Prague Twin

Friday, July 14, 2006

UN Emergency Session

A quick post, and then I'm out for most of the weekend, if not all.

I'm just watching the UN Emergency Session. The UN introduction called for the release of the prisoners and for restraint from Isreal for humanitarian reasons. They stressed that actions aimed at infrastruction and that kill civilians violate humanitarian law.

The Lebenese ambasador layed out the boming campaign. He stated that most of the major bridges have been destroyed. All three runways at Beirut international are not operational. Fuel instalaions have been bombed and a full air and naval blockade is in place.

The Isreali ambasador went all the way back to idealic Beirut 32 years ago. Essentially his argument is that Lebanon has had since 2000 to real in Hizbolla and has not done so due to "inaction and ineptitude". He accused Iran of "denying the Houlocost while gleefully preparing for the next one." I think that was a pretty decent quote actually. He spoke of a club of evil nations and groups including Syria, Iran, Hizbolla and Hamas. It is the Lebenese people's fault for their complicity vis a vis Hizbolla. He cited rocket launching pads that are made from a single room in a family home and are sponsored by families. He wants the soldiers returned or all bets are off.

The Russian ambasador towed the UN line, and then several countries followed including Ghana.

Bolton has just come on, and has a scathing denounciation of Hizbolla and the "kidnapping" of the two soldiers. Can I get some help from a linguist on this one? If a groop of soldiers goes on an ambush, kill 7 soldiers, and bring 2 of them back alive, isn't that "capturing" a soldier. I mean, if it is an "act of war", don't war terms apply? I never heard of a soldier being "kidnapped".

Bolton is denouncing Iran and Syria for supporting Hizbolla. He actually said that a reckoning of Hizbolla would reckoning of Syria and Iran. Damn.

*****

The stock market is down over 90 points before lunch. Add that to the 288 from the last two days. Ouch. I suspect that the Emergency session will not provide a resolution before close, so expect it to end down. If they can get a cease-fire over the weekend, they will get a great bounce on Monday.

Oil is setting new highs for three days running. Funny thing, even with the markets down, Exon and Chevron and the other big boys are up, some 1.5%. So maybe they didn't plan it. Maybe it is just dumb luck that all this instability makes all the oil boys rich as hell. Hey, at least somebody is enjoying all this.

Have a good weekend.

Hope for peace.





18 Comments:

  • I guess I shouldn't have sold my Exxon Mobil stock after all. Although, given the way this whole mess will empower radical fundamental Islamist groups and lead more people of every kind to hate the U.S., who knows what type of sabotage our oil companies' facilities, etc. overseas will be subject to?

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 7:16 PM  

  • PT,

    Legitimate armies capture soldiers belonging to the army of their adversary. Hezbollah, which is a terrorist organization, whatever, else it may be, which is committed to the destruction of Israel, kidnaps rather than captures Israeli soldiers.

    Hezbollah is not a recognized state
    and therefore memebers of its armed wing are criminals the nanosecond they cross a recognized border or fire weapons into another country.

    Syria's and Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah is real, troubling, and troublesome.

    One may argue that the IDF sometimes commits acts of terrorism. I do not suscribe to that position but it is sometimes arguable. The armed members of Hezbollah are terrorists pure and simple. What else would you call a stateless militia bent on the destruction of others.

    If Hezbollah were not concerned w/ the destruction of Israel, it would turn its attention to Lebanese Sunnis and Christians.

    T

    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 7:21 PM  

  • I will break all the rules and pray for peace. This is sheer insanity.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 7:21 PM  

  • According to A European Intellegence report - http://www.axisglobe.com/ - Russia and Germany are working behind the scenes to defuse this.
    I'm no Putin fan, but I still wish them well. At least they are doing something poisitive.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 9:08 PM  

  • I am afraid that the ball is rolling on this one and it has quite a bit of momentum at this point. With some luck the media at large will at least expose the "intimate" relationship between Hezbollah and the "peace loving" mullahs of Iran.

    If things go well (as well as things can go when it gets bloody) Israel when all is said and done will have wiped the scourge of the earth – Hezbollah – from the map.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:32 AM  

  • we (the US) have clearly picked sides. I hope someone will have the common sense to help put an end to this

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 6:14 AM  

  • Elizabeth, yea, you should have held on to that stock, but you got out at a good time.

    Tony,

    Thanks for the clarification. Let me ask you this though.... If Iran is supporting them, doesn't that make them a proxy army? Olmert calls it an "act of war" but then these guys are criminals.

    The right is always accusing the left of wanting it "both ways" vis a vis Geneva Convention protections for al-Qaeda prisoners.

    Isn't the right trying to have it "both ways" by calling this an "act of war" but the soldiers taken are "kidnapped"?

    Hezbollah is a horrible organization, but always remember that they did manage to get Isreal out of southern Lebanon and they provided one piece of a very complicated balance of power in the region. I don't agree with their tactics, but they were not created in a vacccum.

    Cartledge,

    It was interesting that after Lebanon, and Israel spoke, Russia was up next. Is it me, or is Russia taking up the slack as chief peace negotiater now that the U.S., well, isn't? Someone has to try to diffuse these things. Bolton just threw fuel on the fire.

    Arch,
    Israel when all is said and done will have wiped the scourge of the earth – Hezbollah – from the map.

    Sounds like a final solution. Those never work. Just replace "Hezbollah" with "The Jews" and I think you've got something strait out of Mein Kampf.

    Graeme,
    I'm glad you got the point of my comment over at your blog. I was a little worried I would be misunderstood.

    But seriously, I'm not blogging this weekend. Really.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:06 AM  

  • Oh, and Arch, also, replace "Isreal" with "Germany" and you've got it.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:08 AM  

  • Israel can fire a rocket at a speeding car on a road, hitting "militant leader", but they can't pin point the location of two of their soldiers? Cmon...

    Me thinks they wanted them to be "kidnapped".

    By Anonymous romunov, at 9:22 AM  

  • While I haven't been keeping up with all the details of this, I must say you've offered a pretty fair look at this.

    I don't like terrorism and I don't support terrorists. But I'm not writing Israel a blank cheque on this either. People complain about how the US is losing it's diplomacy...when it comes to Israel and her neighbors, Israel never had any to lose.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 10:34 AM  

  • Sounds like a final solution. Spot on PT.
    It is sad to see people crowing with 'them and us' responses to this mess. The fact is, regardless of all the artificial differences, there are only ‘us’.
    It is not an ideological argument, it is about pure survival of the race.
    Russia? That I found really interesting. Enlightened self interest perhaps, but they are taking on the role.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 6:42 PM  

  • arch, the media coverage I've seen on both CNN and MSNBC has been pretty anti-Hezbollah. Also, Hezbollah's ties to Iran have been brought up repeatedly and nobody has referred to the Iranian gov't as "peace loving Mullahs."

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 11:21 PM  

  • PT

    As I have indicated on a separate post here:

    “Yes, “final solutions never are”. Evil has ebb and flow and decent peoples must at times rise to quell it. The history of attacks against Israel is long and well documented.”

    As I have indicated in the above statement, I’m sure that even in the event that Hezbollah is rendered moot, evil will flourish elsewhere.

    Now, how you could somehow make a comparison between 6 million dead Jews and Hezbollah is beyond me. Are you suggesting that Israel’s activities now, are reminiscent of 1939 Germany? And that Israel is hunting down members of Hezbollah for no other reason than their relation to Abraham??? To what should I attribute this utter insensitive blindness?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 1:04 AM  

  • NYCE

    I’m glad to see that the MSM has acknowledged the ruthless nature of Hezbollah and that they are tied to Iran. Perhaps as a result of this people will begin to understand that the notion of a mega oil rich country like Iran having a need for nuclear energy is a total farce.

    I added the “peace loving Mullahs” line as a dig to PT as he has argued in the past that Persian history is almost devoid of acts of overt aggression on other nations.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 1:12 AM  

  • Arch Stanton,

    "And that Israel is hunting down members of Hezbollah for no other reason than their relation to Abraham???"

    Nazi Germany didn't hunt down their Jewish citizens (and Jewish citizens of other nations that they took over), merely because of their relation to Abraham. It was a strategic move in gruesome, twisted, insane sort of way. Nor did they treat ONLY their Jewish citizens in this manner; they also targeted anyone else who didn't fit the new Nazi mold Hitler was creating. Perhaps the Hebrews were targeted merely as an way to unite Germany and get at anyone who stood in Hitler's way. Perhaps Hitler, in all his meglomaniac insanity, really believed what he said about the "pure" race. Perhaps Hitler really, honestly believed the Hebrews caused the down-fall of German power. I don't know. I don't think we ever will with any real certainty.

    Personally, I don't think there is, or could possibly be, a logical explanation for genocide. I don't understand it. I don't want to understand it. I don't want to be so full of hate, so full of blood-thirsty rage or zealous lust for power, that I would be willing to participate in the extermination (or attempt thereof) of an entire "race" of human beings (or other sentient race, if they were to exist).

    However, (not that I'm attempting to speak for PT) I think what he was trying to say is that you cannot wipe Hezbollah from the face of the earth, as you advocated, through military action. Every action has a reaction. Military actions of the kind you are advocating only beget more acts of retribution and the continuation of military actions and death.

    Also, another factor in this complex situation that you may or may not be aware of, is that some within the Israeli government want to extend Israel's borders to the land they were promised by God (Bible & Torrah), which includes a lot more than they have now, including Syria. They not only believe that perpetual war is worth the cost to accomplish this, they believe (or claim to anyway) that they are destined to achieve this. This is also why they are so very reluctant to give up Palestine, and why attempts to do so in a fair and honest manner continually fail. (Yes, they ceded land, but not power...the Palestinians didn't gain any real independence as indicated by how easy it was for Israel to shut off the funds the Palestinians paid in taxes that should have gone back to Palestine. Israel still has Palestine by the throat, and there are those in the Israeli government who, if they have their way, will never let that change.)

    This, of course, is in direct conflict with the desires of their Islamic counter-parts who honestly believe that they are destined to reclaim all the land that the Muslims used to hold and have a united (under their particular version of Islam) regime over the entire region.

    Thus, the constant conflict.

    And, those among the Israeli people, and those among the Islamic people, who do want to control the entire region, who do believe it is their destiny and their God (or Allah) given right/command to do this, are very, very much like Hitler.

    Nothing is too depraved, no action is unjustified, in this pursuit to some few who are bent on this goal. There are Israelis who want this and there are Islamics who want this -- as there were Americans who were bent on Manifest Destiny -- and they are both in the wrong, but they also have power to influence decisions made on behalf of their people.

    "To what should I attribute this utter insensitive blindness?"

    Being aware of the complex historical aspects of the Holocaust and being aware of the complex nature of the situation in the Middle East is hardly insensitive blindness.

    Yes, Hitler and those who followed him committed a devastating atrocity against the human race, so did Stalin, so did the United States, so did Spain, so did England, so does the Janjaweed, so does the Islamic militants bent on forcing their twisted brand of Islam on the Middle Eastern region and the world, so does China, and a lot of other groups of people, both contemporarily and in the past, that I can't currently think of.

    And none of it justifies the oppression of a people.

    There are those in the Israeli state who would wipe Hezbollah, and all other Muslims, from the Middle East, and the entire world, if they could. That doesn't make them any more right than those Muslims who would do the same to the Israelis. Genocide is wrong no matter who does it! And to eliminate Hezbollah through military action you would need to commit genocide.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 9:45 AM  

  • Stephanie

    Yes, indeed there were many overlying reasons for the Nazi genocide of Jews and all the other “deficient” peoples that they saw fit to exterminate. As PT singled out only the Jews in his exercise, I didn’t feel the need to create a dissertation on the “who’s who” of genocide.

    While I do not consider this an answer for PT and still expect a response back from him, I am glad that you have engaged me on this and would invite you to feel free to respond to any of my posts here regardless of whom they are directed at. The more voices and ideas, the better.

    As you have so aptly put it “I don’t think there is, or could possibly be, a logical explanation for genocide”. To the reasonable person this is true. When we as logical people superimpose our own sensibilities on to peoples who engage in unreasonable activities, we are confused by it. I think your lack of desire to understand genocide comes from your unwillingness to take the leap, which inexorably leads us to make the conclusion that there is a good, and an evil. It is perhaps for this reason that you believe - that what I see as evil - can be negotiated with. It can’t. It understands only hate and violence and succumbs only to near total annihilation. Once you acknowledge the existence of these concepts, genocide is explained quite simply. In order to understand it, you don’t have to - as you say - be willing to participate in it, however you do (should) have to acknowledge its relationship to the ever-unpopular term: Evil. In order to quell it, you must be willing to do things that are generally distasteful to peace loving peoples. In the words of Albert Einstein:

    " The world is a very dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who do nothing about them."

    Yes it’s true as you say that we cannot truly wipe Hezbollah from the face of the earth. I used the generality as an expedience and hoped that the reader would understand that in spite of that fact that: While there are no more Nazi death camps, there are indeed Nazis – Nazi’s who have been relegated (for now) to a inconsequential role in how the world on a whole works.

    Now while as you say, there may be people within the Israeli government who do posses a desire to re-occupy lands promised by God. It is still quite a leap to make the comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany. Not to put anyone down, but I personally feel that this comparison is disgusting and it makes me sad to think that someone could arrive at that conclusion - and yes – it is insensitive blindness. So, here is the distinction between Hezbollah and the Government of Israel. While the overwhelming majority of the Democratically elected government of Israel seeks a peaceful co-existence with its neighbors, the overwhelming majority of Hezbollah (likely all of them) seek to destroy the state of Israel and impose Islamic law on not only the peoples of Lebanon but also those of Israel. When you understand the origins of Hezbollah this reasoning is evident. Now, I think it is far easier for one to make a comparison of Hezbollah to Nazi Germany than it is Hezbollah to the Israeli government. So let me ask you: As you acknowledge that Islamic militants are bent of forcing their twisted brand of Islam on the Middle Eastern region and the world and are also capable of committing devastating atrocities, who do you think Hezbollah is? Perhaps if in 1948 the Palestinians had not cut of their nose to spite their face and accepted their own state, we would not be in the position we are today. This fact alone allows us to understand to total overwhelming hatred that SOME Palestinians have for Israel. But to further illustrate that the relationship between Israel and Palestine as something other than just two peoples on an equal moral footing with a blood feud, I will ask you: Are there not indeed Palestinians who are citizens of Israel? Is there not at least one Palestinian in the Israeli parliament (Knesset)? Are there any Jews or Israelis who have been freely elected to Hammas? In no way should any reasonable person be able to draw a comparison between the two, once they are provided the facts.

    Lastly, to say that eliminating Hezbollah would be an act of genocide is tantamount to saying that the elimination of Nazi’s during WWII was also genocide. As Hezbollah and the Nazi’s are not races but rather organizations, the term genocide in this instance is a non sequitur.

    If my response to you is in any way lacking please let me know what needs further clarification and I will do my best to make my positions clear.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 10:18 PM  

  • Arch Stanton,

    "..would invite you to feel free to respond to any of my posts here regardless of whom they are directed at."

    While I haven't been blogging much lately (due to going back to college with three little ones in tow - Oy!) I'm sure PT can attest to the fact that I feel absolutely no reluctance in engaging anyone, irregardless of who their comment was directed at. But, I've found that if I don't clarify that I'm not intending to speak for the original person on the other end of the debate, I'm falsely accused of doing exactly that.

    "I think your lack of desire to understand genocide comes from your unwillingness to take the leap, which inexorably leads us to make the conclusion that there is a good, and an evil."

    I do believe in good and evil and am not the least bit reluctant to call it what it is. For instance, genocide is evil. Those who knowingly act to commit it are evil as well. Those who participated without knowing are not, they are simply misguided.

    "In order to quell it, you must be willing to do things that are generally distasteful to peace loving peoples."

    And this is where I would have to disagree. You do not fight evil by committing evil acts. You fight evil by committing good acts. You do not combat genocide, or "make up" for it having occurred, by turning the tables and allowing the people who were targeted for genocide commit genocide against a different people, or advocate that they should do so. Genocide is evil, irregardless of who does it. Evil is not something that can be made good by "good" people doing it.

    Killing civilians is evil. It doesn't matter if it's Hammas, Hezbollah, or Israel that does it. Killing civilians is evil. And the civilian death toll is much higher on Israel's side than it is on any other side in the current equation.

    "In the words of Albert Einstein:

    " The world is a very dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who do nothing about them.""

    That is a quote I very much appreciate and have used frequently myself. Do you realize that Einstein was strongly against dropping the atomic bombs? Was that an act of evil? Or, was that an act of good because we did it?

    "While there are no more Nazi death camps, there are indeed Nazis – Nazi’s who have been relegated (for now) to a inconsequential role in how the world on a whole works."

    True, however that was NOT accomplished by trying to wipe them from the face of the earth at all. That was accomplished by many factors: first, we defeated their army, then, we put their country under a form of "house" arrest, AND we controlled their education while still allowing them to earn and work for the basic human necessities. AND we worked at negotiations for a long time, until the world felt the Germans were trust-worthy again. Think of it this way. Even now, we have a military presence in Germany that is still being dismantled, and that is done only reluctantly.

    What you are suggesting is far different from the tactics that succeeded in making current allies of those who were once our "evil" foes (German and Japan).

    "It is still quite a leap to make the comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany."

    Again, I do not know what PT intended, but my comment was NOT comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, it was comparing your suggestion as to what Israel should do, i.e. wiping Hezbollah from the face of the earth, that I find comparable to Nazi Germany. While you can call it a "generality as an expedience," your expedience is suggesting genocide, and I find that reprehensible, no matter who the target is.

    "Now while as you say, there may be people within the Israeli government who do posses a desire to re-occupy lands promised by God."

    There's no "may" about it. Hezbollah was formed in direct opposition to Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Here's another snippet from Wikipedia:

    "However, this area gradually saw a large influx of Jewish immigrants (most of whom were fleeing the increasing persecution in Europe). This immigration and accompanying call for a Jewish state in Palestine drew violent opposition from local Arabs, in part because of Zionism's stated goal of a Jewish state, which would require the subjugation or the removal of the existing non-Jewish population."
    --emphasis added

    So how you conclude that "the overwhelming majority of the Democratically elected government of Israel seeks a peaceful co-existence with its neighbors," when they repeatedly instigate conflicts with said neighbors, and immorally subjugate their Palestinian neighbors, is, quite frankly, beyond me. Israel is not some innocent little kid being picked on by the big bad bullies in this scenario. They have more fire-power, and kill more people, than any of their neighbors. And yet they seek to peacefully co-exist? Uh-huh. Sure.

    "When you understand the origins of Hezbollah this reasoning is evident."

    Sure, they objected to be invaded and refuse to recognize the country who did so. It is understandable. It's sad that they use a twisted version of Islam to recruit their supporters, and in the process they not only alienate themselves from those who are unwilling to conform to that twisted version of Islam -- without that element perpetuated by the power-hungry amongst the Muslims this whole situation would be much easier to resolve -- , but also put themselves in a position that makes negotiations a failure of faith. It's that use of the twisted version of Islam that perpetuates their evil actions, as it is the Israelis who are bent on "recovering" what God gave "them," that perpetuate the evil actions committed on behalf of the Israeli nation.

    "As you acknowledge that Islamic militants are bent of forcing their twisted brand of Islam on the Middle Eastern region and the world and are also capable of committing devastating atrocities, who do you think Hezbollah is?"

    Hezbollah is a Lebanese Islamic group with both militant, political and social wings. Some of it's members, most likely it's top leaders, knowingly perpetuate evil acts, which are readily identified as terroristic in nature (thus them being evil), generally for the purpose of gaining/maintaining their own power and status and for personal gain. However, some of them (probably most) are people who honestly believe they are doing the right thing, because they have been duped by charismatic leaders who have told them that Israel is out to destroy and/or control them, something they have every right to object to. In that sense, Hezbollah isn't any one thing. There are evil people within the organization, whom are admittedly beyond reason, but they do not constitute the entire organization, just as all of America was not beyond reason during the Red Scare even though people unjustly lost their Constitutional rights.

    I don't like Hezbollah, and I certainly don't agree with them. However, neither do I hate them as you seem to do.

    "Perhaps if in 1948 the Palestinians had not cut of their nose to spite their face and accepted their own state, we would not be in the position we are today."

    And perhaps had Israel not made it perfectly clear that they wanted all of Zion, and wanted all non-Jews off "their" land, the same could be said. We're stuck with history as it has been played out, and if we're smart, we'll learn from it.

    "But to further illustrate that the relationship between Israel and Palestine as something other than just two peoples on an equal moral footing with a blood feud..."

    First of all, the Israel giving one seat to the Palestinians does not give the Palestinians any power to control their own fate. It is a token gesture, nothing more and nothing less. And Israel still controls the Palestinian government, because they control the purse strings. There doesn't need to be an Israeli representative in the Palestinian government, the Palestinian government is economically controlled by Israel. Therefore, your point is mute.

    However, there are Palestinians and Israelis working together to prove that it can be done. There are explorers. There are civil organizations. There are joint efforts to improve the standards of living for the Palestinians. There are musical overtures. And then there are the victims of this conflict, who are willing to lay aside their "right" to revenge in the name of peace -- the true heros in this ghastly affair.

    These are the people I support. These are the people who are truly calling for the end to the madness. These are the people who need to be listened to and heard. These are the people who are genuinely working for the change necessary to bring about peace.

    "In no way should any reasonable person be able to draw a comparison between the two, once they are provided the facts."

    The facts are that Israel has killed more people in this conflict. Therefore, I do not and will not believe they have any "moral high ground." Then again, I don't hate Muslims. And that seems to be the biggest difference here.

    "Lastly, to say that eliminating Hezbollah would be an act of genocide is tantamount to saying that the elimination of Nazi’s during WWII was also genocide. As Hezbollah and the Nazi’s are not races but rather organizations, the term genocide in this instance is a non sequitur."

    No, because to eliminate Hezbollah you would have to irradicate the idea from the face of the earth, by killing anyone who might be willing to believe in the idea. Nazis weren't just ruthlessly slaughtered, as you were suggesting the Hezbollah be treated, they killed on the battle field, and those who were not were tried for their crimes, and few were killed after being found guilty. That is a far cry different from wiping Hezbollah off the face of the earth, your "expediency."

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 2:01 AM  

  • Wow,

    What a discussion. I'm really enjoying this.

    For clarity, I just want to say that the reason I made the comparison to Nazi Germany was in direct response to Arch's comment that....

    If things go well (as well as things can go when it gets bloody) Israel when all is said and done will have wiped the scourge of the earth – Hezbollah – from the map.

    It is the exact words that Arch chose to use that prompted my comparison, not a specific action on the part of Israel.

    Having said that, talk of "final solutions" from the Israeli government is, to me, the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 1:38 PM  

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