Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Say "Mission Accomplished" and Go Home

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Say "Mission Accomplished" and Go Home

Article excerpt

While almost the entire world other than President George W. Bush now views the American invasion and occupation of Iraq as a catastrophic failure, there is one notable exception.

During a November visit to Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while affirming his categorical support for Mr. Bush's Iraq war policy and his confrontational strategy toward Iran, said, according to the Nov. 14 Haaretz, that "the Iraq war had a dramatic positive effect on security and stability in the Middle East as well as strategic importance from Israel's perspective." (Ominously for the future, Mr. Olmert added with respect to his meeting with Mr. Bush, "Iran's role in the conversation was quite clear, very serious and very significant, and I left the meeting with an outstanding feeling.")

No one should be surprised by "Israel's perspective." In their now famous "Clean Break" policy paper, written in 1996 for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israel-First neocons who were to be the principal advocates and masterminds of Mr. Bush's Iraq war cited the destruction of Iraq as a major Israeli strategic objective. In its geostrategic position, Israel would understandably view as undesirable the existence in its region of any Arab or Muslim state which was strong and independent, rather than intimidated by and subservient to Israel/America. From an Israeli security perspective, it would clearly be highly desirable for any such state to be neutered (like Egypt) and, if possible, fragmented into mutually hostile pieces.

Even before the invasion, it was widely understood that the principal motivation for the invasion was not oil-there is no evidence of behind-the-scenes agitation or pressure from international oil companies in favor of war-but, rather, Israel. In pre-war polls, Israel was the only country in the world (other than the United States) where a majority of the population favored the war.

Iraq has now been effectively destroyed and may be fragmenting into pieces. It is therefore no wonder that Mr. Olmert should be delighted with how the war has turned out and should wish to confirm publicly how "thankful" Israel is to the United States and Mr. Bush. His wisdom and good taste in doing so on American soil when most Americans are less delighted with how the war has turned out might be questioned. …

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