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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A majority of the Israelis or the Jews, like all other majorities are open to another point of view and study the possibilities of ending conflicts. However, the extremists among them, like all other extremists will scream denial and rejection. It is time for the majority to speak up, the extremists would not want peace and resolutions to conflicts, they breath conflicts and want to live in chaos - let them, but the majority needs to live in peace and must speak up - Mike Ghouse
Support for Israel Feeds Terrorism
Cheney Breaks the Taboo
By RAY McGOVERN
If we hear in the coming days that former Vice President Dick Cheney has fired one of his speechwriters — or perhaps grounded Lynne or Liz — it will be clear why.
Oozing out of the sleazy speech he gave Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute was an inadvertent truth regarding the Israeli albatross hanging around the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
I watched the speech, but had missed the gaffe until I went carefully through the written text before a radio interview Thursday evening. It amounts to a major faux pas, though I’ll give you odds that the usual-suspect pundits of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) will not touch it, because it raises troubling questions about the close U.S. relationship with Israel.
I wanted my 10-year-old grandson to learn a nice word to describe the arguments in the former Vice President’s speech, so he has now learned “disingenuous.” Today we’ll study “superficial,” for that is the right adjective to assign to both Cheney and President Barack Obama as they addressed the threat of “terrorism,” the threat always guaranteed to resonate among Americans — much like the threat of communism did, not too many decades back.
To burnish his anti-terrorist credentials, Obama pledged to do whatever is necessary to protect the United States and warned that al-Qaeda is "actively plotting to attack us again.”
What continues to be missing in the rhetoric of both Obama and Cheney is any discussion of al-Qaeda’s actual capability to perpetrate, in Cheney’s words, “a 9/11 with nuclear weapons” or some other scary thought designed to make Americans hand over their liberties for some dubious promise of safety. Equally important -- and equally missing -- there is never any sensible examination of the motives that might be driving what Cheney called this “same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers [who] are still there.”
There are a number of reasons why al-Qaeda and other terrorist movements wish to attack us, but this question never gets a complete – or honest – answer, certainly not from the FCM or from the mouths of politicians like Cheney and Obama.
Why They Hate Us
Cheney’s explanation of a motive mostly reprised George W. Bush’s old “the terrorists hate our freedoms” canard. Cheney said the terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world — for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences,” an odd set of qualities for Cheney to cite given his roles in violating constitutional rights, torturing captives and spreading falsehoods to justify invading Iraq.
But that’s also where Cheney slipped up. You didn’t notice? Well, Cheney couldn’t resist expanding on the complaints of the terrorists:
“They have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion…our belief in equal rights for women…our support for Israel… — these are the true sources of resentment…”
“Our support for Israel.” Cheney got that part right.
My radio interview Thursday was with an FCM station, and I thought I would make an extra effort to be “fair and balanced.” So I noted that, to his credit, Cheney — advertently or inadvertently — did articulate one of the (usually unspoken) key reasons “why they hate us.”
I was immediately jumped on, figuratively, not only by the interviewee representing “the other side,” but also by the not-so-fair-and-balanced moderator. My interlocutors did not seem all that hospitable to facts, but I thought I owed them a try at adducing some anyway.
9/11, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed…and 9/11…
In his speech, Cheney mentioned 9/11 some 30 Times — for reasons that by this stage are obvious to all. Referring specifically to waterboarding, Cheney said that waterboardee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “the mastermind of 9/11 … also boasted about beheading Daniel Pearl.” (Here, I thought, is a really good example of “disingenuous” — a nice concrete example for my grandson. For the only thing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did NOT take responsibility for, after being waterboarded 183 Times, was climate change.)
But since the name Khalid Sheikh Mohammed came up, I asked my two interlocutors if they knew how “KSM” explained why he masterminded 9/11. Apparently, neither had made it as far as page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report, so I told them what the 9/11 Commission found on that key point:
“By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”
KSM, you see, had attended North Carolina A & T in Greensboro, and apparently the first thought that came to those drafting the 9/11 report was that perhaps he had suffered some gross indignity accounting for his hatred for America. Not so.
Moreover, the footnote section (page 488 of the 9/11 Commission Report) reveals that KSM was not the only terrorist motivated by “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel”:
“On KSM’s rationale for attacking the United States, see Intelligence report, interrogation of KSM, Sept. 5, 2003 (in this regard, KSM’s statements echo those of Yousef, who delivered an extensive polemic against U.S. foreign policy at his January 1998 sentencing).”
The reference is to Ramzi Yousef, KSM’s nephew. The 9/11 Commission Report had noted earlier (page 147) that, “Yousef’s instant notoriety as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing inspired KSM to become involved in planning attacks against the United States.”
In the “Recommendations” section of its final report, the 9/11 Commission suggested:
“America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world. … Neither Israel nor the new Iraq will be safer if worldwide Islamist terrorism grows stronger.” (pp 376-377)
These observations seemed to strike my radio interlocutors as unfit for the airwaves. When the shouts of protest died down, there was an opportunity to offer additional evidence, so I threw in what a prestigious board appointed by the Pentagon had to say about all this over four years ago.
Defense Science Board Report
Are you ready for a scoop that is not a scoop, but that almost no one knows about?
It has to do with an unclassified study published, not by some “liberal” think-tank, but by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board just two months after the 9/11 Commission Report. That report directly contradicted what Cheney and President Bush had been saying about “why they hate us,” letting the elephant out of the bag and into the room, so to speak:
“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”
You didn’t know about that report? Well, maybe this is because of the timing. The Defense Science Board final report was given to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Sept. 23, 2004, just weeks before the presidential election.
That is a time when presidential candidates and the U.S. Establishment in general are hyper-allergic to discussing how U.S. support for Israeli policies toward the Palestinians encourages the recruitment of anti-American terrorists.
Suppressed, Then Gutted
Bending over backwards to oblige, the FCM suppressed the Defense Science Board findings until after the election. On Nov. 24, 2004, the New York Times, erstwhile “newspaper of record,” did publish a story on the board’s report — but performed some highly interesting surgery.
Thom Shanker of the Times quoted the paragraph beginning with "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom'" (see above), but he or his editors deliberately cut out the following sentence about what Muslims do object to; i.e., U.S. "one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights" and support for tyrannical regimes. The Times did include the sentence that immediately followed the omitted one. In other words, it was not simply a matter of shortening the paragraph. Rather, the offending middle sentence was surgically removed.
Similarly creative editing showed through the Times' reporting in late October 2004 on a videotaped speech by Osama bin Laden. Almost six paragraphs of the story made it onto page one, but the Times saw to it that the key point bin Laden made at the beginning of his presentation was relegated to paragraphs 23 to 25 at the very bottom of page nine.
Buried there was bin Laden's assertion that the idea for 9/11 first germinated after "we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American-Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon."
Wading through the drivel in the FCM’s Times and Washington Post on Friday morning, I am hardly surprised that they missed Cheney’s slip about U.S. policy toward Israel being one of the terrorists’ “true sources of resentment.”
Ray McGovern was an Army officer and CIA analyst for almost 30 year. He now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He is a contributor to Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair (Verso). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A shorter version of this article appeared at Consortiumnews.com.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Obama and Netanyahu Meet: What's Next?
by Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem
May 18, 2009
The meeting on May 18 of two newly elected leaders, Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu, raises a basic question about U.S.-Israel relations: Will this long-standing alliance survive its 62nd year?
Mike's commentary follows the article;
Here are three reasons to expect a break from business-as-usual:
(1) Many areas of difference exist – the Iranian nuclear build-up, relations with Syria, Israeli adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Jews living on the West Bank – but the "two-state solution" will likely set the meetings' tone, mood, and outcome. The two-state idea aims to end the Arab-Israeli conflict by establishing a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. The plan rests on two assumptions: (a) that the Palestinians can construct a centralized, viable state and (b) that attaining this state means the abandonment of their dreams to eliminate Israel.
The two-state model found acceptance among the Israeli public between the Oslo accords of 1993 and the new round of Palestinian violence in 2000. On the surface, to be sure, "two state" seems yet strong among Israelis: Ehud Olmert enthused over the Annapolis round, Avigdor Lieberman accepts the "Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution," and a recent Tel Aviv University poll finds "two states" still remains popular.
But many Israelis, including Netanyahu, disbelieve that Palestinians will either construct a state or abandon irredentism. Netanyahu prefers to shelve "two states" and focus instead on institution-building, economic development, and quality-of-life improvements for Palestinians. To this, the Arab states, Palestinians, European governments, and the Obama administration near-unanimously respond with vociferous hostility.
Question: Will differences over the two-state solution prompt a crisis in U.S.-Israel relations?
(2) Larger strategic concerns consistently drive U.S. attitudes to Israel: Republicans kept their distance when they perceived Israel as a liability in confronting the Soviet Union (1948-70) and only warmed to it when Israel proved its strategic utility (after 1970); Democrats cooled in the post-Cold War period (after 1991), when many came to see it as an "apartheid" state that destabilizes the Middle East and impedes U.S. policies there.
By now, the political parties diverge greatly; polls find Republican support for Israel exceeds Democratic support by an average margin of 26 percentage points. Likewise, Republicans endorse the United States helping Israel attack Iran far more than Democrats. With Democrats now dominating Washington, this disparity implies a cooling from the George W. Bush years. Gary Ackerman (Democrat of New York), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee, exemplifies this change. Known in years past to stand up for Israel, he now accuses it of perpetuating "settler pogroms" and thus taking part in a "destructive dynamic."
Question: Will the Democrats' critical views translate into a policy shift at the forthcoming summit meeting?
(3) Obama himself comes out of the Democratic party's intensely anti-Zionist left wing. Just a few years back, he associated with voluble Israel-haters like Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said, and Jeremiah Wright, not to speak of Saddam Hussein lackeys, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Nation of Islam. As Obama rose in national politics, he distanced himself from this crew. On winning the presidency, he appointed mostly mainstream Democrats to deal with the Middle East. One can only speculate whether his change was tactical, designed to deny the Republicans a campaign issue, or strategic, representing a genuinely new approach.
Question: How deep runs Obama's antipathy toward the Jewish state?
Some predictions: (1) Iran being Netanyahu's top priority, he will avoid a crisis by mouthing the words "two-state solution" and agreeing to diplomacy with the Palestinian Authority. (2) Democrats too will be on their best behavior, checking their alienation through Netanyahu's visit, momentarily averting a meltdown. (3) Obama, who has plenty of problems on his hands, does not need a fight with Israel and its supporters. His move to the center, however tactical, will last through the Netanyahu visit.
Short term prospects, then, hold out more continuity than change in U.S.-Israel relations. Those concerned with Israel's security will prematurely breathe a sigh of relief – premature because the status quo is fragile and U.S. relations with Israel could rapidly unravel.
Even a lack of progress toward a Palestinian state can prompt a crisis, while an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear infrastructure contrary to Obama's wishes might cause him to terminate the bond begun by Harry Truman, enhanced by John Kennedy, and solidified by Bill Clinton. http://www.meforum.org/pipes/6365/obama-netanyahu-meet
Commentary by Mike Ghouse:
Justice should be the foundation for building sustainable peace; Israel cannot have peace when it is denied to the Palestinians.
Mr. Pipes writes: “(b) that attaining this state means the abandonment of their dreams to eliminate Israel.” This rhetoric is as useless as the rhetoric of Dayan, Eban, Sharon and several other Israeli leaders who wanted to wipe out the Palestinians, drive them out of their homes and even calling them cockroaches. Both statements were made without really meaning in it. We need to get out of this rhetoric, it justifies the extremism espoused by the extremists on both sides, we need to look for peace.
The statement “that the Palestinians can construct a centralized, viable state and” is legitimate and we need to look at the evil things Mr. Bush has done and Israeli leadership co-oped.
By denying legally elected democratic Hamas, we have messed up the trust that we did not earn to begin with, and then blocking Gaza eventually led to the destruction of Gaza, a blot on the history of Israel, not for the hawks, but for the future generations.
By supplying arms to Abbas faction to fight against Hamas we divided them. It was the dumbest thing Bush has done; we have more fractions to deal on the surface, while the deeper problem remains unresolved. That is an old Machiavellian method that Bush and the Israeli government adopted, it did not succeed, as the intent was not good.
“Republicans endorse the United States helping Israel attack Iran far more than Democrats.” What credibility do the Republicans have? They are losing every day for the extremism they have adopted in their politics. They just messed it again in Arkansas Senate as one of the idiots called Chuck Schumer as “that Jew” and the Republican Party is doomed with Palin, McCain, Romney and the others who are trigger happy to destroy other nations endangering Americans for a long time to come. Who wants them?
“Ackerman now accuses it of perpetuating "settler pogroms" and thus taking part in a "destructive dynamic." Wake up Mr. Pipes, it is not him, it is entire bloody world and the Israelis saying that. Except the settlers, who mis-quote Torah like the extremists Palestinians who mis-quote Qur’aan, you and the Hawks in Israel are saying that. Ignoring what the majority of Israelis and Jews around the world want; Peace.
The authors conclude "The time has come to adopt new ways of thinking. No more fiery declarations and empty threats, but rather a carefully weighed policy grounded in sound strategy. Ultimately, in an era of a multi-nuclear Middle East, all sides will have a clear interest to lower tension and not to increase it.”