Larry King got Condi last night. She's ready to move in “phases.”
Big of her, really, especially since the United States has no leverage whatsoever.
According to CNN, the resolution that the U.S. is working to get with France
will call for a cessation of the fighting, with the rest of the details to be
worked out later. Later, right; about the time Bush decides to speak to Prime Minister Olmert. That's right, Bush hasn't even spoken to the Israeli leader since the escalation began.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops are massing for something big. A push to the Litani
River, then hold the space until… we talked about this already. Again, why
in the hell didn't Israel go in with ground troops in the first place? Now Hezbollah
is in the driver's seat, especially now that everyone is pushing for a cease
Nasrallah showed up to salve the wounds on his fighters yesterday, threaten
Tel Aviv, while hoping to convince Israel to go man to man on the field of battle.
You see, Nasrallah isn't afraid of losing his fighters, because he'll always
have more. Israel's in a tougher spot, for many reasons, one of which is tactical.
They blew it from the start.
Like the US Armed Forces, the IDF has not done as well against Arab guerrillas.
America's messy, prolonged struggle in Iraq is a lot like Israel's last messy,
prolonged struggle against Arab guerrillas in Lebanon that lasted 18 years
and only ended in 2000.
Now, the IDF is back in Lebanon, fighting Arab guerrillas again. Its initial
strategy this time was the use of minimal ground combat and maximum air and
artillery bombardment. This strategy appears to have accomplished little.
A dug-in, hardened, fanatic, and well-equipped army fighting on its own ground
cannot be “rooted out” with firepower alone. …
According to Patrick
Lang, just the latest in a slew of accumulating IDF slams, the reluctance
of the Israelis to lose soldiers is party of what's gotten them in this situation. The
sloppy airstrikes were also ill conceived, which turned the world against them, but Olmert just didn't want to put his people on the ground.
Israel is a small country, with a population of about 6 million, mainly made
up of descendants of immigrants from across the world. Israel does not believe
that it can afford to lose its children fighting Muslim zealots in the stony
hills of south Lebanon, and therefore has tried to find a way to fight that
does not involve pitched, or ground-war, battles.
This gives the Lebanese Hizbullah guerrillas a marked advantage. They are
indifferent to losses and are evidently quite willing to slug it out with
IDF infantry and armor.
I'm just catching up on Lang's entries from earlier in the week and I have
to tell you that this
piece of analysis is the most disheartening yet… for us all.
Though nothing can top the infuriating gall of Condi the Incompetent blaming
the current Middle East mess on previous administrations. I thought Queen Noor was going
to jump out of her seat and either scream or applaud when former Senator George Mitchell slammed
Condi's assessment. Next time a president wants to hire an academician for a
national security position someone needs to stop him/her.
But Israel has new problems today, because Olmert may be in trouble, too. One
neocon just called him a wimp.
… … The United States has gone far out on a limb to allow Israel to win
and for all this to happen. It has counted on Israel's ability to do the job.
It has been disappointed. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has provided unsteady
and uncertain leadership. Foolishly relying on air power alone, he denied
his generals the ground offensive they wanted, only to reverse himself later.
He has allowed his war cabinet meetings to become fully public through the
kind of leaks no serious wartime leadership would ever countenance. Divisive
cabinet debates are broadcast to the world, as was Olmert's own complaint
that “I'm tired. I didn't sleep at all last night” (Haaretz, July
28). Hardly the stuff to instill Churchillian confidence. …
Lost Moment, by Charles Krauthammer
Bibi must be hyperventilating about now; dreaming of pitched battles of glory
in his future. Israel's lefties better speak up. The neocons are getting restless.