The division commander who went home has returned with a vengeance. Gal Hirsch, Galilee Division Commander during the Second Lebanon War, went on the offensive Sunday night, fiercely attacking the conduct of the IDF's senior leadership in the war.
"During and after the Second Lebanon war the senior political echelon hid behind those fighting in the field and deserted them, leaving commanders on their own and refusing to accept responsibility," he stated.
Speaking at an event celebrating the publishing of a new book on the war, Hirsch said, "I am saying that deplorable political norms have penetrated parts of an IDF afflicted by dangerous politicization likely to undermine the army's very foundations."
Hirsch claimed that there was no ongoing, comprehensive failure throughout the war. "The primary failure belonged to the senior command, which did not trust existing plans and, when the situation became too complex, forgot all the core values of camaraderie and mutual support upon which the IDF has depended since its founding."
"As the war proceeded and then came to an end, I learned just how far the slander had penetrated, just how distorted was the information delivered to the public, just how alone we commanders were, and, personally, just how alone I was in those days."
'Life as a private citizen different and rewarding'The former division commander has lately turned to private enterprise, a point he also touched upon in his remarks. "Life as a private citizen is different, interesting, rewarding. Business is very good, but difficult, and it's very difficult to move past this unpleasant episode and turn over a new leaf. It's very hard to restrain yourself and keep quiet, very difficult to stop the bleeding."
Hirsch resigned about a year ago and in the letter of resignation he presented to then-Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, he wrote that from the very beginning of the war he had received no public backing, and that his good name had been sullied by the long and unfortunate chain of events.
"It is wrong to thus treat a commander," he wrote, and added that the IDF and the State of Israel were the essence of his life, wearing a uniform since the age of 14 and twice receiving injuries in the line of duty.
Hirsch requested that the leadership not harm the positions of other division commanders, and said that he decided to resign his command after a very difficult period for his family and himself - but that he was proud of the privilege he had been given to defend his country.