What Winograd Means for Olmert

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Retired Judge Eliyahu Winograd first delivered his report personally to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Then Winograd and his panel released it to the press.

"Overall we regard the second Lebanon War as a serious missed opportunity. Israel initiated the long war which ended without its clear military victory. A semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East," said Rut Gabizon, a member of the Winograd Commission.

The report called The Second Lebanon War "A Failed" War and delivered harsh criticism to Israel's military and political leadership.

The report found:

  • Serious shortcomings in Israel's decision-making process.
  • Serious flaws in the preparedness of the army.
  • Severe failings in the defense of the civilian population.

The report concluded Israel enjoyed air superiority and advantages in size and technology, but still did not defeat Hezbollah.

It also said the IDF did not effectively respond to Hezbollah's daily rocket barrage. During the war, more than a million Israelis fled northern Israel and thousands lived in bomb shelters.

With the release of the report, many analysts believe Olmert dodged a political bullet.

It did not hold him personally responsible and exonerated his decision to undertake a major ground offensive during the final hours of the war where more than 30 Israeli soldiers died.

Some have accused Olmert of launching the offensive for personal, political reasons. However, many soldiers who fought in the war want Olmert to step down.

"We want that after the harsh report of the Winograd Committee that Ehud Olmert will no longer be the prime minister in Israel," said Yakir Segev, a commander in the Israeli army during Israel's Lebanon war.

Even though many soldiers and a majority of Israelis want Olmert to resign, it's doubtful there will be a widespread call for his resignation.

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Chris Mitchell

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