Documents reveal U.S. would not have accepted preemptive strike in '73
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 26 September 2009
Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren revealed in an article titled "Conceptual
Matter" in the 25 September Hebrew edition (the item is not as of this time
available in English) that American intelligence, up to the day that Egypt
and Syria invaded Israel on October 6, 1973 was certain that the Arabs
would not attack Israel.
Oren concludes that in light of this information, Prime Minister Golda Meir
was correct in her decision not to launch a preemptive strike when Israel
received warnings of the pending war.
The article can be found in Hebrew at:
Oren quotes from a report prepared by U.S. General Daniel Graham shortly
after the war that studied the failure of American intelligence to predict
the outbreak of the war. A similar study was carried out in Israel by the
Agranat Committee. It turns out that Graham identified the problem that
intelligence analysts failed to properly interpret information because of
their blind adherence to a "concept" well before the "concept" problem was
identified by the Agranat Committee.
Among the examples cited by Graham:
3 October 1973 DIA report: "The movement of forces in Syria and the military
preparations in Egypt are considered a coincidence and are not planned to
lead to a large attack."
6 October, 1973 CIA report: "There is increased mutual concern on the part
of Israel and the Arab states regarding the military activity of the other
side, but it appears that neither side intends to carry out an attack. From
the Egyptian standpoint, there is no great logic in a military initiative.
It is almost certain that an additional round will demolish Sadat's efforts
to advance the economy. Assad is generally careful, a military adventure
now would be suicidal, from his standpoint, and he himself says so."
In July 1973 a joint report by the CIA, DIA and the State Department
concluded that the "Egyptian ground forces are not prepared to cross the
canal in a large scale operation", and that the supply of SAM 6 ground to
air missiles "did not significantly increase the military strength of
Oren closes his article by noting cynically that last week DM Ehud Barak
said that a surprise like October 1973 won't be repeated.
"It is possible that he is correct," Oren warns, "that there won't be a new
edition of the same surprise. There will be a new surprise, a different
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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