mystery of 9/11 only gets murkier as time goes on. How did
a rag-tag group of 19 (plus
one) conspirators manage to hijack three airliners and
crash them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon –
without so much as a small blip showing on law enforcement's
radar screen? We may never know the answer to that troubling
question, but some people do know – and Senator Bob
Graham may well be one of them.
interview with PBS, as we
noted last year, Graham declared that certain intelligence
agencies were involved and/or had foreknowledge of the terrorist
attacks. Now we have the Congressional Quarterly's
Craig Crawford telling the ABC Radio team of John
Batchelor and Paul Alexander:
think Bob Graham has a smoking pistol on the Bush administration."
there's just one hitch, as Crawford
problem is that what [Graham] knows and he knows some very
damaging stuff about the Bush administration's failures before
9/11 to prevent 9/11 he can't talk about because it's classified."
to Crawford, who is covering the Florida Democrat's White
House bid, Graham is looking for a way to drop
a dime on the Bushies without overstepping his bounds
as a ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee:
got something on Bush. He just can't figure out how to use
I can say is: use it, Bob, use it!
an interview on MSNBC's Buchanan
and Press, Crawford revealed a series of events that purportedly
occurred in the months prior to 9/11 which should have led
the Bushies to suspect something was up. The implication is
that this administration could have prevented the attacks,
but didn't because they failed to act. Graham has consistently
charged that they were more
concerned about Saddam Hussein than Osama bin Laden, but
that needn't worry the Bushies. After all, we are talking
about an electorate that believes
Saddam, not Osama, was behind 9/11, the two villains having
merged in the public's mind. Now, however, Graham is raising
the stakes, and his critique – if true is a veritable
of Damocles hanging over the heads of George W. Bush and
his interview with PBS, you'll remember, Graham cited "evidence
that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating
the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United
knew? Speculation along these lines has developed in a wide
variety of, um, directions, most of it wacko in extremis:
"Bush knew!" is the war cry of the tinfoil hat brigade,
whose partisans write me long indignant letters every time
I label them as such. But my best guess is that the truth
about 9/11, if and when it comes out, will prove a lot more
interesting and surprising than the rather pedestrian and
stridently partisan conspiracy theories coming out of the
far-left fever-swamps, which posit Bushian foreknowledge and
outright complicity. I suspect that what Graham has yet to
tell us will show that Bush should have known, but
didn't – and that included among those
who did know is at least one duplicitous
IN THE MARGIN
of the view that points to the neocon factor as the progenitor
of the Iraq war and all the subsequent Middle East
wars we are seemingly fated to fight, continues to amaze me.
Ha'aretz weighed in recently, with a story subtitled
war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals,"
and the New York Times delved even deeper by unearthing
the Leo Strauss connection.
the Times piece failed to come to grips with the real
reasons why Strauss has acquired iconic
influential neocons such as Paul
Kristol, and Gary
Schmitt, executive director of the Project for the New
American Century. Luckily, we have David
Gordon's timely essay on LewRockwell.com, which shows
that, long before Strauss became known as the philosopher
king of the War Party, Murray
N. Rothbard – writing over forty years ago had
Strauss sees matters, classical and Christian natural law
did not impose strict and absolute limits on state power;
instead, all is left to the prudential judgment of the wise
statesman. From this contention, Rothbard vigorously dissents.
'In this [Straussian] reading, Hobbes and Locke are the great
villains in the alleged perversion of natural law. To my mind,
the 'perversion' was a healthy sharpening and development
of the concept.' … Strauss's rejection of individual rights
led him to espouse political views that Rothbard found repellent:
'We find Strauss . . . praising 'farsighted', 'sober' British
imperialism; we find him discoursing on the 'good' Caesarism,
on Caesarism as often necessary and not really tyranny, etc...
he praises political philosophers for yes, lying to their
readers for the sake of the 'social good'…. I must say that
this is an odd position for a supposed moralist to take.'"
than 40 years later, Strauss's disciples in the American government
lied us into war while their amen corner in the media shouted
"Hail Caesar!" at the birth of an American Empire.
The Times article depicts this sort of analysis as
the preoccupation of "intellectual conspiracy theorists,"
and this disdain is shared by the
clearly exasperated Amid Eden, writing in The Forward,
who exclaims: "Now It's Trotsky's Fault?"
His critique of the spread of the "neocon" meme
focuses on Michael Lind's "How
Neoconservatives Conquered Washington – and Launched a War":
most creative innovation is his claim that these neocons are
'products of the largely Jewish-American Trotskyist movement
of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed... finally into a kind
of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American
culture or political history.' The reference appears to be
to the aging group of onetime Trotskyites from New York's
City College, including Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer and
others none of them currently in government who founded
the original neoconservative movement that spawned today's
conspirators. Tracing his conspiracy to the CCNY cafeteria
allows Lind to make the intriguing claim that the neocons
are not really motivated by the Wilsonian vision they like
to invoke. Such idealism is really a cover for a potent brew
of Trotskyite 'permanent revolution,' somehow combined with
the 'far-right Likud strain of Zionism.'"
other words: Pshaw! To link the neoconservative Right
of today with the socialist sects of yesteryear seems oddly
counterintuitive, to say the least – or does it? In that case,
someone should have told that to the editors of the staunchly
neoconnish National Review when they recently re-ran
piece by Joshua Muravchik describing a meeting
held in Washington, D.C., celebrating May Day, 2002:
those sponsoring or joining the evening's festivities funded
mainly by the estate of the widow of Trotskyist icon Max
Shachtman were, on the right, former U.N. ambassador
Jeane Kirkpatrick, former Christian Coalition spokesman Marshall
Wittmann, and former Secretary of Labor nominee Linda Chavez;
and, on the Left, teachers' union chief Sandra Feldman, Clinton
USIA director Penn Kemble, and New Yorker editor Hendrik Hertzberg.
In between were former arms negotiator Max Kampelman, National
Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, and scholars
like Nathan Glazer and Seymour Martin Lipset."
– author of Heaven
on Earth, a critical yet admiring history of American
socialism was himself among the celebrants, in his
capacity as the former national chairman of the Young
Peoples Socialist League (1968 –73). The finishing touch
on Muravchik's account is the bit about the widow Shachtman's
"estate" as the organizer of this little conclave:
it was Shachtman's particular schismatic
brand of Trotskyism, as advocated by the "Yipsels,"
as Comrade Muravchik and his fellow young commies called themselves,
that over time was transmuted into a militant push for global
"democracy." Shachtman died a champion of U.S. global
intervention, in Vietnam and around the world, a view he shared
with Jeanne Kirkpatrick, whose account of her days as a Yipsel
and her subsequent political evolution has
to be read to be believed. As Wittmann,
a top advisor to John McCain and the champion of "national
greatness" conservatism, summed up the significance
of the neocons' Trotskyite heritage:
I see this distinguished panel and all the distinguished people
in the crowd, I'm thinking that we haven't had so many clear-thinking
people in one room since Max Schachtman dined alone. We are
all Shachtmanites now, in one way or another."
Straussian concept of "esoteric writing"
which holds that ancient philosophers wrote with censorious
rulers in mind, so one has to read between the lines
we can now understand what David Brooks, editorial writer
at the Weekly Standard, really meant when he
all neoconservatives, now."
that's why National Review, an ostensibly conservative
magazine, ran an account, affectionately told, of a gathering
held by a bunch of old commies, who sang "The
Internationale" and, fittingly, "Which
Side Are You On?"
this just goes to show how right Lew
Rockwell was when he remarked to me the other day that
the two founding fathers of neoconservatism are "Leon
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