December 19, 2007

Scott Ritter, a zionist on the turn?

Here's an article in Anti-war.com by Scott Ritter. It's one of those "where (and when) did Israel go wrong?" sort of articles but it's written in an interestingly angry way. He starts by telling us that one of his best friends is the State of Israel.
I have for some time now publicly articulated my sympathy and support for the state of Israel, even while criticizing those cases that I believed constituted poor judgment and bad policy. My stance was based upon my past experiences with Israel, which began indirectly in 1990-1991 when I was involved in counter-SCUD activities during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and continued in a much more direct fashion as a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), charged with disarming Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

As a weapons inspector I made numerous visits to Israel for the purpose of coordinating with the Israeli intelligence community on matters pertaining to Iraqi WMD. I was greatly impressed not only with the professionalism of the Israeli intelligence services, but also with the Israeli people and society. During my time in Israel, I was witness to numerous horrific events, including several terrorist bombings and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The resilience of the people of Israel in absorbing these blows yet continuing to live life to its fullest was remarkable, and worthy of admiration.
There is blood on the hands of many an Israeli adult and it's a highly militarised society, not to mention that it's the most ideologically committed society on earth. From its early days, zionism had something of the death cult about it. That they accept the death of Jews so casually, Ritter thinks it's stoically, should be no surprise to anyone who knows the cult.

Anyway he quickly gets round to a Mearsheimer and Walt style critique of the America/Israel relationship.
The insidious manner in which the current Israeli government has manipulated the domestic political machinery of the United States to produce support for its policies constitutes nothing less than direct interference in the governance of a sovereign state. The degree to which the current Israeli government has succeeded in this regard can be tracked not only by the words and actions of the administration of President George W. Bush and the American Congress, but also by the extent to which a pro-Israel lexicon has taken hold within the mainstream media of the United States. Witness the pro-Israel bias displayed when discussing the situation in southern Lebanon, the air strike in Syria, or the Iranian situation, and the retarding of any effort toward a responsible discussion of anything dealing with Israel becomes apparent.
Ok, witness the pro-Israel bias of America. So what? Why does it mean that Israel is responsible for what America does? What's so insidious here? Has Israel manipulated Bush? Or does Bush simply support Israel for interests he wants to pursue for his own reasons? I find this idea that America is some innocent waif being tricked by Israel dangerous nonsense. Was American foreign policy so benign before Israel existed or even before zionism itself existed?

Anyway to continue.
One would expect such efforts to shape the domestic public opinion of a state deemed hostile, but when the target of these Israeli actions is its ostensible best friend, one must begin to question whether or not the friendship is a one-way street. And if this is indeed the case, then perhaps it is time for the United States to reconsider its decades-old policy of strategic partnership with Israel.

It must be understood that the government of Ehud Olmert is acting in a post-9/11 environment, with considerable facilitators in the administration of President Bush, including the vice president. These two factors combine to create a cycle of enablement that allows a purely Israeli point of view to dominate American policy. If the Israeli point of view were built on logic, compassion, and the rule of law, then this tilt would not constitute a problem. But the Israeli point of view is increasingly constructed on a foundation of intolerance and irresponsible unilateralism that divorces the country from global norms.
"One would expect such efforts to shape the domestic public opinion of a state deemed hostile." Well maybe but how far would they get with "such efforts" if they weren't pushing at an open door? But then Ritter does hit some sore spots with regard to Israel's recent apoplexy over the recent report that Iran isn't developing nuclear weapons:
The statements by Israeli officials concerning the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran and its nuclear program are perhaps the best manifestation of this reality. Avi Dichter, Israel's public security minister, has condemned the NIE as a flawed document, and in terms that link the American analysis to a cause-and-effect cycle that could lead the Middle East down the path of regional war. Like many Israelis, including the prime minister, Dichter disagrees with the American NIE on Iran, in particular the finding that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The Israelis hold that this program is still active, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached a conclusion similar to the NIE's based upon its own exhaustive inspection activities inside Iran over the past five years.
And then bizarrely, having expressed his earlier admiration for these racist war criminals, he castigates Israel over the zionists overuse of what they see as their trump card in the game of emotional blackmail:
In threatening the world with war because America opted for once to embrace fact instead of fiction, Israel, sadly, has become like a cornered beast, lashing out at any and all it perceives to threaten its security interests. The current Israeli definition of what constitutes its security interests is so broad as to preclude any difference of opinion. Israel's shameless invocations of the Holocaust to defend its actions not only shames the memory of those murdered over 60 years ago, but ironically dilutes the impact of that memory by linking it with current policies that are cruel and intolerant. The message of Holocaust remembrance should be "never again," not just in terms of the persecution of Jews, but in terms of man's inhumanity to man. The birth of the Israeli state, as imperfect and controversial as it was, served as a foundation for the pursuit of tolerance. However, Israel's current policies, rooted in ethnic and religious hatred, are the antithesis of tolerance.
But the ethnic and religious hatred are not the party policies of Olmert or Kadima or Labour or Likud. The ethnic and religious hatred is woven into Israel's state structure like that of no other state on earth. When does Ritter think the change took place from the Israel he admired to the one he has belatedly wised up to?
Israel at present can have no friends, because Israel does not know how to be a friend. Driven by xenophobic paranoia and historical grievances, Israel is embarked on a path that can only lead to death and destruction. This is a path the United States should not tread. I have always taken the position that Israel is a friend of the United States, and that friends should always stand up for one another, even in difficult times. I have also noted that, to quote a phrase well known in America, friends don't let friends drive drunk, and that for some time now Israel has been drunk on arrogance and power. As a friend, I have believed the best course of action for the United States to take would be that which helped remove the keys from the ignition of the policy vehicle Israel is steering toward the edge of the abyss. Now it seems our old friend is holding a pistol to our head, demanding that we stop interfering with the vehicle's operation and preventing us from getting out of the car. This is not the action of a friend, and it can no longer be tolerated.
"Israel at present can have no friends?" He thinks Israel's racism and relentless aggression is a recent development. He also believes that America's foreign policy is essentially benign but for the insidiousness of Israel lobbying. This just doesn't stand up to analysis. Still all in all, it's nice to see another pro-establishment type bringing the singular nastiness of Israel to the public's attention.

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