Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Debunking Some Myths About Israel And The War In Lebanon

Emanuele Ottolenghi, in an article for the National Review, writes about the myths created as a result of the Lebanon War:
Every war generates its myths, and the recent war in Lebanon is no exception. This war's myths are that Israel lost and Hezbollah won; that this was due to Israel's reluctance to take casualties; and that Hezbollah's victory in turn shattered the image of Israel's military invincibility.
He goes on to discuss the myth that Hezbollah won the war--and if this topic interests you, go and read the article.

What interests me is what he writes about other myths about Israel that have been produced by the war:
What of the myth of Israel's invincibility that this war supposedly shattered, and the myth that it was Israel's reluctance to absorb casualties that caused Israel to balk?
Ottolenghi describes the wars--both conventional and non-conventional--that Israel has fought: from 1948 to the present, including both Intifadas. He also describes some of the enormous losses that Israel suffered in the process. Nevertheless:
There is a pattern, then: Each war brings Israel a new challenge. Each time, it takes Israel time to absorb the blow, understand its nature and mechanisms, and then make elaborate corrections and improvements to its combat doctrine. Israel has lost battles in the past. It learned from its mistakes and it improved its fighting capabilities the next time around. In this worn-out recent war with Hezbollah, Israel's performance was no different from that in past wars. At a heavy price, it inflicted a severe, but not decisive, blow to Hezbollah. It will now learn how to fight better next time around.
As for the myth that Israel can no longer put up with the casualties that she must put up with to survive:
If this were true, how could we explain Israel's victory in the second Intifada? Over 1,000 civilians were shredded to bits by Palestinian terror. Yet, Israeli society soldiered on — literally. In the latest round of fighting, it was Israel's leadership that balked at the risk of casualties, not the country, which from left to right was united in an unprecedented support for a more comprehensive and aggressive campaign to finish off Hezbollah once and for all. Israel's home front did not break down, despite a month spent in shelters in the North, and the severe shortcomings of its logistical machine and those who were in charge of it. Israelis proved their resilience and their stubborn will to stay and put up a fight, for when the real volley of missiles comes in from further afield.
Israel's army is resourceful.
Israelis are resilient.

But what about Israel's political leadership?

Apparently, it is still mything.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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