Was it Worth all the Dead Babies?
Almost a month ago I wrote, in They Will All Go To Hell , "both the state of Israel, and Hezbollah want war. Why else kill hundreds of people in Lebanon because two soldiers were kidnapped? Why else kidnap the soldiers?And of course neither side can talk to the other. After all you don't talk to "terrorists" nor do you talk to a state you don't recognize."
Earlier, in Are they Nuts in the Middle East?, I had written, "They are nuts, on both sides of this conflict. Completely, irrationally, nuts."
I also worried in The "let's hide behind our women and babies war plan" that "As far as I can tell, Israel has played right into Hezbollah's hands."
So, how did it go? Did Israel win? Or did Hezbollah win?
Was it worth all the dead babies I wrote about in The Dead Baby? I said, "If you are for Israel, now we are at the stage that dead babies are on the front cover of NY Times. You think this helps Israel?"
Let's not discuss who was right or wrong, let's just look at results. After all, that's all that counts in the real world, right?
So we'll go to the Wall Street Journal, and their front page today to get the answer.
Why Israel's Plans To Curb Hezbollah Went So Poorly
Nation Misgauged Response;
Military, Civilian Leaders
Were Sometimes at Odds
Creating a New Hero for Arabs
By GUY CHAZAN in Tel Aviv, KARBY LEGGETT in Beirut, Lebanon, and NEIL KING in Washington.
August 19, 2006; Page A1
When its bombs began falling on southern Lebanon 39 days ago, Israel had high hopes that it could severely damage or even destroy Hezbollah, the militant Islamist group rooted there. Crippling it, they and their Washington allies hoped, would rid Israel of an implacable enemy. It would also set back Iran, a longtime supporter of the group, at a crucial time in Iran's nuclear negotiations with the West.
But with the fighting stopped, Hezbollah remains far from defanged. Indeed, in many eyes it is the victor, having faced down the mighty Israeli military and hugely enhanced its standing with the anti-Israeli populations across the Mideast.
Even the scaled-back ambitions that Israel and the U.S. settled on as the conflict unfolded remain in peril. A cease-fire designed to box in Hezbollah militarily appears tenuous, bogged down in disagreements over what a peacekeeping force in part of Lebanon could accomplish and which countries will participate. Lebanon's government, one of the main actors in any plan to disarm Hezbollah, says it can't do so without concessions from Israel that the Israelis appear unlikely to make. Meanwhile, Syria, dealt a big setback last year when it was forced to withdraw from Lebanon, seems to have regained some standing as one of the backers of the tenacious Hezbollah fighters.
What happened? Israel repeatedly underestimated Hezbollah. It miscalculated the political support it would win from Lebanon. Israel's civilian and military leadership divided over how to wage the war. And some Western powers, having seen Hezbollah's might, are wary of taking it on by getting into a peacekeeping venture.
The war and uneasy peace are causing earthquakes across the Middle East. Tremors are rippling through Israel, where an emotional reexamination of what went wrong is under way. Lebanon is groping for a path forward that won't plunge the country into another civil war. Hezbollah is crowing that it has won a victory -- even though the extent of the beating it took is also becoming clearer. President Bush said in his view the militant group is the loser, though it may take some time for the world to see it that way.
So here we are, a month later, and this is the result.
Was it worth it?
Let's remember some of the pictures: