23 August 2006

Respect and suspect?

Reading Debkafile is a mixed pleasure. You never know where the reality starts and the pure fantasy begins with these people, and that is on top of the team being clearly partisan and peppering what is supposed to be reporting with own political agenda.

So, reading this article, I had to apply all available filters, and even after this, the picture is pretty grim. If even a part of what it says is true, it appears that the upcoming (hopefully) commission of inquiry has to investigate not only the internal decision making by our government and IDF top brass, but also the state of absolute dependency on, let us say it straight, a less than brilliant team residing currently in the White House.

The article starts with a reference to a curious spate of calls by some ministers (Amir Peretz, defense, Tzipi Livni, foreign affairs and Avi Ditcher, internal security - at least two of them knowing a thing or two about security) for a negotiations with Syria and a possibility to trade the Golan Heights for peace with Syria and Lebanon. The explanation is coming at the end of the article:

It appears that Condoleezza Rice was not exactly happy with the way the war turned out, nor with the failure of diplomacy to bring Lebanon's hostilities to a satisfactory conclusion or even to deploy an effective multinational force to stabilize South Lebanon. She therefore decided to explore the chances of luring Bashar Assad away from the Iranian fold. This is a tentative idea which has not ripened into a policy - much less gained a White House go-ahead. But as soon as word was leaked to Jerusalem, several Israeli ministers jumped aboard - Peretz first, followed by Livni, who there and then created a Syrian Project Desk at the foreign ministry, the education minister, Yuli Tamir and finally, on Monday, Dichter.

Still, this is from the realm of Machiavellian and happens all the time with politicians. While the end result is some egg on some faces, the story could be regarded as another failed attempt to put a feeler out in the direction of Damascus. The answer to this attempt is known - a series of battle cries (or rather battle squeaks in this case) by baby Assad, here is the latest.

The rest of the article, however, is dealing with deadly matters. It paints a picture of a decision-making process that created a disastrous mix of an army unprepared to the war with politicians dancing to the music hastily composed in the White House, with several composers disagreeing one with another. It paints a picture of total subservience to the masters who are unable to make up their own minds, with the servants asking only "how high?" when the masters suggested another jump in a new direction.

I wouldn't quote too much of the article, it is worth a read whether you believe it or not. But the bottom line is:

Olmert's absolute compliance with Rice's directives without fully comprehending their military import threw Israel's entire war campaign into disorder.

The article may as well be just a part of the usual blame game or a fallout of some internal politics. However, even if partly true, the whole failure requires a good look at Israeli "independence" and ability to do what is good for us even if some of our friends in Washington may be pissed off. It also reminds the good old "כבדהו וחשדהו" (respect and suspect).

Cross-posted on Yourish.com