Back in March 2010 when Gen. David Petraeus spoke out about the strategic costs to the US of the ‘special relationship’ with Israel and its role in fomenting anti-American sentiment, Mark Perry noted that this wasn’t the first time a senior US official was deviating from the prescribed view of the alliance. Long before Petraeus, Secretary of State George Marshall and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had both warned President Harry Truman against recognizing the nascent state of Israel. This sentiment has remained consistent among US strategists over the years, especially among military leaders, despite the best efforts of the Israel lobby. Institutions like JINSA were created specifically to cultivate sympathetic individuals in the higher reaches of the military brass. For the most part these efforts have failed: this is evidenced by the succession of CentCom and Joint Chiefs of Staff chiefs who have baulked at the prospect of attacking Iran. The newest chief of CentCom, Gen. James Mattis doesn’t have the independence of Admiral Fox Fallon but even he has been impelled to admit the burdens the ‘special relationship’ places on Israel. Amir Oren of Haaretz reports:
During an annual briefing Tuesday in the U.S. Congress, Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, head of the Central Command, issued a warning about a continued impasse in the Israel-Palestine conflict. He said that the political awakening in the Arab world has caused regimes in the region to be more attentive than ever to the emotions of their populations. The current stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians, he declared, cannot continue; what is needed is the renewal of an Israeli-Arab drive for peace based on a two-state solution. The non-resolution of the conflict, he added, exacts a “steep price” and complicates the activities of forces under his command.
Mattis’ remarks made a distinct impression on his listeners, particularly in view of the attitude of neglect demonstrated by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other top U.S. officials toward the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process. His comments are also significant in light of his manifestly sympathetic orientation toward the Israel Defense Forces. […]
In his comments, Mattis said that the issue of continuing stalemate on the Israel-Palestinian track comes up in almost every meeting he holds with key leaders in the region. “A peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will foster stable public support among our partners in the region for American initiatives,” Mattis claimed, “and it will reinforce regional cooperation.” He added that such an agreement would also hamper the efforts of extremist groups, saying: “Our obligation to future generations is to do our utmost to solve this vexing problem, which throws oil on the flames of extremist ideologies.”