Monday, August 07, 2006


For a variety of reasons, Ariel Sharon embraced the popular policy of unilateral disengagement from Gaza. The force and power of his personality and his impeccable defense credentials helped make it happen.

But it came at a huge cost: the splintering of the Likud party. Sharon surmounted that by creating a new party - Kadima - which united elements of Likud with elements of the Left-wing Labor party. As soon as Kadima was formed it became overwhelmingly popular, and led in all the polls by a wide margin - over both Labor and Likud.

Then Ariel Sharon got sick, and his condition worsened; he eventually fell into a very serious coma. Ehud Olmert became acting PM and chairman of Kadima. As a result, Kadima barely won the election, and they had to form a more precarious coalition with more parties - and by giving more power to the Left-wing and more dovish Labor.

This more precarious coaliton is one reason why Iran and Assad had their proxies - both Hamas and Hizb'allah - act so wrecklessly and so boldly: they wanted to take advantage of what they felt was a relatively weak coalition in Jerusalem led by an untested PM.

They weren't entirely wrong: though resloute himself, Olmert has found it necessary to have several cabinet meetings in which his core defense group votes on new policies. For example, this group voted at first to limit ground troops and to limit reserve call ups. Because Olmert is PM he is ultimately responsibole for these decisions and the entire-decision-making process. I give him a "C" - but some bloggers claim the IDF gives him an "F".

Sharon would not have had to submit these decisions to a vote - or had he, his cabinet would have been more compliant to his decisions -- both because he was a more powerful and resolute personality and decision-maker, and because by winning the election more soundly than Olmert, his cabinet would have been more unified and more supportive.

And things would be very different now.

This is not an exercise in "coulda-woulda-shoulda." It is meant as an instruction - a lesson, as a message to Olmert: Ehud, ask yourself, "What would "Arik" do?" And then make it so.

I think Arik would have sent in more troops in more quickly and in an even more bold fashion. Instead of mostly sending in quick attack forces and commandos on targeted missions, he would have sent in a larger force from the west, and aimed to trap and then smash the trapped Hizb'allah fighters between these expeditionary forces and a massive force moving north. Commandos would then search and destroy the pockets of resistance within this cut-off this area.

Olmert used the IAF properly but waited too long to send in ground troops and then sent too few. This has complicated matters and allowed the enemy to gain some valuable propaganda - much of which will remain in the minds of much of the public even after it has`been disproven by reasonbable investigators.

That being said, I feel that Hizb'allah has been decimated. Should the IDF be able to keep up the pace of the attack for two or three more weeks Hizb'allah will be history. I think there is sufficient unity inIsrael to support this - and more. Especially with life-long doves like Shimon Peres calling for Hizb'allah to be disamrmed and destroyed and helping to rally Israelis to the cause.

It is not a matter of "IF"; it is only a matter of "when". I had posted that Hizb'allah would be defeated and the war would be over by 8/3. Olmert's hesitation to use all available force has caused this war to drag on a few more weeks than I expected. But it will be over soon: we are closer to the end than to the beginning.

Bottom-line: Arik: we miss you.

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