‘Israel behind US hypocrisy in Mideast’
PressTVGlobalNews | April 12, 2013
US President Barak Obama has presented congress an almost 4 trillion dollar budget plan: Amongst his requests: more funds, in the billions, to modernize US’s nuclear weapons. This is while he will cut payments to Medicare not to mention cutbacks to its Social Security pensions and other government programs.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Dankof, a political commentator from San Antonio, to further examine why the US – who has the lead in the possession of nuclear weapons and has advocated nuclear non-proliferation – feels the need to modernize its weapons of mass of destruction, which also goes against the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The video also offers the opinions of one additional guest: Charlie Wolf who is a writer and broadcaster from London.
The following is a partial and approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Do you not think that we have our guest there Charlie Wolf thinking that the Iranian government is pursuing weaponization of its program; Iran has clearly come out and said we want a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and at the same time, countries like the US are coming out and using nuclear weapons as, they claim to be deterrent but really to use and enforce power. What is your reaction there?
Dankof: A couple of things. One, I am not a nuclear expert but let me simply say this. If we take the director of National Intelligence of the United States James Clapper at his word, if we take the 16 intelligence agencies of the United States that produce the national intelligence estimate at their word, Iran is in fact not pursuing a weaponized nuclear program.
And I add it to that of course is the situation where the United States’ chief ally in the region Israel is a nuclear power and going back to something that the Times of Israel published earlier this week back in the 1970s, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yigal Allon then the foreign minister of Israel were repeatedly lying to the president of the United States and the senator Howard Baker of Tennessee and Mac Mathias of Maryland in regard to their Dimona Operation, in regard to their weaponized nuclear program and in regard to the fact that they already were in the 1970s in possession of nuclear weapons.
When you look at that Times of Israel’s report and then consider that Israel is the chief driving force behind what the United States is presently doing in the Middle East and what President Obama and John Kerry are insisting that Iran do in the Middle East and with their nuclear research program, I think the word hypocrisy does apply.
Press TV: Eight billion dollars for this most recent upgrade; Mark Dankoff, the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron just recently came out and he called the ownership of nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea threats ‘the ultimate insurance policy’. This is the kind of feeling that generally some people are feeling when it comes to the US president coming out with 8 billion dollars for what he calls upgrades. I mean, one nuclear bomb should be enough unless there is different types of bombs with lesser degrees or higher degrees. Again I know you said that you are not a nuclear technician. It does not give much merit to the president’s claim that it is for nuclear nonproliferation.
Dankof: That is right and I will say something again and this gets back to something Charlie [Wolf, the other guest on the show] was commenting on because I am not a nuclear expert, I do not know the extent to this budget upgrade by the president represents an attempt to merely keep the present stockpiles safe and workable and to keep it from being involved in some sort of accident or malfunction and to what extent it actually represents an upgrade in the expulsive capacity of these so-called weapons of mass destruction. I simply do not have that knowledge of my disposal.
But it does seem to me that when we look at the president’s actions, at least symbolically, when you look at what has happened since 9/11 with American foreign policy, the draconian increases in defense spending across the board, the ongoing military intervention of the United States and NATO and all kinds of circumstances around the globe of which Libya and Syria are only the latest and when you look at the kinds of things that the US is clearly doing in regard to the deployment of the aircraft carrier, Task Force Groups, black operations inside Iranian borders, draconian economic sanctions and so forth and so on, the Iranians could well be forgiven for interpreting all of these actions on the part of the United States as particularly bellicose.
I would like to say one other thing that Charlie commented on that I do disagree with. President Ahmadinejad is often quoted as saying that either he or Iran would wipe Israel off the map. That is not what the man said. That is what an Israeli translation service called MEMRI said that he said.
President Ahmadinejad’s remarks, properly translated as I understand it, indicated that he simply thought that the Zionist state would eventually fade from history because of all of the internal contradictions within it. That is more than a slight shift in nuance in regard to meaning. I do not think that the president of Iran said the things that had been repeatedly said that he said about wanting to annihilate Israel militarily.
I think that is a bad translation and a false translation and one that again was offered by a Middle East research institute that has no links to the Israeli intelligence community.
Press TV: I am trying to steer this debate to focus on Obama’s proposal to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. We seem to keep going back to the Middle East and Iran. So Mark Dankoff, let’s go along the line of why the US president feels for this upgrade and one deduction has been the US military industrial complex: companies such as GE of which there has been lots of money to be made here. Could this be part of the push by them?
Dankof: I think when you look at the American defense posture generally, it is hard to get away from this perception. After all, when you look at the power of these defense contractors, the amount of money that is involved, the influence that they have on Capitol Hill with people in both of the major political parties, certainly this has to factor into this without question.
There is an additional political context to all of this however that I think does go back to 1945. It is noteworthy that the United States is the only nation on earth that has ever used these weapons in wartime. It used them against two Japanese cities, as we all know, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to me the most chilling aspect of all of this is that my father’s old boss, General Curtis Lemay, the father of the Strategic Air Command said after the war that the American utilization of all those weapons against those cities had nothing to do with ending the war or getting Japan to surrender which is what we were always taught in American schools growing up for years after 1945.
But that had everything to do with simply showing the Soviet Union what we had and that using the Japanese as the victims of the demonstration. So with that as a beginning to this whole tragedy of nuclear weaponry, it seems that over the course of the last 70 years or so that we cannot get away from the political context of all of this and the perception on the part of most of the people of the world that when it comes to issues of nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation that the United States will play by one set of rules; the other nuclear powers will play by one set of rules and everyone else gets to play by the rules and guidelines that are said done by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
This is perceived as inherently unfair and I do not think that we can separate the technical issues involved in this debate and the budgetary issues from the issue of the profit motive of these armament companies and also the whole question of the fact that some people want to have their cake and eat it too in terms of possessing these weapons and denying the right to these weapons to other people. It is a vexing situation.
Press TV: What is your response to Charlie Wolf’s remarks?
Dankof: As a matter of fact, we now know through a series of things that have been declassified that the Japanese had already agreed to surrender that Truman would not allow them to surrender because of his so-called unconditional Surrender Doctrine. What all the Japanese were asking for was that we kept our hands off of the emperor.
In fact, we went ahead and used these weapons and then turned around and basically agreed to the back channel demand that the Japanese had made after the destruction of both of those cities. So I would take issue with that.
I also in terms of Mr. Ahmadinejad would compare him with the current leadership of the nation of Israel. It is also a fact. Why do we not go back and take a look at what General Lemay and Admiral Nimitz and General Eisenhower had to say on this subject years after the war and a series of the things that have subsequently been declassified.
Press TV: Obama’s nuclear vision or is it an illusion?
Dankof: I think it is an illusion and it is interesting to me again that we are talking about a man of the Democratic Party and a man who is perceived on the left end of the Democratic Party spectrum who has been involved in a series of things and making him look to me like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ranging from the drone strikes to agreeing to put out the war through his secretary of state that the United States is prepared to take preemptive military action against Iran or allow Israel to do so.
Under Obama’s presidency, the United States and Israel have been using the Mujahedin-E-Khalq or the MEK to conduct these assassinations of these Iranian nuclear scientists. With what all of that implies – and of course the president was very much involved in getting NATO to intervene in Libya – the president is now clearly involved as the United States is and as the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation States are in financing the attempted overthrow of this government in Syria with all of these al-Qaeda elements in it. This does not sound like liberal to me.