Early reports are not very encouraging:
I saw television footage of the destruction of downtown Nabatiyah, with dress shops and delis in ruins. There were no rocket emplacements there. No one can understand why the Israelis just destroyed the downtown.
Likewise, Aljazeera did a street interview from south Beirut, which looked like the surface of the moon. Apartment buildings were collapsed for what looked like blocks, concrete hanging down like confetti. One woman said that she was brought up there but now lived in a town to the south, where her home had been destroyed. She said that the dust, the water, everything in Dahiya was precious to her as part of the Lebanese homeland, and that the Shiites of that region had not earlier all supported Hizbullah, but now they did. She said that they were going to insist on living there and supporting Nasrallah, would show forth steadfastness in the face of Israeli bombs. Others in the crowd were shouting angry slogans.
One must consider the source--in this case, Al-Jazeerah. On the other hand, it's difficult to make friends when you destroy most everything they had.
But the Israelis are not happy, either--and complain that the "bomb-only" concept was flawed:
...It was the government’s responsibility to critique and question the IDF’s operational model of aerial warfare and to cut its losses when after two or three days it was clear that the model was wrong. At that point the government should have called up the reserves and launched a combined ground and air offensive.
But the government didn’t feel like it. It wanted to win the war on the cheap. And when the air campaign did not succeed, it abandoned its war goals, declared victory and sued for a cease-fire. When the public objected, after waiting two precious weeks, the government called up the reserves but then waited another unforgivable 10 days before committing them to battle.
So the Olmert Government managed to both: 1) alienate sympathetic Christians (and others) in South Lebanon by pretty much demolishing their entire lives through a sloppy air-campaign; and 2) anger Israelis who saw the campaign as ineffective.
Of course, air-only campaigns which merely destroy infrastucture and not the enemy are "Proportionate", right?
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And the worst of it, is that Hezbollah has now won recognition as a quasi-sovereign force to be negotiated with. They're merely (or not so merely) a proxy for Syro-Iranian ambitions in the region, and they've been successful in asserting themselves.
What ever happened to NOT negotiating with terrorists? Oh, I forgot, we don't want oil to cost $150/bbl.
Fight Arab terrorism, ride a bike!
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