Why did Bob Gates, who slams the Iraq war, meet with 2 guys who planned it and who then go trash him on Libya?

Israel/Palestine
on 17 Comments

Yesterday at West Point, in his sharpest criticism of the Iraq war, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that anyone who advises a ground war for the U.S. in Asia ought to have his head examined.

Funny– because earlier this week Gates had a meeting about Libya with two neoconservatives, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, who did as much as anyone to sell America on that awful war.

And afterward, Bill Kristol trashed the Obama administration response to Libya, twice: “Pathetic” and “decadent”. As for Kagan, he ran out and signed a neocon letter pressing Obama to take decisive action in Libya, including bringing warships into Libya’s waters and fighter jets into its airspace. 

So: a Cabinet Secretary has a meeting with a couple rightwing guys who stand for everything he says he’s against, and they promptly go out and undermine the Obama administration.

If you are a reporter for a Tea Party group that opposed Obama’s healthcare program, would you get an interview with a Cabinet Secretary? No f’ing way. If you were against him on gay rights, would they let you anywhere near the Rose Garden? Again, no.

The Washington status of the neoconservatives in spite of their hostility and ghastly mistakes is about the Israel lobby’s power in D.C. Kristol and Kagan are both ardent supporters of Israel– here they argue against any pressure on the Jewish state–and because those who care about Israel are such an important part of American electoral politics, the Obama administration must kiss the tuchis of those who are seen to represent that lobby– or it will cause defections from its own Establishment base. The access that Kristol and Kagan got is little different from the fact that Dennis Ross, who epitomized the failed peace process, was elevated to be Obama’s Middle East envoy– because Ross is the embodiment of the Israel lobby, a “melitz yosher,” in the words of Abe Foxman, or advocate for Israel. Or why Stuart Levey hung around from the failed Bush administration to the Obama administration in Treasury– because he had cred with the lobby.That’s how it works.

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

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17 Responses

  1. Citizen
    February 26, 2011, 11:38 am

    I imagine if Arab Americans were privileged beyond all others regardless of regime change here in USA as the melitz yoshers are, Palestine would have had its own fully sovereign state a long time ago, which would minimally include, land-wise, what they have now in land, plus all the settlement land, plus 20% of Israel’s land, and also minimally 50% of the aid to Israel and the same pocket proxy veto Israel has at the UN. And there’d be lots of teen films with lovable Arab American kids in them. And we’d be inundated with how rascist and discriminatory the Talmud is, same as the Koran.

    • annie
      February 26, 2011, 11:53 am

      And there’d be lots of teen films with lovable Arab American kids in them.

      you noticed that too eh.

      • MRW
        February 26, 2011, 5:16 pm

        Add: and endless films about the Nakba.

  2. Mooser
    February 26, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Gosh isn’t it funny, Bernard Avashai just proposed the same thing at TPM this morning:

    “I realize that the shores of Tripoli seem too much for American forces just now, and perhaps never should have been in a military song in the first place. But I cannot help wondering what use are aircraft carriers if one cannot be used to keep Libyan airspace free of the lunatic’s planes and gunships, so that fewer good people will die taking him down”

    Yes sir, there’s no better way to save lives than killing people. He couches it quite cleverly, but his contempt for the lives of Libyans is palpable.
    If I am not mistaken, haven’t 150 Libyan’s already been excuted for refusing to fire on the protesters? Sure looks to me like Bernard is in favor of the “kill them all and God will know his own” plan.
    Not to mention his complete ignorance of just how politically selective bombs and bullets can be.
    Naturally, he did not include any examples of a plan like this working in the past.

    • eGuard
      February 26, 2011, 9:08 pm

      Well, Mooser, my The Times (from London, in print), says it, like: “we [the UK] have just retired the [aircraft carrier] Ark Royal, while now we could have used it in the Mediterranian”. To save some Brits, eh, BP-personel. All together, my once-grand BBC (World service included) is reporting about evacuation of Kakies only. What a mess at Tripoli airport. I do AJE 24/7.

  3. Kathleen
    February 26, 2011, 12:15 pm

    “The access that Kristol and Kagan got is little different from the fact that Dennis Ross, who epitomized the failed peace process, was elevated to be Obama’s Middle East envoy– because Ross is the embodiment of the Israel lobby, a “melitz yosher,” in the words of Abe Foxman, or advocate for Israel. Or why Stuart Levey hung around from the failed Bush administration to the Obama administration in Treasury– because he had cred with the lobby.That’s how it works. ”

    you nailed it again Phil. Interesting that Kagan and Kristol have such access.
    Although I thought Kagan had been brought into the innner Obama circle too..like Dennis Ross.

    could they be playing out a good cop bad cop thing?

  4. Don
    February 26, 2011, 12:26 pm

    “anyone who advises a ground war for the U.S. in Asia ought to have his head examined. ”

    Getting involved in a land war in Asia is, of course, the first of …
    “The Ten Classic Blunders”

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105×355878

  5. Psychopathic god
    February 26, 2011, 2:19 pm

    My name is Inigo Montoya.
    You killed my father.
    Now, prepare to die!

  6. Kathleen
    February 26, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Not sure where my link to Yosuf Islam/Cat Stevens interview about his new song “my People” and the Music of Revolution went?
    link to english.aljazeera.net

  7. piotr
    February 26, 2011, 5:55 pm

    The situation in Libya seems rather complex, and characterizing it as “protests” and “suppression” is misleading. This is civil war. Part of armed forces rebelled, and Khaddafi is sufficiently charismatic that a diehard elite core of the military sticks with him.

    So one may ask: isn’t it a non-brainer? Support the insurgents and save Libya from a protracted civil war!

    However, whenever possible, it is good to be invited by the victims to defend them. Ordinarily, an imperial power would have some group ready to do exactly that, like we had in Iraq. Then the question is how credible the “invitation committee” is. In the case of Libya, I am not aware of any such invitation.

    And this is not a formalistic objection. If nobody likes us there, an intervention can lead to a truly protracted civil war, as we have in Afghanistan (not too mention that it is tricky when it is not clear who will shoot at you and who will support you, and some rebel may hate us). In the meantime, it seems that as civil wars go, this will be a short one, and if not, perhaps the rebels will invite us after all. Or someone else, for that matter.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    February 26, 2011, 5:57 pm

    RE: “Why did Bob Gates, who slams the Iraq war, meet with 2 guys who planned it and who then go trash him on Libya?” – Weiss

    FROM MERRIAM-WEBSTER: Definition of MASOCHISM
    1
    : a sexual perversion characterized by pleasure in being subjected to pain or humiliation especially by a love object — compare sadism
    2
    : pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering

    P.S. To be serious for a change, he probably met with them in an effort to partially “inoculate” himself, the Democrats and/or the Obama administration against their criticism (and criticism by their ilk). He can say that at least he met with them and listened to their views. This might lessen the damage to Obama/Democrat fundraising for the 2012 elections.

  9. peters
    February 26, 2011, 8:05 pm

    i am amazed that there is anyone left in government who wants to do the right thing by america. i thought the lobby had all of them. and don’t krystal, et. al. realize that very soon no one will listen to them ( except for fellow travellers) and dismiss them a joke? don’t they care about that?

  10. seanmcbride
    February 27, 2011, 9:16 am

    Kathleen — do you perhaps have this backwards? Barack Obama and Robert Gates have been brought into the inner circle which is controlled by characters like William Kristol, Robert Kagan and Dennis Ross. Think about it. Which group in American politics is wealthier and better organized than the Israel lobby?

    Regarding good cop/bad cop: isn’t it obvious by now that Dennis Ross has been a Likud mole from day one, on a mission to obstruct and sabotage the Mideast peace process under the guise of promoting it? Seriously. I am not being hyperbolic or fanciful. I am beginning to doubt that any leaders of the left wing of the Israel lobby were ever serious and sincere about supporting the two-state solution. They’ve been running a scam, engaging in delaying tactics while Israel has continued to expand its settlements in the occupied territories.

  11. seanmcbride
    February 27, 2011, 9:27 am

    Regarding good cop/bad cop: does anyone really believe that there are significant policy differences between the lead financiers of the Israel lobby in the Republican and Democratic Parties: Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban?

  12. Theo
    February 27, 2011, 1:17 pm

    Gates: anyone advises war in Asia…..

    Now, that is funny! After we lost the Korea war, it was a general consensus in the military that we should never again get involved in a land war in Asia, because we cannot win it!!

    Just a few years later we entered the Vietnam war, forgetting all the wise moments our generals once had, a war we lost badly.
    The Iraq war is now eight years old and anyone who says we are winning it is lying.
    Afghanistan is even older war and we are losing that, too.
    It seems the memories of our politicians and generals are very short, because there is a talk about invading Iran. Just how many stupid people do we have in Washington and what kind of idiots are the voters who send them there for decades?

  13. seanmcbride
    February 27, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Theo: All of these wars have been enormously profitable for many players in the military-industrial complex — to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Perhaps war profiteers aren’t quite so stupid after all — quite the contrary. The electorate at large that is rolled over by cheesy propaganda time and time again — that is another matter.

  14. seanmcbride
    February 28, 2011, 12:48 pm

    More on Dennis Ross as a Likud mole whose entire mission has been to stall, stall, stall on Mideast peace negotiations while Israel creates more facts on the ground in pursuit of Greater Israel:

    “Ross: More time needed for bridging peace proposals” link to jta.org

    Could his agenda and methods be any more obvious? Were Bush senior, Baker and Clinton actually taken in by him?

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