Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The War Israel Chose To Lose

The War that Israel Chose to Lose (Jewish Press)

The War Israel Chose To Lose
By: Steven Plaut

It was a war Israel was more afraid of winning than of losing.

It was a war whose battlefield strategy was based on posturing .
on acting as if Israel were conducting an actual all-out war.

It was a war in which Israel attempted to defeat the enemy by not
defeating him.

It was a war of the make-pretend.

Let us be clear. Every war has its share of mishaps, glitches,
and human errors, and this one was no exception. But this war was fought
after many years of massive budget cuts for the military. Convinced that
the era of peace was anon, the politicians had conducted a sort of fiscal
hari-kari on the army in order to allocate far more funding for nice
things like social spending and pork projects.

The result was tanks going off to battle without basic protective
electronics, and troops marching off without medicine, ammunition and

But the real problem in this war was that the political elite
decided to prevent the armed forces from really fighting. As a result,
Israel failed to achieve any of the declared goals it had set for itself.
It failed altogether to stop the Katyusha blitz on northern Israel. The
day before the .cease-fire. went into effect, 250 rockets hit Israel, the
largest number of any day in the war, demonstrating that Israel had not
even put a crimp into the terror machine of the Hizbullah savages.

Despite early talk of disarming Hizbullah as part of the
cease-fire, within days it was revealed that Hizbullah would in fact keep
all its arms but would not parade about too openly with them.

The military tactics imposed on the Israel Defense Forces by the
politicians were guaranteed to create failure. At times it seemed that the
strategy of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz
consisted of hoping that if Israel waited long enough, Hizbullah would
just run out of rockets.

For the first 32 days of the fighting . five times the period of
time it took Israel to defeat the combined Arab military machine in 1967 .
Israeli ground troops and armor were still huddled en masse inside the
Israel-Lebanon border or camped just a short distance across it.

For the first 32 days of the war Israel tried to defeat Hizbullah
by bombing empty buildings, empty bunkers and .infrastructure. across
Lebanon. It may well be that the air attacks on Hizbullah.s buildings
failed to kill even a single terrorist.

It was only after those 32 days, and with a UN cease-fire
stopwatch already ticking, that a half-hearted .ground offensive. was
launched. With the government announcing that Israel was driving for the
Litani river in the final days, the ground troops made it less than a
third of the way there. Bravado by the generals in announcing a massive
paratroop landing at the Litani itself, or commando raids behind the enemy
lines in the Baalbek Valley, proved to be nothing more than empty
grandstanding. They achieved nothing. Olmert was trying to knock out
rockets with a 40-mile range by taking one or two kilometers of Lebanese

The air campaign was a waste of time and resources. The film
clips of empty buildings being blown to smithereens were designed to give
the Israeli public little morale boosters, but not to defeat Hizbullah.

The Olmert government, which had gone to war to win the release
of the kidnapped soldiers being held hostage by the terrorists, signed a
cease-fire agreement in which it gave up the demand for the soldiers.
immediate and unconditional release.

The cease-fire was a complete capitulation by Israel, which got a
promise of a few more UN troops to sunbathe in Lebanon. But UN troops have
been .patrolling. the south of Lebanon since 1978 and have yet to stop a
single Katyusha or mortar attack, or even a single stone from being thrown
over the border fence. As Haaretz.s Avi Shavit asked sarcastically, .Did
we go to war so that French soldiers will protect us from Hizbullah?.

Throughout the war, the near-total failure of Israeli intelligence
in Lebanon was obvious. But this was the direct consequence of Israel.s
2000 unilateral capitulation, in which Ehud Barak ordered all Israeli
troops out of south Lebanon in what amounted to a Monty Python version of
Dunkirk. As part of that capitulation, Israel abandoned its networks of
informants and allies there, many of whom were murdered by Hizbullah.

At the time of the Lebanese retreat, it was argued that the move
would at least unite Israelis behind any future military retaliation
should Hizbullah misbehave. But Hizbullah had been misbehaving ever since,
such as when it kidnapped and murdered three Israeli soldiers soon after
the withdrawal.

Up to a point, a closing of ranks in Israel did indeed take
place, with polls showing near unanimity among the general Jewish public
in backing massive military retaliation. But as the days dragged by with
no serious progress, the Peace through Surrender forces came back into
public view. Small demonstrations led by communists were reinforced when
Peace Now and Meretz joined in demanding an instant Israeli withdrawal.

The Israeli Literary Left and much of the chattering classes had
backed the war at first, but toward its end they reverted to their gut
instincts, with many denouncing Israel for .war crimes. and calling for
.talks. with Hizbullah. (Olmert.s own daughter was among those denouncing
Israel.s actions as criminal.)

The real problem is that Israel has been captive to the Peace
through Surrender mindset for so long that it is now second nature. The
open terrorist aggressions by Hizbullah, combined with the near unanimous
public support for serious military action, were insufficient to put fire
into the bellies of the politicians. They meowed their rage at the terror.

The day the cease-fire went into effect, Hamas fired rockets,
including a Katyusha, into Ashkelon from Gaza. So we now know where the
next front will be. In the middle of the fighting Olmert announced that
the war was designed to create conditions under which he could go ahead
with his .contraction. plan, which in effect would turn the West Bank into
a new Katyusha base for bombarding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Who says the
Wise Men of Chelm is just a fable?

Unless Israel.s pusillanimous leadership is replaced with people
possessing vision, willingness to fight, and determination to deal
effectively with the genocidal Islamofascist terrorists, Iran.s president
may yet get his wish.

2. Phyllis Chesler's Excellent Diagnosis:
The Time Is Now Israel And The West On The Brink

3. Remember how Galilee Arabs were dancing on the rooftops to celebrate
the katyushas falling on the Jews?
Well, when a bus full of Israeli Arabs overturned in the Sinai this week,
not a single Jew (publicly) cheered, laughed, published a "Hoorah" or
otherwise celebrated the event. But of course that will not stop the
Israeli Left from denouncing Israel as an apartheid entity.

4. A Piece worth reading:

5. Gibson Syndrome:

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