Bloggers continue to fret over the escalating conflict between Israel and Lebanon and say thanks for nothing to journalist Robert Novak for his less-than-revelatory revelations about the Valerie Plame identity leak.
Bombing Beirut: Israeli forces stepped up attacks in Lebanon Thursday, bombarding Beirut's international airport and sending in a naval fleet to block seaports, while Hezbollah forces launched rockets into Haifa, a port city in northern Israel. The renewed conflict began after a Hezbollah raid resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers. Almost 50 people have died in attacks. Both Israeli and Lebanese officials are calling the strikes an "act of war."
Lebanon Profile at the Lebanese Political Journal offers insight into the situation on the ground and claims that Hezbollah was not prepared for Israel's swift and damaging reply. "Hezbollah was surprised by Israel's response. When they dreamed up this plan in January, they thought the Israelis would respond as usual: bomb a few Hezbollah positions on the border, and perhaps attack Palestinian militant camps," Profile writes. "Even more surprising for Hezbollah was the Sunni response to the bombing of both the old and new roads at Damour. … According to three Sunni shop owners in Beirut from Saida, they and their families are more upset with Hezbollah than they are with Israel. In fact, they understand the Israeli position."
Zadigvoltaire at Beirut Notes is incensed that Hezbollah's actions reap dire consequences for all of Lebanon. "Hezbollah today is deciding the future of all Lebanese. They know best what is good for Lebanon. They view themselves as the defenders of Islam! … Hezbollah has metamorphosed from a resistance force to Israel to a resistance force to Lebanon's development and progress. This bunch of bearded Neanderthals wants us to live like our ancestors did in the 7th Century and nobody can stop them."
Jamal at Jamal's Propaganda Site observes: "Olmert can choose to annihilate Hezbollah completely. That would involve a major regional war that I don't think Israel is ready for or that the world community would allow. So that leaves Olmert with the only the choice of when to stop the killing and start the negotiations. Do it today with 30 civillians dead already, or do it next week with 300 dead. I'm afraid 300 might be the number closer to quenching his blood thirst." But V at Vox's Den counters Jamal's assertion. "Hezbollah, unlike the rest of us, is well-prepared to this kind of situation. Hezbollahis are hiding in caves, behind and under the civilians they claim to protect, and this is why the Israelis are bombing ordinary people, bridges and airport runways instead of these monkeys. Israel cannot really touch Hezbollah so it is putting the pressure on the Lebanese government by bombing the infrastructure," writes V.
Mustapha at The Beirut Spring calls Israeli attempts to cut Lebanon off from the world by attacking airports and seaports "useless." "The blockade has one clear purpose: To make life miserable for the Lebanese in order to exert pressure on Hezbollah. … We've seen it all before. The pressure will be intense on the government to release the soldiers. Will the plan work? No it won't. Israel constantly underestimates the bonds common misery can create. They are using the wrong channels and are needlessly starving an entire nation and making it angrier." Meanwhile, Yasmine at Lebanese Bloggers attacks ivory-tower leaders from all sides. "I am not a pawn on the board of an imaginary game, and neither are the rest of the Lebanese, Palestinian and Israeli civilians whose lives are being toyed with. This behavior on the part of these leaders that were elected to lead their people is deplorable. I am infuriated that such risks and actions can be taken with absolute disregard of the lives that are at stake, the lives of the people that make a country what it is."
No news is still news: Columnist Robert Novak's revelation that Karl Rove confirmed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame creates more questions than answers, according to bloggers.
Conservative Paul at Wizbang claims the mainstream media is using Novak's low-wattage confession to stoke the Karl Rove witch hunt. "The only news we got from the Novak column is that he got Plame's name form Who's Who and the only thing the media wants to talk about is Rove. Whatever you call the mainstream medias coverage of Novak's column. ... Please don't call it news," he writes. And Drew McKissick at Conservative Outpost jokes: "So does this mean the Dems will want the Special Prosecutor to start sending subpoenas to the offices of 'Who's Who'?? Don't put it past 'em."
Christy Hardin Smith at Firedoglake takes Novak to task for keeping mum on his primary source. "Was Bob already fishing with a fully loaded line? If so, who handed him the bait?" Other bloggers also wonder why all the secrets. "That's a question I'd like to see someone ask Novakula, just for the sake of clarification if nothing else. Who was the first person to tell him that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA? Did he know this when he spoke to his supposed 'primary source'?" asks Swopa at liberal blog Needlenose.
Eric Alterman at the lefty Huffington Post calls Novak a "traitor": "Novak lied to everyone in order to betray his country on behalf of Rove and company. First he revealed the name of an active CIA officer, blowing any and all operations with which she has ever been involved, costing the country millions, and possibly endangering lives despite the specific request from the agency that he not do so."
Here's more on Novak.