Political Animal / The War's Over. Period

There is no longer any doubt: Israel has gone back to being itself. The country is once again the "wonderful land" that relaxes in front of the television every Friday night.

The Lebanon war, which supposedly ended on August 14, ended this week. Four months have passed, and at last the country has calmed down, collected its lost senses and begun to see things in proportion. The thinking is clearer in late autumn, the vision less blinded by sweat. True, we had a war that was not quite successful, but what was all the excitement really about? As if this were our first failed campaign - or our last. We went overboard, really overboard, and the time has come to relax and to calm others down.

The Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, has filled precisely the role intended for it of late. On the one hand, the judges raked the government over the coals for its decision not to set up a state commission of inquiry into the war, as stipulated by law. On the other hand, they upheld that same evasive decision. The justices in Jerusalem thus once again demonstrated their balanced and carefully weighed opinion: No to a state commission - it's a thing of the past; the controversy surrounding it has played itself out; and now we can and should turn to the future.

The non-independent committee investigating the war, which the High Court both sanctioned and embarrassed, continues its work as in the past, raising dust even before its report is out. The erupting volcano is doused, its lava has hardened and no Vinograd in the world could mold an investigation out of its ash.

The military investigations, too, have adopted a calm and consoling routine, treading in the footsteps of the High Court: courageous investigators and hair-raising findings on the one hand, yet no apportionment of personal responsibility on the other. Everyone stays where they are, resting on a bed of thorns. There was nothing for investigators to do but to find a way out of the morass for just one division commander. He was quick to resign, forcing his comrades to struggle to find a way of bringing him back to square one, in order to complete the puzzle; no one breaks ranks.

The state comptroller's report, which was published this week, is another sign that it is all over. Just end it in a period. Enough is enough. The report indicated that the failure in the war was ready and waiting to happen, which means that the Israeli Defense Forces were not ready and waiting. And if the failure was inevitable, well, one cannot condemn the inevitable, as we know. We will put aside the needless condemnations and look to the future.

The leader of Kadima himself indicated this week that what is now over and done with was nothing but a bad dream. He explained to tense school students this week that it is better for two soldiers to remain a little longer in captivity than for additional ones to be killed. And if he regrets the killing of "additional" soldiers, he must certainly regret the killing of the original soldiers who were sent out, at his command, to free the captives (who could have remained, according to the same cast-iron logic, "a little longer in captivity").

And this Hassan Nasrallah - what can he and his million demonstrators in Beirut say in their defense? After all, it is clear to everyone that they received a mortal blow and are in deep trouble. And the proof: Hezbollah has no choice but to give up on its control of southern Lebanon, and instead to take over all of Lebanon. Is this not clear evidence of an utter rout, which only a resolution like the UN's 1701 can turn around?

There is no longer any doubt: Israel has gone back to being itself. The country is once again the "wonderful land" that relaxes in front of the television every Friday night. Now that the squall has blown over, we can devote ourselves to our real national problems, and not spend more time sado-masochistically scratching painful places on the rear end of history. We were so caught up in the war that we did not take the time to prevent dangerous convicts from escaping under policemen's noses. Does Benny Sela really frighten the Israeli public, especially in the center of the country, any more than it was frightened by the war that was - or by the one that is yet to come?

It is only a pity that there are still a few people among us that do not understand that the war about the war is over. They are, for the most part, bereaved parents, parents of abducted soldiers, and invalids and amputees. And some army reservists who can find no rest. These people are not objective, however. They themselves are in a conflict-of-interest situation: on the one hand, they live disrupted lives while, on the other, they continue to live lives that go on, always the stronger of the two. Pity that the complainers do not know their shriveled left from their amputated right.

There is no cure for them. They always had complaints, and always will have - from now until the next war.