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The Middle East: an overview

posted by awelborn

The American Papist gets us started.

Powerline discusses a David Horowitz column:

David Horowitz explains why the current war in the Middle East is a "moment of truth." The truths Horowitz cites, which won’t surprise Power Line readers, are these:

(1) the impossibility of a Palestinian state and the necessity of a civilized occupying force in a region that is populated by a people who have been terminally brainwashed into an ideology of hate, which makes their self-government a crime waiting to happen;

(2) the treachery of certain world leaders (e.g., Chirac and Putin) who are lining up on the side of the Islamic terrorists; and

(3) the central role of Iran in the attack on Israel, which further demonstrates the sincerity of its stated intention to obliterate Israel.

Horowitz suggests that Israel’s best option is to strike Iran now. I agree. With Iran well on its way to becoming a nuclear power, Israel will never be stronger in relation to Iran than it is today. And, quite apart from the perfectly valid concept of a preemptive strike, Iran’s central role in the current war justifies direct retaliation.

It may well be the case that Israel cannot substantially set back Iran’s nuclear program with one set of strikes (which is why the U.S. should join in, but that’s not going to happen). Nonetheless, any degree of set-back would send the right signal and would constitute a step in the right direction.

(Links are for discussion purposes. Different views and all that. Discussion will be cut off at some point, so be prepared. If it gets nasty, what I’ll do is not just close comments but click "no comments" so that all comments will disappear. So don’t waste your efforts by doing anything but discussing issues)



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 6:50 pm


A rather biased account from American Papist. How depressingly American.
The facts are simple. Hezbollah’s kidnapping, while dumb and totally wrong, cannot be considered a terrorist action. It was one armed group attacking another. And was the Israeli respond just? I find it impossible argue so, given the clear principals of Catholic just war theory. Just focus on proportionality: in response to kinapping 2 soliders, Israel launches a full scale war to destroy a helpess country– bombing the airport, highways, power plants, killing civilians, and initiating a total economic blockade. This is a gravely immoral response. I notice those who defend it never seem to mention Catholic just war principals. Instead, they either spout a version of “realism” (that just means consequentialism!) or a thirst for the kind of retaliatory vengeance that Our Lord forbade.
We need to cure a few misconceptions about Lebanon. First, it is the Arab world’s only functioning democracy, with a completely free press. It is presently governed by an un easy coalition of Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze that came together after the murder of Hariri by the Syrians. This alliance forced Syria to withdraw, and stood firm as Syrian agents began a wave of murders and asassinations in Christian areas, trying to stoke the fires of sectarian hatred. During this, Hezbollah was the problem. Let’s be honest: the Hariri coalition had little time for Hezbollah, not because they feared an Islaimic state (everybody knows this is impossible in Lebanon), but because Hezbollah continued to defend the Syrian occupation even after Hariri’s murder. But Hezbollah enjoy the support of the Shia community (although there hasn’t been a census in a very long time, latest estimates suggest the Shia are about 50 percent of the population). Therein lies the tension. And all sides in Lebanon still regard Hezbollah as the libertor of southern Lebanon from Israel. We must always remember that Israel has no friends in Lebanon– just think of the 1982 Beirut bombing (the worst of the long civil war) or the Sabra and Shatilla camp massacres (whereby Sharon allowed Christian extremist Elie Hobieka to kill 900 innocent Palestinians). But support of Hezbollah had been waning, mainly because they proved spectularly inept at actually governing. But of course, their popularity is now restored, thanks to Israel.



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TheLeague

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:13 pm


Tony A said:

I notice those who defend it never seem to mention Catholic just war principals.

And I’ve noticed that those using Just War theory know practically nothing about 1) the Islamist enemy and 2) modern warfare.
Once I am convinced that those applying Just War theory have something like a clue about the Islamist threat, I’ll take the application of Just War theory a little more seriously. Right now, it appears to be nothing more than a rhetorical tool of leftist anti-war activists.



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chris K

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:31 pm


First, it is the Arab world’s only functioning democracy, with a completely free press.
Oooh wow! And with a terrorist army allowed to function within its borders. IOW, it’s still being held hostage…with those dang Syrians awfully close by…as we are seeing.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:32 pm


“The facts are simple. Hezbollah’s kidnapping, while dumb and totally wrong, cannot be considered a terrorist action.”
It was an act of war and the Israelis have treated it as such. Hezbollah thought they could wage war against Israel and that the Israelis would be foolish enough not to attack them in Lebanon. They were wrong. Actions have consequences in this world, as the members of Hezbollah are going to find out. If Syria is foolish enough to intervene, they will learn this lesson also.



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Christopher Fotos

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:43 pm


The facts are simple. Hezbollah’s kidnapping, while dumb and totally wrong, cannot be considered a terrorist action. It was one armed group attacking another. And was the Israeli respond just? I find it impossible argue so, given the clear principals of Catholic just war theory. Just focus on proportionality: in response to kinapping 2 soliders, Israel launches a full scale war to destroy a helpess country– bombing the airport, highways, power plants, killing civilians, and initiating a total economic blockade.
Oh boy.
One armed group attacking another. Uh huh.
Just two lil’ old armed groups, passing the time of day.
Israel is a nation that was attacked in a raid by a terrorist group.
Hezbollah isn’t even supposed to be there. When Israel withdrew from Lebanon, part of the deal was for southern Lebanon to function as your normal non-terrorist peaceable sector. Instead, Hezbollah has used it for years as a safe house for people obsessed with killing Jews.
Just like when Israel withdrew more recently from Gaza, Palestinian terrorists used it quite literally as a launching pad for terror.
Enough.
This isn’t just about the soldiers abducted in recent days. This is an attempt by Israel to radically change the strategic situation in its favor. That is to say, to improve its chances of not bening annihilated, quickly or slowly.
The “functioning democracy” of Lebanon has been impotent in the face of Hezbollah, which controls that part of the coutnry. And if things go well one of stranger outcomes of this offensive will be to free Lebanon by attacking Lebanon.
And no one wants to see civilian deaths, but a heckuva lot of “civilians” are Hezbollah collaborators. For example, the homes of sympathizers and members of Hezbollah are used as terrorist stockpiles–rockets, guns, the works. That’s what Israel is bombing. It also wants to kill as many Hezbollah terrorists as possible. Lots of sloppy overstated mainstream media reporting, however, on “civilian” casualties.
Israel started by trying to isolate southern Lebanon, bombing roads, bridges, and the airport, probably a prelude to trying to wipe out as much Hezbollah as possible without any means of escape or resupply. The one thing that I semi-agree on with Tony is the potential here for strengthening Hezbollah. It all depends–on how many of the terrorists they can kill, how quickly they can do so, to what degree Israel can limit true civilian casualties and the entirely separate question of how that will be reported (badly). Will most Lebanese welcome the defeat of the terrorists poisoning their country, or resent the attack itself?
But the alternative has already shown itself to be unacceptable. Hezbollah is, for all practical purposes, a terrorist state. Whether Israel’s strategy will work–and there are a lot of other moving parts related to Syria and Iran, for starters–is of course unknown. I don’t fault them for trying.
Some notes by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the withdrawl from Lebanon in the year 2000:
On May 24, 2000, the Government of Israel completed the withdrawal of its forces from southern Lebanon to the international border, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425. The primary objective of this action is to ensure the security of Israel and its citizens, and to promote stability and peace in the region. Israel has no territorial aspirations in Lebanon, and hopes to see the Lebanese government restore and exercise its sovereignty and authority throughout the border region from which Israeli forces have left….
# If, after the withdrawal, terrorism continues, Israel will react forcefully, in keeping with its legitimate and internationally recognized right of self-defense. This reaction will be directed against both the terrorist organizations and those parties which extend aid to these organizations.
# If any party encourages, aids or facilitates terrorism against Israel from Lebanon following the withdrawal, Israel will view this as a clear act of aggression, and will respond in the appropriate manner. Any other country would act similarly under such circumstances…
As part of its obligations under 425, the Government of Lebanon will bear the responsibility for preventing terrorist attacks against Israel from within its borders, as well as terrorist reprisals against individuals in those areas from which Israel has withdrawn. Furthermore, as long as other parties maintain presence and control in Lebanon, they also bear responsibility for events in the area….

Sorry for the long post.



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JP

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:43 pm


As Cdl Sadano said, Lebanon is a sovereign nation. Sovereign nations are responsible for the actions of the people who live within thier borders. When Hezbollah foot soldiers ambush IDF patrols with impunity, Lebanon’s goverment is responsible. Hezbollah didn’t commit a terror act against Israel, but they did commit an Act of War.
Despite what many realize, Israel isn’t conducting an counter terror operation. They are fighting a war. Lebanon, by tolerating 12,000 armed Hezbollah foot soldiers brought this upon themselves. I guess, as long as only Jews are being killed, Beruit could care less. Lebanon has a standing army of over 75,000 soldiers. They had the capabilities to either kick Hezbollah out, or eliminate them in combat. It’s a little late for that now. It appears the IDF will eliminate them itself.



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William

posted July 16, 2006 at 7:44 pm


“A rather biased account from American Papist. How depressingly American.” I couldn’t agree more. As a former dispensationalist missionary who was converted to the Catholic Church while living in Jerusalem, I am always amazed how much American foreign policy continues to be influenced by dispensationlism. I understand why many Protestants have this influence in their own political perspective, but for the life of me, I cannot understand it coming from a Catholic.



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Rick

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:12 pm

Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:34 pm


TheLeague,
If you are so disdainful of just war principles, please tell me what you actually believe in, and how it is compatible with Catholicism.



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:37 pm


Chris K,
I would educate myself on the Lebanese civil war if I were you. Hizbollah was one of 2 major Shia militias that existed at that time, and the younger of the two. It happens to enjoy the support of a lot of Lebanese, and had recently made its peace with the Saad Hariri coalition. It’s a very delicate situation.



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:39 pm


Donald,
It may be an act of war, but was Israel’s response a just one. Not by the principle of proportionality. Nobody can possibly make that case. Meanwhile, the people of Lebanon are again suffering and dying. Of all people in the world, the Lebanese need a break.



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:43 pm


Christopher Fotos,
You have not idea what you are talking about. I have been to Lebanon many times, and I can tell you that Israel is most certainly not simply targeting Hezbollah strongholds. It is a deliberate act to cripple the economy, and bring the country to its knees. It is deeply immoral act. I advise you to heed the words of Cardinal Sfeir.
You said: “And if things go well one of stranger outcomes of this offensive will be to free Lebanon by attacking Lebanon.”
God help us, this is the kind of Bush-Cheney stupid reasoning that created the quangmire in Iraq. Lesson number 1: LEARN THE DAMNED HISTORY OF THE REGION.



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Rick

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:47 pm


I am always amazed how much American foreign policy continues to be influenced by dispensationlism.
William, you are perhaps extrapolating the peculiarities of your own biography to other supporters of Israel.
I’m doubtful that most Americans who support Israel do so because they have been bamboozled by wacky dispensationalist theologies.
They support Israel, imo, because they recognize that Israel’s founding documents call for “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” and “freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”
Whereas the charter of the most powerful Palestinian movement resisting Israel calls for this:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinct Palestinian Movement which owes its loyalty to Allah, derives from Islam its way of life and strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Only under the shadow of Islam could the members of all regions coexist in safety and security for their lives, properties and rights.



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:47 pm


JP wrote:
“Lebanon, by tolerating 12,000 armed Hezbollah foot soldiers brought this upon themselves.”
Would you like to tell me what they were supposed to do? After the Syrian murder of Hariri, we had an unprecedented alliance between the Christians, Sunnis, and Druze. This alliance was faced down by Hezbollah, which claims the allegiance of most Shia (who themselves comprise 40-50 percent of the population). The Lebanese army is powerless. The country has just emerged from a long term occupation. It is a functioning democracy. Again I ask: what was it supposed to have done that would not haev ignited a civil war?



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:49 pm


William– amen!
That’s a good point. I’ve never really believed that the “Jewish lobby” really drove the US’s one-sided apporach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, I lay the blame with scewy fundamentalist theology.



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JP

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:53 pm


Tony,
You are correct if the IDF was conducting a punative counter terrorist operation. But Israel is doing no such thing. They are conducting combat operations in a war. They are not responsible for the fact that Hezbollah embedds themselves amongst thier own women and children. Hezbollah’s rocket launchers are located inside of barns, farm buildings, etc… Those rockets are raining death on Israeli civilians.



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:56 pm


Rick,
Could you name a single Lebanese Christian leader who would say such things about Israel? Samir Geagea? Aoun? Karameh? Amin Gemayel? Karim Bakradouni? Chamoun? The much hated Lahoud? The much respected Cardinal Sfeir?



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JP

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:58 pm


Tony,
Lebanon has an army of 70,000 soldiers. As a sovereign nation, it is thier responsibility to poice thier own people. Since they are so “powerless”, the IDF is doing thier job for them. Isreal is not responsible for the incompetence of thier neighbor to the north. They are responsible for the security of thier own people. Thier withdrawl of Southern Lebanon was a horrible mistake -for everyone.



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Christopher Fotos

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:59 pm


Sorry, not surprised, to see you disagree Tony. We cannot agree this is a “deliberate act to cripple the economy.” A stable, peaceful and prosperous Lebanon rid of the Hezbollah terrorists would benefit Israel and Lebanon alike. You know very well that no small number of Lebanese believe this themselves.
Enough of them? I don’t know. If a majority of the Lebanese want to kill Jews as much as Hezbollah does, then, well, everything will be much, much worse, and we can agree it is plenty bad now.
In any case, let’s not skip too quickly over the terms of Israel’s withdrawl from Lebanon. Permitting the creation of an anti-Semitic terror state just across the border wasn’t part of the deal. Israel chooses not to commit suicide. Anyway that’s how I see it.



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Tony A

posted July 16, 2006 at 8:59 pm


“Hezbollah’s rocket launchers are located
inside of barns, farm buildings, etc…”
Sure, and these are located in Beirut airport, in the ports of Tripoli and Jouneih, highway, and power plants?
“Combat operations in a war”. OK, and the just war principles apply.. or not??



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anon

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:03 pm


Amen to you, Tony, and to William. Excellent responses. As a Canadian and a Catholic, I continue to be taken aback by the peculiar attitudes of American Catholics towards Israel.



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Christopher Fotos

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:05 pm


And Tony, we are essentially in agreement that the Lebanese Army has not been in a position to take on Hezbollah. Since that Army can’t do anything about it–not without risking another ruinous civil war–the Israeli one will. For the Israelis, just sitting there and getting executed steadily over time while Hezbollah had a rather large safe house to devise who knows what other hells….no. Enough of that.



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anon

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:10 pm


Christopher, from here it looks as though Israel will wind up strengthening Hezbollah (and Al Qaeda, etc.). Israel and the US play right into their hands.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:11 pm


“Not by the principle of proportionality. Nobody can possibly make that case.”
Of course it is Tony, just as the proper response to Pearl Harbor was to go to war with Japan which led to the death of millions of Japanese. Hezbollah is in control of South Lebanon and has been engaging in acts of war against the Israelis since the Israelis pull-out from South Lebananon in 2000. Diplomacy, measured military responses, appeals for the Lebanon government to take action, nothing has deterred Hezbollah. Finally the Israelis have decided to fight Hezbollah as if it were a sovereign nation, which in effect it is.



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Kirk

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:11 pm


So Amy, you favor Israel attacking Iran now? And do you think that the U.S. would stand idly by our biggest Middle East ally? So you think it is not enough for the US to be at war in Iran and Afghanistan? Let’s add Iran to the mix, too? How about North Korea for good measure … maybe a missile or two there, as well?
We are stretched too thin as it is. Let’s not encourage more warfare – for us or anyone.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:15 pm


“We are stretched too thin as it is. Let’s not encourage more warfare – for us or anyone.”
I don’t think Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran or North Korea need any encouragement to engage in war-like acts. That is precisely the problem.



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JP

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:16 pm


Tony,
Israel is fighting a war. The area of operations is Lebanon. Hezbollah’s commanders are all over the nation: from Beruit to Bekka Valley. Every drop of water, percel of food, can of gas, radio and computer transmission that provides for Hezbollah militairily is being destroyed. Hezbollah is entrenched in Lebanon much deeper than the “experts” knew.
The Israelis are obviously destroying the means for Hezbollah to maneuver. Like we did in 1991, the IDF is steadily destroying Hezbollah’s command and control. There is nothing the IDF is doing that is against International Law. They didn’t start this war.



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Sr. Lorraine

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:21 pm


I have to admit I don’t know much about the situation in the Middle East and find it quite perplexing. But the threat of Islamic fundamentalism is very real. Our cook is a Maronite Catholic from Lebanon, and when she was still living there she witnessed a baby beheaded by these terrorists for no other reason than that it was a Christian baby. What a horror!



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Celine

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:30 pm


JP says, “Every drop of water, percel of food, can of gas, radio and computer transmission that provides for Hezbollah militairily is being destroyed.” Yea, well, it will also destroy any thing that provides for the civilian population. This is the sort of obscene reasoning that justifies total war, and it precisely what Just War doctrine was supposed to condemn.
Amazing what perversities war can justify when others are the victims. What would we say to jihadists who destroyed “every drop of water, percel of food, can of gas, radio and computer transmission that provides for [American militarism]“? Oh, I see: now THAT would be “terrorism” or “disproportionate.”



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DJP

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:44 pm


A very respectful dialogue. I often ask myself similiar questions but find myself making odd conclusions for a devout Catholic. For example:
1. When it comes to the Vatican’s foreign policy, who cares what the Vatican has to say.
2. When it comes to Israel, I would rather follow the Old Testament’s warnings, “those who bless Israel shall be blessed and those who curse Israel shall be cursed.” I’m no Protestant but I would rather be on Israel’s side even when she might be worng or she over reacts.
3. Amy, I’m surprised at your call for Israel to attack Iran, although in retrospect, you are probably right but it is a scary thought.
4. The left wingers and the non-Americans, well, yes, you are right. Americans think that their country is the most pwoerful one in the world and we tend to do things our way— AND SO WHAT IF WE DO? Get over it. That’s the reality that we live in today.
5. Yes, the evangelical understanding of America and Israel’s place in the world does influence conservative Catholics, maybe because they might be right. The Vatican after all is governed by Europeans, you know, the people who had to be liberated twice by the Americans because they did not how to defeat their enemies.
6. Tony, you really don’t understand the attitudes of Maronite Catholics which make up almost 30% of the Lebanonese population. They, as well as the Melkite Catholics, feel closer to Israel than they do to any other group in Lebanon. That is not to say that they are rejoicing in the homes that their country is being attacked but they are welcoming the possibility that Iran and Syria might be foced to leave once and for all. Tony, apparently, your contacts are too anti-Israel and pro-terrorist. Get out once in a while and expand your world view.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:44 pm


I am not a pacifist. I accept just war teaching as explained in the Catechism, the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching, Vatican II, Evangelium Vitae, and other expositions of Catholic social teaching.
I’m also NOT a dispensationalist. I support Israel because it’s democratic and supports religious freedom and the right of free expression, not because it is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
I also feel quite confident in saying that neither Cardinal Sodano’s brief statement, nor Benedict XVI’s even briefer statement is compatible with either the facts of the case or with an application of just war principles.
The Church does NOT teach, nor has it ever taught that “reprisals” against either terrorism or acts of war by a terrorist organization (which is how both the European Council and the U.S. government characterize Hezbollah) are “always” wrong. This sort of moral equivalency argument is, objectively speaking, unjust.
A far more accurate application of Catholic teaching on the justice of defensive military action is contained in the G8 statement today – signed by France (!), Russia, (!), and the others! Far from moral equivalency, the statement blames Hezbollah, and calls for a return of the two soldiers and an end to the murderous rocketing of civilian areas in Israel (which can NEVER be justified according to just war principles). AFTER Hezbollah has complied, THEN Israel should withdraw from Lebanon.
The purpose of Israel’s military operations in Lebanon is NOT to kill civilians. They have warned civilians in southern Beirut to leave the neighborhood BEFORE bombing the areas that are Hezbollah meeting places and strongholds. They have publicly lamented civilian deaths as unintended, while Hezbollah has repeatedly rejoiced in the deaths of Israeli citizens (which are completely justified according to their version of Shiite ethics). The purpose of Israeli alleged attacks on the infrastructure is to prevent Syria and Iran from CONTINUING to enable Hezbollah to attack Israel with the purpose of ending the existence of the state of Israel. I disagree with Donald on one point. I think that Hezbollah and Iran fully expected Israel’s reaction and factored it in as something that would recruit more support for Hezbollah.
I agree with Tony A. that there are few Middle Eastern Christian leaders that would “say such things about Israel”. More’s the pity! The anti-Semitism of many of these leaders is a well-established fact, some of them being gun runners for the PLO! It’s time to review the strong opposition of Catholic Eastern Christian prelates at Vatican II to NOSTRA AETATE.
I DO think that it’s wise to keep in mind the necessity of continually applying the principle of proportionality – a point that George Bush himself made today. I would not be grieved, but would strongly support any such statements by the pope or Cardinal Sodano. But both of their statements are very difficult to reconcile either with Catholic teaching in its most recent expressions or with the facts of the matter. In this matter, the world has been provided with wiser moral advice from the G8 nations. But then, of course, these brief statements are in no sense a teaching document. They give one the feeling of off the cuff statements and are not the finest hour of either of their authors. A very different viewpoint was aired on Vatican radio by a Franciscan expert on the Middle East.
Tony A. is quite correct in thinking that SOME attitudes toward Israel are driven by fundamentalist and dispensationalist theology. But I think that it’s especially significant that those who have opposed strongly the original decision to go to war in Iraq as NOT being justified by just war principles are now in some instances strongly supporting the right of Israel to a proportional defense of its very existence.
Even granting for the sake of discussion that Israel’s response violated proportionality requirements (which I deny), even then it is quite clear that ALL of the blame for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon must be placed on Hezbollah. Its heinous actions were so egregious that they were condemned even by the pro-Syrian Lebanese government.
The difficulty I have with some of the anti-Israeli positions taken here is that they seem unwilling to acknowledge that Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist, jihadist, Islamist groups that, by definition, have violated every relevant international norm to say nothing of natural law principles. Hezbollah violates international law everytime it has one of its disgusting parades in uniform because it has no right to bear arms according to the Security Council Resolution 1559.
Hezbollah rockets fell very close to Stella Maris Carmelite monastery (close to where the prophet Elijah ministered) today. According to (non-historical) Carmelite legends this prophet established the eremetical life on Mount Carmel. How astounded Elijah must be looking down to see the Jewish homeland attacked by people “in the name of god” by the “party of god”! His own insights, thanks to the Beatific Vision, have deepened about the proper way to deal with false prophets. But his own method is a matter of historical record (I Kings 18:40). Islamic ethics, as interpreted by jihadist and Islamists, is stuck in the same time warp.



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mulopwepaul

posted July 16, 2006 at 9:52 pm


I don’t read Ms. Welborn as advocating an attack on Iran, merely reporting on Powerline–which does advocate that attack.
PVO



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TheLeague

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:00 pm


Tony A:

If you are so disdainful of just war principles, please tell me what you actually believe in, and how it is compatible with Catholicism.

Actually, I am not disdainful of just war priniciples, only those who use it as a rhetorical tool to hide the usual anti-American sentiments.



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Terentia

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:19 pm


Some history:
Pelayo 722
Charles Martel 739
Pope Urban II 1099
Don John of Austria 1571
Jan Sobieski 1683
George W Bush 2001



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Terentia

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:20 pm


…and Israel 1948 and ongoing



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William

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:37 pm


“I continue to be taken aback by the peculiar attitudes of American Catholics towards Israel.” Attitudes which one cannot really find among any other Catholics in the world. Why? The influence of dispensationalism on America and even American Catholics.



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chris K

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:40 pm


Chris K,
I would educate myself on the Lebanese civil war if I were you. Hizbollah was one of 2 major Shia militias that existed at that time, and the younger of the two. It happens to enjoy the support of a lot of Lebanese, and had recently made its peace with the Saad Hariri coalition. It’s a very delicate situation.

And what does have to do practically with the current situation that obviously shows who holds the power in that “delicate situation”? The terrorist group … any terrorist group was forbidden to be allowed to exercise any presence according to the UN resolution. Of course it is obviously evident that Hezbollah could not be prevented from their evil course which they put into action, by your “delicate” new democracy. They just used that false time of “peace” to strengthen themselves militarily with the backing of Syria, the facilitator of Iran. They all want only one thing … to completely obliterate Israel. I think that the day has arrived that Israel will most likely pull out all the stops … will have to if Iran is truly behind this and using this distraction to complete its own described mission by that wingnut who believes he’s the one chosen to destroy the world. It would appear that regime change of the sociopathic leaders in Iran and N. Korea might just free up any people within those countries who still take some delight in living. But, again, we had better pray for our guys over there in Iraq because if Israel should do so and Iran is planning a retaliation within Iraq, we’re in big time trouble. Many now within the civilized world are now actually willing to support terrorists..even after observing them slicing off heads of innocents.. and watching those countries such as Spain, when they show the slightest cowardice towards terrorism, get kicked in the face.. followed by their own moral disintegration. Can you believe it? What next will they sell out to.. the AntiChrist himself?



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anon

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:45 pm


Terentia, that is really an absurd comparison. All the figures you mention were defending Christendom against aggressive invaders.
Hizbollah does not equal the Ottoman Empire, the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers does not equal the besieging of Vienna, and Israel does not equal Christendom. Israel does not equal the United States either, though that’s often hard to tell.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:50 pm


anon,
Spend some time among American Catholics. You will find that, unlike Canada, and despite the mishandling of sexual abuse of minors by not a few bishops, many millions of American Catholics continue to attend weekly Mass and a growing number of these millions (especially among the young) actually BELIEVE what the Church teaches. You’ll also find that only a tiny, tiny portion of American Catholics subscribe to “dispensationalist theology”, and these are often marginal to the life of the Church. I’m sure you don’t want to begin to describe the situation with Canadian Catholics – empty Churches, widespread radical theological dissent, bishops afraid to rein in politically correct advocates of same sex marriage and abortion as a sacrament.



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austin

posted July 16, 2006 at 10:57 pm


I have friends in Lebanon. They don’t consider their country to be a functioning democracy, but a country still controlled by Syria. Incidentally, the husband is Moslem, the wife Catholic.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 16, 2006 at 11:03 pm


Celine,
Can you substantiate that measures taken to deprive Hezbollah militia elements of water, food, etc. are NOW making it impossible for the civilian population to drink and eat? I don’t mean difficulties. I mean threats to the lives of civilians from these measures. Israel deplores the loss of civilian population lives. Hezbollah justifies direct attacks on civilians. Ghandi strongly opposed non-violence that had a ho-hum attitude toward egregious injustice. Objectively speaking, Hezbollah is a terrorist group that has now acted to realize its goal of the destruction of the state of Israel. Ghandian pacifism is non-violent RESISTANCE, not non-resistance. In the current situation, non-violent direct action would have to be directed against Hezbollah as an alternative to Israeli use of military force. I don’t see any peace groups advocating that.



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Tom Piatak

posted July 16, 2006 at 11:50 pm


I am very surprised to see the former Communist, Black Panther groupie David Horowitz cited here. Here is what Mr. Horowitz has to say about the current crisis:
Here is the situation: World leaders are lining up, either on the side of the Islamic terrorists (Chirac and Putin) or the side of their victims (the United States and — somewhat — Great Britain). The Vatican, which has an unsavory record in regard to the periodic slaughters of the Jews has thrown its moral weight (such as it is these days) onto the scales against the Jews.
Seeing the moral authority of Benedict XVI questioned by the likes of Horowitz is more than one should have to bear.
Events have proven that John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger were right about Iraq, and I fear that events may prove Benedict XVI right about Lebanon, too. Conflict in the Mideast has been disastrous for Christians there, including our own invasion of Iraq, which has resulted thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing into Syria, a country that idiot neocons like Horowitz now want to invade.



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Fr Martin Fox

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:23 am


“The Vatican, which has an unsavory record in regard to the periodic slaughters of the Jews…”
I consider that a calumny.
In World War II, the Vatican was heroic in advocating for the victims of fascism, in particular the Jews. Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide credited Pius XII and the Catholic Church with doing more to save Jews than anyone but the Allied armies.
If Mr. Piatak is referring to the massacres and pogroms through history, I am unaware the Vatican ever approved them, and the pope has frequently condemned them, notably the slaughters that occurred in connection with the Crusades.
I am hardly saying everything that was done to Jews in the name of the Church, with official sanction, is something to be proud of. But as to “slaughters,” I vigorously dispute Mr. Piatak’s sideways jab at the Church, particularly insofar as omits any consideration of the Church’s solicitude for Jews — most notably, in World War II.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:27 am


There is a basic tool of state, developed after the Thirty Years War, called the westphalian system. It is named after the Peace of Westphalia, the treaty that ended that war. As a basic proposition, since much developed, you stay on your side of your borders. However you’ve fouled your own nest, you don’t let your troubles cross the border and in exchange your neighbors do likewise. This basic development predates the creation of the US. It predates the creation of most of the governments of the world today. It has allowed dissimilar societies to ally and substantially ended wars of religion among christian nations and moderated them among other faiths. Put simply, however badly history has turned out since the Thirty Years War, history would have been much more destructive and bloody without the westphalian system. Supporting and improving that system to further reduce deaths is pretty much a given for any serious Catholic.
This system is dying and in dying we risk ushering in a new bloody era that will make the charnel houses of the 20th century totalitarians look like a pleasant walk in the park. These are the stakes in the current war between Israel and Hezbollah.
It is not about the 2 taken soldiers that everybody talks about or the 8 dead soldiers that hardly anyone mentions. It is not about Cpl. Shalit or his comrades in arms felled by Hamas either. It’s about removing a foundational stone of the system that helps prevent general savagery being unleashed upon the world and has been doing so for several hundred years.
Subnational groups conducting war are an immediate, terrifying, and huge global threat. That we ho hum their existence, cover for their depradations, and never examine what we are eroding is shameful.
Lebanon’s duty was to disarm its militias and become a normal state again. It has failed to do so. This sometimes happens. When it does, it is the duty of its neighbors and of the great powers to do that job for it.
That is what is going on right now.
Tony A – You are clearly ignorant of the geopolitical stakes and of military reality. You cannot properly interpret Just War theory if you neither understand war nor the politics that lead to war. Please inform yourself better.
anon – I hope you note that I have not actually supported Israel in this post. I am supporting the system of political understandings that has reduced the body count all over the world for centuries and I hope will continue to function and be improved. That in this case it also helps Israel is neither here nor there.
Celine – Before beheadings became the latest outrage for americans to sob over, russians were suffering such things in the Caucuses and we mostly remained silent over it. I do not blame anyone more than myself as I was mostly silent too.
Today it is Israel that is suffering cross-border indignities. Had AMLO gotten 0.6% more votes, we might have be suffering similar outrages all too soon as AMLO seems to have proven himself the right little revolutionary. Savage tactics that work tend to spread. Mexican drug gangs recently have picked up the beheading tactic. Why not follow on with other innovations?
The system is weakening. Eventually we will feel it on our own skin. As the most powerful military on the planet, we’d probably be last. That does not excuse us from our duty to uphold the system.



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Tony A

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:38 am


I’m still seeing precious little from the Israeli defendors on how these actions can be reconciled by just war theory. The League seems to think these principles to do apply to the United States (and Israel too??). Donald makes the Peal Harbor comparison, but fails to follow up with the point that the carpet bombing of Dresden and Tokyo, as well as the what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were deeply immoral. This is just war theory in action– and this is the kind of reasoning that comes not just from the left, but also from natural law “conservatives” such as Elizabeth Anscombe and Germain Grisez.
Remember that the principle of retaliation can not be the basis of war or foreign policy. Jesus abrogated the lex talionis in this regard. But many here seem to be adopting a kind of “lex talionis”-style reasoning. And they (not surpisingly) ignore just war theory, since retaliation violates the principal of “right intention”.



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Tony A

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:50 am


Others do not reject just war theory, but they exagerrate the threat if Hezbollah to issue dire pronouncements of what will happen if Israel did not do what it did. I do not deny Hezbollah are terrorists, and I would love to see Lebanon rid of their malign influence. But again, this is no excuse for ploughing through the just war theory. As Germain Grisez said: “Even when carried out within proper limits, deadly force against persons cannot be an adequate response to terrorism. A sound response must also include a very serious effort to improve relationships with less radical members of the group whose interests the terrorists are trying to promote by their bad means. The serious effort at reconciliation must be implemented by economic and political action designed to mitigate suffering and reduce hatred.” And yet so few people in the United States seem to be aware of the situation on the ground in Lebanon. Tell a secular Beiruti night-club goer that Hezbollah is trying to set up an Islamic state in Lebanon, and you will be laughed at. The idea is ludicrious. Hezbollah is simply the last remaning armed militia from a time when all sides had armed militias, and pretty much all engaged in atrocities. For those who think Christians were innocent, I would look at the colorful careers of characters like Samir Geagea and Elie Hobeika.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:44 am


The Israeli response is, frankly, unreasonable, amounting to little more than lashing out at random.
Imagine if, when the IRA bomb exploded at Canary Wharf, Britain had launched missiles at Dublin. Would that be a justified response?
Michael Totten puts it thus:
“What should the Israelis have done instead? They should have treated Hezbollahland as a country, which it basically is, and attacked it. They should have treated Lebanon as a separate country, which it basically is, and left it alone. Mainstream Lebanese have no problem when Israel hammers Hezbollah in its little enclave. Somebody has to do it, and it cannot be them. If you want to embolden Lebanese to work with Israelis against Hezbollah, or at least move in to Hezbollah’s bombed out positions, don’t attack all of Lebanon.
“Israel should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also somewhat pro-Israel.
“Israelis thinks everyone hates them. It isn’t true, especially not in Lebanon. But they will make it so if they do not pay more attention to the internal characteristics of neighboring countries. “The Arabs” do not exist as a bloc except in the feverish dreams of the Nasserists and the Baath.”



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Puzzled

posted July 17, 2006 at 2:05 am


Tony, Just War theory says nothing about killing Jews to be a licit and good thing.
Hezbollah and Hamas, under the direction of Syria and Iran, have been attacking Israeli civilians for quite some time. Israel tried giving them land in exchange for peace – a very Chamberlain-like policy.
Homicide bombers continue to murder women and children. Rockets continue to rain down on Israel from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon – which used to be Maronite Catholic, before the Hizbollah terrorists drove them out.
Nation-state/terrorists tunnel under the border to kidnap Israeli soldier, yet another act of war. Israel responds.
Certain people claim that Israel must not defend itself. They claim ‘proportionality’ as the basis for their belief that Jews must die. Proportionality means that you do not nuke the enemy’s cities, dash their children against rocks, and sow their fields with salt over a fishing dispute. It does not mean a tit for tat form of “warfare” which has no resolution, no peace, no justice.
I believe the term is “anti-semite.” Something Catholics have been historically accused of. I had believed that to be a false accusation. Perhaps I stand corrected.
This is a very dangerous war. Syrian and Iranian troops are directly involved in killing Israelis. Saddam’s CBN weapons were mostly transported to Syria and the Bekaah valley at the beginning of the latest outbreak of the war in Iraq (there was no peace treaty when the Iraqis were driven out of Kuwait, and President Clinton continued to rain cruise missiles down upon Iraq in the intervening years – nearly depleting our stock – especially when a negative news story about him was in the offing.
Pakistan has nukes. A large number of Soviet tactical nukes that were based in Islamic regions are unaccounted for. Israel has about two dozen nukes of her own, once they are assembled.
Russia and Europe are supporting the Great Jihad. China sees an opportunity to invade Formosa and the Pescatores and oppress the millions who live there. North Korea sees the opportunity to invade the South, raiding it for supplies that its ghastly regime cannot supply.
This could become a conflict such as we have never known. It is a very dangerous situation. But I do not believe that asking Jesus’ relatives to in effect commit suicide, to be a licit or moral answer.



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Anne

posted July 17, 2006 at 5:47 am


Hit me; I hit you back = fair play.
Hit me; I bomb your friends and/or anyone in the near vicinity = aggression.



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inhocsig

posted July 17, 2006 at 6:08 am


The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, will conquer.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend them in battle and in the fearful warfare they are waging. Fight this day the battle of the of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels. Make haste, therefore, O invincible Prince, to help the people of God against the inroads of the lost spirits and grant them the victory. Amen.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 6:27 am


Hello, Fr. Martin Fox,
I agree with most of what you said. However, I think that you mistakenly attribute to Mr. Piatak views expressed, not by him, but by Mr. Horowitz.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 6:46 am


Hello, Tom,
I found your post quite interesting. Am I mistaken in thinking that the Israeli’s attacked areas of SOUTHERN Beirut (not Central), that were specifically identified as Hezbollah strongholds? I have argued elsewhere that proportional response by Israel (which, IMHO, does not violate just war principles) could target Hezbollah militants’ meeting places (after warning civilians to leave). What some condemn as infrastructure destruction (airport, roads and bridges) is designed to prevent Hezbollah’s sponsors, Syria and especially Iran, from continuing to arm its agents. IMHO, Hezbollah, like all Shia Islamist groups, is not really interested in Lebanese national polirics, but macro political considerations related to advancing Shia hegemony in the Middle East.
Yes, these Israeli defensive policies seriously impact the larger non-Hezbollah Lebanese population. It is certainly fair to question whether the impact is disproportionate, but again, in my opinion people of good will could differ on how to apply this just war principle.
I believe that both Iran and Hezbollah knew perfectly well HOW Israel would respond to an incursion into Israel to attack the Israeli military (an act of war) and to the rocket attacks against Israeli civilian areas. They factor this response into a long range struggle, not only against Israel, but on behalf of the Islamization of the entire region (which would have disastrous consequences for Jews and Christians). All Islamists by definition think in terms of Jews and Christians (infidels) and Muslims, not primarily in terms of “Israelis, Lebanese, Iraqis, Iranians”.



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William

posted July 17, 2006 at 6:48 am


“William, you are perhaps extrapolating the peculiarities of your own biography to other supporters of Israel.
I’m doubtful that most Americans who support Israel do so because they have been bamboozled by wacky dispensationalist theologies.”
Rick, I certainly do not believe that to be the case. American support for Israel is rooted in the deep influence that dispensationalism has had on our country for the past century. Many who support blindly support Israel are not even aware of this influence. The question should be asked, “What’s best for America?” “Israel right or wrong” is not what is best for America.
Lest your not convinced of this influence, I would suggest you be sure to read DJP’s 6 points. Pretty scary stuff coming from a Catholic.



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Jon

posted July 17, 2006 at 7:13 am


Islam, from the the get go, was an agressive undertaking by a man not quite right upstairs. The killings never stoped. Islamist culture is riding a demoghraphic boom just at the time when the western powers [not truly democracies]are entering into their arthritic dotage. The exception is the US, which is bolstered by a latin population transfusion and has significant nilitary, econo,ic and political strength to resist.
Islam is getting very dangerous and will be intolarably that when Iran operationalizes its atomic weapons. Only fools and our enemies would discourage Israel from defending our interests and their own.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 7:14 am


Hello, Tony A.,
It may be that the Beiruti “night-club goer” might laugh at the idea that Hezbollah is trying to set up an Islamic state, but he or she would be wrong. Hezbollah aims to set up an Islamic state on the Iranian model through democratic means. Of course, once the state is set up, the mullahs will decide who can run for office in the future. They also aim for the destruction of Israel.
I applaud your reminder that some forms of resistance to the Japanese and the Germans in World War II violated just war principles by the direct targeting of civilian populations. If the Israelis were to bomb Beirut in the way Dresden or Tokyo were bombed in World War II it would be a crime of disastrous proportions. Also, reminders about the wrongfullness of retalition on a tit for tat basis (lex talionis) are in order. Just war theory demands a right intention, as you point out. Revenge is a wrong intention, but the desire to protect the innocent or the territorial integrity of a state unjustly attacked are good intentions. I think it’s highly significant that yesterday both Russia and France placed the blame for the current situation on Hezbollah and did NOT demand Israeli withdrawal BEFORE the return of the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers and a cessation of the rocket attacks on Israel. Of course, the also, quite rightly, called for restraint on Israel’s part, as did President Bush.
I would love to see someone like Germain Grisez to try to show how Benedict XVI’s short statement while on vacation can be reconciled with just war principles as explained in recent magisterial statements. Of course, it is not a doctrinal statement, but it’s virtually impossible to explain how “reprisals” against acts of terrorism and/or acts of war against a sovereign state can be construed as “always wrong.” Such thinking is completely incompatible with the most restrictive understanding of just war theory, but not with radical pacifist theory. Perhaps it can be read as Benedict’s acknowledgement that there is a place for such thinking in the conversation about the morality of war in the nuclear age, but it can hardly be considered as any sort of contribution to the discussion itself by reason of its extreme brevity and incoherence in the light of existing Catholic teaching. It is best understood as an example of how European political correctness sometimes can impact even minor papal comments on world affairs these days.



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TheLeague

posted July 17, 2006 at 7:26 am


TM Lutas:
Wow. You should have your own blog!



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Terentia

posted July 17, 2006 at 7:58 am


Anon
So Christians can defend themselves against agression but Jews cannot? The comparison is not absurd. Rather the post was meant to address that the problem is Islamic aggression that has been occuring since the beginning of Islam and that defense against such aggression is not unjustified, but necessary. Try to imagine the world we would be living in without Charles Martel et al. All the Islamic nations were once Christian nations. All of Europe and thus all of the West at least, would be Islamic now without those who defended themselves back then. If you want your grandchildren to live under Sharia, by all means, continue to appease the agressors. We must pray for peace, but real peace, not dhimmitude.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 8:15 am


Tony A – What Israel is doing is about as justified as Operation Torch was in WW II. Nazi Germany declared war on us so the first offensive operation of the Western Front was to invade… France (specifically France’s colonies of Morocco and Algeria). Get a ruling back to me on that one that makes sense and you are worth talking to about Israel’s actions. Understanding Operation Torch, coincidentally, also gets you past the nonsense that OIF was unjust too.
Tom – Israel just obliterated its domestic political barriers to peace by the formation of Kadima. All the old landmarks of former red lines got shifted. Hezbollah and Hamas always knew what would get them a face full of Israeli badger clawing their eyes out and were careful to punch for maximum pain right below the “batguano crazy response” response level. They just miscalculated. You’re making an error if you don’t realize that this is both a response to the accumulated incidents of rocket launches and other provocations as well as a future looking response to the puppet masters in Damascus and Tehran. The proportionality measure for JWD only works if you understand what is being responded to. I’m not sure you do.
Puzzled – While individual Catholics are probably every insult under the sun (a 1 billion person bell curve has fat tails) I take umbrage at the assertion that the Church is antisemitic.
William – Your dispensationalism theory is ahistorical. Dispensationalism was no less a factor in US religious life in 1950 than it is in 2006 and arguably it was greater then. A review of US foreign policy would show that America’s deeds over the course of Israel’s lifetime do not match with the idea of an unthought through dispensationalism that ran through our policies left over from the time of the founding.
Tom Haessler – I think it’s worth mentioning that Israel’s stated that it intends to reduce Hezbollah’s combat capacity by 90% and then leave in a week or two. Hopefully, that would be enough so that the Lebanese Army can move in without a renewal of the active fighting in the civil war.
TheLeague – That’s kind of what Bruce Rolston said, and so he gave me one. Tap on my name and you’ll go to my url, http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog .



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William

posted July 17, 2006 at 8:38 am


TM, I guess you’ve never watched Pat Robertson and his political guests discuss Israel.



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William

posted July 17, 2006 at 8:41 am


DJP, support the policies of 1948 Israel if you must, but as a Catholic you certainly shouldn’t be quoting Scripture to do so.



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Rick

posted July 17, 2006 at 9:18 am


Earlier in this thread I posted a link to the charter of Hamas. If you’ve never read it before, as I hadn’t until yesterday, you may find it illuminating. It’s only a few pages.
Some highlights:
On the Peace Process:
[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion.
All of “Palestine” is permanently part of the Islamic world:
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it…This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection….this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators.
On Religious Freedom:
The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region. For if they were to gain the upper hand, fighting, torture and uprooting would follow…



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Seamus

posted July 17, 2006 at 9:24 am


Lebanon, by tolerating 12,000 armed Hezbollah foot soldiers brought this upon themselves.
Yeah, the way the hostages in that movie theatre in Moscow a few years ago “tolerated” their Chechen captors and thus brought down on themselves the gassing by the police that killed the hostages along with the hostage-takers.



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Patrick O'Mallon

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:00 am


I recently heard over the weekend some Congressman (I can’t remember who), who suggested that in light of the MidEast crisis (precipitated by Israel), that Bush should have left the G-8 meeting in Europe and “rushed” to stand side by side Israel in this time of crisis for it.
You’ve got to be kidding. With the USA involved in Afganistan, bogged down in Iraq, concerned about Iran and N. Korea with their nuclear arms capacity and threat….to get involved on a 5th front would be insane.
The Israelis do not care about USA policy, or USA security or the initiatives the USA is involved in at present (Iraq). They would have no qualms bombing Iran, or Iraq on their own, or Syria in order to secure themselves. Regardless that it would put USA forces already fighting and the USA at tremendous risk . It might even trigger a World War.
Therefore, any rational person would advise the Iraelis to go it alone and not seek or expect USA assistance.
And if the Israelis become in danger or are overwhelmed, it will be their own fault for such a brutal reaction to the kidnappings of 1 Israeli soldier.
Although the kidnapping is wrong, the brutal Israeli reaction is insane.



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JP

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:02 am


Seamus,
Lebanon isn’t a group of moviegoers. It is a nation. Either it will police those areas within its own borders, or it will cede those areas it cannot control to other powers. Very few people ever complained about Hezbollah as long as it was only the Israelis who were being shot. Incursions into Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah soldiers have been going on for some time. Lebanon’s goverment was given sufficient warning by Israel to do take care of Hezbollah.
One could argue that Lebanon is too fractured culturally and religiously to take on Hezbollah.
Many have argued about the danger of civil war. However, that isn’t Israel’s concern. The security of its people is. The IDF is doing Lebanon a favor. It is doing something that Lebanon’s goverment obviously cannot or will not do.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:16 am


Rick’s documentation of Hamas’ subordination of everything to the setting up of a Sharia state could be matched by a similar investigation of Hezbollah’s ideological roots. What is clearly not understood by Europe is that Islamist groups really have no more interest in “nations” than communist ideologues who set up “national” liberation fronts had an interest in “nations” as opposed to global establishing of a dictatorship of the proletariat.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:18 am


Tom H,
Israel have also attacked Beirut, Baalbek and other places in central Lebanon. Though I agree with the rest of what you say.
TM: “The proportionality measure for JWD only works if you understand what is being responded to. I’m not sure you do.”
While, I am sure I do. I don’t think this is a particularly productive line of discussion. Let me put it this way – attacking Beirut is uncalled for, counter-productive and basically just wrong.
“Israel’s army chief of staff, General Dan Halutz, said his military would target infrastructure and “turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years” if the soldiers were not freed.”
So far 140 people have been killed by Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the majority civilians. This does not, to me, smack of a crackdown on a terrorist group but rather a chevauchee intended to enact violence on local civilians.
And by all this, Israel is giving Hezbollah exactly what they want at the moment.
What have the Lebanese government’s mistakes been? Principally two: they have not asked for enough help from the international community to deal with Hezbollah (and there is no way they could do so themselves – what do we want them to do? Restart the civil war, against Iranian-backed paramilitaries?) and they have taken on a generally reactionary stance towards Israel. The latter is, I fear, rather understandable.
From Blood & Treasure: “…the capture of Israeli troops, first one in the south, then two in the north, has galvanized Israel. The kidnappings represent a level of Arab tactical prowess that previously was the Israeli domain. They also represent a level of tactical slackness on the Israeli side that was previously the Arab domain. These events hardly represent a fundamental shift in the balance of power. Nevertheless, for a country that depends on its [military] cultural superiority, any tremor in this variable reverberates dramatically. Hamas and Hezbollah have struck the core Israeli nerve. Israel cannot ignore it.”
…but Israel could certainly respond to it better.



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Simon

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:26 am


Catholics are so deeply conflicted over the ongoing Middle East conflicts because, as with so many other issues, we are each products of our culture. So American Catholics tend to reflect the American political consensus in favor of Israel, while European/Canadian Catholics tend to reflect the political consensus within their own countries in favor of the Palestinians. How many Catholics — anywhere — make a real effort to bring a distinctively Christian perspective to this mess?
I would suggest that effort begins with solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East. These Christians are lumped together by Israel as “Arabs” and thus suffer the hardships of Israel’s many restrictions on the Palestinians, despite the fact that the terrorists all just happen to be Muslims. At the same time, they are terrorized into submission by their Muslim fellow countrymen in both Palestine and Lebanaon. Thus, in a two-sided war between Israel and Muslim fanatics, we can not simply declare one side good and the other bad. If you’re a local Christian, neither side is very good.
The other principle that should inform a Catholic perspective on this situation is maintenance of and access to the Holy Places. In this category Israel, while far from perfect, is infinitely preferable to any Muslim regime. One need only tour the Holy Land and note the huge number of ancient Christian pilgrimage sites that have been rebuilt or repaired after centuries of disuse only since World War I — after the long dark age of Islamic rule finally came to an end.



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Fr Martin Fox

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:28 am


I think Mr. Haessler is correct, and I apologize to Mr. Piatak for attributing to him views — which I still vigorously disagree with — that his post identifies as those of David Horowitz.



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Donna

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:32 am


Some Lebanese Christians seem to view this quite differently than Tony A. and William do:
http://cedarmailer.com/americancongress/pages/archive/messagedetails.asp?ID=475
Tom Piatik wrote:
I am very surprised to see the former Communist, Black Panther groupie David Horowitz cited here
I am sure Tom knows that Horowitz renounced his radical leftist views many years ago. If he was still a Communist and a “Black Panther groupie,” he would undoubtably be fervently anti-Israeli, since one of the articles of faith of the Left is “Israel is always wrong.”



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William

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:44 am


My Lebanese/American Catholic friends here are asking how long the U.S. will give the green light for Israel to destroy their homeland. Good question.



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Donna

posted July 17, 2006 at 10:49 am


Your Lebanese/American Catholic friends are not the only Lebanese Christians in the world, William. All of them do not agree with you, it seems.



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Sydney Carton

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:03 am


In any sane universe, kidnapping of soldiers and launching of rockets into civilian areas with the direct intent to kill innocent civilians would be an act of war. Of course, it’s no surprise that many here are blaming Israel for responding to that aggression. All left-wing thinking on these issues is tainted by their invidious guilt at being Western, and enjoying the freedoms of the West. Their analysis has nothing to do with an objective review of Just War principles, but everything to do with their instinctual defense of the “oppressed”, which in this case means defending terrorists who routinely attack civilians as part of their neo-fascist Islamist ideology. Is it ever an outrage that those they defend gladly slaughter Jews with rockets imported from Iran? Crocodile tears are given, nothing more.



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Patrick O'Mallon

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:06 am


George BUsh should have remained neutral from the beginning. The USA is despised in the Arab World and the Middle East precisely because of its unwavering support of Israel.
It is a violation of valid judgement not to condemn the brutality of the Israelis….just as some have condemned the brutality of terrorists and Arab states.
LIke I said before, Israel should go this totally alone. Their over-reation precipitated a counter-strike by the terrorists.
IN the long run, had Israel from the beginning (1948) treated the Palestinians and Arabs with respect, justice and understanding as the territories were being divided, and accomodated confilcting interested rather than seeking a new secure land just for themselves, this situation of today might never have happened.
Had the Israelis treated the Palestinians in the country with respect, justice, and given them compensation for lands and treated them as equals (rather than as dirt), then perhaps this situation would never have happened.
Perhaps the Arabs would have learned to respect the Jewish state, rather than seeking to destroy it.
Israel needs to “grow up”, and handle its own wars and crisis by itself. The USA should change its policy towards Israel. The USA has bent over backward to help Israel, but this gesture has not been reciprocated.
I sincerely hope that the USA knows enough not to get involved in this latest conflict.
Go it alone Israel.



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Tom Piatak

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:08 am


My thanks to Tom Haessler for pointing out that Fr. Fox had misread my post and my thanks to Fr. Fox for his apology for that misreading. I share Fr. Fox’s view of David Horowitz’ calumny against the Church.
With respect to Donna, I would submit that Horowitz’ advocacy of “global democratic revolution” and remaking the Mideast by force of arms shows that he has still retained a good deal of the Communist mindset. And his attack on the Church that I quoted should give pause to all Catholics. Besides, I generally don’t take seriously someone like Horowitz who was dim enough to swallow the Commie garbage in the first instance.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:12 am


So, Sydney, would you have supported missile attacks on Dublin in retaliation for IRA bombings in London?



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didymus

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:20 am


Our “Elder brothers in faith.” So said our late dear Holy Father.
If I may be so blunt, there is the stench of a lumpen anti-Semitism about this thread.
Oh, and BTW, during JPII’s pontificate, anti-Zionism was clearly equated to anti-Semitism.



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Rick

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:24 am

Donna

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:24 am


Tom: I’m not Sydney, but I’m getting rather tired of that “missile attacks on Dublin” line.
If the IRA had been repeatedly firing missles from Dublin into cities in England, yes, I would say the Brits would have had every right to bomb the Republic.
But in fact, the IRA was illegal in the Republic of Ireland (of course, IRA cells operated in the South – and in America, for that matter – but that’s not quite the same thing as the situation in Lebanon.) And Irish priests and bishops denounced the IRA from the pulpit. Show me where this is happening in Lebanon.
Also, wiping out England and killing all English people was never the ultimate aim of the IRA. The Israelis face threats to their very existence as a nation.
So the analogy doesn’t work.



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didymus

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:26 am


Look, give David Horowitz a break. He was wrong to say what he said about the Church: unfair AND wrong.
But he is basically a good and decent guy, who, as a Jew, is deeply upset by the threats to the existence of the nation of Israel.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:28 am


Hello, Patrick O’Mallon,
Yesterday, my reply to your post would be to insist that nothing Israel could do would alter the attitude of Muslim countries toward Israel because of the Islamic dogma that once an area falls under Islamic hegemony, nothing can justify “infidel” occupation.
However, I read in today’s NEW YORK TIMES (front page!) that “Saudi Arabia, with Jordan, Egypt and several Persian Gulf states, chastized Hezbollah for ‘unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts” at an emergency Arab League summit in Cairo on Saturday.” Prince Saud al-Faisal said “These acts (of Hezbollah) will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them.” Wonders never cease! The secular left has distanced itself from the views of major Arab states in the region! This is a brand new development.
The most that can be hoped for is that Egypt, the Saudis, and Jordan will continue to distance themselves increasingly from Islamist states like Iran, Sudan, and Somalia.
Meanwhile, even though Israel’s behavior is certainly not beyond criticism (viewing the whole history from 1948 to the present), the fact remains that Muslim dogma makes it impossible to accept the existence of Israel. The attitude of Egypt, the Saudis, and Jordan can be understood as more moderate Muslims imagining a long truce before it’s possible to eliminate the Jewish state entirely. So it’s not the good or bad behavior of Israel that determines Palestinian and other Arab responses to Israel, but Muslim dogma.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:36 am


Hello, Tom Piatak,
Many, many young men flirt with Marxism or other kinds of radical politics in their youth (I did myself, and so did Fr. Robert Siricio of the Acton Institute who has sterling credentials for admission to any conservative club). This can best be understood by the old adage “If you’re not a communist by twenty, you have no heart; if you’re still one by thirty, you have no brain.” The ages cannot be taken too literally because some of us (LOL) are slow learners!



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Tim Shipe

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:41 am


Having spent some months living in Israel/Palestine, with a Palestinan Catholic priest in Galilee- Fr.Elias Chacour, author of the book- Blood Brothers. And also I lived with a American and his Israeli wife in West Jerusalem for some time. This was over a decade ago.
It amazes me how ignorant most Americans, even those like Amy et al, who I admire for their apologetics skills- my God, how they seem to know precious little about Middle Eastern history- or at least skip over the parts from say WWI until today.
May I recommend a dry, neutral historian, David Fromkin, as a far superior source of information, than a Horowitz. His book, A Peace to End All Peace, fairly describes how the “West” has regarded the lands, resources, and people of the Middle East, as their “Great Game”, their right to control, dominate, occupy, colonize, whatever.
The Vatican gets hammered everywhere for the centuries old Crusades, but over the past century, and particularly since WWII, our Church leaders have had the right idea on how to justly deal with such things as the Israel-Palestine controversy.
To blame all the troubles today on Islamic radicalism is ridiculous. There have been plenty of opportunities to support secular, socialist, moderate Muslim, and even Christian leadership in the Middle East, and yet Israel and the US have at times encouraged violent Islamists in order to drive a wedge in secular Arab authorities like in Israel’s support of Hamas early on, and the US funding of jihadists to fight Afganistan’s soviet communists. I saw video of Carter’s National Security
Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, speaking to a group of jihadists and calling for “jihad” to cheering men carrying American arms.
So, I am very sorry to report, that the short, truthful narrative reads more like this: the modern state of Israel, which is more the work of secular European Jews than anyone else, and was not a spontaneous reaction to the tragedy of the Holocaust. The Israeli state was and is essentially a colonial enterprise. It reminds me of the British relationship to Ireland- only it introduced even more alien peoples into a Middle East that was certainly not happy with all the European manipulations of borders/kings/resources. Arab and Persian nationalism is just as legitimate as Irish Catholic identity/history.
Then-Cardinal Ratzinger describes the truth of colonialism quite aptly in his book, Truth and Tolerance. It is essentially the ethic of a band of robbers, no matter how ‘civilized’ the nation or people are who do the colonizing. Robbers tempt violent reaction from their victims.
It seems incredible that Amy, and most American Catholic Republican Party apologists I encounter, seem to entirely miss the history of Israeli occupations, and British/American coups and manipulations in the Middle East. The logic seems to be that because there are worse human rights violators out there in the world, according to some kind of “RealPolitik” strategem, we should ignore the culpability and outright crimes against humanity of the israeli/US/UK in the Middle East, and call anyone who calls for an intelligent and compassionate analysis of the root cause of modern Islamic Middle Eastern violence/terrorism, just an “America hating liberal”. The problem is that I am following the example and advice of John Paul II, and Benedict, and the Holy See, and the highest ranking Catholic in the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, and my friend Fr. Elias Chacour, and the amazing Arab Catholic priest at al-bushra.org, and the good Catholics at Caritas Jerusalem, and the many Jewish scholars of good will like Tanya Reinhart, Sara Roy, Tom Segev, Noam Chomsky, Jewishvoiceforpeace.org, and Tikkun.org. You can keep your Horowitz, and AIPAC, and all the Christian Zionists who are actively seeking the end of the world by contributing to the conditions of life that will bring on the Apocalypse.
It is far past time to deal with our side of the fence. Clean up our policies, apologize for the coup in Iran in 1953, apologize for ignoring Israel’s nuclear weapons, apologize for overlooking all the UN resolutions dealing with Israel’s illegal confiscation of land, homes and lives in WEst Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israel may represent only say 5 mil. people surrounded by 500 mil., but tehy are the superpower of the region just like the US who has only %6 of the world’s population, who has the weapons,the political clout? Let’s deal with the Blowback mess our previous and present leaders have created, and stop supporting them in their poor judgments.
My children are not safer by our fighting the now-actually present threat of Islamic radicalism- by ignoring root causes, and pursuing violence ourselves and supporting any and all Israeli violence- collective or whatever, whenever. We are exposed to the average person all over the world as a bully, with double-standards for ourselves and our friends. Perhaps it is too much to ask for orthodox Catholics to listen to the Holy See, and research the Holy See documents to the UN- I am weary of hearing how the Holy See is rife with European prelates who just “hate America”. Please.



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Donna

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:58 am


Tom Haessler: I too was surprised by the criticism of Hezbollah by the Gulf States. I think that some of that must have to do with the fact that they know that this mess is, in large part, a power play on the part of the Iranians. The Iranians are not Arabs, and the discord between Arabs and Persians goes back a long way.



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Sydney Carton

posted July 17, 2006 at 11:59 am


Tim Shipe: “It is far past time to deal with our side of the fence. Clean up our policies, apologize for the coup in Iran in 1953, apologize for ignoring Israel’s nuclear weapons, apologize for overlooking all the UN resolutions dealing with Israel’s illegal confiscation of land, homes and lives in WEst Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israel may represent only say 5 mil. people surrounded by 500 mil., but tehy are the superpower of the region just like the US who has only %6 of the world’s population, who has the weapons,the political clout? Let’s deal with the Blowback mess our previous and present leaders have created, and stop supporting them in their poor judgments.”
As I said, everything is tainted by liberal guilt. The West has to apologize for a coup in Iran, but nothing is said over the Iranian hostage situation in 1980. The West has to apologize for Israel’s nukes (which have never been used and are purely a deterrant), while nothing is said over Iranian goals to obliterate Israel and its pursuit of nukes. The West has to feel guilty that Israel is a superpower because of its culture and commitment to the rule of law and equal rights, but nothing is said over the culture of death infesting the Palestinians (which surveys regularly show that they proudly support suicide bombings) or the routine calls by Arab leaders for the elimination of Israel. Of course, a liberal treats the so-called oppressed’s violent actions as “blowback,” as if the Arabs were children who should be free to rampage like a teenager in order for them to grow up. Naturally, of course, the creation of a Western state in the Middle East in which its citizens who are Arab enjoy equal rights with everyone else is called a criminal enterprise, a colonist state which is akin to robbery.
What a disgusting exercise of guilt, all to defend a bunch of murderous terrorists who delight in killing innocent civilians, like that granny who was killed in her 5th floor apartment when a rocket hit her apartment building.
Tim asks us to make apologies for the existence of Israel. Sorry, but I’m not going to do that, especially to a people who need no further excuses to slaughter Jews and wipe a functioning democracy off the map.
And this canard about supporting Israel to further the Apocalypse is the biggest bunch of B.S. I’ve ever heard in my life. Perhaps Americans support Israel because like America it’s a functioning democracy that is made up of the rejects of Europe, and has managed to turn a desert into a beautiful place, and at the same time is under attack by fanatical Islamic terrorists. Gee, there sure are a lot of parallels in our histories, aren’t there? But no, the excuse always is that we support them to further the Apocalypse. What a bunch of crap.
Guilt and smears, all to support terrorists.



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mark j

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:01 pm


Tell a secular Beiruti night-club goer that Hezbollah is trying to set up an Islamic state in Lebanon, and you will be laughed at.
and Kandahar used to be the cultural capital of central Asia. maybe too many people laughed off the Taliban?



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Jim McCullough

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:01 pm


Tom Haessler–thanks for fighting the good fight here. Very, very well put on practically every item. Parsing Benedict on “reprisals,” though, let us rememer his age. He learned all about “reprisals” in WWII, as the Nazis decimated villiages for sabotage and the Allies flattened population centers. With that background, it is much less likely he considers Israeli actions as reprisals.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:07 pm


Donna: Yet the IRA’s political wing did have seats in the Irish parliament.
The analogy was only that, don’t take it too seriously. More telling is the fact that (and I can’t believe this needs repeating) Israel has attacked anti-Hezbollah areas of the Lebanon. Why? What good reason can there be for this? They have now killed almost 200 civilians.
For all the sudden accusations of anti-Semitism flying around, I’ve yet to hear anyone come up with a good reason for this.
Israel is right to react but has chosen the wrong reaction.



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William

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:17 pm


Good post Patrick. The only thing I would add is that sadly, it’s too late for the US to “remain neutral”. The US should reign in Israel ASAP.



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Donna

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:17 pm


Tim Shipe: Kindly tell me why, if Islamic violence is the fault of the West and Israel, why bombs went off on trains in Bombay last week, why schoolgirls in the Phillipines have been beheaded, and why marketplaces in Thailand have been bombed. Is the US and Israel behind the violence in the Sudan?
Of course, a liberal treats the so-called oppressed’s violent actions as “blowback,” as if the Arabs were children who should be free to rampage like a teenager in order for them to grow up.
Exactly. Who are the real racists here? People who think that being nonwhite and “oppressed” excuses all sorts of atrocities and crimes, particularly if Israelis are the targets.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:21 pm


No one is excusing the terrorist actions of Hezbollah and Hamas. Yet you seem determined to excuse the terrorist actions of the IDF.
“We need to deal with these terrorists! Let’s bomb the international airport!”
How is this anything but muscle-flexing to show Olmert’s military bona fides? Murderous muscle-flexing at that. There is no excuse for targeting the non-Hezbollah areas.



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William

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:22 pm


Tim, great post! Those of us who’ve lived in Israel or the West Bank tend to have a more balanced approach and understanding of the problems in the Middle East.



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Sydney Carton

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:25 pm


“We need to deal with these terrorists! Let’s bomb the international airport!”
Iran routinely flies in rockets through that airport.
“How is this anything but muscle-flexing to show Olmert’s military bona fides?”
You seem to have bought into the idiotic lie that Olmert has no military experience. You are misinformed. From Wikipedia: “Olmert served with the Israel Defense Forces in the Golani combat brigade. While in service he was injured and temporarily released. He underwent many treatments. Later he completed his military duties as a journalist for the IDF magazine BaMahane. During the Yom Kippur war he joined the headquarters of Ariel Sharon as a military correspondent. Already a Knesset member, he decided to go through an Officer’s course, at the age of 35, in 1980.”
“Murderous muscle-flexing at that.”
As I recall, the runway was bombed. The airport terminal was not. Israel could’ve laid waste to that airport in its entirety, but they didn’t.
“There is no excuse for targeting the non-Hezbollah areas.”
Depends if Hezbollah uses those areas or not.



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Ed the Roman

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:25 pm


From what I’ve seen, the Israeli strikes leading up to the introduction of maneuver forces were intended to:
Isolate south Lebanon from resupply, reinforcement or retreat for Hezbollah.
Hit Hezbollah nodes in Lebanon.
These were preparatory for maneuver elements to destroy Hezbollah in detail.
Israel has decided that either the Lebanese government cannot prevent cross-border warfare or will not. If the former, Lebanon is a failed state as far as Westphalia goes. If the latter, it is an ally of Hezbollah. Israel is acting accordingly.



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Sydney Carton

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:28 pm


Ed the Roman,
If it were possible, ideally Israel would team up with the Lebanese government to crush Hezbollah, in a 2-front attack. Lebanon’s forces from the north, Israel from the south. But I suspect Lebanon’s government is too corrupt/weak/infested with Syrian agents to actually do that. But I have no doubt that many people in the government have hoped for such a thing.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:39 pm


“You seem to have bought into the idiotic lie that Olmert has no military experience.”
Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. I was actually referring to the fact that Olmert is not a former field command general (nor is his defence minister, for that matter).
I am well aware of Prime Minister Olmert’s record.
“As I recall, the runway was bombed. The airport terminal was not. Israel could’ve laid waste to that airport in its entirety, but they didn’t.”
No, but they have killed at least 140 Lebanese civilians. When Hezbollah and Hamas murder civilians, they are rightly labelled terrorists. The attacks on civilians by the IDF are, likewise, terrorist acts.
“Depends if Hezbollah uses those areas or not.”
Um….



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:50 pm


Hello, Donna,
Yes, there are major tensions between Arabs and Persians, but I think these are rooted in thirteen hundred years of theological differences between Shiites and Sunnis. Pakistani and Afghan Al Qaida operatives don’t hesitate to kill Shiite civilians who are Arabs. It’s hard for us Westerners to understand, but “nations” are not a particularly focused category in the political thinking of Islamists and the Arab street.



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Sydney Carton

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:51 pm


“When Hezbollah and Hamas murder civilians, they are rightly labelled terrorists. The attacks on civilians by the IDF are, likewise, terrorist acts.”
And here we see the moral equivilency of terrorist appeasers: Hamas and Hezbollah intentionally target civilians. Israel does not. Yet to the left, Israel is equally guilty (if not more so, since they’re not “oppressed” and hence have no license to rebel like a teenager).



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 12:56 pm


Hello, Tom,
What, specifically, did you mean by IDF “terrorist” actions? It’s important to define our words carefully. I suggest we NOT define “terrorist”, as Islamists do, to mean “bad guys”, but rather to define terrorism as a deliberate intention to target non-combatants. According to this definition, unintended civilian casualities in an operation targeted on a military site or place of meeting of military operatives is not “terrorism”, but a tragic consequence of the defense of the innocent in war time.



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Donna

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:05 pm


Israel has been warning civilians to get out of the way before they bomb. Hezbollah does not, of course, because killing civilians is a primary objective.
And will somebody please explain to me how you can avoid killing civilians when Hezbollah deliberately hides among them?



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Romulus

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:26 pm


Our “Elder brothers in faith.” So said our late dear Holy Father.
So they are, Didymus — and as Pius XI reminds us, spiritually we are all semites. These are statements that must be understood not in secular ways, but with the mind of the Church. Catholics are spiritual semites because we are wild olives grafted onto the root that is Abraham, whom we call our father in faith. The New Testament is unmistakeable in its references to unfruitful trees, to axes lying even at the root, etc. Gentile Catholics inherit the promise given Abraham through Jesus, a Jew in his human nature, whose victory over death we have been invited to share by incorporation into his mystical body. This is utterly different and contrary to any vague, sentimental, notion that being spiritual semites means we’re honorary Jews and therefore have a duty to fall in line with whatever it is Jews are calling for or are said to be calling for.
As for the phrase “our elder brothers”, this too must be understood in the mind of the Church, formed in the reading of holy scriputre where — have you noticed? — elder brothers tend to come in second best to their unlikely younger siblings. From the very beginning, the prophetic sense of scripture is plain: that the older son will fall from favor and be passed over, with the promise and the inheritance passing to the younger brother.



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Romulus

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:37 pm


When it comes to Israel, I would rather follow the Old Testament’s warnings, “those who bless Israel shall be blessed and those who curse Israel shall be cursed.”
DJP, the authentic interpreter of holy scripture is not secular politicians or even off-the-reservation dispensationalist, but the Church. And I believe the mind of the Church is that “Israel” in the verse you cite refers not to a modern state installed by secular utopians, but to God’s peculiar people, the inheritors of his promise. The Old Testament being a prophecy that looks to the New Testament, Catholics understand that “Israel” is a figure by which we are meant to understand the Church, the Mystical Body. It’s a grievous error to read this verse in a politcal sense.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:37 pm


Tim Snipe admires Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. This is the same prelate who endorsed Patriarch Sophronius’s appeal to the Muslim authorities to expel all Jews from the Holy Land when the Muslims first conquered the city of Jerusalem. It’s also the same Michel Sabbah who claimed that Palestinian militants entered the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem “unarmed” until the Franciscan friars said that they forced their way into it. Of course, they trashed the Church. It’s the same Michel Sabbah who’s made common cause with Palestinian terrorists like Arafat and heads the “pacifist” group PAX CHRISTI. There was a time when PAX CHRISTI was, indeed, a Catholic pacifist organization. But Dorothy Day would have nothing to do with an organization that claimed to be pacifist while headed by a prelate who is an anti-Semite and a hawk. If my memory serves me correctly, John Paul II appointed a Jew who converted to Catholicism to be Sabbah’s auxiliary with right of succession, showing his own understanding of things. When Sabbah organized a pro-Arafat demo, only two hundred Palestinian Christians joined.
Sabbeh is an example of how many Eastern rite prelates have a very difficult time accepting Vatican II’s NOSTRA AETATE. Maximos IV Saigh argued strongly against acceptance of NA at the council, as did many other Eastern Rite prelates. Centuries of submission to Muslim overlords in the former Ottomon Empire have shaped dhimmi attitudes that have effected theology and politics. There are significant signs, fortunately, of a change among a number of, especially, Eastern Orthodox bishops. Meanwhile, it will be a long time before the Sabbahs of this world acknowledge that long before Muhammad was born, a “Palestinian” maiden named Miriam conceived the Word of God in her Jewish womb.
Tim correctly points out that Zionism has roots in the secular Jewish nationism of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe. [In fact, Zionism was widely repudiated among Orthodox and Conservative Jewish rabbis until after World War II on the grounds that only the Messiah could lead Jews back to the Holy Land]. However, the Shoah changed everything. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem spent time in Nazi Germany during World War II urging Hitler to be as thorough as possible in slaughtering the Jews. He escaped indictment for war crimes by fleeing to Egypt after the war where he met and tutored his relative Yasser Arafat. ["Arafat's mother was the daughter of the mufti's first cousin." Dalin's THE MYTH OF HITLER'S POPE, p. 138].
“The grand mufti – who had promoted Arab terrorism against Jewish immigrants to Palestine between the two world wars – ‘secretly imported a former Nazi commando officer into Egypt to teach Arafat and other teenage recruits the fine points of guerilla warfare’. Arafat killed his first Jew during terrorist raids against Israel in 1947. During the 1950′s, with al-Husseini’s (the mufti’s) encouragement, Arafat began recruiting followers for Fatah, his Palestinian terrorist guerilla group. In 1964, Arafat’s Fatah terrorists, based in Syria, began murdering Israelis, the same year that Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).” [Dalin, pp. 138 and 139].
Palestinian militants either deny that the Shoah ever occured (Ahmadinijhad in Iran), or have its apologists and promoters as tutors.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:38 pm


Actually, Israel does deliberately target civilians. If they did not, we would not be having this discussion.
Israel’s army chief of staff, General Dan Halutz, said his military would target infrastructure and “turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years” and warned that “nothing is safe” in Lebanon.
Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon said the Israeli government wanted to “change the rules of the game” in Lebanon. In Gaza, Israeli jets attacked the Palestinian foreign ministry building in Gaza City, injuring at least 10 people. IDF jets destroyed three bridges and knocked out a power station in Gaza.
Lebanon is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster thanks to the refugee situation. Nine Lebanese civilians were killed when their van was attacked by an Israeli helicopter. On the 15th, an Israeli air strike killed 20 people in a convoy of families trying to flee the attacks. On the 16th, Israel killed at least nine civilians and wounded 42 others in an attack on a civil defence station in Tyre.
The majority of the dead so far have been innocent civilians – if they’re not doing it on purpose, they’re incompetent.
Interesting article here, by the way: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/brian_whitaker/2006/07/two_sides_of_the_war.html



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Delance

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:38 pm


“Look, give David Horowitz a break. He was wrong to say what he said about the Church: unfair AND wrong.”
Have he ever racanted the horrendous lies he spread against the Church? If not, no one should give him a break. Honest and decent guys don’t spread lies like that.



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Delance

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:47 pm


The anti-catholic lie was stated by Horowitz on this very month. Not when he was a communist, but on the right-wing site FrontPage Magazine. Apparently it has since been deleted, because I can’t find it there. But other sites linked to it.
http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/010951.html
This is horrible:
“The Vatican, which has an unsavory record in regard to the periodic slaughters of the Jews has thrown its moral weight (such as it is these days) onto the scales against the Jews.”
Why would we give a break to someone who says such things? To simply delete is shows he was embarassed, not that he doesn’t believe it.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:51 pm


Well, I’d better get to bed. It’s very late.
Here’s something from Peter Preston earlier today:
“It is becoming a matter of simple political practicality, a matter where principles and history and religious allegiance don’t really count. Let’s push them aside. The question is not what should happen, but what is happening there on the ground in the Lebanon, in the battle for hearts and minds. The question is what works.
“That, after all, is the way most sensible politicians judge policies most of the time. A policy that delivers is worth a hundred that don’t. Look at Afghanistan, for instance. Why can’t American and NATO forces get on top of this insurgency? Because the Taliban can stream back and forth across a notional border with Pakistan, reinforcing or retreating whenever they wish. They are moving targets nobody can hit, or find. So what could Washington and London do? Why not instruct Pakistan to seal its borders, send in the army and flush out the enemies within who cause so much bloody trouble? Why not, as a matter of fact, bomb Islamabad, strafe Quetta, blow up every bridge along the Peshawar road if they don’t clamp down? Why not teach General Musharraf a lesson? He heads a government that’s supposed to be in charge here, after all. Get on with some firm government, then. And, while we’re at it, why not tell Karzai of Kabul that he’s elected to rule as well? Maybe a few fighter helicopter gunship strikes at his office would drive that lesson home.
“I’m joking, of course, in a glum sort of way. Everyone knows that Pakistan is a putative ally in the war against terror. Everyone also knows that Mr Musharraf has huge difficulty in making his writ run across the wild open spaces of Baluchistan and the North West Frontier. Everybody knows that “teaching him this lesson” might bring his whole regime tumbling down and consign Pakistan to much more perilous chaos. Practicality trumps principle. But not, it seems, where Israel is concerned.

“But [Israeli security policy] doesn’t work.
It hasn’t freed the hostage soldiers. It hasn’t made Israel safe from rocket attack. It won’t clear Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon (any more than sending in the Israeli army cleared them out). It won’t break Hamas or Hezbollah.”



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Romulus

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:58 pm


They support Israel, imo, because they recognize that Israel’s founding documents call for “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” and “freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”
Rick, I would say The US identifies with Israel because Anglo America’s DNA is Calvinist, encoded with a founding mythology heavily invested in a self understanding as God’s elect, with a vocation to be a light unto the gentiles (Reagan conservatives, of whom I was one, never seemed to notice his blasphemous and idolatrous misappropriation of the “shining city on a hill” imagery to refer not to Old
Testament Israel — and by extension the Church — but to the United States), with a manifest destiny to rule from sea to shining sea at home, and a mandate from heaven to act as moral exemplar abroad. America and modern Israel share a reliance on heavy-handed exceptionalism that’s doing nothing to endear them to the rest of the world.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:59 pm


Tom, if the instances you cited were examples of deliberately targeting civilians, it is wrong, no question. If they are mistakes (thinking that the vehicles carried militants), it’s part of the tragedy of war.
As for the foreign ministry in Gaza, isn’t this a place where Hamas militants and Hamas officials gathered? Neither the United States nor Europe acknowledges the right of Hamas to rule “Palestine”, whether they were elected to power or not. As soon as people elect a government which is apodictically committed to the destruction of a neighbor, it loses its legitimacy. If the American people (per impossibile) elected a government committed to the military occupation of Canada with a view to adding several more states to the fifty, it would lack legitimacy despite the support of the majority. A refusal to acknowledge the right of a neighboring state to exist is grounds for illigetimacy. A two state solution makes no sense when one of the two “states” is committed to the destruction of the other state.
Benedict XVI has polemicized eloquently against relativism and spurious forms of multiculturalism. Cultures are not equal. A culture which supports “honor killings” and demands four male witnesses before punishing rapists is inferior to one which acknowledges the equality of men and women before the law. A culture which generates political organizations (like Hamas) which subscribe to the view that Christians and Jews MUST be subordinate to Muslims and MUST give external signs of endorsement of Muslim rule in order to have rights of second class citizenship) are markedly inferior to Western secular political parties which acknowledge the equality of all people before the law regardless of religious affiliation.



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Ed the Roman

posted July 17, 2006 at 1:59 pm


Sydney,
You are absolutely right that many in the Lebanese government view this as a Good Thing that they aren’t able to cooperate in.
But they aren’t able to, and that’s where it stands.
For my other comment on overreaction to the Israeli operations:
http://www.haloscan.com/comments/chezami/115313974803322881/#789978



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 17, 2006 at 2:08 pm


“America and modern Israel share a reliance on heavy-handed exceptionalism that’s doing nothing to endear them to the rest of the world.”
Actually, in the eyes of the Jihadists the cardinal sin of Israel is to continue to exist. Those stiff-necked Jews! This time they simply won’t meekly bare their necks to the executioner’s knife. Go figure.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 2:33 pm


William – You cannot engage in a comparison with one data point. I was asserting that our early coolness and then growing support for Israel does not seem to track US dispensationalist influence. This does not mean that dispensationalism does not exist nor is it any commentary on Pat Robertson whatsoever. Pat Robertson is a has-been whose show is maintained as a legacy. If they take the 700 club off the air (which they certainly should do) Pat Robertson gets his media empire back for free. So the 700 Club will stay on for as long as old Pat’s still kicking no matter how low it sinks and how far from Christ it wanders. His continued on-air presence means less than nothing.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 2:36 pm


Seamus – The government of Lebanon could have, even should have asked for outside help to put down the Hezbollah militia if they refused to disarm. They did not. This makes them quite different than the hostages in the Moscow theater and responsible for their actions in a way those theatergoers were not.
I strongly suspect that there is a subrosa agreement that once Hezbollah has been reduced, the Lebanese army will roll south and control that territory on a permanent basis, normalizing the situation. It’s sad that it had to come to this but a 2 week clear-out of Hezbollah is better than constant escalations until there is a general war.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 2:37 pm


Patrick O’Mallon – See above, this situation is not about 1, 3, or 4 soldiers being kidnapped by Hamas and Hezbollah. It is not even about the ten soldiers that died in these unjust attacks. It’s about the desperate economic need that Iran has for a Middle East war in 2006 to avoid internal revolution because it can no longer fund the gasoline subsidies that keep the Iranian economy barely afloat and has allocated $0 for 2nd half 2006 purchases for imported gasoline. They need a massive oil price spike and an external excuse as to why there’s going to be ~40% less gasoline than needed in Tehran come September.



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Tim Shipe

posted July 17, 2006 at 2:37 pm


I am not excusing Islamic-inspired violence anywhere- but I am trying to look at root causes of at some of the violence which is directed at US/Israeli/UK direct/indirect targets. I would like to positively influence the Muslim world, but like JPII said in Crossing the Threshold.. he mentioned that it was hard to imagine someone like Gandhi being able to convert to Christianity which came in the form of colonial oppression. I fail to see how our looking past our own nation’s moral lapses can possibly make the situation of relations between Christians, Muslims, and Jews more peaceable.
For my part I would say that Israel is a power today directly owing to US extremely generous support in monies, and political cover. We are on the hook for what they do- not what the Palestinians or Hizbollah does. I would link any future aid to Israel to their agreeing to move back to the 67 borders and offer generous right of return compensations to Palestinian refugees- if the Palestinans et al continue to attack Israel then, I would see fit to help in Israel’s defence. Until then, I see the current conditions as tempting the area Arabs to violence- similar to Northern Ireland in that regard.



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Romulus

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:03 pm


Mr. McClary, I haven’t noticed anyone on this thread shilling for jihadists. The idea that the only alternative to heavy-handed exceptionalism on the part of Israel is for that nation to roll over and die is absurd on its face. If you insist on advancing this argument nevertheless, the burden of attepting its proof is on you.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:08 pm


Tom – If you permit your territory to be used by a foreign country to launch an attack on a 3rd country, you are morally complicit in the act and it is licit to go to war against you until you withdraw your permission. By your own statement, Hezbollah is effectively an Iranian paramilitary force. They are operating on the territory of Lebanon. They were not halted by the Lebanese government. That makes Lebanon a fair target unless there is some quiet understanding that we do not know about.
Just so you don’t think this is about arabs and double standards favoring Israel, the US suppresses Cuban paramilitary efforts to free Cuba and prevents them from training and launching attacks from the US to Cuba. We’ve been doing it for better than 40 years now ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis took us out of the regime change business vis a vis Cuba. I want a free Cuba but harboring those paramilitaries has horrific consequences to the system and that system prevents a lot of bloodshed.
Regarding Ireland/IRA comparisons, if the IRA had launched missiles at the UK from the territory of Ireland, the Irish ambassador would be ringing at 10 Downing with an apology and an immediate request for a list of conditions sufficient for the UK to believe that Ireland is serious about getting the IRA and had nothing to do with the attack. And they would have fulfilled those conditions. The IRA was just as often running away from the Irish security forces as they were the UK security forces after partition. This decidedly is not the case in Lebanon.
You have stated that Israel has attacked anti-hezbollah areas of Lebanon. I was not aware of any such attacks. Can you provide real data to confirm this?
One final note: war is always wasteful, always error ridden. This is as true for the most moral war you care to cite as it is for the worst. To say that Israel could have responded better is true but almost a tautology. After all, it went to war.



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TM Lutas

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:10 pm


Tim Shipe – The US, in the person of one George W Bush, has apologized for its past support of realpolitik coups and alliances with authoritarian governments so long as they keep the Soviets out. It’s revolutionary stuff and he seems to mean what he said in his 2nd inaugural address. The US is committed to putting its thumb on the scale in favor of freedom-loving muslims who will respect the rights of others in indiginous democracies that come out of local tradition, not imposed governments.
But what goes along with that is that those governments have to grow up and bear responsibility for their own territory. Lebanon has not and the consequences are for it to bear until it starts to behave responsibly by actually controlling the territory of Lebanon.
A free middle east means that it will not only elect governments but take responsibility for their actions.



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chris K

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:14 pm


It does appear that there will be some sort of international force to patrol S. Lebanon (perhaps even Gaza as well) which Lebanon has wanted for a loooong time. But how long it will take to get it in place, only the UN’s history should tell. If that does actually come to pass then Hezbollah got something it didn’t bargain for. This will probably encourage more terrorism in those countries who might get involved in such. It just seems these days that terrorists hate to go a day without maiming and killing someone.
A different approach to peace:
Now, if we could just get some of those experts over there who have successfully offered help in “healing the family tree”, we could get at the root cause of hatred between these half brothers. It seems that the self hatred from feeling as second class members or not receiving one’s birthrite of the same family can only be alleviated by total extinction of those who remind them of such an inheritance and then give back some desired first class status. Otherwise there is a real problem with self esteem!! Simple…no??!! After all, Ishmael was circumcised with Abraham.
Jews and Muslims claim a common heritage through the patriarch Abraham, with Jews tracing their lineage and faith through Abraham’s son Isaac and Muslims tracing their lineage and faith through Abraham’s son Ishmael.
From http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:Ct50WXOFOqoJ:www.aish.com/Israel/articles/The_Last_laugh_thoughts_on_the_arab_israeli_conflict.asp+Ishmael+history+of+Arab+Israel+conflict&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3
This is the horror of Ishmael’s claim against Israel. The Arab world is not fighting us, they are simply assuming our identity!
WHY US?
But why are we suffering from Ishmael now?
It used to be that we dealt seriously with our religion and our Torah obligations. We needed to prove the pros and cons of various Torah laws. Today we have simply learned to laugh off the various laws of the Torah. Very few are prepared to debate the veracity and validity of Torah; it is simply laughed off as irrelevant.
I was once sitting on a plane next to two non-religious Israelis. As usual, the topic returned to religion. One of them explained that he only believes in the Ten Commandments, because “who knows who wrote the rest.” I started to explain the overlapping history of all the rabbinic works. He simply waved it off with his hand, saying: “Those rabbis will say anything.” It was impossible to argue with him, because he deemed it not arguable, just muddled mythology.
The conversation meandered until it came to Zionism, where he became very excited. I then told him, “Well, how do we really know the land of Israel is ours?”
“What do you mean? The Bible is full with it, and our history is rife with it.”
I replied, “Well, we don’t even know who wrote the Bible, and the rabbis invented many things.” I did this deadpan, and he flew into a rage, ready to choke me.
Couldn’t this be one of God’s messages to us? “If you will be cavalier in your attitude to Me, then no one will take you seriously either. If you deny the obvious, then the most outrageous lies will be foisted on you.”
Maybe God is saying, “Take Me seriously, and you too will no longer be a joke!”

To simultaneously fulfill his promises concerning Israel and Ishmael, God will have to reconcile these brothers.
And isn’t this perhaps also applicable with certain “Christians”?



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:26 pm


“If you insist on advancing this argument nevertheless, the burden of attepting its proof is on you.”
My proof is the history of Irsrael. But for Zahal, the Israeli military, and its superb effectiveness, every Israeli would be dead, slaughtered by the jihadists who want Palestine Jew free. That is the goal of Hezbollah, or do you deny this?



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Romulus

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:50 pm


Mr. McClary, we are in agreement about the goals of Hezbollah, which are every bit as abhorrent to me as I’m sure they are to you. Where we differ is that you seem to favor a consequentialist approach to dealing with that menace, while I, as a Catholic, must not do. I have no desire to see the State of Israel destroyed, but this doesn’t mean I consider them the posessors of a license to do whatever they choose in pursuit of their welfare.



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didymus

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:56 pm


Delance:
Learn some surfing skills. The Horowitz blog entry is still there at 3:55 p.m. EDT.
I am an orthodox Catholic. Why do I feel like I have more in common with nominally observant Jews than with some other Catholics?
Anti-Semitism, its apologists and fellow-travelers: purveyors of a doctrine from the pit of hell.
I’m out of here.



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Saul

posted July 17, 2006 at 3:57 pm


Hello Tom,
You wrote: “So it’s not the good or bad behavior of Israel that determines Palestinian and other Arab responses to Israel, but Muslim dogma.”
Not to comment on the quote out of context, but I would submit that Palestinian response has all to do with being ‘colonized’. I would strongly assert that no matter what their religion, Palestinians would have reacted in a similar way to what happened in 1948.
In fact, it seems to me that this sense of ‘occupation’ is the only thing that keeps anti-Israeli sentiment going. If Israel had existed for centuries and there were no people who felt colonized or occupied in the area, then though perhaps Israel would not be on friendly terms its Muslim neighbours, there would be no one to carry out the current guerilla liberation struggle that exists now.
I think, looking around the world, we can see that peoples that see themselves as invaded or occupied never rest until achieving some sort of freedom. They may quiet down for a while, but inevitably, the struggle continues for generations. That’s just human nature.
When I say this, I am not necessarily saying that Israel indeed ‘colonized’ Palestine. As is always the case, it is the perception that is important. Palestinians see themselves as having been colonized and have internalized the corresponding victim status.
Now, as for the rest of the Arab nations, yes, I think Muslim (and Arab) dogma has a lot to do with their opposition to Israel. As you say, similar to Communist ideology, or even of that to any country or group of countries that aims to extend its influence to its neighbourhood.
But, like I say, if there were no Palestinians to do the dirty work, Arab nations’ opposition to Israel would have had little impact.
The solution, IMHO, is to find a way to ‘free’ Palestinians. Exactly how to do that is beyond me.



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Tom Haessler

posted July 17, 2006 at 4:07 pm


Hello, Romulus,
I’ve sometimes disagreed with Mr. McClarey, but I don’t remember him ever making consequentialist arguments. I’d be astonished to learn that he would argue that everything Israel does in its defense must escape moral justification or be justified SOLELY by considering consequences.
At times in the past, Israel has violated strict just war principles, and it could do so in the future. But none of this would invalidate efforts to defend itself against Hezbollah and Hamas who’ve been lobbing rockets on Israeli civilians. Israel is the least intransigent state in the region, the one who’s most willingly to negotiate, but the one that can never seem to find a partner because so many Palestinians want “Palestine Jew free” as Donald put it.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 17, 2006 at 4:13 pm


“but this doesn’t mean I consider them the posessors of a license to do whatever they choose in pursuit of their welfare.”
Nor do I. In this case however Israel has had a long standing conflict with Hezbollah. Limited military responses, attempts at diplomacy through third party intermediaries, calls for the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah, nothing has deterred Hezbollah from launching attacks on Israel. In this situation I don’t see what effective steps short of war Israel could have undertaken to protect its citizens from Hezbollah.



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Romulus

posted July 17, 2006 at 4:34 pm


Mr. Haessler: Mr. McClary’s post at 3.26 speaks for itself. “But for [the actions of the IDF]“, Israel would be history, etc. I paraphrase, but not unfairly, I think. Mr. McClary is pointing to a good end and inviting us to let that justify the actions that (he believes) led to it. That’s consequentialism in my book.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 17, 2006 at 4:36 pm


Romulus, Tim and others are approaching these questions as though they were white wine sipping Packers fans at a key game against the Bears. As much as they want to win in the abstract they view it as an emblem of their exceptional maturity to bend over backwards to criticize their own team while making excuses for the Bears. On each close call they will proudly resist the temptation to side with their club, even to the point of resolving all doubts in favor of the Bears. A cheap shot by the Bears is a good hit, and a reception by the Pack was actually trapped. This kind of odd self-congratulatory behavior is annoying in sports, but that is all. But it is the infuriating modus operandi of the Left in dealing with the US in foreign affairs. While some Americans on the Left really are purveyors of self-hatred, most are just in love with the idea of rising above any bias born of loyalty, allegiance, patriotism and the like, and this is so important to them that they pretty much lose all objectivity in the process. Since the US supports Israel the application of this phenomenon to the current events in the Mideast is predictable.
Israel tries hard to fight terrorists without deliberately targeting civilians, but if it even *appears* that it *might* have occasionally succumbed to the temptation to retaliate in kind, these sophisticated critics are eager to assume the worst and quick to equate such alleged exceptions with the expressed fundamental strategy of Israel’s enemies. But of course when you call them on it they will just assume that you must be a dispensationalist.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 17, 2006 at 5:56 pm


Romulus: “Mr. McClary’s post at 3.26 speaks for itself. “But for [the actions of the IDF]“, Israel would be history, etc. I paraphrase, but not unfairly, I think. Mr. McClary is pointing to a good end and inviting us to let that justify the actions that (he believes) led to it. That’s consequentialism in my book.”
I do appreciate your point, Romulus. We all must resist the impulse to commit evil in order to achieve good ends. But I don’t think that Donald’s post can be reduced so easily to consequentialism. First, one must show that the acts at issue were intrinsically evil, such as deliberately targeting non-combatants. Without that, Donald’s post only serves what I take to be his point, which is that Israel’s actions have generally been proportionate to its legitimate objective and right, which is to exist. I acknowledge that Israel may have strayed from time to time into intrinsically evil acts (including torture), but our reaction to these shortcomings should also be proportionate, and that includes appreciating the temptations that come with the circumstances. The law distinguishes between murder done in the heat of passion and cold-blooded murder, and the Church makes even more nuanced distinctions. While we should gently correct our brother when he falls into sin,(and in fact the current Administration has done precisely this), we should also support him in ways that would diminish his temptations, and that means avoiding giving comfort to his ruthless and dangerous enemies.



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Patrick O'Mallon

posted July 17, 2006 at 8:30 pm


I’ve read some commentators quote the late Pope John Paul II about Israel and the Jewish people.
As a Pole , He witnessed unspeakable persecution of the Jews during WW II. This was horrible. However as Pope, He unfortunatly put too much blame for the persecution and hatred against Jews squarely on the Catholic Church, and appologized for it.
This was noble, but a violation of valid judgement. I researched Papal reaction to anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews a few years ago, and believe it or not, from the time of Pope Gregory VII in the late 11th century until John Paul II a few years ago…no Pope condoned, allowed for or applauded anti-Semitism or persecution of the Jews as a race.
There were anti-Jewish tracts, and even prayers from the Medieval Roman Breviary (Divine Office), which had anti-Jewish passages…but no where did Popes or the Vatican applaude or cheer on those who killed and persecuted Jews. This was done by peasants and largely uneducated peoples often with the approval of secular goverments, Kings and Czars. The Church never condoned persecution of the Jews…even in the earliest times. So John Paul II was misleading people (perhaps unwittingly) by appologizing for anti-Semitism by the Church.
John Paul II’s attitude of appeasment and dialog with Islam was entirely misguided and naive…as Benedict XVI knows all too well. For He did not take too long to reverse this reproachment. So much of what John Paul II stood for (open dialog, appeasment, appologizing, etc.) Benedict has gently disavowed and distanced Himself from. This is a good thing. What is especially good is the message regarding Israel from Cardinal Sodano.
Some people claim this is anti-Semitic. Sodano and the Pope are merely declairing what is wrong, and evil. Namely the brutal retaliation by Israel. Hamas is evil…and much of Islammic doctrine is likewise. But Israel’s policy of brutal and full strikes and reprisal is likewise evil. And should be condemned as such.
Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sodano for laying blame on both sides, and telling it as it is.



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Tom

posted July 17, 2006 at 8:36 pm


“You have stated that Israel has attacked anti-hezbollah areas of Lebanon. I was not aware of any such attacks. Can you provide real data to confirm this?”
Funnily enough, new incidents occurred over night. From the Telegraph:
“Israel has extended is bombing campaign into the north of Lebanon, killing at least 17 people overnight.
“Nine of the dead were Lebanese soldiers killed when aircraft attacked a military intelligence centre near the small fishing port of Abdeh in northernmost Lebanon, about four miles from the Syrian border.
A further 44 people were injured in the attacks, police said.
Israel also launched nine raids in less than a quarter of an hour on the eastern town of Baalbeck* killing three and wounding six others.”
Israel has also attacked central Beirut (stuanchly anti-Hezbollah) and the Maronite Catholic city of Jounieh.
*a.k.a. Heliopolis, formerly.



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