Years ago I heard an amazing story from a friend who served as an Israeli Air Force mechanic. A squadron of heavy helicopters took off for a long night exercise. Late at night, the helicopters began returning to their air base, landing, taxiing to their parking positions and shutting down their engines. Out of the darkness came the base commander, a well known and admired Lieutenant General. He approached one of the helicopters and informed the shocked crew: “Your helicopter has crashed this evening and you were all killed. I am appointing a board of inquiry to investigate the reasons for the accident and to deliver its conclusions to me.”
The appointed board of inquiry diligently investigated all the factors that could have affected the helicopter’s mission and cause an accident, starting with its technical condition and the records in the maintenance books, through flight planning, navigation charts and safety altitudes, to the pilots’ medical records and the amount of sleep they had before embarking on the flight. It is highly likely that the faults exposed by that board prevented at least one helicopter accident from happening in the future as a result of these faults.
I am now calling on the Israeli Prime Minister and Defence Minister to appoint, today, the future board of inquiry of the looming regional war in the Middle East. Amongst the issues it should start tackling, and these are just the tip of the iceberg:
How did Israel allow its enemies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip to arm themselves for years, hardly interrupted, with weapons capable of inflicting a severe and accurate damage on Israel’s towns and cities as well as on its aircraft, naval ships and armour on the frontline?
Why were the huge, static traffic jams caused by inhabitants of metropolitan Tel-Aviv trying to escape the missile attacks not forecasted, jams that completely hindered the ability of the rescue services to access missile damaged sites?
How did extremist, Israeli Arab armed elements manage to hinder for prolonged periods of time the access of reserve units to their emergency storage sites?
How did Hezbollah terrorists manage to infiltrate Upper Galilee towns and villages and take a large number of civilian hostages?
Why were isolated villages in the Galilee and elsewhere not prepared to confront and defend themselves against the rioting mobs that descended upon them?
There is no need to wait for the board to complete all its work and submit its conclusions in a leather bound volume. The main lessons of each investigated issue should be passed on immediately to a special governmental team that will remove all bureaucratic barriers to an immediate and rapid implementation of corrective measures.
The readers are invited to submit to this board of inquiry further subjects that should be investigated.