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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of March 12 - 18, 2003

Opinion Columns

For $12 billion, hire Israel as an assassin

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Israel wants a fourfold increase in U.S. aid—from $3 billion a year to $12 billion, larger than last year’s entire U.S. foreign aid of $11.6 billion for all countries.

While Israel asks for an eye-bulging increase in funds, including help for its economy, President Bush tells governors pleading for a hand with their killer state budgets now $80 billion short, sorry, the cupboard is bare.

So, in return for record aid, why not ask Israel for something big in return for a change.

Let’s make a deal: like hiring Israel’s Mossad, the world’s acknowledged master in black bag jobs, to take out Saddam Hussein for the $12 billion.

This idea shouldn’t shock anyone.

Bush revived assassination as a tool of statecraft. The CIA also says it would take out Saddam, except it can’t figure how any better than it could get Cuba’s Castro.

But Israelis?

Mossad has assassinated terrorists not just in Israel’s back yard but across the globe. Time magazine a few years back profiled an Israeli stealth hit team identified as the "Tigers" that took out terrorists hiding in other countries.

Realistically, Israel is perfectly equipped for the job. Israeli agents can pass for Arabs. They speak Arabic. They know the neighborhood and culture, and could easily blend into Iraq’s teeming masses.

As for Arabs being outraged by an Israeli assassination of Saddam, Israel already is detested throughout Islam. The United States isn’t much better off because of its support of Israel. In time, however, Arab states threatened by Iraq would be grateful for Saddam’s demise, if it could be pulled off.

Israel has the benefit of not being especially concerned by world opinion or international law.

It shrugged off as a "tragic accident" its 1967 air and sea attack on the spy ship USS Liberty in international Mediterranean waters that killed 34 American seamen, notwithstanding findings to the contrary. Israel defied international law when its jets preemptively destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, much to private U.S. relief and unspoken satisfaction of nearby Arab states.

Israel told the United Nations to get lost when it wanted to investigate whether Israeli forces were committing genocide of Palestinians, and freely uses U.S. weaponry on civilian targets that would draw White House rebukes if other nations did the same.

It refuses any inspection of its nuclear weapons program, which U.S. intelligence suspects includes nuclear fuels stolen from American sources.

Israel periodically pleads for freedom of Jonathan Pollard, the imprisoned spy it recruited inside U.S. naval intelligence. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continues expanding Jewish settlements despite protests and U.N. resolutions.

Arguments for an Israeli assassin team in Iraq are irresistible.

If Saddam were assassinated, widespread bloodshed from a full-scale military attack would be avoided and hundreds of billions of dollars in war costs and reconstruction of Iraq would be spared.

Whereupon $12 billion in aid to Israel would seem like a bargain.


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