16 August 2006
Barking dogs & Israel's attack on Lebanon
Seymour Hersh's recent article in the New Yorker is mainly about America's role in egging on the Israelis to attack Lebanon. However, it does point to one glaring flaw in the whole wheeze that nobody has yet picked up on:
The initial plan, as outlined by the Israelis, called for a major bombing campaign in response to the next Hezbollah provocation, according to the Middle East expert with knowledge of U.S. and Israeli thinking. Israel believed that, by targeting Lebanon’s infrastructure, including highways, fuel depots, and even the civilian runways at the main Beirut airport, it could persuade Lebanon’s large Christian and Sunni populations to turn against Hezbollah, according to the former senior intelligence official. The airport, highways, and bridges, among other things, have been hit in the bombing campaign.The flaw can be called the barking dog fallacy. Basically, a plan calls for someone to do something, then the dog barks, and then something else happens. However, if the mut stays silent or does something other than bark, then the plan falls to pieces. In the case of Israel the barking dog was the Christian and Sunni communities who were supposed to rise up against Hezbollah. Not only did they decline to do as instructed by the Israeli script, they actually started supporting Hezbollah.
Hence the Israelis started flailing about sending troops into Lebanon, then bringing them out again, then sending them back. They probably behaved like that because they had no idea what to do if Plan A went off the rails.