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Could it be possible?

I would have thought that Israel's military objectives in southern Lebanon were modest enough that they could be achieved relatively easily, even if it involved excessive civilian casualties. However the battle is now nearing its second week and is beginning to show some unsettling signs of escalation.

First, there is the threat by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah to extend rocket strikes deeper into Israel, threatening "installations and infrastructure", I suppose in response to Israeli attacks on same in Lebanon. This bodes poorly for civilians in the northern half of Israel.

The second sign is the inability of the US and allied countries to come to some kind of an agreement for a cease-fire, or even if the parties involved would agree to one.

And third is the comment today by Billmon, who suggests that the Israeli army might well be facing an outright military defeat at the hands of Hezbollah. I shudder to think what effect this might have on other terrorist operations like the Muslim Brothers, Hamas, or any of the other Wahabi or Shi'a groups that are gaining in strength around the region.

This is not to say that these groups shouldn't be countered, but if Iraq wasn't lesson enough that you can't attack terrorism militarily, then this should be. Unfortunately the lesson might well come at the cost of a quickly escalating Mid-East-wide conflict that has the prospects of drawing in all of us.

Looking for the silver lining, $3 per litre gasoline might be just what the doctor ordered to get our asses onto public transit.

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