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SecDef was not alone

Reader comment on item: [Michael Oren's] "Six Days of War"

Submitted by Robert H. Stern (United States), Jun 5, 2002 at 00:31

In June, 1967 while I was a very junor officer stationed at our embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, we were discussing the imminent hostilities in the Middle East at a Country Team meeting headed by the Ambasador. The overall outlook was terribly pessimistic with a general consensus that the Israelis had "missed the boat" and would now be steamrolled by the combined Arab forces. Our Defense Attache, an Army colonel, threw his wallet on the table and said he would "bet the farm" that the Israelis would not only survive but would, in fact, be supremely triumphant and that all would be over within a week to ten days. He based his beliefs, he told us, on his personal observations of Israeli and Arab officers at various US Army advanced officer training courses over the years. In short, he said the Israelis were serious dedicated professionals and the Arabs were dilettantes, completely out of touch with their troops and/or reality. There was no queston in his mind as to the ability of a dedicated, determined, well led force to defeat a large mob, no matter how brave the individuals might be. I was too smart to take the bet but I did buy him a few beers.

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