Americans Are Being Misled to War
the U.S. action in Iraq with Israel's invasion of Gaza and Lebanon is at best
an oversimplification, and at worst an outright distortion of fact. It is common
knowledge that Iran funds and supports Hezbollah. This week, during the G-8
summit, it was widely known that the member nations were set to discuss potential
sanctions against the Iranian regime. I am surprised that someone with Dr. Roberts'
experience in international affairs fails to make the connection between Hezbollah's
cross-border raid that resulted in five dead Israeli soldiers and two kidnapped
and what was set to happen at the G-8. Clearly, Iran's strategy was to shift
the conversation to Israel by provoking them with this outrageous act, and have
the subsequent violence become the main topic for the summit. Blame Israel and
the United States for falling for the bait, but don't accuse them of engaging
in a premeditated act against Gaza and Lebanon.
On March 9, 1916,
Pancho Villa led 1,500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico.
The raiders burned the town and killed 17 residents. How did the U.S. respond?
As any sovereign nation would. President of the United States Woodrow Wilson
responded by sending 6,000 troops under General John J. Pershing to Mexico to
pursue Villa. In the opinion of many the world over, Israel has actually exercised
restraint by not sending in ground forces to hunt down Hezbollah as the U.S.
did in 1916. Dr. Roberts' failure to recognize the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is irresponsible.
I am no friend
of the Bush administration and have been against the war in Iraq since it was
first talked about in 2002. Antiwar.com's continued support of these rabid anti-Israeli
views erodes the credibility and gravitas that you have earned with your coverage
of the Iraq War.
~ Jeremy Gold
person doesn't have to know very much to understand that it is impossible to
launch an all-out air and naval bombardment of a country without weeks, if not
months, of preparation and planning. It cannot be done overnight in response
to the capture of two soldiers.
A person does
not have to possess much morality to know that Hezbollah is not the state of
Lebanon and that dropping bombs on residential housing is a war crime under
the Nuremberg standard.
A person does
not have to know much about the Middle East to be aware that Hezbollah only
exists because of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
A person does
not have to read very much of the Israeli press to know that Israel desires
It is utterly
absurd to suggest that holding Israel to the same standards as other civilized
countries means a person has "rabid anti-Israeli views."
practice of branding legitimate criticism of Israel "anti-Semitic" no longer
works. The strongest critics of Israel's brutal and inhumane policies can be
found in Israel in the Israeli press.
war in the Middle East will not only cause widespread death and destruction
there, but the consequences in the U.S. may well be a rapid transformation into
a totalitarian country. It is not just that the price of oil will hit astronomical
heights, but that the supply of oil will be nearly totally cut off. The Feds,
in the face of the ensuing domestic economic collapse, may institute wage, price,
and other economic controls, seize industries, and suppress dissent, all in
the name of "protecting" us. This could happen overnight.
I haven't felt
such impending doom since the Cuban missile crisis. Even though the administration
is run by crazy neocon ideologues, it is hard to believe that there are no sane
people there who do not see the threat to the country of general war and who
will not try to stop it. Or is it that I am crazy to believe that such people
~ Mark Nameroff,
exist, but they are not in the government.
Army Wants Action
In your article
on Antiwar.com you stated the following.
attacks on soldiers are never 'terror,' but kidnapping soldiers – or civilians
– and holding them as bargaining chips is banned by international law."
Could you please
cite chapter and verse of the Geneva conventions, or subsequent protocols (or
other such international treaties), or at least provide a legal summary to support
In my view, the
attack seemed entirely justified, under the circumstances, as it was a military
attack by a Lebanese militia against a force (the IDF) currently occupying Lebanese
territory (the Shebaa Farms) as well as regularly violating the undisputed airspace
of Lebanon. Furthermore, since that force (the IDF) currently holds prisoners
taken from Lebanon, the Lebanese should have every right to attempt to capture
Israeli forces in response.
If you can cite
relevant international law on point, which negates this formulation, I would
be interested in reading it.
~ Greg Potemkin,
of direct reference to Geneva Conventions or international treaties, allow me
to make a shortcut and quote Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on
the issue of hostages:
"The holding of hostages, either civilians or armed forces' members, violates
the fundamental rights to life, physical, and mental integrity and liberty,
and is expressly prohibited by international law, which prohibits threatening
to harm or to continue holding a detained person in order to compel a third
party to do or abstain from doing something as a condition for their release."
"A hostage is a person held in the power of an adversary in order to obtain
specific actions, such as the release of prisoners, from the other party to
the conflict. International law prohibits the taking of hostages, which is a
war crime under the laws of war."
You mention several
* The regular
Israeli violations of Lebanon's airspace;
* The Israeli occupation of the Shebaa Farms, the sovereignty over which is
disputed – Israel claims it's Syrian (the kidnapping, by the way, did not take
place anywhere near the Shebaa Farms);
* Lebanese persons held in Israeli prisons (I couldn't find their exact number
– one, Samir Kuntar, convicted of murder of civilians, and perhaps one
or two others; all the others – hundreds – were released a couple
of years ago).
All this is true,
but it cannot justify Hezbollah's breach of international law, neither by kidnapping
nor by firing at a civilian population. The principle is that atrocities, war
crimes, or terrorism committed by one side do not give the other side any right
to do the same: international law should be respected under all circumstances.