Sunday, November 13, 2005

Soul Brothers

Ha’aretz military correspondent, Amir Oren (Ha’aretz, November 11, 2005) has lifted the veil on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) response to an SOS from the US forces in Iraq. I know it is hard to believe but, while you read these lines, Israel is saving George Bush from total collapse in Iraq. Top-secret military intelligence asserts that Bush is tottering because of the rising death toll in Iraq, mainly from IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices). We learn that just two-three weeks ago, a U.S. general, Joe, sought help on this matter from an old buddy, an Israeli general, Nitzan, who got another Israeli general, Shimon, to work on the case. In five days, the items and the manuals were on a plane headed overseas.

This most recent assistance is just part of an ongoing effort to pick Israeli military brains. Last summer, we learn, the U.S. Army was acquiring anti-explosive protection kits manufactured by an Israeli firm, RAFAEL in conjunction with General Dynamics. Other activity is classified.
It seems that the Israeli gadgetry is pretty good stuff. However, it just cannot solve the problem.The gadgets seem to have reduced the number of casualties per IED, but this is countered by the use of more and more devices. Moreover, for obvious clear reasons, the Navy which is helping the Army on bomb disposal is not succeeding in manning one sixth of its available positions, despite abundant extra pay benefits. Another difficulty is that many other Israeli counter-measures are not always applicable in the longer distances that the U.S. forces must negotiate. The Israelis, moreover, are trying to convince the U.S. Army in Iraq of the efficacy of a ‘combat doctrine’ based on the thesis that non-presence reduces the opportunity for getting killed. The Israelis are talking about some sort of tactical deployment named ‘control without presence.” The trouble with this tactical ‘doctrine’ is that even some generals might figure out that a strategy of non-presence in Iraq would be the best way to reduce casualties.

The Israelis are dying to help. The IDF even released some dog-trainer officers from the IDF so that they could go to Iraq and help the U.S. Army there. Thus, each and every bit of Israeli wisdom is harnessed to the U.S. war effort. If Bush tires of searching for an exit strategy, the Israelis are willing to teach him the fine points of a ‘no-exit’ strategy. You start off with a few settlements, one near the Bagdad airport, one on the perimeter of Abu Graib and one just outside Faluja.

The Friendly Pastor from Catfish Creek

Among my many sins, I was once a contact person for Peace Now way back in the early nineties of the previous century. Well, our national office contacted me as a contact person and put me in contact with an important visitor to the country, Rev. Joe Friendly (name is fictional) who represented the Catfish Creek Ministry in one of the Bible-belt states.
I met with our contact at a pleasant, quiet hotel lobby where I carefully and skillfully explained Peace Now’s negation of the settlements in particular and the occupation in general. You will have to believe me that I was very articulate and laid out our policy with great aplomb, intelligence and skill. Almost two- thirds into my spiel, Pastor Joe leaned forward and put his arm on my shoulder and said, “Son”. (I never figured out why he called me ‘son’ since I was about his age.) “Son,” he said, “it is not yours or your people’s land to give back. You see it is your fate to settle the whole of Greater Israel.” It appeared back then, and it is common knowledge now, that all this settlement business all over the place is part of what we know now as ‘intelligent design.’ This ‘thing’ is bigger than all of us…we are merely a step on the fiery path to redemption. I did not come out of this meeting empty handed. I got on the Catfish Creek mailing list and enjoyed their bulletins. One bulletin contained the alarming information that a mainstream Baptist outfit was backsliding and in the process of approving, shall we never know such evil, oral sex.

I thought of Pastor Joe today when I read about the Rapture this morning. Pastor Joe never told me about the Rapture which seems to impact more and more on Israeli politics. No less a personage than our friend, Bibi Netanayahu, starred this week at a reception in the Israeli Knesset given by the ‘parliamentary body for relations with Christians,’ in honor of a prominent evangelical preacher by the name of John Hagee. Hagee, it appears is in the Rapture business, and one of the experts on how to get there. It isn’t easy. The path includes a little war between Gog and Magog, with a lot of people, including our own Jewish brothers and sisters declaring their love for Jesus. For our purposes, one of the prerequisites for getting there is ‘the return of the Jewish people to its undivided land.”

Until the certain coming of the Messiah or the highly questionable onset of the Rapture, Bibi and his buddies have turned their attention to more practical matters:Netanyahu: “Do you think that without the power of these people [Hagee and Co.] Israel would enjoy such support from the American administration”?! MK Tzvi Handel, after being presented to the guest as a refugee, i.e., a Displaced Person from Gush Katif: “I understood from your [Hagee’s] speech that in order to love Jews, you have to be a Christian.”MK Yuri Stern (an immigrant from the former Soviet Union and a member of the extreme right National Union party which openly advocates the expulsion (by consent, of course) of all Palestinians from both Israel and the territories: “The liberal and social-democratic forces in the world who supported Israel in the past have turned their backs on Israel and we have to find new allies.” Yuri understands politics and the need to calm the anxieties of American Jews: “American Jews are afraid …they do not believe that there are Christians who simply love them. I told liberal Jews that they are sacrificing Israel on the alter of freedom of choice for abortion…”
(See, Lily Galili, Ha’aretz, November 11, 2005) Scooter Skewered
This is one of those things that you know are absolutely true but you have no way of proving on pain of death. The name “I. ‘Scooter’ Libby” is intriguing. “I” stands for Irving. Now when we were growing up, Irving, also affectionally pronounced as “Oiving,” was very near to being a “Jewish name.” It is also a historical fact, also totally unverifiable, that Jewish immigrants to the United States and Canada thought that Irving was a close enough translation or preferred substitute for Issac.I do not want to hit a man when he is down, or going down, and whom I hope brings another few people down with him, but for the sake of historical accuracy, I must ask, who scootered around the name “Irving”, and why? One theory is that it was done to prevent anti-Semitism if “I” ever got caught doing Dick’s dirty tricks.