During the brief war in Lebanon, Hezbollah hid its rockets in mosques and apartment complexes and interspersed its soldiers among the civilian population. The message: attack Hezbollah and you attack the people of Lebanon.
The Republican party -- also a party of God, sometimes -- made a similar argument when it claimed that opposition to its policies turns us into a soft target for terrorists. When Dick Cheney told us that Lamont's win might "embolden Al Qaeda types," the message was the same as Hezbollah's: vote against the GOP and you attack the people of America.
I see no contradiction between taking a hard-line against Hezbollah in Lebanon and taking a hard-line against Bush and his arrogant policies in Iraq. In fact, it may be the same battle on two fronts.
Israel invaded Lebanon in response to the murder and kidnapping of its soldiers by a terrorist organization, which has since lobbed over 3000 rockets into Haifa and surrounding villages, targeting civilians. Invading Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism. It was a case of displaced anger.
As Israel accepts a ceasefire today, it is important not to make hasty, hopeful comparisons to America withdrawing from Iraq. When we conflate Lebanon and Iraq, we do an enormous disservice to the anti-Iraq-war movement by lending credence to Republican scare-tactics. It is hard to disguise the fact that Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has genocidal impulses and that Hezbollah poses a real terrorist threat, both to Israel and to the United States. If Iraq and Lebanon are the same -- well, maybe we better stay in Iraq.
No, because they are not the same.