Impressions, views, and steam-blowing by a lonesome cowboy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Circus of Irrelevance

The number of Lebanese blogs has exploded after July 12, as have the number of comments on said blogs. The quality, on the other hand, went straight down as the degree of irrelevance went straight up.

What do Israel/Bush/Hezbollah want? What were their intentions before all of this started? What are their intentions now? Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? Did the Qana building collapse in 5 minutes or 8 hours? How many warnings were given to the hapless UN guys before bombing? Was it a Katyusha or a Fajr or a Shahine rocket?

Who cares? So what? Those questions do not change a thing.

Rally here and rally there. Make sure you rally against war, because you know the other side desires war, and delights in killing innocent children for no reason.

Poets, songwriters and official Arab spokes-idiots are working overtime, bringing to mind the fable of the Arab Prince:

My Lord, my lord, the enemy is at the gates of our city, what shall we do? Tell the people not to worry, I have written a poem against it.

Petition this and petition that. Make sure you are on record somewhere that you are against war, and for peace. Get a clear conscience on the cheap. Lest people think you are a warmonger.

"Cease-fire Now" say the knee-jerk peaceniks who don't understand there is a connection between battlefield developments and the negotiating table. "Cease-fire Now" DEMAND Siniora and his ministers when they could not even demand a falafel sandwich from their own orderlies.

While in Beirut, with minor exceptions, I found the discourse by politicians and by TV commentators to be appalling.

One journalist-bimbo with tattooed-and-botoxed lips (like the war wasn't scary enough) suggested it was OK for Hezbo to take us to war because they are, after all, a Lebanese party with supporters and representation in parliament. It took me 5 minutes to recover my breath.

A moron on LBC (Nharkom Sa3id, not sure of his name maybe Walid Abboud)) spent an hour discussing with his guest whether Hezbo had anticipated the Israeli response or not. Yeah, the guy under the rubble really cares about that.

The same LBC guy then uttered something to the effect that "yeah there was devastation in the country but what about the honor of the Lebanese and the Arabs." I don't know if he was merely playing devil's advocate but he sounded like a fucking idiot. Again, the guy who lost his family really cares about that.

Finally that same idiot and others (and poll questions) went on to ponder: what of the timing of the operation? Do you approve or disapprove of the timing?

LOADED question if I ever saw one. See, let's talk about the timing and the screwing up of the summer season, not that this action by Hezbo was an irresponsible criminal and catastrophic decision.

Of course, other things equal, it would have been better to let the poor Lebanese make a few bucks this summer. However what kind of demented people discuss sovereignty, national security, and the long-term 30-year future of the nation in terms of a 2-month summer outlook??? Next time Israel and Hezbo, it's OK to have your war and destroy the Lebanese infrastructure, as long as it is in February not July!!!!

That's in part how we got here. Ssshhhh, let Hezbo do whatever, the tourists are coming. Ssshhhh, let Hezbo do whatever because things are quiet this week, let's kick the can up the road. Not only that, let's make sure we compliment Nasrallah and his party of crazies at every turn cuz, wink-wink, there may be a few votes for me next election.

Silly intellectuals will bore you with dates and citations and irrelevant rhetoric. Crazy ideologues want to drown the debate and hide the issue with irrelevant notions: 1948, Palestinian plight, Bush, the umma, Kuntar, Shebaa, whatever. It was hell trying to get informed in Beirut surfing the channels.

I know this: Israel had been threatening all of Lebanon with pain and destruction. It finally decided to act after Hezbo committed an act of war (killing 8 soldiers and kidnapping 2 in Israeli territory).

My own ass could have, and did, predict this catastrophe. Why couldn't Nasrallah, Lahoud, Siniora etc? And if they did see it coming they look even worse.

The main fact to focus on: Had Hezbo not crossed the Blue Line in contravention with the 1949 armistice and other resolutions, the catastrophe would have been avoided. Israel was waiting for an excuse? Don't give them the fucking excuse.

Now Hezbollah screwed up big time and it is back to: "Sssshhh" let "them" do whatever because we are under attack. NO. We tried that. It does not work.

How about this, the government denounces Israel and Nasrallah and pledges all sorts of support for the South and its population now and in the future. Also, the army moves into non-Hezbo areas and vacated Hezbo areas gradually but starting with a couple of areas NOW (not Bint Jbeil obviously). The army also announces it will do that for every vacated area and fire on anyone trespassing, including Israel (has to be done very skillfully).

No international force, no waiting for Condi, no talks with anyone and certainly not Nasrallah. Anyone against that (Lahoud etc)? Speak up and go down as a traitor (again).

PS I recognize the last part is not very well thought-out but I think something along those lines is workable. I wanted to include a potential solution to counter those who always make excuses that "nothing" can be done.


  • At 8/2/06, 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent post Josey

  • At 8/2/06, 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At 8/2/06, 4:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Anonymous 4:22 summed it up perfectly.


  • At 8/2/06, 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All what we need to stop this madness is a strong responsible government that is willing to call things bt what they are and not only wait for others to act. Sadly though , Josey, the present government is not up to the task.
    Do we have the government that we deserve?

  • At 8/2/06, 5:57 PM, Blogger mikealpha said…

    Wow, an intelligent Lebanese blogger who doesn't whine . If only there were a Lebanese politician with the same attributes. I am very grateful for your post, it gives me hope.

  • At 8/2/06, 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I offered the same delusional solution to readers, I believe, on the first or second day of this joke of a war. The brick wall that is reality took care of it. It's what would be expected from the government of a country that has an army, and isn't a government by the sheep for the sheep. We've all predicted this outcome. But what we didn't predict is that the US would destroy us to help us help ourselves.

    As for the blogosphere, well, at least they're expressing themselves, whether we think it's of good quality or not, the young ones are speaking out against what they perceive as injustice. They may be talking out of frustration, but what's wrong with that? we can't have a monopoly over the right "questions".

    As for LBC, I agree some of those shows and commentators are a waste of time. But overall, they're doing a great job covering the war. Their reporters are everywhere, and believe it or not, they do ask the right questions some of the time.

    It's not fair to be dismissive of others' opinions, especially not at these times.

    Josey, I think you and Ghassan should form a shadow government and use the blogosphere to disseminate your messages.

  • At 8/2/06, 6:31 PM, Blogger Wil said…

    JW, glad to see you back and kicking. As Vox said, excellent post.

  • At 8/2/06, 7:11 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    Thanks all.

    Abu Kais,

    I don't mind the new blood and the emotion and the involvement.

    The depressing things from the chattering class in Leb and the new bloggers ( I took a very quick look) is that it is mostly: Israel bad/ HA sexy, poor Lebanon etc

    There is little thought and no ideas which IMHO is what got us here in the first place.

    As to gvmnt in exile, surely you jest. I have zero qualification for that.

    Thanks all the same. ;)

  • At 8/2/06, 7:58 PM, Blogger Ofer said…

    You may not care, but I believe that a solution in the spirit of what you are proposing serves the mutual interest of Lebanon and Israel. I, as an Israeli, would be more than happy if the International community would donate a dozen shiny new helicopter gunships and 50 modern tanks to the Lebanese army. A strong, effective and loyal (to the Lebanses government) army is in the best interest of the entire region, Israel included.

  • At 8/2/06, 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow. Great post. I hope you are not alone thinking this way.

  • At 8/2/06, 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your comments are sincere and rational, however the powerbrokers within Lebanon's government are Syrian agents and Iranian tools. The only way the Lebanese people will have a democratic state is if Israel disarms Hezbollah. I also question how many Lebanese people are left that do not want an Islamic theocracy?

  • At 8/2/06, 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree - a whole lotta white noise in the blogosphere. Glad you made it back from the Leb in one piece. And if you and Ghassan ever do consider a takeover, Mrs. Caveman and I just might move back.

  • At 8/3/06, 2:55 AM, Blogger Fares said…

  • At 8/3/06, 9:12 AM, Blogger behind-the-scenes said…

    That sounds like a good solution. A new one.
    I didn't hear it suggested so far.

    The devil is in the details, of course. The Lebanese government will be scared that HZ will resist (after all, "Resistance" is their middle name). If the army goes in "vacated Hezbo areas" and some HZ return (or a few never left) the army will be scared stiff and for good reason: If it opens fire, there could be a civil war.

    The Lebanese government could only do such a thing if a huge crowd protests calling for it to do so. No such crowd will appear.
    Politicians might be able to call for such a crowd but HZ has already announced it's paying attention to what politicians say "against HZ" and it WILL "settle accounts" with them after the war. Ominous, to say the least.

    One could at least hope that politicians would start saying "how can I speak the truth about this situation when the Hezballah has promised to attack politicians who don't say what HZ wants them to say?".
    True, HZ wouldn't like that but such repeated statements by politicians would put HZ under pressure and would begin (perhaps) to sway public opinion.

  • At 8/3/06, 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i read your article with interest and appreciation. many may not believe this, but israelis do not wish harm on the innocent lebanese people. every death of an innocent person causes me sadness -- regardless of the national or religious origin.

    your solution sounds like the start of a possible resolution and i hope that when any conclusion does come, that it brings a brighter and stronger future for lebanon. adding on to what Ofer wrote, i would even support the israeli government to contribute to the rebuilding of lebanon, and thereby of the development of our peaceful future together.

    salam / shalom

  • At 8/3/06, 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    J, AK, G, what effective tools does any Lebanese government have to implement anything remotely resembling what you are suggesting.

    The Lebanese Armed forces were always more like a Police department than an army, and will not be used for fear of mutiny in the ranks which will create another problem.

    The only weapon the people have is to gossip the aggressors with exaggaration to death.

    The Lebanese are not warriors, or fighters. (well maybe between each others one time).

    The above statment makes you wonder what HA is; if they are part of the Lebanese entity. There is a wide divide in this tiny land.

    What a waste.

  • At 8/3/06, 2:20 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…


    The gvmnt does not have much but it does have legality and legitimacy on its side. It is using neither.

    It should at least try something, it might fail.

    But doing nothing is garanteed failure.

  • At 8/3/06, 2:38 PM, Blogger Ali said…

    Thank you....

  • At 8/3/06, 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    J, I don't think you can accuse, or pretend that they did not try. But like in the past they have failed. Lebanese politics have a proven track record of failure when it comes to matters of national interest.

    The Lebanese are too busy loving life and looking out for number one. They have a hard time fathoming the concept of unity, or better yet a nation, due to their socio-cultural structure.

    People take advantage of that. A very convenient set of cards.

    Another point, the legality you mention on the side of the government. Well, this is war, so screw that. And the international community has proven time and again how the legal process works through diplomacy. Selective if at all.

    Ink on paper never stopped a Mirkava, F16 or Katyusha. Heck not even a bow and arrow.

    I don't mean to rain on your parade, but this is the reality.

    Call me S.

  • At 8/3/06, 3:08 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    No S,

    They did not try or even pretend.

    The lack of "legality" is what led to war.

    If we want to be a fun-loving people then let someone else run the country and quit complaining.

    I refuse the latter.

    I am pessimistic beacuse Lebanon has too many people like you (no offense) who say no to "legality" before and after a catastrophe.

    There is a connection between the latter two.

  • At 8/3/06, 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What am I complaining about?

    I did not call you pessimistic.

  • At 8/3/06, 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent comment - So true - If only the lebanese people have the guts to do the right thing once. Stop blaming Israel for everything, finger the real culprit and then ACT.

  • At 8/3/06, 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bravo, btw. I love Lebanon and the movie Outlaw Josey Wales.

    But the Unforgiven is the best Eastwood western.

  • At 8/4/06, 6:32 AM, Blogger JoseyWales said…


    Agreed. I do feel like Clint at the end of Unforgiven these days.

  • At 8/8/06, 2:34 AM, Blogger M. Simon said…

    A look at the future

    Tactics, Strategy, Grand Strategy

    The coming fall of the Syrian regime at: Syria Has a Problem. Its days are numbered. Sixty to ninety days. Possibly less.

  • At 2/12/07, 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After May 2000 we brought it over ourselves.Avoiding the worse seems
    a recipe for a bigger disaster.


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