You may remember that former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was roughhoused out of a hall in Washington last week after he turned his back on the speaker, Secy of State Hillary Clinton. Why did he do it? McGovern has a very strong piece about the administration's war policy at antiwar.com. The piece makes Obama out to be weak and "jittery" and in over his head, and Clinton out to be commanding. Too commanding-- and in the "Likud lobby"'s pocket. (By the way, the ADL is now saying that McGovern is anti-Semitic, presumably for this sort of analysis.)
I have two excerpts below, the first is about Hillary's willful decision to support the Iraq war, and Israeli intransigence. The second is about the role of the Israel lobby in pushing that war. Note that McGovern is now more than embracing the Walt & Mearsheimer thesis. When will Chris Matthews, who wants to know why we got into this disaster, have the former CIA analyst on? Excerpt 1:
In the summer of 2002, as the Senate was preparing to conduct hearings about alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and the possibility of war, former Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq and U.S. Marine Major, Scott Ritter, came down to Washington from his home in upstate New York to share his first-hand knowledge with as many senators as possible.
To those that let him in the door, he showed that the "intelligence" adduced to support U.S. claims that Iraq still had WMD was fatally flawed. This was the same "intelligence" that Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller later branded "unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent."
Sen. Hillary Clinton would not let Ritter in her door. Despite his unique insights as a U.N. inspector and his status as a constituent, Sen. Clinton gave him the royal run-around. Her message was clear: "Don’t bother me with the facts." She had already made up her mind....
Sen. Clinton reportedly was not among the handful of legislators who took the trouble to read the National Intelligence Estimate on WMD in Iraq that was issued on Oct. 1, 2002, just ten days before the she voted to authorize war.
In short, she chose not to perform the due diligence required prior to making a decision having life-or-death consequences for thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. She knew whom she needed to cater to, and what she felt she had to do.
But, bright as she is, Hillary Clinton is prone to willful mistakes — political, as well as strategic. In dissing those of us who were trying to warn her that an attack on Iraq would have catastrophic consequences, she simply willed us to be wrong. Clearly, her calculation was that she had to appear super-strong on defense in order to win the Democratic nomination and then the presidency in 2008.
Just as clearly, courting Israel and the Likud Lobby was also important to her political ambitions....Secretary Clinton is almost as assiduous as Netanyahu in never missing a chance to paint the Iranians in the darkest colors – even if that ends up painting the entire region into a more dangerous corner....
Clinton also rejected the Goldstone Report’s criticism of Israel’s bloody attack on Gaza in 2008-09; she waffled on Israel’s fatal commando raid on a Turkish relief flotilla on its way to Gaza in 2010; and she rallied to the defense of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak this month when Israeli leaders raised alarms about what kind of regime might follow him.
Just last week, Clinton oversaw the casting of the U.S. veto to kill a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Israel to stop colonizing territories it occupied in 1967. That vote was 14 to 1, marking the first such veto by the Obama administration. Netanyahu was quick to state that he "deeply appreciated" the U.S. stance.
And this is about the Israel lobby and the Iraq war:
[Former Bush Administration foreign-policy adviser Philip] Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002, the "unstated threat" from Iraq was the "threat against Israel." He added, "The American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell."
But it wasn’t as though leading Israelis were disguising their hopes or an attack on Iraq. The current Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu published a pre-invasion piece titled "The case for Toppling Saddam" in the Wall Street Journal, in which he wrote:
"Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do … I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime."
The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, "the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq." And, as a 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 [WMD] capabilities." In the United States, neoconservatives also pushed for war thinking that taking out Saddam Hussein would make Israel more secure.
Those Israeli leaders and their neocon allies got their wish on March 19, 2003, with the U.S.-U.K. invasion.
Of course, pressure from Israel and its Lobby was not the only factor behind the invasion of Iraq — think also oil, military bases, various political ambitions, revenge, etc. — but the Israeli factor was a central one.