Reactions to Israel and Lebanon

July 17th, 2006

I was surprised by the reactions to my story Saturday on Israel and Lebanon. Several pro-Israel posters are apparently in complete denial about what the Israeli military forces are doing.

Today, the American network ABC reported that Israel had bombed a Kleenex manufacturer, numerous farms, and all the major roads out of Lebanon. And they showed pictures of all of these during their evening newscast.

I find it highly unlikely that ABC is making this up.

One person asked, essentially, “do you really think a democracy could do this?” Yes. It’s happened many times before. The United States and Britain did this sort of thing when they destroyed tens of thousands of homes and killed over 25,000 people, most of them civilians, in the bombing of Dresden. The United States also was responsible for the nuclear bombs dropped over japan, killing 140,000 people instantly and countless more due to the effects of the atomic weapon.

Being a democracy is no guarantee against extremism. Some Israel supporters need to take a hard look at what their military is doing.

As I explained, none of this is to defend the attacks against Israel, which of course are also terrible.

But I think Israel’s strategy is going to wind up costing them — they are creating huge numbers of angry Lebanese, that perhaps didn’t have the motivation to attack Israel before, but now do. (Of course, the same error could be attributed to their enemy)

And both sides are catching innocent civilians more than military targets.

It’s very sad.

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  1. Joshua Kugler

    It’s interesting to us Westerners to watch the battle in the mid-East because we don’t understand a large part of the mind set. We have this idea that civilians are innocent bystanders, and harm to them is to be avoided at all cost. In an environment where the rule is “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,” there is no such things as an “innocent civilian.” For better or worse, a resident of a country is just as culpable for wrongs committed as that country’s General. It’s all about reducing the will to fight. Right or wrong, if you want to bring a quick end to a war, start putting pressure on the people that will cry out to their government to bring an end to the suffering: that means affecting civilians.

    Regarding the nuclear bombings in Japan: Did they cost hundreds of thousands of lives? Yes. Was it horrible? Yes, without a doubt. I lived in Japan for three years when I was younger (1986-1989). Many Japanese were still angry at America for what we had done. However, many were also very honest in their assessment of those bombings: they [b]saved[/b] thousands of lives, both Japanese and American. How? Because of the Japanese culture of non-surrender. If we had wiped out Japan’s Army, but they had not surrendered, we would have continued our carpet bombing and/or would have stormed their beaches. The Japanese would have fought to the last man, woman, and child before they gave up. It would have cost millions more lives, both Japanese and American. Was it the best option? That’s debatable. Did it end up saving lives? Yes, oddly enough.

    Is Israel’s response justified? In their eyes, apparently it is. We, as westerner’s, have no idea, for the large part, what it is like to be attacked on our own soil. Yes, we have 9/11, but even that pales in comparision to the fear of never knowing when a missle, mortor, or bomb may be lobbed from a neighboring country. And while we may argue about the “rightness” of their actions, they are operating under a totally different set of rules and mindsets. I don’t know all the details of the attacks (either from or against Lebenon), so I won’t speculate. If it is to God that Israel appeals for justificaiton, then God will decide if their actions are justified.

    - Joshua

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    In my opinion, the better response to a culture of no surrender would have been to give them a way to save face instead of killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.

    It was the Allies that had insisted in this complete, total, unconditional surrender that they couldn’t accept. If we had given diplomacy a chance, we might have been able to avoid this.

    Reply

  2. Benjamin Seidenberg

    “And both sides are catching innocent civilians more than military targets.”

    Of course, that is the intent of Hezbollah…

    BTW, one of the reasons for bombing roads is to prevent the kidnapped soldiers from being moved out of the country.

    Reply via email as well as I don’t read your blog’s comments.

    Reply

  3. crf

    “BTW, one of the reasons for bombing roads is to prevent the kidnapped soldiers from being moved out of the country.” — Benjamin Seidenberg

    Why even have soldiers if the cost of only ~potentially~ suffering their loss is to kill hundreds of civilians and militiamen, destroy completely large parts of a country’s infrastructure, surely suffer more casaulties in reprisals, and probably set the back the way to peace to great the degree (which should be the ultimate purpose or goal)?

    Reply

  4. Jim

    Wow again, John. The worst name I could find they called you was I**iot.
    When I got all my flack, I just deleted a lot of it (censorship they said) and instituted comment moderation.
    I may have to do it again, my kids are pretty outspoken, I think they want to outspeak each other and me.
    ..

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Yeah, people feel pretty strongly on this issue. That’s OK, and doesn’t entirely surprise me.

    People can have their say. But their comments show their own arrogance and even schadenfreude — I don’t think I even need bother replying to some comments below, because the extent of the person’s extremism is self-evident.

    And that’s the kind of attitude that we’re up against.

    Reply

  5. Pupeno

    I think people will go and defend what is happening right now because it is easy to live thinking it is right.
    I could think “Ok, they deserve it” and be happy enjoying the conforts of my western life. That would be lieing to myself. Instead, I have been very sad about what is happening, thinking a lot and feeling very bad not being able to do anything about it (feeling so helpless is very very bad, I think most people would prefer to think that there’s nothing you can *have* to do instead of nothing you *can* do).
    For all those finding justification, how can you really try to justify this (warning, very graphic content ahead: http://lebanonheartblogs.blogspot.com/2006/07/warning-strong-pictures.html)
    Thank you.

    Reply

  6. David

    We didn’t kill enough Japanese – read about their conduct in WW2. I’m proud we nuked them – and I’d have dusted Nippon with plutonium (which BTW was plan B) quite happily. Nazi Germany the same – those f*ckers killed millions and bombed my people in their homes we put a stop to it by burning Germany to the ground.

    That is exactly what it will take to stop Islamic terror – ie atomic weapons – not Israel’s feeble half hearted strikes or your sad “we Westerns are sooo guilty” self abasement.

    So go f*ck yourself you collaborator.

    Reply

  7. kirklin

    I guess I understated that nationalistic zeal defies all reason.

    Reply

  8. mako

    While you are at it, you can add the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities which killed about as many civilians as the atom bomb.

    Reply

    David Reply:

    Proud of that too.

    Reply

    Robert Reply:

    You’d be proud of anything. If you were born in an Islamic country you’d be proud of beheading westerners and infidels. If you were born in 1920s Germany you’d be proud of the holocaust. If you were Chinese you’d be proud of the violent occupation of Tibet.

    You’re what’s known as ‘easily lead’.

    Reply

  9. Simon

    How would you suggest the Israeli stop the abuses going on against their people?

    The Israeli demand is, as I understand it, that people don’t kidnap their citizens, and don’t bomb them. It goes slightly further in asking that those who have bombed them are disarmed, but since they already tried a ceasefire with this group without success, that seems quite moderate.

    Would you advocate trading terrorists for kidnapped prisoners, because that is an endless and unrewarding activity.

    Reply

    Rick Reply:

    A complex question to be sure. I cannot even begin to comprehend what it must be like to live in that area as an Iraeli or Lebonese person.

    I saw a story the other night about the incredible length of time it is taking the U.S. to evacuate it’s citizens from that region. Other countries were moving their people out much faster.

    The story also stated that those U.S. citizens might be charged for the trip.
    It’s nice to have a government that cares for you….

    Reply

  10. Jonathan

    It’s unlikely to become a world war. It is very possible it will become a regional war beyond Israel/Palestine/Lebanon.

    Reply

  11. Paul

    Why doesn’t everyone stop poking there nose into everyone else’s business. Just let them bomb the f*ck out of each other – who really cares. Have they started attacking us? Let the middle east fight it out with each other pull all our troops out of everywhere until there all f*cked, then go in when there crippled and take all there oil.

    Reply

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