Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why go to war if you don't intend to fight?

Jerusalem Post columnist Evelyn Gordon asks that excellent question here. Ms. Gordon says that Israel's critics were correct about Israel's military response being disproportionate, but not for the reasons that they cite. Israel's reaction was disproportionate, even though each of its actions individually, and indeed all of them put together, were justified. "However, all these acts are legitimate only in service of a legitimate military aim. And it turns out that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert never had any military aims - or, more accurately, he never had any intention of doing what was necessary to achieve them."

Gordon notes, as did the Hedgehog, that Olmert refrained from authorizing the large-scale infantry operations necessary to clean out Hezbollah (and in the process increased ground troop casualties by negating Israel's advantage of numbers):
"until, bizarrely, this past Friday, when the UN Security Council was already finalizing the cease-fire that took effect Monday morning. By that time, the move had no chance of success: Military planners said it would take at least three days to reach the Litani and two weeks to conduct the search-and-destroy mission, and the course of the fighting until then indicated that both figures were likely to prove underestimates. And indeed, few units managed to reach the Litani before the cease-fire, while the army had no time at all for search-and-destroy missions."

Gordon therefore concludes:
"For a country that many still seek to erase from the map, war will unfortunately sometimes be necessary. This was one of those times, and Olmert's decision to go to war was in principle justified. But thanks to his refusal to actually fight the war once he declared it, 159 Israelis and hundreds of Lebanese ended up dying for nothing. And that is unforgivable."

As previously stated on this blog, Olmert should resign. If he does not, the Knesset must pass a motion of no-confidence to bring down his government.


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