THE BLOG
08/15/2006 10:42 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How Not to Degrade Hizbullah

Perhaps Israel will want to consider electing Forrest Gump to replace Ehud Olmert. Since Forrest fought in Vietnam, he understands the importance of a clear plan and objective before you commit your forces to battle. At least Forest knows, "Stupid is as Stupid does". After 34 days of fighting, Israel is occupying a portion of Southern Lebanon but has failed to accomplish its original objective of "destroying" Hizbullah.

Time to face the facts; Israel has punted and opted instead to settle for "degrading" Hizbullah capabilities. So, how did they do? Well, at the start of the invasion Hizbullah was firing less than a hundred rockets a day into Israel. Yesterday (Sunday) Hizbullah launched 250 rockets into Israel. I suspect Hizbullah was just plain worn out from lugging the rockets from their storage bunker to the launching sites. All of that lifting and shooting can make a terrorist tired. Here's a news flash for the IDF and the Bush Administration--if your adversary can fire more missiles/rockets after 34 days of combat then they did at the start your degradation campaign did not work. It is called "failure".

Maybe Barbara Bush can call her son and break the bad news to him. After Bush's dismal press conference yesterday it is clear that no one has briefed the poor rube on the reality in Lebanon. He sincerely believes Israel won. How many more such "victories" can Israel endure and remain secure?

Israel lost at least 108 soldiers and 39 civilians during the last month. More than 1140 Lebanese civilians died from Israeli bombings. Over 300 of these are dead children. Way to go Israel, that helps your image. I'm sure you've earned the affection and good will of the Arab masses for that bit of professional soldiering. Oh, and Hizbullah is still in place.

What is truly remarkable is that Hizbullah displayed far more discipline on the battlefield than Israel. Most of the people killed by Hizbullah were soldiers, not civilians. Israel cannot say the same. Moreover, Hizbullah turned off the rocket attacks when the ceasefire arrived while Israel continued bombing Beirut. Bombing Beirut may help Israel feel good at a visceral level but it accomplishes nothing in terms of tactical or strategic objectives. In fact, it achieves the opposite result. It unites the people of Lebanon--Shias, Sunnis, and Christians--against Israel. On this count, at least, George Bush's promise to be a uniter not a divider has turned out to be true. As an enabler of a foolish Israeli policy Bush has helped unite the Arab world against Israel and around Hizbullah. Hopefully he does not have the same "success" in Iraq.

-- No Quarter