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Opinion | Professional failure | Israel Hayom

2023-12-06T06:38:09.658Z

Highlights: Yuval Doron Castleman's death sparked moral, legal and political debate. But the professional-military discourse must not be blurred, writes Dr. Roni Mesh. Mesh: We are in the midst of a war, which began because the IDF is the problem, not the solution. If you find a mistake, you'll find it. We'll fix it. If not, we'll find a new way to deal with it, he says. The shots that pierced Castleman’s body are utterly incomprehensible and shock body and soul.


The political-legal controversy that arose following the tragic death of Yuval Doron Castleman must not exempt the responsible echelon of the army from the probing questions at the professional level


The tragic death of Yuval Doron Castleman suddenly became an issue that sparked moral, legal and political debate. But alongside this polemic, a complementary discussion must not be blurred, namely the professional-military discourse. And not for accountability, but for the sake of drawing lessons.

Since the First Lebanon War, military commanders have "benefited" from the fact that their failures are translated into political polemics. Abject military disasters and failures, stemming from erroneous command decision-making, become objects of purely civilian confrontations, without senior officials demanding harsh answers.

The helicopter disaster, for example, which led to the establishment of the Four Mothers organization and in fact to the withdrawal from southern Lebanon, is a clear example: a catastrophe that was supposed to lead to a sharpening of systems in the organizational culture in the air force was translated into a political discourse about the IDF's presence in southern Lebanon. The same disaster occurred at a time when many fighters were killed in bilateral shootings. We are currently seeing the failure to learn lessons in this area in the Gaza Strip.

The shots that pierced Castleman's body are utterly incomprehensible and shock body and soul, and the prime minister's feeble response is disappointing in its wretchedness. We are in the midst of a war, which began because the IDF is the problem, not the solution. Civilians have assumed the role of the state, and in their willingness to endanger themselves against terrorists, they should not be killed, certainly not in an arena unlike Gaza or southern Lebanon. Therefore, it is important to remember that this is an operational failure of the first degree. Imagine if Yuval had not killed the terrorist, but he would have been killed by that reservist. The sequel would turn into a killing scene: the terrorist would identify the source of the fire and neutralize it, and later - gunfire in all directions. Dozens could have been killed at the scene.

When have we met cases in the past in which uninvolved soldiers were shot by reservists? First, in cases of flooding of an arena: when the IDF chose at an emergency time to send more and more forces, more or less skilled, into the "field" – the main thing is to have a presence of weapons carriers.

Second, when the framing of the arena is wrong: when the forces first reached a mediator demanding different codes from the one in which they had served up to that time. A fighter who served in Lebanon and came to Judea and Samaria, or who served in Gaza and suddenly came to help Border Police women in Jerusalem. Places that demand a completely different conduct in terms of "self-programming", but no briefing or mental preparation is given prior to placement in the new space.

And finally, congruence with the arena: the Americans call this "disrupted psychology" - an unconscious decision to conduct oneself in one way or another, such as difficulty in stopping firing at an automaton, and other components derived from the individual aspect. Components that can be identified in routine, but during emergencies are not always monitored in advance, and therefore those who should be removed from it in the first place are located at the scene.

The shots that pierced Castleman's body are utterly incomprehensible and shock body and soul, and the prime minister's feeble response is disappointing in its wretchedness. We are in the midst of a war, which began because the IDF is the problem, not the solution

At the same time, it should be remembered that even failure to provide support to combatants (failure to convey a message that in a complex arena it is always possible to make mistakes), and the transition to an all-legal discourse, may spill over into what has already been illustrated in quite a few studies: avoidance, scheduling tasks, fear of shooting, and the psychology of "the main thing is to return home safely," lest taking the initiative turn into a "mess with the State Prosecutor's Office," as I found in my joint research with Dr. Roni Mesh.

In order to avoid the tragedy we witnessed on one side, and the failure to avoid the other, the incident must first of all be framed as an operational-command-organizational failure. This is not only an arena in which individual decisions must be made regarding one reservist who killed one civilian, but also a variety of active arenas to which reservists are currently being recruited. It is doubtful whether they systematically examined their personal files, the extent to which they underwent training programs adapted to the area in which they are stationed, and more. These are the layers of conduct that must be examined, since they are the ones that led to that tragic moment when bullets pierced the body of the hero Yuval Doron Castleman.

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Source: israelhayom

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