Here is Captain Ed’s classy and well-argued reply to my critique of his defense of the Bush adminstration’s role in attempting to end the fighting in Lebanon. Ed’s argument is that the U.S. delivered a resolution that gave Israel almost everything it hoped to gain from the war. If that were true, Ed would be correct in arguing that the Bush administration can’t be blamed for the poverty of Israel’s aspirations.
I think, however, that Israel wanted to inflict (and had finally started the process of inflicting) a much more significant blow to Hezbollah than what it was able to accomplish in the time the U.S. effectively allowed. In this regard, Ed’s point that Hezbollah cannot be destroyed strikes me as a straw man. There’s a big gap between what Israel accomplished and destroying Hezbollah. Somewhere in that gap lies, among other things, the difference between Hezbollah gaining stature (which it has) and Hezbollah losing it.
I also think that, once Israel inflicted the blow it hoped to strike, it wanted more than just the clown UNIFIL force and the Lebanese army to try to prevent Hezbollah from regaining full strength. What Israel wanted in this regard is reflected in the original resolution that the U.S. and France formulated, which first France and then the U.S. walked away from.