Israel is flexing its US-subsidized military might again by bombing the Beirut Airport and blocking Lebanese ports, actions that will ultimately affect thousand of civilians and, at the very least, disrupt their lives.  They also bombed areas in south Lebanon that likely included civilians.  These actions, which fail to target those initially responsible for the border raids against Israel and kidnapping of soldiers, will likely cause the crisis to escalate.  The Israel response is, yet again, a demonstration of brute force that is meant to subdue rather than defend or counter.  Apparently, there is more to come (from NY Times):

News services reported that Israeli planes dropped leaflets today over the southern suburbs of Beiruit, where Hezbollah is strong, warning residents to evacuate the area. Hezbollah said it would retaliate for any bombing there by firing rockets at the largest city in northern Israel, Haifa.

Where will this lead?  George Bush’s relative quietude is rather disturbing, given that this situation is a model for one that could cause a chain-reaction.  It reminds me a little bit of the infamous My Pet Goat Minutes.  Do you think your gas prices are high now?  If the Mideast explodes, you won’t even be able to fuel a moped, let alone an SUV. 

When will the US government realize that Israel-Arab conflict is the locus of Mideast stability and adjust its policy accordingly?  Does the Bush administration believe that ignoring this problem will just cause it to go away?  Or do US leaders believe what Israeli leaders apparently believe, that pummeling enemies with a big stick will cause them to skulk away, permanently?

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