The Battle of the Saluki
...There is more about this battle and the study that Israel will make of "lessons learned" during the recent war. It appears taht the dithering went deeper into the ranks than just in the Prime Ministers office. They have to get this fixed before the next war.
The Battle of the Saluki was a microcosm of all the mistakes that were made during the war in Lebanon. Soldiers waited for a week, like sitting ducks, for orders that were twice received and twice canceled, reflecting a total lack of clarity and confidence within the General Staff, and perhaps the political echelon.
When the orders finally came, they made no sense; why push to the Litani hours before the UN was set to approve a cease-fire? What was the point of the brief, bloody operation, the soldiers asked, especially given the fact that two days after crossing the Saluki, they crossed it again - this time heading home?
Senior officers criticized the operation this week, saying it was launched at the last minute in an effort to influence public opinion in Israel and in Lebanon ahead of the UN Security Council vote on the cease-fire resolution. "The army wanted to show that it could conquer ground," one officer said. "They wanted to prove that they were capable of doing it."
There was also the way the tanks were employed. Twenty-four tanks participated in the operation, and 11 were hit by anti-tank missiles. When the tanks began moving through the wadi, the Hizbullah fighters began firing missile after missile at the vulnerable armor. The men in the tanks asked for help, but because of the large number of Nahal infantrymen present, the Northern Command refrained from calling for assistance from artillery or helicopter gunships.