Text size

The Winograd Committee has stated that the way Israel embarked on the Second Lebanon War is unacceptable, must not recur and should be rectified as soon as possible. The report says: "The primary responsibility for these serious failings rests with the prime minister, the minister of defense and the [former] chief of staff." The chief of staff had already resigned, and the defense minister is on his way out. But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert firmly believes the responsible thing to do is to remain in office, for Olmert is a responsible man.

The interim report discusses the prime minister's attitude toward the issue of the home front; from the outset, it states, Olmert understood very well that the North would be vulnerable to rockets and even made sure the other ministers understood this. But he did not do everything possible to improve the defense of the home front. "Only someone who has failed knows how to rectify," Olmert says, clinging to his chair, for Olmert is a responsible man.

The committee found that at the military and government levels there was insufficient discussion of the modes of action, the goals and the ways to achieve them. "I am holding immediate discussions to rectify the flaws," Olmert says, for Olmert is a responsible man.

The report also said the prime minister was responsible for the decisions' flaws and the way they were made. "In the nature of things, I bear the supreme responsibility for the serious failures that occurred during the war, but the committee has not explicitly recommended my resignation," Olmert says, for Olmert is a responsible man.

"The prime minister is responsible for the fact that the goals of the campaign were not set out clearly and carefully, and that there was no serious discussion of the relationships between these goals and the authorized modes of military action," the committee states. "He made a personal contribution to the fact that the declared goals were over-ambitious and not feasible." The goal I have set for myself is to remain in office so as not to shake up the country, Olmert is saying in effect, for Olmert is a responsible man.

The prime minister, the committee says, did not initiate the war with good judgment and using strategic vision, whereas Olmert explains that his judgment now instructs him to be content with a committee headed by Amnon Lipkin-Shahak to implement the Winograd Committee's recommendations, for Olmert is a responsible man.

"The prime minister made up his mind hastily, despite the fact that no detailed military plan was submitted to him and without asking for one," the report states. "Also, his decision was made without close study of the complex features of the Lebanon front and of the military, political and diplomatic options available to Israel. He made his decision without systematic consultation with others." Olmert answers, "We must not act hastily now and submit to the protests of the demonstrators," for Olmert is a responsible man.

The prime minister's way of making decisions, the committee says, indicates considerable failure, and the prime minister is responsible for the limited extent to which there were consultations at the government level. Since the report, Olmert has held extensive talks to ensure his tenure in office, for Olmert is a responsible man.

According to the report, the prime minister's personal responsibility for the decision-making methods and the fact these methods were severely flawed are key. "The entire government, and with it the Knesset and the lion's share of the public supported going to war," Olmert says, for Olmert is a responsible man.

The report states that the prime minister should have taken into account his limited experience and knowledge of the Lebanese issue and the incomplete preparedness of the Prime Minister Office's (even if this was understandable in the circumstances). It says he should have been especially scrupulous to employ a decision-making process that would ensure that the decision to go to war would be responsible, careful and considered. Olmert has taken a responsible, careful and considered decision to visit the Israel Defense Forces and evaluate the correction of the flaws, for Olmert is a responsible man.