Plenty of blame to be shared
The hi-tech war against Hezb’Allah has put the spotlight on the weakness of a hi-tech army like the IDF (Israel Defense Force) vs. a relatively primitive terrorist army. We now see it in Israel as the U.S. sees it in Afghanistan, with the Taliban resurfacing. Additionally, the U.S. faces it in Iraq where road-side munitions blow up U.S. tanks, trucks and APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers).
Israel is once again being trained for the wrong war. This is reminiscent of the dominant philosophy, which led to the catastrophic surprise of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The philosophy then was called in Hebrew the conceptzia or (the Concept). The IDF higher command determined that Egypt and Syria wouldn’t dare attack Israel, but they were dead wrong for thousands of young men who died too young because of the conceptzia. Even as Egypt was raising the level of their training and preparedness, the IDF’s conceptzia blinded the Israelis.
Intelligence reported their findings but failed to convince the military staff and politicians. Clearly, history repeats itself as Hamas and Hezb’Allah built strong offensive and defensive military (albeit terrorist) infrastructures. All this happened under the noses of the generals and pathetically ignorant politicians, whose present-day conceptzia was to ignore the buildup of terror capability and the growing danger embodied in Syria, Iran, and their proxies, Hamas and Hezb’Allah. It was conceptzia 2006.
Barbara Opall-Rome, in U.S. Defense News (July 17, 2006) wrote a scathing and correct analysis of Israel’s misplaced confidence in her technology while ignoring “boots on the ground” training for their soldiers.1 Allowing her enemies to strengthen themselves for war and basically ignoring them, was a vital, horrible mistake, as proven by the current two-front war. The wars were begun when Hezb’Allah captured soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, and Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit.
We must never forget Israel’s other MIAs, missing for as long as a quarter century. They are: Zachary Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Ron Arad and Guy Hever.
Unfortunately, due to the overriding political priorities in the Middle East, keeping the Arabs and Muslims pacified required Israeli “restraint.” Every Israeli politician and general knew that they were only allowed short bursts of retribution for hostile enemy attacks, lest the “Arabs get angry”.
Israel ignored their own politicized military, reduced their military capability and purpose and behaved subserviently to weak politicians. The political establishment closed their eyes to the dangers of the mounting terrorist buildup of forces and armaments. Years ago, the military elite undertook night missions to spy on what the enemies were doing. But then, the politicians didn’t want casualties that might weaken their hold on political office. The Oslo Accords and philosophy became their training ideology, where the lessons taught were to NOT engage the enemy, lest the media unleash a storm of Israel-bashing.
Lessons were not learned from the U.S. hi-tech aerial assault on the caves of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. The U.S. generals even allowed the Taliban to escape Kabul for the cave networks in the mountains, in long lines of trucks with their weapons. America was certain that air attacks with big bunker-busting bombs would crush the caves with the Taliban inside. In the end, it was “boots on the ground” — infantry that had to explore every cave and blow them up virtually by hand, one by one. We were never told the casualty figures this low-tech fighting caused, but there was no other way to dig the Taliban out of their deep tunnels and holes. The U.S. had also faced the same tunnel problem in Vietnam, but the Israeli planners refused to learn those lessons, as well.
Where were Israel’s brilliant generals when they observed the “war of the caves” in Afghanistan?
Just across the Lebanese border, Hezb’Allah took six undisturbed years to create a virtual tunnel city, with nary a word from the Israelis or from the U.N.’s UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) observers who were (supposedly) watching and reporting back to the U.N. about the ongoing preparations for war.
I have little doubt that one day, we will see a detailed book paralleling the U.N. “oil-for-food” scandal. Only this time, it will cover 28 years of UNIFILS’ operational relationship with Hezb’Allah via Iran and Syria.
Such an exposé should also describe UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), that was (and is) funding and assisting the Palestinian terrorists, from Yasser Arafat through Hamas.
All that was needed for the organizationally improved terrorists was a small spark. First, it was Ariel Sharon who advised Ehud Olmert to abandon the 10,000 Jewish men, women and children in the communities of Gush Katif/Gaza and the four Northern Samarian towns. Despite repeated warnings they, along with their Leftist generals, decided to hand over what amounted to firing positions for a base of Global terrorists.
Olmert, Shimon Peres, Amir Peretz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz and others thought the U.S. would appreciate their “restraint” in not hitting those Arab neighbors who were openly preparing for war.
What they did not understand was that Israel was only valuable as a tough, dependable army that would be called upon the U.S. when necessary. What they did not understand was that the Washington Arabists, like the U.S. State Department, did not want Israel taking the initiative to defend her citizens. Their only goal was to appease the Arab and Muslim oil nations and multi-national oil companies.
This required recruiting Jewish Leftists such as Peres, Yossi Beilin, certain Leftists generals and media to maintain the mantra of “land-for-peace” — even as the Kassam rockets and Katyusha missiles were falling, and despite Israel’s being in a state of war. Israel (if you haven’t noticed) has been in a state of permanent war and low-level conflict (which is the definition of terrorism) since her first days – even before her declaration as an Independent State of Israel in 1948 till today.
Israel, under the control and command of the inept Olmert, Peretz (now Defense Minister) and Halutz has been wasting tons of ammunition by firing at empty fields in Gaza. Now, as in the Yom Kippur fiasco, Israel desperately needs to re-supply. Even as the entire north is being hit with saturation missile attacks from Hezb’Allah, Leftists like Shulamit Aloni, the Women in Black, (of which the prime minister’s wife, Aliza, is a leading member) and other Leftists are staging protests against Israeli soldiers who are valiantly fighting in Lebanon to stop missiles from falling on Israelis in the north and rockets hitting Israelis in the south.
When the Europeans, Americans, the U.N. and Russia bring in NATO “peacekeeping forces” to control Israel’s military response, imagine the blame game when these NATO forces start going home in body bags. They will inevitably blame Israel, and unless the mission of UNIFIL is changed to actually fight Hezb’Allah, their missiles will assuredly continue to be launched into the heart of Israel from Lebanon.
The solution: Drive Olmert’s government immediately from power. Return to power those generals who proved their worth in past engagements. Do it now — or prepare to weep bitter tears and name another day of national mourning.
1. “Raid Reveals Hole In Israeli Net: Hezb’Allah Ambush Shows Flaws in Sensor Strategy — Analysts say Hezb’Allah attacks are aimed at boosting Iran’s strategic position” by Barbara Opall-Rome, Tel Aviv, U.S. Defense News, July 17, 2006