This is in response to the comments on my previous "Now What" posting.
I agree with you that Israel's reaction was both wrong and counterproductive. I wish they hadn't done it, and I wish they would stop. If it were up to me I would stop.
I agree with you that Hezbollah is raising its profile and improving its stature in a large part of the Arab world by standing up to the Israelis. I think they are doing it by taking Lebanon hostage. I don't think that is right, and I think they should stop. I think they would reply that they have a bigger goal and that the means justify the end. I disagree both with their overall bigger goal and that the means justify the end in this case -- and probably in most cases.
I agree with you that in some sense Israel is probably more comfortable fighting what appears to be a real war than just having to respond to terrorist. It's a lot clearer where you are when fighting a war than when dealing with terrorists. I disagree that Israel is a nation of war. If Israel were assured of its future and were free from the fear of continued terrorist attacks, I'm convinced that it would live peacefully with its neighbors. I don't believe that Israel wants to be in a war or that it wants to fight its neighbors. The Israelis are creative and productive. They don't need handouts to survive.
I think this cuts two ways for Bush. On the one hand, it does distract the country from other things (as you said), and most Americans appear to support his position with respect to supporting Israel. In that sense it's almost a proxy for us being at war. Americans support the president when we are at war. On the other hand, it puts his entire reputation at risk. He came to power with relative peace in the Middle East. It's now a complete mess. It's his fault. He will have to answer for that.