The Winograd Report contains not even one lenient word to which the prime minister could cling in order to extend his term.
The members of the committee he appointed closed all the cracks and left no escape from responsibility - if not now, then in two months, when the final report is written. The hint was almost explicit: If the report's principal subjects do not take personal responsibility, the committee will make clear recommendations in July. If the prime minister does not quit, he will be thrown out in a month or two. All this is virtually self-evident from the severity of the findings. If a war broke out tomorrow morning, the present leadership would not have a mandate to lead it.
If the prime and defense ministers do not resign following the Winograd findings, their imperviousness will be additional proof that they were not worthy of their posts from the outset. Any attempt to share the failure with previous prime ministers will not succeed.
Personal responsibility for failure - which, as the report states, was evident in every aspect of their duties, including planning, assessment, implementation, lack of forethought, responding rashly, setting unrealistic goals and not adopting actions to reality - has never been assigned by any other committee. Nothing the prime minister should have done before he went to war was done. The colossal failure that has already been identified in their functioning, even before the entire war has been analyzed, does not permit Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz to remain in their posts for even one more day.
The Winograd Committee stated that the very act of going to war was irresponsible, because it was not based on a detailed plan, because the Lebanese arena was not studied, because it was never possible to attain the goals set, because the massive rain of rockets on the home front was not taken into consideration, because the cabinet went into battle without an exit plan, and because the ministers who voted for this move did not know or understand its significance and where it would lead.
Even after it became clear that the army had no solution to the attacks on the home front, the necessary adjustments - for example, drafting the reserves and training them for an extensive ground operation - were not made, and the government and the army did not coordinate military moves with the situation on the ground. The war was a case of shooting from the hip: a spectacle of rashness, imprudence and lack of planning, with no objectives, no attainable goals, no knowledge of the Israel Defense Forces' military capabilities and no one taking responsibility.
No harsher report than that of the Winograd Committee on the Second Lebanon War could have been written, even if a state commission of inquiry had been established. The statements made yesterday, in precise and unequivocal language, are painful testimony to the culture of charlatanic, belligerent and irresponsible government, whose existence the public has sensed for a long time. If this government does not step down now, disgust and despair will mount. The responses of the government's public relations experts and spokespeople, prepared in reaction to a watered-down version of the report that was leaked at the end of last week, now sound hollow and divorced from reality in light of the Winograd Committee's unambiguous formulations.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now