Bad move by Israel or Poor assessment by Sheridan?
Greg Sheridan in todays Australian devotes about two thirds of his Bad Move by Israel article to the wonders of Lebanon and the Lebonese and how hard done by they are. I don't think any of this is news to the western world and I'm sure most of us feel sorry for Lebanon. I know I do.
But he loses me when he blames Israel on their selection of Lebanon as the theatre of war as if they had a choice. He uses and old Lebaonese journalist aquaintence, Daizy Mir, as his sounding board;
Now Mir is devastated by what's happening in Lebanon: "Israel is fighting a war against Syria and Iran and it's using Lebanese territory. This kind of tactic has never worked. All it's going to do is make things worse. It's not going to get rid of Hezbollah. The people in control (of Hezbollah) know how to move around and they've set this up."
The exact reverse is the case. Hezbollah has chosen the playing field. They sited their rockets in Lebanon and fired them at Israel from there.
What should Israel do? Send an email saying
"Look Hezbollah, it's not fair on Lebanon that you site your weapons in their country and then attack us. Would you consider setting the war scene somewhere else?"
Hezbollah would reply -
"We know it's unfair attacking you from Lebanon, that's why we do it. It forces you to attack us there to save your people and then we can arrange for Lebanese civilians to be close to the rocket sites so when you do attack, other Arabs and western media can portray you as baby killers. It always works...it's a part of our tactics...Fighting Terrorist Wars 101, Ch 4, Manipulation of western media. Haven't you learnt this yet.
Israel has learnt this but are forced to defend themselves anyway and the western media choose not to learn it, they won't even read the manual.
Sheridan apparently doesn't even know the manual exists.
However, his last paragraph does touch on the root cause, almost as an afterthought;
None of this remotely excuses Hezbollah, which bears the lion's share of the blame for this situation. Its leaders probably calculated on and wanted tough Israeli action for a multiplicity of political and strategic reasons.
and ends with this;
Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. But the gains from its actions are very uncertain, while the cost is certain. And enormous
The media just can't bring themselves to say Israel certainly has the right to defend itself without slipping in the royal rider
As in, see how fair and balance I am; I mention Israel has the right to defend herself BUT she is still wrong.
Don't like the civilian casualties?
Talk to Hezbollah.