I picked up a copy of a memoir written by the long-gone CIA Director, George Tenet. On the first page of the book's preface, Mr. Tenet described what it was like on the day after the World Trade Towers had exploded as a result of the terrorists' actions on 9-11-01.
I quote Mr. Tenet here:
"All this weighed heavy on my mind as I walked beneath the awning that leads to the West Wing and saw Richard Perle exiting the building just as I was about to enter. Perle is one of the godfathers of the neoconservative movement and, at the time, was head of the Defense Policy Board, an independent advisory group attached to the Secretary of Defense. Ours was little more than a passing acquaintance. As the doors closed behind him, we made eye contact and nodded. I had just reached the door myself when Perle turned to me and said, 'Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. 'They bear responsibility.' (Italics added).
"I was stunned but said nothing. Eighteen hours earlier, I had scanned passenger manifests for the four hijacked airplanes that showed beyond a doubt that al-Qa'ida was behind the attacks. Over the months and years to follow, we would carefully examine the potential of a collaborative role for state sponsors. The intelligence then and now, however, showed no evidence of Iraqi complicity."
The idea that George W. Bush's neocon advisers--Perle included--convinced him that the U.S. should invade Iraq received some attention after the Iraqi war started. But to my knowledge, no one, either in politics or the media, pressed the case too hard, lest they discover that those who wanted to invade Iraq had, not America's interest, but Israel's interest in mind.
There was never a threat to the United States from Saddam Hussein. He was a threat to his own people, but not to our country, a fact which became much more clear as the war went on. But Bush's critics stopped short of implicating Israel's interests as a reason for invading Iraq. A great many people believe, myself included, that Israel wanted Saddam out of the way because, while he was not really a military threat to Israel, he was a political threat. He was someone, like Hizbollah, who stood in the way of Israeli hegemony over the entire Middle East.
That desire by Israel goes a long way toward explaining why Israel has launched so many attacks on Lebanon and Syria. During the last several decades, Israel tried very hard to tame the country of Lebanon by using one excuse or another to invade that battered country. Each time, Israel came away without achieving its objective of control of Lebanon. It had installed Bashir Jamail as president only to see him assassinated during the confusion of the Lebanese Civil War. It conquered militarily the south of Lebanon in 1982, holding on to enough Lebanese territory to allow it to steal water out of the Litani River. By the year 2000, Hizbollah was strong enough to chase Israel out of Lebanon, remaining as a threat to Israel's hegemony from that time onward.
And Syria was warned not to get too rambunctious when Israel bombed Syria using one or another pretense to do so.
The most recent military planning by Israel to solidify what little hegemony it has over the area is the way it is shaking its fist at Iran, with the United States looking over its shoulder, adding weight to its threats against Iran.
What is different about this most recent threat is that Iran is no Iraq. Iran has the ways and means to retaliate against not only Israel, but against the United States as Israel's principal supporter in its efforts to tame Iran.
If we were to look rationally at the situation, we would soon realize that, while Iran is able to defend itself with the kind of military it possesses, it is quite incapable of invading another country, particularly one as militarily powerful as Israel. If we assume that Iran's nuclear program is intended to make a bomb, what earthly reason would it have to start a nuclear war against either Israel or the United States? Iran's leadership, while mouthy, and cruel toward its political dissidents, is not crazy enough to ask for someone to come in and wipe out their entire country, which is what certainly would happen should it start a war with nuclear weapons. Certainly, military and political people both in Israel and in the United States must realize this fact.
The most likely and rational reason behind such a nuclear program is one of self-defense against Israel, which has had a minimum of 200 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.
What, then, is behind this most recent insanity by Israel's supporters in America and by Israel itself? We can almost certainly agree that Iran is another country standing in the way of Israel's desired hegemony. I've been told by those who should know that the publicity given to Iran's nuclear program is cutting down on Jews either visiting or emigrating to Israel. That is an economic argument that the United States should not enter into, especially by going to war on Israel's behalf. But it's clear that is what Israel and its supporters here want.
One wonders what to make of the American politicians who are very much like an echo chamber for Israel's talking points concerning Iran. Do they realize that by being led around by the nose by Israel and its Lobby is very much against U.S. interests? Do they realize that even if Israel begins bombing Iran, the United States will pay the price?
Do our politicians understand, that while it is good for their campaign contributions to be solicitous of Israel's objectives, it would be devastating for America to be threatened by even more terrorist attacks than we have been.
What has been unspoken by the media and by political leaders is that our continuing support of Israel's objectives by not only financing Israel's military, but by invading Muslim countries for whatever reason only creates more danger for American interests?
This has been largely unspoken by our military and political leaders, but on occasion something will accidentally slip out, exposing the dangers to us for our blind support of Israel. George W. Bush, for example, blurted out, during a statement on the Iraq War, that it was not Israel's fault that we invaded Iraq. And lately, some of our generals are voicing their concerns about the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. But by and large, there is total silence on the issue by the media. Our leaders choose to remain silent on why our complicity with Israel puts us in danger from terrorist groups around the world, but plain and simple, that's what is causing the attacks on our interests. G.W. Bush tried to put a different face on it by saying that "they" hated our freedoms. We deserve better by our presidents.
It does not appear that any of our leaders, from President Obama on down to state legislators, care to rally solve our terrorism problem. (Last year, the South Dakota legislature enacted a resolution approving the 1998 Israeli slaughter in the Gaza Strip).
Iran has offered to join a nuclear weapons free Middle East, but it does not appear that our President cares to take them up on that offer. He would, it appears, need permission from Israel's right wing government to do so. After witnessing his most recent surrender to Netanyahu and his policies, it's not likely that he ever will join. For now, it is sufficient that a nuclear country like the United States can lecture other, smaller countries on who can and who can't have a nuclear weapon.
Are we asking too much that all nations foreswear possession of nuclear weapons, and not just those who are smaller than us?
Does anyone beside a few people in the United States see the danger to our country in being led around by the nose by the Israeli government?
James Abourezk is a former U.S. Senator, who practices law in Sioux Falls. He can be reached at georgepatton45@....