360 dead in Lebanon, says the Lebanese Prime Minister. 1000 injured.
29 dead in Israel, 15 civilians. Condi won't go to Israel until Hezbollah is "defanged," leaving absolutely no doubt now as to what Bush knew about this whole sorry business, and when he knew it. Or what he thinks about it.
And even Tony Blair now "gets it:"
BRITAIN fears that Israel’s assault on Hezbollah is failing to cripple the guerrilla group and that continued bombardment will bring huge civilian casualties in Lebanon for little military gain.I wonder if Bush can give Israel another week.
The rising concern that any further Israeli military action could intensify the crisis, expressed by senior officials yesterday, strikes a much more urgent tone than the American position, which accepts a continued Israeli campaign to crush the Shia militant group.
Yesterday was the heaviest day for civilian casualties since Israel’s bombardment began last week, with at least 63 killed and scores more wounded. A total of 315 Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed and hundreds injured since the start of the Israeli offensive.
A senior British official said: “Our concern is that Israeli military action is not having the desired effect. We’re not seeing the level of impact [which Israel and its allies would want].” Hezbollah was “still highprofile in southern Beirut”, even if its claims to have lost only three fighters underplayed the damage done. “We’re not seeing any large-scale destruction of Hezbollah rockets,” the official added, “and we don’t know where they are.”Why does the American position sound like William Kristol's, I wonder?
Israel claimed yesterday to have destroyed half of Hezbollah’s rockets, which the guerrilla group has been firing steadily across the Lebanese border. “We have already destroyed around 50 per cent of the rockets and missiles that Hezbollah had,” General Alon Friedman told army radio.
The Israeli action had “disrupted Hezbollah but there’s not much more they can do with an extensive campaign”, a British official said. “We are concerned that continued military operations by Israel will cause further damage to infrastructure and loss of civilian life which the damage to Hezbollah will not justify.”
Oh, and 500,000 people have been displaced. And in the Angels-Dancing-On-Heads-of-Pins contest, we have a new entrant:
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, stressed the latest operation was "in no way an invasion of Lebanon."Kidnapping an Israeli soldier is an act of war, but killing 300+ civilians in another country, sending troops over that country's border, and dropping 23 tons of bombs on one location, is not an "invasion." Gonna have to get a new dictionary soon.
Said the Lebanese Prime Minister:
“The country has been torn to shreds...Is this the price we pay for aspiring to build our democratic institutions? ....Can the international community stand by while such callous retribution by the state of Israel is inflicted on us?”Probably for another week, at least, is what Bush seems to be hoping. In the meantime:
Israeli weaponry rained down on Lebanon throughout the day and into the night, killing 63 people by nightfall, Lebanese authorities said. Most of the dead were said to be civilians; one Hezbollah fighter was killed, apparently in the Naqura firefight.Could be the British are right, huh?
Southern Lebanon, the heartland of Shiite villages dominated by Hezbollah, was particularly hard hit.
In Srifa, a neighborhood was wiped out — 15 houses flattened, 21 people killed, 30 wounded — in an Israeli airstrike. The town’s mayor, Afif Najdi, called it a massacre.
Warplanes bombed a convoy escaping the town, killing several people and wounding many others.
While much of the bombardment was directed at poor Shiite areas, the new emphasis on trucks — the Israelis have hit several carrying medical and relief supplies and even cement in recent days — brought the war home to one of Beirut’s wealthiest Maronite Christian areas on Wednesday morning.
Warplanes fired rockets into two red trucks carrying water-drilling equipment — apparently mistaken for rocket tubes — in a vacant lot, sending the well-to-do neighbors scrambling to their balconies and then, in several cases, loading their cars and heading for the mountains.
So here's today's quiz: The kidnapping of three soldiers threatened Israel's right to exist. Hezbollah's response to Israel's reaction was to challenge Israeli's right to exist. 29 Israelis are dead so far; 300+ Lebanese, with another 500,000 turned into refugees. Most of those now homeless are refugees because Israel has sent out warnings that it is going to bomb their nieghborhoods (which raises another question: why does Israel want to destroy neighborhoods?).
As a Lebanese refugee, a suddenly homeless person, are you grateful to Israel for warning you? Are you wondering what the hell their military strategy is? Can you tell who's winning? Is there any way to know whose "right" is going to prevail?