Israeli intellectual discovers fallibility of Israeli leaders while world yawns

by Yaniv Reich on October 6, 2010

Drivel taken as gospel is the Israeli norm whenever the IDF spokesperson opens her mouth. Political leaders in endless cycles of corruption are casually pardoned whenever they say, thickly, “Terrrrrorrrr”.

Considering Israelis’ boundless and unquestioning adoration for the military establishment, it must be extraordinarily painful to read details about the decision making processes during one of Israel’s more stressful and dangerous moments.

Predictably, Israelis are stunned to discover the fallibility of their leaders, a bitter truth the world has had extraordinarily clear since at least the 1982 assault on Lebanon. And if not then, certainly since the brutal aggression on full display on the airwaves and intertubes of the 2006 assault on Lebanon and the winter 2009 Gaza attacks. And if still not then, yet more people have come around to appreciating the insanity of Israel’s military establishment after the unprovoked raid on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian activists trying to break the illegal siege of Gaza. But, of course, Israelis supported all these military affairs with such gusto that their absurd violence never caused most Israelis to question much of anything.

The newly released documents on the 1973 Yom Kippur war are different. These are causing concern.

Yediot‘s military affair correspondent Eitan Haber captures this mood precisely:

What is the lesson for this day and age [from learning about those 1973 decisions]? The most important lesson is that the government at the time, just like today and always, was not manned by heavenly angels or superstars, but rather, by real people, flesh and blood; people who make mistakes and take the wrong paths.

Drivel as gospel, indeed, and the full extent of Israeli obsequiousness to the military establishment is made plain.

This charts exactly how far the Israeli proto-fascist obsession with the purifying fires of war has come. And how far we still need to go.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Clif Brown October 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Yaniv, what you speak of here is precisely the reason that young people should think twice about joining the armed forces of whatever country they live in. Far from acting in a way to protect national security, political leadership can act contrary to it. As I look back over the Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam wars I cannot see any relationship to national security – just the opposite. I powerful army is like a fancy sports car – you don’t have one to leave it in the garage. Costa Rica, with no army, has a history wonderfully free of military adventures.
Unthinkingly volunteering for military duty (not an option in Israel, where service is mandatory for almost all) is not necessarily patriotic and should not be given praise automatically. But, as we all know, no country is eager to fully educate the young on international politics before signing them up to serve.

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