Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Congratulations! For its Botched Raid on the Gaza Aid Flotilla, Israel has Now Earned a Coveted Shit-Huffer Award!

It seems that when all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

I have not awarded the coveted We Are Respectable Negroes Shit-Huffer award in quite some time. An homage to jenkem, a foul drug which is based on the inhalation of the toxic fumes produced by human waste, this award is given for stupidity above and beyond the call of duty. For its actions in the botched raid on the Turkish relief flotilla in international waters during which at least 9 people were killed and many more wounded, Israel has more than earned this prestigious award.

Israel's actions were an unneeded escalation of tensions in the area. And for those unfamiliar with my stances on international relations, I am a bit of a hawk. I believe in the use of State power--military and otherwise--to advance one's interests. I am also a realist. I am suspicious of the "community" of nations' ability to always deter conflict or that abstract ideas maintain the international order.

For example, I have long believed that the U.S. should strike Iran preemptively. I am concerned about the transformation of our military into one oriented to counter-insurgency warfare. Unlike many in the general public I consider China to be a clear military threat that we should be more aggressive in balancing. Finally, I consider the 3 trillion dollar boondoggle in Iraq a waste of treasure and blood--not because of a deep dislike of preemption as a national security policy--but because it took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Iran.

Israel has earned this award, both for this careless act, as well as for a series of selfish deeds that have betrayed America's trust in its "closest" ally in the region. During the Cold War, I was willing to give Israel a pass out of strategic necessity--even after the vicious attack on the USS Liberty. Now, with their overreach in Gaza and Beirut, repeated acts of espionage against this country, refusal to work in good faith on the settlement issue, and transferral of U.S. military secrets to China, something must give.

Contributing to their vaunted shit-huffer status, Israel's raid was both ill planned and poorly executed. I will concede all of Israel's points on this issue. Let us assume that there were weapons aboard. Let us also assume that perhaps some number of provocateurs or infiltrators were aboard the flotilla.

Was the gain to be had by raiding the ship worth the strategic fallout? Moreover, and again to my hawkish views on national defense, if Israel was so concerned about the cargo why not wait until the ship was in its territorial waters and disable the vessel? If need be, I would back destroying the bridge to stop the vessel. If the threat was truly dire, I would even support sinking it.

But, to drop commandos, one by one, into a hostile crowd and then look aghast when things go fubar is both reckless and stupid. You don't send Israel's version of the Navy Seals on a milk run and then get surprised when they do that special thing they do--i.e kill when confronted with a threat. Not to be overlooked, in Israel's rank selfishness they took no consideration for what their attack would do to the United States' relationship with Turkey.

Here, Israel is like the frat boy who wears his dirty white hat to class everyday, gets drunk playing beer pong each weekend, takes liberties with drunken sorority girls (you know they wanted it!) and chews tobacco all the while spitting nasty tobacco juice in an old Coke can. Dude can be a real jerk because he takes your friendship for granted. Ultimately, said dirty white hat wearing frat boy has a real sense of entitlement because he knows that mom and dad will always bail him out.

Borrowing from a more striking visual: In the immortal words of R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, Israel would be the guy that would fuck you in the ass and not even give you the courtesy of a reach around.

Israel made this bed and now has to lie in it. But, given the strength of the Israel lobby (yes, I said the phrase that need never be uttered) we know how the U.S. is going to play this one..."nothing to see here, move along:

Sadly it seems that our boy can do no wrong, even as he tarnishes our name and drags us into the muck with him.


marci said...

great post....
and is it just me noticing that, increasingly, they are using western long weekends and bank holidays to try to minimise coverage of their deeds...

Shady_Grady said...

Why do you think the US should attack Iran?

Quote collector said...

What is your view on the Gaza blockade itself?

chaunceydevega said...

@Shady. I think the option needs to be more seriously considered than it is at present. On one hand, I think it would be disruptive the region and potentially embolden the mullahs and Ahmadinejad.

I do understand the paradox there as well that the Iranian people like the U.S. but dislike our policies--and their own government. Thus encouraging the opposition--very carefully--is likely the best option.

But, I remain unpersuaded that tradition deterrence would work with Iran. Not because they are muslims/persians (the answer some give) but because their actions to this point do not suggest their leadership will work within such a framework. Finally, the Iranians have played a very dangerous game in Iraq supporting various factions, arming them, and training them to attack U.S. forces (again another reason we should not have invaded as it made it too easy to retaliate against us should we have to go all in with Iran).

Long answer, but in short it will only delay them a few years, but it could be our only best hope as talking and inspections have not done the job.

Yunalesca said...

Cut off all aid and ties with Israel. They want to act tough, let them. I have long been disgusted with the US policy towards Israel and blatant discrimination and terrorism they practice towards Palestine. While I don't support rhetoric such as "wipe Israel off the face of this earth" they need to understand that their actions will not come without consequences.

Shady_Grady said...

@Chauncey...I see your points but I am unconvinced of the wisdom of such an action. First of all Iran is a signatory to the NPT and as such is entitled to pursue nuclear power. They do not have any nuclear weapons. The last US intelligence report concluded that they had shut down their weapons program.

Secondly, Iran hasn't attacked another country in a LONG time. Iran is not at war with the US. The US has funded and supported terrorrist groups inside of Iran. For the US to attack Iran with no provocation would be wrong. Issues of right and wrong do not matter in realpolitik of course but consider that the US is currently engaged in hot wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bombs Pakistan at will, and has also launched attacks in Yemen and Somalia. Attacking yet another Muslim country would undercut any so-called "moderates" in the Middle East. It would also confirm to everyone that the US only picks fights with people without nuclear weapons. And it would wipe out any positive feelings in Iran toward the US. It would be 1953 in Iran all over again.

Lastly, once the genie is out of the jar, it can't be put back in. Sooner or later, whether in five years or twenty years, Iran and other countries will have nuclear weapons. Since Iran is surrounded by hostile powers, it would be foolish not to at least have the capacity to go nuclear pretty quickly, especially since Israel has hundreds of nukes and loves to give the impression that it wouldn't mind turning Tehran into black glass.

Check these links out. They are by a relatively decent anti-war libertarian, who despite some of his loonier economic ideas, =) is dead on about war, imo.

PS, air strikes alone would probably not be able to end the Iranian nuclear program and just as importantly China and Russia might not put up with it.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...


I know it is a puzzle. I thought the recent intel was that they were a year to three away in the worst case.

Don't get me wrong, it would be a mess and a hard call to make.