Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Who started it? Who's winning?

We could go back 3000 years or limit our observations to the most significant sparks over since the last spat of violence. After Israel’s withdraw from Gaza things were relatively quite except for an occasional mortar or rocked fired from Gaza into Israel and the occasional Israel assassination or abduction of suspected Palestinian/Hamas hostiles with special forces, artillery or air strikes.

Then came the explosion on the Gaza beach that killed seven Palestinian family members gathered there for a picnic. Because of conflicting evidence there is still doubt about the source of the explosion but specific evidence does exist that points to an Israel shell as the source of death (Computerized hospital records show the first patients were admitted at 5:05 pm conflicting with the IDF aerial surveillance timing suggesting their cannon fire was not to blame. And, 155mm artillery shell shrapnel found by investigators and confirmed by Human Rights Watch military expert, Marc Garlasco, a former official at the US Defense Intelligence Agency.)

The Israeli government expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives but claims it’s gunners are innocent and it is unwilling to reopen an initial Israel probe that ‘documented’ such innocence. To make matters even worse Israel refusal to permit another independent team of investigators to examine the evidence. This only adds more suspicion to their claims.

According to Time magazine (June 26, 2006) it was shortly after this shelling that “Izzadine al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, abandoned a 16 month cease-fire with Israel” and “in the ensuing series of reprisals, rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants injured one Israeli civilian, and an Israeli air strike killed 11 people, including two militants.”

Then came the incursion of Hamas into Israeli territory where they killed two Israeli solders and returned with one soldier prisoner. This sparked a major military assault from southern Israel into Gaza.

The next escalation is Hezbollah’s successful attack on Israeli soldiers in northern Israel to kill and capture Israeli soldiers. According to Israel it was their abduction of two Israeli solders that justified another large Israeli military assault on southern Lebanon to degrade or eliminate all Hezbollah forces but killing far more innocent Lebanese in the process. This violence was met with hundreds of Hezbollah rockets fired into Israel killing still more Israeli civilians.

Next Israel invades southern Lebanon with ground forces to root out the Hezbollah, something the Lebanese Army couldn’t do as a mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 after Israel’s withdraw from Lebanon six years ago…16 years after its last invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s. That invasion was an act of Israeli aggression in response to sporadic Palestinian attacks from Lebanon. This was the invasion that led to the creation of Hezbollah in the first place.

What will this new wave of violence create in the Middle East? In the United States? It’s not going to be peace any where, anytime soon.

Points of special interest:
1. Both Hamas and Hezbollah’s initial attacks on Israel targeted soldiers and not civilians. Only after Israel’s accidental killing of many innocent civilians in Gaza and Lebanon, did the so called ‘terrorists’ resort to indiscriminate weapons that mainly kill civilians. It is certain that at the end of this spat of violence, far more innocent people will be killed with smart bombs (many supplied by the US) that with indiscriminate missiles supplied by Iran and Syria.
2. Hezbollah’s acquisition of increasingly sophisticated missiles (silkworm) that hit an Israeli ship indicates a growing capacity for tactical (strategic?) military targeting.
3. Hezbollah were certainly emboldened by Israel’s withdraw from Lebanon 6 years ago but they can’t help but be inspired by what the Iraqi resistance is doing to the most powerful and sophisticated army in the world in Iraq.
4. Middle East military experts seem to agree that Hezbollah is essentially a force of fewer than 2000 with many more Islamic militants sympathetic to their fight. They must be begging for an Israeli ground assault where they can demonstrate their prowess and weapons (new?) and thankful that Isreal air and artillery assaults are killing civilians which will only help add Islamic militants to their own ranks.
5. Israel could use evidence of Iranian weapons support of Hezbollah to launch pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear capabilities. It is almost certain the US would assist or stand by happily while such attacks were conducted. Iran would not sit by ideally and Americans would pay a severe cost in both gas prices and future terrorist attacks on our homeland and other American interests around the world.
6. Bin Laden must be partying like hell.


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