So the U.S. military doesn’t want to attack Iran and neither does Israel. Who does?

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Martin Dempsey, chairman of US Jt Chiefs

Two great reports re an attack on Iran leave the question, Who wants an attack on Iran?

First, Gareth Porter reports at IPS that the U.S. wants no part of it:

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Israeli leaders Jan. 20 that the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington, according to accounts from well-placed senior military officers.

Dempsey’s warning, conveyed to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, represents the strongest move yet by President Barack Obama to deter an Israeli attack and ensure that the United States is not caught up in a regional conflagration with Iran.

And The Independent reports that Israel wants no part of it:

Almost the entire senior hierarchy of Israel’s military and security establishment is worried about a premature attack on Iran and apprehensive about the possible repercussions, a former chief of the country’s defence forces told The Independent yesterday….

General Lipkin-Shahak stressed that Iran with a nuclear arsenal would be a hugely destabilising factor in the region. But, he said: “It is quite clear that much if not all of the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] leadership do not support military action at this point.”

Lipkin-Shahak is a dove in Israeli terms. Notice that this report directly contradicts Ethan Bronner’s frontpage story in the Times that Iran would take an attack lying down.

Where does this leave us? This means that there is a war party, both in Israel and the U.S., that is saber rattling (neocons using Bronner and Jeffrey Goldberg) to try and get the U.S. to attack Iran.

About Philip Weiss

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Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Neocons, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged

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  1. Newclench says:

    Exactly. There’s a huge difference between folks who feel good about risking a war with Iran and those that don’t. How big a difference? Ask the folks who might be killed in a war.
    It does no one any good to conflate Israelis and American Jews in general with the much smaller faction that is beating the drums for war. Yet it happens here quite a bit.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      …Except where does the drum beating actually come from? Would you like me to count how many Catholics I know drumbeat for war with Iran? How many in the local gay community?

      You can say that it isn’t the entire Israeli or American Jewish community that is hounding for war… but pretending like the significant influence doesn’t come from that direction is patently dishonest.

    • Yet it happens here quite a bit.

      really? i was just about to somewhat agree with you and then i saw that sentence. i also don’t know how accurate it is to say “Israelis and American Jews in general” because i don’t think ‘in general’ they are on the same page. i think ‘in general’ american jews are less in the war camp. haaretz reports israelis are evenly split over attacking Iran, so i’m not sure ‘in general’ can be cited as a 50/50 position.

      is there any survey on whether american jews want an attack on iran? if so i’d be interested in the results. also, from the haaretz link

      Israelis are almost evenly split on whether Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, with 41 percent supporting such a strike and 39 percent opposed, a new Haaretz-Dialog poll has found. The remaining 20 percent said they were undecided.

      The poll, which queried both Jewish and Arab respondents, also asked whether people trusted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak “on the Iranian issue.” Here the answer was more clear-cut, with 52 percent saying they did, compared to 37 percent who did not. Only 11 percent had no opinion.

      since the poll queried both Jewish and Palestinian israelis there’s a possibility here jewish israelis were even more pro attack iran than the ‘even split’ implies, unless one posits palestinian israelis are more pro attack, something i doubt.

      • American says:

        Here are two polls. Although unless you can see the actual phasing of the questions asked you can’t tell if the answers were built in. In the one of US Jews it was done by the AJC—probably on their own members..LOL

        link to

        Israelis are almost evenly split on whether Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, with 41 percent supporting such a strike and 39 percent opposed, a new Haaretz-Dialog poll has found. The remaining 20 percent said they were undecided.
        The poll, which queried both Jewish and Arab respondents, also asked whether people trusted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak “on the Iranian issue.” Here the answer was more clear-cut, with 52 percent saying they did, compared to 37 percent who did not. Only 11 percent had no opinion

        link to

        Poll: 56% of American Jews think U.S. should strike Iran

      • MRW says:

        I’m with you, annie.

        This is also accusatory in a way that derides fear of war that non-Jews like me are entitled to acknowledge and express, because I think there’s an undertone of that:

        It does no one any good to conflate Israelis and American Jews in general with the much smaller faction that is beating the drums for war. Yet it happens here quite a bit.

        I am firmly, firmly, in the American Jewish Weiss/Horowitz/Rosenberg/Blumenthal/Blankfort (MW contributors) camp when it comes to a possible war with Iran. Yet, as a non-Jew, I am not entitled to scream bloody murder–even though I do–about the heinous consideration Israel is giving to this war, and for all the usual suspect and shopworn reasons.

        Newclench, like it or not, the people who can ride in with the Don’t You Dare Do It In My Name are American Jews. Max Blumenthal’s recent appearance on the Real News Network (highlighted on Naked Capitalism), sounding the alarm for the antisemitism that this war could create–corrupting American policy in Israel’s interest–was 100% dead on.
        link to

        • Newclench says:

          MRW, since eee was able to excommunicate Jews from the tribe I wonder if I can use my ‘Jew-thoriteh’ to hereby grant permission to all and sundry to oppose the war with Iran.

          Ta da! and good luck.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          You could just oppose war with Iran without, you know, trolling. Give it a try once.

  2. Dan Crowther says:

    link to

    “Time to review the evidence. In roughly one month, no less than three US aircraft carriers and their strike groups will be sloshing around the American Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea; the USS Abraham Lincoln, USS Carl Vinson and USS Enterprise, plus good ol’ French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. And yet one more Pacific-based US aircraft carrier can be swiftly dispatched.

    Apart from this naval hajj of US aircraft carrier groups, the 40-year-old USS Ponce is being retrofitted into a special ops amphibious hub – to be dispatched to the American Gulf.

    The Pentagon’s CENTCOM is fast upgrading the 14,000-kilogram Orwellian bunker-buster monster known as Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP), theoretically capable of taking out Iran’s underground nuclear installations.

    A certain Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Project – one of those myriad revolving doors in Washington mixing politicians and military-complex types – wants to give Israel some 200 additional MOPs and three KC-135 aerial refueling tankers to “increase the credibility of a military strike” against Iran”
    – Pepe Escobar

    • Keith says:

      DANCROWTHER- What’s this? Relying on facts rather than rumors? Shame on you! If the rumor mill says that it is true, then it must be, the facts on the ground a deception. Spread the word! Empirical reality is a bummer, official gossip our salvation. Mondoyenta!

      • Dan Crowther says:


        Yesterday, after reading Phil’s “what did aipac do, and when” post, I went back and read Keith Weissman’s confession to Robert Dreyfuss that Phil wrote about a while ago
        link to

        And MW’s:
        link to

        One passage, totally overlooked by the “Jews did this, its the Lobby” crowd is this:

        In the mid-1990s, Weissman began to work on issues related to Iran. Before that, at AIPAC, Iran was “an afterthought,” he said. But as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Bill Clinton began to discuss ideas about isolating and reducing trade with Iran — at the time, according to Weissman, the United States was Iran’s biggest trading partner and Germany was second — AIPAC saw an opening to start working on Iran, and from that the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) emerged.
        And so, this is my most basic point about “The Lobby” – is it opportunist? Yes, of course. Does it have it’s own agenda, apart from “US Interests”? Of course. Does it DICTATE policy, of course not. They are only powerful when their goals align with the “grand strategy” goals of the state.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You wrote:

          “And so, this is my most basic point about “The Lobby” – is it opportunist? Yes, of course. Does it have it’s own agenda, apart from “US Interests”? Of course. Does it DICTATE policy, of course not. They are only powerful when their goals align with the “grand strategy” goals of the state.”

          How do you explain the fact that the Israel lobby has been able to bully and dominate Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George Mitchell, the oil lobby, the Pentagon, etc.?

          Benjamin Netanyahu enjoys much more power in American politics, and in the US Congress, than our sitting US president. Likud controls both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          So, it was the Lobby that made the US also destroy central and south america?(guatemala, el salvador, nicaragua, honduras, colombia, chile, argentina, bolivia etc) It was the Lobby that armed Indonesia as it committed genocide in East Timor? It was the Lobby that made the US destroy Indo-China, which lead to the crimes of Pol Pot and others? It was the Lobby that destroyed Haiti? Cuba? The Phillipines? The Lobby was responsible for the overthrow of the Shah? The Lobby was responsible for US backed dictators/tyrants/murderers in Romania, Hungary and elsewhere in eastern europe during the soviet era? The Lobby was responsible for supporting Apartheid South Africa as it helped to destroy Mozambique and Angola? I could go on and on…..

          We are either going to accept that we live (in the US) in one of the most dastardly, murderous and tyrannical empires the world has ever known, and take some responsibility for it ourselves, or we can talk about “the Jews” and their henchmen. I have very little interest in the latter. I refuse to place my mind in the position where I accept the supremacy of jews, and become reduced to begging and pleading with them to “change,” and that is exactly the mindset required. That’s why M-W talk about “righteous jews,” which follows the same “in order to critcize you must first laud” model. The fact of the matter is, M-W are very much FOR American Empire, their argument is that indeed there is a very powerful establishment in the US and Jews are part of it – this is totally fine with them, in fact, its almost considered a ” jewish achievement,” they aren’t looking to change anything about “the establishment” and it’s actors, they just have a problem with some of it’s advocacy, especially in regards to Israel. Me, I got a problem with the whole thing.

          It goes without saying that this argument is very popular among “righteous jews” as it confers onto them special powers to bring peace, and says nothing about the blantant moral inconsistencies of those who have climbed to the highest levels of power and influence while pretending to give a shit about others. In other words, you can be a “righteous jew” while being a arch capitalist, or part of the US consumer culture (which happens to rely on the slave labor of 12 year olds in China and elsewhere). You can be “righteous” while saying nothing of being a part of the greatest machine of economic exploitation in the history of mankind – in fact, you can be righteous while defending it. And defense of the empire is the central point of “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” – Our Government Is Good, But These Crazy Jews keep making problems. When it comes to the Palestinians being stateless and rights-less, sure, I totally buy it – but when it comes to regional and global policy? That dog just don’t hunt.

          Here’s my main man Noam:
          link to

          “What were “the Lobbies” that led to pursuing very similar policies throughout the world? Consider the year 1958, a very critical year in world affairs. In 1958, the Eisenhower administration identified the three leading challenges to the US as the ME, North Africa, and Indonesia — all oil producers, all Islamic. North Africa was taken care of by Algerian (formal) independence. Indonesia and the ME were taken care of by Suharto’s murderous slaughter (1965) and Israel’s destruction of Arab secular nationalism (Nasser, 1967). In the ME, that established the close US-Israeli alliance and confirmed the judgment of US intelligence in 1958 that a “logical corollary” of opposition to “radical nationalism” (meaning, secular independent nationalism) is “support for Israel” as the one reliable US base in the region (along with Turkey, which entered into close relations with Israel in the same year). Suharto’s coup aroused virtual euphoria, and he remained “our kind of guy” (as the Clinton administration called him) until he could no longer keep control in 1998, through a hideous record that compares well with Saddam Hussein — who was also “our kind of guy” until he disobeyed orders in 1990. What was the Indonesia Lobby? The Saddam Lobby? And the question generalizes around the world. Unless these questions are faced, the issue (1) cannot be seriously addressed.”

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You’re all over the map.

          No one is claiming that the Israel lobby is responsible for all the misdeeds committed by American foreign policy. Most of us aren’t talking about “the Jews” — why are you introducing the classical anti-Semitism smear into the discussion?

          Many people have noticed, however, that the Israel lobby has dominated American *Mideast* policy in recent decades and pushed it in directions against the will of other powerful interests in American society.

          You made no effort so answer my main point:

          How do you explain the fact that the Israel lobby has been able to bully and dominate Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George Mitchell, the oil lobby, the Pentagon, etc.?

          The best recent example: when Barack Obama and Joe Biden tried to challenge Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli settlements, they came under crushing attack from pro-Israel activists within their own party and backed down with their tails between their legs. Netanyahu has been able to easily push Obama around ever since that confrontation.

          What major lobbies in American politics other than the Israel lobby are agitating for an American war against Iran? Name them. And yet Americans are being deluged in pro-Iran War propaganda from the Israel-centric organizations I mentioned above.

          Noam Chomsky is useless on this subject: on every occasion on which I have seen him questioned about the role of the Israel lobby in American politics he has blanked out and started speaking gibberish. Really bizarre. He barely deigns to admit the existence of such an entity as the Israel lobby.

        • American says:

          If Chomsky is your main man Dan you’ve gone over the edge.
          Chomsky is one note Johnny–everything from the Ice Age to Apartheid SA is the US’s fault according to him.
          No one is ignorant of the US evilness in a lot of situations but those have absolutely nothing to do with the Israel lobby influence except it’s another sign of US political corruption.

          Do this test…tell me ONE THING the US ‘empire’ or any of it’s special interest, EXCEPT the US zios and their Israel, benefits from in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Im not all over the map – I reject the premise.

          You can only talk about “The Lobby” if you disregard – entirely- US actions throughout the rest of the world. And frankly, up until the Invasion of Iraq, the Middle East death toll that the US and Israel can be called responsible for is pretty freakin small, compared to Central and South America, Asia and Africa and elsewhere. But no one here gives a sht about that, we just want to talk about Israel and “The Lobby” as if US Policy toward the whole world is not uniform.

          It’s a mindless exercise. USA GOOD – LOBBY BAD. Of course you are talking about “the jews” brother man, without Jews there would be no Israel, no Lobby and according to the followers of “The Lobby is the problem” doctrine, no problems in the Middle East ( at least as it pertains to US interests) — All evidence to the contrary. If it weren’t Israel, it would be another country. Your the one talking about jewish lead conspiracies and policy coups, not me.

          If we begin to discuss US policy around the world, we notice almost immediately the similarities region to region- and the Lobby argument falls flat on its face. And that is why Phil practically NEVER posts about the GCC, Turkey and other regional pillars of the American system to say nothing of American Imperialism in other regions.

          Again, NO ONE IN THE US GOVERNMENT PLANNING APPARATUS GIVES A SHIT ABOUT “AMERICAN SOCIETY” – I can’t believe this still has to be explained. “US Interests” have nothing to do with Americans, US Interests are capital, access to resources and control over their extraction/distribution. Full Stop. Enough with the “lobby acts against American societies interests” nonsense. No shit. You know what else is against societies interests? Fossil Fuels, Fried Food and Beer, Nuclear armaments, the MIC and Justin Bieber.

          What you call “bullying” I call leaders having a built in excuse to prosecute the aims of the empire without catching too much flack. And if we are only going to consider “the bullying” and not the immense return the US has gotten on its investments, this whole exercise is rather uninteresting

          link to
          “Consider the following examples:

          Israeli military advisers helped to train the militaries and secret police agencies of such “friends of Israel” as the Shah of Iran, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, Emperor Bokassa in the Central African Republic, General Idi Amin in Uganda, and Ian Smith of Rhodesia.

          In 1978, Israel sold U.S. jets and attack helicopters to Indonesia as that country’s military carried out genocide against East Timor. To date, the Indonesian military has killed more than 200,000 Timorese. Israel’s arms trade with the Suharto dictatorship continues today.

          In the last year of the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, Israel provided 98 percent of the arms Somoza used to kill 50,000 Nicaraguans. In 1980, Israel supplied 83 percent of the arms to the genocidal military regime of Guatemala. 14

          In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Israel earned more than $1 billion a year selling weapons to the military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. “Thus while Jewish newspaper publisher [and human rights advocate] Jacobo Timerman was being tortured by the Argentine military in cells painted with swastikas, three Israeli generals, including the former armed forces chief of staff, were visiting Buenos Aires on a ‘friendly mission’ to sell arms.” 15

          In 1977, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan announced that Israel would not abide by the international arms embargo against the racist South African apartheid regime. Even an Israeli newspaper conceded, “It is a clear and open secret known to everybody that in [South African] army camps one can find Israeli officers in not insignificant numbers who are busy teaching white soldiers to fight Black terrorists with methods imported from Israel.” 16

          Israel anchored an international terrorist network which ran guns, drugs and other weapons between Panama’s Noriega, the contras in Nicaragua, Middle Eastern arms dealers, the Sultan of Brunei and the CIA. The Reagan administration made use of this network during the “arms for hostages” Contragate affair in the mid-1980s.”

          When your government provides these kinds of services to “The Master” and allows for these stories to NOT be front-page news in the NY Times, yes, the US will help you along with your colonial project. I have no idea why this is not understood.

          As for the “what other Lobbies are pushing for war in Iran” — that’s easy, the Capitalist Lobby. But the capitalist lobby IS the US Government, so we don’t even talk about that – we only talk about Lobby’s that are not directly tasked with maintaining the Global Capitalist Order and Dollar Supremacy. Or are you making the argument that “potential conflict” in the ME has been bad for Big Oil, Big Guns and Big Business, I hope not, one would be hard pressed to find a more fallacious argument, especially if you take into account that a small loss in the ME can lead to huge gains elsewhere (which it so often has)

          “The U.S. took the first step to underwriting the Israeli venture in 1949, when it extended a $100 million loan to Israel from the newly created Export-Import Bank. The U.S. justified its support for Israel as necessary to counteract “the Soviet threat” to the Middle East oil fields. But its true enemy was rising nationalism in the region.” (see above link)
          And here it is, as plain as can be – “rising nationalism in the region” Nationalism can lead to bad things like nationalization of resources, banks and education – it can also lead to people NOT wanting to live in a mainly export only economy ( which is a requirement in the American system) — and so, when Israel was willing to abide by the rules of the system, and pledged to thwart arab nationalism in the region, it was capitalized and supported – and its been that way since.

          The fact of the matter is, if you take part in American/Western consumerism you yourself are “in the lobby” agitating for war with Iran, whether you want to believe it or not. If you own technology made by child slave labor, if you drink free trade coffee, if you shop at Wal-Mart or other big box stores including whole foods and trade joe’s you are actively taking part in a system based on explotation. “the lobby” is but a very visible part of the entire picture — if Iran is able to forge trade and development agreements not reliant on the dollar and others follow suit, the game is over – for all of us, and that is why our “leaders” can feign not wanting to attack Iran while three aircraft carrier groups head to the Gulf, and while Diego Garcia becomes a US nuclear stockpile -they are totally powerless to do anything about it- the whole system, our whole way of life is predicated on our dominating the rest of the planet.

        • American says:

          Another thing Dan…

          “US consumer culture (which happens to rely on the slave labor of 12 year olds in China and elsewhere”

          Who do you think “lobbied” for our China trade policies except LOBBIES? …Caterpillar, GE, WalMart, Boeing, etc.,etc……they were the LOBBIES for China trade policies.

          Do you think the US Empire’s Dept of Trade & Commerce just woke one day and said “‘hey, here’s a great way to slash US tax revenue so the US gov takes in less money, we’ll just open up off shoring to multinaitonals and unlimited imports from China”!

          What Chomsky offers people is a one size fits all answer to all the worlds and US evils…he’s a cult figure with an axe to grind, a niche he carved out for a following that wants one simple answer to everything.
          The fact that US Empire is his answer to EVERYTHING should give you a clue to the fraud.

        • notatall says:

          About time someone took on the demigod. Chomsky has said some good things, but when it comes to the Middle East he is blinded by his sentimental attachment to the Zionism of his youth, to which he is loyal no matter how many times it has disappointed him. That is why he goes into deny mode at any mention of Zionism or the Lobby and can’t even bring himself to support BDS. The same is true of his disciple Finkelstein.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Oh, I don’t know, how about the fact that the entire region is ruled by dictators, kings and tyrants all reliant on the US and subservient to Multi-National Corporations? Or how about the fact that the focus here is on Israel, rather than the US Imperial strategy laid out in great detail after WWII – seems like the “Lobby” crowd just wants to completely overlook this……

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Let me be clear – I do disagree with Chomsky on several points (BDS being just one) but to analyze only one small fragment of data to make generalizations about ALL of American Foreign Policy ( as is required by lobby fetishists) doesnt seem to make much sense, in my view

        • Dan Crowther says:

          I think we need to be clear in what the US Government represents – it represents the Capitalist Class and very little else. And so, yes the offshoring of manufacturing etc is a feature of capitalist development, as foretold by Adam Smith. He stated very clearly that once domestic profits from industry started to decline, capitalists would look for undeveloped (labor) markets to make their goods for them, and import them back to the mother country. It’s part of capitalist development.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You come across to me as a zealous ideologue who is unable to engage in fine-grained discussion and debate about the empirical world.

          Still no reply from you to these two paragraphs:

          “How do you explain the fact that the Israel lobby has been able to bully and dominate Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George H.W. Bush, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Barack Obama, George Mitchell, the oil lobby, the Pentagon, etc.?

          The best recent example: when Barack Obama and Joe Biden tried to challenge Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli settlements, they came under crushing attack from pro-Israel activists within their own party and backed down with their tails between their legs. Netanyahu has been able to easily push Obama around ever since that confrontation.”

          Why did you ignore those paragraphs?

          You wrote:

          “As for the “what other Lobbies are pushing for war in Iran” — that’s easy, the Capitalist Lobby.”

          Provide some specific names of the component members of “the Capitalist Lobby” with pointers to their lobbying for an Iran War.

          Is the oil industry in favor of an Iran War? The auto industry? The software industry? The retail industry? Fortune 500 CEOs who aren’t emotional pro-Israel activists or militants? I have seen no evidence that they are. The shrill calls for ratcheting up tension with Iran are coming from AIPAC and the dozens of think tanks, policy centers and media outlets that are closely associated with it.

          You are no more coherent or persuasive on the subject of the Israel lobby and Mideast policy than is Noam Chomsky. If Chomsky were to debate Stephen Walt or John Mearsheimer on the subject, he would embarrass himself.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          Because you are in the grip of simplistic ideology that doesn’t describe the real world, you are missing one of the biggest stories in the history of American foreign policy, which has been going on for months now: the bitter conflict between the US national security establishment and the Israeli government (including the Israel lobby) about whether to go to war with Iran.

          If the American “Capitalist Lobby” were indeed behind the campaign to go to war with Iran, this policy conflict wouldn’t be happening. But the truth is that “the Capitalist Lobby” believes that a war with Iran would be a disaster for American capitalism and American strategic interests.

          So much for your Chomskyan doctrine and theories. You really need to dump that nonsense and reboot.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          It’s a weird thing about Noam Chomsky and Chomskyans: when they are asked to produce the specific names of organizations, corporations, policy centers, think tanks and media outlets to support their theories, and the specific names of the leaders and members of said organizations, they usually come up with absolutely nothing. They construct their theories out of thin air.

          I would like to make a bet with you, Dan Crowther. I suggest that we pay close attention the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal from now until the end of March. I would like to wager you that more than 75% of the articles published there in favor of ratcheting up American conflict with Iran will be written by authors with close ties to the Israel lobby (like Ronen Bergman, William Kristol and John Bolton).

          Care to make a bet?

        • American says:

          Dan ,
          You’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink – capitalism, consumerism , the evil empire– into arguing that special interest lobbies don’t dictate anything. That somehow thruout every adm of the US there has been this goal for profiting the US Empire entity or the “nation”.
          So who or what do you think the Empire is?
          It can’t be the US Empire ‘as a country’ or the gov cause the country and gov is almost broke from it’s foreign policy and has gained nothing from the Empire theory you claim.
          So what is the Empire?
          It can only be special interest and elites.
          So how did the Empire of special interest elites come about?
          By special interest LOBBYING….or in some cases what is viewed as necessary to keep the US going.

          This is where your and Chomsky’s argument goes haywire—-arguing that there is some people-less US Empire ‘entity’ that exists without any influence from or promise of benefit to certain special groups, that just exist as some ideological entity for the sake of exisiting.

          If you want to talk about US Empire rationally and accurately you have to rename it US Special Interest Empire….not US Empire in the NATIONAL sense.
          And special interest come from LOBBIES and GROUPS with interest—-of which the Israel Lobby is one which buys US policy toward Israel.
          Which btw, is the topic of this blog and why we are talking about it and not the evils of capitalism and empire in general.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          For months now Sean, I have read you castigate others, call them stupid or ignorant or simplistic, apparently now I am a “zealous ideologue” — that’s fine, I guess, Im a big boy and can take it. I don’t see it as useful, and doubt you would say anything similar to my face, but it is the internet – we can all be keyboard tough guys, I suppose.

          As for the paragraphs Ive “ignored” – go back up to my first posts where Keith Weissman admits AIPAC and “the lobby” didnt have Iran on their radar UNTIL Clinton and Kohl spoke of isolating Iran and restricting trade. So, yea, again, the Lobby has incredible sway when their agenda dovetails with the agenda of the State, as defined clearly in post WWII planning
          ( something you seem willing to ignore)

          And again, like I said, what you call “bullying” I call excuse making. Why don’t you tell me how Arms manufacturers, oil companies and the US Government and their real interests have suffered….You can’t, because they haven’t. (record profits, yet again this year)

          As for the story I have been missing, the “bitter conflict” – what evidence is there for this? Some story in the NY Times? Oh, Gareth Porter said so? Yea, consider me very skeptical about any “bitter conflict” especially given the fact that the US now has three carrier groups in the Gulf and has ratcheted up tensions on it’s own. The US supposedly wanted nothing to do with WWII, and yet now its understood that oil embargo’s on Japan helped cause Pearl Harbor and there is considerable evidence the Gov’t knew it would be attacked, allowing for the US to enter the war. So this “reluctant” thing has been done before.

          As for “the capitalist lobby” – which is better described as “the state”- being against a war with Iran, can you cite one example where war was NOT good for the interests of concentrated capital? Where has war not benefited capital, large industrial companies, weapons manufacturers and their ability to consolidate their power? Any war with Iran, in my view, is about China and Russia, access to energy and dollar dominance – also key in the Iraq war.
          You are still conflating “US Interests” with “society” – they are not the same thing. But somehow, I think US capital cares about this:

          “Join the oil-for-gold program
          BRICS members India and China, together, buy at least 40% of Iran’s oil exports, roughly 1 million barrels a day. That’s 12% of India’s oil needs. As for China, last year it bought 30% more oil from Iran than in 2010, an average of 557,000 barrels a day.

          The real “international community” is now very much aware that India will start paying Iranian oil with gold – and not only rupees, via Indian state bank UCO and Turkish state bank Halk Bankasi. Beijing – which already trades with Iran in yuan – may also turn to gold. Needless to say, both Delhi and Beijing are major gold producers and holders of gold assets. Global consequences: gold shooting up, petrodollar going down, oil traders opening bottles of Moet in droves. (escobar)

          I’ll just link to some others that help to inform my views:
          link to

          link to

          link to

          And, your right, nothing I say describes the real world:

          The number of major U.S. invasions since World War II: 13

          By conservative estimates, the U.S. led over a dozen invasions of sovereign countries in the last 65 years – including attacks on North Korea (1950 and 1951), Cuba (1961), South Vietnam (1962), The Dominican Republic (1965), Cambodia (1970), Lebanon (1982-1983), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991), Haiti (1994), Afghanistan (2001), and Iraq again (2003). U.S. covert operations designed to overthrow foreign governments are about three times more common than invasions. As William Blum explains in his classic book Rogue State, “From 1945 to the end of the century, the U.S. attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes.”
          link to

          Semper Fidelis,


          PS – The idea of a a Empire Worshiping “realist” like Walt “embarrassing” Chomsky is pretty funny.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Bibi has more power than the US president who says he can assasinate americans with no charges, oversight or judicial review, let alone a trial? Holy sht, we gotta stop Bibi!!!

        • Dan Crowther says:

          In 1995, the Strategic Command under the Clinton administration released a study speculating over the use of nuclear weapons for strategic purposes. Titled “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” the document concluded that the goal of U.S. foreign policy should center on creating fear in the heart of adversaries: “Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the U.S. may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out. It hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational or cool-headed. The fact that some elements may appear to be potentially ‘out of control’ can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts in the minds of an adversary’s decision makers. This essential sense of fear is the working force of deterrence. That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be part of the national persona we project to all adversaries…nuclear weapons always cast a shadow over any crisis in which the U.S. is engaged. Thus, deterrence through the threat of nuclear weapons will continue to be our top military strategy.”
          I would add that “bitter conflicts” within the power centers would go a long way in making people think (1) the US is in the grips of nefarious forces (2) the US’s actions are irrational – thoughts?

          link to

        • seafoid says:


          The empire is the US economy. Built around waste and disposability and permagrowth. The US consumes 25% of all resources consumed worldwide. That is not some special interest group. It is the whole country. All of those American consumers. Any American with a pension scheme. All part of the system. The fact that they can but Middle East oil at any tank station- that is empire. It does not benefit everyone in the same way but that is the empire. Empires always have ruling classes and the US empire is no different. Was the British empire socialist?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You just did it again: your head is way up there in the abstract clouds and you rarely ground your assertions in *concrete*, *immediate* and *well-documented* facts about the issue at hand — in this case, who *precisely* — what specific organizations and individuals — are agitating for an American war against Iran? I haven’t seen you mention a single proper name or noun yet, and in that way you emulate your cult leader Noam Chomsky. I’ve mentioned more than 120 specific organizations and individuals in comments in this thread that have been the ringleaders of the campaign to go to war against Iran — you haven’t challenged me on any of those names, all of which are intimately entwined with the *Israel lobby* — not some vague “Capitalist lobby.”

          You still haven’t managed to explain why it is that Benjamin Netanyahu has easily beat down the president of the United States in their confrontations over Israeli settlements. Anyone who has followed that dispute closely knows that what happened was that Obama was heavily pressured by pro-Israel activists in his own party (like billionaire Ronald Lauder) to back off or else. Where has “the Capitalist Lobby” been in this ongoing battle of wills? Do you think most Fortune 500 companies think or care about Israel or Mideast politics or concern themselves about it at all? Are they Greater Israel enthusiasts?

          When multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson bought and paid for Newt Gingrich with millions of dollars in contributions, did he do so primarily as a member of the Capitalist lobby or the Israel lobby? Are multi-billionaire Haim Saban’s lavish contributions to the Democratic Party motivated by a loyalty to the Capitalist lobby or by a passionate attachment to Israel and the Israel lobby?

          Why have Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George H.W. Bush, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and many other leading members of the American power elite allegedly opposed “the Capitalist lobby” on Israeli settlements, an Iraq War and now an Iran War if indeed it is a “Capitalist lobby” and not the Israel lobby which has been the prime mover behind these policies? Are they not leaders of “the Capitalist lobby”? Did they somehow fail to receive the message from this “Capitalist lobby” on correct Mideast policy?

          Really, your Chomskyan theories don’t stand up to the slightest empirical pressure. Empty air.

          And I would still like to make a bet with you about which lobby will be promoting an Iran War in the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal over the next few months. Let’s accumulate some verifiable facts on this issue. I am betting that a substantial majority of the agitators for war will have close ties to Israel and the Israel lobby — what do you think?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          Your habit of conflating the Israel lobby with “the Jews” is exceptionally obnoxious and uninformed and puts you squarely in the same camp as Alan Dershowitz, Abraham Foxman, Pamela Geller and other pro-militants with regard to argumentative methods (smear tactics) concerning Mideast politics.

          Non-Jews (especially Christian Zionists) outnumber Jews in the Israel lobby and most Jews are not members of or supporters of the Israel lobby. Why in the world are you promoting the big lie that the Israel lobby = “the Jews” — and on Mondoweiss of all places, where people generally have a sophisticated understanding of these issues?

          Do you think that the Christian Zionist lobby, which is extremely powerful in American politics, is synonymous with “the Capitalist lobby”? Do you think that John Hagee of CUFI (Christians United for Israel) is a master of international financial calculation and manipulation?

          No — Christian Zionists are irrational ideological zealots, true believers in utter nonsense. And they are having an immensely destructive influence on American foreign policy, over the better judgment of real capitalists who understand that an endless succession of bankrupting foreign wars on behalf of Israel could destroy the United States as an economic superpower.

        • American says:

          And by that definition –of consumerism as empire –that disproves the influence of lobbies how?
          Doesn’t matter how you define Empire, Chomsky is full of s**** when he claims lobbies of special interest don’t create some of US foreign policies just as they some US domestic policies.
          There are ‘interest’ that are inherent to every nation but nations can only become Evil Empires at the direction of those pursuing their own finanical, political, ideological interest, not the Empires interest.

        • American says:


          You guys are arguing past each other, each with a favorite fall guy, the capitalist for Dan and the christo fundies for Sean.
          Not only the realist, but common sense people would say Sean is more right about the capitalist not wanting to tank the economy for a war with Iran, but Sean is less right about christo fundies in relation to the Israel lobby influence—-particulary in this run up for Iran.
          The christo fundies didn’t give Newt 10 million—-Obama doesn’t make I love Israel speeches to the fundies, he makes them to Jewish orgs.
          Just follow the bread crumb trail.

        • RoHa says:

          “Nationalism can lead to bad things like nationalization of resources, banks and education”

          Are you being sarcastic?

          If by “nationalization” you mean “government owned and run”, why is it bad?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Sean –

          American is right, we are talking past each other. And It’s because we are indeed, coming at this thing from two totally point’s of view. Let me explain myself –

          After WWII the US was a power unknown in world history and the guys running the show wanted to keep it that way. And since the end of the second world war, there hasn’t been a single country that was once in the american sphere of influence, gained independence, and wasn’t either destroyed violently or economically. In fact, we can go back even further with that contention – no one gets out alive, as they say.

          So, again, Iran being the potential target of American aggression makes perfect sense, given history and the fact that Iran was once a fixture of the American system. I mean, we were TIGHT with Iran when the Pahlavi’s were doin their thing……

          The policy has been regime change since 79. that’s why we backed saddam against Iran in the 80′s; why we’ve tried innumerable times to overthrow the government….Just like regime change was the policy in 53, which i think we can agree was not the doing of the israel lobby, or maybe we can’t

          And so, where I have to agree with you that “the lobby” does indeed desperately want war with Iran, but not necessarily with “american interests” at heart – I have to look at the huge number of other countries where this exact scenario has played out.

          And then I read what the planners wrote about what our support for Israel -which they viewed as being a bulwark against arab nationalism- would mean in the middle to long term. This was always going to happen, in my view.

          My contention is that the Israel lobby is powerful, but only because of how important the region it’s in is – I get the impression sometimes that people think the Israel lobby would still exist if Israel was in the south pacific.
          And, yes, I am sorry, I can’t ignore the fact that we live in a (state) capitalist country, and that US planners were calling the middle east possibly the greatest economic prize the world has ever known.

          So, this is a basic lens through which i view “the lobby” – I do notice that they seemingly have undo sway, can get what they want and that Israel is allowed things no other country would ever get away with. But again, Israel for a very long time played a critical role in beating back arab/muslim independence which meant fat contracts for oil/guns/finance and co.

          And what israel wants in terms of wars is pretty much in line with what US policy is – regime change in Iraq and Iran being two good examples. But again, this is independent of “the lobby” – just like our coups/invasions of a sht ton of other countries around the world.

          To me, its a qualitative issue with the Israel Lobby – they are really good at what they do, but they are also selling the best product. stick with them and they’ll garrison the whole middle east, half of africa and most of south asia – they will ensure that if anyone goes near the interests of the US (especially the dollar), they will be dealt with.

          So, who is the Lobby? Useful idiots. Just like the Evangelical Christians are for domestic big business. I consider the lobby to be almost the same as those people who showed at tea party events sponsored by the koch brothers. They’re being used.
          If the lobby didnt exist, the government and big business would have to create it.
          And who better than people who have a long history of suffering and exploitation for the face of the effort to dismantle and destroy your opposition — Way better than just “commies”

          Again, my emphasis is on the fact that the US has never needed any help in finding wars to fight or governments to overthrow, if the US ends up going to war with Iran, will the lobby be part of the reason? sure – but only part of the reason. That’s been my point the whole time – does it exist and have sway? of course. in terms of overall regional/global strategy? only when its close enough to official policy. and it’s pretty close here…..

          I didnt mean to get abstract, talking about “capital” and sht, i was baked earlier. but the fact remains that these companies DID want war with iraq – go watch farenheit 911 again, the guys from the oil and weapons companies (dont forget that the MIC is almost all private, even cooks and transport) telling each other how much money they were gonna make. these cats are laughing at the fundies and the jewish zio’s, again, in my opinion…… bash away

        • Dan Crowther says:

          sarcasm roha sarcasm – come on now, whaddaya take me for!?! :)

        • bob says:

          Dan Crowther.

          I see where you were going in stating how the sanctions were not passed within a vacuum. The thing is, the The Israeli campaign caught the Clinton administration offguard.Israel’s advice did not fit Washington’s agenda;the Clinton White House was focused on Iraq,not Iran.
          Clearly, the Iran Sanctions in the 1990′s were passed over the objections by powerful oil concerns. The Israelis and pro Israeli groups shifted their focus from getting the US to move closer to Iran before the regional competitor Iraq was weakened to moving against Iran after Iraq was weakened in the first gulf war.

          In other words, give these groups their own clearly recorded agency in the issue. Here’s mondoweiss

          On Iran sanctions, Clinton bowed to Israel lobby in first term and corporate lobby in his second

          [I]n the first half of the Clinton administration, Israel, which viewed the Iranian government as a thorn in the side of its pursuit of colonial policies, began to direct the U.S. sanctions policy, using its various lobbies, think tanks, and allies in the U.S. government. However, the sanctions advocated by Israel ultimately became so severe and irrational that many countries around the world defied them. This defiance was one factor that slowed the imposition of new sanctions in the second half of the Clinton administration. Another factor in this slowdown was the concerted effort of U.S. corporations, which by then had been almost completely cut off from Iran’s vast resources and markets. Using their lobbies, think tanks, and hired hands in the government, U.S. corporations waged a massive campaign to stop the enactment of new sanctions and to remove many of the old ones. These efforts, however, were only partially successful. The partial success resulted, at the end of the Clinton administration, in an incoherent and inconsistent U.S. policy toward Iran that tried to reconcile the irreconcilable aims and interests of Israel and U.S. corporations….

          [Secy of State Warren] Christopher’s accusations and name-callings were very much in accord with those of the Israeli government. Indeed, not only did the Israeli lobby exert a direct influence over the U.S. president through Martin Indyk, but it also tried to exert a direct influence over Christopher. This is evidenced, for example, by a meeting arranged in January 1993 in the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman that included Christopher, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and AIPAC’s vice president and political director. According to the [January 7, 1993] New York Times article, the purpose of the meeting was to allay the fear of Jewish organizations that some of the newly appointed members of the new administration, who were veterans of the Carter administration, “might not be inclined to carry out the pro-Israel policies Mr. Clinton espoused during the campaign” …

          From here onward, there was a coordinated effort by the Israeli government and Christopher to pursue the policy of “dual containment,” with a special emphasis on Iran, using the Israeli formula of three Iranian sins: sponsoring terrorism worldwide, opposing Middle East peace efforts, and developing weapons of mass destruction ([NYT report by Elaine] Sciolino 1995)….

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Just one other thing – I don’t think anyone should underestimate how radically different the military has become over the last decade; The Clean Break paper and the memo the neo-cons wrote to clinton about attacking iraq were around for a long time – but so was cheney’s paper on privatizing the military. And, again, as someone who was in the military during all of this (went to boot camp nov 2001) I can personally attest to the massive privatization that took place in the military.

          I stood in a company formation one day (2004?)and was treated to a guy from a big defense contractor telling a company of US Marines that any eight of them could right then, get out of their contract with the government – and do a tour in Iraq as a private security “operator” and make over 100k tax free.

          Think about that. Openly recruiting mercenaries from the ranks of federal troops, with the governments consent. But it wasn’t just security guys – almost everything from combat to intelligence has a large for profit element in it now.

          Again, I dont mean to make THIS the prime cause of the Iraq war (the privatization of war) – I just think it is another important factor, which is again, part of the reason I don’t obsess over the Lobby as the prime source of evil, to me there are plenty of them – and when enough of them get together, yes you get war

        • seanmcbride says:


          Thanks for giving Dan Crowther a small example of how real history is done — with a firm grounding in concrete facts and *proper names and nouns*.

          You know, when I stop to think about it, I realize that I have never encountered a Chomskyan who was a first-rate historian. None of the ones I’ve noticed possess even basic skills in doing historical research and analysis. They are big theory people — they like to ride their hobbyhorse back and forth, back and forth, without being troubled to sift through and organize hundreds of thousands of particular facts.

          Real historians and political analysts are bottom-up people: they start with facts and develop multiple theories that they will easily revise or toss out based on the accumulation of new facts.

          Top-down people begin with a grand simple theory and bend whatever facts they notice (usually not many) to fit the their theory. Noam Chomsky and his cult followers are top-down people all the way.

        • Dan Crowther says:


          great post brother – cheers. again, im not trying to state that there is no lobby or that they can’t get their agenda across, even sometimes in the face of big business (though it is usually over things like the “severity” sanctions and such, rather than a fundamental difference or interest) — All I am saying is that, in the case of Iran, regime change has long been the want in washington, regardless of the Lobby.

          my thing is, aside from israel/palestine, and especially when you are talking about war, in order for the lobby to really do its thing, other factors have to also align with their position, and in the case where the lobby is considered -especially here- to be the main reason for war, we find that there are other factors, and they are indeed strategic both militarily and economically. Now, I don’t agree that oil, the dollar, our control over the extraction and distribution of resources and the transport of them to the world markets should be the top priority of the US Government, but they are.

          So, to me, the lobby is just one offshoot (albeit an extreme offshoot) of what passes for serious, rational statecraft in the US -and it shows in the Weissman admission above, Clinton and Kohl wanted a form of sanctions, the Lobby pounced and raised the stakes.

          If I thought that American policy is only fcked up in the middle east, I would be all over the lobby thing – but its fcked up everywhere, in a very similar pattern, so again, while I agree the lobby is a menacing force, I think it is more important to look at the institutions that make it possible for the lobby to exist. the lobby can only exist if we continue to spend trillions on war and guns, it can only exist if our policy is to garrison the planet – and it can only exist as long as the overarching goal of the US state is to run the global show.
          We all agree that if the US changed its stance toward Israel, there would be big change – so let’s talk about that, to me, talking about conspiracies and sht is better left for the history channel, we can do something about this NOW
          I see that being much more effective that sitting, kvetching over the lobby or listing numerically, the people “in the lobby” — whatever else is true about the lobby, focusing on it does distract from what enables the lobby, our overall policy, but M-W are looking to defend that policy, so they blame it all on the lobby. I might agree with what they say, but their agenda should be made clear.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          I am still looking for an answer to this question:

          How has the prime minister of Israel been able to bully and humiliate a sitting American president with such ease?

          My answer: the Israel lobby substantially controls both the Republican and Democratic Parties, the US Congress and the mainstream media. It is a simple exercise to graph the structure of that control through many thousands of simple vectors and links. Most of this control is based on the expenditure of vast sums of money — like the $10 million (and counting) that the Adelson clan has funneled to a single presidential candidate — Newt Gingrich.

          Netanyahu knows that he can use the power of the Israel lobby to harass and break Obama and every other American political leader who might oppose him.

          What is *your* explanation for the fact that Barack Obama and Joe Biden quickly folded in their confrontations with Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli settlements? Why does Netanyahu assume (with good reason) that he can treat an American president as his little punk bitch?

        • Keith says:

          DANCROWTHER- “The fact of the matter is, M-W are very much FOR American Empire, their argument is that indeed there is a very powerful establishment in the US and Jews are part of it – this is totally fine with them, in fact, its almost considered a ” jewish achievement,” they aren’t looking to change anything about “the establishment” and it’s actors, they just have a problem with some of it’s advocacy, especially in regards to Israel.”

          While I think that “M-W are very much FOR American Empire” overstates the case, the rest of the comment contains more than a little truth. There appears to be a core of commenters that seek to focus narrowly upon a vaguely defined entity called “the lobby” to the exclusion of other factors, particularly imperial factors and grand strategy. While rhetorically accepting the existence of an American empire, the obvious consequences of that reality are ignored and sometimes denied, hence, the ongoing denial of the strategic importance of the control of access to oil, something taken for granted among most analysts, here hotly denied. Then there is the ongoing disparagement of Noam Chomsky, the iconic analyzer of imperial political economy considered by lobby fetishists to be a threat to their narrative, hence, attacked. None of this all that surprising. Virtually all politically oriented groups/networks coalesce around a shared narrative/mythology which provides some internal cohesion and sense of community. Limited competing narratives provide the opportunity for the group to unite in defensive solidarity. Very few political discussions anywhere can be considered rational, rather, they are the logical defense of competing narratives.

        • bob says:


          You are right about the methodological differences.

          Dan Crowther. Thank you very much.
          You may want to draw your attention to the information within the link above regarding “the Israeli campaign caught the Clinton administration offguard.Israel’s advice did not fit Washington’s agenda; the Clinton White House was focused on Iraq, not Iran.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          How has the prime minister of israel been able to bully and humiliate the president on settlements?

          The president doesn’t care about the settlements. None of them ever have. I don’t know how much clearer I can be. What client state hasn’t been able to run roughshod over the people it governs? Seriously, name one. The US has allowed far worse than settlement building brother. And like I have said repeatedly, Israel gets away with sht like that where no other country would, and yes, that is because of the lobby.

          You say I know nothing of history, but I explained a great deal of it in my posts here – but because it’s not all about the lobby and israel, you totally ignore it. Half your posts here are lists of peoples names, and yet you sit and criticize and condemn others as unserious or whatever.

          I agree that Israel is a special case, again, Ive said that repeatedly – but if we are going to ignore completely – as you clearly are here- the fact that for decades it was a “vital strategic asset” when considering why the lobby is powerful as you say it is, your missing a big piece of it.

          Part of the calculus that made israel such a important strategic asset is changing, and that is why there is a discussion about israel and it’s policies taking place – and when you look at around at some of the other big time state actors in the region, it begins to make sense.

          For example, look at the way Turkey has positioned itself. They are fully on board with the western powers regarding Syria ( and who knows about with Iran), and two weeks ago the foreign minister went to Tehran to tell the Iranians as much. Is Turkey doing the bidding of the west because of the Israel Lobby? Or do they have their own interests?

          I get it man, your offended by asshole israeli leaders – totally understandable, but any US president under our current model is gonna take some disrespect from a leader that does his bidding most of the time. And the Israeli’s do that sht to everybody –
          link to

          Joe Biden is no special case. A couple days later the Turks got a “statement of regret” and for the time, their trade (worth hundreds of millions if not more) continued. Did Turkey not cut ties with israel or demand a full apology because of the Turkish Israel Lobby?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Not saying I agree with the guy completely, but I think one would be hard pressed to say that Chomsky doesnt have a firm grip on history, or is some sort of cult figure

          link to

          link to

          and 5 parts in all……

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You wrote:

          “The president doesn’t care about the settlements. None of them ever have. I don’t know how much clearer I can be.”

          This is a false statement. A number of American presidents have cared a great deal about Israeli settlements — including Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — because the continued growth of those settlements will make it impossible to achieve a two-state solution. The failure to achieve a two-state solution will greatly injure American interests (including *capitalist* and *imperial* interests) and ruin American relations with Arab and Muslim nations in the region on whom we are economically dependent.

          American presidents have been obstructed in their efforts to halt the growth of Israeli settlements by the enormous power of *the Israel lobby*, which is clearly on board with the entire Greater Israel agenda of both Likud *and* Labor.

          You wrote:

          “What client state hasn’t been able to run roughshod over the people it governs? Seriously, name one.”

          The question is, which client states have been able to run roughshod over leaders of the most powerful nation (supposedly) on the planet, repeatedly? Why does Benjamin Netanyahu think it is safe to rub Barack Obama’s nose in his own impotence and get away with it?

          You wrote:

          “Half your posts here are lists of peoples names, and yet you sit and criticize and condemn others as unserious or whatever.”

          I took the trouble to identify the *specific* organizations and individuals that have been agitating to drive Americans into a war with Iran — nearly all of them (arguably all of them) are closely associated with the Israel lobby. This is what is called doing political analysis from the ground up — based on empirical facts, not on airy Chomskyan theories.

          So far you have produced no evidence to support your claim that “the Capitalist lobby” — the American power elite in general — is eager to get into a shooting war with Iran. On the contrary, influential strategic thinkers like Zbigniew Brzezinski have been urgently arguing against such a policy. Real world facts blow your Chomskyan theories to smithereens. You don’t pay attention to current political facts. You are not a serious student of American Mideast policy.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          I’ve read all of Chomsky’s books, many of his articles, and have heard him speak several times. There is much to admire in Chomsky — I love the clarity and elegance of his mind. But when you boil down all his theorizing about global politics it amounts to classical Marxist doctrine. On the subject of the Israel lobby he is absurdly evasive. He can’t handle informed debate which challenges his theories.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          “The failure to achieve a two-state solution will greatly injure American interests (including *capitalist* and *imperial* interests) and ruin American relations with Arab and Muslim nations in the region on whom we are economically dependent.”

          Well, there it is. This statement of course, begs the question, what is the US’s “relationship with arab and muslim nations” in its practical application?

          Its the support of tyranny. The house of Saud, the Shah, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Bahrain, in Qatar, in Tunisia, in Iraq, in Pakistan – do we need to go on?

          So, just like Walt and Mearsheimer, your problem with the Lobby is its potential to fck up THIS relationship with the arab and muslim world. Well, me and you have nothing else to talk about.

          As for the US being “economically dependent” on “nations” in the region, as if the people living there have a say in our deep involvement in their economies- a quick look around would tell us that “nation” really means “dictator/monarch/junta – and they are the ones who are dependent, namely on US arms and cash to help them stave off their populations.

          As for the failure of the two state solution screwing this up – your preferred resolution i take it?- I guess we will see, for decades now US/western capital and business has invested in Israel, they seem to be doing OK.

          If you are of the opinion that the United States is somehow interested in independent nationalism in area’s it considers economically and strategically important, me and you are never going to agree sean. it’s a claim not based on fact.

        • American says:


          I am going to make one more attempt to get you past the Chomsky theory.
          Prior to the “Pre-Emptive “Invasion of Iraq 2003, the US one military intervention in the ME was against Iraq for attacking Kuwait because UN sanctions had not forced Saddam to withdraw.

          Now follow the FACTS of who owns and controls Oil in the case of Iraq from before then, and after then, up to right this minute:

          Number One


          link to

          ” Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 triggered an immediate response from the United States and the UN in the form of comprehensive economic sanctions which remain in place. After Iraq was forcefully expelled from Kuwait in the Gulf War, the primary goal of the sanctions shifted to dismantling Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and creating a monitoring system to ensure that these weapons programs are not restarted.”

          ?? SOO……..explain the imperial oil design by the US in the first Iraq war and sanctions since the FACT is before, after and still during the UN imposed sanctions up to 2003 Iraq awarded it’s oil contracts to France, Russia, and China—- BUT NOT to the United States.
          WHERE was the US imperial control of oil in that?…WHERE was it?

          NUMBER TWO

          link to


          “An estimated 30%-40% of Iraqi oil is sold initially to Russian firms (i.e., Emerkrom, Kalymneftegas, Machinoimport, Rosnefteimpex, Sidanco, Slavneft, Soyuzneftgaz, Tatneft, and Zarubzhneft). The remaining 60%-70% of Iraq’s oil is first purchased by companies from many countries, including Cyprus, Sudan, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Egypt, Italy, Ukraine, and others.

          Iraqi oil is normally then resold to a variety of oil companies and middlemen before being purchased by end users. During 2001, for instance, nearly 80% of Basra Light liftings, and over 30% of Kirkuk oil, went to the United States, with large importers including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Citgo, BP, Marathon, Coastal, Valero, Koch, and Premcor. During the first eleven months of 2002, the United States imported an average of 449,000 bbl/d in November), while 430,000 bbl/d went to Europe and 140,000 bbl/d to Asia. To some extent, increased Iraqi oil exports to the Americans have helped fill the loss created by a major oil strike and general unrest in Venezuela beginning in December 2002.
          Feb. 25, 2003 – Energy Information Administration (EIA)

          ?? SOO ..come on show me where US imperial designs produced a oil deal for the US or the US controlled it in any way when NOTHING CHANGED. The Russian and other foreign companies still produced Iraq oil, the US importers still imported Iraq oil and Iraq still OWNED their own oil and let their own contracts.

          NUMBER THREE

          link to
          (selling the oil rationale to congress as part of invade Iraq)..and I mean as overcoming objections that war would disrupt oil flows because oil companies saw it as a threat to oil flows.)

          ‘U.S. officials had assumed — and promised as much to Congress — that Saddam’s downfall would open the way for oil companies to return to Iraq, overhaul the oil facilities and hugely increase output. ‘

          NUMBER FOUR

          link to

          BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Critics said the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq said was driven by oil, but United States oil majors were largely absent from an Iraqi auction of oil deals snapped up instead by Russian, Chinese and other firms.

          Iraqi officials said this proved their independence from U.S. influence and that their two bidding rounds this year for deals to tap Iraq’s vast oil reserves, the world’s third largest, were free of foreign political interference.

          The Oil Ministry on Saturday ended its second bidding round after awarding seven of the oilfields offered for development, adding to deals from a first auction in June that could together take Iraq up to a capacity to pump 12 million barrels per day.

          Russia’s Lukoil on Saturday clinched a deal to develop Iraq’s supergiant West Qurna Phase Two oilfield after having failed to convince Iraq to bypass the auction and revive an old Saddam Hussein-era deal for the field.

          No U.S. firms bid for fields offered in the second round, and of the four fields bid on by U.S. firms in the first round, only Exxon Mobil won a major prize, leading a group to clinch a deal for the supergiant West Qurna Phase One field.
          U.S.-based Occidental came away with a quarter stake in a consortium that won a contract for the giant Zubair field.

          By contrast, Chinese state oil firms were involved in every first round bid and made a strong showing in the second.
          “The results of the bid round should lay to rest the old canard that the U.S. intervened in Iraq to secure Iraqi oil for American companies,” said Philip Frayne, a spokesman at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

          ??SOOO…….WHERE is the US imperial oil control in the invasion of Iraq? WHERE THE HELL IS IT? Do we own or control any oil there? NO
          Do US firms have all the contracts there or even most of them? NO. Is the US getting any special cost deal, have prices gone down? NO.

          So what’s Chomsky’s next US Imperial oil control theory? That the US encouraged Saddam to invade Kuwait so we could attack them, impose sanctions and still not come with any control of their oil, so that we could wait 13 years to invade Iraq after it’s oil fields would be 7 times more expensive to repair and once again come out of a trillion dollar war with ONCE AGAIN –NO CONTROL of their Oil?
          This is so f******* stupid it makes my head explode.
          We don’t have “control” of any ME oil, of anyone’s oil, most oil companies in the ME aren’t even US COMPANIES. We don’t have any ‘OWNERSHIP’ of any other countries oil. US companies have more contracts in Latin America than they do the ME. They have to get these contracts on their own thru bids or bribery much as they might like the US to just hand over the oil fields to them in all our US imperial invasions we haven’t done it.
          If we invaded Iraq to own or control their oil then we ficking would own and control their oil today the same way Israel turned Palestine into their own fricking well colony and owns their water.
          The same fricking thing goes for Iran if we attack or invade them–we will NOT own their oil–We don’t need their fricking oil—the only oil interest is in not letting Iran shut down the route for oil —which Iran won’t do, has never threatened to do unless Israel attacks them. The only fricking interest in Iran’s oil is from the countries currently getting oil from Iran which they want to keep getting—-and from fricking Israel who use to get oil from Iran on favorable terms when the US installed puppet Shah sold oil to the Israel brat at the US’s insistence.
          This is exhausting, I give up it if this doesn’t do the Imperial Oil control theory in, then it’s hopeless to continue.

        • RoHa says:

          Good to read. I was a bit confused by the sentence structure.

        • Dan Crowther says:


          I don’t know how many times I have to write it out – I don’t subscribe to the “oil theory” – I am not a oil fetishist, at all. But, I do have to say, all of those foreign oil companies you mention are publicly traded companies…..$$$$

          My reticence to adopt “the lobby and only the lobby” line in regarding responsibility for the Iraq war is NOT a “oil was the sole reason” contention.

          My contention is that there were many, many hands in the mix – and yes, the lobby was one of them, and indeed provided much of the public advocacy for war.

          But again, I was IN THE MILITARY AT THE TIME – and witnessed first hand the huge privatization of the military (which had been a long time goal of many, not just neo-cons) – I witnessed the MASSIVE build up of a for profit element, not just on the ground, but also in intelligence collecting, in “domestic security” and in a host of other areas. The washington posts “top secret america” from a year ago is a worth while read in this regard. And again, I am not saying THIS was the sole reason either…..

          I am not in any way saying there is no lobby, or that they have little to no power. All I am saying is, no one should be all that surprised with the US stance to I/P and the region, based on what the US position is to much of the rest of the world (and especially the parts it considers “important”) — And I am also saying that I AGREE WITH MOST OF WHAT YOU ALL ARE SAYING – just not to the same degree. But I will NEVER agree with the contention that our ME policy would be benevolent and pro-independence/democracy if “the lobby” wasn’t around.

          Sht, fellas – I think we can disagree on the extent of the lobby’s influence, but I don’t see how you guys can call me some idiot, or say that nothing that I write here is rational. The fact of the matter is, we mostly agree.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You continue to be all over the map and can’t follow a logical chain of thought on any subject I’ve noticed so far.

          You don’t deny my assertion that American support of Israel damages American relations with Arab and Muslim nations in the region and undermines American strategic interests. In fact, you acknowledge this is the case.

          This contradicts your previous claim that American support of Israel is based on the pursuit of its strategic interest rather than on enormous pressure being exerted by the Israel lobby. Do you see your problem?

          Now you are trying to change the subject by accusing me of supporting anti-democratic regimes in the Mideast. But I don’t. I think they should be reformed. Americans should do whatever they can do to help reform them. But in the meantime we have important economic relations with these nations — that is a fact of life.

          You have ignored most of the questions I directed your way in my previous comments. You might try to take a stab at answering them.

          The truth is, Noam Chomsky’s pet crypto-Marxist theories are a poor instrument through which to analyze and understand American Mideast policy. There are much better scholars and thinkers out there on the subject than Noam Chomsky.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          I agree with you that powerful war profiteering interests in the military-industrial complex that couldn’t care less about Israel or Jews have played a key role in promoting recent Mideast wars. They are closely allied with the neoconservative and Christian Zionist arms of the Israel lobby.

          But I don’t think they have been the prime mover behind these wars — they have gone along for the ride and exploited the profit opportunities which these wars have provided them. And powerful sectors of the national security community oppose them and are horrified by the damage they have wrought on American strategic interests.

          We know who were the ringleaders of the Iraq War: they splashed their names all over the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, etc during the first half of the last decade. Nearly all of them are emotional pro-Israel activists or militants and leading members of the Israel lobby. They are driven more by a messianic ethnic and/or religious nationalist ideology than by rational calculations of the American interest.

          These are the same people who are now hysterically shrieking at the tops of their lungs for the United States to attack Iran. How many Fortune 500 companies and billionaire leaders of the capitalist lobby who aren’t emotionally involved with Israel share their obsession? Very few.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          “You don’t deny my assertion that American support of Israel damages American relations with Arab and Muslim nations in the region and undermines American strategic interests. In fact, you acknowledge this is the case.”
          Yea, I don’t deny that american support of israel pisses off the POPULATIONS of arab and muslim countries, but you can say the same about our support of arab and muslim dictators – either way, my point that the US doesnt care about what some guy on the street in cairo thinks stands. we don’t – drone attacks pisses them off to, ripping guys off the street and taking them to gitmo or libya or jordan to be tortured pisses people off too, just like our support for the tyrants lording over them, pisses them off

          so ur idol barack obama who you say cares for palestinians claims he has the power to assasinate americans with no charges, trial or due process, in fact, he’s used it this power.
          faced with this reality, are I am really supposed to take seriously those who say that american leaders “care” what average people think?

        • American says:


          Whew!…O.K. You mean I wasted all that energy arguing on the wrong point? LOL…my mind must be slipping. Well anyway, if there are any oil war believers here maybe they got something out of the fact we never ended up with any oil in our adventures.
          No I don’t think you’re an idiot either, far from it. I just think Chomksy is a fraud in trying to make everything too simple and it gets me going.

          I agree with this also….”But I will NEVER agree with the contention that our ME policy would be benevolent and pro-independence/democracy if “the lobby” wasn’t around. ” And on the military privatization and the vulture war profiteers.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          I agree with this also….”But I will NEVER agree with the contention that our ME policy would be benevolent and pro-independence/democracy if “the lobby” wasn’t around. ” And on the military privatization and the vulture war profiteers.
          That’s really my only point here!! hahaha!! Cheers American!

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You’ve run off the rails: the issue in question is this: is much of American Mideast policy the product of rational calculations of the American interest by the “capitalist lobby” or of irrational and frenetic pressure from the Israel lobby? Is blind and unquestioning American support of Israeli government policies good or bad for Americans and the American strategic interest?

          With regard to Obama: I supported him in the last election but quickly decided that he was a charlatan or a weakling who was unable to back up any of his campaign promises. AIPAC treats him as a pitiful hireling.

        • Doctor Pi says:

          Chomsky is not a one note Johnny.

          He takes his responsibilities as an intellectual very seriously.


        • MRW says:


          “Openly recruiting mercenaries from the ranks of federal troops, with the governments consent. But it wasn’t just security guys – almost everything from combat to intelligence has a large for profit element in it now.”

          Who, other than the US, profits from defense and military equipment contracts in US wars? What Spartan country brags about its military technology prowess, and has positioned itself to supply the US military as if it were a factory in AZ?

          You need to spend some time at Grant Smith’s site understanding the net effect of the 1985 Free Trade agreement with Israel, the first US trade agreement, because you are missing a gigantic chunk here in your sweeping description of an innocuous lobby soup. You ain’t followin’ the money, pal.

          Weissman can write what he wants to rewrite history, and convince people who weren’t paying attention in 1990 or who have poor memories. I prefer treaties and actual timelines as a foundation. Go back and check out who was pushing the subsequent free trade agreements, and “fast-tracking” them. Sit down with a pencil and enumerate consequences over time.

        • Citizen says:

          “…“the lobby” is but a very visible part of the entire picture”

          It does not seem to be a very visible part of the entire picture to Dick and Jane.

          And that’s due to our complicit mainstream media (and congress & WH), which omits the Israel Lobby’s considerable influence–not a good example of the Fourth Estate’s duty to enable an informed citizenry. MW does a much better job of that, which you appear to concede–so how do you deduce from this situation that MWers disagree with your negative characterization of our 1%ers, including of course the military-industrial-security-ivy complex that is part of it all?

  3. Theo says:

    Just imagine, there is a war declared and nobody shows up!!!

  4. Phil, it could be the “big money people” that General Wesley Clark spoke about back during his time in the spotlight.

    I’m just saying, it could be if there is such a thing.

  5. Egbert says:

    We could always make a collection to pay for parachutes and AK47s so the neocons can dropped into Iran. I’m sure they could raise the money for their own ammunition.

  6. pabelmont says:

    “would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington”.

    OK, that is MERELY a demand for consultation.
    It is by no means a refusal to go to war — under any and all circumstances — whatever — do you hear me — have I made myself abundantly clear — the answer is NO.

    This war is politically determined. Whether it starts or not, whether there is consultation or not, all is political. The results will be what they will be, somewhat political and a lot of dead bodies and destruction. You know. War.

    A few people counseling restraint. good for them. But a lot of politicians doing what politicians do (and thinking about the bigger picture is not one of them).

    • john h says:

      This war is politically determined.

      link to

      David Ignatius published an alarming story in today’s Washington Post, in which he quotes Leon Panetta predicting an Israeli attack on Iran in “April, May or June.” Buried deeper within the article is an even more chilling passage:

      “Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.”

      In the context of the article, which portrays an Israeli first strike against Iran, we can only explain this statement as announcing to Iran that if it counter-strikes against Israel that the U.S. will join in the war against it.

      I can’t say clearly enough that what the U.S. has signaled in Ignatius’ report is that if Iran is attacked, it may not strike back against its attacker. If it does, the U.S. will rain down hellfire and damnation on it. This is frightening beyond measure. I’ve never known the U.S. to lay down such a principle which virtually assures our joining in a war against Iran.

      Silverstein also covers other relevant issues in the article .

  7. Let’s just get the Who out of the way and answer that question to the best of our abililty.

    “So the U.S. military doesn’t want to attack Iran and neither does Israel. Who does?”

  8. flyod says:

    the NY Times continues it’s not so subtle propaganda attack. Once again Ethan Bronner;
    Israel Warns Iranian Missiles Might Threaten U.S. link to

    what a joke

  9. American says:

    Who wants to attack Iran? Israel wants to attack Iran. Take a gander at these statements. I swear to gawd these people lie like little children telling whoppers to other little children.
    There are 200,000 missiles always aimed at Israel?
    The explosion in Iran saved the US from being targeted by Iran?

    link to

    HomeNewsDiplomacy & DefensePublished 13:24 02.02.12
    Latest update 13:24 02.02.12

    Israel Vice PM: Military strike can hit all of Iran’s nuclear facilities

    Speaking at Herzliya Conference, Moshe Ya’alon calls the possibility of a nuclear Iran a ‘nightmare to the free world,’ says explosion at Iranian missile base targeted missile system that would have threatened the U.S.
    By Barak Ravid
    Tags: Iran nuclear IDF Iran threat Iran

    All of Iran’s nuclear faculties are vulnerable to a military strike, Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Thursday, calling the potential of a nuclear Iran a “nightmare to the free world.”

    link to

    Published 10:32 02.02.12
    Latest update 10:32 02.02.12

    Some 200,000 missiles aimed consistently at Israel, top IDF officer says

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      I think that there is nothing more disgusting than this gang referring to Israel as part of the “free world” as if it doesn’t hold millions of people in virtual bondage, based on nothing but their ethnicity and religion. “Free” indeed.

      • seafoid says:

        The free world schtick is about 20 years out of date. China is propping up the dollar in 2012.

        • MRW says:


          “China is propping up the dollar in 2012.”

          No, it’s not. China’s savings account in the US is at the Fed in a T-securities account. About 1.5 trillion’s worth. China bought T-bills from us, and the money used to buy them is parked in this country. The ‘full faith and credit’ of the US is far, far, far in excess of $1.5 trillion. The US dollar is not in any danger at all.

        • seafoid says:


          What would happen if China sold all of its t-bills ? Any view as to what would transpire at the next t bill auction ?

        • MRW says:


          What would happen if China sold all of its t-bills ?

          It would have to sell them on the open market, just like you and I (we should be so lucky to have that problem, hunh).

          If it took possession of that sale purchase in Chinese currency, China wants the exchange rate to be the same or lower–lower ain’t gonna happen–as what it paid for it. This is why China fights the re-evaluation of the yuan. The cost of purchasing more T-bills would skyrocket (although some might argue that they would make more yuan on this exchange, that is not in China’s long-term interest).

          On the other hand, if China sold its T-bills, but kept the money in the US in its reserve account, the Fed would credit China’s reserve (checking) account at the Fed. A spreadsheet exchange. Why would China want to do that? Purchasing oil and American products, among other things, and a hedge against a repeat of the Asian crisis of 1997. The money stays in the US.

          China uses the Fed as its US local savings (T-securities) and checking (reserves) bank.

        • Citizen says:

          MRW, that article you linked to does not tell us how far the US can go into debt (e.g., by government spending to increase income) before it reaches an absurdity even “printing” yet more money can’t reach. Would that force replacement of the dollar with a basket of currencies at some point?

      • Antidote says:

        I don’t see why it should be more disgusting than referring to the US and various satellite states as part of the “free world”.

  10. seanmcbride says:

    A few parties that have been pushing the United States into a military confrontation with Iran:

    1. Abram Shulsky 2. AEI (American Enterprise Institute) 3. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) 4. Alan Kuperman 5. Andrew Adler 6. Anne Applebaum 7. Ari Fleischer 8. Ben Chouake 9. Ben Stein 10. Benjamin Netanyahu 11. Benny Morris 12. BPC (Bipartisan Policy Center) 13. Bret Stephens 14. Caroline Glick 15. Charles Krauthammer 16. Christian Zionists 17. Chuck Robb 18. Cliff May 19. Commentary 20. Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations 21. CSP (Center for Security Policy) 22. CUFI (Christians United for Israel) 23. Dan Meridor 24. Daniel Pipes 25. Danny Dayon 26. Danny Yatom 27. David Brog 28. David Horowitz 29. David Makovsky 30. Dennis Ross 31. Dick Cheney 32. Dick Morris 33. Dore Gold 34. Douglas Feith 35. ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel) 36. Ed Koch 37. Elliott Abrams 38. Ethan Bronner 39. Evan Bayh 40. FDD 41. Fox News 42. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative) 43. Frank Gaffney 44. Fred Hiatt 45. Fred Kagan 46. Free Republic 47. Frontpage Magazine 48. Gary Bauer 49. Glenn Beck 50. Glenn Reynolds 51. Howard Berman 52. Hugh Hewitt 53. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen 54. INSS (Institute for National Security Studies) 55. Jack Keane 56. James Woolsey 57. Jamie Glazov 58. Jeffrey Goldberg 59. Jewish World Review 60. JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) 61. Joe Lieberman 62. Joel Mowbray 63. Joel Rosenberg 64. John Bolton 65. John Hagee 66. John McCain 67. John Podhoretz 68. Jonathan Schanzer 69. Joshua Muravchik 70. Kevin Bergner 71. Lester Crown 72. Liam Fox 73. Likud 74. Lindsey Graham 75. Liz Cheney 76. Louie Gohmert 77. Malcolm Hoenlein 78. Matthew Kroenig 79. Max Boot 80. Meyrav Wurmser 81. Michael Ledeen 82. Michael Makovsky 83. Michael Rubin 84. Michael Savage 85. Michele Bachmann 86. Mike Evans 87. Mitt Romney 88. Mort Zuckerman 89. Morton Klein 90. Natan Sharansky 91. National Review 92. neoconservatives 93. New York Post 94. Newsmax 95. Newt Gingrich 96. Oded Tira 97. One Jerusalem 98. Pajamas Media 99. Pamela Geller 100. Pat Robertson 101. Randy Scheunemann 102. Reuel Marc Gerecht 103. Richard Haass 104. Richard Perle 105. Rick Perry 106. Rick Santorum 107. RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition) 108. Robert Spencer 109. Robert Wexler 110. Ronen Bergman 111. Rudy Giuliani 112. Sarah Palin 113. Shabtai Shavit 114. Sheldon Adelson 115. Shimon Peres 116. Steve Rosen 117. UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran) 118. Weekly Standard 119. William Kristol 120. Worldnetdaily 121. Yaron Brook 122. ZOA (Zionist Organization of America)

    Isn’t it fair to say, based on the empirical evidence, that pro-Israel activists have been the prime movers behind the campaign to go to war against Iran? Why would it not be fair and truthful to say this?

    • seanmcbride says:

      Additions to the above list: CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post. (Any other additions from astute and informed observers here?)

      Edit: FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies).

      It is useful to focus on the institutional and organizational players that have been agitating to ratchet up tension with Iran to the point of military conflict:

      1. AEI (American Enterprise Institute)
      2. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
      3. BPC (Bipartisan Policy Center)
      4. CNN
      5. Commentary
      6. Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
      7. CSP (Center for Security Policy)
      8. CUFI (Christians United for Israel)
      9. ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel)
      10. FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies)
      11. Fox News
      12. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative)
      13. Free Republic
      14. Frontpage Magazine
      15. INSS (Institute for National Security Studies)
      16. Jewish World Review
      17. JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)
      18. National Review
      19. New York Post
      20. New York Times
      21. Newsmax
      22. One Jerusalem
      23. Pajamas Media
      24. RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition)
      25. UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran)
      26. Wall Street Journal
      27. Washington Post
      28. Weekly Standard
      29. Worldnetdaily
      30. ZOA (Zionist Organization of America)

      How many of them are components of the Israel lobby or have close ties to the Israel lobby? How many of them are owned, controlled or dominated by pro-Israel activists or militants?

      • seanmcbride says:

        An important omission/addition: WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).

        Most of these organizations are basically front groups for the Israeli government, Likud, the Israel lobby, AIPAC, etc. Their agenda is all about Israel — that is, about Zionism and Jewish ethnic nationalism. They closely coordinate their activities with one another. Most Americans are paying no attention to this political machine at all.

        • Citizen says:

          RE: “Most Americans are paying no attention to this political machine at all.”

          Yes, this is so. And our MSM contributes to Dick and Jane’s ignorance. So much for the bedrock of our national democratic system: informed consent.

  11. radii says:

    war is a racket and those who make their money off of this evil enterprise are still pushing for it – the regional superpower goals of zionist israel have not abated, reality has merely intervened (or been imposed) for a while … before too long israel will agitate again for this war … no doubt the atomic inspectors will come back from Iran and report again that the nuclear program there is civilian in nature and no active efforts are underway to weaponize, but israel and its agents and operatives will throw dirt at the new report and claim some new threat or increased threat all over again … America let itself be used by the zionists and their agents and operatives here in the US in the Iraq campaign and now the generals and intelligence community have finally spoken out forcefully that the US will not be forced into an Iran debacle … sorry, Blackwater (or whatever you call yourselves these days) – no lucrative contracts this round

  12. kma says:

    who wants war with Iran?
    1. the same people that want to export Palestinians, take ALL of the West Bank, and further strangulation of Gaza.
    2. the same people that want to divide & conquer Syria and Lebanon.
    3. the same people that face the US spiraling economy during an election year.
    4. the same people that rule over the US empire as it is falling apart.

    don’t listen to what they say – watch what they do. believe what you see, not what they say.

  13. BillM says:

    Note that your article doesn’t say that “Israel” wants no part of it, but that Israel’s “military and security establishment” doesn’t want it. The “political establishment”? That’s different.

    Note also today’s article by Administration mouthpiece David Ignatius:
    link to

    Supposedly, this article warns Israel that it is on its own in an attack, but it doesn’t really say that. It says:

    Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.

    “You stay to the side, and let us do it,” one Israeli official is said to have advised the United States. A “short-war” scenario assumes five days or so of limited Israeli strikes, followed by a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. The Israelis are said to recognize that damage to the nuclear program might be modest, requiring another strike in a few years.

    U.S. officials see two possible ways to dissuade the Israelis from such an attack: Tehran could finally open serious negotiations for a formula to verifiably guarantee that its nuclear program will remain a civilian one; or the United States could step up its covert actions to degrade the program so much that Israelis would decide that military action wasn’t necessary.

    In other words, this article is threatening just the opposite, that if Israel attacks and Iran responds against Israeli population centers, then the US will join. Since Iran MUST respond, this article is effectively a promise by the US to join any war Israel starts.

    Now, I don’t really believe Israel will attack. Now that it has a US pledge to join, it’s a fairly simple proposition to get the US to take the final step and make the first strike itself (in the name of keeping the war short and effective). All that is needed is a few more rounds of tension raising and “covert” strikes to make a war seem more plausible.

    • john h says:

      BillM, I see we have both highlighted the Ignatius story.

      Here are some interesting comments on the Iran issue from Rabbi Brant Rosen, link to

      • BillM says:

        To my mind, Ignatius’ piece is best seen as an offer of compromise to the Iranian regime, one laying out the parameters for a friendly little war:

        1) Israel gets to attack Iran for “five days or so.”
        2) Obviously, Israel can do only limited damage at that range.
        3) Iranian response would be token, i.e. some rockets from Hezbollah and maybe even a few from Iran as long as they do not target “population centers” (Tel Aviv and, for Hezbollah, Haifa)
        4) US will act as guarantor of the deal, not directly intervening and ensuring the war comes to a tidy end after 5 days.
        5) Everyone can claim victory: Israel gets to prove it’s the toughest, Iran can say it drove back the Zionist invaders, the US gets a thrill of victory without an actual war, and can keep complaining about the Iranian nuclear program without having to explain why it never seems to advance.

        Unfortunately for the Administration, Khamenei seems to have rejected the deal:
        link to

        The supreme leader of Iran vowed on Friday to retaliate over oil sanctions and threats of military action by the West to stop Iran’s nuclear program, warning that the United States in particular would face severe damage to its interests if any strike were carried out against its nuclear sites.
        The pointed remarks by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were the most public response by him to mounting tension between Western powers and Iran in recent weeks.

        So now the US must re-evaluation it’s position. Based on Ignatius’ article, the US must either toughen its negotiating stance (more threats of war), or offer a more palatable compromise (i.e. keeping the war covert):

        U.S. officials see two possible ways to dissuade the Israelis from such an attack: Tehran could finally open serious negotiations for a formula to verifiably guarantee that its nuclear program will remain a civilian one; or the United States could step up its covert actions to degrade the program so much that Israelis would decide that military action wasn’t necessary.

  14. MRW says:

    Gareth Porter adds: “But the Israeli government remains defiant about maintaining its freedom of action to make war on Iran, and it is counting on the influence of right-wing extremist views in U.S. politics to bring pressure to bear on Obama to fall into line with a possible Israeli attack during the election campaign this fall.”

    • Citizen says:

      I imagine Obama does not like the probability gas at the pump would go sky high while he is campaigning. OTOH, folks like Adelson are pushing the GOP candidates to go more to the right than Bibi himself re Iran, which is a good way to push Obama more to the right too on Iran, and hence the green light is flickering. If some US official say in no case would we allow Iran or Hezbollah to respond to an attack by bombing Israeli population centers, I agree with those on this thread that war is coming soon, and the flickering green light is about to go stable green. High gas price at the pump, even lines there, did not stop Nixon and he was an actual anti-semite according to his own tapes.

  15. After you watch the video below, I am sure that you will all agree that we need to bomb Iran as soon as possible and exterminate all these people post-haste:

    • i have jewish family in iran by marriage; recently visited the US and returned to iran. from the reporting you see in the MSM you would think iran was judenrein.

      here is another video to make you feel sick to your stomach, should we ever destroy such a great country, for no justifiable reason at all… only for the MIC, right wing zionists, and who knows what/who else…
      link to
      just love the cat, or should i say, yusuf islam… gotta love how some of my favorite artists are muslim or turned to islam (brother ali? lupe fiasco?)

      • Yeah, “disturbing” is right. Love “peace train”.
        Such beautiful people!

        Also says something about the world we live in when someone like Cat Stevens gets refused entry and has to return home without deplaning.
        What a terrorist he must be!

  16. Les says:

    Here’s a must read piece by David Bromwich

    Obama’s Drift Toward War With Iran
    02/ 2/2012

    link to

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Been a while since I’ve cruised Huffington Post. Found an article’s comment section just absolutely rife with anti-Arab racist hate speech. Managed to avoid wretching.

      Nice to know I made the right choice, cutting loose from a community of ugly white bigots.

  17. Opaleye says:

    Dan Crowther:

    the aitimes article points out that half the US Navy is in the Gulf.

    So, Obama has swung a large number of floating targets into a confined body of water. Some of those targets have 5000 men aboard.

    Mr Obama probably doesn’t know much about military matters, but I’m sure he’s been advised that it is not possible to defend those ships against a swarm of anti-ship missiles. One or two can be beaten, yes, but not a swarm.

    The main Iranian naval tactic is swarming, they have a huge number of missiles and it’s not as if they are saving them up for some other job they have in mind. They also have submarines and if any of their torpedoes are at all modern, they cannot be defended against.

    The reality that the Navy knows perfectly well, but that the public is never told, is that huge surface ships, especially carriers, are obsolete against any serious opposition. They are great for use against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, who had no air force, no surface navy, no submarines, no cruise missiles, no decent anti-ship missiles. You will note that it is a long time since the US has been at war with a serious country, i.e. a country with halfway modern weapons.

    Carriers can be used against Iran if they stand off out of the Gulf and rely on airborne refueling to get their planes over the Gulf. But leaving them in the Gulf is suicidal if war breaks out. So we can infer that Washington does not expect war to break out.

    It’s not hard to connect the dots. The Navy is there only because Obama believes the Gulf will *not* become a hot war zone, and part of the reason he believes it won’t is because the Navy is there, see?

    It’s a deterrence tactic, with very high stakes for the Navy, but it is self-consistent. Their presence will deter Israel from trying to sneak through Saudi Arabia or Iraq. They know perfectly well the Iranians are not going to attack first.

    Americans love seeing TV images of their ships steaming impressively around in heathen waters, so it is hard to depict Obama as “weak on Iran”.

    The David Ignatius piece is aimed at the domestic constituency. Obama can’t just come out and say, “look, we’ve decided we’re not going to attack Iran under any circumstances and if Israel starts something, we’re just going to let them stew”. So they have to mix it up a little. But the straight message was delivered by Dempsey to Israel :

    “the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington”

    Now, since the *only* purpose of an Israeli attack is to drag the US in, this is just code for saying “you don’t have a green light”. And with half the USN in the Gulf, Israel *does* need a green light for this, notwithstanding all the bravado to the contrary.

    The propaganda exercise in the NYT magazine, done with full coordination of the Israeli political leadership, demonstrates their desperation to drag the US in. Why would they bother with all that if they are going to strike alone and against US wishes?

    If we see reports that the carriers are all leaving the Gulf and air forces are being transferred into land bases nearby, then I would be more worried.

    • i really hope you’re right. really really really right.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        I do too. I have a feeling there are cold hearts at the Pentagon that wouldn’t mind losing an aircraft carrier (never mind its crew!) to an Iranian reprisal to an Israeli blitzkrieg, if that gave them the pretext for “war with no restrictions whatsoever.”

    • for the first time since this exercise in fear mongering and hypermilitarization began, in 2001, I believe the US military is actually acting to protect the American — and, incredibly but thankfully, the Iranian people.

      from Israel.

      I think you’re right and I hope your right, opaleye.
      [cough cough choke] Support our troops and Sailors, and keep them safe on a dangerous mission.
      Remember USS Liberty

    • American says:

      I agree with opaleye.
      It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.
      Looks like the US creating a stand down.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        They’re going to fail. Israel always wins at this game, and they’ll sink aircraft carriers just as readily as they’d have sunk the USS Liberty. Obama can’t control the message, he’s proven he will sit down and shut up when Israel takes American lives, and Netanyahu and his cadre know this.

    • Mooser says:

      “Mr Obama probably doesn’t know much about military matters, but I’m sure he’s been advised that it is not possible to defend those ships against a swarm of anti-ship missiles. One or two can be beaten, yes, but not a swarm.”

      Oh please! You can be sure the military or whatever contracter handles relations with the White House, is telling Obama that those ships are impregnable, and the men on them perfectly safe. And then, gee, if a missle takes one out, kills several thousand American sailors, why then we’ll just have to go full tilt on Iran, huh? And the military (or the contracter who handles…) will just say “Oh we could never have imagined” and that’ll be the end of it.
      People whose best argument is killing others don’t give honest or disinterested advice. Anybody remember how helpless the Viet Cong were going to be in the face of our military technology? ANybody remember how long the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were supposed to last?

      Since WW2, the default action for America is war. It takes only a few interested people to start a war. All you need, as Hearst said, is the right pictures. It takes almost the entire nation, aroused, to stop one. Are the Zionists more interested in going to war on Iran or the American military-industrial complex, or the segment of the economy which preys on veterans? Damnned if I know. And the supply of young idiots, brains warped by media and untouched by politics or education is apparently illimatable. I mean, who would flip burgers when you can be a “hero” and “serve your country”. And if the neo-con dream army of straight limbed, clean and morally fine young people (where they are supposed to come from without national health care is a mystery) doesn’t show up, you can always get started with the “Army you have”.
      And frankly, if anybody thinks my comment is too moderate, and presumes much too much goodwill and honesty on the part of the US government and it’s military, I don’t care. Go ahead, call me a Rebecca of Sunnybrook kibbutz if you want to!

  18. Opaleye says:

    The Bromwich article is devastating. I concluded that Obama was a boob on Inauguration Day, when it became clear that his tone in government would bear no resemblance to his campaign. This indicated that contrary to appearances during the campaign, he didn’t really understand the situation he would attempt to govern. For example he thought that the economy would right itself without any real leadership from him. What a boob.

    Whilst he seems to have found (or rather the Joint Chiefs have found) a tactical approach for keeping a lid on war with Iran, my concern is that he has rolled it out too soon and will be outmaneuvered politically by the Israelis before the election.

    In other words, he will find himself flailing in the election and will try to save himself by starting the same war that he is currently trying to prevent (also to save himself).

    Hope isn’t a strategy, but I suppose we can hope the Republicans self destruct so effectively that Mr Milquetoast won’t be threatened.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      my concern is that he has rolled it out too soon and will be outmaneuvered politically by the Israelis before the election.

      This isn’t just a concern, it’s a likelihood. Operation Cast Lead was timed like clockwork to the last Presidential election and inauguration, and you can pretty much be guaranteed that Israelis, heartened by their domination over US politics, will do the same exact thing in a few months — doing the wrong thing at exactly the right time.

      Israel owns Obama. Basically. Why mince words?

    • dahoit says:

      Wha?Willard is as milquetoast as Obomba,and just as subservient to the wackos.
      Ditto for all the clowns(except for the(ho ho) designated racist and looney Ron Paul,whose policies are anathema to the real racist monsters,our political duopoly) ,so your point is?
      Confused,are you not?

    • Mooser says:

      “In other words, he will find himself flailing in the election and will try to save himself by starting the same war that he is currently trying to prevent (also to save himself).”

      Since the economy, and the employment picture, seems to be recovering, the main thrust of the Republican campaign will be “Why hasn’t Obama gone to war on Iran yet?”

  19. piotr says:

    If Rabbit
    Was bigger
    And fatter
    And stronger,
    Or bigger
    Than Tigger,
    If Tigger was smaller,
    Then Tigger’s bad habit
    Of bouncing at Rabbit
    Would matter
    No longer,
    If Rabbit
    Was taller.

    The problem with Iran is that i is just too big. Israel is small, savage and easy do defend (well, relatively). But we have troops and some idiotic ambitions in Afghanistan where 20% of population is Shia and 40% speaks Persian. Closing supply routes through Pakistan and Central Asia by some combination of diplomacy and guerilla warfare is quite easy, and we would only be able to kvetch. We do not HAVE to have troops in Afghanistan, but withdrawal in such circumstances would be humiliating. Which could serve us well, but… This is the cheapest avenue of retaliation for Iran.

    Hormuz is like nuclear weapon: mutually assured economic destruction. Hence, other avenues will be explored first.

    Iraq seems a good avenue. Some aspects of Shia axis already operate: Iraq props Syria financially. A “Defiant alliance” that would make it official would tilt the strategic landscape against Israel. Iran could start moving troops and military supplies using Iraq’s transportation network.

  20. seanmcbride says:

    The Capitalist lobby vs. the Israel lobby

    What a wonderful propaganda construct for the Israel lobby is the Chomskyan (Marxist) notion of the Capitalist lobby.

    Consider the benefits obtained:

    1. There is no Israel lobby of significance. It doesn’t exist. Stop talking about it. Put it out of your mind.

    2. To the extent that there might be an Israel lobby, it (and Israel) are tools of the Capitalist lobby and therefore bear no responsibility for their misdeeds. In fact, they may well be righteous victims of the American empire and evil anti-Semitic capitalists, who have forced Israel to serve as their aggressive and violent proxy in the Mideast.

    3. The Capitalist lobby is extremely vague and pretty much covers all Americans — there are no particular organizations or people to blame. The chief villain is a big amorphous blob. Rail away at this blob all you want — you will have no effect. There is no specific entity being targeted.

    Brilliant! If I were a member of the Israel lobby, I would push this meme full force.

  21. American says:

    Wait till you read this drivel—- OMG! Iran is going to attack Jews in the US!
    Run Jews, run! You’re about to get attacked by the Iran Mossad in the US if Obama doesn’t bomb Iran. Special security upped by Police and Homeland Security for Jewish sites! The US Iranian community knows all about this and doesn’t care! Jews aren’t safe anywhere in the world as long as Iran exist!

    link to

    Exclusive: Israel Warns US Jews: Iran Could Strike Here

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Didn’t Israel say the same thing riiiiight before their agents blew up that synagogue in Baghdad, way back when? Or am I mixing things up with the Lavon Affair?

      • Walid says:

        Close, Chaos, Israel’s bombing of the synagogue was the Magen Avraham in Beirut in 1982; actually, the synagogue’s roof was hit by a shell from an offshore Israeli ship to nudge some of Beirut’s Jews into leaving. Of the few hundreds that did leave, most refused to go to Israel or to have anything to do with that country and they went to Europe, Canada and the US. In Baghdad, it was the Jewish market in 1951.

    • john h says:

      Silverstein chimes in:

      Is Israel’s Iranophobia Virus Contagious?

      So get this: the “threat” is from protesters at Israeli embassies and consulates. Why? How? Doesn’t say. Are there Iranian agents who’ve infiltrated these protests? And what protests? I haven’t heard of any to speak of. Are Iranians demonstrating at Israeli embassies over threats against Iran? Hadn’t heard of that. But the end result here is Israel is setting the stage for its own attack on Iran leading to such protests by Iranians and others who oppose violence, and these protesters will be seen as potential terrorist saboteurs out to get Israelis or any American Jew they can find.

      So because some mid-level Israeli security operative spins a tale of dread, every American Jew must start looking under his bed for hidden Iranian agents out to get him (or her). If you parse this carefully, there is absolutely no proven threat mentioned, no chatter in the terror networks, no identifiable enemy operatives. Just a load of paranoia from a bunch of spooks telling us the Iranian bogeymen are out there, somewhere, waiting, just waiting. For what?

      Of course Iran may be “working hard” to attack Israel and its interests. If enemy leaders and generals threatened your country virtually every day with violent attack, you’d plan the same thing as a response to an attack. Aside from the purported Saudi assassination plot, Iran has shown no willingness to engage in any act of terror against Israeli or Jewish interests. And I predict they likely will not do so until and unless Israel attacks.

      link to

  22. seanmcbride says:

    Dan Crowther’s response to the well-grounded and well-documented charge that the Israel lobby has been the prime mover behind the campaign to push Americans into a war against Iran:

    “I don’t obsess over the Lobby as the prime source of evil.”

    He might just as well be receiving a paycheck from Sheldon Adelson or Haim Saban for his efforts to divert discussion away from the Israel lobby with bad and false history and the generous use of the anti-Semitism smear.

    Going to war against Iran is such a bad idea from the standpoint of the *American* interest (including the interests of most Americans at the top of the capitalist heap) that even George W. Bush vetoed the crazy idea during his administration. There is not the least indication that Americans as a whole, the American national security establishment or most Fortune 500 CEOs are agitating for a war against Iran. An Iran War could easily collapse the American economy and cause untold misery for Americans.

    • American says:

      Who wants war with Iran?..who,who,who.
      Well, for one thing look at who makes up the most outlandish lies.

      At a hearing Thursday of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ros-Lehtinen claimed that Iran had missile sites already set up in Venezuela and around South America to use against the US and they were training commandos to attack Americans world wide.
      She said Iran’s relations with Latin American countries like Cuba and Venezuela posed a growing threat to the US homeland.

      link to

      • kapok says:

        Because the war isn’t against Islamic terror. Hell, Amrika, Israel et al are happy to fund Islamic terror when it suits their precious interests. The war is against the Red/Green Tendency than which nothing else is more inimical to those same interests.

    • kapok says:

      America is a big, complicated place. Some US capitalists sell cornflakes, some missile guidance systems. I’ve no doubt the latter are chomping at the bit for war. Ditto for the builders of fighting ships and jets. It means jobs, and jobs mean votes. It means returns for the investors of Raytheon, General Dynamics, Lockheed and so on. Billions to be poured into the politcal campaigns in districts that support the war industry. In my own short sojourn in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Depraved, I noted military encampments fairly thick on the ground. More votes, more guns.