Tag Archives: Barak

Ehud Barak, information leaks and political activism

What do Anat Kamm, Ehud Barak and Meir Dagan have in common?

Ehud Barak is current Israeli Minister of Defense, former IDF Chief of Staff and former Prime Minister  that led the disastrous withdrawal from Lebanon that fomented Intifada II and then Lebanese War II.  Barak is famous for quotes like “If I was a Palestinian, I would also be a suicide bomber” or “If I was an Iranian, I would also build nuclear weapons“.

During her military service as an assistant in the Central Command bureau Anat Kamm secretly copied over 2,000 classified documents, copied the documents to a CD and leaked it to the Israeli Haaretz journalist Uri Blau. Kamm  was recently convicted of espionage and leaking confidential information without authorization and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison after a plea bargain.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has recently voiced unrestrained criticism of the current administration’s defense policy in the service of his political activism; criticism which is supposedly based on his inside knowledge from the Mossad.

Meir Dagan, together with Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (former chief of staff), Gen. Amos Yadlin (former head of military intelligence), and Yuval Diskin (former head of Shin Bet), opposed an attack on Iran. While in office (they all retired between November 2010 and May 2011), the Gang of Four successfully blocked attempts by Netanyahu and Barak to move forward on the military option.

Of the four, only Dagan has spoken openly, after leaving office, about what he considers to be the folly of an attack on Iran —  and openly criticized Netanyahu and Barak for irresponsibly pushing Israel to an unnecessary war, relying on his former position of responsibility as chief of intelligence as as implying that what he said must be true.

It was unclear why Dagan would speak of plans best left undisclosed. Unclear, at least until last week, when Dagan announced his plans for a movement to change the method of Israeli government, leaving his options to enter politics in the future open.

I wish Dagan luck.  I’m not happy with his way of publicizing his political activism at the risk of treading the thin line of information leak. It places him on the same slippery slope as Anat Kam who lamely attempted to justify her actions as an act of political protest.

In comparison with Dagan, Barak is circumspect (despite his unfortunate quotes and bad decisions).

Barak was asked about the possibility of making a decision on attacking Iran in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

In my various posts I’ve already seen all the possible permutations, as long as one thing remains constant: the role of the military is to prepare the plans. It is important that the political echelon listen very carefully to what the operational and intelligence echelons have to say, but at the end it is the political echelon that has the responsibility for the decision.
More here on Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak on Iran, U.S., and war
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US companies had no plan for the downturn?

Alistair Milne, a professor at the City University of London’s Cass Business School deserves gets my nomination for Cassandra of the year award.

I saw a report on BNET this morning that “1/3 of US companies had no plan for the downturn”.

In Israel it’s more like 99% of companies and 100% of the government (Tzipi Livni is still clueless that anything is going on the world financial markets and Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak have already taken profits and deposited them in an off-shore account).

A year ago I blogged about the upcoming recession – :

American Economic Association’s two-day annual meeting in New Orleans spoke of a recession as almost a given but differed over how severe it will be. Alistair Milne, a professor at the City University of London’s Cass Business School, said he’s expecting “a really weak year,” he said, the US economy won’t likely get back on track until 2010 and will require more capital from overseas.

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On Sarah Palin and Zipi Livni

This political cartoon was posted exactly 2 years ago in the Jerusalem Post. The world financial markets are on fire and Zipi Livni  is busy logrolling and playing spin the bottle with Shas and the Labor Party (who are trying to disguise their own version of corruption as a social conscience).

Omer Zak has written recently about a systematic flaw in Israel’s defense strategy

I know it is fashionable the past 2-3 years to talk about not starting a war without knowing how you are going to get out or what you will do the next day “after”. Iraq, Lebanon etc…

I like Omer’s thinking, but I happen to disagree with him on two basic issues:

1) The root cause of the problem (winning wars and losing the country)

Omer is correct that Israel has a systemic problem. but  I disagree that it is Israelis agreeing on what kind of country they want.

Before we attain national consensus (and one can argue that in a true democracy there will never be total agreement on anything), we need to have leaders who can define what they want for the country, and not what they want for themselves.

Israel needs leaders with values. Sharon was a leader but his values were shady.   Olmert is not a leader and his values are corrupt and corrupting.   Livni is neither a leader nor a value role-model.  Her only qualifications for the job are that she has kept her nose clean in 7 offices; but being a woman and currying to Politically Correctness cannot cut it when the world economy is on fire. Let’s compare Livni to Sarah Palin – Sarah Palin has better hair, better fashion taste, an (albeit short) track record in Alaska (Livni’s only asset is that she has no record at all…), and is a tough public speaker (Livni doesn’t even score in this category because a) she doesn’t speak in public and b) her English is atrocious to the point of embarrassment.

We deserve better; the only way we will get good national leadership is by demanding it.

2) Why our leaders don’t lead?

Omer believes that “A consequence of the internal conflicts [in Israel] is that it is impossible for any Israeli leader to define, articulate and consistently pursue any coherent set of [war] goals.”

Olmert’s and Barak’s spin tactics cannot change the fact that they are fundamentally weak and corrupt leaders.   Weak leadership and corruption are not a result of a free-wheeling market of ideas and the  internal conflicts that ensue.

We will never get the leadership we need without getting back to basics; the basics of democracy, making Israel a country for the people, by the people and of the people.

Perhaps we have become inured to the corruption and violence, but we must remember what Thomas Jefferson wrote over 200 years ago:

“We can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun. For this whole chapter in the history of man is new. The mighty wave of public opinion which has rolled over it is new.”
–Thomas Jefferson

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