Terrorists and Rational Actors: Wacky Wednesday edition
Former CIA and State Dept. spook Larry C. Johnson speaks the truth:
Olmert has somehow persuaded the Israeli military to ignore strategy, think tactically, and in the process become really stupid. The events in the next several weeks will expose as myth the canard that you can secure a nation by killing terrorists. No you can't.Boy howdy. Go read the rest from Larry. And make sure you visit Prof. Juan Cole every day, too.
[...] Hamas and Hezbollah attacked military targets; kidnapping soldiers on military patrols may be an act of war and a provocation, but it is not terrorism. (And yes, Hezbollah and Hamas have carried out terrorist attacks in the past against Israeli civilians. I'm not ignoring those acts, I condemn them, but we need to understand what the dynamics are right now.) Israel is not attacking the individuals who hit their soldiers. Israel is engaged in mass punishment.
How did Israel respond? They bombed civilian targets and civilian infrastructure and have killed many civilians. Let's see if I have this right.
The Arab "terrorists" attack military units, destroy at least one tank, and are therefore terrorists. Israel retaliates by launching aerial, naval, and artillery bombardments of civilian areas and they are engaging in self-defense.
[...]Iran, meanwhile, is sitting in the catbird's seat. They have a well-trained and highly competent surrogate force in Hezbollah. Hezbollah's successful attack on Friday on an Israeli naval vessel is a reminder that Hezbollah is not a bunch of crazy kids carrying RPGs and wearing flip flops. I would be willing to wager that at least one Iranian military advisor was helping Hezbollah launch the missile that hit the Israeli ship. But Iran is doing more than simply engage in tit-for-tat. They are thinking strategically.
The events unfolding in Iraq and Lebanon are going Tehran's way. The United States is being portrayed in the world media as a government that tolerates and excuses attacks on civilian populations. The perception becomes the reality ...