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Motives in Mideast remain multifaceted

July 20, 2006

Re "Why they fight," editorial, July 19

Israel isn't the only state that might benefit from escalating violence. The Times' analysis of the many ways the situation in Lebanon might play out ignores a crucial factor: The devastation being unleashed by Israel will undoubtedly empower radicals and give rise to more instability throughout the Middle East.

As President Bush gives a green light to Israel, and as you speculate on the tactical significance of Israel's military actions, I wonder how many more Osama bin Ladens and Abu Musab Zarqawis are being created every day that we forgo opportunities for a comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict in favor of still more violence.

Have we learned nothing from half a century of ignoring the root causes of this conflict and from the Bush administration's recent debacle in Iraq?

KEN GALAL

San Francisco

*

The Lebanese two-step was extremely successful until the Lebanese got tangled in their own dancing shoes. By playing footsie with Hezbollah and, at the same time, disavowing a direct connection, they were able to reap the benefits of a capitalistic resort country with a thriving tourist industry and still glean favor with the oil-rich U.S./Israel-hating Arab world. In truth, Hezbollah is simply the military arm of Lebanon. That's the reason Lebanon claimed to be impotent to disarm Hezbollah after being required to do so by U.N. resolution six years ago. With few exceptions, it's time we saw the true face of Lebanon: It supports the terrorists, hates the U.S. and Israel and deserves the pounding it is receiving.

BERNARD LEHRER

Ventura

*

Israel needs to be condemned for this massacre against the Lebanese people and the total assault on and destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. This is not a war against Hezbollah. Israel is using the Israeli soldiers' capture as an excuse to ensure Lebanon is destroyed in retribution for allowing Hezbollah to live. The U.S. is complicit by not condemning Israel publicly, and worse by Bush's claim that this over-the-top response is defense.

KATHLEEN O'CONNOR WANG

Diamond Bar

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