Conduct of Lebanon War Irks Israelis

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli public anger at the way the nation's leaders conducted the war in Lebanon grew Monday, with a group of reservists publishing a public letter of protest and a top general saying the military was guilty of arrogance.

The reservists' letter, blasting the "indecisiveness" of top brass during the month-long war, topped the news broadcasts of Israeli radio and was on the front page of the nation's top three newspapers.

Pressure has steadily increased on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to open a state inquiry into how the 34-day war against Hezbollah was handled at the political and military level.

"The war's aim, which was not defined clearly, was even changed in the course of the fighting," said the letter signed by the Spearhead Brigade.

"The indecisiveness manifested itself in inaction, in not carrying out operational plans, and in canceling all the missions we were given during the fighting," it said.

"This led to prolonged stays in hostile territory, without an operational purpose and out of unprofessional considerations, without seeking to engage in combat with the enemy. …