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John Brennan's Illogic on Targeted Killings

John Brennan's Illogic on Targeted Killings
Former CIA Director John Brennan (AP)

By Friday, 11 December 2020 10:22 AM Current | Bio | Archive

"I'm stunned that a former CIA director would not recognize this for what it really is—it is to protect the security of the Israeli people." — General Jack Keane

This is Part II of a two-part essay dealing with the legality and morality of targeting killing in the wake of the recent assassination of the senior Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Farkrizadeh. To access Part I – click here.

Part I dealt with some of the international condemnation of the assassination and in particular the vitriolic condemnation of the operation by former CIA director, John Brennan, who held the post in the Obama administration.

"Extraordinary & galling …"

Following his previously cited derogatory tweets, Brennan tried to differentiate his drone campaign from the targeted killing of Fakhrizadeh. Accordingly, he tweeted: "These assassinations are far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like al-Qaida & Islamic State, which are not sovereign states. As illegitimate combatants under international law, they can be targeted in order to stop deadly terrorist attacks."

So, according to "Brennenesque logic," while preemptively blowing away a "bad guy"(together with several unfortunate collateral bystanders), who was allegedly plotting to slay several hundred is completely justified; while eliminating a high ranking military figure (with zero collateral casualties), who was unquestionably planning the destruction of several million is a heinous "act of state sponsored terrorism" and "a flagrant violation of international law."

It was with good reason that General (ret.) John "Jack" Keane, formerly Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, took exception to Brennan's remarks.

In a Fox News interview, he remarked tersely: "…that's pretty extraordinary. It takes a lot of gall to say something like that in the face of what Israel is dealing with, with Iran."

He went on to clarify:

"I mean Iran is a threat to the United States. They've proven it. They've blown up our embassies they've killed our soldiers in Iraq. They've killed thousands of us in the [last] 40 years. But they are not an existential threat … They are not challenging the survival of the United States. Nuclear weapons in their hands with ballistic missiles and the continuous and repeated threat to destroy the State of Israel. Iran is an existential threat to the survival of Israel … that is why their actions are so different than ours."

'Arrogant & Dismissive …'

With some surprise and disapproval, Keane added: "I'm stunned that a former CIA director would not recognize this level of intensity and determination for what it really is — it is to protect the security of the Israeli people."

Elsewhere, Keane robustly disputed Brennan's earlier tweets:

"I'll take issue with … those statements… It's the arrogance that comes out of America at times when we are so dismissive of what our allies are really dealing with … what they deal with every single day in terms of a threat. So here we have the Iranians, that for every single year for 40 years have stated that they want to destroy the State of Israel and they want nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them as the means. And they talk openly about it. But we're just dismissing that. We're not going to take it seriously. The Israelis shouldn't be doing anything that could potentially lead to a 'lethal reaction.'"

So, it seems that it is not that Israel's detractors do not recognize that states have a right to undertake actions that Israel has undertaken. It is just that that they feel that Israel should be denied that right!

If it walks like a duck …

But surely if Jews as individuals or as a collective are denied the rights recognized for others, if individual Jews are denied the right to personal safety, and the Jewish collective is denied the right to provide itself security — is that not blatant Judeophobic discrimination?

If there is call for a unique and prejudicial standard to be applied to Jews alone — both as individuals and as a collective — then there is little choice but to conclude that what we are witnessing is not mere hypocrisy — but blatant anti-Semitism — little more than an expectation the Jews should in fact consent to die meekly.

It should be exposed as such — and treated accordingly.

Martin Sherman is the founder & executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies and served for seven years in operational capacities in Israel's intelligence community. Sherman lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees — B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance) and PhD in political science/international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and has authored two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971. Read Martin Sherman's Reports — More Here.

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MartinSherman
So, it seems that it is not that Israel's detractors do not recognize that states have a right to undertake actions that Israel has undertaken. It is just that that they feel that Israel should be denied that right!
John Brennan
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2020-22-11
Friday, 11 December 2020 10:22 AM
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