"Our record of predicting where we will use military force since Vietnam is perfect - we have never once gotten it right... There isn't a single instance... where we knew and planned for such a conflict six months in advance." [The examples offered by Mr Gates: Grenada, Panama, the first Gulf War, the Balkans, Haiti... "You can just keep going through the list."] Gates pointed to the Mideast radical group Hezbollah, armed with more missiles and rockets than most states, possibly armed with chemical or biological warheads. Hezbollah cruise missiles could threaten U.S. ships with anti-ship missiles with a range of 65 miles. [Source: CNN]Two months ago, an Israeli security official provided the Washington Post with a map detailing the phenomenal war preparations completed by Hezbollah's terrorist forces and fully in place: 550 bunkers, 300 surveillance sites; 100 additional offensive facilities - all owned and operated by Hezbollah under the noses of the sovereign government of thoroughly-impotent Lebanon and of the United Nations peace-keeping forces in the area. Most of the sites marked on the map are located in the southern part of Lebanon, next to Israel's border and south of the Litani River. Israeli intelligence, expressing a view that Mr Gates seems to be echoing, says the Hezbollah forces have deployed thousands of Israel-facing missiles.
In the interests of seeming to be fair, we will quote a different view:
UNIFIL has not found any evidence of Hizbullah military activity and smuggling or the presence of guerilla fighters in its area of operations in Southern Lebanon, the commander of the multinational peacekeeping force, Maj.-Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas [Source]On the other hand, United Press International issued a report during the past hour quoting Israel's claims that Hezbollah has installed tens of thousands of missiles and rockets in Lebanon. Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, is quoted confirming that missiles "will remain part of the Arab equation and nobody can take them away... No one will be able to grab them, neither in Lebanon nor in the world."
Hezbullah's own website goes further today, quoting the bold and boastful Nasrallah in greater detail:
“Our missiles are not 12 thousand; your information is too old.” His eminence vowed, meanwhile, that these rockets are ready and will remain in place. “They will remain effective and will protect Lebanon. They will remain present in the equation of the region, and no one will be able to grab them, neither in Lebanon nor in the world,” his eminence pledged. Our missiles today, which Netanyahu talked about before Congress, represent our honor, our blood, our money, our dignity and our pride,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, and added that this resistance will remain faithful to its goals, to its path, to its hopes, to its sufferings and to the blood of its martyrs."
Israel, unlike the United States, cannot tolerate the risk of having "never once got it right" when it comes to preparing for attacks by the religiously-inspired jihadist zealots on our country's borders. Making an error of judgement about a terrorist enemy with so much death and malice on its mind would be unthinkable.