Richard Fernandez examines the The Winograd post-mortem of Israel’s poorly executed war against Hezbollah:
…It is not for nothing that retreat in the face of a still-active enemy is considered the most dangerous of military operations. Only among Western politicians is such an operation synonymous with safety.
Michael Totten has more on the Israeli public’s reaction to Winograd — with photos of the protests.
…The purpose of the Winograd report is much more obvious: A transparent accounting of what went wrong during the Lebanon war, for public consumption. A reckoning. But the release of the report only partially explains the size of the turnout, or its mood, which was subdued and reluctantly, rarely, boisterous. The larger undercurrent is the feeling that, despite a remarkable economic boom and the containment of Palestinian terrorism, the past year has been a dangerous example of the perils of feckless leadership. The three abducted soldiers remain in captivity; rockets from Gaza land in the Negev regularly; Nasrallah gloats, quite convincingly, from Lebanon; missiles and arms pour into Southern Lebanon from Syria, unimpeded by the indolent â€œinternational forceâ€ that patrols the area; and Iran races toward the realization of its nuclear ambitions. And there is another source of the worry that pervades Israel. That is the absence, in the post-Sharon era, of Israelâ€™s founding fathers in the countryâ€™s political leadership. Almost every one of the statesmen who built this country out of stone and swamp and battle has passed on — and in this test of the new generation, in the Olmert government, Israelis are witnessing the disgraceful spectacle of leaders not only lacking in the wisdom and dedication of the founders, but who also turn out to be corrupt, ignorant of how to lead the IDF into war, and unreliable under pressure.
And so Israel falls back on its strongest asset, its people. Politicians were not permitted to speak at the protest. There was very little 1960â€™s pageantry to be found last night, and virtually no dumb sloganeering or vapid pacifism. This was a thoroughly middle class protest. The nationâ€™s grown-ups arrived to announce their desire to take the state back from the ambitious dilettantes who had been mistakenly entrusted with power. The Israelis present, from the left, right, and center, wished to save the nation from unseriousness. Last night, the need for competence trumped ideology.