Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Measured Response

I've taken some time before commenting on the Middle East situation because it's not my forté and it's one of those explosive topics where a single wrong word is sure to upset people. Even after reading 50 billion news stories on the topic today, I probably know more about the relationship between Britney Spears and Kevin Federline than about the relationship between Syria and Hezbollah. So here are some very crude observations on the conflict:


1. Given that the Tories were relentless in criticizing the Liberals for perceived slow response on everything from the Tsunami to the NHL lockout, I certainly believe it's fair to say that the Conservative Government's response to this has been pretty lethargic. Canadians are dying in Lebanon and there's no excuse for Canada trailing behind every other Western country's evacuation timeline.


2. Harper's response has been a lot more pro-Israel than I'd like to see from our Prime Minister. I know Steve wants to look decisive but a position slightly more nuanced than all out support for Israel would likely have been better under the circumstances.


3. There will certainly be some political fallout from Harper's handling of this.


4. With respect to the Liberal leadership race, Warren Kinsella will be filing a column on that topic tonight. He says he's heard back from Brison, Rae, Volpe, Dion, and Findlay. We certainly all heard from Rae and Brison yesterday as they clashed hard, prompting Lloyd Axworthy to say Brison "doesn't really understand what Liberal foreign policy is about."

Gerard Kennedy also released a very sound statement today. I think he stakes out a very reasonable middle ground on the conflict and there's actually some meat in there, unlike other candidates who have just expressed regret over the death of the Canadians.

Surprisingly quiet on this topic has been Michael Ignatieff. I know there are aprons to sell but I would expect the Liberal leadership frontrunner who is a world renowned expert on international conflict, ethnic relations, and war, and who has visited the Middle East on many occasions, to have some sort of opinion on this topic.

64 Comments:

  • Ah yes, middle ground - the fabled position of those who can't distinguish justified action from unbridled wrongdoing.

    I for one wish that Diefenbaker and Mulroney had taken a more middle ground position on South Africa - one more like the position Chretien took on Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 12:49 AM  

  • I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that:

    a) Hezbollah is bad
    b) Israel's response goes beyond "measured"

    You'd have to disagree with one of those two claims to be outside the middle ground on this issue.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:57 AM  

  • And I think the middle ground sucks if it includes affirming the legitimacy of the government in Lebanon when one of its members has a militia waging terrorist war against a legitmate democracy.

    Sorry, I just don't think the biggest issue here is whether 7 Canadians were killed in Lebanon, or whether an Israeli-Canadian was killed. For me the big issue is whether a Liberal candidate for party leadership and then government will stand up and say that Israel has every right to defend itself and that the governments of the surrounding countries need to show action in disarming Hezbollah, beginning with its governing partners in Lebanon.

    Finally, I think I'll go ahead and say that I am sceptical on 2.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 1:12 AM  

  • Ignatieff has been extremely quiet on ... everything of late.

    By Blogger Werner Patels, at 1:17 AM  

  • Just wondering but could the following statement possibly be construed as being the opposite of "political fallout"?

    "Mississauga, Ontario -- July 19, 2006 -- We, the undersigned, representatives of the six Canadian Lebanese organizations that are listed below, extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Canadian government, represented by Prime Minister Mr. Stephen Harper and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Peter MacKay, for the correct, just and prompt positions they have taken with regard to Lebanon and the unfortunate military confrontations that are occurring on its soil as a result of the reckless hostile actions of the Hezbollah group that violate the will of the Lebanese people and the decisions and authority of the legitimate government of Lebanon. The actions and conduct of Hezbollah are extremely harmful to the interests of Lebanon and the Lebanese people, and obstruct progress of the peace process in Lebanon specifically, and in the Middle East in general."

    By Blogger Fred Mc, at 2:03 AM  

  • Lost in the whole bloodshed is the reason for kidnapping Gilad Shalit by some Palestinians in the first place - "Israel must release some of the 342 Palestinian children and 122 women it holds in its prisons without trial".

    Why is our 'ally' holding children in its prisons? Had Israel dealt with that problem it was unlikely there would have been war in the ME now.

    By Blogger mezba, at 7:22 AM  

  • Peter,

    Asking Lebanon to atack Hezbollah is asking it to commit political suicide, trigger a civil war. So its a non-starter. Humiliating the Lebanese state, as Israel has done (by bombing Beirut airport, for example),to get it to do something it literally cannot do and survive,is beyond stupid.

    If Israel's response is geared towards finding their soldiers, then air strikes aren't really very effective. If its a prelude to the re-occupation of Lebanon,then I'm agin it and that's beyond stupid too.

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 7:36 AM  

  • Kennedy was very late with his statement. He told media he was working on it last Thursday but waited until Tuesday morning to issue anything. Kinda of like the response time from the Government.
    If you want to be Leader, you have to be prepared to react when the issue calls for it. Rae and Brison did. Ignatieff, Kennedy et al were far too slow.

    By Blogger grit heart, at 7:41 AM  

  • Mezba:
    The "children" that Israel holds in their prisons had bombs strapped to their bodies when they were caught trying to enter Israel at checkpoints. Do you not recall the photos?

    And btw, these are not Lebaneese children. There are only 2 prisoners from Lebanon left in Israeli prisons (that Israel refused to release during a prisoner exchange a few years ago).

    Why? you may ask?

    These two were part of a team that infiltrated (over 15 years ago) into northern Israel from Lebanon by sea on a rubber dingy. They killed 8 people. But tok two of their victims to the beach (where they would try to make their escape back to Lebanon). On the beach they made a young girl watch her father be shot to death then they bashed in her skull with the butt of a rifle.

    Two terorists who committed this act are the ones left in Israeli prisons.

    Do you think they should be released?

    By Blogger grit heart, at 7:47 AM  

  • From CTV.ca:

    Which approach will best resolve the Lebanon crisis?
    Diplomacy
    2765 votes (37 %)
    Military action
    4616 votes (63 %)

    Total Votes: 7381



    This has been a long time coming, Hezbollah has been taunting Israel for many years. I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner actually. It's hardly Israel's fault that the cowardly Hezbollah terrorists likes to hide in civilian neighbourhoods. Israel needs to keep bombing Lebanon until all of Hezbollah's infrastructure and weapons have been eliminated.

    Kudos to Harper for not siding with the Terrorists. Shame on Liberals for sympathizing with Terrorists and their supporters. Although what do you really expect from the Left?

    I think considering what Hezbollah has done in the past this action by Israel is quite "measured" and expected. If the Liberals and Left had their way Israel would have to sit around while Hezbollah and Hamas launch rocket after rocket and raid after raid on Israel. If you haven't noticed, diplomacy doesn't work with Terrorsts. Diplomacy only shows that we (the west) are weak to them. Liberals will never understand this.

    Demanding 1000+ prisoners (some being rapists and child killers, in other words "heroes" to Terrorists) for the release of 1 soldier is not Diplomacy.

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 8:10 AM  

  • When the Tsunami hit, Martin was on vacation. So was Pettigrew. Graham was left holding the bag. The PM seemed to have little interest until three days later.

    Harper commented the first day, you can disagree with his statements but he made them.

    On the evacuation, hindsight is 20/20. I don't think anyone thought we'd have to evacuate people. Then, when they did, how the hell were we supposed to get them out?

    Libs tore military spending to crap since Trudeau in the 70's. We have no capabilities to evacuate thousands of people from Lebanon of all places. So we had to rent commercial ships... well guess what; Italy, France, Britain and even the U.S. is also out there trying to rent commercial ships. Factor in that they're all coming from the tiny island of cyprus, and I'm surprized we managed to get any of all.

    Our response time was NOT delayed because you'll notice France, U.S. and Britain all started to evacuate yesterday and today with the main ships. Sure, they helicopters and air lifted some initial people out on sunday...but how were WE supposed to do that? With WHAT military ships could we have evacuated people?

    I love how we expect to snap our fingers and have everything done right away. Public statements are one thing, but actual action is another.

    I maybe agree Harper and Mackay have not been clean enough in public about what Canada wants to do in this situation, but you can't criticize the evacuation time.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 8:18 AM  

  • grit heart:

    Israel holds certainly more than 2 people prisoner [see Sabbah's blog]. As for kids strapping bombs to their bodies, that's a myth. Don't take photos of kids strapping fake bombs made of toy material to their bodies in protests against Israel to be the real thing.

    Second, its a myth to say Israel gave up land when they made a huge land grab via the wall (the wall was built in Palestenian territory, not just outside Israeli walls). Let's not forget the family killed on the beach in gaza by Israeli shells. Oh there's enough blame to go both ways. And Harper has stuck to blaming only one.

    By Blogger mezba, at 8:56 AM  

  • Regardless of your position on the Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Prime Minister of Canada should not have unilaterally picked sides. We are a multicultural country and the conflict is not a simple cause-and-effect.

    By Blogger mezba, at 9:26 AM  

  • What? Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are dating?

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 9:32 AM  

  • the Prime Minister of Canada should not have unilaterally picked sides.

    He hasn't, he's taken a line that falls well within the G8 statement's parameters.

    By Blogger RGM, at 9:51 AM  

  • Mezba:

    What does the multicultural nature of our country have to do with which position our government takes? If there were no Lebanese in Canada would it then be ok for Harper to take the position he did? If there were no Jews, would it be doubly wrong for him to take his position?

    To suggest that we have to take positions as a function of our internal ethnic composition is pretty weak, and may be ethnic politics of a bad kind.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 10:00 AM  

  • Mezba... do you really believe that if Israel released all its Palestinian, Arab and Lebanese prisoners that Hezbollah would simply stop attacking?

    If you do, then well, I feel sorry for you.

    Everyone said that the reason for Israel's problems with Palestine was the occupation and if Israel was to just leave that the Palestinians would leave them alone.

    So Israel unilaterally pulls out of 100% of Gaza and lays down plans to evacuate almost all of the West Bank.

    How does Hamas reward this positive step? By infiltrating Israel and kidnapping an Israeli soldier.

    In the 80s and 90s Hezbollah complained loudly about how Israel was occupying Lebanon and everyone on the left figured that if Israel just withdrew then the problem would be solved. Well.. in 2000 Israel did, and Hezbollah rewarded them with the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in 2002 (using UN disguises) and in 2006 and the firing of rockets into Israel every so often.

    I'm not saying that what Israel is doing is right, I'm saying that Israel cannot expect its neighbours to reward its positive steps with steps in kind. It can only expect terrorism and bloodshed no matter what it does. So where is the incentive for Israel to do the right thing?

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 10:10 AM  

  • As far as I'm concerned this isn't an Israel-Lebanon conflict, it's an Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Given that, I have no problem whatsoever with Prime Minister Harper taking the side of a liberal democracy over a terrorist organization. Canada's multiculturalism doesn't make us neutral in the fight against terrorists.

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 10:16 AM  

  • CG,

    I agree political fall-out is coming:

    yet another schism in the Liberal party.

    I'd bet Iggy is quiet because he's grossed out by the Liberal response so far - which wouldn't surprise me.

    Or maybe George W. Bush told him to be quiet - that's a theory any Liberal can love! :)

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 10:22 AM  

  • ps. the debate's pretty good at my site too (151 comments and growing in 12 hours!)

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 10:23 AM  

  • As for the "proportionality" of Israel's response, I would agree that Israel's response is over-the-top if I thought their goal was still only to get back the kidnapped soldiers, and that the kidnapping of the soldiers was the only issue which necessitated Israel's response. I think it's clear that this is not what's happening anymore. Israel isn't attacking Lebanon to convince the Lebanese government to finally drive out Hezbollah's military wing, or attacking Lebanon to convine the Lebanese government to help get their soldiers back. They've stopped trying to convince the Lebanese government to do anything. They're attacking Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah's military wing and, if possible, get their soldiers back themsleves. People who claim that bombing Lebanon will never convince the Lebanese to deal with the Hezbollah problem are absolutely right. Of course, leaving the Lebanese to their own devices for the last 6 years hasn't gotten the Lebanese to take on Hezbollah either. The main condition for Israel's withdrawl from Southern Lebanon in 2000 was that only Lebanese government soldiers would secure Southern Lebanon, not a terrorist organization, and that the Lebanese government would excercise their sovereignty over the South. That's the only reason Israel agreed to leave. Six years later and Hezbollah has total control over Southern Lebanon, the Lebanese government is incapable (though I don't think unwilling, in theory) to do anything about it, and now there are 10-15 THOUSAND rockets in Southern Lebanon, all pointed at Israel, several of which can apparently reach Israel's third largest city and most impoirtant port. I think it's pretty clear that Israel intends not just to get their soldiers back, but to finally drive the terrorist organization with 10,000 rockets who sit immediately on their border away from their border, permanently; if not to completely destroy Hezbollah's military wing all together. If they manage to do that, I think everyone will be pretty happy about it, even if they wouldn't all say so in public (though I did find Egypt and Saudi Arabia's condemnations of Hezbollah's actions to be pretty interesting... clearly they're not happy about Iran's new influence, and they'd prefer Hezbollah just go away). Not that this will happen, but CNN was even talking last night about, basically a joint (not officially) operation between Israel and Lebanon where Israel swoops in from the South, and Lebanese troops hold Hezbollah from the North, and the problem is finally taken care of. As I said, it won't happen (because the civic wing of Hezbollah is too popular in Lebanon, and I doubt the Lebanese army could hold them back as they rushed North anyway) but I bet the PM of Lebanon wishes it could be.

    People are also right that bombing Lebanon won't convince the Lebanese government to get the soldiers back from Hezbollah. The problem is, NOTHING will convince the Lebanese government to get the soldiers back from Hezbollah. And the only way to get the soldiers back from Hezbollah otherwise is to A) take them back yourself, or B) negotiate with a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of your country. I for one don't blame Israel for their "we don't negotiate with terrorists" stance. It's the only way they can survive. Heck, after six years of waiting for the Lebanese government to finally live up to their obligations and excercise some control over Southern Lebanon, I'm surprised they even negotiate with other governments anymore.

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 10:41 AM  

  • He hasn't, he's taken a line that falls well within the G8 statement's parameters.

    Actually he hasn't, he said the Israeli response was "measured" (right before they killed Canadians on holiday there). Then he had to realign it somewhat.

    Liberal Leader Bill Graham said Harper is "out-Bushing Bush" with a pro-Israeli stand that has compromised Canada's ability to play peace broker in the troubled region [LFP].

    It's not just an Israel-Hezb conflict. Israel is bombing ALL of Lebanon - Drize, Christians, Shia, Sunnis and now Canadians are all dying [over 300 civilians so far]. Lebanon is/was a democratic ally of Canada which just threw off the Syrian army yoke.

    As for the evacuation we cannot really comment until all the evacuaees are home. It is a big operation and war means all bets are off and regardless of who was in charge I believe it would have been the same chaotic experience as it is now.

    By Blogger mezba, at 10:50 AM  

  • Nice to see that Hezbollah has its supporters commenting. Are they a paid up sub-organization of the LPC just like the LTTE?

    Israel has women and "children" in its prisons. Why does it have children in its prisons? Because they are routinely used to smuggle in bombs for others (on the theory that they are less likely to be searched than an older person), because 16 and 17 year olds (and younger) are treated as regular soldiers by Hamas, PFLP, AAMB, etc as suicide bombers, rock throwers, messengers, scouts... and because children have launched attacks of their own against Israel (usually futile, but a 12 year old holding an assualt rifle and infiltrating your country is still a major threat). Some kids are running away from home and intentionally getting caught by Israeli forces so that they go to jail. In jail you get more food, get to watch tv, go to school, and are safe, whereas in the territories money has to go to the leaders swiss accounts, you can be pulled out by any militia to "volunteer", and anyone can denounce you as a collaborator and have you killed immediately. Why not choose jail?

    Tell me that these are evil reasons to hold people. Oh, wait.

    A measured response is just useless LPC straddling. How can there seriously be a middle ground between "All the Jews should die" and "No, we shouldn't"? Do we only allow Hez to kill 1/3 of the Jews? 2/3rds?

    The absolute best idea is the UN Mission floated by Rae. Is he unaware of the history of the conflict? What, exactly, does he think that UNIFIL is? Oh right, they're the peacekeepers in South Lebanon that sit and watch as Hez launches rockets and cross-border attacks. The new peacekeepers would do what, exactly? How would their mission and effectiveness be different? If the new force was to root out Hez, then does anyone remember Beirut in the early 80s? Multinational forces took control to secure the country and stop the civil war. US embassy was bombed and a Marine barracks was attacked, with the barracks bombing killing more than 250 US soldiers and 40 French troops. Fighting Jihadis has always been a challenge, as they never give up and are committed to unconventional guerilla warfare.

    Nice to see that the LPC is not bringing anything like a serious thought to foreign policy challenges. Par for the course, but still looking for the usual anti-american epithets and "Scary Stephen Harper" taunts. Now back to fighting over who gets control of the toys while the adults run the country.

    By Blogger Hey, at 11:01 AM  

  • Liberal Leader Bill Graham said Harper is "out-Bushing Bush" with a pro-Israeli stand that has compromised Canada's ability to play peace broker in the troubled region [LFP].

    Since when was Canada ever able to play peace broker anywhere?
    Thanks to Liberals such as Bill Graham, we no longer have any muscle to flex.
    Only Liberals think it's possible to negotiate with Terrorists.
    I would rather Harper have a pro-Israeli stance than a pro-Terrorist stance.


    Israel is bombing ALL of Lebanon - Drize, Christians, Shia, Sunnis and now Canadians are all dying [over 300 civilians so far].

    How sensationalist of you to suggest "Canadians are all dying" "over 300 civilians so far".
    How fucking retarded is that statement?
    Could you please spin the facts some more?

    Israel is bombing ALL of Lebanon that aides Hezbollah.
    If Hezbollah likes to hide behind their women & children than that's not Israel's problem.
    That's typical Islamist cowardice.

    Israel should continue bombing Lebanon until all of Hezbollah's infrastructure and weapons are destroyed.

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 11:12 AM  

  • I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that:

    a) Hezbollah is bad
    b) Israel's response goes beyond "measured"


    Geez, you're another one who doesn't know the meaning of "measured"

    You and every other grit and dipper.

    measured does not correlate to ANY specific amount. Go buy a dictionary.

    By Blogger TrustOnlyMulder, at 11:22 AM  

  • I think Israel's response goes beyond measured.

    I think that, at the moment Harper made that statement, it could have been reasonably defended.

    After a week of escalation, I think the G8 statement is accurate: Israeli actions must be restrained. Harper has adopted that position, which is also reasonable. Criticism of "measured" at this point is sophistry.

    I agree that Harper comes across as one-sided. I would appreciate hearing more words emphasizing the need for a proportional Israeli response. I would hate to hear words suggesting that Hamas/Hezbollah actions are in any way legitimate. The latter has launched 700 rockets at exclusively civilian targets.

    I don't think it's fair to suggest the Canadian response has been lethargic. We have more citizens in Lebanon than the Americans do. We don't have a nearby fleet, nor heavy lift helicopters. There was not a full registration of Canadian citizens in the country, nor an idea of how many actually wanted out.

    Canada hasn't had to evacuate a country before. And it's a country which frequently sees violence and has a large number of dual-citizens. The current situation had a dramatic escalation. At what point was it reasonable for foreign affairs to decide to pull people out? If one parses news reports, that decision was reached by Canadian officials at about the same time as American and French officials. We just didn't have the necessary military equipment at hand. Why would that be?

    By Blogger matt, at 11:48 AM  

  • "prompting Lloyd Axworthy to say Brison "doesn't really understand what Liberal foreign policy is about.""

    and that is the problem in nutshell . . it is CANADIAN foreign policy, not LPC.

    Lloyd is a complete dink. Thank god he will never again be allowed to define our national position in the world as the vacillating do-nothingers kowtowing to the corruption of the UN and every petty dictator in all the 3rd world hell-holes out there.

    I have new respect for Scotty . . . looks like he's got a pair and is willing to stand up to evil and terrorism.

    What Canada should be doing is DEMANDING that Syria and Iran cease providing aggresive weaponry to Hisbullah - talk about de-stabilizing.

    And you frikin Liberals worry about handguns being smuggled across the Canadian USA border. These turds don't even bother smuggling tens of thousands of rockets and missles . . they ggive them to Hisbullah for free and assist the process by providing the transportation to southern Lebanon so they can murder innocent Israelis.

    You Liberals need to give your head a shake . . maybe your lost morality will fall out and you can start to re-buildit.

    By Blogger Fred :), at 11:56 AM  

  • "prompting Lloyd Axworthy to say Brison "doesn't really understand what Liberal foreign policy is about.""

    and that is the problem in nutshell . . it is CANADIAN foreign policy, not LPC.

    Lloyd is a complete dink. Thank god he will never again be allowed to define our national position in the world as the vacillating do-nothingers kowtowing to the corruption of the UN and every petty dictator in all the 3rd world hell-holes out there.

    I have new respect for Scotty . . . looks like he's got a pair and is willing to stand up to evil and terrorism.

    What Canada should be doing is DEMANDING that Syria and Iran cease providing aggresive weaponry to Hisbullah - talk about de-stabilizing.

    And you frikin Liberals worry about handguns being smuggled across the Canadian USA border. These turds don't even bother smuggling tens of thousands of rockets and missles . . they ggive them to Hisbullah for free and assist the process by providing the transportation to southern Lebanon so they can murder innocent Israelis.

    You Liberals need to give your head a shake . . maybe your lost morality will fall out and you can start to re-build it.

    By Blogger Fred :), at 11:57 AM  

  • Israel is a country that commits state sponsored terrorism, and has for many years. Whether it is slaughtering 8 civilians on the beaches of Gaza, such as what happened recently, or whether it is Ariel Sharon, who went into Arab villages and killed at will, they have traditionally committed acts which would fall under any definition of terrorism. That is undeniable.

    Now they blow up an entire country in response to two soldiers getting kidnapped.

    The best non-response I have seen so far was Bush's Press Secretary, who received a question from a member of the Indian press yesterday, asking if the President would support a similar "measured" response in Kashmir, and the Press Secretary gave some phony answer. I am sure all of the war-hawks out there would like to see a similar "measured" response in that area of the world. This measured response only works cause the Americans are propping up one side over the other.

    The fact of the matter is that the Israeli's are no saints in this matter. If Hezbollah are terrorists, then clearly the Israeli's are, and have been in the past.

    By Blogger fartcatcher, at 12:08 PM  

  • calgrit: don't mind the "how dare you not fully support Israel" crew... they're trying to cover up questions of how the response has happened with arguments about whether it should take place, thus neatly ignoring the point a response is justifiable, but this response might not be.

    I hardly think gunships gunning down civilians on the highway is in keeping with a "measured" response.

    As for Lebanon vs. Hezbollah, the blockade isn't just against the latter, so it is manifestly not simply a conflict between the terrorist group and the state of Israel. That argument blew up with the Beirut airport runways.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:14 PM  

  • What the hell is the Canadian government supposed to do about 40,000 citizens who have chosen to vacation/live in the Middle East? This is the Middle East - wars break out all the time. If you're stupid enough to vacation there, it's not up to the government to extract you from a war zone.

    And why the hell are my tax dollars paying for this? Whatever happened to personal responsibility - if you want a pland or boat to come pick you up and take you away, then fork over some cash.

    What the hell is the government supposed to do? Nationalize Air Canada and send every plane to Lebanon to remove 40,000 people; of whom 20,000 live there 10 months a year, with a large percentage of those being ardent supporters of Hezbollah. This is ridiculous.

    By Blogger Leo, at 12:15 PM  

  • By the by, I think Juan Cole has a point when he said that there was pretty much no way you could eliminate a mass movement of 1.35 million people without utterly levelling Lebanon and killing, well, some significant fraction of that 1.35 million.

    (Which would, of course, be horrific.)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:18 PM  

  • Having reviewed the actions of both sides and just read Ehud Olmert's speech to the Knesset, I fully support Israel's actions against Hezbollah. I would sincerely hope that the Canadian government would be able to similarly respond if enemies were purposefully targetting our communities.

    Of course, no one wants to see people die and the destruction of a state. But the Israeli government must defend its residents, especially after Israel has tried to work towards solutions. Remember who struck first, it was not Israel, but Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Furthermore, if Lebanon is unable to create stability within its own country and exercise sovreignty over Hezbollah-controlled territory and Israeli citizens are being attacked because of that weakness, Israel must create stability to ensure its citizens security.

    With respect to Palestinian prisoners, there is a right and wrong way to go about pursuing their freedom. In a democracy you can use the power of arguments and facts. In the case of Hamas, they prefer violence. If they want to use violence and not have the patience to convince Israel that the prisoners are innocent, they can pay the bloody consequences of their violence.

    By Blogger c-lo, at 12:40 PM  

  • There's that word again: "Nuanced"

    Definition: Wishy-washy, indecisive, cowardly. A description most often associated with the Liberal Party of Canada.

    I'm sure Quisling was a very nuanced fellow. I'm also pretty certain that Canada is not a neutral nation. Finding the middle ground between a Western democracy and a terrorist organization is not something to be proud of. And Mezba's ridiculous idea that Canada cannot take a foreign policy stand because of "multiculturalism" is frankly jaw-dropping! You Libs are welcome to the Islamist apologists. I'm much more comfortable standing with the Israelis.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 2:36 PM  

  • It appears this ordeal is going to go on for weeks -- and Harper is going to wear it all during that time.

    The dynamic to watch now is Canadians trapped outside Beruit. The Canadian evacuation is working only for those in Beruit itself. Outside, Israel is still bombing villages and has destroyed bridges and other infrastructure. It is unsafe for these people to move.

    The only way to get Canadians not in Beruit out of Lebanon, is to have a cease-fire.

    How is a ceasfire achieved? Diplomancy.

    See where this is going?

    Harper let down the Canadian people with his unbalanced statement on Israel's military action. He has painted himself into a corner, and doesn't have the diplomatic legs he needs to stand on now. A ceasefire may be arranged, but it won't be with Harper's help.

    Harper's first duty is to protect the Canadian people, and he failed.

    By Blogger Simon Pole, at 2:55 PM  

  • Hopefully people will forgive me if I "Fisk" Fartcatcher's delusions:

    Israel is a country that commits state sponsored terrorism, and has for many years. Whether it is slaughtering 8 civilians on the beaches of Gaza,

    Unless of course you believe the Israeli's when they say they were targeting rocket launch sites nearby and did not actually hit that beach. Kinda like when we found out the massacre of Jenin wasn't, or the "murder" of that little boy was staged. But hey, we can trust Hamas to tell the truth, can't we. Oh, except for that bit where the leader of Hamas said it's OK to lie whe telling the truth won't advance the cause.

    . . such as what happened recently, or whether it is Ariel Sharon, who went into Arab villages and killed at will,

    A wild distortion of fact. Sharon's crime was one of inaction, not action. He is blamed (rightfully) for not stopping one Lebanese faction from slaughtering another. But it sounds better if Israelis did the killing, I guess.

    they have traditionally committed acts which would fall under any definition of terrorism. That is undeniable.

    I think I just did deny it.

    Now they blow up an entire country in response to two soldiers getting kidnapped.

    Alternately, they target terrorist related sites, and dual purpose installations that enable Hezbollah to fight. You know, roads for supply, electricity for electronic equipment, airports for the transport of prisoners to Israel. I haven't seen any carpet bombing. Or missiles targeting civilians for that matter, oh, except for the Hezbollah missiles. But that's different, right?

    The best non-response I have seen so far was Bush's Press Secretary, who received a question from a member of the Indian press yesterday, asking if the President would support a similar "measured" response in Kashmir, and the Press Secretary gave some phony answer. I am sure all of the war-hawks out there would like to see a similar "measured" response in that area of the world. This measured response only works cause the Americans are propping up one side over the other.

    Nice segue into something different that you can blame the Americans for. Considering the number of wars between India and Pakistan you might be able to answer whether any military response would work all by yourself

    The fact of the matter is that the Israeli's are no saints in this matter. If Hezbollah are terrorists, then clearly the Israeli's are, and have been in the past.

    And a nice bit of moral relativism to end the ridiclous diatribe. Well done.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 3:07 PM  

  • Rat,

    I agree with you that forming foreign policy based on the racial/ethnic/religious composition is ridiculous; but your comments on nuance are ludicrous. I know nuance is something that the conservative mind (with notable exceptions) has great difficulty coping with, but dismissing nuance as "wishy washy" is assinine. My advice to you would be to view the world for its shades of grey rather than clinging to a narrow ideological perspective. You set up a false dichotomy between "western democracy" and terrorist organizations. Its just not that simple. There are millions of innocent civilians who live in Lebanon who neither support nor condone the actions of hezbollah (sp) that throw a massive wrench in your simplistic explanations.

    I am certainly someone who abhors terrorism and supports Israel's right to defend itself, but that doesnt mean I cant wish that the IDF employs a little more precision, and a little less "shock and awe"

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 3:15 PM  

  • "Israel is a country that commits state sponsored terrorism"

    Now that's a very strong assertion to make, and there is no evidence to back it up. The actions of a State may be police actions (domestically), or Acts of War (internationally), but state-sponsored terrorism would be, for example, a State using its agents to covertly blow up a foreign passenger airliner. Or supplying foreign terrorists with the tools to launch what would be acts of war if committed by a State.

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:21 PM  

  • I stand with Saudi Arabia in it's nuanced stance: Hezbollah are a bunch of crazy freaks who brought this on themselves.

    Look at what Arab states that are normally VERY hostile to Israel are saying. They are condemning Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria. Hell Saddam Hussein is condemning them.

    The LPC and NDP folks who are supporting Hez and condemning Israel are more extreme than SADDAM HUSSEIN. Might y'all want to think about this for a second?

    Naw, cause it's just those evil JOOOOS. You'll take their money, but they're still just k****.

    Many Lebanese support Israel's operation, because it is doing to Hezbollah what the Lebanese government can't do. But we wouldn't want to support a democracy against a foreign supported bunch of Fascists.

    Finally, notice how Canada is evacuating people the same day as the US and UK are starting to, outside of a few helicopter evacuees. Course that evacuation depended on having EVIL aircraft carriers and helicopter carriers, that are unCanadian to even think of adding to the Canadian Forces until a crisis hits. HMMM.... What about evil Stephen Harper going to Cyprus? What's the new talking point CG?

    By Blogger Hey, at 3:32 PM  

  • Leo, you are cold.

    People are dying and your response is about "your tax-dollars". Get some perspective and some humanity for not only people but for your fellow citizens.

    Wow.

    By Blogger c-lo, at 3:36 PM  

  • "Naw, cause it's just those evil JOOOOS. You'll take their money, but they're still just k****."

    That is the most unintelligent statement I have heard in a long time.

    I guess we can say of you and others who agree with you that you believe the Lebanese are just a bunch of low life Arabs. You will take their oil, but there still just a bunch of camel drivers so who cares if we destroy their country. Especially, since they do not have any oil so there are no worries about you having to sell your SUV.

    You are an idiot and you are guilty of what you accuse Liberals and Dippers of doing. Hundreds of innocent civilians have died and are continuing to die in Lebanon, people who are not part of Hezbollah, but you don't give a shit. No worries though Hey, after all, they are just "Lebs", right?

    By Blogger ottlib, at 3:48 PM  

  • Kyle
    There are millions of innocent civilians who live in Lebanon who neither support nor condone the actions of hezbollah (sp) that throw a massive wrench in your simplistic explanations.

    That's a nice, but irrelevant nuance. There are millions of Israelis who must be able to live without fear of missiles. If the millions of Lebanese cannot or will not rid themeselves of Hezbollah's army there can be little complaint if someone else does. Remember, there were millions of French, Dutch, and Belgian civilians who hated Nazi German occupation but we could not and did not let that stop us from doing the absolutely right thing.

    And that's exactly the problem with Liberal nuance: It lets them sit back and do absolutely nothing.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 3:50 PM  

  • Stephen Harper "measured response"
    Michael Ignatieff "no response", MIA
    Rae "the usual NDP response"
    Brison "see Harper"
    Kennedy "apple pie", a few days late, and a touch naive, as if Canada can take a leadership role.

    Bill Graham and Lloyd Axworthy seem to have forgotten that the Martin government began the heavily pro-Israel tilt of the Canadian government.

    Harper isn't helped by the fact that pretty boy Peter McKay seems to be his most incompetent minister.

    Harper's foreign policy instincts are not particularly good, but none of the Liberal candidates appear to be any better.

    By Blogger godot10, at 3:51 PM  

  • Rat,

    Im sorry to hear that a fellow Canadian could describe the lives of innocent Lebanese citizens as "irrelevant nuances". I agree that Israel needs to be able to live without missles landing, and support the use of military force to accomplish that objective; but they need to do so with the utmost regard for innocent human life. Precision is key. If they indiscriminately attack areas where civilians frequent they act no better than the terrorists. I do understand that Israel faces a unique challenge in this respect because terrorists have no qualms with using de facto human shields, but I also think that honour in warfare requires that a country put the lives of innocent civilians in areas occupied by the enemy above those of its own soldiers.

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 4:02 PM  

  • P.S. This is a rare occurence for me. 75% I am defending Israel against blindly anti-Israel folk.

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 4:03 PM  

  • Wow-no talk of the puppeteer!?
    I'm shocked & awed!

    Heads in the sand?

    Neocons Rise From Mideast Ashes
    by Robert Dreyfuss

    By Blogger johnfindlaymusic, at 4:34 PM  

  • but I also think that honour in warfare requires that a country put the lives of innocent civilians in areas occupied by the enemy above those of its own soldiers.

    There is no honour in war, Kyle, just survival. I believe Israel is doing its best to avoid civilian casualties, but fighting Hezbollah, hiding among civilians, makes that extremely difficult. Do you blame Hezbollah as well?

    By Blogger The Rat, at 4:46 PM  

  • There is no honour in war, Kyle, just survival. I believe Israel is doing its best to avoid civilian casualties, but fighting Hezbollah, hiding among civilians, makes that extremely difficult. Do you blame Hezbollah as well?

    There is no honour in war? Well I guess that whole "Geneva Convention" thing was a waste of time eh?

    Of course I blame Hezbollah, but you would have known that if you had read when I wrote "I am certainly someone who abhors terrorism and supports Israel's right to defend itself".

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 5:02 PM  

  • "Geneva Convention"

    Oh, God, another Liberal who has never read them, doesn't understand them, and trots them out whenever they think a Western country isn't fighting fair. Is Hezbollah allowing Red Cross access to its "prisoners"? Is it wearing distinguishing gear, or carrying weapons openly? Is it trying to avoid mixing with civilians? No, but all a part of the Conventions. And the Geneva Conventions aren't about "honour", they're about restraint. Here we restrain Israel and do not demand the same of Hezbollah.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 5:37 PM  

  • Rat,

    Wow for someone who throws around accusations that I've never read something you clearly didnt read what I said yourself. That being in addition to your embarassing logical flaws.

    When I mentioned the Geneva Convention I mentioned it in response to your statement that there is no honour in war--totally independant of the overall discussion of the current hostilities. I therefore never once implied that Israel had breached the Geneva convention. FURTHERMORE, had I done so (even though I didnt), I would suggest that showing where Israel's enemies had violated the Geneva convention does nothing to justify its own (hypothetical) violations.

    There are those on both extremes who call for restraint on neither side (including yourself). The rest of us, camped out here in "sanity land" call on both sides to exercise restraint.

    And by the way, I consider "restraint"--meaning due care in ensuring that innocent civilians are not hurt--to be a condition precedent of "honour".

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 5:54 PM  

  • I think the pro-Israel dudes need to settle down a bit.

    Here is a conflict that has gone on for nearly a century. There is so much fault to go around that there is really no end.

    Mahatma Ghandi used to say that "an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.".

    Unfortunately, in case of the Arab-Jewish conflict, it has.

    There has been so many eye for eye attacks that almost everyone there is blinded by hatred and many involved outside are also blinded by it as well.

    It has been almost 50 yrs now that Arabs and Jews have been killing each other...And so far, no resolution.

    The thinking that an ISraeli invasion of Lebanon would now suddenly resolve it, is a simplistic conservative thinking at its best.

    The so-called Western Democracies actually have a lot of blame to take for the way they handled the whole issue throughout the decades as well. From the colonial times to the post-WWII handling of the crisis, the Israel-Palestine issue has been mishandled entirely.

    So as a result, I think coolheads must prevail instead of

    By Blogger EtownGrit06, at 6:43 PM  

  • oooppps..not sure what happened there...

    Anyhow, I think cool heads must prevail instead of so-called measured responses like these.

    And I had one last comment for all the Cons out there.

    Your lousy PM can't even appoint an Appointments Commissioner in a minority government. And that's in Canadian parliament. He can't even get a decent lumber agreement after sucking up to GW for months.
    And that's Canada - USA relation we are talking about.
    And now, you are expecting Lebanon after a civil war and a war, to be able to quash Hezbollah on its own? Get real guys.

    By Blogger EtownGrit06, at 6:48 PM  

  • I'm surprised about Ignatieff. I would have expected him to be the first Liberal leadership contender to comment on the situation, and I sincerely thought that he'd have something intelligent to say.

    I'm disappointed in him

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 7:20 PM  

  • Definitions of measured on the Web:

    - determined by measurement; "the measured distance was less than a mile"

    -the rhythmic arrangement of syllables

    -calculated: carefully thought out in advance; "a calculated insult"; "with measured irony"

    -careful: with care and dignity; "walking at the same measured pace"; "with all deliberate speed"

    By Blogger M. K. Braaten, at 9:26 PM  

  • BTW, Harper is getting pretty low as well.

    Here we have a humanitarian disaster and here is MR. Harper coming to the resuce....on the plane...

    Worry not ladies & gentlemen!!!!....AirHarper is on its way...we really had to kick out all those 120 reporters and keep 2 spots for Mr & Mrs Harper who are courageously going to save the Lebanese Canadians from the "measured" offensive by Israel.

    This must be photo-op at its cheapest...How low can Harper go...

    By Blogger EtownGrit06, at 10:11 PM  

  • etowngrit:

    It would be a cheap photo-op.. if there were cameras...

    But I admit that it does sound suspicious. Nevertheless, I suspect that Harper's real motivation for the side trip was to have the privilege of being able to order the media off his plane.

    "Get off my plane" - Harrison Ford in 'Air Force One'

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 10:52 PM  

  • I am sure there will be reporters....They just catch the next plane from Paris.

    By Blogger EtownGrit06, at 10:59 PM  

  • I blame Mike Harris.

    First Ipperwash, now Lebanon.

    The man has no soul.

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 11:16 PM  

  • Why is our 'ally' holding children in its prisons? Had Israel dealt with that problem it was unlikely there would have been war in the ME now.
    No, if Israeli's werent jews there wouldnt be a war now. Hezbollah was declaring they'd wipe Israel off the map long before any of those prisioners were arrested.

    Harpers jet was suppose to just fly back to Ottawa, instead, it will be flying 100 evacuee's home with him. 100 people will be back to Canada earlier, and people there will be happy to see the PM there. These are things a PM should be doing. Leading by example, and not from the bleachers.

    By Blogger Brad, at 1:29 AM  

  • I'll also point out that Cyprus doesn't have the resources to house thousands and thousands of people who are essentially temporary refugees - so it really is important to get them out of Cyprus as soon as possible.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:54 AM  

  • Rat: Funny that you haven't the faintest idea about the conventions either- you don't get to ignore them because you're fighting someone that doesn't obey them, just as you don't get to steal from a thief.

    Why? It should be obvious: because after you DO ignore them, the next guy down the line will be able to point at you and say "that guy doesn't obey the conventions, so I don't have to". That gets your soldiers killed, and to the extent that it undermines the conventions, it gets everybody's soldiers killed.

    Besides, the relevant part of international law here isn't the treatment of prisoners, but indiscriminate attacks on civilians and collective punishment. Despite the screaming of Israel's "supporters" here, Israel has come dangerously close to both.

    (So has Hezbollah, but guess what? If you want to hold the moral high ground, you're also held to a higher standard.)

    I can see why Calgrit has abandoned this thread. Just like every other discussion of this issue, it's turned into a venue for "hawks" to scream talking points that don'ts distinguish between targeted strikes and rolling carpet bombs.

    (It doesn't do a damn thing for Israeli security, but what does that matter? It's about defending their purity, in the face of all knowledge and reason, for what reason I honestly cannot fathom.)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:22 PM  

  • 1) The Geneva conventions specifically state that they are only reciprocal.

    2) All people caught fighting out of uniform can be summarily executed under the GC. The US would be fully within their rights to liquidate everyone in Guantanamo and not take any prisoners.

    3) Hez violates the GC every which way from sunday. They store ammunition in peoples' houses. They hide amongst civilians. They don't wear uniforms.

    4) People in Lebanon are being killed because Hezbollah violates the Geneva conventions and because the Lebanese government is too weak to disarm Hezbollah. Israel is flyering neighbourhoods that it is planning to attack so that the civilians can get out. There are widespread reports of Hezbollah forcing people to remain in their villages as human shields for its fighters.

    Continue to spew your filth and ignorance, but it's anti-semitic and the general public is noticing how sick and twisted the LPC's "nuanced" policy is. It is truly tragic that innocent people are bing killed, but you'll note that Israel makes mistakes (attacking a civilian convoy) or has collateral damage, while hezbollah sends unguided missiles over the border with ball bearing laced rounds, a pure anti-personnell round. Then there's the years long campaign of rocket attacks, the call for genocide, suicide bombing, targetting of solely civillian targets, etc.

    But yeah, I'm the racist, while you can all finely parse your anti-zionism vs anti-semitism in support of the heroic resistance. RIGHT!

    By Blogger Hey, at 10:40 AM  

  • I love reading your post dude,thanks

    By Anonymous mens overcoat, at 4:13 AM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:49 PM  

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