Friday, May 04, 2007

Winograd Perceptions

Lisa Goldman has some notes on how the Winograd report is being perceived by Israelis:
"On Thursday night, between 100,000 (police estimate) and 200,000 (organizers' estimate) Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to call for Olmert's resignation. Rinat observed that she hadn't seen so many foreign reporters covering an event since Sharon's stroke in January 2006. Neither had I. But most of the demonstrators - and most of the speakers - seemed to think that if we had had a different prime minister during the war, we could have "won." I'm not so sure that's accurate. I'm sure that few people read the whole report, but the bits that were excerpted in the media focused more on the committee's conclusion that Olmert didn't have a good plan to win the war, and much less on the part about him not having explored diplomatic options - in other words, that it might have been possible to avoid war altogether.

"Also, most people seem to be ignoring the rather plentiful evidence pointing to the fact that the ground was laid for the failure of that war long before Olmert took office. For example, Aharon Ze'evi Farkash, who headed military intelligence until January 2006, told Yedioth on Monday that he warned former PM Ariel Sharon of a high risk of kidnappings on the northern border six months before the war, and that Sharon - who certainly had plenty of military experience - brushed his concerns aside. When I tagged along with Michael Totten on his April 2006 trip to the northern border, a young IDF captain told us very soberly that we really shouldn't be there, because 'everything could explode at any moment.' It's worth going back to read Michael's report to see that there's no way the army could have been unaware that Hezbollah was preparing to attack. And it's simply not credible to contend that the army didn't report what it saw in front of its eyes - a massive buildup of Hezbollah military force on the border - to the prime minister."

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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