The Iraq War

Peter Myers, November 21, 2007; update November 23, 2007. Bold emphasis added. My comments are shown {thus}; write to me at contact.html.

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(1) Mearsheimer & Walt on the Iraq War - chapter 8 of their book (2) James Petras on the Iraq War - chapters 1 & 2 of his book

(1) Mearsheimer & Walt on the Iraq War - chapter 8 of their book

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2007)


Why did the United States invade Iraq? In The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, George Packer declares that "it still isn't possible to be sure, and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq war." He quotes Richard Haass, the director of policy planning in the State Department during Bush's first term and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, saying that he would "go to his grave not knowing the answer."1

In one sense, their uncertainty is understandable, because the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein even now seems difficult to fathom. He was clearly a brutal tyrant with worrisome ambitions - including desire to obtain WMD - but his own incompetence had put these dangerous objectives out of reach. His army had been routed in the 1991 Gulf War and further weakened by a decade of UN sanctions. As a result, Iraq's military power, never impressive except on paper, was a pushover by 2003. Intrusive UN inspections had eliminated Iraqs nuclear program and eventually led Saddam to destroy his biological and chemical weapons stockpiles as well. There were no convincing links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden (who were in fact hostile to each other), and bin Laden and his associates were in fghanistan or Pakistan, not Iraq. Yet in the aftermath of 9/11, when one vvould have expected the United States to be focusing laserlike on al Qaeda, the Busl administration chose to invade a deteriorating countrv that had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and was already effectively contained. From this perspective, it is a deeply puzzling decision . From another angle, however, the decision is not that hard to understand. The United States was the world's most powerful country, and there

{p. 230} was never any doubt about its ability to oust Saddam if it so chose. The United States had not only won the long Cold War, it had also enjoyed a remarkable run of military successes after 1989: defeating Iraq handily in 1991, halting the Balkan bloodletting in 1995, and beating Serbia in 1999. The rapid ouster of the Taliban in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 reinforced an image of military invincibility and made it harder for skeptics on Iraq to convince others that going to war was unecessary and unwise. Americans were also shocked and alarmed by 9/11, and many of their leaders were convinced that the United States could not allow even remote dangers to grow in an era when terrorists might acquire WMD. Those who favored war believed that toppling Saddam would convince other rogue states that America was simply too powerful to oppose and compel these regimes to conform to U.S. wishes instead. In the period before the war, in short, the United States was simultaneously powerful, confident of its military prowess, and deeply worried about its own security - a dangerous combination.2

These various elements form the strategic context in which the decision ; for war was made and help us understand some of the underlying forces that facilitated that choice. But there was another variable in the equation, and the war would almost certainly not have occurred had it been absent. That element was the Israel lobby, and especially a group of neoconservative policy makers and pundits who had been pushing the United States to attack Iraq since well before 9/11. The prowar faction believed that removing Saddam would improve America's and Israel's strategic position and launch a process of regional transformation that would benefit the United States and Israel alike. Israeli officials and former Israeli leaders supported these efforts, because they were eager to see the United States topple one of their main regional adversaries - and the man who had launched Scud missiles at Israel in 1991.

Pressure from Israel and the lobby was not the only factor behind the Bush administration's decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was a critical element. Many Americans believe that this was a "war for oil" (or for corporations like Halliburton), but there is little direct evidence to support this claim and considerable evidence that casts doubt on it. Other observer blame political advisers such as the Republican strategist Karl Rove and suggest that the war was part of a Machiavellian scheme to keep the country on a war footing and thus ensure a lengthy period of Republican control. This view has a certain partisan appeal, but it too lacks supporting evidence and cannot explain why so many prominent Democrats supported going to war. Another interpretation views the war as the first step in a bold effort to

{p. 231} transform the Middle East by spreading democracy. This view is correct, but as we will see, this remarkably ambitious scheme was inextricably linked to concerns about Israel's security.

In contrast to these alternative explanations, we argue that the war was motivated at least in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. This was a controversial claim before the war started, but it is even more controversial now that Iraq has turned into a strategic disaster. To be clear, the individuals and groups that pushed for war believed it would benefit both Israel and the United States, and they certainly did not anticipate the debacle that ultimately occurred. Regardless, a proper account of the lobby's role in encouraging the war is ultimately a question of evidence, and there is considerable evidence that Israel and pro-Israel groups - especially the neoconservatives - played important roles in the decision to invade.

Before examining the evidence, however, it is worth noting that a number of knowledgeable and well-respected individuals have said openly that the war was linked with Israel's security. Philip Zelikow, a member of the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (2001-03), executive director of the 9/I 1 Commission, and counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005-06), told a University of Virginia audience on September 10, 2002, that Saddam was not a direct threat to the United States. "The real threat," he argued, is "the threat against Israel." He went on to say, "And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat ... And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell."3

General Wesley Clark, the retired NATO commander and former presidential candidate, said in August 2002 that "those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid that at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel."4 In January 2003, a German journalist asked Ruth Wedgwood, a prominent neoconservative academic and a member of the influential Defense Policy Board (chaired by Richard Perle), why the journalist should support the war. I could "be impolite," Wedgwood said, "and remind Germany of its special relationship with Israel. Saddam presents an existential threat to Israel. That Is simply true." Wedgwood did not justify the war by saying that Iraq posed a direct threat to Germany or the United States.5

A few weeks before the United States invaded Iraq, the journalist Joe Klein wrote in Time magazine, "A stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for war with Iraq. It is a part of the argument that dare not

{p. 232} speak its name, a fantasy quietly cherished by the neo-conservative faction in the Bush Administration and by many leaders of the American Jewish community."6 Former Senator Ernest Hollings made a similar argument in May 2004. After noting that Iraq was not a direct threat to the United States, he asked why we invaded that country.7 "The answer," which he said "everyone knows," is "because we want to secure our friend Israel." A number of Jewish groups promptly labeled Hollings an anti-Semite, with the ADL calling his comments "reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government."8 Hollings adamantly rejected the charge, noting that he had long been a staunch supporter of Israel and that he was simply stating the obvious, not making an untruthful claim. He demanded that his critics "apologize to me for talking about anti-Semitism."9

A handful of other public figures - Patrick Buchanan, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Maureen Dowd, Georgie Anne Geyer, Gary Hart, Ghris Matthews, Congressman James P. Moran (D-VA), Robert Novak, Tim Russert, and General Anthony Zinni - either said or strongly hinted that pro-Israel hardliners in the United States were the principal movers behind the Iraq war.10 In Novak's case, he referred to the war well before it happened as "Sharon's war" and continues to do so today. "I am convinced," he said in April 2007, "that Israel made a large contribution to the decision to embark on this war. I know that on the eve of the war, Sharon said, in a closed conversation with, senators, that if they could succeed in getting rid of Saddam Hussein, it would solve Israel's security problems.''11

The connection between Israel and the Iraq war was widely recognized long before the fighting started. When the prospect of an American invasion was beginning to dominate the headlines in the fall of 2002, the journalist Michael Kinsley wrote that "the lack of public discussion about the role of Israel ... is the proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it.12 The reason for this reluctance, he observed, was fear of being labeled an anti-Semite. Two weeks before the war started, Nathan Guttman reported in Ha'aretz that "the voices linking Israel to the war are getting louder and louder. It is claimed the desire to help Israel is the major reason for President George Bush sending American soldiers to a superfluous war in the Gulf. And the voices come from all directions.''13

A few days later, Bill Keller, who is now the executive editor of the New York Times, wrote, "The idea that this war is about Israel is persistent and more widely held than you may think."14 Finally, in May 2005, two years after the war began, Barry Jacobs of the American Jewish Committee acknowl-

{p. 233} edged that the belief that Israel and the neoconservatives were responsible for getting the United States to invade Iraq was "pervasive" in the U.S. intel ligence community.15 Some will surely argue that anyone who suggests that concerns about Israels security had a significant influence on the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq is either an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew. Such charges are both predictable and false. As we will now show, there is abundant evidence that Israel and the lobby played crucial roles in making that war happen. This is not to assert that either Israel or the lobby "controls" U.S. foreign policy; it is simply to say that they successfully pressed for a particular set of policies and were able, in a particular context, to achieve their objective. Had the circumstances been different, they would not have been able to get the United States to go to war. But without their efforts, America would probably not be in Iraq today.


Israel has always considered Iraq an enemy, but it became especially concerned about Iraq in the mid-1970s, when France agreed to provide Saddam with a nuclear reactor. For good reason, Israel worried that Iraq might use the reactor as a stepping-stone to building nuclear weapons. Responding to the threat, in 1981, the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor before it became operational.16 Despite this setback, Iraq continued working on its nuclear program in dispersed and secret locations. This situation helps explain IsraelÕs enthusiastic support for the first Gulf War in 1991; its main concern was not to push Iraqi troops out of Kuwait but to topple Saddam and especially to make sure that Iraq's nuclear program was dismantled.17 AIthough the United States did not remove Saddam from power, the UN inspections regime imposed on Baghdad after the war reduced - but did not eliminate - Israel's concerns In fact, Ha'aretz reported on February 26, 2001, that "Sharon believes that Iraq poses more of a threat to regional stability than Iran, due to the errant, irresponsible behavior of Saddam Hussein's regime.''18

Sharon's comments notwithstanding, by early 2002, when it was becoming increasingly apparent that the Bush administration was thinking seriously about another war against Iraq, some Israeli leaders told U.S. officials that they thought .ran was a greater threat.19 They were not opposed to topppling Saddam, however, and Israel's leaders, who are rarely reticent when it conles to giving their American counterparts advice, never tried to convince

{p. 234} the Bush administration not to go to war against Iraq. Nor did the Israeli government ever try to mobilize its supporters in the United States to lobby against the invasion. On the contrary, Israeli leaders were worried only that the United States might lose sight of the Iranian threat in its pursuit of Saddam. Once they realized that the Bush administration was countenancing a bolder scheme, one that called for winning quickly in Iraq and then dealing with Iran and Syria, they began to push vigorously for an American invasion.

In short, Israel did not initiate the campaign for war against Iraq. As will become clear, it was the neoconservatives in the United States who conceived that idea and were principally responsible for pushing it forward in the wake of September 11. But Israel did join forces with the neoconservatives to help sell the war to the Bush administration and the American people, well before the president had made the final decision to invade. Indeed, Israeli leaders worried constantly in the months before the war that President Bush might decide not to go to war after all, and they did what they could to ensure Bush did not get cold feet.

The Israelis began their efforts ih the spring of 2002, a few months before the Bush administration launched its own campaign to sell the Iraq war to the American public. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington in mid-April and met with U.S. senators and the editors of the Washington Post, among others, to warn them that Saddam was developing nuclear weapons that could be delivered against the American homeland in suitcases or satchels.20 A few weeks later, Ra'anan Gissen, Sharon's spokesman, told a Cleveland reporter that "if Saddam Hussein is . not stopped now, five years from now, six years from now, we will have to deal with an Iraq that is armed with nuclear weapons, with an Traq that has delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction.''21

In mid-May, Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister now serving, as foreign minister, appeared on CNN, where he said that "Saddam Hussein is as dangerous as bin Laden," and the United States "cannot sit and wait" while he builds a nuclear arsenal. Instead, Peres insisted, it was time to topple the Iraqi leader.22 A month later, Ehud Barak, another former Israeli prime minister, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post recommending that the Bush administration "should, first of all, focus on Iraq and the removal of Saddam I lussein. Once he is gone there will be a different Arab world."23

On August 12, 2002, Sharon told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset that Iraq "is the greatest danger facing Israel."24 Then, on August 16, ten days before Vice President Cheney kicked off the cam-

{p. 235} paign for war with a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Nashville Tennessee, several newspapers and television and radio networks (including Haaretz, the Washington Post, CNN, and CBS News) reported that Israel was urging the United States not to delay an attack on Iraq. Sharon told the Bush administration that postponing the operation "will not create a more convenient environment for action in the future." Putting off an attack, RaÕanan Gissen said, would "only give him (Saddam) more of an Opportunity to accelerate his program of weapons of mass destruction." Foreign Minister Peres told CNN that "the problem today is not if, but when." Postponing an attack would be a grave mistake, he said, because Saddam would be better armed down the road. Deputy Defense Minister Weizman Shiry offered a similar view, warning, "If the Americans do not do this now, it will be harder to do it in the future. In a year or two, Saddam Hussein will be further along in developing weapons of mass destruction." Perhaps CBS best captured what was going on in the headline for its story: "Israel to US: Don't Delay Iraq Attack."25

Peres and Sharon both made sure to emphasize that they "did not want to be seen as urging the United States to act and that America should act according to its own judgment."26 Israeli leaders - and many of their supporters in the United States - were well aware that some American commentators, most notably Patrick Buchanan, had argued that the driving force behind the 1991 Gulf War was "the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States."27 Denying any responsibility made good political sense, but there is no question - based on their own public comments - that by August 2002 Israel's leaders saw Saddam as a threat to the Jewish state and were encouraging the Bush administration to launch a war to remove him from power.

News stories around the same time also reported that "Israeli intelligence officials have gathered evidence that Iraq is speeding up efforts to produce biological and chemical weapons."28 Peres told CNN that "we think and know that he [Saddam] is on his way to acquiring a nuclear option."29 Ha'aretz reported that Saddam had given an "order ... to Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission last week to speed up its work."30 Israel was feeding these alarming reports about Iraq's WMD programs to Washington at a time When by Sharon's own reckoning, "strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. has reached unprecedented dimensions.''31 Following the invasion and the revelation that there were no WMD in Iraq, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Israeli Knesset released separate reports revealing that much of the intelligence Israel gave to the Bush administration was

{p. 236} false. As one retired Israeli general put it, "Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq's non-conventional capabilities."32

Of course, Israel is hardly the first state to push another country to take a costly or risky action on its behalf. States facing external dangers often try to pass the buck to others, and the United States has a rich tradition of similar behavior itself.33 It backed Saddam Hussein in the 1980s in order to help contain the threat from revolutionary Iran, and it armed and backed the Afghan mujahideen following the Soviet invasion of that country in 1979. The United States did not send its own troops to fight these wars; it merely , did what it could to help others - who had their own reasons for fighting - to do the heavy lifting. .

Given their understandable desire to have the United States eliminate a regional rival, it is not surprising that Israeli leaders were distressed when President Bush decided to seek UN Security Council authorization for war in September 2002, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back into Iraq. These developments troubled Israel's leaders be cause they seemed to reduce the likelihood of war. Foreign Minister Peres told reporters, "The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must. Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors."34 On a visit to Moscow in late . September, Sharon made it clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was leading the charge for new inspections, that it was too late for them to be effective.35 Peres became so frustrated with the UN process in the following months that in mid-February 2003 he lashed out at France by questioning its status as a permanent member of the Security Council.36

Israel's adamant opposition to inspections put it in a lonely and awkward position, as Marc Perelman made clear in an article in the Forward in mid- September 2002: "Saddam Hussein's surprise acceptance of 'unconditional' United Nations weapons inspections put Israel on the hot seat this week, forcing it into the open as the only nation actively supporting the Bush administration's goal of Iraqi regime change."37

Pressing ahead in the face of UN diplomacy, Israelis portrayed Saddam in the dircst terms, often comparing him to Adolf Hitler. If the West did not stand llp to Iraq, they claimed, it would be making the same mistake it made with Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Shlomo Avineri, a prominent Israeli scholar, wrote in the LosAngeles Times that "all who condemn the 1930s appeasement of Germany should reflect long and hard on whether a failure to act today against Iraq will one day be viewed the same way."38 The implica-

{p. 237} tion was unmistakable: anyone who opposed invading Iraq - or, as we have seen pushed Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians - was an appeaser, just like Neville Chamberlain, and bound to be regarded as such by future generatiOns. The Jerusalem Post was especially hawkish, frequently running editorials and op-eds favoring the war and rarely running pieces arguing against it.39 Indeed, it went so far as to editorialize that "ousting Saddam is the linchpin of the war on terrorism, without which it is impossible to begin in earnest, let alone win."40

Other Israeli public figures echoed Peres and Sharon's advocacy for war instead of diplomatic wrangling. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed in early September 2002 claiming that "Saddam Hussein's nuclear-weapons program provides the urgent need for his removal." He went on to warn that "the greatest risk now lies in inaction.''41 His predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece a few weeks later in the Wall StreetJournal titled "The Case for Toppling Saddam." Netanyahu declared, "Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do," adding that "I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam's regime," which he claimed was "feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons."42

Netanyahu's influence, of course, extended well beyond writing op-eds and appearing on television. Having gone to high school, college, and graduate school in the United States, he speaks fluent English and is not only familiar with how the American political system works but operates skillfully in it. He has close ties with neoconservatives inside and outside of the Bush administration, and he has extensive contacts on Capitol Hill, where he has either spoken or testified on numerous occasions.43 Barak is also well connected with American policy makers, politicians, security experts, and pundits.

The Israeli government's war fervor did not diminish in the months before the fighting started. Ha'aretz, for example, ran a story on February 17, 2003, titled "Enthusiastic IDF Awaits War in Iraq," which said that Israel's "military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq." Ten days later James Bennet wrote a story in the New York Times with the headline "Israel Says War on Iraq Would Benefit the Region." The Forward published a piece on March 7, 2003, titled "Jerusalem Frets as U.S. Battles Iraq War Delays," which made it clear that Israel's leaders were hoping for war sooner rather than later.44

Given all this activity, it is unsurprising that Bill Clinton recounted in 2006 that "every Israeli politician I knew" believed that Saddam Hussein was so great a threat that he should be removed even if he did not have MD.45 Nor was the desire for war confined to Israel's leaders. Apart from

{p. 238} Kuwait, which Saddam conquered in 1990, Israel was the only country outside of the United States where a majority of politicians and the public enthusiastically favored war. A poll taken in early 2002 found that 58 percen

of Israeli Jews believed that "Israel should encourage the United States to attack Iraq."46 Another poll taken a year later in February 2003 found that 77.5 percent of Israeli Jews wanted the United States to invade Iraq.47 Even in Tony Blair's Britain, a poll taken just before the war revealed that 51 percent of the respondents opposed it, while only 39 percent supported it.48

This rather unusual situation prompted Gideon Levy of Ha aretz to ask, "Why is it that in England 50,000 people have demonstrated against the war in Iraq, whereas in Israel no one has? Why is it that in Israel there is no public debate about whether the war is necessary?" He went on to say, Israel is the only country in the West whose leaders support the war unreservedlys and where no alternative opinion is voiced."49

Israel's enthusiasm for war eventually led some of its allies in America to tell Israeli officials to damp down their hawkish rhetoric, lest the war loo like it was being fought for Israel.50 In the fall of 2002, for example, a group of American political consultants known as the Israel Project circulated a six-page memorandum to key Israelis and pro-Israel leaders in the United States. The memo was titled "Talking about Iraq" and was intended as a guide for public statements about the war. "If your goal is regime change, you must be much more careful with your language because of the potential backlash. You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.''51

Reflecting that same concern on the eve of the war, Sharon, according ta several reports, told Israeli diplomats and politicians to keep quiet about a possible war in Iraq and certainly not to say anything that made it appear that Israel was pushing the Bush administration to topple Saddam. The Israeli leader was worried by the growing perception that Israel was advocating a U.S. invasion of Iraq. In fact, Israel was; it just did not want its position to be widely known.52


The driving force behind the Iraq war was a small band of neoconservatives who had long favored the energetic use of American power to reshape criti- cal areas of the world. They had advocated toppling Saddam since the mid- 1990s and believed this step would benefit the United States and Israel

{p. 239} alike.53 This group included prominent officials in the Bush administration such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the number two and three civilians in the Pentagon; Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, and James Woolsey, members of the influential Defense Policy Board; Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff; John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, and his special assistant, David Wurmser; and Elliott Abrams, who is in charge of Middle East policy at the National Security Council. It also included a handful of well-known journalists like Robert Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and William Safire.

The appointment of a number of neoconservatives to top policy positions was seen by Israelis and their American allies as a very positive development. When Wolfowitz was selected to be deputy defense secretary in January 2001, the Jerusalem Post reported that "the Jewish and pro-Israel communities are jumping with joy."54 In the spring of 2002, the Forward pointed out that Wolfowitz is "known as the most hawkishly pro-Israel voice in the Administration," and it selected him later in 2002 as the first among fifty notables who "have consciously pursued Jewish activism."55 At about the same time, JINSA gave him its Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award for promoting a strong partnership between Israel and the United States, and theJerusalem Post, describing Wolfowitz as "devoutly pro-Israel," named him its "Man of the Year" in 2003.56

Feith's role in shaping the case for war should also be understood in the context of his long-standing commitment to Israel and his prior association with hard-line groups there. Feith has close ties with key organizations in the lobby like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the Zionist Organization of America. He wrote articles in the 1990s supporting the settlements and arguing that Israel should retain the Occupied Territories 57 More important, as we noted in Chapter 4, Feith was a coauthor, along with Perle and Wurmser, of the famous "Clean Break" report in June 1996.58 Written under the auspices of a right-wing Israeli think tank for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the report recommended, among other things, that Netanyahu "focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its on right." It also called for Israel to take steps to reorder the entire Middle East Netanyahu did not implement their advice, but Feith, Perle, and Wurmser were soon advocating that the Bush administration pursue those same goals. This situation prompted the Ha'aretz columnist Akiva Eldar to warn that Feith and Perle "are walking a fine line between their loyalty to merican governments ... and Israeli interests."59 As George Packer notes

{p. 240} in The Assassins' Gate, "For Feith and Wurmser, the security of Israel was probably the prime mover" behind their support for the war.60

John Bolton and Scooter Libby were staunch supporters of Israel as well. As America's ambassador to the UN, Bolton consistently and enthusiastically defended Israel's interests. So much so, in fact, that in May 2006, the Israeli ambassador to the UN jokingly described Bolton as "a secret member of Israel's own team at the United Nations." He went on to say that "the secret is out. We really are not just five diplomats. We are at least six including John Bolton.''6l When Bolton's controversial reappointment to that position became an issue later in 2006, pro-Israel groups weighed in on Bolton's side.62 Regarding Libby, the Forward reported when he left the White House in the fall of 2005 that "Israeli officials liked Libby. They described him as an important contact who was accessible, genuinely interested in Israel- related issues and very sympathetic to their cause."63

Neoconservatives outside the Bush administration are every bit as devoted to Israel as are their compatriots in the government. Consider the comments that the columnist Charles Krauthammer made in Jerusalem on June 10, 2002, after receiving the Guardian of Zion Award from Bar-Ilan University.64 The theme of his talk was characterizing Israel's participation in the Oslo peace process as an example of misguided Jewish messianism. In his remarks, Krauthammer explicitly identified himself with Israel - indeed, as Israeli. At one point he observed that "thirty-five years ago today the Six-Day war ended. It seemed like a new era ... Jerusalem had been renited, the Temple Mount was ours, Israel." He went on to say, "My thesis tonight is that many of our troubles today, as a people and as a Jewish state, are rooted precisely in this new Messianic enthusiasm." Krauthammer, like virtually all other neoconservative pundits, was a relentless advocate for war right up until the invasion.

Although many of the prominent neoconservatives were Jewish Americans with strong attachments to Israel, some of the leading members of the pro-War party were not. In addition to John Bolton, the signatories of the open letters to Presidents Bush and Clinton sponsored by the Project for the New American Century included gentiles such as former CIA director James Woolsey and former Secretary of Education William Bennett. Woolsey was particularly obsessed with proving that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, and he devoted considerable effort trying to confirm an early report that Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, had met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague. The story was implalsible and is widely believed to be false, but Woolsey and Vice President Dick Cheney both invoked it to bolster the case for war.65

{p. 241} The neoconservatives were not the only part of the lobby pushing for war with Iraq. Key leaders of the major pro-Israel organizations lent their voices to the campaign for war. Of course, many of the neoconservatives themselves had close ties to these organizations. In mid-September 2002, when the selling of the war was just getting under way, Michelle Goldberg wrote in Salon that "mainstream Jewish groups and leaders are now among the strongest supporters of an American invasion of Baghdad."66 This same point was made in a Foru-ard editorial written well after the fall of Baghdad: "As President Bush attempted to sell the ... war in Iraq, America's most important Jewish organizations rallied as one to his defense. In statement after statement community leaders stressed the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. Some groups went even further, arguing that the removal of the Iraqi leader would represent a significant step toward bringing peace to the Middle East and winning America's war on terrorism." The editorial goes on to say that "concern for Israel's safety rightfully factored into the deliberations of the main Jewish groups."67

Although there was hardly any opposition to the war among the major Jewish organizations, there was disagreement about how vocal they should be in backing it. The main concern was the fear that too open support for an invasion would make it look like the war was being fought for Israel's sake.68 Nonetheless, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Conference of Presidents of MajorAmerican Jewish Organizations voted to support the use of force against Iraq ("as a.last resort") in the fall of 2002, and some prominent figures in the lobby went further.69 Among the most outspoken propo- nents of the invasion was Mortimer Zuckerman, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents, who made frequent public statements promoting the war. In late August 2002, he wrote in U.S. News World Report, where he is editor in chief, "Those who predict dire results if we try to unseat Saddam simply refuse to understand - as President Bush manifestly does - that if we opt to live with a nightmare, it will only get worse. Much worse. The best medicine here, in other words, is preventive medicine."70

Jack Rosen, the president of the American Jewish Congress, and Rabbi David Saperstein, the head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, were also enthusiastic war hawks. Saperstein, who is known for his liberal political views and whom the Washington Post called "the quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill," said in September 2002 that "the Jewish Community would want to see a forceful resolution to the threat that Saddam Hussein poses."71 Jewish Week, an influential newspaper in the greater New York area, backed the war as well. Gary Rosenblatt, its editor and pub-

{p. 242} lisher, wrote an editorial in mid-December 2002 in which he emphasized that "Washington's imminent war on Saddam Hussein is not only an opportunity to rid the world of a dangerous tyrant who presents a particularly horrific threat to Israel." He went on to say that "when a despot announces his evil intentions, believe him. That's one of the lessons we should have learned from Hitler and the Holocaust. What's more, the Torah instructs that when your enemy seeks to kill you, kill him first. Self-defense is not permitted; it is commanded."72 Organizations like AIPAC and the ADL also supported the war, but they did so with minimum fanfare.

Now that the war has turned into a disaster, supporters of Israel sometimes argue that AIPAC, which is the most visible group in the lobby, did not g back the invasion.73 But this claim fails the common sense test, as AIPAC usually supports what Israel wants, and Israel certainly wanted the United : States to invade Iraq. Nathan Guttman made this very connection in his reporting on AIPAC's annual conference in the spring of 2003, shortly after the war started: "AIPAC is wont to support whatever is good for Israel, and so long as Israel supports the war, so too do the thousands of AIPAC lobbyists who convened in the American capital."74 AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr's statement to the New York Sun in January 2003 is even more revealing, as he acknowledged that "'quietly' lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq" was one of "AIPAC's successes over the past year."75 And in a lengthy New Yorker profile of Steven J. Rosen, who was AIPAC's . policy director during the run-up to the Iraq war, Jeffrey Goldberg reported that "AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraq war."76 ?

AIPAC has remained a firm supporter of the U.S. presence in Iraq. In the fall of 2003, when the Bush administration was having difficulty convincing Senate Democrats to allocate more money for the war, Senate Republicans asked AIPAC to lobby their Democratic colleagues to support the funding request. AIPAC representatives talked to some Democratic senators and the money was approved.77 When Bush gave a speech at AIPAC in May 2004 in which he defended his Iraq policy, he received twen.ty-three standing ovations.78 At AIPAC's 2007 conference, by which time American public opinion on the war had soured, Vice President Cheney made the case for staying the . course in Iraq. According to David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post, he received "considerable applause."79 And John Boehner, the House minority leader, received a standing ovation when he said, "Who does not believe that failure in Iraq is not a direct threat to the state of Israel? The consequences of failure in Iraq are so ominous for the United States that you can't even begin to think

{p. 243} about it." By contrast, when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi criticized the Bush administration's "surge" strategy, many in the audience booed.80

AIPAC is not the only major group in the lobby to stick with Bush on Iraq, or at least not come out against the war. As the Forward reported in March 2007, "Most Jewish organizations have refused to speak out against the war, and at times they displayed support for the administration."81 This behavior is especially striking given the attitudes of most American Jews toward the war itself. According to a 2007 Gallup Organization study based on the results of thirteen polls taken since 2005, American Jews are significantly more opposed to the Iraq war (77 percent) than the general American public (52 percent).82 With respect to Iraq, the larger and wealthier pro-Israel organizations are clearly out of step with the broader population of American Jews. A few Jewish organizations, such as the Tikkun Community and Jewish Voice for Peace, opposed the war before it started and continue to do so today. But as noted in Chapter 4, these groups are neither as well funded nor as influential as organizations like AIPAC.

This gap between the political positions taken by key groups in the lobby and the public attitudes of American Jews underscores an essential point that deserves special emphasis. Although prominent Israeli leaders, the neoconservatives, and many of the lobby's leaders were eager for the United States to invade Iraq, the broader American Jewish community was not.83 In fact, Samuel Freedman, a journalism professor at Columbia University, reported just after the war started that "a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52% to 62%."84 It would therefore be a cardinal error to attribute the war in Iraq to "Jewish influence," or to "blame the Jews" for the war. Rather, the war was due in large part to the lohys influence, and especially its neoconservative wing. And the lobby, as we have emphasized before, is not always representative of the larger community for which it often claims to speak.


The neoconservatives began their campaign to use military force to topple Saddam well before Bush became president. They caused a stir in early 1998 by organizjng two letters to President Clinton calling for Saddam's removal from power. The first letter (January 26, 1998) was written under the

{p. 244} auspices of the Project for the New American Century and was signed by Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, among others. The second letter (February 19, 1998) was written under the auspices of the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, the organization set up in 1990 by Perle, Ann Lewis (the former political director of the Democratic National Committee), and former Congressman Stephen J. Solarz (D-NY), to lobby for the first Gulf War. It was signed by the individuals mentioned above who signed the first letter as well as Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, Bernard Lewis, Martin Peretz, and David Wurmser, just to name a few.85

ln addition to these two high-profile letters, the neoconservatives and their allies in the lobby worked assiduously in 1998 to get Congress to pass the Iraq Liberation Act, which mandated that "it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." The neoconservatives were especially enthusiastic about this legislation not only because it sanctioned regime change in Iraq, but also because it provided $97 million to fund groups committed to overthrowing Saddam.86 The main group they had in mind was the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which was headed by their close associate, Ahmed Chalabi. Perle, Wolfowitz, and Woolsey all lobbied hard on behalf of the legislation, as did JINSA.87 The act passed in the House by a vote of 360-38 and by unanimous consent in the Senate. President Clinton then signed it on October 31, 1998.

Clinton had little use for the Iraq Liberation Act, but he could not afford to veto it because he was facing midterm elections and impeachment.88 Both he and his key advisers held Chalabi in low regard, and they did little to implement the law. In fact, by the time Clinton left office, he had spent hardly any of the allotted money for opposition groups like the INC. The president did pay lip service to the goal of ousting Saddam but did little to make it happen, and he was certainly not considering using the U.S. military to drive the Iraqi dictator from power.89 In short, the neoconservatives were unable to sell the idea of war against Iraq during the Clinton years, although they did succeed in making regime change in Baghdad an official goal of the U.S. government.

Nor were they able to generate much enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early months of the Bush administration, even though a number of prominent neoconservatives held important positions in the new government and had lost none of their enthusiasm for the enterprise. Richard Perle later said that

{p. 245} the advocates for toppling Saddam were losing the arguments inside the administration during this early period.90 In fact, in March 2001, the New York Times reported that "some Republicans" were complaining that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz "are failing to live up to their pre-election advocacy of stepping up efforts to overthrow President Hussein." At the same time, the Washington Times ran an editorial titled "Have Hawks Become Doves?" The text of that editorial was the January 26, 1998, PNAC letter to President Clinton.91

Given the publicity and the controversy surrounding two books published in 2004 - Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies and Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty - one might think Bush and Cheney were bent on invading Iraq from the moment they assumed office in late January 2001.92 This interpretation, however, is wrong. They were certainly interested in toppling Saddam, but there is no evidence in the public record showing that Bush and Cheney were seriously contemplating war against Iraq before 9/11. Bush did not advocate using force against Saddam during the 2000 campaign, and he made it clear to Bob Woodward that he was not thinking about going to war against Saddam before 9/11.93 Interestingly, his main foreign policy adviser in the campaign, Condoleezza Rice, wrote a prominent article in Foreign Affairs in early 2000 saying that the United States could live with a nuclear-armed Iraq. Rice declared that Saddam's "conventional military power" had been "severely weakened" and said "there need be no sense of panic" about his regime.94

Vice President Cheney maintained throughout the 1990s that conquer- ing Iraq would be a major strategic blunder and he did not sign either of the letters calling for military action against Saddam that the neoconservatives sent to President Clinton in early 1998.95 In the closing stages of the 2000 campaign, he defended the 1991 decision not to go to Baghdad - in which he played a major role as secretary of defense - and said that "we want to maintain our current posture vis-a-vis Iraq."96 There is no evidence to suggest that either his thinking or that of the president had changed significantly by early 2001.97 Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who had signed both of the 1998 letters to President Clinton, appears to have been the only toptier Bush administration official who may have favored war with Iraq upon taking office. None of the other groups that are sometimes blamed for the war - such as oil companies, weapons manufacturers, Christian Zionists, or defense contractors like Kellogg Brown & Root - were making noise about invading Iraq at this time. In the beginning, the neoconservatives were largely alone.

Yet as important as the neoconservatives were as the chief architects of

{p. 246} the war, they had been unable to persuade either Clinton or Bush to support an invasion. They needed help to achieve their aim, and that help arrived on 9/11. Specifically, the events of that tragic day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war to topple Saddam. Robert Kagan put the point well in an interview with George Packer: "September 11 is the turning point. Not anything else. This is not what Bush was on September 10." The neoconservatives - most notably Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and the Princeton historian Bernard Lewis played a critical role in persuading the president and vice president to favor war. For them, 9/11 was the new context to sell their old view of American foreign policy. Possibly their greatest advantage was that they had, in Kagan's words, "a ready-made approach to the world" at a time when both the president and the vice president were trying to make sense of an unprecedented disaster that seemed to call for radically new ways of thinking about international politics.98

Wolfowitz's behavior is especially revealing. At a key meeting with Bush at Camp David on September 15, 2001, Wolfowitz advocated attacking Iraq before Afghanistan, even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the United States and bin Laden was known to be in Afghanistan.99 Wolfowitz was so insistent on conquering Iraq that five days later Cheney had to tell him to "stop agitating for targeting Saddam.''100 According to one Republican lawmaker, he "was like a parrot bringing [Iraq] up all the time. It was getting on the President's nerves.''101 Bush rejected Wolfowitz's advice and chose to go after Afghanistan instead, but war with Iraq was now regarded as a serious possibility and the president tasked U.S. military planners on November 2 1, 2001, with developing concrete plans for an invasion.102

Other neoconservatives were also hard at work within the corridors of power. Although we do not have the full story yet, there is considerable evidence that scholars like Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University played an important role in convincing Vice President Cheney to favor war against Iraq.l03 Indeed, Jacob Weisberg, the editor of Slate, describes Lcwis as "perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq.104 Cheney's views were also heavily influenced by neoconservatives on his staff like Eric Edelman and John llannah. But surely the most important influence on the vice president was his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, who was one of the most powerful individuals in the ad- ministration and whose views on Iraq were similar to those of his close friend and longtime mentor, Paul Wolfowitz.105 Shortly after 9/11, the New

{p. 247} York Times reported that "some senior administration of ficials, led by Paul D. Wolfowitz ... and I. Lewis Libby ... are pressing for the earliest and broadest military campaign against not only the Osama bin Laden network in Afghanistan, but also against other suspected terrorist bases in Iraq and in Lebanon's Bekka region.106 Of course, the vice president's position helped convince President Bush by early 2002 that the United States would probably have to take Saddam out.107

Two other considerations show how profoundly important the neoconservatives inside the administration were for making the Iraq war happen. First, it is no exaggeration to say that they were not just determined; they were obsessed with removing Saddam from power. As one senior administration figure put it in January 2003, "I do believe certain people have grown theological about this. It's almost a religion - that it will be the end of our society if we don't take action now." A Washington Post journalist described Colin Powell returning from White House meetings during the run-up to the Iraq war, "rolling his eyes" and saying, "Jeez, what a fixation about Iraq. Bob Woodward reports that Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Defense Policy Board, "said he had worried to death as time went on and support seemed to wane that there would be no war.''108

Second, there was little enthusiasm for going to war against Iraq inside the State Department, the intelligence community, or the uniformed military. Although Secretary of State Powell ultimately supported the president's decision for war, he believed that it was a bad idea. The rank and file in his department shared his skepticism. There were two key outliers in the State Department, however - John Bolton and David Wurmser, both prominent neoconservatives who had close ties to the White House. George Tenet, the head of the CIA, also supported the White House on Iraq, but he was not a forceful advocate for war. Indeed, few individuals within the intelligence community found the case for war convincing, which is why, as discussed below, the neoconservatives established their own intelligence units. The military, especially the army, was filled with Iraq skeptics. General Eric Shinseki, the army chief of staff, was severely criticized by Wolfowitz (who dismissed Shinseki's estimate of the necessary troop levels required for the occupation as "wildly off the mark") and later Rumsfeld for expressing doubts about the war plan. 109 The war hawks within the administration were mainly high-level civilians in the White House and the Pentagon, almost all of whom were neoconservatives.

They lost no time making the case that invading Iraq was essential to winning the war on terrorism. Their efforts were partly aimed at keeping pressure

{p. 248} on Bush and partly intended to overcome opposition to the war inside and outside of the government. On September 13, 2001, JINSA put out a press release titled "This Goes Beyond Bin Laden," which maintained that "a long investigation to prove Osama Bin Laden's guilt with prosecutorial certainty is entirely unnecessary. He is guilty in word and deed. His history is the source of his culpability. The same holds true for Saddam Hussein. Our actions in the past certainly were not forceful enough, and now we must seize the opportunity to alter this pattern of passivity.110 One week later, on September 20, a group of prominent neoconservatives and their allies published an open letter to Bush, telling him that "even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the [9/11] attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.111 The letter also reminded Bush that "Israel has been and remains America's staunchest ally against international terrorism."

Little more than a week later, on September 28, Charles Krauthammer argued in the Washington Post that after we were done with Afghanistan, Syria should be next, followed by Iran and Iraq. "The war on terrorism," he argued, "will conclude in Baghdad," when we finish off "the most dangerous terrorist regime in the world." Shortly thereafter, in the October 1 issue of the Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol called for regime change in Iraq immediately after the Taliban was defeated.112 Other pundits, like Michael Barone in U.S. News World Report, were arguing even before the dust had settled at the World Trade Center that "evidence is accumulating that Iraq aided or perhaps planned the attack.''113

Over the next eighteen months, the neoconservatives waged an unrelenting public relations campaign to win support for invading Iraq. On April 3, 2002, they released yet another open letter to Bush, which clearly linked Israel's security with a war to topple Saddam.114 The letter starts by commending the president for his "strong stance in support of the Israeli govern ment as it engages in the present campaign to fight terrorism." It then argues that "the United States and Israel share a common enemy" and are "fighting the same war." It urges Bush "to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power," because otherwise "the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors." The letter concludes with the following message: "Israel's fight against terrorism is our fight. Israel's victory is an important part of our victory. For reasons both moral and strategic, we need to stand with Israel in its fight against terrorism."

The basic aim of the letter was to portray Arafat, bin Laden, and Saddam

{p. 249} as critical parts of a looming menace that threatened both Israel and the United States. Not only did this depiction of a shared and growing danger justify close relations between America and Israel, it also justified the United States treating these three individuals as mortal enemies and backing Israel's hard-line response to the Second Intifada. As noted in the previ ous chapter, relations between the Bush administration and the Sharon government were especially contentious in early April 2002, when the letter was written. The signatories included Kenneth Adelman, William Bennett, Linda Chavez, Eliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Frank Gaffney, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Joshua Muravchik, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz, and James Woolsey, among others.

Other pro-Israel pundits, who are not normally thought of as neoconservatives, offered a steady drumbeat of prowar advocacy as well. The case for war got a major boost with the publication in 2002 of Kenneth Pollack's ominously titled The Threatening Storm, which argued that Saddam was too risk acceptant and irrational to be deterred and concluded that preventive war was the only realistic option. Because Pollack was a former Clinton administration official who had previously called ousting Saddam the "rollback fantasy," his conversion to a prowar position seemed especially telling despite the book's tendentious treatment of evidence.115 Pollack moved from the Council on Foreign Relations to Brookings's Saban Center for Middle East Policy during this period, where he and Saban Center director Martin Indyk produced a number of op-eds and commentary in the months before the war, warning that Saddam was undeterrable, that UN inspections were no solution, and that however regrettable, force would almost certainly be necessary.116

The neoconservatives and their allies deployed the same arguments and almost the same language that the Israelis used to promote the war. The neoconservatives made frequent reference to the 1930s and Munich, comparing Saddam with Hitler and opponents of the war (like Brent Scowcroft and Senator Chuck Hagel) with appeasers like Neville Chamberlain.117 Israel and the United States, they maintained, were facing a nebulous common enemy, "international terrorism," and Iraq, to quote the New York Times columnist William Safire, was "the center of world terror.''118 The war hawks portrayed Saddam as an especially aggressive and reckless leader who would not only use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and Is rael but would also pass them on to terrorists.119 Identifying diplomacy and multilateralism with weakness, neoconservative commentators had nothing but contempt for the UN and its inspectors in Iraq, not to mention

{p. 250} France.120 Indeed, they repeated the old Israeli adage that force has great utility in the Middle East, because it is a region where, to quote Krauthammer, "power, above all, commands respect.121

One might argue that this analysis exaggerates the impact that open letters to presidents, newspaper columns, books, and op-eds can have on the policy-making process. After all, relatively few people actually read the various open letters and there were plenty of other articles, editorials, and op-eds written in U.S. newspapers that had nothing to do with Iraq. This perspective would be wrong, however. The signatories of the various letters written to Presidents Bush and Clinton are powerful individuals who have connections and influence with important policy makers and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, some of whom they had worked closely with in the course of their careers. In fact, a number of the individuals who signed the earlier letters to Clinton - including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith - became key policy makers in the Bush administration. Thus, the signatories of the letters written to Bush in the period between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq were not shouting into a void. The same was true for journalists like Charles Krauthammer and William Safire, who wrote frequently about Iraq for two of the country's leading newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, respectively. Their views were taken seriously by influential people inside and outside of the U.S. government, as were the articles that appeared in neoconservative magazines like the Weekly Standard. Indeed, these writings by outsiders worked to reinforce the arguments made by Bush administration insiders, who shared their views on the need to invade Iraq. The underlying purpose of all these efforts was to define the terms of debate in a way that would facilitate an affirmative decision for war. By making war seem both necessary and beneficial, by portraying potential opponents as "soft" on terror, and by linking America's fate to Israel's through the repetition of familiar moral and strategic arguments, these efforts helped stifle serious discussion about the pros and cons of an invasion and were an important part of the broader campaign for war.122


A key part of the public relations campaign to win support for invading Iraq was the manipulation of intelligence information in order to make Saddam look like an imminent threat. Scooter Libby was an important player in this endeavor, visiting the CIA several times to pressure analysts to find evidence

{p. 251} that would make the case for war. He also helped prepare a detailed briefing on the Iraq threat in early 2003 that was pushed on Colin Powell, who was then preparing his infamous presentation to the UN Security Council.123 According to Bob Woodward, Powell's deputy, Richard Armitage, "was appalled at what he considered overreaching and hyperbole. Libby was drawing only the worst conclusions from fragments and silky threads.124 AIthough Powell discarded Libby's most outlandish claims, his UN representation was still riddled with errors, as Powell now acknowledges.125

The effort to manipulate intelligence, which was then leaked to an alarmist prowar press, also involved two organizations that were created after 9/11 and reported directly to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.126 The Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group was tasked to find links between al Qaeda and Iraq that the intelligence community supposedly missed. Its two key members were David Wurmser and Michael Maloof, a Lebanese American who had close ties with Richard Perle. The New York Times reporter James Risen writes that "Israeli intelligence played a hidden role in convincing Wolfowitz that he couldn't trust the CIA," and this dissatisfaction helped cause him to rely on Ahmed Chalabi for intelligence and to create the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group.127

The Office of Special Plans (OSP) was directed to find evidence that could be used to sell the war against Iraq. It was headed byAbram Shulsky, a neoconservative long associated with Wolfowitz, and its ranks included several recruits from pro-Israel think tanks like Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute, David Schenker from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Michael Makovsky, who had worked for then Prime Minister Shimon Peres after graduating from college.128 OSP relied heavily on information from Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles and it had close connections to various Israeli sources. Indeed, the Guardian reported that it "forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon's office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam's Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorize.129 The Pentagon's inspector general released a report in February 2007 that was critical of OSP for disseminating "alternative intelligence assessments" that "were, in our opinion, inappropriate given that the intelligence assessments were intelligence products and did not clearly show the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community."130

The neoconservatives in the Pentagon and the White House not only relied heavily on Chalabi and his fellow exiles for intelligence about Iraq, they also championed him as Iraq's future leader after Saddam was gone. The

{p. 252} CIA and the State Department, on the other hand, considered Chalabi dishonest and unreliable and kept him at arm's length. That severe judgment has now been vindicated, as we know that Chalabi and the INC fed the United States false information, and his relations with the U.S. occupation forces soon deteriorated, with Chalabi later being accused of providing classified information to Iran (a charge that he has denied). The neoconservatives' hopes that he would be the "George Washington of Iraq" fared no better than their other prewar forecasts.131

So why did neoconservatives embrace Chalabi? The INC leader had gone to considerable lengths to establish close ties with individuals and groups in the lobby, and he had especially close links with JINSA, where he had been "a frequent guest at board meetings, symposia and other events since 1997"132 He also cultivated close ties with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, AEI, the Hudson Institute, and WINEP. Max Singer, who helped found the Hudson Institute, described Chalabi as a "rare find. He's deep in the Arab world and at the same time he is fundamentally a man of the West.133 When an embattled Chalabi returned to give his eighth address to the AEI in early November 2005, that think tank's president introduced him as a "very great and very brave Iraqi patriot, liberal and liberator.134 Another big supporter of Chalabi was Bernard Lewis, who argued that the INC leader should be put in charge of Iraq after Baghdad fell.135

In return for the lobby's support, Chalabi pledged to foster good relations with Israel once he gained power. According to Feith's former law partner, L. Marc Zell, Chalabi also promised to rebuild the pipeline that once ran from Haifa in Israel to Mosul in Iraq.136 This was precisely what pro-srael proponents of regime change wanted to hear, so they backed Chalabi in return. The journalist Matthew Berger laid out the essence of the bargain in the Jewish Journal: "The INC saw improved relations as a way to tap Jewish influence in Washington and Jerusalem and to drum up increased support for its cause. For their part, the Jewish groups saw an opportunity to pave the way for better relations between Israel and Iraq, if and when the INC is involved in replacing Saddam Hussein's regime."l37 Not surprisingly, Nathan Guttman reports that "the American Jewish community and the Iraqi opposition" had for years "taken pains to conceal" the links between them. 138

I he neoconservatives and their allies did not operate in a vacuum, of course, alld they did not lead the United States to war by themselves. As emphasized earlier, the war would probably not have occurred absent the September 11 attacks, which forced President Bush and Vice President Cheney to consider adopting a radically new foreign policy. Neoconservatives like

{p. 253} Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who had been urging regime change in Iraq since early 1998, were quick to link Saddam Hussein with 9/11 - even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved - and to portray his overthrow as critical to winning the war on terror. The lobby's actions were a necessary but not sufficient condition for war.

Indeed, Richard Perle made precisely this point to George Packer in a discussion about the role that the neoconservatives played in making the Iraq war happen. "If Bush had staffed his administration with a group of people selected by Brent Scowcroft and Jim Baker," Perle noted, "which might well have happened, then it could have been different, because they would not have carried into it the ideas that the people who wound up in important positions brought to it.139 The New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman offered a similar appraisal in May 2003, telling Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz that Iraq was "the war the neoconservatives wanted ... the war the neoconservatives marketed ... I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at the moment within a five-block radius of this office [in Washington, D.C.]), who, if you exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened." We agree completely with Perle's and Friedman's observations, while recognizing that it was a combination of individuals, ideas, and circumstances that came together to produce the ultimate decision for war.140


Some readers might concede that the Israel lobby had some influence over the decision to invade Iraq but argue that its overall weight in the decision-making process was minimal. Instead, many American and foreign observers appear to think that oil - not Israel - was the real motivation behind the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In one variant of this story, the Bush administration was determined to control the vast reserves of oil in the Middle East, because that would give the United States enormous geopolitical leverage over potential adversaries. Conquering Iraq, according to this scenario, was seen by the administration as a giant step toward achieving that goal. An alternative version sees the oil-producing states and especially the oil companies as the real culprits behind the Iraq war, driven primarily by a desire for higher prices and greater profits. Even scholars who are often critical of Israel and of the lobby, such as Noam Chomsky, apparently subscribe to this idea, which was popularized in filmmaker Michael Moore's 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.141

{p. 254} The claim that the conquest of Iraq was mainly about oil has a certain prima facie plausibility, given the importance of oil to the world economy.142 But this explanation faces both logical and empirical difficulties. As emphasized in Chapter 2, U.S. policy makers have long been concerned about who controls Persian Gulf oil; they have been especially concerned about the danger that one state might control all of it. The United States has been involved with various oil-producing countries in the Gulf, but no American government, including the Bush administration, has seriously considered . conquering the major oil-producing countries in that region to gain coercive leverage over other countries around the world. The United States might consider invading a major oil-producing state if a revolution or an embargo caused its oil to stop flowing into world markets. But that was not the case with Iraq; Saddam was eager to sell his oil to any customer willing to pay for it. Moreover, if the United States wanted to conquer another country in order to gain control of its oil, Saudi Arabia - with larger reserves and a smaller population - would have been a much more attractive target. Plus, bin Laden was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, and fifteen of the nineteen terrorists who struck the United States on September 11 were Saudis (none were from Iraq). If control of oil were Bush's real objective, 9/11 would have been an ideal pretext to act. Occupying Saudi Arabia would not have been a simple task, but it would almost certainly have been easier than trying to pacify the large, restive, and well-armed population of Iraq.

There is also hardly any evidence that oil interests were actively pushing the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2002-03. In 1990-91, by contrast, Saudi Arabia's leaders clearly pressed the first Bush administration to use force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. They feared, like many American policy makers at the time, that Saddam might next invade Saudi Arabia, which would place much of the region's oil under his control. Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, worked closely with pro-Israel groups here to build support for ousting Saddam from Kuwait.143 But the story was very different in the run-up to the second Gulf War: this time Saudi Arabia publicly opposed using American force against Iraq.144 Saudi leaders feared that a war would lead to the breakup of Iraq and destabilize . the Middle East. And even if Iraq remained intact, the Shia were likely to ascend to power, which worried the Sunnis who ran Saudi Arabia not only for religious reasons but also because it would increase Iran's influence in the region. In addition, the Saudis faced growing anti-Americanism at home, which was likely to get worse if the United States launched a preventive war against Iraq.

{p. 255} Nor were the oil companies, which generally seek to curry favor with big oil producers like Saddam's Iraq or the Islamic Republic of Iran, major players in the decision to conquer Iraq. They did not lobby for the 2003 war, which most of them thought was a foolish idea. As Peter Beinart noted in the New Repu1lic in September 2002, "It isn't war that the American oil industry has been lobbying for all these years; it's the end of sanctions.145 The oil companies, as is almost always the case, wanted to make money, not war.


The Iraq war was not supposed to be a costly quagmire. Rather, it was intended as the first step in a larger plan to reorder the Middle East in ways that would benefit long-term American and Israeli interests. Specifically, the United States was not just going to remove Saddam Hussein from power and go home; the invasion and occupation would, in this dream, quickly turn Iraq into a democracy, which would then serve as an attractive model for people living in the various authoritarian states in the region. The results from Iraq would trigger a cascade of democratic dominoes, although it still might be necessary to use the sword to spread democracy to some countries in the Middle East besides Iraq. But once democracy took hold across the region, regimes friendly to Israel and the United States would be the norm, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians would, in the words of the "Clean Break" study, be "transcended," other regional rivalries would be muted, and the twin problems of terrorism and nuclear proliferation would largely disappear.

Vice President Cheney laid out this ambitious rationale for regional transformation in the speech to the VFW convention on August 26, 2002, opening the administration's campaign to sell the Iraq war. "When the gravest of threats are eliminated," he said, "the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace ... Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of jihad Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced."146 Cheney would repeat these arguments on several occasions over the next six months .

President Bush spoke with similar enthusiasm about regional transformation as he made the case for war against Iraq. On February 26, 2003, he told an audience at AEI that the United States aims to "cultivate liberty and

{p. 256} peace in the Middle East." He emphasized that "the world has a clear inter- est in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East." Furthermore, he claimed, "Success in Iraq could also begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace, and set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestinian peace.147

This ambitious strategy, grounded in an almost theological belief in the transformative power of freedom, was a dramatic departure from previous U.S. policy, and there was certainly no indication before 9/11 that either Bush or Cheney would embrace it. Indeed, both men - as well as National Security Adviser Rice - were on record as being opposed to the ambitious kind of nation building that was at the heart of regional transformation, and Bush had sharply criticized the Clinton administration for its emphasis on : nation building during the 2000 campaign. So what had produced this shift? According to a March 2003 story in the Wall StreetJournal, the critical driving forces behind this major change in U.S. Middle East policy were Israel and the neoconservatives in the lobby. The headline says it all: "President's Dream: Changing Not Just Regime but a Region: A Pro-U.S., Democratic Area Is a Goal That Has Israeli and Neoconservative Roots.148

Charles Krauthammer says this grand scheme to spread democracy across the Middle East was the brainchild of Natan Sharansky, the Israeli politician whose writings are said to have impressed President Bush.149 But Sharansky was hardly a lone voice in Israel. In fact, Israelis across the political spectrum maintained that toppling Saddam would alter the Middle East to Israel's advantage. Writing in the New York Times in early September 2002 former Prime Minister Ehud Barak argued that "putting an end to Saddam Hussein's regime will change the geopolitical landscape of the Arab world." He claimed that "an Arab world without Saddam Hussein would enable many from this generation [leaders about to come into power] to embrace the gradual democratic opening that some of the Persian Gulf states and Jordan have begun to .. enjoy." Barak also maintained that toppling Saddam would "create an opening for forward movement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."150

In August 2002, Yuval Steinitz, a Likud party member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told the Christian Science Monitor, "After Iraq is taken by U.S. troops and we see a new regime installed as in Afghanistan, and Iraqi bases become American bases, it will be very easy to pressure Syria to stop supporting terrorist organizations like Hizbullah and

{p. 257} slamic Jihad, to allow the Lebanese army to dismantle Hizbullah, and maybe to put an end to the Syrian occupation in Lebanon. If this happens we will really see a new Middle East.151 Similarly, Aluf Benn reported in Ha'aretz in February 2003 that "senior IDF officers and those close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, such as National Security Advisor Ephraim Halevy, paint a rosy picture of the wonderful future Israel can expect after the war. They envision a domino effect, with the fall of Saddam Hussein followed by that of Israel's other enemies: Arafat, Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar Assad, the ayatollah in Iran and maybe even Muhammar Gadaffi. Along with these leaders will disappear terror and weapons of mass destruction."152

The New York Times also reported that Halevy gave a speech in Munich in February 2003 where he said, "The shock waves emerging from post-Saddam Baghdad could have wide-ranging effects in Tehran, Damascus, and in Ramallah.153 The author of the article noted that Israel "is hoping that once Saddam Hussein is dispensed with, the dominoes will start to tumble. According to this hope ... moderates and reformers throughout the region would be encouraged to put new pressure on their own governments, not excepting the Palestinian Authority of Yasir Arafat." The Forward summed up Israeli thinking about regional transformation in an article published just before the war: "Israel's top political, military and economic echelons have come to regard the looming Iraq war as a virtual deus ex nachina that will turn the political and economic tables and extricate Israel from its current morass."154

Some might argue that Israel's leaders are too sophisticated and experienced to believe in a deus ex machina and countenance such an ambitious scheme, and too familiar with the complexities of their region to believe it could succeed. But in fact, Israel's leaders have a long history of favoring remarkably ambitious plans to remake the local map. The original Zionist dream of reestablishing a Jewish state where none had existed for nearly two millennia was nothing if not ambitious, and as discussed in Chapter 1, David Ben-Gurion had hoped to seize all of the West Bank, part of Lebanon, and portions of Egypt in the 1956 Suez War. Similarly, Ariel Sharon believed the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 would lead to the creation of a pro-Israel Chris tian state there and vanquish the PLO once and for all, thereby cementing Israel's control of the Occupied Territories. Given that history, it is perhaps not so surprising that many Israeli leaders held out the hope that the United States might be able to succeed where their earlier plans had failed.


By 2002, many neoconservatives were also heavily invested in the idea that the United States could democratize the Middle East and make it a more friendly environment for America and Israel. They had reached that position over the course of the 1990s as they became increasingly disenchanted with U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War.

Pro-lsrael groups - and not only neoconservatives - have long been inter- ested in having the U.S. military directly involved in the Middle East so that it can help protect Israel. They are especially interested in seeing large numbers of American troops permanently stationed there.155 But they had limited success on this front during the Cold War, because America acted as an offshore balancer in the region. Most U.S. forces designated for the Middle East, like the Rapid Deployment Force, were kept "over the horizon" and out of harm's way. Washington maintained a favorable balance of power by playing local powers against each other, which is why the Reagan administration supported Saddam against revolutionary Iran during the Iran-Iraq War ( 1980-88).

This policy changed after the first Gulf War, when the Clinton administration adopted a strategy of "dual containment." Instead of using Iran and Iraq to balance each other - with the United States shifting sides as needed - the new strategy called for stationing substantial American forces in the region to contain both of them at once. The father of dual containment was Martin Indyk, who first articulated the strategy in May 1993 at WINEP and then implemented it as director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.156 As Indyk's Brookings colleague Kenneth Pollack observes, dual containment was a policy adopted largely in response to "Israel's security concerns." Specifically, Israel made it clear to the Clinton administration that it "was willing to move ahead in the peace process only if it felt reasonably secure" from Iran.157

There was considerable dissatisfaction with dual containment by the mid-1990s, because it made the United States the mortal enemy of two countries that hated each other, and it forced Washington to bear the burden of containing both of them. As discussed in Chapter 10, AIPAC and other groups in the lobby not only saved the policy, they persuaded Congress and Clinton to toughen it up. The neoconservatives went even further, however; they were increasingly convinced that dual containment was not working and that Saddam Hussein had to be removed from power and replaced by a democratic government. Their thinking was reflected in the two open

{p. 259} letters that they sent to President Clinton in early 1998 as well as their support for the Iraq Liberation Act.

At about the same time, the belief that spreading democracy across the Middle East would pacify the entire area was beginning to take root within neoconservative circles. A few neoconservatives had flirted with this idea in the wake of the Cold War, but it was not widely embraced until the latter part of the 1990s.158 This line of thinking, of course, was evident in the 1996 "Clean Break" study that a group of neoconservatives had written for Netanyahu. By 2002, when invading Iraq had become a front-burner issue, regional transformation had become an article of faith among neoconserva- tives, who, in turn, helped make it the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.159 Thus, Israeli leaders, neoconservatives, and the Bush administration all saw war with Iraq as the first step in an ambitious campaign to remake the Middle East.


The Bush administration's plans for Iraq and the wider region have been a stunning failure. Not only is the American military stuck in a losing war, but there is little prospect of exporting democracy across the Middle East anytime soon. Iran has been the main beneficiary of this ill-conceived adventure and it seems as determined as ever to acquire a nuclear capability. Syria, like Iran, remains at odds with Washington, and both states have a powerful interest in having the U.S. military bogged down in Iraq. Hamas now dominates Gaza and the Palestinian Authority is badly split - making peace with Israel even more elusive - and Hezbollah is more powerful than ever in Lebanon, after having stood up to Israel in the 2006 war. We may be witnessing the "birth pangs of a new Middle East," to use Secretary of State RiceÕs regrettable phrase, but it will almost certainly be more unstable and dangerous than the one that existed before the United States invaded Iraq.160

The war in Iraq has not been good for Israel either, especially since it has strengthened Iran's hand in the region. Indeed, the Forward reported in early 2007 that there is a "growing chorus" of voices in Israel who are saying that the Jewish state "could find itself in more danger" now that Saddam has been removed from power.161 Amatzia Baram, an Israeli expert on Iraq who argued for Saddam's ouster in prewar interviews in the AIPAC newsletter Near East Report, now says, "If I knew then what I know today [January

{p. 260} 2007], I would not have recommended going to war7 because Saddam was far less dangerous than I thought." Moreover, he admitted that the invasion had produced "much, much more [terrorism] than I expected."Yuval Diskin, the head of Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security service, said in February 2006, "I'm not sure we won't miss Saddam."162

As the United States looks for ways to extricate itself from this disastrous situation, pressure has been growing on the Bush administration to talk with Iran and Syria, and to make a concerted effort to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The neoconservatives and the Israelis, of course, believed that the road to Jerusalem ran through Baghdad. Once the United States won in Iraq, they believed, the Palestinians would make peace on Israel's terms. But the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and many others believe the opposite is true: the road to Baghdad runs through Jeru- salem.163 In other words, creating a viable Palestinian state will help the United States deal with Iraq and other regional problems. Israel and the lobby have vigorously challenged this line of argument, insisting that America's troubles in Iraq have nothing to do with the Palestinians. Indeed, Ha'aretz reported in late November 2006, just before the release of the Iraq Study Group report, that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "hopes the Jewish lobby can rally a Democratic majority in the new Congress to counter any di version from the status quo on the Palestinians."164 Similarly, a number of pro-lsrael groups still maintain that the United States should refuse to talk with Iran and Syria until these states agree to all of Washington's demands.165

The Bush administration faces growing pressure to pull out of Iraq, but Israeli leaders have encouraged it to stay and finish the job. Why? Because these leaders believe that a U.S. withdrawal would jeopardize Israel's secuity. Both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Olmert made this point to AlPAC's annual conference in March 2007. Livni said that "in a region where impressions are important, countries must be careful not to demonstrate weakness and surrender to extremists."166 Olmert was even blunter: "Those who are concerned for Israel's security ... for the stability of the entire Middle East should recognize the need forAmerican success in Iraq and responsible cxit." He ended his remarks by saying that "when Amcrica succceds in Iraq, Israel is safer. The friends of Israel know it. The friends who carc about Israel knov it.167 Critics castigated Olmert for making these remarks, mainly because his comments provided additional evidcnce that Israel had backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Bradley Burston, who writes for Ha'aretz, was especially angry with Olmert for venturing into

{p. 261} the American debate on Iraq. He had a simple message for the prime minister: "Stay the hell out of it.168

Olmert had actually expressed his support for America's continued presence in Iraq during a visit to the White House in November 2006, saying, "Ale are very much impressed and encouraged by the stability which the great operation of America in Iraq brought to the Middle East.169 Even some of Israel's consistent backers were put off by Olmert's prowar remarks, with Congressman Gary Ackerman saying, "I'm shocked. It's a very unrealistic observation. Most of us here understand that our policy has been a thorough and total disaster for the United States.170

Given that many Americans now share Ackerman's sentiments about the war, we should not be surprised that some Israelis and their American allies have tried to rewrite the historical record to absolve Israel of any responsibility for the Iraq disaster. In March 2007, the editor of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, wrote about "the false notion that Israel encouraged the US to fight the Iraq War.171 Similarly, Shai Feldman, former head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies and now head of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis, told Glenn Frankel of the Washingto Post in the summer of 2006, "Look, Israel didn't mobilize anybody over Iraq, and associating Israel with the neocons on this issue is preposterous. Israel didn't see Iraq as a danger, and what's more, it had no interest in pushing the Bush administration's democracy agenda.172 This view undoubtedly reflects Feldman's beliefs about Israel's interests and the hierarchy of threats it faced, but as we have shown, it is contrary to what Israel's leaders were actually saying and doing in the run-up to the war.

Not to be outdone, Martin Kramer, a research fellow at WINEP, claims that any attempt to link Israel and the lobby with the war in Iraq is "simply a falsehood," arguing that "in the year preceding the Iraq War, Israel time and again disagreed with the United States, arguing that Iran posed the greater threat.173 But as shown above, Israel's concerns about Iran never led it to undertake a significant effort to halt the march to war. To the contrary, top Israeli officials were doing everything in their power to make sure that the United States went after Saddam and did not get cold feet at the last moment. They considered Iraq a serious threat and were convinced that Bush would deal with Iran after he finished with Iraq. They might have preferred that America focus on Iran before Iraq, but as Kramer admits, Israelis "shed no tears over Saddam's demise." Instead, their leaders took to the American airwaves, wrote op-eds, testified before Congress, and worked


closely with the neoconservatives in the Pentagon and the vice president's office to shape the intelligence about Iraq and coordinate the drive to war.

Yossi Alpher, an Israeli strategist at the Jaffe Center, now maintains that former Prime Minister Sharon had serious reservations about invading Iraq and he privately warned Bush against it. Alpher even hints that Sharon might have been able to prevent the war had he spoken out about his concerns. He writes, "Had Sharon made his criticism public, citing the dangers posed to vital Israeli interests, might he have made a difference in the pre- war debate in the United States and the world?174 This is a convenient alibi now that the occupation of Iraq has gone south, but there is no evidence in the public record that Sharon ever advised Bush not to attack Iraq. In fact, there is considerable evidence that the Israeli leader and his key advisers strongly endorsed the war and encouraged Bush to begin it sooner rather than later. If Sharon believed the war to be a mistake, why did his own spokesman repeatedly stress the danger of Iraq's WMD and why did Sharon himself warn the Bush administration that putting off the attack"will not create a more convenient environment for action in the future''?175

It is possible that Sharon made different arguments behind closed doors than he made in public. This is not likely, however, as word of Sharon's opposition to the war would surely have leaked out before it began, if not in the first year or two after Baghdad fell. Sharon was rarely reticent about expressing his views - even when doing so involved disagreements with the United States - and it is hard to believe that he would have kept silent in public if he thought that the decision to invade Iraq would be harmful to Israel. In short, neither facts nor logic support Alpher's claim.

"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." As the various progenitors of the Iraq disaster now seek to deny their paternity, President John F. Kennedy's rueful remark is more appropriate than ever. But Iraq did not always look like the blunder it has turned out to be. For a few short months in the spring of 2003, the United States appeared to have won a stunning victory and there was little need for Israel's defenders to deny responsibility for the war. During this brief window of opportunity, in fact, key Israelis and their American allies began to pressure the Bush administration to bring U.S. power to bear on Syria and Iran, in the hope that these two rogue states would suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein's regime. Let us now consider how Israel and the lobby influenced U.S. policy on Syria, and then turn to Iran.

{p. 357} NOTES


1. George Packer, The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (New York: Farrar, Straus and Girou, 2005), 46. Former CIA director George Tenet offers a similar view, writing in his memoirs that "one of the great mysteries to me is when the war in Iraq became inevitable." George Tenet with Bill Harlow, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (New York: Harper 2007), 301.

2. As the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman reportedly observed in May 2003 "It is not only the neoconservatives who led us to the outskirts of Baghdad. What led us to the outskirts of Baghdad is a very American combination of anxiety and hubris." See Ari Shavit, "White Man's Burden," Haaretz, May 4, 2003.

3. Quoted in Emad Mekay, "Iraq Was Invaded 'to Protect Israel'ÑUS Official," Asia Times Online, March 31, 2004. We used these quotations in our original article in the London Review of Books, and Zelikow challenged our interpretation of them. We based our discussion on a full and unimpeachable record of his remarks, and his challenge has no basis in fact. For a more detailed discussion of Zelikow's charge and our response, see "Letters," London Review of Books, May 2 5, 2006. Zelikow also served with Rice on the National Security Council during the first Bush administration and later coauthored a book with her on German reunification. He was one of the principal authors of the document that is probably the most comprehensive statement of the Bush Doctrine: The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington, DC: White House, September 2002).

4. Quoted in "US Assumes UK Help in Iraq, Says General," Guardian, August 20, 2002.

5. Quoted in an interview with Sascha Lehnartz, "Dann helfen uns eben die Osteuropaer," FrankfurterAllgemeine Sonntagszeitung, January 26, 2003. On the influence of the Defense Policy Board in Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, see Stephen J. Hedges, "Iraq Hawks Have Bush's Ear," Chicago Triune, August 18, 2002.

6. Joe Klein, "How Israel Is Wrapped Up in Iraq," Time, February 10 2003.

7. Senator Ernest F. Hollings, "Bush's Failed Mideast Policy Is Creating More Terrorism," Charleston Post and Courier (online), May 6, 2004; and "Sen. Hollings Floor Statement Setting the Record Straight on His Mideast Newspaper Column," May 20, 2004, originally posted on the former senator's website (now defunct) but still available at

8. "ADL Urges Senator Hollings to Disavow Statements on Jews and the Iraq War," Anti-Defamation League press release, May 14, 2004.

9. Matthew E. Berger, "Not So Gentle Rhetoric from the Gentleman from South Carolina," JTA org, May 23, 2004; "Sen. Hollings Floor Statement"; and "Senator Lautenberg's Floor Statement in Support of Senator Hollings," June 3, 2004, .

10. Aluf Benn. ' Scapegoat for Israel," Ha'aretz, May 13, 2004; Matthew Berger, "Will Some Jews Backing for War in Iraq Have Repercussions for All'", June 10, 2004; Patrick J. Buchanan. "Whose War' ' American Conservative, March 24, 2003; Arnaud de Borchgrave "A Bush-Sharon Doctrine'" Washington Times, February 14, 2003; Ami Eden, "Israel's Role: the 'Elephant' they're talking about," Forward, February 2, 2003; "The Ground Shifts," Forward, May 28, 2004; Nathan Guttman, "Prominent U.S. Jews, Israel Blamed for Start of Iraq War," Ha'aretz., May 31, 2004; Spencer S. Hsu, "Moran Said Jews Are Pushing War," Washington Post, March 11, 2003; Lawrence F. Kaplan, "'Txic Talk on War," Washington

{p. 427} Post, February 18 2003; E. J. Kessler, "Gary Hart Says 'Dual Loyalty' Barb Was Not Aimed at Jews," Forwari, February 21, 2003; Ori Nir and Ami Eden, "Ex-Mideast Envoy Zinni Charges Neocons Pushed Iraq War to Benefit Israel," Forward, May 28, 2004; and Robert Novak, "Sharon's War?", December 26, 2002.

11. Quoted in Akiva Eldar, "Sharp Pen, Cruel Tongue," Ha'aretz, April 13, 2007 .

12. Michael Kinsley, "What Bush Isn't Saying About Iraq,", October 24, 2002. Also see Michael Kinsley, "J'Accuse, Sort Of,", March 12, 2003.

13. Nathan Guttman, "Some Blame Israel for U.S. War in Iraq," Ha'aretz, March 5, 2003.

14. Bill Keller, "Is It Good for the Jews?" New York Times, March 8, 2003.

15. Ori Nir, "FBI Probe: More Questions Than Answers," Forward, May 13, 2005.

16. Shai Feldman, "The Bombing of OsiraqÑRevisited," International Security 7, no. 2 (Autumn 1982); and Dan Reiter, "Preventive Attacks Against Nuclear Programs and the 'Success' at Osiraq," Nonproliferation Review 12, no. 2 (July 2005).

17. Joel Brinkley, "Confrontation in the Gulf: Israelis Worried by U.S. Restraint," New York Times August 30, 1990; Joel Brinkley, "Top Israelis Warn of Deep Worry over Diplomatic Accord in Gulf," New York Times, December 4, 1990; Hugh Carnegy, "Pullout Not Enough, Says Israel," Financial Times, January 10, 1991; Sabra Chartrand, "Israel Warns Against a Gulf Retreat" New York Times, December 6, 1990; Jackson Diehl, "Israelis Fear Iraqi Threat Will Endure," Washington Post, August 29, 1990; Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, "Israel's Call for Action," Washington Post, August 24, 1990; Michael Massing, "The Way to War," New York Review of Books, March 28, 1991; Martin Merzer, "Israel Hopes Diplomacy Won't Let Iraqi Stay in Power," Miami Herald, August 29, 1990; and "Sharon to Americans: Blast Iraqis Immediately,"Jerusalem Post, August 12, 1990.

18. Aluf Benn "Sharon Shows Powell His Practical Side," Ha'aretz, February 26, 2001.

19. Seymour Hersh "The Iran Game," New Yorker, December 3, 2001; Peter Hirschberg, "Background: Peres Raises Iranian Threat," Ha'aretz, February 5, 2002; David Hirst, "Israel Thrusts Iran in Line of US Fire," Guardian, February 2, 2002; "Israel Once Again Sees Iran as a Cause for Concern," Ha'aretz, May 7, 2001; and Alan Sipress, "Israel Emphasizes Iranian Threat" Washington Post February 7, 2002.

20. Robert Novak, "Netanyahu's Nuke Warning," Chicago Sun-Times, April 14, 2002; Robert Novak, "War on Iraq Won't Be 'Cakewalk,"' Chicago Sun-Times, April 25, 2002; and William Raspberry, "To Solve the Crisis," Washington Post, April 15, 2002.

21. Elizabeth Sullivan "Sharon Aide Expects United States to Attack Iraq; He Says Saddam Must Be Stopped from Making Nuclear Arms," Cleveland Plain Dealer (online), May 3, 2002.

22. Quoted in Joyce Howard Price, "Peres Encourages U.S. Action on Iraq," Washington Times, May 12, 2002.

23. Ehud Barak, "No Quick Fix," Washington Post, June 8, 2002.

24. Quoted in Gideon Alon, "Sharon to Panel: Iraq Is Our Biggest Danger," Ha aretz, August 13, 2002. Also see Nina Gilbert, "Iraq Poses Greatest Threat," Jerusalem Post, August 13, 2002.

25. "Israel to US: Don't Delay Iraq Attack,", August 16, 2002. The Sharon and Peres quotations are from Aluf Benn, "PM Urging U.S. Not to Delay Strike Against Iraq," Haa'retz, August 16, 2002. The Gissen quotation is from Jason Keyser, "Israel Urges U.S. to Attack," Washington Post, August 16, 2002. The Shiry quotation is from Ben Lynfield, "Israel Sees Opportunity in Possible US Strike on Iraq," Christian Science Monitor, August 30, 2002. Also see Anton La Guardia, "Sharon Urges America to Bring Down Saddam," Dally Telegraph (London) August 17, 2002; Reuven Pedhatzur, "Israel's Interest in the War on Saddam," Ha'aretz, August 4, 2002; Jonathan Steele, "Israel Puts Pressure on US to Strike Iraq," Guardian, August 17, 2002; Walter Rodgers, "Rice and Peres Warn of Iraqi Threat,", August 16, 2002; Tony Snow et al., interview with Ra'anan Gissen, "Fox Speclal Report with Brlt Hume," August 16, 2002; and Ze'ev Schiff, "Into the Rough," Ha'aretz, August 16, 2002.

26. Benn "PM Urging U.S." For additional evidence that "Israel and its supporters" were deeply concerned in 2002 "that critics would claim that the United States was going to war on

{p. 428} Israel's behalfÑor even, as some have suggested, at israel's behest," see Marc Perel "Iraqi Move Puts Israel in Lonely U.S. Corner," Forward, September 20, 2002.

27. On the lobby's concerns in the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War, see John B Judis, "Jews and the Gulf: Fallout from the Six-Week War," Tikkun, May/June 1991; Allison Kaplan, "Saddam Splits Jewish Lobby,"Jerusalem Post, January 14, 1991 ; and David Rogers, "Pro-lsrael Lobbyists Quietly Backed Resolution Allowing Bush to Commit U.S. Troops to Combat," Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1991. On Israel's concerns at the same time, see Brinkley, "Top Israells Warn of Deep Worry"; Carnegy, "Pullout Not Enough ; Chartrand, "Israei Warns"; Diehl, "Israelis Fear Iraqi Threat"; and Merzer, '"Israel Hopes." The Buchanan quotation is from Chris Reidy, "The War Between the Columnists Gets Nasty," Boston Globe, September 22, 1990.

28. Benn, "PM Aide"; and Keyser, "Israel Urges U.S. to Attack."

29. Quoted in Rodgers, "Rice and Peres Warn."

30. Benn, "PM Aide."

31. Alon, "Sharon to Panel." At a White House press conference with President Bush on October 16, 2002, Sharon said, "I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for the friendship and cooperation. And as far as I remember, as we look back towards many years now, I think that we never had such relations with any President of the United States as we have with you and we never had such cooperation in everything as we have with the current administratlon." "President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Sharon to White House Question and Answer Session with the Press," transcript of press conference, U.S. Department of State, October 16, 2002. Also see Robert G. Kaiser, "Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mldeast Policy," Washington Post, February 9, 2003.

32. Shlomo Brom, "An Intelligence Failure," Strategic Assessment (Jaffee Center for Strategi Studies, Tel Aviv University) 6, no. 3 (November 2003): 9. Also see "Intelligence Assessment: Selectlons from the Media, 1998-2003," ibid., 17-19; Gideon Alon, "Report Slams Assessment of Dangers Posed by Libya, Iraq," Ha'aretz, March 28, 2004 Dan Baron, "Israeli Report Blasts Intelligence for Exaggerating the Iraqi Threat," JTA org, March 29, 2004; Molly Moore, "Israel Shares Blame on Iraq Intelligence, Report Says," Washington Post, December 5, 2003; Greg Myre, "Israeli Report Faults Intelligence on Iraq," New York Times, March 28, 2004; Ori Nir, "Senate Report on Iraq Intel Points to Role of Jerusalem," Forward, July 16, 2004; and James Risen, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Adminlstration (NewYork: Simon & Schuster 2006), 72-73.

33. On the general phenomenon of buck-passing, see John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: Norton, 2001), 157-62.

34. Quoted in Perelman, "lraqi Move."

35. Herb Keinon, "Sharon to Putin: Too Late for IraqArms Inspection,"Jerusalem Post, October 1, 2002.

36. "Peres Questions France Permanent Status on Security Council," Ha aretz, February 20, 2003.

37. Perelman, 'Iraqi Move."

38. Shlomo Avineri, "A Haunting Echo," Los Angeles Times, November 24, 2002. Also see Benyamin Netanyahu, "The Case for Toppling Saddam," Wall Street Journal, September 20 2002; and Nathan Guttman, "Shimon Peres Warns Against Repeat of 1930s Appeasement," Ha'aretz, September 15, 2002.

39. For some representative editorials, see "Next Stop, Baghdad," Jerusalem Post editorial, November 15, 2001; "Don't wait for Saddam," Jerusalem Post editorial, August 18 2002, "Making thc Case for War," Jerusalem Post editorial, September 9, 2002. For some representative op-eds, see Ron Dermer, "The March to Baghdad", Jerusalem Post, December 21 2001; Efraim Inbar, "Ousting Saddam, Instilling Stability,'' Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2002; and Gerald M. Steinberg, 'Imagining the Libeation ol Iraq, Jerusalem Post, Novemher 18, 2001.

40. "Don't wait for Saddam."

41. Ehud Barak, "Taking Apart Iraq's Nuclear Threat,", New Yoork Times. Semptember 4, 2002.

{p. 429} 42. Netanyahu, "The Case for Toppling Saddam." Also see Benjamin Netanyahu, "U.S. Must Beat Saddam to the Punch," Chicago Sun-Times, September 17, 2002.

43. See, for example, "Benjamin Netanyahu Testifies About Iraq to Congress," CNN Live Event, CNN com, September 12, 2002; Jim Lobe, "Hawks Justify Iraq Stnke as War for Democracy," Inter Press Service, September 27, 2002; and Janine Zacharia, "Netanyahu: US Must Guarantee Israel's Safety from Iraqi Attack," Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2002.

44. Aluf Benn, "Background: Enthusiastic IDF Awaits War in Iraq," Ha'aretz, February 17, 2003, James Bennet, "Israel Says War on Iraq Would Benefit the Region," New York Times, February 27, 2003; and Chemi Shalev, "Jerusalem Frets as U.S. Battles Iraq War Delays," Forward, March 7, 2003.

45 Quoted in James Bennet, "Clinton Redux," The Atlantic@Aspen weblog, July 8, 2006.

46 Asher Arian, "Israeli Public Opinion on National Security 2002," Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University, Memorandum no. 61, July 2002, 10, 34.

47 Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann, "Peace Index: Most Israelis Support the Attack on Iraq," Ha'aretz, March 6, 2003. Regarding Kuwait, a public opinion poll released in March 2003 found that 89.6 percent of Kuwaitis favored the impending war against Iraq. James Morrison, "Kuwaitis Support War," Washington Times, March 18, 2003. In a poll taken in Israel in early May 2007, 59 percent of the respondents said that the U.S. decision to invade Iraq was correct. "Poll Shows That Israel Is a Staunch American Ally," Anti-Defamation League press release, May 18, 2007. By that time, most Americans had concluded that the war was a tragic mistake.

48 "America's Image Further Erodes, Europeans Want Weaker Ties: a Nine-Country Survey," Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Washington, DC, March 18, 2003. Also see Alan Travis and lan Black, "Blair's Popularity Plummets," Guardian, February 18, 2003.

49. Gideon Levy, "A Deafening Silence," Haaretz, October 6, 2002.

50. See Dan Izenberg, "Foreign Ministry Warns Israeli War Talk Fuels US Anti-Semitism," Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2003, which makes clear that "the Foreign Ministry has received reports from the US" telling Israelis to be more circumspect because the U.S. medla is portraying Israel as "trying to goad the administration into war."

51. Quoted in Dana Milbank, "Group Urges Pro-lsrael Leaders Silence on Iraq," Washington Post, November 27, 2002.

52. David Horovitz, "Sharon Warns Colleagues Not to Discuss Iraq Conflict," Irish Times, March 12, 2003. Also see James Bennet, "Threats and Responses: Israel's Role; Not Urging War, Sharon Says," New York Times, March 11, 2003; and Aluf Benn, "Sharon Says U.S. Should Also Disarm Iran, Libya and Syria," Ha'aretz, February 18, 2003.

53. The influence of the neoconservatives and their allies was widely reflected before the war and is clearly reflected in the following articles, all written before or just after the war began: Joel Beinin, "Pro-lsrael Hawks and the Second Gulf War," Middle East Report Online, April 6, 2003; Elisabeth Bumiller and Eric Schmitt, "On the Job and at Home, Influentlal Hawks' 30-Year Friendship Evolves," Nev York Times, September 11, 2002; Kathleen and Bill Christison, "A Rose by Another Name: The Bush Administration's Dual Loyalties,", December 13, 2002; Robert Dreyfuss, "The Pentagon Muzzles the CIA, American Prospect, December 16, 2002; Michael Elliott and James Carney, "First Stop, Iraq, Time, March 31 2003, Seymour Hersh, "The Iraq Hawks," New Yorker, December 24-31, 2001 Michael Hirsh, "Hawks, Doves and Dubya," Newsweek, September 2, 2002; Glenn Kessler, "U.S. Decision on Iraq Has Puzzling Past," Washington Post, January 12, 2003; Joshua M. Marshall, "Bomb Saddam?" Washington Monthly, June 2002; Dana Milbank, "White House Push for Iraqi Strike Is on Hold," Washington Post, August 18, 2002; Susan Page, "Showdown with Saddam: The Decision to Act," USA Today, September 11, 2002; Sam Tanenhaus "Bush's Brain Trust," Vanity Fair (online), July 2003; Patrick E. Tyler and Elame Sciolino, "Bush Advisers Split on Scope of Retaliation," New York Times, September 20, 2001; and Jason A.Vest,"The Men from JlNSA and CSP," Nation, September 2/9, 2002.

54. Janine Zacharia, "All the President's Middle East Men," Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2001.

{p. 430} 55. "Rally Unites Anguished Factions Under Flag of 'Stand with Israel,"' Forward, April 19 2002; and "Forward 50," Forward, November 15, 2002.

56. John McCaslin, "Israeli-Trained Cops," Washington Times, November 5, 2002, Bret Stephens, "Man of the Year," Jerusalem Post (Rosh Hashana Supplement), September 26 2003; and Janine Zacharia, "Invasive Treatment, ibid. Other useful pieces on Wolfowitz include Peter J. Boyer, "The Believer," New Yorker, November I, 2004; Michael Dobbs, "For Wolfowitz, a Vision May Be Realized," Washington Post, April 7, 2003; James Fallows, "The Unilateralist," Atlantic, March 2002; Bill Keller, "The Sunshine Warrior, New York Times Magazine, September 22, 2002; and "Paul Wolfowitz, Velociraptor," Economist, February 7 2002.

57. See, for example, Douglas J. Feith, "The Inner Logic of Israel's Negotiations: Withdrawal Process, Not Peace Process," Mioddle East Quarterly 3, no. I (March 1996); and Douglas Feith, "A Strategy for Israel," Commentary, September 1997. For useful discussions of Feith's views, see Jeffrey Goldberg, "A Little Learning: What Douglas Feith Knew and When He Knew It," New Yorker, May 9, 2005; Jim Lobe, "Losing Feith, or Is the Bush Team Shedding Its Sharper Edges?" Daily Star (online), January 31, 2005; James J Zogby, A Dangerous Appointment: Profile of Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense Under Bush, Middle East Information Center, April 18, 2001; and "Israeli Settlements: Legitimate, Democratically Mandated, Vital to Israel's Secunty and, Therefore, in U.S. Interest," Center for Security Policy, Transition Brief no. 96-T 130, December 17, 1996. Note that the title of the latter piece which was published by an organization in the lobby, says that what is in Israel's interest is in Amenca's national interest. In "Losing Feith," Lobe writes, "In 2003, when Feith, who was standing in for Rumsfeld at an interagency 'Principals' Meeting' on the Middle East, concluded his remarks on behalf of the Pentagon, according to the Washington insider newsletter, The Nelson Report, [National Security Adviser Condoleezza] Rice said, 'Thanks Doug but when we want the Israeli position we'll invite the ambassador."'

58. "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" was prepared for the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Jerusalem and published in June 1996. A copy can be found at

59. Akiva Eldar, "Perles of Wisdom for the Feithful," Ha'aretz, October 1, 2002.

60. Packer, Assassins' Gate, 32.

61. "Israel's UN Ambassador Slams Qatar, Praises U.S. Envoy Bolton," Ha'aretz, May 23, 2006. Also see "Bolton Is Israel's Secret Weapon, Says Gillerman,", November 18, 2006; and Ori Nir, "Senate Probes Bolton's Pro-lsrael Efforts," Forward, May 6, 2005.

62. Marc Perelman, "Siding with White House, Groups Back Bolton," Forward, November 17, 2006; and "Dear John," Forward editonal, December 8, 2006.

63. Ori Nir, "Libby Played Leading Role on Foreign Policy Decisions," Forward, November 4, 2005.

64. "He Tarries: Jewish Messianism and the Oslo Peace," Rennert Lecture for 2002. Krauthammer fiercely defends Israel at every turn in his columns.

65. Asia Aydintasbas, "The Midnight Ride of James Woolsey,", December 20, 2001; Anne E. Kornblut and Bryan Bender, "Cheney Link of Iraq, 9/11 Dismissed," Boston Globe, September 16, 2003; David E. Sanger and Robin Toner, "Bush and Cheney Talk Strongly of Qaeda Links with Hussein," New York imes, June 18, 2004; and R. James Woolsey, "The Iraq Connection," Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2001.

66. Goldberg added that "among Jewish lobbyists in the Beltway, support for the impending war is almost taken for grantedÑseveral are puzzled by the very suggestion that any kind of strenuous opposition to an Iraq invasion might emerge." Michelle Goldberg, "Whv American Jewish Groups Support War v.ith Iraq,", September 14, 2002.

67. 'An Unseemly Silence," Forward editorial, May 7, 2004.

68. Nacha Cattan, ''Resolutions on Invasion Divide Jewish L.eadership," Forward, October 11, 2002; Laurie Goodstein, "Threats and Responses: American Jews; Divide Among Jews Leads to Silence on Iraq War, New York Times, March 15, 2003; and Milbank, "Group Urges."

{p. 431} 69. Matthew E. Berger, "Jewish Groups Back U.S. Stand on Iraq," Jewish Journal (online), October 18, 2002; and Jewish Council for Public Affairs, "Statement on Iraq," adopted by the JCPA Board of Directors, October 2002.

70. Mortimer B . Zuckerman, "No Time for Equivocation," U.S. News & World Report, August 26/ September 2, 2002. Also see Mortimer B. Zuckerman, "No More Cat and Mouse," U.S. News & World Report, October 28, 2002; Mortimer B. Zuckerman, "Clear and Compelling Proof," U.S. News & World Report, February 10, 2003; and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, "The High Price of Waiting," U.S. News & World Report, March 10, 2003.

71. Both quotes are from Goldberg, "Why American Jewish Groups."

72. Gary Rosenblatt, "The Case for War Against Saddam," Jewish Week, December 13, 2002. Also see Gary Rosenblatt, "Hussein Asylum," Jewish Week, August 23, 2002.

73. Ron Kampeas, "Cheney: Iran, Iraq a Package Deal,", March 13, 2007.

74. Nathan Guttman, "Background: AIPAC and the Iraqi Opposition," Ha'aretz, April 7, 2003. Also see Dana Milbank, "For Israel Lobby Group, War Is Topic A, Quietly," Washington Post, April 1, 2003.

75. David Twersky, "A Bittersweet Affair for AIPAC," New York Sun, January 23, 2003. On the ADL, see Cattan, "Resolutions on Invasion"; Nacha Cattan, "Jewish Groups Pressed to Line Up on Iraq," Forward, August 23, 2002; and Nathan Guttman, "Groups Mum on Iraq, Despite Antiwar Tide," Forward, March 2, 2007.

76. Jeffrey Goldberg, "Real Insiders: A Pro-lsrael Lobby and an FBI Sting," New Yorker, July 4, 2005. Near East Report (NER), AlPAC's biweekly publication dealing with Middle East issues, is filled with articles dealing with Iraq in the months before the war began. Although none explicitly calls for invading Iraq, they all portray Saddam as an especially dangerous threat, leaving the reader with little doubt that both Israel and the United States will be in serious trouble if he is not toppled from power. See, for example, "Saddam's Diversion," NER, October 7, 2002, interview with Ze'ev Schiff, NER, October 21, 2002; interview with Amatzia Baram, NER, February 25, 2002; interview with Amatzia Baram, NER, October 7, 2002 interview with Kenneth M. Pollack, NER, September 23, 2002; "Arming Iraq," NER, July, 2002, and "Backing Saddam," NER, February 3, 2003.

77. John Bresnahan, "GOP Turns to Israeli Lobby to Boost Iraq Support," Roll Call (online), October 6, 2003.

78. Matthew E. Berger, "Bush Makes Iraq Case in AIPAC Appearance," Deep South Jewish Voice (online), May 11, 2004.

79. David Horowitz, "Editor's Notes: Wading into the Great Debate," Jerusalem Post, March 15, 2007. According to Ron Kampeas, Cheney's "message was not received enthusiastically. Only about one-third to one-half of the audience . . . applauded politely." See "Cheney: Iran, Iraq a Package Deal." Similarly, Nathan Guttman wrote that Cheney's speech "received a lukewarm welcome." See "Cheney Links Action on Iran to Winning Iraq," Forward, March 16, 2007. However, writing in Salon, Gregory Levey noted that "Cheney got a warm reception and forceful applause." See "Inside America's Powerful Israel Lobby,", March 16, 2007.

80. On the reception Boehner and Pelosi received, see Guttman, "Cheney Links Action"; Levey, "Inside"; and lan Swanson, "Pelosi Hears Boos at AIPAC," The Hill (online), March 13, 2007.

81. Guttman, "Groups Mum on Iraq."

82. Ibid.; and Jeffrey M . Jones, "Among Religious Groups, Jewish Americans Most Strongly Oppose War," Gallup News Service, February 23, 2007.

83. Shortly before the United States invaded Iraq, Congressman James P Moran created a stir when he said, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this." Quoted in Hsu, "Moran Said." However, Moran misspoke, because there was not widespread support for the war in the Jewish community. He should have said, "If it were not for the strong support of the neoconservatives and the leadership of the Israel lobbv for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this."

84. Samuel G. Freemman, "Don't Blame Jews for This War," USA Today, April 2, 2003. Also see

{p. 432} James D. Besser, "Jews Souring on Iraq War," Jewish Week, September 24, 2004; Goodstein, "Threats and Responses"; and Ori Nir, "Poll Finds Jewish Political Gap," Forward, February 4, 2005. The same situation obtained before the 1991 Gulf War. By the time Congress voted to endorse the war on January 12, 1991, "the only significant Washington Jewish organization not on record in favor of the administration's position was American Friends of Peace Now which favored the continuation of sanctions." Judis, Jews and the Gulf,' 13. Despite the Iobby's efforts to make the 1991 war happen, however, a large portion of the American Jewish community opposed the war, as was the case in 2003. For example, Jewish members of the House of Representatives voted 17-16 against the resolution authorizing war, while Jewish senators voted 5-3 against it. Ibid., 14. This outcome rellects the fact that in contrast to what happened in 2002-03, there was a serious debate in 1990-91 about whether to go to war against Iraq, as well as the fact that the lobby sometimes takes positions that are at odds with a substantial portion of the American Jewish community.

85. The January 26, 1998, letter can be found on the website of the Project for the New American Century,; the February 19, 1998 letter can be found on the Iraq Watch website, For background on the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, see Judls, "Jews and the Gulf," 12. Also see the May 29, 1998, letter to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott written under the auspices of PNAC, The neoconservatives, it should be emphasized, advocated invading Iraq to topple Saddam. See "The End of Containment," Weekly Standard, December 1, 1997; Zalmay M. Khalilzad and Paul Wolfowitz, "Overthrow Him," ibid.; Frederick W. Kagan, "Not by Air Alone," ibid.; and Robert Kagan, "A Way to Oust Saddam," Weekly Standard, September 28, 1998.

86. A copy of the Iraq Liberation Act can be found at

87. John Dizard, "How Ahmed Chalabi Conned the Neocons,", May 4, 2004; "Iraqi Myths," Jerusalem Post editorial, October 7, 1998; Seth Gitell, "Neocons Meet Israeli to Gain U.S. Backing," Forward, July 31, 1998; Kagan, "Way to Oust Saddam"; Martin Kettle "Pentagon Balks at 'Idiotic' Law Urging Bay of Pigs-type Invasion of Iraq," Guardian, October 21, 1998; and Vernon Loeb, "Congress Stokes Visions of War to Oust Saddam; White House Fears Fiasco in Aid to Rebels," Washington Post, October 20, 1998. On JINSA, see "Concrete Responses to Saddam,", Report no. 79, August 10, 1998; "To Overthrow Saddam,", Report no. 82, October 2, 1998; "Spring 1998 Board ResolutionÑIraq,", March 22, 1998; and "Resolution in Support of the Iraqi Opposition,", October 19, 1998.

88. See Clinton's comments after he signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Statement by the President, White House Press Office, October 31, 1998. Also see Kettle, "Pentagon Balks"; and Loeb, "Congress Stokes."

89. Vernon Loeb, "Saddam's Iraqi Foes Heartened by Clinton," Washington Post, November 16 1998; Nicholas Lemann, "The Iraq Factor: Will the New Bush Team's Old Memories Shape Its Foreign Policies?" New Yorker, January 22, 2001; and Robert Litwak, Rogue States and U.S. Forelgn Pollcy (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000), chap. 4.

90. Packer, Assassins' Gate, 41.

91. Jane Perlez, "Capitol Hawks Seek Tougher Line on Iraq," New York Times, March 7, 2001; and "Have Hawks Become Doves?" Washington Times editorial, March 8, 2001. Also see Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-Consenatives and the Global order (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004) 129-31.

92. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (New York: Free Press, 2001); and Ron Suskind, The Price of Lovalty: George W Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill (New York: Simon & Schuster 2004).

93. Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004). 12. Also see Lemann,

{p. 433} "Iraq Factor"; and Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Meyers, "Bush Administration Warns Iraq on Weapons Programs," New York Times, January 23, 2001.

94. She also noted that if Iraq did get WMD, the appropriate U.S. response would be a "clear and classical statement of deterrenceÑif they do acquire WMD, their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bnng national obliteration." Condoleezza Rice, "Promoting the National Interest," Foreign Affairs 79, no. I ( January/February 2000): 60-62.

95. Timothy Noah, "Dick Cheney, Dove,", October 16, 2002; Adam Meyerson, "Calm After Desert Storm," interview with Dick Cheney, Policy Review 65 (Summer 1993).

96. Quoted in Kessler, "U.S. Decision on Iraq Has Puzzling Past." Elliott and Carney ("First Stop, Iraq") report that neoconservatives like William Kristol were upset when Cheney was chosen as Bush's running mate, because of Cheney's position on ending the first Gulf War. But after 9/11, says Kristol, "neoconservatives happily 'consider him a fellow-traveler.'"

97. Elliott and Carney, "First Stop, Iraq"; Glenn Kessler and Peter Slavin, "Cheney Is Fulcrum of Foreign Policy," Washington Post, October 13, 2002; Kessler, "U.S. Decision on Iraq Has Puzzling Past"; and "Vice President Dick Cheney Talks About Bush's Energy Plan," interview with Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press, May 20, 2001. Although Cheney's views on conquering Iraq fundamentally changed after 9/11, this apparently did not happen overnight. See "The Vice President Appears on Meet the Press with Tim Russert," Camp David, Maryland, Office of the White House Press Secretary, September 16, 2001. Cheney's response to specific questions about Iraq does not indicate that he had changed his thinking about the need to topple Saddam five days after the Twin Towers fell.

98. Both Kagan quotations are from Packer, Assassins' Gate, 38. Also see similar comments by Packer himself in ibid., 32.

99. Woodward, Plan of Attack, 25-26.

100. Page, "Showdown with Saddam."

101. Elliott and Carney, "First Stop, Iraq." Woodward describes Wolfowitz as "like a drum that would not stop." Plan of Attack, 22.

102. Woodward, Plan of Attack, 1-44.

103. Regarding the neoconservatives' influence on Cheney, see Elliott and Carney, "First Stop, Iraq", Page, "Showdown with Saddam"; Michael Hirsh, "Bernard Lewis Revisited," Washington Monthly, November 2004; Frederick Kempe, "Lewis's 'Liberation' Doctrine for Mid- east Faces New Tests" Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2005; and Carla Anne Robbins and Jeanne Cummings, "How Bush Decided That Hussein Must Be Ousted from Atop Iraq," Wall StreetJournal, June 14, 2002. On Ajami in particular, see Adam Shatz, "The Native Informant," Nation, April 28, 2003.

104. Jacob Weisberg, "Are Neo-cons History?" Financial Times, March 14, 2007. This article makes clear that Cheney and Lewis have a close relationship.

105. Woodward succinctly describes Libby's influence in Plan of Attack (48-49): "Libby had three formal titles. He was chief of staff to Vice President Cheney; he was also national security adviser to the vice president; and he was finally an assistant to President Bush. It was a trifecta of positions probably never held before by a single person. Scooter was a power center unto himself ... Libby was one of only two people who were not principals to attend the National Security Council meetings with the president and the separate principals meetings chaired by Rice. Also see ibid., 50-51, 288-92, 300-3-1, 409-10; Bumiller and Schmitt, "On the Job and at Home"; Karen Kwiatkowski, "The New Pentagon Papers,", March 10, 2004; and Tyler and Sciolino, "Bush Advisers Split."

106. Tyler and Sciolino "Bush Advisers Split." Also see Bumiller and Schmitt, "On the Job and at Home" and Wiiliam Safire, "Phony War II," New York Times, November 28, 2002.

107. On Cheney's significant influence in the Bush administration, see Jeanne Cummings and Greg Hitt, "In Iraq Drama, Cheney Emerges as President's War Counselor," Wall Street ]ournal, March 17, 2003; Mark Hosenball, Michael Isikoff, and Evan Thomas, "Cheney's Long Path to War,", Novemher 17, 2003; Kessler and Slavin, "Cheney Is Ful-

{p. 434} crum"; Barbara Slavin and Susan Page, "Cheney Rewrites Roles in Foreign Policy," USA Today, July 29, 2002; and Woodward, Plan of Attack, 27-30. .

108. Kessler,''U.S. Decision on lraq Has Puzzling Past''; and Woodward, Plan of Attack, 410. AIso see ibid., 164-65, 409.

109. Quoted in Eric Schmitt, "Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size," Nev York Times, February 28, 2003.

110. "This Goes Beyond Bin Laden,", September 13, 2001. Also see Vest, 'The Men from JINSA and CSP"

111. This letter was published in the Weekly Standard, October 1, 2001. Among the signatories were William Bennett, Eliot Cohen, Aaron Friedberg, Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz Stephen Solarz, and Leon Wieseltier.

112. Charles Krauthammer, "The War: A Road Map," Washington Post, September 28, 2001; and Robert Kagan and William Kristol, "The Right War," Weekly Standard, October 1, 2001. Also see "War Aims," Wall Street Journal editorial, September 20, 2001.

113. Michael Barone, "War by Ultimatum," U.S. News & World Report, October 1, 2001 Also see Bill Gertz, "Iraq Suspected of Sponsoring Terrorist Attacks," Washington Times, September 21, 2001; "Drain the Ponds of Terror,"Jerusalem Post editorial, September 25, 2001; William Safire, "The Ultimate Enemy," Nevu York Times, September 24, 2001; and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, "A Question of Priorities," U.S. News & World Report, October 8, 2001.

114. The April 3, 2002, letter can be found at .htm.

115. Daniel Byman, Kenneth M. Pollack, and Gideon Rose, "The Rollback Fantasy," Foreign Affairs 78, no. I (January/February 1999).

116. Kenneth M. Pollack, The Threatening Storm: The Casefor Invading Iraq (New York: Random House, 2002); Kenneth M. Pollack, "Why Iraq Can't Be Deterred," Nev. York Times, September 26, 2002; Kenneth M. Pollack, "A Last Chance to Stop Iraq," Nev. York Times, February 21, 2003; Martin S. Indyk and Kenneth M. Pollack, "How Bush Can Avoid the Inspections Trap," Nev York Times, January 27, 2003; and Martin S. Indyk and Kenneth M. Pollack, "Lock and Load," Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2002.

117. William Kristol, "The Axis of Appeasement," Weekly Standard, August 26/September 2, 2002 Robert Bartley, "Thinking Things Over: What We Learned," Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2002; Michael Ledeen, "Scowcroft Strikes Out," National Reviev Online, August 6, 2002; George Melloan, "Who Really Doubts That Saddam's Got to Go," Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2002; John O'Sullivan, "Chamberlain Deserves an Apology: Scowcroft, Hagel and Raines Are No Chamberlains," National Reviev Online, September 3, 2002; "This Is Opposition? There Is No Revolt in the GOP Against Bush's Iraq Policy," Wall StreetJournal editorial, August 19, 2002; and "Who Is Brent Scowcroft?" Nev, York Sun editorial, August 19, 2002. None of the targets of the neoconservatives' ire were advocating appeasement of Iraq but instead favored containment over war.

118. William Safire, "Our 'Relentless' Liberation," New York Times, October 8 2001. Also see William Safire, "Saddam and Terror," New York Times, August 22, 2002, ani William Safire "Big Mo," Nev York Times, November 19, 2001.

119. Robert Kagan, "On to Phase II," Washington Post, November 27, 2001; Robert Kagan and William Kristol, "What to Do About Iraq," Weekly Standard, January 2i, 2002; and Safire, Saddam and Terror.

120. Robert Kagan and William Kristol, "The U.N. Trap?" Weekly Standard, November 18, 2002; Charles Krauthammer, "A Costly Charade at the U.N.," Washington Post, February 28 2003; George F. Will, Stuck to the U.N. Tar Baby," Washington Post, September 19, 2002; and William Safire, "The French Connection," New York Times, March 14, 2003.

121. Krauthammer, "Our First Move.' Also see Reuel Marc Gerecht, "A Necessary War," Weekly Standard, October 21, 2002; and Charles Krauthammer 'Where Power Talks," Washington Post, January 4, 2002.

{p. 435} 122. An excellent account of the administration's campaign to sell the war is Frank Rich, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina (NewYork: Penguin Press, 2006).

123. James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies (NewYork: Doubleday, 2004), chaps. 13-14; Karen DeYoung, Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell (New York: Knopf, 2006), 440-46; and Woodward, Plan of Attack, 288-92, 297-301. Also see ibid., 72, 163.

124. Woodward, Plan of Attack, 290.

125 "Powell Regrets UN Speech on Iraq WMDs", ABC News Online, September 9, 2005.

126 Bamford, Pretext for War, 287-91, 307-31; Julian Borger,"The Spies Who Pushed for War," Guardian, July 17, 2003; David S. Cloud, "Prewar Intelligence Inquiry Zeroes in on Pentagon Office," Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2004; Seymour M. Hersh, "Selective Intelligence," New Yorker, May 12, 2003; Kwiatkowski, "New Pentagon Papers"; W Patrick Lang, "Drinking the Kool-Aid," Middle East Policy 11, no. 2 (Summer 2004); Jim Lobe, "Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network," Inter Press Service, August 7, 2003; Greg Miller, "Spy Unit Skirted CIA on Iraq," Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2004; Paul R. Pillar, "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq," Foreign Affairs 85, no. 2 (March-April 2006); James Risen, "How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence," Neu York Times, April 28, 2004, and Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, "Threats and Responses: A C.l.A. Rival; Pentagon Sets Up Intelligence Unit," New York Times, October 24, 2002.

127. Risen, State of War, 72-73.

128. Lobe ,"Pentagon Office." On Makovsky, see Jack Herman, "A Whole New Ballgame Overseas," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 20, 1989. This article was written when Makovsky was about to leave the United States and move to Israel. "I have strong feelings about helping to build a Jewish state," he told Herman. He then added, "It's like returning to your roots."

129. Borger, "The Spies."

130. Inspector General, Department of Defense, "Review of the Pre-lraqi War Activities of the Of fice of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy," Report no. 07-lNTEL-04, February 9, 2007.

131 Franklin Foer, "Founding Fakers," New Republic, August 18, 2003.

132 Robert Dreyfuss, "Tinker, Banker, NeoCon, Spy," American Prospect, November 18, 2002. Also see "Who Will Lead a Free Iraq?", May 9, 2003; and "Creating a Post-Saddam Iraq,", Report no. 481, April 6, 2005.

133. Quoted in Dreyfuss "Tinker, Banker." Also see Matthew E. Berger, "Iraqi Exiles and Jews Form Unlikely Alliance," Jewish News Weekly (online), October 18, 2002; Juan Cole, "All the Vice-President's Men," Salon com, October 28, 2005; and Michelle Goldberg, "The War over the Peace,", April 14, 2003.

134. Quoted in Robert Dreyfuss, "Chalabi and AEI: The Sequel," TomPaine com, November 10, 2005. Also see Laurie Mylroie, "Unusually Effective," New York Sun, November 8, 2005; and Michael Rubin, "Iraq's Comeback Kid," National Review Online, December 5, 2005.

135. Bernard Lewis, "Put the Iraqis in Charge," Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2003. Also see lan Buruma, "Lost in Translation," New Yorker, June 14, 2004; and Michael Hirsh, "Bernard Lewis Revisited," Washington Monthly, November 2004.

136. Dizard, "How Ahmed Chalabi Conned the Neocons." In mid-June 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu announced, "It won't be long when you will see Iraqi oil flowing to Haifa." Reuters, "Netanyahu Says Iraq-lsrael Oil Line Not Pipe-Dream," Haaretz, June 20, 2003. Of course, this did not happen and it is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Also see Douglas Davis, "Peace with Israel Said to Top New Iraq's Agenda," Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2003 .

137. Matthew E. Berger, "New Chance to Build Israel-lraq Ties,"JewishJournal (online), April 28, 2003. Also see Bamford, Pretext to War, 293; and Ed Blanche, "Securing Iraqi Oil for Israel: The Plot Thickens," Lebanonwire com, April 25, 2003.

138. Nathan (uttman, ''Mutual Wariness: AlPAC and the Iraqi Opposition," Ha'aretz, April 27, 2003. 139. Quoted in Packer, Assassins' Gate, 41.

{p. 436} 140. Friedman qualifed this remark by adding, "In the final analysis, what fomented the war is Amerlca 'over-reaction to September 11." We agree; it was a combination of the neoconservatives' active promotion of the war, the support from key groups in the lobby, and a particular set of international and domestic circumstances that led the United States Iraqi quagmire. See Shavit, "White Man's Burden."

141. Noam Chomsky, "The Israel Lobby?" Znet (online), March 28, 2006 Also see Stephen Zunes, "The Israel Lobby: How Powerful Is It Really" Znet (online), May 25, 2006

142. One pundit notes that the "preferred slogan" of the antiwar forces in the run-up to the Iraq war was "no blood for oil." John B. Judis, "Over a Barrel," New Republic, January 20, 2003, 20. Also see William R. Clark, Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (Gabnola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2005), Michael Elliott, 'The Selling of the President's War: Bush Should Take Israel and Oil Out of the Iraq Equation," Time, November 18, 2002; Michael Meacher, "This War on Terrorism Is Bogus," Guardian September 6, 2003; Kevin Phillips, "American Petrocacy," American Conservative, July i7, 2006; and Sandy Tolan, "Beyond Regime Change," Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002.

143. Judis, "Jews and the Gulf," 16-17.

144. Stephen J. Hedges, "Allies Not Swayed on Iraq Strike," Chicago Tnbune, August 28, 2002; "Saudl Arabia Says It Won't Join a War," New York Times, March 19, 2003, "Saudis Warn US over Iraq War," BBC News (online), February 17, 2003 Jon Sawyer, "Saudi Arabia Won't Back War on Iraq without U.N. Authority, Prince Warns," St. Louis Post-Dispatch (online), January 23, 2003; "Scorecard: For or Against Military Action," New York Times, August 27, 2002, and Brlan Whitaker and John Hooper, "Saudis Will Not Aid US War Effort," Guardian, August 8, 2002.

145. Peter Beinart, "Crude," New Republic, October 7, 2002; Michael Moran and Alex Johnson, "he Rush for Iraq's Oil,", November 7, 2002; Anthony Sampson, "Oilmen Don't Want Another Suez," Observer, December 22, 2002; John W Schoen, "Iraqi Oil American Bonanza?", November 11, 2002; and Daniel Yergin, "A Crude View of the Crisis in Iraq," Washington Post, December 8, 2002.

146. Remarks by the Vice President to the Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd National Convention,m Nashville, Tennessee (White House, Office of the Press Secretary ,August 26, 2002). Also see Remarks by the Vice President to the Veterans of the Korean War, San Antonio, Texas (Whlte House, Office of the Press Secretary, August 29, 2002).

147. For a copy of the speech, see "In the President's Words: 'Free People Will Keep the Peace of the World,"' New York Times, February 27, 2003. Also see Remarks by the President to the United Natlons General Assembly, New York (White House, Office of the Press Secretary September 12, 2002); Remarks by the President to the Graduating Class, West Point (White House, Office of the Press Secretary, June 1, 2002); President's Inaugural Speech, Washington, DC (White House, Office of the Press Secretarv, January 20, 2005), and National Security Strategy of the United States (2002).

148. Robert S. Greenberger and Karby Leggett, "President's Dream: Changing Not Just Regime but a Region: A Pro-U.S., Democratic Area Is a Goal That Has Israeli and Neoconservative Roots," Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2003. Also see George Packer, "Dreaming of Democracy," New York Times Magazine, March 2, 2003; Paul Sperry, "Bush the Nation-Builder: So Much for Campaign Promises," Antiwarcom, October 6, 2006, and Wayne Washington, "Once Against Nation-Building, Bush Now Involved," Boston Globe, March 2, 2004.

149. Charles Krauthammer, "Peace Through Democracy," Washington Post, June 28, 2002

150. Barak," Taking Apart."

151 Quoted in Lynfield, "Israel Sees Opportunity in Possible U.S. Strike on Iraq."

152. Benn, ''Background."

153. Bennet, "Israel Says."

{p. 437} 154 Shalev, "Jerusalem Frets."

155. See, for example, Rebuilding Americas Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, Report of the Project for the New American Century (Washington, DC, September 2000), 14, 17-18.

156. Martin Indyk, "The Clinton Administration's Approach to the Middle East, speec to Soref Symposium, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 18, 1993. Also see Anthony Lake "Confronting Backlash States," Foreign Affairs 73, no. 2 (March/April 1994).

157. Kenneth M. Pollack, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America (New York: Random House 2004), 261-65 .

158. Robert Kagan and William Kristol, eds., Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000); Charles Krauthammer "Universal Dominion: Toward a Unipolar World," National Interest 18 (Winter 1989/90) Michael A. Ledeen, Freedom Betrayed: How America Led a Global Democrattc Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away (Washington, DC: AEI Press, 1996); Joshua Muravchik, Exporting Democracy: Fulflling Americas' Destiny (Washington, DC: AEI Press, 1991); Marina Ottaway et al., "Democratic Mirage in the Middle East," Policy Brief 20 (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 2002), Norman Podhoretz, "Strange Bedfellows: A Guide to the New Foreign-Policy Debates, Commentary, December 1999; "Statement of Principles," Project for the New Amerlcan Century, June 3, 1997; and Albert Wohlstetter, "A Vote in Cuba? Why Not in Iraq?" Wall Street Journal, May 24, 1991.

159. On the neoconservatives' thinking about regional transformation, see Robert Blecher, "Free People Will Set the Course of History," Middle East Report Online, March 2003; Jack Donnelly and Anthony Shadid, "Iraq War Hawks Have Plans to Reshape Entire Mldeast,'' Boston Globe, September 10, 2002; Halper and Clarke, America Alone, 76-90; Nicholas Lemann, "After Iraq: The Plan to Remake the Middle East," New Yorker, February 17, 2003; and Klein, "How Israel."

160. Quoted in Roula Khalaf, "Rice 'New Middle East' Comments Fuel Arab Fury over US Policy," Financial Times, July 31, 2006.

161. Orly Halpern, "Israeli Experts Say Middle East Was Safer with Saddam in Iraq," Forward, Januarv 5, 2007. Also see Leslie Susser, "Iraq War: Good or Bad for Israel? Saddam's Execution Revives Debate,", January 2, 2007.

162. Quoted in Chris McGreal, "Israelis May Regret Saddam Ousting, Says Security Chief," Guardian, February 9, 2006.

163. James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, co-chairs, The Iraq Study Group Report (NewYork: Random House, 2006), xv, 28-29, 43 45, 50 58. Tony Blair, who repeatedly called for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and who favors negotiating with Iran and Syria, sald that the Iraq Study Group "offers a strong way forward." Quoted in Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Kate Zernike "Bush Expresses Caution on Key Points in Iraq Panel's Report," New York Times, December 7, 2006. Also see Kirk Semple, "Syrian Official, in Iraq, Offers Assistance," New York Times, November 19, 2006.

164. Akiva Eldar, "The Gewalt Agenda," Ha'aretz, November 20, 2006.

165. Michael Abramowitz and Glenn Kessler, "Hawks Bolster Skeptical President," Washington Post December 10, 2006; Associated Press, "Israel Experts Doubt Focusing on Israel-Arab Conflict Will Help in Iraq," International Herald Tribune, December 6, 2006; "Gates's Shocking Thinking on Iran," Jerusalem Post editorial, December 6, 2006; Nathan Guttman, "Baker Group Advisers 'Surprised,' 'Upset' at Report's Israel-lraq Link," Forward, January 30, 2007; Jeff Jacobv, "Fighting to Win in Iraq," Boston Globe, December 3, 2006; Robert Kagan and William Kristol, "A Perfect Failure," Weekly Standard, December 11, 2006; Ron Kampeas, "ISQ Fallout Continues with Query: Is Israeli-Arab Peace the Linchpin?", December I0, 2006: Jim Lobe, "Neocons Move to Preempt Baker Report," Antiwarcom, December 6, 2006; Marc Perelman, "As Washington Studies Iraq Report, Jerusalem Frets over Tehran

{p. 438} Talk," Forward, December 15, 2006; Shmuel Rosner, "Bakers Brew," Ha'aretz, December 2006; and "The Iraq Muddle Group," Wall Street Journal editorial, December 7, 2006.

166. Quoted in Shmuel Rosner, "FM Livni: U.S. Must Stand Firm on Iraq, "Haaretz, March 13 2007. Also see Shmuel Rosner, "Livni to AIPAC: U.S. Can't Show Weakness on Iraq, Iran," Ha'aretz, March 12 2007.

167. The Olmert quotatons are from Bradley Burston, "Israel Must Stay the Hell Out of U.S Debate on Iraq," Ha'aretz, March 13, 2007; and Hilary L. Krieger, PM's AIPAC Talk Surprises Delegates," Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2007.

168. Burston, "Israel Must Stay." Also see Krieger, "PM's AIPAC Talk"; and Shmuel Rosner, "No Easy Answers on Israel and the Iraq Debate," Ha'aretz, March 13, 2007

169. "President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Olmert of Israel to the White House," House, Office of the Press Secretary November 13, 2006.

170. Quoted in James D. Besser, "Olmert Support for Iraq War Stirs Anger, Jewish Week, November 17, 2006.

171. David Horovitz, "Editor's Notes: Wading into the Great Debate," Jerusalem Post, March 15, 2007.

172. Quoted in Glenn Frankel, "A Beautiful Friendship?" Washington Post Sunday Magazine, July 16, 2006.

173. Martin Kramer, "The American Interest," Azure 5767, no. 26 (Fall 2006): 29. Kramer also claims that "the assertion that the Iraq war is being waged on behalf of Israel is pure fiction," a remark at odds wlth Prime Minister Olmert's statement to the 2007 AIPAC Policy Conference, where he explicitly linked Israel's security to victory in Iraq. See note 167 above Also see Yossi Alpher, "Sharon Warned Bush," Forward, January 12, 2007.

174. Alpher, "Sharon Warned Bush." Also see Herb Keinon, "Sharon Warned Bush of Saddam Threat," Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007.

175. See notes 21 and 25 above.

{End Mearsheimer & Walt material}

(2) James Petras on the Iraq War - from chapters 1 & 2 of his book

The Power of Israel in the United States

James Petras

(Clarity Press, Inc, Atlanta 2006).

{p. 19} CHAPTER 1


The debate and criticism in the US Congress and media of the Bush Administration's fabricated evidence of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and a host of other misconduct (Iying to Congress, military tribunals in Guantanamo, torture in Abu Ghraib, CIA renditions, spying on Americans, and corruption in general) has finally reached the point of a Congressional attempt to generate an impeachment inquiry.1 The initial investigation and testimony of top US military and civilian officials in the Pentagon and State Department, which revealed profound differences and divisions between themselves and the "political appointees", has now been embellished by public statements against the Bush administration from retired generals, who claimed to reflect the views of the active military, and called for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.2 The testimony and evidence of the professionals' revelations have been crucial to understanding the structure of real power in the Bush Administration, since it is in times of crisis and divisions in the governing class that we, the public, are given insights into who governs, and for whom. The ongoing debate, criticism, and division in Washington today provide just such instances.

After years of UN inspections, and a comprehensive 15-month search by the Iraq Survey Group, following thousands of searches and interviews by close to ten thousand US military, intelligence and scientific inspectors, it has been definitively demonstrated, and at last admitted by President George W. Bush, that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction (or even of useful national defense). This raised the key question: who in the Bush regime provided the fabricated evidence and for what purpose?

The initial response of the Bush apologists was to attribute the fabrications to "bureaucratic errors" and "communication failures" or as then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz cynically claimed, to the need to "secure a consensus for the war policy". CIA Director Tenant became the self-confessed scapegoat for the "mistakes". As the investigations progressed, however, testimony from a multiplicity of high level sources in the regime revealed that there were two channels of policy making and advisers, 1 ) the formal structure made up of career professional military and civilians in the

{p. 20} Pentagon and State Department, and 2) a parallel structure within the Pentagon made up of political appointees. From all available evidence it was the "unofficial" political advisers organized by Wolfowitz, Feith, and Rumsfeld in the Office of Special Plans (OSP) who were the source of the fabricated evidence, which was used to "justify" the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The OSP, which only existed briefly from September 2002 to June 2003, was headed by Abram Shulsky and included other neo-conservatives, who had virtually no professional knowledge or qualification in intelligence and military affairs. Douglas Feith, then Undersecretary of Defense, and Paul Wolfowitz set up the OSP. Shulsky was an avid follower and protege of Richard Perle, the well-known militarist and long time supporter of military attacks on Arab regimes in the Middle East.

{Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle and Shulsky are all Jewish}

According to the testimony of a Pentagon insider, Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Near East and South Asia Division and Special Plans in the Pentagon, the "civil service and active duty military professionals were noticeably uninvolved in key areas" of interest to Feith, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, namely Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Lieutenant Colonel Kwiatkowski went on to specify that "in terms of Israel and Iraq all primary staff work was conducted by political appointees, in the case of Israel a desk officer appointee from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and in the case of Iraq, Abe Shulsky." Equally important, the ex-Pentagon official addressed the existence of "cross- agency cliques". She described how the members of a variety of neo-conservative and pro-lsrael organizations (Project for a New American Century, the Center for Security Policy, and the American Enterprise Institute), also held office in the Bush regime and only interacted among themselves across the various agencies. She pointed out that major decisions resulted from "groupthink" - the uncritical acceptance of prevailing points of view and the uncritical acceptance of extremely narrow and isolated views. Kwiatkowski was forced to resign by her chief after she told him that "some folks (the cliques and networks) in the Pentagon may be sitting beside Hussein in the war crimes tribunal" for their destructive war and occupation policies.

What became very clear was that the OSP and its directors, Feith and Wolfowitz, were specifically responsible for the fabricated evidence of the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that justified the war on Iraq. The OSP and the other members of the networks that operated throughout key US agencies shared a rightwing pro-militarist ideology and were fanatically pro-lsrael. Feith and Perle authored an infamous policy paper in 1996 for Likud Party extremist, Benjamin Netanyahu, entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", which called for the destruction of Saddam Hussein and his replacement by a Hashemite monarch. The governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iran would then have to be overthrown or destabilized, the paper asserted, in order for Israel to be secure in a kind of Greater US-

{p. 21} Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere.' The finger clearly pointed to Zionist zealots who directed the OSP, like Abram Shulsky and Feith, as the source for the "phony intelligence" which led to the war that Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld were seeking. The manner in which the Zionist zealots organized and acted - as a clique of arrogant like-minded fanatics hostile to any contrary viewpoints from the professional intelligence, civilian, and military officials - indicated that their loyalties and links were elsewhere, most evidently with the Sharon regime in Israel. As the Guardian's Julian Borger wrote on July 17, 2003, the OSP 'forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon's office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam's Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorize." It is interesting to note that the influential rightwing Zionists in th Bush Administration actually provided "reports" on Iraq which were at variance with reports from the Israeli Mossad, which did not believe that Iraq represented any "threat" to the US or Israel. Mossad's skepticism was shared by the CIA, now known to have advised the Bush administration on the non-existence of WMD.3 With the primary intelligence agencies of Israel and the US advising otherwise, is it credible to presume that their negative findings on Iraqi WMD were overruled due to better information, and not to better clout?

The Jewish Lobby, Not Big Oil

Contrary to the view of most American progressives that oil, and specifically the interests of Big Oil, is the primary mover, there is no evidence that the major US oil corporations pressured Congress or promoted the war in Iraq or the current confrontation with Iran. To the contrary: there is plenty of evidence that they are very uneasy about the losses that may result from an Israeli attack on Iran. Furthermore, it seems reasonable to suppose that Big Oil is far from happy about taking the rap for all that is happening in the Middle East, particularly when it combines with public anger at high gas prices, and leads to Senate inquiries.

There is an abundance of evidence for the past 15 years that:

1. The oil companies did not promote a war policy.

2. The wars have prejudiced their interests, operations and agreements with prominent Arab and Islamic regimes in the region.

3. The interests of the oil companies have been sacrificed to the state interests of Israel.

4. The power of the pro-lsrael lobbies exceeds that of the oil compa-

{p. 22} nies in shaping US Middle East policy.

A thorough search through the publications and lobbying activities of the oil industry and the pro-lsrael lobbies over the past decade reveals an overwhelming amount of documentation demonstrating that the Jewish lobbies were far more pro-war than the oil industry. Moreover the public records of the oil industry demonstrate a high level of economic co-operation with all the Arab states and increasing market integration. In contrast the public pronouncements, publications, and activities of the most economically powerful and influential pro-lsrael Jewish lobbies were directed toward increasing US government hostility to the Arab countries, including exerting maximum pressure in favor of the war in Iraq, a boycott or military attack on Iran, and US backing for Israeli assassination and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The most striking illustration of Jewish power in shaping US policy in the Middle East against the interest of Big Oil is demonstrated in US-lran policy. As the Financial Times notes: "International oil companies are putting multi-billion dollar projects in Iran on hold, concerned about the diplomatic standoff [sic] [US economic-military threats] over the country's nuclear programme".4 In fact, as Michael Klare pointed out:

No doubt the major U.S. energy companies would love to be working with Iran today in developing these vast oil and gas supplies. At present, however, they are prohibited from doing so by Executive Order (EO) 12959, signed by President Clinton in 1995 and renewed by President Bush in March 2004.5

Despite the fact that billions of dollars in oil, gas and petro-chemical contracts are in play, the pro-lsrael lobby has influenced Congress to bar all major US oil companies from investing in Iran. Through its all-out campaign in the US Congress and Administration, the US-Jewish-lsraeli lobby has created a warlike climate which now goes counter to the interests of all the world's major oil companies including BP, the UK-based gas company, SASOL (South Africa), Royal Dutch Shell, Total of France, and others.

A question to ponder is whether "war for oil" is the same as "war in the interests of Big Oil." Writing in the prestigious French monthly, Le Monde Diplomatique, in April 2003, Yahya Sadowski argued:

{quote} As part of their grand plan for using a "liberated" Iraq as a base from which to promote democracy and capitalism across the Middle East, [the Neocons] want Baghdad to explore for new reserves, rapidly increase production capacity

{p. 23} and quickly flood the world market with Iraqi oil. They know that this would lead to an oil price crash, driving it to $15 a barrel or less. They hope that this collapse will stimulate economic growth in the US and the West, finally destroy Opec (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries), wreck the economies of "rogue states" (Iran, Syria, Libya), and create more opportunities for "regime change" and democratisation ...

Multinational companies - giants such as Exxon-Mobil, British Petroleum, Shell, Total and Chevron-Texaco - have diversified sources of production and have less to fear from a price collapse. But the US administration does not listen to them (most are not even American). When Bush Junior was elected, they lobbied hard for a repeal of the Iran-Libya sanctions act and other embargos that curbed their expansion of holdings in the Middle East. The Bush team rebuffed their pleas and Vice-President Dick Cheney produced his 2001 national energy policy that focused on opening new areas within the US for energy exploration.6

... Multinational oil companies, US and other, have plenty to be ashamed of, from their despoliation of the Niger Delta to their support for state terrorism in Indonesia. But they have not been pushing for a war against Iraq. The Bush administration planned its campaign against Baghdad without input from these companies, and apparently without a clue about the basics of oil economics.7
{end quote}

The neo-con objective of bringing down OPEC (while achieving access to oil for Israel) was foiled by the dismal state of the Iraqi oil infrastructure, after the impact of a decade of international sanctions (as Sadowski argued), and by the Iraqi resistance, 8 which has rendered the prospect of any bonanza from Iraqi oil revenues moot.

To understand the central role of the Zionist ideologues in shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is important to frame it in the context of US-lsrael relations and the powerful influence of the pro-lsrael lobby inside of the US. As Patrick Seal described them in the liberal US weekly, The Nation, "The Friends of Ariel Sharon (among the Jewish pro- lsrael zealots) loath Arabs and Muslims ... What they wished for was an improvement in Israel's military and strategic environment".

The US invasion of Iraq and its aggressive military posture toward most Arab regimes in the Middle East made the names of these Zionist policymakers known to the world. Wolfowitz and Feith were second and third in command of the Pentagon. Their proteges in the OPS included

{p. 24} Abram Shulsky, Richard Perle, then chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and Elliot Abrams (a defender of the Guatemalan genocide of the 1980's), then Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs for the National Security Council. Washington's most influential pro-lsrael zealots include William Kristol and Robert Kagan of The Weekly Standard, the Pipes family and a large number of pro-lsrael institutes which work closely with and share the outlook of the rightwing Zionists in the Pentagon. The consensus among US critics of the Bush Administration is that "9/11 provided the rightwing Zionist zealots with a unique chance to harness US Middle East policy and military power in Israel's interest and succeeded in getting the United States to apply the doctrine of pre-emptive war to Israel's enemies".9 The evidence implicating the US Zionists in the war policy was so overwhelming that even the mainstream Zionist organizations refrained from crying 'anti-Semitism'.

Concerned more with Israeli supremacy than US military losses, the zealous Zionists ignored the emerging quagmire of the US military in Iraq, and went on to plan new wars targeting Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and 'Saudi Arabia, raising a whole new series of "inteiljgence reports" accusing the Arab countries of funding, protecting and promoting terrorism. Their prefabrjcated intelligence continued to flow while they were in government office, and does so even today.

As US military casualties mount daily in Iraq, with an unofficial estimate of 2579 US deaths by August 1st, 2006,10 as the military costs of the war near 300 billion11 and further undermine the US economy, the American public has become disenchanted with the Bush Administration. As the public investigations proceeded, the operations of the OSP, and the identity of its architects and propagandists who promoted the US war against Iraq and for Israel's supremacy were made public.

Yet what might have been anticipated as a harsh and righteous backlash by the American public against the neo-conservative Zionist ideologues and their networks in and out of the government in general is only slowly mounting - and may not rise sufficiently swiftly to deflect their plans for a forthcoming war against Iran. True, the OSP has been shut down, Paul Wolfowitz has been forced out of the Pentagon and moved to the World Bank,12 Douglas Feith seems set to find a niche in academia,13 and Richard Perle has resigned his chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board. But Elliot Abrams' star is on the ascendant,14 Donald Rumsfeld, however attacked by his own generals, remains under presidential protection in the Department of Defense, Dick Cheney remains in the saddle, and the Bush Administration has moved on to target Iran in terms and processes startlingly similar to

{p. 25} those which preceded the war against Iraq. Though the understanding of the general public appears to have moved beyond the original official reasons for war (WMDs, the presence of Al Qaeda, and "bringing democracy"), and even beyond its supplemental pretexts (regime change, human rights), the present focus of both public and progressive criticism is directed largely towards the interests of Big Oil or "empire" as the source of the conflict. The notion that the US went to war against Iraq for the greater good of Israel remains largely absent from commentary in the major media.

A very small number of progressive Jews raised serious questions about the uncritical support of Israel by mainstream Jewish organizations and were sharply critical of the Zionist zealots in the Pentagon. However, in the wake of the firestorm ignited by the publication of the Mearsheimer and Walt article, "The Israel Lobby" in the London Reviewin March 2006, it seems clear that the extent of Israeli influence not only on US Middle East policy, but on America's democratic political institutions and processes as a whole, poses a much greater problem for progressive Americans, especially since most progressive Jews went into denial - denying the relevance of the essay, and denying the power of the Jewish Lobby to impact American foreign policy, a point that will be more fully elaborated in a later chapter.


1 Thirty US House Representatives signed on as sponsors or cosponsors of H. Res 635, which would create a Select Committee to "investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment. " The bill was referred to the House Committee on Rules on December 18th, 2005.

2 David S. Cloud and Eric Schmitt, "More Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld's Resignation", New York Times, April 16, 2006. The generals are: Major General Paul D. Eaton, General Anthony C. Zinni, Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, Major General John Batiste, Major General John Riggs, and Major General Charles H. Swannack Jr.

3 Recent revelations by retired CIA officers, such as Paul Pillar and Ty Drumheller, indicate that the CIA advised the Bush administration on the nonexistence of WMD, but was ignored. See Larry Johnson, "Why Did Goss Resign?" Truthout, May 6th, 2006.

4 Financial Times, March 18/19, 2006 p.1.

5 Michael Klare "Oil, Geopolitics and the Coming War with Iran,", April 11, 2005. Klare totally ignores the role of the Zionist lobby, resorting to the oil interest ploy, even after demonstrating their inability to shape US policy!

6 See Michael Klare, "United States: energy and strategy", Le Monde diplomatique, English language edition, November 2002.

7 Yahya Sadowski, "No War for Whose Oil?" Le Monde Diplomatique, April 2003.

8 The Iraqi resistance may have been a major factor in blocking the privatization of Iraqi oil. As Greg Palast noted: "MrAljibury, once Ronald Reagan's "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces ... 'We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities,

{p. 26} pipelines, built on the premise that privatization is coming."' Greg Palast, "Secret U.S. Plans for Iraq's Oil", BBC News, March 17, 2006.

9 Patrick Seale, "A Costly Friendship", Nation, July 21, 2003.

10 For a running casualty count, see the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website at <>

11 For a running total of the costs of war to the US taxpayer, see National Priorities Project website at <>

12 See Chapter 5, concerning, inter alia, FBI investigations of Wolfowitz, Feith et al.

13 Douglas Feith has just been appointed Visiting Professor and Distinguished Practitioner in National Security Policy at Georgetown University, commencing Fall 2006. Since leaving government, he served as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the conservative Hoover Institution of Stanford University and co-chaired a task force on strategies for combating terrorism at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

14 Elliot Abrams is making headway within the Bush regime, serving now as Deputy National Security Adviser and head of President George W. Bush's Global Democracy Strategy.

{p. 27} CHAPTER 2


Why did the US go to war against Iraq in March 2003 with further plans to attack Syria, Iran, and probably Lebanon? The reasons given thus far have all been discredited. No weapons of mass destruction have been discovered. No ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda have been established. No threats to US security existed. Many of the past and present allies of the US have equal or worse human rights records than did Iraq. The war, conquest, occupation, killing, and vile systematic torture and imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis have aroused the hostility and indignation of hundreds of millions of Christians, Muslims and free thinkers throughout the world, justly discrediting the entire political establishment in Washington and overseas.

Who Benefited from the Iraq War?

Who benefited, then, from the US war? By examining the beneficiaries we can get an idea who had a motive for promoting this crime against humanity.

America itself has reaped the opprobrium of the world, which continues to impact American individuals and businesses. Terrorism is on the rise, while US security might be presumed to have worsened.1 The mounting costs of the war, which some forecast could surpass two trillion dollars,2 are slowly eating through the American infrastructure. The prospect of extending an American empire faced by potential challenges to its hegemony is a growing concern for empire builders, given the growing ideological, human, and material costs in Iraq. While the OPEC countries for a time rejected US and EU pressures to pump more oil to lower sky-high prices - partly a hostile response to the US invasion of Iraq - today the price of oil seems resistant to efforts to lower it, with the attendant dismal impact upon the American and world economy.

US oil companies have been faced with a growing anti-colonial resistance, and their investments throughout the Middle East and South Central Asia are under siege. Big Oil may have enjoyed windfall profits, but these were unanticipated, and its operations in Iraq are in a shambles.3

{p. 28} The only major beneficiary of the war has been the State of Israel, which has succeeded in having the US destroy its most consistent Arab adversary in the Middle East - the regime that extended the greatest political support to the Palestinian resistance. The decades-long US assault on Iraq has achieved the forced demodernization4 of Iraqi military and civilian technological infrastructure, the dissolution of its military, the disarray of its governing processes, and possibly incited the outbreak of civil war, which carries the potential for the dismemberment and actual disappearance of the country altogether. Iraq, together with Iran and Syria, had formed the core resistance to Israeli expansionist plans to expel the Palestinians and conquer and occupy all of Palestine.

What were the obstacles to Greater Israel?

1 ) The two Intifadas, the uprisings of Palestinians who refused to be driven out of their country, which were able to inflict losses on the self-styled Chosen People of God (Israel is by law an exclusively Jewish state, inhabited by immigrants mainly from Europe and their children, and governed by exclusionary religious dogma).

2) Hezbollah, an organization founded due to and for the purpose of counteracting the Israeli incursion into Lebanon, had inflicted a strategic military-political defeat on Israel, forcing them and their client Lebanese Maronite Christian mercenary allies to evacuate from Southern Lebanon.

3) Iraq, Iran and Syria, the three countries which were most consequential in their opposition to Israeli annexation and regional domination, were developing economic and political ties with a multitude of countries and especially in the case of oil contracts, signing trade and exploitation agreements with Japan, China, Russia as well as Western European corporations. Israel's hopes for sharing a co-prosperity economic sphere of domination with Washington based on servile, client Arab regimes were becoming increasingly doubfful.

4) The Iraqi regime was slowly recovering, despite the decade-long US-European boycott and constant US-UK military aggression. With time running out, the Israelis and their Zionist agents in the Bush administration realized that an agreement to end the boycott and normalize relations with Iraq was on the horizon following the UN inspection teams' certification of the absence of WMD, which would lead to Iraq forming joint ventures with French and Russian oil companies, a possible shift of the Iraqi oil trade into Euros, and diminishing influence of Israels protector state in the region.

5) There was a deepening internal crisis in Israel over the economic costs and personal insecurity accompanying the policy of the colonial settlements and savage repression in the Occupied Territories. Israel's out-migration

{p. 29} was now exceeding its in-migration, its Jewish-based welfare policies were eroding, and hundreds of active reservists were refusing military duty in the dirty colonial war. The plan to "democratize" the Middle East proposed by US Zionists in the government in essence intended joint control by the US and Israel over the entire Middle East via a series of wars.5 A series of US wars against independent Arab regimes, beginning with Iraq, was clearly in the interests of the Israeli state and so it was perceived by the Sharon regime, its secret police (Mossad), the Israeli military, and rightwing Zionists in positions of influence in Washington.

How was the Israeli state able to influence the US imperial state into pursuing a series of wars, which would imperil its own imperial economic and security interests and further those of Israel? The most direct answer is to be found in the role played by key pro-Zionist officials in and around the most important policy making positions in the Bush administration. These US officials had long-standing ideological and political ties to the Israeli state, including policy advisory positions. Throughout most of their political lives they had dedicated themselves to furthering Israel's state interests in the US.

While the design and execution of the US war strategy was in the hands of Zionist civilian militarists in the Pentagon, they were only able to succeed because of the powerful support exercised by Sharon's acolytes in the major Jewish organizations in the US. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, AlPAC, and thousands of their activists - doctors, dentists, philanthropists, real estate magnates, financiers, journalists, media moguls, and academics - acted in concert with key Jewish politicians and ideologues to press the case for a war because, they would argue, it was in the interest of the State of Israel to destroy Saddam Hussein and the secular Baath Party state apparatus.

But who can say that doing so was in the interests of imperial US, which in Saddam already had a strongman in place, prepared to act in the service of America? How did Saddam, another of those known as "our" son-of-a-bitch,6 manage to get himself in the crosshairs of America? By invading Kuwait (which received the "go ahead" from US Ambassador April Glaspie, and was widely viewed in the Arab world as his entrapment)? Or by his noncooperation concerning the multiple interests of Israel (oil, water, and Palestine).

The issue of access to oil has long been problematic for Israel, due to its inability to purchase oil from neighboring countries. In typical fashion, this problem was resolved through the September 1st, 1975 Israel-US Memorandum of Agreement Concerning Oil, whereby the US agreed to guarantee Israel's access to oil - an agreement which has been regularly renewed over the subsequent period, at some cost to US taxpayers (see below). By 2003, however, with pro-Zionist forces calling the shots in the US government and Operation Iraqi Freedom afoot, the prospect of Israeli access to Iraqi oil neared

{p. 30} fruition. Israeli National Infrastructures Minister Joseph Paritzky requested an assessment of the condition of the old oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa, with an eye toward renewing the flow of oil "in the event of a friendly postwar regime in Iraq". 7 Paritzky noted that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically, probably by more than 25 per cent, since the country was currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia. On June 21, 2003, Reuters reported: "Netanyahu says Iraq-lsrael oil line will open in near future." By August 2003, Haaretz was to report that: "The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem." 8 (Now who might that have been ...?) By 2006, three US bases were under construction in the north of Iraq falling along the potential construction line of an oil pipeline from Kirkuk oil fields to the Israeli shipping seaport and petroleum-refining city of Haifa (see diagrams below), with a view to turning that city into a "New Rotterdam".9

{p. 31} US-lsrael relations have been described in a variety of ways. Politicians refer to Israel as the US 's most reliable ally in the Middle East, if not the world. Others speak of Israel as a strategic ally. Some speak of Israel and the US as sharing common democratic values in the war against terrorism. On the Left, critics speak of Israel as a tool of US imperialism for undermining Arab nationalism, and a bulwark against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. Very few writers point to the "excess influence" which the Israeli governments exercise on US government policy via powerful Jewish lobbies and individuals in media, financial and governmental circles, or their exercise of that influence for the primary benefit of Israel, irrespective of how that impacts the well-being of the United States.

While there is a grain of truth in much of the above, there are numerous unique aspects in this relationship between the US, an imperial power, and Israel, a regional power. Unlike Washington's relation with the EU, Japan and Oceania, it is Israel which pressures and secures a vast transfer of financial resources (by 2004, $2.8 billion per year, $84 billion over 30 years).10 Israel secures the latest arms and technology transfers, unrestrictive entry into US markets, free entry of immigrants, unconditional commitment of US support in case of war and repression of colonized people, and guaranteed US vetoes against any critical UN resolutions.

From the angle of inter-state relations, it is the lesser regional power which exacts a tribute from the Empire, a seemingly unique or paradoxical outcome. The explanation for this paradox is found in the powerful and influential role of pro-lsrael Jews in strategic sectors of the US economy, political parties, Congress and Executive Branch. The closest equivalent to past empires is that of influential white settlers in the colonies, who through their overseas linkages were able to secure subsidies and special trading relations.

The Israeli "colons" in the US have invested and donated billions of dollars to Israel, in some cases diverting funds from union dues of low paid workers to purchase Israel Bonds, which in turn were used to finance new colonial settlements in the Occupied Territories. In other cases Jewish fugitives from the US justice system have been protected by the Israeli state, especially super rich financial swindlers like Mark Rich, and even gangsters and murderers. Occasional official demands of extradition from the Justice Department have been pointedly ignored.

In turn, the colonized Empire has gone out of its way to cover up its subservience to its supposed ally, but in fact hegemonic power. In 1967, the USS Liberty, a communications and reconnaissance ship sent to monitor belligerents in the third Israeli-Arab war, was bombed and strafed by Israeli fighter planes in international waters for nearly an hour, killing 34 seamen and wounding 173 of a crew of 297. Intercepted Israeli messages as well as the

{p. 32} clearly displayed US flag demonstrate that this was a deliberate act of aggression. Washington acted as any Third World country would when faced with an embarrassing attack by its hegemon: it silenced its own naval officers who witnessed the attack, and quietly received compensation and a forma apology.11

Not only was this an unprecedented action in US military and diplomatic relations with an ally, there is no case on record of an imperial country covering up an assault upon itself by a regional ally.12 On the contrary, similar circumstances have been followed by diplomatic and bellicose responses. This apparent anomaly cannot in any way be explained by military weakness or diplomatic failures: the US is a military superpower, and its diplomats are capable of forceful, even bullying, representation to allies or adversaries, when the political will is present. But the Jewish-American Lobby, Congress people, media and Wall Street moguls strategically located in the US politico-economic system ensured that President Johnson would behave like a docile subject. No direct pressures were necessary, for a hegemonized political leadership acts seemingly on its own beliefs, having learned the rules of the political game. The bottom line is this: the Israel-US relationship is so entrenched that not even an unprovoked military attack could call it into question. Like all hegemonized powers, Washington threatened the US Naval witnesses with a court marital if they spoke out, while they coddled their attackers in Tel Aviv.13

Another illustration of the asymmetrical relation is found in one of the most important espionage cases during the Cold War involving an Israeli agent, Jonathan Pollard, and the Pentagon. Over several years Pollard stole and duplicated bagfuls of top-secret documents about US intelligence, counter-intelligence, strategic plans, and military weaponry, and turned them over to his Israeli handlers. This was the biggest case of espionage carried out against the US by any ally in recent history. Pollard and his wife were convicted in 1986. The US Government privately protested to the Israeli government. The Israelis, on the other hand, through their Jewish-American allies, organized a lobby to propagandize in his favor. Eventually all top Israeli leaders and Jewish-American lobbyists campaigned for his pardon, and almost succeeded with President Clinton.

The unequal relation is clearly evident in the case of a major fugitive from justice, Marc Rich. A financier and trader, he was indicted in the US federal court on several counts of swindling and defrauding clients. He fled to Switzerland and subsequently obtained an Israeli passport and citizenship, investing hefty sums of his ill-gotten wealth into Israeli industries and charities. Despite the seriousness of his offense, Rich hobnobbed with top political

{p. 33} leaders in Israel and its economic elite. In the year 2000, the Prime Minister of Israel and numerous pro-lsraeli Jewish personalities, including Rich's ex-wife, convinced Clinton to pardon him. While an outcry was raised about a linkup between the Rich pardon and his wife's $100,000-plus contribution to the Democratic Party, the underlying relationship of subordination to Israeli influence and the power of the Israeli Lobby in the US was clearly more important. It is worth noting that it is extraordinarily unusual for a US President to consult with a foreign ruler (as Clinton consulted with Barak) in dealing with an accused swindler. It is unprecedented to pardon an indicted fugitive who fled his trial and never served any sentence. But then, the US faces great difficulty in securing any extraditions whatsoever from Israel - even private citizens wanted for committing murder in the US are not returned for trial,14 despite the purported closeness of the two states. What are the implications for the American criminal justice system of a "home free" territory for Jewish-American criminals?

The power of Israel is manifested in the numerous annual pilgrimages that influential US politicians make to Israel to declare their loyalty to the Israeli state, even during periods of intensive Israeli repression of a rebellious subject people.15 Rather than reprimanding Israel for an aggressive act of war against another state and for internationally-condemned human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, US satraps of the Israeli mini-empire applauded its bloody repression of Intifadas I and ll, and the Jewish state's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 - as they do in 2006 - and opposed any international mediation to prevent further Israeli massacres, thereby sacrificing US credibility in the United Nations and in world public opinion.

In votes in the United Nations, even in the Security Council - despite overwhelming evidence of human rights violations presented by EU allies - Washington has toiled in the service of its hegemon. Sacrificing international credibility and deliberately alienating 150 other nations, Washington labeled criticisms of Israeli racism as "anti-Semitic". But this does not mark the high point of Washington's servility to Israel.

The most recent and perhaps the key indicator of US servility occurred in the months preceding and following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On December 12, 2001 Fox News learned from US intelligence sources and federal investigators that 60 Israelis engaged in a long-running effort to spy on US government officials had been detained since 9/11. Many of those arrested were active Israeli military or intelligence operatives. They had been arrested under the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act. Many failed polygraph questions dealing with surveillance activities in and against the United States.

More seriously, federal investigators had reason to believe that the Israeli operatives gathered intelligence about the September 11 attacks in advance and did not share it with its Washington ally. The degree of Israeli

{p. 34} involvement in September 11 ia a tightly guarded secret. A highly placed federal investigator told Fox news there are "tie-ins". When asked to provide details, the federal investigator refused . "Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classifie.d I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information."

Nothing so exemplifies the power of Israel over Washington as this case of Israeli espionage. Even in the case of the worst attack on the American mainland in US history, Washington suppressed federally collected evidence linking known Israeli spies to possible evidence about prior knowledge. Clearly this evidence might raise questions about the links and ties between political and economic elites, as well as undermine strategic relations in the Middle East. More important, it would pit the Bush Administration against the Jewish-American Lobby and its powerful informal and formal networks in the media, finance, and in government.17

Fox News obtained numerous classified documents from federal investigators probably frustrated by the cover-ups of Israeli espionage by political leaders in Washington. These documents brought to light by Carl Cameron revealed that even before September 11, as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained or arrested in a secret investigation of arge-scale, long-term Israeli espionage in the United States. Not one of the other of large-scale, long-term major print or electronic media reported on these arrests. Neither the President nor any Congressional leaders spoke out on Israeli's pervasive and sustained effort to obtain key US military and intelligence information.

The classified documents detailed "hundreds of incidents in cities and towns across the country" that investigators claimed could be Israeli-organized intelligence gathering activities. Israeli agents targeted and penetrated military bases, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS, the INS, the EPA, the US Marshalls' Service, dozens of government facilities, and even secret office and unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel, according to the Federal documents cited by Fox News. A document issued by the Government Accountability Office (an investigatory arm of the US Congress), also cited, referred to Israel as CountryA, saying "the government of CountryA conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the US of any US ally." A Defense Intelligence report said Israel has a "voracious appetite for information ... It aggressively collects military and industrial technology and the US is a high priority."

Carl Cameron's Fox News Report appeared on the Fox News internet site briefly in December, 2001 (Dec. 12, 2001 ) and then disappeared - there

{p. 35} was no follow up - or, as might be expected in cases of error, no disclaimer or official correction and/or apology. None of the other mass media picked up on this major espionage report. No doubt the powerful pro-lsraeli influentials in the mass media played a role. More significantly than direct "pressure", Israeli hegemony "persuades" or "intimidates" the media establishment and political leaders to operate with maximum discretion in limiting reporting about Israel's appropriation of strategic information.

While the web of Israeli agents are sometimes subject to arrest, interrogation and expulsion, the Israeli state and the ministers in charge are never publicly condemned, nor are there any official diplomatic ripostes such as the symbolic temporary withdrawal of the US Ambassador. The closest parallel to US behavior toward Israeli spies is the response of poor, dependant Third World countries to US espionage. In that context docile rulers quietly ask the Ambassador to rein in some of the more aggressive agents.

Unanswered Questions: September 11 and the Israelis

Following September 11, rumors circulated throughout the Arab East that the bombing was an Israeli plot to incite Washington to attack Muslim-Arab adversaries. These stories and their authors provided nothing more than circumstantial evidence and motive, namely that Bush's anti-terrorism campaign would legitimate Sharon's "anti-terrorist" repression of Palestinians. The stories implicating Israel were completely dismissed by all the media and political leaders across the spectrum.

Now, however, that US federal investigators have revealed that the Israelis may have known about the attack before it occurred and did not share the information, this raises further questions concerning the relationship between the Arab terrorists and the Israeli secret police. Did the Israelis penetrate the group or pick up information about them?16 Federal investigators' confidential information could probably clarify these vital questions. But will the confidential information ever become public? Most likely not - for the very reason that it would expose the extent of Israeli influence in the US via its secret agents and more importantly via its powerful overseas lobby and allies in the US govemment and finance. The lack of any public statement conceming Israel's possible knowledge of 9/11 is indicative of the vast, ubiquitous and aggressive nature of its powerful Diaspora supporters.19 Given the enormous political and economic importance which the mass media have given to 9/1 1, and the sweeping powers, funding, and institutions created around the issue of national security, it is astonishing that no further mention has been made about Israel's spy networks operating in the US's most delicate spheres of counter-terrorism.

But then, it is not astonishing at all if we understand properly the "unique relationship" between the US Empire and Israel, a regional power.

{p. 36} Theoretlcal Issues

The relationship between the US - a global imperial power - and Israel, a regional power, provides us with a unique model of inter-state relations. In this case the regional power exacts tribute ($2.8 billion annually in direct contributions from the US Congress), free access to US markets, protection of overseas felonious Jews from prosecution or extradition to the US, while engaging in pervasive espionage and money laundering.20 On Friday, June 23, 2000 Haaretz reported Israel as one of the world's leading havens for illegal international money laundering.

Moreover Israel establishes limits on US-Middle Eastern policy in the international forums. Israel's hegemonic position has endured under both Democratic and Republican presidencies for almost half a century. In other words it is a structural historical relation, not one based on personalities, or particular transitory policy making configurations.

Several hypotheses emerge from an examination of this unique relationship.

The first stems from the fact that the territorial Israeli state has little power of persuasion, economic reach, or military clout in comparison to the major powers (Europe and the US). The power of Israel is based on that of the Diaspora, the highly structured and politically and economically powerful Jewish networks which have direct and indirect access to the centers of power and propaganda in the most powerful imperial country in the world. Trlbite is exacted via the influence of these "internal colonialists" who operate at the level of mass media opinion makers and via Congress and the Presidency. Close to 60 percent of Democratic Party funding and 35 percent of Republican Party funding comes from pro-lsraeli Jews. For every dollar spent by the Jewish networks in influencing voting outcomes, the Israeli state receives $50 in aid to finance the building and arming of colonial settlements in the Occupied Territories complete with swimming pools, Rumanian gardeners and Filipino maids.

Through overseas networks the Israeli state can directly intervene and set the parameters to US foreign aid in the Middle East. The overseas networks play a major role in shaping the internal debate on US policy toward Israel. Propaganda associating Israeli repression of Palestinians as the righteous response of the victims of the Holocaust has been repeated and

{p. 37} circulated throughout the mass media. Iranian President Ahmadinejad's suggestion that Holocaust victims might more properly be compensated by land located in Europe or in the countries that victimized them was misreported, then highly circulated to fuel, instead, the notion of a rabid anti-Semitic Iran. From the height of tlie network to the lawyers' boardrooms, and the doctors' lounges, the pro-lsrael supporters of the network aggressively attack as "anti-Semites" any critical voices. Through local intimidation and malicious intervention in the professions, the zealots defend Israeli policy and leaders, contribute money, organize voters, and run for office. Once in office they tune in to Israeli policy needs.

The phenomenon of overseas expatriates attempting to influence an imperial power is not an exclusively Jewish phenomenon. The Cuban exiles in Miami exercise significant influence in both major parties. But in no other case has linkage led to the establishment of an enduring hegemonic relationship: an empire colonized by a regional power, with the US paying tribute to Israel, subject to the ideological blinders of its overseas colons, and launching aggressive wars on its behalf.

Many questions remain to be answered as the Empire aggressively pursues its military expansion and the internal voices of repression narrow the terms of public debate.

As the colons extend their influence throughout the political and intellectual spheres of the US, they feel more confident in asserting Israel's superiority to it, particularly in the areas of political coercion and war. They brazenly boast of Israel's superior security system, its methods of interrogation including its techniques of torture, and demand that the US follow Israel's war agenda in the Middle East. In Israel, there is acknowledged state-sanctioned physical and mental abuse of prisoners in interrogation, which has broad public support.21

Seymour Hersh even urged the US FBI and intelligence agencies to follow the Israeli secret police's tactics and use or threaten to use torture of family members of terror suspects.22 (See more on Hersh's pro-lsrael bias in Chapter 4.) The US followed suit by imprisoning the wives and daughters of wanted Iraqi Baathists. Richard Perle, then highly influential in Rumsfeld's Defense Department, advocated the Israeli tactics of offensive bombing of adversaries. "In 1981 the Israelis faced an urgent choice: should they allow Saddam Hussein to fuel a French built nuclear reactor near Baghdad or destroy it? The Israelis decided to strike preemptively. Everything we know [sic] about Saddam Hussein forces [sic] President Bush to make a similar choice: to take a pre-emptive action or wait, possibly until it is too late."23

Another prominent colon, Senator Joseph Lieberman, called on the US to bomb Syria, Iraq and Iran immediately after 9/11, echoing Prime Minister Sharon's policy advice to President Bush. Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law professor, publicly endorsed both torture and repressive legislation in the US - modeled on the Israeli system of unlimited detention of Palestinians.24

{p. 38} The colons subordinate US policy to Israel's foreign policy needs, independent of the US's own circumstances and in reflection of the extremities to which Israel's colonial policies push it. Moreover as representatives of Israeli hegemonic power in the US, they even try to micro manage security measures - torture in interrogation - as well as becoming vociferous advocates of a generalized Middle East war. The colons have successfully influenced the US government to block any EU initiatives toward international mediation, as well as the US-sponsored Mitchell Plan, advocating peace observers in the occupied territories. In a word, the US, despite its occasional inconsequential criticism of Israel's excesses, has not only been an unconditional supporter of Israel, but it has done so in the context of a prolonged bloody repression and occupation of Palestinian territories, which Washington is a party to securing. Israeli hegemony over the US via its colons affords it a formidable weapon for neutralizing the US's NATO allies, Arab petroleum clients, the vast majority of the General Assembly in the United Nations, and even its own public on certain Middle Eastern issues.

Even more dangerous is the irrational paranoia that the colons transfer from Israeli politics to the US. All Arabs are suspect as was evident in the Zionist-instigated congressional outcry about the purchase of US ports by a Dubai firm. Middle Eastern adversaries should be threatened if not bombed. Secret military tribunals and summary justice should be meted out to suspected terrorists. The mass media is especially tuned to pick up the Israeli paranoid syndrome: magnifying every threat, celebrating Israeli resolution and efficiency against Arab "terrorists". The paranoid style of politics had led to Israel's attacks on Arab countries in the Middle East, espionage on the US, illegal purchase of nuclear devices in the US, and unremitting violence against the Palestinians and Lebanese. The assimilation of the Israeli hyper-paranoid style by the US has vast and dangerous consequences not only for the Mid-east but also for the rest of the world, and for democratic freedom in the US.

What the intellectual colons and other Israeli publicists forget to mention is that Israeli security policy in the Occupied Territories is a total disaster: bus stations, public malls, five star hotels, and pizzerias in Israel and all Israeli frontiers have been attacked. Hundreds of Israeli citizens have been killed and injured. Tens of thousands of educated Israelis have fled the country precisely because of insecurity and the proximity of violence, which neither the Shin Ben, the Army nor the settlers are capable of preventing. A few Israeli intellectuals are especially embittered by the enormous costs of the settlement movement.25

Blind to Israel's security failures, the colons insist on creating condi-

{p. 39} tions for internal repression and external war. Given their influential role In the mass media, their prominence in the editorial and opinion pages of the most prestigious newspapers, the colons' message reaches far beyond their limited numbers and the mediocrity of their intellect. Location and money can make up for their psychological and political pathologies as well as override any qualms about dual loyalties.

Who Finances the State of Israel?

The question of who is financing the Israeli state is basic because Israel as we know it today is not a viable state without massive external support. As the July 2004 updated Congressional Research Service Issue Brief for Congress titled "Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance" points out in its opening statement: "Israel is not economically self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing to maintain its economy."26 Despite what might seem an insurmountable obstacle not just to Israel's prosperity, but to its sustainability, the country has nonetheless done rather well. Billions of dollars are raised from a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish institutions to sustain the Israeli war machine, its policy of generous subsidies for Jews enticed to settle in colonies in the Occupied Territories and in Israel - sufficient to place the country as the world's 28th highest in living standards for Israel's Jewish citizens.27

Without external aid Israel's economy would require severe cutbacks in living standards and working conditions, leading to the likely flight of most Israeli professionals, businessmen, and recent overseas immigrants. The Israeli military budget would be reduced and Israel would be obligated to reduce its military interventions in the Arab East and the Occupied Territories. Israel would cease being a rentier state living on overseas subsidies and would be obligated to engage in productive activity - a return to farming, manufacture and services minus the exploitation of low paid Asian maids, imported Eastern European farm workers, and Palestinian construction laborers.

Europe continues to privilege the importation of Israeli exports28 and financial services, despite overt and malicious attacks by leaders of both Israeli parties. Prominent Jewish organizations linked to major parties in France and England have muted any efforts to use the "trade card" to pressure Israel to accept European Union or United Nations mediation. European trade and financial ties to Israel however are not the basic prop for the Israeli war machine. The principle basis for long-term, large-scale financial support is found in the US, among public and private institutions.

In the United States there are essentially four basic sources of finan-

{p. 40} cial, ideological and political support for the Israeli rentier economy:

1. Wealthy Jewish contributors and powerful disciplined fund-raising organizations.

2. The US government - both Congress and the Presidency.

3. The mass media, particularly the New York Times, Hollywood and the major television networks.

4. The trade union bosses and the heads of pension funds.

There is substantial overlap in these four institutional configurations. For example, Jewish supporters in the Israeli lobby work closely with Congressional leaders to secure long-term, large-scale US military and economic aid for Israel. Most of the mass media and a few trade unions are influenced by unconditional supporters of the Israeli war machine. Pro-lsrael Jews are disproportionately represented in the financial, political, professional, academic, real estate, insurance and mass media sectors of the American economy. While Jews are a minority in each and every one of these categories, their disproportionate power and influence stems from the fact that they function collectively: they are organized, active, and concentrate on a single issue - US policy in the Middle East, and specifically in securing Washington's massive, unconditional, and continuing military, political and financial support for Israel. Operating from their strategic positions in the power structure, they are able to influence policy and censor any dissident commentators or views from circulating freely in the communications and political system.

In the political sphere, pro-lsraeli politicians and powerful Jewish organizations have joined forces with (and even animate)29 pro-lsrael ultra rightwing mass-based Christian fundamentalist powerful political leaders tied to the military-industrial complex, such as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney. Israel's unconditional support of Washington's Cold War and subsequent anti-terrorist military offensive has further strengthened ideological and military ties between US rightwing political leaders, pro-lsraeli politicians and the leaders of the leading Jewish organizations. The politics of Washington's new imperialism coincides splendidly with the Sharon-Olmert conquest and destruction of the Occupied Territories.

Wealthy and organized Jewish organizations, compliant Congressional representatives and rightwing fundamentalist organizations are not the only financial supporters of Israel. US taxpayers have been funding the Israeli war machine with over $3 billion a year of direct assistance for over 35 years

{p. 41} (now totaling over $100 billion and continuing to mount).

Support for Israel from the US Government

Jewish support for Israel exercised in the above-mentioned sectors of American society leads in turn to an exacerbated support for Israel by the US government that is demonstrable in the lavish dispensation of US aid to Israel. As the CRS Issue Brief notes, "Israel receives favorable treatment and special benefits under U.S. assistance programs that may not be available to other countries." The CRS Issue Brief elaborates these benefits under the following topics: cash flow financing, ESF cash transfer, FMF offsets, early transfers, FMF drawdown, unique FMF funding arrangements, FMF for R&D, FMF for in-country purchase.

The data below, compiled by the CRS Issue Brief in 2004,30 provide some notion of the extent of U.S. aid and its special features:

¥ Israel has received more than $90 billion in US aid up to 2003, of which $75 billion has been in grants (i.e. non-repayable), and $15 billion in loans.

¥ Since 1985, the United States has provided $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.

¥ Resettlement assistance for Soviet and Ethiopian immigrants peaked in 1992 at $80 million, but continues to be subsidized at $60 million for 2003, $50 million in 2004 and again in 2005.

¥ In 1990, Israel requested $10 billion in loan guarantees, which would enable Israel to borrow from US commercial establishments, with their loans guaranteed against default by the US government. In 2004, a further $9 billion in loan guarantees was included in P.L. 1088-11. (NOTE: Loan guarantees is the area of financial support to Israel that the US government attacks to indicate its displeasure with Israeli settlement activities. The $10 billion authorized in loan guarantees for 1993-1996 was reduced by $774 million in penalties for settlement expansion.31 No matter: Israel only drew loans on the $10 billion worth about 6.6 billion - annulling any effect from the purported penalty.)

¥ Economic aid became all grant cash transfer in 1 981, and military aid similarly in 1985.

{p. 42} What might be called optImization techniques are employed to further increase (and disguise?) the actual extent of financing, such as:

¥ Loans with repayment waived (or a pledge to provide Israel with economic assistance equal to the amount Israel owes the United States for previous loans). Since 1974 through 2003, Israel received more than $45 billion in waived loans.

¥ Since 1982, the US pays Israel ESF funds in one lump sum early in the fiscal year, rather than in four quarterly installments, as is the usual practice with other countries. "The United States pays more in interest for the money it borrows to make lump sum payments. AID officials estimate that it cost the United States between $50 million and $60 million per year to borrow funds for the early, lump-sum payment. In addition, the U.S. government pays Israel interest on the ESF funds invested in U.S. Treasury notes, according to AID officials. It has been reported that Israel earned about $86 million in U.S. Treasury note interest in 1991.32 The practice has continued in subsequent years.

In addition, the US has supported the development of the Israeli military-defense industry, inter alia through:

¥ $625 million to develop and deploy the Arrow anti-missile missle.

¥ $1.8 billion to develop the Lavi aircraft. "On August 20, 1987, the Israeli cabinet voted to cancel the Lavi project, but asked the United States for $450 million to pay for canceled contracts. The State Department agreed to raise the FMF earmark for procurement in Israel from $300 million to $400 million to defray Lavi cancellation costs."33

¥ US military assistance for military purchases in Israel (26.3%). This meant that in 2004, $568 million in military aid could be spent in Israel. (Most US military aid is for purchases of US arms.)

Further support comes through the US government's guarantee of Israel's access to oil, via the Israel-United States Memorandum of Agreement, 1 September 1975. According to Ed Vuillamy, writing in the London Observer:

{p. 43} The memorandum has been quietly renewed every five years, with special legislation attached whereby the US stocks a strategic oil reserve for Israel even if it entailed domestic shortages - at a cost of $3 billion (£1.9bn) in 2002 to US taxpayers.34

Any major development in or initiated by Israel seems to give rise to its own "special costs" which in turn are placed at the door of the United States, whether it concerns support for the migration of Soviet or Ethiopian Jews, or withdrawal from occupied territories. In 2005, Israel moved to request American aid to cover some of the $2 billion to $3 billion cost of its "disengagement" from Gaza, but withdrew that request once hurricanes hit America's Gulf coast.35 With the ascendancy of Olmert, however, the putative costs of the disengagement plan as a whole (which was unilateral despite the US government's demand that it be negotiated) far superceded that, witness his "future intention to seek international financial assistance to defray the cost of the plan, estimated by Israeli economists at $10 billion to $25 billion. "36

Israel Bonds

Over its fifty years of existence, the sale of Israel Bonds raised some $22 billion for the State of Israel. Gideon Pratt, CEO of Israel Bonds, claims the bonds have financed over 50% of Israel's development,37 though this is clearly disputable, in view of its proportion to grants, etc. from the US government as outlined above.

According to the Development Corporation for Israel prospectus, the bonds are used for eight categories of infrastructure development projects, such as building ports, power grids, transportation, communications, etc. But as Russell Mokhiber points out:

What the prospectus does not mention, however, is that such 'development' projects also include Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Other bond revenues are transferred from the Israeli govemment's development account to its ordinary budget, to be spent on the military, the Israeli intelligence services, and other agencies, according to the statistical abstract published each year by the Israeli government.38

Rank and file trade union members might have been surprised to learn that their pension funds had been invested in Israel Bonds with below normal rates of return and higher risk. Despite the poor investment quality of

{p. 44} Israel onds, some of the largest US trade unions, employee pension funds, and major multi-national corporations have collectively loaned billions of dollars to the Israeli regime. In all cases, the decisions to purchase a foreign government's bonds were made by the trade union bosses and corporate fund managers without consulting the membership or stockholders.39 Nathan Zirkin, a financial director of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, when asked if his union would continue to purchase Israel Bonds despite Israel's repression and arrest of Palestinian trade unionists and activists, replied "Absolutely. The Palestinians didn't have a damn thing until Israel came in."40

Many of the trade unions, which are purchasers of Israeli bonds, are controlled or influenced by the Mafia. The Teamsters Union is the biggest purchaser of Israel Bonds; it is also the union which has seen more senior officials indicted for Mafia ties, illicit use of union funds, and massive robbery of membership pension funds. In this case the trade union Mafioso were buying favorable propaganda from the mass media and support from the "respectable" Jewish organizations via the purchase of Israel Bonds.

Union pension funds have also been used by trade union bureaucrats to purchase Israel Bonds. The most notorious case is the former International Ladies Garment Workers Unions (ILGWU), now called UNITE, a union whose workers are 95% Black, Hispanic, and Chinese, most earning at or below the minimum wage. UNlTE's leadership and staff is overwhelming Jewish and earning between $100,000 to $350,000 a year plus expenses.41 By channeling over $25 million in pension funds to Israel, the US workers are deprived of access to loans for housing, social services, legal defense, etc. Clearly the Jewish trade union bosses have a greater affinity for the State of Israel and its oppression of Palestinian workers than they have with their own poorly organized workers, employed under some of the worst working conditions in the US.

Israel Bond promoters, with support from Mafia-influenced corrupt trade union bosses, have sold vast holdings of Israel bonds to 1500 labor organizations at interest rates below those of other available securities and well below what most investors would expect from loans to an economically troubled foreign government like Israel. On March 22, 2002, the Jewish weekly Forward actually put a figure on that amount, quoting the director of the National Committee for Labor Israel as estimating that "the American labor community holds $5 billion in Israel Bonds."

Many factors accounted for the US trade union bosses channeling their members pension funds and union dues into Israel Bonds: political protection and respectability in being associated with Israel and its lobbyists - this was especially important to Mafia-linked and corrupt officials.

{p. 45} Ideological and ethnic ties between Jewish trade union leaders and Israel has been a second factor.

While Israel bonds may represent a diminishing factor in the contemporary Israeli economy - perhaps because the $US 10 billion loan guarantee terminated in 1998?42 - they are nonetheless still purchased and held, inter alia, by state and city governments, teachers, universities, and police in the United States, as well as 100,000 individuals.

Accomplices to Genocide

In April 2002, over 100,000 people, mostly Jews and Christian fundamentalists, marched in support of the Sharon regime in the midst of the siege of Jenin, and were addressed, inter alia, by Paul Wolfowitz, William Bennett, Hillary Clinton, Dick Armey, Rudy Giuliani, Dick Gephardt, and AFL-CIO president John Sweeney. In Israel two out of three Israelis (65 percent) polled in late April 2002 supported Sharon and almost 90 percent believed the regime's propaganda that the UN commission to investigate Israeli devastation of the Occupied Territories "will not be fair to Israel." The Israeli public, the US trade union bosses, and the American political and financial elites who financed Sharon thereby became accomplices to the crimes agalnst the Palestinian people. Obviously the shrinking minority of Jews in Israel who oppose the military machine have little or no influence in policy, in the media, or in securing overseas financial support.

Interestingly, the US did vote in favor of the resolution creating a UN investigatory commission of Israel's near total destruction of Jenin in the spring of 2003. But the UN investigation got no further than its creation. It evoked the hostility of the entire Israeli political class. Shimon Perez (then the self-styled labor moderate in Sharon's government) accused the 170-plus member United Nations Organization of "blood libel". The Israeli security cabinet decided that Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, had not met its demands for amending the mission's mandate, "so there is no possibility of beginning the inquiry...." As Alan Philips of the Daily Telegraph put it:

Apparently having lost his trial of strength with Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, Mr Annan recommended to the UN Security Council that the team - which has been waiting in Geneva for three days for permission to go to Israel - should be sent home.43

Wealthy and powerful reactionary Jews in the Diaspora also gravitated toward Sharon. Seven of the eight billionaire Russian Mafia Oligarchs have donated generously to the Israeli state, were on excellent terms with Sharon and Shimon Peres, and have no use for dissident military reservists.

{p. 46} In fact, two of these, Israeli-Russian partners of the Russian oil company, Yukos, have taken up residence in Israel to avoid Interpol Interdiction, while a third, Boris Berezovsky, though resident in London, is an Israeli citizen.44 Six out of the seven are Jews.45

Because of powerful unconditional external financial and military support primarily from influential Jews in the US, Christian Fundamentalists, the military industrial complex, Pentagon extremists, and corrupt US trade unionists, Israel is able to defy world public opinion, slander humanitarian organizations and human rights leaders, and brazenly continue its genocidal policies. Israeli leaders know "their people": they know they have unconditional supporters who have already been tested. They know that their bankers, professlonals and fundamentalists will back them up to the last murdered Palestinian: the march of the 100,000 pro-Zionists in Washington in the midst of the Jenln massacre proved it. The huge tumout of politicians at the annual AIPAC conference during the massacres in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza strip confirms that they in turn supported the butchers of Rafah.

The Zionist Power Configuration in the United States

C. Wright Mills once wrote that the US "power elite" ruled by denying it held power. The Zionist elite follows this formula, but defends itself by accusing its adversaries of being "anti-Semites" and pursuing retributive measures that would please former Senator Joseph McCarthy. The Zionist power configuration (ZPC) cannot be understood merely as the "Jewish Lobby" or even the AlPAC, as formidable as it is, with 150 full-time functionaries. The ZPC can best be understood as a complex network of interrelated formal and informal groupings, operating at the international, national, regional and local levels, and directly and systematically subordinated to the State of Israel, its power holders and key decision makers.

Influence is wielded via directinfluence by Zionist representatives in the Government (most notably in the Pentagon under Bush) both in the Executive branch as well as in the Congress, and indirectly via its use of campaign funds 1 ) to influence the selection of candidates within the two major political parties and 2) to defeat critics of Israel and reward elected officials who will toe the Israel line.

The parameters of political debate on Israel-related issues - which have broadened over time - are shaped by pervasive Zionist and Jewish organizational influence in the mass media, censoring and virulently attacking

{p. 47} critics, and pushing pro-lsrael "news" and commentaries. The mass media in the US, particularly the "respectable" New York Times, has been in the forefront of propagandizing Israeli conquest and destruction as a "defensive", "anti-terrorist war". Not a single voice or editorial in the New York Times has spoken of the mass killing of Palestinian civilians and Israel's destruction of priceless Christian historical and religious sites that go back over 2000 years.46

While Israel's war machine destroys ancient monasteries and the heritage of world culture, the pro-lsraeli mass media in the US focus their critical lenses on the scandals of the Catholic clergy. The Church's protests at the Israeli shelling of the Church of the Nativity and the murder of those seeking sanctuary are thus silenced.

The fourth circle of influence is through local and sectoral organizations, local and state Jewish federations, and through them in local professional bodies, trade unions, pension funds. Activists may be affiliated with the national apparatus and/or embedded in local "civil society". This is probably the most serious threat as it inhibits average US citizens from voicing their doubts and criticisms of Israeli policy, and mutes the effectiveness of the advocacy sector of American society, which in other arenas has assumed a critical progressive role in relation to US policy. All over the US, local editors, critical intellectuals and activists, and even doctors have been branded as "neo-Nazis" and have suffered threatening phone calls and visits by local pro-lsrael zealots - including 'respectable' members of the Jewish community. The threatened consequences usually stop discussions and/or intimidate local citizens advocating an independent and democratic foreign policy.

Moreover the ZPC's formal and informal structure has a crucial dynamic element to it: each power center interacts with the rest, creating a constant "movement" and activity, which converges and energizes both lead- ers and followers. Secondly those non-Jewish or even non-Zionist political, media and civic leaders influenced by the ZPC in turn influence their constituency, multiplying several fold the initial influence of their "hegemons". The relative absence of an informal, organized and active grassroots democratic foreign policy movement, particularly in relation to Mideast policy, had for some time given the ZPC a clear field with virtually no competitors. Only recently has it been challenged by a growing campaign for divestment from Israel which has won varying degrees of support from Christian denominations (Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians) and on university campuses - though this movement proceeds only tentatively and with much organized opposition. As an instance, the City of Somerville, MA intended to divest from Israel, then backed off after Jewish representations to city council.

Over time the same pattern of Zionist influence has manifested itself in US executive agencies. The State DepartmentÕs "Arabists are being replaced by pro-Zionists as is the case with senior civilian militarists in the

{p. 48} Pentagon, in the Mideast think tanks and the Council of Foreign Relations, among others. It should be noted that the so-called "single issue" (US-Middle East Policy) focus of the ZPC of the past has been replaced by the new Zionist strategies in the Pentagon and rightwing think tanks who link the expansion of Israeli power beyond Palestine to US-European relations (especially French bashing), US nuclear policy, and US military and energy strategy. This analytical framework is useful in understanding the US-lraq war, and macro-imperial policy as well as micro-colonial practices.

The ZPC in Action: The Iraq War

The major theoretical strategist of US World Empire is Paul Wolfowitz who first presented a detailed outline of action in 1992.47 The argument for permanent wars, unilateral action, pre-emptive warfare and colonial conquest was spelled out for the first Bush Administration, and later supported implicitly during the Clinton Administration's continued military attacks against Iraq, its unconditional backing of Israel's war against the Palestinians, the Balkan wars, and the de facto takeover of the ex-Communist states of Eastern Europe, the Baltic states and the South-Central Republics of the ex-USSR. The Clinton Administration's vigorous intervention in favor of Yeltsin's seizure of power and backing of the Russian (Jewish) Oligarchs played a major role in dismembering and weakening its former adversary to world domination. Clinton's unconditional support for Israel and more importantly, for the formulation of a Mideast strategy convergent with Israeli foreign policy was tied to three sets of policies:

1) destroying the military and economic power of one of Israel's main critics in the Mideast (Iraq) via economic boycotts, arms inspections and unilateral disarmament of Iraq, while Israel stockpiled nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction;

2) financing and arming Israeli expansion and colonization of Arab Palestine;

3) maintaining an economic boycott of Libya and Iran (supporters of the Palestinians) while subsidizing Arab client states friendly to Israel (Egypt and Jordan), whose recognition of and relations with Israel required increasing repression of opinion and resistance within those states (and further expenditures by the US in order to be accomplished).

Direct Zionist influence over US Mideast policy was shaped by Sec-

{p. 49} retary of State Madeline Albright who, while a convert from Catholicism to the more elite Episcopalian Church, benefited from her newly-discovered Jewish ancestry. Albright infamously justified the US-induced deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children during her tenure in office, declaring "It was worth it." Secretary of Defense Cohen was instrumental in promoting Israeli military dominance in the Middle East and Richard Holbrooke, a closet Zionist, was one of the most influential Clinton advisers on the Middle East "peace negotiations". President Clinton and the Democrats laid the basis for the eventual capture of US foreign policy making by the Zionists in the subsequent Bush administration by accepting Zionists in strategic foreign policy positions influencing Mideast policy and shaping US policy to fit Israeli expansionist aims.

To be sure, Clinton and his "moderate" Zionists did not threaten Israel's critics such as Saudi Arabia or the rest of the Arab countries with military attacks - as did the Bush regime dominated by the ultra-Zionist militarists. Nor did his regime follow the Israeli line of accusing all of Europe, especially France, of being anti-Semites for criticizing Israel's slaughter of Palestinians. The Clinton regime and its moderate Zionist influentials believed it was possible to establish US dominance by consulting with Europe and conservative Arab regimes and sharing the economic benefits of imperial spoils in the Mideast while supporting Israeli expansionism.

The Bush regime represented a qualitative advance in Zionist power in US policies, both foreign and domestic. The key economic policymaker was Alan Greenspan, head of the US Central Bank (Federal Reserve Bank), a long time crony of Wall Street financial interests and promoter of the major pro-lsraeli investment houses - responsible for the speculative boom and bust economy of the 1990's.

The influence on US Middle East policy of this neo-conservative cabal far exceeded their formal positions because they were backed by an array of influential Zionist academic ideologues (Kagan, Cohen, Pipes), political punits (Kristols, Krauthamer, Peretz etc) and directors of war think-tanks (Pipes, Rubin) who continue to be given constant access to the opinion pages of the major US newspapers, or interviewed as Middle East "experts" on pro-lsraeli television and radio shows - advancing their war propaganda designed to promote US defense of Israel's Middle East agenda, despite the evident quagmire in Iraq, and growing public rejection of that war. These policy and opinion makers, backed by the mass media, worked in close consultation and in tandem with the major Jewish organizations in the US and in close "consultations" with top officials in the Sharon regime - and will continue to do so with Olmert. Mossad agents, Israeli diplomats and key officials in the Sharon regime had free access to the offices of the Zionist officials in Washington and interchanged information on how to optimize Israeli interests.

Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, all the Zionists in key policy positions and their counterparts in Congress backed a US war with Iraq. After 9/

{p. 50} 11, Wolfowitz and Senator Lieberman immediately proposed a war against Iraq - demanding that the intelligence agencies "find" the connection and accusing the military of being cowards for not engaging in war to "protect" Israel. Despite Herculean efforts by Feith et al. to twist CIA and Ml reports to serve their pro-war Israeli line, their bellicose rhetoric lacked substance. They then invented the - now callously admitted - BIG LIE (by Wolfowitz) of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction threat to US security. It was a classic case, as became evident when the secret Downing Street Memo was made public, of fitting the facts to suit the policy.48

To pursue this line, the Zionists in the Pentagon bypassed the traditional military/intelligence agencies and created their own propaganda-"intelligence" agency or "Office of Special Plans". The Committee for the Liberation of I raq (CLI) was set up by Bruce Jackson, a former director of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, to press for regime change in Iraq. Other members of the CLI includush advisor Richard Perle former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and the editor of the of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol, as well as Senators John McCain and Bob Kerry.

Zionist power manifested itself first in the making of the war and then in imposing impunity on the crimes of the war makers in the government. The Zionists had knowingly painted a totally unrealistic and false picture of the war, its consequences and the likely response of the Iraqi resistance to an Israeli-style conquest and colonization - knowingly, indeed, since it was they who put the figures in place whose purported special knowledge supported their arguments. The Zionists were initially able to marginalize high military officials like General Anthony Zinni who questioned the war and opposed the way the war was launched, and the length and breadth of the engagement. They shut out all debate on who would benefit and who would lose from the war: US soldiers killed, rising oil and energy costs, huge budget deficits, and, of course, massive loss of life and property among the Iraqis.

Wolfowitz claimed that the invading army would be welcomed as liberators (evoking the liberation of Paris). Perle claimed "the Arabs" would offer little or no resistance (being a "tribal" society). Kagan claimed that "one big bomb" would silence the Arab street and public opinion.

While the US military had conducted a campaign of forced demodernization in the first Iraq War, attacking even civilian technological infrastructure related to water and sewage, in the second attack on Iraq by the Bush, Jr. administration, Feith and Wolfowitz concentrated on the destruction of Iraqi society, as such. They promoted the massive purge of the entire Iraqi civil service, professions, universities, schools and hospitals of Baathists, as well as the dismantling of the Iraqi army and dismissal of 400,000 Iraqi military and police personnel - over the shocked objections of experienced senior US military officers who had expected to work with the

{p. 51} surrendered military and administrative structre of Iraq to control the colony. This opened the way for the pillage of Iraq's complex infrastructure and historic treasures and libraries, as well as the growth of criminal gangs involved in theft, kidnap for ransom, murder and rape - activities virtually unknown under the tight Baathist regime. Rumsfeld dismissed the massive destruction of Iraqi society as the "messiness of freedom".

Many top US military officials objected, as did the first US pro- consul, former general Jay Garner, who stated that he "fell out with the Bush circle because he wanted free elections and rejected an imposed programme of privatization."49 But the Zionists in the Pentagon and their partners in crime, Rumsfeld and Cheney, were determined to dismantle the secular Iraqi state in order to institute a policy to turn Iraq into a desert kingdom - a loose collection of at least three "tribal" client mini-states based on ethnicities, religious-tribal loyalties, and forever incapable of opposing Israeli expansionism, particularly in Northern Iraq.50

However, instead of easy conquest, the 'Israel First' Pentagonistas provoked a massive popular opposition, which unified the religious and secular groups in opposition to the US occupation, and swelled the ranks of the armed resistance with thousands of discharged armed professionals. In the course of pursuing a policy of strengthening Israel's regional position, the Zionists weakened the US colonial occupation and any medium term plans to convert Iraq into a US oil colony. The result has been thousands of US military and client collaborators dead, maimed and wounded, and a burgeoning worldwide opposition, particularly in the Arab East, and among several hundred million Muslims.

The Israel First Pentagonistas successfully promoted the idea that the Israeli military and intelligence experts had a lot to teach their ignorant American counterparts on "urban warfare" and "information gathering" draw- ing on Israel's wealth of experience of over 50 years of expelling and destroying Palestinian communities and developing interrogation and torture techniques on Palestinian and Lebanese captives.51 The purpose of the Pentagon Zionists was to deepen the ties with Israel's security apparatus as part of a middle term goal of making "the cause of America" (as prostrate Presidential candidate Kerry pledged).52 The long-term goal was to leverage military security and the co-manufacture of military weaponry between the US and Israel into the Grand Scheme of a Greater Middle East US-lsrael Co-Prosperity Sphere.53 Imperial Israel would then have access to water, oil, capital and markets, which the heavily subsidized rentier

{p. 52} militarist state lacks at the moment.

The torture-interrogation techniques taught by the Israeli instructors converged nicely, updating and refining the older ClA torture manuals, more specifically introducing specificities pertaining to torturing Muslims and especially Arabs.54 But once again the Zionist-lsraeli priorities undermined US imperialist policies: the photo revelations of US soldiers torturing, raping and humiliating Iraqi prisoners discredited the US occupation worldwide, heightened Arab and Muslim resistance throughout the Middle East and discredited the Bush regime. Congressional hearings and mass media reportages even provoked a burst of public disapproval of the invasion of Iraq and Bush's handling of the occupation. Throughout the country there were calls, including from members of Congress, for Rumsfeld's resignation.

Curiously enough, there were virtually no calls for the resignation of the Israel First Pentagonistas - who were equally implicated and responsible for the mass torture of Muslim detainees. According to Newsweek, it was Douglas Feith who was actually in charge of setting policy on Iraqi detainees.55 Even in the face of this horrible crime against humanity, even in the general national outcry to investigate, impeach and hold responsible those involved, Paul Wolfowitz, the top Zionist architect of the war and responsible head (number 2) of Pentagon intelligence in the Iraq war involved in ordering the torture, has escaped official public censure, protected as he has been up to now by the pro-lsrael pundits, political fundraisers, presidential campaign fundraisers and influentials, (see Chapter Four on the expose of Seymour Hersh's expose). As for number 3, despite the fact that he is still a key subject of a Phase 11 Senate Intelligence Committee investigation on pre-war planning and post-invasion failures (Phase I focused primarily on intelligence failures), Douglas Feith was invited to teach a course on the Bush Administration's strategy behind the war on terrorism to students in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Fall 2006.

While the Mossad was later chastised for "intelligence failures" by the Israeli Knesset after release of the Steinitz Report on March 29, 2004, their Zionist counterparts in the Pentagon - Shulsky, Wolfowitz, Feith, and Abrams - however they may have been publicly criticized and even investigated, have yet to be officially and publicly reprimanded for their collaboration with the Mossad. Much will depend on an ongoing investigation by the FBI - which holds more promise than the Congressional whitewashing. As Robert Dreyfuss put it in The Nahon: "Did Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, run a covert program with operatives in high-level US government positions to

{p. 53} influence the Bush AdministrationÕs decision to go to war in Iraq? The FBI wants to know."56 In fact, the FBI appears to be one American institution which is willing to address the issue of Zionist power in America, as its efforts related to the AlPAC-spying scandal (see Chapter 5) seem to indicate.

Amid the widespread condemnation of these war crimes and the media exposure of the systematic lies of the Pentagonistas, the fear that the highly influential and visible role of the Israel Firsters might lead to an anti- lsrael backlash raised alarm bells among some of the most astute Congressional Zionists.57 Senator Frank Lautenberg (Democrat-New Jersey) a committed Zionist, called for the "replacement" of Wolfowitz and Feith in order to get them out of view and further, louder, anti-Zionist-related condemnation. The men in charge have let down the soldiers in uniform. Simply replacing Secretary Rumsfeld will change little at the Pentagon if his discredited team of advisers remains in high-level positions. It is time for us to bring in new civilian leadership at the Defense Department".58 Lautenberg made it abundantly clear whom he thought was central to the whole US war effort, from beating the war drums, to cooking the data, designing the war strategy, to micromanaging the business of interrogation-torture.

Several former top US military professionals objected to the Zionist control over US policy and their close network of collaborators. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski has given us an inside picture of the Feith/Shulsky operation whose links to the Mossad seemed closer than to the US military. The Rumsfeld-Zionist group's monopolization of military policy, war strategy, military calculations and military promotions all alienated the military high command. Some who clearly foresaw the disastrous consequences of the policies of the Israel First crowd on US global ambitions were silenced and marginalized.

It is likely that the release of the torture photos to the media was deliberately encouraged or promoted by highly placed military officials or former officials as a way of discrediting Rumsfeld and the Pentagon Zionists.59 This move severely undercut the war effort, which more and more of the military high command sees as destined to fail, but they were deterined not to become the neo-cons' scapegoats. However to gain an "honorable" withdrawal they must know that they have to remove Rumsfeld and his Zionist colleagues, whose criteria for evaluating the war has less to do with the aims and standing of the US military and more to do with Israeli expansionist goals in the Middle East.

While the Pentagon Zionists and the powerful network of pro-lsrael Jewish organizations have seen their Iraqi serial war strategy fall behind schedule, they have succeeded in securing Presidential economic sanctions against Syria and binding US political support for Sharon's (and now Olmert's) destruction and annexation of the remnant of Palestine. Moreover the leading Jewish organizations were able to secure a near unanimous vote in Congress

{p. 54} (407 to 9) in favor of BushÕs declaration supporting Israel's 'new borders' in Palestine.60 Once again the Zionist Lobby demonstrated its power - even turning Bush and Congress into self-effacing political idiots before Sharon. After Bush put all of his limited credibility in Mideast politics in his "Roadmap" for a Middle East peace accord, Sharon unilaterally declared a policy of annexation and separation" and told Bush to swallow it. All the major Jewish organizations backed Sharon's plan. Bush submitted and endorsed this, alienating virtually every European country and all Arab countries, and clearly demonstrating the slavish complicity of US policymakers who once again renounced US Middle East imperial interests in order to accommodate Israel's expansion into the remnants of Palestine. Bush's policy reversal was backed by the vast majority of Congress who are forever fearful of Zionist-Jewish retaliation for the least deviation from unconditional and total support for Israel.

During the invasion and occupation of Iraq, some Congress members have been critical of the war. Hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated their disapproval. Many Jewish Americans have participated in the protests and in some cases have led the protests. Mass media outlets have on occasion (especially after the torture expose) publicized adverse news on the war (tortures, civilian victims, wedding parties bombed, and homes and orchards bulldozed). While the US pursues the war in Iraq, the Israeli government has been equally brutal: engaging in premeditated assassination of Palestinian leaders, systematically destroying thousands of homes, farms, orchards, stores, schools, mosques and factories, and killing and maiming thousands of Palestinians activists, civilians, women and children. They have also resorted to the routine hooding, manacling and torture of detainees.

All the major pro-lsrael Jewish groups in the US, high and low, have defended all these crimes against humanity, successfully pressuring both major parties, the Congress and President, to say nothing - no protest, no investigation, no punishment. This, while the US, smarting from the exposure of torture atAbu Ghraib and pursued by the UN Committee on Torture, Amnesty International and other human rights groups, has been forced to put on trial more than 100 armed forces' staff accused of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, the scope of which in and of itself points to a practice rooted in policy.61 More perversely in the face of the Israeli mayhem, pro-lsrael Jewish groups have secured $10 billion dollars more in aid and lucrative joint-venture military contracts (no outcry here about Halliburton-type contracting).

Israel and the Right of Free Speech

There is presently an inability in America even to formulate or sustain a discourse related to the subject of Israeli influence on the United States. Such an opportunity seerned to open with the courageous publication of a

{p. 55} well-documented essay written by Professor Walt of Harvard University and Professor Mearsheimer of University of Chicago critical of the Lobby's influence on US Middle East policy. However, a virulent campaign against Mearsheimer and Walt was then waged by all the major Jewish publications and pro lsrael organizations. From the ultra-rightwing Orthodox Jewish Press (which claims to be the largest "independent" Jewish newspaper in the US), to the formerly social democratic Forward, to the Jewish Weekly, all have launched, together with all the major Jewish organizations, a propaganda campaign of defamation ("the new Protocols of Zion", "anti-Semitic", "sources from Neo-Nazi websites...") and pressure for their purge from academia.

The Jewish authoritarians have already partially succeeded. Their press releases have been published by the mass media without allowing for rebuttal by the academics under attack. Harvard University has demanded that the identification of the Harvard Kennedy School be removed from the paper. The financier of the professorial chair (in his name) which Professor Walt, as academic dean, occupies at the Harvard Kennedy School, is no longer mentioned in his publication. Ultra-Zionist and torture advocate Professor Dershowitz and his fellow Harvard zealots called into question their moral and academic qualification to teach - this concerning professors of the highest standing, with an established record at America's top universities.

In both the United States and France, legislation is being prepared to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and to criminalize as a 'hate crime' the free expression of outrage over Israeli atrocities and any criticism of the Lobby's control of US Middle East policy.62 In the US, the proposed legislation.63 would take the form of withdrawing federal funding from any academic institution where the policies of Israel are criticized.

Other attacks on American academics include the effort by Daniel pipes, director of Middle East Forum, to establish a campus blacklist througli his neo-McCarthyite Campus-Watch website. Pipes is part of a "band of neo-conservative pundits with strong allegiances to Israel [who] took on the task of launching a more focused assault on Middle East Scholars."64 This effort was but the latest in a long history of attempts to curtail academic discussion of issues that might relate to Israel.65

In New York City, a major theater production of the life of Rachael Corrie, an American humanitarian volunteer murdered in the Occupied Territories by an Israeli Defense Force soldier driving a bulldozer, was cancelled because of Jewish pressure and financial threats. The theater admitted that the cancellation had to do with the "sensitivities" (and pocket book) of the Israel-Firsters. Even the progressive magazine, Mother Jones, went to the

{p. 56} trouble of running an article critical of Corrie, heading it:

NEWS: Martyr, idiot, dedicated, deluded. Why did this American college student crushed by an Israeli bulldozer put her life on the line? And did it matter?66

The pro-lsrael lobby's defense and support of a minority opinion in favor of Middle East aggression is now extending its authoritarian reach into undermining the basic right of Americans to free and open expression. There is no group of investors or financiers willing to fund a civil rights campaign in defense of free speech, academic and artistic freedom, to counter the minority Zionist financial and professional elite.

The leaders of the peace movement, both Jews and non-Jews, reject any effort to include Israel's genocidal war against Palestine for fear of alienating the "public" (read the major Jewish organizations) and the self-styled progressive Jews, who are ever protective of everything Jewish - even war crimes. Worse still, with a few rare exceptions, the "progressive" Jewish critics of the war and Israel are forever and adamantly determined to avoid criticizing the role of powerful Zionist policymakers in the government, their ties to Israel and the significant support they receive from the major Jewish organizations in all matters which pertain directly or remotely to Israeli interests.

With blind simplicity, they all see Israel as simply a "tool" of the US for weakening the Arabs in the service of US oil interests. Apparently they have never consulted US petrol CEOs, advisers or investment brokers, who all agree that US support for Israel is destabilizing the region, threatening oil supplies, boosting prices to US consumers and creating enemies out of Arab client rulers who invest in the US, buy US currency to keep it from collapsing, and raise OPEC quotas to help lower US prices. By its blind support for Israeli colonial brutality, the US has alienated several hundred million Muslims, millions of Arabs of all faiths, the great majority of Europeans, Afncans and Asians, thereby heightening US global isolation. The American alliance with Israel has been one of the world's greatest energizers of anti-imperialist movements, crossing racial, religious and gender boundaries.

Even the crude, virulent anti-European ideology propagated by Israeli ideologues and their transmission belt Jewish organizations in the US and Europe has influenced the US government. At a time when Muslims and Arabs are conquered and persecuted, with thousands jailed and many "dis-

{p. 57} appeared" by the US, Israeli and European governments, Secretary of State Powell convened a meeting in Europe on the rising danger of ... "anti-Semitism"! ! And the UN, under Kofi Annan, followed suit with its own meeting on 'anti-Semitism' during the ongoing devastation in the Rafah refugee camps in the Gaza Strip! The major Jewish organizations repeat the Sharon and now Olmert line that "anti-Zionists" are "anti-Semites" - and it becomes es- tablished policy in the US and in some countries of Europe. .. to the point that individuals critical of Zionism are fired, cultural institutions are pressured into censoring anti-Zionist events and creating a general culture of fear of offending the hegemonic Jewish organizations. Even Webster's recent dictionary equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Surprisingly, in the midst of this, the major Jewish organizations in France openly condemned the manufactured hysteria as an Israeli mechanism to encourage the migration of French Jews to Israel.67

Jews in North America, South America and Europe are disproportionately in the highest paid positions, with the highest proportion in the exclusive, prestigious private universities, with disproportionate influence in finance and the media. It is clear that "anti-Semitism" is a very marginal global issue and, in point of fact, that Jews are the most influential ethnic group.

The tragic myopia or perverse refusal of leftist Jews to face up to the prejudicial role of the major Zionist and Jewish groups promoting the Israel First policy and imposing it on the electoral agendas substantially undermines their and our efforts to secure peace and justice in the Middle East and to forge a democratic US foreign policy.


1 The U.S Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 indicates that terrorism is on the rise, with the bulk of the increase in Iraq.

2 Tom Regan, "Report: US war costs could top $2 trillion", Christian Science Monitor January 10, 2006.

3 As Bernhard Zand points out, "On the eve of the war, Iraq was pumping about 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day. In the first three months of this year, the rate of export was just over 1.7 billion barrels." See Bernard Zand, "On the Verge of Collapse," Der Speigel, May 1, 2006.

4 Steven Graham, "Switching Cities Off", Routledge, 2005.

5 "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, et al, Institute of Advanced Strategic and Politlcal Studles. 1996.

6 There are actually numerous contenders for this epithet. See Kevin Drum, ''Political Animal", Washington Monthly, May 16, 2006, who lists Anastasio Somosa, Francisco Franco and Dominican dictator Trujillo. Geoffrey Kemp, head of the National Security Council is cited as the source of the epithet in relation to Saddam. See Judith Miller and Laurie Mylroie, Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf, New York, Times Books 1990, p. 85.

7 See Akiva Eldar, "Infrasiructures Minister Paritzky dreams of Iraqi Oil Flowing to Haifa", Haaretz, March 31, 2003.

{p. 58} 8 Amiram Cohen, "US checking the possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa via Jordan", Haaretz, August 23, 2003.

9 This pipeline, once the Mosul-Haifa pipeline, closed in 1948 with the advent of the Zlonist state, Is now resurrected as the Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline. Our source for the maps is, though they appear elsewhere on the internet.

10 US Financial Aid to Israel: Facts, Figures and Impacts, Washington Peport on Middle East Affairs. 2004

11 Forty years later, on June 8, 2005, the USS LibertyVeterans Association filed a formal report with the US Department of Defense of War Crimes Committed Against U.S. Military Personnel on June 8, 1967 by elements of the Israeli military forces.

12 James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the U/tra-Secret National Security Agency, Doubleday, New York, 2001.

13 James Ennes, Assault on the LibertK Random House, 1980. See also Statements by Ward Boston, Jr., Captain, JAGG USN (Ret), January 9, 2004 and Admira! Thomas Moorer, USN (Ret) January 11, 2003.

14 Alison Wier, "Russia, Israel and Media Omissions",, February 7,

15 Washington Report on Middle EastAffairs, Pro-lsrael PAC Contributions to 2002 Congressional Candidates, June 2003.

16 See Carl Cameron Investigates (Parts 1-4) Fox News Network, Dec. 17, 2001, available at <>.

17 Compare this to the Bush Administration's prosecution and heated call for the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui, for just such a pre-knowledge of 9/11 and failure to forewarn.

18 Richard Reid, the ex-con and would-be shoe bomber, convicted for trying to blow up an American Airlines passenger jet over the Atlantic in December 2001, man- aged to enter Israel on an El Al flight despite his unusual background, BBC News,

19 See Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Llfe and Murder of a Media Mogul, (Caroll and Graf, New York, 2002) for in depth discussion of the powerful media links with Israel.

{no endnote 20}

21 Frankel, Glenn, "Prison Tactics a Longtime Dilemma for Israel", Washington Post, June 16, 2004, p. A01.

22 National Public Radio Interview, October 2004

23 New York Times, December 28 2001, p. 19

24 CBS News September 20,2002.

25 Gideon Levy,"Compensate settlers for what?", Haaretz, June 15, 2004.

26 Congressional Research Service Issue Brief for Congress titled "Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance" by Clyde R. Mark, updated July 12, 2004. Order code IB86055.

27 See Global Income Per Capita 2005, compiled from World Bank Development Indlcators, at <>

28 The EU's effort to curtail duty-free imports by Israel of goods produced in the Occupied Territories was resolved by its decision to charge duty on products labeled, say, "made in Ariel, Israel" but not on those marked "made in Tel Aviv, Israel". "It appears to save Israeli face by using the word 'Israel' to describe the location of the settlements, but allows the EU to make its point by charging a tariff on goods produced beyond the pre-1967 Green Line", noted the August 5, 2004 Reuters article "EU, Israel resolve trade dispute over settlements". However Reuters might more significantly have pointed out that this decision resulted in the EU offlcially referring to contested territories as being in Israel.

29 Eli Kintisch, "Group Raising Millions to Launch a Christian AIPAC", Forward, June 21, 2002. Kintisch writes:

While a handful of pro-lsrael Christian groups exist around the country, Reed and Eckstein believe their connections and the International Fellowship's $30 million annual budget will bring heighten advocacy for the Jewish state.

{p. 59} "It's always been an informal relationship," Reed said of the Christian right's ties with Israel. Reed added that organizations such as the Christian Coalition had always taken pro-lsrael positions, but "it was always one of 25 issues."

What Stand for Israel would add to the pro-lsrael mix, Eckstein said, is the ability to mobilize the groups' 100,000 affiliated churches and 250,000 donors to call into Washington at crucial times.

30 Supra, endnote 26.

31 The CRS Issue Brief for Congress by Clyde R. Mark pointed out that "no US aid can be used by Israel in the occupied territories because the United States does not want to foster the appearance [sic] of endorsing Israel's annexation of the territories without negotiations [italics added]."

32 CRS Issue Brief, supra, endnote 26.

33 CRS Issue Brief, supra, endnote 26, p. 9.

34 Ed Vuillamy, "Israel Seeks Pipeline for Iraqi Oil", The Observer, April 23, 2003. Also see endnote 7, supra.

35 Ori Nir, "Olmert Begins to Lay Out Unilateral Plan", Forward, May 19, 2006.

36 Ibid.

37 Avi Machlis, "As Israel Bonds turn 50, Is once critical role waning?", Jewish News Weekly, June 16, 2000.

38 Ibid.

39 "Israel Bonds Raise $130 million from US Labor', Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2001. See also "El Al Moves to Avoid Tiff with Big LaborÑSharon Steps in", Forward, Feb. 21 2003.

40 Russel Mokkiber, "Bonds of Affection", Multinational Monitor1988. See <>

41 Rachel Donadio, "Talking the Talk at Jewish Labor Dinner", Forward, March 22, 2004; see also Robert Fitch, "The Question of Corruption", Metro Labor Press Association, October 21, 1999, and Robert Fitch, Testimony, House of Representatives, Hearing on Workplace Competitiveness, March 31, 1998.

42 "Since 1995 the Israeli government has secured a foothold on international markets in order to create alternative stable financing frameworks following the end of a $10 billion U.S. Ioan-guarantee program in 1998." Machlis, supra

43 Alan Philips, "UN Team to disband as Jenin inquiry is derailed", Daily Telegraph, May 1, 2002. Weir, supra, endnote 14. Uri Avnery, cited in Weir, Ibid.

46 William Dalrymple, From the Holy Mountain, Harper Collins,1997. Chapter 5 chronicles the systematic devastation of the ancient Orthodox Christian communities in Israel and the Occupied Territories, including the Armenians.

47 Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 fiscal years, February 18, 1992.

48 "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." See the secret Downing Street Memo, posted on Information Clearing House website at <>

49 David Leigh, "General Sacked by Bush Says He Wanted Early Elections", Guardian, March 18, 2004. However, as Robert Dreyfuss noted, "For more than a decade, both during his military service and then in retirement, Garner established a pattern of close ties to the Israeli military and its U.S. supporters. Forward, the English-language version of the venerable Yiddish weekly newspaper, recently carried a headline referring to Garner that read, 'Pro-lsraeli general will oversee reconstruction of postwar Iraq.'" Robert Dreyfuss, "Humpty Dumpty in Baghdad", American Prospect, May 1, 2003. Since Garner was also a member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and must have been fully aware of the true program he had been chosen to implement, the actual reasons for his removal may lie elsewhere.

{p. 60} 50 "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, et al, Institute of Advanced Strategic and Politlcal Studles. 1996. See also Leslie Gelb, "The Three-State Solution", New York Times, November 25, 2003 and Seymour Hersh, "Plan B", The New Yorker, June 28, 2004 on Israeli activity in Kurdish Northern Iraq.

51 Glenn Frankel, "Prison Tactics A Longtime Dilemma for Israel", Washington Post June 16, 2004.

52 John Kerry, Perspectives: An Israel Review, Brown University Publication, No- vember 19, 2003.

53 How this might shape up is foreshadowed in the new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Jordan, which has already been described as having descended into "human trafficking and involuntary servitude" by the National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights.

54 Matthew Clark, "Concrete, razor wire, ID cards", Christian Science Monitor December 8, 2003.

55 Newsweek Magazine, June 7, 2004, p. 35.

56 Robert Dreyfuss, "Agents of Influence", The Nation, October 4, 2004.

57 See Haaretz, April 24, 2004 where Israeli deputy ambassador to UN, Arye Mekel complained that criticisms "only enhance suspicions ... Iinking us with Iraq where we have no business", and Nathan Guttman, I'Prominent US Jews and Israel Blamed for Start of Iraq War", Haaretz, May 31, 2004.

58 Newsday, May13,2004.

59 Martin Sieff, "Army, CIA want torture truths exposed", United Press International May 18, 2004.

60 "Sharon praises US on West Bank Refugees", Haaretz, June 25, 2004.

61 "US Gives New Details on Iraql, Afghan Abuse Probes", Reuters, May 8, 2006.

62 Canada and some other European countries that claim to honor free speech have already passed laws making "Holocaust denial" a criminal offense. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (whose Jewish wife is related to the prominent Swedish Raoul Wallenburg family) stated that the world must challenge those who deny the Holocaust happened.

63 The International Studies in Higher Education Act (HR 3077) passed the House in 2003 and is presently with a Senate Committee.

64 Joel Beinin "The new American McCarthyism: policing thought about the Middle East", Race and Class, Vol. 46(1), p. 104.

65 Beinin's article includes a valuable history of the intimidation of American academ- ics in relation to issues pertinent to Israel. Ibid.

66 Joshua Hammer, "The Death of Rachel Corrie", Mother Jones, September-Octo- ber 2003.

67 Xavier Ternisien, "Des responsables communautaires protestant contre un "plan" israllen Incitant les juif francais a emigrer," Le Monde, June 17, 2004.

{End Petras Material}.

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