioned “impossibly high standard” at the top, although you will see my point was about the concept of responsibility.

    Tell you what, I’ll answer your question regarding differing standards (you are both wrong and right) if you first answer my question regarding responsibility for the current conflict. Fair enough?

  32. senescentwasp Says:

    Please do not feed the trolls.

    They are here simply to deflect the discussion. Engaging them is pointless. It is difficult, but the scales will never fall from their eyes and they will never lack for material and citations since their comrades in the media will continue to spin and spin the raw information through the prism of their agenda.

    Empirical studies have shown that people who are “true believers”, to use Erik Hoffer’s term, are incapable of objective analysis.

    Their mission here is to capture the discussion and hope to ensnare those who have analytical deficiencies and those who are ill informed.

  33. Painer Man Says:

    Do any of the parties I mentioned, other than Israel, bear any responsibility for the fighting, death and destruction currently going in Lebanon, or not? If so, how much, percentage wise. If not at all, explain why.

    Fair enough, Weary_G.

    I think that, first and foremost, the responsibility lies with the former colonial powers, especially Britain, because it was under their stewardship of Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century, that the whole mess started. But that’s old history.

    Now let’s come to more recent times.

    You ask me about which “parties” bear responsibility, and you mention the word “Israel”.

    Now, the way I see it, “Israel” is just the name of a country. It is not a living, breathing person. It’s an abstraction. If we are to assign responsibility, we can’t do so to a name or to an abstraction. We have to assign it to specific people or groups of people.

    So, it makes sense, perhaps, to talk about “Israelis” rather than “Israel”. But are all Israelis to blame for the situation? Obviously not.

    Who or what, then, are most to blame for this mess?

    I think that most of the blame lies with successive US administrations, which have lavished military and other aid on Israel, without demanding any accountability, and have protected Israel (through vetoes in the UN, for example). In doing so, successive US administrations have allowed Israel to behave irresponsibly (such as build settlements in occupied territories, treat Arab Israelis as second-class citizens, occupy territory indefinitely, etc.). This more than anything else has created the present mess. Why have successive US administrations behaved this way? Mostly driven by big business, especially the oil industry, as the Middle East is an oil-rich region, and having Israel as a “client state” keeps that part of the world safe for our companies to make profits in. These companies have had successive administrations in their pockets, on account of our campaign finance laws and the corruption this creates.

    As for those who are resisting the Occupation, I don’t blame them (except for those zealots who deliberately target Israeli civilians). When one’s land is occupied and colonised, people fight back. It is inevitable. We Americans ourselves did so in the 1770s. The founders of Israel — people like Moshe Dayan and Menachem Begin, themselves did so — they fought against British occupation as part of organisations like the Irgun, the Hagannah, etc.

  34. senescentwasp Says:

    The fundamental questions are not about mythical “responsibilities” or mining the past to do some sort of “ethical bookkeeping” or even the “legitimacy” of the Balfour Declaration that is the origin of the state of Israel.

    Using the logical construction of First Principles, the fundamental questions are:

    Do nation states, whatever their origins, have the right to self defense?

    Is there an Islamisist movement, to use an earlier and less values laden term referring to a political agenda, to make war on the the non Islamic nations?

    The answers to these two First Principles questions are at the heart of the struggle for political power now going on in the West.

    To answer these questions, each of us brings a set of assumptions about the world.

    My answers are: Yes and yes. In this context the minutiae of bickering about who did what to who and when become pointless exercises in talking past each other.

    Due to the failures of our educational systems to teach logic and reasoning many of us here are coming to the debate flabby and unarmed with nothing more than a mess of talking points.

    Those two questions and several others are at the heart of what is, in the West, a political debate and politics is about power; gaining it and exercising it.

    Everything else is just trivia and ill informed assertions about events, e.g. the UN outpost, that lead nowhere. Do your homework.

  35. Weary_G Says:

    Painer,

    Well, thank you for your expansive and honest answer. I just find that reinforces what I wrote, though.

    Even with you looking far back historically, the only blame you seem able to really allocate is to Britain, Israel (or Israelies), or the United States. History being a continuum and no one (person or nation) being perfect, I would have to admit that each of those must bear some responsibility. I would argue how much, and no doubt we would have widely differing opinions on the extent of that blame and what you could really put in the lap of the forementioned entities. But still. Sure. Each of those have certainly bears some responsibility.

    But, at the same time, you seem incapable of realizing, accepting or articulating the notion that other people or nations bear some of that burden, whether for current or past acts. I mentioned some of them in a previous post, but lets look at a few others.

    For example, how about blaming the UN for voting for the creation of Israel in the first place? They helped create the “occupation” as you call it. Why not blame them for the creation of the problem?

    How about the Arab states who from the beginning who did not respect the UN’s creation of the state of Israel from the beginning? How about their successive wars against Israel which led to more land going to Israel because their aggression did not match their military capability?

    How about the Soviet Union (or the Russians if you like), which helped supply so many of the arms which allowed the Arab states to launch those wars?

    In fact, why can’t we go back really far and allocate some blame to Egypt for enslaving the Jews which no doubt established a pattern of persecution against Jews?

    I could go on, and on and on. But that’s not the point.

    My point is: why do you focus on just those three nations/peoples you mentioned? Why no mention of so many others which would logically had to have some responsibility in the whole issue?

    With all due respect, you are looking through this whole thing through a particular lens, one which simply does not allow certain things to enter the equation. I am not sure I can convince you of that, so perhaps I should not try to do so.

    I stand by my original statement that people are willing to assign all of the blame to certain parties, and do not even give a thought to the complicity of others.

    Not only do I think that unfair and intellectually dishonest, but I think it helps perpetuate the conditions in which these conflicts occur and in which innocent people suffer, something which everyone here is supposedly concerned about.

    In regards to your higher standards issue, I accept that as liberal (in the old school sense) democracies which value individual rights and life, there are some things which we should hold ourselves above, no matter what the enemy does. In that I agree with you, although we will no

  36. Weary_G Says:

    (continued)

    In regards to your higher standards issue, I accept that as liberal (in the old school sense) democracies which value individual rights and life, there are some things which we should hold ourselves above, no matter what the enemy does. In that I agree with you, although we will no doubt disagree on what is acceptable.

    However, that does not then mean we give a pass on the corrupt, violent, sadistic and inhumane behavior of our enemies.

    If you are going to complain when the Israelis accidently hit a UN compound in the middle of a war zone, you should call scream bloody murder when a UN building is specifically targeted for death and destruction by “insurgents”.

    If you are going to criticize the alleged second-class status of Arabs in Israel, you should be shouting from the rooftops condemning the infinitely more repressive and often genocidal treatment of Arabs by their own kind.

    If you do not do so, or worse, if you ignore those crimes or excuse them away by saying, in effect, “well, that’s just the way they are”, then I can’t take any criticisms from your seriously. Again, not only because of basic fairness, but also because you are also helping perpetuate those crimes ad infinitum by refusing to acknowledge them.

    Alright, this got a bit long. Apologies, Neo.

  37. harry mallory Says:

    Adam:
    “When people become too drunk on power, they behave irrationally. ..It’s quite conceivable that somewhere giving orders thought “let’s teach the UN a lesson”…This kind of reckless disregard is not new among those who become mad with power.”

    Oh, look at you. You’ve already pronounced Israel guilty and provided a motivation for their crime without even a consideration that it might have been an accident, yet you needed to have absolute proof Hizbollah didn’t use that position as a shield.

    You people are absolute tools.

  38. Painer Man Says:

    If you are going to criticize the alleged second-class status of Arabs in Israel, you should be shouting from the rooftops condemning the infinitely more repressive and often genocidal treatment of Arabs by their own kind.

    The difference is that Israel is subsidised by the US taxpayer (i.e. with my taxes), whereas the Arab states are not.

    Syria committed horrible atrocities (the massacre at Hama for example) against its own Arab citizens. But those atrocities were not financed with my taxes.

    I tend to complain more loudly against injustices that my taxes are being used to subsidise.

  39. harry mallory Says:

    “I tend to complain more loudly against injustices that my taxes are being used to subsidise.”

    But Painer, that would be a ‘disproportionate’ response. (Its also a cop-out)

  40. Weary_G Says:

    Painer,

    “I tend to complain more loudly against injustices that my taxes are being used to subsidise.”

    So, basically, your degree of moral outrage is not based on the actual suffering of the people involved, or the nature of the act, or the circumstances surrounding it. It is based mostly on the amount of money it costs you.

    I must admit. I honestly don’t know how to respond to that…

  41. JonBuck Says:

    JonBuck, it was dishonest of you not to disclose that Mackenzie has a conservative political agenda.

    I didn’t *know* he was Conservative. And I really don’t see how it’s relavent. That is, in effect, disregarding the message because you don’t like the messanger, which is just an ad hominem attack. Unless you can tell me why his analysis is factually wrong, then I really don’t see how I can have a fruitful discussion with you.

    But that would mean putting aside your own political biases and actually engaging the argument, wouldn’t it?

    Oh, and regarding Gen. Mackenzie’s interview is over on Little Green Footballs. This will no doubt cause many of you go go ballistic. But if you click on that link you will find the actual audio from the radio show. Listen for yourselves.

  42. Weary_G Says:

    Someone better get the Troll club…

  43. stumbley Says:

    It’s because of people like you, stevie, that Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinians get no sympathy from me. You, and they, are a blight on humanity. I’m wondering how you think your comments are going to influence anyone here positively, or what you think your support of Israel’s enemies is worth?

  44. Don Says:

    Yes, USA, withdraw from the UN! And become even more isolated in the world than the USA already ia… and watch India and China become more and more powerful and start to form an alternate power bloc!

    Yeah, make the day for China — withdraw from the UN!

    The UN is essentially irrelevent. If the US leaves the UN, the UN will go away quickly.

    Wealth and power are related to trade, not UN involvement. China may or may not be the next superpower (I suspect not, but for reasons that are off topic), but the UN has nothing to do with it.

    US power is based in free markets, property rights, and trade. As long as the US market remains strong, the US will remain a robust trading partner. UN or no UN.

    Real international relations are rooted in trade. The UN is a pimple with respect to real international relations.

  45. Don Says:

    I tend to complain more loudly against injustices that my taxes are being used to subsidise.

    Accidently bombing a UN post is an accident, not an injustice.

    Real injustice would be if the IDF doesn’t finish the job in Lebanon.

    Syria committed horrible atrocities (the massacre at Hama for example) against its own Arab citizens. But those atrocities were not financed with my taxes.

    Syria showed how you can handle the Muslim Brotherhood at Hama. They put the lie to the statement that force doesn’t solve anything.

    But it isn’t clear that your tax $$$ didn’t help fund Syria. Syria was a Soviet client state, and previously we were propping up the Soviet economy via free grain shipments, etc. At the time Syria was stepping on the Brotherhood at Hama, Reagan was in power and taking on the Soviets, but previous administrations tried to buy off the Soviets, and that allowed the Soviets to supply client states such as Syria and Saddam’s Iraq.

  46. Don Says:

    I think that, first and foremost, the responsibility lies with the former colonial powers, especially Britain, because it was under their stewardship of Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century, that the whole mess started. But that’s old history.

    No the mess was already there, but the Turks knew how to keep in under control: massive controlled violence.

    The Middle East has always been violent, and Islam in particular has a violent history.

    It’s old history, all right, but consistent.

    I think that most of the blame lies with successive US administrations, which have lavished military and other aid on Israel, without demanding any accountability, and have protected Israel (through vetoes in the UN, for example). In doing so, successive US administrations have allowed Israel to behave irresponsibly (such as build settlements in occupied territories, treat Arab Israelis as second-class citizens, occupy territory indefinitely, etc.). This more than anything else has created the present mess.

    The present mess is rooted in Islam and Arab culture; as soon as Muslim decide to live in peace, there will be peace in the Middle East.

    Why have successive US administrations behaved this way?

    Post WW2, our actions in the region were driven by the calculus of the Cold War; this meant that prior to ’68 we tended to be biased towards Arab states (or Iran), and our primary concearn was contesting the Soviets.

    Israel only became important to the US when they proved to be a potent player in the region.

    Mostly driven by big business, especially the oil industry, as the Middle East is an oil-rich region, and having Israel as a “client state” keeps that part of the world safe for our companies to make profits in.

    No, this “big oil” calulus would drive us AWAY from Israel and towards Arab/Persian interests.

    Our interaction in the region is in fact balanced, between oil interests and more general security interests.

    These companies have had successive administrations in their pockets,

    So much in their pockets they can’t drill ANWAR! I’m sorry, but if “big oil” was running things we would drop Israel like a hot potato!

    Explain to me, exactly, how big oil benifits from our support of Israel.

    on account of our campaign finance laws and the corruption this creates.

    I assume you thing we need stricter campaign finance laws. If so, you are wrong on that, too.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    There’s not much to read in the comments section, so I’ll in the future just address my words to Neo. Maybe that’ll work.

    Ya, there’s an information war going on. That’s been going on ever since Arafat spoke at the UN in 1970.

  48. douglas Says:

    for the record- the email from the Canadian in UNIFIL that was killed was directly to CBC in respose to queries they sent him. The evil conservative’ general was commenting on the email on a show on CBC- prior to the accident.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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