August 1, 2007

Now They Tell Us

Last year at this time, the world watched as Israel tried to drive Hezbollah out of the sub-Litani region in a large but tentative invasion of Lebanon. Leaders from the UN and the West worked tirelessly to restrain Israel, finally brokering a truce to end the fighting. According to a Hezbollah officer, it came just in time to save the Iranian-backed terrorists from a complete collapse:

"The cease-fire acted as a life jacket for the organization [at the end of the Second Lebanon War]," a Hizbullah officer said in an interview aired by Channel 10 on Tuesday.

In the interview, the unnamed officer said Hizbullah gunmen would have surrendered if the fighting last summer had continued for another 10 days. ...

The officer shown on Channel 10 said the organization's gunmen had been running low on food and water and facing rapidly diminishing arms supplies.

It turns out that Hezbollah miscalculated the ability of the Israeli military to react to rocket fire. The act of launching a rocket almost always resulted in the destruction of the launchers -- which prompted Hezbollah to relocate to civilian areas. In that way, the Hezbollah officer said, they knew that the Israelis would hesitate to return fire for fear of the civilian casualties it would create.

This shows the folly of both the IDF's initial limited incursions and the global meddling that followed. Had the Israelis hit the sub-Litani region with everything it had once the decision to make war had been made, Hezbollah would not have had those ten extra days at the end. The vacillation apparent through most of the operation would have given way to lightning-fast gains and the elimination of vast swaths of Hezbollah operations in the south -- and likely to their destruction as a political force in Lebanon.

Once the Israelis finally let loose, however, the world should have allowed them to finish the job. Only the most dense refuse to recognize that Hezbollah acts as a proxy for Iran and Syria. Their destruction would have stripped both regimes of a crucial tool in their efforts to dominate the region and provoke war with Israel, as happened in this instance. Instead, the kibbitzing let Hezbollah off of the ground and gave Iran and Syria an important strategic victory from a tactical disaster.

The next time they provoke a war on the Lebanon border -- and it will likely come soon -- neither Hezbollah nor its sponsors will make the same mistakes again. This was an opportunity lost.


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Comments (6)

Posted by LarryD | August 1, 2007 1:36 PM

Let's hope Israel doesn't make the same mistakes, either.

Another data point in favor of the Jacksonian way of war.

It's easy to be foolishly compassionate when a war is going on. But compassion is better served by decisive victory than by truces and ceasefires.

Posted by rbj | August 1, 2007 1:57 PM

No wonder why the UN worked so hard to stop the fighting. Next time, just keep supplying Israel.

Posted by braindead | August 1, 2007 2:58 PM

Peace through Superior Firepower !

Posted by Jazz | August 1, 2007 3:25 PM

I don't know. This story just has some problems which raise questions. It doesn't ring true, at least for me, on two points.

First, as is so often pointed out on virtually all the right wing blogs I read, this terrorist group (and others) are pretty much masters of the media, no? I mean, in that they watch the media and use heavily "liberal" news outlets like the NY Times, WaPo and CNN as tools to their own advantage, right? So why is one of their officers showing up giving an interview that would intentionally betray weakness on their part and make them look bad? Does that make sense?

Second point... who are we taking as the source for this story? One single anonymous source, and a self proclaimed terrorist at that? This is a solid, unimpeachable source for an important news report about that conflict? I see blogs on both sides of the aisle *constantly* crucifying one another for quoting single anonymous sources. (Take that recent dustup over the "Baghdad Diarist" for example.) What if this same, unnamed terrorist soldier shows up next month (as he very well might) and says that Israelies were crossing over the border at night and impaling Palestinian babies on spits as a drinking game? Would he still be a solid, unimpeachable source?

No, this makes very little sense. Other possible explanations do come to mind, though.

One... He's telling this tale for a reason. To score political points? To cause Isreal to act on false information? To just make them look bad in the media, as if they weren't militarily competent enough to finish the job?

Or two... (and get ready to let the tinfoil hat accusations, etc. fly) what if he's not really a "Hizbullah officer" at all and is somebody putting out some press for Isreal, (where is this story being reported again?) that would make a good case for a more intensive war effort.

Hard to say, but the whole thing smells of yesterday's fish for the reasons cited above, and I'm kind of surprised that Capt. Ed is quoting this story as truth without question and drawing such sweeping conclusions from it.

Posted by firedup | August 1, 2007 4:29 PM

It doesn't matter whether to believe the "Hizb'allah officer" or not... oh and since when do terrorist groups have officers, huh?.. it's a matter of having followed last summer's war or not.

I suspect that Captain Ed came to his conclusions back then, as we all did. It was a huge wasted opportunity. Yalla ya, Nasrallah, never came to be.

But the outcome gave credence to the contention that the Saudis call the shots re U.S./UN policy in the region and that arabist Condi couldn't have been a better pick for SECSTATE for those purposes.

When she went over to speak with Amb. Gittleman after the fateful Res. 1701 passed... well, I'll never forget seeing that. So sad.

And it was typical of UN negotiators U.S. and France et al to wrest concessions from Israel for a cease-fire, even when Israel were the ones who were hit first, had their soldiers kidnapped who were never returned to this day.

Posted by Poker Player | August 1, 2007 9:28 PM

and says that Israelies were crossing over the border at night and impaling Palestinian babies on spits as a drinking game? Would he still be a solid, unimpeachable source?

Of course not. The content and the source both must be examined.

It appears that you are just looking for a reason excuse the actions of the press... remember the photoshoped pictures? And the UN. Who, btw, has now let Hedzbollah re-arm