It’s show-time for General David Petraeus, appearing in theaters across the globe. As expected, yet more confusion over a US-imposed peace plan has catapulted him on a whirlwind tour. A US general can speak most anywhere in Washington, but clearly his stage has been crafted by friends of Israel.
“Israel is - has been, is and will be a - an important strategic ally of the United States,” he recently told the Woodrow Wilson center, whose public board includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Three days later Petraeus found himself the key note speaker at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum commemoration in the Capitol Rotunda.
“The men and women who walked or were carried out of the death camps, and their descendants, have enriched our world immeasurably in the sciences and in the arts, in literature and in philanthropy," he said.
"They have made extraordinary contributions in academia, in business, and in government. And, they have, of course, helped build a nation that stands as one of our great allies. The survivors have, in short, made our country and our world better, leaving lasting achievements wherever they settled."
We are no Holocaust deniers, but this is standard issue for covering Israel's less own destructive actions. Its deportation order drew no attention from Petraeus and neither has Gaza, which surely has a negative effect on US diplomacy and image. But the best defense is a good offense, right?
What can be gleaned from Petraeus’s amount of force is how much flak he’s taken privately from the Israeli government, military, and lobby, in addition to the majority of the Washington establishment. Obama seems to get a new letter from Congress every week. Petraeus knows he’s in deep trouble and he’s spooked.
We observed how most reports continued to report Petraeus’s one-liner “Israel endangers US troops” rather than his backtracking. Now they’ve caught on, and the reports aren’t washing off no matter how hard he scrubs.
“Despite Petraeus' denials, this notion has reverberated among Washington officials,” reports Ynet News. “Ynet learned that even Christian supporters of Israel have recently been asking whether it could be possible if US ties with Israel endanger soldiers' lives.”
“In recent Congressional testimony, the general said that the lack of progress in the Middle East created a hostile environment for the United States," The New York Times echoed. “He has denied reports that he was suggesting that soldiers were being put in harm’s way by American support for Israel.”
“But the impasse in negotiations ‘does create an environment,’” he said Tuesday in a speech in Washington. ‘It does contribute, if you will, to the overall environment within which we operate.’”
Which is our argument: that Israel is one of many destabilizing forces in the Middle East, right along side America and al-Qaeda. So how does Israeli favoritism not factor into the overall threat against US troops in the Middle East if it “creates an environment?”
What if decent Israeli behavior and a fair two-state solution did reduce the threat to US troops by dampening anti-US sentiment in the region? The Israel-Palestinian conflict is at least one of several root causes of instability in the Middle East, and removing it would prove beneficial for all its people and the world.
If we really want to talk about keeping US troops safe, what about never using them to begin with?
Unfortunately America continues to willingly turn a blind eye towards Israel, negatively affecting its own operating environment. Petraeus’s backtracking in itself is taking another bite out of America credibility with the Palestinians and Arab states. He can’t escape whether he said or meant it or not - the truth is US-Israel absolutism has become a burden, not a blessing.
No amount of Israeli scientists and artists can shut Petraeus’s box now. Don’t expect him to stop trying though.