Tracking Israel's bombardment of Lebanon, one waits for something else to emerge: some statement of purpose that explains the scale of attacks, some response from the Arab world beyond the initial bluster, or some indication of an American plan to prevent a region-wide conflagration. In the meantime, there's the global war on terrorism template on one side, and the pity the poor Palestinians for all the bombs getting dropped on them, yet again. See the Administration's statements for examples of the former, and MoorishGirl for an example of the latter.
Neither reaction adequately addresses the complexity of the situation, but at the same time neither seems without some merit. The French, the Russians, even the Saudis have no sympathy for Hezbollah right now, and even Israel's supporters are wondering why the IDF is picking off medical supply trucks and taxis.
Which brings me to Bush's open-mike cussing, which may be precisely the other shoe we're waiting to drop. The incident has been much commented on, more as a kind of Presidential blooper than anything else. Does it really tell us anything about Bush we didn't already know? Bush's salty language seemed less important than the horse-trading tone of the exchange. What's going to emerge from Israel's latest Lebanon adventure, it's becoming clear, is a deal, which both Bush and the Israelis get something they desparately need: Israel gets to vent some frustration, push Hezbollah back a few miles, then agree to a cease fire. In return, Bush can appear like he's got some sort of control over events in the Middle East. In a couple of years, we'll run through the exercise all over again. But in an odd way, it's kind of reassuring to hear Bush talk about the crisis in something resembling normal language, even if his outburst was only intended for Tony Blair. In contrast to Bush's preferred messianic public persona, muttering expletives about Syria while munching on a roll at least shows him engaged with reality.