Trending Topics:

Passive-aggressive George Bush namechecks neocons for getting us into that mess

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 84 Comments
Salad days  Wolfowitz and Bush
Salad days: Wolfowitz and Bush

In a post on Bill Kristol’s appearance in New York, Scott McConnell reminds us that George W. Bush called Kristol and Charles Krauthammer “the bomber boys” because they pressured him to bomb Iran. McConnell says the neocons may have had George W. Bush wrapped up, but he had real misgivings about them.

I just got Bush’s book, Decision Points (2010). And it shows some real passive-aggressive tendencies with respect to the neocons.

Here’s Bush’s sole reference to neocon Paul Wolfowitz, during a post-911 meeting on Afghanistan:

At one point, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz suggested that we consider confronting Iraq as well as the Taliban…. [Saddam’s regime] had a long record of supporting terrorism, including paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers…. Colin cautioned against it.

Oh so it was Wolfie’s stupid idea. And it was because of Palestinians suicide bombers.

Here’s Bush’s sole reference to neocon Elliott Abrams, during the runup to the Iraq war in 2003:

Two of our biggest concerns were starvation and refugees…. An estimated two million Iraqis could be displaced from their homes during war. On January 15, Elliott Abrams, a senior NSC staffer, delivered a detailed briefing on our preparations. We planned to prestation food, blankets, medicine, tents, etc.

Translation: Abrams told me everything was under control.

Here’s some other great advice Bush got. It’s his sole reference to Elie Wiesel:

In the winter of 2003, I sought opinions on Iraq from a variety of sources…. One of the most fascinating people I met with was Elie Wiesel, the author, Holocaust survivor, and deserving Nobel Prize recipient. Elie is a sober and gentle man. But there was passion in his seventy-four-year-old eyes when he compared Saddam Hussein’s brutality to the Nazi genocide. “Mr. President,” he said, “you have a moral obligation to act against evil.” The force of his conviction affected me deeply. Here was a man who had devoted his life to peace urging me to intervene in Iraq…

I’ve always wondered why many critics of the war did not acknowledge the moral argument made by people like Elie Wiesel.

Well because it was unhinged, Mr. President, as you note yourself. 

Neocons Fred Kagan, Eliot Cohen, and Robert Kaplan all get namechecked too, as war supporters at a time when Baghdad is “hell, Mr. President.”

Curiously, there are no references in the book to Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Bernard Lewis, David Wurmser, David Frum, Bill Kristol or that other bomber boy Charles Krauthammer re war policy.

George Bush seems to want to forget his neocon captivity as a bad dream. Frum came up with the term “axis of evil”! But he gets no airtime?!

Oh, by the way, Bush does say that he and Condi Rice solved the Israel Palestinian conflict.

By the time I left, the Palestinians had a president and prime minister who rejected terrorism. The Israelis had withdrawn from some settlements and supported a two-state solution. And Arab nations were playing an active role in the peace process.

No sweat. Time for horseshoes!

P.S. I blame the neocons too. It was their idea, and almost all of them cited Palestinian suicide bombers, as if that was our problem. But someone had to execute their theory…

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

84 Responses

  1. MarkF
    May 22, 2012, 1:58 pm

    The neocons got the empty suit they wanted. I’m sure they are lamenting the fact that Michelle Bachman didn’t win the nomination.

    I can only hope that as a devout Christian he eventually shares regret for the destruction and havoc he helped wreak.

  2. Krauss
    May 22, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Bush saw his father go down the tubes because of AIPAC, and he was determined not to repeat the trick. In the end he got played, in part because his father was a far greater intellect(like his brother Jeb) but also because a single man, no matter how brilliant, cannot alone shake the foundations of power. Look no further than Obama.

    Oh, and Phil, did you know what the former CIA director George Tenet screamed into the Arab night, drunk in the pool of Saudi prince Bandar? Google it.
    Not pretty – but telling.

    Tenet, who was played just like Bush to go into war. Unlike Bush, he seems to have gotten things far faster but by that time understood that those of his generation, who Kristol derided as ‘Arabist WASPs’, had since long lost.

    • rpickar
      May 22, 2012, 8:01 pm


      Your comment is another reason why it needs to be spread far and wide that Bush and Tenet both wanted war with Iraq. It’s why the discussion simply must include the understanding that 9/11 was a false flag inside job. They weren’t “played”, they were part of a script that was agreed to before the election. In addition, even if Gore was elected, the script would have played out similarly.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 26, 2012, 8:34 pm

        Robert says, “In addition, even if Gore was elected, the script would have played out similarly.”

        Gore would have invaded Iraq? I don’t think so.

    • thankgodimatheist
      May 23, 2012, 3:14 am

      “George Tenet Screamed About Jews In Saudi Prince’s Pool: Book”
      CIA director George Tenet, drunk on scotch at Saudi Prince Bandar’s pool, rants about Bush administration “Jews” who are “setting me up” to take the fall for the false WMD claims:

  3. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    May 22, 2012, 2:18 pm

    “Elie Wiesel… a man who had devoted his life to peace…”

    Baloney. No man of peace would have authored the lie-filled, anti-Arab screed regarding al-Quds (“Jerusalem”), especially considering the crimes which were being committed and are committed against the Palestinians in that city.

    • lysias
      May 22, 2012, 3:11 pm

      I don’t think a genuine man of peace would have Wiesel’s long history of resentment and bad behavior towards Gypsies:

      Apart from one brief public encounter, we never in fact spoke at all. In July, 1988, I was invited to present a paper entitled “Uniqueness of the victims” at the Remembering for the Future: Responses to the Holocaust conference at Oxford University. I was accompanied by a gentleman named Leland Robison who recently reminded me of a startling confrontation I had with Professor Wiesel at that event—though I’d scarcely forgotten it. It remains very clear in my mind to this day. Professor Wiesel, surrounded by cameras and journalists, was being interviewed on the university grounds. During a break between questioning, I approached him and said “Professor Wiesel, please don’t forget the Gypsies!” He turned aggressively towards me, glared, and barked “Mister Hancock! I have read what you have written! And I don’t like it! I don’t like it at all!!” and turned away. He never did mention the Gypsies. He was presumably referring to my piece on “uniqueness” in SHMATE, the only article on the Holocaust I then had in print and the one in which my correspondence with him was reproduced.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        May 22, 2012, 5:53 pm

        Very, very good point. No man of peace would have the world ignore any of the Holocaust: not the porajmos, not the shoah, not the murder of the Poles or the homosexuals or the Russian P.O.W.s or any of the others.

      • Citizen
        May 22, 2012, 6:00 pm

        Since the Roma had the identical top priority as Nazi targets as the Jews had, and were in fact treated so, even more so considering Dr Mengele’s medical experiments with Roma, one would think a Jewish leader like Weisel would have spoken in behalf of the gypsies too. Naw; his view has been that the Jews were unique in getting specially targeted by the Nazis.
        BTW, where is the Gypsy Lobby in the USA? There’s a million of them here. All they get is TLC’s Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.

  4. seanmcbride
    May 22, 2012, 2:47 pm

    Colin Powell blamed “the JINSA crowd” for the Iraq War and he was right. Google [colin powell jinsa crowd] for the details.

    JINSA=Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs — one of dozens of tentacles of the Israel lobby and yet another front group for Likud Zionism. The neocons engineered the entire Global War on Terror and Islamophobic Clash of Civilizations — a policy that is still wreaking enormous damage on American prosperity and interests.

    Historians haven’t even begun to dig fully into this topic. Wait until they really get their teeth into it.

    • aiman
      May 23, 2012, 12:23 am

      What’s interesting is that Bernard Lewis who really worded “the clash of civilisations” is endorsed as a historian! I am disappointed when even Ian Buruma in an otherwise critical piece on Lewis asserts Lewis’s “superior mastery of Islamic history” over Edward Said, and shoots ridiculous lines such as: ” I doubt, in any case, that Zionism quite explains Lewis’s role as a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. Nor does his supposed contempt for the Arab world do so. On the contrary, perhaps he loves it too much.” Yes, in the same way as al-Qaeda and Islamism’s earliest inspirators like Abu Ala Maududi love(d) “the West” and the vulnerable in their own society too much!?

      I hope Bernard Lewis is exposed for what he is but guess we will have glorious eulogies in his name in all the conservative and liberal publications when he kicks the bucket. The real historians are silenced. The media, eloquent fascists like Christopher Hitchens (who claim to be fighting fascism), and the political establishments write the news both before and after it happens. They make the wrong history and promote the wrong historians.

  5. Kathleen
    May 22, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil said Wolfowitz was the first to push for the invasion of Iraq along with Cheney during some of the earliest Bush administrations cabinet meetings.

    Did Bush mention Ledeen, Luti, Rhode, Woolsey, Bolton and the rest of the crew pushing for the invasion? Sounds like he skipped right over the Pentagons Office of Special plans that Lt Col Karen Kwiatowski wrote about in “The New Pentagon Papers” and Jason Vest article in the fall of 2002 in the Nation called “The Men from Jinsa and CSP” One of the best reads on all of these folks is Phase I and Phase II of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigation into pre war intelligence

  6. Kathleen
    May 22, 2012, 3:05 pm

    Hey Phil and the rest of you look “backward” types President Obama and most of the Dems and Republicans say “move forward, next chapter, turn the page, don’t be about retribution, vengeance, witch hunts” Just drive right over that huge piles of dead, injured and displaced bodies as a result of that unnecessary invasion of Iraq. Obama and Msnbc “forward” lean forward for heavens sake. Watched that special on the Clinton years and reminded once again the Republicans (Ken Starr sure had it out for Clinton) spent four years and 40 million dollars investigating those blow jobs. What is wrong with you folks who want the individuals responsible for the Iraq intelligence snowjob…held accountable. When will you folks get your priorities straight?

    • aiman
      May 22, 2012, 11:13 pm

      Perhaps Australia’s PM Julia Gillard adopted the “moving forward” slogan from Brand Obama:

      I reckon Obama’s “moving forward” reference is centred on the economic rationalist position which, like any other position, can constrain and disfigure reality when expressed especially by elite human institutions. It’s the neocons and the full-time role of Obama as a brand that does not really think of morality and accountability like we ordinary mortals do.

      • Brewer
        May 23, 2012, 6:03 am

        Re Julia Gillard, Rudd, see what you can make of this:

        “The Jewish community was deeply disturbed by the abrupt change in the government’s Israel policy. And Rudd’s treatment of the local Jewish fraternity, too. He had always been strongly pro-Israel. A former chairman of the World Jewish Congress Isi Leibler last year described him as “a Christian Zionist – he understands and has some sympathy for us”.
        Australia had long been one of the Israel’s three most supportive friends, along with the US and Canada. But now there were troubling signs that Rudd had decided to distance Australia from the Jewish state and himself from the Australian Jews he had called friends.
        It started in February with the government’s angry reaction to news that assassins with the Israeli intelligence service Mossad had forged three Australian passports to enter the United Arab Emirates to kill a Hamas military commander, Mahmoud al-Mabouh, in his hotel room. “Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend,” said Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith.
        It sharpened a week later when Australia switched its vote in the United Nations to signal a weakening of support for Israel. The government feigned surprise when asked if this was a rebuke for the abuse of the Australian passports but it was a deliberate and unmistakeable retaliation.”

        Two months later he was chopped liver and Australia had the most unpopular Prime Minister in History – Julia Gillard.

      • lysias
        May 23, 2012, 10:12 am

        Prime Minister Gillard publicly stated that Julian Assange had broken Australian law. It was left to Foreign Minister Rudd to publicly refute her, say that Assange had broken no Australian law, and that the Australian Foreign Ministry would offer Assange legal assistance.

        Not too long after that, Rudd was forced to resign from the cabinet.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    May 22, 2012, 4:07 pm

    RE: “Here’s Bush’s sole reference to neocon Elliott Abrams, during the runup to the Iraq war in 2003: ‘Two of our biggest concerns were starvation and refugees…. An estimated two million Iraqis could be displaced from their homes during war. On January 15, Elliott Abrams, a senior NSC staffer, delivered a detailed briefing on our preparations. We planned to prestation food, blankets, medicine, tents, etc.’
    Translation: Abrams told me everything was under control.”~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: And Why, Oh Why (VIDEO, 03:35) did Bush have a senior NSC staffer who had been convicted of lying to Congress during Iran-Contra?


    (excerpt)…HAIM KATZ: “If Clinton is elected, has he told you who he’s going to put on the Supreme Court?”
    DAVID STEINER AIPAC: “We’re talking now. We don’t have no commitments yet. We’re just negotiating. We’re more interested right now, in the secretary of state and the secretary of National Security Agency. That’s more important to us.”
    HAIM KATZ: “If Clinton is elected, who do you think will be secretary of state?”
    DAVID STEINER AIPAC: “We don’t know yet, we’re negotiating.”
    HAIM KATZ: “Who are you hoping for?”
    DAVID STEINER AIPAC: “I’ve got a list. But I really can’t go through it. I’m not allowed to talk about it.”
    HAIM KATZ: “But you figure, God willing, if Clinton’s elected . . .”
    DAVID STEINER AIPAC: “We’ll have access.”
    HAIM KATZ: “You’ll have access and you’ll have a good input into who’s secretary of state.”
    DAVID STEINER AIPAC: “I do believe so.”

    HAIM KATZ: “And the other position is. . .”
    DAVID STEINER AIPAC: “National security adviser.”
    HAIM KATZ: “Those are the two critical positions.”

    SOURCE –

    • Charon
      May 22, 2012, 7:01 pm

      That’s their most infamous ‘scandal’ followed by the espionage scandal from a few years ago. Goes along with their history of being suspected or investigated for spying. They’ve been politely asked to register as a foreign agent and never have. AIPAC was actually created with their predecessor was no-so-political asked by RFK (who ironically was later assassinated by a Palestinian…). Then there are all these neocon pigs like Perle who have history of spying for Israel but somehow wind up in government positions.

  8. Abu Malia
    Abu Malia
    May 22, 2012, 4:08 pm

    Kraus says “a single man, no matter how brilliant, cannot alone shake the foundations of power”. How true! the POTUS is sort of like a train conductor; he can speed it up or slow it down but no steering capabilities.

  9. radii
    May 22, 2012, 4:50 pm

    I’m glad to see the names of the Neocon Thirty being bandied about – their names should live in eternal infamy and hopefully we’ll see many of these men from the “JINSA crowd” marched off to The Hague in handcuffs and leg-irons for their war-crimes. It is terrible how their greater-israel agenda and Fifth Columnist activities have so harmed the United States of America

    • Kathleen
      May 22, 2012, 6:40 pm

      So who would be on the “Neocon Thirty” list? Wolfowitz, Cheney, Feith, Wurmsers (2), 2 or 3 Kagans, Rhode, Luti, Woolsey, Ledeen, Bolton, Rice, Rumsfeld, Kenneth Pollack, Bill Kristol. I would pull the list from those Lt Col Karen Kwiatowski pointed out by name in “The New Pentagon Papers”, and those in Jason Vest article in the Nation in 2002 “Men from Jinsa and CSP” add Judy “I was fucking right” Miller. She was instrumental in promoting that invasion based on a “pack of lies”

      And they should absolutely be “marched off to the Hagues in handcuffs and leg irions for their war crimes” But all Obama is repeating is “forward” I will certainly not be putting in the hundreds of hours for Obama that I put in that first round. Not that I had huge confidence in him. Had watched him to closely when he was a Senator. He has been a huge dissapointment in the accountability arena. May be the first time I do not vote since I was 18 and I am 60. Just do not have any confidence in either of them in the accountability area. “Forward” a hollow mantra. Very hollow

      • thetumta
        May 22, 2012, 9:30 pm

        “a huge disappointment in the accountability arena.” Are you joking?
        ““Neocon Thirty” list? Wolfowitz, Cheney, Feith, Wurmsers (2), 2 or 3 Kagans, Rhode, Luti, Woolsey, Ledeen, Bolton, Rice, Rumsfeld, Kenneth Pollack, Bill Kristol”. And Bush and Obama as well. All guilty of crimes against this country and International law. “Waging aggressive war” at our expense. And Obama/Hillary are just so OK with it. Actually, he’s a more capable and aggressive Neocon than the idiot, little Bush could ever hoped for. Call me naive, but I hope the turning point for the Russians and Chinese is at hand. They have to know their next.

  10. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    May 22, 2012, 6:13 pm

    They played that poor little rich boy like a stradivarius, i wonder just how embarrassed GW feels having been played the fool by the neocon orchestra.

  11. Charon
    May 22, 2012, 6:54 pm

    But there was passion in his seventy-four-year-old eyes when he compared Saddam Hussein’s brutality to the Nazi genocide. “Mr. President,” he said, “you have a moral obligation to act against evil.” The force of his conviction affected me deeply. Here was a man who had devoted his life to peace urging me to intervene in Iraq…

    Saddam was a foolishly evil and arrogant dictator. No doubts there. The war crimes he was executed for centered around massacres under his command that led to the deaths of around 200,000 people. Some people dispute this, I’m not sure we will ever know. There was violent dissent and rebellious movements, and I’m sure that regime dealt with it harshly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he funded terrorists, I’m sure he did. I’m a little skeptical about funding suicide bombers in Israel. Sounds like wishful thinking by the same folks who tried to link him to 9/11. But who knows, Israel did bomb their nuclear reactor and kill some of their people. Israel had it out for Iraq ever since their involvement with their early “wars” and the scuds in Tel Aviv are IMO what probably sealed his fate.

    Anyways, what I’m trying to say here is that this alone was no reason for war. Neither were all those lies obviously. War happened, Saddam was hanged, and a lot of people died. Mostly Iraqis. The official war casualty list is flawed and unofficially 1.5 million Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of this war. Now, compare that to what Saddam was held accountable for. Who is the one emulating Nazis here? Who is the bad guy? A war based on lies that is officially considered a success mostly because of the regime change of a murdering Hitler-esque tyrant. So they say. A war that could have very well killed 8x the number of people attributed to said tyrant in 1/3 the amount of time.

    I hope I live to see these crooks put on trial for war crimes. Wolfowitz. Feith. Bush. all of them.

    • Sumud
      May 23, 2012, 4:18 am

      Wolfowitz. Feith. Bush. all of them.

      Clinton and Albright also.

      Don’t forget the UN sanctions on Iraq post Gulf War 1 which killed at least 500,000 Iraqi children by 1996. Two to three times what Sadaam was responsible for.

      From 1990 to now the US is responsible for the death of about 2 million Iraqis, fully 1/3 of the jewish holocaust. Iraqs population is only about 30 million.

      Can you imagine if a foreign country killed about 30 million Americans over 2 decades? That is the equivalent, population-wise, of what has been done to Iraq.

      Those responsible need to be held accountable.

      • Kathleen
        May 23, 2012, 10:56 am

        The Clinton administration responsible for those UN sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people mostly children through those sanctions. Former IAEA inspector Scott Ritter who was in Iraq all during the 9o’s said both Clintons knew there were no WMD’s in Iraq when the Bush team started repeating their “pack of lies”

  12. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    May 22, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Here is what the neocons have wrought us…contempt for the Gov’t of the United States.

    Turkish reflections: What I learned at the Istanbul World Political Forum
    Posted By Stephen M. Walt Monday, May 21, 2012 – 12:06 PM

    “2. One of the more vivid impressions I took from the conference was the prevailing wariness — if not outright suspicion — with which the United States was viewed by many of the attendees. Virtually any statement that cast even mild doubt about U.S. policy (on Iran, Middle East peace, past interventions, Iraq, etc.) drew spontaneous approval from the audience, even if the statements weren’t especially provocative, penetrating, or anti-American. For example, in the panel on a possible war with Iran, I suggested that if the U.S. wanted to dissuade Iran from building nuclear weapons, it might make sense to stop threatening Tehran with regime change. The audience immediately burst into loud applause. Similar statements by journalist and professor Stephen Kinzer and Juergen Chrobog of the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt elicited much the same response. And most of the questions (or diatribes) from the audience were either explicitly or implicitly critical of the U.S. position. I had a similar experience in my other panel as well.

    I wish some U.S. government officials had been there to observe this phenomenon, because it drove home to me the degree to which U.S. policy is regarded by many is inherently myopic, selfish, and illegitimate. (And the positive bump produced by Obama’s election in 2008 is long gone). It’s not a deep hatred of Americans themselves, but rather a simmering resentment of America’s global role.”

  13. yourstruly
    May 22, 2012, 7:07 pm


    infamous traitors responsible for late 20th/early21st century bloodbaths that took the lives of thousands of americans along with the lives of hundreds of times more arab/islamic peoples of the mideast and central asia. they thought they’d get away scot-free but when the magnitude of their crimes finally came out, by popular demand they were put on trial for their crimes against humanity, convicted and incarcerated for the rest of their lives.

    *from the dictionary of latter day history

    • thetumta
      May 22, 2012, 9:41 pm

      Well that’s comforting! They won’t have to face Nuremberg standards. “Step up on this chair while we put a rope around your neck.”
      You think these guys are going quietly. Their depending on that. It’s called “cockroaches in a bottle”. You just don’t realize that their talking about you.

  14. dbroncos
    May 22, 2012, 9:07 pm

    Bush was suggestable. Conservatives everywhere were slobbering and drooling over what his Presidency would mean for their agendas. Bush had no vision for his office. He was a blank slate and his advisers set the agenda for every one of his big policy initiatives, i.e. we haven’t heard a peep from the White House about global climate change since Cheney’s secret energy task force convened more than 10 years ago. No doubt Bush bought the Iraq war scam sold to him by the Israel first neocons. But I think his reasons were more related to a personal vendetta than they were to national security concerns. Bush understood that this was his chance to finish what Daddy started and to take revenge on Saddam for threatening Bush Sr’s life. However, the the motives of those who took us to Iraq don’t change the reality that Bush is responsible. His name will be attached to that disasterous war forever, regardless what other names may apper beside his.

    Bush is no longer ” the decider” and he’s safely removed from the halls of power. The neocons haven’t gone anywhere, however, and they want an American war on Iran to make the world more safe for Israel. They need to be exposed along with their motives.

    • American
      May 23, 2012, 9:34 am

      Bush had no vision for his office. He was a blank slate and his advisers set the agenda “..dbroncos

      Exactly. Bush wasn’t passive aggressive, he was just clueless.

      Bush had no agenda other than just to be President…..which was part of his wanting to be as good daddy and proving himself to daddy or as better than daddy. A real daddy complex there.
      Then he had his religious crutch which was a substitute for his alcohol crutch.
      Then there was his ego, tied to his daddy complex, wanting to be ‘manly’ and ‘strong’ in his presidential role.

      It wasn’t hard for the ziocons and neo’s to minipulate his weaknesses.

      • annie
        May 23, 2012, 10:39 am

        bush was hand picked by cheney&co to do their bidding.

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 8:44 pm

        I think Cheney thought he himself should be president instead of squirt Junior….can you imagine his distain for little George? Cheney wasn’t shy and didn’t discourage the DC insider perception/opinion that HE was the power behind the throne.

      • Kathleen
        May 23, 2012, 10:54 am

        I have never bought that Bush was “clueless” Never

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 11:10 am

        How large do you think the Mossad file was on George W. Bush long before he won the presidency or even before he entered politics? Mossadniks understood his every psychological vulnerability and weakness and which buttons to push in a calibrated way.

        Bush senior understands the game but Bush junior probably still doesn’t understand what hit him. His mind doesn’t operate at that level.

      • Rusty Pipes
        Rusty Pipes
        May 23, 2012, 2:29 pm

        Dubya has been vastly “misunderestimated.” He is underestimated because, while not as smart as his father or brother, he is often parodied as stupid. He has been a very savvy and talented campaigner and coalition builder, both in understanding the various constituencies of the Republican Party, and using them to run a very competitive campaign for the Presidency (ultimately decided by the Sureme Court) as well as using the constituencies that brought him to the Presidency to launch a war on Iraq. He danced with the ones who brought him.

        In his second term, hoping to build off the momentum of the Iraq War (“the road to Jerusalem is through Bagdad”), Dubya and Condi tried to negotiate a resolution for Israel/Palestine but his coalition partners undermined his efforts. Obama would be a fool to believe that if he gave the neocons/neolibs Tehran or Damascus, they’d give him peace in Jerusalem either. There will always be a new goalpost.

  15. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    May 22, 2012, 9:12 pm

    Phil- One can question why Cheney took the step from realism to neo conservatism. (under Bush pere, Cheney was part of the realist team. By 1998 when he signed the PNAC, plan for a new american century, he became a front man or an insider man for the major neoconservative proclamation of the day). Blame Wolfowitz and Perle and Krauthammer all you want. But the vice president was the inside man. I don’t have the time to read Bush’s book, but certainly he mentions Cheney, doesn’t he? But you sure don’t.

    • annie
      May 23, 2012, 12:36 am

      agreed. cheney was is evil.

      • Sumud
        May 23, 2012, 4:31 am

        Also a money-hungry war-profiteer pig – recall he was head of Halliburton.

        While the neocons should be centre stage in any discussion of the GWOT so too should the military industrial complex: the manufactures of death machinery (AKA ‘defence’ contractors) with their billion dollar no-bid contracts, and the manufacturers of consent, the media. It’s often the same company anyway (e.g. NBC is owned by GE) and then there is the whole revolving door between the military and government, and the private sector.

        The GWOT is a ruse for Israel and a gigantic scam designed to pump massive amounts of taxpayers money into the hands of very few.

    • American
      May 23, 2012, 9:19 am

      Let us not forget who Cheney’s right hand man was —Elliot Abrams.

      • Kathleen
        May 23, 2012, 10:53 am

        Libby…The Office of Special Plans was the main headquarter

    • seanmcbride
      May 23, 2012, 9:27 am

      wondering jew,

      You wrote:

      “Blame Wolfowitz and Perle and Krauthammer all you want. But the vice president was the inside man.”

      Why do you think that Dick Cheney is as remotely as powerful as the Israel lobby — and especially its neoconservative wing? He’s not. The neocons were easily able to turn Cheney into a front man for their agenda. They have managed to hijack the entire Republican Party. They are much wealthier, much smarter, better organized and command more resources than any other lobby on the American scene. Bush and Cheney basically read the scripts that were handed to them by neocons from policy centers like the AEI (American Enterprise Institute).

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 23, 2012, 11:42 pm

        “Why do you think that Dick Cheney is as remotely as powerful as the Israel lobby — and especially its neoconservative wing? He’s not.”

        Was, though — much more powerful. Sean, I agree with you overall, but I don’t for a minute think that Wolfowitz, Perle, and the other Zionist neocons were more powerful than Cheney. Let’s not exaggerate. The real issue is that the neocons weren’t really a shadow government; they weren’t pulling strings behind the scenes; rather, their interests converged with those of Bush and Cheney. Don’t forget the importance of oil. Moreover, Bush announced his desire to invade Iraq as early as 1999, during the early days of the presidential campaign.

        It’s easy to forget these days, but back in the mid-90s it was a common refrain among right-wingers and jingoists in general that we needed to finish the job in Iraq that George H. W. Bush had started. And Jews were not more representative of such views than anyone else (among right-wingers). I’m talking about the views of people you might meet on the street, in bowling alleys, or in bars — average people. You may have forgotten.

        I take your point that the neocons had a particularly pernicious influence at the top of the Bush administration — but they were pushing in a direction that Bush and Cheney wanted to take. Bush and Cheney balked only when it came to expanding the war to Syria and Iran — which the neocons also wanted to invade, as they still do.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 24, 2012, 12:01 am

        Also, I realize you mention the Israel lobby in the quote I give. I don’t think the Israel lobby was pulling strings with Bush and Cheney; they truly wanted to invade Iraq. It really doesn’t matter that AIPAC had been pushing for it for years before the war. Everyone else before and since has resisted their warmongering.

        And lest you object about Obama, he’s not going to invade Iran either. Nor will he bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.

        It’s not that I have any great faith in Obama. I don’t. I won’t vote for him.

      • annie
        May 24, 2012, 12:56 am

        back in the mid-90s it was a common refrain among right-wingers and jingoists in general that we needed to finish the job in Iraq

        game on, got links?

      • American
        May 24, 2012, 1:55 am

        annie, here, you can use this when you have 10 or so free hours to view all the timelines and every report about everything re Israel-Zionist- Iraq-Iran, who said what and etc, etc.. you can refine the search function to narrow it …or you get 4000 pages of quotes by zios and Israeli mouthpieces on how we ought to bomb Saddam and Iran.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 24, 2012, 8:37 am

        “game on, got links?”

        Oh, Annie, really. Am I to understand that you actually don’t believe that? Or that you think it’s somehow controversial?

        You’re a good writer. You provide a number of excellent articles on this site, and I agree with your general tendency to push people to justify, by links, the statements that they make. But honestly, I’m just too tired and too busy to provide links for something I witnessed first-hand. I lived in America in the 1990s. Didn’t you? Could you have forgotten this? Do I really need to justify something that anyone with a memory who has lived in this country and is politically aware would know is true?

        I’m not going to bother. I mean, do you really deny the point I made? Fine. Don’t believe it. The real question is, if you don’t believe it, what idea does denying it make more plausible?

      • annie
        May 24, 2012, 9:19 am

        i take it that would be a no, you cannot support that statement.

        i didn’t ask because i didn’t believe it. i ask because i hadn’t heard it before, which is unusual for a common refrain. thanks for confirming my hunch.

      • annie
        May 24, 2012, 9:21 am

        american, that sites down..thanks for the link tho.

  16. Theo
    May 23, 2012, 9:16 am

    Although it is nothing new, reading all those men with jewish names surrounding Bush is still shocking. I am not talking about decent americans with jewish religion, but zionist with two passports, whose interests lie in a foreign country, yet rule this nation.
    I wonder what the world think of us, 1.7% minority rules a democracy.

    • Kathleen
      May 23, 2012, 10:52 am

      The invasion of Iraq was pushed hard by neo, oil, theo cons. All of the above

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 1:02 pm

        Jewish nationalists (Jewish Zionists) were the key ringleaders of the Iraq War. This assertion is easy to prove with hard data. I challenge anyone on the planet to dispute and debate this proposition. The plain facts don’t lie. They left a vast document trail behind them that is ripe for data mining. They are leaving a similar vast document trail behind them with regard to their agitation for an Iran War.

        Are there any takers of this challenge who have their facts in order?

        The Iraq War was the product of more than three decades of careful planning, propagandizing and political engineering concocted in neoconservative circles. The best index into the entire operation are back issues of Commentary Magazine dating from the mid-1960s. None of these facts are hidden but few Americans are aware of them.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 24, 2012, 12:19 am

        “Jewish nationalists (Jewish Zionists) were the key ringleaders of the Iraq War. This assertion is easy to prove with hard data. … They left a vast document trail behind them that is ripe for data mining.”

        What you say is correct, as far as you go, except for calling them “ringleaders.” The word “cheerleaders” would be more appropriate. See my previous comment.

        There is no doubt, as you state, that Jewish nationalists and Zionists, many of them prominent neocons, pushed strongly for the Iraq war. The record is clear. What is not clear is the causal link you seem to be trying to establish between neocon/Zionist desire for war and the Bush/Cheney launch of that war. It is much clearer that their interests simply converged. You, on the other hand — corrrect me if I’m wrong — seem to imply that Bush and Cheney were dragged kicking and screaming into a war with Iraq. Clearly, they had no opposition to this war. They were for it from the very beginning, by all accounts.

      • dbroncos
        May 25, 2012, 12:48 am

        G. Seauton,

        I have to agree that the Jewish neocons, who pushed for war on Iraq for years, were not the deciders, they were the cheerleaders. They made the sales pitch and Bush and Cheney were sympathetic and they bought what they were selling. I also remember the 1990’s chatter about “finishing the job” in Iraq. I didn’t pay attention to who the personalities were behind the “finish the job ” campaign, but I remember it. Clinton’s economic sanctions on Iraq and his no-fly zone policy were, in some measure, meant to appease the war mongers. At least, that’s how I remember it.

        As for the Bush years, the dynamics are hard to decipher, even now, with the benefit of some perspetive. One of the main problems with analyzing any one of Bush’s policy decisions is that his government was out of control. So much of what the tentacles of the Bush government did was in secret that its dificult to understand just how dicisions coming out of the White House, Defense, Pentagon, Energy, Treasury, FEMA, FDA, etc…were made. Certainly Bush shared a conservative philosophy of government with his appointees, but they were people hand picked by Cheney and others. Bush didn’t know them, and he made no effort to understand in any detail what kind of policy initiatives they were pursuing under the Bush White House umbrella. As I said above, I don’t think Bush had any vision for his office. He had a very parochial view of the world that didn’t go much further than the view from his Crawford ranch. The neocons and many others saw an opportunity to take advantage of a President who had no understanding of how government works in DC and no inclination to find out.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 25, 2012, 3:36 am

        Interesting point. You essentially believe that the bureaucracy was more responsible for many of the infamous Bush policies than Bush himself?

        In any case, it’s been clear for quite a while that Bush was AWOL for a major part of his presidency and that Cheney was essentially running things.

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 8:39 pm

        kathleen, it wasn’t pushed by the CEO of oil companies……on the contrary. ..they thought it would be destablizing and threaten their exisiting oil contracts and arrangements in other ME countries.
        To date the US has not been able to dictate to a oil country by invasion or war who they give their oil production contracts to…..not even in South America…it’s done by bids from the companies..and in most cases lots of bribes to the ruling entity to announce their bid as the best one.
        These companies depend entirely on the whim of the ruling government….coups, upsets and invasions throw their profits out the window….and if they don’t get along with the prevaling power they could be kicked out before they recoup their production investment. The day the US oil companies get the US government to invade a country for their oil interst alone will be the day the entire world falls on the US. ….Other countries have huge oil companies also.
        Look at who ended up with the most oil contracts in Iraq despite our invasion…China, France, BP, Russia, the US got some but not all.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 9:14 pm


        Guess which political group played a lead role in pushing the false meme that US oil companies were behind the Iraq War — you got it: the “liberal” and “progressive” wing of the Israel lobby, which was eager to divert attention away from the JINSA crowd that Colin Powell fingered as the main culprits behind the war. Many Americans on the left were taken in by the propaganda.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 24, 2012, 12:31 am

        “… the “liberal” and “progressive” wing of the Israel lobby, which was eager to divert attention away from the JINSA crowd that Colin Powell fingered as the main culprits behind the war.”

        Sean, Colin Powell has said a lot of things — many of them clearly false. Remember his UN speech? Was there anything more obviously cooked than the evidence he presented? (I remember laughing as I watched it live. And I remember the immediate reactions of the French and German ambassadors who weren’t buying it.) And to this day, he claims to have been taken in by the CIA …

      • American
        May 24, 2012, 2:06 am

        Sean…the left is as worthless as the right..and yea they were scrambling to take any heat or blame off the Israeli minipulations. They won’t be able to to do that with the Iran war call…it’s way way out of the closet now.

        I meant to come back and correct one thing in my reply to kathleen…..the US-Isr overthrow of Iran was one instance where the US did exert some control over Iran’s oil but that was thru installing the Shah as their puppet ruler….. the US oil companies positions didn’t change much there…but what it did was enable Israel to get oil from Iran, …until the Shah was overthrow….then Israel was cut off.

      • American
        May 24, 2012, 2:15 am

        Powell wasn’t really ‘completely taken in…he just didn’t have the balls not to be a’ good little soldier’ for his commander in chief. If you do your research you find plenty of instances when Powell threw fits over the neo’s and zios and their OSP.
        But when push came to shove he didn’t have the guts to spill the set up to the American public.
        Gutless piece of crap… didn’t want to face being a pirrah in DC and never getting invited to any WH dinners forever after.

      • seanmcbride
        May 24, 2012, 10:45 am

        G. Seauton,

        Colin Powell’s report that “the JINSA crowd” was the prime mover behind the Iraq War is highly credible for two reasons:

        1. Powell was a high level insider in the Bush 43 administration and observed all the proceedings concerning the run-up to the Iraq War close up as secretary of state.

        2. There are literally thousands of highly credible reports, articles, books, facts, datapoints, etc. to support his claim.

        What groups, organizations and individuals do you think Powell had in mind when he referred to “the JINSA crowd”? What players constitute “the JINSA crowd” in your mind?

        I can easily name a few dozen organizations that are members of the JINSA crowd. How many can you name?

        Collectively they comprise a political machine that is much more powerful than any mere individual politician — and that includes George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama. The JINSA crowd can easily make or break mere politicians. Think of Sheldon Adelson’s sponsorhip of Newt Gingrich to the tune of millions of dollars.

      • seanmcbride
        May 24, 2012, 10:53 am

        G. Seauton,

        Some close synonyms for “the JINSA crowd”:

        1. the AEI crowd
        2. the PNAC crowd
        3. the OSP crowd
        4. the neocon crowd
        5. the Commentary crowd
        6. the Likud crowd
        7. the Israel lobby

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 24, 2012, 9:38 pm

        “There are literally thousands of highly credible reports, articles, books, facts, datapoints, etc. to support his claim.”

        OK, fine. If you could cite just one or two of the most credible and conclusive articles or reports that I could read online (not forty or a hundred or a thousand, though), I’ll take a look. Maybe it will force me to reevaluate my thinking.

        Right now, I don’t believe Powell. I think he’s a liar, and he’s covering for himself. Plenty of accounts (Susskind, O’Neill, etc.) indicate that Bush and Cheney arrived in office looking for an excuse to go to war with Iraq. As I said earlier, I think their interests converged with those of the neocons, AIPAC, and, as you say, “the JINSA crowd.” No one had to drag them into that war. By the way, those same Zionists, PNAC people, and other neocons wanted war with Iraq when Clinton was president, but the war had to wait for the advent of Bush/Cheney.

        So would one of your “highly credible articles, books, … [and] datapoints” provide convincing evidence that the war idea came from “the JINSA crowd,” pressuring an otherwise reluctant new president and his seasoned vice president into war? Just curious.

        Also, I’m curious about what you mean by “datapoints” that support this point. Would these be something like percentages of Zionists, neocons, or PNAC people in the Bush administration? Money flowing from such organizations to Bush and Cheney? Please elaborate.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 25, 2012, 3:26 am

        By the way, Sean, you say that Powell says that the “JINSA crowd” was the “prime mover” behind the war in Iraq. “Prime mover” means what? The prime mover argument, as I’m sure you know, is one of the arguments for the existence of God. God is the prime mover, according to this argument. So basically, by equating the “JINSA crowd” with the “prime mover,” Powell, and you as well, by validating his argument, believe that the “JINSA crowd” pulled the strings and that Bush and Cheney were mere puppets? Or something along those lines that would be consistent with calling them the “prime mover”? Is this really what you’re saying? The president and vice president were merely doing the bidding of a lobby because that lobby was all-powerful, or at least, in the context of US politics, all-controlling? Wouldn’t this be hyperbolic, to put it mildly? Please explain what you mean here.

        As for Powell, I can believe he would say something like that. That a well-read and more scholarly person such as you would echo his thinking and even repeat his words is a little surprising.

        Also, I’m not interested in competing on the issue of how many organizations we can each name that belong to JINSA. I’ll give you the advantage on that.

      • annie
        May 25, 2012, 3:47 am

        The prime mover argument, as I’m sure you know, is one of the arguments for the existence of God. God is the prime mover, according to this argument. So basically, by equating the “JINSA crowd” with the “prime mover,”

        what kind of filler crap is this G. Seauton? i’m using a mouse on my computer, as I’m sure you know, a mouse is a rodent. So basically, by equating the “computer” with a “rodent”….Is this really what you’re saying? ..Wouldn’t this be hyperbolic, to put it mildly? Please explain what you mean here.

        gag me with a spoon. obviously he was not saying the “JINSA crowd” is god. or maybe you are unaware “prime mover” has other common applications.

        Regarding socio-political complexity, the term Prime Mover describes any influence upon a social group that leads to a higher degree of societal complexity.


        6. No trolling. Wikipedia defines trolling as “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response.” That definition is good enough for us. We hope our comment section can feature an engaged and free flowing debate, but we are not interested in commenters whose only aim is to disrupt or sabotage the discussion.

        so G. Seauton, we’re you implying sean was implying powell was implying jinsa was god? Please explain what you mean here.


      • annie
        May 25, 2012, 4:07 am

        As for Powell, I can believe he would say something like that. That a well-read and more scholarly person such as you would echo his thinking and even repeat his words is a little surprising.

        “Colin Powell Blamed Iraq War Plans on ‘Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs’”

        In that book, Powell also twice refers to the Iraq war as being the product of Donald Rumsfeld’s absorption in the “JINSA crowd,” the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. In a word: Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, neocon, son of a Holocaust survivor, who helped cofound One Jerusalem, and whose former law partner is living in a settlement in the West Bank.

        That a well-read and scholarly person would cite Colin Powell who, according to you, is worthless..because..because he led the country to war based on jinsa lies..and therefore jinsa is clean and powell is the liar. makes perfect Seauton clusterf*ck sense now don’t it?

        and you ask sean to explain himself? you’re the one w/the xplainin’ to do.

      • seanmcbride
        May 25, 2012, 11:00 am

        G. Seauton,

        This subject we are discussing — which special interests played the most influential role in instigating and engineering the Iraq War — is huge and complex. I could easily overload Mondoweiss with boatloads of documentation, quotes and facts to support my arguments, Robert Werdine-style, but I don’t want to be tiresome and do that. So I will try to break up the controversy into small chunks and address various particular issues as I find time over the coming days and weeks if you are interested in pursuing this discussion.

        With regard to Colin Powell: I find his comment on the role of “the JINSA crowd” in promoting and pushing the Iraq War to be highly credible and convincing. Anyone who knows his political profile as it has evolved over several decades knows that he is aligned with the Bush 41/James Baker/Brent Scowcroft/Zbigniew Brzezinski school of foreign policy realism. That faction of the American power elite was either skeptical about the Iraq War or opposed it outright. One gets the impression from available accounts that Powell was dragged against his will into propagandizing for the war by pro-Israel militants (neoconservatives and Christian Zionists) in the Bush 43 administration. That is why they despise him and why they squeezed him out of the adminstration after the first term.

        Powell knows the most intimate details about the inner workings of policymaking regarding the Iraq War — he was, after all, secretary of state. He knows who said what and with what motives at the highest levels of power. He is a highly reliable source on this controversy. No other Bush 43 administration member has stepped forward to rebut his statement about “the JINSA crowd.” I think most of those players are embarrassed and ashamed about their role in promoting the worst foreign policy disaster in American history and now would like to forget about the entire affair. Unfortunately for them, all of their words on the subject can be retrieved in seconds on the Internet.

      • seanmcbride
        May 25, 2012, 11:06 am

        G. Seauton,

        Which authors have most influenced your understanding of which interest groups exerted the greatest influence on instigating the Iraq War?

        Here is my list, off the top of my head (there are other names that will come to mind when I find time to review my notes):

        1. Craig Unger
        2. George Packer
        3. Jacob Heilbrunn
        4. James Bamford
        5. James Petras
        6. Jason Vest
        7. Jeff Gates
        8. Jim Lobe
        9. John Mearsheimer
        10. Justin Raimondo
        11. Karen Kwiatkowski
        12. Kathleen Christison
        13. Pat Buchanan
        14. Pat Lang
        15. Paul Craig Roberts
        16. Philip Giraldi
        17. Ray McGovern
        18. Robert Dreyfuss
        19. Stefan Halper
        20. Stephen Sniegoski
        21. Stephen Walt

        All of these authors support Colin Powell’s claim about “the JINSA crowd.”

        What does your list look like?

      • seanmcbride
        May 25, 2012, 11:26 am

        G. Seauton,

        You wrote,

        “Also, I’m not interested in competing on the issue of how many organizations we can each name that belong to JINSA. I’ll give you the advantage on that.”

        Identifying which individuals, organizations and groups led the charge to go to war against Iraq is the heart and soul of doing substantive political analyis on the roots of the war. And you would like to brush aside that exercise as a matter of little consequence? It sounds to me like you are acknowledging defeat in this debate before we even begin.

        Let’s take a look at some of the organizations which were associated both with pro-Israel activism and the campaign to attack Iraq:

        1. ABC News
        2. ACPR (Ariel Center for Policy Research)
        3. AEI (American Enterprise Institute)
        4. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Commitee)
        5. Benador Associates
        6. CBS News
        7. CNN
        8. Commentary
        9. CSP (Center for Security Policy)
        10. Defense Policy Board
        11. FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies)
        12. Fox News
        13. Frontpage Magazine
        14. Henry Jackson Society
        15. Heritage Foundation
        16. Hoover Institution
        17. Hudson Institute
        18. IASPS (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies)
        19. Jewish World Review
        20. JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)
        21. Manhattan Institute
        22. Middle East Forum
        23. Middle East Quarterly
        24. MSNBC
        25. National Review
        26. NBC News
        27. New Republic
        28. New York Daily News
        29. New York Post
        30. New York Sun
        31. New York Times
        32. News Corp.
        33. Newsmax
        34. Newsweek
        35. NJDC (National Jewish Democratic Council)
        36. NPR
        37. OSP (Office of Special Plans)
        38. PNAC (Project for the New American Century)
        39. RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition)
        40. U.S. News & World Report
        41. Wall Street Journal
        42. Washington Post
        43. Weekly Standard
        44. WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        45. Worldnetdaily

        Three lobbies have been prominently mentioned with regard to instigating the Iraq War:

        1. the Israel lobby
        2. the oil lobby
        3. the arms lobby

        Perhaps you could provide your lists of pro-Iraq War organizations that were associated with the oil and arms lobbies and compare their relative influence with that of the Israel lobby in driving Americans to attack Iraq.

        What most strikes me is the role of ostensibly “liberal” institutions like the New York Times and Washington Post in supporting the war agenda of neoconservatives and pro-Israel militants associated with the Bush 43 administration. How does one explain their behavior? Very few (or none) of those belligerent journalists and pundits who clamored for the Iraq War were members of the oil or arms lobbies. But many of them have a well-established track record of pro-Israel activism.

        Many of them are now relentlessly agitating for a war against Iran, driven by the same pro-Israel passion that motivated them to push Americans into the Iraq War. We can easily name names.

      • seanmcbride
        May 25, 2012, 11:37 am


        Comparing “prime mover” to God in the context of this discussion was so off the wall that I couldn’t even muster the attention and energy to reply to it. But I am glad you did. :)

        That neocons have been the prime mover behind the entire Global War on Terror and Clash of Civilizations, and all the wars associated with that campaign, can be easily established by browsing back issues of Commentary, the lead journal of neoconservatism, for the last four or five decades. It’s a no-brainer. Their fingerprints are all over these policies. And their Israel-centric agenda is completely transparent — they themselves have shouted it to the skies.

        “Filler crap” describes much of the hasbara of pro-Israel activists. Nearly aways their aim is to obfuscate and deceive, not to enlighten and tell the truth.

      • G. Seauton
        G. Seauton
        May 25, 2012, 7:22 pm

        I meant this, which I said:

        “So basically, by equating the ‘JINSA crowd’ with the ‘prime mover,’ [do] you … believe that the ‘JINSA crowd’ pulled the strings and that Bush and Cheney were mere puppets? Or something along those lines that would be consistent with calling them the ‘prime mover’? … The president and vice president were merely doing the bidding of a lobby because that lobby was all-powerful, or at least, in the context of US politics, all-controlling?”

        I asked because that’s what it sounded like to me, so I asked for clarification. I admit I wasn’t familiar with the social science theory use of “prime mover.”

        You ask, “so G. Seauton, we’re you implying sean was implying powell was implying jinsa was god?”


        I was asking the questions I quote at the top of this post. I wasn’t implying or claiming in any way that Sean believed that JINSA was God nor the things I thought maybe he did believe. That’s why I asked. In linguistics, this is called “asking for clarification”; it’s one way of trying to straighten out misunderstandings. Sean was then free to say, “no, that’s not what I meant,” just as I am saying now.

        By the way, in the Wikipedia article you cite, directly above the social science theory section, there appears this, as one of the definitions of prime mover:

        “The prime mover, primum movens, an unmoved mover in the philosophy of Aristotle, later used by Saint Thomas Aquinas in his cosmological arguments, as a “first cause” of existence”.

        Sean has referred to having been raised Catholic, so … I sort of imagined the prime mover was a metaphor he was using to imply that the JINSA crowd basically pulled strings (being the puppet masters, so to speak) to make the war happen. (Thomas Aquinas was a medieval Catholic theologian, and the “prime mover” argument was an attempt to prove the existence of God. So many people raised Catholic have attended Jesuit high schools and been heavily indoctrinated in the thinking of Thomas Aquinas that I imagined that might have been the case with Sean.)

        I don’t believe the Iraq war was primarily the result of neocon/Zionist pressure. I do believe that the neocons and Zionists were pushing for it and were quite happy to see it happen. I tend to see the U.S. desire (since World War II) to control the oil market as being the major impetus for the war. Now, Sean thinks differently. Since everyone cites so many links to justify everything on this site, I thought he might provide at least one or two so that I could check out a cogent and well-supported argument justifying his point. I am familiar with most of the people he cites, but I hardly have the time to scour all of their writings at this point. Also, I don’t give much credence to Pat Buchanan with regard to anything he says.

        However, I see now that I won’t have to scour all those writings. What Sean really meant, if I understand correctly, was that the “JINSA crowd” and other Zionist groups were among the special interest groups that had a significant impact on the decision to go to war. I think I basically agree with that.

        Annie and Sean, it seems you’ve read me all wrong. I don’t do hasbara. I’m anti-Zionist, not pro-Zionist. I’m quite far from being a “pro-Israel activist” (Sean’s words below). I’m not even pro-Israel. Also, I did not say or even remotely imply that JINSA had “clean hands.” I stated that I thought the interests of Bush and Cheney converged with those of the Iraq war cheerleaders, many of whom were JINSA, PNAC, and other assorted pro-Israel types. I thought I had stated that clearly.

        Have I done enough “xplaining” for you? If there are any other questions you’d like me to address (other than personal ones), I’ll do my best; otherwise, I’ll drop out of the discussion at this point, since it’s gotten a little too heated for me (especially with that “DFWU” you launched my way), and I wouldn’t want to be accused of trying to provoke you. It really was not my intention to piss you off.

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 8:40 am

        G. Seauton,

        You have a crisp, clear mind and I appreciate that.

        You are no doubt right that my Roman Catholic upbringing has probably influenced my use of the term “prime mover.” Perhaps a better term would be “primary mover,” which clearly implies that the neoconservative and Christian Zionist wings of the Israel lobby weren’t the only interest group that instigated the Iraq War — there were also secondary movers, tertiary movers, etc.

        Where we may disagree is that I don’t think that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, or any other mere politician, is very powerful compared to the organized might of the Israel lobby. How much money do they have? How many policy centers and mainstream media companies do they control? A few dozen highly motivated billionaires working in coordination (like Rupert Murdoch, Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson and Irving Moskowitz) can exert a more formidable impact on American foreign policy than any president or vice president — look at how easily Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to humiliate Barack Obama by using the Israel lobby to threaten and squeeze him.

        Yes: Bush 43 and Cheney had intentions to invade Iraq before winning the 2000 election. But they had already been subjected to heavy influence to pursue that policy for years by the lobby. The oil interests associated with Bush 41 (along with the Vatican) opposed the war. Israeli interests easily overpowered them.

        I could point you to many hundreds of books and articles to support this argument, but rather than overload you I’ll just mention this one item for the moment:

        article; Stephen J. Sniegoski; War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel; October 22, 2004

        You might also want to check out his book on the subject available at

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 8:53 am

        G. Seauton,

        You wrote:

        “So basically, by equating the ‘JINSA crowd’ with the ‘prime mover,’ [do] you … believe that the ‘JINSA crowd’ pulled the strings and that Bush and Cheney were mere puppets? Or something along those lines that would be consistent with calling them the ‘prime mover’? … The president and vice president were merely doing the bidding of a lobby because that lobby was all-powerful, or at least, in the context of US politics, all-controlling?”

        Regarding this, have you noticed how completely vacuous the statements of Bush and Cheney have been on the Iraq War and foreign policy in general? When they were not reading handouts provided them by neoconservatives from AEI (American Enterprise Institute) and other policymaking arms of the JINSA crowd, they were unable to discuss foreign policy in an informed and analytical way.

        Bush thought the Iraq War was about fighting Gog and Magog at the battle of Armaggedon (according to French PM Jacques Chirac) — apparently he has been heavily influenced by Christian Zionists. Dick Cheney’s former mates from the realist school of foreign policy (like Brent Scowcroft) no longer recognized or understood the man. You know, the term “ziobot” does come to mind when observing their zombie-like demeanor in executing the will and plans of the JINSA crowd. Sleepwalkers or hypnotized subjects. I exaggerate only a bit. We still haven’t recovered from the mess they made.

      • annie
        May 26, 2012, 10:27 am

        I wouldn’t want to be accused of trying to provoke you. It really was not my intention to piss you off.

        ok. i will try to suspend my incomprehension wrt how anyone could be unaware ‘prime mover’ has multiple applications. somehow the idea any of us here (sean)would push the idea the israel lobby is god just put me over the top.

        personally, i give cheney more credit than sean. i do think the lobby was the main force driving the engine to war and i have no illusion the parties involved were not in cahoots. there were trillions of fed dollars on the table and i believe there was intent to flip that money into the private sector/war industry which was cheney’s field..not just oil money. he made it clear he wanted not only a private military, but mercenaries working at the behest of private industry removed from the burdens of geneva. the bush family was heavily invested in private militias in the ME. there’s simply nothing that compares to the fed defense budget, so flipping it and privatizing the military is what they did. it was the first war in US history where such a large percentage of the force was privatized including the privatization of jobs normally performed by soldiers everything from menial labor to specialized professions.

        but, that being said..those interests segued and cheney is relatively uniquely demented imho. trillions of dollars funneled into kbr/halliburton. he was a force in himself, as opposed to an organized lobby and the neocons fit hand in glove with his agenda. the neocons sold the war to the american people with little exception. cheney was one of them, he was a neocon and he surrounded himself with neocons. but i think he did that because it served his purpose, they fed off eachother. they cut out the middlemen and stovepiped (seymore hersh) the lies and information with the intent of harnessing the ME.

        i absolutely do not place bush and cheney in the same category. the reason cheney didn’t run for office is he has no charisma and never could have won. but from the get go americas FP was directed out of the VP office during bush’s term. libby was cheney’s main neocon conduit and after the plame investigation began it clogged the channels. it was after that bush started putting some breaks on, otherwise we would have probably attacked iran, well, if israel had not been such a massive failure in lebanon. what a joke that was in terms of incompetence. after 06 the neocons were such failures in everything they tried to do it really woke up the american public (imho). that was when the mask came off the lobby and i don’t think it is possible for it ever to fit back on securely. it’s exposed. cheney is gone but what remains is the lobby. we can’t get them out of office because they are embedded in all the offices via politicians. it’s so ugly.

      • annie
        May 26, 2012, 10:39 am

        have you noticed how completely vacuous the statements of Bush and Cheney have been on the Iraq War and foreign policy in general? When they were not reading handouts provided them by neoconservatives from AEI (American Enterprise Institute) and other policymaking arms of the JINSA crowd, they were unable to discuss foreign policy in an informed and analytical way.

        cheney rarely addressed the american public, he had no interest in us. but thinking he was anything less than a prime mover is missing the mark. he was personally pounding a path over to the cia squeezing them day in and day out, forcing the results he wanted, contorting the info until it fit into the mold.same with those energy meetings, all that prep with the defense industries. that went on for months prior to 9/11 all in preparation to invade iraq. most of it private, unreleased to the american public with the exception of leaks like the maps of iraqs oil fields. he wasn’t reading from a script at those meetings. he wasn’t a puppet.

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 10:44 am


        First-rate analysis — right on the mark.

        But here is the dispiriting thing: after all their colossal and disastrous failures, the neocons are more firmly in control of the Republican Party than ever — just look at Mitt Romney’s list of foreign policy advisers — a solid wall of pro-Israel militants, Likud Zionists, PNAC alumni, etc. And since the Israel lobby has an iron grip on the Democratic Party, Democrats don’t dare to say a word about this state of affairs. This destructive situation goes far beyond the ability of Dick Cheney to engineer. Cheneys come and go; the Israel lobby, fueled by the wealth of dozens of billionaires and manned by a large network of ethnic and religious nationalist true believers, just keeps acquiring more power.

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 10:52 am


        Dick Cheney is a genius at manipulating the federal bureaucracy — he knows where all the buttons are (especially the secret buttons) and how to push them — but I have seen no evidence that Cheney is a major strategic thinker like, say, Zbigniew Brzezinski. All his strategic thinking was done for him by neoconservatives in the pages of Commentary for several decades before 9/11 (“the New Pearl Harbor”) and the Iraq War. Cheney was putty in their hands — someone who was highly susceptible to being lured and manipulated by the profit opportunities they promised him.

        Am I wrong on this? Point me to some books or articles written by Dick Cheney that reveal signs of intelligence on strategic affairs. I don’t know of any. Cheney, under immense pressure from his neoconservative handlers and string-pullers, came close to driving the United States over the cliff.

      • annie
        May 26, 2012, 11:04 am

        i don’t think cheneys come and go, i think he is uniquely ..i can’t think of the word. i don’t like using words like evil because it connotes the devil..but whatever secular word suffices in exchange for evil. i don’t think cheneys come along with every generation. he was extremely talented. but i agree with you to an extent, he didn’t have the ability to do it alone. think of it as a train moving to war. the engineer doesn’t make the train move, the fuel does that. the engineer doesn’t build the tracks either. there was only one direction for that train because the tracks were in place. but in the VP office he was in the drivers seat and he did engineer that war. he wasn’t just a willing participant and he wasn’t chosen for that position, he chose himself. him and the neocons chose eachother because they had the same goals albeit for different purposes. they were a team and he was a very powerful player, much more powerful than bush. there are no gop politicians i can think of as powerful as cheney. that’s why the gop is floundering right now. the lobby would prop up anyone to do their bidding but there is no one who matches them in genuine intent and smarts the way cheney did. he was one of them. cantor perhaps but the american public is not likely to vote for a jewish gop prez. just not happening. cheneys do not come and go but i’m sure the neocons wish they were a dime a dozen.

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 11:22 am

        TAGS Dick Cheney, Ken Adelman, neoconservatives, Iraq War, Lewis Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Bob Woodward
        AUTHOR Bob Woodward
        TITLE Cheney Was Unwavering in Desire to Go to War
        PUBLICATION The Washington Post
        DATE April 20, 2004
        On April 10, 2003, Ken Adelman, a Reagan administration official and supporter of the Iraq war, published an op-ed article in The Washington Post headlined, ” ‘Cakewalk’ Revisited,” more or less gloating over what appeared to be the quick victory there, and reminding readers that 14 months earlier he had written that war would be a “cakewalk.” He chastised those who had predicted disaster. “Taking first prize among the many frightful forecasters” was Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser in the first Bush administration. Adelman wrote that his own confidence came from having worked for Donald H. Rumsfeld three times and “from knowing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz for so many years.”

        Vice President Cheney phoned Adelman, who was in Paris with his wife, Carol. What a clever column, the vice president said. You really demolished them. He said he and his wife, Lynne, were having a small private dinner Sunday night, April 13, to talk and celebrate. The only other guests would be his chief adviser, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Wolfowitz, now deputy secretary of defense. Adelman realized it was Cheney’s way of saying thank you, and he and his wife came back from Paris a day early to attend the dinner.

        When Adelman walked into the vice president’s residence that Sunday night, he was so happy he broke into tears. He hugged Cheney for the first time in the 30 years he had known him.
        END QUOTE

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 11:26 am

        Re: Dick Cheney’s social, political and ideological networks:

        AUTHOR Elizabeth Drew
        TITLE The Neocons in Power
        PUBLICATION The New York Review of Books
        DATE June 12, 2003
        A web of connections binds these people in a formidable alliance. Perle, Wolfowitz, and Woolsey have long been close friends and neighbors in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The three have worked with one another in the Pentagon, served on the same committees and commissions, and participated in the same conferences. Feith is a protégé of Perle, and worked under him during the Reagan administration. Adelman, a friend of Perle, Wolfowitz, and Woolsey, is very close to Cheney and Rumsfeld. The Cheneys and the Adelmans share a wedding anniversary and celebrate it together each year; Adelman worked for Rumsfeld in three government positions, and the Adelmans have visited the Rumsfelds at their various homes around the country. Woolsey and Adelman are members of Perle’s Pentagon advisory group. At the outset of this administration Perle made sure that it was composed of people who share his hawkish views. (Perle recently resigned the chairmanship over allegations of conflicts of interest with his private consulting business, but he remains a member of the advisory board, and his power isn’t diminished.) Bolton, over the objections of Colin Powell, was appointed to the State Department at the urging of his neocon allies. (A State Department official said to me recently, referring to the Pentagon, “Why don’t we have a mole over there?”)

        Perle, Woolsey, and Wolfowitz are all disciples of the late Albert Wohlstetter, a University of Chicago professor who had worked for the RAND corporation and later taught at the University of California. Throughout the cold war he argued that nuclear deterrence wasn’t sufficient-that the US had to actually plan to fight a nuclear war in order to deter it. He strongly advocated the view that the military power of the USSR was underrated. Wolfowitz earned his Ph.D. under Wohlstetter; Perle met Wohlstetter when he was a high school student in Los Angeles and was invited by Wohlstetter’s daughter to swim in their pool. Later, Wohlstetter invited Perle, then a graduate student at Princeton, to Washington to work with Wolfowitz on a paper about the proposed Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which Wohlstetter opposed and which has been abandoned by the Bush administration. Wohlstetter introduced Perle to Democratic Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson of Washington, an aggressive cold warrior and champion of Israel’s interests. Woolsey (who calls himself “a Scoop Jackson Democrat”) came to know Wohlstetter in 1980, when they both served on a Pentagon panel. Of Wohlstetter Woolsey said in a conversation we had in mid-April, “A key to understanding how Richard and Paul and I think is Albert. He’s had a major impact on us.”

        And through Wohlstetter, Perle met Ahmed Chalabi, then an Iraqi exile who had founded the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella organization of Iraqi groups, many of its members in exile.
        END QUOTE

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 11:32 am

        More on Dick Cheney and Ken Adelman:

        AUTHOR Ray McGovern
        TITLE Cheney’s Chickens Come Home to Roost
        DATE October 20, 2005
        Cheney, of course, had been assured by the likes of neoconservative armchair general Kenneth Adelman that the war would be a “cakewalk,” that U.S. forces would be greeted as “liberators,” and that in the glow of major victory, only the worst kind of spoilsport would complain that the justification was based largely on a forgery. By May 2003, however, it had become clear that the cakewalk was a pipe dream and that no sign of a reconstituted nuclear weapons program was likely to be found. In this context, the information in Kristof’s May 6 op-ed was like pouring salt into an open wound.
        END QUOTE

        Who was manipulating whom between Cheney and the neocons? Well, obviously both sides were manipulating one another. But Cheney was greatly outgunned in terms of intellectual, organizational and financial power.

        Have you ever heard Cheney try to debate? He specializes in oracular one-liners delivered portentously. There is no substance to his thinking. That is why he was easily snookered by the neocons in believing that the Iraq War would be a “cakewalk.”

      • seanmcbride
        May 26, 2012, 11:42 am

        To summarize my core argument: Rupert Murdoch, Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson, Irving Moskowitz, Arnon Milchan and others in their circle are higher on the food chain than Dick Cheney. They are much smarter than Cheney and they control much more wealth. Follow the money always.

        Dick Cheney may have thought he was using the neocons but in fact they had the upper hand all along and still do. George H.W. Bush, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter, Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson and other high-level players who were impervious to neocon manipulations because of their sharp minds watched this situation unfold in utter amazement. Dick Cheney probably still doesn’t understand to what degree he was led up the garden path by his neocon friends and minders. He was a mark.

  17. annie
    May 25, 2012, 4:16 am

    No sweat. Time for horseshoes!

    i love you phil weiss. have i told you that lately?


  18. Anthony Miller
    Anthony Miller
    August 28, 2014, 8:58 am

    I love Decision Points – it’s one of the funniest books ever written
    PG Wodehouse meets WWIII

Leave a Reply