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Review of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's book on the Israel Lobby: "Iraq, Israel, Iran - Huffington Post

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Default Review of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's book on the Israel Lobby: "Iraq, Israel, Iran - Huffington Post

Author Stephen Walt Takes On 'The Israel Lobby':



From: "Ed Corrigan"

Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2007 21:03:13 -0400
Subject: Review of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's book on the
Israel Lobby: "Iraq, Israel, Iran - Huffington Post, By David Bromwich
Posted September 4, 2007

Here is another review of Mearsheimer and Walt's book on the Israel
lobby. It makes an number of excellent points.

Ed Corrigan


Iraq, Israel, Iran - Huffington Post
David Bromwich Posted September 4, 2007

When John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's article on
the Israel Lobby appeared in the London Review of
Books, after having been commissioned and killed by
the Atlantic Monthly, neoconservative publicists
launched an all-out campaign to slander the authors as
anti-Semites. Now that their book The Israel Lobby and
U.S. Foreign Policy has appeared--a work of
considerable scope, carefully documented, and not just
an expanded version of the article--the imputation of
anti-Semitism will doubtless be repeated more
sparingly for readers lower down the educational
ladder. Meanwhile, the literate establishment press
will (a) ignore it, (b) pretend that it says nothing
new or surprising, and (c) rule out the probable
inferences from the data, on the ground that the very
meaning of the word "lobby" is elusive.

The truth is that many new facts are in this book, and
many surprising facts. By reconstructing a trail of
meetings and public statements in 2001-2002, for
example, the authors show that much of the leadership
of Israel was puzzled at first by the boyish
enthusiasm for a war on Iraq among their
neoconservative allies. Why Iraq? they asked. Why now?
They would appear to have obtained assurances,
however, that once the "regime change" in Iraq was
accomplished, the next war would be against Iran.

A notable pilgrimage followed. One by one they lined
up, Netanyahu, Sharon, Peres, and Barak, writing
op-eds and issuing flaming warnings to convince
Americans that Saddam Hussein was a menace of
world-historical magnitude. Suddenly the message was
that any delay of the president's plan to bomb,
invade, and occupy Iraq would be seized on by "the
terrorists" as a sign of weakness. Regarding the
correct treatment of terrorists, as also regarding the
avoidance of weakness, Americans look to Israelis as
mentors in a class by themselves.

So a war projected years before by Richard Perle and
Paul Wolfowitz--a war secured at last by the fixing of
the facts around the policy at the Office of the Vice
President--was allowed to borrow some prestige at an
intermediate stage by the consent of a few
well-regarded Israeli politicians. Yet their target of
choice had been Iran. They accepted the change of
sequence without outward signs of doubt, possibly
owing to their acquaintance with the Middle East
doctrine espoused by the Weekly Standard and the
American Enterprise Institute--a doctrine which held
that to create a viable order after the fall of Iraq,
regime change in Iran and Syria would have to follow

To sum up this part: the evidence of Mearsheimer and
Walt suggests that Israel was never the prime mover of
the Iraq war. Rather, once the Cheney-Wolfowitz design
was in place, the Israeli ministers who trooped
through American opinion pages and news-talk shows did
what they could to heat up the war fever. This war was
on the cards before they threw in their lot with
Cheney and Bush; by their efforts they merely helped
to confer on the plan an aura of legitimacy and
worldly wisdom.

But now the American war with Iran they originally
wanted is coming closer. Last Tuesday, when the mass
media were crammed to distraction with the behavior of
a senator in an airport washroom, few could be
troubled to notice an important speech by President
Bush. If Iran is allowed to persist in its present
state, the president told the American Legion
convention in Reno, it threatens "to put a region
already known for instability and violence under the
shadow of a nuclear holocaust." He said he had no
intention of allowing that; and so he has "authorized
our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's
murderous activities." Those words come close to
saying not that a war is coming but that it is already
here. No lawmaker who reads them can affect the
slightest shock at any action the president takes
against Iran.

Admittedly, it was a showdown speech, reckless and
belligerent, to a soldier audience; but then, this has
been just the sort of crowd and message that Cheney
and Bush favor when they are about to open a new round
of killings. And in a sense, the Senate had given the
president his cue when it approved, by a vote of 97-0,
the July 11 Lieberman Amendment to Confront Iran. It
is hardly an accident that the president and his
favorite tame senator concurred in their choice of the
word "confront." The pretext for the Lieberman
amendment, as for the president's order, was the
discovery of caches of weapons alleged to belong to
Iran, the capture of Iranian advisers said to be
operating against American troops, and the assertion
that the most deadly IEDs used against Americans are
often traceable to Iranian sources--claims that have
been widely treated in the press as possible, but
suspect and unverified. Still, the vote was 97-0. If
few Americans took notice, the government of Iran
surely did.

That unanimous vote was the latest in a series of
capitulations that has included the apparent end of
resistance by Nancy Pelosi to the next war. After the
election of 2006, the speaker of the house declared
her intention to enact into law a requirement that
this president seek separate authorization for a war
against Iran. On the point of doing so, she addressed
the AIPAC convention, and was booed for criticizing
the escalation of the Iraq war. Pelosi took the hint,
shelved her authorization plan, and went with AIPAC
against the anti-war base of the Democratic party.

This much, one might know without the help of
Mearsheimer and Walt. But without their record, how
many would trace the connection between the removal of
Philip Zelikow as policy counselor of the state
department, at the end of 2006, and a speech Zelikow
had given in September 2006 urging serious negotiation
and a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine? The
ousting of Zelikow was a blessing to the war party,
since it freed them from a skeptical confidant of
Secretary of State Rice--perhaps the only person of
stature anywhere near the administration whom she
treated as an ally and friend. And the meaning of the
change was clear when Zelikow's replacement turned out
to be Eliot Cohen: a neoconservative war scholar and
enthusiast, an early booster of the "surge" on the
pundit shows, and incidentally a shameless slanderer
of Mearsheimer- Walt ("Yes, It's Anti-Semitic, "
Washington Post, April 5, 2006).

From Zelikow to Cohen was only a step on the long path

of humiliation that now stretched before Condoleeza
Rice. When, in March 2007, amid suggestions of a
renewal of diplomacy, she intimated that talks might
be helpful in dealing with the Hamas-Fatah unity
government (whose formation the Arab world had greeted
as offering a promise of peace), she was demolished by
an AIPAC-backed advisory letter bearing the signatures
of 79 senators, which directed her not to speak with a
government that had not yet recognized Israel. From
that moment Rice was effectively neutralized.

The hottest cries for another war have been coming
this summer from Joe Lieberman. He has called for
attacks on Iran, and for attacks on Syria. It is as if
Lieberman, with his appetite for multiple theaters of
conflict, spoke from the congealed memory of all the
wars he never fought. But Joe Lieberman is a
stalking-horse. He would not say these things without
getting permission from Vice President Cheney, a close
and admired friend. Nor would Cheney permit a
high-profile lawmaker whom he partly controls to set
the United States and Israel on so perilous a course
unless he had ascertained its acceptability to Ehud

Yet the chief orchestrater of the second
neoconservative war of aggression is Elliott Abrams.
Convicted for deceptions around Iran-Contra, as Lewis
Libby was convicted for deceptions stemming from
Iraq--and pardoned by the elder Bush just as Libby had
his sentence commuted by the younger--Abrams now
presides over the Middle East desk at the National
Security Council. All of the wildness of this
astonishing functionary and all his reckless love of
subversion will be required to pump up the "imminent
danger" of Iran. For here, as with Iraq, the danger
can only be made to look imminent by manipulation and
forgery. On all sober estimates, Iran is several
months from mastering the nuclear cycle, and several
years from producing a weapon. Whereas Israel for
decades has been in possession of a substantial
nuclear arsenal.

How mad is Elliott Abrams? If one passage cited by
Mearsheimer- Walt is quoted accurately, it would seem
to be the duty of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee to subject Abrams to as exacting a challenge
as the Senate Judiciary Committee brought to Alberto
Gonzales. The man at the Middle East desk of the
National Security Council wrote in 1997 in his book
Faith or Fear: "there can be no doubt that Jews,
faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are
to stand apart from the nation in which they live. It
is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart--except
in Israel--from the rest of the population." When he
wrote those words, Abrams probably did not expect to
serve in another American administration. He certainly
did not expect to occupy a position that would require
him to weigh the national interest of Israel, the
country with which he confessed himself uniquely at
one, alongside the national interest of a country in
which he felt himself to stand "apart...from the rest
of the population." Now that he is calling the shots
against Hamas and Hezbollah, Damascus and Tehran, his
words of 1997 ought to alarm us into reflection.

Among many possible lines of inquiry, the senators
might begin by recognizing that the United States has
other allies in Asia besides Israel. One of those
allies is India; and there is a further point of
resemblance. In a distinct exception to our
anti-proliferation policy, we have allowed India to
develop nuclear weapons; just as, in an earlier such
exception, we allowed Israel to do the same. But
suppose we read tomorrow a statement by the director
of the South Asia desk of the National Security
Council which declared: "There can be no doubt that
Hindus are to stand apart from any nation in which
they live. It is the very nature of being Hindu to be
apart--except in India--from the rest of the
population." Suppose, further, we knew this man still
held these beliefs at a time of maximum tension
between India and Pakistan; and that he had recently
channeled 86 million dollars to regional gangs and
militias bent on increasing the tension. Would we not
conclude that something in our counsels of state had
gone seriously out of joint?

The Mearsheimer- Walt study of American policy deserves
to be widely read and discussed. It could not be more
timely. If the speeches and saber-rattling by the
president, the ambassador to Iraq, and several army
officers mean anything, they mean that Cheney and
Abrams are preparing to do to Iran what Cheney and
Wolfowitz did to Iraq. They are gunning for an
incident. They are working against some resistance
from the armed forces but none from the opposition
party at home. The president has ordered American
troops to confront Iran. Sarkozy has fallen into line,
Brown and Merkel are silent, and outside the United
States only Mohammed ElBaradei of the International
Atomic Energy Agency stands between the war party and
a prefabricated justification for a war that would
extend across a vast subcontinent. Unless some
opposition can rouse itself, we are poised to descend
with non-partisan compliance into a moral and
political disaster that will dwarf anything America
has seen.


Why Bush Can Get Away with Attacking Iran
When Wishful Thinking Replaces Resistance



Many people in the antiwar movement try to reassure themselves: Bush
cannot possibly attack Iran. He does not have the means to do so, or,
perhaps, even he is not foolish enough to engage in such an
enterprise. Various particular reasons are put forward, such as: If he
attacks, the Shiites in Iraq will cut the US supply lines. If he
attacks, the Iranians will block the Straits of Ormuz or will unleash
dormant terrorist networks worldwide. Russia won't allow such an
attack. China won't allow it -- they will dump the dollar. The Arab
world will explode.
All this is doubtful. The Shiites in Iraq are not simply obedient to
Iran. If they don't rise against the United States when their own
country is occupied (or if don't rise very systematically), they are
not likely to rise against the US if a neighboring country is
attacked. As for blocking the Straits or unleashing terrorism, this
will just be another justification for more bombing of Iran. After
all, a main casus belli against Iran is, incredibly, that it
supposedly helps the resistance against U.S. troops in Iraq, as if
those troops were at home there. If that can work as an argument for
bombing Iran, then any counter-measure that Iran might take will
simply "justify" more bombing, possibly nuclear. Iran is strong in the
sense that it cannot be invaded, but there is little it can do against
long range bombing, accompanied by nuclear threats.
Russia will escalate its military buildup (which now lags far behind
the U.S. one), but it can't do anything else, and Washington will be
only too glad to use the Russian reaction as an argument for boosting
its own military forces. China is solely concerned with its own
development and won't drop the dollar for non-economic reasons. Most
Arab governments, if not their populations, will look favorably on
seeing the Iranian shiite leadership humiliated. Those governments
have sufficient police forces to control any popular opposition--
after all, that is what they managed to do after the attack on Iraq.
With the replacement of Chirac by Sarkozy, and the near-complete
elimination of what was left of the Gaullists (basically through
lawsuits on rather trivial matters), France has been changed from the
most independent European country to the most poodlish (this was in
fact the main issue in the recent presidential election, but it was
never even mentioned during the campaign). In France, moreover, the
secular "left" is, in the main, gung-ho against Iran for the usual
reasons (women, religion). There will be no large-scale demonstrations
in France either before or after the bombing. And, without French
support, Germany--where the war is probably very unpopular -- can
always be silenced with memories of the Holocaust, so that no
significant opposition to the war will come from Europe (except
possibly from its Muslim population, which will be one more argument
to prove that they are "backward", "extremist", and enemies of our
"democratic civilization").
All the ideological signposts for attacking Iran are in place. The
country has been thoroughly demonized because it is not nice to women,
to gays, or to Jews. That in itself is enough to neutralize a large
part of the American "left". The issue of course is not whether Iran
is nice or not *according to our views -- but whether there is any
legal reason to attack it, and there is none; but the dominant
ideology of human rights has legitimized, specially in the left, the
right of intervention on humanitarian grounds anywhere, at any time,
and that ideology has succeeded in totally sidetracking the minor
issue of international law.
Israel and its fanatical American supporters want Iran attacked for
its political crimes--supporting the rights of the Palestinians, or
questioning the Holocaust. Both U.S. political parties are equally
under the control of the Israel lobby, and so are the media. The
antiwar movement is far too preoccupied with the security of Israel to
seriously defend Iran and it won't attack the real architects of this
coming war--the Zionists-- for fear of "provoking antisemitism".
Blaming Big Oil for the Iraq war was quite debatable, but, in the case
of Iran, since the country is about to be bombed but not invaded,
there is no reason whatsoever to think that Big Oil wants the war, as
opposed to the Zionists. In fact, Big Oil is probably very much
opposed to the war, but it is as unable to stop it as the rest of us.
As far as Israel is concerned, the United States is a de facto
totalitarian society--no articulate opposition is acceptable. The U.S.
Congress passes one pro-Israel or anti-Iran resolution after another
with "Stalinist" majorities. The population does not seem to care. But
if they did, but what could they do? Vote? The electoral system is
extremely biased against the emergence of a third party and the two
big parties are equally under Zionist influence.
The only thing that might stop the war would be for Americans
themselves to threaten their own government with massive civil
disobedience. But that is not going to happen. A large part of the
academic left long ago gave up informing the general public about the
real world in order to debate whether Capital is a Signifier or a
Signified, or worry about their Bodies and their Selves, while
preachers tell their flocks to rejoice at each new sign that the end
of the world is nigh. Children in Iran won't sleep at night, but the
liberal American intelligentsia will lecture the ROW (rest of the
world) about Human Rights. In fact, the prevalence of the "reassuring
arguments" cited above proves that the antiwar movement is clinically
dead. If it weren't, it would rely on its own forces to stop war, not
speculate on how others might do the job.
Meanwhile, an enormous amount of hatred will have been spewed upon the
world. But in the short term, it may look like a big Western
"victory", just like the creation of Israel in 1948; just like the
overthrow of Mossadegh by the CIA in 1953; just like the annexation of
Alsace-Lorraine seemed to be a big German victory after the French
defeat at Sedan in 1870. The Bush administration will long be gone
when the disastrous consequences of that war will be felt.
PS: This text is not meant to be a prophecy, but a call to (urgent)
action. I'll be more than happy if facts prove me wrong.
Jean Bricmont teaches physics in Belgium and is a member of the
Brussels Tribunal. His new book, Humanitarian Imperialism, is
published by Monthly Review Press. He can be reached at


The author is Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, who was
the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. He spent seven
years in the Middle East and reported frequently from Iran. His latest
book is "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on

The Next Quagmire
By Chris Hedges
Monday 03 September 2007
The most effective diplomats, like the most effective intelligence
officers and foreign correspondents, possess empathy. They have the
intellectual, cultural and linguistic literacy to get inside the heads
of those they must analyze or cover. They know the vast array of
historical, religious, economic and cultural antecedents that go into
making up decisions and reactions. And because of this - endowed with
the ability to communicate and more able to find ways of resolving
conflicts through diplomacy - they are less prone to blunders.
But we live in an age where dialogue is dismissed and empathy is
suspect. We prefer the illusion that we can dictate events through
force. It hasn't worked well in Iraq. It hasn't worked well in
Afghanistan. And it won't work in Iran. But those who once tried to
reach out and understand, who developed expertise to explain the world
to us and ourselves to the world, no longer have a voice in the new
imperial project. We are instead governed and informed by moral and
intellectual trolls.
To make rational decisions in international relations we must perceive
how others see us. We must grasp how they think about us and be
sensitive to their fears and insecurities. But this is becoming hard
to accomplish. Our embassies are packed with analysts whose main
attribute is long service in the armed forces and who frequently
report to intelligence agencies rather than the State Department. Our
area specialists in the State Department are ignored by the ideologues
driving foreign policy. Their complex view of the world is an
inconvenience. And foreign correspondents are an endangered species,
along with foreign coverage.
We speak to the rest of the globe in the language of violence. The
proposed multibillion- dollar arms supply package for the Persian Gulf
countries is the newest form of weapons-systems- as-message. U.S.
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns was rather blunt about the
deal. He told the International Herald Tribune that the arms package
"says to the Iranians and Syrians that the United States is the major
power in the Middle East and will continue to be and is not going
The arrogant call for U.S. hegemony over the rest of the globe is
making enemies of a lot of people who might be predisposed to support
us, even in the Middle East. And it is terrifying those, such as the
Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians, whom we have demonized. Empathy and
knowledge, the qualities that make real communication possible, have
been discarded. We use tough talk and big weapons deals to
communicate. We spread fear, distrust and violence. And we expect
missile systems to protect us.
"Imagine an Iranian government that was powerful, radical, and in
possession of nuclear weapons; imagine the threat that would pose to
Israel and to the American-led balance of power, which has been so
important in the Middle East since the close of the Second World War,"
Burns said in a speech at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in
Boston last April 11. "That is our first challenge."
"Our second challenge is that Iran continues to be the central banker
of Middle East terrorism," he went on. "It is the leading funder and
director of Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine general command. Third,
Iran is in our judgment a major violator of the human rights of its
own people; it denies religious, political, and press rights to the
people of a very great country representing a very great civilization.
And so we see a problem that is going to be with us for a long time,
and we are trying to fashion a strategy that will work for the long
George W. Bush's latest salvo, on Aug. 28, was more of the same.
"Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear
weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and
violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust," he said. Bush
warned that the United States and its allies would confront Iran
"before it is too late."
These kinds of words, pouring out of the administration, send a clear
message to any Iranian: You are in trouble. Bend to our will or we
destroy you. These were the same words, with a few minor changes, that
the Bush administration delivered to Saddam Hussein, who, despite
numerous compromises, including letting the U.N. inspectors back into
his country, was overthrown and put to death during a U.S.
And the Iranians know that without the bomb, which no intelligence
agency thinks they can produce for a few years, they are now probably
going to be attacked.
The Pentagon has reportedly drawn up plans for a series of airstrikes
against 1,200 targets in Iran. The air attacks are designed to cripple
the Iranians' military capability in three days. The Bushehr nuclear
power plant, along with targets in Saghand and Yazd, the uranium
enrichment facility in Natanz, a heavy-water plant and radioisotope
facility in Arak, the Ardekan Nuclear Fuel Unit, and the uranium
conversion facility and nuclear technology center in Isfahan, will all
probably be struck by the United States and perhaps even Israeli
warplanes. The Tehran Nuclear Research Center, the Tehran molybdenum,
iodine and xenon radioisotope production facility, the Tehran Jabr Ibn
Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories, and the Kalaye Electric Co. in the
Tehran suburbs will also most likely come under attack.
But then what? We don't have the troops to invade. And we don't have
anyone minding the helm who knows the slightest thing about Persian
culture or the Middle East. There is no one in power in Washington
with the empathy to get it. We will lurch blindly into a catastrophe
of our own creation.
It is not hard to imagine what will happen. Iranian Shabab-3 and
Shabab-4 missiles, which cannot reach the United States, will be
launched at Israel, as well as American military bases and the Green
Zone in Baghdad. Expect massive American casualties, especially in
Iraq, where Iranian agents and their Iraqi allies will be able to call
in precise coordinates. The Strait of Hormuz, which is the corridor
for 20 percent of the world's oil supply, will be shut down. Chinese-
supplied C-801 and C-802 anti-shipping missiles, mines and coastal
artillery will target U.S. shipping, along with Saudi oil production
and oil export centers. Oil prices will skyrocket to well over $4 a
gallon. The dollar will tumble against the euro. Hezbollah forces in
southern Lebanon, interpreting the war as an attack on all Shiites,
will fire rockets into northern Israel. Israel, already struck by
missiles from Tehran, will begin retaliatory raids on Lebanon and
Iran. Pakistan, with a huge Shiite minority, will reach greater levels
of instability. The unrest could result in the overthrow of the
weakened American ally President Pervez Musharraf and usher into power
Islamic radicals. Pakistan could become the first radical Islamic
state to possess a nuclear weapon. The neat little war with Iran,
which few Democrats oppose, has the potential to ignite a regional
We have rendered the nation deaf and dumb. We no longer have the
capacity for empathy. We prefer to amuse ourselves with trivia and
gossip that pass for news rather than understand. We are blinded by
our military prowess. We believe that huge explosions and death are an
effective form of communication. And the rest of the world is learning
to speak our language.


Former Israeli officer directing key U.S. Air Force office

Checkmate's Dr. Lani Kass is heading a new office directing operations
across the entire electro-magnetic spectrum. It seemed rather odd that
Kass, a former Israeli military officer, now holds a key Air Force
position, particularly after repeated concerns over her nation's
intelligence operations to acquire US national security secrets.

August 27, 2007
Eric Margolis

WASHINGTON DC - I was invited last week to the Pentagon to brief the
US Air Force's Strategic studies group - known as `Checkmate' - on the
Mideast and Southwest Asia.

The last time I was in the Pentagon was during my army service in
1968, when I participated in command briefings for the Chiefs of
Staff. For this edifice's 23,000 military and civilian personnel the
Chiefs are like Valhalla's gods. In the Pentagon's 17 miles of
corridors, I half expected to see some lost WWII officers still
looking for an exit.

`Checkmate,' planner of the crushing 1991 US air campaign against
Iraq, is an interesting outfit. Recently updated, its brainy
commander, Brig Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem, reports directly to the Air
Force Chief of Staff, four-star general Michael Moseley, who sits on
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and advises the president.

`Stutz,' as he is known, is likely destined for senior command. He and
his staff of majors and colonels are highly educated, smart, and have
open, seeking minds that are often too rare in the stultified,
bureaucratic military.

The US Air Force has always been the most progressive, forward-
thinking of the services. Among `Checkmate's' jobs are innovative
strategy, thinking ahead, and evaluating different strategic
viewpoints. The last point is important, because all militaries tend
to become victims of group-think. The forward-thinking US Air Force is
trying to breathe fresh air into the often stale confines of the

I presented my views on developments in the Arab World, Iran, Pakistan
and Afghanistan in an off the record seminar to a group of officers
who were clearly up to date on the subject matter. They knew the
Muslim World was headed for serious change and were clearly seeking
answers on how to deal with the political and demographic earthquakes
that are coming.

The USAF recently added cyberspace to its missions. Checkmate's Dr.
Lani Kass is heading a new office directing operations across the
entire electro-magnetic spectrum. It seemed rather odd that Kass, a
former Israeli military officer, now holds a key Air Force position,
particularly after repeated concerns over her nation's intelligence
operations to acquire US national security secrets.

Kass and `Stutz' also spend a lot of time trying to implement Gen.
Moseley's campaign to renew the `warrior spirit' in the Air Force's
specialized `target and equipment-fixated' officers.

This is the curse of specialized high technology. I saw the same
phenomena during my own military service in the Vietnam era. Senior US
Army officers had become so specialized in technical fields that they
had never learned the basics of war: military history, strategy,
tactics. So I organized and taught seminars for colonels and generals
on just these topics. `Now general,' lectured 26-year old me, `let me
explain how a pincer attack works.'

The USAF is fizzing with new ideas, but it is also not happy. The US
Army and Marines are getting most of America's sympathy and support
for their role in Iraq. The Air Force, without which these wars could
not be waged, and which provides decisive, 24/7 top cover for the
troops with almost instant response, gets far too little credit. In
fact, its decisive role is barely seen except when the rare aircraft
crashes or is shot down by enemy ground fire.

Ironically, the USAF is a victim of its own success. No US ground
troops have been attacked by enemy aircraft since 1953. The USAF has
no enemies because it has shot them all down.

America's air force fights so efficiently and seemingly effortlessly
that neither the US Congress nor public understand the enormous
logistic, manpower, financial and technological efforts required to
keep it dominating the globe's skies, space, and cyberspace.

The over-stretched USAF has been in non-stop combat for the past 17
years. Its aircraft are getting dangerously old. B-52 heavy bombers
are now in their 50's. One B-52 pilot I met, knick- named `Boomer,'
must have been near half his bomber's age. Many tanker aircraft date
to 1957. Many fighter aircraft are 24-years old. Non-stop operations
over Iraq and Afghanistan are rapidly wearing out aircraft and men.

Meanwhile, war against Iran is looming. Interestingly, a senior
Pentagon source insisted `the decision to attack Iran has not been
made;' and an attack is `unlikely.' But many signs suggest the

Official Washington is often accused of not knowing what's going on
abroad. But there are many smart people in the Pentagon, CIA and State
who do know. The problem - and tragedy - is their masters in the White
House and Congress are just not listening.



From The Sunday Times

September 2, 2007

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy

By John J Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt
Reviewed by Max Hastings
Five years ago, Atlantic Monthly commissioned two academics, John
Mearsheimer of Chicago University and Stephen Walt of Harvard, to
write a significant article about the influence of the Israeli lobby
on American foreign policy. When the piece was at last completed, the
magazine declined to publish, deeming it too hot for delicate American
palates. It eventually appeared in 2005, in the London Review of
Books, provoking one of the most bitter media and academic rows of
recent times. The authors were accused of antisemitism, and attacked
with stunning venom by some prominent US commentators. Mearsheimer and
Walt obviously like a fight, however, for they have now expanded their
thesis into a book.
Its argument is readily summarised. The authors support Israel's right
to exist. But they are dismayed by America's unconditional support for
its governments' policies, including vast sums of cash aid for which
there is no plausible accounting process. They reject the view
articulated as a mantra by all modern American presidents (and 2008
presidential candidates) that Israel and America share common values,
and their national interests march hand in hand.
On the contrary, say the authors, America's backing for Israel does
grave damage to its own foreign-policy interests. And many Israeli
government actions, including the expansion of West Bank settlements
and the invasion of Lebanon, reflect repressive policies that do not
deserve Washington's endorsement: "While there is no question that the
Jews were victims in Europe, they were often the victimisers, not the
victims, in the Middle East, and their main victims were and continue
to be the Palestinians."
The authors argue that American policy towards Israel is decisively
They quote the experience of a Senate candidate who was invited to
visit AIPAC early in his campaign for "discussions". Harry Lonsdale
described what followed as "an experience I will never forget. It
wasn't enough that I was pro-Israel. I was given a list of vital
topics and quizzed (read grilled) for my specific opinion on each.
Actually, I was told what my opinion must be . . . Shortly after
that . . . I was sent a list of American supporters of Israel . . .
that I was free to call for campaign contributions. I called; they
gave from Florida to Alaska".
When congresswoman Betty McCollum, a liberal with a solid pro-Israel
voting record, opposed the AIPAC-backed Palestinian AntiTerrorism Act,
which was also opposed by the state department, an AIPAC lobbyist told
McCollum's chief-of-staff that her "support for terrorists will not be
tolerated". Former president Jimmy Carter incurred not merely
criticism but vilification when he published a book entitled Palestine
Peace Not Apartheid, likening Israel's policy towards the Palestinians
to that of the old white regime in South Africa towards its black
Whatever view Europeans take of Israel, most find it difficult to
comprehend the sheer ferocity of American sentiment. Ian Buruma wrote
an article for The New York Times entitled How to Talk About Israel.
He said how difficult it is to have an honest debate, and remarked
that "even legitimate criticism of Israel, or of Zionism, is often
quickly denounced as antiSemitism by various watchdogs".
Such remarks brought down a storm on his head. The editor of The
Jerusalem Post, also a columnist for The Wall Street Journal,
published an open letter to Buruma that began: "Are you a Jew?" He
argued that nonJews should discuss these issues only in terms
acceptable to Jews.
The American media, claim the authors, even such mighty organs as The
New York Times and The Washington Post, do less than justice to the
Palestinians, much more than justice to the Israelis. Robert Bartley,
a former editor of The Wall Street Journal, once said: "Shamir,
Sharon, Bibi - whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me."
There is no American counterpart to such notably Arabist British
polemicists as Robert Fisk.
Mearsheimer and Walt's book argues its points at such ponderous length
that it makes pretty leaden reading. But it is extraordinary that, in
a free society, the legitimacy of the expression of their opinions
should be called into question. "We show," say the authors, "that
although Israel may have been an asset during the cold war it is
increasingly a strategic liability now that the cold war is over.
Backing Israel so strongly helps fuel America's terrorism problem and
makes it harder for the United States to address the other problems it
faces in the Middle East."
Americans ring-fence Israel from the normal sceptical proc-esses of
democracy, while arguments for the Palestinians are often denounced as
pernicious as well as antisemitic. All the 2008 presidential
candidates, say Mearsheimer and Walt, know that their campaign would
be dead in the water if they hinted that Israel would receive less
than 100% backing if they win. They note that many Israelis are much
bolder in attacking their own governments than any American politician
would dare to be.
Part of the trouble is that AIPAC faces no significant opposition.
Palestinians, and indeed all Arabs, command negligible sympathy in
America, especially since 9/11. The authors think that the most
helpful step towards diminishing the Israel lobby's grip would be for
election campaigns to be publicly financed, ending candidates'
dependence on private contributions: "AIPAC's success is due in large
part to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates
who support its agenda, and to punish those who do not."
But the authors know reform will not happen. The Israel lobby is
vastly strengthened by the support of America's Christian Zionists, an
important element of George W Bush's constituency. Some may think
these people are lunatics, but there are an awful lot of them. They
are even more strident in their opposition to Arab rights in Palestine
than the Israeli Likud party.
Mearsheimer and Walt conclude, weakly but inevitably, with a mere plea
for more open debate in the US about Israel. "Because most Americans
are only dimly aware of the crimes committed against the
Palestinians," they say, "they see their continued resistance as an
irrational desire for vengeance. Or as evidence of unwarranted hatred
of Jews akin to the antisemitism that was endemic in old Europe.
"Although we deplore the Palestinians' reliance on terrorism and are
well aware of their own contribution to prolonging the conflict, we
believe their grievances are genuine and must be addressed. We also
believe that most Americans would support a different approach . . .
if they had a more accurate understanding of past events and present
For Europeans, all this adds up to a bleak picture. Only America might
be capable of inducing the government of Israel to moderate its
behaviour, and it will not try. Washington gives Jerusalem a blank
cheque, and all of us in some degree pay a price for Israel's abuses
of it.
After that remark, I shall be pleasantly surprised to escape an
allegation from somebody that I belong in the same stable of
antisemites as Walt and Mearsheimer. Yet otherwise intelligent
Americans diminish themselves by hurling charges of antisemitism with
such recklessness. There will be no peace in the Middle East until the
United States faces its responsibilities there in a much more
convincing fashion than it does today, partly for reasons given in
this depressing book.
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John J Mearsheimer and
Stephen M Walt
Allen Lane 25 pp496
Buy the book here at the offer price of 22.50 (inc p&p)


Just saw the following posted at www.whatreallyhappened.com

New book challenges US support for Israel

NEW YORK: An upcoming book challenging whether diplomatic and military
support for Israel is in the best interests of the United States is
set to spark fresh debate on Washington's role in the Middle East.

"The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy," written by two of the United
States' most influential political science professors, is set to hit
the bookshelves next Tuesday and promises to break the taboo on the
subject. Written by John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago
and Stephen Walt from Harvard, the book follows an article they
published last year that stirred impassioned debate by setting out a
similar position.

Their thesis is that US endorsement of Israel is not fully explained
by strategic or moral reasons, but by the pressure exerted by Jewish
lobbyists, Christian fundamentalists and neo-conservatives with
Zionist sympathies.

The result, according to the book, is an unbalanced US foreign policy
in the Middle East, the US invasion of Iraq, the threat of war with
Iran or Syria and a fragile security situation for the entire Western
world. "Israel is not the strategic asset to the United States that
many claim. Israel may have been a strategic asset during the Cold
War, but it has become a growing liability now that the Cold War is
over," the authors said.

"Unconditional support for Israel has reinforced anti-Americanism
around the world, helped fuel America's terrorism problem, and
strained relations with other key allies in Europe, the Middle East,
and Asia," they added.

According to the two writers, "backing Israel's harsh treatment of the
Palestinians has reinforced Anti-Americanism around the world and
almost certainly helped terrorists recruit new followers."

Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, described the
book as "an insidious, biased account of the Arab-Israeli conflict and
of the role of supporters of Israel in the US," in an interview with

"Everything about American policy toward the conflict is presented in
exaggerated form, as if America is completely one-sided in support of
Israel and that those policies are simply the product of the Israel
lobby." He is countering Mearsheimer and Walt's book with his own
title: "The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish
Control," due out on the same day.

Mearsheimer and Walt highlight the three billion dollars in US
economic and military aid that Israel receives every year - more than
any other country. They also point to Washington's diplomatic support:
between 1972 and 2006, the United States vetoed 42 United Nations
Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel, while
watering down many others under threat of veto. Foxman counters that
the special relationship works both ways and that the United States
has gained much out of its ally.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs canceled a public debate on the
issue planned for September and featuring Mearsheimer and Walt when
they were unable to schedule a time that Foxman could also manage.

In the conclusion of their book, Mearsheimer and Walt say that the
United States must change its policy towards Israel. "The United
States would be a better ally if its leaders could make support for
Israel more conditional and if they could give their Israeli
counterparts more candid advice without facing a backlash from the
Israel lobby." With just over a year until the 2008 US presidential
election, however, they said the issue was unlikely to even enter the
debate. afp


Walt & Mearsheimer's Proof That 'Tail Wagged the Dog' Points American
Jews to a Universalist Ethos:



The Lobby Strikes
Posted by Justin Raimondo on August 27, 2007
The publication of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, a book-
length version of the now-famous essay by John Mearsheimer and Stephen
Walt, is-naturally!-an occasion for the Lobby to go into high gear,
and the intimidation tactics are already well along. Mearsheimer and
Walt were invited by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to speak
before the group, but the event was cancelled by the group's
president, Marshall Bouton, who gave out the party line that the two
could not be permitted to speak without a "balancing" point of view by
none other than Abe "What Armenian Genocide?" Foxman. That's the
Lobby's "argument"-that Mearsheimer and Walt's thesis is so "toxic"
that it cannot be allowed to stand alone, without a "corrective"
offered by the Anti-Defamation League or some other outfit associated
with the Thought Police.
This just goes to confirm the authors' thesis, expressed in their
London Review of Books piece:
"The Lobby pursues two broad strategies. First, it wields its
significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the
executive branch. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker's own
views may be, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the 'smart'
choice. Second, it strives to ensure that public discourse portrays
Israel in a positive light, by repeating myths about its founding and
by promoting its point of view in policy debates. The goal is to
prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political
arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing US support,
because a candid discussion of US-Israeli relations might lead
Americans to favour a different policy."
Article URL: http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/the_lobby_strikes/

The above was linked in the following article by Justin Raimondo:

War with Iran Its Already Started:


Showdown Over Iran:



Additional on Mearsheimer/Walt:



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