Former IDF Chief on the 2nd Lebanon War

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CBNNews.com - LATRUN, Israel - Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff Lt. General (res.) Moshe Ya'alon criticized the performance of the nation's air force during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

"There was an air agenda and a dictatorial way of thinking, and after this way failed, they put the blame on others" Ya'alon said Tuesday at a conference on military and security issues, held at the Armored Corps Museum in Latrun.

"If they had determined the right objectives, the war could have been finished from the air within five days," he said.

"An air agenda was part of the decision-making process," he said. "The air force leadership thought that this was their opportunity to put on a show," Ya'alon said, referring to then IDF Lt. General (res.) Dan Halutz, former head of the Israel Air Force.

"After the war, they pushed their responsibility onto their inferiors," Ya'alon said.

Halutz resigned in January 2007, three months before the Winograd Commission issued its interim report on the government's handling of the war.

The interim report severely criticized Halutz, along with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and then Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Ya'alon compared the Olmert government's decision-making during the 34-day war with the IDF's 1996 Grapes of Wrath operation, aimed at ending shelling by Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorists on northern Israel.

"Many discussions were held prior to the Grapes of Wrath operation, whereas before the Second Lebanon War, there was a two-and-a-half hour talk, which did not define any military goals," the former IDF chief said.

"It was decided to carry out a retaliatory mission [against Hezbollah's cross-border attack] that wasn't even called a war," he said.

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cut short Ya'alon's tenure as IDF chief of staff because he was vocally opposed to the government's pullout of the Gush Katif Settlement Bloc in the Gaza Strip.

Sharon appointed Halutz in his place.

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