Saturday, August 26, 2006

This Time It's Rich Lowry

Just when I thought I was going to give Hezbollah a break, yet another column comes up that I cannot let go. Why, oh, why do I keep letting the warmongers get to me? This one is by Rich Lowry at the National Review Online.

Lowry is outraged that the French, after tricking us into agreeing on a ceasefire in Lebanon by promising a large force that would take on Hezbollah and is now only agreeing to send in a small force that will not take on Hezbollah. He regards the treacherous French as undermining our noble and idealistic attempt to "craft a long-term solution" to the problems in Lebanon. Omitted from this account is that our noble and idealistic attempt to craft a long-term solution in southern Lebanon included supporting the Israelis as they uprooted the inhabitants of southern Lebanon (as much as a quarter of Lebanon's total population) and demolished much of Lebanon's infastructure. The treacherous French "snookered" us into agreeing to an end to the war.

What Lowry appears to want is not an end to the war, but a continuation of it, only with a UN force (which would be led by the French) fighting instead of an Israeli force. The French said, no thanks. Treacherous frogs! A dose of reality for Lowry, Krauthammer and any other warmonger who considers Hezbollah's existence to be intolerable. Hezbollah is not going to disarm voluntarily. The Lebanese army is no match for Hezbollah. No one else is willing to undertake the prolonged, messy, bloody business and significant casualties that will be required to disarm Hezbollah by force. Ergo: Hezbollah is going to be around a while. Deal with it.

Significantly, even Israel was not willing to undertake the large-scale ground campaign that would be needed to crush Hezbollah. International pressure obviously had a great deal to do with this. The casualties involved were also a factor. But undoubtedly another reason is that Israel (unlike purportedly pro-Israeli hawks) understands that Hezbollah's offensive capacity is minimal. Hezbollah is not an existential threat to Israel, only an annoying border war. Over the past six years (since Israel withdrew from Lebanon) far more Israelis have been killed in suicide bombings related to the intafada than in border clashes with Hezbollah. And if the Israelis, who are by far the most menaced by Hezbollah, are unwilling to do what it takes, why should the French, who are not menaced at all?

Lowry then goes on to lament everyone else's weak will in contronting North Korea, Iran, Iraq, etc. He calls the United States "the world's only responsible power." Apparently no one else is willing to be as responsible for starting wars as we are.

He concludes with a warning:

When Bush is gone, conservative foreign policy will change. But it won't be a change the foreign-policy establishment likes. . . . It will be something more selfish and hardheaded, something more French in its motivation -- Bush without the soft touches. Then, the world will miss the earnest do-gooding United States of old.

Well, of course, this depends on what Lowry means. If being more hardheaded means being more reality-based and requiring a good reason for the wars we start, I am all for it. But I suspect that he means U.S. policy in the Middle East will more and more resemble Israel's recent policy in Lebanon -- only on a larger scale.



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