Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq

 

I am not convinced Israel is following sound policy in Lebanon. I am certain this current limited action will bring no peace, but will set the stage for future conflict. This action by Israel may be necessary or, thought to be necessary be the leadership of Israel: yet innocent people are being killed. I see no distinction between the murder of innocents by regular versus irregular forces.

One thing that crosses cultural boundaries, world views, time & place is crushing defeat. But we didn’t defeat Arabs or Iraqis when we occupied Iraq. They didn’t attack us or fight us, so they didn’t lose a war. The more accurate WW2 comparison is not Germany or Japan, but Italy. We could have seen hysterically jubilant Iraqi’s hugging our soldiers, throwing flowers not bombs, but that would have only occurred as American troops voluntarily and in victory had departed: quickly. That would have been liberation. What our government calls Liberation is more an attempt at benevolent occupation.

The Arabs haven’t been defeated, just humiliated. And Israel, both helped and hindered by the U.S., has not been able to turn remarkable battlefield victories into security. Israel has been gambling hugely these last 39 years that half measures would do; that the Arabs would come around. Arabs would would defy human nature if they did. America in a reckless gamble, and in defiance of our own civil war history, thought an invading army, that is furthermore ethnically and religiously different, would be welcomed if its intentions were noble. Our leaders should really read some history and psychology.

The victory in the Six Day War, meant that Israel could have kept its pre-war boundaries in peace. The victory would have sealed the deal. Annexation of all or some of the West Bank will require further victories. Israel will have to crush Syria, and be willing to return that territory, plus part of Lebanon to a successor government, and expel undesirables then there can be peace with Israel in control of the West Bank.

In Iraq we never had the power to remake that society. We had the power to do one of two things. We could have replaced Saddam’s repressive regime with another oppressive regime more favorable, or we could have partitioned the country. A broader Mideast settlement requires, the destruction of the Syrian, Kuwaiti, Lebanese and Saudi regimes in cooperation with Israel, and Jordan, and the creation of an Arab state run by the Hashemites and large enough to accommodate territorial concessions and permanently relocate refugees. Non interference by Turkey, Egypt and Iran would be worth consideration.

If we can remember that “they” are human beings like us, then we have a chance to conclude agreements. To see “them” as other, different, evil, is a waste of time, and deleterious to rational goals.

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