the propagandistic fervor on American television reaches
a crescendo of triumphant self-righteousness, and our
noble centurions gather at the gates of Baghdad, ready
for the final assault, the battle-cry of the neocons
is heard above the din: "On
to Damascus! Go for Teheran!" Speaking at a
UCLA forum sponsored by "Americans for Victory
Over Terrorism" and the campus Republican geeks,
Bill Clinton's former CIA director, James Woolsey, declared
United States is engaged in World War IV, and that it
could continue for years." If you thought the
first three (including the cold war) were pretty horrific,
you ain't seen nothin' yet:
"This fourth world war, I think,
will last considerably longer than either World Wars
I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus
decades of the Cold War."
then, is the enemy in this coming world conflagration?
Nothing less than the entire Arab world, which Woolsey
helpfully breaks down into three sub-categoreis: the
Shi'a rulers of Iran, the "fascists of Iraq and
Syria," and Al Qaeda. All three, according to Woolsey,
have been at war with us, but apparently their efforts
were so puny (or subtle?) that we barely noticed. But
never mind that, it's a new day and a new way, according
"As we move toward a new Middle
East over the years and, I think, over the decades to
come ... we will make a lot of people very nervous."
war birds love the idea of making us nervous. It makes
them feel powerful. And I am nervous, because
they are powerful. Woolsey, by the way, is not
just some has-been ex-official turned neocon hack. As
"Woolsey has been named in news
reports as possible candidate for a key position in
the reconstruction of a post-war Iraq."
an extremist pining for a new world war is being seriously
considered for the job of American viceroy in occupied
Iraq is the final proof that the neocons have won
and that we have good reason to be nervous. Their program
9/11 of an all-out American war on the Arab world
is now U.S. policy. That Iraq is going to be used as
a forward base for future military operations I have
no doubt. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has recently
new broadside against Syria, complaining of their
alleged aid to Iraq, although other administration officials
playing fast and loose with the facts. Amid rumors
of Iranian "infiltration," Rumsfeld's
to the "Badr Brigade," and the "high
priority" the administration puts on stopping
Iran's purported bid to join the nuclear club, it seems
that Teheran, too, is in for some "liberation."
would-be governor of occupied Iraq is not alone in his
prescription for a fourth world war: the original author
of the concept is Elliot
Cohen, the neocons' academic chieftain, but it was
popularized by Norman
Podhoretz, whose article entitled "How
to Win World War IV" appeared in Commentary
shortly after 9/11. Here is an interventionism so radical
that Podhoretz attacks Ronald Reagan for having "cut
and run" from Lebanon! After a long and discursive
detailing of how and why Islam is our deadly enemy,
and Israel our only friend in the Middle East, the neoconservative
Ayatollah issues this fatwa:
the campaign against al Qaeda required us to topple
the Taliban regime, and we may willy-nilly find ourselves
forced by the same political and military logic to topple
five or six or seven more tyrannies in the Islamic world
(including that other sponsor of terrorism, Yasir Arafat's
Palestinian Authority). I can even go along with David
Pryce-Jones in imagining the turmoil of this war
leading to some new species of an imperial mission for
America, whose purpose would be to oversee the emergence
of successor governments in the region more amenable
to reform and modernization than the despotisms now
in place. Like Pryce-Jones, I can also envisage the
establishment of some kind of American protectorate
over the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, as we more and
more come to wonder why 7,000 princes should go on being
permitted to exert so much leverage over us and everyone
How many more wars, after Iraq? "Five
or six," if Podhoretz and his fellow neocons have
their way. Amidst all the guff about "Operation
Iraqi Freedom" and the faux-idealism that permeates
neocon war-rhetoric like cheap perfume, Podhoretz is
more grimly realistic. He plainly doesn't believe democracy
can grow in the soil of Islam, and is honest enough
to say it, but other "changes" are desirable
from his point of view. Islam, he avers, will be "modernized,"
"This, in turn, would finally
give adherents of Islam a chance to set their feet on
the path to greater freedom and greater prosperity – and,
not so incidentally, to make their peace with the existence
"Not so incidentally" is for
Even if the neoconservatives had been
hired outright to promote the interests of Israel
over and above those of the U.S., they couldn't have
done a better job of it. That is the real genesis of
this war: it is meant as the opening act of World War
IV. This is the goal the neocons have been energetically
pursuing a war pitting the U.S. and Israel against
the entire Muslim world – ever since 9/11, and, today,
they are on the brink of success. The U.S. has yet to
take Baghdad, and already they are threatening Syria
and Iran. You can be sure that former spook Woolsey,
once put in charge of postwar Iraq, will do his best
to provoke a border incident that will lead to the fulfillment
of his prophecy.
has been instrumental, I am proud to say, in exposing
the neocon agenda, and popularizing the idea that a
small but influential cabal of policy wonks, administration
officials, and laptop bombardiers are behind this push
for perpetual war. Just go to google.com (news section)
and type in the word "neoconservatives"
or even "neocons"
and you can see the
meme spread far
But that isn't even half the battle.
The War Party is moving quickly to target
Damascus, Teheran, and beyond. As an indication of what
we are in for, check out what Ms.
Eleana Benador, the War Party's equivalent of Paul
("Swifty") Lazar, or Michael
Ovitz, has to say. Ms. Benador, as the proprietor
Associates, is the agent for Woolsey, Richard Perle,
long list of neocon publicists, and she recently
latest project to the New York Observer:
"Ms. Benador said her job was
not only to work the phones for her clients, but sometimes
to help polish their message. 'There are some things,
you have to just state them in a different way, in a
slightly different way,' she said. She described meeting
with a new organization that plans to explore which
rogue regime will be next in line for U.S. intervention
said their agenda is to see who is next after Iraq,'
she said. 'And I said, 'I don't think that's the right
position, because 'Who is next?' is like you're asking
for more war.' And I said, 'So you can ask, "What
is next? What is going to happen next?"'
So I made them change that slightly.
it's a little word,' she said, "but it makes a
difference. If not, people get scared.
yet? You should be.
doubt Ms. Benador has advised her client, Jim Woolsey,
to tone down the rhetoric about "World War IV."
But in the orgy of triumphalism certain to follow our
"victory" in Iraq, such grand-scale megalomania
is likely to seem less insane. No doubt a whole bunch
of liberals will join in, declaring that we must "reconstruct"
Iraq and promote our "nation-building" project
throughout the Middle East. As to how any of this benefits
us, the American people, is a matter that will
be lost amid the grandiose plans of these would-be social
engineers. It will, instead, endanger us, by making
America the target of what Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarrak imagined as "one
hundred Bin Ladens."
This war was and is like one long, drawn-out
mugging, in which the bigger, well-armed robber takes
down his victim with disconcerting ease. It is so easy,
that the perpetrator, from that moment on, decides to
live a life of crime and that is the great danger.
This is not to overlook the prospect
of bloody street fighting in Baghdad. But, as I have
said in this space from the beginning, the military
victory of the United States is a foregone conclusion.
And, no matter what the price, the War Party is bound
and determined to press onward.
They must be stopped.
The antiwar movement, far from being
in any way finished, has just begun to fight. Our goal,
from this moment on, must be to draw a line in the sand
and say: "Enough!"
conquering a nation the size of California, and taking
its fate into our hands, we have already ingested more
than enough to make us gag. Let the Iraqis determine
their own fate, in their own way. The call to end the
occupation, and take our troops sitting ducks for
terrorists out of the line of fire, must become our
battle-cry. We must target and specifically oppose the
appointment of neocon nut-balls like Woolsey to run
the postwar regime. We must support Rep. John
Conyers' bid to investigate Richard Perle's outrageous
influence-peddling – and extend it to other influential
leaders of the War Party, who are doubtless involved.
We must fight all the harder in the postwar period
because, given a future of perpetual war, "postwar"
means just a short breathing spell.
IN THE MARGIN
note in Wednesday's
column about Bill
Berkowitz was in error: he was defending
me, not attacking me. Hey, who says I'm thin-skinned?
Anyway, let's make nice, and remember who our real enemies
are. Speaking of which
old friend Bill Rusher, who lives just up over the next
in on Commissar
Frum's excommunication of antiwar conservatives,
which he measures as "8.0 on the political Richter
scale." As if more proof were needed that the neocons
are legends in their own minds, according to Rusher
the outcome of the mighty struggle between paleoconservatives
and neoconservatives "may well determine the direction
of American foreign policy for decades to come."
Wow! As usual, Rusher's party-lining rhetoric Bill
Buckley invented the conservative movement, the paleos
"started this fight" is of limited interest,
but one thing he let slip should be noted:
other things, [Frum's smear job] will make it a lot
harder for such TV shows as The McLaughlin Group' and
The Capital Gang' to peddle Buchanan and Novak, respectively,
as representative generic conservatives on their panels.
They are no such thing."
mere thought that there exists someone with a large
audience a Novak, or a Buchanan who contradicts
their party line is enough to drive the neocons mad.
Rusher and his pals at National Review hate the
idea that two prominent conservatives are on to their
game, and they are now embarked on a campaign to get
both Novak and Buchanan off the air. That's a lot of
what this much-touted "civil war on the right,"
as Rusher dubs it, is about.
started out his political life as a Wendell
Wilkie-type "Republican," an interventionist
active in "Fight
for Freedom," and he hasn't changed his political
spots one bit in all these years. I have some bad news
for him, though. Nobody cares what National
Review has to say anymore, it's day as a vital voice
on the Right has long since passed. That ex-presidential
speechwriter Frum has put me up there with Buchanan
and Novak as part of the paleoconservative "axis
of evil" a Bushism that Frum
made sure to take credit for is a badge of honor
that I will always wear with pride.
last time I saw Bill Rusher, at one of those rare Bay
Area right-wing soirees, he was grimacing with disdain
loudmouth Stephen Schwartz made an impromptu speech
proclaiming the virtues of labor unionism. Yet now Rusher
goes down the list of excommunicated antiwar conservatives,
including myself, and adds: "'Unpatriotic' at first
seems a strange word to apply to these people."
Yes, but no stranger than applying the word "conservative"
to an ex-Trotskyite
convert to Islam
whose fevered screeds are published by National
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