Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Gareth Porter: Israel's Bomb Iran Campaign

Expand Messages
  • Ed Pearl
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/30 The Real Aim of Israel s Bomb Iran Campaign by Gareth Porter CommonDreams.org: July 30, 2010 Reuel Marc Gerecht s
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2010

      The Real Aim of Israel's Bomb Iran Campaign

      by Gareth Porter
      CommonDreams.org: July 30, 2010

      Reuel Marc Gerecht's screed justifying an Israeli bombing attack on Iran
      coincides with the opening of the new Israel lobby campaign marked by the
      introduction of House Resolution 1553 expressing full support for such an
      Israeli attack.

      What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of
      Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support
      an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct,
      full-scale war with Iran.

      That has long been the Israeli strategy for Iran, because Israel cannot
      fight a war with Iran without full U.S. involvement. Israel needs to know
      that the United States will finish the war that Israel wants to start.

      Gerecht openly expresses the hope that any Iranian response to the Israeli
      attack would trigger full-scale U.S. war against Iran. "If Khamenei has a
      death-wish, he'll let the Revolutionary Guards mine the strait, the entrance
      to the Persian Gulf," writes Gerecht. "It might be the only thing that would
      push President Obama to strike Iran militarily...." Gerecht suggest that the
      same logic would apply to any Iranian "terrorism against the United States
      after an Israeli strike," by which we really means any attack on a U.S.
      target in the Middle East. Gerecht writes that Obama might be "obliged" to
      threaten major retaliation "immediately after an Israeli surprise attack."

      That's the key sentence in this very long Gerecht argument. Obama is not
      going to be "obliged" to join Israeli aggression against Iran unless he
      feels that domestic political pressures to do so are too strong to resist.
      That's why the Israelis are determined to line up a strong majority in
      Congress and public opinion for war to foreclose Obama's options.

      In the absence of confidence that Obama would be ready to come into the war
      fully behind Israel, there cannot be an Israeli strike.

      Gerecht's argument for war relies on a fanciful nightmare scenario of Iran
      doling out nuclear weapons to Islamic extremists all over the Middle East.
      But the real concern of the Israelis and their lobbyists, as Gerecht's past
      writing has explicitly stated, is to destroy Iran's Islamic regime in a
      paroxysm of U.S. military violence.

      Gerecht first revealed this Israeli-neocon fantasy as early as 2000, before
      the Iranian nuclear program was even taken seriously, in an essay written
      for a book published by the Project for a New American Century. Gerecht
      argued that, if Iran could be caught in a "terrorist act," the U.S. Navy
      should "retaliate with fury". The purpose of such a military response, he
      wrote, should be to "strike with truly devastating effect against the ruling
      mullahs and the repressive institutions that maintain them."

      And lest anyone fail to understand what he meant by that, Gerecht was more
      explicit: "That is, no cruise missiles at midnight to minimize the body
      count. The clerics will almost certainly strike back unless Washington uses
      overwhelming, paralyzing force."

      In 2006-07, the Israeli war party had reason to believed that it could
      hijack U.S. policy long enough to get the war it wanted, because it had
      placed one of its most militant agents, David Wurmser, in a strategic
      position to influence that policy.

      We now know that Wurmser, formerly a close adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu and
      during that period Vice President Dick Cheney's main adviser on the Middle
      East, urged a policy of overwhelming U.S. military force against Iran.
      After leaving the administration in 2007, Wurmser revealed that he had
      advocated a U.S. war on Iran, not to set back the nuclear program but to
      achieve regime change.

      "Only if what we do is placed in the framework of a fundamental assault on
      the survival of the regime will it have a pick-up among ordinary Iranians,"
      Wurmser told The Telegraph. The U.S. attack was not to be limited to
      nuclear targets but was to be quite thorough and massively destructive. "If
      we start shooting, we must be prepared to fire the last shot. Don't shoot a
      bear if you're not going to kill it."

      Of course, that kind of war could not be launched out of the blue. It would
      have required a casus belli to justify a limited initial attack that would
      then allow a rapid escalation of U.S. military force. In 2007, Cheney acted
      on Wurmser's advice and tried to get Bush to provoke a war with Iran over
      Iraq, but it was foiled by the Pentagon.

      As Wurmser was beginning to whisper that advice in Cheney's ear in 2006,
      Gerecht was making the same argument in The Weekly Standard:

      Bombing the nuclear facilities once would mean we were declaring war on
      the clerical regime. We shouldn't have any illusions about that. We could
      not stand idly by and watch the mullahs build other sites. If the ruling
      mullahs were to go forward with rebuilding what they'd lost--and it would be
      surprising to discover the clerical regime knuckling after an initial
      bombing run--we'd have to strike until they stopped. And if we had any doubt
      about where their new facilities were (and it's a good bet the clerical
      regime would try to bury new sites deep under heavily populated areas), and
      we were reasonably suspicious they were building again, we'd have to
      consider, at a minimum, using special-operations forces to penetrate
      suspected sites.

      The idea of waging a U.S. war of destruction against Iran is obvious lunacy,
      which is why U.S. military leaders have strongly resisted it both during the
      Bush and Obama administrations. But Gerecht makes it clear that Israel
      believes it can use its control of Congress to pound Obama into submission.
      Democrats in Congress, he boasts, "are mentally in a different galaxy than
      they were under President Bush." Even though Israel has increasingly been
      regarded around the world as a rogue state after its Gaza atrocities and the
      commando killings of unarmed civilians on board the Mavi Marmara, its grip
      on the U.S. Congress appears as strong as ever.
      Moreover, polling data for 2010 show that a majority of Americans have
      already been manipulated into supporting war against Iran - in large part
      because more than two-thirds of those polled have gotten the impression that
      Iran already has nuclear weapons. The Israelis are apparently hoping to
      exploit that advantage. "If the Israelis bomb now, American public opinion
      will probably be with them," writes Gerecht. "Perhaps decisively so."
      Netanyahu must be feeling good about the prospects for pressuring Barack
      Obama to join an Israeli war of aggression against Iran. It was Netanyahu,
      after all, who declared in 2001, "I know what America is. America is a thing
      you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in
      the way."

      Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national
      security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university
      teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of
      which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in
      Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for
      Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.