Elster's World

Monday, August 07, 2006

Call Off the Dogs

I got my computer issues worked out. Thanks to all of you who responded. Actually, I got exactly two responses to my inquiries so thanks to Dayli and Lakewood Venter, who get links for showing interest.

Quick roundup of things to blog about:

- BP was forced to shut down its Alaskan oil drilling operation, due to major issues with the Alaskan pipeline. This operation was providing the US with something like eight percent of its oil supply. The fear is that this may cause oil prices to skyrocket - something to keep an eye on. The upshot of the never ending oil saga domestically or abroad is that the world's reliance on oil (especially in the US) is staggeringly dangerous. This country should be investing whatever it takes to come up with alternative methods of energy; whether that be nuclear or other. Why not take the power away from Middle eastern fanatics by taking away their second best hammer (the first being the willingness to give up their own lives to slaughter innocents)? It seems so logical.

Clearly, conservation will not be the answer. In fact, it will hurt the economy. And it is a band-aid, not a fix. The world needs a cleaner, safer, cheaper energy source that won't destroy the environment or force us to be slaves to the Middle East.

- Even the president is calling for an end to the violence in Lebanon and Israel. Israel has managed to get its proverbial rear end kicked in the public relations battle - which is not particularly surprising. The world media (Fox excluded) wants Israel to be in the wrong and therefore simply manipulates its reporting so that Israel is in the wrong. Nothing to really be done for it. Photos of dead babies trump photos of wealthy sections of Chaifa with some smoke billowing in the distance.

This is so frustrating to observe. Despite the UN's reluctance to proclaim it so, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization responsible for the murder of Israelis, Americans and French citizens since 1982. Why are they getting a free pass now? Why are they not strongly condemned for basically using women and children as human shields for their movable rocket launchers? There is a great cartoon making the rounds of a Hezbollah terrorist firing at Israel behind a baby carriage while an Israel soldier fires back, blocking a baby carriage. These people are despicable, yet they are fast becoming heroes both in the region and to leftist-Anti-Israel parties everywhere.

- Not to pick a fight with Joe - Seriously I don't even want to discuss it. But the more I read, see and experience, the more I believe that my initial assertion that Israel had, in fact, somewhat miscalculated Hezbollah's ability to resist and retaliate was indeed correct. Joe, you and I shall simply agree to disagree on this point.

- Finally, my Storytellers post is up and from what I can tell (based on the lack of comments anyway), not being particularly well read.

11 Comments:

  • " Even the president is calling for an end to the violence in Lebanon and Israel.'

    It's been almost a month. Did you expect Bush to allow an endless war?

    "the more I read, see and experience, the more I believe that my initial assertion that Israel had, in fact, somewhat miscalculated Hezbollah's ability to resist and retaliate was indeed correct."

    That was not your initial assertion. Your initial assertion was that Israel "underestimated Hezbollah."

    Not to pick a fight either, but you appear to lack knowledge of Israel's experience in Lebanon generally and with Hezbollah in particular. If you possessed such knowledge, it is doubtful that you would continue to submit these baseless assertions.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 1:37 PM  

  • "It's been almost a month. Did you expect Bush to allow an endless war?"

    He's been fighting that in Iraq himself so, yea.


    "That was not your initial assertion. Your initial assertion was that Israel 'underestimated Hezbollah.'" - In fact, I struggle to see hw they are different. This is exactly what underestimating your enemy IS.


    "Not to pick a fight either, but you appear to lack knowledge of Israel's experience in Lebanon generally and with Hezbollah in particular. If you possessed such knowledge, it is doubtful that you would continue to submit these baseless assertions."

    So you keep saying, yet all the evidence (that Israel was forced to enter Lebanon, first with a small force then later with a massive one, the failure of the air assault as the sole means of attack, the vehemence of the counter attacks) seems to point in favor of this under estimation. Sorry.

    By Blogger Elster, at 1:43 PM  

  • And while you may disagree, I find it impossible to believe that even you find them "baseless". I'm certainly not the only person making this claim. Granted the New York Times is no lover of Israel, but I've noticed this theme there in the last few days as well.

    By Blogger Elster, at 1:45 PM  

  • 1. Come on. Just because the U.S. has a policy in Iraq doesn't mean anyone would expect consistency with Israel.

    2. I don't know who else is making the baseless claim that Israel "underestimated" Hezboillah and I don't care. It's simply incorrect. Sharon and Barak failed to respond to Hezbollah rocket attacks precisely because of concern over Hezbollah's massive rocket arsenal. Israel knew that Hezbollah had more than 10,000 rockets - some long-range, and knew that Hezbollah had been trained by Syria and Iran. It also presumably knew that it had suffered massive casulaties in Lebanon, particularly from Hezbollah, and that Hezbollah's attacks ultimately resulted in Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon.

    The mistake here lies with uninformed people like you, who assumed that Israel could and would simply kick Hezbollah's behind at will. Read your own July 14th post (http://elstersworld.blogspot.com/2006/07/its-simple-stupid.html)in which you wrote that "as soon as you get the two kidnapped soldiers back to us, we will stop bombing the living crap (not the word I wanted to use, believe me) out of you."

    Unfortunately, Olmert used similar rhetoric, inflating expectations of a decisive and quick crushing of Hezbollah.

    The reality is that Israel relied on the IAF at first because it recognized that sending in ground forces would result in a lot of IDF casualties, which it has. Far from underestimating Hezbollah, it recognized that Hezbollah's strength was on the ground and therefore tried to avoid a ground war.

    The air attacks were not sufficient. Is that because of something Hezbollah did? Not at all. Hezbollah is defenseless vs. the IAF. However, the IAF alone could not be expected to knock out thousands of portable rockets and hundreds of portable launchers. If Olmert thought otherwise, he was overestimating the IAF, not underestimating Hezbollah.

    The main criticism of Olmert is that he failed to send it enough ground troops and is still reticent about authorizing a massive ground operation. Where do you think this reluctance comes from? Obviously, it comes from recognition that on the ground Hezbollah is quite strong and has the ability to kill many IDF soldiers via booby traps and utilization of hideouts.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:15 PM  

  • Joe:

    Nowhere did I ever say that Israel could win this war at will. The line you quoted was a gut reaqction to a sad situation but it's a stretch to premise an argument of my supposed position on the war from that particular post (for many reasons.

    And again, you may disagree with my position, call it wrong, uninformed, whatever. I simply thnk that it's pointless for you and I to argue it to death. In the end we want the same thing for Israel, the disaramament of hezbollah and a safe Northern border.

    By Blogger Elster, at 2:28 PM  

  • It is not a pointless argument. We are arguing whether Hezbollah's propoganda is accurate. While I agree that Olmert's rhetoric has been over the top at times, I completely reject the notion that Israel underestmated Hezbollah.

    Not only have you failed to respond to my substantive arguments, you have not submitted a single particular example in which Israel purportedly underestimated its enemy.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:34 PM  

  • While I did not want to continue this debate, that last statement is incorrect. I gave you examples which you disagreed with. I stated that this could be seen in Israel commencing with bombing only, followed by a small incursion on the ground, followed by a bigger one, followed finally by 10,000 men.

    I previously pointed to the fact that israel had repeatedly said early on that the "war" would l;ast 10-14 days. This turned out to be very wrong.

    And as for your substansive arguments - you state your assertions as facts. That's all. does that MAKE them facts? I don't know. Perhaps to a litigator.

    And to dismiss me as buying into Lebanon's propoganda machine is not going to win this argument for you either. MArginalizing your opponent doesn't necessarily make you right.

    By Blogger Elster, at 2:41 PM  

  • 1. Your examples are that Israel's air attacks haven't been enough. It is indeed a fact that Hezbollah is defenseless against air attacks. Thr reason the air attacks are insufficient is that the rockets and the launchers can be moved from place to place, not because of some shocking Hezbollah military strength.

    Israel started off by avoiding a ground attack because it feared Hezbollah's strength on the ground, knowing that the IDF would sustain casualties.

    2. Israel never said that the war would last 10-14 days. Olmert said that the war could last a year. What you are referring to are IDF estimates that it needed another 10-14 days in response to rumors that a ceasefire would be imposed imminetly.

    3. My assertions are factual. If you disagree, please explain.

    4. I'm not the one marginalizing the opponent. I knew Hezbollah would be a very difficult enemy, as it has been a very difficult enemy for more than two decades.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:47 PM  

  • OK - All fair points. Thank you for taking the time to debate this issue.

    By Blogger Elster, at 2:53 PM  

  • I'd suggest that you read the article about Hezbollah's military capabilities, at http://www.meforum.org/article/806. It was published in January.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:59 PM  

  • Thanks. I actually know that Israel took Hezbollah seriously (and that it was probably a huge mistake allowing them to stockpile weapons if there was some way of stopping that, I don't know). Perhaps Israel was (justly) so caught up in Gaza the last few years, it had to prioritize its battles.

    By Blogger Elster, at 3:04 PM  

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