Haaretz reports on leaked information from the Winograd Report which evaluates the PM’s performance in conducting the war (among other things). I thought this dialogue was interesting:
In a meeting in March, Olmert asked the army commanders whether operational plans existed for such a possibility, and they said yes. He asked to see the plans, and they asked why. He responded that he did not want to make a snap decision in the case of an abduction, and preferred to decide at that moment. Presented with the options, he selected a moderate plan that included air attacks accompanied by a limited ground operation.
Can you imagine a U.S. president asking to see the war contingency plans for Iran and the generals asking him “Why?” Does this tell you something about the power relationship between the IDF and its supposedly civilian masters? Remember the movie, Wag the Dog? Olmert’s the dog in this case. And you know who’s wagging the dog.
You’ll also note that Olmert told the generals essentially that he wanted to have a war plan in place BEFORE a kidnapping incident. Which tells me that he did little or no tweaking of his plan to suit it to the circumstances. He merely accepted an “off the shelf” plan. The wretched results of invasion testify to how well-adapted it was to the occasion.
You really have to put “moderate plan” in quotation marks in the passage above since clearly bombing Lebanon back to the Stone Age can in no way be called “moderate.” But I think what Olmert meant by the term was a plan that did not commit to an immediate ground invasion.
Finally, this is a very telling statement as well:
Olmert’s chief of staff, Yoram Turbowicz, gave the Winograd Commission the diplomatic exchanges that occurred during the war.
He said that as early as the first day of the war, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with Olmert and asked that Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora not be undermined. Israel understood this to mean that Lebanese infrastructure should not be destroyed, even though the IDF had originally planned otherwise.
It is either a mark of the absolute disdain in which they hold Condi Rice that the IDF would ignore her request that Israel should not destroy Lebanese infrastructure (as it certainly did that with wild abandon); or the IDF is in utter denial in believing that it DID honor her request. Either way, this passage is a woeful indication of the inability of the U.S. to achieve its supposed policy objectives during the war.
I thought the story was supposed to be that the US had pushed Israel into a ground invasion. This seems to be saying that it was the IDF, not Washington. Could you please explain a little more? Who is covering up here?
Richard Silverstein says
I never read a story about the U.S. pushing Israel into a ground invasion. The U.S. did though definitely want Israel to eliminate Hezbollah. So in that sense they prob. approved of any tactics that would achieve the goal including a ground invasion. But it does appear that most of the military brass except Halutz (& perhaps Olmert) wanted the ground invasion.