Leslie Gelb admits he supported Iraq war for the sake of his career

on 10 Comments

God bless Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations (and Glenn Greenwald for spotting his statement) for this wonderful confession in Foreign Policy:

My initial support for the war [in Iraq] was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility. We ‘experts’ have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we ‘perfect’ the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.

I applaud Gelb because he is answering this terrible question– Why did you do it?–honestly: policy is a social formulation, we are conventional thinkers, and we supported a war because everyone else we knew in the Establishment was for it.

When people ask why I’m for the draft, the exquisite answer is above: that unless the children of leaders are exposed to the same dangers that they are about to expose other people’s children to, there’s a moral hazard. And that moral hazard came to pass: because these people had nothing at risk beside reputation, they saw that they had far more to risk in their reputations by opposing the war than supporting it.

Remember that Gelb sought to demolish Walt and Mearsheimer, who opposed this disastrous war, in the New York Times, by a type of professional/political blackmail: they were "asking for trouble," he wrote.

Notice, furthermore, that when Gelb attacked W&M in that review for their opposition to the Iraq war, he said the following bullsh-t, which we now know is simply a lie [emphasis mine]:

Their vitriol about the Iraq war — about being so right while others were so wrong — is so overwhelming that they minimize two key facts. First, America’s foreign policy community, including many Democrats as well as Republicans, supported the war for the very same reasons that Wolfowitz and the lobby did — namely, the fact that Hussein seemed to pose a present or future threat to American national interests. Second, the real play-callers behind the war were President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

10 Responses

  1. Citizen
    October 12, 2009, 1:50 pm

    The Military draft has proven no problem for moral hazard to date. While I do think
    that a fair military draft would would be a cure, nothing in US history indicates there will ever be a fair military draft.

  2. Rehmat
    October 12, 2009, 4:24 pm

    One of the 100 Attributes of the Creator (Allah) is “Merciful”. However, His another Attribute is “Unbaised Judge” – and personally, I believe He would forget to revenge those million of Iraqi murdered by the US and its ‘willing collaborator’ – in which the CFR, the powerful Zionist think tank played its “anti-Muslim” part for the benefit of Israel.

    According to some estmates – there are close to 400 CFR members being part of Obama administration – including Hillary Clinton and M. Hussein Obama himself. Henry Kissinger, the war criminal, is CFR member too.

    On September 18, 2008 – Henry Kissinger while talking at the most powerful Zionist think tank, Council for Foreigh Relations (CFR), along with CFR’s Zionist Jew president Richard Haass – denied any knowledge of the Memorandum 200 – but said: “Terrorism and third world population explosion are directly connected”. Haass (Special Adviser to Obama on foreign policy and hundreds of other CFR members in Obama’s administration) too had his lie for the questioner: “We have no power; if people want to listen to us, that’s great, if not, that’s fine”……..

    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

  3. US_Objector
    October 12, 2009, 4:47 pm

    Phil’s point is well-taken. The infuriating thing about the neo-cons is that they had no children on the front lines. Doug Feith? Paul Wolfowitz? (See his “Dickipedia” entry by clicking here: link to dickipedia.org.) The Office of Special Plans put the children of the mid-west, the Carolinas, Texas and Florida in harm’s way under fraudulent pretenses. Feith and Wolfie’s kids? Off to the Ivy League to plot Neo-con Nation 2.0. It’s a frigging travesty.

    • Psychopathic god
      October 12, 2009, 4:59 pm


      Michael Oren was interviewed on C Span while flogging his fantastic book. Toward the end of the interview, having stated that he was born in the US but made aliyeh to Israel, Oren also disclosed that at least one son is in IDF, intelligence, working on “secret projects.”

      One can’t help wondering if the son of the Israeli ambassador is manufacturing ‘intel’ that will result in the deaths of American sons and daughters, for the benefit of Oren’s Israel fantasy.

  4. Psychopathic god
    October 12, 2009, 4:54 pm

    Is Gelb mending bridges in view of Peter Galbraith’s pending disgrace?

    Gelb was part of the group, with Galbraith & Joe Biden, who advocated tri-secting Iraq into ethnic cantons, Kurdish, Shi’ite, Sunni. A few second-string bobble-heads, O’Hanlon comes to mind, cheerled the initiative.

    Having recently been sacked by UN for crossing his Afghani colleague, it has also been revealed that Peter the lesser Galbraith has a 5% stake in a Norwegian oil company that would have been a major beneficiary of removing Kurdish Iraq from the larger Iraqi ‘nation’ (such as it is).

    link to justworldnews.org Helena’s piece on Galbraith.

    My sense is that Galbraith views the Middle East through the Orientalist lens of Bernard Lewis, which is originally a liberal perspective on western imperial goals to “liberate” minority groups of the Middle East. Galbraith’s thesis about the “end of Iraq” fits perfectly in the tradition of liberal Americans/Europeans at post-war Versailles and in the fledgling League of Nations, drawing new lines in the sand and carving up the Middle East into mini-states defined along ethnic lines.

    What was so absurd about Galbraith back in 2006, during the mid-term election campaign, is that he pitched his thesis on Iraq as a Democratic response to the “failed policies” of the Bush-Cheney administration. According to Galbraith, the GOP failed in its mission to create a united democratic Iraq, so the only reasonable policy open to the Democrats in 2006 was allegedly to support the break up of Iraq into three ethnic mini-states. On this point Galbraith once allied with other liberal proponents of breaking up Iraq, including Les Gelb at the Council on Foreign Relations, Sen. and now VP Joseph Biden, and Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson.

    The liberal Galbraithian plot to dismantle Iraq was certainly a plot which found support across the political spectrum in Israel, since during 2004 and 2005 both Likudniks and Labor elites envisioned re-establishing the British era oil pipeline which connected the port of Haifa on the Med coastline with Kurdish areas of northern Iraq near the Turkish border. I imagine that even inside the Obama administration today, there remain liberal imperial hawks who would like to advance the Galbraithian plot.

    more on the Israel connection to the oil deal:
    How Chalabi conned the neocons (“neocon” placeholder being Doug Feith, cooker of intelligence and mongerer of war)

    link to dir.salon.com

    “Ahmed Chalabi is a treacherous, spineless turncoat,” says L. Marc Zell, a former law partner of Douglas Feith, now the undersecretary of defense for policy, and a former friend and supporter of Chalabi and his aspirations to lead Iraq. “He had one set of friends before he was in power, and now he’s got another.” While Zell’s disaffection with Chalabi has been a long time in the making, his remarks to Salon represent his first public break with the would-be Iraqi leader, and are likely to ripple throughout Washington in the days to come.

    Zell, a Jerusalem attorney, continues to be a partner in the firm that Feith left in 2001 to take the Pentagon job. He also helped Ahmed Chalabi’s nephew Salem set up a new law office in Baghdad in late 2003. Chalabi met with Zell and other neoconservatives many times from the mid-1990s on in London, Turkey, and the U.S. Zell outlines what Chalabi was promising the neocons before the Iraq war: “He said he would end Iraq’s boycott of trade with Israel, and would allow Israeli companies to do business there. He said [the new Iraqi government] would agree to rebuild the pipeline from Mosul [in the northern Iraqi oil fields] to Haifa [the Israeli port, and the location of a major refinery].”

  5. America First
    October 12, 2009, 5:41 pm

    I agree with Citizen, or at least you’d have to go further than just a draft to ensure that the kids of the warmongers not only serve but serve real hazardous duty. If the junior neocons get officers’ commissions, I’d hope their troops shoot them in the back.

    • Chaos4700
      October 12, 2009, 6:15 pm

      While I’m not a fan of that sort of “dissent among the ranks” as it were… it would possess a certain elegant symmetry, I have to concede.

      • Citizen
        October 13, 2009, 11:22 am

        Fragging does have its blessings. I just wish it was epidemic among the troops since
        at least WW1. I speak as a former lowly teen age US Army combat engineer .

  6. bigbill
    October 13, 2009, 7:29 pm

    Drafting Jews would destroy America’s ability to make any war at all (unless it it to save the Jews, like WWII or like the coming Iranian war, of course).

    To up the ante somewhat perhaps we could insist that Jews do alternative military service for their own people in their own homeland, Israel.

    There would be some additional risk to them, which would make them a bit more disinclined to go to war, but at least they could serve under their fellow Jews.

    It seems like a reasonable compromise.

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