How nice to be Hezbollah

Posted: Jul 31, 2006 11:22 PM

Here's why it's nice to be Hezbollah:

1. Any fighting you start, Israel gets blamed for the killings. Thirty-four children and 12 women killed in Qana (or as the Bible spells it, Cana) through an Israeli mistake -- and that's all the watching world sees. Not the unguided Katyusha rockets falling on Israel, with demonstrably lower prospects for killing and maiming -- though a score of Israelis indeed have been killed and hundreds wounded. Not the border raid that provoked Israeli retaliation. No, it's pictures that count, and the pictures this week are of torn and dazed Lebanese caught in the crossfire. Strange -- or telling -- to think you never see pictures of dead terrorists, their like having inserted themselves neatly into the Lebanese population, whence they rain death on Israel. That's one reason it's nice to be Hezbollah.

2. There's the Western media, via technology of Western origin, to tell your story. Whereas no one expects al-Jazeera to deal "objectively" with the story, the Western media take pride in their allegedly even-handed coverage of the war. On The New York Times' front page for Monday, July 31, is a four-column color photo of Lebanese rescuers moving a body out of a Qana apartment, with the cutline noting that "Dozens of people were killed." That's above the three-column head, "Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers," with a one-column subhead reading, "A Decade Later, It Is Again a Day When the Children Died."

You can't buy publicity like that. Which is another reason it's nice to be Hezbollah.

3. No one puts the screws to you to stop fighting. That contrasts with the international pressure on Israel to stop bombing and "killing refugees." Israel is a real place, with a real government, one both humane and democratic. Democracies listen to the people. Homicidal maniacs, the chief component of the Hezbollah organization, listen only to each other. You don't think it's nice to be Hezbollah? Guess again.

4. Your suppliers and abettors -- Syria and Iran -- both being undemocratic and conspicuously anti-humane, pay no attention to anyone who clamors for an end to the shipments of rockets and other armaments. Not much use trying, hmmm? But the United States -- that's different. Democratic and humane, like Israel, the United States subjects itself -- a condition of responsible nationhood -- to the cries of the world and of its people.

There's always the hope that the "peace" crowd in the West, which doesn't like Israel a lot to begin with and despises George W. Bush, can be harnessed on behalf of efforts to make Israelis back down -- to make them buy into some sham agreement structured to keep refugees alive, especially the women and children among them. Yes, it's delightful being Hezbollah.

5. If you win, you win. If you lose, you still may win, provided you structure (sheer adamance always helps) the peace agreement as a standoff or "truce." During a truce, the Syrians will resupply you. You can attack again when ready. And all the foregoing advantages obtain again, if not more intensely than ever, your adversaries having shown how fast they will flinch when squeezed. Neat, eh? Neat to be Hezbollah.


... Unless your enemy manages somehow to shrug off the admonitions of the watching world, stays after you, chases you down and, despite the formidable odds, kicks the stuffing out of murderers and gangsters, kidnappers, killers of women, killers of children.

The trick is never to discount moral courage -- a virtue less touted in the modern West than in former times and places when good and evil were accounted radically different, and opposed, commodities. Take the Jews of the second century A.D., to whom their captain, Judas Maccabeus, reportedly said (1 Mac. 3:58): "Arm yourselves, and be valiant men, so that ye be in readiness against the morning, that ye may fight with these nations, that are assembled together against us, to destroy us and our sanctuary." It was an invitation his listeners took up gladly -- United Nations or no United Nations.