The saying goes: when the cannons speak, the muse falls silent. Listening to the various official statements in the media, it seems that not only the muse but all common sense falls silent. Let’s examine some of the “truths” we are being told:
We are fighting to get the kidnapped soldiers back. Nothing could be further from the truth. If getting the soldiers back was genuinely the top-most item on the government’s agenda, Israel would be negotiating with Hezbollah for their release. Just as it did to release the shady Tenenbaum and three corpses only a couple of years ago.
Our aim is to crush Hezbollah. Right, just like we crashed the PLO in Lebanon in the 1980s. The sad truth is that the current military campaign will succeed only in bringing about another lull in the war between Israel and those bent on destroying it. Until the next time. The objective is making this interim period of relative peace as long as possible, no more.
The air campaign is effective. The truth is that no military campaign can be won from the air and both the IDF and the government know this. Israel is afraid to send troops into Lebanon because Israeli public opinion will not tolerate the mounting toll of casualties, especially as time will go by with no definitive “crushing” of Hezbollah.
The people are behind us. This is true, but only partly and only for a short time. Olmert and his colleagues know that if missiles keep falling on Israeli cities for much longer, popular support will erode and people will demand either firmer action (which is not possible) or a settlement.
The world is behind us. This is not even partly true. Yes, the US agreed to supply us with that most precious resource, jet fuel, but if fighting prolongs then not only the world but also the US will start pressuring Israel to settle. Suddenly, supplies of jet fuel will become harder to get by.
We will establish a security zone in Lebanon without IDF’s presence. This is the latest gem from Peretz. Perhaps someone should hand him a book about the history of the Israeli-Lebanses border and the outstanding role of UNIFIL there over the decades.
And the list goes on, but I think the point is clear. The thrill of the first days of war is blocking all common sense and clear vision. No worries, things will become familiarly and bitterly clearer quite soon. Israelis, as I wrote earlier, have very short memories. This has always been perplexing to me, especially as Jews carry thousands of years of history on their backs. But this is a subject for a different post.