Lonely Man of Cake

May 2, 2007

Winograd Aftermath

Filed under: Israel,Politics,Security — lonelymanofcake @ 9:58 am

It’s been about 36 hours since the interim report of the Winograd Committee was released. Former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who wisely stepped down a while ago, has been gallivanting around the United States, instead of perhaps apologizing to grieving parents who unnecessarily lost their sons because of his unwillingness to admit that his army was not ready for war. Defense minister Amir Peretz, a former labor kingpin who has about as much military experience as I do, is finally rumored as mulling resignation, despite his many assertions to the contrary over the past few days. Peretz’s behavior is emblematic of what is wrong with the entire current administration: putting personal interests ahead of those of the entire nation, not to mention one’s political party.

Many commentators (and citizens with common sense) have been uncomfortable, from  Peretz’s initial appointment as defense minister, with the idea that someone completely unfamiliar with the defense establishment is suddenly at its helm. Peretz wanted to be the minister of the treasury–a position now in limbo because of the audacious indiscretions of its former occupant, and ongoing criminal investigations surrounding Olmert, who assigned the position to himself. Olmert’s price for becoming Prime Minister was to recklessly relegate Shaul Mofaz, the reigning defense minister and former Chief of Staff, to minister of transportation, and promote Amir Peretz to the coveted post of defense minister. Olmert should have never made this appointment. By the same token, Amir Peretz should have declined based on his lack of experience, given the volatility of the region and the sensitivity of the post. By accepting the post of defense minister, Peretz, who was known as a champion of Palestinian rights, ended up presiding over numerous incidents in which innocent Palestinian blood was shed. Hardly the dove Peretz’s constituents hoped for when the latter overtook the ever-defeatable Shimon Peres in the 2005 Labor primaries. Alienating your constituents is one thing. But Amir Peretz’s refusal to acknowledge that he was in way over his head no doubt caused unnecessary casualties and heartbreak.

Last but not least, Ehud Olmert. He looked exhausted yesterday at the appointment of the new chief of police, and the feeling is mutual. The country is tired of Ehud Olmert, who ever since the Second Lebanon War has been fighting a daily battle to remain in office. Some 75% of Israelis recently polled want him to tender his resignation immediately. The sad truth for Olmert is that his resignation or ousting in a no-confidence vote spell the end of his political career. All indications are that Olmert will be defeated handily in the Kadima primaries by Tzippy Livni, who will confront the prime minister with an ultimatum this afternoon: either you resign or I do. The implication of Livni’s resignation is likely a wholesale mutiny in Kadima.

This country deserves better. I can’t wait to cover the new elections.

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