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Winners and losers

More and more people are discussing the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, and calling it a resounding victory for Hezbollah. Last night, the guys from Pundit Review had Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters (retired) on, and he discussed in detail the mistakes Israel had made in the fighting, and how Hezbollah had done far better than many had expected.

I couldn't resist. I called in, and suggested to the Colonel that his talk of the Israeli defeat and Hezbollah's victory was overstated -- I put it that "Israel lost because they didn't win, and Hezbollah won because they didn't lose."

The Colonel agreed.

No, there was no clear winner in the fighting. But by most objective standards, Israel was clearly winning. They had complete freedom of movement, they had killed far more Hezbollah than they lost soldiers, and there was little chance of Hezbollah actually standing and stopping Israel from doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, wherever they wanted.

In fact, had the fighting existed in a vacuum, Hezbollah was doomed. They simply aren't up to facing a modern military fighting force.

But Nature and geopolitics abhor a vacuum. The world chose to intervene and pull Hezbollah's chestnuts out of the fire before Israel could achieve its three goals: the return of its two kidnapped soldiers, the disarming of Hezbollah, and securing a demilitarized "buffer zone" in southern Lebanon to prevent future attacks.

Of those three goals, they had pretty much achieved the third and made a sizable dent in the second. The first was pretty much more a hope than a goal.

Hezbollah's objective was much simpler: survival. Maybe kill as many Israelis as they could (soldiers and civilians), but mainly to preserve their existence as a paramilitary threat to Israel. And that was never really in danger.

So yeah, it's easy to say that Hezbollah "won" and Israel "lost" this battle. But to mistake this for a decisive action is to deny reality -- this settled absolutely nothing, and there will be another fight.

And that one will, in all likelihood, be far worse than this one ever would have been.

Update: Kevin from Pundit Review mails me this link to their interview with Col. Peters. To avoid my annoying voice, click the mute at around 9:25 and unclick it at 12:00.

Comments (6)

But hezbo did win J. They ... (Below threshold)

But hezbo did win J. They win every time by drawing the wrath of the world down on Israel. They don't care about casualties short of losing all their members. They don't value human life at all. After all the David and Goliath analogies they'll spread on the street, I suspect they won't have to worry about new recruits making up the losses.

While much depends on the d... (Below threshold)

While much depends on the definition (define it as Hezbollah getting no closer to eliminating Israel and Israel is the clear winner), to an extent it really doesn't matter as the crazies are going to claim victory no matter what Israel does to them. They're the Black Knight of Monty Python... claiming victory (it's only a flesh wound) even though they're left bloodied, with little to show for their efforts.

The next time around is goi... (Below threshold)

The next time around is going to be a different fight. Israel and the IDF lost a lot of credibility in the recent conflict. When they go in again they're going to want to get their mojo back.

Hezbollah IS the Black Knig... (Below threshold)

Hezbollah IS the Black Knight in Monty Python's classic -

Black Knight: All right; we'll call it a draw.
Black Knight: Oh, oh, I see, running away then. You yellow bastard! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!

Aw, c'mon. Give peace a cha... (Below threshold)

Aw, c'mon. Give peace a chance...

...give Iran and Syria a chance to rearm Hezbollah with more and better missiles and rush in more of their "volunteer advisors".
...give the peacenik wienie politicians in Israel a chance to tie the hands of the Israeli military.
...give the flaccid UN a chance to perpetuate the myth that they have made, or ever will, make a difference, while undermining the Zionist Occupiers.
...give France a chance to send both of its willing volunteers to stop zees madness and then withdraw.
...give Hezbollah a chance to locate Baghdad Bob to crow about their great victory.
...give the Israelis a chance to realize that nobody is going to help them (we can't and Europe won't) and that next time they should kick the living crap out of Hezbollah until the very instant UN forces actually show up to help.

This is kind of what I've b... (Below threshold)

This is kind of what I've been thinking too. Who accomplished their goals, and how well?

Same thing in narrative, suburban format here:






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