It's Time for Truth, Not Spin

First there was the aerial spin. We'll attack, we'll bomb, we'll grind them into the dust. The superiority of our planes will bring down the enemy, the precise weapons will defeat fanatic terror. Therefore, there is no need for a ground effort, which is unpopular with the public. After all, if not today, then tonight. And if not tonight, then tomorrow. In the next sortie, by sending the right bombs into the right bunker, the battle will be won.

After that came the ground spin. It's true that we promised there would be no ground invasion, but now there is no choice. And still we hereby declare that we will not occupy; we will only conduct raids. We will enter and leave immediately. We will not repeat the old Lebanon War, but will conduct a new and innovative Lebanon war, sophisticated and cautious; after all, there is no question: Hassan Nasrallah is under pressure, pale with fright. And Maroun al-Ras has already been cleansed, and Bint Jbail is in our hands. In another moment, the Israel Defense Forces will flatten the border outposts and chalk up the amazing achievement of a renewal of the security zone. So there is no place for cowardice. There is no place for a general national draft. Soon the Hezbollah fighters in the villages emptied of their residents will be exposed, and the group will fold under the pressure. Just give us time. A few more days. Patience, and we'll win.

Then came the diplomatic spin. It's true that the aerial battle did not succeed, and the ground battle has become mired, but in the diplomatic battle, we have the upper hand. Read the headlines: Great satisfaction in Jerusalem with the Franco-American proposal. Satisfaction in the government because of the stance of U.S. President George W. Bush (who has not bothered to speak to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert even once since the beginning of the conflict). After all, why did we embark on the war, if not to ensure that French soldiers will protect Israel from the Hezbollah rocket battery. And in order to ensure that the Shaba Farms will be given to Nasrallah as a starting point for the next war. Hurray for the prime minister, who has conducted the diplomatic campaign mindlessly and looking ahead. Hurray for the foreign minister, whose appearance on the foreign networks convinced the spectators and led public opinion to side with us. Hurray to the entire cabinet, which promised to bring about a fundamental change the Middle East situation, and has in fact done so.

At the same time, there was the civilian spin. The strong home front. The home front gives us strength, we come to the home front to strengthen and find ourselves strengthened. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about the home front; we sit with our hands folded while it is sitting in bomb shelters. After all, it was not the home front that brought us to power, but the top 1,000th percentile. And that percentile is making large profits in the stock market. That percentile is secure.

Thus we can continue to maintain calm and conduct the war weakly and complacently. After all, whatever the outcome - we will always be able to create spin around it. We will always be able to cast the blame on former prime minister Ariel Sharon, on IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, or on the head of the Northern Command Udi Adam.

No more. The culture of lies that has surrounded the war from its first day must disappear. The attempt to confront an existential challenge by means of virtual false presentations must cease. A war is not a real-estate transaction, or even an election campaign. It invites a real encounter with history, which is looking deep into our eyes.

Therefore, we can no longer postpone the internal Israeli soul searching aroused by the war until it is over. We have no choice: The post-war clarification must begin already during the course of the war. We must change things and change ourselves during the course of fighting. Because if the war continues to be conducted as it has been conducted until now, it will end badly.

A war of spin is a war that is divorced from reality, without an accurate reading of the map and without the necessary determination; a war without a goal and without a vision. Such a war cannot lead to victory.

Therefore, what is needed now is not the replacement of one officer with another. What is needed is a dramatic military step, accompanied by a sharp change in values. What is needed is a decisive counterattack, which will require a new spirit.

Yesterday's cabinet decision was a correct one, if unfocused. If the present government is capable of changing its ways from one day to the next - great. However, if it finds it difficult to do so, public pressure must be applied, which will require it to form an emergency cabinet immediately. The name of the game now is national will. Only a full enlistment of national will and all national resources will lead to a crucial national victory on the battlefield. This national will cannot be enlisted on the basis of spin, but only on the basis of truth. It can be enlisted only when the war is once again defined as a just war, which is trying to achieve just goals, and is being conducted by a truthful leadership.