Saturday, October 06, 2007


I've lamented on many occasions the abandonment by the Bush Administration of its own one-time war-fighting doctrine, which, if you'll recall, held that in an age of hostile and irrational rogue regimes and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, American national security could no longer be safeguarded by waiting for attacks that can no longer be deterred (as 9/11 spectacularly proved), but rather we had to strike such regimes before they could unleash the WMD Pandora from her box. It seems quite clear that that is the only explanation for why the enemy regimes in Tehran and Damascus still exist and are allowed to continue waging war against us in Iraq.

Still, I had held out some hope that while the Bushies were no longer bold in their assertion of American power, they might still be willing to quietly sanction such action by proxy. And with the discovery that the Iranians hired the North Koreans to build a forward nuclear weapons facility on Syrian territory - the whole Axis of Evil in joint, over-the-line provacatory action - what better proxy to deploy than the Israeli Air Force, the destroyers of Saddam Hussein's Osirik nuclear base a quarter century ago?

Well, there were two problems with that hope: (1) our vaunted intelligence agencies didn't have the foggiest idea that Syrian nuke base existed; and (2) the Israelis did, but we forbade them from attacking it, and never did give the green light after all:
The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States.

In early July the Israelis presented the United States with satellite imagery that they said showed a nuclear facility in Syria. They had additional evidence that they said showed that some of the technology was supplied by North Korea.

One U.S. official told ABC's Martha Raddatz the material was "jaw dropping" because it raised questions as to why U.S. intelligence had not previously picked up on the facility.

Officials said that the facility had likely been there for months if not years. [emphasis added]
Wow. The Axis of Evil builds a nuclear weapons plant in Syria years ago and we had no idea it was there. And when the Mossad - which by implication was also way behind the curve on this, just not as much as we were - made the discovery, we strongly urged them to leave it alone. What in God's name for?

Trust me, you're not gonna like the answer:
Between July and September, weeks of high-level talks took place. The Israelis wanted to destroy the facility immediately, and had some support from the American intelligence community that had managed to miss this development. However, Condoleezza Rice and others did not. They wanted to "confront" the Syrians first - as the Jerusalem Post puts it, to scold Assad publicly for operating a nuclear facility.
It sounds like a bad joke, doesn't it? Indeed, it sounds like a stance that would come out of a Hillary Clinton administration, on one of its milder days. Isn't it the ostensible policy of the Bush Administration to deny WMD to regimes like that of Bashar Assad? Isn't the most direct method of doing so, especially at such a late tactical date, to take it out via airstrikes? What earthly good would "diplomatic scolding" accomplish other than to make us look even weaker and more impotent?

Come to think of it, isn't that the way we ended up looking anyway:
The Israelis, who actually originated the "Bush doctrine" decades ago, appear to be the only nation still using it. They probably have concluded that they cannot rely on American will to protect them from Syria and Iran any longer, especially after this episode. The US opposed the raid up to the moment it occurred, afraid of destabilizing the region. Israel, more worried about the consequences of a nuclear Syria - something that should worry us as well - simply ignored Washington after weeks of argument and acted in its own self-interest. [emphasis added]
Thank God they did. As I've commented on numerous occasions over the years, Israel does not nor has it ever had the luxury of sitting back and indulging in diplomatic masturbation while its enemies build up to a "final solution" showdown. Since 9/11 it's equally clear that we don't have that luxury either. Yet the Bushies have either forgotten that or had the courageous foresight pistol-whipped out of them by their domestic political enemies. Consequently they've grown not just passive, but aggressively so, and in the process the influence purchased by the liberations of Afghanistan and Iraq has dissipated to such an extent that not even the spineless Ehud Olmert regime pays this White House any heed anymore.

The solace is now there's one fewer enemy nuclear installation to threaten both the Jews and ourselves; and the "diplomatists" have been discredited yet again.

Pity the latter is as irrelevant as the former is vital.