Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lebanon: Comments And Observations From A Real And Virtual War

Need some clear-headed thinking!
You are already hearing criticism of the Israeli military for failing to kick out Hizbullah from the border area. Maybe there is an issue with the timing. While the planning might have been there, wonder if the timing was dictated by the leaderships need to strike quick in response to Hizbullah provocation. That would not afford the time to mobilize the amount of troops needed, or to clarify the battle order. It is in these situation where issues with command and control happen, including friendly fire deaths and possibly the U.N. troops killed.
Overall, what we are hearing from accounts from some front-line soldiers is how tough Hizbullah are. That should be no surprise. What is interesting is that these accounts come from a relatively small area of what really is a broad front, where the international press has access. Israel's government is managing the information from the front much like the U.S. did in Iraq, offering up sound-bite friendly battles. The I.D.F. has some seriously battle-hardened, and extremely tough troops who we hear nothing of, unlike the green troopers who are interviewed in the U.S. media. You can bet the elite forces are fighting all over the South of Lebanon - and beyond - and we are not hearing anything about it.
US Congress
How ridiculous it is for some Democrats to call for the Iraqi P.M. to condemn Hizbullah. That is another version of U.S. arrogance, that we see displayed in the Bush administration and its acolytes in the media and blogosphere. No one likes a sell-out. He is a Shia - no way in hell is he going to condemn people fighting Israel. We put up with much worse from the Saudis and just about every other "friendly" Middle Eastern regime. That is just being realistic, you do that kind of work behind the scenes. Attitudes change over a long period of time, and forcing people to make public statements that will earn them hatred at home is stupid.
Lebanese Army
Speaking of unrealistic, this whole crazy idea in Israel and the U.S. that the Lebanese military should somehow fight Hizbullah is plain nuts. Besides the obvious fact that many Shia troops would probably go over to the militias, there is the issue of Hizbullah's military strength and vast civilian network, which the I.D.F. could not smash with overwhelming firepower. As it stands right now, Israel hitting the Lebanese army (as well as the infraestructure) has angered many non-Shiite Lebanese to the point where some might be willing to fight Israeli's.
Many of these same voices were happy when the Syrians left. Lets get real, the Syrian military presence in Lebanon kept Hizbullah in line, that balance of power is gone. The Lebanese in the north lived with an imperfect situation, having to deal with an organized and strong Hizbullah. But overall there seemed to be a modus vivendi where each side did its own thing, and everyone intermingled in Beirut. It is very hard to blame many Lebanese, Shiite, Sunni, Christian, or Druze for dealing with this accomodation, 20 years of war is pretty darn long to not want to just live in peace.