November 6, 2002

Israel aims, we fire

The Times [of London] headline said it all: "Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands Israel."

What more do we need to know about our "special relationship" with Israel? Israel demands, we obey. Yes, there is something very "special" indeed about U.S.-Israeli relations: like John Williams-Muhammed and John Lee Malvo, Bonnie and Clyde, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, the Israeli and American governments are team serial killers symbiotically linked, one a cat's-paw for the other's murderous rage. One a controlling authority, the brains of the operation, and the other a servile gofer, an accomplice whose passion for obedience is surpassed only by a perverse desire to love beyond the limits of rationality. The "team killer" pattern is here replicated on the global stage, as Sharon takes on his John Muhammad persona, the dominating personality prepping his accomplice for yet another murderous spree:

"In an interview with The Times, Mr Sharon insisted that Tehran – one of the 'axis of evil' powers identified by President Bush – should be put under pressure 'the day after' action against Baghdad ends because of its role as a 'center of world terror.'"

Got that, Mr. President?

And lest anyone think the Israeli Prime Minister is getting ahead of himself, Sharon has the course of the upcoming Iraq attack all mapped out and ready to roll:

"He made clear that western Iraq would be one of the first areas targeted by the US in any invasion, saying that lessons had been learnt from strategic mistakes of the 1991 Gulf War when Iraq successfully fired 39 Scud missiles into Israel."

I trust the boys in the Pentagon are taking notes – assuming that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hasn't bypassed them altogether. After all, if we're going to take our marching orders from Sharon, then perhaps the question of strategy and tactics is best handled by the IDF. They, after all, are the best judges of Israel's military interests, which – let's face it – are the overriding consideration here. In any case, this arrangement would merely take the military reality to another level, since American troops are already being trained by Israeli commandos, who have plenty of experience in the unique brutalities of Middle Eastern-style warfare:

"Israeli infantry units with experience in urban warfare during the Palestinian uprising helped train U.S. Army and Marine counterparts this summer and fall for possible urban battles in Iraq, a foreign defense official says."

We're going to do to the Iraqis what the Israelis have been doing to the Palestinians – some "liberation"!

One would assume this training program is supposed to be a deep dark secret, but the sheer number of administration officials, diplomats, and others in the know who blabbed to John Diamond of USA Today makes it look like a deliberate leak. Although it is hard to believe – even of this administration – that the Americans are throwing this in the faces of their Arab allies, that news sends an unmistakable signal. The USA Today story goes on to describe the Israeli training facility:

"The Israelis have built two mock cities, complete with mosques, hanging laundry and even the odd donkey meandering down dusty streets. A defense official said the sites far surpass U.S. facilities."

Of course they do – they're the best American tax dollars can buy. Since carrying out Israel's national interests in the region is our diplomatic and military objective, why not have the very best training sites in Israel rather than the U.S.? Here is an actual physical demonstration of an important point made by Professor Paul W. Schroeder in a recent issue of The American Conservative, who noted the unique precedent that would be set by a U.S. war on Iraq:

"It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state."

But it is perfectly understandable in terms of individual psychology, where it is possible to have the smaller, physically less prepossessing half of the killing team be more dominant: the brains behind the brawn. One study of team killers draws a vivid psychological portrait of the killers and their relationship, which is invariably that of master and slave:

"Sometimes the team leader or dominant partner sends the others out to do what he wants, and sometimes he participates."

The Israelis haven't quite made up their minds if they're going to directly participate. The Times reports:

" [Sharon] also issued his clearest warning yet that Israel would strike back if attacked by Iraqi chemical or biological weapons, no matter how much Washington sought to keep its controversial Middle Eastern ally out of any war in Iraq."

In spite of the Americans' eagerness to keep the Israeli connection at a very low profile, Sharon just can't help tweaking the noses of State Department diplomats. Not only does it play well at home, but it also serves as a reminder of just who is the dominant member of this killing team.

The Americans and the Israelis are going on a murder spree, and their victims will be untold thousands of Iraqis, Iranians, Palestinians, and Arab Muslims of every description. There can be little doubt as to which of the two is the team leader in this case. Washington, avers Sharon, is already on board:

"I have been to Washington and one of the things I talked about was what will be (sic) later, if Iraq is going to be disarmed. One of the things I mentioned is that the free world should take all the necessary steps to prevent irresponsible countries from having weapons of mass destruction: Iran, Iraq of course, and Libya is working on a nuclear weapon."

But why take on Iran, whose mullahs would be given a new lease on life with the threat of an American invasion? Because, you see, the Iranians are said to be sponsoring the Hezbollah guerrillas harrying Israel's northern border. While we invade Iran, the IDF will presumably re-invade Lebanon, a convenient division of military labor – convenient, that is, for the Israelis.

I wonder how long it will take Jack Straw to get slapped down. On hearing the Israeli Prime Minister's comments, the British foreign secretary said:

"I profoundly disagree with him. I think the way to ensure proper progress with Iran is not by that kind of hostile threat, but by the process of constructive and critical engagement that we are involved in."

Straw just doesn't get it, although this shouldn't worry Sharon. In any fight for the attention of the American hegemon, there's no doubt that Sharon would win out over Blair. The Anglophile lobby in the U.S. is hardly the power it once was. The Israelis are playing the preemption game much better than the Brits, but that's to be expected: they, after all, invented it. George W. Bush merely followed in their footsteps in announcing his own doctrine of "preemptive defense." Just as the Israelis see the invasion and occupation of Palestinian lands as the fulfillment of their "security needs," so the Americans are now applying the same principle to Iraq – and, soon enough, to the entire Middle East.

In analyzing how nations interact on the world stage, what we are studying is the behavior of certain individuals, the leaders, who exhibit all the foibles of ordinary human beings – and some not so ordinary. That's why, in studying the special relationship of the U.S. and Israeli governments, the psychology of team killers, as described in the study cited above, is so useful. The study goes on to make an important point about the dynamics of the relationship that is all too applicable in this case:

"At times they're related or married, and other times they're strangers who happen to spark the right chemistry. When females are involved, it's generally the male who masterminds the homicides, unless the female is dominant, such as in a mother-son team. There is always one person who maintains psychological control."

As Sharon travels around the world, from Washington to London to Moscow, laying down conditions, issuing diktats, and generally throwing his weight around, the efficacy of the dominance principle is all too apparent. But what happens if the Israelis get their Middle East war, and it starts to turn sour, at least for the Americans? What happens when the conquest of more territory than ever dreamed of by Alexander hits a few unexpected glitches – such as retaliation via acts of terror right here in the U.S.? Back to that study:

"Generally when things get hot, psychopaths save themselves by turning on the other person, or at the very least, they spread the blame."

When the terror comes home, along with the body-bags, and the economic consequences of this war hit Americans in the pocket-book, the Republicans – classic suckers – will take the blame. The Democrats, loath to take a position against either the war or Israel, will cash in without pledging to change U.S. foreign policy in any fundamental sense. Meanwhile, to point out the real causes of this needless disaster will be deemed "anti-Semitic," and we'll get dragged into decades of constant warfare that can only end in disaster.


Although Ronald Radosh will no doubt be horrified, the prospect of a Left-Right alliance against a U.S. war in the Middle East is taking shape on the internet in the form of a unique group-blog: Stand Down, which bills itself as "the Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq." Their statement of unity is a veritable model of what the antiwar movement ought to be saying:

"The members of Stand Down hold a wide variety of different and, indeed, conflicting political positions, but all are in agreement on a single proposition: that the use of military force to effect ‘regime change’ in Iraq is ill advised and unjustified. We do not deny that the current Iraqi regime is monstrous, but we hold, following John Adams, that the United States need not go ‘abroad in search of monsters to destroy" unless they pose a clear and direct threat to American national security."

Not pacifist, not in denial as to the nature of the Iraqi regime, and standing proudly in the tradition of the Founders of this country. And they’re patriots:

"The more shrill advocates of invasion have tried for some time to imply that lack of enthusiasm for military action implies insufficient patriotism, or even hatred of America. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is precisely our affection for the ideals of a constitutional republic that leads us to believe that a country imbued with America’s enormous power must exercise equally great restraint."

This is an expression of a truly American radicalism. Its authenticity is a thoughtful reproach not only to the War Party’s bombastic calls for jihad, but also stands in stark contrast to the formulaic bromides offered up by the A.N.S.W.E.R. crowd. Bookmark this one.

– Justin Raimondo

 Please Support
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

or Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form

Your contributions are now tax-deductible Home Page

Most recent column by Justin Raimondo

Archived columns

Team Killers

Attack of the Oxymorons

Neocons of the Left

Warmongers, Left and Right

I Ain't Marchin' Anymore

A Man Named Muhammad

Patriots For Peace

Smearing the Antiwar Movement

North Korea's Halloween Surprise

The Sniper

The Two Faces of Ronald Radosh

Iraq – First Stop on the Road to Empire

Larry Ellison's Golden Age: Profiteers of the Warfare State

Call Congress!

9/11: What Did Israel Know?

Why Jim McDermott Is a Hero

Previous columns

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.