Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I was pleasantly surprised to see that a letter to the editor that I wrote more than a month ago finally was published in the Jerusalem Report. I did not find a link to the interview to which my letter refers ( it appeared in the August 6 issue of the JR ), but most of its content speaks for itself, I suppose.
As long as Mr Eitam talks as the professional soldier that he was, most of what he says makes a lot of sense. When he starts talking as the rightwing politician that he is, his ideology and hatred of intellectuals blur his sense of reasonable perception, it seems. It is absurd to accuse the academia of never having initiated or of having prevented the establishment of a 'national academy for the art of war'. The place of such an academy - which could play a vital role in forming our soldiers, I cannot but agree on that with Mr Eitam - is within the army. He names two models, the National Defense University in Washington DC and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London. Both of them are an integral part of their nation's army, and both have since their establishment been led almost exclusively by marshals, admirals and the like. Our military should continue to do what it is best at, defending us and attacking our enemies when necessary. If a national military academy can help them to do that, fine. But please, let the IDF leave the academia alone. It is bad enough that politics and the military have become mixed up by cross-pollination, a similar development in the academia would be terrible. As for Mr Eitam's disdain for historians and linguists, the last war proved once again that the international media and worldwide public relations are a battlefield that is just as important as - if not more important than - Mr Eitam's battlefield of expertise. If only more Israeli youngsters were able to properly read, speak, understand and write more than half a foreign ( or not so foreign: Arabic ) language, to have a thorough knowledge of other people's cultures and histories, and to better understand what this region and our own policies look like from outside our own tiny bubble, our political and military situation probably would be much better today.

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