Fifty IDF Commanders Call on PM Olmert to 'Take Responsibility'
Fifty reservists serving as IDF company commanders sent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a letter Monday calling on him to resign because of failures in the Second Lebanon War. They charged the prime minister with refusing "to accept standards of personal responsibility." The officers, including captains in elite combat units and reservists of
We are concerned over the norms of behavior in the political system under your leadership.
various ages, emphasized that they will continue to unhesitatingly carry out their military obligations.
The letter was sent less than two weeks before the Winograd Committee is to issue its final report on the role of the government and military establishment during the 2006 war in Lebanon. The report is expected to be harsh, but without assignment of personal responsible for failures in the retaliation against the Hizbullah terrorist army.
The Text of the Letter
The text of the letter, translated into English, is as follows:
Mr. Prime Minister,
We, citizens who serve as company commanders in the reserve corps of the IDF, turn to you in light of the upcoming publication of the final report of the Winograd Committee. As those who commanded soldiers during the Second Lebanon War, and who experienced the events of the war up close, as well as the collapse of trust between reserve soldiers and the civilian echelon in command of the army, we are concerned over the norms of behavior in the political system under your leadership.
The Israeli security philosophy is based, in theory and in practice, on the responsibility and personal example displayed by the commander. For us, "Follow me!" is not just a slogan, but a necessary norm of behavior for anyone who leads men into battle.
Many failures were exposed in IDF actions in the Second Lebanon War. Senior IDF commanders paid a personal price for their failures and were forced to resign their commands. The Defense Minister, Mr. Ehud Barak already said, after the publication of the Winograd Committee's interim report, "Prime Minister Olmert must reach personal conclusions and resign, as Dan Halutz and Amir Peretz have done, each in his own way."
Yet you, standing at the top of the hierarchy, refuse to accept standards of personal responsibility. Even before you receive the final Winograd Committee report, you have already announced that, be as they may the conclusions of the committee that you appointed, you will not see it personally and resign. Your behavior does deep harm to the ethical and practical foundation of national security, because anyone not obligated by personal responsibility cannot send people to war. And this is so for the prime minister just as it is for every company commander.
Therefore, we declare that we will continue to loyally serve our nation and report for any mission; however, it is not just our right, but our duty to demand of you that you recant; state that you will accept the recommendations of the final Winograd Committee report, take responsibility for your failures in the Second Lebanon War, and reach the obvious personal conclusions arising therefrom.
Movement for Quality Government Doesn't Expect Change
In an interview with Arutz Sheva Radio, Attorney Eliad Shraga, chairman of the Movement for Quality Government, said that he doesn't expect Prime Minister Olmert to accept responsibility for wartime failures, regardless of the Winograd report.
"The prime minister never learned in school about the concept of responsibility an personal example, so I don't expect that precisely now he will do the necessary thing and vacate his position," Shraga said. Noting that, although the Winograd Committee will not
The entire chain of command that was involved in running the war has left military service.
have the power to remove any leader deemed responsible for failures in the Second Lebanon War, "At the end of the day, since the committee started working until now... the entire chain of command that was involved in running the war has left military service.... And the single, solitary individual who remains is the prime minister. The interim report provided the proof that the man needs to go."
Attorney Shraga added his hope that Defense Minister Barak carries out his promise to the nation and resigns from the government. "The state of Israel never absorbed 400 rockets on its homefront," Shraga said. "People need to pay the price and it is unacceptable that the price is limited to the 200 families who lost their loved ones.... A man with a lower approval rating than the percentage on a cottage cheese container cannot continue to run the country, he must go home."