Two years ago, as Israel attacked Lebanon to try and root out Hizbollah, I said the following:
If I believed for a second that, with this military campaign, Israel could eliminate Hezbollah with a minimum of civilian casualties, I would be cheering Israel actions, while regretting the loss of civilian lives. But I have my doubts about the effectiveness of this campaign. I fear that Lebanese civilians are suffering disproportionately from Israel’s response. And somehow, in some quarters, that’s put me in league with the terrorists.
One of the most frustrating things about the debate of the armchair critics around the Middle East crisis, is how polarized the debate has become. For some, Israel can do no wrong — its actions should be cheered without reservation or thought of the innocent Lebanese civilians caught in the crossfire; for others, Hezbollah are freedom fighters and Israel bears sole responsibility for the deaths of the civilians Hezbollah happens to hide behind. Of course, the truth is far more complicated.
I was derided in certain quarters for this stance, although I can sort of see why: some could argue that Israel, the democracy, was going after a bunch of terrorists. Israel had the right to defend itself. How else could it defend itself save for trying to end Hezbollah’s capability to make war against Israel.
Except that, as I said, it wouldn’t work. Israel’s actions had made Hezbollah more popular in Lebanon, not less, even among Christian sections of the population. And as we can see today, Hezbollah’s capability to make war is far from ended. Israel ended the lives of hundreds of innocent Lebanese in an act that can only be described as a failure.
The only bright spot, if one can be found, in Hezbollah’s recent acts of violence against Lebanon itself is that they could well be making the same mistakes Israel made. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Here’s a guest post on Matthew Good’s website:
Today David has become Goliath, Hizbullah no longer points its guns at israel in order to Defend Lebanon, instead they have turned their guns on their own people. And as the days pass the death toll rises, and hate grows. They have taken human life and have taken the right of the other side to even speak, by closing down pro-gov’t Future TV. Freedom is lost.
A couple of years ago, before Israel’s attack on Hezbollah, Lebanon was a state on the cusp of standing up to this terrorist agency and its Syrian masters. We can only hope that the legitimate government of Lebanon weathers Hezbollah’s storm and that the people of Lebanon are able to stand up to these terrorists and take their country back to some of what it enjoyed before this sectarian violence materialized. Of course, the ability of Lebanon to defend itself against Hezbollah is probably a bit more shaky than Israel’s ability to defend itself. Lebanon’s citizens won’t be free of this tyranny unless we pay attention, and give space to the forces within the country struggling to secure democracy.
Everybody, take note.