War In Lebanon?

© 2000 Jordan White Enterprises

February 10



            In February, 2000, Israel launched a bombing campaign in southern Lebanon, supposedly in retaliation for the killing of six Israeli soldiers in a six-week period by Hezbollah guerrilla fighters.  Several power plants were knocked out of commission.


            Retaliation?  An attack upon the civilian infrastructure of a nation, outside of the context of a legally-declared state of war, and in direct violation of the 1996 “Grapes of Wrath” agreement, wherein both sides said they would refrain from activities that put civilians in the line of fire?



            The six men who died were soldiers.  They were trained, and armed, by a nation with enough experience to know how to properly fight a war.   Therefore, that nation, Israel, should know enough to realize that the struggle in Lebanon is one that they cannot possibly win. “Retaliation” is not the proper response to soldiers being killed in warfare.  The only truly humane things to do are: (l) realize that the soldiers are not properly trained and equipped for the type of warfare they are engaged in and therefore change tactics; or, (2) pull out and admit defeat.  It would appear that the second choice is the only true choice that Israel has.


            Wars can be about a lot of things.  They can be about resources.  They can be about regaining lost territory.  They can be about obtaining freedom.  They can be about defending and protecting oneself against an encroaching enemy.


            One thing they cannot be about is politics.   And even though Israel has sworn up and down that it has legitimate security reasons for its actions, it has failed to convince most of the world.  Most of the thinking world, anyway.  Even many Israelis say it is time to withdraw from southern Lebanon and make peace, since it’s obvious to them that there is nothing to be gained by continuing the occupation and the fighting.


            However, it seems to be the non-thinking that are making the decisions that affect so many lives.   Americans, and American Christians especially, come to mind.  That’s because it is they who are allowing politicians like Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to make stupid rationalizations of Israel’s behavior (i.e., saying in Israel’s defense that it was “trying to send a... signal” that it did not want the fighting to escalate).  That’s how you send a signal that you want to scale down fighting?


            And what about the pending peace settlements Israel is trying to make with Syria and the Palestinians?  What kind of a message are they getting from this?  Is this fostering any kind of trust that Israel can refrain from pounding its neighbors with artillery any time there’s any kind of flare-up, no matter how small-scale it may seem?


            And if there are “winners” in all of this, surely they would be the leaders of Syria and the Palestinians, who have certainly gained the upper hand in their own peace-making deals with Israel by now being able to show that Israel’s peace-making stance appears to be pure hypocrisy, “politics as usual”.


            Americans, especially American Christians, you are not thinking.  If you were, you would see just how you are being hoodwinked into supporting a country that is so bankrupt in terms of its justification for existence that it resorts to double-talk from third parties to explain its military strategies.  It is so bankrupt at the bargaining table that it cannot even realize that it cannot really go head-to-head even with low-level powers, one of which does not even have a legitimate state?  


            Middle Eastern politics, as complicated and bizarre as they sometimes seem, began long before Israel was founded as a nation.  And they will keep going on, at least as long as there’s a world where they can be carried out.  Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all these people have been practicing the art of political one-upmanship for centuries.  They have dealt with the Romans, the Ottomans, the English, the French.  All of these nations have tried to dominate the area, and all have lost.  Is there a message here?


            Israel, if you want to try and dominate southern Lebanon, then realize that you are going to have to fight an out-and-out war.  But realize also that it is a war you cannot win.  You cannot fight it in a way that will not cause all of your efforts for peace to come unraveled.   And finally, realize that any war that is about politics, at least in this part of the world, is one where you are hopelessly out-gunned.


            After all, we are talking about the Middle East.