Wikileaks and Israel

We may not be able to get the news from our press,but the foreign press and alternative media sources continue to let us know the substantive things released in the Wikileaks State Department Cables.  I can’t read Norwegian, but the Norwegian Aftenposten is the source of the following story outlined by Professor Juan Cole on his website Informed Consent.

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has summarized an Israeli military briefing by Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi of a US congressional delegation a little over a year ago and concludes that

‘ The memo on the talks between Ashkenazi and [Congressman Ike] Skelton, as well as numerous other documents from the same period of time, to which Aftenposten has gained access, leave a clear message: The Israeli military is forging ahead at full speed with preparations for a new war in the Middle East.

Note: This war preparation is serious and specific, according to the paper, and clearly is not just a matter of vague contingency planning.

The paper says that US cables quote Ashkenazi telling the US congressmen, “I’m preparing the Israeli army for a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite

I have to also tell you that my print copy of  The Economist showed up in the mail box today with this huge headline:  Please, Not Again:  The Threat of War in the Middle East.  Also, there’s this subtitle in the online version: ‘Without boldness from Barack Obama there is a real risk of war in the Middle East’.  I am assuming that the editorial staff there got the low down on some of these items way before we finally are reading about them here.  Predictably, there’s a lot on Hizbullah rocket stockpiles.  No information on such robust Israeli war planning.  Coverage of war drum beating is always predictably filtered and lop-sided.

Democracy Now also has major coverage of Israeli preparations for war via the Wikileaks information.

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten is claiming it has come into possession of all of the classified U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks. In a report on one newly released cable, the paper reveals that Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told a U.S. congressional delegation a little over a year ago that the Israeli military is forging ahead at full speed with preparations for a new war in the Middle East. The cables quote Ashkenazi saying, “I’m preparing the Israeli army for a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite.”

Evidently the driving force behind this is Hamas and Hizbullah stockpile of rockets and their capabilities according to Juan Cole as cited above.  Israel–like any other state–has the right to defend itself.  This should go without saying.  However, the more I read, the more I’m convinced this goes way beyond that.  There are stockpiles in the hands of nefarious groups.  So far, that’s been it.

The general’s plans are driven by fear of growing stockpiles of rockets in Hamas-controlled Gaza and in Hizbullah-controlled Southern Lebanon, the likely theaters of the planned major new war. Ashkenazi does not seem capable of considering that, given a number of Israeli invasions and occupations of those regions, the rockets may be primarily defensive.

Ashkenazi told the visiting delegation that Israeli unmanned drones had had great success in identifying rocket emplacements in southern Lebanon, and that it had been aided in this endeavor by the US National Security Agency,which spies on communications.

Israeli unmanned drones? I’d forgotten that development was announced last than a year ago. The Heron TP is evidently the size of a 737 and can fly nonstop for 20 hours giving it more than enough steam to get well into Iran. Now, we’re beginning to see why they were so excited about it.  I figured it might be used to take out Irani nuclear weapon facilities or something possibly noble like that.  Of course, I should know better given how much WMD were used to beat the drum beat against Iraq. We know how well that turned out.

Instead, we read this.  Again, it’s from Juan Cole translating the source.

The new, major war will be a total war on civilians, Ashkenazi boasted: “In the next war Israel cannot accept any restrictions on warfare in urban areas.” (I den neste krigen kan Israel ikke godta noen restriksjoner på krigføring i byområder in Norwegian, or let us just translate it into the original German: “Im nächsten Krieg kann Israel keine Beschränkungen der Kriegsführung in städtischen Gebieten akzeptieren.”.) Mind you, the civilian deaths deriving from this massive and unrestricted bombing campaign on targets in the midst of civilian urban populations will be “unintentional.” Planning to bomb civilian areas with foreknowledge that you will thereby kill large numbers of civilians is a war crime.

I certainly hope the Secretary of State is answering the 3 a.m. phone calls these days.  If the remaining naysaying  idiots on the planet haven’t figured out the value of the Wikileaks yet, they never will.  We could always send them off to be used as human shields in a possible war zone hidden from our view for over a year.  Frankly, I agree with Mr. Rogers.  I like to be told.  Do you think we’d have invaded Iraq if we’d have been told a lot of the lies behind that invasion by a Wikileaks type whistle blower source?