Sunday, July 23, 2006

Israel's war on Lebanon has been accompanied by hyperbole and bravado but goals have been recalibrated

Israel's trenchant UN ambassador was quickly enamored of the idea that Hizballah was a cancer that needed to be excised, as though the people who support Hizballah are Martians rather than Lebanese who live in the areas being ravaged. His comments beg the question of what kind of doctor Israel thinks it is. Based on its malicious and excessive destruction of Lebanese infrastructure this doctor should probably be sued for malpractice both for the diagnosis and the treatment. The ambassador needs to be reminded of Florence Nightingale's advice, namely that whatever else hospitals do they should not spread disease.

In any case, Hizballah's endurance and toughness have forced Israel to redefine its goals. Israel's goal of creating a killing box in southern Lebanon and then defeating Hizballah in detail will clearly take much longer than the week or so that George Bush has generously granted his proxy. Now the goal is to push Hizballah back from the border. The problem is that this war for hegemony creates its own dynamics, which may actually strenghten Hizballah, and perhaps Iran's influence in Lebanon as I will explain in a publication later this week.

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