A letter from a group of former intelligence professionals imploring US President Barack Obama to prevent a war with Iran sharply critiqued Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policies, saying they should not be trusted.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) said on Tuesday that "comments by senior American officials, you included, reflect misplaced trust in Israeli Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu" and that Obama's friendly tone with Netanyahu "was distinctly out of tune with decades of unfortunate history with Israeli leaders."
The VIPS letter quoted Obama as saying about Netanyahu “neither of us try to surprise each other," adding that the president "may wish to ask Vice President Biden to remind you of the kind of surprises he has encountered in Israel."
VIPS is a group of former intelligence professionals of current and former US intelligence officials that was founded in 2003 to protest the use of faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq. It is headed by former top officials from the CIA, State Department, Department of Deffense, US military and other agencies.
The organization accused Israel of consistantly deceiving the US: "Blindsiding has long been an arrow in Israel’s quiver. During the emerging Middle East crisis in the spring of 1967, some of us witnessed closely a flood of Israeli surprises and deception, as Netanyahu’s predecessors feigned fear of an imminent Arab attack as justification for starting a war to seize and occupy Arab territories...We had long since concluded that Israel had been exaggerating the Arab 'threat.'"
VIPS then quotes Ha'aretz columnist Gideon Levy, who called Netanyahu “a con artist … who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes."
The letter also accuses the "Likud Lobby" of having a disproportionate
influence on American policy, citing a recent visit by Senators John
McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman as proof. VIPS quotes
Lieberman as saying that Congress would use "military actions if we
must" to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power, and Graham as saying
"Congress has Israel's back." The organization then adds that 47 House
Republicans have signed a declaration of “support for Israel’s right to
use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed
by Iran … including the use of military force.”"Israel might mousetrap the US into war with Iran"
VIPS also estimated that Israel would attack Iran in the next month,
without American approval.
"Israel’s leaders would calculate that once the battle is joined, it
will be politically untenable for you to give anything less than
unstinting support to Israel, no matter how the war started, and that US
troops and weaponry would flow freely. Wider war could eventually
result in destruction of the state of Israel," the letter reads.
"[Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael]Mullen returned
with sweaty palms from a visit to Israel in February 2010," VIPS wrote.
"Ever since, he has been worrying aloud that Israel might mousetrap the
US into war with Iran, while adding the obligatory assurance that the
Pentagon does have an attack plan for Iran, if needed."
VIPS's recommendation for preventing an Israeli attack on Iran is as
follows: "A strong public statement by [Obama], personally warning
Israel not to attack Iran would most probably head off such an Israeli
move. Follow-up might include dispatching Adm. Mullen to Tel Aviv with
military-to-military instructions to Israel: Don’t even think of it."
VIPS's compared what it calls Israel's "faux intelligence" to reports
that preceded America's invasion of Iraq, calling it “uncorroborated,
contradicted, and nonexistent."
The letter concludes with this advice for Obama: "They are probably
telling you that, since you have privately counseled Prime Minister
Netanyahu against attacking Iran, he will not do it. This could simply
be the familiar syndrome of telling the President what they believe he
wants to hear."
"Quiz them; tell them others believe them to be dead wrong on Netanyahu.
The only positive here is that you — only you — can prevent an Israeli
attack on Iran."