A legitimate ground offensive, in an unsuccessful war.
JANUARY 31, 2008 00:23
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Overall, we regard the Second Lebanon War as a serious missed opportunity. Israel initiated a long war, which ended without its clear military victory. A semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technology advantages. The barrage of rockets aimed at Israel's civilian population lasted throughout the war, and the IDF did not provide an effective response to it.
We found serious failings and shortcomings in the decision-making processes and staff-work in the political and the military echelons and their interface... in the quality of preparedness, decision-making and performance in the IDF high command... in the lack of strategic thinking and planning... [and] in the defense of the civilian population.
Israel did not stop after its early military achievements, and was "dragged" into a ground operation only after the political and diplomatic timetable prevented its effective completion.
The war was not conducted on the basis of deep understanding of the theater of operations, of the IDF's readiness and preparedness, and of basic principles of using military power to achieve a political and diplomatic goal.
The decision to start the ground operation was within the political and professional discretion of its makers, on the basis of the facts before them. The goals of the ground operation were legitimate... There was no failure in that decision in itself, despite its limited achievements and its painful costs.
Israel cannot survive in this region, and cannot live in it in peace... unless people in Israel itself and in its surroundings believe that Israel has the political and military leadership, military capabilities, and social robustness that will allow it to deter those of its neighbors who wish to harm it, and to prevent them - if necessary through the use of military force - from achieving their goal.
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