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Lebanon War Not Disaster, Says Expert

by Christopher Chantrill
August 21, 2006 at 12:03 pm

MILITARY EXPERT Edward N. Luttwalk has always enjoyed being a contrarian, sometimes annoyingly so.

Now that everyone is talking about the defeat of Israel in the Lebanon war, Luttwalk proposes that in retrospect it won’t seem so bad. He illustrates his points with comparisons to 1973 when it seemed that Israel was almost overrun by the Syrians and the Egyptians.

For one thing, the Hezbos did not fight as well as the Egyptians in 1973. For another, Israel stopped the advance of the Arabs in 1973 the moment that it got its army formations fully mobilized. Immediately upon full mobilization of the reserves it found that it could go on the offense.

Hezbollah, he writes, did not fight that well. You can tell that by the very low casualties suffered by Israel.

When an IDF company attacked the mountain town of Bint Jbail, losing eight men in one night, that number was perceived in Israel - and broadcast around the world - as a disastrous loss.

Many a surviving veteran of the 1943-1945 Italian campaign must have been amazed by this reaction. There too it was one stone-built village and hilltop town after another, and... a company that went against them would consider the loss of only eight men as very fortunate.

And the Hezbo rocketeers were unable to fire off their rockets in concentrated barrages that might have led to hundreds of Israeli civilian casualties.

In a way, Hezbollah’s position as an unrecognized armed community has given it an enormous benefit, because it operates in the shadows in Lebanon. But the closer it comes to a nation-state actor the more it becomes responsible for the safety and security of the people in southern Lebanon, and the more it will find its actions and options constrained by its status as an official government.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill