September 14, 2006

Revising History

Captain's Quarters (h/t Insty) notes this morning that there appears to be some revisionism occurring in the wake of the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah. Arab states and much of the world media originally trumpeted that the war was a undisputed victory for Hezbollah.

Now, those most directly affected seem to think otherwise:

The war stripped more than a few masks from the players in the region. Nasrallah now has to contend with the fallout from his impatient attack on Israel, from the Lebanese and also from the Iranians who had wanted Hezbollah and their rockets as a threat to be feared, not an attack to be weathered and then discounted. His image as the protector of Lebanon has been shattered, and the Lebanese now see him as a threat instead of a savior. After years of Syrian control, they now have to recognize that a large portion of their country is under de facto Iranian occupation, and they're not happy about it.

This has eroded the veneer of victory that Nasrallah placed on the cease-fire. Western commentators and no shortage of Israeli pundits pointed to Nasrallah's claims to have prevailed as a devastating propaganda offensive that would make Israel and the West look weaker than ever. Arabs have taken a more realistic view of the war's results, including the fact that Nasrallah has to make those claims from undisclosed locations to this day. They scoff at his bravado, noting that Nasrallah's vaunted rocket attacks killed more Israeli Arabs than anyone else and proved singularly ineffective as a deterrent to the Israeli incursion.

I've noted on several occasions almost a month ago that the war went far worse for Hezbollah than the world media was willing to admit.

Hezbollah suffered 500-600+ confirmed fatalities at the hands of the IDF, and another 800-1200 are estimated to have been killed in Israeli air strikes. As Hezbollah's active fighters were estimated to number 1,000 or less with 3,000-5,000 more available before this most recent conflict began, it seems that many more such "victories" will see Hezbollah's military wing wiped from the face of the earth.

In addition to Hezbollah's combat loses, the damage to the infrastructure that they brought upon southern Lebanon is quite severe, and will take years of reconstruction and billions of dollars to repair.

But Hezbollah is not by any stretch the only loser in this war, as the world media, and Arab journalists and photojournalists in particular, have suffered tremendous blows to their credibility.

Early on, Hezbollah attempted to recycle the white phosphorus/WMD claims made in the invasion of Fallujah, and the media willing lapped it up without properly investigating the claims. When those claims were conclusively debunked by chemical analysis of tissue samples take from the victims, the media brushed it aside, and took a hit to their credibility as a result.

Shortly thereafter, an Israeli air strike a mile outside the village of Qana was blamed for the death of nearly 60 family members, most of them children. Mostly Arab photojournalists flocked to the scene and flooded the world press with photo after gruesome photo of dead children, and bloggers began questioning whether or not the photos were staged by Hezbollah for the benefit of the press. The media vehemently denied the claims of staging, even after video evidence of a rescue worker dubbed "Green Helmet" was caught on video directing stretcher bearers to remove the body from an ambulance so that it could be re-shot by an assembled throng of photographers.

Time and again, photojournalists took questionable photograph after questionable photograph after questionable photograph, causing increasing scrutiny of photos coming out of Lebanon, where bloggers wondered if scenes were being posed and manipulated.

The came concrete proof that one prolific photographer has been manipulating images in photo-editing software on his computer before releasing them to publication. He was fired. When a second accusation of fraud was leveled at his work, his entire body of work--over 900 photos--was deleted.

The Israeli-Hezbollah war showed the weaknesses of a news-gathering system where story framing and composition is based as much on marketability as it is factuality, and blatant control by Hezbollah was tacitly agreed to and under-reported by those who had their scenes and stories often chosen and manipulated for them by Hezbollah minders.

Time may indeed show that there were actually three losers in the Israeli-Hezbollah War. Israel lost the political battle, Hezbollah lost the military war, and the media lost its most cherished asset, credibility.

Of all of these losses, the media may have the toughest time recovering.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 14, 2006 09:40 AM | TrackBack

Did Israel achieved any of its objectives? Did they secure the return of their soldiers who were captured in South Lebanon,and used as a casus beli? Did Israel stop Hezbollah from firing rockets up to the last day? Israel lost politcally, militarily and morally.

BTW your claim of Israel using phosphorous weapons is bull - like everything else you try to prove. From the lips of the aggresors themselves..

Posted by: Sowhat at September 14, 2006 10:20 AM

Of course that should read...BTW your claim of Israel NOT using phosphorous weapons is bull..

Posted by: SoWhat at September 14, 2006 10:23 AM

France TV Channel 2 is suing all those who claimed the Mohammad Al-Dura movie was staged (and it was). May the truth be told.

Posted by: jay at September 14, 2006 10:31 AM

Well, SoWhat, how about so this: The Germans conducted tests of the surface flesh and muscle tissue provided to them by a Lebanese physician who had claimed that the darkened skin surface on recovered bodies was evidence of Israel's use of Chemical weapons. The tests were conducted under the supervision of an International body of pathology experts and scientists. There was NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that ANY FORM of chemical agent, INCLUDING WHITE PHOSPHORUS, was found in their extensive tests.

Of course, we all know that YOU and YOU ALONE are the forensic pathologist and expert, aren't you?


Posted by: Retired Spy at September 14, 2006 11:09 AM

Retired spy,

You are wasting your time and effort arguing with SoWhat. If you look at his other post, he is somewhat immature and obviously has a liberal slant (meaning he will not be able to see truth and logic). Save your time and fingers.

Posted by: David Caskey at September 14, 2006 11:22 AM

SoWhat - you owe me a new keyboard! I spit coffee all over mine laughing at your inane and obviously uninformed comments. What - did you just learn how to read?

Posted by: Specter at September 14, 2006 11:57 AM

BTW sowhat - has Israel completely left Lebanon? Is the blockade lifted yet?

Posted by: Specter at September 14, 2006 11:58 AM

Even Amnesty International seems to have learned a little from all of this. AI actually condemned Hizbollah for attacks on civilians during their unprovoked aggression against Israel.

Of course, Al-Reuters in reporting this press release from Amnesty had to slide in the bogus claim that most of of the "Lebanese" casualties were civilians--as if Hizbollah wore uniforms--but at least they reported the Amnesty International condemnation.

Posted by: iconoclast at September 14, 2006 12:10 PM

David, you are an asshat who can't see bush and your party doing anything wrong, so as far as I'm concern you are irrelevant.

Specter, if the persons who carried out these heinous acts are openly admitting to it(per link posted above)should we disbeleive them? BTW, Israel couldn't even stop Qatar Airways from flying into Lebanon during their blockade, they have since lifted the blockade. Don't blame me for not keeping up with current events.

Nope the Israelis have not all withdrawn, they're still special forces and intelligence agents crawling around.

Posted by: SoWhat at September 14, 2006 12:25 PM

David, is your cousin still torturing cadets?

Please see, The End of the World As We know it... post

Posted by: SoWhat at September 14, 2006 12:39 PM

When liberals speak, just tell them "so what?". They can't help but trip right over "what".

Posted by: brian at September 14, 2006 12:46 PM

Israel lost a large chunk of faith off me, who previously had only unreserved admiration and deep sympathies for its natural determination to defend itself amidst so sprawling number of Arabs and global Islamic fascists openly bent to "wipe it off the map."

Had Israel held its cherished military traditions, had it continued hunting illsome terrorists and destroying their lairs, had it reenacted the 70's tactical strategy at Entebbe -- Lebanon might become another Iraq or Afghanistan where the forces of reason, backed by reasonable
force of arms, are getting hammered down the natives to recognize the futility of harboring terrorists. Bin Laden may still breathe, but with so many lieutenants doing time in hell or Guantanamo, he's but gasping. On the other hand, the recent cease fire does immeasurable damage to Israel's own image while allowing Nasrallah and his ilk plenty of crow. I believe Israel should not stop, but retake the whole Lebanon and rinse it completely from hezbollah warts. And only then it can afford to retire and let so-called peacekeeping forces around.

Posted by: mad-muhaa at September 14, 2006 07:23 PM


Israel lost credibility with me as well. Their reluctance to fully engage Lebanon/Hizbollah--is there really much of a difference?--could be the beginning of the end. Their inability to defeat the lying narrative of the Arabs yet another indication of incompetence. And their reluctance to target Syria--who promoted this war of agression against Israel--is another indication of failure of will.

By pulling back in Gaza and Lebanon, Israel gained the right to defend itself unreservedly. Cluster bombs and phosphorus included. It has not done that in either situation, which is a huge mistake. The world of leftists, racists, bigots, and anti-semites will never forgive Israel for not dying.

Posted by: iconoclast at September 14, 2006 07:57 PM


So What? You used a single source - a print/online edition to prove your point. Retired Spy came back with the forensics report on the bodies of those supposedly burned. Now let's see - newspaper v. forensic evidence. Which one do I believe? You still owe me a keyboard.

Posted by: Specter at September 15, 2006 07:00 AM