Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lebanon invasion outcome Israeli, raeli bad

The fluid situation could change, and there are no doubt some facts we don't know about the Lebanon cease fire. Okay, now I'm hedged like a politician or academic.

But it's hard to see the cease fire as anything but an utter disaster for Israel, an outcome that is all Hezbollah and the Muslim jihadists could have wished for. Bill Roggio at Counterterrorism Blog has a good summary of the results of Israel's misbegotten invasion. Even on an military efficiency scale, a better-trained, better-armed IDF did not exactly cover itself with glory. Yes, it took some Lebanese territory from Hezbollah, albeit with more difficulty than might have been expected; it killed a fair number of the Hez militia, but they can be replaced, as can the Hezbollah rockets and munitions.

On a political level, Israel's stop-and-go, go-and-stop campaign was senseless and self-defeating. This is not your father's Israel; the spirit that saved the little country from near-extinction against Arab invasions in '67 and '73 is no more than a historical memory. Today's Israelis are a different breed, not much different, it would appear, from many Europeans and some Americans: indecisive, given to wishful thinking about the Muslim world, in denial about the threat. If they do go to war, they believe they can achieve a clean, almost casualty-free "mission accomplished" using air power and high-tech weapons. Well, they have just learned how wrong that belief turned out to be.

This hatchet job that Israel has done on itself showed the Muslim world — in fact the whole world, including its only real ally, the United States — that its legendary IDF can't even kick the props out from a second-rate guerilla force, and that its military is undercut by flip-flopping politicians and a country divided between hard-liners and peaceniks.

Worse, if possible, it lost the public relations war and gave every Israel- and Jew-hater a priceless propaganda victory, allowing them to portray Israel as an aggressor and killer of innocent civilians. That might not have mattered so much if Israel had accomplished anything significant, such as destroying most of Hezbollah and running the rest out of Lebanon; after all, it's going to be bashed by the Arabosphere and Western leftists no matter what it does. But it could and should have made a better, more aggressive case that it was acting in self-defense, and that Hez fighters deliberately put civilians at risk. Had it thoroughly clocked Hezbollah and made Hezbollah's enablers in Syria and Iran appear weak, more people would probably have bought the self-defense argument. Everybody looks more favorably on a winner.

Maybe events you'll read about in tomorrow's or next week's headlines will change the picture, but for now Israel has taken "a hell of a beating" (as General "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell told the American public after a defeat in Burma early in World War II, believing the country needed to hear the truth). Its reputation, both military and moral, has been severely downgraded. The possibility that it won't survive as a nation, and that there will be yet another worldwide Jewish diaspora, can't be written off as paranoia or doomsaying.

If the Arabic world sweeps the Jewish Israelis out of their homeland and raises the Crescent over it, that will be a political disaster for the West comparable to the Sultan's armies taking Constantinople, the last descendant of the Eastern Roman Empire, in 1453. Such are these times.


PD111 said...

Great post. I hope all Isrealis read it.

Israelis have been living for far too long in the after-glow of the 67 war and the delusion that they can have land for peace. It is this delusion in the populace at large, that has been reflected in the political leadership, and shows itself in successive elections as Israelis elect left of centre parties committed to Oslo etc.

I cannot imagine how a country such as Israel, living cheek by jowl with an islamist enemy, within and without, suffering countless atrocities, can afford to live in a deluded state of mind. It is one thing for the USA or even Europe to do so, but Israel just cannot pretend that is in the middle of Europe, say Switzerland. It just cannot ever afford such luxuries.

Even the so called Right of centre, led by Sharon prior to his inacapacity, was committed to land for peace or withdrawal ie giving up land for no peace. This would be regarded in Europe as Liberal party and not Right at all.

What we see is that the centre in Israel is really to the Left, and has all the appearnce and policies of a Left wing EU party.

The only good thing I see of this war is that Israelis will question their mindset. It is a good thing for Israel that the enemy this time was just the Hezb'Allah and not all the Arab forces together as in 67.

Rick Darby said...

pd111, It beats me too how people living in the eye of a hurricane can imagine it's a gentle sea breeze. But the human mind seems to have an infinite capacity for wishful thinking.

PD111 said...


I dont know if you were on LGF some years back when I had tremendous discussions with a couple of Israelis - Tiburon and Mr Poll. Both were in their own eyes, to the right of the political spectrum, and yet they were committed to land for peace, refusing to see that the war on Israel was a full blown Jihad that could not be bought off by land, or anything else for that matter except the destruction of Israel.

It was my opinion then as is now, that Isrealis should have declared that every terrorist attack would result in the irrevocable annexation of a piece of the West bank. This is only right and proper as dead Jews cannot be resurrected.(Some LGF wit suggested that it has happened only once in Israel).

Nevertheless, the loss of land to the Infidel is one thing that Allah cannot abide. No paradise and certainly no virgins. By now Israel would have a larger buffer, its historic places, as well as dicouragement of many Jihadis who would know perfectly well, that if their terrorist attack went to plan, it would inevitably lead to land being annexed by Israel.

BTW your article on security measures is very well crafted and exposes the absurdity of non-profiling measures. I have taken the liberty of linking it on LGF.

PD111 said...

When I pointed out the lack of a clear objective set by Olmert to his generals, a lack of an attainable startegic political objective in the war and after its termination, I had one poster at LGF saying that it was the wire guided missiles that surprised the IDF.