Monday, April 30, 2007

Winograd interim report released

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Apr. 30, 2007, by Herb Keinon, Gil Hoffman, Mark Weiss, and jpost staff ...

After months of waiting and speculation, the Winograd Committee's interim report harshly criticizing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz over their actions during the first five days of the Second Lebanon War was released to the public Sunday afternoon.

"The decision to respond with an immediate, intensive military strike was not based on a detailed, comprehensive and authorized military plan, based on careful study of the complex characteristics of the Lebanon arena," Judge Eliyahu Winograd, the committee's head, said.
The prime minister bore supreme and comprehensive responsibility for the decisions of 'his' government and the operations of the IDF, according to the report.

Olmert made up his mind hastily, the report said, without asking for a detailed military plan and without consulting military experts. According to the findings, Olmert made a personal contribution to the fact that the war's goals were "overambitious and unfeasible."
Turning to Peretz, the committee found that he did not have knowledge or experience in military, political or governmental matters. "Despite these serious gaps," the report said, [Peretz] made his decisions during this period without systemic consultations with experienced political and professional experts."

The report also said that Peretz had not asked for or examined the IDF's operational plans.
Therefore, his serving as defense minister during the war impaired Israel's ability to respond well to its challenges, the committee found.

Halutz, meanwhile, had failed to alert the political echelon to the serious shortcomings in the preparedness and the fitness of the armed forces for an extensive ground operation. The committee also faulted Halutz for not responding quickly enough to the July 12 kidnapping of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in a cross-border raid by Hizbullah terrorists.
According to the Winograd Committee, Halutz did not provide alternative plans of actions when some officials raised questions about his plans, and had kept the IDF's internal debates about the goals and modes of action from the government.

Aside from Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz, the report also said that the government as a whole was responsible for what happened in the war, citing a lack of "high-level staff work" and a failure to "take full responsibility for its decisions."

Follow this link to Haaretz for the complete text of the Interim report

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