The questions of the definition of neoconservatism and
of the extent to which it is a movement dominated by Jews
have received considerable scrutiny of late,
by, e.g.,
  • Irving Kristol, an ur-neoconservative
    (as opposed to “neo-urconservative”),
    who defines “the neoconservative persuasion”;
  • Kevin MacDonald, who, in a short informal essay
    and a much longer quasi-academic article,
    argues that neoconservatism is a Jewish movement;
  • Joshua Muravchik, Max Boot, and Jonah Goldberg,
    who argue strenuously that it is not intrinsically Jewish
    (note the error in Muravchik’s article:
    Scooter Libby is Jewish);
  • J. J. Goldberg, who, writing long before the 2003 Iraq War,
    states flat out that neoconservatism is
    “a school of thought dominated by Jews”;
  • Scott McConnell, who, in response to
    David Frum’s characterization of paleocons as
    Unpatriotic Conservatives,
    examines the (generally hostile) relations
    between paleocons and neocons.
In this essay I excerpt from MacDonald (lengthily)
and Goldberg (comparatively briefly),
then provide a brief closing comment.

For more information on neoconservatism, see the references.

Kevin MacDonald

MacDonald’s long article Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement
has many worthwhile passages,
but I suspect is a little long (~50 pages)
for most readers to wade through.
Below, from the green start line to the red finish line,
I have extracted some of his conclusions and observations
that seemed especially interesting or controversial.
These are just some (highly debatable) highlights
(or perhaps, from your perspective, lowlights);
the full article provides supporting examples, arguments,
and references.

Emphasis, links, headings,
and an occasional comment in square brackets and this color,
have been added.

In alliance with
virtually the entire organized American Jewish community,
neoconservatism is a vanguard Jewish movement
with close ties to
the most extreme nationalistic, aggressive, racialist
and religiously fanatic elements
within Israel.

[Cf. Israel Shahak: JHJR, JF; MacDonald: Zionism.]


[B]y far the best predictor of neoconservative attitudes,
on foreign policy at least, is
what the political right in Israel
deems in Israel’s best interests

Neoconservatism [can be] described in general as
a complex interlocking professional and family network
centered around Jewish publicists and organizers
flexibly deployed to
recruit the sympathies of both Jews and non-Jews in
harnessing the wealth and power of the United States
in the service of Israel
As such,
should be considered a semicovert branch of
the massive and highly effective pro-Israel lobby


[T]he organized Jewish community
shares the neocon commitment
to the Likud Party in Israel.


[T]he organized Jewish community has played a critical role
in the success of neoconservatism
in preventing public discussion
of its Jewish roots and Jewish agendas


[T]he main Jewish activist organizations
have been quick to condemn those who have
noted the Jewish commitments of the neoconservative activists
in the Bush administration or
seen the hand of the Jewish community
in pushing for war against Iraq and other Arab countries....
[W]hen Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC)
made a speech in the U.S. Senate
and wrote a newspaper op-ed piece [cf. this commentary]
which claimed the war in Iraq was motivated by
“President Bush’s policy to secure Israel”
and advanced by a handful of Jewish officials and opinion leaders,
Abe Foxman of the ADL stated,
“when the debate veers into anti-Jewish stereotyping,
it is tantamount to scapegoating and an appeal to ethnic hatred….
This is reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic canards [sic] about
a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government.”
[Compare ...]
Despite negative comments from Jewish activist organizations,
and a great deal of coverage in the American Jewish press,
there were no articles on this story
in any of the major U.S. national newspapers

[Foxman and his allies are avoiding the real issues,
which are:]
  • whether it is legitimate to open up to debate
    the question of the degree to which
    the neocon activists in the Bush administration
    are motivated by
    their long ties to the Likud Party in Israel, and
  • whether the organized Jewish community in the U.S.
    similarly supports the Likud Party and
    its desire to enmesh the United States
    in wars that are in Israel’s interest.

Since ... 1981,
the positive attitudes toward the Likud Party
characteristic of the neoconservatives have become
the mainstream view of the organized American Jewish community,
and [various liberal Jewish critics] have been relegated
to the fringe of the American Jewish community.

[N]eoconservatives have been staunch supporters of arguably
the most destructive force associated with the left
in the twentieth century—
massive non-European immigration.
Support for massive non-European immigration
has spanned the Jewish political spectrum
throughout the twentieth century to the present.
A principal motivation of the organized Jewish community
for encouraging such immigration
has involved a deeply felt animosity
toward the people and culture responsible for
the immigration restriction of 1924–1965
“this notion of a Christian civilization.”
As neoconservative Ben Wattenberg has famously written,
“The non-Europeanization of America
is heartening news
of an almost transcendental quality.”

[Why is it that so many Jews and Dems
hate European-Americans?
Why is it that no one is calling them haters?
What else does Wattenberg’s comment represent?
If you don’t think that there’s a double standard
going on here,
consider what the reaction would be to
“The non-Jewification of America
would be heartening news
of an almost transcendental quality,”
where it was made clear
that “non-Jewification” didn’t mean
that they were being eliminated in any sense,
but just that their relative power
was being diminished.]

In general,
neoconservatives have been far more attached
to Jewish interests,
and especially the interests of Israel,
than to any other identifiable interest.

[Concerning the teachings of Leo Strauss
(if you’re really interested, cf. Robert Locke and straussian.net):]

Strauss understood that inequalities among humans
were inevitable and
advocated rule by an aristocratic elite of philosopher kings
forced to pay lip service
to the traditional religious and political beliefs of the masses
while not believing them.
This elite should pursue its vision of the common good but
must reach out to others using deception and manipulation
to achieve its goals.
As Bill Kristol has described it,
elites have the duty to guide public opinion, but
“one of the main teachings [of Strauss] is that
all politics are limited and
none of them is really based on the truth.”
A more cynical characterization is provided by Stephen Holmes:
“The good society, on this model, consists of
the sedated masses,
the gentlemen rulers,
the promising puppies, and
the philosophers who
  • pursue knowledge,
  • manipulate the gentlemen,
  • anesthetize the people, and
  • housebreak the most talented young” —
a comment that sounds to me
like an alarmingly accurate description
of the present situation in the United States.

Given Strauss’s central concern that
an acceptable political order be compatible with Jewish survival,
it is reasonable to assume that Strauss believed that
the aristocracy would serve Jewish interests.


Strauss understood that neither communism nor fascism
was good for Jews in the long run.
But democracy cannot be trusted
given that Weimar ended with Hitler.
A solution is to advocate democracy
and the trappings of traditional religious culture, but
managed by an elite able to manipulate the masses
via control of the media and academic discourse.
Jews have a long history as an elite in Western societies,
so it is not in the least surprising
that Strauss would advocate an ideal society in which
Jews would be a central component of the elite...

[The neocons] form an elite that is deeply involved
in deception, manipulation and espionage
on issues related to Israel and the war in Iraq.
They also established the massive neocon infrastructure
in the elite media and think tanks.
And they have often become wealthy in the process.
Their public pronouncements advocating
a democratic, egalitarian ideology
have not prevented them from having
strong ethnic identities and
a strong sense of their own ethnic interests;
nor have
their public pronouncements supporting
the Enlightenment ideals of egalitarianism and democracy
prevented them from having
a thoroughly anti-Enlightenment ethnic particularist commitment
to the most nationalistic, aggressive, racialist elements within Israel

the Likud Party, the settler movement, and the religious fanatics.
[Cf. Israel Shahak: JHJR, JF.]

MacDonald’s Conclusion
The current situation in the United States
is really an awesome display of Jewish power and influence.
People who are very strongly identified as Jews
maintain close ties to Israeli politicians and military figures
and to Jewish activist organizations and pro-Israeli lobbying groups
while occupying influential policy-making positions in the defense and foreign policy establishment.
These same people, as well as a chorus of other prominent Jews,
have routine access to the most prestigious media outlets in the United States.
People who criticize Israel are routinely vilified and subjected to professional abuse.

Perhaps the most telling feature of this entire state of affairs
is the surreal fact that
in this entire discourse
Jewish identity is not mentioned.
Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Michael Rubin, William Safire, Robert Satloff,
or the legions of other prominent media figures
write their reflexively pro-Israel pieces
in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Los Angeles Times,
or opine on the Fox News Network,
there is never any mention
that they are Jewish Americans
who have an intense ethnic interest in Israel
When Richard Perle authors a report for an Israeli think tank;
is on the board of directors of an Israeli newspaper;
maintains close personal ties with prominent Israelis,
especially those associated with the Likud Party;
has worked for an Israeli defense company;
and, according to credible reports,
was discovered by the FBI passing classified information to Israel—
when, despite all of this,
he is a central figure in the network of those pushing for wars
to rearrange the entire politics of the Middle East
in Israel’s favor, and
with nary a soul
having the courage to mention
the obvious overriding Jewish loyalty
apparent in Perle’s actions,
that is indeed a breathtaking display of power.

One must contemplate the fact that American Jews
have managed to maintain unquestioned support for Israel
over the last thirty-seven years,
despite Israel’s seizing land and engaging in a brutal suppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories—
an occupation that will most likely end with expulsion
or complete subjugation, degradation, and apartheid.
During the same period Jewish organizations in America
have been a principal force—in my view the main force—
for transforming America into a state
dedicated to suppressing ethnic identification among Europeans,
for encouraging massive multiethnic immigration into the U.S., and
for erecting a legal system and cultural ideology
that is obsessively sensitive to the complaints and interests
of non-European ethnic minorities—the culture of the Holocaust.
All this is done without a whisper of double standards
in the aboveground media.

J. J. Goldberg

J. J. Goldberg’s 1996 book, Jewish Power,
discusses the neoconservatives in the context of
overall American Jewish political power and influence.
Below, from the green start line to the red end line,
are some excerpts from pages 160–162 of its Chapter Six,
“Six Days in June: The Triumph of Jewish Insecurity.”
The emphasis is added.

Not all the neoconservatives were Jewish,
and those who were Jewish were ambivalent about it;
they still clung to the secularism and anticlericalism
of their old Marxist days.
Nonetheless, they became known as a Jewish group,
for several reasons.
For one thing, most of them were Jews.
More important, they were an anomaly:
a school of thought dominated by Jews,
on an American right which had always been alien territory
to Jews.


[The chapter’s conclusion:]

In the popular mind, the New Jews of 1967—
the Zionists, the Orthodox, and the neoconservatives—
quickly came to be identified
as the leadership of the American Jewish community.
Their defiance was so strident, and their anger so intense,
that the rest of the Jewish community respectfully stood back
and let the New Jews take the lead.
The minority
was permitted to speak for the mass
became the dominant voice of Jewish politics.
[Compare ...]

In this new mood,
the cause of Jewish advocacy underwent
a fundamental transformation of values.
The world after 1967 was regarded as a hostile place,
divided between the Jews’ friends and their enemies.
The values that for so long had characterized American Judaism—
tolerance, and
social justice—
became suspect in New Jewish leadership circles.
A new set of basic values came to replace them:
loyalty to the Jewish people,
commitment to its survival, and
hostility to its enemies.

The Jews who rose to the leadership of the Jewish community after 1967
were those who most embodied these new values.
Jews now expected to be represented,
not by those who best expressed their beliefs and aspirations,
but by those who seemed to them to be "most Jewish":
most loyal to the Jewish people and its traditions, or
most hostile to its enemies.


Goldberg’s examples and arguments, in my view,
substantiate and support
the arguments and conclusions of MacDonald, both
those on neoconservatism excerpted above from
Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement,
and those on Zionism, presented in
Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of Judaism.
Further, they totally reflect the picture
that is presented in the media.

The neocons vs. the generals

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the “revolt of the generals”
is that the neocons have come out so uniformly and vitrolically
against the generals who are criticizing Rumsfeld.
Consider the following example:

Charles Krauthammer,
"I-know-better" generals get on the slippery slope
(to be completed)

Miscellaneous References

(Those dated 2003 or earlier
are mainly from Kevin MacDonald’s excellent essay
“Thinking About Neoconservatism”.)

Neocon 101
Some basic questions answered.

Christian Science Monitor, undated

Spheres of influence:
Neoconservative think tanks, periodicals, and key documents.

Christian Science Monitor, undated


Paul Gottfried,
McCarthy Was Right

Justin Raimondo,
Neoconservatives take Washington – Baghdad is next


Bill and Kathleen Christison,
Too Many Smoking Guns to Ignore:
Israel, American Jews, and the War on Iraq

Jim Lobe,
All in the Neocon Family

Michael Lind,
The Weird Men Behind George W Bush's War

Jim Grichar,
The Axis of Deceit — Still Pushing for U.S. Imperial Expansion!

Gary North,
An Introduction to Neoconservatism

Alan Wald,
Are Trotskyites Running the Pentagon?

Michael Lind,
I Was Smeared
[Responding to 2003-06-23-Wald.]

Jim Lobe,
What a Tangled Web the Neocons Weave


Appetite for Destruction
Neoconservatives have more in common with French revolutionaries
than American traditionalists

By Claes G. Ryn
The American Conservative, 2004-01-19

[Ryn comparies American neoconservatives
to eighteenth-century French Jacobins.
An excerpt (paragraph numbers and emphasis are added):]

[Allan] Bloom’s book [The Closing of the American Mind] actually exemplified
the anti-traditional, ideological universalism
that is at the heart of the current push for American empire.

Bloom wrote, for example,
“When we Americans speak seriously about politics,
we mean that our principles of freedom and equality
and the rights based on them
are rational and everywhere applicable.”

This kind of thinking bears a strong resemblance to that of the Jacobins,
who inspired and led the French Revolution of 1789.
Their ideology was summed up in the slogan
“liberty, equality, and fraternity.”
Equally universalistic and monopolistic,
they demanded that other countries change their ways.
Good stood against evil.

Europe was thrown into protracted wars and upheaval.

Michael Lind,
A Tragedy of Errors
The Nation, 2004-02-23

Kathleen and Bill Christison,
Dual Loyalties: The Bush Neocons and Israel

Neo-Con Agenda: Iran, China, Russia, Latin America...
by Jim Lobe
CommonDreams.org, 2004-11-06


Liberals and Neocons: Together Again
by Tom Barry
Antiwar.com, 2005-02-11



For Neocons, the Irony of Iraq
by Harold Meyerson
Washington Post, 2006-05-24

The Neocons, Undaunted
They’re looking to make a comeback after the elections
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2006-11-03

The War God That Failed
The neocons turn on their ‘leader’
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2006-11-06

Neoconservatism — RIP
The moralistic ideology has utterly failed.
But as long as Bush still abides by it,
his disastrous "war on terror" will drag on.

By Gary Kamiya
Salon.com, 2006-11-14

Rumors of Neoconservatism’s Death Exaggerated
by Leon Hadar
Antiwar.com, 2006-11-16


Cakewalk Crowd Abandons Bush
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-05

Neoconservative radicalism has reshaped our political spectrum
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2007-03-29

[T]he dominant right-wing political movement in this country
that has spawned and driven the Bush presidency
has nothing to do with -- it is in fact overtly hostile to --
the ostensible principles of Goldwater/Reagan small-government conservatism.


[T]he Bush presidency and the political movement that supports it is not driven by any of the abstract political principles traditionally associated with “liberalism” or “conservatism.” Whatever else one wants to say about the Bush presidency, it has nothing to do with limiting the size, scope and reach of the federal government. The exact opposite is true.


That is the central point of our current political predicament: the Bush presidency, and more importantly the right-wing movement which created and sustained it (and which will survive Bush’s departure), are not adherents to any mainstream American political ideology. And many people, including neoconservatives themselves, have acknowledged this, and that is also the critical insight of Brooks’ column today.

George Will previously called the “neoconservatism” which drives the right-wing movement in this country “a spectacularly misnamed radicalism.” One of America’s most influential neoconservatives, Robert Kagan, previously admitted -- just like Brooks -- that the current right-wing ideology has nothing to do with the Goldwater/Reagan limited government mythology; in fact, it is overtly hostile to it:
This is where Bush may lose the support of most old-fashioned conservatives. His goals are now the antithesis of conservatism. They are revolutionary.


Pat Buchanan founded The American Conservative based principally on the same observation: namely, that
the right-wing, Bush-supporting movement has nothing to do with
the political principles they manipulatively tout...


Brooks’ column (like those of Will and Kagan before it) makes clear just how radical it is, how unmoored it is to any principles which previously defined the political mainstream. The terms “left” and “right” do not mean what they meant even ten years ago, though they still have meaning. At least for now, until this movement is banished to the dustbin, those terms have come to designate whether one is loyal to, or whether one opposes, this government-power-worshipping, profoundly un-American right-wing cultism that has been the dominant political faction in America for many years.

The Cabal Strikes Back
The neocons are discredited – but not defeated
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-25

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The President,
reined in by his party’s fear of electoral disaster and his nation’s war weariness,
has hesitated to go all the way
with the neocons’ plan to open up the second phase of their bid
to “transform” the Middle East into a pile of “democratic” rubble:
no one in this country but Dick Cheney and his boys think going to war with Iran is such a grand idea,
but that isn’t stopping the neocons from trying to pull it off anyway.
Clemons informs us that the plan is to
have the Israelis mount the first strike,
after which the Iranians will retaliate against U.S. troops in Iraq –
and the fight will be on.


The Cheney administration, in alliance with the Israel lobby
and the currently dominant “red-state fascist” wing of the GOP,
is determined to gin up a war with Iran, and they just may get away with it. Politically, there is almost no opposition to or even much awareness of this headlong rush to war,
with all “major” presidential candidates
committed to confronting Iran militarily,
if “necessary,”
over the nuclear issue.


George W. Bush is totally out of the loop.
The Cheney cabal is mobilizing all its considerable power
to launch a final Middle Eastern offensive,
and their Lebanese excursion – reportedly a major reason
for the sudden reassignment of John Negroponte to the State Department –
is just the beginning of what they have in store for us.
In the end, however,
when it comes down to launching a full frontal assault on Iran,
it all depends on the Israelis.
The War Party is counting on them to strike the first blow,
with the guarantee that the Americans
will strike the second, third, fourth, and fifth blows, ad infinitum.
Blows directed not only at Iran,
but also against Syria, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians.


In any case, there are reasons to believe the current Israeli government
would like to be the spearhead of the coming blitz,
especially if it rehabilitates leaders
who have lost all credibility
with the stark failure of the IDF’s most recent incursion into Lebanon.
The neocons reportedly were quite displeased with the Israelis
for not going all out to smash Hezbollah and
this could be a way for Tel Aviv to make up for it.

The idea that the US would have to “finish the job”
if the Israelis started it shows how
we have become the prisoners of our own satellites.
[More exactly, satellite.]
According to the scenario as presented by Clemons,
Israel is to be the catalyst that forces the hand of a reluctant President
and traps us in a regional conflagration
that will make the Iraq war seem like a mere skirmish.
Yet, as Clemons makes clear, the real catalytic element here is Cheney,
widely regarded as Bush’s co-president,
the patron and protector of neoconservative ideologues
whose agenda involves much more than advancing Israeli interests.

As Colin Powell told Bob Woodward, after 9/11,
the neocons centered around the office of the vice president
set up “a separate government.”
That government – widely discredited,
and reeling from the recent trial and conviction of one its principal figures –
is now engaged in a struggle for power with the legal and duly constituted government,
the outcome of which has yet to be determined.
What is clear, however, is that
the Cheney administration will stop at nothing in its effort to win that fight –
even if it means starting World War IV.
This is an outcome the neocons would dearly love to see,
and I have to say that, sadly, their chances of success are quite good.

Raimondo overlooks a key component of the neocon network in Washington:
the media.
Notice how when Tenet in his memoir
discussed the key role the neocons played
in getting us into this disastrous Iraq war,
the U.S. media fell all over itself to discredit, not the neocons, but Tenet.
Thus when Tenet mentioned how Rice had all but ignored
his 2001-07-10 plea for an all-out effort
to prevent the terrorist attack that he saw coming,
Woodward, in his review, criticized not Rice but Tenet.
Tenet, according to Woodward, should have gone around Rice
and made his case directly to the president.
But what would the president have said if Tenet had done so?
Very likely, something like this:

“Look, Condi is the national security adviser, closer to these issues than I am,
and she didn’t believe we should take your advice.
If she doesn’t think your advice is valid, then why should I?
If I were to do so, it would undercut her, and I might as well replace her.
That’s not going to happen.
Have a nice day, George.”

Ship of Ghouls
The Muslims Are Coming cruise
by James Wolcott

(more here;
there is also a bootleg copy of the full article here,
but the download took about a minute
(it contains an illustration from the original The New Republic article))

Vanity Fair Blog, 2007-06-25

Libby and His “Conservative” Supporters
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2007-07-03

One of the most irritating things
about mainstream media coverage of the Bush administration,
including its coverage of the commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence,
is its pervasive use of the word “conservative”
to describe the administration’s (and Libby’s) core supporters.
To me, this has given respectable semantic cover
to what really are a collection of right-wing radicals –
ultra-nationalist hawks, like Libby’s former boss and John Bolton;
pro-Likud (and, in the case of the older generation, often former Trotskyite) neo-conservatives, and
leaders of the Christian Right —
who have made clear time and again that
they have little or no respect for law and tradition
if either one should somehow constrain their freedom
to make the world a better place.

[I have two exceptions to Lobe’s comments:
First, in many respects these people aren’t right-wing at all (e.g.).
Second, “making the world a better place”
is entirely dependent on your point of view.
As we all should know by now,
there is little agreement in the world as to what “makes it a better place.”]


Neocons Try to Rally, Bully Republicans
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2007-07-10

The Cheney-Edelman Connection
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2007-07-31

Mideast Hawks Help to Develop Giuliani Policy
New York Times, 2007-10-25

Neocons Down, Not Out
By Robert Parry
Consortiumnews.com, 2007-12-06

Since the neoconservatives began to emerge as a political force
in the mid-to-late 1970s,
they have followed a consistent strategy of
targeting the information flows inside the United States,
paying particular attention to
controlling the nation’s intelligence analysts
purging independent thinking from the U.S. news media.

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Those were the two key switching points that allowed the neocons to
push out favorable information
suppress contrary facts
shape how Americans perceived reality.
Thus, the neocons could guide the public on issues such as
the severity of the Soviet threat in the late Cold War
the WMD danger from Iraq and Iran this decade.

That neoconservative strategy reached its zenith after the 9/11 attacks as
the U.S. intelligence community and
the Washington press corps
caved under intense political pressure.
Essentially, President George W. Bush and the neocons
got to manipulate reality itself –
and they used that power to scare the heck out of the American people.

[I think the reality here is that
the neocons, the Bush administration, and the Washington press corps
are all either part of or tools of a single entity:
the Israel Lobby (cf.)]


Public revulsion over Bush’s arrogance and the neocons' bloody fiasco in Iraq
led to the Republican congressional defeat in 2006.
But the Democrats then frittered away their advantage with
a feckless approach on Iraq troop withdrawals and
a failure to mount sustained investigations of administration wrongdoing.

Then, in fall 2007,
Bush and the neocons sold the Iraq War “surge” as a great success,
even though the result appears to be
an open-ended U.S. military occupation of a hostile Arab country
with one or two American soldiers and scores of Iraqis still dying each day.


Campaign 2008
Though Bush and the neocons again find themselves on the defensive
[after publication of the 2007-12-03 Iran NIE],
the political battle is far from over.
The neocons retain extraordinary strength within the U.S. news media
as well as
in the leading Washington think tanks and
inside many of the presidential campaigns.

Except for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas,
the Republican contenders are enthusiastic backers of the neocon agenda
of an imperial United States with an all-powerful Executive
who will subordinate America's constitutional rights
to the waging of an indefinite “war on terror.”

While all the Democrats criticize Bush's approach to some degree,
the neocons view purported front-runner, New York Senator Hillary Clinton,
as an ally who often votes with neocon hawks,
such as Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut.
Until recently, Sen. Clinton was getting foreign policy advice
from “surge” advocate Michael O’Hanlon.

So, if the early political handicapping holds up,
the neocons could find themselves in the enviable position next fall of having
a super-neocon Republican
a neocon-lite Democrat.
Then, whoever wins,
the neocons can expect their policies in the Mideast to continue.

If that's how Election 2008 does turn out,
the again-triumphant neocons might be looking to dish out some payback
to those newly independent-minded CIA analysts.
[Could be....]


The Neocons as a Hostile Conservative (!) Elite
by Kevin MacDonald
Kevin MacDonald’s Blog, 2008-01-24

[An excellent commentary.
It is so worthwhile that I am reprinting it in full.
MacDonald may exaggerate reality some when he says
“the neocons have now become the conservative establishment,”
but there is a lot of truth in general in what he says,
and it is useful antidote to the line we get from the ADL.

There is an interesting duality between the ADL and, say, MacDonald:
The ADL is surely hypersensitive to criticism of Jewish actions;
I think to balance the undeniable way in which
the ADL acts as America’s speech- and thought-police,
emphasizes what Jews do
and how (the people doing them believe)
these actions benefit the Jewish people.

Paragraph numbers (starting with 0) and emphasis are added.]

I haven’t read Jacob Heilbrunn’s book on the neocons yet,
but I’m not sure I need to after seeing Philip Weiss’s review.
Weiss’s review makes it clear that
Heilbrunn’s book corroborates several of the themes
in my writing on the neocons
and on Jewish intellectual and political movements generally.
[A generous and relevant excerpt from those writings appears above.]

neoconservatism is a Jewish movement.
That should have been clear to everyone by now,
references to the Jewish basis of the movement
have been noticeably missing from much of the mainstream media,

to the point that
Bill Kristol was introduced as a columnist at the New York Times
as simply a “conservative.”
This is critical because
the neocons have now become the conservative establishment.
When Kristol (or Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity) hold forth at Fox News,
most people have no idea that they are tuning into
the public face of a fundamentally Jewish movement
that elbowed out more traditional conservatives.

Jewish neocons not only have a strong Jewish identity,
they also have strong Jewish interests.

This is obvious from
  • their involvement in pro-Israel activism,
  • their personal relationships with Israeli leaders, and
  • close ties with other Jews and with the wider Jewish community.
In fact,
I have argued that
the neocons are more strongly identified as Jews
than the mainstream liberal/left Jews —
that the neocons form the vanguard of the Jewish community.

After all, neocons were the first segment of the Jewish community
to strongly condemn the USSR,
both for its domestic anti-Semitism
and for its alliances with Arab governments.
Prominent neocons like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz
began their political careers
by making alliances with Cold War hawks like Henry Jackson.
This was at a time
when the Jewish left was prominently involved in defending the USSR,
apparently blind to the fact that the status of Jews as an elite in the USSR
had changed greatly following World War II.

And the neocons are notorious for their strong ties to
the most extreme racialist and nationalist segments of Israeli society —
elements that the mainstream liberal/left Jewish community
probably wishes would disappear or at least be less visible.
(Hence the uproar over Christiane Amanpour’s God’s Jewish Warriors
Indeed, the Jewish liberal/left has a huge blind spot,
continuing to pursue its leftist multicultural agenda in the U.S.
while ignoring the fact that
the organized Jewish community is deeply complicit in
dispossessing the Palestinians and
erecting a racialist, apartheid state in Israel.

As [Philip] Weiss has noted elsewhere,
Steve Rabinowitz, Clinton friend, told me this year that
if anyone did a study of how much [Democrat] money comes from Jews,
it would fuel conspiracy theories.”

The Jewish liberal/left lavishly supports Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama,
but makes no attempt to wrest control of the pro-Israel lobby
from the hands of what James Petras terms
the “reactionary minority of American Jews”
who head the major American Jewish organizations.

But more interestingly, Heilbrunn points to
the “lifelong antipathy toward the patrician class among the neocons …
[that] prompted them to create their own parallel establishment.”

In this regard, the neocons are entirely within the American Jewish mainstream.
As I noted in a previous blog (also commenting on Philip Weiss),
“Jews have become an elite,
but an elite that does not identify with its subjects —
a hostile, estranged but very wealthy elite
that still sees themselves as outsiders.”

[Very close to what Arnold Toynbee dubbed a “dominant minority”.]
And along with the American Jewish mainstream,
the neocons have been vital players
in the establishment of a variety of policies
opposed to the interests and attitudes of the American majority,
most egregiously unrestricted immigration
which has successfully altered the ethnic composition of the country.
Indeed, neoconservative Ben Wattenberg famously wrote that
“The non-Europeanization of America
is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality.”


hostility toward the traditional peoples and culture of America
among people calling themselves conservatives
is striking —
the antithesis of normal and natural conservative tendencies.

As Sam Francis noted,
what the neocons dislike about traditional conservatives
is simply that they “are conservative at all”:
There are countless stories of how
neoconservatives have succeeded in
entering conservative institutions,
forcing out or demoting traditional conservatives, and
changing the positions and philosophy of such institutions
in neoconservative directions….
Writers like M. E. Bradford, Joseph Sobran,
Pat Buchanan, and Russell Kirk,
and institutions like Chronicles, the Rockford Institute,
the Philadelphia Society, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute
have been among
the most respected and distinguished names in American conservatism.
The dedication of their neoconservative enemies to
driving them out of the movement they have taken over and
demonizing them as marginal and dangerous figures
has no legitimate basis in reality.
It is clear evidence of
the ulterior aspirations of those behind neoconservatism
to dominate and subvert American conservatism
from its original purposes and agenda
and turn it to other purposes….
What neoconservatives really dislike about
their “allies” among traditional conservatives
is simply
the fact that
the conservatives are conservatives at all—

that they support “this notion of a Christian civilization,”
as Midge Decter put it,
  • that they oppose mass immigration, ...
  • that they entertain doubts or strong disagreement
    over American foreign policy in the Middle East,
  • that they oppose reckless involvement
    in foreign wars and foreign entanglements, and
  • that, in company with the Founding Fathers of the United States,
    they reject the concept of a pure democracy
    and the belief that the United States is or should evolve toward it.
Francis, S. (2004). The neoconservative subversion.
In B. Nelson (ed.), “Neoconservatism.”
Occasional Papers of the Conservative Citizens’ Foundation,
Issue Number Six, 6–12.
St. Louis: Conservative Citizens’ Foundation, p. 9.
That the New York Times can call Kristol a conservative without shame or irony
is a striking commentary on the death of American conservatism.

There are several other themes highlighted in Weiss’s review
that are worth mentioning because
they are typical of other Jewish intellectual and political movements.
Heilbrunn describes neocon “cabals”
in the State Department and in academic departments at elite universities.
This is a reference to Jewish ethnic networking.
In general, all of the important Jewish intellectual and political movements —
from psychoanalysis and Boasian anthropology to neoconservatism —
have a mutually reinforcing core of Jews centered around charismatic leaders.
In the case of the neocons,
individuals such as Leo Strauss, Richard Perle, and Norman Podhoretz
have played this role.
Neoconservative cabals have been largely successful
in controlling or at least heavily influencing
elite institutions in academia, the government, think tanks, and the media.

And finally, the neocons are prime examples
of another important theme of Jewish intellectual life —
Weiss writes:
The reader is left with the shadowy sense that
the neocons have a pro-Israel agenda
that they are not upfront about.
But it isn’t a conspiracy, Heilbrunn warns.
The neocons have convinced themselves that
the U.S. and Israel have congruent interests.
“They just believe this stuff. They’re not agents,”
an anonymous source tells him,
speaking of Cheney aide David Wurmser,
who is married to an Israeli.
Married to an Israeli.
The neocons may believe it, but the rest of us need not be so foolish.
For example,
Douglas Feith is depicted by Heilbrunn as
having published a letter defending the capture of the West Bank
while still a teenager.
Feith has also been credibly charged with spying for Israel,
and was deeply involved in the disinformation used by the U.S. government to justify the invasion of Iraq.
He has close ties to the settler movement,
and was a participant in the notorious “A Clean Break” paper
that advised the Israeli government that
removing Saddam Hussein should be an Israeli strategic goal.
The authors of this report speak as Jews and Israelis, not as U.S. citizens:
“Our claim to the land—
to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years—
is legitimate and noble.”
[“Our claim”?
Americans sure don’t have any claim to the Holy Land.]

European Americans may have a difficult time processing all of this.
Their individualism and their own fragile and beleaguered sense of ethnicity
make them less likely to attribute ethnic motives to others.
And there is an imposing edifice of taboos
surrounding even the mention of Jewish influence,
much less anything that hints that Israel is the first loyalty of Jewish neocons —
an edifice aggressively maintained by the organized Jewish community.
But the rather unpleasant facts are staring European Americans in the face,
even if the New York Times insists on calling them conservatives.

Neocons Shaken, But Not Deterred
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-25

[An excerpt; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.

Considering how carelessly the charge of “anti-Semitism” is flung around,
when reading this perceptive and deeply controversial commentary
it is worth bearing in mind that
both Messrs. Lobe and Heilbrunn are American Jews.]

[A]s pointed out in Jacob Heilbrunn’s new book
They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons (Doubleday),
the neocons, despite the fiasco in Iraq,
are already trying to
detach themselves from both Bush
and the Mesopotamian adventure they so avidly championed
entrench themselves ever more deeply
into institutional Washington.

[They certainly have effective control over the Washington Post’s editorials.]

“Whether it’s the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
or the National Endowment for Democracy,
the Weekly Standard or the New York Sun,
the neoconservatives
are battle-hardened fighters who have created a permanent base for themselves.
They will not disappear,”
according to Heilbrunn, a former neoconservative himself
and senior editor at the Nixon Center’s The National Interest journal.

Heilbrunn’s much-anticipated book ...
affirms a number of central truths about neoconservatism
that are generally ignored or avoided in mainstream discussion
of what he correctly calls a “mindset” rather than an “ideology.”

neoconservatism “is in a decisive respect a Jewish phenomenon,”
even if many adherents – albeit a minority – are not Jewish
and even if, it should be added,
most US Jews are not neoconservatives.
neoconservatives, both Jew and gentile,
are bound by
a “shared commitment to
the largest, most important Jewish cause: the survival of Israel.”

[That severely understates the situation.
Their commitment is not just to “the survival of Israel,”
a goal with which most Americans would concur.
It is to the expansion of Israel beyond the Green Line by a process
which was initiated by what became a war of aggression and
which is supported by Israel’s illegal and immoral colonization,
without the unforced consent of the Palestinians from whom they conquered it,
of the lands that Israel conquered,
and all of this with
the full support of the American political system
and most of the American media,

in particular, the editorial board of the Washington Post.]

its substance is largely determined by
the lessons its followers draw
from what they see as causes of the Nazi Holocaust:

the alleged failures of German “liberals” in the Weimar Republic
to stand up to the twin challenges of Nazism and Communism
and of the western European liberal democracies
to stand up to Adolf Hitler in the run-up to World War II;
and the necessity of having overwhelming military power
to crush any new Hitler preemptively.

As Heilbrunn,
whose Jewish father fled Germany before the war, correctly notes,
neoconservatives “see new Munichs everywhere and anywhere”
a reference to the 1938 Munich pact
by which Britain and France tried to “appease” Hitler
by ceding part of Czechoslovakia to Germany.

Indeed, it is characteristic of neoconservatives
to depict virtually every foreign policy challenge –
from the Sandinista government in Nicaragua 25 years ago
to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad –
to US (or Israeli) hegemony
as a potentially cataclysmic replay of the 1930s.
The neoconservatives, according to Heilbrunn,
“have shaped a romantic narrative for themselves in which
they are the new Churchills staring down the forces of evil.”

[One hopes that President Bush
has not bought into this narrative,
casting himself as the Churchill-in-chief.]

Fear that Saddam Hussein intended a “second holocaust” against Israel
served as one of the main motivations
for the neoconservative promotion of war with Iraq,
according to Heilbrunn.
“As Jews, they (and their Catholic conservative allies) were haunted by
the memory that the allies had not stopped the Holocaust –
and they strongly believed that it was America’s obligation
to act preemptively to avert another one.”

the movement’s Trotskyist roots –
incarnated by its “founding father, Max Shachtman
among the Jews from Central and Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century
not only
imbued its members with a distrust, even a hatred, of liberalism
(despite their latter-day purported embrace of democracy promotion).
They also largely shaped their polemical and political tactics,
even as they moved rightward –
into the Democratic Party after World War II and thence,
after the traumas of the 1960s and early 1970s,
including two Arab-Israeli wars –
into Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party.

“Their fling with Trotskyism [endowed] them with a temperament
as well as a set of intellectual tolls [tools?]
that many never completely abandoned –
a combative temper and
a penchant for sweeping assertions and grandiose ideas.”
[Most of them wrong.]
The fact that they see themselves as “a kind of aristocratic intelligentsia,”
[Ha ha ha.
Lying bozos is more like it.
But Condi Rice, the NYT, and the WP love them.]

according to Heilbrunn, derives from their Trotskyite origins.

“the social exclusion experienced by Jews
at the hands of the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) elite”
that persisted in the US into the early 1960s
stirred a “deep resentment”
among many of the movement’s most influential leaders,
notably Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz.

Indeed, Podhoretz,
who edited Commentary magazine from the early 1960s until the mid-1990s
and now advises Giuliani,
sees the movement as
the war against the “WASP patriciate,”
according to Heilbrunn.

[And, of course, who better epitomized the WASP patriarchy
than George Herbert Walker Bush?
But GHWB had alienated the Jewish community.]

Neoconservatives “know that they will never be accepted by the establishment,”
he writes in a passage about Perle.
“Indeed, they outwardly revel in the knowledge that they are outsiders.
But beneath the veneer of confidence is
a seething rage
at the government bureaucracy and social elites.”

[No doubt, that explains
the torrent of
cheap shots, vicious smears,
second-guessing and Monday-morning-quarterbacking, and
failure to recognize the stunning success that it has had
in preventing another 9/11
that have been directed against the CIA over the last few years,
a torrent legitimized by the literary establishment
with the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize to
that ultimate cheap shot against the “old Grotonians”,
Timothy Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes.]

Ultimately, Heilbrunn is critical of the neoconservatives,
but he accepts much of their worldview.

[All in all, after reading the above excerpts and commentary,
it should be noted how similar
the views expressed by these two American Jews (e.g.)
are to those expressed by the accused anti-Semite, Kevin MacDonald.
Note in particular MacDonald’s reaction to Philip Weiss’s review.]

The Long Fuse to the Iraq War
by Philip Weiss
The American Conservative, 2008-01-28

Review of:
They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons
by Jacob Heilbrunn,
Doubleday, 289 pages

The Monster That Wouldn't Die
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-02-13

Why the neocons endure

The Battle For Hope In Iraq
By Fred Hiatt (editor of the Post’s editorial page)
Washington Post, 2008-09-15

[Its conclusion; emphasis is added.]

If, as seems likely, ...
U.S. troops will be needed in Iraq for some time to come,
we can hope that the next national security adviser again has
the strength to resist the crowd and
the deftness to steer the country in the right direction.

[Remember, the editorial page of the Post has been vociferous
in calling for intervention in the affairs of other countries
to promote what it calls “democracy” around the world.
But what does “democracy” mean in the United States?
According to Mr. Hiatt, certainly not following “the crowd.”
And just what is “the crowd,” anyhow?
Isn’t it the people that democracy presumes to represent?

Another example of the disdain for mere popular opinion
of the Post’s prominent commentators a while back
came from its senior columnist, David Broder,
who dismissed the popular push to restrict immigration
in an op-ed column titled “A Mob-Rule Moment
(words chose, I presume, by the Post’s editorial page staff).

Democracy is evidently good, according to the Post,
only when it produces the results that they like
(which, somehow, invariably turns out to be
what the powers in the Jewish community want).]

The Neoconservative Mind (PDF)
Review by Kevin MacDonald of

They Knew They Were Right
The Rise of the Neocons

by Jacob Heilbrunn,

The Occidental Quarterly, Fall 2008

By now the history of the neoconservative movement
is a bit of a twice-told tale.
There have been book-length academic treatments
and substantial coverage in the media,
especially as the influence of the neocons
in the George W. Bush Administration and
in promoting the war in Iraq
came to be public knowledge.
Those with some familiarity with this history will find that
Heilbrunn’s treatment adds little to available accounts.
But what it does better than other mainstream media accounts is to
really get at the Jewish nexus of the movement.

This in itself is a major accomplishment because
mainstream accounts of neoconservatism routinely ignore
the Jewish origins and composition of the movement.
Or they dismiss any discussion of Jewish identities and Jewish interests
that are so central to neoconservatism
as the ravings of anti-Semites.

Heilbrunn is quite clear about the role of Jewishness in neoconservatism.
After dismissing other views of what neoconservatism is,
he states flatly that
neoconservatism “is about a mind set,
one that has been decisively shaped
by the Jewish immigrant experience,
by the Holocaust, and
by the twentieth-century struggle against totalitarianism” (p. 10).
“Indeed, as much as they may deny it,
neoconservatism is in a decisive respect a Jewish phenomenon,
reflecting a subset of Jewish concerns” (p. 11).

  1. The Psychological Milieu of Neoconservatism
    1. 1.1 Psychological Intensity, Anti-White Hostility
    2. 1.2 Moral Posturing and Double Standards
    3. 1.3 Paranoia and Self-Deception
    4. 1.4 Grandiosity
    5. 1.5 Jewish Hero Worship and Ethnic Networking
  2. Non-Jewish Neoconservatives
  3. Neocons and Paleocons
  4. The Neocons on Domestic Policy
  5. Gaps in Heilbrunn’s Account
  6. Neoconservative Disloyalty
  7. Heilbrunn as a Jewish Apologist

Neocons' Identity Politics Have Helped to Fuel
Explosive Sectarianism in the Middle East

by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss.org, 2008-09-26

[The relevant extract; emphasis is added.]

Neoconservatives are at heart an element of American identity politics.
They arose in some measure out of sociological resentment,
as Jacob Heilbrunn demonstrated, and
as I knew in my Jewish-son-of-a-CCNY grad bones,
and they think in very sectarian terms.
It’s fascinating that
their plans for the Middle East,
which included
cementing the Jewish occupation of Arab lands in Palestine
engineering an American occupation of Arab lands in Iraq,
have helped uncap sectarian fervor across the region.


Picking Apart Washington’s Scum
by Paul Gottfried
Taki Magazine, 2010-01-12

The Return of the Neocons
By David Margolick
Newsweek, 2010-01-22

Neoconservatism was once deemed dead— ‘Buried in the sands of Iraq.’
But it persists,
not just as the de facto foreign-policy plank of the Republican Party
but, its proponents assert,
in Obama’s unapologetic embrace of American military might.


Perhaps the surest measure of the neocons’ continued influence is the frustration and anger they generate within the Republican Party. Many of those they’ve targeted—like Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft—won’t talk about them. (Some neocons gloat that Kissinger has even tried to become one of them.) One prominent activist on the libertarian end of the party—who hates what he sees as their costly foreign--policy adventurism and the GOP electoral losses (i.e., the presidency and both houses of Congress) he attributes to them—calls them “parasites”: with little electoral power of their own, he claims, they have had to attach themselves to others, like George W. Bush. Comfortably ensconced behind a cloak of anonymity, he bristles, but also marvels, at their endurance and effectiveness, comparing them to “an infection that keeps coming back.” “They’ve perfected this absolutely incredible thing: they announce who they are, how powerful they are, how influential they are, and get people to write articles about them,” he says. “But when their policies are perceived to have caused mass chaos, they don’t exist, they didn’t have anything to do with it, they weren’t there, and they get really snotty. And anyone who attacks them is anti-Semitic.”

“Everybody in the true conservative movement talks privately about the neoconservatives, and most don’t like them,” says Patrick Buchanan. “They’re vindictive; they’re not collegial…One disagreement and you’re at war to the death.” As Buchanan depicts it, in the 1980s the neocons insinuated themselves into the world of right-wing foundations and, funding newly in hand, proceeded to hijack his party’s intellectual establishment, building for themselves an elaborate institutional infrastructure that’s better funded—and more militant and monochromatic—than anything comparable on the left. The epicenter is the American Enterprise Institute, but it fans out to other organizations, including the Hudson Institute (the refuge for two neocons bruised in the Bush administration, Douglas Feith and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, run by neocon Clifford May.

Even the old-line, establishment Council on Foreign Relations, the embodiment of those values—diplomacy, moderation, respectability—the neocons so abhor, now shelters two of them: the military historian Max Boot and Elliott Abrams, the former Reagan and George W. Bush administration official convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-contra scandal. (Bill Kristol, then Vice President Dan -Quayle’s chief of staff, helped secure Abrams a presidential pardon.) “They are effectively insulated from failure,” says Stephen Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, one of the neocons’ most frequent antagonists. “Even if you’ve totally screwed up in office and things you’ve advocated in print have failed, there are no real consequences, either professionally or politically. You go back to AEI and Weekly Standard and continue to agitate or appear on talk shows as if nothing has gone wrong at all.” But to Walt, too, their very durability is impressive. “You have to give them grudging admiration for sticking to their guns, to continuing to pound away no matter how discredited they’ve been,” he says.

Several neoconservatives—Robert Kagan, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt—played important roles in John McCain’s presidential campaign. A second and third generation of neoconservative commentators, including Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, Frederick Kagan and Danielle Pletka of AEI, and Jamie Fly and Dan Senor of the Foreign Policy Initiative (another Bill Kristol production), are making themselves known and heard. Meantime, the Fox News watchers who form the Republican base are not exactly neocons but, in their support for pugnacious policies abroad, find their world view compatible. Neoconservatism re-mains, as former GOP congressman Vin Weber puts it, “the dominant intellectual force on -foreign-policy thinking in the Republican Party.” Leaders of the alternative “realist” school—Kissinger, Scowcroft, Colin Powell, James Baker—are getting old, and with few exceptions, like Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, seem, like some celibate religious sect, unable or disinclined to reproduce.

“Its idealistic and patriotic appeal may be better suited to young thinkers than the prudent and reasonable calculations of realism,” says Justin Vaïsse, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of a forthcoming book on neoconservatism. “It’s not very exciting to be a young realist, really.”

In the meantime, Buchanan’s isolationist, paleoconservative wing of Republicanism has withered. “A lot of them tend to be libertarian cranks: neo-Confederates, really insane, racist, xenophobic types,” says Max Boot, who is also a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard. “Neocons are vilified as being barely human beasts who have to be kept chained in a cage somewhere, lest they start eating babies alive or something, but when you look at the spectrum of conservative thought, they are actually fairly centrist. The people who kind of speak to the rank and file of the Republican Party—the Newt Gingriches, the Rush Limbaughs, the Sean Hannitys…they’re actually fairly supportive of an aggressive foreign policy.”

No one has ever done a head count of neoconservatives; their critics, disposed to see them as furtive and conspiratorial, have pegged the number—facetiously, it’s true—as low as 64, or 17, or six. Sometimes they seem even scarcer, and more incestuous: fully half of the eight featured speakers on Commentary’s Alaskan cruise this summer, for example, are Podhoretzes (paterfamilias Norman; his wife, Midge Decter; his son, John; and Elliott Abrams, his son-in-law). John Podhoretz’s ascension at the magazine is a subject of enormous amusement to neoconservatism’s critics, who say it smacks of the nepotism and affirmative action neocons supposedly abhor.

An Israeli Attack on Iran
would reduce Barack Obama to a One-Term President

by Juan Cole
Informed Comment, 2010-08-15

[Despite the title, this begins with
a nice discussion of who the neocons are and what they support:]

What should a poor warmongering Neoconservative do?
This political grouping includes WASPS such as
former CIA director James Woolsey and former UN ambassor John Bolton,
but at its core is
politically active and extremely wealthy Jewish former Democrats
who broke with their party in the 1980s
to become war hawks in Republican administrations,
and most of whom are rooted in Rightwing Zionism as exemplified in
the thought of prominent fascist theorist Vladimir Jabotinsky.
(They are almost mirror images of the general American Jewish community,
79 percent of which voted for Barack Obama,
which is skittish about foreign wars and liberal on social issues).
The Neoconservative faction
is in the political wilderness in the United States.
Eager to play the role in Iran
that the enormous floods have played in Pakistan,
of paralyzing and destroying much of a thriving country,
eager to reduce the shining city of Isfahan to rubble
and displace its population into massive tent cities,
they find their path blocked at every turn.

Always much happier
when the militant and aggressive Likud Party is in power in Israel,
they are nevertheless impatient with what they see as
the timidity of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
compared to the reckless warmongering of
the previous Kadima Party and its Labor ally
(who managed to set back the Lebanese economy a decade in 2006
and to reduce the large penal camp of Gaza to further misery and rubble).



What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance
by Stephen M. Walt
foreignpolicy.com, 2011-03-21

Neocon Foreign Policy
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2011-03-24

Conservatives Challenge Obama Over Libya
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2011-03-25

The antiwar right vs the neocon-neoliberal alliance

Scott Horton Interviews Stephen M. Walt
Antiwar.com Radio, 2011-03-29


For Neocons, America is an Ideology
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2012-06-22

In introducing his new book, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America, Paul Gottfried identifies a fundamental divide between neoconservatives and the traditional right. The divide is over the question: What is this nation, America?

Straussians, writes Gottfried, “wish to present the construction of government as an open-ended rationalist process. All children of the Enlightenment, once properly instructed, should be able to carry out this … task.”

For traditional conservatives, before the nation is born, “ethnic and cultural preconditions” must exist. All “successful constitutional orders,” he writes, “are the expressions of already formed nations and cultures.”

To the old right, America as a nation and a people already existed by 1789. The Constitution was the birth certificate the nation wrote for itself, the charter by which it chose to govern itself. The real America had been born in men’s hearts by the time of Lexington and Concord in 1775.

In a recent issue of Modern Age, Jack Kerwick deals with this divide.
Irving Kristol, he writes, and quotes that founding father of modern neoconservatism, saw America as “a ‘creedal’ nation, a nation to which anyone can belong irrespective of ‘ethnicity or blood ties of any kind, or lineage, or length of residence even.’ ”

“For Kristol and his ilk,” Kerwick goes on, “one’s identity as an American is established by nothing more than an intellectual exercise whereby one rationally assents to the propositions encapsulated in the Declaration.”

“Given this unqualified quasi-religious commitment to ‘the Rights of Man,’ (for a neoconservative) America must be future-oriented, for as long as human rights are threatened, and regardless of where they are imperiled, her work in the world will never be complete.”



Neocons declare war on Trump
Prominent Republican hawks are debating whether to hold their noses and vote for Clinton instead.
By Michael Crowley
Politico, 2016-03-02

Labels: ,




Project for the New American Century

Willism Kristol’s Project for the New American Century
has written several letters and statements,
attempting to influence American foreign policy.
They seem to have been highly successful,
considering how closely American foreign policy models
that desired by the PNAC.
In particular, three letters called for
a policy towards Iraq and the Mideast
quite close to what has been implemented:
  1. 1998-01-26-PNAC:
    Letter to President Clinton on Iraq

  2. 2001-09-20-PNAC:
    Letter to President Bush on the War on Terrorism

  3. 2002-04-03-PNAC:
    Letter to President Bush on Israel, Arafat, and the War on Terrorism

Then there is a possible obituary for PNAC:


1998-01-26 Letter to President Clinton on Iraq
[An excerpt from the letter, with emphasis added:]

We are writing you because we are convinced that
current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding,
and that
we may soon face a threat in the Middle East
more serious than any we have known
since the end of the Cold War.
We urge you ... to enunciate a new strategy
that would secure the interests
of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world.
That strategy should aim, above all,
at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power.
We stand ready to offer our full support
in this difficult but necessary endeavor.


The only acceptable strategy is one that
eliminates the possibility that
Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use
weapons of mass destruction.
In the near term, this means
a willingness to undertake military action
as diplomacy is clearly failing.
In the long term, it means
removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.
That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to
articulate this aim, and to
turn your Administration’s attention to
implementing a strategy for
removing Saddam's regime from power.
American policy cannot continue to be
crippled by a misguided insistence
on unanimity in the UN Security Council.


2001-09-20 Letter to President Bush on the War on Terrorism
[My comments on this letter:]

Writing nine days after 9/11,
Kristol’s PNAC began executing the same task that
his Weekly Standard was also executing—
“to divert America’s wrath
away from those who perpetrated the attack
turn it against those who did not,”
as Scott McConnell put it (but the emphasis is added).

To that end,
the PNAC letter contains five paragraphs with boldface headings.
Here are those headings,
with my comments on the contents of each paragraph:
  1. Osama bin Laden
    They devote only two sentences to the instigator of 9/11.

  2. Iraq
    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
    But that doesn’t matter to the PNAC.
    They write:
    “[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly
    to the [9/11] attack,
    any strategy aiming at
    the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors
    must include a determined effort
    to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”

  3. Hezbollah
    Hezbollah had nothing to do with 9/11.
    That notwithstanding,
    in an attempt to tie Hezbollah to anti-American terrorism,
    the PNAC asserts that
    “[Hezbollah] is suspected of having been involved in the
    1998 bombings of the American embassies in Africa, and
    implicated in the
    bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.”

    This seems to be an attempt to confuse and mislead the reader:
    • As to the 1998 embassy bombings,
      Al Qaeda explicitly claimed responsibility for those.
      As well,
      Michael Scheuer, in describing these bombings,
      assigns responsibility to al Qaeda,
      and never mentions Hezbollah.

    • As to the issue of Hezbollah’s involvement with the
      1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut,
      that was clearly a reaction to
      American military involvement in Lebanon’s affairs
      (cf. Scheuer’s description of Hezbollah’s rationale).

    • As to the general issue of ties between
      • al Qaeda,

      • Hezbollah, and

      • “state sponsors of terrorism,”
      see these remarks by Scheuer.

  4. Israel and the Palestinian Authority
    Israel certainly was instrumental in 9/11,
    but Kristol and the PNAC won’t touch that
    very real link of Israel to 9/11 with a ten-foot pole;
    rather they just make their usual argument that
    the U.S. must stand by and with Israel
    and against the terrorists,
    while ignoring the extent to which Israel’s West Bank policies
    are the cause of the terrorism problem.

  5. U.S. Defense Budget
    They argue for an increase.
    Who, in that time frame, didn’t?
In sum,
three of their five highlighted issues, as they framed them,
had nothing to do with 9/11.
Nonetheless, they used 9/11 as an excuse
to argue for the policies that they already had been advocating.
Effectively, they hijacked America’s natural reactions to 9/11,
of anger and the desire for vengeance,
to their own ends.


2002-04-03 Letter to President Bush on Israel, Arafat, and the War on Terrorism
[My comments on this letter:]

This letter really deserves to be read in its entirety.
It so clearly states what America’s policies actually are,
for better or for worse.
If anyone wonders where America’s policies come from,
note how closely they follow the positions of this advocacy group.
(In a future post, I will speculate on
what the mechanism is that causes that agreement.)

Here are some excerpts from the letter,
with my comments added:

[W]e want to commend you for your strong stance
in support of the Israeli government
as it engages in the present campaign to fight terrorism.
As a liberal democracy under repeated attack
by murderers who target civilians,
Israel now needs and deserves steadfast support.
This support, moreover, is essential to Israel’s continued survival
as a free and democratic nation,
for only the United States has the power and influence
to provide meaningful assistance to our besieged ally.
[They completely ignore the fact that
a (possibly the) principal cause of terrorism against Israel is
Israel’s illegal, immoral, and unjustified (other than by the Torah)
occupation of the West Bank.
Returning to the 1949 borders would hardly harm
Israel’s status as “a free and democratic nation,”
but would materially reduce the terrorism against it.
Remember, the Intifadas only started
twenty years after Israel’s 1967 seizure of the West Bank
and after its subsequent settlement policies.]

No one should doubt that the United States and Israel share a common enemy.
[That is only because of the misguided support
the United States gives to Israel’s misguided policies.]

Israel is targeted
in part because it is our friend, and
in part because it is an island of liberal, democratic principles -- American principles -- in a sea of tyranny, intolerance, and hatred.
[Again, absolute and willful deceit on why Israel is targeted.
Does anyone wonder what the true source is for
the lies that the Bush administration has been accused of telling?]


It is true that the United States has a leading role to play
in the Middle East and, potentially,
in resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
But it is critical that negotiations
not be the product of terrorism or
conducted under the threat of terrorist attack.

  1. Israel has, historically,
    been willing and able to provoke a “terrorist attack,”
    simply to obtain an excuse
    so that Israel can do what it already wanted to do.

  2. In real negotiations,
    each side must come to the table
    with something that the other wants.
    If the Palestinians give up even the threat of terrorism,
    than what bargaining chip
    do the Palestinians have to offer the Israelis?
    Without that,
    the meetings would not be negotiations,
    but simply Israel dictating terms.

‘New American Century’ Project Ends With a Whimper
by Jim Lobe

Elliott Abrams

Rice Faces Formidable White House Foe
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-22

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

[I]t appears that Rice’s own chief Middle East aide when she served
as Bush’s national security adviser,
Elliott Abrams,
has become the principal foil
in frustrating her efforts to resume a peace process....

Abrams’ personal influence over Bush could not possibly match Rice’s,
but his bureaucratic skills and political connections –
notably to the so-called “Israel Lobby”
of pro-Likud Jewish organizations and the Christian Right –
give him considerable clout.
According to various sources,
Abrams has been working systematically
to undermine any prospect for serious negotiations
designed to give substance to Rice’s hopes –
and increasingly impatient demands by Saudi King Abdullah –
of offering the Palestinians a “political horizon” for a final settlement.

“The Bush administration has done nothing
to press Israel to deliver on its commitments,

beyond Washington’s empty rhetoric about a two-state ‘political horizon’,”
Henry Siegman, the longtime director of the U.S./Middle East Project
at the influential Council on Foreign Relations,
wrote in the International Herald Tribune just last week.

“Every time there emerged the slightest hint
that the United States may finally engage seriously in a political process,
Elliott Abrams would meet secretly with Olmert’s envoys in Europe or elsewhere
to reassure them that there exists no such danger,”
he complained.

After the resignation of Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby,
and the departure from the Pentagon nearly two years ago
of Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith,
Abrams became the administration’s most influential neoconservative,
particularly regarding Middle East policy which he oversees as
Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy.


...[Abrams] helped forge the coalition –
epitomized by Kristol’s Project for the New American Century (PNAC)
of which he was a charter member –
of mainly Jewish neoconservatives,
the Christian and Catholic Right,
and aggressive nationalists
that would seize control of U.S. policy after 9/11.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abrams has long been identified with his hard-line patrons, such as Perle and Podhoretz, who have strongly opposed the “land-for-peace” formula that, until the younger Bush, had been official U.S. policy since 1967.

When the elder Bush pressed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to participate in the Madrid peace conference after the first Gulf War, Abrams and dozens of other neoconservatives organized the Committee on U.S. Interests in the Middle East to lobby against such an effort.


Politically unable, due to his Iran-Contra conviction, to gain Senate confirmation to a State Department or Pentagon post, Abrams entered the younger Bush administration as a National Security Council (NSC) staffer under Rice in 2001 with responsibility for democracy promotion. But in a major coup that set off celebrations in Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s offices, he was given the Middle East portfolio in December 2002.

In that capacity, he forged close ties to Dov Weisglass and Shalom Turgeman, two of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s top aides. Together, the three men established a direct channel between Sharon’s office and Rice’s NSC that effectively excluded Secretary of State Colin Powell, the administration’s strongest advocate for resuming an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Eliot A. Cohen

Eliot Cohen’s “World War IV”

World War IV
Let's call this conflict what it is
by Eliot A. Cohen
Wall Street Journal, 2001-11-20

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Political people often dislike calling things by their names.
Truth, particularly in wartime,
is so unpleasant that we drape it in a veil of evasions,
and the right naming of things is far from a simple task.

Take the matter of this war.
It is most assuredly something other than the “Afghan War,”
as the press sometimes calls it.
After all, the biggest engagement took place on American soil,
and the administration promises to wage the conflict globally,
and not, primarily,
against Afghans.

The “9/11 War,” perhaps?
But the war began well before Sept. 11,
and its casualties include, at the very least,
the dead and wounded in our embassies in Africa, on the USS Cole,
and, possibly, in Somalia and the Khobar Towers.
“Osama Bin Laden's War”?
There are precedents for this in history
(King Philip's War, Pontiac's War, or even The War of Jenkins' Ear),
but the war did not begin with bin Laden and will not end with his death,
which may come sooner than anyone had anticipated --
including, one hopes, the man himself.

A less palatable but more accurate name is World War IV.
The Cold War was World War III,
which reminds us that not all global conflicts
entail the movement of multimillion-man armies,
or conventional front lines on a map.
The analogy with the Cold War does, however,
suggest some key features of that conflict:
that it is, in fact, global;
that it will involve a mixture of violent and nonviolent efforts;
that it will require mobilization of skill, expertise and resources,
if not of vast numbers of soldiers;
that it may go on for a long time; and
that it has ideological roots.

Americans still tiptoe around this last fact.
The enemy in this war is not “terrorism” --
a distilled essence of evil, conducted by the real-world equivalents of
J. K. Rowling's Lord Voldemort, Tolkien's Sauron, or C. S. Lewis' White Witch --
but militant Islam.
The enemy has an ideology, and an hour spent surfing the Web
will give the average citizen at least the kind of insights
that he or she might have found during World Wars II and III
by reading Mein Kampf or the writings of Lenin, Stalin or Mao.
Those insights, of course, eluded those in the West who preferred --
understandably, but dangerously --
to define the problem as something more manageable, such as
German resentment about the Versailles Treaty,
an exaggerated form of Russian national interest, or
peasant resentment of landlords taken a bit too far.
In the reported words of one survivor of the Holocaust,
when asked what lesson he had taken from his experience of the 1940s,
“If someone tells you that he intends to kill you, believe him.”

Al Qaeda and its many affiliates consist of Muslim fanatics.
They will, no doubt,
find almost as many enemies among moderate Muslims as among infidels,
and show them, if anything, less mercy.
One hopes for
a wave of revulsion among Muslims who abhor this rendition of their faith,
understand the calamities of all-out war waged to erect a theocratic dystopia, and
will fight these movements with no less vigor, and no more reservations,
than do Christians, Jews, Hindus, and, for that matter, atheists.

Afghanistan constitutes just one front in World War IV,
and the battles there just one campaign.
The U.S. is within range of gaining two important objectives there:
smashing al Qaeda (including the elimination of its leadership), and
teaching the lesson that
governments that shelter such organizations will themselves perish.
But what next?
Three ideas come to mind.

First, if one front in this war is
the contest for free and moderate governance in the Muslim world,
the U.S. should throw its weight behind
pro-Western and anti-clerical forces there.
The immediate choice lies before the U.S. government in regard to Iran.
We can either make tactical accommodations with the regime there
in return for modest (or illusory)
sharing of intelligence,
reduced support for some terrorist groups and the like,
or do everything in our power to support
a civil society that loathes the mullahs and yearns to overturn their rule.
It will be wise, moral, and unpopular (among some of our allies)
to choose the latter course.
The overthrow of the first theocratic revolutionary Muslim state, however,
and its replacement by a moderate or secular government
would be no less important a victory in this war
than the annihilation of bin Laden.

Second, the U.S. should continue to target regimes that sponsor terrorism.
Iraq is the obvious candidate,
having not only helped al Qaeda,
but attacked Americans directly
(to include an assassination attempt against the last President Bush),
and developed weapons of mass destruction.
Again, American allies will flinch,
and the military may shake its head
at the prospect of revisiting the aborted Gulf War victory,
but the costs of failing to do so,
and the opportunities for success
make it good sense.
The Iraqi military is weak, and
the consequences of finishing off America's arch-enemy in the Arab world
would reinforce the awe
so badly damaged by a decade of cruise missiles flung at empty buildings.

Third, the U.S. must mobilize in earnest.
The Afghan achievement is remarkable --
within two months to have
radically altered the balance of power there,
to have
effectively destroyed the Taliban state and smashed part of the al Qaeda --
is testimony to what the American military and intelligence communities can do
when turned on to a problem.
But the Taliban were not the hardest case,
and the airplanes dropping bombs on the enemy in Kunduz and Kandahar
are in some cases older than their pilots,
and suffering for lack of spare parts.

The combination of precision weapons, Special Operations forces, and sophisticated intelligence-gathering systems indicates the beginning of a desperately needed "transformation" of the American military. But this will require something more than the $20 billion a year in defense spending increases over the budget now in the offing.

Similarly, the creation of a homeland security office without real powers, the reluctance of the government to open comprehensive, formal inquiries into the disaster of Sept. 11, and the absence of big, imaginative programs -- mass scholarships for public health programs, for example, or, more ambitious yet, a really substantial program of scientific research to emancipate the West from dependence upon Persian Gulf oil -- tell us that Washington is somewhere between a war footing and business as usual.

It is, of course, early yet, and many of the signs --
from the B-52s pounding Taliban front lines
to CIA teams scouring the Afghan hills,
from enhanced spending on vaccines and the Centers for Disease Control
to the creation of military tribunals for foreign terrorists --
indicate that the government is truly serious.
But much remains to be done,
beginning with acknowledging the scope of the task, and acting accordingly.
Yet if after the Afghan campaign ends,
the government lapses into
a covert war of intelligence-gathering, arrests,
and the odd explosion in a terrorist training camp,
it will be a sign that it would rather avoid calling things by their true name.

Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc Nov 20, 2001

Eliot Cohen’s Supreme Command

Eliot A. Cohen wrote
Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
in 2002.

Here are the advance comments from reviewers
printed on the back cover of the hardback edition
(emphasis is added):

“This is the most important book in a long time on military affairs.
It is likely to become the standard volume on the subject of top command.
It also promises to change the way we all look at
how wars should be managed by presidents and other civilian leaders.
Military officers especially may be shocked by Cohen’s conclusion that
the best civilian leaders are
those who meddle and ask tough questions of their military subordinates.

But even those who disagree with him
will come away informed by the argument.”

—Thomas E. Ricks

“A commanding study of leadership in times of war.
If I could ask President Bush to read one book, this would be it.”

—William Kristol

“A fascinating study of the intersection of war and politics.
Cohen’s exploration of the conundrum of wartime leadership—
Who should run things: president or general?—
is both brilliant and unconventional.
A timely book, very readable and original.”

—Charles Krauthammer

And here, from the green start line to the red end line,
is an excerpt from the jacket flap
(emphasis is added):

The relationship between military leaders and political leaders
has always been a complicated one, especially in times of war.
When the chips are down, who should run the show—
the politicians or the generals?
In Supreme Command, Eliot Cohen examines four great democratic war statesmen—
Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill, and David Ben-Gurion—
to reveal the surprising answer: the politicians.
Great statesmen do not turn their wars over to their generals,
and then stay out of their way.
Great statesmen make better generals of their generals.
They question and drive their military men,
and at key times overrule their advice.
The generals may think they know how to win,
but the statesmen are the ones who see the big picture.


Military men often dismiss politicians as meddlers, doves, or naifs.
Yet military men make mistakes.
The art of a great leader is to push his subordinates to achieve great things.

Miscellaneous Articles on Eliot A. Cohen

Rice Names Critic Of Iraq Policy to Counselor's Post
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post, 2007-03-02

[Note that the casual reader of that headline
might very likely jump to the conclusion that
Cohen was a critic of the war.
Not so at all.
He was and is a strong proponent of the war,
but thinks that it could have been waged more successfully.

Here is an excerpt from the Post's article; emphasis is added.]

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has tapped Eliot A. Cohen,
a prominent writer on national security strategy
an outspoken critic
of the administration’s postwar occupation of Iraq,

as her counselor,
State Department officials said yesterday.


In a 2005 article for The Washington Post titled
A Hawk Questions Himself as His Son Goes to War,” Cohen wrote that
while the decision to invade was sound,
“what I did not know then that I do know now is
just how incompetent we would be at carrying out that task.”
He derided
what he called “cockamamie schemes” in creating the Iraq army and
the “under-planned, under-prepared and in some respects mis-manned
Coalition Provisional Authority.”

“The scholar in me is not surprised when our leaders blunder,
although the pundit in me is dismayed when they do,” Cohen wrote.
“What the father in me expects from our leaders is, simply, the truth --
an end to happy talk and denials of error, and
a seriousness equal to that
of the men and women our country sends into the fight.”

When Rice was named secretary of state
after four years as national security adviser,
Cohen wrote in the Wall Street Journal that
the administration’s foreign policy had “backbone and clarity of vision”
but also
“sheer stubbornness, culpable tactlessness and more dangerously,
a lack of realism.”
He described the decision-making circle overseen by Rice
as a “small, intimate coterie,” saying
such “policy-making groups become
contemptuous of disagreement,
indifferent to contrary arguments and at the end,
impervious to reality itself.”

[This seems rather amazing.
The problem, to most people, was that
the policy-making circles in the administration
were dominated by neoconservatives.
The addition of Cohen only exacerbates that situation.]

But Cohen was also fiercely critical of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report, writing in the Wall Street Journal that
“a fatuous process yields, necessarily, fatuous results.”
Cohen, who has described himself as sympathetic to Israel,
also denounced a paper last year by two prominent professors
on the influence of the “Israel Lobby”
as “inept, even kooky academic work” that was undeniably anti-Semitic.

[Note that Kessler does not put the assertion that the paper was anti-Semitic
in quotation marks,
nor show any suggestion that that assertion was and is highly dubious.

But more significantly,
it is an act of stunning journalistic irresponsibility, and, I might say,
an act which shows stunning indifference to what is important for America,
that Kessler ignores
the most significant (to his position as counselor to the secretary of state)
aspects of Cohen’s career:
The warmongering thoughts he publicly expressed in “World War IV”.
How on earth can Kessler think those positions are irrelevant
to those people who might want to evaluate
Cohen’s suitability for this policy-making position,
and what that bodes for America’s future foreign policy
and relations to the Muslim world?]

Rice Taps Iraq Reconstruction Critic
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer
Associated Press, 2007-03-02

[From the AP, the most centrist and plain-vanilla news organization,
the only outside comment that was offered on Cohen’s appointment
was from perhaps the biggest warmonger in Washington:]

Michael Ledeen,
a former government official and conservative scholar
at the American Enterprise Institute,
said Cohen's appointment was good news.

"You want your leaders to hear disagreements," he said.
"You don't want monotonous conformity."

[There was no critical comment offered on the appointment.]

The Talented Mr. Cohen
by Ximena Ortiz
National Interest online, 2007-03-02

[This is an “appreciation” of Eliot Cohen
upon his selection to be Counselor to Secretary of State C. Rice.
For an extension and complement to these remarks,
see the article by Anatol Lieven.]

Rice Picks Neocon Champion of Iraq War as Counselor
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-03

[An excerpt.]

A close friend and protégé of former Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and advisory board member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Cohen most recently led the harsh neoconservative attack on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG), co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.

Like his fellow neocons, he was particularly scathing about its recommendations for Washington to directly engage Syria and Iran and revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – recommendations which Rice herself has explicitly endorsed in the last few weeks.

“This is a group composed, for the most part, of retired eminent public officials, most with limited or no expertise in the waging or study of war,” Cohen wrote in column entitled “No Way to Win a War,” published by the Wall Street Journal the day after the ISG released its report in early December.

“A fatuous process yields, necessarily, fatuous results,” he went on in a wholesale dismissal of the relevance of what he called the “Washington establishment whose wisdom was exaggerated in its heyday, and which has in any event succumbed to a kind of political-intellectual entropy since the 1960s...”


“Bringing on Cohen could help inoculate her from criticism by the Cheney camp,” [said] Steven Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation in a reference to the vice president and the neoconservatives and other hawks who surround him. “One of the things that’s been consistent is that Rice never takes Cheney head-on and is very careful not to take on people who might antagonize him.”

In that respect, Cohen is a nearly ideal choice. Like Cheney, Cohen was a founding member in 1997 of the Project for the New American Century whose positions on how to prosecute the “war on terror” – including the invasion of Iraq and cutting ties to the Palestinian Authority (PA) under Yassir Arafat – he has consistently endorsed.
Although lacking in any regional expertise or policy-making experience, Cohen has written prolifically in recent years on U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Cohen first gained national prominence shortly after the 9/11 attacks when he published a Wall Street Journal column entitled “World War IV” – a moniker quickly adopted by hard-line neocons like former CIA director and fellow-DPB member James Woolsey, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, and Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney (on whose board Cohen also sits) – to put Bush’s “war on terror” in what he considered to be the appropriate historical context and to define its enemy as “militant Islam.”

After defeating the Taliban, he argued, Washington should not only “finish off” Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, whom he accused of having “helped al Qaeda,” but also seek to overthrow “the mullahs” in Iran whose replacement by a “moderate or secular government would be no less important a victory in this war than the annihilation of [Osama] bin Laden.”

In another Journal article in April 2002 when the second Palestinian intifada was at its height, Cohen, who had just signed a PNAC letter which called for severing ties to the PA and asserted that “Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight,” argued that proposals to send an international force that would separate Israeli forces from the Palestinians were “not serious.” “[T]here are times when well-intentioned measures can only make matters worse,” he warned.

Cohen has also been quick to label critics of Israel and the so-called “Israel Lobby” in the U.S. as anti-Semites.

“Only a reshuffling of the deck – through the disappearance of Arafat, or an event, (such as the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) that profoundly changes the mood in the Arab world – will make something approaching truce, let alone peace, possible,” he argued in a favorite pre-Iraq war neoconservative theme.

The following summer, Cohen achieved new fame when Bush was photographed carrying Cohen’s just-published book, “Supreme Command,” which argued that the greatest civilian wartime leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, had a far better strategic sense than their generals. It was a particularly timely message in the months that preceded the Iraq war when a surprising number of recently military brass here were voicing strong reservations about the impending U.S. invasion.

He also became a charter member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), an administration-supported group both to lobby for war in Iraq, largely on behalf of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress (INC). Indeed, Cohen, like his friend Wolfowitz, was already arguing publicly for Washington to rely heavily on the INC in any effort to overthrow Hussein in December 2001.

Neoconservative Eliot Cohen's new position at the State Department
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2007-03-05

[Some excerpts; emphasis is added.]

It is not hyperbole to say that Cohen is
as extremist a neoconservative and warmonger as it gets.

[R]ecognition grows even in Beltway elite media circles that
the people who designed and sold the Iraq war to the American public
are completely untrustworthy and discredited figures....

[Greenwald is far too optimistic, not too say unrealistic.
Consider, for example,
the laudatory and glowing description of Cohen’s appointment
provided by the well-known Zionist stooge Glenn Kessler above,
and the fawning support provided by the Zionist Post's production crew:
For example, the flattering photo of him is captioned:
“Eliot A. Cohen is a professor and the father of an Iraq war veteran.”]

Meet Eliot Cohen, Condi’s New Deputy
CounterPunch.org, 2007-03-06

Eliot Cohen and Democratic Responsibility
by Anatol Lieven
National Interest online, 2007-03-16

[This is a superlative article
analyzing the quality of Eliot Cohen’s contributions to national security.
Highly recommended.]

Douglas Feith

James Bamford’s A Pretext for War

[pages 278–281]

[After] Richard Perle became the Pentagon’s new
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
[in 1981,]
he nominated a young lawyer named Douglas Jay Feith
as his Deputy Assistant Secretary.
It was an extraordinary appointment
for someone just six years out of law school
with only two years of experience in defense issues.
But he was seen by many as Perle’s protégé.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Harvard,
Doug Feith had gone on to Georgetown Law.
While there he joined up with Joseph Churba,
a longtime friend and associate of Rabbi Meir Kahane,
whose violent Jewish Defense League
was declared a terrorist organization in both the United States and Israel.
Feith and Churba coauthored an op-ed piece for The Washington Post
that praised the tough, anti-Palestinian policies
of newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

In 1981,
he joined the Reagan administration’s National Security Council
as a Middle East expert,
but he lasted only about a year.
Richard Perle took him under his wing as his special assistant in 1982,
before skyrocketing him to the Deputy Assistant Secretary position in 1984.

At the close of the Reagan years,
many of the neocons, including Perle and Feith, left government,
having received a chilly reception from George Bush, Sr.,
when he became president.
Soon after leaving the Pentagon and into the 1990s,
Feith began turning more and more extreme
in his pro-Israel and anti-Arab and -Palestinian views.
He churned out constant diatribes in Israeli newspapers complaing about
  • the Israeli government’s policy on settlements (there should be more), or

  • the Oslo peace process
    (it should end—he was even against the Camp David peace accords), or

  • the Occupied Territories (they belong to Israel), or

  • the Palestinians (they belong to Jordan), or

  • Iraq (there should be regime change).
Rashid Khalidi,
director of Columbia University’s Middle East Institute,
called Feith’s published opinions “quite extreme.”

Beyond angry newspaper opinions,
Feith denounced President George H. W. Bush for his “mistreatment of Israel”
and even organized a committee to fight him—
the Committee on U.S. Interests in the Middle East
complete with a full-page ad in The New York Times.
  • advised the Israeli government to pressure the White House to depose Saddam Hussein;

  • led a Senate effort to pressure the Clinton administration to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem;

  • became the head of a right-wing pro-Israel special-interest group,
    the Center for Security Policy;

  • became a founding member of One Jerusalem,
    an Israeli organization determined to prevent any comromise with the Palestinains over the fate of any part of Jerusalem
    [now that’ll help the peace process]; and

  • became the vice chairman of the advisory board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a pro-Israel, defense-related special-interest group.
[Further information about JINSA and CSP is available here.]

During these years, Feith was also putting together a legal practice.
He teamed up with L. Marc Zell,
a fellow associate from his days at the Washington law firm of
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Kampelman.
Zell had turned into a zealot
on the issue of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories.
In the late 1980s, he became an orthodox Jew
and decided to joint the right-wing Israeli settler movement.
U.S. policy has always been, and continues to be,
adamently opposed to Israeli service.
[Maybe so, in lip service;
surely not, in anything that might have practical effect on the Israel.]

“Feith is a partner of Zell, and Zell is a leading settler,”
said Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University’s Middle East Institute director.
“He lives in a settlement;
he is an advocate of expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.
He and Feith are ardent, committed, extremist Likud supporters—
that is to say,
they support a policy of Israel’s expansion,
they support a policy of crushing the Palestinians,
they support the expansion of settlements.”

“I can bear personal witness to Feith’s adamancy on the issue [of settlements],”
said Larry Cohler-Esses.
“As a reporter during the late 1980s and early 1990s for Washington Jewish Week—whose attorney I was—I debated him several times over dinner on the very notion of Palestinian peoplehood.”

A few months after the Palestinian uprising known as the Intifada began,
in December 1987,
Feith’s partner, Zell, flew to Israel to lend his support to the settlers.
He had received his welcoming indoctrination into the settler movement
the year before in Israel by Gush Emunim (“bloc of the faithful”),
the point of the spear for the extreme-right-wing Israeli settlement group.

Just a few years earlier,
Gush Emunim devised a plot to blow up the Temple Mount
the Dome of the Rock
the third-holiest site in Islam.
Their goal was to start a cataclysmic war between Jews and Muslims
to hasten the coming of the Messiah and also
to scuttle the Camp David accord,
which called for the return of land under Israeli control to the Palestinians.
The act was never carried out,
only because in the end the plotters could not get rabbinical backing.

Soon after moving into the right-wing settlement of Alon Shvut,
about twenty minutes south of Jerusalem,
Zell and Feith opened their Jerusalem office and
the two began soliciting Israeli-American business.
While Marc Zell remained on the front lines of the settlement movement in Israel,
Feith, the managing partner of the firm, was the settler’s man in Washington.
In July he joined with
Perle, David Wurmser, and Wurmser’s Israeli-born wife, Meyrav,
to develop the foreign-policy postion paper “Clean Break”
for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Soon after helping to write the report,
David Wurmser became the director of the Middle East Studies Program at the American Enterprise Institute, where Perle also worked.
His position was funded by Irving Moscowitz [also known as Irving Moskowitz],
a wealthy American who was a key financial backer of Jewish settlements in Israel’s Occupied Territories.
Meyrav Wurmser founded an organization, MEMRI, that translates Arabic press reports that highlight negative views of the West.

A few months after they finished the “Clean Break” proposal,
Feith’s Center for Security Policy issued a paper titled
“Israeli Settlements: Legitimate, Democatically Mandated, Vital to Israel’s Security and, Therefore [!!!], in U.S. Interest.”
[What Israel-centric logic must have led to that “Therefore”!
“Dual loyalties” is too weak to describe this situation;
the author of that report has unambiguously and monolithically dedicated loyalties—
to Israel.]

The document claimed,
“Israel is fully entitled to expand existing settlements or build new ones in the disputed territories.”
[emphasis in original]

By 1997, Feith was going so far as to call for Israel to
repudiate the Oslo peace accords and
launch a full-scale war against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
“Repudiate Oslo,” he wrote in a paper titled “A Strategy for Israel”
in the 1997-09 Commentary.
Such a violent move, he acknowledged, would lead to a
“massive upheaval in the territories, and
the prospect of confrontation with 50,000 or so PA [Palestinian Authority] policemen with automatic weapons.”
Then he added coldly,
“Any strategy for repudiating Oslo
must therefore take into account the price in blood Israel would have to pay.”

Jeane Kirkpatrick

A quote, from a post-09-11 symposium at AEI (emphasis added):
[O]nce while I was [at] the United Nations
[she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1981 to 1985],
the wife of a very distinguished Arab Ambassador ... said to me,
“I don’t see why you’re always supporting Israel. You’re not a Jew.”
She said, “You know, why don’t you support the Arab countries?
I said, “You know, I’m a woman.

Charles Krauthammer

Everyone's Jewish
By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post, 2006-09-25

[An excerpt:]

Krauthammer’s Law:
Everyone is Jewish until proven otherwise.
For all its tongue-in-cheek irony,
Krauthammer’s Law works because when I say “everyone,”
I don't mean everyone you know personally.
Depending on the history and ethnicity of your neighborhood and social circles, there may be no one you know who is Jewish.
But if “everyone” means anyone that you've heard of in public life,
the law works for two reasons.
Ever since the Jews were allowed out of the ghetto and into European society
at the dawning of the Enlightenment,
they have peopled the arts and sciences, politics, and history
in astonishing disproportion to their numbers.

There are 13 million Jews in the world,
one-fifth of 1 percent of the world’s population.
Yet 20 percent of Nobel Prize winners are Jewish,
a staggering hundredfold surplus of renown and genius.
This is similarly true for a myriad of other “everyones” --
the household names in
music, literature, mathematics, physics, finance, industry, design,
comedy, film and, as the doors opened, even politics.

William Kristol

Lack of Resolution in Iraq Finds Conservatives Divided
New York Times, 2004-04-19

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

A growing faction of conservatives
is voicing doubts about a prolonged United States military involvement in Iraq,
putting hawkish neoconservatives on the defensive
and posing questions for President Bush
about the degree of support he can expect from his political base.

The continuing violence and mounting casualties in Iraq
have given new strength to the traditional conservative doubts
about using American military power to remake other countries and
about the potential for Western-style democracy
without a Western cultural foundation.
In the eyes of many conservatives,
the Iraqi resistance has discredited the more hawkish neoconservatives —
a group closely identified with Paul D. Wolfowitz,
the deputy secretary of defense, and
William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard.

Considered descendants of a group of mostly Jewish intellectuals
who switched from the political left to the right at the height of the cold war
[more precisely, when much of the political left
turned against Israel due to its aggressive, expansionist, repressive policies]
the neoconservatives are defined largely by their conviction
that American military power can be a force for good in the world.
They championed the invasion of Iraq
as a way to turn that country into a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.


In an editorial in this week’s issue of The Weekly Standard,
Mr. Kristol applauded
[future Democratic presidential candidate John F.] Kerry’s stance.

Referring to the conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan,
an outspoken opponent of the war and occupation,
Mr. Kristol said in an interview on Friday:
“I will take Bush over Kerry, but
Kerry over Buchanan or any of the lesser Buchananites on the right.
If you read the last few issues of The Weekly Standard,
it has as much or more in common with the liberal hawks
than with traditional conservatives.”


“If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals
and fight the conservatives,
that is fine with me, too,”

[Mr. Kristol] said.

Recalling a famous saying of his father,
the neoconservative pioneer Irving Kristol,
that a neoconservative was “a liberal who has been mugged by reality,”
the younger Mr. Kristol joked that now they might end up as neoliberals —
defined as “neoconservatives who had been mugged by reality in Iraq.”

Going Back Where They Came From
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2004-04-23

[Buchanan’s response to Kristol’s remarks.
Here is an excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Kristol’s warning that
the neocons could break with the Right and go to Kerry
is an admission of what many conservatives have long argued.

To neocons,
Israel comes first, second, and third,
conservative principles be damned.

Bill Kristol, Highly Recommended
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post, 2007-07-23

Bill Kristol’s the-war-is-being-won piece in The Washington Post
brought him plenty of ridicule, but at least one person liked it.

Kristol Clear: It's Official --'NYT' Explains Hiring New 'Op-Ed' Wag
By E&P Staff
Editor & Publisher, 2007-12-29

The Times Adds an Op-Ed Columnist
New York Times, 2007-12-30 (Sunday)

[The full contents of the article.]

William Kristol,
one of the nation’s leading conservative writers
and a vigorous supporter of the Iraq war,
will become an Op-Ed page columnist for The New York Times,
the newspaper announced Saturday.

Mr. Kristol will write a weekly column for The Times beginning Jan. 7,
the newspaper said.
He is editor and co-founder of The Weekly Standard,
an influential conservative political magazine,
and appears regularly on Fox News Sunday and the Fox News Channel.
He was a columnist for Time magazine
until that relationship was severed this month.

Mr. Kristol, 55, has been a fierce critic of The Times.
In 2006, he said that
the government should consider prosecuting The Times
for disclosing a secret government program
to track international banking transactions.

In a 2003 column on the turmoil within The Times
that led to the downfall of the top two editors [the Jayson Blair affair],
he wrote that it was not “a first-rate newspaper of record,” adding,
“The Times is irredeemable.”

In the mid-1990s,
Mr. Kristol led the Project for the Republican Future,
an influential policy study group.
Before that, he was chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle.

A native of New York City,
he holds a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate from Harvard.

His father is Irving Kristol,
one of the founding intellectual forces behind modern conservatism.

[Two quick comments:
  1. So to the Times,
    neoconservatism is indistinguishable from “modern conservatism.”

  2. How on earth can the Times tell us that
    “Mr. Kristol led the Project for the Republican Future,
    an influential policy study group”
    without mentioning the far more significant organization that he led,
    the Project for the New American Century,
    which played such a key role in creating the climate
    that led America to invade Iraq?

Kristol Expands His Audience Thanks to New York Times
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2008-01-01

A Late (and Recycled) Hit for Bill Kristol
by David Corn
DavidCorn.com, 2008-01-02

Bill Kristol Joins The New York Times
By Marcus Epstein
VDare.com, 2008-01-02

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Lost in this shadow boxing between
the far Left, the Respectable Right, and the Establishment Left
is the fact that
Kristol isn’t a real conservative
and that [NYT editorial page editor] Rosenthal’s
support for “opposing views” and a “variety of opinions”
is limited to his chosen opponents.

Judith Miller

A January 1991 article by Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal
provides some useful information
about the background and interests of Judith Miller.
Starting with the heading
“Three Zionist Snipers at the Dove of Peace”
Dr. Lilienthal discusses the impact of three American Jews,
former secretary of state Henry Kissinger,
then congressman Stephen J. Solarz, and
journalist Judith Miller
on America’s initial decision to go to war with Iraq in 1991.
The part dealing specifically with Judith Miller
is excerpted below, from the red start line to the green end line
(emphasis is added).

New York Times columnist Judith Miller
has been known to direct her considerable reportorial skills
to support the perceptions
of some of her co-religionists in the US Jewish mainstream.
It was she who printed
Solarz’s reference to a “Middle East Munich,”
after having reported a change of mind by President Bush [41]
“in trying to cajole the man he had called ‘Hitler revisited’.”
Her articles seldom ignore an opportunity
to conjure up the Nazi spectre.

Recently, she authored a lengthy book,
One by One by One: Facing the Holocaust,
based on interviews with European survivors of the Nazi horrors.
Describing her book as not about the Holocaust,
but “only how it is remembered,”
Miller readily admits in her preface that
“American Jews have a practical stake
in keeping memory of the Holocaust alive,
as a way of maintaining American support for Israel.”

She apparently has a stake herself
in incessantly pricking the Christian conscience
so as to bring about what,
for her and her newspaper,
is the correct perspective toward the Middle East conflict.

Undaunted by the prospect of a war in which
thousands of Iraqis and her fellow Americans
might die needlessly,
she, like Kissinger and Solarz,
is set on a violent solution.
For her,
no Holocaust would be good enough
for Saddam Hussain or for the Palestinians!

The failure of the mainstream media
in the lead-up to the most recent Iraq war
was to fail to make known to the general reader
that Ms. Miller “ha[d] a stake herself”
in the Middle East,
one quite different from that of the average American.
Ms. Miller, like her “co-religionists,”
had a glaring conflict of interest.
It’s a shame that was not divulged to the American public.

References regarding Judith Miller
  1. Alfred M. Lilienthal on Judith Miller,
    Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 1991-01
    [The part on Judith Miller is the last four paragraphs.]

  2. Franklin Foer, “The Source of the Trouble,”
    New York, 2004-06-07
    [New York profiles her career.]

  3. Lynne Duke, “The Reporter’s Last Take,”
    Washington Post, 2005-11-10
    [The Washington Post profiles her post-resignation state.]

  4. Justin Raimondo,
    Judith Miller: Hearsted on Her Own Petard,”
    www.antiwar.com, 2005-07-18
    [Raimondo on Miller, Fitzgerald, and the neocons.]

  5. Derek Seidman, “Watch Her Run!,”
    www.counterpunch.org, 2004-02-20
    [A confrontation with Ms. Miller.]

  6. Don Van Natta Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy,
    The Miller Case: A Notebook, A Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal,”
    New York Times, 2005-10-16
    [Original article here.]
    [The NYT’s main story on Miller/Libby/Plame/Fitzgerald.]

  7. Byron Calame,
    “The Miller Mess: Lingering Issues Among the Answers,”
    New York Times, 2005-10-23
    [Byron Calame is the NYT’s public editor (i.e., ombudsman).
    This is his, rather critical, take on the Miller story.
    (At least for now, it seems freely available from the NYT,
    from his web page.)]

  8. Maureen Dowd, “Woman of Mass Destruction,”
    New York Times, 2005-10-22
    [Original article here.]

  9. Judith Miller
    [Her own web site, from which she returns fire.]

Condoleezza Rice

Background on Rice

Bush’s Foreign Policy Tutor: An Academic in the Public Eye
by Elaine Sciolino
New York Times, 2000-06-16

Arrayed behind George W. Bush
as he unveiled his nuclear policy initiative last month were
two former secretaries of state, two former national security advisers and
a former secretary of defense.

But once Mr. Bush and his formidable lineup of older men left the stage,
the foreign policy expert who fielded questions
on the specifics of the Texas governor’s proposal
was not Henry A. Kissinger or Colin Powell.
It was Condoleezza Rice, a 45-year-old university professor
who is tutoring a presidential candidate
who concedes that he has much to learn about the world.

The nuclear policy speech provided the ideal platform for Ms. Rice, Mr. Bush’s chief foreign policy adviser. Russia, its nuclear arsenal, and America’s defense posture are areas that she has studied for years, both as a professor of political science at Stanford University and as a Russia specialist on the National Security Council in the first two years of the Bush administration.

Now she plays what she calls “quarterback” for a disparate foreign policy team, the “Vulcans,” whose mission is to prove that Mr. Bush has enough global brainpower to be president. (The advisers take their name from the ancient god of the forge, whose statue is a symbol of Birmingham, Ala., Ms. Rice’s hometown.)

Among the Vulcans, Ms. Rice is closest by far to Mr. Bush, whom she is leading in a grand global tutorial as she tries to convince others that what he lacks in international knowledge and experience he makes up for in what she calls “good instincts.”

But a series of interviews indicate that Ms. Rice is much less sure-footed when the terrain is unfamiliar. Her silky voice becomes choppy, her crisp sentences vague.
She takes a dim view of American military intervention, particularly for humanitarian reasons, but declines to specify the circumstances in which the use of force would be justified. She proposes “perhaps skipping a generation” of weapons technology to build armed forces that are “lighter and more lethal,” but won’t say which hardware and weapons systems could be sacrificed.

Speaking before the summit meeting of the leaders of South and North Korea, she labeled North Korea a “rogue state” but did not lay out a scenario for dealing with it except to say that “the North Koreans should know that this is not all positive carrots, that there’s a potential stick out there.” And she calls America’s one-China policy, a linchpin of American foreign policy that regards Taiwan as part of mainland China, a “holding device.”

Ms. Rice herself admits that there are vast swaths of the world that are new to her. “I’ve been pressed to understand parts of the world that have not been part of my scope,” she said. “I’m really a Europeanist.”

Her first book was a learned work on the Czechoslovak Army; another she co-authored on the reunification of Germany in 1995 was extremely well-received. Ms. Rice is talked about in Washington circles as a shoo-in for national security adviser if Mr. Bush makes it to the White House, perhaps twinned with General Powell as secretary of state. When Mr. Bush was asked in a telephone interview about the possibility of having two African-Americans leading his foreign policy team, he said, “It’s way too premature.” When Ms. Rice was asked the same question, she replied, “It’s really not appropriate to talk about a cabinet until he’s won.” As for General Powell, his answer was more concise: “Nice try.”

Ms. Rice, an only child raised in a segregated, bourgeois district of Birmingham, and originally destined to be a concert pianist, can dazzle on many a stage. At a recent Republican fund-raising reception in Silicon Valley, she sang part of the Star Spangled Banner (the obscure second verse). She played The Battle Hymn of the Republic on a grand piano. She showed off snippets of fluent Russian. And she delivered -- with no notes -- a 20-minute speech praising the potential of Mr. Bush to lead the world.

She knows how to be stridently self-confident. (“I have a really good memory.” “I am a really fast writer.” “There was a time in my life when I knew the general staff of the Soviet Union better than it knew itself.”)

“Condi’s entire life has been a high wire act,” said Coit Blacker, a fellow professor at Stanford, a former Russia specialist on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council and a close friend of Ms. Rice. “She can stand up in front of a crowd and wing it. I have been with her any number of times when she’s about to give a speech and she writes it on the back of an envelope on the drive over. It springs from deep confidence but also a tendency to engage in death-defying acts.”

Ms. Rice has been performing since her parents pushed her onto the stage for her first piano recital at the age of four. When she realized she was not good enough for a concert career, she turned to academic pursuits, becoming a professor and eventually provost at Stanford.

Ms. Rice and Mr. Bush seem to share a similar view of the world. It is a balance-of-power, realist Republican approach that is generally short on details and might be summed up like this: strengthen America’s military, scale back military commitments abroad and focus on the big powers.

Under the Clinton administration, Ms. Rice argued in an article in Foreign Affairs, “national interest” was too often replaced by “humanitarian interest” or the interests of “the international community.” Instead, she suggested, the United States should take the attitude that what is in its own interest -- spreading democracy and free trade, for example -- is good for the world.

Mr. Bush has unabashedly shown his dependence on Ms. Rice, the daughter of educators who started her political life as a Democrat, switched sides in 1982, informally advised Democrat Gary Hart on foreign policy in his 1988 bid for the presidency, and has called herself “an all-over-the-map Republican.” Ms. Rice is a fit for Mr. Bush. “There’s a real chemistry between them,” said Dov S. Zakheim, one of the Vulcans.

“I like to be around her,” Mr. Bush said. “She’s fun to be with. I like lighthearted people, not people who take themselves so seriously that they are hard to be around.” Besides, he said, “She’s really smart!”

Mr. Bush feels comfortable asking her the most basic questions. He has identified Ms. Rice as the person who “can explain to me foreign policy matters in a way I can understand.” Karen Hughes, Mr. Bush’s communications director, said that when she recently showed him a news article about the strife in Sierra Leone, Mr. Bush told her to “call Condi and see what she thinks.”

Ms. Rice’s role is all the more critical because Mr. Bush doesn’t like to read briefing books on the nuts-and-bolts of national security, and his lack of experience in foreign affairs has raised questions about his preparedness for the White House.

When a writer for Glamour Magazine recently uttered the word “Taliban” -- the regime in Afghanistan that follows an extreme and repressive version of Islamic law -- during a verbal Rorschach test, Mr. Bush could only shake his head in silence. It was only after the writer gave him a hint (“repression of women in Afghanistan”) that Mr. Bush replied, “Oh. I thought you said some band. The Taliban in Afghanistan! Absolutely. Repressive.”

Of course, Afghanistan is also not Ms. Rice’s primary area of expertise. Asked in an interview to support her assertion in her recent article in Foreign Affairs that Iran is trying to spread “fundamentalist Islam” beyond its borders, she replied, “Iran has been the state hub for technology and money and lots of other goodies to radical fundamentalist groups, some will say as far-reaching as the Taliban.”

When reminded that Iran was a bitter enemy of the Taliban and that the two countries had almost gone to war in late 1998, she replied, “They were sending stuff to the region that fell into the hands of bad players in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” She did not identify “the bad players.” (In a subsequent conversation, she said that of course she knew that Iran and the Taliban were enemies).

On Iraq, she believes that President Saddam Hussein is an evil man, but declined to say what a George W. Bush administration would do to get rid of him.

Despite her deliberate vagueness in areas with which she is unfamiliar, she has a reputation for being a quick study.

For the nuclear policy speech last month, which called for building a national missile defense system combined with reductions and possibly unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal, Ms. Rice said she played a central role. She began working on what she called “a sustainable position on nuclear policy” at a Vulcans retreat a year ago and continued developing ideas with the eight-member group, which includes former senior Pentagon and State Department officials such as Paul D. Wolfowitz, Robert B. Zoellick, Richard L. Armitage and Richard Perle.

She spent endless hours with Mr. Bush himself, going over the speech line by line, explaining the implications of every issue. When he didn’t want to read the questions and answers about the speech prepared for him, she and Mr. Wolfowitz drilled him verbally instead.

She also sought out Mr. Kissinger, General Powell, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and others, soliciting their views, sending them drafts of the speech, coaxing them into attending the event.

Ms. Rice (whose first name is pronounced kahn-dah-LEE-za) and Mr. Bush got to know each other in 1995, when she traveled to Austin at the invitation of former President Bush. She and the younger Mr. Bush bonded over baseball, as Mr. Bush, then a co-owner of the Texas Rangers, showed off his display cases full of signed baseballs. Ms. Rice, a self-described fanatical sports fan, told stories about Willie Mays, whom her mother had once taught in high school. “Governor Bush was very impressed,” Ms. Rice said.

They met again at the Bush family vacation compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1998. While she ran on the treadmill, he rowed and pedaled. “What about relations with Russia, what about relations with China?” Ms. Rice quoted Mr. Bush as asking. “What about the state of the military?”

Ms. Rice is used to maneuvering among powerful men. She sits on the boards of corporations such as the Charles Schwab Corporation and the Chevron Corporation, which has even named a Bahamian-flagged supertanker after her.

Her mentor at the University of Denver was Josef Korbel, the father of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who helped her “fall in love” with Russian history, she said. As a freshly-minted Ph.D. in 1981, she joined the Stanford faculty. In 1993, she became the youngest, the first female and the first non-white provost. Faced with a $43 million deficit, she cut services and fired staff members with only limited consultations with the faculty.
“I don’t do committees,”
she said.
(She is on leave from the faculty,
although she has resigned her position as provost.)

Like Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice is a fitness enthusiast. She does strength training twice a week with Stanford’s football coach and endurance training with a second Stanford coach twice more. Single, she said she does not do recreational reading and does not have fun by accident. “I schedule fun,” she said.

A headline in the current issue of George Magazine, which included eight photos of Ms. Rice in the gym, reads, “Bush’s Kissinger. She Can Kick Your Butt, Too.” Indeed, said Mr. Armitage, an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, “I would bet that if you look behind her, the ground is littered with the bodies of those who underestimated her.”

Although Ms. Rice is determined to see her star pupil make it to the White House, she insists that she is not wedded to the idea of serving in government again. She lasted only two years in the Bush administration before she went back to Stanford.
General Scowcroft, her former boss, said in an interview that
she left to find a spouse and have a family.
Marlin Fitzwater, President Bush’s spokesman, said,
“I offered to marry her every other day.”

Ms. Rice winced when told what her two former colleagues said about her, explaining that the reason for leaving was a bit different. “I wanted a life,” she said. “These jobs are all-consuming. And I have strong reservations about going back to that all-consuming life.”

Rice and 9-11

Richard A. Clarke versus Condoleezza Rice

The testimony (marked by an extra-thick horizontal rule)
of Clarke and Rice before the 9/11 Commission is of particular interest.
The newspaper articles listed are, of course, secondary reporting,
but may be of interest in showing how the testimony
was anticipated and analyzed by key parts of the media.
Two key pre-9-11 documents are also cited.
SUBJECT: Presidential Policy Initiative/Review -- The Al Qida Network

National Security Council, 2001-01-25, via
National Security Archive, 2005-02-10

President’s Daily Brief for 2001-08-06:
“Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US”

Bush and Clinton Aides Grilled by Panel
New York Times, 2004-03-24

Appearance of Richard A. Clarke,
former National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, National Security Council,
on 2004-03-24 at the eighth public hearing of the 9/11 Commission

His written statement

His oral testimony before the commission

[Here is an excerpt from his oral testimony (emphasis is added):]

MR. CLARKE: I believe the Bush administration in the first eight months
considered terrorism an important issue but not an urgent issue.
They -- well, President Bush himself says as much in the -- his interview with Bob Woodward in the book "Bush at War".
He said, "I didn't feel a sense of urgency."
George Tenet and I tried very hard to create a sense of urgency
by seeing to it that intelligence reports on the al Qaeda threat
were frequently given to the President and other high-level officials.
And there was a process underway to address al Qaeda.
But although I continued to say it was an urgent problem,
I don't think it was ever treated that way.

The Clarke-Roemer exchange
MR. ROEMER: Okay. Let's move into, with my 15 minutes, let's move into the Bush administration. On January the 25th, we've seen a memo that you had written to Dr. Rice, urgently asking for a principals review of al Qaeda. You include helping the Northern Alliance, covert aid, significant new '02 budget authority to help fight al Qaeda --

MR. CLARKE: Uh-huh.

MR. ROEMER: -- and response to the U.S.S. Cole. You attached to this document both the Delenda Plan of 1998 and a strategy paper from December 2000. Did you get a response to this urgent request for a principals meeting on these, and how does this affect your time frame for dealing with these important issues?

MR. CLARKE: I did get a response. The response was that in the Bush administration I should, and my committee, the counterterrorism security group, should report to the deputies committee, which is a sub-cabinet level committee, and not to the principals, and that therefore it was inappropriate for me to be asking for a principals meeting. Instead, there would be a deputies meeting.

MR. ROEMER: So, does this slow the process down to go to the deputies rather than to the principals or a small group, as you had previously done?

MR. CLARKE: It slowed it down enormously, by months. First of all, the deputies committee didn't meet urgently in January or February. Then, when the deputies committee did meet, it took the issue of al Qaeda as part of a cluster of policy issues, including nuclear proliferation in South Asia, democratization in Pakistan, how to treat the problems, the various problems, including narcotics and other problems in Afghanistan , and, launched on a series of deputies meetings extending over several months to address al Qaeda in the context of all of those interrelated issues. That process probably ended, I think, in July of 2001, so we were readying for a principals meeting in July, but the principals' calendar was full, and then they went on vacation, many of them, in August, so we couldn't meet in August, and therefore the principals met in September.

MR. ROEMER: So, as the Bush administration is carefully considering from bottom up a full review of fighting terrorism, what happens to these individual items, like a response to the U.S.S. Cole --

MR. CLARKE: Well --

MR. ROEMER: -- like the Predator? Why aren't these decided in the shorter time frame as they're also going through a larger policy review of how this policy affects Pakistan and other countries -- important considerations, but why can't you do both?

MR. CLARKE: The deputies committee, its chairman, Mr. Hadley, and others, thought that all these issues were sufficiently interrelated, that they should be taken up as a set of issues, and pieces of them should not be broken off.

MR. ROEMER: Did you agree with that?

MR. CLARKE: No, I didn't agree with much of that.

MR. ROEMER: Were you -- were you frustrated by this process?

MR. CLARKE: I was sufficiently frustrated that I asked to be reassigned.

MR. ROEMER: When was this?

MR. CLARKE: Probably May or June -- certainly no later than June. And there was agreement in that time frame, in the May or June time frame, that I would be -- my request would be honored and I would be reassigned on the first of October to a new position to deal with cyber security, a position that I requested be created.

MR. ROEMER: So, are you saying that the frustration got to a high enough level that it wasn't your portfolio; it wasn't doing a lot of things at the same time. It was that you weren't getting fast enough action on what you were requesting?

MR. CLARKE: That's right. My view was that this Administration, while it listened to me, either didn't believe me that there was an urgent problem or was unprepared to act as though there were an urgent problem.

And I thought, if the Administration doesn't believe its national coordinator for counterterrorism when he says there's an urgent problem, and if it's unprepared to act as though there's an urgent problem, then probably I should get another job.

I thought cyber-security was and I still think cyber-security is an extraordinarily important issue for which this country is very underprepared. And I thought perhaps I could make a contribution if I worked full-time on that issue.

MR. ROEMER: You then write a letter or a memo on September the 4th to Dr. Rice expressing some of these frustrations. Several months later, if you say the time frame is May or June when you decided to resign, a memo comes out that we have seen on September the 4th.

You are blunt in blasting DOD for not willingly using the force and the power. You blast the CIA for blocking Predator. You urge policymakers to imagine a day, after hundreds of Americans lay dead at home and abroad after a terrorist attack, and ask themselves what else they could have done. You write this on September the 4th, seven days before September 11th.

MR. CLARKE: That's right.

MR. ROEMER: What else could have been done, Mr. Clarke?

MR. CLARKE: Well, all of the things that we recommended in the plan or strategy -- there's a lot of debate about whether it's a plan or a strategy or a series of options -- but all of the things we recommended back in January were those things on the table in September. They were done. They were done after September 11th. They were all done. I didn't really understand why they couldn't have been done in February.

MR. ROEMER: Well, let's say, Mr. Clarke -- I think this is a fair question -- let's say that you asked to brief the President of the United States on counterterrorism. Did you ask that?

MR. CLARKE: I asked for a series of briefings on the issues in my portfolio, including counterterrorism and cyber-security.

MR. ROEMER: Did you get that request?

MR. CLARKE: I did. I was given a briefing opportunity to brief on cyber-security in June. I was told I could brief the President on terrorism after this policy development process was complete. And we had a principals meeting and a draft national security policy decision that had been approved by the deputies committee.

MR. ROEMER: Let's say, Mr. Clarke, as gifted as you might be in eloquence and silver-tongued as anyone could be, and let's say, let's imagine, that instead of saying no, you asked for this briefing to the President, you said you didn't get it after eight months of talking -- let's say you get this briefing in February, after your memo to Dr. Rice on September the 25th
[I believe he is referring to the 01-25 memo],
and you meet with the President of the United States in February and you brief him on terrorism.

Tell me how you convince the President to move forward on this and get this principals meeting that doesn't take place until September the 4th moved up so that you can do something about this problem?

MR. CLARKE: Well, I think the best thing to have done, if there had been a meeting with the President in February, was to show him the accumulated intelligence that al Qaeda was strong and was planning attacks against the United States, against friendly governments.

It was possible to make a very persuasive case that this was a major threat and this was an urgent problem.

MR. ROEMER: And you think this would have sped up the deputies process and the principals process? Do you think the President would have reached down then and said something to the national security team to --

MR. CLARKE: I don't know.

MR. ROEMER: -- expedite this?

MR. CLARKE: I don't know.

MR. ROEMER: Well, you worked for President Clinton. You saw what meetings with presidents could do there. Is this a magical solution, or is it something that presidents might say right back to you, "Listen, Dick, I've got many other things I've got to do here -- the Middle East peace process, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Korean peninsula." How likely is it that we are able to see some kind of result from a meeting like that?

MR. CLARKE: I think it depends in part on the President.

President Bush was regularly told by the director of Central Intelligence
that there was an urgent threat.
On one occasion --
he was told this dozens of times
in the morning briefings that George Tenet gave him.
On one of those occasions,
he asked for a strategy to deal with the threat.

Condi Rice came back from that meeting,
called me and relayed what the President had requested.
And I said,
"Well, you know,
we've had this strategy ready since before you were inaugurated.
I showed it to you.
You have the paperwork.
We can have a meeting on the strategy any time you want."

She said she would look into it.
Her looking into it and the President asking for it
did not change the pace at which it was considered.
And as far as I know, the President never asked again.
At least I was never informed that he asked again.
I do know he was thereafter continually informed about the threat
by George Tenet.

MR. ROEMER: Let me ask you, with my yellow light on, a question about the summer 2000 alert. You were saying, the CIA was saying, everybody was saying, "Something spectacular is about to happen" -- spiking in intelligence; something terrible was about to happen.

You told us in some of our interviews you only wish you would have known at that time, in that summer, what the FBI knew with regard to Moussaoui, the Phoenix memo and terrorists in the United States.

What could you have done with some of that information, with the spiked alerts, with the spectacular attack on the horizon, in the summer of 2001?

MR. CLARKE: Well, Congressman, it is very easy, in retrospect, to say that I would have done this or I would have done that. And we'll never know.

I would like to think that had I been informed by the FBI that two senior al Qaeda operatives who had been in a planning meeting earlier in Kuala Lumpur were now in the United States, and we knew that, and we knew their names -- and I think we even had their pictures -- I would like to think that I would have released or had the FBI release a press release with their names, with their descriptions, held a press conference, tried to get their names and pictures on the front page of every paper -- America's Most Wanted, the evening news -- and caused a successful nationwide manhunt for those two, two of the 19 hijackers.

But I don't know, because you're asking me a hypothetical, and I have the benefit now of 20/20 hindsight.

[Click here for the response of Dr. Rice
at the next public hearing of the 9-11 Commission,
which includes the Rice-Roemer exchange.]

Ex-Bush Aide Says Threat of Qaeda Was Not Priority
New York Times, 2004-03-25

Was an Official 'in the Loop'? It All Depends
New York Times, 2004-03-25

Rice Is Agreeable to Return for More of 9/11 Panel's Queries
New York Times, 2004-03-26

Panel Hasn't Heard From Official It Wants Most
New York Times, 2004-03-26

President Asked Aide to Explore Iraq Link to 9/11
New York Times, 2004-03-29

9/11 Panel Wants Rice Under Oath in Any Testimony
New York Times, 2004-03-30

Bush Allows Rice to Testify on 9/11 in a Public Session
New York Times, 2004-03-31

Sept. 11 Panel Scrutinizing Past Testimony [$]
New York Times, 2004-04-01

[A free copy is currently available here.
But just in case that disappears,
here is the full text from the article (emphasis is added).]

Copyright New York Times Company Apr 1, 2004

The staff of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is conducting a detailed review of all discrepancies found in public and private statements by Condoleezza Rice and Richard A. Clarke in drawing up questions for Ms. Rice when she testifies before the panel, probably next week, commission officials said Wednesday.

Commission members said both the panel's leaders and the White House were trying to schedule sworn testimony by Ms. Rice, the president's national security adviser, for late next week.
The White House, they said, is hoping to limit any political damage to the president by having Ms. Rice testify quickly in the hope of ending the furor over the accusations made by Mr. Clarke, Mr. Bush's former counterterrorism director.

Mr. Clarke said in testimony before the commission last week
and in his new best-selling memoir that
the Bush administration -- and Ms. Rice, in particular --
largely ignored threats by Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Officials said the 10-member bipartisan commission wanted Ms. Rice's testimony by the end of next week in order to move onto a new issue, law enforcement failures before Sept. 11, 2001, at a separate set of hearings scheduled to begin April 13.

“We're working with the commission to move forward as quickly as possible,” Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said. “I think most Americans view Dick Clarke and his contradictions as yesterday's news.”

President Bush announced Tuesday that he would allow Ms. Rice to testify at a public hearing, reversing himself after the White House had argued for weeks that testimony by such a senior presidential aide would erode the president's constitutional authority.

Commission members, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the panel's staff had been asked in the wake of Mr. Clarke's testimony last week to carefully review all testimony and other remarks that both he and Ms. Rice had made since Sept. 11, to determine where they disagreed.

The commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, suggested Wednesday that the questioning of Ms. Rice would center on the early months of the Bush administration, the period in which Mr. Clarke has insisted that the issue of terrorist threats was largely overlooked.
“I think the thing that Mr. Clarke emphasized the most is a lack of attention by the Bush administration to the problem of terrorism,” Mr. Kean said on CNN.

As the White House and the commission sought to work out the logistics for Ms. Rice's testimony, Mr. Clark received new support on Wednesday from the staff director of the bipartisan joint Congressional inquiry that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks in 2002.

The former staff director, Eleanor J. Hill, a former federal prosecutor and Congressional aide whose management of the investigation was widely praised by Democrats and Republicans alike, said the Congressional investigation turned up evidence to support Mr. Clarke's contention that the Bush administration had paid too little attention to terror in the months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ms. Hill said that while she no longer had access to transcripts of the classified testimony given by Mr. Clarke to the joint investigation, she could not identify large contradictions between his testimony last week and his testimony to Congress two years ago.
“I didn't hear any major factual discrepancies,” said Ms. Hill, adding that the central differences between Mr. Clarke's account and that of Ms. Rice “appeared to be an opinion issue, not so much a fact issue.”
She cited passages in the joint investigation's final report that appeared to back up Mr. Clarke's contentions, especially this finding:
“It appears that significant slippage in counterterrorism policy may have taken place in late 2000 and early 2001. At least part of that was due to the unresolved status of Mr. Clarke as national coordinator for counterterrorism and his uncertain mandate to coordinate Bush administration policy on terrorism and especially on bin Laden.”

That passage of the report would seem to contradict Ms. Rice, who has insisted that the Bush administration considered terrorism a high priority throughout 2001 and that the White House had gone on “battle stations” to deal with dire warnings from intelligence agencies about an imminent, possibly catastrophic attack by Al Qaeda.

Congressional Republican leaders asked last week that the Bush administration declassify Mr. Clarke's 2002 testimony,
it would show glaring inconsistencies
in his account of the Bush administration's performance on counterterrorism.

Administration officials said Wednesday that the White House was insisting that it play a role in a decision about how much of the secret testimony is declassified.
A spokesman for the National Security Council, Sean McCormack, said the White House would do so because Mr. Clarke was on the council's staff at the time. “There's an established procedure for declassification, and in this area, it's being followed,” Mr. McCormack said Wednesday.

But the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee issued a preemptive complaint against what she warned might be “selective declassification” on the part of a White House to bolster the position of Dr. Rice and President Bush.
“The N.S.C. is the White House; they are an interested party, and they should have no role in this process,” said the lawmaker, Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California.

A transcript of Mr. Clarke's testimony was sent to the N.S.C. for review last Thursday by Representative Porter J. Goss, the Florida Republican who is chairman of the House intelligence committee, and was forwarded to the C.I.A. on Friday, administration officials said. Under standard procedures, any material that the C.I.A. agreed to declassify would be sent back to the House committee, which would then have the final say on whether to make that version public.
Along with the Senate intelligence committee, the House panel now serves as the steward of testimony before the joint Congressional panel, which was disbanded after it issued its final, classified report in December 2002. Much of that report was never declassified at the insistence of the White House.

The involvement of agencies like the N.S.C. in declassification reviews was described by current and former government officials as standard practice in cases involving those agencies.
“When you have something involving a former employee of an agency, that agency will play a role” in the review, Mr. McCormack, the N.S.C. spokesman, said in defending the decision to apply the standard to Mr. Clarke.

Ms. Harman said in an interview that she regarded Mr. Clarke's testimony before the Congressional panel as the property of Congress, not the executive branch.
And Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who was the ranking Senate Democrat on the joint Congressional panel, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Clarke's testimony should be released “in toto, so there's not another case of selective editing, in which only portions favorable to the White House are made public.”

Leaders of 9/11 Panel Say Attacks Were Probably Preventable
New York Times, 2004-04-05

New to the Job, Rice Focused on More Traditional Fears
New York Times, 2004-04-05

As Rice Testimony Nears, Tone Remains a Question [$]
New York Times, 2004-04-07

[A free copy is available here.]

Appearance of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
on 2004-04-08 at the ninth public hearing of the 9/11 Commission

[Her testimony is in part a response to
the previous testimony of Richard Clarke.]

Her written statement
(White House version (HTML))
[This also appears at the start of her oral testimony;
apparently she read it into the record.]

Her oral testimony before the commission

[An excerpt from her written statement, with my comments added:]

The terrorist threat to our nation did not emerge on 2001-09-11.
Long before that day,
radical, freedom-hating terrorists
declared war on America and the civilized world.

[Clarke, in “Against All Enemies”, describes al Qaeda in the same way.

For bin Laden’s response to the “freedom-hating” charge, see here.
Bin Laden and Rice doubtless have different definitions of “freedom.”
(Wouldn’t it be interesting if they could debate that?
I have a feeling bin Laden would be more than happy to do so,
but Rice would be horrified at the thought.)
But even so, the point of bin Laden that
even if he did hate freedom,
that wouldn’t explain why he chose to attack the U.S.
rather than, say, Sweden

remains valid.
To clarify this critical issue,
he explains in some detail in the continuation of his remarks
precisely why he chose the United States.
But these reasons cast Israel in a negative light.
Rice and most of the elite carefully avoid ever mentioning them,
let alone attempting to answer them,
rather sticking to the Zionist party line outlined above,
providing yet more evidence of how they are all Zionist stooges.]


We had to change an Iraq policy that was making no progress
against a hostile regime which regularly shot at
U.S. planes enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolutions.


We also moved to develop a new and comprehensive strategy
to eliminate the al-Qaida terrorist network.
President Bush understood the threat, and he understood its importance.
He made clear to us that
he did not want to respond to al-Qaida one attack at a time.
He told me he was “tired of swatting flies.”

This new strategy was developed over the Spring and Summer of 2001,
and was approved by the President’s national security officials on September 4.
It was the very first major national security policy directive of the Bush Administration—
not Russia, not missile defense, not Iraq, but the elimination of al-Qaida.

[For an index of the national security presidential directives, click here;
the one in question appears to be this.]

The Rice-Roemer exchange
[In this hearing, perhaps the most interesting exchange
was the one between Dr. Rice and former congressman Timothy Roemer.
The Rice-Roemer exchange appears below in its entirety
(emphasis, internal headings and some comments are added).
(Note also the Clarke-Roemer exchange.)]

Dr. Rice, you have said in your statement, which I find very interesting,
"The terrorists were at war with us, but we were not at war with them.
Across several administrations of both parties, the response was insufficient.
And tragically, for all the language of war spoken before September 11th,
this country simply was not on a war footing."

You're the national security advisor to the President of the United States.
The buck may stop with the President;
the buck certainly goes directly through you
as the principal advisor to the President on these issues.

And it really seems to me that there were failures and mistakes,
structural problems, all kinds of issues here leading up to September 11th
that could have and should have been done better.
Doesn't that beg
that there should have been more accountability,
that there should have been a resignation or two,
that there should have been you or the President
saying to the rest of the Administration
somehow, somewhere, that this was not done well enough?

MS. RICE: Mr. Roemer, by definition we didn't have enough information. We didn't have enough protection. Because the attack happened. By definition. And I think we've all asked ourselves what more could have been done. I will tell you, if we had known that an attack was coming against the United States, an attack was coming against New York and Washington, we would have moved heaven and earth to stop it. But you heard the character of the threat reporting we were getting. "Something very, very big is going to happen." How do you act on "something very, very big is going to happen" beyond trying to put people on alert? Most of the threat reporting was abroad.

I took an oath, as I said, to protect.

MR. ROEMER: Yes, I heard you say this.

MS. RICE: And I take it very seriously. I know that those who attacked us that day -- and attacked us, by the way, because of who we are, no other reason but for who we are -- that they are the responsible parties for the war that they launched against us, the attack that they made, and that our responsibility --

MR. ROEMER: But Dr. Rice, you have said several times --

MS. RICE: -- that our responsibility is to --

MR. ROEMER: You have said several times that your responsibility, being in office for 230 days, was to defend and protect the United States.

MS. RICE: Of course.

MR. ROEMER: You had an opportunity, I think, with Mr. Clarke,
who had served a number of presidents going back to the Reagan administration,
who you decided to keep on in office,
who was a pile driver, a bulldozer, so to speak.
This person, who you, in the Woodward interview --
he's the very first name out of your mouth
when you suspect that terrorists have attacked us on September the 11th.
You say, I think, immediately it was a terrorist attack,
get Dick Clarke, the terrorist guy,
even before you mentioned Tenet and Rumsfeld's names.
Get Dick Clarke.

Why don't you get Dick Clarke to brief the President before 9/11?
Here is one of the consummate experts,
that never has the opportunity to brief the President of the United States
on one of the most lethal, dynamic and agile threats to the United States of America.
Why don't you use this asset?

Why doesn't the President ask to meet with Dick Clarke?

Well, the President was meeting with his director of Central Intelligence.
And Dick Clarke is a very, very fine counterterrorism expert,
and that's why I kept him on.
And what I wanted Dick Clarke to do was to manage the crises for us
and help us develop a new strategy.
And I can guarantee you, when we had that new strategy in place,
the President,
who was asking for it and wondering what was happening to it,
was going to be in a position to engage it fully.

The fact is that what Dick Clarke recommended to us, as he has said,
would not have prevented 9/11.
I actually would say that not only would it have not prevented 9/11,
but if we had done everything on that list,
we would have actually been off in the wrong direction
about the importance that we needed to attach to a new policy for Afghanistan
and a new policy for Pakistan,
because even though Dick is a very fine counterterrorism expert,
he was not a specialist on Afghanistan.
That's why I brought somebody in who really understood Afghanistan.
He was not a specialist on Pakistan.
That's why I brought somebody in to deal with Pakistan.
He had some very good ideas.
We acted on them.

[Given the urgency of the situation,
I wonder if it was really necessary to couple so many issues together.]

Dick Clarke --
let me just step back for a second and say we had a very good relationship --

MR. ROEMER: Yeah, I'd appreciate it if you could be very concise here,
so I can get to some more issues.

MS. RICE: -- but all that he needed to do was to say,
"I need time to brief the President on something."
But the --

MR. ROEMER: I think he did say that.

MS. RICE: To my --

MR. ROEMER: Dr. Rice, in a private interview to us,
he said he asked to brief the President of the United --

MS. RICE: Well, I have to say, Mr. Roemer, to my recollection --

MR. ROEMER: You say he didn't --

MS. RICE: -- Dick Clarke never asked me to brief the President on counterterrorism.
He did brief the President later on cybersecurity, in July.
But he, to my recollection, never asked --
and my senior directors have an open door to come and say,
"I think the President needs to do this.
I think the President needs to do that.
He needs to make this phone call.
He needs to hear this briefing."
It's not hard to get done.

But I just think that --

MR. ROEMER: But let me ask you a question.
You just said that the intelligence coming in indicated a big, big, big threat.
Something was going to happen very soon and be potentially catastrophic.

I don't understand,
given the big threat,
why the big principals don't get together.

The principals meet 33 times in seven months --
on Iraq, on the Middle East, on missile defense, China, on Russia.
Not once do the principals ever sit down --
you, in your job description as the national security advisor,
the secretary of State,
the secretary of Defense,
the President of the United States --
and meet solely on terrorism to discuss,
in the spring and the summer, when these threats are coming in;
when you've known since the transition
that al Qaeda cells are in the United States;
when, as the PDB said on August 6th,
"bin Laden determined to attack the United States."
Why don't the principals at that point say,
"Let's all talk about this.
Let's get the biggest people together in our government
and discuss what this threat is
and try to get our bureaucracies responding to it."

MS. RICE: Once again, on the August 6th memorandum to the President,
this was not threat reporting about what was about to happen,
this was an analytic piece
that stood back and answered questions from the President.

But as to the Principals Meetings --

MR. ROEMER: It has six or seven things in it, Dr. Rice,
including the Ressam case when he attacked the United States in the Millennium;
has the FBI saying that they think that there are conditions --

MS. RICE: No, it does not have the FBI saying
that they think that there are conditions.
It has the FBI saying that they observed some suspicious activity.
That was checked out with the FBI.

MR. ROEMER: That is equal to what might be --

MS. RICE: No. With -- with --

MR. ROEMER: -- conditions for an attack.

MS. RICE: Mr. Roemer -- Mr. Roemer, threat reporting --

MR. ROEMER: Would you say, Dr. Rice --

MS. RICE: Threat reporting --

MR. ROEMER: -- that we should make that PDB a public document --

MS. RICE: Mr. Roemer? Mr. Roemer, threat reporting --

MR. ROEMER: -- so we can have this conversation?

MS. RICE: Threat reporting is
"We believe that something is going to happen here,
at this time, under these circumstances."
This was not threat reporting. Now --

MR. ROEMER: Well, actionable intelligence, Dr. Rice,
is when you have the place, time and date.
The threat reporting saying
the United States is going to be attacked
should trigger the principals getting together --

MS. RICE: But with all -- with -- Mr. Roemer --

MR. ROEMER: -- to say we're doing to do something about this, I would think.

MS. RICE: Mr. Roemer, let's be very clear,
the PDB does not say the United States is going to be attacked,
it says bin Laden would like to attack the United States.

I don't think you, frankly, had to have that report
to know that bin Laden would like to attack the United States.
The threat reporting -- the threat reporting --

MR. ROEMER: So why aren't you doing something about that
earlier than August 6th, then? (Scattered applause.)

MS. RICE: The threat reporting to which we could respond
was in June and July about threats abroad.
What we tried to do for --
just because people said you cannot rule out an attack on the United States,
was to have the domestic agencies and the FBI together
to just pulse them and let them be on alert.
But there was nothing --

MR. ROEMER: I agree with that.

MS. RICE: -- that suggested there was going to be a threat to the United States.

MR. ROEMER: I agree with that.

Who? Me?? Responsible???
MR. ROEMER: So, Dr. Rice, let's say, then, the FBI is the key here.
You say that the FBI was tasked with
trying to find out what the domestic threat was.

We have done thousands of interviews here at the 9/11 Commission,
we have gone through literally millions of pieces of paper.
To date, we have found nobody -- nobody at the FBI
who knows anything about a tasking of field offices.

We have talked to the director at the time of the FBI during this threat period,
Mr. Pickard [between Louis Freeh and Robert Mueller].
He says he did not tell the field offices to do this.
And we have talked to the special agents in charge.
They don't have any recollection of receiving a notice of threat.
Nothing went down the chain to the FBI field offices on spiking of information,
on knowledge of al Qaeda in the country,
and still the FBI doesn't do anything.
Isn't that some of the responsibility of the national security advisor?

MS. RICE: The responsibility for the FBI to do what it was asked
was the FBI's responsibility.
Now, I --

MR. ROEMER: You don't think there's any responsibility
back to the advisor of the President?

MS. RICE: I believe that the responsibility --
again, the crisis management here was done by the CSG.
They tasked these things.
If there was any reason to believe that I needed to do something
or that Andy Card needed to do something,
I would have been expected to be asked to do it.
We were not asked to do it.

In fact, as I've mentioned to you --

MR. ROEMER: But don't you ask somebody to do it?
You're not asking somebody to to do it.
Why wouldn't you initiate that?

MS. RICE: Mr. Roemer,
I was responding to the threat spike
and to where the information was.
The information was about
what might happen in the Persian Gulf,
what might happen in Israel,
what might happen in North Africa.
We responded to that and we responded vigorously.
[That is arguable.]

Now, the structure --

MR. ROEMER: Dr. Rice, let me ask you --

MS. RICE: -- of the FBI you will get into next week.

MR. ROEMER: You have been helpful to us on that, on your --

MR. KEAN: This is the last question, Congressman.

The 2001-09-04 Clarke memo
MR. ROEMER: Last question.
Dr. Rice, talking about responses,
Mr. Clarke writes you a memo on September the 4th
where he lays out his frustration
that the military is not doing enough,
that the CIA is not pushing this hard enough in their agency,
and he says we should not wait till
the day that hundreds of Americans lay dead in the streets
due to a terrorist attack

and we think there could have been something more we could do.
Seven days prior to September the 11th, he writes this to you.
What's your reaction to that at the time, and
what's your response to that at the time?

MS. RICE: Just one final point I didn't quite complete.
I, of course, did understand that the attorney general [John Ashcroft]
needed to know what was going on,
and I asked that he take the briefing
and then asked that he be briefed because, again,
there was nothing demonstrating or showing
that something was coming in the United States.
[“Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US”]
If there had been something, we would have acted on it.

MR. ROEMER: I think we should make this document public, Dr. Rice.

MS. RICE: We would have acted on it.

MR. ROEMER: Would you support making the August 6th PDB public?

MS. RICE: The August 6th -- the August 6th PDB has been available to you.

MR. ROEMER: And --

MS. RICE: You are -- you're describing it.

MR. ROEMER: About this much of it.

MS. RICE: You're describing it. And
the August 6th PDB was a response to questions asked by the President,
not a warning document.

MR. ROEMER: Why wouldn't it be made public then?

MS. RICE: Now -- now as to --
I think you know the sensitivity of presidential decision memoranda.
And I think you know the great lengths to which we have gone
to make it possible for this commission to view documents
that are not generally -- not --
I don't know if they've ever been made available in quite this way.

Now, as to what Dick Clarke said on September 4th,
that was not a premonition nor a warning.
[What a lie!
either that, or
What a bimbo!]

What that memorandum was
was I was getting ready go into the September 4th principals meeting
to review the new NSPD and to approve the new NSPD.
What is was was a warning to me
that the bureaucracies would try to undermine it.
Dick goes into great and emotional detail
about the long history of
how DoD has never been responsive;
how the CIA has never been responsive;
about how the Predator has gotten hung up
because the CIA doesn't really want to fly it.
And he says,
"If you don't fight through this bureaucracy --"
he says at one point,
"They're going to all sign onto this NSPD because they won't want to be --
they won't want to say that they don't want to eliminate the threat of al Qaeda,"
he says.
"But you really have --" in effect --
"you have to go in there and push them,
because we'll all wonder about the day when thousands of Americans --"
and so forth and so on.
[“and so forth and so on”!]

So that's what this document is.
It's not a warning document.
It's not a -- all of us had this fear.
I think that the chairman mentioned that I had said this in an interview,
that we would hope not to get to that day.
But it would not be appropriate or correct
to characterize what Dick wrote to me on September 4th
as a warning of an impending attack.
What he was doing was, I think, trying to buck me up
so that when I went into this principals meeting,
I was sufficiently on guard
against the kind of bureaucratic inertia that he had fought all of his life.

[If we’re going to analyze Clarke’s motives
in writing the 09-04 memo, as described above,
we need to distinguish between his immediate and long-range goals.
It is plausible that Rice is correct,
that his immediate goal was
to persuade her of the criticality of getting the bureaucracy
to work to guard against the threat.
But even acknowledging that,
that in no way vitiates his long-range goal of
avoiding the consequences that were so clearly and explicitly painted above.
One can only have contempt for Rice,
that she either fails to grasp that point,
or does grasp it but fails to openly acknowledge it.]

“What is a warning?”
What is a warning if August 6th isn't and September 4th isn't,
to you?

MS. RICE: Well, August 6th is most certainly an historical document that says,
"Here's how you might think about al Qaeda."

[The 08-06 PDB, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US”,
isn’t telling us “how we might think about al Qaeda,”
but rather telling us what al Qaeda’s intents are with regard to the U.S.,
that they intend to attack us, in our homeland.]

A warning is when you have something that suggests that an attack is impending,
we did not have -- on the United States --
threat information that was in any way specific enough
to suggest that something was coming in the United States.

[By this time, she knew, or should have known,
that both
the 1998-08-07 embassy bombings in East Africa and
the bombing of the 2000-10-12 USS Cole in Yemen
were due to al Qaeda.
Those proved the ability and willingness of al Qaeda
to cause hurt and harm to US personnel and property.
The “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US” brief
stated as clearly as possible the desire and intent of al Qaeda to strike the US.
Given all that,
how can she state
“we did not have -- on the United States --
threat information that was in any way specific enough
to suggest that something was coming in the United States”?
She’s either a total liar or a total bimbo or both.

For more background on what was known within the U.S. government in 2001,
see the 9-11 Commission’s “The System Was Blinking Red”,
e.g., its lead paragraph (emphasis is added)
As 2001 began,
counterterrorism officials were receiving
frequent but fragmentary reports about threats.
there appeared to be possible threats
almost everywhere the United States had interests-
including at home.

The September 4th memo, as I've said to you,
was a warning to me not to get dragged down by the bureaucracy,
not a warning about September 11th.

MR. ROEMER: Thank you, Dr. Rice.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. KEAN: Thank you, Congressman, very, very much.

Condi Lousy:
Why Rice is a bad national security adviser.

by Fred Kaplan

[The points Kaplan makes are devastating.
But that doesn’t stop the rest of the media from
a) ignoring them, and
b) serving as the Condi Rice Fan Club.]

Members of the 9/11 Commission Press Rice on Early Warnings
New York Times, 2004-04-09

Clarke's View: ‘A Massively Different Interpretation’ [$]
New York Times, 2004-04-09

Copyright New York Times Company Apr 9, 2004

Richard A. Clarke,
the former counterterrorism chief in President Bush's National Security Council,
said on Thursday that his former boss, Condoleezza Rice,
had a radically different interpretation from his
of the events surrounding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,
even though they basically agreed on the facts.

In a telephone interview hours after Ms. Rice completed her testimony
before the commission investigating the attacks,
Mr. Clarke described a White House operation that
had been pointedly and repeatedly warned of a mounting terrorist threat
but did little to address it.

''There's broad agreement on the facts,'' Mr. Clarke said,
''and a massively different interpretation.''

Mr. Clarke, a veteran of four administrations
who advised Ms. Rice on terrorism and computer security,
ignited a furor last month when he testified that
President Bush and his aides had failed to take action
to thwart Al Qaeda and then, after the fact,
sought immediately to link the Sept. 11 attacks to Iraq.

Mr. Clarke's testimony coincided with the release of his book, ''Against All Enemies,''
which has become required reading in Washington political circles.
The White House has sought to portray him as self-promoting and unreliable.
But Ms. Rice --
who had asked Mr. Clarke to stay in his position from the Clinton administration,
for the sake of continuity, she said --
refrained from directly criticizing him in her testimony.

Mr. Clarke,
whose name was repeatedly on the lips of Ms. Rice and her questioners,
kept a relatively low profile on Thursday.
He limited his statements to a few interviews with print journalists
and an appearance on ABC News,
which has hired him as a consultant on terrorism.
As other television networks fumed over the lack of access to Mr. Clarke,
who had been hired by ABC before his testimony before the commission,
Peter Jennings, the ABC anchor, remarked on his network's good fortune,
saying it had not ''necessarily expected that he was going to make
the kind of news that he did when he appeared before this commission.''

Mr. Clarke described Ms. Rice's presentation as generally ''reasonable,''
even as he pointed out what he called inconsistencies in it.

For example, he noted Ms. Rice's account
that she held 33 meetings of the so-called principals committee,
and that none focused on Al Qaeda,
the terrorist organization believed responsible for the attacks.

While Ms. Rice insisted that she had not placed terrorism on the back burner,
Mr. Clarke differed.
''I say that indicates it was not a priority,'' he said.

Similarly, Mr. Clarke noted Ms. Rice's assertion that
President Bush had been briefed 40 times by the director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet,
on intelligence reports about Al Qaeda's activities.

''What does a person do in this situation?'' Mr. Clarke said.
''The only thing the president does is, in May, he says,
'I want to stop swatting flies.'
But there's no evidence that he did anything.
He keeps getting these meetings about the imminence of the threat
but he doesn't seem to be doing anything about it.''

Asked if Ms. Rice's testimony had offered any surprises,
Mr. Clarke said he was perplexed that
she had resisted mobilizing domestic resources
even after a meeting on July 5, 2001,
in which she met with him and Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff,
to discuss ways to prepare domestic agencies against an attack in this country.

Ms. Rice told the commission on Thursday that
the threats they were receiving were too vague,
in the nature of 'something very, very big is going to happen.'
She asserted nevertheless that
the administration needed to prepare a comprehensive strategy
to eliminate Al Qaeda
and that the process had been under way when the attacks occurred

''I will tell you,
if we had known that an attack was coming against the United States,
an attack was coming against New York and Washington,
we would have moved heaven and earth to stop it,''
she testified.

Mr. Clarke indicated that waiting for precise intelligence could be a fatal mistake.

''What was it going to take,'' he asked.
''If she was told it was New York or Washington,
she was going to move heaven and earth?
There are inconsistencies here.''

'01 Memo to Rice Warned of Qaeda and Offered Plan
New York Times, 2005-02-12
[For the memo, see 2001-01-25-Clarke.]

The Meeting with Tenet and Black on 2001-07-10

Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice
By Bob Woodward
Washington Post, 2006-10-01

[This is the excerpt from Bob Woodward’s State of Denial,
dealing with the 2001-07-10 meeting between Rice, Tenet, and Black,
that was published in the Washington Post.
Some excerpts from the excerpt appear below.
Paragraph numbers (relative to the WP story) and emphasis are added.]

Tenet hoped his abrupt request for an immediate meeting would shake Rice.
He and Black, a veteran covert operator,
had two main points when they met with her.
al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests,
possibly in the United States itself.

Black emphasized that this amounted to a strategic warning,
meaning the problem was so serious
that it required an overall plan and strategy.
this was a major foreign policy problem
that needed to be addressed immediately.
They needed to take action that moment --
covert, military, whatever --

to thwart bin Laden.

Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice.
She was polite, but they felt the brush-off.
President Bush had said he didn't want to swat at flies.

Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated.
Though Rice had given them a fair hearing,
no immediate action meant great risk.
Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure.

The July 10 meeting between Tenet, Black and Rice went unmentioned
in the various reports of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks,
but it stood out in the minds of Tenet and Black as
the starkest warning they had given the White House
on bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the meeting,
Black felt
there were things the commissions wanted to know about
and things they didn't want to know about.

Tenet Recalled Warning Rice
Former CIA Chief Told 9/11 Commission of Disputed Meeting
By Dan Eggen and Robin Wright
Washington Post, 2006-10-03

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Former CIA director George Tenet told the 9/11 Commission that
he had warned of an imminent threat from al-Qaeda
in a July 2001 meeting with Condoleezza Rice,
adding that he believed Rice took the warning seriously,
according to a transcript of the interview
and the recollection of a commissioner who was there.

Rice acknowledged that the White House was receiving
a "steady stream of quite alarmist reports of potential attacks"
during that period,
but said the targets
were assumed to be
in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel and Jordan.

[Who made that assumption?
Where did that assumption enter the reporting stream?]

C.I.A. Chief Warned Rice on Al Qaeda
New York Times, 2006-10-03

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 2 — A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.

The account by the spokesman, Sean McCormack, came hours after Ms. Rice, the secretary of state, told reporters aboard her airplane that she did not recall the specific meeting on July 10, noting that she had met repeatedly with Mr. Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Ms. Rice, the national security adviser at the time, said it was “incomprehensible” to suggest she had ignored dire terrorist threats two months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. McCormack also said records showed that the Sept. 11 commission had been informed about the meeting, a fact that former intelligence officials and members of the commission confirmed on Monday.

When details of the meeting emerged last week in a new book by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Bush administration officials questioned Mr. Woodward’s reporting.

Now, after several days, both current and former Bush administration officials have confirmed parts of Mr. Woodward’s account.

Officials now agree that on July 10, 2001, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so alarmed about intelligence pointing to an impending attack by Al Qaeda that they demanded an emergency meeting at the White House with Ms. Rice and her National Security Council staff.

According to two former intelligence officials, Mr. Tenet told those assembled at the White House about the growing body of intelligence the C.I.A. had collected suggesting an attack was in the works. But both current and former officials, including allies of Mr. Tenet, took issue with Mr. Woodward’s account that he and his aides had left the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had ignored them.

Condi's Conundrum
Is she lying about her pre-9/11 briefing warning of a terrorist attack?
by Justin Raimondo,
Antiwar.com, 2006-10-04

[An excerpt (see the original for all the links); emphasis is added.]

[T]here were warnings – and plenty of them – from foreign intelligence agencies and from within our own government, including one from the head of the CIA, who was accompanied at his July 2001 meeting with Rice by another top CIA official, Cofer Black, cited by Woodward as saying: "The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head."

Rice, it seems to me, is the weak link in the chain of deception that holds the official narrative together....

Rice has always played the role of a neocon-facilitator. In the run-up to war, her office – in the person of her chief adviser, Stephen J. Hadley – gave a pass to every tall tale that came out of the neocons' Pentagon policy shop ...
and assiduously blocked any reports – including those from Richard Clarke, former counter-terrorism chief – indicating that the alleged Iraq-9/11 connection was bogus.

Clarke's report, which concluded that
Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of 9/11,
had the joint imprimatur of the CIA and the FBI.
It got no further than Condi Rice's office,
where it elicited a brief but sharp rebuke
from "the national security adviser or deputy" –
"Wrong answer,"
went the note at the top of the Clarke report.
"Do it again."

Who Covered for Condi?
by Paul Sperry
Antiwar.com, 2006-10-13

Rice's insider pal [Philip Zelikow] also buried
no less than five pre-9/11 memos from her NSC aides
seeking retaliation against bin Laden for the USS Cole bombing.
Her aides said
they had the evidence to go after bin Laden months before the 9/11 attacks.
But Rice did nothing.


The information that Zelikow omitted and buried
would have otherwise indicted his friend as
one of the most incompetent national security advisers
to ever serve in the White House.
[One of?]
Rice not only missed the gravest threat to U.S. national security,
but arrogantly brushed off warnings about it
and failed to take action that could have disrupted the plot.
Her negligence should have come through loud and clear in the 9/11 report,
but it didn't.
The American people were deceived.

Rice and Iraq

Rice advises war

[From pages 250–251 of Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack
(emphasis is added):]

In late December 2002, Rice gave the president another Blix debrief.
Not much was getting done.
The inspectors were opening warehouses that had obviously been sanitized.
In addition,
the inspectors were taking time off for Christmas and the other holidays.
The sensitive intelligence coverage showed that Blix and his team
were not conducting the kind of aggressive no-holds-barred inspections
Bush envisioned.

Bush was growing increasingly angry at the process.
It was getting worse by the day, he said.
The pressure tactic on Saddam was dubious.
“I’m not so sure this is going to work,” he said.
They had set up an inspections system that they hoped
would place the burden of proof on Saddam.
The Iraqi leader had to
declare his weapons, account for them, turn them over,
prove he had disarmed.
This turned the American notion of justice on its head—
the accused had to prove his innocence.
The world was not buying it.
Maybe war was the only alternative.

“What do you think?” the president asked Rice.
“Should we do this?” He meant war.
He had never before pressed her for her answer.

“Yes,” she said.
“Because it isn’t American credibility on the line,
it is the credibility of everybody
that this gangster can yet again beat the international system.”
As important as credibility was, she said,
“Credibility should never drive you to do something you shouldn’t do.”
But this was much bigger, she advised, something that should be done.
“To let this threat in this part of the world
play volleyball with the international community this way
will come back to haunt us someday.
That is the reason to do it.”

Bush didn’t respond.

The Intelligence:
David Kay versus Condoleezza Rice

Former chief weapons inspector David Kay,
in remarkably little noted testimony before Congress,
has criticized the role of Condoleezza Rice
in the failures of intelligence leading up to the Iraq War.
Practically the only “major” (it appeared on page A20!) story
on this testimony was one in the NYT:

Former Iraq Arms Inspector Faults Prewar Intelligence
August 19, 2004, Thursday, page A20

Copyright New York Times Company Aug 19, 2004

A former Bush administration official who led the fruitless postwar effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq told Congress on Wednesday that
the National Security Council led by Condoleezza Rice
had botched intelligence information before the war
and was “the dog that did not bark” over Iraq's weapons program.

In uncharacteristically caustic remarks about his former colleagues, the weapons inspector, David Kay, said the National Security Council had failed to protect President Bush from faulty prewar intelligence and had left Secretary of State Colin L. Powell “hanging out in the wind” when he tried to gather intelligence before the war about Iraq's weapons programs.

“Where was the N.S.C?”
Dr. Kay asked,
suggesting that the president had come to depend too heavily
on information supplied by Ms. Rice,
Mr. Bush's national security adviser,

and that the president needed to reach out to others
for national security information.

“Every president who has been successful, at least that I know of, in the history of this republic, has developed both informal and formal means of getting checks on whether people who tell him things are in fact telling him the whole truth,” Dr. Kay told the Senate intelligence committee at a hearing called to discuss the findings of the Sept. 11 commission.

“I think this is particularly crucial and difficult to do in the intelligence area,” he continued. “The recent history has been a reliance on the N.S.C. system to do it. I quite frankly think that has not served this president very well.”

Dr. Kay added:
“The dog that did not bark
in the case of Iraq's W.M.D. weapons program,
quite frankly, in my view, is the National Security Council.”

A spokesman for the council did not return phone calls seeking comment on the remarks by Dr. Kay, who was appointed by the Bush administration last year to hunt for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq. He resigned early this year after concluding that there were no stockpiles of such weapons.

Dr. Kay did not identify Ms. Rice by name in his often-impassioned testimony.
his remarks were clearly aimed at her performance
and reflected a widespread view among intelligence specialists
that Ms. Rice, perhaps Mr. Bush's most trusted aide,
and the National Security Council
have never been held sufficiently accountable
for intelligence failures

before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq war.

His criticism of the council, which is responsible for
coordinating the work of national security agencies in the government,
mirrored that made earlier this year by Richard A. Clarke,
Ms. Rice's former top counterterrorism deputy, who
accused her of paying little attention to dire intelligence threats
throughout the spring and summer of 2001
that Al Qaeda was about to strike against the United States.

Dr. Kay has said in the past that faulty prewar information about Iraq's weapons programs represented a serious failure of American intelligence agencies. But his comments on Wednesday appeared to go much further, both in their vehemence and in Dr. Kay's willingness to single out particular agencies for blame, notably the National Security Council and the C.I.A.

“Iraq was an overwhelming systemic failure of the Central Intelligence Agency,”
Dr. Kay said.
“Until this is taken on board
and people and organizations are held responsible for this failure,
I have a real difficulty in seeking how a national intelligence director
can correct these failures.”

[How on earth could the Washington Pest fail to report these comments?]

He was referring to a proposal by the Sept. 11 commission for the appointment of a national intelligence director to oversee the work of the government's 15 spy agencies, including the C.I.A. and several within the Defense Department.

A C.I.A. spokesman, Mark Mansfield, said after the hearing that “Kay's comments are perplexing and have changed remarkably over time -- he ought to look at some of his own past statements and then perhaps he wouldn't be in such a rush to criticize.”

In his sharp attack on the National Security Council, Dr. Kay said that the council had failed, in particular, to provide Mr. Bush and Mr. Powell with the intelligence information they needed before the war about Iraq's weapons capabilities, especially after both had expressed some skepticism about the extent of Iraq's weapons programs.

“Where was the National Security Council
when, apparently, the president expressed his own doubt
about the adequacy of the case concerning Iraq's W.M.D. weapons
that was made before him?”

Dr. Kay asked.

“Why was the secretary of state sent to the C.I.A. to personally vet the data that he was to take the Security Council in New York, and ultimately left to hang in the wind for data that was misleading and, in some cases, absolutely false and known by parts of the intelligence community to be false?” he continued. “Where was the N.S.C. then?”

Appearance of David Kay
at a hearing on 2004-08-18
of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

His written statement

His oral testimony before the committee (PDF) (HTML)
(You may have to kill any Adobe document you have open before the PDF will load.)

The most relevant part of Dr. Kay’s oral testimony
is on internal page number 17, PDF page 21,
and is reproduced below, copied from the HTML version of the transcript
(but the emphasis is added).
The New York Times story, and I am sure many others,
take the references to the NSC to apply in particular to Dr. Rice.

By the way, perhaps I am just clumsy with my web searches,
but it seems hard to find this testimony on the net.
In particular, it is surprising that there is not a link
from the main page for the hearing
to the hearing’s testimony.
It turns out it is accessible from
click on "View All",
then on "Congressional Committee Materials Online via GPO Access",
then follow a more-or-less obvious path to the testimony.

“Finally, and probably most contentious of all,
or at least will get me in greatest trouble,
let me say,
just as I believe Congress needs to reshape its oversight structure
if a new national intelligence director is to have any chance of success,
so must the President with regard to his own national security structure.

“The dog that did not bark in the case of Iraq's WMD program,
quite frankly in my view,
is the National Security Council.
Where was the National Security Council
when apparently the President expressed his own doubt
about the adequacy of the case concerning Iraq's WMD weapons
that were made before him?

“Why was the Secretary of State sent out to the CIA
to personally vet the data
that he was to take to the Security Council in New York
and ultimately left to hang in the wind for data
that was at least misleading,
and in some cases absolutely false
and known by parts of the intelligence community to be false?
Where was the NSC then?”

Iraq Stabilization Group

Failing Upward
by Lawrence F. Kaplan
New Republic, 2003-10-09
[To see the original for free, click here, then on the article.
In any case, the full text appears below, with some emphasis and links added.]

This week’s creation of a White House Iraq Stabilization Group,
whose function, according to President Bush, will be
“to coordinate efforts, interagency efforts,”
was unanimously interpreted by the press as a slap at Donald Rumsfeld.
And for good reason.
The defense department will be ceding a measure of control
to the Iraq Stabilization group,
which will consist of
counterterrorism, economic development, political affairs, and communications sub-groups,
all run by National Security Council (NSC) officials.

Still, this hardly qualifies as a ringing endorsement
of Condoleezza Rice’s tenure as national security adviser.
In an attempt to downplay the significance of the bureaucratic shift,
Rumsfeld admonished an interviewer that
the memo establishing the Iraq Stabilization Group
“says the NSC is going to do that which it is chartered to do.”
He’s right:
The media’s infatuation with Rice notwithstanding,
the very need to restate her formal duties in an interagency memo confirms that
she has failed to perform
the most basic functions of a national security adviser.

And that, in turn, accounts for much of why
America’s occupation of Iraq appears to be coming apart at the seams.

There is a backstory here.
When it comes to postwar Iraq, there is enough blame,
as Robert Kennedy used to say about Vietnam, to go around.
Much of that blame rightly accrues to the Defense Department,
which at times seems to approach the postwar as a theological exercise--
over-investing in unreliable Iraqi proxies,
committing insufficient numbers of U.S. troops,
and, in a reprise of Saigon’s five-o’clock follies,
regularly assuring us that all has gone according to plan.
It has not.
But the fault hardly rests with the Pentagon alone.
The White House--and, specifically, the NSC--
bears ultimate responsibility
for the conduct of the war in Iraq and its aftermath.
It does so because
it is the responsibility of the president and his national security adviser
to have the final say on matters of foreign and defense policy and, as such,
to mediate the frequent disputes between State and Defense.
They have done neither.

Rather than coordinate the positions of the State and Defense departments,
Rice has been overpowered by them.
On Iran, North Korea, the United Nations, and Iraq,
the United States has not one, but two policies.
As a result,
issues that normally would be settled far down the bureaucratic food chain
often go unresolved
until they capture the attention of cabinet-rank officials in principals’ meetings.
And, even then, administration officials claim that
Secretary of State Colin Powell and Rumsfeld
routinely revert to their respective and diametrically opposed positions
as soon as they walk out the door.
Compounding the problem has been
Rice’s reluctance to delegate to NSC staff members,
and her apparent inability to balance her role as the president’s adviser
with her role as interagency referee.
No doubt, the statures of Powell and Rumsfeld make her task more difficult.
And, no doubt, when it comes to the particulars of postwar Iraq,
the president may not evince much in the way of firmly-held convictions.
Still, Rice has been on the job for nearly three years.

The establishment of an Iraq Stabilization Group
does nothing to address these fundamental problems.
To begin with, the motives behind its creation--
coming as it does on the eve of a vote by Congress,
whose members have demanded some evidence of competence
in the management of Iraq’s affairs, on Iraq funding--
are transparently political.
None of this would matter if the results weren’t purely cosmetic.
But they are.
The Iraq Stabilization Group is but the latest of dozens of Iraq “groups,”
each adding a new layer of bureaucracy to the thicket.
True, the new organization will replace
an “executive steering group” composed of assistant secretaries
with a group of undersecretaries, a bona fide upgrade.
But even undersecretaries do nothing without the direction of their superiors.

Indeed, so long as Rumsfeld and Powell occupy their respective posts,
no amount of bureaucratic reshuffling will settle
the ideological disputes that cripple the administration.
Those disputes persist even today.
So much so that
Powell has threatened to draft reluctant foreign service officers for Iraq duty,
while for their part, Defense Department officials have vowed to block
certain State Department hands from serving in Iraq.
The obstacles here aren’t bureaucratic. They’re philosophical.
And we don’t need a committee to resolve them.
We need a national security adviser.

LAWRENCE F. KAPLAN is a senior editor at The New Republic.

The Occupation and the endproduct

[From a speech Rice gave in 2003-08 (emphasis is added):]

There is an understandable tendency
to look back on America's experience in post-War Germany
and see only the successes.
But the road we traveled was very difficult.
1945 through 1947 were especially challenging.
The Marshall Plan was actually
a response to the failed efforts to rebuild Germany in late '45 and early '46.
SS officers — called "werewolves"
attacked coalition forces and engaged in sabotage,
much like today's Baathist and Fedayeen remnants.


Knowing what we know about the difficulties of our own history,
let us always be humble in singing freedom's praises.
But let our voice not waver
in speaking out on the side of people seeking freedom.
And let us never indulge the condescending voices who allege that
some people
are not interested in freedom or
aren’t ready for freedom's responsibilities.

That view was wrong in 1963 in Birmingham and
it is wrong in 2003 in Baghdad.

The desire for freedom transcends race, religion and culture—
as countries as diverse as Germany, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey have proved.

The people of the Middle East are not exempt from this desire.
We have an opportunity—and an obligation—
to help them turn desire into reality.
That is the security challenge—and moral mission–of our time.

[Condi here shows either her naïveté or her duplicity.
Different cultures place different relative priorities
to the (somewhat conflicting) values of freedom, order, and religious morality.
To many in the Muslim world,
the “freedom” Rice is advocating is nothing more than license for immorality.
The travails of Iraq in the years since 2003
suggest that Condi was quite wrong in denying that
the Iraqis “aren’t ready for freedom's responsibilities.”
But where are the media voices, in 2006,
who will point out how Rice deceived either herself or us?
And ask why such a person is still making foreign policy.
(Answer to that question: see this.)

A further question:
Is it a coincidence that
Rice’s characterization of America’s invasion of Iraq as a “moral mission”
echoes the ludicrous arguments of Elie Wiesel?]

Historians Question Bush’s Reading of Lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq
New York Times, 2007-08-23

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Mr. Bush also sought to inspire renewed support for his Iraq strategy
by recalling the years of national sacrifice during World War II,
and the commitment required to rebuild
two of history’s most aggressive and lawless adversaries,
Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan,
into reliable and responsible allies.

But historians note that Germany and Japan were
homogeneous nation-states with clear national identities
and no internal feuding among factions or sects,
in stark contrast to Iraq today.

[I am quite sure that historians noted that
before American invaded Iraq as well.
The difference is that,
when neocons made their comparisons to Germany and Japan then,
journalists then did not choose to emphasize
these oh-so-salient differences.]

Rice and Israel

For an example of Rice’s pro-Israel bias,
see her speech at the 2005-05 AIPAC Policy Conference.
Her speech is replete with commands about what
the Palestinian Authority and Arab states must do,
but contains nothing about what Israel must do
to restore peace to the Mideast.
Nothing could more clearly indicate the extent to which she,
like the rest of the American elite,
with the lone, brave, exception of Ralph Nader,
is but a stooge of the Zionists.

Rice’s Hurdles on Middle East Begin at Home
New York Times, 2006-08-10

Note how this article carefully avoids the words
“Jew” or “Jewish,” and the acronym AIPAC.

Bush vs. Condi
The neocons versus America
By Justin Raimondo

Condi’s Savage War on the Palestinians
by Tony Karon

[T]he increasingly violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah
is not only a by-product of Secretary Rice’s economic siege of the Palestinians;
it is the intended consequence of
her savage war on the Palestinian people
a campaign of retribution and collective punishment
for their audacity to elect leaders
other than those deemed appropriate to U.S. agendas.

Condoleezza, Queen of the Middle East

Israeli Airstrike Hits U.N. Outpost: 4 Observers Killed
By Scott Wilson and Robin Wright
Washington Post, 2006-07-26

[An excerpt (emphasis is added):]

Rice's two-day visit to the [Mideast] region was more a listening tour
than a determined attempt to end a conflict that showed no sign of abating.
She declined to call for an immediate cease-fire, saying that
"we cannot return to a status quo ante,
in which extremists at any time
can decide to take innocent life hostage again."

"It is time for a new Middle East,"
Rice said.
"It is time to say
to those who do not want a different kind of Middle East that
we will prevail, they will not."

[Here are some further articles on Rice’s Mideast vision.]
Dueling Views Pit Baker Against Rice
New York Times, 2006-12-08

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 — Many of the blistering critiques of the Bush administration contained in the Iraq Study Group’s report boil down to this:
the differing worldviews of Baker versus Rice.

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III was the architect of the “new diplomatic offensive” in the Middle East that the commission recommended Wednesday as one of its main prescriptions for extracting the country from the mess in Iraq. Ever since, he has been talking on television, to Congress and to Iraqis and foreign diplomats about how he would conduct American foreign policy differently. Very differently.

At a midday meeting with reporters on Thursday, Mr. Baker insisted that the study group had “rejected looking backward.” But he then proceeded to make a passionate argument for a course of action he believed Condoleezza Rice, the current secretary of state, should be pursuing — while carefully never mentioning Ms. Rice by name.

The United States should engage Iran, Mr. Baker contended, if only to reveal its “rejectionist attitude”; it should try to “flip the Syrians”; and it should begin a renewed quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians that, he maintained, would help convince Arab moderates that America was not all about invasions and regime change.

Meanwhile, Ms. Rice remained publicly silent, sitting across town in the office that Mr. Baker gave up 14 years ago. She has yet to say anything about the public tutorial being conducted by the man who first knew her when she was a mid-level Soviet expert on the National Security Council. She has not responded to Mr. Baker’s argument, delivered in a tone that drips with isn’t-this-obvious, that America has to be willing to talk to its adversaries (a premise Ms. Rice has questioned if the conditions are not right), or his dismissal of the administration’s early argument that the way to peace in the Middle East was through quick, decisive victory in Baghdad.

Aides to the 52-year-old Ms. Rice say she is acutely aware that there is little percentage in getting into a public argument with Mr. Baker, the 76-year-old architect of the first Bush administration’s Middle East policy. But Thursday, as President Bush gently pushed back against some of Mr. Baker’s recommendations, Ms. Rice’s aides and allies were offering a private defense, saying that she already has a coherent, effective strategy for the region.

Rice Stresses the Positive Amid Mideast Setbacks
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post, 2006-12-20

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

What many Americans may see as chaos and turmoil in the Middle East
is partly the result of the Bush administration
hastening historical forces
that are destined to reshape the region,

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday....

“The old Middle East was not going to stay,”
Rice said.
“Let’s stop mourning the old Middle East.
It was not so great, and it was not going to survive anyway.”

CPS -- Condi Protection Squad

One of the most remarkable things (to me) about the media
is the way it protects Ms. Rice.

Analyst Says He Warned of Iraqi Resistance,
By Walter Pincus,
Washington Post, 2006-06-27

[This page A4 article is a report
on the 2006-06-26 hearing of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee,
“An Oversight Hearing on Pre-War Intelligence Relating to Iraq”.
Here is an excerpt (emphasis is added):]

[Wayne] White and [Paul R.] Pillar both discussed
the lack of Middle East experience by White House officials,
including President Bush and Vice President Cheney,
who pushed for the Iraq invasion.
White said
that "lack was a major impediment to sound policymaking
if one already does not have an open mind and is driven by a particular agenda."

[Well, yes, the president and vice president are, I suppose,
both “White House officials.”
But how much “Middle East experience” does the pres or veep normally have?
How much have any ever had?
Unless you count Jimmy Carter’s Bible study, not very much, I’d venture to say.

Where is “Middle East experience” expected to reside in a White House?
Not in the domestic policy council, nor the council of economic advisers.
No, it’s expected to reside in
(can you say this, Mr. Washington Post Staff Writer?)
the National Security Council.
And who is (gasp) responsible for the workings of the National Security Council?
At least when white, male, people were running it,
why, the National Security Adviser was responsible for its workings.
Of course, in our new, politically correct, age,
anyone who dares to suggest that Condi Rice bears responsibility
for the apparantly unending errors of commission and omission
(that are now becoming impossible for even the most fervent neocon to ignore)
in “crafting” our foreign and anti-terrorism policy
that occurred on her watch
is manifestly a sexist, racist, or both.

And so Mr. Pincus’s article doesn’t even mention Ms. Rice’s name, anywhere.
Talk about being protected by the media!

Here, for your information,
is precisely what Mr. White said in the third paragraph of his testimony:]

One key point that must be noted concerning pre-war decision-making
is not only that it was made
by a group of policy-makers who often turned a blind eye
to intelligence inconsistent with their Middle East agenda.
Equally disturbing in that context is that the most senior officials involved—
the President, the Vice-President, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld,
and then-NSC Director Rice—
had relatively little past experience
with the complex politics of the Middle East region, let alone Iraq.

[Note that White did explicitly mention Rice (along with Rumsfeld)
but this was carefully sanitized from Pincus’s reporting.
How typical of the reporting of the elite media
to elide any negative words concerning Condoleezza Rice!
The media’s motto: “Rice is nice.”]

4 Years On, the Gap Between Iraq Policy and Practice Is Wide
New York Times, 2007-04-12

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

It was in August 2003, five months after the American invasion,
that Mr. Bush ordered the formation of
an Iraq Stabilization Group to run things from the White House.
That action reflected the first recognition by the White House
that Donald H. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon
was more interested in deposing dictators than nation-building.

When that group was formed,
Mr. Rumsfeld snapped that it was about time that
the National Security Council performed its traditional job —
unifying the actions of a government
whose agencies often spent much of their day battling one another.
That approach worked, for a while.

But then the insurgency in Iraq grew formidable,
reconstruction efforts were slowed,
the State and Defense Departments reverted to bureaucratic spats, and
the White House
never managed to get its arms around the scope of the problem,
in Baghdad or in Washington.

[How interesting.
There it is again, that darned “White House” that flubbed the job.
But what part of the “White House” was responsible?
Again, it was the National Security Council.
And who was in charge of the NSC?
Again, you would never know it from this article,
but it was Ms. Rice.
Mustn’t associate Ms. Rice’s name with failure, you know.
Ms. Rice must never be seen to fail.

Oh, and who was in charge of that “Iraq Stabilization Group”?
Guess who?]


As David J. Rothkopf, who wrote a history of the National Security Council titled “Running the World” (Public Affairs, 2005),
noted Wednesday,
“It’s been a difficult thing for the N.S.C. to do
because it is an almost impossible task.”

“This is a problem of Sunnis and Shiites,
and it is not about Republicans and Democrats
or the rank of officials or bureaucratic rivalry,”
he said.
“The Sunnis started fighting the Shiites
a thousand years before we got to Plymouth Rock,
and it’s hard to create a new special implementer to deal with that.”

[Very true.
But why didn’t the national security adviser tell the president that
before he launched the war?

Not to mention how the media ignored these very crucial facts before the war.
Maybe that’s what the Ivy League education so many of the media have teaches:
only give the public the information that advances
the interests of the state of Israel.]

Bob Woodward’s 2008 book The War Within on Rice

[Here is an excerpt; emphasis is added.]

[pages 420–3]

“I have believed from day one
that Iraq was going to change the face of the Middle East.
I’ve never stopped believing that,”
Rice said during a meeting at the State Department in May 2008.
She acknowledged that,
“There were times in ’06 when I wondered if
it was going to change the face of the Middle East for the better or not.”

During those difficult days,
when the violence had kept rising
and the very fabric of Iraqi society was rending,
Rice had often thought about the early days of the Cold War in the late 1940s,
and she drew comparisons to that conflict and the present one.
Back then, the future of Europe remained uncertain.
The United States had undertaken the Marshall Plan
to help rebuild countries devastated by World War II,
and President Harry Truman
had enunciated his doctrine to protect Greece and Turkey,
all in the name of stopping the spread of communism.
The Soviets exploded a nuclear weapon years before expected,
and the communists took over China.
The Korean War broke out and became increasingly unpopular.

Despite all that, the Soviet Union had collapsed in 1991,
and the Cold War had ended without a shot being fired.

“The long view helps,” Rice said.
“That’s where I went for repose.
And I think that’s where the president did, too.”

[What she falsely assumes is that
her “long view” of the Cold War
is relevant to
the U.S./Islam relation.]

Rice rejected the notion that the Middle East had been stable
and that the Bush administration had come along and disturbed it
by invading Iraq.
Anyone who felt that way simply didn’t know what they were talking about.
“What stability?
Saddam Hussein shooting at our aircraft
and attacking his neighbors and seeking WMD
and starting a war every few years?
Syrian forces, 30 years in Lebanon?
Yasser Arafat stealing the Palestinian people blind and refusing to have peace?”
No, it had been anything but stable, she said,
and the malignant politics prevalent in the radical mosques
had helped produce al Qaeda.
Sure, al Qaeda was now threatening
to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa,
but the real battleground lay in the Middle East,
Rice maintained.
“If you defeat them in the Middle East, they can’t win.

“There’s nothing that I’m prouder of than the liberation of Iraq,”
she said without hesitation.
“Did we screw up parts of it?
It was a big, historical episode, and a lot of it wasn’t handled very well.
I’d be the first to say that.”

But Rice largely absolved herself of accountability
for the problems with the war during its first 20 months,
when she had been Bush’s national security adviser.
“It wasn’t my responsibility to manage Iraq,” she said.
[“Then whose was it?” Woodward should have asked, but didn’t.]
“Look, the fact of the matter is, as national security adviser you have
a lot of responsibility and no authority.”

Rice maintained that one result of the war
was a better U.S. posture in the Middle East.
Iran had escalated its involvement in what she called “troubled Arab waters,”
including backing Hezbollah in Lebanon
and increasing its influence in the Palestinian territories.
“on the heels of Iraq,
you can structure a Middle East in which Iran is kept at bay,”
she insisted.
[But of course that was even more true before we invaded Iraq.]

Rice considered the war nothing less than
“the realignment of the Middle East.
On one side you’ve got Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states”
supporting nonextremists.
“At the other side, you’ve got the Iranians, Hezbollah, Hamas,”
with Syria shifting sides, she said.
She felt
there had never been a greater cohesion of American allies in the Middle East,
even if those countries
didn’t want to be on the front lines supporting the United States publicly.

On Iran, she said,
“We’re not going to let them use negotiations as a cover
while they continued to improve their nuclear capability....
Iran is a challenge to our interests
because they essentially want to become the dominant regional player.
We’re not going to sit and talk to them
about how they become the other great superpower in the Middle East,
which is what they would like.

“You can’t let them acquire nuclear capability
because that emboldens and strengthens
their claim to great-power status in the region.”
She said the history of the Soviet Union is instructive.
“The Soviet Union became nuclear before it became powerful,” [Not so!],
she said.
It had tested the first nuclear weapon on April 20, 1949.
“And the fact that it became nuclear made it powerful.
And I don’t want that to happen with Iran,
which is why if I could get them out of that business, we’ll have time.

“There is an image of diplomacy that is
making deals to stabilize the situation.
That set of deals that stabilize the Middle East has now broken down,
and good riddance.
Now, before we restabilize the Middle East,
let’s be careful that we don’t just lock in bad deals.
A month ago, Jaish al-Mahdi [JAM] was holding Basra.
Jaish al-Mahdi is no longer holding Basra.
I would much rather have a conversation with the Iranians today about Iraq
than a month ago.”

Rice said that a Palestinian state would deprive Iran of chances to meddle.
“A strong Iraq, I think, is going to turn out to be their worst nightmare,”
she said.
[Worse than Saddam Hussein?]

“I don’t want to make a grand bargain
with the Ayatollah Khamenei and [President] Ahmadinejad

that grand bargain is going to be
a kind of least-common-denominator view of
what the Middle East ought to look like.”

She again turned to the Soviet model.
Maybe in Iran
the “revolutionary fervor” would start to burn out
and diminish what she called Iranian “expansionist” goals.

“Let’s say that
we have to live with the Iranian revolutionary state for some time,”
she said.
“Would I rather live with the Iranian revolutionary state
with American forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and Central Asia?
You bet.
When I hear that the Iranians are just sitting pretty, I think,
well, how does their neighborhood look to them?
What has really happened is that starting with Gulf War I [in 1991],
but really after 9/11, the center of American power has moved.”
Following World War II,
the United States had moved the epicenter of its military power to Europe,
but it had taken four decades for the Soviet Union to collapse.
Now American power had shifted to the Middle East.

Rice agreed that on inauguration day 2009,
no new president, Democrat or Republican,
was going to say the Bush administration had fixed the Middle East.
But she thought that over time
a democratic Iraq would emerge,
Iran would be transformed or defeated,
Lebanon would be free of Syrian forces, and
a Palestinian state would exist.
And none of it would be possible without some future victory in Iraq,
“This president not just set it in motion,” Rice said,
“he’s put in place now the foundation where it can come out in our favor.”

“We didn’t come here to maintain the status quo.
And the status quo was cracking in the Middle East.
It was coming undone.
And it was going to be ugly one way or another.
And it just might as well have been ugly in a good cause.
And now, with the emergence of Iraq as it is,
it’s going to be bumpy and it’s going to be difficult but big.
Historical change always is.
There are a lot of things if I could go back and do them differently, I would.
But the one I would not do differently is, we should have liberated Iraq.
I’d do it a thousand times again.
I’d do it a thousand times again.”

Miscellaneous articles on Rice

Failure Personified: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
by Douglas Bandow
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-05

[This is a significant and thoroughly documented critique
of Rice’s nefarious but little-examined role
in the manifest national-security and foreign-policy failures
of the Bush administration.
Here is a brief excerpt (emphasis is added).]

[S]he is liked more for what she represents
than for what she does.

With a compelling personal story, she embodies the best of America.
But her actual record is far less presentable.
After all,
she is a major architect of the Bush administration's foreign policy,
including the Iraq war.

[Another way to put it:
Condi can do no wrong.

As a side note, I have asked some women why they continue to support Condi.
The answer?
“We women stick together.”
But I think the other, unvoiced, answer to that question
is that most politically active American women
in reality support the desire to create a “new Middle East”,
for the same reason that
they so vocally and visibly oppose American rapprochement with the Taliban,
that the attitudes of the old Middle East towards women
are anathema to feminism.
While American women in theory support peace,
in practice they oppose patriarchy,
and are willing to see vast death and destruction today
in the hope that in the future Muslim women will be “freed” from patriarchy.
In other words,
the “liberation” they seek for the Muslim world is from patriarchy.
Who cares how many people, American and Muslim, are killed
and how many gigadollars are spent towards that end?
As Joseph Stalin, that dream figure for so many leftist women, said,
“You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”

As Her Star Wanes, Rice Tries to Reshape Legacy
New York Times, 2007-09-01

[A fairly long (2500 word) look back
at her first six and a half years in the Bush-43 administration.]

Rice heatedly defends her integrity on Iraq claims
by Arshad Mohammed
Reuters North American News Service, 2008-02-13

[An excerpt.]

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
vehemently defended her integrity Wednesday
when asked about an independent report that found she made
56 false statements
on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

At a congressional hearing, Rep. Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat,
questioned Rice about
a report from the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity that
accuses Bush administration officials of making
935 false statements about Iraq,
which the United States invaded in March 2003.

“This study has found that you, Madame Secretary,
made 56 false statements to the American people where
you repeatedly pump up the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
and exaggerate the so-called relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,”
he said at the start of a testy exchange with Rice.

“Congressman, I take my integrity very seriously
and I did not at any time make a statement that I knew to be false,
or that I thought to be false,
in order to pump up anything,” Rice replied.
“Nobody wants to go to war.”


Rice, who was national security adviser at the time of the invasion,
squarely blamed the U.S. intelligence community
for its erroneous conclusions
that Iraq had biological and chemical weapons
and was seeking to rebuild a nuclear weapons program.

When Wexler sought to cut her off, Rice spoke over him and said:
“I am sorry congressman -- because you questioned my integrity,
I ask you to let me respond.

“Now, we have learned that many of the intelligence assessments were wrong,”
she added.
“I will be the first to say that it was not right.”

“At no time did I intend to, or do I believe that I did put forward
false information to the American people,” she said.

The reputations of many Bush aides --
including former Secretary of State Colin Powell,
who made the case for the war before the U.N. Security Council --
have been tarnished by the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found.

Rice's Not-Quite-Shining Moment
By Jim Hoagland
Washington Post, 2008-08-24

Donald Rumsfeld


Thinking Things Over: The Bush Cabinet: Think Big
By Robert L. Bartley
Wall Street Journal, 2000-12-18

[Those contemplating the fervent pursuit of the interests of Israel
by long-term secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld
may rightly wonder who nominated him for that position.
The answer is Robert L. Bartley, the venerable editorial-page editor of the WSJ,
in this WSJ op-ed,
which appeared immediately after the confirmation of Bush’s win in Florida.
Here is the relevant excerpt.]

Challenges lie ahead:
The economy is slowing perceptibly,
the Middle East seems near war and
our relations with Russia and China are in tatters.
Mr. Bush needs all the strength he can draw from those around him;
it also speaks well of a new president
when he surrounds himself with strong and independent figures.
There is a time for new blood, but this is a time to turn to gray-beards --
as Mr. Bush did in naming Dick Cheney vice president
and sending James Baker to Florida.

Along these lines, some further reflections;
since I've not actually conferred with my friends and acquaintances,
they should perhaps be taken as mind-games:

Colin Powell's appointment as Secretary of State is unexceptionable.
A great credit to America, Mr. Powell deserves any office he wants,
and clearly carries stature and independence.
He has a long record of caution in foreign affairs, as does Ms. Rice.
This is surely a view that needs to be heard
after the Clinton administration's nation-building adventures in, say, Haiti.
But more assertive views will also need to be heard,
especially if Mr. Bush wants to overcome
the bureaucratic and diplomatic inertia
working against his promised missile defense.

My touchstone in this respect will be the fate of two more friends,
Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz.
They represent the tradition of their foreign policy defense mentor, and mine,
the late Albert Wohlstetter,
the behind-the-scenes acme of defense strategy since the Eisenhower administration.
If the incoming administration
really wants to reform the military into a modern fighting force,
Mr. Perle in particular has the ideas and the bureaucratic savvy.
Mr. Wolfowitz could also fill the defense post or any high position
where his [staunchly Zionist] voice in foreign affairs could be heard.

In line with my theme, though,
my gray-beard choice for Defense is Donald Rumsfeld,
who already served in the position back during the Ford years.
A cabinet official, White House chief of staff, congressman
and more recently an exceedingly successful corporate CEO,
Mr. Rumsfeld is one of the most qualified people in America
for just about any position you can mention.
He could have been at state, and would also be my second choice at Treasury.

[Note that this appeared several days before
Richard Cheney’s supposed suggestion of Rumsfeld
as described at the beginning of Woodward’s State of Denial.
Surely Cheney, as director of the transition, would have known about
this suggestion from such a bastion of one branch of conservatism
as the editorial page of the WSJ.
One wonders how Woodward failed to mention this earlier recommendation.

Note also that Bartley recommended not just Rumsfeld,
but also Perle and Wolfowitz,
all three arch-supporters of Israel
and advocates of the disastrous war with Iraq.]

Paul Wolfowitz

Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies

The Deputies Meeting in April 2001
[AAE, pages 230–232]

Within a week of the [2001-01-20] Inauguration
I [Richard Clarke] wrote to Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley
asking “urgently” for a Principals, or Cabinet-level, meeting
to review the imminent al Qaeda threat.
Rice told me that the Principals Committee,
which had been the first venue for terrorism policy discussions
in the Clinton administration,
would not address the issue
until it had been “framed” by the Deputies.
I assumed that meant an opportunity
for the Deputies to review the agenda.
Instead, it meant months of delay.
The initial Deputies meeting to review terrorism policy
could not be scheduled in February.
Not could it occur in March.
Finally in April,
the Deputies Committee met on terrorism for the first time.
The first meeting,
in the small wood-paneled Situation Room conference room,
did not go well.

Rice’s deputy, Steve Hadley, began the meeting
by asking me to brief the group.
I turned immediately to the pending decisions
needed to deal with al Qaeda.
“We need to put pressure
on both the Taliban and al Qaeda
by arming the Northern Alliance
and other groups in Afghanistan.
we need to target bin Laden and his leadership
by reinitiating flights of the Predator.”

Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy at Defense,
fidgeted and scowled.
Hadley asked him if he was all right.
I just don’t understand why we are beginning
by talking about this one man bin Laden,

Wolfowitz responded.

I answered as clearly and forcefully as I could:
“We are talking about
a network of terrorist organizations called al Qaeda,
that happens to be led by bin Laden,
and we are talking about that network because
it and it alone
poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States.”

there are others that do as well, at least as much.
Iraqi terrorism, for example,

Wolfowitz replied, looking not at me but at Hadley.

“I am unaware of any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism
directed at the United States, Paul, since 1993,
and I think FBI and CIA concur in that judgment, right, John?”
I pointed at CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin,
who was obviously not eager to get in the middle
of a debate between the White House and the Pentagon
but nonetheless replied,
“Yes, that is right, Dick.
We have no evidence
of any active Iraqi terrorist threat against the U.S.”

Finally, Wolfowitz turned to me.
“You give bin Laden too much credit.
He could not do all those things like the 1993 attack on New York,
not without a state sponsor.

Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages
does not mean they don’t exist.”

[I [KH] am amazed that a man of as high a rank as Wolfowitz
could spout such deceit,
and not be immediately corrected.
An immediate counterexample to Wolfowitz’s assertion that
“He could not do all those things ... without a state sponsor”
is provided by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,
conducted by Timothy McVeigh and a few friends,
without any “state sponsor.”]

I could hardly believe it but
Wolfowitz was actually spouting
the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie theory that
Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center,
a theory that had been investigated for years
and found to be totally untrue.

It was getting a little too heated
for the kind of meeting Steve Hadley liked to chair,
but I thought it was important
to get the extent of the disagreement out on the table:
“Al Qaeda plans major acts of terrorism against the U.S.
It plans to overthrow Islamic governments
and set up a radical multination Caliphate,
and then go to war with non-Muslim states.”
Then I said something I regretted as soon as I said it:
“They have published all of this and sometimes,
as with Hitler in Mein Kampf,
you have to believe that these people
will actually do what they say they will do.”

Wolfowitz seized on the Hitler reference.
“I resent any comparison between
the Holocaust and this little terrorist in Afghanistan.”

“I wasn’t comparing the Holocaust to anything.”
I spoke slowly.
“I was saying that like Hitler,
bin Laden has told us in advance what he plans to do and
we would make a big mistake to ignore it.”

To my surprise,
Deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage came to my rescue.
“We agree with Dick.
We see al Qaeda as a major threat and
countering it as an urgent priority.” ...

Hadley suggested a compromise.
We would begin by focusing on al Qaeda
and then later look at other terrorism,
including any Iraqi terrorism.
Because dealing with al Qaeda involved its Afghan sanctuary,
Hadley suggested that we needed policy on Afghanistan in general
and on the related issue of U.S.-Pakistani relations,
including the return of democracy in that country
and arms control with India.
All of these issues were a “cluster” that had to be decided together.
Hadley proposed that several more papers be written
and several more meetings be scheduled
over the next few months.

Wolfowitz and Ambassador Gelbard
[AAE, page 233]

I wasn’t the only one asserting an al Qaeda threat
whom Wolfowitz belittled.
Our Ambassador to Indonesia, Robert Gelbard,
was putting pressure on the Jakarta government
to do something about al Qaeda and its offshoot,
Jemmah Islamiyah (JI).
Gelbard had closed the U.S. embassy in Jakarta
when he received credible reports
that a six-person al Qaeda hit team
had been dispatched from Yemen.
He had publicly criticized the Indonesian government
for turning a blind eye to al Qaeda infiltration and subversion.
Then on Christmas Day 2000,
the JI launched an offensive against Christians,
bombing twenty churches.
Gelbard stepped up his pressure privately and publicly.

Bob Gelbard
had been a star in the Foreign Service for three decades,
had been Ambassador to Bolivia,
Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement and Narcotics,
Special Presidential Envoy to the Balkans.
He was not the kind of diplomat who worried about place settings,
but instead knew about armed helicopters and communications intercepts.
He had fought drug lords and Serbian thugs.
Now he saw what was taking place in Indonesia:
al Qaeda was targeting the largest Islamic nation in the world
as its next battlefield.

Arriving in the Pentagon early in 2001,
Paul Wolfowitz began calling old acquaintances in Indonesia,
where he had earlier been ambassador.
What he heard from them was that
Gelbard was making things uncomfortable,
making too much noise about al Qaeda,
being paranoid.
Wolfowitz reportedly urged Gelbard’s removal.
Bob Gelbard came home and retired from the Foreign Service.
In October 2002, al Qaeda’s local front
attacked nightclubs in Bali,
killing 202, mainly Australians.
Ten months later,
they attacked the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, killing 13.
[And in 2004-09, after press time for Clarke’s book,
occurred the Jakarta Australian embassy bombing.]

The investigations that followed
revealed an extensive network of al Qaeda operatives
in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia
led by those whom Gelbard had suspected
and had demanded by stopped.

The day after 9/11
[AAE, pages 30–32]

On the morning of the 12th
DOD’s focus was already beginning to switch from al Qaeda.
CIA was explicit now that al Qaeda was guilty of the attacks,
but Paul Wolfowitz was [still] not persuaded.
It was too sophisticated and complicated an operation,
he said,
for a terrorist group to have pulled off by itself,
without a state sponsor—Iraq must have been helping them.

I had a flashback to Wolfowitz saying the very same thing in April
when the administration held
its first deputy secretary-level meeting on terrorism.

Later, on the evening of the 12th,
I left the Video Conferencing Center
and there, wandering alone around the Situation Room,
was the President.
He looked like he wanted something to do.
He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room.
“Look,” he told us,
“I know you have a lot to do and all ...
but I want you, as soon as you can,
to go back over everything, everything.
See if Saddam did this.
See if he’s linked in any way ...”

I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed.
“But, Mr. President, al Qaeda did this.”

“I know, I know, but ... see if Saddam was involved.
Just look.
I want to know any shred...”

“Absolutely, we will look... again.”
I was trying to be more respectful, more responsive.
“But, you know,
we have looked several times for state sponsorship of al Qaeda
and not found any real linkages to Iraq.
Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen.”

“Look into Iraq, Saddam,”
the President said testily and left us.
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty [one of Clarke’s deputies]
stared after him with her mouth hanging open.

Paul Kurtz [another deputy] walked in,
passing the President on the way out.
Seeing our expressions, he asked,
“Geez, what just happened here?”

“Wolfowitz got to him,” Lisa said, shaking her head.

[For the initial White House reaction to this version of events, see
Elisabeth Bumiller and Judith Miller,
“Ex-Bush Aide Sets Off Debate as 9/11 Hearing Opens,”
New York Times, 2004-03-23.
For the corrected version, see
Eric Lichtblau,
“President Asked Aide to Explore Iraq Link to 9/11,”
New York Times, 2004-03-29.]

Wolfowitz, Mylroie, and Woolsey
[AAE, page 95]

Ramzi Yousef,
or Abdul Basit [Yousef’s birth name, according to Clarke],
was implicated in the 1993 World Trade Center attack
by a large number of eyewitnesses, fingerprints,
and other evidence.
That did not stop author Laurie Mylroie
[who, among other writings, coauthored
Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf
with Judith Miller]

from asserting that the real Ramzi Yousef was
not in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan, but
lounging at the right hand of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
Mylroie’s thesis was that
there was an elaborate plot by Saddam to attack the United States
and that
Yousef/Basit was his instrument,
beginning with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Her writing gathered a small cult following,
including the recently relieved CIA Director Jim Woolsey
and Paul Wolfowitz.
[Note Amazon’s description
of Mylroie’s first book on the 1993 WTC bombing
includes an “Editorial Review” from none other than ...
Paul Wolfowitz.
It’s a small neocon world.]

As reported by Jason Vest in the Village Voice (2001-11-27):
According to intelligence and diplomatic sources,
Colin Powell—as well as George Tenet—
was infuriated by a private intelligence endeavor
arranged by Wolfowitz in September.
Apparantly obsessed with proving a convoluted theory
put forth by American Enterprise Institute adjunct fellow
Laurie Mylroie
that tied Usama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein
to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing,
Wolfowitz, according to a veteran intelligence officer,
dispatched former Director of Central Intelligence
James Woolsey to the United Kingdom,
tasking him
with gathering additional ‘evidence’ to make the case.
Woolsey was also asked to make contact
with Iraqi exiles and others
who might be able to beef up the case
that hijacker Mohammed Atta
was working with Iraqi intelligence to plan the 9/11 attacks,
as well as the subsequent anthrax mailings.
It turned out there was only one Ramzi Yousef,
he was not an Iraqi agent,
and he had been in a U.S. jail for years.

Bob Woodward’s Bush at War

The 2001-09-13 Pentagon press briefing
[BAW, pages 60–61 (emphasis is added)]

The Pentagon press briefing [on 2001-09-13, two days after 09-11,]
was conducted by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz,
who had been a senior defense official under Richard Cheney
during the first Bush administration.
Wolfowitz often voiced the views of
an outspoken group of national security conservatives in Washington,
many of them veterans of the Reagan and senior Bush administrations.
These were men who believed that there was no greater menace in the world
than Iraqi President Saddam Hussein,
and they argued that if the president was serious about
going after those who harbor terrorists,
he had to put Hussein at the top of that list.

Iraq posed nearly as serious a problem for the president and his team
as Afghanistan, they held.
If Saddam, a wily and unpredictable survivor,
decided to launch a terrorist attack or even a limited military strike on U.S. facilities
and the president had failed to move against him,
the recriminations might never end.

[Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld had raised Iraq
during the previous day’s national security meetings with the president.
Now Wolfowitz wanted to issue a public warning to terrorist states.
It was another effort to prod the president
to include Iraq in his first round of targets.

“It’s not just simply a matter of capturing people,” he said,
“and holding them accountable,
but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems,
ending states who sponsor terrorism.

“It will be a campaign, not a single action.
And we’re going to keep after these people and the people who support them
until it stops.”

In a benign reading, this was merely a more provocative restatement
of the Bush Doctrine from the night of September 11.
Wolfowitz wasn’t really innovating but he did get his tongue twisted.
His comment would be big headlines and certain to alarm many U.S. allies.
“Ending states who sponsor terrorism”—regime change—
was implied in what Bush had said, but not explicitly stated.

[Secretary of State Colin] Powell publicly distanced himself.
“Ending terrorism is where I would like to leave it,
and let Mr. Wolfowitz speak for himself,” he said.

Army General Hugh Shelton,
who would be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for another two weeks
before [Air Force General Richard] Myers took over,
firmly opposed bringing Iraq into the military equation at this early stage.
In his analysis,
the only justification for going after Iraq
would be clear evidence linking the Iraqis to the 09-11 attacks.
Short of that, targeting Iraq was not worth the risk
of angering moderate Arab states whose support was crucial
not only to any campaign in Afghanistan,
but to reviving the Middle East peace process.

Earlier in the week,
Powell had approached Shelton and rolled his eyes
after Rumsfeld had raised Iraq as a potential target.

“What the hell, what are these guys thinking about?” asked Powell,
who had held Shelton’s job as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
“Can’t you get these guys back in the box?”

Shelton could not have agreed more.
He had been trying, arguing practicalities and priorities,
but Wolfowitz was fiercely determined and committed.

[The natural question is:
Why was Wolfowitz “fiercely determined and committed?”
Some would say the only plausible rational answer is his loyalty to Israel.]

The 2001-09-15 Camp David conference

[In Chapter 6 of Bush at War Woodward presents
the meeting of Bush’s (augmented) war cabinet
at Camp David on Saturday, 2001-09-15.
Below are some excerpts,
including where war beyond Afghanistan, in particular, in Iraq, is considered.]

[BAW, pages 79–80 (emphasis is added)]

Bush had ordered the Pentagon to come to the meeting with plenty of options,
and [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Henry (Hugh)] Shelton
was prepared to talk about military action
against both Afghanistan and, if pressed, Iraq.

He had three general options for Afghanistan.

Option One was a strike with cruise missiles,
a plan the military could execute quickly
if speed was the president’s overriding priority.
The missiles could be launched by Navy ships or Air Force planes from hundreds of miles away.
The targets included al Qaeda’s training camps.

The problem, he noted, as they all knew, was that the camps were empty.
Clearly, Shelton, Bush and Rumsfeld were not enamored of this idea,
nor were the others.
It might as well have been labeled the Clinton Option.
There was palpable disgust at the mere mention of cruise missiles only.

The second option combined cruise missiles with manned bomber attacks.
Shelton said Bush could initially choose a strike
lasting three or four days or something longer, maybe up to 10 days.
The targets included al Qaeda training camps and some Taliban targets.
This too had limits.

Shelton described the third and most robust option as
cruise missiles, bombers,
and what the planners had taken to calling “boots on the ground.”
This option included all the elements of the second option
along with elite commando units of U.S. Special Forces,
and possibly the Army and Marines, being deployed inside Afghanistan.
But he said it would take a minimum of 10 to 12 days
just to get initial forces on the ground
because bases and overflight rights would be needed in the region
for search and rescue teams to bring out any downed pilots.

Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, certainly Powell and Cheney,
were stuck by how the military situation in Afghanistan was shaping up
as far different from Desert Storm.
On Saturday, 1990-08-04, in the same lodge at Camp David,
General Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander in chief of the Central Command,
had presented a detailed, off-the-shelf proposal for military action.
It was called Operations Plan 90-1002,
and it was the basic military plan
that would be executed over the next seven months
to oust the Iraqi army from Kuwait.

Now there was no off-the-shelf military plan.
One would have to be devised fast and from scratch,
once the president had decided
the shape of the war,
the initial focus of the campaign and
the relationship between the CIA and the Pentagon.

At one point, someone said this was not likely to be like the Balkans,
where ethnic hatreds had occupied the Clinton administration for nearly eight years.
“We’re going to wish this was the Balkans,”
[Condoleezza] Rice said,
the problems of Afghanistan and the surrounding region were so complicated.
She looked at a map and just thought “Afghanistan.”
It evoked every negative image: far away, mountainous, landlocked, hard.

[BAW, page 81 (emphasis is added)]

Bush said that the ideal result from this campaign would be
to kick terrorists out of some places like Afghanistan and through that action
persuade other countries that had supported terrorism in the past, such as Iran,
to change their behavior.

[Secretary of State Colin] Powell asserted that
everyone in the international coalition was ready to go after al Qaeda,
but that
extending the war to other terrorist groups or countries
could cause some of them to drop out.

The president said he didn’t want other countries
dictating terms or conditions for the war on terrorism.
“At some point,” he said, “we may be the only ones left.
That’s okay with me. We are America.”

Powell didn’t reply.
Going it alone was precisely what he wanted to avoid if possible.
He thought that the president’s formulation was not realistic.
Without partners,
the United States could not launch an effective war even in Afghanistan,
certainly not worldwide.
He believed the president made such statements
knowing they might not withstand a second analysis.
Tough talk might be necessary, but it shouldn’t be confused with policy.

[Vice President Richard] Cheney, in contrast, took Bush at his word.
He was convinced that the president was serious
when he said the United States would go it alone if necessary.

[Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld raised another problem.
Although everyone agreed that destroying al Qaeda was the first priority,
any singling out of bin Laden, particularly by the president,
would elevate him
the way Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had been during the 1991 Gulf War.
He said that the worst thing they could do in such a situation
was to misstate their objective.
It would not be effective to succeed in
removing or killing bin Laden or Taliban leader Mohammad Omar without
solving the basic problem of terrorism.

[Talk about expansion of scope!]
Vilification of bin Laden
could rob the United States of its ability to frame this as a larger war.

[It is not at all clear that the American people wanted, then or now,
any war larger than the minimal one necessary
to prevent further terrorist attacks on America.
That is rather more limited than “solving the basic problem of terrorism.”
There is a strange desire among our elite to solve all the world’s problems
(as the American elite defines them).]

[BAW, pages 83–85 (emphasis is added)]

[Condoleezza Rice’s fears of getting bogged down in Afghanistan]
were shared by others, which led to a different discussion.
Should they think about launching military action elsewhere
as an insurance policy in case things in Afghanistan went bad?
They would need successes early in any war
to maintain domestic and international support.
The United States’ rapid victory in the 1991 Gulf War,
and the immediacy of watching it unfold live on CNN,
had redefined people’s expectations about warfare,
which the Clinton administration’s occasional cruise missile attacks
had done nothing to alter.

Rice asked whether they could envision a successful military campaign beyond Afghanistan, which put Iraq back on the table.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz perked up.
Mild in manner but hard-line in policy, Wolfowitz, 57,
believed that the abrupt end to the Desert Storm ground campaign in 1991
which left Saddam in power had been a mistake.

Since taking office, Bush had been seeking way to undermine Hussein,
with Wolfowitz pushing efforts to aid opposition groups,
and Powell seeking support for a new set of sanctions.
The fear was that Saddam was still attempting
to develop, obtain and eventually use weapons of mass destruction,
and without United Nations inspectors in the country,
there was no way to know the exact nature of the threat they faced.
The terrorist attacks of 09-11 gave the U.S. a new window to go after Hussein.

Wolfowitz seized the opportunity.
Attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain.
He worried about 100,000 American troops bogged down in mountain fighting in Afghanistan six months from then.

[A problem which surely would not befall the American army in Iraq.]
In contrast, Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily.
[And then what, Mr. Wolfowitz?]
It was doable.
He estimated that there was a 10 to 50 percent chance Saddam was involved in the 09-11 terrorist attacks.
The U.S. would have to go after Saddam at some time
if the war on terrorism was to be taken seriously.


[White House Chief of Staff] Andy Card thought Wolfowitz was just banging a drum, not providing additional information or new arguments.

During a break, Bush joined a side discussion that included
Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Wolfowitz.
He told them that he had found some of Shelton’s military options unimaginative.

Wolfowitz expanded on his arguments about how war against Iraq
might be easier than against Afghanistan.

The president asked why he didn’t present more of this at the meeting.

“It is not my place to contradict the chairman of the Joint Chiefs
unless the secretary of defense says to,”

said Wolfowitz, knowing Shelton was opposed to an attack on Iraq.

[Who sourced that to Woodward?]

When the group reconvened, Rumsfeld asked,
Is this the time to attack Iraq?
He noted that there would be a big buildup of forces in the region and
he was still deeply worried about the availability of good targets in Afghanistan.

Powell objected.
You’re going to hear from your coalition partners, he told the president.
They’re all with you, every one, but they will go away if you hit Iraq.
If you get something pinning 09-11 on Iraq, great—
let’s put it out and kick them at the right time.
But let’s get Afghanistan now.
If we do that, we will have increased our ability to go after Iraq—
if we can prove Iraq had a role.

Bush had strong reservations about attacking Iraq,
but he let the discussion continue.
He was concerned about two things, he said later.
“My theory is you’ve got to do something and do it well and that …
if we could prove that we could be successful in [the Afghanistan] theater,
then the rest of the task would be easier.
If we tried to do too many things—two things, for example, or three things—militarily,
then … the lack of focus would have been a huge risk.”

Bush’s other concern was one that he did not express to his war cabinet
but that he would say later was part of his thinking.
He knew that around the table were advisers—Powell, Cheney, Wolfowitz—
who had been with his father during the 1991 Gulf War deliberations.
“And one of the things I wasn’t going to allow to happen is,
that we weren’t going to let their previous experience in this theater
dictate a rational course for the new war.”
In other words,
he didn’t want them to use the war on terror as an excuse to settle an old score.

[I am not sure if the word “rational” is wanted there.
But the emphasized sentence is most important.
It gives the lie to the frequent assertions from Bush’s critics
that he desired the war
to “complete what his father failed to compete,” or
to avenge Saddam’s assassination attempt on his father.]

At another point during the morning,
Wolfowitz interrupted his boss, Rumsfeld,
and expanded on a point he had made earlier about Iraq.
He may have taken the president’s remark during the break as encouragement.

There was an awkward silence.
Rumsfeld seemed to ignore the interruption but his eyes narrowed.
Some though he might be annoyed; others thought he was just listening.

Bush flashed a pointed look in Card’s direction.
During another break in the meeting,
the chief of staff took Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz aside.

“The president will expect one person to speak for the Department of Defense,”
Card told them.

Sometime before lunch,
Bush sent a message to the group that he had heard enough debate over Iraq.
“There wasn’t a lot of talk about Iraq in the second [afternoon] round,”
he later recalled.
“The second round of discussion was focused only on Afghanistan,
let me put it to you that way.”

James Risen’s State of War on Wolfowitz

[SW, pages 72–73]

[In the aftermath of 9/11,]
U.S. deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz felt that there
“was intellectual dishonesty in the intelligence community,”
recalled one former Pentagon official.
As Wolfowitz listened to intelligence briefings
from CIA analysts on al Qaeda after 9/11,
he angrily concluded that they were not even considering
alternative possibilities that included Iraqi involvement.
The CIA was an arrogant, rogue institution, he believed,
unwilling to support administration policy makers.

Israeli intelligence played a hidden role
in convincing Wolfowitz
that he couldn’t trust the CIA,

according to a former senior Pentagon colleague.
Israeli intelligence officials frequently traveled to Washington
to brief top American officials,

but CIA analysts were often skeptical of Israeli intelligence reports,
knowing that Mossad had very strong—even transparent—biases
about the Arab world.
After each Israeli briefing,
the CIA would issue reports that were circulated throughout the government,
but they often discounted much of what the Israelis had provided.
Wolfowitz and other conservatives at the Pentagon
became enraged by this practice;
they had begun meeting personally
with top Israeli intelligence officials

and know which elements of the Mossad briefings the CIA was downplaying.
“And so Paul got angry,” said one former Pentagon official.
[That’s right.
How dare those Goyishe Kopf over at the CIA dare to question the Israelis!]

Sam Tanenhaus Interview with Paul Wolfowitz

Below is an excerpt from
Sam Tanenhaus’s 2003-05-09 interview with Paul Wolfowitz
for Vanity Fair.

But first, to set the intellectual and conceptual context,
note how the center of Wolfowitz’s argument
is but an echo of that in the
1998 PNAC Letter to President Clinton,
which, among other things, said:

“The only acceptable strategy
is one that eliminates the possibility
that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use
weapons of mass destruction.
In the near term,
this means a willingness to undertake military action
as diplomacy is clearly failing.
In the long term,
it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.
That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.”

This point was echoed in the
2001-09-20 PNAC Letter to President Bush,
which remarkably asserted:

“[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the [9/11] attack,
any strategy aiming at
the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors
must include a determined effort
to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”

The point that should be obvious is:
since the PNAC crowd states that
whether Iraq was in fact linked to the 9/11 attack
is irrelevant to
their demand that Saddam be removed from power in Iraq,
then just what is the terrorism threat
that they are demanding that the United States eradicate?
I think the only substantial answer is:
the threat that they believed Iraq posed to Israel.

Okay, now for the Tanenhaus interview with Wolfowitz
(emphasis and comments are added).


Q [all questions are from Sam Tanenhaus]:
And then in the next few days [after 9/11],
then there was the statement
which now looks remarkably [prescient]
when you said this is a campaign.
At that point, I think it was the 13th,
at that point was Iraq sort of moving
into the scope, under the radar screen?
What was your thinking at that point?

I know my thinking at that point was that
the old approach to terrorism was not acceptable any longer.
The old approach being you treat it as
a law enforcement problem
rather than
a national security problem.
You pursue terrorists after they’ve done things
and bring them to justice,
and to the extent states are perhaps involved,
you retaliate against them
but you don't really expect
to get them out of the business
of supporting terrorism completely.

To me what September 11th meant was that
we just couldn't live with terrorism any longer.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s it was sort of,
I’ve never found quite the right words
because necessary evil doesn't describe it,
but a sort of an evil that you could manage
but you couldn’t eliminate.
And I think what September 11th to me said was
this is just the beginning of what these bastards can do
if they start getting access to so-called modern weapons,
and that it’s not something you can live with any longer.
So there needs to be a campaign, a strategy, a long-term effort,
to root out these networks and
to get governments out of the business of supporting them.
But that wasn’t something that was going to happen overnight.

So Iraq naturally came to the top of the list because of
its history and
the weapons of mass terror and
all the rest,
is that right?

plus the fact which seems to go unremarked in most places,
that Saddam Hussein was the only international figure
other than Osama bin Laden
who praised the attacks of September 11th.

So now there is the much-reported,
I just want to make sure I get it right,
famous meeting at --

It’s been reported in a couple of different ways, and
I’d like to get it in your words if I can,
the famous meetings that first weekend [after 9/11] in Camp David
where the question of Iraq came up.
I believe the President heard you discussing Iraq and
asked you to elaborate on it or speak more about it.
Can you give us a little sense of what that was like?

There was a long discussion during the day about
what place if any
Iraq should have
in a counterterrorist strategy.

On the surface of the debate
it at least appeared to be about
not whether but when.
There seemed to be
a kind of agreement that yes it should be, but
the disagreement was
whether it should be in the immediate response or
whether you should concentrate simply on Afghanistan first.

There was a sort of undertow in that discussion I think
that was, the real issue was
whether Iraq should be part of the strategy at all and
whether we should have this large strategic objective
which is getting governments out of the business
of supporting terrorism, or
whether we should simply go after bin Laden and al Qaeda.

To the extent it was a debate about tactics and timing,
the President clearly came down on the side of Afghanistan first.
To the extent it was a debate about strategy and
what the larger goal was,
it is at least clear with 20/20 hindsight that
the President came down on the side of the larger goal.


And then the last question,
you’ve been very patient and generous.
That is what’s next?
Where do we stand now in the campaign
that you talked about right after September 11th?

I think the two most important things next
are the two most obvious.
One is
getting post-Saddam Iraq right.
Getting it right may take years,
but setting the conditions for getting it right in the next six months.
The next six months are going to be very important.

The other thing is
trying to get some progress
on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

I do think we have a better atmosphere for working on it now
than we did before in all kinds of ways.
Whether that’s enough to make a difference is not certain,
but I will be happy to go back and dig up
the things I said a long time ago which is,
while it undoubtedly was true that
if we could make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue
we would provide a better set of circumstances
to deal with Saddam Hussein,
but that it was equally true the other way around that
if we could deal with Saddam Hussein
it would provide a better set of circumstances
for dealing with the Arab-Israeli issue.

That you had to move on both of them as best you could
when you could, but --

[The questions that the media should now pose to Wolfowitz,
based on his unambiguous assertion above, are:
“Did the Iraq war in fact yield
‘a better set of circumstances
for dealing with the Arab-Israeli issue’?
If so, how can that be measured?
If not, why not?”
Wolfowitz is a public figure,
even if he is now an international civil servent,
not just a U.S. one.
His impact on our involvement in Iraq was so great,
the media can and should figure out a way
to force him to answer those questions.
At the very least,
op-ed columnists could ask those questions in their fora.
Or, that is, they could
if they were not all such servile toadies to the Israeli lobby.]

There are a lot of things that are different now,
and one that has gone by almost unnoticed--but it's huge--is that
by complete mutual agreement between the U.S. and the Saudi government
we can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia.
Their presence there over the last 12 years
has been a source of enormous difficulty
for a friendly government.
It’s been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda.
In fact if you look at bin Laden,
one of his principle grievances was
the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land,
Mecca and Medina.
I think just lifting that burden from the Saudis
is itself going to open the door
to other positive things.

I don’t want to speak in messianic terms.
It’s not going to change things overnight,
but it’s a huge improvement.

Was that one of the arguments
that was raised early on by you and others
that Iraq actually does connect,
not to connect the dots too much, but
the relationship between Saudi Arabia,
our troops being there, and
bin Laden’s rage about that,
which he’s built on so many years,
also connects the World Trade Center attacks,
that there’s a logic of motive or something like that?
[Bin Laden himself answered that question here,
connecting the 9/11 attacks,
not to “[U.S.] troops being [in Saudi Arabia],”
but to
“the oppression and tyranny
of the American/Israeli coalition
against our people in Palestine and Lebanon,”

a connection that American politicians and media
have conspicuously avoided discussing.]

Or does that read too much into --

No, I think it happens to be correct.
The truth is that
for reasons that have a lot to do
with the U.S. government bureaucracy
we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on
which was weapons of mass destruction
as the core reason,
-- hold on one second --


Sam there may be some value in clarity on the point
that it may take years to get post-Saddam Iraq right.
It can be easily misconstrued, especially when it comes to --

-- there have always been three fundamental concerns.
One is weapons of mass destruction,
the second is support for terrorism,
the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people.
Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is
the connection between the first two.

Sorry, hold on again.

By the way,
it’s probably the longest uninterrupted phone conversation
I've witnessed, so --

Q: This is extraordinary.

Kellems: You had good timing.

Q: I'm really grateful.

To wrap it up.

The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier,
is a reason to help the Iraqis but
it’s not a reason to put American kids’ lives at risk,
certainly not on the scale we did it.
That second issue about links to terrorism
is the one about which
there’s the most disagreement within the bureaucracy,

even though I think everyone agrees
that we killed 100 or so
of an al Qaeda group in northern Iraq in this recent go-around,
that we’ve arrested that al Qaeda guy in Baghdad
who was connected to this guy Zarqawi
whom Powell spoke about in his UN presentation.

So this notion then that
the strategic question was really a part of the equation,
that you were looking at Saudi Arabia --

I was.
It’s one of the reasons why
I took a very different view of
what the argument that removing Saddam Hussein would destabilize the Middle East.
I said on the record,
I don't understand how people can really believe that
removing this huge source of instability
is going to be a cause of instability in the Middle East.

I understand what they’re thinking about.
I’m not blind to the uncertainties of this situation,
but they just seem to be blind to the instability
that that son of a bitch was causing.
It’s as though the fact that
he was paying $25,000 per terrorist family and
issuing regular threats to most friendly governments in the region and
the long list of things

was of no account
and the only thing to think about was that
there might be some inter-communal violence
if he were removed.

The implication of a lot of the argumentation against acting --
the implication was that
the only way to have the stability that we need in Iraq
is to have a tyrant like Saddam keeping everybody in check --
I know no one ever said it that way
and if you pointed it out that way
they’d say that's not what I mean.
But I believe that really is where the logic was leading.

Which also makes you wonder about
how much faith there is
in spreading democracy and all the rest
among some of those who --

Wolfowitz: Probably not very much.
There is no question that
there’s a lot of instability that comes with democracy and
it's the nature of the beast that it's turbulent and uncertain.

The thing is, at a general level,
I’ve encountered this argument
from the defenders of Asian autocracies of various kinds.
Look how much better off Singapore is than Indonesia,
to pick a glaring contrast.
And Indonesia’s really struggling with democracy.
It sort of inherited democracy
under the worst possible conditions too, one might say.
But the thing that --
I’d actually say that a large part of Indonesia’s problems
come from the fact that
dictatorships are unstable in the one worst way
which is with respect to choosing the next regime.
Democracy, one could say, has solved, not solve perfectly,
but they represent one of the best solutions
to one of the most fundamental instabilities in politics and
that’s how to replace one regime with another.
It’s the only orderly way in the world for doing it
other than hereditary monarchy
which doesn't seem to have much of a future.

Thanks so much.

You’re very welcome.

As the World Bank Turns

Bank’s Report Says Wolfowitz Violated Ethics
New York Times, 2007-05-15

Bank Rebukes Wolfowitz On Ethics
Rules Were Broken, Committee Says
By Peter S. Goodman
Washington Post, 2007-05-15

[An excerpt.]

[Wolfowitz] accused the bank’s ethics committee
of forcing him to oversee the raise for his longtime companion, Shaha Riza,
as compensation for her transfer to a different job.
The ethics panel was afraid to confront her, Wolfowitz said,
because its members knew she was “extremely angry and upset.”


“Its members did not want to deal with a very angry Ms. Riza,
whose career was being damaged as a result of their decision,”
Wolfowitz said in his response to the investigating committee’s report.
“It would only be human nature for them to want to steer clear of her.”

Wolfowitz added that the chairman of the ethics panel thought that
“due to my personal relationship with Ms. Riza,
I was in the best position to persuade her to take out-placement
and thereby achieve the ‘pragmatic solution’ the committee desired.”

Wolfowitz effectively blamed Riza for his predicament as well,
saying that her “intractable position”
in demanding a salary increase as compensation for her career disruption
forced him to grant one to pre-empt a lawsuit.


“Everyone acknowledges that
Ms. Riza was extremely angry and upset
about being required to take an external placement
to resolve a problem that was not of her making,”
Wolfowitz wrote, portraying the raise as a “settlement of claims.”

[Looking forward to the inevitable presentation of Riza’s side of the story
in the WP.
Calling Sally Quinn...
Also, perhaps a day-time television drama could be based on this:
“As the World Bank Turns”.
The story line practically writes itself:
A beleaguered World Bank president caught in the eternal triangle ...
“Not now, Shaha.
I’ve got AIPAC on line 1, Bush on line 2,
and that $%*^@ board of directors on line 3.”

(So it’s actually a rectangle rather than a triangle.
But I don’t know if rectangles
have the same literary significance as triangles.)]

For Washington Insider, Job Was an Uneasy Fit
Clash of Cultures
By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post, 2007-05-18

Sour Over Her Sweetheart Deal
By Al Kamen
Washington Post, 2007-05-18

With Paul Wolfowitz leaving as president of the World Bank,
the speculation now turns to whether Shaha Riza,
the femme part of the Rizawitz combo,
is ready to come back to her old job.

There can be no doubt she’s furious
about how she has been treated by the World Bank —
being forced to take a leave,
staying on the bank’s hideously cushy payroll, and
having to endure enormous pay raises and promotions —
all because Wolfowitz wanted to be head of the bank.

In her April 30 deposition to an ad hoc committee looking into the situation,
Riza seemed to be seething.

“We especially appreciate” your coming,
lead committee member Herman Wijffels began,
“because we understand how painful this whole episode must be for you.”

“Do you?” she said.

Wijffels assured her he did.
Riza explained her recollection of events back in 2005,
when Wolfowitz came to the bank.

“And you know something, I kept on wondering:
If I had been a man, would it have happened to me?” she said.
“If it was just the opposite, would it have happened to me?
And why is it the woman is always the one who has to leave?

“And I was fighting for that. I was fighting — I’m a single mother.
I am the one who takes care of my son.
I don’t have a man taking care of me.”

On several occasions she noted that
there were other couples working at the bank and that
some wives of high-ranking officials were not required to leave their jobs,
and she said that it would have been nice
if a bank official could have “at least explained to me
why I was being treated in a different way to all other spouses in this place.”

“Or maybe,” she continued,
“I was wondering, maybe because they’re married,
they’re seeing that their relationships are asexual.
But because I’m dating, there must be sex there.”

[According to other news reports,
bank rules allow married couples to both work at the bank
in certain circumscribed circumstances,
while unmarried sexual relationships are forbidden.
Riza’s problem is with the rules themselves, not the way they are being applied.
But as a true feminist, she of course sees it as a personal persecution.]

Uh, moving right along, Wijffels asked:
“Did you consult with” Wolfowitz, “either directly or indirectly,
concerning the . . . terms you proposed to” the bank’s personnel chief?

“If you think I’m angry now,” she responded,
“you should see me angry then.
No, of course not,
because I thought he should have fought the decision by the ethics committee.
He became them, you, the bank, and I had to fend for myself
exactly the same way I’m fending for myself now.”

Lest anyone think Riza is some shrinking violet,
there’s this from the deposition of Robin Cleveland,
the former Office of Management and Budget official
Wolfowitz brought over to be his chief of staff.
Cleveland is widely known as one tough costumer in her own right.

“Did you yourself talk to Ms. Riza on the whole issue
while this negotiation was going on?” Wijffels asked her.

“I’m confident that I was on the receiving end of a lot of yelling,”
Cleveland recalled.
“Whether or not I would characterize that as a conversation, I can’t say.”

Résumé of Doom
New York Times, 2007-05-20

Paul Wolfowitz may be out of a job soon,
but think of what an amazing resume he’ll be shopping around:

Work Experience

President of World Bank: 2005-2007
Reining in European lefties,
raining tax-free money on Arab girlfriend, and
giving anti-corruption efforts a bad name.
Paralyzed the international lending apparatus to the point where
small countries had to max out their Visa cards to pay for malaria medicine.
Learned the traditions of many cultures, including those of Turkey,
where you apparently are not supposed to take off your shoes at mosques
to reveal socks so full of holes that both big toes poke blasphemously through.

Deputy Secretary of Defense: 2001-2005
Starting a war.
Mismanaged the world’s most powerful army.
Shattered the system of international diplomacy that kept the peace for 50 years.
Undermined the credibility of American intelligence operations.
Needlessly brought humankind to the brink of nuclear war.
Destroyed Iraq.

Demented Visionary: 1993-2001
Concocting a delusional plan for regime change in Iraq
with pals like Shaha Riza, Ahmad Chalabi and his merry band of Iraqi exiles
who conjured up phony intelligence about Saddam’s W.M.D.
Imagining an Iraq that didn’t exist.

Having Wolfie back on the job market is a tremendous opportunity.
What do we want destroyed next?
Could this walking curse on the world run Halliburton into the ground?

At the Pentagon, Wolfie tried to help Vice get rid of anything multi --
multilateral treaties, multilateral institutions, multilateral alliances, multiculturalism.
Multi, to them, meant wobbly, caviling, bureaucratic and obstructionist.
Why be multi when you could be uni?

In the end, the forces of multilateralism took their revenge:
Old Europe got rid of Wolfie.

But not before his gal pal played the multicultural victim card.
In her statement to World Bank directors,
Shaha complained that she had been denied promotions even before Wolfie got there.
“I can only attribute this to discrimination --
not because I am a woman,
but because I am a Muslim Arab woman
who dares to question the status quo
both in the work of the institution and within the institution itself,”
Shaha wrote.

She said that she had “met a wonderful American woman who told me that I should fight back for ‘us’: WOMEN.
It never occurred to me as an Arab and Muslim woman
that one day I would be asked by an American woman to fight on her behalf.”

Already aggrieved, Shaha got really furious when Wolfie came in 2005
and she was told she’d have to work out of the State Department.

“I was ready to pursue legal remedies,” she wrote in her statement,
adding, “my life and career were torn asunder.”

According to Xavier Coll, the bank’s human resources vice president,
Shaha outlined conditions for her departure that were “unprecedented”
in terms of guarantees and rewards and way out of line with bank policy.
Mr. Coll deemed it “inappropriate and imprudent
for the president to offer Ms. Riza these terms.”

Bob Bennett, Wolfie’s lawyer, told Michael Hirsh of Newsweek that
it was Shaha who “worked up the numbers”
on a $60,000 raise to a $193,590 salary and cushy new deal.
“She was outraged that she had to leave,” Mr. Bennett said.

The self-righteous Shaha played on Wolfie’s guilt, becoming
“greedy in terms of power,” as a friend of the couple told Newsweek.
Even though she had been a mere flack a few years ago
and then a gender coordinator at the bank,
Shaha mau-maued her man into giving her
a salary that topped the secretary of state’s.

It’s like when Bill Clinton tells friends that
he has to work hard to get Hillary elected president
because he feels he owes her
for bringing her to Arkansas in the 70s and interrupting her career.
(But do we?)

Or when Tony Soprano gets Carmela some fancy piece of jewelry after he strays.
Indeed, Wolfie sounded Sopranoish
when he agitatedly told Mr. Coll to warn those at the bank
he believed were attacking him:
“If they #! with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to #! them, too.”

Wolfie used public compensation for private contrition.
Gilt for guilt -- not a good deal.

Chairman Appointed for the International Security Advisory Board
from the Office of the Spokesman,
U.S. Department of State, 2008-01-24

The Department of State is pleased to announce
the appointment of Dr. Paul Wolfowitz as the
Chairman of the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board (ISAB).
Dr. Wolfowitz is currently a
visiting scholar in foreign and defense policy studies
at the American Enterprise Institute,
where he studies development issues.
He has spent more than three decades in public service and higher education.
Most recently, he served as
President of the World Bank and Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Prior to that, he was
Dean and Professor of International Relations
at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies,
Johns Hopkins University.
Other previous positions include
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (1989–1993),
U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia (1986–1989),
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs (1982–1986)
and Director of Policy Planning (1981-1982) at the Department of State.

The ISAB provides the Department of State
with a source of independent insight, advice, and innovation
on all aspects of
arms control, disarmament, nonproliferation, political-military issues,
and international security and related aspects of public diplomacy.
The ISAB provides analysis and insight
into current issues-of-interest for the Secretary
on a regular basis.
Additional information about the Board and its activities
can be found on the Department of State website
at http://www.state.gov/t/isn/isab/.

It would seem the Washington Post coverage of this appointment
was limited to this;
the only in-print item seems to be part of an Al Kamen column.

I don’t know which I find more shocking:

That Condoleezza Rice would appoint someone
who made so many errors, or lies, in the run-up to the Iraq War
pushing for the war immediately after 9/11,
setting up bigoted intel shops in the Pentagon,
both ignoring and putting down General Shinseki’s correct warnings
about the required post-invasion ground force, and
telling a Senate committee that there was no background of internal strife in Iraq)?

Or that the media would ignore such an ignoble appointment?

Truly, once you are selected the Jerusalem Post’s “Man of the Year”
(Wolfowitz made it in 2003),
you are golden in Washington.]


The Architects of War: Where Are They Now?
ThinkProgress.org, 2006 or later


Picking Apart Washington’s Scum
by Paul Gottfried
Taki Magazine, 2010-01-12

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