Hezbollah's Twisted PR

So many others have posted about the ongoing conflict in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah. While the so-called “Arab Street” seems divided, much of the media is playing up the more radical elements that support Hezbollah, acting as if Lebanon was the wronged party and by extension, Hezbollah.

But most of those shouting “Death to the Zionists!” and “Death to America!” are overlooking one important thing:

It was Hezbollah that started this war, dragging a peaceful and non-belligerent Lebanon into a war with its neighbor that neither side wanted.

Despite the climbing civilian toll, we must remind ourselves that while Israeli air strikes might have been the instrument of their deaths, it was Hezbollah that pulled the trigger, working to maximize Lebanese civilian deaths even if they had to kill them themselves.

But many in the Middle East do see it for what it is and decry the Arab media's lionization of Hezbollah as some kind of resistance movement. The American MSM is also complicit in this deceit. A WaPo article paints these Isamofascists as patient, confident loyalists proclaimng their inevitable victory, as if they've already won. If the Washington Post has anything to say about it, they will.

One must also realize that while Hezbollah was supplying infrastructure and services to the residents of southern Lebanon, it was not an altruistic move on their part. Instead, it was a callous manipulation of the Lebanese in areas under their control to provide cover for their military build up and preparation of weapons caches and rocket launching sites. When it came time to strike against Israel they didn't care that their facilities were located next to schools, hospitals, mosques, and apartment buildings. They didn't care if launching rockets from the roof of some of those same buildings would bring down an Israeli air strike, killing the non-combatants taking shelter there. They wanted the deaths, the mangled and burnt bodies. They would play their part in 'proving' the inhumanity of the Israelis. To a point, they have succeeded. But even those images stop working for them after a short time as those watching from the comfort of their homes become exhausted and eventually immune to the scenes of carnage.

"Where is the press? Where is the media to see this massacre? Count our dead. Count our body parts." The man complaining this week about the media's inadequate coverage of the Lebanon conflict was a village mayor, Hussein Jamaleddin, whose words and the loss of his son in an Israeli strike were quoted by Associated Press reporter Hussein Dakroub. Later that day, another AP reporter, Hamza Hendawi, filed a graphic description of the funeral: "Weeping as he walked in a funeral procession hours later, Jamaleddin pulled at the limbs of the dead, carried to a cemetery in the bucket of a yellow front-loader."


Images of war serve diverse purposes today. At Qana, the images' intent is to elicit a moral indictment of Israel's tactics and of war generally; at Abu Ghraib, to refute President Bush's stated nobleness of purpose in Iraq. Zarqawi's camcorder inside his house abattoir was meant to dispirit his American opposition "in the safety of their living rooms."

But whatever the purpose, a world in which people get fed streams of awful images to drive political conclusions produces a familiar effect: They eventually become inured to the images. Human wells of moral outrage are deep, but not bottomless. If emotional outrage is the basis on which they are expected to make judgments about politically complicated events like Lebanon, many will turn away, rather than subject themselves to a gratuitous, confusing numbing of their sensibilities. This is not progress.

After a while the 'reality' becomes no different than the fiction of horror movies that anyone can watch at any time. At that point the very people that Hezbollah is trying to propagandize stop listening. This means that either Hezbollah starts losing support or that they'll pull off something so devastating and horrific that the people they need will turn their backs on them, repudiating their actions.

Of course we could hasten the outcome if the media stopped acting as cheerleaders for this bunch of Islamofascist terrorists and started showing them for what they are – murdering thugs with delusions of grandeur.

UPDATE 8/5/06: Cox & Forkum have a poignant post with lots of links that delve into the actions of Iran and their motivations in regards to Hezbollah, as well as the West's failure to understand the meaning of 'War'.

UPDATE 8/6/06: Victor Davis Hanson worries that the present generation in the West is on the brink of moral insanity. As he writes, "...if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around."

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