Parsing the murder of people in police uniforms
Top IDF sources said this week that the planning of the surprise attack was influenced, to some extent, by the doctrine of "shock and awe."Last paragraph of article retreats from "soul-searching" to arrogant Israeli ruthlessness which we have come to know:
This American doctrine, which materialized over the past two decades, holds that the attacking side should use a high degree of force and apply it accurately to targets in a very short time. The idea is to engender a sense of dread and shock among the enemy and eradicate its motivation to launch counterattacks. IDF officers appear to have studied the doctrine closely. Cast Lead's opening act [attacks on the police stations in Gaza] included all the characteristics defined in professional literature about this doctrine, one whose efficacy and moral status remain in dispute. As part of its adjustments after the Second Lebanon War, and to implement the "shock and awe" doctrine, the IDF compiled, over a two year period, a list of possible attack targets..
According to an IDF intelligence officer, "in the past, each branch - the air force, artillery, the navy, special units - would act independently, in consultation with intelligence officers, and compile its own list of targets ... This time, all of that work was done in a coordinated fashion." One officer who took part in compiling the list of targets and in forging an attack plan is Brigadier General (res. ) Zvi Fogel, who was Southern Command artillery commander at the time of Cast Lead. His comments suggest that the harsh results of the first strike were planned, more or less.
Was there truly a justification, from Israel's standpoint, to liquidate two groups of policemen during inspection exercises, or was it all a matter of contingency and convenience? As one well-placed military source put it, could it have been simply that "the weather was good that Saturday - we waited for a moment that would allow us to hit targets that would cause the most damage, and that could be hit during a lull in the stormy weather."