The US defense chief has vowed to continue enhancing the Israeli regime’s so-called Iron Dome missile shield which proved ineffective in face of Palestinians’ retaliatory rocket in the recent war on the Gaza Strip.
In a Pentagon press conference with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak on Thursday, American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, however, praised the system, adding, “Today, I assured the minister (Barak) that our strong commitment to Iron Dome will continue into the future.”
Despite Panetta’s repeated insistence during the press event about Iron Dome’s “success rate,” some American experts have questioned such claims by top US and Israeli officials, pointing to many Hamas-launched missiles that made it through the system, mounting intense pressure on the regime’s authorities to quickly agree to a ceasefire.
“We will obviously continue to work together to seek additional funding to enable Israel to boost Iron Dome’s capacity further and to help prevent the kind of escalation and violence that we’ve seen,” Panetta emphasized.
He added, according to the report, that the US granted USD70 million in fiscal year 2012 to fund the system, in addition to another USD205 million previously given to the Tel Aviv regime to develop the shield.
Barak, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude over the American pledge of total support while further insisting that “the needs are much larger than what we have right now, and we are determined to complete the system, besides the operational offensive capacities of the Israeli armed forces.”
Also at the event, Panetta pinned the Defense Department’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service on Barak, who declared on Monday that he plans to quit politics following national elections planned by the Israeli regime in January 2013.
Alleging “al-Qaeda” presence in Mali, the United States has vowed to make the West African country, the next stop in its so-called war on terror.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta vowed, at the Pentagon, to eliminate the threat from “al-Qaeda” in northern Mali, Reuters reported on Saturday. He said that he would ensure that al-Qaeda has “no place to hide.”
“Our approach is to make sure that al-Qaeda and elements of al-Qaeda have no place to hide. And we’ve gone after al-Qaeda wherever they are – whether it’s in [the northwestern Pakistan] FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas]; whether it’s in Yemen; whether it’s in Somalia; and whether they’re in North Africa,” he noted.
The comments came amid reports that the CIA is currently flying some surveillance drones over northern Mali, and that France is also reportedly sending surveillance aircraft to the African country.
A study, conducted by Stanford and New York Universities, has showed that only one in 50 people killed by US assassination drones in Pakistan — one of the several countries where the US has carried out drone strikes — are militants.
- Britain to support African force in bid to recapture northern Mali (phantomreport.com)
To great surprise to New Delhi, Pakistan-supported anti-US Afghan Taliban leaders have praised India for resisting US-NATO calls for greater involvement in Afghanistan.
There had been no assurance for the Americans, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Sunday. “It shows that India understands the facts,” he said.
Regional analysts believe India, Pakistan and the Taliban are asserting their independence from the American world order.
Last month, Hillary Clinton visited India in the hope of persuading the country to halt oil imports from the Islamic Republic or face sanctions itself. She was told by Indian officials that India needs to look after its own national interests rather than bow to US interests in the region. Last week, Barack Obama exempted India along with Turkey and Japan from the Zionists’ list of countries to be sanctioned for not following Israel’s anti-Iran agenda.
Early this month, US secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, made a 3-day stop in India on his way to Afghanistan. In New Delhi, he urged Indian leaders to take a more active military role in Afghanistan. During his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India national security adviser, Shiv Shankar and Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony – Panetta did not find them willing to have a military conflict with Pakistan by fighting against pro-Pakistan Taliban. India is America’s valued customer. In the past eleven years, India has bought around $8.5 billion worth of defense equipment from the United States.
Zionist Jewish professor Joel Brinkley (Stanford University) lamented in the San Francisco Chronicle (June 17, 2012) that after spending $1 billion and more than 3,000 lives lost during the last ten years – the victors in Afghanistan are China, India and Iran. … Full article
- Taliban praise India for resisting Afghan entanglement (dawn.com)
- Taliban praise India for resisting Afghan entanglement (nation.com.pk)
- India’s ‘nonchalance’ to Afghan role wins praise from Taliban (nation.com.pk)
- Taliban praise India for resisting Afghan entanglement (thehimalayantimes.com)
A senior United Nations human rights official says the killing of civilians in non-UN-sanctioned airstrikes by the US assassination drones in Pakistan is illegal and in violation of human rights.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay made the remarks on Thursday at the end of a four-day visit to Pakistan, where more than 150 people have died in twenty US drone attacks since the beginning of the year.
“Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law,” she added.
The commissioner noted that in her opinion “the indiscriminate killings and injuries of civilians in any circumstances” was in violation of international norms of human rights.
Pillay also called for a UN investigation into civilian casualties, which she said were difficult to track.
“I suggested to the government that they invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions and he will be able to investigate some of the incidents,” she said.
Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, though casualty figures clearly indicate that Pakistani civilians are the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.
On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the US Charge d’affaires Richard Hoagland over Washington’s continued drone attacks saying they violate Pakistan sovereignty.
However, the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Washington would continue its drone attacks in the country despite complaints from Islamabad.
Part of the 2011 Congressional debt reduction deal called for automatic cuts to social spending and military budgets over the next 10 years. The idea was that a deal to avoid these cuts would be struck, because Republicans wouldn’t want to cut the Pentagon, and Democrats would try to protect safety net programs.
That didn’t happen, so these so-called “sequestration” cuts are prompting some alarm bells in the corporate media–ringing loudly at the mere thought of cutting the military budget.
On January 2, national security is set to receive a heavy blow if Congress fails to intervene. That is when a 10-year, $600 billion, across-the-board spending cut is to hit the Pentagon, equal to roughly 8 percent of its current budget.
Wow, this isn’t even about the military budget–it’s the very security of our nation.
The piece is, as the headline suggests (“Some Lawmakers Look for Way Out as Defense Cuts Near”), written from the point of view of lawmakers who can’t stomach the idea of military cuts. The most important is Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. But, the Times explains, he’s not the only one:
The dire warnings are not coming from Mr. Graham alone. They are coming at least as loudly from Leon E. Panetta, the secretary of defense.
So not only hawkish Republicans are worried about Pentagon cuts. So is, you know, the head of the Pentagon.
Weisman tries to give some sense of Graham’s strategy for putting off the military cuts:
Mr. Graham’s intention is to separate defense from the larger deficit issue by aiming his arguments high and low. The high argument is about American greatness.
“The debate on the debt is an opportunity to send the world a signal that we are going to remain the strongest military force in the world,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘We’re going to keep it, and we’re going to make it the No. 1 priority of a broke nation.’”
That might be the “high” argument, but it’s worth mentioning that, even with the cuts we’re talking about, the U.S. will be spending more on its military than anyone else. Enormously more. As in: more than the next 11 countries combined.
Pieces like this one often fail to include any budget context at all. This one actually does include such a perspective–but only so the reporter can try to rebut it himself:
On its face, the automatic cuts do not sound that bad. If they are put into effect, military spending would decline to its 2007 level, said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But really it is worse than that. The law exempts war costs and allows the administration to wall off personnel levels and military pay, about a third of the Pentagon budget. That means everything else–operations and maintenance, research and development, procurement, fuel, military construction–would face immediate cuts as deep as 13 percent, Mr. Harrison said.
Follow that: The cuts would actually bring the Pentagon to 2007 funding levels, but it’s worse than that… because the cuts would be distributed unevenly. What?
I wrote a piece about this for Extra!, and this part of it includes all the information one needs to rebut this sky-is-falling reporting:
The proposed “draconian” cuts would force the Pentagon to make do with a budget equivalent to what it spent in 2007 (Project on Defense Alternatives, 10/11/11). Military analyst Winslow Wheeler (Center for Defense Information, 8/24/11) points out an annual base budget of this size–$472 billion–is $70 billion more than was spent in 2000, and would still constitute “more than twice the defense spending of China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Cuba and any other potential adversary–combined.”
And the proposed cuts are often reported as raw numbers–$800 billion or $1 trillion in total cuts over the next decade. As economist Dean Baker has noted (CEPR, 8/4/11), coverage should explain that over this period the military is scheduled to spend close to $8 trillion.
Claims of catastrophic consequences from military cuts might also have been tempered by reminders that the Pentagon budget declined by close to 25 percent from 1989 to 1994–a historical context missing from most reports.
In other words, the cuts are real, but should be appreciated in the context of massive increases in military spending over the previous decade.
The other point of that Extra! piece: Stories worrying about supposedly debilitating cuts to military spending are a dime a dozen, and usually consist of getting Leon Panetta to complain about them publicly. But good luck finding many stories about what’s going to happen thanks to $600 billion in social spending cuts. Reporters don’t seem all that interested in that.
- The Nearly $1 Trillion National Security Budget (alethonews.wordpress.com)
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff commander General Martin Dempsey visited Colombia on March 29 to announce that within weeks U.S. military personnel will operate from a military base there with the newly formed Vulcan Task Force.
The Vulcan Task Force, which was established in December 2011, has 10,000 soldiers, three mobile brigades and one fixed brigade, operating from a base in Tibú, in the Catatumbo region (North Santander), just two miles from the Venezuela border.
On April 15, presidents Obama and Santos met during the Americas Summit and agreed on a new military regional action plan that will include training police forces in Central America and beyond. The announcement cited Operation Martillo, by which U.S. and Colombian forces have participated in operations this year against criminal elements on the coasts and interior of Central America.
The presence of U.S. soldiers on the military base in Tibú was presented by General Dempsey as an effort by the United States to support Colombia in its fight against drug trafficking and the insurgency. According to Dempsey, the Pentagon plans by June to send U.S. brigade commanders with practical experience in Afghanistan and Iraq to work with police and army combat units that will be deployed in areas controlled by the rebels. Dempsey said that U.S. military personnel will not participate in combat operations in Colombia.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Colombia has established its own version of U.S. joint special operations commands that carry out hunt-and-kill missions – operations for selective killings that have included U.S. citizens accused of having ties to Al Qaeda. With these special commandos, Colombia hopes to reach its goal of reducing the FARC guerrillas by 50% in two years.
U.S. participation in such an aggressive military campaign would undercut prospective attempts to negotiate a settlement of the armed conflict, which has increasing support in Colombia. The campaign, which apparently does not target successor paramilitary groups, is also likely to benefit those groups, which continue to commit human rights abuses, engage in drug trafficking, and operate in more than 400 municipalities in 31 Colombian states, according to a report by the Institute for Study of Development and Peace, INDEPAZ.
The Journal also cited statements by Southern Command chief General Douglas Fraser at a March 12 hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressing concern about the strengthening of diplomatic relations between Iran and the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
The expansion of counterinsurgency forces in Africa and Latin America is also part of a new national security strategy released by the White House in February. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the new strategy introduces “innovative methods” for supporting counter-terrorist forces and expanding the United States’ influence on the two continents.
Joint Task Force Vulcan is led by Brigadier General Marcolino Tamayo Tamayo, who in 1985, when he was a lieutenant, participated in the operation to retake the Palace of Justice in Colombia. Similar joint task forces have been created in Tumaco, Nariño; Miranda, Cauca; and Tame, Arauca.
- U.S.’s Post-Afghanistan Counterinsurgency War: Colombia (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- DOD pushing more forces into South America (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Progress or Promises? Free Trade and Labor Rights in Colombia (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- When the Respectable Become Extremists The Extremists Become Respectable: Colombia and the Mainstream Media (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Arab 48 News Agency reported today that US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, announced on Thursday that the United States will provide Israel with $70 million in immediate aid for the purchase of additional Iron Dome rocket defense batteries. This was needed for Israel to meet its fiscal requirements for 2012. In addition, he said that the US was in talks with Israel about the possibility of establishing a multi-year budget plan to assist Israel in purchasing additional batteries.
Panetta made the announcement following a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon. Barak was in Washington for talks aimed at coordinating strategy with the US ahead of the second round of talks between western powers and Iran scheduled to open next week in Baghdad.
Since the deployment of the system last year, Iron Dome batteries have intercepted over 90 Katyusha and Kassam rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
The new aid package comes after the Obama administration gave Israel $205 million in 2011 and comes on top of the $3 billion Israel receives in annual foreign aid from the United States.
Barak thanked the US for its support and said that Israeli-US defense ties had never been as strong as they were today under the Obama administration. “The US decision to support further enhancing Israel’s security is an important demonstration of the unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel,” Barak said.
In an interview late Wednesday, Barak told CNN the United States and Israel are essentially “on the same page” over the Iranian nuclear program. “We say loud and clear, the Americans say the same, the president says the same – a nuclear military Iran is unacceptable,” he said. “We are determined to prevent them from turning nuclear. And that no option except for containment, no option should be removed off the table in order to achieve this objective.”
The Pentagon announced on April 23 that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has begun a trip to South America, arriving in Colombia as part of a three-nation tour that will also take him to Brazil and Chile.
It is his first visit to the continent as Pentagon chief, though he has visited often in other capacities, including as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Panetta’s meetings with top government and military officials in the three nations will follow those of America’s top military officer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, to Colombia and Brazil late last month.
Panetta’s mission also occurs two weeks after U.S. and Brazilian presidents Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff met in the White House on April 9 and agreed on the establishment of the U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation Dialogue, announcing that Defense Secretary Panetta and Brazil’s Defence Minister Celso Amorim will hold the first meeting in that format on April 24.
Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in Latin America, though its population is less than a quarter of Brazil’s, and the third largest in the world after Israel and Egypt.
After the passage by Congress of the Clinton administration’s Plan Colombia in 2000, the military in Bogota has received approximately $7 billion in U.S. assistance, up from $50 million in 1998 when it was already the biggest beneficiary of American military aid in Latin America.
On October 30, 2009 the Obama administration and that of then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe agreed on the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement, which opened up three Colombian air bases, two naval bases, two army installations “and other Colombian military facilities if mutually agreed” to the Pentagon.
One of the bases obtained by the United States, the Larandia Military Fort in Florencia, is within easy striking distance of Ecuador, as the Alberto Pawells Rodriguez Air Base in Malambo is of Venezuela.
Colombia launched a deadly attack against rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) inside neighboring Ecuador in 2008, which the Ecuadorian government accused U.S. special forces personnel inside its country of having assisted. The following year the Colombian armed forces conducted an incursion inside Venezuela, seizing four border guards.
Panetta is in Colombia to coordinate a final offensive against FARC fighters, who have been battling the country’s narco-autocracy and its political minions in Bogota since 1964.
According to Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, the defense secretary is to meet with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno and General Alejandro Navas, General Commander of the Military Forces of Colombia.
On April 23 Panetta praised his military ally, stating, “Colombia, to its credit, has done a tremendous job in going after the FARC.” He failed to mention with, in addition to $7 billion dollars of Washington aid, U.S. helicopter gunships, planes, trainers and special forces troops.
Pentagon spokesman Little added, “Clearly we still have plenty to talk about in continuing to support the Colombians in their efforts against [the FARC]…”
When chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey was in Colombia on March 27-28, the Defense Department website reported that he visited Joint Task Force Vulcano, “a new interagency force aimed at defeating the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia…The strategy calls for Colombia to cut the FARC forces in half in two years.”
In Dempsey’s words, “They selected 2014 as a key moment for them, They want to accelerate their effects against the FARC.” With the Pentagon’s active connivance and assistance, which why is Dempsey was and Panetta is in the country.
Dempsey was explicit about the American role in the “final solution” of the Colombian civil war: “We’re getting ready to send some brigade commanders who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan down here to partner with their Joint Task Force commanders in a leader developmental function. The challenges they face are not unlike the challenges we’ve faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Pentagon’s website reported the following on March 27, worth quoting in detail.
Dempsey “joined virtually the entire Colombian defense leadership to visit Joint Task Force Vulcano,” just outside the town of Tibu, only three kilometers from the Venezuela border.
“The Colombian government established the task force in December. It is the latest effort to defeat the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia…
“Dempsey arrived at the base in a Colombian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter along with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno and Gen. Alejandro Navas, commander of the Colombian Armed Forces.
“Following his comments, Dempsey discussed strategy with the minister and the chief of defense and also Army chief Maj. Gen. Sergio Mantilla Sanmiguel, Navy chief Vice Adm. Roberto Garcia Marquez and Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Tito Saul Pinilla-Pinilla.
“Before Joint Task Force Vulcano stood up, there were a small number of troops in the region. Now there are more than 10,000, [spokesman for the task force, Colombian army Captain Jose Mojica] said. The forces are composed of three mobile brigades and a geographic brigade. A fourth brigade is getting ready to deploy to the area.
“This is all part of an ambitious Colombian strategy to cut the FARC by half in two years. U.S. Embassy officials said there are about 8,000 FARC members now. Colombian officials spoke of the plan as the end game for the rebellion against the government after 48 years of intermittent war.”
Immediately before Dempsey’s visit to Colombia, U.S. Army South held talks with the Colombian armed forces in Bogota from March 19-23.
Three years ago CBS News quoted an unnamed Pentagon official stating, “The more Afghanistan can look like Colombia, the better.” The equation is now being reversed.
Other top U.S. defense and military officials have for years spoken of “coming back home” to the Western Hemisphere as the war in Afghanistan winds down.
Panetta’s and Dempsey’s visits to Colombia and their statements regarding the purpose of them leave no doubt as to where America’s new, at any rate expanded, counterinsurgency war is occurring.
- DOD pushing more forces into South America (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Formed to Fight Rebels, Colombian Security Forces Turn Mafioso (theepochtimes.com)
Have certain parts of the Constitution become irrelevant, as a former Republican leader once told me at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing? At the time, I was told that demanding a Congressional declaration of war before invading Iraq, as Article I Section 8 of the Constitution requires, was unnecessary and anachronistic. Congress and the president then proceeded without a Constitutional declaration and the disastrous Iraq invasion was the result.
Last week, Obama administration officials made it clear that even the fig leaf of Congressional participation provided by the 2003 “authorization” to use force in Iraq was to be ignored as well. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated clearly and repeatedly that the administration felt it was legally justified to use military force against Syria solely with “international permission”. Such “international permission” could come by way of the United Nations, NATO, or some other international body. Secretary Panetta then told Senator Sessions that depending on the situation, the administration would consider informing Congress of its decision and might even seek authorization after the fact.
While Senator Sessions expressed surprise at the casual audacity of Panetta in making this statement, in reality his was just a bluntly stated explanation of what has been, de facto, the case for many years. When President Obama committed the US military to a pre-emptive war against Libya last year, for example, Congress was kept completely out of the process. Likewise, military action in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and so on, proceed without a Congressional declaration. In fact, we haven’t had a proper, constitutional declaration of war since 1942, yet the US military has been engaged in Korea, Lebanon, Iraq, Bosnia, Liberia, Haiti, and Libya with only UN resolutions as the authority. Congress’s only role has been authorizing funds, which it always does without question, because one must “support the troops”.
Of course we should reserve our harshest criticism for Congress rather than the Administration. If the people’s branch of government abrogates its Constitutional authority to the Executive branch, who is to blame? Who is to blame that Congress as a body will not stand up and demand that the president treat the Constitution as more than an anachronistic piece of paper, or merely a set of aspirations and guidelines? The Constitution is the law of the land and for Congress to allow it to be flouted speaks as badly about Congress as it does about a president who seeks to do the flouting.
Just last week the administration announced that it would begin providing material support to the rebels who seek to overthrow the Syrian government. Was Congress involved in this decision to take sides in what may develop into a full-fledged civil war? And what of reports that US special forces may already be operating inside Syria? Still, Congress sits silently as its authority is undermined. Does anybody really wonder why approval numbers for Congress are so low?
Many of my colleagues who stood by as then-President Bush used the military as a kind of king’s army are now calling for Congress to act against this president for openly admitting that is his intent. I agree it is time for Congressional action in response to these attacks on our Constitution, but the solution is simple and Constitutional. The solution is simply voting to withhold funds, since Congress has the power of the purse. No money for undeclared wars!
- ‘Impeach Obama’ Bill: Use of military without Congress approval ‘high crime’ (rt.com)
- Obama Impeachment Bill Already in Congress (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Coup D’etat: Pentagon & Obama Declare Congress Ceremonial (wrc559.com)
- Leon Panetta: Toady Of Tyranny (thecampofthesaints.org)
The United States will ensure Israel retains “military superiority” over its adversaries as the country faces the potential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.
“This is an ironclad pledge which says that the United States will provide whatever support is necessary for Israel to maintain military superiority over any state or coalition of states, as well as non-state actors,” Panetta told the top pro-Israel lobby in Washington, AIPAC.
He touted President Barack Obama’s record of security assistance to Israel, saying the administration has “dramatically” increased military aid since Obama entered the White House in 2009, despite the superpower’s ongoing economic woes.
“This year, the president’s budget requests US$3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel, compared to US$2.5 billion in 2009,” said Panetta, according to a prepared text of the speech delivered to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Panetta cited advanced missile and rocket defenses and plans to deliver the new F-35 fighter jet to Israel, which he said would provide the country with “unquestioned” air superiority.
But amid growing speculation that Israel may conduct a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, Panetta made no mention of more powerful “bunker buster” bombs that Israel would need to reach some deeply buried targets.
It remains unclear if the Pentagon has provided Israel with the most powerful conventional bomb in the US arsenal, the massive ordnance penetrator (MOP), which the Air Force says could strike facilities 200 feet underground.
The Pentagon chief echoed comments by Obama on Sunday, saying the United States would not tolerate Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and was ready to take military action if necessary.
“Let me be clear: We do not have a policy of containment – we have a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said to applause from members of AIPAC.
In the latest example of mainstream media warmongering, in today’s Washington Post David Ignatius writes,
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a lot on his mind these days, from cutting the defense budget to managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But his biggest worry is the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months.
Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June — before Iran enters what Israelis described as a “zone of immunity” to commence building a nuclear bomb. Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon — and only the United States could then stop them militarily.
When reading reports like the one Ignatius has filed here, it should always be remembered that what is being so nonchalantly discussed as a point of perturbation for a beleaguered Leon Panetta is, without doubt, the willful and active commission of a war crime. Not only that, but – in the words of the Nuremberg Tribunal – initiating a war of aggression, as Israel would undoubtedly be doing by unilaterally and illegally bombing Iran, is “the supreme international crime.”
Ignatius, despite his clear intent of beating war drums under the guise of disinterested journalism, acknowledges repeatedly that Iran is not building nuclear weapons and has no nuclear weapons program. While the bogus Israeli claim of Iran reaching a “zone of immunity” (the new Barakian term for what until recently was ominously called the “point of no return“) is noted by Ignatius, it’s followed by the claim that this spooky “zone” would enable Iran to “commence building a nuclear bomb.” Which means it’s not currently doing that. Ignatius even reiterates the fact that – per U.S. (and Israeli and IAEA) intelligence – Iran is not building a bomb. Which means this is all speculative. Which means any potential attack would be “preventative” and not based on any immediate threat. Which means it would be totally illegal under any possible reading of international law.
Ignatius writes that “Netanyahu doesn’t want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action.” There’s that “existential threat” again! Y’know, the one that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, former Mossad chiefs Meir Dagan and Ephraim Halevy, current Mossad chief Tamir Pardo say doesn’t actually exist. Just today, Ynet reported that former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz also repeated the assessment that Iran poses no such threat to Israel. “The use of this terminology is misleading. If it is intended to encourage a strike on Iran, it’s a mistake,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ignatius repeats this absurdity as if it’s an uncontroversial fact. It appears that, for Beltway reportage, “If Netanyahu says it, it must be true!”
Ignatius goes on, “Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.”
Does that refer to an aggressive, first-strike on Israel by Iran? If so, this is a fabricated premise that no one actually considers to be a danger (Iran’s “defensive military doctrine” is well-documented and consistently reaffirmed by U.S. intelligence) and is an action Iran has repeatedly said it would never commit. Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s head of state and commander-in-chief, has stated unequivocally that “the Islamic Republic has never threatened and will never threaten any country.” Meanwhile, just the mere threat of military attack by Israel is a clear violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter.
So, essentially, Ignatius is crafting a strawman in order to beat the American warrior chest much like Hillary Clinton did in 2008 when she declared that, if Iran attacked Israel and she were president, she would order the U.S. military to “totally obliterate” Iran. How’s that for a genocidal, “wipe off the map” fantasy?
Ignatius also suggests there are currently only two ways out of the current crisis: Iran could “finally open serious negotiations for a formula to verifiably guarantee that its nuclear program will remain a civilian one; or the United States could step up its covert actions.”
Anyone familiar with the 2007 Work Plan that Iran and the IAEA agreed to, knows that this has already happened and that the IAEA consistently confirms that Iran’s nuclear program is not militarized. The “verifiable guarantee” is the presence of IAEA cameras and inspectors at Iran’s safeguarded facilities. What would make Iran’s program even more “verifiably” civilian in nature would be for the international community – including the U.S. – to accept Iran’s numerous offers to invest in and partner with its program, thereby making it virtually impossible for Iran to weaponize. These overtures have been consistently rebuffed or ignored.
The other option, of course, is more “covert actions” – in other words: drone surveillance and industrial sabotage. Those pesky little murders and explosions that leave widows and orphans and which, in any other context – if any other country’s citizens were the victims of such summary executions – would be unconditionally and unequivocally condemned as terrorism.
Sure, Ignatius ends with the off-hand comment that Netanyahu is vacillating and that “top Israeli intelligence officials remain skeptical of the project” – the “project” of course being shorthand for an act of aggressive war (again, “the supreme international crime”).
Concluding with requisite Beltway fear-mongering, Ignatius warns that “senior Americans doubt that the Israelis are bluffing” and are “worrying about the guns of spring — and the unintended consequences.”
At this point, with three decades of war threats, devastating sanctions that amount to the collective punishment of the Iranian people for the crime of overthrowing the Shah, and propaganda about Iran’s ever-imminent hell-bending drive for atomic weaponry with which to evaporate poor little (nuclear-armed and super-power funded) Israel, how can any of the “consequences” honestly be referred to as “unintended”?
I suppose it would be lovely for Israel (and its many cheerleaders here in Congress and the media) if it were able to bomb whomever they want whenever they want, killing thousands upon thousands, with impunity and without any repercussions – that’s what it’s been doing in Gaza and Lebanon for years. But Iran is not ghettoized and occupied, demilitarized and defenseless, blockaded and besieged. Iran, unlike the usual victims of Israeli and American bullets and bombs, can actually fight back if it’s attacked.
That’s what frustrates warmongers from Foggy Bottom to Herzliya so much.