Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Michdal

Roughly translated, the Hebrew word "michdal" means screw-up. It was all over the media after the Yom Kippur War in the context of all the intelligence failures that led to the surprise attack. Now that the Lebanon War (No. 2) has quieted down (for the time being), there will be much discussion about "michdal." Who screwed up, why, and how can we keep it from happening again?

P.M. Olmert assured us at the outset that the war would be quick if not easy, and would result in the return of the kidnapped soldiers and the total destruction of Hezbollah as a military threat to Israel. The war took a month, during which about a million residents of the north were displaced. Damage to civilian areas was extensive, and the economic disruption was intolerable. With a cease-fire in place, for the time being, the kidnapped soldiers remain in enemy hands, and Hezbollah's capability does not appear to be severely degraded; up until the cease fire over a hundred rockets were fired at the north every day. True, we gave back far more than we got in terms of damage, but in the Middle East perceptions are more important than realities. Hezbollah has declared victory, as have its patrons Syria and Iran. Its stature in the Arab world is enhanced immeasurably. Arabs are already entertaining the possibility of crushing Israel sometime soon. Hezbollah openly declares it has no intention of disarming, regardless of ceasefire agreements and U.N. resolutions, and the international community has no intention of disarming it by force. Iran and Syria can and will resupply it with all the armament Israel destroyed and then some. Since Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, having the Lebanese Army deployed along the border is like having the fox guard the chicken coop. Neither it nor an international force led by the French (!) will keep Hezbollah from doing whatever it pleases. Israelis in Haifa and throughout the Galil will never feel truly secure. So what went wrong?

1. Israel's political leadership made the same mistake America's leadership made in Iraq, namely over-reliance on air power. Iraq shows that air power alone does not win wars; it prepares the battlefield but must be followed by boots on the ground and plenty of them. This is especially true when Hezbollah's rocket launcers are small, easily maneuverable and well hidden in civilian areas. The reserves should have been called up at the outset. Since Israel's economy cannot sustain a prolonged call-up of reserves, there should have been an all-out blitzkrieg operation as soon as the decision to go to war was made.

2. There was a perceived unwillingness on the Israeli side to take casualties. If 15 soldiers are killed in a day's fighting, the media play it up as the end of the world. Of course to us (but not to our enemies) every life is precious, and our hearts go out to the families of every soldier killed or wounded. But it is not the end of the world. Omaha Beach anyone? Antietam? Gettysberg? The London blitz? The casualties from this operation were proportionately far less than in the War of Independence in 1948-49. Again, in that part of the world perceptions count for more than realities. If Israel is perceived as reluctant to take casualties when its very existence is at stake, the enemy is emboldened to try to outlast us.

3. The military had its hands tied by two concepts that have hamstrung it since before the beginning of the state: havlaga (self-restraint) and tohar ha-nesheq (purity of arms). Taken together, they mean that Israel has to be the nice guy at all times. Israel must fight by the Queensberry rules while the enemy can gouge and bite. These concepts are suicidal when the enemy deliberately uses its civilians as human shields, attacking our restraint as a point of weakness. As soon as the decision to go to war was taken, the government should have declared all of Southern Lebanon a free-fire zone and given the civilian population 24 hours to leave or take the consequences. Warning every town that we're coming only warns the enemy to move its rocket launcers around. Click here for a similar analysis of the screwup in Iraq.


What now? A cease-fire is in place and seems to be holding, but Hezbollah is not destroyed and openly declares its intention to keep its arms and fight again. Residents of the north are returning to their homes, and the destruction will be repaired. But it is only a matter of time before Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian puppeteers decide to attack again, with missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv. In that part of the world the loser must not only lose but perceive themselves and be perceived by others as losers. Hezbollah does not see itself as the loser, and is not seen as a loser in the Arab world. They think they can beat us, and they will soon try. Smart people learn from their mistakes. When the next round comes, we must go whole hog, go for broke and damn world opinion. Else why bother?


Click here for a New York Post editorial on the subject.

4 Comments:

Blogger ninest123 said...

michael kors, oakley sunglasses, air max, nike outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, burberry, louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, kate spade outlet, louboutin shoes, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin, chanel handbags, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, tiffany jewelry, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, longchamp, replica watches, prada handbags, nike air max, nike free, louis vuitton, tory burch outlet, jordan shoes, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louboutin pas cher, replica watches, nike roshe run, gucci outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, sac longchamp, louis vuitton outlet, prada outlet, air jordan pas cher, longchamp outlet, nike free, uggs on sale, ugg boots, tiffany and co, christian louboutin outlet, nike air max

Sun Jun 12, 10:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ninest123 said...

burberry outlet online, ugg boots, ray ban uk, ugg boots, michael kors, nike free run uk, north face, nike blazer, timberland, air force, michael kors outlet, hogan, vanessa bruno, coach purses, tn pas cher, nike air max, true religion jeans, nike air max, ray ban pas cher, kate spade handbags, coach outlet, michael kors outlet, hermes, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, north face, new balance pas cher, true religion jeans, mulberry, nike roshe, michael kors outlet, lacoste pas cher, hollister, michael kors outlet, sac guess, vans pas cher, hollister pas cher, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, lululemon, michael kors, coach outlet, michael kors, true religion outlet, burberry, oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet, replica handbags, true religion jeans, converse pas cher

Sun Jun 12, 10:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ninest123 said...

baseball bats, babyliss, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, bottega veneta, oakley, wedding dresses, soccer jerseys, herve leger, ralph lauren, nike trainers, lululemon, timberland boots, soccer shoes, mont blanc, mac cosmetics, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti, p90x workout, vans, mcm handbags, converse, ferragamo shoes, reebok shoes, nike air max, hollister, hollister, louboutin, jimmy choo shoes, insanity workout, vans shoes, iphone cases, valentino shoes, chi flat iron, ray ban, converse outlet, birkin bag, gucci, nike huarache, beats by dre, hollister, ghd, north face outlet, nike roshe, longchamp, new balance, nfl jerseys, celine handbags, asics running shoes, instyler

Sun Jun 12, 10:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ninest123 said...

pandora jewelry, barbour, moncler, barbour jackets, juicy couture outlet, ugg boots uk, hollister, wedding dresses, louis vuitton, montre pas cher, louis vuitton, canada goose, links of london, toms shoes, bottes ugg, moncler, swarovski, moncler, canada goose, canada goose outlet, swarovski crystal, moncler, louis vuitton, sac louis vuitton pas cher, canada goose, canada goose outlet, canada goose, moncler outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, supra shoes, pandora charms, doudoune canada goose, moncler, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, replica watches, ugg pas cher, lancel, juicy couture outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, karen millen, canada goose uk, pandora charms, marc jacobs, moncler, moncler, thomas sabo, coach outlet

Sun Jun 12, 10:30:00 PM EDT  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home