Operation "The Light Side of Hezbollah"

A few days after “paint-balling with Hezbollah”, we get yet another exposé in an english language publication in which the themes of Hezbollah, entertainment and western journalists getting privileged access and bragging about it, are mixed together.

“Inside Hezbollah’s Terror Tech Museum”, published today in WIRE, (more colorfully republished in io9) is yet another piece in which the journalist (in this case Sharon Weinberger) tries to overcompensate for his access to Hezbollah by using the words “terror” and “terrorism” whenever he can. (Translation: Yes, I fraternized with Hezbollah but I still think they’re a bunch of baby killing monsters)

Everybody wins. Hezbollah plays the journalists, the journalists brag about their access and western readers get exotic photos and material to read.

Do I get anything out of the article? Yes: I find myself thinking that the amount of visitors to the Mleeta park is directly related to how popular Hezbollah is in the region. If only I could get statistics of visits, how they changed during key Hezbollah events, and how they are affected by the events in Syria.. (Thanks Azmi)

Update:

Patric Galey, a western journalist with an extensive Beirut experience (reporting for the Daily Star, a local newspaper with a Lebanese readership), explains western Journalists’ fascination with Hezbollah:

["paint-balling with Hezbollah"] is in keeping with a long narrative of western gawping at Hezbollah. We’ve all done it. When I first arrived in Beirut I wrote excitedly that six days into my stay I’d had tea with party officials. I thought that was cool and, in a way, I suppose it was for someone fresh off the plane. But reporters learn and evolve. When you’ve gathered party sources and interviewed enough officials, you realize that, largely, Hezbollah is just like most political parties here; they just happen to have more rockets

Maybe “fresh off the plane” should be the standard way of dismissing writers who come up with such pieces..

  • Craig

    Everybody wins. Hezbollah plays the journalists, the journalists brag about their access and western readers get exotic photos and material to read.

    We already have those exotic photos when it comes to Hezbollah:

    Look Here, here and here.

    And lots more where those came from. The day Americans forget what Hezbollah really is and what Hezbollah has done, to Americans and to so many others, is the day I stop calling myself an American. I don’t care how hard these creeps work at humanizing Hezbollah, it’s not going to make the slightest bit of difference to anyone who hasn’t already sold themselves out to the enemy.

    • Jihad

      You deserve more of what was done to your crminal Marines at Beirut Airport. A terrorist is trying to defend the most criminal state the world has ever known. You’re nothing but a bunch of serial killers and cowards who hide behind their weapons. It took ONE brave resistant to make you run like rats with your tails between your legs in Beirut.

  • CopyCat

    Craig,

    the barracks were a legitimate military target. the other two, not so much. i fully support the bombing of any u.s. military targets anywhere in the world

    • Craig

      And one more thing before I sign off this thread too: After so eagerly admitting you’d like to see Americans killed all over the world, where the hell do you get off complaining if the Americans you want dead suggest maybe they’d like to see you dead too? In the real world, the victim card doesn’t play very well when you’re the aggressor.

      • Craig

        And PPS: I hope you aren’t living in the US as you suggest the US military should be attacked wherever they are worldwide. Wasn’t that long ago there was a French terrorist who felt the same way and he murdered 3 French soldiers before turning his wrath on Jewish school children. And we already know how you feel about attacks on children, don’t we?

        Not really seeing much of a difference, here. Sue me.

    • CopyCat

      Craig,

      Your attitude angers me, as do your quick impromptu judgments. I just always feel the urge to want to piss you off, as much as you piss me off. Let me just put it on the record here that I do not really condone the targeting of U.S. military targets anywhere in the world. not unless they are in an position of illegal occupation and sheer aggression (let’s assume americans invade lebanon, then i am all for fighting them there, in lebanon)

      The current Hezbollah is not the same organization that carried out those attacks. yet the U.S. army was not really a peacekeeping force as history tells us americans bombed targets in lebanon during the civil war, thereby making themselves ‘legitimate’ targets for those whom they attacked. they were in a war, and were party in it, so how else would their enemies respond? by accepting to be bombed and not responding? that’s not how wars work. so i would take out the bombing of the barracks as something you can cry about. this would be like saying that if the vietcong attacked u.s. targets in vietnam, that was a terrorist act (it wans’t by any means)

      the other two examples you mentioned, i condemn. i am against hijacking of civilian planes and kidnapping, etc. but you always talk as if the americans don’t do things like that (i.e. killing civilians).

      i fully condemn the killing of those french soldiers and children. don’t put that on me…

      i don’t have the time or the energy to debate you, you have your biases and judgments, and i have mine, and neither of us will change them.

      what about american soldiers in iraq, who were fighting an illegal war there (unsupported by the UN, which called it illegal occupation). were they legitimate targets in iraq, or not? and if so, then why? who determines this?

      • Craig

        My “attitude” pisses you off? lol. You’re the one who likes child killers and thinks Americans deserve to be murdered. I’m happy I piss you off but I’d be happier if you were off the street.

    • CopyCat

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimate_military_target

      Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, Article 52, provides for the general protection of civilian objects, restricting attacks to military objectives. Article 52 states, “In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.”
      Any attack must be justified by military necessity: An attack or action must be intended to help in the military defeat of the enemy, it must be an attack on a military objective,[1] and the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
      Legitimate military targets include: armed forces and persons who take part in the fighting; positions or installations occupied by armed forces as well as objectives that are directly contested in battle; military installations such as barracks, war ministries, munitions or fuel dumps, storage yards for vehicles, airfields, rocket launch ramps, and naval bases.
      Legitimate infrastructure targets include lines and means of communication, command and control, railroad lines, roads, bridges, tunnels, and canals that are of fundamental military importance.
      Legitimate communications targets include broadcasting and television stations, and telephone and telegraph exchanges of fundamental military importance.
      Legitimate military-industrial targets include factories producing materiel (arms, transport, and communications equipment) for the military; metallurgical, engineering, and chemicals industries whose nature or purpose is essentially military; and the storage and transport installations serving such industries.
      Legitimate military research targets include experimental research centers for the development of weapons and logistics.
      Legitimate energy targets include installations providing energy mainly for national defense, such as coal and other fuels, and plants producing gas or electricity mainly for military consumption. Attacks on nuclear power stations and hydroelectric dams are generally, but not always, prohibited by the laws of war

  • Craig

    Peacekeepers are valid military targets? Have you notified the United Nations about that? And have you notified the peacekeepers currently serving in Lebanon?

    i fully support the bombing of any u.s. military targets anywhere in the world

    Nice try, but military personnel are not subject to attack by self-proclaimed militias of countries they are not at war with. And even if they were, you wouldn’t feel that way if somebody said Hamas, Hezbollah (militants, if not militaries) should be subject to unprovoked attack anywhere in the world, would you? And how about we just start attacking Iranian military targets anywhere in the world while we are at it, beginning with the IRGC advisors in Lebanon as we speak? I’m sure you’d like that just fine wouldn’t you? You’re too stupid top even think about what you say which would be funny if you weren’t defending mass murderers. Weren’t you confused about the difference between prosecuting somebody for deliberately killing women and children and lionizing them in the other thread? Just like that Burger person, you have no sense of right and wrong. You’re a sociopath and all your holier-than-thou posturing can’t hide it when you freely admit to how you really feel about things.

    • CopyCat

      What about the assassination of Iran’s scientists in Iran (obviously American/Mossad planned). Is that legitimate to you, Craig, or not? America already does all that, in war or not. I do not call for treatment in kind, but I call for accountability for both. Why is America allowed to assassinate whomever it considers an enemy and a threat, and gets away with it?

      • Craig

        Dude, you know about all the people Hezbollah has murdered that were completely innocent human beings. You’ve mentioned it before. You can’t make all the blood go away with a little immoral moral equivalence.

  • Black

    @ CopyCat

    Most likely the targeted killings in Iran are insider-jobs. Iran has intelligence services, too. They don’t get paid for nothing, don’t you think?

    Besides, Iran has declared war on the US in 1979.

    • Jihad

      It seems that you are another specimen of those stupid Americans who get their news from cartoons shows. Did you hear about the coup d’état that was fomented against the Mosadeq government by the criminals at the CIA in 1953?

      As for insider job, another stupid comment, it was published again and again that criminals affiliated with the US and the Zionist state have done it. Just as always, cowards hiding behind their weapons or attacking unprotected civilians.

  • J

    I wanted to weigh-in. As an American/Lebanese who grew up mostly in Washington DC and has lived in Beirut for the last year and a half I have to say that I see both sides but I find myself agreeing with Copycat’s argument.

    Craig–I know alot of guys who are in the US military services and I know the mentality of the US. Look–the fact is American people are really good hearted people. They genuinely believe they are the good in the world and they are fighting evil and they want to do good for the whole world. Obviously, various administrations come in and screw that up. As Americans we are raised to view each soldier as an individual with a family and a life, as we should, however we see the other side as just that, “an other.” we dont know their lives or their histories.

    When you are living in a 3rd world country where the army and the govt hasnt done alot to help you (outside of Beirut, much of the country is ignored) its understandable that average people will turn to a group that provides for them. When you are poor and cant afford an education or healthcare, you don’t ask the guy paying for your schooling and hospital bill if they have ever performed tasks that certain communities qualify as terrorism, you just go to school and go to the hospital and then you probably support that group when they run in elections. As for when foreign, non-peacekeeping troops (be it American, Syrian, Israeli, Arab) are in your nation and on your streets you probably don’t like it (the way Americans wouldnt, and as much as we want to portray the Americans as the good guys, even Gen. Timothy Geraghty told the administration that their actions were not “neutral or peace-keeping” the Americans were supporting a side).

    So to look at this from an objective point of view I am with Copy Cat. Many Lebanese (though not all) see people who support are members of Hezbollah not as some menace (though some do) but as their neighbors, the same way you may see your neighbor who supported the war in Iraq (who surely an Iraqi see’s in a different way, see what I mean?).

    • Mustapha

      Damn J, you had to bring reason and cool-headedness into this discussion?

    • Craig

      J, he says he wants to kill Americans and I’m the one being unreasonable? You can look at it from your point of view all you like, but I’m not Lebanese-American I’m just plain old American and Hezbollah has murdered a lot of Americans over the years including peace keepers (who were invited in by the Lebanese Government regardless of how you feel about that) and a lot of other people who had nothing to do with the US military. If you’re OK with Hezbollah murdering Lebanese that’s fine by me but don’t tell me how I’m supposed to feel about Hezbollah murdering my people.

      And besides, CopyCat preemptively defeated your argument when he said US military should be attacked wherever they are in the world and whatever they are doing. I hope for CopyCat’s sake that HE isn’t Lebanese-American, or even living in the US. Well, actually that’s not true. I hope he’s sitting in his living room in California right now and that he’s caught the FBI’s attention.

    • Craig

      So to look at this from an objective point of view I am with Copy Cat. Many Lebanese (though not all) see people who support are members of Hezbollah not as some menace (though some do) but as their neighbors, the same way you may see your neighbor who supported the war in Iraq (who surely an Iraqi see’s in a different way, see what I mean?).

      Tell me about how that’s so much like how Americans are when an American militia group starts kidnapping and murdering any Lebanese they can get ahold of just for being Lebanese and everyone in the US thinks that’s just fine, and maybe even praiseworthy. In the meantime, I suggest you consider the possibility that perhaps you’ve just described the mentality that has caused Lebanon to have such a miserable last four decades.

      • J

        Craig, I don’t hold a Lebanese passport due to complications however I regularly travel through Dahiyeh and other Hezbollah dominated areas. If they wanted to kidnap any American possible than I don’t think I would be commenting right now.

        I also never said its acceptable to kill Americans, but if you really believe the American government has never killed civilians you need to wake up. It’s people who see the world the way you do (good v. evil, us v. them) that we contribute to creating such terrorist groups in the first place–by keeping oppressing rulers in charge that make people turn to extremism.

        Again–I dont condone the innocent killing of anyone, and I am not defending Hezbollah for they have done their share of crimes, but if you think dealing with anyone else in the Lebanese gov’t is any better or anyone in the American gov’t is clean and free you are not seeing the world from a fair point of view. You care about your country and its ppl and that’s admirable but why do you think Hezbollah is doing this? because its fun to blow shit up?

        Again, I understand your point of view, I just think that you only have one side of the information. I encourage you to do some further reading on other points of view, and then you can declare anyone you want to be a terrorist, but dont blind yourself to the rest of the world.

        Anyways, nice that people are talking from different sides isn’t it?

  • Craig

    J,

    If they wanted to kidnap any American possible than I don’t think I would be commenting right now.

    There was a time when that was different and nobody has ever been punished for what HA did back then. And now we have people claiming Hezbollah’s behavior is no different from anyone elses, even though everyone here must know that isn’t true.

    I also never said its acceptable to kill Americans, but if you really believe the American government has never killed civilians you need to wake up.

    CopyCat wants Americans killed, and you said you agree with him. Maybe you should be more careful about who it is you are agreeing with? Maybe you’ve fallen into your own moral-equivalence trap and just glossed over the parts where CopyCat went too far with it? As for killing of civilians, CopyCat has already demonstrated in another thread that he doesn’t comprehend the difference between deliberately killing the innocent and doing so accidentally, or the difference between charging people with murder when they do it on purpose vs celebrating the killer as a hero. This isn’t something that needs explaining. It’s a basic moral issue. Either people get it or they don’t.

    Again–I dont condone the innocent killing of anyone, and I am not defending Hezbollah for they have done their share of crimes, but if you think dealing with anyone else in the Lebanese gov’t is any better or anyone in the American gov’t is clean and free you are not seeing the world from a fair point of view.

    I never said the US should be dealing with anyone in the Lebanese government. I don’t think the US should be having anything to do with Lebanon, at all. We’ve been there, and we’ve tried that. Didn’t work. Not that you asked, but I don’t believe the US should be having anything to do with the Syrian government either, with Assad or without him. And the same goes for Egypt. To take it out of the middle-east, I feel the same way about Pakistan and to a lesser extent Afghanistan. That’s why I object so strenuously to these efforts to make HA seem “just like anyone else” to the west and specifically America. The next step is obviously promotion of the idea that HA is somebody the US can work with. In fact, Exum has already gone that route a few years ago. When he acts like he’s all “wow, I’m playing paintball with badguys and they aren’t so bad!” I don’t believe it because I noticed years ago he doesn’t really consider them bad guys. What he’s up to now is trying to convince other Americas he’s right about that. He’s literally doing public relations for Hezbollah.

    You care about your country and its ppl and that’s admirable but why do you think Hezbollah is doing this? because its fun to blow shit up?

    I don’t really see what they gained by murdering hundreds of innocents in Argentina at a Jewish Center and a School. Do you? Maybe they figured they would make Jews all over the world afraid by doing that? Maybe they just hate Jews *that* much? Maybe it was because Iran told them to? I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care.

    Again, I understand your point of view, I just think that you only have one side of the information. I encourage you to do some further reading on other points of view, and then you can declare anyone you want to be a terrorist, but dont blind yourself to the rest of the world.

    Again, and this came up in the other HA thread: Why is it the responsibility of Americans to try to understand both sides of an issue instead of just promoting their side of it as being the correct one? I’ve yet to see any Arab on the blogs – and I’ve encountered quite a few – attempt to understand the American position on anything relating to the Arab world. And don’t even get me started on all the closed-minded and hateful propaganda against Israelis that I’ve seen on Arab blogs over the years, all accepted as being the just and moral position and anyone who questions that subject to an online lynching.

    Anyways, nice that people are talking from different sides isn’t it?

    Talking to Hezbollah? Let me know when they turn over the Hariri killers, all the kidnappers hijackers and mass murderers from past HA atrocities and so on and so forth so they can be prosecuted for their crimes. Then, maybe there will be something to talk about.