The fallout continues
This is one report from one troop, how widespread this was I do not know but it shows of a severe lack of planning and organization that went on in the IDF.
A glimpse into an infantry soldiers day is a ten mile (17 km) or so walk, sometimes helping carrying stretchers with wounded, heat, keep quite, keep low. Modus operandi is to scout out an area and pick a tactical position and lay in wait, sometimes for 24 hours, observation, sniper action, upon spotting more significant activity consulting with head quarters and then going in for a coordinated attack with other groups in the area. Clearing areas in such a way and moving forward with your rear securing the positions. That is what we do, and we are supposed to be very good at it. It didn't happen quite like that this time.
Instead of having perfectly coordinated movements and constant resupplies what went on there is best described as chaos. Not to exaggerate but this is what I keep hearing and reading.
There have been numerous cases of near friendly fire, troops not knowning the movements of fellow soldiers, rapid changes in objectives (march to one village, reach it, suddenly order is given to turn and head for a different one). "We didn't use even 10% of our capability" one soldier said, they were the first to reach the Litani and just as they were getting ready to truly deploy they were called back. Just as they started breaking Hezbollah they were called back and neither they nor I, and really I haven't seen anybody offer an explanation to this yet. On the way back they saw the late arriving food supplies that were left in the field, in one case an arms supply was dropped onto a wrong hilltop basically arming Hezbollah instead.
Our current militarily inexperienced government held the army back, the army leadership is in teeters as well. Where are the generals? It's astonishingly irresponsible what went on there. I can understand trying to go out of their way to not hurt Lebanese civilians (that is very much the case, the military picture of what went on there is becoming more and more clear) but soldiers are not playthings, indecisiveness means casualties. Heads need to roll and there needs to be a shakeup, we cannot afford to have this repeat again in the next conflict which will in fact be worse.
Peres (on a visit in the united states) said that he obligates himself to stand behind Olmert in these difficult hours. "This is not the time for internal wars in Israel , because this war is far from over," he said, stating his full backing for the prime minister. I can understand that, but Hezbollah's strongest tool turned out to be their propaganda, while what hurt us the most was weak leadership, a military shakeup at the very least needs to happen as soon as possible, and there in fact people who are looking into this already. Also notice that he said hours. If this cease fire sticks (and that is uncertain) we need to have swift reelections, in a matter of months. Things need to change, I cannot stress this enough. Most Israeli's think we failed, and rightfully so in light of the previous paragraphs. We failed ourselves.
In other news, while few people seem to be talking about our two kidnapped soldiers, even fewer seem to talk about our third one. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas who now announced they want 600 prisoners for his return, Egypt acting as broker. You read that right, that's six-hundred. While I badly want to see him back, accepting that deal would be insane as it will only anchorage more kidnappings. This wouldn't be a first however.
The media are also upto their same old tricks, Reuters photoshop and staged photos not enough? How about a BBC reporter out right lying! In a video that could have come straight from a Hezbollah's PR vault Barbara Plett claimed that the entire town of Bint Jbeil was destroyed. Luckily she wasn't the only reporter there, and cross referencing their reports reveals the truth. This from a country where just days ago a large terror plot was foiled meant to kill thousands of people and to be largely executed by homegrown (UK born) terrorists. Insanity.
Here is an image of the view behind her.
"As you can see, the centre of the town destroyed on a really wholesale scale, more so than since the last civilians left here, though it has to be said that on the outskirts, the suburbs - pretty much untouched by the Israeli attack and invasion."
This is why I love the blogosphere, kudos drinkingfromhome. Do any of the British readers here want to comment on the fact that your tax money is paying this womans salary?