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July 19, 2006

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Actually, here are two sane takes:

"When we look at the big picture, what you have is a completely different kind of war," said Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, a member of Israel's general staff. Nehushtan said Israel's success in the contest between one of the world's most sophisticated armies and a stateless militia, which often uses the cover of civilian areas, would send a message to other groups at war with the Jewish state.

But he acknowledged that Israel faces many difficulties, including how to track primitive rockets, the high cost of using precision bombs against Hezbollah missiles that sometimes cost only hundreds of dollars, and limiting civilian casualties in a war being fought in residential neighborhoods. "This is asymmetric war in its purest form. And the outcome of the conflict will project a lot about terror activity not only throughout the Middle East but the rest of the world."

[snip]

Oren, who was with one of the first Israeli army units to enter Beirut in the 1982 Lebanon invasion, said Hezbollah's longer-range arsenal signals that "the whole notion of territorial depth is losing meaning. Clearly the issue here is a political and diplomatic solution. There is no military solution."

"In order to get rid of rockets, you have to occupy the territory," said Zeev Schiff, the longtime military affairs correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz who co-wrote the definitive account of the Lebanon war. "If you took south Lebanon, you might solve the short-range rockets. Then, people will tell you, Hezbollah will just find longer-range missiles. So do you occupy northern Lebanon? So it goes."

Wasn't Sharon's push on to Beirut predicated on the need to chase the PLO and Arafat as far as he could? Even the Israelis in 1982 couldn't hold onto Beirut against the PLO, which was a far less effective fighting force than Hizbollah is likely to prove.

Does anyone know why Israeli politicians and strategists come to the conclusion that only a political and diplomatic solution will stop the violence only after they've left office? It's like "Groundhog Day" with the entire Israeli high command. They keep learning and relearning and rerelearning that simple truth repeatedly but never seem to bother to put it into practice.

Praha

Well, in that tardy realization they're still world ahead of our (the US') leaders.

one week huh ???

and what happens if Hezbolla doesn't cooperate with that schedule ???

ever study the Battle of Kursk ???

after two days, Hitler decided to call off his offensive

unfortunatly for the German army, the Russians didn't cooperate with that plan

the Germans were back in germany before they stopped running after Kursk

when you launch an offensive, you better be prepared to go all the way, or you could end up as a bug spot on a windshield

so what happens if Hezbolla is still lobbing missiles into hafia in a month ???

Good post.

why do people not being attacked believe that diplomacy works when war is in progress?
blame anyone you like for the problem, but cut to the small details first, and deal with prognosis later.
for me, it is hard to tell if comments are reflective of the hatred for Jews in general. We clearly have a vast disagreement in a usually progressive community

some of us think that protecting one's independence is worth fighting for. some don't.
some of us think that a life of constant attacks might be something you would finally want to end.

there are those of us that wonder how Israel has been so restrained for so long in dealing with 5 borders and 5 enemies. Now they have only 4 enemies, for Jordan has not been heard from in this matter at all, have they? They stopped trying to kill Israel some time ago as a nation, remember?

what would you do if countries around you poured in money for weapons to kill you? Would you want to make it stop?
why the hell do any of us think we have the right to tell someone not to protect themselves and their nation?

it just seems bizarre that there is such a dichotomy about real freedom and how it is attained.

>some of us think that protecting one's independence is worth fighting for. some don't.<

Some of us understand what a straw man is. And the "some of us" who don't lose their credibility.

oldtree

I'll set aside the irony that Israel itself armed Iran in the 1980s, using the logic that it was really smart to have strong non-Arab states at the periphery of the region.

But you're missing my fundamental point for your accusatory blinders. The point is Israel is fighting the wrong war; it's using 3G tactics in a 4G war. Israel is doing a lot of things that experts like Lind say will only harm their case long term. Now, granted, I'm not an Israeli general. But there are Israeli generals out there asking why this will be different than the last invasion of Lebanon, when Hezbollah has only gotten stronger and world opinion has only hardened against Israel's own killing of civilians.

No matter which side one favors (or the side of peace, as is my case), Israel's actions will probably only serve to benefit Hezbollah.

oldtree, emptywheel is as aware of the rights of Israel as anyone I read in the blogs. The Palistinians, however, have rights as well.

Agreed, freepatriot.

Another good reason for letting this fight go on for another week is to continue softening up whatever opposition there is to stomping Iran. The megamedia theme for this week (as it has been for the past week) is Hezbollah = Damascus = Tehran. Make sure that everybody is thinking in the back of their minds that the mullahs will soon be giving the "terraists" nukes to take out Haifa.

So we've got Billy Kristol (with Michael Ledeen ever in the wings) talking about using this "opportunity" to blast those Iranian nuclear facilities. We've got Newt Gingrich (and lesser lights) giving loud public voice to the World War III meme that's been the PNACkers underlying perspective since Samuel Huntington wrote his piece.

The pundithuggery is giving us a lot of "strike while the iron is hot" rhetoric. Perhaps the only thing in the way is that August is nearly upon us, and Mister Bush must be champing at the bit to get back to Crawford. Scary to think that faux brush-cutting might be the only thing which saves us from some dreadful repeat of August 1914.

BTW From the A.P. "Turkey signals it's prepared to enter Iraq"
"ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish officials signaled Tuesday they are prepared to send the army into northern
Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there — a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the United States...."

Ignatius is too late. It's the Green Lantern War. I think they forgot that Hezbollah knows about the yellow thing.

The problem with the Green Lantern metaphor is that I'm a notorious failure with pop culture. With Prospero and a PhD in Literature, I at least stand a fighting chance.

hello wheel, I am sorry, but I believe that talking about something when you aren't a part of it makes it moot. We can pontificate till the cows become jerky, but when one is being shot at, you make decisions based on now. That is my only point here. Israel is being confronted by numerous peoples that have tried to eliminate them for decades and they are standing up and saying no more. I would only ask people to put theirselves in that shoe and find out what it is like to get blown out of it. You have to experience it to understand how you would react.
The tragedy in Lebanon is mounting, I don't want to see anyone hurt that is not a part of the problem. But there are a goodly percentage of people, even in Lebanon, that want to see Israel destroyed. What matters to Israel is that they end the attacks, and end the war.

Ignoring what Israel has done upon the end of the wars their neighbors have started is terribly short sighted for those of us that comment. Instead of utterly destroying an enemy, they stop and return to their land. Just how many other countries would do this? It is the antithesis of imperialism.

just try to understand that everyone wants you dead, and they are trying to make it so. It is not a movie plot, it is day to day life in Israel. This has nothing to do with the greater plan for the mideast to Israel. They did not start this, why do people blame them for trying to destroy their enemies? Is it okay when the governments of all of their enemies support, fund and harbor the foreign nationals that have come to do this job? Are they somehow exempt from being a direct part of the terrorism? I admit, the Lebanese government is as impotent as their contributors can make them, but when their PM comes out and says the things he does, he is certainly not a part of a long term solution.

I only ask that we stop the double standard for Israel. Yes, we support them. But they support themselves. The nations that support their enemies only provide weapons. Does this not mean anything to us as observers? It is okay that the downtrodden are also more interested in being martyrs for their religion (and the paycheck it brings) This is insanity, and can not be justified.

thanks for your reply

A week? Given how slow pace of the evactation of American nationals is, it seems inevitable that one or more would be killed by the indiscriminate Israeli bombing of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon. How does the US explain that? A
Heckuva job Condi?

There's a reason the MI delegation (Dingell, Conyers, Stabenow, and Levin have all made statements) has been one of the few speaking out about the attacks on civilians in Lebanon--Conyers has said there are almost 7000 Michiganders are in southern Lebanon right now.

I've been known to beat up on Garance, but she's got a good piece on why the evacuation is so slow.

WHY IT'S TAKING SO LONG. A reliable source tells me that the reason the United States has been so slow in evacuating its citizens from Lebanon is that the public diplomacy (i.e., P.R.) issues raised by evacuating under Israeli assault are so complicated. Individuals within the State Department, I am told, have been reluctant to create an impression that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is as bad as it is or that civilian U.S. citizens are being threatened by U.S. ally Israel.

It seems to me the WA administration has a variety of views of the middle east problem. Bush began term 1 in 2001 with the laissez-faire rhetoric. The recent exit of Syria from Lebanon I saw as a catharsis for Lebanon after a few decades of occupation. The former Soviet Union was a principal arms supplier for Syria. I think Syria can opt for a fair amount of tranquility if, as happens to protagonists in many conflicts, it joins regional thinkers and planners and decides to withdraw support for international underground insurgencies. Lebanon always had the panache to balance its three strong interests, perhaps even more accomplished at doing so than Turkey's governments managed to do with their populace.
In a civilian's view, I could see a parallel between the 1967 Israel war and a kind of sweep up action in 2006; not that the dissensions in the region really were finally resolved, just that human nature yearns to live in civil society. I know the rhetoric is hot in that zone, and fairly has been so for 58 years, approximately, lest we read farther back into the history of the region. In work I did in archaeology I was surprised at the separate levels of expertise practitioners of that science developed in studying the geography which is now modern-day Israel; so many conquests had ensued over the millenia that archeologists of some fortifications had become specialized in quite separate time spans, even though the actual site in which they did their digs and from which retrieved artifacts for research, was the same physical locus, just at a different layer among the many.
Problems in the region are, indeed, old.
In a way I see the short-term plan for Iraq requiring more stability in Lebanon, so the US needs to abet that process; and, as the sympathetic commenter above observed, Israel itself longs for peace; though it remains in the early stages, still electing former generals as leaders in the civilian government.
The US and other arms sellers have filled the region with weapons. I would like the UN and other negotiating bodies to develop controls on that. Maybe Bush would like another summit, one about arms. He has rebirthed Star Wars; but maybe there is enough of a constituency within US government to begin an international dialog to withdraw the tools of war from a region which has a precarious balance of theologically driven governments, militarist democracies, petro-Euro-based oligarchies. I know Bush seems to appreciate the advantage of cancelling contracts and having his delegates walk out of treaty negotiations. At the end of the Levantine day, though, I think Bush and his energy sectorites will decide peace will be better even for their pecuniary aims, than conflagration. Bush and the other international energy barons need to wean from the instability paradigm of profiteering from oil futures though; civil unrest in the middle east has trebled oil company profits recently; so nudging the oilgarchs into the dock of peace will take some adroit diplomacy. I am not sure the US political party Democrats have such a leader among them at the present time. Blair, to me, has always seemed like a quick-witted voice of pragmatic sanity in his country's politics and a well intentioned leader on the world scale. I am not at all sure Condoleezza Rice has the will or her department the expertise to elevate the Lebanon crisis to a level that will engage sufficient forward thinking people globally to resolve some endemic problems. But I think if enough nations consider it, they will help her, as well as her Successor at US Dept of State, to accomplish this. Perhaps the 7-days war in Lebanon is part of the Roadmap for the region. I need to check in to see what Bolton has to say; I wonder if he might discuss the arms race, in the context of current events in Lebanon. These folks all wail about it; they even supply an acronym. WMD.

For evacuating US citizens from the conflict zone, how about something like Sy Hersh describes several governments arranging at Konduz in 2003.

>Ignoring what Israel has done upon the end of the wars their neighbors have started is terribly short sighted for those of us that comment. Instead of utterly destroying an enemy, they stop and return to their land. Just how many other countries would do this? It is the antithesis of imperialism.<

Exactly. And if Israel had done this after the 1973 war, we might not be where we are today. Instead, they colonized the siezed land and that's where we are today.

All parties in this dispute are hamstrung by religious fundamentalism, not just the Arab side. And there's no real answer for that which only God can answer. As Lincoln said after both sides in his war had bled themselves white, "The Almighty has His own purposes."

"Does anyone know why Israeli politicians and strategists come to the conclusion that only a political and diplomatic solution will stop the violence only after they've left office?"

It seems as if holding onto the job of Israeli PM requires establishing a willingness -- what some might call a predisposition -- to use overwhelming force against anyone perceived as a threat. This isn't unique to Israel, but their situation tends to intensify the phenomenon.

A sitting politician -- especially one new to his position -- is often too preoccupied with how his actions will be seen by voters to give the necessary weight to the long-term consequences of his decisions. We see this all the time, and it's not entirely a selfish premise -- after all, what good would it do a leader to initiate a diplomatic process if it caused him to get kicked out in the next election in favor of a hard-liner? A politician can rationalize a lot on the grounds that he's just doing what the voters hired him to do.

emptyhwheel -- mostly this post seems about right, but I think even you have been swallowing the koolaid when you write: Israel's targets are apparently aimed more directly at the supporters of Hezbollah than Hezbollah itself. And by supporters, Israel is including anything--Shiite Lebanese civilians, airports, even Lebanese Christian who might in some be seen as tolerating Hezbollah's actions.

As an article from the Lebanon Daily Star entitled "Latest targets of air blitz: milk and medicine" makes clear, at this point Israeli is simply pounding the entire civilian industrial infrastructure of that country out of existance. Dairies, paper mills, plastics factories? What did they do except enable Lebanese to live at an almost-European standard of living? It seems really unlikely that the Lebanese Association of Industrialists (LAI) quoted in this are Hezbollah supporters.

EW - new post up at Nat'l Journal by Murray Waas.

How does the US explain that? A
Heckuva job Condi?

Heckuva salient Bootsy.

Btw, just skimmed The Tempest, and the Prospero analogy will do nicely, from the very start, and everyone has access to it.

PROSPERO [to Ariel]: … Thou best know'st What torment I did find thee in; thy groans Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts Of ever angry bears: it was a torment To lay upon the damn'd, which Sycorax Could not again undo: it was mine art, When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape The pine and let thee out.

ARIEL: I thank thee, master.

PROSPERO: If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak
And peg thee in his knotty entrails till
Thou hast howl'd away twelve winters.

ARIEL: Pardon, master;
I will be correspondent to command
And do my spiriting gently.

PROSPERO: Do so, and after two days
I will discharge thee.

ARIEL: That's my noble master!
What shall I do? say what; what shall I do?

Think Ariel really felt servile toward Prospero?

Dear Preznit Bush:
We're so tired of meaningless words, empty promises, cheap-shot politics,
endless dissembling, and (wait for it) a tacky president. Tacky is as tacky does.
We might describe a ho, a pickpocket, or a snake oil salesman, as tacky.
Hey, this is not an attack on your style. We're just saying. We're even
tired of those who spend so much time making fun of you. Why?
Because we just don't think that killing people, or stealing from them, or
making their lives miserable, is funny. Life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness sure mean different things in different parts of the world
these days. For different types of folks. Yep, we get it, we really weren't
all created equal after all. Fair? Not even the weather is fair any more.
But we're realists. We're sure history will make the right calls on this mess,
a few decades down the road. Too bad there won't be any of those made right now.
Hey, tacky is as tacky does.

"we've got Billy Kristol (with Michael Ledeen ever in the wings) talking about using this "opportunity" to blast those Iranian nuclear facilities".

hey blades, you may heard from good ol Billy on Fox that we would be greeted with roses and cotton candy as we marched through Teheran as liberators. ThinkProgress has the video.

And I am sure you are also aware that our good friend Al-Maliki will be visiting us soon just as Allawi did in another election year.

Yes, August is coming soon and clearing brush in Crawford is important, but, Unkka Karl's needs will come first until the first Wed in Nov.

one further answer and thanks for allowing a great place to discuss

about Israel having not given back the Golan, West Bank and Gaza, true. After having given them back in several earlier conflicts, these spots were used to attack Israel on several occasions when elements of population from Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestinians (that are known from past wars) went out of their way to join up and destroy Israel. (please refer to war, 1948, 1956, 1967, 73, 82, 87 et al, ad nauseum)

That someone is not aware of this, and does not realize that this is one of the most overwhelming act in the history of the world, that they gave them back after winning them in conflict with this neighbor or that, and then gave them back again after yet another war, and then decided enough was enough.

Israel might feel like they have the right to respond how they wish after everyone in the world has tried, and failed, to kill them. These are the people that started a country out of the desert because that is where they ended up, their homeland so to speak. No one wanted the land, but they sure as hell didn't want any Jews to live there either, did they? The whole world tried to kill these people, the people of Israel came from the huddled masses, the concentration camps, the forced labor camps. Post WWII, they came from countries that found they might be able to deport the remainder of the Jews in their country. These people have at least one family member murdered by the "civilized world", and every one of them knows someone that has died from an attack by one of their neighbors.
there is no way for us to understand their world. we got told we were attacked by what our government tells us were 20 guys from various countries (saudi arabia), and then we go and attack Afghanistan. that's it, and we have been at war for 4 years in Iraq. We still don't know who blew up #7. This conflict in Lebanon and Israel has been going on for one week.
Israel, the US and France are three notable countries that had to go to war for their freedom. what I guess I would try to put forth is that Israel's war of independence has never ended. We are partly responsible for that. All the big countries do their best to force Israel to "stand down" back off", where they would not do so if were them. the magic word is oil.

Oldtree. Israel is toast in 50 or maybe 25 years no matter what they do. It's tough, and unfair, but it's the way things are going to play out. There is no longer any security in an age of long run missiles (read Pakistan, after its next coup). If I were there with my family, I'd get the hell out.

As Tony Snow pointed out to WH reporter Helen Thomas when she asked if the administration had vetoed a UN cease-fire resolution (which was accurate) that her questions were about espousing Hezbollah's views.

There can be no rational debate in the US about the Middle East and the role and actions of the US and Israel. Any view point with any criticism of Israeli policy means that person is anti-semitic and for the jihadists.

An important point is that this immediate conflict cannot be looked at in isolation. There is a lot of history that precedes it and all sides have their own rationales for their actions. Where is the starting point for discussion? The attack by Hezbollah on Israeli soldiers or the kidnapping and imprisonment of Lebanese citizens by Israel or the firing of rockets by Hezbollah or the constant incursions and bombing of southern Lebanon by Israel.

What is very interesting is that in the US there is no debate. Both the Repubs and Dems are lock step with AIPAC and anyone that even questions an aspect of the Israeli policy is attacked and labeled as a terrorist sympathiser. When Howard Dean suggested that the US have a more even handed policy in the Middle East during the 2004 campaign, he was lambasted as a terrorist supporter. The irony is that in Israel there is vigorous and open debate. Just read the strong dissents to Israeli policy and actions in Haaretz a major news publication in Israel. An impossibility in the US corporate media.

EW, I appreciate your common sense analysis and opinion on this rather controversial topic. I wish we would have more of a rational debate in the US about the Middle East without having to feel boxed into taking sides. Our goal ought to be to use our influence and power to bring historical adversaries together and help them see beyond vengeance and the egregious behaviors of the past. Their children and our children deserve a better future. For the past 6 decades the actors in the Middle East have played out the same strategies and tactics with the same results yet they can't get off the treadmill. And, the Cheneyites have only added fuel to the inferno with the disaster in Iraq. US policy seems to be without any coherence. At one time Saddam's our best friend and Rummy's out there selling him chemical weapons. We were quite happy with the Jihadists and their fundamentalist Islamic philosophies and armed them when they were fighting the Soviets. We also had no problem selling the Iranians arms (and so did the Israelis) when we needed cash to fund the Contra's. We need to get out of the covert chess game since we are really out of our depth and instead play transparently based on our constitutional principles.

There's something to be said for Mandela and the ANC and deKlerk and the Afrikaner party charting a new path based on forgiveness for the horrendous past of apartheid.

For those of you keeping score at home, here's the latest:
Lebanon - 300 dead
Israel - 29 dead
Seems like Israel has the early lead; another week of killing and they should really dominate in the death score!

Also.....Israel is really kicking Lebanon's ass right now. Just sweeping right through their defenses. Sorta reminds me of that other great military success - the American invasion of Iraq. Kicked their asses lickety-split and were in Iraq's capital in NO time! Won that invasion hands down and in record time. Course, everything has gone to shit in the three years since..... Israel might want to hold off on that victory celebration.

Israel has the weapons, the atom bomb (hundreds of them), the aggressiveness, and the persecution complex to keep them energetic in a destructive sense for a long time to come. Israel makes friends with Iran in order to make money, and sell arms, it buys arms and airplanes from the US, and is fully positioned to "take care of itself" for some time to come.

What it is doing is outrageous. And at the risk of inflaming oldtree, it reminds me of a Nazi tactic in France during WWII, whenever a German was killed by a partisan, 50 or more innocent people were lined up and shot: punishing the many for the actions of a few.

Shame, shame, shame! Israel has last its moral authority with the carnage it is committing.

How come every time Isreal goes on the offensive it reminds folks of the Nazi's during WWII?

Margaret:

The most infamous of the German reprisals was Lidice

IMHO, it is time for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation of Olmert et al for war crimes, in particular the destruction of civilian infastructure such as the power plant in Gaza and the bridges in Lebanon. And I'm getting tired of listening to defenders of Israel's every crime, such as oldtree, shooting us the same old shit about how the most powerful state in the Middle East, and the only one with nuclear weapons, is somehow its most vulnerable victim.

I am beginning to think that the two-state solution is becoming non-viable. It may be time for be the one-state in all of Palestine approach to become the focus of efforts at a solution. If the Israeli Jews really fear becoming a minority in a single state, then what they need to do is to agree to a policy that will secure the ``demographic transition'' for the Arabs. That means a deal that makes them first class citizens and promoting social/legal arrangements that empower Arab women. Unfortunately, the evidence so far suggests that they are not prepared to take these steps.

Two hospitals, a Greek Orthodox church and a dairy farm, inter alia, are going to seem more than a bit over the top to the American public -- or they would if the MSM would report on what's actually happening.

janinsanfran and others

Sorry if my description seemed to underestimate the damage done to civilian targets. The Israeli logic is to try to split Lebanon, to send it into another Civil War. So they will treat Chrisians and milk factories as those who "support" Hezbollah. They're trying (again, outdated 3G tactics) to force Lebanon to "expel" Hezbollah, as if that were possible or even desirable.

One other stat on fatalities. Although Hezbollah has killed far fewer people, at least mid-day yesterday, Hezbollah had killed more soldierse, total, than Israel had killed total. That is, Hezbollah has been far more successful at striking exclusively military targets.

oldtree

These are the people that started a country out of the desert because that is where they ended up, their homeland so to speak. No one wanted the land, but they sure as hell didn't want any Jews to live there either, did they?

There is so much blind rationalization in this passage I'm breathless. I know that deserts provide a nice image of empty undesirable place, but as in the American West, this desert, the land "no one wanted" was in fact populated by a bunch of people who very much did want the land, people who considered it their own homeland. Once you ignore that fact, you rationalize a whole bunch of violence that follows.

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