[Marxism] Rightwinger on Israel: "You can't win if you won't fight"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 17 13:14:53 MDT 2006



August 17, 2006 -- ISRAEL'S rep for toughness in tatters. Hezbollah 
triumphant. Iran cockier than ever. Syria untouched. Lebanon's government 
crippled. An orgy of anti-Semitism in the global media. Anti-Americanism 
exploding among Iraqi Shi'as inspired by Hezbollah.

Thanks, Prime Minister Olmert. Great job, guy.

The debacle in Lebanon wasn't even a war. It was only round one of a war. 
And Israel's back in its corner, dazed and punch-drunk.

Israel got in a gut jab, but Hezbollah landed three ferocious haymakers:

* Despite the physical damage the Israeli Defense Forces inflicted, 
Hezbollah's terror-troops were still standing (and firing rockets) when the 
bell rang.

* At the strategic level, Hezbollah's masterful manipulation of the 
seduce-me-please media convinced the region's Shi'a and Sunni spectators 
alike that Hassan Nasrallah is the new Great Arab Hope. He's got a powerful 
Persian cheering section, too.

* While Israel couldn't plan or execute a winning campaign, it also failed 
to think beyond the inevitable cease-fire. But Hezbollah did. The 
terrorists had mapped out precisely what they had to do the moment the 
shooting stopped: Hand out Iranian money, promise they'll rebuild what 
Israel destroyed - and simply refuse to honor the terms of the U.N. resolution.

Israel couldn't wait to throw in the towel and start pulling out troops. 
Then Hezbollah's fighters emerged from the rubble of towns Israeli leaders 
lacked the courage to conquer - and the number of terror-soldiers who 
survived shocked the Israelis.

Politicians and generals everywhere, repeat after me: "Air power alone 
can't win wars; you can't defeat terror on the cheap with technology; and 
(in the timeless words of Nathan Bedford Forrest) War means fighting, and 
fighting means killing."

The U.N. resolution called for Hezbollah to disarm - a fantasy only a 
diplomat could believe. As soon as the refugees began flowing southward and 
packing the battlefield, Nasrallah told the international community to take 
a hike. He knows that U.N. peacekeepers won't try to disarm his forces - if 
they ever show up - and the Lebanese military not only won't try, but 
couldn't do it.

The world's response? The French (who talked so boldly) took a cold swig of 
Vichy water: Now they say they won't send in their peacekeepers until 
Hezbollah is completely disarmed - which isn't going to happen. And 
Lebanese leaders stated openly that not only wouldn't the Lebanese army 
attempt to take away the terrorists' weapons, it wouldn't even confiscate 
caches it stumbled on.

Sucker-punched (well, don't fight with your eyes closed), Israel's 
complaining to the ref. While staring around in bewilderment.

Want more good news? After finally calling our enemies by the accurate name 
of "Islamo-fascists," President Bush backtracked so fast the White House 
lawn was smoking. Then he declared that Israel had won.

That's about as credible as insisting the Titanic docked safe and sound.

And that ain't all, folks. If you're an Israel supporter - as I proudly 
admit to being - get ready for some tough love: Not only did Israel's 
abysmally incompetent government start a war impulsively and prosecute it 
half-heartedly, the country's military leadership failed, too. Chief of 
Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, who was going to destroy Hezbollah from the 
skies, reportedly put his main effort on the eve of war into selling off 
his stock holdings before his bombs could weigh down the market. Now that's 
insider trading!

But that was just one jerk-general dishonoring his uniform. The serious 
news is that the IDF's reserve forces were a shambles when they mobilized. 
Information from an inside source reveals that, when the reserves' 
warehouses and depots were opened, key stocks were missing - stolen.

What was gone? Fuel, weapons, ammunition, food, spare parts - all that a 
modern military needs to go to war. And I doubt it ended up in Iceland.

The IDF has great combat leaders and brave soldiers. But Hezbollah's boys 
proved tougher - and we can't pretty it up. The terrorists were willing - 
even eager - to die for their cause. Israeli leaders dreaded friendly 
casualties. And IDF troops - except in elite units - lacked the will to 
close with the enemy and defeat him at close quarters.

Israel tried to fight humanely. Hezbollah was out to win at any cost. The 
result was inevitable.

On the ground in southern Lebanon, the IDF was able to muster a ten-to-one 
advantage around contested villages. But its leaders lacked the guts to do 
what needed to be done. And Hezbollah's frontline fighters survived.

You can't win if you won't fight.

The IDF needs pervasive reform. Still structured to defeat the conventional 
militaries of Syria and Egypt, it faced an enemy tailored specifically to 
take on the IDF. Historical reputation isn't enough - the IDF must rebuild 
itself to take on post-modern threats. As one senior American general put 
it, "The IDF's been living on fumes since 1967."

Hezbollah cleared the air.

All this is heartbreaking. I wish it were otherwise. I wish I could back up 
our president's surreal claim that Israel won. I wish Israel had won. I 
wish it had the leadership the Israeli people deserve.

And that's what's tragic: Israel's politicians turned out to be even more 
profoundly out of touch with their people than the pols in Washington. 
Israelis were willing to fight. They wanted to win. The rank and file of 
the IDF would have done what needed to be done. And their leaders failed them.

There will be consequences. Iran's convinced it's on a winning course. 
Syria got away with murder (literally). And Hezbollah will come back more 
determined than ever.

Oh, I almost forgot those two IDF soldiers whose kidnapping triggered all 
this. But I can be forgiven, since Israel's leaders forgot about them long 
before I did: The U.N. resolution Olmert welcomed makes no binding and 
immediate demand for their return.

And the world is going to let Iran build nuclear weapons.

Get ready for Round Two.

Ralph Peters' new book is "Never Quit the Fight."



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