Today's Blogs

Back in Lebanon

Bloggers respond to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. They also continue to speculate about the Mumbai bombings and to bid farewell to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett.

Back in Lebanon: In response to a Hezbollah raid that resulted in the kidnapping of two IDF soldiers and the killing of three more, Israel launched a small-scale invasion Wednesday into southern Lebanon—a territory from which it withdrew six years ago. This creates a second front for Jewish forces against militant groups tied to, if not controlled by, neighboring Arab regimes. Bloggers fear the strategy is ill-advised.

Omri Ceren at conservative regional watchdog Israpundit doesn’t see diplomatic finger-wagging at Hezbollah as having any great effect: “The EU has asked Hezbollah to please return the Israeli soldiers they just kidnapped. You know what we think? We don’t think that Hezbollah really believes that the EU actually impose consequences against groups that kidnap Israeli soldiers and bomb Israeli towns. And the reason Hezbollah won’t really believe that Europe cares about those things might have something to do with several EU countries’ odious coddling of Hamas—a group that promised to and did kidnap Israeli soldiers and bomb Israeli towns.”

Fellow righty James Joyner at Outside the Beltway considers the incursion justified, but wonders “what the Israeli exit strategy is here. Total annihilation of Hezbollah and Hamas is impossible without genocide, given how organic they seem to be. Does Israel plan to annex and permanently occupy these terroritories? They’ve tried that without solving the terrorist problem.” Liberal Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal, blames Yasser Arafat’s refusal to sign on to Oslo but shares Joyner’s concern: “As for Israel, I have no idea what they think their response is going to accomplish. They’re retaliating in exactly the way that the most militant members of Hamas and Hezbollah were hoping for, and it’s unlikely that there’s any exit strategy for them that actually improves their internal security or their strategic position.”

Richard Silverstein, whose Tikun Olam site is dedicated to peace in the Levant, writes: “Part of this is no doubt Bashar Assad’s ‘payback’ for insulting him by having Israeli jets buzz his summer mountain palace in one of Israel’s more bellicose acts of provocation. … [T]his development points out the utter futility of the Olmert government’s Gaza folly. If they’d negotiated the deal that they had in the offing instead of stalling for God knows what they might not be in the terrible bind they now face. Now, they are mired in Gaza as well as facing a crisis in the north. What will they do next?”

Read more about the Israeli incursion into Lebanon.

Day 2 in Mumbai: As Indian investigators point to an al-Qaida-linked Kashmiri militant group as being responsible for Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, residents cope with grim day-after reflections. Yet these tend to take the shape of courage and fortitude, reminiscent of Londoners’ response to last summer’s subway bombings.

At Informed Comment, Juan Cole decribes the attackers as “frustrated extremists” who “are seeking … to encourage Hindus to attack Muslims, which will stampede the Muslims of India into the embrace of radical Islam (not a taste most of them have had in the past)” and closes with “Al-Qaeda and its like thrive on cowboy diplomacy and reprisals.”

Yet “frustration” seems to be a one-way emotion. Indian sentiment is stoic and defiant. “Nush” posts the following comment at Pickled Politics, a site for progressive British Asians:“We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathi’s or Punjabis and Bengali’s. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt. employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this.”

Vikrum Sequeira at Vislumbres has a précis of how the city made a virtue of the mundane: “If there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it is the spirit of resilience and camaraderie that I have seen here. The commuters are still taking the trains; the city has not erupted into riots; the subji wallahs are still selling their vegetables; the stores are open. Yes, the city is more subdued than normal, but the spirit of resilience is alive. Salaam Bombay.”

Read more about Mumbai reflections.

Goodbye, blue Syd: Syd Barrett, the psychically tortured founder of Pink Floyd, died Friday at the age of 60. The cause was unreported, though many suspect it was related to the diabetes he’d long been afflicted with. Bloggers remember Barrett’s genius, if only to lament that it waged a losing struggle with his madness.

“Although he has been mythologized by countless fans, there was nothing glamorous about his retreat,” elegizes “Snark” at Poetry Snark, who argues that Barett was more versifier than lyricist. “He left this world in 2006, but he left his fans in 1971, taking his mystery and genius first to his bedroom—and now to his grave.”

And cyber-musicologist Merry Swankster broods:“The bizarre antics and mental illness of the reclusive Crazy Diamond has been shrouded in such myth that news of his death is perhaps a surprise in itself. It validates the very real existence of Syd Barrett as not just a whacky rock and roll cliché, but of a troubled and tragic musical figure now passed. So cue up The Wall and pull a milky white binger when you see see Bob Geldof’s shaven eyebrows—an homage from the band to Barrett.”

Read more about Syd Barrett. Slate music critic Jody Rosen had an obit for Barrett on Tuesday.