March 14, 2003

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ARI?
A foreign intelligence service forged phony 'evidence' of Iraqi nukes – guess which one ...

In the midst of a furious debate over the key role of pro-Israel ideologues in pushing us into war, the FBI has announced it is looking into the possibility that "a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq." Remember the forged "evidence" the U.S. submitted to the UN to support their contention that Iraq sought fissionable materials? We now learn that, according to the Washington Post:

"Officials are trying to determine whether the documents were forged to try to influence U.S. policy, or whether they may have been created as part of a disinformation campaign directed by a foreign intelligence service. [The forged documents] came to British and U.S. intelligence officials from a third country. The identity of the third country could not be learned yesterday."

Unless it's the African nation of Niger where Iraq was supposedly trying to buy uranium to develop nukes that is desperately trying to drag us into war, for obscure reasons of its own, the identity of this mysterious "third country" is no mystery.

"By way of deception, thou shalt do war" the Mossad, Israel's legendary intelligence agency, have more than lived up to their motto in the past, and, in this instance, seem to have surpassed themselves. To feed the U.S. such a crude forgery the fake letters were rife with fairly obvious and easily checkable errors and have Colin Powell take it to the UN as "proof" of Iraqi perfidy was a calculated insult, and soon had the desired result.

Attitudes hardened on the Security Council, and prospects faded for a compromise that would give the Iraqis at least some small hope that war could be avoided. As the loose cannon known as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rolled around on the American ship of state, alienating even the British, the likelihood increased that the President would lose patience and jumpstart the stalled war drive, even if that meant going it alone.

Alone, that is, but for Israel.

The FBI, which may or may not have jurisdiction over the investigation into the forged "evidence," is not exactly hot on the trail of the forgers and their possible connection to a "third country," as their spokesman made all too clear:

"We're looking at it from a preliminary stage as to what it's all about."

What's it all about, Ari? That's a key question the President ought to ask the next time he gets on the horn to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

What it's all about is this: as Pat Buchanan points out in the latest issue of The American Conservative, a cabal of pro-Israeli lobbyists and high administration officials planned this war from start to bloody finish. They have been gunning for Iraq and Iran, and Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan since long before 9/11. When the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked, the neoconservative branch of the War Party came to the President with "a pre-cooked meal," as Pat put it on MSNBC yesterday [Wednesday]. In a debate with a spokesman for the American Jewish Committee, publisher of the stridently pro-war Commentary magazine, Pat quoted Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz calling for "World War IV" – regime change not just in Iraq, but in a whole slew of Middle Eastern countries, including even Egypt (the second-biggest recipient of U.S. aid, after Israel).

"In whose interest," thundered Pat, "is such a policy being pushed? Why not 'liberate' Cuba?" The AJC spokesman, reduced to stuttering evasion, said he didn't "necessarily" agree with Podhoretz's polemics. But he didn't say he disagreed with the editor of his own publication, either.

Buchanan is right. The tragic irony of this war is that it is being fought to secure an empire: not our own, but Ariel Sharon's. As Arnaud de Borchgrave pointed out in the Washington Times, the "Bush-Sharon Doctrine" was formulated by Israel's staunch supporters within the Bush regime. The documentary trail leads straight back to a number of high administration officials, including Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Elliot Abrams, who have relentlessly pursued Israeli rather than American interests.

This fifth column has been backed up by a phalanx of well-connected neoconservative think-tankers organized around Bill Kristol and the Project for a New American Century, which is heavily involved in the war propaganda apparatus on the home front. If you want to know why we are headed toward a bloody and disastrous war in Iraq, you have merely to peruse the pages of a 1996 study, "A Clean Break," co-authored by Feith, Perle, and Wurmser, and prepared for then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which regime-change in Iraq is cited as the path to security for Israel. Syria, the authors aver, is the main danger to Israel – and the path to Damascus goes through Baghdad.

As America pursues an imperial project, Israel, formerly an island in an Arab sea, may be able to break out of its militarily precarious position and find enough elbow room to secure defensible borders and, not incidentally, realize the longstanding Likudnik dream of a "Greater Israel." As to whether Israeli security is worth the price of an American effort of monumental proportions – and uncounted Iraqi casualties – the answer to that question depends on where you sit in Washington, or Tel Aviv. The problem is that U.S. policymakers make no such differentiation.

To note this is to be accused of "anti-Semitism," and compared to the clueless Rep. James P. Moran (D-Virginia), who wrongly said:

"'If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,' Moran said in comments first reported by the Reston Connection and not disputed by Moran. 'The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.'"

We are supposed to believe that this remark was made at an "antiwar meeting," but in fact it was a follow-up to the regular series of constituent meetings Moran has held on the Iraq war issue. Most of the people attending were, to be sure, antiwar, but the meetings were open to all, and were not organized by antiwar groups. Furthermore, at that meeting, Rep. Moran told his assembled constituents that it is futile to oppose the war and that he didn't want to do it because open opposition would endanger him politically, as the Reston Connection, a local newspaper, reported:

"War with Iraq is a 'foregone conclusion' and will likely come at the next new moon, March 13 or March 21, U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-8) told about 120 people assembled at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Reston Monday night. Democratic opposition in Congress would be futile at this point, he said, and may cost the Democrats their seats, a risk Moran said he was unwilling to take. That did not sit well with his overwhelmingly anti-war audience. 'We look to you to make it not happen,' Reston resident Adrian Farrel told Moran. "We look to you to go to the wider community and to find ways to make it not happen. So what are you going to do?'

Moran replied that his 13 years in Congress had given him a certain measure of credibility but added, 'I need to use that in a measured way so I don't lose it.'"

He then proceeded to lose it, not only with his loopy comments quoted above, but by opposing the idea that the Democrats should introduce an antiwar resolution. After all, he whined, "it might embarrass them in the 2004 election."

Polls show Americans of the Jewish faith are split on this war in roughly the same proportions as the rest of the population. The idea that the leaders of the Jewish community have that much influence over the fanatical Likudniks currently in power in Israel is highly doubtful. The canard that, as the Washington Post headline on the Moran story put it, "the Jews are Pushing War" is obviously wrong. But this doesn't mean that some American Jews aren't pushing for war. Take five of the most prominent leaders of the War Party, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, Douglas Feith, Elliot Abrams all are high administration officials, all are Jewish and doggedly devoted to Israel's cause, and each and every one of them has been agitating for war with Iraq for years. Three of them co-authored a policy proposal written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for regime change in Iraq as a means of getting at Syria. But it is wrong to name these officials, according to National Review's Jonah Goldberg:

"They loudly invoke the hook-nosed roll call of Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, and – before he joined
National Review – David Frum, but then they mumble and whisper through the roster of the Jews' Gentile bosses: Rumsfeld, Powell, Ashcroft, Card, Cheney, and, let's not forget, George W. Bush, scion of the famously less-than-philo-Semitic Bush clan."

No one in the peace camp has given Rumsfeld a pass, nor has Cheney been exempt from criticism; but Rumsfeld is a doer, not a thinker, he reads policy papers but doesn't write them. The Vice President, for his part, has been largely invisible: warmongering from an undisclosed location is problematic at best. As for Powell, his views are remarkably dovish in an administration filled with super-hawks, and it seems unlikely that either the Attorney General or the White House chief of staff has much to do with the formulation of foreign policy.

How many times has Goldberg castigated the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton he once described Al Sharpton as "a man who'd be willing to call Mother Nature a bigot if it rained in Harlem" – for "playing the race card" when cornered? Yet now he, as Mickey Kaus said of Lawrence Kaplan, is "playing the anti-semitic card" in an attempt to ward off a legitimate critique of the administration's war plans: a critique, made by Buchanan, and others, that this war serves Israeli but not American interests.

Oddly, it was the War Party that raised "the Jewish question" in relation to the Iraq debate early on by insisting that opposition to this war is the moral and political equivalent of painting a swastika on a synagogue door. Andrew Sullivan has charged that the merging of anti-war and anti-semitic currents is "inevitable," because Jew-hating is "the acrid glue that unites Saddam, Arafat, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran and the Saudis. And if you campaign against a war against that axis, you're bound to attract people who share these prejudices." He doesn't say what or whom you attract if you're for leveling the entire Arab world, but one can imagine. Perhaps the sort who stoop to planting crude forgeries to achieve their political goals, and even cruder smears to defame their enemies.

Goldberg has grandly decided that when anyone uses the term "neoconservative," it's really a "code word" for "the Jews" thus relegating to the realm of "hate speech" an entire body of scholarly and popular writings on what, up until now, has been considered a prominent trend in American political thought.

Goldberg's well-known frivolity, however, is to be taken less seriously than Bill Keller's recent lengthy op ed piece in the New York Times, which worried that "one of the more enduring conspiracy theories of the moment" is "the notion that we are about to send a quarter of a million American soldiers to war for the sake of Israel." Keller cites as "Exhibit A for this plot" the now infamous study produced by Perle, Wolfowitz, and Wurmser, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," and avers:

"The 'Clean Break' group, interestingly, did not call for an American conquest of Saddam. With President Bill Clinton in office, there was little hope of that. They proposed that Israel handle it together with Jordan and Turkey."

But Keller is evading the real import of "A Clean Break": the degree to which it reveals the centrality of the Iraq war to Israel's long-range strategic vision. The idea of bringing Turkey and Jordan in on the deal was only a minor detail. With the Republican ascendancy in Washington, the implementation of operation "Clean Break" shifted, but its primary thrust directed against Iraq, and then Syria and Iran has not.

Clifford D. May, chief honcho over at something called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, concedes that it is "probably unfair" to ascribe the view that this is a war being fought for Israel's sake to anti-Semitism. But that doesn't really matter, you see, since "the result will be, without doubt, to fuel anti-Semitism's fires." May ranks Buchanan and columnist Robert Novak with Rep. Moran by pulling a Goldberg and treating "neocon" and "Jew" as if they were synonyms:

"Pundit and perennial candidate Pat Buchanan has long been leveling similar charges. His most recent iteration is that 'the neo-con vision is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel.' Columnist Robert Novak appears to agree. He recently insinuated that suspicions about Saudi financing of terrorism had been manufactured by Israel."

Not that Israel would manufacture phony evidence perish the thought!

It is absurd to claim that "neoconservative" is merely "code" for Jew: Bill Bennett, Michael Novak, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Patrick Moynihan, and the staffs of Washington's numerous "conservative" thinktanks would no doubt be surprised that they've been conscripted into Judaism. While it is true that many of the pioneers of neoconservative thought are Jewish, people of the Jewish faith have played the same leading role in other areas, from medical science to political science. Jews have been the authors of any number of theoretical systems, including psychoanalysis and libertarianism. That they have been the progenitors of the neoconservative movement in American politics is hardly surprising; what is surprising, however, is that these same people have so openly taken up the cause of Israel, knowing full well that it would raise the issue of "dual loyalty" – seeming to provoke if not welcome what they invariably refer to as "rising anti-semitism" in Europe and America.

It is a reckless policy, one just as foolhardy and dangerous as their rush to war, precisely because it has the character of a self-fulfilling prophecy. To tirelessly charge your opponents with "anti-semitism," to hide behind one's ethnicity and act as if you're above criticism on account of your religion, is bound to persuade at least some people that there are worse things than being called an anti-semite.

But then a real "conspiracy theorist" would have no trouble explaining this conundrum, as it so readily feeds into the Zionist idea that Jews are safe only in Israel. I hear the Israeli government has had trouble, recently, in persuading the Jews of the diaspora to come "home" to Israel. But if the millions who marched in the last mass demonstrations against the war are really out to "get" the Jews, then perhaps the more gullible and easily frightened among them will come to believe that it's time to accept the invitation.

The President of the United States and his closest advisors have spurned the advice of their own generals, disdained the objections of our longtime allies, and ignored the protests of ordinary people worldwide and for what? A tinpot dictator at the head of a broken down Third World fourth-rate military power is deemed to be a threat of such overriding immediacy that his expulsion from power has been catapulted to the number one priority of the U.S. As we move, in fits and starts, toward war, many people want to know why. The exposure of the latest hijinks of a certain "third country" and its amen corner in the U.S. would do much to clear up the mystery.

– Justin Raimondo

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

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