The Israeli war effort — a mixed picture

Yaakov Katz in the Jerusalem Post takes a look at what went wrong and what went right in the war with Hezbollah. The primary subject of the inquest is, as it must be, the delay of a large-scale ground invasion. Prime Minister Olmert has attempted to shift blame for the delay to the military by claiming that the first time he saw a plan to invade Lebanon with tens of thousands of troops was the day before the plan was approved by the cabinet on August 9.

As Katz notes, however, Major General (Northern Command) Udi Adam says that the force for the massive attack was in place a week earlier. While Olmert may only have seen the plan on a map laid out on his desk on August 8, he was certainly familiar with such a plan way before. Indeed, the logic of a major push to the Litani River was apparent early on — high-ranking members of the General Staff were already pushing it in the first weeks of war, based on intelligence reports that close to 70 percent of the rockets raining down on Israel were being fired from areas just south and north of the Litani River. Thus, if Olmert wanted to see an invasion plan on a map before giving the go-ahead, he should have ordered that one be produced to him early on.

Katz analyzes other aspects of Israel’s performance as well — the ability of IDF tanks to withstand anti-tank missiles (better than initially supposed); the performance of the Navy (good after the early lethal attack against one of its ships); the performance of the Air Force (“dazzling” in the early going, but not terribly effective in its attempts at targeted killings of Hezbollah leaders); and logistics (some major failings here).

Few will be surprised to learn that, overall, the IDF appears to have out-performed the politicians.

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