Apr 1, 2009

General Petraeus--among others--Floats a Trial Balloon

First, over the weekend the two top Israeli officials who remain anonymous talking to two equally anonymous Time Magazine reporters, they want to "clarify" that Israel did indeed attack convoys in Sudan, and making perfectly clear that this was to send a clear message to certain unspecified parties (i.e. Iran) that they can go anywhere they want.

The US doesn't condemn it, of course, because violating another country's territory is something that we have already gotten used to doing. Borders? Sovereign territory? Hey, man, WTF! we're entitle. We do kidnappings and illegal assassinations too.

And what wonderful timing--on Tuesday--Netanyahu gives his first interview to The Atlantic, in which he threatens to attack Iran unless President Obama disarms them successfully (you will find the full Atlantic article here.) On Wednesday, President Obama talked to him on the phone and said he was committed 100% to Israel's defense; and lo and behold that very day General Petraeus testifies before Congress and warns about the possibility that Israel may go off
on its own and attack Iran. God almighty did you hear the Congress critters' outrage? Will you see the condemnation in the mainstream media this week? Watch for Bill O'Reilly to launch into appoplexy at the commission of another Obama crime. Well, the good general Petraeus carried water for the neocons. Why not carry it for the newly instituted racist government in Tel Aviv? It's a shame that the respected Atlantic has begun to carry the water as well.

You will hear no calls for caution, no calls for real hard evidence from the only folks that know what is going on, the AIEA (which unfortunately has its own internal problems trying to find a new director). No real diplomacy. Bush didn't question Israel's attack on Syria or call for an investigation, and the US didn't do it for this Sudan attack. (Our ambassador was apparently tipped off, however, and was telling the Sudanese about it when the missiles struck.) The more US diplomacy "changes" the more it remains the same.

At the end of his speech, Netanyahu warned that "When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran." Since the whole accusation of Iranian nuclear intentions and capability seems to be more a matter of belief than credible evidence, and since Israel has already got in its possession probably well over a hundred atomic weapons, I think that sentence provides a fine mirror:

When the paranoid believer possesses the air force and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Israel.

The problem is, of course, that the war-monger will never see the reflective irony in his statement of civic paranoia. Will someone finally demand some really hard evidence that Iran has the capability to make the bomb and not just fissionable material for its own nuclear power program? Will someone please explain how a country with one or two untested nuclear bombs would be stupid enough to risk its existence by attacking a country with at least 75 and perhaps as many as 200 nuclear weapons? When Netanyahu was asked that very question by interviewer Jeffrey Goldberg, his reply was, “I’m not going to get into that.”
(Will somebody please remind Israel that they started the nuclear proliferation in the Middle East to begin with?)

To see Iran as a real nuclear warfare threat demands that you believe that Iran is truly and absolutely run by mad men. Proud, yes; wily, to be sure; but above all, practical realists. You really think they want to get hit? (I will concede that they are being incredibly foolish in their tempting the Israelis.)

It is clear to me that if the Iranians are pursuing a bomb it is out of a desperate move to place themselves in a deterrent situation, not one of suicidal foolishness.

If Netanyahu truly believes that Iran is stupid enough to attack Israel with even one weapon, then he is deeply deranged. If he fears Iran supplying nuclear weapons to terrrorists, he has a fear, but he must also know that Iran will never escape unscathed if nuclear terrorism happens in Israel--an incident which will of course, damage Palestinians as well as Israelis. I think Netanyahu is in touch with one idea: pushing things as far as he can right now to see how much he can get away with and to detract attention from his plan for denying Palestinians their state. Because I also think he is a wild-eyed one--albeit beneath a squinting gunslinger's lids. (We Americans can't perceive it because he such good command of American idiom and the bare hint of an accent. Trust me--having him as prime minister is something akin to having David Addington or John Bolton as president.)

We need to fear him much more than the Iranians. There is no more dangerous madman than the one who believes irrefutably in his own sanity.

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