Oh my, now the Israeli’s are steamed at Chimpy for their disasterous little war.
Amid the political and diplomatic fallout from Israel’s faltering invasion of Lebanon, some Israeli officials are privately blaming President George W. Bush for egging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into the ill-conceived military adventure against the Hezbollah militia in south Lebanon.
Bush conveyed his strong personal support for the military offensive during a White House meeting with Olmert on May 23, according to sources familiar with the thinking of senior Israeli leaders.
Olmert, who like Bush lacks direct wartime experience, agreed that a dose of military force against Hezbollah might damage the guerrilla group’s influence in Lebanon and intimidate its allies, Iran and Syria, countries that Bush has identified as the chief obstacles to U.S. interests in the Middle East.
As part of Bush’s determination to create a “new Middle East” – one that is more amenable to U.S. policies and desires – Bush even urged Israel to attack Syria, but the Olmert government refused to go that far, according to Israeli sources.
One source said some Israeli officials thought Bush’s attack-Syria idea was “nuts” since much of the world would have seen the bombing campaign as overt aggression. In an article on July 30, the Jerusalem Post referred to Bush’s interest in a wider war involving Syria. Israeli “defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria,” the newspaper reported.
Now, as the conflict winds down, some Israeli officials are ruing the Olmert-Bush pact on May 23 and fault Bush for pushing Olmert into the conflict.
Soon after the May 23 meeting in Washington, Israel began to ratchet up pressure on the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories and on Hezbollah and other Islamic militants in Lebanon. As part of this process, Israel staged low-key attacks in both Lebanon and Gaza.
Channel 2 in Israel disclosed that several top military commanders wrote a letter to Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, the chief of staff, criticizing the war planning as chaotic and out of line with the combat training of the soldiers and officers. [Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2006]
[Holden Note: Here comes the best bit.]
One Israeli plan to use llamas to deliver supplies in the rugged terrain of south Lebanon turned into an embarrassment when the animals simply sat down.
[Yes, the IDF drafted Ralph the Wonder Llama.]
Reporter Nahum Barnea, who traveled with an Israeli unit in south Lebanon, compared the battle to “the famous Tom and Jerry cartoons” with the powerful Israeli military playing the role of the cat Tom and the resourceful Hezbollah guerrillas playing the mouse Jerry. “In every conflict between them, Jerry wins,” Barnea wrote.
Back in Israel, some leading newspapers have begun calling for Olmert’s resignation.
“If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day,” the newspaper Haaretz wrote in a front-page analysis. “You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power.
“You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month and then say, ‘Oops, I made a mistake.'” [See Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2006] For his part, Bush spent July and early August fending off international demands for an immediate cease-fire. Bush wanted to give Olmert as much time as possible to bomb targets across Lebanon and dislodge Hezbollah forces in the south.
But instead of turning the Lebanese population against Hezbollah – as Washington and Tel Aviv had hoped – the devastation rallied public support behind Hezbollah.