October 6, 2007

It Really Was Osirak

Last month's strike by Israel on a Syrian facility didn't just resemble their strike on Osirak in 1981 in the nuclear sense. According to ABC News, the American response also struck a familiar chord, with the Bush administration attempting to hold Israel back from its strike -- and offering some very weak tea as an alternative (via Power Line):

The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States.

In early July the Israelis presented the United States with satellite imagery that they said showed a nuclear facility in Syria. They had additional evidence that they said showed that some of the technology was supplied by North Korea.

One U.S. official told ABC's Martha Raddatz the material was "jaw dropping" because it raised questions as to why U.S. intelligence had not previously picked up on the facility.

Officials said that the facility had likely been there for months if not years.

Between July and September, weeks of high-level talks took place. The Israelis wanted to destroy the facility immediately, and had some support from the American intelligence community that had managed to miss this development. However, Condoleezza Rice and others did not. They wanted to "confront" the Syrians first -- as the Jerusalem Post puts it, to scold Assad publicly for operating a nuclear facility.

Yes, I'm sure that would have been effective. Publicly scolding them over the Hariri assassination only resulted in five more car-bomb assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon since then. Fingerwagging has done so much to curtail their material support for Hezbollah, too.

The Israelis, who actually originated the "Bush doctrine" decades ago, appear to be the only nation still using it. They probably have concluded that they cannot rely on American will to protect them from Syria and Iran any longer, especially after this episode. The US opposed the raid up to the moment it occurred, afraid of destabilizing the region. Israel, more worried about the consequences of a nuclear Syria -- something that should worry us as well -- simply ignored Washington after weeks of argument and acted in its own self-interest.

And note that Syria has not lifted a finger in retaliation. Assad knows well that Israel would annihilate his forces in a straight-up fight, and the raid confirmed it. They had to know that Israel would attack that facility if they discovered it, and Syria had to have some defense ready against it. In the event, Israel flew unmolested across the widest part of their airspace, devastated their facility, and flew home as if on an El Al jaunt.

I recall the American response to Osirak was a large amount of finger-wagging at the Israelis. We had reason to thank them later for their long view of nukes in the region. We should be thanking them again, and next time should try following their advice.


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» The Quiet Noise Israel Made from And Rightly So!
A couple weeks ago I read an article over at To The Point, a site authored by Dr. Jack Wheeler. There had been a lot of chatter about the Israelis taking down a Syrian nuke facility. On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastat... [Read More]

» Captain Ed from Pro Cynic
has his take on the Israeli "incursion" of September 6th and the utter incompetence of the Bush administration in dealing with it: Between July and September, weeks of high-level talks took place. The Israelis wanted to destroy the facility im... [Read More]

Comments (35)

Posted by Keemo | October 6, 2007 10:28 AM

This ABC story "if accurate" displays Condi Rice as the modern day version of "Colin Powell"; a big dissapointment. This story would also suggest that Bush has been effected by the constant barrage of attacks labeled against his administration by the Democrast and their right arm "MSM".

Fight this war to win; period, end of story. No time for pussy-footing around this enemy. If nukes in the hands of Saddam was a danger to the world, then nukes in the hands of Syria-Iran are equally as dangerous.

Any story put out by ABC, NBC, or CBS is bound to be agenda driven. I have my doubts about this story.

Posted by NahnCee | October 6, 2007 10:44 AM

Impeach Condoleeza Rice.

Posted by NahnCee | October 6, 2007 10:47 AM

BTW, Condi is also trying to sit on Blackwater. Why doesn't she just fly into Baghdad and give keys to the front door of the White House to both Maliki and Ahmanwhoozit since she's decided that all Arabs must have preferential treatment and her mothering protection. Is Donald Rumsfeld still looking for a new job?

Posted by planetgeo | October 6, 2007 10:55 AM

Very disturbing. If true, the sooner Bush and Mahatma Condi get out of the White House, the better. They are completely neutered now and obsessively pandering to the MSM, trying to show how progressive they are with their diplomatic mindset.

It's going to get us all killed.

Posted by Tipper | October 6, 2007 11:09 AM

This story would also suggest that Bush has been effected by the constant barrage of attacks labeled against his administration by the Democrast and their right arm "MSM".

Keemo. You are exactly right. The Bush administration should have fought back hard against the Democrats who perpetuated the lie of twisted intelligence. The administration should have repeated each and every Democrat on record before Bush was president warning and fretting over Iraq's WMD ambitions. The democrats have traded our country's well being solely for power.

Posted by Publius Hamilton | October 6, 2007 11:18 AM

Condi should be thanking the Israeli's for making her job easier. The Syrian's and Iranian's have just found out that their vaunted Russian air defense systems for which they spent billions, were neutered by the Israeli's. (The Russian's have to be extremely embarrassed by this)

Jack Kelly reports in his always excellent column that an Indian General came back from a recent visit to Teheran and he was repeatedly asked, "When will the Americans attack?". Syria and Iran are both extremely worried and this realization that their defenses are non-existent has created a huge shift in the perception of the balance of power in the region.

That should make Condi's job easier if she decides to waste any more time at the negotiating table. Defenseless enemies are fun to negotiate with...

Posted by Carol Herman | October 6, 2007 12:40 PM

Look. Israel took care of business. ANd, then? Olmert ordered everyone to SHUT UP.

That the NY Times didn't have a piece about these plans, shows you that WHATEVER was afoot; the NY Times was so totally out of the loop. All they had were their diplomatic pants dancers.

Similar to the way the soviets went down. And, State "had no idea!" Not that there weren't plans that even go so far back as Jimmy Carter's administration, when Z-Big-New put into place the "model" that would bankrupt the soviets in Afghanistan.

Happened, too.

While Ronald Reagan did his "sleeping" routine. Good acting skills! And, even better was the SILENCE.

What's got the spook community perturbed is that Israel BLANKETED the entire AREA ... From the tip, in Tripoli. Even out to sea, for all we know? There was a TOTAL BLACKOUT.

Up at Debka, the question is raised: "So in what direction did the Israelis use to "fly in?" You think it was Turkey? Nothing but rumors. That also pushed the little shrimp in iran, to travel to Turkey. Didn't find out much.

SInce "facts" are really in short supply.

The other thing that DEBKA raises? Who says only one or two sorties? What if this was so full of information, the Jews just won't talk? Because you don't need to know.

That the NY Times is trying to make believe this president was on the side of the terrorists? About on par for the course.

But they are published LIES.

While the vacuum remains.

By the way, NOW, the UN and Hans Blix will find no WMD's or nukes. In that area.

And, Ill-John-Swam-A-Song? He's trying to find his ass. Wanna send him a flashlight? He's got his two hands working on it, right now.

Oh, yeah. The beauty of this operation is that you could do a movie ... And, you still would be presenting fiction.


Do you remember how the policeman in Larry Craig's case said he maneuvered his "left" hand over to meet the right hand that had also gone back and forth on the toilet's stall side panel?

GUESS WHAT? He was about to CRAWL IN!

Gee. This bathroom crap grows stranger by the day.

But people did ask. Why his "other hand" got the policeman's attention.


Are you happy?

You needed to find out?

Well, that's on par with how the Israelis feel things worked out. The good guys WON!

While Larry Craig is supply the circus act.

Oh, almost back on topic, here: Everyone knows there's a Mideast meeting 'falling apart' ... that's supposed to take place at Annapolis.

Condi Rice couldn't even book this show, this time, at Camp David.

Think about it.

Or? Discover, today, what information is lacking over at the NY Times. Even their rumors aren't good enough to pass muster.

One day, they'll fall down and they won't be able to get up!

Posted by Kim | October 6, 2007 12:41 PM


Don't believe State had any dogs in the affair. It was one big ECM test that proved they could shut down all the cell phones in the Middle East with EMP. The Iranians are freaking out. Do you believe Val gave us the key to the state of the art Russian systems?

There a container of disinformation on this raid.

Posted by kingronjo | October 6, 2007 12:41 PM

the Israelis have learned the hard way over millenia that the only ones that they can depend on is themselves. If Pres Bush, perhaps the best friend the Israelis have ever had in the White House was taking a pass, they are in deep trouble.

After watching Bill Clinton preparing to throw away their security to Yasser Arafat (who refused the offer because the Jews wouldn't disappear totally) they should be very frighted about the prospect of a HRC Presidency. Very frightened.

Posted by Peyton | October 6, 2007 12:56 PM

There's obviously more to know about the whole affair. That the Bush administration would pursue stability in the region just doesn't make sense. The whole take-down of Iraq was about destabilizing the region, shaking things up by knocking off the biggest bully-boy in the area. The constant and increasing drumbeat of Iranian weapons and personnel being captured in Iraq is about destabilizing the region. I suspect if any protests or objections were lodged by the Bush administration against this raid, that they were pro forma. Consider the source, ABC news. How should we filter any stories from them that make the Bush administration look weak and indecisive? Interesting, but taken with a big grain of salt, I'd say.

Posted by John | October 6, 2007 1:04 PM

Notice you don't hear much about Condi for President anymore.

Posted by jaeger51 | October 6, 2007 1:10 PM

Hurray for the Israelis! I've long thought we should partner up with them and clean up the Middle East once and for all.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 6, 2007 1:22 PM

Kim: DEBKA's information has to be taken with a grain of salt. They've been wrong before, sometimes spectacularly so.

Posted by olddeadmeat | October 6, 2007 1:27 PM

I agree with you Captain - scolding the Syrians would be just as effective as scolding Iran has been.

I am afraid Condi will be remembered as little more than a lapdog.

If anyone bothers to remember her at all...

Posted by John Steele | October 6, 2007 1:33 PM


Why in heaven's name would the Israelis want to partner with US? If we "help" them any more they'll end up six feet under.

Posted by John Steele | October 6, 2007 1:35 PM

The CIA. Our motto: Getting it wrong since 1947.

The only successful operation these stumblebums have been able to put together is the subversion of the current administration of the United States. Aided by their friends in the press and Congress they have been very successful in undermining this nation.

Posted by eaglewings | October 6, 2007 1:59 PM

Bravo for the Israelis. Yes, the Russians too must be very nervous that Israel was able to penetrate the Syrian defenses with no notice and no casualties. Sad to say that we are now in that phase of an administration that is looking for its place in history (i.e. selling out the Israelis for a lot of bunkum and false pledges) than securing the region against true threats and by what appears to be repudiation of the Bush Doctrine.
I just want to correct one thing stated by anothr poster, when Israel has depended solely upon herself and/or solely upon others, she has reaped horrors. When she depends upon God who covenanted to give her that small sliver of land, she has prospered and her enemies were vanquished.
I hope the administration is shipping pronto super duper bunker busters to Israel for the next act. But before that happens, Israel's missile shield will have to be full operational.

Posted by Kim | October 6, 2007 2:05 PM


Yes I agree, and I finished with: "There's a container of disinformation on this raid."

Debka was created to put out disinformation. You have to mine it for the nuggets.

Posted by Kevin | October 6, 2007 2:15 PM

The U.S. complained about Osirak too, if I recall correctly. But talk is cheap. Is there a chance that the posturing of Rice and others serves as a facade, while behind the scenes Israel is encouraged?

Posted by Bill M | October 6, 2007 2:45 PM

Remember that the July timeframe had the Dims in full throat and the Surge not yet at full effect. Also, the site apparently wasn't completed as yet. I don't think it was even when the Israelis took it out.

Seems just as likely that the US cautioned Israel to nail down the site for what it was, so there would be no doubt. (Remember they brought out cast iron evidence before the site was struck.)

Look at the time when the strike went in. Site still not operational, hard evidence in hand of what the site really was, a recent delivery of North Korean "cement", the Dims exhausted and looking foolish, and the Surge a success. Much better timing from the US point of view. And almost zero world-wide reaction. Would that have been the same in July?

Not saying that's why, but it's an alternative explanation that doesn't require "concern" of weakness on Bush's or Condi's part. May just as easily been wise advice to delay for a time. And I suspect that US cooperation was necessary. Given what happened to Syria's air defense network, such as it is, a litle more time may have been needed to get the right pieces in place. And whatever those pieces were, they appear to have worked fairly well.

Posted by Tom W. | October 6, 2007 3:32 PM

Every other report I've read said that the U.S. helped the Israelis blind the Syrian air-defense systems. Note, too, that we haven't publicly repudiated Israel, which we did after Osirak.

This is ABC News, after all, and the story relies entirely on anonymous sources. Everyone should keep their powder dry and not draw any conclusions.

Just stop and think about it for a minute: Syria has been frozen out by the rest of the Arab states because it's a puppet of Iran. Bush certainly knows this, and he knows that Syria's forces couldn't do much to retaliate against Israel.

The Bush administration must have calculated that the raid wouldn't destabilize the region, because Bush knows that nobody would come to Syria's defense, and Syria couldn't respond effectively. There was no rationale for concluding that the region would be destabilized.

Bush also must have known what the positive effects of the raid would be: Destruction of the target, a lot of fear in Damascus and Teheran, and more respect for Israel, which it needed after the Hezbollah war.

I think this article is either disinformation put out by the Bush administration to lull Iran into complacency, or it's another piece of anti-Bush propaganda produced by ABC to make the U.S. appear weak, feckless, and irresolute.

Posted by NahnCee | October 6, 2007 4:05 PM

One thing that makes me go "hmmmm", is that the information that Israel was going to go after Syria did NOT leak from the White House to the front pages of the NY Times from July through September. Maybe they've finally figured out who the blabbermouths at the upper levels of national security are. If so, I hope they lost their pensions.

Posted by Papa Ray | October 6, 2007 5:51 PM

"...or it's another piece of anti-Bush propaganda produced by ABC to make the U.S. appear weak, feckless, and irresolute."

My money is on the above.

But the big story is what others have talked about. The complete shutdown of all communications in the area and even overlapping into other areas.

Was it our tech, theirs, or a combined effort that enabled that? In the end, it makes no difference at all. Plus the fact that much electronic and other intel was gained, for when we or the Israelis go for broke to destroy Iran's defenses and nuke facilities.

As far as discussing Condi, she is just doing what she is told. Bush and Co. are not going to let the State Dept off their short leash. Disinformation and re-direction is part of the game, and Bush is a very good poker player and knows how to game the enemy as well as his enemies here at home.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by BigHabsFan | October 6, 2007 6:00 PM

When I heard that rumours of a major incursion by the IAF deep into Syrian airspace, including rumours of a facilty being bombed was finally confirmed by the Israels and was even acknowledged by the current tyrant neckless president of Syria, I was so proud. This is such a feel good story! Well, not so much for Syria and even less so for Iran and that's the fun part. I bet Russian translators have been working some serious OT. Very comforting to know that the IAF can strike DEEP - very DEEP into enemy airspace with IMPUNITY. Mahmoud - this is a warning - be afraid ... be very very afraid. Yet again, just another example of tiny Israel acting in her own interests yet doing the world a huge favor. I await the spin - no doubt the MSM will find various ways to villefy Israel.

Posted by patrick neid | October 6, 2007 6:20 PM

There's a simple solution to this story (if it is true) Ms Rice can now come out and condemn Syria for having HAD a nuke joint and prove it with the "jaw dropping evidence".

Posted by section9 | October 6, 2007 6:41 PM

This story is a huge dogpile of disinformation that was leaked to ABC News to do two things:

1. Make Condi look like the "good cop" Arabist.
2. Make the Cheney forces look ascendant in the Administration, and thus scare the feces out of the Iranians.

This entire story is bullroar for the gullible, which is amazingly predictable as the usual suspects lap it up. But it serves Bush's interest if it makes the Persians and the Eurotrash believe that they're running out of time.There are simply too many asstard conservatives who have no idea how to read a leaked story.

This was a leaked story. Brian Ross was merely a stepinfetchit.

It does something else, though. It draws attention away from the fact that this was a joint operation. Don't buy the spin. The U.S. and Israel have an interest in stopping Iran from getting the bomb. And we've done some amazing things together with avionics and cellular phones, as described above.

The Rug Merchants in Tehran are blind as bats, to be blunt.

There are two nuggets of truth in this story. One is that Condi and Bush cannot reasonably trust anything that comes out of Langley anymore. While the Mossad is still the Gold Standard, the CIA can't put the hearse in the right place in a two car funeral. She would be right to be cautious, and that much of the story is probably true. Secondly, the Israelis had to do this in such a way that the North Koreans could collect their money from the Iranians and walk away without being embarrassed. Rice wants the North Korean deal to go through, and the Syrian deal involved the transhipment of used North Korean plutonium through Syria to Iran.

If Kim Jong Il makes some cash from the Persians for dumping his Columbian Blow on them before the Americans come in and disable his reactor, why should we get upset if he walks away with some cash? Especially if the Israelis trash the stuff?

Kim is the only one who made money on the deal. Everyone else got burned by the IDF. Kim doesn't give a rat's fingernail what happened in the Syrian desert-he's got his cash.

Now he can go out and buy a night with a Japanese Idol Singer. Oh, and dump Hans Brix in that Piranha tank.

Posted by Christoph | October 6, 2007 8:18 PM

So what you're saying, Ed, and I completely agree, is Condi Rice is a disaster in her job, doesn't get the field she is playing in, and was quietly advocating a completely ineffective course. Again.

Posted by Tipper | October 6, 2007 8:53 PM

There are two nuggets of truth in this story. One is that Condi and Bush cannot reasonably trust anything that comes out of Langley anymore. While the Mossad is still the Gold Standard, the CIA can't put the hearse in the right place in a two car funeral. She would be right to be cautious, and that much of the story is probably true.

I think this about nails it.

Posted by Clyde | October 7, 2007 12:52 AM

The lesson is that if something needs doing, DO IT! It's easier to beg pardon afterward than to ask permission.

Posted by Neo | October 7, 2007 2:26 PM

... was "jaw dropping" because it raised questions as to why U.S. intelligence had not previously picked up on the facility.

We've all heard this tune before, and it is getting a bit tiring.

The American people have looked the other way on many of the pre-9/11 screwups because we still need good intelligence, but if the current staff of intelligence folks can't cut it .. it may be time to empty a few desks.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 7, 2007 2:57 PM

Neo, we agree.

As a retired Agency officer I speak out often about the creation of the massive ODNI resulting from the 9/11 ommission. The ODNI hasn't added a bit of enhanced performance nor a demand for enhanced performance from the now very small cadre of field trained and field tested clandestine operations officers across the globe. We have fewer Agency operations officers posted abroad today than we had in 1995.

House cleaning is needed, starting from the top down, and soon. Never in our history since 1947 have we had such a politicized Agency. The results are growing more and more apparent.

Yes, we did have indications that Syria and North Korea were up to something.

From the North Korean sphere within the Agency we suffer from a lack of trained, experienced skilled officers to deal with all aspects of the North Korean threat. We also have to deal with incumberances imposed on our intelligence gathering on things related to North Korea, the biggest one being an institutional disinterest.

From the Syrian sphere at the Agency, we could not insert Agency operations officers into Syria to confirm any of this. The risk and blowback assessments augured against this.

Imagery can only tell so much, and never the whole picture. Ground truth is necessary and vital.

So, we did, and have, become accustomed to obtaining necessary intelligence and ground truth from third party sources, sometime Mossad, sometimes from Jordan, sometimes from the Turks, and others.

But housecleaning and an honest assessment of our national intelligence priorities and our foreign policies needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Until that happens, the dozens of new expensive and expansive ODNI buildings along the Dulles Corridor in Northern Virginia will do nothing but consume billions in Congressional appropriations for National Intelligence, and we will suffer time and again from events that we had rumor about but no means nor apparent desire to gather ground truth about.

Posted by KW64 | October 7, 2007 3:34 PM

I have to believe that if their was alot of resistance to this at the CIA or within the administration, based on past practice, someone would have leaked the whole thing to the New York Times to scotch any operation.

Also there is a great tendency in the MSM to say anything that did not work was the Administrations fault and anything that did was not their idea and they actually opposed it. Without real evidence, we have to take anything in the MSM as rumor at best and be on the search for agendas about anything.

When things go well, the Administation in charge should be given some credit-- deserve it or not because you can be sure that if things go wrong, they will get the blame-- deserve it or not.

Posted by Dale Michaud aka TexasDude | October 8, 2007 1:12 AM

You want real results in our government?

Fire almost all of State and CIA, with smattering of FBI in the mix and you will see a HUGE uptick in performance and ... most importantly ... handwringing over how other nations will view our actions!

Posted by Dumb Americans | October 9, 2007 3:09 AM

When will "Americans" wake up? If I had my guess; probably never. American taxpayers back up the Brinks truck to the Israel treasury to the tune of over 3.2 Billion dollars a year. In addition, the United States provides invaluable diplomatic cover to the apartheid Israeli state in the form of UN vetoes. Israeli warmongering harms US interests.

US citizens are like sheep parroting Fox news. We heard it all before. Israel is the only democracy in the middle east. Israel has a right to self defense. Blah, Blah, Blah,.

"So in the land of freedom each American is free to select their leaders because they have the right to do so and as such they give consent to the policies their elected government adopts. This includes the support of Israel manifesting itself in many ways including billions of dollars in military aid. By electing these leaders, the American people have given their consent to the incarceration of the Palestinian people, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the slaughter of children of Palestine." --Osama Bin Laden

People-They don't hate us because of who we are. They hate us because of our foreign policy. Please educate yourself.

Posted by Derek | October 9, 2007 10:33 AM

Dumb Americans,

Why the grumpy face? Are the KOS forums down today?

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