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Did he or didn't he? (Zelikow on Iraq as threat to Israel)

 
 
yitwail
 
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 12:02 am
This is an old topic to old a2k hands, but it's recently surfaced due to an article called The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, profs at University of Chicago & Harvard. i found an interesting exchange between Richard Zelikow, counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, and Mearsheimer & Walt in the London Review of Books, concerning remarks Zelikow made on 10 Sept. 2002 at a University of Virginia symposium. this will be rather lengthy, but i trust the topic merits an in-depth examination.

Zelikow objects to this passage in Mearsheimer & Walt's article:

Quote:


without going into details, Zelikow disputes this account on 3 fronts:

Quote:
The claim still has three holes. First, like most of the world, I did think that, if Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons, this would endanger the interests of America and the world in several ways, including the direct threat of a possible strike on Israel. Second, I did not state an opinion about whether this should be a cause for war in 2002-03. Third, I did not state an opinion - or even have any special knowledge - about the motives of the Bush administration in going to war in 2003.


Mearsheimer & Walt respond to Zelikow's retort with a much lengthier quotation from Zelikow's UVA remarks than the brief excerpt that's been widely disseminated by critics of the US and Israel. here it is:

Quote:
Finally. . . I wanted to offer some comments on Iraq. . . . I beg your patience, but I think there are some points that are worth making that aren't being made by either side in the current debate.

The Iraq situation this administration inherited is and has been unsustainable. Ever since 1996 the Iraqi situation has basically unravelled. . . . So then the real question is, OK, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to end up fixing it? And if you don't like the administration's approach, what's the recommended alternative?

Another thing Americans absorb, and this administration especially, is the lesson of Afghanistan. Because remember we knew that international terrorist groups were plotting to kill Americans in a sanctuary called Afghanistan. . .


so, did he or didn't he? personally, it seems to me that he did believe Iran had WMD, but not necessarily that such weapons posed an immediate threat to the US. on the other hand, he certainly seemed to be in favor of immediate military action against Iraq, contradicting his claim that he "did not state an opinion about whether this should be a cause for war in 2002-03." finally, assuming his remarks were reproduced accurately, there's no proof that his views represented the views of the Administration at the time he made those remarks.

you can access the entire exchange between Zelikow and the academics at this url:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n10/letters.html
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 01:39 pm
Poking your dying equine with a stick, Mr. Turtle. In other words, that is a book mark as I don't quite get the big picture.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 01:59 pm
the big picture, i think, is that Zelikow's remarks were taken as a "smoking gun" by critics of the Iraq war and/or Israel and repeated on thousands of blogs & alternative news sites.

i've located at least one mainstream publication that referenced Zelikow's comments, a BusinessWeek online commentary by one Ciro Scotti:

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/apr2004/nf20040415_0640_db009.htm
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 02:46 pm
All right, Yit. As I try to sort through who said what, let me see if this is right.

Mearsheimer and Walt are saying that the Israel lobby was the one of the main reason for the war in Iraq. Zelikow disagrees with that. Am I on target so far?
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 03:13 pm
right. Zelikow may not even acknowledge that there is an Israel lobby in the sense the other 2 define the term, but he denies being a part of it all the same. incidentally, his name's Philip Zelikow, not Richard. Embarrassed
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 03:20 pm
Razz I can never keep these pundits' names straight, Mr. Turtle. We all know by now that politicians, advisors, whatever, do not want the general public to understand who they are or what they say.

The U.S. has always looked at Israel as a buffer in the Middle East. The thing that most concerns me, is the lack of balance of power right now.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 03:51 pm
not sure what you mean by balance of power, but i think there's an over-abundance of hardliners all around.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 03:58 pm
Well, Yit. The Executive branch of our government has too much power, and that is why we have hardliners.

Hey, turtle. What am I doing in this political thread? I'm going over and play a song, I think. Razz
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 04:37 pm
here's an intriguing item from Professor Zelikow's bio. way back in Nov. '98, he co-authored a piece for the prestigious publication Foreign Affairs, with content like this:

Quote:
The bombings in East Africa killed hundreds. A successful attack with weapons of mass destruction could certainly take thousands, or tens of thousands, of lives. If the device that exploded in 1993 under the World Trade Center had been nuclear, or had effectively dispersed a deadly pathogen, the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America's fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949. Like Pearl Harbor, this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either further terrorist attacks or U.S. counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more urgently.


http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19981101faessay1434/ashton-b-carter-john-deutch-philip-zelikow/catastrophic-terrorism-tackling-the-new-danger.html

note the reference to "Pearl Harbor." it seems improbable that the authors of the notorious document by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses, published in Sept. 2000, with the often quoted sentence, "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor," were unaware of the earlier work, although they made no explicit reference to it.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

if the PNAC document is evidence of a neo-con conspiracy behind 9/11, as some have alleged, then Zelikow & associates must have been in the same clique. (for those unfamiliar with PNAC, it's the neo-con think tank that includes Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz in its ranks.) i personally reject the conspiracy notions, but the apparent connection between Zelikow & PNAC, as well as his association with Sect'y of State Rice, lends gravitas to his pronouncements. his coathors in the piece i quoted first, happened to be a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and a former Director of Central Intelligence--impressive company for a little known academic.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2006 12:42 pm
Yitwail, I see what you mean by the Pearl analogy. I am going to try and do this from memory, because I don't want to cut and paste, but should you require it, I will do so.

Although I do NOT feel that the present administration and cohorts had any premeditated motives in 9/11, I do feel that they had a consensus to take advantage of it for political gains, by exploiting the horror. Fear is a great control factor, buddy. In all probability, had the time been right, George, Sr. would have been elected because of the Gulf War, and our current administration recognized that.

It has been rumored that F.D.R. knew about Pearl Harbor in advance, but did nothing. I don't like to believe that is true, but we need to look at both sides. (politicians, you know)Here again, we look at the economics of it, but I won't go into that long diatribe. Suffice it to say, that war creates demands and many profit from those demands. Hope this makes sense, m.d.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2006 01:00 pm
certainly does make sense, letty. and thanks for bringing up FDR's alleged foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor--i hadn't even thought of that, nor have the 9/11 conspiracy advocates as far as i know.
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