-Or "Why Israel is making a big mistake."
I was distressed to read a Salon article on the Beirut bombings this morning. It's not so much that 600 civilians are dead, though that, of course, sucks. (Too put it way too mildly.)
The Salon article talks about a film crew that had gone to Beirut to film a travel documentary about Beirut's developing culture and how that developing culture is effectively dead.
Now, I will be the first to admit that the moneyed Beirutis who keep drinking at the rooftop club while Israeli jets circle overhead suck. But they were the future of Beirut, and that's a future that cares about making money and having a good time, not ethnic hatred.
The moderates in Lebanon were the future of the place. Once people start watching Baywatch, radical Islam becomes a much harder sell.
In destroying all this infrastructure, and more importantly to my point, destroying all these restaurants and nightclubs showing Beirutis how much fun capitalism and sophistication could be, the Isrealis are really giving the radicals the upper hand in this region, IMHO. The bombings in South Lebanon were much more reasonable and arguably justifed. Bombing Beirut itself is punitive, and ultimately against Israel's interests, IMHO.
(TheCSO's theory is that Israel is trying to get NATO to move in to Israel's border so that anyone who tries to attack Israel from that direction will be attacking NATO. Even if that works, I don't think it was worth it.)