Last spring I took part in a debate at Georgetown University that considered the statement: “This house believes that it is time for the U.S. administration to get tough with Israel.” I was on the “yes” side and performed poorly, both because I am a pretty bad debater and because I do not support the type of “get tough” policy the house was considering, which was to exert heavy U.S. pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. I believe this kind of U.S. intervention is just as inappropriate as is intervention that yields blind support for Israel. Likewise, I do not believe that Washington should intervene to tell the Palestinians or the Israelis how, when, or by what means they can defend themselves. I believe the correct U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine is one that protects U.S. national security by recognizing America has no dog in the Israeli-Palestinian fight.
In the ongoing debate over the seven attorneys hired by the Department of Justice after working pro bono to defend terrorists is drifting away from what I think is the main point of the issue — the ardent desire of Barack Obama to surround himself with people who either hate America or are intent on fundamentally changing everything America has traditionally respected and honored.
With the arrival of Vice President Biden in Israel today, the Israeli government acted to remind poor Biden that it and not the government he represents is America’s boss. There to push the eternally useless “peace process” and to beg the Israelis not to attack Iran, Biden was met with the announcement of Israel’s authorization for another spate of land-stealing, settlement construction. The message for Biden is, of course, remember that Israel is the boss and that U.S. citizen Israeli Firsters fund the campaigns of many Democratic and Republican congressional candidates. Poor Biden, the Israelis have him and all other U.S. political “leaders” by the neck. All Biden can do is tug his forelock — if he has enough hair left — and like the Baboo in Kipling’s “The Man Who Would be King” declare “Thank you, Sir” as the Israelis kick him off the train.This is more business as usual for the non-sovereign U.S. government, and the American people must by now realize that their soldier-children will be taken to war automatically if Israel decides to attack Iran. In regard to Israel it can be said as it was in the era of the British Empire: “If the King is at war, the Empire is at war.” For America, the pathetic truth is that if Israel is at war, the United States is at war.
For the past few days, the media have been covering the publication in Britain of a fatwa that “absolutely” prohibits suicide operations, a tract claiming that anyone conducting such an attack will go to hell. The author of the fatwa is an eminent UK-based Pakistani Sunni scholar named Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri, and over the course of 600-pages he decides that: “there is no place for any martyrdom [by Muslims] and their act is never, ever to be considered jihad.”
I recall the admirable General Colin Powell, the general who use to say that the U.S. military was meant to completely defeat America’s enemies when war begins so that the same war would not have to be re-fought. The media certainly did not like his attitude, but before the 1990-91 Iraq war he stood by his position that the U.S. military’s job was to “surround and kill” the Iraqi army and then come home. His advice was ignored and look where we are today.
Fox News this morning (24 Feb. 10) showed a film clip of the Israeli ambassador to the United States being shouted down by Muslim students during a speech he was invited to make at a university in California. Fox’s announcers took the ambassador’s side in the name of free speech and the fact that he had been formally invited to give the talk. I agree with that argument, and believe that almost any suppression of free speech is a sure road to civil violence over the long term.
There has been much discussion about what President Obama and his administration should do about Iran. I participated this week in a discussion on the National Journal’s national security blog on this issue, which included two questions:
The men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence services are the most important part of America’s defense capital. When they enter the service of their choice they are well aware of the implicit contract between the nation and themselves. In return for their career, America has the right to call on them to go into harm’s way, very often at the risk of their lives. I have never known a Marine, a soldier or a CIA officer who did not accept this reality, and I have never known one who balked when called on to deploy. That said, each I have known — and I suppose all — hope that if defending America costs his or her life, the cause for which it is spent is clear and worthwhile. It is precisely on this point that the U.S. government’s executive and legislative branches are lethally failing these men and women.