There's conflicting reports as to the veracity of Perry's dispatch. U.S. military personnel are denying basic elements of the account (on Petraeus), so there's certainly bound to be some additional fireworks. But note Perry's takeoff on the left's "Israel lobby" smear:
There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers -- and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military. While commentators and pundits might reflect that Joe Biden's trip to Israel has forever shifted America's relationship with its erstwhile ally in the region, the real break came in January, when David Petraeus sent a briefing team to the Pentagon with a stark warning: America's relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America's soldiers. Maybe Israel gets the message now.Israel-bashers like Andrew Sullivan are eating it up. But Israel Matsav raises questions:
I have been informed by insiders that the author of this piece, Mark Perry, is a former adviser to Yasser Arafat and is now director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates talking to Hamas and Hezbullah. In other words, he has an agenda.I'm sure we'll be hearing more. General Petraus is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. But note this background on Mark Perry, from an interview with Laura Rozen, at the leftist American Prospect, in 2006, "The Rules of the Game: An American Mediator with Hezbollah Interprets the Signals from Tel Aviv and the Lebanese Militia Group":
I have also been informed that Petraeus' people deny the story completely, although my source for that is a high profile blogger who heard it from a reporter.
We've been hearing the theory that the timing of Hezbollah's Tuesday kidnapping of the two Israeli Defense Force soldiers was planned well in advance and with coordination from Tehran or Damascus. Can you speak to that?
Oy vey. There are a lot of people in Washington trying to walk that story back right now, because it's not true.
Hezbollah and Israel stand along this border every day observing each other through binoculars and waiting for an opportunity to kill each other. They are at war. They have been for 25 years, no one ever declared a cease-fire between them. … They stand on the border every day and just wait for an opportunity. And on Tuesday morning there were two Humvees full of Israeli soldiers, not under observation from the Israeli side, not under covering fire, sitting out there all alone. The Hezbollah militia commander just couldn't believe it -- so he went and got them.
The Israeli captain in charge of that unit knew he had really screwed up, so he sent an armored personnel carrier to go get them in hot pursuit, and Hezbollah led them right through a minefield.
Now if you're sitting in Tehran or Damascus or Beirut, and you are part of the terrorist Politburo so to speak, you have a choice. With your head sunk in your hands, thinking "Oh my God," you can either give [the kidnapped soldiers] back and say "Oops, sorry, wrong time" or you can say, "Hey, this is war."
It is absolutely ridiculous to believe that the Hezbollah commander on the ground said Tuesday morning, "Go get two Israeli soldiers, would you please?”
But, you make it sound like a dog with a squirrel, like there's no free will. Like the temptation for Hezbollah to kidnap the Israeli soldiers because there was an opportunity suddenly on Tuesday was somehow irresistible. Why did they have to go get them?
They are at war. Israel says they want to go get and destroy Hezbollah every day. Israel occupied their country for how many years?
But Israel withdrew from Lebanon a few years ago.
Let's propose it was unprovoked. Israel has now said it is in a state of war against Lebanon. Fine. The fact is that it happens to be at war then against our ally, the government in Lebanon that the we [the U.S. government] set up, is being ignored here. The U.S. and Israel are at cross purposes.
Perry's obviously putting the lie to Hezbollah's military offensive against Israel in July 2006. This guy's a piece of work.
The Conflicts Forum website is here.