Is a Predatory Elite Shaping the War Scare of 2002
September 14, 2002
Discussion Thread - Comment #s - 457, 453, 452, 435
[Ref 1] John J. Fialka and Greg Jaffe, "Iraq Appears To Be Years Away From Fashioning Nuclear Bomb," Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2002. Excerpts attached.
[Ref 2] Text of President Bush's speech to the United Nations on Thursday, as released by the White House," The Associated Press, September 12, 2002
This blaster is a long one and readers may want to print it before reading it. It is broken down into three parts:
Each can be read separately, but the core essay is the Werther Report in Part II
I. Introduction: The Politics of Good Wholesome Fear
There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein is villain tailor-made for central casting: He murders and tortures the citizens of a country he rules despotically; he invaded his neighbors; he used chemical weapons against the Iranians and the Kurds; he wants to build an atomic bomb; he flouts UN Security Council resolutions (but then so does Israel with the tacit approval of the United States - i.e., UNSCRs 242 and 338, which demand an end to the occupation of Palestinian land); and he has successfully thumbed his nose at and embarrassed the United States during the decade following his "defeat" in the Persian Gulf War.
But is Saddam enough of a clear and present danger to the United States to justify a unilateral pre-emptive war to remove him from power, if only Israel and perhaps the United Kingdom will support it with enthusiasm, while the rest of the world either opposes it or is muscled into grudgingly accepting it?
The Case for War
In the opening passage of the first chapter of The Art of War, Sun Tzu said, "Military action is important to the nation - it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it."
With that statement, Sun Tzu laid out a clear-eyed dispassionate procedure for determining the wisdom of going to war. His method was what we would call a "net assessment" -- i.e., a comparison of your own strengths and weaknesses to those of the enemy. Significantly, his point of departure was not technology or strategy, but morality - he began by comparing the degree of harmony of interests among the leaders and the led of each country in terms of humaneness, justice, benevolence and faithfulness because danger breeds mistrust -- within as well as among adversaries.
About the only thing that is clear in the ongoing debate of whether America should go to war with Iraq is that Sun Tzu's sage advice is not being followed. What we see instead is a polemical debate fueled a poisonous mix of 24/7 sound bytes and yellow journalism laced with the smell of hidden agendas.
For almost a year, proponents of a unilateral pre-emptive war against Iraq have been carpet-bombing the op-ed pages and airwaves with claims that Saddam is trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction, particularly an atomic bomb. (By the late 1990s, the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 atomic bombs, according to the Federation of Atomic Scientists.) When Saddam gets these weapons, we are told repeatedly, he will use them or threaten to use them against our interests. The United States must act now, because if we wait, it will be too late. Given this dire possibility, we are told, the United States, as the world's last superpower, has not only the moral right, but an obligation, to remove Saddam from power, unilaterally if necessary.
This argument has been hyped occasionally with dark insinuations that Saddam is somehow connected with and likely to give these weapons to terrorists like Osama bin Ladin or Timothy McVeigh.
Gapology and Fear of the Future
A more sober reflection, however, reveals that the construction of this argument takes the familiar form of an allegation about a future gap. In this case, it is a gap between what Saddam might be capable of doing and our inability to deter or defeat it if he is ready to make his move. Of course, the likelihood that such a gap will eventually materialize is unknowable.
What is known is that no one to date has produced any evidence that Saddam now possesses the capability to launch such a devastating attack on American interests. To be sure, Saddam wants to build an atomic bomb and he has subverted and resisted the UN inspections imposed on him after the Gulf War. Moreover, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal [Ref 1 below], United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq found a workable design for a Hiroshima-sized bomb. But it also said Iraq is years away from having the capability either (1) to manufacture enough highly enriched uranium out of naturally occurring uranium to make the bomb or (2) to design, test, and manufacture a workable weapon delivery system, assuming one Saddam could buy or steal forty pounds weapons grade uranium. The President's September 12 speech to the UN did not contain any factual information to refute this story. [Mr. Bush's speech is Ref 2 below, and the twenty-one page background paper of supporting information is attached separately Adobe Acrobat pdf format].
The question of urgency is crucial to this argument. Lost in the debate is the fact that Saddam is in his mid-sixties and has been reported to be in failing health. He lives in perpetual fear of being murdered. He is afraid to eat without having a taster check his food; he moves unpredictably and almost never sleeps in the same place twice; he has dozens of "look alikes" to confuse his movements. Whether he is assassinated or dies of illness or old age, he is not likely to be around much longer. So why must we act now, particularly since a war against Iraq will shift our focus away from the task of neutralizing the threat posed by the al Qaeda terrorists who definitely acted against our interest when they murdered so many Americans on Sept 11, 2001?
Some counter by saying that the time needed to achieve an atomic capability is not even a relevant determinant of immediate action. Simply having the technical knowledge and intention to use it are enough of a threat to justify Saddam's removal in the short term. But look where this "reasoning" takes us: The scientific and engineering principles needed to design a simple fission bomb are well known and widely available in open source literature, including university textbooks and on the internet. Saddam's removal will not reduce the availability of this knowledge. So the addition of the "knowledge argument" introduces a distinction without a difference and the allegation reduces again to the question of whether we are justified in removing any national leader who wants to build a bomb. That opens the door to a long list of unsavory characters around the world and sets the stage for a foreign policy of perpetual pre-emptive war. Suppose the Cali Cartel wants a nuc -- do we wage a pre-emptive war in Colombia?
On the other hand, facts and reason have never been needed for gap-o-logical threat analyses, particularly those that invoke quasi-religious invocations of evil intentions. In fact, it is the absence of hard information about a dangerous unknowable future possibility that is central to its emotive power. One need only look at the recurring threat gaps of the Cold War to see why.
It was a fear of the unknowable future, for example, that set the terms of debate about the existence a Bomber Gap in the 1950s, the Missile Gap in the 1960s, and the Window of Vulnerability in the 1970s. That each of these gaps turned out to be the fantasies or outright falsehoods concocted by fevered imaginations did not matter. That they helped to militarize foreign policy during the Cold War did not matter. The conjuring of gaps in the future served contemporary domestic political agendas: they helped destroy political opponents, they helped to win elections, and they fed the ravenous factions of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (MICC) by helping to jack up defense budgets.
But the politics of fear generated by cold war gapology are very different from their new incarnation. During the Cold War, these politics took place within the context of a military doctrine of stable "war avoidance," known as deterrence - or the idea that the enemy would always know that he could never destroy America's ability to annihilate him, even if he mounted a perfectly executed surprise attack. In contrast, the Iraq debate marries a gap-o-logical threat construction to a doctrine of pre-emptive war - a doctrine of war making. This makes for a far more incendiary mixture in the politics of fear.
The argument about the need for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq also differs from earlier gap-o-logical constructions in another equally important albeit supremely ironic respect.
Earlier fears of unknowable future threats were about raising money for the MICC in the context of Cold War domestic politics - and the Soviet Union was a present, if misapprehended danger that could not be ignored. Furthermore, Cold-War gapologies never directly threatened the concept national sovereignty, which is enshrined as the basic legal building of the world order by Charter of the United Nations -- a creation of United the States. In fact, one might argue that these earlier gapologies, for all their smarmy limitations, reinforced the idea of maintaining a stable order. It is indeed ironic, therefore, that while the United States is fighting its first Fourth Generation War a war against a global network of terrorists, who are eating away at the nation-state system like termites from below, the proponents of unilateral pre-emptive war would use the overwhelming military power of the United States like a wrecking ball to reinforce that attack by bashing the nation-state system from the above.
Good Wholesome Fear
Fear of the unknown - or what Hitler reportedly called good wholesome fear -- is one of the oldest, most powerful, and dangerous of polemical devices. Once it sets the terms of a political debate, it becomes incumbent on the other side to rebut it by proving a double negative - namely that something unknowable will not exist - which is logically impossible. Add in a sound-byte addicted pop culture and contemporary 24/7 yellow journalism, and we have the ingredients of a devil's brew that can tempt leaders and people alike into making self-referential moral judgments that result in dangerously misguided foreign policies. This is not the kind of harmony and faithfulness of effort that Sun Tzu had in mind when he admonished his readers to examine dispassionately the supremely important question of war.
We also know also from the history of earlier gaps in the Cold War, not to mention the political history of mankind in general, that an injection of good wholesome fear into a political debate is usually an indicator of hidden agendas often with very different goals - which is the opposite of Sun Tzu's idea of faithfulness.
Introduction to the Werther and Vest Reports
Given these high stakes and the historical connection between good wholesome fear and hidden agendas, it is incumbent on the citizenry of any constitutional republic to protect their democracy by being skeptical, by probing the allegations being made by the war factions, and by testing both the allegations and the factions themselves for the existence of hidden agendas or unspoken aims.
With this in mind, I asked my good friend, the brilliant Dr. Werther, for his analysis of the ongoing war scare - is it real or are there other factors to consider? Once again, Werther has surprised me with a fascinating hypothesis. He argues below that the War Scare of 2002 is in many ways analogous to the now-forgotten War Scare of 1948, only this time, it is being orchestrated by a predatory elite with an agenda wildly at odds with those of an average American. The Werther Report follows as Part II to this blaster.
Coincidently, Jason Vest, another occasional contributor to the Blaster, published an essay in The Nation that paints a grim portrait of one of the factions in Werther's predatory elite - what Vest calls the Men from JINSA And CSP. Vest describes how the operations and influence of a loose coalition of individuals are unified by (1) the strident advocacy of bigger military budgets—many are consultants or work in think tanks funded by defense contractors), (2) near-fanatical opposition to any form of arms control, and (3) zealous championing of a "Likudnik Israel." The Vest Report is reproduced as Part III (with permission) of this blaster.
I urge you to read the Werther and Vest Reports very slowly and very carefully. Then judge for yourself whether the American people have a right to demand an extended dispassionate debate over the most monumental question that can face the citizens of a democratic republic. .
II. George W. Bush and the War Scare of 2002
"War fever has gripped the Capitol . . . Generally, people here have come to feel that war is on the way. They're resigned to it . . . The atmosphere in Washington is no longer a postwar atmosphere. It is, to put it bluntly, a prewar atmosphere."
Does that sound like the mental climate inside the Beltway circa September 2002?
Actually, the above statements are excerpts from newspaper accounts of the war scare of March 1948. This little-remembered incident has been described in detail by Frank Kofsky in his book, Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948. (Palgrave Macmillan, February 1995).
This essay will summarize Kosfky's thesis, evaluate its accuracy, and apply any putative lessons to the current "crisis" with Iraq in order to determine whether there is an underlying structure in both situations that allows us to reach valid conclusions about how U.S. national security policy really works.
Baking the Scary Soufflé Betty Crocker Style
To simplify, Kofsky sees the following as the ingredients of the war scare of 1948:
1. The aviation industry had plummeted from being the largest U.S. industry in 1945 to 44th in 1947 and was near bankruptcy. Knowing they could neither survive in a commercial market nor be seen accepting a direct government subsidy (much less endure nationalization), aviation executives lobbied relentlessly for increased military procurement contracts. But Congress would only loosen the purse strings if there was a commensurate threat; as Lawrence D. Bell, president of Bell Aircraft remarked in September 1947, "as soon as there is a war scare, there is a lot of money available."
2. The European Recovery Program [ERP aka the "Marshall Plan"], the centerpiece of Secretary of State George C. Marshall's agenda, had dim chances of passage by a parsimonious Congress. The only prospect for ERP's enactment was if it were seen to be essential for preventing Western Europe from falling under Soviet domination. And that perception, in turn, could only arise if the Soviet Union were seen to be planning to do so either by subversion or outright invasion.
3. The military was remorselessly jockeying for bigger budgets. The Air Force wanted 70 wings of combat aircraft; the Army wanted to expand and was lobbying for reinstatement of a peacetime draft (Secretary Marshall, the erstwhile Army chief of staff, had his own hobbyhorse: Universal Military Training [UMT]). But absent a threat, President Truman's budget experts saw increased military spending as inflationary in a economy just emerging from World War II price controls. And absent a threat, no Congressman aspiring to re-election would vote to draft his constituents.
4. In the election year of 1948 President Truman was unpopular as an economic slowdown loomed. But the President and his advisors were aware of the rally-round-the-flag effect. As White House Counsel Clarke Clifford wrote in late 1947, "There is considerable political advantage to the Administration in its battle with the Kremlin. The worse matters get . . . the more there is a sense of crisis. In times of crisis, the American citizen tends to back up his President." But a crisis would be beneficial in another way: by saving the aviation industry and facilitating passage of ERP (which many economists have argued was really a mammoth export subsidy to American industry), a war scare would also be a jobs stimulus before the Presidential election.
Intelligence Estimates Distorted
Thus the ingredients of the war scare soufflé. But how to make it rise? As Kofsky tells it, key members of the administration used the imposition of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in early 1948 as the pretext. And this was no mere case of the national security elite taking counsel of their fears: the CIA, the service intelligence agencies, the State Department Policy Planning Staff, and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow were unanimous: the takeover did not portend an armed attack on Western Europe; it was more likely a defensive reaction to the proposed ERP, and if, anything, represented Stalin's attempt to consolidate the sphere of influence he was conceded by Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta and reaffirmed by Truman himself at Potsdam. 
Furthermore, U.S. intelligence judged the Soviet Union so devastated by the Second World War as to be too weak and war-weary to undertake a military operation against Western Europe for almost a decade to come. 
The Scare Kicks in
But administration officials, while privately conceding the intelligence estimates were correct, devised a plan to convince Congress and the American people that war was imminent.
Secretary of Defense Forrestal, a relentless hawk, induced the military governor of Germany, General Lucius Clay, to write a letter stating, in ominous but vague words, that it was his "feeling" that the Soviets were planning war. In a Machiavellian stroke Forrestal made sure the letter, which was worthless as an intelligence estimate, was classified so as to increase its allure. Second-hand summaries of the classified document were soon circulating around Washington, giving birth to the war scare of March 1948.
Secretary Marshall, seeking to induce Congress to pass ERP before the administration's self-imposed April 1 deadline, added his mite to the effort. The normally grave, unflappable Marshall, who unlike Forrestal, did not have a reputation as a superhawk, gave an extensive series of speeches comparing Stalin to Hitler, invoking Munich, and hinting, in elliptical fashion, that war was around the corner. The public could not help but be concerned if the taciturn Marshall, whose reputation was higher than the President's and all but above criticism, began warning of war.
The "crisis" reached its apex on March 17 when Truman addressed Congress. Employing much the same rhetoric as Marshall, the President asked for speedy and unamended passage of ERP and prompt passage of both the draft and UMT. Unmentioned, though, was a request for supplemental military spending.
Then the military services roared through the breach opened by Forrestal, Marshal, and Truman with their trademark subtlety.
Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington blithely claimed in Congressional hearings that the Soviet Air Force was superior to that of the U.S.
The Secretary of the Navy lied to Congress when told the whopper that Soviet subs were "sighted off our coasts" - a spectacular allegation given the fresh memories of the Germans' U-Boat campaign in 1942, which slaughtered hundreds of vessels literally within sight of the shore. 
The Army, for its part, concocted the fantasy that the Red Army could mobilize "320 line divisions" in 30 days.
Pulling in the Reins
By the beginning of April, the war scare had gotten out of hand. The public was becoming genuinely frightened. Once the Marshall Plan had been enacted, Truman and Marshall tried to walk the horse back into the barn. The President at one point even declared that the USSR was a "friendly power."
But the services continued to beat the war drums, and Congress, then as now not wanting to appear "weak on defense," passed the draft and gave the Pentagon a 30 percent budget increase, with aircraft procurement increasing by 57 percent.
Genesis of the Cold War
Thus the short run goals of the war scare were met: increased defense spending (particularly on aviation), conscription, ERP, and improved political stature for the President.
But in the longer term, the results were baneful: When on May 10 and May 17 the Soviets tendered proposals for negotiating their differences with the United States in Europe, the United States rejected them. Kofsky believes that not only had the administration become locked by events into its anti-Soviet rhetoric, but that rejection of Soviet offers served the Truman-Clifford political strategy of both outmaneuvering Congressional Republicans and whipping dissident Henry Wallace Democrats into line.
After the rejection of its diplomatic overtures and facing U.S. advocacy of a West German state and a North Atlantic military alliance, the Soviets evidently believed they had nothing to lose by adopting a hard line. After having followed an inconsistent policy of announcing inspections of all traffic entering and leaving the Western sectors of Berlin, and then quietly canceling the orders, Stalin moved to blockade Berlin in June 1948.
As Kofsky would have it, the war scare made virtually inevitable a cold war which for four decades bloated the military budget and paralyzed the cerebra of American officials.
But has Kofsky painted a true picture?
The Soviets' reaction to the war scare, it seems to me, is somewhat conjectural, despite the plausible sequence of events: correlation cannot be proved to be causation. The Soviet dictator's moves may have resulted from a different dynamic that remains to be discovered in the Russian State Archive. Likewise, there is no record of explicit decisions having been taken within the U.S. government to initiate a war scare - although it is hardly likely that experienced bureaucratic operators would have set such a policy down on paper.
Yet the preponderance of evidence suggests Kofsky is on to something.
He has painstakingly documented a deliberate ratcheting up of war scare rhetoric that is too abrupt to be happenstance, to convenient to be innocent, and conducted in defiance of intelligence estimates which officials were both cognizant of and agreed with. Finally, while superhawks like Forrestal were always crying wolf, the contemporary statements of players like Marshall and Clifford are so inconsistent with their professed views before and after the event that there is a powerful circumstantial case that the war scare was fabricated for political gain.
The Myth of the Wise Statesmen
Intentionally or not, one of the greatest services Kofsky performs in his granular search of the record of March 1948 is to debunk the myth of George C. Marshall. Two generations of gilding and varnishing by hagiographers have elevated Marshall to virtual godhood. But behind the pained expression and noble bearing, Marshall comes across - in his own words - as a duplicitous manipulator and cutthroat political operative. Since Marshall and his early postwar colleagues like Lucius Clay and Robert Lovett have been elevated to American secular sainthood second only to that of the generation of the Founders, his all-too human propensity for peddling snake oil suggests the historical record is in need of revision.
Likewise, the myth surrounding Give 'Em Hell Harry, the feisty regular guy who told it like it was. This comforting fairy tale must recede before a more definitive narrative: of an opportunist who denounced his Republican opponents (who were in general opposed to increased military spending and the draft) as "fascists," and who smeared those in his own party who favored a negotiated settlement in Europe as Communist sympathizers. The run-up to the election of 1948, which has loomed so large in political lore, must yield to a more prosaic explanation: Truman and his advisors deliberately stirred up a war scare to improve their election chances. Those who believe that statement to be libelous should re-read Clark Clifford's statement quoted above. 
The Iraq Obsession and the Crony Capitalists
Let us now apply the templates of favoritism towards business lobbies, falsified intelligence, and political manipulation to the crise du jour: the public relations campaign against Iraq.
At first blush, the similarities are tenuous: unlike the aviation and other military industries at the close of World War II, the "defense" sector is a trivial proportion of the overall economy (just as all manufacturing has declined in importance). Likewise, "big oil," often cited as a factor in U.S. policy, is not preponderant in economic terms. Why shouldn't health care, real estate, or retail sales wield far greater political clout, as their respective proportions of the economy would dictate?
Kofsky's thesis that the cold war created a "permanent war economy" in the United States is slightly askew. While by every measure (proportion of GDP, workers employed, etc.) the war sector has been declining for decades, the significant fact that Kofsky understates is that the early cold war created political linkages between munitions makers and government that generate disproportionate influence.
One who doubts this should observe the political infighting over a weapon system that involves only a small fraction of the jobs of, say, an automobile model subject to Federal regulation, or the putative effect of an economic policy on retail employment. The salient fact is that the "defense" sector is a complete dependency of Federal largesse, and has therefore honed its political lobbying skills to the point where it is hard to distinguish government officials from industry executives (they move seamlessly from one sector to the other).
The same applies to big oil. From Wilson's 1914 Mexican intervention to FDR's 1945 promise to defend Saudi Arabia in perpetuity to the appointment by President Bush (Harkin Oil) and Vice President Cheney (Halliburton) of Zalmay Khalilzad (Unocal) as special emissary to Afghanistan, the oil interest has always lurked at periscope depth beneath the surface of America's "humanitarian" foreign policy.
Like the arms manufacturers, oil relies on a one-sided bargain: privatize the profits and socialize the losses. Just as the sole-source cost-plus contract keeps the defense contractors safe from the gales of competition, so does American muscle protect pipelines in Colombia, oil fields in Kuwait, and the dreams of investors in Central Asia.
Does this tail wag the dog of U.S. government policy? The evidence is anecdotal, but the piling-up of recent examples is so extensive that it cannot be ignored. As nervous investors hope the stock market can arrest its long, erratic slide since March 2000, one would expect a governing elite that is as politically responsive to economic conditions as, say, Truman was in 1948, to follow policies that would benefit the general economy and the overall world economic climate. But unlike the World War II period, when America was overwhelmingly a manufacturing economy and the military sector was a large subset, the present-day United States as a whole does not benefit from high military spending and an atmosphere of "pre-war crisis."
Stock Meltdown: Your 401(k) at the Mercy of the War Party
Observers now overwhelmingly say the sliding of stock markets worldwide and the poor economic outlook are being exacerbated by the incessant drumbeat of war talk from the U.S. government.  Yet the administration not only blithely continues to rachet up the war scare (the volume of noise was higher in August than it was in May, and we can be sure it will be at a fever pitch in October, prior to the election).
The Washington Post reported on August 6 that factions within the government (particularly on the Defense Policy Board) are advocating a military take-over of the Saudi oil fields, which must inevitably bring with it the U.S. occupation and administration of the Arabian peninsula of one million square miles, to include the holy sites of Mecca and Medinah. A strategy better calculated to ignite popular uprisings from Morocco to the Sunda Straight, flood Al Qaeda with recruits, and collapse the world economy can hardly be imagined. Predictably, the following day, the Post reported that the Bush Administration disavowed this war aim.
But I must re-emphasize, it is not necessary that the governing elite's war policy benefit the overall economy (and with it the average citizen and taxpayer); it is merely required that the policy benefit those narrow sectors that prop up the elite. After all, imperialism was always a losing proposition for Britain - or at least the majority of British subjects, as attested by this passage which sounds eerily like the global operations of Halliburton:
"Overseas railways often did not pay those who invested money in them, but they paid those who built them and those who peddled their shares. The Boer War cost the British taxpayer a great deal of money, but South Africa also produced many millionaires. Clearly, imperialism brought economic gain to some people, if not to the imaginary national community, and the lucky few could hire journalists to bamboozle the many."
Threat Inflation and the Climate of Fear
Just as the war scares of 1948 and 2002 are both predicated on economic gain - albeit the present case is based on narrow sectors who paradoxically benefit as the rest of the economy weakens - the present Iraq crisis is based on systematic falsification of evidence by government officials and their operatives in and out of government: as was the bomber gap in the 1950s, the missile gap in the 1960s, and the window of vulnerability in the 1970s.
Is Saddam Hussein a threat who cannot be contained? The Joint Chiefs of Staff appear to believe containment will work, but the successors of Forrestal, Clifford et al. consistently twist the evidence and prey on the restricted access to classified information, uncertainty, and fear to maneuver opponents into proving an oversimplified negative: that there is no bomber gap, no missile gap, no window of vulnerability (all now known to have been fictions) - or in the current war scare, that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction, has no development program, and is not contemplating any.
Likewise, at the height of the Anthrax scare last October, some civilian officials such as Richard Perle began fingering Saddam Hussein as the source of the attacks - despite emerging evidence that the ultimate source of the anthrax may have been the U.S. government itself.  In similar fashion, no matter how often the intelligence agencies or the Czechs themselves beat down the story of the Mohammed Atta rendezvous in Prague, Forrestal's spiritual descendants continue to revive the canard. 
But today's operatives have carried the pathology of falsification and manipulation well beyond the bounds that Forrestal or Marshall would have contemplated. For the past month, the world has witnessed a soap opera of Pentagon civilian operatives [most of whom never served in uniform] routinely leaking what purport to be U.S. war plans in cavalier disregard for the lives of their fellow citizens who wear military uniforms.
Like the war scare of 1948, the war scare of 2002 may have worked too well: people are becoming "genuinely frightened," and resistance to the elite's war plans is increasing.  Congress and the public are starting to demand hard evidence of Saddam's alleged arsenal. No doubt the coming months will see the administration produce superficially convincing "proof" that will persuade many, especially on Capitol Hill. But will this "proof" be any more genuine than the Soviet subs of 1948 or the bomber gap, especially as the classified intelligence on which it is supposedly based will be subject to dispassionate scrutiny only years from now? The reader can draw his own conclusion.
Conclusion: A Predatory Elite
Frank Kofsky has performed a useful service by stripping away the accretion of myth that has veiled the opening stage of the cold war. But the pathologies he found in embryo have metastasized.
The crony capitalists who back the current war policy have economic interests wildly at odds with those of the average American citizen. Their operatives in the government no longer bluff about war and pull back from the brink but deliberately plot aggressive war and delight in the attention and power their leaks give them. They have become a reckless, predatory elite.
"Imperialism is a depraved choice of national life, imposed by self-seeking interests which appeal to the lusts of quantitative acquisition and of forceful domination surviving in a nation from early centuries of animal struggle for existence . . . It is the besetting sin of all successful States, and the penalty is unalterable in the order of nature." 
The author of that passage, J.A. Hobson, consistent with the views of Gibbon, Spengler, and Toynbee, believed imperialism automatically begets its own penalty, one that is "unalterable in the order of nature." Our elites, who worship something called "American exceptionalism," believe otherwise.
These predatory elites are now rolling dice in a game that risks other people's money and spills other people's blood.
* Werther is the pen name of a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst.
 The postwar alibi of Churchill acolytes that the "appeasement" of Yalta was all FDR's fault is not convincing: already in October 1944, Churchill flew to Moscow to work out a spheres-of-influence deal with Stalin that largely mirrored Yalta - without Roosevelt being present.
 The catastrophic human and material losses were underplayed by the Soviet government for decades. Some recent estimates state that the Soviet Union lost as many as 27 million dead [Richard Overy, Russia's War].
 The Office of Naval intelligence could offer no evidence of such sub sightings. Its own estimates said that the Soviet Navy would be unable to mount continuing, overseas operations until 1957.
 Truman's later exasperation with Senator Joseph McCarthy notwithstanding, it was the President himself who uncorked the "Communist subversion" genie in his denunciation of Henry Wallace's followers during the war scare - two years before McCarthy's Wheeling speech.
 A corrective to David McCullough's hagiographic portrayal of Truman is a balanced and thoroughly researched biography by Alonzo L. Hamby, Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman.
 The exception is MSNBC economics correspondent Lawrence Kudlow, who believes an attack on Iraq will add 2000 points to the Dow. As a card-carrying neoconservative, Kudlow's views on most subjects are sufficiently demented as to give further weight to those who believe an attack on Iraq would have adverse economic consequences, such as the Tenon accounting group in Britain, who forecast that an Iraq war would depress world economic output by almost one trillion dollars.
 A.J.P. Taylor, Essays in English History.
 "Iraq 'behind US anthrax outbreaks:' Pentagon hardliners press for strikes on Saddam," Observer [UK] October 14, 2001.
 "White House says Sept. 11 skyjacker had met Iraqi agent," Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2002.
[10) An ABC News poll conducted on August 29 showed public support for an attack on Iraq down 13 points in only two weeks. Support drops further to a 39 percent minority if U.S. allies oppose it. Earlier last month it was a 54 percent majority.
 J.A. Hobson, Imperialism.
------[End Werther Report]---------
Let us now examine one faction of what Werther concludes is a predatory elite.
III. The Men From JINSA And CSP
Also available on the web at the following URL: http://www.thenation.com
Almost thirty years ago, a prominent group of neoconservative hawks found an effective vehicle for advocating their views via the Committee on the Present Danger, a group that fervently believed the United States was a hair away from being militarily surpassed by the Soviet Union, and whose raison d'être was strident advocacy of bigger military budgets, near-fanatical opposition to any form of arms control and zealous championing of a Likudnik Israel. Considered a marginal group in its nascent days during the Carter Administration, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 CPD went from the margins to the center of power.
Just as the right-wing defense intellectuals made CPD a cornerstone of a shadow defense establishment during the Carter Administration, so, too, did the right during the Clinton years, in part through two organizations: the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they've managed to weave a number of issues--support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general--into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.
On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war--not just with Iraq, but "total war," as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, "regime change" by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents--be it Colin Powell's State Department, the CIA or career military officers--is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East--a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.
For example, the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board--chaired by JINSA/CSP adviser and former Reagan Administration Defense Department official Richard Perle, and stacked with advisers from both groups--recently made news by listening to a briefing that cast Saudi Arabia as an enemy to be brought to heel through a number of potential mechanisms, many of which mirror JINSA's recommendations, and which reflect the JINSA/CSP crowd's preoccupation with Egypt. (The final slide of the Defense Policy Board presentation proposed that "Grand Strategy for the Middle East" should concentrate on "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot [and] Egypt as the prize.") Ledeen has been leading the charge for regime change in Iran, while old comrades like Andrew Marshall and Harold Rhode in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment actively tinker with ways to re-engineer both the Iranian and Saudi governments. JINSA is also cheering the US military on as it tries to secure basing rights in the strategic Red Sea country of Eritrea, happily failing to mention that the once-promising secular regime of President Isaiais Afewerki continues to slide into the kind of repressive authoritarianism practiced by the "axis of evil" and its adjuncts.
Indeed, there are some in military and intelligence circles who have taken to using "axis of evil" in reference to JINSA and CSP, along with venerable repositories of hawkish thinking like the American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute, as well as defense contractors, conservative foundations and public relations entities underwritten by far-right American Zionists (all of which help to underwrite JINSA and CSP). It's a milieu where ideology and money seamlessly blend: "Whenever you see someone identified in print or on TV as being with the Center for Security Policy or JINSA championing a position on the grounds of ideology or principle--which they are unquestionably doing with conviction--you are, nonetheless, not informed that they're also providing a sort of cover for other ideologues who just happen to stand to profit from hewing to the Likudnik and Pax Americana lines," says a veteran intelligence officer. He notes that while the United States has begun a phaseout of civilian aid to Israel that will end by 2007, government policy is to increase military aid by half the amount of civilian aid that's cut each year--which is not only a boon to both the US and Israeli weapons industries but is also crucial to realizing the far right's vision for missile defense and the Middle East.
Founded in 1976 by neoconservatives concerned that the United States might not be able to provide Israel with adequate military supplies in the event of another Arab-Israeli war, over the past twenty-five years JINSA has gone from a loose-knit proto-group to a $1.4-million-a-year operation with a formidable array of Washington power players on its rolls. Until the beginning of the current Bush Administration, JINSA's board of advisers included such heavy hitters as Dick Cheney, John Bolton (now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control) and Douglas Feith, the third-highest-ranking executive in the Pentagon. Both Perle and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, two of the loudest voices in the attack-Iraq chorus, are still on the board, as are such Reagan-era relics as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow and Ledeen--Oliver North's Iran/ contra liaison with the Israelis.
According to its website, JINSA exists to "educate the American public about the importance of an effective US defense capability so that our vital interests as Americans can be safeguarded" and to "inform the American defense and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East." In practice, this translates into its members producing a steady stream of op-eds and reports that have been good indicators of what the Pentagon's civilian leadership is thinking.
JINSA relishes denouncing virtually any type of contact between the US government and Syria and finding new ways to demonize the Palestinians. To give but one example (and one that kills two birds with one stone): According to JINSA, not only is Yasir Arafat in control of all violence in the occupied territories, but he orchestrates the violence solely "to protect Saddam.... Saddam is at the moment Arafat's only real financial supporter.... [Arafat] has no incentive to stop the violence against Israel and allow the West to turn its attention to his mentor and paymaster." And if there's a way to advance other aspects of the far-right agenda by intertwining them with Israeli interests, JINSA doesn't hesitate there, either. A recent report contends that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge must be tapped because "the Arab oil-producing states" are countries "with interests inimical to ours," but Israel "stand[s] with us when we need [Israel]," and a US policy of tapping oil under ANWR will "limit [the Arabs'] ability to do damage to either of us."
The bulk of JINSA's modest annual budget is spent on taking a bevy of retired US generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates meetings between Israeli officials and the still-influential US flag officers, who, upon their return to the States, happily write op-eds and sign letters and advertisements championing the Likudnik line. (Sowing seeds for the future, JINSA also takes US service academy cadets to Israel each summer and sponsors a lecture series at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies.) In one such statement, issued soon after the outbreak of the latest intifada, twenty-six JINSAns of retired flag rank, including many from the advisory board, struck a moralizing tone, characterizing Palestinian violence as a "perversion of military ethics" and holding that "America's role as facilitator in this process should never yield to America's responsibility as a friend to Israel," as "friends don't leave friends on the battlefield."
However high-minded this might sound, the postservice associations of the letter's signatories--which are almost always left off the organization's website and communiqués--ought to require that the phrase be amended to say "friends don't leave friends on the battlefield, especially when there's business to be done and bucks to be made." Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA's board of advisers or has participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or has worked with military contractors who do business with the Pentagon and Israel. While some keep a low profile as self-employed "consultants" and avoid mention of their clients, others are less shy about their associations, including with the private mercenary firm Military Professional Resources International, weapons broker and military consultancy Cypress International and SY Technology, whose main clients include the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, which oversees several ongoing joint projects with Israel.
The behemoths of military contracting are also well represented in JINSA's ranks. For example, JINSA advisory board members Adm. Leon Edney, Adm. David Jeremiah and Lieut. Gen. Charles May, all retired, have served Northrop Grumman or its subsidiaries as either consultants or board members. Northrop Grumman has built ships for the Israeli Navy and sold F-16 avionics and E-2C Hawkeye planes to the Israeli Air Force (as well as the Longbow radar system to the Israeli army for use in its attack helicopters). It also works with Tamam, a subsidiary of Israeli Aircraft Industries, to produce an unmanned aerial vehicle. Lockheed Martin has sold more than $2 billion worth of F-16s to Israel since 1999, as well as flight simulators, multiple-launch rocket systems and Seahawk heavyweight torpedoes. At one time or another, General May, retired Lieut. Gen. Paul Cerjanand retired Adm. Carlisle Trost have labored in LockMart's vineyards. Trost has also sat on the board of General Dynamics, whose Gulfstream subsidiary has a $206 million contract to supply planes to Israel to be used for "special electronics missions."
By far the most profitably diversified of the JINSAns is retired Adm. David Jeremiah. President and partner of Technology Strategies & Alliances Corporation (described as a "strategic advisory firm and investment banking firm engaged primarily in the aerospace, defense, telecommunications and electronics industries"), Jeremiah also sits on the boards of Northrop Grumman's Litton subsidiary and of defense giant Alliant Techsystems, which--in partnership with Israel's TAAS--does a brisk business in rubber bullets. And he has a seat on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, chaired by Perle.
About the only major defense contractor without a presence on JINSA's advisory board is Boeing, which has had a relationship with Israeli Aircraft Industries for thirty years. (Boeing also sells F-15s to Israel and, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Apache attack helicopters, a ubiquitous weapon in the occupied territories.) But take a look at JINSA's kindred spirit in things pro-Likud and pro-Star Wars, the Center for Security Policy, and there on its national security advisory council are Stanley Ebner, a former Boeing executive; Andrew Ellis, vice president for government relations; and Carl Smith, a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee who, as a lawyer in private practice, has counted Boeing among his clients. "JINSA and CSP," says a veteran Pentagon analyst, "may as well be one and the same."
Not a hard sell: There's always been considerable overlap beween the JINSA and CSP rosters--JINSA advisers Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Perle and Phyllis Kaminsky also serve on CSP's advisory council; current JINSA advisory board chairman David Steinmann sits on CSP's board of directors; and before returning to the Pentagon Douglas Feith served as the board's chair. At this writing, twenty-two CSP advisers--including additional Reagan-era remnants like Elliott Abrams, Ken deGraffenreid, Paula Dobriansky, Sven Kraemer, Robert Joseph, Robert Andrews and J.D. Crouch--have reoccupied key positions in the national security establishment, as have other true believers of more recent vintage.
While CSP boasts an impressive advisory list of hawkish luminaries, its star is Gaffney, its founder, president and CEO. A protégé of Perle going back to their days as staffers for the late Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (a k a the Senator from Boeing, and the Senate's most zealous champion of Israel in his day), Gaffney later joined Perle at the Pentagon, only to be shown the door by Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci in 1987, not long after Perle left. Gaffney then reconstituted the latest incarnation of the Committee on the Present Danger. Beyond compiling an A-list of influential conservative hawks, Gaffney has been prolific over the past fifteen years, churning out a constant stream of reports (as well as regular columns for the Washington Times) making the case that the gravest threats to US national security are China, Iraq, still-undeveloped ballistic missiles launched by rogue states, and the passage of or adherence to virtually any form of arms control treaty.
Gaffney and CSP's prescriptions for national security have been fairly simple: Gut all arms control treaties, push ahead with weapons systems virtually everyone agrees should be killed (such as the V-22 Osprey), give no quarter to the Palestinians and, most important, go full steam ahead on just about every national missile defense program. (CSP was heavily represented on the late-1990s Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which was instrumental in keeping the program alive during the Clinton years.)
Looking at the center's affiliates, it's not hard to see why: Not only are makers of the Osprey (Boeing) well represented on the CSP's board of advisers but so too is Lockheed Martin (by vice president for space and strategic missiles Charles Kupperman and director of defense systems Douglas Graham). Former TRW executive Amoretta Hoeber is also a CSP adviser, as is former Congressman and Raytheon lobbyist Robert Livingston. Ball Aerospace & Technologies--a major manufacturer of NASA and Pentagon satellites--is represented by former Navy Secretary John Lehman, while missile-defense computer systems maker Hewlett-Packard is represented by George Keyworth, who is on its board of directors. And the Congressional Missile Defense Caucus and Osprey (or "tilt rotor") caucus are represented by Representative Curt Weldon and Senator Jon Kyl.
CSP was instrumental in developing the arguments against the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Largely ignored or derided at the time, a 1995 CSP memo co-written by Douglas Feith holding that the United States should withdraw from the ABM treaty has essentially become policy, as have other CSP reports opposing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the International Criminal Court. But perhaps the most insightful window on the JINSA/CSP policy worldview comes in the form of a paper Perle and Feith collaborated on in 1996 with six others under the auspices of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Essentially an advice letter to ascendant Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" makes for insightful reading as a kind of US-Israeli neoconservative manifesto.
The paper's first prescription was for an Israeli rightward economic shift, with tax cuts and a selloff of public lands and enterprises--moves that would also engender support from a "broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders." But beyond economics, the paper essentially reads like a blueprint for a mini-cold war in the Middle East, advocating the use of proxy armies for regime changes, destabilization and containment. Indeed, it even goes so far as to articulate a way to advance right-wing Zionism by melding it with missile-defense advocacy. "Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state," it reads. "Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel's survival, but it would broaden Israel's base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense"--something that has the added benefit of being "helpful in the effort to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem."
Recent months in Washington have shown just how influential the notions propagated by JINSA and CSP are--and how disturbingly zealous their advocates are. In early March Feith vainly attempted to get the CIA to keep former intelligence officers Milt Bearden and Frank Anderson from accepting an invitation to an Afghanistan-related meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon--not because of what the two might say about Afghanistan, according to sources familiar with the incident, but likely out of fear that Anderson, a veteran Arabist and former chief of the CIA's Near East division, would proffer his views on Iraq (opposed to invading) and Israel-Palestine (a fan of neither Arafat nor Sharon). In late June, after United Press International reported on a US Muslim civil liberties group's lambasting of Gaffney for his attacks on the American Muslim Council, Gaffney, according to a fellow traveler, "went berserk," launching a stream of invective about the UPI scribe who reported the item.
It's incidents like this, say knowledgeable observers and participants, that highlight an interesting dynamic among right-wing hawks at the moment. Though the general agenda put forth by JINSA and CSP continues to be reflected in councils of war, even some of the hawks (including Rumsfeld deputy Paul Wolfowitz) are growing increasingly leery of Israel's settlements policy and Gaffney's relentless support for it. Indeed, his personal stock in Bush Administration circles is low. "Gaffney has worn out his welcome by being an overbearing gadfly rather than a serious contributor to policy," says a senior Pentagon political official. Since earlier this year, White House political adviser Karl Rove has been casting about for someone to start a new, more mainstream defense group that would counter the influence of CSP. According to those who have communicated with Rove on the matter, his quiet efforts are in response to complaints from many conservative activists who feel let down by Gaffney, or feel he's too hard on President Bush. "A lot of us have taken [Gaffney] at face value over the years," one influential conservative says. "Yet we now know he's pushed for some of the most flawed missile defense and conventional systems. He considered Cuba a 'classic asymmetric threat' but not Al Qaeda. And since 9/11, he's been less concerned with the threat to America than to Israel."
Gaffney's operation has always been a small one, about $1 million annually--funded largely by a series of grants from the conservative Olin, Bradley and various Scaife foundations, as well as some defense contractor money--but he's recently been able to underwrite a TV and print ad campaign holding that the Palestinians should be Enemy Number One in the War on Terror, still obsessed with the destruction of Israel. It's here that one sees the influence not of defense contractor money but of far-right Zionist dollars, including some from Irving Moskowitz, the California bingo magnate. A donor to both CSP and JINSA (as well as a JINSA director), Moskowitz not only sends millions of dollars a year to far-right Israeli settler groups like Ateret Cohanim but he has also funded the construction of settlements, having bought land for development in key Arab areas around Jerusalem. Moskowitz ponied up the money that enabled the 1996 reopening of a tunnel under the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, which resulted in seventy deaths due to rioting.
Also financing Gaffney's efforts is New York investment banker Lawrence Kadish. A valued and valuable patron of both the Republican National Committee and George W. Bush, Kadish helps underwrite CSP as well as Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, an offshoot of conservative activist William Bennett's Empower America, on which he and Gaffney serve as "senior advisers" in the service of identifying "external" and "internal" post-9/11 threats to America. (The "internal" threats, as articulated by AVOT, include former President Jimmy Carter, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham and Representative Maxine Waters.) Another of Gaffney's backers is Poju Zabludowicz, heir to a formidable diversified international empire that includes arms manufacturer Soltam--which once employed Perle--and benefactor of the recently established Britain Israel Communication and Research Centre, a London-based group that appears to equate reportage or commentary uncomplimentary to Zionism with anti-Semitism.
While a small but growing number of conservatives are voicing concerns about various aspects of foreign and defense policy--ranging from fear of overreach to lack of Congressional debate--the hawks seem to be ruling the roost. Beginning in October, hard-line American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin (to Rubin, outgoing UN human rights chief Mary Robinson is an abettor of terrorism) arrives at the Pentagon to take over the Defense Department's Iran-Iraq account, adding another voice to the Pentagon section of Ledeen's "total war" chorus. Colin Powell's State Department continues to take a beating from outside and inside--including Bolton and his special assistant David Wurmser. (An AEI scholar and far-right Zionist who's married to Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute--recently the subject of a critical investigation by London Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker--Wurmser played a key role in crafting the "Arafat must go" policy that many career specialists see as a problematic sop to Ariel Sharon.)
As for Rumsfeld, based on comments made at a Pentagon "town hall" meeting on August 6, there seems to be little doubt as to whose comments are resonating most with him--and not just on missile defense and overseas adventures: After fielding a question about Israeli-Palestinian issues, he repeatedly referred to the "so-called occupied territories" and casually characterized the Israeli policy of building Jewish-only enclaves on Palestinian land as "mak[ing] some settlement in various parts of the so-called occupied area," with which Israel can do whatever it wants, as it has "won" all its wars with various Arab entities--essentially an echo of JINSA's stated position that "there is no Israeli occupation." Ominously, Rumsfeld's riff gave a ranking Administration official something of a chill: "I realized at that point," he said, "that on settlements--where there are cleavages on the right--Wolfowitz may be to the left of Rumsfeld."
Jason Vest is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a contributing editor to The Village Voice and In These Times.
----[Sidebar in Original]-----
Turkey, Israel and the US
In a 1996 Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies paper prepared for Binyamin Netanyahu, the authors---including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, now the respective chair of the Defense Policy Board and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy---advised Israel to "shape it's strategic environment by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria," and "focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq---an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right." It's all heady stuff, but perhaps the most interesting parts of the documents are passing references to realizing the "new strategy for securing the realm" by "working closely with" or working "in cooperation" with Turkey.
Not only have JINSA and CSP been enthusiastic boosters in the service of assuring a constant flow of US military aid to Turkey, but JINSA/CSP advisors Perle and Feith have spent the past 15 years---in governmental and private capacities---working quietly and deftly to keep the US arms sluice to Turkey open, as well as drawing both Turkey and Israel and their respective American lobbies closer together.
To Perle, Feith and other hawks, the importance of Turkey not just to the United States, but to Israel, is self-evident. As a secular Muslim state, Turkey has always been an attractive political and military ally to the Israelis; respectful of the close relationship between the US and Israel, over a decade ago the Turks began to appreciate the value for Turkish-US relations in being close with Israel, and have also grown to appreciate how useful an ally the American Jewish lobby can be against the Greek- and Armenian-American lobbies.
In fact, the idea of a strong Turkey-Israeli-US trifecta is nothing new. It was a cherished idea of Perle mentor and CPD principal Albert Wohlstetter, the University of Chicago mathematician and RAND consultant who was key in drawing up the Pentagon's strategic and nuclear blueprints during the Cold War. In classified studies written at the Pentagon's behest over the years, Wohsletter was a serious Turkey booster; when Perle ascended to his post in the Reagan-era Pentagon, he began implementing Wohlstetter's vision, conducting regular meetings in Ankara and, in 1986, closing a deal for a five-year Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement with Turkey which the Financial Times characterized as "something of a personal triumph" for Perle. It wasn't so bad for Turkey, either: After Israel and Egypt, Turkey became the third largest recipient of US military aid, and got a nice break on debts owed to the US.
Perle left government service in 1987. But in 1989, various Turkish press outlets reported that Perle had quietly started lobbying in Washington on behalf of Turkey. In short order, the Wall Street Journal confirmed it, reporting that Perle had "sold the idea for the new [lobbying] company to Turgat Ozal, Turkey's prime minister, at a meeting in New York last May," but that Perle wouldn't be registering as a foreign agent because Perle was merely "chairman of the firm's advisory board," which, the Journal noted, only consisted of one individual: Perle.
Perle responded to the Journal revelation with a bizarre letter, on the one hand claiming that---despite years of media reporting on his Pentagon Turkey initiatives---he had no responsibility for Turkey while a Pentagon official, but that he had, nonetheless, advocated for Turkey in the Pentagon; now in private life, he was going to do something about it---but only so much, as Doug Feith would be taking point, and Perle would simply be in the "advice business".
According to Foreign Agent Registration Act filings, Perle's advice counted for a lot---a total of $231,000 between 1990 and 1994. To help Turkey out, Feith also deployed legal associate Michael Mobbs---now a Pentagon adviser, most recently in the news after a federal judge decided his memo making the case for the detention of Yaser Esam Hamdi as an "enemy combatant" was insufficient. Feith also hired Morris Amitay, former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and current head of the pro-Israel Washington PAC, who took aim earlier this year at the Bush-appointed Jewish-American US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, for Kurtzer's circumspect public criticism of Israel's settlements policy.
IAI hit the ground running in 1989, effectively flexing its lobbying muscle immediately by securing the defeat of Congressional efforts to keep Turkey's US military aid at a level lower than that of neighboring Greece. In addition to cementing the US-Turkey military-to-military relationship, IAI was also part of a joint 1989 Turkish-Israeli effort to quash a US Senate resolution marking the 75th anniversary of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks. "Quietly, Israeli diplomats and some American Jewish activists have agreed to help Turkey even as other Jewish leaders have complained they have no business intervening in such a sensitive matter," reported Wolf Blitzer, then the Jerusalem Post's Washington correspondent. Blitzer went on to quote a source who explained that "As a people which was itself a victim of genocide, we feel natural sympathy for the Armenians. But Israel wants to foster its relations with Turkey, which it views with great importance."
With the Pentagon's hawks girding for war with Iraq yet again, Perle and his ilk have been both wooing and talking up Turkey, which, at the moment, is on shaky economic and political ground---despite previous efforts of the Bush administration, including an arranged $16 billion IMF bailout and a pending $228 million US aid package. In response to Turkish concerns about the potential for further political and economic destabilization in the wake of an attack on Iraq, Perle and others have proposed an expansive free trade agreement between Turkey and the US; a first step in that direction is already evident in the form of a Senate bill, sponsored by Senators John Breaux (D-LA) and John McCain (R-AZ) and boosted by the recently-formed, three-dozen strong bipartisan American-Turkish Caucus on Capitol Hill, that would let Turkish textiles into the US duty-free via Israel. According to a Pentagon source briefed on Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's recent trip to Ankara, the Turks have also indicated that they might be amenable to supporting an Iraq invasion in exchange for another defense debt write-off to the tune of $5 million, as well as a free Patriot missile defense system.
But even with such measures---and despite the ministrations of Perle and Feith over the years---it's unclear as to what the future holds for US-Turkish relations. Turkish elections are scheduled for November, and right now the moderately pro-Islamist Justice and Development (AK) party appears to be leading at the polls, a situation that has caused hand-wringing in both Washington and Ankara. And, according to diplomatic sources in Washington, while the Turks have indicated a certain potential willingness to back a US invasion and restructuring of Iraq, they continue to voice serious concerns about overall regional destabilization, the financial cost to Turkey of war, and that the establishment of a Kurdish province in a post-Saddam, federal-style Iraq could mark the first step in a re-invigorated military campaign by Turkey's Kurds for total Kurdish independence---an effort that might be made easier if Kirkuk, an oil town in northern Iraq, comes under Kurdish control. "It's not exactly a volatile situation yet," says one Washington-based diplomat, "but let's just say a lot of people are keeping a very watchful eye on Turkey."
-----------[End Vest Report]-------------
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Iraq Appears To Be Years Away From Fashioning Nuclear Bomb
By John J. Fialka and Greg Jaffe,
Iraq appears to be years away from being able to produce [fissile] material on its own, ...The one prospect that might help Saddam Hussein get the bomb sooner would be to acquire on the black market -- rather than by refining through its own enrichment program -- a batch of weapons-grade uranium.
"It is very, very difficult to find fissile [explodable] material," said Terence Taylor, the head of the Washington office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an independent research center based in London. "Iraq has a lot of money and a dedicated procurement network. It's possible, but not easy," he said Monday.
The critical item that gives the weapon its explosive power is highly enriched uranium, a concentration of U-235, a rare isotope or chemical relative of natural uranium that requires an elaborate manufacturing process to separate and produce. Only 0.7% of natural uranium consists of U-235. So-called bomb-grade highly enriched uranium requires a concentration of at least 80%.
Gary Samore, the editor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies report, thinks Baghdad is trying to develop a facility that uses hundreds of high-speed centrifuges to separate U-235 from heavier elements in the uranium molecule. "Of all the technological options, this one is easiest to conceal," he said.
That leaves the option of trying to smuggle in highly enriched uranium. Moving such toxic material would be difficult. But there's no guarantee a shipment would be spotted. The amounts involved aren't large, and the U.S. isn't able to specifically detect radioactive material from satellite imagery.
Mr. Milhollin noted that Iraq has two capabilities that work to its advantage in trying to field a completed, deliverable warhead. "They still have the knowledge" of how to build weapons, he said. "And they've become very adept at hiding their activities from overhead cameras. They've learned what we can see."
A text of President Bush's speech to the United Nations on Thursday, as released by the White House: The Associated Press 12 August 2002
Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, distinguished ladies and gentlemen: We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought grief to my country, and to the citizens of many countries. Yesterday, we remembered the innocent lives taken that terrible morning. Today, we turn to the urgent duty of protecting other lives, without illusion and without fear.
We have accomplished much in the last year - in Afghanistan and beyond. We have much yet to do - in Afghanistan and beyond. Many nations represent here have joined in the fight against global terror - and the people of the United States are grateful.
The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world war - the hope of a world moving toward justice, escaping old patterns of conflict and fear. The founding members resolved that the peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the will and wickedness of any man. We created a United Nations Security Council, so that - unlike the League of Nations - our deliberations would be more than talk, and our resolutions would be more than wishes. After generations of deceitful dictators, broken treaties and squandered lives, we dedicate ourselves to standards of human dignity shared by all, and to a system of security defended by all.
Today, these standards, and this security, are challenged.
Our commitment to human dignity is challenged by persistent poverty and raging disease. The suffering is great, and our responsibilities are clear. The United States is joining with the world to supply aid where it reaches people and lift up lives ... to extend trade and the prosperity it brings ... and to bring medical care where it is desperately needed.
As a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the United State will return to UNESCO. This organization has been reformed and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights, tolerance, and learning.
Our common security is challenged by regional conflicts - ethnic and religious strife that is ancient but not inevitable. In the Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living beside Israel in peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices. My nation will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.
Above all, our principles and our security are challenged today by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions. In the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our enemies. This threat hides within many nations, including my own. In cells and camps, terrorists are plotting further destruction and building new bases for their war against civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.
In one place - in one regime - we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms ... exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront.
Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped - by the might of coalition forces, and the will of the United Nations.
To suspend hostilities and to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear: to him, and to all. And he agreed to prove he is complying with every one of those obligations.
He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations, and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge - be his deceptions, and by his cruelties - Saddam Hussein has made the case again himself.
In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities - which, the Council said, "threaten(ed) international peace and security in the region."
This demand goes ignored. Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human rights found that Iraq continues to commit "extremely grave violations" of human rights and that the regime's repression is "all pervasive." Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating, burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands; children in the presence of their parents - all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed.
It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary-General's high-level coordinator of this issue reported that Kuwaiti, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for - more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 687, demanded the Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq.
Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organization that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder. In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq's government openly praised the attacks of September 11th. And al-Qaida terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq.
In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.
From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
United Nations inspections also reveal that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard, and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.
And in 1995 - after four years of deception - Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.
Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its unclear program - weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials, and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. And Iraq's state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.
Iraq also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with ranges beyond the 150 kilometers permitted by the U.N.
Work at testing and production facilities shows that Iraq is building more long-range missiles that could inflict mass death throughout the region.
In 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the world imposed economic sanctions on Iraq.
Those sanctions were maintained after the war to compel the regime's compliance with Security Council resolutions. In time, Iraq was allowed to use oil revenues to buy food. Saddam Hussein has subverted this program, working around the sanctions to buy missile technology and military materials. He blames the suffering of Iraq's people on the United Nations, even as he uses his oil wealth to build lavish palaces for himself, and arms his country. By refusing to comply with his own agreements, he bears full guilt for the hunger and misery of innocent Iraqi citizens.
In 1991, Iraq promised U.N. inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify Iraq's commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading and harassing U.N. inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely.
Just months after the 1991 cease-fire, the Security Council twice renewed its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with inspectors, "condemning" Iraq's "serious violations" of its obligations.
The Security Council again renewed that demand in 1994 and twice more in 1996, "deploring" Iraq's "clear violations" of its obligations.
The Security Council renewed its demand three more times in 1997, citing "flagrant violations" and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq's behavior "totally unacceptable."
And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.
As we meet today, it has been almost four years since the last U.N. inspectors set foot in Iraq - four years for the Iraqi regime to plan and build and test behind a cloak of secrecy.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in the country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left?
The history, the logic and the facts lead to one conclusion. Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.
Delegates to the General Assembly: We have been more than patient. We have tried sanctions. We have tried the carrot of "oil for food" and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction.
The first time we may be completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.
© 2002 The Associated Press