Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Will Israel lose a Clintonian war?

Michael Oren is the author of a fine book about the Six-Day War that Israel fought against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in 1967, and the aftermath of the Israeli victory. In a column for The New Republic (a rare media outlet because it is liberal and pro-Israel), he blasts Israeli PM Ehud Olmert for giving into his fear of casualties from a ground war and thereby failing to eradicate the Hizb'Allah threat to Northern Israel. Oren notes:

Israel entered this conflict under supremely advantageous circumstances. Most of the world recognized Israel's right to defend itself against a terrorist organization that had violated an international boundary, killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers, and bombarded Israeli towns. Even Arab states such as Egypt and Jordan expressed sympathy for Israel's case. The Bush administration gave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert an unequivocal green light to eliminate Hezbollah's independent army in Lebanon. But instead of exploiting this latitude by uprooting the Hezbollah mini-state in southern Lebanon, Olmert embarked on a massive air campaign that killed large numbers of Lebanese while failing to reduce rocket fire into Israel. The fact that Hezbollah is fighting behind a civilian shield is now ignored by a world that increasingly views the Israeli response as brutal. The terrorists and their Syrian and Iranian backers stand to win a stunning victory.

If that happens, the whole world will be worse off.

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