Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lebanon, Hizb'ollah and Waco

Let’s get one item straight from the beginning:

Hizb’ollah is first and foremost a pack of terrorist war criminals. Their religion is secondary to that, unless you accept the idea that terrorism is inextricably the foundation of Islam. If this were so, you must define ALL MUSLIMS as terrorists. They are not. Most muslims are law-abiding, civic-minded, responsible, patient, self-disciplined, considerate, compassionate people, trying to live within the bounds of a rational society.

You can argue that many terrorists become terrorists because of some injury that has been done to them, or at least because of perceived insult and injury. Well, even to the extent that it is true, they are nonetheless war criminals. If an American becomes a terrorist bomber, that American is not excused from responsibility for his crimes just because he has some list of grievances that drove him to make a bomb from fertilizer and kerosene. If an American soldier becomes so incensed at the roadside bombs killing and maiming his buddies that he goes off and rapes and kills an Islamic girl, he is a murderer. His righteous anger does not excuse him, nor does the righteous wroth of the Palestinians excuse their murder of civilians.

There are idiots who claim that terrorism is the only option for terrorists, who fight bravely against the massive high-tech impersonal war machines of the West.



Look at the military forces of the Islamic Arab countries. Most have the full range of modern weapons systems (albeit purchased from China, Russia, and the U.S.), lacking only intercontinental ballistic missiles and and nuclear-powered blue-water navies. Iran has purchased modern Italian fast attack submarines, as well as Russian submarines. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and a number of other Arab Islamic regimes have air forces with modern supersonic fighter jets, tanks, radar guided antiaircraft missile systems, et cetera. Many have standing armies with millions of men under arms. The idea that terrorism is the last resort of an aggrieved and oppressed minority bereft of any other means of self defense is simply insane, and perversely obstinately inverts the truth.

This column is not meant to excuse the many instances of savagery and retribution that have gone on both sides, since the time of the British Mandate. But the Palestinians have for decades had their lives purposely manipulated and exploited by the ARAB countries of the Middle East, and the terrorist option has been the one vigourously funded, encouraged, taught, and promoted, while others have been suppressed and ignored.

There is a vast moral blind spot among the sponge-brained left-leaning liberals of the world. How many times have we heard some idiot mouth the statement that “every time we bomb [insert Muslim-terror-group-of-the-day] we don’t do anything but create more terrorists” ?

Excuse me, but does it ever occur to these sorry rascals that each time the Muslim terrorists behead an Indonesian Schoolgirl, or blow up a trainload of Hindu office workers, or videotape their beheading of an Italian truck driver, or kidnap and murder a Red Cross administrator, or machine gun a schoolyard full of children, or bomb a Balinese nightclub, or spray with bullets a crowd of Western Tourists gazing upon Egyptian antiquities, or kidnap and slaughter American missionaries in the Philippines, they only anger and harden the hearts of Westerners?

What peculiar insanity completely blinds liberals to this simple calculus?

Well, at least they are consistent. The liberal left continues to insist there was never anything evil about Soviet Russia, that Stalin was a wonderful hero of Russia and that all those stories about Stalin and his secret police murdering tens of millions of citizens are just the hysterical propaganda of the fascist capitalists of the West.

Like FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and JFK?

Now I gotta reply to a comment posted by another reader at Wretchard’s blog, comparing Israel’s current actions in southern Lebanon to the massive overkill response by Janet Reno which ended the BATF [Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms] siege of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, where there had been allegations of federal firearms law violations and child abuse...

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Dear 2164th,

With extreme reluctance leap I into the breach and say anything that might somehow be taken as defense of noted moral leper Ms. Janet Reno and her sex-addict boss, but... here goes:

It was my understanding that the fire which incinerated all the huddled children and other noncombatant Branch Davidians resulted from fuels used by the suicidal end-of-the-world-minded minions of Mister David Koresh [fanatical leader of the Branch Davidians at Waco]. This might seem a little far-fetched to those of us who are not apocalyptically suicidal, possibly because we have pursued alternative pathways to personal validation other than the dream of having our violent deaths splashed all over the evening news.

And yet I mind another similar tragedy. Might shed some light to review.

Let’s talk about Philadelphia, the vicious cartoon “back-to-nature” group M.O.V.E., and the conflict with law enforcement under the administration of Mayor Wilson Goode. In 1978 a series of interviews and articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer described the appalling living conditions the group were imposing upon themselves and their children — human feces filling coffee cans; uncollected bags full of garbage; naked children eating uncooked chicken; the body of a dead infant kept in a shoe box.

Finally the authorities were goaded to the group fired from within their barricaded home and killed a police officer, after a prolonged siege. It was discovered afterward that the M.O.V.E. group to keep themselves supplied had dug a tunnel extending beyond the police perimeter. Those members who were not imprisoned for that episode relocated across town and built a new fortress in a row house on Osage Avenue.

They proceeded to harass their neighbors: They used the connected rooftops of the row houses for a jogging track and military-style physical training. They mounted loudspeakers to blare round-the-clock political harangues that would embarrass even a Berkeley resident. They refused to pay utilities charges, and allowed stinking garbage and human waste to collect and foul the air for blocks around their home. They fed their children raw chicken [ever hear of salmonella?] and kept them from the public schools and allopathic medicine, brandished firearms from within their compound, threatened county officials inquiring after the children’s well-being.

At last the city of Philadelphia had just about all it could take from the belligerent idiots of M.O.V.E-ment. A gun battle erupted when police attempted to serve warrants on several adult residents in the fortified home. A hastily-conceived plan to breach a hardened rooftop gun emplacement with an explosive charge instead ruptured a mess of fuel containers stored on the roof and started a conflagration. (The police commissioner and the Mayor were later criticized for dropping a “bomb” on an occupied residence, but it is arguable that they would have been subject to criminal negligence charges if they had not taken drastic action to suppress the prolonged criminal behavior of the residents. There had been threats of vigilante action against M.O.V.E. by their long-suffering neighbors.)

Firefighters were not allowed to immediately undertake operations against the blaze because the M.O.V.E. maniacs inside continued to fire high-powered rifle rounds toward the authorities, which was the whole reason for the decision to breach the roof in the first place. The fire spread inexorably to the row houses on either side. Despite some two hundred homes burning to the ground before the blaze could be contained, the voting public of Philadelphia handily reelected Mayor Wilson Goode (who had authorized the plan) to serve another term.

On a much vaster scale, Hizb’ollah in southern Lebanon has deliberately crafted a situation in which any effective response to their terrorist acts mortally imperils the noncombatants among whom they hide. For decades they have defied all international law and authority in their conduct of terrorist acts against civilians [they have slaughtered their co-religionists as enthusiastically as they have murdered jews]; emplacing their weapons and personnel within civilian homes, schools, hospitals, and such; dressing as civilians; setting off bombs in public restaurants and busses.

Hizb'ollah initiated this particular mess by violating an internationally-brokered agreement that Israel had reluctantly but undeniably honored for several years. A full military response *is* justified. Military planners are always faced with the dilemma that there is likely to be a cost in human lives whatever course of action is pursued. Failure to take action allows the terrorists to kill people; Any military response to the rockets is likely to harm the civilians among whom the rocket launchers have been hidden. In this case, Hizb’ollah is ultimately responsible for the carnage that results from the violent action needed to neutralize their threat. Just as a bank robber taking hostages is responsible for the death or injury to those hostages when the police use lethal force to subdue the robber.