An operation can be a complete tactical blunder and a strategic victory. Militarily, the United States won the war in Vietnam. Militarily, the Tet Offensive was a disaster that broke the back of the North Vietnamese army — a “Dien Bien Phu” in reverse, as U.S. commander General William Westmoreland put it at the time. It didn’t matter. How did the Viet Cong insurgency work out for the United States? What happened when young Americans and the media turned against the war in Vietnam?
Israel is a unique state in that it has to fight every day not just for its security but also its legitimacy. And as a tiny state, its survival rests on this legitimacy. By now, many thousands (if not millions) of people have seen photos and video seeming to show defenseless Palestinian protesters exterminated by heartless, faceless Israelis. Much of the American media has taken an unseemly delight in villianizing Israel and the Trump administration while glorifying the Palestinians.