Ariel Sharon Is Missed

6 01 2014

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

It seems like ages since Ariel Sharon slipped into a coma from which he never returned, much less as a political force in this earthly world.  Yet, perhaps he was there after all, resting with the knowledge that he was a man of his times, who had shaped and reshaped history.

He was a complex human being who produced seemingly inconsistent policies.  By being the architect of Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank and Gaza, despite Palestinian and international protests, he appeared to be forever at odds with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and thus an opponent of peaceful coexistence between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and lasting peace in the Middle EastHenry A. Kissinger noted some years ago: “For most of his career, Sharon’s strategic goal was the incorporation of the West Bank into Israel by a settlement policy designed to prevent Palestinian self-government over significant contiguous territory.”

However, he came seemingly full circle and withdrew from Gaza and removed Jewish settlers from both Gaza and the West Bank, and returned their lands to the Palestinians.  Like the hard-liner Richard Nixon who opposed communists and their ideology throughout his life, yet opened the door to China, Sharon was an enigma.  Both were skilled chess players; and perhaps Sharon supported expansive settlements merely as a bargaining chip that would be discarded when it served the interests of peace, or no longer had any strategic value.

He seemed to be a pragmatist who concluded that it was in Israel’s best interests to defend only those lands that were militarily and politically defensible, and sacrifice the rest, and to jettison the settlers who had served as pawns in a larger chess game.  By zigging and then zagging, and by being a key player in the establishment of the right-wing Likud Party and then breaking from it to found the centrist Kadima Party, Sharon proved to be an able and skillful politician right up to the end of his career.

He fought in a Jewish militia opposed to British control; and he served in Israel’s war of independence with the Arab states and in subsequent wars, and was considered a war hero by many Israelis.  He was wounded in a battle to break the siege of Jerusalem and carried its effects all of his life, including near blindness in one eye; and he was grazed by a bullet in the head during a battle many years later.

He visited the Temple Mount to emphasize Israel’s claim of sovereignty, outraging Muslims and provoking widespread violence; and he is blamed for the ruthless killing and suffering of countless Palestinians.  Yet, his strength was being more in tune with Israeli public opinion than anyone else.  Ghazi al Saadi, a Palestinian commentator, described Sharon as “the first Israeli leader who stopped claiming Israel had a right to all of the Palestinians’ land.”  He added:  “A live Sharon is better for the Palestinians now, despite all the crimes he has committed against us.”

Like Yitzhak Rabin before him, whose mantle he assumed, history will judge Sharon’s accomplishments and speculate as to what a difference his continued leadership might have meant in the future.  It is certain, however, that Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu is no Ariel Sharon, nor does he hold a candle to Rabin.  Indeed, Rabin’s widow Leah—who was described by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres as a “lioness”—believed it was the climate of hate that Netanyahu created during the election campaign of 1995, which laid the groundwork for a Jew to assassinate her husband.  She never forgave Netanyahu and detested him.[2]

The fact that Netanyahu attained his coveted goal of leading Israel again, after his scandal-ridden previous attempt at it, may have changed the region’s history forever.  He was the nemesis of both Rabin and Sharon, two giants; and his return from political oblivion may still be marked by untold chaos at a time when political and military adventurism and demagoguery are the last things that are needed from the leader of Israel.

It was a fateful day, however, when a born-again Christian and a Jew, one slim and fit and the other decidedly rotund, shared a helicopter ride; and Sharon gave then-Texas Governor George W. Bush a tour over the Israeli-occupied territories.  On that day and in the days that followed, a bond of mutual respect emerged between Bush and Sharon that would survive the roller coaster of international politics.  They were a political odd couple who seemed to instinctively trust each other at a time in history when trust was a rare currency vis-à-vis the seemingly intractable problems of the Middle East.

Trust has been a missing ingredient during much of the political life of Netanyahu, who has been perceived as being untrustworthy by countless Israelis and leaders of other nations.  Indeed, he has served as a foil against which Sharon’s accomplishments may be viewed and measured.  Sharon emerged as the right leader for Israel at the right time, just as Rabin had done before him.  Netanyahu’s presence on Israel’s political scene makes Sharon’s greatness and that of Rabin stand out in bold relief by comparison.

Sharon’s stroke and coma deprived the Bush administration of its closest working partner in the Middle East.  The clock began ticking in the region again; and there have been reports that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear installations.  I am forever reminded of what a prominent American (who is a Jew and a strong supporter of Israel) told me several years ago: “I have long thought that Israel will not make it, if only because of what are cavalierly called WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and its very tight geographical compression.  All else is immaterial, including the Palestinians, or us, or the nature of Israel’s [government].”

I was stunned by this person’s words, and I have reflected on them many times since.  Henry Kissinger added several years ago: “Far too much of the debate within the Palestinian camp has been over whether Israel should be destroyed immediately by permanent confrontation or in stages in which occasional negotiations serve as periodic armistices.”  I do not subscribe to the notion that anything is inevitable or “written.”  However, it is courageous and visionary men like Rabin and Sharon who have guided Israel through perilous times, when lesser men would have foundered.

Netanyahu campaigned on a hard-line platform that would grant to a new Palestinian state only a fraction of West Bank land; and effectively, he has brought the peace process to a screeching halt because he opposes such a state entirely, whether he articulates it or not.  When Likud suffered a defeat in the Israeli elections, with Netanyahu at its helm, he characteristically tried to deflect blame from himself by claiming that a comatose Ariel Sharon was responsible for the political “crash.”

The Wall Street Journal put it mildly in an editorial:  “[Netanyahu’s] attempt to blame a dying and helpless Mr. Sharon for Likud’s drubbing . . . was not a class act.”  Indeed, it was tasteless, opportunistic, and among the reasons why so many people view Netanyahu as being pathetic and demonic—but it was certainly consistent with his treatment of both Rabin and Sharon.

Most Israelis believe at least one of two long-time dreams is unattainable; namely, the idea of a “Greater Israel,” and of a negotiated peace with the Palestinians.  Contrariwise, the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to repudiate their dream of a “greater Palestine,” stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, which—in the words of Yossi Klein Halevi, an Israeli journalist and writer—“would supplant and destroy the Jewish state.”

Halevi further opined: “The settlement movement ignored the moral corruption of occupation and the demographic threat to Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state posed by the forcible absorption of several million Palestinians into Israeli society.”  And he added: “Israel will almost certainly find itself without Greater Israel—and without peace.  . . . Confronted with the possibility of a nuclear Iran committed to Israel’s destruction and with a terrorist state emerging in Gaza and the West Bank, Israelis need the sustenance of dreams.”

President Bush pledged to help create an independent Palestinian state before the end of his second term, which suffered a fatal blow with the loss of Sharon, and ended Sharon’s personal ambition to set Israel’s permanent borders too.  The Times of the UK quoted one official as saying: “It [was] unbelievable.  He was the Prime Minister.  Nothing moved without going through him.  Everything was connected to him and then he faded away,” the official said, with a click of his fingers.

Perhaps the return to business as usual showed the strength of Israel’s democracy and political system, which has been surprisingly stable; or maybe it was a sign that his stroke had not shaken the country to the same extent as the assassination of Rabin.  Or maybe it was simply another reminder of how fame is fleeting, and the public’s attention span is short in Israel and other media-driven societies, especially in the age of 24-hour news cycles.  Yet, Sharon is missed; that much is certain—and I never thought that I would write those words or feel this way.[3]

I disagreed with his settlement policies for many years, believing they were harmful to the settlers who trusted him because ultimately they would feel betrayed; and that such policies were unnecessarily confrontational and antagonistic to the Palestinians.  However, I have missed “Arik,” and I know people in various parts of the world, Jews and non-Jews alike, feel the same way.  He was a giant of Israeli politics.  More than that, he was a lion—albeit a rotund one—God love him.

© 2014, Timothy D. Naegele

Ariel Sharon


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/ (“Israel’s Senseless Killings And War With Iran”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (“The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu”) (see also the comments beneath both articles).

[3]  See also http://world.time.com/2014/01/03/israel-wakes-up-to-ariel-sharon-as-former-prime-minister-nears-death/?iid=gs-main-lead (“Israel Wakes Up to Ariel Sharon as Former Prime Minister Nears Death”) and http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/ariel-sharon-war-of-independence-disengagement-settlements.html (“Ariel Sharon’s decisions shaped today’s Israel”) and http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/01/23/060123fa_fact_shavit (“THE GENERAL”); compare http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/03/ariel-sharon-final-mission-peace-israel (“Ariel Sharon’s final mission might well have been peace”) with http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/35072-sharon.html (“The Guardian Laments Sharon”)






The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu

8 03 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The recent sober assessment of Arnaud de Borchgrave—the distinguished editor-at-large of The Washington Times and of United Press International—is worth reading and reflecting on:

U.S. three-star generals and admirals, Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA sources, along with three former CENTCOM commanders and the three former chiefs of Israeli intelligence services who retired last year—a formidable array of military and civilian experts who share impressive expertise on the Middle East—are all waving a red flag against unilateral Israeli or bilateral U.S.-Israeli bombing of Iran’s nuclear installations.

They can see such actions triggering a wider conflict spreading to the entire Middle East and the rest of the Arab world.

. . .

A three-star with much recent experience in the Middle East says an Israeli strike could move the entire region in the wrong direction.

Iran can close the Strait of Hormuz, not just for a few hours, as the Israelis say, but long enough to drive oil prices into the stratosphere. An admiral with years of experience in the region at different times of his career said privately Iran can sow thousands of mines in an area that handles one-fifth of the world’s daily oil requirements. They are below the surface and can be detonated by remote control as a warship sails over them. Iran’s shore line, which covers the entire eastern side of the Persian Gulf, is pock-marked with concealed missile sites.

The Iranians would also use hundreds of small boats in a swarming configuration that U.S. warships are prepared to cope with—but one or two are bound to get through a curtain of fire and punch a hole in the hull of a U.S. or NATO minesweeper.

Such a small boat in Aden harbor in October 2000 punctured the hull of the USS Cole, a $1 billion Arleigh Burke class destroyer, killing 17 sailors, and putting the warship out of service for 18 months with a $220 million repair bill. Cost of the operation to al-Qaida: $10,000 plus three volunteer suicide bombers.

The response of Israeli naysayers is that such tactics would hurt Iran far more than any of its intended targets. U.S. generals and admirals respond that the Iranian leadership wouldn’t be averse to cutting off its nose to spite its face.

The Iranians can also absorb temporary belt-tightening far more readily than Western Europeans. And with gas at the pump suddenly selling at $10 to $15 a gallon, U.S. President Barack Obama’s updated resume wouldn’t look too appealing at the ballot box in November.

. . .

U.S. Navy 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain is vulnerable; two-thirds of its population is Shiite Muslim and rooting for Tehran in the current conflict.

. . .

Most Iran watchers in the intelligence community say that one Israeli or U.S. bomb on Iran would push Iran’s youthful protesters right into the arms of the government they despise.

. . .

More important than his meeting with Obama is Netanyahu’s speech to the annual AIPAC convention. The endorsement of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Washington’s most powerful lobby, is tantamount to solid congressional approval.[2]

By attacking Iran, Netanyahu and Israel will stir up a hornet’s nest in the Islamic world, and achieve little or nothing militarily. Israel does not have the means of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities; and it is likely that the mission would end in failure. Also, what Arnaud de Borchgrave neglected to mention in his fine article is that in the Middle East, in Europe and worldwide, Israelis and other innocent Jews can be targeted by Islamic fascists; and there is nothing that Israel or its Mossad can do to prevent it.

A “silent” holocaust might take place globally, which would be unstoppable.  There are 1.3–1.65 billion followers of Islam worldwide, while Iran’s total population is approximately 78 million; and there are 14–18 million Jews worldwide, of which 6 million live in Israel.[3]

It is the Narcissistic demagogue Netanyahu who must be stopped, before he triggers actions in the Middle East and elsewhere that might be truly catastrophic.  His goal is to provoke an American attack on Iran, which is outrageous, reprehensible, and similar to the pressures that were brought to bear before the United States invaded Iraq.  There are no limits to his arrogance, or the extremes to which he will go to provoke the American attack.  He and Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Russia’s Putin are “moral equivalents.”[4]

America is not Israel’s surrogate; the two countries are not tied at the hip; and Iran is not America’s fight.  The American people are bone-tired of fighting wars in the region, and want out.  And our valiant and heroic military forces have been stretched far enough.[5]

The New York Times has reported:

Thomas E. Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, . . . spent two days [in Jerusalem] recently, along with a team of intelligence and defense officials, meeting with Mr. Netanyahu and his lieutenants. Both sides contended that the meetings were highly successful. The Israelis were told that the administration not only says it would use military force if sanctions against Iran failed, it is also doing the planning for it.[6]

Not a single drop of American blood should ever be spilled to protect or defend Israel, period.[7]  It is on its own, sink or swim.  It is a pariah state worldwide because of Netanyahu, who continually seeks to dictate and distort U.S. foreign and national security policies.  Barack Obama was right in reaching out to the Islamic world—and he must block all warmongering actions by Netanyahu.  An Israeli attack on Iran would undoubtedly draw fury from Islamic nations and the followers of Islam around the world.  America is not at war with Islam; and Netanyahu must not be allowed to provoke this.

On some level Obama views the Israelis as the oppressors, or the “enemy,” and the Palestinians as the oppressed—reflecting his deep-seated beliefs about Apartheid in South Africa, which he viewed as pure evil.  If one has any doubts, read his book, “Dreams from My Father.”[8]  Hence, there is no kinship whatsoever between Obama and Netanyahu; and it is not surprising that Obama would treat him with outright disdain and contempt.  Viewed in this context, one can understand what Obama is doing and why he is doing it.  To him, it is likely that Netanyahu personifies that oppression.

The following bears repeating:

[Netanyahu] was hated by former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin—and especially by Rabin’s wife Leah, who blamed Netanyahu for her husband’s assassination. She saw “only doom for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” with Netanyahu at Israel’s helm; and her views were prescient.[9]

Perhaps most surprising—and disturbing—is that the Israeli people have not ousted Netanyahu before now, despite the warnings of Sharon, the Rabins and others.  One of my Jewish friends who follows Israeli politics closely is convinced that the problem lies in its fractured parliamentary democracy. Small splinter groups, such as Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, are allowed to dictate Israeli domestic and national security policies.

It is a case of the “tail wagging the dog,” and Netanyahu has skillfully maneuvered this political system to his benefit.  Indeed, there appears to be little likelihood of change, certainly before he marches his fellow Israelis—and potentially Jews worldwide—to the edge of an abyss, of unfathomable depths.

In advance of Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Obama said he plans to tell Netanyahu that he will order military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program if the current international sanctions are not successful in deterring its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

. . .

“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” Obama said. . . .[10]

This is absurd, and simply political theater.

Obama has cut and run from Iraq, like a dog with his tail between his legs.  He is in the process of doing the same thing in Afghanistan, and losing the Middle East to Islamic fascists.  And he is trying to “gut” our great nation’s military might.[11]  The idea that America’s “Hamlet on the Potomac”—and “Jimmy Carter-lite”—would all of a sudden reverse course and launch the United States into a potentially devastating war with Iran and the Islamic world is nonsensical.

He is a political actor, pure and simple, and not much more.  Any notion that he has “Israel’s back,” and will protect it, must be viewed in the context of how he has protected the Iraqis, the Afghans, and dissenters in both Iran and Syria—which is not at all.[12]

The path on which Netanyahu is leading the Israelis is fraught with peril for their tiny Jewish nation . . . and potentially for Jews worldwide.  He is determined to take the United States and the American people on the “joy ride” with him, which is utter madness.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2012/03/01/Commentary-Geopolitical-maelstrom/UPI-88241330603862/ (“Geopolitical maelstrom”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-1880” (“Is Netanyahu’s Next Irresponsible Adventure An Attack On Iran?”)

[3] See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups” (“Wikipedia: Major religious groups”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-2002 (“New Attacks On Israelis Have Begun, Which May Spread To Other Jews Worldwide”)

[4] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/; see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/9125129/2012-is-not-1944-Netanyahu-invokes-Auschwitz-in-warning-to-Obama-over-Iran.html” (“‘2012 is not 1944’: Netanyahu invokes Auschwitz in warning to Obama over Iran”)

[5] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-2027; see also http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/opinion/iran-israel-and-the-united-states.html?_r=1” (“[T]here must be no illusions about what it would take to seriously damage Iran’s nuclear complex, the high costs and the limited returns”)

[6] See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/world/middleeast/for-obama-and-netanyahu-wariness-on-iran-will-dominate-talks.html” (“For Obama and Netanyahu, Wariness on Iran Will Dominate Talks”)

[7] Many Americans will never forget the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.  As stated at a memorial to those who died and were injured:

On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it.

. . .

Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded.

See www.gtr5.com

[8] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

[9] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/

[10] See http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-obama-interview-iran-20120302,0,7234351.story (“Obama on Iran: ‘I don’t bluff'”)

[11] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1959

[12] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-2028 and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1959 and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1883





Israel’s Senseless Killings And War With Iran

20 02 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized presidential aspirant Sarah Palin recently for irresponsibly engaging in war-mongering with respect to Iran.  He took issue with Palin’s suggestion that President Obama could help himself politically if he declared war on Iran.

“I don’t think a president can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics,” Cheney said. “The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations. When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political consideration.”[2]

Regrettably, the Wall Street Journal did exactly the same thing as Palin, in an editorial entitled, “Obama and Iran.”[3] Its editors fell into the trap of carrying water for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is possibly the most dangerous and irresponsible leader that Israel has ever had.

When Israel engages in targeted killings in Dubai and elsewhere[4], and adopts “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” approach, its enemies around the world are emboldened to respond in kind or worse. In turn, this puts innocent Israelis at risk whenever they travel outside of Israel; and it potentially begets violence against innocent Jews everywhere in the world.  It is so senseless, yet it garners headlines for Mossad—Israel’s national intelligence agency—and makes some Israelis and other Jews feel good and proud.

Clearly, Netanyahu has no qualms about using these tactics.  He was hated by former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin—and especially by Rabin’s wife Leah, who blamed Netanyahu for her husband’s assassination. She saw “only doom for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” with Netanyahu at Israel’s helm[5]; and her views were prescient.

Nothing has changed since Leah Rabin’s death, except Netanyahu is once again Israel’s Prime Minister—despite the fact that Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party won the most seats in the Israeli Knesset.  Indeed, it was the first time in Israel’s history that the party with the most seats was not asked to govern.[6] Quite predictably, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is going nowhere, which is likely until Netanyahu leaves office. In the interim, the United States must not be drawn into hostilities with Iran, or another war that the American people oppose vehemently.

To those who would argue that getting rid of Netanyahu changes nothing, except possibly to get rid of an ally who is willing to fight back, the answer is that Netanyahu is not an ally of the United States.  He never has been, and he never will be.  He is a narcissistic impediment to peace in the Middle East, and always has been.  He is a moral midget and a pygmy when compared with Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin, who were both courageous and remarkable men and had the credentials to prove it. 

Again, Leah Rabin was right in seeing “only doom for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” with Netanyahu at Israel’s helm.  The sooner he is gone, the better.

Fortunately—like Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin and other world leaders before him—it appears that Barack Obama learned early on that Netanyahu is dishonest and cannot be trusted. Also, Obama seems determined not to be manipulated by Netanyahu, which bodes well with respect to American policies vis-à-vis Iran and Israel, at least for now.  The Wall Street Journal’s editorial is irresponsible when it describes “Iran as the single biggest threat to . . . U.S. security.”[7] This is utter nonsense.

American hearts go out to the advocates of democracy in Iran, many of whom have been arrested, tortured and killed recently.  These opponents of the country’s brutal theocracy deserve U.S. support whenever, wherever and however possible.  Regrettably, Obama did not support them.  Like the courageous peoples of Eastern Europe who have become our partners in NATO[8], this seems to have been an opportunity that was lost at least for now, but not forever.

Regarding those who irresponsibly advocate that the United States should go to war with Iran, we have not gone to war to free the oppressed peoples of North Korea, Cuba or other totalitarian-controlled countries; and an exception for Iran is not warranted.  Surely—with our ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—neither the Wall Street Journal nor any other responsible media organization is advocating that America embark on a third war without end, against Iran, much less as Israel’s “sponsor” or at Netanyahu’s behest.  That is lunacy.

One of the greatest concerns today involves the possibility of an EMP Attack against America—by al-Qaeda, North Korea, Iran, or by China, Russia or their surrogates.  Our only real protection is a reliable, broad-based missile defense system, which Obama has been taking steps to weaken.[9] Similarly, as the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer has written:

[T]he Obama 2011 budget kills [the U.S. Space Shuttle’s replacement,] Constellation. Instead, we shall have nothing. For the first time since John Glenn flew in 1962, the United States will have no access of its own for humans into space—and no prospect of getting there in the foreseeable future.[10]

This has serious strategic ramifications too, aside from the peaceful exploration of space.

Lastly, what are America’s alternatives to the use of force against Iran?  Aside from supporting democratic movements within the country, as we did in the case of Eastern Europe, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial outlines steps that can be taken now, which should have been implemented ages ago to put the screws to Iran.[11] More “dithering” is not an option, but neither is war.[12]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] See http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=9821035

[3] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ObamaandIran.pdf

[4] See, e.g.http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7028123.ece and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7025821.ece; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1251581/Terror-innocent-Britons-named-Mossad-assassins.html and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7029553.ece and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703444804575071561636104090.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLEThirdNews

[5] See, e.g., http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/7367/leah-rabin-calls-netanyahu-all-political-manipulation/ and http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9605/29/israel.leah.rabin/index.html

[6] Some of the tactics used against Israeli government officials include arrest warrants issued in other countries, such as against Livni. See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzipi_Livni#UK_arrest_warrant

[7] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ObamaandIran.pdf

[8] See http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/nato_countries.htm

[9] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/

[10] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/11/AR2010021103484.html

[11] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ObamaandIran.pdf

[12] See also http://www.naegele.com/documents/NukeIranToSaveIsrael.pdf