04-16-2003, 08:43 PM
THE ABOVE POST'S ARTICLES IN DETAIL:
March 24, 2003 issue
Copyright © 2003 The American Conservative
A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America's interest.
by Patrick J. Buchanan
The War Party may have gotten its war. But it has also gotten something it did not bargain for. Its membership lists and associations have been exposed and its motives challenged. In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: "Can you assure American viewers ...that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?"
Suddenly, the Israeli connection is on the table, and the War Party is not amused. Finding themselves in an unanticipated firefight, our neoconservative friends are doing what comes naturally, seeking student deferments from political combat by claiming the status of a persecuted minority group. People who claim to be writing the foreign policy of the world superpower, one would think, would be a little more manly in the schoolyard of politics. Not so.
Former Wall Street Journal editor Max Boot kicked off the campaign. When these "Buchananites toss around 'neoconservative'- and cite names like Wolfowitz and Cohen—it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is 'Jewish conservative.'" Yet Boot readily concedes that a passionate attachment to Israel is a "key tenet of neoconservatism." He also claims that the National Security Strategy of President Bush "sounds as if it could have come straight out from the pages of Commentary magazine, the neocon bible." (For the uninitiated, Commentary, the bible in which Boot seeks divine guidance, is the monthly of the American Jewish Committee.)
David Brooks of the Weekly Standard wails that attacks based on the Israel tie have put him through personal hell: "Now I get a steady stream of anti-Semitic screeds in my e-mail, my voicemail and in my mailbox. ... Anti-Semitism is alive and thriving. It's just that its epicenter is no longer on the Buchananite Right, but on the peace-movement left."
Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan endures his own purgatory abroad: "In London ... one finds Britain's finest minds propounding, in sophisticated language and melodious Oxbridge accents, the conspiracy theories of Pat Buchanan concerning the 'neoconservative' (read: Jewish) hijacking of American foreign policy."
Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic charges that our little magazine "has been transformed into a forum for those who contend that President Bush has become a client of ... Ariel Sharon and the 'neoconservative war party.'"
Referencing Charles Lindbergh, he accuses Paul Schroeder, Chris Matthews, Robert Novak, Georgie Anne Geyer, Jason Vest of the Nation, and Gary Hart of implying that "members of the Bush team have been doing Israel's bidding and, by extension, exhibiting 'dual loyalties.'" Kaplan thunders:
The real problem with such claims is not just that they are untrue. The problem is that they are toxic. Invoking the specter of dual loyalty to mute criticism and debate amounts to more than the everyday pollution of public discourse. It is the nullification of public discourse, for how can one refute accusations grounded in ethnicity? The charges are, ipso facto, impossible to disprove. And so they are meant to be.
What is going on here? Slate's Mickey Kaus nails it in the headline of his retort: "Lawrence Kaplan Plays the Anti-Semitic Card."
What Kaplan, Brooks, Boot, and Kagan are doing is what the Rev. Jesse Jackson does when caught with some mammoth contribution from a Fortune 500 company he has lately accused of discriminating. He plays the race card. So, too, the neoconservatives are trying to fend off critics by assassinating their character and impugning their motives.
Indeed, it is the charge of "anti-Semitism" itself that is toxic. For this venerable slander is designed to nullify public discourse by smearing and intimidating foes and censoring and blacklisting them and any who would publish them. Neocons say we attack them because they are Jewish. We do not. We attack them because their warmongering threatens our country, even as it finds a reliable echo in Ariel Sharon.
And this time the boys have cried "wolf" once too often. It is not working. As Kaus notes, Kaplan’s own New Republic carries Harvard professor Stanley Hoffman. In writing of the four power centers in this capital that are clamoring for war, Hoffman himself describes the fourth thus:
And, finally, there is a loose collection of friends of Israel, who believe in the identity of interests between the Jewish state and the United States. … These analysts look on foreign policy through the lens of one dominant concern: Is it good or bad for Israel? Since that nation’s founding in 1948, these thinkers have never been in very good odor at the State Department, but now they are well ensconced in the Pentagon, around such strategists as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.
"If Stanley Hoffman can say this," asks Kaus, "why can't Chris Matthews?" Kaus also notes that Kaplan somehow failed to mention the most devastating piece tying the neoconservatives to Sharon and his Likud Party.
In a Feb. 9 front-page article in the Washington Post, Robert Kaiser quotes a senior U.S. official as saying, "The Likudniks are really in charge now." Kaiser names Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith as members of a pro-Israel network inside the administration and adds David Wurmser of the Defense Department and Elliott Abrams of the National Security Council. (Abrams is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, editor emeritus of Commentary, whose magazine has for decades branded critics of Israel as anti-Semites.)
Noting that Sharon repeatedly claims a "special closeness" to the Bushites, Kaiser writes, "For the first time a U.S. administration and a Likud government are pursuing nearly identical policies." And a valid question is: how did this come to be, and while it is surely in Sharon's interest, is it in America's interest?
This is a time for truth. For America is about to make a momentous decision: whether to launch a series of wars in the Middle East that could ignite the Clash of Civilizations against which Harvard professor Samuel Huntington has warned, a war we believe would be a tragedy and a disaster for this Republic. To avert this war, to answer the neocon smears, we ask that our readers review their agenda as stated in their words. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. As Al Smith used to say, "Nothing un-American can live in the sunlight."
We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America's interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people's right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.
Not in our lifetimes has America been so isolated from old friends. Far worse, President Bush is being lured into a trap baited for him by these neocons that could cost him his office and cause America to forfeit years of peace won for us by the sacrifices of two generations in the Cold War.
They charge us with anti-Semitism—i.e., a hatred of Jews for their faith, heritage, or ancestry. False. The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a "passionate attachment" to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what's good for Israel is good for America.
Who are the neoconservatives? The first generation were ex-liberals, socialists, and Trotskyites, boat-people from the McGovern revolution who rafted over to the GOP at the end of conservatism's long march to power with Ronald Reagan in 1980.
A neoconservative, wrote Kevin Phillips back then, is more likely to be a magazine editor than a bricklayer. Today, he or she is more likely to be a resident scholar at a public policy institute such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) or one of its clones like the Center for Security Policy or the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). As one wag writes, a neocon is more familiar with the inside of a think tank than an Abrams tank.
Almost none came out of the business world or military, and few if any came out of the Goldwater campaign. The heroes they invoke are Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, Martin Luther King, and Democratic Senators Henry "Scoop" Jackson (Wash.) and Pat Moynihan (N.Y.).
All are interventionists who regard Stakhanovite support of Israel as a defining characteristic of their breed. Among their luminaries are Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett, Michael Novak, and James Q. Wilson.
Their publications include the Weekly Standard, Commentary, the New Republic, National Review, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Though few in number, they wield disproportionate power through control of the conservative foundations and magazines, through their syndicated columns, and by attaching themselves to men of power.
Beating the War Drums
When the Cold War ended, these neoconservatives began casting about for a new crusade to give meaning to their lives. On Sept. 11, their time came. They seized on that horrific atrocity to steer America's rage into all-out war to destroy their despised enemies, the Arab and Islamic "rogue states" that have resisted U.S. hegemony and loathe Israel.
The War Party's plan, however, had been in preparation far in advance of 9/11. And when President Bush, after defeating the Taliban, was looking for a new front in the war on terror, they put their precooked meal in front of him. Bush dug into it.
Before introducing the script-writers of America's future wars, consider the rapid and synchronized reaction of the neocons to what happened after that fateful day.
On Sept. 12, Americans were still in shock when Bill Bennett told CNN that we were in "a struggle between good and evil," that the Congress must declare war on "militant Islam," and that "overwhelming force" must be used. Bennett cited Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and China as targets for attack. Not, however, Afghanistan, the sanctuary of Osama's terrorists. How did Bennett know which nations must be smashed before he had any idea who attacked us?
The Wall Street Journal immediately offered up a specific target list, calling for U.S. air strikes on "terrorist camps in Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Algeria, and perhaps even in parts of Egypt." Yet, not one of Bennett's six countries, nor one of these five, had anything to do with 9/11.
On Sept. 15, according to Bob Woodward's Bush at War, "Paul Wolfowitz put forth military arguments to justify a U.S. attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan." Why Iraq? Because, Wolfowitz argued in the War Cabinet, while "attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain ... Iraq was a brittle oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable."
On Sept. 20, forty neoconservatives sent an open letter to the White House instructing President Bush on how the war on terror must be conducted. Signed by Bennett, Podhoretz, Kirkpatrick, Perle, Kristol, and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, the letter was an ultimatum. To retain the signers' support, the president was told, he must target Hezbollah for destruction, retaliate against Syria and Iran if they refuse to sever ties to Hezbollah, and overthrow Saddam. Any failure to attack Iraq, the signers warned Bush, "will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism."
Here was a cabal of intellectuals telling the Commander-in-Chief, nine days after an attack on America, that if he did not follow their war plans, he would be charged with surrendering to terror. Yet, Hezbollah had nothing to do with 9/11. What had Hezbollah done? Hezbollah had humiliated Israel by driving its army out of Lebanon.
President Bush had been warned. He was to exploit the attack of 9/11 to launch a series of wars on Arab regimes, none of which had attacked us. All, however, were enemies of Israel. "Bibi" Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister of Israel, like some latter-day Citizen Genet, was ubiquitous on American television, calling for us to crush the "Empire of Terror." The "Empire," it turns out, consisted of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, and "the Palestinian enclave."
Nasty as some of these regimes and groups might be, what had they done to the United States?
The War Party seemed desperate to get a Middle East war going before America had second thoughts. Tom Donnelly of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) called for an immediate invasion of Iraq. "Nor need the attack await the deployment of half a million troops. ... [T]he larger challenge will be occupying Iraq after the fighting is over," he wrote.
Donnelly was echoed by Jonah Goldberg of National Review: "The United States needs to go to war with Iraq because it needs to go to war with someone in the region and Iraq makes the most sense."
Goldberg endorsed "the Ledeen Doctrine" of ex-Pentagon official Michael Ledeen, which Goldberg described thus: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business." (When the French ambassador in London, at a dinner party, asked why we should risk World War III over some "shitty little country" - meaning Israel - Goldberg's magazine was not amused.)
Ledeen, however, is less frivolous. In The War Against the Terror Masters, he identifies the exact regimes America must destroy:
First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia. ...Once the tyrants in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have been brought down, we will remain engaged. ...We have to ensure the fulfillment of the democratic revolution. ...Stability is an unworthy American mission, and a misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize.
Rejecting stability as "an unworthy American mission," Ledeen goes on to define America's authentic "historic mission":
Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. ... [W]e must destroy them to advance our historic mission.
Passages like this owe more to Leon Trotsky than to Robert Taft and betray a Jacobin streak in neoconservatism that cannot be reconciled with any concept of true conservatism.
To the Weekly Standard, Ledeen's enemies list was too restrictive. We must not only declare war on terror networks and states that harbor terrorists, said the Standard, we should launch wars on "any group or government inclined to support or sustain others like them in the future."
Robert Kagan and William Kristol were giddy with excitement at the prospect of Armageddon. The coming war "is going to spread and engulf a number of countries. ...It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid. ...[I]t is possible that the demise of some 'moderate' Arab regimes may be just round the corner."
Norman Podhoretz in Commentary even outdid Kristol's Standard, rhapsodizing that we should embrace a war of civilizations, as it is George W. Bush's mission "to fight World War IV—the war against militant Islam." By his count, the regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil (Iraq, Iran, North Korea). At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as "friends" of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority. Bush must reject the "timorous counsels" of the "incorrigibly cautious Colin Powell," wrote Podhoretz, and "find the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated" Islamic world. As the war against al-Qaeda required that we destroy the Taliban, Podhoretz wrote,
"We may willy-nilly find ourselves forced ...to topple five or six or seven more tyrannies in the Islamic world (including that other sponsor of terrorism, Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority). I can even [imagine] the turmoil of this war leading to some new species of an imperial mission for America, whose purpose would be to oversee the emergence of successor governments in the region more amenable to reform and modernization than the despotisms now in place. ...I can also envisage the establishment of some kind of American protectorate over the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, as we more and more come to wonder why 7,000 princes should go on being permitted to exert so much leverage over us and everyone else."
Podhoretz credits Eliot Cohen with the phrase "World War IV." Bush was shortly thereafter seen carrying about a gift copy of Cohen's book that celebrates civilian mastery of the military in times of war, as exhibited by such leaders as Winston Churchill and David Ben Gurion.
A list of the Middle East regimes that Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Netanyahu, and the Wall Street Journal regard as targets for destruction thus includes Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and "militant Islam."
Cui Bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam?
Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.
Indeed, Sharon has been everywhere the echo of his acolytes in America. In February 2003, Sharon told a delegation of Congressmen that, after Saddam's regime is destroyed, it is of "vital importance" that the United States disarm Iran, Syria, and Libya.
"We have a great interest in shaping the Middle East the day after" the war on Iraq, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations. After U.S. troops enter Baghdad, the United States must generate "political, economic, diplomatic pressure" on Tehran, Mofaz admonished the American Jews.
Are the neoconservatives concerned about a war on Iraq bringing down friendly Arab governments? Not at all. They would welcome it.
"Mubarak is no great shakes," says Richard Perle of the President of Egypt. "Surely we can do better than Mubarak." Asked about the possibility that a war on Iraq - which he predicted would be a "cakewalk" - might upend governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, former UN ambassador Ken Adelman told Joshua Micah Marshall of Washington Monthly, "All the better if you ask me."
On July 10, 2002, Perle invited a former aide to Lyndon LaRouche named Laurent Murawiec to address the Defense Policy Board. In a briefing that startled Henry Kissinger, Murawiec named Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" of the United States.
Washington should give Riyadh an ultimatum, he said. Either you Saudis "prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror chain, including the Saudi intelligence services," and end all propaganda against Israel, or we invade your country, seize your oil fields, and occupy Mecca.
In closing his PowerPoint presentation, Murawiec offered a "Grand Strategy for the Middle East." "Iraq is the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot, Egypt the prize." Leaked reports of Murawiec's briefing did not indicate if anyone raised the question of how the Islamic world might respond to U.S. troops tramping around the grounds of the Great Mosque.
What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel. They want the peace of the sword imposed on Islam and American soldiers to die if necessary to impose it.
Washington Times editor at large Arnaud de Borchgrave calls this the "Bush-Sharon Doctrine." "Washington's 'Likudniks,'" he writes, "have been in charge of U.S. policy in the Middle East since Bush was sworn into office."
The neocons seek American empire, and Sharonites seek hegemony over the Middle East. The two agendas coincide precisely. And though neocons insist that it was Sept. 11 that made the case for war on Iraq and militant Islam, the origins of their war plans go back far before.
"Securing the Realm"
The principal draftsman is Richard Perle, an aide to Sen. Scoop Jackson, who, in 1970, was overheard on a federal wiretap discussing classified information from the National Security Council with the Israeli Embassy. In Jews and American Politics, published in 1974, Stephen D. Isaacs wrote, "Richard Perle and Morris Amitay command a tiny army of Semitophiles on Capitol Hill and direct Jewish power in behalf of Jewish interests." In 1983, the New York Times reported that Perle had taken substantial payments from an Israeli weapons manufacturer.
In 1996, with Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, Perle wrote "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," for Prime Minister Netanyahu. In it, Perle, Feith, and Wurmser urged Bibi to ditch the Oslo Accords of the assassinated Yitzak Rabin and adopt a new aggressive strategy:
Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq.
In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel's enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad. Their plan, which urged Israel to re-establish "the principle of preemption," has now been imposed by Perle, Feith, Wurmser & Co. on the United States.
In his own 1997 paper, "A Strategy for Israel," Feith pressed Israel to re-occupy "the areas under Palestinian Authority control," though "the price in blood would be high."
Wurmser, as a resident scholar at AEI, drafted joint war plans for Israel and the United States "to fatally strike the centers of radicalism in the Middle East. Israel and the United States should ...broaden the conflict to strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the region - the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tehran, and Gaza. That would establish the recognition that fighting either the United States or Israel is suicidal."
He urged both nations to be on the lookout for a crisis, for as he wrote, "Crises can be opportunities." Wurmser published his U.S.-Israeli war plan on Jan. 1, 2001, nine months before 9/11.
About the Perle-Feith-Wurmser cabal, author Michael Lind writes:
The radical Zionist right to which Perle and Feith belong is small in number but it has become a significant force in Republican policy-making circles. It is a recent phenomenon, dating back to the late 1970s and 1980s, when many formerly Democratic Jewish intellectuals joined the broad Reagan coalition. While many of these hawks speak in public about global crusades for democracy, the chief concern of many such "neo-conservatives" is the power and reputation of Israel.
Right down the smokestack.
Perle today chairs the Defense Policy Board, Feith is an Undersecretary of Defense, and Wurmser is special assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, John Bolton, who dutifully echoes the Perle-Sharon line. According to the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz, in late February,
U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials ...that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards.
On Jan. 26, 1998, President Clinton received a letter imploring him to use his State of the Union address to make removal of Saddam Hussein's regime the "aim of American foreign policy" and to use military action because "diplomacy is failing." Were Clinton to do that, the signers pledged, they would "offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor." Signing the pledge were Elliott Abrams, Bill Bennett, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz. Four years before 9/11, the neocons had Baghdad on their minds.
The Wolfowitz Doctrine
In 1992, a startling document was leaked from the office of Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon. Barton Gellman of the Washington Post called it a "classified blueprint intended to help 'set the nation's direction for the next century.'" The Wolfowitz Memo called for a permanent U.S. military presence on six continents to deter all "potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." Containment, the victorious strategy of the Cold War, was to give way to an ambitious new strategy designed to "establish and protect a new order."
Though the Wolfowitz Memo was denounced and dismissed in 1992, it became American policy in the 33-page National Security Strategy (NSS) issued by President Bush on Sept. 21, 2002. Washington Post reporter Tim Reich describes it as a "watershed in U.S. foreign policy" that "reverses the fundamental principles that have guided successive Presidents for more than 50 years: containment and deterrence."
Andrew Bacevich, a professor at Boston University, writes of the NSS that he marvels at "its fusion of breathtaking utopianism with barely disguised machtpolitik. It reads as if it were the product not of sober, ostensibly conservative Republicans but of an unlikely collaboration between Woodrow Wilson and the elder Field Marshal von Moltke."
In confronting America's adversaries, the paper declares, "We will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively." It warns any nation that seeks to acquire power to rival the United States that it will be courting war with the United States:
[T]he president has no intention of allowing any nation to catch up with the huge lead the United States has opened since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago. ...Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing or equaling the power of the United States.
America must reconcile herself to an era of "nation-building on a grand scale, and with no exit strategy," Robert Kagan instructs. But this Pax Americana the neocons envision bids fair to usher us into a time of what Harry Elmer Barnes called "permanent war for permanent peace."
The Munich Card
As President Bush was warned on Sept. 20, 2001, that he will be indicted for "a decisive surrender" in the war on terror should he fail to attack Iraq, he is also on notice that pressure on Israel is forbidden. For as the neoconservatives have played the anti-Semitic card, they will not hesitate to play the Munich card as well. A year ago, when Bush called on Sharon to pull out of the West Bank, Sharon fired back that he would not let anyone do to Israel what Neville Chamberlain had done to the Czechs. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy immediately backed up Ariel Sharon:
With each passing day, Washington appears to view its principal Middle Eastern ally's conduct as inconvenient - in much the same way London and Paris came to see Czechoslovakia’s resistance to Hitler's offers of peace in exchange for Czech lands.
When former U.S. NATO commander Gen. George Jouwlan said the United States may have to impose a peace on Israel and the Palestinians, he, too, faced the charge of appeasement. Wrote Gaffney,
They would, presumably, go beyond Britain and France's sell-out of an ally at Munich in 1938. The "impose a peace" school is apparently prepared to have us play the role of Hitler’s Wehrmacht as well, seizing and turning over to Yasser Arafat the contemporary Sudetenland: the West Bank and Gaza Strip and perhaps part of Jerusalem as well.
Podhoretz agreed Sharon was right in the substance of what he said but called it politically unwise to use the Munich analogy.
President Bush is on notice: Should he pressure Israel to trade land for peace, the Oslo formula in which his father and Yitzak Rabin believed, he will, as was his father, be denounced as an anti-Semite and a Munich-style appeaser by both Israelis and their neoconservatives allies inside his own Big Tent.
Yet, if Bush cannot deliver Sharon there can be no peace. And if there is no peace in the Mideast there is no security for us, ever - for there will be no end to terror. As most every diplomat and journalist who travels to the region will relate, America's failure to be even-handed, our failure to rein in Sharon, our failure to condemn Israel's excesses, and our moral complicity in Israel's looting of Palestinian lands and denial of their right to self-determination sustains the anti-Americanism in the Islamic world in which terrorists and terrorism breed.
Let us conclude. The Israeli people are America's friends and have a right to peace and secure borders. We should help them secure these rights. As a nation, we have made a moral commitment, endorsed by half a dozen presidents, which Americans wish to honor, not to permit these people who have suffered much to see their country overrun and destroyed. And we must honor this commitment.
But U.S. and Israeli interests are not identical. They often collide, and when they do, U.S. interests must prevail. Moreover, we do not view the Sharon regime as "America’s best friend."
Since the time of Ben Gurion, the behavior of the Israeli regime has been Jekyll and Hyde. In the 1950s, its intelligence service, the Mossad, had agents in Egypt blow up U.S. installations to make it appear the work of Cairo, to destroy U.S. relations with the new Nasser government. During the Six Day War, Israel ordered repeated attacks on the undefended USS Liberty that killed 34 American sailors and wounded 171 and included the machine-gunning of life rafts. This massacre was neither investigated nor punished by the U.S. government in an act of national cravenness.
Though we have given Israel $20,000 for every Jewish citizen, Israel refuses to stop building the settlements that are the cause of the Palestinian intifada. Likud has dragged our good name through the mud and blood of Ramallah, ignored Bush’s requests to restrain itself, and sold U.S. weapons technology to China, including the Patriot, the Phoenix air-to-air missile, and the Lavi fighter, which is based on F-16 technology. Only direct U.S. intervention blocked Israel's sale of our AWACS system.
Israel suborned Jonathan Pollard to loot our secrets and refuses to return the documents, which would establish whether or not they were sold to Moscow. When Clinton tried to broker an agreement at Wye Plantation between Israel and Arafat, Bibi Netanyahu attempted to extort, as his price for signing, release of Pollard, so he could take this treasonous snake back to Israel as a national hero.
Do the Brits, our closest allies, behave like this?
Though we have said repeatedly that we admire much of what this president has done, he will not deserve re-election if he does not jettison the neoconservatives’ agenda of endless wars on the Islamic world that serve only the interests of a country other than the one he was elected to preserve and protect.
March 24, 2003 issue
Copyright © 2003 The American Conservative
Wednesday, Feb. 05, 2003
How Israel Is Wrapped Up in Iraq
Joe Klein contends that a stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for war with Iraq
By JOE KLEIN
In his State of the Union message, President Bush devoted only a single, lapidary sentence to the most nagging of all foreign policy dilemmas: "In the Middle East, we will continue to seek peace between a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine." This was both appropriate and misleading. It was appropriate because the Bush Administration hasn't done very much to bring about peace in the Middle East; in fact, it has allowed a bad situation to grow worse. And it was misleading because a stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for war with Iraq. It is a part of the argument that dare not speak its name, a fantasy quietly cherished by the neo-conservative faction in the Bush Administration and by many leaders of the American Jewish community.
The fantasy involves a domino theory. The destruction of Saddam's Iraq will not only remove an enemy of long-standing but will also change the basic power equation in the region. It will send a message to Syria and Iran about the perils of support for Islamic terrorists. It will send a message to the Palestinians too: Democratize and make peace on Israeli terms, or forget about a state of your own. In the wackiest scenario, it will lead to the collapse of the wobbly Hashemite monarchy in Jordan and the establishment of a Palestinian state on that nation's East Bank. No one in the government ever actually says these things publicly (although some American Jewish leaders do). Usually, the dream is expressed in the mildest possible terms: "I have high hopes that the removal of Saddam will strengthen our democratic allies in the region," Senator Joe Lieberman told me last week. He may be right. But there is also a chance that the exact opposite will happen, that war will nourish the Arab mirror fantasy: the fantasy of martyrdom, and a continuing romantic struggle that will only end when "Zionists and Crusaders" are once more expelled from the Holy Land.
In service of the neoconservative fantasy — and of the Likud government, which was handily re-elected last week — the Bush Administration has been dangerously out of touch in the Middle East. The standard term of art for what America should be doing is "engagement," a euphemism suggesting that we twist Ariel Sharon's arm. But effective diplomacy entails the twisting of all available arms, and Lieberman faults the White House for not pressuring the fatuous Europeans and deceitful Arabs "to get the Palestinian leadership to stop the terror." Indeed, the Middle East mess starts with the Arabs, with their state-fed spew of anti-Jewish hatred, with their funding of terrorism, with their unwillingness to recognize Israel's right to exist. Their intransigence has caused the hardening of Israel's heart. There was a moment last year, after the Saudis proposed a peace plan — the return of the occupied territories in return for recognition from the Arabs — when American pressure on the Arabs might have led to real Arab pressure on the Palestinians. But America had to be willing to sit on the Israelis as well, and the Bush Administration has been quite unwilling to do that.
There are moral, ideological and political arguments for Bush's reluctance to "engage." The moral argument is simple, strong and simplistic: Yasser Arafat is an evildoer who has never intended to make peace. He winks at terrorism; he tries to purchase arms from the Iranians. He flirts with peace, then flees. The ideological argument has the subtlety of a punch in the nose: it is based in the Sharon-Likud conceit that Arabs "only understand" strength. This has a certain resonance with tough guys like Rumsfeld and Cheney. America's Likudnik tilt has empowered the Sharon government to preside over a dramatic increase in illegal — that is, unapproved — West Bank settlements: 70 new outposts in Palestinian areas, many of them tended by religious extremists. Palestinians regard these settlements about the same way as Israelis do suicide bombers. As for the political argument, well, it's ... Florida. Specifically, Palm Beach County, where the Karl Roveian hope is that all those perplexed elderly Jewish Pat Buchanan voters will butterfly over to the Republican column in 2004. "The President's policy has earned him wide respect in the Jewish community," a religious leader told me.
The maddening thing is, the outlines of a Middle East peace are obvious: Israelis abandon most of the settlements; Palestinians abandon the right of return. A neighborhood in East Jerusalem is declared the capital of Palestine; the religious sites are put under international jurisdiction. Vast majorities of Jews and Arabs support this deal. The notion that war will somehow speed along a better one assumes the Palestinians will somehow change their minds about real statehood. They won't. The only other alternative for Israel is more of the same: more violence, a collapsing economy, a larger and ever more vehement Arab population. George W. Bush should make that clear before he takes another step toward war.
What Bush Isn't Saying About Iraq
President Bush won't discuss two big reasons he wants to invade Iraq.
By Michael Kinsley
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2002, at 12:40 PM PT
So, why exactly is Iraq different from North Korea? Both are founding members of President Bush's "axis of evil," and both deserve that honor. North Korea has now admitted to a nuclear weapons development program on about the same timeline as what we only suspect about Iraq. So, why are we barely complaining in one case and off to war in the other?
Bush addressed this conundrum the other day. "Saddam Hussein is unique," he explained. "He has thumbed his nose at the world for 11 years … and for 11 years he has said, 'No, I refuse to disarm.' " The North Koreans, by contrast, said, "Yes, we will disarm"—they promised to stop building nukes in exchange for help in developing peaceful nuclear power—and then they didn't do it. I guess that's a difference, but it sounds as if we're punishing Saddam for his honesty.
Bush's public case for going to war against Iraq is full of logical inconsistencies, exaggerations, and outright lies. It reeks of ex-post-facto: First came the desire, and then came the reasons. But this raises a troubling question, especially for opponents of Bush's policy: If his ostensible reasons are unpersuasive even to him, what are his real reasons? There must be some: Nobody starts a war as a lark. It would be easier to dismiss the whole exercise if there were an obvious ulterior motive. Without one, you are left wondering, "Am I missing something?"
Tariq Aziz has a theory. Saddam Hussein's deputy told the New York Times this week, "The reason for this warmongering policy toward Iraq is oil and Israel." Although no one wishes to agree with Tariq Aziz, he has put succinctly what many people in Washington apparently believe. They do not think the concern over potential use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is negligible or insincere, but they do think that "oil and Israel" is a pretty good summary of what, for President Bush, makes Iraq different from your run-of-the-mill evil dictatorship. Yet this presumption about Bush, and these issues themselves, barely appear in the flood of speculation and argument about Bush War II.
"President Bush" is, of course, a metaphor. Much Washington political commentary and analysis is basically a discussion of what or whom the term "President Bush" is a metaphor for. Is it Karl Rove? Is it still Karen Hughes, although she has decamped? Even more than most presidents, Bush is regarded as the sum total of his advisers. Regarding Iraq, the advisers themselves are also used as metaphors, often in plural to signify a stereotype. "The Cheneys and the Rumsfelds" evokes a retro world of confident white CEOs in suits, oil barons, and the military industrial complex. "The Wolfowitzes and the Richard Perles" evokes—well, you know what it evokes.
The idea that oil is a factor in official thinking about Iraq shouldn't even be controversial. Protecting oil supplies from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was an explicit—though disingenuously underemphasized—reason for Bush War I. After all, we couldn't claim to be fighting to restore democracy to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, let alone Iraq. This time around, the fact that Bush and Cheney are both oil men is suggestive, but the implication is not clear. A war to topple Saddam will raise oil prices in the short run but probably lower them in the longer run by stabilizing the supply. An oil man could have sincerely mixed feelings about these prospects. Surely, though, even a sensible opponent of the war ought to register a steady oil supply as one of the better reasons for it.
The lack of public discussion about the role of Israel in the thinking of "President Bush" is easier to understand, but weird nevertheless. It is the proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it. The reason is obvious and admirable: Neither supporters nor opponents of a war against Iraq wish to evoke the classic anti-Semitic image of the king's Jewish advisers whispering poison into his ear and betraying the country to foreign interests. But the consequence of this massive "Shhhhhhhhh!" is to make a perfectly valid American concern for a democratic ally in a region of nutty theocracies, rotting monarchies, and worse seem furtive and suspicious.
Having brought this up, I hasten to add a few self-protective points. The president's advisors, Jewish and non-Jewish, are patriotic Americans who sincerely believe that the interests of America and Israel coincide. What's more, they are right about that, though they may be wrong about where that shared interest lies. Among Jewish Americans, including me, there are people who hold every conceivable opinion about war with Iraq with every variation of intensity, including passionate opposition and complete indifference. Jews are undoubtedly overrepresented in what little organized antiwar movement there may be (thus feeding another variant of the anti-Semitic stereotype).
Why and whether an American war against Iraq would be good for Israel is far from clear and is the subject of vigorous debate in Israel itself—but not in America. Theories range from the mundane to the exotic to the paranoid: Clearing out a neighborhood troublemaker before he gets the bomb is reason enough. Or, deposing Saddam will set off a complex regional chain reaction that will somehow turn the Arab nations into peaceful bourgeois societies. Or, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon actually wants a huge regional conflagration that he can use as an excuse and cover for expelling the Palestinians from the West Bank. In any event, the downside risk for Israel—of carnage, military and civilian—is like America's, only far greater.
But we'd better not talk about it.
White man's burden
By Ari Shavit
The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible. But another journalist, Thomas Friedman (not part of the group), is skeptical
1. The doctrine
WASHINGTON - At the conclusion of its second week, the war to liberate Iraq wasn't looking good. Not even in Washington. The assumption of a swift collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime had itself collapsed. The presupposition that the Iraqi dictatorship would crumble as soon as mighty America entered the country proved unfounded. The Shi'ites didn't rise up, the Sunnis fought fiercely. Iraqi guerrilla warfare found the American generals unprepared and endangered their overextended supply lines. Nevertheless, 70 percent of the American people continued to support the war; 60 percent thought victory was certain; 74 percent expressed confidence in President George W. Bush.
Washington is a small city. It's a place of human dimensions. A kind of small town that happens to run an empire. A small town of government officials and members of Congress and personnel of research institutes and journalists who pretty well all know one another. Everyone is busy intriguing against everyone else; and everyone gossips about everyone else.
In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history. They believe that the right political idea entails a fusion of morality and force, human rights and grit. The philosophical underpinnings of the Washington neoconservatives are the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Edmund Burke. They also admire Winston Churchill and the policy pursued by Ronald Reagan. They tend to read reality in terms of the failure of the 1930s (Munich) versus the success of the 1980s (the fall of the Berlin Wall).
Are they wrong? Have they committed an act of folly in leading Washington to Baghdad? They don't think so. They continue to cling to their belief. They are still pretending that everything is more or less fine. That things will work out. Occasionally, though, they seem to break out in a cold sweat. This is no longer an academic exercise, one of them says, we are responsible for what is happening. The ideas we put forward are now affecting the lives of millions of people. So there are moments when you're scared. You say, Hell, we came to help, but maybe we made a mistake.
2. William Kristol
Has America bitten off more than it can chew? Bill Kristol says no. True, the press is very negative, but when you examine the facts in the field you see that there is no terrorism, no mass destruction, no attacks on Israel. The oil fields in the south have been saved, air control has been achieved, American forces are deployed 50 miles from Baghdad. So, even if mistakes were made here and there, they are not serious. America is big enough to handle that. Kristol hasn't the slightest doubt that in the end, General Tommy Franks will achieve his goals. The 4th Cavalry Division will soon enter the fray, and another division is on its way from Texas. So it's possible that instead of an elegant war with 60 killed in two weeks it will be a less elegant affair with a thousand killed in two months, but nevertheless Bill Kristol has no doubt at all that the Iraq Liberation War is a just war, an obligatory war.
Kristol is pleasant-looking, of average height, in his late forties. In the past 18 months he has used his position as editor of the right-wing Weekly Standard and his status as one of the leaders of the neoconservative circle in Washington to induce the White House to do battle against Saddam Hussein. Because Kristol is believed to exercise considerable influence on the president, Vice President Richard Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, he is also perceived as having been instrumental in getting Washington to launch this all-out campaign against Baghdad. Sitting behind the stacks of books that cover his desk at the offices of the Weekly Standard in Northwest Washington, he tries to convince me that he is not worried. It is simply inconceivable to him that America will not win. In that event, the consequences would be catastrophic. No one wants to think seriously about that possibility.
What is the war about? I ask. Kristol replies that at one level it is the war that George Bush is talking about: a war against a brutal regime that has in its possession weapons of mass destruction. But at a deeper level it is a greater war, for the shaping of a new Middle East. It is a war that is intended to change the political culture of the entire region. Because what happened on September 11, 2001, Kristol says, is that the Americans looked around and saw that the world is not what they thought it was. The world is a dangerous place. Therefore the Americans looked for a doctrine that would enable them to cope with this dangerous world. And the only doctrine they found was the neoconservative one.
That doctrine maintains that the problem with the Middle East is the absence of democracy and of freedom. It follows that the only way to block people like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden is to disseminate democracy and freedom. To change radically the cultural and political dynamics that creates such people. And the way to fight the chaos is to create a new world order that will be based on freedom and human rights - and to be ready to use force in order to consolidate this new world. So that, really, is what the war is about. It is being fought to consolidate a new world order, to create a new Middle East.
Does that mean that the war in Iraq is effectively a neoconservative war? That's what people are saying, Kristol replies, laughing. But the truth is that it's an American war. The neoconservatives succeeded because they touched the bedrock of America. The thing is that America has a profound sense of mission. America has a need to offer something that transcends a life of comfort, that goes beyond material success. Therefore, because of their ideals, the Americans accepted what the neoconservatives proposed. They didn't want to fight a war over interests, but over values. They wanted a war driven by a moral vision. They wanted to hitch their wagon to something bigger than themselves.
Does this moral vision mean that after Iraq will come the turns of Saudi Arabia and Egypt?
Kristol says that he is at odds with the administration on the question of Saudi Arabia. But his opinion is that it is impossible to let Saudi Arabia just continue what it is doing. It is impossible to accept the anti-Americanism it is disseminating. The fanatic Wahhabism that Saudi Arabia engenders is undermining the stability of the entire region. It's the same with Egypt, he says: we mustn't accept the status quo there. For Egypt, too, the horizon has to be liberal democracy.
It has to be understood that in the final analysis, the stability that the corrupt Arab despots are offering is illusory. Just as the stability that Yitzhak Rabin received from Yasser Arafat was illusory. In the end, none of these decadent dictatorships will endure. The choice is between extremist Islam, secular fascism or democracy. And because of September 11, American understands that. America is in a position where it has no choice. It is obliged to be far more aggressive in promoting democracy. Hence this war. It's based on the new American understanding that if the United States does not shape the world in its image, the world will shape the United States in its own image.
3. Charles Krauthammer
Is this going to turn into a second Vietnam? Charles Krauthammer says no. There is no similarity to Vietnam. Unlike in the 1960s, there is no anti-establishment subculture in the United States now. Unlike in the 1960s, there is now an abiding love of the army in the United States. Unlike in the 1960s, there is a determined president, one with character, in the White House. And unlike in the 1960s, Americans are not deterred from making sacrifices. That is the sea-change that took place here on September 11, 2001. Since that morning, Americans have understood that if they don't act now and if weapons of mass destruction reach extremist terrorist organizations, millions of Americans will die. Therefore, because they understand that those others want to kill them by the millions, the Americans prefer to take to the field of battle and fight, rather than sit idly by and die at home.
Charles Krauthammer is handsome, swarthy and articulate. In his spacious office on 19th Street in Northwest Washington, he sits upright in a black wheelchair. Although his writing tends to be gloomy, his mood now is elevated. The well-known columnist (Washington Post, Time, Weekly Standard) has no real doubts about the outcome of the war that he promoted for 18 months. No, he does not accept the view that he helped lead America into the new killing fields between the Tigris and the Euphrates. But it is true that he is part of a conceptual stream that had something to offer in the aftermath of September 11. Within a few weeks after the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, he had singled out Baghdad in his columns as an essential target. And now, too, he is convinced that America has the strength to pull it off. The thought that America will not win has never even crossed his mind.
What is the war about? It's about three different issues. First of all, this is a war for disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. That's the basis, the self-evident cause, and it is also sufficient cause in itself. But beyond that, the war in Iraq is being fought to replace the demonic deal America cut with the Arab world decades ago. That deal said: you will send us oil and we will not intervene in your internal affairs. Send us oil and we will not demand from you what we are demanding of Chile, the Philippines, Korea and South Africa.
That deal effectively expired on September 11, 2001, Krauthammer says. Since that day, the Americans have understood that if they allow the Arab world to proceed in its evil ways - suppression, economic ruin, sowing despair - it will continue to produce more and more bin Ladens. America thus reached the conclusion that it has no choice: it has to take on itself the project of rebuilding the Arab world. Therefore, the Iraq war is really the beginning of a gigantic historical experiment whose purpose is to do in the Arab world what was done in Germany and Japan after World War II.
It's an ambitious experiment, Krauthammer admits, maybe even utopian, but not unrealistic. After all, it is inconceivable to accept the racist assumption that the Arabs are different from all other human beings, that the Arabs are incapable of conducting a democratic way of life.
However, according to the Jewish-American columnist, the present war has a further importance. If Iraq does become pro-Western and if it becomes the focus of American influence, that will be of immense geopolitical importance. An American presence in Iraq will project power across the region. It will suffuse the rebels in Iran with courage and strength, and it will deter and restrain Syria. It will accelerate the processes of change that the Middle East must undergo.
Isn't the idea of preemptive war a dangerous one that rattles the world order?
There is no choice, Krauthammer replies. In the 21st century we face a new and singular challenge: the democratization of mass destruction. There are three possible strategies in the face of that challenge: appeasement, deterrence and preemption. Because appeasement and deterrence will not work, preemption is the only strategy left. The United States must implement an aggressive policy of preemption. Which is exactly what it is now doing in Iraq. That is what Tommy Franks' soldiers are doing as we speak.
And what if the experiment fails? What if America is defeated?
This war will enhance the place of America in the world for the coming generation, Krauthammer says. Its outcome will shape the world for the next 25 years. There are three possibilities. If the United States wins quickly and without a bloodbath, it will be a colossus that will dictate the world order. If the victory is slow and contaminated, it will be impossible to go on to other Arab states after Iraq. It will stop there. But if America is beaten, the consequences will be catastrophic. Its deterrent capability will be weakened, its friends will abandon it and it will become insular. Extreme instability will be engendered in the Middle East.
You don't really want to think about what will happen, Krauthammer says looking me straight in the eye. But just because that's so, I am positive we will not lose. Because the administration understands the implications. The president understands that everything is riding on this. So he will throw everything we've got into this. He will do everything that has to be done. George W. Bush will not let America lose.
4. Thomas Friedman
Is this an American Lebanon War? Tom Friedman says he is afraid it is. He was there, in the Commodore Hotel in Beirut, in the summer of 1982, and he remembers it well. So he sees the lines of resemblance clearly. General Ahmed Chalabi (the Shi'ite leader that the neoconservatives want to install as the leader of a free Iraq) in the role of Bashir Jemayel. The Iraqi opposition in the role of the Phalange. Richard Perle and the conservative circle around him as Ariel Sharon. And a war that is at bottom a war of choice. A war that wants to utilize massive force in order to establish a new order.
Tom Friedman, The New York Times columnist, did not oppose the war. On the contrary. He too was severely shaken by September 11, he too wants to understand where these desperate fanatics are coming from who hate America more than they love their own lives. And he too reached the conclusion that the status quo in the Middle East is no longer acceptable. The status quo is terminal. And therefore it is urgent to foment a reform in the Arab world.
Some things are true even if George Bush believes them, Friedman says with a smile. And after September 11, it's impossible to tell Bush to drop it, ignore it. There was a certain basic justice in the overall American feeling that told the Arab world: we left you alone for a long time, you played with matches and in the end we were burned. So we're not going to leave you alone any longer.
He is sitting in a large rectangular room in the offices of The New York Times in northwest Washington, on the corner of 17th Street. One wall of the room is a huge map of the world. Hunched over his computer, he reads me witty lines from the article that will be going to press in two hours. He polishes, sharpens, plays word games. He ponders what's right to say now, what should be left for a later date. Turning to me, he says that democracies look soft until they're threatened. When threatened, they become very hard. Actually, the Iraq war is a kind of Jenin on a huge scale. Because in Jenin, too, what happened was that the Israelis told the Palestinians, We left you here alone and you played with matches until suddenly you blew up a Passover seder in Netanya. And therefore we are not going to leave you along any longer. We will go from house to house in the Casbah. And from America's point of view, Saddam's Iraq is Jenin. This war is a defensive shield. It follows that the danger is the same: that like Israel, America will make the mistake of using only force.
This is not an illegitimate war, Friedman says. But it is a very presumptuous war. You need a great deal of presumption to believe that you can rebuild a country half a world from home. But if such a presumptuous war is to have a chance, it needs international support. That international legitimacy is essential so you will have enough time and space to execute your presumptuous project. But George Bush didn't have the patience to glean international support. He gambled that the war would justify itself, that we would go in fast and conquer fast and that the Iraqis would greet us with rice and the war would thus be self-justifying. That did not happen. Maybe it will happen next week, but in the meantime it did not happen.
When I think about what is going to happen, I break into a sweat, Friedman says. I see us being forced to impose a siege on Baghdad. And I know what kind of insanity a siege on Baghdad can unleash. The thought of house-to-house combat in Baghdad without international legitimacy makes me lose my appetite. I see American embassies burning. I see windows of American businesses shattered. I see how the Iraqi resistance to America connects to the general Arab resistance to America and the worldwide resistance to America. The thought of what could happen is eating me up.
What George Bush did, Friedman says, is to show us a splendid mahogany table: the new democratic Iraq. But when you turn the table over, you see that it has only one leg. This war is resting on one leg. But on the other hand, anyone who thinks he can defeat George Bush had better think again. Bush will never give in. That's not what he's made of. Believe me, you don't want to be next to this guy when he thinks he's being backed into a corner. I don't suggest that anyone who holds his life dear mess with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush.
Is the Iraq war the great neoconservative war? It's the war the neoconservatives wanted, Friedman says. It's the war the neoconservatives marketed. Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. So this is not a war that the masses demanded. This is a war of an elite. Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.
Still, it's not all that simple, Friedman retracts. It's not some fantasy the neoconservatives invented. It's not that 25 people hijacked America. You don't take such a great nation into such a great adventure with Bill Kristol and the Weekly Standard and another five or six influential columnists. In the final analysis, what fomented the war is America's over-reaction to September 11. The genuine sense of anxiety that spread in America after September 11. It is not only the neoconservatives who led us to the outskirts of Baghdad. What led us to the outskirts of Baghdad is a very American combination of anxiety and hubris.
Divisions deep over claims of Jewish influence
By James Rosen -- Bee Washington Bureau
Last Updated 6:08 a.m. PDT Sunday, April 6, 2003
WASHINGTON -- On paper, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice run U.S. foreign policy and are responsible for the war in Iraq.
But in some circles Bush and his senior aides -- white and African American Christians, one and all -- stand accused of having been duped into attacking Saddam Hussein by a group of Jewish advisers whose ultimate loyalties are said to lie with Israel instead of the United States.
The claim that an influential Jewish cabal is behind the war, made in recent weeks by some mainstream politicians and columnists, has prompted countercharges of anti-Semitism by prominent Jewish organizations.
Rep. James Moran of Virginia lost his Democratic
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