The financial crisis, the breakup of the coalition, the fiasco of abolishing the Tal Law without a replacement [the law allowed ultra-Orthodox men to postpone military service indefinitely expired August 1 and the government failed to ratify a new universal military draft bill], the dramatic events in Egypt — all these major events are glossed over quickly, almost perfunctorily. In economics as well as politics, defense issues overshadow everything else. The only question everyone discusses is — war with Iran or not? In this discussion, Defense Minister Ehud Barak plays a major role. Although he may call on everyone else to cease the chatter on the subject, it turns out that he himself has a lot to say on the matter (soon we will return to the content of his declarations [Barak gave an interview Saturday, August 11 to the newspaper Haaretz under a hidden identity in which he explained the reasons why Israel has to strike Iran unilaterally]).
Much of the criticism against the futile idea of attacking Iran is directed against the Defense Minister. But it is important to remember that decisions in the State of Israel are not made by the Defense Minister, and not even the Prime Minister and Defense Minister. The entire establishment is responsible for the decisions: from the Knesset committee members, via the government, the cabinet, the “secret seven” [MKs who could split off from Kadima and join Likud], to the Chief of Staff. All these bear responsibility.
After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Prime Minister Golda Meir claimed that she could not stand up to the generals who filled her cabinet because she was a mere civilian ignorant in defense matters while they were the experts. It seems to me that this argument is no longer valid. Someone who cannot make decisions in a responsible matter should not serve in a decision-making capacity, period. The “responsible decision-maker” is not just the man who lives in the [exclusive Tel Aviv] Akirov Towers (looking at the world through dark lenses, with dark sandals on his feet, behind a dark grand piano and a drink in his hand). [The writer refers to Ehud Barak and his controversial luxurious life style seen as disconnected from the rest of the population]. Instead, all the others who are involved [in the government] — those [not way up in Akirov] but with their feet on the ground — share the responsibility. It is recommended that they not surrender to the herd instinct that usually guides them.
Let us return to the arguments of the Akirov man, who currently serves as mouthpiece for the entire government. There is no point enlarging the negative aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. It is clear to all of us that it would be best if Iran didn’t have nuclear weapons. The only relevant question is, what can we do about it — with the emphasis on the “we,” not the world, not the United States, not NATO. If I understand Barak correctly, an Israel bombardment would buy us a postponement of a year or two, at best (and there are those who even cast doubt on this limited time frame). And what then? Barak has clarified at various opportunities that he feels that an Israeli attack will create a ripple effect leading to the downfall of the Iranian regime. [Barak asserts that the strike followed by international economic sanctions will lead to an Iranian uprising against the Ayatollah regime.]Thus, the Israel of Bibi-Barak does not make do with the role of regional superpower, but aspires to re-draw the world’s power centers. Netanyahu will determine the next United States President [with his very warm welcome to presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Israel at the end of July] and Barak will determine who rules the Middle East.
The problem with this ‘sophisticated’ strategy is that the method has been tried by Israel before, with very dubious results.
In 1982, as Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon entered the First Lebanon War to create a new Middle East. Israel was supposed to evict the Syrians and Palestinians from Lebanon, introduce Christian rule, and renew Israeli deterrence. This did not exactly work out as planned, but the strategic dream of creating political changes by means of military action did not disappear.
As Chief of Staff, Ehud Barak orchestrated Operation Accountability [in 1993, in an attempt to end the shelling of Northern Israel by Hezbollah in Lebanon]. The objective of the campaign was to create movement of refugees by artillery shelling around the villages and within them, with the hope that their residents would pressure the Lebanon government to take action against Hezbollah. That, too, did not work out. In fact, Hezbollah became stronger — so strong that another campaign was necessary, Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996. This was planned according to the identical military-political world-view of the earlier operation, and was no more successful than its predecessor had been.
Israel also tried this "excellent" approach against Hamas — economic sanctions (closure) and military campaigns that, alas, did not bring about the toppling or even weakening of the Hamas government. In fact, the opposite is true.
If such was the case when we held almost all the cards in our hand, what are our chances when we barely hold one card against Iran? Think about it, you ladies and gentleman who will be making the decisions. You are responsible.