THE SECOND, AS FARCE.

THE SECOND, AS FARCE. Israel announced plans to re-occupy a strip of southern Lebanon. This is ill-advised. Israel ceased occupying a strip of southern Lebanon just a few years ago and with good reason. What's more, re-occupation will alter the whole political context in adverse ways. Syria now has its rationale for involvement in Lebanon back, and the level of pressure that previously existed on Hezbollah to disarm will melt away now that Israeli occupation has returned.

But, having decided to go all-out in response to Hezbollah's raid, what choice did Israel have? The international community doesn't seem to want to send a force in. The Lebanese government can't do what the Israelis are asking it to. The IDF can't "crush" Hezbollah. And having committed to going in and cleaning this up, the Israelis don't want to admit it was all a mistake and "look weak" by going home. No doubt Hezbollah expected "the usual, limited response" to their July 12 raid because a limited response is what it would have made sense for Israel to do.

--Matthew Yglesias

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