Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sharon On The Current War In Lebanon

Today's New York Sun editorial compares Ariel Sharon's memoirs, Warrior, with the current war in Lebanon, noting that
...the chapters are a reminder of the how important it was for infantry and armor to get into the thick of the fight, to advance as fast and as aggressively as possible, to seize every opportunity for surprise.
This is a reminder, a lesson, that has been lost somewhere in the chain of command in Israel. But it is the multitude of military similarities between Sharon's memoirs and the current situation that are jarring.
"As I tried to grasp what was going on," Sharon wrote in his account, "several unpleasant facts became clear. The first was that the air force was not acting effectively. After the 1970 cease-fire the Egyptians had moved those surface-to-air batteries up to the canal. We had not reacted to them, and now we were paying a terrible price for it." A second problem, he wrote, was that the Sinai task force had not been "concentrated forward." When Israel's armor did attack, in an effort he called "madly courageous but senseless," it was decimated. He called it a "clear sign of panic" reflecting an "inability to read the battlefield." He wrote: "Instead of gathering our forces for a hard, fast counterattack, we were wasting them in hopeless small-unit actions."
In his memoirs, Sharon also recounts the bewilderment on the faces--and realizing it was due to the fact that for his soldiers, this was the first war where the enemy was winning. It was--at the time--an unfamiliar experience.

Sharansky has claimed that only an Olmert could have united Israel behind the war in Lebanon. Maybe so, but it seems that only a Sharon could have decisively won it.

The editorial concludes with a comment from a friend in Israel:
This, he told us, is the first war since 1956 in which Sharon hasn't held a position of high leadership. He did not mean to suggest that all was lost. On the contrary, from the struggle of a new generation to advance against an old enemy's new tactics, he said, he had no doubt that there would arise the next Sharon.
Israel awaits.

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