Who Is Robert Joseph?
by Justin Raimondo
July 18, 2003

The government official responsible for inserting those inflammatory 16 words about the Niger-uranium-Iraqi WMD connection in George W. Bush's state of the union speech turns out to have been one Robert Joseph, according to scattered but widespread reports. To those familiar with the factional alignments inside the Bush administration, this hardly comes as a surprise.

Joseph is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation and Homeland Defense, and a key member of the neoconservative group in the administration. As Dana Milbank pointed out in the Washington Post [May 14, 2002]:

"[Richard] Perle's allies favor a more hawkish foreign policy and an inclination for the United States to go it alone. Perle's lineup of like-minded thinkers is impressive, starting with Vice President Cheney. The vice president sometimes stays neutral, but his sympathies undoubtedly are with the Perle crowd. Cheney deputies Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Eric Edelman relay neoconservative views to Rice at the National Security Council. At the NSC, they have a sympathetic audience in Elliott Abrams, Robert Joseph, Wayne Downing and Zalmay Khalilzad."

Jason Vest, writing in The Nation, identified Joseph as one of a group of policymakers associated with the pro-Israel Center for Security Policy:

"At this writing, twenty-two CSP advisers – including additional Reagan-era remnants like Elliott Abrams, Ken deGraffenreid, Paula Dobriansky, Sven Kraemer, Robert Joseph, Robert Andrews and J.D. Crouch – have reoccupied key positions in the national security establishment, as have other true believers of more recent vintage."

Joseph is among the chief advocates of "counter-proliferation," – as opposed to "non-proliferation," – which seeks to use the issue of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons as a pretext for war rather than a reason to engage in disarmament negotiations. If a dangerous wackiness is a general characteristic of the neocons in government, then surely the National Institute for Public Policy's 2001 report "Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control," in which Joseph collaborated, bore all the hallmarks. As William Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca put it, the report recommends "developing a new generation of 'usable' lower-yield nuclear weapons, expanding the U.S. nuclear 'hit list' and expanding the set of scenarios in which nuclear weapons may be used."

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Justin Raimondo is Editorial Director of Antiwar.com

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