Yesterday, for instance, it lost 24 soldiers in Lebanon. That's nearly the equivalent of our entire losses over three years in Iraq, since Israel has just 1/100th of the U.S. Population.
What has it gotten for that sacrifice? Cut through the rhetoric and the answer is, not much. Hizbollah used new tactics and fought it to a draw.
After a suitable period of grieving (and grieving is a process) Israel is going to learn from this. Unlike America, Israel has no choice.
It was the tactics of shock-and-awe, of kill 'em all, and of occupation which failed Israel in Lebanon, just as it has failed us. The question now becomes in what direction will Israel turn?
There are two directions possible.
One side, the Likud side, is ready to bring out the nukes. They're for redefining Palestinians as non-natives of the area, forcibly removing them to Jordan, sealing everything up tight and wiping anyone who objects off the map Americans might recognize this as the William Kristol school of policy analysis .
The other side is still emerging. It's more nuanced. It believes more in proportionality. And it's willing to re-engage in the peace process, such as it is, after Hizbollah finishes its victory dance.
The question is, how fast will this learning take place, and how quickly will it be transferred to the U.S.? Until it is the political civil war will remain among the Democrats, and Republicans will have an advantage – never mind the polls.
A substantial portion of the Democratic donor base is as committed to Israel as any neo-con warmonger. Sure, they're hurt that Joe Lieberman lost. But they can blame Lieberman for that. They give a lot of money to people like Hillary Clinton, and most Democratic Senators remain more in tune with the Democratic Leadership Council than the Netroots.
They also give to Republicans, without a qualm. In the east they may be “Bloomberg Democrats” and in the west “Schwarzenegger Democrats,” but the political effect is the same. Without these people, today's Netroot activists, with their Open Source Thesis, may seem even further from power than the Goldwater-ites were in 1966. (In fact, when you look at the Republican leadership circa 1966, they are just as far.)
As Israel learns to change its tactics, and rejects the “kill 'em all” policy, this will have a huge political impact in the U.S. Democratic donors will suddenly have cover to lean left again (where their hearts really belong) and a new governing majority will emerge. (Nixon + Wallace = 57%).
The only question is how long this will take. It would be ironic if history repeated itself precisely. But in Joe Lieberman's independent campaign for the Senate, perhaps it already has.