American president can stand up to Israel."
These words came from feisty Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of
Naval Operations (1967-1970) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(1970-1974). Moorer was, perhaps, the last independent-minded American military
Admiral Moorer knew what he was talking about. On June 8,
1967, Israel attacked the American intelligence ship, USS Liberty, killing 34
American sailors and wounding 173. The Israelis even strafed the life rafts,
machine-gunning the American sailors leaving the stricken ship.
Apparently, the USS Liberty had picked up Israeli
communications that revealed Israel's responsibility for the Seven Day War.
Even today, history books and the majority of Americans blame the conflict on
The United States Navy knew the truth, but the president of
the United States took Israel's side against the American military and ordered
the United States Navy to shut its mouth. President Lyndon Johnson said it was
all just a mistake. Later in life, Admiral Moorer formed a commission and
presented the unvarnished truth to Americans.
The power of the Israel lobby over American foreign policy
is considerable. In March 2006, two distinguished American scholars, John
Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, expressed concern in the London Review of Books
that the power of the Israel lobby was bending US foreign policy in directions
that serve neither US nor Israeli interests. The two experts were hoping to
start a debate that might rescue the US and Israel from unsuccessful policies
of coercion that are intensifying Muslim hatred of Israel and America. The
Israel lobby was opposed to any such reassessment, and attempted to close it
off with epithets: "Jew-baiter," "anti-Semitic," and even
"anti-American." Today Israeli citizens who oppose Zionist plans for
greater Israel are denounced as "anti-Semites."
Many Americans are unaware of the influence of the Israel
lobby. Instead they think of the US as "the world's sole superpower,"
a macho new Roman Empire whose orders are obeyed without question or the
insolent nonentity is "bombed back to the stone age." Many Americans
are convinced that military coercion serves our interest. They cite Libya,
Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now they are ready to bring Iran and Pakistan to
heel with bombs.
This arrogance results in the murder of tens of thousands,
perhaps hundreds of thousands, of men, women and children, a fate that many
Americans seem to believe is appropriate for countries that do not accept US
Coercion is what American foreign policy has become. Macho
superpatriots love it. Many of these superpatriots derive vicarious pleasure
from their delusions that America is "kicking those sand niggers'
This is the America of the Bush Regime. If some of these
superpatriots had their way every "unpatriotic, terrorist supporter"
who dares to criticize the war against "the Islamofacists" would be
sent to Gitmo, if not shot on the spot.
These Bush supporters have morphed the Republican Party into
the Brownshirt Party. They cannot wait to attack Iran, preferably with nuclear
weapons. Impatient for Armageddon, some are so full of hubris and
self-righteousness that they actually believe that their support for evil means
they will be "wafted up to heaven."
It has come as a crippling blow to Democrats that
"their" political party is comfortable with Bush's America, and will
do nothing to stop the Bush regime's aggression against the Iraqi people or to
prevent the Bush regime's attack on Iran.
The Democrats could easily impeach both Bush and Cheney in
the House, as impeachment only requires a majority vote. They could not convict
in the Senate without Republican support, as conviction requires ratification
by two-thirds of Senators present. Nevertheless, a House vote for impeachment
would take the wind out of the sails of war, save countless lives and perhaps
even save humanity from nuclear holocaust.
Various rationales or excuses have been constructed for the
Democrats' complicity in aggression that does not serve America. Perhaps the
most popular rationale is that the Democrats are letting the Republicans have
all the rope they want with which to produce such a high disapproval rating
that the Democrats will sweep the 2008 election.
It is doubtful that the Democrats would assume that men as
cunning as Karl Rove and Dick Cheney do not understand the electoral
consequences of a low public approval rating and are walking blindly into an
electoral wipeout. Rove's departure does not mean that no strategy is in place.
So what does explain the complicity of the Democratic Party
in a policy that the American public, and especially Democratic constituencies,
reject? Perhaps a clue is offered from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
news report (August 1, 2007) that Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison will
spend a week in Israel on "a privately funded trip sponsored by the
American Israel Education Federation. The AIEF -- the charitable arm of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- is sending 19 members of
Congress to meet with Israeli leaders. The group, made up mostly of freshman
Democrats, has plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and [puppet]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The senior Democratic member on the trip
is House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who has gone three times. . . . The trip
to Israel is Ellison's second as a congressman."
According to the Star-Tribune, a Republican group, which
includes Rep. Michele Bachmann (R, Minn.), led by Rep. Eric Cantor (R, Va.) is
already in Israel. According to news reports, another 40 are following these
two groups during the August recess, and "by the time the year is out
every single member of Congress will have made their rounds in Israel."
This claim is probably overstated, but it does show careful Israeli management
of US policy in the Middle East.
Elsewhere on earth and especially among Muslims, the
suspicion is rife that the reason the war against Iraq cannot end, and the
reason Iran and Syria must be attacked, is that the US must destroy all Muslim
opposition to Israel's theft of Palestine, turning an entire people into
refugees driven from their homes and from the lands on which they have lived
for many centuries. Americans might think that they are merely grabbing control
over oil, keeping it out of the hands of terrorists, but that is not the way
the rest of the world views the conflict.
Jimmy Carter was the last American president who stood up to
Israel and demanded that US diplomacy be, at least officially if not in
practice, even-handed in its approach to Israel and Palestine. Since Carter's
presidency, even-handedness has slowly drained from US policy in the Middle
East. The neoconservative Bush/Cheney regime has abandoned even the pretense of
This is unfortunate, because military coercion has proven to
be unsuccessful. Exhausted from the conflict, the US military, according to
former Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Colin Powell, is "nearly broken." Demoralized elite West Point
graduates are leaving the army at the fastest clip in 30 years. Desertions are
rapidly rising. A friend, a US Marine officer who served in combat in Vietnam,
recently wrote to me that his son's Marine unit, currently training for its
third deployment to Iraq in September, is short 12-16 men in every platoon and
expects to be hit with more AWOLs prior to deployment.
Instead of re-evaluating a failed policy, Bush's "war
tsar," General Douglas Lute, has called for the reinstitution of the
draft. Gen. Lute doesn't see why Americans should not be returned to military
servitude in order to save the Bush administration the embarrassment of having
to correct a mistaken Middle East policy that commits the US to more aggression
and to debilitating long-term military conflict in the Middle East.
It is difficult to see how this policy serves any interest
other than the very narrow one of the armaments industry. Apparently, nothing
can be done to change this disastrous policy until the Israel lobby comes to
the realization that Israel's interest is not being served by the current policy of military coercion.
Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the
Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side
Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation
and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown:
Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the
co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the
Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter
Brimelow�s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of