April 16, 2003

The War Party has captured the heights of the Washington bureaucracy – and now they're after the U.S. 'Institute of Peace'!

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength – and Daniel Pipes, the nation's leading Islamophobe and a stalwart of the War Party, has been named to the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). While the Institute – a U.S. government agency first proposed in the 1970s by President Jimmy Carter – is dedicated to "promoting the peaceful resolution of international conflict," Ha'aretz aptly describes the Pipes credo as follows:

"He espouses a theory of conflict resolution that rests on the assumption that peace usually is achieved only by one side defeating the other with military force or other pressure, and only rarely through reconciliation or negotiation."

The Pipes view that "Islamists" – i.e. American Muslims – all "have the same ambition, which is what they call "the Islamization of America," hardly seems conducive to the USIP's "can't we all get along?" message. This weird anomaly – can you believe a Jewish version of David Duke? – avers that the goal of America's Muslims in their millions is "no less than saving the U.S. through transforming it into a Muslim country." Oh really? Does this mean that "Elimi-date" is going to go off the air? If so, I wouldn't count on an Islamist cultural revolution happening any time soon….

Listening to Pipes and reading his works one is reminded of nothing so much as the anti-Semitic literature of the neo-Nazi movement, which posits a devil theory similarly based on ethnicity and religion. In the realm of foreign policy, his hateful views were vented in a call for the razing of Palestinian villages – a logical extension of his declaration that "the Palestinians are a miserable people...and they deserve to be."

The very idea of Pipes ensconced, in all his hatefulness, at the United States Institute of Peace has got to be some kind of sick joke – the kind of moral inversion that could only occur in Bizarro World, where up is down and wrong is right. But the Coalition of the Crazed is on the march, and the neoconservative nutballs who populate this administration at the highest levels are on a roll since their great "victory" in Iraq. With neocon ideologue Paul Wolfowitz at the helm of the "rebuilding" project, and JINSA graduate Gen. Jay Garner faithfully implementing a strategy of utilizing the country as a forward base for future wars – against Syria, Iran, and beyond – the War Party isn't taking no for an answer. Before they can take Damascus, Teheran, and Mecca itself, the neocons must first take Washington: or, at this point, conduct mop-up operations, such as the purge conducted by the newly-appointed Elliot Abrams over at the National Security Council, where Abrams was put in charge of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Perle trinity is really feeling its oats: why, they even had the nerve to float James "World War IV" Woolsey as propagandist-in-chief of the new Iraqi occupation government.

The Pipes appointment would be funny, if one could overlook its macabre implications. But it is precisely the sinister Orwellian aspect of all this that underscores the real problem, which is not just Pipes but the USIP. What in the name of everything that's holy is the U.S. government – or any government – doing in the "peace" business? A typical mushy-headed delusion based on liberal naivete about the nature of the State.

Governments are all about war – that is what they do. It may be a defensive war against an invading enemy, or more often a war of aggression against a hapless victim – but, in any case, war, as Randolph Bourne put it, "is the health of the State," and ever will it be so. A government-funded and sponsored "Institute of Peace" must, by its very nature, turn into an instrument of war propaganda – no matter how good and holy the intent of USIP's founders.

We need concerted action to flush Pipes and his hateful rhetoric down the drain. But the antiwar movement also needs to challenge more than just this single outrageous appointment. In the process of opposing Pipes, it is imperative to call attention to the total absurdity of the USIP's existence.

The Bushies came to Washington pledging to roll back Big Government, and, like every ostensibly "conservative" administration before them, took office armed with a long laundry list of government agencies that needed to be abolished or radically decimated. These pledges, or intentions, are hardly ever followed up, but surely thoughtful activists must wonder how the USIP – formally created in 1984 – managed to survive the Reagan years without becoming a sword in the hands of the War Party.

This oxymoronic government boondoggle is well on its way to becoming yet another tax-subsidized nest for our war birds to roost in, along with Richard Perle's Defense Policy Board and the National Endowment for Democracy. Perle's disgraceful influence-peddling led to his stealth resignation as chairman of the board, and a new interest in a formerly obscure advisory body that apparently plays a key role in formulating U.S. policy in the Middle East.

The USIP has so far escaped such critical scrutiny. Who, after all, can come out against it without seeming to be against peace, per se? Perhaps the takeover of this phony government-funded thinktank by the War Party will clarify the matter in the minds of befuddled liberals and assorted lefties, formerly fooled into believing in the inherent beneficence of the State – provided the right people are in charge.


Many thanks for the numerous messages of condolence on the death in my family. My father lived to be 85 years old, and died just as this rotten war ended, a period at the end of a sentence. Signaling, for me, the end of innocence, the end of an era in which the concept of preemptive war was something alien to the American mind, possibly a Japanese invention, and there was another word for it: treachery.

My father fought in the war to avenge the treachery of Pearl Harbor – although just what sort of treachery, and on whose part, is only now coming to light – and at his funeral service the local Veterans of Foreign Wars gave a solemn and sincere presentation, in which they honored their fallen comrade and offered his memory to the ages. It was a kind and moving gesture, one that I sincerely appreciate and publicly thank them for.

Yet, for the sake of foreign wars, my father endured a year in a hospital run by the Veterans Administration – a good one, by their standards – during which time he developed gangrene in his foot. My ever-observent sister was the first to notice it – not one of the nurses – and when she did she went straight into the bathroom and vomited.

Now Medicaid wants some $15,000 out of his estate to pay for the costs of this neglect. There just aren't enough trained medical personnel to watch the tens of thousands of oldsters in VA hospitals. Which is not to fault the kind and generally attentive staff at the VA hospital my father spent over a year in. But when I hear that the invasion and subsequent pacification of Iraq is going to cost in the hundreds of billions of tax dollars, when I note that Israel is asking for yet another ten billion, and think of what my father, a veteran, had to go through, I can only ask: is there something wrong with this picture? Oh, and don't forget how the government reneged on its promise to pay the lifetime medical costs of World War II and Korean war vets who served for 20 years. That's real class for you.

I want to draw the attention of my readers, again, to Matthew Barganier's new column, "Collateral Damage." He knows how to write for the internet: his wit is rapier-light, on occasion deadly, and chock full of links. Go check him out if you haven't already – Matt is magnificent!

– 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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