Adam Returned the Favor to Halutz

On the wall of his office at Northern Command, Udi Adam has photos of his late father, Deputy Chief of Staff Yekutiel Adam, Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin. During different periods, all three resigned or considered resigning from the army: Yekutiel Adam, when he was not appointed GOC Northern Command and later chief of staff; Sharon, who opted to leave the Southern Command and go to politics; and Rabin, who had a nervous breakdown on the eve of the Six-Day War and considered giving up his post to then air force chief Ezer Weizman. Soon, Adam will pack his things, including those photos that surely will make him think about the three cases and the one that is most similar to his.

By then it will have become clear whether Adam's move has had a snowball effect, dragging along officers even more senior than him, or merely a dud, a shot in his own foot, lost in the sounds of the various debriefings critical of the retiring general. His resignation was meant to harm Chief of Staff Dan Halutz the most, the man who struck a blow against Adam during the war by appointing his deputy chief of staff, Moshe Kaplinsky, as his representative at Northern Command. There is no greater insult to a fighting general than to be dismissed during the fighting. Imposing Kaplinsky on Adam was correctly perceived as a not-so-subtle dismissal.

Bringing Kaplinsky back to the General Staff several days later did nothing to wash away the insult.

For the chief of staff it would have been best if all the generals, and especially Adam, would have stayed in place until 2007 and the investigations of the Israel Defense Forces would have come to an end. Perhaps by then there would also be changes at the Defense Ministry, and Amir Peretz, who is gunning for Halutz, would be gone. But it is most convenient for Adam, who used to be friends with Halutz, to do precisely the opposite.

When Halutz arrived at the airport yesterday morning, on his way to meet Adam and other officers in the North, one of Adam's aides was waiting with a letter of resignation whose content had already appeared in the press. Adam did not even bother to give Halutz a telephone warning. For the Peretz camp this signaled that the Adam camp is siding with it against Halutz. This is politics Lebanon-style, a mesh of alliances by power brokers.

From Adam's point of view the timing was right. It was not too soon, because no officer expecting to maintain his image should be conceived as having abandoned his troops in battle. It was not too late, before the details that will emerge in the investigations will begin trickling out, a sort of Chinese water torture at whose end come conclusions and recommendations. So far the findings of the team headed by Major General Udi Shani, examining the relationship between the General Staff, command levels and the air force during the war, is not particularly flattering for Adam.

If the government-appointed committee under retired judge Eliyahu Winograd is set up, precedents suggest that Adam will benefit from his resignation. The precedents are two: that of the fate of those who resigned before the findings of the committee were made public and Winograd's views. Committees of inquiry are not generally rough on those who resigned.

Winograd was "soft" on Yitzhak Mordechai when he was indicted for sexual misconduct, saying that he "had been sufficiently punished." Adam should fare a lot better.

Adam managed to transform his resignation into a protest, putting further pressure on Halutz, who is fending off calls for him to step down.