The incredible stupidity on display in the allied and Israeli handling of Hezbollah and southern Lebanon astounds me. I hope for the welfare of the Middle East and America that mine is a skewed perspective on the region.
From the beginning it should have been clear to Israel that the key to undermining Hezbollah lay not in bombs and missions.
Hezbollah is invincible so far as military action is concerned: they are an incredibly popular grass roots organization, they have a morally just cause (the defense of ones country) and they will have personnel so long as Lebanon has Shi'ites, thus Israel cannot shoot them all. They are militarily and financially supported by Iran, meaning they will have resources so long as the regime in Iran persists, thus Israel cannot bomb them all.
So military action is not where the struggle for Hezbollah's survival is and will be fought. Nay, rather it is the occupation: wresting control of southern Lebanon's society from the grips of Hezbollah.
This task is simply achieved first by occupying the place (check) then, more importantly, filling those civilian niches in which Hezbollah has always resided with institutions that promote a free and open society.
Not too difficult. Merely give the Lebanese government the overwhelming technical and financial aid to rebuild all roads, hospitals, schools, homes, infrastructure in general and then staff them all. Voila, the government is in, Hezbollah is no more than another political organization. This should not be too difficult an undertaking were it given the support of all those nations that are already sending their soldiers there.
Unfortunately, it would seem Hezbollah is already winning this second, much more important battle. With Iran's unlimited support, they have promised to rebuild the south, and seem to be moving quickly to it.
How could Israel fail to see that it is about to lose any shot it ever had at gaining popular support and strengthening the Lebanese government? How is it that our own government, whose interests lie very much so in neutering Hezbollah, is being outspent by Iran?
I dearly hope I am not seeing the whole picture, that as we speak Western bureaucrats are organizing a massive aid program, but I fear the contrary.