MRW (and also Annie R.):
Zelikow’s comments are certainly noteworthy, but they speak to the administration’s motives for war, not to the influence of the Israel lobby. (Even re. the administration’s motives, Zelikow’s comments are hardly conclusive: he could well have been projecting his personal priorities on the administration.) I don’t doubt that the neo-cons were critical in the war decision, and Israel was a major motivator for them, but that still doesn’t establish that the Israel lobby’s role was critical. As I said earlier, the neo-cons and the Israel lobby are not identical: the neo-cons didn’t need any push from the lobby, which joined, but was not a formative influence, in the drive to war. W&M, in overstating their case on this point, opened themselves up to criticism by Israel apologists eager to discredit their broader arguments.