U.S. Nixes Israeli Attack on Iran: Dog Wags
by John Spritzler
August 15, 2008
Recent events reported
Haaretz relating to a possible Israeli attack on Iran shed light on a
key question that affects how we organize in the United States against our
government's support of Israel.
Is the United States'
pro-Israel foreign policy explained by the theory that Israel, through the
Israel Lobby, has hijacked the American government? Is the dog, i.e.
the American ruling plutocracy, being wagged by the tail, i.e.
Israel? Or does the American ruling plutocracy have immoral but perfectly
rational reasons of its own for supporting Israel's ethnic cleansing of
James Petras is one of the
leading advocates of the "tail wags dog" theory. He elaborated on that theory
in his article,
War with Iran," written January 23, 2006. Petras said that any attack on
Iran will benefit only Israel:
"Conclusion: The only
possible beneficiary of a US or Israeli military attack on Iran or economic
sanctions will be Israel: it will seem to eliminate a military adversary in
the Middle East, and consolidate its military supremacy in the Middle East."
And an Israeli attack on
Iran, Petras asserted way back in January of 2006, was "imminent":
"Never has an imminent
war been so loudly and publicly advertised as Israelís forthcoming military
attack against Iran."
Adding to the likelihood of
an Israeli attack on Iran "in the immediate future," according to
Petras, was the fact that it was the number one priority of the Israel Lobby
in the United States:
and military leadership have repeatedly and openly declared their
preparation to militarily attack Iran in the immediate future. Their
influential supporters in the US have made Israelís war policy the number
one priority in their efforts to secure Presidential and Congressional
In his concluding paragraph
Petras applied the logic of tail-wags-dog to assert that "we are doomed"
to a major confrontation with Iran because "there is no political
leadership to oppose the pro-Israel war lobby":
"The problem is there
is no political leadership to oppose the pro-Israel war lobby within
congress or even in civil society. There are few if any influential
organized lobbies challenging the pro-war Israel lobby either from the
perspective of working for coexistence in the Middle East or even in
defending US national interests when they diverge from Israel. Although
numerous former diplomats, generals, intelligence officials, Reformed Jews,
retired National Security advisers and State Department professionals have
publicly denounced the Iran war agenda and even criticized the Israel First
lobbies, their newspaper ads and media interviews have not been backed by
any national political organization that can compete for influence in the
White House and Congress. As we draw closer to a major confrontation with
Iran and Israeli officials set short term deadlines for igniting a Middle
East conflagration, it seems that we are doomed to learn from future
catastrophic losses that Americans must organize to defeat political lobbies
based on overseas allegiances."
And yet, here it is in
August of 2008, with Bush and Cheney and the same old gang still in the White
House, and not only has there been no attack on Iran, but according to
(August 13, 2008), the Bush administration is using strong-arm methods to
prevent Israel from attacking Iran. The Haaretz headline reads:
U.S. puts brakes on Israeli plan for attack on Iran nuclear
administration has rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and
support that would improve Israel's ability to attack Iran's nuclear
and Haaretz also
reports that the Bush administration cited "American interests" as its reason
for nixing Israel's attack on Iran, something that does not fit into the
tail-wags-dog theory that the U.S. obeys Israel even when it conflicts with
"U.S. national interest" (a
by the way) to do so:
"The Americans viewed
the request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a
sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran.
They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would
undermine American interests."
Israel and/or the
U.S. May Indeed Attack Iran, But Not Because the Tail Wags the Dog
The American ruling
plutocracy supports Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians because it
foments a non-class war (Jew versus non-Jew) in the Middle East that helps
Jewish and non-Jewish
control "their own" people and prevent a genuine democratic revolution
from overthrowing the ruling elites in the region. Keeping elites in power and
ordinary people out of power everywhere in the world is the American
plutocracy's number one strategic goal (they call it "spreading democracy"),
and Israel's ("the only democracy in the Middle East") ethnic cleansing
project serves it.
Orwellian wars of social
control, like World War I,
World War II,
the Cold War and the War on Terror, are elite strategies, and it is quite
possible that the United States and/or Israel will indeed attack Iran to
further such a strategy; it would be one way to keep the War on Terror going.
But if such an attack occurs, it will not be necessary to rely on the
inherently far-fetched theory of tail-wags-dog to understand why. The dog has
reasons of its own for its warmongering and support of ethnic cleansing.
Let us not provide the
dog--the American ruling plutocracy--with a fig-leaf ("Israel made me do it")
to hide behind. The Israel Lobby is an instrument of the American plutocracy.
The Lobby doesn't control the plutocracy; the plutocracy controls the Lobby,
using it to keep its hired hands, the politicians, in line and to push
pro-Israel lies on the public. Our task is to defeat the American plutocracy
to win real democracy. The last thing we need is to let the plutocracy use the
Israel Lobby as a bullfighter uses a red cape--to deflect the bull's charges
away from doing real bodily harm.
The point we need to make to
the American public about the Israel Lobby is not that it has taken control of
our government. The government was never "ours" to begin with. From 1776 it
has been "theirs"--the upper class's. Wealthy property owners are the only
ones that were represented by George Washington, and it's been that way ever
since. The point we need to make is that the Israel Lobby is morally and
factually wrong. It defends ethnic cleansing. It spreads the racist lie that
non-Jews are inherently anti-Semitic and therefore Jews need a purely Jewish
state to be safe, even if it requires violent ethnic cleansing to make it
The shame is that condemning
the Israel Lobby for having supposedly hijacked the American government
detracts from the important message--that the Lobby is morally and factually
wrong. The American ruling elite is quite appreciative of this. They no doubt
love it when
people like Petras and
Walt and Mearsheimer shift attention away from Israel's ethnic cleansing
to focus on the bogus question of whether U.S. support for Israel is in the
"national interest." They must love it when Petras, insisting that
"In fact the
US-Middle East wars prejudice the oil interests in several strategic senses,"
argues that true blue proud-to-be-American Big Oil is our friend in the fight
against the Lobby. They must love it when Petras directs our anger away from
the dog and towards the tail, or as Petras puts it, "political lobbies
based on overseas allegiances."
But Big Oil is not our
friend, and the American public, if not Petras, understands that pretty well.
While it is excluded from mainstream public discourse, more and more Americans
are coming to understand that the real conflict in society has nothing to do
with the bogus concept of "national interest." The real conflict, the one that
affects people everyday in every aspect of their lives, is the class
conflict--the conflict between working class values and aspirations for a
world based on real democracy, equality and solidarity versus the elite values
of inequality and top-down control and pitting people against each other.
Americans are starting to see that people who speak of "national interest" are
not to be trusted. They are right. And if we tell them that the problem with
the Israel Lobby is that it goes against our "national interest," then they
will be right not to trust us. Is that what we want?
The last thing we should be
doing is helping the American plutocracy to control Americans by confusing
them with a debate ("Supporting Israel: is it or is it not in our national
interest?") in which both sides embrace the phony "national interest"
mythology that all Americans, rich and poor, share a common interest that our
politicians try to pursue. Instead we need to reach out to the public by
championing their class values. Otherwise, we will never win the class war,
and the likes of Bush and Cheney and Obama and McCain will continue to carry
out war crimes in the name of "spreading democracy" and defending "the only
democracy in the Middle east."
John Spritzler is the author of
The People As Enemy: The Leaders' Hidden Agenda In World War II, and a
Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
to "World At War"
articles by this author
This article may be copied and posted on other websites.
Please include all hyperlinks.