Walid's Wanderings

Reflections on life, good-and-evil, family, humanity, and anything else that occurs to me, usually when I travel. Right now I am on a 6-year trip through Lebanon, the homeland I had never really lived in before.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Appeal

I heard yesterday that Thomas Friedman has written an article equating Hezballah with Hamas, and I'm dying to read it. I really like the guy and I agree with 99% of what he writes, so I have a burning curiosity every time an exemplar of the remaining 1% presents itself. So if anyone out there can cut-and-paste the text from the "premium content" section of NYTimes.com, or just scan and email me the newspaper copy, I'be really grateful. Fair use: I would love to buy the paper but I'm under embargo.

Condi is a Klingon...

I'm sure I'm not the first to notice the coincidential confluence of shape, texture and skin tone on Condleeza Rice's brow, but the martial talk coming out of that woman yesterday pushed me over the edge into the land of bad hackneyed metaphors. It is not clear to me with whom she thinks she can make headway in negotiation when she gets to Lebanon, since she has made it crystal clear that her administration is not interested in a cease fire before negotiation. In plain english, she insists on negotiating under fire, a natural position for someone who is not feeling any fire, but hey, have a heart!

What is she going to negotiate?
Scenario 1:
  • It is intolerable that Israel has someone who can send missiles into their territory.
  • It is also intolerable that Israel is free to bomb our airport and highway bridges and villages ...
  • It's not the same because Israel is a responsible sovereign state that only goes to war under the orders of a democratically elected civilian government.
  • Sounds good, we are a young democracy and we too want to have civilian oversight of Hezballah's deterrent capabilities, which as you know are completely inadequate to attack anyone, but just enough to deter attack against us.
  • Nope, the point is that you are not allowed to have any deterrent, even if you are a democracy.
  • Why not?
  • +Klingon smile+ 'cause we can whup yo' ass!
War goes on. If Hezballah has 30,000 men under arms, and Israel is killing 300 civilians and creating 500,000 internally displaced persons and 100,000 refugees in order to kill no more than 10 Hezballah people, then you can see that linear extrapolation ... becomes implausible. More so if you factor in 19 Israeli soldiers killed and 15 Israeli civilians.

Scenario 2:
  • It is intolerable that Israel has someone who can send missiles into their territory.
  • It is also intolerable that Israel is free to bomb our airport and highway bridges and villages ...
  • It's not the same because Israel is a responsible sovereign state that only goes to war under the orders of a democratically elected civilian government.
  • Sounds good, we are a young democracy and we too want to have civilian oversight of Hezballah's deterrent capabilities, which as you know are completely inadequate to achieve any military objectives except to deter attack against us.
  • Gee, well why didn't I think of that? Is that even possible with Hezballah, a terrorist organization?
  • According to your own definition, an organizations which has in the past committed terrorist acts ceases to be a terrorist organization if it 1-renounces terrorism, and either 2a-lays down its arms, or 2b-merges with the defence forces of a sovereign nation, or 2c-takes over the government of a sovereign nation (Iran, Cuba, PLO). We know Hezballah better than anyone in the world, and if you give us a 1-week ceasefire, we can deliver 1+2b.
  • We are willing to do everything in our power to help you achieve this mutually beneficial outcome. Are you sure you do not want Hezballah "weakened" by more bombing?
  • Lady, you keep bombing and you'll have scenario 2c. If, that is, we are still around to be taken over. You got any carrots with that bag of sticks?
  • Well, there is that ranch that Israel took from Syria after Syria took it from Lebanon. They don't really want it. I was going to put that on the table after Hezballah was destroyed or disarmed.
  • Gee that would be great! Throw in a bunch of Lebanese prisoners, whom Israel would no longer have to feed, an you got yourself a deal!
  • I'll have to make some phone calls....
  • And there we were thinking you were a Klingon.
  • Naaah,I just play one on TV. I'm really the provost of Stanford University....
  • Wow, really? My cousin's grandson's fiancee went there. Maybe you can hang around and give our local universities some advice on how to have tenure without going bankrupt.
  • No thanks, my current day job is easier...
    ...fade out...

2 Comments:

  • At 22/7/06 3:44 PM, Anonymous RickyB said…

    Yo, man...you *really* think you (or anyone in Lubnan) can make hizballah renounce terrorism (meaning, for the purposes of the current discussion, renouncing further attacks on Israel?)

    As for merging into y'alls aremd forces - more like a takover, I think. A lot of your fighters are Shi'ite as it is. But what even makes you think you can get them to give up being an independent militia - even for appearances' sake?

     
  • At 22/7/06 7:15 PM, Blogger Walid said…

    Hey everyone this is Ricky from Ornery.org. Welcome.

    About your question I am of course being optimistic, but not fancifully do. I am going by what the politicians of Hezballah say they want and in all my years of observing Lebanese and American politics no one has struck me as more true to their word. The things that other politician say about their opponents are usually 99% to be dismissed by any thinking person, but all I see said about Hezballah in the Western media is an amplified echo of what their opponents say about them.

    P.S. you do not have to delve too deep into my past postings to see that I have had my differences with Hezballah's politics in the past.

     

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