A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
July 8, 2009 Three Years Since Second Lebanon War
Today marks the third anniversary of the start of Israel’s second Lebanon War. This morning bereaved families from the war attended a ceremony at the Lebanese border marking its anniversary. This evening the official national commemoration was held at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. At the ceremony Defense Minister Barak stated: "It has only been three years, but it feels like ages. The war is still present in the collective Israeli consciousness, in the form of an eye-opening wake up call. For you, the war represents a terrible breaking point, after which nothing can ever be the same."
For the IDF the second war in Lebanon was a wake up call, brought about due to the lessons learned through the loss of 121 soldiers. As a result of the lessons of Lebanon, in Gaza this past winter casualties were very low. The question of whether there were any other gains from the Lebanon war is still contested. There are those who argue the recent Hezbollah losses in the Lebanese election were partly a result of Israel’s success in the war. There is probably a grain of truth in that argument.
The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff gave disturbing testimony to Congress yesterday, stating on one hand the time for diplomatic negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program was running out. At the same time, he criticized any potential military attack on Iran. His testimony seemed to say the US was ready to accept a nuclear armed Iran, since he did not give another option. We are beginning to see a potentially disturbing trend in the Obama foreign policy- an over reliance on negotiations. There seems to be a sense in the administration the President can solve almost any problem with dialogue he directs. I doubt the North Koreans, the Iranians or even the Syrians are taking this seriously.