‘Comment is Free’ contributor: Is the “Global war on Terrorism” all about Israel?

For well over a decade now the U.S. has been “a nation at war”, explains Andrew Bacevich in a May 28 essay at ‘Comment is Free’, before asking: “Does that war have a name”?

namelessBacevich employs the opening query to lament that the ‘Global War on Terror’ which began on September 11, 2001 is nameless, writing thusly:

When it comes to war, a name attached to a date can shape our understanding of what the conflict was all about. To specify when a war began and when it ended is to privilege certain explanations of its significance while discrediting others

After providing a bit of background on the imperfect names given to other wars – such as the Civil War, World War I, and World War II – Bacevich considers some possible monikers for the current military enterprise “we’ve been waging…in Iraq and Afghanistan [and] other countries…across the Islamic world”.  He proposes names such as “The Long War”, “The War against al-Qaida”, “The War for the Greater Middle East”, and even “The War Against Islam” or “The War for/against/about Israel“.  

Bacevich devotes a bit of space making the case for each possibility, and writes the following as a possible justification for the latter Israeli-centric title: 

It began in 1948. For many Jews, the founding of the state of Israel signified an ancient hope fulfilled. For many Christians, conscious of the sin of anti-Semitism that had culminated in the Holocaust, it offered a way to ease guilty consciences, albeit mostly at others’ expense. For many Muslims, especially Arabs, and most acutely Arabs who had been living in Palestine, the founding of the Jewish state represented a grave injustice. It was yet another unwelcome intrusion engineered by the west – colonialism by another name.

Recounting the ensuing struggle without appearing to take sides is almost impossible. Yet one thing seems clear: in terms of military involvement, the United States attempted in the late 1940s and 50s to keep its distance. Over the course of the 60s, this changed. The US became Israel’s principal patron, committed to maintaining its military superiority over its neighbors.

In the decades that followed, the two countries forged a multifaceted “strategic relationship”. A compliant Congress provided Israel with weapons and assistance worth billions of dollars, testifying to what has become an unambiguous and irrevocable US commitment to the safety and wellbeing of the Jewish state. Meanwhile, just as Israel had disregarded US concerns when it came to developing nuclear weapons, it ignored persistent US requests that it refrain from colonizing territory that it has conquered.

When it comes to identifying the minimal essential requirements of Israeli security and the terms that will define any Palestinian-Israeli peace deal, the US defers to Israel. That may qualify as an overstatement, but only slightly. Given the Israeli perspective on those requirements and those terms – permanent military supremacy and a permanently demilitarized Palestine allowed limited sovereignty the War for/against/about Israel is unlikely to end anytime soon either. Whether the US benefits from the perpetuation of this war is difficult to say, but we are in it for the long haul.

This remarkably ahistorical account of the Israeli-Palestinian (and Israeli-Islamist) Conflict – which erases over six decades of Arab wars, terrorism and belligerence – is provided to buttress the argument that the ‘Global War’ against Islamist extremism is arguably rooted in an understandable grievance against Israeli policy.  

Bacevich’s facile analysis of course ignores Islamism’s expansionist and reactionary political pedigree (the Muslim Brotherhood movement which gave birth to modern Islamism seeks the universal imposition of Sharia law, and proclaims that violent jihad and martyrdom is their path), as well as the obvious timeline (the Brotherhood was founded twenty years before Israel’s birth, and by the 1930s was already calling for boycotts against Jewish owned businesses in the Middle East).

However, even if we were to give credence to such specious ‘Zionist root cause’ arguments for modern terror (which ignore both chronology and ideology), proponents of such arguments often go further than merely asserting causation, suggesting that there’s in fact something reasonable, or even just, about such ‘grievances’ about Israel’s very existence.

No, the ‘War on Terror’ – or whatever Bacevich prefers to call the West’s battle with global jihadism – isn’t about Israel.  However, even if a malign obsession with Israel did indeed represent the root cause of their violence, its difficult to understand how any truly liberal commentator could implicitly assign blame to the Jewish target of such antipathy.    

Indeed, Bacevich – quite interestingly in light of his gig at ‘Comment is Free’ – has also contributed to Pat Buchanan’s paleo-conservative magazine, the American Conservative’, and penned a piece there in 2012 titled ‘How we became Israel‘.  His essay includes a characterization of the US ‘War on Terror’ – and America’s willingness since 9/11 to use force around the globe – as a dangerous sign that “U.S. national-security policy increasingly conforms to patterns of behavior pioneered by the Jewish state”, what he terms the “Israelification of U.S. policy”.

The Zionist footprint on the war on terror, for Andrew Bacevich, is simply undeniable, and arguably global.

30 replies »

  1. The Pat Buchanan angle you mention, I think, is particularly important.
    It shows you how two reactionary elements — the far-right, and far-left, can indeed unite on a such a ‘succulent’ topic as the Jews Israel…
    I wonder if Buchanan knows about his ‘comrade’s’ flirtations with a so-called Left-wing, “progressive” outlet? Or the reserve, do the soi-disant liberals of the Guardian know they’re allied to “Economic nationalists”(Buchanan & Co, aka, Fascisti)?
    I guess when it comes to Israel, for these demented people — an enemy can become a friend.

    • “the far-right, and far-left, can indeed unite on a such a ‘succulent’ topic as the Jews Israel…”


      As we’ve shown, the narratives of Glenn Greenwald and Pat Buchanan regarding “Jewish power” and “dual loyalty” for instance, are extremely similar.

      • Absolutely. I still shiver whenever I hear those disgusting words: “Amen corner”(maledicted at Israel and its supporters all those years ago by Buchanan).
        And who would later welcome Buchanan with open arms into their midst?! MSNBC — home of the American “progressives”!
        Incidentally, MSNBC frequently invites Greenwald(another one of the radical Left/Right nexus) who barks about being “unable to criticise Israel on national television”, while criticising(!!) Israel on national television!
        It could fill a textbook on cognitive dissonance; yet you don’t know whether to laugh or genuinely worry!

        • RIght on, Commentary101!
          Buchanan is in anti-Semitism’s “Amen corner.”
          Greenwald is pathetic and laughable, but we should be concerned about anyone given national airtime to fill empty heads with non-thinking conspiratorial blather. The dumbing down of the public discourse can only lead to calamity.

  2. The Guardian sneaked in yet another anti-Israeli article that it appears most missed – only about 130 comments. Nevertheless, they missed a trick by not putting the word “Israel” in the header – MonaHol et al would have been all over it.

  3. Amazing how many of those who denounced the domino theory are now pushing “linkage.”
    “Whether the US benefits from the perpetuation of this war is difficult to say, but we are in it for the long haul.”
    The U.S. is perpetuating this war? Oh, please give us a break!

  4. It didn’t start in 1948. It started in the end of the 19 century.
    The latest one could claim it started would be around 1929 when the riots and massacres woke the Jews up to the rialisation that the British army couldn’t care for them and wouldn’t defend them.
    They were right.

    • The riots and massacres were the work of people like Jabotinsksy.

      In 1923 he was writing: “… Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonialization.”

      While in 1929 the Zionists were taking bombs to Hebron, seeking to hide them in the synagogue, in an effort to cause trouble and break up the peaceful communities of Palestine. In 1948 there were two caches of arms in the Old City’s Hurva synagogue [ed., which may explain why the Jordanians destroyed the building after they conquered East Jerusalem], one for Lehi and one for Etzel.

      They also sought to hide the guns and bombs everywhere else and by 1948 there were 1500 such caches of arms in Palestine including in places such as nurseries.

      • “While in 1929 the Zionists were taking bombs to Hebron, seeking to hide them in the synagogue, in an effort to cause trouble and break up the peaceful communities of Palestine.”
        You’re joking, right?
        “In 1948 there were two caches of arms in the Old City’s Hurva synagogue [ed., which may explain why the Jordanians destroyed the building after they conquered East Jerusalem], one for Lehi and one for Etzel.”
        After the conquest of the old city (engineered by a British officer) there were no Jews left there. Please Nick, go ahead and explain to us why the synagogue was destroyed after the conquest, because I’ll tell you what; that little editor’s note sounds more like an excuse than a reason. It sounds quite gratuitously biased and suspect, don’t you agree?

        • The Zionists took bombs to Hebron, as Haganah member Baruch Katinke told us. He took them in the middle of the night to Eliezer Dan Slonim Dwek, who told him to get lost.

          Separately, we know that the Zionists habitually used synagogues to store their weapons, they did it in East Jerusalem and they did it in Baghdad. In Baghdad they used them on the Jews themselves in order to ingather them.

          In Cairo we don’t know where the bombs were hidden, but we do know they were used to attack American and British offices in a form of “False Flag” attack which badly damaged race relations and helped the ingathering that Israel was so determined to bring about.

          None of that will or should surprise us.

          • “..we know that the Zionists habitually used..”

            ‘we’ being who exactly?
            Your source for this information is what?

            • As usual Nick’s falsified quotes are freely and easily available on every neo-nazi, thruther, islamist and anti-semitic websites like this one:

              Meanwhile what happened really:
              Former Haganah member, Baruch Katinke, recalled that he had been informed by his superiors that 10-12 fighters were needed to protect the Jews in Hebron. On August 20, a group travelled to Hebron in the middle of the night and met with a Jewish community leader, Eliezer Dan Slonim. Katinke said that Slonim was adamant that no protection was needed as he was on good terms with the local Arabs and he trusted the a’yan (Arab notables) to protect the Jews. According to Katinke, Slonim postulated that the sight of the Haganah might instead cause a provocation. The group was soon discovered and Police Superintendent Raymond Cafferata ordered them to return to Jerusalem. Two others remained in Slonim’s house, but the day after, they too returned to Jerusalem as requested by Slonim

              • So your sources say the same as mine, the Zionists took bombs and other weapons to Hebron, seeking either to attack the Jews (as they did in Baghdad) or carry out other attacks that would cause antisemitism (as they did in Cairo). In all cases because they sought to create an exclusive ethnic state (who else did that?) and build it up by “ingathering” Jews … who, since they were brown-skinned and Arab-speaking would be used as agricultural labours (maybe being paid nothing whatsoever) or as cannon-fodder (and paid almost nothing whatsoever).

                In addition, as is very well attested, the mob didn’t come for the Jews, who they knew to be good people – they came for the terrorists who were hiding amongst them.

                Slonim stupidly tried to protect the terrorists – he and many other Jews were murdered as a consequence.

                But their sad demise didn’t come about because of the antisemitism of Palestinians, as racists have tried to imply, but from the antisemitism of the Zionists! As they demonstrated with many other attacks on Jews, starting the outright terrorism in 1924 with the murder of Jaacob de Haan.

                • Alright, you anti-Semitic cretin, I am going to try this one LAST time:
                  “…In addition, as is very well attested…”; Where is it “well-attested”, you revolting scum?!
                  It’s amazing how Arabs kill, indiscriminately, Jewish men, women(!!) and children(!!), 67 in number, and you then try to PIN the blame on them!
                  This is what the Shaw Report, documented:

                  * The outbreak in Jerusalem on 23 August was from the beginning an attack by Arabs on Jews for which no excuse in the form of earlier murders by Jews has been established.(!)
                  * [The disturbances] took the form, in the most part, of a vicious attack by Arabs on Jews accompanied by wanton destruction of Jewish property. A general massacre of the Jewish community at Hebron was narrowly averted. In a few instances, Jews attacked Arabs and destroyed Arab property. These attacks, though inexcusable, were in most cases in retaliation for wrongs already committed by Arabs in the neighbourhood in which the Jewish attacks occurred.
                  The outbreak neither was nor was intended to be a revolt against British authority in Palestine.

                  And further, the commission noted:

                  Arabs in Hebron made a most ferocious attack on the Jewish ghetto and on isolated Jewish houses lying outside the crowded quarters of the town. More than 60 Jews – including many women and children(!!) – were murdered and more than 50 were wounded. This savage attack, of which no condemnation could be too severe, was accompanied by wanton destruction and looting. Jewish synagogues were desecrated, a Jewish hospital, which had provided treatment for Arabs, was attacked and ransacked, and only the exceptional personal courage displayed by Mr. Cafferata – the one British Police Officer in the town – prevented the outbreak from developing into a general massacre of the Jews in Hebron.

                  This would later evolve into further genocidal attacks by Arabs on Jews:
                  No matter of prevaricating on your part(not to mention the fact that the Haganah forces — there to PROTECT the Jews against your monstrous brutality, left without incident as instructed), can change the fact that you tried to kill Jews, en masse, solely for being Jews.
                  This is an unforgivable crime. And the longer you defer your long-due penitence for it, the more YOU stand to suffer.
                  Oh, and fuck off, will you?
                  Go troll on some other — your favourite, anti-Semitic venues.

          • we know that the Zionists…

            Who is this “we” exactly?

            The confederacy of unrecognised emperors of Pluto?

          • Nick. You are a sick and depraved individual. Now, as Brian ordered his followers, “f*$@ off”.

  5. … provided to buttress the argument that the ‘Global War’ against Islamist extremism is arguably rooted in an understandable grievance against Israeli policy.

    Hang on.
    Where does Bacevich refer in any way to Islamist terror being “an understandable grievance” against Israeli policy?

  6. nickadler basically describes the Arabs mentality and tries to make Jews out to be Arabs.
    Everyone see’s today how Palestinians fire missiles behind children.
    Everyone see’s how Palestinians strap bombs on their children.
    Everyone see’s how Palestinians teach death to their people.

    Former Israeli PM Golda Meir 40 years ago.
    “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

    Child Abuse Palestinian Style.

    • Lets deal with the Human Shields allegation, since that’s obviously the one you’re most concerned about.

      I am in favour of such criminal behaviour being prosecuted – are you?

      • I´m in favor of banning your anti-Semitic filth. You were already banned from elderofzyon and harrysplace, loser. You can still barf your crapolla at al Jazeera. Get lost, nick-a-Nazi.