Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 18, 2008

Iran, Israel and nuclear holocaust

Filed under: Iran,zionism — louisproyect @ 5:07 pm

Benny Morris: mad bomber

In today’s N.Y. Times, there is an article that reports on a developing rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran:

The Bush administration is considering establishing an American diplomatic presence in Iran for the first time since relations were severed during the 444-day occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran nearly three decades ago, European and American officials said on Thursday.

The idea would be to establish a so-called interests section, rather than a fully staffed embassy, with American diplomats who could issue visas to Iranians seeking to visit the United States. But the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic rules, cautioned that the idea had not been approved by the White House and could be delayed or blocked by opposition within the administration.

The proposal comes as the White House is adopting new tactics in dealing with Iran. With six months left in office, Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appear to be looking for new ways to reach out to the Iranian people as the administration tries to bring a peaceful resolution to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program.

As has frequently been the case in American dealings with Shi’ites in the region, there are contradictions within contradictions. In Iraq, the Shi’ite government has been criticized by Tehran for not opposing U.S. occupation goals strongly enough but this very same government has instructed Washington that it will be necessary to set a date for withdrawal of American troops despite Bush’s objections.

With respect to Iran, a rapprochement would have been categorically excluded by some elements of the radical movement in the U.S. who assume that American power is unlimited. But the U.S. always had implicitly shared goals with Tehran in removing Saddam Hussein and empowering a Shi’ite state. Despite fiery rhetoric directed against Tehran, the Islamic Republic furnished crucial intelligence to the U.S. when war was launched against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In an interview with USA Today on June 9, 2005, Mohsen Rezaie, former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and one of eight candidates in Iran’s June 17 presidential elections, made clear that the U.S. and Iran had common goals in the region despite the foolish prejudices of the hard right:

Q: Should Iran reopen talks with the United States with a view toward re-establishing diplomatic relations?

A: Everything is possible. The American authorities didn’t give Iran a clear proposal, except for Mr. Reagan, who was a brave man, and Mrs. Albright who praised Iran. Other American presidents and American secretaries of State didn’t make a courageous proposal to Iran. If they make a rational offer to Iran, I believe a real transformation will take place in the relations between Iran and America. I believe that the political-security environment that currently exists between Iran and the West must change into a political-economic environment.

Q: What has Iran done to support U.S. security goals in the region, in Afghanistan and Iraq?

A: Iran’s supporters and allies in Afghanistan and Iraq played an important role in the fall of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein and Iran extended to them the necessary assistance. Some Revolutionary Guard commanders which advised the Northern Alliance had a key role in the capture of Kabul. They were special forces for urban warfare and had experience in this field during the Iran-Iraq war. They were very effective and active in giving advice to this group. But American army propaganda quickly claimed most of these achievements in its own name.

Those radicals in the U.S. who gullibly accept Revolutionary Guard rhetoric on its own terms might have some difficulty in digesting Rezaie’s words. This would not be the first time that the left would be behind the curve. After Nixon visited China in 1972, Maoists all across the U.S. were shocked by the spectacle of the American imperialist head of state clinking champagne glasses with Mao Zedong. Of course, there was also a similar bid in 1985 when Oliver North was delegated to seek Iran’s help in arming the Nicaraguan contras, with a key-shaped cake taking the place of vintage champagne.

There are signs that some neoconservatives are unhappy with the administrations “realpolitik” turn. In yesterday’s N.Y. Times, John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the U.N. and long-time rightwing lunatic, demurred: “Just when you think the administration is out of U-turns, they make another one. This is further evidence of the administration’s complete intellectual collapse.”

Shoring up the rightwing challenge are its co-thinkers in Israel, including the former “revisionist” historian Benny Morris who has a truly frightening op-ed piece in today’s N.Y. Times titled in 1984-style “Using Bombs to Stave Off War”. He writes:

Given the fundamentalist, self-sacrificial mindset of the mullahs who run Iran, Israel knows that deterrence may not work as well as it did with the comparatively rational men who ran the Kremlin and White House during the cold war. They are likely to use any bomb they build, both because of ideology and because of fear of Israeli nuclear pre-emption. Thus an Israeli nuclear strike to prevent the Iranians from taking the final steps toward getting the bomb is probable. The alternative is letting Tehran have its bomb. In either case, a Middle Eastern nuclear holocaust would be in the cards.

Iran’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Bar this, the best they could hope for is that Israel’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland. Some Iranians may believe that this is a worthwhile gamble if the prospect is Israel’s demise. But most Iranians probably don’t.

Morris is an apt symbol of Zionist society’s talent for degrading everybody who lives in its midst, including this one time liberal. In the Spring 2004 issue of Middle East Reports (MERIP), editor Joel Beinin reviews Morris career in an article titled “No More Tears: Benny Morris and the Road Back from Liberal Zionism”. He writes:

Morris now provides a moral justification for ethnic cleansing that he did not offer before the second intifada, arguing that “[e]ven the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians.” Native Americans and those with a sounder knowledge of North American history may demur. But in Israel, appeal to the authority of the US is the ultimate clincher in any argument. Yearning for the success of the American example, Morris now criticizes Israel’s first prime minister and defense minister, David Ben-Gurion, for failing to do “a complete job” because “this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country…. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake.” Palestine-Israel might also be quieter today if Hitler had completed his planned genocide of world Jewry. It does not occur to Morris that there might be a parallel between these two historical counterfactuals. The first is in the realm of acceptable speculation; the second is too obviously outrageous to consider.

Morris now embraces the common American post-September 11 view of the Muslim world, arguing that, “There is a deep problem in Islam. It’s a world whose values are different. A world in which human life doesn’t have the same value as it does in the West, in which freedom, democracy, openness and creativity are alien…. Therefore, the people we are fighting have no moral inhibitions.” The Palestinians are “serial killers” and “barbarians.” What follows from Morris’ logic is that the Palestinian refugees of 1948 were simply precursors of al-Qaeda who deserved their fate. Further, “if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948…expulsion [of Palestinian-Israelis and West Bankers and Gazans] will be justified.”

After seeing Morris tout the genocide of American Indians as necessary for the creation of a “great American democracy”, one can understand why he would now approve nuking Iran. The ends justify the means. A mushroom cloud over Iran would allow Israel to fulfill its messianic ambitions as the world’s most perfected democracy living in peace with its imperfect neighbor reduced to a radioactive rubble.

3 Comments »

  1. From the Foreign Policy editors’ blog:

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/9289

    United States and Israel playing good cop, bad cop with Iran

    Fri, 07/18/2008 – 9:42am

    I noted yesterday that Haaretz columnist Shmuel Rosner believes that Israel will attack Iran to force the international community to act. Now, maverick Israeli historian Benny Morris weighs in on the New York Times op-ed page, declaring flatly that “Israel will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months… an Israeli nuclear strike to prevent the Iranians from taking the final steps toward getting the bomb is probable.” Say what? Earlier, this week, I questioned a story in The Times of London saying that Washington had given Tel Aviv an “amber light” to proceed with attack plans.

    What’s going on? I have a guess: Israel is playing bad cop to America’s good cop. The Times story provides one clue: “[T]he Israelis have also been told that they can expect no help from American forces and will not be able to use U.S. military bases in Iraq for logistical support.” It’s hard to imagine the Israelis could or would pull off a strike without U.S. help, so this is probably disinformation intended to send the message that Israel could act alone (which is doubtful for geographic, technical, and diplomatic reasons).

    So, when Undersecretary of State William Burns meets with Iranian officials this weekend, he can thus implicitly present himself as their protector from the big, bad Israelis. Look here, Mr. Jalili: The United States is the reasonable one, willing to negotiate and compromise — and only George W. Bush can talk the Israelis out of launching Osirak II. All you need to do is freeze your uranium enrichment and we can start talking for real. I’m sure Iranian leaders are aware of what is going on, but there may be just enough doubt in their minds to make this an effective gambit.

    Comment by Phil Gasper — July 18, 2008 @ 8:57 pm

  2. At my blog is a post written by Fred Weston and an Israeli comrade, that is a good supplement to your post.

    Comment by Renegade Eye — July 18, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

  3. I have even read, in analysis from well before the war, the The Surpeme Iraqi Council, back when it was a member of the U.S. sponsored opposition coalition, (already) served as the diplomatic intermediary between the U.S. and Iran. In that regard, it ultimately had more value and was better suited to a dominant role in the government than all the Chalabi’s and Allawi’s.

    Comment by Chuckie K — July 19, 2008 @ 5:46 pm


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