< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: What Israel Isn't Doing

Monday, July 24, 2006

What Israel Isn't Doing

Ralph Peters is starting to write the obituary for the IDF in his latest column. While I think it is a tad premature to wave any white flags, the strategy Israel wanted to execute, compared to the strategy they did execute, has left the latter wanting.

Peters boldly charges Olmert with wanting to "wage war on the cheap." Ralph compares this to Bill Clinton which is fair, but I suppose a more contemporary example would have been equally sufficient, though of course, that is all beside the point.

The point here is to realize that democracies don't like casualties. You can't change that. They especially don't like them when the war is not romantic, when it is fought close to home, and when it involves the destruction of another democracy.

But there are ways around this. And for some reason, the West, Israel, and all "New Core" like nations who are trying desperately to get a handle on terrorism within their own borders are failing magnificently at coming up with solutions.

Before we can come up with solutions, we have to realize our mistakes of course. And as noted above, it is a big mistake to think that Western styled democracies will endure casualties in large number. So therefore, waging a battle which can only be won through the suffering of a large number of casualties is not a good strategy. It's like saying: "our fans came here to watch a baseball game, but we're so much better at cricket." Do that one too many times and you run out of fans, believe me!

So here are some suggestions: don't suffer any casualties. Pay for someone else to suffer them. Private military contractors can and probably should fill the void where democracies don't want to fight. They have the capability to run in quickly, hit camps efficiently, bring intense power to bear on a small locale, and at the end of the day, kill terrorists with bullets. They don't want to lose anyone, but they are also not going to fail the mission if they can help it.

Let's save our blood for the big battles, and pay for someone else's in the interim. I know that sounds crass, but the rate of casualty for Israel in a successful operation in Southern Lebanon is on the hundreds. The rate of professional forces on the other hand, would probably be a little less, and for the political capital saved by using them, you'd come away with a nice profit on the whole. Call it proprietary personnel arbitrage if you will.

Next, go back to the common law to police things within contact to your jurisdiction. Israeli common law exists, though it doesn't have nearly the same power as it does here in the US or in the UK for that matter. Raise a hue and cry, deputize a posse, and round up the bad guys on or near your border... as you have a legal right to do.

I'll post more on the hue and cry later in the week, but it is a legal strategy I'm surprised no one has ventured a hypothesis on as of yet. For a long time border raids were a near constant in American frontier life, and the common law gave these raiders the case specific privilege needed to effectuate localized change. That is the only way to get this done without a full scale occupation.

In short, use the tools at your disposal which will avoid the regular military casualties that your public will not allow you to suffer (and for good reason, in my humble opinion). We might be surprised at the results of such methods (then and now).