Don't Worry, Be Happy Is Not A Defense Strategy
That is what happened to me when reading this article in Haaretz this morning. The IDF seems to be backing off of a report made yesterday in the security cabinet meeting about Syria preparing for war with Israel.
According to the article, the head of Military Intelligence reported that:
"Assad is preparing the Syrian army for the possibility of a military confrontation with Israel, but on the other hand does not discount the possibility of a diplomatic settlement."
"The head of research stressed that the Syrian leader has issued orders to expedite the production of long-range ballistic missiles and to move air-defense missiles closer to the border with Israel and the Golan Heights".
"In meetings of the intelligence community in Israel in recent weeks, the view of most participants is that Assad is in no rush for war."
There are a lot of mixed messages here. Let's clarify some things.
Which things reported by the Military Intelligence head are FACTS, and which are SUPPOSITIONS?
The assesment that Assad is preparing for a military confrontation, as evidenced by his order to expedite the production of long range missiles, and the movement of defense missiles closer to the border with Israel is a FACT.
The idea that Assad does not discount the possibility of a diplomatic settlement is a SUPPOSITION.
The view of most participants in meetings of the intelligence community is that Assad is in no rush for war is another SUPPOSITION.
I don't know about you, but I get very angry when military experts give their opinions about what is supposedly going on in our enemies' heads. I think that there are quite enough pop-psychologists available for those types of opinions. What I want the military to do is see the facts in front of their faces, and prepare the army to deal with the wars that are inevitably part of our lives here in Israel. Anyone who has ever studied the history of the Yom Kippur War can see that wishful thinking is not a defense strategy. We lost too many soldiers in that war to be complacent again. The recent failures in the second Lebanon war also point to the mistakes that can be made when not preparing for the worst case scenario.
Paranoia is much better than "don't worry, be happy".