Obama Thinks Hamas, Hezb'allah Have Legiimate Grievances

Ed Lasky

In an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks , Barack Obama was asked about the statement he released regarding the situation in Lebanon. Specifically this statement was in issue:      

all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately. It's time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.  

This statement was met with criticism for flying in the face of reality, for having a surreal air about it especially when that air was already filled with smoke from the ravages of Hezbollah attacks against the Lebanese government and the Sunni and Christian communities. His solutions seemed more akin to suggestions offered in civics and good government courses rather than geopolitcal and strategy courses. 

Brooks gave him an opportunity to undo some of the political damage (amazing how the media always allows Barack Obama to have makeovers when his statements cause him political problems) by expanding on his previously issued statement. He stated that Hezbollah is not a legitimate political party (despite holding seats in the Lebanese Parliament-a fact that he does not acknowledge) and offered further commentary through Brooks: 

I asked him what he meant with all this emphasis on electoral and patronage reform. He said the U.S. should help the Lebanese government deliver better services to the Shiites "to peel support away from Hezbollah" and encourage the local populace to "view them as an oppressive force." The U.S. should "find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services."

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that "looks at the root causes of problems and dangers." Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that "they're going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims." He knows these movements aren't going away anytime soon ("Those missiles aren't going to dissolve"), but "if they decide to shift, we're going to recognize that. That's an evolution that should be recognized."

 
One wishes that Barack Obama had gone further and articulated what aims he feels Hezbollah and Hamas hold that he considers legitimate? What legitimate goals does Hamas have? They were given Gaza and the chance existed for them to develop the land and help their people. Instead they turned it into a terror base: killing opponents, killing Christians, brainwashign their children to hate,  launching thousands of missiles into Israel. Having been given Gaza what additional aims would Senator Obama consider legitimate? The release of terrorists from Israeli jails, the movement of millions of Palestinians into Israel, the destruction of Israel, the killing of Jews and Christians around the world?

Both organizations were founded and have as their principal aim the destruction of Israel. Their charters-especially so in the case of Hamas-talk about the killing of Jews and Christians around the world. They are fiercely anti-American and filled with religious extremism.  Are those legitimate aims? After all, appeasers in Europe-particularly in England-justified their approaches towards Adolf Hitler by agreeing that he also had legitimate claims (on territorial and World War One reparations). By granting credibility to these terror groups-and to at least some of their aims-does he enhance their status , power and obduracy going forward? Those are questions one wishes David Brooks had asked.


In an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks , Barack Obama was asked about the statement he released regarding the situation in Lebanon. Specifically this statement was in issue:      

all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately. It's time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.  

This statement was met with criticism for flying in the face of reality, for having a surreal air about it especially when that air was already filled with smoke from the ravages of Hezbollah attacks against the Lebanese government and the Sunni and Christian communities. His solutions seemed more akin to suggestions offered in civics and good government courses rather than geopolitcal and strategy courses. 

Brooks gave him an opportunity to undo some of the political damage (amazing how the media always allows Barack Obama to have makeovers when his statements cause him political problems) by expanding on his previously issued statement. He stated that Hezbollah is not a legitimate political party (despite holding seats in the Lebanese Parliament-a fact that he does not acknowledge) and offered further commentary through Brooks: 

I asked him what he meant with all this emphasis on electoral and patronage reform. He said the U.S. should help the Lebanese government deliver better services to the Shiites "to peel support away from Hezbollah" and encourage the local populace to "view them as an oppressive force." The U.S. should "find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services."

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that "looks at the root causes of problems and dangers." Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that "they're going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims." He knows these movements aren't going away anytime soon ("Those missiles aren't going to dissolve"), but "if they decide to shift, we're going to recognize that. That's an evolution that should be recognized."

 
One wishes that Barack Obama had gone further and articulated what aims he feels Hezbollah and Hamas hold that he considers legitimate? What legitimate goals does Hamas have? They were given Gaza and the chance existed for them to develop the land and help their people. Instead they turned it into a terror base: killing opponents, killing Christians, brainwashign their children to hate,  launching thousands of missiles into Israel. Having been given Gaza what additional aims would Senator Obama consider legitimate? The release of terrorists from Israeli jails, the movement of millions of Palestinians into Israel, the destruction of Israel, the killing of Jews and Christians around the world?

Both organizations were founded and have as their principal aim the destruction of Israel. Their charters-especially so in the case of Hamas-talk about the killing of Jews and Christians around the world. They are fiercely anti-American and filled with religious extremism.  Are those legitimate aims? After all, appeasers in Europe-particularly in England-justified their approaches towards Adolf Hitler by agreeing that he also had legitimate claims (on territorial and World War One reparations). By granting credibility to these terror groups-and to at least some of their aims-does he enhance their status , power and obduracy going forward? Those are questions one wishes David Brooks had asked.