Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | May 3, 2007

Time to get the terrible twosome out of Dodge

With so much going on here, you’d think I’d have a lot to say. I suppose I do, especially with regard to the juvenile antics of certain Israeli politicians who seem so hell-bent on saving themselves that they are willing to ignore the loud cries all around them calling for change. The behavior of these individuals has reached a new low, and frankly, given the gravity of the situation, it is rather pathetic. Just when you thought you’d seen it all (and given the frequently disturbing activities of a great many of our politicians, “all” covers an impressive variety of misdeeds), just when you thought that the egomaniacal self-centeredness couldn’t get any worse (the President’s apoplectic attack on the media in light of the veritable plethora of charges he’s facing not withstanding), it somehow manages to become even more frightening and depressing. We are left with the knowledge that the priorities of our leaders take precedence over that which is right or honorable, and the will of the people is of no importance.

With support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz at an all-time low, with most polls showing that Israeli citizens believe this incorrigible terrible twosome should follow the route taken by former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and get out of Dodge pronto, you’d think that at least one of them would blink. You’d think that at least one of them would pull their heads out of the sand and realize that they are no longer truly representing our nation and step down gracefully. Instead, we are forced to listen to the babblings of two individuals who prefer to follow the path of denial, who believe that by staying in office they can somehow change the legacy that they are both destined to leave behind.

And what is that legacy, exactly? For Peretz, it is woefully simple. Despite an obviously great lack of military experience, the man let his ego get the better of him, foregoing more aptly suited ministries such as something welfare or finance-related in favor of the more meaty position of Defense Minister, a decision that will surely haunt him until the end of his days (and if it doesn’t, it should). He might have even gotten away with it, were it not for that pesky little Second Lebanon War last summer, placing his utterly inadequate level of military knowledge squarely in the spotlight, and immediately dooming him to go down as one of the worst defense ministers in our history. If he weren’t so obstinately claiming repeatedly that his lack of knowledge actually made him a better defense minister than those with more knowledge because it allowed him to think outside the box, I might even feel sorry for him and the mess in which he found himself with the outbreak of the war. But alas, no. The man has proved on more than one occasion that he simply doesn’t know when to keep his mouth closed, and thus leaves a legacy of bumbling, ineffective management of the war, combined with an inability to lay low and perhaps humbly admit defeat.

The legacy of Olmert is a bit more complex, for in addition to his disastrous handling of the war, the man is a serious scandal magnet, especially with regard to various financial and real estate dealings. In need of a serious attitude adjustment, not to mention a harness for reining in that massive ego, Olmert clearly doesn’t care that he has made a mockery of our political system and of his position as our nation’s leader – an arena in which it’s not so easy to stand out in Israel, given the spectacular prevalence of wrongdoing and questionable ethical hijinks in our hallowed halls of politics. But indeed, Olmert will surely be remembered in the history books as the leader responsible for the mismanagement the Second Lebanon War, the leader who has spent more time running from scandal than actually running the country. He leaves a legacy as the prime minister who dealt the death blows to the nation’s already eroded faith in its government, the prime minister who chose to go down kicking and screaming, sadly opting to fling any remaining shreds of decency out the window, willing to do anything to hold onto his seat, even when those who elected him so obviously no longer want him around.

It is more than a little disturbing to discover with such utter finality, without any question of doubt, the true colors of our leaders. There is no way to ignore their smarmy ridicule of the system, their “can’t-touch-me” attitudes. Is there anyone out there who honestly believes that the grave mistakes and charges listed in the Winograd Report can somehow be fixed by the current government? Is there any citizen prepared to forgive our leaders (especially our Prime Minister) for such sickening abuses of power?

I would never presume to be able to do these jobs, nor would I want to. I recognize my own shortcomings, and I’d like to think that I’d know better than to step into an important job that I knew was so clearly beyond my abilities. I’d like to think that I would have the integrity to put the needs of the greater good above my own desires, and I’d like to believe that I’d have the good sense to step down honorably if I’d made an irrevocable, colossal blunder. And clearly, this is too much to ask of our current leadership.

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Responses

  1. I imagine you are all those things, and would be willing, and that is why you would never be in politics. It is not what we think it is at all. it is subject to human nature, which is far too falliable the more power and money comes

  2. You’re back!!! 🙂 I missed your rants, dear!

  3. I think you missed something…
    They (those two…) are not alone. They come with a bunch of people who work with them behind the scenes for years. Actually, it is quite a large number since it goes into municpial politics and all over the country political activists. It is those people that need to be getting out of our politics on top of those two heading them.

  4. Amen. You said it. Peretz would be a fine defense minister in a country like Luxembourg.

    This is SO not Luxembourg.

  5. “a decision that will surely haunt him until the end of his days”

    This is the only point of disagreement I had with this post. This creature is not amenable to self-reflection or doubt, and lately he started to explain how wise and penetrating was his management of the war…

    Ah well, I hope he will be out soon after the primaries anyway.


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