Who Benefits from the Israel-Lebanon Flare-Up?

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Members of
the Jewish faith and others correctly point out
that Jews
are often blamed
for the sins of others. They may be about to
be proven right again, in a big way. The current conflict may escalate
to the point where the US
will use nuclear weapons against Iran, in what will be the first
use of nuclear weapons in war since Nagasaki. And the world will
blame it on the Jews.

Israel’s hugely
disproportionate
response to Hezbollah’s actions is causing
immense suffering,
is in blatant violation of the Geneva conventions,
and deserves the strongest of condemnations. It is especially important
for Jews today to distance themselves from Israel’s immoral government policies and US support for them. Fortunately some are doing this
[1]
,
[2]
, [3],
unfortunately, many are not.
“Thousands of American Jews clogged the streets”
in New York
and elsewhere in the US
[1]
,
[2]
, [3],

[4]
,
[5]
, [6], [7],
[8]
in
support of Israel’s actions
, reports the Jerusalem Post. Both
Houses of the US Congress have just passed solidly-backed bipartisan
resolutions supporting Israel’s actions in Lebanon [1], [2],
to “solidify long-term backing of Jewish voters” according to
the Washington
Post.

The irony
is, Israel’s war crimes are going to be dwarfed in comparison to
the crime against humanity that will take place if the US uses nuclear weapons against Iran. Israel, by its disproportionate
reaction and by accusing Iran (without proof) of being behind Hezbollah’s
actions [1], [2],
[3],
[4], will be seen as
having played a key role if the conflict escalates to engulf Iran
and the United States. Yet the motivation for those that want this
to happen
[1]
,
[2]
is not to ensure Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East, rather it is to ensure US hegemony in the world.

Israel’s
Interests

It goes without
saying that Israel would benefit from the destruction of Hezbollah.
Yet it is hard to see how the indiscriminate
attack against Lebanon
that is taking place will achieve anything
other than
strengthening the already strong support for Hezbollah
in Lebanon
and elsewhere in the Arab world. Shmuel Rosner argues in a Haaretz
OpEd that Israel is
“America’s deadly messenger”
, being used to promote Bush’s
“democracy agenda”
. It certainly appears that Israel’s current
actions are irrational and self-destructive. Unless their real
aim
is to
draw Syria and Iran into the conflict
, following directions from Washington. At the very least it is clear
that Israel would not be doing this in the absence of a guarantee
from the US that it will intervene if the conflict widens, which
in any event
Bush has already publicly announced
.

If Iran enters
the conflict
and shoots a single missile against Israel,
the US will step in
and destroy the military infrastructure
of Iran by aerial bombardment. As suggested by Seymour Hersh and others [1], [2], [3], [4], this is likely to involve the US use of nuclear “bunker busters”.

It has been
predicted that if the US or Israel attack Iran, Iran will unleash Hezbollah
who will carry out devastating attacks
against Israel.
“Hizbollah was also seen as a means of tying our hands on the Iranian
nuclear threat,”
says an Israeli official. Well, we are in
the dress rehearsal, and we are seeing that despite all the hype,
Hezbollah is a paper tiger. Green light for the Iran attack.

Iran’s
Interests

What is really
unusual about the current flare-up in the Middle East is the barrage
of strident denunciations against Iran, from the Bush administration,
politicians
from across
the political spectrum [1], [2],
[3],
[4], [5],
[6],
and the mainstream media [1],
[2],
[3],
[4],
that uniformly accuse Iran (without presenting evidence) of being
behind the Hezbollah actions. This has never happened before when
there was
conflict in Lebanon where Hezbollah was involved
, why now?

One argument
is Ahmadinejad’s
stated animosity
against Israel. However, that has been
Iran’s stated position since 1979
.

The other
argument is that
Iran is trying to “divert attention”
from the nuclear
issue
. That defies the most elementary logic. If Iran was really
intent in getting nuclear weapons and destroying Israel, it would
try to keep things as quiet as possible until it gets those nuclear
weapons,
several years into the future
.

The reality
is that, whether one ascribes to Iran’s evil or benign intentions,
Iran draws no benefit whatsoever from the current turmoil in Lebanon.
Neither does Syria. Consequently the rhetoric from the US and Israel
suggests a deliberate attempt
to draw Syria and Iran into the conflict
.

The US’s
Interests

A US
attack on Iran
has been predicted by
analysts
for several years. The US policy vis–vis Iran is clearly
directed towards confrontation rather than accommodation. There are
many reasons for the US to attack Iran, including the control of energy
resources, suppression of a regional power opposite to US and Israeli
interests, etc. However I have argued
for many months that
the key reason for the US to seek a military
confrontation with Iran is that it will “force”
the US
to cross the nuclear threshold and
use low-yield nuclear weapons
against Iranian installations. And
this is seen as essential to further
US geopolitical goals
.

The United States used nuclear
weapons against Japan
not because it had to. It did so to demonstrate
to the world that it was in possession of a new weapon that packed
the destructive power of thousands of bombing missions into a single
one.
To tell the rest of the world, beware
.

Since then,
it has spent over
5 trillion dollars
in building up its nuclear arsenal, but nuclear
weapons have become
“unusable”
after 60 years of non-use. America has
achieved nuclear primacy
but it is useless, until it shows that
nuclear weapons are usable again.

Everything
has been put in place.
The US is likely to have obtained classified “intelligence”
concerning hidden Iranian
chemical
and
biological
underground facilities. Low-yield B61-11 nuclear
bunker busters must have been deployed, just in case
“surprising military developments”
give rise to “military
necessity”
. Once Iran is drawn into a conflict and shoots a
single missile against Israel or US forces in the region, the US
administration will argue that the next Iranian missile could carry
chemical
or biological
warheads and cause untold casualties among Americans, Iraqis or
Israelis. A low yield nuclear bunker buster will be touted as the
most “humane” way to prevent further loss of life.

Why it
may happen

In 1941, a vast military
effort
was started by the United States to create nuclear weapons,
culminating in the Trinity test and subsequent bombings of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki in 1945. The effort was shrouded in secrecy and any moral qualms
were set aside.
When it succeeded
, it was argued that many American and
Japanese lives had been saved
by nuking Japan into surrender.

Any speculation
during the period 1941–1945 that the United States had 100,000
people devoted to create a secret weapon million-fold more powerful
than any known weapon would have been dismissed as the ultimate
“conspiracy theory”.

Similarly,
much evidence
indicates
that a deliberate project, shrouded in secrecy, exists
today that will culminate in the nuking of Iran, to
“save lives”
. Many are privy to parts
of the plan, as
Seymour Hersh
revealed, only
a few
know the plan in its entirety. Low-yield nuclear bunker
busters
will be used, untested but
as
reliable
as the untested “Little Boy” that leveled
Hiroshima. Americans will buy the “military necessity” argument
because it will be true: American troops in Iraq will be sitting
ducks facing Iranian missiles, with or without WMD warheads.

After the US
uses nuclear weapons again, it will have established the usability
of its nuclear arsenal against non-nuclear countries. It will be
possible to
wage war “on the cheap”
, saving many American lives in future
conflicts. “Support the troops” is the one thing all Americans,
no matter how diverse their views are, agree on.

It should
not be allowed to happen.
The President has sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons

against Iran. We know from previous actions of this administration
what Bush,

Ch
eney and Rumsfeld are
capable of. There have been
radical changes in US nuclear weapons policies
and in preemption
“doctrine”
, and the Bush announcement that
the nuclear option is “on the table”
. In response, there
needs to be a strong groundswell call to restrict
the absolute presidential authority of this President to order the
use of nuclear weapons against Iran. By the general public,
by
“antinuclear”
organizations, by scientific, political and professional
organizations. To push Congress into action before it is too late.
Without a “nuclear option”, the US will be more interested in negotiation
than in confrontation with Iran.

Cui Bono?

In the short
term, Israel certainly will benefit from the destruction of Iran’s
military capabilities. But Israel will not enjoy peace as a result,
because the nuking of Iran will create enormous animosity against
Israel in the Muslim world and beyond. To the extent that the world
buys the US fable that the nuking of Iran was required by “military
necessity” and not premeditated, Israel (and Jews worldwide) will
bear a heavier than deserved brunt for having contributed to “precipitate”
these events.

The US will
reap enormous benefits. Flexing its nuclear muscle, it will establish
its absolute hegemony in the Middle East and Central Asia and beyond,
and gradually squeeze China and Russia into nuclear disarmament
and complete submission.

In the end
of course we will all lose. Because the nuclear genie, unleashed
from its bottle in the war against Iran, will never retreat. And
just like the US could develop nuclear weapons in only 4 years with
completely new technology 60 years ago, many more countries and
groups will be highly motivated to do it in the coming years.

Think about
the current disproportionate response of Israel, applied in a conflict
where the contenders have nuclear weapons. 10 to 1 retaliation,
starting with a mere 600 casualties, wipes out the entire
Earth’s population
in eight easy steps. Who will be willing
to stop the escalation? The country that lost 60,000 citizens in
the last hit? The one that lost 600,000? 6 million?

As the nuclear
holocaust unfolds, some will remember the Lebanon conflict and subsequent
Iran war and blame it all on the Jews. Others will properly blame
Americans, for having allowed their Executive to
erase the 60-year-old taboo against the use of nuclear weapons
,
first
in doctrine
and then in practice, despite having the most powerful
conventional military force in the world. Others of course will
blame “Muslim extremism”.

And then the
blaming will wither away as a three-billion-year old experiment,
life on planet Earth, comes to an end.

July
29, 2006

Jorge
Hirsch [send him mail]
is a Professor of Physics at the University of California at San
Diego, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and organizer
of a recent petition, circulated among leading physicists, opposing
the new nuclear weapons policies adopted by the US in the past 5
years. He is a frequent commentator on Iran and nuclear weapons.

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