Friday, August 11, 2006

Poor Billmon

Here Billmon does his utmost to convince himself the new UN resolution is a total victory for Hizbullah. An acceptable outcome for Israel would surely be gall to him.

The Head Heeb provides an analysis much more informed by reason than emotion, disproving several assumptions in the above along the way. Read the comments for more detailed (and in part skeptical) discussion.

Update (13 Aug): a skeptic discusses the "Israel benefits" POV.

U^2 (14 Aug): A spectrum of viewpoints from NPR's Talk of the Nation here.


Blogger Azael said...

So, I read the Head Heeb and quite frankly, it seems nothing more than assertions of happy happy. No analysis. No explanations. Just "this is going to be okay".

Granted, heeb may be precisely right. But how on earth would I know that. Well, unless it was in my confirmation bias zone, that is.

At least with Billmon I have some meat with the assertions and analysis. I may not agree with them, but at least I have a skeleton on which to hang the arguments...

13/8/06 11:01  
Blogger rilkefan said...

I thought for example

"The real question mark is Hizbullah, which would have to accept three conditions that it had vehemently rejected up to today: a ceasefire with IDF troops still on Lebanese soil, an augmented international force south of the Litani, and the loss of its military presence in the border region."

was worth noting. It might also help if one thinks Edelstein is perhaps the best, fairest, smartest blogger on the I/P conflict. And as noted there's more in the comments.

Certainly it seems to me Billmon would be galled to see an outcome ok for Israel, and I see his post as attempts to reach the desired conclusion.

Of course even an ok outcome for Israel might not in any way justify the loss of life.

13/8/06 11:15  
Blogger Azael said...

Well, I think the whole politics around Olmert right now are particularly telling (approval rating in the toilet). It's clear that this was a long shot gamble and with the revelation that we - well, the neocons and Cheney at least - were egging them on and helped them plan... well, I think that adds a whole new perspective.

Personally, I think they overplayed a hand which had a slim chance of anything positive in the game theory perspective. Iran wins. Syria wins. Hezbollah? Well, they just have to survive and survive they will. Israel? Well, looks like the center coalition played and lost. Likud is back in the driver's seat with Bibi at the steering wheel.

If that's a good thing, then... well, I think things are going downhill and having them at the wheel is just going to provide more entertainment for the cheap seats. Maybe there's a strategic win for Israel here, but somehow it doesn't look like it to me...

13/8/06 17:45  
Blogger rilkefan said...

Note that that Cordesman essay is from last month, and note that I'm not claiming "a strategic win". The essay looks to me to make the error of implying "Policy X is bad because it won't solve all Israel's problems".

The NYT at least has been describing this as not-too-bad-for-Israel, so far at least. I can't claim to understand the complexities of Israeli politics, but Olmert is getting attacked from the left _and_ the right (though not e.g. Peres) and I don't know that that will lead to only the right benefiting.

I can see a path to an ok outcome for Israel - an international committment to disarming H will be of great propaganda use going forward, for example, and the UN won't have an excuse to wink at rocket attacks on Israel now. And if H can't bring itself to sign on to the resolution, or having signed on to abide by it, that will also be a useful propaganda tool. I don't think that will make the last month worthwhile, but my point was simply that the situation is complex and Billmon has a strong confirmation bias.

13/8/06 18:29  
Blogger Azael said...

Fair enough.

14/8/06 13:34  
Blogger rilkefan said...


I should probably explicitly admit I strongly hope this doesn't come out too badly for Israel and that colors my reactions.

14/8/06 13:39  

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