Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 18, 2006 / 24 Menachem-Av, 5766

Though always unpleasant, defeats can be useful

By Jack Kelly

>
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The first step in making lemonade is to recognize when you are holding a lemon. Israel lost its war with Hezbollah. No amount of happy talk from the Israeli government, President Bush, or Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice can change that.


Though always unpleasant, defeats can be useful. They identify shortcomings which must be corrected if ultimate victory is to be won.


Israeli intelligence badly underestimated Hezbollah's fighting qualities, armament, and the extent of its fortifications. Many Israeli reserves reported for duty out of shape, with inadequate equipment. Retired Army LtCol. Ralph Peters, embedded for a time with an IDF reserve unit, witnessed some appalling breaches of basic tactical security.


By far the greatest Israeli failure was in its political leadership. The IDF had a plan which probably would have brought decisive victory within 10-14 days. But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Jimmy Carter of Israel, refused to implement it. He chose instead to combine rhetorical bluster with battlefield timidity. This drew out the war with inconclusive result, maximizing Israeli military and civilian casualties and damage to Lebanon, while turning world opinion - initially less hostile to Israel than at any time since the 1967 war - against the Jewish state. It also besmirched - with ominous implications - Israel's reputation for military invincibility.


But even though it had serious deficiencies, and was forced by Mr. Olmert to fight with an arm and a leg tied behind its back, the IDF won every engagement with Hezbollah. This was no mean accomplishment, when one considers that Hezbollah is the best trained, equipped and motivated Arab force Israel has ever fought.


Hezbollah won by surviving. The significance of its strategic victory should not be understated. Hezbollah's popularity has soared throughout the Arab world. Its influence in Lebanon is greater than ever. Secretary Rice said that as a result of the war, Hezbollah will no longer be "a state within a state" in Lebanon. If so, this is more likely because Hezbollah will become the state rather than because its influence will diminish.


But neither should the significance of the Hezbollah victory be overstated. Many of the pundits who describe Israel's defeat as a "catastrophe" do so on the basis of what might have been. Israel could have delivered a savage blow to Hezbollah that would have crippled it militarily; loosened its grip on Lebanon, and embarrassed its sponsors in Iran and Syria. But Mr. Olmert blew it.


Pundits also tend to exaggerate the significance of Hezbollah's psychological and propaganda victories, because we pundits are people of words, and we often imagine words are more important than deeds. And sometimes they are. But the fact is Israel is in a stronger position, tactically, now than it was when hostilities began. Hezbollah has been forced from (most of) its fortifications along the border. Most of its rocket arsenal has been expended or destroyed. Many of its best fighters are dead. And Israel now has an insight into Hezbollah tactics it lacked before.


Israel's tactical gains will erode. Neither the Lebanese army nor the "robust" international force will disarm Hezbollah, or prevent it from reoccupying its former positions once Israeli troops leave Lebanon. Iran and Syria will resupply the terror group.


But resupply cannot happen overnight, or without cost, financial and political. It took Iran two decades to build up Hezbollah's rocket force. It cannot be pleasing to the mullahs that so much of it has been expended, to so little effect.


Thanks to generous subsidies from Iran, Hezbollah will curry favor with Lebanese civilians by rebuilding what was destroyed by the war. But this will require a massive amount of money just to restore the status quo, and the subsidies are unlikely to be popular with the Iranian people, who will not want so much money drained from their troubled economy for the benefit of foreigners.


Whether Israel's tactical gains matter more than Hezbollah's PR gains depends on how soon the inevitable confrontation over Iran's nuclear program takes place.


"Because Iran, in conventional terms, is largely defenseless against an American bombing campaign, Iran's first objective will be to draw Israel into the conflict," wrote Noah Pollack in National Review Online. "The way Iran would drag Israel into the war and dramatically complicate the U.S. mission would be through Hezbollah."


It will now be many months before Hezbollah can again present a serious threat to Israel. This may explain Iran's apparent change of heart about nuclear negotiations.


And in these ensuing months, Israel has time to get its military and political houses in order.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

Jack Kelly Archives


© 2006, Jack Kelly

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles