Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What should remain private . . .

When The Monk was but a monkling, he read some children's book where the main character was on a spy mission and actually had to wear a badge that said "SPY" on it when he entered the city where he would snoop around. The Monk, even then, knew that the whole concept was stupid.

The Monk is older and at least a little bit wiser now, and he still thinks that making public things that should remain private is stupid. Thus, he questions the wisdom of the Israeli Security Cabinet publicizing its internal vote approving the military's request to expand the ground war in Lebanon. Some decisions, and dissents, of a government at war should and MUST remain secret. Which ones? How about these:

* The Israeli Security Cabinet's decision — approved 9-0, with three abstentions — was risky. Israel could set itself up for new criticism that it is sabotaging diplomatic efforts, particularly after Lebanon offered to deploy its own troops in the border area.

* In the six-hour meeting, Cabinet officials were told a new offensive could mean 100 to 200 more military deaths, a participant said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters. . . So far, at least 65 Israeli soldiers have been confirmed killed.

* Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke by telephone for a half-hour during the meeting, Israeli officials said. Olmert told the ministers the offensive will be accompanied by a diplomatic initiative, based on a U.S.-French truce proposal that would take Lebanon's concerns into account, a participant in the meeting said.

* Under the army's plan, troops would push to Lebanon's Litani River, about 18 miles from the border. Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz will decide on the timing of the new push, said Trade Minister Eli Yishai, a member of the Security Cabinet.

* "The assessment is it will last 30 days," Yishai said afterward. "I think it is wrong to make this assessment. I think it will take a lot longer," added Yishai, who had abstained in the vote.

Pure foolishness.

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