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He didn't knew. Halutz Photo: Uriel Hershko
He didn't knew. Halutz Photo: Uriel Hershko
 
 

Dragged into war

This is how military dragged us into unwanted, unplanned war

Shlomo Avineri
Published: 10.09.06, 17:08 / Israel Opinion

In an in-depth interview to Israel's leading daily Yedioth Ahronoth on the eve of Yom Kippur, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Dan Halutz addressed the cabinet session on July 12th, where a decision on how to respond to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers and the firing of Katyusha rockets on Israel was made:

 

"We knew what we were going to do in the immediate range, we knew what the response will be, and we estimated that there would be Katyusha rocket fire. But I had no idea it would turn into a large-scale war with Hizbullah," he said.

 

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The army chief added: "That evening we still didn’t know that we would be going to war with Hizbullah."

 

Also: "That night, the truth must be said, I did not estimate, and neither did anyone else, as far as I know, that it would escalate as much as it did."

 

In other words: The army didn't think the proposal it presented to the cabinet, and which was accepted, meant war. Neither the army nor the cabinet decided to embark on a war on July 12th, nor did they think that the operations they ordered would lead to war: We were dragged into this war.

 

Unplanned war

For the first time in Israel's history, the military's and the cabinet's erroneous evaluations led the country to a war it never intended to embark on, and preparations were not made ahead of it accordingly.

 

Without much thought, and based on erroneous estimates, the army dragged the country into a war it never expected, didn't plan for, and didn't want.

 

Therefore, there is no need for a commission of inquiry regarding the decision-making process: The chief of staff's testimony is sufficient. In any other country, a chief of staff who would have dragged his country into an unpredictable and unplanned war would have submitted his resignation.

 

A person making such a large-scale error in judgment and in evaluating the situation cannot be allowed to continue leading the military, particularly when he himself doesn't understand the meaning of the mistake.

 

Naturally, had the prime minister's office and defense ministry been led by ministers with a military and defense background, they would have asked the chief of staff whether what he proposed could drag the country to war.

 

However, because both the prime minister and the defense minister lack such background, they didn't know what to ask, and so they didn't. We all know the results.

 

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