Powerline links to reports from the Israeli press that suggest Israel is not pressing its advantage over Hezbollah. The cited Jerusalem Post report says:

As a result of the cabinet decision, the IDF said the operation in Lebanon, now called “the war within the straits” would retain its current format, according to which brigade and battalion-level forces – not division-level as Halutz had requested – carry out pinpoint incursions on specific targets. The IDF stressed that if Bint Jbail – where eight Golani soldiers were killed on Wednesday – did fall into Israeli hands, the victory could have a ripple effect on other Hizbullah strongholds and cause them to surrender.

Israel may never again get the chance to strike a decisive blow against Hezbollah. Could they do it under a Democrat Administration? I kinda doubt it. A party trying to shove Joe Lieberman overboard isn’t going to be a robust supporter of Israel doing anything except conceding territory.

The Israeli government should give their generals free reign to annihilate Hezbollah. They should hold the Lebanese government accountable since Hezbollah is part of that government. Civilian casualties? That’s what Hezbollah has been inflicting on Israel with its rocket attacks. Luckily, Israelis were prepared with bomb shelters and evacuation plans, so casualties have been low.

The Lebanese civilians have been less fortunate since Hezbollah wants as many civilian casualties as possible. Dead Jews are good, but dead Muslims killed by Jews are much better; they have tremendous propaganda value. Israel needs to reinforce the fact that Hezbollah shelters behind civilians; that civilians have had clear warning to clear out of Hezbollah controlled areas; and that all civilian casualties on both sides are solely the responsibility of Hezbollah.

Belmont Club speculated on Israel’s intentions. He wrote:

It’s the conventional wisdom and maybe Nasrallah hopes it’s true. But already doubt is apparently creeping into his soul. Sixty or more Lebanese have reportedly been arrested as Israeli spies in Beirut. The Hezbollah see them everywhere. Although subsequently denied, there were reports that Nasrallah had sought refuge in the Iranian embassy. In the meantime Ahmadinehjad and Assad are ceaselessly calling for ceasefires. Everywhere the word “ceasefire” is heard. But never from Israel. Maybe somewhere in his mind Nasrallah’s realized that the IDF isn’t after some buffer zone: they are after him and his cadre. His cadre they already have: they are fighting to keep real estate they are doomed to lose. Nasrallah himself they may have by and by. But there may be worse to come. Whether accidental or not, the IDF attack on Kiyam raises the specter that it will operate eastward against the Bekaa valley and perhaps eventually against the Beirut-Damascus highway. That would cut off supplies from Syria to his men in the south and to his command element in Damascus. Then where would Nasrallah’s influence over Lebanese politics be? And how should he fare against his former adversaries in the recently concluded Civil War? With the onus of all the ruination he has visited upon Lebanon upon him and his forces in stuck in a southern front against the IDF he may find it hard to cut the swath he once did in government circles.

Perhaps the Israeli cabinet needs to start reading Belmont Club. Because, if Hezbollah is able to re-establish itself, Iran will arm it with much more lethal weapons than the pip-squeak Katyusha. Instead of missile warheads loaded with ball bearings, Israel might face missiles delivering chemical weapons, dirty nuclear waste and biological weapons. Israel, get the job done. Bush and Rice, give Israel all it needs to get the job done. A few hundred daisy cutters might come in handy.

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