A Lebanese View

7_18_lebanon_chart_101 "what a joke:
the Leb. govt’ pledges it will be the sole "power" south of the Litani …
I want to see them enforce that: How can you prevent the son of, let’s say  Maroun il rass from returning home? regardless of affiliation. Unless the jesters like Nayla Moawad and Joe Sarkis have a "plan." 
"They" will return Home, back to being teachers, grocers and barbers … Officers of the UNIFIL and the LAF will be their clients … and they’ll wait to fight another day.
weaponry you ask? haven’t seen any… have you??"
I received this from a friend in Beirut who works for the Lebanese Government.  I have been thinking about the probable outcome of the "cease-fire" that is supposed to go into effect tomorrow.
Bethmann-Hollweg, the German Foreign Minister said in 1914 that the treaty that protected Belgian neutrality was "a scrap of paper."   What he meant was that treaties are observed when they serve the interests of the parties to them.
Israel wants to destroy Hizbullah.  It has not done that as yet.  Hizbullah is a home-grown Shia force.  As "Lubnani" says they will go home if there is peace and wait to fight another day.  Hizbullah has not yet been defeated. 
Some poor French general is going to lead French, Italian and Turkish soldiers into this maelstrom where they are to be ready to fight Hizbullah all over south Lebanon?  On top of that he is supposed to coordinate with and assist 15,000 Lebanese soldiers who will be expected to fight other Lebanese in order to disarm them?
I hear that Elliot Abrams thinks this has been a big victory for our policy of revolutionary change in the Middle East.
Maybe he and Olmert could open a restaurant together, somewhere…
Pat Lang

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51 Responses to A Lebanese View

  1. Matthew says:

    At least Abrams is consistent. Compared to Iraq, Lebanon is a “victory.”

  2. G. Wilson says:

    Certainly makes sense to me. As the following link shows, it seems the Israelis have only made their situation worse.

  3. Rex Brynen says:

    Lubnani is quite right.
    Moreover, while the “religious divisions in Lebanon” graphic is cute, it understimates the Shi’ite population (closer to 35% than 27%, I would think), and overestimates the Maronite population (probably closer to 22% than 29%). The CIA publicly puts the Mulsim (Shi’iite/Sunni/Druze/Alawi) population at 60%, the Christian (Maronite/Greek Orthodox/Greek Catholic/other) population at 40% (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/le.html).
    Lebanon’s old conscription and exemption system (modified in 2005, I believe, and due to be phased out) tended to slightly over-recruit Shiite rank-and-file, so it wouldn’t be bad guess to suggest that 35-40% of the army are Shi’ite, and probably 50-75% of those would be sympathetic to Hizbullah. Its hard to imagine they’ll be very energetic in going after a Hizbullah armed presence.
    That having been said, there is a world of difference between stowing some AKs (or even mortars or TOWs) in your basement, and hiding vehicle-mounted multiple rocket launchers. There Hizb may have somewhat more trouble maintaining or rebuilding its firepower.
    (OK, 3 posts in as many days–I’ll stop now!)

  4. zanzibar says:

    A question for those more knowledgeable about Lebanese domestic politics:
    Why did HA accept the language of the UN resolution that blames them for the conflict?

  5. Ferdinand says:

    I like the image accompanying this latest post: A graphic depiction of Lebanon’s religious diversity, with no single group large enough to constitute a clear majority.
    The consensus seems to be that the imminent ceasefire will, at best, only postpone further fighting.

  6. confusedponderer says:

    I vote for the restaurant being in Beirut downtown.
    It’s like an abyss opened and the ghosts from 1914 came up and took over the cold war zombies of D.C. on 9/11 … ‘War is a legitimate tool of statecraft’, ‘treaties are scraps of paper’ and ‘Might makes right’ … deja vu all over again. Iirc America strung up a considerable number of Germans for that line of thinking.
    But that’s ancient history, right?
    Or they have second thoughts: I imagine Gonzales’ fondly remembering von Keitel’s ideas on the Geneva Convention: ‘Hehe, quaint and obsolete! Just my kind of guy!’ One could argue that with such guys still around in Old Europe, Bushistan could indeed find many more likeminded allies there. What a pity.
    No, that was nasty. The real problem with these people is that they think they can afford ignoring the rules because they are the goodly good guys, the actors of history, and that in the end we will thank them all. They have to drag us kicking and screaming for our own good, because we benighted weenies just don’t get it.
    Because they know it all, already, and best anyway, they have no use for a reality check.

  7. PointedHead says:

    patrick – your website is excellent. outstanding, insightful commentary. glad to have found you!

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Was Keital a von? I always have thought of him as plain old “Lakeital.”
    His name and that of Myers, the last CJCS are linked in my mind. Both so tall, so blond, so empty headed..

  9. confusedponderer says:

    Ah you got me, just Keitel. ‘Lakaitel’ for his lack of spine and total obedience. Just a lackey.

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Yeah, and not even a Prussian. I was looking at the Wiki on him and the picture shows him wearing his NSDAP pin on his uniform, another disgrace. pl

  11. ikonoklast says:

    “… open a restaurant together, somewhere …”
    The Marianas Trench? As the old joke goes, it’s a start.

  12. canuck says:

    Hersh at the New Yorker
    While he doesn’t point out Hassan’s strengths, the Middle East will be forever changed by Israel’s inability to win in Lebanon.
    Listen to Growing Shiite Power Worries Arab Leaders
    Hassan’s style of government would be enough to make Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt shake in their boots. If Iran is listening closely, they’ll adopt Hassan’s style, reduce the power of the Mullahs and give the style of government Lebanese Hizbullah represents. It’s a combination of Sunni and Shiites that empowers their citizenry and gives them services in addition to a military.
    It won’t be Bush’s New Middle East. If Israel is smart, they will make peace and not war with their new adversary.
    Lebanon isn’t a theocracy, nor authoritarian. So far it has been able to restrain both which is bad news for the Old Middle East who presently have peace agreements with Israel.

  13. Col. Lang, I wonder if you have an opinion on Col. Hammes’ book, The Sling and the Stone.
    It seems to me there’s a way to win this war, and it may start with thinking a little more like Mao.

  14. confused writes:

    The real problem with these people is that they think they can afford ignoring the rules because they are the goodly good guys, the actors of history, and that in the end we will thank them all. They have to drag us kicking and screaming for our own good, because we benighted weenies just don’t get it.

    I think you miss the point of the neocon plan for reforming America. The military ethos promoted by them is supposed to counter a perceived decay in American culture.
    Take a look at this artilce, wherein neocons see the “war on terror” as a chance to renew America via a virtue with its source in sacrifice and discipline incurred during time of war:

    Immediately following 9/11, intellectuals, politicians, and pundits—not those of the radical Left, as is often claimed, but mainstream liberals and conservatives—seized upon the terrorist strikes as a deliverance from the miasma Buckley and Kristol had been criticizing. The World Trade Center was still on fire and the bodies entombed there still being recovered when Frank Rich announced in The New York Times that “this week’s nightmare, it’s now clear, has awakened us from a frivolous if not decadent decadelong dream.” What was that dream? The dream of prosperity, of surmounting life’s obstacles with money. During the 1990s, David Brooks wrote in Newsweek, we “renovated our kitchens, refurbished our home entertainment systems, invested in patio furniture, Jacuzzis and gas grills.” This ethos had terrible domestic consequences. It encouraged “self-indulgent behaviour,” wrote Francis Fukuyama in The Financial Times, and a “preoccupation with one’s own petty affairs.” It also had international repercussions. According to the Bush administration official Lewis Libby, the cult of peace and prosperity found its purest expression in Bill Clinton’s weak and distracted foreign policy, which made “it easier for someone like Osama bin Laden to rise up and say credibly, ‘The Americans don’t have the stomach to defend themselves. They won’t take casualties to defend their interests. They are morally weak.'”

  15. canuck says:

    Oops, correction the correct link directly to the Hersh article is: The New Yorker

  16. julie says:

    Mr Brynen:
    I doubt if most of the rockets are fired from “vehicle mounted launchers.”
    They can be, but these are the same rockets that the Vietnamese used which can be fired with makeshift launchers.
    Just hide some in a cave, get some big pieces of wood and some friends to drag them out. set them off and run.

  17. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I have not read it. I seldom read “modern” books on counterinsurgency. pl

  18. Montag says:

    I’m just anal retentive enough to correct you, Pat. Actually, it was the German Chancellor, Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg–when the British Ambassador, Sir Edward Goschen presented their ultimatum to retreat from Belgium OR ELSE. BH became very agitated, because he understood that Belgium wasn’t the real issue, but merely the tripwire for British support of its allies, France and Russia–which was entirely true, by the way. His indignation caused BH to launch a harangue containing the fatal words. He said that England would be responsible for all the dreadful events that might follow, and “all for just a word–‘neutrality’–just for a scrap of paper….”
    OOPSIE! Goschen included the phrase in his report without realizing how it would sound when taken out of context. But of course the British propagandists made the most of it.
    On Lebanon, not only has the government refused to hold a census since Independence, but they even had kittens when some geneticists wanted to see how much Phoenician DNA was in the Lebanese population, since the result might be dangerously divisive. They sampled DNA in the seaports from all segments of the Lebanese population and found that 100%, regardless of religion or ethnicity, carried Phoenician DNA. But they were shocked to discover that the Lebanese carried DNA from the original Canaanites through the Phoenicians, because they had thought that the Phoenicians had arrived by sea, displacing the Canaanites. Instead, the Phoenicians were Canaanites themselves. Of course the result was very reassuring to the Lebanese government, because it was proof (as if the Lebanese ever needed any) of their distinct Lebanese character and not a cause for discord.

  19. jonst says:

    Ok, one man’s view of this stuff. Painting with a very, very broad, and Western oriented brush, an keeping at the forefront of your mind, the, how shall we say, fluid nature, of alliances in Lebanon we back up to last year, at approx this time. Maybe a bit earlier, in the Spring of 2005 We had then, with regard to Lebanon, anyway, the Sunnis, Druze, Christian, (with the exception of Anoun) French, Americans, and Israeli all roughly, on the same side on one or two issues. i.e., A desire to keep Syria out of Lebanon as an occupier. And two, a desire to reduce the power of Syria’s main ally in Lebanon, Hizballah.
    So now…assuming the other factions have not come to detest and distrust Israel (perhaps even more than they did before) in the wake of attacks on Lebanon, if the outside force goes in you may simply see the sides being drawn for a new war. This time expanded to include direct attacks on Syria. That’s my take on what Cheney et al are up. What game the French are playing is going to be interesting to ascertain. But I repeat…to me, it seems the sides are being drawn for the next stage of the conflict.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There used to be a joke about the Soviet Union that how it would still be a one party state even if there were free elections; every one would be in the opposition party!
    I suspect the same might hold true for ME to a large extend. My guess is that giving free elections; reiligious parties will win across the board in the Maghreb, Levant, and the Persian Gulf. The exception being Iran in which non-religious parties will win.

  21. MarcLord says:

    cynic librarian:
    Excellent selection of neo-con lore, thanks for bringing the article up. Which it really nails the post-Weimar miasma that hangs over almost everything the Bush Administration does. I’ve long suspected Karl Rove studied that time in history very deeply, and Leo Strauss and his acolytes overpoweringly exude its unmistakeable, nauseating smell with every perverse word they emit. It’s the political equivalent of gas gangrene. Yes, that which cannot be named has returned, and it is here.
    For those who have also studied the means, motive, and method of that seizure of power, here is a lesson worth remembering: despite the advantage of an unrivalled military ethos, Germany lost WWII because Nazi ideology was racist, hermeticist, and full of shit, so it could not co-opt conquered lands or peoples into supporting its visions. The Bush Adminstration, and most unfortunately, our country, now have a very similar problem.

  22. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Thanks. I was too lazy to check. pat

  23. confusedponderer says:

    I’m aware of it, and I see that they work in synergy with christian right and the ‘unitary executive’ folks on that. Three independent streams, independent goals, common ground. I don’t like it, in fact I find it dangerous. I interprete it as a fascist tendency. But to mobilise America to resist this tendency this stuff is IMO simply too outlandish. What’s wrong about ‘virtue’ ‘sacrifice’ ‘freedom’ …?
    I think America will be able to deal with that sooner, probably later, when the ‘Leidensdruck’ is strong enough. That means more casualties, higher costs, eventually undeniable signs of failure etc. Then the neo-cons will be purged and, like herpes to the nerve ganglia, withdraw to the think tanks, law firms, jails and universities to re-emerge in a time of weakness with great fanfare.
    So aside of their idea of changing America, their fumbling of foreign policy is what atm concerns me most. Look at Mr. Abrams – he and his ilk are just brilliant at plotting and instigating war, death and destruction in order to conjure up the cleansing fires of chaos to bring upon creative destruction over the Middle East – to change it to the better, conincidentally in accordance with what they see as American interests. The seeds of misery and hatred these pompous fools lay will haunt all of us for decades to come.
    Before America goes down the drain, it’ll probably be bankrupt. So be happy, America will rather be like Argentina in the 1990s, rather than like Russia in the 1990s. Considering all this grandiose babble about ‘space dominance’, ‘information dominance’, ‘preventing the rise of a(ny) near term competitor’, ‘global dominance’ etc. it maybe that America needs to rediscover that humility is healthy and self-restraint a strategic asset.
    He who is strong and knows it, doesn’t throw his weight around. He doesn’t have to. Under Bush and since 911, America is almost hyperactive in this respect. When Madeleine Albright felt she had to remind Europe that America is the indispensable nation it became overly clear that this in fact was in question. Bush and his clowns have only underlined the questionmarks.

  24. Ghostman says:

    1. I agree with many here, UN 1701 is a joke. I call it the “finger-pointing” resolution. Israel and Hizb will continue warfare; each pointing the finger at the other’s acts to justify its own acts.
    2. I haven’t seen any video of these UN troops gearing up, loading transport ships, their advance personnel flying into Beirut? Guess they’re not in too big a hurry?
    3. Just what does the IDF intend to do, movement-wise, when this cease-fire hour arrives? Hold in positions? Seems like that only makes the IDF even bigger targets for Hizb. Does the IDF intend to continue to move in force to the north? And do this while UN relief vehicles try to move in force to the south? What a mess. Or perhaps the IDF intends to maintain movement, but to pockets of resistance. Then even more pitched battles shall ensue post cease-fire…all to the political and military hardship of Israel. However the IDF decides to “stay” in this area (hunkered down or in movement)…those troops will need some food, their rifles need more ammo, and those tanks need fuel. Mr. Bad Tux writes of kill boxes for tanks. I imagine fuel and supply trucks would fare a whole lot worse.

  25. Patrick Henry says:

    Col. Lang..
    I agree with this
    evaluation and your comments..Nothing has changed..
    End result has been lots of infrastucture Destruction in Lebanon..alot of civilian collateral death
    from Heavy Bombing..in an effort to try to kill one or two Hezbollah…who operate (Fire Rockets) from Civilian areas..Knowing that the Israels are damned if they do damned if they dont take the Launchers out..
    I think there was alot of over`reaction..EXCESSS DESTRUCTION OF INFRASTRUCTURE.. and over kill..Posssibly to the extent of iSRAEL wanting to punish the Lebonese govt and Lebonese People for allowing HB to get so well organized and carry out thier operations in southern Lebanon..
    Perhaps done to force the lebonese Govt..to take the Current actions agreed to in the UN..
    Also I wonder at the timing of the London Arrests and Hijacking plot
    and how that fits into the Current actions in Lebanon..??
    Effort to Create a distraction and Focus..so the Hijackers would be sucessful..??
    Also…what do you think the Planners believed the United States and GB Response would be..and how we would retaliate..??
    They must have anticipated some reaction…
    Nothing has Changed..
    The Pot will still sit and Boil..
    Until it Boils Over..
    No matter how much Kool Aid they want us to drink..or Opptomistic they want us to Be about the Situation..
    so the Watchmen MUST keep Watch..

  26. 1982
    Israel vs. PLO = 10 weeks
    Israel vs. Hezbollah = 4 weeks

  27. blowback says:

    Looking at the size of the area south of the Litani, approximately 400 square miles, I don’t see how the Israelis or UNIFIL could expect to find many of the Hezbollah weapons caches. The Israelis would have the added problem that Hezbollah would be constantly sniping them. UNIFIL knows that if they upset Hezbollah too much then the car bombs might start being driven at them. So it looks like Hezbollah will keep most of their weapons south of the Litani.
    The other issue relates to the Israeli dash for the Litani, although I have my doubts about how far they actually dashed. Billmon mentions a reference to “a fighting withdrawal” and then suggests that the Israelis may be looking to execute “a glorified search-and-destroy mission”. From what I can remember, a fighting retreat is one of the more difficult and dangerous maneuvers for an army to undertake. Given their recent ineptitude, I have to wonder if the IDF is up to it.
    Their last retreat from Lebanon was unannounced and they were able to complete it before Hezbollah (or the South Lebanese Army) worked out what was going on. This time around, that is not going to happen. I also wonder if their staff has ever even thought about a fighting retreat let alone conducted an exercise or war game involving one – the concept doesn’t exactly fit in with the IDF’s image of itself.

  28. blowback says:

    Robert Fisk today (14th in UK)
    The real war in Lebanon begins today. The world may believe – and Israel may believe – that the UN ceasefire due to come into effect at 6am today will mark the beginning of the end of the latest dirty war in Lebanon after up to 1,000 Lebanese civilians and more than 30 Israeli civilians have been killed. But the reality is quite different and will suffer no such self-delusion: the Israeli army, reeling under the Hizbollah’s onslaught of the past 24 hours, is now facing the harshest guerrilla war in its history. And it is a war they may well lose.
    Will the IDF be able to get out quickly enough?
    Probably not.
    The Israel Defense Forces are recommending that once the cease-fire takes effect, Israel should begin withdrawing its forces from Lebanon relatively quickly.
    It makes the Israeli push into Lebanon over the last few days look like an act of criminal stupidity.

  29. pbrownlee says:

    The most alarming section of the Hersh/NYorker piece is “some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said. ‘There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,’ he said. ‘When the smoke clears, they’ll say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.’
    “In the White House, especially in the Vice-President’s office, many officials believe that the military campaign against Hezbollah is working and should be carried forward.”

  30. sonic says:

    Intersting Times (UK) article here.
    Embedded reporter cannot get 3 miles into Lebanon

  31. zanzibar says:

    The Israel Defense Forces are recommending that once the cease-fire takes effect, Israel should begin withdrawing its forces from Lebanon relatively quickly.
    The intention is for the forces to move back to a line north of the border with Lebanon within about 10 days, or as soon as the Lebanese Army is ready to begin entering South Lebanon. This means that the IDF will not be conducting searches for Hezbollah fighters or arms caches in the areas that it has captured over the last few days, which the army defined as “the heart of the operational campaign” against Hezbollah.

    It looks like IDF will take at least another 10 days to pullback. I don’t get what was achieved by the last minute ground operation. Were the IDF lives lost worth it? What will HA do over the next 10 days?

  32. blowback says:

    Another “scrap of paper”?
    “Despite whatever claims Nasrallah may make in victory speeches, Hezbollah today is an entirely different Hezbollah, he told Army radio, referring to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
    The above is very true, Hezbollah are an “entirely different” organization, they took on the might of the IDF and survived. To most of the world that will be a victory.
    “This is a beaten Hezbollah, entirely different in real terms, both on the ground and also from the international standpoint,” he told Army Radio.
    According to Ramon, in the UN truce terms, “We have a internationally recognized document which bears great potential to entirely change [the state of affairs that existed] prior to July 12 and that was the objective of the war.”
    All joking aside, Neville Chamberlain was trying to stop a major European war, Haim Ramon had just agreed to a ceasefire with a “terrorist organization”.

  33. blowback says:

    “Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.”
    Has the IDF, in its mad rush to reach the Litani, overextended itself.

  34. Pan says:

    From the Ha’aretz article:
    “According to Mizrahi, the logistics branch is prepared for the possibility that combat soldiers will have to remain in Lebanon during the winter.”
    Shades of Barbarossa? At least they won’t need winter clothing.

  35. Abu Sinan says:

    I think Hizb felt that the entire would knows it won this round, and that the Muslim world doesnt believe that they were the aggressors, whatever some UN Resolution says.
    This is just a real good lesson for Hizb and Iran. The end of hostilities will just be more time to tool up before the next go around.
    Far from weaken Hizb, I think Israel has made them stronger, given them practical on the ground experience and given them tactical information about Israel forces.
    I think if Israel tries this again, so in 4-5 years, they will get a worse response than they got this time.
    I think key members of the Bush government will see this as a success. These lot could forge Dunkirk into a rousing victory.
    The scale of Israeli weakness is shown by the fact that they have not yet even been able to retrieve the bodies of the Israeli soldiers from the helicopter shot down recently.
    This Israel defeat, this show of weakness, will haunt them in the future.

  36. Alex says:

    Not really, because they haven’t rushed very far.

  37. Got A Watch says:

    Great blog Col. Lang, and many well-informed posts.
    My conclusions, tentatively, on the Lebanon “war””
    -the main battle tank (and indeed most armored vehicles) are increasingly vulnerable to modern weaponry…the balance has shifted in favor
    of infantry firing missiles, and this trend can only continue unless some new light-weight impenetrable armor can be devised.
    -the same can be said for the helicopter gunship, as evidence by the recent US cancellation of the new gunship program over vulnerability to missiles
    -both of these factors point to the increasing importance of infantry over more advanced systems, which is a boost for less well equipped guerrillas
    -the power of “Air Power” is vastly over-rated by western militaries, and they will no doubt continue to rely on it more and more, which is why any campaign in Iran is doomed to failure before it starts (also because bombing infrastructure only angers the population and stiffens resistance)
    -western military doctrine in general sems to be moribund, preparing to fight the next WWIII on the WWII model..witness the US obsession with locating military bases all over the world to “encircle” future enemies like Iran, China etc.
    -popular movements like Hezbollah can not be defeated by any kind of military force…they may be suppressed, but they will rise again unless the geo-political reasons for their having come into existence are not addressed
    -the leading cause of modern Islamic terrorism is 60 years of bad foreign policy by USA/UK…or to put it more bluntly, when you go into other peoples countries at will to interfere, you only make more people angry at you – I read that Osama founded Al-Qaeda in 1982 because he saw on TV the Israeli devastation of Lebanon. How many new Al-**** have been created by the last month’s events, I wonder. (I am not excusing religious fanaticism, but more than religious differences are required to motivate suicide bombers, there has to be perceived “unjust” action from the other side too
    I have more thoughts, will assemble them for a future post – keep up the good work people. Too bad nobody in Washington in a position of real influence seems to be listening. In short, IMHO America as a nation has lost its way, mistaking aggression for wise policy. Wise might be someone who can recognise a situation that they do not like but have to accept for the sake of future stability.

  38. confusedponderer says:

    So Hezbollah will disarm now? Hmm. Haaretz already claims that Hezbollah has ‘torpedoed’ a gvt meeting on disarmament. Don’t pass the buck so fast. Maybe be the Beirut gvt, bowing to US pressure and Israeli demands, has simply exceeded the mandate given to it by Hezbollah.

  39. wtofd says:

    Ghost, well done. The “finger-pointing” res. Perfect.

  40. wtofd says:

    do yourself a favor and click through on blowback’s link. Even if you just need a laugh (or cry). This smells like the “Iraqis joining on us on the road to Baghdad.”
    If the Lebanese got wind of this it would be impossible for them to hide or destroy provisions before they fell into IDF hands, right? Right? Oh, well, maybe the IDF needs a plan b.

  41. zanzibar says:

    That’s an interesting report where the head of IDF logistics states that “If our fighters deep in Lebanese territory are left without food our water, I believe they can break into local Lebanese stores to solve that problem,”.
    Does that mean that local Lebanese “police” can arrest the IDF soldiers for theft? And do the “store owners” have a “right” to resist the looting of their stores by the IDF? As this thread points out HA will go back to being the grocers, etc. The irony is inescapable.

  42. confusedponderer says:

    Looting of civilian property is a war crime if my memory serves me right. Pillage, which is looting by occupation troops, is strictly forbidden, as is any reprisal against property of the inhabitants.
    Under international law, seizing private property that is of direct military use is permissible, but the owner must be provided a receipt to allow him to later reacquire the property and receive compensation for any damage. I have my doubts about that final part. Israel compensating Arabs?
    Services and property may also be “requisitioned” from the populace for the needs of the occupation forces if ordered by the local commander and paid for in cash, preferably at the time of requisition. Doubtful again.
    Food or other items necessary for the well being of the civilian population may only be requisitioned after taking the needs of that population into consideration. Another point where I have doubts, as inflicting maximum civilian misery for maximum coercive effect was the very idea this war was started with.
    Aside of making their logisticians and planners look stupid, this is silly from a counterinsurgency point of view. Allowing for looting, even if limited to stores, which is questiobable, is a sure way not to win hearts and minds. But then, I have serious doubts the Israelis are interested in that.

  43. Montag says:

    The Angry Arab says that Israeli propaganda is becoming as hysterical as Nasserite propaganda in the 1960s, even to the point of childish insults against leaders on the other side. And the Angry Arab really despises the Nasserites.
    Fighting withdrawals are so difficult that I read somewhere that the Soviet Union had a special medal for them, the Order of Kutusov–named after Napoleon’s worst nightmare.

  44. Mo says:

    Confusedponderer, did you not read the last addendum to the Geneva Convention stating that if your nation happens to be called Israel, all the above need not apply?

  45. marclord: I don’t think we need to look to Nazi Germany for the source of our problems. I see the Bush/Cheny/neocon putsch as a realization of Alexander Hamilton’s dream. At least, if I read Pocock aright in his Machiavellian Moment.
    It was Hamilton who wanted the strong exective branch who would expand the new empire into far lands. As he shows convincingly, I think, the US was meant as republic in a form modeled on Machavelli and Harrington. As such, the US was meant to be an empire from its inception. That there was huge amounts of real estate to play in and expand this empire worked towards hiding this fact from us.
    It wasn’t until after WWII that the expnasion east and into the mideast became the playground.

  46. confused: I agree with much of what you say. I think I have answered at least one question, about the unitary executive, in my response to marc. That’s all Hamilton. If I’m reading Pocock right, the US wa set up for empire. The conflict is between corruption and virtue, comemrce vs. martial virtu.
    How do we resolve that conflict? That’s the question that’s going on here and which the neocons, at least, have adequately identified. tehre is corruption–the question is, will the martial ethos adequately eradicate it?
    One of the things that Machavelli bitched about was mercenaries. I’d like to pose the question: what differentiates the modern security firms like DynCorp and Blackwell’s from mercenaries? Has anyone considered how this going to corrupt that very military ethos that the necons think will undo the corruption of the commerical interests?

  47. confusedponderer says:

    when I wrote my reply to you I was down with a light flu, and in a very bad mood. So there was one point I’d like to clarify: I don’t wish for America’s demise, and I’d be happy if it wouldn’t happen and America would return to ‘mode normal’ in time to prevent it. But if it happens, it could be much much worse.
    The greatest risk for America internally, is that they overreach when they roll back Bushistan’s madeness, and overreach, create another generation of brain scarred veteran conservatives like the survivors of Watergate. Their effort to avenge Nixon poisons US politics till today. I think James Baker understands that, when he tries to prevent that from happening in case of a democratic takeover of both houses.
    It is probably better to let the culprits of disaster die off silently, than to push the entire right into stark staring frenzy in the attempt to defend them as martyrs. The partisan division of America is bad enough already. Is it what these folks deserve? Certainly not.
    I doubt martial ethos will solve America’s problems domestically and foreign policy-wise. That’s once again wishful thinking on the neo-con part. Look where ‘warrior menthality’ has brought Israel. They are the most agressive regime in the region. Under neo-con guidance, America is on the way duplicating that. Plus, I don’t like Israel’s attitude toward international law, which is another consequence of it’s militaristic machismo.
    I think you’re mistaken anbout the mercenaries. The neo-cons babble much about virtues, but they also strongly embody the spirit of the defense establishment – they find nothing wrong about advising missile defense, and cashing in on it. They have internalised from the days of the cold war that ‘opposing evil’ is very good business.
    Virtues are for the pawns who have to be led, if neccessary by deception, to do what the enlighted elite knows is right. They, who have seen the light, can do without such trifles. They are not inconsistent, just very orwellian.

  48. confusedponderer says:

    as for America destined to be an empire, I don’t know. Haven’t read Hamilton. I remember Chalmers Johnson musing about the American empire on web radio, quoting some great American along the line: ‘Empire, no, but expansion – it’s in our blood!’
    Maybe that’s closer to it. But then, both terms are close enough to at some point merge or become synonymous.

  49. confused: I am not sure there is an “answer” per se. There’s threat of corruption, perhaps from both side of the dichotomy posed by the neo-Machiavellian framework set up by the Hamiltonian types. The issue will then be which direction to point it towards.
    The neocons and this administration have ostensibly opted for the miliatry ethos, although as Kevin Phillips (Pocock interestingly) point out the commercial aspect of the US empire does not follow too far behind.
    Whether the military ethos will balance out the commercial has yet to be seen. My point about the mercenaries is that, as machiavelli pointed out, they have one commitment which does not necessarily coincide with the general goals or commitments of the republic. The combining of commercial and military, as we see happening with the military-industrial complex, would seem to be ripe for a type of corruption that Machiavelli might well find disturbing.
    Can the military ethos prove effective in countering the false consciousness created by a commercial ethos? I don’t think so, but an alternative has yet to be formulated in terms that recognize the temporality of the state while providing some form of stable foundation to character development.
    If anything, perhaps, the current war effort and the realization of threats to “democracy” will provide the basis for some type of realistic reformulation of the problem. But the reactions to the Islamist threat are so overwhelmingly over-reactive that that seems a pipe dream. Even granting the idea that the over-reaction is just “propaganda” that supports an underlying reasonable approach, the very hysteria and its arc of racist assumptions could veer out of control.
    Personally, I am not thrilled by either the neocon or the liberal responses.

  50. confusedponderer says:

    If anything, the oft quoted revolving door and those Generals (not to mention former secretaries of defense) overseeing military programs ending up as business executives on the bidder’s side should put a question mark behind the utility of military ethos to safeguard against corruption.
    Maybe military ethos and civic virtue are two distinct and separate things. I do think they have to coexist in a soldier’s mind. I do not think that a soldier can be only a soldier and not a citizen. He has to be both at the same time.
    Your point with mercenaries is well taken. In the end, with the think tank realm the outsourcing of analysis and policy planning has already happened. Looking at outfits like JINSA, AEI et al the question of allegiance comes as quickly to my mind as when I look at Blackwater.
    The point you raise is generally the utility of the privatisation of state services, and wether they serve private profit intersts or the common good. It’s a good point. I think the neo-cons say: When they serve (my) profit interests, they too serve the greater good – after all I earn my money with doing the right thing. A libertarian conservative would probably say: Every privatised state service is a good thing.

  51. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The maker and I discussed the design and he made it for me on order. pl

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