From our friend Mark, former peacekeeper from Ireland.
Here. That's part one, be sure to read all three. In another post, he quotes Fisk:
So fierce has been Hizbollah's resistance - and so determined its attacks on Israeli ground troops in Lebanon - that many people here no longer recall that it was Hizbollah which provoked this latest war by crossing the border on 12 July, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. Israel's threats of enlarging the conflict even further are now met with amusement rather than horror by a Lebanese population which has been listening to Israel's warnings for 30 years with ever greater weariness. And yet they fear for their lives. If Tel Aviv is hit, will Beirut be spared. Or if central Beirut is hit, will Tel Aviv be spared? Hizbollah now uses Israel's language of an eye for an eye. Every Israeli taunt is met by a Hizbollah taunt.
And do the Israelis realise that they are legitimising Hizbollah, that a rag-tag army of guerrillas is winning its spurs against an Israeli army and air force whose targets - if intended - prove them to be war criminals and if unintended suggest that they are a rif-raff little better than the Arab armies they have been fighting, on and off, for more than half a century? Extraordinary precedents are being set in this Lebanon war.
In fact, one of the most profound changes in the region these past three decades has been the growing unwillingness of Arabs to be afraid. Their leaders - our "moderate" pro-Western Arab leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt - may be afraid. But their peoples are not. And once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel's consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.
And all across the Muslim world, "we" - the West, America, Israel - are fighting not nationalists but Islamists. And watching the martyrdom of Lebanon this week - its slaughtered children in Qana packed into plastic bags until the bags ran out and their corpses had to be wrapped in carpets - a terrible and daunting thought occurs to me, day by day. That there will be another 9/11.