Imagine that we are back in November 1992, and you are a Palestinian selling falafel in Tel Aviv. Most of your customers would be Jewish. As they eat, they will invariably comment on the hottest rumors, those which never reach the news. On the morning of November 6, an unusual one appeared. It claimed that five soldiers of Sayeret Matkal, the IDF elite commando, were killed the day before in a Negev Desert training base, another six were seriously wounded. Some of the customers may even mention that the soldiers had been hit by an anti-tank missile fired by their own friends. That would have been all; no other details would be available. In contrast to deaths of regular soldiers, the Hebrew press didn't mention the killed soldiers. The funerals weren't advertised. Their names appeared on memorials with a delay of months or years. As often happens in Israel, the rumors were true; the missing details were all related to operational issues. Twenty years later, truth was disclosed.
Falafel with Tahini and pickles
Old News - Hebrew article on Rabin's daughter becoming Deputy Minister of Defense
"Uvda" ("fact" in Hebrew) is a popular Channel 2 program dealing with actual issues. In Netanyahu's Nightmare, I analyzed its first program of this season, where the main political and military leaders of Israel in 2010 spoke about the planned attack on Iran that year. The program scheduled to be broadcast on December's first Monday, would delay pressing issues for the sake of elucidating the mysterious killings abovementioned. The facts have already been published by written media, citing "Uvda" as the source. This is enough to render the claims true, such a program couldn't have been prepared without receiving help from the IDF. After twenty years, the IDF decided to honor its self-inflicted casualties.
To put things in proportion, the IDF estimates that over 10% of its war-casualties are self-inflicted; in the 1982 Lebanon War this rate was higher due to the clumsy overcrowding of the country's mountainous roads. "The Unit" (as Sayeret Matkal is often referred as) has a similar overall rate of deaths during regular service. The event reported here is not unique.
Operation Bramble Bush
The accident was preceded by the approval of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Operation Bramble Bush, a plan to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Brigadier General Azriel Nevo, Rabin's military secretary, wrote in his report "Rabin concluded that he approves of the target." Nevo also quotes Rabin saying "Saddam Hussein is a meaningful target concerning Israel's internal security. I do not see anyone like him in the Arab world." Ehud Barak, who was the IDF Commander in Chief, supported Rabin, widely considered as Barak's mentor, while Uri Sagi, Commander of the Military Intelligence opposed the operation.
Ehud Barak ordered the force to be ready by October 1. Inexplicably, its concluding military exercise took place only on November 5. It was executed before senior IDF officials, among them then Chief of Staff Ehud Barak. To his horror, the attack force fired a live missile at the soldiers simulating Saddam Hussein's entourage. Not for the first time, God seems to be delivering a clear message to Israel's leadership regarding their assassination policies.
RAFAEL's anti-tank Spike missile showed by a training soldier of the IDF Field Corps Command | similar missile killed the Sayeret Matkal soldiers
Wag the Dog
Certain errors can be fixed. Most humans are capable of learning; yet, this event was exceptional. It destroyed an entire team of "The Unit." Moreover, after learning about the accident, Rabin probably doubted their capabilities. Israel dropped the military path and turned to Weapons of Mass Distraction.
The hysteria in the Israeli newspapers regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction began much before the war or similar publications in the American media. After the Israeli public was convinced that these weapons existed, the second stage of the campaign began. Analysts working for the main Israeli newspapers claimed that Israel should adopt the same tactic used by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir during the Mother of All Battles, namely the First Gulf War. It should let the US destroy the perceived enemy. Pressure was put on the Jewish community and organizations in the US to help protect Israel against Iraq. Subsequently, the US attacked Iraq in 2003, without even declaring war. Saddam Hussein was removed from power and hanged, courtesy of the USA.
"Wag the Dog" is a 1997 film starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, which describes a situation in which the "tail wags the dog." An unnamed President of the United States is caught in flagrante with a young girl scout less than two weeks before the elections; a hired political gun (De Niro) is brought in to take the public attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a fake war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. He contacts a Hollywood producer (Hoffman), who helps construct a theme song, build up interest and fake some footage of an orphan in Albania. In the end, with the President re-elected, the producer is about to call the media to "set them straight," when the President’s aide has him killed to save his political boss.
Wag the Dog Staging a War
After proving its army was inept, the Israeli leadership decided to Wag the American Dog; placidly, the latter complied.