Tuesday, October 11, 2005

George Packer on Iraq

From a very positive review by Gary Kamiya, Salon's executive editor, of a new book by George Packer, "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq", on the debacle of the attack on Iraq and its aftermath, referring to Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, and Abrams (my emphasis in bold):

"Almost all these figures, starting with Scoop Jackson, shared a key obsession: Israel. 'In 1996, some of the people in Perle's circle had begun to think about what it would mean for Saddam Hussein to be removed from the Middle East scene. 'They concluded it would be very good for Israel,' Packer writes. 'Perle chaired a study group of eight pro-Likud Americans, including Douglas Feith, who had worked under Perle in the Reagan administration, and David Wurmser, who was the author of the paper produced under the group's auspices . . . Afterwards the group was pleased enough with its work to send the paper to the newly elected Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.' The paper, 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,' advocated smashing the Palestinians militarily, removing Saddam from power, and installing a Hashemite king on the Iraq throne.

The dangerous absurdity of this scheme (elements of which appeared in a later book by Perle and Bush speechwriter David Frum, modestly titled 'An End to Evil') did not prevent it from being accepted by high officials of the Bush administration. 'A few weeks before the start of the Iraq War, a State Department official described for me what he called the 'everybody move over one theory': Israel would annex the occupied territories, the Palestinians would get Jordan, and the Jordanian Hashemites would be restored to the throne of Iraq,' Packer writes. The neocons were out-Likuding the Likud: Even Ariel Sharon had long abandoned his beloved 'Jordan is Palestine' idea. That Douglas Feith, one of the ideologues who subscribed to such lunatic plans (the departing Colin Powell denounced Feith to President Bush as 'a card-carrying member of the Likud') was in charge of planning for Iraq is almost beyond belief.

'Does this mean that a pro-Likud cabal insinuated its way into the high councils of the U.S. government and took hold of the apparatus of American foreign policy to serve Israeli interests (as some critics of the war have charged, rather than addressing its merits head on?)' Packer asks. 'Is neoconservative another word for Jewish (as some advocates of the war have complained, rather than addressing their critics head on)?' Packer does not answer the first question directly, but he makes it clear that the intellectual origins of the war were inseparably tied to neocon concerns about Israel. 'For Feith and Wurmser, the security of Israel was probably the prime mover . . . The idea of realigning the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein was first proposed by a group of Jewish policy makers and intellectuals who were close to the Likud. And when the second President Bush looked around for a way to think about the uncharted era that began on September 11, 2001, there was one already available.'"

and, on the Office of Special Plans:

"As plans for war raced ahead, a secret new unit was being set up in the Pentagon, overseen by Douglas Feith and his deputy, William Luti, who was such a maniacal hawk that his colleagues called him 'Uber-Luti.' (At a staff meeting, Luti once called retired Gen. Anthony Zinni a traitor for questioning the Iraq war.) The secret unit was called the Office of Special Plans, and it was charged with planning for Iraq. Packer's account of this office is chilling. Its main purpose was to cook up intelligence to justify the war, which was then 'stovepiped' directly to Dick Cheney's neocon chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby (who has now been linked to the Valerie Plame scandal). Its cryptic name as well as its opposition to the traditional intelligence agencies, which had failed to deliver the goods on Saddam, reflected the views of its director, Abram Shulsky, a former Perle aide, housemate of Wolfowitz's at Cornell, and student of the Chicago classics professor Leo Strauss. Strauss, around whom a virtual cult had gathered, had famously discussed esoteric and hidden meanings in great works, and Shulsky wrapped himself in the lofty mantle of his former professor to justify the secret and 'innovative' approach of the OSP.

In fact, besides feeding bogus intelligence from Iraqi exile sources into the rapacious craw of the White House, the OSP was nothing but a spin machine to prepare the way to war: No actual 'planning' was done."

and, fitting closely to my general theory about long-term Israeli plans:

"'Shiite power was the key to the whole neoconservative vision for Iraq,' Packer notes. 'The convergence of ideas, interests, and affections between certain American Jews and Iraqi Shia was one of the more curious subplots of the Iraq War . . . the Shia and the Jews, oppressed minorities in the region, could do business, and . . . traditional Iraqi Shiism (as opposed to the theocratic, totalitarian kind that had taken Iran captive) could lead the way to reorienting the Arab world toward America and Israel.'"

Amazing stuff. Even more amazing are revelations that the complete lack of planning for the aftermath of the war was intentional, based on neo-con fears that allowing real experts to explain the difficulties might actually prevent the war from occurring. In fact, the real experts were systematically purged from the system by the neocons, an act which should in itself result in all the neocons being jailed for treason (hobbling the American military thinking process in order to benefit a foreign country is clearly treason).

Only a short while ago, you would be the vilest of vile anti-Semites for even thinking this way, but the idea that the disastrous American attack on Iraq was the product of treasonous Israeli agents in the American government working directly for the Likud is becoming mainstream thinking. What would be nice is if we could stop realizing the truth only two or three years late (read the 'conspiracy theorists' if you want to be ahead of the curve!), and put a stop now to the fact that these same traitors are still working to cause a civil war in Iraq, good for the Likudniks but extremely bad for the United States, the Middle East, and the world.