Monday, May 07, 2007

Winograd: enemy at the gates

Surely that should be Stalingrad... Similar idea, I guess.

Well, there were no really big surprises in the content of the recently-published Winograd Report, commissioned as it was by its main targets. They got a big ticking off, a slap on the wrist, and nothing stern enough to get them sacked. Still, I think the main achievement has been that the incompetents who took us into a war, and then screwed up its implementation, at least had the bottle to get some credible independent folk to review their performance.

Despite the monstrous incompetence in prosecuting the war, which unnecessarily cost lives on both sides as well as damaging Israel's international standing, further unbalancing an already unstable Lebanon, and failing to achieve its ostensible objectives, I think this says something positive about our country.

In fact, I notice a parallel with Lag B'Omer, a minor and obscure festival which occurs later this week. The story of why we celebrate it seems a bit vague - apparently the great Rabbi Akiva's students had been suffering from a mysterious disease, laid on them as a curse for failing to show respect to each other, and after 23,000 of them had died, it stopped on this day. Also it seems to be the day on which the great sage Shimon Bar Yochai died, but is a cause to celebrate his life. It was also the day of Shimon Bar Kochba's insurrection against the Romans being crushed, and some sources have it that the two Shimons were the same dude.

So why is Lag B'Omer a joyous day, given all this suffering? And what does this have in common with the Winograd Report?

My view on why both are uplifting moments in our history is that they represent times when we were undergoing suffering, trauma, isolation and sadness, partly of our own making, but in accepting painful closure, we also created the opportunity to move on and start afresh, having learned from our mistakes.

In this, we show we are stronger than those who (think they) have vanquished us. The enemy is at the gates, and we are all looking for someone to blame, but I think Winograd has the recriminations about right. It just remains to be seen whether Olmert, Peretz etc manage to stay the course and show they have learned from their mistakes, or fall on their swords in time-honoured biblical/Samurai fashion.

I could go on, but instead I shall open the floor to comments...

1 comment:

Ofer said...

I doubt anyone gives a #@%@# about that report in Israel's public.
It didn't bring anything new, just verified what everyone was thinking.
No one trusts the leadership, before and after the report.

The issue most ppl are talking about atm (In Israel), is Arkadi Gaydamak.

I wonder what do you think about the way he's buying Israel, literally!

A lecturer in my uni, said he thinks arkadi is good for Israel, 'cause he shows all the flows in our govrement, 'cause he aint doing stuff BEFORE the govrement gets to it, he just does things they dont do and should!

Personaly, I think its scary the way ppl are following him just because he throws money at them.