In the Arena

The Israel Lobby and Hagel

  • Share
  • Read Later
Lauren Victoria Burke / AP

Chuck Hagel delivers remarks to the Brookings Institution on U.S. foreign policy and the 2008 presidential campaign in Washington on June 26, 2008.

Jeff Goldberg has an interesting post about the mixed feelings that the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have about launching a major lobbying campaign against Chuck Hagel.

He may be right–and it would be wonderful if true–but I know that AIPAC has been quietly working the phones, arguing against the nomination. There is a difference between that and a full-bore lobbying campaign, but AIPAC’s pro-Netanyahu posture has always been clear. (Update: Eli Lake, who knows this territory well, is also reporting that AIPAC will stand down.)

While on this subject, I should note, with sadness, that Ed Koch–a great mayor of New York and one of the most clever politicians I’ve ever covered–has gone off the high board on the Hagel nomination. There is much that is odious about Koch’s statement, but the idea that the President has “betrayed” Israel by nominating Hagel is the most outrageous.

(MORE: Hagel: A Different Kind of Defense Secretary)

These notions of betrayal and appeasement (pace Bill Kristol), perfumed with intimations of anti-Semitism are part of a hyperbolic corruption of common usage, favored by neoconservatives and their extremist allies. Can Nazi metaphors be far behind? Oh, wait a minute: the idea that negotiating with Iran constitutes “appeasement,” as Kristol has harangued, is a direct reference to Neville Chamberlain’s catastrophic cave to Hitler in the 1930s.

This sort of thinking pre-supposes two false premises: that Jews are as weak and helpless as they were in Nazi Germany, and that the dreadful regime in Iran has the strength and imperial hunger of the Nazis. The truth is, Israel is the most powerful country in the region, by far. It has a nuclear arsenal. It has a powerful military and a nonpareil intelligence service. Iran, by contrast, is near economic collapse as a result of the global economic sanctions organized by–yes–Barack Obama. Its nuclear program is constantly sabotaged by computer viruses launched by a joint effort of Israel’s intelligence services and–yes–the Obama Administration. Is this what Ed Koch means by betrayal?

There is no question that Iran’s government is a disgrace, but not because its powerless president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, goes about denying the holocaust and threatening Israel with elimination. It is a disgrace in the same way that the other police state dictatorships in the region–the Assads, Mubaraks and Saddams–were disgraceful. The patina of religiosity cloaks a military dictatorship run by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is brutal and dangerous, but eminently containable.

(MORE: The Hagel Choice)

So why all the Nazi talk? Two reasons: Ahmadinejad’s effusions make Iran’s leadership seem crazy–and that craziness is something that works for both Netanyahu and Iran’s real leaders. It gins up the global concern about Iran, summons extreme statements by the likes of John McCain and Mitt Romney, which makes the regime’s delusion of a Great Satan intent on destroying the Islamic Republic more plausible. This is more a matter of domestic propaganda than international policy:  the regime isn’t very popular among the Iranian public, but most Iranians are patriots, proud of their country’s heritage–even to the point of wanting a nuclear weapon, because they foolishly believe would restore Iran’s power and greatness in the world. In the days before the 2009 election, I interviewed most of the leaders of the Green movement, which was rhapsodized by McCain and his acolytes, and every one of them was steadfastly in favor of Iran’s nuclear program–indeed, they subsequently blasted Ahmadinejad for being willing to make a deal with India and Turkey stopping the production of highly enriched uranium and shipping the stuff already produced out of the country. (Given that he was completely powerless to make such a deal, Ahmadinejad was, as usual, blowing smoke.)

Negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue won’t be easy, although I suspect there will be movement soon. But if the negotiations fail, containment and deterrence will be easy–far easier than it was with the Soviet Union–and ultimately successful. Unlike many of the states in the region, Iran is a real country. Its borders weren’t drawn by Europeans. Tehran is a major world capital with a population north of 12 million. It was rocketed by the Iraqis in the 1980s; a million casualties, including 100,000 poison gas victims, were taken in that war. The most powerful impulse of the current Iranian leadership is to avoid a repeat of that disaster, despite the often-loony rhetoric. Both the CIA and the Mossad believe that the leaders of the Revolutionary Guard are tough, intransigent, sometimes brutal, but not crazy enough to launch a nuclear weapon and see their 5,000 year old civilization atomized. This is not Nazi Germany.

The second reason why neoconservatives hype their rhetoric is that it serves as a smokescreen for a basic fact: they’ve been wrong about absolutely everything since 9/11. In the run-up to the Iraq war, prominent leaders like Malcolm Hoenlein–of the egregiously-named Conference of President of Major Jewish American Organization–were spreading the word that taking out Saddam would make the world safer for Israel. That sort of nonsense didn’t cause the war–Bush and Cheney were hurtling in that direction no matter what–but it didn’t impede it either. And since the Iraq disaster became clear, the record of the Bomber Boys, Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, and their allies has been undimmed by anything approaching rationality on any other national defense issue.

(MORE: Why Hagel Is So Well-Informed)

There is a third reason: they’ve been able to get away with their bullying. Accusing someone of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic is powerful juju…until it is misused. When you start flinging around these canards and libels to describe people who support Israel but don’t want to see the illegal settlements expand, or who want to negotiate with Iran, you are debasing the currency. The accusations become meaningless.

A few years ago, the doddering head of the Anti-Defamation league, Abe Foxman, accused me of anti-Semitism because I wrote that some of the Jewish members of the neoconservative tribe were confusing America’s national interests with (what they inaccurately perceived to be) Israel’s national interests, that they were, in effect, putting Israel first. There was much sturm and even more drang. A deeply clueless blogger for Commentary wrote that “We know how these things end and they don’t end well.” In other words, I would be forced to apologize or be reprimanded or be fired. None of that happened. I’m still here–still a proud supporter of Jewish democracy in Israel, still convinced that the neoconservative course is bloody, myopic and immoral.

There is anti-Semitism still abroad in the world. It is as disgusting as ever. There are those who devoutly wish to see the destruction of Israel. They are morally obtuse and practically insane. But the extreme rantings of the Hoenleins and Kristols and Foxmans, often funded by bounders like Sheldon Adelson, are making it more difficult to identity those in this world who really would do harm to Jews and to Israel.  They will make plenty of noise, and maybe raise some money from the gullible during the coming weeks, but I suspect that by overhyping their opposition to Hagel, they will do far more harm than good to the image of Jews and of Israel.

MORE: President Obama Taps Former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel to Run Pentagon

242 comments
jenny.hootyhoo
jenny.hootyhoo

Why should Israel get involved with out politics?  Israel has been at war or at least squabbling with their neighbors for years. The U S needs to be a PEACE country.  Thanks.

AnatolePushkin
AnatolePushkin

Where are those warhawks now who convinced George W(armonger) Bush that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD?  Where will Koch and Kristol hide if there World War III breaks out against Iran, Russia, China and their allies?  Why are these vociferous wheelchair political analysists and jaded politicians so loyal to Netanyahu and so critical to their own government?  Netanyahu is a Zionist who should be voted out of office and replaced.  He is a war criminal like Bush who must be tried in an International Human Rights court.  The USA should stop sending US Aid to Zionist Netanyahu.  He is an arrogant beggar who uses US taxpayers money to purchase weapons against fellow Semites in his fratricidal campaign to entrench fellow Zionists in land that belongs to the Palestinians.  Jews are not the problem.  The problem is the Zionists who follow the Protocol of the Elders of Zion.  The Zionist Lobby should stop meddling in US politics.  It's time the USA should distance itself from Middle East Intramurals of Semites.  Do not supply them armaments, and peace will be achieved.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

Miriam, AIPAC's policy is to support Israel's democratic process, regardless of whether it leads to liberal or conservative outcomes.  When Labor has been in power in Israel, AIPAC has supported their policies.  First and foremost, AIPAC supports close friendship between the U.S. and Israel and ways that the relationship can be beneficial for both sides.  Just a couple of quick examples of how AIPAC's work has benefited the U.S.:  AIPAC supported joint U.S. and Israeli funding for the Iron Dome and for the Arrow missile rocket and missile defense systems.  These programs have enabled both countries to acquire the world's best anti-rocket defense and the world's best intermediate range missile defense technologies.  Although AIPAC has some evangelical members, many if not most evangelicals express their support of U.S.-Israel friendship not through AIPAC, but through Christians United for Israel.

MiriamHarpaz
MiriamHarpaz

Dear Joe Klein,

I agree with your about AIPAC. My jury is still out on Iran. Unfortunately Joe AIPaC has become an organization to represent Evangelical Christians. They do not represent at least the 65% of Jewish Americans that voted for Obama. I also think that AIPAC has become a Tea Party hack in that they represent their interests more than ours. I do not agree on your stand about Iran, Joe but thats o.k. I do see them as  a nemesis. But AIPAC does not do Jewish American interests any good. I do think Hagel will be a good choice because he can stand up to AIPAC. Hagel will also do 

Ramoninbeijing
Ramoninbeijing

The tribe of Hoenlein, Koch, Kristol, Krauthammer, Foxman and Adelson has endured for thousands of years; a long period during which other peoples, including the Normans and Romans, assimilated themselves out of existence.

One reason for such longevity is that members of this tribe did not easily intermarry. Another reason is that they did not easily give their loyalty to causes outside the tribe; causes such as the present day America.

America has only been around for 230-odd years. To think Hoenlein & Co. have more loyalty to the US than to their own tribe is stupid.

JimFisher
JimFisher

Declare AIPAC to be a foreign entity and shut it down, start arresting AIPAC members for treason and then I bet you would see the Israelis quit squawking about attacking Iran.

TJ293
TJ293

If there is political correctness in the country on anything its on the subject of the pro-Israeli lobby.

metta2uall
metta2uall

Pretty good article but I think the title is unfortunate. "The Israel Lobby" - what is that? It's not just the neocons - there are many organisations that are "pro-Israel" but support the Israeli left, oppose the settlements, want negotiations, etc.. The neocons shouldn't be allowed to hijack the pro-Israel label for themselves only.

HannoPhoenicia
HannoPhoenicia

No foreign country has the right to lobby in the United States. Bribes, intimidation and anti-American influence peddling is hardly covered by Freedom of Speech. Anyone who does so is an undesirable alien or a citizen guilty of sedition.

RalphSpyer
RalphSpyer

General George Marshall,General Vehemently,James V Forrestal,George Kennan,Robert F Kennan ,RobertLovett,John J McCloy,Paul Nitze and Dean Acheson all opposed vehemently reconizing Israel as a state.John F Kennedy wanted internation inspectors at Dimona [Israel Nucler Facilities]he vehemently opposed the Jewish state having nuclar weapons in the middle east.Robert Kennedy and Senator Fulbright talked about the Zionists infulance of A.I.P.A.C. the American Israel Public  Affair Committee and there lobby. A good example of this A.I.P.A.C. lobby; Israel gets more American foreign aid then any other nation on the face of the earty ,WHY.It a fact that Israel had to pay 7 million dollars to the familys of the Americans killed on the U.S.S Liberty is it also a fact that Israel knew in advance of 9/11 ???

DavidCreighton
DavidCreighton

I really don't have a problem with Israel being considered a US Ally, but I will say that I haven't found it in the constitution that we have to be at all costs.

We beg Israel to stop building all of these "settler" homes in East Jerusalem & the West Bank, but they simply refuse to listen. They cajole our President for having the temerity of having a schedule of his own. Nety whines about 'Red Lines' and wants to force the hand of our mliitary when last time I checked he wasn't a US citizen and even we only get 1 vote each.

If Israel wants to move unilaterally let them. If they want to go in and crush people that are shooting rockets into their towns, let them; but stop making their every move somehow a proxy move of ours.

WE DON'T OWE THEM ANYTHING.

If they really want to do it alone. Let them try it for a while.

jimkmidlo
jimkmidlo

Hagel will not only be attacked by the pro-israel group but our own military industrial group.  On top of that he is a Vietnam vet and an enlisted man and our country has not favored our Vietnam vets very well in the past.  Chuck Hagel is just the kind of guy we need as Secretary of Defense.  He knows war, he knows Congress and he know BS when he sees it.

freeview14
freeview14

Hagel loyalties should be with the US of A..not Israel..So is the rest of those who holds US passport, work and live in here! I wish Israel the best but..this is US ofA not Israel!

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

As the wandering goy living in Israel years ago, I learned THE question to be applied to everything: Is this good for the Jews, or bad for the Jews? Jewish history extends just a trifle before the Nazi era. A dangerous trap known to any student of Jewish history is getting too close to a flaky power structure, dangerous allies, or be seen to be over exerting power you don't really have. The reactions generated are invariably not good. In particular, sucking up to the dubious neo-con establishment is not a good thing to be doing. Counting on Christian Fundamentalist who want to use you for your destruction literally to hasten the end world is not encouraging. This extreme pressure play is not a good thing for the Jews; Joe has been tip toeing around the 800 pound moldy matzo ball in the room.

sridhar.sid
sridhar.sid

This is another gem from Joe Klein. No question, Netanyahu pedals fear bordering on paranoia and the Jewish Lobby magnifies this for domestic consumption. Obama has won a Nobel Prize for Peace. He must surround himself with people who will promote talks with Iran and resist the tempatation of another Iraq invasion, on false imformation

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

The fact that the neoconservative pro-Netanyahu lobby among Jewish organizations is so comfortable labeling people as being anti-Semetic or anti-Israel is a major problem for Jews and other pro-Israel constituencies.  Like the boy who cried "wolf" so many times, these people are devaluing the words they use by bandying them about so cavalierly. 


But there's more than that, and it needs to be said.  Read the articles written by "conservatives" (e.g., Jennifer Rubin, William Kristol and others) and members of the pro-Netanyahu lobby, accusing people who are perfectly reasonable individuals whose only transgression is to disagree with said lobby on tactics and approaches.  Then read the blog postings that follow.  

Without a doubt, the diatribes by these people elicit negative reactions among readers, and the negative reactions turn increasingly against the very cause the commentators are trying to support: Israel's society, its right to survive and thrive and the need to defend it.  Accusing someone falsely of being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel and screaming it from the rooftops is a sure way to antagonize even mild mannered people.


It's succeeding in doing just that.

Chipper
Chipper

If a nuclear armed Iran is not worth fighting then tell me what is ? Do you possibly think that they are just buffoons and not in ernest? I agree that sacntions are crippling Iran, but so far that has not stopped them from forging ahead in development of a nuclear weapons capabilty. You blithely credit Obama witht the sanctions. These were primarily urgeed by a large majority in congress from both parties. Obama was not eager to impliment many of the sanctions, but did so because of the this broad coalition that included many from his own party. Based on Mr. Hagel's past voting record and position statments it is abundantly clear that he would have voted no on these sanctions that are credited, prematurlely, with bringing Iran into line.  

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@Ramoninbeijing Ramon, the Jews have actually been a source of America's strength.  In fact, the same can be said of many superpowers throughout history.  This is the reason that, when the Jews were kicked out of Spain, that country, Spain, began a very rapid decline that left it a backward country in under a century, whereas those places that invited fleeing Spanish Jews in--Holland, Venice and Istanbul--rapidly became powerful and wealthy.

In the case of the United States, the Jews built our retail, media and entertainment industries.  The biotech and film industries were essentially invented by Jewish Americans.  Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel, Qualcomm and Motorola were all built by Jewish Americans.  Vaccines for polio and hepatitis B, the same.  Militarily, Jewish Americans gave us our nuclear arsenal, nuclear powered submarines, the nuclear triad and MADD that prevented a disaster during the Cold War, without which it is highly conceivable that the U.S. and U.S.S.R. may have destroyed each other.

The historical record demonstrates that Jews tend to be extremely loyal to any host nation that treats them with decency.  This explains why, in WWI, German Jews were more than three times as likely as Christian Germans to be decorated in battle, as a well-known example.

So it is actually common sense that Jews have more loyalty to their host nation than others--because the Jews have learned more than others to appreciate having a home.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@JimFisher Jim, would it be squawking if Kosavar Albanians, Darfurians, Rwandans, East Timorese, Chechnyans, or Kurds sounded the alarm against those intent upon massacring them?  Or is it only squawking when Jews do it?  By the way, poor you, having to hear about people in danger.  You deserve a much more sheltered life, don't you?

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

Among politicians, your point has some merit.  Politicians who speak out against the world's only Jewish state--or in support of policies that compromise its safety--generally get criticized.  However, few American politicians will dare speak out against African Americans, Hispanic, homosexuals, women, Christianity, Islam, Ireland, Italians, social security, or Medicare without also having hell to pay.

However, there is a difference between all of these dozen or so categories of political correctness.  One and only one of those topics is fair game for non-politicians--that is Israel.  You, TJ, can rant against Israel safely all you like and nobody is going to ostracize you or fire you.  However, for at least 7 of the 10 other categories I mentioned, you will have the politically correct police come down on you like a ton of bricks...and for 2 of the others, people would simply think you were weird, also a pretty stiff penalty.

However, some people like to claim that the Israel lobby is muffling them because it is kind of like a dog-whistle playing in to anti-Jewish stereotypes about Jews controlling things.  The funny thing is, there appears to be a lot more anti-Israel ranting in the media, academia and in the public square than pro-Israel rallying or punishment or ostracism for Israel's non-politician critics.

What you fail to appreciate, TJ, regarding the pro-Israel reaction to politicians anti-Israel ranting is that, unlike the other 10 groups or issues I enumerate above, Israel's survival is actually in jeopardy...so, for Israel, this is life-and-death.

It is a shame that you place your stereotypes of loud and pushy Jews ahead of your concern for preventing Israel's enemies from annihilating them.  It is also a shame that you place your stereotypes of loud and pushy Jews ahead of your concern for America's safety in the face of jihadist nuclear weapons and terror organizations that view America as the main power standing in the way of global shariah.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@metta2uall Metta, you will not need to worry.  Hagel is going to be confirmed.

However, Metta, you should worry.  Because Hagel does not understand the severity of the Iranian threat to the U.S., or what more and more Arab countries becoming Islamic theocracies will mean for the whole world.

Just because you do not believe in what security conscious Israelis or Jews believe, does not mean that they are wrong on every issue...and it doesn't mean that their opponent is right on every issue.

lior1s
lior1s

How is the +$3 billion given to your friends in Pakistan working out for you? or $1billion a month spend on the war in Afghanistan not part of your narrow minded comment ...Israel had nothing to do with 9/11 stop spreading lies just to prove your point

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@RalphSpyer Robert Kennedy was an outspoken friend of Israel and he was killed by a Palestinian terrorist, Sirhan Sirhan, because of this.

lior1s
lior1s

"We beg Israel to stop building all of these settler homes" why don’t you beg your own government to stop building on 95% of Native e Indian land your ancestors confiscated from or give back Texas and California to Mexico you hypocrite!!

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@DavidCreighton Here's the problem, David.  If Israel didn't exist, you might be able to see the Iranian threat clearly.  Instead, because there are "pushy Jews" talking about it, you choose to blind yourself to the danger.

lior1s
lior1s

even Iran would agree with that !!

lior1s
lior1s

I guess Iran and Hezbollah loyalties are much more important to you and him as well!!

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@freeview14 I agree. But Hagel seems to have loyalty to Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood that appears to supersede his loyalty to the U.S.A.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@SixSixSix SixSixSix...you are correct.  The survival of the Jews was precarious before the establishment of Israel and remains precarious after the establishment of Israel.  In the story of the Book of Esther, Esther is fearful of making a special plea to the King, her husband, to save the Jews from Haman.  She doesn't dare to do so until she has so pleased him that he begs her to ask something from him in return.  It would be a beautiful day when the Jews do not need to ask others to help them to survive against genocidal attackers.  They certainly have earned that privilege (not that any nation should have to justify its survival), by contributing to the world around 30% of all science Nobel laureates and comparable contributions in most every other field.  The world would have been measurably more advanced today had six million Jews not been allowed to be killed.  I won't bore you with the usual list of Israel's achievements in agriculture, high-tech, etc....suffice it to say that around one-third of medical devices approved in the past decade and, predictably, in the next decade are being conceived in Israel.  So the world's self-interest, and that of their children and grandchildren, is actually at stake here to an extent they really do not understand.

Tariq
Tariq

What is about fighting nuclear armed Israel ? The entire world knows that Israel has nuclear weapon for a long time but western world, media , government and people like you doesn't talk about that whereas Iran is allegedly going to have nuclear weapon , and even by western assessment Iran is still far away . Still why there is so much hue and cry about Iran and why not about Israel . Is not it double standard and western hypocrisy ?

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

@Chipper So you want to start a nuclear war? Consider for a minute, I know it is a stretch for you, if you were an Iranian nationalist, quite possibly disgusted with your government but with love for your country like what Tea Party types claim all the time. You have seen your countrymen and woman slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands in a war with Iraq they did not start. You have seen the American military give Saddam guidance where to place his gas weapons against you. You have seen Caspar Weinberger publicly embrace Saddam at the airport during the height of the war. The Fifth Fleet sank a number of your navy's ships. Now you see nobody invades Pakistan, they don't attack North Korea, Israel acts with impunity but they did invade Saddam's non-nuclear Iraq, ironically without provocation, turn about apparently being fair play. Is it any surprise that the Green Opposition supports nuclear deterrence? Would you consider a nuclear option to be unreasonable? Perhaps we need to convince them otherwise for OUR benefit but threatening them will only bring about the very thing we claim to not want.

JimFisher
JimFisher

@Frankie_C And frank how exactly is Iran going to destroy Israel when it doesnt evn have 1 nuke, when Isareal has secondary strike capability, are you really so insane you think Iran would go on a suicide mission just to destroy Israel. If Iran wanted to "kill the Jews" why not start with the 25k Jews already in Israel. But lets suppose that Israel was destroyed -- who cares I mean with a population of 7 billion do you really think the world in grand scheme of things would miss a few million.

metta2uall
metta2uall

@Frankie_C I agree with your last sentence. Even if the severity is grave, the US & Israel still need to figure out an intelligent way to deal with the Iranian regime and the militants within the Islamic religion. As many security experts have said, a belligerent and military approach may not be the best idea, as Iran & its increased numbers of supporters will become even more determined to attack.

Ultimately I think that unless there's peace in the middle east the long-term threat is quite worrisome, because as technology advances weapons will become more powerful, smaller, and easier to manufacture..

DavidCreighton
DavidCreighton

@lior1s they can fight for that back anytime they want. and israelis can fight for land they owned over 2000 years ago too it seems. im not a hypocrite fight me for the land cmon

freeview14
freeview14

Like I said..I don't care about Israel or Pakistan or the Saudis or Hezbollah and all the other freaks who just refuse to sit their ass down and have a good bottle of wine toghether!! I care for the USA and that is were your loyalties should be as well if you are US citizen!! Not Israel or anywgere else!! If you Israeli..go to Israel and fight there!! The Jews (Israelis) suffered a lot in the past through holocaust..so they should know better..yet..they are the one who are inflicting so much pain on the Palestinians..and please don't give me your crap about the suicide bombing and the other crap .I would blow your ass as well to chunks if you would take my homeland.

outsider
outsider

How the hell did you arrive at that?

Because he said talk to them, instead of war?

@Frankie_C @freeview14

VivartoVivart
VivartoVivart

@Frankie_C @SixSixSix 

Dear Frankie,
Jews don't need to earn the privilege to live.
Even if there was not a single Nobel Prize winner Jews have the RIGHT not a privilege to live as a nation.
Jewish achievements in agriculture, technology, science, literature and music have nothing to do with this right.
Jews have the innate right to live as a nation just like Irish, and Czech, and Lao, and Japanese and all other nations.

VivartoVivart
VivartoVivart

@Tariq 

Tariq, Israel has not threatened with eradicating Iran. Iran has threatened with eradicating Israel repeatedly. Almost daily they have government sponsored rallies, meetings where they shout Death to Israel, and Death to America. Their President, the Supreme Leader, and their military commanders have promised to wipe Israel of the map. Israel has not threatened with wiping any country. So Israel is not a threat to us. Iran is. But being a Muslim you are antisemite, like all Muslims, and like your pedophile prophet pretender Muhammad. You will never understand this. I am not writing this for you. I am writing this for other readers.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@JimFisher @Frankie_C Jim, this is exactly the point.  You are someone who would not care if several million people are killed.  Do you have equal disregard for any group of several million people?  Or do Jews have a special place for you in your disregard for their survival?  In either case, this is the very definition of inhumanity.  I hope that one day you become more humane and compassionate for others' well-being.

metta2uall
metta2uall

@Frankie_C Thanks for the reply. I mostly agree with you that a pre-emptive strike is justifiable if Iran actually has nukes, but it doesn't.. The big advantage to the U.S. attacking Iran's military after it actually has nukes (or perhaps weapons-grade uranium) is that Iran will be seen as the aggressor for breaking its promise not to build nukes. What I'm not sure about is the likely success of a military operation pre-nuke and post-nuke - I think few people know that, but Obama and Netanyahu would. What I'm concerned about is that Netanyahu has a political conflict of interest to drum up a pre-nuke attack, and is making an earlier pre-emptive strike seem more necessary than it actually is. Remember the Iraqi WMDs.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@metta2uall Thank you, Metta for the linked article.

My bias is as follows:

1)  it is dumb to take the chance...the odds are certainly high enough, even if less than 50-50, and the outcome terrible enough, that destroying Iran's nuclear facilities is prudent

2)  it is strange that it is never those who are in the top two or three quintiles of caring about Israel not getting nuked who believe that Iran is unlikely to use nukes

3)  it is usually a good idea to believe the words of radicals and haters

4)  even if Iran never intends to use nukes, obtaining nukes will strengthen an evil regime with evil intentions

5)  even if Iran never intends to use nukes, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan all intend to acquire nukes if Iran does...and that become extremely unstable (consider how close the U.S. and the Soviet Union came to misreading each other's signals...and how many times regimes in the Middle East fall...and how difficult it was to control nuclear materials after the Soviet Union fell)

So even if the article you cite is absolutely correct (and not only possibly or even probably correct), three of my five points above tip the scales for me.

I recognize that, for others:

1)  always saying "no" to any and every military action is advisable

2)  every military action will lead to a Vietnam or an Iraq-like imbroglio...even if you do not send in troops on the ground

3)  other countries are only responding to U.S. aggression and would not ever otherwise take the offensive against us or our interests

I believe that all three of these points are mistaken.  Here is why I believe so:

1)  pre-emption can be wise, as demonstrated by Israel against the Osirak reactor in 1981 and against the Syrian nuclear program in 2007 and against the Egyptian air force in 1967...and as the allied powers should have done against Hitler in 1936

2)  if you do not try to occupy a country and/or you do not have ambiguous objectives or ambiguous public or Congressional support, then and only then we can achieve our objectives successfully most of the time

3)  other peoples have their own objectives and are not necessarily only reactive...many ideologies and nationalities seek or have sought world domination at the expense of others...there is no reason to doubt Iran's leaders when they claim to be the next ones in line

metta2uall
metta2uall

@Frankie_C Thanks for your respectful and thoughtful comments. However, I'm not convinced that they almost surely would use nuclear weapons. Check out articles like http://www.aspeninstitute.it/aspenia-online/article/pernicious-myth-iran-can%E2%80%99t-be-deterred


Plus, there is probably lots of classified intelligence about Iran that we just don't know - maybe Obama has spies in Iran's military and/or is just as confident of destroying Iran's nuclear program now as he would be if Iran's missile is nearing the launch pad.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@metta2uall Metta, you are entirely correct.  But security is something that needs to get managed one decade at a time.  Keep in mind, for decades we made zero progress with the Soviet Union on human rights...until we introduced sanctions.  Then we began to obtain concessions.

With Iran, it is a different story.  Iran's leaders have demonstrated their commitment to nuclear weapons through sanctions and have also demonstrated that they do not take negotiations seriously (witness the E-3 and E-5 lost-decade of European-led negotiations, as well as negotiations the U.S. has led in the past several years).

Iran's determination to use its nuclear weapons (whether they are determined to use them, as many of their senior leaders have claimed--boasting of their eagerness to lose 30 million Iranians in order to destroy Israel) or its lack of determination to use them will not be much influenced by whether there is an attack on their facilities.  Of course, if Iran does use nuclear weapons, they will certainly blame the attack, however, they almost surely would have used nuclear weapons anyway.

Iran's use of nuclear weapons really depends upon one thing and one thing only.  Are they committed to destroying Israel (the Little Satan) and/or the United States (the Great Satan)?  Do they really believe (as Ahmadinejad has claimed) that Armagedon will usher in the 12th imam, the Hidden One, the Mahdi?  No one can know for sure.

It is my conclusion that destroying Iran's program physically is the best approach, because it is my conclusion that they either are intending to use them or are not, regardless of what we do, and we cannot take the risk that it is the former.

A single EMP can kill, perhaps, 100 million Americans...and Iran has tested missiles to explode at that altitude.  This is not really useful against Israel, where the Iranians can simply blow up Tel Aviv and destroy the whole country without having to wait for months of starvation to succeed.  The reason to use an EMP against the U.S., rather than blowing up cities is that the U.S. has too many cities to be destroyed that way (unless you have dozens and dozens of nukes, which is still a number of years away for Iran).

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@DavidCreighton @lior1s Actually, Israel very much appreciates the foreign aid the U.S. sends them.  Does this change your view?  Israelis love the U.S.  Israel votes with the U.S. at the UN more than any or most any other country.  The U.S. rates tops in Israeli opinion polls.  The U.S. rates better among Israelis than the U.S. rates among either Europeans or among other foreign aid recipients.

Conversely, the public in Egypt, Pakistan, and the Palestinian Authority tend to dislike the U.S. pretty strongly, reflecting ingratitude for the aid we give them.

Do these facts alter your opinions, David?  If not, please explain more.

DavidCreighton
DavidCreighton

@lior1s its just really annoying having an ally that wont do a damn thing to stop asking for help. I say stop giving the help & see if they appreciate it later.

Frankie_C
Frankie_C

@outsider2011 He has opposed all sanctions against them and opposed categorizing the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations (although they have killed hundreds of Americans).  Outsider, were Revolutionary Guard or Hezbollah comprised of Jews rather than of Muslims, you would indeed be screaming about dual-loyalty.  So why are you not here?

Tariq
Tariq

@VivartoVivart

Israel has been not only threatening Iran on a regular basis , it has been killing innocent civilians on a regular basis including women and children. What is about double standard ? having own nuclear bomb and opposing others ? Without any real arguments you are resorting to personal attacks which is sign of a coward , if you continue to do that you will be ignored by everyone .