Comments on paper written by Professor Lou Iberes
Reader comment on: Variations on the Theme of The Arab War Against Israel
Submitted by Bud Edney (United States), Jun 21, 2012 23:54
Great to read your articles. I will share with you some comments I recently sent to Professor Lou Iberes, who I met over a year ago while on a trip. We have been emailing back and forth ever since.. These are some comments I just sent to him concerning a thesis he wrote on Israel security issues. I don't think he would mind my sharing them with you. I think you will agree with them. At least when it comes to Israel and the Middle East he is a conservative thinker rather than a liberal academic. I enjoy my exchanges with him. I will send you by separate message a copy of his paper, so my comments might make more sense. Cheers and Hi to Steve.
I had not previously seen this paper . When, I read it carefully, I recognized it provided a synthesis of
many of the views we have shared before. Some thoughts on your paper are provided below.
Chapter 1: a. concerning your discussion of preemption options in the case of Iran. Israel alone does not have the conventional capability to destroy or significantly impact Iran's nuclear weapon program. For Israel to initiate a nuclear preemption strike would create more problems than it solved.. I also believe any preemptive counter value targeting would be counter to the values of the Jewish nation. Since Islamists tend to place their forces in or near heavily populated areas, the difference between counter value and counter force may not always be distinguishable. Clearly Israel is in the eye of the storm vis-a-vis the Islamic Jihad against Israel, America and the Free world. Israel can legitimately respond to an Iranian attack or a proven Iranian supported attack using nuclear counter force targeting.
b. The fact that Islamic suicide bombers believe their actions provide them a honored existence in the next life for pleasing Allah, is a tough issue. There will never be a lack of suicide bombers..
Chapter 2. a. The term " Never Again" refers to the Nazi holocaust against Jews. The plethora of Islamic suicide actions are in reality a slower delivered holocaust. The purpose is the same.
b. The religious differences, the Palestinian issue and historic anti-Semitism makes the world( including America ) sympathize with the Palestinians. The proliferation of WMD, particularly nuclear capabilities is changing the dynamics. Israel should stop chasing the approval of world public opinion. It is not achievable. Hope for Peace is not a strategy. Ant-Semitism will not go away. Those who hate Israel and Jews will not change. WMD can threaten the existence of the State of Israel. Preventing this is the solemn duty of the Jewish State of Israel. I agree the enemies of Israel should be looked at synergistically. In reality the enemy of Israel, America and the Free World is an Islamic Theocracy. Shariah Law cannot be separated from Islam. It has preference over other state governing authority. A theocracy is hard to defeat in a democratic society that highlights freedom of religion.
Chapter 3. a. Regrettably, I agree that the state of Israel's challenge is to endure pain and loss among it's citizens and prevail. Israel erred by complying with U.S. pressure and therefore not responding to Iraqi SCUD attacks on Israel territory during the 1991 Gulf War.This should also be another "never again" event.
b. America has adopted a policy of assassinating Al Qaida leaders by drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen. A good case can be made that these not only have not dismantled Al Qaida but instead have energized them in their purpose to defeat the "Great Satan".
c. Israel has always had a lack of territorial depth concerning their security. The creation of a Palestinian State will only exacerbate this issue. Israel needs to disperse, harden and increase their nuclear weapons capabilities. We have agreed to disagree on the issue of Israel taking the bomb out of the basement. ( Shoshana I am against it It would only put the focus on Israel and increase sympathy for the Arab World)
d. As you have pointed out, Israel's security is a very complicated issue. The world does not recognize that the security of Israel is necessary for the world as we know it to continue to exist. There is no winner for the world's environment for a nuclear exchange in the M. E. When a state possesses nuclear weapons, statements made on the need to eradicate another state make that intent real and requires action if you are the targeted state. Israel's response to this situation does not need to be justified on legality but risk assessment of not acting..
e.. Actions concerning the use of military force are often based on wrong or inadequate intelligence. Unfortunately, this is more normal than abnormal. war and genocide may not be mutually exclusive when nuclear weapons are involved
Chapter 4. a. I agree that the peace process is a failure for Israel and a positive for her enemies. I do not believe comparison between U.S. and Israel Think Tank positions are offered from similar baselines. Like real estate, it all depends on location. Their is no real fear of failure or misjudgment in the U.S. I found interesting your belief that U.S. academic strategists are paid not to think.
b. Some of your thoughts made a simple man like me smile. Such as, " The logical development of thought through thesis and antithesis to a synthesis of these opposites." ( Shoshana I guess this is academia speak)
c. All questions do not have answers. I agree with you that strategic planning is never finished. The problem with discussing the completion of a Strategic Master Plan implies that it is. It is a continuing dynamic. I agree with whoever said, Thunder is impressive but it is lightening that does the work. It is hard to be responsible for human generated lightening. I agree that 'Israel must go beyond abstract concepts of end times to concrete images of catastrophe."
d. Iran and Israel are in a state of war. Preemptive action is legal, even preemptive action to an anticipated preemptive action. The Iraq murder of Kurds was not interfered with by the U.S. when it happened under Saddam. The U.S. and the world has not prevented Syria from massacring her own citizens. Why stop Gaddafe and not Assad. Could it be Russia and China?
Chapter 5. a. Assassination as a tactic when you are at war is legitimate. If you are not and you believe in justice before the law, I do not believe it is a productive governmental policy,
b. Israel has always responded to attacks not attacked another nation first. This may not be sufficient for their security in the future. When I as in Israel in February, the leadership we talked to indicated they did not believe Iran would attack Israel even with a limited number of nuclear weapons.
c. The U.S. is enamored with democratic voting as the best way to govern. Anarchy and change in the Arab world have not been helpful to Israel security. The Egyptian vote did not help either. The dictator you know is better than an unknown elected enemy. Something may be true, but it is not necessarily the "Truth".
Lou, I have gone on far beyond where I intended to. Obviously Israel and the Jewish people are important to me and I value your views. Life in Israel is precious, it will never be normal since they are surrounded by enemies who have little value for life ( Israelis or their own). I believe that Life is the Rock of Israel and they will prevail.
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