Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In For A Dime, In For A Dollar

Everything is falling into place perfectly:

In blunt language, President Bush yesterday endorsed Israel's campaign to cripple or eliminate Hezbollah, charged that Syria is trying to reassert control of Lebanon, and called for the isolation of Iran. (...)

(T)he administration is scrambling to develop a strategy to deal with the crisis. Despite unity at the G-8, U.S. officials said that a lot of ideas have been offered without details or feasibility assessments.

"What we have to do before we launch anyone at a target is understand the mission," a senior U.S. official said.

The Bush administration has failed to understand any of its political-military missions since at least late 2002, why bother to start now?

The idea that Israel will be able to militarily defeat Hezbollah--which is well-practiced in guerilla warfare--strikes professionals as something less than plausible:

Some U.S. and European military and intelligence officials said yesterday that they were puzzled by Israel's strategy and concerned that its goals are unrealistic or too ambitious.

Israel has "target packages" but no viable long-term strategy, a senior U.S. official said, speaking anonymously because he was criticizing an ally. There is limited reason to believe that either Hezbollah or Hamas can be compelled to give up their Israeli prisoners or end the attacks.

Others questioned the impact on the Lebanese government and the very military force Israel hopes will eventually take over the areas now under Hezbollah's control.

"Won't Israeli military actions have the effect of decreasing the already limited capacities of the Lebanese government?" asked retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, who teaches at Boston University. "Going after Hezbollah makes sense, but I just don't understand the rationale for the campaign as it is being conducted."

Israel calling for the Lebanese army to step up and displace Hezbollah in South Lebanon while simultaneously striking Lebanese military bases from the air is disingenuous in the extreme.

In Kfar Chima, a Lebanese army base took a direct hit as troops rushed to bomb shelters, killing at least 11 Lebanese soldiers and wounding 35, the military said. Black fires stained nearby cinder-block tenements, and charred, twisted fenders, engine blocks and debris were scattered along the highway overlooking the base.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that Israel wants the Lebanese army to deploy to the border, now under the effective control of Hezbollah, but on several occasions, Israeli aircraft have targeted Lebanese military installations.

Security professionals are convinced that the military track by Israel will need to be supplanted by a political track:

(Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, an academic research organization), who was with one of the first Israeli army units to enter Beirut in the 1982 Lebanon invasion, said Hezbollah's longer-range arsenal signals that "the whole notion of territorial depth is losing meaning. Clearly the issue here is a political and diplomatic solution. There is no military solution."

"In order to get rid of rockets, you have to occupy the territory," said Zeev Schiff, the longtime military affairs correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz who co-wrote the definitive account of the Lebanon war. "If you took south Lebanon, you might solve the short-range rockets. Then, people will tell you, Hezbollah will just find longer-range missiles. So do you occupy northern Lebanon? So it goes."

The U.S. plans to send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region, but there are some practical limitations (mostly self-inflicted):

"Since she cannot speak to Hezbollah, she cannot speak to Hamas, she cannot speak to the Syrians, she cannot speak to the Iranians, that leaves only Israel and, what, Lebanon?" Agence France-Presse reporter Sylvie Lanteaume asked Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack . "She cannot go to Lebanon if there is no cease-fire, and you don't call [for] a cease-fire. So what is she going to do there?"

"We're going to keep you up to date on her itinerary and the timing of her travel, Sylvie," McCormack said.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Since she cannot speak to Hezbollah, she cannot speak to Hamas, she cannot speak to the Syrians, she cannot speak to the Iranians,

Why can't she? I thought that's exactly her job. That's why she gets paid the big bucks. If she's afraid that speaking to these organizations confers upon them some kind of legitimacy -- and she doesn't want to do that -- well, my thinking is, does she care about de-escalating a conflict or sitting on her high horse?
Dena

7/19/2006 9:52 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dena:

Ms. Rice probably wants to be able to speak with the relevent players, but she is being prevented from using the full powers of her position by President Bush and his boss Dick Cheney.

7/19/2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, well I guess it's always a problem when you have a Dickhead for a boss...

D

7/19/2006 10:37 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

D:

Yeah, that's what qualifies them to be the bosses, after all.

7/19/2006 10:51 AM  
Blogger Wally Banners said...

heh nice blog dude but 2 things one. if your an american and stupid enuff to vacation in beruit lmao thats like a white neo nazi parading around a harlem project. you deserve a rocket up your ass for it. 2) this isnt about wining a war, jews very jackals its about killing as many arabs as possible. every time a muslim is killed an angel gets her wings. :)

7/19/2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger Wally Banners said...

oops jews vs jackals correction lol

7/19/2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Wally:

WTF?

7/19/2006 3:55 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Rice wants permanent change In Lebanon - not a return to what she calls the status quo. That reads like nothing other than a prodromal for whacking Iran as Hizzy is but an Iranian fist according to Fox News. If I were a religous man fond of the Jesus man then I'd say the apocalypse green for go... that this is the beginning of the end.

BTW, neat ain't it how the economy of Lebanon that was starting to boom and become a fledgling economic counterpoint to Israel is in all likelihood being smouldered to smithereens. Speaking of which, Wally - u just don't get it do you. You could have strolled through Beirut with a crew cut, Ray-Bans, and a USMC tattoo on your forehead and you'd run into nuthin' but smiles and courtesy. Get out once in a while, dude. Take a trip to Disney World and see the world at large. At worst it might all just bore you and keep you away from an episode or two of Alias and reruns of Extreme Bedwetter Makeover.

And ain't it neat-o how tens of thousands of Western Whities have been turned into refugees by Israel?

7/19/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

I have never really tried to figure out exactly where Rice stands on anything. I have always assumed that she was chosen specifically to be the weakest National Security Advisor we have ever had. She never made it difficult for Rummy and Cheney to throw their weight around. At the expense of State.

Now, with her at State, everyone is saying that the second term has brought the return of their institutional power. I rather doubt it.

Just when we kicked Syria out of Lebanon, and remade them into a democracy we could live with after Hariri's murder, the Israelis go and spoil it all. And we don't raise any fuss--quite the contrary. This whole scenario is playing out exactly like your prediction of a big Q2 anti-Iran military program. Only slightly late.

In the Iraq war, which the goopers claim we are not losing, Turkey is now making threatening gestures.

And that Wally toad is certifiable. 'Nuff said.

7/19/2006 7:06 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Now, with her at State, everyone is saying that the second term has brought the return of their institutional power. I rather doubt it.

Thanks for making that point. I've heard that too and can't reconcile it with reality on the ground as it ripples my way down here in the Antarcica. I continue to read here as a snazzy dressed and tokenized mouth piece for Cheney & Co - end of story. When I said Rice wants, I meant Rice states on behalf of her task meisters.

OK, so I'm 6 weeks or so off from the tardy flank of my Q2 call. I can't help it that Bolton is such a fuck up at moving his end of agendas along.

...Israelis go and spoil it all.
I'm still out on them spoiling to force the hand of US reticents into NeoConny line or if they are playing ball with Cheney & Co. I tend though to lean towards the later after a Shirley Temple or four.

7/19/2006 7:31 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

I'm still out on them spoiling to force the hand of US reticents into NeoConny line or if they are playing ball with Cheney & Co. I tend though to lean towards the later after a Shirley Temple or four.

In a week or two--as events play out--it will be clearer as to which party is really calling the shots.

Given the practical impossibility of Israel attaining their stated goal of destroying Hezbollah, and thus having no reasonable strategy along those lines, something sinister is definitely afoot.

I would tend to agree with you that they are probably playing ball with the neo-cons.

7/19/2006 8:00 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Christ Almighty, I reread my previous comment and it be laden with one crazy typo worse than the other. That you can make any sense out of it at all is wonderous. Do forgive.
-M1 de Antarctica

7/20/2006 4:31 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

I didn't (and can't even now) spot a single typo.

Not that it would matter anyway. Your prose style and mechanics thereof are parsecs beyond that of some of the gooper trolls who occasionally stink up the place.

7/20/2006 8:16 AM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

...and so I di learn a new variant of secpar. Diz indeed is the locus primus for enlightenment.

7/20/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Thanks. Ooodles of merit accrue to the reader from even casual browsing of the blogs on the network to which I belong.

But you already know that.

7/20/2006 3:46 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

The Turkey piece, great. Gotta wonder - has Turkey been given Iraqi Kurdistan and a green light for go once the Iran campaign kicks off and now Turkey is itching to pounce as Israel's incursions mark the drop of the puck?

7/20/2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Gotta wonder - has Turkey been given Iraqi Kurdistan and a green light for go once the Iran campaign kicks off and now Turkey is itching to pounce as Israel's incursions mark the drop of the puck?

I seriously doubt that the U.S. would sign off on such a plan.

For the simple reason that we want to keep--in at least some form at least--our permanent bases in Iraq. Whatever "legitimate" government (if any) comes to power in Iraq would not be pleased with such an arrangement. Our bases and continued presence in country would be at risk.

7/20/2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Oh well, just a scintillating thought from a mosquito-bit corner of my pickled meatballian noggin.

7/20/2006 5:09 PM  

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