Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Israeli Savagery: Exchange on wagging the dog

I took the opportunity of a colleague’s argument that U.S. support for the current Israeli barbarism in Lebanon and Palestine was another case of the Israeli Lobby wagging the dog of U.S. Middle East policy, to highlight the role of the Bush clique in the present crisis.

Jeff wrote:

The present onslaught by Israel in Lebanon should put an end to speculation
about who wags who. The spectacle of virtually the entire Congress putting itself
on record in supporting crimes against humanity while Washington sends more precision
bombs to Israel, shows clearly who is serving who. Despite the efforts to make
it appear otherwise, Hizbollah is not an international player, and the destruction
of Lebanon is not in American interests, imperial or otherwise. George Sr. wanted
to sanction Israel the last time it invaded but was overruled by Reagan, and he
would not let the Israeli tell him who he could or could not talk to. Also, is Syria,
really a threat to the US, or just in Israel's way? After Dubya backed off
from criticizing Sharon in 2002 after Jenin, when he was taken to the woodshed by
the lobby for so doing, he has been dutifully responsible to the lobby's demands
which led Brent Scowcroft, former Nat Sec advisor to "say that Sharon had Dubya
wrapped around his finger." Now it's Olmert's turn. But, hey, what does
Scowcroft know?

I responded:

On who is wagging whom in the current crisis, I agree that destroying Lebanon is not in US interests. However, one thing the Bush administration has made clear over and over again, is that it acts knowingly and recklessly (not to say criminally) against the US and the international interest. After 9/11 and especially now in their second term, they less and less bashfully pursue their goal of heightened tensions, international anarchy and permanent war. The new phrase going around is: the long war.

The question revolves around where U.S. policy is determined. Condi Rice’s shameful, vicious and reprehensible public statements from the area are not only greenlighting continuing Israeli barbarity but insisting – just in case Tel Aviv at some point might want to reconsider -- on an indefinite continuation of the terror campaign.

(My own take on Condi’s personal views is that she would have been much more comfortable calling for a cease fire. Yet, like Powell before her, she’s playing the good soldier and following the heinous orders of her bosses.)

The critical question is where were these remarks and her talking points drafted? Where they presented to the White House and State Department by AIPAC, or did they emanate from Cheney’s office, with the full support of the White House? (See my note below on Bush’s deft handling of Blair’s too little attempt to set some limit on Israeli destruction.)

Needless to say, AIPAC and the Lobby are playing a key supportive role, and in an imaginary world where they opposed Bush’s Middle East policy, they could have stopped it -- by themselves and the help of a like thinking media -- just as Congressman Jim Moran, famously said.

Tragically, we are dealing with an exceptional heedless and criminal clique that is running the U.S. government. The closest one to the present is the Reagan government which greenlighted the 1982 Lebanon invasion. But decades ago, when it came down to continuing the war indefinitely and spreading it, cooler heads prevailed and Alexander Haig was cashiered.

Too many Lebanese and Palestinians and the rest of us are learning that there are no cooler heads in sight when it comes to current U.S./Israeli policy.

Readers of the late Israel Shahak’s commentaries on articles he translated from the Hebrew press will recall that over the years, he would from time to time point to some of the crazy, radical, bellicose ideas typically emanating from the Israeli military that had to be put down by the political echelon. Now with neophytes at the head of Israeli politics, the military crazies are in control. The problem for the world –never mind the Arabs and Muslims – is that an equally crazy and radical government in the U.S. is not only cheering the Israelis on but helping to drive them to endless butchery and war, for Israel's perceived benefit and for their own demented and suicidal purposes.

Will this evident White House campaign for war, war, war give pause to those who argued that the neoncons were sidelined in Bush’s second term? Though they’re not Jewish, Bush, Rove, Cheney and Rumsfeld are the neocons in chief, delightedly turning William Kristol’s and Michael Ledeen’s ravings into reality.

Gabriel Ash’s important article on Israeli Terror (http://dissidentvoice.org/July06/Ash18.htm) must be among the first to point to the solution of the problem of how, after the embarrassment of being caught out lying about the war in Iraq, the Bush administration was going to manage to get us into more wars, first with Syria and Iran, and eventually with Russia and China.

The only question seems to be how much of their hoped for WW4, the Clique will manage to impose before the 2008 election campaign.

NYT and Bush’s curse word

In the penultimate paragraph of an 800+ word NYT article on Bush’s overheard conversation at the G8 summit where he spoke of the Lebanon crisis with Blair (“Look Ma, No Script: What That Says About Me,” NYTNWR, 23 July 06), reporter Jim Rutenberg almost offhandedly points to the obvious purpose of Bush’s comment about Hezbollah:

Rutenberg (NYT) “But was that distraction or deflection as Mr Blair tried to press Mr. Bush to sign off on a plan to dispatch an international force to the region.”

(Rutenberg carelessly gets the details wrong. Blair is talking about going the Middle East himself in order to pave the way for Condi’s trip The rest of Rutenberg’s article is fluff, perhaps as a way for the Times to indicate that it’s suitably repentant after the recent vicious administration and media attacks on it.)

Reviewing the conversation we see that Bush’s expletive laced comment comes directly after Blair pressed the possibility of his making a trip to the area.

Blair: Well... it's only if I mean... you know. If she's got a..., or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out, she's got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.
Bush: You see, the ... thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.

In a normal world, where the lives of the Lebanese people, and the very viability of their country would be considered to have some importance to the US and the rest of the international community, this revelation would be sufficient embarrassment for the main actors to do what is necessary to put an end to the ongoing carnage.

But we are not living in such a world. We are living in a world today dominated by radical monsters in Tel Aviv and Washington who want more war. It's a war where, as Gabriel Ash points out, civilians are Israel’s deliberate target in order to ensure a wider war.

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