Friday, February 1, 2008
"01/02/2008 Israeli senior officers in the Israeli occupation army forces have characterized the Winograd Committee's findings on the army's performance in the Second Lebanon War as "nothing less than an earthquake."
The Israeli army chief of staff is taking action to implement the final report's recommendations, while the military advocate general has announced that the report does not require delaying the advancement of officers involved in the war.
Other officers say the committee "went overboard" on some issues and that many of the problems cited in the final report have already been fixed. "The committee members know full well what went wrong in the army," one Israeli senior officer said. "It will take two or three years to repair the damage caused by the war to the Israeli army and the impression the report made on the public. We'll have to work hard."
According to him, "While it's true that some of the faults have been fixed since the war, the report says bigger changes are needed. Maybe the situation in the army was worse than we thought, certainly when it came to maintaining values."
The officers say Israeli amry Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has identified the erosion of the principles of warfare as an urgent problem. They say he has been deeply involved with the issue since he took up his post last February.
General Staff officers pointed out that even though the committee found flaws in the performance of most levels of the military, it is clear that they were worse in the General Staff than in lower ranks such as the Northern Command and the combat divisions.
Senior defense sources, however, admitted that the findings "are not just an administrative comment. This is a government committee, and the things it says will certainly be taken into account in future decisions about the promotion of officers who were responsible for the deficiencies."
Critics of the committee in the Israeli army argued that its members did not sufficiently distinguish between the failings during the war and the state of the army today. "It's not the same army," they said. "We are very aware of the failures, but a large number of them were first identified by the Israeli army and were fixed over the past year and a half."
These officers argued that in the past two months of fighting in the Gaza Strip soldiers have demonstrated a higher level of decisiveness and persistence than there was in some of the battles in Lebanon that the committee criticized. General Staff officers also disagreed with the committee's finding of a "deep rift" in the Israeli army. "