In a previous article (“US: The Century of Lost Wars”) I recorded the repeated US military defeats over the past two decades. In this discussion I will describe the role of military strategists who bear responsibility for the US defeats, but also for Israeli political successes.
The key to this apparent contradiction is to uncover how and why the destruction of Israeli adversaries prolonged costly US military invasions.
The two outcomes are inter-related. The same US military strategists whose policies lead to failed US wars in the Middle East facilitated and augmented the power of Israel.
US war strategists’ operations reflect ‘dual loyalties’. On the one-hand they receive their elite education and high positions in the US, while their political loyalties to Tel Aviv express their Israel First strategic decisions.
Our hypothesis is that dual loyalist strategists have fabricated threats, identified adversaries and committed hundreds of thousands of US soldiers to losing wars based on calculations that effectively increase Israeli power and influence in the Middle East.
We will proceed by identifying the war strategists and their policies and conclude by proposing an alternative framework for re-thinking the relationship between dual citizens and military strategy.
The ‘Best and the Brightest’: The Blind Ally of Military Defeats
There is an apparent contradiction between the high academic achievements of elite military strategists and their abominable record in pursuing military conflicts.
Most, if not all, policy makers who led the US in prolonged wars against Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria were Israel-firsters, either Zionists or Israeli ‘fellow travelers’.
In each of these wars, the Israel firster war strategists, (1) identified the enemy, (2) exaggerated the threat to the US and (3) grossly inflated the military capacity of the targeted country. They started with Iraq and Afghanistan and then proceeded to the other nations, all opponents of Israel.
By ‘coincidence’ all countries supported the Palestinians’ rights of self-determination and opposed Israeli annexation and colonization of Arab lands.
Driven by their loyalty to Israel’s ‘expansionist goals’, the military strategists ignored the ‘real world’ political and economic costs to the US people and state. Professional and academic credentials, nepotism and tribal loyalties, each contributed to the Israel firsters advance to securing strategic decision-making positions and elite advisory posts in the Pentagon, State Department, Treasury and White House.
Their policies led to an unending trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan; losing wars in Libya, Iraq and Syria; and costly economic sanctions against Iran.
The main beneficiary was Israel which confronted less political and military opposition; zero cost in lives and money; and substantial gains in territory.
Why did the Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Chicago, Johns Hopkins’ cum laude graduates repeatedly produce the worst possible military outcomes?
This was in part because the US acted as an instrument of another power (Israel). Moreover, the Israel firsters never were obliged to reflect in self-criticism nor to admit their failures and rectify their disastrous strategies.
Their refusal to assume their responsibilities resulted from several causes. Their criteria for success were based on whether their policies advanced Israeli goals, not US interests.
Moreover, while their decisions were objectionable to US citizens, they were supported by the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization, including the powerful Zionist lobby, AIPAC, which had been dictating Middle East policy to both political parties and the US Congress.
Ordinarily, military strategists, whose policies lead to repeated political disasters, are denounced, fired or even investigated for treasons. In our experience nothing of the sort happened.
The best and the brightest rotated between six-digit jobs in Washington to seven-digit positions on Wall Street, or secured positions in lucrative law firms in Washington and New York (many with offices in Israel) or were appointed to prestigious academic posts in Ivy League universities – and virtually all serve on corporate boards.
What Should be Done?
There are countervailing measures that can lessen the impact of the strategic policies of the Israel Firsters. Academic Israel firsters should be encouraged to remain in academia where their harm would be limited to misleading their students, rather than serve Israel’s interest in the US State apparatus.
If they remain in the Ivory Tower they will inflict less destructive policies on American citizens and the state – and possibly be subjected to some form of peer review and honest debate.
Secondly, since the vast-majority of Israel firsters are more likely to be arm chair war mongers, who have not risked their lives in any of the US wars that they promote, obligatory recruitment into combat zones might dampen their ardor for wars.
Thirdly, as matters stand, since many Israel firsters have chosen to serve in the so-called Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF) they should reimburse US taxpayers for their free ride to education, health and welfare.
Fourthly, since most Israel firsters, who volunteer to join the IDF, favor shooting unarmed Palestinian protesters, medics, journalists and kite-flying children, they should be drafted into the US Army to serve in Afghanistan and face the battle-hardened, committed Taliban fighters surrounding Kabul. This experience might knock a bit of realism in their dreams of converting the Middle East into tribal fiefdoms controlled by a ‘Greater Israel’.
Many national loyalties are forged by shared lives with families and friends of US soldiers who endure endless wars. Israel firsters dispatched to the war front would receive existential experiences, by mingling with working class and rural American soldiers that the Harvard, Princeton and Yale military strategists who design these wars for Israel have failed to understand.
Obligatory courses on the genocide and ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Libyan people would enrich Israel firsters understanding of the diversity of “holocausts’ in contemporary ethno-religious settings.
Face to face encounters in life threatening combat situations, where superior arms do not prevail, would deflate the hubris, arrogance and superiority complexes which fuel the tribal loyalties of Israel firsters.
In conclusion, we offer modest suggestions for educated and cultured scientists, doctors, artists and entrepreneurs:
1. Convert your skills to training a new generation who will defend democratic values and social solidarity and eschew wars, persecution and phony calumny of anti-Semitism against critics of an ethnically exclusionary state.
2. Forsake exclusive control of the mass media which glorifies Israeli war crimes and denigrates critics as ‘anti-Semites’ for speaking truth to power.
Let’s join together to liberate America from military entanglements that privilege multi-billion-dollar giveaways to Israel while thirty million US workers lack health coverage, forty percent of upstate New York children live in poverty.
Yes, there is an honorable place for everyone who joins in solidarity with the victims of Israeli First war strategists.
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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.