This morning on Bill Bennett’s radio show, he and Alan Dershowitz had an excellent discussion of the conflict in Lebanon. Unfortunately, they share our pessimism at the outcome. More than that, they discuss the broader implications of the conflict, and pose the question whether any liberal democracy can effectively combat a conscienceless foe that doesn’t mind–indeed, welcomes–civilian casualties. And the question of what happens when that conscienceless foe, like Iran, possesses nuclear weapons, is also raised. The clip is ten or eleven minutes long:
Thanks to Bill and his producer, Seth Leibsohn, for making it available. Seth werites:
I think any claims of victory for Israel right now are highly questionable. And I think any comparisons to Lebanon as Israel’s Vietnam might not be over-stated…..save the exception that the Israeli people seemed not to have turned against the effort in the way a lot of Americans turned against Vietnam. We’ve never noted such a weak Israel, unwilling or unable to exercise its famed force and strength to stop rockets literally raining down upon it, scattering hundreds of thousands of Israelis within inches of their lives.
And Hezbollah’s penultimate act–before another volley of rockets? Shooting down an Israeli helicopter. That’s not a small deal–that’s warfare in the most traditional sense, i.e., as between states….indeed, Hezbollah is more powerful than a state within a state, as it’s more powerful than Lebanon….Lebanon may more properly be a state within Hezbollah given the relative strengths of force and power.
Today President Bush said “The message of this administration is clear: America will stay on the offense against Al Qaida. Iran must stop its support for terror. And the leaders of these armed groups must make a choice: If they want to participate in the political life of their countries, they must disarm. Elected leaders cannot have one foot in the camp of democracy and one foot in the camp of terror.”
Just what does the President think of a state with a tripartite power system like Lebanon (with a powerful President, Speaker, and Prime Minister) where two out of three are Hezbollah and Syrian sympathizers (if not puppets) and that seats Hezbollah officers in the cabinet?