Jack Miles' essay asking if Lebanon is Israel's Iraq — and whether the war on Hezbollah is a miscalculation that might leave Israel worse off — would not be so surprising except for its venue. It's the cover piece in this week's Jewish Journal.
Whatever the intent of Israel's attack, its effect has been catastrophic for Lebanon as a whole. Entire neighborhoods of the capital have been reduced to rubble. (Imagine the Upper West Side of New York demolished as a "Zionist stronghold.") The national airport has been put out of service. Three of every four bridges -- more than 50 in all -- have been destroyed. Power plants have been blown up. Key roads have been rendered impassable. The beaches have been fouled. Telephone and media transmission centers have been put out of service. More than one out of every six Lebanese has been rendered homeless.
As Prime Minister Fouad Siniora summarized it, "Israel in a matter of five days took Beirut and the whole country 50 years backward."
Could Lebanon have spared itself this Israeli onslaught by "cracking down" on Hezbollah activity in its southern region? It could have tried, but the price of the attempt would have been a civil war in which Hezbollah might well have been the victor.
Miles is author of Judas and Jesus and God: A Biography, and the former book editor of the Los Angeles Times.
Also in the new Jewish Journal: A David Mamet cartoon on Mel Gibson, and longtime character actor Arthur Rosenberg — he was Kevin Bacon's Uncle Wes in Footloose and has played numerous rabbis, doctors and chiefs of police on TV — has hung up his acting spikes to become staff rabbi at the Motion Picture and Television home in Woodland Hills.
Photo: Jewish Journal