Thursday, August 03, 2006

Heavy Price Paid to Knock Out 5,000 Hezbollah Fighters

Israel’s stated aim is to wipe out Hezbollah’s military capabilities, to create a buffer zone from which the terrorists cannot launch attacks on Israel. A U.S. military expert on CNN estimated there to be 3,000 to 5,000 Hezbollah fighters in Southern Lebanon, a country of 4.4 million people.

Estimates of Israel’s damage to the country sits at $2 billion. It grows every hour. The loss of life approaches 900 dead and 3,000 wounded according Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora. A map of targeted areas indicates the country as a whole to be under attack, not just Hezbollah’s territory in Southern Lebanon.

To any rational person, this pattern of destruction seems excessive, even unwarranted. Does Israel really need to destroy much of a country to root out 5,000 fighters?

How many new fighters will join the cause in response to Israel’s aggression? The meeting of Islamic Countries produced widespread condemnation of Israel’s war and demands for the ineffectual U.N. Security Council to intervene. It clearly would have done so by now if not for the United States intransigence. One moderate Islamic leader had this to say at the conference.

"This war must stop, or it will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today," said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who leads the world's most populous Muslim country. "From there, it will be just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations."

What will it take to root out 100,000 fundamentalist Islamic fighters worldwide? Will that require $40 billion in infrastructure damages, the loss of 18,000 lives with over 60,000 wounded?

When will the people select leaders mature enough to settle their differences without pugilism? When will elected leaders utilize methods that produce peaceful, lasting change instead of breaks in the cycle of violence? While this may be the Bush rhetoric, its actions belie their very position. They care about Israel getting its way. That much is crystal clear.

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