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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Livni to Winograd Committee: It wasn't my fault

Parts of Foreign Minister Tzipi Feigele Livni's testimony before the Winograd Commission were released today. For those who want to read the entire 59 pages in Hebrew, it's here. (Go to her name and click on it and a pdf will pop up). The JPost has a summary in English that makes it clear that Livni spent much of her time in front of the Commission whining that if only her advice had been taken, we never would have had a war last summer.

That of course ignores the fact that last summer's war was inevitable, and putting it off longer might have had even worse consequences.
Livni described how, on July 13, one day before the military operation erupted into an all-out war, she attempted to move the government onto a diplomatic track.

"On Thursday I asked [Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] why this was continuing," Livni said. "I said to the prime minister that I think that the diplomatic issue needed to be advanced."

In addition, Livni told how she did not expect any military action to last more than one day.

"On the 12th of July, I thought it was an operation, which was supposed to end that same night - at most the next afternoon," she told the committee, which was charged with investigating Israel's actions during the Second War in Lebanon. "It was clear from the beginning that the action would not end that same night. There was no stopping point, no goal for military victory."

The foreign minister also described the escalating tensions between her and the prime minister. She recalled how Olmert, during a security cabinet meeting centered around discussing the widening military operation, ignored her suggestions, and how her relationship with the prime minister suffered as a result.

"During the meeting, I was at a point where I felt I was barely being heard," Livni said. "When I began to speak, the prime minister would suddenly start speaking to the chief of general staff or somebody, and I stopped what I was saying."

The prime minister, Livni said, told her to continue. When she asked Olmert to listen to what she was saying, the prime minister responded by saying he was listening "to every word, and even to every vibration."

Livni pointed out several times throughout her testimony how she tried to push for acceptance of her policy, and described how it was ignored. "The military operation cannot return the soldiers. It can pulverize Hizbullah, but at a certain point there won't be high-quality targets and there will be no hope for the operation," the foreign minister told the committee.

"Therefore the timing is crucial, right now the operation is a military one, but its end will be a diplomatic one."
There were several problems with last summer's war, none of which would have been addressed by Livni's 'diplomacy.' First, its goals had not been defined - she's right about that. Second, the IDF was unprepared because our 'leaders' were living in Shimon Peres' delusional 'New Middle East.' The government lied about the ineffectiveness of its 'policy of containment.' Third, the IDF was unprepared because it had spent millions of dollars and hundreds if not thousands of man-hours the previous summer expelling all the Jews from Gaza. Fourth, Livni's 'diplomatic solution' was nothing short of a disaster that has allowed Hezbullah to re-arm and move right back up to the border.
"Information I gave during debriefings [at Cabinet meetings] was my own input, but a professional [in the matter] never came. And I am telling you - during the war I asked the head of the Political Research Department to come [to the meetings], only so that he could present a different point of view.
What a country! The foreign minister isn't a professional (and she's not - she's completely unsuited to the task)! So why is she foreign minister? And why is this government still in power?


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