Posted by: bklunk | November 15, 2006


Week of Sept.29th

From Alexandria 8808:


” On October 1st 2006, the Israeli army reported that it had completed its withdrawal. The UN has said Israel has withdrawn the bulk of its troops from Lebanon, fulfilling a key condition of the UN ceasefire ending war with Hezbollah, but that some Israeli troops remained in Ghajar. The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] confirmed its forces were still operating near Ghajar, a village split in two by the border. Because of the volatile nature of the place, Israel says it will maintain presence in Ghajar until a security agreement is reached with the UN and the Lebanese army.”

The remaining troops in Ghajar are for security measures with regards to Israel wanting assurance that the war has actually ended. But could the remaining troops also pose a threat to Hezbollah, where Hezbollah may take the Israeli troops to perform a surprise attack? I think that Lebanese officials give Israel the benefit of the doubt that the remaining soldiers would go against the ceasefire agreement. Israel, although ceasefire has been declared, still keeps up a strong guard, showing no signs of weakness, what-so-ever to Lebanon and the Hezbollan army. The trust is very thin between the two fighting countries. It is as if Israeli troops are just waiting for Hezbollan troops to make a move; and like drag-racers waiting on the red light to turn green, signaling them to race off to beat their opponent, the Israeli troops are lingering within Ghajar, waiting for any threating signs from Hezbollan troops that will act as a green light for them [Israel] to race off and attack.

Civilians caught in the mist of war.

Although it may appear as though Israel conducted vast war crimes, considering that they deliberately aimed to kill civilians, it is said by the Human Rights Watch that Hezbollah is not innocent of returning war crimes against Israeli civilians. Human Rights Watch argues, ” War crimes by one side in a conflict never justify war crimes by another. Hezbollah must stop using the excuse of Israeli misconduct to justify its own.” From this, it is suggested how Hezbollah only began to “fight dirty” and unjustly because Israel was the first to do so to the Lebanese civilians. Rather than acknowledging any means of the “rules of war,” both countries took it upon themselves to kill innocent civilians in order to flex their military powers and their intolerance of one another, refusing to show any signs of weakness.

Evaluating the behaviors of both countries and their fighting motives, this seems as though they were fighting the war with a more realist approach, where, rather than turning to logical strategizing, they had stronger incentives to reflect their strengths through arms.

With a more liberal approach, the war could have ended sooner with less casualties. The “rules of war” possibly would have been more successfully played out with discriminatory logics. [Just a thought]. It is, and was, not fair for all of the innocent civilians who died due to the unjust rationals of the feuding countries. Though it may seem ironic that war should follow rules, it is very certain that both sides, Israel and Hezbollah, totally ignored “just” acts of war, and disregarded any means of human ethics. Is it a war between the civilians and the countries, or the two rivalry militaries? 

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  1. I agree with this author that both countries, or actors, seemed to take a realist approach. All they cared about was their state interest; they totally disregarded the rights of individuals. I also agree that both countries did not follow the rules of war. I do not know if there are absolutely any circumstances that can justify killing innocent civilians, even if your enemy did that to your side. Therefore, to answer the author’s question, this seems to simply be a war between the two militaries striving for dominance rather than some sort of ideological or cultural conflict between the civilians of the two countries.

  2. I am not as quick to say that Israel and Lebanon are taking the realist approach, as neither of them can really be considered “rational actors” in the fullest sense of the word. It seems fairly obvious that no good will come from the killing of innocent bystanders for either side. When Israel kills Lebanese civilians, it only warrants further retaliation by Lebanon and vise versa. Moreover, both nations seem to be maintaining an “eye for an eye” policy, meaning that an attack on civilians makes retaliation on citizens extremely probable. Moreover, military action against citizens is only increasing antagonism between Lebanon and Israel making any quick resolution to this conflict impossible. While this seems fairly evident, neither country seems to be taking the necessary steps to halt this continuous cycle of attacks and retaliations. Therefore, the rational actor model seems to fall apart and cannot sufficiently explain this situation.

  3. I agree with Alexandria, that there shouldn’t even be rules for war because there shouldn’t even be war in the first place. It seems like the rules for war almost justify war in the first place. The rules or law of war goes back to the Hague Convention of 1907 which set rules for war by land, sea and air. It was followed by the Geneva Protocol in 1925 which basically banned the use of chemical and biological warfare. There are two terms that we learned in class that stand out in regards to the rules of war: jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Jus in bello are acceptable practices when in war and jus as bellum is the right to war. Basically what justifies war and when in war what type of rules should be followed. Taking a realist approach, war will never perish. As long as there is competition amongst nations then war will always exist so the only way to prevent actors in war from harming noncombatants is to have rules of war. That is exactly why the rules of war exist in the first place…the need to distinguish between noncombatants and combatants.

  4. I disagree with Mina’s insinuation that war is never justified. It is difficult to imagine that in no instance is it acceptable to conduct war, especially given that there have been instances where things extraordinarily grievous are taking place that could be ended through the use of force. The Holocaust is a fine example of something where war was justified to bring about its end. War should never take place in a world where grave wrongs in general don’t take place. Unfortunately, this is not the world we are part of and war is necessary at times to put an end to such wrongs. This is not to make the claim, however, that the ends justify the means. Rather, it is to make the claim that war in itself is the right response to a particular misdeed, in much the same way that to kill someone who is wrongfully about to take another’s life can be the right response.

  5. I strongly disagree with Mina’s claim that war is never justified. While war should always be a last resort, eliminated the possibility would make the U.S. the prime target of every evil doer in the world. With how successful our country has been economically, we must protect those interests, as well as the well being of our citizens with at least the threat of war. Nev Chamberlain proved with his failure of an appeasement policy with Hitler, war is sometimes the way a country must go. Thank God for leaders like Churchill who replaced Chamberlain who understand this reality.

  6. War is something that everyone would like to avoid if at all possible but that is far from the case. There are both just and unjust wars. To say any act of war was unjust is totally missing the point I believe. I don’t see how any one could say WW2 was unjust. What if no country put up any sort of resistance to Nazi Germany what would the world be like today? Do you think any country would stop certain inhumane acts if there was no threat of war? I doubt it. As for the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah yes they are not playing by the “rules of war’ which they should and in this day in age is poses a big risk for those involved. But having one’s citizens killed will trigger a response that is part of life today.

  7. No war is fully just, for anyone to claim so is just ludicrous. It is just in this case that both sides have appeared to go out of their way to make sure that it is equally unjust for both sides. The Hezbollah troops claim that the only reason they attacked civilians was because the Israeli troops did. And the Israeli troops went after civilians because, well they offered up no explanation, but for some reason Israel always seems to make the news for killing civilians. Both sides are in the wrong in this case and both sides know it. Israel probably claims any attack they made on a civilian complex or death of a civilian were purely accidental and not intended, or at least that tends to be their approach towards every other claim against them when they attacked civilians. Actually come to think of it I believe someone should look into Israel’s military strategies, because every attack they do in recent history has “accidentally” hit a civilian target and they either claimed technical failure or something like it was a known area of gathering forces that opposed Israel. But they tend to kill more civilians then military types in those cases. I’d just like to know what Israel’s counter-attack plan is.

  8. I think Israel was put in a sticky situation. Its civilians were attacked by an enemy that is unwilling to come out onto the battlefield and engage their troops directly. What choice did they have but to target particular sites of the enemy? It is unfortunate that civilian lives were lost, however, the war was brought to them and to save the lives of its citizens Israel had to take quick action. I do believe a war can be just and frankly if I was an Israeli I’d be urging my country to take action and bring those responsible to justice.

  9. War is the reaction to a failure of diplomacy and with all of the ethnic and relgious tensions in this Israel-Hezbollah conflict, solving the fundamental problems at a bargaining table is not very realistic, as the populations of each group have personal interests in the conflict. But just because war is the inevitable reaction to the failure of diplomacy does not mean that civilians from either side should be targeted. War is and always should be between opposing militaries carried out between those who have dedicated themselves to the military they are involved in. Civilians should never be victims physical actions of war, even if one side believes it will help them to achieve their goal.

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