Reports of Hezbollah crews opening roads, clearing rubble and retrieving bodies
demonstrate a strong civic organization to match the impressive military capability demonstrated against an overwhelming foe.
Hezbollah’s reputation as an efficient grass-roots social service network — as opposed to the Lebanese government, regarded by many here as sleek men in suits doing well — was in evidence everywhere. Young men with walkie-talkies and clipboards were in the battered Shiite neighborhoods on the southern edge of Bint Jbail, taking notes on the extent of the damage.
“Hezbollah’s strength,” said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a professor at the Lebanese American University here, who has written extensively about the organization, in large part derives from “the gross vacuum left by the state.”
Hezbollah was not, she said, a state within a state, but rather “a state within a nonstate, actually.”
Hezbollah is huslting toward massive reconstruction, with the prospect of $150 million in Iranian aid. If they show as much civic acumen as they did fighting Israel, they will will use those funds quickly restore basic services and help families and communities rebuild, further enhancing Hezbollah's reputation. That was basically the US plan in Iraq but it ran hard aground on reality. Hezbollah has a very great advantage over the US in creating civic society in Muslim cultures such as southern Lebanon: members are working and fighting at home. They are in place ,know the 'hood and motivated defend their homes and families. Powerful stuff. In the end, the home team wins.
The war itself ends in a tie with great civilian losses in dead and destroyed infrastructure. Colonel Pat Lang declares Hezbollah the winner based on control of the battlefield
The vast destruction in Lebanon clearly demonstrated that US military technology can lay waste to vast areas, a capability already well known from Iraq. In the end, though, all that power can only destroy. It does nothing to reconcile long standing grievances born of bitter experience. These hatreds and animosities are root causes not easily dismissed.