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When a people support a government that does bad things, is it all right to hold the people responsible?

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It's a question much bigger than Lebanon:

The Western-backed, anti-Syrian prime minister Fuad Saniora held back tears as he vowed on Lebanese television Saturday night to curb the guerrillas, desperate to stop Israel's onslaught.

But on Sunday, President Emile Lahoud — a pro-Syrian and an ally of Hezbollah — pronounced that Lebanon "will not surrender" to Israel's attempts to batter it into submission.

Few believe Saniora could move against Hezbollah without throwing the country into further turmoil. The army he would have to send into the south has many Shiite members, who might balk at fighting their brethren in the guerrilla force. The country's large Shiite population would be outraged.
People like to talk, especially, I've found, in Europe and the Middle East, about how they hate the US government but like the American people. They say you can't hold a people responsible for what its government does. That's always struck me as odd, since we live in a democracy where the people are the government, and in the case of Bush, 50% or more of the American people, up until recently, supported the man's folly.

When the people support the government, as in this case the Shia in Lebanon likely don't want the government clamping down on Hezbollah and its missile attacks on Israel, at what point are the people responsible for the actions of their own government, and at what point should they be held responsible for those actions?

Meaning, if Hezbollah missiles are killing Israelis, and Hezbollah's actions are supported by Lebanon's Shia population, doesn't Israel have the right to retaliate against the Shia in Lebanon? At the very least against their utilities and their roads? Putting aside the wisdom geo-politically of such action, morally isn't it any country's right to strike back?

Or, if you think that the Shia in Lebanon don't share responsibility, then do you also believe that Americans who supported Bush, and who voted for him twice, and who supported the war in Iraq don't share any of the blame for the mayhem Bush has unleashed over the past six years?

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