August 2012 Archives

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Father Roy writes:   Is it not curious?   Pat Buchanan … Mr. Conservative Republican … does not trust the most powerful people in his own party.  I refer, of course, to the NEOCONs.  My Allies and I don’t trust them either.  Read PNAC’s Statement of Principles and notice the signatories.  Listen to PNAC’s ideology on FOX News. 

Here’s another essay on the subject: Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.  Notice the date it was written.  I’ve pasted that essay’s first two paragraphs below Pat’s essay for everybody’s convenience.  I suggest that everybody scroll down and read the two paragraphs first.  Please notice how frugal I was with the highlights while you read.  Try not to be alarmed if all this information is new to you.   Peace, Roy 

Click here: Is Romney Being Neoconned Into War?:Information Clearing House: ICH

Is Romney Being Neoconned Into War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

July 31, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — –

Has Mitt Romney given Israel a blank check for war?

So it seemed from the declaration in Jerusalem by his adviser Dan Senor, who all but flashed Israel a green light for war,signaling the Israelis that, if you go, Mitt’s got your back:

“If Israel has to take action on its own in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respectthat decision.”

“No option would be excluded. Gov. Romney recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with it.”

What does “stand with” Israel, if she launches a surprise attack on Iran, mean? Does it mean the United States will guide Israeli planes to their targets and provide bases on their return? Does it mean U.S. air cover while Israeli planes strike Iran?

This would make America complicit in a preemptive strike and a co-belligerent in the war to follow.

What Senor said comes close to being a U.S. war guarantee for Israel, while leaving the decision as to when the war begins to them.

This country has never done that before.

And what does Senor mean by Israel’s need to act “to stop Iran from developing [the] capability” to acquire nuclear weapons?

The collective decision of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies in 2007 that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon — reportedly reaffirmed in 2011 — has never been rescinded. Nor has the White House produced any hard evidence Iran is building a bomb.

Moreover, Iran’s known nuclear facilities are under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Does the government know something the American people are not being told?

Undeniably, Iran, by enriching uranium to 3.5%, then up to 20%, has a greater “capability” than five years ago of building a nuclear weapon. But Japan, South Korea, and Brazil also have that capability — and none has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Gov. Romney did not go as far as Senor, but he, too, seems to be saying that not only is Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon a casus belli for the United States, even an Iran that is capable of building such a weapon is intolerable.

“The regime in Iran is five years closer to developing nuclear weapons capability,” said Romney. “Preventing that outcome must be our highest national security priority.”

Preventing what outcome is “our highest national security priority”?

Stopping Iran from building a bomb? Or stopping Iran from being able to build a bomb years from now?

The governor seems to be aligning himself with Israel’s hawks who are demanding that not only must Iran swear off nuclear weapons forever, Iran must cease all enrichment of uranium and dismantle the facilities at Natanz and Fordow.

Romney’s policy is zero enrichment, said Senor. Tehran must understand that “the alternative to zero enrichment is severe, and that’s why the threat of military force has to be critical.”

This is tantamount to an ultimatum to Tehran: Either give up all enrichment of uranium and any right to enrich, or face war.
Here we come to the heart of the issue, which may be impossible to resolve short of war.

Unlike its neighbors Israel and Pakistan, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has no nuclear weapons. The ayatollah has said they are immoral and Iran will not acquire them.

But under the NPT, Iran claims the right to enrich uranium and seek the benefits of nuclear technology. And in that decision, the people of Iran stand behind their government.

Is denying Iran the right to enrich uranium a reason for America to plunge into its fifth war in that region in a generation?

That appears where we are headed. Reportedly, Obama’s national security adviser recently briefed Bibi Netanyahu on the specifics of U.S. contingency plans to attack Iran.

Has Congress been briefed? Have the American people been consulted? Or are we simply irrelevant?

A decade ago, this country sent an army up to Baghdad to overthrow Saddam and strip Iraq of a vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons we were told it had and was preparing to use.

We were misled; we were deceived; we were lied to.

Before we outsource to Bibi and Ehud Barak the decision to take us to war with a country three times the size of Iraq, we need to know:

Was the U.S. intelligence community wrong in 2007 and 2011? Is Iran hell-bent on building nuclear weapons? If so, where are they constructing and testing these weapons?

Finally, if Iran is willing to permit intrusive inspections of its actual and suspected nuclear sites but insists on its right to enrich uranium, should we go to war to deny them that right?

But if we are going to go to war again, this time with Iran, the decision should be made in America, according to our Constitution, not by any other country.

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Father Roy writes:  This is quite a comprehensive essay.  Dan Stone is a peace activist in the San Francisco Bay area.  Dan has an extensive mailing list and is busy on the ground, as well.  In this post Dan builds on an essay written by Dr. Stephen Zunes (pasted below) who teaches at the University of San Francisco (USF).  Every word in this mailing deserves to be highlighted, so I’ve not done any.  However, I’m unable to resist adding a song written by Jacque Brel, my favorite contemporary poet:  “Sons Of” (03:26).   Peace, Roy

Sleepwalking into another war?

by Dan Stone

Irrational fears are being dragooned again to make the world a far worse place in which to live, especially for those in the Middle East. We Americans, who are isolated from the consequences of our own acts, and usually “opt out” of the decision-making process to continue to enjoy our lifestyles, no matter how much agony we inflict on others, are the only ones that can possibly stop any attack on Iran. We are definitely part of the decision-making process — the powers-that-be are counting on us to remain docile, as we usually do. They can point to our apathy as a sure sign of our decision to accept their vicious war designs on Iran.

As Professor Stephen Zunes points out in his article, which appears below, and which I also posted last night (“Congress Pushes for War with Iran“), the neo-cons are still fully in charge of the u.s. Security State or, as it should be called by everyone as its most accurate title, the “HATE” or “Huge American Terrorist Empire”. The House Resolution, HR 568, that he references, is simply the latest in a long line of legal measures designed both to condition the American people to accept an attack on Iran, and to provide the actual paperwork and foundation for such an attack.  Congress, fully in the pocket of the neo-con war hawks, has already decided for war. The proof is (a) their complaisance regarding Bush’s attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and Obama’s blatant attack on Libya, and (b) the “assembly-line” resolutions they have passed against Iran over and over, each becoming more and more bellicose. This latest resolution HR 568 is extruding the President ’s options down into warfare.

Anyone who does not want war on Iran should start now taking concrete and continuous action to PREVENT war, not wait until AFTER an actual attack. I am reminded of a stock broker who led a demonstration in front of the San Francisco Stock Exchange to oppose any war on Iraq before the actual attack took place. Everyone else waited until after the attack before launching gigantic protests, but, by then, it was too late.

I was under the illusion for a long time that there was a meaningful anti-war opposition in congress, but, in fact, there are not enough of them to make any difference. So it is up to the people to do what their elected officials will not do — keep the peace.

Congress is totally controlled by the neo-con war-mongers, and any dissent is punished. We are goose-stepping toward war on Iran, and Obama and the American people are the only ones able to prevent such an attack. This attack probably will not take place before the election for political reasons. The danger zone will be after November.

Then, Obama will demonstrate, in his second term, whether he can hold to his promise to “change the mindset” that causes war, the mindset which permitted us to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. We have to support him and back him up in any resolve he may have NOT to attack Iran, to make such an important and fundamental change in foreign policy thinking.

“We” (our “leaders”) are at the point now at which we see all other countries as enemies or potential enemies, even our “allies”. We are a very sick nation. How did we arrive at this paranoia? From where did this paranoia come? The most obvious answer is that the HATE has to have a steady supply of enemies to justify the permanent military budget and gigantic military establishment that the HATE has burdened us with after World War II.

So, in this instance, it’s President Obama and the American people, standing against the entire power structure of the HATE. If Obama says, “Yes, go ahead and attack Iran”, all our other “leaders” will be happy. If Obama says “No”, . . . well, who would be courageous enough to incur the wrath of the real powers behind the throne? The only way the President would say “No” is if he and everyone else knows that he has the American people behind him against an attack on Iran.

Will we sleepwalk into another illegal, immoral, one-sided attack on a far smaller and weaker people? Only Obama and the American people will be able to stop the HATE from such an attack.

Decades ago, there was a Saturday Night Live skit on TV, set in medieval England. A military force of the King’s men burst into a wedding party in a castle in search of some imaginary enemy. Thinking that the wedding party were the enemy (sound familiar?), they ran through some of the wedding guests with their swords before being alerted that the real imaginary enemy was upstairs. So they rushed up the stairs, etc. When they came down, they looked somewhat chagrined, mumbled a weak apology, and left. This is the very pattern of the HATE for more than the past half-century — the same pattern over and over and over again in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, to mention a very few of our victims. The same pattern — HATE demonizing an “enemy” on false pretenses, a brutal attack, followed by a long, cruel, unproductive, unnecessary occupation, then slinking away after the American people no longer wish to foot the bill for such abject failure — is looming again regarding Ira n. Will we sleepwalk into committing yet another mass murder war crime?

excerpts from below Zunes article ::

[Obama] promised to “change the mindset” – the idea that the United States could unilaterally make war against oil-rich Middle Eastern countries that did not accept U.S. domination – that made the Iraq war possible. Both Democratic and Republican hawks, therefore, appear determined to force this moderate president to accept their neoconservative agenda.

This dangerous embrace of neoconservative military policy is now so widely accepted by both parties in Congress that the vote on the resolution was taken under a procedure known as “suspension of the rules,” which is designed for non-controversial bills passed quickly with little debate. Indeed, given the serious implications of this legislation, it is striking that there was not a single congressional hearing prior to the vote.

The resolution also demonstrates that the vast majority of Democrats, like Republicans, have embraced the concept of “full-spectrum dominance,” the Bush-era doctrine that not only should the United States prevent the emergence of another rival global superpower such as China, but it should also resist the emergence of even a regional power, such as Iran, that could potentially deter unilateral U.S. military actions or other projections of American domination.

Congress Pushes for War with Iran

By Stephen Zunes

June 13, 2012

www.fpif.org…

In another resolution apparently designed to prepare for war against Iran, the U.S. House of Representatives, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 401–11 vote, has passed a resolution (HR 568) urging the president to oppose any policy toward Iran “that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”

With its earlier decision to pass a bill that effectively sought to ban any negotiations between the United States and Iran, a huge bipartisan majority of Congress has essentially told the president that nothing short of war or the threat of war is an acceptable policy. Indeed, the rush to pass this bill appears to have been designed to undermine the ongoing international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. According to Iranian-American analyst Jamal Abdi, a prominent critic of both the Iranian regime and U.S. policy, the motivation for the resolution may be to “poison those talks by signaling to Iran that the President is weak, domestically isolated, and unable to deliver at the negotiating table because a hawkish Congress will overrule him.”

President Obama’s “red line” on Iran — the point at which his administration would consider taking military action against the country — has been the reactionary regime’s actual procurement of nuclear weapons. The language of this resolution, however, significantly lowers the bar by declaring it unacceptable for Iran simply to have “nuclear weapons capability” — not necessarily any actual weapons or an active nuclear weapons program. Some members of Congress have argued that since Iranians have the expertise and technological capacity to develop nuclear weapons, they already have “nuclear weapons capability.” The hawkish Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has argued that “everybody will determine for themselves what [capability] means.”

In case there was any doubt about the intent of Congress in using this language, when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered a clarifying amendment to a similar clause in a recent Senate resolution — declaring that “nothing in the Act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran” — both its Republican and Democratic sponsors summarily rejected the amendment.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, noted how “this resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”

As the liberal Zionist group Americans for Peace Now observed, the legislation suggests that “unless sanctions imminently result in Iran voluntarily shutting down its entire nuclear program (and somehow deleting the nuclear know-how from the brains of its scientists), military force will be the only option available to the Obama Administration and will be inevitable in the near term.”

Though it is not legally binding, the resolution does limit the president’s options politically. As pundit and former Capitol Hill staffer M.J. Rosenberg has noted, the bill was “designed to tie the president’s hands on Iran policy.” And, as with the case of Iraq, the language of such non-binding resolutions can easily be incorporated into binding legislation, citing the precedent of what had been passed previously.

The End of Containment

There is enormous significance to the resolution’s insistence that containment, which has been the basis of U.S. defense policy for decades, should no longer be U.S. policy in dealing with potential threats. Although deterrence may have been an acceptable policy in response to the thousands of powerful Soviet nuclear weapons mounted on intercontinental ballistic missile systems aimed at the United States, the view today is that deterrence is somehow inadequate for dealing with a developing country capable of developing small and crude nuclear devices but lacking long-range delivery systems.

Indeed, this broad bipartisan consensus against deterrence marks the triumph of the neoconservative first-strike policy, once considered on the extreme fringes when first articulated in the 1980s.

This dangerous embrace of neoconservative military policy is now so widely accepted by both parties in Congress that the vote on the resolution was taken under a procedure known as “suspension of the rules,” which is designed for non-controversial bills passed quickly with little debate. Indeed, given the serious implications of this legislation, it is striking that there was not a single congressional hearing prior to the vote.

The resolution also demonstrates that the vast majority of Democrats, like Republicans, have embraced the concept of “full-spectrum dominance,” the Bush-era doctrine that not only should the United States prevent the emergence of another rival global superpower such as China, but it should also resist the emergence of even a regional power, such as Iran, that could potentially deter unilateral U.S. military actions or other projections of American domination.

Limiting the President

It is unprecedented for Congress to so vigorously seek to limit a president’s non-military options in foreign policy. For example, in 1962, even the most right-wing Republicans in Congress did not push for legislation insisting that President Kennedy rule out options other than attacking Cuba or the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis. What might be motivating Congress is the fact that, in electing Barack Obama in 2008, the American people brought into the White House an outspoken opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq who not only withdrew U.S. combat forces from that country but promised to “change the mindset” – the idea that the United States could unilaterally make war against oil-rich Middle Eastern countries that did not accept U.S. domination – that made the Iraq war possible. Both Democratic and Republican hawks, therefore, appear determined to force this moderate president to accept their neoconservative agenda.

Deterrence, when dealing with a nuclear-armed party, is indeed a risky strategy. The international community does have an interest in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, as well as in forcing India, Pakistan, and Israel to disarm their already-existing arsenals. All reasonable diplomatic means should be pursued to create and maintain a nuclear-free zone in that volatile region.

However, the idea that deterrence against Iran would not work because the country’s clerical leadership, which controls the armed forces, would decide to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack against Israel or the United States — and therefore invite massive nuclear retaliation that would cause the physical destruction of their entire country — is utterly ridiculous. The far more realistic risk to worry about is the enormous devastation that would result from a U.S. war on Iran.

The real “threat” from Iran is if that country achieves nuclear capability, it would then have a deterrent to a U.S. attack that was unavailable to its immediate neighbors to the east (Afghanistan) and west (Iraq), both of which were invaded by U.S.-led forces. Both Democrats and Republicans appear to be united in their belief that no country should stand in the way of the unilateral projection of military force by the United States or its allies.

Indeed, this resolution is not about the national security of the United States, nor is it about the security of Israel. It is about continuing U.S. hegemony over the world’s most oil-rich region.

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Highlights are courtesy of Father Roy: 

source: www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/palestinian-christians-swept-aside-as-israel-rewrites-history…

Palestinian Christians swept aside as Israel rewrites history

He vanquished a dragon, saved a princess and passed into myth. What popular culture knows about St George (or Georgius, in Latin) pretty much begins and ends with the children’s fairy tale, but there is a historical figure underneath that legend. Born about 1,800 years ago, St George’s father was a soldier in the Roman army, and his mother was a Palestinian Christian. After his death, he was hallowed by the Catholic Church, but what is less known is that Muslims also venerated his name.

It remains one of history’s curiosities that when European Crusaders invaded Palestine in 1096, they did so under a banner dedicated to a soldier who was born and buried in the Holy Land eight centuries earlier.

Few places on Earth, if any, have inspired so much jealous devotion, not to mention bloodshed, as historical Palestine has over the centuries. More often than not, that blood has been shed by foreign invaders, from both East and West.

After more than 60 years since the Naqba and the start of Israeli occupation, it is natural to be weary of the conflict. It could also be argued that conflict is natural to this land.

But Israeli policy is wreaking a decidedly unnatural consequence. A land that has been home to Christians, Muslims and Jews for millennia is being reshaped.

Evictions of Palestinians from homes and villages increases year by year as Israeli settlements steal more land. It is nothing short of ethnic cleansing. There is serious talk of outright annexation of Area C – 61 per cent of the West Bank – without which Palestine will never be a viable state. Centuries of coexistence may soon be consigned to the history books.

Under the rule of Islamic caliphates since the 7th century, Christians and Jews coexisted with Muslims peacefully for the most part. They were not always afforded the same rights, but they were protected and integrated into society, a marked contrast to the anti-Semitism that persisted in Europe.

The conflict that defined the Holy Land, until the 20th century at least, was the invasion of the Crusaders and so-called clash of civilisations between Muslims and European Christians. Another historical irony is that Jews fought side by side with Muslims in the defence of Jerusalem against the first Crusaders.

The razing of Jerusalem’s Church of Holy Sepulchre in 1009 is seen as the pretext for the European monarchs’ obsession with the Holy Land (although the church was soon rebuilt). What followed less than one century of Crusader rule in Jerusalem, Salaluddin’s retaking of the city in the 12th century and several centuries of intermittent war.

There are still poignant lessons from that history. After the Siege of Jerusalem, Crusaders slaughtered most of the city’s Muslim and Jewish population; after Salaluddin’s victory, Jews and Christians were allowed to settle. And, of course, after centuries of bloodshed, the European incursions were ultimately, completely futile.

After 1948, that land of Palestine became only a historical note, and a dream of Palestinians who were forced from their homes. After the Naksa, the 1967 War, that historical Palestine was further whittled away until, today, less than 22 per cent of the first proposed independent state of Palestine remains. Even that is now under threat.

Palestinian Christians have shared their Muslim compatriots’ pain in the past 64 years, increasingly marginalised in a land they have inhabited for over 2,000 years. Across the region, dwindling Christian communities are often blamed on the rise of Islamists but this is an oversimplification and, in Occupied Palestine, almost wholly a mistake.

Certainly some Islamist groups, heavy on ideology and light on political nous, have been their own worst enemies. Hamas is not blameless in its treatment of Gaza’s Christian minority. Last week, Christians demonstrated after stories emerged that five people, three of them children, had been forced to convert to Islam. The story may just be rumour, but such an act would be indefensible. And Gaza’s Christians are alienated enough to believe it is possible.

In truth, however, Hamas has neither the desire inside Gaza, nor the influence outside of it, to truly marginalise Palestinian Christians. The Christian Palestinian population has suffered, less visibly, just as Muslims have. Christians now account for only 4 per cent of the West Bank population and less than 10 per cent of Palestinians in Israel.

Over the last year in particular, attacks by Israeli extremists on Christians have increased. A Christian cemetery on Mount Zion has been desecrated and two churches vandalised (one of them, Jerusalem Baptist Church, had already suffered arson twice since 1982). “Death to Christianity”, “We will crucify you” and “Jesus son of Mary the whore” graffiti stain the walls. That defilement would cause outrage in almost any country, but not in Israel.

It is in Bethlehem, birthplace of Christ, where the exodus has been most pronounced, with more than 10 per cent of Christians leaving just in the past decade.

Israel’s ill-conceived plan to expand a majority Jewish state in historical Palestine does not distinguish between Palestinian Muslims and Christians. That hollow distinction has allowed Israel to peddle the old line about a “clash of civilisations”, when Palestinians have been living side by side for millennia.

The Palestinian struggle has always been about more than religion. Historical Palestine is not just about 64 years of struggle against an illegal occupation, or Israeli efforts to erase the history books, but about how Muslims, Christians and Jews have lived together for centuries. Palestine, in a modern sense, is not about religion, it’s about justice.

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This article is simply chilling! The details of this alleged military campaign against Iran read like a plot of a B-Grade movie.  Surely no semi-intelligent human being would believe that the government and people of Iran will simply roll over and comply with US demands after being bombarded with Tomahawk missiles for a few days!  The only thing more insane than the plan is the premise for the attack – namely, that Iran poses a genuine existential threat to the people of Israel! 

As a younger man, I assumed that things like this could not happen – that nobody was that stupid! And yet I have seen the insane and the stupid happen so many times now within my own short life!

Lord, have mercy on us all!

Dave

source: www.richardsilverstein.com…

U.S. Leaks War-Plan for Iran Attack

by Richard Silverstein on August 3, 2012 ·

in Mideast Peace

Yediot’s lead story on U.S. war plans against Iran
‘America’s goal: to neutralize the Iranian nuclear program
Date of mission : another year and a half’

I’ve written regularly here about Israel’s manipulation of U.S. media and public opinion in favor of military intervention against Iran. This perception management campaign has gone on for years. But recent days have proven that two can play at this. The U.S. too has a horse in this race. It doesn’t want Israel to strike. So it too is using various methods to massage Israeli perception of such an attack.

As I wrote yesterday, some of the most senior Obama administration officials have come to Israel over the past two weeks including Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, and Tom Donilon. They offered a mix of encouragement and tongue-lashing, all to remind Israel’s leaders that they should be grateful for the protective layer we’ve offered Israel from Iran’s nuclear threat.

Various Israeli officials have come forward too, espousing the message that an Israeli assault on Iran would be foolish. Those include no less a figure than IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who was quoted in an Israeli news report that was censored at the demand of Ehud Barak.

The latest to join the chorus is former IDF intelligence chief Zvi Farkash, who offered his views to no less a hawkish forum than Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz, who’s known as a stenographer for the IDF military brass. You can tell that if the Post and Katz are offering a venue to those against an attack, that this is not an issue about which Israel is at all unified.

Here is how Katz characterizes his subject’s views:

Farkash [said] that from what he is reading and hearing a decision is not far off. But, he warns, a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities now would be wrong.

“The timing is not now since, even if it is successful, it will ruin the legitimacy that is needed,” he said, suggesting instead that Israel wait six to eight months or even until spring 2013 before deciding on such an attack.

One word that repeats itself throughout the interview with Farkash is “legitimacy,” a reference to the required diplomatic support Israel will need after a strike to ensure that the Iranians are not allowed to rebuild their facilities and race toward the bomb – something he believes they will definitely and immediately do.

“An attack is not a single strike and once it happens we are in a whole other world,” he said. “Iran will pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will reunite and it will be clear that they need a bomb now so that we cannot attack them again.

“Let the [diplomatic and sanctions] process run its course and don’t break the legitimacy,” he said…Right now, he adds, European and Asian countries are paying a heavy price for agreeing to the sanctions and stopping to do business with Iran.

“If Israel attacks, we will find ourselves being asked why we attacked when the world was imposing tough economic sanctions and was paying for this and was hurting as a result,” he said.

…Farkash does not accept the “immunity zone” argument [of Ehud Barak] – he is not alone; the Pentagon has also dismissed it – but ultimately says that when the immunity zone is up against the question of legitimacy, legitimacy should take precedence…Israel without legitimacy will not be able to – over time – maintain the results of a successful attack.”

I am not saying that statements by Gantz or Farkash are instigated by the U.S. (though they might be). They each have institutional reasons of their own for speaking out. But the U.S. will have done whatever it could within the constraints permitted by diplomatic protocol to make its friends within the Israeli power élite know that it would welcome such public statements.

We also appears to be leaking like crazy to trusted sources within the Israeli media. After Donilon’s visit, someone leaked to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid that the former had shared with Bibi and Barak the U.S. war-plan against Iran. Similarly, both Shimon Shiffer, Yediot’s Washington correspondent, and Ben Caspit, Maariv columnist, have published what are presumably portions of the plan.

After reading them in Hebrew, all I can say is that they’re the biggest pile of elephant dung I’ve read in some time. If an American official actually conveyed this information to the reporters and believes half the nonsense in it, then Don Rumsfeld’s ghost from the days of the Iraq invasion must still be haunting the halls of the Pentagon.

Here’s a rough summary of the U.S. plan. Despite the fact that many of you may find some of the views expressed here ironic or downright bizarre, I assure you I’ve done as little editorializing as possible except for the occasional [!] accompanying especially outrageous passages:

The attack begins with scores, perhaps hundreds of Tomahawk missiles attacking Iran’s defensive concentrations, command and control facilities, and intelligence capabilities. We will attack from everywhere in the globe from which we can field such weapons including bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and ships in the Mediterranean. The weapons will be precise and highly lethal. Casualties among bystanders would be “minimal [!]”

We attack Iran over the course of anywhere from a few days to two months, of course using extreme caution not to harm Iranian civilians. We then wait to see the Iranian response. If it’s “reasonable,” follows the “rules of the game,” and only involves attacking U.S. warplanes or ships which are attacking it, and doesn’t escalate into attacks on Saudi Arabia or far-flung terror attacks using Iran’s proxies, then the U.S. can ratchet down the military pressure. But if the Iranians decide to up the ante, then we come in with all guns blazing. We attack IRG installations, the symbols of the regime, and strike mortal blows against the country’s military forces. In short, we’ll threaten to burn down the house and take the entire regime with it. We even send the fleet to the shores of Lebanon–warplanes, aircraft carriers and all–to make Nasrallah think twice about supporting his Iranian patrons.

After the first U.S. attack comes the ultimatum. Pres. Obama will speak from the White House and offer the Iranian leadership a choice of immediately stopping its nuclear program, the evacuation of enriched uranium from the country, and closing of uranium enrichment sites (especially Fordo). In return, the west will offer Iran civilian nuclear reactors. The Iranians will take a few days to respond to this offer (which they’ll find impossible to refuse). There will no new negotiations. No give and take. No further delays. It will be take-it-or-leave-it. If they refuse, the Tomahawks will rain down on them and all hell will break loose. Shock and Awe II.

Strategic weapons will be next: the recently upgraded 30,000 pound GBU 57 bunker buster (including 5,000 tons of explosive) that can, presumably, penetrate 300 feet down to take out the Fordo enrichment plant. This weapon involved $300-million in research and development and is produced by Boeing. It’s also known by its acronym: MOB (“Mother of all bombs”). You don’t want to be around when this baby hits the ground. Not much will remain of these nuclear sites afterward.

Unlike Iraq, the U.S. doesn’t plan any significant ground campaign in Iran. It will learn the lesson of Iraq. There will not be hundreds and thousands of coffins returning home from the field. There will be no Iranian quagmire.

The American goal will be to confine the attack to Iran’s nuclear facilities and not turn this into a regional war [!] The ayatollahs can be expected to be pragmatic, according to this American “wisdom,” to batten down the hatches, lower their heads, and take the blows we rain down. We don’t expect them to go wild and don’t believe they’d be willing absorb the murderous blows that would follow a full-scale Iranian counter-attack.

Such an American attack won’t wipe out Iran’s nuclear program, but it will set it back five to ten years [!]

Shimon Shiffer’s Maariv article likely comes from either the same or similar source. It adds that the Americans aren’t prepared to launch this attack for another year and a half. The paper’s Washington correspondent says that U.S. sources told him they’re quite aware of the opposition voiced by IDF chief Gantz to an Iran attack. He adds a few new details not offered in Caspit’s “exclusive.” Included as targets in the first wave of attacks will be Iranian infrastructure including power generation and water supply. The oil industry will also be a primary target. The destruction of Iran’s infrastructure will somehow lead to the fall of the regime.

One thing you’ve got to hand it to ‘em: whoever sold this bill of goods really put on a good show. But that’s all it was: a show. Like a used car salesman offering the few attractive qualities of his product and leaving out the flood of flaws. Frankly, I think the American pitch was a load of bull. If left to the Americans, there will be no attack on Iran. No doubt Bibi and Barak knew that when they heard it from Donilon and Panetta, who left Israel yesterday.

If any American general really believed the load of crap that was peddled in these stories, he should not only have his head examined, he should be busted down to private. Aircraft carriers in Beirut harbor? Regime change? Shock and Awe II? An offer the Iranians can’t refuse? Whoever wrote this script has seen The Godfather too many times and confuses cinema for reality. How about some “ocean-front” property in the Everglades or a bridge in New York? Any takers?

But I find myself in the unlikely position of saying, if that’s what it takes to persuade Israel not to take leave of its senses and launch a new regional war against Iran, then more power to ‘em. Whatever it takes, even if it’s based on fantasy and delusion. My problem is that I don’t believe any Israel will be fooled by this. You’re not and I’m not. Why would they?

To those who believe the Israelis won’t attack either, all I can say is that Zvi Farkash isn’t a Hollywood celebrity and doesn’t need media exposure. He doesn’t shoot his mouth off. If he speaks, like the old John Houseman commercial, everybody listens. If he thought Bibi was bluffing he wouldn’t waste his time. He believes an attack is likely, as do I. If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d put the odds at 70-30.

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I’ve reprinted below the entirety of Avraham Burg’s article, “Israel’s Fading Democracy’ that appeared recently in the New York Times. It is an important article, not because it says anything new and radical, but because of who Avraham Burg is, and because he’s published this damning critique in such a prestigious journal!

For those of us who are young enough to have only known Israel as an oppressor and never as the oppressed, it is an important article too, for it reminds us that the State of Israel was never supposed to have turned out like this. There was a time when, for many people, Israel was the stuff that dreams were made of! Unfortunately the dream is long gone, and the best we can hope for now is an end to the nightmare!

WHEN an American presidential candidate visits Israel and his key message is to encourage us to pursue a misguided war with Iran, declaring it “a solemn duty and a moral imperative” for America to stand with our warmongering prime minister, we know that something profound and basic has changed in the relationship between Israel and the United States.

My generation, born in the ’50s, grew up with the deep, almost religious belief that the two countries shared basic values and principles. Back then, Americans and Israelis talked about democracy, human rights, respect for other nations and human solidarity. It was an age of dreamers and builders who sought to create a new world, one without prejudice, racism or discrimination.

Listening to today’s political discourse, one can’t help but notice the radical change in tone. My children have watched their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, kowtow to a fundamentalist coalition in Israel. They are convinced that what ties Israel and America today is not a covenant of humanistic values but rather a new set of mutual interests: war, bombs, threats, fear and trauma. How did this happen? Where is that righteous America? Whatever happened to the good old Israel?

Mr. Netanyahu’s great political “achievement” has been to make Israel a partisan issue and push American Jews into a corner. He has forced them to make political decisions based on calculations that go against what they perceive to be American interests. The emotional extortion compels Jews to pressure the Obama administration, a government with which they actually share values and worldviews, when those who love Israel should be doing the opposite: helping the American government to intervene and save Israel from itself.

Israel arose as a secular, social democratic country inspired by Western European democracies. With time, however, its core values have become entirely different. Israel today is a religious, capitalist state. Its religiosity is defined by the most extreme Orthodox interpretations. Its capitalism has erased much of the social solidarity of the past, with the exception of a few remaining vestiges of a welfare state. Israel defines itself as a “Jewish and democratic state.” However, because Israel has never created a system of checks and balances between these two sources of authority, they are closer than ever to a terrible clash.

In the early years of statehood, the meaning of the term “Jewish” was national and secular. In the eyes of Israel’s founding fathers, to be a Jew was exactly like being an Italian, Frenchman or American. Over the years, this elusive concept has changed; today, the meaning of “Jewish” in Israel is mainly ethnic and religious. With the elevation of religious solidarity over and above democratic authority, Israel has become more fundamentalist and less modern, more separatist and less open to the outside world. I see the transformation in my own family. My father, one of the founders of the state of Israel and of the National Religious Party, was an enlightened rabbi and philosopher. Many of the younger generation are far less open, however; some are ultra-Orthodox or ultranationalist settlers.

This extremism was not the purpose of creating a Jewish state. Immigrants from all over the world dreamed of a government that would be humane and safe for Jews. The founders believed that democracy was the only way to regulate the interests of many contradictory voices. Jewish culture, consolidated through Halakha, the religious Jewish legal tradition, created a civilization that has devoted itself to an unending conversation among different viewpoints and the coexistence of contradictory attitudes toward the fulfillment of the good.

The modern combination between democracy and Judaism was supposed to give birth to a spectacular, pluralistic kaleidoscope. The state would be a great, robust democracy that would protect Jews against persecution and victimhood. Jewish culture, on the other hand, with its uncompromising moral standards, would guard against our becoming persecutors and victimizers of others.

BUT something went wrong in the operating system of Jewish democracy. We never gave much thought to the PalestinianIsraeli citizens within the Jewish-democratic equation. We also never tried to separate the synagogue and the state. If anything, we did the opposite. Moreover, we never predicted the evil effects of brutally controlling another people against their will. Today, all the things that we neglected have returned and are chasing us like evil spirits.

The winds of isolation and narrowness are blowing through Israel. Rude and arrogant power brokers, some of whom hold senior positions in government, exclude non-Jews from Israeli public spaces. Graffiti in the streets demonstrates their hidden dreams: a pure Israel with “no Arabs” and “no gentiles.” They do not notice what their exclusionary ideas are doing to Israel, to Judaism and to Jews in the diaspora. In the absence of a binding constitution, Israel has no real protection for its minorities or for their freedom of worship and expression.

If this trend continues, all vestiges of democracy will one day disappear, and Israel will become just another Middle Eastern theocracy. It will not be possible to define Israel as a democracy when a Jewish minority rules over a Palestinian majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — controlling millions of people without political rights or basic legal standing.

This Israel would be much more Jewish in the narrowest sense of the word, but such a nondemocratic Israel, hostile to its neighbors and isolated from the free world, wouldn’t be able to survive for long.

But there is another option: an iconic conflict could also present an iconic solution. As in Northern Ireland or South Africa, where citizens no longer spill one another’s blood, it will eventually become clear that many Israelis are not willing to live in an ethnic democracy, not willing to give up on the chance to live in peace, not willing to be passive patriots of a country that expels or purifies itself of its minorities, who are the original inhabitants of the land.

Only on that day, after much anguish, boycotts and perhaps even bloodshed, will we understand that the only way for us to agree when we disagree is a true, vigorous democracy. A democracy based on a progressive, civil constitution; a democracy that enforces the distinction between ethnicity and citizenship, between synagogue and state; a democracy that upholds the values of freedom and equality, on the basis of which every single person living under Israel’s legitimate and internationally recognized sovereignty will receive the same rights and protections.

A long-overdue constitution could create a state that belongs to all her citizens and in which the government behaves with fairness and equality toward all persons without prejudice based on religion, race or gender. Those are the principles on which Israel was founded and the values that bound Israel and America together in the past. I believe that creating two neighboring states for two peoples that respect one another would be the best solution. However, if our shortsighted leaders miss this opportunity, the same fair and equal principles should be applied to one state for both peoples.

When a true Israeli democracy is established, our prime minister will go to Capitol Hill and win applause from both sides of the aisle. Every time the prime minister says “peace” the world will actually believe him, and when he talks about justice and equality people will feel that these are synonyms for Judaism and Israelis.

And for all the cynics who are smiling sarcastically as they read these lines, I can only say to Americans, “Yes, we still can,” and to Israelis, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Knesset, is the author of “The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes” and the chairman of Molad, the Center for Renewal of Democracy.

source: www.nytimes.com…