(By Chris Moore, LibertarianToday.com) -- Now that it is conventional wisdom in America (at least outside of politically correct Washington Beltway and mainstream media circles) that the U.S. was misled into the Iraq war by the Bush administration--quite possibly with the acquiescence of members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties--the fight is on among patriotic Americans to determine the motives for the deception.
Rather than merely academic, a determination of motive may well be the first step in holding the perpetrators accountable, and may also be instrumental in determining America’s timeline for withdrawal from Iraq.
One theory is that the war was orchestrated by Jewish nationalists (Zionist Jews who support Israel’s current incarnation as an explicitly Jewish state) and Christian Zionists (adherents to a racialist interpretation of Christianity that mandates recognition of the Jews as God’s chosen people, and that wants to secure Greater Israel as their capital to the exclusion of other native peoples). Operating within and without the administration, this coalition arranged the war on behalf of Jewish security and other Israel-centered initiatives. Call this the War for Israel theory.
The Christian Zionist camp was represented by President Bush himself, who has reportedly hosted secret Middle East policy meetings with dispensationalist evangelicals, and figures such as former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who has a long history of philo-Semitism and pro-Israel activism. (He routinely brags of being the principal architect behind the initiative that strong-armed the United Nations General Assembly to repeal the resolution that equated Zionism with racism).
The Jewish nationalist camp was represented by figures such as former Undersecretaries of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, and former chairman of the Defense Policy Advisory Board Richard Perle--all of whom have at various times over the course of their careers been investigated by federal agencies for misuse of American defense and intelligence information to benefit Israel, and all of whom were instrumental in propagating the false intelligence used to deceive Americans into war.
The other school of thought, often embraced by left-liberals squeamish about the implications of acknowledging that Jewish factions within government might be abusing their power (mainly because Jewish nationalists are prominent in the left-liberal governing coalition), is that the pro-war deception was motivated primarily by imperial and economic agendas, including U.S. control of the oil in Iraq, to feed the U.S. military-industrial complex, and to set up Middle East markets for U.S. goods and services. Call this the Imperial War theory.
Those with an open mind who currently subscribe to the Imperial War theory and are inclined to dismiss the War for Israel theory as the province of conspiracy theorists might want to read an interview that recently appeared in the popular Israeli news web site YNetNews.com. The interviewee was Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli citizen, neocon ideologue, and the wife of David Wurmser, a current White House advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney on Middle Eastern affairs who was also John Bolton’s assistant.
David and Meyrav Wurmser, along with Perle, Feith and several others, were the authors of a 1996 report submitted to then-incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. Among other initiatives, the report recommended that in order to “secure the realm” for Israel, Saddam Hussein had to be removed from power in Iraq.
In her interview with YNet, Meyrav Wurmser at first feigned shock at being accused of doing Israel’s bidding in the aftermath of America’s Iraq invasion by those who noted her connection to A Clean Break.
"Since I'm an Israeli in the gang, you wouldn't believe what's been written about me," she said. "That I'm proof of the covert neoconservative connection with Israel and the Mossad."
But amazingly, in the next breath she goes on to nearly admit that her neocon clique wrote the script for the White House that led to the removal of Saddam by utilizing the same template that they’d laid out for Netanyahu in Israel in 1996.
According to Meyrav, following the 9/11 attacks, the case made by the neocons (many of whom “are Jews who share a love for Israel,” notes YNet) went something like this: “The idea was that America has a war on terror and that the only actual place for coping with it is in the Middle East and that a fundamental change would come through a change in leadership. We had to start somewhere. The objective was to change the face of the Middle East.”
Note her last sentence: “The objective was to change the face of the Middle East.”
An astounding admission. She is essentially saying that within the White House, the argument being made by neocons (presumably to upper-level administration officials), was not that America should attack Iraq because Saddam Hussein possessed dangerous weapons of mass destruction and was connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S, and thus presented a major terrorist threat to Americans (the story later retailed by the administration to the American public).
Rather, the real objective among neocons was to pitch the narrative to Bush insiders “that America has a war on terror and that the only actual place for coping with it is in the Middle East;” to advance the notion within the administration “that a fundamental change would come through a change in leadership;” and finally to convince the administration that the leadership that should be changed was Saddam Hussein’s.
In other words, in order to “change the face of the Middle East,” America needed to begin by getting rid of Saddam Hussein. After all, “we had to start somewhere.”
What a coincidence. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was exactly what David and Meyrav Wurmser, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith told Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 that Israel needed to in order to secure its realm. So just whose realm were these neocons trying to secure?
Could this group’s ongoing connection to Israeli strategic planning possibly have been missed by Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush brain trust? Highly doubtful.
For example, despite Feith’s checkered background, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hand selected him to head up the Office of Special Plans, essentially a custom-made Pentagon intelligence unit that was necessitated by the Central Intelligence Agency’s refusal to endorse specious Bush administration accusations against Iraq. Feith is suspected of using the unit to inject the retail “evidence”--that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and that Iraq was connected to 9/11--into the U.S government intelligence stream, thus creating plausible public rationales for the war.
Larry Franklin, a committed Christian Zionist in Feith’s unit, has already been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with espionage for his role in allegedly trying to deliver a classified draft of a presidential memo to AIPAC and an Israeli Embassy diplomat. (AIPAC--the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee--is a powerful Israel lobby operated primarily by Jewish nationalists who are U.S. citizens.) The FBI charges have raised the question of whether there was a channel between Feith’s office and Israeli intelligence units using AIPAC as the go-between that provided the false evidence used to manipulate the U.S. into war.
If there was, is it really possible that the Bush brain trust didn’t know about it?
And if Dick Cheney believed that the Jewish wing of the neoconservative movement had pulled a “fast one” on Iraq to secure the Israeli realm based on a game plan laid out in A Clean Break, would he really have retained one of its authors, David Wurmser, as his assistant on Middle Eastern affairs to this day?
No, the entire Bush administration knew exactly what the Israeli-loyalists in their midst were up to--and happily enabled the entire enterprise.
But the Bush administration may not have been the only branch of government that actively betrayed its moral, ethical and fiduciary duty to the American people.
The Congressional Role
That the Bush administration was riddled with fanatical Christian Zionists and Jewish nationalists with an ax to grind against Iraq was an open secret in Washington in the run-up to the Iraq war. In fact, Congress itself is comprised of politicians and aides who are either of the Zionist persuasion or who are willing to look the other way as the Israeli lobby basically dictates most aspects of U.S. Middle East policy because they fear the lobby’s power.
For example, in a letter to journalist Jeff Blankfort after he wrote an essay debunking left-liberal Noam Chomsky’s claims that imperial interests dictate U.S. Middle East policy and Israel is the country being used and manipulated in the relationship, Jim Abourezk, a former U.S. Senator from South Dakota, said his experience in Congress dovetails with Blankfort’s critique of Chomsky’s position.
“I can tell you from personal experience that, at least in the Congress, the support Israel has in that body is based completely on political fear--fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress--at least when I served there--have any affection for Israel or for its Lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel,” wrote Abourezk.
“Thus, I see no desire on the part of Members of Congress to further any U.S. imperial dreams by using Israel as their pit bull. The only exceptions to that rule are the feelings of Jewish members, whom, I believe, are sincere in their efforts to keep U.S. money flowing to Israel. But that minority does not a U.S. imperial policy make.”
But members of Congress may have more affection for the Israeli lobby than even Democrat Abourezk (the first Arab-American to serve in the U.S. Senate) is prepared to admit. In his essay on Chomsky, Jeff Blankfort noted:
“What gives the lobby its strength, besides its significant organizational skills, is that its members are intimately tied to Jewish organizations, federations, and community relations councils across the country, as well as to labor union officials and, in recent years, to the growing Christian evangelical movement, which provides Israel with unprecedented support in what is generally right-wing Republican territory.”
The lobby is intimately tied to both labor union officials and right-wing Christian evangelicals? That means it is intimately tied to key special interests of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
It is likely those very ties (and a desire for the money the lobby routinely spreads around to Washington politicians) were the unspoken reason members from both parties overwhelmingly voted to authorize the Iraq War Resolution on such weak evidence against Iraq.
That assessment seems to be backed by stricken comments made by Virginia Rep. James P. Moran on March 3, 2003, a few days before the beginning of the invasion: "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," Moran told an antiwar forum in Reston, Va.
Of course, most members of Congress would never admit this. Congress clearly realizes that the idea of sending Americans to fight for a country as belligerent as Israel is loathsome to the vast majority Americans, who rate the Jewish state just a notch above Communist China in terms of conduct in areas of international peace and security, according to a recent survey.
Washington knows, as scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt quote Philip Zelikow in their paper on the Israel lobby, that sacrificing American troops and treasure on behalf of Zionism “is not a popular sell.”
“Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim,” write Walt and Mearsheimer. “Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’”
All of this raises the specter that everyone from the Congressional supporters of the war to the president himself have knowingly subordinated the best interests of the American people and U.S. military personnel to their own narrow religious agendas or because they are too cowardly to take on the Christian Zionists or the Israeli lobby with which they are partnering.
The fact that the Israeli lobby may be coercing and intimidating certain members Congress is irrelevant to the central fact of their betrayal and negligence; they are sent to Washington to represent American interests, not Israeli ones. If they don’t have the backbone to speak out against American soldiers being sent off to die in foreign lands for the sake of foreign interests, or worse yet, if they collaborate with those interests to knowingly sacrifice Americans on behalf of a foreign cause, they shouldn’t even be setting foot in the U.S. Congress, let alone “serving.” In fact, a strong case can be made that they should be impeached and tried for treason.
So was it primarily imperial interests, or Israeli interests that got America tangled in Iraq?
The only way Americans will ever know for sure is if there is a federal investigation of both the Bush administration and Congress in which the key players who were responsible for putting us there are hauled before a judge and forced to testify under oath.
In addition to holding the perpetrators of the Iraq quagmire accountable, such an investigation could also be instrumental in helping Americans make a determination on how quickly they should withdraw from Iraqi occupation. After all, if we are indeed fighting a war primarily for Israeli interests instead of American ones, should we really be paralyzed in fear over the supposed cataclysmic consequences of a withdrawal that certain self-serving apocalyptic political voices in Washington and in the media are painting?
Beyond that, such an investigation will help Americans determine whether or not it is really in U.S. interests to go to war with Iran, which seems to be the latest pro-war cause being pushed on Americans (or at least on their “representatives” in Washington) by the energetic and apparently eternally shameless Israeli lobby.
Chris Moore is publisher of LibertarianToday.com