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Israel Can Win All the Wars, but That Doesn’t Settle Anything
“The objective of the operation is clear to no one — not the government, not the prime minister, not the Israel Defense Force with all its commanders,” wrote journalist Hagay Huberman on Thursday in the conservative Israeli newspaper Hatzofe. “No one tried to think 20 steps ahead. When an operation is called a ‘rolling operation’ they mean that the operation continues to roll independently and then we will all see where it leads.”
In just a few days, the situation has spun completely out of control. Beirut airport’s runways have been cratered by Israeli fighters, rockets have landed on Haifa, Israel’s third-biggest city, and the Israeli Army has crossed into southern Lebanon. Israeli troops were there for eighteen years after Israel invaded Lebanon in1982 , and they took hundreds of casualties and killed several thousand people before they finally withdrew. Now they’re back, for God knows how long.
Less than a year ago, the IDF also pulled out of the Gaza Strip. They’re back there now, too, blasting away at houses and government offices and police stations, not because they really think that that will help them find their kidnapped soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, but because they cannot think of anything else to do. The whole game plan has unraveled, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has run out of strategies. He is just responding by reflex — and the habitual Israeli reflex, when confronted with a serious challenge, is to lash out with overwhelming force.
That’s understandable, because Israel’s great asset is exactly that: Overwhelming force.
Its armed forces are incomparably superior to those of all its neighbors combined, both because they have state-of-the-art technology and because they simply outnumber all the other armies they face.