While Israel’s war is about to officially end and the Israeli people realise that their government has failed miserably in bringing future security to the country, Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy rightly states that failure is just what the Jewish state needs:
The bad (and predictable) news: Israel is going to come out of this war with the lower hand. The good (and surprising) news: This ringing failure could spell good tidings. If Israel had won the battles in an easy, sweeping victory of the kind Israelis prayed so much for, it would have caused enormous damage to Israel’s security policies. Another slam-bam win would have brought disaster upon us. Drugged with power, drunk with victory, we would have been tempted to implement our success in other arenas. Dangerous fire would have threatened the entire region and nobody knows what might have resulted.
On the other hand, the failure in this little war might teach us an important lesson for the future, and maybe influence us to change our ways and language, the language we speak to our neighbors with violence and force. The axiom that “Israel cannot allow itself a defeat on the battlefield” has already been exposed as a nonsensical cliche: Failure might not only help Israel greatly but, as a bonus, it might teach the Americans the important lesson that there is no point in pushing Israel into military adventures.
This war has been a turning-point in global opinion towards Israel. Its military dominance is no longer supreme in the region. Its rhetoric has been shown to be bellicose, inaccurate and counter-productive. Furthermore, as Levy notes,:
If indeed the war ends as it is ending, maybe more Israelis will ask themselves what we are killing and being killed for, what did we pound and get pounded for, and maybe they will understand that it was once again all for naught. Maybe the achievement of this war will be that the failure will be seared deeply into the consciousness, and Israel will take a new route, less violent and less bullying, because of the failure. In 1967, Ephraim Kishon wrote, “sorry we won.” This time it is almost possible to say, it’s good we did not win.
More worringly, however, Seymour Hersh explains the thinking in the Bush administration towards the conflict and shows a level of delusion that the Iraq debacle has not extinguished. Simply put, Iran is next.