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Who? Me?

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TODAY, THE war entered its fifth week. Hard to believe: our mighty army has now been fighting for 29 days against a "gang" and "terrorist organization", as the military commanders like to describe them, and the battle has still not been decided.

Yesterday, military sources in Israel announced that 400 of the 1200 Hizbullah "terrorists" have been killed. That's to say, a mere 1200 fighters have been standing against the tens of thousands of our soldiers, who are equipped with the most advanced weapons on earth, and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens are still under rocket fire while our soldiers continue to be killed.

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WHO? ME? Now everybody already admits that something basic has gone wrong in this war. The proof: the War of the Generals, that previously started only after the conclusion of a war, has now become public while the war is still going on.

The Chief-of-Staff, Dan Halutz, has found the culprit: Udi Adam, the chief of the Northern Command. He has practically dismissed him in the middle of the battle. That is the old ploy of the thief shouting "Stop thief!" After all, it is obvious that the person mainly to blame for the failures of the war is Halutz himself, with his foolish belief that Hisbullah could be defeated by aerial bombardment alone.

But it is not only at the top of the army that mutual accusations are flying around. The army command accuses the government, which is retaliating in kind.

On the eve of his downgrading, Udi Adam publicly accused the government of tying his hands. Meaning: the government is guilty. Ehud Olmert did not remain silent and declared that the army had not submitted any plans for widening the campaign. That's to say: if you are incompetent, don't blame me!

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To justify himself, Olmert added a significant sentence: "From the first day of the war, the government has not refused the army a single request!" In other words, it is the Chief-of-Staff who makes policy and conducts the war, while the political leadership just rubber stamps everything that the army "requests".

But this is a sterile debate, because it ignores the main fact, which is becoming clearer from day to day: it is altogether impossible to win this war. That's why nothing is working as planned.

PLAN? WHAT PLAN? Years ago the military commentator of Haolam Hazeh, the magazine I was editing at the time, got fed up with the boast the our army excels in improvisation. "The ability to improvise," he wrote, "Is just another name for our inability to plan."

According to the reports, the Israeli army has been preparing for this war for more than three years. The last exercise took place a month before the war started and included the invasion of Lebanon by land forces. It is clear that the command did not anticipate a campaign that would last for four weeks and more. What the hell! After all, it was against a small gang of terrorists. This just confirms the dictum that even the best war plan does not survive the first day of war.

THE WAR OF THE POOR. It is quite clear that the army command's wonderful plan did not include the defense of the rear within rocket range. There was no plan for the solution of the hundred and one problems emanating from the attack on Hizbullah: from the protection of the civilian population from thousands of missiles to the necessary economic arrangements when a third of the country's population is living under bombardment and is paralysed.

Now the public is crying out, and soon the ministers and generals will have to try to find somebody to blame for that, too.

For this war is being fought on the backs of the weak, who cannot afford to "evacuate themselves" from the rockets' area. The rich and well-to-do have got out long ago - in Israel as well as in Lebanon. The poor, the old, the sick and the handicapped remain in the shelters. They are the main sufferers. But that does not cause them to oppose the war. On the contrary, they are the most vociferous group in Israel demanding "to go to the end", "to smash them", "to wipe them out".

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That is not new, either: the weakest in society always want to feel that they belong to the strongest nation. Those who have nothing become the biggest patriots. And they are also the main victims.

Those who initiated and planned the war cynically flatter the inhabitants of the North, who are stuck there, calling them "heroes" and lauding their "wonderful steadfastness".

UNITED CYNICS. Now the end of the killing depends on the UN.

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