Sunday, July 30, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

Wrote Bill Hennessy earlier today in response to my post of earlier this morning:

The left, and even some normally sober thinkers like Dr. Steven Taylor, wish the Israelis would let the terrorists live to launch more murder on Israel.

I find that statement to be remarkable (and I am reigning in my emotions, as I don’t want this to be an emotional discussion, despite the ease with which these things can head that direction).

First off: if we are talking about wishes, I suppose I would wish that Hezbollah would throw down their arms, buy Israel a Coke and furnish it with love instead of Katushya rockets. However, we aren’t talking about the land of wish here, but hardcore political reality, not to mention the lives of thousands and thousands of people who have been substantially effected by the current action.

Do I wish that terrorism would go away and that everyone in the region would learn to live together in peace in democratic states? Yes, I do. However, that isn’t on the table right now, and the issue becomes how best to deal with the circumstances on the ground.

Second, nowhere in the post in question did I call for the sparing of terrorists so that they could murder Israelis. Feel free to read it again–I’ll wait here.

Now that you’re back:

What I asked was given that what Hezbollah wants is for Israeli counter-attack to kill Lebanese civilians, is it necessarily wise for Israel to respond to the attack in the manner that they have? Hezbollah wants death and destruction so that they can blame on Israel, as it will help Hezbollah recruit more fighters (and it proves, in a perverse way, that they are right: Israel becomes the enemy that killed your brother, your aunt, your nephew…). As such, it is a wholly legitimate question to ask as to whether Israel is achieving its long-terms strategic goals by winning a specific tactical encounter. How that is wishing for terrorists to live on to murder Israelis is beyond me.

In short, I am wondering whether Israel is necessarily making itself safer by its current course of action. Note that my concern would therefore be focused on Israeli security, not letting terrorists kill Israelis. As such, my position would be the opposite of what Hennessy ascribes to me.

Just because I am not convinced that the current military action against Hezbollah is a good idea does not mean that I am looking for more Israelis to be killed.

I am not naive–I certainly understand that civilians are killed in military conflicts, and sometimes the greater good is served by that unfortunate fact. The Allies could not have defeated the Axis if it did so in a way that would not have killed any civilians. And yes, evil people often use the innocents to protect their vile activities. Still, this situation is doubly complicated, because despite Hezbollah’s connection to the Lebanese state, it is not the Lebanese state that started this conflict, meanings its citizens are in many cases as much victims as the Israelis.

Further, this is not a conventional war where it is an issue of taking out assets and controlling territory–guerrilla groups can live to fight another day even when they have been severally degraded, because they fight to harass and frustrate, not to take over military assets or to control real estate.

Because of these factors, it is especially problematic to simply dismiss the problem of civilian casualties.

It is doubly problematic not to understand that what looks like a military victory for Israel now could be a massive problem in the future if Lebanon because a failed state populated by citizens who hate Israel.

I would close by noting that Bill has a banner on his site that states he supports Israel. I can’t disagree with the basic sentiment. I want Israel to be safe, secure and to thrive. However, it is possible to have differing views on the specific actions that Israel undertakes at a given moment in time without that meaning that one wants Israelis murdered.

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2 Responses to “I Take Public Exception to that Comment…”

  1. MSS Says:

    Thanks for the sober reminder of why I have avoided blogging about this war–so far, and apart from my brief comment a few days ago about there being days when I wonder if I am a Zionist. Your last paragraph well sums up my feelings on that score.

  2. Vigilante Says:

    The IDF troopers taken as POW’s? What were they doing in Lebanon?

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