By Stephen J. Sniegoski, USA
Stephen Sniegoski received a Ph.D. in United States History from the University of Maryland. He publishes articles dealing with history, foreign policy and education. See also ‘September 11 and the Origins of the »War on Terrorism »: A Revisionist Account’ in Current Concerns, No. 2, May 2002. A slightly different version of this article is online at the Website for The Last Ditch at http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch
In a lengthy article in The American Conservative criticizing the rationale for the projected U.S. attack on Iraq, the veteran diplomatic historian Paul W. Schroeder only noted in passing ‘what is possibly the unacknowledged real reason and motive behind the policy – security for Israel.’ If Israel’s security were the real American motive for war, Schroeder went on: ‘It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state.’1 Is there any evidence that Israel and its supporters have managed to get the U.S. to fight for its interests?
The 9/11 attack used
In coming up with the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, for which there is no real evidence that it was involved in the 9/11 terrorism? It can be observed that from that from the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, tried to make use of the 9/11 attack to achieve a broad war against Islamic terrorism, which coincided with the enemies of Israel.
The neoconservatives and Israel
Although the term neoconservative is in common usage, a brief description of the group might be helpful. Many of the first generation neoconservatives were originally liberal Democrats, or even socialists and Marxists, often Trotskyites. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic Party moved to the anti-war McGovernite left. And concern for Israel loomed large in their change. As political scientist, Benjamin Ginsberg puts it: ‘One major factor that drew them inexorably to the right was their attachment to Israel and their growing frustration during the 1960s with a Democratic party that was becoming increasingly opposed to American military preparedness and increasingly enamored of Third World causes [e.g., Palestinian rights]. In the Reaganite right’s hard-line anti-communism, commitment to American military strength, and willingness to intervene politically and militarily in the affairs of other nations to promote democratic values (and American interests), neocons found a political movement that would guarantee Israel’s security.’2
War against Iraq at Israel’s behest?
Neoconservatives had for some time prior to September 11, 2001 publicly advocated an American war on Iraq. The 9/11 atrocities essentially provided the pretext for carrying out such an activity. The idea that neoconservatives are the motivating force behind the United States movement for war has been broached by a number of commentators. For instance, Joshua Micah Marshall authored an article in The Washington Monthly entitled: ‘Bomb Saddam?: How the obsession of a few neocon hawks became the central goal of U.S. foreign policy.’ And Kathleen and Bill Christison wrote in the leftist e-journal CounterPunch: ‘The suggestion that the war with Iraq is being planned at Israel’s behest, or at the instigation of policymakers whose main motivation is trying to create a secure environment for Israel, is strong. Many Israeli analysts believe this. The Israeli commentator Akiva Eldar recently observed frankly in a Ha’aretz column that Perle, Feith, and their fellow strategists ‘are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments and Israeli interests.’ The suggestion of dual loyalties is not a verboten subject in the Israeli press, as it is in the United States. Peace activist Uri Avnery, who knows Israeli Prime Minister Sharon well, has written that Sharon has long planned grandiose schemes for restructuring the Middle East and that ‘the winds blowing now in Washington remind me of Sharon. I have absolutely no proof that the Bushies got their ideas from him . But the style is the same.’ 3
In the following essay an effort has been made to flesh out this thesis and to show the linkage between the war position of the neoconservatives and what has been long-time strategy of the Israeli right, if not of the Israeli mainstream itself. Essentially, the idea of a Middle East war had been bandied about in Israel for many years as a means of enhancing Israeli security, which revolves around an ultimate solution to the Palestinian problem.
Deportation of Palestinians:
‘What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times’
To understand why Israeli leaders would want a Middle East war, it is first necessary to take a brief look at the history of Zionist movement and its goals. Despite public rhetoric to the contrary, the idea of expelling the indigenous Palestinian population (euphemistically referred to as a ») was an integral part of the Zionist effort to found a Jewish national state in Palestine. ‘The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings, first appearing in Theodore Herzl’s ‘ historian Tom Segev observes. ‘In practice, the Zionistists began executing a mini-transfer from the time they began purchasing the land and evacuating the Arab tenants … »Disappearing » the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence … With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer – or its morality.’ However, the Zionist leaders learned not to publicly proclaim their mass expulsion intent because ‘this would cause the Zionists to lose the ‘s sympathy.’4 The key issue was to find an opportune time to initiate the mass expulsion process that would not incur the world’s condemnation. In the late 1930s, Ben-Gurion would write: ‘What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out – a whole world is »5 The ‘revolutionary times’ would come with the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, when the Zionists were able to expel 750,000 Palestinians (more than 80 percent of the indigenous population), and thus achieve an overwhelmingly Jewish state, though the area did not include the entirety of Palestine, or the ‘Land of Israel’, which Zionist leaders thought necessary for a viable state. The opportunity to grab additional land took place as a result of the 1967 war; however, the occupation of the additional territory brought the problem of a large Palestinian population. World opinion was now totally opposed to forced population transfers, equating such an activity with the unspeakable horror of Nazism. The landmark Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified in 1949, had ‘unequivocally prohibited deportation’ of civilians under occupation.6 Since the 1967 war, the major issue in Israeli politics has been what to do with that territory and its Palestinian population.
It was during the 1980s, with the coming to power of the rightwing Likud government, that the idea of expulsion publicly resurfaced. And this time it was directly tied to a larger war, with destabilization of the Middle East seen as a precondition for Palestinian expulsion. Such a proposal, including Palestinian population removal, was outlined in an article by Oded Yinon, entitled ‘A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,’ which appeared in the World Zionist Organization’s periodical Kivunim in February 1982. Oded Yinon, had been attached to the Foreign Ministry and his article undoubtedly reflected high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment. The article called for Israel to bring about the dissolution and fragmentation of the Arab states into a mosaic of ethnic groupings. Thinking along these lines, Ariel Sharon stated on March 24, 1988 that if the Palestinian uprising continued, Israel would have to make war on its Arab neighbors. The war, he stated, would provide ‘the circumstances’ for the removal of the entire Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza and even from inside Israel proper.7
Israeli foreign policy expert Yehoshafat Harkabi critiqued the war/expulsion scenario – ‘Israeli intentions to impose a Pax Israelica on the Middle East, to dominate the Arab countries and treat them harshly’ – in his very significant work, Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in 1988. Writing from a realist perspective, Harkabi believed that Israel did not have the power to achieve this goal, given the strength of the Arab states, the large Palestinian population involved, and the vehement opposition of world opinion. Harkabi hoped that ‘the failed Israeli attempt to impose a new order in the weakest Arab state – Lebanon – will disabuse people of similar ambitions in other territories.’8 Left unconsidered by Harkabi was the possibility that the United States would act as Israel’s proxy to achieve this goal.
Securing oil supply
In the 1970s and 1980s, the US Middle Eastern policy, although sympathetic to Israel, was not identical to that of Israel. The fundamental goal of United States policy was to promote stable governments in the Middle East that would allow the oil to flow to the Western industrial nations To allow the oil flow, it was not necessary for these governments to befriend Israel – in fact they could openly oppose the Jewish state. The United States worked for peace between Israel and the Arab states but a peace that would accommodate the demands of the Arab nations – most crucially involving the Palestinians.
US support for the Iraq in its war against Iran
In its policy of ensuring the security of Middle East oil supplies, the U.S. by the mid-1980s was heavily supporting Iraq in its war against Iran, although for awhile the United States also had provided some aid to Iran (the Iran-Contra scandal). Ironically, Donald Rumsfeld served as the U.S. envoy who paved the way for the restoration of relations with Iraq in 1983, which had been severed in 1967. The U.S. along with other western nations looked upon Iraq as a bulwark against the radical Islamism of the Ayatollah’s Iran, which threatened western oil interests. U.S. support for Iraq included intelligence information, military equipment, and agricultural credits. And the U.S. deployed the largest naval force since the Vietnam War in the Gulf, ostensibly for the purpose of protecting oil tankers, but which engaged in serious attacks on Iran’s navy. It should be added that it was during this period of U.S. support that Iraq used poisonous gas against the Iranians and the Kurds, which the U.S. government and its media supporters now describe as so horrendous. In fact, United States intelligence information facilitated the Iraqi use of poison gas against the Iranians. In addition, the United States eased up on its own technology export restrictions to Iraq, which allowed the Iraqis to import supercomputers, machine tools, poisonous chemicals, and even strains of anthrax and bubonic plague. In short, the United States helped arm Iraq with the very horrific weaponry that administration officials are now trumpeting as justification for Saddam’s forcible removal from power.9
When the Iran/Iraq war ended in 1988, the United States continued its support for Iraq, showering it with military hardware, advanced technology, and agricultural credits. The United States apparently looked to Saddam to maintain stability in the Gulf. With Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, American policy would swiftly change. And neoconservatives were hawkish in generating support for a U.S. war against Iraq. The Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, headed by Richard Perle, was set up to promote the war.10 And neoconservative war hawks such as Frank Gaffney, Jr., Richard Perle, A. M. Rosenthal, William Safire, and The Wall Street Journal held that America’s war objective should not simply be driving Iraq out of Iran but also destroying Iraq’s military potential, especially its capacity to develop nuclear weapons. The Bush administration embraced this position.11 More than this, the neoconservatives hoped that the war would lead to the removal of Saddam Hussein and the American occupation of Iraq. However, despite the urging of then Defense Secretary Richard Cheney and Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to adopt a military plan to invade Iraq, this was never done because of the opposition from General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Norman Schwarzkopf, the field commander.12 Moreover, the U.S. had a UN mandate to liberate Kuwait, not to remove Saddam. To attempt the latter would have caused the warring coalition to fall apart. America’s coalition partners in the region, especially Turkey and Saudi Arabia, feared that the elimination of Saddam’s government would cause Iraq to fragment into warring ethnic and religious groups. This could have involved a Kurdish rebellion in Iraq that would have spread to Turkey’s own restive Kurdish population and the Iraq Shi’ites falling under the influence of Iran that would have increased the threat of Islamic radicalism in the region.
Not only did the Bush administration dash neoconservative hopes by leaving Saddam in place, but its proposed ‘New World Order,’ as implemented by Secretary of State James Baker, conflicted with neoconservative/Israeli goals, being oriented toward placating the Arab coalition that supported the war. This entailed an effort to curb Israeli control of its occupied territories. The Bush administration demanded that Israel halt constructing new settlements in the occupied territories as a condition to receive $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Although Bush would cave in to American pro-Zionist pressure just prior to the November 1992 election, his resistance disaffected many neoconservatives, causing some such as William Safire to back Bill Clinton in the election of 1992.13
During the Clinton administration neoconservatives promoted their views from a strong interlocking network of think tanks – such as the American Enterpise Institute (AEI), Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), Hudson Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Middle East Forum, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Center for Security Policy (CSP) – which have had great influence in the media and staff Republican administrations. Some of these organizations were originally set up by mainline conservatives and taken over by neoconservatives;14 others were established by neoconservatives, with some of them having a direct Israeli connection. For example, Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence was a co-founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri). And these various organizations have been closely connected. For example, the other co-founder of Memri, Meyrav Wurmser, was a member of the Hudson Institute, while her husband, David Wurmser, headed the Middle East studies department of AEI. Richard Perle was both a ‘resident fellow’ at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a trustee of the Hudson Institute.15
The power of influential individuals
A recent article by Jason Vest in the The Nation discusses the immense power of individuals from two major neoconservative research organizations, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP), in the current Bush Administration. Vest details the close links between these organizations, right-wing politicians, arms merchants, military men, Jewish multi-millionaires/billionaires, and Republican administrations.16
Regarding JINSA, Vest writes:
‘Founded in 1976 by neoconservatives concerned that the United States might not be able to provide Israel with adequate military supplies in the event of another Arab-Israeli war, over the past twenty-five years JINSA has gone from a loose-knit proto-group to a $1.4-million-a-year operation with a formidable array of Washington power players on its rolls. Until the beginning of the current Bush Administration, JINSA’s board of advisers included such heavy hitters as Dick Cheney, John Bolton (now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control) and Douglas Feith, the third-highest-ranking executive in the Pentagon. Both Perle and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, two of the loudest voices in the attack-Iraq chorus, are still on the board, as are such Reagan-era relics as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow and [Michael] Ledeen – Oliver North’s Iran/ contra liaison with the Israelis.’17
Vest notes that ‘dozens’ of JINSA and CPSU ‘members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they’ve managed to weave a number of issues – support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general – into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.’ And Vest continues: ‘On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war – not just with Iraq, but ‘total war,’ as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, ‘regime change’ by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative.’18
Support for the Israeli Right
Let’s recapitulate Vest’s major points. The JINSA/CSP network has ‘support for the Israeli right at its core.’ In line with the views of the Israeli right, it has advocated a Middle Eastern war to eliminate the enemies of Israel. And members of the JINSA/CSP network have gained influential foreign policy positions in Republican administrations, most especially in the current administration of George W. Bush.
A clear illustration of the neoconservative thinking on war on Iraq was a 1996 paper developed Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and others published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, entitled ‘A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm.’ It was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper stated that Netanyahu should ‘make a clean break’ with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza. It presented a plan by which Israel would ‘shape its strategic environment’, beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, which would serve as a first step towards eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.19 It is to be noted that these Americans – Perle, Feith, and Wurmser – were advising a foreign government and that they currently are connected to the George W. Bush administration: Perle is head of the Defense Policy Board; Feith is Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy; and Wurmser is special assistant to State Department chief arms control negotiator John Bolton. And it is noteworthy that while in 1996 Israel was to ‘shape its strategic environment’ by removing its enemies, the same individuals are now proposing that the United States shape the Middle East environment by removing Israel’s enemies. It would seem that the United States is to serve as Israel’s proxy to advance Israeli interests.
War on Iraq demanded already in 1998
On February 19, 1998, the neoconservative Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf in an ‘Open Letter to the President,’ proposed ‘a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime.’ The letter continued: ‘It will not be easy – and the course of action we favor is not without its problems and perils. But we believe the vital national interests of our country require the United States to [adopt such a strategy].’ Among the letter’s signers were the following current Bush Administration officials: Elliott Abrams (National Security Council), Richard Armitage (State Department), John Bolton (State Department), Doug Feith (Defense Department), Fred Ikle (Defense Policy Board), Zalmay Khalilzad (White House), Peter Rodman (Defense Department), Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense), Paul Wolfowitz (Defense Department), David Wurmser (State Department), Dov Zakheim (Defense Department), and Richard Perle (Defense Policy Board).20 Note that Rumsfeld was part of the neoconservative network and already demanding war with Iraq.21
Signers of the letter also included such pro-Zionist and neoconservative luminaries as Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Frank Gaffney (Director, Center for Security Policy), Joshua Muravchik (American Enterprise Institute), Martin Peretz (Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic), Leon Wieseltier, (The New Republic), former congressman Stephen Solarz.22 President Clinton would only go so far as to support the Iraq Liberation Act, which allocated ninety-seven million dollars for training and military equipment for the Iraqi opposition.23
In September 2000, the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC)24 issued a report, ‘Rebuilding America’s defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,’ which envisioned an expanded global posture for the United States. In regard to the Middle East, the report called for an increased American military presence in the Gulf, whether Saddam was in power or not, maintaining that: ‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’25 The project’s participants included individuals who would play leading roles in the Bush administration: Dick Cheney (vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense), Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defense), and Lewis Libby (Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff). Weekly Standard editor William Kristol was also a co-author.
The strategists Wolfowitz and Perle
In order to directly influence White House policy, Wolfowitz and Perle managed to obtain leading roles in Bush foreign policy/national security advisory team for the 2000 campaign. Headed by Soviet specialist Condoleezza Rice, the team was referred to as ‘the Vulcans.’ Having no direct experience and little knowledge of foreign policy, as illustrated by his gaffes – confusing Slovakia with Slovenia, referring to Greeks as ‘Grecians’ and failing a pop quiz on the names of four foreign leaders – George W. Bush would have to rely heavily on his advisers. ‘His foreign policy team,’ neoconservative Robert Kagan observed, ‘will be critically important to determining what his policies are.’ And as columnist Robert Novak noted: ‘Since Rice lacks a clear track record on Middle East matters, Wolfowitz and Perle will probably weigh in most on Middle East policy.’26 In short, Wolfowitz and Perle would provide the know-nothing Bush with a foreign policy for the Middle East. And certainly such right-wing Zionist views would be reinforced by Cheney and Rumsfeld and the multitude of other neoconservatives who would inundate his administration.
Upon taking office, neoconservatives would fill the key positions in the administration involving defense and foreign policy. On Donald Rumsfeld’s staff are Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith. On Cheney’s staff, the principal neoconservatives include Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Eric Edelman, and John Hannah. And it should be added that Cheney, with his long-time neoconservative connections and views has played a significant role in shaping administration foreign policy.27
Richard Perle is often described as the most influential foreign-policy neoconservative, their eminence grise.28 During the 1970s, Perle gained notice as a top aide to Senator Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson (Democrat, Washingon), who was one of the Senate’s most anti-Communist and pro-Israeli members. During the 1980s, Perle served as deputy secretary of defense under Reagan, where his hardline anti-Soviet positions, especially his opposition to any form of arms control, earned him the moniker ‘Prince of Darkness’ from his enemies. His friends, however, considered him, as one put it, ‘one of the most wonderful people in Washington.’ That Perle is known as a man of great intellect, a gracious and generous host, a witty companion, and a loyal ally helps to explain his prestige in neoconservative circles.29 Perle is not only an exponent of pro-Zionist views, but has had close connections with Israel, being a personal friend of Ariel Sharon’s, a board member of the Jerusalem Post, and an ex-employee of the Israeli weapon manufacturer Soltam. According to author Seymour M. Hersh, while Perle was a congressional aide for Jackson, FBI wiretaps had picked up Perle providing classified information from the National Security Council to the Israeli embassy.30
Although not technically part of the Bush administration, Perle holds the unpaid chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board. In this position, Perle has access to classified documents and close contacts with the admini≠stration leadership. As an article in Salon puts it: ‘Formerly an obscure civilian board designed to provide the secretary of defense with non-binding advice on a whole range of military issues, the Defense Policy Board, now stacked with unabashed Iraq hawks, has become a quasi-lobbying organization whose primary objective appears to be waging war with Iraq.’31
Sharon’s policy of mass expulsion of Palestinians
As the Bush administration came into office in January 2001, press reports in Israel quoted government officials and politicians speaking openly of mass expulsion of the Palestinians. The new Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (elected to office in February 2001), noted for his ruthlessness, had said in the past that Jordan should become the Palestinian state where Palestinians removed from Israeli territory would be relocated.32 There was increased public concern about demographic changes that threatened the Jewish nature of the Israeli state. Haifa University professor Arnon Sofer released the study, ‘Demography of Eretz Israel,’ which predicted that by 2020 non-Jews would be a majority of 58 percent in Israel and the occupied territories.33 Moreover, it was recognized that the overall increase in population was going beyond that which the land, with its limited supply of water, can maintain.34
It appeared to some that Sharon intended to achieve expulsion through militant means. As one left-wing analyst put it at the time: ‘One big war with transfer at its end – this is the plan of the hawks who indeed almost reached the moment of its implementation.’35 In summer 2001, the authoritative Jane’s Information Group reported that Israel had completed planning for a massive and bloody invasion of the Occupied Territories, involving ‘air strikes by F-15 and F-16 fighter bombers, a heavy artillery bombardment, and then an attack by a combined force of 30,000 men … tank brigades and infantry.’ It would seem that such bold strikes signified far more than simply removing Arafat and the PLO leadership. But the U.S. vetoed the plan and Europe made equally plain its opposition to Sharon’s plans.36 As one close observer of the Israeli-Palestinian scene presciently noted in August 2001, ‘it is only in the current political climate that such expulsion plans cannot be put into operation. As hot as the political climate is at the moment, clearly the time is not yet ripe for drastic action. However, if the temperature were raised even higher, actions inconceivable at present might be possible.’37 Once again, ‘revolutionary times’ were necessary for Israel to achieve its policy goals. And then came the September 11 attacks.
September 11: ‘revolutionary times’
The September 11 atrocities provided the ‘revolutionary times,’ in which Israel could undertake radical measures unacceptable during normal conditions. When asked what the attack would do for U.S.-Israeli relations, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded: ‘It’s very good.’ Then he edited himself: ‘Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.’ Netanyahu correctly predicted that the attack would ‘strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon placed Israel in the same position as the United States, referring to the attack as an assault on ‘our common values’ and declaring, ‘I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.’38 In the eyes of Israeli’s leaders, the September 11 attack had joined the United States and Israeli together against a common enemy. And that enemy was not in far off Afghanistan, but was geographically close to Israel. Israel’s traditional enemies would now become America’s as well. And Israel would have a better chance of dealing with the Palestinians under the cover of a ‘war on terrorism.’
Immediately after the 911 attacks, the neoconservatives began to publicly push for a wider war on terrorism that would immediately deal with Israel’s enemies. For example, columnist William Safire held that the real terrorists that America should focus on were not groups of religious fanatics, ‘But Iraqi scientists today working feverishly in hidden biological laboratories and underground nuclear facilities [who] would, if undisturbed, enable the hate-driven, power-crazed Saddam to kill millions. That capability would transform him from a boxed-in bully into a rampant world power.’39
Within the administration, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz clearly implied a broader war against existing governments when he said: ‘I think one has to say it’s not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism. And that’s why it has to be a broad and sustained campaign. It’s not going to stop if a few criminals are taken care of.’40
New formula: war on terrorism
On September 20, 2001, neoconservatives of the Project for the New American Century sent a letter to President Bush endorsing the war on terrorism and stressing that the removal of Saddam Hussein was an essential part of that war. They maintained that ‘even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.’ Furthermore, the letter opined that if Syria and Iran failed to stop all support for Hezbollah, the United States should ‘consider appropriate measures against these known sponsors of terrorism.’ Among the letter’s signatories were such neoconservative luminaries as William Kristol, Midge Decter, Eliot Cohen, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Robert Kagan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, Martin Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, Stephen J. Solarz, and Leon Wieseltier.41
Afghanistan just the opening battle
In the October 29 issue of The Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol predicted a wider Middle Eastern war. ‘When all is said and done, the conflict in Afghanistan will be to the war on terrorism what the North Africa campaign was to World War II: an essential beginning on the path to victory. But compared with what looms over the horizon – a wide-ranging war in locales from Central Asia to the Middle East and, unfortunately, back again to the United States – Afghanistan will prove but an opening battle. … But this war will not end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid.’42 It would seem that Kagan and Kristol look forward to this gigantic conflagration.
In a November 20, 2002 article in The Wall Street Journal, Eliot A. Cohen would dub the conflict ‘World War IV,’ a term picked up by other neoconservatives. Cohen proclaimed that ‘The enemy in this war is not »terrorism » … but militant Islam. … Afghanistan constitutes just one front in World War IV, and the battles there just one ‘ Cohen not only called for a United States attack on Iraq but also for the elimination of the Islamic regime in Iran, which ‘would be no less important a victory in this war than the annihilation of bin Laden.’43
War propaganda of Neoconservative
Critics of a wider war in the Middle East were quick to notice the neoconservative war propaganda effort. In analyzing the situation in September, paleoconservative44 Scott McConnell would write: ‘For the neoconservatives, however, bin Laden is but a sideshow . … They hope to use September 11 as pretext for opening a wider war in the Middle East. Their prime, but not only, target is Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, even if Iraq has nothing to do with the World Trade Center assault.’45
However, McConnell mistakenly considered the neocon position to be a minority one within the Bush administration, as he wrote: ‘The neo-con wish list is a recipe for igniting a huge conflagration between the United States and countries throughout the Arab world, with consequences no one could reasonably pretend to calculate. Support for such a war – which could turn quite easily into a global war – is a minority position within the Bush administration (assistant secretary of state Paul Wolfowitz is its main advocate) and the country. But it presently dominates the main organs of conservative journalistic opinion, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Washington Times, as well as Marty Peretz’s neoliberal New Republic. In a volatile situation, such organs of opinion could matter.’46
Expressing a similar view, veteran columnist Georgie Anne Geyer observed: ‘The »Get Iraq » campaign … started within days of the September bombings . … It emerged first and particularly from pro-Israeli hard-liners in the Pentagon such as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and adviser Richard Perle, but also from hard-line neoconservatives, and some journalists and congressmen.
Soon it became clear that many, although not all, were in the group that is commonly called in diplomatic and political circles the »Israeli-firsters, » meaning that they would always put Israeli policy, or even their perception of it, above anything else.’ Within the Bush administration, Geyer believed that this line of thinking was ‘being contained by cool heads in the administration, but that could change at any time.’47
Neoconservatives have presented the September 11 atrocities as a lightning bolt to make President Bush aware of his destiny to destroy the evil of world terrorism. In the religious (ironically Christian) terminology of Norman Podhoretz, ‘a transformed – or, more precisely, a transfigured – George W.Bush appeared before us. In an earlier article in these pages, I suggested, perhaps presumptuously, that out of the blackness of smoke and fiery death let loose by September 11, a kind of revelation, blazing with a very different fire of its own, lit up the recesses of Bush’s mind and heart and soul. Which is to say that, having previously been unsure as to why he should have been chosen to become President of the United States, George W.Bush now knew that the God to whom, as a born-again Christian, he had earlier committed himself had put him in the Oval Office for a purpose. He had put him there to lead a war against the evil of terrorism.’48
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was internal debate within the administration regarding the scope of the ‘war on terrorism.’ According to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, as early as the day after the attacks, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld ‘raised the question of attacking Iraq. Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? he asked. Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question. His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target of the first round in the war on terrorism.’49
Woodward continued that ‘the terrorist attacks of September 11 gave the U.S. a new window to go after Hussein.’ On September 15, Wolfowitz put forth military arguments to justify a U.S. attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan. Wolfowitz expressed the view that ‘attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain.’ He voiced the fear that American troops would be ‘bogged down in mountain fighting. … In contrast, Iraq, was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable.’50
However, the neoconservatives were not able to achieve their goal of a wider war at the outset, in part due to the opposition of Secretary of State Powell, who held that the war should focus on the actual perpetrators of September 11. (It might be added that this was how most Americans actually viewed the war.) Perhaps Powell’s most telling argument was his allegation that an American attack on Iraq would lack international support. He claimed that that if the United States were victorious in Afghanistan, it would enhance its ability to deal militarily with Iraq at a later time, ‘if we can prove that Iraq had a role’ in September 11.51
Powell diverged from the neoconservative hawks in his emphasis on the need for international support, as opposed to American unilateralism, but an even greater difference was his contention that the ‘war on terror’ had to be directly linked to the perpetrators of September 11 – Osama bin Laden’s network. Powell publicly repudiated Wolfowitz’s call for ‘ending states’ with the response that ‘We’re after ending terrorism. And if there are states and regimes, nations, that support terrorism, we hope to persuade them that it is in their interest to stop doing that. But I think »ending terrorism » is where I would leave it and let Mr. Wolfowitz speak for himself.’52
‘Top secret’: war against Iraq already planned on 17 September 2001
Very significantly, however, while the ‘war on terrorism’ would not begin with an attack on Iraq, military plans were being made for just such an endeavor. A ‘top secret’ document outlining the war plan for Afghanistan, which President Bush signed on September 17, 2001, included, as a minor point, instructions to the Pentagon to also start making plans for an attack on Iraq.53
Bush’s public pronouncements would show a rapid evolution in the direction of expanding the war to Iraq. On November 21, 2001, in a speech at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Bush proclaimed that ‘Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all these threats are defeated. Across the world, and across the years, we will fight these evil ones, and we will win.’54
On November 26, in response to a question as to whether Iraq was a terrorist nation that he had in mind, the President responded: ‘Well, my message is, is that if you harbor a terrorist, »re a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist, you’re a terrorist. If you develop weapons of mass destruction that you want to terrorize the world, you’ll be held accountable.’ Note that Bush included possession of weapons of mass destruction as an indicator of ‘terrorism.’ And none of this terrorist activity necessarily related to the September 11 attacks.55
The ‘axis of evil’ – an invention by David Frum, Bush’s speechwriter
The transformation to the wider war was complete with Bush’s January 29, 2002 State of the Union speech, in which the ‘war on terrorism’ was officially decoupled from the specific events of 9/11. Bush did not even mention bin Laden or al Qaeda. The danger now was said to come primarily from three countries – Iran, Iraq, and North Korea – which he dubbed ‘an axis of evil,’ who allegedly threatened the world with their weapons of mass destruction. According to Bush, ‘States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.’56 The phrase ‘axis of evil’ was coined by Bush’s neoconservative speechwriter, David Frum.57
By April 2002, President Bush was publicly declaring that American policy was ‘regime change’ in Iraq. And in June, he stated that the United States would launch preemptive strikes on those countries that threatened the United States.58 According to what passes as the conventional wisdom, Iraq now posed such a threat. Moreover, by the spring of 2002, Army General Tommy R. Franks, commander of U. S. Central Command, began giving Bush private briefings every three or four weeks on the war planning for Iraq.59
Neoconservatives both within and outside of the administration sought a unilateral U.S. attack on Iraq that would not be encumbered by the conflicting goals of any coalition partners. This was countered by the efforts of Secretary of State Powell to persuade President Bush that United Nation’s sanction would be necessary to justify a United States attack, which the President ultimately found persuasive. While this slowed the rush to war, it represented a move by Powell away from his original position that war on Iraq should only be made if it were proven to have been involved in the September 11 terrorism.
UN resolution 1441
The UN Security Council decided that UN inspectors, with sweeping inspection powers, would determine whether Iraq was violating its pledge to destroy all of its weapons of mass destruction. UN Security Council Resolution 1441 of November 8, 2002 places the burden of proof on Iraq to show that it no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction. Resolution 1441 states that any false statements or omissions in the Iraqi weapons declaration would constitute a further material breach by Iraq of its obligations. This could set in motion discussions by the Security Council on considering the use of military force against Iraq. While some have claimed that this might mean that war would be put off,60 it allows the United States to use the new UN resolution as a legal justification for war. In fact, the United States could choose to enforce the resolution through war without additional UN authorization. As reporter Robert Fisk writes: ‘The United Nations can debate any Iraqi non-compliance with weapons inspectors, but the United States will decide whether Iraq has breached UN resolutions. In other words, America can declare war without UN permission.’61
Top military figures hesitant – neoconservatives command
Neoconservatives have not only determined the foreign policy for the attack on Iraq but have played a role in the military strategy as well. Top military figures, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, initially expressed opposition to the whole idea of war against Iraq.62 Richard Perle and other neoconservatives have for some time held that toppling Saddam would require little military effort or risk. They pushed for a war strategy dubbed ‘inside-out’ that would involve attacking Baghdad and a couple of other key cities with a very small number of airborne troops, with some estimates ranging as low as five thousand. Achieving these goals, according to the plan’s supporters, would cause Saddam’s regime to collapse. American military leaders adamantly opposed this approach as too risky, offering in its stead a plan to use a much larger number of troops – around 250,000 – that would attack Iraq in a more conventional manner from its neighboring countries (‡ la the Gulf War). Perle and the neoconservatives feared that no neighboring country would provide these bases so that this approach would likely mean that no war would be initiated or that during the lengthy time needed to assemble this large force, war opposition would reach a point as to make war politically impossible. Perle angrily responded to the military’s demure by saying that the decision to attack Iraq was ‘a political judgment that these guys aren’t competent to make’.63 Cheney and Rumsfeld went even farther referring to the generals as ‘cowards’ for being insufficiently gung-ho regarding an Iraq invasion.64
Now one might be tempted to attribute the rejection of the military’s caution to insane hubris on the part of Perle and the neoconservative crowd – how could those amateurs deign to know more about military strategy than professional military men? But Richard Perle may be many things but stupid is not one of these. Perle undoubtedly has thought through the implications of his plan. And it is apparent that the ‘inside-out’ option would be a win-win proposition from Perle’s perspective. Let’s assume that it works – that a few American troops can capture some strategic areas and the Iraqi army quickly folds. Then Perle and the neoconservatives appear as military geniuses who would have free reign to prepare a series of additional low-cost wars in the Middle East.
But, on the other hand, let’s assume that the invasion is a complete fiasco. The American troops are defeated in the cities. Many are captured and paraded around for all the world to see via television. Saddam makes bombastic speeches about defeating the American aggressor. All the Arab and Islamic world celebrates the American defeat. American flags are burned in massive anti-American celebrations throughout the Middle East. And all of this is viewed by Americans on their television screens. America is totally humiliated. It looks like a paper tiger. What would be the American reaction? It would be like Pearl Harbor in engendering hatred of the enemy in the hearts of average Americans. The public would demand that American honor and prestige be avenged. They would accept the idea fed to them by the neoconservative propagandists that the war was one between America and Islam. Total war would be unleashed, which would involve heavy bombing of cities. And the air attacks could easily move from Iraq to the other neighboring Islamic states. A war of conquest and extermination would be the neoconservatives fondest dream since it would serve to destroy all of Israel’s enemies in the Middle East. (It now appears, however, that the Pentagon has augmented the magnitude of the Iraq strike force so as to reduce the risk of the aforementioned scenario.)65
Expansion of the war planned
There are many indications that the war will not be limited to Iraq alone. On July 10, 2002, Laurent Murawiec, at Perle’s behest, briefed the Defense Policy Board about Saudi Arabia, whose friendly relationship with the United States has been the lynchpin of American security strategy in the Middle East for over 50 years. Murawiec described the kingdom as the principal supporter of anti-American terrorism – ‘the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent.’ It was necessary for the U.S. to regard Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States. Murawiec said that the United States should demand that Riyadh stop funding fundamentalist Islamic outlets around the world, prohibit all anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli propaganda in the country, and ‘prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror chain, including the Saudi intelligence services.’ If the Saudi’s refused to comply with the ultimatum, Murawiec held that the United States should invade and occupy the country, including the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, seize its oil fields, and confiscate its financial assets.66
Murawiec concluded the briefing with the astounding summary of what he called a ‘Grand Strategy for the Middle East:’ ‘Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize.’ In short, the goal of the war on the Iraq was the destruction of the United States’ closest allies. It would be hard to envision a policy better designed to inflame the entire Middle East against the United States. But that is exactly the result sought by neoconservatives.67
Predictably, the day after the briefing, the Bush Administration disavowed Murawiec’s scenario as having nothing to do with actual American foreign policy and pronounced Saudi Arabia as a loyal ally.68 It should be added, however, that nothing was done by the Administration to remove or even discipline Perle for holding a discussion of a plan for attacking a close ally – and individuals have frequently been removed from Administrations for much smaller faux pas. Certainly the Bush administration’s inaction failed to assure the Saudis that Murawiec’s war plan was beyond the realm of possibility.
It should be added that Murawiec’s anti-Saudi scenario was in line with what had been coming out in the neoconservative press. The July 15, 2002 issue of The Weekly Standard, edited by William Kristol, featured an article entitled ‘The Coming Saudi Showdown,’ by Simon Henderson of the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The July/August issue of Commentary, published by the American Jewish Committee, contained an article titled, ‘Our Enemies, the Saudis.’69 The leading neoconservative expert on Saudi Arabia is Stephen Schwartz, author of numerous articles and a recent book, The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud from Tradition to Terror, in which he posits a Saudi/Wahhabism conspiracy to take over all of Islam and spread terror throughout the entire world. As a result of his anti-Saudi comments, Schwartz was dismissed from his short-lived post as an editorial writer with the Voice of America at the beginning of July 2002, thus becoming a martyr in neoconservative circles.70 And as Thomas F. Ricks pointed out in his article in the Washington Post, the anti-Saudi bellicosity expressed by Murawiec ‘represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration – especially on the staff of Vice President Cheney and in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership – and among neoconservative writers and thinkers closely allied with administration policymakers.’71
By November 2002, the anti-Saudi theme had reached the mainstream – with an article in Newsweek, alleging financial support for the 9/11 terrorists coming from the Saudi royal family, and commentary on the subject by such leading figures in the Senate as Joseph Lieberman (D.-Conn.) , John McCain (R.-Ariz.), Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). 72
A war against all of Islam?
Bush administration policy has gone a long way but has still not completely reached what neoconservatives seek: a war of the U.S. versus all of Islam. According to Norman Podhoretz, doyen of the neoconservatives: ‘Militant Islam today represents a revival of the expansionism by the sword’ of Islam’s early years.73 To survive resurgent Islam, in Podhoretz’s view, the United States could not simply be on the defensive but would have to stamp out militant Islam at its very source in the Middle East. ‘The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, this axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as ‘friends’ of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen.’ Then, the U.S. would remake the entire region, which would entail forcibly re-educating the people to fall in line with the thinking of America’s leaders. Podhoretz acknowledges that the people of the Middle East might, if given a free democratic choice, pick anti-American, anti-Israeli, leaders and policies. But he proclaims that ‘there is a policy that can head it off’ provided ‘that we then have the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties. This is what we did directly and unapologetically in Germany and Japan after winning World War II.’74
Forcible expulsion of the Palestinians necessitates war
Now let’s return once more to the expulsion of the Palestinians, which as has been pointed out, is inextricably intertwined with a Middle Eastern war – or in Ben-Gurion’s phrase, ‘revolutionary times.’ As the post-September 11 ‘war on terror’ has heated up, the talk of forcibly ‘transferring’ the Palestinians has once again moved to the center of Israeli politics. According to Illan Pappe, a Jewish Israeli revisionist historian, ‘You can see this new assertion talked about in Israel: the discourse of transfer and expulsion which had been employed by the extreme Right, is now the bon ton of the center.’75 Even the dean of Israel’s revisionist historians, Benny Morris, explicitly endorsed the expulsion of the Palestinians in the event of war. ‘This land is so small,’ Morris exclaimed, ‘that there isn’t room for two peoples. In fifty or a hundred years, there will only be one state between the sea and the Jordan. That state must be Israel.’ According to a recent poll conducted by Israel’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, nearly one-half of Israelis support expulsion of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, and nearly one-third support expulsion of Israeli Arabs (three-fifths support ‘encouraging’ Israeli Arabs to leave).76
In April 2002, leading Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld held that a United States attack on Iraq would provide the cover for Prime Minister Sharon to forcibly remove the Palestinians from the West Bank. In Creveld’s view, ‘The expulsion of the Palestinians would require only a few brigades,’ who would rely on ‘heavy artillery.’ Creveld continued: ‘Israeli military experts estimate that such a war could be over in just eight days. If the Arab states do not intervene, it will end with the Palestinians expelled and Jordan in ruins. If they do intervene, the result will be the same, with the main Arab armies destroyed. … Israel would stand triumphant, as it did in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973.’77
Although Creveld did not express any opposition to this impending expulsion, in September 2002, a group of Israeli academics did issue a declaration of opposition to such a development, stating that ‘We are deeply worried by indications that the ‘fog of war’ could be exploited by the Israeli government to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people, up to full-fledged ethnic cleansing.’78
The declaration continued: ‘The Israeli ruling coalition includes parties that promote ‘transfer’ of the Palestinian population as a solution to what they call ‘the demographic problem’. Politicians are regularly quoted in the media as suggesting forcible expulsion, most recently MKs Michael Kleiner and Benny Elon, as reported on Yediot Ahronot website on September 19, 2002. In a recent interview in Ha’aretz, Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon described the Palestinians as a ‘cancerous manifestation’ and equated the military actions in the Occupied Territories with ‘chemotherapy’, suggesting that more radical ‘treatment’ may be necessary. Prime Minister Sharon has backed this ‘assessment of reality’. Escalating racist demagoguery concerning the Palestinian citizens of Israel may indicate the scope of the crimes that are possibly being contemplated.’ 79
In the fall of 2002, the Jordanian government, fearing that Israel might push the Palestinian population into Jordan during the anicipated United States attack on Iraq, asked for public assurances from the Israeli government that such a move would not be made. The Sharon government, however, has refused to publicly renounce an expulsion policy.80
Is war the chance to annex oil regions?
As is now clearly apparent, the ‘war on terrorism’ was never intended to be a war to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities. September 11 simply provided a pretext for government leaders to implement long-term policy plans. As has been pointed out elsewhere, including in my own writing, oil interests and American imperialists looked upon the war as a way to incorporate oil rich Central Asia within the American imperial orbit.81 While this has been achieved, the American-sponsored government of Hamid Karzai is in a perilous situation. Karzai’s power seems to be limited to Kabul, where he must be protected by American bodyguards. The rest of Afghanistan is being battled over by various war lords and even the resurgent Taliban.82 Instead of putting forth the effort to help consolidate its position in Central Asia, the United States focus has shifted to gaining control of the Middle East.
It now appears that the primary policymakers in the Bush administration have been the Likudnik neoconservatives all along. Control of Central Asia is secondary to control of the Middle East. In fact, for the leading neoconservatives, the war on Afghanistan may simply have been a necessary move to reach their ultimate and crucial goal, which was U.S. control of the Middle East in the interests of Israel. This is quite analogous to what revisionist historians have presented as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘back door to war’ approach to World War II. Roosevelt sought war with Japan in order to be able to fight Germany, and he provoked Japan into attacking U.S. colonial possessions in the Far East. Once the United States got into war through the back door, Roosevelt focused the American military effort on Germany.83
But what about the American desire for controlling Iraqi oil? Iraq possesses the world’s second largest proven oil reserves, next to Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, many experts believe that Iraq possesses vast undiscovered oil reserves, making it the near equal of Saudi Arabia. Most war critics allege that what motivates the United States war policy is the desire of American oil companies to gain control of Iraqi oil. And it has also been argued, largely by proponents of the war, that once in control of Iraqi oil, the United States could inundate the world with cheap oil, thus boosting the American and world economies out of recession.84
Although these arguments have a prima facie plausibility, the oil motive for war has a couple of serious flaws. First, there do not seem to be significant oil industry representatives or big economic moguls clamoring for war. According to oil analyst Anthony Sampson, ‘oil companies have had little influence on U.S. policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate.’ 85 Moreover, it is not apparent that war would be good for the oil industry or the world economy. Why would oil interest want to take the risk of war that could entail a regional conflagration threatening their existing investments in the Gulf? And although Iraq does have significant oil reserves, there is no reason to believe that these would have an immediate impact on the oil market. Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, points out that ‘in terms of production capacity, Iraq represents just 3 percent of the world’s total. Its oil exports are on the same level as Nigeria’s. Even if Iraq doubled its capacity, that could take more than a decade. In the meantime, growth elsewhere would limit Iraq’s eventual share to perhaps 5 percent, significant but still in the second tier of oil nations.’86 And a war poses a great risk to the oil industry in the entire Gulf region. As William D. Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale and a member of the President Jimmy Carter’s Council of Economic Advisers, writes:
‘War in the Persian Gulf might produce a major upheaval in petroleum markets, either because of physical damage or because political events lead oil producers to restrict production after the war.’
‘A particularly worrisome outcome would be a wholesale destruction of oil facilities in Iraq, and possibly in Kuwait, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. In the first Persian Gulf War, Iraq destroyed much of Kuwait’s oil wells and other petroleum infrastructure as it withdrew. The sabotage shut down Kuwaiti oil production for close to a year, and prewar levels of oil production were not reached until 1993 – nearly two years after the end of the war in February 1991.’
‘Unless the Iraqi leadership is caught completely off-guard in a new war, Iraq’s forces would probably be able to destroy Iraq’s oil production facilities. The strategic rationale for such destruction is unclear in peacetime, but such an act of self-immolation cannot be ruled out in wartime. Contamination of oil facilities in the Gulf region by biological or chemical means would pose even greater threats to oil markets.’ 87
Nordhaus’ forecasts may be excessively bleak. However, the fact remains that experts cannot simply gauge what will happen. War poses tremendous risk. In his evaluation of the possible economic impact of a war on Iraq, economic analyst Robert J. Samuelson concludes: ‘If it’s peace and prosperity, then war makes no sense. But if fighting now prevents a costlier war later, it makes much sense.’88
None of this to deny that certain oil companies might benefit from a Middle East war, just as some businesses profit from any war. Particular oil companies certainly could stand to benefit from the American control of Iraq, since under a post-war United States-sponsored Iraqi government, American companies could be expected to be favored and gain the most lucrative oil deals. However, that particular oil companies could derive some benefits does not undercut the overall argument that war is a great risk for the American oil industry and the American economy as a whole,
New American colonialism
An American imperialist strategic motive might be more plausible than the economic interests of the oil industry and the economy in general. In short, instead of the current informal influence over the oil producing areas of the Middle East, the United States would be moving onto direct control, either with a puppet government in Iraq providing enough leverage for the United States to dictate to the rest of the Middle East, or actual direct American control of other parts of the Middle East as well as Iraq. Such a situation would presumably provide greater security for the oil flow than exists under the current situation, where the client states have some autonomy and face the possibility of being overthrown by anti-American forces. Neoconservative Robert Kagan maintains, ‘When we have economic problems, it’s been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies.’89
Neoconservatives often try to gloss over this projected American colonialism by claiming that the United States would be simply spreading democracy. They imply that ‘democratic’ Middle East governments would support American policies, including support of Israel and an oil policy oriented toward the welfare of the United States. However, given popular anti-Zionist and anti-American opinion in the region, it seems very unlikely that governments representative of the popular will would ever pursue such policies. Only a non-representative dictatorship could be pro-American and pro-Israeli. Pro-Zionist U.S. Congessman Tom Lantos put it candidly in calming the worries of an Israeli member of the Knesset: ‘You won’t have any problem with Saddam. We’ll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we’ll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you.’90
Control of the Middle East oil supply would certainly augment United States dominance of the world. However, it should be noted that American imperialists not in any way linked to the Likudnik position on Israel – such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft – are cool to such a Middle East war.91 If such a war policy would be an obvious boon to American imperialism, why isn’t it avidly sought by leading American imperialists?
It is apparent that direct colonial control of a country’s internal affairs would be a significant break with American policy of the past half century. America might have client states and an informal empire, but the direct imperialism entailed by an occupation of the Middle East would be, as Mark Danner put it in an article in the New York Times, ‘wholly foreign to the modesty of containment, the ideology of a status-quo power that lay at the heart of American strategy for half a century.’92
Moreover, a fundamental concern of American global policy has been the maintenance of peace and stability in the world. The United States preaches probity and restraint to other countries regarding the use of force. Hence, for the United States to launch a pre-emptive strike on a country would undoubtedly weaken its ability to restrain other countries, who would also see a need to preemptively strike at their foes. In short, the launching of preemptive war would act to destabilize the very world order that the United States allegedly seeks to preserve in its ‘war on terrorism.’ In fact, world stability is often seen as central to the global economic interdependence that is the key to American prosperity.93
Hegemony – a danger for the US
Since America already exercises considerable power in the oil producing Persian Gulf region through its client states – Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates – it would be difficult to understand why American imperialists would make a radical change from their status quo policy. Would the benefits to be gained from direct control of the region outweigh the risks involved? War could unleash virulent anti-American forces that could destabilize America’s Middle East client states and cause terrorist attacks on the American homeland. Moreover, American military occupation of Iraq, not to mention other Middle Eastern countries, would place a heavy burden on the United States government and people.94 Would such a burden be acceptable to the American people? Would they support the brutal policies that would be needed to suppress any opposition? Certainly, the French people would not support the colonial empire in Algeria. And even in the totalitarian Soviet Union, popular opinion forced the abandonment of its imperialistic venture in Afghanistan, which contributed to the break-up of the entire Soviet empire. In short, the move from indirect to direct control of the Middle East would seem to be a grave risk for those individuals simply concerned about enhancing American imperial power, in that it could undermine America’s entire imperial project.
Not only would American direct control of the Middle East be burdensome to the American people, but it would undoubtedly engender a backlash from other countries of the world. This would seem almost a law of international relations – the balance of power politics that goes back to at least the time of the Peloponnesian War. As Christopher Layne points out:
‘The historical record shows that in the real world, hegemony never has been a winning grand strategy. The reason is simple: The primary aim of states in international politics is to survive and maintain their sovereignty. And when one state becomes too powerful – becomes a hegemon – the imbalance of power in its favor is a menace to the security of all other states. So throughout modern international political history, the rise of a would-be hegemon always has triggered the formation of counter-hegemonic alliances by other states.’95
The British Empire, which might seem an exception from this rule of the inevitable failure of hegemons, achieved its success because of its caution. Owen Harries, editor of the National Interest, has pointed out that England’s imperial successes stemmed from its rather cautious approach.. ‘England,’ observed Harries in the Spring 2001 National Interest, ‘was the only hegemon that did not attract a hostile coalition against itself. It avoided that fate by showing great restraint, prudence and discrimination in the use of its power in the main political arena by generally standing aloof and restricting itself to the role of balancer of last resort. In doing so it was heeding the warning given it by Edmund Burke, just as its era of supremacy was beginning: ‘I dread our own power and our own ambition. I dread being too much dreaded.’ Notes Harries, ‘I believe the United States is now in dire need of such a warning.’96 Obviously, the American take-over of the major oil producing area of the world would be anything but a cautious move. It would characterize a classic example of what historian Paul Kennedy refers to as ‘imperial over-stretch.’ Tied down in the Middle East, the United States would find it more difficult to counter threats to its power in the rest of the world. Even now there is the question as to whether the United States military has the capability to fight two wars, a problem that has now come to the fore with the bellicosity of North Korea.97 In essence, it does not seem apparent that intelligent American imperialists concerned solely about the power status of the United States, which holds preeminence in the world right now, would want to take the risk of a Middle East war and occupation.
The previous information would lead to the conclusion that not only are the neoconservatives obviously in the forefront of the pro-war bandwagon, but that pro-Israeli Likudnik motives would seem to be the most logical, probably the only logical, reason for a war. As this essay has noted, Likudniks have always sought to deal in a radical fashion with the Palestinian problem in the occupied – – a problem that has gotten worse, from their standpoint, as a result of demographics. A United States war in the Middle East at the present time provides the window of opportunity to permanently solve this problem and augment Israel’s dominance in the region. The existing perilous situation, as Likud thinkers see it, would justify the taking of substantial risks. And a look at history shows that countries whose leaders believed they were faced with grave problems pursued risky policies, such as Japan did in 1941.98 In contrast, no such dire threats face the United States. American imperialists should be relatively satisfied with the status quo and averse to taking any risks that might jeopardize it.
Finally, let me briefly summarize what I have written. The deductions drawn in this essay would seem quite obvious but are rarely broached in public because the issue of Jewish power is a taboo. As the intrepid Joseph Sobran has put it: ‘It’s permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish establishment is off-limits.’99
So in a check for ‘hate’ or ‘anti-Semitism,’ let’s recapitulate the major points made in this essay. First, the initiation of a Middle East war to solve Israeli security problems has been a long-standing idea among Israeli rightist Likudniks. Next, Likudnik-oriented neoconservatives have argued for American involvement in such a war prior to the September 11, 2001 atrocities. After September 11, neoconservatives have taken the lead in advocating such a war, and they hold influential positions in the Bush administration regarding foreign policy and national security affairs.
If Israel and Jews were not involved, there would be nothing extraordinary about this thesis. In the history of foreign policy, it has frequently been maintained that various leading figures were motivated by ties to business, ideology, or support for a foreign country. In his ‘Farewell Address,’ George Washington expressed the view that the greatest danger to American foreign relations would be the ‘passionate attachment’ of influential Americans to a foreign country, who would orient United States foreign policy for the benefit of that foreign country to the detriment of the United States. It is such a situation that currently exists. And we can only look with trepidation to the near future when, in the ominous words of British journalist Robert Fisk, ‘There is a firestorm coming.’100
1 Paul W. Schroeder, ‘Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive,’ The American Conservative, October, 21, 2002, http://www.amconmag.com/10_21/iraq.html That a powerful nation has been directed by a weaker state has been observed in the past. The great revisionist diplomatic historian Charles C. Tansill maintained that: ‘The main objective of American foreign policy since 1900 has been the preservation of the British Empire.’ Back Door to War , (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1952), p. 3.
Britain was able to achieve its goal by media propaganda and sympathizers in high places in the United States. See: Nicholas John Cull, Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American ‘Neutrality’ in World War II (Oxford University Press, 1995) and Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44 (Washington: Brassey’s, 1998).
2 Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 231; On the connection between Jews, Zionism, and Neoconservativism, see: Paul Gottfried, The Conservative Movement (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993); J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1996), pp. 159-162; Peter Steinfels, The Neoconservatives : The Men Who Are Changing America’s Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979); Gary Dorrien, The Neoconservative Mind: Politics, Culture, and the War of Ideology (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1993); James Neuchterlein, ‘ This Time: Neoconservatism Redux,’ First Things, 66 (October 1996), pp. 7-8, http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9610/opinion/neuchterlein.html .
3 Joshua Micah Marshall, ‘Bomb Sadddam? : How the obsession of a few neocon hawks became the central goal of U.S. foreign policy,’ Washington Monthly, June 2002, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0206.marshall.html ; Kathleen and Bill Christison, ‘A Rose By Another Other Name: The Bush Administration’s Dual Loyalties,’ CounterPunch, December 13, 2002, http://www.counterpunch.org/christison1213.html .
See also Christopher Matthews, ‘The road to Baghdad,’ San Francisco Chronicle, March 24, 2002,
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2002/03/24/IN164155.DTL ; Justin Raimondo, ‘Our Hijacked Foreign Policy: Neoconservatives take Washington – Baghdad is next,’ March 25, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j032502.html; Holger Jensen, ‘Pre-Emption, Disarmament Or Regime Change? Part III,’ October 7, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/orig/jensen1b.html ; Scott McConnell, ‘The Struggle Over War Aims: Bush Versus the Neo-Cons,’ September 25, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/mcconnell/mc092501.html ; Jim Lobe, ‘ Neoconservatives Consolidate Control over U.S. Mideast Policy,’ Foreign Policy in Focus, December 6, 2002, http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/commentary/2002/0212abrams.html
It should be added that, as will become obvious, much of the material in this essay derives from authors who express the belief that neoconservatives are a leading force for war with Iraq.
4 Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000), pp.404-5; For a history of the Zionist ideas on expulsion, see: Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 (Washington: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1992).
5 Quoted in Norman Finkelstein, ‘Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict,’ Introduction to German edition (10 July 2002), http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/id127.htm
6 Finkelstein, ‘Image and Reality.’
7 Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, Chapter 12,
‘Strategy for Conquest,’ 1988, http://www.balkanunity.org/mideast/english/zionism/ch12.htm
8 Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s Fateful Hour (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), pp. 57-58.
9 Stephen R. Shalom, ‘The United States and the Iran-Iraq War,’ http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/ShalomIranIraq.html ; Jeremy Scahill, ‘The Saddam in Rumsfeld’s Closet,’ Common Dreams, August 2, 2002, http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-01.htm ; Robert Windrem, ‘Rumsfeld key player in Iraq policy shift,’ MSNBC, August 18, 2002, http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-01.htm ; Chris Bury, ‘The U.S.-Iraq relationship was not always about confrontation ,’ September 18, 2002, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/DailyNews/us_iraq_history_1_020917.html ; Michael Dobbs, ‘U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup,’ Washington Post, December 30, 2002, p. A-1,
10 Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 208.
11 Christopher Layne, ‘Why the Gulf War was Not in the National Interest,’ The Atlantic, July 1991, http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/91jul/layne.htm
12 Arnold Beichman, ‘How the divide over Iraq strategies began,’ Washington Times, November 27, 2002, http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/beichman.htm
13 Warren Strobel, ‘Bush won’t back loan to Jewish state,’ Washington Times, March 18, 1992, p. A-7; Michael Hedge, ‘Israeli lobby president resigns over promises,’ Washington Times, November 4, 1992, p. A-3; ‘Loan Guarantees for Israel,’ Washington Times, September 11, 1992, p. F-2; Frank Gaffney, Jr., ‘Neocon job that begs for answers,’ October 13, 1992, p. F-1; Andrew Borowiec, ‘Group counters Bush on Israel,’ Washington Times, February 27, 1992, p. A-1; Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 218-23.
An interesting side note. J. J. Goldberg in Jewish Power observes (p. 234) that ‘In 1991, at the height of the Bush administration’s confrontation with Israel, no fewer than seven of the nineteen assistant secretaries in the State Department were Jews.’
14 The neonconservative takeover of the mainstream conservative intellectual movement is presented by Paul Gottfried, The Conservative Movement.
15 Brian Whitaker, ‘US thinktanks give lessons in foreign policy,’ The Guardian, August 19, 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,777100,00.html
16 Jason Vest, ‘The Men From JINSA and CSP,’ The Nation, September 2, 2002, http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020902&s=vest&c=1
19 The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ ‘Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000,’ ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,’ http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm
20 ‘Open Letter to the President,’ February 19, 1998, . http://www.iraqwatch.org/perspectives/rumsfeld-openletter.htm ; Frank Gaffney, ‘End Saddam’s Reign of Terror: Better late than never,’ National Review Online, February 21, 2002, http://www.nationalreview.com/contributors/gaffney022101.shtml
21 Rumsfeld has a long record of being a close supporter of Israel. For example, Rumsfeld has spoken at ‘Solidarity with Israel’ dinners hosted by the ‘International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.’ Michael Gillespie, ‘Bill Moyers, modernity, Islam,’ Middle East Times, http://www.metimes.com/2K2/issue2002-30/opin/bill_moyers.htm
22 ‘Open Letter to the President,’ February 19, 1998, http://www.iraqwatch.org/perspectives/rumsfeld-openletter.htm ; Frank Gaffney, ‘End Saddam’s Reign of Terror: Better late than never,’ ‘National Review Online,’ February 21, 2002, http://www.nationalreview.com/contributors/gaffney022101.shtml
23 Seymour Hersh, ‘The Iraq Hawks,’ New Yorker, December 20, 2001, http://www.globalpolicy.org/wtc/targets/1220hawks.htm
24 PNAC describes itself as follows: ‘Established in the spring of 1997, the Project for the New American Century is a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership. The Project is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project (501c3); the New Citizenship Project’s chairman is William Kristol and its president is Gary Schmitt.’ http://www.newamericancentury.org/aboutpnac.htm
25 Neil Mackay, ‘Bush planned Iraq ‘regime change’ before becoming President,’ Scottish Sunday Herald, September 15, 2002, http://www.sundayherald.com/print27735
26 Ian Urbina, ‘Rogues’ Gallery, Who Advises Bush and Gore on the Middle East?,’ Middle East Report 216, Fall 2000, http://www.merip.org/mer/mer216/216_urbina.html
27 Glenn Kessler and Peter Slevin, ‘Cheney Is Fulcrum of Foreign Policy: In Interagency Fights, His Views Often Prevail,’ Washington Post, October 13, 2002, A-1.
28 Marshall, ‘Bomb Saddam?’
29 Eric Boehlert, ‘The Armchair General,’ Salon, September 5, 2002, http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2002/09/05/perle/ ; Sidney Blumenthal would write that Perle ‘had done more to shape the administration’s nuclear arms policy than perhaps any individual except Reagan himself.’ ‘Richard Perle, Disarmed but Undeterred,’ Washington Post, November 23, 1987, p. B-1.
30 Holger Jensen, ‘Pre-Emption, Disarmament Or Regime Change? Part III,’ October 7, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/orig/jensen1b.html ; Vest, ‘The men from JINSA and CSP;’ Seymour M. Hersh, ‘Kissinger and Nixon in the White House,’ The Atlantic Monthly, 24:5 (May, 1982), http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/82may/hershwh2.htm
31 Eric Boehlert, ‘The Armchair General,’ Salon, September 5, 2002, http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2002/09/05/perle/
32 Ronald Bleier, ‘Sharon Routs Bush: Palestinians now vulnerable to expulsion,’ August 2001, http://desip.igc.org/SharonRoutsBush.html ; Bleier, ‘The Next Expulsion of the Palestinians,’ January 2001, http://desip.igc.org/TheNextExpulsion.html
33 Tikva Honig-Parnass, ‘Israel’s Recent Conviction: Apartheid In Palestine Can Only be Preserved Through Force,’ September 2001, Between the Lines, http://www.between-lines.org/archives/2001/sep/Tikva_Honig-Parnass.htm
34 Bleier, ‘Sharon Gears Up for Expulsion,’ January 2002, http://desip.igc.org/SharonRoutsBush.html
35 Tikvah Honig-Parnass, ‘Louder Voices of War: Manufacturing Consent at its Peak,’ Between the Lines, 1:8 (July 2001) quoted in Ronald Bleier, ‘Sharon Routs Bush: Palestinians now vulnerable to expulsion,’ August 2001, http://desip.igc.org/SharonRoutsBush.html
36 Jane’s Foreign Report (July 12, 2001) quoted in Finkelstein, Image; Israelis Generals’ Plan to ‘Smash’ Palestinians, July 12, 2002, Mid-East Realities, http://www.middleeast.org/premium/read.cgi?category=Magazine&standalone=&num=278&month=7&year=2001&function=text ; Tanya Reinhart, ‘The Second Half of 1948,’ Mid-East Realities, June 20, 2001, http://www.middleeast.org/premium/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=251&month=6&year=2001&function=text
37 Bleier, ‘Sharon Routes Bush.’
38 James Bennet, ‘Spilled Blood Is Seen as Bond That Draws 2 Nations Closer,’ New York Times, September 12, 2001, p. A22, http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/12/international/12ISRA.html ;
‘Horrific tragedy, the media, Palestinian reaction,’ Jerusalem Media & Communication Centre, http://www.jmcc.org/new/01/Sep/us.htm
39 William Safire, ‘The Ultimate Enemy,’ New York Times, September 24, 2001, http://www.embargos.de/irak/post1109/english/ultimate_enemy_nyt.htm
40DoD News Briefing – Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, September 13, 2001,
41 William Kristol & others, ‘Toward a Comprehensive Strategy:A letter to the president,’ September 20, 2001, http://www.nationalreview.com/document/document092101b.shtml ; ‘Project for the New American Century,’ http://www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter.htm .
42 Robert Kagan and William Kristol, ‘The Gathering Storm,’ The Weekly Standard, 7:7 (October 29, 2001), http://theweeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/000/384thhhq.asp
43 Eliot A. Cohen, ‘World War IV,’ The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2001, http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95001493
44 Paleoconservatives are the conservative opponents of the neoconservatives. In regard to foreign policy matters, they tend to support non-interventionism. Paleoconservatives are much less powerful than the neoconservatives. Almost all ‘think tanks’ referred to as ‘ or ‘right-wing’ by the media are dominated by the neoconservatives.
45 Scott McConnell, ‘The Struggle Over War Aims: Bush Versus the Neo-Cons,’ September 25, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/mcconnell/mc092501.html
47 Georgie Anne Geyer, ‘Pro-Israeli, Anti-Arab Campaigns Could Isolate America,’ October 25, 2001, http://www.uexpress.com/georgieannegeyer/index.cfm?uc_full_date=20011025&uc_comic=gg&uc_daction=X
48 Norman Podhoretz, ‘In Praise of the Bush Doctrine,’ Commentary (September 2002), http://www.ourjerusalem.com/opinion/story/opinion20020904a.html
49 Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), p. 49.
50 Woodward, p. 83.
51 Woodward, p. 84.
52 Patrick E. Tyler and Elaine Sciolino, ‘Bush’s Advisers Split on Scope Of Retaliation,’ New York Times, September 20, 2002, http://www.stanford.edu/class/intnlrel193/readings/week4/split.html ; Julian Borger, ‘Washington’s hawk trains sights on Iraq,’ October 15, 2001, http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/story/0,1361,558276,00.html
53 Glenn Kessler, ‘U.S. Decision on Iraq Has Puzzling Past,’ Washington Post, January 12, 2002, p. A-1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43909-2003Jan11.html
54 ‘Bush Promises Military All It Needs to Win Long Battle Ahead, President addressed the troops at Fort Campbell, KY,’ November 21,2002, US Department of State, http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/01112113.htm
55 ‘Bush Meets with Aid Workers Rescued from Afghanistan,’ November 26, 2002, http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/01112607.htm
56 ‘President Delivers State of the Union Address,’ January 29, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020129-11.html
57 Matthew Engel, ‘Proud wife turns ‘axis of evil’ speech into a resignation letter,’ The Guardian, February 27, 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,7369,658724,00.html
58 Woodward, p. 330.
59 Glenn Kessler, ‘U.S. Decision on Iraq Has Puzzling Past,’ Washington Post, January 12, 2002, p. A-20,
60 Justin Raimondo, ‘War Party Stalled,’ November 20, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j112002.html
61 Robert Fisk, ‘George Bush Crosses Rubicon – But What Lies Beyond?,’ The Independent, November 9, 2002, http://www.commondreams.org/views02/1109-03.htm
62 Thomas F. Ricks, ‘Some Top Military Brass Favor Status Quo in Iraq,’ Washington Post, July 28, 2002, p. A-1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A10749-2002Jul27?.html
63 Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘British military chiefs uneasy about attack plans,’ The Age, July 31, 2002, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/07/30/1027926884871.html
64 Justin Raimondo, ‘Attack of the Chicken-Hawks,’ August 2, 2002, http://www.antiwar.com/justin/pf/p-j080202.html ; Doug Thompson, ‘Suddenly, the hawks are doves and the doves are hawks,’ Capitol Hill Blue, http://chblue.com/artman/publish/article_165.shtml
65 Julian Borger, ‘Pentagon build-up reaches unstoppable momentum,’ The Guardian, December 31, 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,866919,00.html
66 Thomas E. Ricks, ‘ Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies,’ Washington Post, August 6, 2002, p. A-1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A47913-2002Aug5?language=printer ;
Jack Shafer, ‘The PowerPoint That Rocked the Pentagon:The LaRouchie defector who’s advising the defense establishment on Saudi Arabia,’ Slate, August 7, 2002, http://slate.msn.com//?id=2069119
69 Simon Henderson, ‘The Coming Saudi Showdown,’ The Weekly Standard, July 15, 2002, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/media/henderson/henderson071502.htm ; Victor Davis Hanson, ‘Our Enemies, the Saudis,’ Commentary, July/August 2002; See also: Simon Henderson, ‘The Saudi Way,’ Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2002, http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110002116 and Claudia Rosett, ‘Free Arabia,’ Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2002, http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/cRosett/?id=110002126
70 Ronald Radosh, ‘State Department Outrage: The Firing of Stephen Schwartz,’ Front Page Magazine, July 2, 2002, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=1610; Stephen Schwartz, ‘Defeating Wahabbism,’ Front Page Magazine, October 25, 2002, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=4178 ; Stephen Schwartz, Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud from Tradition to Terror (New York: Doubleday & Co., 2002).
Among the favorable views of Schwartz: William Kristol writes that ‘No one has done more to expose the radical, Saudi-Wahhabi face of Islam than Stephen Schwartz.’ And maverick pro-war leftist Christopher Hichens chimes in that ‘Stephen Schwartz’s work is exemplary in illuminating intra-Muslim distinctions, both historic and theological; distinctions which are of the first importance for the rest of the world to understand. He is a most articulate enemy of Islamofascism.’ http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/display.pperl?isbn=0385506929
It should be noted that Schwartz presents most of Islam as peaceful, with only the Wahhabi variety being dangerous. While this argument could be used to remove some Islamic countries (such as Iraq and Iran) from the enemies list, it does not seem to have that effect.
71 Ricks, ‘Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies.’
72 Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas, ‘The Saudi Money Trail,’ Newsweek, December 2, 2002, http://www.msnbc.com/news/839269.asp?0cv=KB10 ; Calvin Woodward, ‘Saudi princess’s largess may extend to terrorists,’ The Associated Press, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.), November 25, 2002, http://www.tribnet.com/news/story/2218751p-2286814c.html ;
73 Norman Podhoretz, ‘How to Win World War IV,’ Commentary, February 2002, http://www.counterpunch.org/pipermail/counterpunch-list/2002-February/018053.html
74 Podhoretz, ‘In Praise of the Bush Doctrine.’
75 Jacob A. Mundy, ‘Palestine: ‘Transfer’ or Apartheid,’ Eat The State, 7:6 (November 20, 2002), http://eatthestate.org/07-06/PalestineTransferApartheid.htm
76 ‘Many Israelis content to see Palestinians go,’ in Chicago Sun-Times (14 March 2002) (Jaffee poll). Ari Shavit, ‘Waiting for the sign,’ in Haaretz (22 March 2002). Tom Segev, ‘A black flag hangs over the idea of transfer,’ in Haaretz (5 April 2002) quoted in Finkelstein, Image and Reality.
77 Martin van Creveld, ‘Warning: Sharon’s plan is to drive Palestinians across the Jordan,’ Daily Telegraph, April 28, 2002, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/04/28/wpal28.xml ; http://www.seeingred.com/Copy/5.3_sharons_plan.html.
78 ‘Urgent Plea To Prevent Massive War Crimes Comes From Israeli Academics,’ September 22, 2002, Mid-East Realities, http://www.middleeast.org/premium/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=752&month=9&year=2002&function=text
80 Aluf Benn, ‘PM rejects Jordan’s request to rule out ‘transfer’ in Iraq war,’ Ha’aretz, November 29, 2002,
81 See Stephen J. Sniegoski, ‘September 11 and the Origins of the ‘War on Terrorism’: A Revisionist Account,’ Current Concerns, No. 2, 2002, http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/20020214.php
82 Eric Margolis, ‘Details of U.S. victory are a little premature,’ Toronto Sun, December 22, 2002, http://www.canoe.ca/Columnists/margolis_dec22.html
83 For a review of Roosevelt’s efforts to get the United States into the war, see Stephen J. Sniegoski, ‘The Case for Pearl Harbor Revisionism,’ The Occidental Quarterly, 1:2 ( Winter 2001), http://www.charlesmartelsociety.org/toq/vol1no2/ss-pearlharbor.html
84 Undersecretary of Commerce, Grant Aldonas, told a business forum that a war in Iraq ‘would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers.’ Michael Moran and Alex Johnson, ‘Oil after Saddam: All bets are in,’ MSNBC News, November 7, 2002, http://www.msnbc.com/news/823985.asp?0sl=-10#BODY
85 Anthony Sampson, ‘Oilmen don’t want another Suez,’ Guardian Unlimited, December 22, 2002,. http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,864336,00.html Anthony Sampson is the author of The Seven Sisters, New York: Bantam Books, 1976, which is about about oil companies and the Middle East. See also:
Dan Morgan and David B. Ottaway write: ‘Officials of several major firms said they were taking care to avoiding playing any role in the debate in Washington over how to proceed on Iraq. ‘There’s no real upside for American oil companies to take a very aggressive stance at this stage. There’ll be plenty of time in the future,’ said James Lucier, an oil analyst with Prudential Securities.’ ‘In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue,’ Washington Post, September 15, 20002, p. A-1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A18841-2002Sep14¬Found=true ;
For MSNBC, John W. Schoen writes: ‘So far, U.S. oil companies have been mum on the subject of the potential spoils of war.’ ‘Iraqi oil, American bonanza?,’ November 11, 2002, http://www.msnbc.com/news/824407.asp?0bl=-0 .
86 Daniel Yergin, ‘A Crude View of the Crisis in Iraq,’ Washington Post, December 8, 2002, Page B-1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21166-2002Dec6.html
87 William D. Nordhaus, ‘Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War,’ New York Review of Books, December 5, 2002, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15850 ; See also a more extensive piece by Nordhaus, ‘The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq,’ October 29, 2002, http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/iraq.pdf ; George L. Perry, ‘The War on Terrorism, the World Oil Market and the U.S. Economy,’ Analysis Paper #7, America’s Response to Terrorism
Revised November 28, 2001, http://www.brookingsinstitution.org/dybdocroot/views/papers/perry/20011024.htm
88 Robert J. Samuelson, ‘The Economic Impact of War,’ Newsweek, December 2, 2002, http://www.msnbc.com/news/839098.asp
89 Quoted by Jay Bookman, ‘The president’s real goal in Iraq,’ The Atlanta Journal–Constitution, September 29, 2002, http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html .
90 Akiva Eldar, ‘They’re jumping in head first,’ Ha’aretz, September 30, 2002, http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=214159
For a summary of some of the non-democratic solutions (including the installation of Jordanian Prince Hassan as king of Iraq) the U.S. government is contemplating for post-war Iraq, see: Conn Hallinan, ‘Favored Post-Saddam Leaders Belie Bush’s Democracy Rhetoric,’ Foreign Policy in Focus, November 26, 2002, http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/commentary/2002/0211invasion.html ; Brian Whitaker, ‘Jordan prince touted to succeed Saddam,’ The Guardian, July 19, 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4464346,00.html ;
91 Top Republicans Break With Bush on Iraq Strategy,’
Todd S. Purdum and Patrick E. Tyler, New York Times, August 16, 2002, http://www.rider.edu/users/phanc/courses/350-web/mideast/iraq/topGOPbreakwGWBreiraq.htm
Zbigniew Brzezinski, ‘If We Must Fight … ,’ Washington Post, August 18, 2002; Page B07
92 Mark Danner, ‘The Struggles of Democracy and Empire,’ New York Times, October 10, 2002, http://www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz/politics/1010empire.htm
93 Christopher Layne and Benjamin Schwarz, ‘ Making the World Safer for Business Instability and aggression are regarded as a threat to the global stability upon which U.S. markets depend,’ Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1999, http://www.diaspora-net.org/food4thought/layneschwarz.htm
94 Stratfor, ‘U.S. Could Become Mired in Iraq Occupation,’ December 30, 2002, http://world-analysis.1accesshost.com/stratfor2.html
95 Christopher Layne, ‘The Power Paradox: History teaches that holding a monopoly on might – as the United States now does – is likely to provoke a backlash,’ Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2002, http://students.uwsp.edu/jwhit216/News%20Articles/LA%20Times%20Op-Ed_10-06-02_PowerParadox.htm
96 Owen Harries, ‘The Anglosphere Illusion,’ National Interest, 63 (Spring 2001).
97 Rowan Scarborough, ‘U.S. ability to fight two wars doubted,’ Washington Times, December 25, 2002, A-1, A-9, http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021225-16818336.htm
98 Robert Smith Thompson, A Time for War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Path to Pearl Harbor (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991), p. 379; Bruce M. Russet, No Clear and Present Danger: A Skeptical View of the United States Entry into World War II (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1972), pp. 53-54.
99 Joseph Sobran, ‘The Jewish Establishment, ‘ Sobran’s, September, 1995, p. 4; Similarly, Philip Weiss, in an article in the New York Observer, points out : ‘You don’t see The Times pussyfooting when it comes to the anti-Castro lobby or the National Rifle Association, two other powerful special-interest groups. When they muscle the system, we read faintly sinister accounts of the Arlington, Va., headquarters for the gun lobby and the bland, alien Wayne LaPierre, or hysterical interviews with nutso Castro-haters on Eighth Street in Miami.’ However, ‘One of the difficulties about discussing this question [Jewish influence] is that the mainstream media refuse to address it directly; it’s considered too sensitive.’ ‘Holy or Unholy, Jews and Right in an Alliance,’ New York Observer, September 19, 2002, http://www.observer.com/pages/story.asp?ID=6336 .
For the power of American Jewish groups in silencing criticism of Israel, see: Alexander Cochburn, ‘Israel and ‘Anti-Semitism, »’ Counterpunch, May 16, 2002, http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn0516.html .
100 Robert Fisk, ‘The Coming Firestorm,’ May 27, 2002, http://www.counterpunch.org/fisk0527.html .
‘Friendly Relations Declaration’
Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,
24 October 1970
[…] Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Such threats or use of force constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and shall never be employed as a means of settling international issues.
A war of aggression constitutes a crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law.
In accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, States have the duty to refrain from propaganda for wars of aggression.
Every State has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate the existing international boundaries of another State or as means of solving international disputes, including territorial disputes and problems concerning frontiers of States.
Charter of the United Nations
‘Art. 2. The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following
- The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
- All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
- All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
- All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.’
Only three exceptions exist to this prohibition of the threat or use of force:
Nothing in the present Charter shall invalidate or preclude action, in relation to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory to the present Charter, taken or authorized as a result of that war by the Governments having responsibility for such action.’
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.’
self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures.’
Charter of the United Nations
CHAPTER VI – PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
- The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977
Part IV. Civilian Population
Art 13. Protection of the civilian population
- The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.
- The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
- Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.