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Guilt by Association
The United States is widely seen as responsible for Israel's aggressive behavior, which is hardly surprising. It is no secret that Israel enjoys financial ($3 billion per year), military and virtually unquestioned political support from Washington.
What is surprising, in the words of widely respected Salon.com commentator Glenn Greenwald, is "how our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions fuels terrorism directed at the U.S.," and how it is taboo to point this out.
Take for example former CIA specialist on al-Qaeda, Michael Scheuer, who had the audacity to state on C-SPAN: "For anyone to say that our support for Israel doesn't hurt us in the Muslim world ... is to just defy reality."
The Likud Lobby had already succeeded in getting Scheuer fired from his job at the Jamestown Foundation think tank for his forthrightness, and the Israeli media condemned his C-SPAN remarks as "blatantly anti-Semitic." There can be a high price to pay for candor on this neuralgic issue.
Yet, perhaps the most flagrant and egregious example of this syndrome is the unprecedentedly brief career -- six hours -- of former Ambassador Chas Freeman as chair of the National Intelligence Council.
On the morning of March 10, 2009, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair welcomed Freeman to the job overseeing all U.S. intelligence analysis and praised his "long experience and inventive mind." That afternoon, the White House succumbed to pressure from the Likud Lobby and told Blair that Freeman had to go.
Foreign policy analyst Chris Nelson described the imbroglio as a reflection of the "deadly power game on what level of support for controversial Israeli government policies is a 'requirement' for U.S. public office."
Freeman's credentials were impeccable. He is not only widely regarded as one of the brightest foreign policy specialists around, but also had this weird addiction to speaking truth to power. No way was he going to trim intelligence analysis to the desires of the Likud Lobby. That was simply unacceptable. After all, Freeman might have braced the President with the reality of how Washington's blind support for Israeli behavior is risking American lives -- not to mention the U.S. equities in the entire Middle East.
Let's move at this point from the general to the specific, and show how Israeli attacks on Gaza and oppression of its inhabitants, have already inspired a number of anti-American terrorist acts -- with more and bigger to follow, as the night the day.
Christmas Day Bomber: From Yemen to Detroit
Remember Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who almost downed Northwest flight 253 over Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009? What was his motive and how was this 23-year-old Nigerian of privilege persuaded to do the bidding -- however amateurishly -- of al-Qaeda in the Persian Gulf?
An Associated Press report quoted Abdulmutallab's Yemeni friends to the effect that he was actually "not overtly extremist." They pointed out, however, that he was angry over Israel's wanton slaughter of more 1,400 Gazans a year before. It was a brutal offensive, by any reasonable standard, but one that was defended in Washington as justifiable self-defense.
Nor was Abdulmutallab the only terrorist motivated by the carnage in Gaza. When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al-Qaeda announced that they were uniting into "al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula," their combined rhetoric railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza.
Meanwhile, in Eastern Afghanistan
How does a 32-year old Jordanian medical doctor, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, from a family of Palestinian origin get radicalized to the point where he decides to blow himself up in order to kill seven American CIA operatives and a Jordanian intelligence officer? Al-Balawi's suicide bombing, near Khost, Afghanistan, occurred on Dec. 30, 2009, just five days after Abdulmutallab's attempt fizzled.
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