After two weeks away from the UK and reading the New York Times and Boston Globe, I have returned to find some e mails missing and a lot of the potential provided by tragically essential warfare, squandered.
Early on it was obvious that a full-scale land offensive was necessary to find Hizballah and to flush them out. It was also clear that aerial advantages had to be used to the full and provide every kind of protection for tanks and men in a close support role as well as a fully-fledged 'softening up' aspect. According to hopefully misleading media reports, Israel was surprised by enemy resistance levels. Or these reports were not mere disinformation and there was an Israeli intelligence failure. If however Israel knew what to expect, then its tactics did not use surprise and 'shock and awe' sufficiently.
Israel’s Strategic Defeat
by a United States military field-grade counter-terrorism officer
For the second time in less than a decade Israel has suffered a strategic defeat in Lebanon. The first occurred in 2000, when the Barak government unilaterally withdrew from Lebanon. At the time, Barak claimed that such a withdraw would remove from Hezballah a casus belli and would bring peace to Israel’s northern border. The more than 3,500 hundred rockets that have hit Israeli’s northern cities this past month has demonstrated that at best it was wishful thinking, and at worst represented a delusional mindset. The second strategic defeat occurred this Sunday with the approval of by the Israeli cabinet of Security Council resolution 1701. No matter how the Olmert government tries to spin its acceptance of the cease-fire, the fact remains that Israel failed to achieve any of its strategic goals it enunciated at the beginning of the campaign.
Dear Prime Minister Olmert: Please do NOT stop the katyushas! (Letter from Haifa)
An Open Letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
by Steven Plaut
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Dear Prime Minister Olmert:
I am writing this to you to beg that you NOT stop the katyushas from
falling on me and my family in Haifa by means of the proposed ceasefire.
I and my family, including my children, live in Haifa, which has been
hit by hundreds of rockets, out of the 4000 missiles fired into Israel these
past five weeks. The proposed ceasefire you evidently are considering
agreeing to is an Israeli capitulation. We do not believe it will lead to
the dismemberment of Hezbollah terrorism and arrest of terrorists. And, in
particular, it would cease the hostilities without the immediate return of
the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the Hezbollah terrorists.
A Spirit 0f Absolute Folly In Israel
By Ari Shavit
Haaretz 12 August 2006
In the difficult summer of 2006, the State of Israel is declaring in astonishment: They surprised us. They surprised us in a big way. They surprised us with Katyushas and they surprised us with the Al-Fajr rockets and they surprised us with the Zelzal missiles. They surprised us with anti-tank missiles. And they surprised us with the operational skill of the anti-tank squads. They surprised us with the bunkers and the camouflage. They surprised us with the command and monitoring. They surprised us with strategy, fighting ability and a fighting spirit. They surprised us with the astonishing power that a small death-army with low technology and high religious motivation can have.
However, more than they surprised us in Summer 2006 with the strength of Hezbollah, they surprised us this summer with our own weakness. They surprised us with ourselves. They surprised us with the low level of national leadership. They surprised us with scandalous strategic bumbling. They surprised us with the lack of vision, lack of creativity and lack of determination on the part of the senior military command. They surprised us with faulty intelligence and a delusionary logistical network and improper preparedness for war. They surprised us with the fact that the Israeli war machine is not what it once was. While we were celebrating it became rusty.
It is well known among chess players that one can learn much more from one’s lost games than from the games that were won. But this is true only under one condition: it is necessary to thoroughly analyze the games that were lost and to find the mistakes, in order not to repeat them in future games.
This practice of analyzing past mistakes is desperately needed for the citizens of Israel. Otherwise, they will continue piling one mistake on top of another, until the day when the avalanche of mistakes and blunders buries the whole Jewish state. Alas, leaders are prone to mistakes no less than anyone else. But their mistakes are thousands of times more dangerous.
MY PRAYER FOR ISRAEL
ROSH HASHANA 5764
By Bernard J. Shapiro
As I survey the fragile planet we call home, my mind makes note of the chaos, blood, and tears. The cries of a million lost souls shatter the night in a million corners of the earth. The sensitive, compassionate among them try to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked. One by one their energies dissipate. They try to hold back the tide with a teaspoon and then see the impossibility of the task. The Jewish people are but a cosmic speck in this universe. To many Jews who feel deeply about their own people, that speck becomes the whole world. Other Jews are irrevocably tied to non-Jewish pursuits.
May we as a people open our eyes and begin to see the world as it really is. Without becoming depressed and morose, we must realize that there are powerful forces in the world that wish us ill. May we mobilize our strength to fight our enemies until they are defeated. May we not succumb to false prophets of peace. We all want peace. We pray for peace in our Sabbath services every Friday night. After thousands of years, being victims of persecution, expulsion, extermination, and discrimination, it is natural that we yearn for peace with every ounce of our bodies and souls. It is because our hunger for peace is so strong that we must be doubly cautious not to fall for a pseudo-peace. Today none of us believe Chamberlain really negotiated "peace in our time" with Hitler. Why do some Jews believe that Peres and Rabin really negotiated "peace" with Arafat, one of today's Hitlers? The Jewish people must learn the value of unity in the face of so many enemies who wish them ill.