When Condoleeza Rice argued for a U.S. invasion of Iraq by claiming that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” she touched on a real threat of nuclear war that could wipe out entire countries and destroy civilization as we know it.
Rice and the rest of the Bush administration knew that Iraq didn’t have nuclear weapons and never presented such a threat. They also knew that there was one country in the Middle East who did: a nuclear-armed rogue nation who has proven throughout its history to be possibly the most lawless and bellicose country of modern times.
That country, of course, is Israel.
Since at least the early 1980s, Israel has had nuclear weapons. Instead of waging a war to get rid of them, as the Bush administration argued was necessary with Iraq, the U.S. has done everything it can to help Israel grow its nuclear program and keep the Middle East from becoming a nuclear-free zone.
In November 2014, the United Nations General Assembly sought to counter “the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” with a resolution recognizing that this “would pose a serious threat to international peace and security.”
This threat necessitates “the immediate need for placing all nuclear facilities in the region of the Middle East under full-scope safeguards of the [International Atomic Energy] Agency.”
The resolution passed by a margin of 151-4. Only the United States, Israel, Canada and Micronesia voted against it. In a separate resolution, the U.S. and Israel stood alone against 177 other countries who supported further efforts to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
That resolution calls for a “prohibition on the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons.”
In March 2003, George W. Bush proclaimed that he was authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 687 to use force against Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq presented such an existential threat that an immediate war was the only conceivable means of dealing with the situation. After Bush invaded Iraq and killed 500,000 Iraqis and created millions of widows, orphans and refugees, what was obvious all along was proven: the administration’s claims about Iraqi WMD were nothing more than lies and distortions. The administration knew full well that Israel, however, did have a large-scale, rogue WMD program when Bush cited UNSC Resolution 687 as his legal justification for invading Iraq.
Four U.S. Presidents have all ignored the actual text in Resolution 687 which declares “the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons.”
The only country to ever use nuclear weapons — by dropping two on a country that had been trying for weeks to surrender — has consistently provided Israel with a diplomatic shield in the United Nations. On top of guaranteeing their right to violate international law with impunity, the U.S. has showered Israel with over $140 billion in military aid that amounts to more than $3 billion per year.
Even without its WMD, Israel would pose a grave threat to peace with its army and conventional weapons alone. Israel has repeatedly violated the sovereignty of its neighboring countries, the most flagrant example being the aggressive invasion and occupation of Lebanon in 1982 which killed 20,000 people. Unlike Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Israel has even attacked the United States itself. In 1967, Israeli warplanes bombarded the USS Liberty, killing 34 American servicemen. Israel’s possession of WMD only compounds their destructive capacity.
Israel is one of only four countries in the world (India, Pakistan and South Sudan) that has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This landmark treaty, in force since 1970, binds signing nations to work together stop the spread of nuclear weapons and work towards disarmament.
Robert Wood, the U.S. lackey who recently defended Israel’s right to maintain nuclear weapons in the UN, claimed the UN resolution demanding Israel to renounce nuclear arms “fails to meet the fundamental tests of fairness and balance. It confines itself to expressions of concern about the activities of a single country.”
As Ali Abunimah noted in the Electronic Intifada: “The fact that Israel is indeed the single country with nuclear weapons in the region, and the single country that has not signed the NPT, apparently escaped his notice.”
Israel has not only amassed its own nuclear arsenal, but also exported nuclear technology and capabilities abroad. Not to just any country, but to the racist, pariah state of apartheid South Africa — surely the most despicable regime of the last century other than possibly Israel itself.
While it was long understood that the two ethnic exclusivist regimes maintained close military ties, the first concrete evidence that Israel tried to sell South Africa nuclear warheads emerged several years ago when American scholar Sasha Polakow-Suransky obtained declassified documents from the South African archives.
“South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states,” reported the Guardian.
The paper goes on to note that “the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.”
South Africa easily could have followed through with potential nuclear strikes against its neighbors. In 1988, the South African Defense Force were being chased out of Angola by Cuban troops assisting the Angolan government. South Africa was illegally occupying the Southeastern part of Angola in a bid to topple that country’s government and install a puppet government friendly to the apartheid regime.
Years later, Fidel Castro recounted the potential danger of nuclear strikes Cubans faced as their forces pushed forward to repel the aggression of the South African troops:
“The main problem was the fact that the racist South Africans possessed, according to our calculations, between 10 and 12 nuclear arms,” Castro wrote.
“They had carried out tests in oceans or frozen areas to the South. President Ronald Reagan had authorized such tests, and the device necessary for blasting the nuclear charge was among the equipment delivered by Israel.”
Since it developed and used the first nuclear weapons, the United States government has supported weapons of mass destruction on principle. They also refuse the concept of nuclear weapons solely as self-defense, never having accepted a no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons as the Soviet Union had.
The U.S. has never had any moral or legal inhibitions about countries it chooses having a right to weapons of mass destruction. For countries that support the U.S. government’s self-professed right to rule the world, there is no danger to peace or to the survival of civilization itself that Washington will not tolerate and enable.
Crossposted from Just the Facts Blog.
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