The New York Times shows the stupid:
But it has another goal as well: to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence….“There has been a nagging sense of uncertainty in the last couple years of whether anyone is really afraid of Israel anymore,” he said. “The concern is that in the past — perhaps a mythical past — people didn’t mess with Israel because they were afraid of the consequences. Now the region is filled with provocative rhetoric about Israel the paper tiger. This operation is an attempt to re-establish the perception that if you provoke or attack you are going to pay a disproportionate price.”
Right; the Arabs sure did doubt the capability of Israel to pound the bejeezus out of a political actor with no defensive weapons. People were really fucking UNCLEAR about that point. Israel DID make Hezbollah pay a disproportionate price, but Hezbollah was perceived the victor because the IDF accomplished absolutely nothing else. One might even conclude that efforts to “send a message” don’t always result in the receiving of the anticipated message…
The risk to Israel in Gaza seems of a parallel nature — that if the operation fails or leaves Hamas in the position of scrappy survivor or even somehow perceived victor, that it could then dominate Palestinian politics over the more conciliatory and pro-Western Fatah movement for years to come. Since Hamas, like Hezbollah, is committed to Israel’s destruction, that could pose a formidable strategic challenge.
Exactly how do people think this is going to end? Does anyone believe that these airstrikes are actually going to topple Hamas? Or that the IDF is going to invade Gaza and replace Hamas by brute force? If the IDF doesn’t want to leave people with the impression that Hamas or Hezbollah can persevere through simple defiance, then it really needs to rethink its operational and strategic orientations.