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Rattling the Cage: War without end, amen
By LARRY DERFNER
18/08/2010
If we did manage to put Iran’s nuclear potential on hold, how many new ‘existential threats’ would rear up against us?
 
Over the last week, prominent American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg and columnist George Will each wrote that Israel is very likely to bomb Iran. Goldberg, in his Atlantic cover story, “The Point of No Return,” bases his conclusion on interviews with about 40 Israeli military and political leaders; Will, in his Washington Post column titled “Netanyahu’s warning,” bases his partly on an interview with the PM in Jerusalem.

I find this to be bracing stuff.

I know – Israeli leaders want the Iranians to be afraid and might be inclined to rattle their sabers even if they didn’t really mean it, but still: This isn’t altogether new – what Goldberg and Will, but most authoritatively Goldberg, are saying. Everyone knows an Israeli attack on Iran is at least a possibility. But when Goldberg talks to 40 bigwigs and comes back saying “it is a near-certainty that Israel will act against Iran soon if nothing or no one else stops the nuclear program,” and Will returns from an interview with Netanyahu talking about “the potentially world-shaking decision that will be made here, probably within two years,” then I think this counts as a wake-up call.

I don’t want Israel to bomb Iran, and until now I’ve thought it was highly unlikely, but I can’t say that anymore. Now, given the terribly slim chance that the Obama administration is crazy enough to do it, I’d have to say that while an Israeli attack is not a fait accompli, it is materializing. It is gathering momentum.

Swell.

Do people see past their noses in this country? Read what Goldberg says an Israeli strike stands a “good chance” of doing, even if it does manage to set Iran’s nuclear program back a few years, which, by the way, is no sure thing at all: “…changing the Middle East forever; sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Teheran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs…; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian sponsored terror attacks…; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations.”

That’s some downside, isn’t it? I would add that if a regional war is fought with weapons of mass destruction, which not only Israel but also Iran and Syria possess, then the number of war deaths could go beyond the thousands.

AND WHAT’S the upside to an Israeli attack? Not an end to the Iranian nuclear threat, just a breather for a few years. Meanwhile, after we’ve counted our dead and other countries have counted theirs, life in Israel and for Israel becomes absolute hell. Our enemies are bent on revenge more than ever, our friends are down to a fringe element – and weapons technology marches on.

If and when the dust clears from the war that would likely follow our attack on Iran, how long would it be before the next war? If we did manage to put Iran’s nuclear potential on hold for a while, how many new “existential threats” would rear up against us? How many more enemies would be devising things that we would find intolerable, that we would feel impelled to destroy for the sake of our survival?

Where would it end?

In the days, weeks, months and years after we bomb Iran, imagine what the mood in this country will be. Myself, I can’t.

Above all, remember: Whatever happens will have been put in motion by an Israeli act of violence. We can call it a pre-emptive strike, but that’s a term of art; if we hit Iran first, we are the aggressor.

Goldberg’s sources say Israelis will flee the country if Iran gets nuclear weapons; if that’s so, imagine how many will run from a bloodied, shell-shocked, leper state. The powers-that-be say Israel cannot risk another Holocaust; sounds to me like their Holocaust mania is creating what could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Is this really what we’ve come to? Is this all Israel can offer – to its citizens, to the Jewish people, to the Middle East, to the democratic world? After all the doomsday weapons we’ve amassed, must we be so afraid, must we hold onto the Holocaust for dear life? As weapons technology moves ahead, is this the only future we have – one of fear rising to aggression, which sets off enemy aggression, a future of one war after another, with only dread in between?

With all its intimidating power, if that’s the best Israel can do, then to hell with it. Let’s all start packing. Save Israeli Jewry – help us emigrate.

One other downside to an Israeli strike on Iran – it’ll cause a full-blown schism among Jews, both in Israel and the diaspora.
It will turn Jews against Israel in droves.

Nobody asked us to build a Jewish state in the Middle East; we decided to come here. If we can’t handle the stress, we should seek a calmer life elsewhere. A healthy-spirited Jewish state is good for the Jews, but a paranoid, incredibly reckless Jewish state, a rogue Jewish state, would be bad for everyone.
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