America returns to offices and factories after the long Labor
Day holiday, the realization that this may be the last summer
before a long and horrendous war has focused the nation’s
attention on the issue policy wonks and ideologues have been
debating for months: do we take Iraq?
is either serendipity or divine intervention that, right at
this pivotal moment, the voices of reason are making themselves
heard, and they are coming from largely unanticipated quarters.
No, it isn’t the Democrats, or what passes for the peace movement
that is responsible for this turning of the tide. It’s the
Republican establishment and an increasingly outspoken group
of former high-ranking military officers that’s saying the
equivalent of "hell no, we won’t go!" – and they
have the War Party running scared.
Scowcroft, a former National Security advisor under Bush
41, is joined by Lawrence
Eagleburger, a former Secretary of State, Senator Chuck
Hagel (Republican, Nebraska); Senator Dick Lugar (Republican,
Indiana); and Senator Pat Roberts (Republican, Kansas) in
expressing doubts about the wisdom of what amounts to a war
more impressive – and alarming, from the War Party’s perspective
– the charge against the President’s war policy is being led
by a phalanx of former top generals: Stormin’
Norman Schwarzkopf, General Anthony Zinni, Marine Corps
James L. Jones, and retired four-star General
Joseph Hoar, formerly of the U.S. Central Command. Zinni,
speaking before the Florida Economic Club on August 23,
was particularly acerbic, leading off with the "chicken-hawk"
theme developed so extensively by anti-interventionist pundits
in previous weeks:
Iraq now will cause a lot of problems. I think the debate
right now that’s going on is very healthy. If you ask me my
opinion, Gen. Scowcroft, Gen. Powell, Gen. Schwarzkopf, Gen.
Zinni, maybe all see this the same way.
might be interesting to wonder why all the generals see it
the same way, and all those that never fired a shot in anger
and really hell-bent to go to war see it a different way.
That’s usually the way it is in history.
neoconservative policy wonks, who blithely propose adding
Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria to the U.S. target list, are
really smarting over this one. Investment
banker-cum -laptop bombardier Andrew Stuttaford, among
the more frenetic conquistadores over at National
bitterly at this conspiracy by "the Left" to
subvert "democracy," and darkly hinted at the specter
A. Heinlein winning some strange new respect? One
of the more peculiar notions to emerge in the last few weeks
has been the suggestion by the Left that only those who are
- or who have been - in the military have the moral authority
to commit the nation to war. It’s a zany, profoundly undemocratic
argument and it also sounds like something out of Heinlein’s
Troopers (a book
liberals often criticize as ‘fascist’ ) a novel in which,
if I recall correctly, the only people entitled to full citizenship
were those who had completed a period of military service.
What’s next? Will liberals be calling for our rule by a dynasty
of warrior kings?"
Stuttaford, the alleged conservative, is echoing the Left
in hurling the "fascist"
smear not only at Heinlein but at all things military
– as if the spirit of Mussolini lies dormant in the soul of
every general, only waiting to be awakened by...what? The
prospect of another unwinnable war-without-end on the Asian
landmass? Certainly that qualifies as a peculiar notion, particularly
coming from the ostensible Right.
"liberals" are calling for a return to the letter
of the Constitution, which gives Congress the sole right to
declare war, then they must be liberals in the classical mold.
Contra Stuttaford, there is nothing "fascist" about
listening to the voices of our military specialists – and
letting them have their say. Far from restricting the decision-making
to "a dynasty of warrior kings," opponents of this
war are broadening the debate. It is the neoconservatives
who believe the President has the royal prerogative to make
war without consulting either Congress or the Pentagon. It
is they who are advocating rule by a self-anointed dynasty
of warrior-intellectuals who have never even seen a battlefield,
let alone fought on one.
the way, this guy Stuttaford is really a piece of work. Here
is a citizen, or former citizen, of a make-believe Empire,
ruled over by a monarch and still mired in the medieval paraphenalia
of a titled aristocracy, putting each mention of the Saudi
ironic quotes. What’s up with that? Anyway, it’s doubtful
this Stuttaford character is even an American citizen, although
he’s lobbying frantically to put our troops in the line of
fire. A short biographical note on NRO describes his national
loyalties in suspiciously
in the U.K., Andrew Stuttaford crossed the Atlantic to make
his fortune. Despite that, he has been contributing to National
since 1993 and has written on a wide range of subjects from
post-Soviet Russia to Xena, Warrior Princess…."
folks, that’s what makes Sir Stuttaford oh so much more qualified
than, say, Anthony Zinni, or that Marine Corps commander to
pronounce judgement on the question of whether to go to war:
he’s an expert on the subject of Xena,
and downward, we come to the always foam-flecked New York
Post, which weighed in on the subject of the pro-peace
Pentagon with a
long vituperative whine by Jonathan Foreman, who inveighed
against "the cult of the warrior now being embraced by
creepy thing about this newfound reverence for the political
views of generals is not so much its hypocrisy, but rather
that it implicitly lauds an un-American and anti-democratic
notion of government long promoted by the Buchananite right
(and by some misguided men in the armed forces).
when liberal-feminist Washington
columnist Mary McGrory refers to Richard Perle, an administration
adviser who favors the overthrow of Saddam, as ‘the generalissimo
of the Cakewalk Corps, that ferocious band of civilians who
have never worn their country’s uniform but wish to lead it
into war’ she’s unknowingly sharing a platform with all manner
of brownshirted types."
of things creepy, the pattern with these neocons is always
the same: backed up against a wall, they simply yell "fascist"
as a last resort. While the supposedly "brownshirted"
Buchanan deplores the humanitarian catastrophe caused by our
ongoing war on the Iraqi people, "anti-fascists"
like Stuttaford and Foreman can’t wait to unleash American
hellfire on the Arab peoples of the entire region. It’s funny
that all the cruelty, the lust for power and conquest is on
the "anti-fascist" side – now why do you think that
the way, what is so "undemocratic" about not excluding
the military from the national debate? The neocons sure wanted
those military votes during the Florida recount, going
so far as charging that the anti-military Democrats were trying
to disenfranchise the troops, and demanding that the voice
of the troops be heard loud and clear.
a difference a war makes.
they are supposed to shut up and send their soldiers to die
– and for what? So that Exxon-Mobil and British Petroleum
can pump oil out of the soil of a "democratic" Iraqi?
So that every country in the Middle East can be transformed
into a Jeffersonian republic at gunpoint? So that Israel’s
enemies are smitten, one by one, with the blunt end of American
power, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians can proceed
under cover of the resulting conflagration?
giving any special weight to the opinion of military leaders,
Foreman accuses the antiwar camp of advocating rule by American
implicitly advocates a kind of militarism long associated
with, say, Prussia but always rejected by the United States."
begin with, the Prussian Junkers were not exactly known for
their military restraint: certainly their arrogant belligerence
reflects the attitude of our civilian War Party far more than
those peaceniks in the Pentagon. No one is saying that the
military ought to decide the war question in a closed session
of the Joints Chiefs. But certainly such united opposition
– and remember what Zinni said after naming half a dozen antiwar
generals: "Maybe all see this the same way"
– should almost be the equivalent of a veto. After all, when
we have an economic problem to be solved, legislators and
the executive branch naturally turn to the experts, i.e. the
economists, and other specialists, and give their opinions
special weight. And yet no one suggests that this means we
have a dictatorship of the economists. When it comes to ensuring
the nation’s health, we turn to the doctors. And when it comes
to war, we solicit – and take very seriously – the views of
our top generals. If all the doctors say, "No, we shouldn’t
operate," how wise is it to override their veto?
interesting about Foreman’s polemic is that it reveals the
soul of a right-wing Social Democrat in its purest form, i.e.
he is bad not only on foreign policy but even worse when it
comes to domestic politics. He is shellshocked by the hardball
tactics of these peace-mongering Prussians:
delegitimizing the hard line views of Perle, because (like
President Franklin Roosevelt) he never wore a uniform, McGrory
et al. don’t just fetishize uniforms, they use a logic that
pre-empts political debate. (Should only those who can become
pregnant have a voice on abortion? Should only those who pay
taxes have a say in how they are spent?)"
answers to the last two questions are: 1) yes, and
2) absolutely positively yes. That’s just too bad about
pre-empting the political debate, now isn’t it? It’s about
time the War Party had a good dose of their own medicine.
I hope they choke on it.
for delegitimizing uber-hawk Richard Perle – he did it to
himself. That goofy Defense Policy Advisory Board "briefing"
Laurent Murawiec. – which advocated a U.S. invasion of
Saudi Arabia, and eventually the entire region – was a deliberate
provocation that backfired rather badly on Perle, who perpetrated
the whole incident. Exposed as a longtime follower of the
archetypal political fantast, whose name is a byword for kookery,
Murawiec and his employer, the Rand Corporation, didn’t deign
to comment on the controversy. But Murawiec was stoutly defend
bellwether of wrongthink, the Wall Street Journal’s
James Taranto, who wrote:
certainly isn’t something we’d be proud to have on our résumé,
but Murawiec’s involvement with the LaRouchies doesn’t seem
to be recent. [Jack] Shafer’s source for his revelation is
a Financial Times article Murawiec wrote in January 1985.
LaRouche-watcher Dennis King tells Shafer Murawiec probably
left LaRouche’s orbit around 1988. Shafer quotes LaRouche
himself describing Murawiec as ‘a real-life ‘Beetlebaum’ of
the legendary mythical horse-race, and a hand-me-down political
carcass, currently in the possession of institutions of a
peculiar odor." (Translation: I don’t like him!) Meanwhile,
the Saudis seem to view LaRouche as a respectable character.
As we noted, the Jedda-based Arab News recently published
an article by current EIR writer Jeffrey Steinberg."
no surprise that Taranto has his facts wrong, and covers up
the long duration of Murawiec’s membership in LaRouche’s cult.
Another defender of Murawiec’s honor, Arnaud
de Borchgrave, informs us:
his credit, Murawiec objected to the March 1986 publication
of an [LaRouchite] special report titled ‘Moscow’s Secret
Weapon: Ariel Sharon and the Israeli Mafia.’ He continued
working for EIR till 1990, but as an anti-Larouche mole, according
to sources close to AEI [American Enterprise Institute]."
to the LaRouche group, Murawiec was recruited by them in 1973,
when they were known as the National Caucus of Labor Committees
(NCLC), and were still deep in their Marxoid phase. Some 17
years in a political loony-bin – now that is something you
just don’t put on your resume, and no doubt this was
omitted when, as de Borchgrave tells us, Perle "organized
his U.S. debut at AEI in 1999." Furthermore, in 1973,
the year Murawiec was recruited to the NCLC, the LaRouchies
were embroiled in what they called "Operation Mop-up"
– a series of brutal physical attacks on rival leftist groups.
As Chip Berlet’s Political Research Associates describes
the orgy of violence:
thugs used bats, chains, and martial arts weapons in a campaign
to establish "hegemony" over the American revolutionary
movement. There were many injuries and some persons required
not hard to see what drew Murawiec to the NCLC. It seems that
he, alone, out of all our yawping war-birds, is no chicken-hawk,
but an ex-streetfightin’
man. What’s pathetic is that Taranto, de Borchgrave, et
al. are willing to go along with the whitewash of this nut-bag
– including this unbelievable "mole" alibi – as
long as Murawiec serves a propagandistic purpose. But, then
again, from clueless cretins like Taranto – whose column has
become the Dearborn
Independent of the Hate All-Arabs Lobby – one never
expected anything else. Knee-jerks are the worst jerks, especially
when they masquerade as legitimate journalists.
I have noted all along, the only really substantial – and
politically relevant – opposition to our policy of global
interventionism is bound to come from the Right – and from
the U.S. military. Senator Hagel, a conservative Republican
and a much-decorated Vietnam war veteran, has been particularly
outspoken and effective. I am especially glad to see him challenging
Vice President Dick Cheney’s bald-faced lie that Saddam is
well on his way to getting nuclear weapons – and wondering
aloud how and why deterrence worked with Stalin, but somehow
won’t register with the Iraqis. On the nuclear question, Hagel
bottom line is that I don’t think he does possess nuclear
capability. Is he attempting to do that? You have to assume
he is. But to scare the American public by saying this guy
is a couple of months away from not only possessing nuclear
weapons but a ballistic missile to deliver those, that’s dangerous
whole strategy of this administration has been to scare the
American people into accepting the abolition of their Constitution
and a program of perpetual war. But the transparency of this
attempt is what will defeat the warmongers in the end: Saddam
Hussein can no more lob an intercontinental missile at us
than he can put a man on the Moon – or shoot down a single
one of our jet fighters as they bomb and strafe and enforce
the "no fly zone" over Iraq on a daily basis.
been chanting the same mantra since 1990! That year, Dubya’s
dad, in his Thanksgiving peroration to U.S. troops massed
in the Saudi desert, declared "Every day that passes
brings Saddam one step closer to realizing his goal of a nuclear
weapons arsenal." According to Bush and American war
propaganda, the Iraqis were about to nuke the Middle East.
It was a lie then, and, after a decade-plus of draconian sanctions,
and constant aerial surveillance, it is no less brazen a lie
interesting, too, that the same stale images of World War
II are being invoked now as they were then. Bush 41 averred
that Thanksgiving in Saudi Arabia brought to mind "another
group of Americans far from home" who also fought the
good fight. "Once again Americans have stepped forward
to share a tearful good-bye with their families before leaving
for a strange and distant shore." Puffing out his chest,
41 roared: "Saddam is going to get his ass kicked!"
to the cheers of his Praetorians. And he promised them that,
this time, they would not have to fight with "one hand
tied behind their backs," an obvious allusion to the
myth that we lost in Vietnam because we held back (i.e. failed
to nuke Hanoi). This time, he pledged, it would be different:
will not be another Vietnam. This will not be a protracted,
drawn-out war. The forces arrayed are different. The resupply
of Saddam’s military would be very different. The countries
united against him in the United Nations are different. The
topography of Kuwait is different. And the motivation of our
all-volunteer force is superb."
can you see why 41 and 43 are fighting it out for control
of American foreign policy? Because, this time, it will
be a protracted, drawn-out war – perhaps not the act of conquest,
but the prolonged military occupation that will follow.
for the forces arrayed – this time, our Arab allies are opposing
us, and our Western allies aren’t paying the bill. The topographical
advantages are offset by the question of where to launch the
invasion from – since only Kuwait, Turkey, and perhaps
Qatar, will agree to host this particular party (in return
for a good portion of party favors, I’m sure).
key element is the motivation of our all-volunteer force –
for that is precisely what is lacking. The opposition to this
war within the military starts at the top, but it won’t stop
there. The public stance of the generals is enormously significant,
for it calls into question the legitimacy of the war-maddened
clique that has seized the reins of power in Washington. We
may yet succeed in stopping this war before it starts. And
if that is "undemocratic," as the whiners in the
War Party complain, then let them learn to live with it. If
it’s "democracy" they want, both at home and abroad,
then why aren’t they calling for a national referendum on
the war question?
message to the War Party is this: you want to export Democracy,
capital-"D"? Well, why not start practicing it right
here at home? We’re having a federal election coming up this
November: how much trouble would it be to put the question
on the same ballot? War with Iraq, yes or no? Let’s vote it
up or down, and be done with it.
we can guarantee a minimum of hanging chads, no foreign contributions,
and a televised debate – perhaps pitting Richard Perle and
Monsieur Murawiec against General Zinni and Scott Ritter –
the Peace Party will win by a landslide.
of anti-interventionism on the Right: don’t forget to get
in your charter subscription to The American Conservative,
the new magazine co-edited by Pat Buchanan, Taki, and our
columnist Scott McConnell. I have an article in the first
issue, and I know you’ll want to support what is the most
exciting new development on the political horizon in decades.
Anti-imperialist, pro-peace, and dedicated to the idea that
American foreign policy ought to serve the interests of Americans,
and not our foreign satraps, the Old Right is back! TAC deserves
your support. Go
here and become a Charter Subscriber at a special bargain
rate good only until September 30 – and tell them Raimondo
sent you! You might also want to talk your local newstand
operator into the idea of getting rid of that awful Weekly
Standard, or perhaps dropping tired old National Review,
and trying out TAC for a refreshing change of pace.
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