Saturday, August 12, 2006

Israel Gone Soft?

The blogospere is abuzz with pontifications on the cease fire proposal approved last night by the UN Security councel. Most on the right are disapproving ranging from mild Powerline to hyperventilating (Malkin). Captain Ed is actually moderately approving.

Personally I believe it was the only course we (US) could have taken given the situation. President Bush kept the monkeys off Israels back for over a month. It was clear from the very beginning that the time to carry on this operation was not open ended. I am pretty sure that Bush received assurances from Ohlmert that they would have things wrapped up in short order and he only required the US to give him ample time to crush Hezbollah (couple weeks).

Two things proved that assurance to be erroneous. First Hezbollah was armed and entrenched far more than Israeli intelligence had led the politicians to believe and secondly underwhelming force was applied. Both could have been rectified early on by altering strategy and attacking with everything they had. This of course failed to materialize.

Whether it was fear of casualties, fear of bad press, whatever, Israel unlike all conflicts prior to this executed this whole affair in a timid and squeamish manner. It has proved to be the only conflict they have ever engaged in that wasn't an outright victory.

Personally I believe Ohlmert was looking for a face saving way out and asked Bush to "save them from themselves" Twenty years ago this would have never happened. Israel would have said "damn world opinion", "damn the casualties", "we are fighting for our very existence!" So what has changed? I believe like many countries including our own they have gotten comfortable and when a country gets comfortable they find a million ways to rationalize away their legitimate fears.

This UN agreement is not all bad but it's not all that good either. Likely Hezbollah won't honor it anyway so it's probably academic. No UN resolution has any chance of success with a functioning Hezbollah. They needed to be hit with massive force and defanged completely, something Israel was unwilling to do.

They say you only acrue returns on what you have invested. In this case that's exactly what Israel will get.

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