Decisions for War

Reading the news today brought back to memory the countless shouts of “Ceasefire Now” that I heard during this summer war. With that in mind – that need and desire to stop the killing of civilians in Lebanon – I have been quite interested in watching the militant attitudes of various individuals and groups towards the battle raging up north. I’ve received odd emails of “Support our [Lebanese] Troops” – odd because of the connotations they bring with it: Support our troops even if they do wrong, no questions asked.

Condolences

As with all deaths, my condolences go out to the families of those soldiers who have been brutally killed. Many of these soldiers have sons and daughters. Wives. Mothers and Fathers. It is not easy growing up without a father. And just as difficult trudging through life without a husband.

In addition to these losses, we also have the loss of civilians, as well as the trauma war brings. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Is the cost of this approach worth the result? A utilitarian question, but one that needs an answer. Unfortunately, no one seems to know what the result will be. The annihilation of Fatah Al-Islam? Maybe. What else will come about with this?

Decision-making

Too many people can be quoted in the past three days as arguing that the Lebanese state has finally taken a stand …

If this battle is just a result of the need to rid the state of a perceived weakness, then from the start it will be doomed. “Reactions” never really end well. Just ask our southern neighbor.

What was the decision process used in taking the decision to to do this? Does anyone who has given their unquestioned support to the army and the government really know? Every decision taken MUST consider the possible outcomes, keeping in mind that no outcome is for certain (otherwise, the decision, and life, becomes rather trivial). The question that needs to be asked is if Lebanon will be a better place (in the long run – enough of all the “tourist season is over” whining) when this ends. If it will, how? What exactly is the strategy being implemented? Unlike the movies, all is not always well when the bad guy gets killed …

Though it may indeed seem that the best thing to do is to give our support to the Lebanese Government and the Army during this time, such support without consideration for the human cost lays the foundations for a fascist society. And history hints that fascist societies do not always end as well as intended. I have yet to hear a good explanation for why doing what is being done is the result of good decision-making. After all, there is nothing worse than taking a bad decision that results in a bad outcome. Again, all we need to do is ask our southern neighbor. We could learn much from their mistakes. And save lives in the process.

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2 Replies to “Decisions for War”

  1. It is worse than that. It is not possible to eliminate fatah al-islam and even if it were, it is not possible to eliminate what such groups represent. So already we (and the LAF) know that this will not be the outcome. Thus the military assault becomes indefensible (point).

    If the reported viciousness of fatah al-islam is true, I can understand some response from the LAF, just as an institutional necessity. Just as I could understand last summer if the Israelis had let off steam for 2 or 3 days after the capture of the soldiers.

    This requires negotiations. And obviously current tensions make those negotiations difficult, but they have happened repeatedly over the last few decades and can happen again.

    If anything the current tensions are EVEN MORE OF A REASON why the LAF should not be in this position at all. I am quite sure a number of army commanders are quite furious with these developments. Although it smacks of a set up, I believe it is entirely coincidental, i.e. not planned or orchestrated for some political effect.

    People forget why Lahoud was chosen. The army is the only national institution in Lebanon and the non-state that is Lebanon becomes even more fragile when the military is in a precarious position. On a practical level, the question is not fascism, it is basic security if this spreads across Tripoli’s political fault lines.

    Seriously, this is so bad that I just said a nice word about Emile Lahoud.

  2. What is truly unfortunate is that elements such as fatah al-islam were known to exist for some time (although this specific group is supposedly relatively new) – I don’t think many can really forget the cartoon riots last year. The lack of follow-up on such things lets problems fester. And if this ends tomorrow (or in the next few days), it will also be thrown aside, until the next time of course. If it doesn’t end soon, who knows what it will turn into.

    But please, never compliment Lahoud again 😉

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