Thursday, July 13, 2006

Israel? Why should we care?

What difference does what happens to Israel make to us here in America? Why should we care? Why is what happens to Israel important to us?

Very legitimate questions, especially as many people are unaware of the real answers.

To get there, let's put aside any considerations of fairness, justice, religion or humanitarian principles...and go for the cold, hard, self-serving realpolitik reasons why what happens to Israel is important to the US.

One, history shows that the Jews are the early warning signal of history for the West, and the atrocities visited on them first get visited on the non-Jewish world later. Hitler is one example, Islamic terrorism and jihad is another.

The tactics used to bomb New York, London, Mumbai, Bali and Madrid were perfected in Israel. So was the disinformation and propaganda to rationalize such actions, now used against the US and Europe as well as Israel. What happened in Israel was and is a precurser as to what we can expect here. Israel was merely a front for jihad, not the cause of it.

Two, Israel is one of the most important and reliable allies for the US and one of the few allies we have with a significant military and intel quotient. Israel's destruction would considerably weaken the US, especially in the Middle East and cost us strategically. Here are a few examples of how that has worked to our advantage:

* Israel singlehandedly pushed the Soviets out of the Middle East during the Cold War and provided America a first hand look at the latest Soviet weapons and technology...without the cost of a single American soldier.

* Israel saved thousands of American lives by taking out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor at Osirak. If not for that, the casualty lists from the first Gulf War would have been very different.

* Israel, with a first class intelligence service and native Arabic and Farsi speakers has contributed immeasureably to US intel by it's access inthe region and by adding the dimension of `humint'-human intelligence - on the ground. General George Keagan, former head of U.S. Air Force Intelligence, stated in Congress that "Israel is worth five CIAs," based on the value of intelligence passed to our country. As our only reliable ally and strategic asset in the cradle of Islamofascism, it provides a bulwark and window on America's enemies in the Iran. And Israel effectively secures NATO’s southeastern flank.

* Israel, as one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world is a major partner of the US in weapons technology in numerous joint projects like the Arrow missle. Israeli technology provided an important edge to the USA in both Desert Storm and the first Gulf War. And the US has access to the fruits of some of the most sophisticated technological installations in the world at Tel-Aviv University and the Technion, Israel's MIT.

* Israeli troops, with their knowledge of warfare in the Middle East saved US lives by drawing on their experiences in Jenin and elsewhere to teach American soldiers how to fight in the urban battlegrounds of the Middle East, like Falujah. They have also developed unique technology specially adapted to conditions in the Middle East for recon and warfare..all of which have been made available to the US for the asking.

* Israel is the only country that makes itself and its facilities available to the United States in any contingency. Israel is America’s base in the region and the defender of America’s interests in that area of the world.

* Israel’s government supports the foreign policy objectives of the United States. In the UN, Israel votes with the United States over 90% of the time. The Arabs and other Moslem countries, recipients of American aid that collectively dwarfs what the US gives Israel, almost always vote against the United States.

* And what about that aid? Israel receives $1.8 billion in military aid and $1.2 billion in economic aid from the US yearly. Almost all of the military aid is spent in the United States, making Israel one of the major customers of the U.S. defense industry. Almost all of the economic assistance goes for debt repayment to the United States, incurred from military purchases dating back many years.Unlike our troops and bases stationed in Korea, Japan, Germany, and other places, not a single American serviceperson needs to be stationed in Israel. Considering that the cost of one serviceperson per year — including backup and infrastructure — is about $200,000, and the minimum contingent is around 25,000 troops, the cost savings to the United States in cold hard dollars alone is on the order of $5 billion a year.

And that's without factoring in the value of the intel, technology and strategic benefits the US receives from our alliance with Israel.

Based on this, a good case could be made that aid to Israel, certainly the military portion, should be part of the United States defense budget and hardly considered `foreign aid' at all.

* Third, Israel is an important trading partner of the US and a leader in biotechnology, agriculture, solar, computer science, irrigation technology, synthetic energy, and a number of other fields. Many American corporations like Intel and Hewlett Packard have facilities there to take advantage of the talent coming out of TAU and the Technion. The cell phone and cell communications technology, for example, were perfected in Israel.

Fourth, if Israel disapeared, America's problems with the Muslim world wouldn't change one iota and in fact would get much worse.

A casual examination of history shows the fallacy of abandoning a loyal, powerful ally to appease an enemy, especially during wartime. Nor would it improve relations betweenthe US and the Arab world or really, even the US relationship with `old Europe'. The proof of that is to examine the US relationship with the Arab World before we became one of Israel's main allies..after the `67 Six-Day War. That's because real alliances come from shared values..something we don't have in common with a large chunk of the Islamic world.

Getting rid of what the Muslims world refers to as the Little Satan would just weaken the Big Satan, America and deprive us of one of our strongest and most valuable allies. And a victory over the hated Jews would only embolden America's enemies.

Take Israel out of the equation and the Saudis would still be exporting jihad to the West, Iran and its allies would still be a threat to the US and jihadis would still target America and Americans. And like Israel, it would be simply because of who we are, not because of anything we've done.

So yes, ordinary Americans should DEFINITELY care what happens to Israel. From a strictly pragmatic, self-interested point of view if nothing else.


nazar said...

Thanks for explaining that. I knew some of those things myself, but I guess I just needed someone to reitirate it and put it into context for me. Wow, I didn't know that Israel was so technologically advanced!!! Good old capitalism, huh? Also, let me state that I am not naive, and that I am fully aware that the Arabs would kill every single Jew in Israel if they got half the chance-and considering that Israel's population is about 5 million, that would mean that we would have another genocide on our hands. It probably would happen slowly, and there would be many Israeli refugees, but there is no doubt that many Israelis would perish, neverthless. I may have seemed indifferent to this in that other previous post, but I really DO care about the plight of the Israeli people.

There, is however, something that I think you are DEAD WRONG about-why the jihadists hate us so. It's not because of who we are(although they do hold us in contempt for such things as our secularism, human rights, personal liberty, our prosperity), it's because of what we do. For example, there are millions of Muslims who find the thought of American soldiers in Saudi Arabia simply horrifying and blasphemous, even if that government ASKED us to be there. The war in Iraq, which I supported, and still do, hasn't helped either in terms of how we are perceived. I still think that our alliance with Israel is only more reason for the Arabs to hate us. Here's the bottom line, though: WE NEED THEIR OIL!!! If our oil supply comes to a halt, our entire way of life is over, and it would take a readjustment of decades in order to get America functioning again. Suffice it to say, that we probably wouldn't get our superpower status back in a long time, if ever. I'm digressing, but here's why I think they are driven to violence against the United States: They may hold us in contempt for our values, but what really drives them insane is our meddling in their countries in order to get oil. The way I see it, though, if our own government didn't interfere with them, then private oil companies would. AMERICAN private oil companies, that is, and we would still be hated and reviled in the mid east anyway. Our PRESCENSE in the mid east is the catalyst for both the terrorism in Iraq, and international terrorism against our homeland, IMO.

Once again, thanks for the info about Israel, it really put things into perspective for me.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Nazar,
Thanks for the kind words.

Let me expand on my statement, that the jihadis hate us because of who we are, not because of anything we've done...and see if it doesn't provide some food for thought.

According to the Muslim world, Islam and sharia are the highest and most beneficial way of life for mankind, and Islam should dominate the world for peace and prosperity to reign.

By that logic,the Islamic countries should be strong, powerful and prosperous and the West, including America, should be weak, poverty stricken and miserable.

Imagine how it feels for an Islamist to look at the real world and for things to be exactly the opposite! Pure cognitive dissonance.

There are only two possible reactions to this.

One is to abandon the notion that Islam is superior and G-d 3.0, as it were ...something Islamists find impossible.

The second is to account for Western prosperity and strength as a product from an alliance of the West with Satan, and rationalize that when the Great Satan is defeated, Islam will inherit all of its wealth and strength..which rightfully belongs to Muslims anyway.

The second reaction BTW, is historic and not limited to our present day. Islam was largely spread by motivation plunder and a desire for it..something enhanced by Islamic economics, which are essentially static and need plunder or at least necessary commodities to sell to grow wealth.

The West needs to be conquered because it is a contradiction to the entire Islamist belief system..and in any case, part of dar Harb. That would be true even if Israel never existed, if we never purchased another drop of Arab oil and US troops never set foot in Saudi Arabia.

Which brings us to oil. I don't agree with you that we `need their oil'. We have merely chosen to purchase it because of long standing relationships and outright bribery from people like the Saudis and the UAE,

These countries got away with expropriating millions of dollars of US property in the 1970's when they nationalized their oil industries. We never did sqaut about it...just made a new deal in the Arabs' favor and went on with `bidness' as usual..besides we could sell `em stuff and they could invest here in the US. The trouble is, that devil's bargain involved some wahabi baggage and the export of jihad into America in ways we didn't forsee.

The US is perfectly capable of meeting its energy needs domestically...IF we wanted to and our government had that as a policy objective. We don't.

Brazil, after being held up by OPEC adopted a policy goal in 1996 of zero foreign oil imports within ten years, whatever it took. They accomplished that this year.

Unfortunately, our problems with the Muslim world are about ideology and jihad...not oil, IMO.

Thanks, as always for dropping by..your comments always add a lot to the site!

Dave Schuler said...

I think that our enemies in the Middle East hate us both for what we do and for what we are. Over the last 20 years we've established an enormous military presence in the region which serves multiple purposes: keeps the oil flowing, supports the existing regimes, sticks a thumb in the eye of Dar al Islam purists, and provides a useful focus of hate.

But the hatred preceded that military presence. Check out Qtub. Our existence is an affront.

nazar said...

Hey freedomfighter, I agree and disagree. I agree that they hate us because we are prosperous, and yes, you're right, Islam has been spread mostly by invasions, and it isn't even pro-capitalist(Muslims can't even take out mortgages on their homes because of some outdated concept of fair-play according to a dusty old book!!Sorry, I digress). However, it takes much more than a contempt or dislike for another nation in order to deliberately plan and attack that nation. For instance, I don't like the French, and I consider them backstabbing slime, but you don't see me building bombs, and getting my buddies to go on jihad to France, do you? According to your logic, we should have been in a perpetual state of warfare with Muslims ever since we became a superpower, which would have meant sixty years of a "war on terror" on top of subverting communism. As I'm sure you know, however, the first muslim terrorist attack occurred in 93 on the WTC, and we didn't wake up to this danger until 9/11. The point being, that islamic terrorism against America is a relatively recent development.

I also think you are mistaken about our energy situation. We DO need their oil, because our economy runs on it. You brought up the case of Brazil, but there are several things you need to know about Brazil. #1) They don't consume NEARLY the amount of oil that we do, so they can run their economy on ethanol,
#2) They started their ethanol program in 1975, so it took them 30 years to become energy independent. Even if we could do that(I'm an optimistic person and think we can), then it would mean that we need the Arabs' oil for about 30 more years, or more, since our economy would probably need more of a readjustment from oil than Brazil's.
#3)Brazil's ethanol is sugar cane ethanol, and ours is corn ethanol. Sugar cane is approximately 8 times more effective than corn ethanol, and the only place in America that we could grow sugar cane is Florida, and even there, in small amounts.

I could go on, but I think that there is no easy-fit solution to our energy problems, we would really need to diversify our energy sources, whether it's nuclear power, electric cars, ethanol, or wind plants. Either way you look at it, we need the Arabs' oil for now, and probably for many more years to come.

Take care.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hey Dave, ....thanks for dropping by.Pull up a chair and help yourself to a cold one!

And you other members of Joshua's army, take a peek at Dave's site The Glittering Eye...a fellow member of the infamous Watcher's Council.

Dave, I totally agree with you, the hatred preceded our military presence there, and even the oil business. I maintain that it is Islamic in nature, and intrinsic.

Thanks for the info on Brazil. I wqs wondering how they managed it! My information came from a Brazilian born American talk show host, Bill Handle.I still maintain that we have A) Enough domestic resources of oil, including shale oil to run our economy and B) severely underutilized alt energy and refinining capacity.

In any case, we had better start using it. I think I've explained the reasons why I think we don't.

As for the historical nature of jihad, Islam's interaction with the west has largely been a 1500 year attempt at conquest. We got a break for a period of about two centuries, roughly the time between the West stopping jihadi Islam at Vienna and the Islamic revolution in Iran, give or take a few years.

Even the Crusades were largely a reaction to Islamic jihad against the Byzantines, Spain and France and against Christians in the Holy Land and the Levant.

America's very first interaction with Islam was its war against the Barbary pirates in the early 18th century, who were seizing American ships and taking the crews and passengers as slaves.

As for Islam `being at war with us since we became a superpower' let's remember that the Islamic nations were largely colonies until the `50's..which is also when the oil industry really got into full swing.

Once the Arabs nationalized their oil industries, formed OPEC, got a vast infusion of petrodollars and once the Islamic revolution occured in 1979, the stage was set.

One thing I think you are doing, if I understand you correctly is (a)confusing the Islamic mentality with the Western one and imputing our psychological motivations are the same and (B) getting confused about the nature of the nation-state in Islam.

We are talking here about a religious imperative, jihad. The West does not have that concept.To Muslims, fighting dar harb is a holy act and bringing about dar Islam...commanded by Allah and Mohammed and not subject to argument.

`Islam' after, all, means submission.

Likewise the concept of the nation/state is largely a western idea.

To Muslims, except for very old countries like Egypt and Persia, the first loyalty is to the clan and the Muslim ummah, not to the lines in the sand drawn by the Ottomans or westerners.

Read Ephraim Karsh's `Empires in the Sand'.

Thanks to both of y'all for dropping by...see you soon!

louielouie said...

As nazar’s question was to ff this is not a response to nazar as much as a comment to the idea posed.
Imo this idea is not so much about a nation/state as is it about the joo culture.

A joo questionaire if you will:
Ever been to a movie?
See the lion roar?
Ever been to a broadway play?
Rogers & hammerstein?
Rex kern?
Did you grow up in the sixties?
Ever hear of a group called the supremes?
Three black girls.
Ever hear of the Motown sound?
The backbone of that sound came from a writing combo called HDH.
No, not a chemical or biological weapon.
Pissed all the blacks off at barry gordy’s place because he had a bunch of joos writing about and understanding black culture better than the blacks.
They delivered groceries from their dad’s grocery store in Baltimore to the black ghettos in the surrounding area. They paid attention to the lifestyle.
What is precious/special to a christian?
Write a song about a White Christmas.
Written by a joo.
Ever go to a professional basketball game?
In NYC they have a team called the knickerbockers.
Named after a prominent & philanthropic family, the knickerbocker family.
Ever see a john wayne movie?
Rio bravo & the sons of Katie elder to be specific.
The bad guys were other cowboys. White guys.
In the movie there were store keepers/merchants that always wanted to do things by the book. In accordance with the law. Didn’t want to fight with guns.
These were representative of the joos.
Did I forget to mention that in early writings before we became a nation that the colonies were referred to as the new Israel? Don’t know why they did that.
In summary:
We may be nation of immigrants, but as “I” look at our past the core of our civility is founded/given/represented by the joo culture.

As for the Arabs hating us as a result of the existence of israel.
In 1802 the emir of libya sent word to the president of the united states that if this young country wanted to conduct merchant operations in the Mediterranean area they must pay a fee.
The genteel gentleman from Virginia occupying the WH at the time dispatched a fleet of marines to the area, waiting a sufficient amount of time before informing congress of his actions, (OMG call the NYT) to ensure that the fleet could not be recalled. Their orders(?) you ask. Blow the hell out of anything you see not flying the stars & stripes. Who they encountered were the barbary coast pirates, who were anything but romantic, as portrayed in novels/books. They were arab sailors funded by rich merchants/sheiks who were not attached/aligned with any country but only sought to interfere with this new young country seeking to export it’s young economic way of life. Sound familiar? The marines spent three years sailing up/down the libyan coast. these marines were the last to give the order, “borders away” in our nation's history. if you don’t know what that means. You don’t have balls. at the conclusion of this military expedition, there was no challenge made to our economic expansion. From the Arabs at least. This sounds like we should put this to music, don‘t you think(?)..…all together now…….from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of tripoli……………..ah, it’ll never catch on.

Imo the reason the Arabs hate the joos is because thay formed a nation/state.
The joos moved out of the dessert and into the modern world by the stroke of a pen.
In doing so, they left the occupants of the land, such as they were, to live under the laws of the land.
Or leave.
Nothing different from any other nation state.
Arabs don’t understand the concept even today.
All those lines on those maps don’t mean squat to them.
Sand is sand, and the lines in the sand keep getting blown by the wind.
The Arabs just want to use the pals as fodder.
Everyone is so eager to point out the history of the region but won’t discuss the fact that the populations of mecca & medina in 700 ad were predominantly joos.
Still the joos with these people?????

I deviate from ff comments about throwing out all of the conditions of discussion regarding descriptions of the argument at hand. I have a problem with a nation founded/built on a religion, exclusive of all other people, and intolerant of other peoples customs. If Israel can be jewish why can’t Afghanistan be Islamic?
It goes farther than saying the joos haven’t flown any planes into any buildings.
If we are to support a nation/state, however imperfect our country, our founding document challenges us to be more perfect, and thus we must support like minded nation/states.
I do not know the particulars of the constitution(?) of Israel, but the fundamental idea of our founding fathers was to be able to own property. If the constitution of Israel forbids this, for specific people, as our constitution did at its’ founding, then they are a nation of jim crows.

With that said, this christian prays for the safety of each and every idf soldier, the COMPLETE destruction of the enemy, in what ever shape/form it is presented, and the preservation of the nation/state of Israel.

P.S.: maybe I missed ff mentioning it in his discussion about the technology, but Israel is the one who invented the UAVs that are now so prevalent in US military operations.

Pastorius said...

A great essay. Thanks, Freedom Fighter.

nazar said...

Hey freedomfighter: You mentioned the Barbary Pirates, but they were motivated purely by greed, not religion. And I also believe that the wars against Europe were motivated by greed, as much as Europe's imperialism was motivated by greed. Granted, the Koran may have given some legitimacy to that greed by saying that if you die in jihad, you will go to heaven, but it was mostly based on greed neverthless. You said it yourself, before, Islam depends on this kind of conquest in order to maintain its wealth(that was before they had oil money). The main reason why we have a problem with Islamic terrorists is because they think we are threatening their way of life, and even their religion, which is EXACTLY what we're doing. The main reason why we are in Iraq, IMO, is to change how things are run in the mid east, and to bring some accountability and honesty into government. In other words, to bring them out of their backwards ways. If that means that we have to get them to see that Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism are wrong, so be it.

Louie: I do agree that Jews have contributed more to the well-being of America, and even civilization than any other group I can think of. It's a shame about the Holocaust...can you imagine how many potential scientists, great novelists, poets, doctors, musicians, lawyers we lost? Just really brings me down...

Well, actually, I hate lawyers, you can take that part out if you wish.

louielouie said...

Well, actually, I hate lawyers, you can take that part out if you wish.

consider that a done deal.......

Anonymous said...

This was much more interesting and enlightening than other posts from the same author.