The blog of Dan H.
By Doron Rosenblum
The warning light signaling "fire in the engine" has been lit for me for a few months, not to mention the blinking lights of the other alerts. But I'm not pulling on the ejection seat lever. No. I am not abandoning this cockpit, which is called my career, of my own free will. Too much has been invested in it - and in me. It and I have already become one unit, inseparable. Let them abandon, those sweating nullities down below. I won't give them the satisfaction of seeing me swaying at the end of a parachute like some dreidl. I, who lifted my eyes to far broader horizons than this snakepit called the General Staff - I do not intend to abort this mission. They still don't know who they're messing with: with a guy who remains locked on the target even without knowing what the target is.
What was it we were taught? It's the one you don't see that will shoot you down. And I see them all through the dark glasses: the schvantz from Northern Command, whom I intercepted with the press of one button; the opinionated klutz who sat on my tail until I shook him off; not to mention the little baby-face who refused to disappear and the old codger who might yet swoop in from the direction of the sun. I got used to seeing them - the ones in green - somewhere down below, pleading for air support and help from the heavens, drowning in noise and stench and dread and in the duskiness of the falling evening - while I traversed the skies quietly: just me and the instruments and my breathing, still pampered by the rays of the sun.
I got used to seeing them in the corridors of General Staff headquarters - vociferous, edgy, wearing high new-recruit boots even at the age of 40, pita-like berets stuffed into their epaulettes - while I and my number 2 and number 3 pass by them in the corridor in formation: washed and starched, straight from the briefing rooms and the clubs, our half-shoes shining, our eyes shaded beneath our visored caps, sort of like Navy types, albeit a bit squashed. Yes, yes, I know them, these guys in green, for whom the horizon ends with the ridge across the way. They really think that they can teach me what a panoramic view of the battlefield is. I, for whom a NATO projection is small potatoes; I, who am bothered by the monetary and strategic policy of the G-8 far more than I am by the question of who shot and who fell, between Beit Alpha and Nahalal.
Let them whisper, let them leak things to the press, let them squirm under their lice, there below. The pressurized suit that is getting tighter around me only heightens my power of concentration on the immediate target, which is: minimizing the damages, stabilizing and preventing loss of speed and tailspin (mine, of course - whose did you think?).
And in the meantime, as the saying goes, "Israel is not a widower," as I once told Arik (and immediately bit my tongue - all I meant is that there is still hope). There are two methods of evasion when antiaircraft fire is closing in on you from all sides. One is to scatter flak, to create a cloud of metal fragments that confuses and diverts the enemy missiles. You want a commission of inquiry? Fine! How many? Twenty? Thirty commissions? You'll get a cloud of commissions, until they're coming out of your ears. Battalion commanders, brigade commanders, major generals: all of them are investigating and drawing lessons. And anyone who leaked info will be investigated himself. And retired chiefs of staff and generals who opened their mouths against me shut it when they were appointed investigators. And there are also numberless "meetings to draw conclusions," with me as the meta-checker, the monitor who supervises the thoroughness of this investigative process. Yes, heads will fly mercilessly at all ranks (just be careful that nothing gets sprayed on me, eh?).
The second method is to pull back the stick, open a rear burner and soar high above all this pettiness. War-schmar, blunders-schmunders: you hie into the upper reaches of the stratosphere and the existential strategy, and transform yourself from chief of staff into some meta-entity, into a kind of Warren Buffett of security. They come to a meeting with maps, with debriefings, with lessons; they talk about emergency depots and shoes and food and equipment - and you give them that hooded look, chin resting on your hands; you are the chairman of a gigantic corporation, and someone is telling you about a hitch in the wooden-hanger assembly line in Taipei.
You listen and nod to this army - even to the chief of staff who heads it, in the hope that you will not be associated with this schlemazel. When the day comes maybe you yourself will demand his resignation - and no one will think you are associated with it. Another few conferences and meetings to draw conclusions, and people will start to think you are some sort of alter ego of the state comptroller. So move aside: I have conclusions to draw, sleeves to roll up, a war to conduct, an army to rehabilitate. I have too many strategic plans for them to be disrupted by some war. (Hey, they call that a war? It was barely a slight bump on the wing.)
The (real) blog of Benjamin N.
I don't understand how the slice of bread always falls buttered side down, even though I swore - and swore again to myself - to behave cautiously, to draw conclusions, to be wily even when dealing with my own nature. So what is this - a curse of the Pharaohs that is haunting me? I already had half my bottom on the horse. I started a blog and I was really cool (even in the responses I wrote). I surprised and suddenly outflanked Olmert from the left with a demand to launch talks with Syria (we really laughed and rubbed our hands in glee that evening!). I gave TV interviews showing my good profile, with the two spontaneous jokes I prepared. And suddenly this Gaydamak thing comes crashing down on me. This is always happening to me.
Only God and Sara know how much I agonized, how much I planned, how much I maneuvered on that evening in the bedroom. Should we go to Gaydamak's party? Should we not go? Should I take off my socks? My shoes? If we don't go - I thought analytically - he will take offense and not give funding or support. And who knows how many Russians will turn out to vote? But if we do go to the party, what will people say? That Bibi jumped again. I will be mocked on "A Wonderful Country." Barnea will write that birds of a feather flock together.
I made so many clarifications! How I considered it from every possible angle! How I wrestled with the dilemma! I already had one sock off but I made two more phone calls. What is it, exactly? A Christmas party? Hanukkah? It's what? And who will be there? Do we have to bring wine? As in the vote for or against the disengagement plan, I didn't know what to do, what to decide. I went nuts. I got up and went out simultaneously. It's hard, it's hard to be a Libra ...
- "So what do you say, Sara?" I asked, holding the phone in one hand and a shoe in the other.
From the bed came only the sound of light snoring.
In the end I decided (if that's the right word) that yes, I will go! It's worth it! Because on the one hand, the damage of not going could be serious (he'll be insulted and support Lieberman); on the other hand, if I go late at night, say after 2:30, maybe no one but him will know that we came. And that's good. It's like at a shiva - only those who need to know, know you came. But wait a minute: if we show up at, let's say, 2 A.M., maybe Ayala Hasson will still be there. But by 2:30 they'll probably have gone to sleep, the journalists, especially the guy with the glasses from Channel 10. Just a minute, what if the party ends before that, and we find ourselves stuck in the parking lot? Hey, that's an idea - we can always say we were late ...
After numberless considerations and calculations, I made a formative decision: "Come on, Saraleh, we're going!"
- "Bzzzz ... Who? What?..."
We got there at 2:30, me wearing my "We just dropped by for a bit" look. I even left my collar open a bit, to show that it's not a who-knows-what-"visit" but something casual. Neighbors (neighbors?) who just popped in. But what does the devil do? They were there, all the photographers and reporters. And they made tzimmes out of it. And, as usual, I looked really bad, and some microphone picked me up pattering with Gaydamak like this: "Tell me, do you have a pool? Because I have one, too, and I was thinking about turning mine into a heated pool ..."
The ghost of Rabbi Kaddouri seemed to hover in the bedroom until morning. Shit, shit, shit! I watched the TV and buried my head in my hands. Why does this always happen to me? Why? Why? Until when? Until when? Bibi - get out of me! Get out!
The blog of Ehud B.
Decision: return, big-time. Peretz - negligible element. Ayalon - can be dismantled with a small screwdriver. The rest - gears without a spring. Add to this 85 percent support and popularity among the people, and the conclusion is self-evident: respond to the public's yearnings and agree to come back. Like in Camp David, it'll go like clockwork.