Lessons from Israel
This is the fourth of a three part series, and the shortest. If you are just joining us, you can find the other three parts:
Tuesday’s Part II: Prelude to Slaughter
Wednesday’s Part III: Gaza COA Decision Brief
As the first draft of this post could have been viewed as “victim blaming” if not read properly, I just threw it away and rewrote it from a different angle.
One thing I have no question about is that Israel will do a thorough lessons learned of this once they have the time like what they did after the 1973 War - 50 years to the day this latest war kicked off - when they had another complete intelligence failure.
So, the important thing is at this point, the Thursday after the war kicked off, what should other people take away so far from a strict national and border security standpoint for their own nation?
Complacency Born from Excellence:
Israel is one of the richest, most educated and advanced societies on the planet. Their social capital is almost unmatched. Gaza is one of the poorest, miseducated, and dependent societies on the planet. On paper, one would think there would be no way what happened over the weekend could have happened. No, belay my last. I can very much see this scenario being on paper - and probably was - but it was not “the paper” that drove policy. The overconfident and optimistic won the argument. Like in 1973, if you spend most of your brief talking about how great you are and discussing how weak your opponent is, you might be missing something … or a lot of things.
Technology Briefs Better Than it Performs:
How many times must this be learned? High tech solutions to human problems brief well when not properly cross examined or wargamed by skeptics. Tech seems clean, effective, and affordable - but it is not robust outside its planning assumptions. They work wonderfully in narrowly scoped vignettes, and not much more. Remote control machine guns on towers seem much more exciting than soldiers on patrol in an APC … but which one is more resilient to the unexpected? There is always compromise and risk. Sometimes well meaning and smart people make the wrong call.
Coddling Useful Idiots is a False Economy:
In times of peace when facing very ugly truths, it is human nature to a large percentage of the population to defer to emotion, desire, and aspiration as opposed to reason, reality, and capabilities. It is easy to project your best intentions and world view on your enemy in the hope that their motivations are the same as yours. The fact remains, well meaning people can be wrong. Hate is irrational and as such, immune to reason. Well meaning but wrong people cannot be allowed to drive policy when there is no backup plan.
Doomsday Cults Sometimes Take Over Entire Cultures:
Two people or two million people can become part of and enablers to a death cult. Humans are capable of the most wonderful things, and the most horrible things. This duality of mankind is what brought us to our advanced stage of civilization. When these death cults are closer to two million than two - more Hamas than Heavens Gate - you need to be prepared to respond in what ever way removes that threat should it cross over in to your reason-based society. They cannot be ignored. They grow until they take a nap to Hale-Bopp or fly in to a music festival.
Evil Waits While Good is Impatient and Forgetful:
A free people can get distracted by their own pursuits that can only exist in a free society. Evil is hard to counter, uncomfortable to think about, and easy to avert your eyes when it is “over there” and forgotten and not “in here” trying to kick in the door. Too many people will make excuses, and ask you to accept their excuses, to avoid the unending and hard work of keeping evil away. Evil will exist always, the key is to not just keep it contained but to make sure it is small, isolated, and socially unacceptable. If you don’t do the last two, the first one will grow.
How hard have you actually wargamed your defenses? In hindsight it is easy to second guess the border around Gaza, but at some time there had to be someone warning it was not enough. If you can run a bulldozer through a wall, it isn’t a wall - it is an aspiration. That, I hope, will be part of the post-war investigation.
There is the quick look so far this Thursday. In that Top-6 there are lessons for every nation to hoist onboard - especially the U.S.A.
Was this avoidable? Perhaps not. Remember where things were internationally and the pressure Israel has been under when it came to the evil next door that was and is Gaza. What Israel was asked to live with.
From the EU parliament to campuses across the USA, look at those nations Israel relies on that also host cells of hatred for Jews and Israel. If they did any more than they did, one could argue that their already fragile international stature and support would be further eroded. Perhaps it took something so horrible to move the center?
Another character of human nature, but here we are.
What next? Good question.