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August 9, 2006
Don't Start Wars You Can't Finish

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora takes to the pages of the Washington Post to convince Americans of the evil that Israel commits in the current war. It is a remarkable document, utterly free of any hint of Hezbollah's responsibility for committing an act of war against Israel, their consistent and deliberate targeting of Israeli citizens from Lebanese territory, or Siniora's failure to disarm Hezbollah or to even bother to attempt it. Instead, Siniora wants us to conclude that Lebanon's harboring of Hezbollah has no bearing on the current conflict:

A military solution to Israel's savage war on Lebanon and the Lebanese people is both morally unacceptable and totally unrealistic. We in Lebanon call upon the international community and citizens everywhere to support my country's sovereignty and end this folly now. We also insist that Israel be made to respect international humanitarian law, including the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, which it has repeatedly and willfully violated.

As the world watches, Israel has besieged and ravaged our country, created a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and shattered our infrastructure and economy, putting an intolerable strain on our social and economic systems. Fuel, food and medical equipment are in short supply; homes, factories and warehouses have been destroyed; roads severed, bridges smashed and airports disabled.

The damage to infrastructure alone is running into the billions of dollars, as are the losses to owners of private property, and the long-term direct and indirect costs due to lost revenue in tourism, agriculture and industrial sectors are expected to be many more billions. Lebanon's well-known achievements in 15 years of postwar development have been wiped out in a matter of days by Israel's deadly military might.

For all this carnage and death, and on behalf of all Lebanese, we demand an international inquiry into Israel's criminal actions in Lebanon and insist that Israel pay compensation for its wanton destruction.

What upsets Siniora most is that Lebanon and the Hezbollah terrorists violated the first law of military strategy: don't pick fights you don't have a chance of winning. The war resulted from a terrorist operation that included rocket fire on Israel as a diversion, the deaths of several IDF soldiers, and the abduction of two more. Further, the leader of Hezbollah has publicly admitted that Siniora's government knew of the operation and did nothing to stop it; indeed, they encouraged it in the hope of swapping the Israelis for Lebanese criminals held in Israeli prisons.

Siniora mentions none of this in his propaganda piece, which the Post dutifully publishes on his behalf. Siniora repeats his seven points for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, none of which involve the disarming of Hezbollah nor recompense for Israeli civilians, who have been deliberately targeted by every one of the rockets Hezbollah launched from Siniora's territory. Siniora claimed that his nation had been unable to implement UNSC Resolution 1559 prior to the war, but now he wants us to believe that he can deploy the Lebanese Army to southern Lebanon without co-option by the terrorists Lebanon has harbored south of the Litani for the six years since occupation.

The death of civilians in southern Lebanon is tragic, of course, but Siniora wants to help terrorists validate their strategy by blaming their victims. Under the rules of war, combatants have to clearly identify themselves and refrain from conducting offensive operations within civilian population centers. They also have to avoid deliberately targeting civilians and conduct those offensive operations against military or government assets. Hezbollah has violated all of these rules, and they have done so deliberately from the opening moments of this war. Israel has the right to defend itself by attacking these launching positions; the responsibility for civilian deaths under the rules of war apply to Hezbollah and Lebanon, not Israel. Considering Hezbollah's tactics in this conflict, it's a wonder that more Lebanese civilians have not been killed as collateral damage.

And bear in mind that since Hezbollah refuses to wear uniforms and insignia and to base their operations in civilian areas, Israel has no good way to determine who the civilians are -- and that is also Hezbollah's fault under the rules of war.

Siniora doesn't advance the cause of peace with this effort: he advances the use of terrorism. He wants the world to grant Hezbollah all of the goals it failed to achieve with its act of war against Israel. Siniora also wants us to feel anger that Israel defends itself rather than give in to extortion and acquiesce to a double standard that would render it unable to ever respond to Hezbollah's attacks. Siniora wants to endorse the tactics of using civilians as human shields and hostages to terrorist operations. After 9/11, we're just not that naive any more.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 9, 2006 6:05 AM

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» Siniora Still Doesn't Get It from Liberty and Justice
What does he want? Well, quite simply: he wants Israel to give in to every single demand of Hizbullah and, if Israel does so he will suddenly send 15 000 troops to southern Lebanon to take control of the area. Question: Mr. Siniora told us when this wa... [Read More]

Tracked on August 9, 2006 8:17 AM

» Take Responsibility Prime Minister Fuad Siniora from Right Voices
The WaPo ran this riciculous piece: End This Tragedy Now Israel Must Be Made to Respect International Law, written by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. How odd he would chose that title for his propoganda piece, given the fact that Hezbollah chief ... [Read More]

Tracked on August 10, 2006 11:26 AM


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