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thedrifter
08-02-06, 08:27 AM
To Hell with Hezbollah
August 1st, 2006

I worked for President Reagan at the CIA, and during those years I made quite a number of overseas trips. While having dinner one evening with some of our local CIA people, I fell into a conversation with a young woman who had recently completed her training and was on her first foreign assignment. She was charming, eager, and razor-sharp – precisely the sort of young officer the agency recruited in those days, and the sort of officer who, in time, would rise to a leadership position. She told me that she had just worked a deal through which the agency would give her a leave of absence, with pay, so she could go back to school and get an MBA degree. That would enhance her management skills, she explained, and she thought these skills would come in handy as she moved up the ladder.

As we left the dinner I wished her luck in the MBA program, and asked her to stop by my office the next time she came to Washington to say hello.

“I will,” she replied. “And when I do I’ll tell you about another little deal I’ve worked out to see a part of the world I’ve never been to.”

I asked what she meant, and she explained that when some of our people needed help because of an unexpected personnel shortage – due to a combination of vacations and emergency sick-leave, for instance – they passed word around that if anyone had some vacation time to burn up and wanted to visit that country for a week or two with free accommodation, here was their chance.

“Sounds like fun,” I said. “So, where are you going?”

“Beirut.”

Ten minutes after she showed up for a meeting at our embassy there, on April 18, 1983, Hezbollah blew up that building and killed her, along with the agency’s top Mideast analyst, Bob Ames, and more than 60 other people. Six months later, on October 23, Hezbollah launched an attack in Beirut that killed 241 of our Marines, sailors and soldiers.

Why Reagan Held Back

President Reagan decided not to retaliate for either of these attacks, and I believe this was among the toughest decisions he ever made. What the President understood – and what so many people demanding retaliation back then did not – is that in 1983 we were in the final stages of winning the Cold War. This was the President’s great objective and achieving it would absorb all of his, and the administration’s, energies and efforts. He would allow nothing – not even Hezbollah’s attacks on our embassy and our Marines – to distract us from defeating the Soviet Union.

Now we are engaged in another global struggle, and this time Hezbollah is right in the middle of it. In the war on terrorism, Hezbollah isn’t a distraction. It’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran, and a partner of Syria – both of which are determined to stop us from winning in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today, through what appears to be its own miscalculation, Hezbollah finds itself at war with Israel. Good. This may be the best break we’ve had since 9-11. We ought to give the Israelis all the help we can – militarily, on the ground as well as in the air – to annihilate Hezbollah and all its leaders. That will weaken Iran and Syria, and by doing so help us win in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So why has our Secretary of State been shuttling around the Mideast? Why is all the talk in Washington about how much time we ought to give the Israelis before we stop them? Why are so many members of Congress and commentators blathering on about cease-fires, balanced approaches, about “degrading” Hezbollah’s military power, of negotiations with its elected politicians, and of a “buffer zone” in Lebanon south of the Litani river? Why are we being drawn into endless arguments about the complex relationships between Shiites and Sunnis, about how to give Syria’s president Assad a “pathway out” of his diplomatic isolation, and about the “sensitivities” of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia?

All of this is pseudo-sophisticated nonsense.

In World War II there was no talk of a “cease-fire” with Japan, or of a “buffer zone” between Japan and China. No one thought it made sense to merely “disarm” or “degrade” the Wehrmacht, or to just push Hitler back into Germany where his “political arm” – the National Socialists, otherwise known as the Nazis – could continue to pursue its domestic programs in the Reichstag. And no one who suggested that the fire-bombing of Dresden or the D-Day invasion were a “disproportionate response” to Hitler’s invasion of Poland – or that dropping two atom bombs on Japan was a “disproportionate” response to Pearl Harbor—was taken seriously by the men who led us to victory in World War II.

Fighting to Win

FDR and General George Marshall – like Lincoln and General William Tecumseh Sherman before them – understood that once you make the decision to fight, you fight to win.

“We are not fighting armies but a hostile people,” Sherman wrote, “and we must make young and old, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war….I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptom of tiring till the South begs for mercy.”

Indeed, this is precisely what Sherman was talking about when he famously said that “War is hell.” He was a decent, honorable man who hated doing what he knew must be done to end the war and stop the killing. Here’s one Sherman quote you won’t see in a New York Times editorial:

“The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”

When you’re in the middle of a war, of course you need to think before you act. But there is such a thing as over-thinking, and today we are in serious danger of making this mistake. In war there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that brings victory faster and more completely than the total annihilation of your enemy. Do that and everything else – what the late, great Senator Sam Ervine of North Carolina once called “the complex complexities” – sort themselves out.

Right now we have an unexpected opportunity to obliterate Hezbollah, and by doing so to increase our chances for victory in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’d be fools not to go for it.

Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. His DVD on The Siege of Western Civilization has become an international best-seller.


Herbert E. Meyer

Ellie

thedrifter
08-05-06, 07:51 AM
Hezbollah’s Psych-Ops
They know the minds of their enemies

By Clifford D. May


Hezbollah and its foreign sponsors deserve credit: They understand the perverse psychology of the Middle East. They knew they could launch a war against Israel and then have Israel get the blame for the devastation that inevitably would follow.


They knew also that if Israel failed to respond forcefully to their ground and missile attacks, they could say Israel was cowardly. And if Israel did respond forcefully, they could say Israel was a bully, its response “disproportionate” — even while insisting that Israel was doing them no serious damage.

They knew they could target Israeli civilians and hide combatants and weapons behind Lebanese civilians — in homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques. Even so, whenever Lebanese women and children were killed, they could accuse Israel of “war crimes.”

Give Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran credit for this, too: They understand the equally perverse psychology of Europe, the U.N. and the “international community.” Two years ago, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 demanded that Hezbollah disarm. Hezbollah refused to comply. In response, the international community shrugged its collective shoulders.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah has been taking delivery of increasingly advanced weaponry from Syria and Iran — while U.N “peacekeepers” in southern Lebanon avert their gaze.

These peacekeepers remain silent even as Hezbollah fires those missiles at Haifa, the one city in the Middle East where Jews, Christians, and Muslims most successfully coexist. And when Hezbollah uses the otherwise useless U.N. peacekeepers as human shields and some are killed, the U.N. and Europe are outraged — not at Hezbollah for this blatant violation of international law but, again, at Israel.

Hezbollah’s leaders figured correctly that it would not be long before Europeans would be calling for a cease-fire — one that would reward Hezbollah by allowing it to remain armed, effectively repealing U.N. Resolution 1559, and to acquire new and better weapons for future use.

Many Europeans and some Americans also are calling for Syria and Iran to be offered “incentives” in exchange for helping to end the conflict they started. What if Syria and Iran accept such tributes, promise to rein in Hezbollah and then don’t? That’s the nice thing about appeasement: The appeasers always have something more they are eager to give and the appeased always have something more they are eager to receive.

Give credit where it is due: Hezbollah propagandists understand how to manipulate the Western media. They show reporters bombed buildings and dead bodies. They say: “These were innocent civilians. No fighters or weapons here.” The news crews report what they are told and shown without verification — out of ignorance or fear or both. Hezbollah exaggerates its battlefield successes and understates its losses and, with too few exceptions, the media take it in and spew it back out.

If progress is to be made in the Middle East, it must begin with an understanding of the psychology of Hezbollah and its supporters. Hezbollah’s immediate goal is not to drive Israelis into sea — that’s for later — but only to establish itself as the dominant force in Lebanon, politically as well as militarily. If that happens, the dream of Lebanese democracy would again be deferred. Anyone who wants to live in Lebanon –“live” in the existential sense — would have to cut a deal with Hezbollah.

Syria’s goal is obvious: It wants to again be the colossus of the Levant. With a war-hardened Hezbollah at its side, Syria would “restore stability” to Lebanon, perhaps by returning as the occupying power, carrying out assassinations of Lebanese patriots with impunity as it has in the past.

Finally, Iran’s ambitions: nothing less than to be recognized as the leader of the global jihad against the West. Al Qaeda would have to accept the status of junior partner in the Holy War against the Great Satan and the Little Satan and all the other sundry Satans.

If Iran can successfully project power against Israel using its Lebanese proxy what would stop it from utilizing other branches of Hezbollah in other corners of the world to achieve similar results? What could stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and using those weapons to impose its will wherever and whenever it chooses? A U.N. resolution? One like 1559 perhaps?

Clearly, for these goals to be achieved would not be in the Lebanese, Israeli, American, or European interest — nor would the vast majority of the world’s Arabs and Muslims benefit from such an outcome.

But give Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, and other Islamist fascists credit: They understand the perverse psychology of their enemies, the infidels. They know how to confuse us, how to divide us and, in time, they are confident they will do much more to us than that.

Ellie