Friday, April 27, 2012

The Phases of War: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Israel

by Phyllis Bennis, April 27, 2012

"....I was at a conference a couple of days ago with the great antiwar military scholar Andrew Bacevich. He described wars like that in Afghanistan coming in phases – Chapter 1 is liberation – or in this case domination, since liberation lost. Chapter 2 is counter-insurgency, and that one didn’t do so well either. Chapter 3, he said, has moved to targeted assassinations, the drone war and beyond (actually WAY beyond Afghanistan…). Bacevich also reminded us that wars don’t end when one side proclaims victory – they end when the defeated admit that they lost. That reality speaks volumes to the current U.S. interest in negotiating an end to the war with the Taliban – and what face-saving in Washington might have to do with it......

This time, it’s all about Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to ratchet up the rhetoric and the threats against Iran – knowing that in an election year, the likelihood of a U.S. president or Congress refusing to back/support/participate in an Israeli military strike, regardless of how dangerous, is virtually non-existent. What does Israel get out of it? (Hint: it’s not safety from some "existential" threat). Israel gets to preserve its nuclear weapons monopoly in the Middle East – losing that monopoly is the real danger Israeli officials worry about. That’s why the call for a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East is so important – to make sure no one in the region has a nuclear weapon. That certainly includes Iran, which doesn’t have one and isn’t trying to build one. And it would include Israel, whose uninspected and unacknowledged arsenal of 200-400 high density nuclear bombs remains the biggest cause of arms racing in this arms-glutted part of the world.

It’s also true that Netanyahu desperately wants a different president in the White House next year. Despite Obama’s actual history of giving Israel more military aid, greater protection in the UN, tighter military ties, and fewer consequences for expanding settlements than almost any other president, Netanyahu knows that any Republican in the White House would represent an even greater gift to Tel Aviv. And only Israel and AIPAC, the most powerful part of the pro-Israel lobbies that now represent the most right-wing extremist elements of Israeli politics, stand to benefit....."

No comments: