Missing the point of politics

By
January 8, 2013 14:34

Yuval Diskin’s latest rant is an object lesson in why defense officials often fail as politicians.




Yuval Diskin

Yuval Diskin. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Numerous respected senior defense officials have proved disappointing as politicians; think Shaul Mofaz, Yitzhak Mordechai, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and Avi Dichter, to name just a few. This inevitably raises some qualms: Were these people actually competent to oversee our security? In that sense, last week’s otherwise disgraceful rant by former Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin was oddly reassuring: Perhaps they’re perfectly competent as defense officials; they just don’t grasp what politics is all about.

Diskin’s main gripe about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is their “messianic” fervor to halt Iran’s nuclear program, as he put it in a previous rant. Last week, he again complained that Netanyahu is “possessed” by Iran and “wants to go down in history” for stopping its nuclear program. Fundamentally, he considers both men egomaniacs; he’s also appalled by their love of luxury: Last week, he assailed them for smoking cigars and even having an occasional drink at “sensitive” meetings; earlier, he lambasted their pricey homes. 

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