Claims and counter claims by both Israel and the Hezbollah organization makes you start wondering who really is coming out ahead in the conflict, now in its 14th day. Both of the major players have suffered property damage and casualties; and though it’s easy to track Israel’s casualties, 39 dead soldiers and civilians at last count, it’s virtually impossible to have any idea how many Hezbollah fighters and family members have been killed as they rarely divulge these statistics, and even make great efforts to remove their dead in order not be photographed and displayed by foreign news medias. Property damage in Israel has also been graphically shown; and although this has occurred even more so in many parts of Lebanon, it has been done mostly for PR purposes, to try to drum up sympathy for Hezbollah’s cause.
In warfare, there are very seldom complete winners, as the price paid, in human lives and property damage is almost always more costly than benefits derived by victory. WWII was an exception to this, however, as had Nazi Germany and their Pacific allies, the Japanese Empire forced America and her allies to agree to an armistice, our world would be a much different planet, not to mention what might have happened to virtually all Jews living outside the United States.
Determining the victors in warfare also has to do with who has the psychological advantage as well. For example, following the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein actually declared himself the winner of the conflict, as his still being in power was considered by himself as a major victory. All that changed twelve years later, however. In what now appears to be showdown “knockdown, drag out” conflict between Hezbollah’s Secretary General and spiritual leader, Said Hassan Nasrallah, and Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; both are either claiming or predicting victory without fully realizing the implementations of the word. Concerning property damage suffered, Israel’s loses are mounting in the tens of millions (of dollars), but losses to both Hezbollah and the country of Lebanon run into the billions with the unfortunate victims being the Lebanese people themselves. From an economic standpoint, it will take the people of Israel a couple of years to fully recover from damages sustained. The Lebanese, however, will need a decade, if not longer, to return to where they were just a month ago.
Nasrallah, in his speeches and interviews during the conflict, says that his organization will help the Lebanese people rebuild their shattered country (with the help of outside parties, of course). The Sheikh had better find out just who will be willing to help in this process, which will also mean dedicating billions of dollars or Euros to rebuild his organization as well. He must believe that his very continued existence is enough of a reason to claim that he and Hezbollah are coming out on top. Reality will soon begin to paint a different picture though, as even long-time benefactors like Iran may not be so willing to open their treasury for Nasrallah’s benefit. Iran, in economic difficulty itself, and due to be levied partial sanctions by the U.N., had trouble enough giving a much smaller sum to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority .
So who’s really winning this conflict? It all depends on who you are, and where you are.