U.S. has military plan should Iran conflict erupt, says Jewish air force chief
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
March 2, 2012
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz said Wednesday that Washington has prepared military options to strike Iran’s nuclear sites should conflict erupt, Bloomberg reported.
Just four days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, Schwartz told reporters that military options are being prepared in the event of a conflict.
“What we can do, you wouldn’t want to be in the area,” Bloomberg quoted Schwartz as telling reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
According to Bloomberg, which quoted Pentagon officials, some of the preparations include providing aerial refueling for Israel Air Force planes and attacking the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iranian military bases, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity since the plans are confidential.
Neither Bloomberg nor Haaretz chose to inform their readers, however, that General Schwartz may not be the most objective source. According to a June 2008 profile in the Jewish Daily Forward,
When he was a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the early 1970s, Norton Schwartz did not hide his religion under his blue-and-white uniform.
A member of the academy’s Jewish choir before graduating in 1973, according to one of his classmates, Schwartz has since risen up the ranks and on June 9 was appointed Air Force chief of staff by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
And from his profile in the Jewish Virtual Library, we learn:
General Schwartz, the first Jewish commander of the U.S. Air Force, travelled to Israel in July 2009 as a guest of Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan. General Schwartz’s trip kicked off a round of visits by senior Obama administration officials to Israel.
So, here we have an Israeli newspaper citing a report in an media outlet owned by a staunch Jewish supporter of Israel whose source is the first Jewish commander of the U.S. Air Force that makes the United States look complicit in an Israeli attack on Iran. Rather than taking the story at face value, people need to ask why this story appeared now, and whom does it benefit.
Update: A death notice in the New York Times for General Schwartz’s father reads:
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism mourns the passing of Simon Schwartz, International President of the United Synagogue from 1977-1981. During his many years of dedicated service to our organization, he demonstrated a firm commitment to Jewish education and to the State of Israel.
Like father, like son?
Update II: Reported the Jerusalem Post on July 22, 2009:
United States Air Force Commander Gen. Norton A. Schwartz held talks in Israel over the past week, defense officials said Wednesday. Schwartz, the first Jewish commander of the USAF, has been in Israel since Sunday as a guest of Israeli Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan. According to defense officials, Schwartz and Nehushtan discussed a wide-range of issues. Schwartz’s visit came on the heels of a similar visit Nehushtan made to the US last month. During his four-day visit, Schwartz met with Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and flew in an IAF Zufit reconnaissance plane. Nehushtan also gave Schwartz a helicopter tour of Israel’s borders and explained to him the different threats the country faces in the north and south. Schwartz’s trip to Israel kicks off a round of visits expected next week by senior Obama administration officials, including National Security Adviser James Jones, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and White House official Dennis Ross. Defense officials said that the talks with the officials would focus on a wide-range of topics including the recent political tension between Jerusalem and Washington over settlement construction but also in order to coordinate positions ahead of the dialogue the US plans to hold with Teheran. Nehushtan and Schwartz also discussed Israeli plans to purchase the F-35 stealth fighter jet. The Defense Ministry submitted an official Letter of Request for 25 aircraft earlier this month and plans to sign a contract with the USAF in the beginning of next year.