As everyone will recall, the right wing, and its dead-end supporters in the blogosphere, had a conniption when Harry Reid noted the obvious and stated, "This war is lost, and that the surge is not accomplishing anything, as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday." Numerous right wing bloggers claimed, even supposedly reasonable ones like the "esteemed" Perfesser Volokh, that Reid's statements "will have grave [a] cost" and "distress and delight must be caused by statements that represent that the Congressional majority actually believes the war to be lost."
Meanwhile, as everyone will recall, last summer, Israel fought a disastrous war against Hezbollah that did not accomplish the goals that it was supposed to accomplish -- destroying Hezbollah or at least weakening its ability to attack Israel from Northern Lebanon. How does Israel deal with this? Join me on the flip to see:
Israel appoints a commission to investigate responsibility for the disaster. The commission issues a report, the Winograd Report, you guessed it, concludes that Israel basically lost the war.
Now, let's turn to the typical reaction to Reid's comments from the "reasonable" right winger, Perfesser Volokh after quoting the reactions to Reid's comments from Al Jazeera and the Iranian press:
As I have said before, it may well be quite proper -- and certainly constitutionally protected -- for people to criticize the war; and sometimes the benefits of such criticism, even of the "war is lost" variety and even when said by leading U.S. politicians, outweigh the costs. Yet it seems to me hard to doubt that this statement will have grave cost.
If Napoleon was right that "In war the moral [meaning 'morale'] is to the material as three to one," then it seems to me that Reid's statements may prove highly objectively costly, chiefly by strengthening the enemy's morale as well as by weaking our own soldiers'. Likewise if Churchill was right that even statements that "weaken confidence in the Government" and "make the Army distrust the backing it is getting from the civil power" may prove to be "to the distress of all our friends and to the delight of all our foes" (Speech in the House of Commons (July 2, 1942)). How much more distress and delight must be caused by statements that represent that the Congressional majority actually believes the war to be lost.
Maybe, as I said, the benefit of the statements exceeds their harm. And maybe the harm will be modest, because everyone -- among our enemies as well as among our military -- has already assumed that the Democratic leadership thinks this. Yet my suspicion is that the harm will be quite substantial indeed.
Now, let's take a look at how Hizbollah reacted to the Winograd Report:
"I will not gloat," he said. "It is worthy of respect that an investigative commission appointed by Olmert condemns him."
"Even though they're our enemies, it is worthy of respect that the political forces and the Israeli public act quickly to save their state, entity, army and their existence from the crisis," Nasrallah told the crowd.
The Hizbullah leader went on to say that the Winograd report ended the argument about who won and lost the war. "There are those in Israel who say they won and there are those who say they lost. This committee has concluded that they lost," he said, noting the word 'lost' appeared more than a hundred times in the report.
"The most important thing that Winograd has concluded is that Israelis say: 'We were defeated,'" exclaimed Nasrallah.
The Shi'ite Muslim cleric ridiculed Defense Minister Amir Peretz. "Peretz said that 'Nasrallah would never forget the name Amir Peretz.' I say to him, you were right, I will not forget that name."
So, it seems that, to use the eminent, reasonable Perfesser Volokh's words, the Winograd report is having a "grave cost" and the enemies of Israel are taking "delight" in it and "distress . . . must be caused by statements that represent that the [Israeli Government] actually believes the war to" have been "lost" and according to Hizbollah "ended the debate." Surely this will embolden Israel's enemies. Hizbollah and Israel are still at war, so it is no "excuse" that Reid said this while we are still at war.
So, why does Professor Volokh hate Israel? Why does he think Israel is so stupid to issue such a report? Where are the other right-wingers denouncing Israel's government for issuing such a report that is causing "delight" to Israel's enemies????