National Commentary

Netanyahu Fans Nuclear Threat

nfbenton-mugAdd the extremely dissembling effect of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress Tuesday, famously organized by the Republican Congressional leadership behind the back of President Obama, to the growing chorus of voices demanding the U.S. get into another war in the Middle East.

Lest anyone forget, Netanyahu was one of the most bellicose voices in 2002 demanding that the U.S. invade Iraq, reiterating his oft-repeated insistence over the last two decades that Iran is the real threat to the entire region and Israel’s security.

Lest anyone forget, Netanyahu has always been a radical right winger, someone who made Gen. Ariel Sharon seem like a pussycat. He is not mainstream by anyone’s standard, except to sufficient numbers of fearful Israeli voters to keep him in power.

But the problem, to reiterate a point I’ve made once again, is not Netanyahu, notwithstanding this latest cynical attempt to use the hallowed halls of the U.S. Congress as a backdrop for his stretch-run bid for reelection.

The problem is the “military industrial complex” faction in the U.S. to which he feels he owes allegiance. Talk about cynicism! This faction has cynically used Israel as a pawn along with a lot of other things for its “perpetual war” policies in the Middle East and everywhere else they can fan the flames of military conflict.

What worries me is that these people, those who orchestrated the unprovoked invasion of Iraq in 2003, exploiting sentiments in the U.S. following on the 9/11 attacks, care so little for the ultimate fate of Israel.

For example, in the current scenario, should Netanyahu get his way in bending U.S. foreign policy to his wishes, little short of an all-out regional war would result, and the obliteration of Israel would be among the likely outcomes.

If you think this is an outrageous notion, then consider the comments of Rep. Jason Chaffetz this week being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Chaffetz, the son of a Jewish father who once married the current wife of Michael Dukakis and a former Democrat before converting to Mormonism and the GOP, brazenly argued for the American use of a preemptive nuclear strike against Iran as an alternative to a “bad deal” in negotiations with that nation. One can be assured that someone like Chaffetz is not speaking only for himself when he says this with such glib candor.

What happens when nuclear warheads start flying? Even if Iran is not ready to fire any off, the Israelis are, harboring over 200 nuclear warheads of their own (a little known fact), and it would be Israel that the U.S. military-industrial complex would order to do the launching. After all, the U.S. war mongers would insist, “We provided you (the Israelis) with your Iron Dome,” an early-generation missile defense shield (also something that few in the U.S. knew the U.S. was footing the bill for until it was suddenly called into play in some bouts derived from Netanyahu’s recent “war” on Palestinians in Gaza).

So, who can be expected to sit idly by while Israel is nuking Iran in such an hypothetical case? Even if the response were less than an instantaneous, not the old Cold War “War Games” scenario of an immediate launch-counter launch “mutual and assured destruction” (MAD), the world would be brought right back to the brink of such a potential inevitability.

In a veritable blinking of an eye, the world would be right up against new Cuban Missile Crisis environment, with the primary adversaries once again being the U.S. and the Russians.

(It’s why the perpetual war advocates of the west continue to insist that the worst threat is still represented by Russia, and Russian-Iranian ties are very strong through shared natural resource objectives, in this context.)

Under an initial, new tit-for-tat, rather than MAD, approach to military conflict, the response would come as a limited nuclear counterattack against Israel, wiping it out, which is why the U.S. war faction would want Israel to strike against Iran, and not the U.S.

Is it sheer madness to even consider such scenarios? Ask Rep. Chaffetz.