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(photo credit: Ori Porat [file])
Hands off Dan Halutz. The public lynching of the Chief of General Staff now being carried out because he sold his stock portfolio on the day Hizbullah abducted two IDF soldiers is one of the ugliest ever seen.
Knesset members from the Right and the Left, along with the media, are calling upon Halutz to resign.
To me this is just another miserable excuse, a pretext on the part of politicos and their partners in the media, to shift all the blame for the failures and mistakes in this war - and there's lots of them - from themselves to Halutz.
Little has changed since the days of the fiascos in Israel's wars. Once again journalists, connected by an umbilical cord to worthless politicians, are helping them to cover their tracks and escape the punishment they deserve.
"I am the only one responsible," arrogantly declares the prime minister, never for a moment thinking that he ought to resign for failing to attain even one of the goals he proclaimed at the beginning of the war in his two wannabe-Churchill speeches.
Lt.-Gen. Halutz will play a major role in the immediate cleaning out of the stables among the IDF top brass, even before a commission of inquiry is appointed. The lack of preparation of equipment, the poor quality of the equipment, the complaints from the wonderful reserves soldiers on lack of basic supplies - all stand in stark contrast to the luxurious offices of the major- and brigadier-generals of the General Staff, of which so many new ones have cropped up in recent years, bearing such grandiose titles - logistics, technology, telecommunications, engineering and so on - costing the country millions.
HALUTZ SHOULD fire all the members of the top brass. That will enable him to send a clear message that he, as a highly effective and talented commander coming from the air force, has - immediately and without beating around the bush - set about completely rehabilitating the ground forces.
And what was Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky doing there? He is a fine soldier from the Golani Brigade, but why didn't he properly prepare the ground forces all these months since being appointed deputy chief of staff?
A great deal of work awaits Halutz: He will have to carry out a monumental overhaul of the IDF, the likes of which has never been seen before. This unfinished war is an invitation to the next one, which could come quickly and by surprise - from unexpected directions.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz can make two important contributions to the rehabilitation of the system. He knows full well that his ministry contains artificially inflated departments that waste billions, when what is of vital importance right now is to improve the Merkava tanks and prepare what is needed for the reserves soldiers.
He must dismiss all those responsible for this inflated "administration," whatever name it is given. It is not necessary to wait for a commission of inquiry. The stench of corruption emanates from all these departments.
After cleaning out those stables Peretz should return the keys to the ministry as an act of national responsibility. It is what any decent man who failed to attain any of the goals he set for the war would do. Although he declared that Hassan Nasrallah would not forget his name, the sheikh will remember him only with contempt.
But if Peretz does quit, at least Israel will remember him as the one person willing to take responsibility in this miserable government that is trying to evade responsibility by dumping it on the shoulders of the only real leader around - Dan Halutz.
ONLY AFTER all the shake-ups called for will it be time for a commission of inquiry, in which Halutz will play a major role. I firmly hope it will be held on live television, so that everyone will be able to see his clear presentation of the events, as compared to the politicians' hollow antics.
I am certain that his testimony will deal the politicians a crushing blow. That is the real reason why they are in such a rush to call for his resignation - without a commission of inquiry. It's to finish him off.
Of course, he too will have to answer some serious questions regarding the general state of deterioration in the army and the tardy response of the ground forces. But he will be able to describe for everyone the magnificent, difficult and unique aerial campaign he waged together with Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy against Hizbullah. Israel can be proud of its exceptional pilots and their commanders.
No less important: In his open testimony before a commission of inquiry, Halutz will be able to reveal how he presented the prime minister with all the information on the dangers to Israel from Hizbullah rockets, as well as on the risks involved in a war that would last weeks.
The government, it will be shown, knew everything, but understood nothing.
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