Netanyahu, Iran, and the US MSM’s shameful silence

Aluf Benn writes in Haaretz today that,

    In political circles the view is that yes, Netanyahu as prime minister brings Israel closer to war with Iran. Politicians in touch with Netanyahu say he has already made up his mind to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. People close to him wonder how the public would receive a joint decision by Netanyahu and Ehud Barak to attack Iran, and whether the move would boost the two men’s popularity. The basic assumption is that diplomacy and sanctions will not gain a thing, and the only way to stop Iran’s nuclear program will be by force, which only Israel is motivated to apply.
    This is also the assessment of the international media, who consider an Israeli strike against Iran a near certainty.

Actually, Benn is wrong to claim that “the international media” have expressed themselves clearly one way or another regarding the probability of an Israeli attack against Iran. Here in the US, the big MSM prefer not to think, or say anything, about this matter, at all.
Because if they did, they would have to come to the same conclusion that I reached long ago– and that I see M.J. Rosenberg expressed yesterday on TPM Cafe, namely that, as he wrote:

    An Israeli attack on Iran would jeopardize a myriad of American interests in the region, starting with 130,000 US troops but Netanyahu talks as if he can call the shots without any regard for our interests.

That’s why the MSM really don’t want to deal with this. They seem completely reluctant to admit that on some extremely important topics, Israel’s interests can diverge radically from those of the US citizenry— and indeed, can put in direct jeopardy the lives of many scores of thousands of our citizens.
MJ also wrote this:

    In this week’s New Yorker, Seymour Hersh reports that, just before leaving office, Dick Cheney told the Israelis that Obama is a wimp and could be ignored.
    Netanyahu appears to have bought into the Cheney thesis and is now testing it by insulting the President on the day he is sworn in as Prime Minister. Let’s see if Obama let’s him get away with it. My guess is that Bibi just made the first major blunder of his tenure. [MJ: the eternal optimist, I see. ~HC]
    It is also not a coincidence that Netanyahu trash talked Iran while US Special Envoy Holbrooke was holding the Obama administration’s first face-to-face meeting with an Iranian official in The Hague. This is in keeping with the pattern set by President Shimon Peres who sent a nasty greeting to the Iranian people simultaneously with Obama’s friendly overture. The name of the game is to make it impossible for Obama to achieve a breakthrough with Iran by always leaving the impression that America is in thrall to Israel. Clever. And dangerous.

Meanwhile, over in the blog post in which Jeffrey Goldberg wrote up his “exclusive interview” with Netanyahu, he also writes that Moshe Ya’alon, who’s a leading security adviser to Netanyahu, “told me that a nuclear Iran could mean the end of American influence in the Middle East.”
Is Jeff Goldberg extremely stupid (in that he does nothing to distance himself, as the reporter, from this deeply flawed and disingenuous judgment)– or did Ya’alon just successfully play him along as being extremely stupid?
It is an Israeli military strike against Iran that would signal “the end of American influence in the Middle East” more than anything else. A nuclear-capable Iran is something that both the US and Israel could live with (as Efraim Halevy and others have written, with regard to Israel.)
Much better for everyone in the region and all round the world, of course, would be complete, negotiated denuclearization as advocated by Global Zero. But the idea that an Israeli act of war against Iran would be anything other than catastrophic for the US in the region is complete nonsense.
Btw, the often very well-informed Richard Sale also has some interesting tidbits of info about aspects of the covert ops the Israelis and US worked on against Iran’s nuclear program in the George W Bush era, here. (HT: B of Moon of Alabama.)
Among Sales tidbits: that for almost a decade Israel has been trying, often with US help and encouragement, to assassinate “key Iranian assets”.
Sale continues,

    But U.S. opposition to the program has intensified as U.S. President Barack Obama makes overtures aimed at thawing 30 years of tension between the two countries.
    Part of this is due to the U.S.’s desire to use Iran’s road networks into Afghanistan to help resupply U.S.-NATO forces there.
    But Israel’s interests in the region are not the same as those of the United States, several U.S. officials said.

I’ll say!
Later, Sale adds these further details:

    Israel’s targeting killing program was done in concert with the [George W.] Bush administration, former U.S. sources said.
    A former senior CIA official described several joint U.S.-Mossad operations to derail Iran’s nuclear program as “something out of slapstick.” All had failed miserably, he said.
    A new wave of assassination and sabotage programs were launched in spite of the fact that in 2005, the United States had little to no intelligence about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
    According to U.S. sources, in 2004, the CIA had lost its entire agent network in Iran when a CIA headquarters communications officer was about to send instructions to an agent via its Immarsat transmitter/receivers. The CIA officer attempted to download data intended for a single operative, but accidentally hit a button that sent it to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, these sources said.
    The information was received by a double agent who forwarded it to Iranian counterintelligence, which quickly wrapped up the entire network, leaving Washington completely blind.

Ah, the much-feared CIA.

9 thoughts on “Netanyahu, Iran, and the US MSM’s shameful silence”

  1. WASHINGTON (JTA), Mar 31 — Iran and Syria received millions of dollars from a U.S.-backed program that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
    They were two of four terrorism-sponsoring countries to receive funding under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Technical Cooperation program, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report scheduled to be released Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
    Iran received more than $15 million from 1997 to 2007, while Syria received $14 million. Two other states designated by the United States as terrorism sponsors, Cuba and Sudan, each received more than $11 million.
    The United States is the largest funder of the program, according to the GAO report, and in 2007 supplied $20 million, or about 25 percent of its budget.

  2. Helena,
    It is not obvious to me that the US could live with – a nuclear Iran. Maybe, but maybe not. And, I do not think your view seems obvious to the Obama administration either. I think this is a matter about which reasonable minds can differ – and, so far as I know, there are differences of opinion on the matter within the US government.
    If, in fact, Iran has suicidal elements in the government – as Professor Lewis and others opine – , then Iran with nuclear weapons would certainly be a grave danger to the US, to all the Arab regimes in the region and to countries in Southern Europe and in parts of Asia. And, obviously, if all those nasty remarks by Iran about Israel reflect reality – a distinct but uncertain possibility -, a nuclear Iran could be a grave danger to Israel and even to Palestinian Arabs. They too, you will note, would, as Tom Lehrer sang, go together when the Israelis go.
    And, if Iran used or even threatened to use nuclear weapons anywhere, it would be the US which would have its reputation substantially on the line. And, the American reply, even under an Obama administration, would have to be nasty.
    So, I think you might consider that this issue is not one of Israel pushing the US. It is one of the US having its own reasons to worry about Iran. That does not mean Israel and the US have identical interests – after all, Iran is unlikely to attack the US directly -. But, it does mean that the two countries, the Arabs and nearby European and Asian countries all have a major stake in what occurs, with none of the nearby countries thinking a nuclear Iran is an acceptable option.

  3. Nancy Friedman:
    Bernie Lewis, as his name reflects, is another in a long line of jewish bigots masquerading as an intellectual. It is laughable for you to refer to his idiotic statements. Why don’t you try Danny Pipes or any number, and there is no shortage of these morons, of other Jewish neocon opinionators. “Suicidal Elements”, I suppose you haven’t heard of the Samson option or those idiots at Masada or Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) a truly psychotic American position vis a vis USSR in the nuclear end game of the cold war. BTW the originators of all these crazed philosophies were… you guessed right, the chosen. In fact little Danny’s daddy, Richard Pipes, ran quite a show in the CIA and Ronnie Reagan’s security show. It must be in the DNA. Let me assure you, a nuclear Iran is not a threat to Europe, other Arabs, Asia, Africa, USA, North and South America, Tonga, Pitcairn Island etc. The only one threatened is teensy weensy little Izzy the tick.

  4. That Netanyahu seems willing to act with disregard to US interests seems not so much a characteristic of Netanyahu, but a continuation of Israeli policy since the invasion of Lebanon in’06. That only managed to cement — elevate, really — Hizbollah’s power within the country, as well as Iran’s and Syria’s influence. (Mind you, this is from Washington’s perspective, not an objective assessment of US interests — I myself believe Hizbollah to be a legitimate political entity, and that Syria and Iran have every right to assert their interests in the region, in means recognized as legal under international law, of course. Washington has asserted differently, and followed a course of action that affirms its stated interests.) And the invasion of Gaza did little more than spread Hamas’s influence in the West Bank, while leaving Hamas intact and in charge of Gaza; again, going against Washington’s stated intentions and accompanying actions. It seems the agent isn’t listening to its principal anymore.

  5. Muezzin,
    My name is not Nancy.
    As for Professor Lewis, at least one of his books was published and recommended by the Muslim Brotherhood. Were you to read his writings – rather than to point out his ethnicity, as if that were an insult -, you would find that he holds Islamic civilization and Islam in very high esteem. In other words, what you write is simply wrong.
    Moreover, he was a chaired professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton and has written numerous widely acclaimed books – most of them rather worth the time to read – related to various aspects of history in the various Muslim lands. If he is not qualified to opine, no one is.
    Like any other expert, his views are subject to rational criticism. But, to employ an ad hominem attack as if it were a criticism is a comment about you, not about him. It would be no different than my criticizing a writer for being an Arab. In other words, you demean yourself in the eyes of any rational person. Consider: a real argument goes to the substance of what is said, not to who said it.

  6. NF:
    At one time he did hold Islam in some respect. That was a time when he didn’t feel threatened. Now he does. So he goes regularly to exhort fellow psychotics like Cheney, Bush II and their (almost entirely, except a few shabbesgoyim) jewish blood thirsty cabal all of whom will only be happy when every last muslim is dead

  7. Muezzin,
    Well, Professor Lewis seems to hold Islam in high regard in everything, so far as I know, that he has ever written.
    Holding something in high regard does not equate with viewing all developments in the Muslim regions as positive. And, some important elements among the political class in Iran appear to hold views that are positively horrifying, at least if you believe that human life in this world has value.
    I rather doubt that Professor Lewis feels threatened. He is long past the time in life where fear of death counts for very much.
    In any event, Lewis is not alone in raising serious concerns about Iran. You might investigate what the rulers of the nearby Arab countries think. They are positively frantic about Iran.

  8. I meant threatened in the sense that he thinks there are way too many muslims and they are propagating like bunnies and very soon they will use up all the oxygen that he may need, and by rights owns, to succor his last days of life. He was a frequent guest of Count Cheney of Transylvania sur Wyoming and more or less held his hand in the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Palestine resulting in more than a million dead. It will take these countries many generations to achieve normality. I haven’t heard of an iota of remorse from any of the propagators of these crimes against humanity. I wish him a painfully long death, much like Sharon, who by now has worms coming out of his rear end. As soon as I can pry the arab rulers off a blonde hottie supplied by the CIA/Mossad I will be sure to ask their opinion of Iran. As a sunni I welcome shia dominance. Maybe we will get it right! Name me some names of Iranian leaders holding anti-human views and I will name you a whole bunch who equate a finger nail to a thousand lives.

  9. Muezzin,
    Wishing people dead – and tortured in death – is a statement about you, not Professor Lewis. Have you any decency?
    In answer to your question: the views of the President of Iran are hateful. As are the views of the country’s real leader, Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i.

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