Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hedgehog was Right: Israeli Cabinet Rejects IDF Leaders Call for Wider Ground Offensive

On Monday of this week, the Hedgehog Blog published a post entitled "Israel's Leaders Let Politics Dictate Tactics, and IDF Soldiers Pay the Price." The post expressed concern that political considerations--in particular surrender to the Israeli public's concerns about once again becoming mired in the "Lebanon Mud" (Israel's equivalent of the Vietnam Syndrome in the U.S.)--rather than military necessity were dictating the tactics employed in the fight against Hezbollah. One of the indicators of a possible problem identified by the Hedgehog Blog was the appearance of over-reliance on air power coupled with an under-commitment of ground troops. Those concerns now appear well-founded, as evidenced by this report from IsraelNationalNews.com:

Prime Minister Olmert and the security cabinet rejected the army's recommendation for a larger-scale ground offensive on Thursday, but agreed to call up three more reserve divisions.

As predicted, the ministers voted to continue with only limited ground offensives and wide-ranging aerial attacks. This, despite the recommendations by army officers that a larger ground offensive is necessary.

Israel, like the United States, is a democratic regime whose civilian political leaders rule over the military. Civilian rule is an essential protection against military dictatorship or descent into the chaos of competing warlords and militias, such as prevails in Gaza and Lebanon. However, civilian political control of the military is not without its costs when a democracy must wage war. One may only pray that the price Israel pays is not too steep in terms of lives and security.

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