"A focus on counterterrorism and guerrilla warfare in recent decades has weakened Israeli ground forces by creating a mind-set averse to accepting casualties, according to an initial assessment by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Mr. Barak, a former army chief of staff, a former prime minister and arguably Israel’s most decorated soldier, took over the defense portfolio two months ago with a mission to rebuild the army after a disastrous war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon last summer.
Examining the lessons of the war, colleagues say, Mr. Barak has been disturbed by how far the ground army had regressed since fighting in 1982 against Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization and the Syrian army in Lebanon." Abraham Rabinovich
All those who thought I was excessively harsh last year in criticizing IDF performance in Lebanon should consider this. Those who claimed as a part of the usual Israeli propaganda campaign that the IDF had won against Hizbullah should also take note.
The IDF and US forces have now had so much contact that they begin to resemble each other. The shared aversion on the part of commanders to accepting necessary losses in mission accomplishment is merely one example. In Iraq, commanders are reported to be so casualty shy that operations are often not pressed for that reason. Why? Dead soldiers can easily mean the end of a career.
In the case of the IDF, the "rot" in the forces extended far past the tactical level of operations and planning. The conception on the part of the general staff and the government which led to a bombing campaign intended to break the will of the Lebanese was deeply flawed. This application of classic strategic bombing theory was as bad an idea as it proved to be. Douhet’s theories were embraced by such people as Hugh Trenchard, Curtis Lemay and "Bomber" Harris. They have never worked well as a predicate of national victory. People will point to the Balkans in the ’90s as an example of vindication for these ideas, but it has been argued that this is not so. A discussion of that would be welcomed. pl