Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Israel and Lebanon....Who Won?

All the blogosphere armchair quarterbacks are parsing the Hezb'alla "win" over Israel these days. Some say Israel won and some say Hezb'allah won, depending on the reader's political and/or religious affiliation.

I think they both lost, and the Lebanese Shia lost the most. They lost their homes and the things that most of us Americans take for granted, like a roof over our heads, the grocery store, electricity and refridgeration, the local gas station, and roads that actually GO somewhere. While Hassan Nassrallah preens from his spider hole and proclaims Hezb'alla's "victory," thousands of his constituents are homeless, jobless and broke. These are regular people who have children to feed and who are now faced with starvation and homelessness, just because Nassrallah decided to kidnap a couple of Israeli soldiers. Of course, in Nasseallah's head, it was "business as usual," behind that kidnapping. In other words, "we take one or two of yours and you return a couple HUNDRED of ours." Fair deal, huh? What he got instead was Israel's refusal to do business as usual, and a near decapitation of Hezb'alla's infrastructure, as well as nearly 1000 Lebanese dead, along with the death rattle of their fledgling economy and the loss of their tourist season for this year, and probably the next 4 or 5 years, due to rebuilding.

Wow, with victories like that, who needs defeat?

The Israelis lost in this conflict, also. They lost some of their vaunted invincibility. They've been shown to have clay feet, and so given the Islamic radicals hope for the eventual possibility that the Israelis might be wiped from the earth some day. Maybe not today, but some day.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Where are all the Statesmen?

I've been watching the news and the internet these days with intense interest. The situation in the middle east is becoming more intense as each day passes, and I'm wondering where are the Statesmen? Where are the Churchills and the Trumans and Ghandis when you need them? Where are the great men who put statesmanship and love of country above their personal agendas?

For instance, instead of a dithering, crying, hand wringing Fouad Siniora, Lebanon could benefit, not from a politician covering his broad backside and trying to survive politically, but a Statesman with a backbone and a willingness to make the hard decisions, like driving Hezb'allah out of the militia business in Lebanon. I realize that this issue is full of contradictions and issues not understood well by most of the Western world, but geeze, guys, maybe you could give it a try?

Mr. Siniora is not endearing himself to anybody by his dithering and sobbing, and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe the Lebanese put tribal loyalties and/or love of self above loyalty to their country, which is why the legitimate government of Lebanon was unable for the last few years to deal with the question of disarming Hezb'allah. I understand the Lebanese were loathe to get themselves right back into another civil war like the one they had just concluded, but allowing an armed militia to operate within the borders of a legitimate State cannot continue, and shouldn't have been allowed in the first place.If the legitimate and internationally recognized government of a country cannot or will not control it's citizens, then it cannot be considered a soverign nation, and they will find themselves in this situation again and again if the Lebanese cannot gain control of their government. I have no problem with Hezb'allah being a political party, and I don't have a problem with their social agenda. It speaks well of them (somewhat) that they are partially in the business of building schools and hospitals for their people, but the armed militia by the same name has to go if Lebanon has any hopes at all of remaining a free and Democratic country, not the cat's paw of the Iranian mullahcracy and their enforcers in the form of the Hezb'allah militia.

To me, leaving Hezb'allah intact within south Lebanon would be the equivalent of the Union having left an armed and angry militia intact in say, Alabama, after the Civil War. Can you imagine what would have happened if such a thing had been allowed? More civil war, I assure you, and each one successively worse than the previous one before, which is what Lebanon is doomed to unless their leaders find their backbones.

Being an equal opportunity blogger, I ask the same question for the Americans....where are the Statesmen? Where are the Jeffersons and the Washingtons and the Adamses of today? The closest thing I've seen (Joe Lieberman) has just been dumped by his own party because he wouldn't toe the pacifist, anti-war party line. Where are the politicians in America who are willing to put their COUNTRY and their constituents first? Are there any left out there who are not deep in the pockets of whatever special interest groups have the most lucre? Are there no more principled men left in Congress?

When I was in junior high school Civics class, I remember a part of the class that focused on compromise. The object of our government, with it's checks and balances, is to promote compromise. Compromise means you get some of what you want, and I get some of what I want, and we both have to live with it. Why have both parties been allowed to be hijacked by the extremes of both sides? I understand why people don't want to do their civic duty anymore. Nobody feels like their vote counts, because elected representatives vote their wallets instead of their consiences. It's all about the "party line." The whole immigration mess is a classic example. I know it's not practical to try to deport 12 million people, but we have to do SOMETHING or we'll be overrun.

Another question....where is the civilized dialog? Has our political system devolved permanently into vitriolic partisan groups like the Kos Kids? Why is it that very few people can have a friendly, civilized debate without it degenerating into an immature name calling session? Is this what American politics has come to? Is there no middle of the road anymore?It's high time the centrists of both parties take these parties back, before the extremists of both sides implode them. We need to stop electing self-centered, greedy politicians who only want elected office for the personal benefits to themselves. These people care not about their constituencies or their country, it's all Party Politics for them, and it is killing our nation. Both parties are guilty of misbehavior and we must strive to bring civility back into our political system.