Israel Harel touches on one of the key problems forcing the IDF’s hand in this Hizbullah war and other recent military events. It’s an article that should be read from beginning to end.
Since the flight from Lebanon [in May 2000], the IDF has been operating more as a defense force for the IDF than as a defense force for Israel. That is because for a long time, but particularly since the flight from Lebanon, part of the public, particularly those who control the instruments that shape public opinion, have been broadcasting to the IDF that its main mission is “to protect the children” [i.e. the young soldiers] and the commanders have internalized that: In many cases, as proved in this war as well, they avoided decisive battles in order to avoid losses.
The unilateral flight from Lebanon took place because public opinion preferred protecting “the children” (an average of 13 dead a year) to the needs of long-term public security. And in this war we paid many times over for the mistake of that flight.