Israeli reservists demanded a formal inquiry yesterday into the Lebanon war as returning combatants re-counted stories of shocking military incompetence.
One group spoke of how they were sent to war in the choking summer heat without water. They had to grab canteens from the bodies of Hizbollah fighters. They staged protests in several ways. Some signed a petition; others pitched tents outside government buildings in Jerusalem. But their message was clear.
They charged that Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, and his security advisers provided dithering and incoherent leadership and must be held to account. Many of the protesters simply called for the security elite to resign.
The military is a potent constituency in a country that regards its soldiers with almost sacred respect.
Hundreds of members of the Spearhead Brigade, a reserve unit that fought in south Lebanon during the month-long conflict, signed a petition published in a newspaper that attacked the “cold feet” of their commanders.
“There was one thing we were not and would not be willing to accept,” the petition said. “We were unwilling to accept indecisiveness.
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