Monday, July 17, 2006

Knives Out

Wow. Things are getting a bit heated over in Right blogistan. Some well-respected, intelligent and trusted voices are getting rough treatment for their slightly heterodox views on the recent actions of Israel. Witness, for example, the plight of Michael Totten - who got a serious amount of negative feedback for this post in which he puts up the account of the recent refugee status of a friend in Lebanon - who Totten describes as "one of the most open-minded people in Lebanon when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict." Roger Simon tells Totten's friend to "grow up." Others, alternately, accuse Totten's close friend of "whining," "cowardice" and a whole host of other invective. Totten himself is also the target of sniping.

It got so bad that Totten felt he had to close comments for a follow up to that post.

Insulting my personal friends while they are driven out of their homes as war refugees is not acceptable. My old neighborhood is under attack. My friends are terrified and in danger. How on earth do you expect me to feel about this right now? If you can't factor these things into account before bloviating in the comments, then you do not get to comment. Comments are closed until further notice.

A closer look at some of Totten's heresy:

I sympathize one hundred percent with what Israel is trying to do here. But they aren't going about it the right way, and they're punishing far too many of the wrong people. Lord knows I could be wrong, and the situation is rapidly changing, but at this particular moment it looks bad for Israel, bad for Lebanon, bad for the United States, good for Syria, and good for Iran.

There is no alternate universe where the Lebanese government could have disarmed an Iranian-trained terrorist/guerilla militia that even the Israelis could not defeat in years of grinding war. There is no alternate universe where it was in Lebanon's interest to restart the civil war on Israel's behalf, to burn down their country all over again right at the moment where they finally had hope after 30 years of convulsive conflict and Baath Party overlordship.

The Lebanese government should have asked for more help from the international community. The Lebanese government should have been far less reactionary in its attitude toward the Israelis. They made more mistakes than just two, but I'd say these are the principal ones.

What should the Israelis have done instead? They should have treated Hezbollahland as a country, which it basically is, and attacked it. They should have treated Lebanon as a separate country, which it basically is, and left it alone. Mainstream Lebanese have no problem when Israel hammers Hezbollah in its little enclave. Somebody has to do it, and it cannot be them. If you want to embolden Lebanese to work with Israelis against Hezbollah, or at least move in to Hezbollah's bombed out positions, don't attack all of Lebanon.

Israel should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also somewhat pro-Israel.

What did I miss? I guess Totten skirted too close to something approaching even-handed treatment of the issues. Up against the wall for him! Oh, and by the way, the netroots want to purge all those not in rigid lockstep from the Democratic Party because they prefer Ned Lamont's positions on the issues to Lieberman's. Or something like that.

Perhaps even more surprising, though, is the treatment Greg Djerejian has been receiving at the hands of Hugh Hewitt. Hugh has bestowed upon Belgravia Dispatch the honorary chair of the "American Appeasement Blogs." Appeasement? Really? And get this: according to Hewitt, Greg exemplifies the "center-left establishment" in foreign policy thought. Who knew?

Hey Greg, don't take it so hard. Being on the center-left isn't really all that bad - I can tell you from personal experience. And if Hugh Hewitt, Roger Simon, Glenn Reynolds, Bill Kristol and David Frum are what pass for the "center-right establishment," well, you might want to stick around for a while.

Look on the bright side, first latte's on me. Or is it a Lagavulin?

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