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Battlefield America: Is Gitmo in Your Future?

A retired top CIA analyst ponders if he could be arrested and held under the Senate's new military detention policy.

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–From Dec. 27, 2008, to Jan. 18, 2009, while President George W. Bush was a lame duck, Israel launched an armed attack on Gaza, killing about 1,400 Gazans compared to an Israeli death toll of 13. Israel’s stated aim was to stop rocket fire into Israel and block any arms deliveries to Gaza.

President-elect Barack Obama said nothing. His unconscionable silence at the slaughter should have told us at that early juncture that he, too, would feel so politically intimidated that he would mute any objections to Israeli behavior. Since then, he has retreated from even his mild objections to Israel’s expanded settlements on Palestinian lands.

Guilt by Association

The United States is widely seen as responsible for Israel’s aggressive behavior, which is hardly surprising. It is no secret that Israel enjoys financial assistance ($3 billion per year), military backing, and virtually unquestioned political support from Washington.

What is surprising, in the words of commentator Glenn Greenwald, is “how our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions fuels terrorism directed at the U.S.,” and how it is taboo to point this out.

Take for example former CIA specialist on al-Qaeda, Michael Scheuer, who had the audacity to state on C-SPAN: “For anyone to say that our support for Israel doesn’t hurt us in the Muslim world … is to just defy reality.”

The Likud Lobby got Scheuer fired from his job at the Jamestown Foundation think tank for his forthrightness, and the Israeli media condemned his C-SPAN remarks as “blatantly anti-Semitic.” There can be a high price to pay for candor on this issue.

That is what those behind the noxious language in the NDAA seem to intend. Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain are said to be the driving force behind the new language. No one in the Senate or House has received more funding from donor institutions related to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) than Levin, a Michigan Democrat.

For his part, McCain loves to demonstrate his unquestioning support for Israel — no matter what. He has even called for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is currently serving a life sentence for passing highly sensitive, highly damaging U.S. secrets to Israel.

A few weeks ago, McCain parroted Tel Aviv’s line on Iran alleged drive to acquire a nuclear weapon (for which U.S. intelligence sees no concrete evidence) and how that creates a “direct existential threat to the state of Israel.” McCain added that Israel “may feel compelled to neutralize this threat.”

Would it be risking running afoul of the language in the defense authorization bill to expose this rhetoric for what it is — rubbish — noxious rubbish that makes it easier for Israel to believe it will enjoy full U.S. support, no matter what, should Israeli leaders decide to attack Iran?

The supreme irony is that such an attack would probably bring on a major war, global economic collapse, and possibly the destruction of Israel itself. Oops, what was that sound at the door? What do you mean — the 82nd is on the front porch?

Sorry; gotta go. Send cards and letters. My wife will probably be told, in due course, where they’ve put me. My only hope now is that Rumsfeld, for once, was telling the truth about detainees having “everything they could possibly want” in that tropical resort named Guantanamo?

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.