USE OF FORCE….The latest from Lebanon:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that Israel would “examine” the Lebanese government’s proposal to deploy 15,000 soldiers to south Lebanon to replace Hezbollah militias. He called the idea “an interesting step that we need to examine and investigate and see if it’s all that it means.”

Readers more hawkish than me sometimes wonder what it would take to convince me that conventional war is an effective tool even against a guerrilla force in the Middle East. Well, suppose this proposal pans out and we end up with a sequence of events something like this:

  1. Israel launches massive assault on Lebanon.

  2. Lebanese government eventually sues for peace and offers to send its army to the border.

  3. Over a period of months the Israeli army hands off control of southern Lebanon to the Lebanese army and withdraws.

  4. Hezbollah isn’t destroyed, but the Lebanese army manages to keep control of the border and maintain relative peace. Over time their control increases and Hezbollah’s influence decreases.

I don’t expect this to happen, but if it did it would mean that in this case I was wrong and the hawks were right ? and I would have to reexamine my broader worldview about when and where the use of force is effective.

But how about the reverse? I wonder what sequence of events would cause the hawks to reassess their assumptions?