Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post explains how Hezbollah prefers to work through a form of control without governance where it is possible to remain both in power and in opposition. Caroline writes:
It only took Hizbullah a week to bring the government of Lebanon to its knees. The Saniora government's decision Wednesday to cancel its decisions to ban Hizbullah's independent communications system and sack Hizbullah's agent from his position as chief of security at Beirut Airport constituted its effective acceptance of Hizbullah's preeminent role in Lebanon.
What is interesting about Hizbullah's successful overthrow of the elected government in Lebanon is that after his forces defeated their foes, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah ordered his men to retreat to their customary shadows. Why didn't Hizbullah just overthrow the government? Understanding why Hizbullah refused to take over Lebanon is key not only for understanding Hizbullah but also for understanding Hamas, Fatah and the insurgency in Iraq.
A compelling answer to this question is found in David Galula's classic work, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. ... As Galula explained, one of the main advantages that insurgents have over the governments they seek to overthrow is their lack of responsibility for governance. Far from seeking to govern the local population, the goal of insurgents is simply to demonstrate through sabotage, terror and guerrilla operations that the government is incapable of keeping order. And it is far easier and cheaper to sow disorder and chaos than to maintain order and secure public safety.
In Hizbullah's case, Nasrallah and his Iranian bosses have no interest in taking on responsibility for Lebanon. They don't want to collect taxes. They don't want to pick up the garbage or build schools and universities.
The goal of seeking power without responsibility isn't confined to insurgents and Galula's theory might just as well have been a critique of the modern media as much as Hezbollah. A generation of public intellectuals found it was possible to have both a decisive influence over policy yet remain exempt from accountability for its effects. The next time someone asks how it is possible to simultaneously be a rebel and celebrity, a critic of Global Warming and owner of an executive jet, or become a successful hate-America pastor living in a multimillion dollar mansion, refer him to Galula.
But Glick asks whether there is any way to to spoil this game; to keep the puppet master from retreating into the shadows after he has pulled his strings. One obvious method is the shockingly simple expedient of making information warfare a part of operations. To patiently label every roadside bomb; every massacre as the work of the hidden hand. The success of the Surge is in large measure due not only to kinetic action but information action. It is not enough to arrest terrorists, it is equally important to connect them to their acts. AQI failed in the Sunni Triangle where Hezbollah continues to succeed in Lebanon partly because MNF-I, like a waiter who refuses to let a patron walk out without paying his bill, simply refused to let them escape with a free lunch.
But the task wasn't easy because at every step of the way AQI's cheering squad yelled "foul". Power without responsibility has been a time honored tradition of the professional critic for so long it's almost a constitutional right. Therefore when Bob Owens at Pajamas Media documents the use of Iranian EFPs against American vehicles some will call it "beating the drums of war against Iran". But he's just connecting the dots. When bloggers replay clips from Jeremiah Wright's all time hit sermons, they'll be accused of character assassination or worse. But they're just connecting the dots.
Accepting the terms under which an opponent chooses to engage in conflict is first and often the worst concession one can make. And it's a concession that many traditionally accord to the left. Now one wonders whether John McCain has read Galula. It's better than even odds after all, that some of his political opponents have read Hezbollah.
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