In his Washington Post column today, Charles Krauthammer counters the conventional wisdom that Hezbollah won, joining Amir Taheri, who made similar points last week. The gist is, Hezbollah's military suffered heavy causualties, and it lost politically because the Lebanese people blame the terrorist group for bringing so much devastation to the country. This view was bolstered by the following statement by Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, which Krauthammer cites in his article:
"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 . . . that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not."
While both Krauthammer and Taheri make strong cases, in my view Hezbollah won because it is still around, and because Nasrallah lives to make such statements.
Krauthammer concludes his article by writing:
Middle East, however, promising moments pass quickly. This one needs to be seized. We must pretend that Security Council Resolution 1701 was meant to be implemented and exert unrelieved pressure on behalf of those Lebanese -- a large majority -- who want to do the implementing.
But Krauthammer is obviously smart enough to know that the chances of 1701 being implemented are nonexistent. Lebanon has already said it won't disarm Hezbollah and Kofi Annan has said that U.N. peacekeepers won't disarm Hezbollah either.
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