May 3: Strategic deflection

Despite all attempts by his advisors to spin the outcme of Winograd, the public wants Olmert out.

letters pink 88 (photo credit: )
letters pink 88
(photo credit: )
Strategic deflection Sir, - In light (or shade) of the Winograd Committee's report, PM Ehud Olmert, his close allies and his strategic spin team are once again insulting the intelligence of the Israeli citizen, using a unified strategy to counter the overwhelming call for Olmert's resignation ("Olmert determined to fight tooth and nail," May 2). We are told that his resignation will not solve Israel's problems, that new elections would destabilize the nation, that Bibi would be a disaster, that a government committee will investigate the failings, and that Olmert will intensively rehabilitate himself and his government. Olmert hopes this strategy will deflect the nation's focus from Winograd's verdict of his catastrophic failings. But the nation wants Olmert's resignation, and the Winograd findings demand it. The assumed results of that resignation are no longer Olmert's business and he no longer has a mandate to lead a housecleaning program. He will need all his energy to cope with the criminal charges against him. YEHUDA OPPENHEIM Jerusalem An A for arrogance Sir, - PM Olmert wants to stay in office so he can "fix the problems" identified by the Winograd Report. Thus he still doesn't understand that the root problem it identified is arrogance. He can make a start on solving this problem by stepping down ("Opposition struggles to unite for rally," May 2). COLEMAN BROSILOW Rehovot Sir, - As an elderly grandfather with two grandsons who served in combat infantry units during the Second Lebanon War, I read with amazement of the ignorance, incompetence and arrogance with which our prime minister sent other people's sons to war. Not only did he fail to consult with those more knowledgeable than he, in his bumbling attempts to look good before the cameras he sent men to their deaths in combat. Now he has the temerity to announce that he will remain in office to remedy the problems which Winograd has discovered, and his mustachioed Sancho Panza says, "Me too!" Charlatan poseurs deserve to be sent to the dustbin of history until they comprehend the tragedy they have caused. DAVID STAR Ma'aleh Adumim Sir, - The Winograd Committee is to be commended for its work. However, in terms of its broad conclusions it merely confirms what most Israelis already knew after the first days of the war. Unfortunately, those in power were too arrogant and self-centered to acknowledge them and take immediate steps to minimize the damage done. MOSHE SZWERGOLD Jerusalem Be grateful Sir, - The attempt to cling to power, putting lust for it above the needs of one's country (which is clearly under attack) is heinous. All politicians love power; some are obsessed with it. Be grateful to those in his government with the courage to force Olmert out ("Kadima rebellion gathers pace," May 2). JOSEPH R. ABRAHAMSON San Diego, California Collectively responsible Sir, - Israel is a democracy headed by a prime minister who is, in turn, guided by his cabinet. The majority, if not all, of Ehud Olmert's cabinet fully agreed with his decision to enter the war - or, worse, acted as a rubber stamp to his irresponsibility. Either way, they too must be held as fully accountable, particularly the so-called senior cabinet members. Had any of them felt that embarking on this war would be inadvisable, they could and should have marked their objection by resigning from the cabinet. None did. Theirs was a collective decision and they are bound to acknowledge their collective responsibility. Together with other regular MKs they now have the moral and ethical imperative to resign from the already moribund Kadima Party, as did Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel, or face inevitable future political obscurity ("Cabel quits cabinet, calls for Olmert to follow," May 2). MOSHE BECKER Petah Tikva Sir, - The Winograd Committee made it clear that the IDF's lack of preparedness was nothing new, and has happened over many administrations. That Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz were rookies and made major errors doesn't excuse the army's non-rookie leaders for the main problems in both preparedness and execution of the war. Without fixing those it is just another knee-jerk, emotional bit of Israeli lunacy to demand that Olmert step down. Ehud Barak, Ami Ayalon and Bibi Netanyahu were both premiers who bear responsibility for previous degradation of the IDF. Why trust them and not Olmert? It's time to fix politics in Israel and not use Olmert and Peretz as lightening rods allowing people to ignore the real problems. DAVID TEICH Rehovot Sir, - Anshel Pfeffer wrote that the Winograd Committee "interestingly... did not criticize Ehud Olmert for 'appointing... the defense minister.'" In fact, Mr. Olmert did not appoint Amir Peretz. That catastrophe was wrought by Israel's vile political culture - wheeler-dealer manipulating and "combinations" brokered by party hacks, with jobs for the boys and the party's interests always taking precedence over the national interest. If an outraged nation does not take to the streets and demand a new era of accountability and responsibility, it will deserve the disasters that will inevitably follow. A high wall should be built around the Knesset and the area declared extraterritorial, with the politicians incarcerated inside playing party politics to their hearts' content. Running Israel is too important to be left in the hands of our politicians ("Shattering illusions, and offering a prescription for efficient rule," May 1). FREDA KEET Jerusalem Medieval & meritorious Sir, - I heartily endorse every word of Elliot Jager's "Brest-Litovsk and all that" (May 2) - except for his downgrading of the attribute "medieval" in his reference to "medieval-thinking rabbis." Would that our rabbinic establishment and haredi "greats" were indeed as enlightened as our medieval "greats" - the Rambam, Ramban, Meiri, Ibn Ezra and Rashi. etc. - who never hesitated when necessary to brand even sacrosanct customs as nonsensical and superstitious and were quick to apply the flexible and compassionate principles of the Torah to new social and ideological situations as they arose. ARYEH NEWMAN Jerusalem Sir, - This piece was an important observation, and I hope an influential one as well. JAMES MICHAEL PRICE Haymarket, Virginia Threatened views Sir, - Two of the most thrilling views for me are the Old City walls and the Jaffa Gate. Now it seems they will be forever blocked by a large steel art installation entitled "Olive Groves" at Jaffa Gate ("Jerusalem, savvy city of old," May 2). Why not save the $500,000 earmarked for the project and plant a few real olive trees, which would blend in naturally with the city of old and save my wondrous views? CHAYA HEUMAN Ginot Shomron Nine more Sir, - "Simpsons will streak into theaters" (May 2) reported, "Now in its 18th season, The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom in history." Not even close. The BBC's Last of the Summer Wine has been running for 27 years. DAVID KRAVITZ Netanya