What Goes Around, Flies Around – OpEd


Hezbollah today took credit for the drone which penetrated 35 miles into Israeli airspace last week and came with 18 miles of overflying Israel’s top-secret Dimona nuclear weapons facility before being shot down.  It said the drone had been produced in Iran and launched by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon.  Much of this had been surmised and reported here and elsewhere.

The IDF appears to have been caught with its pants down and admitted it had only tracked the craft for the last 20 minutes of its flight.  Apparently, it hadn’t a clue that it had been launched, despite the fact that the IAF patrols Lebanese skies at will and searches earnestly for any Hezbollah weapons caches or missile depots.

Israeli–Palestinian Conflict: Central Israel next to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israeli–Palestinian Conflict: Central Israel next to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Though the drone appears to have been designed for reconnaissance rather than attack, it’s clear that this capability is coming, if it hasn’t arrived already.  Recently for example, Iran announced it had developed a drone with 2,000 km range capable of reaching Israel.

Further in the spirit of what goes around-comes around, the U.S. announced today with a flourish that Iran was likely responsible for a string of DOS attacks on major U.S. banks that brought down banking activity for parts of several days.  It was also responsible for a serious attack on the Saudi oil company Aramco, which is fulfilling all of the oil needs of countries who have turned off Iran’s oil spigot.

In response to these attacks, defense secretary Leon Panetta inveighed about a potential cyber Pearl Harbor or 9/11.  He warned that the U.S. was preparing its own offensive cyber capability that would turn the networks of any enemy foolish enough to attack us into a total mess.

The righteous indignation would be more credible if Panetta at least acknowledged that we were first to attack Iran’s nuclear plant at Natanz, destroying 20% of their uranium enrichment capacity.  We too attacked Iran’s oil terminals and infrastructure with our own cyber-attacks.

It is part of a damaging U.S. exceptionalism that crimes of our own are morally expedient and justifiable, while crimes of our enemy violate all norms of human conduct.  We executed Nazi war criminals while holding ourselves harmless from dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the firebombing of Tokyo and Dresden.  Clearly there’s one set of laws for the victors and another entirely for the vanquished.

Israel murders five senior Iranian nuclear scientists with the help of U.S.-trained MEK terrorists.  Yet we display high moral dudgeon when a dubious Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington is exposed.

We just announced a ballyhooed cyber-war program, Plan X, on which we will spend $110-million over five years in yet another defense industry boondoggle.  This project will create new offensive cyber-weapons with which we can assault the world and our enemies.  Yet somehow we lose sight of the fact that we have no monopoly on such technological skills.  Iran, while not as rich a nation as the U.S., has just as much will and ambition to fight back against the threat we pose.  Will it take a weapon as sophisticated as what we can produce to attack Israel or the U.S. and cause massive amounts of damage?  Can we say that day won’t come if we continue down this path?

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

One thought on “What Goes Around, Flies Around – OpEd

  • October 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    While I agree with this article in princviple, two points need to be made;

    Firstly as far as I’m aware the IAF does not patrol Lebanese skies at will. Hezbollah has sufficient MANPADS (portable modern surface to air missiles) that any IAF incursion into Lebanon is more than a little risky.

    Secondly Iran has both Russian and Chinese technology helping it out. It truly is a case of Western v Asiatic technology.

    Otherwise, good article.


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