With Such a Left, Who Needs a Right?

The left should have understood in time that joining the consensus, even sourly and reluctantly, would only speed the march of Olmert, Peretz and Dan Halutz into the depths of Lebanon.

Despite the large number of soldiers and civilians who were killed, each one has his own, personal grave. May they rest in this frail peace. They are victims of an injured leadership that has killed many people in its desperation.

For the others - the politicians, the generals and their court reporters - a different fate lies in wait. This war has dug them all a mass grave. They themselves should resign, but they are not men of honor nor people of responsibility. An inquiry commission, even if it is a long time in coming, is required to march them off on their last political journey.

And even if their trickery succeeds in evading the public guillotine, in the coming years they will float like dead fish to the water's surface. Only the murky stream and political partisan inertia will enable them to look like live, active people.

Ehud Olmert's artificial reign has ended, as has Amir Peretz' unripe leadership. Not one minister acted properly, not a single general stood out, and there is scarcely an analyst among the biased commentators who did not burn his fingers and toe the line.

To this one may add the so-called "Israeli left." Only a handful will be extracted from the debris covering it. When a war breaks out, the left immediately splits into three parts. The first part doesn't seem to belong, is not really relevant: These are the people who act on a conditional reflex, which they inherited from the previous war and the one before that. You don't always know where they stand, which side of the fence - are they on our side or our enemies' side? Their intentions may be good, but they have never succeeded in convincing the Israeli public of that. True, it is no easy mission to convince people during war, which is an ideal time for brainwashing. I have personally experienced that. But perhaps this part of the left should also align itself differently for the next round, so that it can voice its stand within its people and reflect its pain.

The second part consists of those "innocent souls" who had been in the dark too long, until the new war opened their eyes and they suddenly saw a bright light. Thus the season for confessions begins, and the repentants appear one by one, confessing their guilt like in Soviet Russia or on Yom Kippur.

Now, only now, do they realize how wrong they were all these years. How lucky they are finally to have stumbled on a "justified war"! Now they can demonstrate supreme patriotism and prove that they're not at all those defeatists you imagined them to be.

And between these two groups lies the third, largest part, which is forever hovering and dithering between two options. On the one hand it objects to the war, of course, and on the other hand it supports it, because it is "justified."

What exactly is the meaning of "justified" - to whom exactly are we doing justice? To soldiers risking their lives for some vague, unclear mission? To civilians being showered by thousands of Katyushas who were not told in advance what would happen to their lives and property? To the kidnapped soldiers and their families, who have almost been forgotten during the battles? Have the approximately 200 fatalities to date, both civilians and soldiers, brought us any closer to freeing the captured soldiers? If three Israeli soldiers are abducted, Israel must kidnap 30 enemy soldiers and commanders and negotiate a prisoner exchange. It is not obligated to open an all-out war that is not a war for survival.

There is no need for a left that is neither here nor there. For that Shimon Peres and Ophir Pines-Paz are quite enough, not to mention the abashed, embarrassed silence of Yuli Tamir and Shelly Yachimovich. We can do without such a useless left.

The left should have understood in time that joining the consensus, even sourly and reluctantly, would only speed the march of Olmert, Peretz and Dan Halutz into the depths of Lebanon.

If in these times of trial the left did not rise from its knees and take a stand, when exactly did it intend to rise? There is nothing more repulsive than judging a war by its outcome. Only when it goes on and on and gets messy and sinks in the quagmire do the wise guys rise up. With such a left, who needs a center? Who needs a right?