… and Petraeus is His messenger?
Maybe in this particular case, Gen. Petraeus was supposed to comply with the current policies or maybe there is some grand strategy… All disclaimers aside, I share the vexing feeling when the people I just recently respected as reasonable and knowledgeable, today make dizzyingly irrational statements.
First, allow a disclaimer: … I consider Gen. David Petraeus to be our finest military leader today — indeed, amongst the best in American history.
Like most Americans, I take what Petraeus says very seriously. Now that he is in charge of CENTCOM, his overall responsibilities include all of the Middle East.
Petraeus is a respected man, whose opinions are highly valued and held in high esteem — which makes his recent comment about the terrorist group Hezbollah all the more surprising.
Gen. Petraeus spoke with the Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper, published by the Lebanese Daily Star, and blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the existence of Hezbollah. “Hezbollah’s justifications for existence will become void,” Petraeus said, “if the Palestinian cause is resolved.”
It is unclear what Petraeus meant by this statement. While he has earned the benefit of the doubt, if Petraeus truly meant what he apparently said, this is a highly discouraging revelation. The idea that the Palestinian “plight” is Hezbollah’s casus belli is so far from the truth, and so detached from reality, it is hard to believe Petraeus actually thinks this. Perhaps there was a mistranslation? Perhaps Petraeus was making shrewd statements for domestic Lebanese consumption — attempting to undermine Hezbollah by painting them as more concerned for Palestinians than the Lebanese people, just ahead of Lebanon’s elections? All of this is possible.
But what if these explanations aren’t the case? What if Gen. Petraeus literally believes the alleviation of the Palestinian grievance is the key to regional counterterrorism?
Just because Gen. Petraeus is a brilliant military mastermind does not automatically make his views on Middle Eastern geopolitics beyond question. Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed, Iranian-financed, Iranian-armed jihadist organization that was created by the Islamic Republic in the early 1980s and sent to Lebanon to kill and intimidate those in Lebanon who oppose theocracy and fascism. Hezbollah terrorists have killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world, save al-Qaeda one Tuesday morning eight years ago. They have conducted attacks on innocents and civilian targets in the Middle East, in Latin America, in Asia; they have bases all over the world. They answer to the supreme leader of Iran and constitute the elite of the elite of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
To suggest Hezbollah’s primary motivations are minimalist and nationalist — indeed, not even their nation — is baloney. The rationale for Hezbollah’s existence is to overtake and ransack Lebanon and make it a satrapy state for Iran, to Islamize secular Lebanese polity, to kill Westerners wherever and whenever possible, and, more significantly, to strive for the end of Israel’s existence. To say Hezbollah’s “justifications” would run dry, should a non-related event occur, operates from the false premise that Hezbollah feels compelled to offer justifications for their actions in the first place. They don’t.
You can tell a lot about a person’s views (and values) by the way he answers the following question: “Would a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict solve the problems of the Middle East, or would solving the problems of the broader Middle East — namely, Iran — one day bring about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?”
The emph. is mine.
Is Petraeus an Islamic Tool? by Diana West (Am. Daily Review)
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