HUMINT: Agree to War

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving protesters flooded central Beirut on Sunday after a call by the Hezbollah-led opposition to step up their 10-day campaign to topple Lebanon's Western-backed government. In a huge show of force, the chanting crowds swamped two squares in the heart of the capital and rivers of men, women and children poured through surrounding streets demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. "Siniora out," demonstrators shouted. "Beirut is free," others yelled as possibly the biggest rally in Lebanon's history kicked off in bright sunshine. Giant loudspeakers blared out nationalist songs and drummers thudded a relentless beat. There were no official estimates of the crowd size on Sunday but one security source said it was the largest such gathering ever seen in Lebanon. Opposition sources said the crowd was 2 million strong -- roughly half Lebanon's population.

QUESTION: Is the Ceder Revolution undone?


I'm haunted by the opening paragraph of Michael Scheuer's brilliant book, Imperial Hubris, in which the ex-CIA agent in charge of going after bin Laden wrote:
"As I complete this book, U.S., British, and other coalition forces are trying to govern apparently ungovernable postwar states in Afghanistan and Iraq, while simultaneously fighting growing Islamist insurgencies in each – a state of affairs our leaders call victory. In conducting these activities, and the conventional military campaigns preceding them, U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden's only indispensable ally."
With the Hariri assassination by an al-Qaeda operative, however, we see that this works both ways.
HUMINT: In my opinion, the Cedar Revolution is not over at all. Democracy is on the march across the greater Middle East and it is traveling a long and rocky road. If history has shown us anything, Lebanon is a flashpoint in a greater conflict. The Cedar Revolution was a step forward. Hezbollah's ascendance is a step backward. It is important to learn the lessons from the shifting sands without being crushed by the weight of emotion or confused by conjecture. Let me reiterate my opinion, the Cedar Revolution is not over. In terms of the movement for democracy in Lebanon and the greater Middle East, we should assume it is still underway, despite this dark moment in its history.

We are engaged in a long war with very old forces and it would be wise to recognize a significant pattern. The quoted paragraph of the article "Who Killed Rafik Hariri? And why it matters" Michael Scheuer points out the kind of collusion that occurs between all enemies. It's an unmistakable pattern. In war, all sides agree to kill and to die in order to achieve their objectives. Men like Scheuer cannot accept that Americans, existing in a land of liberty, respect and tolerance are apt to forget how we got here. We, the people, do not make agreements to kill and to die anymore. In war, we suppose, the killing and dieing part can be skipped. Unfortunately, liberty and happiness cannot be bought and sold like a car. There have been cases in history where liberty and happiness have been achieved by processes as peaceful as buying and selling cars, but not in every case. The most remarkable cases where liberty was born, blood was shed.

Obviously, war is not going to go away. People are still going to kill and die for reasons they perceive to be righteous. Indeed there are still righteous causes in the world worth fighting for. It is my opinion that, with the right tactics, far fewer need perish by violence than in history. To be sure, the fewer members among two societies engaged in war who agree to kill and to die, the less killing and dieing there will be. War is a very different state of affairs than peace. Right now, Many Americans are blaming management for a warring world and their own healthy proclivity for peace. I think that is a wrong approach. Instead they should implore management to consider hiring a new sales team instead. In CONCLUSION, if we are willing to interpret the patterns in our history and the history of our enemies, we will be less likely to draw counterproductive conclusions, even rhetorical in nature, that confuse our enemies with our allies. Despite any implicit agreements between enemies to fight, enemies remain enemies until death or reconciliation.




  • HUMINT: Agree to War

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