Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Quickie on Israel's Flawed Military Strategy

Why has the vaunted IDF military machine performed so poorly in Lebanon? Surely there are a number of reasons, but what I think is the most important one just came to me in the shower this morning.

Specifically, the weakness in the IDF's military performance can be traced to an indecisiveness on the political level as to what to do with the Litani River once it has been taken.

The Litani River, see map here, runs across the Southern tip of Lebanon. It is is a natural line of defense for any invading army, and therefore the logical front edge of any Israeli buffer zone. However, to take and hold it means a reprise of the earlier, ill-fated occupation that ended with an ignominious withdrawal in the year 2000.

After all, the Israelis know that a French-led U.N. force ready to serve as proxy occupation army, willing to fight off Hezbollah and suck it up bravely whenever the Israeli air-force "accidentally" napalms some of their men, is set to arrive in the region no later than the 25th day after Doomsday. Take the Litani, and Israel is stuck with the Litani until they withdraw from it, with their forward troops eating Kaytusha rockets the whole time. Olmert and co. would prefer to avoid this scenario.

On the other hand, if you set up a buffer zone short of the Litani, then it doesn't work. Give Hezbollah an uncontested passage over the river, and the rest--getting close enough to jump your guys or fire rockets at Haifa--is easy. So your troops eat rockets, and so does Northern Israel.

Hamstrung between these two lousy alternatives, you get the kind of silly military behavior we've been seeing. The Israelis send a bunch of guys towards the river, maybe even past it, fire off a few rounds, take a few casualties back, and leave. They land some commandos, shoot up a few buildings, and leave.

And with this new offensive, the IDF--and this, being from a military background, particularly annoys me--is being asked by its political masters to be more active in the buffer zone, but they're still not allowed to make any progress.

The IDF is being made to take part in a political drama, not do its job, in other words..


JimBobby said...

Whooee! Well BigCityFeller, I reckon the IDF's biggest troublem is that they brought a shotgun to a knife fight. Now that they finally seen their bombs don't stop rocket-tossers an' only make more innocent victims sympathize with the rotten hezballers, they're sendin' in the foot soldiers.

This ain't the part that's flawed. This is the way they can engage the bad guys an' fight 'em. The ground forces has been doin' a whole helluvalot better'n the bombers when it comes t' civilian:hezballer kill ratio.

They woulda liked it if they coulda bombed the crap outta innocent Lebanese an' they woulda got most o' the hezballers while they was at it. Ever since they pulled out in 2000, the IDF's had south Leb under near constant aerial surveillance. They shoulda knowed they wasn't gonna win by bombin' babies. But, dang it all, they figgered it was worth a try... and who's gonna give a rat's ass if a few hunnert human shields die in the dumbass experiment?

I been sayin' since the start, these people gettin' killed is human bein's.

Yesterday in a letter t' the editor o' my l;ocal rag, sum shitferbrains was callin' on Israel t' level south Leb t' the ground an' kill all the "rodents" livin' there.

The Hezballers's been buildin' schools an' teachin' their kiddies that the Israelis is a buncha baby eaters.

Both sides got an easier time killin' civilians when they figger they ain't quite human.

I been doin' a lot o' readin' in Ha'aretz. There's a growin' buncha Israelis who's askin' why their bigass, well-oiled, Merkin-financed mighty military machine ain't put a dent in the number o' rockets comin' in. Shee-it! Up until the IDF started in with its measured response on July 12, there was hardly any rockets comin' in. Now, they got hunnerts a day.

Sum Israelis an' sum other pundidiots sez it's the Merkins pullin' the strings in Israel an' the Iranians pullin' the hezballers' strings -- a proxy war between the Merkins an ' Iran bein' fought at the expense o' Lebanon.

Well, no great loss fer Cheney an' his buds. Halliburton'll be first in line when the rebuildin' contracts get let out. This war's good business fer the Merkins. They sell bombs t'Israel; then, they give aid t' Lebanon t' help rebuild an' jest like in Iraq, it'll be Merkin pockets gettin' lined when that there rebuildin' starts up.

Whooee! That's a long-winded comment. I reckon mebbe I'll paste it in over t' my own little boog fer a boog story today.

Yores trooly,

Anonymous said...

You are a brilliant military analyst and strategist.

You should consdider a career change.

You could make a lot more money than being a failed writer.

Anonymous said...

hey Jimbobby . . same career advice for you.

Just brilliant.

Anonymous said...

"You should consdider a career change.

You could make a lot more money than being a failed writer"

I'll have to give that a failing grade. Very bad writing.

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