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IDF Gen. (ret.) Benkler: 'Handled Properly IDF Could Have Wiped Out Hezbollah In a Week'

'Political Leadership Ignored Basic Combat Strategy & Played Hezbollah's Game'

Tel Aviv Rally To Demand Judicial Enquiry Into Lebanon War

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Reuven Benkler

A group of retired IDF officers is leading a public campaign for setting up a state panel of enquiry into the roots and conduct of the war in Lebanon. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has opposed such an official investigation with full legal powers; Olmert has proposed three independent boards to examine what happened. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Reuven Benkler, a senior combat officer in Lebanon, believes that if the political leadership had handled the situation properly, the IDF could have wiped out Hezbollah in a week. General Benkler was interviewed by David Essing in our IsraCast studio in Jerusalem.

Given the appropriate orders, the IDF could have eliminated the Hezbollah threat within a week. Thats the opinion of Brig. Gen. (ret.) Reuven Benkler, a senior IDF  division commander officer who served for years in Lebanon.

Benkler believes that only a state enquiry can expose the roots and conduct of the war in Lebanon. That is why he is one of the retired officers who are leading the campaign for the judicial investigation. Why does he believe that if handled properly the IDF could have wiped out Hezbollah within a week? The retired general will not reveal details over the Internet. He does charge that the Israeli government was not decisive in its conduct of the war and we played Hezbollah's game instead of going all out. The political echelon simply did not conduct the war on the basis of combat theories.

The fact that neither Prime Minister Ehud Olmert nor Defense Minister Amir Peretz had a defense background was also a problem. He referred to Peretz, a former trade union leader asking: Would you replace the C.E.O. of a high tech company with a truck driver? These two top positions in Israel do not necessarily need to be filled by former generals, but the candidates should have a serious background in defense issues. But what if Chief of Staff Dan Halutz had led the political leadership to believe that air power could defeat Hezbollah. Benkler says military experts will have to rethink the balance between air power and tank and infantry divisions.

Lt. Col. Eliad Shraga
Col. Amnon Nahmias
Lt. Col. Yehiel Gilo




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