This is the second part of a two part series regarding Op-Ed's in yesterday's N.Y Times. Please click on this link to start with mypost of yesterday.
Who cares? So what
if the discourse on the U.S./Israel relationship is stifled and intimidation
Therein one sees the brilliance of the sub-editor at the Times. On the right of Mr. Judt’s gentle article is Tom Friedman’s Op-Ed. In it he mourns the non-existence of options we have in Iran. He states that are only two choices: letting Irango nuclear, or another blundering catastrophe by our incompetently run military. But if we were to have an open discussion of the realities of the Middle East, we would have to examine why Iran feels it must have a nuclear weapon. We would talk about Israel’s refusal to sign the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The acquisition by Iran’s near-neighbors,India and Pakistan, of nuclear weapons with U.S.approval would have to be part of the debate. So too, would be the fact that Iran is the only country to be attacked with Weapons of Mass Destruction in the last 50 years.
Despite its frequent promises to never introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East, the world knows that Israel has done so, just as the world knows that it has continuously upgraded its ability to deploy them. During the 1990’s, Israel acquired diesel submarines which it armed with cruise missiles that have the capacity to carry nuclear warheads, “giving Israel a triad of land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear weapons for the first time.” The Washington Post went on to mention the opinion of analysts that this development “would complicate U.S. efforts to keep other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere from seeking to acquire nuclear arms. It could also spur a nuclear arms race in the Middle East”. (emphasis added) Friedman got it right (this time) – the U.S. has virtually no options in Iran, as longs as it supports Israel’s illegal nuclear program.
Iraq the day after 9/11. He didn’t want to invade Iraq because it was connected to 9/11.” The justification for invading Iraq had to be ‘concocted’ by the neo-cons. She quotes retired Marine general Trainor as saying “He just wanted to show them the front end of an M-1 tank. He could have been in Antarctica fighting penguins. He didn’t care, as long as he could send the message that you don’t mess with Hopalong Cassidy.”
Inn fact, “regime change” in Iraq had been a goal of the neo-cons Rumsfeld brought into the Pentagon for many years. In fact two of them, in 1996, when they were working for newly elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for Saddam’s overthrow and voiced “energetic” support for Ahmad Chalabi. Another of the neo-cons argued with President Bush that we should attack Iraq before we went after the Taliban in Afghanistan.The government of Israel itself lobbied for the war in Iraq. On the 16th of August, 2002, the Washington Post reported that “Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.” Ariel Sharon is quoted as saying that strategic cooperation between the US and Israel had reached “unprecedented dimensions.”
Israel also was a “full partner to the picture presented by American and British
intelligence regarding Iraq’s
non-conventional” weapons. To the extent that Iraq
presented a threat to anyone, it was to Israel, not to the U.S.
It must be noted that while the outcome in Iraq appears to be a disaster for U.S. interests; Israel is not disappointed. They are losing neither blood nor treasure in
Baghdad. A weak, divided Iraq, pre-occupied by its own civil war is fine with Tel Aviv. To suggest that the war planners in the Pentagon were surprised by the violence that swept Iraq after Saddam’s fall is naïve in the extreme. They deliberately chose not to participate with the CIA on war Games designed to examine how an occupation would turn out. They chose to ignore that State Department’s “Future of Iraq Project” which did in fact project a lot of the problems that subsequently occurred.
So when a Richard Perle, formerly of the Pentagon, tells us that we could bomb Iran and be out of there before anyone even knew we did it, we have to be wary. Not only ecause he was so wrong on Iraq but also because the continued intimidation of critics of Israel prevents an honest, forthright analysis of what is in the self-interest of the U.S., and even of Israel itself. In fact, Israel suffers when real peace is postponed.
Having Judt’s piece on “The Israeli Lobby” surrounded by the words of Friedman and Dowd, underlines how very central is the need to openly discuss the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. What are our options in Iran? What went so wrong in Iraq? This is why the next Pulitzer must go to the layout sub-editor!.