Monday, April 10, 2006

"Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."

Sy Hersh writes in his piece in the New Yorker that the brain trusters in the administration now consider Iran's Mahmoud Ahmandinejad to be this year's new Hitler. In fact, this "crisis" is so serious that the only way to counter the threat presented by Mahmoud Hitler might be the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Where have we heard this before?

Remember when the neocons argument for regime change in Iraq was that Saddam was the new Hitler? A typical example of this hype was Shimon Perez, the former Israeli Labour PM, saying that postponing an attack on Saddam would be "taking maybe the same risk that was taken by Europe in 1939 in the face of the emergence of Adolph Hitler."

It's the same rhetoric all over again. The Munich metaphor that was used back then is now being employed to justify an attack on Iran, and by the same people. Once again, the Israelis are the ones most worked up about Iran getting its hands on a nuke and they're lobbying hard for us to do something about it.

The WaPO reported yesterday, "The administration is also coming under pressure from Israel, which has warned the Bush team that Iran is closer to developing a nuclear bomb than Washington thinks and that a moment of decision is fast approaching."

I understand the Israelis are concerned about a country that would try to get a nuke while its president is calling for Israel's destruction, but is a full scale war with Iran in our best interests?

This is nothing new, Israel has been working the Iran angle for a long time. Long before Dick Cheney rolled out the maps of Iraq's oil wells in 2001, and before the Bush administration started pitching the idea of invading Iraq in 2002, the Israelis were trying to sell us on the idea of taking care of Iran.

Back in the nineties, Labour MP and former minister Mosche Sneh was saying things like, Israel "cannot possibly put up with a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands," warning darkly that, "if Western states don't do their duty Israel will find itself forced to act alone, and will accomplish the task by any means." By any means, meaning the nuclear option.

Just imagine what kind of trouble we'd be in if Israel nuked a Muslim country! This thinly veiled blackmail threat was reiterated by Cheney to justify us going after Iran when he said, "Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."

Is this any way to run our foreign policy? We have to take out perceived threats to Israel before they do something stupid and leave us to clean up the mess? Who is the super power here and who is the country the size of Rhode Island?

MAD in the Middle East:

Nuclear deterrence in the Middle East is based on the old Cold War formulation of Mutually Assured Destruction, but in this case MAD is on steroids and is literally mad. George Bush says Iran is a "global threat to world peace," but I don't think most Americans are looking at this "threat" the same way he or the Israelis are. If we're going down the road to Armageddon for Israel, we'd better understand just how far they're prepared to go first.

This is a pretty crazy neighborhood we're dealing with and we're already way over our heads in Iraq. Obviously, Ahmadinejad is as batty as they come, but Israel also has a few nuts of its own. The reason the Israelis see a nuclear Iran as such a dire threat is that they see there's little chance that any attack on Iran, even a nuclear one, would wipe that country off the face of the map. However, Israel could very easily be wiped off the map, hence the understandable fear of nukes in the hands of the Mullahs.

In his excellent book "The Gun and the Olive Branch," David Hersh quotes Hebrew University's professor Martin van Creveld and his pessimistic appraisal of Israel's potential reaction to another existential threat, at the time the second Intifada. If Israel were going to be destroyed by the terrorists, there was only one thing to do:

"We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force...Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: 'Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.' Our armed forces...are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that will happen, before Israel goes under." [Indymedia]

Of course, he was hoping this would never happen...unlike Ephraim Kison. Kison wrote in the Jerusalem Post on April 26, 1975 that Israel needed the bomb because it could never win an arms race with all its Arab neighbors. Such a race, therefore, even with U.S. money and arms, was ultimately self-defeating:

"Our one and only alternative to our gradual destruction by arms race is to develop a nuclear deterrent of our own. It's our single chance for telling our enemies and our one friend: that's it, we're not playing anymore....Sooner or later we'll have to say it out loud. Sooner or later we'll have to announce: if any Arab army crosses this green line, we reserve the right to use atomic weapons, and if he crosses the red line, we'll drop the bomb automatically, even if this whole country is blown up by nuclear retaliation. You don't believe it? Try us!

Are we really prepared for what could happen if we're seen to be nuking Iran for Israel? This is not to say that I think the government of Israel is contemplating an apocalypse, but this kind of mentality does play right into the hands of some of George Bush's most hardcore religious supporters and their fevered visions of the coming Rapture. This is not just me saying this, Republican strategist Kevin Phillips has written that George Bush has messianic tendencies of his own that tract with those "end timers" so enamored of Bush and his crusade against Islam.

So, are we as Americans really prepared to fight Norman Podhoretz' World War IV to the death with "militant Islam" if Sy Hersh is right about this? The media is staying far, far away from this story and "experts" like John Pike are dismissing the whole thing as the administration simply using psychological warfare against the Iranians. It's strange that he's saying this now because back in 2003 he said, "Within two years, either the US or Israelis are going to attack Iran’s (nuclear sites) or acquiesce in Iran being a nuclear state." (Of course, John Pike also said Willy Pete was a harmless chemical and all those burned bodies in Fallujah looked more like decomposing bodies then victims of shake and bake.)

The administration says it’s focused on a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Iran, but then again W. said that before Iraq too. So, the assurances of pundits and political flaks that there's nothing to this talk of "shock and awe" over Tehran is not so reassuring. All the "responsible" journalists and talking heads are tut tutting Sy Hersh again, and W. is calling it "wild speculation," but is what he reports really so far fetched, based on what happened before and after Iraq?


Blogger bushmeister0 said...

I've noticed lately a lot of hits to this particular post from Mettmann, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland.

I just want to say right now, this was a reaction to the BS anti-Muslim reaction to 9/11 here in the states that inspired me to try and counter the anti-Muslim media frenzy going on here at the time.

It is by no means an anti-Semitic tirade.

If you're some shithead neo-nazi asshole using my research to further your bullshit nazi shit, then fuck you, Arschloch!

Get a fucking life, Du gehirnloses Stück Primatenscheisse.

3:55 AM  

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