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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If you thought Carter was bad...

It's not bad enough that Dhimmi Carter refuses to stay put wherever it is that they billet past presidents when they begin to embarrass themselves and their country.  But now the man who was Carter's mentor - the architect of some of his worst policies - has reappeared and is vying for the ear of yet another inexperienced president. [Note:  I am using the word 'inexperienced' objectively and without prejudice]

This past Sunday, Carter's former national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, announced in an interview that he feels President Barak Obama should order U.S. forces to shoot down Israeli jets in the event that they try to over-fly Iraqi airspace on their way to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities.

Here is his exact statement:

"They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? ... We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren't just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a 'Liberty' in reverse."

Just take a moment to re-read that quote.  This is an angry man talking.  If you didn't know the context you could be forgiven for assuming he was talking about an enemy.  Not only is he speaking about an ally in a completely belligerent tone, but he seems to have an axe to grind over the USS Liberty.

Not incidentally, it was under the watchful eyes of Carter and Brzezinski that Iraq was allowed to develop the Osirak nuclear facility.  So it isn't a reach to figure that both men are still stung by the prevailing school of thought which holds that Israel was forced to 'fix' a mistake that was allowed to happen on their watch.   

Yes, I know that technically Israel bombed Osirak after Carter left office.  But hanging Iraq's nuclear program around Ronald Reagan's neck would be about as silly as giving Jimmy Carter credit for the release of the US hostages from Iran.  The mistakes were made on Carter's and Brzezinski's watch.  The problems were 'solved' by others who came after.

Getting back to Mr. Brzezinski, it wasn't that he simply announced that the US should shoot down Israeli planes.   He actually went so far as to suggest that if such a military show-down came to pass, that it would be a payback for the 'Liberty Affair'.

Now, for those not in the know about the fate of the USS Liberty, I suggest reading what's found at this link. But if you are tight on time, the short version is that in June of 1967 during the Six Day War, a US Intel Gathering (i.e.spy) ship entered an area that Israel had declared a closed military zone and was mistakenly identified as an Egyptian warship.  In a tragic case of mistaken identify, the Liberty was bombed and strafed by Israeli planes resulting in the loss of the ship and the death of 34 men (171 others were wounded). 

Israel apologized, took full responsibility for the accident, and paid compensation to the families of the dead, to the wounded and to the U.S. government for the loss of the ship.  After two decades of independent US and Israeli governmental investigations (and countless conspiracy theories that still abound) the Israeli and US government's officially closed the books on the incident with an exchange of diplomatic notes on December 17, 1987. 

Apparently Mr. Brzezinski didn't get the memo... or is still carrying a grudge.

I say this because threatening deliberate US military aggression against Israel in the same breath as one mentions a tragic friendly fire accident makes absolutely no sense.  Unless, of course, the speaker doesn't think of it as an accident. 

The only way you can find logic in his juxtaposition of these two events - one in the past and one in the future - is if Israel's attack on the Liberty was as premeditated as, say, the theoretical downing of Israeli fighters by US forces in Iraq.

I mean, think about it for a moment... he isn't suggesting that the US accidentally [wink wink] mis-identify and kill Israeli pilots, is he? No, of course not.  He clearly sees the Liberty incident as a score that requires settling... and is among a dangerous breed of US diplomats and political scientists/advisers who view Israel exclusively through the lens of whatever preconception(s) and/or grudge(s) they may hold. 

Aside from the fact that the outcome of a hostile encounter between Israeli and US warplanes over Iraq would be far from a turkey shoot for the American aviators... the idea of rattling a sabre in the face of the US's only stable ally in the region is just plain wrong-headed.  Unless, of course, the sabre-rattler doesn't consider Israel an ally in the first place.

Fortunately, much of the world views Jimmy Carter as little more than a failed president taking un-earned curtain calls on the world stage in order to salvage some sort of legacy.  But what few people remember is that Brzezinski was essentially calling the shots for Carter even before he declared his intention to run for president.  He placed Jimmy Carter on the world stage by inviting him to join his newly formed 'Trilateral Commission' while he was a relatively unknown governor of a state most foreigners couldn't find on a map.  And from that point on, Carter acknowledged that he was "an eager student" of Brzezinski; making him his primary foreign policy adviser during and after the presidential election.

My greatest fear is that another neophyte president with limited experience in the international arena will turn his attention to the architect of Carter's failed presidency.  Seriously, it could happen!  If you thought Carter was bad... try to imagine how bad things might get if someone like Brzezinski were to gain Obama's ear.

Update:  A reader sent me the following cartoon that fits nicely wit the theme:


Posted by David Bogner on September 22, 2009 | Permalink


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Yes, it could happen, but it's not likely. Not with Bob Gates as SECDEF and James Jones as National Security Adviser, the position Brzezinski held under Carter.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Sep 22, 2009 4:08:46 PM

I'm thinking that this may go deeper than a grudge over the tragic Liberty incident. From what I've seen, the people who say that the Israeli attack was deliberate are usually Jew-haters.

Posted by: Rahel | Sep 22, 2009 4:35:39 PM

does what brzezinski say matter any more? i think this fear coming to fruition is far from likely, and you probably have lots more realistic scenarios to fear...

Posted by: fred | Sep 22, 2009 5:10:53 PM

It doesn't really matter whether Brzezinski matters or not. That this idea is even floated is scary.

Posted by: Baila | Sep 22, 2009 5:18:46 PM

Can anyone believe Israel would risk the lives of their pilots by challenging US jets over Iraq? When you`re already demented,age just adds to the problem in the case of Mr.B.As for Obama,I`m not sure who was behind his building freeze,sounds like it was a State Department idea.

Posted by: ED | Sep 22, 2009 5:23:35 PM

Carter seems to be a decent man, but he just doesn't like Jews. He's not the first, won't be the last. Plenty of Jews don't like Jews either.


Posted by: Barzilai | Sep 22, 2009 6:00:57 PM

There should be a USS Liberty corollary to Godwin's Law.

Has the US ever engaged an ally's air force over foreign airspace? Zbig has also not thought of the implications of putting US pilots at risk to defend Iran. I think that the US Air Force has not been in any dogfights since the Korean War.

It appears that the quality of "great geopolitical thinkers" isn't what it used to be.

Posted by: lrg | Sep 22, 2009 6:34:33 PM

If this is how Brzezinski treats allies I can only imagine what he recommends for enemies.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 22, 2009 6:56:58 PM

Carter was the Hope and Change of my generation. And like the Who song says, "I hope we don't get fooled again."

Posted by: Dave Bailey | Sep 22, 2009 7:07:38 PM

I wonder, is there any real difference between not shooting down the jets and bombing the Iranians yourself? It seems to me that allowing the jets through the airspace is indistinguishable from sending your own jets to bomb Iran. I don't like his choice of words, of course, and he definitely would smile if he were the one to pull the trigger.

Posted by: Barzilai | Sep 22, 2009 7:10:08 PM

Carter is a hopeless Moron.
Why even worry about him.

The other Dude is also in the club of Morons.

Posted by: Mickey | Sep 22, 2009 7:50:18 PM

My mom grew up next door to the Brzezinskis in Montreal, and was not allowed into their house to play with Lydia (Zbig's sister) because she was a Jew. The dad was Poland's diplomat to Canada at the time - it was during WWII. So this guy's Jew-hatred runs deep.

Posted by: yonah | Sep 22, 2009 7:59:37 PM

Hi, Trepp. You used to know me as Cato.

I'm sharing this on Facebook. Please email me if you want to be friends there.

This is so egregious, there ought to be Hannibal Lecter masks made to fit both Carter and Zbiggy.

Posted by: Thomas von der Trave | Sep 22, 2009 8:29:57 PM

Yonah - I'm not surprised at that story. Polish Jew-hatred is a fact of life. My one-and-only Polish girlfriend would speak of Jewish girls as "Jewesses". As in "Negresses". She was shocked when I jokingly called her a "Christianess" to point out the absurdity. And this was in anno Domini 2002.

Posted by: Thomas von der Trave | Sep 22, 2009 8:33:31 PM

I think there is some hope for the younger generation of educated Poles since 1990. The older generations for the most part,a lost cause.

Posted by: ED | Sep 22, 2009 8:50:51 PM

Rahel is correct. The USS Liberty survivor's group has been co-opted by the anti-Israel (and really antisemitic) segment of the US foreign policy establishment.

I went to a presentation at the State Department a few years ago on the Liberty. Judge A. Jay Cristol spoke. But he was consistently heckled by the survivors group. Vicious antisemite James Bamford spoke next and played the crowd. In the end Michael Oren, saved the day recalling how a number of his friends and comrades were killed in a friendly fire incident in 1982, when the IAF attacked a column of IDF tanks in broad daylight.

While I highly recommend Judge Cristol's book, Oren has an excellent article available online.

To my mind the clearest bit of evidence that Israel did not seek to destroy the Liberty is Judge Cristol's observation that if that had been the intent, the attacking planes would have been armed with 500 lb iron bombs in order to sink the ship.

Posted by: soccer dad | Sep 22, 2009 11:38:47 PM

Well, it is getting scary over here. The UN is in full session right before Shabbos Shuva & Yom Kippur with murderers, dictators and thieves. Makes me daven a little better, although I'd personally like Hashem to use the carrot in front of us rather than a whack on the back.

Posted by: Lakewood Falling Down | Sep 23, 2009 12:15:23 AM

I'm not surprised that Zbiggy is speaking out. Since the diminution of the soviet threat (Look Ma, no caps for "soviet"!) the hawks over here are looking for a new bogey-man. Anyone is fair game to them.

As for our warplanes dogfighting, the reason there has been no significant dogfights since Korea/Vietnam is because we all now have air-air missiles that can engage beyond visual range. Why get close when you don't have to?

Posted by: Jim Smith | Sep 23, 2009 5:28:00 PM

Unbeknownst to yourself, you have guest posted on Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers (http://proisraelbaybloggers.blogspot.com/) in this piece: http://proisraelbaybloggers.blogspot.com/2009/09/if-you-thought-carter-was-bad.html

It's a miracle.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Sep 24, 2009 5:47:40 AM

Re: inexperienced, there is a possibility that evidence is beginning to support:

We may be realizing here in the USA what the folks in DC already knew, and are exploiting: we've hired the "guy who talks real good" to be our class president. But that's all he does -- talk real good. The real powers-that-be in the school know this, and are ignoring his speech content. He runs around tuggin on shirts: "c'mon, guys! hey!" but it may not be working.

Not a bad way for things to go, if like me, you are an anti-federalist anyways. But a lot of people are getting disappointed. Me? Not so much. I thought this is they way things would go. Mr. Obama has to bring in the Chicago Way -type stuff now, and that makes me more nervous. ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Sep 24, 2009 8:54:50 AM

I too was horrified by Brzezinski's comment. What unnerves me most is that 42 years after the incident, the subject of the Liberty comes up unbidden in a conversation about Israel and Iraq. Of all the metaphors he could find...

Posted by: Lisa | Sep 25, 2009 11:41:09 PM

Every country has interests. And every country's interests have the potential of conflicting with those of other countries, even those of its allies.

Do you think that there are any areas in which the interests of the United States and Israel do not perfectly coincide? Or might potentially not coincide?

Suppose the United States were to make the judgment that bombing the Iranian nuclear program were against its own vital interests. Would we be allowed to condemn such an attack? Foil it?

If an Israeli plane were about to commit an act which would embroil us in hostilities with another nation, beginning an act of war which would involve us for years to come, after we had told them not to, why would that not be considered a hostile act?

I'm just asking. I'm not in favor of shooting down Israeli planes, but the answer to the questions above should be thoughtful and serious, not just, "Oh! My! God!"

Posted by: Jeff | Sep 28, 2009 10:54:26 PM

Nothing new about Zbignew. Back in 1967, the Americans planned on landing their troops in Sinai to defend Egypt

Posted by: Alex | Oct 4, 2009 4:03:41 PM

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