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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Halutz to Winograd Commission: 'Nothing was accomplished'

In his testimony to the Winograd Commission, which was released this morning, former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz admitted that 'nothing was accomplished in last summer's war in Lebanon.'
Former chief of staff Halutz told the commission regarding the duration of the war that "33 days was longer than it should have been. Definitely."

"I am aware of it and I think that in the end the fact that nothing was accomplished was the most evident failure," Halutz said.
Halutz also claimed to have been critical of the IDF's containment policy in Lebanon:
Halutz also criticized the government's restrained policy of containing Hezbollah, saying when he commanded the Air Force he became convinced it was a misguided policy.

"I can't bring anything now that supports this statement in a document, but in February or March 2006 during a deliberation I held with the General Staff, I said that once the new political leadership would become stable and stronger, I intend to approach it and recommend we reconsider the policy of containment," he said.
Unfortunately for Halutz and other IDF commanders, Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert and 'defense minister' Amir Comrade Peretz attempted to scapegoat the IDF command for the war's failures:
Olmert pointed a finger at the military echelon, but was careful to distinguish between the soldiers, who were “outstanding”, and the commanders.

According to him, there was “something faulty in the commanding philosophy, in the commanding perception … they all proved their courage in battle … but something in the forces’ operational perception, something in the perception of control over the forces, wasn’t what we expected – and there is no doubt that was what caused the gap between our ability to achieve, and what we actually did achieve”.
And what was that 'something'? Olmert, apparently, couldn't put his finger on it.

Peretz claimed not to have known that the IDF was not prepared for a ground campaign:
"On July 12 (the first day of the war), I was not presented with a situation that the army had not trained enough or that there was any problem with the army's preparedness," Peretz said.
Olmert also claimed he knew that Hezbullah would bomb Israel's home front:
The prime minister continued to say that “we knew in advance that they (Hizbullah) would bomb our home-front targets and we could make only one decision - either we do not act at all or we act straight away. I think we had no other choice but to act immediately."
Olmert did not explain why - if that was the case - the government was so totally unprepared to find shelter for the north's residents, who were left to their own devices last summer.

Olmert also managed to drop into his testimony that foreign minister Tzipi Feigele Livni had taken an active part in planning the war. As Haaretz notes:
The prime minister stressed in his testimony that Foreign Minsiter Tzipi Livni was partner to all the important diplomatic discussions. "There were no decisions that were made [on that issue] ... without the foreign minister's participation.
In light of what already came out last week, I don't see anything earth-shattering here. But I have not yet read the transcripts. It could be that there is more to them than what we have seen in the first hour and a half or so after their release.

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