The virtual cafe of opinion exchange that is the online English version of Ha'aretz has opened up discussion on the legitimacy of Israel's long-standing tradition of prisoner exchange. Is a prisoner-for-hostage swap the right move this time? I thought I would open it up here at kishkushim, as well. For some brief but relevant historical context, read Ha'aretz's excellent accompanying editorial, which, in my opinion, provides the best justification for Israel's use of force I've heard so far. They point out that the major difference between the most recent kidnappings of Israelis is that the kidnappers are no longer state or even quasi-state (e.g. PLO) actors, but rather extemist sects with paramilitary forces who glorify the use of terror. And states don't usually like to negotiate with terrorists.
Operating under the widely held belief that the IDF will be unable to destroy Hizbollah's infrastructure from the air alone, I think it's safe to assume that finishing the job (i.e., entering South Lebanon by ground) would result in many Israeli casualties. Is the risk of losing troops AND failing to eliminate Hizbollah (which will probably regenerate no matter what) worth the risk of losing the three young men - for whom Israel started bombing in the first place - to an organization who will refuse to release them as long as the bombs keep falling?