18 July 2006

After all, what help could the army be?

Israel hits Lebanese army barracks, kills 9

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanese army barracks for a second straight day Tuesday, killing at least nine soldiers, Lebanese army sources said.

The Jamhour army barracks east of Beirut were one of several targets in airstrikes early Tuesday as Israel's campaign against Hezbollah guerrillas entered a seventh day.

On Monday, six Lebanese soldiers died and 28 were wounded when Israel bombed an army post in Abdeh, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Beirut, the Lebanese military said.

From the AP:

"The base in the southern area of Kfar Chima took a direct hit as the soldiers rushed to their bomb shelters, leaving at least 11 soldiers dead and 35 wounded, the Lebanese military said.

The Lebanese army has largely stayed out of the fighting, but its positions have been repeatedly attacked by Israeli warplanes, undermining Israel's call for it to help push back Hezbollah from the border."
More strategic brilliance that BushCo will doubtlessly feel compelled to remain silent on.

Upset over the Lebanese' inability to control Hezbollah guerillas, you attack what standing army they have. And Olmert has the gall to say, "We dream of peace," "We do not seek war or a head-on confrontation?"

I understand what they want to, but they've got to do it smart. By attacking the legitimate military (to say nothing of civilian neighborhoods) Israel is going far beyond the pursuit of the militants who have their two soldiers. Unless regional war is our larger goal--which, for some, it certainly is--the U.S. continues to give tacit approval at its own risk.

Maybe Israel's vaunted intelligence assets are slipping, because their recent actions are getting more and more inexplicable. Going after guerillas by devastating public infrastructure, sea and airports, civilian neighborhoods, and now organized military bases is a recipe for disaster.

Sure, the nature of combatting guerilla tactics might demand operations in civilian areas, but the rest? Not only is it far from a sure thing that the populace will turn on Hezbollah, but they're well on the way to Iraq-ifying the whole country, destabilizing the central government and turning it into a playground for Hezbollah and whoever else might want to take shots at Israel. To appropriate a phrase, you fight the enemy you have...not make him more unmanageable.

If the region, itself, weren't so crucial--and we were less strategically tied to Israel--I'd say they can deal with terrorists any way they see fit. Unfortunately, the way it's going, Olmert is writing checks our troops are going to have to cash.

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