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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Betrayed (again)

Once again we have been betrayed by our leaders.  I feel like Charlie Brown who gets fooled by Lucy every time, and instead of kicking the football, ends up flying through the air and landing flat on his back.

I shouldn't be surprised.  We're talking about the same incompetent leadership that sent our sons into Lebanon with lofty goals; to return the kidnapped soldiers, to push Hezbullah back at least to the Litani River and deal them so serious a blow that they would be unable to threaten the north of Israel for years or even decades to come.  But for all those lofty goals, they sent our young men into battle without a plan, and allowed them to die by the dozens while wandering aimlessly around southern Lebanon while the politicians dithered.

Now the same idiots have done it again.  They embarked upon a worthy quest; to stop the ceaseless rocket and mortar fire on Sderot and the other Gaza Belt communities.  But again they had no plan... no end game nor exit strategy... and certainly no plan for victory. 

Once again they sent our soldiers into harm's way while still arguing among themselves as to what exactly they hoped to accomplish, much less how.

Now with our young men deep in Gaza, our feckless leaders have  announced a unilateral cease fire... but one which will leave our soldiers in place, exposed like sitting ducks.  Predictably, Hamas' response has been to continue firing rockets at us.

So let's review, shall we?:

Instead of stopping the rocket fire from Gaza, we succeeded in bringing a much larger swath of our country under the shadow of Hamas' missiles.

Instead of unseating or disarming Hamas, we have boosted their prestige in much the same way we boosted Hezbullah's.  State sponsors will be lining up to re-arm and bankroll them.

Instead of getting Gilad Shalit back, we got news reports that we may very well have killed him in one of our air-strikes (we'll probably never know).

Olmert, Livni and Barak have announced that all of Operation Cast Lead's goals were met.   But unless the goals included completely eliminating Israel's deterrence, making us a pariah in the eyes of the international community and getting a bunch of Israeli soldiers killed and wounded in the process, I can't think of a single thing they accomplished.

I can only hope and pray that these serial imbeciles and their parties will be punished at the polls in the upcoming elections.

Posted by David Bogner on January 18, 2009 | Permalink

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You're very correct. It's all very depressing.

The reason it's ending now is the same reason it was started - Kadima's placing in the polls. Israel has been attacked for much longer than a couple of months, but the Olmert and Livni decided to fight back 6 weeks before the elections. Finally. However, Kadima did not improve in the polls as expected, so it's back to groveling before the world. What a sorry excuse for leadership.

Gilad Schalit is still at-large. Israeli lives were lost in Gaza, and for what? So sad.

Posted by: LB | Jan 18, 2009 1:45:16 AM

We all knew from the start this was an Election War. The left wanted to show that it too can fight a war. However, they blew it! Had they continued and eliminated Hamas, then Kadima and labor would win Landslide victories. Now that they left the usual left foot stuck in their mouth once again. The faker right known as Likud is going to sail in to the finish line. If only we had ONE competent Jewish leader... but we don't and won't. Now come the stupid elections and we're still back where we started from.

Posted by: Yehuda | Jan 18, 2009 2:14:18 AM

What would destroying Hamas totally leave? Chaos, and more missles.

Hamas has been humiliated. And because it's a unilateral ceasefire, Israel didn't have to accept any silly Hamas demands. Plus, you're forgetting one big thing; Israel is leaving ground troops there. That's a HUGE gain.

And if politics is impacting this decision, it's American politics, not Israeli. The Israeli gov't wants good relations with Obama and they want to give him a gift upon his inauguration, that being, not having to deal with this issue. 3 days before the inauguration says a lot more than weeks before the Israeli elections.

Posted by: dys | Jan 18, 2009 3:54:59 AM

dys above is absolutely correct. The war had to take place sometime after the US election, and had to complete before the US inauguration. End of story.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 18, 2009 4:12:20 AM

dys and Mark - are you serious? Yes, American politics played somewhat of a factor - but nothing along the lines of giving Obama a gift before he takes office. Think about it - there are political issues on both sides of the ocean, which ones do you think would be more important, sucking up to the Americans, or winning your own elections?

Posted by: LB | Jan 18, 2009 4:23:19 AM

It certainly looks like just another fruitless encounter with death by feckless leadership. But perhaps they had no choice. Perhaps instead of them offering a gift, the incoming Obama administration pushed them into it. Time will tell.

Posted by: Dick Stanley | Jan 18, 2009 5:51:39 AM

When cancer is not totally eradicated and it comes back, it does so more aggressively. That's bad.

Gilad Shalit is still a prisoner. That's heartbreaking.

Posted by: Kae Gregory | Jan 18, 2009 6:08:51 AM

Agreed 100% but....these guys running the show (especially Barak) are extremely intelligent, professional military strategists. They are privy to all the info coming in from military intelligence etc. Whatever we know, they also know, surely? So how can understand what THEY are thinking??

Posted by: Chutznik | Jan 18, 2009 7:14:18 AM

LB... I would agree with you except that by stopping now Kadima looks even worse than before the fighting began. I am honestly baffled.

Yehuda ... Again, as I just said to LB, if the war was about the elections (and I'm not dismissing that theory), why would they do the one thing guaranteed to make them (and us) look weak. If they really wanted to show that the left is strong and can wage war when needed, why surrender?

dys ... I'm OK with Chaos. Most people ignore how much structure and leadership a successful smuggling and paramilitary campaign requires. If I have a choice between a well-funded, supurbly organized terrorist government like Hamas or a power vacuum that a half dozen rival clans will fight each other to try to fill... guess which one I'm picking?

Mark... OK, I'll allow your point for the sake of argument. Now explain to me where this latest unilateral cease fire fits into any plan. How exactly are we better off than before we sent our sons into harm's way?

Dick Stanley... I am sure of very little these days. But I am 100% sure that the US (much less the still powerless President elect) did not want Israel to go on a military adventure in Gaza. If they did, why cut it short now, just days before the inauguration?

Kae Gregory... Agreed.

Chutznik... Let's parse your comment: "these guys running the show (especially Barak) are extremely intelligent, professional military strategists" Wrong. Barak was an excellent soldier and a fair senior officer. But by the time he'd been appointed Chief of Staff he had proven the 'Peter Principal (that posits that people will eventually be promoted to their level of incompetence). Olmert did his army service as a journalist for the IDF newspaper and Livni had a short stint as a junior officer in the IDF but by all accounts did not distinguish herself in any particular way that would mark her as a strategist of any caliber. After the army she spent two years in the Mossad in Paris, which it was recently revealed amounted to living in an apartment so as to keep it available as a potential safe-house. All three of these people have been directly responsible for huge blunders in their most recent positions... and yet they act as though they have no accountability.

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 18, 2009 9:42:11 AM

I would say that something has been achieved... we shocked Hamas and pulled the carpet from under their regime. We have -- finally -- got the world interested in stopping the smuggling from Egypt. The rocket fire hit a peak before we went in of about 60-70 a day; now they are down to about 20.

BUT the fight is not over; the rockets are still coming, Shalit remains in captivity. It is not yet time for a ceasefire, and I would say that the war hasn't finished either. Having tried a ceasefire, the international community (whoever they are!) will be more understanding.

Posted by: David UK | Jan 18, 2009 12:07:25 PM

David UK... I'm curious about something: If the international community didn't care about years of bombardment Israel has endured, or about Iran smuggling weapons via Egypt to Hamas... why do you suddenly feel so sure they will care now? What has changed? And I disagree. We may well have shocked Hamas, but we certainly didn't pull the rug out from under their regime. They are still very much in power and, thanks to Israel's leadership, Hamas now enjoys a legitimacy and prestige that they couldn't have dreamed about three weeks ago. Also, I know that 'only' 20 rockets a day may sound like a smashing success when compared to 60-70 rockets a day. But do you realize how crazy it is to expect any country to absorb 20 rockets a day into civilian population centers... while the International community calls it a success?!

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 18, 2009 12:27:51 PM

The point being made is that before the war, no-one said anything about the cross-border smuggling; now it is being negotiated upon -- so there is improvement there.

Yes, you are right that ANY rockets is an unacceptable status quo, which is why we should have carried on rather than called this very slightly farcical ceasefire.

I'm not sure about the legitimacy and prestige of Hamas - do you mean within Gaza? Because I reckon the people of Gaza realise what's gone on, and the Hamas that they elected in with promises of Change and Renewal (or something similar) have only taken them backwards.

Posted by: David UK | Jan 18, 2009 1:57:54 PM

David UK ... It would be one thing if we had no prior model on which to base the potential success or failure of any so-called 'cross-border smuggling initiatives'. But we do have: Israel entered into a detailed and binding contract with the rest of the world (via UNSC resolution 1701) whereby Hezbullah was going to be prevented from smuggling in arms and rockets. In fact, we had assurances far beyond that; that Hezbullah would be disarmed... that our soldiers would be unconditionally returned... that no armed militias would be allowed south of the Litani River. We even had the added assurance of UNIFIL troops on the ground in Lebanon to ensure that both sides lived up to the bargain. Do you really mean to tell me that you think it will be any different in Gaza/Egypt? If so, why?

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 18, 2009 2:17:29 PM

There does seem to be one real success, which is that a corps of about 100 Hamas fighters trained in Iran has been wiped out.

Not that we should celebrate anyone's death - these men died because they are victims of an anti-semitic death cult. It is hard to see how any child growing up in Gaza could resist the pressure to become a cult member.

But we are all safer without them. And the people of Gaza are safer without their Interior Minister.

Posted by: Don Cox | Jan 18, 2009 3:35:36 PM

I am so outraged I can't even breathe. Truth be told, it almost makes me want to pack my bags (except where would I go?)

Why are we stopping if we clearly are winning? Don't we have a right to self-defense? We shouldn't stop til we get what we want: rockets stopping, clear supervision of borders (althought who could do that I have no idea) and last but not least, Gilad.

And who is there to vote for anyway?

Posted by: baila | Jan 18, 2009 5:04:20 PM

Don, I beg to disagree. When Hamas fighters are killed, it's a perfect time to celebrate. Ever hear of Purim?

Posted by: Marsha, freezing in Englewood | Jan 18, 2009 5:40:59 PM

You ask - if Olmert & Co. were attacking Hamas for a pre-election surge in the polls, why quit while they were ahead? IMHO, the answer is simple, and applied to the botched operation in Lebanon as well: The Kadima guys know what they're supposed to do. They even know that it will help them in the polls. They just don't have the intestinal fortitude to get the job done. Gutless, gutless, gutless.

Pretty pathetic, no?

Posted by: psachya | Jan 18, 2009 7:50:27 PM

I think the reason they quit without finishing the job is because they weren't gaining the political capital they hope they would, and finishing the job properly in Gaza would, unfortunately, probably take too long and would only end after the elections - and so they wouldn't achieve their political goals.

Posted by: LB | Jan 18, 2009 9:34:38 PM

There's one good result, if only one, so far. Despite all the chatter, anyone can see that the IDF can defeat Hamas if it ever becomes absolutely necessary. Which is to say if and when the Gaza rockets reach out to larger cities and become more powerful and catastrophic.

Posted by: Dick Stanley | Jan 18, 2009 9:44:02 PM

Don: agreed. wiping out the dangerous and evil is not something that necessitates celebration; indeed, passing out candy or shooting into the air upon the deaths of our "enemies" is tasteless, no? Yet, we agree -- the world is safer if they are stopped, one way or the other. And how does one negotiate with a political party that *embraces* treachery as a virtue? Eek.

We, the civilized, do not celebrate killing. But we do not shrink from it, either, when it needs to be done, lest we find ourselves, years from now, up to our necks and noses in a very sticky situation, eh?

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 18, 2009 10:29:42 PM

20 rockets a day, minimum? Sheesh. If I were a citizen, and I got ahold of one a them, or a bazooka, or a rifle, I'd be seriously thinking of rounding up a posse and going in. And I would absolutely flog my alleged "government" to step in before I had to take matters into my own hands. Sheesh. What's a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT for, if not to safeguard BORDERS and CULTURE? Sheeeeesh.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 18, 2009 10:32:14 PM

David: Olmie and Zipi were out of touch before this.
And they both staked their political futures on a new party based on betrayal - whose sails were filled with the wind of Sharon's "heroic" withdrawal.

So why are you surprised that they are politically tone deaf in this episode, as well?

Olmie's the one who thinks Israelis are "tired" - remember?

Leopards can't change their spots - and bunnies/rats can't change their fluff.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 18, 2009 11:40:08 PM

Israel is powerless to "destroy" Hamas or Hezbollah. Or at least it would have to kill a hundred thousand people, depopulate vast swathes of territory, and become a total rather than a partial international pariah.

Of course, the United States would not allow it to do those things. Not even George Bush would have allowed it to do those things.

Therefore: Israel has only one alternative. Either try a radical and risky plan for peace--like simply recognizing a Palestinian state with final borders, status of refugees, etc. left up to a final settlement. Or: go in and smash thing up a bit, threaten to do it again and hope that establishes deterrence.

That seems to have WORKED in Lebanon after all, so I don't know what you are whining about.

And it looks like it may work it Gaza. Hamas knows that if it continues to launch rockets after Israel withdraws, it will get more of the same. It also knows that if it gets the ability to hit Tel Aviv with more rockets and causes major loss of life, it will get twenty times worse.

I think you have now achieved cold peace all around your borders: Gaza was the last peace in the puzzle.

If you are smart you will move into Taba like negotiations and get yourselves an official Neighbor--quick.

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 20, 2009 4:31:49 AM

Doesn`t Israel need offense and defense to deter? Why weren`t things smashed up in Gaza when the first rockets started to fall?When it didn`t,it showed the World we weren`t serious about our defense, and there were no red lines.Now it`s time to get serious about the Phily route. If rockets and explosives continue to arrive, not fired, make them pay a very high physical price.The ideas behind Taba didn`t make sense then, and still don`t make sense.

Posted by: Ed | Jan 20, 2009 6:38:22 AM

you left out the part where Olmert went out of his way to insult the people who send our weapons, and give evidence to the protocols crowd (I tell the president what to do) - that's a pretty important part, too.

Posted by: daw | Jan 20, 2009 7:37:11 AM

The ideas behind Taba are the only ideas possible.

You can't absorb these people into Israel. You can't dominate them like some kind of colony. You have to let them go.

That's as important for Israel as it is for them.

As the West becomes weaker and more and more Muslims live there, as the Arabs become stronger and more powerful, this is becoming absolutely vital for the mere survival of Israel.

If in ten or twenty years the State of Israel is destroyed, you will rue the day you said, "Taba ideas don't make sense."

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 20, 2009 4:12:20 PM

The idea behind Taba was appeasement,which is not a bad idea in itself, but in the Arab-Israeli dispute, doesn`t work.The latest example is Gaza,where violence and war was clearly chosen over peace and prosperity.

Posted by: Ed | Jan 20, 2009 6:58:11 PM

"Appeasement" was a word invented to describe letting a large country swallow a smaller one without cavil.

But the inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank await the right to have a destiny shaped by themselves, rather than others.

Palestinians want a state. If they get one, there still may not be peace. But if they don't get one, there will never be peace.

And why should there be? Why should they be content to be ruled over by Israelis?

What's the alternative to Taba?

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 21, 2009 2:17:09 AM

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