A petition, apparently one of several floating around, by reserve IDF soldiers seeking to have a national commission of inquiry over the war:
The indecisiveness manifested itself in inaction, in not carrying out operational plans, and in canceling all the missions we were given during the fighting. This led to prolonged stays in hostile territory, without an operational purpose and out of unprofessional considerations, without seeking to engage in combat with the enemy.
The “cold feet” of the decision-makers were evident everywhere. To us the indecisiveness expressed deep disrespect for our willingness to join the ranks and fight and made us feel as though we had been spat on, since it contradicts the principles and values of warfare upon which we were trained at the Israel Defense Forces.
The heavy feeling that in the echelons above us there is nothing but under-preparation, insincerity, lack of foresight and inability to make rational decisions, leads to the question – were we called up for nothing?
We are now on the day after, and it seems that the immorality and the absence of any shame are the fig-leaves to be used in order to cover up for the blunders. The blunders of the past six years and the under-preparation of the army have been carried on our backs – the backs of the fighters.
The outgoing head of all infantry in the IDF, Brigadier General Yossi Heiman, is apologizing for being poorly prepared and having poorly prepared the troops under his command for this war. He is the first senior officer to speak publicly in this way…
“despite heroic fighting by the soldiers and commanders, especially at the company and battalion level, we all feel a certain sense of failure and missed opportunity … At times, we were guilty of the sin of arrogance. Everyone tells about his mission, but not what he didn’t do and where he went wrong.”
He added: “I feel the weighty responsibility on my shoulders. I failed to prepare the infantry better for war. I did not manage to prevent burnout among professional companies and platoons. I feel no relief whatsoever in the face of the array of excuses … At this time, it is not easy being part of the system. Part of the public, and perhaps also parts of the leadership, is expressing lack of faith in us.”
His commander, and currently one of three contenders for position of next Chief of Staff (although he apparently should resign or be fired based upon performance as reported by soldiers and reservists in the field), Benny Gantz, shut down any further comments by any other party by ordering that now is the time to talk about the future, not the past. Blech!
A senior naval officer spoke to Ynet about the Navy’s failure:
“It’s inconceivable,” the senior officer said. “The failure is not of one officer or another on board the ship, but goes far beyond. We’re talking about a conceptual failure on the part of all the officers during the last six years. We never imagined that such a threat was even possible, this was impossible in our eyes,” he stated.
One of the direct results of the missile boat incident was a change in the Navy’s basic assumption, according to which â€“ from now on â€“ any weapon that the Iranians posses is likely to also be in the hands of Hizbullah.
“Anything that used to be considered illogical became logical. This needs to be understood â€“ a terror organization came into possession of a 700 kilogram missile, 80 meter long and that carries 50 kilograms of explosives. How do you even smuggle something like this?,” he explained.
There is deep anger and concern in Israel at the functioning of the government and IDF’s higher ranks in this war. It is unclear whether the PM, Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff have absorbed the implications yet, after all, they have spent decades fighting for their current positions. However, it seems unlikely to me that the status quo will remain. Unless another war begins, I have to think these folks will either have a proper commission of inquiry take place or will simply have to dissolve the government and call for new elections. The alternative, where these politicians remain in power, the IDF’s top echelons remain unchanged and therefore the critical problems that arose in this war remain unresolved is simply unimaginable. As Ha’aretz wrote in their paper’s editorial today, many reservists will refuse to fight the next time around unless they can trust the IDF. They recommend Halutz resign.
I wrote something similar yesterday in the post lamenting the loss of Emanuel Morano in the Baalbek raid:
The morality and integrity of the IDF are critical to its success as the army of the Jewish state and its citizens. On the day that Israelis cannot trust their army and its leaders, Israel will become a much weaker country that cannot sustain or win a war.
Ultimately, the IDF is a military that belongs to the people. Perhaps not everybody serves, but many do and many send their sons to fight when they come of age. If parents of soldiers cannot trust that the IDF is telling them the truth; if fighters do not believe that they are led with integrity by competent commanders; if commanders believe their superiors are incompetent or too focused on their own careers; if the political echelon cannot trust projections of the military when making decisions about wars and budgets, then the IDF will become a hollow shell. This cannot be allowed to happen and for this reason Halutz had better be right or had better be telling the truth. If he is not, he had better reconsider because Israel’s survival depends on it. There are only so many Emanuel Moranos around and even one lost is one too many.