Some 160 infantry reserve soldiers are accusing their commanders of preventing them from participating in a demonstration against the war in Lebanon, which they called a “debacle.” The soldiers said they had been used as “sitting ducks.”
“I’ve been in the army and reserves for 26 years and what happened this time was not merely a fiasco, it was a complete debacle. We felt like tin soldiers in a game of Olmert and Peretz’s assistants and spin masters,” said Avi, a soldier in the brigade.
At noon yesterday 160 brigade soldiers signed a request to take part in the demonstration that would call on the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. However, their release was put off until today, preventing them from reaching the protest.
They wanted to protest not only the army’s moves in Lebanon but the decisions of their commanders, whom they accuse of sending them needlessly to their death.
[UPDATE] And, in related news: also from Ha’aretz:
Senior Israel Defense Forces officers expressed dissatisfaction yesterday with the announcement by Chief of Staff Dan Halutz that he had recently instructed the Field Security Directorate at the General Staff to keep track of their telephone conversations.
According to a report in Haaretz yesterday, Halutz instructed the Field Security Directorate to provide him with the telephone logs of the generals, their department heads and their secretaries, in order to crosscheck whether they have had contacts with journalists.
[…] According to the disgruntled officers , the chief of staff’s action “stinks of McCarthyism” and reflects “pressure on the part of the head of the army who feels under siege and is focusing on minor details.”