Monday, July 24, 2006

You know you haven't been blogging lately when...

...your blog's URL doesn't show up among your browser's auto-completion options!

Really. It's been that long since I've even opened my own homepage.

Meanwhile, a few things have happened:
  • I've actually gotten things done at work.
  • Josh in The Styx has returned from a year-long blogging hiatus with a rapid-fire burst of energetic blogging.
  • Leiah from Letters from Israel has returned from a nearly two-year hiatus with new letters, and a new blog site.
  • At least two more people have discovered who I am. Serves me right for dropping too many hints.
  • My learning progressed, then stalled again.
  • The baby started talking and walking, and continues to daily amaze her worn-out parents.
  • Israel went to war against Lebanon. You may have heard about it.

I'm not going to say much about the war, since there's too much to say and everyone else is saying it. Overall, I think Israel's leaders have been doing a good job so far, with God's help. I didn't vote for Ehud Olmert or Amir Peretz, and I oppose their long-term visions for Israel, but I have to give them credit for the way they've handled the current crisis so far. I only hope and pray they succeed in achieving as many as possible of Israel's strategic objectives with the minimum possible casualties.

The best analyses I've seen of Israel's military and diplomatic strategy have been from Stratfor. The site features free daily podcasts, and you can subscribe to their free commentaries. Their main error has been in underappreciating how reluctant Israel is to launch a major ground invasion of Lebanon, due to our painful experiences in the past.

Military tactics aside, I suspect one of the reasons the IDF has focused on air attacks and minor ground incursions has been to demonstrate to the Israeli public that Hezbullah can't be defeated that way, thus gradually accustoming the public to accept the need for a ground campaign. Also, while going in on the ground may yield the best results, it also carries the greatest risk. Too many casualties and we could turn our current modest success into a perceived defeat, ending worse off than we started.

It's all so complicated, the interplay between the military, diplomatic and domestic fronts. I said I wouldn't say much, so I won't unless people really want to hear it. Enough for now.

Here are some of the topics I have tentatively lined up, time permitting. Let me know what interests you, and I'll bump it forward. (Though the first one will presumably be first, for obvious reasons.)
  • Remember Israel's assault last week on a supposed Hezbullah bunker in Beirut? I've got some thoughts about it.
  • Was the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 a mistake?
  • Did you know children's cartoons in Israel employ linguistic advisors? Really!
  • Some questions about food and drink in the Talmud
  • Simchat Bat - How do/should religious families celebrate the birth of a daughter?
  • More about road accident statistics ("A leading cause of death in Israel?")

Or maybe you didn't miss me in the first place, and wish I'd crawl back into my hole. Whatever you say. You're the audience.

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