And, of course, Hezbollah remains firmly in control of the entire situation with Nasrullah insisting that the Israeli servicemen that he kidnapped will not be returned.
A cautious and methodical approach certainly seems warranted while Nasrullah is still breathing. And until Israel holds enough of Lebanon to provide a decent bargaining chip.
UPDATE: via Power Line
Reporter: The news for the last 48 hours from the Middle East, it is more and more apparent now that many in the Middle East, Lebanese and others, are accusing the U.S. and the Security Council of being the obstacle to a real ceasefire immediately because that’s what they need. Could you explain in a couple words what is really your position about this?That's why caution and thoughtfulness are paramount. Until Nasrullah and a reasonable number (say 60%) are dead and the rest in hiding.
Ambassador Bolton: Well look, I think we could have a cessation of hostilities immediately if Hezbollah would stop terrorizing innocent civilians and give up the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. So that to the extent this crisis continues, the cause is Hezbollah. How you get a ceasefire between one entity, which is a government of a democratically elected state on the one hand, and another entity on the other which is a terrorist gang, no one has yet explained. The government of Israel, everybody says, has the right to exercise the right of self-defense, which even if there are criticisms of Israeli actions by some, they recognize the fundamental right to self-defense. That’s a legitimate right. Are there any activities that Hezbollah engages in, militarily that are legitimate? I don’t think so. All of its activities are terrorist and all of them are illegitimate, so I don’t see the balance or the parallelism between the two sides and therefore I think it’s a very fundamental question: how a terrorist group agrees to a ceasefire. You know in a democratically elected government, the theory is that the people ultimately can hold the government accountable when it does something and doesn’t live up to it. How do you hold a terrorist group accountable? Who runs the terrorist group? Who makes the commitment that a terrorist group will abide by a ceasefire? What does a terrorist group think a ceasefire is? These are - you can use the words “cessation of hostilities” or “truce” or "ceasefire.” Nobody has yet explained how a terrorist group and a democratic state come to a mutual ceasefire.
SECOND UPDATE: Condi shows the breadth of the US position in an announcement this afternoon:
Rice said the United States is committed to ending the bloodshed, but not before certain conditions are met. The Bush administration has said that Hezbollah must first turn over the two Israeli soldiers whose capture set off the 10-day-old violence, and stop firing missiles into Israel.The statement is amazing in its complexity, nuance and subtlety. We must all hope that Nasrullah is well versed in the art of diplospeak so that the many points that Secretary Rice made don't pass over his head. Alternatively, Israel could easily write the message on the nose of any number of Hellfires and continue to attempt delivery until receipt is acknowledged.
“We do seek an end to the current violence, we seek it urgently. We also seek to address the root causes of that violence,” Rice said. “A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo.”
ASIDE: What is the correct term of art to use to describe an invasion that is the antithesis of "lightning like"? Do Israeli mailmen have to show up in every village in southern Lebanon before the press catches on?