Sunday, March 24, 2013

A better day

Every blue moon or so, somebody writes something smart:  "A parade of characters and causes led the US to war in Iraq" by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad:
"A survey of the stories appearing in the immediate aftermath of September 11, linking Iraq to the attacks, reveals an almost exclusively neoconservative provenance.
Most of the stories I have seen cite unsubstantiated claims by one person, neocon ideologue Laurie Mylroie. Her theories were aggressively promoted inside government by Paul Wolfowitz, who also assigned his protégé Douglas Feith to find material to support Ms Mylroie's claims.
Mr Feith established two ad hoc offices - the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans - to manufacture the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection and evidence of Iraq's alleged WMDs. He was assisted by exiles and con-men of the Iraqi National Congress and, more significantly in my view, by The New York Times correspondent Judith Miller, co-author with Ms Mylroie of a 1991 book on Iraq.
Meanwhile, neocon linchpin Richard Perle arranged for Mr Cheney to be personally briefed on multiple occasions by orientalist doyen Bernard Lewis, who assured the revanchist vice president that the only language Arabs understood was force. "Shock and awe" was the natural corollary.
But what of oil? For all its prima facie plausibility, the "war-for-oil" thesis seems to satisfy the test neither of logic nor evidence. In 2003, Iraq wasn't withholding its oil, it was being embargoed. The oil companies had spent a decade lobbying not for war, but for lifting of the sanctions. Minds might have changed by 2003, but there were many means available, less costly and more predictable than war.
At least three times in the six months leading up to war, Saddam Hussein had made desperate efforts to preserve his power by offering the US privileged access to Iraqi oil. Oil companies got on the bandwagon only after war had become inevitable, though not without trepidation. They all feared the destabilisation that might follow.
For Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld, the primary motivation was not oil, but the war's demonstrative effect - a sanguine assertion of US military power, to intimidate any rogue who might consider harming the US by handing WMDs to terrorists. For Bush, according to most insiders, the chief motor was his simplistic, messianic belief in fighting an "evil" regime - a regime that had earlier bedevilled his father. He was also flattered by advisers and Iraqi exiles into embracing his new role as a leader of men, liberator of peoples, bestower of democracy.
It is possible that Mr Bush, Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld would have decided to invade Iraq without neoconservative encouragement. But without their help it was unlikely that the war party could have overcome the resistance of the hesitant military, intelligence and diplomatic establishments. In their social cohesion, ideological coherence and dominance of the national security apparatus, and with the resources and institutional support of the wider Israel lobby, the neoconservatives had advantages unavailable to any other faction.
In the long paper trail the neoconservatives left over the previous decade - particularly the two policy papers Mr Perle, Mr Feith and David Wurmser wrote for Benjamin Netanyahu's first government - ideas that Mr Wurmser later elaborated in his 1998 book Tyranny's Ally - these motivations are unequivocally stated.
Neoconservatism has its ideological roots in revisionist Zionism, and so it gives Israel high priority. For the neocons, the war was desirable because it would fragment a potentially powerful Arab state and leave Israel's real nemesis, Iran, more vulnerable. It would also leave the Palestinians more isolated and amenable to compromise. For them the road to Jerusalem ran through Baghdad"
This is so much better than the 'war for oil' crap I usually have to wade through.  'War for oil' has reappeared ten years later for the same old reason, to protect the guilty.  Remember 'War for no oil?'?

"Obama’s heckler asked about Rachel Corrie, not Jonathan Pollard":
"I am told that Wolf Blitzer propagated the Pollard error." 
"Wolf Blitzer, AIPAC, and the Saudi Peace Initiative" by James Abourezk

"Author barred from Libya for being Jewish" Hilarious as this might be, it can't be quite right, as he was to travel with the Jew Sarko.  Speaking of which, isn't this a peculiar time for Sarko to be visiting Libya?  Is the Bettencourt story - one that will almost certainly go nowhere - supposed to deflect attention from the Libya story?

"Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky found dead in his Berkshire home at 67"

"Putin foe Berezovsky dead, circumstances 'unexplained'"
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