Saturday, August 12, 2006

How Did You Think It Would End?

The cease-fire isn't making right-wing bloggers very happy. Andy McCarthy titles his post "Hezbollah wins" and K-Lo agrees. Paul from Powerline isn't happy either. They're right to be displeased. Hezbollah comes out stronger now than it was three months ago. Says McCarthy: "How hard must Ahmadinejad, Assad and Nasrallah be laughing at all this?"

This is a bad outcome that you could've predicted after reading hilzoy. Israel couldn't stop Hezbollah even with an 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, and they aren't going to do it with anything short of that. There really aren't any productive military solutions available here -- read her excellent post for a more in-depth discussion. She tells us what will work:

Personally, I think (as I've said before) that in the long run, the solution to this problem will have to involve the creation of a strong and stable Lebanese state with a monopoly of force within its territory. This is not the sort of solution that one brings about by striking decisive blows

The Cedar Revolution showed us that there was hope for Lebanon eventually getting things under control. Maybe not in the short term, but over time a strengthened Lebanese state might be able to break free of Syrian influence and disarm Hezbollah. But instead of supporting the Lebanese, Israel dropped bombs all over them and drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. How do you think these people will feel about Israel when they return to their blown-up houses and dead friends? That's the kind of thing that encourages somebody to join Hezbollah and take up arms against Israel.

Michael Totten's Lebanese friend, to be sure, isn't doing that. He was reasonably pro-Israel and solidly anti-Hezbollah before Israel started bombing his country. In other words, he's exactly the kind of guy that we need to achieve our objectives in the Middle East. But reading what he wrote in July gives you some idea how the bombing has affected the political situation:

You've made this country unliveable for the people fighting to disarm Hezbollah.

Guess what? I'm leaving. Yep. Me.

Where am I going? Syria. Didn't want to, but I have to. The people we marched against are the ones you sent us begging to. The people who assassinated our leaders, kept us from having an operating democracy, and who armed Hezbollah are laughing it up because they've won the game because of you.

Bashar Assad said Lebanon would be destroyed if he left. I didn't know the Israelis would play into his game. It's not surprising that Syrian-allied Hezbollah started the mess, but you guys are just vicious.

All my Hezbollah supporting friends are sticking around. They call the rest of us cowards. I guess we are. We want to do scientific research. We want our children to learn how to play the piano. We want to watch our stock porfolios burgeon. We can't do that here any more.

I tried to sympathize with you. I didn't support Hezbollah, and if you look at the posts before this conflict began, I was maligning the political parties that oppose Hezbollah for not doing enough.

I even gave you guys the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of this, as did most Lebanese. Even the Shia, Christians, and Druze in South Lebanon understood your position. Not any more.

Oh, well. I'm a refugee.

This isn't what I want, and it isn't what the folks at the National Review want either. I wish they knew that it's what dropping bombs on civilians will get you.

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