There Ain't No Good Guy, But There Are Some Bad Guys
A friend, a smart friend, wrote to ask me my thoughts on the Israeli attack on Lebanon. In particular, said friend asked, "why does the U.S. get to have all these weapons of mass destruction...Israel gets to have 300 nuclear warheads...and we drop weapons of mass destruction on other countries but yet...they aren't supposed to have any WMD's themselves. And the logic is? If you were an Arab country near Israel, would you want one nuclear weapon perhaps?"
I find this question remarkable. The difference in our world views is so great that...well, we must be looking at different worlds. Let me take a shot at this.
1. Israel has not pledged to destroy ANY of the nations surrounding it.
2. Hezbollah (controls Lebanon), Hamas (controls Palestinian Territory), Syria, Iran, and Iraq (until three years ago) have all openly sworn that they will do all in their power to destroy Israel, and kill all the Jews in the middle east.
As in: Kill. All. Destroy. Everything.
3. That asymmetry seems to me to explain the asymmetry in our policy. Israel has weapons, does not claim to want to destroy other nations and kill their entire populations. Countries that DO want to destroy other nations and kill their entire populations, we should try to keep them from getting nuclear weapons. So, no, I don't think we should give one nuclear weapon to each nation. I think we should try to convince extremists (i.e., Hezbollah) to stop attacking Israeli civilian populations with rockets and mortars from the cover of another innocent civilian population (i.e., Lebanon).
4. Further, I don't see how anyone could blame the Israelis for what is going on in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a group of Syrian-backed thugs, and the international community has allowed Syria to overthrow the legitimate Lebanese authority.
5. The Lebanese, understandably, are saying "a pox on BOTH your houses" to the Israelis or Palestinians. But how do they feel about the gangsters, thugs, and theocratic soldiers in Syria? The cowardice of the French, the erstwhile mandatory power in Lebanon, and current pussweiler Security Council taker-up-of-space, is what brought on this disaster. When someone blames Israel, I am genuinely amazed.
6. The solution is for the UN (using those crack French troops) to occupy Lebanon, for real this time, and throw out the Syrians, confiscate the rockets, and seal the Syrian border. Then force the Israelis to pull back and stop attacking, which they will be happy to do since Hezbollah will no longer be a threat. And then everyone can live happily ever after. (Okay, no, since the French won't actually commit any troops, and Syrian border is much too long to seal, or even supervise, and Hezbollah is actually becoming more popular in Lebanon, for reasons that totally escape me. U.S. and England don't really have any troops to spare, and Russia and China...well, don't hold your breath. It's the fire this time for Lebanon).
I have a number of friends in the Israeli military, and press. They are all pacifists, some of them extreme pacifists. They are horrified at what they are doing. But there is nothing else to do....Sometimes things just get caught up in an inexorable logic of destruction, and the world watches in horror. There ain't no good guy.
(UPDATE: Interesting post from DD. I don't see this as just / unjust. I see this in terms of alternatives. I think Israel is making a mistake, and Hezbollah is winning the war of public opinion. I just don't see that Israel has any alternative)