Juan Cole asked it and I'm curious about the answer:
"The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah's rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?
It doesn't make any sense."
So forget all the rhetoric about Israel fighting for their existence (they aren't), forget whether the two Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon on operations or kidnapped from Israel (it makes little difference really), forget about the idiocy of calling anyone who criticizes the current Israeli government position on the war "anti-Semitic" or "anti-Israel". Answer Prof. Cole's question: Why would you do this?
(Juan Cole entertains a Syriana-like scenario that even I have not fully bought into, though it is possible.)
More importantly, from a strategic, military point of view, Isreal's actions make no sense. As Martin Van Creveld, a military historian at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, speaking initially of the Iraq situation, says:
"In private life, an adult who keeps beating down on a five year old, even such a one as originally attacked him with a knife, will be perceived as committing a crime; therefore he will lose the support of bystanders and end up by being arrested, tried and convicted. In international life, an armed force that keeps beating down on a weaker opponent will be seen as committing a series of crimes; therefore it will end up by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops. Depending on the quality of the forces, whether they are draftees or professionals, the effectiveness of the propaganda machine, the nature of the political process, and so on, things may happen quickly or take a long time to mature. However, the outcome is always the same. He (or she) who does not understand this does not understand anything about war; or, indeed, human nature.This exactly describes the current conflict in Lebanon and Gaza. One has to ask then why, why in the face of the lessons of history, any country, let alone one with the military know-how of Israel, would make such a colossal mistake in judgement?
In other words, he who fights against the weak, and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed, and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat;"(h/t to The Galloping Beaver)
None of this is anti-Israel. Indeed, in wanting to ensureIsrael doesn't make terrible mistakes which strengthen its enemies, I am being more pro-Israel than all the nattering, yes-men on the right who will happily allow Israel to walk into its own destruction. A true supporter is one who is not afraid to tell you when you are wrong.
Dave tries to give some answers to tIsraelIsreal miscaclulated and relied on faulty intelligence. They have tried to make up for bad intelligence with a less than accurate air campaign and a ground campaign that was not trained or ready for the job. Now where have we heard that before?