A powerful car bomb killed a senior Lebanese army general and his guard in an eastern suburb of Beirut on Wednesday, army officials said.
The general, Brig. Gen. Francois al-Hajj, was in charge of military operations during the battle against Islamic militants at the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon last summer.
He was also a leading candidate to succeed Gen. Michel Suleiman, the army’s chief of staff, who is being considered as the country’s next president.
The explosion, caused by a bomb that was placed under a car parked on the side of the street, set other cars on fire and left a hole six feet wide in the ground. Security officials were scouring the valley at the side of the road on Wednesday afternoon for more body remains.
Is this the terrorists way of sending a message to Suleiman? If so I imagine that it was received loud and clear: There are no rules in this fight and we’ll do what we have to do to kill you.
The concept that there are people in the world who don’t acknowledge limits on their behavior or consider the impact of their actions on the world is alien to many of us who were raised in the civilized, codified, regulated cradle of western society.
Yet these people exist, in uncertain numbers. They murder and destroy both indiscriminately and with a purpose and they rely on the assumption of basic human decency that is implicit in our countries’ laws for protection from us.
The fact that we’re having an extended debate over whether to waterboard or not terrorists is evidence of our thoughtful method of determining justice. That Francois al-Hajj is in pieces is evidence of their lack of reciprocity. In the face of such an enemy our leaders would be foolish to take anything entirely off the table in terms of tools and techniques used to combat them.
Imagine if the headline read that Colin Powell’s car was blown to bits in D.C. Suddenly the debate wouldn’t be about whether waterboarding is torture or not. Instead we’d be talking about why the Bush administration didn’t "do enough" to get the information that would have saved his life.