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3, Israel 0
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.
Prime Minister Olmert. Great job, guy.
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.
Ralph Peters - Contributor
Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books,
as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both
under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist
for the New York Post and other publications. [go to Peters Index]
in a gut jab, but Hezbollah landed three ferocious haymakers:
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,
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
(well, don't fight with your eyes closed), Israel's
complaining to the ref. While staring around in bewilderment.
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.
about as credible as insisting the Titanic docked safe and
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
win if you won't fight.
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."
cleared the air.
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.
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.
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.
world is going to let Iran build nuclear weapons.
for Round Two. CRO
latest book is Never
Quit The Fight.
piece first appeared in the New York Post
copyright 2006 - NY Post