Past wars and the war to come
The causes and consequences of past wars and how to prepare
for the next one
By Yaron London
Yedioth Ahronoth | August 17, 2006
All our wars ended with a sense of missed opportunities, including the War of
Independence. For 20 years David Ben Gurion lamented the flawed consequences of
that war calling his restraint from conquering East Jerusalem and the Judea
region an "infinite tragedy."
During the Six Day War we achieved our most shining victory alongside our
greatest missed opportunity: We didn't know how to turn our victory into peace.
The Yom Kippur War stemmed from that missed opportunity, and the missed
opportunities from the first war in Lebanon, aimed at healing the wounds of the
Yom Kippur War, appeared right on the planners' war table.
All our operations carried out to silence Lebanon ended in bitter
disappointment, as did the last war. This doesn't say a thing about the justness
and wisdom of any particular war, but about wars in general. Wars never fulfill
the hopes of the victor, and frequently a glorious victory brings with it the
worm that gnaws away at the fruit.
Had we not driven out the Arabs who had settled in the Land of Israel, we would
not have been able to build a stable country for the Jewish people, however,
that's how we created the Palestinian exile, which is the root cause of our
Consequences of war
Our victory in the Six Day War saved us, but created the National Palestinian
Movement. Our duration in Lebanon began with the aim of destroying the PLO's
kingdom but instead created Hizbullah.
Our redeployment from Lebanon saved us from spilling our blood on its turf, but
enabled Iran to establish an offshoot in our neighborhood.
We have yet to find a leader who can predict three moves in advance. Olmert
proved that he was unable to predict even two, and thus he joins a long list of
former prime ministers.
Brunt of economic damage
The number of rockets fired at us during this war almost equaled the number of
injured civilians. On average, each missile hit and maimed a single person. The
majority of the wounded suffered from shock and recovered within a short time.
Every human life is priceless, however when making the national calculation, the
level of home front losses is not high. The direct damage to property is also
not too bad. The brunt of the economic damage is the loss of working days and
the standstill of commercial life in the north of the country.
Had businesses continued working as in peacetime, the casualty figure would have
been much higher, but presumably would not have exceeded the number of losses
incurred during the second Intifada (uprising). These are heavy losses and they
cannot be discussed with cool rationality, but when considering the plight of a
nation, thinking about them is unavoidable.
Next war inevitable
The next war is inevitable, and we may assume that rockets will once again be
fired on our home front, and are likely be worse the next time around. It has
been proven that an offensive strategy that employs conventional weaponry does
not eliminate the enemy, particularly an enemy prepared to destroy its own
country in order to achieve a delusional victory.
Israeli war tactics, according to which we must transfer the fighting to enemy
land as quickly as possible, will not always be implemented.
We should, therefore, fortify ourselves, build protected spaces in every area
where people congregate, accelerate the development of anti-missile solutions,
improve the services rendered to those suffering the consequences of war, and
plan the strategy by which we shall continue working under fire.
I would recommend setting up a committee to handle such matters; however my
suggestion is uncalled for because a similar committee headed by Dan Meridor
submitted its conclusions just several months ago.
Not such a bad situation
As long as the Arabs continue rejoicing at their
success in delaying the Israeli army, at the cost of their country's ruin, then
our situation is not too bad.
Should Halutz stay or should he go?
If you think that Chief of Staff Dan Halutz does not befit his post, because in
the midst of a bloody day he took a moment to handle family affairs - then speak
out. If you think there was no flaw in his conduct or that the flaw is so small
that it doesn't warrant his resignation – speak out.
Don't say that "personally" you find no fault in his behavior, but that he
cannot remain in his post because of "public opinion." If your opinion is
formulated by "public opinion", then you obviously have no opinion of your own.
I will express my own personal opinion: He doesn't have to resign, not because