Juan Cole nails it:
It was such a stupid war. It was thick-as-two-blocks-of-wood strategy on all sides. It was moronic for the Israelis to plan it out last year. It was idiotic for Hizbullah to cross over into Israel, kill soldiers, and take two captive. It was brain dead for the Israeli officer corps and politicians to think they could get anything positive out of bombing Lebanon back to the stone age and making a million people homeless. It was dim-witted for Hasan Nasrallah to threaten Israelis with releasing poison gases from Haifa chemical plants on them. It was obtuse for the Israelis to confront a dug-in guerrilla movement with green conventional troops marching in straight lines. It was dull of Hizbullah to fire thousands of katyushas into open fields where they mainly damaged wild grass. The few times when the rockets managed to kill someone, it was often an Arab Israeli civilian. Stupid.
The rampant stupidity on both sides reminds me of all the talk one hears about ‘sending messages.’ For example, with the initial bombardments, Hizbollah was trying to tell Israel, “Stop or we can really hurt you.” What Israel heard, and not unsurprisingly, given of all of the generic anti-Israel spew uttered by Hizbollah, was “We intend to destroy you.”
The Cuban Missile crisis was another example of miscommunication, but in that instance, impromptu backchannels were opened. In the Israeli-Lebanon conflict, both sides need some kind of back channel for communications to prevent this kind of stupidity. If you want to send a message, write a letter or pick up the damn phone. (Of course, it helps if both sides really don’t want to fight a war.)
Re Juan Cole
Juan Cole is a notorious Israel basher who has no credibility whatever when discussing Middle East affairs. However, he is certainly right about one thing. The strategy employed by Olmert (if you can call the uncertain trumpet blown by Olmert a strategy at all) was breathtaking in its’ stupidity. The Israeli military had proposed an Inchon strategy, based on MacArthurs’ attack on Inchon during the Korean War. The proposal was to land several thousand troops from naval ships just south of the Litani river. This force would then deploy across Hizbollahs’ lines of communication, catching them in a pincers movement. Olmert turned this plan down. Considering what happened in Korea where the North Korean forces which had pinned down the UN forces in the Pusan peninsula collapsed and retreated almost immediately, this plan was certainly better then anything Olmert initiated. Even better,of course, would have been the Curtis Lemay strategy, namely make a parking lot out of the area south of the Litani river. Given the attitude toward collateral damage in current Western thinking, there was, infortunately no chance of adopting the Lemay strategy. Olmert is even more incompetent then James Earl Carter, which I would have thought was almost impossible.
Whoah, look. A stupid person. Uncanny.
Thanks for this note of sanity in what is, alas, becoming an increasing bog of insanity.
I’ve tried for an hour to come up with more to say, and I’m now exhausted. But maybe that’s their plot. It’s a good one, if. As a human being, I need sleep. Only their drones don’t need.