Everybody Lost This War

Yoni Mishal Sep 22, 2006

TEL AVIV—Everybody lost this war. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was quick to admit he did not expect Israel to react as hard as they did. This concession allowed the Israeli government to announce victory over Hezbollah – shortly followed by the Israeli confession of defeat, with hundreds of reserve soldiers demanding a national investigation of the war. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was forced to say that perhaps Israel didn’t win this war, after all.

Yesterday’s hero is today hanging in the town circle, and Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz are everybody’s favorites to hate. What explanation can be found to understand the way this ridiculous plot unfolds? During the war, only a few weeks ago, I was part of the few that protested the war. Now I’m with the few who don’t.

There is a constant theme to the way people think. It doesn’t matter what they express out loud. The protest of the war now is about the government not allowing the military enough time to fight. There are calls for the resignation of chief officers because they did not manage the fighting well enough. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was already accused of corrupt behavior, and former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon has said that the soldiers killed in this war died for nothing. Harsh accusations.

Once again, something is missing here in this generals’ war taking place. Us – the people, both in Israel and Lebanon. Many on both sides are still living in destroyed homes with no aid, with restrictions on getting that aid. Many Israelis are getting prosecuted by banks and other big companies for debts made during the war. I would like to see all these high-ranking people step down, but soon enough new militaristic ones will replace them. The people, on the other hand, are left with nothing. This week’s discussions in the Israeli Knesset about next year’s budget are an indication that we will tear down the last strongholds of social-welfare establishments, with the war as an excuse.

What seems ironic to me is the story of our president Katasv, who is the formal representative of the people. He is being accused of embezzlement, sexual harassment and offering parole to convicted friends and relatives. Still, he is determined to stay in power. Truly, he is the face of our country. I couldn’t have said it better.

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