When defense professionals shouldn’t be heeded

Many ‘defense’ questions are really political ones, on which pros like Meir Dagan lack expertise.

July 1, 2013 13:49
Meir Dagan

Meir Dagan. (photo credit: Reuters)


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As a country faced with nonstop war and terror since its inception, Israel naturally accords great respect to the views of its defense professionals. 

Granted, many have seen their luster as defense experts dim after entering politics, where their performance received more scrutiny than the shadows of the defense establishment allow. Ehud Barak and Moshe Dayan, for instance, were both IDF chiefs of staff, yet the former’s handling of the second intifada as prime minister was universally panned, as was the latter’s performance as defense minister during the Yom Kippur War. Former air force commander Ezer Weizman opposed attacking Iraq’s nuclear reactor as defense minister, yet the 1981 airstrike succeeded brilliantly. Mossad veteran Tzipi Livni boasted of crafting UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to end the Second Lebanon War as foreign minister in 2006, yet this resolution enabled Hezbollah to rearm so quickly that by 2009, it had three times as many rockets as it did before the war.


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