‘New Yorker’ Editor: Israel and Lobby Bear Responsibility for Iraq War

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 46 Comments

In a remarkably-fair piece about Walt and Mearsheimer in the latest New Yorker, the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, summarizes part of the scholars’ argument:

Israel and its lobby bear outsized responsibility for persuading the
Bush Administration to invade Iraq and, perhaps one day soon, to attack
the nuclear facilities of Iran.

And then accepts it. "They were also right about Iraq."

I find this statement staggering. Remnick’s piece is hard on Walt and Mearsheimer, saying they are hysterical and have put together a "prosecutor’s brief" against Israel, and are indifferent to its possible disappearance. But this statement,  that Israel and its lobby bear outsize responsibility for the invasion plans, is alive to the common sense of recent history and–as Fritz Hollings put it– to what ‘we all know." Bravo to the New Yorker, for good sense and honesty.

And again, I say: There must be a soul-searching within the Jewish community if the country is going to move past Iraq. Why were the "best and the brightest" of this disastrous war rightwing Jews? Why did DLC Jews join them in banging the drum? And why have progressive Jews given these war supporters cover, rather than exposing them? What are  Israel’s regrettable policies toward the Arab world doing to our identification and citizenship?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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46 Responses

  1. David
    August 29, 2007, 8:50 pm

    I don't share Phil's optimism that Mr. Remnick (or his boss the Newhouse brothers) has suddenly seen the light. Given the context, that isolated "and they were right about Iraq" almost certainly refers only to M&W's opposition to the war, not to their explanation of why it occurred.

    Mistakes:
    1. The U.S. has employed it's Security Council veto on behalf of Israel 42 times, not 34.

    2. To imply that M&W do not worry about the "disappearance of Israel" is exactly like claiming Ahmadinejad is calling for the wiping out of the Jews.

    3. Remnick claims M&W overlook "myriad cases of suicide bombings; and other spectaculars." But the first suicide bombing happened only after 25 years of bone-crushing occupation.

    4. Remnick implies Barak's "generous offer" was indeed generous.

    5. Remnick tries one more time to sell the line that 9-11 was not primarily motivated by an Arab sense of injustice at what is being done to the Palestinians. Those who denied Americans the right to know the reasons behind their tragedy are the lowest of the low, and Remnick is among them.

  2. DavidM
    August 29, 2007, 9:24 pm

    Phil – It's a complex world, and those who attempt to reduce it to simplicities such as the Jewish Lobby is responsible for our foreign policy problems are doomed to eventually look, well for lack of a better word, simple. Your argument that the American Jewish community is in lock step with one another is somewhat laughable when you actually spend time in this community. Many of the Jews that I know were against the War in Iraq, even while they are supportive of the existence of Israel. That right wing conservative Jews should be any different in their stance on the war than the vast majority of conservative right wing non-Jews seems rather strange and counter to the general laws of politics. It's quite easy for you and your zealous commentors to cherry pick selective information and paint a distorted picture of a more complext reality, but perhaps you and they are in the service of a higher purpose where such actions are justified in your own mind.

  3. anon
    August 29, 2007, 9:48 pm

    "Many of the Jews that I know were against the War in Iraq"

    … but they just kept quiet about it.

  4. David
    August 29, 2007, 10:03 pm

    To DavidM, on the subject of "complexity": It is you I think who is trying to over-simplify things. No one has ever claimed that the Israel lobby was the only force behind the Iraq war, but only that it was an essential ingredient without which the war could not have happened.

  5. liberal white boy
    August 29, 2007, 10:18 pm

    I have bad news. A Harvard professor has been crushed in a freak accident. link to homo-sapien-underground.blogspot.com

  6. KXB
    August 29, 2007, 10:29 pm

    It is true that a greater percentage of American Jews were opposed to the Iraq war back in 2003 than the general American populations. But, the actions of the lobbying groups such as AIPAC that claim to represent them were (and still are) far more supportive of the Iraq invasion and further American adventurism in the region.

    Are most of America's gun-owners as opposed to reasonable gun laws, such as limiting gun purchases to 1 or 2 a month? Probably not – but the NRA is opposed to it. Are most teachers opposed to the idea of merit pay or longer school years? The NEA won't allow a discussion.

    That lobbyists run Washington is part and parcel of every candidate's stump speech. So why should the lobbying done on behalf of one tiny nation, with which we trade less with than Mexico, has never sent troops to fight alongside Americans, and thumbs its nose at successive American presidents urging them to stop building settlements be off-limits for discussion?

  7. Arie Brand
    August 29, 2007, 10:39 pm

    David wrote:

    "No one has ever claimed that the Israel lobby was the only force behind the Iraq war, but only that it was an essential ingredient without which the war could not have happened."

    I would like to juxtapose this statement with one Tony Judt made in his NYT Op-Ed on Mearsheimer and Walt:

    "Prominent Israeli leaders and their American supporters pressed very hard for the invasion of Iraq; but the United
    States would probably be in Iraq today even if there had been no Israel lobby."

  8. David
    August 29, 2007, 11:30 pm

    So at least we're all agreed that the Israel lobby WAS pushing for a war? And we can proceed to discuss it's effectiveness, and motives?

  9. Joachim Martillo
    August 29, 2007, 11:43 pm

    It might depend how one defines the Israel Lobby. I include Hollywood which has demonized Arabs and Muslims almost continuously since the 1950s. Melani McAlister argues in Epic Encounters that popular culture determines perception of interests which then determine foreign policy.

    Back in the 80s some of work that I did in modeling film investment would suggest that producing 16 Hollywood-style Palestinian-sympathetic or Palestinian-POV films for the American audience in the proper mix of genres would create conditions for an American attack to abolish the Zionist state and probably be profitable.

    I am using gross ticket receipts as an indicator of changing opinion and basing my hypothesis on some of the studies of the effects of Schindler's List and the TV series Holocaust, in which Meryl Streep starred.

    It is not the best copy of the lecture and the videoclips do not work, but you can find some of my preliminery study of Hollywood and Palestinians in link to vtjp.org in the section entitled "The Consequences of Zionist Historiography."

  10. David
    August 29, 2007, 11:48 pm

    BTW, KXB, the polls just don't support your claim that "a greater percentage of American Jews were opposed to the Iraq war back in 2003 than the general American population." In fact, just the opposite–
    link to ajc.org
    link to cbsnews.com
    But anyone who had been reading a newspaper or watching a talking head back then already knows that. Jewish voices in opposition to the war were like hen's teeth. We've got Paul Krugman, Sen. Levin, Rabbi Lerner and who else? This at a time, remember, when the general population was highly skeptical of the idea — hence the "mushroom cloud" campaign.

    On the other hand, there WAS one nation where the general population needed no persuasion–
    link to haaretz.com

  11. freespeechlover
    August 30, 2007, 12:07 am

    The AJC poll was depressing in some ways–namely, that only giving up "some" West Bank settlements was relatively popular compared to giving all of them up. This from research subjects, the majority of whom had never been to Israel. Then there was the "don't divide Jerusalem" stance; again, from subjects the majority of whom had never been to Israel.

  12. Montag
    August 30, 2007, 12:10 am

    Ironically the Israeli establishment (except for the Likudniks around Netanyahu) were AGAINST the invasion of Iraq because they saw Iran as the greater threat, and they predicted pretty well what would happen. But the Neocons had become like the Golem, writing their own agenda. They saw the weakness of Iraq as an invitation to occupy it and institute their goal of transforming the Middle East, while the Israelis saw its weakness as a good reason to give it a pass. There's an article at antiwar.com: "Source: Israel Told U.S. to Target Iran, not Iraq."

    link to antiwar.com

  13. KXB
    August 30, 2007, 12:10 am

    David,

    I did not say that a majority of American Jews were against the war in 2003, but the 36% opposed to the war that (from the first poll you cite) is probably a greater percentage than the general American population opposed to the war. Jewish voters are still largely left-leaning in American elections, which is why AIPAC's devotion to Likud policies seems so out of whack.

  14. Montag
    August 30, 2007, 12:25 am

    freespeechlover,
    George Orwell called this, "transferred nationalism." You champion a country not your own about which you have only an idealized conception. This allows you to talk absolute rubbish that you'd never do about your own country. You can say that the roads are first rate in Israel or whereever when you KNOW they're full of potholes in your own country.

    There was a funny scene in the 1975 TV movie, "The Night That Panicked America," about the 1938 Orson Welles "War of The Worlds" radio broadcast. Some wealthy people in San Francisco are at a party and making sympathetic remarks about Hitler and Mussolini, when they hear part of the broadcast and think that the U.S. is being invaded by Martians. The Butler, however, knows that it's just a play and can't resist needling them. So he parrots back their own phrases, reassuring them that the Martians "will make the trains run on time," and that "they only want a place in the sun–surely you can see the justice in that." But of course the same arguments that they made shortly before are no longer convincing when they are the victims of the aggression.

  15. Joachim Martillo
    August 30, 2007, 12:41 am

    If one views the issue of the power of the Israel Lobby as an issue of competing political elites, the trans/supranational ethnic Ashkenazi political elite(*) by virtue of having state power in Israel has some natural advantages over competing elites in the USA, but because the State of Israel is completely dependent on the USA, eventually the US branch of transnational ethnic Ashkenazi political elite will call the shots, and I believe this development was achieved with Ariel Sharon's stroke.

    (*) There were originally 5 transnational ethnic Ashkenazi political elites: Yiddishist, Radical Revolutionary/Marxist, Labor Zionist (technically fascist, but people freak out when it is so described), Jabotinskian Zionist, Occult Zionist. The first two no longer exist while the next two have blended under the dominance of the Jabotinskians. The Occult Zionists are very idiosyncratic. It will probably be a while before the Jabotinskians absorb them.

  16. Joachim Martillo
    August 30, 2007, 12:43 am

    BTW, AIPAC obeys the people that pay the salaries. Jewish Power by J.J. Goldberg has problems, but it is correct on this point.

  17. Alex Chaihorsky
    August 30, 2007, 12:59 am

    Reminds me, sadly, of my days in Soviet Union when everybody knew the truth and even get tired of knowing it, but then an "official" journalist with that always the same "It's never was a secret to anyone" admits on the 12th page of PRAVDA 1/100 of what every !@#$-ing child on the street already knew for years and everyone at the Moscow saloon cocktail parties goes "Oh, my God! Finally! Freedom of the Press!".
    I forgive my former compatriots – they had no idea what freedom of the press was. But you? You, people, do really KNOW what it is, so how the hell you don't die from shame watching this comedy?
    Re-read the same Remnik's "Lenin's Tomb" – it was written 20 years ago about USSR, but it feels like its all about USA 2007.
    Congratulations, comrades. Now lets admit the de-facto merge of both Parties into single big "Party USA" and be done with that silly Constitution of yours.
    I suggest Remnik for chief editor of the "Daily TRUTH".

  18. David
    August 30, 2007, 2:21 am

    to KXB,
    I understand your point. I had put that second link in there to the CBS survey to provide a comparison to the mood of the overall population at that time. But I concede that you can't really compare two different surveys with differently worded questions. Ultimately we're left with just a subjective sense of the mood of the times (heavily influenced by the example of Jews in public positions, particularly the media). So I might be wrong.

    But your second point, that Jewish-American voters are still largely left-leaning, really goes to the heart of the matter, because the unique thing about this war was that its support crossed the political divide. We had such normally liberal voices as the New York Times, the New Republic, New Yorker, and the Union for Reform Judaism all pushing for preemptive war.

    Personally, I don't think the neocons could have gotten away with it if they didn't have these so-called "liberal" allies. (Think Art Sulzberger and Judy Miller.)

  19. evanj
    August 30, 2007, 4:08 am

    Remnick is part of the problem. The usual sophistries, as befits the New Yorker.
    Go W&M.

  20. daveg
    August 30, 2007, 5:21 am

    While it appears the Israel thought Iran was the better target, they were not exactly against the Iraq, at least not publically.

    Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

    On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’

    Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’

    At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003,

    Enough said.

  21. daveg
    August 30, 2007, 5:26 am

    Ramzi Yousef sez:

    If the U.S. government keeps supporting Israel … then we will continue to carry out operations inside and outside the United States… All people who support the U.S. government are our targets in our future plans, and that is becuase all those people are responsible for their government's actions and they support the U.S. foreign policy and are satisfied with it.

    SOURCE: Ramzi Yousef's laptop computer as recovered by Philippine authorities in 1995.

  22. Arie Brand
    August 30, 2007, 5:54 am

    My comment here comes in addition to some I made on Phil's previous entry. I would like to quote here from an article by William Engdahl, author of a study on oil and geopolitics entitled "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order", which has been translated into Arabic, Korean, German, Croatian and Turkish.

    "Today, much of the world is convinced the Bush Administration did not wage war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein because of threat from weapons of mass destruction, nor from terror dangers.

    "Still a puzzle, however, is why Washington would risk so much in terms of relations with its allies and the entire world, to occupy Iraq. There is compelling evidence that oil and geopolitics lie at the heart of the still-hidden reasons for the military action in Iraq.

    "It is increasingly clear that the US occupation of Iraq is about control of global oil resources. Control, however, in a situation where world oil supplies are far more limited than most of the world has been led to believe. If the following is accurate, the Iraq war is but the first in a major battle over global energy resources, a battle which will be more intense than any oil war to date. The stakes are highest. It is about fixing who will get how much oil for their economy at what price and who not. Never has such a choke-hold on the world economy been in the hands of one power. After occupation of Iraq it appears it is.

    "The era of cheap, abundant oil, which has supported world economic growth for more than three quarters of a century, is most probably at or past its absolute peak, according to leading independent oil geologists. If this analysis is accurate, the economic and social consequences will be staggering. This reality is being hidden from general discussion by the oil multinationals and major government agencies, above all by the United States government.

    "Oil companies have a vested interest in hiding the truth in order to keep the price of getting new oil as low as possible. The US government has a strategic interest in keeping the rest of the world from realising how critical the problem has become.

    "According to the best estimates of a number of respected international geologists, including the French Petroleum Institute, Colorado School of Mines, Uppsala University and Petroconsultants in Geneva, the world will likely feel the impact of the peaking of most of the present large oil fields and the dramatic fall in supply by the end of this decade, 2010, or possibly even several years sooner. At that point, the world economy will face shocks which will make the oil price rises of the 1970's pale by contrast.

    "In other words, we face a major global energy shortage for the prime fuel of our entire economy within about seven years."

    And this is what Engdahl had to say about the role of Cheney:

    "In a speech to the International Petroleum Institute in London in late 1999, Dick Cheney, then chairman of the world's largest oil services company, Halliburton, presented the picture of world oil supply and demand to industry insiders. 'By some estimates,' Cheney stated, 'there will be an average of two percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three percent natural decline in production from existing reserves.' Cheney ended on an alarming note: 'That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day.' This is equivalent to more than six Saudi Arabia's of today's size.

    "Perhaps it was no coincidence that Cheney, as Vice President, was given as his first major assignment the head of a Presidential Task Force on Energy. He knew the dimension of the energy problem facing not only the United States, but the rest of the world.

    "Cheney is also well identified as the leading Iraq warhawk in the Bush Administration, together with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Repeatedly it was Cheney pushing for military action against Iraq, regardless of which allies support it.

    "When we examine what is known about global oil reserves, and where they are, in light of the above 'peak oil' analysis of much of today's existing oil production, it becomes clearer why Cheney would be willing to risk so much in terms of America's standing among allies and others, to occupy the oilfields of Iraq. Cheney knows exactly what the global oil reserve situation is as former CEO of Halliburton Corporation, the world's largest oil services company."

    Google for the complete text: Engdahl Iraq

  23. Joachim Martillo
    August 30, 2007, 6:54 am

    Here is another Engdahl article.

    link to truthout.org

    Engdahl quote from a previous comment.

    "When we examine what is known about global oil reserves, and where they are, in light of the above 'peak oil' analysis of much of today's existing oil production, it becomes clearer why Cheney would be willing to risk so much in terms of America's standing among allies and others, to occupy the oilfields of Iraq. Cheney knows exactly what the global oil reserve situation is as former CEO of Halliburton Corporation, the world's largest oil services company."

    If this analysis is true, shouldn't the first step have been distancing the USA from Israel as Bush I did just before the start of the 1st Gulf War?

    Yet, Cheney and Bush are not willing to alienate Israel and the Israel Lobby.

    Doesn't that say that relations with Israel and the Israel Lobby (or as I would say the transnational ethnic Ashkenazi political economic elite) are more important to the Bush administration that relations with the UK, France, Germany, and Spain and the rest of the world?

    Engdahl's analysis certainly does not undermine Walt and Mearsheimer's thesis (incorrect though some of their views of the Israeli Lobby are), and Engdahl does not seem to reject the main point.

  24. Donald Johnson
    August 30, 2007, 8:43 am

    Phil, you are way too eager to see allies where none exist if you think the Remnick piece shows agreement with W&M. The best you can say about it is that he politely agrees that W&M are not anti-Semites, which is a form of progress. I suspect a few years ago that's exactly what the New Yorker would have called them.

    David already pointed out the paragraph where Remnick gives his own summary of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but I'll add one point. He complains that WM's book "recounts every lurid report of Israeli cruelty as indisputable fact". Note the wording there. Immediately afterwards Remnick lists a series of Palestinian atrocities–I wonder if he thinks he is being "lurid", or if that word only applies to reports of Israeli cruelty? The only specific line Remnick has about Israel's crimes is "the narrative rightly points out the destructiveness of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and America's reluctance to do much to curtail them." I imagine anything harsher than that would probably be Remnick's notion of "lurid". Remnick also thinks it is a devastating point to mention that Palestinian terrorism began before 1967–apparently he expects his readers to be unaware of the long history of atrocities on both sides that started decades before 1967.

    As David points out, he also thinks Barak's offer at Camp David was generous. As is usual with propagandists, he can't be bothered to note that the Israeli/Palestinian negotiators came much closer to an acceptable agreement at Taba several months later, because that would refute the storyline of Arafat irrationally turning down a generous peace offer at Camp David. Remnick's evidence that the offer was generous is that a Saudi prince thought it was. Yes, we always go to Saudi princes for analysis of human rights issues. Who better to tell Palestinians what they deserve than a member of a backwards authoritarian regime?

    Remnick is doing his best to limit the damage the WM book will do to the credibility of much of the mainstream press, including the New Yorker.

  25. Alan
    August 30, 2007, 11:14 am

    All those arguments about Oil and the national interest being part of the calculation in setting this administration's foreign policy fall like a house of cards when one looks at the whole record of this administration. If it were possible to assume – with no evidence presented whatsoever, mind you – that there were "other factors" besides the Israel Lobby at play in making the case for the Iraq war, there is definitely no way one can entertain such assumptions now that the campaign to start a war with Iran gains full speed.

    What exactly is in the national interest or any other lobby's interest in a war with Iran? I would really like to be enlightened. Because the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy is totally against it. The CIA thinks it will be a catastrophe. The Pentagon has four-star generals leaking damaging reports and information to Seymour Hersh and the press trying to stop this. The Europeans, including the British, think this would be "nuts" (Jack Straw’s words when he was still Foreign Minister). The traditional Establishment (Baker, Scowcroft, Brzezinski, even Kissinger) has made it absolutely clear it would be against the US interest, with Brzezinski going so far in his efforts to sabotage this as to warn in his February 2007 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of "a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran"!!! Can you believe that???

    link to senate.gov

    The cognitive dissonance that is created by the incredible success that such a small group of people have had in highjacking the most powerful nation in history is not going to be resolved by wishful thinking. It is happening before our eyes, whether we want to believe it or not. However, I share Greenwald's pessimism and I don't think we will be able to do anything about it, no matter how much evidence we have before our eyes or how many scholars come out writing books. People will simply not leave their barbeques and ballgames to take to the streets and protest. The Israel-first crowd and the neo-cons will self-destruct under the weight of their own chutzpah and arrogance. The only question is how much damage the US will have to take and how many hundreds of thousands of innocent people will have to die before people wake-up and this happens.

    link to salon.com

  26. Alan
    August 30, 2007, 11:28 am

    The above link to Brzezinski's incredible testimony which everyone must read is a pdf file which is not recognized as a link by the server it seems. You can get it here:

    link to senate.gov

    "… If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody
    involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to
    be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large.
    A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure
    to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility
    for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S.
    blamed on Iran; culminating in a “defensive” U.S. military action against
    Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire
    eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. "

    This is exactly what is happening, we are halfway there already. Giving new meaning to the word "prophet" I guess…

  27. Anonymous
    August 30, 2007, 11:48 am

    "…so how the hell you don't die from shame watching this comedy?"

    When a few jet crashes is enough to cower an entire nation into accepting a preemptive war doctrine we suspect shame is no longer a factor.

    And when it is enough to cower it's congress into tranferring to the executive branch it's exclusive power to declare war then we suspect comedy has become a way of life.

    I'm sorry for you, Alex, you've reached the home of the brave and found it inhabited by ghosts whispering about torture and markets in a single lifeless breath.

  28. Alex Chaihorsky
    August 30, 2007, 4:13 pm

    Anonymous:

    No, do not feel sorry for me. I had good and fascinating almost 20 years of old America, starting literally from living on the streets, which was a fascinating journey. With so much poverty, suffering and death all over the planet, not that shabby for a poor little Russki Jewish me.
    And of course there is a chance to die an honorable death fighting for the US Constitution one day. I have no doubt it will come to that, actually. What more a guy could ask for?

  29. Arie Brand
    August 30, 2007, 6:10 pm

    Martillo wrote a propos of Engdahl's analysis of the situation:

    "If this analysis is true, shouldn't the first step have been distancing the USA from Israel as Bush I did just before the start of the 1st Gulf War?"

    Frankly I don't see why. Cheney might be a patriot in his own eyes but from a global perspective he is not more than a neighborhood gangster, though the neighborhood is in this case as wide as a continent.

    Once you have decided to go by the logic of armed robbery it is handy to have a heavily armed mate around the place, who has an established criminal record, whose own claim on the loot (oil) can only be modest and who ultimately can be blamed for the heist.

    England was let in on the scheme. France and Germany are only sizable competitors for oil who ultimately would be alienated anyway.

    The scenario cooked up between these robbers is now falling apart.

    The more recent Engdahl article Martillo referred to does, indeed, not take issue with Walt and Mearsheimer. Rather, he sees the appearance of their study as a sign that the scenario is indeed unravelling.

    But his point of view remains that the whole thing is ultimately about oil.

    He quotes with approval this Russian view:

    "Gennady Yefstafiyev, a former general in Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, said, "The US's long-term goals in Iran are obvious: to engineer the downfall of the current regime; to establish control over Iran's oil and gas; and to use its territory as the shortest route for the transportation of hydrocarbons under US control from the regions of Central Asia and the Caspian Sea, bypassing Russia and China. This is not to mention Iran's intrinsic military and strategic significance."

  30. Tricky Dick
    August 30, 2007, 7:11 pm

    Oh, I see. The diabolical Cheney wanted to advance the US interest (as he saw it) and made sure he got all the neocons on board so they and Israel could be blamed if things didn't turn out that well.

    What a guy! Thanks for the analysis Arie.

  31. Alex Chaihorsky
    August 30, 2007, 8:08 pm

    I actually believe that if the US would pursue its core strategic interests of stability and reliable oil routing instead of watchdogging the Israeli Utopia, all the ME problems would go away including Iran and Islamic opposition.

    At the same time I do allow for more "conspiratorial" scenario when Bush and Co., having seen how AIPAC prevented his father, older Bush, from the second term, decided to play a very interesting game when if it won, its Bushe's glory and if lost – would start a long-term alienation and decline of Israeli and Jewish influence on American affairs in general.
    Call me crazy, but I cannot believe that WASPy America is really that happy with giving up that much of its power to rich minority tribe with open loyalty to a foreign entity.

    Current situation allows for many possibilities. But one thing is clear to me – we will witness the correction of the distribution of power within the US with considerable diminishing of Israeli influence. Most probably it will happen quietly in the form of very smooth negotiations between very unknown people with no apparent positions of power while some Kissinger-like puppets solemnly mumbling their usual pseudo-wise half-riddles upon the crowds of jaw-gaped journalistic half-wits. But the outcome of it will be very serious – and that would be the removal or considerable relaxing of AIPAC yoke of political bribing and blackmailing from Congress elections.
    And that would be a very good thing for everybody, including, in the long run, Israel itself.

  32. m.idrees
    August 30, 2007, 8:13 pm

    The website is actually active now. link to israellobbybook.com It also has a PDF of M&W's detailed response to critics.

  33. Arie Brand
    August 30, 2007, 10:49 pm

    Thanks for the link. I have now gone through most of M.& W.'s replies to their critics. I must say it is a valuable repository of facts and arguments that can be used when the usual pro-Zionist defences are trotted out.

    I read their refutation of Benny Morris, who has become a sort of Quisling against his own earlier opinions, with particular satisfaction.

    I was however disappointed by their reaction to the claims about the role of oil in the US's present Middle East policy.

    They wrote:

    "We recognize that there are other interest groups that work to shape U.S. policy in the Middle East, but these groups are no match—alone or in combination—for the Israel lobby. Although there are a few pro-Arab or pro-Palestinian political groups in the United States, they are small, not nearly as well funded, and not very effective. There is no well-organized and politically potent“Arab lobby” and little evidence that U.S. politicians ever feel much pressure from pro-Arab groups.46 Similarly, there is little or no evidence to support the widespread belief that U.S. oil companies were actively pushing the Bush
    administration to invade Iraq. Oil companies and arms manufacturers
    occasionally lobby to protect their own commercial objectives, but they
    generally do not try to exert a broad influence on U.S. Middle East policy. The
    effects of this imbalance on American policy are clear. If the oil lobby, arms
    dealers, and Arab petrodollars were driving U.S. policy, one would expect to see
    the United States distancing itself from Israel and working to help the
    Palestinians, while seeking to curry favor with big oil producers like Iraq or the
    Islamic Republic of Iran. But because these groups are much weaker than the
    lobby, U.S. policy leans heavily the other way. Oil producers like Saudi Arabia
    do hire public relations firms to enhance their image (especially after events like
    the September 11 attacks), but these efforts exert little influence over the broad direction of U.S. policy. Former AIPAC executive director Morris Amitay
    explained why in the early 1980s: “When oil interests and other corporate interests lobby, 99 percent of the time they are acting in what they perceive to be
    their own self-interest—they lobby on tax bills… We very rarely see them
    lobbying on foreign policy issues… In a sense, we have the field to ourselves.”

    M.& W.'s argument here seems to state implicitly that American foreign policy is only devised in response to the activities of lobbies. Since there has been no push by an oil lobby, one way or the other, present strategy in the Middle East cannot be about oil.

    As I said earlier: the business of oil companies is international and they would have little interest in trying to ensure that one particular state will be able to keep up its supply of oil.

    But that doesn't mean that the group around Cheney and Rumsfeldt didn't have that interest – or that Cheney has given it up.

    And the 'strategy' of ensuring that supply by force of arms excludes that other strategy "working to help the Palestinians, while seeking to curry favor with big oil producers like Iraq or the Islamic Republic of Iran."

    One cannot steal one's cake hoping that the baker will smile on you.

  34. James Morris
    August 31, 2007, 2:07 am

    '60 Minutes' refusing to do segment on Mearsheimer/Walt book:

    link to warwithoutend.co.uk

  35. brian
    September 2, 2007, 10:34 pm

    Israel behind War on Iraq:

    'The war on Iraq:
    Conceived in Israel

    By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

    © 2003 WTM Enterprises
    All rights reserved.

    In a lengthy article in The American Conservative criticizing the rationale for the projected U.S. attack on Iraq, the veteran diplomatic historian Paul W. Schroeder noted (only in passing) "what is possibly the unacknowledged real reason and motive behind the policy — security for Israel." If Israel's security were indeed the real American motive for war, Schroeder wrote,

    It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state. [1]

    Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?

    To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

    Although the term neoconservative is in common usage, a brief description of the group might be helpful. Many of the first-generation neocons originally were liberal Democrats, or even socialists and Marxists, often Trotskyites. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic Party moved to the antiwar McGovernite left. And concern for Israel loomed large in that rightward drift. As political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg puts it:

    One major factor that drew them inexorably to the right was their attachment to Israel and their growing frustration during the 1960s with a Democratic party that was becoming increasingly opposed to American military preparedness and increasingly enamored of Third World causes [e.g., Palestinian rights]. In the Reaganite right's hard-line anti-communism, commitment to American military strength, and willingness to intervene politically and militarily in the affairs of other nations to promote democratic values (and American interests), neocons found a political movement that would guarantee Israel's security. [2]

    For some time prior to September 11, 2001, neoconservatives had publicly advocated an American war on Iraq.
    etc

    link to thornwalker.com

  36. brian
    September 2, 2007, 10:35 pm

    Israel behind War on Iraq:

    'The war on Iraq:
    Conceived in Israel

    By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

    © 2003 WTM Enterprises
    All rights reserved.

    In a lengthy article in The American Conservative criticizing the rationale for the projected U.S. attack on Iraq, the veteran diplomatic historian Paul W. Schroeder noted (only in passing) "what is possibly the unacknowledged real reason and motive behind the policy — security for Israel." If Israel's security were indeed the real American motive for war, Schroeder wrote,

    It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state. [1]

    Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?

    To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

    Although the term neoconservative is in common usage, a brief description of the group might be helpful. Many of the first-generation neocons originally were liberal Democrats, or even socialists and Marxists, often Trotskyites. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic Party moved to the antiwar McGovernite left. And concern for Israel loomed large in that rightward drift. As political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg puts it:

    One major factor that drew them inexorably to the right was their attachment to Israel and their growing frustration during the 1960s with a Democratic party that was becoming increasingly opposed to American military preparedness and increasingly enamored of Third World causes [e.g., Palestinian rights]. In the Reaganite right's hard-line anti-communism, commitment to American military strength, and willingness to intervene politically and militarily in the affairs of other nations to promote democratic values (and American interests), neocons found a political movement that would guarantee Israel's security. [2]

    For some time prior to September 11, 2001, neoconservatives had publicly advocated an American war on Iraq.
    etc

    link to thornwalker.com

  37. brian
    September 2, 2007, 10:35 pm

    Israel behind War on Iraq:

    'The war on Iraq:
    Conceived in Israel

    By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

    © 2003 WTM Enterprises
    All rights reserved.

    In a lengthy article in The American Conservative criticizing the rationale for the projected U.S. attack on Iraq, the veteran diplomatic historian Paul W. Schroeder noted (only in passing) "what is possibly the unacknowledged real reason and motive behind the policy — security for Israel." If Israel's security were indeed the real American motive for war, Schroeder wrote,

    It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state. [1]

    Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?

    To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

    Although the term neoconservative is in common usage, a brief description of the group might be helpful. Many of the first-generation neocons originally were liberal Democrats, or even socialists and Marxists, often Trotskyites. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic Party moved to the antiwar McGovernite left. And concern for Israel loomed large in that rightward drift. As political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg puts it:

    One major factor that drew them inexorably to the right was their attachment to Israel and their growing frustration during the 1960s with a Democratic party that was becoming increasingly opposed to American military preparedness and increasingly enamored of Third World causes [e.g., Palestinian rights]. In the Reaganite right's hard-line anti-communism, commitment to American military strength, and willingness to intervene politically and militarily in the affairs of other nations to promote democratic values (and American interests), neocons found a political movement that would guarantee Israel's security. [2]

    For some time prior to September 11, 2001, neoconservatives had publicly advocated an American war on Iraq.
    etc

    link to thornwalker.com

  38. Goy
    September 4, 2007, 4:21 pm

    This is getting to be tiring. Now that the sentimental tide had turned, and Israel became the Jew of nations, it's time for the last chapter of this never ending saga. The ones who fall for "identity politics" are the ones most delusional. See what the future may look like by reading this novel, written in 1948, before holocaust became an industry.

    link to amazon.com

    Most of the commentators here seem to get it.
    Take this novel as a cautionary tale, with emphasis on Jedenrat. The self serving and suicidal Jewish Council that could not face reality.

  39. NOMOREWAR_ISRAEL
    September 5, 2007, 1:58 am

    Author Stephen Walt Takes On 'The Israel Lobby':

    link to npr.org

  40. NOMOREWAR_FORISRAEL
    September 6, 2007, 2:05 am

    C-SPAN viewer Call for GAO head David Walker which mentioned Walt and Mearsheimer book

    link to neoconzionistthreat.blogspot.com

    link to tinyurl.com

    Cheney Orders Media To Sell Attack On Iran:

    link to warwithoutend.co.uk

  41. Just another Jew
    September 7, 2007, 9:32 am

    So, blame the Jews. Oldest line in the book. We started WWII, too (if you believe Hitler).

    Jews did not elect Bush, nor do they support him. Iraq was/is/will be Bush's war. And that is supported by Conservative Christians. Not Jews.

    You guys are sick.

  42. Nathan
    September 13, 2007, 1:01 pm

    Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars. Iraq is the beginning. As we commit war-crimes in Baghdad, the US gov't commits treason at home by opening mail, eliminating habeas corpus, using the judiciary to steal private lands, banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, conducting warrantless wiretaps and engaging in illegal wars on behalf of AIPAC's 'money-men'. Soon, another US false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier by Mossad) and the US will invade Iran.. Then we'll invade Syria, then Saudi Arabia, then Lebanon (again) then ….
    Final link (before Google Books bends to gov't demands and censors the title):
    link to iuniverse.com

  43. A casual observer
    September 13, 2007, 1:06 pm

    No difference? The main stream Jews seem to remain silent while their fellow Jews commit such acts like doing everything in their power to get us to yet another war and bomb Iran.

    If this is allowable by the majority of the Jews then there was nothing wrong in Germany when the pure Arjans just watched when the Jews were shipped away during the WW II.

  44. atheo
    September 13, 2007, 3:31 pm

    Joachim,

    The peak oil stuff is just alarmist nonsense. These memes are all based on data for "conventional" oil. We may see a peak in conventional oil. So what?

    There are many times more barrels of non-conventional oil than all conventional oil ever produced. It's recoverable at $14-$35/barrel. The cost of oil lifted from Iraq? $1,000+/barrel. No, these wars are not for oil. There is no way to "control" the world's oil or to produce it economically under occupation.

  45. Billy
    September 13, 2007, 6:43 pm

    God, where we are wrong, make us willing to change; where we are right, make us easy to live with.

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