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It is hard to see how the UN resolution passed this evening represents anything but an Israeli defeat.

The Israelis went after Hezbollah and now if -- a big if -- Israel actually allows implementation of this cease fire, Hezbollah will have been left standing. Hezbollah will claim victory. The same way I'd claim victory if I climbed into the ring with Mohammed Ali in his prime and left the ring standing up.

This is not to say that Hezbollah hasn't been hurt. But in the Muslim world defeat is victory, destruction is glory, failure is holy. It is Israel that will be conducting the post-mortems and naming the scapegoats.

I don't know if Condoleeza Rice lost her nerve and Mr. Bush his confidence in Ehud Olmert, or if they are acting like the friend who pulls you out of a losing bar fight. It doesn't matter much, this will be seen throughout the middle east as a defeat for Israel and by extension, us. In the end we turned for help to the French and to the United Nations and even had to endure a chiding lecture from Kofi Anaan.

Israel went into this war with no clear strategic plan. They cut off entry points for rearmament. And they punished the pitifully weak Lebanese government for failing to control Hezbollah. And then they fought a Rumsfeld war of probing movements and air power. Now it seems they are bringing in the tanks. The Israelis at least learn quickly. We still haven't learned the folly of just-enough-to-lose warfare.

Does anyone believe that the Lebanese forces tasked to step between the Israelis and Hezbollah will keep the peace? If they ever even arrive in that position?

This makes the third time Iran has beaten us. First came the hostage taking under Jimmy Carter, followed by the murder by Hezbollah of 241 Marines in Beirut and Ronald Reagan's cut-and-run. Their second victory is one still in the making: Iraq. This looks like the third.

We need to stop losing to these people. We need to think about that in two years, when we vote. We don't need someone charming, we don't need someone attractive. We need someone who is going to start winning.

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  1. Blogger cakreiz Says:

    It didn't help that we took down Iran's greatest regional enemy and counterweight, Saddam. Of course, Iran and Ahmadinejad will eventually overplay their hand (much like Saddam), only to find themselves facing the wrath of the West. The likely scenario: a direct attack of Israel. I'm still confident that the Iranian radicals are capable of that kind of insanity.

    Getting back to your post, you're right, we do need someone who is capable of understanding this and dealing with it. Who might that be?

  2. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    If I had to pick two names out of a hat: McCain and Wes Clark.

    I guess my endorsement of Warner will have to die with the old blog, eh?

  3. Blogger cakreiz Says:

    I'd go along with those two in a heartbeat. Always thought Warner was a long shot. Frankly, at this point, I'd just like someone SMART.

  4. Blogger cakreiz Says:

    Okay, now I'm fantasizing that the Democratic Party saw the efficacy and wisdom of nominating Clark. Pretty ridiculous, I know. Alternatively, Clark would be a hell of a Secretary of Defense... probably even better than the one we have now, ya think?

  5. Anonymous eteraz Says:

    it was my understanding that hizbollah cannot approach the border anymore. they will be kept 20 miles away. i think that's great. it also brings the focus back to the fact that its a country that belongs to the lebanese and they have to be its boss, not hizbollah.

    that's not destruction of hizbollah, but its not a defeat. under your view, even total decimation of hizbollah would be victory for the arabs.

    i do think hizbollah will now try, and already has, infiltrate the lebanese army. but in that they will have to engage the larger lebanese polity.

  6. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Eteraz:
    I think by the odd mathematics of the middle east -- where the beating the Egyptians took in 1973 was seen as an Egyptian victory -- it will read as a loss for Israel.

    I have no confidence in either the international force or the Lebanese army. Let's not forget that UN forces were present in Rwanda, and between Egypt and Israel in 1967. I think the effect of the UN force will be to restrain Israel far more than Hezbollah. As for the Lebanese army it's already what, 25% Shiite? And employed by a nation state that has shown no capacity to stand up to Hezbollah?

    My only hope are thee agreements we're not seeing: the deals between us and various sides to the conflict.

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