Why does it so frequently seem as if members of Israel’s political elite have no shame? Case in point: Dan Halutz, the former IDF chief of staff who was last heard of shuffling off the world stage in January 2007 after the brilliant “campaign” he had designed to bring Lebanon and Hizbullah to their knees the previous summer has been shown (1 and 2) to be be completely flawed…
Oh and also after, lest we forget, considerable criticisms were raised in Israel in the early days of the war about the fact that, just three hours after the incident that provoked that war, Halutz had also sold off his portfolio of investments in Israeli companies…
But now, he’s back!!!!
In an interview with Defense News, Halutz said recently that,
- “In Iran, there’s no need for a ground operation. If there is a case where air power can demonstrate its decisive effect — and I’m not speaking specifically here about the Israeli Air Forces — it’s the Iranian scenario.”
(Hat-tip Jim Lobe, there.)
Sadly, Halutz’s pearls of wisdom are only available in DN’s print edition. So you’ll have to go out and buy it.
Halutz is “back”, in fact, in the context of being out there, in DN and elsewhere, trying to sell his new book. In that context, he gave an interview to DN’s Barbara Opall-Rome in which he had the following reflections on the challenges Israel faces in its war-fighting:
- “The solution to rockets and missiles is to operate in a manner that imposes an unbearable cost to the other side for the enemy and civilians, by way of severely damaging national infrastructure and exacting a price beyond expectations…
“In this neighborhood, after you’ve tried all other options, you need to act in ways the other side understands. Restraint cannot be part of the vocabulary because the other side views that as a weakness. What they understand if force…
“If you’re dealing with terrorists and their leaders, you have to cut their heads through constant targeting operations. But if you’re dealing with governments, you need to severely damage the country. No rational leader wants to be held accountable for severe damage to his country… And by severe damage, I mean all infrastructure, bridge by bridge, power station by power station, communications center, airport by airport.”
DN and Opall-Rome also have this from Halutz’s memoirs, about his recollections of the assault against Lebanon in 2006:
- “In meetings of the Cabinet and the Security Cabinet, I wasn’t convincing enough about implementing the plan to attack the national infrastructure of Lebanon. It was a plan I believed in and, in my opinion, its implementation would have lent itself to a clear and sharp response that would have exceeded expectations of the enemy and helped shorten the war fighting.
Oh, the fanatical, militaristic bully as “humanitarian”, there: He tugs at my heartstrings! (Irony alert.)
Before he became IDF chief of staff in 2005, Halutz had already, as air force chief of staff, been a tech-whiz who honed the IAF’s practices of undertaking extra-judicial killings (assassinations) from the air. He had gained renown, when asked how he felt about ending someone’s life through the air force’s stand-off bombing of them from a great distance, by replying,
- if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.
So this is the man who is telling us, now, that he wishes the cabinet had allowed him to be even more destructive against Lebanon in 2006, and who tells us that he thinks the U.S. air force (though notably not, this time, the Israeli air force) should implement the same kind of massively destructive campaign against Iran.
He makes Hizbullah Hassan Nasrullah look positively moderate in comparison.
Nasrullah, after all, has proposed only a strictly “lex talionis” kind of campaign, in which an Israeli attack on Beirut’s Hariri International Airport would be replied to with a Hizbullah attack on Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, etc… Whereas Halutz was widely reported, during the 2006 assault on Lebanon, to have vowed that, for every Hizbullah rocket that fell on Haifa, Israel would level ten multi-story buildings in Beirut’s southern suburbs.
Aaaah, I guess that these days the guy is only trying to sell a few books.
But that certainly doesn’t mean anyone else has to buy them– either his books, or the horribly destructive, anti-humane, and above all quite counter-productive policy prescriptions that he’s peddling.
He’s arguing that the U.S. air force should launch the same kind of campaign against Iran today that that Israeli air force launched against Lebanon in 2006?
Has he no grasp of human history, or human psychology?
Does he have no idea that in Lebanon, in 2006, the more the Israeli air force bombed the country’s infrastructure, the more the country’s people rallied round Hzibullah?
(As I argued at the time, anyone with any knowledge of what had happened during, for example, the Nazi regime’s Blitzkrieg on London could easily have predicted that this wuld be the case.)
So what on earth does Dan Halutz, or anyone else, imagine would happen in Iran if the USAF tried to follow his prescriptions there?
… People like Halutz should be called out for what they are: fraudulent, petty impostors who have no idea what they’re talking about in politico-strategic terms.
And who, yes, are also, almost certainly, war criminals.