Monday, April 30, 2007

The Colossal Failures: Olmert, Peretz and Halutz

Israel's most serious and important document in the past 20 years was released today; the Winograd Commission's preliminary report on the mis-management of the second Lebanon war this past summer.

The retired judge said the prime minister:
"...formulated his stance without a second thought, without being presented with a detailed military plan, without considering the complex conditions of fighting in Lebanon."

"There was no organized consultation with others, mainly outside of army, despite his lack of diplomatic and military experience"

"The prime minister is responsible for failing to clearly set out the aims of the war, and for there not being a clear definition of aims of war and ways to achieve them. The war's aims were ambitious, and could not be reached. They were not within reach. All of these factors come together to form a serious failure of judgment, responsibility, and caution"

"The decision to go forward with a harsh, immediate military response was not taken on the basis of a well-planned strategy"

"The IDF's response would result in massive fire on the home front, which the IDF didn't have an answer to. There was no information on the state of the army, despite the need for such information"

"The IDF didn't show creativity in making options available -- It didn't demand that reserves be called up, which would have allowed them to be trained and equipped ahead of a needed ground operation."
On Peretz:
"He has no knowledge or experience on diplomatic, military, government affairs."

He has no knowledge on the use of the military as tool to achieve goals. Nevertheless, he took decisions without consultation, and didn't give enough weight to contrary views. He failed to fulfil his role, and he didn't act out on the basis of a strategic plan."

"He didn't demand or examine the army's plans. He didn't check the methods of the IDF, its plans, and its set targets."
On Halutz:
His personal involvement in government decisions was dominant. He was not ready for the kidnapping. He acted impulsively."

"The chief of staff's culpability is made more severe in light of the fact that he knew that the prime minister and the defense minister had no experience, and his claim that the army was ready and had plan. He had no real answer to the doubts raised over the plan, and didn't present any to the political leadership. In all these areas, the chief of staff failed to fulfill his role, and he did not act with responsibility, good judgment, and professionalism." (quotes via YNET)
OK, so what will happen next?

Olmert and Peretz have announced there isn't any reason for them to resign.

None at all.

Reminds me of a post I wrote during the war this past summer, "A Lament for Leadership."

Israel deserves so much better than the dreck we have leading us.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


stillruleall said...

The thing that surprises me the most from the Vaada is that I've read over and over how it is "harsher then expected". What did people expect it to say?

JoeSettler said...

(to quote another blogger).

It's not like this report is likely to change anything (unless the full report says that Olmert must quit, which would really surprise me.)

Lmor Livnat raised an interesting point on the news earlier.

If the government plans to fix all the problems the report raises, then why, in the past 9 months, hasn't the government done anything to fix the shelter problem that they've known about since the war.

InternetFred said...

The flaws in the leadership don't necessarily match the level of results. Sometimes the lower echelons pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Consider Stalin's errors leading into WWII. Massive. Massively expensive for the Russian people, but nevertheless he won his war.

Winograd just assumes that Israel lost. Hezbollah lost some sovereignty in the war, but Israel did not. Both Hezbollah and Lebanon lost more people than Israel. It just isn't that clear who won.

Winograd is right to come down on their Keystone Cops management style, but the punishment must fit the crime. So what, exactly, was the crime? Pulling a tie when a victory was demanded? Was it really possible to destroy Hezbollah?

The low level of readiness of the Army was more the fault of Ariel Sharon than the current leaders.

Okay, clearly Olmert has earned his 3% approval rating. And Peretz was the wrong man for the job. But Halutz would have been okay, perhaps, if Sharon were still Prime Minister.

daat y said...

How can incompetents fix the problems they created.This is the first war Israel has lost .Next war lost-there will be no Israel.

Anonymous said...

The leadership stinks and is full of corruption - no debate!!!
and the Israeli people under the sponsorship of the media are comatose, lethergic and dimwitted.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Two things that worry me.
1) I heard someone on galei zahal who will be on the knesset committee to review the report. He said that if there are elections now it will delay by something like months or over a year until they can begin learning the report, and nothing will be done. He used some strong words like, "I swear it" or "I am completely certain" or "You have my word". I don't remember the exact quote. So we are supposed to sit back and let these jokers continue to run the country even though they are incompetent, so they can learn the lessons from the report? Weird.
2) Even if we do go to elections now, who is going to fill the power vacuum? OK - I'm a support of Moshe Feiglin, but even if Feiglin could get into knesset he won't be rosh memshala this time. Who will run the country? It will only be more of the same...
Conclusion: Keep trying our best, let the Kadosh Baruch Hu do the rest. Keep fighting the corruption, keep up the activism, don't give up or give in - but recognize who really controls the strings and who will make the bottom line.

Jerry said...

"This is the first war Israel has lost"

Have you been in a hole since 1967- which was the last time we actually won a war?
Unless you'll call 1968-1970, 1973,1982, and both intifadas ties?

Where I come from, ties go to the terrorist.

Tzahal and the government that runs it need a thorough wake-up call.
And like Winograd said, if their improvement makes Israel a safer place, then something good can be salvaged from this tragedy.

Neshama said...

Jameel, I won't be shy either.

Now is a time of GREAT RACHAMIM, and we can do something about these dummies and petition Hashem to bring Moshiach and lead us into the geula.

I wrote about it here: Going Home

The back of the hill said...

The true test of last summer's war will be what happens this summer (or whenever Sheikh Nasrallah decides to get feisty again).

A - Have lessons been learned to such an extent that this time it is a more to-the-point battle?

B - Ma yomru ha Goyim? Specifically, will the public relations war be as clumsy and reactive as it was last summer?
[Yes, I know that the rest of the world should have neither voice nor veto, but the Arab side does pay attention when they get a black eye in the press, and promptly starts calling everybody nasty names - which will discredit their side among the nations.]

C - Shelters!

D - Goals, plans and strategies, effective leadership?

If no more than two out of those four are satisfied, it will be a failure. More so than the previous one.

tafka PP said...

Amen Mr. Back of the Hill

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Good points, Back of the Hill.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

BOTH: As long as Shimon Peres is involved, our PR will be awful. He closed down Israel's media offices when he ran the foreign ministry during Oslo's infancy, and announced that Israel does not need PR.

No new shelters are being built...and effective leadership is a problem.

Lets hope the IDF gets their act together, and understands how to use military force to achieve political goals; something they didn't know how to do last summer.

Neshama: Amen!

InternetFred: Halutz was clearly blamed by the commission's interim report for many aspects of his command, ranging from having zero experience with land battles, refusing to hear any advice from other generals, and attempting to foolishly win the war based on air superiority alone. Sharon only made him IDF Chief, since he wanted a Disengagement "Yes-man" (which is why General Yaalon was fired)

StillRuleAll: People elected Olmert in the first don't be surprised by public stupidity.

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