The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

              First Casualty
It seems that the Lebanon War has taken its first political casualty.
Adam informed Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz on Tuesday that he wished to retire as soon as possible. According to an IDF spokesman, Halutz accepted Adam's request.

The Maariv daily reported Wednesday that Adam decided to retire "when the last soldier returns from Lebanon," which is expected next week.
Undoubtedly Gen. Adam commanded incompetently during the war. However, he was far from the only one or the most important one. The main fault lies with the political leadership, specifically Olmert and Peretz. At this point it looks like Peretz will be the next one to be pushed out, in Olmert's attempts to avoid responsibility.
|| Nudnik 9:00 AM || Permalink || (2) comments

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

              More Reassessment
Since the end of the Israel-Hizbullah war, more and more analysts and pundits have been reassessing the conventional wisdom that Israel lost and Hizbullah won. Today, Emanuele Ottolenghi weighs in, with his opinion. In essence his point is that while it may seem that Israel lost because it did not achieve its stated war aims - freeing the 2 captured soldiers, and destroying Hizbullah - Hizbullah did not win either because it did not achieve its stated and unstated war aims. Yet, the myth that has been created is that by being able to survive, Hizbullah achieved victory. Ottelenghi tries to refute this growing myth.
The myth about Hezbollah's victory is therefore just that: a myth. This means that Israel did not lose. Israel certainly did not win either. But one should not dismiss Israel's military achievements and their potential effectiveness in thwarting at least some of Hezbollah's objectives.

Hezbollah's fighting force was drastically downgraded. With over 500 fighters killed (depending on estimates, anything between 10 and 40 percent of its fighting force), it will take years for Hezbollah to return to where it was. Israel failed to destroy Hezbollah's Katyusha arsenal, but it dealt a crushing blow to its strategic arsenal of long-range missiles. Few noticed that at some point in the war, Nasrallah stopped threatening to hit Tel Aviv if Israel continued to hit Beirut, mentioning Haifa instead. That is because he could not hit Tel Aviv anymore. With Hezbollah's arsenal so depleted, its ability to seriously mount a new challenge is for now correspondingly damaged. Iran and Syria are no doubt already rearming it. But this exercise will take time and it will not be ignored by the international community as it was in the past.
Yes, in many ways Israel did a lot better than what it is being given credit for. But there was one major factor in this war that will be critical going forward. In all its previous wars, Israel fought knowing that the "international community" will come in and stop them before they had a chance to fully achieve victory. The doctrine was, therefore, to achieve as many objectives as quickly as possible. And in every single war it was the Arabs or their Great Power patron - the USSR - who demanded a ceasefire to halt Israel's advances. In this last war, it was Israel who wanted the ceasefire. It seemed that almost from the beginning, they were not fighting to achieve their stated objectives, but for a ceasefire to be imposed. In a reversal of all its previous wars, Israel ran to the "international community" to halt the war. In the medieval world of the Middle East, this shows weakness. And in showing weakness, Israel weakened its detterent capability vis-a-vis the Arab world. This is the strategic loss that Israel suffered in this war.
|| Nudnik 10:49 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, September 01, 2006

              Joke Headline of the Day
Annan: Syria to enforce arms embargo. Is he serious? Annan couldn't really be that stupid. In which case he is simply coddling and appeasing dictators.
|| Nudnik 9:17 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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