NYT reviewer: Small group of Bush advisers will take real reason for Iraq war to their (restless) graves

These are the first and last paragraphs of the New York Times review (by Thomas Powers) of former spook Paul Pillar’s new book. Pillar worked for 28 years at the CIA and the National Intelligence Council, often on Middle East issues (link at bottom). 

Every attentive reader of “Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy,” Paul R. Pillar’s long-needed examination of just what the Central Intelligence Agency got right or wrong before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003, will find one observation or another that seems more disquieting than the rest. I haven’t quite decided which of two deserves pride of place on my own list: The fact that the Bush administration never formally debated whether it was “a good idea” to invade Iraq? Or that Pillar, who ran the National Intelligence Council’s shop for the Middle East during both events, cannot tell us “the true reasons the Bush administration invaded”?

…This brings us back to the troubling remarks Pillar makes early in this rich, useful and important book. First is the fact that the administration never formally debated “whether the war was a good idea.” The implication is clear: a small group of officials made the decision on their own, without leaving any record. “It was never on any meeting’s agenda,” Pillar notes. What, then, was the purpose of the war? What did President Bush and his advisers hope to achieve? Who did they think would benefit? I would say that I am about as interested in this question as anyone, but any answer I offered would be only a guess. Bush and his friends have never really been clear about their reasons, and the magnitude of their failure suggests they will carry the secret to their graves.

This is shocking, of course. It recalls Thomas Friedman’s commentary to Avi Shavit in Haaretz that if you had abducted 25 neocons to a desert island before the Iraq war it would never have happened. It recalls Colin Powell’s reported belief, in Karen DeYoung’s biography, that a “gang” from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs pushed the Iraq war as a means of guaranteeing Israel’s security. It recalls Jacob Heilbrunn’s use of the word “cabal” in his book on the neocons, They Knew They Were Right. It recalls Joe Klein’s statement, in a Time blog a couple years ago, that the neocons pushed the Iraq war to set off a “benign domino theory” across the Middle East to make Israel safe. It recalls George Packer’s keen report, in Assassin’s Gate, that the neocons harbored a “move over one” theory of the Iraq war: that Jordan would get Iraq, the Palestinians would get Jordan, and Israel would get greater Israel, that my father bought for two zuzim.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/books/review/intelligence-and-us-foreign-policy-by-paul-r-pillar-book-review.html?_r=2&ref=books&pagewanted=all

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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  1. MRW says:

    I just read this before coming over here. I was struck by this as well: “The implication is clear: a small group of officials made the decision on their own, without leaving any record. “It was never on any meeting’s agenda,” Pillar notes.”

    They still can’t utter the words, the truth, can they? But I suppose it’s a start; everyone knows what the coded language means.

    P.S. It’s not shocking. Instead, it’s about time.

  2. pabelmont says:

    In a court of law, a lawyer seeking a judicial agreement on a point of law gives reasons to support his contention. The judge, seeking to be sustained on appeal, as a rule, offers reasons to support his ruling.

    The neocons conned Bush-Cheney who, of course, wanted to be conned, and together they conned the nation. Everything they offered the nation as “reasons” was a con. And the Congress, wanting to be conned, lapped it up like a cat drinking spilt milk.

    One wonders at the alacrity with which everyone in this daisy-chain accepted the idea that going to (indefinite) war against an (indefinite and growing) enemy was a good idea? Pure Military-Industrial-Complex (reason: to enrich the war-profiteers) or something else?

    • Daniel Rich says:

      Hi pabelmont,

      Personally I never believed a single word about why ‘we’ had to go to war from the git-go. I have done everything within my power to protest this [and other] mindless action/s. My question would therefor be: how much did all those millions of patriotic idiots want to be conned?

    • jimby says:

      don’t forget the shrub wanted to get Saddam for “trying to kill his daddy”. those crooks had many reasons.

    • Citizen says:

      Hi pabelmont, true and a nuance is that Wolfowitz et al easily convinced them the war would be over in no time and Iraq would pay for it all. My net readings suggest Wolfie was the key lead. Later he was rewarded by getting slot as Prez of WB–without any credentials at all for that job. Wall St is linked hard with our War Biz. Folks protesting there now see it clearly.

  3. hophmi says:

    Small group of apostate Jews will continue to push anti-Jewish conspiracy theory for the war largely attributed to John Mearsheimer, endorser of notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.

    • James says:

      good comedy even from the resident zionists here at mondoweiss.. who whudda thunk it? lol..

    • MRW says:

      It ain’t anti-semitic if it’s true.

        • hophmi says:

          It ain’t true, never was.

        • James says:

          …”notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.”

          hophmi October 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm

          It ain’t true, never was.

          bingo!

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Did you find those nukes in Iraq, then? Links pretty please?

        • American says:

          Of course it’s true.
          Everyone who (was opposed to ) and following the march to the Iraq invasion knew it and said it.
          We had a little boy President with Cheney and Abrams and JINSA and the whole Jewish right wing cabal in the US calling the shots in the WH.
          We had the CIA head,Tenent, drunk in Prince Bandar’s pool screaming about the Jews who set him and the war up.
          How many insiders have to tell you?

          The statement Zelikow made that he later tried to deny he made:

          “The unstated threat. And here I criticise the [Bush] administration a little, because the argument that they make over and over again is that this is about a threat to the United States. And then everybody says: ‘Show me an imminent threat from Iraq to America. Show me, why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?’ So I’ll tell you what I think the real threat is, and actually has been since 1990. It’s the threat against Israel.
          And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it’s not a popular sell.”

        • Potsherd2 says:

          Dig up the graves, find the truth.

      • pabelmont says:

        It could be AS. If Walt and Mearsheimer blamed “the Jews”, “the Jewish people”, etc. But, by contrast, if they blamed a very, very few very, very rich Jewish individuals (who wish to promote right-wing Zionist policies), why then they are not AS (because they do not blame ALL Jews). And I would add, it ain’t anti-semitic even if it is false if it was carefully researched and carefully argued. Mistakes aren’t hatred.

    • lysias says:

      First time I remember seeing that phrase “apostate Jews,” but, according to Wikipedia, it seems to be a term — or at least an idea — with a history.

      Wikipedia quotes Deuteronomy 13:6-11:

      If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

      Of course, according to another view, worship of the state of Israel is itself such a worship of a false god.

      • john h says:

        That’s the truth, lysias, support for Zionist Israel as a default position is worship of the golden calf as your god.

        • john h says:

          From the Deuteronomy quote, “gods of the peoples around you”.

          That is exactly what Zionist Jews wanted and want; it was and is their constant cry to be just like any other people, then and now. In terms of the bible history they appeal to, it is a form of idolatry, a turning away from their heritage, which is “such an evil thing”.

          In fact it is the same as what is related in 1 Samuel 8:

          “now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations.

          And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.

          According to all the deeds which they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you’.” (verses 5-8)

    • seanmcbride says:

      hophmi,

      In your estimation, which Jewish *neoconservatives* and pro-Israel militants (note well: not Jews per se — most Jews opposed the Iraq War) played a leading role in promoting the Iraq War? I can name 150 off the top of my head. What do you think? Which names come to mind for you?

      • MRW says:

        Read the article Dan links to below.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Great article — nails it. There are a dozen reputable books and hundreds of reputable articles out there that analyze this situation in depth. Historians will be digging through all this material for decades and centuries.

    • MarkF says:

      Uh, no. You just need to look at all the op-eds published by the PNAC crowd in the major newspapers in the run up to the war.

      Mr. Munger is right. It’s all there in black and white. Op-eds by Perle, Woolsey, Krauthammer, Arial Sharon, Bibi, Barak, etc.

      Your boy Kristol and his fellow fake righties got what they wanted and we’re enjoying the accrued bill.

    • yourstruly says:

      small groups of apostate germans, such as willy brandt, will continue to push anti-german conspiracy theory for the wars. oh, wait a second, after wwii, didn’t brandt return to germany and become its chancellor?

    • Wow, hopper, the conspiracy nuts like yourself are pushing a new theory, hoping to kill three birds with one stone. Antisemites – used to mean people who hate Jews, now means people who Zionists hate.

    • Citizen says:

      Interesting that both the tea baggers and occupywallst grass rooters are being slandered as anti-semitic. Anything not originally growing from the top down is anti-semitic? Mearsheimer is an American Patriot. Atzmon is a humanist in that he believes in universal morality/ethics applicable to all humans. No double standards.
      Meanwhile Obamaites planning strategy 2 dilute Republican contenders’ “We love Israel more than you” campaign. Number one issue involving both US domestic and foreign policy seems to be who can support the tiny state with nukes & 4th biggest military-industrial complex more? Right here: link to forward.com

  4. Dan Crowther says:

    From Salon.com, 2005
    link to entertainment.salon.com

    I highly recommend reading the whole article

    “Packer describes how the first salvo in what was to become the Iraq war was fired by PNAC, whose members included Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, James Woolsey and William Bennett; “more than half of the founding members would go on to assume high positions in the administration of George W. Bush.” In 1998, PNAC sent an open letter to President Clinton, arguing that the policy of containment had failed and urging him to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Weakened by the Lewinsky scandal, Clinton reluctantly signed the Iraq Liberation Act. “Regime change in Iraq became official U.S. policy.”

    “Why Iraq?” Packer asks. “Why did Iraq become the leading cause of the hawks?” He gives two reasons: Paul Wolfowitz’s desire to atone for America’s failure to topple Saddam at the end of the first Gulf War, and the neocons’ obsession with defending Israel.

    In Packer’s account, Wolfowitz is a fascinating, fatally flawed figure, an idealist who failed to take actions in support of his ideals. As Dick Cheney’s undersecretary of defense for policy, Wolfowitz went along with Bush I’s decision not to oust Saddam at the end of the first Gulf War. But he was haunted by that choice, and determined to rectify it. “More than Perle, Feith, and the neoconservatives in his department — certainly more than Rumsfeld and Cheney — Wolfowitz cared,” Packer writes. “For him Iraq was personal.” Packer holds Wolfowitz largely responsible for the Bush administration’s failure to put enough troops into Iraq, and to plan for the aftermath.

    The leading light of the neoconservatives was Richard Perle, whom Packer describes as the Iraq war’s “impresario, with one degree of separation from everyone who mattered.” A partisan of Israel’s hard-line Likud Party and a protégé of neocon Democrat Scoop Jackson, Perle recruited two other staunch advocates of Israel, Douglas Feith and Elliott Abrams, to work for Jackson and hawkish Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Packer writes, “When I half jokingly suggested that the Iraq War began in Scoop Jackson’s office, Perle said, ‘There’s an element of that.’” In 1985, Perle had met and become friends with an Iraqi exile named Ahmad Chalabi. “By the time of the PNAC letter in January 1998, Perle knew exactly how Saddam could be overthrown: Put Ahmad Chalabi at the head of an army of Iraqi insurgents and back him with American military power and cash.”

    Almost all these figures, starting with Scoop Jackson, shared a key obsession: Israel. “In 1996, some of the people in Perle’s circle had begun to think about what it would mean for Saddam Hussein to be removed from the Middle East scene. “They concluded it would be very good for Israel,” Packer writes. “Perle chaired a study group of eight pro-Likud Americans, including Douglas Feith, who had worked under Perle in the Reagan administration, and David Wurmser, who was the author of the paper produced under the group’s auspices … Afterwards the group was pleased enough with its work to send the paper to the newly elected Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.” The paper, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” advocated smashing the Palestinians militarily, removing Saddam from power, and installing a Hashemite king on the Iraq throne.

    The dangerous absurdity of this scheme (elements of which appeared in a later book by Perle and Bush speechwriter David Frum, modestly titled “An End to Evil”) did not prevent it from being accepted by high officials of the Bush administration. “A few weeks before the start of the Iraq War, a State Department official described for me what he called the ‘everybody move over one theory’: Israel would annex the occupied territories, the Palestinians would get Jordan, and the Jordanian Hashemites would be restored to the throne of Iraq,” Packer writes. The neocons were out-Likuding the Likud: Even Ariel Sharon had long abandoned his beloved “Jordan is Palestine” idea. That Douglas Feith, one of the ideologues who subscribed to such lunatic plans (the departing Colin Powell denounced Feith to President Bush as “a card-carrying member of the Likud”) was in charge of planning for Iraq is almost beyond belief.

    “Does this mean that a pro-Likud cabal insinuated its way into the high councils of the U.S. government and took hold of the apparatus of American foreign policy to serve Israeli interests (as some critics of the war have charged, rather than addressing its merits head on?)” Packer asks. “Is neoconservative another word for Jewish (as some advocates of the war have complained, rather than addressing their critics head on)?” Packer does not answer the first question directly, but he makes it clear that the intellectual origins of the war were inseparably tied to neocon concerns about Israel. “For Feith and Wurmser, the security of Israel was probably the prime mover… The idea of realigning the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein was first proposed by a group of Jewish policy makers and intellectuals who were close to the Likud. And when the second President Bush looked around for a way to think about the uncharted era that began on September 11, 2001, there was one already available.”

    While Bush and his Cold War hardliners Cheney and Rumsfeld were preparing to implement the neocons’ grand vision of remaking the Middle East so that it would be friendlier to the United States and Israel, what were liberals doing? In Packer’s view, those who did not support the war were either naive ditherers or excessively cautious, unwilling to fight for the noble causes that had once drawn liberals. Packer notes the tension between the dovish legacy of Vietnam and the impetus to hawkishness given by the humanitarian wars of the ’80s. He writes that he, like most liberals, was a dove, but that the first Gulf War changed his thinking. “[T]he footage of grateful Kuwaitis waving at columns of American troops streaming through the liberated capital knocked something ajar in my worldview. American soldiers were the heroes … The decade that followed the Gulf War scrambled everything and turned many of the old truths on their heads. The combination of the Cold War’s end, the outbreak of genocidal wars and ethnic conflicts in Europe and Africa, and a Democratic presidency made it possible for liberals to contemplate and even advocate the use of force for the first time since the Kennedy years.” The drive behind this new, muscular liberalism came from what Packer rightly lauds as “one of the twentieth century’s greatest movements, the movement for human rights.”

    Packer describes how the Bush administration began taking steps to invade Iraq almost immediately after 9/11. (Packer notes that, as former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill recounted, Bush officials were talking about removing Saddam almost as soon as Bush took office in January 2001.) This is familiar territory, but as usual Packer provides some unusual insights. He notes that Bush and Wolfowitz, in particular, bonded: “They believed in the existence of evil, and they had messianic notions of what America should do about it.” In March 2002, Bush interrupted a meeting between Condoleezza Rice and three senators to say, “Fuck Saddam. We’re taking him out.”

    As plans for war raced ahead, a secret new unit was being set up in the Pentagon, overseen by Douglas Feith and his deputy, William Luti, who was such a maniacal hawk that his colleagues called him “Uber-Luti.” (At a staff meeting, Luti once called retired Gen. Anthony Zinni a traitor for questioning the Iraq war.) The secret unit was called the Office of Special Plans, and it was charged with planning for Iraq. Packer’s account of this office is chilling. Its main purpose was to cook up intelligence to justify the war, which was then “stovepiped” directly to Dick Cheney’s neocon chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby (who has now been linked to the Valerie Plame scandal). Its cryptic name as well as its opposition to the traditional intelligence agencies, which had failed to deliver the goods on Saddam, reflected the views of its director, Abram Shulsky, a former Perle aide, housemate of Wolfowitz’s at Cornell, and student of the Chicago classics professor Leo Strauss. Strauss, around whom a virtual cult had gathered, had famously discussed esoteric and hidden meanings in great works, and Shulsky wrapped himself in the lofty mantle of his former professor to justify the secret and “innovative” approach of the OSP.

    In fact, besides feeding bogus intelligence from Iraqi exile sources into the rapacious craw of the White House, the OSP was nothing but a spin machine to prepare the way to war: No actual “planning” was done. According to Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, the “crafting and approval of the exact words to use when discussing Iraq, WMD, and terrorism were, for most of us, the only known functions of OSP and Mr. Shulsky.” (Kwiatkowski later recalled a bit of advice she got from a high-level civil servant: “If I wanted to be successful here,” she wrote, “I’d better remember not to say anything positive about the Palestinians.” “

    • MRW says:

      Helluva an article.

    • munro says:

      “neocons’ obsession with defending Israel.” Not about defending. It’s about crushing obstacles to domination and expansion.

      • Oscar says:

        Brilliant, Dan C. Thanks for the link and the excerpt.

        Of course, then entire enterprise was propelled by the signatories of PNAC. For God’s sake, JEB BUSH was a signatory to the PNAC document.

        Pillar apparently clashed with the nefarious, behind-the-scenes director of the Counterterrorism Center, Cofer Black, in 1999. He seems to be a good guy, but if he’s cutting out the stuff in the Salon article, then he’s not doing history a favor. I’m getting a copy of his book to see if that’s the case.

    • kursato says:

      “A few weeks before the start of the Iraq War, a State Department official described for me what he called the ‘everybody move over one theory’: Israel would annex the occupied territories, the Palestinians would get Jordan, and the Jordanian Hashemites would be restored to the throne of Iraq,” Packer writes.

      It looks like a new Sykes-Picot agreement.
      Then they ask why there are some many people with anti-American feelings

    • Extraordinary piece. How wars are started (by fanatical zealots who worship Israel) and are allowed to happen (by weakened presidents, a grossly negligent and partisan media, just as obsessed with Israeli ideology). US sons and daughters die, Israelis go to the beach and sit by their US subsidised pools filled with Palestinian water resources, while the neocons cheerlead for apartheid. Nice work. It couldn’t happen again – wait – an administration full of neocons, a weakened president, and a media drinking ziocaine. Iran, you are the next candidate for misery and a broken state if these assholes get their way.

      • RoHa says:

        “US sons and daughters die, Israelis go to the beach and sit by their US subsidised pools filled with Palestinian water resources, while the neocons cheerlead for apartheid.”

        Plus the destruction of a country, death, rape, and total misery for millions, contamination by depleted uranium leading to generations of appalling birth defects, and other minor details.

    • It was clear to me from the beginning that this was a war for Israel and I had sufficient information by the end of 2003 to write an article by that name, “A War for Israel,” for Left Curve’s Spring 2004 annual. See: link to leftcurve.org

      Now, there is considerably more information that has come out, in Mearsheimer and Walt’s, “The Israel Lobby,” and subsequent to that, that makes the case even stronger. At the same time those who insist it was “a war for oil,” that it was designed as a grab by US-based oil majors and who have rejected from the beginning any notion that Israel’s interests were key to its planners, have provided very little evidence to prove their case. That’s because there isn’t any.

      • gingershot says:

        Terrific article, Jeffrey

        Really scholarly and a treasure trove of context

        Thanks

      • Awesome article, Blankfort. Now get off your ass and write/post more here!

        Thanks

        • LOL. When I wrote that article there were few voices or outlets speaking the truth about the war or anything else regarding Israel or the Israel-Palestine conflict that didn’t safely place all the blame on US imperialism.

          I write “safely” because that was the easiest way for most of those involved in Palestine support work to avoid pointing the finger where it should have been pointed. That still is the problem with the leading anti-war groups, such as they are, and those in the hallowed think tanks of the Left such as the Inst. for Policy Studies who still are tethered to the Chomsky line, namely that Washington is primarily at fault for everything bad that happens in this world.

          These days, more and more people have opened their minds and have freed themselves from his faulty analysis and many people are writing excellent articles about the Israel-Palestine conflict and the war on Iraq that thanks to the internet can no longer be buried.

      • MRW says:

        I’d forgotten how good that article was, Jeffrey. It is great. Everyone should download it and keep it.

    • Henry Norr says:

      And Salon.com files that article in their “entertainment” section!!!

  5. Sweet Jesus, what it’s going to take with this?

    Can’t say the reasons why? As in don’t know? Or as in afraid to say publicly? I expect better from Pillar.

    Really, when representatives of Big Oil weasel into, er, excuse me, are appointed to gov’t positions which allow them to “regulate” the very industry which has enriched them to no end, no one has a problem seeing that there is a conflict. Likewise, reps from Big Pharma, Agribiz, the Big 3 Automakers, etc…regulating the various industries from which they hail [and no doubt plabn to return] you name it. conflicts are spotted with more frequency than Elvis, UFOs, bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.

    But when loyal and dedicated servants of Israel and Likudism and Zionist expansionism, who have tireslessly advocated all manner of pillage and plunder and rapinge [yes, it's archaic] on behalf of The Light Unto The Nations are appointed to positions of authority formulating and executing US foreign policy, and suddenly the US finds itself engaged in a war with Iraq, a war which the Solomon-like authors of “A Clean Break” tirelessly advocated with every Jabotinskyite breath, suddenly we don’t see a conflict? Or are afraid to see a conflict?

    Come on, what are we, children?

    If we can’t see this conflict, we may as well slash our wrists nad our throats with Occam’s Razor

  6. munro says:

    Helen Thomas: Why Iraq War?

  7. Whizdom says:

    Larry Franklin, convicted of passing secrets to an Israeli Consular Official, was Feith’s deputy for Iran. Charges against AIPAC’s Steve Rosen were subsequently dismissed.

  8. kursato says:

    İam still waiting for those WMD’s in İraq, saddam must have hid them well in iraq :D.
    He must have had some advice from old friend Donald Rumsfeld.

    Thousands of American lives lost for the agenda of some..

  9. I gave a speech in April 2004 in which I attributed an important aspect of the war’s being pushed to the direct linkage between the 1996 Clean Break crew and the PNAC gang. It doesn’t matter that some of these people will take their secrets to the grave. The truth has always been there.

    It is all based on lies. Might have worked better if the idea hadn’t been totally fucking insane in the first place.

    • Mr. Munger – I don’t know if I’m the only one who wasn’t aware of your credentials but I am very happy to have been made curious by your speech reference in your comment to have checked.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      I look forward to keeping up with your other writings, compositions, etc.

      Thank you sincerely for your activism.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Impressive Wikipedia entry — thanks for the pointer.

        • You are very welcome.

          One of the beauties of internet links are the interesting things I learn by accident. In checking out the “See Also” for “My Name is Rachel Corrie”, I learned it is a play based on the diaries and emails of Rachel Corrie, edited by Alan Rickman, who directed it.

          Alan Rickman is the immensely enjoyable actor of “Die Hard”, and “Harry Potter” fame and I guess I am so jaded as to the kowtowing of Hollywood to Israeli Zionist interests, that I am actually shocked (and pleased) when I find that someone is willing to publicly take a stand for justice when doing so, more times than not, causes them to incur various hardships within the industry.

          Vanessa Redgrave and her stand for Palestine comes to mind. In keeping with the theme of serendipity, when doing a search to make sure I was thinking of the right Redgrave sister, I came across her speech at the Oscars, which again reminds us all not to remain silent in the face of injustice.

          from: link to super70s.com

          And I salute you and I pay tribute to you and I think you should be very proud that in the last few weeks you’ve stood firm and you have refused to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums [gasps from the audience followed by a smattering of boos and clapping] whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression.

      • Lance,

        Thanks very much. Just caught your comment, between teaching a couple of classes.

  10. radii says:

    Bush told Argentina’s former president (the deceased husband of the current president) that he should start a war to revive his economy.

    Bush’s brothers and father all benefited from the Iraq war: Marvin had set up water and meals through his connections to the Kuwaiti royal family and later got busted for serving our troops tainted water.

    Neil (remember him from the 80s Savings & Loan Scandal?) was part of a group selling inferior flak vests to our troops.

    Daddy’s ties to Carlyle Group played a role in making the war happen.

    And let’s not forget the Halliburton/KBR contracts and Richard Perle’s ties to companies that profited.

    War is a racket, indeed, and has been conducted as such so brazenly with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that it is breathtaking (in part for how the media have been so co-0pted or simply fallen down on the job of relentlessly exposing the vast graft at work in the enterprise)

    … then there is Jr’s (as in W) revenge motive to get Saddam for what he did to Daddy

    Yes, those 25 neocons should be left in a desert somewhere – now is as good a time as any

    • yourstruly says:

      how about leaving them in an iraqi desert to look for those illusive wmd’s, or that trailer that the infamous colin powell cited in his warmongering speech to the unsc?

  11. seanmcbride says:

    Neoconservatives should reimburse Americans for the full cost of the Iraq War (several trillion dollars), with punitive damages thrown in.

    • yourstruly says:

      and they should be tried for the israel-first treachery that cost america nearly five thousand lives, and afghanistan who knows how many hundred thousands of its very own

    • RoHa says:

      And who’s going to reimburse the Iraqis?

    • MRW says:

      seanmcbride October 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm
      Neoconservatives should reimburse Americans

      ABSOLUTELY.

      • Yeah, this was the war that was practically going to pay for itself (from oil revenues?).

        I can’t even remember which chucklehead said that. Bet he still had a job long after it was clear that observation couldn’t have been more wrong.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Paul Wolfowitz claimed that the Iraq War would pay for itself. Ken Adelman on the Washington Post op-ed-page prophesied that the Iraq War would be a “cakewalk.” Both Wolfowitz and Adelman are pro-Israel militants and Jewish neoconservatives.

  12. I’d call it the Military-Industrial-Israeli Complex that got us into, and keeps us in Iraq, and now Afnam.

  13. seanmcbride says:

    How to get a handle on the role of Jewish neoconservatives and pro-Israel activists in promoting the Iraq War and the overall Global War on Terror and Clash of Civilizations: simply fill in the blanks (instances) for the following categories:

    1. Jewish pro-Israel activist+AEI member
    2. Jewish pro-Israel activist+AIPAC member
    3. Jewish pro-Israel activist+billionaire
    4. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Bush 43 administration member
    5. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Clinton administration member
    6. Jewish pro-Israel activist+CNN pundit
    7. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Commentary writer
    8. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Conference of Presidents member
    9. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Democrat
    10. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Democratic Party high official
    11. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Democratic Party top 100 funder
    12. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Fox News pundit
    13. Jewish pro-Israel activist+FPI member
    14. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Iran War ringleader
    15. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Iraq War ringleader
    16. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Islamophobe
    17. Jewish pro-Israel activist+JINSA member
    18. Jewish pro-Israel activist+mainstream media high official
    19. Jewish pro-Israel activist+mainstream media owner
    20. Jewish pro-Israel activist+mainstream media pundit
    21. Jewish pro-Israel activist+MSNBC pundit
    22. Jewish pro-Israel activist+National Review writer
    23. Jewish pro-Israel activist+neoliberal
    24. Jewish pro-Israel activist+neooconservative
    25. Jewish pro-Israel activist+New Republic writer
    26. Jewish pro-Israel activist+New York Times writer
    27. Jewish pro-Israel activist+NPR pundit
    28. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Obama administration member
    29. Jewish pro-Israel activist+PNAC member
    30. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Republican
    31. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Republican Party high official
    32. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Republican Party top 100 funder
    33. Jewish pro-Israel activist+torture ringleader
    34. Jewish pro-Israel activist+US House member
    35. Jewish pro-Israel activist+US Senate member
    36. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Wall Street Journal writer
    37. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Washington Post writer
    38. Jewish pro-Israel activist+Weekly Standard writer
    39. Jewish pro-Israel activist+WINEP member

  14. seanmcbride says:

    Example:

    Jewish pro-Israel activist+Washington Post writer=

    1. Charles Krauthammer
    2. Daniel Pipes
    3. David Broder
    4. David Brooks
    5. David Frum
    6. Douglas Feith
    7. Elliott Abrams
    8. Frederick Kagan
    9. Glenn Kessler
    10. Jennifer Rubin
    11. John Podhoretz
    12. Joshua Muravchik
    13. Ken Adelman
    14. Meyrav Wurmser
    15. Michael Ledeen
    16. Norman Podhoretz
    17. Paul Wolfowitz
    18. Peter Beinart
    19. Richard Cohen
    20. Richard Perle
    21. Robert Kagan
    22. William Kristol
    23. Yigal Carmon

    The point of this exercise is not to “blame the Jews” — most Jews are not neocons or Likud Zionists, and many non-Jews have played key roles in promoting the Iraq War and Global War on Terror — but to acquire a precise understanding of this controversial topic. Certainly George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet and many other non-Jews deserve a great deal of blame for handing over control of American foreign policy to pro-Israel activists and militants who are emotionally associated with Israel’s Likud Party and its Greater Israel agenda.

    • yourstruly says:

      seanmcbride,

      your thoughts on why the gentiles went along with the zionist jews. although they too may have been zionists, seems to me that for them there were other, perhaps more important reasons, such as piggy-backing onto the cabal for the purpose of advancing the imperial agenda

    • joer says:

      With a little bit of work, I could come up with another 23 Jews who wanted to invade Iraq-but be honest, when we went in, just about everyone supported war, either by beating war drums or by keeping quiet. I don’t contest your point that the Israel connection was a big factor for going to war-but Americans have to take at least a teensy weensy bit of responsibility for what our leaders do.

      • seanmcbride says:

        joer,

        Perhaps you missed the point here. The issue is not these people are Jews, but that they are a tightly-knit network of Jewish *nationalists* (Likud Zionists) with intimate connections to a foreign government — Israel. And this powerful social and political network dominated the relentless agitation in the mainstream media to go to war against Iraq.

        How many Iraq War ringleaders in the pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times or Wall Street Journal belonged to networks of Irish, German, French or Swedish nationalists? (Pick any ethnic or nationalist group you’d like.) Do any particular names come quickly to mind?

        Most Americans opposed the Iraq War. I opposed the Iraq War. Everyone I know opposed the Iraq War. And many powerful members from the highest levels of the American political elite opposed the Iraq War. A small cabal of neoconservative true believers rammed this disastrous war down the throats of most Americans. They were fanatical in pushing their pro-war propaganda. And they left a rich data trail behind themselves that anyone can now study.

        • joer says:

          “How many Iraq War ringleaders in the pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times or Wall Street Journal belonged to networks of Irish, German, French or Swedish nationalists?”

          There seems to be a consensus on this site that the op ed pages of the pages you mention influence great swaths of the electorate. I don’t share that opinion.

          “Most Americans opposed the Iraq War. I opposed the Iraq War. Everyone I know opposed the Iraq War. ”

          That wasn’t my experience. That soon after 9/11 I sensed a sentiment that it was better not to take chances that Iraq had some nefarious plot in motion and give Bush the benefit of the doubt. I don’t remember any major popular opposition to the war-maybe a few dozen Quakers protesting at Independence Mall or a few Ron Paul types making some noise. But that just seemed to make the consensus to go to war stronger. Seeming soft of terrorism was a political liability.

        • seanmcbride says:

          joer,

          You wrote:

          “There seems to be a consensus on this site that the op ed pages of the pages you mention influence great swaths of the electorate. I don’t share that opinion.”

          Pro-Israel activists and militants, especially neoconservatives, were all over the mainstream media — print and broadcast — promoting the Iraq War in the months leading up to the invasion. The mainstream media are absolutely critical for building support for foreign wars in every nation.

          Which other lobby was nearly as conspicuous as the neoconservative wing of the Israel lobby in promoting the Iraq War in the mainstream media? The Ireland lobby? The Germany lobby? The France lobby? Nope. Not even the oil lobby. Bright minds in the oil industry predicted the fiasco which indeed ensued.

          No doubt the neocons would love to retract all their words on this subject during the last decade, but it’s too late. They own the Iraq War and the entire Global War on Terror. It’s their baby.

        • MRW says:

          I don’t remember any major popular opposition to the war

          Then you were asleep.

          There was lots of it. Not reported in the MSM but certainly reported online.

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          NEW YORK STATE OF MIND (February, 2003)
          Hundreds of thousands turn out for a massive antiwar protest, and it’s decidedly a Big Apple crowd — from black-masked anarchists to shrinks against war and “yuppies for peace.”
          link to webcache.googleusercontent.com

        • jewishgoyim says:

          It is untrue that Americans were enthralled by the Iraq War. At the time the question was worded like:
          Should the US go to war without a UN mandate?
          Should the US go to war if it gets a UN Mandate?
          Should the US not go to war?

          Until the very end, US citizens were very ambivalent about the war and even in the US people could realize that something was afoot in how Bush pushed for the war. There was unease.

          Then the fighting started and predictably (as envisioned by the neocons) people rallied around the flag and later on around the perceived victory.

          I have kept a Wapo/ABC News poll from that time that was awfully misleading. The title of the article was in contradiction (in a pro war way) with the raw material on the gallup site. Americans were wobbling but their media were, as has been documented, unswervingly driving them towards confrontation. This has been a defining moment for my understanding of the world and how power worked. And the moment the US lost prestige in my mind that it has not recovered since then. It has even lost some given that in addition to being an authoritarian warmongering country, its corrupt politics have destroyed its perceived competence as an economic power. It is still dominant, which is a testament to the work and fortitude of previous generation but it is irremediably corrupt. And the Iraq war was the event that, triggering the GWOT, put an end to the long term sustainability of “post WW2 style” American dominance.

          Because what is lost to too many observers is the following: to finance the Iraq War and delay in the future the cost for the US population, the FED set interest rates for 3 years to level they had never been at before. This is what triggered the financial crisis we’re going through since 2007. They sacrificed the future well being of the population to their warmongering. We’re in this future now.

        • joer says:

          No offense, but some times this site can be like a Woody Allen movie the way everyone is so obsessed what people in New York are thinking. Manhattan is not the center of the universe. I am sure they were able to gather together a bunch of anarchists, libertarians, pacifists, and other sundry groups for one day of benign protest. What would be a sea change if there was that size of protest made up of “real people” in Kansas City or Omaha.

      • joer – those trying to point out the fact that US politicians act as vassals of the state of Israel get regularly excoriated. That makes establishing the ultimate responsibility a teensy weensy bit problematic.

        • joer says:

          And who re-elects those politicians over and over? You may say that it is because all across the country people avidly read the New York Times Op ed page. I actually think that most people are well aware of Israel’s reputation for being “tough with the Arabs” and they accept all the excuses with a wink and a nod because they approve, in fact they wish we could be the same way. And I don’t see a controversy about what children’s art hangs in the Brandies library as any evidence of a rising tide of anti-Zionist sentiment. When there is a real change of attitude in this country, it’s going to be impossible to miss.

        • Joer, the opinion writers for the NYT, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, plus a few others in the pro-Israel stable such as Jeff Jacoby are all syndicated and their columns appear in newspapers large and small across the country. And they all sing the same pro-Israel, pro-war song and see nothing to counter it.

          One major difference between the US and its European allies is that in the latter there are national newspapers whose political perspectives cover the political spectrum to a degree unimaginable in this country.

          Admittedly, while the peoples in those countries are better informed about world events and care about them even more, their governments are, in the end, no less venal and corrupt than what we have in Washington.

          There were, however, major protests against the war in the UK and Europe and while France refused back the US, Tony Blair’s doing so was one of the factors that led to the fall of his government.

      • But how many Americans are in positions of power to affect the thirst for war? The point is, as these Likudnik zealots well know, is to fill key positions, have links to the mouthpieces of power and work ceaselessly while everybody else is living a life. In that way, the small numbers of dedicated warmongers have a grossly disproportionate influence on policy. Couple that with relentless attacks on decent people of conscience, the smears and intimidation, threats of divestment, charges of antisemitism and all the rest, and you have a toxic atmosphere where manipulation of official and public opinion is routine and taken for granted.

        • American says:

          “The point is, as these Likudnik zealots well know, is to fill key positions, have links to the mouthpieces of power and work ceaselessly while everybody else is living a life. ”

          That is the exact point.

    • hophmi says:

      For the umpteenth time, you’ve posted your ridiculous list, in an antisemitic attempt to show that a war supported by the majority of the United States Congress and the American people, 98% of which are not Jewish, was caused by Jews.

      What understanding do you seek to gain, exactly, by post your lists of Jews? That Jews write for the Washington Post?

      • “For the umpteenth time, you’ve posted your ridiculous list, in an antisemitic…”

        I’m personally a racial Semite and I see nothing antisemitic in his list of Zionists who pushed for this war. Perhaps by “antisemitic” you mean “antifascist”, “antizionist” or merely “truth telling”? You never did answer my queries to you (four of them I believe) as to the amount of semitic DNA in your body. Care to compare DNA tests with me?

        • DBG says:

          this I am a semite argument is so silly. everyone knows what antisemitism means, why do you continue to spout this nonsense.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Everybody knows Jews are the only Semites that DBG considers to be human! So.

        • Either words have meaning, or they don’t. If you wish to call any and everything you don’t like “antisemitic” it would do well for you to have at least a drop of semitic blood in your bodies. Either that or find a new term, “anti nasty people-ism” seems to work for me.

        • Charon says:

          I’m not so sure what antisemitism means. It is used for so many different purposes. I think it means ‘you pissed off the ADL’

      • seanmcbride says:

        hophmi,

        Are you really going to try to pretend that Jewish neoconservatives and Jewish nationalists (NOT everyday, majority Jews) didn’t play a wildly disproportionate role in agitating for the Iraq War in the mainstream media? And pro-Israel activists and militants in general (both Jewish and non-Jewish)? You really are out of touch with reality. Perhaps you don’t attend very closely to the mainstream or elite media and clock what is going on.

        Tell you what: name a few Irish, Italian, French, Japanese, British, German, African or Swedish *nationalists* who raised a loud clamor for invading Iraq in the run-up to the war in the pages of the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal, or on Fox News, CNN or MSNBC. Can you come up with even one name? But one can easily come up the names of several *hundred* pro-Israel activists and militants who were ringleaders of the Iraq War, and who have been ringleaders of the campaign to attack Iran.

        Neocons, including Jewish neocons, were foolish to get themselves so far out on a shaky limb, and so conspicuously so for the entire world to see. But the deed is done and now can’t be retracted. The neoconservative and Likud Zionist wing of the Israel lobby, in collaboration with Christian Zionists, is responsible for the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history. And we haven’t begun to see the full fallout from this state of affairs.

        • Shingo says:

          Are you really going to try to pretend that Jewish neoconservatives and Jewish nationalists (NOT everyday, majority Jews) didn’t play a wildly disproportionate role in agitating for the Iraq War in the mainstream media?

          Yes he is.

  15. seanmcbride says:

    It’s interesting that Thomas Powers doesn’t mention Richard Clarke’s important recent revelations about the role of the CIA in deliberately withholding intelligence about two of the hijackers in advance of 9/11. In fact, for the most part the mainstream media seem to be ignoring (censoring?) that subject altogether.

    See, for instance:

    “SecrecyKills.com – Teaser Clip #1 SecrecyKills.com – Teaser Clip #1″
    link to youtube.com

    and numerous related video clips.

    • lysias says:

      Richard Clarke’s revelations give strong support to the LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) theory of 9/11, at the least (I say at the least because they’re also consistent with MIHOP, make it happen on purpose). The mainstream media are never going to admit that LIHOP might be correct.

  16. Nevada Ned says:

    I’m glad that the NYT printed the book review. However, the “real reasons” that the US invaded Iraq aren’t really such a great mystery. Control of Iraq was part of the US drive to control the oil of the Persian Gulf. Such control over the oil gives the US power over industrial rivals (Europe, China, Japan).
    Of course, Iraq isn’t the only Persian Gulf country with oil.
    There’s also Iran, in which the CIA overthrew a democratic government in 1953 and replaced it with the dictatorship of the Shah. That’s right, a dictatorship that is friendly to the US is preferable to a democracy that is hostile to the US.
    If we had an honest press, they would roar with laughter at the contention that the US is invading countries to bring them democracy.

    About the timing of the US invasion of Iraq: Since the First Persian Gulf War (1991), the US and “allies” had maintained a blockade of Iraq, costing a million Iraqi lives. By 2001, the political support for continuing the blockade was collapsing. Something had to be done, or the blockade of Iraq would be over. The hotheads associated with the Israelis naturally advocated a full-scale invasion of Iraq. 9/11 provided the pretext.

    On the role of the Israel Lobby in bringing this about: The Lobby and its supporters were in the forefront of those clamoring for war. But even if there hadn’t been a Lobby, it’s likely that the US would have invaded. After all, the US invaded Iraq before, under George HW Bush (= Bush Senior). Nobody argues that the Israel Lobby was behind THAT war. George HW Bush had a very frosty relationship with the Israeli Lobby.

    Or compare the Iraqi situation with the situation in Venezuela, another oil country. The US hates Hugo Chavez, and tried to overthrow him twice: once by military coup (which failed) and once with a referendum (which also failed). That rascal Chavez keeps getting re-elected! Venezuela ALSO has oil, and is hostile to the US and to capitalism.
    My point: nobody argues that the US hostility to Venezuela is because of the Israel Lobby (or the Cuban exile lobby). And US policy towards Venezuela* is similar to US policy in the middle East: turn the countries into US colonies by supporting friendly regimes and overthrowing hostile ones.
    That’s what’s involved in running an empire.
    Despite all the good work by Walt and Mearshimer, as Establishment figures, they’re not going to tell you that the US runs an empire.

    *Further behavior of Hugo Chavez: with Cuban help, Venezuela has recently eliminated illiteracy.

    • yourstruly says:

      recall too, for what it’s worth, henry kissinger’s statement that, were there no israel, u.s. policies vis-a-vis the middle east would be the same

    • seanmcbride says:

      The oil argument is a red herring. Oil industry leaders were not enthusiastic about the Iraq War or even opposed it. George W. Bush’s inner circle (including oil industry leader James Baker) opposed the war. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft thought the war was a huge strategic mistake. Most of the prime oil contracts went to other nations — not to American oil companies. American oil companies have traditionally sought friendly relations with Arab and Muslim oil-producing nations — that is why they have often been in conflict with Israel and the Israel lobby. Without the neoconservative and Christian Zionist wings of the Israel lobby agitating for war at the tops of their lungs in the mainstream media and within the Bush 43 administration, the Iraq War wouldn’t have happened.

      • MRW says:

        seanmcbride is right. The oil companies didn’t want it.

        It was for Israel. Halevy said in 1990 that they wanted to go after Saddam.

    • Keith says:

      NEVADA NED- I think that the reality of the US empire is sometimes underemphasized on Mondoweiss- a serious mistake, in my view. As for the timing of the Iraq invasion, prior to 9/11, Cheney held meetings of the energy task force which issued a final report on 5/16/11. At the time it was noted that “America faces a major energy supply crisis over the next two decades,” Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham told a National Energy Summit on March 19, 2001. “The failure to meet this challenge will threaten our nation’s economic prosperity, compromise our national security, and literally alter the way we lead our lives.” I find it curious there is so much emphasis on the neocons as alleged de facto Israeli surrogates, rather than on their role as imperial hawks. This when even Walt and Mearsheimer acknowledge that Israel was initially cool to the invasion, only becoming enthusiastic when told that Iraq would be first, followed by their main concern Iran. Iraq at the time a basket case and no threat whatever to Israeli ambitions. As for subsequent developments, the creation of AfriCom speaks volumes about where the US empire sees its future as the arbiter of an intensified resource war. Also, the construction and maintenance of between 750 and 1,000 US bases worldwide strategically located to secure access to known energy reserves is difficult to explain away regardless of statements by energy company executives or former government officials. Internal debate over specific tactics to achieve strategic objectives is not unusual and should not be given undue emphasis. Actions speak louder than words, and the strategic importance of oil is difficult to miss.

      • POA says:

        Read Naomi Klein’s “Bagdad, year zero”…..

        link to naomiklein.org

      • Keith says:

        CORRECTION- Should read: ‘…Cheney held meetings of the energy task force which issued a final report on 5/16/01.’

      • Keith, the meeting of Cheney with the oil company heads was to get them on board. They didn’t seek him out. He sought them out, after he had become the neocon’s man and unrecognizable according to his old friend Brent Scowcroft, GHWB’s National Security Advisor. Cheney was on JINSA’s board and had been given one of its “Man of the Year” awards.

        At any point during the sanctions, Saddam was open to doing business with US oil companies as is Iran at the moment. Standing in the way were the sanctions that while not initiated by the Lobby, were kept in place by it. As Sean has mentioned, in the end it was China, Russia and Malaysia who scored the big contracts with the new Iraqi government with Chinese one, in fact, having been negotiated with Saddam.

        It is a mistake to compare the two US wars on the Gulf. Bush Sr. wanted to avoid the first, hoping Saddam would withdraw, and waited so long before launching it that he was being accused of having cold feet. Moreover, he refused to bow to the demands of the Zionists’ media stable, with Safire, Rosenthal and Krauthammer in the lead, that he push all the way to Baghdad and take out Saddam. It is hard to find any columnists not part of that stable who were so eager for the US to go to war.

        The Israel Lobby’s involvement in pushing that war was less overt but it was there, nontheless. Larry Cohler, writing in the Washington Jewish Week at the time, reported that while AIPAC publicly did not take a position, members of AIPAC’s board privately called key senators to get them to vote for the war. Moreover, the Washington Inst. for Near East Policy, AIPAC’s spawn, were pushing for intervention from the beginning.

        And let us not forget the role of Israel Uberhawk, Tom Lantos. His self-styled unofficial Congressional Human Rights Commission invited the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador, posing as a Kuwaiti nurse who had escaped from Kuwait, to falsely testify that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers throwing scores babies out of their incubators in order to take them back to Iraq. That fraud, which even fooled Amnesty International (not the first nor the last time for AI) is what convinced members of the Senate who were sitting on the fence to vote for the war.

        • lysias says:

          I remember how, very early in 1990, U.S. News & World Report, recently acquired by Mort Zuckerman, ran a cover story on Saddam, calling him the most dangerous man in the world or some such title.

        • Keith says:

          JEFFREYBLANKFORT- “Keith, the meeting of Cheney with the oil company heads was to get them on board.”

          Get them onboard for what? The meeting occurred 5/16/01. Besides, you and Sean Mcbride keep assuring the rest of us that the oil company execs were opposed to the invasion in 2003. Personally, I wouldn’t put too much stock in any public statement by these guys. They would be stupid to publicly support the war. What was said behind closed doors, however, remains secret.

          “It is a mistake to compare the two US wars on the Gulf. Bush Sr. wanted to avoid the first, hoping Saddam would withdraw, and waited so long before launching it that he was being accused of having cold feet.”

          Jeffrey, your conclusions are poles apart from mine. The first Gulf war had more to do with Israel than the second. Bush I did everything in his power to prevent a peaceful settlement, which would have left Iraq with infrastructure in place and with the potential to project power in the Middle East. The US intentionally decimated the Iraq infrastructure to preclude Iraq from recovering. Saddam was left in power for multiple reasons, a significant one being so there would be a pretext for sanctions and the complete destruction of Iraq as a viable Middle East player. By the time of the second war, Iraq was a basket case easily invaded. That the occupation created fierce resistance was caused by several factors, not the least of which was US mishandling of the occupation. Be that as it may, the US is still there and has built “enduring” bases, hardly necessary to “defend” Israel. In other words, the US has established the means to ensure access to the oil and a way of influencing China, regardless of which oil company reaps the short term profits.

          Finally, you would do well to reconsider your ongoing insistence on the lack of strategic importance of oil, and of the primacy of Israel and the Lobby in imperial strategizing. The empire doesn’t invade countries based upon only one reason, there are usually multiple goals and objectives. The importance of the Lobby in regards to the Middle East is obvious, it is hardly necessary to argue that control of access to resources, a traditional imperial concern, is not a factor. Of course it is. It is also consistent with US history from day one, the US invading countries for raw materials and markets long before there was an Israel or Lobby.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          I can easily name a few hundred pro-Israel militants who were key ringleaders of the Iraq War.

          Please name a few dozen members of the oil lobby who agitated for an American invasion of Iraq. Bush Senior’s inner circle, which included one of the most powerful leaders of the oil lobby (James Baker), *opposed* the Iraq War.

          Promoters of the proposition that oil was an important motive in driving the Iraq War (or the most important motive) never provide empirical evidence or well-documented facts to support their belief. They are vague conspiracy theorists.

          Neoconservatives, of course, are quite happy to promote this misconception because it helps take the heat off them for their responsibility in engineering the worst foreign policy disaster in American history.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Oil was a major factor in the Iraq War in this respect: neoconservatives and Likud Zionists were obsessed with breaking the power of nations like Iraq to influence American and Western policies on the Middle East in ways that were upsetting to Israel. Wolfowitz, Adelman, Perle, Feith, Libby, Ledeen and the entire neocon crew, and their extensive network of ideological allies in the mainstream media, were mainly interested in crushing Iraq as a major player in Mideast politics and in defanging it as a threat to Israel. But they did not give a damn about developing a realistic plan for acquiring economical access to Iraqi oil that was in the best interests of Americans. For them, it was all about Israel. And the consummate pragmatists and realists in the oil industry had no faith in their mad messianic schemes whatever.

        • Keith says:

          SEANMCBRIDE- “I can easily name a few hundred pro-Israel militants who were key ringleaders of the Iraq War.”

          Interesting analytical technique. Label someone as “pro-Israel,” then offer that up as proof that they were motivated exclusively by their pro-Israel bias. Perhaps if you could read their minds and get it notarized it would be more convincing. As an alternative, you might consider putting less time in cherry-picking quotes in your ongoing attempt to deny the obvious reality of the strategic importance of oil.

          “Please name a few dozen members of the oil lobby who agitated for an American invasion of Iraq.”

          The obvious rejoinder is for you to name me all of these ‘Israel loyalists’ who don’t put gas in their cars. Or the millions of Americans and Europeans who have abandoned their cars and switched to bicycles in droves. Or how the American military has become less dependent upon oil for its highly mechanized killing machine. The notion that the Middle East oil reserves are of no strategic value is sufficiently bizarre as to not require rebuttal, your cherry picked quotes notwithstanding. However, since you seem to have an affinity for quotes, I’ll give you two.

          “China is in fact correct to be worried about its oil supply. Some say the invasion of Iraq was meant to enhance U.S control over the Middle East’s black gold in light of a rapidly expanding Chinese appetite. Elsewhere, reports the Washington Post, “The United States is building a network of military bases and diplomatic missions whose main goal is to protect American access to oil fields in volatile places such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and tiny Sao Tome and, as important, to deny that access to China.” (Dissident voice, 4/24/10)
          link to dissidentvoice.org

          “And the pipeline, coupled with green energy projects in China, South Korea, and Japan, might begin to wean East Asia from its dependency on Middle Eastern oil and thus on the U.S. military to secure access and protect shipping routes.” (John Feffer)
          link to counterpunch.org

          We have had similar discussions in the past which have gone nowhere. It doesn’t appear to be enough for you to demonstrate the obvious pro-Israel bias in Washington. Rather, you seek to eliminate any other imperial motivation for US actions. That is, you locate the locus of causality exclusively in the Israel lobby, the US empire an innocent babe in the woods being used by the evil Zionists. Eliminate the lobby and the US reverts to its true noble self. Sorry, but this is a grotesque misrepresentation of history and current reality. The US didn’t get to be an empire by being Mr. Nice Guy, nor by ignoring its strategic interests. I, too, am an anti-Zionist. However, I am also an anti-imperialist. It is not wise to focus exclusively on the Middle East, ignoring the big picture in the process.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          One labels as pro-Israel activists or pro-Israel militants people who are in fact pro-Israel activists or pro-Israel militants. One determines these matters by closely examining the public writings and statements of said activists and militants.

          Are you really trying to suggest that Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen and Elliott Abrams (to name three out of hundreds of neoconservatives) are NOT pro-Israel activists or militants?

          Try Googling [richard perle israel] or [michael ledeen israel] or [elliott abrams israel] to get up to speed on the dominating obsession of neoconservatives. I’ve been a regular reader of Commentary, the lead journal of neoconservatism, for quite some time, so I didn’t need to do much Googling of the neocons to grasp their agenda. The neocons scream their obsession with Israel at the tops of their lungs 24×7.

          With regard to the oil industry, you strike me as being naive and uninformed about its workings and history. American oil lobby leaders have always been highly skeptical about any projects promoted by Israel and the Israel lobby that affect their interests. Their main concern consistently, to the great outrage of the Israeli government and the Israel lobby, has been to maintain friendly relations with Arab and Muslim oil-producing nations. That is why George H.W. Bush and James Baker were dubious about the Iraq War. American attacks on Arab and Muslim nations in the Middle East could easily destabilize the entire region and jeopardize American access to Middle East oil.

          What about these strategic calculations is so difficult to comprehend? Do you see the US oil lobby agitating for a war against Iran? NO. The reasons should be obvious.

          It is utterly contrary to American imperial interests for Americans to get sucked into a war with the entire Muslim world. But this is precisely the agenda that militantly pro-Israel neoconservatives have been pushing (they call it the Global War on Terror, the Clash of Civilizations and World War IV).

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Flashback to an Anthony Sampson article from 2002:

          “Big Oil execs were right about Iraq invasion”

          link to iraq-war.ru

          “Oilmen don’t want another Suez”

          BEGIN QUOTE

          While Washington hawks depict a war against Iraq as achieving security of oil supplies, Western oil companies are worried about the short-term danger and the supposed long-term benefits of intervention.

          Left-wing critics in Britain depict the proposed invasion as an oil war. Former Cabinet Minister Mo Mowlam has called it a ‘war to secure oil supplies’ … the fact that President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have both been enriched by oil companies raises suspicions about their motives for war.

          But oil companies have had little influence on US policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate; while the obvious beneficiaries of war are arms companies…

          European companies fear the Americans are … using the promise of future oil supplies as leverage to ensure support for the war…

          Many neo-conservatives in Washington are indicating they want the US intervention to go beyond Iraq; and to redraw the diplomatic map of the Middle East. They look to a realignment of US foreign policy, to intervene in both Iran and Saudi Arabia, ensuring both the security of American oil supplies, and the security of Israel.

          Above all, they see the development of Iraqi oil as lessening US dependence on Saudi Arabia, which they see as a dangerous source of future terrorists.

          The oil companies are much less confident that this escalation will protect supplies. Shell and Exxon-Mobil have made huge investments in natural gas in Saudi Arabia, which could be at risk in a confrontation with the Saudi government. All oil companies in the Middle East would face a more dangerous political climate, caught between the American-Israeli intervention and nationalists fearing reversion to a neo-colonial system.

          Oil companies dread having supplies interrupted by burning oilfields, saboteurs and chaotic conditions. And any attempt to redraw the frontiers could increase the dangers in both Iran and Iraq, as rivals seek to regain territory…

          When Anthony Eden invaded Egypt in 1956, with France and Israel, he claimed to be defending British interests – without consulting the oil companies which opposed the invasion. The Suez war proved a great setback for BP and Shell, which faced angry nationalist reactions throughout the Middle East, while the Americans made the most of their advantage…

          END QUOTE

          Anthony Sampson’s credentials:

          Anthony Sampson is the author of ‘The Seven Sisters’ about the oil industry.

          The neocons would love to be able to shift blame for the Iraq War to the oil industry — but they won’t be able to get away with it. The facts don’t support them.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Reality check:

          “China reaps benefits of Iraq war”

          link to msnbc.msn.com

          BEGIN QUOTE

          From among the most outspoken of critics of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, China has emerged as one of the biggest economic beneficiaries of the war, snagging five lucrative deals. While Western firms were largely subdued in their interest in Iraq’s recent oil auctions, China snapped up three contracts, shrugging off the security risks and the country’s political instability for the promise of oil.

          END QUOTE

          Precisely the kind of outcome that US oil industry leaders were worried about before the Iraq War. The neocons who engineered the Iraq War couldn’t have cared less: they were only interested in inflicting as much damage as possible on an enemy of Israel.

        • Citizen says:

          Which POV to take on Iraq war pushers–maybe follow the advice here:

          “Dear FRONTLINE,

          My compliments on Bush’s War.

          My question…Why did Cheney , Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld want war with Iraq so badly? I believe this is a question that needs to be answered.

          Jonathan White
          Missoula, Montana

          FRONTLINE’s editors respond:

          Viewing online the program’s first chapter , you’ll find an embedded link in the video player (toward the end of this chapter) that links to a letter sent to Clinton in ’98 laying out the neoconservatives’ fixation on Iraq going back to the 1991 Gulf war. You also can explore many more articles, interviews on this subject in the Video Timeline of the site. See the fourth segment in this timeline. It focuses on Wolfowitz’s draft of a new tough foreign policy for America that would deal with Iraq and the rest of the world. It was written soon after the Gulf war.”

          Read more: link to pbs.org

        • Citizen says:

          Apparently Bush & his cabinet decided to go to war on Iraq 6 months before 9/11 happened because they sought more stability in access to oil. The Bush regime was unusually filled with oil men devoted to their industry: link to thedebate.org

          This is not the same as saying Big Oil generally thought it was a good idea to attack Iraq as Shrub did. Nor is it saying Shrub & cabinet could have gotten away with their sale of war to the US public without the Zionists and their fellow-traveling MSM. Perhaps our greatest historical mistake was due to the unfortunate mutual interest marriage of Bush cronies & Zionists. To them, their agenda was America’s. The rise of the neocons reminds us of guess what? 9/11 was the match that made it go down well, like the Reichstag fire.

        • MRW says:

          Get them onboard for what? The meeting occurred 5/16/01.

          Keith, for Halliburton and what they knew was coming.

          The only oil they were working to secure was oil for Israel, which the Israeli Interior Minister Paritzky let out of the bag in March 2003. The Israelis were livid.

          These are classic articles.

          Israel seeks pipeline for Iraqi oil
          US discusses plan to pump fuel to its regional ally and solve
          energy headache at a stroke

          link to guardian.co.uk

          Another from the Christian Science Monitor
          link to csmonitor.com

          Akiva Eldar also weighs in.
          link to counterpunch.org

          Now, look at this: Bush photographed at the DoD in January 2003 (checked with the DC photog). Go to page 2. The bases H1, H2, and H3. Enlarge the photo. Those bases were established first in Iraq. (You should also follow the pipelines that were blown up in an effort to cut supply to Syria.) Know what they are? Because I also saw the photos of the US troops protecting that line; downloaded them at the time, can’t find. It’s the old Mosul-Haifa line that they were planning on opening up. It was in the plan from the beginning, and the Guardian article above will tell you why.
          link to nogw.com

          The entire Iraq War was for Israel’s benefit.

        • Keith says:

          CITIZEN- Nice link to the debate. I have pasted the quote below for those who may not otherwise go to the link.

          “Bush decided to invade Iraq in April 2001, six months before September 11th, and the official reason was to improve Western access to Iraqi oil.”

          “President Bush’s Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that ‘Iraq remains
          a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets
          from the Middle East’ and because this is an unacceptable risk to
          the US ‘military intervention’ is necessary.”[1]

          The whole point being not that oil was the exclusive reason for Iraq, but that it was a key determinant which figured in the calculations. This is entirely consistent with Israel being initially cool to the invasion and having to be persuaded that this was but a prelude to Iran, at which point they enthusiastically supported the invasion. That the occupation didn’t go as planned doesn’t alter any of this.

        • Keith says:

          MRW- “The entire Iraq War was for Israel’s benefit.”

          Yes, and Uncle Sam is nothing but a dim witted Sabbath Goy who, by pure happenstance, blundered into becoming an empire. Good luck on that one.

        • MRW says:

          Keith, the ‘empire’ was in full force before the Iraq War. My bet is that history will show it was the start of our loss of empire, as you call it, not the cause of it. McChrystal’s remarks yesterday about our “frighteningly simplistic” foray in Afghanistan and how the Iraq War exacerbated it are apt.

          It’s well documented that Wolfowitz was whining for invading Iraq from January 2001.

        • seanmcbride says:

          MRW,

          I’ve repeatedly pointed out to Keith that the traditional realist faction inside the American power elite strongly opposed the fanatical warmongering of Israel-centric neoconservatives precisely because they understood that this aggressive military adventurism would undermine American power and interests.

          So far there has been no acknowledgment from Keith of these basic facts about American politics. He seems to be on a mission here to protect neoconservatives and pro-Israel activists from being held responsible for their failed and disastrous policies.

          The neocons had been envisioning and agitating for the Global War on Terror and Clash of Civilizations for decades before 9/11, and all along they have been motivated by their passionate attachment to Israel and Likud Zionism. Anyone can read their public writings to understand what they are all about.

        • Citizen says:

          Methinks McChrystal is well aware of the same thing other military brass R aware of, e.g., Petraeus, (BtrayUS, see his Max Boot email)i.e., that our one-sided support 4 Israel puts our troops in jeopardy, ditto Beiden.

    • lysias says:

      Without the Israel lobby, the Democratic Party would have been free to oppose the Iraq war.

      • MRW says:

        An incredibly astute observation, Lysias. So much devolves from that centrality.

        • “Without the Israel lobby, the Democratic Party would have been free to oppose the Iraq war.”

          I agree. And I would add that without the Israel lobby, the “liberal” media would have been free to oppose the Iraq war. Personally, I put this factor at the top of the list.

          I’ve always seen the question not so much as “who pushed for war” as “why wasn’t anybody pushing back?” In a complex democracy like ours there’s always going to be constituencies promoting war–ethnic groups, munitions manufacturers, politicians with a legitimacy deficit (like Bush after the 2000 election.) The founding fathers recognized the seductive appeal of war to politicians and worried about it at great length. But just as there’s always going to be constituencies promoting war, there are always others opposing it (for either selfish or moral reasons). So the question is why this balance of power fell so far out of wack this time so that this obviously disastrous policy was adopted. I think the distorting effects of the lobby (broadly defined to include its presence in the media, think tanks, etc.) are the main reason.

          But I do agree with Keith that access to oil is a strategic US goal, and I’m glad to see him distinguishing “access” from “oil-industry profits,” which were obviously not the motivating factor. I certainly hope my government is worrying about this economy’s acess to energy. But access is achieved in different ways, not all requiring wars. In fact, this war can be said to have damaged our long-term access. Building good relations in the region is an alternative strategy. That after all is the strategy that China is following.

        • seanmcbride says:

          PeaceThroughJustice,

          The best way for Americans to lose access to Middle East oil is to radically alienate the people who are living over that oil. Violent invasions and occupations of nations tend to radically alienate the targets and victims of those operations.

          Oil companies understand these simple facts of life quite well (as do you). Neoconservatives and their Christian Zionist allies and puppets couldn’t care less about these facts of life — they are fanatical ideologues driven by irrational biblical myths and memes organized around Israel and “the Jews.”

        • DBG says:

          the mask is coming off the comment section at MW. I like it better, at least you guys (and the moderators) aren’t trying to fool anyone anymore.

        • Shingo says:

          We don’t need to fool you DBG. You manage to do that all on your own.

        • Citizen says:

          DBG, thanks 4 making it crystal clear U don’t care about American life, values, or their increasing poverty. We’re so surprised.

    • American says:

      It wasn’t about oil.
      The oil companies wanted nothing to do with Iraq.
      Suggest you go back to 2003 and the FT and read up on the what the major oil companies had to say about it.
      Oil companies don’t want to go in behind an invasion. They have learned that lesson the hard way from having spent a wad setting oil production only to have it taken over and/or nationalized and their butt kicked out before they even recoup their initial start up investment.

      • jewishgoyim says:

        Suggest you go back to 2003 and the FT

        You’re one of these people: the financial crisis happens unannounced by such model of journalistic integrity as the FT, the WSJ and The Economist but you still vest them with “paper of reference” status. What is it that they can do that would make you take them with a grain of salt?

        Maybe supporting the Iraq war as anyone paying attention knew Blair and Bush were lying. What does that say to their commitment to democratic principles? It says they have none.

        • American says:

          I am not making them “papers of reference”…I was referring to one specific article in the FT on the position of the major oil companies.
          I take everything with a grain of salt except what I happen to know something about personally.

        • jewishgoyim says:

          Fair enough. I’ve just had enough with these publications so I’m getting a little thin skinned…

  17. Potsherd2 says:

    There is one reason that the truth will be buried, and that’s because Barak Obama deployed a shovel, refusing to investigate or prosecute these crimes. Subpoenas could bring out the truth, and that’s the last thing that political Washington wants. The guilt and complicity are bipartisan.

    • I think this is a very key observation.

      Just as Nancy “Impeachement is off the table” Pelosi helped whitewash Shrubya’s crimes, it is a sad fact that Pres. Obama’s failure to act on Bush adminstration war crimes (as well as his own continuation of them himself), has unfortunately for him, made him laible to charges of war crimes too.

      I find it ironic that in trying to look up a link for that war crime definition (i.e. failure to pursue predecessors potential war crimes), I found an article on Sweden being chastized for not hunting Nazi war criminals with enough intensity.

      see – link to swedenisrael.blogspot.com

  18. seafoid says:

    If it was designed to make Israel safer and more secure it had the opposite effect. Israel has never been more isolated.

    And if it was about projecting American power the sad reality is that the Persians took operating control of Mesopotamia for the first time in centuries.

    And this August the head of the US army stood up in Afghanistan to tell his troops he didn’t know if they would be paid at the end of the month.

    And Murdoch predicted oil at $20 a barrel. Now $80 is considered cheap.

    And if it was about complete spectrum dominance the US now has a debt crisis thanks the the WoT and the Bush tax cuts and how the cabal that ran the US up to 2008 drove the economy into the sand.

    • lysias says:

      I just read a biography of Philip II of Spain. Everything he did, he thought would strengthen Spain and the Catholic Church. When it became obvious to most people that his policies were counterproductive, he just doubled down and carried them out all the more firmly.

    • seanmcbride says:

      This is why many leading members of the American power elite opposed or dragged their feet on the Iraq War — from the oil industry, from the national security community, from the military and intelligence establishments, etc. But their good judgment was overpowered by the fanatical efforts of the neoconservative and Christian Zionist wings of the Israel lobby, especially in the mainstream media. The neocons in particular own the Iraq War and the entire multi-trillion dollar Global War on Terror. They may well be held accountable for the collapse of the American economy.

      • jewishgoyim says:

        “the fanatical efforts of the neoconservative and Christian Zionist wings of the Pro Israel Lobby”

        Why is it that I can, on top of my head, cite dozens of neoconservative columnists or in the Bush administration and that I can only come up 2 maybe 3 Christian Zionists in the same kind of position?

        I want a Christian Zionists list! Please! Just to see if the names ring a bell! Who is the “Christian Zionist Tom Friedman”? The “Christian Zionist Richard Perle”?

        PLEASE HELP!

  19. POA says:

    What occurred at Tuwaitha, and the eleven or so other UN secured storage sites, post invasion, lend the lie to the whole fucking shebang.

    The niger forgeries, Saddam’s need to “seek” yellow cake outside of Iraq, the bullshit premise about trying to “stop terrorists from acquiring the means and materials to use WMDs or fabricate dirty bombs”. Even the premise that “the sanctions weren’t working”. ALL of this is proven to pure PURE BULLSHIT by the events at Tuwaitha.

    I still wonder about those poor Iraqi bastards, infrastructure destroyed by our bombing, who bathed in, washed thier clothes in, and cooked with water stored in yellow cake drums. What has become of them??? Thier children?

    Weapons, yellow cake, WMD technology, ALL looted, disappeared into the desert, because of our failure to protect these sites. Tuwaitha, ALONE, was due cause to fire an army of Generals, the Secretary Of Defense, and to impeach Bush and Cheney.

  20. ToivoS says:

    This book by Pillar raises a very important question: Just why did we go to war against Iraq? This question has not been satisfactorily answered since the very beginning in my opinion.

    I think there were four contributing factors. One was the continuous pressure for war in general that is created by the MIC. Second was a crazed populous driven to hysteria by the events of 911 and the irrational need for revenge against the nearest Muslim they could find. Of course Israel and the US neocons stirred the pot. And a distant fourth would be oil. A multifaceted explanation like this makes it very difficult to tease out the relative contributions of each. It is very interesting to see Pillar pose this question so starkly given his role on the inside.

    • jewishgoyim says:

      Your question should not be: “Just why did we go to war against Iraq”. As if it was a 50/50 decision with no moral implications whatsoever. This war was a crime.

      You should narrow it down to: “Why were people willing to lie to the American public in order to go to war against Iraq? Who were the liars?”. The OSP is a good place to start. Then you can also try: “Why were so few people in the media willing to make a name for themselves by exposing these obvious lies?”. What does that say about the power structure?

      Your “many causes make it very difficult to tell” is a stupid smokescreen. Sounds like “Witty lite”.

      • ToivoS says:

        jewishgoyim, the questions you pose are quite appropriate. Those are questions that need to be explored if we want to unravel the basic question: why did we go to war against Iraq? I remember very clearly what was going on in 2001- 2003. It was completely clear to me during that period that US interests would not be served by conducting that war. I happen to be an antiwar leftist that opposed this from the very beginning. I also examined this question from the perspective of the interest of US imperial power. There was no way that US imperialism would benefit from this coming war. That raised the question in my mind: why did they do it?

        My questions are quite legitimate. Your assertion that I am raising a “stupid smokescreen” or that I sound like Witty are gratuitously insulting. This suggests to me that you lack the ability to grasp complex questions and just seek simple answers to any problem. I will maintain that you are just simple minded and lack the intellectual tools to deal with difficult questions.

        • MRW says:

          ToivoS,

          Again with the clear question. You’re dead right.

          But I think Blankfort answered it with this.
          link to leftcurve.org
          It’s a compelling article especially when you combine it with the Vanity Fair piece on Wolfowitz on why we went to war, the famous one where Wolfowitz sneered that they picked the WMD reason because they thought it would be the easiest sell to the American people.

      • mig says:

        “Why were people willing to lie to the American public in order to go to war against Iraq? Who were the liars?”.

        ++++ Funny coincidence from this Iraq & Afganistan affair :

        Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden

        After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush.

        link to independent.co.uk

    • RoHa says:

      “Second was a crazed populous driven to hysteria by the events of 911 and the irrational need for revenge against the nearest Muslim they could find. ”

      The US was already involved in killing Muslims in Afghanistan, but maye that wasn’t enough.

  21. seanmcbride says:

    The story on Richard Clarke, 9/11 and the CIA, which has been smothered by the mainstream media, is huge. Has anyone else here paid attention it it?

  22. American says:

    Just read the Clean Break document to see how stupid these people are.

    link to iasps.org

    They live in a dream world, thinking Israel can be a world “Power’ thru the US “warring” in their behalf. It’s hysterical really how stupid they are…..they beat their little monkey chest as if they are silverbacks…or as if “they were the US”. Which I guess they think they are. The whole thing has so backfired on them and still they are too stupid to get it.
    It’s funny that they said they were going to give up US economic aid and then in 2003 we had to give 10 billion to keep their economy afloat.
    These jokers are con men and like delusional gamblers who are looking always plotting and planning for some “big win”, except they are doing on our money and always lose.

    • jewishgoyim says:

      “The whole thing has so backfired on them”

      How so? As much as I would have liked that to happen, I can’t see any evidence for it. Do you realize Iran could be attacked tomorrow and that all the US could say (if they’re not part of the attack…) is that they support it? I missed the “so backfired” part.

      • American says:

        Here’s how it backfired.
        Iraq is still Iraq and closer to Iran than ever.
        Lebanon never happened, Israel got it’s ass kicked.
        Jordon never happened.
        Syrai never happened.
        The oil deal between the Kurds of Iraq and Israel never happened.
        The US has lost almost all, if not all of it’s influence in the ME.
        Israel is more isolated and despised than ever, has lost both Egypt and Turkey and probably Jordon eventually, and has gained nothing but some more of Palestine.
        Clean Break was a failure.
        Iraq was and is a failure.

        “If” Israel attacks Iran, that will also be a failure.

        • jewishgoyim says:

          Clean Break is mainly against “land for peace” (Oslo) and for creating a strategic environment in the Middle East that makes Greater Israel possible.
          This policy is still going on unabated. If anything, the Israeli society seems to be going along with this program more than ever.

          This could very well crumble in the future but with an attack on Iran looming, I would not say that we’re passed “peak neoconism”.

          For one thing, attacking Iraq from the neocons standpoint was about eradicating the Iraqi State as a power. Checked. It makes me think that the destruction of Iraq (civil war and all) was not a mishap, it was the plan all along. When a country works, a coup can change its politics. When it’s destroyed, you can stop worrying…

  23. Baruch B says:

    If this is true:

    “It recalls Colin Powell’s reported belief, in Karen DeYoung’s biography, that a “gang” from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs pushed the Iraq war as a means of guaranteeing Israel’s security.”

    Then it seems there are Jews who believe that the security of Israel, and thus the Jews, can only come from risking the security of the whole world. It is as if this is understood and yet cannot be uttered. This view suggests a very limited perception of how to make anyone secure creating a perceived situation with few and risky options. (As well as having a limited view of the perceived enemy, making that enemy more limited in the eyes of the neo-cons than the enemy likely is.)

    It is hard to be a human being a in a war crazed society. And it is equally hard to express one’s self as a Jew with an “official” community that is so limited in its’ perceptions as to how to live in the world.

  24. irishmoses says:

    I think we need a better definition regarding who the perpetrators are in the overall IP mess, including the Iraq War mess. It’s not the really the Jews; it’s not the really the Israelis; and it’s not the really the Zionists. It is really the Greater Israel crowd which includes Likud and its allies in Israel, and the Greater Israel lobby in the US and other countries like Great Britain. I think the term “Greater Israel lobby” was recently coined by Andrew Sullivan in one of his Salon postings last week. I don’t have the link handy, but that term is contained in the title and can easily be found by scrolling down his blog articles located on the right side of the Salon opening page.

    It’s very easy for Hophni and others to pull out the antisemitism card when this issue is mentioned. It is also easy to help feed that narrative by using imprecise words for the culprits/perpetrators of the IP/Iraq War mess. None of the first three: Jew, Israeli, Zionist, are precise enough because there are far too many exceptions under each of those labels. So, I think using some varient of Sullivan’s Greater Israel Lobby term is a far better and more accurate way of placing blame. More importantly, it makes it far harder for Hophni and the gang to use their all purpose antisemite card.

    Anyway, food for thought.

    • seanmcbride says:

      irishmoses,

      Nice post, and I think Andrew Sullivan is one of the better analysts of Mideast politics out there today. Fair-minded, sensible, even-tempered and framed within a broad humanistic perspective.

      Terms I regularly use to describe the folks we have been talking about:

      1. Christian neoconservatives
      2. Christian Zionists
      3. Greater Israelists
      4. Jewish neoconservatives
      5. Jewish religious Zionists
      6. Likud Zionists
      7. neoconservatives
      8. pro-Israel militants
      9. the Christian Zionist wing of the Israel lobby
      10. the neoconservative wing of the Israel lobby

      Dragging “the Jews” into these proceedings is of course wildly off the mark. Jews are all over the ideological map on everything, and especially on Mideast and Israeli politics. God love ‘em — impossible to pigeonhole as a group, too ornery, contrarian and independent-minded to be herded around en masse. My kind of people.

      • seanmcbride says:

        More clarifying and discriminating terms:

        1. Christian Armageddonists
        2. Jabotinskyites
        3. Jewish hawks
        4. Judeo-Christian Crusaders
        5. Judeo-Christian fascists
        6. Kahanists
        7. Old Testament cultists
        8. pro-Israel hawks

        I think we all know what we are talking about.

        People who belong to this ideological movement hate being accurately named, and try to muddy the waters with the antisemitism smear. The tactic has been so overused and abused that it now backfires on whomever is foolish enough to lean on it.

        By the way, I maintain a news feed on Mideast politics here, if anyone is curious. Feel free to post anything of interest:

        link to friendfeed.com

        • POA says:

          “…..and try to muddy the waters with the antisemitism smear. The tactic has been so overused and abused that it now backfires on whomever is foolish enough to lean on it”

          Ain’t that the truth. Even here, you have to tread on thin ice, because even Phil and Adam have hair-triggers with the “anti-semite” ray gun.

          I’m kinda fortunate, as I haven’t even a clue what “jew” means. And the biblical and theocratic arguments are gibberish to me. The history, I don’t know, and could care less. I deal, and form opinions, on the HERE AND NOW. And what Israel is doing is despicable. And any Jews, Christians, Martians, midgets, or Easter Bunnies that support Israel’s actions are loathsome entities, deserving of our disgust.

      • “Jews are all over the ideological map on everything, and especially on Mideast and Israeli politics.”

        Thanks, we all needed a little humor. :)

      • Antidote says:

        “Dragging “the Jews” into these proceedings is of course wildly off the mark. Jews are all over the ideological map on everything, and especially on Mideast and Israeli politics. God love ‘em — impossible to pigeonhole as a group, too ornery, contrarian and independent-minded to be herded around en masse. My kind of people.”

        So what you’re saying is that Israel and Zionism has nothing to do with ‘the Jews’. Interesting. Now go to Jerusalem, or pay a visit to the Hilltop Youth and religious settlers, and tell them just that. Maybe one of them, in typical contrarian and independent-minded fashion, will kick you in the groin, or give you the Goldstone treatment. You can then curl up somewhere in a fetal position, have some strongly objecting real Jew come to the rescue, and tell yourself: “My kind of people, aren’t they fabulous?” And, of course, ‘two Jews, three opinions’ does not apply to any other people, such as Arabs, Germans or Christians and Muslims etc. They’re just mindless, ideologically mapped cattle, easily pigeonholed. You should add ‘Talmudists’ to your list of people not having anything to do with “the Jews”.

      • MRW says:

        seanmcbride,

        Why do Jews get the white-glove treatment? (Do you go through this for Americans, Germans, Brits, and Swedes, etc, that you are afraid to offend?) You’ve come up with more classifications to get around not appearing anti-semitic than the Library of Congress classification system. :-) Read Blankfort’s article (link above). He doesn’t go through those circumlocutions. He calls them Jews, but he gives them birth names. Or, Blankfort says plainly for example that the “The neo-con movement … was almost exclusively Jewish” in response to Mowbray accusing General Zinni’s use of the word neo-conservative as anti-semitic. The neo-con movement quote came from a 1993 book by Benjamin Ginsberg.

        So a Jew can say or write this but a Gentile can’t? (I mean, we know DBG, eee, hophmi, and the rest of their ilk here scream anti-semite if a gentile enters the room and opens his mouth, but that isn’t the neighborhood here.)

        I, on the other hand, will not put up with someone calling me an anti-semite to shut me up because they think it will stick and ruin me. And I have as much trouble with (real) anti-semitism as I do the genuine racism I encounter in my neck of the woods (and from my rich snobby Jewish neighbors, too, schwartze this, schwartze that), the hatred and denigration of Latinos because they’re presumed brown and illegal, the creeping horror of what is now class warfare in this country, and the presumption among my ilk that because I am white and privileged, what the hell am I doing worrying about those people for. (The latter is making me an outcast.)

        • Citizen says:

          MRW, I am going through the same thing.

        • Antidote says:

          “The neo-con movement … was almost exclusively Jewish”

          How about the taboo subject of ‘Jewish Bolshevism’? I am deliberately, and without apology, linking to a revisionist site blacklisted by the ADL. Everything blacklisted by the ADL is must reading, just for balance, and to keep one’s sanity and objectivity wrt what fuels anti-semitism, past and present. Plenty of Jewish contemporaries and Jewish historians are quoted in this article, testifying to the crucial role of Jews in the Russian revolution, the subsequent surge in anti-semitism, and the first legislation to criminalize anti-semitism that followed in its wake:

          link to ihr.org

        • yourstruly says:

          ditto & for most of my adult life

        • lysias says:

          Enlightening book on the subject, if you can read German, is Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein’s Jüdischer Bolschewismus: Mythos & Realität [Jewish Bolshevism: Myth and Reality].

    • irishmoses says:

      I have also heard another effective way of describing the IP political split in Israel which is to discriminate between the Israel of Tel Aviv – high tech, modern, hip, liberal, generally anti-settlement – and the Israel of Jerusalem – backward, conservative, orthodox religious, avidly pro-settlement. I have found this distinction is effective when discussing IP with Jews who are still drinking the Hasbara Kool-Aid. It reduces their reflexive defensiveness to criticism of Israel or Israelis when you show them your problem is with Likudnik, Jerusalem Israel. They seem to relate well to that distinction as many Jews worry about Jewish religious extremism in Israel.

      The labels we use in the IP debate are critical. We need to refine our labels.

      • Donald says:

        “I have also heard another effective way of describing the IP political split in Israel which is to discriminate between the Israel of Tel Aviv – high tech, modern, hip, liberal, generally anti-settlement – and the Israel of Jerusalem – backward, conservative, orthodox religious, avidly pro-settlement. ”

        It might be effective, but it also sounds like another form of bigotry. I’ve heard people distinguish between the Israelis of European descent vs. the Israelis of Arab descent in the same way–the Europeans were allegedly the liberal “good” ones and all the bigotry stems from those nasty unsophisticated Arab Jews with their Middle Eastern resentments and barbaric tendencies. Sheer bigotry masked as liberalism, but unfortunately there’s a streak of bigotry in a great many self-described liberals. You aren’t making an ethnic distinction but even yours implies that there is something inherently virtuous about self-described liberals. I’ve seen far too many self-described liberals who act as apologists for Israeli war crimes to want to play along with that illusion. It’s actually dangerous. People gain unwarranted credibility with their “liberalism” and then say how Israel had no choice but to “defend itself” in the Gaza War, even if they went too far. And no, I’m not just referring to our own RW here.

        Also, being “anti-settlement” sometimes means people want to separate themselves from the barbarians.

        As for orthodox, Jerry Haber is an orthodox Jew. I’d rather not demonize that term either. I’d take Jerry Haber’s views over almost anyone else’s on this subject and probably most others.

        Using stereotypes to fight stereotypes isn’t a good idea on the whole.

        • irishmoses says:

          Donald,
          Good comments. I can see the inaccuracy of some of my distinctions, particularly as to orthodox Jews and specifically as to Jerry Haber. Still, we are talking about generalizations and trying to narrow the overly broad ones, like “Jew”, which smack of anti-Semitism, to less broad ones that more accurately distinguish. Unfortunately, any generalization will by its very nature contain inaccuracy. e.g. Comparing people from New York to people from Los Angeles. All I am trying to do is to get us to narrow or focus our generalizations to limit claims that our motives are anti-Semitic.

        • yourstruly says:

          jewish zionist, jewish israel supporter, jewish israel-firster

      • MRW says:

        irishmoses,

        Those distinctions only work in aware urban areas (where they are still drinking the Hasbara Kool-Aid). They don’t work in the hustings where the info is slow to arrive.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      and it’s not the really the Zionists. It is really the Greater Israel crowd

      I don’t see any distinction. I have yet to see a Zionist who was willing to allow Palestinians, all displaced Palestinians, to return to the homes that were stolen from them.

      • MRW says:

        You’re right, Chaos. It’s splitting hairs.

      • DBG says:

        Many Americans don’t see a distinction between the Arabs responsible for 9/11 and say the Arab Americans in my interfaith group. Do you know what I call them Chaos? Racist……

        • Chaos4700 says:

          That must make family reunions awkward, DBG, since a lot of the anti-Arab propaganda comes out of synagogues and Israel-aligned think tanks.

    • American says:

      Well, who exactly is in the ‘ Greater Israel Lobby’ besides Jews, Zionist and Christian Zios and Neocons?

      • irishmoses says:

        Well American,
        While you are correct that the Greater Israel Lobby is comprised of Jews and Zionists, since not all Jews and Zionists are believers and supporters of Greater Israel, blaming the IP problem on either the Jews or the Zionists would be inaccurate and unfair and would also open the door to a charge of anti-semitism. So you need something more specific like right wing Likudnik fuck, or moronic Greater Israel asshole. While either of these might be a tad offensive, neither can be called anti-semitic because only a specific category of Jew/Zionists are criticised, not a blanket all Jews and/or all Zionists.

        • MRW says:

          Irishmoses,

          While you are correct that the Greater Israel Lobby is comprised of Jews and Zionists, since not all Jews and Zionists are believers and supporters of Greater Israel, blaming the IP problem on either the Jews or the Zionists would be inaccurate and unfair and would also open the door to a charge of anti-semitism.

          Enough already. And screw the charge of anti-semitism. Jews can defend themselves. They don’t need the Gentiles shuffling in from Buffalo afraid of their own shadows, quivering about inaccurate or unfair.

          This bullshit posture is precisely what has allowed the decimation of Palestine to take place for 60 years, and why there’s an open-air prison in Gaza. Because Gentiles don’t have the balls to stand up to these cruelties: they’re afraid of what they, themselves, might be called.

        • James says:

          i agree mrw.. thanks for saying that.. some of us do have the balls to stand up to these cruelties and we are not afraid of what we might be called…

        • Citizen says:

          And that’s because we have income independent of politics, right?

        • American says:

          I agree.
          Why tiptoe around the Jews…good, bad or indifferent?
          The “Jewish community” as we see , has become a ‘political party’, so they are going to get knocked around like every other political group.
          Frankly, I think they are due some tough talk….then more of them can either come out of the closet and get on the right side or not.

    • Donald says:

      Irishmoses–

      I mostly agree with you, except that I think there’s a lot of overlap between “Zionist” and “Greater Israel” on human rights issues. There are honest liberal Zionists like Jerome Slater, of course, but even self-described “liberal Zionists” often tend to be more like Tom Friedman than Slater.

    • seafoid says:

      “It’s not the really the Jews; it’s not the really the Israelis; and it’s not the really the Zionists”

      Here is the German Jewish weekly Juedische Allgemeine and why all left wing opposition to Zionsim is antisemitism

      link to juedische-allgemeine.de

      It is a total mess in the Diaspora.

    • irishmoses – those are interesting observations and worth considering (as the replies down-thread testify to). I know as a non-Jew myself, it was like walking on eggshells to even try to catalog any sort of association without coming across like someone with a chip on their shoulder making a scorecard tally. So many of the categories overlap, or are not hegemonic (or are to some extent), or includes those not Jewish but with some other support status for Zionist Jews. The various members that come to mind regardless of the appropriateness of their inclusion would be xian Zionists, neocons, Israel firsters, the Israel Lobby, organized Jewry, international Jewry, Israeli Zionists, Likudniks, Ultra-Orthodox, etc., etc. And as someone else pointed out, even the spectrum of views within these subgroups is not monolithic.

      It’s not only hard for the uninitiated to tell the players without a program, examining the roster itself and making note of the positions filled can be fraught with peril just on its own.

      • Citizen says:

        So maybe “Israel Firsters” is a working coinage of the myriad of zealous folk who back the status quo?

        • I think you’re probably on to something because that net seems to cover all the bases as far as I can see. The breakdown of the individual components takes us back to square one, but “Israel Firsters” is the tent that they all are gathered under.

          I also think that it is specific enough *not* to include those Israelis (or should I say, those Israeli Jews?) who are more than willing to coexist and not think only in terms of the Jewish state über alles.

        • seafoid says:

          “Israel first” sounds reasonable.
          I think Israel right but actually very wrong would be better.

          My country right or wrong = My mother drunk or sober

        • Citizen says:

          I get your point, seafoid, but it’s a mouthful & it’s hard enough already to get Dick & Jane to read anything on US foreign policy in the ME. The “Israel right or wrong” crowd is directly implied by “Israel 1st” crowd reference, yes? OTOH, like all human demographies, the US audience is half below average IQ…Maybe your suggestion is better. But, still “Israel 1st crowd” does not beg for hasbara diversion by latching onto the question of what is right, what is wrong?

        • American says:

          Israel Firsters works for me.

  25. American says:

    All those classifications are too much for me, I can’t possibility type all those every time I say something…I will stick to Zionist, Jews and Christian zios…and neos…or Them…..or Those People. We know who we are talking about.

    Anyone got a poll on the Chrisitans zios?….has anyone polled the Christian zios on this?

    This is the 2011 AJC poll…

    link to ajc.org

    A few examples:

    9. In the current situation, do you favor or oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state?
    Favor 38
    Oppose 55
    Not sure 8

    10. Do you approve or disapprove of Palestinian efforts to unilaterally seek recognition of statehood without reaching an agreement with Israel?
    Approve 9
    Disapprove 88
    Not sure 3

    11. In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction?
    Yes 37
    No 59
    Not sure 4

    12. As part of a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to dismantle all, some, or none of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank?
    All 8
    Some 51
    None 39
    Not sure 2

    13. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel.”
    Agree 76
    Disagree 19
    Not sure 5

    14. If the Palestinian Authority and Hamas form a unity government, should the U.S. Congress withdraw aid to the Palestinians or not?
    Withdraw 73
    Not Withdraw 21
    Not sure 6

    15. Should the Palestinians be required or not be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement?
    Required 96
    Not required 3
    Not sure 1
    C. International Issues

    16. Do you approve or disapprove of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Iran nuclear issue?
    Approve 43
    Disapprove 45
    Not sure 11

    17. How much of a chance do you think there is that a combination of diplomacy and sanctions can stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons? Is there a good chance, some chance, little chance, or no chance?
    Good chance 4
    Some chance 25
    Little chance 43
    No chance 28
    Not sure 0.5

    18. If diplomacy and sanctions fail, would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons?
    Support 56
    Oppose 38
    Not sure 6

    19. If diplomacy and sanctions fail, would you support or oppose Israel taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons?
    Support 68
    Oppose 26
    Not sure 6

    20. Do you think the United States is winning or losing the war in Iraq?
    Winning 38
    Losing 46
    Not sure 16

    21. Do you think the United States is winning or losing the war in Afghanistan?
    Winning 26
    Losing 61
    Not sure 13

    • seafoid says:

      link to ajc.org

      As a rookie assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, I learned the expression that a lawyer representing himself has a fool as a client. I was reminded of that expression as I watched Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally ask the United Nations for a unilateral declaration of independence for a Palestinian state. Yes that action will harm Israel, but it also will be yet another self-inflicted catastrophe for the Palestinian people.

      Dan Elbaum is director of the Chicago regional office of the American Jewish Committee

      But it’s not the Jews or the Zionists. It’s the fairies.

      • Citizen says:

        I also practiced law in Chicago, in fact square in the Loop on LaSalle St.
        Although I was in civil law, I remember the adage well, that a lawyer representing himself has a fool for a client. I think Abbas’s decision, in the face of a certain US veto, will operate in long term best interests of the Palestinians. But hey, I represented myself in the 20 years I had of post-divorce litigation. I did not represent myself in my original divorce, handled by a top law firm in Chicago.

    • ToivoS says:

      I wish they included this question:

      If diplomacy and sanctions fail, would you support or oppose Israel taking military action against the Palestinians and expelling them from Israel?

      • That seems to boil it down in a nutshell.

        Or maybe this phrasing on two questions –

        Are you willing to use force against the other if you don’t get your way?

        and

        Do you see both sides’ claims as equally valid?

      • MRW says:

        Good question, ToivoS.

        But they don’t have the balls to ask it.

        • ToivoS says:

          And that is the question that is out there but quite underground. About 10 years ago the “transfer” option was mentioned often in Zionist discourse. This has disappeared. I remember about 3 or 4 years back that in the talkback section to Bradley Burston’s ariticles in Haaretz a warning that any comment using the term “ethnic cleansing” would be banned.

          I am really curious where those “transfer” sentiments went — disappeared or just put in confidential contingency plans?

        • MRW says:

          ToivoS,

          You hit it: put in confidential contingency plans. Moreover, covered up.

          But your simple question exposed it and, frankly, I never thought of the question until you asked why it isn’t being asked. And it is an essential basic question.

  26. thetumta says:

    I can’t believe your endlessly debating this nonsense. No, we don’t need to re-define labels, we, Americans need to fix this totally out of control problem. Face facts, it’s way past serious. Unfortunately, it appears that some amount of anti-semitism(collateral damage) is going to be necessary to reign in the Zionists in the US. At some point, the debate ends and things get serious. It’s just 10 days too late.
    Hej!
    link to alanhart.net
    P.S. We’ll see what Phil does with this comment?

    • Citizen says:

      Unfortunately, thetumta, hasbarabots, trained to divert attention from the facts of negative Israeli conduct, will latch onto whatever label is used when criticizing Israel policy and conduct. Best to give them the labels least subject to the pitfalls of logic by labeling terms.

  27. Get each and every PNAC signatory arrested and waterboard them. Sooner or later you will hear who exactly did what and for what reasons.

    (Of course torture is wrong. Just arrest them to make sure they can’t do it again)

  28. Taxi says:

    Why don’t we just waterboard the bastards – why not if they already approve of the practice.

    Bet it only takes 5 and a quarter seconds to get some truth outta the coward war-criminals.

    • Citizen says:

      My best guess is they would all fold in maybe 60 seconds. These PNAC guys come from highly comfortable areas; they grew up without ever having to deal with street or school bullies. They are all cream puffs quick to be chicken hawks.

  29. Two particularly startling points from this AJC:
    15. Should the Palestinians be required or not be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement? 96% Agree

    This demand for recognition of a “jewish state”, which has only been around for a few years, is just an example of israel’s bullying of palestine, demanding something that no state can do. States only acknowldedge other state’s sovereignty, not their character; Israel can define itself as a martian state if it wants, its nobody elses concern. The demand is just another way to frustrate any meaningful discussion as israel expands its illegal colonies.

    even more frightening and telling is the 76% of respondents who agree that “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel”. The implications of this are enormous. If 3 quarters of all American jewish leader of any influence believes this, which by this poll would seems to be the case, there is little chance of peace in the middle east.

  30. seanmcbride says:

    On the Christian Zionist wing of the Israel lobby, Part 1

    Here is the requested list of some prominent Christian Zionists:

    1. Anders Breivik 2. Dan Quayle 3. Erik Prince 4. Franklin Graham 5. Gary Bauer 6. Geert Wilders 7. George W. Bush 8. Hal Lindsey 9. Harry Truman 10. James Dobson 11. James Inhofe 12. James Woolsey 13. Jerome Corsi 14. Jerry Falwell 15. Michael Gerson 16. Michele Bachmann 17. Mike Evans 18. Mike Huckabee 19. Newt Gingrich 20. Oliver North 21. Pat Robertson 22. Ralph Reed 23. Rick Perry 24. Rick Santorum 25. Rod Parsley 26. Rupert Murdoch 27. Sarah Palin 28. Stephen Harper 29. Tim LaHaye 30. Walter Russell Mead 31. William Boykin

    And Christian Zionist organizations:

    1. 700 Club
    2. CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network)
    3. Christian Coalition
    4. CNP (Council for National Policy)
    5. CUFI (Christians United for Israel)
    6. WorldNetDaily

    Edits, additions and deletions welcome. Share your knowledgebase on this subject.

    link to friendfeed.com
    link to friendfeed.com

    • American says:

      Add John Bolton to the list.

      • seanmcbride says:

        I wondered if John Bolton was a Christian Zionist, but wasn’t sure. Do you have any cites on that? His former boss, Jesse Helms, mutated into a Christian Zionist after once being a strong critic of the Israeli government and Menachem Begin (as I vaguely recall).

        Christian Zionism is closely associated with the Confederate, neo-Confederate and crypto-Confederate tradition — Southern-style fundamentalism and bible-thumping (John Hagee, for instance, is a Texan). White ethnic nationalists (and racists) who once abused African-Americans during the slavery era on the basis of Old Testament myths seem to feel a natural affinity for Jewish settlers who abuse Palestinians in the occupied territories on the basis of Old Testament myths.

        The Republican Party’s “Southern strategy” has turned into a disaster for the GOP, which has been taken over by the dumbest and most ignorant thugs in America. And some of these backward zealots keep making secessionist sounds, which carry the threat of a second Civil War.

        • seafoid says:

          I thought he was Mr Potato Head

        • hophmi says:

          “Christian Zionism is closely associated with the Confederate, neo-Confederate and crypto-Confederate tradition”

          Cite a source. You can criticize Zionism all you want, but this is just an intellectually lazy attempt to link it with slavery.

        • Citizen says:

          He’s all for US going everywhere to war to benefit Israel; he himself was a draft dodger, taking the usual rich kid way out by joining national guard, which did not get sent to the front like they do nowadays. He said he avoided the Nam war as he felt the government then was going to pull out–I have have a number of dead buddies who never had that option. He’s got ivy league creds, but seems to me to be a near moron.

        • seanmcbride says:

          hophmi,

          You know, this is a big and complex subject — the connections among the Confederacy, Christian Zionism, Jewish religious Zionism, Israeli settlers, the Old Testament, racism, etc. Instead of a single cite, I’ll give you a few topics I’ve been reflecting on from multiple sources:

          Afrikaners, Anders Breivik, Andrew Breitbart, anti-Arab racism, anti-black racism, apartheid, Bible, Charles Johnson, Chosen People, Christian Zionism, Confederacy, crypto-Confederates, Daniel Pipes, David Ben-Gurion, David Gaubatz, David Horowitz, Dick Armey, EDL English Defence League, Eric Cantor, ethnic cleansing, ethnic nationalism, ethnic supremacism, goyim, Greater Israel, Ham, hereditary aristocracy, imperialism, intermarriage, Islamophobia, Israeli settlements, Jewish nationalism, John Hagee, Judea and Samaria, Kahanism, Kevin Phillips, Kevin Phillips American Theocracy, King’s Torah, Lenni Brenner, Little Green Footballs, Maimonides, Meir Kahane, messianism, Mike Huckabee, mystical territorialism, Nazism, neo-Confederates, Old South, Old Testament, Orly Taitz, Orthodox Judaism, Ovadia Yosef, Pamela Geller, Pat Robertson, patriarchy, racism, religious nationalism, religious Zionism, Rick Perry, secessionism, segregation, sexism, slavery, South Africa, Southern Baptists, Tom DeLay, transfer, US Civil War, white nationalism, xenophobia, Yehoshafat Harkabi Maimonides, Yitzhak Shapira, Yosef Elitzur

          Do you see where I am going with this?

        • LeaNder says:

          I miss SANE & David Yerushalmi, Sean. And it feels you should add a minor axis: David Horowitz’ friend Lawrence Auster. (R.I.P. David Mills, it was a pleasure to meet you.)

        • seanmcbride says:

          Leander,

          You’re right as rain on SANE, Yerushalmi and Auster.

          I just noticed that John Bolton is a big fan of Pamela Geller, who may have single-handedly produced the greatest volume of the most extreme hate speech in world history to date.

          In a nutshell, what this domain is all about: messianic ethnic nationalism and xenophobia based on Old Testament myths and memes. Hophmi should be able to get it. Confederate and Israeli settler cultures are very much on the same page. What links them is Zionism.

        • Citizen says:

          John Bolton never saw a war he didn’t like. And he never saw a Palestinian as human. Or any Israeli move he didn’t like. Yet Fox News pretends he’s a wise man to advise us all. The man is a traitor, a Christian Zionist pretending he’s all for what’s best for Dick & Jane. The guys is absolutely crazy. When fascism comes to the US it will be wrapped in Bolton’s flag and carrying his bible, babbling about that historically recent figment of the imagination: “Judeo-Christian values”. Actually, it’s already rooted here, which is why Fox News holds Bolton up as America’s guru of foreign policy.

        • seanmcbride says:

          If John Bolton had been politically active in the mid-19th century, he would have been a leading Confederate and violent traitor to the United States of America. The Confederacy was basically a Christian Zionist enterprise.

          All contemporary Christian Zionists are potential violent traitors to the United States of America. They owe their absolute and unquestioning allegiance to the most extreme right-wing regime in Israeli history.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Zionism, in the broad sense: aggressive messianic ethno-religious nationalism and xenophobia based on a sacred text.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          seanmcbride, you forgot Jack Abramoff. Just saying.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Yup — Jack Abramoff, who is a Jewish Likud Zionist, is closely connected to Ralph Reed, the Christian Coalition, Daniel Lapin, Toward Tradition, the CNP (Council for National Policy), Sam Brownback, John Ashcroft, Tom DeLay and the AAJC (American Alliance of Jews and Christians), which is dominated by Christian Zionists.

          (A curious note: Mohamed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker and “Muslim fundamentalist” (ha!), reportedly was a regular visitor at Jack Abramoff’s SunCruz Casino.)

        • seanmcbride says:

          Some of Jack Abramoff’s associates at the AAJC (American Alliance of Jews and Christians): Charles Colson, Daniel Lapin, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Michael Medved, Pat Robertson and Rick Scarborough.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Ok — John Bolton is indeed a Christian Zionist. Check out this passage from “Allies for Armageddon: the Rise of Christian Zionism” by Victoria Clark:

        link to books.google.com

        (I wish there were a way to copy passages from Google Books.)

    • lysias says:

      There’s a good deal of evidence that Lyndon Johnson was a Christian Zionist, or at least had a history of mouthing Christian Zionist pieties. (Who knows whether he ever really believed in anything besides himself?)

      Alan Hart marshals the evidence in his Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Good lead — I need to read that book. Topics connected to Lyndon Johnson: Texas, the Rostow brothers (neocons), the JFK assassination, the 67 War, the USS Liberty attack and cover-up, etc. He may well have been steeped in Christian Zionist culture — many Texans are. Think John Hagee and Rick Perry.

        • lysias says:

          A recent book that is important for understanding LBJ’s psychopathic personality is Philip F. Nelson’s LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination, published last year. The standard biography of LBJ, Robert Caro’s so far three volumes had already established the abusive nature of his personality. The three volumes already published only take us to the first days of the JFK administration. Caro says there is to be only one more volume, to take us through his vice presidential, presidential, and postpresidential years. I suspect he will end up having to devote more than one volume to those years. But I am very curious to see how he deals with the JFK assassination and the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Maybe he’ll decide it’s wiser to have the rest of the biography published posthumously.

    • Charon says:

      Anders Breivik. LOL! Glad you included him, seanmcbride. Not laughing at what he did or anything. I did read ‘his’ manifesto though and not so sure he was even religious, but he claims to be. Maybe the powers that be are trying to target Christian Zionists and whitey in general as the next terrorist threat. Wishful thinking on the Christian Zionist part. The DHS ‘white terrorist’ video confirms demonizing whitey as the next threat.

  31. seanmcbride says:

    On the Christian Zionist wing of the Israel lobby, Part 2

    A few observations:

    1. Christian Zionists greatly outnumber Jewish Zionists in the US population.

    2. Jewish Zionists (and Jewish neoconservatives in particular) are much smarter, much better educated, much wealthier and much better organized than Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists may be the most mentally challenged and cognitively impaired lobby in American politics. Most of them are creationists and biblical literalists. How many Christian Zionists (in contrast to neoconservatives) have earned doctorates from elite universities?

    3. Christian Zionists seem to take their marching orders from the Israeli government and the Jewish wing of the Israel lobby rather than vice-versa.

    4. The American president who enabled the creation of Israel (under considerable pressure from the Israel lobby), Harry Truman, was a Christian Zionist.

    5. The American president who led the US into the Iraq War, George W. Bush, was a Christian Zionist who confessed to Jacques Chirac that he believed he was waging a war against Gog and Magog as part of an Armageddon fantasy in his head.

    6. The contemporary Republican Party is substantially dominated by Christian Zionists — Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, etc. All of them are totally under the thumb of the most right-wing regime in Israeli history. They would betray America on behalf of Greater Israel at the drop of the hat. They have been well-rewarded for their services by the Jewish Likudnik wing of the Israel lobby.

    7. The 19th century version of Christian Zionists were Confederates, ethnic nationalists, racists and violent traitors to the United States. They instigated the bloodiest war in American history — the US Civil War — thumping their Bibles (especially the Old Testament) all the way.

    I often refer to Christian Zionists as Mossad Manchurian Candidates or Israeli guided missiles. That is what they are. Violent drones and robots, programmed with delusional nonsense to commit mass murder and genocide on a biblical scale.

    link to friendfeed.com
    link to friendfeed.com

  32. seanmcbride says:

    On the Christian Zionist wing of the Israel lobby, Part 3

    One rarely sees articles by Christian Zionists in the op-ed pages of the elite national press because they are barely literate. But it was easy to name 23 Washington Post op-ed contributors and Iraq War ringleaders who were Jewish neoconservatives (and that number could easily be increased with a bit of research).

    Christian Zionists are extreme religious fundamentalists — they can’t think for themselves. They require a simple childlike script from which to recite by rote a few simple propaganda memes, all of them completely crazy — like Bush’s remark to Jacques Chirac about Gog and Magog.

    By the way, hophmi and joer still haven’t managed to come up with the name of a single non-Jewish ethnic nationalist who heavily lobbied for the Iraq War on behalf of his or her ethnic nationalist agenda. Not one name to provide some balance against the 200 or so Jewish ethnic nationalists who led the charge into Iraq. Are they really hoping that intelligent people won’t notice this kind of thing? When trillions of dollars and the future of America are at stake? Please.

    And which group has been agitating most conspicuously to drive Americans into a war against Iran? Shall we take a close look at the facts in that case?

    ———-
    My feed: link to friendfeed.com
    My feed on Mideast politics: link to friendfeed.com
    ———-

    • MRW says:

      seanmcbride,

      God forbid that the idiots in Israel go after Iran. That act alone will produce rampant, rabid, anti-semitism in this country because of the journalistic breadcrumbs fools like Podhoretz (Pere) and General Oded Tira left behind.

  33. dbroncos says:

    Neo-con supporters of Israel drove the bus on the Iraq war – I agree. Unwind the string a little further and consider that 9/11 provided the rationale for the Iraq war. And what was the motivation for the 9/11 attacks? Israel is front and center on that issue too. As Steve Walt put it, “Israel is the pink elephant in the room and it’s wearing a bikini.” Very few public figures will acknowledge it. This history can’t be suppressed forever. Hopefully it will be aired before a war on Iran breaks out.

  34. seanmcbride says:

    It’s now uncool for neo-Confederates, crypto-Confederates and Christian Zionists to express their hatred of African-Americans and blacks, so now they vent their genocidal racism towards Muslims and Arabs. For this cultural group, it’s always about ethno-religious chauvinism and xenophobia.

    • Charon says:

      Christian Zionists will be the first ones to disassociate with being “Zionist” the moment Zionism fails hard (and takes the fantasy of Israel/Greater Israel and the ‘Jewish State’ along with it). They’ll also be the first one to turn on the Jews.

      They will still hate Muslims and Arabs

  35. seanmcbride says:

    What will Christian Zionists make of the fact that Steve Jobs, one of the greatest visionaries in American and world history, was an Arab American and son of a Syrian Muslim?

    • eee says:

      1) Which mosque did he use to pray in?
      2) What Arab institutions did he support?
      3) Why was Larry Ellison, a huge Zionist, one of his best friends?

      Yes, his genetics are Arab. So? What did Jobs believe in? Do you know? It seems he was a Zen Buddhist.

      • DBG says:

        eee, sean is being incredibly misleading here. Jobs in fact never met his Syrian father and was adopted by an Armenian family.

        http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-10-06/article/38536?headline=Steve-Jobs-Arab-American–By-Shirin-Sadeghi-New-America-Meda-

        • seanmcbride says:

          You’re missing the point: Christian Zionists, who have constructed elaborate conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s family background, are no doubt befuddled by the fact that Jobs was an Arab American whose biological father was a Syrian Muslim. The fact that Jobs had no contact with his biological father wouldn’t stop them from finding something suspicious in that fact. Some of these extremists believe that Islam is more a hereditary condition than a matter of ideological belief.

        • Citizen says:

          Job’s biological dad agreed to the adoption because the biological mother’s family, of German-Swiss ancestry, objected to their daughter marrying an Arab or Muslim or both. Steve Jobs is biologically half Arab, 1/2 German-Swiss in terms of ancestry. Lots of smarts & education on both sides of his family tree.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          This coming from the liar who pegs the Christian population of Gaza at less than half a percent and who flatly lies about Muslims having restricted access to the Dome of the Rock by the Israeli government.

        • DBG says:

          Chaos, the Christian population of Gaza is .7 percent which I said and it is more than .5 percent(your first lie)

          link to mondoweiss.net

          Christian population of Gaza:

          link to cia.gov

          I never said Muslims didn’t have restricted access to Al Aqsa, I said that Muslims were tourists in Israel and perhaps they found the Hajj more compelling than a visit to Al-Aqsa

          link to mondoweiss.net

          Are you seriously for real?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          And how many Muslims did the CIA torture to get that information? And have they found those nukes in Iraq yet, while they’re at it? I suppose they’re too busy helping the NYPD spy on Americans.

          I wouldn’t trust the CIA to find my car in a parking structure at this point.

      • seanmcbride says:

        I didn’t say that Jobs was a Muslim or Arab activist, and I knew that he was a psychedelic Buddhist in the grand free-thinking American Transcendentalist tradition.

        One can easily imagine Christian Zionists going nuts over Jobs’ Arab heritage and the religion of his biological father.

        See Juan Cole’s fine essay:

        “Steve Jobs: Arab-American, Buddhist, Psychedelic Drug User, and Capitalist World-Changer”
        link to juancole.com

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Back after a hiatus, it’s time for…
          Mondoweiss Theater of the Absurd!

          seanmcbride: Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian Muslim.
          eee: Oh? Oh? And what mosque did he pray in? Huh? Huh? How dare you slander Steve Jobs as a Muslim!
          DBG: *bobblehead*
          seanmcbride: Um… I said Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian Muslim…
          eee: STEVE JOBS LOVED JEWS! You know Israel invented the Intel processor! You wouldn’t even be on the internet at all to call Steve Jobs a jihadist if it wasn’t for me!
          DBG: *bobblehead*
          seanmcbride: …but I only said that Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian Muslim…

      • Charon says:

        eee, Larry Ellison may be a Zionist but Jobs certainly was not. I don’t know, why was a Zionist best friends with an Arab American? Ellison does tend to keep is Zionism on the down-low in order to not upset his Arab clients. People can agree to disagree and put their differences aside you know. I used to be friends with a Zionist. Still am I guess, just been out of touch. We argued about it and still remained friends. You argue about it in a much more hateful and aggressive manner though so I doubt we could be friends. I’m sure you’re okay with that.

        I’m glad you don’t hate Jobs though even though he was half Arab. Maybe there is hope for you after all.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Do you notice that Steve Jobs never made any grandiose references to “his people” in the ethnic or religious sense? His “people” were the most talented minds on the planet from every ethnic and religious group. Jobs was an “Americanist,” not a “Zionist.”

        • eee says:

          Charon,

          If Zionists are racists as you believe, why would you be friends with a racist? Obviously Jobs did not think Zionism is racist because otherwise it is unlikely he would be a friend of Ellison.

        • seanmcbride says:

          eee,

          I doubt that the subject of Israel and Zionism ever came up in Steve Jobs’ conversations with Larry Ellison or with anyone else who moves in those circles. The name of the game at the cutting edge of human civilization is not ethnic nationalism but universal creativity cutting across all ethnic, religious and national boundaries.

          Can you dig it? Or are you too mired down in your narrow brand of narcissistic ethnocentrism?

          I don’t think that Zionism was necessarily a racist project, by the way — it didn’t need to go down that path. But it has been taken over by ethnic chauvinists and xenophobes who can’t think outside the box of militant ethnic nationalism. It’s a lost cause. The vast majority of the human race has more pressing issues on its mind.

        • seanmcbride says:

          The most urgent issue for the Jewish community worldwide is to reduce the level of controversy about Israel and Zionism. But Likud Zionists fully intend to ramp up and escalate that self-destructive controversy. Many Diaspora Jews are beginning to realize that Israel is a threat to their best interests. They want to focus on creative and productive relationships and interactions with their neighbors, not get into angry and bitter arguments about Israel that leave them feeling alienated and marginalized.

  36. All this lurid talk of “cabals” and “neocons” makes for great copy. It feeds the paranoid left’s conviction that foreign policy during the Bush years was “highjacked” instead of enjoying legitimacy.

    The decision to remove Saddam enjoyed strong bipartisan support at the time, even if the war itself did later become unpopular.

    I have always believed that removing Saddam was the right thing to do, and I think that in any discussion of the war in Iraq, it is a profound mistake to attempt to identify any one single reason for going to war. The Bush administration did this by stressing Saddam’s possession of stockpiles of WMD much to the exclusion of other legitimate reasons for his removal that were relevant to our national security. When the stockpiles were not found, critics of the war therefore concluded that there had been no real threat from Saddam, and, even worse, that we were “deliberately misled” into an “unnecessary” war. Both of these notions are false.

    Saddam was not an imminent threat, even if he had the WMD stockpiles we thought he had. Then again, no one in the Bush administration claimed that Saddam was an imminent threat or that he was ever on the verge of attacking us. Rather, the threat consisted in a). a past record of aggression, in which he had invaded two countries in ten years and used chemical and biological weapons against both the Iranians and the Kurds, killing thousands, b). a lavish and longstanding support for terrorism, c). having labored frenetically and unceasingly to obtain, develop, and conceal a range of conventional and nuclear WMD in the teeth of the most intense and intrusive UN inspections and coming within a hair of obtaining a nuclear weapon three times (1981, 1991, and 1995) within the previous two decades, and d). sitting on top of the worlds second most plentiful oil reserves which enabled him to pursue and finance the whole range of these sinister activities and much, much worse. The threat from Saddam can thus be seen as a cumulative and growing one rather than an imminent one. 12 years of diplomacy and 16 unenforced UNSC resolutions had failed completely to bring him to book and verifiably disarm him. He thumbed his nose at UNSCR 1441, which gave him his final opportunity to cooperate with the UN, and dearly did he pay for it.

    Of course we now know that Saddam had no stockpiles of Chemical and Bio weapons and was much further (more than a decade) away from possibly attaining a nuclear device. Yet anyone who reads the Iraq Survey Group report would see that the absence of WMD stockpiles hardly negated the totality of the threat Saddam posed and that he was a catalyst of danger and instability with or without WMD. It also showed that he had merely postponed, not abandoned his WMD pursuits until the sanctions were removed or rendered irrelevant and that he was well advanced on this course of action.

    People can, I think, agree to disagree on whether we were right or wrong to take the action that we did. In any event, we were not “lied” into war, and we did not commit “war crimes.”

    The contention that the Iraq war was waged for oil is factually baseless. What attempt has been made to possess and exploit Iraq’s oil wealth for our own purposes? None whatsoever. For God’s sake we will be leaving Iraq within a year. If we had meant to us their oil for our own purposes, why haven’t we maintained possession of the oil fields the way that, say, the British held on to the Suez Canal for so many years? Why? Because we are not “imperialists” and did not remove Saddam from power to steal Iraq’s oil, that’s why.

    The contention that Bush invaded Iraq knowing that there were no WMD is similarly bereft of any factual basis, and is, in fact, nonsensical. Two things are in order here. First, if Bush did know that Saddam had no WMD, how did he know this? How did he know what his own CIA–who overwhelmingly believed that Saddam had already possessed Chem&Bio WMD and was aggressively pursuing nuclear WMD–did not know? This consensus of the CIA was supported by the intelligence services of more than a dozen nations, including Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Even bitter opponents of the war like France, Germany, Russia, and China never argued that Saddam did not have WMD; indeed, the German intelligence stated their belief that Saddam was within 1-3 years of obtaining a nuclear device–more than several years ahead of the CIA’s estimate. France and the others merely argued, for their own self-interested reasons, that war was the wrong way to disarm Saddam, not that he had no WMD.

    Few subjects have been more thoroughly and exhaustively investigated than the matter of pre-Iraq war intelligence. The reports of the Iraq Survey Group, the two-phase bipartisan Senate-Select Committee on Intelligence, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman report, and similar investigations into the Blair government’s handling of pre-war intelligence by Lord Hutton and Lord Butler have all cleared the Bush Administration of any deliberate deception or manipulation concerning the pre-Iraq war intelligence.

    Secondly, if Bush did know that Saddam had no WMD, is it really plausible that he would lead the nation into war knowing that his claims on Saddam’s WMD would be thoroughly discredited when Saddam was removed? The failure to find WMD in Iraq was one of the worst embarrassments that any president or administration has ever endured. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell all declared that Saddam had WMD in the most absolute and unequivocal terms. Would they all really do so if they didn’t believe it to be true and knowingly lead the nation into war in the full knowledge that their claims would be discredited? Please. Anyone who would believe that will believe anything.

    In understanding why it was right to remove Saddam, it is first necessary to grasp that Saddam Hussein was not your average dictator. He had a thirty-year rap sheet crowded to suffocation with crime: oppression, lavish support for terrorism, genocide, territorial aggression, the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the use of chemical and biological weapons among other delectable pursuits. He was in fact the warden of a vast and dangerous prison. It is possible to see the sheer number of reasons for removing him from power rather like strands on a rope: if one strand breaks, the rope is still intact. Likewise, the case for Saddam’s removal.

    After the end of the first Gulf war, we made the most serious of errors: we allowed an utterly defeated opponent to escape the full consequences of his defeat. The next twelve years would vindicate Machiavelli’s advice to his Prince that a defeated opponent should either be killed or ruined beyond all hope of recovery on the one hand, or treated generously on the other. Generosity, i.e. appeasement, was tried to no success: attempts by the Reagan and elder Bush administrations to court his favor in the late 80’s were brushed aside by him with contempt and merely led him to believe that he could invade and annex Kuwait without fear of consequences. After the war a regime of sanctions and inspections was imposed on Iraq by the UN. Upon entering the country in April 1991, they soon found that, contrary to intelligence reports that had Saddam within several years of obtaining a nuclear weapon, he was actually within several months. (He came similarly close ten years earlier when the French gave him a nuclear reactor. The Israelis destroyed it, though). Numerous defectors of Saddam’s inner circle testify that his deepest regret was that he invaded Kuwait without a nuclear weapon; if so, he said that he would not have been driven out. He was right.

    After four and a half years of sanctions and inspections, UN inspectors declared that Iraq was clean of WMD’s and urged that the sanctions be dropped. A month later, in November of 1995, Saddam’s son in law defected to Jordan and spilled his guts to the CIA about a few family secrets: namely, Saddam’s hidden WMD arsenal. (A few months later Saddam beckoned his runaway son in law to come back home; all would be forgiven, he said. He returned home to a hero’s welcome and a lavish banquet hosted by Saddam in his honor; afterward, he was tortured and shot—a typical Saddam touch).

    It turned out that despite several years of sanctions and tough inspections that Saddam had hidden stockpiles of WMD from the inspectors and was once again within range of developing a nuclear weapon. The Clinton administration fruitlessly continued the inspections for another three years until Saddam finally kicked them out for good in December of 1998, but the lesson was clear: Iraq could not be verifiably disarmed with sanctions and inspections unless Saddam complied. And he would not.

    From this time (Dec. 1998) to the invasion of Iraq (March 2003) it was naturally assumed (and all available intelligence sources claimed) that Saddam had spent this time producing WMD. We were wrong. As we now know, Saddam learned an important lesson from the humiliating fiasco of late 1995. He kept no stockpiles, it is true; but he retained the scientists, the technology, and the raw materials necessary to produce them at his pleasure. He retained a “just in time” capacity to produce chemical and biological agents on demand. As regards his nuclear program, he still retained all his scientists in high grade pay to continue his pursuit of a weapon when the sanctions were dropped and he could illicitly acquire the necessary fissile material. Question: How then does Saddam’s non-possession of WMD stockpiles negate the threat he represented if he still retained the capacity to produce them at will?

    As for the sanctions, they were all but comatose by 2003. Three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (France, China, and Russia, allies all) wanted them dropped, as did more than three quarters of the whole UN general assembly. By March of 2003 the sanctions were being violated every which way; Saddam was exporting oil at pre-gulf war levels ($16 billion in crude in 2002), he had culled billions of dollars in illicit trade, and he had succeeded in skimming billions of more dollars from the UN Oil for Food program, meant to alleviate the sufferings of the Iraqi people, but which in fact went straight into Saddam’s bottomless back pocket. Unlike naïve western statesmen and liberals who idealize the UN as a global senate whose halls reverberate with the likes of truth and justice, Saddam had a shrewd understanding of how the UN really functions. He quickly grasped the depth and breadth of its incompetence and corruption and worked it shrewdly to his advantage.

    According to the final report of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), the bipartisan investigative body charged with investigating Saddam’s pre-war WMD activities (which constitutes the source of much of this essay), Saddam kept a list of officials at the UN, in France, in Russia and elsewhere noting who would be bribed. He sent out his oil ministers to curry favor with China, France, Turkey, and Russia. He formed illicit trading relations with Ukraine, Syria, North Korea, and others to rebuild his arsenal. And it was working: he acquired billions in illicit trading and he used the oil-for-food billions to build palaces. According to the ISG, Saddam’s oil minister was treated like a “rock star” at international events, so strong was the desire to trade with Iraq.

    With sanctions gradually eroding, and oil-money flowing, Saddam rebuilt his strength. He contacted WMD scientists in Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria and elsewhere to enhance his technical knowledge base. He increased the funds for his nuclear scientists. He increased his military-industrial complex’s budget 40-fold between 1996 and 2002. He increased the number of technical military projects from 40 to 3200”, and he was aggressively pursuing long-range ballistic missile technology. As the ISG reports, “Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem.” All of this points to one undeniable truth: sanctions and the policy of “containment” were an utter failure.

    To a resume replete with wanton acts of casual cruelty and criminality, and of the inability of the UN to verifiably disarm or contain him, now add another troubling consideration: his reckless record of aggression. In 1975 he attacked the Kurds to the north, risking a war with Iran and Syria that he would have lost. In 1980 he invaded Iran, triggering a costly eight year war that he nearly lost but for the support he received from the US and other Arab states. In 1990, tossing another hostage to fortune, and once again bringing his regime to the brink of disaster, he invaded Kuwait and attacked Israel and Saudi Arabia with Scud missiles. After being driven out in 1991, he torched Kuwait’s oil wells and plunged millions of barrels of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, thus committing the greatest act of environmental terrorism in world history.

    In 1993 he again risked the existence of his regime when he attempted to assassinate former president Bush, an utterly senseless and irrational act of vengeance. (The reaction of the Clinton administration, though, was serious and decisive: they fired several cruise missiles at a few warehouses that the Pentagon assured Clinton would be empty, lest someone be killed). In 1994 he once again threatened to invade Kuwait, when he massed some 200,000 troops on the Iraq-Kuwait border. In 1996 he attacked an American backed Kurdish group in the no-fly zone in northern Iraq, killing hundreds, exiling thousands, and again risking war the USA. We did nothing in response, save for repeating the same cruise missile/empty warehouse farce of 1993. In each of these instances he acted recklessly, sometimes miscalculating his prospects for success, sometimes not, and sometimes coming within a hair of complete disaster. In 2003, he merely miscalculated for the last time and lost. The message of all this is clear: Saddam was a reckless, dangerous, loose canon whose capacity to disturb the peace of the region and the world was both boundless and insatiable.

    Also, sitting on top of the world’s second largest known oil reserves, his ability to disturb and blackmail the world economy along with the ability to translate his oil wealth into the finer pursuits of WMD and other acts of mischief and mayhem are frightening to contemplate. And he could not be deterred: even the heavy breathing of 160,000 American and coalition troops massed on his border and ready to pounce upon him in the spring of 2003 was not enough to bring him to compliance with UN resolution 1441, which called upon him to comply with UN weapons inspectors or face “serious consequences.” He did not comply.

    And why should he have? What did anyone (i.e. the UN or the USA) do in the preceding 12 years to teach him differently? The original cease-fire that allowed Saddam to keep in power and save his regime (UN resolution 687) in 1991 stipulated that his unfettered compliance with the inspection regime was a condition of the armistice, and, hence, of his survival. His non-compliance with the terms constituted grounds for his removal. The refusal of the elder Bush and Clinton administrations to enforce the terms of the cease-fire taught Saddam that his non-compliance would incur no serious consequences, save for a scolding or two. Between 1990 and 2003 no less than 16 UN Security Council resolutions were passed condemning his non-compliance. None were enforced with action. This preposterous state of affairs makes an open question as to who was more in breach of international law: Saddam for his non compliance with the resolutions, or the UN for its failure to enforce them. This whole episode positively reeks with cowardice and appeasement.

    After having defeated the inspection regime, Saddam pursued three objectives: (1) to focus attention on the suffering of the Iraqi people, (2) to address their grievances, (3) to enhance and intensify the split on the Security Council between the USA and Britian on the one hand, and France, Russia, and China on the other in the service of lifting the sanctions on Iraq. By the spring of 2003 he was well on his way toward achieving all of these objectives. Our opposition to the lifting of the sanctions was merely deepening our already considerable diplomatic isolation. And our acquiescence in the lifting of the sanctions would have won us no good will; to the contrary, other rogue nations wishing to weaken or undermine sanctions in this and other situations would merely have learned that there was reward in flouting US policy backed by UN resolutions. For those who love peace and hate war, it is difficult to understand how the policy of failing to hold Saddam accountable strengthened the ability of the UN to deal seriously and credibly with the problems of the world, to punish unlawful acts of aggression, and promote peace—the very reasons for the founding of the institution in the first place.

    The Clinton administration pursued two contradictory policies: (1) to reconcile with a hopefully chastened Saddam; (2) to keep Saddam “in his box” by obliging him to fulfill the terms of his disarmament by means of sanctions and inspections. The consequences of this confused and ultimately failed policy haunt us still today. Our high profile military presence in the Gulf region that was necessary to contain him and maintain the no-fly zones, coupled with the perception (correct) that we were deliberately starving the people of Iraq in order to punish Saddam for his non compliance did more to radicalize popular sentiment in the Arab-Muslim world against the USA in the 1990’s than anything else. Lest we forget, our presence in Saudia Arabia was Osama bin Laden’s principal grievance against us, and the charge that we were starving Iraq was nearly as prominent. The trauma of the sanctions (which killed an estimated 500,000 people, and by 2002 was also killing 5000 children per month under the age of five of malnourishment), coupled with our betrayal of the Kurds and Shiites in 1991(Bush the elder encouraged them to revolt, promising liberation. None came, and some 60,000 were left alone to be slaughtered) laid the foundation of much of the bitterness and distrust that greeted us in 2003, and certainly did much to fuel the insurgency.

    According to the ISG, “Saddam Hussein saw his life as an unfolding epic, with retreats and advances, but always the same ending. He knew the tools he would need to reshape history and establish his glory: weapons of mass destruction. These weapons had what the ISG called a “totemic” importance to him. With these weapons he defeated the Iranians and crushed his hated internal opponents, the restive Kurds and Shia. With these weapons he would deter what he called the “Zionist octopus” in both Israel and America.” His attempts to hide these weapons foundered in the debacle of late 1995. Afterward, he undertook a shrewd tactical retreat: he would destroy the weapons while preserving his capacities to make them on demand. By sheer attrition he would foil the inspections, divide the international community, and compel them to end the sanctions it had imposed to pen him in.

    Predicting the future is always a tricky and uncertain business. The best we can do is to make plausible projections based on the present and the past. It is, of course, possible that if we allowed Saddam the peace and the privacy that he and the anti-war crowd desired for him that he might have mended his ways and become a productive, peace-loving citizen of the global community. His activities and his behavior at the time of the invasion and the preceding 28 years, however, does little to justify confidence in this rosy scenario. To the contrary, according to testimony by everyone in Saddam’s former circle, along with everything in his present and past behavior, indications are that when the sanctions were lifted, Saddam would have reconstituted his weapons and emerged stronger and more fearsome than ever.

    In light of everything we now know, the notion that Saddam’s lack of WMD stockpiles rendered him harmless seems disingenuous in the extreme. One can, I suppose, make a case for keeping Saddam in power. To do so, however, the amount of contrary evidence one would have to ignore is staggering. Under the weight of the world community’s most intense policing, he not only survived, but prospered. His delusional megalomania, which fueled his erratic and unpredictable behavior, combined with his massive oil wealth and the range of sinister activities that that wealth and power allowed him to engage, rendered him a threat that went far above and beyond the average tyrant. Inspections failed. Sanctions failed. The whole policy of containment was bursting wide open to the rest of the world’s utter indifference. The notion that we “rushed” to war in 2003 is thus preposterous.

    The truth of the matter is that between the end of the first Gulf War and the beginning of the second one twelve years later, everything possible was done to verifiably disarm Saddam and prohibit his illicit and nefarious pursuits short of war. Anything and everything that could reasonably constrain him failed. The entire effort of the Bush administration in attempting to rally the UN was merely a last-ditch effort to achieve these objectives short of war. His removal from power was the only way to spare us the multitude of dangers that his continued tenure promised would sooner or later afflict us. The choice before us was not one of peace and war, but war with a conventionally armed Saddam now, or war with a richer, stronger, possibly nuclear armed Saddam several years or more from now.

    This was certainly an unpopular war with the rest of the world. Nonetheless, contrary to conventional wisdom, this war was not an example of “cowboy” unilateralism. Every effort was made by the Bush administration to enlist the support of the rest of the world community. This, in fact is what the Bush administration’s pursuit of Resolution 1441 was all about. In Sept. 2002 in his speech to the UN Bush declared that if the UN would not disarm Saddam and bring him into full compliance with international law, the USA would lead its own coalition to do the job. This woke the UN from its habitual lethargy and impotence. The 15 members of the Security Council debated the matter and the result was Resolution 1441, which passed unanimously. The resolution stipulated that Iraq must comply with all the demands of previous, multiple resolutions demanding his disarmament. The resolution also stated that this was Iraq’s “final” opportunity to disarm, and that his failure to comply would incur “serious consequences.”

    The inspectors returned, and for the next several months met with the same non-compliance as their predecessors. Eight out of ten times that the inspectors requested inspections and interviews, Saddam told them to stuff it. The French, the Germans, the Russians, and the Chinese, despite having committed themselves to resolution 1441, then actively aided and abetted Saddam’s defiance of it. The Germans then declared that they would not go to war with Iraq even with UN support. The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, who had previously declared “If Saddam Hussein does not comply, there will obviously be a use of force” now stated that even though Saddam was defying resolution 1441 this “would not justify war.” And how would the French punish Saddam for his defiance? Why, “send more inspectors” of course, apparently for him to enlarge the extent of his near-total non-compliance.

    It was only after nearly four months of Saddam’s defiance, when the US and Britian made clear their intention to remove Saddam from power, that the real agenda of the French was exposed for all to see. They were forced to reveal that they never had any intention of holding Saddam accountable to resolution 1441, and that under no circumstances would they agree to the use of force to remove him from power. Russia, China, Germany, and a host of other nations rallied behind the French, thus deadlocking the Security Council.

    It is important to grasp that the US did not need Res. 1441 to invade Iraq. We already had sufficient authority under Res.687 to do that legally. The entire purpose of the Bush administration in seeking and securing support for resolution 1441 was to restore the lost authority of the UN to deal seriously and credibly with Iraq’s intransigence and its accompanied dangers in a multilateral fashion, and offer a “final” opportunity for Saddam to comply with all the demands of the previous Security Council resolutions or face “serious consequences.” In other words, Bush attempted to strengthen the authority of the UN by having it say what it means and mean what it says. Words must mean something. The cynical, self-serving, and deceitful behavior of the French and their cohorts sabotaged and thoroughly discredited that effort, and merely emasculated whatever potential resolution 1441 possessed to achieve its objectives short of war.

    (The real purpose for the obstructionism of France and co., of course, was not some lofty desire for peace. Friendship with Saddam had long been a priority for most of them; they had spent the better part of the previous two decades courting this megalomaniacal psychotic as a lucrative trading partner, sharing sensitive technology with him, and arming him to the teeth).

    Given Saddam’s behavior, his track record, his ambitions, and his terrifying beliefs about the utility of nuclear weapons and other WMD it was crystal clear that this insatiable tyrant needed to be deposed. The evidence against continuing the policy of containment is overwhelming; this was simply not a regime whose existence we could safely neglect. It is true that Saddam was not an imminent threat, but to focus on the imminence of a threat like Saddam is to miss the most important lesson that 9/11 had to teach us, namely the lesson of confronting growing threats before they become imminent.

    It would certainly be nice if we lived in a world where rogue states were deterred from their violent and nefarious pursuits solely by reprimands and harsh scoldings. We do not. Saddam’s successful defiance of the UN (and the United States) during the 1990’s taught important lessons to would-be tyrants and terrorists everywhere about the rewards of lawless behavior. In such a permissive environment, is it any wonder that Osama bin Laden could plan and execute a massive terrorist attack on American soil and believe he could get away with it? When did anyone ever teach him anything different? With the UN hopelessly impotent on the matter, a President of the United States, not too eloquent and perhaps none too bright, nonetheless bravely bucked fashionable opinion to do what had to be done. For myself, I find it difficult to withhold admiration for a President who, upon seeing 3000 of his fellow citizens murdered in cold blood, was determined not to keep an unfettered monster on the loose while he was a growing threat instead of waiting until he became an imminent one. May God bless George W. Bush, and may God bless this horrible, no-good, unpopular war that has done so much to make this dangerous world a safer place than it was.

    • seanmcbride says:

      It’s useful to be reminded of the delusional and self-destructive ideas that dominated American politics from 2002 through 2004, and which have brought the United States to the brink of economic ruin. Thanks for the flashback! A cautionary tale indeed.

      • Shingo says:

        Indeed Sean,

        As I was combing though Weirdine’s diatreibe and littany of decade old lies, I felt a certain wave of nostalgia. It’s mind obggling to imagine we still have our own dead enders on this forum.

        • annie says:

          indeed is right. it’s not everyday some wacko claims neocon foreign policy during cheney’s reign should be “enjoying” legitimacy. kinda like enjoying having your eyes gouged out.

        • Shingo says:

          Yes Annie,

          It’s as if this wack job is trying to hasten the prediction by Bush and his cromies that history would judge the Iraq FUBAR favourably.

      • Shingo says:

        All this lurid talk of “cabals” and “neocons” makes for great copy.

        I wish I could say the same about this latest piece of trash you’ve written. Instead, it evokes images of some sleazy, washed up used car salesman (replete with gold caps on his teeth) trying offload lot filled with Delorians and Edsels.

        This latest foray is probably your crudest effort to date.

        It feeds the paranoid left’s conviction that foreign policy during the Bush years was “highjacked” instead of enjoying legitimacy.

        The foreign policy introduced during the Bush years has been universally accepted as having been a flawed and disastrous one that incited the demise of the US. Iraq has been a disaster, as has Afghanistan and Somalia.

        There is no longer any dispute that we were “deliberately misled” into an “unnecessary” war. For a start, the war was definitely unnecessary, seeing as you admit Saddam was not an imminent threat. Only a serious and legitimate threat could ever be considered a minimal reason to go to war. Secondly, every single justification for going to war turned out to be false – WMD, links to Al Qaeda, support for terrorist groups, links to 911 etc.

        It was not the decision to remove Saddam that enjoyed bipartisan support. Bush went to war with Iraq under the War Powers Act passed in the wake of 911, which was intended to provide the President with the authority to pursue actions against those responsible for 911, so that alone proves it was a war based on false pretenses.  The neocons had been twisting Clinton’s and Bush Snr’s arm for a decade to go to war, with no success. Bush Snr is known for referring to the neocons as “the crazies” which were to be locked up in the basement – then along came the untreated alcoholic son, who let the lunatics out of the asylum and gave them top positions at the Pentagon.

        Saddam was not an imminent threat, even if he had the WMD stockpiles we thought he had. Then again, no one in the Bush administration claimed that Saddam was an imminent threat or that he was ever on the verge of attacking us.

        I see you’re trying to embrace your inner John Bolton. This has of course been exposed as a blatant lie (typical of Bolton and you).

        Here are but a few examples:

        “This is about imminent threat.”

        White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03

        Iraq was “the most dangerous threat of our time.”
        White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03

        “Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
        Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/29/03

        Responding to the question “is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?” 1/26/03

        White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett answered:

        “Well, of course he is.”

        “Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons. Iraq poses a threat to the security of our people and to the stability of the world that is distinct from any other. It’s a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the Middle East and to the international peace and stability. It’s a danger we cannot ignore. Iraq and North Korea are both repressive dictatorships to be sure and both pose threats. But Iraq is unique. In both word and deed, Iraq has demonstrated that it is seeking the means to strike the United States and our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction.”
        Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/20/03

        “The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands.”

        President Bush, 11/23/02

        “I would look you in the eye and I would say, go back before September 11 and ask yourself this question: Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent threat the month before or two months before or three months before or six months before? When did the attack on September 11 become an imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week or a month…So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?”
        Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 11/14/02

        “There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the emost serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.”
        • President Bush, 10/7/02

        “The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency.

        • President Bush, 10/2/02

        “There’s a grave threat in Iraq. There just is.”
        President Bush, 10/2/02

        “This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined.”
        President Bush, 9/26/02

        “No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.”

        Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

        “Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent - that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons.”

        Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

        The claims of any “lavish and longstanding support for terrorism” were debunked by the 2007 Senate Report, which revealed once and for all that Saddam had no links to Al Qaeda or Zarkawi. As it turns out, the only terrorists Saddamhad anything to do with happens to be the same group the State Department lists as a terrorist group but which the US has supported since the invasion – the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK )

        Nor did Saddam ever come close to obtaining nuclear weapons. UNSCOM members revealed that Saddam’s nuclear program ended in 1991 and that he was effectively disarmed of his missile capability by 1994.

        12 years of diplomacy and 16 unenforced UNSC resolutions had failed completely to bring him to book and verifiably disarm him.

        The 12 years of diplomacy failed because they were intended to. The very year that the US voted for the UN Resolutions that the US helped to draft (1991), Bush Snr declared that the sanctions on Iraq would remain in place so long as Saddam remained in power. Even if Iraq complied with the resolutions, the US would have veto’d calls for sanctions to be lifted. This same policy was subsequently embraced by the Clinton Administration.

        As Scott Ritter revealed, the CIA would not allow the UNSCOM inspection team to report compliance on Iraq’s behalf for political reasons. Hence, they were able to insist that they could not “verifiably disarm him”, when this was precisely the status quo they hoped to maintain.

        He thumbed his nose at UNSCR 1441, which gave him his final opportunity to cooperate with the UN, and dearly did he pay for it.

        False. 1441 is related to the prohibition of missiles that Saddam never had. In other words, Saddam was being forced to prove he’d destroyed or no longer had something that didn’t exist. As you admit, Saddam had no stockpiles of Chemical, Bio weapons, or missiles which begs the question: how could he have been in breach of resolutions prohibiting them?

        Yet anyone who reads the Iraq Survey Group report would see that the absence of WMD stockpiles hardly negated the totality of the threat Saddam posed and that he was a catalyst of danger and instability with or without WMD.

        I have read the ISG Report and there is no mention of Saddam being a catalyst of danger and instability with or without WMD. Having said that, the ISG was massively compromised by political pressure. ISG weapons scientist , Rod Barton, revealed in an interview that he was forbidden from inspecting one of the alleged mobile bioweapons labs they had in their possession at Camp Slayer – the excuse given to him by Duelfer was that it was politically untenable to undermine the Bush Administration.

        The claims by the Duelfer Report that Saddam had “postponed” and “not abandoned” his WMD pursuits were based purely on speculation – it was nothing more than a fig leaf to appease Bush. There was no evidence of any kind to suggest it. In fact, the claim hinges on the spurious references to WMD Program related activities. These activities were so broad and vague as to include Iraq’s programs of moving scientists from military employment to civilian programs or leaving government employment altogether. So a weapons scientist who left the military and opened a falafel stand would be considered a WMD Program related activity.

        Yes we were lied into war. And yes, the war was an act of aggression and a “war crime.”

        The contention that the Iraq war was waged for oil is factually baseless. What attempt has been made to possess and exploit Iraq’s oil wealth for our own purposes? None whatsoever.

        It’s beyond dispute that oil was central to the agenda; you yourself make at least half a dozen references to Iraq’s oil. There was a clear conflict between the oil industry and the necons. Necons wanted to exploit Iraq’s oil to bust OPEC. Big Oil feared that privatizing Iraq’s oil would lead to to a drop in the price of oil and too much competition.

        From the beginning, Paul Wolfowitz argued openly that:
        a) Iraq’s oil could finance and pay for the war
        b) Iraq was unique because it sits upon a sea of oil
        c) the WMD argument was merely a ruse for “U.S. government bureaucracy” . In other words, the US wanted war and settled on WMD for an excuse.
        Big Oil stepped in and stopped the sell off of Iraq’s oil, insisting that it remain in state hands.

        As for leaving Iraq, that won’t be happening if Washington has it’s way. On top of the 14 US military bases permanently stationed in Iraq, and the massive US embassy the size of the Vatican, the US keeps insisting that it is happy to stay in Iraq, if the Iraqi government asks them too, while in the background aggressively lobbying the Iraqi government keep asking them to.

        If the US was actually leaving Iraq, we wouldn’t be hearing threats from Sadr that he will order attacks on the US if they don’t leave.


        If we had meant to us their oil for our own purposes, why haven’t we maintained possession of the oil fields the way that, say, the British held on to the Suez Canal for so many years?


        Simply because the US can’t. It doesn’t have the resources or political will to do so. Surely the US didn’t intend the Iraq and Afghan wars to last the better part of a decade, so clearly, the US is not all powerful

        The contention that Bush invaded Iraq knowing that there were no WMD is similarly bereft of any factual basis, and is, in fact, nonsensical.

        What Bush knew or didn’t know is anyone’s guess, but there is no question that the reason the US invaded Iraq is because they knew they did not have any WMD. What is nonsensical is the denial that the day of the 911 attacks, Rumsfeld pulled Richard Clarke aside and demanded he find any connection they could muster to link Saddam to the attacks – hence the lies about Attah’s meeting in Prague etc.

        This brings us to another one of your blantant lies regarding Hussein Kamel (Saddam’s son in law).

        One of the most deliberate lies by Cheney, was the testimony he cited by Hussein Kamel; that he (Hussein) witnessed the existence of WMD. What he omitted was the caveat that the reason he witnessed the existence of WMD was because he was appointed by his father in law to oversea their destruction.

        link to david-morrison.org.uk

        Needless to say, there was no hidden WMD arsenal, and Saddam had not had any nuclear weapons program since 1991. If any WMD existed in 1995, they would have been found after 2003.

        This consensus of the CIA was supported by the intelligence services of more than a dozen nations, including Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

        The consensus was based on the information the US was feeding to these states. Hence the claim that “everyone thought he had them” because lo and behold, that’s what the US told everyone. Germany actually refused to verify the reports coming from Curveball.
        Not only did Russia and China not support these theories, but the Russians were accused of hiding Iraq’s WMD. France did not support the claims and it turns out they were vindicated.

        Few subjects have been more thoroughly and exhaustively investigated than the matter of pre-Iraq war intelligence.

        Actually that too is false. In 2001, both Powell (in February) and Rice (July ) went on the record as stating that Iraq had no WMD and that he was no threat.

        “He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.”
        24 February 2001 during Powell’s visit to Cairo, Egypt

        But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let’s remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.

        Condoleezza Rice appearing on CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer

        So that is the totality of the pre war intelligence Washington had up until 911. No one has ever explained how Saddam went from being no threat, with no military capabilities and no WMD in June of that year, to suddenly being a threat with WMD the day after September 11.

        As I have explained, the ISG was hugely compromised and manipulated. The two chairmen of the Robb-Silberman report expressed grave concerns about their investigations being compromised and evidence being withheld. Robb and Silberman were FED the report from the WH, just like Sen. Pat Roberts was fed his Senate Intel Report that pointed only at the CIA and away from the Bush Administration

        As for the Hutton and Butler inquiries, their terms of reference excluded them from being able to investigate whether the case for was based on lies. Let’s not forget that Blair’s first Iraq dossier was nothing more than a plagiarised UN thesis downloaded from the internet.

        Secondly, if Bush did know that Saddam had no WMD, is it really plausible that he would lead the nation into war knowing that his claims on Saddam’s WMD would be thoroughly discredited when Saddam was removed?

        Of course it is plausible. These people had nothing to fear. Why else would Bush make such erroneous statements as this one:

        “We found the weapons of mass destruction.”
        President Bush, in an interview with Polish television, May 29, 2003

        The American public are not concerned about details if the US is winning wars. Had the mission really been completed by the time Bush made his Mission Accomplished photo op, the public wouldn’t have cared less whether there were any WMD or not. It is when the war went pear shaped and Americans began dying that it became an issue.

        Would they all really do so if they didn’t believe it to be true and knowingly lead the nation into war in the full knowledge that their claims would be discredited?

        All these men are pathological liars, so who cares? Rumsfeld was lying when he said of the WMD “we know where they are”, because clearly he didn’t. Not only was Cheney lying when he said it was “pretty much confirmed” that Attah met with Iraqi agents in Prague, but he then lied about never having made the claim in the first place. Both are on video.
        The other huge lie Cheney told was the claim that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear weapons. Not only was it false that he was pursuing them at the time, but it was also false because Saddam never had WMD at any moment prior.

        The world knew there were no WMD by the 2004 elections, so clearly, the lies they told were not that big a liability at the time. The Bushies had whipped the public into such a fear that they simply didn’t care.

        In understanding why it was right to remove Saddam, it is first necessary to grasp that Saddam Hussein was not your average dictator.

        Actually he was very mush the average dictator. Like most in the region, he was a US puppet who was armed and financed by Washington. He even rose to power via a CIA coup in Iraq. The reason he was able to get way with his 30 year crime spree was because the West was perfectly happy to turn a blind eye to his misdemeanours. His WMD were given to him by the West and the helicopters he used to launch them against the Kurds were giving to him by Washington (ie. Regan). In the decade long Iraq/Iraq war, he served his purpose to damage Iran.

        The prisons he ran were not dismantled after the invasion, but merely changed management.

        Generosity, i.e. appeasement, was tried to no success: attempts by the Reagan and elder Bush administrations to court his favor in the late 80’s were brushed aside by him with contempt

        Rubbish. Like all dictators, he outlived his usefulness and was no longer taking his marching orders from Washington.

        After the Iraq/Iraq war, Iraq was financially crippled. The Saudis and Kuwait had loaned billions to help fund the war, which produced an outcome that benefitted them both. The Saudis forgave the loan as a sign of gratitude. The Kuwaitis demanded their money back while they were stealing Iraq’s oil via slant drilling. Saddam demanded they sit down to sort out their differences. The Emir agreed, then took off to London with his concubines and Saddam lost patience.

        When Saddam invaded Kuwait the US, who had given him the green light, declared they had no interest in the matter and that it should be resolved between Saddam and the Emir of Kuwait. There was no appetite for going to war in the US and no support in Congress. It wasn’t until the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter appeared before Congress (under a false identity) and gave a BS story about the babies being taken out of incubators that support grew.

        Meanwhile, Cheney was showing doctored satellite photographs of the Iraq/Saudi border to the Saudi’s, to win their support. The tank battalions amassed along the border were fake of course, as demonstrated by Russian satellite images of the same area.

        The Clinton administration fruitlessly continued the inspections for another three years until Saddam finally kicked them out for good in December of 1998, but the lesson was clear: Iraq could n.ot be verifiably disarmed with sanctions and inspections unless Saddam complied. And he would not.

        Who are trying to kid?

        The Washington Post reported on December 18 ( Barton Gellman) that “Butler ordered his inspectors to evacuate Baghdad, in anticipation of a military attack, on Tuesday night.”
        link to fair.org

        Even Wolf Blitzer took Senator John Cornyn to task for this lie CNN. When Cornyn made the claim that Saddam had “kicked out” the weapons inspectors, Blitzer responded:

        “No, I’m sorry I have to correct you Senator, but in fact President Clinton withdrew the weapons inspectors preparatory to the bombing of Iraq.”

        Clinton ordered the inspectors to leave in preparation for Desert Fox – a missile attack on Saddam’s palaces – which was intended to assassinate Saddam.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        From this time (Dec. 1998) to the invasion of Iraq (March 2003) it was naturally assumed (and all available intelligence sources claimed) that Saddam had spent this time producing WMD. We were wrong.

        False. As Tyler Drumheller told PBS Frontline:

        “This isn’t about intel; it’s not about WMD; we’re into regime change now. … They were gambling, too, that when they got on the ground, they would find these things. … And the amazing thing was — this makes me look like an idiot, but the fact was I really believed Curveball couldn’t possibly be the only source they had on that, but it was.

        So all the available intelligence sources came down to one man, Ahmaed Chalabi’s nephew.

        If all available intelligence sources had made that claim, the Rice (national security adviser at the time) would have been corrected for her mistake in February of 2001 and Powell could certainly not have repeated that same error in July. Seeing as no inspections took place between 1998 and 2001, all available intelligence sources were the same on February 2001 and September 2001.

        He kept no stockpiles, it is true; but he retained the scientists, the technology, and the raw materials necessary to produce them at his pleasure.

        A stupid and assinine argument intended to appeal to the poorly educated flock, not to mention false.

        1. He retained NO raw materials – which is why no WMD were found
        2. Short of executing the scientists, or give them collective lobotomies, there was no way to not retain the scientists and technology

        Question: How then does Saddam’s non-possession of WMD stockpiles negate the threat he represented if he still retained the capacity to produce them at will?

        Answer: Saddam had NEVER produced a nuclear weapons, so there is no way he was going to produce them at will

        As regards his nuclear program, he still retained all his scientists in high grade pay to continue his pursuit of a weapon when the sanctions were dropped and he could illicitly acquire the necessary fissile material.

        Again, retaining his scientists was not a violation of any resolution, especially seeing as the only way to overcome the retention of scientists would be to execute or expel them from Iraq. Secondly, the claims of acquisition of necessary fissile material was based on forged documents anyway.

        As for the sanctions, they were all but comatose by 2003.

        And for good reason. The world had realized by then that the US’s intentions were not the disarmament of Iraq, but regime change. Nothing in the UN resolutions or sanctions made any mention of regime change, yet the US Congress had passed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made clear that US policy was malevolent and irrational.
        Once the rest of the world had figured out that US policy would not be constructive, and that no US president was ever going to allow Saddam (who had been marketed to the public the new Hitler) off the hook, they decided to go about their business.

        With sanctions gradually eroding, and oil-money flowing, Saddam rebuilt his strength.

        That’s laughable. The necons and the far right could never agree on this line of argument. The far right was insisting that Saddam was becoming ever stronger while the necons and pundits like Hitchens were insisting the country was falling apart and that Saddam was losing his grip on power, which would apparently lead to a civil war. That’s certainly what Rice and Powell believed.


        He contacted WMD scientists in Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria and elsewhere to enhance his technical knowledge base. He increased the funds for his nuclear scientists.

        False. This was not mentioned anywhere in the report and no evidence was produced to support it. In fact, Mahdi Obeidi, the Iraqi scientist credited with being the father of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program completely debunked any of these allegations in his book, The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam’s Nuclear Mastermind

        link to cia.gov

        In fact, the nuclear scientists were largely unemployed by 2003. The claims of “Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem” was not supported by any evidence or findings, but pure conjecture. After all, if weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem, then they would have been found. They weren’t.

        In 1980 he invaded Iran, triggering a costly eight year war that he nearly lost but for the support he received from the US and other Arab states.

        This US was perfectly happy that he did so, which is why they supported him. Meanwhile, Israel were supporting Iran in the hope that both countries would obliterate one another.

        After being driven out in 1991, he torched Kuwait’s oil wells and plunged millions of barrels of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, thus committing the greatest act of environmental terrorism in world history.

        Actually, eyewitnesses to the events claimed that it was coalition forces that torched Kuwait’s oil wells.

        In 1993 he again risked the existence of his regime when he attempted to assassinate former president Bush, an utterly senseless and irrational act of vengeance

        Another debunked piece of nonesense.

        Pentagon report finds no evidence of Saddam attempt to assassinate Bush
        link to rawstory.com

        In 1994 he once again threatened to invade Kuwait, when he massed some 200,000 troops on the Iraq-Kuwait border

        Saddam made no threat to invade Kuwait. The no fly zones were in force by then and he knew he didn’t stand a chance of pulling it off.

        In 1996 he attacked an American backed Kurdish group in the no-fly zone in northern Iraq, killing hundreds, exiling thousands, and again risking war the USA.

        False. KDP troops joined the Iraqi Army in an attack on the INC forces based in Irbil, the largest city in Kurdistan. U.S.- backed rebels request American air support but request is denied. Iraqi troops arrest and execute hundreds of rebel leaders. (See Abdul Rahman on KDP decision to back Saddam. Talabani on lack of U.S. response to attack, which he considers another American betrayal. Also Chalabi on Kurdish infighting.)

        In 2003, he merely miscalculated for the last time and lost.

        False again. In 2003 he did absolutely nothing. Nothing he could have done would have prevented the plans to attack Iraq, which were in place for years prior to 911. In fact, in 2003, Saddam invited all members of congress to come to Iraq and search for the WMD themselves.

        Also, sitting on top of the world’s second largest known oil reserves, his ability to disturb and blackmail the world economy along with the ability to translate his oil wealth into the finer pursuits of WMD and other acts of mischief and mayhem are frightening to contemplate.

        This was only frightening to US imperial aspirations. Companies like Bechtel and Halliburton, both of whom were on their knees and facing financial ruin, were anxious about all those oil contracts going to non US companies.

        I must say, it’s funny how on one hand you insist the attack on Iraq had nothing to do with oil, yet you not only make half a dozen references to oil, but also acknowledge that these reserves would have given Saddam the ability to blackmail the world economy.

        even the heavy breathing of 160,000 American and coalition troops massed on his border and ready to pounce upon him in the spring of 2003 was not enough to bring him to compliance with UN resolution 1441, which called upon him to comply with UN weapons inspectors or face “serious consequences.” He did not comply.

        Heavy breathing Robert? You’ve been alone for too long.

        This is simply rubbish of course. First of all, by the time the 160,000 American and coalition troops massed on his border, there was no turning back. Secondly, there was no way he could possibly comply with the resolutions . The resolutions were demanding that he produce evidence of the whereabouts of weapons that did not exist based on US estimates of what they believed he had.

        What’s most hypocritical about all this, is that 2 years earlier, Rumsfeld had reported that the DOD could not account for 2.6 trillion in money, yet they were demanding that Saddam account for 100% of weapons they insisted he had, even thought their estimates were based on pure speculation. Scott Ritter recounted how they had reported on destroying a specific number of missiles, and each time they reported this to the CIA, the CIA would alter the estimate as to how many missiles were left so as to ensure Saddam was never judged to be in compliance.

        The original cease-fire that allowed Saddam to keep in power and save his regime (UN resolution 687) in 1991 stipulated that his unfettered compliance with the inspection regime was a condition of the armistice, and, hence, of his survival.

        You’re simply making shit up as you go along. There is not one word in any of the resolutions alluding to conditions of Saddam’s survival and for very good reason. The UN has absolutely no power to determine who should rule any state and under what terms, and neither does the US, though it believes it has.

        The UN Resolutions simply stated that sanctions would be lifted once Iraq was judged to have disarmed. Bush Snr moved the goal posts after endorsing the Resolution and declared that even “unfettered compliance with the inspection regime” would not suffice so long as Saddam remained in power. So as it turns out, it was the US that was in violation of the Resolutions as much as Iraq. There was never any clause or stipulation that non-compliance with the terms constituted grounds for his removal. That was a decision that the US made without consulting the UNSC.

        The inspection regime was NOT defeated. In fact, is performed superbly. If it had been defeated, the WMD would have been found.

        The Clinton policies were not, they were simply an example of Washington diplomacy – pretend to want peace for the cameras, while waging war back stage. Obama did exactly the same thing with Iran, when he was giving his reach out speech to the Iranian people while US operatives and diplomats were working behind the scenes to impose sanctions.

        The consequences of this confused and ultimately failed policy haunt us still today.

        True, but the confused and ultimately failed policy began in 1991 when Bush 41 voted for sanctions tied exclusively to the disarmament of Iraq when in fact, committed to regime change.
        As for Osama bin Laden’s grievance, it was not our presence in Saudi Arabia, but the entire Arab peninsula, so simply moving bases from SA to Iraq has not resolved that danger.

        …according to testimony by everyone in Saddam’s former circle, along with everything in his present and past behavior, indications are that when the sanctions were lifted, Saddam would have reconstituted his weapons and emerged stronger and more fearsome than ever.

        Nice prose Robert, except that there was no such testimony from Saddam’s former circle. The only testimony we were ever given was from snake oil salesman like Chalabi and Curveball.

        And contrary to your diatribe, Saddam did not proper under the weight of the world community’s most intense policing. His hold on power was slipping along with the fete of the Iraqi people. He was certainly a megalomaniac, but anyone who has studied Saddam’s history beyond the Fox tabloids would know he was anything but erratic and unpredictable. He was a survivor and simply driven by self interest.

        This racist depiction of Arabs is all too common among Zionists and right wing fascists. Arab and Muslim leaders are always presented as crazy and suicidal, when in fact they are simply ruthless and calculating.

        The sanctions did no fail. The singular aim of the sanctions was to disarm Iran and as of May 2003, Iraq had no WMD. What failed was the sanctions regime that Washington had been abusing for a decade.

        There was never a goal to determine what Saddam’s motives and future agenda would be. The sanctions were

        Listening to Robert’s circular reasoning reminds one of the Orwelling statement by Ari Fleischer, July 9, 2003:

        “I think the burden is on those people who think he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are”

        Get that? Those who disputed the existence of WMD were supposed to prove their point by pointing to where they were.   That’s the insanity thatbefell teh mindset of the Bush Administration – that the WMD existed, and the fact that couldn’t be found proved it.

        The war was never about WMD. WMD was political theatre. As Tyler Drumheller said

        “it’s not about WMD; we’re into regime change now. … “

        The inspectors returned, and for the next several months met with the same non-compliance as their predecessors.

        The inspectors were blocked from performing their duties not by Iraq, but by Washington. When Hans Blix publicly stated that his team would be able to verify Iraq’s compliance (provided they were give sufficient time) , the Bash administration launched a vicious a smearing campaign against him.

        It is important to grasp that the US did not need Res. 1441 to invade Iraq.

        Yes they did, which is why Blair pressured Bush into seeking a further resolution to approve such action. It is no secret that Blair turned to the Goldsmith and pressured him to change his legal judgement on the matter. The British Military Command were stating very clearly that they would not participate in any military intervention in Iraq unless they were given legal authority to do so.

        The evidence against continuing the policy of containment is overwhelming; this was simply not a regime whose existence we could safely neglect.

        There is no evidence. The only evidence would have been the existence of WMD , and there wasn’t any, and furthermore the claim that 911 was in any way tied to Iraq has been completely refuted. The sleazy argument about lessons of 911 were a cheap ploy by the Bush Administration to link Saddam to 911 in the minds of the public, without saying so explicitly.

        The fact that in your sick and deranged mind, the removal of Saddam, who was never a threat to anyone but Iran and Kuwait, was worth the lives of 1 million Iraqis and counting, only serves to highlight the depths of your depravity and the extent of your sadism.

        • It would seem that I have received yet another courtesy call from my Great Debunker. Since a comprehensive, point-by-point reply to the 144-paragraph tangle of truths, half-truths and lurid fabrications posted above would be unlikely to clear moderation, I shall have to make do with less. “Massive retaliation” will have to give way to “limited response.”

          “Bush Snr is known for referring to the neocons as “the crazies” which were to be locked up in the basement – then along came the untreated alcoholic son, who let the lunatics out of the asylum and gave them top positions at the Pentagon.”

          Nice.

          “Even if Iraq complied with the resolutions, the US would have veto’d calls for sanctions to be lifted. As Scott Ritter revealed, the CIA would not allow the UNSCOM inspection team to report compliance on Iraq’s behalf for political reasons.”

          You have it backwards. The Clinton administration would have given anything to be able to declare Saddam in compliance, and have the whole Saddam/inspections headache disappear, for Clinton spent much of his presidency in mortal terror that he might actually have to live up to his responsibilities as Commander in Chief and go to war somewhere (e.g., Iraq, Bosnia), which of course would distract from his domestic agenda. (After winning the 1992 election, he told Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton that the American people “didn’t care” about foreign policy, and Hilary in 1994 insisted that Clinton not intervene in Bosnia or Rwanda, lest it derail her health care initiative)

          In any event, there was no “compliance” to report, and Ritter, when an inspector, not only never reported any such Iraqi compliance to the inspections, but was vehement in his denunciation of Iraqi obstructionism and non-compliance, and this was the principal reason the Clinton administration attempted to marginalize and restrain him.

          Ritter, who, before his incarnation as an anti-war icon of the left, actually accused the Clinton Administration of appeasing Saddam and impeding inspections to avoid a confrontation in an August 1998 interview:

          “ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And how many inspections were blocked in this way?

          WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Well, I mean, the list is actually quite long over the years. But since November there-since November of 1997, I would say that there have been a half dozen or so inspections, which have been either delayed or postponed or canceled outright, due to pressure exerted on the executive chairman by the United States.”

          Ritter also said:

          “The bottom line is we haven’t had-the United States hasn’t had this kind of Security Council support for many years now, and Security Council support is eroding, eroding in large part because of a lack of American leadership. I don’t know what they’re waiting for. The Security Council is on a gradual, even a steep slide downhill in terms of its ability to support, or willingness to support the special commission. And there’s no indication that anything the United States has been doing would turn the Security Council around. So I don’t know-it sounds an awful lot like an excuse. It seems like it’s a strategic pause, because it’s been taking place for many years now.”

          On Iraq’s weapons capability at the time, Ritter said:

          “ WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Iraq still has prescribed weapons capability. There needs to be a careful distinction here. Iraq today is challenging the special commission to come up with a weapon and say where is the weapon in Iraq, and yet part of their efforts to conceal their capabilities, I believe, have been to disassemble weapons into various components and to hide these components throughout Iraq.

          I think the danger right now is that without effective inspections, without effective monitoring, Iraq can in a very short period of time measure the months, reconstitute chemical biological weapons, long-range ballistic missiles to deliver these weapons, and even certain aspects of their nuclear weaponization program.”

          Also, Ritter made a sound, sensible assessment of the folly of the inspection process:

          “ ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And is it your contention that without a significant and realistic threat of military action, Iraq will not allow the investigations to begin again, beyond just the monitoring that’s already going on?

          WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Well, in this I would only echo the words made by the Secretary-General and other personnel back in February, who said that you couldn’t have had the February MOU without the real and credible threat of military force. That’s an obvious statement. You can’t expect to enforce the law unless you have the means to carry out the enforcement. “

          And no one would “enforce the law,” least of all Kofi Annan or Clinton.

          Scott Ritter was impeded by the Clinton Administration because he was, at least then, a very aggressive inspector, which of course miffed the Iraqis, and the Administration did not want a showdown that Saddam’s documented defiance of the inspections would make necessary, so they impeded Ritter and others in UNSCOM. Nothing better illustrates the folly and futility of the whole inspection regime, especially when conducted by a feckless, craven, and cowardly administration whose only objective was to avoid a confrontation that might disturb their domestic initiatives—not disarm a dangerous dictator. (Sound familiar?)

          Said I: “He thumbed his nose at UNSCR 1441, which gave him his final opportunity to cooperate with the UN, and dearly did he pay for it.”

          Said you: “False. 1441 is related to the prohibition of missiles that Saddam never had. In other words, Saddam was being forced to prove he’d destroyed or no longer had something that didn’t exist.”

          That is misleading. The resolution inventoried the catalogue of previously ignored and un-enforced two and one half dozen resolutions, and emphasized his responsibilities of cooperation with the new inspection regime. It read:

          “Decides…to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council”

          And

          “that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations”

          The forthright language of the resolution could hardly have been clearer: Saddam must comply with the inspections, or else. The resolution did not say that Saddam would receive another opportunity if he failed to cooperate, it said that he had a “final” opportunity. What comes after final? And what was meant by “serious consequences?” More inspections? More scoldings and paper resolutions? For shame. This dysfunctional farce was the League of Nations redux.

          In its advocacy of 1441, Bush attempted to strengthen the authority of the UN by having it say what it means and mean what it says. Words must mean something. Again, for those who love peace and hate war, it is difficult to understand how the policy of failing to hold Saddam accountable strengthened the ability of the UN to deal seriously and credibly with the problems of the world, to punish unlawful acts of aggression, and promote peace—the very reasons for the founding of the institution in the first place.

          As John Negroponte said of the resolution after passing:

          “The resolution makes clear that any Iraqi failure to comply is unacceptable and that Iraq must be disarmed. And, one way or another, Iraq will be disarmed. If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of further Iraqi violations, this resolution does not constrain any Member State from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq or to enforce relevant United Nations resolutions and protect world peace and security.”

          The drafting and passage of this resolution, in any event, was a colossal waste of time and effort. The US and Britian wanted Saddam removed, period, and did not believe that Saddam would consent and cooperate with inspections now any more than he did before, and they were right. They consented to the resolution only to give themselves the appropriate diplomatic cover when the time came to remove him for his customary non-compliance and obstructionism, which they fully expected, and which of course occurred. The French seem to have believed that 1441 would put an inspection regime into Iraq that would move about from here to there indefinitely, and that if weapons were found, they could be disposed of by the inspectors, and hence avoid war. The point of their support for 1441 was not to disarm Saddam, about which they had not been serious for at least a decade, but to posit a “necessary counter-weight to American dominance and hegemony” (led by guess who?), and deflect “les Anglo-Saxons” from going to war to remove Saddam.

          Saddam, however, foiled this objective by his non-cooperation with the inspectors, which gave the Americans and others what they needed to declare him in breach of the new resolution. By this time France and co. had abandoned any semblance of impartiality, were forced to reveal that they had no intention of removing Saddam however much he was in breach of his obligations in 1441, and their efforts were now focused almost solely on thwarting the American led effort come what may.

          As before with the 16 previous toothless resolutions, the transparently deceptive foot-dragging and equivocating over 1441 by the French and co. makes an open question as to who was making more of a joke of international law: Saddam for his non compliance with Resolution 1441, or the UN for its refusal to enforce it.

          The irony of all of this is that 1441 gave Saddam a perfect opportunity to thwart the Bush administration’s efforts to remove him. As we now know, the inspectors would have traversed Iraq for months upside down and sideways without finding a single WMD, completely foiling any efforts to put him in breach. All he had to do was cooperate. Why didn’t he? It’s just a guess on my part, but along with the fact that the inspectors would have uncovered a lot of information (if not weapons) that Saddam would rather not have shared, I think Saddam viewed the inspectors in a manner not unlike that which Nasser viewed the presence of UNEF in the Sinai in 1967—as a foreign infringement upon his sovereignty and an insult to his prestige. And, like Nasser, he paid dearly for his hubris.

          And, of course, no Shingo post would be complete without the usual conspiracy mongering:

          –“the ISG was massively compromised by political pressure”

          –“The claims by the Duelfer Report that Saddam had “postponed” and “not abandoned” his WMD pursuits were based purely on speculation – it was nothing more than a fig leaf to appease Bush.”

          “What Bush knew or didn’t know is anyone’s guess, but there is no question that the reason the US invaded Iraq is because they knew they did not have any WMD.”

          –“the day of the 911 attacks, Rumsfeld pulled Richard Clarke aside and demanded he find any connection they could muster to link Saddam to the attacks – hence the lies about Attah’s meeting in Prague etc.”

          –“Robb and Silberman were FED the report from the WH, just like Sen. Pat Roberts was fed his Senate Intel Report that pointed only at the CIA and away from the Bush Administration “

          And,

          “The other huge lie Cheney told was the claim that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear weapons. Not only was it false that he was pursuing them at the time, but it was also false because Saddam never had WMD at any moment prior.”

          He said that he had reconstituted his nuclear program, not that he had weapons, which, as indicated below, was supported by the available evidence at the time.

          Said the NIE:

          “Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them. Most agencies assess that Baghdad started reconstituting its nuclear program about the time that UNSCOM inspectors depart – December 1998.”

          And,

          “Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them. Most agencies assess that Baghdad started reconstituting its nuclear program about the time that UNSCOM inspectors depart – December 1998.”

          “The inspectors were blocked from performing their duties not by Iraq, but by Washington.”

          The cooperation was fitful at best. Blix noted Iraq’s near total non-cooperation in his first report. On January 10, 2003 he said to the Security Council: “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance — not even today — of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.”

          Though he was at pains to emphasize every snippet of cooperation he did receive in his subsequent reports, and asked for more time, he simply could not conceal the fact that Iraq was, by and large, simply not cooperating with the inspections for the last several months.

          “All these men are pathological liars, so who cares? Rumsfeld was lying when he said of the WMD “we know where they are”, because clearly he didn’t. Not only was Cheney lying when he said it was “pretty much confirmed” that Attah met with Iraqi agents in Prague, but he then lied about never having made the claim in the first place. Both are on video.”

          Yes it is on video, where one can see that Cheney said that about Atta in December of 2001 in response to a question from Tim Russert. The question was: “the Czech interior minister said today that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with Mohammed Atta…just five months before the synchronized highjackings and mass killings were carried out.”

          Cheney also denied that there was, as yet, any evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11.

          A week after the interview an intelligence official told the NYT: “there was definitely one meeting.”

          Many analysts were skeptical of this, but George Tenet also believed at this time that there had been such a meeting. He, in fact, expressed this view to Cheney, and this formed the basis of Cheney’s belief in his interview with Russert.

          As doubts about the meeting later began to emerge, Cheney revised his view. In September 2002, when Tim Russert asked him if evidence of the meeting was “credible” Cheney said that it was “credible…but unconfirmed at this point.”

          The efforts of Chris Matthews, David Corn and others who have falsely accused Cheney of hawking the Atta/Prague meeting to push the Iraq war is shameful. The December 2001 interview was the only time he expressed any confidence that the meeting had taken place, and that was at a time when the Czech foreign minister, George Tenet and others believed the meeting had taken place.

          Edward Jay Epstein has his own take on the matter:

          link to edwardjayepstein.com

          As Epstein has written, no one has really proved the matter conclusively one way or another. But, in any event, the whole Atta/Prague meeting is nothing but a red herring, and played no role in the administration’s decision to go to war. Even if there was such a meeting (which I doubt), what would it prove? It would most certainly not prove any Iraqi complicity in 9/11.

          As to “there is no question that the reason the US invaded Iraq is because they knew they did not have any WMD.”

          And how did they know such a thing? What evidence is there of this “knowledge?”

          There is considerable evidence that he knew no such thing, and much basis for believing that Saddam did have WMD.

          Said the UNSCOM report to the Security Council in 1998:

          “4.10.4 Iraq claims that the BW programme was obliterated in 1991 as demonstrated by the unilateral destruction of the weapons deployed, bulk agent and some documents associated with the BW programme. Iraq, however, retained the facilities, growth media, equipment and groupings of core technical personnel at Al Hakam, and continued to deny the BW programme’s existence. In spite of Iraq’s continued denial of the preservation of its BW programme, the Government of Iraq has yet to offer documentation of its formal renunciation. The head of the Iraqi delegation took the position that he could offer no defence to justify the concealment and deception prior to 1995. These positions and acts raise serious doubts about Iraq’s assertion that the BW programme was truly obliterated in 1991.

          5.2 Iraq’s FFCD [UN mandated declaration] is judged to be incomplete and inadequate. The information presented by Iraq does not provide the basis for the formulation of a material balance or a determination of the structure and organisation of the BW programme. This is required for effective monitoring of Iraq’s dual capable facilities.

          5.3 The construction of a material balance, based primarily on recollection, provides no confidence that resources such as weapons, bulk agents, bulk media and seed stocks, have been eliminated.

          5.4 The organisational aspects of the BW programme are not clear and there is little confidence that the full scope of the BW programme is revealed. Additional aspects, such as the existence of dormant or additional BW programmes, remain unresolved.”

          Said Richard Butler, head of UNSCOM in 2002:

          “Saddam has sought nuclear weapons for some two decades. Ten years ago he intensified his efforts, instituting a “crash program.” The Gulf War put an end to this. Subsequent inspection and analysis by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and UNSCOM, showed that in spite of relatively deficient indigenous sources of the fissionable material needed to make a nuclear weapon, Saddam’s program was as close as six months from yielding a bomb.”

          link to cfr.org

          In October 2002, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) read:

          “We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.”

          And,

          “We assess that Baghdad has begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, GF (cyclosarin), and VX [chemical weapons agents]; its capability is more limited now than it was at the time of the Gulf war, although VX production and agent storage life probably have been improved.

          We judge that all key aspects — R&D, production, and weaponization — of Iraq’s offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf war.”

          link to globalsecurity.org

          Said George Tenet on the NIE:

          “The [October 2002 Iraq WMD] NIE demonstrates consistency in our judgments over many years and are based on a decade’s worth of work. Intelligence is an iterative process and as new evidence becomes available we constantly reevaluate.”

          Tenet also said:

          “We note yet again that uranium acquisition was not part of this judgment. Despite all the focus in the media, it was not one of the six elements upon which the judgment was based. Why not? Because Iraq already had significant quantities of uranium.

          Also it is noteworthy that although DOE (Department of Energy) assessed that the [aluminum] tubes probably were not part of Iraq’s nuclear program, DOE agreed that reconstitution was underway. Obviously, the tubes were not central to DOE’s view on reconstitution.

          link to dni.gov

          Also the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) said that Iraq “probably possesses bulk chemical stockpiles, primarily containing precursors, but that also could consist of some mustard agent or stabilized VX,” that it may be “distributing Chemical Weapons munitions,” and that “DIA stands solidly behind the Intelligence Community’s assessment that [as of 2002] Iraq had an on-going chemical weapons program that was in violation of United Nations sanctions.”

          In fact the NIE judged that the best efforts of their intelligence were probably underestimating Iraq’s WMD arsenal, as they had in the past:

          “We judge that we are seeing only a portion of Iraq’s WMD efforts, owing to Baghdad’s vigorous denial and deception efforts. Revelations after the Gulf war starkly demonstrate the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information. We lack specific information on many key aspects of Iraq’s WMD programs.”

          In March 2002, said August Hanning, chief of German intelligence:

          “It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years.”

          Said the French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin on February 3, 2003:

          “Right now, our attention has to be focused as a priority on the biological and chemical domains. It is there that our presumptions about Iraq are the most significant: regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of its capacity to produce VX and yperite; in the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin, and a possibility of a production capability.”

          And in response to this looming danger, De Villepin was also careful to inform the Iraqis that they “must cooperate actively. The country must comply immediately with the demands of Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei, in particular by:

          – permitting meetings with Iraqi scientists without witnesses;

          - agreeing to the use of U2 observer flights;

          - adopting legislation to prohibit the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction;

          - handing over to the inspectors immediately all relevant documents on unresolved disarmament questions, in particular in the biological and chemical domains; those handed over on January 20 do not constitute a step in the right direction. The 3000 pages of documents discovered at the home of a researcher show that Baghdad must do more. Absent documents, Iraq must be able to present credible testimony.”

          (I love that third recommendation: “adopting legislation to prohibit the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction”—as if any such law passed by Saddam’s rubber-stamp parliament would be anything but worthless)

          De Villepin, now playing to the galleries of the anti-war, pro-Saddam audience at the UN—and turning 1441 on its head—was also clear on his prescribed cure for Saddam’s continued non-cooperation—more inspectors, apparently so that he could enlarge the crowd of them already camped outside buildings and scientists’ houses, waiting vainly for admittance, cooperation, and access to documents:

          “Consistent with the logic of this resolution, we must therefore move on to a new stage and further strengthen the inspections. With the choice between military intervention and an inspections regime that is inadequate for lack of cooperation on Iraq’s part, we must choose to strengthen decisively the means of inspection.

          To do this, we must define with Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei the requisite tools for increasing their operational capabilities:

          Let us double or triple the number of inspectors and open up more regional offices. Let us go further: Why not establish a specialized body to keep under surveillance the sites and areas already inspected?”

          By gad, why not indeed?!

          It does not seem to have occurred to De Villepin that his four-point plan for enlarging the inspection regime to compensate for Saddam’s non-cooperation would ultimately founder on Saddam’s non-cooperation. In any event, the conviction that Saddam was in material breach of 1441 and had WMD was shared not only by countries like France that opposed military action, but also shared all across the bipartisan spectrum in America:

          Said Sen. Bob Graham: “There is no doubt that… Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status.”

          Former Vice President Al Gore: “We know that [Saddam Hussein] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” Gore added this: “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”

          Sen. Ted Kennedy: “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”

          Sen. Hillary Clinton:

          “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members …. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”

          Commenting on the pre-war intelligence failures, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman report said in March 2005:

          “The Intelligence Community’s Iraq assessments were . . . riddled with errors. Contrary to what some defenders of the Intelligence Community have since asserted, these errors were not the result of a few harried months in 2002. Most of the fundamental errors were made and communicated to policymakers well before the now-infamous NIE of October 2002, and were not corrected in the months between the NIE and the start of the war.

          The NIE simply didn’t communicate how weak the underlying intelligence was. This was, moreover, a problem that was not limited to the NIE. Our review found that after the publication of the October 2002 NIE but before Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 2003 address to the United Nations, intelligence officials within the CIA failed to convey to policymakers new information casting serious doubt on the reliability of a human intelligence source known as ‘Curveball.’ This occurred despite the pivotal role Curveball’s information played in the Intelligence Community’s assessment of Iraq’s biological weapons programs, and in spite of Secretary Powell’s efforts to strip every dubious piece of information out of his proposed speech. In this instance, once again, the Intelligence Community failed to give policymakers a full understanding of the frailties of the intelligence on which they were relying.

          As problematic as the October 2002 NIE was, it was not the Community’s biggest analytic failure on Iraq. Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time — in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) and in its more widely distributed companion, the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB). These daily reports were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE.”

          Upon the release of Phase II report of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on pre-war intel in 2008, Fred Hiat of the Washington Post, demolishing Senator John Rockefeller IV’s assertion that “In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent,” then enumerated the conclusions in the report that Rockefeller himself signed off on:

          ”On Iraq’s nuclear weapons program? The president’s statements “were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates.”

          On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president’s statements “were substantiated by intelligence information.”

          On chemical weapons, then? “Substantiated by intelligence information.”

          On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? “Generally substantiated by intelligence information.”

          Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? “Generally substantiated by available intelligence.”

          Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? “Generally substantiated by intelligence information.”

          Said Hiat: “As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you’ve mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment.”

          This, then, was the evidence that informed the decisions of Bush, Cheney and others, and which they based their statements on. The consensus on the evidence indicating Saddam’s possession and continued pursuit of WMD was simply overwhelming. As I said before, if Bush did know that Saddam had no WMD, how could he have known this everyone thought he had them? And is it really plausible that he would lead the nation into war knowing that his claims on Saddam’s WMD would be thoroughly discredited when Saddam was removed? Who but a masochistic lunatic assiduously courting his own political demise would do such a thing? As I said, the failure to find WMD in Iraq was one of the worst embarrassments that any president or administration has ever endured. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell all declared that Saddam had WMD in the most absolute and unequivocal terms. Would they all really do so if they didn’t believe it to be true and knowingly lead the nation into war in the full knowledge that their claims would be discredited? Please. Anyone who would believe that will truly believe anything.

          This whole “Bush lied” thesis is truly for the looniest of the lunatic left.

          I have always believed that it was a terrible mistake for the Bush administration to focus its entire case for war on WMD. Even if Saddam had possessed the WMD we thought he had, was there any certainty that they would even be found in a country that size? Did it not occur to anyone what would happen when we invaded a country on that ostensible purpose and they were not found? In any case, WMD alone did not justify removal. It was not the weapons, but the technology and capabilities to produce them at any time, and the unstable, unpredictable megalomaniac sitting on the world’s second largest oil reserves who would sooner or later use them when he judged the moment propitious, that was a concern. And yet, even that was just one reason among many. And even if he were to die of natural causes, what then? We (and the Iraqi people) would have got the succession of his two sicker, even more psychotic sons—a duel dictatorship of Caligula and Fredo Corleone that would have promised even more instability, repression, and danger to the region.

          That is my view. As I said before, people can honestly and reasonably disagree on the matter, and Sean, below, makes as solid and convincing a case for an opposing view as I’ve ever read.

          For myself, I can only say this: I wish the world were not a dangerous place. But it is. And what is worse, we live in a world where so called “progressives” and “human rights” groups regularly and gleefully confer legitimacy and even victim status on terrorist entities and totalitarian regimes where racial persecution, religious intolerance, and suppression of free speech are rife, and where the citizen is a dispensable, disposable, and soulless fraction of the state.

          I believe in the primacy and beneficence of American power in this dangerous world, and would shudder to contemplate its absence. The UN ultimately fails in its stead because nations do not sacrifice their core interests for a collective foreign policy, do not sacrifice for others’ interests, and often misbehave in pursuing them. The best that can be got is that nations who share similar values and objectives can combine together for their common purposes: America and Britian to defend and spread law, freedom, and stability, the Russians and the Chinese to thwart them. American leadership is now more crucial than ever, and it cannot be said that we have presently got it.

          The US, in my view, cannot escape responsibility for the breathtaking incompetence of its post-war administration and lack of foresight, and their failure to protect the Iraqi people from both the chaos that ensued following the military operation, and the murderous depredations of Al-Zarqawi and his like. Nor should they. But there is a moral distinction between trying and failing to protect, and deliberately planning and executing acts of indiscriminate mass-murder in the tens of thousands, and the attempts, aided and abetted by Iran, Syria and Al-Qaeda, to openly and unabashedly foment wholesale sectarian civil war and an even greater orgy of mass slaughter.

          Said Bin-Laden in 2005: “Anyone who participates in these elections…has committed apostasy against Allah…their blood is permitted. They are apostates whose deaths should not be prayed over.”

          Said Al-Zarqawi of the Sh’ia: “They are the lurking snakes and the crafty scorpions, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom, the most evil of mankind.”

          The worst follies of the Americans and the coalition simply have nothing to compare with the nakedness of this nihilistic and unearthly evil.

          Saddam was removed 12 years too late, but better late than never. The whole idea of allowing his regime to survive the first Gulf War was an unpardonable act of folly that brought unconscionable and unnecessary suffering to the people of Iraq, and would have continued to even if there was no invasion in 2003. After having invaded two countries in 10 years, we should have decided there and then that the existence of this regime was a catalyst for instability in an unstable and strategically vital region that could simply not be tolerated. At the very least we should have weakened him in 1991 to the extent that he could be overthrown, aided the resistance of the Sh’ia and the Kurds, and to have done everything possible to facilitate his overthrow. Instead, we granted Saddam a shameful cease-fire when we had him cornered, and betrayed the Sh’ia and the Kurds to his mass-murder. 20 years has not been nearly long enough to wipe away the shame and cowardice of that betrayal.

          Saddam himself was reportedly amazed that the coalition gave him a ceasefire after ejecting him from Kuwait and eviscerating his forces in Southern Iraq, and hence allowed him to survive and re-assert his power. He must surely have known all too well what he would have done were he in their place.

          His survival showed strength and cunning, and our decision to allow it was weakness. He must have smelled that weakness from the first ceasefire in 1991. Dictators-terrorists like Saddam, Arafat, and Assad senior could always smell weakness a continent away, and once they get the scent, they know what to do with it. Once he gauged that weakness, and realized that we would not remove him, it was all over. The future would consist of futile attempts by the UN, UNSCOM, and others to court his compliance on this and that, all to no avail. Inspections, Oil for Food, fawning diplomats and gullible “human rights” groups coming to Baghdad to kiss his ring, he played them all like a virtuoso fiddler to considerable global applause, support, and profit, and to the eternal shame of the civilized world.

          Yet, when all is said and done, who can blame him for getting away with so much when we, in fact, were the ones who let him? When did anyone teach him different? Again, is it any wonder that Bin Laden could view our risible appeasement of this ungovernable psychotic with all our wealth and power, and conclude that we were the “weak horse?”

          No, it is not.

    • LeaNder says:

      France, Germany, Russia, and China never argued that Saddam did not have WMD; indeed, the German intelligence stated their belief that Saddam was within 1-3 years of obtaining a nuclear device–more than several years ahead of the CIA’s estimate. France and the others merely argued, for their own self-interested reasons, that war was the wrong way to disarm Saddam, not that he had no WMD.

      Robert, could I have more details on the above?

      • LeaNder,

        In March 2002, said August Hanning, chief of German intelligence:

        “It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years.”

        link to newyorker.com

        Said the French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin on February 3, 2003:

        “Right now, our attention has to be focused as a priority on the biological and chemical domains. It is there that our presumptions about Iraq are the most significant: regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of its capacity to produce VX and yperite; in the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin, and a possibility of a production capability.”

        link to un.int

        • LeaNder says:

          Well, Robert, so our dear Jeffrey Goldberg travelled all the way to Berlin to meet Hanning only to put down in writing Germany’s responsibility to Israel and his rather mainstream statement at the time, a narrative that has now shifted to Iran?

          I talked about this prospect last fall with August Hanning, the chief of the B.N.D., the German intelligence agency, in Berlin. We met in the new glass-and-steel Chancellery, overlooking the renovated Reichstag.

          The Germans have a special interest in Saddam’s intentions. German industry is well represented in the ranks of foreign companies that have aided Saddam’s nonconventional-weapons programs, and the German government has been publicly regretful. Hanning told me that his agency had taken the lead in exposing the companies that helped Iraq build a poison-gas factory at Samarra. The Germans also feel, for the most obvious reasons, a special responsibility to Israel’s security, and this, too, motivates their desire to expose Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. Hanning is tall, thin, and almost translucently white. He is sparing with words, but he does not equivocate. “It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years,” he said.

          US misused our intel to justify Iraq War, says German ex-spy chief

          Actually the German story hasn’t changed much for us over here. The BND passed on the their infos on curveball, which it felt obliged to, but added a strong warning that he couldn’t be trusted, nothing about that story has changed over the years.

        • LeaNder says:

          I am not a fan of Villepin either, but you again nitpick a speech by one of the servants of the powers that be.

          Remember: Niger uranium forgeries

          Now interestingly Niger’s uranium is owned mostly by Western companies: Niger: Mining in Niger

        • LeaNder says:

          Wiki link doesn’t work:Niger Uranium. European and French intelligence reports

          The front page of the June 28, 2004 Financial Times carried a report from their national security correspondent, Mark Huband, describing that between 1999 and 2001, three unnamed European intelligence services were aware that Niger was possibly engaged in illicit negotiations over the export of its uranium ore with North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and China.[7] “The same information was passed to the US” but American officials decided not to include it in their assessment, Huband added in a follow up report.[8]

          French intelligence informed the United States a year before President Bush’s State of the Union address that the allegation could not be supported with hard evidence.[9]

          The Sunday Times dated August 1, 2004 contains an interview with an Italian source describing his role in the forgeries. The source said he was sorry to have played a role in passing along false intelligence.[10]

  37. seanmcbride says:

    Robert,

    Help me understand, if you wish, where you are coming from on the Iraq War and Mideast politics in general.

    1. Nation or nations of citizenship?
    2. Current nation of residence?
    3. Religion of upbringing?
    4. Current religion?
    5. Ethnicity?
    6. Political orientation?
    7. Personal stakes on the side of any Mideast warring parties — familial, financial, ideological, etc?

    Me:

    1. Nation or nations of citizenship? United States
    2. Current nation of residence? United States
    3. Religion of upbringing? Roman Catholicism
    4. Current religion? None
    5. Ethnicity? Anglo-Irish
    6. Political orientation? progressive libertarian
    7. Personal stakes on the side of any Mideast warring parties — familial, financial, ideological, etc? None

    Actually, before starting a conversation about Mideast politics with anyone, it’s usually good to sort out those few basic facts for everyone in the conversation.

    Sean McBride link to friendfeed.com

    • Sean,

      1. Nation or nations of citizenship?
      USA

      2. Current nation of residence?
      USA (Indiana)

      3. Religion of upbringing?
      Muslim (Sh’ia)

      4. Current religion?
      Muslim (Sh’ia)

      5. Ethnicity? 1/2 Gerrman (from Posen, West Prussia, now Poland) and 1/2 Lebanese (from Bint J’bail and Machgara)

      6. Political orientation? On domestic issues, moderate Edmund Burke conservative. On foreign policy, neocon hawk.

      7. Personal stakes on the side of any Mideast warring parties — familial, financial, ideological, etc? None really. The issue has been prominent in my family ever since I can remember. I just want to see the whole conflict somehow resolved. I do not believe in a one-state solution, but a two state one that would envisage a Palestinian state involving the uprooting of the settlements in the WB consistent with the Clinton parameters of 2000, a capitol in East Jerusalem, and all of Gaza and the dismantlement of the Hamas terrorist group.

      You should know, btw, that my ethnic and religious identity are disputed here on the premise that Lebanese Arabs who are Shiite Muslims cannot credibly defend Israel, or something like that. (I guess it’s something in their blood.) Opinion seems divided on my actual identity, since the one I have given here is so implausible. Some are of the opinion that I’m just a phony. (I’m regularly referred to as a “fake Arab” and Fake Muslim”). Some think I’m a Zionist agent planted here to do propaganda. And at least one commenter, Cliff, actually thinks I’m not even Robert Werdine at all, but someone named Michael Lefavour. I’m not sure which menu option you’ll choose, maybe all three, but you asked, and I answered.

      Btw, I also defend anyone’s right to call me whatever they want. That’s what free speech is all about. Unlike some people on this blog, I would sooner gag than see a single hostile comment directed at me banned.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Robert,

        Thanks for taking the trouble to answer those questions so directly and in detail.

        The previous post of yours was the first one by you that I’ve read, and my first reaction was that you might be coming from a combination of an Arab, Shia and Western background — which is neither a good thing nor a bad thing intrinsically, anymore than me coming from an Anglo-Irish Catholic background is intrinsically good or bad. But it is helpful to take these cultural factors into account when parsing political debates and arguments. (Your voice and agenda reminded me of other Westernized or hybrid European or American/Arab Shias I have encountered in the past.)

        Regarding the Iraq War, my very brief point of view:

        1. The Iranian government and Shia Muslims were the main beneficiaries of the war, not Americans. Arguably the Israeli government was also a major beneficiary, at least in the short term and depending on how things develop from here.

        2. The Iraq War is on track to cost Americans several trillion dollars, money that could have been spent of much more productive pursuits from the American standpoint, or not spent at all by the federal government.

        3. The Iraq War inflicted enormous damage on Iraqi civilians, Iraqi infrastructure and Iraqi quality of life. It troubles me that Americans bear responsibility for that carnage and destruction.

        4. The costs of the Iraq War (especially in combination with the costs of the Afghan and Afpak Wars) have helped contribute to the current financial crisis in America — a situation that could become considerably worse.

        So: I strongly opposed the Iraq War before it began, on the grounds that foreign invasions and occupations are usually losing propositions, and feel vindicated by its disastrous outcome from the American viewpoint. Saddam was a bad guy, but didn’t represent a sufficient threat to America to justify the expenditure of several trillion dollars to depose him. The policy has struck me as being utterly insane from a cost/benefit analysis.

        Americans should avoid getting involved in any more foreign ethnic and religious feuds in the Mideast or elsewhere and start concentrating on nation-building at home. If you personally feel an urge to fight for Shia causes in the Mideast, be my guest.

      • Cliff says:

        You are not Arab and you are not Muslim. It’s truly disgusting that you continue to pose as such as well.

        The reason why I know you aren’t Arab + Muslim is the sheer volume of your Zionist verbiage. The sources you cite. For instance, you cited a report on the 2006 Lebanon War, written by an ex-IDF official with an introduction by a former Mossad chief.

        That introduction alone is enough reason to doubt the credibility of the report. The report was not meant to be impartial or truth-seeking. It was specifically designed to refute the various mainstream NGOs’ reports.

        As AI put it, there wasn’t timestamps on the majority of the visual evidence and the ones that did have timestamps were taken after the civilian population had already fled. The US Army War College report is much more credible and acknowledges this. As does the mainstream NGOs.

        No one is asking you to have you banned. Calling you out for being a sock-puppet, shameless liar is not slander either. It’s the truth. No one cares that you value freedom of speech here. If you haven’t noticed, Phil does not ban anyone unless they’ve crossed the line into crazyville with the profanity and slurs (mostly antisemitic slurs though, we’ve historically had more Islamophobes ‘tolerated’ – relatively).

        There is no Arab Muslim who cites the sources you cite. There is no Arab Muslim that is well-versed in said sources and there is no Arab Muslim that regurgitates textbook Zionist memes with such lack of self-awareness.

        You had previously said you went from Chomsky to Efraim Karsh. Efraim Karsh is a total fraud. That bit of information is yet another reason to conclude you are not who you say you are.

        It’s so pathetic. As is your Facebook page. Check out his wall.

        link to facebook.com

        It’s impossible to know who anyone is here 100%. That being said, I think it’s a reasonable conclusion that I’ve reached.

        Anyone who spends enough time engaged in this debate should have some idea of the zeitgeist.

        Jews Sans Frontiers is a great example. They ‘get it’ – which is why they were able to lay out the Zionist slipper-slope debating tactics. This insight is obtained after you get used to what the other side is like.

        At best you are like Walid Shoebat or Wafa Sultan. At the least, you are a pathetic liar desperate to bolster your windbaggery with some ethno-cred.

        • Ah Cliff, still howling at the moon I see.

          FYI, my nephew and my friend Matt set up that facebook page for me. I never use it, though I may in the future.

          Sean,

          Thank you for you reply. Whatever my disagreements, your opposition to the Iraq war impresses me as being principled and well informed, and, as a look at my most recent post above will show, I find your arguments hard to dispute and actually agree with many of them.

          That said, I would note one thing I did not address above–the issue of Iran. That Iran has benefited some by this is clear, but the extent is arguable. Iran today has two countries on either side of her that are now closely allied with America and contain American troops, and will contain some kind of American presence for many years to come. That certainly is not in Iran’s interest.

          Also, Iranian influence in Iraq is overrated. Most of their attempts to build grassroots political organizations in Iraq have flopped at the polls; nobody except those on the militant Sh’ia fringe will have anything to do with them. And nobody trusts them. Any real influence they leverage is largely negative and destructive. Most Iraqis know this.

          Most people also overlook the fact that disdain and distrust between the Arab Sh’ia of Iraq and those in Iran has been rife for centuries. Persians Sh’ia often look down on the Arab Sh’ia as backwater simpletons who wouldn’t know a mosque from a minaret; the Arabs view the Persians as too-clever by half crafty rug peddlers and double-dealers. This antagonism is often understated, and subtle, but it is there.

          (My uncle Fouad once told me that he did not trust Iranians. Why, I asked? Because, he said, shaking his head at my youthful naivete, “they walk into a revolving door behind you and come out ahead!”)

          The extent to which Saddam was checking Iranian influence was also questionable. Saddam and the Iranians may have loathed one another, but it was nothing compared to their mutual loathing for America, Israel and the West. They both swam in the same sewer, and, indeed, Syria, Iraq, and Iran all worked hand in glove together in support of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism.

          Iran by itself is a threat, and, though not anywhere near the threat Saddam posed, it is less a threat, and more able to be contained short of war, I think, than with Saddam in power.

          Again, thanks for the reply. And, best regards,

          Robert Werdine

        • seanmcbride says:

          Robert,

          Even if one were to accept all your analysis of Iraq/Iran relations (and I don’t), one is still left with this Mt. Everest of a fact: the total cost of the Iraq War will amount to several trillion dollars, and the expenses of that war, combined with those for the Afghan and Afpak Wars, have helped bring the United States to the brink of financial ruin.

          Iran is in a stronger strategic position now than it was before the Iraq War, and any military conflict between the United States and Iran would almost certainly collapse the world economy and the American economy.

          Nothing is more urgent for Americans than to start focusing on their own domestic problems and to disengage from foreign ethnic and religious feuds that will forever be unresolvable. We need to get out of the nation-building business entirely — we lack the resources to maintain our own nation.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Robert,

          By the way, two questions:

          1. How did you end up a “neocon hawk” (in your own words)?

          2. To what degree have your Sh’ia religious beliefs influenced your views on Mideast politics, and in what way?

          My intention here is not to judge but to try to understand.

          Thanks.

        • (My uncle Fouad once told me that he did not trust Iranians. Why, I asked? Because, he said, shaking his head at my youthful naivete, “they walk into a revolving door behind you and come out ahead!”)

          Haha.. And this is supposed to sound authentic?

          Look Robert..This is BS. Your “uncle” had little chances of meeting an Iranian. I grew up in Lebanon and lived in every corner of this little country (dad in the army). I never met an Iranian, neither did my father or mother or any one I knew. For your “uncle” to have met and have had life experiences with them is laughable. I simply believed you’re a hired gun paid to post BS on this site. I FIRMLY believe that.

        • “they walk into a revolving door behind you and come out ahead!”

          Well crafted..TOO well crafted I’d say!

        • “Again, thanks for the reply. And, best regards,

          Robert Werdine”

          As of following recommendations by hasbara masterminds to be “respectful” and “considerate” online while disseminating toxic material, something your average, regular, honest commenter wouldn’t bother as much (not as much!) to be..

        • A good point, thankgodimatheist. I do not recall ever seeing a revolving door while in Lebanon and I suspect that there would have to have been quite a few for such a saying to be commonplace.

        • Exactly Jeffrey. Although I do not exclude the possibility they do exist in some few hotels or palaces but certainly not mainstream enough to have created a reference in Lebanese pop culture. And to be accurate, I’ve never seen one in Lebanon myself! This Werdine fish is starting to seriously stink..

        • I love this colloquy.

          TGIA says that my anecdote is false because there are no Iranians in Lebanon.

          Jeffrey, musing skeptically, notes that he does “not recall ever seeing a revolving door while in Lebanon and I suspect that there would have to have been quite a few for such a saying to be commonplace.”

          To which TGIA responds, “Exactly Jeffrey,” but, gently qualifying: “Although I do not exclude the possibility they do exist in some few hotels or palaces but certainly not mainstream enough to have created a reference in Lebanese pop culture. And to be accurate, I’ve never seen one in Lebanon myself!” (Elementary, my dear Jeffrey!)

          Ergo, “This Werdine fish is starting to seriously stink.”

          And so the mystery of the Lebanese revolving door goes on unsolved…

          It is eloquent testimony to the hostility, paranoia, and intolerance that pervades this blog that a simple anecdote related by me would be the subject of this laughable forensic query in search of clues to my supposed ethnic and religious masquerade here.

          FYI, my uncle, who is now dead, was born in the United States, and to the best of my knowledge, never visited Lebanon, and didn’t even speak Arabic. His remark to me, which was not literal, but of course metaphorical (duh!), occurred during a discussion we were having about the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1980’s. The kind of cultural prejudice he expressed here is passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation in all cultures. You know, kind of like the things Arabs say about Jews, or Germans say about Poles and other Slavs?

          And why the hell is any of this your business? I come here to blog and debate, not in search of having my ethnic and religious identity authenticated and notarized by the likes of you two idiots.

          I FIRMLY believe that.

          ***

          Sean,

          In answer to your first question, I should probably point out that I come from a very history-minded family. My father, and his father were insatiable history buffs (my father even taught history before going into business), and this passion obviously influenced my own interest. Over the last 35 years, my father and I have traversed just about every battlefield we could travel to: Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Shiloh, the Shenandoah Valley, Bull Run, Antietam, Saratoga, Cowpens, Bunker Hill, Salamanca, Omaha Beach, Normandy, Agincourt, Waterloo, Verdun, the Somme, Blenheim, Austerlitz—you name it. It has been a lifelong passion for the both of us.

          Also, my father has always been politically conservative, and his father was even more so. This too was a factor. Along with this, probably the strongest influence for my general foreign policy views occurred when, in one of several trips to Europe with my family, we obtained visas to visit behind the Communist bloc in the summer of 1983. We visited East Germany, including Berlin, where we also went to East Berlin and saw the wall. Seeing that wall and contrast of the drab, hushed lifelessness of East Berlin compared to the vitality of the West was an eye-opener. It had to be seen to be believed: The wall, the checkpoints, the guard dogs, the barbed wire and minefields, the hunted look in the face of every pedestrian at the sight of a uniformed policeman asking for “papers”—no one can forget that after seeing it up close. However, I remember that the checkpoint guards and the policemen were all very courteous to us when they found out that we were Americans.

          Being only 13 at the time, I hadn’t really thought much about Communism before I went there, except that it was bad. After that, I knew how bad. I loved Reagan’s “evil empire speech,” and had was incredulous at those who asserted that we were “no better” than the Soviets, that Communism wasn’t all that bad, or that it was America, and not the Soviets, who were responsible for the Cold War. Having witnessed the real thing, I thought these people were either misinformed, lying, or on drugs.

          Another, last factor that I can think of was reading Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the French Revolution” which I read in a “great books” seminar I took in my senior year in high school. Another influential book: “Witness” by Whittaker Chambers.

          Recognition of human rights as we know them today, have not always existed. It really began when European philosophers of the late 17th and early 18th century began to argue that the individual had rights; the right to be consulted by his government; the right to hold the state accountable, to invoke the law against the state, and to petition courts of law to affirm and enforce this custom. That, in short, an individual was a being apart from the state, that the association with the state be voluntary, and that no individual must ever lose more than they gain by that association.

          That, more than anything else, animates and informs my worldview, and no nation has been more vigilant than the USA in promoting and protecting these rights, values, and customs. In the absence of our leadership and influence, who will step up to do so? Russia? China? Iran? I think not.

          You have said:

          “Nothing is more urgent for Americans than to start focusing on their own domestic problems and to disengage from foreign ethnic and religious feuds that will forever be unresolvable. We need to get out of the nation-building business entirely — we lack the resources to maintain our own nation.”

          I partly agree with you in spirit. President Obama would agree completely, so would the DNC. I would love nothing better than for America to busy itself by tending its own garden. I hope we can disengage from Afghanistan as soon as we can but not before we have stood up an Afghan army that can defend itself. Withdrawing prematurely would be catastrophic for Afghanistan and us. In any case I hope it comes soon.

          On Iran, I am not in favor of war, and, like you, think it would be a catastrophe, and I am hopeful that it can be avoided. But the behavior of the Islamic Republic is making that more and more unlikely.

          In Iran we have a militant, inwardly decaying, totalitarian theocracy whose main export, other than petroleum and a few other delectables, is terror and support for terror. The Mullahs, luckily, lack Saddam’s unstable and dysfunctional gangsterism. They are less provocative, operate more in the shadows, and usually leave it to others to wield the knife or the bomb. Saddam was reckless and brazen; the Mullahs are more like hotel burglars: if they find a room uninhabited, they’ll pick it clean, if not, they’ll withdraw. Yet like all totalitarian regimes past, they tolerate no opinion but their own, feed on hatred, and must keep seeking new targets, new victims, new scapegoats, and new objects of hatred to divert from the misery and failure of their tyranny. The regime is thus a tangle of both dangerous strengths and vulnerable weaknesses, and the Supreme Leader views America with a combination of fear, contempt, and hatred.

          You cannot avoid war with such a regime simply by signaling to the regime that you are eager to avoid war; it just doesn’t work. You avoid it by deterring it, by vigilant containment, and by making clear that there consequences for bad behavior. Iran, from 1979 onwards has been kidnapping and murdering hundreds of Americans with impunity. And they have drawn the correct and proper lesson from the violence they have wreaked on us: that we will scold and protest, but no more. This will not mellow either their nuclear ambitions or their future behavior.

          The truth of the matter is that the Mullahs’ hostility toward us is beyond cure or remedy. Every Administration since Carter has sought to diplomatically engage this regime to no avail. President George W. Bush both directly and through third parties, made extensive efforts to engage the regime, again to no success.

          President Obama’s courtship of the Mullahs has followed a similar trajectory. The problems with Iran, he was sure, stemmed from America’s hawkish and aggressive posturing, from which Iran’s rulers, seeking only comity and peaceful co-existence, had naturally and understandably recoiled. All that was needed here was an open hand offering friendship and a soft word, and the mullahs, being rational, reasonable folks just like us, would overcome their distrust and hostility, see the errors of their ways, and get with the program. Engagement was the key.

          Obama’s Iran engagement has gone to pot, and in return for the open hand of friendship he extended to the Mullahs he got a clenched fist and a thumb in his eye. The Mullahs spat contempt on his friendly gestures, brutally suppressed a pro-democracy protest to a rigged election, and continued ahead unabashedly with their nuclear program.

          The President ignored the mullahs’ rebuffs, snored through the brutal crackdown of the pro-democracy Green Movement, and continued dreaming his no-more-nuclear-weapons dreams all the way to his fall-2009 UN speech even after an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility had been discovered at Qom, which he deemed too impolitic to mention, lest it derail his “engagement” fantasies with the mullahs.

          This then has been the Obama policy. In light of this policy, whether war is actually on the horizon with Iran is doubtful; Obama’s reaction to Iranian terror and provocation has been almost wholly rhetorical, and is unlikely to change. The Mullahs have taken his measure and know they have nothing to fear from him. That, however, is the real danger.

          ***

          In answer to your second question: not very much. It’s not unreasonable for you to ask the question, but no, not in any way really.

          I was born and raised a Sh’ia Muslim. My mother’s maiden name is Eidy. Her mother’s maiden name is Mohammed. I have been talking to my cousin Phillip lately, who is the most knowledgeable about our family history and he has told me that my mother’s paternal grandfather hailed from Machgara, a small town in West Bekaa just due east Jezzine, before going to Bint J’Bail and from there to Jdaide, and to America at around the turn of the century. My mother’s maternal grandfather came from Bint J’Bail, though he was originally from Damascus, something I only learned recently. He too came to America about 1910-1914, and he (Sharif Mohammed) was one of the founders of our local mosque in Michigan City, one of the first built in the state of Indiana sometime around 1923 or so.

          I don’t know if there are any Eidys still left in Machgara, but there certainly were when my mother’s younger brother went there in the early 1970’s. My cousin tells me there are still a lot of his family, the Dabagias (Dabajas), living there in Bint J’Bail.

          I was not raised a strictly devout Muslim, and have never been. I believe in the Islam that I was taught by my mother and grandfather. Everyone can only take religion in their own way. That is all any of us can do. I believe in the basic precepts, but religion to me is a matter of heart, and not a strict observance of ritual. It is about prayer, meditation, tolerance, and moral governance, not chauvinism or fanatical fundamentalism. That is the Islam I know and love. I simply cannot conceive of living in some ethnic or religious straitjacket. I know of nothing in my Lebanese heritage or the religion I practice that would plausibly preclude me from holding the views that I hold on politics or world affairs, or that would compel me to subscribe to some of the Orwellian inversions of reality, and blatant distortions of history, concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other matters that are sometimes posited on this blog. I could only support such views by betraying everything I think right and by lying.

          I suppose I am at heart a moderate and an Islamic reformer: someone who fears that Islam (as well as the image of Islam) is being highjacked by terrorists and extremists who have done more to darken and stain this religion than any hostile infidel could ever do. They must not win.

          My beliefs are the result of my knowledge, experiences, and perception of reality; they are not the outgrowth of my ethnic or religious heritage. My belief that Saddam should be removed was based on my perception that he was a threat and needed to be removed for the reasons I gave; it was not in the service of some pro-Sh’ia agenda. I simply do not think in those terms and never have. I am happy that he is gone and that all Iraqis are free from his tyranny.

          I remember during the Lebanon war during the 1980’s there was a lot of tension in our Arab community, especially after Sabra and Shatilla. My views on the ME during that time were unsophisticated and ill informed (like any 13-year-old), and not different from most others in our community, which was unfavorable to Israel. My main interest then was in military history and the Cold War, and my only real interest in the ME issue was in the military history of the Arab-Israeli wars, not of the politics, for which my knowledge was limited. I didn’t really begin to study the issue seriously until my twenties.

          I am proud of both my Lebanese and my German heritage, but I am first and foremost an American. My parents and grandparents were all born in America. Certainly there is nothing in my German heritage that would or should prevent me from admitting that Germany was responsible for both world wars.

          There’s a crude, unsubtle racism in the “fake Arab/Muslim” accusations that regularly get spat at me here: the notion that all Lebanese Muslims must think and feel a certain way, or be denounced as frauds and apostates. If I were here sliming Israel and praising Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists to the skies, do you really think they’d be showering me with this slander and abuse?

          When I first started posting here back in April, David Samel, a commenter and contributor here, asked me several questions similar to the ones you asked, to which I attempted to give a serious, substantive reply. The violence of his response shocked me. Up until then we seemed to be having merely a civil disagreement; I expected at worst just some reasons he might disagree with this or that, but then he went completely nuts, calling me a liar and an apologist for murder, among other things. I was just completely baffled. I actually had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. I just happened to mention that I was a Muslim of Lebanese descent in passing and the whole thread below me lit up like a Christmas tree into a nearly 40-reply bloodletting that was extraordinary in its vehemence. I was, I admit, unused to having my ethnicity and religion impugned in this manner.

          As you can see above, it still continues. My latest exchange with David, who, unprovoked, continues to harass me with his customary slander and juvenile name-calling every now and then when the spirit moves him, is here near the bottom of the thread.

          link to mondoweiss.net

          I find all of this very unfortunate and very sad. I first came to this blog to engage in discussion and debate on ME issues, not to debate whether I am who I am. In spite of everything, I still do. If I have an “agenda,” that’s it.

          I hope I’ve answered your questions; I’ve certainly done my best to.

          Best regards,

          Robert Werdine

        • Robert,

          Me think thou protesteth over much, but you have certainly gone a long way to explain who and what you are and why. Your participation as a Shi’a has such a Western tinge to it that would not be recognized by any Shia’ who was born and raised in a community where Shi’a was the dominant resolution and those who followed it has suffered for doing so such as Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

          That would be expected since one’s life experiences tend to have an influence on one’s politics, or as Marx put it, one’s “relations to the means of production.”

          It is apparent that your being a Shi’a, as you say, has never led to negative consequences and apart from your experience as a 13 year old boy to East Berlin and trips to a number of the world’s battlefields, very little of what you know comes from direct experience. I was several decades older when I went to East Berlin and while I did not support the police state in power there I saw little of the paranoia that you recalled from your trip.

          If anyone was paranoid there it was me, particularly when as soon as I entered, not through Checkpoint Charlie, but the way non-Americans did it, I was approached by someone who offered me a deal to buy East German money at a black market price which I wisely refused. But after that, accompanied by another American I had encountered at the border, I had lunch at an excellent restaurant in which couple from several generations were dining tête-à-tête and afterwards we visited a sausage shop that was stocked with an amazing variety of wursts as well as customers and then went to a large well stocked department store, filled with customers, where I started taking photographs, an activity that will quickly get you the attention of the store’s house dick in the US, but was not a problem there until I arrived at the third and top floor and a saleswoman kindly asked me to stop.

          My experience there was so positive compared to what I had expected that I went back there the next day to see if would be repeated, and it was, including a visit to a wonderful exhibit of toy trains that was packed with families and children moving comfortably together. When I described what I had seen to by West German friends, all of whom were of the Left and not particularly sympathetic to the East German state, they all had different explanations for what I had seen, e.g., all the customers in the stores were Poles who came to shop there because they had less in Poland, although the one that was most interesting was that the East Germans were more socialized and less individualized than the West and when groups of East German youngsters had come over to the West on a field trips–yes, it did happen–this was the social phenomenon that made the greatest impression on them.

          I have gone into this detail because as I read what you write, it all comes not from any deep thinking or experience on your part but that you have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the US global mindset which renders anything else about you, such as your Lebanese heritage and affiliation with Shi’a Islam, or the religion itself largely irrelevant.

          Moreover, your understanding of US history is what one might expect from a viewer of Fox News. This is patently evident when you write glowingly about “the right [of the individual] to be consulted by his government; the right to hold the state accountable, to invoke the law against the state, and to petition courts of law to affirm and enforce this custom. That, in short, an individual was a being apart from the state, that the association with the state be voluntary, and that no individual must ever lose more than they gain by that association.

          “That, more than anything else,” you continue, “animates and informs my worldview, and no nation has been more vigilant than the USA in promoting and protecting these rights, values, and customs.”

          As both a student and teacher of American history, (admittedly described “the teacher from hell” by David Horowitz because I used to ask students who stood for the pledge of allegiance to tell me any moment in our history when we ever enjoyed “liberty and justice for all,” and any proof that this had been the goal of our “founding fathers.”), I can safely say, you don’t know what you are talking about.

          No country in modern history maintained slavery as long as did the US. None carried out a genocide as thorough as was done to those who indigenous to our soil (and without apology to this day). Beginning with Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the abolishing of habeus corpus by Lincoln during the Civil war, the Palmer Raids and deportations in the second decade of the last century, the witch hunts and blacklisting of anyone suspected of communist beliefs, let alone membership following WW2, the incarceration of more than 2 million of our fellow Americans today, many, if not most, victims of shoddy legal defense, and one of the few remaining countries to still maintain the death penalty, the notion that the US is a prime example of anything but hypocrisy and unlimited opportunism is simply a bad joke.

          As for Iran, your statement that:
          “Iran, from 1979 onwards has been kidnapping and murdering hundreds of Americans with impunity. And they have drawn the correct and proper lesson from the violence they have wreaked on us: that we will scold and protest, but no more. This will not mellow either their nuclear ambitions or their future behavior.”

          First of all, you seem to be forgetting about our overthrown of Mossadeq in 1953 as if history began with the ousting of the shah. I am not sure what “hundreds of Americans” being murdered with impunity you are referring to and that again is nothing but neocon, Fox jargon. No facts nor figures, just bullshit. Repeat bullshit!
          If you want facts as to who has killed whom, on July 20, 1988, the USS Vicennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane over Iranian waters killing 290 Iranians after which the killer captain received a promotion. What right had the US warship to have been there in the first place or the other 130 countries where the US has over 750 bases?
          We don’t even have to get into Israel here, Wierdine. You are in the end a rather pathetic creature regardless of whose interests you serve or believe you are serving.

        • Citizen says:

          Werdine: You ignore it was the CIA that overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran & installed the Shah & that this history is directly connected to the holding of a handful of US hostages by Iran back in the day. If you were Iranian, you wouldn’t forget or ignore this fact of history. Your furnish no proof or source concerning your allegations of Iranian support of terror. Anyone can look at a map & see Iran is surrounded by hostile US military bases. Anyone can easily discover that Israel constantly threatens Iran’s existence, and that Israel has lots of nukes while Iran has none. They can also easily discover that Iran offered to allow full US access to its nuclear energy stockpile so long as the US offered to not obstruct Iran’s quest for nuclear energy for domestic civilian utility usage. And, Mr Werdine, you ignored that the US supported Saddam’s predatory war on Iran for 8 years and basically killed thousands of Iranian kids with US economic sanctions–”It was worth it” as per M Albright. You also ignore the fact Iran has not instigated a war, preemptive, or preventative, or otherwise, in centuries (unlike Israel, a repeat offender).

          You also ignore that it use to be standard US foreign policy to follow “balance of power” global strategy, but US does the exact contrary with its total support of Israel right or wrong. A real balance of power would dictate that Iran should be viewed as a balancing state in the ME & we should support it.

          If the Mullahs are constantly and publicly antagonistic towards Israel/US, what would you call US/Israel’s constant threats against Iran that “all options are on the table?” What would you call US economic sanctions against Iran, the most severe in the world? Why is it evil per se to say “the Zionist regime will vanish from the pages of history,” much like the USSR did?

          If you hated the Berlin wall, why do you not hate the Israeli wall? You really didn’t say. I lived in W Germany when that wall went up. I was in Berlin when it went up. No Germans benefited from that; no Palestinians benefit from the Israeli wall.

        • Citizen,

          I’m sorry I was remiss in replying to your post above, but the cable and the internet in our community was on the fritz from the 18th till the 22nd. Here is the response I wrote to the following statement:

          Said you “Werdine: You ignore it was the CIA that overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran & installed the Shah & that this history is directly connected to the holding of a handful of US hostages by Iran back in the day. If you were Iranian, you wouldn’t forget or ignore this fact of history.”

          I might if I knew the truth. The notion that America, by overthrowing Mossadeq in 1953, snatched democracy from Iran, is a fairy tale.

          However, I realize that the America-stole-democracy-from-Iran thesis is an article of faith on the left, and has even seeped into the mainstream somewhat. The Carter, Clinton, and Obama Administrations seem to have accepted it without question. Said Madeleine Albright:

          “The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons. … But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran’s political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.”

          And President Obama:

          “This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”

          In fact, Mossadeq’s Iran at the time was a cauldron of anarchy, chaos, and double-dealing, and was moving fast toward a pro-Soviet coup and/or dictatorship, not democracy.

          Mossadeq had by this time gone a long way toward alienating his former allies and supporters by his vote rigging, his Byzantine attempts to maneuver the Shah aside and gather the Shah’s power unto himself, and his extra-constitutional attempts to grab power away from the Majlis, the Iranian parliament.

          First Mossadeq had sought to empower the Majlis by weakening the Shah. He insisted the Shah reign as a figurehead, and not as executive ruler. He sought control of the army, and, in July 1952, he manufactured a dispute with the Shah over the appointment of the war minister. He then upped the ante, and now demanded the Shah appoint him as war minister, and, when this was refused, resigned to much fanfare and popular support.

          The National Front, a loose coalition of liberal-progressive parties, now threw its support behind Mossadeq, as he had expected, and the streets of Tehran were convulsed with street protests where some 69 people died and some 750 injured, though the Shah held back the police and the military from firing on the protestors. After five days of chaos, the Shah bowed to the pressure and re-appointed Mossadeq prime minister.

          Mossadeq now resumed his grab for power. He appointed himself war minister, confiscated the Shah’s lands, expelled the Shah’s sister from the country, and forbade the Shah to have any contact with diplomats. Many of his liberal minded followers in the National Front, who supported him against the Shah, now began to have second thoughts, and, disillusioned, turned against him. The most prominent among them was the Ayatollah Kashani, of the Mujahedeen-i-Islam (Warriors of Islam) party, one of the parties included in the National Front. Kashani and many other opposition leaders were now actively blocking the PM’s legislation, and there was continued violence and chaos in the Majlis. (See Reza Ghods “Iran in the Twentieth Century: A Political History,” (1989), p.186 and Sepehr Zabih “The Mossadeq Era,” (1982), pp.40, 265)

          Mossadeq’s only way to hold on to power now was to dissolve the Majlis, and hold elections whose outcome he could control, but he was faced with an obstacle: under the Iranian constitution only the Shah could dissolve the Majlis. So Mossadeq engineered a detour: he would effect a mass resignation of the National Front, dissolve the Majlis, and then put his action to a national referendum on the novel theory that “popular will superseded the constitution.” As Iran scholar Evrand Abrahamian noted, “Mossadeq the constitutional lawyer who meticulously quoted the fundamental laws against the Shah, was now bypassing the same laws and resorting to the theory of the general will.” (See Evrand Abrahamian “Iran Between Two Revolutions,” (1982), p.279)

          The Shah by now had fled the capital. The vote in early August 1953, which, on the nod from Mossadeq, deliberately excluded the rural areas in an un-secret ballot, netted Mossadeq a 2,043,300 vote margin out of 2,044,600 votes cast—a brazenly fraudulent 99.93% “victory” that would have made even Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs blush with embarrassment.

          Though Mossadeq later attempted to justify his actions on the grounds that “royal interference” made it necessary, this was untrue. He had by this time almost completely sidelined the Shah into near irrelevance, and the Shah had in fact fled the capital by time the vote was taken. Mossadeq later admitted in an interview that he dissolved the 17th Majlis to avoid a confidence vote that would have collapsed his government.

          Mossadeq was really no different from most of the other third world leaders of the post war/post-colonial period. They all talked freedom, democracy, and human rights, and, when in power, practiced graft, vote-rigging, and mass oppression.

          As Kermit Roosevelt observed, by late August 1953, Mossadeq was “barely holding on to the broken sails of his sinking ship. Everything considered, whatever might be said of the morality or legality of the American action, it still should not be considered as having overthrown a stable regime in Iran.” (See Kermit Roosevelt Jr. “Countercoup: The struggle for the control of Iran,” (1979), p.210)

          Indeed. The transparently rigged referendum further alienated Mossadeq not only from the rest of the National Front, but from most parties all across the political spectrum in the Majlis as well. He who, in the name of the constitution and “democracy” had once championed the Majlis to check the power of the Shah, had now engineered an illegal and unconstitutional dissolution of the Majlis on the dubious premise that his action could be supported or rejected by a popular referendum, and had then proceeded to rig the referendum in his favor. Majlis member Jamal Imani denounced Mossadeq for “leading the country toward anarchy,” and the Ayatollah Kashani pronounced the referendum null and void, and contrary to Islamic law. Seeing his popular support within the National Front and the Majlis sink like a stone, Mossadeq now sidled up to the well-organized Communist Tudeh party, and began openly consorting with them, each using the other to their own purposes. The Tudeh now took to the streets with mass rioting and violence. On August 8, the Soviet Union, which had already provided Mossadeq with $20 million to keep his government afloat, now tied more strings and announced that they were engaged in negotiations with Iran for further economic aid. All the conditions favoring a Soviet coup were in place.

          This then was the situation in Iran that confronted American policy makers. It must have been frankly nightmarish. The Iran-Azerbaijan Crisis of 1946, where the Soviets not only refused to withdraw from the northern half of Iran that they had occupied during the war (the British occupied the south), but attempted to create two “People’s Democratic Republics” within Iran, alerted the Americans of Soviet designs on Iran. Having just watched the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, China, Mongolia and North Korea all fall to Communism, the idea of an oil-rich country in a strategically vital region falling within the Soviet orbit would have been a catastrophe for the West, and anyone who thinks that the Soviets, who were in the process of deepening their claws into Iran, and helping to exploit the present instability to empower the Tudeh, would have kept the erratic and non-Communist Mossadeq in power or installed some Jeffersonian Democrat in his place, is delusional. Bottom line: Iran was going to have dictatorship one way or another, and better it be one favorable to America and the West, than not.

          What would have happened without either Soviet or American involvement has long been a subject for furious speculation. Certainly it is unlikely that the Tudeh at the time could have seized power without the Soviet assistance, yet they were gaining in power and influence, especially in their infiltration of the army. Their new alliance of convenience with Mossadeq merely added to this. (The CIA speculated that they could probably not seize power alone before the end of 1953). But the fact of the matter is that the Soviets were very much involved, had long been coveting Iran’s oil and their strategic location to posit their influence, and had presently been exploiting the chaos and laying the groundwork for converting Iran into a client state, long before America became involved or even decided on a coup of their own.

          It should also not be forgotten that the coup could not have succeeded without the assistance of many internal Iranian factions, including the Sh’ia clerical establishment. Ayatollahs Kashani and Behbehani of the Mujahedeen-i-Islam (Warriors of Islam) party were instrumental in assisting the American-led coup, and it was unlikely to have succeeded without them. As Edward Shirley, a former CIA agent who toured revolutionary Iran has written, “What the Ayatollahs did in 1953 with British and America help, they might have been able to do later without such help.” Shirley also wrote that the America-stole-democracy thesis is, “too convenient in its diabolization of the CIA and M16, and too Persian in its determination to make someone else responsible for failure.” (Edward Shirley, “Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran,” 1999)

        • Citizen says:

          Werdine, the mere possibility that Mossadeq could have been overthrown without intervention by CIA due to the many de-stabilizing opposing Iranian factions within Iran at the time does not suggest Mossadeq likely would have been overthrown absent CIA-Brit intervention. Mossadeq controlled the Street. Anyone interested in getting a more objective analysis of the subject than Werdine provides above should go here:

          link to scribd.com

        • Werdine, since you are not known as an expert on Iran, you obviously lifted your lengthy post from some apologist for America’s actions abroad. The least you could have done is cite the source for such plagiarism since the likelihood that you researched this piece merely to post a comment on Mondoweiss defies belief.

          That past American presidents who you admit acknowledged that what the CIA had done 26 years earlier was something that might still rankle Iranians since it brought back the Shah apparently does not occur to you. It is now 31 years since the Iranians took hostages. Which do you think was the greater crime?

          While on the subject, I located an interesting quote on the subject in “Ropes of Sand: America’s Failure in the Middle East,” (Norton, 1980) by Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former CIA operative who served as an adviser to that region:

          “[Ghosn] Zogby [the CIA's station chief in Lebanon] explained that Howard “Rocky” Stone was already, at thirty-two, a legend in the CIA’s clandestine services as the man who’d helped Kim Roosevelt replace Iranian Premier Mossadeq in 1953…. Zogby confided that Roosevelt’s Iranian coup had been executed with a mere $10,000 and six or seven career CIA agents including Stone.” (p. 253)

  38. People! Robert Werdine is fake..an impostor. There are enough suspicious details in his ridiculously lengthy posts to give him away. He’s as Shi’a Lebanese as I’m a Hindu Guatemaltec.

  39. If Robert Werdine is a practicing Shi’a which I very much doubt he is unique in my experience which covers a number of trips to Lebanon over the past 41 years. I know and have Lebanese friends from every from every religious confession except Druse and the only ones I have heard write even remotely in the manner of Werdine with strikingly similar political content and choice of languageare Maronites who have emigrated to the US, and have supported Israel’s wars on Lebanon; and who consider themselves to be Phoenicians and not Arabs and who were ready to sell their birthright to Israel back in the early 80s and for that matter, like Werdine, still are.

    There is no question in my mind that he is acting as a Zionist hasbara operative, whether officially or free lance, being irrelevant. Otherwise, why is he posting here? What are his motives? We know that Israel has it agents engaged in cyber warfare because it has been talked about in the Israeli press. What more critical blog could they find to put out their “message” than Mondoweiss?

  40. seanmcbride says:

    Are you familiar with Ahmed Chalabi’s and Kanan Makiya’s role in promoting the Iraq War? They are both Westernized Shi’as.

    • Yes, Sean, but the history of Iraqi and Lebanese Shi’a are quite different and I am not aware that any Shi’a from the latter have achieved the same kind of status in the West as did Chalabi and Makiya (of whose Shi’a background I was unaware.) There remains the important question as to what are Weirdine’s motives in posting on Mondoweiss.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Jeffrey,

        I encountered Robert Werdine for the first time only very recently, and have read only a few of his posts, which have struck me as being peculiar and brimming over with internal discord in terms of persona and presentation. That is why I immediately became curious about his cultural and ideological background.

        He may well be an Israeli hasbara op of some kind — there’s a lot of that going around. On the other hand, it is logical that Shi’as would be more obsessed with defending the Iraq War in 2011 than Israelis.

        I am not sure what is going on here and don’t want to leap to conclusions. I don’t like to make unfair accusations merely on the basis of suspicions.

        • Citizen says:

          Of course you do see the historical narrative totally left out of his long comment discussing the history of the region as it pertains to Iran, right? That’s cannot be unintentional.

          Werdine says, “I would love nothing better than for America to busy itself by tending its own garden.” So, Mr Werdine, are you voting for Ron Paul? If not, why not? As you know, Paul distinguishes between national self-defense and profitable (to the elite) imperial offense.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          He strikes me as some National Review-reading Ivy League WASP undergrad, who thinks he’s smart enough to fake a identity, probably out of some mistaken beliefs regarding identity politics. He pretends to be informed about history, but he is merely intelligent enough to regurgitate conservative talking points and mistakes jingo pride for history.

          Or he could be telling the truth. There were Jewish Nazis, apparently.

  41. jonah says:

    Poor poor buddies!

    I live in Italy, I’ve quite progressive political views (but no longer in foreign policy – sic!) and English is not my native language, but it seems that I – a person from a totally different background – understand (although not sharing all aspects) every single word, every single argument and every single little nuance written by Robert Werdine – an American of Lebanese and German origin – far better than all of you American English speaking people put together. Is that not indicative of the fact that the ideological blinders are the real barrier between humans, and the main obstacle to the free stream of the spirit? Your deafness and blindness are in fact the most striking thing here.
    Probably you will wonder, in the same way Jeffrey is racking his brains about Robert, why the hell someone like me posts sometimes on Mondoweiss (but more and more rarely, indeed). Because, like him, I simply love the truth – against all odds.