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05 January 2009


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Duncan Kinder

U.S. support for Israel may be an "affair of the heart," but that begs the question of why the United States alone has such an affair.

To say that AIPAC is responsible is no answer, for that begs the question of why AIPAC is such a powerful force and why American Muslims have no comparable, countervailing lobby.

dilbert dogbert

Mr Lang,
Thanks for your thoughts.
You recognized the emotional while providing analysis. Your mention of Pollard and Liberty did strongly highlight the one way aspect of our relationship. Nice touch.


The answer to the question is no.

If our arrangements with Israel are presumed to be a military alliance, then they've been useless to the U.S and very useful to Israel. I refer to the fact that, in all of the American wars since the founding of the state of Israel, she has never contibuted armed forces or financial support. America, on the other hand, has participated, in support of Israel, in the occupation and war in Egypt, invasions of Lebanon, and the post 1967 occupation of Palestine with armaments, other equipment, munitions, money, reconnaissance, and lavish re-supply during on-going fighting.

Diplomatically, the American finger has always been in the dike at the United Nations, guaranteeing no interference with Israeli aims from that body. This has been of no advantage to the U.S., in fact, the opposite.

None of this can be shown to have advanced American interests or provided material aid. Therefor, my conclusion.

W.P. Fitzgerald


Well I am certainly gratified to see that question asked in public. The zionist narrative must be breaking down faster than I thought. This bit is priceless:

Yet there is another reason that Israel continues to receive American support. It is simply that, over the decades, American support for Israel has been accepted as a given by the rest of the international community. The leaders of our Arab allies would be the most shocked if America would abandon Israel--after all, if Washington abandoned Israel, how much could they expect from the United States? The moderate regimes would find themselves even more vulnerable to extremists who would see the abandonment of Israel as a victory for their Islamist ideology. In addition, the Arabs would fall over themselves trying to accommodate Iran, which no doubt would claim credit for the new American stance.


Jackie Shaw

Wow! Two out of six articles critical of U.S. support of Israel. Thank you sir for your input. The USS Liberty has been a burr under my saddle for a while.

I have given up any romanticized notion of Israel. Never read "Exodus", so it wasn't hard to do.


The way you're describing Israel makes it sound like Serbia, circa 1914, to the Russians--an "ally" who was far more trouble than they were worth, but who nevertheless were "little brothers." One should hope Israelis cause us less trouble than the Serbs did for the Russians.

Mad Dogs

Isn't it interesting that many of the commenters there (not you of course mon Colonel) argue that "Israel is our ally because...because...because Israel is our ally!"

Or, and perhaps simultaneously, "Israel benefits the US because...because...because Israel benefits the US!

The sputtering cirularity of their arguments makes heads spin.

And this forms the basis of our US foreign affairs intelligentsia?

It's a wonder we manage to tie our shoelaces in the morning!


Yes, indeed! "The US/Israel alliance is an affair of the heart."

I've been reflecting on why the fate of a few million Israelis is more important to the US than the fate of a few million in Darfur, Guatemala, East Timor, Rwanda, etc. You have to agree that Israelis have cleverly captured the imagination of many Americans.

But let's not forget that Israeli wallets have also captured the loyalty of most national politicians, perhaps by cleverly laundering a small percentage of American aid back into our political system. That assures that American politicians will remain captive long after most Americans have become totally disillusioned with Israeli behavior.

David Habakkuk

The posts by Carafano, Zakheim, and Hoffman attempt to suggest a realpolitik justification for what, as the Colonel says, a matter of emotion and/or duty. One of the consequences of this is dangerously muddy strategic thinking, which serves the interests neither of the United States nor of Israel.

It may already be that American tolerance of the settlements in the West Bank has put paid to such long-term prospects for the long-time survival of a Jewish state in Palestine as there were: AIPAC may have doomed the Zionist project. Indiscriminate demonisation of Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran and Syria does not make these prospects better -- it makes them worse.


I was very upset by all the comments except Lang's. The others basically took the position that the muslims are going to hate the US anyway so why not keep Israel as a friend. After all, they are just like Americans.

Allowing the world's problems to continue to fester and get worse is no prescription for civilization's progress. The US can't solve all these problems but we sure can lend support to the actual participants solving the problems.

If the Israeli/Palestinian conflict were resolved all the world's problems would not suddenly go away, but it will help. If the Kashmir problem were solved, it would help etc

Reading those 3 commentaries it seemed like they were advocating that we have to support our ally Israel no matter what they do or don't do. Pure rubbish. Where is the middle ground? Being allies is not an either or proposition.


An "affair of the heart"---well, that's as good a description as I've ever heard, and nails whatever "there" that's there in the alliance.

But that is most definitely NOT how the relationship is presented to Americans by our media and elite opinion---by them we are assured that Israel provides actual tangible military benefits which are oh so helpful to keepin' us safe from the deranged barbaric muslims that are out to destroy America---after they get done with Israel, which they hate for very mysterious, inexplicable reasons.

What would happen if the people started to be told that, "Well, there's no actual military or material or "strategic" interest involved in our alliance with Israel, and in fact many of our strategists can tick off about a half dozen major strategic drawbacks to the alliance---and that was BEFORE the "war" (ahem) on Terra.

But we just love 'em, and that precious Holy Land, too, so that's all you need to know!"

I don't have much faith in Americans' ability to figure anything out, but they never will when the reality isn't ever presented to them.

William R. Cumming

Other than the official act of recognition by the US in 1948, exactly what are the treaty and protocol obligations of the US vis a vis Israel? Are they documented completely, if at all, in open source material? Only then can the "ally" status be discussed thoughtfully. It does appear that special nuclear materials left the US and arrived in Israel to allow its production of nuclear weapons. This was never discussed or authorized by Congress.


excellent response, Col... factual, succinct & provoking of deep issues. your pov is ahead of the curve & will gain in coming years.
plus, Hunter S Thompson would've approved of your photo.


What is it about the Col. that he has avoided drinking the Kool Aid?

Not Easy!


Interesting observations from briefly (so I can be wrong) googling all the names:

1. If you lived in the Middle East and/or South Asia plus you worked in intelligence = strongly against Israel.

2. If you you have a PHD on Political Science or JD plus no information if you have ever been in the region = strongly pro Israel

So who would you believe


One phrase comes to mind: "Onward Christian soldiers" ...

Cold War Zoomie

We are just as susceptible to groupthink here at Col Lang's blog as anyone else. So I read through all the responses at the National Journal around lunch to see if I could be swayed by anyone's argument since I have yet to understand our alliance in realpolitik terms (just as I had exclaimed last week in frustration.)

I still do not see the advantages. The only point that I have taken is that the anger on the street may not be as bad as I believe. I'm willing to accept that may be true. Regardless, that's a pretty sad reason to stay in an alliance - the consequences aren't as bad as we think they are! Uh, I don't see that as a "positive." And the argument that we have always been an ally is just plain stupid. Is staying in any toxic relationship the smart thing to do just because it has always been so? Alliances come and go. The Brits tried to burn down the White House hardly more than 100 years before we joined them in WWI. We've been close allies since. Which brings me to my next argument.

Trying to equate our military and intel relationship with some NATO countries and Australia is a joke. In the SIGINT arena, we work side-by-side in the same buildings, on the same systems with Brits and Aussies. We allow Brits to remotely access systems that we have developed and deployed. Last I knew, we had a permanent civilian government position at GCHQ. I don't know for sure, but I suspect our relationships with MI6 are just as close. That's Col Lang's side of the house.

As for logistics support, check out this directory of phone numbers in the ME:

CENTCOM DSN (Don't try calling! - that's DoD's private telephone network with no access from outside.)

Don't see anything in Israel (although that doesn't prove we don't have something there.) If my memory is correct, we had warehouses full of mothballed gear sitting in either Kuwait or Bahrain (or both) after GW1. Arab countries were supporting us just fine.

After hanging around DoD for almost 20 years altogether, I can safely say that I have heard about all sorts of bases we have spread throughout the globe, from tiny places to sprawling installations. Never heard of any installation at all in Israel.

Nope, I still don't see the advantage since I don't see any "close" relationship, and never have. Hell, we probably have a closer working relationship with Honduras than Israel. And that doesn't cost us as much.

Feel free to prove me wrong.


Israel isn't America's ally. America is Israel's ally. It's an entirely one-sided relationship.


An affair of the heart. Too true. Here's my Israeli valentine:

I love Israelis! Such warm people. So full of love and life and history. As a culture, Israel provides a tremendous amount to the world. Their universities! Their symphonies! Their cuisine! Their women!

Let us remember to not stay too long on our high horses. We depended on the mature distinction others made over the last eight years -- that America might suck but we still love Americans! Let it be true of Israelis too. Wonderful people but their government is monstrous.

And I love Palestinians! I love the Lebanese! I was in love with an Egyptian girl for almost four years out of high school. These are all wonderful people. They all just happen to find meaning as a people by murdering each other.

Years ago at Burning Man (a young person's freak festival held each year in the Nevada desert) I met a group of young Israelis. They had just left Israel, tired of the conflict. One Israeli said to me "The difference between you and me is that you see this and think what a beautiful desert it is. I look at this and say how great God is to create a desert like this!"

I responded "I've never been to Israel, though I understand it's lovely. I'm afraid that you just have a terribly jealous god. You can't love Zion unless you have it for yourselves." Well, after that, not even all the drugs of Burning Man could save our friendship.


Well, it may be that having Israel as a "staunch" ally doesn't do us any good materially, but it does make us feel good since we didn't bomb train tracks to concentration camps. (Note to the colonel: this is meant as a snark, but pls feel free to not post if you consider this too tasteless.)


despite all their propaganda attempts to control 'perception', the public perception of israel in the west has never been lower. despite their lackeys in the u.s. mainstream media shilling their propaganda scripts, increasing numbers all around the world are beginning to see israel for what it really is -- a perpetrator of 'terror' rather than its victim.

Allen Thomson

> Never heard of any [US] installation at all in Israel.

As of late last year, there's the American-staffed AN/TPY-2 missile defense radar. A curious development that could probably stand some study and analysis.

anna missed

This relationship between the U.S. and Israel has about augured itself into oblivion. Israel has become the exemplar model of vicious circular reasoning and has ended up screwing itself to the wall. The invasion of Gaza will prove itself as ground zero in the race to the bottom, and reveal the true utter hypocrisy of the war on terror. From this, if not our own feckless wars in the ME, should be a final lesson.

Duncan Kinder

Well, it may be that having Israel as a "staunch" ally doesn't do us any good materially, but it does make us feel good since we didn't bomb train tracks to concentration camps.

And that also explains our vigorous support for the Gypsy state in - now where is that place...?


Did I miss mention of Mossad's knowledge of the preparation for the '83 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut? Col, do you think the claim that Mossad knew and didn't pass on the intel is spurious?

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