Wonderful post at Lobelog by Eli Clifton: The neocons used to insist that the road to peace in Jerusalem led through Baghdad.
Guess what, now they’re saying it leads “through Tehran.” And the sad news, they’re still in the ideological driver’s seat.
On a nearly daily occurrence, neoconservative op-ed columns and blogs are recycling the worn talking point, with hawks reiterating peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis are doomed as long as Iran continues its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Back in April 2002, a year prior to the invasion of Iraq, Foreign Policy Initiative and PNAC co-founders Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan wrote that Middle East peace would be unattainable unless Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
"… President Bush needs to stay focused on Iraq. Many of those who want him to become deeply and personally involved in the Middle East peace process also want him to do nothing about Saddam Hussein. In the Arab world, in Europe, in Washington and New York, and in some corners of the administration itself, there is the hope that Bush will become so immersed in peace-processing that he’ll have neither the time, the energy, nor the inclination to tackle the more fundamental problem in the Middle East. By turning Bush into a Middle East mediator, they think they can shunt him off the road that leads to real security and peace–the road that runs through Baghdad. We trust the president will see and avoid this trap."
Looking through the rear view mirror with 20/20 hindsight, it’s hard to detect much truth in Kagan and Kristol’s assertion. Although they called Saddam Hussein “the fundamental problem in the Middle East”, the 2006 Lebanon War, the 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza and the winter 2008-2009 Gaza War all occurred after he had been removed from power….
The reverse linkage argument — where neocons tell the American public not to worry about Arab-Israeli peace but to focus instead on Iraq, Iran or another country yet to be named on their map — has been tried, tested and failed. Reverse linkage looks like it’s here to stay no matter how disastrous and ineffective the notion’s implementation has been. Perhaps the best counterargument against those who promote reverse linkage is in the title of Kagan and Kristol’s 2002 article, “Remember the Bush Doctrine.”