Monday, December 10, 2012

Israel is at war

Israel is at war

By Lt Col Howard

It must be emphasized to the world and to all Israelis that Israel is at war and that Israel is fighting for its very survival.

Although the Iron Dome anti-rocket shield was successful in largely protecting the major Israeli cities, there were tragic casualties and regrettably more are likely when hostilities continue . The high cost of Iron Dome ($40,000 per missile?) and it’s limited number make it a ineffective weapon against a low-cost missile saturated attack. Also, if a sufficient quantity of Iron Dome missiles are not held in reserve ,then later when long-range missiles are fired against Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, etc., they will go unchallenged. Iron Dome is not an effective long-range strategy. Defense rarely is an effective long-range strategy.

THE MOST IMMEDIATE THREAT TO ISRAEL’S SURVIVAL is a nuclear armed Iran. (The recent attack on Israel by Irani’s proxy in Gaza, Hamas ,should disabuse anyone who hopes for the “rationality” of the Islamists.) Thus, Israel must maintain a capability to attack Iran’s nuclear program if and when it deems it to be in Israel’s interest to do so. Even a few years delay in Iran’s nuclear progress might change the situation radically in the Middle East .To have as free a hand as possible ,interference from Hamas, Hezbollah or any other pro-Iranian entity must be squelched..

A 2ND IMPORTANT OBJECTIVE is to effectively convince Hezbollah that any attack on Israel (including kidnappings, over the border raids, explosive tunnels, missile and rocket assaults, etc. )would exact a catastrophic price from Hezbollah and from the Lebanese infrastructure. The expected retaliation should be so severe that the clear message to Hezbollah is: “don’t even think of it”. This will free Israel’s hands for action against Iran and for action against Hamas and Hezbollah

A 3RD IMPORTANT OBJECTIVE was to stop the current Hamas’ missile attacks and to make sure that Hamas never again attacks Israel (through rockets and missiles, raids, kidnappings, explosive tunnels, etc.)

Anything less than accomplishing the 3 objectives (identified above) will be an Israeli defeat.

In any active combat situation, Israel has a limited time window. The US administration nearly always threatens to slow down Israel’s resupply chain.{ The US administration contacted Israel to “warn” Israel against conducting a ground offensive. Interestingly, certain military analysts believe that a ground offensive is the only way of halting current and future missile attacks against Israel.} Soon the world demands an end to Israel’s military efforts. Whatever Israel does not accomplish during these brief periods of time will remain a sword hanging over Israel’s head which will be exercised by her enemies in the future.

Israel must recognize and clearly explain to the United States and to the rest of the world that in every cease-fire to date the terrorists have continued accumulating more effective and lethal weapons to employ against Israel (as well as against the United States and against the rest of the world).

Israel must therefore resist calls for a cease-fire until such time as their enemies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and various elements in the Palestinian Authority undertake to cease their aggression.

There must be a clear understanding (by Israel, by Hamas, by Hezbollah, by the United States, by England, and by the rest of the world) that any breach will result in harsh “disproportionate” Israeli responses including the targeted killings of those responsible for initiating attacks. In the absence of such a clear understanding
an enforced cease fire will be perceived as a major victory for Hamas and Israel’s citizens will (sooner or later) return to the life of terror they endured since the first Kassams were launched a decade ago.

Israel should announce that it’s retaliation/prevention policy is “ strictly proportional”. Just keep announcing it and then the media will repeat it.

The PUBLIC logic is simple. You are obligating yourself to do enough but no more (AND NO LESS) than is necessary. And, If Hamas , Hezbollah, etc. again attack Israel ,then by definition, you have not exercised sufficient force. Therefore, under the doctrine of “proportionality” Israel must increase the intensity of the Israeli attacks until Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. cease all of their offensive actions.

Hamas is no longer a terrorist faction. It is in every respect an independent state the majority of whose citizens enthusiastically support the terrorist initiatives and missile launches initiated by its leaders committed to Israel’s annihilation. Hezbollah is a significant and possibly dominating factor in the Lebanese government.

Bargaining theory is useful. In poker one objective is to force your opponent to abandon the game (or to lose all of his assets to you.). Gradual escalation sucks both you and him in deeper. Usually deeper then you have to go, if stead of escalating gradually, you escalate dramatically. In poker you would say “ I see your dollar and I raise you $10,000.” Israel must raise the price so high that the message is clear to Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.: “don’t even think about firing more missiles since our “proportionate response” would be immediate, fierce and very costly to you and to the population that you represent.

In the immediate response to the 1st attack, Israel should begin systematically destroying obvious and essential infrastructure. Examples include bridges over bodies of water. Key intersections. Shopping malls. Electrical and water grids., commercial properties ,manufacturing properties ,etc.



“LT COL HOWARD” is a military analyst .

He has been a White House adviser under both Democratic and Republican administrations. He has been stationed at the Pentagon and with field units. He has advised the national Security Council , the State Department, the CIA and numerous “think tanks” . He has served on military advisory groups assisting Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. And he has participated on joint projects involving health and economic development with the Palestinian authorities.

Originally he was hopeful of a “2 state solution.Now,based on his first-hand experience, he is fearful for the survival of Israel.