August 14, 2006
Jed Babbin Has Become Nancy Pelosi
Jed Babbin is now guest-hosting on Hugh Hewitt's show -- and he just flatly declared this war a total victory for Hezbollah and a catastrophic defeat for Israel. He pronounced that Lebanon is now "Hezbollahstan," and that there is now no possible way ever to remove them from their complete control of Lebanon. He as much as said that it's all gone, all lost, and we shouldn't bother even fighting anymore.
Babbin said we were back to the "status quo ante," as if Hezbollah were still in their dug-in positions, still had all their missiles, hadn't lost thousands of fighters, and weren't about to have the complication of 30,000 "neutral" troops that they would have to shoot around for their next aggression -- which will still come.
George W. Bush famously said "you're either with us or with the terrorists." Jed Babbin is now with the terrorists.
Oh, I'm sure he would go ballistic if he ever read this post (which he wouldn't, of course; I'm not up there with Instapundit, Power Line, or Hugh Hewitt, and I doubt he drills down any deeper into the blogosphere than sites with that level of popularity). He would insist that no, he's not with the terrorists; he's just being a "realist"... which is why he keeps saying "there are only two winners in this ceasefire: Hezbollah and Iran."
But how does this differ in any way from what John Murtha, John F. Kerry, Harry Reid, and yes, Nancy Pelosi relentlessly intone about Iraq? Don't they say that due to Bush's incompetence, Iraq is completely lost, that it's a total victory for al-Qaeda, that there is nothing we can do now, and that we might as well declare failure and go home?
I see no distinction. In fact, any unbiased analyst -- that is, one who is not such a radical, mindless Likudnik -- would say the results in Lebanon were mixed: Israel certainly did not win; they did not achieve their primary goal, to wipe out Hezbollah, nor their secondary goal of returning the two kidnapped soldiers, though that is still possible; but neither did Hezbollah win: Israel achieved some secondary goals, such as killing a lot of Hezbollah members (several thousand of them) and destroying a large percentage of their missiles, all of which will certainly set Hezbollah back a year or two.
A lot can happen in that time; I sincerely hope that there are new elections quickly, and that this time, Likud wins decisively -- as the polls indicate is likely, though I don't know how long that will last. And I pray that there is another war soon (rather, the continuation of this one)... and that with a more experienced, wartime leadership, including perhaps the restoration of Shaul Mofaz, Israel deals a much more severe and lasting blow to Hezbollah... and also burns Bashar Assad's fingers, making him think twice about toadying up to Iran (and hiding Iraqi WMD and giving sanctuary to high-value Baathist targets).
Hezbollah lost position and operational tempo. They lost their dug-in, heavily tunnelled base in southern Lebanon, and they lost a lot of top leaders to capture and killing. And regardless of how they spin the fight, their Shiite supporters in Lebanon must notice that Israel is still present in south Lebanon, but Hezbollah isn't -- at least in nowhere near the numbers they had.
Too, Israel has shown that in actual ground combat, they can mow down even the New! Improved! Hezbollah fighters, with all their Iranian training and arming. That has to give pause to Hassan Nasrallah, who must have thought that Israel would pay a much higher price for taking as much territory as they did: nearly all the way to the Litani and several ground-forces raids deep into the Bekaa Valley. But Israel lost only about 115 soldiers, while terminating thousands of Hezbollah.
Nasrallah has declared the war a tremendous victory for Hezbollah; but of course, Saddam Hussein declared that Gulf War I was a tremendous victory for Iraq... and as Michael Medved points out, Egypt actually celebrates their "victory" over Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War as a national holiday. In reality, Egypt was crushed, and their entire Third Army was trapped by the Israelis after the ceasefire went into effect (Egypt breached it first).
However, if Nasrallah has any functioning brain cells -- "never attribute to stupidity what can adequately be explained by malice" -- he must realize that on those few occasions when the Israeli government actually allowed the IDF to fight, they rolled through the forward-deployed SpecOps branch of the Iranian military like a scimitar through a casaba melon.
Yet when a caller noted that to Babbin, the guest host literally said that "it doesn't matter how many Hezbollah were killed"... as if it were such a trivial matter that it was absurd even to raise it. I recall the Democrats making similarly dismissive comments when Saddam Hussein was captured and when Musab Zarqawi was killed.
There is another parallel: Babbin is a Likudnik (as am I); but Babbin is so focused on the return of Likud, that he is willing to talk Israel into a massive defeat on the chance that this will bring Bibi Netanyahu back to power.
Every, single guest he has had on so far (half way through his 3-hour stint) has backed him to the hilt, agreeing, following highly leading interrogation, that this is a complete, total, and unalloyed victory for Hezbollah; what an astounding consensus! It reminds me of Saddam Hussein's second election, where he literally got 100% of the vote... isn't that remarkable? Not a single Iraqi but loved the Beloved Leader! Match that, Bush.
(There is, I reckon, the faint possibility that Babbin might have picked his guests using a litmus test. But let's not quibble.)
I cannot get away from the fact that Babbin is now following the Pelosi Playbook down to the last page: if he can make Israelis believe that they have suffered a disasterous defeat, rather than a disappointing draw, then that might boost Likud's chances of new elections -- and who cares whether that also encourages Hezbollah to slaughter more Jews? Can't make an omlet without breaking a few heads.
Does anybody else think we on the Right deserve better analysts than Jed Babbin, with his agenda-driven defeatism? A neoconservative is a person who thinks like a liberal but arrives at conservative conclusions.
There is a reason I am always wary of neoconservatives.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 14, 2006, at the time of 4:27 PM
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Jed Babbin is now guest-hosting on Hugh Hewitt's show — and he just flatly declared this war a total victory ...[Read More]
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Tracked on August 15, 2006 3:34 PM
The following hissed in response by: Jay Tea
Jed Babbin will ALWAYS be the man who coined the brilliant phrase: "Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without an accordian: all you leave behind is a bunch of noisy, useless baggage."
No matter what else he may say or do, that statement will always be to his everlasting credit.
The above hissed in response by: Jay Tea at August 14, 2006 4:52 PM
The following hissed in response by: chuck
We may deserve better, but let's face it, anyone who can shoot their mouth off on a daily basis and keep us entertained is going to be a bit lacking in the dispassionate analysis department. I don't pay much attention to those guys and gals except to follow the latest bru-ha-ha. It's like going to a demolition derby: the cars aren't there for transportation, they're there for crashes.
The following hissed in response by: The Yell
But how does this differ in any way from what John Murtha, John F. Kerry, Harry Reid, and yes, Nancy Pelosi relentlessly intone about Iraq?Those clowns are responsible members of a government trying to orchestrate a pullout.
Jed Babbin is a foriegn commentator remarking on a pullout already carried out.
You yourself say that Israel didn't win. The difference between that and saying they suffered a massive defeat is merely a matter of degree.
The following hissed in response by: Baggi
Jed Babbin isn't the only one. Paul over at Powerline is giving equal weight to George Bush and Nasrallah. Comparing them to two boxers who both raise their fists at the end of a fight to influence the judges over who is the victor.
I find this sort of nonesense repugnant. The same kind of nonesense one would find on the Daily Kos.
What has caused these guys to go off the deep end like this anyway?
The following hissed in response by: Rovin
Jed Babbin is a foriegn commentator remarking on a pullout already carried out.
One might be gettin just a little ahead of some facts here. Last I looked there were still 20k IDF in So. Lebanon still holding their positions.
This conflict could be far from over.
The above hissed in response by: Rovin at August 14, 2006 6:47 PM
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
Excerpted and linked at Old War Dogs.
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at August 14, 2006 7:01 PM
The following hissed in response by: Robert Schwartz
Every time I listen to the Pandits on TV yapping about the Israel-Hezbollah war, I can only think of the blind men trying to figure out the elephant.
The following hissed in response by: nk
This was not a war. It was a minor skirmish. Hetzbollah conducted a probe. The Israelis counter-attacked. Both sides took each other's measure. What Israel learned will be more useful to her as the war continues because she has the resources to make use of the information, as opposed to Hetzbollah which doesn't. Her biggest resource probably being her professional military leadership where Hetzbollah just has mullahs.
The above hissed in response by: nk at August 14, 2006 8:04 PM
The following hissed in response by: Michael Babbitt
I think the name calling -- and calling Jed Babbin Nancy Pelosi is truly the worst of ad hominem attacking :-) -- is counterproductive. I don't see the equivalence here as Iraq is not a complete disaster by any rational view; au contraire; getting rid of Saddam Hussein is one of the greatest gifts the US has given humanity.
But although Israel won many tactical victories, I think it is very reasonable to conclude that they lost big time, strategically. I fear Jed Babbin may be right -- and Yoni Tidi at yonitheblogger.com-- but I hope Captain Ed is right. However, as one caller to Jed Babbin asserted, I think the US is the big loser: GWB and Condi have made it okay that the Israeli soldiers were not returned or that Hezbollah not be annihilated as is their due; we would not have stood by for the Nazis to be temporarily set back. That would have been a big mistake. And Israel and the US have made a huge mistake that could be devastating in the future. Perhaps Jed Babbin is right.
Nancy Pelosi is just a politician sacrificing national security for superficial power grabbing; Jed Babbin is dead serious in trying to save our civilization. So give him a break-- just say he has gone too far. Carolyn Glick of the Jerusalem Post and others -- some Lebanese -- believe and argue persuasively that Lebanon has been handed over to Iran since Hezbollah has not been destroyed, just set back militarily but enhanced in the political world. And anytime Iran advances it greatly endangers the entire civilized world.
I generally like your analysis and perspective as your viewpoints do not fit into the normal, easy to fit in boxes. But sometimes the normal, main narratives do make a lot of sense and may just save our asses; being nuanced can be taken to an idiotic level in our culture, as you know. I just want the terrorists wiped out as an effective and growing threat. Name calling will not do this. To me, it may very well be a disaster that Hezbollah was not wiped out. And we may pay for it dearly in the future. Thanks for your writing.
The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray
One reason a lot of people (worldwide) think that the Hez won is because the Hez has a great PR dept. and the active help of international media.
Read this and look at the pretty pictures:
The following hissed in response by: Section9
Jed Babbin and the American Spectator crowd won't be satisfied until Israel deploys nukes and Condi is crucified. They appear to have no conception that the U.S. was under no obligation to hold Olmer's hand while he bungled the war. We went for the ceasefire when we became convinced there was no other way.
The above hissed in response by: Section9 at August 14, 2006 8:54 PM
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
A couple of things, for one thing despite what Babbin might say it was never the intention of Israel to wipe out Hezbellah. The right can demand of them and whine when they refuse to fight to the last Jew to deliver it, but the original idea was to push Hezbellah back. And when the Likud was running Israel they failed. The voters rejected Bibi. I find this tact of using a war to win an election disgusting. I had the same thought, the soldiers die and the politicians use those deaths to campaign. In this regard there is little difference between Pelosi and Babbin. People like Babbin need to shut up and let Israel run Israel.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at August 15, 2006 3:26 AM
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
The US has not "made it ok" that the soldiers were not returned. If it was in Condi's power to get those soldiers back she would.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at August 15, 2006 3:30 AM
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