Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Israeli Attack's 'Dire Consequences' for U.S.

Pentagon recognition of Israeli threat to U.S. national security is rising.
This blog is not a news blog, for the purpose of reporting some secret tidbit no one else knew. Many play that game, and transparency is certainly one invaluable component of democracy, so I applaud them. My goal, however, is to promote deeper thinking and, in particular, to violate taboos. 
One of the most serious taboos in U.S. politics today is the question of whether or not Israel harms more than it aids U.S. national security. Violating taboos is hard. The whole purpose of a taboo is to prevent people from thinking; when the taboo magic works, people turn silently away upon hearing a violation, like proper guests at a fancy dinner party when a child utters profanity. Such willful blindness is very nice manners at a dinner party; on the issue of national security in the nuclear age, however, it is idiocy of the first order. So when THE MAN on the spot indicated that he agreed with me that Israel's policy toward Iran constitutes a threat to U.S. national security, I was naturally pleased.
I recently wrote:
The Israeli war party claims that Iran poses a threat to Israel because of Ahmadinejad's remarks about looking forward to Israel's elimination (which falls far short of threatening to start a war to accomplish that goal). By the Israeli war party's own standard, Israeli references to keeping "all options" on the table--code for nuclear war--constitute an existential threat to Iran. It is not just Israeli possession of nuclear bombs and delivery systems but the public war threats by the Israeli war party leaders (who run the government) that makes Israel a threat to Iran. Given that the U.S. desperately needs stability while it nurses its own wounds from a decade of military and financial irresponsibility, that Israeli threat to Iran also constitutes a threat to the national security of the U.S. (not to mention being a threat to the Israeli people, a point being made by ex-Mossad head Meir Dagan).

According to the New York Times, a recent Pentagon simulation of an Israeli attack on Iran called Internal Look:

has raised fears among top American planners that it may be impossible to preclude American involvement in any escalating confrontation with Iran.

Gen. James N. Mattis, "who commands all American forces in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia," reportedly "told aides that an Israeli first strike would be likely to have dire consequences across the region and for United States forces there."

According to the NYT, "In the end, the war game reinforced to military officials the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of a strike by Israel, and a counterstrike by Iran, the officials said." [Thanks to Friday Lunch Club for alerting me to this valuable report.]

Nothing in the substance of this report is surprising. The news here concerns not substance but the signs that American military officers at the highest levels are awakening to the threat to U.S. national security posed by the warmongering irresponsibility of the Israeli war party.

Since the Iraqis failed to "welcome us with flowers," it must have become obvious to even the most tuned-out Americans that war is unpredictable, though that particular outcome was in fact predicted and indeed was obvious to all but the most biased and self-serving politicians chasing their own private agendas. Unfortunately, those waving the bloody flags of war against Iran have no shortage of their own private agendas, and the risk of losing control once folks start shooting over the crowded Persian Gulf is so high as to be nearly inevitable. The slaughter of a whole Iranian airliner full of civilians in 1988 by the U.S. Navy ought to suffice to make this point. Now imagine what might happen if an Israeli jet mistakenly bombed a U.S. ship. Who in Washington would believe or admit that the fault was Israel's? Then, there is the danger of an Israeli provocation, similar to the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967. Let's face it. If Israel starts a war, the pressure on the guilty politicians to cower behind an American shield will be almost irresistable.

The combination of an irresponsible "war on terror" exploited for partisan advantage and unrestrained corporate corruption facilitated by partisan self-interest cost the American people a lost decade. The American people now face the risk of losing a second decade in a row. Let's hope that the generals who recognize this danger can communicate their concerns effectively to the politicians who speak so glibly about yet another war of choice.

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