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Bast writes: "Unless something blows up beforehand, President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on March 5. And when the two men sit down together, the first issue on the table will be war."

President Barack Obama speaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington DC, 05/22/11. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
President Barack Obama speaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington DC, 05/22/11. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Why Obama Won't Back a Strike on Iran

By Andrew Bast, The Daily Beast

26 February 12


Netanyahu has made it clear he won't let Tehran get the bomb, but a war would be disastrous for Obama in the run-up to elections.

nless something blows up beforehand, President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on March 5. And when the two men sit down together, the first issue on the table will be war.

In recent months, tensions over the pace and direction of Iran's nuclear program have spiked. So far, Washington has confronted Iran most directly, leading a global campaign to impose harsh economic sanctions on some of the most vital parts of the country's economy, including its oil sector. Yet if the United States has played the deliberate statesman, Israel has been the state ready to strafe, amplifying threats to attack Iran's nuclear sites before Tehran's program progresses too far toward weaponization.

"They are after the same ultimate goal, to deny Iran a nuclear weapons capacity," says Stuart Eizenstat, the former ambassador to the European Union who led the sanctions effort against Iran during the Clinton administration. "But at the end of the day the U.S. is probably more willing to make a compromise. Not so for Israel, which sees a need to avoid a second Holocaust, a real fear that most people in Washington do not fully understand."

In other words, Obama and Netanyahu may be marching in the same parade, but they are not in lockstep. Netanyahu has repeatedly made his country's interests clear. When he addressed the U.S. Congress last May he said, "Time is running out, the hinge of history may soon turn, for the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons." He went on, "I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message that America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons." In recent weeks, his defense minister Ehud Barak and the Israeli President Shimon Peres have furthered that request.

But Obama cannot send any such unequivocal message to Iran. He will not be able to support - either overtly or covertly - Israeli military strikes. Assuming Netanyahu doesn't come around to Obama's position that military action is avoidable, the two will part ways with the strategic gap widening between them. "Over the past year, perhaps even over the last four years, the evidence has been growing that U.S. and Israeli interests are not identical," says Stephen Walt, a political scientist at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. "And if you're in the Obama administration, you do not want a war right now."

Indeed, even the most well-conceived and precisely executed military campaign would have unintended consequences. For example, should Israeli fighter jets attack Iranian nuclear sites, even in the best-case scenario the ensuing struggle in the Gulf would result in several weeks of higher prices at the pump. Obama is already fighting a political battle for reelection with gasoline prices at all-time highs - he is not likely to gamble on upping those by a dollar or two more this summer.

There are strategic risks, too, associated with a strike that have not been accounted for. As former Israeli official Ehud Eiran wrote on Friday, "Israeli policymakers are ignoring several of the potential longer-term aspects of a strike: the preparedness of Israel's home front; the contours of an Israeli exit strategy; the impact on U.S.-Israel relations; the global diplomatic fallout; the stability of world energy markets; and the outcome within Iran itself." With too much left to chance, and the fact that military action would likely only set back Iran's nuclear program by a few years, the possible costs outweigh the potential benefit.

Anyone who tells you where the American public stands on striking Iran is blowing hot air. Polls this month from CNN and The Hill reached exactly opposite conclusions. Obama has built much of his foreign policy record on ending wars in the Middle East. To unleash a new one just months before a national election would, despite the hawkish harangues from his Republican opponents, stink all the way to the ballot boxes on the 6th of November.

The uncertainty that accompanies military action is all the more unpalatable to the Obama administration right now because, for the moment at least, things are beginning to look up for the White House. The economy, although still sputtering, is at least starting to make strides toward a sustainable recovery. Republicans are spending the vast majority of their time tarring and feathering each other. Accordingly, White House spokesman Jay Carney said explicitly last week, "There is time and space to attempt to resolve [the Iran conflict] peacefully."

But this is where Obama's real conundrum begins, not ends. To be sure, sanctions have taken their toll on Iran. They are chipping away at the country's economy and wearing down the everyday lives of the Iranian people but "so far they are not blaming the regime," says Hooman Majd, the respected author who spent most of last year living in Tehran. "Actually, they seem to be blaming the West. The sanctions are, in a way, providing the leadership cover for their own economic mismanagement." So there is an argument that even as the White House's top tactic is hitting its target, it is delivering counterproductive results.

And even if Obama signals clearly to Netanyahu that Washington will not support a strike, it may do little to deter Jerusalem from acting on its own. "The Israeli window of opportunity closes in late spring or early summer," mainly because of military capacities, according to Eizenstat. Consider the steady stream of top American officials making pilgrimages to Israel: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey - the U.S. military's top official - visited last month; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon just returned; and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has plans to go soon. In case there's any question what message these powerful men are conveying, upon his return Dempsey appeared on CNN saying, "It would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us."

"The evidence has been growing that U.S. and Israeli interests are not identical. And if you're in the Obama administration, you do not want a war right now."

Tehran, meanwhile, is standing defiant. "Iranians feel Israel is seriously considering an attack, and they feel they can absorb it," says Majd. "The Iranian leadership also feels an Israeli attack would give them an excuse to kick out IAEA inspectors and move forward with the nuclear program." Whether the West wants to hear it, he says, "There is a sense among the leadership that they are actually in a very strong position."

The irony here is that, of all the issues the White House wants to address, Iran is on top. "It is quite remarkable the extent to which the Palestinian issue has receded on the agenda," says Eizenstat. Obama came into office pledging to pursue a peace agreement - remember his boldness in the 2009 speech he gave in Cairo: "The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable," he said. Since then, little - if any - progress has been made on a peace agreement. Instead, the vast majority of the White House's Middle East bandwidth has been occupied not by peace, but by Iranian nukes.

Despite the divide between America and Israel today, there are three things Obama can say that would let both him and Netanyahu rest easy on Monday after they've parted ways. First, should Iran someday build a nuclear weapon, Israel already has a deterrent: an estimated 80 nuclear warheads of its own. Second, Jerusalem enjoys Washington's unconditional support - if it doesn't consider its own deterrent up to snuff, American firepower knows no rival, and certainly no Iranian one. And third, General Dempsey was right when he asserted that Iran is a rational actor. Even if it wants a nuclear weapon, it does not want to invite its own annihilation by using one. While interests may diverge these days, the U.S.-Israel alliance is incredibly strong - and there is comfort in that. your social media marketing partner


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+59 # Skeeziks 2012-02-26 13:23
I just hope and pray that Obama remembers that our Israeli allies bent to G.W. Bush's jabberwocky:

Israel knew Iraq had no WMD, says MP
+6 # Archie1954 2012-02-27 19:59
Israel is not an American ally no matter how much Washington wants to think so. Remember the Liberty?
+43 # Activista 2012-02-26 13:34
War on Syria is war on Iran -
Now when "Libyan People" are liberated - "liberal" media are not ONLY silent but we hear same war rhetoric from "Friends of Syria"
War on Iran is in full swing - sanctions, assassinations.
paradox is that Iran is enemy of Al-Kaida - what US fights? in Afghanistan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blackmailing USA/Obama.
+29 # RMDC 2012-02-26 16:56
I really hope that Andrew Bast is right. But the facts on the ground say Activista is right. Obama's war against Syria is heating up and it is likely there will be an all out US attack in a few weeks. Just listen to what Hillary is saying to the Arab fascists in Tunisia and Morroco. A defeat of Syria is the first step to a war against Iran. Syria has to be destroyed before a war on Iran can begin because Syria might be a route through with Iranians could actually invade Israel.

Netanyahoo likes to brag that he controls US policy in the middle east. I just wonder if Obama has the balls to slap this little cur bitch down.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:10
Syria has had its problems with Israel, so if they wanted to do something, sell a roadway to, they had the time to do so.

We must remind OB that until we feed our own, we have no business giving false promises to others
+61 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-26 13:59
"Second, Jerusalem enjoys Washington's unconditional support..."

Jerusalem?? The capital of Israel is Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is both Israeli and Arab. To say otherwise is to further the zionist propaganda.
-3 # Kiwikid 2012-02-27 19:05
Having the US embassy in Tel Aviv doesn't make it the capital. Although Tel Aviv is a much bigger city, the Knesset is in Jerusalem, and since 1950 Jerusalem has been Israel's capital.
+2 # Archie1954 2012-02-27 20:03
How can Jerusalem be the capital when it doesn't belong to Israel but to the
Palestinians as well?
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:14
Israel and Repos do not recognize the State of Palistine or its existence at all. supposedly Palestinians have just evolved, as Newt says there is not recognition in Bible. but Christians or Satanists have their own Bible and seem to recognize or deny recognition to whomever whenever convenient.
Neither bothers me, Bible was written by Fallible Man. God Created...not destroyed. Man Destroys
0 # Kiwikid 2012-02-27 22:22
I'm not defending Israel, I'm simply stating what seems to be fairly evident. If it also takes its place as the capital of Palestine, I'm not sure why that should be a problem.
+37 # danigo 2012-02-26 14:02
Normally the US would not give Israel bunker-busting bombs without a written understanding that they cannot be used without US permission. But if such an agreement does not exist, obtain it in writing. Failure to provide this would mean the end of military aid to Israel. Somehow the tail has to stop wagging the dog.
+40 # maddave 2012-02-26 17:24
Oh. you dreamer! As long as AIPAC exists adjacent to our Administration & Congress, Israel will receive any sort of American Aid that they want.
Given bunker busters PLUS written & signed guarantees against unauthorized use, Netanyahu could drop one of those hummers on the Pentagon and still get a free pass!
You think not? Do you NOT recall how coordinated Israel aircraft attacked the clearly marked USS Liberty and then strafed the unarmed lifeboats? How they still have not explained the incident adequately or apologized to the American People?
How many Israeli spies have we caught stealing US secrets? (One is faaar too many!)
The report is now out that Israel knew that Iraq DID NOT have WMD's well before Colin Powell ever opened his mouth before the UN.
What's changed?
Signed guarantees,inde ed! Balderdash!
+51 # gracchus 2012-02-26 14:10
Yes, Andrew: the U.S.-Israel alliance is incredibly strong. It is also absurdly false and nauseatingly cynical.

Israel is currently run by a set of devious lunatics whose only purpose is to continue Israel's military hegemony over all regional powers in order to preserve their apartheid state in its operation for the Israeli 1%.

The U.S., nakedly exposed for its policy of brutally destabilizing the entire Middle East in order to impose imperial dominion over its oil and gas, is tied to the Bibi/Lieberman clique toward that end in regard to Iran--no actual danger at all to anyone but its own people--and suffers accordingly the foolish indignity of being vigorously wagged by the Israeli dog.

All this sick symbiosis for shameful ends on the part of both nations exposes the rest of the world to further murder and insanity as in the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Imperial thinking, such as it is, is notoriously, historically defective and has always led to reversal and ruin. The present case will colorfully reinforce that precedent.'
+40 # SFgiuseppe 2012-02-26 14:12
The gifts given to baby Jesus came from three Persian Priests - today's Iran
+1 # The Voice of Reason 2012-02-26 19:05
They were Zoroastrian priests. Also called Zarathustra, He was a Persian Prophet 1,000 years before Jesus and foretold the coming of "the King of the Jews" Whom the Magi sought.

He also foretold "the religion of the Arabian" which is Muhammad, and prophesied that in 1260 AH "Hushidar will appear ... and then the Iranians will kill the Promised One."
+26 # Bev 2012-02-26 14:19
What's really behind all this is the desire of some of the 1% to control the central bank of Iran. Iran's financial system forbids charging interest (usury) and if they lost control there would be profits from oil? war industries? financing of World War III? The 1% already owns ab0ut 50% of the world's wealth
+8 # anarchteacher 2012-02-26 14:34
Intellectual Ammunition:

World Military Power in Perspective

The Iranian "Threat"

United Bases of America (over 900 military bases in 130 countries)

“Fact Checking the Washington Post,” by Laurence M. Vance

(Yes Virginia, the U. S. is an empire of over 900 military bases in 130 countries)

“The American Empire,” by Garet Garrett

(Excellent article on the birth of the National Security State and the American Empire)
+28 # dick 2012-02-26 14:57
If Israeli EXTREME right wingers would renounce seizing more & more & more Palestinian territory, there would possibly evolve a change in the Mideast dynamics & US culpability, vulnerability.
Obviously, there is no guarantee, but there is absolutely no rationale for continued Israeli expanding occupation and absolutely no reason for putting America, Americans, American interests at risk by CONTINUING to support Israeli expansion, in actual practice, if not in words. The whole world knows.
+11 # MidwestTom 2012-02-26 18:39
For the first time ever Obama sent U.S. troops to Israel late last year. Why? Is ot to guarantee that we are sucked into whatever Israel gets involved in?
+18 # pol 2012-02-26 15:23
And then there are the End Timers...

I keep thinking Netanyahu is counting on all of those Evangelical Christians who think that 2012 is the beginning of the end of the world. The Bible says the world will end with fire this time. Netanyahu knows this, and there are lots of fundies who are looking at all the "signs" and saying things are pretty ripe in the Middle East.

I've even had non-fundamental ists ask me what I thought -- will the world end this year?

Furthermore, I wonder about Gingrich's benefactor, Sheldon Adelson, a man will billions who owns the largest daily newspaper in Israel...
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:24
Mr Adelson supposedly has such a belief in Judaism that he dumped his first wife for an Israeli Wife. Says poorly of both. Wonder what the Creator thinks about that.

Funny if all the supposed Christian Enders didnot jump to Japan's aid. They were the closest to end there is, and the radioactivity for all of us is not over...
Radioactivity is a Fire all its own but then I would not expect the Idiots called Religious to understand, God didnot foretell of our doom. God Created the World and all in it. God is not like these Creeps, sell out .... God saw beauty in all Created. We, humans, do not, we need to destroy. t needed by inbreds, they only need to follow Satan.
0 # infohiway 2012-02-26 16:51
"Why Obama Won't Back a Strike on Iran"
Sounds reassuring. So many soothing and logical reasons why we're all: warm and fuzzy, safe and secure - eh?
"Why Obama Won't Back a Strike on Iran". Great picture from AIPAC's little 'do'?

IN NLP SPEAK: "This is a TACTICAL RUSE! We have no choice. Bomb or be bombed. We're going in. Get used to it."???

If Iran had their own nukes, Israel would lose it's exclusive ME 'nuclear hostage/blackma il card' - would it not? Meanwhile everyone else is worried, as they/we should be and as planned?

If the UN can't force non-proliferati on compliance, get rid of it - now!
+11 # Douglas Jack 2012-02-26 16:57
The US, Canada & NATO are in the midst still of arming the most violent factions of Libya, bombing its hospital and other infrastructures , a country with direct democracy, local village level elections under the Green movement, universal health-care, education, housing, Africa's largest development aid investor / donor for: satellite, irrigation, orchards famine and disease relief through trained medical expert medical and public health specialists. We've destroyed that now and are looking for fresh lands to bomb. NATO left and right wings get into a competitive tizzy of what George Orwell described from World War II England as the 'hates' feeding anger & irritation off of one sided news sources. How about we get news from both sides? and Require that Netanyahu and other 'chicken-hawks' like Obama everywhere be required to equal time recorded and published debate the issues with their perceived opponents?
+18 # reiverpacific 2012-02-26 17:01
Israel isn't an ally -at least not the LIKUD-dominated version; it's a liability just itching to go to war, with Mossad already carrying out saboteur missions in Iran, including murdering the nuclear scientist Mostafa Roshan Behdast and several others since 2010.
And if they do go to war, we'll all suffer more than most people can even imagine.
I just hope that Ob' doesn't cave on this one and remembers the Bay of Pigs and how close the world came to a holocaust.
LIKUD is acting like Iran is their Cuba.
+15 # Misterioso 2012-02-26 17:08
With each passing day the fundamental truth is becoming more evident: Israel is America's number one geopolitical liability, a millstone around its neck.
Over the next 5-10 years the "special relationship" is going to end. In 20-25 years: 3.5 billion Muslims worldwide (currently 1.75 billion); 600 million Arabs, including 10-12 million Palestinians between the River Jordan and the Sea. Can there be any doubt as to where America's real interests lie? Israel's sun is setting. It could only be thus. The whole Zionist enterprise based on mythology and racism is en route to the dustbin of history. When it finally collapses and is replaced by one state, the region, people around the world, including Jews, will finally be free of its curse.
+20 # DoctorDemocracy 2012-02-26 17:13
Anyone interested in talk about war with Iran should read the IAEA reports. These reports are NOT too long to read. They are NOT too technical to understand. The reports repeatedly CONFIRM that Iran's known nuclear activity is NOT related to weapons development.

As someone with familiarity with our military intelligence gathering capabilities in the past, you can be sure that if Iran were developing weapons our people already know it.

The IAEA reports are critical of Iran on bureaucratic process points, such as insisting to again visit a site previously visited several times. The report references a demand that Iran not produce heavy water. Heavy water production is NOT evidence of weapons development and IS essential for nuclear power plants.

The most recent report from Feb 2012 closes by saying that IAEA cannot confirm the absence of unknown activities. Get that? Cannot confirm the absence of unknown activities. Think about this. And read the report if you do not believe it says this. It's in the Summary.

So the main purpose of all the claptrap seems to be to (a) convince domestic audiences to support anything our "leaders" decide to do and (b) put pressure on Iran.

0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:29
In order to have weapons, one must be able to test them. If Iran like others are developing Nukes, we can pat ourselves on our backs.
We bow to Nuclear Power, Nuclear Bombs, Nuclear Medicine. One must develop stabilization. If everyone else has hi tech bombs, why can some not have them?
Is Iran any more dangerous than China, Russia, N Korea, Israel, Ourselves?
Since a child we have spread rumors against Russia, China, recent N Korea.
yet not one pushed that button, Krushev could have.
One day someone will, I doubt it will be a smaller power, after all what would be left? Stupid People do Stupid things.
+22 # maddave 2012-02-26 17:44
I find the following quote utterly insane & sickening:
"Obama is already fighting a political battle for reelection with gasoline prices at all-time highs - he is not likely to gamble on upping those by a dollar or two more this summer."

We are being led into a war with Iran that will require the re-establishmen t of the draft; a permanent US force of 1,000,000 men in the Middle East; a quagmire that will ensnare us for 30 years; and untold trillions of dollars ($30?). (My old figures, revised upward based upon Robert Baer's "The Evil We Know".)
And this asshole is talking about "upping gas prices by a dolar"? And if that's not bad enough, millions of other assholes see these higher gas prices as the tall pole in their intellectual tent!
God help us all!

To make this situation perfectly clear: Israel is KNOWINGLY vectoring us into a war that - if we go along with this insanity - will spell the end of any remaining shreds of what used to be known as "The American Dream",
+2 # 2012-02-27 00:49
"The American Dream" is non-existent or you would never hear that a President of the US is reflecting upon and making a decision about WAR based on his highest priority of "fighting a political battle for reelection with gasoline prices at all time highs"--he is not likely to gamble on upping those by a dollar or two more this this summer".

How can we have an "American Dream" when we no longer have any heros, particularly in the WH.
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:39
I have American Dream. I am with my spouse, working on our home, keeping my sick cats on their meds, praying for my Dog's bloodwork.
I have no job, but I look daily. I am planning my garden. I have the freedom to write, speak. I have the ability to March. I have the ability to go to meetings to make change a reality. I have the ability to sign petitions and get them passed to others. I support friends who are living with disease.

I buy American. I use lil Gasoline.

Don't like America...leave . Want a Hero, try being one. do you know how many Seniors need help? Kids need Mentors. We need can run your mouth here, how come you do not change what can be changed? You are no better than GOP, they love it.
+3 # Observer 47 2012-02-27 12:31
Excellent post, dave. I, too, found that quotation nauseating, all the more so because it's likely an accurate assessment of the political scene. Since WWII, U.S. ME policy has been all about the oil.

Also, the comment about finding comfort in the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship makes me crazy. As other posters here have said, that relationship is an enormous liability. If we continue to let Israel dictate U.S. policy, we'll learn a very hard lesson.
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:35
I hope if the draft comes into affect, no one can get out of it. No Rich kids, No Political Brats...all sexes. I have wanted this since Bush dragged us in, we would have seen a change in Votes then.

Time the lil princes and princesses see what the other half knows.

Do not want to pay higher prices in gas, than go back to what we did in 70's..Stay Home. Truckers went with us to Washington. Keep driving those cars, it matters not what mpg, you are still buying. How many of you stopped charging and stayed that way? How about the Credit Unions New Year Promises?
How about buy American?

Some of us didnot go back....guess we made the Promises last year and meant them. After all we do not want to be like them. Where does anyone here stand February 2012?
+31 # walt 2012-02-26 17:45
French President Sarkozy called Netanyahu a liar some months back. Netanyahu is a smooth operator, who knows that he can use the US elections to his advantage. Watch as he goes about it.

For all of us who have seen Obama cave on almost every major issue requiring backbone, can we really believe that he won't cave to the Israel lobby on this one?

I will watch with interest.
-3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:40
Too bad you do not go and do something to change what is happening. But then GOP do not want change
0 # 2012-03-03 10:31
KittatinyHawk: Talk about running at the mouth. You assume posters with different opinions are "GOP" &, therefore, "do not want change." Then, you cancel out your assumption that the poster is GOP & does not want change by telling him or her to "do something to change what's happening." You assume too much. The people on this post do not appear to be lazyor without initiative. They could be political activists, writers, academics, HC workers already engaged in political change in their own way.

Your derogatory remarks about "political snots" & "rich kids" is divisive & petty.
+7 # maddave 2012-02-26 18:07
New consideration:
Israel MUST rely upon the USA to carry her military water, because Israel has met her match twice now - Hezbollah kicked her out of Lebanon not once, but twice.

War in the Middle East is no longer Abrams M-1 Tanks running over old Russian T72's. Armies do not dig trenches and slug it out over no-man's-land. No, it is all guerilla warfare now, because NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD can face down conventional US weapons. SO, the name of the game is "strike fast & brutally - where least expected" and defend nothing. Kill, destroy, terrorize and then melt back into the background. If the opponent follows & kills civilians, so much the better for our side!,

Israel has lost twice at this game, and one opines that Israel is well aware that her continued existence as a thorn in the Middle Eastern side is directly dependent upon (1) USA support; (2) Her (estimated) 80 to 150 nuclear warheads (3) The continuing Arab Spring in Syria, Egypt, etc.

But this is now, and the Iranian mind is not particularly interested in the here-and-now. They are focused controlling the world's oil market 10 - 30 years in the future when they will be THE superpower in the Middle East.
-26 # uglysexy 2012-02-26 18:14
Excuse me 'friends' but here is a progressive who does not believe israel is 'the tail' wagging the dog. Israel is not a 'Tail'. It/she is a sovereign nation that is facing an existential threat. It/she will do what she sees fit to defend herself against rabid holocaust deniers. The mewling anti israelis have zero spine and are haters. Disguise it as You will but those opposing Israel's right to defend itself, even pre-emptively, are like the german countryside volk that blamed the jews for their own extermination. If there are assimilated jews with this point of view.....they are self loathing. I'm not advocating a Netanyahu Strike. I don't like Netanyahu...he is incompetent and a Wahoo. But the notion the Israelis are not facing being overrun or annihilated by rabid neighbors that outnumber them is a fool's tale.
+32 # Misterioso 2012-02-26 19:05
Strange, no mention in your posting of Israel's belligerent/ill egal and brutal occupations of Palestinian and other Arab lands or its ongoing and accelerating dispossession and oppression of the native inhabitants.

Thankfully, an ever-increasing number of people around the world, including Americans, realize that Israel is a serial violator of hard-won international human rights law (e.g., the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention). No wonder Israel is viewed as a pariah state.
+10 # Helen Marshall 2012-02-26 19:21
Why would any neighbor drop a bomb on Israel knowing that they in turn would be wiped out?
-3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:43
Really, people are too dumb to think. People have been lying about other Nations for centuries...dom inance and submission
We allow it, now too many are too stupid to question .
+13 # Archie1954 2012-02-26 21:43
Israel is a UN artificially created state and as such is beholden to the UN for its existance. Please stop being willfully ignorant, it doesn't become any American.
-7 # 2012-02-27 02:46
Holy One Archie1954 Misterioso, et al
Who appointed you to judge Israel?

Were you there during the Holocaust?

Did you witness the atrocious ways in which innocent Jews were tortured?

Do you know that millions of Jews died incinerated in ovens? Do you care?

You refer to Israel as 'a pariah state', an 'artificially created state'. You say that Israel supporters misunderstand the scriptures which is typical of those who are known as "holocaust deniers".

Do you think this becomes any American? Particularly, an American who calls him-self a Progressive Liberal & lays claim to more compassion & high minded ideas than the opposition.
+7 # Observer 47 2012-02-27 12:48
One can acknowledge the evil and horror of the Holocaust, dorian, without agreeing with the policies the state of Israel is currently pursuing and has pursued. The terrible injustice of the Holocaust does not give Israel the right to seize land from others, nor does it justify bombing, assassination, and other crimes committed out of paranoia. The Holocaust ended 67 years ago, and it happened mainly in Germany, Poland, and the then-USSR.

Moreover, the actions of Israel are the actions of a sovereign nation, recognized as such on the world stage. Israel's demographics are not an excuse for its actions. Also, remember that about 20% of the population of Israel is composed of Arabs. What do you suppose they think of the actions of their country?
0 # 2012-03-03 13:17
Observer 47: Thank you for writing. I would like to share some reasons for my defending Israel & am interesting in your viewpoint as well. Please email me if you are still checking this post and are interested. Your comment is thought provoking.
+3 # Dion Giles 2012-02-27 19:32
Wtf does the murder of Jews by the European Nazis have to do with the rights of Palestinians to their own territory? It's plonking a racist settler state in Palestine and its determination for 65 years (and still counting) to hold the world perpetually to ransom to protect it from real and imagined challenges that is at the middle of today's panic over Iran.
0 # 2012-03-03 13:22
Dion Giles: You lack important information about the Holocaust and it's historical signicance and how Israel came to be a Jewish nation with a commitment from the US to protect it.
The threats and challenges are real.
0 # Archie1954 2012-02-27 20:01
Please practice your perfidy elsewhere. you are not dealing with individuals who just fell off a turnip truck here.
0 # 2012-03-03 13:31
Archie 1954: Perfidy? Far from it. As far as falling off a turnip truck. You could have fooled me, Archie. Israel was created as an authentic Jewish nation by the US and UK following WW11. Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel because the US and UK knew what they were doing when they gave Israel to the Jews with a commitment to protect them. Existance is spelled existence.
-1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 23:02
No offense but please enough with the Holocaust. You disgust me. You were not the only ones who were ever brutally murdered anywhere no less Germany.
Facts be lie that Union, Catholic, whomever the sadists felt like, were first tortured, brutally murdered. Yet only Jews died in Germany and other countries. Bull
Do you realize how many people die daily due to brutal Religions, Dictators, Savage/Ruthless People. You are just one of many. Look at what the Japanese people will have to live with now, from a disaster...any less deadly than torture.
Israel has created a lot of their own problems. From treatment of women, children,Senior s of their own Faith,
Then you brutally kill others esp Palestinians under false reasons. God didnot give You any permission to Kill anyone. Read the Bible. God Created...Man Destroys.
You were not given Statehood in the 1950's? You better go back to school.
Scriptures...Do you realize who wrote the Scriptures? Have you ever read those scriptures? They are Diary of Man's sins against others. Man is not Perfect, and man wrote the Bible. Lots of Hate in that Bible. Never in any of the old testament did you get along with anyone, today still do not.
You pray each year to return to. Please do. If you all went back, you could fight your own battles.
Do not insult people with the Holocaust, God made reference of one's selfishness. All Faiths, Races, Genders have suffered horrendous things.
+17 # Dion Giles 2012-02-26 21:55
This Zionist starts from the premise that one ethnic group - only one - is entitled to be more "special" than any other people in the world. The State of Israel - the most ethnically exclusive and therefore the most racist on earth - not only sits on land that should not belong exclusively to ANY ethnic group, but it presumes to project its illegitimate power way beyond its borders.

NO ethnic group - NONE - is special enough to be entitled to a state all for itself on someone else's land and ANYONE who tries to establish, hold and expand one merits the hostility of every human being who loathes racism and any claim by anyone whatsoever for ethnic “specialness”.

Until this is recognised and there is a democratic and just solution in occupied Palestine, with the 4 ½ million exiles participating, there will be endless threat of a world conflagration. It is up to the rest of the world, in its own self-defence if for nothing else, to reject calls to support the racist Zionist enclave against its challengers and to use its vast power to enforce a just outcome which will see the racist State of Israel dismantled.
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 23:04
Excellently said.
-1 # 2012-03-03 13:41
Dion, get an American history book and read what happened following WW11 and the Holocaust to cause worldwide powers;
the US and the UK to give Israel to the Jews as a Jewish nation and with a commitment to protect and safguard the Jewish nation of Israel. Actually, the Jewish nation is ethnically special which is why it was given to the Jews. The Jewish people are not racists. They are defending their nation which is a homeland for Jews anywhere in the world.
+5 # maddave 2012-02-27 00:32
I have traveled all over the world and I have found that - without exception - people of good wil get along famously - until preachers, politicians and psychopaths get involved!
+2 # reiverpacific 2012-02-27 12:32
Quoting maddave:
I have traveled all over the world and I have found that - without exception - people of good wil get along famously - until preachers, politicians and psychopaths get involved!

Me too -good comment and my findings too.
However, often even people of good heart will vote against their own interests if they are either threatened or propagandized enough.
-7 # 2012-02-27 01:02
Uglysexy: I agree. "The notion the israelis are not facing {the existential
threat of} being overrun or annihilated by rabid neighbors that outnumber them is a fool's tale." I anticipate that those who "blame the jews for their own extermination" will reply with 'thumbs down'.
-6 # Barbara N Shabo RN 2012-02-27 05:47
[quote name="uglysexy" ]Excuse me 'friends' but here is a progressive who does not believe israel is 'the tail' wagging the dog. Israel is not a 'Tail'. It/she is a sovereign nation that is facing an existential threat. It/she will do what she sees fit to defend herself against rabid holocaust deniers...

This is 100% Correct! I don't know what the best course of action is but NO one came to help then when Hitler slaughtered millions of Jews and no one will lift a finger now if there is a second holocaust. What all these self righteous critics of Israel forget is that Jews are the canaries in the coal mine. 50 milion non-Jews died along with the 6 million Jews during WWII.
-2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 23:08
No one came to aid of Union, Catholics, Children either. If you go to the History books, your ignorance Many Europeans and Americans died getting to the ones in Germany who were being tortured and killed or your species would be gone!
My Uncles died for your and now that is a disgrace when hypocrites like you write this bs.
By the way, I do not remember you with my Grandfather in the mines. Too busy counting your money, eh?
You are a disgrace to those who are good members of the Faith of Judaism. You disgrace my Jewish Uncles too.
-2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 22:42
Brings it on herself. Funny if others wanted Israel gone, then why didn't they do it? BS, Israel pays everyone, and everyone likes money Whores everyone
0 # 2012-03-03 13:47
Kittatinyhawk: Get some counseling. You are a rabid, shameless anti-semitic.Yo ur comment is hateful & obscene.
+15 # Martintfre 2012-02-26 18:20
//So far, Washington has confronted Iran most directly, leading a global campaign to impose harsh economic sanctions on some of the most vital parts of the country's economy, including its oil sector. //

Sanctions are an act of war.
The Sanctions are about intentionally depriving a nation of vital resources with the intent to cow the leadership. In Reality the Dictators always use the sanctions as proof that the Americans want the little people of their country to starve and suffer, sanctions fail because their existence becomes a rallying point for the locals to support their leaders.
+4 # noitall 2012-02-26 18:55
This seems pretty clear to me.
+21 # cordleycoit 2012-02-26 19:01
Any Israeli attack on Iran has to be nuclear. The retaliatory attack will come from Pakistan also nuclear. Egypt will then send it's huge army in and meet an Israeli
attack nuclear. This exchange will kill millions. Who will gain, only the American and Russian arms industries the rest will be misery.Israel will no longer be viable and the Americans will be at best considered accomplices to genocide. Bankers and hedge funders will get their war bonuses. We are not learning anything.
-1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 23:09
Perhaps when the Nukes hit, all the ones who want death will die also.
I am hoping that all who pray to return to go now.
No more of my family will die for you.
+13 # fredrad 2012-02-26 19:30
If Obama really doesn't want Israel to attack Iran, just tell Netanyahu that would be the end of all U.S. subsidies.
+18 # bubbiesue 2012-02-26 19:39
Personally I observe that Israel's saber-rattling toward Iran is coinciding with their steady encroachment into the West Bank. I think they want to wipe out the Palestinian entity so they can claim Israel is from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, a right-wing political aim in Israel, and Iran is a perfect smoke-screen.
+7 # Activista 2012-02-26 20:55
exactly - Israel has given a hard-line Jewish settler group permission to build an archaeological centre in an impoverished Arab neighbourhood of east Jerusalem...
The proposed centre is to be built in Silwan, next to Jerusalem's Old City.
Around 400 Israeli Jews currently live there among 31,000 Palestinian residents.
Israel has already demolished a Palestinian playground, community centre and cafe to make way for the centre planned by Elad, a pro-settler group that runs archaeological digs in Silwan.
It will be built above an excavation area called the City of David,...
Israel seized east Jerusalem, home to Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in breach of international law."
I am sure that Israeli "archaeologists " will proof "claim Israel is from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea".
+11 # Gerardo 2012-02-26 20:06
Some very insightful commentary here. I see this unfolding a bit differently, with the Iranians caving at the last second, denying the Israelis an opportunity to attack them. For the record, Iranian leaders have never called for the destruction of Israel, but rather have quoted religious texts, including the Christian Bible. Jesus cannot return until after the modern state of Israel is destroyed. In this respect Jews may have more to fear from men like John Hagee, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell than they do the people of Iran. Israel is a state literally built upon terrorism (google "King David Hotel). UN 242 has never been implemented, even after over four decades, yet action is taken against other Mid-east countries only hours after a UN vote? The goal of Israel is not to rule the Mid-east, but to do destroy the military, scientific, educational, and healthcare infrastructure of the nations around it. This has been done in Iraq, Liyba, to some extent Lebanon, and is now being done in Syria. The ultimate goal? Leave Arab nations broken, their social fabric torn beyond repair. Wasn't it a Zionist (dual citizen) who threatened to "bomb them back into the stone age"? Israel has no interest in having peace in that area of the world, the competition would be overwhelming. Destroy the schools of others, and your own look that much better. Hubris and conceit will be the end of the Jewish nation if anything will. They appear determined to exact revenge on us all.
-3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 23:13
I am a Catholic and we were never taught that so much for the other wonderful Christians. We came from Judaism and know that. Jesus was Jewish, than denounced and sold out.
Never has wanted Peace...Amen to that or it would have been done by now.
False Religion, False Leaders...
+6 # Archie1954 2012-02-26 21:19
I find it seriously foolish that the most powerful politician in the world has to make time for a weak, inconsequential politician from a small, unimportant Middle Eastern state. There is simply no viable reason why this should be so, none at all. Oh wait, I did forget the almighty dollar, you know the US dollars that are sent from Washbington by the bucket loads to Tel Aviv or somewhere else in That small state only to be returned to various US Congressional members by way of bribes. It's easy to tell who takes the bribes by how hard they fight for this small states interests ev en to the point of supporting its interests before the interests of America.
+8 # eduardoben 2012-02-26 21:23
You couldn't possibly know with certainly all those things you seem to be certain about. No one can accurately predict with certainty how things will play out with so many changing and powerful variables.

For instance, history tells us that many if not most Americans ALWAYS rally around the president and the flag at the BEGINNING of almost any war.

If the republican right -- with the aid and support of the Israeli government and AIPAC and its other minions -- succeed in framing Obama as a weak and cowardly president because of his reluctance to attack, or support an attack, on Iran, and thus threaten his re-election, all bets would be off. The dangerous consequences of an attack on Iran, whether by Israel, the US or Israel and the US together, are so terrible that none of us should assume that such an a can't happen. Logic and morality tell us that we should operate on the assumption that such an attack is possible and do everything and anything we can to prevent it. Even if we may not be able to.

Eduardo Cohen
+14 # Archie1954 2012-02-26 21:39
The US owes nothing to Israel. If anything Israel owes the US for the deaths of some 100 sailors on the Liberty who Israel killed because it thought that would be in its best interests at the time. Israel owes the US for countless billions of dollars it has reaped from American generosity. Israel owes America for the numerous times that the US has against its own best interests used its UN vetos to preserve certain Israeli political interests. Israel owes the US for its nuclear weapons which would not have been possible except for teh nuclear secrets given to Israel while the US pretended not to see. Israel owes the US for the deaths of American civilians and many military members because of egregious Israeli activities in the Middle East that the residents believe emanated from the US when it actually didn't although telling Israel it has US unconditional support is the same as being responsible for the worst of Israel's abominations. Israel won't even sign a defence pact witht he US becuase it would be reciprocal and the last thing Israel wants is to be legally required to support American interests.
+10 # GREG L 2012-02-26 21:46
First of all, this article offers the same claptrap that's offered in the mainstream media and is bereft of any real analysis of the situation. This Iranian crisis is totally contrived and is a function of several types of hegemony with US, Israeli and US dollar hegemony being the main ones at play here. The war against Iran and Syria has already started and as it unfolds, we'll find ourselves on the verge of WW III as Russia, China and others aren't going to take kindly to the situation. I suspect that this will have the effect of creating an alliance against us with Russia and China leading the way and their target will be breaking the oil/dollar pricing regime which is the primary reason we're in the middle east to begin with. I think the US and Israel are actually playing good cop/bad cop in a psych ops set up here and if anything, this exposes Obama as well as all of the other elected officials as being weak and not in control.
0 # infohiway 2012-02-26 22:00
"gaza freedom flotilla" "uss liberty" "us citizen" countries

Israel First or Dump Israel First?

Hmm. Their call.

Hint: What parts of 'behave or else' do they not grasp?
+14 # Misterioso 2012-02-26 22:47
Part 1

Setting aside the fact that contrary to pro-Israel spin, Iran has never threatened to attack Israel (Israel, however, has frequently threatened to attack Iran) and the lack of credible evidence that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, why would Iran attack Israel if it had them? Apart from the horrific massive nuclear retaliation it would suffer, if Iran were to launch a nuclear strike on Israel, it would also result in the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as well as Israeli Jews and given the resulting radioactivity and prevailing winds off the Med., tens of thousands of Lebanese Shiite Muslims as well as Jordanians, etc., would perish. In short, for Iran to attack Israel with nuclear weapons would be self-defeating in the extreme.

Nor should we forget that Israel possesses between 200 and 300 nuclear warheads with missiles capable of delivering them throughout the region and far beyond. Furthermore, it will not sign the Nuclear Non-proliferati on Treaty or allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Iran has long since agreed with Saudi Arabia and declared the entire ME should be nuclear weapons free. This is also in accordance with the Pentagon which has declared that the best way to deal with the issue is to have Israel rid its self of nuclear weapons.
+16 # Misterioso 2012-02-26 22:48

Of course, Israel has refused to cooperate because it wants to remain the invincible bully of the ME and hence, able to maintain its belligerent, illegal and brutal occupations of Palestinian and other Arab lands and to continue stealing their water resources and building illegal Jewish settlement/colo nies.
-2 # Mirkka 2012-02-27 05:03

worth of listening
+2 # Ojai Bill 2012-02-27 14:02
It would be totally wrong to support or participate in a strike on Iran, and the reasons should have nothing to do with oil prices or the approaching election. A US-backed strike is not only not necessary to contain Iran, it would have a devastating effect on what stability remains in the Middle East and on the US's relationships with other Islamic nations. Israel is pushing for a strike to assuage its hawkish right wing factions, and with the likely Republican nominees here poised to support our increased involvement, the issue probably will become a factor in the election. Obama's delicate task will be to resist the pressure he will be under to give in to Israeli demands and fears.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-27 23:23
I would stay away from Hilary. Let her have her Crusaders pantsuit and go away.
We need ex Pres Carter for her job, he integrity and cares for humanity...Unli ke so many today.
0 # Activista 2012-02-28 00:17
I agree - NOBODY has credentials and TRUST in the Middle East as Carter.
What Hilary did in Libya and now her support for Free Syria Army .. is crime.
Syria just voted - 60% participation and 80% plus for PEACEFUL reform - this is DEMOCRACY.
Syria Free Army is terrorism. I wish USA had DEMOCRATIC referendum on issues like Syria ... or even direct vote for the president.
+4 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-28 08:23
So, we express herein a wave of emotional engagement over the efficacy or insanity of WWIII.

These 'feelings and beliefs' are founded on 'principles' and 'facts' of biblical references and interpretations (oxymoranic, at best)coupled with perceived vengeful and/or paranoid righteousness within various 'interests' allied with (or threatened by) America's superior and chauvinistic concept of Empire. Pre-Nazi Germany's citizens likely enjoyed so hideous an exercise of misdirection?

"Our Father...", "the Superiority of the Aryan race", the "Chosen People of GOD", the "Oneness of Faith in the Unity of Allah", "The American Dream" - all represent emotional rationalization for war, conquest and subjugation. Our evolution as a species is tedious and random.

But, one underlying reality controls. The military/indust rial/political complex maintains its power to propagandize each constituent population. Taxes are directed to its support and the individual puppeteers who control the strings and profit, at a safe distance, from its exercise LOVE the focus of this debate ... on WAR!

Please, RSN, publish the IAEA report and solicit commentary from pro- and con- "experts". Please identify who invests and profits from manipulative speculation in commodities like oil and food. The economic impact and justification for war lie within that sphere. The profiteers are long-range in their planning. "Old money" has the benefit of patience.
-1 # Annalois 2012-02-29 13:54

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