Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another Casualty of War

Udi Adam, the general in charge of IDF’s ground forces in Lebanon, was kicked down the chain of command today. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz effectively relieved him of his responsibilities by sending General Moshe Kaplinski to Northern Command to take charge of combined air, naval and ground operations. Adam might be a fall guy or just could not hack fighting well-trained, well-armed guerillas. Clearly his forces’ negligible progress in cleaning out villages in southern Lebanon and suppressing the Katyushas striking Israel dismayed the General Staff, government officials and the public. The continued fighting in villages that were “captured” a week ago, the rising number of Israeli military casualties and destroyed equipment suggest a failure to learn.

These losses also undermine the claims by Halutz and his puppet Defense Minister Peretz for the new operations they want the government to authorize tomorrow. They say IDF ground forces can speedily occupy the area up to the Litani River and beyond, thereby pushing 80% of Hizbullah’s Katyushas out of range, while the air force neutralizes the long range missiles. As suggested here yesterday, their touting new operations is primarily a cover-your-ass move in preparation for the inevitable post-war investigations, like “we could have won, but they did not let us.” They probably do not expect or even want the authorization. They would look even worse than they do now, if the operation were short of its goals, when a cease-fire is declared. They would then have to order violations of the cease-fire to complete the operation. could be they also hope their talk will make the Lebanese government stop insisting that a cease-fire resolution include Israel’s immediate withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon. However I doubt that, since they have shown no interest in a cease-fire except to regard it as an impediment to their actions. Seemingly, their main intent toward Lebanon is to destroy it, because they can do that, if they cannot destroy Hizbollah. Yesterday, they approved a 24-hour curfew on the area south of the Litani that licenses IDF to shoot anything moving there, including humanitarian aid vehicles. Today, IDF killed fourteen people when it bombed a funeral procession in Reiza for fifteen people whom its bombing had killed there yesterday.

Update: Tomorrow's Haaretz reports that Olmert is deliberating (or hesitating) over the expansion of operations, because of his worry that it will cost too many lives -- perhaps in the hundreds -- and produce too few gains. So he is asking for alternatives to the ground operations with estimates of their respective gains and losses. He seems to be learning!


Anonymous shlomo said...

What kind of math is it to kill people at a funeral procession for people you killed the day before? Or is it the bard's prophecy that "All's fair in love and war." So many people dying make me sick. Atik, you have not told us yet what you think of the UN.

8:36 PM  

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