Meir Dagan remains a robust, bald-headed man with squinting eyes that peer out of narrow glasses. Ariel Sharon once said that Dagan’s specialty was severing an Arab’s head form his body. Dagan no longer comments on such epitaphs and turns his attention elsewhere. During his unprecedented eight-year term, he restored the agency’s prestige. Many of his efforts have proven highly significant including the assassination of Imad Moughniyet, Hevbollah’s notorious chief of operations, and the strike that stopped Syrian’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
And his hobbies? Dagan paints. Horses. Olive trees. An old man with his worry beads. Oil painting is his hobby. A man of contrasts, indeed!
Some years ago, I met and shook hands with Menahem Begin when he was Prime Minister. The moment felt electric, and I knew I was talking to a man who had the broadest possible grip on the pressing issues of state. Meir Dagan is of such a caliber.
In an recent interview in The Jerusalem Post, Dagan talked about his views developed from years in the military and working as the head of Israel’s finest espionage agency. Anymore interested in the Middle East will do well to consider his point of view. Meir Dagan loves his country and respects the struggle Israelis are facing. His perspective is worth considering.
In contrast to the current Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Defense, Meir Dagan is not for bombing Iran immediately . His opinions cover a wide range of possibiities. Here’s some what he thinks:
• Military action cannot disarm the core factor in Iranians nuclear quest. That factor is knowledge.
• Israel’s air force can make a significant strike, but the issue is the outcome of such an attack. It could produce an uprising of terrible proportions.
• Iran is not an Israeli problem. (Although their prime target would be Israel). Iran is an international problem that should be faced by the international community.
• The Iranian government is in a difficult position. Sanction are hurting and a new generation will not likely tolerate repressed civil rights that now exist. Time isn’t on their side.
Meir Dagan trusts the President of the United States to stand behind his pledge to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He maintains Israel should remain confident in that promise. Dagan is not saying that a military option should be taken off the table, but he is firmly maintaining that it should be the last option used.
Obviously, many citizens and soldiers within Israel would disagree with Dagan’s conclusions, but they would also highly respect them. Rather that opposing the Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Dagan is offering an alternative point of view with much to consider. He is promoting further debate and discussion. No one could ever doubt the fearlessness and courage of this warrior with a powerful history behind him. Dagan is challenging Israel (and us) to seek a better solution than bombs. His ideas are worthy of a second look.
Question: Does Meir Dagan’s argument give you any second thoughts?