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Why doesn't Campbell convert to Islam if he is so desperate for inner city Muslim votes ?

Next he'll demand we end defence cooperation with the US

"Israel's many critics would appear to be in touch with UK public opinion, however. An ICM survey for The Guardian finds that just 22% of Britons believe that Israel has reacted "proportionately" to the Hizbollah attacks."

That is because the BBC has spent the last week parroting the idea that Israel is acting "disproportionately" as a means to attack Israel.

Since when did winning a war start being about acting "proportionately"? The correct amount of force is no more and no less than that required to defeat the enemy.

I understand the UK's arms exports to Israel amounted to a mere £25 million last year compared to about $1.5 billion from the US, so any ban would be sheer tokenism. Call me a cynic, but I wonder how many of the exporters are in Lib Dem Parliamentary constituencies. ;)

Interestingly Israel is a substantial arms exporter, over $1 billion last year.

As the media reporting has been in main "human interest" - pictures of casualties, bombed houses, tearful refugeees - is it any surprise that most in UK have the views ICM reports? I'm surprised after the barrage of such reporting that its as many as 22% who don't think Israel has acted proportionately. I don't know from reports whether the majority of deaths and casualties reported in Lebanon are civilians or Hezbollah; impression is they are all civilians but I assume Hezbollah has casualties? I haven't been given a sufficiently factual reportage to be able to decide if response is over the top or not.

Ming's comments remind me of the Belgian position in Falklands War; forget alliances or friendships the British & Argentines were equivalent. As a politician who knows he will never have real power and doesn't and will never have responsibility he can take the "moral" position without having to consider what an immediate Israeli withdrawal would result in. Hezbollah, Syria & Iran claiming victory with all that involves and the weakening of our allies across the muslim world.

The man is an idiot.

The UK doesn't sell arms to Hezbollah. I doubt they're that bothered - they get armed by Iran and Syria.

The Vatican is not so wishy-washy. It has confronted the threat of Islam head-on, here.

Israel is all of us; it is standing up to the terrorism of Hezbollah as just Europe stands up to the the terrorism of Islamofascism. See also today's Guardian for rather more context. Ming Campbell (as ever) doesn't know what he is talking about.


There is another side to this conflict. One which the supposedly impartial BBC doesn't seem to realise. Perhaps if he were to see the damage being inflicted on Israel, then the man might have a slightly different opinion. The Israelis, contrary to what the Beeb is saying, are not doing this for shits and giggles.

I came across this yesterday on the Lib Dem site. I wrote a small piece on my blog that may be of interest to some.

Shane since when has it been legitimate to kill hundreds of women and children and fire rockets at clearly marked red cross ambulances . Tony Blair bows down to the wishes of Bush and says nothing . Numerous Conservative apologists for Israel state terrorism acquiess in the killing and bombing of civilian targets so once again it is up to a Lib Dem leader to speak out against inhumane acts and ( as it also happens ) reflect the majority views of the British people .

Ming is trying to cement British Islamic support for this party. Many flocked to the Lib Dems because of Iraq and now he is trying to keep them by attacking Israel.

So in Ming's mind, theres no difference between Israel and Hezbollah. Don't know why this surprises me so much - it is after all a core belief of much of 'progressive' Britain, but nevertheless you expect more sense from someone supposedly a foreign policy 'expert', even if he is a Lib Dem.

Thankfully he'll never get near Number 10 (unless heaven forbid, we let them in as part of a coalition).

Sadly i don't think this is a vote winning ploy , i think he actually means this as some sort of 'principle' he believes in. So , if you want to see Israel snuffed out by terrorism you know who to vote for!

Ming Campbell is that quintessentially British upper middle class figure: a man revered not so much for what he has to say (uusually garbage) but for the tone in which he says it.

Let it never be forgotten that the Liberal Democrats, led by Ming Campbell and Charles Kennedy, joined forces with the Socialist Workers' Party, George Galloway and Islamofascists to defend Saddam Hussein's tyranny.

Mark it may have escaped your attention but the Israeli use of force is in response to repeated attacks on its civilian population and the kidnap of two Israeli soldiers. The Lebanese civilian deaths, whilst regrettable, are a by-product of Hizbullah’s using said civilians as human shields. However perhaps liberals such as yourself find the use of force in self-defence distasteful and would prefer instead to endorse unprovoked attacks by Islamic extremists? After all, we would not want to breach Hizbullah’s civil liberties.

This is meaninless gesture politics by Ming at his worst.British exports of military equipment to Israel is tiny as I'm sure Ming well knows. It will achieve nothing and he knows it.

The Israeli attacks on Lebanon are not in response to the kidnapped soldiers. To Israel its more than that. The soldiers was simply the excuse they needed to launch this. Israel is doing this to make a point, Islamic terrorists will not attack Israel anymore. In doing this though, they have cut off a lot of innocent civilians. One Israeli commander made the point that if 10 innocent Lebanese civilians die at the cost of one Israeli soldier, then thats OK. The international community is finally coming round to dealing with Israel, who I feel have been given too much leeway by the international community in bombing Lebanon so remorselessly.

Shane there is no evidence that Hezbollah are using civilans as human shields . Lebanon as well as Israel is a democracy where Hezbollah receive the votes and support of a significant % of the population . Of course this is the wrong type of democracy for Bush and his supporters .
If the UK had reacted to Sinn Fein attrocities in the same way as Israel then we would presumably have bombed the Catholic areas of Belfast and perhaps even Eire with your support .

Lebanon as well as Israel is a democracy where Hezbollah receive the votes and support of a significant % of the population

It costs Iran $100 million a year apparently to fund Hezbollah, and what it costs them to buy new weapons for Syria as at present I don't know; but I am sure that oil revenues are sufficient.

Oh come on , don't equate Israel , a proper democracy, with IRA/Sinn fein. the two cases are very different.

David , I was equating Hezbollah with the IRA/Sinn Fein and contrasting the Israeli response to the former with the Uk response to the latter .

And still not one word of criticism for Bibi (for praising the terrorist murderers of British soldiers and civilians) from the CFI freebie brigade. Funny that.

I don't understand this statement from Ming. As many posts above point out, a ban on British arms exports to Israel would be symbolic only, and not a very good symbolic gesture at that. Israel is supported financially and militarily by the US, and therefore any unilateral ban would be pointless.

That said, Israels bombardment of civillian districts is wildly excessive in many areas and the civillian death toll I find hard to justify, and WE CAN use our current position of strength to put pressure on Washington to put pressure on Israel to stop these raids. I doubt Blair will however, he seems to be more and more a poodle to the US President every day.

With regards to Hezbollah, we need to target them, Iran and Syria, the overbearing attitude of Istael towards the Palestinians etc... not Lebaneese civillians.

Mark, if you do not consider Hizbullah's tactic of hiding amongst the civilian population as a use of said civilians as human shields, what would you call it?

Mark senior

Circumstances in Northern Ireland and Lebanon radically different and there is no real comparison. You could as well use the UK in 1940 when a small island, with geographically distant allies, faced by the possibility of invasion. Perhaps you would have been a Halifax supporter looking at a ceasefire rather than a Churchill one looking to defeat the enemy? The former would have preserved civilian lives from UK bombs but at what cost.

A silly comparison I know but so is Northern Ireland.


In Beirut the Israelis have bombed the runways & fuel depots (so repairable damage to airport) and buildings associated with Hezbollah. They have not been bombing indescriminately (otherwise there would be thousands of deaths). I'm not sure the Israeli actions have been as well managed as they could have been and don't doubt individuals have made mistakes through fear or passion but it looks like a limited & targeted response.

I am concerned about the effects on Lebanon but as I said earlier I don't feel I have received from any news agency or reporter a well researched and factual report: no-one seems to be standing back and reporting on the overall picture, it's only human interest snapshots.

Shane , unfortunate as it is Hezbollah have the support of a significant % of the people of Lebanon as witnessed by their support in last year's General Election . It would be just as wrong to have said that the IRA/Sinn Fein were using catholics as human shields in Northern Ireland . In fact despite what Ted says there are many parallels in the way Sinn Fein and Hezbollah built up support in their respective local communities .
Ted's cpmparison with 1940 is plain silly .

Mark, I must admit to being confused. Are you suggesting that using civilians as human shields should allow terrorist organisations to act with impunity? Or perhaps you are suggesting that taking action against terrorists would be a breach of their human rights?

You are just being silly now Shane , there is no evidence that Hezbollah are using any civilians as human shields willingly or unwillingly . I have not said that Israel should not take action to defend itself against terrorist acts but the action they have taken has been grossly disproportionate targetted in many cases at civilians and more especially against Lebanese civilian infrastructure inwhich is both immoral and contrary to International Law .

Mark Senior

Agree about the way Hezbollah, Sinn Fein (& Muslim Brotherhood, Kashmiris and a large number of terrorist organisations) also build support through health, social clubs, schools etc. But the similiarities in organisational terms do not apply to the geo-political situations - IRA was for most of the time illegal in the Irish Republic and the Govt anti IRA (at least until Haughey) and while it had limited support in communities in the South there was no huge safe haven from which to operate.

Point on 1940's is UK thought itself alone and threatened, dependent for survival on US arms supplies. In political terms that's how Israel sees itself.

Ted, I understand your comments, and agree that there is not enough objective information coming out of Lebanon despite the massive media presence.

Just one thought - if Iran and Syria are funding terrorism, is this similar to the massive American funding of the IRA? (OK, not nearly the same I know, but just a wee piece of food for thought)

A more accurate analogy would be American (and British) funding of muhajadeen rebels in Afghanistan during the 1980's.

Mark, it is not silly at all. Hizbullah do not distinguish themselves from civilians, they do not fight in the open, they locate themselves in civilian areas. Perhaps you would not describe it as hiding; I however would.

As for your disproportionality argument I am somewhat at a loss as to how proporionality can be determined when one is considering a force of unknown size, with unknown armament and unknown intent. Judged against those considerations I would humbly submit that the concept of proportionality is, in this scenario, capable of supporting the Israeli action. Moreover even if you are correct who would enforce the law against Israel?

Actually, the 1940 comparison is a good one - Israel is a nation, as we then were, under existential threat. The correct amount of force to use is that which eliminates the threat - "proportional" doesn't come into it. If you use more force than necessary, you MAY be guilty of war crimes - I don't think this applies to Israel.

Ted's point about Lebanese casualties is a good one. Firstly, if Israel were diliberately targetting civilians, there would be far more than 377 dead in two weeks. Secondly, we only have Hezbollah/Lebanese government's word that there are in fact 377 dead, and that these are civilians rather than Hezbollah members. Hardly the best Crown Witnesses.


There are simiarities but US Government was opposed to IRA - until Clinton - and similar funding goes on in Slough, Luton, Bradford etc every week for organisations supporting Kashmiri terrorism/freedom fighters under banner of supporting charitable activities. If the UK government was supplying transport and finance to support Kashmiri groups or the US Government had supplied ships to take arms to Ireland then perhaps a valid comparison.

My point is that we keep searching for comparisons but there are few if any valid ones. I really don't know the truth of what's happening in the Lebanon - in the six day war, the Yom Kippur, Falklands and even the first Gulf War broadcasters gave us the big opictures and you could understand the day to day objectives within strategies. Today we get pseudo CNN voice to camera but no real reporting so we make judgements on bits of emotive footage.

Mark Senior could be perfectly correct in his view it's wrong and disproportionate but I can't see how he or I can judge.

Mark you have to face the fact that Hezbollah occupy two cabinet positions in the Lebanese government and have many MPs. You say that they also have support from the populace, actually I think only the Shias in Southern Lebanon - not so much the Christians or Sunnis for the obvious reasons. This means an organisation operating a parallel state within a state, but also forming part of the main 'government' in Lebanon has effectively declared war on Israel. If parts of the Northern Ireland Assembly decided that rocket attacks across the Irish Sea were the way to go and the rest of the government did nothing then, yes, bomb them back to the Stone Age. Remember that only 300-400 Lebs have been killed, too many to be sure, but clear evidence that the Israelis are being as surgical as possible. Contrast that with siting rocket launchers in villages and preventing villagers from leaving when Israel drops its leaflets warning of imminent attack. I have heard reports of gunbattles between Lebs trying to get out and Hizbollah trying to make them stay. Wake up mate.

"And still not one word of criticism for Bibi (for praising the terrorist murderers of British soldiers and civilians) from the CFI freebie brigade."

Perhaps because although this is highly unpleasant, it's relatively small-fry compared to what is going on at the moment. Do you really think they'd apologise if we asked them to?

Ming does not give a toss about the Lebs. He is just pursuing a core vote strategy. Indy readers will lap this up.

Henry it is as wrong for you and others to impugn Ming's actions as it would be for others to say that the Israeli supporters are motivated by attracting Jewish voters . Strong opinions and beliefs are held by people on both sides of this argument and I am sure that Ming's statements are based on as firm beliefs as you and others on here .

Indeed, though his are wrong of course.

Let's face it: it is hard to conceive of any circumstances in which Ming Campbell would regard Israel's response as "proportionate". He is just playing to the Guardian-reading gallery who essentially want to see the destruction of Israel.

I do not doubt for a second that Ming the Meaningless has strong beliefs. For example I am absolutely positive he believes in the importance of getting himself noticed for something other than blithering performances in the commons.

Unfortunately Ming seems to have a track record on calling for justice at home and abroad. At home, he backs increased civil liberties in the face of a terrorist threat. Abroad, he backs the regimes who torture, maim and brutally target innocent civilians. Remember the denunciations of Saddam, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Syria, Iran? Neither do I. Consistency was never the Liberals' strong point...

Mark Senior, of there is "no evidence" that Hezbollah are using civilians as Human Shields then why has the UN strongly criticised them for doing exactly that? Perhaps if you got your news from wider sources than just the BBC and Independent you might have a grasp of both sides of this conflict. Or are you just too much of a Jew hater for that?

I never thought I'd say this.... But Ming is absolutely right. Isreal are bombing and killing innocent civilians and children. We should not provide arms to any country which behaves in this abominable manner, regardless of who they happen to be. It is unacceptable regardless of who is doing it.

I do not wish to bring in the IRA, or start an argument.
But my Church Magazine "Life and Work" is much concerned about Israel's treatment of Palestine's Christians.These people, who had kept the original faith for 2000 years, are suffering. It seems they are also being bombed in Lebanon. I am sorry but I do not wish to see fellow Christians, of any denomination,"crucified" in this manner.

Matt despite or perhaps because my first wife was Jewish I am not a Jew hater so crawl back under the stone from whence you came .

Matt Davis,I have never met Mark Senior but I really hope you are absolutely sure of your facts when you call him a 'Jew Hater'.It really is pathetic that so often when anyone criticises the actions of the Israeli government they are immediatly branded anti Semitic.

Betty, I am not entirely sure how 'Christian' it is to concern yourself only with the suffering of other Christians.

Mark Senior everything that you have said clearly demonstrates that you too, just like the BBC and the left, pretends that their anti semitism if "merely" criticism of Israel. You have condemned yourself by your own words and it is you who should be crawling back under your nasty racist stone.


As a Christian, I'm more concerned about persecution of fellow Christians in Israel's Islamic neighbours. Israel is one of the most free states in the world with regards to rights of its citizens - would you say that Christians are free to worship openly on an equal level with Muslims in Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia?

You're the one who should be ashamed of yourself Matt Davis.

Oh and Malcolm, criticism of Israel is fine if it is true. But the particular criticism that I referred to is not true and Hezbollah have ineed been condemned as cowardly by the UN for using the Lebanese as human shields. Mark Senior's remark is therefore untrue and a further installment of the lies being used by anti semites to create even greater hostility to Israel and to Jews than the already hefty amount that existed.Criticism is fine is it is based on fact but not if it is just a more modern version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Shane,This dialogue seems determined to misunderstand. I hate to see suffering in anyone - I was merely reporting a point of view of one group.

I hate to see the infrastructure of a well set up country destroyed. I saw some of the destruction in London in 1944, and Beirut is worse. My uncle was involved in liberating Belsen, and I saw his horrific photographs before the press published any. Britain was horrified when these appeared - we still shudder! I don't like reading, as I have on this site, that the world did not believe.

I hate to see Nazi like horror being handed out - in the form of wholesale destruction/

I would like to thank the majority of the people on this site for the courtesy in allowing me to give my point of view whilst giving theirs in an equally strong but fair minded manner . The nature of these arguments is that never are opinions changed in these exchanges but it is important to hear and listen to the views of those with differing opinions . Sadly there is always an exception but I can resist the temptation to respond in kind .

On another thread I posted that I thought that many Arabs are jealous of the hard work, productivity, industry and trade of the nation of Israel. Well a continuation of that thought occurred to me today - would someone like to reveal one Arab or Muslim nation, and including Iran, across the Middle East and North Africa, who have the same level of indutrial output, and trade as Israel has. Oh yes some of those nations have OIL, as we all know, but they didn't invent it, it was already in the soil, and by and large it doesn't appear to have improved the lot of the various nations as a whole, as much as one would have thought it would have.

And now we have Iran feverishly trying to acquire a nuclear capability - what for?????
JUst to destroy - like the Daleks!! That will do a lot of good for the ordinary people of Iran. And has the illustrious Leader of Iran thought about the consequences of using nuclear weapons so close to his own borders? He doesn't appear to have done, or maybe he doesn't care that much about the ordinary people!

Lebanon as well as Israel is a democracy where Hezbollah receive the votes and support of a significant % of the population . Of course this is the wrong type of democracy for Bush and his supporters .

Too right it is the wrong kind of democracy. There is more to democracy than voting, and a terrorist organisation is still that even if lots of people vote for it.

On the question of civilians dying, has any of you seen or read any estimates of the split between Hizbollah and civilians among the dead. Because when we hear that 300 people are dead, some should be mourned, but others should be celebrated.

Equating the acts of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah with the defensive measures taken by a democratic state like Israel is pernicious. There is no moral comparison whatever - Hezbollah deliberately brought this down upon the Lebs, whether supporters or not. Why should Israel have to sit tight while its armed forces are kidnapped and its civilians killed and bombed? If Lebanon plays host to the contract killers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and allows itself to be Syria's patsy then it must forgo airports, bridges and roads. If war is declared on a state by a non-state terrorist actor from your lands you must expect some comeback, no? Ultimately, there will no peace until Iran and Syria are no longer able to support terrorism around the world, and that struggle will go far beyond the Lebanon. It's not cuddly wuddly but it is true.

I disagree with Mark Senior's views on this subject but I strongly object to some of the unfair personal attacks made on him on this thread - for which I see no basis. I will take action against anyone who persists in personal attacks. See ConservativeHome's comments policy.

Well said editor

Well said. The debate should be about the issues.

Might I add to Editors comments that I personally welcome Mark Senior's postings - I disagree with him on some points but he argues from a strongly moral position.

My heart agrees with him that is is wrong to carelessly kill civilians and destroy so much of the infrastructure of the Lebanon, a rare state where the population and religions reflect the many ancient empires that have held sway over the Middle East. It's easy if you are an outsider to talk of collateral damage but these are real people cowering from bombs and bullets, watching ther income and livelihoods destroyed.

My head though tells me that Israel is facing down in a controlled manner one of the major threats to its existence and to eventual peace. Hezbollah took strength from Israel's withdrawal from the Lebanon as a victory and has since been building its arsenal with support of Syria & Iran. The incursion into Israel and capture of solders was a sign that the de facto stand off since that withdrawal was at an end. Presumably with Hamas in Gaza, the US & British distracted in Iraq and Afghanistan they tought it was a good time to expand the conflict.

A defeat for Hezbollah, followed by aid to the Lebanese government would create better conditions for peace than a premature Israeli ceasefire. Syria and Iran would be weakened, and in Syria especiually the circumstances for internal regime change would build. I have great doubts about Israel's strategy and capability for achieving this but if this was the outcome then on balance the cost was proportionate - but would I think this if my brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter had died in an Israeli attack?

Good balanced stuff Ted. In terms of proportionality, I don't think Hizbollah's methods allow for a 'proportionate' response. Fighting terrorists is different from fighting nations - unfortunately the terrorists don't leave the option of conventional responses open.

I take your point Ted. It's impossible not to feel sorrow when one looks at the coffins of children lined up or the bloodied incomprehension on the faces of the wounded. But your family is at risk from Islamic terrorists not Israeli bombs - Israel is the front line of the struggle against jihad and imperial Islam. The Party of God and their ilk celebrate the deaths of the civilians they deliberately target - the fact that Israel, and the West, attempt to minimise civilian casualties and largely succeed shows you who prizes human life (Muslim, Jew or none of the above). We cannot allow these people to dictate how we will live, even if the cost is high. The cost of further inaction and squeamishness on our part will ultimately be much, much higher.

No, of course, you wouldn't, Ted, but all that proves is that wars are horrible, horrible things. They can only ever be justified as a necessary evil. By definition, large numbers of innocents get caught in the crossfire. Israel's actions at present are restrained compared to the ruthless and indiscriminate firebombing of German city centres by RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War, at a time when we were not fighting for survival. While I think that the area bombing of Dresden, etc was largely inexcusable, it did have some military rationale and Hitler was a ruthless dictator bent on conquest and mass murder. I still wouldn't want to have to justify it to the orphans of Dresden.

Mark Senior may well be sincere but like Ming, does he have a credible Plan B which does not involve the destruction by instalments of the state of Israel and the inexorable rise of Islamofascism armed with nuclear weapons?

"But my Church Magazine "Life and Work" is much concerned about Israel's treatment of Palestine's Christians"

The Huge amount of persecution of Christians around the world is an issue not addressed nearly enough, but I think you have got the wrong end of the stick with this one - the treatment of Christians by the Palestinians is the concern to most NGOs.

Thankyou editor for your comments . Thanks also to Ted for a rational well-argued case . I take your point that the defeat of Hezbollah may in many people's eyes ( even many of those critical of Israel ) justify the Israeli course of action but the history of the Middle East over does not bode well and the converse is also true that failure in this objective would make the death of so many civilians even more wasteful .
An interesting personal anecdote on the Dresden raids is that my uncle who took part in them donated his log books to the Imperial War Museum . These show that Churchill lied to the House of Commons about the aims and purpose of the raid .

I do not often disagree with Michael McGowan. However I am not entirely in agreement with him when he refers to Bomber Command and its "ruthless and indiscriminate firebombing of German city centres by RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War, at a time when we were not fighting for survival." Firstly was Britain entirely in the clear post D Day. The Germans were continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction which could hit the UK and maybe the US. I accept there is a legitimate debate to be had over the bombing of the German cities although I would note that to the best of my memory reference to my father's 1944 logbook largely if not entirely comprises military targets (U boat pens and such like). As for proportionality I seem to recall from my studies that it was a German Von Clausewitz who said limited war was a contradiction in terms or words to that effect.

History is repeating itself. Israel faced exactly the same type of criticism (disproportionate, will make things worse, innocent civilians dying, etc) when it invaded Lebanon in 1982 in response to repeated PLO attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel.

After the PLO were finally expelled from Beirut, the Lebanese police supplied the following figures:

There were 12,310 people killed outside Beirut, with a combatant/civilian ratio of 80%/20%

Inside Beirut, there were 6775 killed, with the ratio being 16%/84%.

Overall, the ratio was 57% combatant to 43% civilian.

This was reported by Associated Press on December 1 1982.

Now bearing in mind that the precision of weapons has greatly increased in the last 24 years, it is highly likely that the percentage of those killed this time round who are combatants is even higher, and that most of the so-called dead civilians are in fact combatants in civilian dress.

Just because you saw it on telly, with some BBC reporter claiming that civilians were killed, does not of itself make it true. Those who rush to condemn do so prematurely.

I confidently predict, that the majority of those Lebanese killed will turn out to have been combatants.

Ted sugests that Mark Senior argues from a strongly moral position . Well, it depends on your perspective, I suppose.

In my opinion we need to take a longer term view. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was beneficial in the long run, as it removed the muderous cancer at the heart of Lebanon that was the PLO (repsonsible for the muder of 100,000 Lebanese, according to the American Lebanese Association), and hastened the end of the civil war. However, some people argued at the time that Israel's action were immoral.

While the death of anyone is to be regretted, the death of a small number now is worth it if it saves the death of a much larger number later. Benthamite, perhaps, but equally deserving of the stamp of morality as any other position.

Only history will be able to judge the morality or otherwise of Israel's actions.

I am sick in the entire debate about this war of some people trying to claim the high moral ground for themselves, when all too often their proposed solutions, if they bother to have any, are far worse.

Wars like this are good for finding out who your friends are.

There has to be something sick in the soul of a person who immediately jumps to support the thug shooting from behind civilians, above the soldier standing protectively in front of civilians.

Sir Peter Tapsell says Israel attacks on Lebanon reminiscent of Nazi atrocity in Warsaw ghetto http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/742707.html

Is Tapsell in Lebanon watching? Or does he just believe everthing he is fed by the telly?

Well he obviously does not believe everything fed by the Israeli government

What is amusing is seeing the "Independent" relying on reports from the highly impartial Robert Risk.

If Tapsell is not there, how can he possibly make such a comparison?

The Arab-Israeli conflict is one long history of "massacre" being screamed, which turns out afterwards not to have been nearly as bad as thought e.g. Jenin.

Anyone who rushes to judgment at this stage, unless they are actually there, is a fool.

As a Christian, I am concerned about the killing or persecution of any other human being, regardless of whatever faith they may have (or none), not just Christians... It is sad when humanitarian arguments are made in terms of "us and them". We are all God's children, so we are all "us". Killing of civilians and children, whoever they may be, is utterly unacceptable. Slaughter on the wholesale scale we are now seeing in Lebanon, is beyond justification or excuse. It is an abomination and must be condemned in the strongest terms.

No it must not be condemned. Take your faux-morality elsewhere. I condemn you for advocating that what will lead to many more deaths in the long term.

Such attitudes are the reason it continues: generation on generation.

The nature of the Israeli response is drawing criticism from western observers because we have been so fortunate that we cannot properly comprehend the deep cultural and historic motivations for Israel's response.

There are false comparisons between the IRA and Hezbollah. I say that this is 'false' because the IRA, while being murderous disgusting terrorists they did not descend to the point of launching suicide attacks. This does not make the IRA in any sense more civilised compared to Hezbollah, but the two are different organisations with ultimately different goals, with different motivations and different levels of support. The IRA were helped by Americans but not the American Government. The IRA was supported by individuals and communities who helped supply them with money and weapons. Yet this is dwarfed by the official support Hezbollah receives from Syria and Iran. It has been mentioned that Iran supports Hezbollah to the tune of $100 million per year. Combined with the religious fervor and a weakened Lebanese Government, Hezbollah are a considerably larger, better equipped and more fanatic organisation than the IRA was.

Israel has viewed itself as being isolated from international support for decades. They realise that no matter what occurs, the praise for Israel will be minimal while the criticism vicious. Look at the "peace" in the mid 1990s. There were suicide attack after suicide attack. This occured even though Arafat promised to stop it. But the Israelis have learnt that even concessions do not bring international support for the Israeli nation. They looked at the concessions Ehud Barak offered Arafat and in response they got the intifada.

Israelis realise that violence must be met with a strong and almost overwhelming response. This is historical as well as cultural. During the 1940s and 1950s, there were increasing numbers of terrorist attacks in Israel proper. Without a deterrant to find who launched these attacks; they grew in ferocity. The Israelis finally responded with a policy of hitting back and hitting harder. Eventually after some very large raids into Egyptian and Jordanian territory, the attacks stopped.

Israel realises that the same is needed here: hit back extremely hard, cripple the terrorist infrastructure and then bring in international soldiers to monitor the border and put Lebanese soldiers there over time. In effect, the Israelis do not want to just attack for the sake of attacking, but want a permanent peace.

Anything short of this would be seen as a Hezbollah victory. Remember that in the Yom Kippur War even when the Israelis eventually captured more territory than Syria and Egypt combined the Arab nations still considered it a victory. When Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, the Hezbollah claimed victory. This shows that unless there is total victory by Israel, then the terrorist groups will claim victory, will bring in more supporters, will become stronger than the poorly trained, equipped and paid regular armies and will eventually strike Israel again.

Ming Campbell is ignoring the deep-seated historical issues in this region. In effect, he has shown how vacuous he is on foreign affairs. For a person who is meant to be an expert, he is showing a streak of amateurishness here. That is why I firmly believe that he is not doing this out of principle, but rather out of securing his vote. After all, no one can be that old and yet that silly.

Douglas Hurd anyone?

Tam Large

The reason it continues generation on generation is because of gutless liberals taking short term decision after short term decision, and storing up all the trouble and hatred for the future.

Tapsell's reported remarks are not only ridiculous and ignorant but deeply shameful. Does he know anything about the subjugation of the Warsaw Ghetto? I don't remember that its largely defenceless, starving and disease-ridden inmates fired missiles into civilian-occupied areas of Germany. They merely rose up in an ill-fated but hugely courageous attempt to avoid certain annihilation.....which is what happened to them anyway.

From your remarks Iain you don't really care about the deaths caused by the IDF do you? I don't think I've ever seen a more biased commentator on this blog.


I weep for every death everywhere.

What thoroughy sickens me is that the world does not express its outrage when thousands are being slaughtered in Darfur, that no-one cares when rocket attacks fire into Israel on a daily basis, that all the other deaths ongoing daily through "militant" action in the world do not provoke thousands of pages of blogs and hundreds of letters to newpapers, but when it is Jews defending themsleves, then everyone is outraged.

You do not know how many any of the deaths in Lebanon are truly civilians or combatants and neither do I. What I do know is that Hizbollah bases itself using civilians as human shields, itself a daily war crime, and in law they are culpable.

I'm waiting for Israel's decision to embargo Sir Ming. An air raid from the IDF is about the one thing that hasn't hit the Lib Dems in the last 6 months.

On the BBC coverage angle: they fail what I call the "teddy bear test", i.e. you can tell whose side they're on because as their reporter wanders over the rubble he always finds a child's teddy bear or doll and the camera zooms in on it. It would make for more revealing reportage if they could wander across a Hezbollah rocket launcher team and interview them, don't you think?

There are many on this blog including the Editor who are absolutely outraged by what is happening in Darfur.The inaction of the international community is scandalous and for some reason the United States (the only country strong enough to act alone)is unlike in Iraq or Israel reluctant to do so.
I would imagine that the overwhelming majority of people in this country would like to see Hezbollah soundly beaten and have seen absolutely no pro Arab terrorist comments on this blog.
A civilised democracy needs to handle itself diplomatically and militarily with a much greater skill than a bunch of terrorists like Hezbollah .I would suggest that since the fall of Ehud Barak Israel has singularly failed in this leading to the deaths of many innocent people and a much reduced international standing for Israel.
Looking at your posts every excuse is made to excuse Israeli behaviour and those that criticise them are 'liberal' (is that really an insult?) or have a 'faux morality'.


Every post I have made on this thread is a cuauton about leaping to judgment without truly knowing the full facts. I have provided figures from tha last Israeli incursion into Lebanon to back up what I said.

I am not the one jumping to conclusions or trying to impose their morality (faux or otherwise) on others.

Perhaps you might like to suggest in detail how the IDF deal with Hizbollah combatants who dress in civilian clothes and base them and their military activites in the midst of civilians?

Sorry, that should have read "caution"

As a solid-right-wing Tory, in favour of hanging, leaving the EU, and re-appointing the hereditaries to the House of Lords, I was amused to be called a "gutless liberal". I guess I'll hang that one on my wall to smile at on rainy days.

However even I, an Atilla the Hun look-alike, draw the line at supporting the slaughter of innocent civilians, which Ian C appears to condone (at least when Israel does it). It is wrong, whoever does it: arab or Isreali.

Tam Large

"Gutless liberal" was not really aimed at you, but if you want something to frame.......

I do not condone the slaughter of innocent civilians, but neither you nor I know how many of the dead are actually civilians.

As Conservatives we are meant to learn lessons from history, and history in this conflict teaches us that the so-called "massacres" are rarely as bad as they are originally claimed.

I recognise my lack of knowledge and wisdom - but thios means that I really struggle in an arena like this where everyeone else is so all-knowing and all-seeing.

Good points Iain, well made.

A civilised democracy needs to handle itself diplomatically and militarily with a much greater skill than a bunch of terrorists like Hezbollah .

But Hezbollah is not a bunch of terrorists

It is an Underground Army with artillery and command structures, specialised units, and trained and equipped and in cases commanded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

To think it is a group of irregulars armed with a Kalashnikov ignores the fact that they have rockets tipped with flechettes and medium-range rockets designed by North Korea.

If the IRA had rocketed Liverpool from Belfast using Fajir rockets I doubt they would be considered mere urban terrorists



The latest production of the Fadjr-5 is installed on a new Mercedes-Benz 6 x 6 forward control chassis and the platform is now integrated into a complete weapon system rather than an individual launcher. To provide a more stable firing platform four hydraulically operated stabilisers are lowered to the ground before firing.

The new chassis has improved cross-country mobility and the forward control fully enclosed cab provides space for the driver and two passengers. Another fully enclosed cabin to the immediate rear of the cab houses the remainder of the crew. The new Mercedes-Benz chassis is similar to that manufactured in China, which is used as the basis for the Norinco (China North Industries Corporation) 122 mm (40-round) Type 90 ARS.

While the primary role of this artillery rocket system is the engagement of land targets, AIO says that a radar can be added to give the system the capability to track and engage naval targets. The Fajr-5 missile, which is launched from a mobile platform, reportedly has a range of between 75 kilometers, or 50 miles

'To think it is a group of irregulars with a Kalashnikov'-Tomtom.I never thought that for a moment,what a stupid comment.
Whatever weapons they possess Hezbollah are still a bunch of terrorists.


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