It's pretty obvious to everyone that Israel lost its war against Hezbollah -- the Israelis know it, and the Lebanese know it. This is a disgraceful turn of events for Israel, and for the whole of Western Civilization. On the part of the Israeli public:
The 34-day war against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, widely seen here as just, had united Israel's fractured society. Hezbollah was considered a growing threat after it had vastly expanded its arsenal of missiles in recent years.
But the unity crumbled after Israel's fabled army pulled out of south Lebanon without crushing Hezbollah or rescuing two soldiers whose July 12 capture by the guerillas during a raid in Israel triggered the fighting. ...
The Dahaf poll, which had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points, showed 70 percent opposed to a cease-fire that did not include the return of the captured soldiers, and 69 percent backing an official inquiry into the war's prosecution.
It's disgusting to me that Israel agreed to a cease-fire that didn't regain the freedom of its captured soldiers. Pathetic and ridiculous. What's more, no one believes that a UN multinational force will be able to disarm Hezbollah or secure Israel's northern border. There's no way to view the situation as anything other than a complete victory for Hezbollah and Iran... and they know it.
As stunned Lebanese returned Tuesday over broken roads to shattered apartments in the south, it increasingly seemed that the beneficiary of the destruction was most likely to be Hezbollah.
A major reason — in addition to its hard-won reputation as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill — is that it is already dominating the efforts to rebuild with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran.
Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an "unlimited budget" for reconstruction.
In his victory speech on Monday night, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for "decent and suitable furniture" and a year’s rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.
"Completing the victory," he said, "can come with reconstruction."
Thereby entrenching Hezbollah (and Iran) in the Lebanese government and further empowering the very group that Israel ostensibly wanted to destroy. The whole war was a debacle for Israel and a complete win for Islamofascism.
However, the far more knowledgable Austin Bay sees it differently.
The Israeli strategy appears to be to allow the UN deal to self-destruct. If the UN peacekeepers can disarm Hizbollah, fine. If not, Israeli ground troops will come back in and clear everyone out of southern Lebanon. At that point, it will be obvious that no one else is willing, or able, to deal with the outlaw "state-within-a-state" that Hizbollah represents. Hizbollah will still exist after being thrown out of southern Lebanon, and it will be up to the majority of Lebanese, and the rest of the Arab world, to deal with Hizbollah and radical Shias.
Eh, I don't know... I think Mr. Bay is a little optimistic.