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Via Media


On the Middle East

posted by awelborn

From the Vatican:

Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano today made the following declaration on Vatican Radio:

  "The news we are receiving from the Middle East is certainly worrying.

  "The Holy Father Benedict XVI and all his collaborators are following with great attention the latest dramatic episodes, which risk degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions.

  "As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a State’s right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations.

  "In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence.

  "Once again, it appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties.



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Janice

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:18 am


This is disingenuousness at its best. “Lebanon” is a fiction, not a sovereign state. It is a playpen for Hezbollah. Israel is not “attacking” a sovereign state, it is defending itself from terrorists, who hide behind the cover of “Lebanon.” Sodano has played this game for years and Truth is always the victim. I hope Benedict has not written the script for this.



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Mike Walsh, MM

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:36 am


I’m with Janice on this. I sometimes wonder if Sodano spins it this way for the sake of the dhimmis or because he is one.



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EuropeanCatholic

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:38 am


I presume I’m not the only one surprised by this statement of Cardinal Sodano.
How can the Holy See condemn the “the military reprisals” of Israel.
“Indeed, a State’s right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations”. I don’t see how Israel has not respected these norms and they are targeting, not the civilian populations, but the infrastructure eg. airport.
“In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence”. But Lebanon is where the terrorists attacks are coming from and where the terrorists are. How can Israel not attack Lebanon then?
It seems to me that all Israel is doing is defending herself and her people.
What is Israel supposed to do? Do nothing and allow the people of Israel to be attacked without any response?



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:41 am


“sincere dialogue between the contending parties.”
Hezbollah and Hamas: “We want all the Jews driven from Palestine!”
Israel: “We’re not going anyplace!”
Oh yeah, dialogue, even sincere dialogue, is going to solve this problem.



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Tom Harmon

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:47 am


A free and sovereign nation, who happens to do absolutely nothing as a group of guerillas use its territory as a staging area to attack a neighboring nation…



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Peter

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:56 am


The only problem I have with the sentiments expressed is that they show an unfortunate lack of understanding of what an asymmetric war really is. They’re grounded, for the most part, in things such as the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which were written when warfare was symmetric. It is a difficult question when civilians cease to be civilians when they willingly and knowingly house, shelter and support combatants. That is an issue I could only wish we had more theological study on that issue – I’m not sure the classic Just War doctrine anticipated it. Hmm. Sounds like a good blog post…



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Richard

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:57 am


Hello Tom,
Worse yet, Hezbollah is actually part of the ruling government coalition in Beirut.



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Boko

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:59 am


How long again ’til Sodano’s gone?
An attack ON Lebanon…
Free and sovereign
Maybe Sodano can write for the Daily Show as his next gig. He’s funnier than Stewart (but not as funny as Colbert).



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:00 am


I find the “civilian casualties” reporting so frustrating. Terrorists are civilians. They’re not living in military barracks and wearing uniforms. None of these news articles ever mention the well-known terrorist tactic of living in civilian homes and surrounding themselves with women and children. Hamas uses children as human shields whenever they engage the Israeli army.
In Afghanistan, they live in the same homes with their wives and children. And when we bomb them, it’s reported that only women and children were killed.
And people fall for this ALL the time.



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Rich Leonardi

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:04 am


If a terrorist group used Niagara Falls, Canada, as a staging area to launch dozens of missiles to Buffalo and Rochester (and had done such things for years without the Canadian government lifting a finger to stop them), how much of the “civilian infrastructure” of Ottawa and perhaps Toronto would be left standing?



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Ignacio

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:05 am


Oh, yes, those euro-weenies in clericals did it again. Why bother by Lebanese civilians killed? All of them must be fanatical Hezbollah supporters, therefore they were asking for the bombing. Including the Maronites, of course.
People, think again. Hezbollah is despicable. But if Israel adopts the “ends justify the means” policy, it loses the moral high ground too. And that is what the Holy See is saying, IMHO. I pray for all the Israelis and the Lebanese (specially, the Maronites). May all be spared of this insanity.



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Rich Leonardi

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:08 am


FYI, the mock quotes around “civilian infrastructure” reflect the criticism Israel is receiving for going after Lebanon’s int’l airport and other targets to disrupt Hezbollah’s ability to wage war. Israel is emphatically not targeting civilians.



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John Lowell

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:15 am


My, here’s a series of comments that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ!
An acknowledgement of responsibility on both sides, a call for restraint and a response both proportional and in compliance with international law and out come the brownshirts! When should Cardinal Sodano expect to be knocked down and kicked to a bloody pulp in some gutter by you folks, Don? You can make book on the fact that he’s expressing the Pope’s point of view, Janice.
John Lowell



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Janice

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:18 am


The burden is on Hezbollah, not Israel. Israel has been putting up with Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, et al., since its birth. How long are they supposed to take it, Ignacio? And don’t tell me that their “civilian” fellow travellers don’t support their aims. The Holy See is using the argument of moral equivalence, which it is not entitled to make here.
I also wonder if Pope Benedict supports Sodano’s statement (which it appears he does since Sodano is explicitly speaking for the Holy See)? If he does, there seems to be a cognitive dissonance in the Vatican itself. On the one hand, Benedict has spoken out quite strongly against terrorism, on the other hand, his secretary of state rationalizes that very terrorism when it is visited upon Israel. Hmmm….



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:29 am


“As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other.”
John,
This is more than “a call for restraint and a response both proportional and in compliance with international law.” It is (i) explicitly equating the terrorist attacks with the reprisals and (ii) implictly making the factual determination that the reprisals are not proportional and in compliance with international law. This type of shallow moral equivilency can be validly criticized by people other than “brownshirts.”



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Tim F.

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:33 am


Maybe the Pope and the Vatican are concerned that the government of Lebanon might fall and open the door wider for Syria and Iran. Syria just got out of there. Okay maybe this will change some minds. GEORGE BUSH is concerned about the government of Lebanon falling. Does that make any difference with the Catholic/Left Behind folks?
I heard Bill Bennent this morning agree with an emailer asking basically “Why should Israel be concerned about responding in proportion to the attacks, who cares?” he said. I’m no expert on Catholic Just War Doctrine but I kind of took that “Catholic” Bill Bennett could care less about the church’s teachings on Just War. Again I’m not expert, just my 2 cents.
I will add I have voted conservative Republican all my life. I don’t claim the label of neo, paleo, or cruncy anything however, and am increasingly sick of the current political climate in this country.



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Janice

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:35 am


You can make book on the fact that he’s expressing the Pope’s point of view, Janice.
So, John, you know for a fact that Sodano’s expressing the Pope’s point of view? In spite of the fact that Sodano’s spent a lot of time doing things behind the Pope’s back practically from the minute he was elected? You’re very well informed. When did your job at the Vatican begin?



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:38 am


Ignacio,
You seem to be asserting either that Israel is deliberately targeting innocent civilians or that no military response involving collateral casualties of innocents can be undertaken without losing the moral high ground. I don’t think there is any evidence supporting the first assertion and the second assertion is not a function of Catholic teaching. While the moral high ground is necessary (meaning one may not use intrinsically evil means) it is not sufficient to defeat the terrorists (meaning the mere avoidance of such means will in itself not afford Israel any protection whatsoever).



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tcreek

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:40 am


Maybe we could arranged some talks between the parties. Say at Yalta with Hezbollah and at Munich with Hamas.
Just because it didn’t work with the communists and the Natzis is no reason to be discouraged. In the minds of some at least.



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Ignacio

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:41 am


Janice says: “The burden is on Hezbollah, not Israel. Israel has been putting up with Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, et al., since its birth. How long are they supposed to take it, Ignacio? And don’t tell me that their “civilian” fellow travellers don’t support their aims. The Holy See is using the argument of moral equivalence, which it is not entitled to make here”.
First, the burden of what? To each on its due. Hezbollah must certainly stop its terrorist actions and Israel has every right to protect itself. But Israel cannot retaliate disproportionately, targeting Lebanese infrastructure as if Lebanon and Hezbollah were not different entities. Two wrongs don’t make one right.
Second, to lump all Lebanes as “civilian supporters” of Hezbollah is absurd. Lebanon is a profoundly divided country -Muslim vs Christian, Sunnis v. Chiites, Druzes v. the rest- which is currently trying to overcome by democratic means the effects of the Hariri assassination and Syria’s occupation. Israel, by targeting the country as a whole is re-igniting´political and religious strife there. Not a wise decision in the long term. Lebanon may end up, yet again, in a civil war. This, in turn, will play against Israel.
Third, No “moral equivalence” here. It’s just more simple, really: the ends do not justify the means.
Regards



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WRY

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:46 am


The Israeli response IS out of proportion to the offense.
Let’s step back and see how this started: The kidnapping of one (1) Israeli soldier.
For this, Israel seems perfectly willing to send the entire Mideast up in flames and kill Lord knows how many civilians (not to mention losing who knows how many more soldiers). Hezbollah are “lucky” terrorists, because they can always count on Israel over-reacting to anything they do, which of course further inflames the Arabs and is great for recruiting.
And the US, by vetoing a condemnation of this insanity, seems to be giving the green light to Israel to do more of the same. I hope everyone’s real eager for their sons and daughters to help Israel fight its war to end all wars against Islam.
And people ask “why do they hate us”?



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:47 am


John,
Lebanon was given plenty of warnings these last several months to take care of the Hebzollah brigades meancing Isreali borders. Rocket attacks and platoon sized incursions into Isreali territory have gone on for months. Lebanon, a soverign state, has endorsed these actions by thier silence.
By attacking IDF soldiers within Isreali territory, and taking the hostage, Lebanon has bascially gone to war with Isreal. Hostage taking is univsersally regarded as an act of war. If anything, Isreal has shown great restraint. Isreal has every right, morally, and legally to invade Lebanon and lay waste to the country. The knee jerk anti-semitism of Europe is disgusting.



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Tim F.

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:59 am


JP what parish do you attend?
Another question, what do you mean by lay waste to the country? Like Rome did to Carthage?
What’s with the anti-semitism charge. Did John even mention Jews or Israel for that matter?



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John Lowell

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:03 am


Mike,
“It is (i) explicitly equating the terrorist attacks with the reprisals and (ii) implictly making the factual determination that the reprisals are not proportional and in compliance with international law. This type of shallow moral equivilency can be validly criticized by people other than ‘brownshirts’.”
Love that violence!
Memory in the Vatican is perhaps sufficiently accute to remember a time when the “terrorism” in this little contretemps was coming largely from the Israeli side, Mike. There are British families that are today short a relative or two that in 1948 were comfortably ensconsed at the King David Hotel. Funny how today’s terrorism was once once a blow for freedom. If the Vatican is in fact detecting the moral equivalence you so deplore, perhaps its because the long view justifies it. This exchange is hardly the consequence of recent developments. I’ll see that you get the sheet music for Die Fahne Hoch.
John Lowell



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Rich Leonardi

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:03 am


But Israel cannot retaliate disproportionately, targeting Lebanese infrastructure as if Lebanon and Hezbollah were not different entities.
Lebanon has been complicit in Hezbollah’s terrorism for decades, hosting its headquarters in Beirut and permitting it to use its southern territory as a base of operations.
And people ask “why do they hate us”?
It’s largely due to the invertebrate fecklessness that runs through this kind of thinking.



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Father Elijah

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:09 am


We obviously have a very spirited dialogue going on :) But if I may add a few reflections to assist in the ‘dialogue’ (being new to this whole blog thingy lol)
When we hear someone speak from the Vatican, as we heard Cardinal Sodano, it is important to see the statement in context in order to interpret it properly.
Given his present status (even if now only temporary since he is going into retirement) of Vatican Secretary of State he is speaking at the level of EVERY Secretary State in a similar situation-for example Colin Powell or Condaleeza (sp?) Rice. This statement comes from within the Papal Diplomatic community (by the way the oldest diplomatic corps in the world) and is the ‘official’ statement of the Pope as head of the Vatican City State AND Catholic Church. It is NOT however a teaching on matters of Faith and Morals. It belongs within the discernment process of reasonable human beings coming to this conclusion based on upon prudential reading of both the events and the sources (in this case) of Catholic social teaching and tradition (for example the Principles of Just War).
We also need to realize that the Church approaches all such events as this Mid East Crisis within the perspective of respect for each and every human life, each person, the norms of social justice AND (in situations of conflict and war) first and foremost the desire for, proclamation of the possibility of, and every effort expended for PEACE.
It is a carefully worded statement, I must say and we need to read inbetween the lines.
What does it really say?
1. Israel has the right to exist AND to protect itself
2. All acts of terrorism (aka Hezbollah Hamas, Al quaida etc) are heinous crimes and gravely immoral (read evil) acts (implicitly included would be nation states supporting etc such acts)
Now comes what some would see as the rub—-
3) Lebanon is also a victim here. [Its existence is really due to the large mixed Christian population that makes it distinct and independent from Syria-of course tell that to the Syrians. Even genetically the Lebanese are descended from the Phoenecians not Syrians. For all practical purposes Lebanon is an occupied country even without Syria’s troops and has become the nesting place of all sorts of terrorist organizations funded and backed by Syria and Iran—the Vatican knows this.
Finally (lol)
4. Even defending itself Israel must use the principle of ‘proportion’ in Lebanon and Gaza
This is simply the Just War Teachings of the Church



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:10 am


I seriously doubt many people realized that once the Hebzollah unit attacked the IDF patrol inside Isreal, an act of war was commited. People can argue about proxies, sovreignty, etc… but with Hamas attacks from the South, and Hebzollah attacks from the North, Isreal has no choice but to defend themselves.
Isreal has the full backing of International Law on thier side -despite what the UN or the EU says. 80% of thier population lives within artillery range of the “terrorists”. Thus far, Isreali air forces have hit either command and control safe houses (which had civilians shielding them -a breach of Geneva and International Laws) or military infrastrcuture.
Whether the IDF will retake Gaza or reoccupy southern Lebanon is problematic. Much will depend on what Hezbollah and Hamas do. So far, Hezbollah has targeted frontier towns and villages (ie civilians) – if they target the large petro chemical plants near Haifia all bets are off.
We should pray for a just outcome. Peace will only come when groups like Hamas and Hebzollah are defeated. Isreal has ceeded much territory during the last 15 years – and peace is still a pipe dream.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:10 am


John,
Are you always such an ass? Or do you just limit your insults to the safe confines of the blogosphere?



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John Lowell

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:14 am


Hi Janice,
“So, John, you know for a fact that Sodano’s expressing the Pope’s point of view?”
I said that you can make book that he is. I really don’t know much about Sodano at all, truthfully, Janice. But I do know a more than a little about Benedict XVI.
John Lowell



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John Lowell

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:17 am


Mike,
God bless you, Mike.
John Lowell



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:20 am


Tim,
Lay waste is a military term, meaning destroying every camp, sanctuary, every weapons cache, and every piece of military hardware Isreal can find. I really don’t think most people realize how grave a situation Isreal finds itself now. They have no place to turn. No more land to cede. Over 12,000 Hezollah soldiers and hundreds of rockets flank thier northern and southern borders.
The moral equivalience here is astounding – it is reminiscent of the anger that was thrown at Czechoslovakia when they refused to cede Sudentland to Nazis Germany. A Hebzollah patrol crossed the border into Isreal, attacked an Isreali patrol, killed 7 IDF soldiers and took 2 hostage. That is an act of war.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:23 am


As I understand it, the rationale behind the attack on Hariri Intl. Airport, Lebanese air force bases, and the Beirut-to-Damascus road is to prevent Hizb’allah from spiriting the two soldiers they’ve abducted off to Iran.
I was in Beirut (and Damascus) over the Christmas break. There was a ton of building going on in the city centre and along the Corniche, mostly of high-end hotels and apartment buildings catering to foreign visitors. Every bank you’ve ever heard of had a presence there. However things pan out, this is going to hit their recovery hard. The entire south side of the city, though, is Hizb’allah Central, with no evidence whatever of the writ of the central government running there. Half the banners I saw were in Farsi.



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Tim F.

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:25 am


JP,
Thanks for the answer regarding the term “lay waste”. I didn’t realize it was that specific of a term.
Forget about the parish quesion. I didn’t type that out of Christian charity. I apologize.
But what about the anti-semitism charge you leveled?



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Tim F.

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:26 am


I should add. This is kind of like reading LittleGreenFootballs only with more than one viewpoint being expressed.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:28 am


A few observations:
First, the problem with the statement at issue is that it does more than admonish Israel to make sure that its responses are proportionate; it actually asserts that they are not. This is a prudential judgment that may or may not be correct, but to couch it in such confident language betrays an arrogance that is discomforting.
Second, it is hard to ignore the anti-Semitism that is common throughout much of Europe, and it is certainly rational to assume that it informs opinions of both the populace and their governments (and conceivably even the Holy See). Yet, is should be possible to discuss the morality of Israel’s actions on the merits regardless.
Third, I think it is certainly fair to question whether Israel’s actions are proportionate. Much depends on what one assumes they are in response to. If viewed simply as a response to the kidnapping of a single soldier the case for “disproportionate” seems strong. If viewed as a response to a broader array of terror the question becomes more difficult to assess, and I’m inclined to think reasonable people may disagree. The fact that innocents are inadvertently killed or injured as a result of the reprisals is a very relevant factor in making this assessment, but it is important to recognize that that fact alone is not dispositive as a matter of principle.



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Jacob

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:30 am


I explained my views here in some detail. But I’ll add a few points to the discussion here.
1. The Israeli soldiers who were attacked and killed and the pair who were abducted were killed and abducted on Israeli soil south of the border. Spin it any way you want, but that is an act of war.
2. But Hezbollah did the attacking and the abducting and not Lebanon, so how can Israel justify all this blowing stuff up?
Lebanon has no countrol over its south, which is essentially a de facto Hezbollah state. Lebanon’s roads, ports and airports are used by Hezbollah to bring in arms from Syria and Iran. Lebanon even legitimizes Hezbollah by allowing members to serve as government ministers. Lebanon is at the least giving tacit permission for Hezbollah to do whatever it wants and at worse is aiding and abetting.
3. But Hezbollah has major backers and is more powerful than the Lebanese government…
So you’ve just admitted that Lebanon is /not/ a sovereign state, rather it is a Hezbollah controlled state… Which means Israel is not wrong in attacking throughout the country…
You get the idea.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:33 am


John,
A simple “I’m sorry” would have sufficed, but God bless you too.



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Anne-Marie

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:42 am


JP: Peace will only come when groups like Hamas and Hebzollah are defeated.
and command and control safe houses (which had civilians shielding them -a breach of Geneva and International Laws)
TheLeague: the well-known terrorist tactic of living in civilian homes and surrounding themselves with women and children. Hamas uses children as human shields whenever they engage the Israeli army.
Obviously the violation of just war principles, the Geneva Convention, etc., by one side does not justify the other side doing the same. So Israel may not inflict excessive collateral damage in its reprisals agaisnt attacks by Hamas.
But if Hamas uses women and children non-combatants as shields, perhaps that forces Israel into a position where it cannot avoid excessive collateral damage. In other words, perhaps Israel is forced to choose between conducting war unjustly and losing.
I have little doubt Israel would choose to fight unjustly. Terrorist groups, almost by definition, have chosen that way. I have little doubt other nations would choose the same. It’s sad, but not surprising.



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:42 am


Anti-semitism is alive and well in Europe, especially amongst the elite. Since there are so few Jews living in Europe, most of thier venom is directed at Isreal.
I think most people here know the long history of the infatadia. In the 20 years since it began, Isreal gave in to almost all of the demands. “Peace for Territory”, a free West Bank and Gaza, as well as the withdrawl from Lebanaon have all become reality. That is, except for peace. When Isreali soldiers get ambushed, killed, and kidnapped, what is the first thing the EU does? Calls for Isreal to use “compassion”, “restraint”, blah blah blah. Not one statement condemning Hezbollah, the goverments of Lebanon, Syria, or Iran.
If this isn’t anti semitism, I don’t know what is.



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Janice

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:45 am


John,
I know a lot about Sodano and a LOT about Benedict XVI. Father Elijah’s points are well taken. But you are a know-nothing AND an ass. Stop trotting out the Nazi references. Sodano has been in bed with Palestinian terrorist movements (and with Pinochet) for decades. Israel was NEVER in the right (and what are the odds?). I very much doubt, even given Father Elijah’s interpretation of the statement, that Sodano’s intent was simply to reiterate Church teachings.



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John Lowell

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:47 am


JP,
Are you a priest, JP? Oddly, a couple of weeks ago at another blog another JP, a priest as a matter of fact, belched the same, tired old antisemitism smear at me as you have. I’m currently in process of dialogue with his bishop about the matter. Priests really ought to know better than to smear folks on the web while relying on the anonymity their diocese enforces on them while posting. Now if you’re not that priest we’re simply not going to consider you sufficiently weighty to justify a reply.
GOd bless.
John Lowell



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William

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:50 am


Unbelievable how some of you will quote, “The Vatican” to your heart’s content for your own purposes, but when “The Vatican” issues a statement condemning Israel it’s challenged to the hilt. BTW, whomever you want to think “The Vatican” is, they know infinitely more about the situation in the Middle East than any of you blind supporters of Israel. Yes, the Israeli POW’s should be released ASAP. Does anyone care about the thousands of civilian Palestinins who’ve never been charged sitting in Israeli prisons?



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Casey Khan

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:51 am


“You seem to be asserting either that Israel is deliberately targeting innocent civilians or that no military response involving collateral casualties of innocents can be undertaken without losing the moral high ground. I don’t think there is any evidence supporting the first assertion…”
Tell that to the civilians the Israelis bombed on the Palestinian Beach. Is not Hezbollah responding to that incident?
Also read Elias Chacour’s (recently appointed Archbishop of Galilee by Benedict XVI) ‘We Belong to the Land’ on the plight of the Palestinian Christian under the hammer of both militant Islam and militant Israeli secularism.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:51 am


I don’t think John Lowell is an ass, or a know-nothing. But he is a serial violator of Godwin’s Law, which leads people not to take his arguments seriously. I’ve read few of his interventions on these boards–on a wide range of topics–that don’t compare those with whom he differs to Nazis.



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:52 am


Anne-Marie,
Isreal will fight this war as we fought the Second World War (remember the horrific fire bombings of Hamburg, Tokyo, and Dresden?), Grant and Sherman fought the Civil War (siege of Vicksburg, and the burning of Atlanta).
The post modern dream of war with smart bombs, no collateral damage – was that just a dream. In the end Isreal will defend its unarmed civilians. Even if that means bombing military targets surrounded by human shields. They have little choice.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:53 am


“When should Cardinal Sodano expect to be knocked down and kicked to a bloody pulp in some gutter by you folks, Don?”
Oh, never I suspect John. I think his chances are much higher of dying in a Jihadist bombing.
Bringing up the King David hotel bombing John? You can do better than that: an act committed by the Irgun which was condemned by David Ben-Gurion and the Israeli government. Israel’s actions have not always been above reproach, the attack on the Liberty is a glaring example, but Israel is a functioning democracy which generally observes Western standards of human rights, while the enemies of Israel rejoice in the slaughter of every Israeli, man, woman and child.



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John Lowell

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:56 am


Janice,
Today would seem to be blessing day, Janice. Here’s one for you too.
And no, despite your expression of interest we’re not in a position to send you our last copy of Der Sturmer. :-)
John Lowell



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:58 am


A few facts that may clear up some of the confusion since I don’t expect most people here track this news as much as I do:
1. Israel unilatterally pulled out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank. This was lauded by Europeans at the time as a “small” step toward “peace.” Since then, those areas have fallen into chaos, teetering on civil war.
2. Hamas attacked an Israeli checkpoint two weeks ago, killed several soldiers and took two hostages. Then killed one.
3. Hizbullah infiltrated Israel from Lebanon earlier this week, attacked Israeli soldiers, killed 8 and took two hostages.
4. Hizbullah IS Iran. Hizbullah is an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They do the bidding of Iran. Hizbullah controls southern Lebanon including southern Beirut and the region around the airport.
5. The Israelis are bombing infrastructure used by Hizbullah to move arms and men across Lebanon.
6. Lebanon’s Bekka Valley is a base of Hizbullah’s training and logistical infrastructure.
7. Israelis are targeting “civilian” infrastructure used by Hizbullah for command and control, because Hizbullah uses private homes for command and control.
8. The rocket barrages going into Israel aren’t like, say, fireworks. They’re 20-30 lbs of ordinance pointed into the populated parts of Israeli towns and sent over the border by the hundreds. A recent attack included about 200 rockets.



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:17 pm


Iran finds itself under extreme pressure since 9-11. Before 9-11 the US had almost no presence in the Middle East (a Turkish base, a few warships in the Gulf). Since 9-11, the US has established permanent bases in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Qatar, and Iraq. We have a sympathetic regime in Azerbaijan, and a nominally secular Shiite regime in Iraq. We’ve pushed Syrian troops out of Lebanon, and have pushed some Gulf countries to moderate their political processes, like Kuwait’s move to give women the right to vote.
Iran has been the biggest loser in all this (not that I’m weeping for them), but you can see that the insane government in Tehran needs to exert some of its regional power in order to maintain its own legitimacy with its own country. What better way than to use your own proxy in Lebanon in order to incite the Jews to attack Arab countries?
Israel’s push against Hizbullah in Lebanon is an attack on Iran. If it follows through on its rhetoric (and we can only hope so)and destroys Hizbullah’s infrastructure in Lebanon, it will weaken Iran’s hold on the region. And weaken Iran’s nutty regime even further, perhaps break it.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:17 pm


Blind,
I appreciate your point; you are a charitable man.
But in my book anybody who effectively calls someone a Nazi without the least provocation is acting like an ass. The fact that the person apparently makes a habit out of calling people with whom he disagrees Nazis means he just plain is an ass. And the fact that he punctuates his name-calling with “God bless” means he is an ass worthy of contempt.
Of course that’s just my opinion.



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William

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:17 pm


One fact that may clear up some of the confusion since I don’t expect most people here have lived under Israeli occupation for two years as I have 1. For almost 40 years, Israel has occupied a people, many of whom are fellow Catholics, who don’t want to live under Israeli rule.



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Ken

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:19 pm


What about Iran — currently ruled by a President and Mullahs who KNOW that God ordained them to bring about The End of the World?
And have the Christian End Time Prophecy types come out of the woodwork yet? (They pop up going “SEE! I’M RIGHT! THIS IS IT!” every time there’s a flareup in the Mideast. Thank you, John Nelson Darby…)



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Tom Piatak

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:19 pm


Cardinal Sodano is right both from a moral standpoint–the ends do not justify the means–and from a geopolitical standpoint. Each time Lebanon has been dragged into a larger Mideast War, the consequences have been disastrous for Lebanon and the Christian community there. And the Holy See is right to focus on what happens to the Lebanese Christians, the largest Catholic group in the Mideast.
The Vatican also knows, even if American neocons do not, that the War on Terror has so far been a disaster for Christians in the Mideast. Iraq has seen a steady outflow of Christians since the invasion, with many Iraqi Christians seeking refuge in Syria, a secular Arab country that, whatever its other flaws may be, is tolerant of Christianity.



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George Lee

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:24 pm


In one post John Lowell begins by praising restraint and proportional responses and ends by calling people “brownshirts.”
In another he says that he will provide Mike Petrick with a Nazi Storm Trooper marching song.
John Lowell has revealed more about himself than about any of the posters here or about the disputed issues.



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Ivan

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:35 pm


The remark by Casey Khan shows the incoherence of those who hate Israel. In their minds Hisballah which is putatively a Lebanese outfit is entitled to respond to what happened in Gaza – the beach incident with a Palestinian Shirley Temple acting for the camera – but the Israelis should not make the connection that Hamas and Hizballah intend to wage a low intensity war for a long time. A method of fighting which puts the Israelis at great disadvantage since they have a small population and in addition have a country run.
In any case given the firepower of the Israelis the Lebanese casualties – not all civilians have been very low. So far it is less than a hundred which is just a bad day in a Baghdad market.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:40 pm


Sodano’s statement is a paradigmatic example of why Benedict is wise to remove him.
1. It is simply untrue to say that “the latest dramatic episodes…risk degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions.” There is ALREADY a serious conflict with international repercussions, not just a risk.
2. The subtext of Cardinal Sodano’s statement condemning “military reprisals” to terrorist attacks and the need for a state to respect international law “especially as regards the protection of civilian populations” is wrong on several counts. Although Hezbollah has repeatedly participated in and supports terrorist attacks, the unjust incursion into Israel and the capturing of Israeli soldiers (the event that percipitated the “military reprisals) is NOT an example of a terrorist attack, but of an act of war against a sovereign state. While civilian deaths have occured in connection with Israel’s response to Hezbollah aggression, NONE of these were the result of targeting civilians, and, as Cardinal Sodano well knows, in certain circumstances even the foreseen (possible) deaths of a small number of civilians might conceivably be justified by the principle of double effect as long as the intention was not to target civilians. Israel routinely deplores the “collateral damage” of civilian deaths. Hamas and Hezbollah routinely praise the direct targeting of civilians. It is shameful and partisan to imply that only Lebanese civilians have died.
3. Lebanon, contrary to Sodano, is NOT a free and sovereign state, but is IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO BECOME ONE. If it is unable to disarm a terrorist group (Hezbollah) from the South and unable to prevent the Hezbollah militias from attacking Israel (the head of state did denounce the Hezbollah incursion), then it is not yet either free or sovereign – thanks to the presence of Iran and Syria’s client, Hezbollah.
4. To drag the Holy See into “deploring the attack on Lebanon” without so much as a mention of Hezbollah’s attack on Israel and its client status with respect to Iran and Syria (who compromise the alleged free and sovereign status of Lebanon) is partisan in the extreme.
5. It is not wrong to raise questions of proportionality, an issue on which people of good will can come to different conclusions. But this very relevant principle is not even mentioned by Sodano.
6. The biggest mistake in all of this is to think that the Holy See is making a contribution to peace when its officials make partisan statements that barely manifest a beginner’s understanding of Catholic social teaching.
7. We should not be surprised after the shameful (and anonymous) statement by an “unnamed” Vatican official denouncing the Muhammad cartoons.



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MG

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:41 pm


Anne-Marie, JP,
You’re both right that wars often lead to violations of jus in bello principles. But the point here is that it’s sometimes difficult to say just what it means to target civilians, and the practice of hiding military personnel, equipment, etc. in civilian buildings makes it especially difficult. In other words, before we lament that a country may end up targeting civilians, we have to deal with a prior problem: if I deliberately station my mortar right next to my kids’ sandbox, is it really true that the guy who takes a shot at my mortar is targeting the sandbox? If so, then we have a violation of jus in bello principles; but maybe it isn’t so.
I’m not trying to insinuate that you guys are making a mistake, by the way; I honestly don’t know what to say. But I think that the case I just mentioned (mortar next to sandbox) isn’t the same sort of case as, say, the bombings of Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden. The latter, if I understand them correctly, really were attempts to destroy civilian populations, and clearly so (historians?). The mortar/sandbox case isn’t so clear–or so it seems to me.



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Henry Dieterich

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:44 pm


So much venom here; so many condemnations. Personally, I feel mostly compassion for the Christians of the Near East, whether in Palestine or in Lebanon. The Israelis hate them because they are Arabs, and the Muslim Arabs hate them because they are Christians. They get no sympathy from the Left because they are Christians, and the Right is dominated by dispensationalists who think that Israel can do no wrong and that, not being Evangelical Protestants, they are not actually Christians. But I know some of these people. These are our brothers and sisters, holding fast to their faith while besieged from every side in ways that we safe and comfortable Americans cannot imagine. This attack is going to end up hurting them.
Maybe that’s what the Vatican is thinking about.



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Janice

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:47 pm


Maybe the Vatican ought to be thinking about ALL of the people involved, instead of obviously favoring one group over another. Christians are not the only ones suffering.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:48 pm


The threat to Christians in Lebanon does not come from Israel which guarantees freedom of religion, but from Islamic groups in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, who are committed to the establishing of an Islamic state which by definition will reduce all Christians to second class citizenship (dhimmitude).



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Tony A

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:56 pm


I find some of the comments here quite shocking.
Let’s start with the basics: just war theory. Can anybody possibly argue that the Israeli response to the kidnapping of a couple of its soldiers justified much as massive retaliatory reponse? A response that involved bombing the airport, main highways, killing 67 civilians (and rising), and imposing a total economic blockade? Forget the other principles involved, and just focusing on proportionality. Not even Michael Novak could twist this one!! No, the only conclusion one can draw is that this is an immoral response. Many of you seem to be arguing, not from Catholic just war theory, but from a kind of Niehburian realism, or (worse) a kind of retalition that was explicitly denounced by Jesus himself.
Many people also seem blind to the realities of Lebanon. Are people aware that Lebanon was currently undergoing a tourist-driven economic boom, and that this is now at an end? I find it hard to believe that this did not feature in Israel’s calculus. And did nobody else find it chilling when the Israeli commander threatened to turn the clock back 20 years on Lebanon? Reminder: the early 1980s was the worst and most vicious time during the long civil war.
Is Israel deliberately trying to destroy the Arab world’s only functioning democracy? Is it trying to destroy the fragile Christian-Sunni-Druze coalition that came together after Hariri’s murder? And just at a time when it seemed like the Syrian wave of assassinations had come to an end. Of all countries in the world, Lebanon needs a break. This is heart breaking for me: I’ve been to Lebanon numerous time, and have friends from both the Christian and Muslim communities. I can honestly say that it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and that the Lebanese are tired of being kicked around by Syria, Iran, and Israel. Yes, Hizbollah is a problem. But it (unfortunately) has huge support from within the Shia community, and it’s not going to go away. Dealing with it, and getting it to disarm, is a delicate matter. But what Israel is currently doing will make this task far worse.
Finally, ask this question: imagine if a couple of pro-Hariri (or pro-Jumblatt) hotheads had kidnapped a couple of soliders in the Bekaa a few years back, and Bashar Assad reponded in the manner that Israel is responding today. Wouldn’t people see it differently?
Pray for the people of Lebanon.



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Tony A

posted July 14, 2006 at 12:59 pm


One more thing: the Vatican better reflects the views of world Catholicism on this, than does the United States position, which is (almost alone in the world) far too close to one side of this conflict (Israel).



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Tom Piatak

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:02 pm


Tony A and Henry Dietrich are exactly right. If there is one group that truly has no friends in the Mideast today, it is our Arab Christian brothers and sisters. They should at least be able to count on our moral support.



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WRY

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:03 pm


From CWNews:
“Patriarch Nassrallah Pierre Sfeir, the head of the Maronite Catholic Church, asked for prayers for the people of Lebanon during a July 13 press conference in Massachusetts.
“The Maronite patriarch, Lebanon’s most prominent Church leader, spoke to reporters as he concluded a trip to the US, during which he sought to increase awareness of his country’s problems. Thanking American leaders for their support, he said that ‘the Lebanese are determined to live far from terrorism, tyranny, corruption, and despair.’
“Saying that he is ‘very concerned and anxious’ for Lebanon in the light of this week’s new violence, Cardinal Sfeir condemned ‘all aggression, wherever it comes from.’
“He continued: ‘We condemn Israel’s recent retaliations against Lebanon’s people and infrastructure. We also hope that Hezbollah will finally lay down its arms and join the other citizens of Lebanon in reaching political solutions to all of the Lebanese problems.’ ”



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Tony A

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:06 pm


Tom Haessler:
My friend, I rarely disagree with your astute analysis, but I fear Lebanese politics is far far more complicated than this. Hezbollah is not Al Qaeda. They are more concerned with internal political power play than fulfilling a grand ideological agenda. Remember they were the leading supporters of the Christian president Lahoud after support withered away from the other groups (Christian, Sunni, Druze). And they even formed a tactical alliance with Gen. Aoun when Aoun complained that he had been locked out of the Saad Hariri coalition. Then again, that’s typical Lebanese politics!



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Tony A

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:08 pm


And remember Sfeir is a Cardinal Bishop…



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:16 pm


Hello, Tony A,
As I pointed out in point 5 of my 12:40 post above, proportionality IS a relevant principle for discussion here. I applaud your introduction of this theme and strongly deplore Cardinal Sodano’s neglect of this. Even President Bush has introduced this relevant feature of a careful moral analysis. However, it troubles me that you seem to think that people of good will could not come to different conclusions when applying this principle. You refer to the Hizbollah problem as “delicate”, but doesn’t this imply that Lebanon is clearly NOT a free and sovereign state if Iran and Syria and the numerical strength of Hizbollah prevent the Lebanese government which deplored the incursion into Israel from taking action against Hizbollah? You obviously have more first hand experience with Lebanon than I do, so I’d like to ask you if Maronite Christians in Lebanon today aren’t extremely angry at Hizbollah for starting this? ABC (which seems to me to be slightly tilted toward the Palestinians most of the time) last night showed a woman in Beirut strongly deploring Hizbollah’s adventurism and a man in the South deploring the fact that it’s always civilians who suffer when the militias do their thing. Isn’t it true that ALL the principal players on the other side want to work for the destruction of Israel (Iran, its client Hizbollah, Hamas)?



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:23 pm


Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon about ten years ago. Hizbullah filled in the power vaccum left when they left. Hizbullah gave the Muslims in the region a general amnesty.
They gave the Christians no such option, citing Islamic law. Most Christians fled to Israel.



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Ed

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:30 pm


I haven’t been able to muster much sympathy for the Palestinians since they took to the streets in an outburst of joy on September 11, 2001. The Israelis handed back significant amounts of land last year to the Palestinians, who burned every synagogue which remained on land vacated by the Israelis. Israel would not have made military incursions into Lebanon and Palestine if the Arabs hadn’t kidnapped IDF personnel. If the Israelisn need to kick the Palestinians in the teeth, so be it.



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:32 pm


Cries of proportionality seem so quaint, and, quite frankly, a leftover of the 20th century realities. The principles I read about in anti-war commentaries all over the web appear to be the kind of actions you would take if you had two or three standing, national armies fighting the others. And the only folks I see throwing out Just War principles are leftists.
In the face of asymetrical warfare — the new reality of war — is anyone rethinking just war theory. Or are its principles simply going to fade into irrelevancy along with the leftists who appear to rely on it like a crutch.



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Ignacio

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:39 pm


What Ed and TheLeague say is, as Mark Shea puts it, “We are at war, dammit”. To hell with Just War principles. The candidness of the assesssment is refreshing, but also quite telling…



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marianne

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:44 pm


EuropeanCatholic:”What is Israel supposed to do? Do nothing and allow the people of Israel to be attacked without any response?”
How about abiding by international law and negotiating the issues that have been on the table since 1948? Or accepting the proposal from 2002/2003 of ALL the countries in the region to relinguish illegal settlements beyond the 1967 line in exchange for normal relations?
Rich: England didn’t invade Ireland or bomb Dublin despite years of IRA attacks in downtown London. Since you think we would destroy Canada if some group based there attacked us and since you see Sodano as a hezbollah supporter, maybe Israel should level the Vatican?



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:49 pm


marianne,
If the IRA were launching rockets from Ireland into London in order to kill civilians and the Irish government did nothing to stop them, are you seriously contending that England would not have invaded Ireland in order to put an end to it?



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William

posted July 14, 2006 at 1:50 pm


“I haven’t been able to muster much sympathy for the Palestinians since they took to the streets in an outburst of joy on September 11, 2001.” Well, I haven’t been able to muster much sympathy for the Israelis since they would routinely round up Palestinians from the Catholic school where I was teaching in Jerusalem and beat them and keep them overnight. On June 19, (while I was living in Jerusalem) 1977, the London Sunday Times reported what I already knew when they printed a detailed report which concluded that “torture of Arab prisoners is so widespread and systematic that it cannot be dismissed as `rough cops’ exceeding orders. It appears to be sanctioned as deliberate policy.”



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mark j

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:02 pm


Remember they were the leading supporters of the Christian president Lahoud after support withered away from the other groups (Christian, Sunni, Druze).
But Lahoud, although a Christian, has always strongly supported the presence of Syrian military/intelligence in Lebanon. And Syria is one of the prime backers of Hezbollah. It would seem that the Hezbollah support of Lahoud is primarily motivated by simple self interest. I don’t see it as being evidence of Hezbollah being “non-ideological” or tolerant of Christians.



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:02 pm


Ignacio:
Here’s a question: How do you define asymetrical warfare? I’m curious, I’d like to know.
Those who grasp at Just War theory in support of their anti-war/anti-American stance need to answer this, because we’re not fighting the Germans anymore. The threat of global war with Communists no longer exists.
We’re fighting terrorist groups, often proxies of weak states like Iran. This is the 21st century reality. Grasping at 20th centry leftist ideology (no matter what Catholic guise it takes) will only weaken a legitimate voice of restraint.
Leftism is politically impotent and culturally irrelevant. But if this is all you have to argue with then you’re in big trouble.



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mark j

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:09 pm


Also, Tony, don’t you think some of your comments verge on calumny? Hezbollah attacks an Israeli post (located on the Israeli side of the border) and abducts two soldiers, then launches over 200 rockets into Israel, and you want us to believe that the Israeli response is all about crippling the Lebanese tourist industry?



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:15 pm


TheLeague,
Apparently, you don’t understand where you are. Virtually all the people who’re arguing within the context of just war principles here are what the media would call “conservatives”, not leftists. Most oppose same sex marriage, believe that abortion and contraception are sins, supported Terri Schiavo, and regard papal authority as a privileged source of truth. If “leftists” ever begin to espouse these ideas, you’d find that their ranks would include many Catholics. Christians reasoning together on how to understand God’s command not to kill in the context of war is nothing new and has nothing to do with leftist politics. It’s a continuation of a conversation that started almost eighteen hundred years ago.



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MG

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:17 pm


A suggested clarification in the interest of gentle and accurate discussion: When someone says that it’s time to “rethink” just war theory, maybe the meaning isn’t “let’s get rid of it” but rather “let’s think again about what it means so we can apply it well in our current situation.”
One example: it’s one thing to agree that warfare must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants; it’s another to figure out how to do this when the enemy is trying hard to blur the line.
In order to be true to the Church’s just war teaching, it’s always going to be necessary to figure out how to apply it. Of course some people will use this as an excuse for evading the Church’s teaching, but that doesn’t mean that rethinking is bad, it just means that it’s perilous–just like everything else on earth.



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marianne

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:17 pm


Mike Petrik: You’re just as dead if you’re blown up by a bomb and the IRA placed hundreds of them throughout England, even in tourist areas like the Tower of London museum. They also assasinated Lord Montbatten and tried to assasinate Prime Minister Thatcher, blowing up a hotel where she was staying. And, no, England didn’t attack bomb factories or enablers or sympathizers in Ireland – or in the USA from where groups were sending guns and money.



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M.Z. Forrest

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:21 pm


Who is this ‘we’? Hezbollah and Hamas are not simple terrorist groups. You might as well call the Kurds a terrorist group if that is one’s standard. This does not mean that they don’t use weapons and bombs. They are not interlopers however.
This is where Sodano’s statement makes sense. It actually respects groups and peoples. This is not a case of “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” It is not a case of Hamas and Hezbollah fighting because they “hate democracy and hate capitalism.” As others have pointed out, there are plenty of innocent victims of this confict to go around.
If anyone expected the Vatican to state that Hezbollah and Hamas were evil incarnate and unworthy of human dignity, they were obviously disappointed.



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Ignacio

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:28 pm


TheLeague: I don’t know. You came up with the term. Define it as you will. I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it play in favor of your preconceibed ideas. If you have managed to ignorantly disregard 2000 years of moral thought on the issue of war simply as “20th centry leftist ideology”, you are surely up to the task.
The point remains: ends do not justify means
BTW:
1) I know very well what kind of murderous organization is Hezbollah. It blew up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires 18 years ago, killing 85. I live one block and a half from the place whre the bombing occurred. Though I would have liked to see the perps properly punished, I would not have endorsed -even if ot had been possible- an Argentinean shelling southern Lebanon or the bombing of Iran. I cling to this curious notion that the ends do not justify the means.
2) It is just curious that, in addition to your ignorant remarks per se, you would like to paint your opponents as leftists or 20th century ideologues. Quite the opposite, it seems that the ones who espoused the warfare you are advocating were, precisely, 20th leftists, such as the Communists. The case against disproportionate response in war rests soundly on more than 1600 years of moral thought. And not the kind of moral thought espoused by peace loving, tree-hugging, weed-smoking lefties, believe me…



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:29 pm


Hizbollah is categorized by the Council of Europe as a terrorist organization. The basis of our decision to attack Afghanistan was that the Taliban government refused to denounce Al Qaida. The Lebanese government DID denounce the Hizbollah incursion, but it doesn’t give much evidence of either being willing to or strong enough to disarm a terrorist organization. Why? Because it’s so big and powerful. So why shouldn’t Israel feel that this is a very serious threat to its existence? And just exactly what DID Hizbollah think would happen if they captured Israeli soldiers INSIDE Israel and attacked Israeli cities with rockets? Lebanon’s laid back attitude toward Hizbollah’s aggression against Israel is surely a far greater threat to Israel than the Baathist regime in Baghdad was to America.



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mark j

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:31 pm


And, no, England didn’t attack bomb factories or enablers or sympathizers in Ireland – or in the USA from where groups were sending guns and money.
This analogy would make sense if the relationship between the Irish government and the IRA (and the US government and the IRA) was equivalent to the relationship between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah. But I highly doubt that is the case. The IRA didn’t have government ministers, and I don’t think that the IRA had de facto control over large swaths of Ireland, as Hezbollah controls south Lebanon.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:33 pm


Marianne,
Your response is well-taken, but it falls short of the more accurate analogy that I proposed. I’d really be curious to hear your answer to my question.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:35 pm


Wow. I never figured Pope Benedict for a Hezbollah-lover.
But I should have known better after that “No but yes” to homosexual priests.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:39 pm


BillyHW,
Apparently, you’ve been out of the loop. As has been widely reported, Benedict XVI has replaced Sodano because he was unsympathetic to the pope’s tougher stance toward militant Islam. Lots of strange things happen during lame duck periods.



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Tim F.

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:40 pm


BillyHW,
I mentioned LittleGreenFootballs earlier. Why don’t you go there? You can join in all the anti-Catholic venom you like.
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21535_Vatican_Condemns_Israel&only.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:51 pm


Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano today made the following declaration on Vatican Radio:
If he was “replaced”, why is he still Secretary of State?



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Paul, Just This Guy, You Know?

posted July 14, 2006 at 2:58 pm


As I read the Catechism, the judgment of whether or not a war is just is left up to the government waging it. The Church is not in the business of — and has not the competence — to certify specific wars as “just” or “unjust”.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:00 pm


Paul, don’t you know anything? The Catechism clearly states that the judgment of whether or not a war is just is left up to Mark Shea.



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marianne

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:00 pm


MikePetrik:
After some thought, I think possibly England might have targeted the rocket launch sites (assuming rockets were coming from Ireland into England). Possibly. And after a lot of consultation with the Irish government. But what an uproar it would have caused!
Even so, I can’t imagine that England would have attacked power stations and water plants (as in Gaza, causing over a million people to be without lights, cooling, cooking and water to wash with and to drink), fuel reserves (as in Lebanon), bridges, roads and public buildings and airports (as in Gaza and Lebanon), arrested 1/3-1/2 of the elected officials (as in Gaza), or rolled into Dublin in tanks and bulldozers. I can’t imagine it, can you?



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Ignacio

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:03 pm


Paul: the judgement on the justice of a war rests on the governemnt who wages in the same way that the judgement of the conformity to God’s law of our actions is left to us. That doesn’t mean that no one else is qualified to judge those actions from a moral standpoint, which is -I think- what you imply.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:05 pm


“I can’t imagine it, can you?”
No, marianne, in fairness I can’t. But isn’t that explained by the factual differences summarized by mark j in his last post?



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:08 pm


My understanding of a proportionate response to the seizure of 2 Israeli soldiers, based on the most recent exchange rate of 1 Israeli per 435 terrorists is that the proper thing for Israel to do is to enter Lebanon, capture 870 members of Hezbollah, and open negotiations.
Is anyone thinking this would be less messy than what Israel is actually doing?
PVO



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:09 pm


Ignacio:
I didn’t come up with the term “asymetrical warfare.” It’s been in the lexicon of military and geopolitical analysis for twenty years, at least.
What concerns me is not that leftists regularly use Just War theory to justify their own anti-American/anti-Israeli stance; it’s that being associated with a dying movement like leftism, Just War theory itself becomes irrelevant.
And I, too, am intimately familiar with terrorism. I worked in an office building in Crystal City, VA on 9-11, and watched the smoke and flames rise from the Pentagon, just a 1/2 mile up the road. Paper from the Pentagon offices were blown 1/2 mile down the road and floated on the breeze. I remember catching them as my colleagues and I evacuated the building. They were falling like snowflakes. I know people who were driving on 95 that morning and were eyewitnesses to the event.
Since then I’ve started reading the body work around the concept of jihad. This isn’t Western analysis, this is primary source material written by Al Qaeda and previous radical Islamic ideologues, including the Ayatollah Khomeini. It also includes, Sheihk al-Ayyri, Hassan Al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Ala Maududi, Azzam al-Ansari, the Awakening Sheiks, Abdullah Azzam, Abu Bakr al-Naji, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab al-Suri, and numerous others.
Are you familiar with the hundred-year long body of work used to justify jihad against non-Muslims, and specifically “Jews and Crusaders”? Do you know anything about our self-proclaimed enemy?
How does Just War theory fit into al-Naji’s strategy document, The Management of Savagery? You can read it; it’s translated and available at the Combating Terrorism Center. How about Sayyid Qutb’s justification for near-enemy attacks in Milestones and Under the Shade of the Quran?
And speaking of proportionality: if Iran attacks Israel with several thousand rockets in one week, does that give Israelis the right to fire 700 rockets back? I would bet your answer is, “No.”
Anti-war activists hold Israel (and America) to a different standard. A standard that fluctuates as events warrant. And for that reason alone, anti-war/anti-American activists are irrelevant.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:18 pm


Billy HW,
Cardinal Sodano is still Secretary of State because his replacement, Bertone, doesn’t take office until September 15.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:19 pm


MG and Marianne:-
MG: You’re right. The strategic bombing offensive against Germany was indeed based on the theory that if the civilian population were hit hard enough, they might crack. It was, however, a fall-back option. The British began by trying precision attacks, but found that daylight raids were prohibitively expensive (50% or more of the attacking force). Hence they switched to night bombing, which meant attacking cities because, given the navigational methods of the time, they were incapable of hitting anything smaller. Often they couldn’t even hit those. In early 1942 one British bomb in a hundred was falling within a one-mile radius of the aiming point.
That doesn’t represent the last word on the moral issues involved, though. Until June 1944, bombing Germany–however ineffectively–was the only way the Allies could attack the Nazi war machine at its source. To refrain from such attacks on humanitarian grounds meant the continuation of a war in which a daily average of 25,000 people were losing their lives, most of them victims of the Axis. (By way of comparison, the official German count of those killed in the Dresden raids was 20,240.) If there was realistically no other way of shortening the war and reducing the horrific toll of those being unjustly killed, were the Allies justified even in resorting to the extreme step of directly targeting civilians? I truly don’t know–it’s something on which I go back and forth. It does seem to me, though, that Just War doctrines elaborated in the High Middle Ages, when it was often difficult to tell whether one was being attacked by soldiers or just being mugged by robbers, take us only part of the way in trying to resolve such dilemmas.
Marianne: your analogy would work only if the Irish Government were complicit in, or indifferent to, IRA/INLA attacks. This was emphatically not the case. Throughout the conflict, the Irish taxpayer was spending three times as much per capita as his British counterpart on Border security, which in practice meant anti-IRA operations. Under emergency legislation, IRA suspects could be convicted of membership of an illegal organisation (and imprisoned for two years) if a Garda officer of the rank of Chief Superintendent or above affirmed that he believed the accused was an IRA member. Very many were. Under section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, IRA members or spokesmen were not permitted to appear on TV or radio. These measures occasioned much angst among civil libertarians, but were persisted in nevertheless. If there’s any parallel with the treatment of Hizb’allah in Lebanon, I’m unable to see it.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:21 pm


“I can’t imagine it, can you?”
Actually in the days of the Empire Great Britain would routinely send out punitive expeditions to invade territories where raiders were mounting expeditions into British controlled territory. Happened all the time in Afghanistan for example. After America got sick of the raids of Pancho Villa in the early part of the last century we sent an army into Mexico, against the wishes of the Mexican government, under Blackjack Pershing to chase Villa.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:27 pm


Cardinal Sodano is still Secretary of State because his replacement, Bertone, doesn’t take office until September 15.
And who’s fault is that?
It’s time to stop making excuses for our pope.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:29 pm


Paul, Just This Guy, You Know,
It’s true that Catholic teaching is that those who hold authority in the state have the right to make practical application of just war principles. In a democracy, since government derives its God-given authority from the consent of the governed and since public opinion is an important element in policy making, citizens have a serious obligation to keep apprised of the major contours of matters of grave public import and to express their opinions.
My complaint about Cardinal Sodano is NOT that he expressed his opinion about Israel, but that his analysis and application of Catholic principles is mighty thin gruel. Nothing of substance, in contrast to very many high level statements (some from him) of Church authorities in the past. His unfortunate statement gives precious little indication that he’s well-informed, that he’s given attention to relevant just war principles, or that he’s analyzing things from an ecclesial, as opposed, to a partisan perspective. I disagree with Fr. Richard Neuhaus on some things, but he’s certainly correct when he complained about the tendency of certain Vatican officials to intervene in matters of international relations in primarily politically correct political categories, rather than the sharp theological and moral analysis that their office commits them to. This is not Sodano’s finest hour. Stay tuned and see what Cardinal Ruini and others say about this. There’s always plenty of backroom fighting about who will say what when in these matters. An occupational hazard of diplomacy is the habit of turning away from transparency and plain speaking.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:33 pm


This is not Sodano’s finest hour.
Don’t forget about the person who put him there. And also the person who kept him there this long. It’s not their finest hour either, since ultimately they are the ones who are responsible for statements that come out of the Vatican.
It’s time to stop making excuses for them and place the blame where it lies.



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Saul

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:39 pm


The question of proportionality rests on various factors, and one factor that it seems to me is being ignored is the nature of the conflict.
In the IRA case, Britain could have made a solid ethical argument for targeted attacks on certain populations in Ireland and the USA. Not bombings, obviously, as that would have been impractical, but kidnappings, murder, harassment, etc., all on the grounds that these populations were de facto at war with Britain.
Britain did not take such action because it understood that the nature of the conflict had historical and sectarian elements, and that any drastic action such as the above would only exacerbate the situation.
It’s the same with the Israeli situation. Certainly there is an argument that there is a population supporting Hezbollah and that they are at war with Israel, and so they are fair game. However, given the nature of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, is such a response optimal? Keep in mind that a population much larger than those supporting Hezbollah are affected. What are the long-term consequences? Will this result in a less militant population or less support for Hezbollah?
Based on what we’ve seen for 50 years, I would answer no.
Given the nature of the Palestinian grievance, and given the nature of ethnic conflict, I would venture that acceptance of the state of Israel is probably as much concession as the Palestine populace will ever be willing to give. The rest is up to Israel.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:43 pm


“I would venture that acceptance of the state of Israel is probably as much concession as the Palestine populace will ever be willing to give.”
They haven’t ever conceded that; so what do we think would make them change their minds?
“The rest is up to Israel.”
Events of the last 72 hours seem to demonstrate that Israel has reached the same conclusion.
PVO



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:47 pm


Oh, I forgot. If living near or experiencing terrorists acts makes someone knowledgeable about the nature of the terrorist threat, then I can relate to you my daily experience in a landscape of terrorism here in Washington, DC.
I live three blocks from the scene of one of the DC Sniper murders, an old man who was crossing Georgia Ave. I used to work in Rockville, MD. The snipers drove down Rockville Pike on that first day of their murder spree; they parked in the parking lots in its notorious strips malls and shot at people: one pumping gas, another sitting down on a bench, and still another mowing a lawn. I am intimately familiar with every one of those locations, and could picture them as news of the murders were reported.
The snipers were inspired to murder infidels through the teachings of radical Islamist group called Jammat al-Fuqra, an American group founded by a Pakistani imam.
Every morning for a year I would pass by a Ride-On bus dedicated to the memory of a bus driver murdered in his parked bus as he stood up to stretch.
Every week I step into a metro system that has been routinely targeted for attack. The former operational head of Al Qaeda, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, even said he thought about attacking the DC metro. The train passes by the Brentwood postal center that was shut down in late 2001 after postal workers died from an anthrax attack. Every day for months I watched dozens of men and women in puffy white Hazmat suits buzz around the facility like aliens. I’ve worked in buildings targeted, including the IMF building.
None of this makes me an expert on our shared enemy. But I do know this. They hate Western women. So much so that in his final letter to his fellow hijackers. Mohammed Atta suggested picking out a flight attendant and slitting her throat in front of the other passengers. He described it using the terms used to describe the lambs sacrificed during Islamic holidays. The hijackers described their victims as “meat.” Sure enough, the body of a flight attendant was exhumed from the WTC site with her throat cut.
I prefer to see men in the West fight this enemy and prevent another woman becoming a blood sacrifice for radical Islam. It’s important to take this enemy seriously. You see, they take themselves very seriously. The Iranian radicals actually believe they can bring about the end times and the return of the 12th imam by attacking Israel.
Still if you would rather sit around parsing the Catechism, so be it.



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marianne

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:48 pm


DonaldR: I was addressing the English in the 1980s, not in the days of empire. You know, after Geneva Conventions, the UN, etc. More like now than 1800.
Mike, Blind and MarkJ:
The Lebanese govt. has no control over hezbollah. Even President Bush acknowledges that.
My point was really not meant to be an equation of IRA=hezbollah but just an observation of what restrained response might look like. I really don’t understand the justification for destroying water facilities for a million people when a soldier is kidnapped in order to exchange him for women and children being held. And that was just the beginning of the response.



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Press

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:53 pm


Saul,
The US would never have tolerated assasinations by the British on American soil, or the seizing or harassment of American citizens on American soil. Never.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:54 pm


Hello, Saul,
Israel is not targeting Lebanese Shiites, but Hezbollah militants. And, unlike Hezbollah, they leaflet areas that are going to be bombed so that civilians have time to leave. POPULATIONS supporting Hezbollah are not legitimate targets, but militants are.
Many priests in Ireland repeatedly condemned IRA terrorism in sermons and writings. How many Muslim clerics in Lebanon have repeatedly condemned Hezbollah targeting of civilians? Haphazard shelling of towns and villages is never a morally legitimate tactic. This is what Hezbollah is doing NOW to Israel. And a very strong case can be made that they’re far more interested in regional issues than Lebanese issues. Lebanon interests Hezbollah to the extent that Lebanese issues impact on regional Shiite fortunes. The real rogue here is Iran. Hezbollah would not exist if it were not for the Ayatollah Khomeini and Iran’s financial and political support.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:56 pm


“I really don’t understand the justification for destroying water facilities for a million people when a soldier is kidnapped in order to exchange him for women and children being held. And that was just the beginning of the response.”
Is it your impression that Hezbollah fighters don’t drink water? Or rather that no one should be significantly inconvenienced since Hezbollah was only kidnapping people “for the children?”
PVO



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 3:59 pm


Or rather that no one should be significantly inconvenienced since Hezbollah was only kidnapping people “for the children?”
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JHN9DMHomXI&search=this%20one%27s%20for%20the%20children%20new%20kids



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Tom Haessler

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:04 pm


I think Marianne is correct. It’s hard to justify cutting off water and electricity to the civilian population in Gaza. However, anything designed to prevent arms and supplies reaching Hezbollah is morally legitimate as long as civilians are warned ahead of time about operations impacting their safety. And to the extent that the Lebanese government supports Hezbollah (some government officials do, many don’t), to that extent the government itself can be held accountable, as the US with the support of the pope held the Taliban accountable for Al Qaida’s terrorism. Perhaps, Israel could do more to try to reach parties in Lebanon who aren’t allied with Islamist elements. Anything that drives a wedge between those elements in Lebanon working for Sharia and Islamic hegemony, on the one hand, and Lebanese Christians, on the other, is a step foreward. Tragically, demographics is not too helpful. Now if NFP were to be banned for Lebanese Christians … LOL



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chris K

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:09 pm


I haven’t read all the comments here – they certainly mounted up quickly – but the Vatican always seems to treat Israel as the oldest of the children, who is expected to show greater restraint all the while being pummeled by the younger unrestrained children – why? It seems simply because they believe Israel is smarter or has some greater experience or gifts, or it’s just expected due to its being considered the most inately responsible….or they know Israel has a lot more tricks in its closets, unmatchable by their immediate enemies. The one that should be included in this particular statement but isn’t is Iran (and Syria).
And the Vatican seems to be more influenced by its own who live in the areas of historically Christian population which is being wiped out. I think they feel that their living circumstances only get worse by the fighting by the other factions and that somehow Israel should watch out for them over and above the others who squeeze them out. Maybe they know at heart that Israel is the only one there they can have any influence over…that you can’t reason with terrorists so you give up on the others! But Lebanon is rather impotent to act as Israel demands. It’s been controlled and held hostage for years….kind of like an abused wife. She can get away only if she’s willing to risk losing her life and those of her children.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:09 pm


I hadn’t heard that Hizb’allah had abducted the two soldiers in order to exchange them for “women and children being held” by the Israelis. My impression was that Hizb’allah were seeking the release of individuals who were more…well, let us say, “useful” to them.



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Joe

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:14 pm


“Is it your impression that Hezbollah fighters don’t drink water?”
No, it was probably her impression that out of a population of 1.3 million, 1.3 million are not Hezbollah fighters.
Not having refrigeration or lights might be an inconvenience. Not having water is something far different. Try it sometime. With no end in sight until some foreign government rebuilds the power plant. Sort of like Hurricane Katrina without any help at all.
Donald, you make a perhaps inadvertent point. There is a colonial mentality in some of this.



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Ignacio

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:18 pm


TheLeague:
You are missing the point completely. I’ll restate it as simply and clearly as I can for your convenience: it doesn’t matter if you want to term the war you are fighting symmetrical, asymmetrical or whatever word you may use or coin to name phenomena that are far from new. It also doesn’t matter if the enemy hates you more or less and it surely doesn’t matter if you have been exposed to terrorist rampage or not (I came up with the example of the bombing just to make my point about proportional reaction more clear, but it seems that you also misssed the significance of this too). The point, is that ends do not justify means and that the conditions imposed by Just War Doctrine must be met in order to wage a war “justly”. I suspect that Israel’s reaction to the attacks of Hezbollah, which imply destroying the infraestucture of the whole Lebanon, might not qualify as just, since it is disproportionate and places a very heavy burden on the whole of the country, hardly composed by uniformly Hezbollah lovers.
Believe me, I hardly am a foolish peace lover and I certainly am aware of the grave danger that Muslim militants pose. But if you don’t care about the justice of the war and it is simply a matter of “blow those bastards up” (as I gather from your inane comments about “parsing the Catechism”), you are listening to another tune and there is nothing that you need to be convinced of. You have already made up your mind. But I’d simply suggest you ponder the consequences that adhering to your position may have for your soul.
Regards



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:20 pm


“Donald, you make a perhaps inadvertent point. There is a colonial mentality in some of this.”
Agreed Joe. Hezbollah and Hamas are certainly as murderous as the worst colonialists in history.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:22 pm


“No, it was probably her impression that out of a population of 1.3 million, 1.3 million are not Hezbollah fighters.”
Surely these numerically superiour innocents are capable of putting this tiny minority in its place, then, and negotiating the return of the hostages? Or are they all pacifists who can only sigh and shake their heads sadly?
PVO



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Ralston

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:24 pm


Blind Squirrel wrote “I hadn’t heard that Hizb’allah had abducted the two soldiers in order to exchange them for “women and children being held” by the Israelis”
Blind, then you should take a break from commenting in order to catch up on your reading. Hamas says there are hundreds and hundreds of women and children being held out of about 10,000 altogether. Check the Wash. Post and the NY Times.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:24 pm


“Not having water is something far different. Try it sometime. With no end in sight until some foreign government rebuilds the power plant. Sort of like Hurricane Katrina without any help at all.”
There’s a difference between not having a water treatment facility and not having water. If there weren’t, this war would be over in a week.



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Saul

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:26 pm


Tom,
I agree entirely that populations are not legitimate targets, but militants, which I presume means Hezbollah soldiers, are.
However, and correct me if I’m wrong, it is my understanding that civilians were targeted.
As for Muslim clerics not condeming the Hezbollah attacks, IMHO, it would be very difficult for a cleric to do that anywhere in the Arab world. These are societies where dissent, especially on the issue of Israel, is not tolerated.
But it’s a similar situation in Israel. Though Israel, being a more developed society attuned to democratic principles, has its share of Noam Chomsky-ites, there is a line that can’t be crossed. Besides, these are allowed to exist because they don’t threaten the ‘Israeli cause’.
Arab society, however, beset with a victim complex, sees dissent as a strong threat to its cause.
Over time, Palestinian society will evolve, as it has, and begin to adopt democratic principles. But, IMHO, this will not change or perhaps might even strengthen the anti-Israel sentiment in the population.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:28 pm


“If a terrorist group used Niagara Falls, Canada, as a staging area to launch dozens of missiles to Buffalo and Rochester (and had done such things for years without the Canadian government lifting a finger to stop them), how much of the “civilian infrastructure” of Ottawa and perhaps Toronto would be left standing?”
Fenians in the 19th century repeatedly attempted to organise on the U.S. side of that very border in order to attempt some sort of raid to seize assets in the Dominion of Canada which they planned to barter back to the British for concessions in Ireland. The U.S. government stamped them out whenever it got wind of their plans because the alternative was war with the U.K.
PVO



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Ken

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:29 pm


You see, they take themselves very seriously. The Iranian radicals actually believe they can bring about the end times and the return of the 12th imam by attacking Israel.
Anybody remember the conspiracy/paranoia trips of the Eighties about how Those Christians (usually personified as Ronald Reagan, prominent preachers who backed him, and his voting base) were going to launch a global nuclear war just to fulfill their End Time Prophecy?
Well, it’s happening, except all the tinfoil-hats got the religion wrong. It’s the Khomeini-ist version of Shia Islam that’s ready, willing, and (soon to be) able who’s gonna Do It For Real.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:31 pm


Ralston:-
Generally speaking, I’d be inclined to seek more reliable sources for any statement of fact than the Islamic Resistance Movement (a.k.a. Hamas). In any event, what has Hamas to do with what has taken place in Lebanon?



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:32 pm


“Arab society, however, beset with a victim complex, sees dissent as a strong threat to its cause.”
That’s not the problem; the problem is that Arab society has defined its cause as the destruction of Israel. Until that changes, attitudes towards dissent are merely incidental.



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M.Z. Forrest

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:38 pm


Just b/c America’s life starts and ends with Israel doesn’t mean that is true of the Arabs. Typically people wish to create an environment where their children will live a better life than they do. Being in perpetual was ranks very low on your typical Arab’s list.



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:44 pm


I think many here do not realize that Israel never considered the ambush an the IDF patrol inside Israeli borders as a terrorist attack. They considered it an act of war. It was the attack itself and not the kidnapping which escalated the situation. Israel has recalled all reservists. Civilians within artillery range (that is nearly everyone) now spend half thier days in bomb shelters. The Israeli goverment is now at war. The rocket attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas are not single rocket vollies, but 100-200 high explosive incendirary rounds targeted at civilian locations.
Believe it or not, the IDF has shown great restraint considering the provocation. They are still reacting to events, and not taking the military initiative (ground assaults into Lebanon and the Bekka region as well as Gaza). While this defensive posture allows some late break through to occur in negociations, it allows Hezbollah the ability to call the shots.
This is the kind of brinkmanship that has so worried policy experts. Iran’s proxies in Gaza and Lebanon have pinned Israel’s back to the wall. One can imagine what the crisis would be like if Iran had theatre nukes.
For Israel this is a do or die situation. I don’t think either the UN or the US will have any success negociating a peace unless something can be done with Hamas and Hezbollah.



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al

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:58 pm


the actions are disproportionate, because they are not aimed at freeing the prisoner, tactically.
They are aimed at exacting sufficient attrition against Lebanon to force them to repudiate Hizbollah.
Were the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbollah this would be indisputably a very good thing.
Neverthless, not every means to effect this is on the table. And using the abduction of the soldiers to leverage a conflict into the removal of Hizbollah is not licit.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 4:59 pm


“Being in perpetual was ranks very low on your typical Arab’s list.”
Then why don’t imams denounce those who rate it more highly?
You can’t have it both ways; if Arab society is indifferent to Israel, then you can’t say tribal solidarity demands support for Hezbollah’s guerre a l’outrance.
PVO



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:01 pm


Hey al,
Have you applied for the job of Vatican Secretary of State?
Cause if not, you should. You’d be perfect for the job.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:03 pm


“The actions are disproportionate, because they are not aimed at freeing the prisoner, tactically.”
Do you have access to IDF planning documents, then, or to a psychic?
There is a tactical reason to deny supplies to Beirut, including utilities; which motives are uppermost is conjecture for anyone except the Israeli command structure.
PVO



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M.Z. Forrest

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:15 pm


I didn’t say they were indifferent. The idea that you present that every Arab is a nonhuman being whose only desire is to kill Jews is the idea I reject. There certainly does exist anger at America and Israel in the Arab world. A lot of it is oil politics and residue from Cold War politics. You may have noticed how beloved the US is in South America; same issues there. Many of these groups we condemn today we supported at one time or another. In many cases we supported far worse groups. “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” provides an understanding of why our benevolence is being so richly rewarded throughout the world.
Giving consideration to the grievances of Palestinians, Arabs, and Persians while not condoning evil when it occurs is unconscionable for Americans and merits the ripping of the highest ranking diplomat of the Vatican. At least that’s how I understand many of the commentators on this thread.



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TheLeague

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:16 pm


A little insight from the Weekly Standard:

WHY IS THIS ARAB-ISRAELI WAR different from all other Arab-Israeli wars? Because it’s not an Arab-Israeli war. Most of Israel’s traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The governments of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are, to say the least, indifferent to the fate of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Palestine Liberation Organization (Fatah) isn’t a player. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran, which wasn’t involved in any of Israel’s previous wars.
What’s happening in the Middle East, then, isn’t just another chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s happening is an Islamist-Israeli war. You might even say this is part of the Islamist war on the West–but is India part of the West? Better to say that what’s under attack is liberal democratic civilization, whose leading representative right now happens to be the United States.

Again, we’re at war. The entire world is at war: US, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Russia, Georgia, Denmark, Philippines, Australia, Indonesia.
Whether we decide it meets whatever standards we interpret as “just”; we’re still at war. They’ve declared war on us — radical Shiites in 1979, radical Sunnis in 1996.
And they are men of their word.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:19 pm


“The idea that you present that every Arab is a nonhuman being whose only desire is to kill Jews is the idea I reject.”
You’ll have no trouble feeding your livestock this winter with a strawman as big as that.



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M.Z. Forrest

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:24 pm


Strawman?
And that is different from this how?
the problem is that Arab society has defined its cause as the destruction of Israel.



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William

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:24 pm


Nobody wants to deal with the root of the conflict in the Middle East.



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M.Z. Forrest

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:25 pm

M.Z. Forrest

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:26 pm


End italics



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J. Christian

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:30 pm


One can almost picture a jihadist waving a copy of the Catechism to his terrorist comrades, saying, “I’ve found it! This is how we’re going to defeat the infidel pigs, and it’s called ‘Just War Theory!’ We don’t wear uniforms and we surround ourselves with women and children! It’s better than stealth technology or armor plating!”
Sigh. We’ll all be dead, but at least our souls are saved! Alleluia!



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:49 pm


the problem is that Arab society has defined its cause as encompassing, the destruction of Israel, while leaving the question of genocide open.
Arabs can [and do] debate amongst themselves whether the Koran declares it necessary that all Jews be wiped off the Earth; they cannot safely debate amongst themselves whether Israel can be permitted to exist.
PVO



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:53 pm


Additionally: genocide is a very human undertaking, so noting Arab debate on that point hardly brands them as inhuman.



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Mary

posted July 14, 2006 at 5:56 pm


“They are aimed at exacting sufficient attrition against Lebanon to force them to repudiate Hizbollah.”
In other words, war against the civilian population. Deliberately.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:00 pm


“In other words, war against the civilian population.”
Would cutting off their cable services then constitute war against civilians? Their electricity? Where is the line, then?
PVO



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Ed the Roman

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:13 pm


A clarification:
“Lay waste” is not a term in US joint doctrine, any more than “pillage” is.
Some professional opinion:
Much of the infrastructure being struck is bridges in the south, i.e., exactly what would be struck if you intended to isolate Hezbollah from surface supply/reinforcement/retreat.
Lebanon per se seems to be being attacked to the minimum amount required to attack Hezbollah, which has been waging a dollar-store cross-border war for decades, and upped the ante to Blue Light Special recently.



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Tony A

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:19 pm


Tom Haessler,
Sorry It’s taken me so long to respons to you. Yes, I think we can safely say that the Maronites are totally opposed to Hizbollah. For that matter, I think you can add the Sunnis, especially those in Saad Hariri’s coalition. The Druze are harder to pin down, and their attitide would seem to depend on the daliy mood swings of Walid Jumblatt! But Jumblatt was told that his life was in danger by the Syrians after Hariri’s murder, and he has been hiding in his mountain compound ever since. While he’s no friend of Syria, he was more keen to do a deal with Hizbollah than his Maronite and Sunni allies.
So, I would put it this way: most non-Shias hate Syria, and by extension, have no time for Hizbollah. But Hizbollah is the largest Shia political party (even though by a quirk of Lebanese politics, Nabih Beri, the leader of the Amal party, is speaker– a guaranteed Shia post). And the Shias are the fastest growing group (and the poorest) in Lebanon– latest estimates suggest they account for about 50 percent of the population. Because of this, and because Hizballah is still an armed militia, the others have to tread carefully. This is a group that almost half the country supports– in domocratic elections! Another aspect is that pretty much all sides in Lebanon hate Israel, given memories of the 1982 Beirut bombing (the worst period of the 20 year civil war), and of course Sharon’s role alongside hardcore Christain militia leader Elie Hobeika, in the Shabra and Shatilla camp massacres (Hobeika was believed to have been assassinated by Israel in 2002). And Hizbollah is popular as the liberator of Southern Lebanon (remember there was no Hizbollah before Israel invaded). At the same time, largely secular Lebanon cannot relate to this group. Hizbollah received a ministerial position in the most recent government, and failed miserably.
I believe, had not Israel invaded, that Hizbollah was well on its way to becoming a normal political party, and would accept being disarmed, especially given the waning influence of its patron Syria [Syria's bombing of Christian areas in Beirut was a blatent attempt to stoke the flames of sectarian hatred, and it failed miserably, as the Hariri coalition remained intact]. But Israel has now utterly destoryed these hopes.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:19 pm


“Much of the infrastructure being struck is bridges in the south, i.e., exactly what would be struck if you intended to isolate Hezbollah from surface supply/reinforcement/retreat.”
Good analysis Ed. I expect an Israeli armored corp to go into the south of Lebanon over the weekend or early next week. Hezbollah has been spoiling for a showdown with Israel for decades. They have their wish.



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Donna V.

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:24 pm


M.Z. Forrest: Today I had a rather startling conversation with an Iranian-born physican who was raised Muslim. He was terribly angry with Bush – but not for the reasons you might think. “Bush calls Islam a ‘religion of peace,’ the fool! I was raised a Muslim, I know the Koran and it is not peaceful! It tells you, over and over again, to kill the infidel! Every 10 year old child in the Middle EAst knows this, but you Americans do not! The world is asleep, they do not know what they face.” He was shouting at me in the physician’s lounge and I was taken so off guard by his unexpected response, I wasn’t sure how to reply.
But, you know, I think he had a point. The Jews have learned that when people tell you repeatedly that they want you dead, you really should take them seriously.
A lot of it is oil politics and residue from Cold War politics.
And what explains the violence and attacks that occur everywhere on Islam’s “bloody borders?” I don’t think “Arabs” are the problem (the Iranians aren’t Arabs in any case); I think it’s Islam.



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J. Christian

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:26 pm


I believe, had not Israel invaded, that Hizbollah was well on its way to becoming a normal political party, and would accept being disarmed
Much like Hamas joining the political mainstream and accepting disarmament…Wait, er…



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 14, 2006 at 6:55 pm


Marianne and Ralston:-
Not to be a pain in the rear end (!) but you’ll recall that Hizb’allah also abducted and held for years in the 1980s the Irish university lecturer Brian Keenan and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy Terry Waite, among others. Surely we are not to conclude that this was to secure the release of Lebanese women and children held in durance vile in the dungeons of Leinster House and Lambeth Palace?
(Apologies in advance…couldn’t resist.)



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Wilma Tyndale

posted July 14, 2006 at 7:04 pm


Time to reconsider those amillenial/preterist stances on Bible prophecy…
Zec 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah [and] against Jerusalem.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 7:14 pm


I believe, had not Israel invaded, that Hizbollah was well on its way to becoming a normal political party, and would accept being disarmed,
Homeschool your children people!!!!



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Ferde Rombola

posted July 14, 2006 at 7:51 pm


Israel is doing the thing it does most efficiently: kill and destroy. Israel and its supporters are quick to call her enemies ‘terrorists’ but if the US armed the Palestinians the way we’ve armed Israel, it would be a much different war.
In the present action, I don’t know if Israel is deliberately targeting civilians, but I do know it has killed thousands of them over the years and jailed thousands more without charges. “Deliberately targeting” is irrelevant given the result.
Israel’s extensive actions in Gaza preceded Hezbollah’s action. Is only Israel allowed to respond to violence? Israel and its supporters have always claimed a right to a double standard even in the face of Israel’s many provocations and it’s no different now.
And it’s not exactly as if Israel hasn’t stolen thousands of square miles of territory, destroyed thousands of homes and orchards, diverted water and in general made life miserable for an entire people for at least the past 40 years. Israel has created for itself millions of blood enemies who will never accept it as a legitimate partner.
Israel’s responses to violence have *never* been proportional. They have always been far out of proportion.
As for the absurd claim Israel has “given back” most of the West Bank, take a look at a map of the roads and settlements to get a clear idea of just what that lie entails.
Israel is reaping what she has sown and will never be at peace.
Anti-semite accusers form a line to the right. Expect no responses.



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BillyHW

posted July 14, 2006 at 7:54 pm


But if the US armed the Palestinians the way we’ve armed Israel, it would be a much different war.
You’re absolutely right. If the US armed the Palestinians that way then Israel wouldn’t exist and there would be no war, or Israelis for that matter.



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Christopher Fotos

posted July 14, 2006 at 8:15 pm


Bottom line is this is all one war. This is the war against Islamofascism, and it has many moving parts. Nothing thrills an Islamist terrorist like killing Jews, but this is also working to aid Hezbollah sponsor Iran by helping distract the world from the latter’s campaign to possess nuclear weapons. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. and thank God not to mention the U.S. Army that Saddam Hussein doesn’t control Iraq anymore.
It’s not that the terrorists don’t provide us with options. Die, submit, or convert. I think the Israelis have figured this out.
Looking forward to Sodano’s exit.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 14, 2006 at 8:38 pm


“but if the US armed the Palestinians the way we’ve armed Israel, it would be a much different war.”
Rubbish. The Israelis beat the combined militaries of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 67 in six days when US military support of Israel was near zero and the Soviets had lavishly equipped Egypt and Syria with the latest weaponry. Whenever we give the Israelis weaponry they improve the systems we give them; the Arab militaries, with the exception of the Jordanian army, have a lousy record of maintaining their equipment and their tactical doctrines stink. Israel wins by fielding a better, more flexible military force with superb officers and non-coms. The Arab militaries, with the exception once again of the Jordanian army, are great at crushing internal dissent and lousy at fighting against a force like Zahal, a lesson I am sure which is going to be taught yet again over the next few weeks.



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mark j

posted July 14, 2006 at 8:39 pm


I believe, had not Israel invaded, that Hizbollah was well on its way to becoming a normal political party, and would accept being disarmed
because “normal political parties” usually send their armed militias across international borders to abduct foreign soldiers? sorry, but it really looks to me like hezbollah precipitated the current crisis with their terrorist attack, and that doesn’t seem to be conducive to reforming as a “normal political party”.



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Simon

posted July 14, 2006 at 8:58 pm


Time to reconsider those amillenial/preterist stances on Bible prophecy…
Wilma, You might want to check out the works of Flavius Josephus.
I always wonder what kind of conniptions the Tim LaHaye crowd would have gone into had they been around at the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 or the complete eradication of Jerusalem and depopulation of Judea during the Bar Kochba revolt half a century later. But the world didn’t exactly end at that point, did it?



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JP

posted July 14, 2006 at 9:34 pm


An IDF spokesman earlier today confirmed that an Israeli patrol boat was hit today by a Hezbollah UAV. This could be serious as we do not know how many of these the Iranians gave them. The UAV that hit the patrol boat was packed with explosives. One thing is for sure, Hezbollah doesn’t have the technological know how to operate an UAV. The Iranians do. With thousands of former PLO foot soldiers infiltrating Gaza from Egypt today, things are not looking good for a quick resolution.
Both Syria and Saudi Arabia are now getting very nervous, and thier ambassadors are in diplomatic speak telling Hezbollah to back off. Like I posted earlier, we are very fortunate that Iran has no nuclear capabilities. They are taking the entire Middle East to the brink.



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Anne-Marie

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:32 pm


J. Christian: Sigh. We’ll all be dead, but at least our souls are saved! Alleluia!
Isn’t that preferable to the alternative?
P.S. Typepad is showing me two different blogs on the “Post” page. If this accidentally gets posted elsewhere than Open Book, please ignore. Sorry!



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Anne-Marie

posted July 14, 2006 at 10:32 pm


J. Christian: Sigh. We’ll all be dead, but at least our souls are saved! Alleluia!
Isn’t that preferable to the alternative?
P.S. Typepad is showing me two different blogs on the “Post” page. If this accidentally gets posted elsewhere than Open Book, please ignore. Sorry!



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Rick Lugari

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:03 pm


If after 159 comments on Amy’s blog people are still in disagreement and the problem remains unsolved, I doubt the leaders in the Mideast will ever fare any better. Let’s face it, the odds of us seeing anything that remotely resembles peace in the Mideast are far greater than us seeing Rich Leonardi and Todd holding hands at the Our Father – and that’s sayin’ something… ;)



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marianne

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:09 pm


Blind Squirrel:
It was Hamas, in Gaza, that took 1 soldier to exchange for Palestinian women and children being held by Israel. That was several weeks ago.
Hezbollah, in Lebanon, a few days ago, took 2 soldiers for a prisoner exchange. I don’t think they specified gender and age. Sharon had done an exchange with them, at least once, in the past.



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Frances

posted July 14, 2006 at 11:18 pm


Donald R Mc
I note with interest your 3.21 post that “Actually in the days of the Empire Great Britain would routinely send out punitive expeditions to invade territories where raiders were mounting expeditions into British controlled territory.”
Since you were defending Israel’s attacks on water and power plants serving the civilian population in Gaza, are you saying that punitive expeditions are legal today under the Geneva conventions and/or that Israel is just behaving like a colonial power in the 1800′s?



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Donna

posted July 15, 2006 at 12:18 am


Those in a state of permanent umbrage about those terrible, mean Jews would do well to remember: Hamas and Hezbollah don’t have military bases: they plan, operate and attack from homes. In order to retaliate, Israelis have no choice but to attack those homes. If Hamas and Hezbollah didn’t want civilians to die, they wouldn’t plan or launch their attacks near civilians. But they do this purposely, so Israel looks like the villain when she hits back. And of course, their ploy always works very well, no matter how many times they do it.
Those heartless Israelis called the Beirut airport 1 hour before they bombed it so it was evacuated. They warned all of southern Beirut yesterday to take cover.
That action is light years away from the Hamas/Hezbollah mindset, but it’s the Israelis who are evil brutes. Ah, yes, we have landed on Anti-Zion Planet, where black is white, up is down and Israel is wrong no matter what.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 15, 2006 at 12:51 am


Marianne:-
Ah. That’s different. You said “Hezbollah,” not “Hamas,” in your posting above, which confused me. But I think you’ll find that when Hamas abducted Gilad Shalit, they demanded that Israel release “women and minors” in their custody in exchange for information about Shalit. (Whether any of the “women and minors” concerned had been involved in blowing things up, they didn’t say.) They actually want the release of 1,000 Hamas fighters in exchange for the corporal himself. You can read about it on Aljazeera.net, which seems to have better sources within the Islamic Resistance Movement than either the New York Times or the Washington Post.



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BillyHW

posted July 15, 2006 at 1:28 am


Sharon had done an exchange with them, at least once, in the past.
Note to self: giving into the demands of hostage-takers breeds more hostage-taking.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 15, 2006 at 6:30 am


“Since you were defending Israel’s attacks on water and power plants serving the civilian population in Gaza, are you saying that punitive expeditions are legal today under the Geneva conventions and/or that Israel is just behaving like a colonial power in the 1800′s?”
Acutally I have posted nothing in regard to any Israeli attacks in Gaza. As to the Geneva conventions, they have, contrary to popular myth in certain quarters in the blogosphere, not taken away the inherent right of self-defense that any nation, and any individual for that matter, possesses. Israel is not acting like a colonial power, but rather like any nation in history where neighboring states harbor terrorist groups that routinely launch attacks. Sooner or later, if the attacked nation wishes to go on existing, the raiders will be assaulted by the nation that is the target of the raiders.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 15, 2006 at 6:43 am


“Acutally” should be “actually” in the above post, actually.



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Michael Kremer

posted July 15, 2006 at 10:18 am


For those interested in Just War theory and asymmetric warfare, you might try looking at:
David Rodin, “The Ethics of Asymmetric War” in The Ethics of War (eds Sorabji and Rodin)
I haven’t read this and don’t have specific reasons to recommend it. But at least it seems to be taking on your question. I came across a discussion of it on another weblog. The author is an academic philosopher, a senior research fellow at Australain National University, with a D. Phil. degree from Oxford.



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William

posted July 15, 2006 at 11:45 am


A bumper sticker I saw today says it all. “We’re making enemies faster than we can kill them.”



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William

posted July 15, 2006 at 11:45 am


A bumper sticker I saw today says it all. “We’re making enemies faster than we can kill them.”



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 15, 2006 at 12:10 pm


Not to detract from the wisdom of bumper stickers (which often contain more good sense than is to be found in many a university philosophy department), but the corollary of this one is that “We” have it in our control to “make” enemies or not. A similar notion prevailed in some circles during the Cold War, when it was suggested that if “We” were just nicer to the Soviet Union (e.g. by demilitarising Western Europe, withdrawing from NATO, or supporting Third World resistance movements) Moscow would surely respond in kind. The opening of the Soviet archives after 1991 did not, to put it mildly, yield much support for this proposition.



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Theologian

posted July 15, 2006 at 2:19 pm


Don,
“Bringing up the King David hotel bombing John? You can do better than that: an act committed by the Irgun which was condemned by David Ben-Gurion and the Israeli government. Israel’s actions have not always been above reproach, the attack on the Liberty is a glaring example, but Israel is a functioning democracy which generally observes Western standards of human rights, while the enemies of Israel rejoice in the slaughter of every Israeli, man, woman and child.”
Sorry, Don, about the lateness of the reply, but it would seem that I was caught in the spam filter somehow yesterday. Amy Wellborn is looking into the matter at the moment.
I’m afraid it won’t be sufficient to slough off the King David Hotel episode by suggesting that it lacks a parallel in the current situation, Don. I believe the PA condemed the abductions, did they not? In any case, since you missed my point altogether, I’ll rephrase it for you: That today’s definition of freedom fighter is tomorrow’s of “terrorist”.
Now as to “Israel is a functioning democracy which generally observes Western standards of human rights”, you’re certainly on target in one respect, Don: Israel condones torture as an instrument of policy as has at least one government in the West that I can think of, our own. Beyond that, I’ll allow you to interview a Palestinian or two see if they’d agree with you about whether in the confinement they’re experiencing they’re enjoying the blessings of a western government’s understanding of human rights.
I have no truck with either side in this ugliness, Don, but I am rather tired of the lack of balance with which its typically treated in this country. Largely quickened by neo-conservative and Christian Zionist interests, our present foreign policy has turned the United States into the status of a mere agent. Loud, very well organized voices in both poitical parties accept and enforce the suppression of our freedom of action. There is one point of view that’s tolerated respecting the Middle East in Washington and one only. I’d have to call that slavery. But what’s particularly alarming is that the neo-con bacillus has entered the sanctuary. It’s one thing to watch the United States degenerate into fascism, quite another to witness the emergence of a second “German Church”. I used to get angry with Sr. Margaret Mary when she’d alter the text of Scripture so as to accomodate the readings at Mass to her feminist tastes, but Sr. Margaret Mary is an amateur compared to the artful distortions of a Neuhaus or a Novak. Their pre-emptive war enthusisms and their White House loyalties have been real poison to the faithful in America. It’s no exageration to accord them Iron Guard status, believe me.
John Lowell



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Theologian

posted July 15, 2006 at 2:48 pm


BlindSquirrel,
“I don’t think John Lowell is an ass, or a know-nothing. But he is a serial violator of Godwin’s Law, which leads people not to take his arguments seriously. I’ve read few of his interventions on these boards–on a wide range of topics–that don’t compare those with whom he differs to Nazis.”
Godwin, schmodwin, Blindsquirrel. You imbibe too much of the reigning relativism to suggest that the impact of my comments carries more significance than the truth of their content. Would you have expected Rudolf Hoess to take to heart the objections of the Jews he gassed?
John Lowell



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Theologian

posted July 15, 2006 at 3:10 pm


George,
“In one post John Lowell begins by praising restraint and proportional responses and ends by calling people “brownshirts.”
In another he says that he will provide Mike Petrick with a Nazi Storm Trooper marching song.
John Lowell has revealed more about himself than about any of the posters here or about the disputed issues.”
Hi George. Keep that shirt, it just might come back in style. :-)
Seriously, here’s a prayer and a blessing for you today.
John Lowell



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chris K

posted July 15, 2006 at 3:57 pm


Now that the world knows that Hezbollah is sending the more sophisticated Iranian missiles (via Syria), I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel wouldn’t use that excuse for going in and doing what they’ve been hoping the U.S. would do – that is – taking out the Iranian nuclear weapons program. No time better than the present. And what response would that have – other than making N. Korea happy as being big man on the nuclear sociopath leader campus. Or would that make those Arab terrorist sympathizer countries go screaming to Russia for their assistance … or ratchet up other nuke spots like India/Pakistan? Anyway, please pray for our guys in Iraq … they are in the hot seat surrounded by U.S. haters and this can only encourage those terrorists there. Perhaps though, there could be a drain on Syrian terrorists infiltrators to head for Lebanon instead of Iraq to assist Hezbollah.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 15, 2006 at 4:22 pm


“Beyond that, I’ll allow you to interview a Palestinian or two see if they’d agree with you about whether in the confinement they’re experiencing they’re enjoying the blessings of a western government’s understanding of human rights.”
Considering the fact that the Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, to run their government, and that Palestinians overwhelmingly support sending teenagers into Israel to blow up military targets such as pizza parlors and buses, I doubt if I would be impressed by the interview. The Palestinians could have had their own state back in 48, or at any time since then. That they have not created such a state is attributable mainly to their dedication to wipe Israel from the face of the earth and sacrificing every other consideration to do so. Facts are facts John, Israel is a democracy, and so are we, your belief that we are a nascent fascist state notwithstanding. As to beliefs being tolerated, no one is stopping you from having your say on Israel or anything else. If you feel strongly enough about it start a political party and join together with the teeming hordes in this country who believe we are close to a fascist state. Best of luck.



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Theologian

posted July 15, 2006 at 4:36 pm


Hi chris K,
And some here complain when I’ve used the term “brownshirt” to describe the bloodlust expressed on this blog? You get the Iron Cross first class for that one, chris. I mean how casual and thoughtless the incitement to violence. Are you sure you’re old enough to be Catholic?
John Lowell



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Joe

posted July 15, 2006 at 4:59 pm


DONNA, no one has posted anything remotely akin to your characterization of this thread.
It began with the Vatican: “Once again, it appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties.”
A reasonable observation but one that quickly resulted in suggestions that Sodano and the Vatican are terrorist sympathizers.
The subject then became proportionality and what restraint (called for by our government and others)means.
A timely enough question but one which led to putridly uncalled for characterizations such as yours.
It would seem to me that anyone should be in favor of sincere dialogue that would lead to a resolution of issues and cessation of hostilities. Towards that path, lay off civilians on all sides. That’s all the Vatican said.



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Blind Squirrel

posted July 15, 2006 at 5:37 pm


John Lowell/Theologian:-
No, you’ve missed my point. When you compare to Nazis those who obviously are not (leaving aside for the moment the offensiveness of that practice) you show that you are not capable of making reasoned judgments. That’s why people aren’t taking your arguments seriously.
Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado (the “little Eichmanns” character) is another with the same problem.



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Theologian

posted July 15, 2006 at 6:00 pm


Don,
“Facts are facts John, Israel is a democracy, and so are we, your belief that we are a nascent fascist state notwithstanding.”
I thought the thrust of your last post had to do with an imagined identification of Israel with the human rights inclinations of the West, not with the monotonous repetition of alleged “facts”, Don. Nothing to say about Israel’s – and the Bush’s Regime’s – official endorsement of torture? Have I embarrassed you? Lots of Israelis and Americans are embarrassed by the fact that their governments condone torture, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. I’m embarrassed by it. Do you condone torture, Don?
I have news for you, genuine democracies eschew torture, nascent fascist states employ it. And that would be true, Don, even if I’m the only person in the world to assert it. Maybe when the price of gasoline reaches $10/gallon and people can’t afford to commute to work anymore the somnabulism associated with the neo-con hijacking of our foreign policy will lift and folks will want to know precisely how it was that we got into that predicament in the first place. Then there’ll be “teemimg hordes” believing that our freedom is being suppressed and that we’ve fallen into fascism, count on it. With Israel today giving Syria a 72 hour ultimatum and the immobilized Bush dog being wagged by the Ohmert tail, how long do you think it’ll take us to reach $10/gallon if the violence escalates, Don, a month, two perhaps? It’s then that we’ll come back and talk with you again about the virtues of an unbalanced Middle Eastern policy. Your “moral perspective” even may be more in line with the Vatican’s at that point.
John Lowell



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TM Lutas

posted July 15, 2006 at 6:33 pm


Lebanon, like every country on the planet, has a responsibility to patrol the entire territory and keep it clear of international bad actors. It has not done so. If the Lebanese army marches south, the first people who will shoot at it will be Shia Lebanese fighting under the banner of Hizballah. It is highly unlikely that the Lebanese Army would even make it to the border of Israel. A polite fiction has been maintained that Lebanon is at peace. It is not. It is in a truce in an ongoing war that is only kept because the national government has abandoned its international responsibilities to maintain a monopoly on violence.
The Hizballah know what the limits are beyond which Israel will strike back in Lebanon and killing 8 and kidnapping 2 more are so far beyond those limits it is highly disingenuous for any informed observer to assert that they didn’t know that Israel would respond exactly as it did. Hizballah has been bearding Israel for a long, long time and has a very good idea of what Israel’s response will be to a provocation. Hizballah chose this war. The only question is why?
The sad, and very counterintuitive fact is that Hizballah’s patron, Iran, has scheduled that it will walk into an economic wall come September. They import 40% of their refined petroleum products and have budgeted exactly $0 for purchases in the 2nd half of the year. This sort of action in peacetime is strongly courting a revolution. In wartime, shortages are to be expected. Iran is estimated to go dry by September. It must have a war by then, come up with a huge amount of money they don’t have (unlikely) to resume gasoline et al purchases, or the regime will likely fall and fall soon.
In short, the wheels are coming off the cart in Iran and Iran needs a war. Israel makes a convenient war and their love of the lives of their soldiers is well known enough to make a war with Israel easily accomplished. So the entire charade plays out. In this case, Israel is justified for going in to Lebanon because they will only suffer more and greater attacks until they do. Iran must have its war. The question of proportionality becomes very different in this scenario than the conventional narrative. The available facts are available to the general public.
The budget of Iran is public enough that you can independently verify what I say about its gasoline purchasing budget. Iran’s sponsorship of Hizballah is equally easy to verify. Would the mullah regime create a crisis in the region just to save the skins of the ruling mullahs? I think so but you should make your own independent judgments. In any case, things are not quite as simple as Cardinal Sodano has made out.
Sepaking of Cardinal Sodano, I suppose he could be a fool and not understand more than the simple incident and its local response. He could also very well understand what is going on but for reasons of state (certainly not of God) has chosen not to lay out the true dimensions of the moral situation. As Cardinal Sodano is shortly going to be replaced, which is true is of little import to me.



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Theologian

posted July 15, 2006 at 6:37 pm


Blindsquirrel,
No, you miss my point, chief. Their being so “obviously not” Nazi as you claim just ain’t all that obvious. Here we rely on a precise knowledge of history and on the principle that if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck you can pretty well count on it being a duck. We make no such attempt – as you have – to offer ourselves the comfort of a denial all too typical of the oblivious by asserting such dodges as Godwin’s Law when unable to manage serious comment. And you still haven’t grasped my remark about relativism, it’s gone right over your head. Please, minimally deal with that point before demanding “reasoned judgements” of anyone.
John Lowell



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chris K

posted July 15, 2006 at 7:08 pm


And some here complain when I’ve used the term “brownshirt” to describe the bloodlust expressed on this blog? You get the Iron Cross first class for that one, chris. I mean how casual and thoughtless the incitement to violence. Are you sure you’re old enough to be Catholic?
Well, “theologian”, you got me now. I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about…which isn’t anything new with the usual quality of “theologians” these days.
You better give that “award” to the news analysts I referred to. They happen to be on the scene. Bloodlust?? Have you really been following anything in this incursion/escalating war? Are you not aware of the admonitions for Syria to control Hezbollah … or else? Do you not realize that Syria is the facilitator for Iran? Do you know anything about the history of that entire area? Thus, logic, at least for the Israelis, might just lead to the scenario envisioned…not hoped for, but neither naive as you present yourself. They took out Iraq’s. Why wouldn’t they do the same for the one who’s obviously pulling the strings against them? What does “being old enough to be Catholic” have to do with being aware of the erupting world around you? What a stupid remark. Where is there any bloodlust in connecting the dots? Again, have no idea what you are talking about.



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George Lee

posted July 15, 2006 at 8:03 pm


John Lowell–The full moon was on July 10. You can stop howling now.



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Donna

posted July 15, 2006 at 8:17 pm


DONNA, no one has posted anything remotely akin to your characterization of this thread.
I would suggest that you go back and read the thread again, Joe.
For starters, you’ve got John Lowell tossing Nazi allusions around like a 8 year old throwing spitballs. Israel-haters really, really enjoy calling Israel and those who support her ‘Nazis’ and ‘brownshirts.’ I’ve noticed such signs at rallies. Makes ‘em feel all clever and ironic and superior.



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Donna

posted July 15, 2006 at 8:40 pm


TM Lutas: Excellent comment from you.
In short, the wheels are coming off the cart in Iran and Iran needs a war. Israel makes a convenient war and their love of the lives of their soldiers is well known enough to make a war with Israel easily accomplished. So the entire charade plays out. In this case, Israel is justified for going in to Lebanon because they will only suffer more and greater attacks until they do.
Exactly. And how the mullahs must laugh at the poor dumb saps in the West who fall for their game and rush to condemn Israel.
I wouldn’t stoop so low as to compare the “it’s always Israel’s fault” crowd with Nazis. Actually, it’s Neville Chamberlain they remind me of.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 15, 2006 at 9:34 pm


“Nothing to say about Israel’s – and the Bush’s Regime’s – official endorsement of torture? Have I embarrassed you? Lots of Israelis and Americans are embarrassed by the fact that their governments condone torture, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. I’m embarrassed by it. Do you condone torture, Don?”
I didn’t respond John because the allegation is nonsensical. In the Middle East Israel is the only state that doesn’t routinely resort to torture. In regard to the elected government of the United States the worst that it has been accused of would be considered kid glove treatment by all the non-Israel governments in the Middle East. Human rights advocates are always expressing concern about rendition because they realize that outside of Israel all Middle Eastern governments use torture as a matter of course. Do you deny that all Middle Eastern governments other than Israel routinely use torture?



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TM Lutas

posted July 15, 2006 at 10:52 pm


Donald R. McClarey – I don’t think ‘our torturers are more humane than their torturers’ is going to quite cut it as Catholic doctrine. I think that there *is* an argument for the 6 techniques that might just barely skate by as within the bounds of an interrogator’s prudential judgment but it would depend on the definition of torture, something that most people don’t have the stomach for but some poor chaplain out in Gitmo and places unknown has had to wrestle with.
Here’s a scenario to ponder. Some AQ hard case is across the table and mocking the interrogator saying “I know you can’t physically touch me. I’ve read your interrogation manual.” He is supremely confident. The interrogator gets up, goes around the table, grabs the prisoner, gives him a couple of shakes (total time shaken



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William

posted July 15, 2006 at 11:57 pm


“In the Middle East Israel is the only state that doesn’t routinely resort to torture.” Sorry Donald, I don’t know where you get your information. Torture in Israel has been public knowledge ever since the London Sunday Times report first pulished a detailed front-page report published on June 19, 1977, revealing to the world that Israeli authorities had been torturing Palestinian prisoners, that this torture was “widespread and systematic,” and that it “appears to be sanctioned at some level as deliberate policy.” resort to torture.” Torture in Israel is old news.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 16, 2006 at 12:23 am


I watched a former CIA agent on one of the talking head shows discuss the issue of torture in Israel. This guy had no moral objections to torture whatsoever, but he said “The Israelis used to use torture; for several years now thay have NOT used it because they found it doesn’t work, even in the ticking time bomb scenario.” He took the same position as Senator McCain on purely utilitarian grounds.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:21 am


“Donald R. McClarey – I don’t think ‘our torturers are more humane than their torturers’ is going to quite cut it as Catholic doctrine.”
I agree with you as to Catholic doctrine as currently stated post WWII. My point TM is that in the Middle East torture, and what everyone would agree is torture, is quite common. I find it hilarious that Israel and the US are condemned for torture, something that both nations have used very rarely and in a fashion that is light in comparison to what non-Israeli nations in the Middle East routinely use, while their adversaries are given a pass on the issue.
As to the point of John Lowell that torture is the sign of a nascent fascist regime, virtually all nations in human history have used torture to a greater or lesser extent. Pius IX used judicial torture freely in 1870 after an attempted rebellion in the papal states for example. France, whether monarchy, republic or empire, has always relied upon torture to extract vital information, often while torture has been legally banned. The only French regime that could be considered as a fascist regime was Vichy. Great Britain has frequently used torture against IRA suspects, once again, with apologies to the Sex Pistols, no fascist regime for the Queen.
If John is looking for nascent fascist regimes in the world he might cast his gaze towards Iran:
“On Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted that Israel was not powerful enough to take on Iran and also warned against an attack against Syria.
“Thanks be to God, despite its criminal and savage nature, the Zionist regime and its supporters in the West do not have the power to look in the same way towards Iran,” the fiercely anti-Israeli president said.
“If Israel commits another act of idiocy and aggresses Syria, this will be the same as an aggression against the entire Islamic world and it will receive a stinging response,” Ahmadinejad said in a telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.
The hardline president, who has calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map” or moved as far away as Alaska, has also compared Israel’s military strikes on Gaza and Lebanon to tactics used by Nazi Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler.
“Their methods resemble Hitler’s. When Hitler wanted to launch an attack, he came up with a pretext,” Ahmadinejad said Saturday.
“Zionists say they are Hitler’s victims, but they have the same nature as Hitler,” said Ahmadinejad, who has previously described the Holocaust of six million Jews in wartime Europe as “a myth.”
“We have two solutions for the crisis. One of them, which is a logical one, is that as you (Western nations) who imposed this regime by fabricating stories, you put an end to it and take it with you,” he said.
Ahmadinejad’s second solution was to have a referendum in which only the “true Palestinians,” decide their fate.”
Source: AFP July 16, 2006



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George Lee

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:58 am


When Iranian President Ahmadinejad claimed, “Their methods resemble Hitler’s” was he quoting John Lowell?
Lowell should get credit,if so. In any case, hardly a Lowell post goes by without references to the Third Reich, its songs, uniforms, specific military units, etc.
This Lowell obsession with Nazis makes it all the more bizarre that he then turns around and laments that America has been enslaved by the Jews: “There is one point of view that’s tolerated respecting the Middle East in Washington and one only. I’d have to call that slavery.”
Perhaps with the departure of the full moon we will get no more howling from Lowell like his comments on Father Neuhaus and Mike Novak: ” It’s no exageration to accord them Iron Guard status, believe me.”
Lowell’s right. That is not an exaggeration. It is an hallucination.
And apart from Lowell, nobody believes it.



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Theologian

posted July 16, 2006 at 11:51 am


Don,
“I didn’t respond John because the allegation is nonsensical. In the Middle East Israel is the only state that doesn’t routinely resort to torture. In regard to the elected government of the United States the worst that it has been accused of would be considered kid glove treatment by all the non-Israel governments in the Middle East. Human rights advocates are always expressing concern about rendition because they realize that outside of Israel all Middle Eastern governments use torture as a matter of course. Do you deny that all Middle Eastern governments other than Israel routinely use torture?”
Bob and weave all you like, but what comes through loud and clear from the above is that you really do condone torture, Don. That was the question I asked you, nothing else, and all of obfuscating in the world won’t conceal the clear direction of your answer. And you have the unmitigated gaul to sit in judgment of the statements of the Vatican on this question? If you’re Catholic, and given an outlook like yours that would be anything but a certainty, you need to take a very hard look at the importance of the faith to your life. I’d never be able to distinguish a perspective like yours from that of a brownshirt, never.
John Lowell



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Theologian

posted July 16, 2006 at 12:02 pm


Lee,
“This Lowell obsession with Nazis makes it all the more bizarre that he then turns around and laments that America has been enslaved by the Jews”
If you’re going to comment on my posts, have the minimal personal honesty – if that’s even vaguely possible in your case – of quoting me accurately. At no time have I stated – here or anywhere else – that America has been enslaved by the Jews. That’s not only inaccurate, its a calumny. I’ll have a retraction and fast!
John Lowell



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William

posted July 16, 2006 at 12:56 pm


“In the Middle East Israel is the only state that doesn’t routinely resort to torture.” What’s your source on this? Israel?



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George Lee

posted July 16, 2006 at 1:15 pm


From John Lowell: ” I’ll have a retraction and fast!”
If I were you I’d be worrying more about silver bullets than retractions, hehehehe…The next full moon is August 9, so cool it with the untimely howling, eh?
Imagine a guy who has claimed all the disgusting things that Lowell has on this thread now waxing so sensitive as to demand a retraction! Your calumnies are legion, and you may be a self-described theologian (over and over and over like some coyote crooning to the moon) but I’d like to know who you got your license from?
But, Lowell, like you, let me end with a “God Bless You!”
You seem to think that covers a multitude of sins, hehehehe….



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Theologian

posted July 16, 2006 at 1:57 pm


Lee,
I’ve got your ip and e-mail addresses and copies of every post in this thread. You’ve quoted me inaccurately and laugh at my demand for a retraction. If counsel determines that you’ve libeled me – and given your earlier comments here it shouldn’t be all that hard to establish intent – you well may be laughing out of the other side of your mouth in a very short time.
Every blessing.
John Lowell



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Timo

posted July 16, 2006 at 2:12 pm


donald r mcc:
“Pius IX used judicial torture freely in 1870 after an attempted rebellion in the papal states”
This is a falsehood, easily refuted. He did not engage in “torture”, freely or otherwise.



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JonathanR.

posted July 16, 2006 at 2:34 pm


Eh, this John Lowell is a theologian like Angelo Sodano is pope….
In any case, Secretariat types like Cardinal Sodano have a history of shooting from the hip regardless of the Pope’s own views. (Example: Sodano acolyte Renato Cardinal Martino) Cardinal Sodano even tried some shadow-hand in an attempt to get one of the Pope’s favored allies, Cardinal Ruini replaced as president of the Italian bishop’s conference. Fortunately, Sodano’s shadow-handing resulted in the Pope’s reaffirming Cardinal Ruini and a timely exit for Sodano.
So…I wouldn’t read too much into Sodano’s statement. He sounds like a guy in search of a last hurrah.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 16, 2006 at 2:51 pm


I’ve had to amend my interpretation of Sodano’s unfortunate remarks in the thread dealing with the Holy Father’s remarks near the top of OPEN BOOK.



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