the us, israel and iraq/must read

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    This was such a good article posted by sunkist that I thought it worth posting again.

    The war on Iraq:
    > Conceived in Israel (Part I)
    > 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 noted (only in passing) "what is possibly
    > the unacknowledged real reason and motive behind the policy - security
    > for Israel." If Israel's security were indeed the real American motive
    > for war, Schroeder wrote,
    > 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 her supporters have managed to get the
    > United States to fight for their interests? To unearth 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,
    > even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11?
    > From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily
    > (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist
    > persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war
    > against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with
    > the enemies of Israel. Although the term neoconservative is in common
    > usage, a brief description of the group might be helpful. Many of the
    > first-generation neocons originally were 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 antiwar
    > McGovernite left. And concern for Israel loomed large in that rightward
    > drift. 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]
    > For some time prior to September 11, 2001, neoconservatives had
    > publicly advocated an American war on Iraq. The 9/11 atrocities
    > provided the pretext. The idea that neocons are the motivating force
    > behind the U.S. movement for war has been broached by a number
    > of commentators. For instance, Joshua Micah Marshall authored an
    > article in The Washington Monthly titled: "Bomb Saddam?: How the
    > obsession of a few neocon hawks became the central goal of U.S.
    > foreign policy." And in the leftist e-journal CounterPunch, Kathleen
    > and Bill Christison wrote:
    > 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 I attempt to flesh out that thesis and show the
    > link between the war position of the neoconservatives and the long-time
    > strategy of the Israeli Right, if not of the Israeli mainstream itself. In brief,
    > the idea of a Middle East war has 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.
    > War and expulsion
    > To understand why Israeli leaders would want a Middle East war, it is
    > first necessary to take a brief look at the history of the Zionist movement
    > and its goals. Despite public rhetoric to the contrary, the idea of expelling
    > (or, in the accepted euphemism, "transferring") the indigenous Palestinian
    > population was an integral part of the Zionist effort to found a Jewish
    > national state in Palestine. Historian Tom Segev writes:
    > The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its
    > very beginnings, first appearing in Theodore Herzl's diary. In practice,
    > the Zionists 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, Segev continues, the Zionist leaders learned not to publicly
    > proclaim their plan of mass expulsion because "this would cause the
    > Zionists to lose the world's sympathy." [4]
    > The key was to find an opportune time to initiate the expulsion so it
    > would not incur the world's condemnation. In the late 1930s, David
    > Ben-Gurion wrote: "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 lost." [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 its 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 occurred as a result of the 1967
    > war; however, that occupation brought with it the problem of a large
    > Palestinian population. By that time world opinion was totally opposed
    > to forced population transfers, equating such a policy 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 question 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 right-wing
    > Likud government, that the idea of expulsion resurfaced publicly. 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 removal of the Palestinian population, was outlined
    > in an article by Oded Yinon, titled "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,"
    > appearing in the World Zionist Organization's periodical Kivunim in
    > February 1982. Yinon had been attached to the Israeli 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 those lines, Ariel Sharon
    > stated on March 24, 1988, that if the Palestinian uprising continued,
    > Israel would have to make war on her 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 - referring to "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
    > concluded that Israel did not have the power to achieve that goal,
    > given the strength of the Arab states, the large Palestinian population
    > involved, and the vehement opposition of world opinion. He 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 the overall goal.
    > U.S. Realpolitik
    > In the 1970s and 1980s, U.S. Middle Eastern policy, although sympathetic
    > to Israel, was not identical to that of Israel. The fundamental goal of U.S.
    > policy was to promote stable governments in the Middle East that would
    > allow oil to flow reliably to the Western industrial nations. It was not
    > necessary for the Muslim countries to befriend Israel - in fact they could
    > openly oppose the Jewish state. The United States worked for peace between
    > Israel and the Muslim states in the region, but it was to be a peace that
    > would accommodate the demands of the Muslim nations - most crucially
    > their demands involving the Palestinians.
    > Pursuing its policy of ensuring the security of Middle East oil supplies,
    > by the mid 1980s Washington was heavily supporting Iraq in her war
    > against Iran, although for a while the United States had also provided
    > some aid to Iran (viz. the Iran-contra scandal). Ironically, Donald
    > Rumsfeld was the U.S. envoy who in 1983 paved the way for the
    > restoration of relations with Iraq, relations which had been severed in
    > 1967. The United States 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 United States deployed the largest naval force since the Vietnam
    > War in the Persian Gulf. Ostensibly sent for the purpose of protecting
    > oil tankers, it ended up engaging in serious attacks on Iran's navy.
    > It was during this period of U.S. support that Iraq used poison gas
    > against the Iranians and the Kurds, a tactic that the U.S. government
    > and its media supporters now describe as so horrendous. In fact, U.S.
    > intelligence facilitated the Iraqi use of gas against the Iranians. In addition,
    > Washington 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 weaponry of
    > horror that administration officials are now trumpeting as justification
    > for forcibly removing Saddam from power. [9]
    > When the Iran/Iraq war ended in 1988, the United States continued its
    > support for Iraq, showering her with military hardware, advanced
    > technology, and agricultural credits. The United States apparently
    > looked to Saddam to maintain stability in the Gulf. But American
    > policy swiftly changed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
    > 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 Perle, Frank Gaffney, Jr., A.M. Rosenthal, William
    > Safire, and The Wall Street Journal held that America's war objective
    > should be not simply to drive Iraq out of Iran but also to destroy Iraq's
    > military potential, especially her capacity to develop nuclear weapons.
    > The first Bush administration embraced that position. [11]
    > But beyond that, the neocons hoped that the war would lead to the
    > removal of Saddam Hussein and the American occupation of Iraq.
    > However, despite the urgings of then-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney
    > and Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the full conquest of
    > Iraq was never accomplished because of the opposition of General
    > Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and General Norman
    > Schwarzkopf, the field commander. [12] Moreover, the United States
    > had a UN mandate only to liberate Kuwait, not to remove Saddam.
    > To attempt the latter would have caused the U.S.-led 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.
    > That could have involved a Kurdish rebellion in Iraq that would have
    > spread to Turkey's own restive Kurdish population. Furthermore, Iraq's
    > Shiites might have fallen under the influence of Iran, increasing 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. That entailed an effort to curb
    > Israeli control of her occupied territories. The Bush administration
    > demanded that Israel halt the construction of new settlements in the
    > occupied territories as a condition for receiving $10 billion in U.S.
    > loan guarantees for Israel's 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 neocons, causing some, such
    > as Safire, to back Bill Clinton in the 1992 election. [13]
    > The network
    > During the Clinton administration, neoconservatives promoted their
    > views from a strong interlocking network of think tanks - the American
    > Enterprise Institute (AEI), Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri),
    > Hudson Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East
    > Forum, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Center
    > for Security Policy (CSP) - which have had great influence in the media
    > and which have helped to staff Republican administrations. Some of the
    > organizations were originally set up by mainline conservatives and only
    > later taken over by neoconservatives; [14] others were established by >
    > neocons, with some of the groups 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 the various organizations have been closely
    > interconnected. 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.
    > And Perle was both a "resident fellow" at the American Enterprise
    > Institute (AEI) and a trustee of the Hudson Institute. [15]
    > In a recent article in the The Nation, Jason Vest discusses the immense
    > influence in the current Bush administration of people from two major
    > neocon research organizations, JINSA and CSP. Vest details the close
    > links among the two organizations, right-wing politicians, arms merchants,
    > military men, Jewish 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 advisors
    > included such heavy hitters as Cheney, John Bolton (now Under Secretary
    > of State for Arms Control) and Douglas J. 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 CSP "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]
    > 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.
    > "Securing the realm"
    > A clear illustration of the neoconservative thinking on war on Iraq is
    > a 1996 paper developed by Perle, Feith, David Wurmser, and others
    > published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic
    > and Political Studies, titled "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 whereby
    > Israel would "shape its strategic environment," beginning with the
    > removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite
    > monarchy in Baghdad, to serve as a first step toward eliminating the
    > anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. [19]
    > Note 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.
    > It is also remarkable that while in 1996 Israel was to "shape its strategic
    > environment" by removing her enemies, the same individuals are now
    > proposing that the United States shape the Middle East environment by
    > removing Israel's enemies. That is to say, the United States is to serve as
    > Israel's proxy to advance Israeli interests.
    > On February 19, 1998, in an "Open Letter to the President," the
    > neoconservative Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf 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), Bolton (State Department),
    > Feith (Defense Department), Fred Ikle (Defense Policy Board), Zalmay
    > Khalilzad (White House), Peter Rodman (Defense Department), Wolfowitz
    > (Defense Department), David Wurmser (State Department), Dov Zakheim
    > (Defense Department), Perle (Defense Policy Board), and Rumsfeld
    > (Secretary of Defense). [20] In 1998 Donald Rumsfeld was part of the
    > neocon 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, Gaffney (Director, Center
    > for Security Policy), Joshua Muravchik (American Enterprise Institute),
    > Martin Peretz (editor-in-chief, The New Republic), Leon Wieseltier
    > (The New Republic), and former Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.). [22]
    > President Clinton would only go so far as to support the Iraq Liberation
    > Act, which allocated $97 million dollars for training and military
    > equipment for the Iraqi opposition. [23]
    > In September 2000, the neocon 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," that 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 second Bush administration: Cheney (Vice President),
    > Rumsfeld (secretary of defense), Wolfowitz (deputy secretary of defense),
    > and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). Weekly Standard editor William
    > Kristol was also a co-author.
    > In order to directly influence White House policy, Wolfowitz and Perle
    > managed to obtain leading roles on the 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 in foreign policy and little knowledge of the world, as
    > illustrated by his notorious 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
    > advisors.
    > "His foreign policy team," Kagan observed, "will be critically important
    > to determining what his policies are." And 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 ready-made 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 neocons who would inundate Bush's administration.
    > Neocons would fill the key positions involving defense and foreign policy.
    > On Rumsfeld's staff are Wolfowitz and Feith. On Cheney's staff, the
    > principal neoconservatives include Libby, Eric Edelman, and John Hannah.
    > And Cheney himself, with his long-time neocon connections and views,
    > has played a significant role in shaping "Bush" foreign policy. [27]
    > A Perle among men
    > Perle is often described as the most influential foreign-policy
    > neoconservative, their eminence grise.[28] He gained notice in the 1970s
    > as a top aide to Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-Wash.), 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 Ronald Reagan,
    > where his hard-line anti-Soviet positions, especially his opposition to any
    > form of arms control, earned him the moniker "Prince of Darkness" from
    > his enemies. However, his friends 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 isn't just an exponent of pro-Zionist views; he has also had close
    > connections with Israel, being a personal friend of Sharon's, a board
    > member of the Jerusalem Post, and an ex-employee of the Israeli weapons
    > manufacturer Soltam. According to author Seymour M. Hersh, while
    > Perle was a congressional aide for Jackson, FBI wiretaps 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 that position,
    > Perle has access to classified documents and close contacts with the
    > administration 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]
    > "Actions inconceivable at present"
    > As Bush and his people came into office in January 2001, press reports
    > in Israel quoted government officials and politicians speaking openly
    > of mass expulsion of the Palestinians. Ariel Sharon was elected prime
    > minister of Israel in February 2001; noted for his ruthlessness, he had
    > said in the past that Jordan should become the Palestinian state where
    > Palestinians removed from Israeli territory would be relocated. [32]
    > Public concern was mounting in Israel over 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 would exceed what the land, with its
    > limited supply of water, could support. [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 the summer of 2001,
    > the authoritative Jane's Information Group reported that Israel had
    > completed the 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." Such
    > bold strikes would aim at far more than simply removing Arafat and
    > the PLO leadership. But the United States vetoed the plan, and Europe
    > made its opposition to Sharon's plans equally plain. [36]
    > As one close observer of the Israeli-Palestinian scene presciently wrote
    > 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.
    > Revolutionary September
    > 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." 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 Israel's leaders, the September 11 attacks 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 9/11 attacks, the neoconservatives began to publicly
    > push for a wider war on terrorism that would immediately deal with Israel's
    > enemies. For example, 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, 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]
    > On September 20, 2001, neocons 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 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-writers opined, 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, Gaffney, Kagan, Kirkpatrick,
    > Charles Krauthammer, Perle, Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, Solarz, and
    > Wieseltier. [41]
    > The war on Iraq:
    > Conceived in Israel (Part II)
    > World War IV
    > In the October 29, 2002, issue of The Weekly Standard, Kagan and Kristol
    > predict 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]
    > Kagan and Kristol seem to be looking forward to this gigantic conflagration.
    > In a November 20, 2002, article in The Wall Street Journal, Eliot Cohen
    > dubs the conflict "World War IV," a term picked up by other neocons. Cohen
    > proclaims 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 campaign." Cohen calls not only for a U.S. 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]
    > Critics of a wider war in the Middle East quickly recognized the
    > neoconservative war-propaganda effort. Analyzing the situation in September
    > 2002, paleoconservative [44] Scott McConnell wrote: "For the
    > neoconservatives ... 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 stance to be only a
    > minority view within the Bush administration:
    > The neocon 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 advisor
    > 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.
    > Geyer believed that this line of thinking was "being contained by cool
    > heads in the administration, but that could change at any time." [47]
    > Lighting up the recesses of Bush
    > Neoconservatives have presented the September 11 atrocities as a lightning
    > bolt to make President Bush aware of his destiny: destroying the evil of
    > world terrorism. Ironically enough, Podhoretz adopted Christian terminology
    > to describe a changed Bush:
    > A transformed - or, more precisely, a transfigured - George W. Bush
    > appeared before us. In an earlier article ... 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, administration heavyweights debated the
    > scope of the "war on terrorism." According to Bob Woodward's Bush at War,
    > as early as September 12 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 adds, "The terrorist attacks of September 11 gave the United
    > States 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," voicing 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 because of the opposition of Secretary of
    > State Powell, who held that the war should focus on the actual perpetrators
    > of September 11. (That was how most Americans actually envisioned the war.)
    > Perhaps Powell's most telling argument was his declaration that an American
    > attack on Iraq would lack international support. He claimed that a U.S.
    > victory in Afghanistan would enhance the United States's 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 neocon hawks in his emphasis on the need for >
    > international support, as opposed to American unilateralism, but an even
    > greater difference lay in 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]
    > 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 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 evolved rapidly in the direction of expanding
    > the war to Iraq. On November 21, 2001, in a speech at Fort Campbell,
    > Kentucky, he 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 whether Iraq was one of the
    > terrorist nations that he had in mind, Bush said: "Well, my message is, is
    > that if you harbor a terrorist, you'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 that terrorist activity necessarily
    > related to the September 11 attacks. [55]
    > Transformation complete
    > The transformation to support of a wider war was complete with Bush's
    > January 29, 2002, State of the Union speech, in which he officially
    > decoupled the "war on terrorism'' 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" that 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, Bush was publicly declaring that American policy was to
    > secure "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,
    > General Tommy R. Franks, chief of U.S. Central Command, began giving Bush
    > private briefings every three or four weeks on the planning for a new Iraq
    > war. [59]
    > Neoconservatives both within and without the administration sought a
    > unilateral U.S. attack on Iraq that would not be encumbered by the
    > conflicting goals of any coalition partners. That push was countered by >
    > Powell's efforts to persuade Bush that UN sanction would be necessary to
    > justify a U.S. attack, which the President ultimately found persuasive.
    > That slowed the rush to war, but it also represented a move by Powell away
    > from his original position that Washington should make war on Iraq only if
    > Baghdad were proven to have been involved in the September 11 terrorism.
    > The UN Security Council decided that UN inspectors, with sweeping
    > inspection powers, would determine whether Iraq was violating her pledge to
    > destroy all of her weapons of mass destruction. UN Security Council
    > Resolution 1441 (November 8, 2002) places the burden of proof on Iraq to
    > show that she no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction. The
    > resolution states that any false statements or omissions in the Iraqi
    > weapons declaration would constitute a further material breach by Iraq of
    > her obligations. That 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 also 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
    > British journalist 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]
    > Armchair strategists
    > Neoconservatives not only have determined the foreign policy leading to war
    > against Iraq but have played a role in molding military strategy as well.
    > Top military figures, including members of the Joint Chiefs, initially
    > expressed opposition to the whole idea of such a war. [62] But Perle and
    > other neoconservatives have for some time insisted 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, as
    > few as 5,000 in some estimates. According to the plan's supporters, such
    > strikes would cause Saddam's regime to collapse. American military leaders
    > adamantly opposed that approach as too risky, offering in its stead a plan
    > to use a much larger number of troops - about 250,000 - who would invade
    > Iraq in a more conventional manner, marching from the soil of her
    > neighbors, as was done during the Gulf War of 1991.
    > Perle and the neoconservatives, for their part, feared that no neighboring
    > country would provide the necessary 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, opposition to war would so burgeon as
    > to render the operation politically impossible. Perle angrily responded to
    > the military's demurral 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 further, referring to the generals as "cowards" for
    > being insufficiently gung-ho about an Iraq invasion. [64]
    > Now, one might be tempted to attribute Perle and the other neocons'
    > rejection of the military's caution to insane hubris - how could amateurs
    > pretend to know more about military strategy than professional military
    > men? However, Richard Perle may be many things, but insane is not one of
    > them. Nor is he stupid. Undoubtedly he 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. Perle and the neocons
    > appear as military geniuses and are rewarded with free rein to prepare a
    > series of additional low-cost wars in the Middle East.
    > On the other hand, let's assume that the mini-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. 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. America is totally
    > humiliated, depicted as a paper tiger, and ordinary Americans watch it all
    > on TV. How do they react?
    > Such a catastrophe would be another Pearl Harbor in terms of engendering
    > hatred of the enemy. 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. Washington would unleash total war, which would involve heavy
    > bombing of cities. And the air attacks could easily spread from Iraq to the
    > other neighboring Islamic states. A war of conquest and extermination is
    > the neocons' fondest dream since it would destroy all of Israel's enemies
    > in the Middle East. (It appears that the Pentagon has augmented the
    > magnitude of the Iraq strike force to reduce the risk of the aforementioned
    > scenario.) [65]
    > "Our Enemies, the Saudis"
    > Indications are plentiful 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 linchpin of American security strategy in the
    > Middle East for more than 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, he claimed,
    > for the United States to regard Saudi Arabia as an enemy. Murawiec said
    > Washington 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 in the Saudi intelligence services." If the Saudis
    > refused to comply with the ultimatum, Murawiec contended that the United
    > States should invade and occupy the country, including the holy sites of
    > Mecca and Medina, seize her oil fields, and confiscate her 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 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 a loyal ally. [68] However, the White
    > House did nothing 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. We
    > may be certain that the Bush administration's inaction failed to assure the
    > Saudis that Murawiec's war plan was beyond the realm of possibility.
    > Murawiec's anti-Saudi scenario simultaneously emerged in the neocon press.
    > The July 15, 2002, issue of The Weekly Standard featured an article titled >
    > "The Coming Saudi Showdown," by Simon Henderson of the neoconservative
    > Washington Institute for Near East Policy. And 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, Stephen Schwartz, made
    > his views known, too, though he did pay a price for it. Schwartz has
    > written numerous articles as well as a recent book, The Two Faces of Islam:
    > The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror, in which he posits a
    > Saudi/Wahhabist conspiracy to take over all of Islam and spread terror
    > throughout the world. As a result of his anti-Saudi comments, Schwartz was
    > dismissed from his brief tenure as an editorial writer with the Voice of
    > America at the beginning of July 2002, thus becoming a martyr in
    > neoconservative circles. [70]
    > As Thomas F. Ricks points out 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 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]
    > Bush administration policy has come a long way but has still not reached
    > what neocons seek: a war by the United States against all of Islam.
    > According to Podhoretz, doyen of the neoconservatives: "Militant Islam
    > today represents a revival of the expansionism by the sword" of Islam's
    > early years. [73] In Podhoretz's view, to survive resurgent Islam the
    > United States must not simply stand on the defensive but must 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.
    > After the great conquest, the United States would remake the entire region,
    > which would entail forcibly re-educating its people to fall into 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 and 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]
    > Expulsion redux
    > Within Israel herself, however, the Arabs would not be expected to adopt a
    > "new political culture"; they would be expected to vanish.
    > Expulsion of the Palestinians 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 U.S. 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," which 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, stating, "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 [Knesset members] 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 anticipated U.S.
    > attack on Iraq, asked for public assurances from the Israeli government
    > that it would not make such a move. The Sharon regime, however, has refused
    > to publicly renounce an expulsion policy. [80]
    > Simply a pretext
    > As is now 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 that has been achieved, the American-sponsored government
    > of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan is in a perilous situation. Karzai's power
    > seems to be limited to his immediate vicinity, and he must be protected by
    > American bodyguards. The rest of Afghanistan is being fought 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,
    > Washington has shifted its focus 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
    > neocons, the war on Afghanistan may simply have been an opening gambit,
    > necessary for reaching their ultimate and crucial goal: U.S. control of the
    > Middle East in the interests of Israel. That is 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]
    > The oil motive
    > But what about the American desire for controlling Iraqi oil? Iraq
    > possesses the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, next to Saudi
    > Arabia. Moreover, many experts believe that Iraq possesses vast
    > undiscovered oil reserves, making her the near-equal of Saudi Arabia. Most
    > critics of war allege that American oil companies' desire to gain control
    > of Iraqi oil is what motivates U.S. war policy. Some, mostly proponents of
    > war, have also argued 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 the arguments have a prima facie plausibility, the oil motive for
    > war has a couple of serious flaws. First, oil industry representatives or
    > big economic moguls do not seem to be 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]
    > Further, it is not apparent that war would be good for the oil industry or
    > the world economy. Why would Big Oil want to risk a war that could ignite a
    > regional conflagration threatening their existing investments in the Gulf?
    > Iraq does indeed have significant oil reserves, but there is no reason to
    > believe that they would have an immediate impact on the oil market. Daniel
    > Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, points out:
    > 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]
    > A war would pose 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 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's forecasts may be excessively bleak. However, the point is that
    > the experts simply cannot 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 could stand to benefit from American control of Iraq, since under
    > a postwar U.S.-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.
    > An American-imperialist strategic motive might be more plausible than the
    > economic interests of the oil industry and the economy in general. Instead
    > of the current informal influence over the oil producing areas of the
    > Middle East, the United States would move into direct control, either with
    > a puppet government in Iraq providing enough leverage for Washington to
    > dictate to the rest of the Middle East, or actual direct U.S. control of
    > other parts of the Middle East as well as Iraq. Presumably that state of
    > affairs would provide greater security for the oil flow than exists under
    > the current situation, where the client states enjoy 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 highly
    > 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. Zionist U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) 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]
    > The new foreign imperialism
    > Control of the Middle East oil supply would certainly augment U.S.
    > domination of the world. However, American imperialists who are in no way
    > linked to the Likudnik position on Israel - e.g., 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?
    > 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 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 to
    > maintain peace and stability in the world. Washington preaches probity and
    > restraint to other countries regarding the use of force. Hence, for the
    > United States to launch a preemptive strike on a country would undoubtedly
    > weaken her ability to restrain other countries, which would also see a need
    > to preemptively strike at their foes. In short, the launching of preemptive
    > war would destabilize the very world order that the United States allegedly
    > seeks to preserve in her "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]
    > Since America already exercises considerable power in the oil-producing
    > Persian Gulf region through her client states - Saudi Arabia and the Gulf
    > emirates - it is 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 incite 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
    > U.S. government and people. [94]
    > Would such a burden be acceptable to the American people? Would they
    > support the brutal policies needed to suppress any opposition? In the 1950s
    > the people of France would not support the brutality necessary to retain
    > the colonial empire in Algeria. Even in the totalitarian Soviet Union,
    > popular opinion forced the abandonment of the 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
    > strike men who were simply concerned about enhancing American imperial
    > power as the gravest sort of risk-taking, because it could undermine
    > America's entire imperial project.
    > Direct American control of the Middle East would not only prove burdensome
    > to the American people but would also undoubtedly provoke a backlash from
    > other countries. That almost seems to be a law of international relations -
    > operating since the time of the balance-of-power politics practiced during
    > 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 to the 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 her rather cautious
    > approach. "England," observed Harries in the Spring 2001 issue, "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 takeover 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 it is questionable whether the U.S. military has the capability to
    > fight two wars at once, a problem (from the standpoint of the U.S. regime)
    > that has now come to the fore with the bellicosity of North Korea. [97] In
    > essence, it is not 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.
    > No American motive
    > The previous analysis leads to the conclusion not only that the
    > neoconservatives are obviously in the forefront of the pro-war bandwagon
    > but also that pro-Israeli Likudnik motives are the most logical, probably
    > the only logical, motives for war. As I have noted, Likudniks have always
    > sought to deal in a radical fashion with the Palestinian problem in the
    > occupied territories - a problem that has gotten worse, from their
    > standpoint, as a result of demographic changes. A U.S. war in the Middle
    > East at the present time provides a window of opportunity to permanently
    > solve that 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.
    > ***
    > The deductions drawn in this essay seem obvious but are rarely broached in
    > public because Jewish power is a taboo subject. As the intrepid Joseph
    > Sobran puts 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 argued for
    > American involvement in such a war prior to the atrocities of September 11,
    > 2001. Since September 11, neocons have taken the lead in advocating such a
    > war; and they hold influential foreign policy and national security
    > positions in the Bush administration.
    > If Israel and Jews were not involved, there would be nothing extraordinary
    > about my thesis. In the history of foreign policy, it has frequently been
    > maintained that various leading figures were motivated by ties to business,
    > an ideology, or 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 power, which would orient U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of
    > that power to the detriment of the United States. It is just such a >
    > situation that currently exists.
    > We can only look with trepidation to the near future, for in the ominous
    > words of Robert Fisk, "There is a firestorm coming." [100]

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