Subject: "We cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goesto war" - Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
"We cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war" - Senator Dianne
Wilkerson says ‘Israel’s security’ was motive for Iraq war– though not in NYT op-ed
Philip Weiss on February 7, 2018
There was an excellent headline in the New York Times two days ago— “I Helped Sell the False
Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again”– on a piece by retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson.
Wilkerson served as Colin Powell’s chief of staff in the runup to the Iraq disaster, and he wrote
that the Secretary of State’s “gravitas” was used by the Bush administration to sell a war
that destabilized the Middle East. A similar runup of claims is today being plotted by advocates of
war in Iran. In both cases, a Washington braintrust pushes “falsehoods.”
Today, the analysts claiming close ties between Al Qaeda and Iran come from the Foundation for
Defense of Democracies, which vehemently opposes the Iran nuclear deal and unabashedly calls for
regime change in Iran.
It seems not to matter that 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 were Saudis and none were Iranians.
Or that, according to the United States intelligence community, of the groups listed as actively
hostile to the United States, only one is loosely affiliated with Iran, and Hezbollah doesn’t make
the cut. More than ever the Foundation for Defense of Democracies seems like the Pentagon’s Office
of Special Plans that pushed falsehoods in support of waging war with Iraq.
It’s good that Wilkerson called out FDD in the NYT, but the curious thing about the op-ed is there
is no mention of who this gang is, the neoconservative wing of the Israel lobby. FDD is funded by
Bernard Marcus and other giant Israel supporters; “FDD’s chief funders have been drawn almost
entirely from American Jews who have a long history of funding pro-Israel organizations,” John
Just as AEI, Bush’s thinktank for the Iran catastrophe, was funded by Bruce Kovner and Roger
Hertog and other Israel backers, who gifted that Pentagon office with neoconservatives Richard Perle
and Douglas Feith, who had lately advised Netanyahu.
But openly addressing the Israel lobby is obviously a redline in the New York Times. Because when
Lawrence Wilkerson went on the Real News yesterday to discuss his op-ed, he brought up neocons and
“Israel’s security” right off the bat!
I think what you’re seeing with people like UN Ambassador Nikki Haley a neoconservative par
excellence and other people from the wings as it were, as we had during the march to war with Iraq,
Richard Perle for example was one of the most effective of those people from the wings. Like, the
FDD, who are pushing what was the agenda originally with regard to Iraq and its being the first
state to go. In other words, they wanted to do Syria. They’ve tried that, incidentally and they
wanted to do Iran. They wanted to sweep the Middle East for various and sundry reasons, not the
least of which was Israel’s security, oil and so forth, but they wanted basically to sweep the
Wilkerson said that the “principal reason, longterm reason” that the U.S. was confronting Iran
was that (in the words of his interviewer) “Iran acts as a deterrent in some ways to US and
Israeli aggression in the region, through primarily its support of Hezbollah and also the Assad
government in Syria.”
It is a pity that a man of Wilkerson’s experience and wisdom is not allowed by the New York Times
to speak of the Israel interest, when it is at the top of his mind. And a sad reflection of how our
mainstream discourse has simply failed to deal with an important truth.
More than twelve years ago, the Atlantic killed the landmark article by Stephen Walt and John
Mearsheimer saying that the Israel lobby had pushed the U.S. to invade Iraq, and the article was
then published by the London Review of Books, and many establishment voices sought to banish the
news by accusing the distinguished authors of anti-Semitism. At that time, Wilkerson expressed
support for Walt and Mearsheimer. The paper contained the “blinding flash of the obvious,” he
said, and he had taught the scholars’ ideas at two Washington, D.C. universities. (Though Alan
Dershowitz came down on him for doing so.)
But we’re always back to Square one on this question. When President Obama said in 2015 that it
would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty to listen to Israel and renounce the Iran
deal, he was accused of endorsing the dual loyalty canard, etc. When he said that Democratic
senators were under fundraising pressure to oppose the deal, there were more such accusations.
Though Obama was speaking the truth. Round and round we go, and never move forward.
"Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in
March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is
hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a
desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s
Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a
counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United
States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at
the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t
want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’"