As a million people on Twitter are noting this afternoon, “the chickensh*t” served as a team leader in the IDF’s special forces unit, Sayeret Matkal. Team Hopenchange isn’t questioning his personal bravery, though, they’re questioning something they naturally consider more important — political bravery. Which is interesting because The One’s shown plenty of gutlessness on international affairs himself over the past few years. He abandoned Mubarak because he didn’t want to be on the wrong side of Arab populism, then abandoned Morsi once the winds of Arab populism changed. He backed off his “red line” in Syria once he realized the public wasn’t keen on bombing Assad, then accepted a transparently sham deal to disarm Damascus’s chemical weapons brokered by Vladimir Putin. He let Iraq fall to pieces, enabling the rise of ISIS, because keeping a residual force of U.S. troops there would have upset his base. Ten years from now, his legacy on Iran will almost certainly be that he missed the west’s last clear chance to stop the mullahs before they built a bomb, choosing to accept another transparently sham denuclearization deal instead because he feared a war more than he feared Shiite fanatics with nuclear weapons. How is this guy, or rather his surrogates, calling other leaders “chickensh*t”?
You can read Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece yourself for the administration’s gory sniping at Netanyahu (“recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery'”). They’re mad at Bibi for two reasons. One, of course, is that he supports settlements in the West Bank, in particular apartment buildings for Israeli Jews in east Jerusalem. For whatever reason, the White House seems convinced that John Kerry’s the man to finally make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, if only Bibi would stop pandering to the hawks who keep reelecting him and extend an olive branch on settlements. Why Obama and Kerry think durable peace is in the offing here, especially as jihadis are gaining ground in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, I have no idea. My hunch is that it’s a vestige of their pre-inauguration aspirations in 2008, when they thought the U.S. just needed a fresh start with the Middle East after Bush to set things back on the right track. That’s what Obama’s Cairo speech was supposed to achieve. Five years later, there’s a budding caliphate in Mesopotamia.
It’s the other reason they’re mad at Netanyahu that I want to showcase, though:
This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
This assessment represents a momentous shift in the way the Obama administration sees Netanyahu. In 2010, and again in 2012, administration officials were convinced that Netanyahu and his then-defense minister, the cowboyish ex-commando Ehud Barak, were readying a strike on Iran. To be sure, the Obama administration used the threat of an Israeli strike in a calculated way to convince its allies (and some of its adversaries) to line up behind what turned out to be an effective sanctions regime. But the fear inside the White House of a preemptive attack (or preventative attack, to put it more accurately) was real and palpable—as was the fear of dissenters inside Netanyahu’s Cabinet, and at Israel Defense Forces headquarters. At U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, analysts kept careful track of weather patterns and of the waxing and waning moon over Iran, trying to predict the exact night of the coming Israeli attack.
Today, there are few such fears. “The feeling now is that Bibi’s bluffing,” this second official said. “He’s not Begin at Osirak,” the official added, referring to the successful 1981 Israeli Air Force raid ordered by the ex-prime minister on Iraq’s nuclear reactor.
Let me understand this. Netanyahu considered attacking Iran, we pressured him not to do it, and now we’re mocking him as a “chickensh*t” for taking our advice? Logically, doesn’t that make The One “King Chickensh*t”? I’ve re-read that boldfaced part five times now and I still can’t quite process it. Not only are they sneering at Bibi for adopting the White House’s own policy, they’re flatly admitting — boasting even — that they made Iran’s nuclear program attack-proof. A bombing run might have worked three years ago but it won’t work now, thanks to … Uncle Sam’s delay tactics on behalf of Tehran. Iran might as well name its first ICBM the “Barack.” You’re welcome, A-holes.
Here’s the schmuck we elected president twice, providing a soundbite that historians will laugh at grimly for decades. No chickensh*ts here, yo.