In 2006 I reported on the war in Lebanon, where for virtually the first time in its history the Israel Defense Forces, the IDF, realized that it was not infallible and invincible. Not that the war was a defeat for Israel – its military is stronger than most of its neighbors combined – but its generals suddenly realized that they did not have carte blanche in the region. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia armed and trained by Iran, inflicted serious numbers of casualties and amounts of damage, and while southern Lebanon was devastated by the Israelis and the Lebanese people were once again the victims, the game


had changed. As one senior IDF staff officer said to me afterward, “This must never be allowed to happen again.” Israel’s response at the time was initially to send in groups of Special Forces, backed by fleets of attack helicopters. They didn’t use the strength that they were capable of, and they were certainly less than efficient. Their intelligence was flawed, they had no idea how well trained and dug-in Hezbollah soldiers were, and they were over-confident. Allowing troops to take cell phones with them into Lebanon, for example, was absurdly slack. FULL REPORT