The Sages on Winograd

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10 Responses

  1. dovid says:

    Dear Jonathan Rosenblum:

    Based on the title of your post, I expected you to comment on how the Winograd commission would have withstood the scrutiny of our sages. There has been a remarkable dose of honesty and desire to get to the bottom of things which otherwise have been so alien to the political and legal establishments in power of EY. I would very much welcome a P.S. on the topic.

  2. Joe Fisher says:

    Hmmm. Rabbi Rosenblum writes, “Far worse, no initial consideration was given to how the IDF could eliminate the katyushas or whether it was capable of doing so.”. Funny.

    Rabbi Rosenblum was one of the biggest proponents of the attack on Lebanon last summer. Here’s from his August 2 column:

    “At the end of the day, it appears that Israel has no alternative to destroying much of Hizbullah’s capabilities itself, and no more propitious time than the present. We can only pray that New Republic’s Yossi Klein Halevi is correct when he writes:

    “This is not a repetition of the first Lebanon war, but a return to our consensus wars of survival – not a Vietnam moment but a World War II moment. That is why Israel fights, and why it will win.”

    A year ago he was telling us we were quite capable of eliminating the Katyshas. Now he tells us it was obvious we couldn’t.

    And his implication here that a greater ground operation would have been successful is worse than armchair quarterbacking. We lost big time when we sent in ground forces. It was too expensive in terms of human life to envision even more ground ops.

  3. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Joe Fisher, you’re right that Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum thought the IDF was able to stop the Katyushas. I don’t know his credentials, but I assume that his estimate was based on the IDF’s history and that he only knows information that is in the public domain. Jonathan Rosenblum, if I am wrong please correct me.

    General Halutz, Defense Minister Peretz, and Prime Minister Olmert had access to top secret military readiness reports. I assume that the Winograd Commission had access to the same reports, and that their criticism is based on the information in those reports. They either knew that an air attack can’t stop the Katyusha rockets, or they should have known (after it was shown ineffective after a few days). They either knew if the IDF was ready for a ground offensive, or they should have known.


    JoeFiushe: I seen no contradicton. The Winograd commission did not criticize the govt. and generals for fighting the war, but for fighting it without adequate preparation, lacking a coherent strategy ,etc. As for the issue of a ground invasion: The actual last minute ill thoght out ground invasion on the last two days of fighting was a terrible and tragic mistake; however the Commission suggests that a properly thought out and properly prepared for ground invasion in the early stages of the battle was necessary in order to destroy Hezbollah’s military capabilities.

  5. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    Joe Fisher is not the first to point out that I was a strong supporter of a very strong response to Hizbullah’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and cross border attack last July 12. And I still am. As I wrote in a recent Yated piece, the initial Israeli response was at least better than the alternative — doing nothing, as Ehud Barak did in October 2000 when three IDF soldiers were kidnapped.

    But I was also critical of the conduct of the war from almost the beginning, in particular the IDF’s failure to order a ground operation. The relevant articles are all posted at under weekly columns/other. Nothing in the Winograd Commission Report argues against such a ground operation; only against one commenced without planning or training.

    What no one knew or could have known at the outset of the war was how badly prepared the IDF was. Who would have imagined that it had neither prepared plans (Bogie Ya’alon hotly contests this) nor trained for a serious action to take out Hizbullah’s mobile launchers? Nor could we have known that Prime Minister Olmert had never asked for such plans, not even after deciding to hit Hizbullah hard, or that no one was thinking past the original salvo. Only the Winograd Commission revealed how bad things were in that respect.

  6. Bob Miller says:

    Restoring the IDF’s professionalism after its recent decline won’t happen tomorrow but has to happen. Removing past, present, and future general officers from political involvement is a must. This army needs no commissars! Installing a responsible, incorruptible defense ministry is another must.

  7. Joe Fisher says:

    So I guess pushing our live soldiers in front of live ammunition was really just, well, duh, an understandable mistake?

    Here’s the lame litany:…”Who would have imagined…?” (Rosenblum)…”a terrible and tragic mistake” (Kaplan)…”he only knows information that is in the public domain” (Pomerantz)…

    Rabbi Rosenblum claims competence, reliability, and fact checking. He is supposed to, yes, imagine what could go wrong, and, yes, not make boo-boos that kill kids, and, yes, know more than what’s available on a Google search. Otherwise why read him?

    Get serious now. Real lives are at stake.

  8. Ilan says:

    Joe, are you saying that no one who didn’t have access to military secrets should be qualified to comment when its huge failures become public?

    The IDF has been respected and feared in the Middle East for decades, because of how well-prepared its fighters are. For anyone outside the military, “who would have imagined” is not “lame” at all. That the IDF was sent into a ground war with such a lack of equipment and training should surprise and appall any thinking person.

    The problem isn’t that Israel fought a ground war. Israel has a history of winning those. But then the military was ready to fight.


    Joe Fisher: I don’t understand you. Are you saying the Israeli army should never launch a ground invasion of Lebanon in face of a threatening Hezbollah buildup, because by doing so it puts soldiers “in front of live ammunition,” and some of them will get killed? FTR: as my friends will testify, at an early stage of the War I was wondering when the ground invasion would be launched. But like other outsiders, I was unaware of just how unprepared the Army was for such an invasion.

  10. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Joe Fisher, in a democracy citizens are entitled and expected to express their opinions. This includes opinions based on partial knowledge (almost all opinions on military or diplomatic matters are based on partial knowledge). As far as I know, nobody in the IDF obeys Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum, so his opinions are just that – opinions.

    So I guess pushing our live soldiers in front of live ammunition was really just, well, duh, an understandable mistake?

    It sucks, it well and truly does, but soldiers are there to fight. This means putting them in front of live ammunition when the reason is important enough and there is a reasonable chance of winning. If FDR didn’t push live soldiers in front of live ammunition, Europe would still be occupied by the Nazis. If Ben Gurion hadn’t done the same, Israel would have lost the war of independance and probably most people in the Yeshuv would have been killed.

    You can argue that in this instance Israel should have just ignored the kidnapping and killing of its soldiers to avoid losing more lives. Or you can argue that a ground attack would have been too costly in lives, so Israel should have continued the ineffective air campaign. But you can’t argue that putting soldiers are risk is always a bad idea unless you think Israel can afford to disband the IDF.

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