Ashton Carter, the former #2 at Defense, is reported to be the president’s nominee to replace Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. That raises the question, How is Carter on Israel?
You will recall that Hagel was nominated just early last year for the job. But he had a lot of trouble with the Israel lobby, because he’d called it the “Jewish lobby” and said it had unrivalled power on the Hill. His tortuous hearing in Feb. 2013 — a “disaster”– is said to have damaged him throughout his short stint at the Pentagon. Though the hearing was famously parodied in an SNL skit that never aired, in which senators called on Hagel to fellate a donkey for Israel. Even the Anti-Defamation League got het up over that one.
Ashton Carter doesn’t have donkey issues. He went to Israel last year and said the “fun part” of military training was working with dogs. The Defense Department reported his visit in July 2013:
During Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s first official trip to Israel, he and senior security officials here reaffirmed that the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship has never been stronger and agreed to continuing close consultations on shared security interests.
As part of the visit, Carter … observed demonstrations of tactical capabilities in several areas near Tel Aviv, including the Mitkan Adam Army Base, an Israel Defense Force special training installation.
Among the elite training schools at the installation are… the IDF Canine Unit, or Oketz Unit…
Israeli ground forces discussed their use of canine partners in a range of operations — finding roadside bombs, hidden adversaries, and contraband smuggled in all kinds of vehicles — and in performing many other kinds of jobs…
Carter spoke briefly to the troops before shaking their hands and presenting them with commemorative coins from his office.
“Protecting America means protecting Israel, and that’s why we’re here in the first place,” he said. “But this is the fun part,” he added, indicating the tactical demonstration area and the fit, skilled men and women in uniform, some with their dogs and some still dressed in garb that disguised them as boulders and bushes.
We’ve often reported on the use of dogs in the occupation. In 2010, it was reported that the IDF would use the “Oketz” dogs against “popular terror”– which include boys throwing stones at demonstrations. There’s a photo at the link of a dog attacking a woman.
Despite reports Thursday that the Israeli Defense Forces suspended using attack dogs against Palestinians, yesterday the military declared they will continue to use the live animals as “non-lethal weapons.” The review was prompted after an incident last March when an army dog wrangled the arm of Ahmad Shtawi for 10-minutes, locking his jaw on the Palestinian protester, causing him to be hospitalized.
Here’s video of that attack. The not fun part?
PS. Some US jurisdictions also used attack dogs on protesters. In fact, images of those attacks during the civil rights struggle are iconic.