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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Making war virtually

Those of you who are long-time readers have surely seen my quip about how Shimon Peres would prefer that Israel exist as a web site. What I did not realize is that this sort of thinking has actually seeped deep into IDF military doctrine, and it explains why the government is now forcing the IDF to stop the Kassam fire on Sderot without physically controlling territory in Gaza.

That's the upshot of Caroline Glick's article in yesterday's Jerusalem Post about Israel's new 'military doctrine.' Here are the key paragraphs:
YAARI AND Assa admit that the doctrine of diffused warfare was not developed as a result of military imperatives, but as a consequence of political constraints. Here they acknowledge that contrary to the claims of the political Left, military and political ends are integrally linked. The question though is how should this linkage influence military planning and operations? For Assa and Yaari the answer is clear.

In their words, "By the start of the 21st century the international legitimacy of armed conflict had become a dominant consideration in the decisions of states to go to war. The status, indeed the very existence, of international courts for war criminals is indicative of the primacy of this factor. Furthermore, domestic opposition to military force that risks the lives of innocent civilians is no longer a marginal phenomenon and has come to have a significant impact on national decision making processes. Thus two factors - international legitimacy and the aversion to operations that intentionally or unintentionally endanger the lives of non-combatants - now largely determine the operability of concrete military actions."

And herein lies the root of the difficulty that IDF and the government experiences in confronting Gaza and Israel's enemies in general today. Yaari and Assa, and like them the IDF and the government, perceive both domestic and international political constraints as static, absolute and determinative. But they are none of these things.
Read the whole thing.


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