The IDF has great combat leaders and brave soldiers. But Hezbollah’s boys proved tougher – and we can’t pretty it up. The terrorists were willing – even eager – to die for their cause. Israeli leaders dreaded friendly casualties. And IDF troops – except in elite units – lacked the will to close with the enemy and defeat him at close quarters.
The IDF needs pervasive reform. Still structured to defeat the conventional militaries of Syria and Egypt, it faced an enemy tailored specifically to take on the IDF. Historical reputation isn’t enough – the IDF must rebuild itself to take on post-modern threats. As one senior American general put it, “The IDF’s been living on fumes since 1967.”
4 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”
Mostly the terrorists were willing – even eager – to ensure that others died for their cause. The situation is bad but there is little point in pronouncing (especially by senior military officers of other countries) until the reality is seen a little more clearly. How many Hezbollah have been killed? Some Lebanese commentators are putting the numbers at far higher than we have been told so far. They may be right or they may be wrong. How much of the equipment has been put out of action? Will all this Arab “admiration” for Hezbollah translate itself into any action in the future?
I think, perhaps, Israel has the wrong type of “leadership” to do the proper job on the battlefield. It’s much too easy to criticize the IDF under the circumstances. If you want to see victory, the generals must be given carte blanche.
Mr. Olmert should step aside.
The problem with the IDF is that they were fighting with one arm tied behind their backs. Th original battle plan against Hezbollah was dismissed by the Israeli government. It seems that Israel has caught the American disease. That is, the politicians are fighting the war from Washington as if they were generals. Meanwhile the generals are bound to act according to the tune given to them by their political masters. Unfortunately, the opposition isn’t singing from the same hymn book.
At the beginning of the October War, the Israelis thought it was going to mimic the 6 Day War. In the Sinai an armor brigade [iirc the training brigade] charged head long without infantry support into the Egyptians expecting them to flee. Instead the Egyptians had set up an infantry Sagger anti-tank missile ambush. Only a handful of tanks made it out of the kill zone.
What I think you are witnessing is the opposite of the American habit of portraying their opponents as 10 feet tall and highly competent in tactical and operational skills. That’s the reason for all the worry on the part of American planners in the first and second fights with Saddam’s military. They didn’t have a grasp of the opponent. So they fell back upon the formula that one Iraq soldier equaled one American soldier. The Israelis on the other hand have developed over many years of contact a disdain for their opponents. Like many primitive cultures, it has a great ‘show’ element in its bravado, posturing and territorial behavior. However, that should never be confused with a degree of cunning which allows them to learn. The longer you hold off destroying them, the more they learn. Which is why one American trait of hunting them down and pursuing the opponent and the willingness to quickly improvise disrupts the ability to transfer knowledge. The more you have contact with them and some survive, , the more variations they can play to see what works and what doesn’t work.
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