At last a leader, Obama fingers ‘Israeli interest’ in war

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 65 Comments
Walter Reed
Obama signs prosthetic of Marine Corps Sgt Carlos Evans on White House tour yesterday.
(White House photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama’s press conference yesterday was bravura. He firmly dismissed the talk of war and exposed Israel’s push for war with the kind of comment the lobby hates:

This is not just an issue of Israeli interest; this is an issue of U.S. interests.  It’s also not just an issue of consequences for Israel if action is taken prematurely.  There are consequences to the United States as well.

The lobby hates there being any public daylight between the United States and Israel. Obama was saying openly, there’s daylight.

And more than that, he fingered Israel as the only country with an interest in war. The Israelis are surely enraged by this. The onus is on them. As the Financial Times’ Tobias Buck explains:

 “All of a sudden, this is being framed as a problem between Israel and Iran. But it shouldn’t be. It is an issue for the international community” [says Emily Landau, a senior fellow at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies]

Israel is now so far ahead of the pack that it has itself become the target of stern diplomatic pressure. Israel recently has heard warnings not to attack Iran from the US, Germany, France and Britain – countries it normally regards as its closest allies. “Now, it is all about the US having to restrain Israel, rather than having to restrain Iran,” observes Ms Landau.

Obama was reading from the left’s playbook yesterday. Did you hear him talking about the “drums” of war? I thought he had read Leonard Fein in the Forward:

Just now, Israel and most American Jewish organizations are loudly beating the drums of war [against Iran].

Here’s Obama:

I think there’s no doubt that those who are suggesting, or proposing, or beating the drums of war should explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be. 

Did you hear Obama’s beautiful set speech on the soldiers maimed by war at Walter Reed?

When I visit Walter Reed, when I sign letters to families that haven’t — whose loved ones have not come home, I am reminded that there is a cost.  Sometimes we bear that cost.  But we think it through.  We don’t play politics with it.  When we have in the past — when we haven’t thought it through and it gets wrapped up in politics, we make mistakes.  And typically, it’s not the folks who are popping off who pay the price.  It’s these incredible men and women in uniform and their families who pay the price.

I thought he was channeling MJ Rosenberg at Huffington Post:

A few months ago, on a beautiful Saturday, I was walking on the grounds of the Walter Reed Army Hospital here in Washington. (A friend got me in.) There were dozens of young guys being pushed around in wheel chairs by parents, wives, girlfriends, buddies, etc. They looked like injured members of the high school football team, except that so many were missing limbs.

The question remains, Why did Obama do it? Why after all these years of caving to Netanyahu did Obama grow a spine?

Obama seemed angry to me. He couldn’t wait for the Iran question at the press conference, and as he answered it, his face was taut and flushed with emotion. I sensed his rage at AIPAC and at the Republicans for playing political games, blustering. And as Sanam Anderlini and Kate Gould said at Occupy AIPAC on Saturday, we’re talking about a possible World War 3.

But it’s an election year, and so, politically, why did he do it? I think Obama sees a winner. The polling data have clearly shown that Americans don’t want another war, and he’s talking to those Americans, educating them, and exposing the lobby to do so. The coverage of Obama’s defiance on the news yesterday was all positive. Andrea Mitchell was impressed, CNN’s Barbara Starr was too.

The president is showing leadership because he has gotten some political cover in the establishment, which is beginning to distance itself from the lobby. Jim Fallows’s angry opposition to the lobby taking us to war is huge– Fallows is a judicious centrist. MJ Rosenberg’s valiant use of the words Israel firster in order to single out the war party has had an effect; he has educated people and even the New Yorker has come to his side. (The New Yorker supported Bill Kristol’s last bad war, it’s not going to make the same mistake twice.)  The lobby has jumped the shark.

“Today on Morning Joe (Scarborough, MSNBC), there was a discussion about Obama’s press conference yesterday,” my friend Ilene Cohen informs me. “Everyone agreed that it was masterful…  Brokaw contrasted the president’s discussion of this very serious matter of war with the ‘bombast’ at AIPAC. There you have it– bombast and AIPAC in the same sentence. In addition, Republican Scarborough cited some new poll (WSJ and something else) finding that Americans do not want ‘a third war in the Middle East.’ I hope that Obama is duly reinforced by the incredible feedback.”

Emergency Committee ad in Washington
Bill Kristol bus shelter ad pushing war

And yes, I think the incredible women who led Occupy AIPAC had an effect. We were all over AIPAC; 200 of us massed the corner of 7th and M after the President’s Sunday AIPAC speech, to be there as his limo drove away. We were near three or four of Bill Kristol’s bus shelter ads (left) — and in fact Kristol himself squirted past us down 7th Street and into the hall (evidently not wanting to be in Obama’s audience) as we waited, holding antiwar signs.

Peace With Iran, they said in stark black and white, in English and Farsi. As the president went by, I have to believe he gave us a little clenched fist in solidarity.

(Thanks to Jasmin Ramsey, who was on this yesterday.)

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65 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    March 7, 2012, 9:05 am

    Phil: The establishment supports resistance to The Lobby? Maybe some writers, but The Establishment? The BIGs, or enough of them? (I doubt it, but the fact that he’s standing up to AIPAC at long last suggests that you are right.)

    I’d love to hear that the BIG-BANKs (some with possibly Zionist CEOs or with CEOs who have Zionist friends) were explicitly telling President Obama to cool the war-talk. Perhaps they did! (How’d we ever know other than, perhaps, watching the pre-election money?) Or BIG-OIL? (Don’t they make more profits when the price of crude rises?) Or BIG-WAR-ARMS?

    • anonymouscomments
      March 7, 2012, 9:40 am

      you are so concerned about the “BIGS”. they profit, yes. they lobby, yes. but you have to see where the media magnets *push* things. you have to watch how AIPAC *pushes* the agenda and drafts legislation to back us into war. these key players are not the BIGS, even if the BIGS sometimes profit from their agenda. they are not representative of american jewry, but they are very influential. they are right wing zionists and warmongers who have a strong affinity for israel (and the belligerent israeli right- not looking for peace in the middle east).

      • Citizen
        March 7, 2012, 1:28 pm

        BIG OIL has been a non-player in the push for war on Iran. Big Oil would feel itself better off if US foreign policy was more classical, that is, more for pushing the balance of Power in the ME. Big Oil actually has more to gain by direct negotiations with Iran, than it’s current policy of isolating Iran. Balance of power strategy applies to ME too–that it has not influenced US is a flag US is on wrong path if it wants what’s best for its own citizens (not to mention, the World, and, long-term, Israel as well).

  2. OlegR
    March 7, 2012, 9:26 am

    Funny how everybody sees what they want to see in his speech.
    The mark of a great politician (not to be confused with statesmen).

    • Charon
      March 7, 2012, 12:21 pm

      “I will veto that bill” (signs bill anyways)

      Obama fails to back up his words with actions. I’ll give him a teeny tiny bit of credit though for pissing off Netanyahu and Israel. Because this will piss them off not unlike the “1967 borders” remark last year.

      At this point Obama need not worry about being an election year either. The GOP is a mess. Low turnout, no standout candidate, and the guy in the (narrow) lead has extremely low approval ratings among Republican voters. He’s also a Mormon meaning the significant chunk of red states has to vote for that other guy. Adelson’s Newt can’t buy success. Ron Paul hasn’t won a state but he won delegates and has shook the thing up (his voters won’t be voting for anybody else). It’s a mess. Meaning Obama is a sure-thing as far as re-election is concerned so he can say things like this and get away with it even if the lobby and Bibi don’t like it.

      Again, they’re just words. The administrations actions indicate nothing has changed. The status quo. If his words did jeopardize his political position, he could always free Pollard and win brownie points. Probably would do that too….

      • ahhiyawa
        March 7, 2012, 12:59 pm

        Ive stated often since the 2010 midterms that those elections were not what Republicans were imagining them to be and that Obama will win a 2nd term. Its the margin he will win by that’s impossible to calculate, though if Republican bungling is not staunched promises to make it a big one.

      • Charon
        March 7, 2012, 3:20 pm

        Which is also a reason why warfare is not out of the question in an election year. It will not derail his campaign. Obama has no competition in the eyes of public opinion. He will be the POTUS until 2017.

        That means he can afford these statements. He can also afford a war in Iran or Syria. He can also afford to play hardball with Netanyahu and I hope that he really does.

      • ahhiyawa
        March 8, 2012, 4:40 pm

        I believe Obama’s been playing hardball with Netanyahu all along, its just come out into the open with his adroit rejection of Netanyahu’s demands, while divorcing that disagreement with his solid support for Israels existence and right to defend itself like any other nation state on earth.

        War however, would be the death kneel for Obama’s legacy. It may not prevent a 2nd term, but war will destroy Obama in his 2nd term just as assuredly it destroyed Bush 43 in his. And make no mistakes, some on the maniacal right are more than willing to force the US into an unwinnable war, with infinitely far worse consequences in the hopes of preventing or weakening a 2nd term Obama.

    • hophmi
      March 7, 2012, 1:26 pm

      What Phil sees is not there.

      Like a lot of stuff Phil attributes to others, he’s either being self-delusional or willfully disingenuous. The President said the bond between the US and Israel is unshakable, and made clear that both Israel and the US HAVE A STAKE in preventing a nuclear Iran.

      Phil edits what the President says (as he has done with quotes in the past) to make it seem as if the President was saying something other than what he said.

      • Charon
        March 7, 2012, 3:25 pm

        As others here have said, people will see what they want to see. Whoever wrote that speech for Obama is a keeper. And Obama himself is an excellent speaker. His actions are often not backed up by words though.

        Not disagreeing with you either, hophmi. Even some of the Zionist right will see what is not there and perhaps even call it incitement. Like the 1967 borders statement last year. To be fair, I am not reading anything of the sort so far. Even Caroline Glick is amazingly okay with Obama’s statements. Quite odd indeed.

    • Citizen
      March 7, 2012, 1:31 pm

      OlgegR, I sure get your point. But the thing has been so one-sided for so long, anything Obama does to make it more balanced would help everybody. We are dealing with a serial killer, Bibi, who feels justified, same as all of them always do. See DSM.

      • OlegR
        March 7, 2012, 1:52 pm

        All of them includes myself Citizen, you should probably check who you
        are talking to before you actually do :)
        Regarding the issue at hand i would suggest everybody to relax
        Not Obama nor Israel have any plans (overtly) attacking Iran anytime soon.
        Covertly the war is raging for some time now.

        This is nothing but a show which is meant to create more diplomatic
        and political pressure on Iran.Israel will hold the gun on the table
        and play the mad paranoid guy part, US will play the responsible adult.
        And the “world” will impose more and more pressure. Friendly
        (China , India, Russia) and otherwise (sanctions,embargo,etc)
        until either the regime cracks and tones down or we get Iranian Spring.
        That’s the plan at least.

        The only way the gun on the table will fire is if the Iranians
        panic and try and breach the gap that they still have left before they get a usable weapon.(That means assembling a missile carried warhead)

        They usually are not the panicking types.
        Though the sloppy job’s that they pulled in India and Thailand lately
        somewhat baffled a few of our “military experts”.

    • Shingo
      March 7, 2012, 4:17 pm

      The mark of a great politician (not to be confused with statesmen).

      Bibbi is neither of those.

      Cheer up Oleg. I’m sure you but jobs will find a reason to start a war soon enough.

  3. Exiled At Home
    March 7, 2012, 9:27 am

    You’re really delusional lately, Phil. Even if the speech itself marks a subtle change in language, even if that language might make AIPAC/Likudniks a little uncomfortable, you still point out the obvious, “But it’s an election year, and so, politically, why did he do it? Ithink Obama sees a winner.” How admirable! The gushing terms you use to refer to this President are hardly warranted for a man

    • Exiled At Home
      March 7, 2012, 9:35 am

      …who upped the ante in Afghanistan, dragged his feat on Iraq, joined the NATO bombardment of Libya, stands silent on Syria, continues to send attack drones to Pakistan and Yemen, authorizes the assassination of American citizens abroad, authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens at home by the US military, and only now, when he deems it politically expedient, does he offer up the most tepid rebuttal to those who intend to inundate the globe in a massive regional war in the Middle East for the sake of sustaining a false narrative of Israeli victimhood.

      But, yea, I’m sure he was fist-pumping at your anti-war scribble, Phil.

      • Citizen
        March 7, 2012, 1:46 pm

        Exiled At Home, yeah I ditto your response. Our American leader, who is on record as equating his vulnerable sleeping children with Israeli kids, with no mention of sleeping Palestinian kids, and who cannot possibly be uniformed of the I-P history, including the Nakba, and who sat for a score of years listening to sermons on white devils, including jews, and being half Black, is clearly a man who controls his own imagination in the service of his own personal career and the material benefits of it to him and his immediate family–both the Democratic and the GOP top folks are busy trying to read how much the internet has given Dick & Jane information always muzzled in the past. Stay tuned.

  4. Dan Crowther
    March 7, 2012, 9:34 am

    Well, your persuasive brother Phil.

    Couple of things though — This is a tried and true Obama propaganda method. Doesn’t say shit about incredibly important topics – lets the knuckleheads dominate the debate, shows zero leadership and then, when most of the issue is already decided, Barry comes out and makes some defiant, clench jawed, principled speech. And “the left” falls back in love.

    And we know what happens shortly after Obama “takes a stand” — the right gets 90% of what they want. The most important question that got asked at that presser was in regards to the new talks: “mr president, you said in 09 “we aren’t going to talk forever” – is this it?” And he basically said it was, this will be the last chance for the Iranians to assuage the fears of the “international community” — So, at least from where I sit, the “debate” won’t necessarily be a national referendum on “the lobby” but rather, “what should happen when/if these talks fail”

    And barry, along with Leon Panetta at AIPAC have made it very clear – we will attack Iran, the only difference is on the timeline and what the definition of “red line” is. Obama should take his own words about “loose talk” and “beating the war drums” more serously – it was his administrations officials anonymously stating that they dont think the fallout from an attack on Iran would be that bad, and others went on the record saying Israel might attack “in the spring” etc.

    And let’s also not forget that this is the guy who says the president of the united states reserves the right to kill americans with no “judicial process.” Seems to me, after Holder’s despicable display at Northwestern, a “defiant, angry” showing from Obama about possible war with Iran was just what the doctor ordered – look at what we’re NOT talking about today…….
    Sorry if I can’t get too excited about this one presser.

    • seafoid
      March 7, 2012, 11:04 am

      I think they’ll attack Iran after the election. Same timing as Cast Lead in 2008

      +1 on the no judicial process killings observation . Obama is a sociopath.
      A very cool one.

      • ahhiyawa
        March 7, 2012, 12:03 pm

        The only persons late or never getting the facts straight are Obama haters of all ilks and mentalisms.

      • Dan Crowther
        March 7, 2012, 12:27 pm

        say what?? what do you mean ahhiyawa?

      • marc b.
        March 7, 2012, 12:30 pm

        Obama haters

        why don’t you give us your short list of things to like about obama?

      • Charon
        March 7, 2012, 4:52 pm



        Confused here… If Obama backed up his words with actions, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with him. On one hand I don’t trust his administration given established facts that goes against the ideology he claimed to support. On the other hand, the Iran thing, I can tell the administration had been stalling. But I do not trust that this does not mean there won’t be war.

      • ahhiyawa
        March 8, 2012, 1:42 am

        You don’t know it now, but Obama is an infinitely superior POTUS compared to the past 3 serial blunders who have held the regency.

        As for war the US will not overtly attack Iran, or covertly support Israel in the deed. And for probably good reasons Obama, his principles and chieftains running the national security state have affirmed the Iranians are rational actors and have national interests like any state. The Iranians have proved this in spades in the face of the worst acts of aggression by Israel upon its people, territory and sovereignty.

        If there is to be war Israel will have to start it unilaterally and in the absence of Iranian provocation. And that will be of a whole horse of a different color rarely touched upon here.

      • Fredblogs
        March 7, 2012, 1:31 pm

        I think they’re bluffing about attacking at all. They haven’t got the long distance bombers they would need to attack effectively. But if they do attack, it certainly won’t be after the elections, unless Obama loses, in which case they might attack after the inauguration. With Cast Lead it was they’re last chance to retaliate against Hamas before a Democrat who looked likely to be less friendly to Israel than most Presidents (look at his preacher’s anti-Semitism) took over in Washington.

      • Mooser
        March 7, 2012, 2:55 pm

        (look at his preacher’s anti-Semitism)”

        ROTFLMSJAO!! And let’s not forget how involved and influential Pastor Wright (you could have at least tried to recall his name, Fredblogs) has been in the Obama Presidency!

      • Shingo
        March 7, 2012, 4:33 pm

        With Cast Lead it was they’re last chance to retaliate against Hamas before a Democrat who looked likely to be less friendly to Israel than most Presidents (look at his preacher’s anti-Semitism) took over in Washington.

        Correction Fred. Israel chose the day of the US elections to break 4 month ceasefire – without any reason or justification other than to start a war, and then ended it days before the inauguration.

      • Fredblogs
        March 7, 2012, 7:29 pm

        re: who started it

        Let’s see, the elections were November the 4th. On that day the Israelis destroyed a cross-border tunnel like the one that the Palestinians used to capture Gilad Shalit. Their justification was that there was no use for the tunnel other than to try to capture Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. They “started it” in the same way a cop “starts it” if he shoots someone pointing a gun at him before the guy has a chance to fire. Or are you saying that digging that tunnel into Israel wasn’t a hostile act?

        re: Obama’s perceived unfriendliness. That’s why I said “looked like”. Before the inauguration, no one knew how he would act toward Israel. He has been friendly since then, but for all the Israelis knew before the inauguration he might not be. All they knew at that point was that he had an anti-Semitic minister. They didn’t know that that Wright would have no influence in the administration.

      • Shingo
        March 8, 2012, 4:20 am

        Let’s see, the elections were November the 4th. On that day the Israelis destroyed a cross-border tunnel like the one that the Palestinians used to capture Gilad Shalit.

        Correction. That’s the Israeli government version, whcih we know is complete BS.

        As Wikileaks revealed, for months prior to this unprovoked attack by Israel, the Israeli leaders were becomming increasingly anxious that the ceasefire was benefitting Hamas politically. The problem was that Hamas were sticking to the ceasefire very strictly and this presented multiple problems for the Israelis:

        1. The longer the ceasefire lasted, the more legitimate Hamas was becomming, whic would lead to Israel being pressured to deal with Hamas diplomatically.
        2. The ceasefire was due to expire in December. Hamas would have agreed to a continuation whereas Israel did not want it to continue, but of course, this would have looked bad PR wise. Israel needed a pretext for rejecting the ceasefire without appearing to the world that they didn’t want peace.

        Thus, Israel’s leaders decided that a military option was necessary to put and end to all the peace.

        Their justification was that there was no use for the tunnel other than to try to capture Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border.

        This was debunked by Jimmy Carter and Uri Avnery. Carter pointd ou that the tunnel was used for smuggling goods into Gaza. Avnery pointed out the monmental absurdity in Israel’s claims. If the tunnel was indeed intended to kidnap Israeli soldiers stationed on the border, then they could have:

        1) Moved teh soldiers out fo harms way
        2)) Set up am ambush at the tunnel entrance in the Israeli side and caught Hamas red handed

        Israel simply came up with a BS argument to justify a raid on Gaza that they knew would provoke a response, thereby providing the pretext for ending the ceasefire.

        They “started it” in the same way a cop “starts it” if he shoots someone pointing a gun at him before the guy has a chance to fire.

        Yeah same old Zionist argument, like killing babies in case they grow up to be terrorists.

        Or are you saying that digging that tunnel into Israel wasn’t a hostile act?

        The hostile act was the fact that Israel agreed to lift the blockade as part of the ceasefire but never lifted it. That left Hamas no option but to use tunnels to continue to smuggle gods into Gaza.

      • Fredblogs
        March 8, 2012, 2:35 pm

        ROFL. Wrong side of Gaza, Jimmy. It was a tunnel from Gaza to _Israel_, not a tunnel from Gaza to _Egypt_. How exactly were they going to smuggle goods from Egypt through a tunnel to Israel? Love it. Maybe they just read the blueprints upside down and put it on the East side of Gaza by mistake. Seriously, does a smuggling tunnel from Gaza into Israel make any sense? Do you actually read what you write? As for moving the soldiers or setting up an ambush, they knew where the mouth of the tunnel was, they knew it was a tunnel into Israel, from its location. They wouldn’t know exactly where it was going to come out, or when.

      • Shingo
        March 8, 2012, 4:22 pm

        Seriously, does a smuggling tunnel from Gaza into Israel make any sense?

        LOL. It has been widely reported that Hamas smuggles goods from Israel as well as Egypt.

        Do you actually read what you write?

        Do you read what the MFA drip feeds you?

        As for moving the soldiers or setting up an ambush, they knew where the mouth of the tunnel was, they knew it was a tunnel into Israel, from its location. They wouldn’t know exactly where it was going to come out, or when.

        LOL. How did they know then that the tunnel was going to be used to kidnap Israeli soldiers if they didn’t know where it was going to exit?

        Do you actually read what you write?

      • Fredblogs
        March 8, 2012, 7:09 pm

        Googling “Tunnel from Gaza to Israel” and smuggling comes up with 2-3 tunnels that they planned to use to smuggle terrorists or bombs into Israel. Nothing used to smuggle goods from Israel to Gaza. I’ve never heard of the Palestinians having a smuggling tunnel into Israel. Got a link that identifies a smuggling tunnel? Challenge: nothing that’s speculating on what a tunnel was to be used for, just captured tunnels that were actually being used to smuggle goods from Israel to Gaza.

        Given that the only reason any completed tunnel from Gaza to Israel was built was to capture soldiers or otherwise attack Israel, it’s a safe bet that any tunnel the Palestinians dig into Israel will be used for the same kind of attacks.

      • Shingo
        March 9, 2012, 12:01 am

        Googling “Tunnel from Gaza to Israel” and smuggling comes up with 2-3 tunnels that they planned to use to smuggle terrorists or bombs into Israel.

        Planned according to whom? Oh that’s right, the centre for lies and BS aka the Israeli MFA.

        You see, you’re a calssic example fo the Israeli feedback loop. Israle blows up a tunnel becasue they claim it was used to smuggle weapons and kidnap soldiers. The convenient thing being that becasue the tunnel is now blown up, there is no evidence to support or refute Israel’s claims.

        I’ve never heard of the Palestinians having a smuggling tunnel into Israel.

        Just like you never heard of the Peace Road Map right?

        Last year, Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist quoted Egyptian media as saying that the demand for Israeli products was growing in the northern Sinai. According to the article, Gazans have been smuggling Israeli goods outbound from the Gaza tunnels and into Egypt, where customers are demanding higher-quality Israeli goods – even when they are more expensive than local products. Vendors say that the Israeli products are in high demand. In the past they would erase the “Made in Israel” logos, but they no longer do, as it is a selling point.,7340,L-3555423,00.html

        ‘Tunnels being used to smuggle goods out of Gaza’

        The goods in question were or course among those officially banned by Israel, so the only way they got into Gaza in the firs place was via tunnels. Why would the Egyptians request such gods from Gaza if they came from the Sinai to begin with?

        You’ve been a joke on this forum Fred. Go back to your hasbra mother ship and get a tune up.

      • Fredblogs
        March 9, 2012, 1:40 pm

        So basically, subtracting all the obfuscating verbiage, you can’t come up with a single example of a smuggling tunnel from Israel to Gaza. Non-military goods from Israel enter Gaza through the checkpoints. That’s probably where they are getting what they are selling to Egypt.

      • Shingo
        March 9, 2012, 4:12 pm

        Googling “Tunnel from Gaza to Israel” and smuggling comes up with 2-3 tunnels that they planned to use to smuggle terrorists or bombs into Israel.

        The one that was atatcked in November 2008 was one of them.

        Non-military goods from Israel enter Gaza through the checkpoints.

        Most are on the banned list. After all, Israel won’t even allow scholl books, pencil and pasta to get through – that’s apparently reagrded as having a military use.

        The stuff the Egyptians want certainly wouldn’t come through check points.

      • Fredblogs
        March 9, 2012, 8:33 pm

        And how would you know what stuff the Egyptians are getting from Gaza?

        Sorry, you lose this round. The challenge was a tunnel that was being _used_ for smuggling, to back up your contention that the 2008 tunnel was going to be used for smuggling not attacks. Not to mention your even less likely contention that the Israelis _knew_ it was to be used for smuggling and not attacks and therefore were not defending from attack when they destroyed it.

        There is already a known tunnel used for attacks to back up my contention that the Israelis thought the 2008 tunnel was to be used for attacks. There is nothing to back your contention that the Israelis knew it was to be used for smuggling because no tunnel into Israel from Gaza has been used for smuggling.

        Not even a single tunnel. Just find one. From Israel to Gaza, used for smuggling. A tunnel that was incomplete doesn’t count since you are speculating that it was for smuggling while there has been actual tunnel use for attacks and capturing Israeli soldiers.

      • Shingo
        March 9, 2012, 9:47 pm

        And how would you know what stuff the Egyptians are getting from Gaza?

        Because the stuff Israel was allowing to pass through the check points was not supplied by Israe but by the UN and the international community. It was also the most basic of items, nothning that the Egyptians would even want.

        You lost the rond 3 days ago Fred.

        There was a ceasefire in place that even Israel’s MFA admitted Hamas were observiong with great care, so there is no basis to the claim that the tunnel was going to be used for an attack. What possible good would an attack bring Hamas when they were doing so well politicially from the ceasfire?

        Your argument simply does not hold water.

        Not to mention your even less likely contention that the Israelis _knew_ it was to be used for smuggling and not attacks and therefore were not defending from attack when they destroyed it.

        As opposed to your contention that the Israelis _knew_ it was to be used for kidnapping Israeli soldiers? That’s far more outlandish and absurd.

        There is already a known tunnel used for attacks to back up my contention that the Israelis thought the 2008 tunnel was to be used for attacks.

        Really? Where? Based on what non Isralei government claim?

        A tunnel that was incomplete doesn’t count since you are speculating that it was for smuggling while there has been actual tunnel use for attacks and capturing Israeli soldiers.

        You’re losing it Fred. If a tunnel that was incomplete doesn’t count, then how can you claim it was goign to be used for attacks? You’re hasbra is DOA.

    • tombishop
      March 7, 2012, 12:22 pm

      I completely agree! Obama is a smooth operator who should not be trusted with anything he says. Everything he does is for a short-term political calculation. They are lulling people to sleep for just a little bit longer. They have not surrounded Iran for nothing

      or put three aircraft carriers in the the Strait of Hormuz for nothing.

      As with Iraq, what appears to be a short-term possibility will lead to a long-term disaster. No one can control the consequences of a war once it starts. The 20th century should have taught us that!

    • ToivoS
      March 7, 2012, 12:31 pm

      And “the left” falls back in love. It is too late for that to happen. Obama is responsible for allowing a very dangerous situation to develop with respect to war with Iran. What we have seen over the past 3 days is that Obama is ratcheting down the war talk. It is a significant political change. Phil correctly sees the importance of this change.

      • Pixel
        March 7, 2012, 9:24 pm

        “It is a significant political change. Phil correctly sees the importance of this change.”


    • Citizen
      March 7, 2012, 1:52 pm

      Yeah, you’re astute, Dan. Holder has already justified the overseas lynching (murder) of an Arab American “collaborator,” and his innocent son. Don’t look to Obama for justice or protection; and of course, even more, don’t look to Newt, Santorum, or Romney.

  5. Les
    March 7, 2012, 9:36 am

    Can anyone believe this headline?

    “Jon Stewart: Iran saber-rattling meant for old Jews in Florida”

    [He wasn’t polite enough to say “elderly” Jews.]

  6. Carllarc
    March 7, 2012, 9:36 am

    seems like Obama has played a ‘rope-a-dope’ policy with Netanyahu and all the aipac types to perfection. Now Israel realizes it is really all along and is backing off; Obama has leashed the aggressive Israel. so now Netanyahu will have to put off his fantasy of bombing Iran, maybe he’ll never get to, poor Netanyahu

    • Exiled At Home
      March 7, 2012, 11:28 am

      You have got to be kidding me! I would say “I told you so” when the bombs start falling, but that would be callous given the thousands of innocent lives at stake.

      The naive adoration of Mr. Obama is sickening. He’s duping an anti-war community into blindly following him to war…

      • Charon
        March 7, 2012, 8:15 pm

        It’s sort of like when two people get married and one finds out that the other is not the person they thought they knew at all. But every now and then they say the right thing followed by “I love you” and whatever. The partner then relaxes in reassurance that they should not have second guessed them in the first place. Until they disappoint them a day later.

        Obama has done absolutely nothing for anybody trust him. He has said some nice things that were never backed up by actions and made some promises and threats that were never kept or followed up on. On one hand he is at the mercy of Congress who truly hold all the real power in our government. On the other hand his actually policy has made no change at all other than continue our status quo. The status quo being the problem. The rich claim they hate him, yet he has done nothing but protect the rich. The middle class and poor complain every now and then but relax when he says something nice.

        The problem is not Obama, the problem is those Eastern folks that everybody spent the 50s and 60s fear mongering about. They really did infiltrate us and have been dictating out politics for at least the past three decades. Or ever since Nixon took office and Kissinger became the SoS.

    • ahhiyawa
      March 7, 2012, 12:13 pm

      Obama has been playing Netanyahu and the Israel Lobby for suckers from the day they humiliated him and forced him to backtrack on settlements and knife the Palestinians in the back.

      They say ‘no drama Obama’ doesn’t get mad, he gets even. Netanyahu and Zionist front groups are beginning to learn to their despair of another Obama. The Prez says he’s got “Israel’s back.” I’d be especially worried if I were them.

      • Citizen
        March 7, 2012, 2:10 pm

        ahhiyawa, that seems like wishful thinking if you know anything at all about how the Israel Lobby & complicit MSM keep all objective information about Israel and Iran, and about the Palestinians plight, out of the American public eye. Dick and Jane are totally ignorant –recently Senate and DOJ findings Documents have been released, showing how Dick & Jane have been kept blind for decades about Israel and its conduct, both at home and abroad. You think even this data will trickle down to Dick and Jane? Not in USA; I know, I’ve lived here a very long time.

      • quercus
        March 7, 2012, 3:03 pm

        I was truly p***ed of when I heard Obama “I’ve got Israel’s back” statement, but after pondering his remarks as shown above, perhaps we (meaning this who question this stupid Israel policy) have begun to make a difference. All leaders use diplospeak, they have to say “nice” things and make their guests feel “loved.” It’s all a show and intended to make everyone look good, and generally you desist from “spitting” in your ally’s eye. But, I think the stance on Israel has shifted, even if just ever so slightly, and will continue to grow as the critics of the Israel policy grow.

        Nearly everyone I know is sick and tired of the anti-semitic canard used each time Israel is criticised. And yesterday, when I read that Ron Paul was not invited to address AIPAC (no loss there, however) because of his “anti-Israel rhetoric” I really had to laugh. It’s not enough to talk about Israel’s sovereignty, all politicians must grovel. Well, ain’t gonna happen anymore.

        They can talk about anti-semitism as much as they want, that’s really lost its sting, and the cynical abuse of the events of World War II demeans those who abuse it.

        No, I think there has been a subtle shift, and it’s never going to be the same again. Hallelujah!

      • ToivoS
        March 7, 2012, 5:29 pm

        Quercus, agree completely with your assessment. It can be very difficult to interpret political speeches, they are full of boiler-plate and one has to find small items to see change. The first key was Obama’s use that the US would not tolerate Iranian nuclear “weapons”, not “capability”. The Israeli’s and lobby have been insisting for 6 months now that it must be capability. Every time Obama said Iranian nuclear weapons it was like a big thumb into Bibi’s eye.

        Then after this, his repeated antiwar rhetoric is just frosting on that cake. What will be interesting to see over the next week or so is Obama’s approval rating will look. A spike up of 10 points would certainly send a terrifying message to the War Party and the lobby, for sure.

      • ahhiyawa
        March 8, 2012, 1:22 am

        Spot on quercus & ToivoS

        What many of Obama’s jaded & non-supporters have never appreciated is that the man’s a politician, not another Moses they perennially seek and then condemn when he fails to live up their unnatural and unreasoned expectations.

        Such are so obsessed with his many presumed faults and failures, imagined or real, they are completely blind to his nature, policies and real accomplishments. Fortunately for the US they are the minority, and a minority they will remain whether the economy declines or improves no matter the smears, slanders and misrepresentations of Obama’s record by Republicans, neocons and zealous Zionists.

        There will be no war this year with Iran, if ever, and Israel cannot attack without solid assurance the US will back the enterprise all the way. That’s what Bibi hoped to wring from POTUS, not Congress or the American People, and he decidedly failed in getting it. To his surprise 2012 did not play like 2010 & 11.

  7. Bumblebye
    March 7, 2012, 10:21 am

    A new Bibi anthem?

    Mr Bombastic!

  8. Denis
    March 7, 2012, 11:32 am

    Thanks, Phil. A remarkably well done post. Blogging doesn’t get much better.

    Not to say I agree w/ your optimistic view of BO.

    The dude is playing the 2-term shuffle. On one hand he has to keep Bibi off his back and the AIPAC neocons in play. On the other hand he has to scoop poop to the doves, who have the votes at the moment.

    When Greg Craig left the WH in 2009, we pretty will knew it was because BO had looked at the National Intel Estimate and, like Bush, thrown all American principles out the window. This man is 100% pragmatism.

    Nobody will really know what BO’s position on Iran is until December. Bibi has 7 months to either entangle the US in an Israeli war with Iran or get a Republican in the WH. The war drums were not silenced by Omamma’s speech. The most optimistic sign I’ve seen is the super-carrier USS Stennis leaving the Arabian Sea and returning home this week.

  9. ahhiyawa
    March 7, 2012, 12:27 pm

    The US strategic disaster of 19 March 2003 was as massive a blunder for the Zionist state, as it has proved to be for irrational US ambitions in the post cold war era. It will just take a little time longer for the destructive after effects of that FUBAR to penetrate the immeasurable densities of Zionist minds.

  10. lysias
    March 7, 2012, 12:44 pm

    With his potential Republican opponents committing political suicide, maybe Obama feels less of a need for those campaign contributions.

  11. Pixel
    March 7, 2012, 1:28 pm

    Whatever else may or may not be going on, all the talk is helping the American people wake up, which can’t happen soon enough.

  12. Bill in Maryland
    March 7, 2012, 1:37 pm

    The Morning Joe video clip from this morning discussing Obama’s press conference yesterday is now up and can be seen here, and yes, the tone was entirely favorable toward the President.

    Interestingly Chris Matthews says, near the very end of the clip (~10:15), “How about telling Benjamin Netanyahu to stay out of our elections!” Well said Mr. Matthews!

    • Citizen
      March 7, 2012, 2:15 pm

      It’s fun to think of what Chris Matthews would say if he felt he didn’t need to keep his job.

  13. Tuyzentfloot
    March 7, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Obama seemed angry to me.

    Well maybe he was pissed because he keeps making the wrong choices that are bringing us all closer and closer to war.

  14. piotr
    March 7, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Perhaps Netanyahu is saved, and so is Obama, just GOP is screwed.

    The zeal for “the third war” is notably absent among the “centrists” who decide elections. GOP candidates and leaders overreached. Of course Obama is playing politics. But on the bright side, if on an issue we agree that Vox Populi Vox Dei, then it is good when the ruler sides with populus and Deus on the issue. In other words, it pays to present the case to the people and convince them.

    To save face, Netanyahu has to bitterly imply that he would make short work from Iranian nuclear program if only those naive Americans let him.

  15. atime forpeace
    March 7, 2012, 3:07 pm

    “The question remains, Why did Obama do it? Why after all these years of caving to Netanyahu did Obama grow a spine?”

    My guess would be because his national security peeps are moving on and wants to cease and desist the nonsense, they couldnt have made the argument more clear than sending out CJCS Dempsey and Pentagram head Panetta on national tv to articulate some truths that even the media have tried pushing back on.

    They have Obombers back.

    I am still waiting for the despicable craven Chris Matthews to open up, but alas his bonafides might come into question and then there would be no more parties.

    Heck i even think thewashintonote blogger Steve Clemons is speaking up (and he has been the biggest wuss for the longest) since he has cover now that others have led the way.

  16. kalithea
    March 7, 2012, 11:09 pm

    Good God! How naive can you get! Are we looking at the same Obama? You know, the one who expanded on the drone war, killing people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with lots of collateral casualties. We’re looking at the Obama who ESCALATED the war in Afghanistan and the Obama who’s using targeted assassination, who puts whistle blowers behind bars subjecting them to near torture; the Obama who lobbied and no doubt bribed other countries to vote down a Palestinian state and went before the U.N. and slammed the effort of Palestinians to be free and demand their rights while he kissed Zionist ass; an Obama who’s given Israel more support and funding than any other President in history, an Obama who made no mention whatsoever of the peaceful resistance Palestinians are now engaged in, nor on the imprisonment of activists or administrative detentions of Palestinians without charges and oh yes, the Obama who signed on to indefinite detention without charges, the Obama who witnessed the slaughter in Gaza and was thinking only of his inauguration when asked to comment!!

    How easily you’re duped AGAIN. Haven’t you ever heard of the saying: Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me?

    The man is a master manipulator. What’s happening here is CANDIDATE Obama is back in action and he’s trying to counter the RON PAUL EFFECT. Ron Paul gets only 15% Republican support. That means that 85% of Ron Paul’s support is divided between Independents and disenfranchised progressive Democrats! Obama is merely playing the charm game to rein in these ex-Obama supporters. After the election he’ll be gearing up for an attack on Iran.

    I’ve seen this pretend dovish Obama before; when he was Hillary’s opponent. He fooled me once; he’s trying to fool me twice — SHAME ON HIM!!! AND SHAME ON THOSE OF YOU FALLING FOR HIS SONG AND DANCE ROUTINE AND TRYING TO ROUND UP THE SHEEPLE FOR HIM.

  17. yourstruly
    March 8, 2012, 2:17 pm

    doesn’t president obama realize that by his constantly repeating “who’ll pay the price if we go to war against iran” (as if a mantra) he’ll reduce the decibels of the israel lobby’s drum beat of war to barely detectable levels? this happened in ’91-2 when george the elder hinted that israel’s u.s. supporters might be less than patriotic, when president eisenhower demanded that israel, great britain and france end it’s takeover of the suez canal, not to mention a year ago when general david petreaus stated that israel’s intransigence vis-a-vis a mideast peace accord endangered our troops in afghanistan. seems that israel firsters, chicken-hawks that they are, back down quickly when their bonafides as loyal citizens are challenged. israel firsters that they are, why do they back down when their allegiance is questioned? why, instead, don’t they persevere in pounding the drums of war? could it be that they fear the consequences of their traitorous war mongering –

    “members of the jury, on the charge of working for a foreign power in an attempt to pull us into a war that’s of no concern to our great land, how do you find these defendents?”

    “guilty as charged, your honor.”

  18. piotr
    March 10, 2012, 12:29 am

    One can make two arguments against the war with Iran.

    One is that it is illegal, and it is international law that we, i.e. USA, insisted upon, UN charter, and we insisted upon it because it is a GOOD IDEA. Avoidable wars are stupid and immoral.

    So-called realists answer that being a superpower we can twist international law any way we want it, and even if in general avoidable wars should be avoided, in few selected cases they are just fine. Obama probably agrees with so-called realists.

    However, there is the second case against the war, namely that we will loose. In a nutshell, a state like Iran avoids doing various kinds of shit to us because they could get attacked. But if they are attacked, the reason goes away. The second reason is that Russia and China do not wish to change the strategic balance in Asia too much in our favor. For example, if USA figured that it needs to bomb Iran extensively and repetitively, it would not be that popular say, in Europe etc. Under those circumstances Russia can urge us to stop, or they would go nuclear. Then what?
    [E.g. we call their bluff, they blow up Diego Garcia. Nuclear forces go to hair-trigger status. Or we do not call their bluff.]

    We have a 3 ring circus of an international crisis and huge chorus of voices “how could you! how dare you!” directed at whom?

    The stakes would be much larger then status quo among smallish states in Eastern Mediterranean. Or Af-Pak drone war. The latter seems to reach FUBAR status, Pakistan closed border to military supplies for NATO for more than two months already. So Obama dabbles in imperial games with mixed success, but he can tell insane ideas from sane.

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