Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Who Won?

Did Israel kick Hezbollah’s butt? Did Hezbollah kick Israel’s butt? Who won this war? Who came out ahead on the cease-fire agreement?

It is far easier to see who lost than to see who won. The Israelis lost. They lost because they were attacked for no better reason than that the Shiite Hezbollah wants to kill them and take over their land. They lost because their civilian population was deliberately targeted by Hezbollah, instead of targeting their uniformed armed forces, which is what honorable fighters do.

The other losers in this conflict were the Lebanese people, who only did one thing wrong, and that was to fail to insist that their government stop a terrorist organization from moving into their neighborhoods and hiding among them as they launched missiles and rockets at the civilian population of Israel.

As for the cease-fire, again the losers are the Israeli people who are still at risk of continued attacks from Hezbollah, which escaped relatively unscathed, short of the damages from fighting with the Israelis, and was not required to disarm.

Israel could have won this war hands down if it had one thing, which is to have unmercifully wiped out everything and everyone in the area where rockets and missiles were launched at Israel. But the Israelis paid a heavy price for being civil and compassionate toward the Lebanese people, who were pawns of Hezbollah. By trying to minimize civilian casualties, Israel incurred far more injuries and deaths among its army than if it had simply gone in a cleaned house.

If there is a next time—if Hezbollah once again fires on innocent Israeli civilians—my bet is on Israel doing the smart thing, not the compassionate thing.

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