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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pariah risk 

When I read Glenn Greenwald's article Enforced orthodoxies and Iran yesterday, I was both greatly heartened that debate is finally taking place about knee-jerk support of Israel defense and greatly disturbed that I couldn't really articulate what worried me about this support. Now The Sideshow has explained it for me:
. . . many of us probably made a mistake four years ago in failing to state loudly what we thought was so obvious it didn't need saying: Any increase in tensions in the Middle-East endangers Israel. This was, of course, part of what we were saying when we warned that invading Iraq would further destabilize the region.
There is no advantage to Israel in having its neighbors in violent turmoil to begin with - even less so if they believe they are the victims of a murderous campaign against them on Israel's behalf. There are far too many ways that such warfare can only end up with Israel the loser. The likelihood of any other outcome is slim; stoking the hatred of the Muslim world can only increase the likelihood that violence will overcome Israel's defenses.
If AIPAC is actively supporting candidates who oppose diplomacy, and thus actively working against a peaceful resolution in the Middle-East, then AIPAC is encouraging conditions that will most likely lead to the downfall of both Israel and America.
And all of our leading politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are hustling for AIPAC's money and essentially sucking up to the neocon cause.
I'm beginning to wonder if this insanity isn't what some people mean when they talk about "serious" critics of the war - that you have to support military aggression in the Middle-East because some crazy people have decided that such aggression will protect Israel, and therefore the only legitimate criticism is criticism of the way that aggression is carried out. That is, it's okay to criticize the administration for failing to fight a war to win it and failing to install democracy, but it's not really OK to criticize the administration for using US military aggression on behalf of Israel.
And that points to our real mistake: Not saying loudly enough that our military aggression endangers Israel.
Exactly. Israel has been fighting with its neighbours for 60 years, since 1947 -- coming up on three generations. The unnecessary war with Lebanon and Hezbollah last summer weakened Israel by demonstrating that its military strategy is not flawless, just as the war in Iraq has weakened America by demonstrating that its military strength is not decisive. Unfortunately, one result has been that now the warmongers in both Israel and the United States think they have something to prove.
If AIPAC goads the US into an unprovoked attack on Iran, and particularly if nuclear weapons are used, then both Israel and the US will become international pariahs.

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