In the past few days, in television news programs and various blogs, people have been taking a swing at Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of General Staff, for looking through binoculars with their cap on. For those snickering bloggers this was the smoking gun that proved Ashkenazi’s gross incompetence.
Back in February, 2007, when Minister of Defense Amir Peretz was caught looking through closed-cap binoculars, it was a smart jab at his inability to admit his shortcomings, well due after the criticism in Israel for his part in the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war. As you can see in this video
here, he tries to look through the binoculars again and again, and does not admit something is wrong and does not ask for assistance.
Lt. Gen Ashkenazi, who has spent the last 35 years looking through binoculars throughout his military service, was practicing a learnt instinct when he closed the binocular caps after using it, later to take another look, seeing that the cap was on, and taking it off. With the power cameras have for snapping a shot and freezing time, it looks as if he is showing the same incompetence as Peretz showed, but that is not the case. Anyone who ever served in the army, be it a chief of staff or a military clerk, knows that there are various orders you practice, even though they do not make sense some of the times. When I was in boot camp, back in 1995, I was taught to insert my fingers into the magazine well in my M-16 rifle, to make sure that the magazine was out. Now, obviously, I could have easily taken a quick glance at my rifle to see that I already taken the magazine out – but the repeated practice was in order to create muscle memory that will force me to do the same in combat conditions, when I might not think straight or the visibility might not be as good. Lt. Gen Ashkenazi who has been closing binocular caps most of his adult life was instinctively doing the same well-practiced movement.
If people want to prove he is incompetent they should work harder than just attaching an ill-captioned photo with an ‘ha-ha’ comment under it.
If you wanna be in an IDF boot camp and insert your fingers into an M-16 magazine – well… you don’t have to be an Israeli to do it. Read here all about the Friends of the IDF Boot Camp Mission to Israel.