Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hysteria among neocons: Israel isn't tough enough

National Review Online and the Wall Street Journal editorial page are mad as hell at Israel for not playing the role they assigned to it in their script, which is exactly they way they reacted to the fiasco in Iraq. According to their script, America's proxy -- Israel was supposed to defeat Iran's proxy -- Hizbollah. Hence according to BRET STEPHENS in the WSJ:
It is amazing how much can be squandered in the space of three weeks. On July 12, Israel sat behind an internationally recognized frontier, where it enjoyed a preponderance of military force. It had deterrence and legitimacy. Hezbollah's cross-border raid that day was widely condemned within Lebanon and among Arab leaders as heedless and provocative. Mr. Olmert's decision to respond with massive force enjoyed left-to-right political support. He also had a green light from the Bush administration, which has reasons of its own to want Hezbollah defanged and which assumed the Israelis were up to the job.

But it seems they are not up to the job. The war began with a string of intelligence failures: Israel had lowered its alert level on the northern border prior to the raid; it did not know that Hezbollah possessed Chinese-made antiship missiles, one of which nearly sank an Israeli missile boat off the coast of Beirut; it was caught off guard by the fierce resistance it encountered in the two Lebanese villages it has so far attempted to capture. Such failures are surprising and discouraging, given that Israel has been tracking and fighting Hezbollah for nearly a quarter-century.

Harder to understand is a military and political strategy that mistakenly assumes that Israel can take its time against Hezbollah. It cannot. Israel does not supply itself with precision-guided bombs; it does not provide its own cover at the U.N. Security Council; it does not have 130,000 troops at risk in Iraq of an uprising by Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. It should be immensely worrying to Israel's leaders that Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is calling for an immediate cease-fire. Ayatollah Sistani--unlike, say, Kofi Annan--is the sort of man who can get George W. Bush's ear. (read the rest)

And this interesting piece of info by Amir Oren in Haaretz:
In the middle of the week, a close personal friend of U.S. President George Bush, who is also a generous donor to the Republican Party, called an Israeli friend who is a senior officer in the Israel Defense Forces. "What's happening with you?" he asked, as angry as he was disappointed. "The best army in the region, one of the best armies in the world, is messing for two weeks with a terrorist organization three kilometers from the border, and the rockets keep falling on its population centers? We sent our army to bleed 6,000 miles from home after September 11. What's stopping you?"

Because this is the true surprise - a surprise of statesmen and not of intelligence - of the campaign in the north: no American red light, no flashing orange light, and not even a mere green light, but the blaring siren of the sheriff's car sitting behind the hesitant driver at the intersection urging him to get moving. The global cop is recruiting Israel as a regional cop, to impose Security Council Resolution 1559 on the government of Lebanon and dismantle the Hezbollah army. Sun, stand still at Givon. The Red Sea parts for the Israelites, as in Paramount Pictures, but this time there is no Moses around, maybe because Charlton Heston is sick.

Two forces of nature influenced all of Israel's wars: time and America. The two are really one. Time was always pressing. To move quickly to the offensive, to push far into the Arab territories before the world could figure out what was going on, because the moment they figured it out the Security Council would be convened and Israel would be halted and forced to give back the spoils. There was no lack of reasons for the desire to abbreviate the war - to spare lives, to free up the mobilized economy and to end the war with enough supplies in case hostilities resumed quickly - but the supreme imperative was to run as far as possible before the White House waved the black flag.

This time, though, it's convenient for Washington to have its Israeli protege whip the ward of the provocative power and even administer a thrashing. The difference, of course, lies in the identity of the adversary - Khomeinist Iran and not communist Russia. (read the rest)

So... since they can't accuse Bush and Condi of "appeasement" I suppose that like in the case of Rumsfeld and Iraq they'll demand the resignation of Olmert and Peretz (the defense minister).