Sunday, August 13, 2006

Has Anybody Achieved Anything?

The article by Uri Avnery linked to at the end of this post is something the editors at the CBC should read. They keep on calling this a war between Hizbullah and Israel. (Then in the next sentence they speak of "kidnapped, or abducted, soldiers". Isn't the term POW when talking about two warring parties?) It's just one sad indication of how this once fine network has been transformed into a propaganda machine in the last few years. You'd think they are in the forefront of fighting the war on terror, not in some air conditioned studio in Toronto. Their propaganda isn't any good either. Anybody able to type and a few search terms can see that, provided s/he has a critical mind and a bit of time.

Let's step back a bit and try to see things more objectively than our national "newscaster" does.

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza - an incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis, of which there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

The war's aim apparently is to set Lebanon back decades through the criminal destruction of much of Lebanon's infrastructure and it was planned a long time before Hizbullah had rockets in significant numbers.

Senior officers in the IDF said before this barbarity started to unfold, if the kidnapped soldiers are not returned alive and well, the Lebanese civilian infrastructures will regress 20, or even 50 years. (Haaretz, July 12, 2006)

They did their best to realise that, murdering hundreds in the course of it, maiming even more and causing almost a million people to become refugees.

It is a war against the Lebanese people

"The real aim is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government", wrote Uri Avnery on Jan 1st 2006, reviewing history. The "kidnapped" soldiers were nothing but a pretext.

It is difficult to know if dead adult men, or even women, were guerrillas or innocent civilians. With little children, who appear to be the largest group of people killed and maimed, no such difficulty exists. The bombing of ambulances is a war crime regardless who is being transported. The killing of UN Peacekeepers is against international law. Responding to the timid, tactical criticism that Israel is unleashing "disproportionate" violence upon Lebanon, Gillerman, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, replied, "You're damn right we are."

Planning started in 2000, when the IDF was forced out of Lebanon by Hezbollah, the Shi'ite militia formed as a response to Israel's brutal occupation.

Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board.

More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign ...

This is one of the reasons for the despicable inactivity of the major powers.

But let's see how a few thousand Hizbullah fighters are doing against one of the mightiest armed forces in the world. The facts speak for themselves.

What the Hell Has Happened To The Israeli Army?
By UriAvnery

On the 32nd day of the war, Hizbullah is still standing and fighting. That by itself is a stunning feat: a small guerilla organization, with a few thousand fighters, is standing up to one of the strongest armies in the world and has not been broken after a month of "pulverizing". Since 1948, the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan have repeatedly been beaten in wars that were much shorter.

As I have already said: if a light-weight boxer is fighting a heavy-weight champion and is still standing in the 12th round, the victory is his - whatever the count of points says.

... Halutz, [who "views the world below through a bombsight."], started this war with the bluster of an Air-Force officer. He believed that it was possible to crush Hizbullah by aerial bombardment, supplemented by artillery shelling from land and sea. He believed that if he destroyed the towns, neighborhoods, roads and ports of Lebanon, the Lebanese people would rise and compel their government to remove Hizbullah. For a week he killed and devastated, until it became clear to everybody that this method achieves the opposite - strengthens Hizbullah, weakens its opponents within Lebanon and throughout the Arab world and destroys the world-wide sympathy Israel enjoyed at the beginning of the war.

When he reached this point, Halutz did not know what to do next. For three weeks he sent his soldiers into Lebanon on senseless and hopeless missions, gaining nothing. Even in the battles that were fought in villages right on the border, no significant victories were achieved. ...

THE COMMON denominator of all the failures is the disdain for Arabs, a contempt that has dire consequences. It has caused total misunderstanding, a kind of blindness of Hizbullah's motives, attitudes, standing in Lebanese society etc. ...

THE MAIN lesson of the war, beyond all military analysis, lies in the five words we
inscribed on our banner from the very first day: "There is no military solution!"

Even a strong army cannot defeat a guerilla organization, because the guerilla is a political phenomenon. ...
The army will not defeat the Palestinians, because such a victory is altogether impossible. For the good of the army, it must be extricated from the quagmire.

If that now enters the consciousness of the Israeli public, something good may yet have come out of this war.

I wish I could see some hope but I can't.