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No substitute for victory.

Reader comment on item: Achieving Peace Through Israeli Victory

Submitted by Reynald de Chatillon (Australia), Mar 19, 2018 at 02:15

American Civil War historian Shelby Foote once said on the Ken Burns documentary, The Civil War, that the Union Army basically fought the war with one arm tied behind it's back. The same applies to the IDF, especially during the last three wars it has fought.
In 1982 the IDF was in a strong position to secure the unconditional surrender of Arafat and the bulk of the PLO military forces which were trapped in Beirut. What better way to convince the Palestinians that they had lost than the spectacle of Arafat and the PLO laying down their arms and going into captivity (think of Napoleon III at Sedan in 1870 and von Paulus at Stalingrad in 1943). Think of the effect on Palestinian morale if the IDF had accomplished this aim. Instead, the PLO was allowed to depart from Lebanon with all their small arms. I can still remember these scenes on news footage at the time, with PLO forces firing their AK47s into the air as if they were celebrating a victory! A lost opportunity there.
Again, in 2014, Israel went to war with Hamas. Once again an opportunity for total victory was lost. If the IDF had waged this war more ruthlessly (like the Russian campaign against Chechen terrorists in Grozny during 1999-2000), Hamas could have been destroyed once and for all.
If Israel was to go to war with Iran in the near future, will it be another half-hearted venture? I respect the IDF very much regarding it's military campaigns, especially from 1947-1973. But Israel's leadership seems to lack a killer instinct when it comes to dealing with a foe which is hell bent on it's complete destruction. Compare Israel's response to Islamic terrorism with Myanmar's.
Israel has produced many brilliant military commanders in it's history, such as Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin and David Elazar. But, there has never been an Israeli Arthur Harris or a Curtis LeMay.


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