Sunday, August 25, 2002

Conservative Warnings on Iraq a "Shot Across the Bow" to Neocons

In today's news, former Secretary of State James Baker became the latest in a series of old-school
conservatives to warn Bush against going it alone in attacking Iraq href="http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news/ns/story.jsp?floc=FF-PLS-PLS&id=40491885
5&dt=20020824233300&w=RTR&coview=">(US Needs Allies to Hit Iraq-Former
Secretary Baker)
. He joins other Republican elder-statesman such as Chuck Hagel,
Brent Scowcroft, Dick Armey and Lawrence Eagleburger in sounding the general alarm
over the risks of a unilateral invasion and, by extension, any invasion at all.What's going
on here? Has this bunch gone soft? Are they all now "peaceniks," "appeasers," "Arabists"
and "terrorist sympathizers"?

While the pro-war lobby and warfare-socialists would no doubt like to brand them as such, this is hardly the case. What they really are, on this issueat least, is traditional conservatives who, like many others, are able to see the pro-war
propaganda emanating from neo-conservative and "democratic-centrist" circles for what it
is: namely a special-interest effort to leverage the anger and nationalism brought on by the
9/11 attacks into an all-out war against Middle-Eastern Arabs.

So who are these "special
interests" and what are their motives? Two words: “Oil” and “Israel.” Oil, because Iraq is
second only to Saudi Arabia in known reserves, and Israel because of the Zionist
movement -- including “Christian” and Jewish, Israeli and American. Independently, probably
neither would be able to attain the critical mass necessary to pull America into a war; but
together, and in the context of the terrorist attacks (which provide the two interests with
the propaganda cover they need) anything is possible.

But where does the crop of anti-war
conservatives fit in? Don’t they also support Israel? Don’t they also support big oil? The
short answer is: “yes, but unlike the war-lobby, they support the interests and well-being
of Americans first.” Theirs is not a single-issue patriotism. They understand that a victory
over Iraq may indeed be a short-term boon to the oil interests and perhaps the first major
component in a “Greater Israel” plan (or at the least will kill off one of it’s major enemies).
But they also understand that neither goal dovetails with the long-term moral or
geopolitical interests of Americans, and worse than that, sets them up as targets of Islamic
retaliation -- targets both as foreign occupiers, and as enablers of a slow-motion race war
being carried out by the current Israeli government against the Palestinians now, and
potentially the larger Arab world later.

The warnings coming from Hagel, Baker, Armey,
Eagleburger, Scowcroft et al are simply shots across the bow of the pro-war lobby;
unspoken messages: “we know who you are and what you’re up to; we know what you
want and how you want to go about getting it; and we know that you’re manipulating the
impressionable Bush Jr.; but we also know what the long-term interests of Americans are,
both in terms of maintaining their well-being and effectively attacking real terrorists, and
we won’t allow you to put Israel or oil before them.”

From the libertarian perspective, that
the larger Republican and Democratic establishment can be so easily used and manipulated
is not only pathetic, but scary. And scarier still is the silence that, until recently, had grown
so loud. The lesson that Democratic voters should draw from these events is that their
leaders are cowed and cowardly, trembling before the special interests and completely
lacking in morality and principle. The lesson that Republican voters should draw is that,
while some in their party have the courage to take a quiet stand, the Party itself is as easily
co-opted, compromised and corrupted as is the Democratic Party, and the only way to
prevent a compromised government from using and abusing the American people is to
explicitly limit it’s ability to do so -- in other words, join the Libertarians.

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