--We found serious failings and shortcomings in the decision-making processes and staff-work in the political and the military echelons and their interface.
--We found serious failings and flaws in the quality of preparedness, decision-making and performance in the IDF high command, especially in the Army.
--We found serious failings and flaws in the lack of strategic thinking and planning, in both the political and the military echelons.
--We found severe failings and flaws in the defence of the civilian population and in coping with its being attacked by rockets.
--These weaknesses resulted in part from inadequacies of preparedness and strategic and operative planning which go back long before the 2nd Lebanon war.
13. The decision made in the night of July 12th -- to react (to the kidnapping) with immediate and substantive military action, and to set for it ambitious goals - limited Israel's range of options. In fact, after the initial decision had been made, Israel had only two main options, each with its coherent internal logic, and its set of costs and disadvantages. The first was a short, painful, strong and unexpected blow on Hezbollah, primarily through standoff fire-power. The second option was to bring about a significant change of the reality in the South of Lebanon with a large ground operation, including a temporary occupation of the South of Lebanon and 'cleaning' it of Hezbollah military infrastructure.
14. The choice between these options was within the exclusive political discretion of the government; however, the way the original decision to go to war had been made; the fact Israel went to war before it decided which option to select, and without an exit strategy -- all these constituted serious failures, which affected the whole war. Responsibility for these failures lay, as we had stressed in the Interim Report, on both the political and the military echelons.
15. After the initial decision to use military force, and to the very end of the war, this period of 'equivocation' continued, with both the political and the military echelon not deciding between the two options: amplifying the military achievement by a broad military ground offensive, or abstaining from such a move and seeking to end the war quickly. This 'equivocation' did hurt Israel. Despite awareness of this fact, long weeks passed without a serious discussion of these options, and without a decision -- one way or the other -- between them.
16. In addition to avoiding a decision about the trajectory of the military action, there was a very long delay in the deployment necessary for an extensive ground offensive, which was another factor limiting Israel's freedom of action and political flexibility: Till the first week of August, Israel did not prepare the military capacity to start a massive ground operation.
17. As a result, Israel did not stop after its early military achievements, and was 'dragged' into a ground operation only after the political and diplomatic timetable prevented its effective completion. The responsibility for this basic failure in conducting the war lies at the doorstep of both the political and the military echelons.
18. The overall image of the war was a result of a mixture of flawed conduct of the political and the military echelons and the interface between them, of flawed performance by the IDF, and especially the ground forces, and of deficient Israeli preparedness. Israel did not use its military force well and effectively, despite the fact that it was a limited war initiated by Israel itself. At the end of the day, Israel did not gain a political achievement because of military successes; rather, it relied on a political agreement, which included positive elements for Israel, which permitted it to stop a war which it had failed to win.
19. This outcome was primarily caused by the fact that, from the very beginning, the war has not been conducted on the basis of deep understanding of the theatre of operations, of the IDF's readiness and preparedness, and of basic principles of using military power to achieve a political and diplomatic goal.
20. All in all, the IDF failed, especially because of the conduct of the high command and the ground forces, to provide an effective military response to the challenge posed to it by the war in Lebanon, and thus failed to provide the political echelon with a military achievement that could have served as the basis for political and diplomatic action. Responsibility for this outcomes lies mainly with the IDF, but the misfit between the mode of action and the goals determined by the political echelon share responsibility.
21. We should note that, alongside the failures in the IDF performance, there were also important military achievements. Special mention should go to the great willingness of the soldiers, especially reserve soldiers, to serve and fight in the war, as well as the many instances of heroism, courage, self-sacrifice and devotion of many commanders and soldiers.
22. The air force should be congratulated on very impressive achievements in this war. However, there were those in the IDF high command, joined by some in the political echelon, who entertained a baseless hope that the capabilities of the air force could prove decisive in the war. In fact, the impressive achievements of the air force were necessarily limited, and were eroded by the weaknesses in the overall performance of the IDF.
23. The "Hannit" episode colored to a large extent the whole performance of the Navy, despite the fact that it made a critical contribution to the naval blockade, and provided the Northern Command with varied effective support of its fighting.