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Terry Haines

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It's not like me to talk any politics etc here but at this time I feel ...outraged.My wife,the owner of HMS Inc, is a true American but born to her parents overseas in the middle east,her mother is from Ky and her late father served in the Navy and had full military honors at his funeral last year.She attended the American High School in Beirut many years ago.We, along with her mother ,were going to Beirut to see many old friends whom the family have known for years...As you can guess the trip is now 'off'.For some of the things you won't see on the media go here:-





I'm not taking any sides here or trying to start any bad feeling but...






....In my 'previous' life I have been around some scenes like these but this is...well ,you decide for yourself.


Had to vent ,sorry.

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Terry, other members of FCO.


I looked at that link. I have to say, that until i saw those pictures I had absolutely no idea that it was that bad there! I mean i knew it was bad, just not to that extent. WTF is going on!???!!!

I was sickened by the pictures, some of which i didnt want to see but had to, in order to grasp what is really going on. Its F'd up!! Terry , prayers go out to you mate and your family and also to the families of other members of FCO who have relatives out there.


Some things have to be said or they will remain never heard.

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I've always wondered the same thing. We're on one planet. It's like one sibling in one room of a house, blowing up another room in the same house.


No one sees the 10,000 foot view.


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Robert Fisk's elegy for Beirut


07/19/06 "The Independent' -- -- Elegant buildings lie in ruins. The heady scent of gardenias gives way to the acrid stench of bombed-out oil installations. And everywhere terrified people are scrambling to get out of a city that seems tragically doomed to chaos and destruction. As Beirut - 'the Paris of the East' - is defiled yet again


In the year 551, the magnificent, wealthy city of Berytus - headquarters of the imperial East Mediterranean Roman fleet - was struck by a massive earthquake. In its aftermath, the sea withdrew several miles and the survivors - ancestors of the present-day Lebanese - walked out on the sands to loot the long-sunken merchant ships revealed in front of them.


That was when a tidal wall higher than a tsunami returned to swamp the city and kill them all. So savagely was the old Beirut damaged that the Emperor Justinian sent gold from Constantinople as compensation to every family left alive.


How does this happen to Beirut? For 30 years, I've watched this place die and then rise from the grave and then die again, its apartment blocks pitted with so many bullets they looked like Irish lace, its people massacring each other.


I lived here through 15 years of civil war that took 150,000 lives, and two Israeli invasions and years of Israeli bombardments that cost the lives of a further 20,000 of its people. I have seen them armless, legless, headless, knifed, bombed and splashed across the walls of houses. Yet they are a fine, educated, moral people whose generosity amazes every foreigner, whose gentleness puts any Westerner to shame, and whose suffering we almost always ignore.


They look like us, the people of Beirut. They have light-coloured skin and speak beautiful English and French. They travel the world. Their women are gorgeous and their food exquisite. But what are we saying of their fate today as the Israelis - in some of their cruellest attacks on this city and the surrounding countryside - tear them from their homes, bomb them on river bridges, cut them off from food and water and electricity? We say that they started this latest war, and we compare their appalling casualties - 240 in all of Lebanon by last night - with Israel's 24 dead, as if the figures are the same.


And then, most disgraceful of all, we leave the Lebanese to their fate like a diseased people and spend our time evacuating our precious foreigners while tut-tutting about Israel's "disproportionate" response to the capture of its soldiers by Hizbollah.


I walked through the deserted city centre of Beirut yesterday and it reminded more than ever of a film lot, a place of dreams too beautiful to last, a phoenix from the ashes of civil war whose plumage was so brightly coloured that it blinded its own people. This part of the city - once a Dresden of ruins - was rebuilt by Rafiq Hariri, the prime minister who was murdered scarcely a mile away on 14 February last year.


The wreckage of that bomb blast, an awful precursor to the present war in which his inheritance is being vandalised by the Israelis, still stands beside the Mediterranean, waiting for the last UN investigator to look for clues to the assassination - an investigator who has long ago abandoned this besieged city for the safety of Cyprus.

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There are children standing here,

Arms outstretched into the sky,

Tears drying on their face.

He has been here.

Brothers lie in shallow graves.

Fathers lost without a trace.

A nation blind to their disgrace,

Since he's been here.


And I see no bravery,

No bravery in your eyes anymore.

Only sadness.


Houses burnt beyond repair.

The smell of death is in the air.

A woman weeping in despair says,

He has been here.

Tracer lighting up the sky.

It's another families' turn to die.

A child afraid to even cry out says,

He has been here.


And I see no bravery,

No bravery in your eyes anymore.

Only sadness.


There are children standing here,

Arms outstretched into the sky,

But no one asks the question why,

He has been here.

Old men kneel and accept their fate.

Wives and daughters cut and raped.

A generation drenched in hate.

Yes, he has been here.


And I see no bravery,

No bravery in your eyes anymore.

Only sadness.

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.....this is what you do to people trying to get away....must all be terrorists eh!








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Unintended and unavoidable consequence of war. This is what Hezbollah wants. More dead civilians, more tragedy.


The Israelis are destroying a fanatical foe that absolutely does not care about civilian populations - in a very crowded part of the world.


I believe the Israelis are being incredibly careful with this. With any other military, including ours, the carnage would be far worse.


To the Hezbollah, civilians are just another tool, a strange kind of weapon targeting the morality of their foes. Making the civilian cost of confronting them, so high in lives and property, is an integral part of their tactics.


“We can do to you as we want and despite your powerful military you cannot confront us because of the unintended consequences.â€Â


Clearly the Israelis never want to have to do this again.

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...I doubt that red cross vehicles,hospitals,cars running for the border are all carring rockets.Don't tell me about the victims of war unless you have been around random body parts of men,women & children who are in no way part of the 'enemy' apart from the fact they 'look like Arabs'.Firing banned munitions at civilian targets is also way out of line.I dont give a rats ass how you want to cut it but the 'normal' people of Beirut are being killed off quicker than the enemy.It smeels of 'ethnic clensing' to wich many 'great nations' of the word have been guilty of over the years.Beirut is a mixed religion and culture.....they even blew apart a Catholic church.It's a poor excuse to distory a country that has worked for year to rebuild.

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...I doubt that red cross vehicles,hospitals,cars running for the border are all carring rockets.Don't tell me about the victims of war unless you have been around random body parts of men,women & children who are in no way part of the 'enemy' apart from the fact they 'look like Arabs'.Firing banned munitions at civilian targets is also way out of line.I dont give a rats ass how you want to cut it but the 'normal' people of Beirut are being killed off quicker than the enemy.It smeels of 'ethnic clensing' to wich many 'great nations' of the word have been guilty of over the years.Beirut is a mixed religion and culture.....they even blew apart a Catholic church.It's a poor excuse to distory a country that has worked for year to rebuild.

OK Terry, you’ve eliminated the vast majority of people in the US. I’m mostly on this site because I’m a Contour enthusiast. But I’m also way beyond my youth, damn smart by most measures and I spent the majority of my adult life serving in the military, enlisted and officer. Since October 23 1983 (remember that day?) I have been an avid student of the history of this region. I share your feelings of horror and frustration over the carnage being committed right now and I won’t argue with you over the question “Is there another choice?â€Â


I will only say this: The Israelis better finish Hezbollah’s rule over Lebanon this time. All this suffering and destruction cannot be in vain – only to be repeated again at a time convenient to Iran and Syria.

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...as I also have served and am past 50.Seeing body parts first hand after terrorists have had their fun makes you 'change' a little.More so when you were one of the guys who wore a strage looking suit when they cleared two city blocks for your 'Long Walk' to 'cut wires' on your own...yes,I've been there.Any ex-military person know the effect types of explosives have on the human body...The second I saw the pics of the bodies then later the shells being fired.....I knew 'what' they were firing at the civilians....

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07/25/06 "Los Angeles Times" -- -- TYRE, Lebanon — In the burning haze of the missile strike, Qasim Chaalan thought he had died. But piece by piece, he noticed that he was still there, inside the ambulance. He could still feel his body. He opened his eyes, and discovered he could see.


He and the other medics were lucky: They had survived the blow of an Israeli missile. Dazed and slow, one of the men fumbled for the radio and began, "We have an accident…. " He didn't finish the sentence. A second missile smashed with a roar into the ambulance behind them.


Six Red Cross volunteers were wounded in the Sunday attack, and the injured family they were ferrying to safety suffered fresh agonies. A middle-age man lost his leg from the knee down. His mother was partially paralyzed. A little boy's head was hammered by shrapnel.


Perhaps most dangerous of all, the attack blunted the zeal of the band of gonzo ambulance drivers who have doggedly plugged away as Red Cross volunteers. Young men and women with easy grins and a breezy disregard for their own safety, they have remained as the last visible strand of social structure intact after days of Israeli bombardment.


When the fighting erupted between Israel and Hezbollah, many of the volunteers sent their families north and stayed behind to help their countrymen. Clad in helmets and flak jackets, they brave a rain of Israeli bombs, a crazy maze of cratered roads and perpetual uncertainty over how bad the fighting might become. Fiercely proud of their work at the Red Cross, they had clung desperately to the hope that, as lifesavers, they would be spared.


Many times over nearly two weeks of bombing, medics say, missiles struck the roads nearby; they felt harassed. But somehow, they managed to convince themselves that they were invulnerable to attack.


"We used to kid ourselves, think we couldn't be hit," 38-year-old volunteer Imad Hillal said. "Even in this war, even when bombs fell around us, we never thought we'd be hit. But what happened has changed everything."


Sitting in the radio room at Red Cross headquarters here Monday, Hillal rested his head wearily on one hand. When asked whether the ambulances would continue running, tears clouded his eyes.


The Red Cross team had been sent out into a night that thundered with falling bombs. They'd been assigned to ferry three wounded civilians out of the heaviest battle zone of the southern borderlands on Sunday. One team of medics had headed north from the town of Tibnin, the wounded family stretched flat on gurneys in the back. The other team had rushed south from Tyre to meet them halfway.


From the time the call came in, Chaalan hadn't been able to shake his dread. He didn't understand why. He had made the trip plenty of times before.


As he made his way out to the ambulance, he turned to the other medics loitering around and, surprising even himself, used a traditional Arabic farewell that implies death may be near.


"I'll see you, forgive me," he told them. He'd never said that before. One of his colleagues followed him out the door. "Please take care," she said. She'd never done that before; it made him even more nervous. He brushed her off and climbed into the ambulance.


The three young men drove out to the town of Qana. Looking up, they could see red lights in the sky overhead. Israeli planes, Chaalan thought.


They came to a stop on a stretch of battle-pocked roadway in Qana.


The medics favor that spot because the ambulances, with their trademark red crosses emblazoned on the roofs, can be seen clearly from above. They thought it was safe.


They climbed down, removed the patients from the other ambulance and slid them into place. They moved fast; everybody was nervous.


Then the roar and smash of the missiles shattered the summer night. Both ambulances were hit, directly and systematically, by Israeli bombs, the medics said.


Everybody else must be dead, Chaalan remembered thinking as he slowly came to his senses. He called out his first medic's name, and got an answer. He called out the second man's name. Silence. "We lost one man," he thought.


The grandmother had crawled out of the ambulance after the first missile strike, but the medics didn't realize that. There was no way the adults could have survived, the medics decided.


So they grabbed the little boy and took shelter in a nearby basement.


Most of the houses on the street stood empty, abandoned by families who'd heeded Israeli evacuation orders and fled north. More bombings continued to puncture the night.


Huddled in the darkness of the basement, they ran their hands over their own bodies, checking for injuries. The boy's head, full of shrapnel, was bleeding badly. They used T-shirts to bandage his wounds.


Then they waited in the darkness. They managed to get through to the Red Cross station from their cellphones. An hour and a half dragged past.


Finally, Hillal and the other medics made it to the scene. "It was a disaster," he said.


"The cars had exploded all over the place. There was one man so badly injured we didn't know what to do for him."


At first, the Red Cross had considered whether to stop making ambulance runs altogether, he said. Then the organization thought better of it and recommended that the teams only stop driving south. Hillal didn't know what would happen. He only knew that the ground rules had been blasted away — the medics had been stripped of their sense of safety.


"When we were driving in the ambulance before, we did not feel we are safe 100%," Chaalan said. "But now it's direct on us."


On Monday, medics and the wounded family were all in the hospital. The grandmother lay on her side in a hospital bed, face turned to the sky outside her window.


"Give me something for the pain," she groaned. "I'm going to vomit." A son and grandson were unconscious in the intensive care unit. Her son, whose leg had been struck by the missile, lay under a tangle of tubes. The sheet reached just below the knee. His calf wasn't there anymore.


Chaalan was bleeding from the ear, and stitches bound his chin and a leg. He needed a few more days to recover, but he insisted on going home.


He peeled off his bandages before stopping by to kiss his mother.


And then he was back at the Red Cross station, padding around in a Las Vegas T-shirt, insisting that he was ready to get back to work.


"I prefer to die when I'm helping people," he said. "Not when I'm hiding."

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I visited Beirut when took a tour of the eastern Mediterranean a few years ago. The people that I've met were among the warmest and welcoming people that I've ever met. I feel so bad about what is happening there.


I had a conversation with a friend who is a retired professor of biochemistry a few days ago about what's happening there. He thing he said struck me. His exacts words were "I'm not surprised. Humans are still in the monkey stage. Life is a miracle and what do we do? We f*cking kill each other. We like to think that we are civilized but we are not - this could have happened anywhere."

Edited by Fern
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No one would have died if Hezbollah hadn't entered Israeli soil, killed Israelis, and kidnapped those two boys. Hezbollah is at fault. If the Lebanese government allowed a terrorist group to run the southern border, than the Lebanese government shares in the blame for casualties on both sides.

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The "hiding among civilians" myth


Israel claims it's justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn't trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.


By Mitch Prothero


07/28/06 "Salon" -- -- The bombs came just as night fell, around 7 p.m. The locals knew that the 10-story apartment building had been the office, and possibly the residence, of Sheik Tawouk, the Hezbollah commander for the south, so they had moved their families out at the start of the war. The landlord had refused to rent to Hezbollah when they requested the top floors of the building. No matter, the locals said, the Hezb guys just moved in anyway in the name of the "resistance."


Everyone knew that the building would be hit eventually. Its location in downtown Tyre, which had yet to be hit by Israeli airstrikes, was not going to protect it forever. And "everyone" apparently included Sheik Tawouk, because he wasn't anywhere near it when it was finally hit.


Two guided bombs struck it in a huge flash bang of fire and concrete dust followed by the roar of 10 stories pancaking on top of each other, local residents said. Jihad Husseini, 46, runs the driving school a block away and was sitting in his office when the bombs struck. He said his life was saved because he had drawn the heavy cloth curtains shut on the windows facing the street, preventing him from being hit by a wave of shattered glass. But even so, a chunk of smoldering steel flew through the air, broke through the window and the curtain, and shot past his head and through the wall before coming to rest in his neighbor's home.


But Jihad still refuses to leave.


"Everything is broken, but I can make it better," he says, surrounded by his sons Raed, 20, and Mohammed, 12. "I will not leave. This place is not military, it is not Hezbollah; it was an empty apartment."


Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection.


But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian militants have been.


For their part, the Israelis seem to think that if they keep pounding civilians, they'll get some fighters, too. The almost nightly airstrikes on the southern suburbs of Beirut could be seen as making some sense, as the Israelis appear convinced there are command and control bunkers underneath the continually smoldering rubble. There were some civilian casualties the first few nights in places like Haret Hreik, but people quickly left the area to the Hezbollah fighters with their radios and motorbikes.


But other attacks seem gratuitous, fishing expeditions, or simply intended to punish anything and anyone even vaguely connected to Hezbollah. Lighthouses, grain elevators, milk factories, bridges in the north used by refugees, apartment buildings partially occupied by members of Hezbollah's political wing -- all have been reduced to rubble.


In the south, where Shiites dominate, just about everyone supports Hezbollah. Does mere support for Hezbollah, or even participation in Hezbollah activities, mean your house and family are fair game? Do you need to fire rockets from your front yard? Or is it enough to be a political activist?


The Israelis are consistent: They bomb everyone and everything remotely associated with Hezbollah, including noncombatants. In effect, that means punishing Lebanon. The nation is 40 percent Shiite, and of that 40 percent, tens of thousands are employed by Hezbollah's social services, political operations, schools, and other nonmilitary functions. The "terrorist" organization Hezbollah is Lebanon's second-biggest employer.


People throw the phrase "ghost town" around a lot, but Nabatiya, a bombed-out town about 15 miles from the Lebanon-Israel border, deserves it. One expects the spirits of the town's dead, or its refugees, to silently glide out onto its abandoned streets from the ruined buildings that make up much of the town.


Not all of the buildings show bomb damage, but those that don't have metal shutters blown out as if by a terrible wind. And there are no people at all, except for the occasional Hezbollah scout on a motorbike armed only with a two-way radio, keeping an eye on things as Israeli jets and unmanned drones circle overhead.


Overlooking the outskirts of this town, which has a peacetime population of 100,000 or so -- mostly Shiite supporters of Hezbollah and its more secular rival Amal -- is the Ragheh Hareb Hospital, a facility that makes quite clear what side the residents of Nabatiya are on in this conflict.


The hospital's carefully sculpted and trimmed front lawn contains the giant Red Crescent that denotes the Muslim version of the Red Cross. As we approach it, an Israeli missile streaks by, smashing into a school on the opposite hilltop. As we crouch and then run for the shelter of the hospital awning, that giant crescent reassures me until I look at the flagpole. The Lebanese flag and its cedar tree is there -- right next to the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


It's safe to say that Ragheh Hareb Hospital has an association with Hezbollah. And the staff sports the trimmed beards and polite, if somewhat ominous, manner of the group. After young men demand press IDs and do some quick questioning, they allow us to enter.


Dr. Ahmed Tahir recognizes me from a funeral in the nearby village of Dweir. An Israeli bomb dropped on their house killed a Hezbollah cleric and 11 members of his immediate family, mostly children. People in Lebanon are calling it a war crime. Tahir looks exhausted, and our talk is even more tense than the last time.


"Maybe it would be best if the Israelis bombed your car on the road here," he said, with a sharp edge. "If you were killed, maybe the public outcry would be so bad in America that the Jews would be forced to stop these attacks."


When I volunteered that the Bush administration cared little for journalists, let alone ones who reported from Hezbollah territory, he shrugged. "Maybe if it was an American bomb used by the Israelis that killed an American journalist, they would stop this horror," he said.


The handful of people in the town include some from Hezbollah's political wing, as well as volunteers keeping an eye on things while the residents are gone. Off to the side, as we watch the Israelis pummel ridgelines on the outskirts of town, one of the political operatives explains that the fighters never come near the town, reinforcing what other Hezbollah people have told me over the years.


Although Israel targets apartments and offices because they are considered "Hezbollah" installations, the group has a clear policy of keeping its fighters away from civilians as much as possible. This is not for humanitarian reasons -- they did, after all, take over an apartment building against the protests of the landlord, knowing full well it would be bombed -- but for military ones.


"You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing fighter with a weapon," a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired, once told me. "They do not come out with their masks off and never operate around people if they can avoid it. They're completely afraid of collaborators. They know this is what breaks the Palestinians -- no discipline and too much showing off."


Perhaps once a year, Hezbollah will hold a military parade in the south, in which its weapons and fighters appear. Media access to these parades is tightly limited and controlled. Unlike the fighters in the half dozen other countries where I have covered insurgencies, Hezbollah fighters do not like to show off for the cameras. In Iraq, with some risk taking, you can meet with and even watch the resistance guys in action. (At least you could during my last time there.) In Afghanistan, you can lunch with Taliban fighters if you're willing to walk a day or so in the mountains. In Gaza and the West Bank, the Fatah or Hamas fighter is almost ubiquitous with his mask, gun and sloganeering to convince the Western journalist of the justice of his cause.


The Hezbollah guys, on the other hand, know that letting their fighters near outsiders of any kind -- journalists or Lebanese, even Hezbollah supporters -- is stupid. In three trips over the last week to the south, where I came near enough to the fighting to hear Israeli artillery, and not just airstrikes, I saw exactly no fighters. Guys with radios with the look of Hezbollah always found me. But no fighters on corners, no invitations to watch them shoot rockets at the Zionist enemy, nothing that can be used to track them.


Even before the war, on many of my trips to the south, the Lebanese army, or the ubiquitous guy on a motorbike with a radio, would halt my trip and send me over to Tyre to get permission from a Hezbollah official before I could proceed, usually with strict limits on where I could go.


Every other journalist I know who has covered Hezbollah has had the same experience. A fellow journalist, a Lebanese who has covered them for two decades, knows only one military guy who will admit it, and he never talks or grants interviews. All he will say is, "I'll be gone for a few months for training. I'll call when I'm back." Presumably his friends and neighbors may suspect something, but no one says anything.


Hezbollah's political members say they have little or no access to the workings of the fighters. This seems to be largely true: While they obviously hear and know more than the outside world, the firewall is strong.


Israel, however, has chosen to treat the political members of Hezbollah as if they were fighters. And by targeting the civilian wing of the group, which supplies much of the humanitarian aid and social protection for the poorest people in the south, they are targeting civilians.


Earlier in the week, I stood next to a giant crater that had smashed through the highway between Tyre and Sidon -- the only route of escape for most of the people in the far south. Overhead, Israeli fighters and drones circled above the city and its outlying areas and regular blasts of bombs and naval artillery could be heard.


The crater served as a nice place to check up on the refugees, who were forced by the crater to slow down long enough to be asked questions. They barely stopped, their faces wrenched in near panic. The main wave of refugees out of the south had come the previous two days, so these were the hard-luck cases, the people who had been really close to the fighting and who needed two days just to get to Tyre, or who had had to make the tough decision whether to flee or stay put, with neither choice looking good.


The roads in the south are full of the cars of people who chose wrong -- burned-out chassis, broken glass, some cars driven straight into posts or ditches. Other seem to have broken down or run out of gas on the long dirt detours around the blown-out highway and bridge network the Israeli air force had spent days methodically destroying even as it warned people to flee.


One man, slowing his car around the crater, almost screams, "There is nothing left. This country is not for us." His brief pause immediately draws horns and impatient yells from the people in the cars behind him. They pass the crater but within two minutes a large explosion behind us, north, in the direction of Sidon, rocks us.


As we drive south toward Tyre, we soon pass a new series of scars on the highway: shrapnel, hubcaps and broken glass. A car that had been maybe five minutes ahead of us was hit by an Israeli shell. Three of its passengers were wounded, and it was heading north to the Hammound hospital at Sidon. We turned around because of the attack and followed the car to Sidon. Those unhurt staked out the parking lot of the hospital, looking for the Western journalists they were convinced had called in the strike. Luckily my Iraqi fixer smelled trouble and we got out of there. Probably nothing would have happened -- mostly they were just freaked-out country people who didn't like the coincidence of an Israeli attack and a car full of journalists driving past.


So the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah "hiding within the civilian population" clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don't know what they're talking about. Hezbollah doesn't trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well -- with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli ground incursion.


And the civilians? They see themselves as targeted regardless of their affiliation. They are enraged at Israel and at the United States, the only two countries on earth not calling for an immediate cease-fire. Lebanese of all persuasions think the United States and Israel believe that Lebanese lives are cheaper than Israeli ones. And many are now saying that they want to fight.

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The "hiding among civilians" myth counterpoint.


By Ralph Kinney Bennett "Maybe Now We'll Get It"



Maybe, as this terrible business in Lebanon unfolds, we'll finally get it:



Guerrillas like to hide behind civilians.



Muslim guerrillas take it a step further: "Civilians" are a weapon to them -- as much a part of the fight as the AK-47 or RPG they carry.



Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are families, women and children, in and around the place. "Secret" bases are usually hidden in plain site. Houses or apartment buildings become weapons storage or even operations centers. An innocent shed or garage may contain a Toyota or a missile launcher.



Seldom, if ever, has a guerrilla movement been able to so openly and exquisitely weave itself into the fabric of a society as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon.



If the civilians in and around what are in effect operational bases happen to be of Hezbollah's own brand of Islam they automatically become a part of the "sacrificial," suicidal equation. Often without choice or foreknowledge, they die an "honorable" death in the battle against infidels or apostates.



If the civilians happen to be of some other persuasion, Islamic or otherwise, their deaths are not even worth a shrug. However, these mangled bodies and wailing women with arms outstretched do provide an immense propaganda payoff, especially in the Western "crusader" media -- which still places a quaint value on human life.



As Israel continues to "shape the battlefield" in Lebanon with its air strikes, the toll of civilian casualties mounts. How many of these are really hapless civilians and how many are Hezbollah fighters and their sometimes willing and sometimes fearfully compliant or resigned human shields will take a long time to sort out.



Suffice it to say the Israeli bombing operations are not indiscriminate. The targets, even those in downtown Beirut, are from painstakingly prepared lists compiled over years of watching the Hezbollah military buildup. The IDF is making often sacrificial efforts to pinpoint known Hezbollah installations and use precision guided weapons. They are making mistakes, yes, and they are probably victims from time to time of Hezbollah efforts to purposely mislead them into bombing completely innocent buildings.



But progress is being made, and Hezbollah will find it increasingly difficult to operate offensively with its Iran-Syrian missile inventory, especially the larger weapons. The Katyusha rockets are inaccurate short-range artillery shells, often more annoying than deadly. In any case, the Hezbollah rocketeers are being pushed back beyond the twelve-to-sixteen-mile range of many of these rockets and individual high ground launching sites, many within villages, are being knocked out. Although the effort has proven much more difficult than the IDF at first believed, the number of rockets landing in Israel has been dropping in recent days.


Hezbollah's greatest asset right now lies in the fact that it has been all but impenetrable to spies. However, the Israeli pounding is forcing the Hezzies into movement without real freedom of movement, and that should play into the hands of the IDF in the air and on the ground.



Meanwhile, the headlines are filled with the shedding of blood, some innocent, some not so obviously innocent. But all the blood of this terrible struggle is on the hands of Hezbollah. As they have grown tactically and operationally wise in their hatred, they have shown more fully their utter disregard for human life. They have calculated the bloody effect of what they and their mentors in Tehran and Damascus have started.


So what if a beautiful city, Beirut, is destroyed? So what if thousands of the hapless, the ignorant, the innocent die? The Islamofanatic "vision" of submission or extermination is worth any cost. To the Hezbollah leaders, high on the furious anti-Semitic hatred of centuries, this is total war with implications and opportunities for them far beyond any geographical boundaries, and the very term "civilian" -- except for its temporary value in gulling the West -- does not apply.



The author is a TCS Daily Contributing Editor.

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UN official calls Hizballah cowards

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland arrived in Israel and will visit sites hit by Kaytusha rockets.


Egeland said that the Hizballah are “a bunch of cowards hiding behind women and children.â€


Egeland criticized the Hizballah for taking pride in the fact that during the Israeli bombardments of Lebanon, only a few Hizballah fighters were hit, and the Lebanese civilians were the ones to bear the brunt of the casualties.


“I cannot understand how someone could be proud that there were more women and children hurt than armed militants. I call for the Hizballah to immediately stop mixing with the civilian population,†said Egeland.


Egeland adds that the Israeli action is a violation of international law and was amazed at the devastation caused by the Israeli air strikes. “The damage is simply horrible. We need to bring these hostilities to an end because this is a war where civilians pay the price.†In addition Egeland said that “Israel is right when they say that they do not wish to intentionally hurt the civilian population.†Having said that, Egeland accused Israel of using excessive force.


Today Egeland will meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who will accompany him on a tour of northern Israel.


Egeland is intent on coordinating humanitarian assistance efforts with Israel to Lebanon and establish a humanitarian air, sea, and land corridor.

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Do you honestly think that if every man ,woman and child in Lebanon were killed then 'attacks' on Isreal will end?...Lets get real here.I doubt the actions in Lebanon will bring any lasting peace but it will serve to increase the ranks of terrorists etc.

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Do you honestly think that if every man ,woman and child in Lebanon were killed then 'attacks' on Isreal will end?...Lets get real here.I doubt the actions in Lebanon will bring any lasting peace but it will serve to increase the ranks of terrorists etc.

I honestly think that if Hezbollah were ousted and Lebanon assume soverignty, then the attacks on Isreal would end. When this takes place, it solves your issues: Men, women, and children in Lebanon are safe, the attacks on Isreal cease, lasting peace is a reality, and the ranks of terrorists go elsewhere.


BTW, where is the outrage from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan? I haven't heard much of protests and riots from these countries. This isn't just a US/Isreal/bad//shame on the West aggression. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran throughout the region are responsible for instability.

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....' lasting peace is a reality, and the ranks of terrorists go elsewhere.'.... This is a dream.The whole ME is an Arab/Muslim area.....I doubt all the 'neighbours' will stay quiet for too long.The projected image of if it's 'Arab' or 'Muslim' it must be bad will be a hard nut to crack,unless you think 'the West' can control all of the ME?...History has shown over hundreds of years that many great countries and nations have tried....all have failed....in the end.The key to any ME policy/peace is to accept that the history and culture of the areas have as much right to exist as our own.Until 'the West' gets that message thru it's thick head there will be conflict...with or without Hezbollah.Every Arab/Muslim killed will be replaced tenfold by one who 'hates' and wants 'revenge'...Ever live or work in the ME?

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08/01/06 "Christian Science Monitor" -- -- NEW YORK – As pundits and policymakers scramble to explain events in Lebanon, their conclusions are virtually unanimous: Hizbullah created this crisis. Israel is defending itself. The underlying problem is Arab extremism.

Sadly, this is pure analytical nonsense. Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 was a direct result of Israel's silent but unrelenting aggression against Lebanon, which in turn is part of a six-decades long Arab-Israeli conflict.


Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern.


In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians. This past February, for instance, 15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon. Israel has assassinated its enemies in the streets of Lebanese cities and continues to occupy Lebanon's Shebaa Farms area, while refusing to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended. What peace did Hizbullah shatter?


Hizbullah's capture of the soldiers took place in the context of this ongoing conflict, which in turn is fundamentally shaped by realities in the Palestinian territories. To the vexation of Israel and its allies, Hizbullah - easily the most popular political movement in the Middle East - unflinchingly stands with the Palestinians.


Since June 25, when Palestinian fighters captured one Israeli soldier and demanded a prisoner exchange, Israel has killed more than 140 Palestinians. Like the Lebanese situation, that flare-up was detached from its wider context and was said to be "manufactured" by the enemies of Israel; more nonsense proffered in order to distract from the apparently unthinkable reality that it is the manner in which Israel was created, and the ideological premises that have sustained it for almost 60 years, that are the core of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict.


Once the Arabs had rejected the UN's right to give away their land and to force them to pay the price for European pogroms and the Holocaust, the creation of Israel in 1948 was made possible only by ethnic cleansing and annexation. This is historical fact and has been documented by Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris. Yet Israel continues to contend that it had nothing to do with the Palestinian exodus, and consequently has no moral duty to offer redress.


For six decades the Palestinian refugees have been refused their right to return home because they are of the wrong race. "Israel must remain a Jewish state," is an almost sacral mantra across the Western political spectrum. It means, in practice, that Israel is accorded the right to be an ethnocracy at the expense of the refugees and their descendants, now close to 5 million.


Is it not understandable that Israel's ethnic preoccupation profoundly offends not only Palestinians, but many of their Arab brethren? Yet rather than demanding that Israel acknowledge its foundational wrongs as a first step toward equality and coexistence, the Western world blithely insists that each and all must recognize Israel's right to exist at the Palestinians' expense.


Western discourse seems unable to accommodate a serious, as opposed to cosmetic concern for Palestinians' rights and liberties: The Palestinians are the Indians who refuse to live on the reservation; the Negroes who refuse to sit in the back of the bus.


By what moral right does anyone tell them to be realistic and get over themselves? That it is too much of a hassle to right the wrongs committed against them? That the front of the bus must remain ethnically pure? When they refuse to recognize their occupier and embrace their racial inferiority, when desperation and frustration causes them to turn to violence, and when neighbors and allies come to their aid - some for reasons of power politics, others out of idealism - we are astonished that they are all such fanatics and extremists.


The fundamental obstacle to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict is that we have given up on asking what is right and wrong, instead asking what is "practical" and "realistic." Yet reality is that Israel is a profoundly racist state, the existence of which is buttressed by a seemingly endless succession of punitive measures, assassinations, and wars against its victims and their allies.


A realistic understanding of the conflict, therefore, is one that recognizes that the crux is not in this or that incident or policy, but in Israel's foundational and per- sistent refusal to recognize the humanity of its Palestinian victims. Neither Hizbullah nor Hamas are driven by a desire to "wipe out Jews," as is so often claimed, but by a fundamental sense of injustice that they will not allow to be forgotten.


These groups will continue to enjoy popular legitimacy because they fulfill the need for someone - anyone - to stand up for Arab rights. Israel cannot destroy this need by bombing power grids or rocket ramps. If Israel, like its former political ally South Africa, has the capacity to come to terms with principles of democracy and human rights and accept egalitarian multiracial coexistence within a single state for Jews and Arabs, then the foundation for resentment and resistance will have been removed. If Israel cannot bring itself to do so, then it will continue to be the vortex of regional violence.


Anders Strindberg, formerly a visiting professor at Damascus University, Syria, is a consultant on Middle East politics working with European government and law-enforcement agencies. He has also covered Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories as a journalist since the late 1990s, primarily for European publications.

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....' lasting peace is a reality, and the ranks of terrorists go elsewhere.'.... This is a dream.The whole ME is an Arab/Muslim area.....I doubt all the 'neighbours' will stay quiet for too long.The projected image of if it's 'Arab' or 'Muslim' it must be bad will be a hard nut to crack,unless you think 'the West' can control all of the ME?...History has shown over hundreds of years that many great countries and nations have tried....all have failed....in the end.The key to any ME policy/peace is to accept that the history and culture of the areas have as much right to exist as our own.Until 'the West' gets that message thru it's thick head there will be conflict...with or without Hezbollah.Every Arab/Muslim killed will be replaced tenfold by one who 'hates' and wants 'revenge'...Ever live or work in the ME?


You hit the nail on the head Terry.


One aspect that is amazing to me is that the young generations grow up only knowing to hate... they don't know the original reasons for conflict and are too young to have been affected by them, but they live and breathe "hate the west". And the same misunderstanding is growing in the west. I have little faith that either group will ever be able to let bygone be bygone and work towards peace and understanding.... both sides are just too stubborn.

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"Little choice for a defiant Israel", The Age, July 15, 2006


Hassan Nasrallah, the current Secretary General of the Lebanese Islamist party Hezbollah, stated:


"There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel."



"Nasrallah's Nonsense", New York Sun, 2005-03-11


... 1992 Hezbollah statement, which vowed, "It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth."



This is what Hezbollah is about. Although not of Jewish decent or faith, I am not comfortable with groups that call for genocide or those that harbor them.


Those that say that although Hezbolllah entered Israel, killed Israelis, and kidnapped those boys, Israel is to blame for all the conflict and death, remind me of the drunk Mel Gibson saying that the Jews are responsible for all the wars.


I certainly believe that there is a possibility for peace in the Middle East if genocidal groups such as Hezbollah were not allowed to practice there hate. I've known some very lovely people of middle-eastern decent, but I've had contact with members of Hezbollah and barely escaped with my life. They hated me because I was American, America supports the Israeli democracy, and Israel is evil, which meant I was evil, an infidel, and needed to die. Islamo-fascism is the real evil in the Middle East.

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