Make no mistake about this, says Phil Giraldi: “The American soldiers and airmen who are now based in Israel are the sacrificial lambs that will guarantee U.S. entry into a war that Israel intends to start.”
By Philip Giraldi
The current crisis with Pyongyang in part relates to the presence of 30,000 U.S. troops at or near the demilitarized zone that separates North from South Korea. A relic of the Cold War, the Korean “police action” never actually ended with a peace treaty that might have created a modus vivendi, allowing the two states to develop without the threat of military intervention coming from either side. The American soldiers continue to serve as a guarantor of the uneasy ceasefire that ended the fighting in that they are, in a sense, hostages to the situation, guaranteeing that there would be massive retaliation if the North were ever to push south in force and kill Americans. Pyongyang knows that and has sought for years a final peace agreement that would remove those hostages and end what it sees as a continuous threat from a nuclear armed and unfriendly United States.
Many observers might well challenge the government-promoted perception that the U.S. military is actually in Korea to guarantee that there be no war, but even they would have to admit that is how the deployment has been successfully sold to the American public and the international audience.
Consider for a moment, however, a somewhat different scenario in which American soldiers are stationed in a foreign country and even integrated with that country’s own military ostensibly for defensive purposes, but the host country, though not in fact actually threatened by its neighbors, wants to start a war of aggression. Its plans might include deliberately involving the United States in the conflict, making the Americans de facto hostages, with U.S. casualties guaranteeing Washington’s direct and immediate involvement in the fighting. That is exactly what is happening with Israel.
The United States has just completed the largest ever joint military exercises with Israel even though it has no defense agreement or treaty. That is, in part, because military alliances are dependent on an attack on one partner mandating support from all parties to the agreement. Israel has balked at such an arrangement, because it cannot define its own borders, which are constantly expanding. Without a border it is impossible to maintain that you have been attacked, which means that Israel and the U.S. have no treaty obligation to come to their mutual assistance in case of war. In fact, no Israeli soldier has ever fought by the side of an American soldier and likely never will.
The recent maneuvers featured scenarios in which U.S. troops fought Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians to defend Israel. Washington’s vulnerability derives from the recent opening of a U.S. permanent facility at Mashabim Air Base in Israel. It is described as a base within a base, completely contained by an Israeli air force installation and operating “under Israeli military directives,” meaning that if the facility is attacked, Americans will likely die. It has no function in support of U.S. regional interests but is instead a shell facility that can be ramped up considerably if Israel goes to war and calls for American assistance. Together with billions of dollars-worth of U.S. military equipment that is pre-positioned in Israel and can be used by the Israelis as needed, it is all about supporting Israeli war-making and has nothing to do with American security or defense interests except as a tripwire to bring about U.S. involvement.
For that reason, all of the above is something more than just the latest “we have to support Israel” gimmick. The American soldiers and airmen who are now based in Israel are the sacrificial lambs that will guarantee U.S. entry into a war that Israel intends to start, make no mistake about that statement.
A group of U.S. senators who have just returned from Israel have confirmed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is preparing for a major regional war. Their recommendation? Give Israel more money so it can “defend” itself, a proposal that might be well received in the White House, which is also itching to confront both Syria and Iran.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and the president himself have all been particularly ratcheting up the rhetoric against Iran. At the UN, Nikki Haley recently warned that the U.S. is prepared to attack Syria again because “there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.” Wrong, Nikki. Attacking a country that is not threatening to attack you has been recognized as the ultimate war crime since the Nuremberg trials of 1945-1946.
When Israel attacks Syria or Lebanon, as it clearly intends to do, Hezbollah will retaliate with its missiles, some of which will surely be directed towards the Mashabim Air Base, which will be a prime target to inhibit the base’s ability to bomb Lebanese targets. And once Washington is well and truly engaged in what is referred to as “force protection,” Israel will undoubtedly widen the conflict by drawing in Iran through attacks on that country’s identified bases in Syria that are supporting the al-Assad regime. The bigger war will suddenly become America’s responsibility after Israel inevitably proves itself incapable of handling the escalation.
During the recent bilateral military exercises, Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark enthused that American soldiers are “prepared to die for the Jewish state” and also added that they would “probably” be under the command of Israeli Air Force Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, who would decide on the involvement of U.S. personnel. Haimovitch commented, “I am sure . . . we will find U.S. troops on the ground . . . to defend the state of Israel.”
I somehow doubt if Clark would be so sanguine if his own son were told to prepare to die for the Jewish state. And I have to wonder if the good general has considered Article 2 of the Constitution about declaring war, the 1973 War Powers Act, and the issue of national sovereignty itself in allowing another country to declare war for you.
Clark is a perfect example of how we have been sold out by the people we have honored and rewarded to defend our country when it comes to pandering to Israel. He and the other administration hawks clamoring for more war for Israel are a national disgrace.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.