Saturday, March 18, 2006

Squid Ink for the Israel Lobby

The squid ink is pooring out with regard to the John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt paper on the Israel Lobby in the US.

David Bernstein (on the Volokh Conspiracy) is already claiming that the paper is "so full of misrepresentation and distortions" that he has not had time to "Fisk" it.

But his first shot at the paper is a complete miss. He picks on the opening statement in the paper that "[t]he combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region [has caused problems]." Bernstein disputes this statement by claiming Israel itself has not pushed for democracy. That point is a complete red herring.

Bernstein misses becuase the Walt-Mearsheimer paper doesn’t claim that Israel was pushing for democracy. Rather, the paper claims that Israel's supporters are pushing for democracy. Bernstein concedes as much later on when he notes that the neocons were the driving force behind pushing for democracy in the Middle East.

What Bernstein fails to mention is the long, pre-9/11 history of the neocons pushing for regime change in Iraq without a corresponding call for democracy.

He doesn't mention the fact that this call for regime change was made long before Iraq presented any direct threat to the US, real or imagined. The justification for the regime change is the well being of Israel, which can be found in the clean break paper, which is linked at the side of this blog.

Bernstein doesn't mention co-author (and dual citizen) Douglas Feith's role in the gathering of bogus intelligence at the Pentagon. Nor does be mentinoed Wolfowitz's tireless lobbying for the US to invade Iraq pre 9/11, nor his push to invade Iraq before Afghanistan post 9/11.

The ties between Israel (and in particular Likud) and the neocons are long and deep.

The best Bernstein can come up with is that the [paraphrase] "the neocons want to democratize everything, not just Iraq - just look at the Balkins".

But, as I mention above the neocons where calling for regime change, not democratization, in Iraq well before 9/11. And now many of them (such as Daniel Pipes) are giving up on democratization, but still think the war was worth it.

If the way to overthrow Saddam and "secure the realm" is democracy than the neocons will take it. But, if democracy does not satisfy the goal or making the Middle East safe for Israel then it is the goal democracy that must fall, not the goal of security for Israel.

Democracy was just the best way they could find to implement regime change, and they have jumped on that bandwagon throughout the Middle East. They may be coming to regret that decision, but that is another discussion.

Of course, they will claim it the security of the US that is also important, but it is funny how the security interests of the US always seem to coincide with the security interests of Israel. And any threats to the US that do not involve Israel as well (N. Korea, for example) never seem to achieve priority status.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having my students read the entire study. I hope other educators and academics do as well. And I hope people make their kids read it or no American Idol.

It's about time kids in America know what they're about to die for...

Let's see if the Democratic blogs publish this -- Buzzflash can you hear me? Who wants to bet me they do not?

3/18/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More desperate hasbara at--

(They're going to have to find some gentile attack dogs pretty soon, or it's going to look like they're just proving the paper's point.)

3/18/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Viktor Ostrovsky in "By Way of Deception" not only specified that Iraq was the next target for Mossad, but he laid out the drumbeat mantra in detail and sequence. There's no question of the source of the US attack.

3/18/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous daniel said...

Brian, I'm a fan of your blogs, but I think that the Milosevic remarks were a bit unfair. Yes, the Bush Administration used a similar template created by the Clinton Administration for getting the war started--but there are many dissimilarities in other respects. Was the Serbian war a just war by traditional measures? Well, no, Milocevic was not an aggressor against or an imminent threat to the United States--no question about that. Yet the decade long apartheid conditions and increasing violence in Kosovo, together with the past record of escalating violence created by Milosevic's other wars for Greater Serbia, to me called for the world to take action, even if Russia objected. In the same spirit, there are grounds for military action--if it came to that-- intended to push Israel back behind 1967 borders and to create a settlement winning compensation or return for the 1948 refugees and their descendents. Both problems have threatened world peace. International law must be written to take into account such comtemporary, "small world", circumstances that concern global stability. As well, international law perhaps should also take into account the need to put some controls on gross international law violators--such as countries involved in or threatening massive ethnic cleansing. Granted--these violations must be measured in degrees; otherwise all countries would be considered violators; nonetheless, some reasonable measures must be created. I think both the behavior of Israel and Serbia transgress those measures.

3/18/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

ell, no, Milocevic was not an aggressor against or an imminent threat to the United States--no question about that. Yet the decade long apartheid conditions and increasing violence in Kosovo, together with the past record of escalating violence created by Milosevic's other wars for Greater Serbia, to me called for the world to take action, even if Russia objected.

Very complex. The main issue is the exaggerated claims made to pull the US and west into the conflict. American's should be given the truth before deciding to enter an armed conflict. I don't think that is too much to ask.

There were no mass graves, nothing like the 200,000 dead that was the standard claim in the MSM for years.

Israel and Serbia are similar in that artifically drawn borders are constant souces of conflict, whether in Serbia or Isreal. How do you handle such conflicts?

While I don't agree with the methods employeed by Milosovich, I think his desired result would have been the better solution. That is, the borders should have been drawn on true ethnic lines. In some cases, this involved separated heavily mixed areas.

Now, he was using a blunt instrument to achieve this. The West should have helped the separation process to proceed in a more orderly way. Instead we chose to enforce the artificial border instead.

Now we basically have a low level conflict and the Serb's are people slowly ethnically cleansed from their homeland. So someone has lost.

I realize this may be too realpolitik for many, but this kind of solution would probably be acceptable to many of Israel's supporters (separating the populations) so I don't see why it can't be pursued many other places.

And I have basically come to the conclusion that these war crimes trials are used to indescrimanately. We are always trying to fit things into the WWII model, and they don't always fit.

They had nothing on Milosovich after four years of trial, and the first count against saddam involved 130 or so people some of whom tried to kill him.

Under Bush, if only 130 Iraqi's during a week that is considered about average.

3/19/2006 07:24:00 AM  

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