Israel is reestablishing the security zone in southern Lebanon that it gave up in a spirit of frustration and a hope for peace in June, 2000. The hope dimmed three months later with the start of Intafada al-Aqsa, which is another chapter in the same story. We have not heard much lately from the former general and prime minister, Ehud Barak, who gloried in the exit from Lebanon. Reports are that the "four mothers" who led the campaign to leave Lebanon are now three, or maybe two, or one. One has left the country, and one may have changed her mind. One of the others, now a grandmother, has joined a movement calling itself "Waking up on time," and is demonstrating against this war.
Other reports are that voices in the American administration are critical of the Israeli army for not moving quickly enough against Hezbollah. The news from the fighting reminds me of the Japanese in the South Pacific, who would rather die than surrender, and the Viet Cong, who kept coming. Israel has restricted itself with a concern for civilian casualties and the niceties of what it defines as acceptable warfare. Notice that you have not seen pictures of enemy positions cleaned out with flame throwers, or villages being liberated with napalm. The IDF is moving slowly due to the limitations, and a concern for its own casualties. It may be inconvenient for George and Condoleezza, but not for those whose relatives, friends, and neighbors are doing the work.
The government of Malaysia has volunteered to send 1,000 troops to an international force. The offer came in the context of a meeting that involved the president of Iran, and yet another statement that the destruction of Israel would settle issues in the Middle East. If there is any wisdom in the United Nations, the Malaysians will go somewhere else, or stay home.
If Condoleezza achieves her aspiration of discovering a formulation for an early cease fire, we may really be in the shit. Hezbollah will declare victory, overlooking what its actions have caused to Lebanon, claiming to be the defensive shield of that country and the first Arabs to have stopped the IDF. None of that will be true, but who knows truth in this post-modern world?
Israel appreciates the support it has gotten from George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a few others, but the help can dribble away via a concern for disproportionate responses and a desire to preserve one of the Arab darlings, i.e., the somewhat anti-Syrian prime minister of Lebanon. Those mentoring him are less inclined to mention the pro-Syrian president of that country and the pro-Syrian chair of its parliament.
The great problem in the region is that Americans cannot read its map. They confused Iraq with Iran. The country attacked with all its power and good will was a monster, but impotent outside of itself. Its greatest sin in recent years was viciousness against its own citizens, especially Shiites. How many Americans would still define that as a problem?
Those looking for weapons of mass destruction chose the wrong country. They have been coming from Iran in the form of Islamic fanatics reinforced with oil revenue and Shiite death wishes. If the authorities in charge of those lovely people are allowed to continue with their nuclear program, it will be a good time to age quickly and die a natural death.
Meanwhile, a couple of thousand "improved" katushas and other missiles have been fired at our cities. They are "improved" by having their warheads filled with metal balls and other nastiness meant to spread civilian destruction beyond that done by the explosion and the shrapnel of the metal casing. It should not be difficult to accuse those fighters of violating the laws of war, and including in the charge the governments of Syria and Iran that supplied and trained them. Justice demands a wider war. Those in charge may decide that we have gone far enough. Still loose are all those Muslim fanatics. We can hope that they will see what we have done to Lebanon, and choose some other place to liberate.