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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cheney urged Bush to bomb Syria

In a new book that's hitting the stores this week, former US Vice President Dick Cheney writes that he urged former President George W. Bush to bomb Syria's nuclear reactor in 2007 (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
“I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor,” Mr. Cheney wrote about a meeting on the issue. “But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.”

Mr. Bush chose to try diplomatic pressure to force the Syrians to abandon the secret program, but the Israelis bombed the site in September 2007. Mr. Cheney’s account of the discussion appears in his autobiography, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” which is to be published by Simon & Schuster next week. A copy was obtained by The New York Times.
All of this is not surprising. Two of Cheney's closest advisers were David and Meyrav Wormser. David resigned to protest the Annapolis process (if it can be called that) in November 2007.
For two decades, we have called on Israel to take risks for peace and make painful concessions so that it will be accepted more broadly and solidly by the international community. And yet, after two decades, the voices questioning Israel’s very right to exist even in Europe are louder than ever. Polls there show that even the populations of even our closest allies revile Israel and Israelis more than even Iran or North Korea.

The prospects that this time will be different and that we will see real progress follow Annapolis, and that all these trends will be reversed, are bleak for several reasons. First, the concept behind Annapolis was divorced from the President’s forward strategy of freedom. Second, the Fatah leadership is so irredeemably weak that it cannot deliver. Third, we are ignoring the danger of the situation in Gaza. Fourth, the Annapolis framework “regionalized” the Palestinian issue when the historical record of regionalization of conflicts is tragic and violent. Finally, the Palestinian issue is not our highest national priority in the current strategic environment. Yet, it disproportionately occupies our attention at the cost of displaying commitment to more important causes, such as Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea. In short, Annapolis failed to emerge from, and thus advance, our national interests.
Meyrav (they're married to each other) was the person who told the World that the Bush administration had given Israel a green light to strike Syria during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. If Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert had the guts to attack Syria in 2006, there may not have been a need to take out its nuclear reactor in 2007.
Did the administration expect Israel to attack Syria?

"They hoped Israel would do it. You cannot come to another country and order it to launch a war, but there was hope, and more than hope, that Israel would do the right thing. It would have served both the American and Israeli interests.

"The neocons are responsible for the fact that Israel got a lot of time and space… They believed that Israel should be allowed to win. A great part of it was the thought that Israel should fight against the real enemy, the one backing Hizbullah. It was obvious that it is impossible to fight directly against Iran, but the thought was that its strategic and important ally should be hit."
You may want to read both those posts in their entirety. Cheney was probably the biggest Israelphile of the entire Bush inner circle (including Bush himself). As Defense Secretary during the first Gulf War, he presented David Ivry, the commander of Israel's Air Force when the IAF took out Iraq's nuclear reactor, with a satellite image of the former Osirak reactor site, and a note of thanks for making America's job easier in the first Gulf War.

If anyone has or gets hold of the book, please let me know what (if anything) Cheney says about the Second Lebanon War.

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At 8:30 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

1. If you want the book, I'll send it to you when it comes out. Obviously, your entire IsraelMatzav fan base needs to read it so we can discuss it.

2. Something to watch for the future... You would think that Condoleeza Rice, selected in a Republican administration, would have been more spineful in supporting Western Civ when these chips were down. This post shows that she wasn't. She is young and may show up again. I heard her PhD advisor speak about terrorism after 9/11. It never occurred to me until years later when I saw it written somewhere that he is a proclaimed Democrat. That info clarified the confusing turn of events back in summer 2006, when she did major out-of-R-character interference with Israeli internal decisions and actions in the Leb 2 war. Your Olmert observation re Syria was related; Israel couldn't even get past the US pressure from Rice to just send ground troops over the northern border...

At 10:14 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

I've often wondered at how the state of the world would be today if Dick Cheney had been President and Bush VP for the Bush years.

I suspect the whole world would have been far better off. As I see it in the Middle East, for starters, the Iranian nuclear weapons program (and maybe the Mullah Regime itself) would have been eliminated. That'd mean an emasculated Hamas and Hezbollah, with Israel far safer today. Syria would be much less of a threat also, with the Assad regime muted and hunkered down just to survive. The 2006 Lebanon War probably wouldn't have happened.

Olmert would likely still have been PM, but with the external dangers to Israel radically reduced thanks to the actions of the Cheney Administration, Olmert's feckless damage to Israeli national security would have been also radically reduced.

Interesting to speculate about.


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