Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Rationale For A Disproportionate Response

From one of my favorite sites (RCP), comes this essay by Pierre Atlas, Director of the Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian College, in Indianapolis. I recommend everyone read this piece, but especially those that are critical of the actions, currently being taken by Israel. I understand there a few people that do not understand why Lebanon is made to suffer. It's a fair question and one that deserves some explanation.

Here is a very critical point
Dr. Atlas (who is far from being a Zionist) is trying to make and gives an important point to consider in your analyses:

Hizbollah is an unconventional enemy, unique in the world. It is a "state-within-a state" embedded within the Lebanese society and polity, yet it is also a rogue force that is well-armed, violent, and unaccountable to Lebanon's sovereign government. By all accounts, Hizbollah is more powerful than the Lebanese Army, and it has dragged an unwilling Lebanon into war with Israel to fulfill its own agenda, and perhaps the agendas of its patrons, Syria and Iran.

A "state within a state". Did you get that?

They are supported by both Syria and Iran. They care little about the wishes of anyone in the world, save their two radical supporters. Lebanon cannot be free from foreign domination, unless Hezbollah is disarmed, severely weakened, or expelled completely. We have seen how negotiations work with these people, we see how the world community cannot agree on sanctions for Iran; and besides a soccer match (winner take all), there is no other thing that these thugs understand better than being on the receiving end of a disproportionate response.

The same mentality that exists in an inner-city neighborhood with gang warfare, exists in Hezbollah. They have the run of the turf, they control. Try calling the police and filing a report on an inner city gang member that has control of the turf, and see what happens. When the cops leave, you are dead. It's easy to gain the cooperation of the locals that care nothing about being in that gang, when the cops can do little. You just keep your mouth shut and do not get into their way. The situation in Lebanon is much the same, only on a larger scale. Lebanon cannot do much about Hezbollah, when they get their orders from elsewhere.

This is war by proxy, if there ever was one.

Let's read on, shall we? (emphasis is mine):

Yossi Alpher, Israeli strategic analyst and co-editor of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue website Bitter Lemons (, suggests that "the Israeli response in Lebanon is deliberately disproportional."

Alpher told me that deliberate disproportionality "is an imperative when fighting a guerrilla enemy waging asymmetrical warfare. It is also [Prime Minister] Olmert's strategy for weakening Hizbollah to a point where the Lebanese government, perhaps with international backing and participation, can remove it from Lebanon's southern border and disarm it."

Name one way better, than this. See if you can. Whatever it is, it's been tried before. And it hasn't worked yet, has it? Have negotiations worked? No. Sanctions? No. How can you sanction a guerrilla group? You can't. Iran? The UN cannot even agree on sanctions for the nuclear issue, what makes you think they can with this issue?

So here we are today, Israel is pounding the hell out of enemy targets and the world cannot believe that it has gotten to this point. The very fact that Israel must endure a constant state of war and at very least high state of alert when there is no active war, is deplorable enough. But to not let them defend themselves by going after the enemy, is even more so, in my view.

Go read this whole article, before you decide what you think it right. And when you are done read some others by Dr. Atlas, to get his overall perspective. You plainly will see that he is not a neocon.

Addendum: When you finish, you can also read this one, by Edward Alexander, emeritus professor of English at the University of Washington.


Always On Watch said...

From the article: Hizbollah is an unconventional enemy, unique in the world. It is a "state-within-a state" embedded within the Lebanese society and polity...

And they have seats in the Lebanese Parliament. Duly elected, I presume.

LASunsett said...


//And they have seats in the Lebanese Parliament. Duly elected, I presume.//

You would be presuming correctly. Just like Hamas was duly elected to the Palestinian government. But as we all can see, this doesn't mean they can attain anymore legitimacy, just by virtue of the fact that they can buy and intimidate their way into a government.