Lindenstrauss and Olmert / He's Right, but Must Also Be Smart

Last July the home front was abandoned, and now it has been abandoned once again. In the sparring match between the prime minister and the state comptroller, who still remembers the hundreds and thousands of betrayed citizens? There are so many sparks flying between these sparring partners that the fire, which only eight months ago took hold of half the country, cannot be seen any longer.

Ehud Olmert is saying: Micha Lindenstrauss wants my head and he is going head-to-head with me about it. Olmert actually has no choice, he has to flee to the last bastion of failure: The criticism is not relevant, it is personal.

Little birdies with singed wings are saying the report is exceptionally harsh. It is not the report that is harsh, the reality is harsh. There will be nothing we haven't seen in the report. We were there for the whole war, 34 straight and frazzled days, and from the heights of Moshav Margaliot, we saw it all.

On a daily basis, we reported that the government neither saw nor was seen. Instead of the army protecting the civilians, we reported that the civilians had to protect the army. In Jerusalem they never ceased proclaiming, "Be strong and we will all be strong," as if the home front could be stronger than its weakest link. And they did not raise a finger to help it.

The government went to a war it never decided to wage, a war it never declared. Thus the economy-on-war-footing did not kick in, with only the shelters teeming with life. The old, the sick, the disabled and the poor, who were forgotten in neglected shelters, are not holding their breath waiting for the comptroller's report; they were the ones who wrote it and the trauma has still not dissipated.

The prime minister complains that he did not have enough time to prepare his answers. If he had good answers, they would have been formulated already. Not only are there no good answers, there are no answers at all. The reality is the answer and in its face, words are poor.

The prime minister complains that the comptroller is plotting to get a jump on the Winograd Committee to grab a headline. That may be true, but it can also be the other way around: Perhaps it is actually Olmert who is plotting to put things off. If the Winograd Committee's conclusions are harsh, he will in any case be lost and Lindenstrauss will no longer be relevant; if the Winograd Committee goes easy on him, then too, Lindenstrauss will become irrelevant.

Olmert has vowed to bring down the institution of the State Comptroller, just as, with his new justice minister, he vowed to do regarding the High Court of Justice. The comptroller, after all, is also investigating Olmert's misdeeds at Bank Leumi, the Small Business Authority, the Investment Center and Cremieux Street.

I have one piece of advice for the comptroller: Although you are right, you would be smart to postpone publication of the interim report for a month. That month would make a difference in correcting the failures. To this day, eight months after, even compensation for the damages has not been fully paid.

It is not enough to be right, one should also be smart, in order to focus on what matters - the war and not the sparring. Give Olmert four more weeks to respond. You'll realize you and I have nothing to lose, and nothing to gain either.