As you all know by now, Chief of Staff Halutz has resigned his post. There are all kinds of guesses as to why he’s decided to do it now after resisting for months, but it doesn’t quite matter since he absolutely had to resign. Even if he is a fine, upstanding example of a loyal and true soldier in the IDF, one still has to perform effectively in one’s role. Emerging from a war as Israel did from this last one in Lebanon cannot be defined as victory no matter how you slice it.
I truly think that Halutz was simply overmatched for the job. He is a victim of the Peter Principle: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Halutz may have been great leading other parts of the IDF, but when it came to running the whole enchilada, and particularly in his most important role of head general during wartime, he failed.
Halutz is gone, but noticeably still in their positions are the two other men who failed Israel in this war, Olmert and Peretz, also known as TwiddleDee and TwiddleDum. Now, these two men approved the war, ran it, continued it long after it needed to be stopped, and created the oft-violated compromise that has allowed foreign troops into Lebanon so they can watch as Hizbullah thumbs its pimply, snot-filled nose at UNSCR 1701. As of today, however, both Dee and Dum hold on to their positions as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, respectively, bringing to mind the expression, “by the skin of their teeth.”
So what’s a loser of war to do?
Appoint a new Chief of Staff, of course.
After all, Halutz needs to be replaced and there’s no fun in having important political positions if you can’t appoint the new leader of the IDF. Today the Dee approved the Dum’s nominee, Gabi Ashkenazi , to be the IDF’s 19th Chief of Staff.
Can they do this? Indeed they can. In fact, even Israel’s Supreme Court decreed they can after challenges came up.
Should they do this? Absolutely not!
First of all, they lost the war and have caused severe harm to Israel and its security.
Second, they are responsible for the loss of lives of many Israelis and the loss of those sons and daughter to their parents, significant others, families, etc.
Third, they have taken no responsibility for these losses and have instead have played a cynical game of Watch This Loserish Politician Survive.
Fourth, if they don’t have the talent to run a war or manage the Chief of Staff who is losing the war, how can they expect anybody to believe they have the perspicuity to select a new Chief of Staff?
Fifth, even if they do choose the new Chief of Staff, Israelis are going to feel like they’re buying a rainbow colored Palestine is for Lovers t-shirt designed by a blind man: the colors are probably going to be off.
Sixth, Gabi Ashkenazi will be respected for his title, not for his abilities. He will always be a reminder of failure, not success.
Seventh, and perhaps most important, in a number of months the relatively weak Winograd Committee which has been investigating the second Lebanon War and particularly seeking to identify its failures with a view to addressing the roles of Olmert, Peretz, Halutz, the IDF and others, is supposed to turn in its report. This Committee may return with severe indictments of the role of Dee and Dum in the war, which would weaken their precarious, lame duckish positions even further and should – if they behave as they should – lead to their resignations.
People who may be a couple of months away from a long hiatus from politics should not be making decisions about the very roles causing their ouster.
As for Ashkenazi, not much information is available about him to the layperson. He was clearly a capable soldier and general. He rose to Deputy Chief of Staff but lost out in the contest for the top job to Halutz before the Disengagement. He subsequently retired and moved into private life. He was and is a key military advisor to Peretz and Director General of the Defense Ministry. That’s the same Peretz who may have to resign shortly for mishandling the war. This is his advisor who is being appointed to head the IDF!! It’s not only morally repugnant, it’s downright idiotic. Even if you don’t want to hold him responsible for Peretz’s errors of judgement, one only has to consider that he was the Deputy Chief of Staff in the years that Hizbullah was allowed to grow strong untouched; that the military warehouses emptied of the basic necessities of war for Israel’s soldiers; that reservists and even regular soldiers found themselves ill trained for a real war; and probably for many of the poor war preparations, strategies and oversight of departments that keep the IDF busy in non-wartime.
In other words, instead of bringing in fresh eyes to cleanse and repair the IDF while preparing it for upcoming missions and wars, the Incompetents In Chief have now appointed another from among their ranks to fix mistakes they don’t acknowledge exist.
(photo is from Ha’aretz)