It isn’t looking so good for the War Party. As things fall apart on the ground in Iraq, a similar process of disintegration is occurring on the home front. It seems as if there are almost daily defections from the ranks, and as the blame game gets underway our war birds are turning on each other, with Donald “Super-Stud” Rumsfeld, once hailed as the War Party’s answer to George Clooney, now in the neocons’ crosshairs. As for our commander in chief, his poll numbers are at an all-time low, and he seems to have retreated so deeply into a world of delusion that not even the outbreak of full-scale civil war in Iraq can shock him out of his mental catatonia.
Worse yet, as the ostensible rationales for the invasion of Iraq are debunked and fall by the wayside, the War Party’s real motivation for bringing about what Gen. William E. Odom has rightly called the biggest strategic disaster in our history has come out in the wash. “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” a study by John J. Mearsheimer, the doyen of foreign policy realism, and Stephen M. Walt, dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, has blasted the scales from our eyes. While not falling into the trap of identifying the efforts of “the Lobby” as the sole reason for the radicalization of U.S. foreign policy in the post-9/11 era, their research clearly shows that this was the decisive factor.
I have to say that this conclusion was fairly obvious early on: after all, if all the other rationalizations WMD, Iraq’s alleged links to al-Qaeda, uranium-pilfering in Niger were pure bunk, then, by means of a simple process of elimination, we come to the geopolitical explanation as the only logical alternative. If the U.S. is systematically dismantling regimes from Baghdad to Beirut to Tehran and perhaps beyond then the primary geostrategic beneficiary leaps out at any objective analyst. As I put it way back in 2003:
“The Iraq war, as we are beginning to discover, had nothing to do with ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ zero to do with al-Qaeda, and zilch to do with implanting ‘democracy’ in the inhospitable soil of Iraq. The first phase of the second Yom Kippur War is revealing, in action, the strategic doctrine at the heart of U.S. Middle Eastern policy: the installation of Israel as regional hegemon.”
Another good sign is the wellspring of hysteria that has arisen in the wake of the study’s publication. Already Alan Dershowitz has smeared the distinguished authors as anti-Semites, and the Usual Suspects have launched a deafening chorus of caterwauling. Among the “arguments” raised by the study’s detractors: David Duke has praised it, the Washington office of Fatah is handing out copies, and the Muslim Brotherhood likes it, too. None of which proves anything except for the thesis, advanced by the study’s authors, that the role of the Lobby is to prevent any objective analysis and rational discussion of the very “special relationship” Israel enjoys with key U.S. policymakers.
The Mearsheimer-Walt study is an important step in identifying how and why we are bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire, but it is only a first step. The second, third, and fourth steps will come as we unravel the complex web of lies that lured us in on a variety of pretexts. What were the sources of the phony “intelligence” that made U.S. policymakers believe or pretend to believe Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” primed to launch at a moment’s notice? More importantly, how did this ersatz data get pumped into the U.S. intelligence stream, and who injected it? As I wrote two years ago:
“The concept of the Iraq war as a successful Israeli covert operation is altogether plausible. It would hardly be the first time a foreign government made a concerted effort to drag us into war on their side. “
Those who are crying the loudest about this study are the same people who, when confronted with the news of an FBI raid two of them! on the headquarters of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobby that has long dominated the debate of Middle East policy on Capitol Hill, were either uncharacteristically silent or else in total denial. The arrest of Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, and charges of spying on behalf of Israel lodged against longtime AIPAC leader and spark plug Steve Rosen, and his associate Keith Weissman, should have alerted even the most loyal pro-Israel stalwarts that where there’s so much smoke there has to be some real fire. Seen as background to the mid-April trial of Rosen and Weissman, the Mearsheimer-Walt study throws some real light on a situation that has long been untenable and may now be finally coming to a head.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
Speaking of the effort to drag us into war on Israel’s behalf, I see that The American Conservative has put my piece, “Hillary the Hawk,” online. While this very canny politician takes every opportunity to condemn the Bush administration for misleading the American people on Iraq, she is equally opportunistic when it comes to a very similar effort by the War Party to menace Iran. And all too many “antiwar” Democrats are falling for it, I’m afraid: perhaps my piece will do something to open their eyes.
In any case, I apologize for the brevity of this column: I’m in the middle of preparing for a 10-day trip to New York and Connecticut, where I’ll be speaking to the Yale Political Union on April 12. I’m also working on a book, tentatively titled The Bizarro War, which expands on my thesis that 9/11 blasted us into an alternate reality where the rules of logic are inverted and the insane is the “rational.”
So check out “Hillary the Hawk,” and the rest of that issue of The American Conservative, too: there is some really great stuff in there, especially this, and this, and certainly this not to mention this, and that.