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With public pressure mounting for the establishment of an independent committee of inquiry to look into the management of the war, hundreds of reserve soldiers who served in Lebanon sent a letter of protest addressed to Defense Minister Amir Peretz and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz on Sunday, while two reservists led a protest march to the prime minister's office in Jerusalem.
In the letter, they described a severe breach of trust between the leadership and the soldiers. "The management of the war," they wrote, "caused us to feel that they were spitting in our face."
The letter expressed frustration with the "indecision" that, the soldiers say, characterized their assignment in Lebanon. It also stated that the lack of a clear mission for their brigade in the final days of the war needlessly endangered their lives, Army Radio reported.
In a private meeting between Halutz and the commanders of the reserve Alexandroni Brigade, which fought in the western sector, the officers of the brigade criticized the army's management over the last month.
Among other things, they described serious trust issues with the commanders, and told Halutz, "We need to rebuild the soldiers' trust in the system before it is too late." Many officers spoke about the inadequacy of the food and water supply in the battlefield.
On Sunday, Chief Infantry Officer Brig.-Gen. Yossi Hyman was the first senior IDF officer to admit the failure of the war in Lebanon. "I did not succeed in preparing the infantry well enough for war," he said, adding, "Sometimes we were guilty of the sin of vanity."