LESSONS SO FAR
HARD TRUTHS TO LEARN FROM ISRAEL'S
WAR ON HEZBOLLAH
August 13, 2006 -- ISRAEL'S war against the Middle East's first true terrorist army provides tough military and strategic lessons - old, new, and all too often disheartening. Israel's been winning on the ground. And still losing the war.
This bitter conflict - in which most casualties on both sides of the border are civilians - raises troubling questions, too. Some are identical to those confronting us in Iraq. Many have troubling answers. Others have no real answers at all.
The elementary fact - which far too many in the West deny - is that our civilization has been forced into a defensive war to the death with fanatical strains of Islam - both Shi'a and Sunni. We may be on the offensive militarily, but we did not start this war - and it's all one war, from 9/11's Ground Zero, through Lebanon and Iraq, and on to Afghanistan.
Until that ugly fact gains wide acceptance, we'll continue to make little decisive progress. American or Israeli, our troops are trying. But the truth is that we're really just holding the line.
We have not yet begun to fight. And many among us still dream of avoiding this war altogether.
It can't be done. Because our enemies - Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Islamist militias, regimes in Iran, Syria and elsewhere - are determined to confront us.
We're going to learn the hard way. But we're going to learn.
Meanwhile, here's what the latest battlefield has to say to us:
Lesson 1: You can win every tactical engagement and still lose at the strategic level.
Israel's fought well. But its forces did a polite minuet, while its enemy's danced madly in the streets. The Israeli Defense Forces have done what their government asked of them. But the Olmert government asked them to do the wrong things - and to do too little for too long.
On the ground, in the air and at sea, the IDF or our own forces can't be beaten. But without sound strategic planning, our tactical wins will not add up to victory. We have to re-learn this lesson again and again: Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq - and now Lebanon.
Lesson 2: The global media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield.
Too many politicians and generals still don't get it. This new truth about war slapped us in the face during the First Battle of Fallujah. Now, facing a hostile global media, the Israelis are learning it.
Lesson 3: If you start off on the wrong foot in war, you may never recover your balance.
This old rule never changes. The Israeli government dreamed of fighting a short, clean war on the cheap. Now they're playing incremental catch-up. It's a formula for stalemate, if not defeat. If you must go to war, go with everything you've got. From Day One. In war, the only bargain at any price is victory.
Lesson 4: Technology alone can't win 21st-century wars.
You've heard it before and, sadly, you'll hear it again. These asymmetrical, brutal human conflicts require flesh-and-blood solutions - boots on the ground, not just airpower.
Lesson 5: Never underestimate your enemy.
Another timeless rule. The Israelis did it in 1973, and now they've done it again. They undervalued Hezbollah's preparedness for a serious war, its armaments, its training - and its tenacity. And we ourselves did it after Baghdad fell.
This is one of the worst mistakes any government and military can make.
Lesson 6: In war, take the pain up front, and the overall suffering will be far less.
A policy of casualty aversion - in Israel or in the United States - results in more casualties in the end. Because the IDF wasn't permitted to wage a serious war from the first day (and it remains severely restricted even now), the rockets continued to rain down on Israel - while Hezbollah won the propaganda war.
Lesson 7: Terrorism is no longer a limited, diffuse, disorganized threat.
Hezbollah has an army, if of a new and innovative kind. Iran and Syria supply, support and succor it. It has strategic depth and startling resilience.
With Hezbollah on point, Shi'a terror is now better-prepared to wage post-modern war than Sunni organizations such as al Qaeda. We're witnessing the rise of trans-national terrorist armies.
There are many more lessons, especially down at the soldier level. But let's turn to two critical questions:
Can a military that relies heavily on reserve call-ups win this new kind of war? For Israel, it's an existential question. My own conclusion is that the IDF, as currently structured, is living on borrowed time. Having seen our own forces operating in Iraq and the IDF at work along the Lebanese border, my frank assessment is that Israel's brave reserve brigades would crumble in fights such as those in Fallujah or Ramadi. This isn't the West Bank anymore. This is war to the death. The IDF must stop looking backward toward its proud heritage and look honestly at the future of war.
Can we win "Eastern" wars with Western values? I doubt it.
This question is going to eat at our consciences for years to come - even as we learn to do what must be done.
Despite media lies about Israeli "atrocities," the IDF has been doing all it can to spare civilians. For example, the Israelis repeatedly risked commando teams deep in hostile territory to take out Hezbollah command-and-control cells - instead of just leveling the crowded apartment buildings where the terrorists were hiding. But, ultimately, all of the special operations in the world will fall far short of delivering decisive, crushing victories. We are going to have to learn to fight by the enemy's rules. And we aren't going to like it.
The wars of the future will be won by those with the greater strength of will. And boundless determination is one weapon that Islamist extremists unquestionably possess.
Ralph Peters' new book is "Never Quit The Fight."
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I am not certain how this all got diverted from taxidermy, but if this is going to be truly current events, you are correct in many ways. Some flag waving Bush-co supporters out there have not been through a Vietnam...orders to wipe out families...villages. They can sit fat in their redneck trailers and defend their version of "patriotism.' Was that the case with G. Wshington...he would be branded a terrorist. It is true, history is written by the winners. Sadly, there are no winners here. We have already lost...our identity, our morals, our senses.
there are 13 other buttons to click onto if you want Taxidermy all the time. You can always move to france you know.
your watching and listening to that Bush network again. What the hell did Sadam have to do with 9/11. You and your ilk are so easily manipulated. Remember this, and remember it well, when you fight a people who WANT to die for their country you usually have a tough road to hoe.
The way to win this so called war is to change our policies in the Middle East and force our 51st. state to give back the land that it took ( stole ) from the Palestinians. Oh yea a change in the White House will also help...
I am not a terrorist sympathizer like you & Cecil. You have a defective brain from drinking too much liberal Kool-aid.Good luck with that.
Maybe my eyesight is failing, but exactly where in Brads post did it make a connection between Hussein and 9/11? I believe he said "it's all one war, from 9/11's Ground Zero, through Lebanon and Iraq, and on to Afghanistan" It's revisionists that can take a piece of written word and manipulate it for their agenda...just take another look, maybe I didn't see it. And which channel is the Bush network? The current selection tells too many lies already...
some on here(you know who they are) believe our own government took down the twin towers and that terrorists had nothing to do with it. These People are very dangerous to this country and to the world and cannot be trusted.
Oh & Lou , you may want to look up your history on how Israel actually came to be. Hint - it has to do with the UN.
you better look it up my friend. the UN resolutions that have caused this strife in the Middle East call for the JEWS to give back the land that they stole.
You can't pick and choose ace...
Lou the Jew hater. Pretty nice crowd you agree with there Lou. Nice folks all around now and throughout history. Shouldn't you be strapping a bomb to yourself about now? The virgins are waiting.
Get off the couch, turn off the DVD player, remove the disc that's been playing Syriana on an endless loop, take off the filthy Che Guevara t-shirt that you've been wearing since 1982, and go get some help.
Jeesh, I was going along with what you were saying Brad, and now I should move to France? I wish folks would stop using the conspiracy branding iron on everything. That governments are guilty of covert opertations, spying on citizens, misconstruing the truth, and purposely trying to mislead folks does not have to involve a conspiracy. It is just what they do. We have a history of genocide and other naughty stuff just like everyone else. Massacres in Viet Nam, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek Massacre, etc, etc. Not conspiracies, just orders.
Sometimes things have to get done and they aren't always pretty , politically correct or right but they need to get done at the time for whatever the reason. Things happen in war and it is very rarely predictable. Survival is the name of the game Dennis.
Not! He's never even put on a uniform.
Wow defending geonocide as a necessary evil. Hooooooooooooooly Cow!
BTW Brad did I call you stupid or some other name?
Lots of folks survive Brad. That does not make it a life worth living. Want to trade places with some kid in Somalia? I love my country...not the dumbasses that supposedly run it.We live like Gods, and are most fortunate.I was an activist for Native American people in college...particularly on a spiritual level. That is where we all get in trouble. Feds tapped phones, showed up at campus events...just because I was aligned with Native American people. One harmless man gave food to his people at an armed protest at Wounded Knee. So I get followed all over, as well as my family.Who gets a bullet? Those in on spiritual change. What needed to get done in our own history? Separate the "gnits before they breed lice?" like some military geniuses implied? Too bad some of the "nitwits" were not separated before mating. Let's see, which family might that bring into question? Rhymes with push!
so you were there at wounded knee hun ? I think I've heard enough.
I am not that way!