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Monday, August 07, 2006

Who's sorry now? 

Billmon asks why Hezbollah is apparently ready to keep on fighting while it now appears that the US and Israel want to quit:
Two weeks ago Lebanon's Prime Minister was demanding an immediate cease fire while Shrub and company were insisting that only a "lasting cease fire," leading to a "permanent solution," would do. Now it's the other way around:
Speaking to reporters today at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., where he is on vacation, Mr. Bush said, “Everyone wants the violence to stop.’’
“People understand that there needs to be a cessation of hostilities in order for us to address the root causes of the problem,’’ he said . .
Mr. Siniora said he opposed the cease-fire resolution in its current form, saying it would not effectively halt the violence. “It barely leads to a cease-fire,’’ he said, with tears in his eyes. “We want a permanent and full cease-fire.’’
Obviously, something has changed -- that something being the completely unexpected outcome of the war (unexpected by everyone but Hizbullah I mean) . . .
Whether {turning down the truce agreement] is because Sheikh Nasrallah actually thinks his hand is so strong he can bluff the Israelis back across the border, or whether it's because he believes a long, drawn-out war of attrition with the IDF actually suits his interests even better than a ceasefire (and to hell with the agony and death it will inflict on the Lebanese people) I don't know . . . the spectacle of Israel's political and military establishment dancing anxiously on the diplomatic sidelines, hoping the U.N. Security Council will step in with a timely ceasefire, while their Arab enemy impassively declares his willingness to keep on fighting, is a sight I truly never expected to see.
Whenever anyone talks about who has the greater determination to keep fighting and willingness to die for a cause, I keep remembering of Robert X. Cringely's anecdote:
. . . [while in Teheran in 1986 for another story, Cringely] decided to go see the [Iraq-Iran] war since I had been in Beirut and Angola, but had never seen trench warfare, which is what I was told they had going in Iran. So I took a taxi to the front, introduced myself to the local commander, who had gone, as I recall, to Iowa State, and spent a couple days waiting for the impending human wave attack. That attack was to be conducted primarily with 11-and 12-year-old boys as troops, nearly all of them unarmed. There were several thousand kids and their job was to rise out of the trench, praising Allah, run across No Man's Land, be killed by the Iraqi machine gunners, then go directly to Paradise, do not pass GO, do not collect 200 dinars. And that's exactly what happened in a battle lasting less than 10 minutes. None of the kids fired a shot or made it all the way to the other side. And when I asked the purpose of this exercise, I was told it was to demoralize the cowardly Iraqi soldiers.
It was the most horrific event I have ever seen, and I once covered a cholera epidemic in Bangladesh that killed 40,000 people.
Waiting those two nights for the attack was surreal. Some kids acted as though nothing was wrong while others cried and puked. But when the time came to praise Allah and enter Paradise, not a single boy tried to stay behind.
Now put this in a current context. What effective limit is there to the number of Islamic kids willing to blow themselves to bits? There is no limit, which means that a Bush Doctrine can't really stand in that part of the world.
Yes, I would say there is definitely a willingness to fight and die for a cause.

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