Press Report - IDF Stabbed In The Back By Olmert

Sunday, August 06, 2006
Aug. 5, 2006 15:01 | Updated Aug. 7, 2006 0:06
IDF ditches plans to reach Litani River
By YAAKOV KATZ


After completing the creation of a security zone in southern Lebanon and with diplomatic pressure mounting, the IDF, senior defense officials revealed Sunday, did not plan to move ground troops northwards towards the Litani River - a line initially named as the IDF's final destination in this current ground incursion.

Meanwhile Sunday, five Golani soldiers were wounded after a bomb went off when they stormed a home in the Lebanese town of Mahbeeb. The wounded soldiers were evacuated to safety and then taken to Rambam Hospital in Haifa for further medical treatment.

Five other soldiers were wounded, one moderately and four lightly, during heavy clashes between IDF reservists and Hizbullah guerillas in the southern Lebanese village of Ras al-Baida. The troops from Brigade 609 killed over 35 Hizbullah gunmen since Friday and succeeded in destroying at least three Katyusha rocket launchers hidden in the village. Another soldier suffered moderate wounds when an anti-tank rocket hit his D-9 bulldozer near the village of Kila, west of Metulla. IDF troops took three Hizbullah guerrillas captives during operations in southern Lebanon overnight Saturday.

The fighting that continued on Sunday took place in the 20 some villages IDF troops had taken up positions in over the weekend as they finished recreating the 10-kilometer-deep security zone Israel held during its 18-year presence in Lebanon which ended in 2000.


The IDF and the future of the State of Israel have been stabbed in the back by a combination of week leadership from Olmert and the Chief of Staff Halutz.

When in time of war a country states its objective, in this case to reach the Litani River and then a matter of days or a week later it redefines it priory defined goals to lower expectations it can mean only one thing.

The entity for some reason, does not have the ability to achieve its goals.

In this case the issue is not if the IDF can achieve its goals, for I know given the order and the backing of the civilian leadership the IDF can do anything it needs to.

Olmert is creating an image of a weak and ineffective IDF in the collective mind of the world.

This will result in Israel being forced to fight future wars and having to endure even more terrorism in the years to come as the Arabs seeks to bleed the new weak Israel.

Not only will Olmert's criminal handling of the war result in more Israeli dead but it will result in dead Jews around the world. Terrorist will strike out at Jews around the world for they will no longer fear the long arm of Israel reaching out to kill them.
There is another explanation for Olmert's behavior and it's much worse than that proposed by journalist cited by Yoni. If Israeli intelligence has obtained credible evidence of Hezbollah control of WMD then Olmert has to check his hole card. I have been totally unimpressed with Olmert and Peretz since day one of this situation. The decision to initiate hostilities was taken and announced too quickly - only two hours after the Hezbollah incursion. The IDF was not given sufficent time to perform the logistical effort necessary to put even a minimal force into battle. The IDF is one of the most competent fighting forces in the world and the Mossad has justly earned its reputation but the finest tools ever made are easily ruined when handled by incompetents.

Israel cannot afford this level of incompetence at the top and the US administration's decision to step back and let Olmert demonstrate his ineptitude is a very risky bet. Here is another Israeli's view of the situation.

Olmert and Peretz need to rent backbones fairly quickly.

28 comments:

terrye said...

Yesterday I heard that Olmert's approval rating is at 75% so most Israelis don;t seem to feel they have been betrayed. It seems to me that a lot of pundits, especially here in America seem to think they know more about how Israel should fight this war than the people elected to make those decisions.

If I remember correctly when this started there was talk about the Israelis only going in a couple of miles for a buffer zone and then there was some speculation that they might go to the river, but so far as I know that was never written in stone.

I think people have gotten to the place where they think anything short of Israel winning a war in a week is a failure. I think they are kicking ass myself.

But to accuse Olmert of stabbing the IDF in the back seems a tad extreme and unjustified to me.

chuck said...

Yesterday I heard that Olmert's approval rating is at 75% so most Israelis don;t seem to feel they have been betrayed.

I would put this down to natural, and necessary, patriotism. To see the true picture I think we will have to wait until hostilities end. At that point, either there is a no confidence vote in the Knesset, or the Knesset calls for new elections, or government persists until the next scheduled election. Here is a bit from Wikipedia:

The Knesset's 120 members are elected by secret ballot to 4-year terms, although the Knesset may decide to call for new elections before the end of its 4-year term. In addition a motion of confidence may be called.

That said, Israeli governments are often short lived.

Rick Ballard said...

The headline comes from the article - not from me. The IDF is performing as expected - now - and there is nothing to criticize in their performance. Olmert's shifting, unknowable objectives do not derive from subterfuge, they derive from incompetence. The initial declaration determined the objectives upon which the outcome should be judged. Continually restating diminishing objectives makes Olmert look like a loser - and a fool. It's just blood in the water to the Arab sharks. The second article cited traces Olmert's ineptitude in his public statements.

Israel cannot afford this type of incompetence and, fortunately, their form of government allows for quick correction. As soon as the IDF comes back accross the border, this government falls and another will be elected. For the sake of the Israeli's, I hope it is headed by someone who can keep his mouth shut until he has assessed the weight of his words.

terrye said...

Here is another view Right Wing Nuthouse .

Chuck, I am sure that is true, but so far there have been complaints that Israel was too aggressive, not aggressive enough, too much air power, not enough etc. No doubt people will always think there is a better way, but I don't think it is fair to say Olmert has betrayed his military. No matter what course was taken someone would say it was wrong. Besides, I really don't believe half of what I hear at this point.

terrye said...

Rick:

I guess I just don't see the awful incompetence you talk about. Sorry. Events are moving quickly, there is a lot of talk out there and some of it is true. How many of these signals have come from Olmert and how many have come from people watching this war and making assumptions about the motivation of other people?

But what the hell do I know? Like I said, I am no expert.

chuck said...

...but I don't think it is fair to say Olmert has betrayed his military.

Well, I certainly wouldn't say that either. I am just saying we will have to wait to judge how popular the government and its warmaking really is. Israeli's are busy fighting now, later they will sit down and evaluate.

Rick, I think Clinton may be a better match for Olmert. Clinton struck me as unsure and ambivalent in his two military actions, Haiti and Kosovo. At times during the latter conflict I almost mistook John McCain for president.

In any case, plans change, almost always. This isn't WWII where the stated end, unconditional surrender, was always the American position. Even then, there were voices in England that would have settled with Germany at the beginning, Churchill was the uncompromising one.

Rick Ballard said...

Terrye,

The incompetence comes in two phases. In Phase I Olmert reacted far too quickly, he did not have a sufficient force with adequate materiele on hand to take the action that he pursued. I don't know if he was given bad info by the defense minister or if he didn't weigh what he was being told. He compounded the Phase I error by announcing military objectives - Israel was going to the Litani. Within 48 hours he and Peretz were handwringing hard enough to strangle the limited offensive that the IDF was able to mount through imposition of ROE that guaranteed more Israeli losses than necessary.

The Phase II error is the stumbling backdown - one minute it's a 5K strip, the next it's 10K, then its back to 5K. Every time he opens his mouth he offers proof of incompetence. Meanwhile, idiots in what passes for his government are talking about the terms of exchange for the first soldier kidnapped by Hamas - that really strengthens Israel's hand with the hezzies doesn't it? Just hang on boys and you'll get your objective delivered on a platter.

Keeping his mouth shut in the beginning and killing Nasrullah - who would have been an easier target had Olmert kept his mouth shut - would make him look like a genius. The choices that he is making make him look like a fool. He's got one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock - and the boat is pulling away.

Rick Ballard said...

Chuck,

Possibly the Clinton/Aspin actions regarding Mogadishu are the best example. I agree that objectives change continuously during warfare - the enemy does have a vote in the matter. That's why keeping your mouth shut or setting very limited objectives in public pronouncements at the beginning can't be criticized. "On to the Litani" followed by "or on to the KM5 marker" isn't an indication of competence.

vnjagvet said...
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vnjagvet said...

Now that Lebanon and Syria have rejected the UN deal before it can be voted on, it seems like Israel has a clear shot to seize the objective.

There may be some strong debate in the Knesset tonight.

lurker said...

Looking back at the war history, it's really amazing at how short today's major wars have been.

Think we are too impatient with this war as well.

Rick might be right but I've read a few articles saying that an immediate massive invasion might yield the results the world does not want.

Drugereport has a major headline up, "400 rocktes fired this weekend!"

lurker said...

"Now that Lebanon and Syria have rejected the UN deal before it can be voted on, it seems like Israel has a clear shot to seize the objective.

There may be some strong debate in the Knesset tonight."

Good!

chuck said...

Since the Syrian rejection of the peace proposal has come up, I'll repost this link to Walid Phares, REUTERS' HIJACKING LEBANON'S ANSWER TO THE UN?.

Rick Ballard said...

Vnjagvet,

At the end of Sunday in Israel, this was the report. Not particularly inspiring. It's Monday morning now - maybe Olmert and Peretz can come to a unaminous agreement about what to have for breakfast.

Seneca the Younger said...

Yeah, yeah, Olmert's a coward and a wimp and Israel's losing the war.

How predictive has that been so far?

Rick Ballard said...

StY,

After reading the Y-net report, this Haaretz editorial and this JPost report I think you're onto something. I've never seen Israeli spirits and confidence so high. It must only look bad from a distance.

Syl said...
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Syl said...

Sheesh, Rick.

Don't you even remember the first few days of the war? The Syrian ambassador was bug-eyed with terror screaming where is America to stop the conflict NOW. He was sure Syria was going to get drawn in.

And if Israel had massed 30,000 troops at the border (which they couldn't do in such short time anyway) you can bet Syrian's troops would have been put on alert immediately.

The way Olmert handled it diffused the almost certainty that it would become a wider war.

I'd chalk it off to both disinformation and the fog of war.

How many times have we heard "two kilometer zone" "three kiloometer zone" "all the way to the Litani" blah blah.

What comes out of Olmert's mouth is not just for our consumption, you know.

Rick Ballard said...

The Arab League is meeting in Beirut tomorrow. Watch what comes out of that meeting, then tell me about Olmert's "success".

He's now playing for a UN bailout and he's not going to get it. There is no reason for Hezbollah to accept a cease fire. Not if they can get off as many shots today as they could on day one.

I won't be writing about it anymore and if there's really a magic hat with a rabbit in it then I'll admit the error. The evidence of his incompetence lies in his own words - pointing that out is no sin and covering your ears and shutting your eyes is no virtue.

Israel cannot afford empty talk.

chuck said...

What comes out of Olmert's mouth is not just for our consumption, you know.

I don't have the impression that Olmert is *that* sort of shrewd operator. I think that what we hear is what he is. I could be wrong, of course.

Seneca the Younger said...

I'll just note that the last time the Israeli War Cabinet said "No, we're not going deeply into Lebanon", they followed up by sending special operators 100 km into Lebanon.

When these special operators were supposed to be trapped in a hospital in a heavy firefight, they were actually under heavy fire coming FROM the "hospital"; shortly afterward they had captured a dozen or so Hizb'allah planning staff.

George W. and the Congressional Republicans just got two notably conservative --- Teddy Kennedy is about to have kittens, they're so conservative --- judges on the Supreme Court, made some other decent changes, got some tax cuts extended, and put the Democrats in the Senate in the position of proving that they don't actually care so much about a minimum-wage raise as they do about not letting Bush have a victory if they can help it.

Even Republicans seem to fall for the "Bush is a dummy" theory --- or else, in an outbreak of pundititis, just believe that no matter how poor their sources of information, they Know Better.

Luther McLeod said...

Well I have opinions, lots of them.

I will just say that Olmert is in an unenviable position. There are few nations in the world where a few bad decisions can mean the end of your country. Israel is one of them.

So small, so fragile, in terms of size and population. Great feats in the past do not equate to certainty in the present.

Israel, as well as the US, has been weakened in the past thirty or so years. We are all aware of the reasons why.

Olmert vacillates due to concerns that should not concern him. Goals that are not truly his country's. But his. He is a captive of the modern world. I suspect he does not really feel the threat, at least not viscerally, as he should.

Rick Ballard said...

Luther,

Perhaps, as StY says, he's just in possession of information that would clarify all in an instant, if it were available. It may be that the Israelis picked up info on that hospital raid that has effectively tied his hands.

I just know that I've never seen this much backbiting in the Israeli press while their forces were under arms. He ain't a morale booster.

vnjagvet said...

Or, Rick, their Press has finally acquired a touch of Reuteritis.

terrye said...

The more ground they take, the more gropund they have to hold the Israelis do not want to occupy Lebanon. Besides, they don't want to telegraph their intentions either. So wait and see what happens.

chuck said...

Good point, Terrye.

Eric Blair said...

Sorry Rick, but when's the last time you directed a war? For real, and not in the post of a blog?

I don't think anyone is getting any decent information out of the reporting so far, so to make all sorts of blanket statements like that is just so much blather.

Becareful you're not getting pundit's disease.

Peter UK said...

The Israelis have cut the last crossing over the Litani river it seems they have staked out their killing ground.