None of this Iran attack stuff makes any sense until you understand who now owns and controls U.S. policy making and the US mainstream media. You owe it to yourself to get this background information -- The U.S. Ruling Establishment.

This is serious folks.  There's too much evidence that an attack on Iran is pending in accordance with the 'A Clean Break'/war for Israel agenda which Bamford discusses on pages 261-269/321 of his 'A Pretext for War' book.  See below.

- Christopher


Wed, 25 Oct 2006 08:13:31 -0500


"Ron Corvus" <>  


Bush Iran War Plans - 4 Strike Groups in the Persian Gulf


"TruePatriotsUnite" <>


Finally, it occurs to me that a hot war in the Middle East would provide ideal cover for sweeping flawed or rigged midterm election results under the White House carpet and denying calls for investigation of election irregularities.  As I diaried last week, 'The president fully intends to maintain control of the House and the Senate'.  A hot war with Iran, Syria and Lebanon would certainly give a pretext to "maintaining control". - Ron

Bush Iran War Plans - 4 Strike Groups in the Persian Gulf

by LondonYank

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 04:31:23 AM PDT

Bad news.  Very bad news.  Another expeditionary strike group will imminently enter the Persian Gulf where it will join the Enterprise, Eisenhower and Iwo Jima strike groups.

"We have been through spring practice, now the game is on."
- Capt. David Angood, Composite Warfare Commander (CWC) for USS Boxer (LHD 4) Expeditionary Strike Group

Add to this growing concern that the White House decision for war has already been made, despite military reservations.

Add to this the Iran-Syria Operations Group at the State Department under Elizabeth Cheney.

Add to this a parallel Iran Directorate at the Pentagon under neocon Abram Shulsky.

That totals to the means, motive and opportunity for the biggest war crime
since the last unprovoked invasion by these war criminals.

Bush Orders Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower and Additional Navy Ships To Iran 's Western Coast

Iran: The Next War:

Powell believes that JINSA Neocons have hijacked the Pentagon via Rumsfeld:


Access the following links:

The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel

SCANDAL: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks:

James Morris <> wrote:

U.S. blames Iran, Syria for Iraq violence (right in accordance with 'A Clean Break' neocon agenda which wants to go after Syria and Iran next for Israel - if only a majority of Americans could know what I and some others know, but the pro-Israel biased US press/media won't tell them as we march to war against Syria and Iran sooner rather than later as well - a military draft will have to be instated for such though):


U.S. blames Iran, Syria for Iraq violence

By Paul Holmes

2 hours, 16 minutes ago

America's civilian and military leaders in Iraq linked Iran and Syria with al Qaeda on Tuesday as forces trying to tear the country apart and prevent the United States from establishing a stable democracy.

The comments from ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey were among the strongest U.S. officials have leveled against Iraq's two neighbors over alleged support for armed groups behind much of the bloodshed.

Khalilzad depicted the struggle to build a united, democratic Iraq as "the defining challenge of our era" and said it would shape the future of the Middle East and global security.

"Those forces that constitute the extremist camp including not only al Qaeda but Iran and Syria are at work to keep us and the Iraqis from succeeding," Khalilzad told a rare joint news conference with Casey, two weeks before U.S. Congressional elections.

"They fear Iraq's success. They want to undermine our resolve by imposing costs on us in terms of prolonging the conflict, imposing casualties and creating the perception that Iraq cannot be stabilized," Khalilzad said.

Al Qaeda and Iraq's "foreign rivals" were trying to tear the Iraqi people apart along sectarian lines, Khalilzad said, naming Iran and Syria as countries that "cynically support rival groups involved in the violence."

Iran, which has close religious ties to Iraq's majority Shi'ite population, and Syria, largely Sunni Muslim, both deny supporting armed groups in Iraq.


Khalilzad called the news conference to answer mounting questions in the United States about U.S. strategy in Iraq ahead of elections on November 7 that opinion polls suggest could cost President George W. Bush's Republicans control of Congress.

Khalilzad said the United States had asked Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to encourage Sunni insurgent groups to end the violence and join the political process.

"These countries have promised to be helpful," he said.

Casey called both Syria and Iran "decidedly unhelpful."

Violence in Iraq has spiraled this year in a frenzy of sectarian killings that Casey and Khalilzad blamed on al Qaeda, insurgents, rival militias and death squads.

Khalilzad said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, had told him that the radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr supported government efforts to disband party militias.

"We will see what happens," he added.

Sadr controls the powerful Mehdi Army militia, which Sunni leaders and U.S. officials blame for some of the worst atrocities in the conflict. It has also been involved in fighting among Shi'ites in the southern town of Amara.

Sadr disowns violence in his name but is fiercely opposed to the U.S. occupation and has been seen this year as among the closest of the Iraqi Shi'ite leaders to the Iranian leadership.

Khalilzad and Casey last appeared together at a news conference in Baghdad on June 8 following the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. Casey said the Zarqawi group had been weakened but remained lethal.

October is already the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq since last November, with 88 killed so far. Casey said 300 Iraqi soldiers and police had also been killed during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which is now ending.


'A Clean Break'(War for Israel) agenda of the Likudnik JINSA/CSP/PNAC Neocons
(pages 261-269 of James Bamford's 'A Pretext for War' book")

Then Bush addressed the sole items on the agenda for his first high level national security meeting. The topics were not terrorism--a subject he barely mentioned during the campaign --or nervousness over China or Russia, but Israel and Iraq. From the very first moment, the Bush foreign policy would focus on three key objectives: get rid of Saddam, end American involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and rearrange the dominoes in the Middle East. A key to the policy shift would be the concept of pre-emption.

The Blueprint for the new Bush policy had actually been drawn up five years earlier by three of his top national security advisors. Soon to be appointed to senior administration positions, they were Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser. Ironically the plan was orginally intended not for Bush but for another world leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the time, the three officials were out of government and working for conservative pro-Israel think tanks. Perle and Feith had previously served in high level Pentagon positions during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In a very unusual move, the former--and future--senior American officials were acting as a sort of American privy council to the new Israeli Prime Minister. The Perle task force to advise Netanyahu was set up by the Jerusalem based Institute for Advanced Stategic and Political Studies, where Wurmser was working. A key part of the plan was to get the United States to pull out of peace negotiations and simply let Israel take care of the Palestinians as it saw fit. "Israel," said the report, can manage it's own affairs. Such self-reliance will grant Israel greater freedom of action and remove a significant lever of pressure used against it in the past.

But the centerpiece of the recommendations was the removal of Saddam Hussein as the first step in remaking the Middle East into a region friendly, instead of hostile, to Israel. Their plan "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," also signaled a radical departure from the peace-oriented policies of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a member of an extreme right-wing Israeli group.

As part of their "grand strategy" they recommended that once Iraq was conquered and Saddam Hussein overthrown, he should be replaced by a puppet leader friendly to Israel. Whoever inherits Iraq, they wrote, dominates the entire Levant strategically. Then they suggested that Syria would be the next country to be invaded. Israel can shape it's strategic environment, they said.

This would be done, they recommended to Netanyahu, by re-establishing the principle of pre-emption and by rolling back it's Arab neighbors. From then on, the principle would be to strike first and expand, a dangerous and provocative change in philosophy. They recommended launching a major unprovoked regional war in the Middle East, attacking Lebanon and Syria and ousting Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Then, to gain the support of the American government and public, a phony pretext would be used as the reason for the original invasion.

The recommendation of Feith, Perle and Wurmser was for Israel to once again invade Lebanon with air strikes. But this time to counter potentially hostile reactions from the American government and public, they suggested using a pretext. They would claim that the purpose of the invasion was to halt Syria's drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure located there. They were subjects in which Israel had virtually no interest, but they were ones, they said, with which America can sympathize.

Another way to win American support for a pre-emptive war against Syria, they suggested, was by drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program. This claim would be that Israel's war was really all about protecting Americans from drugs, counterfeit bills, and WMD--nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

It was rather extraordinary for a trio of former, and potentially future, high-ranking American government officials to become advisors to a foreign government. More unsettling still was a fact that they were recommending acts of war in which Americans could be killed, and also ways to masquerade the true purpose of the attacks from the American public.

Once inside Lebanon, Israel could let loose--to begin engaging Hizballah, Syria and Iran, as the principle agents of aggression in Lebanon. Then they would widen the war even further by using proxy forces--Lebanese militia fighters acting on Israel's behalf (as Ariel Sharon had done in the 80's)--to invade Syria from Lebanon. Thus, they noted, they could invade Syria by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

As soon as that fighting started, they advised, Israel could begin striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper [emphasis in original].

The Perle task force even supplied Nentanyahu with some text for a television address, using the suggested pretext to justify the war. Years later, it would closely resemble speeches to justify their own Middle East wars; Iraq would simply replace Syria and the United Staes would replace Israel: Negotiations with repressive regimes like Syria's require cautious realism. One cannot sensibly assume the other side's good faith. It is dangerous for Israel to deal naively with a regime murderous of its own people, openly aggressive towards its neighbors, criminally involved with international drug traffickers and counterfeiters, and supportive of the most deadly terrorist organizations.

The task force then suggested that Israel open a second front in its expanding war, with a focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq--an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right--as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions.

For years the killing of Saddam Hussein had been among the highest, and most secret, priorities of the Israeli government. In one stroke it would pay Saddam Hussein back for launching Scud missiles against Israel, killing several people, during the Gulf War. Redrawing the map of the Middle East would also help isolate Syria, Iraq's ally and Israel's archenemy along its northern border. Thus, in the early 1990's, after the US-led war in the Gulf, a small elite team of Israeli commandos was given the order to train in absolute secrecy for an assassination mission to bring down the Baghdad ruler.

The plan, code-named Bramble Bush, was to first kill a close friend of the Iraqi leader outside the country, someone from Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. Then, after learning the date and time of the funeral to be held in the town, a funeral Hussein was certain to attend, they would have time to covertly infiltrate a team of commandos into the country to carry out the assassination. The murder weapons were to be specially modified "smart" missiles that would be fired at Hussein as he stood in a crowd at the funeral.

But, the plan was finally abandoned after five members of the team were accidently killed during a dry run of the operation. Nevertheless, removing Saddam and converting Iraq from threat to ally had long been at the top of Israel's wish list.

Now Perle, Feith, and Wurmser were suggesting something far more daring--not just an assassination but a bloody war that would get rid of Saddam Hussein and also change the face of Syria and Lebanon. Perle felt their "Clean Break" recommendations were so important that he personally hand-carried the report to Netanyahu.

Wisely, Netanyahu rejected the task force' plan. But now, with the election of a receptive George W. Bush, they dusted off their pre-emptive war strategy and began getting ready to put it to use.

The new Bush policy was an aggressive agenda for any president, but especially for someone who had previously shown little interest in international affairs. We're going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict, Bush told his freshly assembled senior national security team in the Situation Room on January 30, 2001. We're going to tilt it back toward Israel. . . .Anybody here ever met Ariel Sharon? Only Colin Powell raised his hand.

Bush was going to reverse the Clinton policy, which was heavily weighted toward bringing the bloody conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to a peaceful conclusion. There would be no more US interference; he would let Sharon resolve the dispute however he saw fit, with little or no regard for the situation of the Palestinians. The policy change was exactly as recommended by the Perle task force's "Clean Break" report.

I'm not going to go by past reputations when it comes to Sharon, Bush told his newly gathered national security team. I'm going to take him at face value. We'll work on a relationship based on how things go. Then he mentioned a trip he had taken with the Republican Jewish Coalition to Israel. We flew over the Palestinian camps. Looked real bad down there, he said with a frown. Then he said it was time to end America's efforts in the region. I don't see much we can do over there at this point, he said.

Colin Powell, Secretary of State for only a few days, was taken by surprise. The idea that such a complex problem, in which America had long been heavily involved, could be simply brushed away with the sweep of a hand made little sense. Fearing Israeli-led aggression, he quickly objected.

He stressed that a pullback by the United States would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army, recalled Paul O'Neill, who had be sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury by Bush only hours before and seated at the table. Powell told Bush, the consequences of that could be be dire, especially for the Palestinians. But Bush just shrugged. Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things, he said. Powell seemed startled, said O'Neill.

Over the following months, to the concern of Powell, the Bush-Sharon relationship became extremely tight. This is the best administration for Israel since Harry Truman, said Thomas Neuman, executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs "JINSA" a pro-Israel advocacy group. In an article in the Washington Post titled "Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Middle East Policy," Robert G. Kaiser noted the dramatic shift in policy.

For the First time, wrote Kaiser, a US administration and a Likud government in Israel are pursuing nearly identical policies. Earlier US administrations, from Jimmy Carter through Bill Clinton's, held Likud and Sharon at arm's length, distancing the United States from Likud's traditionally tough approach to the Palestinians. Using the Yiddish term for supporters of Sharon's political party to the new relationship between Bush and Sharon, a senior US government official told Kaiser, "The Likudniks are really in charge now."

With America's long struggle to bring peace to the region quickly terminated, George W. Bush could turn his attention to the prime focus of his first National Security Council meeting; ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein. Condoleezza Rice led off the discussion. But rather than mention anything about threats to the United States or weapons of mass destruction, she noted only that Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region. The words were practically lifted from the "Clean Break" report, which had the rather imperial-sounding subtitles: "A New Strategy for Securing the Realm."

Then Rice turned the meeting over to CIA Director George Tenet, who offered a grainy overhead picture of a factory that he said "might" be a plant "that produced either chemical or biological materials for weapons manufacture." There were no missiles or weapons of any kind, just some railroad tracks going to a building; truck activity; and a water tower--things that can be found in virtually any city in the US. Nor were there any human intelligence or signals intelligence reports. There was no confirming intelligence, Tenet said.

It was little more than a shell game. Other photo and charts showed US air activity over the "no fly-zone," but Tenet offered no more intelligence. Nevertheless, in a matter of minutes the talk switched from a discussion about very speculative intelligence to which targets to begin bombing in Iraq.

By the time the meeting was over, Treasury Secretary O'Neill was convinced that "getting Hussein was now the administration's focus, that much was already clear," But, O'Neill believed, the real destabilizing factor in the Middle East was not Saddam Hussein but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--the issue Bush had just turned his back on. Ten years after the Gulf War, said O'Neill, "Hussein seemed caged and defanged. Clearly, there were many forces destabilizing the region, which we were now abandoning."

The war summit must also have seemed surreal to Colin Powell, who said little during the meeting and had long believed that Iraq had not posed a threat to the United States. As he would tell German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer just a few weeks later, "What we and other allies have been doing in the region, have succeeded in containing Saddam Hussein and his ambitions. . . .Containment has been a successful policy."

In addition to the "Clean Break" recommendations, David Wurmser only weeks before the NSC meeting had further elaborated on the way the United States might go about launching a pre-emptive war throughout the Middle East. America's and Israel's responses must be regional not local, he said. Israel and the United Staes should adopt a coordinated strategy, to regain the initiative and reverse their region-wide strategic retreat. They should broaden the conflict to strike fatally, not merely disarm, the center of radicalism in the region--the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran, Tripoli, and Gaza. That would re-establish the recognition that fighting with either the US or Israel is suicidal. Many in the Middle East will then understand the merits of being an American ally and of making peace with Israel.

In the weeks and months following the NSC meeting, Perle, Feith and Wurmser began taking their places in the Bush administration. Perle became chairman of the reinvigorated and powerful Defence Policy Board, packing it with like-minded neoconservative super-hawks anxious for battle. Feith was appointed to the highest policy position in the Pentagon, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. And Wurmser moved into a top policy position in the State Department before later becoming Cheney's top Middle East expert.

With the Pentagon now under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz--both of whom had also long believed that Saddam Hussein should have been toppled during the first Gulf War--the war planners were given free reign. What was needed, however, was a pretext--perhaps a major crisis. Crisis can be opportunities, wrote Wurmser im his paper calling for an American-Israeli pre-emptive war throughout the Middle East.

Seeing little reason, or intelligence justification, for war at the close of the inaugural National Security Council meeting, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was perplexed. Who, exactly, was pushing this foreign policy? He wondered to himself. And "why Saddam, why now, and why [was] this central to US interests?"


'A Clean Break'/war for Israel agenda mentioned via the following as well:

Whose War?

A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest.

by Patrick J. Buchanan

The War Party may have gotten its war. But it has also gotten something it did not bargain for. Its membership lists and associations have been exposed and its motives challenged. In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: “Can you assure American viewers ... that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?”

Suddenly, the Israeli connection is on the table, and the War Party is not amused. Finding themselves in an unanticipated firefight, our neoconservative friends are doing what comes naturally, seeking student deferments from political combat by claiming the status of a persecuted minority group. People who claim to be writing the foreign policy of the world superpower, one would think, would be a little more manly in the schoolyard of politics. Not so.

Former Wall Street Journal editor Max Boot kicked off the campaign. When these “Buchananites toss around ‘neoconservative’—and cite names like Wolfowitz and Cohen—it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is ‘Jewish conservative.’” Yet Boot readily concedes that a passionate attachment to Israel is a “key tenet of neoconservatism.” He also claims that the National Security Strategy of President Bush “sounds as if it could have come straight out from the pages of Commentary magazine, the neocon bible.” (For the uninitiated, Commentary, the bible in which Boot seeks divine guidance, is the monthly of the American Jewish Committee.)

David Brooks of the Weekly Standard wails that attacks based on the Israel tie have put him through personal hell: “Now I get a steady stream of anti-Semitic screeds in my e-mail, my voicemail and in my mailbox. ... Anti-Semitism is alive and thriving. It’s just that its epicenter is no longer on the Buchananite Right, but on the peace-movement left.”

Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan endures his own purgatory abroad: “In London ... one finds Britain’s finest minds propounding, in sophisticated language and melodious Oxbridge accents, the conspiracy theories of Pat Buchanan concerning the ‘neoconservative’ (read: Jewish) hijacking of American foreign policy.”

Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic charges that our little magazine “has been transformed into a forum for those who contend that President Bush has become a client of ... Ariel Sharon and the ‘neoconservative war party.’”

Referencing Charles Lindbergh, he accuses Paul Schroeder, Chris Matthews, Robert Novak, Georgie Anne Geyer, Jason Vest of the Nation, and Gary Hart of implying that “members of the Bush team have been doing Israel’s bidding and, by extension, exhibiting ‘dual loyalties.’” Kaplan thunders:

The real problem with such claims is not just that they are untrue. The problem is that they are toxic. Invoking the specter of dual loyalty to mute criticism and debate amounts to more than the everyday pollution of public discourse. It is the nullification of public discourse, for how can one refute accusations grounded in ethnicity? The charges are, ipso facto, impossible to disprove. And so they are meant to be.

What is going on here? Slate’s Mickey Kaus nails it in the headline of his retort: “Lawrence Kaplan Plays the Anti-Semitic Card.”

What Kaplan, Brooks, Boot, and Kagan are doing is what the Rev. Jesse Jackson does when caught with some mammoth contribution from a Fortune 500 company he has lately accused of discriminating. He plays the race card. So, too, the neoconservatives are trying to fend off critics by assassinating their character and impugning their motives.

Indeed, it is the charge of “anti-Semitism” itself that is toxic. For this venerable slander is designed to nullify public discourse by smearing and intimidating foes and censoring and blacklisting them and any who would publish them. Neocons say we attack them because they are Jewish. We do not. We attack them because their warmongering threatens our country, even as it finds a reliable echo in Ariel Sharon.

And this time the boys have cried “wolf” once too often. It is not working. As Kaus notes, Kaplan’s own New Republic carries Harvard professor Stanley Hoffman. In writing of the four power centers in this capital that are clamoring for war, Hoffman himself describes the fourth thus:

And, finally, there is a loose collection of friends of Israel, who believe in the identity of interests between the Jewish state and the United States. … These analysts look on foreign policy through the lens of one dominant concern: Is it good or bad for Israel? Since that nation’s founding in 1948, these thinkers have never been in very good odor at the State Department, but now they are well ensconced in the Pentagon, around such strategists as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.

“If Stanley Hoffman can say this,” asks Kaus, “why can’t Chris Matthews?” Kaus also notes that Kaplan somehow failed to mention the most devastating piece tying the neoconservatives to Sharon and his Likud Party.

In a Feb. 9 front-page article in the Washington Post, Robert Kaiser quotes a senior U.S. official as saying, “The Likudniks are really in charge now.” Kaiser names Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith as members of a pro-Israel network inside the administration and adds David Wurmser of the Defense Department and Elliott Abrams of the National Security Council. (Abrams is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, editor emeritus of Commentary, whose magazine has for decades branded critics of Israel as anti-Semites.)

Noting that Sharon repeatedly claims a “special closeness” to the Bushites, Kaiser writes, “For the first time a U.S. administration and a Likud government are pursuing nearly identical policies.” And a valid question is: how did this come to be, and while it is surely in Sharon’s interest, is it in America’s interest?

This is a time for truth. For America is about to make a momentous decision: whether to launch a series of wars in the Middle East that could ignite the Clash of Civilizations against which Harvard professor Samuel Huntington has warned, a war we believe would be a tragedy and a disaster for this Republic. To avert this war, to answer the neocon smears, we ask that our readers review their agenda as stated in their words. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. As Al Smith used to say, “Nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.”

We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.

Not in our lifetimes has America been so isolated from old friends. Far worse, President Bush is being lured into a trap baited for him by these neocons that could cost him his office and cause America to forfeit years of peace won for us by the sacrifices of two generations in the Cold War.

They charge us with anti-Semitism—i.e., a hatred of Jews for their faith, heritage, or ancestry. False. The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a “passionate attachment” to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.

The Neoconservatives

Who are the neoconservatives? The first generation were ex-liberals, socialists, and Trotskyites, boat-people from the McGovern revolution who rafted over to the GOP at the end of conservatism’s long march to power with Ronald Reagan in 1980.

A neoconservative, wrote Kevin Phillips back then, is more likely to be a magazine editor than a bricklayer. Today, he or she is more likely to be a resident scholar at a public policy institute such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) or one of its clones like the Center for Security Policy or the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). As one wag writes, a neocon is more familiar with the inside of a think tank than an Abrams tank.

Almost none came out of the business world or military, and few if any came out of the Goldwater campaign. The heroes they invoke are Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, Martin Luther King, and Democratic Senators Henry “Scoop” Jackson (Wash.) and Pat Moynihan (N.Y.).

All are interventionists who regard Stakhanovite support of Israel as a defining characteristic of their breed. Among their luminaries are Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett, Michael Novak, and James Q. Wilson.

Their publications include the Weekly Standard, Commentary, the New Republic, National Review, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Though few in number, they wield disproportionate power through control of the conservative foundations and magazines, through their syndicated columns, and by attaching themselves to men of power.

Beating the War Drums

When the Cold War ended, these neoconservatives began casting about for a new crusade to give meaning to their lives. On Sept. 11, their time came. They seized on that horrific atrocity to steer America’s rage into all-out war to destroy their despised enemies, the Arab and Islamic “rogue states” that have resisted U.S. hegemony and loathe Israel.

The War Party’s plan, however, had been in preparation far in advance of 9/11. And when President Bush, after defeating the Taliban, was looking for a new front in the war on terror, they put their precooked meal in front of him. Bush dug into it.

Before introducing the script-writers of America’s future wars, consider the rapid and synchronized reaction of the neocons to what happened after that fateful day.

On Sept. 12, Americans were still in shock when Bill Bennett told CNN that we were in “a struggle between good and evil,” that the Congress must declare war on “militant Islam,” and that “overwhelming force” must be used. Bennett cited Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and China as targets for attack. Not, however, Afghanistan, the sanctuary of Osama’s terrorists. How did Bennett know which nations must be smashed before he had any idea who attacked us?

The Wall Street Journal immediately offered up a specific target list, calling for U.S. air strikes on “terrorist camps in Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Algeria, and perhaps even in parts of Egypt.” Yet, not one of Bennett’s six countries, nor one of these five, had anything to do with 9/11.

On Sept. 15, according to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, “Paul Wolfowitz put forth military arguments to justify a U.S. attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan.” Why Iraq? Because, Wolfowitz argued in the War Cabinet, while “attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain … Iraq was a brittle oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable.”

On Sept. 20, forty neoconservatives sent an open letter to the White House instructing President Bush on how the war on terror must be conducted. Signed by Bennett, Podhoretz, Kirkpatrick, Perle, Kristol, and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, the letter was an ultimatum. To retain the signers’ support, the president was told, he must target Hezbollah for destruction, retaliate against Syria and Iran if they refuse to sever ties to Hezbollah, and overthrow Saddam. Any failure to attack Iraq, the signers warned Bush, “will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.”

Here was a cabal of intellectuals telling the Commander-in-Chief, nine days after an attack on America, that if he did not follow their war plans, he would be charged with surrendering to terror. Yet, Hezbollah had nothing to do with 9/11. What had Hezbollah done? Hezbollah had humiliated Israel by driving its army out of Lebanon.

President Bush had been warned. He was to exploit the attack of 9/11 to launch a series of wars on Arab regimes, none of which had attacked us. All, however, were enemies of Israel. “Bibi” Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister of Israel, like some latter-day Citizen Genet, was ubiquitous on American television, calling for us to crush the “Empire of Terror.” The “Empire,” it turns out, consisted of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, and “the Palestinian enclave.”

Nasty as some of these regimes and groups might be, what had they done to the United States?

The War Party seemed desperate to get a Middle East war going before America had second thoughts. Tom Donnelly of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) called for an immediate invasion of Iraq. “Nor need the attack await the deployment of half a million troops. … [T]he larger challenge will be occupying Iraq after the fighting is over,” he wrote.

Donnelly was echoed by Jonah Goldberg of National Review: “The United States needs to go to war with Iraq because it needs to go to war with someone in the region and Iraq makes the most sense.”

Goldberg endorsed “the Ledeen Doctrine” of ex-Pentagon official Michael Ledeen, which Goldberg described thus: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business.” (When the French ambassador in London, at a dinner party, asked why we should risk World War III over some “shitty little country”—meaning Israel—Goldberg’s magazine was not amused.)

Ledeen, however, is less frivolous. In The War Against the Terror Masters, he identifies the exact regimes America must destroy:

First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia. … Once the tyrants in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have been brought down, we will remain engaged. …We have to ensure the fulfillment of the democratic revolution. … Stability is an unworthy American mission, and a misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize.

Rejecting stability as “an unworthy American mission,” Ledeen goes on to define America’s authentic “historic mission”:

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. … [W]e must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

Passages like this owe more to Leon Trotsky than to Robert Taft and betray a Jacobin streak in neoconservatism that cannot be reconciled with any concept of true conservatism.

To the Weekly Standard, Ledeen’s enemies list was too restrictive. We must not only declare war on terror networks and states that harbor terrorists, said the Standard, we should launch wars on “any group or government inclined to support or sustain others like them in the future.”

Robert Kagan and William Kristol were giddy with excitement at the prospect of Armageddon. The coming war “is going to spread and engulf a number of countries. … It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid. … [I]t is possible that the demise of some ‘moderate’ Arab regimes may be just round the corner.”

Norman Podhoretz in Commentary even outdid Kristol’s Standard, rhapsodizing that we should embrace a war of civilizations, as it is George W. Bush’s mission “to fight World War IV—the war against militant Islam.” By his count, the regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil (Iraq, Iran, North Korea). At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as ‘“friends” of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority. Bush must reject the “timorous counsels” of the “incorrigibly cautious Colin Powell,” wrote Podhoretz, and “find the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated” Islamic world. As the war against al-Qaeda required that we destroy the Taliban, Podhoretz wrote,

We may willy-nilly find ourselves forced … to topple five or six or seven more tyrannies in the Islamic world (including that other sponsor of terrorism, Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority). I can even [imagine] the turmoil of this war leading to some new species of an imperial mission for America, whose purpose would be to oversee the emergence of successor governments in the region more amenable to reform and modernization than the despotisms now in place. … I can also envisage the establishment of some kind of American protectorate over the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, as we more and more come to wonder why 7,000 princes should go on being permitted to exert so much leverage over us and everyone else.

Podhoretz credits Eliot Cohen with the phrase “World War IV.” Bush was shortly thereafter seen carrying about a gift copy of Cohen’s book that celebrates civilian mastery of the military in times of war, as exhibited by such leaders as Winston Churchill and David Ben Gurion.

A list of the Middle East regimes that Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Netanyahu, and the Wall Street Journal regard as targets for destruction thus includes Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and “militant Islam.”

Cui Bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam?

Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.

Indeed, Sharon has been everywhere the echo of his acolytes in America. In February 2003, Sharon told a delegation of Congressmen that, after Saddam’s regime is destroyed, it is of “vital importance” that the United States disarm Iran, Syria, and Libya.

“We have a great interest in shaping the Middle East the day after” the war on Iraq, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations. After U.S. troops enter Baghdad, the United States must generate “political, economic, diplomatic pressure” on Tehran, Mofaz admonished the American Jews.

Are the neoconservatives concerned about a war on Iraq bringing down friendly Arab governments? Not at all. They would welcome it.

“Mubarak is no great shakes,” says Richard Perle of the President of Egypt. “Surely we can do better than Mubarak.” Asked about the possibility that a war on Iraq—which he predicted would be a “cakewalk”—might upend governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, former UN ambassador Ken Adelman told Joshua Micah Marshall of Washington Monthly, “All the better if you ask me.”

On July 10, 2002, Perle invited a former aide to Lyndon LaRouche named Laurent Murawiec to address the Defense Policy Board. In a briefing that startled Henry Kissinger, Murawiec named Saudi Arabia as “the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent” of the United States.

Washington should give Riyadh an ultimatum, he said. Either you Saudis “prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror chain, including the Saudi intelligence services,” and end all propaganda against Israel, or we invade your country, seize your oil fields, and occupy Mecca.

In closing his PowerPoint presentation, Murawiec offered a “Grand Strategy for the Middle East.” “Iraq is the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot, Egypt the prize.” Leaked reports of Murawiec’s briefing did not indicate if anyone raised the question of how the Islamic world might respond to U.S. troops tramping around the grounds of the Great Mosque.

What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel. They want the peace of the sword imposed on Islam and American soldiers to die if necessary to impose it.

Washington Times editor at large Arnaud de Borchgrave calls this the “Bush-Sharon Doctrine.” “Washington’s ‘Likudniks,’” he writes, “have been in charge of U.S. policy in the Middle East since Bush was sworn into office.”

The neocons seek American empire, and Sharonites seek hegemony over the Middle East. The two agendas coincide precisely. And though neocons insist that it was Sept. 11 that made the case for war on Iraq and militant Islam, the origins of their war plans go back far before.

“Securing the Realm”

The principal draftsman is Richard Perle, an aide to Sen. Scoop Jackson, who, in 1970, was overheard on a federal wiretap discussing classified information from the National Security Council with the Israeli Embassy. In Jews and American Politics, published in 1974, Stephen D. Isaacs wrote, “Richard Perle and Morris Amitay command a tiny army of Semitophiles on Capitol Hill and direct Jewish power in behalf of Jewish interests.” In 1983, the New York Times reported that Perle had taken substantial payments from an Israeli weapons manufacturer.

In 1996, with Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, Perle wrote “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” for Prime Minister Netanyahu. In it, Perle, Feith, and Wurmser urged Bibi to ditch the Oslo Accords of the assassinated Yitzak Rabin and adopt a new aggressive strategy:

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right—as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria’s regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq.

In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel’s enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad. Their plan, which urged Israel to re-establish “the principle of preemption,” has now been imposed by Perle, Feith, Wurmser & Co. on the United States.

In his own 1997 paper, “A Strategy for Israel,” Feith pressed Israel to re-occupy “the areas under Palestinian Authority control,” though “the price in blood would be high.”

Wurmser, as a resident scholar at AEI, drafted joint war plans for Israel and the United States “to fatally strike the centers of radicalism in the Middle East. Israel and the United States should … broaden the conflict to strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the region—the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tehran, and Gaza. That would establish the recognition that fighting either the United States or Israel is suicidal.”

He urged both nations to be on the lookout for a crisis, for as he wrote, “Crises can be opportunities.” Wurmser published his U.S.-Israeli war plan on Jan. 1, 2001, nine months before 9/11.

About the Perle-Feith-Wurmser cabal, author Michael Lind writes:

The radical Zionist right to which Perle and Feith belong is small in number but it has become a significant force in Republican policy-making circles. It is a recent phenomenon, dating back to the late 1970s and 1980s, when many formerly Democratic Jewish intellectuals joined the broad Reagan coalition. While many of these hawks speak in public about global crusades for democracy, the chief concern of many such “neo-conservatives” is the power and reputation of Israel.

Right down the smokestack.

Perle today chairs the Defense Policy Board, Feith is an Undersecretary of Defense, and Wurmser is special assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, John Bolton, who dutifully echoes the Perle-Sharon line. According to the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz, in late February,

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials … that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards.

On Jan. 26, 1998, President Clinton received a letter imploring him to use his State of the Union address to make removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime the “aim of American foreign policy” and to use military action because “diplomacy is failing.” Were Clinton to do that, the signers pledged, they would “offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.” Signing the pledge were Elliott Abrams, Bill Bennett, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz. Four years before 9/11, the neocons had Baghdad on their minds.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

In 1992, a startling document was leaked from the office of Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon. Barton Gellman of the Washington Post called it a “classified blueprint intended to help ‘set the nation’s direction for the next century.’” The Wolfowitz Memo called for a permanent U.S. military presence on six continents to deter all “potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” Containment, the victorious strategy of the Cold War, was to give way to an ambitious new strategy designed to “establish and protect a new order.”

Though the Wolfowitz Memo was denounced and dismissed in 1992, it became American policy in the 33-page National Security Strategy (NSS) issued by President Bush on Sept. 21, 2002. Washington Post reporter Tim Reich describes it as a “watershed in U.S. foreign policy” that “reverses the fundamental principles that have guided successive Presidents for more than 50 years: containment and deterrence.”

Andrew Bacevich, a professor at Boston University, writes of the NSS that he marvels at “its fusion of breathtaking utopianism with barely disguised machtpolitik. It reads as if it were the product not of sober, ostensibly conservative Republicans but of an unlikely collaboration between Woodrow Wilson and the elder Field Marshal von Moltke.”

In confronting America’s adversaries, the paper declares, “We will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively.” It warns any nation that seeks to acquire power to rival the United States that it will be courting war with the United States:

[T]he president has no intention of allowing any nation to catch up with the huge lead the United States has opened since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago. … Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing or equaling the power of the United States.

America must reconcile herself to an era of “nation-building on a grand scale, and with no exit strategy,” Robert Kagan instructs. But this Pax Americana the neocons envision bids fair to usher us into a time of what Harry Elmer Barnes called “permanent war for permanent peace.”

The Munich Card

As President Bush was warned on Sept. 20, 2001, that he will be indicted for “a decisive surrender” in the war on terror should he fail to attack Iraq, he is also on notice that pressure on Israel is forbidden. For as the neoconservatives have played the anti-Semitic card, they will not hesitate to play the Munich card as well. A year ago, when Bush called on Sharon to pull out of the West Bank, Sharon fired back that he would not let anyone do to Israel what Neville Chamberlain had done to the Czechs. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy immediately backed up Ariel Sharon:

With each passing day, Washington appears to view its principal Middle Eastern ally’s conduct as inconvenient—in much the same way London and Paris came to see Czechoslovakia’s resistance to Hitler’s offers of peace in exchange for Czech lands.

When former U.S. NATO commander Gen. George Jouwlan said the United States may have to impose a peace on Israel and the Palestinians, he, too, faced the charge of appeasement. Wrote Gaffney,

They would, presumably, go beyond Britain and France’s sell-out of an ally at Munich in 1938. The “impose a peace” school is apparently prepared to have us play the role of Hitler’s Wehrmacht as well, seizing and turning over to Yasser Arafat the contemporary Sudetenland: the West Bank and Gaza Strip and perhaps part of Jerusalem as well.

Podhoretz agreed Sharon was right in the substance of what he said but called it politically unwise to use the Munich analogy.

President Bush is on notice: Should he pressure Israel to trade land for peace, the Oslo formula in which his father and Yitzak Rabin believed, he will, as was his father, be denounced as an anti-Semite and a Munich-style appeaser by both Israelis and their neoconservatives allies inside his own Big Tent.

Yet, if Bush cannot deliver Sharon there can be no peace. And if there is no peace in the Mideast there is no security for us, ever—for there will be no end to terror. As most every diplomat and journalist who travels to the region will relate, America’s failure to be even-handed, our failure to rein in Sharon, our failure to condemn Israel’s excesses, and our moral complicity in Israel’s looting of Palestinian lands and denial of their right to self-determination sustains the anti-Americanism in the Islamic world in which terrorists and terrorism breed.

Let us conclude. The Israeli people are America’s friends and have a right to peace and secure borders. We should help them secure these rights. As a nation, we have made a moral commitment, endorsed by half a dozen presidents, which Americans wish to honor, not to permit these people who have suffered much to see their country overrun and destroyed. And we must honor this commitment.

But U.S. and Israeli interests are not identical. They often collide, and when they do, U.S. interests must prevail. Moreover, we do not view the Sharon regime as “America’s best friend.”

Since the time of Ben Gurion, the behavior of the Israeli regime has been Jekyll and Hyde. In the 1950s, its intelligence service, the Mossad, had agents in Egypt blow up U.S. installations to make it appear the work of Cairo, to destroy U.S. relations with the new Nasser government. During the Six Day War, Israel ordered repeated attacks on the undefended USS Liberty that killed 34 American sailors and wounded 171 and included the machine-gunning of life rafts. This massacre was neither investigated nor punished by the U.S. government in an act of national cravenness.

Though we have given Israel $20,000 for every Jewish citizen, Israel refuses to stop building the settlements that are the cause of the Palestinian intifada. Likud has dragged our good name through the mud and blood of Ramallah, ignored Bush’s requests to restrain itself, and sold U.S. weapons technology to China, including the Patriot, the Phoenix air-to-air missile, and the Lavi fighter, which is based on F-16 technology. Only direct U.S. intervention blocked Israel’s sale of our AWACS system.

Israel suborned Jonathan Pollard to loot our secrets and refuses to return the documents, which would establish whether or not they were sold to Moscow. When Clinton tried to broker an agreement at Wye Plantation between Israel and Arafat, Bibi Netanyahu attempted to extort, as his price for signing, release of Pollard, so he could take this treasonous snake back to Israel as a national hero.

Do the Brits, our closest allies, behave like this?

Though we have said repeatedly that we admire much of what this president has done, he will not deserve re-election if he does not jettison the neoconservatives’ agenda of endless wars on the Islamic world that serve only the interests of a country other than the one he was elected to preserve and protect. 




A closer look:
The Israeli origins of Bush II's war


 Graphically formatted correctly at


While the neoconservatives were the driving force behind the American invasion of Iraq and the consequent efforts to bring about regime change throughout the Middle East, the idea for such a war did not originate with American neocon thinkers but rather in Israel. An obvious linkage exists between the war position of the neocons and what has long been a strategy of the Israeli Right and, to a lesser extent, of the Israeli mainstream.

The idea of a Middle East war had been bandied about in Israel for many years as a means of enhancing Israeli security. War would serve two purposes. It would enhance Israel's external security by weakening and splintering Israel's neighbors. Moreover, such a war and the consequent weakening of Israel's external enemies could help resolve the internal Palestinian demographic problem, since the Palestinian resistance has derived material and moral support from Israel's neighboring states.

A brief look at the history of the Zionist movement and its goals will help to provide an understanding of this issue. The Zionist goal of creating an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine was complicated by the fundamental problem that the country was already settled with a mostly non-Jewish population. Despite public rhetoric to the contrary, the idea of expelling the indigenous Palestinian population (euphemistically referred to as a "transfer") was an integral part of the Zionist effort to found a Jewish national state in Palestine.

"The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings, first appearing in Theodore Herzl's diary," Israeli historian Tom Segev observes. "In practice, the Zionists began executing a mini-transfer from the time they began purchasing the land and evacuating the Arab tenants.... 'Disappearing' the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence.... With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer — or its morality." However, the Zionist leaders learned not to publicly proclaim their goal of mass expulsion because "this would cause the Zionists to lose the world's sympathy." [1]

The challenge was to find an opportune time to initiate the mass-expulsion process when it would not incur the world's condemnation. In the late 1930s, Ben-Gurion wrote: "What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out — a whole world is lost." [2] Those "revolutionary times" would come with the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, when the Zionists were able to expel 750,000 Palestinians (more than 80 percent of the indigenous population) and thus achieve an overwhelmingly Jewish state, though the area did not include the entirety of Palestine, or the "Land of Israel," which Zionist leaders thought necessary for a viable country.

The opportunity to grab additional land came as a result of the 1967 war; however, the occupation of that territory brought with it the problem of a large Palestinian population. World opinion was now totally opposed to forced population transfers, equating such an activity with the unspeakable horror of Nazism. According to Norman Finkelstein, the landmark Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified in 1949, had "unequivocally prohibited deportation" of civilians under occupation. [3] Since the 1967 war, the major issue in Israeli politics has been what to do with that conquered territory and its Palestinian population.

Because Israel's neighbors opposed the Zionist project of creating an exclusivist Jewish state, the idea of weakening and dissolving those neighbors was not an idea just of the Israeli Right but a central Zionist goal from a much earlier period, promoted by David Ben-Gurion himself. As Saleh Abdel-Jawwad, a professor at Birzeit University in Ramallah, Palestine, writes:

Israel has supported secessionist movements in Sudan, Iraq, Egypt, and Lebanon and any secessionist movements in the Arab world which Israel considers an enemy. Yet the concern for Iraq and [Israel's] attempts to weaken or prevent it from developing its strengths has always been a central Zionist objective. At times, Israel succeeded in gaining a foothold in Iraq by forging secret yet strong relationships with leaders from the Kurdish movement. [4]

Israel's goal has been not simply to weaken external enemies, but, by so doing, also isolate and weaken the position of the Palestinians — the internal demographic threat that poses the greatest danger to the Jewish-supremacist state. The reason for this is that the Arab states provide spiritual and material aid to the Palestinian cause. Without outside aid the Palestinians would give up hope and be more apt to acquiesce in whatever solution the Israeli government might offer. Abdel-Jawwad writes: "Sequential wars with the Arab world have given Israel opportunities to exhaust the Arab world, as well as tipping the demographic and political situation against Palestinians. Even regional wars which Israel has not participated in have benefited Israel and weakened the Palestinian national movement. The first and second Gulf War are a few examples."

Abdel-Jawwad continues: "Finally, the ... Gulf War of 1991 resulted in the expulsion of the Palestinian community from Kuwait, which formed one of the primary arteries of Palestinian income and power in the occupied territories." [5]


                                                                     With the coming to power of the right-wing Likud government in 1977 under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel would pursue
                                                                     a more militant policy whereby war would be seen as the major means of improving Israel's geostrategic situation. The departure of
                                                                     relatively moderate Cabinet ministers after 1980 reinforced that hard-line orientation. Historian Ilan Peleg refers to this dramatic change
                                                                     as the start of
Israel's "second republic." [6] He writes:

Begin quickly deserted the traditional defensive posture [of the Israeli Left], of which he was highly critical in the first three decades of Israel when he was in the opposition. He adopted an offensive posture characterized by grandiose expansionist goals, extensive and frequent use of Israel's military machine, and political compellence [sic] rather than military deterrence as a controlling factor. Begin's final objective was to create a new, Israeli-dominated order in the Middle East, an order that would have as one of its elements nominal autonomy for the West Bank Palestinians. For the purpose of shaping the new order, he was willing to shift from a position of deterrence and prevention, which characterized Labor's defense policy, to a position of compellence and control. His was a Clausewitzian approach, the use of warfare for purely political goals. [7]

The Right had not governed Israel before 1977, and while there was not a total dichotomy between the Left and Right regarding internal and external relations with Arabs, the Israeli Right was the more militant in its policies toward the Palestinians and toward Israel's Arab neighbors. Those policies rested on strong ideological roots.

The Israeli Right originated in Revisionist Zionism, whose founder and spiritual guide was the gifted writer Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Its policies were characterized by the quest for "Eretz Israel" — which entailed, at the minimum, complete Jewish control of all land on both sides of the Jordan River; and also accorded primacy to military force in foreign-policy matters. Peleg writes: "Jabotinsky's approach to the conflict came to be dominated by popular ideas of 'blood and soil,' a Jewish version of Social Darwinism." [8]

It was inevitable that, under the leadership of Begin, Israel would follow the hard-line policy of Jabotinsky. In fact, historical events had made Begin and his followers even more militant than Jabotinsky. Their radicalism emerged from Begin's leadership of the terrorist Irgun Tsvai Leumi, which fought the British and Palestinians in the 1940s, and the trauma of the Jewish Holocaust in Europe. Begin tended to view all criticism of Israel as tantamount to anti-Semitism, and the militant opposition of the Arabs as comparable to Nazi genocide. [9]

Begin headed the Herut Party at the beginning of the Israeli state in 1948. However, it was not until after the formation of the Likud bloc of right-wing parties in 1973, of which the Herut constituted the central core, that the Right had the chance to win enough votes to govern.

That first Begin government in 1977 had its moderate and restraining elements, and its crowning achievement was the Camp David Accords with Egypt. Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, along with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, steered Begin away from expressing his warlike instincts. With the departure of those moderates, the Begin Cabinet fell under the domination of more-militant figures, the most important of whom was Ariel Sharon, who served as defense minister from 1981 to 1983. Sharon, who came from a military background involving counter-terrorism and even terrorism itself, translated Begin's hard-line thinking into actual policy. [10]

With the Likud assumption of power, the most far-reaching militant proposals entered mainstream Zionist thinking, involving militant destabilization of Israel's neighbors and Palestinian expulsion. An important article in that genre was Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s," which appeared in the World Zionist Organization's periodical Kivunim (Directions) in February 1982. Yinon had been attached to the Foreign Ministry, and his article undoubtedly reflected high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment. According to Peleg, "The Yinon article was an authentic mirror of the thinking mode of the Israeli Right at the height of Begin's rule; it reflected a sense of unlimited and unrestrained power.... There can be no question that the hard-core Neo-Revisionist camp as a whole subscribed, at least until the Lebanese fiasco, to ideas similar to those of Yinon." [11]

Yinon called for Israel to bring about the dissolution of regional Arab states and their fragmentation into a mosaic of ethnic and sectarian groupings. He believed that this would not be a difficult undertaking because nearly all the Arab states were afflicted with internal ethnic and religious divisions. In essence, the end result would be a Middle East of powerless mini-states that could in no way confront Israeli power.

Lebanon, then facing divisive chaos, was Yinon's model for the entire Middle East. He wrote:

Lebanon's total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. [12]

Note that Yinon sought the dissolution of countries — Egypt and Saudi Arabia — that were allied to the United States.

Yinon looked upon Iraq as a major target for dissolution,
and he believed that the ongoing Iran-Iraq war
would promote its breakup:

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization. [13]

Yinon's 1982 prediction that war would bring about the religious/ethnic fragmentation of Iraq fits nicely with what actually occurred in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Certainly his forecast was far closer to being accurate than the neocons' rosy public prognostications, before the invasion, about the easy engineering of Iraqi democracy. But from the Likudnik perspective, the reality of a conquered Iraq was much to be preferred to the neocon pipe dream. It comes as no surprise, then, that Israel has developed close ties with the Kurdish separatists. [14]

The goal of Israeli hegemony was inextricably tied to the expulsion of the Palestinians. According to Yinon, the policy of Israel must be "to bring about the dissolution of Jordan; the termination of the problem of the [occupied] territories densely populated with Arabs west of the [River] Jordan; and emigration from the territories, and economic-demographic freeze in them." He added, "We have to be active in order to encourage this change speedily, in the nearest time."

Like many Israeli advocates of population transfer, Yinon believed that "Israel has made a strategic mistake in not taking measures [of mass expulsion] towards the Arab population in the new territories during and shortly after the [1967] war.... Such a line would have saved us the bitter and dangerous conflict ever since which we could have already then terminated by giving Jordan to the Palestinians." [15]

In a foreword to his English translation of Yinon's piece, Israel Shahak made an interesting comparison between the neoconservative position and actual Likudnik goals: "The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the U.S.A. is very prominent, especially in the author's notes. But, while lip service is paid to the idea of the 'defense of the West' from Soviet power, the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power. In other words, the aim of Sharon is to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest." [16]

The Yinon article embodied the thinking of Likud strategists of the early 1980s. As Noam Chomsky wrote in Fateful Triangle: "much of what Yinon discusses is quite close to mainstream thinking." Chomsky described the Israeli incursion into Lebanon in 1982 as representing an attempt to implement Yinon's geostrategy. "The 'new order' that Israel is attempting to impose in Lebanon is based on a conception not unlike what Yinon expresses, and there is every reason to suppose that similar ideas with regard to Syria may seem attractive to the political leadership." [17]

To bolster his thesis regarding Likudnik war strategy, Chomsky discussed an analytical article by Yoram Peri — former advisor to Prime Minister Rabin and European representative of the Labor Party, and a specialist on civil-military relations in Israel — that came out in the Labor party journal Davar in October 1982. [18] Peri described a "true revolution" in "military-diplomatic conception," which he dated to the coming to power of the Likudniks. (Chomsky saw the shift as being more gradual and "deeply rooted" in the Israeli elite.) Summarizing Peri, Chomsky wrote:

The earlier conception [during the reign of the leftwing Zionists] was based on the search for "coexistence" and maintenance of the status quo. Israel aimed at a peaceful settlement in which its position in the region would be recognized and its security achieved. The new conception is based on the goal of "hegemony," not "coexistence." No longer a status quo power, having achieved military dominance as the world's fourth most powerful military force, and no longer believing in even the possibility of peace or even its desirability except in terms of Israeli hegemony, Israel is now committed to "destabilization" of the region, including Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. In accordance with the new conception, Israel should now use its military dominance to expand its borders and "to create a new reality," a "new order," rather than seek recognition within the status quo. [19]

Destabilization of its surrounding enemies would seem to be a perfectly rational strategy for Israel. Certainly, all countries, if they had enemies, would prefer them to be weak rather than strong. As Chomsky pointed out:

It is only natural to expect that Israel will seek to destabilize the surrounding states, for essentially the reasons that lead South Africa on a similar course in its region. In fact, given continuing military tensions, that might be seen virtually as a security imperative. A plausible long-term goal might be what some have called an "Ottomanization" of the region, that is, a return to something like the system of the Ottoman empire, with a powerful center (Turkey then, Israel with U.S. backing now) and much of the region fragmented into ethnic-religious communities, preferably mutually hostile. [20]

Peri, however, thought that this destabilization policy would ultimately harm Israel because it would alienate the United States, upon which Israel's security ultimately depended. Chomsky summarized Peri's critical stance: "The reason is that the U.S. is basically a status quo power itself, opposed to destabilization of the sort to which Israel is increasingly committed. The new strategic conception is based on an illusion of power, and may lead to a willingness, already apparent in some of the rhetoric heard in Israel, to undertake military adventures even without U.S. support." [21]

Israel embarked on just such a unilateral adventure
in its invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
And the disastrous result demonstrated the grave limitations
of a unilateral war-oriented strategy for Israel.

When Israel Defense Forces invaded Lebanon on June 6, 1982, propagandists represented "Operation Peace for Galilee" to the public as a limited operation to remove Palestinian bases. The real objectives of the operation were far more ambitious: to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization's military and political infrastructure, to strike a serious blow against Syria, and to install a pro-Israeli Christian regime in Lebanon. Israeli troops advanced far into Lebanon, even beyond Beirut, coming into conflict with Palestinians, Lebanese Muslims, and Syrians. Despite Israeli's deep military penetration, the objectives remained unachievable. Israel became ensnared in Lebanon's ongoing civil war, from which it was unable to free itself for the next three years. [22]

Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which caused well-publicized civilian casualties, including the massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside Beirut, was a public-relations disaster for the Begin government. World opinion turned against Israel. Strong criticism even arose in Israel, with the country's first mass peace movement demonstrating on the streets of Tel Aviv. The Israeli military was angry about the no-win war. And recriminations flew back and forth within the Likud Party itself, centering on the claim that Defense Minister Sharon had not informed Begin of the extent of the planned invasion. [23]

Significantly, Israel's brutal actions in Lebanon shook support for the country in the United States, even among American Jews. On August 12, 1982, President Reagan personally demanded of Begin that Israel stop the bombardment of Beirut. Later that month, Reagan insisted that Israeli forces withdraw from West Beirut. Israel quickly complied. Given the fact that Israel was so heavily dependent on American arms, the Begin government realized that it would severely harm Israel's power if it were to alienate its major sponsor. [24]

The war in Lebanon ultimately led to Begin's resignation in 1983.
The invasion turned out to be Israel's least successful
and most unpopular conflict in its history.
It was Israel's Vietnam.

The failure in Lebanon led to much soul-searching in Israel. Israeli foreign-policy expert Yehoshafat Harkabi critiqued the overall Likudnik strategy, oriented as it was toward war, writing of "Israeli intentions to impose a Pax Israelica on the Middle East, to dominate the Arab countries and treat them harshly," in his significant work, Israel's Fateful Hour, published in 1988. Writing from a "realist" perspective, Harkabi argued that Israel did not have the power to achieve the goal of Pax Israelica, given the strength of the Arab states, the large Palestinian population involved, and the vehement opposition of world opinion. Harkabi hoped that "the failed Israeli attempt to impose a new order in the weakest Arab state — Lebanon — will disabuse people of similar ambitions in other territories." [25]

Likudniks, however, did not see the Israeli strategy in the Lebanon debacle as inherently flawed. Some on the Israeli Right held that Israel did not push hard enough to crush its enemies — that it was affected too much by outside criticism. Harkabi maintained that even if Israeli forces had crossed into Syria and occupied Damascus, Israel still would have failed to achieve true victory but instead would have provoked an interminable guerrilla war. Harkabi wrote, "The Lebanon War revealed an ongoing Israeli limitation: no matter how complete [the] Israeli military triumph, the strategic results will prove to be limited. Ben-Gurion understood this when he said that Israel could not solve its problems once and for all by war. But this view is in stark contradiction to the spirit of the Jabotinsky-Begin ethos. It is no wonder that those who adhere to it cannot accept that the great event is of no avail." [26]

Harkabi was correct about the "spirit of the Jabotinsky-Begin ethos." To many strategically minded Likudniks, the fiasco of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon had not disproven the claim that destabilization of the area would be beneficial to Israeli security; nor had it disproven the notion that such destabilization was achievable. Instead, the principal lesson many Likudnik-oriented thinkers drew from the failed Lebanon incursion was that no military campaign to destabilize Israel's enemies could succeed without extensive backing from Israel's principal sponsor, the United States.

But the chance that the United States would back Israeli destabilization efforts, much less act as Israel's proxy to fight its enemies, seemed slim at the time. In the 1980s, U.S. Middle East policy, although sympathetic to Israel, differed significantly from Israel's on the issue of stability. As Yoram Peri recognized, Washington was supportive of the status quo. While Likudnik thinking focused on destabilizing Israel's Middle East enemies, the fundamental goal of U.S. policy was to promote stable governments in the Middle East that would allow the oil to flow to the Western industrial nations. It was not necessary for oil-rich nations to befriend Israel — in fact, they could openly oppose the Jewish state. The United States worked for peace between Israel and the Arab states, but it was a compromise peace that would try to accommodate some demands of the Arab countries — most crucially demands involving the Palestinians.

Peri had argued that if Israel went off on its own in destabilizing the Middle East, the United States would abandon Israel, to Israel's detriment. What was needed for the destabilization plan to work was a transformation of American Middle East policy. If the United States adopted the same destabilization policy as Israel, then such a policy could succeed. U.S. influence among its allies and in the United Nations, where it held a veto, would be enough to shelter Israel from the animosity of world opinion, preventing it from ending up as a pariah state such as the white-ruled Republic of South Africa. Better yet, though perhaps unimagined in the 1980s, would be to induce the United States to act in Israel's place to destabilize the region.

Even if imagined, such a policy revolution was certainly impossible in that decade. However, through the long-term efforts of the American neoconservatives, the transformation actually occurred in the Bush II administration. The neocon advocacy of dramatically altering the Middle Eastern status quo stood in stark contrast to the traditional American position of maintaining stability in the area — though it did, of course, mesh perfectly with Israel's long-established goal of destabilizing its enemies.

As neocon Kenneth Adelman would put it during George W. Bush's first term, "The starting point is that [neo] conservatives now are for radical change, and the progressives — the establishment foreign-policy makers — are for the status quo." Adelman emphasized that "conservatives believe that the status quo in the Middle East is pretty bad, and the old conservative belief that stability is good doesn't apply to the Middle East. The status quo in the Middle East has been breeding terrorists." [27]

But even many neocons did not directly move to the idea that the United States would actually be the military instigator of destabilization in the Middle East. After the Bush I administration failed to occupy Iraq and remove Saddam in the Gulf War of 1991, as the neoconservatives would have liked, [28] the neocons were thinking in terms of an Israeli military venture, but one enjoying extensive American moral and political support. A clear illustration of the neocon view on this subject — and the intimate connection with Israeli security — was a 1996 paper titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Included in the study group that produced it were men who would loom large in the Bush II administration's war policy in the Middle East — Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser. Perle was listed as the head of the study group. [29]

The "realm" that the study group sought to secure was that of Israel. The purpose of the policy paper was to provide a political blueprint for the incoming Israeli Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper stated that Netanyahu should "make a clean break" with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel's claim to the West Bank and Gaza. It presented a plan whereby Israel would "shape its strategic environment," beginning with the removal of Saddam and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad. By removing Saddam, the study held, Israel would be in a better strategic position to get at its more dangerous foes. In short, elimination of Saddam was a first step toward reconfiguring the entire Middle East for the benefit of Israel: "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions." [30]

To prevent the debilitating American criticism of Israeli policy that took place during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the "Clean Break" report advised Netanyahu to present Israeli actions "in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the cold war which apply well to Israel." For example, the report stated that "Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state. Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel's survival, but it would broaden Israel's base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense." [31]

Israel could also gain American support, the report maintained, by appealing to Western ideals. The Netanyahu government should "promote Western values and traditions. Such an approach ... will be well received in the United States." The appeal to American values loomed large in the report's reference to Lebanon: "An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon." In short, the report saw the use of moral values in largely utilitarian terms. References to moral values were for American consumption. This was a means to get American support for a policy to advance Israeli national interests. [32]

Intelligence writer James Bamford cut to the core of
the Israeli manipulations:

To gain the support of the American government and public,
a phony pretext would be used as the reason for the original invasion.

The recommendation of Feith, Perle, and Wurmser was for Israel to once again invade Lebanon with air strikes. But this time, to counter potentially hostile reactions from the American government and public, they suggested using a pretext. They would claim that the purpose of the invasion was to halt Syria's drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure located there. They were subjects in which Israel had virtually no interest, but they were ones, they said, with which America can sympathize.

Another way to win American support for a pre-empted war against Syria, they suggested, was by drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program. This claim would be that Israel's war was really all about protecting Americans from drugs, counterfeit bills, and WMD — nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. [33]

Still, in the "Clean Break," neocons were advising Israeli military action. It should be emphasized that the same people — Feith, Wurmser, Perle — who advised the Israeli government on issues of national security would also advise the George W. Bush administration to pursue virtually the same policy regarding the Middle East, but employing American armed forces. As political observer William James Martin would astutely comment about "Clean Break": "This document is remarkable for its very existence because it constitutes a policy manifesto for the Israeli government penned by members of the current U.S. government." [34] Martin went on to point out that the similarity between that document's recommendation for Israel and the neocon-inspired Bush administration policy, purportedly designed for the benefit of American interests, was even more remarkable:

It is amazing how much of this program, though written for the Israeli government of Netanyahu of 1996, has already been implemented, not by the government of Israel, but by the Bush administration. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the two-year-old house arrest of Arafat and the attempt to cultivate a new Palestinian leadership, the complete rejection by Sharon of the land for peace agreement on the Golan Heights, with little U.S. demurral, and the bombing inside of "Syria proper" with only the response from Bush, "Israel has a right to defend itself." [35]

The dramatic similarities between the "Clean Break" scenario and actual Bush II administration Middle East policy are evident not only in the results but also in the sequence of events. Notably, the "Clean Break" report held that removing Saddam was the key to weakening Israel's other enemies; and after removing Saddam in 2003 the United States would indeed quickly threaten Iran and Syria, and talk of restructuring the entire Middle East. [36] Evident, too, is a similarity between actual events and the Yinon proposal of 1982, which also saw regime change in Iraq as a fundamental move in destabilizing Israel's enemies.

To reiterate the central point of this essay: the vision of "regime change" in the Middle East through external, militant action originated in Israel, and its sole purpose was to advance the strategic interests of Israel. It had nothing to do with bringing "democracy" to Muslims. It had nothing to do with any terrorist threat to the United States. Those latter arguments accreted to the idea of regime change as the primary military actor changed from Israel to the United States. But the Israeli government would continue to be a fundamental supporter of the regional military action, even as the ostensible justifications for action changed. The Sharon government advocated the American attacks on Iraq and has preached the necessity of strikes on Iran.

It would appear that for Ariel Sharon during the Bush II administration, the strategic benefits that would accrue to Israel from such a militant restructuring of the Middle East were the same as those that Likudniks sought in the 1980s. But unlike Begin's failed incursion into Lebanon in 1982, the Bush II effort not only relied upon the much greater power of the United States but also was wrapped in a cover of "democracy" and American national interest, effectively masking the true objective of Israeli hegemony. That helps to explain the much greater success of this intervention, which has come at no cost to Israel.

Instead, it has come at a cost to the United States. The United States has tarnished its international reputation through its militarily aggressive actions in contravention of prevailing international norms. It has also had to pay significant costs in blood and money: rather, the American people have had to pay those costs. And the United States has made itself, and the American people, a major target of international terrorism. In short, the benefits derived by the United States from its Middle East military adventure are highly questionable; but that is easily understood if one recognizes that the policy the Bush II administration has pursued did not originate as one to benefit the interests of the United States but rather to benefit those of Israel, as those interests have been perceived by the Israeli Right.

Neocons Resurrect Plans For Regional War In The Middle East:

'A Clean Break'/war for Israel Wurmser mentioned at following URL:

Michael Duffy's review of James Bamford's 'A Pretext for War' book can be read via the following URL:,9171,1101040614-646366-2,00.html

You can hear Richard Perle basically lying to Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) about 'A Clean Break'/war for Israel agenda via the audio link at the following URL at one hour and fourteen minutes into it:

You can read the transcript of Perle and Chris Matthews related to discussion of 'A Clean Break' and Perle denying that he had anything to do with it via the following URL:


More on James Bamford's 'A Pretext for War' book:


The Sales Pitch Begins - Iran

Jewish JINSA/PNAC Neocon (Richard Perle) Calls for the invasion of Iran for Israel:

Zionist agenda for Lebanon:




Inventing a Pretext for War - an Interview with James Bamford: