Ron ben Yishai, a prominent pundit on military matters, claims that the decision has already been made, and that the delay now is because the plans are very elaborate and careful, and Barak (Ehud, not Obama) and the heads of the army are not yet confident they've closed all the loopholes. But this, according to ben Yishai, is an indication of seriousness, not of faltering. Quite unlike the war in Lebanon in 2006: this one is being prepared carefully in advance, and fully thought thru.
He claims the goals will be to de-fang the Palestinian ability to wage terror from Gaza; to get rid of the Hamas government; to create a situation similar to the West Bank where Israeli tactical intelligence gathering is smooth, uninterrupted, local, and highly efficient; and to change the status of the Egyptian-Gaza border so that someone reliable really controls it.
If I were at the Guardian or the UN, I'd be preparing my screeches and squacks even now. Then again, what need is there for preparation? We can write their texts for them in advance.
(The link goes to an article I was unable to find in English. Sorry).
Does ben Yishai know what he's talking about? Time will tell, won't it.