Apart from its undoubted ability to produce carnage, war also has the ability to provoke people into speaking an awful lot of rubbish. So it is with the war in Lebanon.
We have heard much since this war started about how the United States (and its loyal British lapdog) has been blocking moves at the United Nations to bring about a ceasefire in Lebanon. Such is the hysterical hatred for Bush and Blair that they have even been accused of bringing the UN to its knees.
This charge might carry more weight if the UN were not a busted flush already. Even if we ignore the UN peadophile ring which was operating among peacekeepers in the Congo and the corruption which reaches as far as the hopeless Kofi Annan, we are still faced with examples of sheer uselessness. In Darfur in western Sudan 2 million people have been forced from their homes to live in unsanitary refugee camps by a government sponsored militia. The US and Britain, among others, have pushed for UN action to halt this, as many have said should happen in Lebanon. It hasn’t happened though because Russia, a veto wielding member of the Security Council does a lot of business with the Sudanese government and is not keen to see it slapped down. If this were George Bush we would never hear the end of it, but because it is largely useless to the left in the west, the plight of the Darfuris is forgotten about.
Besides, there is no reason to believe that a UN resolution would make a blind bit of difference. In September 2004, the UN passed Resolution 1559 demanding that the Lebanese government disarm Hizbollah. In January 2006, this still hadn’t happened and the UN was forced to issue a warning to the government in Beirut and all this after repeated Hizbollah rocket attacks on Israel. It would be quickly pointed out that Israel itself is in breach of UN resolutions, but surely this just goes to show how pointless it is?
There has also been something of an outcry over the fact that US weapons flights bound for Israel have been passing via the UK. However, you will search in vain for much of an outcry over the fact that Iran has been supplying Hizbollah with the rockets they used to start this war.
The links between the supporters of a group who’s avowed aim is to wipe out the Israeli state and British left wingers has been dealt with in a previous blog, but when you read about the random murder of Israeli Arab children by Hizbollah, you have to wonder how even they can bear to look themselves in the mirror let alone carry placards claiming ‘We are all Hizbollah’. Still, they spent years as apologists for Stalin and Mao so the left and mass murder have a long standing relationship.
Another of the charges is that Israel’s response has been ‘disproportionate’, but this is a plainly silly and vacuous argument. After all, what would be a proportional response? For every one Israeli killed by Hizbollah, the IDF executes one Lebanese? At what number of dead does a response become ‘disproportionate’? There has been a very long queue of people lining up to criticize Israeli actions but a much shorter queue of people with alternative courses. Should the Israeli’s have continued to just sit there and put up with the rockets which Hizbollah has been firing across the border since 2000?
It is easy to see where this charge comes from, the civilian loss of life in Lebanon has been terrible and deaths like that Quana have shocked the world. But this is how Hizbollah works, indeed, it is how any guerilla or insurgent force works. From Ireland in the early 1920’s to Vietnam in the 1960’s, the enemy, militarily weaker than its opponent, provokes it by a series of small incidents into ever greater crackdowns which have the effect of generating support and potential recruits in the nation effected and political sympathy in the wider world. So it is in Lebanon. A Hizbollah fighter stands on top of a tower block and fires a rocket into Israel. Israel fires back at him and kills everyone inside the tower block.
So perhaps there should be a negotiated peace? That would surely be the best solution for everyone? Perhaps not. In its manifesto, Hizbollah claims that “We see in Israel the vanguard of the United States in our Islamic world. It is the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve” and “We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies” or even “our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated”. In this light it comes as little surprise that Hizbollah legislator Hussein Haj Hassan responded to peace efforts saying “The international envoys have conveyed Israeli conditions. These conditions are rejected”. When Israel is faced with an enemy backed by the growing power of Iran and which claims that “We recognize no treaty with it (Israel), no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated”, who exactly are the Israelis suppose to negotiate with?
This brings us back to the question of the UN. Those who place so much faith in the ability of this rotten fiasco to rein in Israel and protect it from further Hizbollah attacks may like to note Hizbollah’s reaction to the last UN force which was dispatched to guard the border; “With special vehemence we reject UNIFIL as they were sent by world arrogance to occupy areas evacuated by Israel and serve for the latter as a buffer zone. They should be treated much like the Zionists.”
Hizbollah will keep firing rockets into Israel and it will fight a UN force if one is sent there to keep the peace. Israel will be faced with the choice of accepting these rocket attacks or doing something about which is the route they have been forced down by the intransigence of Hizbollah and the weakness of the Lebanese government. But it is a war that Israel cannot win so expect plenty more rubbish to be spouted about it yet.