Wurmser spills the beans: Israel to bomb Iran first

We have predicted again and again that Washington will goad Israel into throwing the first punch at Iran—thereby allowing US elites to shill the blame for the adventure off on the Jews as they jump in with massive air power to “protect our ally.” Now, it seems, David Wurmser has stated this stratagem openly. Steven Clemons, writing for Salon Sept. 19, portrays a struggle within the administration between pragmatists who have got Bush’s ear at the moment and hardline neocons around Cheney who are still gunning for Iran. He presents lots of inside dish (one wonders where he heard it all), including this extremely ominous gem:

One member of Cheney’s national security staff, David Wurmser, worried out loud that Cheney felt that his wing was “losing the policy argument on Iran” inside the administration — and that they might need to “end run” the president with scenarios that may narrow his choices. The option that Wurmser allegedly discussed was nudging Israel to launch a low-yield cruise missile strike against the Natanz nuclear reactor in Iran, thus “hopefully” prompting a military reaction by Tehran against U.S. forces in Iraq and the Gulf. When queried about Wurmser’s alleged comments, a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times, “The vice president is not necessarily responsible for every single thing that comes out of the mouth of every single member of his staff.”

Clemons presents the actual quotes from Wurmser (without revealing his source), while the Times only refers obliquely to “hawkish statements” by Wurmser. The really sad thing is that Wurmser probably thinks he is really advancing Jewish interests with this scheming. Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel will be serving (in Uri Avnery’s words) as America’s attack dog—while perpetuating the necessary illusion that the tail is wagging the dog.

This is, of course, especially foreboding on the heels of Israel’s air-strikes on Syria. Was Israel “nudged” into that one too?

We recently noted that the current neocon-pragmatist struggle in the White House has roots going back at least to the Poppy Bush administration. But we submit that both antagonists are necessary to the functioning of the anti-Semitic propaganda system. The anti-Semitic propaganda system is blatant and crude in Iran. In US political culture it is more genteel and subtle—and therefore more insidious.

See our last posts on Iran, anti-Semitism and official Jewish scapegoating.

  1. Newsweek: Wurmser left his job
    From Newsweek, Oct. 1:

    Is this a sign the more hawkish line on Iran is being sidelined?:

    There are still voices pushing for firmer action against Tehran, most notably within Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. But the steady departure of administration neocons over the past two years has also helped tilt the balance away from war. One official who pushed a particularly hawkish line on Iran was David Wurmser, who had served since 2003 as Cheney’s Middle East adviser. A spokeswoman at Cheney’s office confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Wurmser left his position last month to “spend more time with his family.” A few months before he quit, according to two knowledgeable sources, Wurmser told a small group of people that Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz—and perhaps other sites—in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out. The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran. (Wurmser’s remarks were first reported last week by Washington foreign-policy blogger Steven Clemons and corroborated by NEWSWEEK.) When NEWSWEEK attempted to reach Wurmser for comment, his wife, Meyrav, declined to put him on the phone and said the allegations were untrue. A spokeswoman at Cheney’s office said the vice president “supports the president’s policy on Iran.”

    Note that Newseek makes it sound like it would be Israel dragging the US into war:

    Alternatively, Israel might count on Tehran to retaliate against American targets as well, drawing in the superpower. To avoid that outcome, Gardiner believes, Washington must prevent Israel from attacking in the first place. “The United States does not want to turn the possibility of a general war in the Middle East over to the decision making in Israel,” he says. Does not want to, certainly—but might not have a choice.

    1. Israeli MK Ephraim Sneh, 1992
      Sneh just retired as deputy Minister of Defense. The following is from an article in Covert Action Quarterly by Israel Shahak in Fall, 1993:

      “It is still possible to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear bomb. This can be done, since Iran threatens the interests of all rational states in the Middle East. We should therefore do all we can to prevent Iran from ever reaching nuclear capability. Israel cannot possibly put up with the nuclear bomb in Iranian hands. If the Western states don’t do what is their duty, Israel will find itself forced to act alone, and will accomplish its task by any means considered suitable for the purpose. ”

      Israel is unlikely to overthrow the present regime, to win a military victory with conventional weapons, or to convince Iran to abandon plans for nuclearization. Given its military context, Sneh’s pronouncement can be seen as a veiled threat to strike Iran with nuclear weapons.

      Was Sneh fifteen years ago just mouthing US administration propaganda? He was just being a faithful tail?

      1. Wittingly or unwittingly…
        …he was playing his assigned role in the anti-Semitic propaganda system. I would have thought that was obvious by this point.

        Did you click on the “again” and “again” links in my introductory blurb? If there weren’t elements in the Israeli state who really want to bomb Iran, it would be impossible for the White House to exploit and manipulate them. When are you going to stop thinking in vulgar conspiratorial terms and start developing an appreciation of political culture? Base determines superstructure. The function of a system is what it does. Why do I have to repeat the same points over and over?

        I could have sworn that somebody wrote somewhere:

        [T]he reigning anti-Semitic propaganda system operates with the paradoxical complicity of deluded Jews. They buy the propaganda of an all-powerful Chosen People—it’s just the flip side of self-hatred. They happily claim responsibility for the Empire’s actions, blissfully unaware that they are playing right along in the eternal scapegoat role assigned by Goy Power. Will they ever wake up? Probably not till it’s too late.

        But those who have no grounding in an understanding of political economy never seem to get it, no matter how many times it is spelled out for them…