I hate it when two smart people sort of agree and they both seem to think we may be moving more in the direction of expanded military conflict. Hadar opens with an extended quote from the Whiskey Bar. Billmon's essays are tight and to the point.
An explosives-laden drone, apparently launched by Hezbollah, hit an Israel Navy warship off the coast of Beirut, causing serious damage to its steering capability . . . Several hours after the vessel was hit, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said the damage was worse than originally thought. She added that the ship, still burning, was being towed back to Israel.
Ragtag guerrilla forces aren't supposed to be able to sink ships of the line -- just as they aren't supposed to be able to penetrate a fortified border, ambush an Israeli Army patrol and kill or capture the lot. Nor should they be able to launch ballistic missiles with a range of 40 miles or better. But the IDF now thinks they can...
Dr. Hadar concludes...
...To regain the upper-end a la 1973 crossing of Suez, Israel needs to deliver a major blow to Hamas by destorying all its bases and infrastructure in southern Lebanon and killing its top leaders. I agree with Billmo[n] that that could be very costly operations (Israel seems to have lost its advantage in intelligence gathering). U.S. backing for a long and bloody campaign in Lebanon could create splits with the Europeans and endanger the strategy towards Iran. But Bush brought all of this on himself. He helped Iran to enhance its position in the Middle East and if he doesn't counter-balance Iran in one way of another, U.S. status in the Middle East will be weakened in a very dramatic way.
I just hate it.
I hate that they may be right.
So does Daniel Nexon at The Duck of Minerva.[I heard a news reporter yesterday describe how camera crews had decided not to release footage of a nine-month old girl dismembered by an Israeli bomb: "too graphic."]
As our leaders move to sharpen their spears, let's not be careless to forget the price of war on non-combatants. Anyone can argue that "they are supporting the enemy," but in the midst of a war that is a very empty attempt to justify killing and wounding innocent adults as well as children.