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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Do Not Join The Game Without The Balls To Win

War can be like a poker game as sheer military hardware and the number of soldiers can be overcome by tactical strategy and execution. Sad to say, it appears that Israel’s hand was misplayed by PM Olmert despite significant advantages, politically and militarily.

Jed Babbin writes that Olmert’s war strategy (apparently accepted and followed by the US) was based upon HOPE:

Olmert's indecisiveness - which achieved a level hitherto unknown outside Old Europe - mistook hope for a foundation stone of policy. Olmert hoped that Hizballah could be demolished by air power even though he hobbled it with rules of engagement that guaranteed the Hizballah forces would escape. He hoped that his military would bring him plans to win easily, without the loss of many Israeli troops and without inflicting many civilian casualties. But Olmert never had a plan to win or a clue of what it would take to do so. Olmert's bitter experience is new to him, but as old as Caesar to military historians. Hope is not a policy, and wishing doesn't win wars. Which is not to say that apocalyptic visions can't come true.

Without repeating all of the specific missteps, it is clear that Israel’s enemy was fighting a more ruthless brand of war than Olmert cared to pursue. In poker parlance, Iran through its Hezbo proxy played high stakes each hand and Olmert would never see the bet. Knowing this from the outset, Hezbo could fight as long as necessary because the opponent had no heart in the game. Talking big is no substitute for acting big. And in this war refusing to harm “innocent” citizens in order to kill the enemy was a losing strategy.

The positive is Israel has ample resources for another poker game. However, they better begin it soon. And I’ll take a representative in charge with the balls to see a high bet and raise it.

And please ignore any of the inaccurately used poker terms. I know that all I have to do is watch ESPN and I’ll learn the game from the best.

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