10 years ago
The AP is reporting:
Israeli soldiers returning from the war in Lebanon say the army was slow to rescue wounded comrades and suffered from a lack of supplies so dire that they had to drink water from the canteens of dead Hezbollah guerrillas.
“We fought for nothing. We cleared houses that will be reoccupied in no time,” said Ilia Marshak, a 22-year-old infantryman who spent a week in Lebanon.
Marshak said his unit was hindered by a lack of information, poor training and untested equipment. In one instance, Israeli troops occupying two houses inadvertently fired at each other because of poor communication between their commanders.
“We almost killed each other,” he said. “We shot like blind people. … We shot sheep and goats.”
[ … ]
“I personally haven’t thrown a grenade in 15 years, and I thought I’d get a chance to do so before going north,” an unidentified reservist in an elite infantry brigade was quoted as telling the Maariv daily.
Israel’s largest paper, Yediot Ahronot, quoted one soldier as saying thirsty troops threw chlorine tablets into filthy water in sheep and cow troughs. Another said his unit took canteens from dead guerrillas.
I had heard (from a source I will not name) an analysis from the U.S. that Israel doesn’t know how to conduct urban warfare; that U.S. troops practice stacks and room-clearing and various urban warfare tactics; and that the proof of U.S. readiness is what happened in Fallujah (and what happens every day in Iraq). The U.S. is good at this.
But it would appear that Israel has allowed their readiness suffer, due in (at least some small) part to this over-reliance in air power.
The post-mortem on this whole ugly affair had better dig very deep and be very extensive. Israel has up until now fielded troops and employed tactics looking as if its very existence depended upon being the premier military on earth. This ordeal was a blunder of staggering proportions.