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Wars are not just PR campaigns

Posted By Obadiah Shoher On August 9, 2006 @ 6:36 am In military matters | 2 Comments

Israel likes public stunts. Unfortunately, they come at a cost. Killing guerilla leaders looks great on TV, so Israel hunts Nasrallah. The hunt is half-hearted. If Nasrallah were hiding in the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Israel has every reason to take him out. Israel has no diplomatic relations with Iran and need not respect its diplomatic immunity.

Why, however, should we kill Nasrallah? Experience teaches that targeted assassinations only clear the way for successors, often no less charismatic. Killing Nasrallah’s predecessor cost Israel hundreds of lives in retaliatory bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish cultural center in Argentine.

Psychological warfare is more expedient. Israel should ridicule Nasrallah publicly, make comic strips of him, tease him for hiding among the Iranians, and play on his dependence on Syrians whom other Arabs dislike.

Israel’s media policy is counterproductive. All reasonable armies expel journalists from the combat zone and try to censor information. Israel ostensibly depends on the foreign public mood and should bear considerable expense to control or bribe reporters.

Israel must publicize losses among enemy soldiers. Put gruesome scenes of torn guerilla bodies on TV to overshadow civilian deaths.

Stop broadcasting enemy speeches. The allies jammed Nazi propaganda radio, but Israeli media bug their audience with Nasrallah’s pronouncements. Israel can target Al Jazeera broadcasting facilities and force similar abstinence on it. Both America and America need a law prohibiting media reports which abet the enemy in wartime. Courts will draw a line between legitimate critique of the government and abetting the enemy.

The Israeli army should review its current policy of retrieving bodies and leaving no wounded or MIAs behind. Wars involve loss, and losses must be cut. Retrievals look great in the media, but they should be evaluated strictly on a risk/benefit basis.


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