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22 February 2011


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"We look forward to discussing Iran further with you in closed session, particular its nuclear posture. But suffice to say here, we see a disturbing confluence of events: An Iran that is increasingly rigid, autocratic, dependent on coercion to maintain control, and defiant towards the West, and an Iran that continues to advance its uranium-enrichment capabilities; along with what appears to be the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons if its leaders choose to do so."


Translation... Our Intelligence sucks and we have no clue.

Not to be overlooked is the Fundamentalist Rev. John Hagee’s lobby organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI). All these have websites.
Indeed. They also have an interesting e-mail newsletter, which I will provide excerpts from, if there is anything interesting.

And there are some gems like this to be found in the comment section of David Brog's blog (here, writing on Egypt and Mubarak and invoking the spectre of the Muslim brotherhood taking power in Egypt) at CUFI: I shear the same view & think other nations will soon fall too, I look for the war of Eze. 38 – 39 be for the 2012 election, hold on it’s going to be a ride.

Yes, come Armageddon, come ... I infinitely prefer the Morrissey version.

Clifford Kiracofe


Some years ago, a US Senate staff friend of mine was in an Executive Session hearing in the Intell Committee relating to sensitive nuclear weapons issues and presentation of highly classified information thereon.

Immediately after the briefing, a Democratic Senator from California emerged to give awaiting reporters his take on the meeting.

The senator falsely characterized the testimony to the breathless press framing it in terms OPPOSITE to which the Senator had just been briefed.

Technical issues aside, it's the politics... that's how we got into the iraq War.

William R. Cumming

Should we treat Israel as a theocracy like Iran?
How does the military factor in the policy formulation in Israel and Iran?
Will the NIE evaluate the street protests of a year or so back in Iran or are these completely irrelevant to the formulation of Iran efforts to develop nuclear capability?
What was the capability of the Iranian warships transiting Suez? Is my understanding of Israeli nuclear strategy correct that only to avoid "never again" will they employ their nuclear inventory?

Sidney O. Smith III

Also recommend reading Jeffrey Goldberg and Caroline Glick to determine intent.

Goldberg served in the IDF and therefore, apparently, finds the USM “beneath him”.

You can assume that Goldberg’s work is vetted by the IDF and then filtered for an Atlantic blog audience: typically progressive American Zionists who feign outrage at social injustice unless of course it means the Goldstone report.

When reading the Atlantic blog, including the anachronistic Ivy WASP entries of Fallows, it is good to remember the old saying that sentimentality is but an echo of brutality.

Just look for the brutality hiding behind ersatz glib and you will come closer to the truth.

However, Goldberg, it must be noted, increasingly writes in the genre of lamentations, suggesting some kind of internal conflict, possibly due to the stirrings of an American inside as well as a deep seated panic at the fragmentation of the Uris dream. He may have heard whispers of Rabbi Teitelbaum, which undoubtedly would create doubt.

Caroline Glick writes for the JP and acts as a mediatrix for Likud Zionism. I actually enjoy her writings. She’s a good writer and does not try to act glib like Goldberg and Fallows. She plays to a different audience and is more likely than not just to lay the weltanschauung on the table and says, “Here it is”.



Agreed, it's all politics at this point. Technically Iran has been capable of enriching uranium for years now. That does not mean though they can in practical terms and in my best guess estimate they are still at least a decade away. Lets not mention testing (embarrassing to have one of these fizzle) and then minimizing the warhead and docking it to a pencils (they do have those, and yes we were asleep with that issue as well, while the MSIC was screaming) collar . Then there is always the issue of guidance. It would not be a good day to target Jerusalem and hit Beirut.

Unless you decide that your launch vehicle is going to be a camel.


By the way, for those interested. I am not sold on all the propaganda that is being pushed on the Iranian Qiam-1 missile. Just way to many advances Iran is making claim to.

But to the point here, while everyone has been moaning about Iran's nuclear bomb making capability. It sure as hell has been going like gang busters on pencil development!


The meme I'm expecting shortly is: "Egypt changes everything!" followed by the usual rationale and false choice arguments.

I'm looking for a few favourite Hasbara I follow on other websites, but they are quiet right now. This suggests to me that the Israeli Government is confused about how to advance its agenda.

Putting myself in their position, I think, in my opinion, that one of the central planks of their reality has just been cut out from under them.

This is the plank that says Arabs are "backward" and have no use for Western concepts of democracy and freedom - a handy explanation for Israel's cordial relations with dictators like Mubarak.- "They are Arabs, they need to be treated firmly or all hell will break loose."

The actions by the protesters, including the use of non violent protest methods and high technology communications, has permanently changed this perception, at least among the geek community, but maybe I'm reading way too much significance into the Egyptian revolt.

A more cynical, and perhaps correct interpretation, would be to characterise the protesters as "tool using monkeys", dismiss twitter, facebook, etc., and aver that: whatever the strength of the apparent thirst of the Arab protesters for democracy today, they will shortly "revert to type" - back to the nasty, medieval, wife beating, brutal ignorant and unreasoning jihadists that Israel likes to portray.

Charles I

William R Cumming, I recall reading several authors citing Israelis on an "everyone again" er, strategy, whereupon existential Israeli defeat would include nuking the
Saudi oilfields and whatever else the Armageddon SIOP deemed worthy of one last riposte.

One was somewhere in Noam Chomsky's Fateful Triangle The United States, Israel & the Palestinians 1999 Southend Press, Cambridge Mass.


Libya and World Oil Exports



The most remarkable column by Goldberg in the last time, to be listed under 'lamentations', is here. An interesting read.

That said, I agree about Glick being the better, and more candid, writer.

By the way, I can only recommend the analysis on LobeLog and Mondoweiss.

Stanley Henning

Seems to me George Washington gave clear guidance in reference to what we are now failing to note in his Farewell Address: >>>nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded... The nation wihich indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...etc.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Charles I!

David Habakkuk

confusedponderer, Sidney Smith,

I think the post by Jeffrey Goldberg to which cp links may be a very significant straw in the wind. It may indicate that it is finally dawning on some leading American Zionists that the direction in which Israel is heading – a direction they have facilitated – leads towards catastrophe.

What Goldberg appears finally to be realising are the rather elementary points that 1. the Israeli government's commitment to the settlement and control of the West Bank makes a two-state solution impossible, and 2. this leaves Israel with a choice between enfranchising the Palestinians, and ceasing to be a Jewish state, or failing to do so, and ceasing to be a democracy.

Having anticipated perfectly plausible directions in which the latter choice could take Israel, Goldberg suggests that 'most of American Jewry would be so disgusted by Israel's abandonment of democratic principles that I think the majority would simply write off Israel as a tragic, failed experiment.' Put in another way, the direction in which Israel is going will confront American Jews with a choice between continuing to support Israel and identification with what is actually the American 'creed'. For both moral and prudential reasons, identification with an apartheid Israel is not going to be an option for a very large number of Jews.

Of course, there is also the 'ethnic cleansing' route, but that would have precisely the same effect.

Clearly, there are and will continue to be American Jews who find an alliance with latently anti-Semitic Christian millenarians acceptable, and are also happy with that strand in the culture of the United States – which is after all a settler society – which regards people deemed to be primitive with contempt. I am not deluding myself that the power of the Zionist lobby will collapse rapidly. But the political alliances involved in continuing to support an Israel which is determined to retain control of the West Bank are ones which I suspect will make many American Jews want to throw up.

Clifford Kiracofe

David Habakkuk,

Quite agree. Perhaps Goldberg has been reading SST.

As the American policy dilemma over the rapidly changing Middle East deepens, arguably more Americans, gentile and jewish, will be giving the pro-Israel Lobby a hard look.

Should gentile Americans begin to conclude that our economic catastrophe has been driven in part by our pro-Israel Neocon inspired foreign crusades in Iraq and elswhere, not to mention pro-Israel Wall Street and its cosmopolitan connections, hearts no doubt will harden. Perhaps considerably.

In such circumstances, the "prudential" reasons you indicate may become a significant factor in the US Jewish community. This would be an optimistic view, however as the community seems rather triumphalist for the time being.

Sidney O. Smith III

David H.

I agree but I would like to add two other aspects for your consideration. It is based upon the assumption that Zionists in 2011 will not accept a 2 state solution, leaving only more ethnic cleansing and de jure apartheid.

The only way that Zionists can continue such a drive towards a Greater Israel, with all its attendant atrocities, is to engender a clash of civilizations pitting the US against Islam. Arguably it is the only option left, particularly if the goal of rebuilding the third temple remains one of the endpoints of Likud Zionism.

The IDF apparently has given Goldberg the go-ahead to promote this clash of civilizations narrative and he did so today.


Frequently, Likud Zionists and those of the IDF project their fear and strategy onto the enemy. In this case -- to borrow Goldberg’s words -- it is total war. But of course, the USM will have to shoulder the suffering and pain. And less we forget -- the IDF, as I understand it, has no tradition of NCO’s, thus making sustained combat all but an impossibility.

The fact that the IDF cannot sustain long term combat leads to the second corollary that I would like to share. In all of history, militant ethnic nationalists have resorted to the most lethal weapon available when the dream fragments and the words “This is the end” begin to resonate in the mind, either consciously or not.

When a certain collective psychology takes hold -- particularly if it includes a deep seated fear of an apocalyptic ending to a dream of racial superiority -- the transition from dropping white phosphorus bombs on innocent children to the launching of the Jericho III is easily taken. And this horror is one of the nightmarish scenarios seen by the Satmar Rabbis before all others, as they recognized very early the Zionist tactic of collective punishment at the expense of their sacred Judaic values.

Compounding this searing tragedy is the fact that Zionism did not have to take this path, although with hindsight, it is much easier to see the inexorable march to a conflagration -- one that is so painfully obvious that one is left with the conclusion, “Rabbi Teitelbaum was right all along.” As but one example of many, the Zionist excommunication of Buber, so to speak, shows a particular bent of mind, strategy, and scheme. Once Buber was out of the picture, the “other” was no longer seen as a “thou”, to refer to the essence of Buber's work.

And of course, the IDF brushed aside the great lessons learned by USM involvement in the Vietnam War. To illustrate the point, all one has to do is look at the photographs of Major Gant with the old and the young of the Muslim faith in his article that was posted at SST. If the IDF had undertaken the same approach, even as late as the 1990’s, the Holy Land would not have become so desecrated, to once again rely upon the teachings of Rabbi Teitelbaum. Instead, increasingly, it appears that the IDF and those following the Zionist weltanschauung aim to hide behind the sacrifices of the US soldier and the American people, while the IDF step by step attempt to destroy a people who worship the same God.

William R. Cumming

OKAY SOS! Why exactly do you believe that US will stand behind Israeli government if push comes to shove? Is it the Evangelical belief in the end-view? Domestic politics? Strategy for the ME? What exactly do find that would make US a reliable ally of Israel if push comes to shove? My study of US history is that we don't help anyone unless we think it is in our national interest and that is a tough call today IMO! I think the US is moving rapidly towards an isolationist position. Or what I refer to as our "Ostrich" policy. I view withdrawal from NATO largely expressed as economic necessity to be the litmus test.

Clifford Kiracofe


Well, I think Rabbi Judah Magnes saw the situation with some clarity and humanity.

"Magnes's responded to the 1929 Arab revolt in Palestine with a call for a Binational solution to Palestine.[9] Magnes dedicated the rest of his life to reconciliation with the Arabs; he particularly objected to the concept of a specifically Jewish state. In his view, Palestine should be neither Jewish nor Arab. Rather, he advocated a binational state in which equal rights would be shared by all, a view shared by the group Brit Shalom, an organization with which Magnes is often associated, but never joined.[10] When the Peel Commission made their 1937 recommendations about partition and population transfer in Palestine, Magnes sounded the alarm:

With the permission of the Arabs we will be able to receive hundreds of thousands of persecuted Jews in Arab lands [...] Without the permission of the Arabs even the four hundred thousand [Jews] that now are in Palestine will remain in danger, in spite of the temporary protection of British bayonets. With partition a new Balkan is made [..] New York Times, 18 July 1937.

With increasing persecution of European Jews, the outbreak of World War II and continuing violence in Palestine, Magnes realized that his vision of a voluntary negotiated treaty between Arabs and Jews had become politically impossible. In an article in January 1942 in Foreign Affairs he suggested a joint British-American initiative to prevent the division of mandated Palestine. The Biltmore Conference in May that year caused Magnes and others to break from the Zionist mainstream's changed demand for a "Jewish Commonwealth".[11][12] As a result, he and Henrietta Szold founded the small, binationalist political party, Ihud (Unity).[13]

Magnes opposed the Partition plan. He submitted eleven objections to partition to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine[14]. Later, in a conversation with George Marshall in 4th May 1948, he asked the US to impose economic sanctions on both sides. Calling the Yishuv an "artificial community", he predicted that sanctions would halt "the Jewish war machine".[15]

Just before his death in October 1948, he withdrew from the leadership of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a committee he had helped establish. The reason was that the organization had not answered his plea for help for the Palestinian refugees: "How can I continue to be officially associated with an aid organization which apparently so easily can ignore such a huge and acute refugee problem?" (p. 519, Magnes 1982."

Sidney O. Smith III

Prof. K:

Thank you very much for sharing your insights, and, yes, Judah Magnes is yet another who tried to create a just society under the banner of Zionism but was pushed aside.

You are probably familiar with the blog “The Magnes Zionist” . The blogger writes under the nom de plume, Jerry Haber.


You have to credit Haber -- good man that he is -- but the handwriting is so palpable on Jabotinsky’s iron wall that one cannot help but think, from time to time, we are seeing the prelude to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

I enjoy looking at competing orthodox views because, with the death of the 2 state solution, (if it ever existed at all), we ultimately are dealing with two starkly different cosmologies in the Jewish world. Basically, Teitelbaum vs. Edah HaChareidis. And all analytical assumptions spring from one or the other and no where else, imo. Plus, when push comes to shove, assimilated and secular Jews fall into one of the two groups because they rely on those assumptions, although they frequently veil it at dinner parties and so on.

It will be fascinating to see which way Haber ultimately goes.

Hope you are doing well.

I would like to agree with you that the USG only acts in our national interests but, imo, much depends on the prevailing narrative. And I don’t see much evidence that the USG is acting on behalf of the American people in regards to US foreign policy. Instead I see overwhelming evidence of what Sherman Kent described as a intel analysis that "takes off from the wish". David Habakkuk explored that idea in great detail in his essay on Leo Stauss and the world of intelligence.


BTW, I remember well watching the interview of Ms. Townsend from the Frontline program re: John O'Neill. Intriguing interview. (Glenn Greenwald nearly destroyed her in a debate recently but she is not alone, just check out what Greenwald did to Goldberg).

Charles I

William R Cumming, My previous cite Chomsky The Iron Triangle contained a review of Israeli leaders discussing their historic wars. There was documented admiration for Nixon's reputed "Mad Dog" approach to Nuclear detente circa Brezhnev, as reported by Kissinger in his autobio.

Specific allusion to the same approach vis a vis the U.S. Help us or we'll be forced to go nuke, never mind berserk.

I referred to the petulant Armageddon SIOP. There were also allegations/admissions of outright blackmail: piss us off, push us too hard contrary to our relgio-whacko colonial imperative, and we'll nuke the Saudi oil fields, never mind a few massacres.

I'm telling you, that one book alone, updated 1999 edition is a mind boggling collection of well cited admissions of Eretz nuttiness and criminality quoted right from the governing horses' mouths, all stripes, left, right, moderates, settlers. Although I don't read Hebrew, which a lot of the footnotes cited, I checked quite a few in the english sources.

Its ours. They're not people, proven by not accepting us in the first place. Wars, salami tactics will deliver us Samaria and Judea, Gaza not so much.

Charles I

Oy Sidney I love your mind, I feel your pain, though, indignant as I am, I don't think I feel it as deeply as you.

I think you're right and am very grateful for the theology and philosophy you've brought to this discussion, with Clifford as our one man reference section.

Where are our Magnes today, not that there's much unity in the wind.

Can you imagine trotting out "the Jewish war machine" in polite company today? Be nice to give sanctions a tr 70 years later, everybody touts 'em for Iran.

William R. Cumming

Thanks SOS and Charles I! There is no question that Kissinger utilized the "mad dog" theory at least once in negotiations. An accurate portrait of his life is long off. Including his pre-1968 negotiations with N.Viet Nam that led to the US getting the same deal with Nixon/Kissinger that LBJ had gotten in 1968. Like all great powers and great men [whether they have acted for good or bad] the history is complicated.
Recently the US Navy gave CO status to a US Naval Academy grad who admitted he would not launch a nuclear missile from a sub to which he was assigned. I wonder how many would have answered that question over the years in various QRA's, subs and missile silos in all the world's nuclear capable units? I guess no one can no who will launch the nukes until it happens. Unfortunately I predict it will happen this century.

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