One of the most infuriating traits of Israel's career-obsessed ex-generals is their know-it-all swagger. Each macho man is also omniscient. His consistent sucking up to those who can advance his personal ambition isn't just an egocentric quest for advantage. It's inevitably based on the facade of altruism and of knowing better than clueless commoners what's happening out there and - better yet - what's going to happen.
All we need do to safeguard our future is listen to any given big-headed clairvoyant and pay homage to his vainglorious promotion of his own superiority.
Look at Ami Ayalon, for instance. The only qualifications to recommend Labor's rising star as solver-of-our-national-problems are his stints as mediocre OC Navy and malleable Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief. His latter appointment was achieved by dint of the first. As Hanna Robina, the late-great first lady of the Israeli theater, once quipped: "People with connections don't need protekzia" (favoritism, in Israeli parlance).
Ayalon is the quintessential sabra show-off. On December 20, 2005, shortly before the pivotal Palestinian Authority elections, he appeared on Channel 1's Erev Hadash and haughtily pooh-poohed dire right-wing predictions that Hamas (having been remarkably empowered by disengagement) would triumph. And so soothsayer Ayalon stated to interviewer Dan Margalit: "I am telling you already now - and you can write my words down - Hamas won't win. It's not because it can't but because it doesn't want to."
This outstandingly erroneous forecast didn't prevent him, a mere five days post-election, from declaring on the Knesset Channel that "I saw it all coming - I wrote about it. I spoke about it. Already at the end of December I warned that Hamas would probably win the elections."
Why bother about Ayalon's dodgy relationship with the truth? Because the man is so doggone gallingly archetypical. He and his top-brass ilk all superciliously expound, endlessly opine and drill into us the commanding preeminence of their analysis and prescience.
National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin "Fuad" Ben-Eliezer (Labor) is another product of the same IDF head-honcho mold. His confident posture and prattle are geared to impress. The problem is that while he puts the left-wing establishment's critics down with arrogant braggadocio, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Trusting him and fellow politically-pliable ex-generals can breed devastating results.
Fuad himself all but admitted this when he declared, also on the Knesset Channel, that "Israel made a mistake when it carried out its unilateral disengagement and evacuated settlements." Lest you suspect he's admitting failure, Fuad continues to authoritatively sing his own praises regardless of his enthusiastic backing pre-disengagement for what his political opponents somehow managed then to identify as the dangerous sham that it indeed was.
But self-important Fuad dismissed them all as pesky no-account naysayers. Instead of at least beating his breast in sincere contrition, he still toots his horn by informing us that "I reached this conclusion," about the folly of disengagement, "already a few days after the implementation of the settlements' removal and the IDF withdrawal."
WOW, WHAT perspicacity! The man is sharp indeed. What we bothersome nuisances figured out long before the dreadful deed, he was insightful enough to comprehend "already a few days after."
Besides, according to him, the mistake wasn't his. It was the state's. His underlying assumption is that there's an amorphous creature called a state, capable of reaching decisions and acting upon them. Blame isn't ascribed to specific individuals who lead said state disastrously, but to the nebulous collective. The fault certainly isn't personally Fuad's for boosting a looming catastrophe rather than loudly protesting when his voice may have mattered.
His hubris even when quasi-owning up to horribly misreading the situation might be forgiven, were he not, in the very same breath, advocating yet another tragic misconception - one that threatens to dwarf what he now appears to rue. Listen carefully to Fuad's latest assertive conclusion: "We need to put an end to the notion of unilateral retreats." All that Israel lamentably relinquished via disengagement should have been turned over to "a responsible factor with international guarantees."
For those who don't get it, Fuad preaches yet more expulsions and withdrawals - from locations frighteningly closer than Gaza to Israel's acutely-vulnerable, densely-populated heartland. Fuad is making the case for a mammoth territorial sacrifice in Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish nationhood that straddles Israel's packed urban sprawl, overlooks its one airport and controls its scant water resources.
To facilitate disengagement's sequel, Fuad must convince Israelis, still reeling from the lethal backfire of the prior imbecility, that the Olmert-Barak coalition's blueprint for further pullbacks is different than the recent incontrovertible flop. To that end he acknowledges the flop, but assumes no responsibility and proceeds to chatter on about how different the burgeoning madness would be from the preceding one.
As he has it, the disengagement Israelis daftly acquiesced to (at the avid advice of Fuad and allied lackeys) failed because it was unilateral. If the next giveaways - though incalculably more risky - aren't unilateral, they'd be a blessing. Surrendering indispensable strategic assets to Mahmoud Abbas and his "good" Fatah terrorists would make everything so thoroughly unlike abandoning land to the mercies of "bad" Hamas terrorists.
However, the extent of Fuad's colossal insult to our intelligence becomes evident enough once we put our thinking caps on. When disengagement was perpetrated, Gaza was in the hands of none other than Abbas. Our concessions, instead of enhancing his stature as planned, gave rise to Hamas, which Gaza's populace credited with driving us out.
What's to guarantee that precisely the same scenario wouldn't be replayed on our convoluted eastern flank, but with terrifyingly more dire consequences? Nothing.
Ayalon (who couldn't foresee Hamas's ascendancy) and Fuad (who was quick to read the picture only post-factum) can certainly guarantee absolutely nothing. Neither can all their fellow defeatist/opportunist ex-generals who habitually kowtow to any leftist agenda.
Never trust their judgment.