Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bibi's Bomb-bastic Bluff

In our recent post about the smear campaign being waged by neocons against Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel, we noted that there are parallels between the political systems in the U.S. and in Israel. The current Israeli government is dominated by the right-wing Likud Party, which has close ties with the neocon/Rethuglican establishment here in the U.S.

U.S. neocons, of course, can't get enough of saber-rattling or foreign wars, especially if they involve Muslim countries. They hold the Defense Department's budget sacrosanct, even as top military officers argue for a leaner, smarter fighting force. Now, we see that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being accused by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of building up Israel's first strike capability against Iran primarily for the purpose of provoking U.S. action against Iran. According to the Daily Beast:
"[Olmert] said the extra spending was designed to make the United States believe that Israel genuinely intended to attack Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu hoped the perception would prod President Obama, who opposes an Israeli strike, to organize tighter sanctions against Iran and take action of his own to prevent it from crossing the nuclear threshold.

'The general opinion of those that were involved [in the preparations] was that this was much more about rhetoric and less about a real determination to activate it,' Olmert told The Daily Beast."
It's probably also true that the Israeli defense industry, much like ours, leans strongly right, so infusions of large sums of money -- "weapons welfare" if you will -- for the Israeli defense industry helps the Likud also. It's interesting how similar it is here in the U.S., with Rethugs benefitting from defense industry campaign contributions as the defense budget grows.

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