Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hand wringing in DC

From The Washington Post:

Even as the fighting continues and the civilian casualties mount in Lebanon, sentiment in Congress is overwhelmingly on Israel's side. Last week, the House passed a resolution, 410 to 8, that went even beyond the Bush administration in supporting for Israel in its battle with Hezbollah militants.

A bid by the four House lawmakers of Lebanese descent to add language urging restraint against civilian targets was rejected in negotiations. The resolution's only nod to those caught in the crossfire came in a recognition of "Israel's longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss" and an expression of condolences -- in the last sentence of a three-page document -- "to all innocent victims of recent violence in Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories."

"We're going to be vindicated," predicted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a Lebanese American who failed to secure language urging "all parties to protect innocent life and civilian infrastructure." "On the night of the vote, that wasn't the will of the Congress. But . . . 10 weeks from now, the fighting will be over. In 10 weeks, I think we will regret not having shown more empathy for the suffering of innocent Lebanese."


In today's heated atmosphere, even the Lebanese American lawmakers are careful to express their support for Israel and for its right of self-defense. Each represents a district with a large Lebanese population, and each said he has heard harrowing stories of devastation and angry constituent appeals for action.

"Violence and warfare are always disturbing, but as policymakers, we need to look at what steps need to be made to make a lasting peace, not just knee-jerk reactions," Boustany said. "I agree with what Israel is doing.

"But as conversations continue, their concerns quickly swing to the stories that constituents tell: of Israeli raids on a Beirut airport fuel depot "just so they can have a July Fourth fireworks event," as Issa put it, or the bombing of a radio tower in LaHood's ancestral village of Atou, 100 miles north of Beirut and far from Hezbollah's influence.

"I understand why the Israelis would attack the sources of the rocket launches in the south," Issa said. "But I'm not going to ignore these attacks on targets far to the north, in Christian neighborhoods where it appears to be punishment of the people of Lebanon."

It is too bad about the civilian deaths and injuries. However let us remember that the elected government of Lebanon has been allowing Hezbollah to operate against Israel for years. The people of Lebanon acting through their elected representatives have allowed Hezbollah to import thousands of missiles from Iran and Syria and stockpile them in hardened bunkers on Lebanese soil.

We should also remember that Lebanon was one of the nations that invaded Israel after its founding and tried to wipe it out. This was done while the Maronite Christians were still firmly in control. Despite this Israel backed them in the Lebanese civil war. They repay Israel's attempt to aid them in preventing their defeat and domination by Muslims by siding with Hezbollah against Israel.

I just find it hard to have too much sympathy for them.

If they want the bloodshed to stop let them mobilize their army and assist Israel in exterminating every last trace of Hezbollah from the surface of the earth.