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Jan 17, 2007

we want blood

As you all know, last night was a big night for the media. Two major events occurred last night.
  1. The Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, resigned.
  2. The Attorney Generals office officially opened an investigation into Ehud Olmert for one of the affairs he is involved in, specifically the possibility that he influenced a tender for the sale of Bank Leumi. There are two other items that are still in the queue that the Attorney General has not yet decided whether or not to open a full investigation.

Dan Halutz did the right thing, albeit too late. He should have resigned four months ago when the war was over and allowed the IDF to rehab properly under proper guidance and direction from someone else at the helm. It was clear that Dan Halutz was not the right guy for the job, and when everybody lost confidence in him he should have gone home. At least now he did the right thing.

The question I have is why now? All along he has been saying he will not resign until the Winograd committee comes back with recommendations and then only if they recommend he resign. They are scheduled to make their initial recommendations only next month, if I am not mistaken.

If Halutz could have stayed to fix the problems, then his position on not resigning would even be honorable. However, there has not been a day since the war in which he was not criticized and handcuffed. He simply was not in position to fix the problems. It is about time he fessed up and did what was obviously necessary.

All along Halutz has been saying that he takes responsibility for the failures of the war and IDF, but in his book responsibility does not mean resigning, rather working to fix the problem. I actually agree with that. After Barak quit politics (before the current comeback) after his failed stint as Prime Minister, he was heavily criticized for damaging the Labor Party and then disappearing into the business world. Netanayahu was similarly criticized after his issues with the Likud way back when. When Halutz decides to stay and fix the problems, he is criticized for that.

My conclusion is that we are simply just a bloodthirsty people. We want blood. If somebody resigns, we criticize him for resigning. if somebody does not resign, we criticize him for that.

We are Jews. That is just the way we are.

And on that note, on to Ehud Olmert. I have many times called for his resignation. I have been accused of being anti-democratic in this call. Just because I do not agree with someone does not mean he has to resign.

To that I say, this is different. I have gone through Prime Ministers I did not like or agree with. I did not like Rabin for what he did in Oslo. I did not like Barak. I am wary of Netanyahu and did not like some of the things he has done. Sharon in the end of his career made all his friends hate him and all his enemies like him. But I have never called on those Prime Ministers to resign. Just because I do not like or agree with certain policy is not a reason to resign. The PM was voted in and I have to accept that and work within the system and law to influence policy to the way I think is correct, but obviously I will rarely have the ability to have such influence. In other words, I am allowed to protest policy I think is wrong. I can call for change in policy. And I did. But I never called on a PM to resign. Until Ehud Olmert. And that does not make me undemocratic.

Ehud Olmert is a master of political spin. He is hardly qualified for the job of Prime Minister. For all of you who will say he was fairly elected and we have to live with it, I tell you that he was fairly elected, but not on his own merits. He rode the wave of sympathy everyone had for Arik Sharon right into electoral victory. But that victory was nearly lost as in the two weeks prior to election day we saw his support erode from 45 + seats to the final tally of 29. A little more time and the sympathy vote might not have won him the election.

Sure, he won. But he does not deserve the position. All he has done is bring dishonor to the Israeli people. He has been under investigation after investigation. He has mouthed off inappropriately. He has had three soldiers abducted under his care and he has practically abandoned them. He managed a failed war, despite his calling it a victory.

It is time for Olmert to go home. The politicians from the various parties should stop being so worried about their seats and leased cars and vote no confidence in the leadership of Ehud Olmert, if he will not have the honor to do the right thing and resign on his own.

3 comments:

  1. Chalutz had to go he lost the trust of the soldiers under him. It is clear from all the reports that the war was very poorly run and the reflects on Chalutz. He is an example of someone who was simply promoted to a job that he was not prepared for and did not have the experience to do.

    The resignation of Chalutz casts a very bad light on Sharon (and Mofaz) who appointed him. It is clear that he was appointed for 1 reason only, he would follow orders and execute the disengagement. As we look back it is becoming crystal clear that Sharon was one of the worst PM's ever and that just about every major decision that he made was a mistake.

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  2. I don't think calling on the resignation of an elected official is anti-democratic in any way. In fact it is pro-democratic.
    In our parliamentary democracy, the most common way for a leader to lose his job is through a vote of no-confidence. Calling for his resignation is
    a) telling him that you don't have confidence and he should resign without the vote and
    b) telling the people you voted for that you don't have confidence in the leader and that they should support a no-confidence vote.

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