How do you fight someone who isn’t afraid to die? Mona Charen August 18, 2006

When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the Knesset and claimed victory against Hezbollah, some members of the body audibly scoffed, reports Israel’s tentative military campaign, Olmert asserted, “changed the strategic balance in the region.” Well, he’s right about that part.

By failing to crush Hezbollah, as 90 percent of the Israeli public, the U.S. government, the French and even the Saudis hoped they would do, Israel has sustained the most damaging defeat of its history — and this defeat has hurt the United States as well. An Israeli columnist, calling himself an “optimist,” notes that contrary to Hassan Nasrallah’s prediction that Israel would “‘collapse like a spider web,’ it didn’t collapse.” Those are not words to chill the hearts of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addresses a special session of Israel’s parliament, or Knesset, in Jerusalem Monday Aug. 14, 2006. In his speech to parliament hours after a U.N. brokered cease-fire took effect Olmert said he took sole responsibility, as Israel’s prime minister, for the offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and said the war shifted the strategic balance in the region. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) In a better world, the tactics of Hezbollah — crossing an international boundary in an unprovoked act of ruthless aggression; kidnapping soldiers; using civilians as human shields; deliberately targeting Israeli civilians — would have provoked universal revulsion. Every death of an innocent Lebanese would have been laid at the feet of Hezbollah. But in the world we actually inhabit, the European Union, Muslims throughout the world and many on the left in the United States condemned Israel instead. This war brought us not embedded journalists but embedded terrorists, woven into the fabric of civilian society — missiles hidden in mosques, launchers within laundries.

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