Lately Israel has been the target of even more contentious arguments and disagreements than the excessively high level it normally occupies. Much of this stemmed from the Occupy Movement where Israel and Jews were brought forward as agents who were working against the general population and controlling much of the media, Wall Street, banks, businesses in general, much of the machinations of governments throughout the world, and the foreign policies of the most Western countries and the United States in particular. The rest has come out of the Republican Presidential Debates where it has been argued that Israel and those who support her have held an inordinate amount of sway over government policies, especially when the question is foreign aid to Israel and military support for Israel. Somewhere in the blizzard of new items concerning Israel, somebody put forth the idea that it would be a serious mistake and should never even be considered to send American soldiers to protect Israel. This is important now due to the distinct possibility that they may be involved in a war with Iran or any of the surrounding nations, all of which appear to be growing even more threatening towards Israel, as the continuing Arab nightmare vaults Islamist interests into positions of leadership in these countries. With this item getting some degree of discussion, perhaps the use of American troops in the defense of Israel past, present and future should be discussed and clarified.
We should initially look at the past in order to quantify the place the United States has held in Israeli history. Initially, President Harry Truman ignored the vast majority of his advisors, especially those from the State Department, when he instructed the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Warren Robinson Austin to vote favorably for United Nations Resolution 181 which would lead to the founding of the State of Israel. President Truman went the extra mile by recognizing the nascent Jewish State, Israel, immediately after David ben Gurion declared statehood. During the two years of war that ensued immediately after the declaration of Israeli statehood by numerous Arab countries including Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, the United States continued to enforce their arms embargo on Israel. Israel depended mostly upon France and Jews world-wide who smuggled arms and supplies to Israel, including some Americans. When Israel allied with France and Britain to free the Suez Canal after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had nationalized the waterway stating intent to deny the use of this vital route to Asia for non-Muslim European countries, President Dwight David Eisenhower not only continued the arms embargo on Israel, but also insisted that Israel immediately return the entirety of lands taken in their part of this military confrontation. This demand was made despite the fact that the closing of the Suez Canal from use by any country was considered to be a Casus belli for war by international laws, treaties and agreements. This had technically made the Israeli actions to be committed in a defensive act and not as an instigation of war, thus Israel easily could have claimed to retain the lands in question as the international rules of war at that time.
It was not until after the 1967 Six Day War that the United States altered their relationship with Israel. During the Six Day War the United States was still enforcing that very same arms embargo and Israel was critically dependent on France, Germany, and to some extent, England, for their weapons and resupplies. President Lyndon Baines Johnson was fully involved in managing the United States actions in Viet Nam and thus mostly ignored the conflict instigated by Egypt and Syria against Israel. Despite Jordan entering the war in response to requests and promises of sharing the spoils of victory extended by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Israel managed to defeat the combined armies of these three countries in six days and had taken control over the Golan Heights from Syria; Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; and Judea, Samaria, and Benyamin (aka West Bank) from Jordan. Impressed, perhaps even amazed, with the seeming ease with which Israel defeated its combined enemies in the six Day War, President Lyndon Baines Johnson made a tactical decision which was the beginning of the Israeli American close ties and military cooperation. Despite the new definition of Israel as a close and vital ally, when Israel was caught flatfooted by Egypt and Syria in 1973 and the onset of the Yam Kippur War, President Richard Milhouse Nixon, under advice from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger designed to make Israel feel vulnerable making future pressures more potent, delayed resupplying Israel with the munitions and other weapon systems to replace the rapidly depleted Israeli inventory until the situation became harmfully critical. Since then, most of the military aid given by the United States to Israel has been made with the proviso that Israel spend the vast majority on systems and armaments manufactured by the United States and that should Israel make modifications to such systems that the plans be made available to the United States if so desired by the United States.
Throughout all the conflicts between Israel and her enemies there has been one vital truth that needs mention, namely that never has Israel requested or expected the United States to supply troops to fight alongside the IDF in any capacity. Truth be told, Israel has actually insisted that American troops never be used and have stated they would refuse any offer by the United States to send soldiers to assist Israel in any conflict. The IDF in all its capabilities has, on occasion, trained in joint training exercises. These training exercises have been held in the United States, Israel, and other allied countries of the United States. In the spirit of complete honesty, yes, there have been soldiers from the United States military who have fought as part of the IDF in the past. Every case of such has not been done as assignments of the military commanders of the United States. In every case the people in question have either been retired from the military of the United States, taken a leave in order to assist Israel (usually having to deny that their leave was taken to facilitate their joining in the IDF defense of Israel and such denials have been blindly accepted in every case I am familiar with), or resigned from their service in the militaries of the United States to join the IDF. The most famous of these people was Colonel David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus who served in the IDF during the 1948 Israeli War for Independence. Colonel Marcus became the first Commanding General of the IDF and died in a friendly fire incident as he approached a sentry at night and was shot suspicious that he may have been attempting to infiltrate the IDF positions. The sentry spoke no English and Colonel Marcus spoke no Hebrew which was the root of the misidentification. His story is the theme of the 1966 movie “Cast a Giant Shadow”.
Currently, there exists a squad of American troops in Israel at the insistence of the United States. These troops are manning a highly advanced X-band radar system, also known as an AN/TPY2, which is a powerful phased array radar that is designed to track ballistic missiles through space and provide ground-based missiles with the targeting data needed to intercept them. The United States refused to allow the Israelis to operate the system as it is considered to be a highly secret system which the United States did not wish to allow the Israelis to have access which may lead to their reverse engineering of this advanced and highly technical system. Israel was, obviously, ready, willing, and claimed able to operate this radar system but the United States insisted that the IDF not have access to the unit and provided American personnel to man the radar. These radar operators are not to be used for any combat mission beyond caring and operating the X-band radar system.
The fact is that Israel has not only never requested that the United States or any other country send their soldiers to assist Israel in any manner for her defense. Israel has demanded that nobody who is not an Israeli be made to fight for Israel and that she will fight her own battles. Yes, Israel will ask for aid in the supply and arming of the IDF and has made urgent pleas a small number of times when the Israeli logistics was found to be lacking the necessary depth necessary to meet the resupply demands during times of conflict. The reason for such need becomes evident when one remembers that Israel is barely larger than the state of New Jersey yet has been forced to fight wars on a far larger scale. This is necessitated as Israel exists surrounded by existential enemies sworn to the destruction of the Jewish State and the whole-scale slaughter of her Jewish citizens should they ever lose just one conflict. The fact that Israel has not asked for and has honestly and forcefully refused to accept having soldiers from other countries assist in defending against whatever the odds or the size and scope of the forces which have unified intending their wholesale slaughter is beyond belief, but it is the truth and will always remain truth. Whenever anybody claims that the United States must never send American troops into harm’s way in the defense of Israel, know that they are constructing a strawman argument and are knowingly lying in order to grandstand at Israel’s expense. They are offering their insistence of not getting involved in an Israeli war simply to play on people’s fear of sending our troops into such danger despite the fact such a situation will never ever come to fruition. Those making such arguments need to be outed for the use of a lie that borders on being a blood libel against Israel by implying that there exists an Israeli expectation for others to fight their battles for them. Such has never been and will never be the case. Where Israel may ask for assistance, it would be limited to addressing the situation which presented a threat to more than merely Israel. Such a case is the Iranian nuclear weapons program. But there are those who believe, or at least will claim, that the Iranian nuclear bomb would solely be a threat to Israel and that Iran has no other targets in mind. That is why Iran is working so diligently to produce missiles that are able to carry a warhead to any point on the globe and not limiting their designs on being able to target only Israel.
Beyond the Cusp