Israel is not winning its war against Hezbollah, according to retired Colonel Ralph Peters in the New York Post. He has some bullet points that review the situation:
* By trying to spare Israeli lives through the use of airpower and long-range artillery fire instead of ground troops, the IDF played into Hezbollah’s hands. The terrorists could claim that Israel feared them. Meanwhile, Israeli targeting proved shockingly sloppy, failing to ravage Hezbollah, while hitting civilians – to the international media’s delight.
* The IDF is readying a reinforced brigade of armor and 3,000 to 5,000 troops for a “limited incursion” into southern Lebanon. Won’t work. Not enough troops. And Hezbollah’s had time to get locked and loaded. This is going to be messy – any half-hearted Israeli effort will fall short.
* Famed for its penetration, Israeli intelligence failed this time. It didn’t detect the new weapons Iran and Syria had provided to Hezbollah, from anti-ship missiles to longer-range rockets. And, after years of spying, it couldn’t find Hezbollah.
This should set off global alarm bells: If Hezbollah can hide rockets, Iran can hide nukes.
* The media sided heavily with Hezbollah (surprise, surprise). Rocket attacks on Israel were reported clinically, but IDF strikes on Lebanon have been milked for every last drop of emotion. We hear about broken glass in Haifa – and bleeding babies in Beirut.
* Washington rejoiced when several Arab governments criticized Hezbollah for its actions. But the Arab street, Shia and Sunni, has coalesced behind Hezbollah. Saudi and Egyptian government statements are worth about as much as a greeting card from Marie Antoinette on New Year’s Day, 1789.
* Syria and Iran are getting a free ride. Hezbollah fights and dies, Damascus and Tehran collect the dividends.
* Israel looks irresolute and incapable – encouraging its enemies.
* The “world community” wants a cease-fire – which would only benefit the terrorists. Hezbollah would claim (accurately) that it had withstood Israel’s assault. Couldn’t get a better terrorist recruiting advertisement.
* A cease-fire would be under U.N. auspices. Gee, thanks. No U.N. force would protect Israel’s interests, but plenty of U.N. contingents would cooperate with or turn a blind eye to the terrorists. Think Russia’s an honest broker? Ask its Jews who fled to Israel. Would French troops protect Israeli interests? Ask the Jews Vichy bureaucrats packed off to the death camps. (The French are more anti-Semitic than the Germans – just less efficient.)
* One bright spot: The Bush administration continues to resist international attempts to bully Israel into a premature cease-fire. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is flying off to the big falafel stand as a token gesture, not to interfere with Israel’s self-defense.
But the clock’s ticking. Washington can only buy Israel so much time.
* Every rocket that lands in Israel is a propaganda victory for Hezbollah. After 1,000-plus Israeli air-strikes, the rockets keep falling, and Israel looks impotent. The price of sparing Israeli infantrymen has been the elevation of Hezbollah to heroic status through the Muslim world.
* The Olmert government tried to wage war on the cheap. Such efforts always raise the cost in the end. Olmert resembles President Bill Clinton – willing to lob bombs from a distance, but unwilling to accept that war means friendly casualties.
* Israel needs to grasp the power of the global media. Long proud of going its own way in the face of genocidal anti-Semitism, Israel now has to recognize that the media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield. Even if Israel pulls off a last-minute win on the ground, the anti-Israel propaganda machine has been given so big a head-start that Hezbollah still may be portrayed as the victor.
The situation is grim. Israel looks more desperate every day, while Hezbollah appears more defiant.
What I think Israel must do to reverse the course is to first and foremost launch a full-scale invasion of south Lebanon and if the Lebanese Army joins the fight on behalf of Hezbollah, the Israeli Defense Forces must be willing to hump the long and bloody road to Beirut and the Lebanese-Syrian border and bring the war to the Lebanese government. Second, Israel must be ready and willing and must bring this war to the tyrants Assad in Damascus and Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in Tehran and their respective regimes and support structures for those regimes for enabling and supporting this proxy war.
Then and only then will Israel be victorious.