Friday, July 28, 2006

posted by Ofer

Cold-Hearted Halutz

In response to Elon's post on avoiding the draft, Ran wrote the following comment, which I think deserves its own post:

"Halutz, Israel's Chief of Staff, said once: If you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb's release. A second later it's gone, and that's all. That is what I feel."

I personally don't find this comment as distressing as Ran does. Halutz and the rest of the IDF generals are "war technicians", carrying out the orders of our leaders. Olmert and the government ultimately make all of the decisions. Halutz may advise, but he doesn't get to make any of the strategic decisions. Therefore, its actually good to have a robot like him doing his job. I would be much more worried if he answered "When I release a bomb, I feel very happy that I am killing Arabs" or "When I release a bomb, I feel so guilty that I want to kill myself". I would also be very troubled if Olmert said that all he feels is a bump. I expect our leaders to be compassionate, and our generals to be indifferent.

Consider the hypothetic scenario where the government instructs Halutz to attack a Hizbullah base, and he refuses because its against his beliefs. Who is he to make such a choice for the entire country ? On the other hand, consider the scenario where the government instructs the army to stop attacking, but the army keeps on going despite (this actually happened to us 25 years ago with PM Menachem Begin and General Ariel Sharon, and look at the trouble it got us into).


Anonymous Sarah said...

If you don't find the idea of being able to drop a bomb on civilians without any feeling distressing, then I'm afraid you may have lost your soul.

Yes, to operate an efficient army, the general needs soldiers who obey orders, but what if the general is corrupt? Or has lost his way?

For a start, did you know this:

The Omega Institute (OI), which works closely with the Institute for Policy Research for Development (IPRD), has learned from Israeli and Palestinian sources that just prior to the current crisis, senior Hamas leaders were in active dialogue with Israeli religious leaders in a round of bilateral peace negotiations.

Israeli negotiators included Rabbi Menachem Froman, former deputy leader and co-founder of the Israeli Settler movement Gush Khatif; Rabbi David Bigman, head of the liberal religious Kibbutz movement Yeshiva at Ma’ale Gilboa; and Yitzhak Frankenthal, founder of the Arik Institute. Ongoing negotiations had resulted in a breakthrough peace
“understanding”, which was to be announced at a press conference in Jerusalem to mark the launching of an extraordinary peace initiative. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert had been briefed extensively about the initiative by Frankenthal.

Also due to attend the conference were Khaled Abu Arafa, the Palestinian Cabinet Minister for Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhamed Abu Tir, senior Hamas Member of the Palestinian Parliament, and other senior Palestinian delegates.

The meeting was to announce a joint Israeli-Palestinian call for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit who had been abducted by Hamas in Gaza, along with proposals for the beginning of the release of all Palestinian prisoners. These measures were to precipitate unprecedented new peace negotiations on a framework peace agreement, drawn on the 1967 borders.

The presence of Palestinian Cabinet Officers and senior Israeli religious leaders in contact with the Prime Minster was to underline the seriousness of this peace proposal on both sides.

Just hours before the meeting was due to start, the Israeli Shin Bet internal Security Service arrested Abu Tir and Abu Arafa and warned them not to attend the meeting, under threats of detention. The meeting, which offered a major opportunity to obtain Shalit’s release and launch a new framework for peace, was thrown into disarray. The next day, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) invaded Gaza, and the day after both Abu Tir and Abu Arafa were abducted by Israeli forces, along with a third of the Palestinian Cabinet, provoking a predictable escalation of violence.

Israel simultaneously began conducting covert incursions on to Lebanese territory, provoking Hizbollah’s capture of two IDF soldiers. Credible sources confirm that the soldiers were not abducted on Israeli territory, but inside Lebanon. Like the scuppered peace negotiations, Western officials have ignored this, and misinformed the media. However, some reports corroborate the sources. Israeli officials, for instance, informed Forbes (12.7.06) that “Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel.”

So - why did the Israeli Shin Bet internal Security Service take this action and prevent the meeting from taking place?

How about opening your mind to the possibility that a true peace is possible, but that certain movers and shakers in the Israeli camp are actively seeking to prevent it? Because they want something else altogether? Because they'll let nothing stand in their way before they get it? Because they don't care how many bombs they drop on how many innocent civilians to ensure the realisation of their aims?

Because perhaps they've lost their moral compass altogether?

And you still think the soldiers who obey the orders of those people without question are just efficient soldiers?

1:24 AM  

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