Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stalked by Long Knives

Reader and commenter Linearthinker alerted me to this hatchet job on Olmert in the American Thinker. In a way he deserves it. He promised the Israeli people a strategic victory. And he may have actually delivered such a victory; it was not the strategic victory the Israeli people imagined - that is his problem.

At the bottom of this page there are links to a group of articles that outline what I think Israeli objectives were given what we know now (early days) about what happened.

Let me start off with the short version.

1. A punitive expedition
2. A reconnaissance in force to collect intel and operational data
3. To create a logistics disaster for Hizballah to drain cash and prestiege from Iran.
4. See how the Israeli people stood up to rocket attacks
5. Spoiling Iran's 22 August attack
6. Shakedown for the armed forces
7. Live fire exercises for the troops
8. Destroy Iran's rocket deterance by reducing fear

All this was accomplished. Several of them could be considered strategic defeats for Hizballah. Items 3, 5, and 8 especially.

However, there are a lot of complaints. The defeat was not as severe as it could have been. Hizballah, though busy trying to care for 1 milliion refugees, still exists. Assad still stands in Damascus and the mullahs in Iran still control their government. The bottom line here is that the strategic victory the Israelis imagined (me too! Tactics, Strategy, Grand Strategy) did not materialize.

Let us take a look at some of the complaints the American thinker has:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must go. He is endangering the security of Israel and he now poses a serious liability to American security as well. Good leadership is indivisible – Olmert cannot be bad for Israel and simultaneously be good for America.
This is true. Except that the intel bonanza (covered here Electronic Warfare and here Jabbing) is very good for America to know for any coming confrontation with Iran.

Then they cover this statement Olmert made a year ago.
“We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.”
Israel is engaged in a thousand year war and after only 60 years Olmert is tired. Feh.

Then the American Thinker brings up the support Olmert gets from his family.
His own family members are all politically on the far left. His wife joined with Israeli leftists to harass Israeli soldiers guarding their country at border checkpoints. His daughter accused the Israeli Chief of Staff of being a murderer. One son is a draft dodger and the other son, after serving, now discourages other Israelis from serving. In a family interview on PBS’ Frontline program Olmert said that his family had influenced him to alter his views to be closer to theirs.
Leftists - they are the bane of sane governments - I discuss why in Socialism Kills. Why is he listening to these folks? He either needs to divorce his family or the Israeli people. He can't stay married to both and deliver the leadership the Israeli people demand.
Ariel Sharon pledged no more withdrawals after the Gaza expulsion until there is a genuine change in Arab attitudes. Olmert claimed that Sharon, now comatose, wanted to proceed with unilateral withdrawals and he, Olmert, intends to expel up to 80,000 from the West Bank in return for nothing.
I thought the Sharon Plan would destroy the Israeli left (it has) and would clarify the war with the Palestinians (it has). However, there is no political will in Israel for further unilateral withdrawals. Why would he even want to float a trial baloon for something that has no popular mandate?
His proposed West Bank withdrawal would inflict immense suffering and costs in expelling some 80,000 Jews and require a huge military effort. This would then expose Tel Aviv and the major population centers to rocket attack from only 10 miles away, making defense impossible and mass casualties certain. The densely populated coastal plain would be highly vulnerable to saturation attack by Katyusha rockets from the West Bank, weapons which are easy to launch, impossible to intercept and hard to defend against. Every sane observer, inside and outside of Israel, called this proposal suicidal. And yet Olmert remained adamant on pursuing this insane policy.
Militarlily and politically the idea is nuts. Olmert ran on a platform of returning territory just to get rid of Israeli responsibility for the Arabs living there. The people of Israel changed their minds about this. Olmert is sticking with his electoral platform. Makes no sense.
Olmert rushed to accept a lopsided U.N. cease fire resolution, harmful to Israel, in order to extricate himself from his failing war effort. The resolution failed to obtain the release of the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers, failed to assure the disarmament and removal of Hezb’allah terrorists, and failed to assure the prompt insertion of outside troops with the ability and mission to disarm Hezb’allah by force if necessary.

At this writing, Hezb’allah is rapidly rearming and reconstituting itself in violation of the U.N. cease fire resolution. After only one such Israeli action Olmert then refused to order his air force to continue bombing these illegal arms shipments, despite a green light from the Bush Administration. This additional Olmert insanity, combined with the feeble U.N. Resolution 1701, will insure that the next war will begin sooner rather than later.
This is not such a bad thing. Israel can fix the systems that are broken and go in to the next battle in better shape than it went in to the last one politically and militarily. If the UN and/or the Lebanese Army does not enforce UNSCR 1559 and 1701 then they will have no complaints (it will invent them) about Israel doing the their job for them.
Olmert’s conduct of the war showed that he was an incompetent amateur given to unsubstantiated boasting which revealed his lack of honesty and credibility. His choice of Defense Minister was also a disaster. Amir Peretz, has no defense experience and even admitted knowing nothing about Hezb’allah’s fortifications. Olmert is trying to avoid an independent investigation of his conduct of the war – anything to retain power and evade responsibility.
I agree about the "unsubstantiated boasting" point. I think it was a case of his word's not matching the imagination of the Israelis. He is a politician. He should be able to explain things in a way that confuses his enemies and comforts his friends. This he did not do. I think Defense Minister Putz wanted to be defence minister because of the possibility of steering contracts to his friends. Fighting a war was the last thing on his mind.

I think Olmert has to go. Not because on balance he didn't do what needed to be done, but because he and his ministers have lost the confidence of the Israeli people.

Update: 27 Aug '06 0018z

Commenter Adam notes that Lebanon is under a UN sanctioned Israeli arms blockade. I might also note that the German ships which are supposed to replace the Israeli ships also wish to enforce the blockade.


Update: 27 Aug '06 0418z

Captain's Quarters discusses Olmerts prospects.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Two groups, settlers and laborites who follow Ehud Barak, are set on hoping they can push Olmert out the door.

Hardly likely. But that's how the press works. Israel's press is as nuts as any other MSM outfit. Settlers over at Arutz Sheva. And, communists over at Ha'Aretz.

Israel? Welcomes all sorts of political beliefs. It makes it easier for Jews to argue with each other. What a national pass time.

The truth will sink in. Olmert played the best hand with the card he got. Mofaz and Ben-Eliezer, with Sharon and Bibi, all played budget games. To get the budgets passed. They diddled with the reserves cash. When generals weren't stealing product from the warehouses. Some got caught. Some even saw people going to jail. Stopping this nonsense is like stopping the public from using drugs. (Lebanese "blonde" hash hish, is considered the best in the world.)

There's lots of ways to win wars. Unlike the Yom Kippur War, there are NOT 3,000 dead soldiers who died because of Gonen and Bar Lev.

And, back in 1973, Arik Sharon was Israel's PATTON, and MacArthur. The stock's not there, now. (But, I gotta tell ya. It's not here, in America, either.) We're fighting with second-raters. And, Halutz?

I actually have faith in long-distance bombing. But no faith in his selling off his portfolio. A good business-man he is NOT.

While Haim Ramon and Katzav? This is going to sell in Israel? HA! I know Israeli men. This hokum will not go down. And, played right, the bastard lawyers and their dispicable tricks will be tossed out like Bubba tossed his own midgets. But it's designed for the long haul. Bubba? Gosh. He got to deal with this dreck for years.

There's no substitute for Olmert. Arik Sharon is on a respirator. Ehud Barak will never be welcome'd back into political life with lots of ministers on board his train. Ditto, Bibi.

If Bibi could have collected 61 votes the whole bru-HA-HA would have demolished a lot of MK portfolios. It still looks like Bibi keeps his share. A dozen seats in the Likud.

Next election? You want a prophecy? Kadima splits, perhaps Labor, too. So there will be more turkeys under new umbrellas. And, the "winnah" will need less seats to be declared PM. While he'll have to create a government in the same cesspool Olmert's stuck his hands, into, now.

Olmert may not be pretty. But then was Begin? Or Shamir? Israeli's are used to ugly politicians.

Old ones? Like in the Pensioners Party? Nah. That's why you can begin counting Olmert's government successes. There are ministers now, who would kill you first, rather than signing onto their own demise, in terms of having portfolios. Volvo's. And, power.

Heck, Haim Ramon was the prettiest of the lot. And, look at him now. Cast aside by a justice that will take at least two years. To discover all he did was pose for a photo. And, an ugly secretary opened her mouth. Did he stick his tongue inside? This is a crime? Israeli men, give them half a chance will stick more than just a tongue, inside, ya know?

Talk about tabloid journalism all you want, it doesn't bring down governments. Those days are gone now. And, even then, they were just for suckers.

Suckers. What you do when a strange tongue falls into your mouth.

Adam said...

In Gaza (aza means hell, btw) Israel learned how to replace the "occupation" with the "security umbrella", which means that instead of checkpoints and patrols, they now have control of the ports and airspace, and they reserve the right to strike at imminent threats.

I think what happened here is that, while the whole world was watching, Israel just applied its security umbrella to Lebanon.

It’s not an occupation. Occupation is old hat. It’s a security umbrella and in Lebanon, the security umbrella is even better than in Gaza because it's built on a legal framework that is goal oriented. That is, instead of the law of occupation, which is practically the definition of a quagmire, this action is ruled by a pair of SC resolutions which call for the disarmament of all militias, etc...

So it's a Road Map for Lebanon, raised to status of international law, and it provides complete legal cover for everything Israel is doing in Lebanon right now, including demanding that UN troops take positions on the Syrian border. Not bad.

adam said...

To place the proper emphasis on this, think of a bureaucrat in Israel taking a pencil, drawing a line around Lebanon, and saying "this is now inside the security umbrella". Done.

winning or losing is not the right question. This is urban planning. Ok Urban Planning in Force.

The post war consequences for the Lebanese are far more dire than even the war itself, or the specter of new wars. Hezballah may have taken 2 Israeli soldiers hostage, but Israel now has Lebanon's ports, air space and potentially her borders.

adam said...

I'm sorry - one more thing. Israel has all those things to hold hostage, and it has them LEGALLY!

Olmert must be thinking, damn these stiff necked jews. They should be covering me in laurels.

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Olmert's an experienced politician IN ISRAEL. No one is putting laurels on Shimon Peres. There won't be laurels for Bibi, Ehud Barak, Shamir, or Begin, either. And, hardly any for Golda. Eshkol was nuts. And, Ben Gurion's way is not longer the way.

Again, in Israel, there's always room for arguments. But what's going to become apparent is that the front in Gaza is still OPEN. And, Reuter's just put a tank, by the border, in Gaza, where Israel was looking for tunnels and bombs; and a Reuter's truck took a blast. The cameraman, for Reuters, knocked unconscious. ANd, the reporter, unjured. This is flashing by the news channels with the two kidnapped Reuters reporters; as if Isael has them.

So you KNOW the news is skewed! And, there are people inside of Israel who'd hop on this in a moment, if they thought they could get close to a minister's chair. HANKY PANKY.

While nobody wants to notice what Olmert saw RIGHT AWAY. Bush's Condi was STANDING WITH THE FRENCH.

He had choices. The best one the Chinese tactic of Ju-jits-u. How's that work? You know you're the weak guy, being attacked by stronger folk. So instead of resisting. YOU DO THE FLIPPING.

That the french are making a mess of lebanon? It's still not nasrallah's rule book to play.

And, Olmert's pulled back from PROBLEMS NOT OF HIS CREATION. Things done by Halutz. Bibi. Mofaz. And, Ben-Eliezer. ALL OF THEM NOT PREPARING FOR ALL-OUT WAR. So that FIRST YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO CALL UP RESERVES. Then, you have to learn how to equip them. The warehouses were empty.

To cover this story, instead, you're coving spit. Haim Ramon will spend the next two years, after he accommodated a strange woman so she could include him in a family photograph; WITH SPIT. He had 2 seconds to put his tongue down her throat? How fast? He couldn't even be accused of opening the zipper on his pants.

And, Katzav? Held up by a russian laywer, who wants the world to believe Katzav raped a woman. Who never complained. And, never went to a hospital. Where in our modern age, when accusing men of rape, you're at least up-ended. And, swiped inside your vagina. For the residue of sperm. Body fluids. And, Mazuz ain't got no body fluids. All he's got is that Katzav began to sweat when this woman called him seeking a nice, high paying job.

THIS IS WHAT THE ISRAELI "JUSTICE" SYSTEM is using to clog up the courts. And, to clog up the minds of journalists. And, others. All who have brains the size of peas.

By the way, for argument's sake. Let's say Bush wants somebody else to be prime minister? He stands a better chance getting Israelis to agree with him? Or Iraqis?

Because Iraq kind'a stinks in the democracy department, where people who use their left hands instead of toilet paper; stuck a digit into purple ink. While the Shi'as laugh. And, dream of the caliphate.

Israel, meanwhile, is the kind of place, run on a parliamentary system; where someone who wants to be PM, has to put together 61 seats to form a government.

Olmert did that. He didn't impress you? Well, next time, with more parties running candidates, who's gona come up a winnah? And, what makes you think Bibi gets more than a minyan next time out? He and Ehud Barak keep trying. And, ya know what? Both those two are liked a heck of a lot less than Olmert. Who is probably like a lot more than Begin, Shimon Peres, or Shamir ever were. Even on their best days.

Olmert's trying new stuff. It makes him the man to watch. While the MSM goes the other way. And, a lot of people will argue, instead, among themselves.

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Adam your analysis is terrific. On target. Exactly what's happening. Even though the MSM is making it seem lebanon's israel's mess. It is not. It's as legal a withdrawal as Olmert could get. And, assad must have some worries. Because he's shut down the electricity into lebanon. WHich is an industry that PAYS HIM MONEY. Just to pressure the UNIFIL idiots to stay away from the drug and contraband conduits at the border in the Bakakta Valley.

Israel's also got 5,000 troops, inside. And, nasrallah has more problems regarding his rebuilding needs. Just at a time, the pressure may be on, to git the idiot in iran, into a jam with his own folks.

How? You pour on the need to move your troops. Assad? Maybe, he can only put half his conscripts up the Golan. While Bush may not be asleep at the switch, either.

Bush doesn't like the MSM.

Bush doesn't like that Condi got bitch slapped by the french.

And, Bush doesn't have a hell of a lot of use for the UN.

How you strategize AHEAD OF TIME is not something people in the public do. We can scream a lot. We can shoot rubberbands at our ceiling. But we can't call up any of the swivel-chairs in the pentagon; or in Israel, where they'd listen to the panic the MSM has been known to set off like farts.

Farts, by the way, don't even kill the horses.

Up ahead? I don't see the settlers gaining ground. I don't see attacking the IDF as a winning theory. And, I do see that Olmert ignores his lousy press. Since it can be lousy one day; and blow away like the clouds in the sky, just the same.

Be funny, if it's Mazuz who ends up collapsing from the pressure?

linearthinker said...

Simon,

I suspect there's some hyperbole in the AT article.

Even so, 80,000 displaced settlers, or 40,000 if you want to take a low end estimate. What do you do with 40,000 dissident pissed off Jews? The quick solution is put 'em in camps. Olmert has demonstrated he favors quick solutions. Compassion and common sense of liberal elites is exposed.

I hope Olmert goes.

The quicker the better.

Please show me I'm wrong.

M. Simon said...

The protests are not over.

In '73 one man who stuck with it brought down the government.

Once the shock from the war starts to wear off more will join the protests. Watch the next week.

linearthinker said...

Adam said,
So it's a Road Map for Lebanon, raised to status of international law, and it provides complete legal cover for everything Israel is doing in Lebanon right now, including demanding that UN troops take positions on the Syrian border. Not bad.

International law? Since when? Another feckless UN resolution.

Resolution 1701 (yawn) issued by UN-SC. UNIFIL given broader mandate, increased numbers,
interdiction role regarding restocking Hez, blah, blah, blah. Chirac and Coffee argue over
appropriate size of the new and improved UNIFIL. My bet is Chirac will win the argument; all he
has to do is withhold troops. Sample of Coffee's resolute commitment to Res. 1551 and 1701:

"U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed Friday (Aug 25, 2006) it was not the peacekeepers'
task to strip the guerrillas of their weapons, saying that was an issue for Lebanon's government and
"cannot be done by force...The troops are not going there to disarm Hezbollah. Let's be clear about that," he said."


Something amusing about those two heros attempting a serious debate over military force requirements. Likely to result in a compromise wherein Coffee agrees to furnish white linen handkerchiefs to Chirac's French forces. Coffee and Chirac retire to the library for cigars and cognac.

Advantage to no one, as is usual outcome of UN intervention and French meddling.

UNIFIL had troops on the northern border for how many years under 1551. What was accomplished? Recall the photo of the bunker flying both UNIFIL and Hez colors?

I fervently hope you're right, Adam, but I'm not optimistic.

M. Simon said...

linearthinker,

Funny as this may sound it is possible the Lebanese Army may actually disarm Hizbollah.

Hizballah Beats Israel Loses Arabs

linearthinker said...

Simon,
Something I'd like to know, and I suspect some Lebanese commanders and politicians also ponder, is what percentage of the Lebanese army and intelligence services has been co-opted by Hez or Syrians?

If the tides are running against Nasrallah as suggested in your link, good for the opposition. I'd like to have my skepticism proven wrong.

Remember, however, it was the Lebanese coastal radars that facilitated the C-802 strike on the Hanit. Was that the result of a coastal commander with a gun to his head, or a willing accomplice? Or, does it now matter?

Will there be an ultimate show down? I suspect the Hez hierarchy will slink away in the night, if this new found Lebanese nationalism emerges.

Regarding the borders and the issue of rearming Hez from Iran, where did Nasrallah get all that cash, unless he had it squirreled away for just such a contingency? Which I doubt. I'll admit a few satchels of currency are easier to smuggle than ordinance, especially if it's counterfeit, but the borders are porous at present, especially for infiltrating reinfocements. Beware UN resolutions.

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Israel has lebanon under siege. Her coastline is covered. Plus, there's air cover.

There are also about one million refugees, all Shi'a, who have re-fled back to syria. nasrallah can't make pancaked buildings go back up, overnight.

As to the C-182 strike on the Hanit, this came from a region run by assad's cousin. Up in galipoli? And, it worked once. Before Israel's air force knocked out the radar posts.

As to "next week" there will be a greater call for Olmert to step down; I think the opposite.

Yes, there are always extremists who parade for TV. Israel has it's own Cindy Sheehan's. And, today, with nothing better to do, they went to visit Golda's grave. Who knew she was buried on Mt. Hertzl? Doesn't add up to a hill of beans.

And, when all the information comes out; about how the UN was helping nasrallah; you'll hear about IDF manuevers that confused the enemy. While it inconvenienced the troops. But they weren't inside of lebanon by more than 2 miles.

What the UN did was tell nasrallah every single town that held Israeli troops, ready for departure into the battle zone. So there were reasons for Olmert to hold back! Reasons I'm sure he shared with Bush. Or at least Condi. (So there's more behind strategy, here, than meets the eye.)

Israel really has no desires to be in Lebanon. Nada. Not for keeps. While now? Just a few. With plenty of cover from the bumbling UN. And, france. Not a bad outcome after you're finished making your points.

What points? That it got to be more expensive for nasrallah to kidnap two soldiers than it was worth. But nobody's gonna mention something this obvious.