Reflections on the ceasefire

The bottom line is that the good guys were unable, under the provocation of war, to destroy Hezb'allah.  Everything else is just blather.  

These "international forces" ignore a critical aspect of a military force — who and for what are soldiers going to die?  A policeman does not expect to die during his career.  Yes, he MAY die, but it is not his expectation.  If the situation is too extreme, the police back off.

The armed forces are the ultimate purveyors of force.  No individual soldier expects to die, but the significance of the uniform is that he may be called on at any time to do so in pursuit of the mission.  Well, most people are not going to accept that assignment as a matter of course.  The IDF had a national mission to defeat Hezb'allah.  Whatever the motivation of the international force, it is going to be LESS than that of the IDF.  So, the idea that it is going to accomplish something — like disarmament of Hezb'allah — that Israel in full battle mode was unable to do is simply a fantasy.

It is hard to understand why Condi participated in this kabuki.  Presumably, Washington had the same collapse in confidence in Israel that a lot of us have had.  It must be something like that — that this is as good as we can get.  This is a Band—Aid on this situation.  It will depend entirely on how exhausted Hizbullah is.  But Iran will see it for what it is — a retreat, a weakening of the will, a historic turning point, a disaster for the good guys.

The problem with Lebanon in the modern world is what Bernard Lewis has observed — the Muslim/Arab culture is not built around nation states, but rather around religious sects.  Lebanon does not exist so much as it is a collection of Maronites, Druze, Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, etc.  Hizbullah, the avatar of the Shia, is now in ascendance.  It is pointless to expect that the "government of Lebanon" is a force separate from the strongest group, which is currently Hizbullah.  So to have the "army of Lebanon" disarm Hizbullah is a form of words that means nothing — it has no content.  The fact that we and the Israelis would accept such an empty form shows our weakness.  And the other side will not miss that.

Of course, there is always hope.  Perhaps the lion will lie down with the lamb.  But I doubt it.

Israel was caught completely off guard.  Obviously, they had no useful intelligence on the dispositions and order of battle of Hizbullah even though the threat had been building for six years.  And they had no tactical plan as to how to attack Hizbullah in its current form — which is why we have been seeing such high casualties.  Everybody above the rank of lieutenant colonel should be fired and EVERYBODY in the responsible intelligence agency should be fired.  They should all consider themselves lucky not to be shot.

Start over.  The dividend for losing a war has traditionally been what you learn from it.  That is the ONLY dividend Israel can get out of this disaster.

Greg Richards    8 14 06

Herb Meyer adds:

Aussiegirl in on the case, as usual, at Ultima Thule.  She's appalled by the U.N. deal to stop the fighting in Lebanon and to leave Hezbollah intact.,  She believes that radical Islam has put the survival of Western civilization is at risk, and she points out that it's women such as Melanie Phillips, Oriana Fallaci and The Jerusalem Post's estimable Caroline Glick who've been sounding the alarm loudest and clearest.  (She's too modest to include herself among this elite group.)  In her latest essay, Aussiegirl calls for the politicians and deal—cutters —— including our Secretary of State —— to step aside and make room for the men —— the men —— who know how to fight and win.

This is a tough, blunt essay in a style you won't get from the elites.  That's why it's worth reading.

The bottom line is that the good guys were unable, under the provocation of war, to destroy Hezb'allah.  Everything else is just blather.  

These "international forces" ignore a critical aspect of a military force — who and for what are soldiers going to die?  A policeman does not expect to die during his career.  Yes, he MAY die, but it is not his expectation.  If the situation is too extreme, the police back off.

The armed forces are the ultimate purveyors of force.  No individual soldier expects to die, but the significance of the uniform is that he may be called on at any time to do so in pursuit of the mission.  Well, most people are not going to accept that assignment as a matter of course.  The IDF had a national mission to defeat Hezb'allah.  Whatever the motivation of the international force, it is going to be LESS than that of the IDF.  So, the idea that it is going to accomplish something — like disarmament of Hezb'allah — that Israel in full battle mode was unable to do is simply a fantasy.

It is hard to understand why Condi participated in this kabuki.  Presumably, Washington had the same collapse in confidence in Israel that a lot of us have had.  It must be something like that — that this is as good as we can get.  This is a Band—Aid on this situation.  It will depend entirely on how exhausted Hizbullah is.  But Iran will see it for what it is — a retreat, a weakening of the will, a historic turning point, a disaster for the good guys.

The problem with Lebanon in the modern world is what Bernard Lewis has observed — the Muslim/Arab culture is not built around nation states, but rather around religious sects.  Lebanon does not exist so much as it is a collection of Maronites, Druze, Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, etc.  Hizbullah, the avatar of the Shia, is now in ascendance.  It is pointless to expect that the "government of Lebanon" is a force separate from the strongest group, which is currently Hizbullah.  So to have the "army of Lebanon" disarm Hizbullah is a form of words that means nothing — it has no content.  The fact that we and the Israelis would accept such an empty form shows our weakness.  And the other side will not miss that.

Of course, there is always hope.  Perhaps the lion will lie down with the lamb.  But I doubt it.

Israel was caught completely off guard.  Obviously, they had no useful intelligence on the dispositions and order of battle of Hizbullah even though the threat had been building for six years.  And they had no tactical plan as to how to attack Hizbullah in its current form — which is why we have been seeing such high casualties.  Everybody above the rank of lieutenant colonel should be fired and EVERYBODY in the responsible intelligence agency should be fired.  They should all consider themselves lucky not to be shot.

Start over.  The dividend for losing a war has traditionally been what you learn from it.  That is the ONLY dividend Israel can get out of this disaster.

Greg Richards    8 14 06

Herb Meyer adds:

Aussiegirl in on the case, as usual, at Ultima Thule.  She's appalled by the U.N. deal to stop the fighting in Lebanon and to leave Hezbollah intact.,  She believes that radical Islam has put the survival of Western civilization is at risk, and she points out that it's women such as Melanie Phillips, Oriana Fallaci and The Jerusalem Post's estimable Caroline Glick who've been sounding the alarm loudest and clearest.  (She's too modest to include herself among this elite group.)  In her latest essay, Aussiegirl calls for the politicians and deal—cutters —— including our Secretary of State —— to step aside and make room for the men —— the men —— who know how to fight and win.

This is a tough, blunt essay in a style you won't get from the elites.  That's why it's worth reading.