Sunday, November 19, 2006

Seymour Hersh: The Next Act - New Yorker

David Seaton's News Links
The idea that a Democratic congress lessens the chance of a war with Iran may be totally wrong. It may mean the exact opposite, because the last thing any of the major Democratic presidential candidates want to do in the run-up to the 2008 elections is to offend Israel. The Israelis are absolutely desperate to avoid losing their military superiority. A nuclear armed Iran does not mean the physical end of Israel, Iran wants to be "numero uno" in the Middle East, not to be turned into an ash heap, but it would probably mean the end of the Zionist project, as no one could ever say anymore that Eretz Israel constituted a safe refuge for the Jewish people, quite the contrary. If war is finally avoided the world will have a lot of reasons to thank Seymour Hersh. He is fast becoming a historical figure. He has been the substitute for an entire intellectual class that the United States no longer possesses. DS
Abstract: A month before the November elections, Vice-President Dick Cheney was sitting in on a national-security discussion at the Executive Office Building. The talk took a political turn: what if the Democrats won both the Senate and the House? How would that affect policy toward Iran, which is believed to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear power? At that point, according to someone familiar with the discussion, Cheney began reminiscing about his job as a lineman, in the early nineteen-sixties, for a power company in Wyoming. Copper wire was expensive, and the linemen were instructed to return all unused pieces three feet or longer. No one wanted to deal with the paperwork that resulted, Cheney said, so he and his colleagues found a solution: putting “shorteners” on the wire—that is, cutting it into short pieces and tossing the leftovers at the end of the workday. If the Democrats won on November 7th, the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. The White House would put “shorteners” on any legislative restrictions, (...) In an interview this month with the Jerusalem Post, (Israel's Deputy Defense Minister, Ephraim ) Sneh expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of diplomacy or international sanctions in curbing Iran: The danger isn’t as much Ahmadinejad’s deciding to launch an attack but Israel’s living under a dark cloud of fear from a leader committed to its destruction. . . . Most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with families, and Israelis who can live abroad will . . . I am afraid Ahmadinejad will be able to kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button. That’s why we must prevent this regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs.(...) The Bush Administration, if it does take military action against Iran, would have support from Democrats as well as Republicans. Senators Hillary Clinton, of New York, and Evan Bayh, of Indiana, who are potential Democratic Presidential candidates, have warned that Iran cannot be permitted to build a bomb and that—as Clinton said earlier this year—“we cannot take any option off the table.” Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has also endorsed this view. Last May, Olmert was given a rousing reception when he addressed a joint session of Congress and declared, “A nuclear Iran means a terrorist state could achieve the primary mission for which terrorists live and die—the mass destruction of innocent human life. This challenge, which I believe is the test of our time, is one the West cannot afford to fail.”(...) “Iran is emerging as a dominant power in the Middle East,” I was told by a Middle East expert and former senior Administration official. “With a nuclear program, and an ability to interfere throughout the region, it’s basically calling the shots. Why should they coöperate with us over Iraq?” READ ALL

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