August 15, 2006
Hezbullah Lost, Folks
If you are subscribing to the conventional wisdom (which doesn't seem all too wise these days), then Hezbullah won simply by virtue of its existence.
Cardinalpark over at Tigerhawk has a great post up reminding us that the reason Hezbullah is claiming "victory" is because the bar is set so pitifully low for them and so impossibly high for Israel that it makes it easy for Western dupes to fall into the ass-backwards "tortured calculus" of Arab "victory" :
This "war" is about a month old. Hezbollah is reputed to be the toughest Islamist militia on the planet. The IDF is reputed to be a very tough fighting force in its own right. Hezbollah is committed to the destruction of Israel. Near as I can tell, Hezbollah has killed a small fraction of Israel's 8 million people (as compared to Lebanon's total population of around 2 million people). Nobody in Israel seems prepared to come out with a white flag and their hands up. In fact, most statistics aficionados would likely admit that in the bodycount category, Hezbollah and Lebanon have faired poorly. Hence the malarkey about an absence of proportion. Israel's fighting capability is simply more effective.So how exactly would one measure a "loss" for Hezbullah? It is doubtful that even Hezbullah would ever concede a defeat - these are the kinds of people to whom frenzied death is itself considered a "victory." Remaining alive, even if Nasrallah was the sole survivor of the recent hostility, would've been a "victory." When Zarqawi was bombed to death in Iraq, it was a "victory" for the cause because the psychopaths who follow the faith regard the death of murderers as "victory." When the Israelis decimated five Arab armies simultaneously in the 1960's, the Arab nations still claimed "victory." There is no way one can lose if catastrophic strategic and logistical loss is considered "victory."
Now, let's talk real estate. Near as I can make out, the IDF is parked in Southern Lebanon. About a month ago, that was Hezbollah's real estate; no IDF. They left in 2000, right? Now they're back. Cease fire or no cease fire, the IDF and its hardware are all over Southern Lebanon.
Northern Israel, however, hasn't a trace of Hezbollah personnel on it, just poorly aimed rocketry. No significant infrastructure damage, no military damage, no strategic damage. If Hezbollah is serious about taking out 8 million Israelis, they've got a ways to go. Nice allies they've got in Syria and Iran too. Nice that they weighed in with all of the firepower they had to offer -- not much, hmmm? Do we even need to catalog the infrastructure losses in Lebanon?
Last bit to evaluate - politics. The Israeli cabinet voted 24 - 0 with one abstention to accept the cease fire. For Lebanon's part, they said they would march the Lebanese army into the south and disarm, er, blend together with Hezbollah. Nasrallah already told the Lebanese PM to pound sand. So, we have the makings of a potential standoff between the Lebanese Army, whose job it is to march into Southern Lebanon, and Hezbollah. So much like the stand off which plagues Hamas and Fatah in the Palestinian territories, we now have a similar and related standoff in Lebanon.
I have to admit, I am having a hard time seeing how Israel lost here -- as if anyone can actually win a war in 4 weeks. The tortured calculus of the Hezbollah victory evades me. Everybody acknowledges that Israel defeated Egypt and Jordan in 1967 and again in 1973. Why? Well all Israel really had to do was survive. That's what everybody has forgotten. That's all Israel needs to do to win. Survive. It's the other guys who are trying to destroy Israel, not the other way around.
It is incomprehensibly pathetic, but has been the Arab world's standard of "victory" for centuries. Hence, the current state of affairs in the Middle East.
The IDF has expressed dissatisfaction with Olmert's dove-ish approach to the Lebanon conflict, and rightly so. Israeli stated objectives of rescuing the kidnapped soldiers and completely wiping out Hezbullah were not accomplished. The IDF was prepared to strike hard and fast, and had a plan to root out the infestation within two weeks. Olmert scrapped that well-laid plan for this current one. Blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of the Israeli politicians that cut military funding over the past few years and scrapped the original IDF plan. Figures - wars fought by politicians instead of generals and soldiers are never as effective as they need to be. Yes - Iraq could be chugging along at a more favorable clip if our political class in this country were united, but they aren't. That's the new reality of postmodernism.
While the political fallout takes its usual blame-the-Western-power course, keep this in mind. By any objective or traditional military or logistical standard of measurement, Hezbullah got its collective butt pounded into the hills of South Lebanon and into the concrete of select Beruit neighborhoods. The only "loss" for Israel is that they didn't exterminate each and every last cockroach that there was.
Don't buy "conventional wisdom" that you hear from any media organization or television talking head. The same 'tortured calculus of Arab victory' could be applied to the apprehension of murderers in our own country. We've "lost" the war on crime since we haven't apprehended every criminal or murderer out there. Might as well give up, eh?
That same "conventional wisdom" and the apathy towards aggressive fact finding almost allowed a slew of propaganda pieces manufactured for Reuters and the wire services by Hezbullah media operatives into the narrative of this conflict - we found that the "conventional wisdom" in that case was fabricated and exaggerated BS.
There are far too many otherwise intelligent folks that buy "conventional wisdom" already, and look how gullible and unable to assimilate new facts they are. Don't fall into the trap.