amotz asa el 88.
(photo credit: )
I should never have done that kidnapping. I can take the devastation, displacement and killings, what do I care; heck, even the hiding was fun in its own way. What I can't stand is the attacks on me. Too many people have it in for me now, and everybody's a great Monday-morning quarterback.
Some say killing Israelis was good but humiliating them was bad, others that I should have killed some, but not so many, and some actually give me this bullshit about respecting borders, attacking civilians and hurting Lebanese interests.
Never mind Walid Jumblatt's and Samir Geagea's bravado; what can one expect from a Druse and a Christian?
It's my allies that are getting on my nerves. Bashar suddenly says he has no interest in destroying the Jewish state, and the Iranians say they didn't mean for all this to happen just now. So when?
I guess for them I'm just a ball-boy, a chauffeur, an extra in the great spectacle of Shi'ite restoration whose time, location and scope only they will determine. What a disgrace.
Still, what could I do? With my officers standing routinely only several yards away from IDF soldiers in bulky command cars see-sawing up and down that silly patrol road of theirs as bizarrely as elephants in the Sahara, I just had to see what it would be like to snatch them, and then reap just a little more ransom from just a few more dead Zionist bodies. I just couldn't resist the temptation.
I SHOULD never have hired even one woman to do anything, even serve tea, in my office. Sure, back when I was the up-and-coming mayor of godforsaken Kiryat Malachi, one could make any pass at any woman in any Israeli corridor of power with impunity. Back then, when I and the Jewish state were in our twenties, the very term "sexual harassment" had yet to be coined, the press actually admired Moshe Dayan for his infidelities, and rape was something perverts did in the woods.
Yes, times have changed. Like Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai and actor Hanan Goldblatt, I too understood too late that the bastards had changed the rules. But what could I do? There I was, Moshe the boy from the immigrant-absorption camp who against all odds had reached the Knesset, cabinet and presidency, where I was showered with near-royal honors and perks: limousines, ceremonies, receptions, military bands, state visits to universities, theaters and military camps, with visits by kings, princes, presidents and ambassadors from all corners of the earth, private lunches with the prime minister, chief of staff, Bank of Israel governor, chief rabbi, commander of the air force, and practically anyone else with whom I felt like it.
Under such circumstances it was only natural for me to think that with all this being mine, they too were mine; I just couldn't resist the temptation.
I SHOULD have politely refused Arik's offer.
I could have by now peacefully headed a hi-tech conglomerate, or been a much-admired senior fellow at this or that think tank, or - irony of ironies - chaired this goddamn commission of inquiry that is now upon us.
Ah, wouldn't that have been fun, to look Shaul, Amir, Udi, or of course Ehud in the eye and inquire: "Tuesday morning 10:25: What did you know, what did you think, what did you do, and why? Where was the enemy, where were the troops, where was the equipment and where the hell was your common sense?"
Well, now I am the one facing these questions, and not just facing them, but from any idiot - from a pompous lawmaker who never even flew a kite to some 19-year-old Army Radio punk. Why did I need this? How did I get into this trap?
When Arik appointed me there was no hint he would soon vanish. And I thought my job would be first to get the settlers out of Gaza - piece of cake, I knew they would go quietly - and then, if anything, something aerial or naval far beyond the horizon.
Alas, when I was thinking Iran, long-range warplanes, submarines, satellites, laser technologies and supercomputers, God was thinking rifles, pistols, bayonets, water supplies and little rockets fired from motorcycles. Had Arik been here, he would probably have thought of something, or at least gotten all the flack.
Now I will be remembered for being not the first, but the last pilot to head the IDF. But back then, when he called me in, I could only think of that added brass on my shoulders. After nearly four decades in the military, who in his right mind would turn down such power, fame and prestige? Has any general ever in the annals of any army refused such an offer? I just couldn't resist the temptation.
I SHOULD never have challenged Shimon.
I don't know what got into me. Never mind that, back in the '80s, he was my patron, that without him I would still be mayor of Sderot today. Betrayal is the bread and butter of us politicians, and Peres can preach to no one on this front. If anything, the problem was that out of my great respect for him I forgot that running against Peres could well result in victory. I just didn't prepare for that outcome, just like Bibi didn't prepare to be prime minister in '96, and Katsav didn't expect to be president in 2000.
But once there, when Ehud said "I am talking Defense," and I - Amir, the immigrant-boy from the Negev - saw Ben-Gurion's image here and all those platoons, brigades, divisions, choppers, warplanes, missiles, destroyers and what not, the world's sixth-largest army answering to my command - I just had to say "I do." I just couldn't resist the temptation.
ME AND MY big mouth; I say we are going to eradicate them - they survive; I say we are going to win - people say we lost; I say Admoni, it ends up Winograd; I talk about Nasrallah being afraid to come out of hiding, he comes out addressing thousands; I talk about Haim Yavin having more houses than me, and the state comptroller shows up - here, of all places, where I now spend my increasingly sorry days - with his annoying questions about my own houses.
Not that I was wrong to think I could be prime minister. When I said in 2004 at Ben-Gurion's grave that our times demand "Ben-Gurionesque" decisions, I didn't just mean we had to retreat from Gaza, Judea and Samaria; I meant that I was the rightful heir. And events have since only vindicated me. B-G declared the Jewish state and I (well, with Arik) declared the Palestinian state; B-G established Mapai and we established Kadima; B-G stormed the Altalena, and I stormed Amona.
Maybe I am even better than B-G; after all, what real estate did he have besides that shack in the desert?
And so, when I saw all those people attack me - journalists, politicians, generals, professors, bereaved parents - I had to respond. So what if Moshe Ya'alon and Shaul Mofaz led numerous maneuvers involving thousands of troops, and what if their accomplishments in fighting terror are now being studied in military academies around the world, and what if the one knows what he is talking about when he says we relied too heavily on air power, and what if the other made sense when he prodded me, during the war, to encircle Hizbullah and attack it from the rear?
It's not that I have good answers for either of them - of course I don't - it's just fun to trip such political novices, one by saying about him that he never managed a war, and the other by having him raise his siege proposal in a cabinet meeting where I knew it had to be torpedoed by his successor, for whom the worst nightmare was not an additional 33 Israeli casualties, but a battle plan that had his predecessor's name all over it.
So now two more people hate my guts, but I got to shame them; I just couldn't resist the temptation.