The Real Aim of Israel’s Bomb Iran Campaign

Reuel Marc Gerecht’s screed justifying an Israeli bombing attack on Iran coincides with the opening the new Israel lobby campaign marked by the introduction of House resolution 1553 expressing full support for such an Israeli attack.

What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran.

That has long been the Israeli strategy for Iran, because Israel cannot fight a war with Iran without full U.S. involvement. Israel needs to know that the United States will finish the war that Israel wants to start.

Gerecht openly expresses the hope that any Iranian response to the Israeli attack would trigger full-scale U.S. war against Iran. ”œIf Khamenei has a death-wish, he’ll let the Revolutionary Guards mine the strait, the entrance to the Persian Gulf,” writes Gerecht. ”œIt might be the only thing that would push President Obama to strike Iran militarily….”

Gerecht suggest that the same logic would apply to any Iranian ”œterrorism against the United States after an Israeli strike,” by which we really means any attack on a U.S. target in the Middle East. Gerecht writes that Obama might be ”œobliged” to threaten major retaliation ”œimmediately after an Israeli surprise attack.”

That’s the key sentence in this very long Gerecht argument. Obama is not going to be ”œobliged” to joint an Israeli aggression against Iran unless he feels that domestic political pressures to do so are too strong to resist. That’s why the Israelis are determined to line up a strong majority in Congress and public opinion for war to foreclose Obama’s options.

In the absence of confidence that Obama would be ready to come into the war fully behind Israel, there cannot be an Israeli strike.

Gerecht’s argument for war relies on a fanciful nightmare scenario of Iran doling out nuclear weapons to Islamic extremists all over the Middle East. But the real concern of the Israelis and their lobbyists, as Gerecht’s past writing has explicitly stated, is to destroy Iran’s Islamic regime in a paroxysm of U.S. military violence.

Gerecht first revealed this Israeli-neocon fantasy as early as 2000, before the Iranian nuclear program was even taken seriously, in an essay written for a book published by the Project for a New American CenturyHYPERLINK “”. Gerecht argued that, if Iran could be caught in a ”œterrorist act,” the U.S. Navy should ”œretaliate with fury”. The purpose of such a military response, he wrote, should be to ”œstrike with truly devastating effect against the ruling mullahs and the repressive institutions that maintain them.”

And lest anyone fail to understand what he meant by that, Gerecht was more explicit: ”œThat is, no cruise missiles at midnight to minimize the body count. The clerics will almost certainly strike back unless Washington uses overwhelming, paralyzing force.”

In 2006-07, the Israeli war party had reason to believed that it could hijack U.S. policy long enough to get the war it wanted, because it had placed one of its most militant agents, David Wurmser, in a strategic position to influence that policy.

We now know that Wurmser, formerly a close adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu and during that period Vice President Dick Cheney’s main adviser on the Middle East, urged a policy of overwhelming U.S. military force against Iran. After leaving the administration in 2007, Wurmser revealed that he had advocated a U.S. war on Iran, not to set back the nuclear program but to achieve regime change.

“Only if what we do is placed in the framework of a fundamental assault on the survival of the regime will it have a pick-up among ordinary Iranians,” Wurmser told The Telegraph. The U.S. attack was not to be limited to nuclear targets but was to be quite thorough and massively destructive. ”œIf we start shooting, we must be prepared to fire the last shot. Don’t shoot a bear if you’re not going to kill it.”

Of course, that kind of war could not be launched out of the blue. It would have required a casus belli to justify a limited initial attack that would then allow a rapid escalation of U.S. military force. In 2007, Cheney acted on Wurmser’s advice and tried to get Bush to provoke a war with Iran over Iraq, but it was foiled by the Pentagon.

As Wurmser was beginning to whisper that advice in Cheney’s ear in 2006, Gerecht was making the same argument in The Weekly Standard:

Bombing the nuclear facilities once would mean we were declaring war on the clerical regime. We shouldn’t have any illusions about that. We could not stand idly by and watch the mullahs build other sites. If the ruling mullahs were to go forward with rebuilding what they’d lost–and it would be surprising to discover the clerical regime knuckling after an initial bombing run–we’d have to strike until they stopped. And if we had any doubt about where their new facilities were (and it’s a good bet the clerical regime would try to bury new sites deep under heavily populated areas), and we were reasonably suspicious they were building again, we’d have to consider, at a minimum, using special-operations forces to penetrate suspected sites.

The idea of waging a U.S. war of destruction against Iran is obvious lunacy, which is why U.S. military leaders have strongly resisted it both during the Bush and Obama administrations. But Gerecht makes it clear that Israel believes it can use its control of Congress to pound Obama into submission. Democrats in Congress, he boasts, ”œare mentally in a different galaxy than they were under President Bush.” Even though Israel has increasingly been regarded around the world as a rogue state after its Gaza atrocities and the commando killings of unarmed civilians on board the Mavi Marmara, its grip on the U.S. Congress appears as strong as ever.

Moreover, polling data for 2010 show that a majority of Americans have already been manipulated into supporting war against Iran ”“ in large part because more than two-thirds of those polled have gotten the impression that Iran already has nuclear weapons. The Israelis are apparently hoping to exploit that advantage. ”œIf the Israelis bomb now, American public opinion will probably be with them,” writes Gerecht. ”œPerhaps decisively so.”

Netanyahu must be feeling good about the prospects for pressuring Barack Obama to join an Israeli war of aggression against Iran. It was Netanyahu, after all, who declared in 2001, ”œI know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in the way.”

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Gareth Porter

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  • I’m hoping Barack Obama doesn’t want to become America’s very first three-war president. Two were inherited from BushCo, one’s been insanely prolonged, and he’s slowly pulling out of the worst one. Is this really the time to start flexing the Pentagon’s manly butt cheeks at Iran?

    Barack, speak to the Israelis like you would to a stripper from whom you are about to decline a lewd, expensive lap dance. Sorry honey, but I just can’t afford it right now. Bills to pay, that sort of thing. Maybe that Russian bear will buy one?
    Cows get milked, rubes get bilked,
    And fat cats dine on fools and cream.

  • Watch out for the pressure to increase after the mid terms, culminating in early 2012.

    Obama can use the third war to get reelected in 2012.

  • It really should be. A full blown and heated public discussion outlining the insanity of such a move and a definite statement that should a course be taken, impeachment was on the table. Those in Congress who have signed on to the resolution advocating such a course and are not registered as agents of a foreign power should be taken to a wall and shot as traitors. Expulsion from Congress would be too good for those treasonous AIPAC scum.

    This suggested unprovoked attack on Iran will cause a coalition of every other power against the US, the US cannot be trusted, it will have become insanely rogue and lost the run of itself. They will avoid military provocations but will analyze every economic weakness and will use those weaknesses to drain the US of the last vestiges of power. They will also make sure there is absolutely no recovery of economic ability to wage war, the trillions expended in the insanity of world hegemony and empire. The necessary information can be found in for all that was paid for Afghanistan and Iraq, how much was gained by those wars. Those who gained DO NOT PAY TAXES AND NEVER WILL.

    Already Russia has stated strong disagreement with the EU’s extension of sanctions against Iran. China has stated the same reservation about the application of sanctions. God, when will those foolish yanks pull their vacuous heads out of their asses.

  • It’s hard to say just how much Obama likes being President. He’s already got one ticket punched and a very astute observer noted that only a fool would want the job under the present conditions (said pre-2008, but even more valid today). If he digs in his heels following a “coming soon, to a theater by you” Zionist strike on Iran it will spell political disaster for the Democrats this year, but may work to their favor in 2012. If not, Obama will at least have “done the right thing” relative to Ersatz Ysrael.
    Imagine Tel Aviv getting “Gazaed” or “Lebanoned.” Imagine a few Zionist air wings returning to bases that have been “smoked” by the Iranians and their Palestinian allies. Then imagine the Gulfies actually standing up to consumers in the fear that Iran will mine the straits if they don’t.
    Sounds awful ripe for an imposed settlement — this time by the Turks and perhaps the Russians, maybe with EU backup. I imagine that the demographic bomb that’s been ticking away at the Zionists feet will then go off prematurely, once the dual nationals start fleeing the Holy Land for the Promised Land — that’s the downside, since most will be USofA bound.


  • Establishing America’s presence (and increasingly) control of the oil-soaked regions of the Middle East began immediately after WWII, when the sun still never set upon the British Empire.

    O, the natives set upon it from all sides, but the sun? Never.

    America set upon it as well, smoothly moving in where an exhausted and war-indebted Britain could no longer keep a grasp. Same for other former colonial empires. We took a special interest in oily regions.

    After 65 years of movin’ and shakin’ over there where the Sheiks and Mullahs and American puppets hold sway, America currently has a serious military presence in every nation bordering Iran. And a whole mess of mean military ships close by. Striking distance close.

    Do you see the impetus, the inertia there? The relentless direction of things over these six-plus decades, no matter who sat in the Oval Office? Think that’s going to change, reverse course?

    You don’t quit a habit like that. You go down with it, and pick up the pieces afterwards.

    It is not really Obama’s decision. The decision was made by the wealthy elites of our nation long ago — made by the War Machine and for that matter made by every ordinary SOB who jumps in the car and hits the road at will in America. We all long ago made this decision, and we make it anew every day.

    Because we need that oil to live the way we do, using six times as much of everything as any other nation. We need it the way a junkie needs to get well. That’s why we’ve been mugging oily nations since 1992.

    Because getting that energy by force and subterfuge is easier for we Americans than changing our energy habits.

    So we will be taking that oil away from the Iranians at some point.

    When? When we can, or when we gotta, when our backs are against the wall. We will take it the same way we took this continent away from Geronimo and millions like him. Force and lies does it every time.

    The one thing that would stop “regime change” and the establishing of an American-friendly government in Iran would be the discovery of limitless fusion energy, or something similar that could replace our hunger for oil energy.

    Lacking something like that, the war is just waiting for good political timing to go. Even if Russia and China and India stood against us, we would still have to get well.

    That damned monkey on our back is muttering about Manifest Destiny again . . .

  • After all the argument can be made that with the green movement the Iranian people are already breaking towards the US. Why fight are war for something that probably comes your way anyhow?

  • cold feet on this and are the main reason we haven’t attacked Iran yet.

    I think the wikileaks dump was part of their pushback.

    “Hey boss, ain’t lookin so hot over here.”

    “Not now, I have to keep these damn Republicans happy and they will call me a wimp if I’m not giving you everything you want.”

    “Well, we want a million more men and a few trillion more dollars. There’s like 45 million of these damn sand monkeys over here and every last one of’ms got an AK47 and every third one has a grenade launcher and every tenth has a damn bomb under their damn dress. Otherwise, let us do something easy, like attack Cuba.”

    “No can do. Can’t afford to lose Florida to those pernicious Republicans.”

    “Well, it’s a real mess over here. Mumblemumblemumble…Hear we got someone leaking information… Damn, where’d they get that video of those reporters getting shot up. Oh well, that’s war for you. What? Well I’ll be! Some twentytwo year old just dumped 90,000 pages of stuff on Afghanistan. That’s too bad. Yea, we really are having trouble keeping those Pakis in line, no matter how much money we give’em. You sure you want to attack Iran too? This is a mess over here…”

  • …of their asses? That’s a very good question; I’ve been waiting for 65 years and believe the answer to be; never.

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • …we’re (Agonistas) not part of the loony bin. The disconnect is cosmic in dimension between the power, the average citizen and the thinking literati (all of which you know). Even if the majority of Americans are against a war with Iran, the media will spin this away and the people will continue to be lied to in an unbroken chain of fantasy. In the end the U.S. will be an orphan in the world; not understanding that it can no longer wage war against a world that has turned it’s back to us.
    When I left the U.S. 8 years ago the slide down had already started and I’ve seen no evidence it’s slowing down; rather the angle of repose is increasing.

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • Well. Lets consider this as rational folk…

    Let’s consider the world from the point of view of where people spend their time and money.

    Then viewing the world as a collection of nations seems almost… irrelevant.

    How much money have you voluntarily spent on being a citizen of whichever country you are in?

    Hmm. I thought so. Probably less than you spent on the local sports team!

    Let’s face it. We’re primarily a nesting species. Most of our time and money is spent on our nests.

    Then on our cars.

    Above all, the American, and indeed now, the World’s dream is about TV.

    The Americans have led the charge, and the whole world, to the couch.

    And now they just plain outmass us all in sheer kilos of couch potato.

    See how simpler the world becomes when viewed this way?

    The active duty Taliban and the US marines are way more similar to each other, than either are to the couch potato.

    They are consenting adults in mass sado-masochistic sex game. The couch potatoes of all sides pay good money to watch, since it makes Good TV and Good Conversation and let’s face it, Good Porn.

    The Biggest of the Big Lies swallowed by The People is that there are leaders on the world stage who are stupid, ignorant and foolish.

    The harsher truth is none are, and the acts of all of them are indeed driven by considerable knowledge, deep greed, fierce ambition.

  • …the downside of an attack there is a great deal more direct material in the system. Additionally, they wouldn’t leak it this way – it would come out of E-ring and go to a chosen handful of high influence media personalities.

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  • …to someone you don’t know.
    You say, “How much money have you voluntarily spent on being a citizen of whichever country you are in?
    Hmm. I thought so. Probably less than you spent on the local sports team!”
    I do not follow any sports! And what could you possibly know about what I contribute to my chosen country? Rather a pretentious/uninformed statement at best!
    I’m not so naive as to believe your gross assumptions and so your point is lost on me.
    If indeed you do have a point, could you kindly make it; given your comment was directly to my comment?

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • You’re assuming it’s the Pentagon. I suspect the navy and air force don’t have much problem with attacking Iran. Heck, give them a little action. It’s the army and Marines who can see what they are up against.
    As for leaking it to high influence media personalities, how quick do you think that would get back to Israel? And how quick do you think they would stomp all over it?

    What motivate my line of reasoning is that I cannot see what is happening in Afghanistan not causing significant quiet rebellion in the ranks. It would be one thing if Iraq could be spun as any sort of clear victory, but it really must be looking like wasted effort to many of those who were there and it must be hard to see how Afghanistan will be any less of a disaster.
    There has to be some disconnect between the resourcefulness the American military preaches and respect of the chain of command. That suicide rate has to be hurting in a lot of different ways.

  • … comments I’ve seen here. Get’s me thinking a bit though. Since I am voluntary here in Canada and happily pay my taxes for that privilege I guess when adding all up I spent about ~$200,000 on that so far. Even if I was into sports I think it’ll be tough for me to do the same kind of spending in this area.

  • when it comes to a decision about whether or not to go to war, and how to do it so that goals are clearly defined and objectives are realistically achievable, not to mention constructing an exit strategy.

    The least trustworthy in this regard: Wall Street or any corporate CEO.

    Obama basically walked into the Oval Office without a clue. He then made the additional egregious mistake of listening to a bunch of Goldman Sachs execs to help him figure his policies. He should have listened to his generals and to people who actually know what the hell they are talking about. He has a great resource in Hillary. She arrives on the scene having done her homework and makes accurate analyses of difficult foreign policy problems.

    Obama may become an 8-year president who figures out what he should be doing on the job in year six.

    Letting Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry drive foreign policy is a huge mistake.

    Agreed that the New York Times and WaPo have utterly proved that they will knowingly blast lies at the public in order to help whip up a war.

    Newspaper editors occupy the same niche as fundamentalist religious leaders. Total idealogues with no regard for the human consequences of their lies (Rupert Murdoch, anyone?). If the White House and the corporate overlords say print it, NYT and WaPo print it. Ethics, the truth, and the moral compass are thown aside.

    Sure they may come out five years later and say “Gee, we’re sorry, we made a mistake.” But that’s just part of the strategy to restore their perceived legitimacy before the next round of knowingly perpetrated lies. If you understand that, you know everything you need to know about every major MSM newspaper in the USA.

    When it comes to whipping up an invasion of Iran, expect to see a repeat performance of the Iraq exercise in “how-low-can-you-go.”

  • is that there are many people in the upper reaches of the military who are smart enough to want no part whatsoever of a shooting war with Iran.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • …oh well.

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • …are the truths revealed by our wallets and our clocks.

    We choose our shoes… but very very few choose their countries.

    And of those few, who like me, chose their country, most are painfully aware that the menu was limited by language, by law, by quotas, by cost, by xenophobia and by jobs.

    Most hide from themselves these things behind the convenient lie that magically the accident of citizenship has gifted them with the best of all possible countries…. but the lie is revealed by their wallets.

    Not by how much they spend on taxes or tools. They have no choice on that.

    But where and how they spend their discretionary monies and leisure time.

    Welcome to KINGDOM OF TV! Now bigger and brighter on a Plasma Screen!

    I have often been struck by the thought that an Alien species would assume that earthlings had “fat” and “thin” subspecies, long before they stumbled on the notion of race, language or nationality.

    Body Morphology clearly runs in families, more like to marry someone in the same group, more likely to share the same culture as represented by food choices and entertainment choices….

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