Kifner knows Lebanon as well as any journalist. He reported from Beirut during some of the toughest times in the 1980s, and he has been periodically back on the scene.
It must be underlined that Hizballah's (and Iran's) ability to turn a catastrophe into a victory was not only foreseeable but foreseen. One wonders what prevented Israeli and American policymakers from seeing what should have been obvious to any of their advisors. Might they have been blinded by an ideological framework, or an over-confidence in air power?
That question need needs to be answered because it addresses the very competence of the men and women who make life and death decisions in Washington.
Hezbollah Leads Work to Rebuild, Gaining Stature - New York Times: "As stunned Lebanese returned Tuesday over broken roads to shattered apartments in the south, it increasingly seemed that the beneficiary of the destruction was most likely to be Hezbollah.
A major reason Â in addition to its hard-won reputation as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill Â is that it is already dominating the efforts to rebuild with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran.
nameme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the countryÂs minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an "unlimited budget" for reconstruction.
In his victory speech on Monday night, HezbollahÂs leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for "decent and suitable furniture" and a yearÂs rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.
Also see this piece by Trudy Rubin, Shock and Awful.