Tuesday, July 25, 2006

But You Let Us Get Away With It Before!

So does this mean Hezbollah might have thought twice before kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers had Israel smacked back hard sooner? That the group was expecting a more "proportional response," but is now--just like your classic playground instigator or troublemaker--mightily affronted, highly indignant, and defiantly self-righteous because its bluff got called and the provoked went on the offensive?
The truth is _ let me say this clearly _ we didn't even expect (this) response.... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.

He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel to the July 12 cross-border raid, in which three Israelis were killed.

In the past, he said, Israeli responses to Hezbollah actions included sending commandos into Lebanon to seize Hezbollah officials or briefly targeting specific Hezbollah strongholds.

He said the Shiite group had anticipated there would be negotiations on exchanging the Israeli soldiers for three Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it did before.

Puts an interesting light on things, doesn't it? Even sort of suggests that perhaps some rethinking about the wisdom of Israel's reaction on the part of those who are just so absolutely certain that, long-term, terrorist groups will respond just as well or better to negotiation and accommodation as they do force. And that maybe, just maybe, there's at least a little bit of truth in the idea that terrorist groups--like those playground bullies--do tend to interpet what we call restraint and temperance as weakness and appeasement.

Oh, I know that's not the whole picture, and that the situation is more complex. Still, it seems to me that some serious, clear-eyed and sober re-evaluation is needed to combat overly wishful thinking in some quarters.