Lebanon: Troubled history, hate-filled present
The goofiest Sinistra Media comment on the current conflict in the Middle East is that Israel’s incursions into Lebanon have inflamed the Muslims and caused them to hate the Israelis and Americans even more than before. Stop, hold the phone. How could the Muslims hate the Israelis and Americans any more than they have hated us since the Koran proclaimed that Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims are infidels who must be converted, killed or subjugated?
Today, fair-minded people would have to admit that Israel is not the aggressor and is asserting its right to self-defense, even if it means it must pursue its tormentors into neighboring Lebanon. Of course, all people with even a shred of humanity regret the loss of innocent life. But how innocent are people who make room in their Lebanese homes for the rockets provided to the Hezbollah terrorists by Iran and Syria?
Granted many Lebanese may be forced at the point of Hezbollah guns to accept those Israel-bound missiles into their homes. Granted Hezbollah may be forcing innocent Lebanese to stay in their homes and shops after the IDF has warned the people to clear out because the IDF is about to destroy Hezbollah weapons or supplies. Granted Hezbollah likes to hide in civilian gathering places such as hospitals, markets, schools, crowded streets, churches and even mosques. But is that the fault of Israel?
For those of us who didn’t pay much attention during Lebanon 101, here’s a refresher: Lebanon was formed from five former districts of the Turkish Empire in 1920; however, Lebanon was controlled by the French from 1920 to 1946. Prior to the Muslim takeover, mostly Christian Beirut was known as the “Paris of the Middle East.” A favorite place for Europeans to hit the beaches, shop and even get excellent dental work done on the cheap.
But Syria always regarded Lebanon as one of its provinces. In 1958, the Syrians tried to install a government that would share Syrian’s conception of Lebanon. President Eisenhower sent in our Marines. The Marines restored the status quo ante and withdrew.
Actually, Lebanon was a mostly Christian country until the Muslims became the majority in 1970 and set off a civil war that involved fighting between Christians and Muslims; however, most of the bloodshed was between several Muslim factions.
But once the Muslims gained control of south Lebanon, that area became the launching area for attacks on Israel. So, from 1970 to 1975, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) found it necessary to retaliate in south Lebanon. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, the Lebanese Civil War, which lasted from 1970 to 1976, cost the lives of some 60,000 Lebanese and cost billions of dollars in physical damage and virtually eliminated tourism.
Meanwhile, the Lebanon-based attacks by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) grew so intense that the IDF invaded Lebanon in June, 1982. That stopped the attacks on Israel; however, the IDF’s Christian allies entered two PLO refugee camps and massacred the inhabitants. Ironically, the Sinistra Media blamed the IDF instead of the Christians. So, world pressure forced the IDF to withdraw southward to a narrow “security zone” along the Lebanese-Israeli border where the IDF remained until the U.N. said its observers could insure peace. Right.
In 1983, the radical Islamists blew up the U.S. Embassy in Beirut killing some 50 people. President Reagan sent the Marines to restore order in Beirut. But Hezbollah killed 241 U.S troops (mostly Marines) as they slept in their barracks. Caving to political pressure, President Reagan withdrew our forces. With 20/20 hindsight, we see our withdrawal as a mistake that encouraged the radical Islamists to attack Americans all around the world.
Today, one is reminded of John Lennon’s anti-war song “Imagine.” So let’s imagine a world without the Muslim hatred for Jews, Christians and other “non-believers.” Imagine what the world would be like without the Islamists’ suicide bombers, booby traps and rockets. It would be called: Peace.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and a self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States of America.
©2006. William Hamilton.