Jul
16
2014

PBS 'Expert' Speaks for Both Sides, but Advocates 'Excessive Force' Against One Side

Anthony Cordesman on NewsHour

Anthony Cordesman, advocate of "excessive force" for Palestinians

PBS NewsHour (7/12/14) wanted to "put the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in a broader context," so it invited Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to consider possible policy options for "both sides."

The problem is that Cordesman is on the record as advocating the option of brutality against Palestinian civilians. Back in 2000, Cordesman authored a CSIS report–condemned at the time by an Amnesty International spokesperson–that recommended "excessive force" to control Palestinians and ensure the implementation of a potential peace agreement (Extra!, 1/01).

In this report, Cordesman grimly elaborated what  "excessive force" consists of:

Effective counter-terrorism relies on interrogation methods that border on psychological and/or physical torture, arrests and detentions that are "arbitrary" by the standards of civil law, break-ins and intelligence operations that violate the normal rights of privacy, levels of violence in making arrests that are unacceptable in civil cases, and measures that involve the innocent (or at least not provably guilty) in arrests and penalties.

Cordesman hasn't changed much since his 2000 CSIS report, based on his PBS appearance. He had a wide range of recommendations for the Israeli side–all involving military force–while claiming that Hamas' options were "very limited."

As an option for Israel, Cordesman suggested that Israel could simply continue their current airstrike campaign against Gaza, because they have the power and capability to do so. He also suggested a "ground offensive," saying that Israel could "try to take control of populated areas, which would mean a lot more fighting but give them direct control over the government, the structure inside Gaza." He noted that it would take a "considerable amount of time" to control the population.

Toward the end of the NewsHour segment, Cordesman acknowledged that "every round of fighting does more damage to the Palestinians in Gaza." But, he said, "the problem with stopping is they [Israel] probably have not really intimidated Hamas to make it stop for a long period of time." This encouragement of "damage" to the Gaza population for the purposes of "intimidat[ing] Hamas" is exactly what you should expect when you bring on advocate of  "excessive force" against Palestinians and "methods that border on psychological and/or physical torture."

Aldo Guerrero is a FAIR intern.