US Using Israeli Military to Train Special Ops to fight Iraqis
Julian Borger of the Guardian reports that the Israeli army has sent “urban warfare specialists” to Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, to help train US Special Forces personnel for operations in Iraq. He says that according to two sources, Israeli military “consultants” have also visited Iraq.
Borger appears to have picked up on the story in the wake of a ground-breaking report by Seymour M. Hersh in the New Yorker, which goes into much more detail, but wasn’t on the Web yet when I initially posted.
The disgusting and illegal razing of dwellings and the puerile philosophy that if you hit them hard enough they will lie down and let you walk all over them, which have been apparent in US military tactics in the Sunni Arab heartland in Iraq thus probably have origins in Israeli military thinking.
The Bush senior administration had a big fight with then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in winter of 1991 because it would not share the “Identify Friend or Foe” codes in use over Iraq with the Israelis. Without broadcasting the right IFF codes, Israeli fighter planes that had tried to strike Iraq would have risked being misidentified as Iraqi hostiles and shot down by the US or other United Nations forces. Shamir was livid, but Bush senior refused to relent.
Why did the senior Bush behave this way? Because he wanted Egypt, Syria and other Arab states to continue to support the Gulf War. They were upset with Saddam because he had invaded Kuwait, a fellow Arab League member, and they were willing to join the US in a war to get the Iraqis back out of Kuwait. But they would not have been willing to fight another Arab country as direct allies of Israel, and if they had done so, they would have been so delegitimized at home that they might well have face revolutions. Bush senior knew this.
W. doesn’t have his father’s experience with the world, and is, frankly, an ignoramus. If he is letting the US effort in Iraq be tarred with the brush of Israeli occupation, he is actually acting as the world’s most prominent recruiting agent for al-Qaeda in the Muslim world. Because that is al-Qaeda’s message to angry young Muslim men who feel humiliated by US power and by Israeli brutality in the West Bank and Gaza. Al-Qaeda says, the Americans are not in Iraq to bring democracy. They are bringing Israeli hegemony to the Middle East.
It was ridiculous. Until the story broke and gave it legitimacy.
This is about the most stupid move I have ever seen the US military make. I have enormous respect for the US officer corps and for military thinkers. These professionals are most often really bright and well informed. They very frequently get over-ruled by civilian political appointees who are either not bright or not well informed.
But this time the impetus seems to be coming from within, from Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin. Boykin is the one who spends his spare time chatting up big Christian fundamentalist audiences about his life a death struggle with what he calls the satanic Muslim religion. And now he’s bringing in Israelis to train the special ops guys, according to Borger’s sources.
Mind you, I support US friendship for Israel, though I regret the Bush administration’s obsequiousness toward the bully Ariel Sharon (who should be in jail for war crimes). But like Bush senior in the Gulf War, I think the US cannot allow its alliance with Israel to interfere with policy toward the Arab world, where the US also has key allies and friends. The tragic thing is that the Sharon government’s Iron Fist policies do not work (if by “work” you mean “lead to resolution of conflict and make people safer”). Palestinian opponents of the Great Israeli Land Theft continue to grow like kudzu, and terrorism has not been stopped. Even the former heads of Shin Bet, Israeli internal security, have publicly come out to critique Sharon and say it does not work. So now is the time for the US military to suddenly adopt these tactics? Ed Blanche of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London makes this point in a recent Daily Star op-ed.
The US is doomed not just to a small run of the mill disappointment in Iraq if it goes on riding roughshod over ordinary Arabs’ feelings like this. It is doomed to a major blow-up that will do incalculable damage to the security and well-being of you and me. Any of you who write your congressmen should please take up the issue of Boykin and his crazy schemes to Sharon-ize the US military.
It is no wonder that the US effort in Iraq is being slammed even by friends such as the Indonesian Foreign Minister.
I have a sinking feeling that Bush just lost the war on terror.