Lebanon: One Year On
On 14 August, 34 days later, a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect and finally, on September 8 hostilities formally ended when the naval blockade of Lebanon was lifted.
One year on from the war in Lebanon Al Jazeera is running a series of special reports on how an intense month of fighting last summer had, and continues to have, a profound effect on the entire region.
The conflict officially involved the Israeli military and Hezbollah, but throughout the region it had profound implications on other nations, governments, political parties and their leaders. And in virtually every case, the war damaged them all.
In Israel, the government of Ehud Olmert has come under significant criticism both from the international community but also from within his own country.
Earlier this year, the Winograd Commission issued its interim report into the actions of the Israeli government last year. The conclusions were extremely critical of Olmert for lacking "judgement, responsibility and prudence" in opting for war in the first place.
Olmert's popularity has sunk and the final draft of the report, now expected in October could yet bring down his government.
Within Lebanon, the country's infrastructure was severely damaged, and around 1,000 people were killed, the majority of them civilians.
I don't believe people realize how important this war is. First, small bands of fighters were able to keep the whole of the Israeli army back forcing them to retreat. Second of all the media in what it hopes is some kind of moral victory over the forces of evil hoped to sterilize this war by video taping as much of it as possible. What we say here was the first war prevented or stopped almost entirely because of news coverage.
Allow me to elaborate, Israel and China are probably the two countries who care the absolute least about what you think about them. What we saw here was the media bending the Israeli resolve and eventually breaking it in twain. How did this accomplish this magnificent task, they showed the world the ugliest thing in the world, humans at war. What some reporters hoped would sky rocket their career, win them awards, or secure them a million dollar book deal, instead they showed the world the depth of our hatred for one another. Thus in doing so the media gained more power than they have ever had previously, they have the power to stop wars.
The power of public opinion and fear, that is what the media has a monopoly over. The media tells us what to fear and what is good for us, who gives them this power? Answer you do when you don’t challenge their “fairness” or “objectivity”, the media can put whatever crap they want up there and the ramifications can be enormous. Example, Fox News, and CNN’s oh so fair Broken Government Segments just before the 2006 elections.
What made this conflict historical was the media caused Israel to back down because the public opinion of them waned so much they couldn’t keep the war going without severely damaging their reputation. Therefore, they lost that fight and the terrorists won, it’s just that simple. The media is exploring new territory and frankly, I do not trust them with their new power.