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IDF troops in Lebanon Photo: AP
IDF troops in Lebanon Photo: AP
 
Former Air Force Chief Eitan Ben-Eliyahu Photo: Niv Calderon
Former Air Force Chief Eitan Ben-Eliyahu Photo: Niv Calderon
 
 

Retired general: IDF needs rehab

In speech delivered at Thoughts after the War conference, former head of military intelligence criticizes army, political echelon

Merav Crystal
Published: 08.25.06, 14:49 / Israel News

Israel should seek to deal with Iran and Syria, "Hizbullah's parents," instead of chasing "the child who's throwing stones," a former Israel Defense Forces general said on Friday.

 

Speaking at a conference about the war in Lebanon entitled Thoughts after the War, former head of military intelligence Uri Saguy criticized the lack of a broader vision among Israeli leaders in handling the war and said that failures in the army's organizational and operational capacities need to be addressed urgently.

 

Saguy said the initial stages of the IDF offensive against Hizbullah were helpful but the ground offensive that ensued was not executed properly.


Former military intelligence head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uri Saguy (Photo: Niv Calderon)

 

He particularly slammed the government's orders to the army to capture the territory south of the Litani River 48 hours ahead of the ceasefire as useless and costly in terms of the heavy casualties sustained by the forces.

 

He said more achievements were needed in order to knockout Hizbullah. While the air force did a great job in destroying long-range missiles and military targets, the ground offensive came too late.

 

Despite the deficiencies in the war however, he said that the war could open the door for talks with Syria.

 

He also linked the IDF's deficiencies to the fact that it for the last six years it has been "busy with other things," namely the fight against Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and the West Bank.

 

Asked about the conflict with the Palestinians, he said a solution is possible through talks, citing that the conflict is "territorial and not cultural."

 

Former IAF chief: Systems suffering from laziness 

Former Air Force Chief Eitan Ben-Eliyahu said although the air force is very capable and efficient it shouldn't have been used for more than 10 days.

 

"A war of this type needs a completely different planning that what was, a different PR campaign, another diplomacy and different public support. You need to know not how to fire the first bullet but how to end the final bullet," he said.

 

He added that the Air Force duty was to hit terror infrastructure, which was done to perfection, assisting ground troops and hitting missiles and missile launchers.

 

He said that the Air Force failed against short-range rockets despite its success against long and medium-range missiles.

 

"There is built-in laziness in the system which resulted in faulty organization. Preparing for the next war with more checks is not the solution. We can do so without a bigger budget. It is forbidden to recommit our usual mistake, it is forbidden to prepare for the next war as we did for the previous one," he said.

 

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