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Aug 10, 2006

Take control and win or stop the war now!

We are suffering from a serious problem. The leadership of the country is not running this war properly. I am not talking about military tactics. I have my theories on that as well, but not being a military man and am not privy to the intelligence, I am not qualified to give an assessment on that in an authoritative way (in anything other than civilian ranting and banter).

The government is run by a Prime Minister with no military experience. During quiet times, that might be great and he can focus properly on the economy and social structure of the country. The problem is we live in the Middle East and we are lucky when we go through short periods of quiet. The Defense Minister is run by someone with no military experience. He did not even want the job initially, as he ran on a social platform. Again, that might be great during peaceful times, as he could restructure the army without the biases of a general, but we live in the Middle East and always have the threat over our heads.

That is not it though. Ariel Sharon, love him or hate him, had control over his government. What he felt should be done he did and nobody could oppose him. He was a bit dictatorial in that sense. However, despite his overdoing it with the power, he had a sense of control over the situation and over the government he ran. There were no leaks from cabinet meetings he presided over. Ever. That is the way it was. He was in control. If you could not play by the rules, you were out.

PM Olmert has tried to emulate Sharon to a certain extent. He tries to portray himself as being in control and running the show. He spoke strongly after the elections while putting together the coalition about only parties supporting the realignment could join, for example. He could not get enough parties to form a government so he backtracked a bit and out together a hodgepodge government made up of parties that have different goals and agreements.
He has spoken up on many issues since he became PM, only to be forced to retract his words later.

PM Olmert is not in control of the situation. He has bought his government coalition with favors and budgets, but does not know how to control them. He does not know how to lead.

In today's newspaper there is an account detailed from a stormy session in the cabinet meeting that took place yesterday.
Shaul Mofaz said that Hezbollah must be attacked from north to south.

Peretz retorted and screamed at him saying who are you to talk? Where were you when Hezbollah spent 6 years rearming while you were Defense Minister!?

Mofaz responded, "Let's not get into that now, rather deal with the current problem."

Olmert steps into the fray and says, "the whole world is watching us right now. We must keep our calm."

The story alone does not bother me. What bothers me is that it is in the newspaper. The fact that it made it in means there is a leak. Somebody in the Cabinet has no qualms about leaving a meeting regarding national security in which important decisions are made and proceeds to leak the information to the media. Olmert has no control over the situation.

The past few days the media has been analyzing some unusual statements made by Olmert. he has declared recently a number of times how much he relies on the army and that he himself is not an expert in affairs of the army. The media has come to the conclusion that Olmert is already setting the stage and creating the spin for the post-war investigation into the governments handling of the war.

Israel loves commissions. After every little event that occurs, Israel establishes a great commission to analyze whether the situation was handled properly or not and who is responsible for what went wrong. The analysis is that Olmert is setting the stage for the investigation that will definitely take place later.

After the Yom Kippur war, Golda Meir responded to such a commission by saying that she was not a military expert and therefore had to rely on the army's recommendations. She was cleared of any guilt in mishandling the war in 1973. Olmert is setting the stage for a similar defense, the experts say.

This is another example of what I am talking about. If Olmert would concentrate on running the war properly, he might succeed. Instead he is expending his efforts and resources on what we call CYA (cover your a*s).

In last nights cabinet meeting they decided to expand the war and send in the ground troops to conquer Southern Lebanon to clear it from Hezbollah and create a buffer zone of sorts. has it happened yet? Have they sent in the troops? Not yet. Still waiting.

In the meantime we are suffering losses of 15 or so troops per day plus all the injured. In addition, despite the declarations of our great successes in destroying Hezbollahs capabilities, we are still having over 150 Katyusha rockets rain down on our heads every single day causing us tremendous damage to homes, businesses, the economy and worst of all to those injured and killed by the rockets.

Olmert has retained command and decision making capabilities since Day 1 of the war. he stated then that he does not want to send in troops on the ground until the Air Force has bombed the place enough to make it safer for the troops. Generals spoke up and set the Air Force cannot do the job alone, we must send ground troops. Olmert has delayed and we have been suffering the ramifications for 4 weeks with no end in sight.

The elderly and the infirm in the conflict zone have been ignored by the government, left to the donations and generosity of the generous nation. The government has not even officially declared this to be a war yet, thus leaving the businesses up north floundering (a status of war would provide government assistance to people and businesses on the front lines).

They send troops in with orders only to change their minds in mid-operation. Soldiers are complaining that orders are not clear and weaponry is outdated. Reservists are called up and then made to sit around for days before they are sent out on missions, not so they can be trained and briefed on upcoming missions but because there is nothing to do.

All of this, and more, indicates that the leadership is lacking. There does not seem to be anybody in position who can make the tough decisions that need to be made.

We have the ability to win this war. If we would not be so concerned with commissions and world opinion and other issues, we could finish this. Send the boys in and bring them home victorious.

But if you are not going to do that, if you are going to waver, then do not bother. We do not want a war that you will not let us win. We do not want to see our boys coming home in caskets. If that is part of the price to pay for winning a war thrust upon us, so be it. But if they are paying with their lives in a war we cannot win because the politicians do not want to make the decisions, that is unacceptable.

Let the IDF win. If you will not, if you insist on restricting them with indecision and no clarity, forget the whole thing. Bring the troops home. Make a deal for a ceasefire. Declare victory or not, it does not matter. We do not want to see our boys killed in a battle they cannot win.



  1. Hey, great article, Rafi. I guess great minds think alike, because I wrote something very similar to this. Check it out.

  2. Why do you think that writing a post like this in a time of war is any better than leaking a cabinet meeting to the press?
    Blogs are media too, and the rules apply - even to simple civilian banter.

  3. The reason blogs are different (or at least mine) is because I have no information I did not read in the mainstream press. Anything I know is already public knowledge. I am just commenting on it. I am not "leaking" anything I found out in secret because I have an agenda like toppling the PM. A minister who leaks from a meeting is problematic because he has an agenda and is leaking information that should be kept private. I have no such information other than what is already public.


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