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SWJED
07-22-2006, 04:01 PM
Do you think the Israeli military response inside Lebanon is justified?

Stu-6
07-22-2006, 06:42 PM
I donít know if it is well thought out or a good idea but I would say it is justified. They canít just allow their soldiers to be taken without response. The ability to defend oneself is fundamental to a legitimate state government.

SWJED
07-22-2006, 07:16 PM
Though I am sure the IDF had contingency plans for this. Like they say - once the first round goes down range the plan goes out the window. Still, the IDF seems fully capable of adapting as combat operations slug along.

Not only do I believe the Israeli incursion into Lebanon is justified - I believe it is well within a "proportional response" box.

The MSM would like us to believe otherwise - as well as some of our European "partners".

This whole episode is more than just Israel, Lebanon, Hezbollah and Hamas - it is all about Iran and Syria and the use of non-state actors / surrogates to advance national policies. It is also about the Islamists who have sworn to destroy our society... Diplomacy with all of the above antagonists, excepting Israel, is a pipe dream.

Stu-6
07-23-2006, 12:19 AM
I think a lot of the reason for the argument that Israelís action not being a proportional response comes from a genuine since of compassion for the Lebanese caught in the middle without answering the question of what is Israel going to do. It is admirable to be worried about the well being of civilians caught in a combat zone but it is important to look at both sides.

cmetcalf82
07-23-2006, 03:47 AM
No state can simply stand by and allow themselves to be attacked from another nation repeatedly. By this reasoning the Israeli response is justified. Lebanon's government has failed to take any action to prevent Hizballah, a widely identified terrorist organization, to prevent or control Hizballah actions - therefore Israel is justified in trying to do so itself. As STU-6 alluded to the Israeli response may not be well thought out or strategically intelligent but it is fully justified.

slapout9
07-23-2006, 12:00 PM
SWJED aka Bill. Your posts about the Israeli situation reveal a great deal of passion. My personal radar suggest some kind of personal connection or experience about this. Can you share it? Or does my radar need a tune up?

SWJED
07-23-2006, 12:33 PM
SWJED aka Bill. Your posts about the Israeli situation reveal a great deal of passion. My personal radar suggest some kind of personal connection or experience about this. Can you share it? Or does my radar need a tune up?

Also - SWJED is Dave... I have worked on Middle East issues on and off for years to include CENTCOM and MCIA as well as serving with 1st MARDIV during Desert Storm.

These tours of course have shaped some of my opinions. I am by no means an Israel apologist - that said - in the grand scheme of things we are facing an enemy that just happens to be an enemy of Israel...

On edit - just want to make sure that it is common knowledge that all opinions are welcome and encouraged on the SWC and the SWJ. My opinions are my own and I pride myself in acknowledging that in these chaotic and complex times I most certainly do not have all the answers and on certain issues I may very well be wrong...

slapout9
07-23-2006, 01:07 PM
Understood. Fixing my radar (don't post until I finish my second cup of coffe). Didn't mean to forget Dave.

hsa333
07-23-2006, 02:30 PM
As an American Jew and an avid student of history's Small Wars, I think that the counry-wide bombing of Lebanon is a miscalculation on behalf of Israel.

I understand that the message Israel is trying to impart to the Lebanese as a whole is "Clean up your own house", but I fear that all the invasion is going to do is just going to give them negative PR.

That being said, as a Jew and a Zionist I believe Israel has the right to defend itself, but I'm looking at this in the context of the GWOT, or rather from the big picture view that we're all in a global "guerilla" war. Out of all of the reading I've done (I'm a civilian with no military experience) I've come to believe that the primary center of gravity in a guerilla war is to intellectually and emotionally seperate the "population" from the terrorist. (And I know how difficult, if not impossible it is to do in this situation)

A full scale invasion, or full scale bombing of Lebanon I believe does nothing positive in that respect for Israel. By violently engaging the Sunni/Christian/Non-Hezbollah population of Lebanon, I believe Israel has turned an apathetic, tacitly non-hostile, segment of Lebanon against them at a time when they don't need more enemies.

Having said that, I think Israel got it's message across to non-Shia Lebanon after the first day when they just hit the airport and blockaded the port. I would not have been averse to seeing them invade the Hezbollah sanctuary in the south of the country, but I think that bombing Beirut (and therefore turning international opinion against them) will create more problems than it solves. I think the country-wide bombing was an overwhelming conventional warfare response to an unconventional warfare problem. Not only that, but it gives more propaganda fodder to Jihadists/Islamist-terrorists and has the potential to create more Jihadist/Islamist-terrorists.

However, I'm not naive enough to think that any response to a terrorist act (like the kidnapping in Lebanon) would play well on the Arab Street. I just think that smaller, more nuanced, surgical military action would have been the better option.

Tc2642
07-23-2006, 02:44 PM
No state can simply stand by and allow themselves to be attacked from another nation repeatedly. By this reasoning the Israeli response is justified. Lebanon's government has failed to take any action to prevent Hizballah, a widely identified terrorist organization, to prevent or control Hizballah actions - therefore Israel is justified in trying to do so itself. As STU-6 alluded to the Israeli response may not be well thought out or strategically intelligent but it is fully justified.

Just a point but the Lebanese government cannot do anything since they are too weak to control Hizbullah, (which is a state within a state)

Merv Benson
07-23-2006, 03:38 PM
Hezballah's provocation gave Israel a stregic opportunity to destroy Hezballah's/Iran's threat hanging over Israel's border. The bombing in Lebanon is not just random acts of violence but a plan to isolate Heaballah and prevent its resupply by air, sea or highway. It is also aimed at destroying as many of Hezballah's missiles as possible. Ground force units will also have the objective of removing the missile threat.

In the process Israel is destroying Iran's retaliatory threat, should Israel bomb Iran's nuke facilities. One of Iran's reasons for giving Hezballah all those missiles was to use them against Israel, should Israel attack Iran. By removeing that "deterrent" Israel will have more strategic flexibility to deal with Iran.

Destroying Iran's proxy also weakens the Hezballah myth of having defeated Israel. This myth has fed the Islamist movement from bin Laden to Amadinajab. This has led to miscalculations as significant as 9-11 and to the current conflict. Destroying this myth will give the middle east its best chance of peace. The best way to destroy the myth is to destroy Hezballah and Hamas.

Stu-6
07-23-2006, 10:45 PM
I think that maybe what the Israeli are thinking but it is a risky strategy. If they can destroy Hezbollah it will definitely be a great victory for Israel but that will be tricky. If they fail to destroy Hezbollah, a likely outcome, they risk reinforcing the mythology of Hezbollah.

Tom Odom
07-24-2006, 11:41 AM
If you fall into the trap of "justified," you are already bogged in the never ending chicken and egg argument over who started what. Both sides play that game without end.

The real question is does it serve Israel's long term interest and the answer is a qualified "no."

Why? Because Israel's long term interest is a secure and stable Lebanon; achieving that means a secure Lebanese government. The reason I give a qualified "no" is the strong probablity of Lebanese government and military collapse. The qualified part comes from if the Lebanese government manages to squeak by this one and actually manages to strengthen its control; that would serve Israel's interests but I don't rate its chances of success very high.

Best
Tom

SSG Rock
07-24-2006, 01:14 PM
The current hostilities with Hamas and Hezbollah is a symptom of the illness. The cause of that illness is Iran and Syria. Unless the US and international community is willing to hold Iran and Syria responsible for this (and I think they are) Israel can hope for nothing more the re-establishing the buffer zones but the basic issue will remain and the region is destined for more violence.

If Iran is successful in procuring nuclear weapons, what are the odds that they would actually use them on Israel? Do we want to find out? This is the right time to ratchet up the diplomatic pressure on Iran and Syria, we may not get another opportunity before nukes enter the equation. They need to be convinced that there will be serious consequences for continuing to use Hamas and Hezbollah as a proxy military force.

I know that the international community is loath to accept the reality of the situation but if they can't face the hard truth of the matter now, the world is going to be faced with a much, much more serious situation.

Jedburgh
07-24-2006, 03:04 PM
A military response was justified. The nature and degree of this response is both grossly disproportionate and counter-productive. A simple comparison of the number of Lebanese civilians killed versus the number of Hizballah militants taken out is a good indicator. In this case, I will simply quote from a recent CSIS paper The Road to Nowhere: Everyone's Strategic Failures in Lebanon (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060721_nowhere.pdf), Cordesman's statements reflect my feelings on the situation:

...At the same time that it was relying on a security fence for Gaza and the West Bank, it was watching an enemy build up the capability to carry out much more lethal attacks deep into Israel across the security barriers in the North. This does not explain Israelís reaction to Hezbollah kidnapping several IDF soldiers. Israel had already grossly overreacted strategically to a similar kidnapping in Gaza. This is not to dismiss the importance of such lives, but when a state shows that it is so extraordinarily sensitive and easy to provoke into extreme action, it does not protect its soldiers or citizens. It offers every radical and extremist an incentive to use the same tactics in the future. It cannot deter its true enemies by such action, but it can breed new ones...

zenpundit
07-24-2006, 04:30 PM
What great or middle power would indefinitely tolerate the situation of having a paramilitary army attacking them that is the pawn of other powers ? Not many.

That being said, Israel is handling the situation less well from a military standpoint than any other conflict the IDF has been in, at least that I can recall.

Tc2642
07-25-2006, 11:22 AM
From what I have read up on the only way the IDF can hurt Hezbollah is by moving troops into Lebanon (which they seem to be doing). But this would seem to be risky since the last time they did this in 1982 against the PLO they helped form the creation of Hezbollah and were stuck in a violent occupation for the next 18 years. Plus the amount of civilian casualties the IDF have caused works against them (and for Hezbollah) on the propaganda front. While the IDF is warning civilians to get out of southern Lebanon it does seem counterproductive that they have destroyed all the roads leading out of it, and by destroying economic infastructure they are likely to produce more enemies than win friends.

Strickland
07-25-2006, 02:55 PM
While I believe Hizbollah to be the IDF's target, it appears as if the Lebanese people and their infrastructure are the ones being "punished." While an admittedly poor analogy, is this not akin to a US police force making a decision to rid a crime-ridden urban setting of the problem by destroying the neighborhood, and punishing those elements of society within that community that were either too weak to affect change or somehow passively complicit?

How can anyone justify the IDF's targeting Red Crescent or ICRC vehicles?

To draw another poor analogy that may resonate with Americans, couldnt one draw a comparison between the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Hamas and Hizbollah? Didnt the Panthers have considerable legitimacy in the eyes of many Americans, and in fact, didnt they provide similar humanitarian type relief to citizens in a manner similar to Hamas and Hizbollah?

Steve Blair
07-25-2006, 02:59 PM
If you fall into the trap of "justified," you are already bogged in the never ending chicken and egg argument over who started what. Both sides play that game without end.

The real question is does it serve Israel's long term interest and the answer is a qualified "no."

Why? Because Israel's long term interest is a secure and stable Lebanon; achieving that means a secure Lebanese government. The reason I give a qualified "no" is the strong probablity of Lebanese government and military collapse. The qualified part comes from if the Lebanese government manages to squeak by this one and actually manages to strengthen its control; that would serve Israel's interests but I don't rate its chances of success very high.

Best
Tom

I would agree with this as well, especially the comments regarding the term "justified." Leaving that out...should Israel have taken action? Yes. Is the action they have taken the best course? Most likely not. It does little to benefit them in the long term, especially since their chances of destroying Hezbollah are very, very slim. A weaker Lebanon with a politically stronger Hezbollah and Syria waiting to come in and "restore order" certainly does not benefit Israel.

SSG Rock
07-27-2006, 02:28 PM
Could it be that Israel has reached it's limit regarding unprovoked acts of violence against her? And that they are simply going to go after Hezbollah and let the chips fall where they may?

How many times do you let some punk punch you in the face before you turn around and knock him on his can?

It puts a different light on the subject I think when you are literally fighting for your life.

Jedburgh
07-27-2006, 03:19 PM
Could it be that Israel has reached it's limit regarding unprovoked acts of violence against her? And that they are simply going to go after Hezbollah and let the chips fall where they may?
I trust you realize that "let the chips fall where they may" refers to hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilian dead.

How many times do you let some punk punch you in the face before you turn around and knock him on his can?
This situation is more akin to an individual being beaten by a bully, then, without bothering to take the time to talk to his parents or call the police, going over and burning his family's house down with the bully's parents and siblings inside. The mindset is that the family deserves whatever happens to them because they couldn't control the kid.

No one is stating that Israel is unjustified in responding to Hizballah's provocation and to the threat it poses. It is the nature of the reponse that is under debate. My opinion is that the response is wholly disproportionate to the border clash and kidnapping. And now, after wreaking massive destruction across Lebanon and killing large numbers of civilians, they are no closer to destroying Hizballah than they were at the outset. The results of Operation Summer Rain look to be strategically counter-productive - much like the way Operation Grapes of Wrath turned out.

It puts a different light on the subject I think when you are literally fighting for your life.
Israel is not fighting for its life. Yes, Hizballah poses a security threat on its northern border; but it is a long way from threatening the existence of the state of Israel. Again, much like Operation Grapes of Wrath, domestic Israeli politics plays no small role in the decision-making process of the Israeli government.

Tc2642
07-27-2006, 08:47 PM
Found an interesting article on Al Jazzera.net entitled 'The focus should be on Damascus',

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/010676D6-1F09-456F-8C16-6BD44499A644.htm

zenpundit
07-27-2006, 10:08 PM
Israel has attacked Lebanon in part because under international law such a response is legally justified. We are hearing about " proportionality" only because Israel is so clearly within its rights to respond militarily to Hezbollah that the case for Israeli "aggression", which would be the normal diplomatic response, cannot pass the laugh test.

Morally, Israel would be far better off having attacked Syria, a primary backer of Hezbollah but this would be an act of aggression and illegal as Syria's aid is technically covert and more deniable. You can't deny Hezbollah's geographic location in quite the same fashion.

I'm not sure of the extent to which the IDF plans its operational strategy with the aid of lawyers but it sure looks like the consultation was considerable.

zenpundit
07-27-2006, 11:20 PM
According to the U.S. State Department website (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm), Israel and Syria are in a de jure state of war, so technically at least, Israel can attack Syria without fear of legally being considered an aggressor.