Paul Greenberg

A scapegoat is already emerging in Dan Halutz, the air force general who directed an air war that was going to destroy Hezbollah's ability to pepper the Jewish state with rockets and missiles. It didn't. Even if it did inflict severe damage on Hezbollah - and on Lebanon.

The Israeli romance with the Rumsfeld Doctrine of shock-and-awe is fading fast. An old, old lesson is being learned again: In the end, all that armor, artillery, and naval and air support can only support the infantry, which remains queen of battle. What will matter in the end is getting those muddy boots on contested ground.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, no one dares criticize Hezbollah, at least not too loudly. For just where Hezbollah ends and the Lebanese "government" begins has never been clear. If there is any light between Hezbollah's position and Lebanon's, it tends to disappear when it's most needed - like now.

Hezbollah is Lebanon's government to a dangerous degree. It not only occupies southern Lebanon but enough seats in the Lebanese parliament to be represented in the Cabinet. Its informal network of charities and rocket launchers has been spread all over Lebanon, like a vast spider's web.

Hezbollah isn't just a state within a state (its capital is Tehran) but one with its own army and its own foreign policy. It is quite capable of dragging Lebanon into war at any time - as it has just done. Which is why the talk of the Lebanese army "replacing" Hezbollah in the south of the country invites skepticism. What would be the difference for all practical purposes? Only an international force, one capable of confronting Hezbollah, could keep the peace. Maybe.

This war is still a work - or a catastrophe - in progress. The historians, like the diplomats, may be able to confirm its results, but they cannot determine them. Like the rest of us, Clio, muse of history, must wait for dispatches from the front.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.