31 January 2008

Winograd report for dummies

The noise around the Winograd Commission report is so deafening and the opinions (probably coming mostly from people who, like I, haven't read the report itself) are so widely and wildly different that I have decided to prepare a brief for myself and other dummies.

Let's start with the opinions. Of course, our gallant enemy, the Hezbollah and its valiant underground leader come first:

Hizbullah: Winograd report confirms IDF was defeated in Lebanon

Oh well, let's see his mug staying above ground for more than 2 hours... now to another clown:

Minister Haim Ramon: Opposition must apologize to PM
Ramon: War report vindicates Olmert

Apologize - what about and why? And the report doesn't exactly vindicate - just doesn't convict. Now to the unvidicated and unconvicted Olmert himself:

'Time to get back to business,' says Olmert

Sure, chief, you just want us all to forget and be happy, do you? And you are probably laughing your arse off hearing about some highly principled dorks like this one:

Kadima MK Itzchaky quits Knesset over war report

And you are brimming with happiness over headlines like:

Poll: Olmert's popularity up since Winograd published

And of course, nothing makes Olmert happier than that (relative) silence of your Likud rivals. They just don't know what to do, repeating their toothless "Olmert must go" that, in the circumstances, sounds quite pathetic.

And of course, some of the political fallout folks still cannot get in touch with reality:

Peretz blames predecessors for war's failings

Now, really, Mr Peretz - this is an old one, pull another leg, please. But let's look at the people who really matter, and this couldn't be joked about. The Winograd report says:

IDF put troops' safety over operational needs

But of course, the families of the fallen and the soldiers think differently:

Families, reservists upset with report
Reserve soldiers say Olmert 'lacks moral authority', must resign

There really is no contradiction: the weakest links in the Lebanon war seem to be these in the staff level chain of command.

So on one hand we have the outraged public demanding that the person on whose table the buck stops take the responsibility and go home. Which, on the moral side of it, would seem to be just the thing to do, no matter what the Winograd report says.

But on the formal side, while Winograd report does blame Olmert in many faults, the ultimate blame was put on the tables of IDF high command. And the top IDF brass, at least part of it, have already done what is expected of the officer found culpable - unlike their ultimate commander.

Well, what is left? Likud, nurturing their wounds caused by premature eja victory calls? They will recover, I guess. Hope springs eternal.

So, after this review - should Olmert resign or announce early election and with high level of probability vacate his chair to Bibi (or to Barak, with lesser chances)? Only a few months ago I was one of the multitude clamoring for his resignation. In normal circumstances, with respectable opposition leaders with unblemished record, my puny opinion would stay as above. But seeing who is going to inherit the chair, I would strongly advise to forget about that move.

Unfortunately, currently there is no replacement for our sleek, possibly corrupt and so far de facto unbeatable leader. Not by any democratic and practical means I can imagine.

I know it may sound immoral and defeatist and some will blame me in lack of moral fiber. But let's be real...