Sunday, July 23, 2006

I read the news today oh boy 

Three comments worth reading -- and the emphasis in these quotes is mine.
[Quoting from Dowd]
Having inadvertently built up Iran with his failures in Iraq, W. is eager now to send Iran a shock-and-awe message through Israel.
I honestly think that last is part of what's motivating the warmongers. As with their last epic failure, Vietnam, they believe their hands have been tied by a bunch of liberal generals and a pansy-ass populace who refuse to let them fight the way they need to fight. They see the Israelis as their personal Rottweilers and they want to let them off the chain. The Israelis should ask themselves if they really want to do George W. Bush's dirty work for him. I continue to suspect they did not expect that the US would give them the green light on this (it is insane, after all) and now they have no face saving way out. America did not do its job and now things are deteriorating beyond anyone's control.
Steve Gilliard:
The problem is that Israel cannot stay in South Lebanon. They can bomb, but they cannot stay. And as long as Hezbollah stays in the field, they win.
Israel is frustrated, 50 years of war does that. They want peace and the calculation is that if they crush Hezbollah with shock and awe, they can win.
Some people are wondering when Hezbollah strikes at the US. My bet is that CNN and the BBC are doing a far better job of undermining Israel than a bomb would. Lebanon was at peace, this is like bombing and invading Cancun in mid-winter.
One of the things which is immediately apparent is that Israel is losing the media war. . . . Despite it's capacity for violence, Hezbollah is being treated with a level of respect no Arab state fighting Israel has ever gotten. You are hearing normal people testify to the good works of the Hezbollah quasi-state . . .
The Western public is getting a new view of Israel and the Arabs, and if the Israelis had a clue beyond bombing TV towers, they wouldn't drop another bomb in Beirut and stop shooting up convoys and gas stations. Because you have American reporters running from Israel bombs and American citizens trapped there and Hezbollah is getting a hearing. And that has already forced Bush's hand in sending Condi.
Israel and Bush bet they could destroy Hezbollah with shock and awe. That isn't happening. So what do they do next?
Juan Cole:
Because of their fetish for states, the Neoconservatives of the Bush administration are unable to see that the Levant and points east are now the province of militia-parties that dominate localities and wield asymmetrical paramilitary force in such a way as to stymie states . . . Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas and other groups in Gaza and the West Bank, al-Qaeda/ radical Bedouins in the Sinai, the Muslim Brotherhood in some Sunni areas of Syria, the tribes and gangs of Maan in Jordan, the Peshmerga of the Kurds, the guerrilla groups of the Sunni Arabs in Iraq, the Mahdi Army, Badr Corps and Marsh Arabs of the Iraqi Shiites, the Basij and Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iran, the party-tribes of Afghanistan--whether the Tajik Jami'at-i Islami or the Pushtun Taliban--and the biradaris and ethnic mafias of Pakistan, are all arguably as significant actors as states, and often more significant. . . . The transition under American auspices of Iraq from a strong if odious central state to equally odious militia rule and chaotic violence is only the most obvious example of this process. More people have been killed in terror attacks in Iraq every month since February than were killed on September 11, 2001 in the US . . . Condi Rice echoes the old Neocon theory of "creative chaos" when she confuses the Lebanon war with "the birth pangs" of a "new" Middle East. The chief outcome of the "war on terror" has been the proliferation of asymmetrical challengers. Israel's assault on the very fabric of the Lebanese state seems likely to weaken or collapse it and further that proliferation. Since asymmetrical challengers often turn to terrorism as a tactic, the "war on terror" has been . . . the most efficient engine for the production of terrorism in history.

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