An e-mail from “Captain Ed “:
Kathryn, I don’t think Israel wins big, but I do think they win in the end with this cease-fire, no matter how it plays out. 1. Lebanon and Hezbollah agree to implement it: Southern Lebanon gets cleared of Hezbollah and their launchers, they cannot re-arm, Lebanon finally takes control of its own territory south of the Litani. Israel gets a secured northern border and peace for its northern cities, and a sovereign partner with which to finalize the border settlement. 2. Lebanon and Hezbollah reject it: Israel continues its military assault with just a few hours of rest for both sides. This time, however, they get tacit UN Security Council endorsement, since they agreed to the cease-fire and their enemy did not. 3. Lebanon and Hezbollah accept it, then renege once the UNIFIL forces are in place: This is the one loser scenario, and even that is overrated. Israel does not have to attack either the Lebanese or UN forces to attack Hezbollah positions in the sub-Litani, unless both are stupid enough to allow Hezbollah to position their weapons nearby their positions. If they are, then that positioning will become rapidly apparent. Israel plays for the long game, and always has. While their military plan was less than mediocre, their diplomatic engagement has allowed them to put all the pressure on the terrorists and the government they hold hostage. One final note — we need to quit worrying about whether terrorists can claim victory. As long as they breathe, they will claim anything as a stunning victory. It’s like taking Stalin’s farm forecasts seriously; only the chronic worriers bother. Cheers!