Freeman: Israel is useless to US power projection

Israel/Palestine
on 126 Comments

The other day Stephen Maher published a piece on Electronic Intifada saying that American thirst for hegemony in the region, and not the Israel lobby, is the prime motivator of US policy in Israel and Palestine. What follows is an excerpt of a private email exchange responding to Maher’s post, reprinted by permission of the author, Chas Freeman, a former assistant secretary of defense. 

Maher’s account is far from novel on any score but he is describing Japan’s, the UK’s, or Qatar’s role in US strategy, not Israel’s. A few facts to ponder when considering his assertion that Israel is a huge and essential asset for US global and regional strategy: 

— the US has no bases or troop presence in Israel and stores only minimal military supplies in the country (and these under terms that allow these supplies to be used essentially at will by the IDF). 

— Israeli bases are not available for US use.

— none of Israel’s neighbors will facilitate overflight for military aircraft transiting Israeli territory, let alone taking off from there. Israel is useless for purposes of strategic logistics or power projection.

— Israel is worse than irrelevant to the defense of Middle Eastern energy supplies; the US relationship with Israel has jeopardized these supplies (as in 1973), not contributed to securing them.

— US relations with Israel do not bolster US prestige in Middle Eastern oil-producing countries or assist the US to "dominate" them, they complicate and weaken US influence; they have at times resulted in the suspension of US relations with such countries. 

— Israel does not have the diplomatic prestige or capacity to marshal support for US interests or policies globally or in its own region and does not do so; on the contrary, it requires constant American defense against political condemnation and sanctions by the international community.

— Israel does not fund aid programs in third countries to complement and support US foreign or military policy as other allies and strategic partners do.

Japan provides multiple bases and pays "host nation support" for the US presence (though that presence as well as the fact that Japan is paying for a good deal of it are growing political issues in Japan). The air base in Qatar from which the US directs air operations throughout the region (including in both Iraq and Afghanistan) was built and is maintained at host nation expense. So too the ground force and naval facilities we use elsewhere in the Gulf. The US is paid for the weapons and military services it provides to its European and Asian allies as well as its Arab strategic partners. Washington has never had to exercise a veto or pay a similar political price to protect any of them from condemnation or sanctions by the international community. Japan and various Arab countries, as well as European nations, have often paid for US foreign assistance and military programs in third countries or designed their own programs specifically to supplement US activities. 

Washington has made Israel our largest recipient of foreign aid, encouraged private transfers to it through unique tax breaks, transferred huge quantities of weapons and munitions to it gratis, directly and indirectly subsidized the Israeli defense industry, allocated military R&D to Israeli rather than US institutions, offered Israeli armaments manufacturers the same status as US manufacturers for purposes of US defense procurement, etc.. Almost all US vetoes at the United Nations and decisions to boycott international conferences and meetings have been on behalf of Israel. Israel treats its ability to command support from Washington as a major tool of diplomatic influence in third countries; it does not exercise its very limited influence abroad in support of US as opposed to its own objectives.

As others have said with greater indirection than I have here, one must look elsewhere than Israel’s strategic utility to the United States for the explanation of its privileged status in US foreign policy, iniquitous as Maher considers that policy to be. 

About Chas Freeman

Chas Freeman is a former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, co-chair of the U.S. China Policy Foundation, and a past president of the Middle East Policy Council. He is also the author of two books on foreign policy, "Interesting Times" and "America's Misadventures in the Middle East," published by Just World Books.

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126 Responses

  1. eee
    April 30, 2010, 1:45 pm

    Freeman has a very restricted view of US interests. The main challenge to US hegemony in the middle east is Arab Nationalism. Israel has taken care of that by winning the 67 war. In the future, an Islamic middle east caliphate may be the biggest worry of the US. Again, Israel is the antidote to that.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2010, 3:00 pm

      Eee, Israel has hurt US interests immeasurably by what it has done since winning its preemptive ’67 war. Israel is the poison in the vein of getting along with the Islamic world, a large population of the planet that looks to the Western World, especially the USA, to see what basic universal rights are. Israel is an albatross around Uncle Sam’s neck.

      • Psychopathic god
        May 1, 2010, 6:48 am

        The oil spill in Gulf of Mexico that is on its way to destroying Louisiana, its fish and seafood industry, is grabbing America’s attention.

        The US COULD HAVE HAD a rational, beneficial relationship with the Middle East gulf countries were it not for Israel.

    • lareineblanche
      April 30, 2010, 3:15 pm

      It depends on how you define “US interests”. Whose exactly?
      I don’t see how Israel can get 3 billion a year (from what I’ve read) without there being an interest in it for someone. I would think that US power projection is the only thing it could be useful for in this case.
      Now if it’s in the interests the majority of Americans, that’s a completely different story.
      Again, I think there is some truth to what you’re saying, but you don’t know why.
      Am I wrong?

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2010, 3:37 pm

        The why is directly related to the US political campaign finance system.
        Congress will not stop it. Congress is too selfish. The MSM does not give average Americans enough information on it. In fact the MSM avoids it, thus not ahering to the reason for its free public air waves license, the role of informing the public, so it can act with informed responsibility.

      • Psychopathic god
        May 2, 2010, 6:26 am

        In 2008 Ron Paul organized his campaign around the complex notion that money in politics was an very damaging habit the American political system has gotten itself into, but if his campaign did not collect money, nobody would pay attention to him.

        The conundrum is: how do you wring the money out of the system without spending money.

    • eGuard
      April 30, 2010, 3:23 pm

      Welcome, threee, in your second week of thinking about this subject. I see your first week, in differentiating between Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian, was useful. Keep the exercises going! Now this week we’ll take a broader view. First. When talking about US strategy, don’t confuse it with “hegemony”, as in “holiday option”. Strategy is strategy. As Eisenhower said: strategy is easy to understand, it’s the operations and tactics that need professionals.
      Second: there is only one US strategical interest in the ME: oil. With or without “hegemony” or “Arab Nationalism”: oil. US has no hegemony in Eastern Asia, but sure has interests in Indonesia (would they have oil, you think?). Arab Nationalism is present in Saudi Arabia — no problem for the US there. Iran is not in for Arab Nationalism — why does US spend time on Iran since WWII? Turkey: no US interest because not Arabic you say?
      Please prepare week 3, when Asia is the topic. Asia is not Middle East, you know. Strategy. China has no interest in what we call “Middle East” (Do you know what name Chinese use for that area?). Homework: describe a policy for China on how to handle the area Egypt-India. Beforehand: if you write from a Tel Aviv-viewpoint, however smart, you won’t preceed into week 4.

      • lareineblanche
        April 30, 2010, 3:47 pm

        Arab Nationalism is present in Saudi Arabia
        One of the most repressive states in the world. I think that does have something to do with the fact that we can get the money from the oil so well. I’d say it’s the opposite of Arab Nationalism.
        We don’t need the oil for the moment, it’s the profits. Most of our oil comes from Canada, apparently.
        Iran is not in for Arab Nationalism
        Well, not Arab, so… but even so, Really? I thought that was precisely why Washington (and Israel) have been whining about it for so long.

      • eGuard
        April 30, 2010, 4:04 pm

        lareineblanche, you are right on both quotes in detail, but I was answering on topic: Israel is strategically not relevant to the US, and (threee’s point about) a “challenge to US hegemony in the middle east is Arab Nationalism” is a red herring (if it were, not-Arab Iran would not be in the picture. Full stop). Nor US hegemony nor Arab hegemony are a US strategic interest in the ME.

      • eGuard
        April 30, 2010, 4:07 pm

        oops, please read: “Nor US hegemony nor Arab nationalism are a US strategic interest in the ME.”

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 1, 2010, 12:19 am

        Iran is not in for Arab Nationalism
        ————-
        Hardly! Remember how S.A has made every effort to destroy Arab nationalism starting with Nasser’s Wehda (Unity) with other Arab countries like Syria and Libya?

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 1, 2010, 12:22 am

        OOOPS!! Major mistake in quoting! The response above is to this comment:
        “Arab Nationalism is present in Saudi Arabia”
        NOT to this one:
        “Iran is not in for Arab Nationalism”
        My bad!

      • eGuard
        May 1, 2010, 12:23 pm

        TGA, the detail might be OK. In the end, threee’s comment is not correct. US strategical interest is NOT Arab nationalism. Has never been. Existing or not existing: not. Whether it grew or shrank. Not. Could be used for US interest, yes. As a mean. Not as a goal.

      • James Bradley
        May 22, 2010, 5:46 pm

        I believe Saudi Arabia has done more to destroy Arab Nationalism than have any actions by Israel which have actually done more to create a desire for Arab Nationalism.

      • Chaos4700
        May 22, 2010, 5:57 pm

        Of course, Mr. Bradley? They aren’t just a major US ally merely because of the oil, you know.

    • homingpigeon
      April 30, 2010, 3:24 pm

      There was a time when Arab nationalists gave credit to the US for inspiring them with the education they received at American University of Beirut. When President Wilson , after WW I, sent King and Crane to ask the Arabs of the Levant if they’d rather live under British or French rule their response was that they would prefer independence but short of that they would prefer to live under American rule.

      We have moved from that to today when we have relationships with the Arab world that range from awkward at best to hostile at worst. At the behest of a state claiming one tenth of a percent of the world’s population we are in conflict with potentially one quarter of the world’s population.

      I can do without going into a bar without someone provoking fights and then claiming that they are doing it for me.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2010, 3:42 pm

        Mmmm, would that be Adam Sandler?

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2010, 6:24 am

        “Soros: I think that the policies followed by the Bush administration have really hurt America’s ability to exert influence in the world. And this is felt in the decline of American influence in this region. I think it has also hurt the world because America did stand for certain principles, which it betrayed.

        The Bush administration has violated some basic principles of an open society in a number of areas: in human rights; in the treatment of prisoners; in politicizing areas of the government that ought to be non-political, like for instance the [attorney-general’s] office, the military, the civil service and so on. So, tremendous damage has been done and I’ve warned against it. And I’m glad to see that the American public is now rejecting the Bush policies.”

        link to rferl.org

    • Psychopathic god
      April 30, 2010, 9:46 pm

      eee, I’m interested to know why you believe Arabs are not entitled to their own nations?

      • Chaos4700
        April 30, 2010, 9:55 pm

        Heh. Was that rhetorical? He’s the scion of white European colonialists.

    • Koshiro
      May 1, 2010, 2:19 am

      “In the future, an Islamic middle east caliphate may be the biggest worry of the US. Again, Israel is the antidote to that.”

      Words cannot suitably express how utterly ridiculous this notion is.
      Even if one accepted the laughable ‘caliphate’ conspiracy theory, wouldn’t you think a common enemy such as Israel would help to rally Muslims towards unity?
      Because, you know, that’s rational, logical and quite well supported by historical examples.

    • Keith
      May 2, 2010, 11:26 pm

      EEE- Unacustomed as I am to agreeing with you, I must say that in this comment you are both succinct and accurate. While I don’t for a minute doubt the power of “the lobby,” the notion that the U.S. became an empire by continually acting against its imperial interests is, to put it generously, a curious formulation. I just finished rereading TOWARDS AN OPEN TOMB by Michel Warschawski, a leading Israeli civil rights activist, in which he opines that Israel has become caught-up in U.S. imperial ambitions to its detriment. What most folks don’t seem to understand is that it isn’t a case of the tail wagging the dog. The dog and the tail are one. The relationship between U.S. elites (including American Jews), American Zionist elites (primarily Jews), and Jewish Israeli elites is an incestuous one. Netanyahu spent considerable time in the U.S. and is a neocon who interacted with U.S. neocons. Rahm Emanuel is an American Jew who served in the IDF. It ain’t “us” versus “them,” they are us and we are them. To say that Rahm Emanuel is biased is to state the obvious. To claim that Rahm Emanuel is a traitor to Empire is a stretch. The first loyalty of elites is to themselves, and Empire is more rewarding Aliyah.

      As for Chas Freeman, I think a lot of Mondoweissers are projecting their hopes/biases onto him. My take is that he is an Imperialist to the core. His big problem is that he feels that the Zionist lobby has too much say so. So he attacks the lobby. Notice that nowhere does he attack the Empire, or even acknowledge that imperial interests might play a role. No, it’s “the lobby made us do it.” Bullshit! What we are doing in the Middle East is very consistent with we are doing pretty much everywhere else. The lobby is important, but ultimately WE are responsible. My big problem with a Chas Freeman (and his supporters) is that he (they) seem to be apologists for U.S. imperial behavior. If the lobby is so damn powerful, why aren’t we picketing AIPACS activities?

      • tree
        May 2, 2010, 11:59 pm

        Keith,

        I might suggest you read a couple of books by Stephen Green on historical instances where Israel’s actions went quite counter to Us interests. Taking Sides and Living By the Sword are the two titles, the first covering the period up to 1967 and the next one is on the period from 1967 til the late 1980’s when that book was written. Lets just say that the record shows numerous incidents where Israeli interests and actions ran directly counter to US interests and actions.
        Fallen Pillars, by Donald Neff, written in 1995, goes into this same subject area.

        It seems to me that what Freeman and W & M are saying is that US foreign interests are being held hostage to domestic interest groups who do not have US interests, but rather Israeli interests, at heart. Regardless of who is saying this, it is an important point for discussion, one that has up until now been deemed unsuitable for discussion, much to the detriment of both US and Israeli interests. I agree with Freeman on this point, regardless of whether I agree with him on other points, or whether I view him as an “imperialist” or not.

      • Keith
        May 3, 2010, 7:19 pm

        TREE- Let me begin by noting that the phrase “American interests” is an ambiguous term which I have always interpreted to mean “American elite interests.” This, I believe, is what Chas Freeman is referring to in this post.

        In trying to determine whether or not Israeli influences are detrimental to American elite interests, we are guessing that without this influence, U.S. actions would be significantly different. I think that Stephan Maher does a good job in showing that U.S. actions in the Middle East are GENERALLY consistent with imperial actions elsewhere. There is always some disagreement among the elites and the strategists over the specific details of the overarching strategy. After all, these are individuals with their own biases and personal interests. Chas Freeman has his version of preferred imperial geostrategy.

        My big problem with Chas Freeman is that his focus on the Zionist lobby tends to shift the locus of causality from the U.S. to Israel. This is wrong. Ultimately, the U.S. Empire is responsible for its policies and behavior, elite Israeli bias notwithstanding. While a Chas Freeman may claim that without an Israeli bias the U.S. would have a kinder, gentler Middle East policy, I maintain that it is the Empire which enables the policy. Just as Zionism putrefies Israel, the Empire putrefies the U.S. Both need to be opposed.

        One final comment seems in order. Both the U.S. and Israel are becoming more militaristic, more hostile to democracy and human rights. this is caused in large part by the advance of neoliberal globalization. The U.S. Empire is morphing into the transnational corporate empire. In a globalized world, arguing whether policy originated in Tel Aviv (Idoubt it) or Washington or New York is somewhat questionable, except to identify the pressure point. To argue that U.S. Middle East policy is not in the best interest of the U.S. Empire (“American interests”), is misplaced emphasis. Actions and policies which harm people should be opposed because they harm people. Actions and policies which help and empower people should be supported because they help and empower people. Under these circumstances, I find discussions concerning “American interests” problematic. In other words, criticize the lobby all you want, but don’t base your criticism on the belief that the lobby is weakening the U.S. Empire. It is? Great!

  2. MRW
    April 30, 2010, 2:53 pm

    eee,

    Freeman’s bonafides in discussing this arena and his authority so far exceed yours in scope, intellectual reach, and plain facts that the difference between your comments and his are tantamount to the Dinky Toy® of a Ferrari and the real thing.

    • Julian
      April 30, 2010, 3:10 pm

      Freeman’s bonafides include lining his pocket with Saudi cash.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2010, 3:46 pm

        Right, Julian. So, just in comparison, let’s look at the AIPAC donations over the years to US reps of every sort, both elected and appointed. See anything? Don forget to also look at who was wiped out because they dared to criticize Israel in pubic.

      • potsherd
        April 30, 2010, 9:37 pm

        Julian – God’s gift to libel lawyers.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2010, 6:51 am

        Freeman did not line his pockets with Saudi cash. For a time he had a small independent think tank critical of US policy in the Middle East, and some donors to it were Saudis–one for sure anyway. The donations barely kept the think tank afloat. Now, if any readers here want to review who the players were that sunk Freeman as Obama’s choice, here’s a running blog with many updates on the subject. You will find a crew of the usual Israel First suspects: link to salon.com

        Obama blinked regarding Freeman; Obama’s been blinking ever since.
        Those with the best interests of the US at heart are not influential in DC when it comes to anything Israel, all the time.

    • homingpigeon
      April 30, 2010, 3:28 pm

      Among other accomplishments, Freeman translated between Mao Tse Tung and Nixon when he was twenty seven. Besides excellent Chinese he does reasonably well in Arabic. Vetoed for US government service by Israel. Then again the sluts in Washington don’t deserve him and maybe he shouldn’t have tried to waste his time with them.

  3. Chu
    April 30, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Wow, what a list of negatives!
    I guess that’s why it’s a ‘special’ relationship.

    • Avi
      April 30, 2010, 11:45 pm

      I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again, especially in light of the details presented by Mr. Freeman in this article, Israel has been and continues to be a parasite and a liability.

      Liars like Dershowitz and his ilk who claim that Israel is a huge US aircraft carrier in the Middle East, are just that, liars. Nothing could be farther from the truth as this article shows.

      The US has military bases and CIA stations throughout the entire Middle East, in every nook and cranny from Morocco to Pakistan, except in Israel. Israel wants the money with no strings attached, none.

      The answer is obvious. This farcical “special” relationship benefits Israel alone, and AIPAC is its agent.

  4. Richard Witty
    April 30, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Is this statement because of his staff appointment fight, or an indication of how he conducts himself in staff roles?

    The reason that there is no-fly relations, or that Israel is not a politically viable direct US base site, is because of prejudices and unwillingness to accept Israel as a state.

    To use that as a reasoning that the US should not regard Israel as an ally (for US help or for US to help), is circular. Its a confirmation of a prejudice, NOT realism.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2010, 3:05 pm

      Realism would show the score, what has Israel done for the US? How has it hurt the USA? Match up any country. Witty, you are blind. Inject some more zioncaine. For the rest here, look at the pros and cons of relationship between any country other than Israel–what do you see? Now, compare Israel’s “special relationship” in all its glory since the mid-1967. You think Americans have gotten a fair shake? Tell us how.

      • Sumud
        May 1, 2010, 5:44 am

        ” How has it hurt the USA? ”

        To the tune of about 3 Trillion dollars – and that was the 2003 estimate.

        The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion
        link to wrmea.com

    • potsherd
      April 30, 2010, 3:18 pm

      Yeah, it’s so nasty to be prejudiced against a rogue warmongering state that keeps bombing you.

    • Chu
      April 30, 2010, 3:41 pm

      Your statement about prejudice and unwillingness to accept Israel is vague. Can you clarify what you mean?

      • Richard Witty
        April 30, 2010, 3:51 pm

        Vague?

        Its clear that no Arab states without diplomatic relations with Israel allow fly over privileges, though that has obviously been allowed at key moments.

        Freeman’s points are circular. Israel is a liability because the countries that don’t like Israel, don’t like Israel.

      • Shingo
        April 30, 2010, 9:36 pm

        “Freeman’s points are circular. Israel is a liability because the countries that don’t like Israel, don’t like Israel.”

        You’re almost there Witty.  The the countries that don’t like Israel, don’t like Israel becasue Israel continues to reject their peace offer.  That’s not circular at all.

      • Julian
        May 1, 2010, 6:08 am

        No, the Palestinians continue to reject every peace offer. They will never get a better deal than what Olmert offered and as they always do, they rejected it. The only deal they will accept is 5 million Arabs “returning” to Israel.

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 6:20 am

        False, there was no peace offer from Israel…EVER.

        Every time you bring up your BS about Olmert’s offer, you are debunked. You’re like some mindless cretin who covers his ears and says he’s not listening. Olmert’s offer mentioned nothing about Jerusalem or the refugees, therefore it was inadequate, nerv mind that he had no hope in hell of delivering.

      • Psychopathic god
        May 1, 2010, 6:33 am

        I guess folks don’t like Israel for their freedom and democracy. those Palestinians just don’t like democracy; that’s why they absolutely refused to follow US’s recommendation and conduct an election…..

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2010, 6:58 am

        Right, Richard Witty, those Arab states don’t like Israel “because” they don’t like Israel. Israel’s acivities are not relevant at all. Your reasoning is much more circular than Freeman’s.

      • rosemerry
        May 1, 2010, 4:54 pm

        Palestinians are there or in refugee camps and have houses stolen by diaspora jews. “returning” is a ludicrous word for jews, not Palestinians.
        What peace offer? When has Israel ever stopped expanding?

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2010, 3:49 pm

      Yeah right, Witty. It’s hard to go along with a guy who who is an incessant asshole–that would be Israel.

    • Sumud
      April 30, 2010, 9:44 pm

      “The reason that there is no-fly relations, or that Israel is not a politically viable direct US base site, is because of prejudices and unwillingness to accept Israel as a state.”

      A prejudice against ethnic cleansing that is.

      Why give Israel something for nothing? For 3 decades (at least) the Arab League have tied complete normalisation of relations with Israel to a just (ie. based on international law) settlement of the I/P conflict.

      The ball is in Israel’s court, as always – you can drop the victim talk. Think of it as Arab League’s partial BDS.

    • Chaos4700
      April 30, 2010, 9:52 pm

      Can you literally do nothing but ad hominem on anyone who speaks up against Israel, Witty?

    • RoHa
      April 30, 2010, 11:58 pm

      I don’t follow your reasoning here. You seem to agree that Israel is useless as an ally for the U.S., and yet you seem to think that the U.S. should still consider Israel an ally.

      Why?

      There is no point in realpolitik, and there seems no basis for a moral obligation.

      Israel does nothing for the U.S. On the contrary, Israel attacked a U.S. ship, harrassed U.S. troops in Lebanon, spies on the U.S, sells U.S. military technology to the highest bidder, attempted to assassinate a U.S. ambassador, suborns U.S. citizens to give their loyalty to another country, provides a safe haven for American criminals, and works hard at corrupting the U.S. political system. And I’m sure that some here can add to that list.

      What sort of ally is that?

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2010, 7:03 am

        Why, yes, Israel, the same ally who thanked the US for picking it as its very first (1985)
        partner in a regional trade agreement–by stealing (via AIPAC) the classified patents and trade secrets of US companies and all the US’s equally classified negotiating stance(s). Google how behind the eight ball the US balance of trade with Israel is, and how many US jobs it has cost us over the years.

    • Koshiro
      May 1, 2010, 2:30 am

      “The reason that there is no-fly relations, or that Israel is not a politically viable direct US base site, is because of prejudices and unwillingness to accept Israel as a state.”
      I could argue at length about how your basic assumptions are nonsense and about how you only chose to address what you perceived as the weakest argument, but I won’t. Neither will I play your game and argue why those ‘prejudices’ are Israel’s own damned fault. I’ll just answer with a solid ‘So what?’

      Alliances and interests aren’t based on wishful thinking.
      Fact: Israel is useless as an ally. This is due to partly to the fact that it’s too much of a pariah state in the region.
      Fact: Continued US support for Israel will not change this, but rather helps sustaining it.
      Fact: The US has other, more useful allies in the region, such as Turkey, relations with whom would certainly benefit from stronger US support.

      Conclusion: From the viewpoint of alliances and interests, supporting Israel with even a single dollar is irrational. ‘Nuff said.

      • Richard Witty
        May 1, 2010, 3:23 am

        Israel has not had good relations with an Arab state and then ruined it (its behavior). It has been boycotted by Arab states since its birth.

        Only two have diplomatic relations, though a couple more allow some diplomatic contact, but limited.

        Saying that Israel is not an ally on the stupidly limited reasoning of “it doesn’t provide forward bases for our protection of Persian Gulf oil supply chain”, is saying that one is only a friend with someone that can help them punch out another neighbor.

        The relationship with Israel is more broad, fundamental, than that.

        When our dependance on Arab and Iranian controlled oil will decline, we will still be allies with Israel.

        It is RIGHT for the US to assist in the defense of Israel against actual terror, isolation and abuse.

        And, it is wrong for Israel to use that assistance for offensive purposes. But, that is the extent of the wrong.

        Lets talk about what is legitimate defense.

      • Richard Witty
        May 1, 2010, 3:26 am

        Abandoning support for Israel in order to pander to the whims of oil sheiks, would be the least just thing to do.

        Its odd that those that pretend to be guided by justice, conscience, etc. would even consider the line of reasoning of “military ally to support defense of oil supply chain” as compelling and sole basis of association.

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 7:01 am

        But abandoning support for Israel in order to force it to end it’s brutal occupation would be a very just thing to do.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2010, 7:14 am

        Not to mention it would operate to protect US soldiers, take away
        a key sense of righteousness propelling Arab activists, and give just a tad of credibility to the old notion once held by the Arab man in the street of the US as the most fair
        powerful country. It would also undermine Iran’s claim to be the only local non-Arab state who cares about the Arabs, especially the Palestinians.

      • Avi
        May 1, 2010, 4:26 pm

        Israel has not had good relations with an Arab state and then ruined it (its behavior). It has been boycotted by Arab states since its birth.

        Only two have diplomatic relations, though a couple more allow some diplomatic contact, but limited.

        That’s false.

        Both Jordan and Egypt have more than just diplomatic ties with Israel. Egypt, for example, supplies Israel with natural gas at prices that are lower than the market price. Jordan, has allowed Israeli textile companies to open factories and employ cheap Jordanian labor. These companies then ship the goods to Israel and export them as “Made in Israel”. These are just two examples, off the top of my head, where Israel is the main beneficiary from its relations with those two states.

        As an aside, Israel had great relations with Turkey, a beautiful country that Israeli tourists loved to visit, both due to the low prices and the breathtaking scenery. But, Israel decided to destroy its relations with Turkey through a series of juvenile symbolic acts after Turkey criticized Israel for the slaughter in Gaza.

        So, even diplomatic ties with Israel have become a liability, especially given the destructive rampage Israeli tourists usually go on when they travel to a foreign country; faucets were stolen from hotels in Greece, tiles removed and stolen from hotels in Jordan, the same took place in Turkey. In several cases, the epidemic was so widespread that the governments got involved and complained officially to the Israeli government about the behavior of Israeli tourists.

      • Koshiro
        May 2, 2010, 2:01 am

        “Israel has not had good relations with an Arab state and then ruined it (its behavior). It has been boycotted by Arab states since its birth.”

        That’s irrelevant! Even if one were to accept the underlying notion that it’s not Israel’s fault that this state of things doesn’t change: Israel is a regional pariah. As long as it is, this severely limits is usefulness as an ally

        “Saying that Israel is not an ally on the stupidly limited reasoning of “it doesn’t provide forward bases for our protection of Persian Gulf oil supply chain”, is saying that one is only a friend with someone that can help them punch out another neighbor.”
        First of all: The one who ‘stupidly limited’ the conclusions of the article to this formula was certainly not the author.

        Otherwise: Welcome to politics. Nations do not make friends just because. But of course, they don’t need to be able to punch out other neighbours. They could also have:
        – A good accord with neighbours who we don’t get along with so terribly well ourselves. They could help setting up meetings and… well I can stop here. Israel: 0.
        – Some property we need to use regularly. Israel: 0.
        – Good business relations with a third party we need to conduct deals with. Israel: 0.

        The relationship you envision for Israel and the US is not one of alliance, nor one of friendship. It’s more like family. Assistance based not on rational analysis of mutual interests, but on diffuse, basically irrational ‘deeper’ ties. So we should give cousin Israel nice birthday presents every year, no questions asked, no matter how much of a bully, a brat, and a moocher he is.

      • sherbrsi
        May 2, 2010, 2:44 am

        Welcome to politics. Nations do not make friends just because.

        A former American president (I forget who) is accredited as saying:

        “American does not have any friends, only strategic partners”

        That notion can be applied to any state in the world, in the realm of politics, it would apply just as well.

        Of course, when it comes to America, this applies even more so. America makes alliances with one country, then discards them purely on the basis of their interests. That’s the nature of the superpower.

        Clinton said so in her AIPAC speech, couched in a sugar-coated pill.

        America is aware of Israel’s declining utility: as first it supported it at the expense of Arab/Middle Eastern isolation, now it does so at the expense of declining credibility from the international community.

      • Richard Witty
        May 2, 2010, 4:50 am

        Freeman’s error, and your Sherbrsi, is that in fact nations do have friends, close relations that are not defined solely in the cruel utilitarian description that you proposed.

        Its an argument that is NOT SUITED to dissent, which judges political relationships on other than “its in our interest” terms.

        If that were the sum total of your dissent relative to Israel, you would only be a good loyal patriot, a one-dimensional, cynical, functionary of the state.

        That is the “realist” line of thinking, and the libertarian “single-loyalty” line.

        I don’t fit it. I’m a dissenter. I oppose wars (don’t loyally and patriotically support them because the state says so).

        I DON’T support America’s “interest” when it causes harms generally, or even to specific groups.

        Do you?

      • sherbrsi
        May 2, 2010, 5:32 am

        Freeman’s error, and your Sherbrsi, is that in fact nations do have friends, close relations that are not defined solely in the cruel utilitarian description that you proposed.

        Your mistake is that you are confusing diplomatic ties (which may be based on cultural or religious ties) with political alliances.

        Even Israel has diplomatic ties with some Arab states, but political alliances are an entirely different matter.

        Political alliances are made on the basis of political utility, not a vague, human relation of “friendship.”

      • Richard Witty
        May 2, 2010, 5:48 am

        There is no possible disassociation with Israel, nor renunciation of US obligation to defend Israel from foreign assault.

        In the current setting, there are three potential assailants on Israel: Hezbollah, Syria, Iran.

        Each demand either/or positions of the US.

        That posing of “either/or” is the problem. It results from a failure to accept Israel’s existence, a long historical phenomena.

        The larger Arab world clearly prefers to normalize relations with Israel, conditionally, which is a reasonable approach. They have rejected the Hamas demand that the PA not negotiate with Israel. They voted to encourage the PA to negotiate with Israel.

        The relationship between the US and Israel is nowhere “vague”. It is undeniable and permanent and should be. And, that does not depend on AIPAC as the relationship is more substantive, intimate and enduring. It includes, beyond continuing strategic and military alliance, economic, social, cultural, familial.

        Its just real.

        From the perspective of interests, EVERY relationship is a strategic asset and a strategic liability, especially in the context of deferred war.

        The relationship between the US and Turkey has been mixed for US reputation and presence. The relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia has been mixed for US reputation and presence. (Citizen likes to site the Liberty as some assault on the US. Saudi Arabia DID lead two punitive oil embargoes against the US largely, after the US supported Israel in the 73 war.)

      • Shingo
        May 2, 2010, 6:05 am

        “In the current setting, there are three potential assailants on Israel: Hezbollah, Syria, Iran.”

        Correction, these are all potential targets, and none, NONE, of them have ever attacked Israel.

        “It results from a failure to accept Israel’s existence, a long historical phenomena.”

        Th acceptance of Israel’s existence is entirely ireelvant or significant. You always reach for this lie whenever you are clutching at straws.

        The real issue, as it has always been, is Israel’s refusal to accept that it is part of the Middle East. Israel doesn’t care what any country thinks, so why should they care who accepts them or othrewise?

        The fact that Israel has for 9 years, rejecte the Arab peace offer proves this beyind any doubt. Israel wants to be part of Europe.

        “The relationship between the US and Israel is nowhere “vague”. It is undeniable and permanent and should be. ”

        False. It is absolutely vague. It is called an alliance, when ion fact Israel has rejected the alliance. It is justified on the basis fo shared values, when in fact, no such values are shared. It is justified on the assumption that Israel is important to US security, when in fact is has been a major liability to US interests.

        Israel is a parasite that is dragging the US down with it.

      • sherbrsi
        May 2, 2010, 6:07 am

        From the perspective of interests, EVERY relationship is a strategic asset and a strategic liability

        Yes, and that is what politics is about, advancing one’s own interests, even at the expense of others, even at the expense of political alliances. Thus the lack of any notion of “friendship.”

        It follows then, as Freeman’s article indicates, that Israel has little, if any strategic asset, and is, in more understandable and practical terms, a burden on America financially and a strain in its international credibility (as Clinton acknowledges). The relationship be re-evaluated and acted on, to the best interests of all parties involved.

      • Shingo
        May 2, 2010, 6:07 am

        “I DON’T support America’s “interest” when it causes harms generally, or even to specific groups.”

        But you do support Israel’s “interest” when it causes harms generally, or even to specific groups.

        Why is that Witty?

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 2, 2010, 6:11 am

        a long historical phenomena.
        ————-
        Phenomenon, Richard, phenomenon! Phenomena or phenomenae is plural .

  5. Julian
    April 30, 2010, 2:59 pm

    The great Steve Rosen said about Chas: “His views of the region are what you would expect in the Saudi foreign ministry, with which he maintains an extremely close relationship, not the top CIA position for analytic products going to the President of the United States.”
    Fortunately when Freeman’s record started coming out he quickly withdrew his nomination.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2010, 3:11 pm

      Steve Rosen is an American traitor. Here’s his current legacy:
      link to dailypaul.com

      • Julian
        April 30, 2010, 3:27 pm

        Steve Rosen’s legacy was that he was the target of a witch hunt who was exonerated. Rosen stood up to his attackers and didn’t let them shut him up. While still under indictment he wrote several columns which eventually took down Chas Freeman. Rosen is a true American hero.

      • Chu
        April 30, 2010, 3:31 pm

        If that’s true Julian, why were there no articles published about Rosen as the American Hero?

        Rosen’s career took a dramatic turn on August 27, 2004, when CBS News broadcast a report alleging that “A spy is working for Israel at the Pentagon… The suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials…passing classified information…to two men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis…[including] a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran.”

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2010, 3:51 pm

        Yeah, right, Julian, a regular witch hunt. Rosen is a traitor to the USA. All readers google Rosen’s antics; judge for yourself.

      • Shingo
        April 30, 2010, 9:35 pm

        “Steve Rosen’s legacy was that he was the target of a witch hunt who was exonerated”

        Steve Rosen was not exonerated. The case was dropped because Rosen’s defense team threatened to use gray mail to drag all mjanner of classified material into the public.

        “Rosen stood up to his attackers and didn’t let them shut him up. “‘

        No, she just dared to release classified material to the public.

        Interestingly, Rosen is currently suing AIPAC for using him as their sacrificial lamb.

        “Rosen is a true American hero”

        False.  He’s a true Zionist hero.  Just like Pollard.

      • Avi
        April 30, 2010, 11:47 pm

        Once again an Israeli spy tars an American patriot in favor of Israel. No surprises here.

      • Danaa
        May 1, 2010, 3:45 am

        Rosen is about as slimy as a banana slug can get (sorry, slugs…at least for you slime is the spice of life). He is a traitor to his country, a spy of the lowest order, and a totally untrustworthy creature that is lower on the totem pole of life forms than the the ugliest cockroach ever (with apologies to all cockroaches which may have a useful role to play as part of the food chain, and may not seem all that ugly to their own kind). This rosen “person” deserves to be spat upon by all – humans AND dogs, not just american ones, either. I would never honor him by wrapping him up with dual loyalty label either, because, in truth, people like this have no loyalty to anyone or anything other than themselves. It is because of creatures like the rosen-crap that religions obligingly invented the concept of hell. Sometimes I really wish I could believe in one.

        One can only hope the rosencavalier did not over-reproduce. Wouldn’t want anyone I know to run into him or any issue of his. Sometimes it is regretable that even the most corrupted DNA has survival value, if only as a collection of tiny little programming bits. For the sake of us all, I hope the Rosen-bits can never again be assembled into the same decrepid form.

        Does anyone get the feeling I have little use for the tinker-taylor-rosen-spy? I am sure even my cats would hiss him straight out of the yard (such good kitties they are, too, with little use for tresspassers and dreks, be they bipeds or quadrupeds….)

      • Julian
        May 1, 2010, 6:26 am

        They dropped the charges because they didn’t have a case. Your gray material theory is typical bs. Several people involved in US intelligence were going to testify for Rosen including the former federal classification czar, J. William Leonard.
        Rosen stated the US government forced Aipac to fire him. They knew he was innocent but took the politically safe route by firing him and now they are going to have to pay him.

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 7:04 am

        The gray mail theory is fact.

        Rosen is in the process of firing a lawsuit against AIPAC. larry Franklin, who passed the information to Rosen was found guilty in a court of law. Rosen is as guilty as they come, but slipped away like so many Israeli spies.

        The only ones who are goign to have t pay Rosen are AIPAC.

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 7:06 am

        hey Julian,

        Your hero is suing AIPAC for defamation.

        link to jta.org

        How funny is that? You Zionists are like rats who eat their own.

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 7:07 am

        Your hero is even accusing AIPAC of espionage.

        link to original.antiwar.com

        It just gets better and better.

      • Colin Murray
        May 1, 2010, 7:36 am

        Wow. Steve Rosen as an American hero … I highly encourage everyone to read this court document hosted on the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy website:

        USA v. Franklin: Statement of Facts, October 5, 2005

      • Julian
        May 1, 2010, 6:36 pm

        Grant Smith is a riot his “devatating FBI raids” on Aipac is typical of his nonsense. The raids were so devastating not a single Aipac member was charged with anything. So devastating that the secrets czar J. William Leonard was testifying for Rosen. So devastating all charges were dropped against Rosen. Let me know when something devastating happens.

      • Chaos4700
        May 1, 2010, 6:51 pm

        And this, boys and girls, how a fifth column works. Take notes!

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 7:46 pm

        “Grant Smith is a riot his “devatating FBI raids” on Aipac is typical of his nonsense. The raids were so devastating not a single Aipac member was charged with anything”

        Except for Stev Rosen of course.

      • Shingo
        May 1, 2010, 7:50 pm

        Indeed, the lobby has become so insidious and corrupted do much of the system, that if Pollard were to be caught doing today what he was caught doing back then, not only would he escape all charges, but Julian would call him a great American patriot.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    April 30, 2010, 3:00 pm

    RE: “one must look elsewhere than Israel’s strategic utility to the United States for the explanation of its privileged status in US foreign policy” – Freeman
    FOR INSTANCE, SEE – Bachmann: ‘If We Reject Israel, Then There Is A Curse That Comes Into Play’, By Eric Kleefeld, TPM, 02/09/10
    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has declared that America has a serious obligation to support Israel — and if not, God will curse the United States, and it will be the end of this country.
    The Minnesota Independent reports that Bachmann told the Republican Jewish Coalition, at an event last week in Los Angeles:
    “I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.”
    SOURCE – http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/bachmann-if-we-reject-israel-then-there-is-a-curse-that-comes-into-play.php

    • lareineblanche
      April 30, 2010, 3:05 pm

      “…and if not, God will curse the United States, and it will be the end of this country.”

      Well, that settles it.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2010, 3:15 pm

        It’s always good to hear from German Americans as to how Americans are anti-semitic. Could it get any better?

      • lareineblanche
        April 30, 2010, 3:29 pm

        I just thought it was funny that a representative was quoting a bible verse to justify foreign policy in the 21st century – has it gotten that bad?

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2010, 3:57 pm

        Yeah, lareineblanche, it has gotten that bad. You have a choice, Schumer or Koch, or Palin and Bachmann. Tribal American jews to the 9s, or
        American Germans wanting to lick Jewish feet (for individual power and perks).

      • annie
        April 30, 2010, 11:36 pm

        “we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.”

        so i guess that settles it. our blessings are relative to how much we bless israel. simple and concise and braindead, that’s our Michele.

      • Mooser
        May 1, 2010, 10:42 am

        If the Us rejects Israel, the curse imposed is a real whopper: God will make bagels not “proof”, no matter how long they are boiled.
        Who among us is willing to face this penalty?

      • DICKERSON3870
        May 1, 2010, 11:50 am

        RE: “God will make bagels not “proof”, no matter how long they are boiled.” – El Alce
        MY COMMENT: Bagels are too damn ‘tough’ anyway! At least, for people like myself who are unfortunate enough to have the crappy ‘soft enamel’ teeth of “the English”.
        Bagels are a dentist’s best friend. Second only to the accursed ‘peanut brittle’ (a southern favourite).

      • MHughes976
        May 1, 2010, 2:12 pm

        What are these blessings and curses? If a blessing is any good act then we should perform these acts for everyone, not just those of one race. Most of my fellow-Christians would agree, surely?
        If cursing includes any form of moral disagreement, perhaps with threats of divine punishment, with what people do then we would have to expurgate the rest of the ancient scriptures quite severely if we were to remove all protests against what seem to be bad deeds or bad attitudes by Israelites. Hosea’s oracles strike me as remarkably terrifying. I’d rather restrict ‘cursing’ to something malicious.

  7. Colin Murray
    April 30, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Slam dunk.

  8. match personals linked to this.
  9. traintosiberia
    April 30, 2010, 10:01 pm

    Chas Freeman was involved with Saudi and China as an American consulatant for a nonprofit organization. He did not make money out of Saudi relationship. By the way the people who made money out of Iraq war was related to Ari Fleisher and Rubin and to some Israeli citizen with citizenship of US. Was not Richard Pearle involved with selling some stuff to Saudi ?

  10. Richard Parker
    April 30, 2010, 10:05 pm

    Phew! No wonder Chas Freeman was blocked as chair of the National Intelligence Council.

    His succinct and devastating list of the real facts about Israel’s utility to US security interests in the Middle East (or elsewhere) is just the sort of Intelligence that I would wish to be presented with if I was a real POTUS (which Obama isn’t).

    I have vaguely heard of many of these facts before, but not all combined into one hard-hitting list. For all the money the US pours into Israel, the US gets zilch.

    the US has no bases or troop presence in Israel and stores only minimal military supplies in the country (and these under terms that allow these supplies to be used essentially at will by the IDF).

    Israeli bases are not available for US use.. So that was why, when Turkey cut off the use of Incirlik to help the invasion of Iraq, Israel didn’t pipe up and offer its own forward bases.

    none of Israel’s neighbors will facilitate overflight for military aircraft transiting Israeli territory, let alone taking off from there. Israel is useless for purposes of strategic logistics or power projection.So they have to zigzag through the Red Sea to hit a so-called arms smuggling convoy in Sudan.

    Israel is worse than irrelevant to the defense of Middle Eastern energy supplies; the US relationship with Israel has jeopardized these supplies (as in 1973), not contributed to securing them.

    US relations with Israel do not bolster US prestige in Middle Eastern oil-producing countries or assist the US to “dominate” them, they complicate and weaken US influence; they have at times resulted in the suspension of US relations with such countries. Er…Libya, Syria….

    Israel does not have the diplomatic prestige or capacity to marshal support for US interests or policies globally or in its own region and does not do so; on the contrary, it requires constant American defense against political condemnation and sanctions by the international community.

    Israel does not fund aid programs in third countries to complement and support US foreign or military policy as other allies and strategic partners do. Israel is mean, self-centred, and a pariah. But it does provide offensive programmes to help oppressive governments when the money is paid up front (see Uganda, Colombia).

    The original article disappeared and the posting system went kaput as I was trying to post this earlier. But it is now back up again so I am re-posting it, in addition to the copies I posted elsewhere.

    I think this is one of the most important articles Phil has posted recently. Surgical dissection of Israel’s true value to the US beats student divestment antics any day, in my opinion.

    • radii
      May 1, 2010, 5:49 am

      Let’s not forget that during the George W. Bush administration his trade rep to israel publicly protested the fact that israel locked us out of its market and had a vast and growing trade surplus with us! Further, israel was able to get the law passed under Commerce Dept. regulations that make it a felony for any American to boycott israel (if they join the Arab boycott)

      israel is a hideous parasite upon the United States and the host is finally waking up and must pry that thing from our neck and get control over it before it does us any more harm

  11. Bandolero
    April 30, 2010, 10:08 pm

    Chas Freeman is right. The level of US-support for Israel can only be described as irrational. What Stephen Maher has written, looks pretty much like what Noam Chomsky wrote 2006 here:

    link to chomsky.info

    But Noam Chomsky had an interesting sentence in his article, what’s missing in Stephen Mahers article:

    “It’s true that Bush II has weakened the US position, not only in the ME, but that’s an entirely separate matter.”

    Noam Chomsky was true. Doing a military invasion into Iraq, which resulted in turning Iraq effectively into an ally of Iran weakened the US position in all possible means. And that’s exactly where Noam Chomsky then and Stephen Maher now fell short. Who designed that Bushist ME foreign policy of foreign invasions in a very significant way? The Israel-Lobby.

    So, I think, one cannot say, the irrational ME policy design of the Israel-Lobby has nothing to do with the failures of the policy.

  12. Richard Parker
    April 30, 2010, 10:18 pm

    The worm turns

    “On March 2, 2009 Steven Rosen sued AIPAC for slander and libel, asserting in a 36 page complaint that AIPAC’s board of directors were not only aware that he was soliciting and circulating classified information, but rewarded and promoted him for it.”

    American hero?

    • Avi
      April 30, 2010, 11:51 pm

      The worm turns

      “On March 2, 2009 Steven Rosen sued AIPAC for slander and libel, asserting in a 36 page complaint that AIPAC’s board of directors were not only aware that he was soliciting and circulating classified information, but rewarded and promoted him for it.”

      American hero?

      The Trojan Horse analogy comes to mind.

      • Mooser
        May 1, 2010, 10:44 am

        Or maybe just Trojans generally?

      • Chaos4700
        May 1, 2010, 10:52 am

        Sounds a lot closer an analogy to me, Mooser, considering the sort of “protection” AIPAC offers those who work for the US government, and how akin it is to that offered by various mafias to their subordinates.

      • DICKERSON3870
        May 1, 2010, 12:00 pm

        RE: “Trojans generally” – Mooser
        MY RETORT: With or without the ‘reservoir tip’?
        TROJAN® or TROJAN-Enz®?
        ….What does “Enz” mean in the TROJAN-Enz® name? Enz is our registered trademark to identify the reservoir tip design on some TROJAN® condom varieties…

  13. traintosiberia
    April 30, 2010, 10:26 pm

    there are/were Taiwenese lobby, Indonesian lobby, Armenian lobby,Pakistani lobby/Saudi lobby/British lobby. These lobbies had flourished when US wanted them to flourish.They disappeared when us did not need them anymore. They exist at the whims of US like pro Chechen lobby or Xinxiang lobby in US
    Dial back 8 years and one will hear the ultimatum to Pakistan ” we will throw them back to stone age”.Before that the issue of F 16 sold but not delivered and then were charged for storage ! and sanctions for decade against Pakistan!
    Or power point projection in 2002 by French- israeli citizen to Defense board identifying Saudi as the rogue element to be conqueed with Egypt .Balkanization of Syria and Saudi Arab were in the air of DC. Remeber the deal of Dubai port ! or threat to Egypt in 2002 for not supporting war ! List goes on and on.
    We are yet to see one instance of US standing up to Israel for its own interest.

  14. Richard Parker
    May 1, 2010, 4:52 am

    The Worm Turns
    “On March 2, 2009 Steven Rosen sued AIPAC for slander and libel, asserting in a 36 page complaint that AIPAC’s board of directors were not only aware that he was soliciting and circulating classified information, but rewarded and promoted him for it. The AIPAC board of directors and outside public relations firm have been subpoenaed to join Rosen in the DC Superior Court in June 2009.”
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Larry Franklin is the only person convicted in this case, and served none of the time of his 12.5 year sentence. He is now free.

    Naor Gilon, the controller of Rosen and Franklin, is the current Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. Although when the affair became ‘hot’ he retreated to Israel, but came back and took over his old job shortly after.

    Steve Rosen ‘American Hero’?

  15. Richard Parker
    May 1, 2010, 6:45 am

    Phew! No wonder Chas Freeman was blocked as chair of the National Intelligence Council.

    His succinct and devastating list of the real facts about Israel’s utility to US security interests in the Middle East (or elsewhere) is just the sort of Intelligence that I would wish to be presented with if I was a real POTUS (which Obama isn’t).

    I have vaguely heard of many of these facts before, but not all combined into one hard-hitting list. For all the money the US pours into Israel, the US gets zilch.

    — the US has no bases or troop presence in Israel and stores only minimal military supplies in the country (and these under terms that allow these supplies to be used essentially at will by the IDF).

    –Israeli bases are not available for US use.. So that was why, when Turkey cut off the use of Incirlik to help the invasion of Iraq, Israel didn’t pipe up and offer its own forward bases.

    . — none of Israel’s neighbors will facilitate overflight for military aircraft transiting Israeli territory, let alone taking off from there. Israel is useless for purposes of strategic logistics or power projection.

    — Israel is worse than irrelevant to the defense of Middle Eastern energy supplies; the US relationship with Israel has jeopardized these supplies (as in 1973), not contributed to securing them. So they have to zigzag through the Red Sea to hit a so-called arms smuggling convoy in Sudan.

    — US relations with Israel do not bolster US prestige in Middle Eastern oil-producing countries or assist the US to “dominate” them, they complicate and weaken US influence; they have at times resulted in the suspension of US relations with such countries. Er…Libya, Syria…

    — Israel does not have the diplomatic prestige or capacity to marshal support for US interests or policies globally or in its own region and does not do so; on the contrary, it requires constant American defense against political condemnation and sanctions by the international community.

    — Israel does not fund aid programs in third countries to complement and support US foreign or military policy as other allies and strategic partners do. Israel is mean, self-centred, and a pariah. But it does provide offensive programmes to help oppressive governments when the money is paid up front (see Uganda, Colombia).

  16. Citizen
    May 1, 2010, 8:43 am

    Time to revisit Witty’s conception of why rubber-stamping Israel is in the best interests of the US and reflects US highest values, for which are soldiers’ graves pepper the world, and for which such a huge slice of the US budget pie is reserved:
    link to mycatbirdseat.com

    • Citizen
      May 1, 2010, 8:45 am

      are-our
      sorry, typing too fast–pls read Jeff Gate’s article and compare Witty’s vision of history and the proper role of the US regarding the state of Israel.

  17. Michael W.
    May 1, 2010, 2:02 pm

    Chas Freeman says that the Asian, European, and Arab countries that host American military bases do so at little to no cost to American tax payers. In contrast, Israel burdens the US with 3 billion dollars a year in aid and constant diplomatic muscle to defend it (from dictators), while serving no benefit that the Arab, European, and Asian countries serve the US such as procuring and securing resources and host bases.

    I guess Chas Freeman forgot that the European countries and Japan are in debt to the US for World War II (405,399 American deaths). South Korea is in debt for the Korean War (33,686 American deaths) and constant American protection from North Korea.

    And as for the Arab countries, they pay for the bases so that they won’t have to pay for their own army. And let’s not forget that all of them are ruled and controlled by despots who are protected by America.

    So instead of thanking us for getting rid of their dictators as in Europe and Japan, or thanking us for putting American troops between them and dictators such as in Korea and Kuwait, or thanking us for keeping them (the Arab dictators) in power for their oil, Israel thanks us for giving them weapons to protect the most tolerant, liberal, and Western country in the region.

    But Chas Freeman doesn’t think giving the little guy the power to protect himself from the dictators is worth it because the dictators actually pay because they have oil, while all Israel has is high tech and scientific innovation which requires more thinking than charging outsiders for oil rights.

    Who are the most vocal opponents of Israel in the UN? The Arab and Muslim Groups. These two groups are dominated by dictators. Flexing diplomatic muscle to tell those dictators to shove it is definitely worth it.

    • Citizen
      May 1, 2010, 3:28 pm

      Er, Michael W, who is “the little guy” you are referring to? I know you don’t mean Joe Doakes in the USA, or the average Arab on the street. Please clarify.Thanks.

    • Bandolero
      May 1, 2010, 3:44 pm

      “I guess Chas Freeman forgot that the European countries and Japan are in debt to the US for World War II (405,399 American deaths). South Korea is in debt for the Korean War (33,686 American deaths) and constant American protection from North Korea.”

      Interesting view on current politics. But I fear there is no legal title to back the claim.

      And another question, what about the debt of the US to Vietnam? Is the US due to this kind of debt now to have vietnam bases financed by US taxpayers to have in Texas. And what about Iraqi bases in California?

      Bill Blum has a long reading list of which countries should have bases in the US, if that was a legal argument:

      link to killinghope.org

    • rosemerry
      May 1, 2010, 5:05 pm

      Japan must be grateful for the two atom bombs as well. Tha number of US deaths is tiny compared to Europe especially USSR. Check how often in the UN only US and Israel are against any humanitarian bill. The Arab dictators are the ones supporting USA, as they have oil, or of course democratic Egypt, a friend of lovely democratic (for some) israel.

      • Michael W.
        May 3, 2010, 7:38 am

        Can you please be more specific with the “humanitarian bill” you are talking about because they pass non-binding resolutions all the time?

    • Shmuel
      May 2, 2010, 6:24 am

      Freeman’s grasp of the ME and US interests goes a little beyond the false and childish dichotomy: Israel=good, little, smart, tolerant, liberal, western; Critics/opponents of Israel=rich, stupid, dictators.

      Guess that’s why he was nixed for that National Intelligence Council job. Too damn smart.

    • RoHa
      May 2, 2010, 8:23 am

      “So instead of thanking us for getting rid of their dictators as in Europe and Japan”

      The U.S. forces certainly played a major role, but they didn’t do all the work. The German advance had been stopped at the Channel by the British, at El Alemein by the British, and at Moscow and Stalingrad by the Soviets. The Germans had suffered severe defeats in those positions before American forces entered the battles. The British had effectively reduced the Italians to a footnote by 1942.

      From 1939 onward, the Royal Navy (with help from the Royal Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand Navies) established dominance over the German and Italian surface fleets.

      It was Australian forces who stopped the Japanese in Papua, and drove them back, and British Empire forces who stopped the Japanese at Imphal/Kohima and drove them back.

      It was the Soviets who destroyed the German Army, and the Chinese resistance sapped a lot of the strength of the Japanese army.

      • Michael W.
        May 3, 2010, 7:48 am

        I’m not denying the Soviets and Brits and others didn’t pay a high price. But it was the US who had the capability and resources to rebuild Europe and Japan since America eventually became the sole super power and a democratic one, thank goodness. Since the US is relatively isolated geographically, it always had the advantage after the world wars. The British empire was on its disassemble (India, Palestine Mandate, etc.) and it was upon the US to contain the Soviets. Eventually, most of the Arab regimes sided with the US because it was better to be under the American umbrella than the Soviet made one.

  18. Richard Parker
    May 1, 2010, 6:51 pm

    Michael W has some strange, if not lunatic, ideas about debts:

    “I guess Chas Freeman forgot that the European countries and Japan are in debt to the US for World War II (405,399 American deaths). ”

    90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki
    That result of just two days’ bombing takes us up to 37- 61% of the total American fatalities of the entire war.

    Other fatalities include:
    United Kingdom 449,800
    Soviet Union 23,954,000
    Yugoslavia 1,027,000
    Romania 833,000
    Philippines 557,000 – 1,057,000
    Italy 454,500
    Greece 311,300 – 806900
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    Oh! I forgot about the 6,000,000 Jews!1

    So let’s have no more crap here about others’ debts to America for its losses in WW2.

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