By Pat Buchanan
The prime minister of Israel is angry with Barack Obama and is coming here to force a hardening of U.S. policy toward Iran.
“Bibi” Netanyahu had his anger on display at a meeting in Israel with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
McCain emerged saying he had never seen an Israeli prime minister “that unhappy.” “He was angry,” said McCain. “I’ve never seen U.S.-Israel relations at this point.”
“The Israelis are unnerved,” said Graham. “They think the administration is sending the wrong signal, and so do I.”
What has so enraged Netanyahu? The Obama policy of tightening sanctions on Iran while holding out the opportunity for Tehran to negotiate and provide guarantees that its nuclear program is not aimed at an atomic bomb.
The U.S. intelligence community unanimously believes that Iran is some time away, perhaps years, from being able to produce a nuclear weapon and has not made the command decision to build one.
Israel retorts that Iran is entering a “zone of immunity,” when Israel will lack the ability to attack and abort Iran’s nuclear program, as new nuclear sites are being moved underground. Netanyahu’s government is also angry at what it sees as U.S. leaders’ distancing themselves from Israel.
When that fifth Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated and Tehran accused America and Israel of complicity, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the murder, leaving Israel as prime suspect.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta leaked to columnist David Ignatius that Israel might strike Iran in April, May or June, leaving no doubt as to who wants a war, while ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden openly disparages Israel’s capacity to cripple Iran’s nuclear sites: “They only have the ability to make this worse.”
Adm. William Fallon, who headed U.S. Central Command, has been categorical: “No one I am aware of thinks that there is a positive outcome from a military strike” on Iran.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey has called Iran a “rational actor” and told the Israelis that for them to attack Iran now would be “premature,” “destabilizing” and imprudent.
Netanyahu said that Dempsey’s remarks “served Iran” and the general was “unwilling to aid Israel.”
Like Panetta, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said he does not believe that Iran has decided to build a bomb, while National Security Adviser Tom Donilon spent three days in Israel, reportedly arguing against an Israeli attack.