Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Beaking with the president

A better blogger than I has been confused lately by my approach to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. That is understandable, as I tend to under-articulate my points. Initially, I agreed that Israel had the right and the responsibility to reclaim captured soldiers and punish Hezbollah. Certainly, by their own admission, Hezbollah was caught by surprise with Israel's initial furor.

Hopefully sometime today I will have the opportunity to explain my position in more detail. To sum it up quickly, I am increasingly concerned about a broader war in the region. I think everyone, even the most aggressive Israeli hawk, will concede that a nuclear Iran is far more dangerous than Hezbollah. The two are linked, of course. More later.

Now, Chuck Hagel's comments in the Senate yesterday are available on his website. An excerpt:
It is in Israel’s interest, as much as ours, that the United States be seen by all states in the Middle East as fair. This is the currency of trust.

The world has rightly condemned the despicable actions of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel and kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Israel has the undeniable right to defend itself against aggression. This is the right of all states.

Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, to Lebanon and to all who strive for lasting peace in the Middle East.

However, military action alone will not destroy Hezbollah or Hamas. Extended military action is tearing Lebanon apart, killing innocent civilians, destroying its economy and infrastructure, creating a humanitarian disaster, further weakening Lebanon’s fragile democratic government, strengthening popular Muslim and Arab support for Hezbollah, and deepening hatred of Israel across the Middle East. The pursuit of tactical military victories at the expense of the core strategic objective of Arab-Israeli peace is a hollow victory. The war against Hezbollah and Hamas will not be won on the battlefield.

To achieve a strategic shift in the conditions for Middle East peace, the United States must use the global condemnation of terrorist acts as the basis for substantive change. For a lasting and popularly supported resolution, only a strong Lebanese government and a strong Lebanese army, backed by the international community, can rid Lebanon of these corrosive militias and terrorist organizations.
Note the old soldier making comments about strategy and tactics.

"Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war."


Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Chuck Hagel: one of the few non-robotic members of the US Senate.
A man preaching in the desert as they say...

Turning a man into a pliant “social” animal takes several years of “upbringing”: you have to remove all traces of humanity from him to produce a full-fledged Israeli sicari swordsman, a passionate Persian pasdaran or a fanatical fascist freak.

Then, and only then, can he join the great horde

For machine-men prefer to hunt in packs

Just like urban gangsters and wild beasts

And they always submit to the pack leader

Be he High Priest, Imam, POTUS or Fuhrer

11:31 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Actually, I simply think Hagel is wrong. Hizbollah will be destroyed only by military action, not in any other way. The same probably applies to Hamas. All of the objectives we wish to achieve in the Middle East ride on this war: Defeating Hizbollah first, then Hamas. Once Hizbollah is gone, the Lebanese people will finally be able to assert themselves. Iran and Syria will no longer have a proxy to act through, and will be responsible for their own actions - or they can choose not to act, which would make the world a much better place. Hizbollah made the mistake of thinking that the world would call the fight rather quickly and that Israel's response would be weaker - and they were almost right. Now, they're wrong, and they're getting desperate as they are about to get destroyed - creating a fake massacre in Qana, desperately working for a ceasefire, etc. And Israel (and the blogs) won't let it happen, for the first time in decades.

I'm about to put up a few great links, and all are worth reading - but you'll especially like the one by David Bogner of Treppenwitz. I think he's probably very close to right about the strategies being employed now.

2:10 PM  

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