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August 11, 2006
When The Only Defense Is A Good Offense

In a morose column in today's Jerusalem Post, Doron Almong gives his analysis of the situation along the Blue Line and in Gaza and deduces that only ground forces will create security for Israel. The destabilizing nature of the missile capacities of Hezbollah and Hamas and their refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist makes it impossible to protect Israeli citizens any other way:

At first, in June 2006, Sderot became hostage to the dozens of Kassam rockets fired at it from Gaza, making the lives of its people intolerable. Then, from July 12, the North fell hostage to the thousands of Katyusha and other rockets being fired at it. The North has become a war zone.

Hizbullah was and remains the inspiration for the Palestinian organizations, their role model and hero. More than anything else, the Palestinian terror organizations would like an upgrade of their rocket capability to bring it up to par in quality and quantity with that of Hizbullah. For the terror organizations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Hizbullah is the victor, and Nasrallah's is the path they want to follow.

The rockets fired by the enemy are terrorizing the country. Looking forward 10 years or so, an improvement in their range and precision could create a situation in which the entire country is in danger, with every home and building a target. Combined with cellular and GPS technologies, it could create a lethal arsenal of rockets capable of paralyzing the entire State of Israel, turning it into a ghost state. ...

If Israel currently had arms capable of intercepting 90% of the rockets, and with the IAF attacking Hizbullah as it has been doing until now, there would be no need to send in ground forces and the entire debate we have witnessed over the offensive in South Lebanon would be irrelevant. In such a situation, Hizbullah would understand the ineffectiveness of its missile arsenal and would likely be reluctant to use it.

But in the absence of this type of weapons system, Israel has no choice but to gain deterrence and a decisive outcome through a combination of massive ground forces in south Lebanon supported by the air force and navy, and a more massive attack on Lebanon's infrastructures.

This points to a couple of important points about the nature of conflict and the folly of opposing defensive technology. Nations achieve security when they make it clear to potential aggressors that they stand to lose everything once a war has been provoked. The US did not create the world's most powerful military as a social experiment. We built it to deter other nations from conducting another Pearl Harbor-type attack on us in the future. Our nuclear race against the Soviets may have played out for MAD strategy, but it had the salutary effect of ensuring that other nations with lower-tier military forces didn't attack either one of us.

Over the last couple of years, Israel has decided to suffer no more without some defensive technology. They started building a wall to allow for more efficient security along their frontier with the Palestinian Authority. Israel, due to international pressure, could not apply enough deterrent force to keep the Palestinians from crossing over and murdering Israeli civilians, and so they intended to produce a defensive system instead -- and it worked very well. In fact, it worked too well, and so Israel came under diplomatic fire for assuming a non-lethal method of defense, even winding up in The Hague as a defendant in a legal action over it.

Now Israel faces the same dynamic, and the same reaction from the world. The UN would not provide a sufficient defensive effort to keep Hezbollah from attacking them. UNIFIL supposedly would act as a shield for both sides, but instead just sat back and watched as Hezbollah continued to add to its war preparations in their area. The Israelis have no defense, then, for the rockets and missiles Hezbollah has been able to launch at their cities and their civilians. The only defense left for the Israelis is a good offense.

Had the UN and Lebanon been serious about terrorism in general and Hezbollah and Hamas in particular, this may never have been necessary. Neither provide even the least deterrent to terrorist organizations, and in their failure comes the necessity for Israel to provide it instead. The remarks of Kofi Annan these last few weeks in barely acknowledging the inherent and deliberate atrocities of terrorism while giving full vent to his antagonism towards Israel make deterrence even more difficult, and therefore more painful, to achieve.

The proverb teaches that the best defense is a good offense. Sometimes it's the only defense.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 11, 2006 6:06 AM

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Despite the Bush Administration's hypocritical demands on Israel to appease the enemy, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has opted instead to escalate Israel's necessary offensive against Hezbollah terrorists. Just days ago, Israel's security cabinet approved... [Read More]

Tracked on August 11, 2006 3:42 PM


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