Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hezbollah: still Miss Congeniality in Lebanon?

Our modern asymmetrical wars, post-Tet, no longer seem to consist of strategic battles fought on the ground by the military, with the winners declared through the gaining of territory and the loss of fighters and equipment. Rather, they are mainly propaganda wars, won or lost in the press and the field of public opinion.

In this country, views about foreign wars are largely shaped by the MSM. So the basic perception here is that Hezbollah, despite its losses in men and materials, won last month's round with Israel handily. That opinion is probably widely held in Europe, for similar reasons, not to mention Europe's greater sympathy to the Hezbollian cause.

And perhaps, after all--as that North Vietnamese colonel famously told the American negotiator at the end of the Vietnam War--winning battles isn't so very important, but rather irrelevant; perception of victory is all that matters.

I don't pretend to know whom the Lebanese perceive the winner to have been. One thing I think we can safely say is that they don't regard themselves as the winners. But there do appear to be rumblings in Lebanon, among the people who experienced this war up close and personal rather than filtered through the giant maws of the MSM, that the verdict on Hezbollah is becoming a bit harsh.

Here's Amir Taheri's take on the subject. He points out that criticism of Hezbollah in Lebanon has been growing since the war, not shrinking, and that public opinion is against those rightly perceived as starting a useless war in which the Lebanese people suffered. Nor were those Lebanese people consulted, and they appear to be quite angry, despite the payoffs Hezbollah has tried to mount--featuring crisp new money from Iran--to buy them off.

Then there's Michael Totten, who made a lot of friends during his lengthy prewar sojourn in Lebanon. He sees the unprecedented statements by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accepting the possibility of peace talks with Israel as a watershed. Prior to the war, to breathe even a hint of the possibility of peace with Israel was committing political suicide.

And of course, perhaps it is; Siniora may have signed his own death warrant, as Alexandra speculates.

To those who say I'm picking and choosing articles that support my own wishful thinking, I plead guilty. But at least I'm acknowledging that fact. Yes, it is indeed my hope that Hezbollah has lost face and support in Lebanon. And it's my fervent wish that this loss of popularity will end up mattering, that the people and government of Lebanon will muster both the will and the force to excise this entity from their body politic and their society.

And I have another hope, and that is that our own MSM would stop doing the propaganda work of the enemy. I can dream, can't I?

[ADDENDUM: It's not short, and yet it's concise and well worth reading--an article that concurs with the notion that it's only in the MSM that Hezbollah won this war. Hat tip Pajamas Media.]

{ADDENDUM II: And then there's this.]

Powered by Blogger