The Winograd Report

Monday, April 30, 2007
Israel continues in the ancient Western tradition (instituted by the Greeks some 2,500 years ago, albeit with some curious results) by publishing an audit report of Israel's campaign in Lebanon last summer. Both the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz treat the report respectfully. The reports summary conclusion:
10. The main failures in the decisions made and the decision-making processes can be summed up as follows:

a. The decision to respond with an immediate, intensive military strike was not based on a detailed, comprehensive and authorized military plan, based on careful study of the complex characteristics of the Lebanon arena. A meticulous examination of these characteristics would have revealed the following: the ability to achieve military gains having significant political-international weight was limited; an Israeli military strike would inevitably lead to missiles fired at the Israeli civilian north; there was not other effective military response to such missile attacks than an extensive and prolonged ground operation to capture the areas from which the missiles were fired - which would have a high "cost" and which did not enjoy broad support. These difficulties were not explicitly raised with the political leaders before the decision to strike was taken.

b. Consequently, in making the decision to go to war, the government did not consider the whole range of options, including that of continuing the policy of 'containment', or combining political and diplomatic moves with military strikes below the 'escalation level', or military preparations without immediate military action -- so as to maintain for Israel the full range of responses to the abduction. This failure reflects weakness in strategic thinking, which derives the response to the event from a more comprehensive and encompassing picture.

c. The support in the cabinet for this move was gained in part through ambiguity in the presentation of goals and modes of operation, so that ministers with different or even contradictory attitudes could support it. The ministers voted for a vague decision, without understanding and knowing its nature and implications. They authorized to commence a military campaign without considering how to exit it.

d. Some of the declared goals of the war were not clear and could not be achieved, and in part were not achievable by the authorized modes of military action.

e. The IDF did not exhibit creativity in proposing alternative action possibilities, did not alert the political decision-makers to the discrepancy between its own scenarios and the authorized modes of action, and did not demand - as was necessary under its own plans - early mobilization of the reserves so they could be equipped and trained in case a ground operation would be required.

f. Even after these facts became known to the political leaders, they failed to adapt the military way of operation and its goals to the reality on the ground. On the contrary, declared goals were too ambitious, and it was publicly states that fighting will continue till they are achieved. But the authorized military operations did not enable their achievement.

11. The primary responsibility for these serious failings rests with the Prime Minister, the minister of defense and the (outgoing) Chief of Staff. We single out these three because it is likely that had any of them acted better - the decisions in the relevant period and the ways they were made, as well as the outcome of the war, would have been significantly better.
That is a statement of facts which were obvious within a week of Olmert's decision to initiate military action.

AP's headline: Olmert Will Not Resign After Report indicates a detachment from reality that is Clintonian in nature.

I wonder how Hezbollah is treating the Israelis whose kidnapping was the causus belli for the fracas? Someone should ask Olmert how Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are doing these days. Just to see if he remembers their names.


loner said...

Why is it Clintonian in nature?

Just curious.

I promise.

Rick Ballard said...

In the nature of the "Well, we just have to win then." response when the going got tough about his lying. Olmert is more than loosely enmeshed in other "problems" which he seems determined to ignore. It's really hard to disgrace a man who has no concept of honor.

Clinton did "win" as may Olmert. I'd say that Olmert has a tougher row to hoe. He's one of a very few democratically elected leaders who wishes that they had Bush's popularity ratings.

Of course, had Halutz delivered on his promise to bomb Nasrullah into tiny pieces, Olmert would be cruising. The highest ranking and very well respected officer's Plan B just wasn't too good.