The final statements of the Winograd Report were publicized on Wednesday, January 30. There reports summary, read allowed by presiding committee chairman, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eliahu Winograd, were not anything really different that what had been said previously, concerning how Prime Minister Olmert and other officials handled the Lebanon II war in 2006. Though tow of the main “players” , former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were already no longer in their appointed positions, they were surely watching the proceedings from either their homes, offices, or (in the case of Halutz) the Tel Aviv showroom of the BMW motor car importer at which he now works as a salesman.
The 34 day war cost 25 billion Shekels ( $ 7.6 billion), caused more than 300,000 Israeli citizens to abandon their homes in the north for safer locations further south, saw 3.912 Ketiusha rockets land in Israel and resulted in more than 180 fatalities ( more than 50 being non-combatants). Some of the final conclusions of the report, as read allowed by Judge Winograd included:
“Not only were military actions not planned properly, they were not carried out according to an organized plan of action”.
“The management and coordination of the ground operations at the end of the conflict brings the most serious questions of responsibility to mind”.
The report points final responsibility towards both top ranking military and government authorities, making them directly responsible for the outcome of the war. Although no specific names were directly mentioned, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out who the report was referring to within the realm of “final responsibility”.
Although the report summary did note that the ground action was something that was considered necessary, the report concluded that “serious faults were found in both military and governmental strategies, particularly in regards to the manner in which the ground operations were carried out”.
Although not mentioned in the report’s summary, the full text of the final report most likely mentions issues such as why reserve soldiers with little on-going combat training and inadequate equipment and supplies (especially food and water) were required to result to foraging in enemy territory which included drinking water out of Hezbollah canteens and eating their food as well.
Many other issues are probably in the 700 + page report, including how the government mishandled the plight of the country’s civilian population, including the ones who languished in dirty, poorly ventilated shelters, or fled south to stay either with benevolent private citizens or in tent cities provided by philanthropists such as Arkady Gaydamak.
Ironically, a poll conducted following the issuance of the final report showed 42% of respondents saying that Olmert should stay in power, while 27% favored news elections as soon as possible.
While the conclusions of the report does not actually call on any of the “high ranking military and public officials” to resign their positions, if they have not already done so, it does leave it to the political parties and the general public to make their own conclusions as to what needs to be done, in light of the reports findings. With all the current criticism being levied at “those at the very top” it remains to be seen if the people’s voice will be heard. One thing for sure, is that other people are interested in the report’s findings, including that bearded guy wearing a turban who is probably sitting in his office or meeting room, going over the report while drinking mint tea. His personal and political future also hinges on what develops in the wake of the findings of this report.
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