Summary of Neocon Mistakes
We await the return of the Gorilla
Random Notes on The Lobby
"We see a once liberal warrior seduced by the promise of power and order, and fed up with the bumbling bureaucrats in the Galactic Senate – to paraphrase Irving Kristol, a Sith lord is a Jedi mugged by reality."
If past has been prologue in viewing Star Wars as a prophetic guide to the neocon advent, we can see frightening premonitions of what lies ahead. At the very beginning of Revenge of the Sith, we see the unrestrained ideological ruthlessness with which the Sith turn against the Trade Federation that was so crucial to their advancement in the previous Attack of the Clones. This could turn out to be a perfect allegory for the old ideologues crushing their "free-market conservative" allies when advancing the revolution calls for it.
The more solid analogy, however, lies in the parallel between Palpatine's purge of the Jedi and the Bush/neocon purge of the CIA and career military [Like Karen K]. Like the CIA, the Jedi were an institution that perfectly illustrated what was deeply flawed about the system they represented, but in the end were an independent source of power that had to be eliminated.
"It is the sense of Congress that the president should—
(1) develop a plan as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act to provide for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq; and
(2) transmit to the congressional defense committees a report that contains the plan described in paragraph (1)."
[T]he amendment failed—by a vote of 300 to 128 with 5 not voting. Because Rep. Woolsey insisted on a roll call vote we now know who needs to be convinced. There were some disappointing votes including the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, as well as members generally seen as liberals, including Rep. Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Sanchez (D-CA) and Rep. Udall (D-CO). Five Republicans voted for the amendment, most notably Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) who is well known for insisting that the french fries sold in the Capitol be re-named "Freedom Fries."
Perhaps the most important speech in favor of an exit strategy came from Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). [...]" . . . all this amendment does is just say that it is time for the Congress to meet its responsibility. The responsibility of Congress is to make decisions whether we should send our men and women to war or not send them to war. What we are saying here tonight is we think it is time for the Congress to begin, to start the debate and discussion of what the exit strategy is of this government . ."
[LA Weekly:]There you were, a career military officer, a Pentagon analyst, a conservative who had given two decades to this work. What provoked you to become first a covert and later a public dissident?
[KK]Like most people, I’ve always thought there should be honesty in government. Working 20 years in the military, I’m sure I saw some things that were less than honest or accountable. But nothing to the degree that I saw when I joined Near East South Asia.
This was creatively produced propaganda spread not only through the Pentagon, but across a network of policymakers — the State Department, with John Bolton; the Vice President’s Office, the very close relationship the OSP had with that office. That is not normal, that is a bypassing of normal processes. Then there was the National Security Council, with certain people who had neoconservative views; Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff; a network of think tanks who advocated neoconservative views — the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy with Frank Gaffney, the columnist Charles Krauthammer — was very reliable. So there was just not a process inside the Pentagon that should have developed good honest policy, but it was instead pushing a particular agenda; this group worked in a coordinated manner, across media and parts of the government, with their neoconservative compadres.
It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to "freedom fries" has turned against the war.
Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification".
Now Mr Jones appears to agree. Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."
Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".
"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."
The US military cannot defeat the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement any time soon for so many reasons that they cannot all be listed.
The guerrillas have widespread popular support in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, an area with some 4 million persons. [...]
The guerrillas are mainly Iraqi Sunnis with an intelligence or military background, who know where secret weapons depots are containing some 250,000 tons of missing munitions, and who know how to use military strategy and tactics to good effect. They are well-funded and can easily get further funding from Gulf millionnaires any time they like.
The Iraqi guerrillas are given tactical support by foreign jihadi fighters. [...]
There are simply too few US troops to fight the guerrillas. [...]
The guerillas have enormous advantages, of knowing the local clans and terrain and urban quarters, of knowing Arabic, and of being local Muslims who are sympathetic figures for other Muslims. American audiences often forget that the US troops in Iraq are mostly clueless about what is going on around them, and do not have the knowledge base or skills to conduct effective counter-insurgency.
But with all this, the power of AIPAC is still quite real and will be in evidence this week. Part of this power rests in the assumption that the group speaks for all American Jews (which it does not) and the carefully cultivated perception that the lobby can influence (indirectly, they maintain) substantial sums of campaign contributions to defeat those who oppose their positions or to assist those who embrace their agenda.
The recent defeat in the 2002 Congressional elections of Representatives Earl Hilliard (Alabama) and Cynthia McKinney (Georgia) are pointed to as evidence of this power. But, here, too, the picture is less than clear. After all, McKinney returned this year and won back her old House seat and a Virginia Congressman, James Moran, targeted for defeat by a well-funded opponent, won reelection.
According to a report by Eli Lake, while AIPAC is still paying the legal fees of Rosen and Weissman, they fired them on the advice of AIPAC's legal counsel, Nathan Lewin, when he discovered what the FBI had on their two erstwhile employees:
"The charges against Messrs. Rosen and Weissman, which have yet to be made publicly, were so secret that Mr. Lewin needed security clearance just to hear them."
That doesn't sound as if Rosen and Weissman were merely trying to sound the alarm that Israeli lives were in imminent danger. Apparently Paul McNulty of the Eastern district of Virginia and his fellow prosecutors do indeed have more evidence in this case than the sharing of a few policy papers and the passing on of a few tidbits of lifesaving intelligence to the Israelis. The crime of the AIPAC spies involves stealing secrets so highly classified that to even describe what they did involves a major breach of our national security. What more do we need to know?
A former Pentagon analyst, already accused of illegally disclosing military secrets, will be charged as early as Tuesday with illegally keeping classified documents at his home in West Virginia, his lawyer said on Monday.
But after half an hour of this, Harman could not keep up. Perle provoked cheers from the crowd when he favored a military raid on Iran, saying that "if Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon, I think we will have no choice but to take decisive action." When Harman said the "best short-term option" is the U.N. Security Council, the crowd reacted with boos.
The audience member, who described herself as a Syrian lawyer, said Syria is a tolerant country with a large Christian population. The country has become a safe haven for Iraqi’s fleeing a grinding guerrilla war, especially Christians escaping anti-Christian violence that has wracked Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion.
The Syrian woman said the US sanctions were a rash escalation of a dispute that had not seen sufficient diplomacy. She said the Syrian people were suffering as a result. “In any policy there is carrot and stick,” the woman said. “But between the United States and Syria there is only the stick.”
In the "nuclear power plant" room, dominated by a replica fuel rod with blue lights sparking on and off and coloured tubes, voiceovers from different rooms start to overlap. There is a steady echo of the phrases "make an atomic bomb," "uranium enrichment" and "the threat is real". [Emphasis added]
The penultimate room asks: "When will Iran get the bomb?" The display says: "Iran is known to have carried out experiments with a substance called polonium whose only purpose is to trigger and intensify nuclear explosions."  With a range of 1,200 miles, AIPAC warns that 250,000 US servicemen are "directly within range of Iranian missiles". [Who were placed their by AIPAC and their friends.]
AIPAC's display ends with a sombre caution. "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Iran already has the means to deliver them. The world can still act. The threat is real. The clock is ticking."
I was struck at the jampacked AIPAC policy Iran presentation today how much the outlyer position of democratic revolution being the solution to US concerns about a nuclear Iran has become a mainstream position, advocated by all on the panel today. Interesting and brilliant work by the idea's policy entrepreneuers to move this front and center, whether you agree it can be realized on a speedy timeframe or not.[Emphasis Added]
Visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas received the pledge from Chinese leaders to provide economic aid health care and housing by the signing of five bilateral agreements yesterday in Beijing.
President Hu said the Chinese Government and its people supports the "just cause" of Palestinians, saying the way to establish an independent Palestinian state is to conduct political negotiations on UN resolutions, and resume the Road Map peace plan.
The first [lesson] is that some political leaders and movements, like Hitler and his National Socialists, are so evil that to try to understand them or deal with them is futile and morally contemptible. Essentially, every time we hear the term "appeasement" — Rush Limbaugh said yesterday morning that Europe is "appeasing Iran" — we connect to this.
''In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship,'' Lucas told a news conference at Cannes, where his final episode had its world premiere.
''On the personal level it was how does a good person turn into a bad person, and part of the observation of that is that most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons,'' he added.
In other words, it is not George Lucas' fault that George W. Bush is acting just like the evil Sith Lords of the story, destroying forever what was once a limited republic in the name of protecting it. Perhaps Bush is a Star Wars fan, and truly believing that power denied is power wasted, he is deliberately following the example of the Sith.
Throughout the many years of his quest, Jones has been in close contact and under the tutelage of numerous Rabbis and Kabbalists. Extremely knowledgeable in Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah sources dealing with Holy Temple issues, Jones has now received permission from both known and secret Kabbalists to finally uncover the lost ark.
Dr. Jones, wearing an orange anti-disengagement bracelet, dismisses the current Israeli government's plan to uproot the Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria from their homes. "There will not be any disengagement, nor will there be any Palestinian State,” he says.
Bush’s key March 17 address, in printed form (available at www.whitehouse.gov), runs 27 paragraphs. For those keeping score at home, exactly 18 of those paragraphs mention or emphasize the WMD threat. Five raise the “freedom” issue.
And the WMD warnings receive much higher priority; Bush does not “bury the lead.” The first four paragraphs discuss nothing but WMDs, in 10 separate sentences. Only after that, in one short paragraph, does Bush mention that Saddam’s regime “has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East” and has “deep hatred” of America. He then linked Saddam to al-Qaeda, another charge now widely discredited.
Then it was back to WMDs for eight more paragraphs, before mentioning a “new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”
"Republicans are hoping to shame Democrats into a quick vote on Mr. Bolton. They argue that he needs to be in place by June so that the United States will have the latitude it needs to press its concerns about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program before the Security Council."
Why the big rush? My reliable sources tell me it is because there is a timetable that makes it urgent for Bolton to be ready for action in June in order to cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of the plan to bomb the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr. That's because Bushehr, under construction with Russian supervision, will soon be ready to receive the Russian fissionable material enabling it to produce power.
I have immersed myself in the Suez crisis — such being the above — through reading the remarkable 1955-56 correspondence between Anthony Eden and Dwight Eisenhower [...]
Eden pleads with Eisenhower to understand the threat represented by the Egyptian, Abdel Nasser, who has just nationalised the Anglo-French Suez Canal Company (albeit with compensation). To Eden Nasser is Saddam and al-Qaeda in one, “active wherever Muslims can be found . . . from the Persian Gulf to Nigeria”.
[Edan claims that] Nasser is out to dominate the region, unseat friendly sheikhs and threaten Israel “to the point where the whole position in the Middle East will be lost beyond recall”. Nasser is the “greatest hazard facing the Free World since 1940”.
Eisenhower is incredulous. [Eisenhower] chides Eden for grossly overstating Egypt’s importance. War is not acceptable just “to protect national or individual investors”. There can be no question of the “legal rights of sovereign nations being ruthlessly flouted”. Nasser was not threatening oil supplies or ships in the canal. Britain’s sabre-rattling was rallying support for him across the Middle East, which was far more destabilising. Eden, in other words, was behaving like an old imperialist out to prove his virility. As for Eden’s constant references to Hitler and appeasement, Eisenhower clearly felt they insulted his intelligence.
In Feith's fevered, confused mind, war on Iraq---a Third World country that never attacked the U.S.---is the moral equivalent to the U.S.'s response to Pearl Harbor, to resistance to Nazism. It's an "answer to the Holocaust," in which for all I know he may genuinely feel that Iraqis were somehow deeply implicated. What should it matter to such a mind that 1600 Americans and up to 100,000 Iraqis have died in a war based on lies---lies that he himself as a main operative of the (still not investigated) "Office of Special Plans" systematically collected and foisted on the public to justify?
Individual neocons themselves have conceded, with the smug casualness of those who think they're immune from judgment, that this was the case. Paul Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair in May 2003 that, "For bureaucratic reasons [the administration] settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction," as the justification for war on Iraq, "because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."
Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the Iraq war in mid-2002.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say this. I have met with Mr. Bolton on two occasions, spent almost two hours with him. I like Mr. Bolton. I think he's a decent man. Our conversations have been candid and cordial. But, Mr. Chairman, I really don't believe he's the best man that we can send to the United Nations.
According to Jacobs, a former State Department official with broad contacts in Washington's bureaucracy, the notion that American Jews and Pentagon neoconservatives conspired to push the United States into war against Iraq, and possibly also against Iran, is pervasive in Washington's intelligence community. "I strongly believe that this is what's behind the investigation," Jacobs said.
"I think that all of us in the Jewish community in general mess up a lot when it comes to Israel advocacy," said one activist with a major Jewish group, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"No one ever gets caught in a criminal mess, because no one intends to do anything criminally," the official said, "but it is routine for us to say: This is our policy on a certain issue, but we must check what the Israelis think. We as a community do it all the time."
No. I think -- the question -- I don't have the answer to it, but why did AIPAC have the need to classified information on proposed U.S. -- attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, let alone why did they have any right to it? But I mean, that just -- that confuses me and confounds me.
This thing takes on a subtext in the war in Iraq. Let's be very frank about it. Franklin worked for Doug Feith. Doug Feith was a neocon. He worked for Paul Wolfowitz. The speculation has been that the -- one of the reasons the neocons wanted to go to war against Saddam was to -- Iraq -- was to remove Saddam Hussein, to make Iraq into a democracy, then Israel would be safer.
Along with AIPAC’s former senior Iran analyst, Keith Weissman, and former Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin, Rosen has been targeted by the FBI’s counterintelligence division for allegedly verbally passing classified information to Israel.