Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, August 28, 2006
There is probably nothing more controversial that a soldier can do than refuse orders. The whole foundation that an army stands on is that soldiers will follow orders, even knowing they may die.

The only time it is excusable or even forbidden to follow orders is when the order is black and white illegal (such as killing POWs perhaps, or ethnically cleansing Jews out of their homes).

But what happens when an officer gets an order under unusual circumstances.
One such IDF officer received orders to take his unit on a mission.

The officer didn’t refuse, rather he told his superior officer that he is personally incapable of fulfilling the mission assigned to him. From what I recall hearing the mission was cancelled (it’s a known story, so if someone has more details…)

The truth is that this officer saw the assignment as a suicide mission with no clear goals and refused to take his men into what he saw as a death trap.

But think about it.

Say it was exactly what he thought it was – a suicide mission, but the upper brass felt it was necessary to sacrifice this unit in order to win the war completely – this officer would then have caused us to lose the war. What right did he have to refuse these orders?

But what happened in reality?

This officer saw that he was getting bad orders, he saw that he was getting confused orders, he saw that his people were getting killed and he was getting no support, he saw that orders were being changed in the field without concern that units weren't properly armed for the new missions. This officer lost faith in those giving him his orders.

The backbone holding the army together, the trust that allows men to let themselves be ordered to their own deaths was breached, broken and destroyed.

It is the trust between the soldiers and the generals and the politicians that keeps the army functioning. Soldiers go to fight and die knowing they are being used properly for the good of the nation, and the politicians send the soldiers knowing that they are being given a trust to use those lives properly.

That broke down as lives were needlessly wasted.

The officer was put on trial and it was determined that he won’t be punished for not following the order, nor will he be given a medal for admitting that he wasn’t qualified to lead the mission (as is) thus saving the lives of all his soldiers.

But the army knows what he was saying.

All the parents of the soldiers knew what he was saying and thanked him for saving their children’s lives.

But this is how far the IDF and political echelon have fallen. A soldier must say he is incompetent to complete his mission in order to save his soldiers from a needless death caused by politicians and generals who are really the incompetent ones.

The trust between the soldier and our leaders is broken. That means the IDF is broken

Who will fix it?


Anonymous said...

Benny Begin for Czar of Israel

Ben Bayit said...

Here's the full story

Haaretz Friday magazine pieces are usually translated into English for the following weekend's edition - so the English isn't out yet.

For some people it's more than "just a story" in the newspaper.

JoeSettler said...

Thanks, if you find the English link next week...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Joe: Seems like Scott is describing my blog?

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