Friday, August 18, 2006
Oh, one more aside. The two dominant strains of commentary I've read on Israel's performance have been: Israel lost and this is a catastrophe; and, on the other hand, Israel didn't lose because Hezbollah was badly weakened, and if you say Hezbollah won you are buying into Hezbollah spin and letting them win the PR war.
I think I've answered the "catastrophe" position as well as I can. This was a clear and bad loss, but Hezbollah is not about to overrun Israel. As for the second, contrary argument: Hezbollah's assets are men and missiles. They don't appear to have lost any of their key leadership, and they will easily recruit more men with the propaganda victory they have achieved. And missiles are cheap; Iran has plenty, and Hezbollah still had some themselves at the end of the war, as they were launching right up to the date the cease-fire went into effect. I think the right way to score this is in terms of who achieved their objectives, and on that score it's pretty clear that Israel failed to achieve its objectives while Hezbollah achieved its objectives quite well. The other side isn't the only team to use spin, you know. Olmert and his team have every reason to want us to believe that they did a good job. The Israeli people aren't buying it. We shouldn't either.
Links to pieces I thought were good about the war:
Ze'ev Schiff in Ha'aretz
Yuval Steinitz in Ha'aretz
Yossi Klein Halevy in The New Republic
Andy McCarthy in NRO