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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A painful 'I told you so'... and an overdue 'what's next'

No mother in the world warns her children about running with scissors in hopes that they will actually trip and "put an eye out".  And any parent would be horrified if their child sank like a stone in the swimming pool for not having waited the requisite 30 minutes after eating.  Nobody actually wants a kid's face to remain frozen forever in a cross-eyed grimace for the crime of annoying his/her sibling... and I can't imagine anyone taking pleasure in having their child go blind for the transgression of er, ... watching TV in the dark (where did you think I was going?).

Likewise, I take absolutely no joy in reminding readers of the following quote from my July 16th journal entry entitled 'A difficult Lesson'... a post I wrote in the opening days of the war in Lebanon:

"... every well-intentioned power that has ever stepped in and negotiated a ceasefire for an Arab aggressor has helped create the monsters we see around us today.

President Lahoud of Lebanon, a big Hezbollah supporter and a close ally of Syria, has been shrieking non-stop to the UN Security Council for the past two days to get them to force Israel into a cease fire.

Clearly he has been reading his autographed copy of 'Military Success for Dummies Arab Despots' by the late Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.  Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in '56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success:

  • Instigate a war.
  • Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you... get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire. 
  • Whatever you do, don't surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy.  That would ruin everything!  All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population... and will force a truce.
  • Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.

This tactic has never failed.  Not once."

And yet here we are less than a month later, staring at the business end of a pre-mature cease fire that leaves...

... Lebanon un-chastised for its complicity in allowing Hezbollah to remain armed.

...  Syria continuing (even as I write this) to truck arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

... Iran sharing the victory parade with its proxy army, Hezbollah.

... Hezbollah with absolutely no restrictions or obligations.

... and Israel's hands tied neatly behind its back.

From the moment Hezbollah fired the opening salvo of the war, kidnapping two IDF soldiers and killing eight other, the clock started ticking against Israel. 

That Israel would respond to this act of war was both just and inevitable.  No country can allow its borders to be crossed by combatants and its citizens killed and kidnapped.  But everyone seemed genuinely surprised that the world would automatically assume the right to define the scope and duration of our response... even though this has happened nearly every time Israel has been attacked. 

It makes me want to bang my head against a wall because not one world leader will admit that demanding Israel exercise its legal right to respond to armed attacks while the equivalent of a 24 second shot clock ticks away overhead is absolutely guaranteed to hand victory to Israel's enemies.

I said it before and I'll say it again:  Complete and utter defeat is the only thing that has ever forced an armed antagonist to lay down his weapons and accept terms of surrender.  Anything less simply offers a break in the battle for everyone to re-arm.

Likewise, no mugger in the history of larceny has ever been convinced to accept only your watch and half the money in your wallet.  Terrorist organizations are muggers writ large, and negotiating with the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, AL Aksa, Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, et al simply gives them proof that you are a willing victim and are prepared to hand over far more loot than you already have.

Add to this fiasco the fact that Israel's leaders were completely complicit in allowing the world to tie our hands, and it makes me want to weep!

At the outset of the war PM Olmert addressed his citizens and promised us that Israel would not leave the battlefield without our two kidnapped soldiers in hand (he had already conveniently forgotten Cpl. Gilad Shalit in Gaza).  This was the Raison D'être of the war, he said, and we would punish the enemy until they returned our citizens.

Now here we are with hundreds of Israeli soldiers and civilians killed and injured... entire cities in the north reduced to rubble... Hezbollah still intact and signing for new shipments of arms from Syria and Iran... The toothless U.N. forces (with a French General at its helm, no less) stating before they even show up that they are not empowered to engage Hezbollah... the Lebanese army stating unequivocally that if it deploys in the south (something that has been shelved indefinitely for now) it cannot, and will not, disarm Hezbollah... and our two/three kidnapped soldiers are still in enemy hands! 

This is what Ehud Olmert calls a good result.

I take absolutely no pleasure in saying 'I told you so' about how this war ultimately played out.  I am sickened at the pointless loss of life.  Every precious lost or shattered life could have been justified (IMHO) if we had at least realized our stated goals of securing our northern border, defeating Hezbollah and getting our soldiers back.  But we accomplished none of those things and accepted a shameful U.N. resolution that could have been ours on July 14th if we'd asked for it! 

No, the only pleasure I'll take at this point (and I demand this pleasure) is watching Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz, Tzippi Livni, Dan Halutz, Shaul Mofaz and anyone else directly responsible for this debacle, to be dismissed from their positions and led away in handcuffs to answer for their crimes against the Israeli people.  I want to see these people paraded before the grieving families of Israel's dead in a well orchestrated perp walk.  I want them to stare into the faces of the people they willfully deceived.

Inexperience is no excuse... nor is ignorance.  These grasping, greedy leaders lied to their countrymen about their qualifications to lead, and willfully ignored the barbarians at the gates.  They wasted precious years plotting how to marginalize and punish a loyal segment of their own population while ignoring obvious warnings of a real external threat. 

Now we are faced with a brief cessation in the battle.  It will take Hezbollah a matter of weeks to return to its former state of readiness, and the Palestinians (who nearly unanimously supported Hezbollah) have used the world's (and Israel's) inattention to bolster their own capabilities.

I suggest we use this brief window to clean house of these criminal leaders and demand that our military begin planning in earnest for the coming battle.  Here are a few suggestions:

Scrap those expensive, cumbersome Merkava tanks and reassign every last tankist to artillery and missile battalions.  Our enemies have had an eternity to map every feature of our border terrain and to identify the routes by which Israeli tanks will have to advance from Israeli soil.  These routes are hopelessly compromised and have proven themselves to be death traps filled with countless ambush sites and buried explosives. Enough of our people were incinerated in the ovens of Europe.  Let's not allow any more of our young men to be burned alive in obsolete/discredited tank warfare.  In the off chance that some future enemy attacks us with tanks... we can buy warehouses full of anti-tank missiles for the cost of a single Merkava.

Create an effective amphibious landing capability.  The Givati Brigade was founded as an amphibious invasion force but was quickly relegated to redundant dry-boot duty by an unimaginative general staff.  We must re-instruct Givati in the necessary art of amphibious assault again for the simple reason that Israel's borders are small... but our enemies' coastlines are huge.  Practice inserting forces on enemy beaches using landing craft, rubber boats and helicopters.  Let our enemy know that their larger geographic size is now a fatal liability.

Create imaginative contingency plans that allow our fighting forces to be inserted where they are least expected.  Massing our troops on the northern border and sending them marching north in a frontal assault against a well-entrenched enemy was madness!  Our men should have been carried by helicopter to the Litani and been allowed to sweep south towards the unprepared rear and flanks of Hezbollah. 

Let our paratroopers be paratroopers.  These red-booted forces should have been scattered in  areas all along the Lebanese/Syrian border and inserted in the outskirts of Beirut.  they should have been allowed to bleed Hezbollah's supply lines dry and attack it's command and control structure.  Asymmetry serves our enemy well.  It's time we used asymmetrical warfare for our own purposes.

Once diplomacy fails, keep the diplomats the hell out of the way.  This war proves more than any previous conflict that no foreign diplomat has ever had Israel's best interest at heart.  Diplomats can speak for and to civilians, but have no role whatsoever once hostilities begin... except to relay someone's interest in accepting terms of surrender.  Israel made a huge blunder by not making our last diplomatic communication an order for all civilians in Southern Lebanon (below the Litani river) to evacuate within 48 hours.  The human shield argument doesn't hold water here.  These people watched for six long years as Hezbollah build bunkers under their houses and apartment buildings and placed rocket launchers in their back yards.  They can't suddenly claim to be hostages.  The time to protest to the U.N. or flee was then... not after the start of hostilities.  Once the 48 hours was over Israel should have used Fuel-Air explosives to incinerate and asphyxiate every living organism remaining on or under the battlefield.  Yes, these weapons are against the Geneva Convention (except to detonate mine fields), but Hezbollah is not a regular army, does not abide by any existing conventions... and is therefore not entitled to their protection.

Tactical Nuclear Weapons.  As chilling as these three words may be, Israel can no longer rely solely on the implied threat of a a colossal nuclear second strike if the country's continued existence is called into question.  With Iran months (or even weeks) away from having the bomb, and even Israel's most primitively equipped enemies having bunkers that can withstand the most powerful conventional weapons, Israel must drop its intentional ambiguity about what it does and doesn't have and show the world proof that it has small nuclear devices capable of reaching anyone, anywhere.  Only the certainty that a limited nuclear response will meet anyone who attacks Israel will ensure her future safety.  The US has a doctrine of 'Nuclear = Biological = Chemical'.  Simply put, this means that any of these three types of threats will be treated interchangeably and will require a like response.  Since the US maintains that it does not have chemical or biological weapons, that means any NBC threat will guarantee a nuclear response.  Israel has been publicly threatened dozens of times since 1991 with chemical, biological and nuclear attack.  In my opinion each and every one of these threats should have elicited an immediate tactical nuclear response.  We can't afford to wait and see if the little boy is crying wolf.  By then it will have been too late.

Last but not least, the enemy who lives in our midst must be dealt with once and for all.  The Palestinians elected Hamas for the simple reason that Hamas promised (and continues to promise) that they will destroy the State of Israel.  They are therefore at war with us and must be militarily defeated.  No more negotiating.  No more duplicity.  No more diplomatic theatrics.  You want us dead.  Fine... just understand that you are going to be destroyed for your efforts.  What about the apolitical, moderate Palestinians who don't want to fight Israel, you ask?  They had better get political in a hurry and form an outspoken, grassroots groundswell to evict the Palestinian leadership calling for Israel's destruction.  This laughable rumor of a silent majority of moderate Palestinians must not be allowed to continue unchallenged and unproved.  Every wartime poll showed that the Palestinian population overwhelmingly supported Hezbollah and its goals throughout this past month and continue to celebrate Hezbollah's victory.  They now have the idea that their victory is next.  Only a war will prove them wrong. Either way, Israel can't tolerate even one more Qassam to be fired into Israel.  Not one more!

I'm exhausted thinking about the magnitude of our leadership's failure to protect us.  The time has come for the next generation of Israeli leaders to get to work.

Posted by David Bogner on August 15, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

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I'm with you with everything but the nukes... that makes it a completely different ball game. That should ONLY be a last resort or retaliation in kind.

This round of battles... merely a continuation of the perpetual war the Arabs fight against Jews... only makes matters worse.

Israel lost...Lebanon is lost, and the Middle East is even more volatile. Olmert and the Israeli Government, Bush and Company in the US, have snatched defeat from the hands of victory. It's unforgivable.

Posted by: Oceanguy | Aug 15, 2006 1:51:42 PM

Trep,
Israel might have lost but it still remains a great Nation, every time I go to flickr.com, search ‘Jerusalem’ and get such a photo, it’s worth a smile because I see a future for Israel… Time will truly show Israel’s greatness!

Posted by: pk | Aug 15, 2006 2:44:54 PM

I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think some of the criticism needs to be directed at "our camp" (I'll leave that for you to more precisely define.)

We need a strong right wing government to deal with these challenges. But the right wing parties couldn't stop their infighting, and many of us would settle for nothing less than an unelectable messiah. We say now we need Bibi. But would we actually give him a chance to govern? Or would we pull out our support as we always do, allowing the next Rabin/ Barak/ Olmert/ Peretz (??!!) to be elected?

We need soldiers who know that we support them. But I'm shocked to hear the demands of the military from the same people who've declared they won't give rides to soldiers who participated in the disengagement, have stopped saying the prayer for the IDF, etc. We need to start saying we support the army (and the State). A little "love it or leave it", "my country right or wrong" kind of patriotism would be helpful now.

We need to have morale in the country to fight this fight and the bigger ones coming up. But while the Arabs say they win even when they lose, we say we lose even when we win. We certainly got a bloody nose, and didn't achieve our basic objectives. But how does it help to ignore any of the positive things to come out of this war? Iran very well may have shot too soon. Hizbollah's long term standing in Lebanon is not necessarily stronger. But they way we're all talking the only consolation we have is that the country has suffered so bad, the revolution must be around the corner.

Let's look in the mirror and see what we need to do to improve the situation.

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Aug 15, 2006 3:08:12 PM

I'm in agreement with Dave(Balashon).

Posted by: seawitch | Aug 15, 2006 3:35:05 PM

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Who will deal with Teheran? Does Israel have midair refeuling capabilities?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Aug 15, 2006 4:27:20 PM

I wonder if Olmert, Peretz, Halutz and all the other political and military wizards who concocted this travesty know about George Santayana's quote: "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." Was the point of this war to "degrade" Hezbollah or destroy it? Was it to try to "appear victorious" right before the cease-fire was forced down Israel's throat? This was a colossal failure in leadership by meek politicians and feeble IDF tacticians -- led by an Air Force pilot whose only decisive move was going to a hospital for a tummy ache. Yes, these pathetic characters must pay the price for this debacle and leave post haste. It's a tragedy that our fallen soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice with these "leaders" at the helm.
In terms of the military tactics to be adopted in future campaigns, yes, I think amphibious assaults are the way to go, as well as "asymmterical warfare." I'm not sure it's time to ditch the tanks, but it sure is time to use them as part of much more massive and decisive assaults. I won't go into the discussion of tactical nuke weapons -- that's fraught with all kinds of perils. But what is clear is that we must not fight wars against terrorists with an eye on the clock and with an arm tied behind our back. The future of the Jewish State is at stake.

Posted by: Yaron | Aug 15, 2006 4:46:32 PM


What were you expecting, honestly? I'm from India, and we're in a similar situation. Terrorists attack us all the time, but no one really cares, because we're just another third world nation. While Israel tries to fight its enemy, we try to kiss ass. I've given up.

When Islam has grown enough to impact the powers that be, that's when they'll take notice. But it might be too late by then, the powers that be might just be Islamic.

Many Islam followers suffer from a persecution complex. They're raised to believe that everybody hates them, hence their need for terrorism.

I know anti-Semites from parts of the world where there are NO Jewish people. It's a joke, considering there are about 13 million Jews vs. 1 billion Muslims.

Posted by: Raindrop | Aug 15, 2006 5:23:24 PM

Trep: Is it too late for you to run for knesset? Not kidding.

Posted by: ball-and-chain | Aug 15, 2006 5:37:41 PM

****dismissed from their positions and led away in handcuffs to answer for their crimes against the Israeli people. ****

You won't even get them dismissed ... let alone prosecuted. Richard the Third must be Olmert's favorite
play. Only he thinks he can rewrite the ending.

Any gang that can get away with Amona can get away with anything. Its why I personally went so nuts after Amona. It was so obviously the opening act of an unbelievable tradjedy.

I don't think you HAVE a country anymore. More like a colony or a territory controlled by an aristocracy from abroad or a mafia within, in which the subjects are thoroughly cowed. Scicily comes to mind. Or Ukraine.

Somebody will probably shoot Olmert. The colonists will put whatever boob in place the media tells them to vote for. OH, that's right, you don't get to vote for people do you? Just different gangs.

I'm sorry but you lot are the canary in the coal mine and nobody understands canaries any more. The rest of us are right behind you and will dutifully repeat all your tradgedy right after we finish orchestrating yours.

Prove me wrong. Make some kick-ass general the leader of Israel and load all the Gazastanis onto garbage skows and set them adrift in the Mediterranean Sea to be followed by any other Israeli Arab that looks crosswise at you.

Just make sure you convert most of those banana plantations to vegetable farms first as Israel will be utterly cut off from the rest of us dupes out here in Corporanea.

Posted by: Scott | Aug 15, 2006 6:01:28 PM

I've been saying about Israel, since the beginning of this fight, "beware the fury of the patient man." It sounds like this applies to you as well. :o)

You do need Bibi back. You have for years. And I doubt he cares about moral support from the masses anymore, either. Oh, and yeah, what ball-and-chain said.

Posted by: Tanya | Aug 15, 2006 6:09:06 PM

Well said, if I could ever manage to express my political views in such a sophisticated manner. The one issue that keeps popping up in my head whenver the "bomb the hell out of them" strategy is mentioned is the fear of escalation. What if Israel's neighbors decide to respond in greater force? A third World War? G-d forbid. That's what scares me. As effective as it sounds, it frightens me to no end.

Posted by: tnspr69 | Aug 15, 2006 6:45:27 PM

How many nuclear bombs will it take to destroy Israel? Four?

I am afraid it is only a matter of time - unless there are major changes in Syria and Iran, which could only come from within. Bombing Tehran will not change the regime there.

After this failed campaign, I am not optimistic. There will be a coup in Lebanon and Hezb'allah will take power. End of such democracy as they have.

Posted by: Don Cox | Aug 15, 2006 7:29:03 PM

Don,

There has already been a coup in Lebanon. As soon as Hizbollah started the war, the coup was on. Lebanon can't do a thing without Hizbollah approval. Military and Political power is Nasrallah's hands.

There is no more Lebanon, it's Hizbollistan.

Posted by: Oceanguy | Aug 15, 2006 7:49:39 PM

tnspr69 - We're already in the midst of World War IV, but most people are not aware of it...or do not care.

World War III was the Cold War.

World War IV is the war between the enlightened Western democracies and Islamic fascism. Whether the Islamic fascists represent the mainstream of Islamic behavior is open to question, but there have not been near enough voices raised that attempt to disassociate one from the other.

The "War on Terrorism"? Pfaugh. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. When you have an enemy that uses an unacceptable tactic, your only course is to destroy that enemy.

Posted by: Elisson | Aug 15, 2006 8:50:55 PM

Seawitch

Yes, Israel has 8 tankers - 3 large 707 airframes and 5 smaller 130's. They also have 25 or so F-15Is and somewhere between 50 and 100 F-16Is - both able to reach Iran without inflight refueling.

But I think, as Trep points out, the problem is not Israel's abilities - but the refusal of the "international community" to allow Israel to use those abilities. As a result there is a false piece that has placed Israel in greater danger. My thoughts.

Posted by: Mike | Aug 15, 2006 9:22:42 PM

I see a number of people calling for the dismissal of the current administration - Olmert & co. I see them calling for that dismissal on blogs and newspapers. I see no mass movements to pressure the administration into resigning. If there are so many people dissatisfied with the administration, why the silence? There's exactly ONE person calling for resignation in front of Olmert's office.

Posted by: Irina | Aug 15, 2006 9:25:42 PM

Elisson- I guess you're right.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Aug 16, 2006 12:31:06 AM

Wow. A-freakin-men to Trep and Balashon.

As for Knesset, if he were an MK he wouldn't be able to say these things!

Posted by: ralphie | Aug 16, 2006 2:30:50 AM

Thank you, Dr. Strangelove.

The world is not coming to an end just yet, and Meir Kahane and his ideology are thankfully still dead.

There is not one iota of evidence that this situation would have handled differently by any other Israeli leader.

Posted by: Michael Brenner | Aug 16, 2006 7:52:10 AM

David, you make a lot of good points. I can't comment on your specific suggestions for the army - because I don't have that kind of head. But one thing I think you are ignoring is the reason why the IDF is stuck in the old ways of thinking. I think that there are wonderful, creative thinkers in the IDF - but the higher ups are too busy writing their campaign speeches for their political lives after the army to use their suggestions. Remember Boogie Yaalon? With his coolheaded look at our situation and his warnings? He was kicked out on his butt because he didn't toe the "peace is just around the corner" line. We need to pass a law in the Knesset (already attempted by Rav Benny Elon)that mandates that those retiring from the IDF have to wait 5 years (vs. the one year we have now)before entering politics. This will force them to focus on doing the job at hand - and not to constantly think of what will look nice on their "I always was for peace" resume.

We have to do something serious about the media also. The politicians who are weak and just parrot the "peace is just around the corner" line get off too easy. Where are the tough questions?

Posted by: westbankmama | Aug 16, 2006 8:41:39 AM

I agree the worst part is that Hezbollah is the one that controlls Iran and Syria by extension Lebanon

Posted by: malcolm | Aug 16, 2006 8:46:45 AM

Trep - it looks like you've lost some erstwhile commmenters here... who perhaps can't take your rightward shift.

And what a shift it is! You write:
You want us dead. Fine... just understand that you are going to be destroyed for your efforts.
- - - - - - - - -
Are you really proposing genocide of the Palestinians?

I assume so because re-"occupation" will not provide the "decisive defeat" you claim is necessary - it will just lay the groundwork for another assault on Israeli sovereignty.

Posted by: Ben-David | Aug 16, 2006 11:37:18 AM

Who said anything about 'genocide' -- If the Gaza Arabs won't become Palestinians (and the indications are that they prefer the destruction of Israel to the creation of Palestine, in light of their behavior after the Disengagement) then I suggest Israel deem them "stateless Arabs", and deport them. Empty Gaza. Then see if their brethren in the West Bank want to get serious about nation-building or follow their Gazan pals into exile.

Your other alternative is to wait while Hezbollah reloads with NBCs and Islamic Jihad et al joins forces with them. The Arab world is screaming with hysteria over their perceived 'conquest' of the IDF and their now-firm belief that we can't defend ourselves---are you willing to bet on either Palestinian good will or self-interest to protect you and your children? I'm not--they've used every excuse imaginable to create reasons to keep their 100-year war against Jewish statehood going, and they show no signs of giving up. Instead of bleeding us with terror attacks, they now openly root for Hezbollah and call for Iran and Syria to nuke Israel.

It's us or them. Forget peace--you can't make peace with people who want you dead and are willing to die to make you so.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Aug 16, 2006 2:17:26 PM

Ben David - some things don't belong on a blog comments section. Some things need to be said face to face.

Posted by: lisoosh | Aug 16, 2006 8:12:07 PM

Combined arms implies a certain degree of coordination and mutual support. Did the IDF effort in Lebanon seem short on this?
It may be worth Israel's time to go talk to the Indians about their counter-insurgency measures, which are measurably more effective than what is being seen now in Iraq.
The IDF battle plan appears to have been flawed, I agree. From my perspective, the entry strategy was ill defined and did not account for the assymetric warfighting capabilities of the Hizbolah types, nor did it accurately assess their conventional capabilities, which appear to have been considerable. As far as the exit strategy, knowing the history of the mideast conflicts since '56, what could the IDF planners been thinking of after a month of the AP supported propaganda stream flying out of Lebanon?
Perhaps, as suggested, some assymetric tactics of your own are worth exploring. Special Forces allowed to do what they do best is a good idea. Infiltration and other methods may prove more effective than cranking up the armored columns in the aftermath of this war. Just remember to keep a lid on it and express dismay at the loss of so many high ranking Syrians and Hizbolah types.
Your fight is my fight, by the way. Real Americans remember that, and we remember who our friends are.

Posted by: B Dubya | Aug 16, 2006 9:27:12 PM

Trep, Are you familiar with this Lebanese group blog: http://lebanesebloggers.blogspot.com/ ?

Regards,

Inna

Posted by: Inna | Aug 17, 2006 7:42:20 AM

Oceanguy... The reason I feel strongly that Israel must be prepared to use tactical/backpack nukes is that no other threat can reasonably be considered plausible. Hizbollah knows that Israel would never use a 100kt device on them. But a 5kt device would scare the bajeezes out of them for the simple reason that it can be used locally.

pk... unfortunately Israel's google relevance rating isn't going to help it much.

Dave... I couldn't agree more. But there are varying degrees of problems and the ones I've outlined are the first ones that must be addressed.

Doctor Bean... No need. We have missiles that reach there quite nicely. And as luck would have it we have finished work on our payload package.

Yaron... Not discussing the nuke option is also fraught with problems.

Raindrop... You are so right. I always marvel that non-Jews self identify as 'Gentiles'. It is like me calling myself, 'Not American Indian', instead of Jewish.

Ball and chain... They would eat me alive.

Scott... You can't even say something like that in passing. Not now... not ever. Shooting politicians is not something one jokes about here and it is a wound that has not healed... and likely never will.

Tanya... No argument from me (except about the MK treppenwitz thing).

tnspr569... As others have said... you are fretting about things that have already come to pass.

Elisson... Well said.

Mike... I couldn't agree more.

Irina... We do not directly elect these officials. Likewise we cannot directly influence their dismissal. The wheels move more slowly... but I hope they will, in fact, move.

Ralphie... As I said to others, they would eat me alive before I even opened my mouth.

Michael Brenner... Are you still there? Sheesh, calling me a Kahanist is rich. It just proves that anyone to the right of Shulamit aloni and Yossi Sarid are Kahanists in your book. I'd bring you the proofs you ask for, but I don't have time to bring them all the way over there to your nice safe neighborhood in Long Island. Y'know, it's amazing how easy it is to live your convictions when you don't have to live the consequences of them.

Westbankmama... The more I watch the media work the more I realize that there are journalists that are beholden to particular politicians. This connection needs to be shown the light of day and denounced for the anti-democratic nonsense it is.

Malcom... I think you have that backwards.

Ben-David... I won't even dignify your inflammatory comment with a response.

Aliyah06... Don't bother responding to him. He gets off on trying to get people to react.

Lisoosh... Trust me when I tell you that Mr. Ben David would be missing some teeth if he ever made the mistake of saying such a thing to my face.

Bdubya... I can't argue with a thing.

Inna... Yes, but as encouraging as it may be, they are a tiny minority that is powerless to effect change (even on a local level).

Posted by: treppenwitz | Aug 17, 2006 11:23:28 AM

Whatever happened to the concept of a "vote of no confidence?" I seem to recall that Begin & Shamir were subject to a VNC every few months (or so it seemed). Unlike here in America, you guys can actually throw the bums out. Maybe it's time. PS - from the first days of the war, I was worried about the Defence Ministry being in the hands of the Israeli Jimmy Hoffa. Appointing Amir Peretz to have any say whatsoever in army matters should have itself called Olmert's judgment into serious question.

Posted by: psachya | Aug 17, 2006 6:56:38 PM

There is a lot to your blog about 'what's next', and it leaves a lot of room for thought. I agree with the overall idea to be prepared and the overall theme you presented. With regards to the Merkava tanks, I don't know about their performance as related to other tanks, but with regards to maintaining tanks as a part of an overall structure, they might be extremely valuable in future conflicts that don't look like this one.

I think both the U.S. and Israel may be heavily influenced by current conflicts, whose lessons will leave them unprepared for future conflicts. Specifically when sending forces into both Lebanon and Iraq, a lot of close-in combat is needed, civilians are mixed with bad guys, and precision is necessary. But if it comes to all out survival, it will be totally unlike that. It will come down to the big weapons, not the little ones. Israel may need to take on up to 5 or 10 countries at a time in a worse case scenario, if they band together, and in that case it wouldn't be a matter of carefully selected strikes, it would be a matter of the big toys against the big toys. I'm sorry that I don't have any good answers, but the current conflict might not look like anything that which might eventually come. What is possible might make the current conflict look like a sneeze.

Most potential enemies have no real moral values and believe things like "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" or that All*h has ordained them to rule the world, and so, as a defensive measure, it is best to be prepared as much as possible.

Your comment about tactical nu*lear weapons is accurate, but perhaps is best not talked about too much in writing as people love to hang on your words and call you things like Dr. Stranglove. In other words, in one way you get rewarded, and you get a literary following because you speak the truth, but if you speak it too truthfully you might be punished. This is just my freely and casually speaking observation. I am safe to ignore. I read blogs in the comfort of my armchair.

I had predicted to some close friends in January that the nu*lear sites in Iran would have been conventionally bombed by the U.S. or Israel by the end of March, and surprisingly this has not happened, even many months later. I have since learned and observed that the world is not what I had thought, and that we might just very well let them have the weapons they desire. I can say that this is one of the reason that I don't live or work in downtown. One day, several of our cities might just disappear. And if they do, it will happen because of Iran or North Korea helping out the terr*ists (who will do the dirty work) and the people in power do not have the will to protect us. And I don't know what to do about that. But heaven help those who oppose us, because we are more powerful than any country and at any time in the history of civilization.

I do not appreciate living in a world who's history is so filled with war. I want to see peace in our time, and I want to see the happiness and prosperity of my children. I hope a bunch of idiots won't provoke a sleeping giant. We may suffer an immense amount of pain, but personally I feel in the end we will always be the winners. I would just prefer it to be without the pain, in a world where all have opportunity for life, love, food, education and happiness.

If they push our backs against the wall, heaven help them.


Posted by: Seattle | Aug 19, 2006 6:36:27 AM

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