Saturday, August 05, 2006

Proportionate? Maybe So

I've been on the fence over the 'proportionalism' issue.

First off, it's very difficult to make a judgment when facts are scarce. Oh, there's plenty of propaganda--from both sides--but little in the way of hard-core facts which could lend to a responsible judgment.

A Brainless Local RadioMouth has come close to arguing that Israel should simply nuke Southern Lebanon, Syria, and Iran based on his own cockamamie (and tailored-to-order) "understanding" of the term 'proportionate.' He convinced a few--a VERY few--that his viewpoint is legitimate.

I suspect that very few of those folks have much understanding of military strategy or tactics. The Brainless Local RadioMouth certainly doesn't.

The problem, of course, is that Israel is fighting against totally unprincipled people. On the other hand, Israel has a reputation for making life difficult for non-Jews. Ask any Catholic or Melkite Bishop in the area. You think that the Christians are leaving en masse because they're off to St. Tropez for a few months in the sun? Nope. They are realistic. Making a living and building a future won't happen for them in South Lebanon, nor (for that matter) in Israel, nor the Palestinian territories. One does not want to be between the Muslims and the Jews...

But as time goes on, it's become clear that the current Israeli operation has been very well-planned. About a week ago, it was obvious that Israel was working a "hammer-and-anvil" against Hizbollah--cutting off supply and escape routes while advancing to the North, destroying C&C and arms caches along the way.

A little messy, but altogether an elegant move.

Best part? The US was not directly involved. Obviously, if one takes the WOT seriously, Hizbollah occupies the 'north-central front' between Indonesia and West Africa. We're taking care of the SE and Central Asia problems (with some friends) and have largely buttoned up the south-central region; even the Arabs and Egyptians have conceded at this time.

What remained was the north-central. That's going well.

Was it "proportionate?" Probably. Still too few "facts" to make a real judgment, and it's not likely that US news-sources will ever present comprehensive grounds for determining the reality.

Was it messy? Yah. War is that way.


Neo-Con Tastic said...


Dad29 said...

Don't be too smug.

The judgment is tentative, not final.

M.Z. said...

I'm not sure whether it is best to evaluate the proportionality question on the whole operation. I would speculate we are talking about 1000 or so different acts of war. I haven't read anything that would indicate a violation of proportionately in regards to the ground operation. The air operations are the most troubling and are where the civilian casualties are coming. Even here the percentage of obvious violations are relatively low. (The obvious ones would be such things as destroying the water treatment plant.)

I think the safer approach is to say that you support Israel striking Hezbollah in principle and reserve judgement on any of the specific actions undertaken. Israel has put those Christians that wish to support her in a difficult position. Some of the statements from Israeli officials are similar to the things you condemned in this post. As you are aware, an injustice committed in war does not make a war unjust.

For myself, the aerial attacks are the most troubling. As a matter of prudence, I also disagree that Israel's current actions will make her safer. Your position is pretty close to the Vatican's and the USCCB's.

Dad29 said...

Yah, MZ, we're on the same page.

The Vatican's take is undoubtedly much better-informed than from the local-yokel Afternoon RadioMouth or his followers; none of them have intel assets on the ground in Lebanon, but the Vatican does.

Obviously, though, Israel must deal with Hizbollah, as no one else can or will. Their method (begin from the air, follow on the ground) is the one which seems to make most sense; and as you observe, even the air-strikes have been pretty clean, on the whole.

Yes, there is a high probability of some wrongdoing, somewhere. And simply dropping notes saying "Leave now. Go someplace." does not necessarily relieve Israel of liability.

This is a tough one all around.

Dad29 said...

OTOH, MZ and NeoCon, if you want to see another set of arguments, go here:

Largely a group which thinks that the Vatican is blind--and they (in contrast) can see...

Anonymous said...

When your ass is on the line proportionality means shit.