Israel is losing this war. For a lifelong Israel supporter, that's a painful thing to write. But it's true. And the situation's worsening each day.
A US government official put it to me this way: "Israel's got the clock, but Hizbullah's got the time." The sands of the hourglass favor the terrorists - every day they hold out and drop more rockets on Israel, Hizbullah scores a propaganda win.
All Hizbullah has to do to achieve victory is not to lose completely. But for Israel to emerge the acknowledged winner, it has to shatter Hizbullah. Yet Israeli miscalculations have left Hizbullah alive and kicking.
Israel has to pull itself together now, to send in ground troops in sufficient numbers, with fierce resolve to do what must be done: Root out Hizbullah fighters and kill them. This means Israel will suffer painful casualties - more today than if the Israeli Defense Force had gone in full blast at this fight's beginning.
The situation is grave. A perceived Hizbullah win will be a massive victory for terror, as well as a triumph for Iran and Syria. And everybody loves a winner - especially in the Middle East, where Arabs and Persians have been losing so long.
Israel can't afford a Hizbullah win. America can't afford it. Civilization can't afford it. Yet it just might happen. ...
The situation is grim. Israel looks more desperate every day, while Hezbollah appears more defiant.
This is ultimately about far more than a buffer zone in southern Lebanon. In the long run, it's about Israel's survival. And about preventing the rise of a nuclear Iran and the strengthening of the rogue regime in Syria. It's also about the future of Lebanon - everybody's victim.
The mess Israel has made of its opportunity to smack down Hezbollah should be a wake-up call to the country's leadership. The IDF looks like a pathetic shadow of the bold military that Ariel Sharon led into Egypt three decades ago. The IDF's intelligence, targeting and planning were all deficient. Technology failed to vanquish flesh and blood. The myth of the IDF's invincibility just shattered.
If Israel can't turn this situation around quickly, the failure will be a turning point in its history. And not for the better.
- from an op-ed by Ralph Peters, New York Post, July 22
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