Going Back 20 Years

If the last elections heralded, although did not provide, a social agenda and an understanding that we have to evacuate the territories, then in the coming elections we will again see the world through the barrel of a cannon.

If I were a great admirer of past generations of Israel Defense Forces commanders, and someone who tends to believe conspiracy theories, I might well believe that the IDF's failure in the Second Lebanon War was deliberate and initiated by the leaders of the army. After years of effectively dominating the country, with high command positions serving as a springboard to senior cabinet posts including the premiership, by means of constant brainwashing to the effect that the security of the state must head the national order of priorities - it looks as though the public is finally beginning to sober up, and is likely in the future to elect governments whose top positions are manned by civilians that do not have experience in the military's highest ranks.

The sobering up of the public was reflected in the withdrawal from Lebanon, in the division of the country into two states, in the disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank, in the promotion of a social-educational agenda and in the election of Kadima, with civilian Ehud Olmert at its head, and Labor, with Amir Peretz. It is possible, I'd say to myself, that the IDF commanders saw this new situation as endangering their status, and understood that a relatively limited defeat in war, including genuine suffering on the home front, at a time when two people "lacking military experience" headed the government, would turn back the wheel and seer into the public's consciousness for many years to come the necessity of filling key cabinet positions with generals like themselves.

No, I am not a big admirer of IDF commanders, and therefore I do not believe that with their limited wisdom and sophistication, they would have been capable of planning and implementing such a conspiracy. But the mismanagement of the war, first of all by a chief of staff who was appointed with loud fanfare by no other than "Mr. Security" himself, General Arik Sharon, and by the prime minister and the defense minister, on the one hand, and by a government investigation committee with a rather moldy perspective, on the other, led by chance to a desirable outcome for them.

The public, led by the Winograd Committee, bought the theory that the military inexperience of Olmert and Peretz, and nothing else, led to the downfall in Lebanon. Chief of staff Dan Halutz, who saved himself by the skin of his teeth when he resigned before publication of the interim report of the committee, and Shaul Mofaz, the man who until recently was chief of staff and defense minister, and who failed by not handing over a worthy army to Halutz, and the former defense minister and brigadier general Binyamin Ben-Eliezer - all of them, who sat at the cabinet table when it made fateful decisions based on shaky data and kept their silence, have remained unblemished.

The painful process Israel is undergoing at present brings us back at least 20 years. If the last elections heralded, although unfortunately did not provide, a social agenda and an understanding that we have to evacuate the territories, then in the coming elections we will once again search for the coin under the street lamp, and see the world through the barrel of a cannon. We will once again fight the wars of the past, we will invest a fortune in military stockpiling, in anti-missile defense systems; we will deepen the social gaps and will perpetuate ignorance and illiteracy; and we will move even farther away from the only practical solution: unconditional evacuation of all the territories and the development of a strong, just society with the moral strength to enable it to confront any threat, as it did until the Six-Day War.

The writer is an architect.