Monday, August 28, 2006

There Are No Civilians in Lebanon

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, said today in a television interview that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known Israel's response would be the war that killed over 1,000 Lebanese civilians:

Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this, we would definitely not have done it," he said in an interview on Lebanese TV.

He added that neither side was "heading towards a second round" of fighting.

More than 1,000 Lebanese died in the 34-day conflict which left much of southern Lebanon in ruins.
"We did not think that there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war of this scale and magnitude," Sheikh Nasrallah said.

"Now you ask me if this was 11 July and there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war like the one that has taken place, would you go ahead with the kidnapping?

"I would say no, definitely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons.

"Neither I, Hezbollah, prisoners in Israeli jails and nor the families of the prisoners would accept it."

I don't find that difficult to believe, given how wholly out of proportion Israel's response to the kidnapping was. Who could have predicted that Israel would indiscriminately bombard residential neighborhoods and turn Lebanon's infrastructure into rubble over the kidnapping of two soldiers, when such kidnappings had been taking place, on both sides, for years, and had always been settled with prisoner exchanges?

After reading this news, I started browsing blogger reaction; and in doing so, I found this comment at Captain's Quarters:

Nasrallah's admission proves the point that deterrence depends on there being a credible expection of a forceful response to aggression.

And a very "disproportionate" response at that.

The only "innocent" Lebanese civilians are children and the infirm. All other civilians either actively support Hezbollah because of shared ideology and anti-Semitism, or they tacitly support Hezbollah through their fear and unwillingness to confront the terrorists among them.

In order to discourage the Lebanese people from tolerating Hezbollah in their midsts, they need to understand that their enabling and support of terrorists inside their own communities will cost them dearly -- more than they can gain from Hezbollah.

Whenever I read something like this -- and Victor Davis Hansen expressed the same sentiments, at greater length, just recently in National Review Online -- I thank God for not making me a neoconservative. It's amazing the way the Victor Davis Hansens in this country expect people in the countries we or our proxies are attacking to behave and respond in ways that they -- the Victor Davis Hansens of this country -- would never dream of expecting from themselves. Would Victor Davis Hansen tell Americans in urban centers that they "tacitly support" drug dealers, rapists, or other violent criminals "through their fear" or "unwillingness to confront them"? Would he hold entire cities and neighborhoods responsible for the dangerous and illegal actions of others, simply because they were in the same city or neighborhood?

It really boggles my mind. I consider myself a perceptive and intelligent person, but I am at a complete and total loss to understand how Lebanese civilians are expected to know who is a potential terrorist and who is not; and why it is somehow the Lebanese people's fault that other people are doing bad things.

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