August 6, 2006

Israel/Lebanon: What Won't Work

Reading the news and watching the pictures, however biased both are, I can clarify (as others have done) that some things pointed out as solutions, aren't.

  1. Bombing Isn't A Substitute For Infantry.

    Leaders of democracies don't like casualties. Along comes the Air Force and promises that its toys will "shock and awe" the enemy, or their precision is so extraordinary that putting mothers' sons in harms' way will be minimized. It doesn't work. If you want to win, you have to send in the grunts, and some of them will die.

    Air Force guys may tell you different, but they're wrong.

  2. Cease-Fires Don't Solve Disputes.

    As soon as the bullets and rockets started flying, the Usual Suspects began howling for a cease-fire. Then Unusual Suspects like Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad joined in. 57 years of cease-fires only set the stage for the next war. This one will be no different. The Day After, the same enemies remain, the dispute is unresolved, and all are calculating when the next battle will start.

  3. An International Force Is Worse Than Nothing.

    At the Cartel of Tyrants, sooner or later someone suggests an internaitonal force. Now they prattle of it once again, only this time the fool Olmert seems to be going along. If the IDF, which has the motivation of rockets raining on its families' homes, cannot disarm Hezbollah, can we expect a force led by Chiraquistanis to do so? If Egyptian forces, can't keep Hamas, far weaker than Hizubllah, from rearming on the Gaza frontier, why should we expect them to do any better in Lebanon, which is futher from home? Turkey could intimidate Syrian when the question was one of Kurdish rebels attacking Turkey from Syrian soil, but why should they keep Hizbullah from attacking Turkey from Lebanese soil.

    In 1967, the UN force in the Sinai melted away. The UN watched and did nothing to stop killing in Rwanda and Bosnia. US and French troops were driven from Lebanon by terrorist bombs. Those who learn nothing from the past are bound to repeat it.

  4. Land for Peace Without a Political Deal Will Fail.

    I have been one of those who held out hope for Oslo, and even for Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza. In l'esprit de l'escalier, I repent. The deal between Israel and Egypt, where the Sinai was returned in exchange for a peace, however cold, has worked, because the political will on both sides was there, and those signing for Egypt had the will and the ability to keep their promises (everyone knew the promise of a Palestinian settlement was a fig leaf). The threat to destroy the Aswan Dam, and with it Egypt as we know it, was also a powerful incentive for peace.

    On the other hand, Arafat lacked the will, and probably the ability, to create a stable state that would control violence originating from its territory. The Israelis were almost as disingenuous about their continued settlement activity. By the time Israel renounced occupation (in Lebanon) and settlement (in Gaza) and meant it, there was no one on the other side to control the rocket men.

    There still isn't. See the previous proposition.

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