Thursday, May 03, 2007

Winograd Report

It appears that both the blogosphere and traditional journalism are all abuzz with their interpretations of the Winograd report. I thought this was a good evaluation of its import, even though I don't at all share Freedland's hopeful expectations of good things coming out of the current Israeli government. This is not a window of opportunity. No leadership this discredited and injured can hope to make a meaningful movement in the conflict with the Palestinians, or the Arab world. It does not have the trust of the people.

"This round of self-flagellation was not prompted by concern that the 2006 pounding of Lebanon was "disproportionate", to recall the word of that hour. Israelis still believe they had every right to take on Hizbullah, who had abducted two Israeli soldiers from Israeli soil and had thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli civilian towns. The criticism is not that Olmert fought the war but that he fought it badly. That he didn't achieve his stated aims of freeing the soldiers and de-fanging Hizbullah; that he sent troops in harm's way with no coherent plan and insufficient protection; and that a non-victory against a mere guerrilla movement has shattered the IDF aura of invincibility essential to deter Israel's enemies. It's for that series of failures that he has been slammed."

This point, in particular, should be fully clarified. This is not a report that criticizes Israel's actions in response to Hizzbala's provocative acts of war. Quite the contrary: the report pillories the leadership for not pursuing the war with the single-minded determination, tenacity and resourcefulness that Israelis have come to expect from their military. Anyone seeking to make anti-Israel political fortune out of it, in the form of the Indecent Left's mantra over "disproportuinate response", had better read very carefully what the report says.

Clearly, Olmert and Peretz have to go. Peretz should not be allowed to spend even one more day as Defence Minister. He would be a joke if his responsibilities did not extend to safeguarding Israeli life. Olmert should come to terms with his own mediocrity and vacillation, two traits that Israel simply cannot afford to have in its leaders.

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