Comptroller slams IDF over Lebanon war

Annual report says troops were untrained, ammo was lacking and info was leaked to the media.

idf tank lebanon 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
idf tank lebanon 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The army embarked into the Second Lebanon War made up of units that had not trained in five years and lacked ammunition, according to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss's report on the IDF released for publication Monday. The report included criticism of the IDF Spokesperson's Office as well as the IDF Information Security Unit that failed to prevent the publication of classified information during the war in the summer of 2006 against Hizbullah. The comptroller found that from 2000 until 2006, the General Staff, due to budget constraints, had cut back on training for combat units in the reserves and regular service. "There was no proper analysis done to study the effect the drop in training would have on the military," Lindenstrauss wrote in the report. The report further found that from 2000, a majority of IDF brigade commanders served only two years in their positions, a time frame that did not include a brigade-level exercise. "By approving the cuts to the reserve corps year after year without studying the operational effects...the government took a great risk that this corps would not operate appropriately if an all-out war erupted," the comptroller wrote. The comptroller further found that due to a decision in 2005 not to purchase new medical equipment, most of the emergency medical kits opened by reservists during the war were full of materials that had expired. With regard to ammunition, the comptroller quoted Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz, chief of staff during the war, who said during a defense assessment: "We are at a low due to systematic blindness throughout the years." The comptroller found that during the war, the Defense Ministry made emergency orders of essential types of ammunition, some of which did not make it to the front lines in time to be used during the fighting. The report further found that the IDF's Operations Directorate did not have a mechanism in place to oversee and manage the use of ammunition in routine and when at war. The comptroller also investigated reports that classified military information was revealed to the media during the war. Lindenstrauss found that the military censorship was not adequately prepared for the outbreak of a war. "The revelation of classified military information was significant and took place throughout the entire war," Lindenstrauss wrote. "The IDF's disobedience on this important issue reflects a severe lack of discipline." The comptroller further found that the public-relations burden throughout the war was incorrectly placed on the IDF. In his report, Lindenstrauss wrote that a severe lack of coordination between the Foreign Ministry, IDF, Defense Ministry and Prime Minister's Office was evident and contributed to Israel's failure in properly transmitting its messages to the public and the world. Lindenstrauss also concluded that the government failed to set up an effective media center during the war for the foreign press. The Foreign Ministry, the report claimed, was not prepared to handle the press during a state of emergency. "A comprehensive all-encompassing plan of what to do had not been formulated and was not in place," the report stated. In response, the IDF Spokesman's Office released a statement claiming that the military was studying the conclusions raised in the report and planned to begin implementing them immediately. The IDF said that the different issues raised in the report had already been thoroughly internally probed by the military and some of them have already been fixed.