There are certain things you simply do not publish. Terror threats for the benefit of one another nation against another are not things you need even bother running past the State Department. One is either the editor of one of the most respected newspapers in the world, or one is a willing shill and agent of a foreign power. And I word that latter part charitably, for without the context of the editorial page of the New York Times, Benny Morris would simply be one of many Strangelovian enablers of horror.
Joseph A. Palermo: Professor Benny Morris: Nuclear War to Avoid Nuclear War: "In today's New York Times the Israeli academic Benny Morris, in an article fittingly entitled 'Using Bombs to Stave Off War,' opines that a 'preemptive' nuclear conflagration in the Middle East could have some kind of positive outcome for Israel, the United States, and the world. It's a disgraceful piece of intellectual demagoguery based on mind-boggling, and really quite insane, situational ethics. 'Israel,' Morris's lead begins, 'will almost certainly attack Iran's nuclear sites in the next four to seven months.'"I direct you to the full article at Huffpo. Meanwhile, I shall respond in the same general vein.
When threats are made that can reasonably be presumed, given context, to have the full, if veiled intent of two of the most powerful and dangerously touchy nations in the world behind them, it would be insane to not take precautions. Since Iran has no ability to match even Israel in terms of conventional war-fighting ability, it would make perfect sense to approach this issue asymmetrically.
Indeed, I would advise them to do so, for the great advantage of intelligently managed asymmetrical warfare is that it has the potential of directly addressing those who are responsible for a policy.
Yes, were I being consulted, I would advise Iran to take some immediate steps to neutralize this threat and fortunately, there are ways to do this without resort to the asymmetrical deterrents that trouble my dreams from time to time. One hopes that the government of Iran recognizes they are being baited and responds with cunning, rather than in kind.
In history, there are examples where envoys have been returned in pieces as the response to far less implacable threats, and of course that is your basic pretext for war. It's lovely to realize that GWB is willing to sacrifice New York City in order to achieve a goal.
I, personally, take great exception to the New York Times facilitating such a threat and allowing those issuing it the cover of a US population base - and their employees. I do hope that Iran is capable of a precisely calculated and measured response. I sincerely hope and encourage the use of words instead of bombs, blades or bullets.
But to say that the surgical use of bullets and blades would be inappropriate - that is not something I can bring myself to say, and I'm horrified that anyone could think to be a shill for such a proposition and think they can or should be held innocent of part of that intent.
The New York Times has published a terrorist threat, made by one Benny Morris. It would be laughable under the circumstances to think for a moment that this is NOT done with the full approval of Israel and the State Department - indeed, of George Bush, personally. And somehow it got past the editorial board, without anyone raising the obvious objection to an act.
Fortunately, this suggests a viable course of asymmetrical action that is apt, just and one which neither Israel NOR the US Government is likely to be able to effectively counter.
If I were president, and this happened on my watch, I'd be publicly peeling a strip off the New York Times AFTER recalling the Ambassador to Israel for "prolonged consultation." Indeed, I'd probably recall the embassy - citing the need for "asbestos abatement and structural enhancement."
So a case could be made (and an obvious alliance exists) that even tacit support of Israel's threats amounts to yet another impeachable offense, if it does not indeed rise to the level of acting as an agent of a foreign power. That's the polite phrase for treason.
I find it remarkable that the legal staff at the NYT have not raised the issue that furthering the ends of those who have already met the standard for impeachment and arguably for treason is a consequential act. But since they have not, allow me to explain why legitimizing the threats Israel is making is very bad policy for the Times - and for the United States.
I long ago learned that those who presume upon your friendship are not your friends. When they presume upon your friendship in ways that puts you in danger, they are neither friends nor allies; they have become dangerous parasites at best and enemies at worst. In neither case do you permit them to continue exploiting your good nature. When your President clearly considers that it's worthwhile putting the American civilian population at risk in order to perpetuate the current government of Israel and it's manifestly inhumane and unethical policies - it's time to remove that President from office.
I think this action shows such a public contempt for the good will and well-being of the American people in general, and the people of New York City in particular that it can only lend credibility to the premise that Israel was somehow involved in the 9/11 conspiracy by virtue of the fact that they are clearly trying to set the scene for this to happen again.
You see, if I happened to have a weapon of mass destruction available, or could construct one from bits purchased at home depot, and people were making such inadvisable threats toward MY nation and my interests, I would certainly consider arranging things so that even if my nation were to be turned into "a glazed crater," those responsible would not emerge unscathed.
That is such an obvious precaution that I'd be stunned if it has not been taken. And not JUST by Iran.
Indeed, it may well be that 9/11 was the result of such a long-extant "precaution" on the part of Israel. The problem is, things have been well arranged to ensure that we will likely never know. But let us face it; it's possible for such things to be done by any competent intelligence agency with any amount of foresight - and the evident possibility of the need for Iran (as well as any number of other small powers) to have such a "hole card" has been clear - or should have been clear - since the seventies.
Because, as I said, the only sane course of response - indeed, the only response a power like Iran is capable of is asymmetrical. Sane defense planners take such realities into consideration - on both sides of any potential conflict.
Well - the logical response here would be a more or less precise strike against targets that are related to the insult: The New York Times, the Israeli Embassy or the State Department would be on the short list as a response to this incident - if unleashing a pre-placed WMD were an appropriate or useful response.
I sincerely hope it is not seen as such. As I hinted above, and hint again - there's a far better and even more appropriate response.
Nonetheless, I think that if I were an employee of any of these and hundreds of other relevant response targets, I should greatly resent it and would deeply consider a change in career.
Regarding the New York Times, it would certainly cause me to reassess the prestige of working there and the regard and assumptions made about me due to my byline being seen upon their pages.
In short, I'm revolted. This was a contemptible act with potentially gravely dangerous implications. I hope the bribe was sufficient to sooth the consciences of those involved. Presuming there exists such a thing, of course.
For citizens of these United States, we who already have far too much evidence of the contempt for which our putative leaders have for us - there is but one possible response to a government that would even consider floating a trial balloon for a global thermonuclear conflict as a means of addressing personal and political goals.
Impeachment, removal from office, trials and convictions under relevant domestic laws for treason and then remand to the Hague for trial under international law for war crimes for those for whom such indictments have been issued.
We have (provisionally) free speech in this country. But free speech does not mean that when threats are freely spoken that it is at all reasonable to expect freedom from consequence. Indeed, the law recognize that the utterance of a threat is an exception.
Well, this is precisely such a case. It's an obvious, intended threat, meant to intimidate. And I would suggest to Iran that they hire the most vicious and effective firm they can find to sue the New York Times and Persons to Be Named Later immediately. I suggest further that they set up a web page for the effort and solicit donations for the legal and public campaign.
I would suggest that this be done in as many venues as possible, as soon as possible.
Economic warfare is also war - and has the advantage of being potentially vastly entertaining to we, the people of these here United States who will no doubt be the largest donors to the cause. And while, yes, you could blockade the Strait of Hormuz and cause gas prices to spike to ten bucks a gallon - this response is far better tactically and cost-efficient. Nor does it offer any legitimate pretext to either Israel OR the United States to wage war against you - rather, it sets up a considerable political deterrent.
Should you do this - and I would suggest doing this as openly and as transparently as possible - I will support it. This response is not terrorism. It's a legal and civilized response to uncivil, illegal and terroristic acts that are aimed at you.
Potential prize - legitimate ownership of the New York Times. Certainly a great deal of expense, mental pain and suffering for those directly and subsequently responsible for the injury. The satisfaction of seeing a few moderately conspicuous Satans held financially if not legally accountable, and a not-bad shot of contributing to the latter outcome as well.
I mean, seriously, you-all who make such decisions worldwide - is this not exactly the course Sun Tsu would advise?