There is an art of war and there is an art to selling war — to one’s own people and to the world at large.
Israel is a master on both tracks. When we speak of the “only democracy” in the Middle East, it is often forgotten, perhaps deliberately, that the country is run by a War or “Security” Cabinet. It is, and has been, in effect, a military regime with as many powerful religious fanatics as its Iranian nemesis.
Since proclaiming its “independence” in 1948, it has remained dependent on a large, now over $3 billion per annum and counting,” foreign aid” payment from the United States, far, far more than many poor countries that desperately need that aid but don’t get it.
Supplementing this subsidy, Israel has its own advanced military industrial and technology complex upgrading and customizing weaponry in military and aerospace industries.
Its current escalating war on Gaza is only the latest, following on the heels of seven “recognized” wars, two Palestinian intifadas, many reprisal operations and countless covert operations including interventions and assassinations.
Its capacity to punish and its willingness to use advanced weapons in areas dense with civilians like Gaza is terrifying — and it is so by design. The United States may have used “shock and awe” in Iraq to launch its war there, but Israel has routinized it with 2,360 air strikes in its 2008-2009 “Cast Lead” campaign in Gaza alone. So far there has been well over l,000 sorties in this latest bloody blitzkrieg. Is it any surprise that of all its military branches it is the Air Force that is dominated the most by extremists and West Bank settlers.