body#layout #main-top { display:none; } -->

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Cleanser

Anthony H. Cordesman, a leading military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has published a “strategic analysis” of the Gaza massacre.(1) He reaches the remarkable conclusion that “Israel did not violate the laws of war.” The report is based on “briefings in Israeli [sic] during and immediately after the fighting made possible by a visit sponsored by Project Interchange, and using day-to-day reporting issued by the Israeli Defense Spokesman.” Cordesman omits mention that Project Interchange is funded by the American Jewish Committee.

Cordesman’s faith in the pronouncements of Israeli notwithstanding, respected Israeli analysts exhibit less confidence. “The state authorities, including the defense establishment and its branches,” Uzi Benziman observed in Haaretz, “have acquired for themselves a shady reputation when it comes to their credibility.” The “official communiqués published by the IDF have progressively liberated themselves from the constraints of truth,” B. Michael wrote in Yediot Ahronot, and the “heart of the power structure”—police, army, intelligence—has been infected by a “culture of lying.”(2) During the Gaza massacre Israel was repeatedly caught lying among many other things about its use of white phosphorus.(3) Recalling Israel’s train of lies during both the 2006 Lebanon war and the Gaza massacre, Human Rights Watch senior military analyst Marc Garlasco rhetorically asked, “How can anyone trust the Israeli military?”(4)

A chunk of Cordesman’s “strategic analysis” consists of recycling verbatim the daily press releases of the Israeli air force and army spokesmen, which he then dubs “chronologies” of the war. He asserts that these statements provide “considerable insight” and “important insights” into what happened. More