Saturday, August 19, 2006


From The New Republic by the Editors. Post date: 08.18.06 ...

Was Israel defeated in Lebanon? ...The blow to Hezbollah, in personnel and munitions and infrastructure, was severe. And the political price that the movement may pay inside Lebanon for bringing the wrath of Israel down upon the poor country is still unclear.

But... the fact is that the wrath of Israel is precisely what was not visited upon Hezbollah...The crowing about the capture of Bint Jbail is embarrassing.... Israel's political and military leadership projected only ambivalence and indecision. ....hundreds of rockets were rained upon Israel's northern region day after day, week after week. ..... This was not a failure of power, but a failure of will; more specifically, of the will to use power....the inconclusiveness of the outcome of this conflict nonetheless stands as a defeat. The reckoning in Israel is already virulent, and it has only just begun.

The military fiasco was compounded by a diplomatic fiasco. ... no sooner was the cease-fire declared than Hezbollah announced that it would not lay down its arms, and the Lebanese government announced that it would not force it to do so. Give these people a Nobel Prize! .....what next? Another resolution? The dark comedy of resolution and irresolution at the United Nations continues.

...was a successful Thirty Day War really beyond the capability of Israel? One hundred fifty-seven Israelis and 842 Lebanese were killed--for what, exactly? A new debate about deterrence? The moral justice of Israel's struggle against Hezbollah is no solace for its military outcome. Israel was right, and Israel botched it.

Whether or not Hezbollah won this war, Iran did. It encouraged and supported Hezbollah in this catastrophic mischief, and it emerges from the adventure satisfied with its ability to hurt Israel and damage regional stability and thwart American strategy. At this moment, therefore, it is important to remember that Iran is not only Israel's problem. It is also America's problem. Indeed, it is the West's problem. There is no figure in the world right now--not Osama bin Laden, not Nasrallah, not Ayman Al Zawahiri, not the Sunni insurgency or the Shia death squads in Iraq, not the cells, Al Qaeda or otherwise, in any European or American city--that represents the Islamist danger more perfectly, with greater ideological and physical force, than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...

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