Now It's Official: Conflict With Hezbollah to Be Known as 'Second Lebanon War'

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned the security cabinet yesterday that the Israel Defense Forces would need time to reach the necessary level of preparedness.

Also yesterday, the Second Lebanon War was adopted as the much-anticipated, official name of last summer's war.

"Do not think the army will be ready in three months," Ashkenazi told the security cabinet during the meeting. A team of senior IDF officers briefed the ministers on the lessons of the Second Lebanon War.

Ashkenazi said several years would be needed. Preference would be given to forces likely to participate in dangerous operations.

He told the security cabinet that when he took over as chief of staff, he considered interfering with the IDF's in-house investigations into its problems and performance during the war, and said he decided not to do so. Dan Halutz was chief of staff during the war.

The head of the General Staff's doctrine and training department, Brigadier General Danny Biton, presented the security cabinet with the main findings of more than 20 IDF in-house investigations since the war.

The ministers commended the army on its openness in exposing shortcomings.

"We are dealing with the debriefing of the army, irrespective of the Winograd Committee," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. "It is no replacement for the lessons that we must learn regarding the political-military connection, and the translation of government decisions into military objectives."

"We always say it is necessary to move the fight onto enemy territory as quickly as possible," Olmert added. "But, when you are faced with ballistic missiles and indirect fire, even when you have penetrated enemy territory to a certain point, the enemy can still fire missiles. The question is how to apply this principle to the contemporary battlefield."

Meanwhile, a joint committee of ministers and Professor David Libai, appointed by Defense Minister Amir Peretz, decided officially to call the conflict the Second Lebanon War.

Libai recommended the name in a letter to Peretz.

"This name has already been adopted [informally], and it is not necessary to alter it, at this stage," he wrote.

In spite of the support from ministers and parents of fallen soldiers, legal experts expressed their reservations, since officially there was never a first Lebanon war.

The committee also recommended that in addition to the troops and other security personnel, a war ribbon should be awarded to "those who took part in bolstering the home front."