Saturday, September 02, 2006

Learning from Hezbollah

by Stephen Dinan

While Hezbollah's hatred of Israel and terrorist activities certainly bear partial responsibility for the war, I also think we have something to learn from what they did in the aftermath of the pummeling. Instead of focusing all their efforts on a losing fight with a superior army, Hezbollah moved rapidly into the devastated areas of Lebanon with Iranian money and committed manpower to start the rebuilding. Money that could have been spent on more guns and rocket launchers instead went to families that lost homes, who received an average of $12,000 apiece. Hezbollah's response to the damage has been noticeably more efficient and effective than the government's...

...Today, American efforts to rebuild Iraq have been pathetic; our military prowess in the first phase of the war has been followed by an ineffective, corrupt, underfunded, and half-hearted effort at nation-building . If we had instead planned from the beginning to spend more money, creativity, and human power on peaceful nation-building than we spent on conducting the war, we might have shown that we had the sincere long-term interests of the Iraqis in our hearts. That in turn would have laid the groundwork for a real ally in the Arab Middle East. Similarly, if Israel spent twice the money and creative thinking on rebuilding Lebanon now as it spent on attacking it, it could better demonstrate that it has the sincere interest of their neighbors at heart. Ultimately, generous help is what creates allies. By itself, aggression only creates enemies...

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