"The people of Israel would like to say thank you." Before the carving knifes strike at other members of the IDF and the cabinet. The man who devoted 40 years of his life to protecting and safeguarding the State is deserving of a word of thanks.
Thanks to 2012192, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz. There are not many like him in our parts today. As a pilot and a commander, Dan Halutz was always where few people ever are: In the line of fire, at critical moments and decisive junctions. As a man, Dan Halutz was and is an extraordinary person with exceptional qualities. Referring to him and his ilk, Haim Hefer once wrote, it’s a pity.
"A look of deep sadness in our eyes." These are sad days for Israel. We are sad today not just because of and for Dan Halutz, but rather, for ourselves. We are sad because it seems that the State of Israel has lost its way and a maelstrom has struck at everything it does. We are sad that our leadership looks the way it does, that its path has been lost, that the compass has gone haywire. We are sad that this is what the IDF and the nation in general looks like. "There's a look of deep sadness in our eyes."
"Here our bodies lay." Our sadness is nonetheless far removed from the sadness of 158 families of civilians and soldiers who are now asking themselves more forcefully than ever: What did our children die for? Was this a do or die war? And where did it lead to? Nothing resembles the pain of the bereaved families. The fallen, the families and the handicapped are the real victims of the last war, any war. "Here our bodies lay, in a long, long row."
"Today, that day." History doesn't recognize the irrelevant words of "what if." Yet, had Olmert, Peretz and Halutz on July 12th, 2006 known that this would be the outcome of the campaign, would they have supported embarking on war? It is quite likely that the answer to this question would have been no, absolutely not.
And here lies the entire story: Political and military leaders are selected and appointed, among other things, in order to decide on matters of life and death, and they must not err in doing so. If they do, they are destined to pay a price that falls way below the price paid by many honorable persons who paid with their lives. If they err, they should be dismissed, this is the minimum requirement; it also sets a personal example and allows for drawing conclusions.
More to come. Dan Halutz will not be the only one who will fall upon the sword of the second Lebanon war. Veterans of the Agranat Commission, established to probe the shortcomings of the Yom Kippur War, know that the Winograd Commission will probably cleanse the political echelons of any wrongdoing.
Yet the Israeli public, primarily those who returned from the inferno, will not let the prime minister and his defense minister off the hook. Olmert and Peretz will go home, unless they find the right "tactic," not yet seen here. These are the incumbent government's twilight days.
To prevent, to postpone. Israel's entire history has been comprised of one long war with different names. A prime minister's role in Israel, whether from the Left or Right of the political spectrum, is to prevent war as much as possible, and if it cannot do so, then postpone it for as long as possible. Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon were no less courageous than Ehud Olmert during their terms in office, and the same applies to Binyamin (Fuad) Ben Eliezer and Shaul Mofaz in their posts as defense ministers.
Why didn't they embark on a war in Lebanon? Because they knew it was their responsibility to prevent war and if they were unable to do so, to postpone it. We paid the price, and we are still paying a heavy price for the appointments of inexperienced persons.
Getting to work. What's most worrying and most important at this point in time is the IDF's situation. An emergency call up should be issued to the entire country. "Every fine boy should be called to arms." They should all work 24 hours a day to prepare for the next war in wake of the decline in the IDF's power of deterrence. Time is short.