Bibi and the Bomb
On Israel, America and the Arrogance of Power
The pressure to attack Iran was racheted up to fever pitch when Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, spoke before the United Nations General Assembly yesterday. In one of the most hypocritical speeches ever presented at the UN, and there have been many, Bibi, who presides over the only nuclear armed nation in the Middle East, presented the case for a military assault on Iran to prevent them from acquiring an atomic bomb.
He argued that “The most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?” There was not the slightest hint of irony in Bibi’s plea for the liberty of Iranians, even while he stands on the neck of the Palestinian people…and stomp their dreams in the dust.
He painted aghastlyportrait of what would happen should Iran acquire such a weapon, declaring it would endanger the peace of the entire world! It is a claim that I regard as dangerous hysterical hyperbole, designed to put President Obama on the spot and force him closer to the Israeli position on Iran.
Yet Bibi’s case against Iran was masterfully constructed and eloquently argued overall. The first part of the speech skillfully painted a convincing portrait of the Islamic fanatics who rule Iran as madmen who are fully capable of launching an atomic attack against Israel. In light of some of the things they have said on the record, Netanyahu had plenty of examples he could point to: beginning with Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s denial of the holocaust.
Netanyahu’s response to Ahmadinejad’s claim that the Holocaust is a lie was devastating, because most of the people in the world regard the charge as scurrilous and anyone who mouths it a demented moral cripple – this writer included. The Israeli Prime Minister’s description of the basic character, history and aims of the fanaticism that fuels the Global Islamic Jihad was also fundamentally true:
“Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.” He declared. “The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century…”
The Prime Minister’s claim for Israel as a valuable contributor to the advance of science and technology that benefits all humanity was equally true. But Netanyahu’s oration soon degenerated into self-serving propaganda and hyperbolic attacks on the Palestinians, and even the United Nations itself.
“The jury is still out on the United Nations,” he said, “and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims.”
This expression of doubt about UN intentions was intended as a smack in the face for the UN having commissioned the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes in the 2009 Gaza War, and for calling Zionism a racist ideology in an earlier General Assembly resolution.
The Goldstone Report on the Gaza Strip presented the official findings of a group of international experts who were dispatched by the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate violations of International Human Rights Laws, and International Humanitarian Laws after the Gaza War of 2009. A former South African judge with broad experience investigating war crimes Richard Goldstone, who served as a prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda – headed the commission of inquiry and their findings were widely recognized as valid.
But Israel refused to recognize the commission’s findings or abide by its recommendations. And almost four years later Bibi had this to say about the report.
“Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel. A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot. By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth. What a perversion of justice.”
Well, I don’t know about Roosevelt or Churchill, but President Harry Truman, the only leader in world history who ordered an atomic attack on another country, would have been an excellent candidate for a war crimes tribunal. The evidence strongly suggests the atomic bombing of Japan was a planned attack against a civilian population; therein lies the crime.
The diligent researcher can find abundant evidence that the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was an arbitrary choice; it was not essential to victory over Japan as we have been told by apologists whose objective is to cover up a horrendous war crime.
The fact is that while Japan had a massive army of 5 million men, spread throughout Asia, with 2 million committed to the defense of the Japanese homeland, and 5,000 Kamikaze suicide pilots ready to crash their planes into US ships, Japan was in the final stages of collapse.
There was already an invasion plan in which the Russians would play a major role, that dramatically reduced the cost to the US in blood and treasure. It was a widely shared belief among the war planners that Japan could be defeated without the bomb.
Dr. Leo Szilard, a Hungarian born nuclear physicist who had set in motion the effort to build the bomb by writing a letter to President Roosevelt – co-signed by Dr. Albert Einstein, the world’s most famous physicist – expressed this view. As did many scientists who contributed to the effort to build the world’s first atomic bomb.
The creation of the “Manhattan Project” – code name for the secret US government program that created the atomic bomb – was inspired by the arguments made by Szilard and Einstein that convinced President Roosevelt that Nazi scientist were well on the way to making an atomic weapon.
The horror of such a possibility certainly justifies the American decision to develop a crash program to beat Hitler to the bomb. The Manhattan Project employed 120,000 people and cost 2 billion dollars, and they succeeded in producing the first atom bomb.
This was a great achievement in scientific research, technical mastery and organizational/management. The should be enough on its own to refute the silly rightwing dogma introduced by that “charming dunce” Ronald Reagan – in the former Defense Secretary Clarke Clifford’s coinage – who told us that government could do nothing right, even as he sought to head our government. However by the time the Atomic bomb became a reality, with the successful detonation at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, the Nazi’s had surrendered several months earlier on May 7. So the war in Europe was over.
With Germany and Italy defeated the last of the Axis powers still at war was the “Empire of the Rising Sun” in Japan. And there is evidence that Truman wanted to teach these little brown devils a lesson they could never forget, as well as cutting the Russians out of any role in the Far East while also deterring Russian ambitions in postwar Europe.
Beyond the racist attitudes toward the Japanese – which is well documented by Afro-American historian Dr. Gerald Horne in his brilliant revisionist text on the war to control the Pacific region, Race War – these were objectives that looked beyond the defeat of Japan and began to envision the shape of the post war world order.
Recalling the decision to drop the atom bomb on Japan four years later, in 1949, Dr. Szilard says:
“The question of whether the bomb should be used in the war against Japan came up for discussion. Mr. Byrnes did not argue that it was necessary to use the bomb against the cities of Japan in order to win the war. He knew at that time, as the rest of the Government knew, that Japan was essentially defeated and that we could win the War in another six months.
At that time Mr. Byrnes was much concerned about the spreading of Russian influence in Europe. . . . Mr. Byrnes’ concern about Russia I fully shared, but his view that our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in Europe I was not able to share. Indeed I could hardly imagine any premise more false and disastrous upon which to base our policy, and I was dismayed when a few weeks later I learned that he was to be our Secretary of State.”
There are many examples of a similar doubt and apprehension among the small band of scientists, politicians and military men who were involved with development and use of the atomic bomb. Consider, for instance, this passage from the Memoirs of General H. H. Arnold, Commander of the American Army Air Force in the Second World War (1949)
“The surrender of Japan was not entirely the result of the two atomic bombs. We had hit some 60 Japanese cities with our regular H. E. (High Explosive) and incendiary bomb$ and, as a result of our raids, about 241,000 people had been killed, 313,000 wounded, and about 2,333,000 homes destroyed. Our B-29′s had destroyed most of the Japanese industries and, with the laying of mines, which prevented the arrival of incoming cargoes of critical items, had made it impossible for Japan to carryon a large-scale war. . . . Accordingly, it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”
The point of all this historical reflection is to remind us that the US is the last nation that has the moral authority to lecture other nations on the evils of nuclear weapons, since it is self-evident that it is a lesson we have yet to learn. As I write, the US has tens of thousands of nuclear weapons in our arsenal. They are deployed on tripartite launch systems on land, air and sea. And these doomsday weapons can be delivered anywhere in the world with pin point accuracy within minutes. It is impossible to defend against, and has the capacity to destroy all life on earth within a half hour from now!
Yet we have Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for commander-In-Chief of this doomsday arsenal, crying about the American military not being strong enough. It is no wonder that Mitt and Bibi are old friends and business partners, both suffer from the same delusions that they can impose their will on other nations with persistent threats and prolific use of military force. It is an arrogance characteristic of those drunk with power.
Hence it seems reasonable to the Israeli Prime Minister that while he accuses the Iranians, the ancient land of Persia, of deceiving inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency about their intention to build a nuclear weapon in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while they steadfastly refuse to sign the treaty at all!
In fact, like the US, the Israeli’s refuse to allow any nuclear weapons inspections on their soil. And they refuse to even say whether they possess nuclear weapons…although scientists who worked in their nuclear weapons program have testified to their existence.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Iranian Prime Minister
A Looney Tune who occasionally hits the Mark
Hence, like a broken clock that is right twice every day, the Iranian Prime Minister was right when he made the following points in his speech to the United Nations:
“Unilateralism, application of double standards, and imposition of wars, instability and occupations to ensure economic interests, and expand dominance over sensitive centers of the world have turned to be the order of the day. Arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass-destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent: Testing new generations of ultra-modern weaponry and the pledge to disclose these armaments on due time is now being used as a new language of threat against nations to coerce them into accepting a new era of hegemony.
Continued threat … to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality.A state of mistrust has cast its shadow on the international relations, whilst there is no trusted or just authority to help resolve world conflicts…No one feels secure or safe even those who have stockpiled thousands of atomic bombs and other arms in their arsenals.”
In view of these undeniable realities the highlight of Netanyahu’s presentation, a show and tell about nuclear weapons production, has been ridiculed as both a cartoonish performance and a shameless display of hypocrisy. Bibi held up a chart with a symbolic drawing of a nuclear bomb, which has been derisively dubbed “Bibi’s bomb,” and sparked one American late night comic to suggest that if the Israeli Prime Minister really wants to know what a nuclear bomb looks like he should just go down in his basement and look at a real one!
Tracing the progress of Iran’s atomic program Bibi drew a red line, and dramatically declared if the Iranians are allowed to proceed beyond that point the international community would not be able to stop them from building an atomic bomb. Hence they would be justified in attacking Iran to stop it!
This was a transparent attempt to build support in the United States for an American backed attack on Iran. But Bibi’s dramatic demonstration quickly became the object of a wicked comic skit by the political satirist Steve Colbert, and the real thing would be hilarious if it were not so dangerous!
The sad and frightening truth is that nobody is even willing to talk about the real solution to this man made dilemma – where the means of our destruction from mankind’s folly is within our power to end, but nobody wants to willingly surrender what they imagine to be the security and hegemonic advantage possession of nuclear arsenals provide.
But as one who at 19 years old held a Top Secret Security Clearance and was stationed on a Strategic Air Command base with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet, I made up my mind about what to do with nuclear weapons over half a century ago. Schmoozing with people who were sworn to blow up the planet upon orders from the High command – at the pinnacle of which was General Curtis Lemay, whose nickname among his military colleagues was “The Mad Bomber”- I was privy to our nuclear war plans.
After viewing the official strategic Air command’s secret films of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan, the only people ever subjected to attack by an atomic weapon, I have been convinced that the very possession of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity! I have felt this way for over half a century!
Yet even as I write, instead of leading the fight to rid the world of these doomsday weapons, which our nation introduced into the world and remain the only nation to use them against another people – the US is engaging in open diplomatic hostilities toward Iran, and waging a covert war in conjunction with Israel with the objective of maintain Israel’s nuclear monopoly over the Mid-East region by preventing Iran from acquiring a single nuclear weapon. This is short sighted folly and I believe, ultimately self-defeating.
The covert action against Iran includes assassinating five Iranian nuclear scientists, and disrupting their computers with virus attacks. Contrary to popular belief in this country, this aggression against Iran on behalf of Israel – a country where we already have a tragic history of meddling in their internal affairs – only strengthens the regime they are intended to overthrow.
And given the size and technological development of Iran, the Israeli’s know they can’t overthrow the regime alone. That’s why they are trying to lure America into joining Israel in an all-out attack on Iran. I am certain that this would be an even bigger blunder than the attack on Iraq, and far more costly. It would stifle our economic recovery and reduce many people to desperation as the Republicans simultaneously shred the safety net as they spend money to destroy life rather than enhance life.
This is where the red line must be drawn, and President Obama must resist Bibi’s attempt to push the US into yet another war in the Islamic world….even at the expense of inciting the wrath of the all-powerful Israel Lobby, and even while his opponent Mitt Romney – a soulless, amoral, lying, unpatriotic opportunist – is accusing him of “throwing Israel under the Bus; blatantly interfering with the Presidents attempts to conduct foreign policy in the best interest of the nation, for no more exalted purpose than gaining a political advantage! If this is not treason…it ought to be.
Honoring an Iranian Nuclear Scientist
The Iranians Honor a Martyr