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Former Israeli officer directing key U.S. Air Force office
Former Israeli officer directing key U.S. Air Force office
Checkmate's Dr. Lani Kass is heading a new office directing operations
across the entire electro-magnetic spectrum. It seemed rather odd that
Kass, a former Israeli military officer, now holds a key Air Force
position, particularly after repeated concerns over her nation's
intelligence operations to acquire US national security secrets.
August 27, 2007
AT THE PENTAGON
WASHINGTON DC - I was invited last week to the Pentagon to brief the
US Air Force's Strategic studies group - known as `Checkmate' - on the
Mideast and Southwest Asia.
The last time I was in the Pentagon was during my army service in
1968, when I participated in command briefings for the Chiefs of
Staff. For this edifice's 23,000 military and civilian personnel the
Chiefs are like Valhalla's gods. In the Pentagon's 17 miles of
corridors, I half expected to see some lost WWII officers still
looking for an exit.
`Checkmate,' planner of the crushing 1991 US air campaign against
Iraq, is an interesting outfit. Recently updated, its brainy
commander, Brig Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem, reports directly to the Air
Force Chief of Staff, four-star general Michael Moseley, who sits on
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and advises the president.
`Stutz,' as he is known, is likely destined for senior command. He and
his staff of majors and colonels are highly educated, smart, and have
open, seeking minds that are often too rare in the stultified,
The US Air Force has always been the most progressive, forward-
thinking of the services. Among `Checkmate's' jobs are innovative
strategy, thinking ahead, and evaluating different strategic
viewpoints. The last point is important, because all militaries tend
to become victims of group-think. The forward-thinking US Air Force is
trying to breathe fresh air into the often stale confines of the
I presented my views on developments in the Arab World, Iran, Pakistan
and Afghanistan in an off the record seminar to a group of officers
who were clearly up to date on the subject matter. They knew the
Muslim World was headed for serious change and were clearly seeking
answers on how to deal with the political and demographic earthquakes
that are coming.
The USAF recently added cyberspace to its missions. Checkmate's Dr.
Lani Kass is heading a new office directing operations across the
entire electro-magnetic spectrum. It seemed rather odd that Kass, a
former Israeli military officer, now holds a key Air Force position,
particularly after repeated concerns over her nation's intelligence
operations to acquire US national security secrets.
Kass and `Stutz' also spend a lot of time trying to implement Gen.
Moseley's campaign to renew the `warrior spirit' in the Air Force's
specialized `target and equipment-fixated' officers.
This is the curse of specialized high technology. I saw the same
phenomena during my own military service in the Vietnam era. Senior US
Army officers had become so specialized in technical fields that they
had never learned the basics of war: military history, strategy,
tactics. So I organized and taught seminars for colonels and generals
on just these topics. `Now general,' lectured 26-year old me, `let me
explain how a pincer attack works.'
The USAF is fizzing with new ideas, but it is also not happy. The US
Army and Marines are getting most of America's sympathy and support
for their role in Iraq. The Air Force, without which these wars could
not be waged, and which provides decisive, 24/7 top cover for the
troops with almost instant response, gets far too little credit. In
fact, its decisive role is barely seen except when the rare aircraft
crashes or is shot down by enemy ground fire.
Ironically, the USAF is a victim of its own success. No US ground
troops have been attacked by enemy aircraft since 1953. The USAF has
no enemies because it has shot them all down.
America's air force fights so efficiently and seemingly effortlessly
that neither the US Congress nor public understand the enormous
logistic, manpower, financial and technological efforts required to
keep it dominating the globe's skies, space, and cyberspace.
The over-stretched USAF has been in non-stop combat for the past 17
years. Its aircraft are getting dangerously old. B-52 heavy bombers
are now in their 50's. One B-52 pilot I met, knick- named `Boomer,'
must have been near half his bomber's age. Many tanker aircraft date
to 1957. Many fighter aircraft are 24-years old. Non-stop operations
over Iraq and Afghanistan are rapidly wearing out aircraft and men.
Meanwhile, war against Iran is looming. Interestingly, a senior
Pentagon source insisted `the decision to attack Iran has not been
made;' and an attack is `unlikely.' But many signs suggest the
Official Washington is often accused of not knowing what's going on
abroad. But there are many smart people in the Pentagon, CIA and State
who do know. The problem - and tragedy - is their masters in the White
House and Congress are just not listening.
From The Sunday Times
September 2, 2007
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
By John J Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt
Reviewed by Max Hastings
Five years ago, Atlantic Monthly commissioned two academics, John
Mearsheimer of Chicago University and Stephen Walt of Harvard, to
write a significant article about the influence of the Israeli lobby
on American foreign policy. When the piece was at last completed, the
magazine declined to publish, deeming it too hot for delicate American
palates. It eventually appeared in 2005, in the London Review of
Books, provoking one of the most bitter media and academic rows of
recent times. The authors were accused of antisemitism, and attacked
with stunning venom by some prominent US commentators. Mearsheimer and
Walt obviously like a fight, however, for they have now expanded their
thesis into a book.
Its argument is readily summarised. The authors support Israel's right
to exist. But they are dismayed by America's unconditional support for
its governments' policies, including vast sums of cash aid for which
there is no plausible accounting process. They reject the view
articulated as a mantra by all modern American presidents (and 2008
presidential candidates) that Israel and America share common values,
and their national interests march hand in hand.
On the contrary, say the authors, America's backing for Israel does
grave damage to its own foreign-policy interests. And many Israeli
government actions, including the expansion of West Bank settlements
and the invasion of Lebanon, reflect repressive policies that do not
deserve Washington's endorsement: "While there is no question that the
Jews were victims in Europe, they were often the victimisers, not the
victims, in the Middle East, and their main victims were and continue
to be the Palestinians."
The authors argue that American policy towards Israel is decisively
They quote the experience of a Senate candidate who was invited to
visit AIPAC early in his campaign for "discussions". Harry Lonsdale
described what followed as "an experience I will never forget. It
wasn't enough that I was pro-Israel. I was given a list of vital
topics and quizzed (read grilled) for my specific opinion on each.
Actually, I was told what my opinion must be . . . Shortly after
that . . . I was sent a list of American supporters of Israel . . .
that I was free to call for campaign contributions. I called; they
gave from Florida to Alaska".
When congresswoman Betty McCollum, a liberal with a solid pro-Israel
voting record, opposed the AIPAC-backed Palestinian AntiTerrorism Act,
which was also opposed by the state department, an AIPAC lobbyist told
McCollum's chief-of-staff that her "support for terrorists will not be
tolerated". Former president Jimmy Carter incurred not merely
criticism but vilification when he published a book entitled Palestine
Peace Not Apartheid, likening Israel's policy towards the Palestinians
to that of the old white regime in South Africa towards its black
Whatever view Europeans take of Israel, most find it difficult to
comprehend the sheer ferocity of American sentiment. Ian Buruma wrote
an article for The New York Times entitled How to Talk About Israel.
He said how difficult it is to have an honest debate, and remarked
that "even legitimate criticism of Israel, or of Zionism, is often
quickly denounced as antiSemitism by various watchdogs".
Such remarks brought down a storm on his head. The editor of The
Jerusalem Post, also a columnist for The Wall Street Journal,
published an open letter to Buruma that began: "Are you a Jew?" He
argued that nonJews should discuss these issues only in terms
acceptable to Jews.
The American media, claim the authors, even such mighty organs as The
New York Times and The Washington Post, do less than justice to the
Palestinians, much more than justice to the Israelis. Robert Bartley,
a former editor of The Wall Street Journal, once said: "Shamir,
Sharon, Bibi - whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me."
There is no American counterpart to such notably Arabist British
polemicists as Robert Fisk.
Mearsheimer and Walt's book argues its points at such ponderous length
that it makes pretty leaden reading. But it is extraordinary that, in
a free society, the legitimacy of the expression of their opinions
should be called into question. "We show," say the authors, "that
although Israel may have been an asset during the cold war it is
increasingly a strategic liability now that the cold war is over.
Backing Israel so strongly helps fuel America's terrorism problem and
makes it harder for the United States to address the other problems it
faces in the Middle East."
Americans ring-fence Israel from the normal sceptical proc-esses of
democracy, while arguments for the Palestinians are often denounced as
pernicious as well as antisemitic. All the 2008 presidential
candidates, say Mearsheimer and Walt, know that their campaign would
be dead in the water if they hinted that Israel would receive less
than 100% backing if they win. They note that many Israelis are much
bolder in attacking their own governments than any American politician
would dare to be.
Part of the trouble is that AIPAC faces no significant opposition.
Palestinians, and indeed all Arabs, command negligible sympathy in
America, especially since 9/11. The authors think that the most
helpful step towards diminishing the Israel lobby's grip would be for
election campaigns to be publicly financed, ending candidates'
dependence on private contributions: "AIPAC's success is due in large
part to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates
who support its agenda, and to punish those who do not."
But the authors know reform will not happen. The Israel lobby is
vastly strengthened by the support of America's Christian Zionists, an
important element of George W Bush's constituency. Some may think
these people are lunatics, but there are an awful lot of them. They
are even more strident in their opposition to Arab rights in Palestine
than the Israeli Likud party.
Mearsheimer and Walt conclude, weakly but inevitably, with a mere plea
for more open debate in the US about Israel. "Because most Americans
are only dimly aware of the crimes committed against the
Palestinians," they say, "they see their continued resistance as an
irrational desire for vengeance. Or as evidence of unwarranted hatred
of Jews akin to the antisemitism that was endemic in old Europe.
"Although we deplore the Palestinians' reliance on terrorism and are
well aware of their own contribution to prolonging the conflict, we
believe their grievances are genuine and must be addressed. We also
believe that most Americans would support a different approach . . .
if they had a more accurate understanding of past events and present
For Europeans, all this adds up to a bleak picture. Only America might
be capable of inducing the government of Israel to moderate its
behaviour, and it will not try. Washington gives Jerusalem a blank
cheque, and all of us in some degree pay a price for Israel's abuses
After that remark, I shall be pleasantly surprised to escape an
allegation from somebody that I belong in the same stable of
antisemites as Walt and Mearsheimer. Yet otherwise intelligent
Americans diminish themselves by hurling charges of antisemitism with
such recklessness. There will be no peace in the Middle East until the
United States faces its responsibilities there in a much more
convincing fashion than it does today, partly for reasons given in
this depressing book.
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John J Mearsheimer and
Stephen M Walt
Allen Lane £25 pp496
Buy the book here at the offer price of £22.50 (inc p&p)
Just saw the following posted at www.whatreallyhappened.com
New book challenges US support for Israel
NEW YORK: An upcoming book challenging whether diplomatic and military
support for Israel is in the best interests of the United States is
set to spark fresh debate on Washington's role in the Middle East.
"The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy," written by two of the United
States' most influential political science professors, is set to hit
the bookshelves next Tuesday and promises to break the taboo on the
subject. Written by John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago
and Stephen Walt from Harvard, the book follows an article they
published last year that stirred impassioned debate by setting out a
Their thesis is that US endorsement of Israel is not fully explained
by strategic or moral reasons, but by the pressure exerted by Jewish
lobbyists, Christian fundamentalists and neo-conservatives with
The result, according to the book, is an unbalanced US foreign policy
in the Middle East, the US invasion of Iraq, the threat of war with
Iran or Syria and a fragile security situation for the entire Western
world. "Israel is not the strategic asset to the United States that
many claim. Israel may have been a strategic asset during the Cold
War, but it has become a growing liability now that the Cold War is
over," the authors said.
"Unconditional support for Israel has reinforced anti-Americanism
around the world, helped fuel America's terrorism problem, and
strained relations with other key allies in Europe, the Middle East,
and Asia," they added.
According to the two writers, "backing Israel's harsh treatment of the
Palestinians has reinforced Anti-Americanism around the world and
almost certainly helped terrorists recruit new followers."
Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, described the
book as "an insidious, biased account of the Arab-Israeli conflict and
of the role of supporters of Israel in the US," in an interview with
"Everything about American policy toward the conflict is presented in
exaggerated form, as if America is completely one-sided in support of
Israel and that those policies are simply the product of the Israel
lobby." He is countering Mearsheimer and Walt's book with his own
title: "The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish
Control," due out on the same day.
Mearsheimer and Walt highlight the three billion dollars in US
economic and military aid that Israel receives every year - more than
any other country. They also point to Washington's diplomatic support:
between 1972 and 2006, the United States vetoed 42 United Nations
Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel, while
watering down many others under threat of veto. Foxman counters that
the special relationship works both ways and that the United States
has gained much out of its ally.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs canceled a public debate on the
issue planned for September and featuring Mearsheimer and Walt when
they were unable to schedule a time that Foxman could also manage.
In the conclusion of their book, Mearsheimer and Walt say that the
United States must change its policy towards Israel. "The United
States would be a better ally if its leaders could make support for
Israel more conditional and if they could give their Israeli
counterparts more candid advice without facing a backlash from the
Israel lobby." With just over a year until the 2008 US presidential
election, however, they said the issue was unlikely to even enter the
Walt & Mearsheimer's Proof That 'Tail Wagged the Dog' Points American
Jews to a Universalist Ethos:
The Lobby Strikes
Posted by Justin Raimondo on August 27, 2007
The publication of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, a book-
length version of the now-famous essay by John Mearsheimer and Stephen
Walt, is-naturally!-an occasion for the Lobby to go into high gear,
and the intimidation tactics are already well along. Mearsheimer and
Walt were invited by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to speak
before the group, but the event was cancelled by the group's
president, Marshall Bouton, who gave out the party line that the two
could not be permitted to speak without a "balancing" point of view by
none other than Abe "What Armenian Genocide?" Foxman. That's the
Lobby's "argument"-that Mearsheimer and Walt's thesis is so "toxic"
that it cannot be allowed to stand alone, without a "corrective"
offered by the Anti-Defamation League or some other outfit associated
with the Thought Police.
This just goes to confirm the authors' thesis, expressed in their
London Review of Books piece:
"The Lobby pursues two broad strategies. First, it wields its
significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the
executive branch. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker's own
views may be, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the 'smart'
choice. Second, it strives to ensure that public discourse portrays
Israel in a positive light, by repeating myths about its founding and
by promoting its point of view in policy debates. The goal is to
prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political
arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing US support,
because a candid discussion of US-Israeli relations might lead
Americans to favour a different policy."
Article URL: http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/the_lobby_strikes/
The above was linked in the following article by Justin Raimondo:
War with Iran Its Already Started:
Additional on Mearsheimer/Walt:
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