Tuesday 6 July 2004

Israel Unleashed

The real reason for the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history...

The Israelis just had to get in on the fun. But then the stories of torture – of hooded, humiliated inmates at Abu Ghraib and other facilities – did have a familiar air, as if the Israelis were tutoring their American sock-puppets in the finer points of squeezing those ragheads until they squealed. Torture – of the "mild" variety – has the official imprimatur of Israel's high court, and it makes perfect sense that the Israelis would be called in as "experts" in the art (science?) of corralling and controlling crowds of irksome Arabs, but this testimony from General Janis Karpinski, former commander at Abu Ghraib, explicitly fingers the Israelis:

"I was visiting an interrogation facility one time – not under my control, but I was escorting a four-star. And he wanted to go back and observe an interrogation that was taking place. They asked me if I wanted to go and I said no. So I was standing there and, you know, the usual conversation, just kind of chit-chat, there (were) three individuals there and two of them had DCU pants on, one had a pair of blue jeans on, but they all had T-shirts on. They did not appear to be military people. And I said to one of the – one of them asked me, 'So what's new?' Or, 'What's challenging about being a female general officer over here?' And I said, 'Oh! Too long a story, but it's all fun.' And I said to this guy who was sitting up on the counter, I said to him, 'Are you local?' Because he looked like he was Kuwaiti. I said, 'Are you an interpreter?' He said, 'No, I'm an interrogator.' And I said, 'Oh, are you from here?' And he said, 'No, actually, I'm from Israel.' And I was kind of shocked. And I think I laughed. And I said, 'No, really?' And he said, 'No, really, I am.' And – but it was – I didn't pursue it, I just said, 'Oh, I visited your country a couple of years ago and I was amazed that there's so little difference between the appearance of Israelis and Americans,' and – I really was just kind of making chit-chat at that point.

"But it didn't strike me as unusual, I guess, until after the fact. And I remember making a comment to him, I said, 'Wow, that's kind of unusual.' And he said, 'No, not really.' Like that. So – I do know for a fact that at least in that one case – now, I didn't ask him for identity papers or anything. It was none of my business. But that's what he said."

Busy, busy, busy – that certainly describes the Israelis in the bloody aftermath of our Pyrrhic victory in Iraq. Oh, they deny it, of course, but that's boilerplate. After all, Karpinski saw and spoke to one of their interrogators, who was sitting there right in front of her. The truth is they're swarming all over Kurdistan, fomenting trouble, siccing the Bush administration on Iran and – most importantly – Syria. Good lord they're even in New Zealand, of all places, stealing passports from bedridden paraplegics. Talk about bad public relations! But do they even care?

Not too much. Now that they've maneuvered the clueless Bush into Iraq, and forever changed the face of the Middle East, Ariel Sharon and his amen corner in this country are getting bolder, openly flying their own flag over what were previously touted as exclusively American initiatives. So their Kurdish allies are bellicose about the Israeli connection in speaking to Ha'aretz:

"'The Kurdish public is not ready to take any more humiliation. As long as we thought we could persuade the Americans to support our positions, our leaders were supported by the public,' he said. 'The Kurdish public is disappointed and angry, it wants results. You in Israel talk of the greater Eretz Yisrael and here we talk of greater Kurdistan. Today our political war begins.'"

Our war – against whom?

In the guise of Israeli entrepreneurs, Mossad agents, according to Seymour Hersh, have infiltrated the Kurdish territories for the purpose of creating a buffer – Kurdistan – between Israel and the emerging Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi state, which is heavily influenced by the Iranians. The entire "handover" process, while not signaling American withdrawal, nevertheless indicates nervousness in Washington over being too closely identified with the unfolding disaster, and the Israelis see this as a bad sign. Is Uncle Sam going wobbly? That question has worried the neoconservative faction of the Right – which effectively functions as Israel's fifth column in the U.S. – and rightly so, from their perspective. That's what motivates all this activity in Kurdistan, and elsewhere. The idea is to spread the chaos, escalate the war, and make it impossible for George W. Bush to somehow pull us out the Iraqi quagmire.

In an effort at damage control, the Israel lobby is making a concerted effort to smear whomever states the obvious: a great deal of the "intelligence" used to lie us into war came directly from Tel Aviv and was "stovepiped" into the White House by neocon White House advisors, and that, in retrospect, this war has been to the strategic advantage of one and only one nation on earth: Israel. Writing in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, one James D. Besser attacks "conspiracy theories" of "the fruitcake left and loony right" that "converge around theories blaming Jewish neoconservatives for an Iraq War they despise." He goes after that well-known left-wing extremist, Senator Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), who "erupted" recently by daring to name Israel as the chief factor motivating key war proponents, and then turns to … us:

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