In March 2003, Pat Buchanan wrote a groundbreaking article entitled “Whose War?” in opposition to the Bush Administration fueled growing hysteria over Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction which was producing demands for an armed intervention to disarm him. Buchanan rightly identified a number of prominent Jewish officials and journalists closely tied to the Israel Lobby as the principal driving force behind the rush to go to war.
Buchanan is still a powerful voice arguing against the war fever in its 2018 manifestation, which is all too similar to the hysteria prevailing in 2003. But if he were writing his article today, even though those demanding war are pretty much the same people with the same names including Podhoretz, Krauthammer, Kristol, Kagan, Brooks and Boot, he would have to broaden his purview to ask “Whose Wars?” as it is no longer a simple case of going after one third-world autocrat and overthrowing him, we are now instead being urged to attack Syria, Iran and even nuclear superpower Russia due to Moscow’s support of Damascus and its friendship with Tehran.
Lest there be any confusion, the same country keeps surfacing as a central player in the lead-up to America’s regime-change wars, which now have included an illegal attack on Syria, the second such intervention in the past year. That nation is Israel.
Israel’s fingerprints are all over American interventionism, reflecting Jewish power in the United States and the presence of a plethora of well-funded Israel-centric lobbies, think tanks and media outlets. Just last week, the only persistent voice in the mainstream media who, prior to Trump’s cruise missile attack, asked why on earth the United States should be contemplating a major power confrontation that could end life on this planet as we know it over Syria, where Washington has no vital interests, was Tucker Carlson of Fox News. His memorable monologue blasting the “talk show generals” who have “no idea of what is really happening” skewered the pretexts for war being bandied about in spite of the lack of any actual threat directed against the United States or a vital national interest is a model for what the Fourth Estate should be doing but isn’t. Carlson later followed up with an interview of Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. He asked what might be an American national interest that would mandate military involvement in Syria. Wicker hardly hesitated before responding, “If you care about Israel, you have to be interested in what’s going on in Syria.”
Israel indeed. And Israel is not at all shy about what it wants to happen, namely a war in Syria targeting both Damascus and Tehran, leading to a much bigger war with the Iranians. Fought by Uncle Sam, to be sure, as Jewish lives are far too precious to waste.
Tel Aviv has long been feeding the propaganda line relating to why war with Syria and Iran are desirable. Gilad Erdan, who is Netanyahu’s deputy in Likud and serves as Public Security Minister, addressed the latest alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, saying “The shocking attack shows the incredible international hypocrisy of the international community focusing on Israel confronting the terrorist organization Hamas that is sending civilians to our [border] fence, when dozens are being killed in Syria every day. It shows the need for strengthening the presence of Americans and other international forces, because without them the genocide we are seeing will only intensify.”
Construction Minister Yoav Galant, a former IDF major-general and a security figure close to Netanyahu, also called for military action against the Syrian leader. “Assad is the angel of death, and the world would be better without him.”
The compassion for Syrian civilians, being expressed both in Washington and in Tel Aviv, is, of course, a joke. Donald Trump and John Bolton couldn’t care less about Syrian babies and if Trump were genuinely concerned about civilian deaths due to war crimes by governments the first country he would attack would be Israel. Erdan and Galant, meanwhile, serve in a government that has recently shot and killed or injured 2,000 unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, in some cases involving snipers having fun by shooting boys running away and cheering when they were successful, so their hypocrisy is evident.
Israel has also been busy at creating a pretext for using Syria as a stepping stone to Iran itself. The Associated Press is reporting comments by Yossi Cohen, head of Mossad, who claims to be “100 percent certain” that Iran remains committed to developing a nuclear bomb, which is the old “weapons of mass destruction” ploy used to jumpstart the Iraq War. Israel’s bombing attack on Syria that took place one day after the reports of the alleged chemical weapon incident, deliberately targeted Iranians, killing 7 at a military base near Damascus. Iran has promised to respond, guaranteeing that the conflict will expand and draw in both regional and foreign players, definitely including the United States.
More recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the U.S., the U.K, and France for bombing Syria, an operation that was coordinated in advance with Israel by National Security Advisor John Bolton. Netanyahu went on to assert that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must understand that “his provision of a forward base for Iran and its proxies endangers Syria,” an analysis of the situation which is, of course, self-serving bullshit.
Unfortunately, Israel has a receptive quasi-American audience in the team that Donald Trump has pulled together under his son in law Jared Kushner to deal with the Middle East. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who is supposed to represent U.S. interests, has become adept at repeating Israeli Foreign Ministry talking points as if they were American policy, while Chief Negotiator Jason Greenblatt has warned demonstrating Gazans to avoid provoking Israel while also failing to advise the Israeli Army that shooting unarmed protesters just might be considered unacceptable.
Kushner-Friedman-Greenblatt is an Israeli dream team in place, backed up by as subservient Congress that reflexively does whatever Israel wishes. One wonders why Congressmen and the media are not screaming about the slaughter in Gaza and pondering how and why the United States has surrendered its sovereignty to a tiny client state in the Middle East, but never fear, Jewish power backed by lots of money is firmly in control of any entity that might challenge bad Israeli behavior. On top of Friedman, Greenblatt and Kushner, one might also add National Security Adviser John Bolton, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And Trump himself? Who knows what he actually thinks if he bothers to think at all. He has just announced that it is “mission accomplished” in Syria, suggesting that he is delusional as well as ignorant.
Media coverage of Syria, apart from Carlson, scrupulously avoids the issue that the United States is in Syria completely illegally and has been cynically supporting terrorist groups in spite of its pledge that it is in the country to get rid of such vermin. It is a measure of how divorced from actual U.S. security America’s Syria policy has become that the White House has not hesitated to launch a second illegal cruise missile barrage against a government that hasn’t attacked the U.S. and doesn’t threaten Americans. Bombing the Syrian government hasn’t made the U.S. or any other country more secure, and it will likely weaken President Bashar al-Assad just enough to prolong Syria’s civil war and add to the suffering of the civilian population. It is a perfect example of a military intervention that is being done for political reasons with no connection to any discernible interests or overall strategy.
Syria is only part of a much larger problem. It is remarkable the extent to which Israeli concerns dominate those of the United States, which now has a foreign policy that often is not even remotely connected to actual U.S. interests. Congress and the Special Counsel are investigating Russia’s alleged interference in America’s political system while looking the other way when Israel operates aggressively in the open and does much more damage. Netanyahu and his crew of unsavory cutthroats are hardly ever cited for their malignant influence over America’s political class and media. Bomb Syria? Sure. After all, it’s good for Israel.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected].