New Report Blasts Olmert Over Lebanon War

April 30, 2007 at 9:59 am | Posted in American politics, Hezbollah, Israel, Military, violence, War | 4 Comments

No surprise, but an internal Israeli report excoriates Ehud Olmert for his “severe failure in the lack of judgment, responsibility and caution” in the war over Lebanon last summer. Israel lost about 200 civilians and soldiers, while over 1000 Lebanese civilians died. Yet Israel failed to destroy Hezbollah, and failed to acquire the kidnapped soldiers. (In fact, Israel is now negotiating with Hezbollah on the release of those two soldiers—something they should have done in the first place).

One thing this report does not delve into, because it is an internal Israeli report, is just how the Bush administration prodded Olmert to attack Lebanon and Hezbollah. I mean, who here remembers Condoleezza Rice’s most infamous moment, the birth pangs comment:

“What we’re seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East. And whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one. “

One has to wonder just how much pressure the Bush administration put on the Olmert administration to keep at it. I mean who remembers Bill Kristol, the king of the neo-con robbers stating:

Why is this Arab-Israeli war different from all other Arab-Israeli wars? Because it’s not an Arab-Israeli war. Most of Israel’s traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The governments of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are, to say the least, indifferent to the fate of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Palestine Liberation Organization (Fatah) isn’t a player. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran, which wasn’t involved in any of Israel’s previous wars.

What’s happening in the Middle East, then, isn’t just another chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s happening is an Islamist-Israeli war. You might even say this is part of the Islamist war on the West — but is India part of the West? Better to say that what’s under attack is liberal democratic civilization, whose leading representative right now happens to be the United States.

Note how much he has to go to stretch the logic. He concludes by saying:

This is our war, too.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kristol was doing what he could to incite violence, because well, this was not our war. This wasn’t even supposed to be a war. This wasn’t the first time (nor will it be the last) that soldiers get kidnapped by Hezbollah to deal out an exchange. This has been happening since 1982. Was such a violent response warranted by the Israelis upon the Lebanese? Well, just look at the results. Hezbollah is still around and they still have the soldiers. Israel is now negotiating to get the soldiers back non-violently. Huh, peaceful methods actually work better than violence. How ’bout that.

Finally, why is someone like Bill Kristol still so trusted on the Middle East? I mean how many times must he get it wrong before he’s finally discredited enough?


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  1. I think Hezbollah’s recent (last year? two years ago?) political success in Palestinian elections provides a cautionary tale for the U.S. The current administration seems to be of the mindset that the democratization of the Middle East will solve all of our problems, that a free society is de facto a safe and/or stable society. Beyond the difficulties we now see of foisting a government on people that might not be ready (see Russia and Iraq) or willing there is a second problem that we see with Hezbollah. Whether they are justified or not, terrorists or not, they are fairly militant AND democratically elected. Democracy is not a panacea. People forget that Hitler was democratically elected, too.

  2. Nate,

    I think you meant Hezbollah’s success in Lebanon two years ago, in the election. In Palestine it is Hamas that recently won the plurality of votes and as such now runs the Palestinian government.

    But your point is spot on about democratization. It really isn’t a real democracy that the Bush administration and its conservative adherents want in the Middle East, but “pro-Western democracies.” Of course, you always take a risk when you let people decide for themselves. They just might vote against you.

  3. Hezbollah, Hamas. Shia, Sunni. I’m always getting those guys mixed up.

    Thanks for this blog. I’ve been looking for the right blog to scratch my itch, and this may be it. I’m looking forward to discussing politics with people that share a similar religious background and political leaning. I think there are a lot of us but not in any concentrated doses.

  4. You’re welcome Nate. Please frequent often. I try to keep my posts pretty level-headed and reasonable. Sometimes I might get a little emotional and passionate but these issues are quite important to me.

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