Dear Mr. President: Letters from Israel partisans that took America to war
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
March 14, 2012
According to its June 3, 1997 Statement of Principles, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was created to advance a “Reaganite foreign policy of military strength and moral clarity,” a policy PNAC co-founders, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, had advocated the previous year in Foreign Affairs to counter what they construed as the American public’s short-sighted indifference to foreign “commitments.” Calling for a significant increase in “defense spending,” PNAC exhorted the United States “to meet threats before they become dire.”
The Wolfowitz Doctrine
The idea of preemptive war also known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine—subsequently dubbed the “Bush Doctrine” by PNAC signatory Charles Krauthammer—can be traced as far back as Paul Wolfowitz’s Ph.D. dissertation, “Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East,” which was based on “a raft of top-secret documents” his influential mentor, Cold War nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter, somehow “got his hands on” during a post-Six Day War trip to Israel. The “top-secret” Israeli documents supposedly showed that Egypt was planning to divert a Johnson administration proposal for regional civilian nuclear energy into a weapons program. Among those who signed PNAC’s Statement of Principles were Wohlstetter protégés Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Wolfowitz, who despite having been investigated for passing a classified document to an Israeli government official through an AIPAC intermediary in 1978 would be appointed Deputy Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, where he would be the first to suggest attacking Iraq four days after 9/11; Wolfowitz protégé I. Lewis Libby, who later “hand-picked” Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff mainly from pro-Israel think tanks; Elliott Abrams, who would go on to serve as Bush’s senior director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs, his mother-in-law, Midge Decter, and her husband, Norman Podhoretz; and Eliot A. Cohen, who would later smear Walt and Mearsheimer’s research on the Israel lobby’s role in skewing U.S. foreign policy as “anti-Semitic.”
On January 26, 1998, PNAC wrote the first of its many open letters to U.S. presidents and Congressional leaders, in which they enjoined President Clinton that “removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power […] now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.” Failure to eliminate “the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use” its non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the letter cautioned, would put at risk “the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil.” An additional signatory this time was another Wohlstetter protégé, Richard Perle, a widely suspected Israeli agent of influence whose hawkish foreign policy views were shaped when Hollywood High School classmate and girlfriend, Joan Wohlstetter, invited him for a swim in her family’s swimming pool and her father handed Perle his 1958 RAND paper, “The Delicate Balance of Terror,” thought to be an inspiration for Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
Having helped sow the seeds of the Iraq War five years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, PNAC wrote a second letter to Clinton later that year. Joining with the International Crisis Group, and the short-lived Balkan Action Council and Coalition for International Justice, they took out an advertisement in the New York Times headlined “Mr. President, Milosevic is the Problem.” Expressing “deep concern for the plight of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo,” the letter declared that “[t]here can be no peace and stability in the Balkans so long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.” It urged the United States to lead an international effort which should demand a unilateral ceasefire by Serbian forces, put massive pressure on Milosevic to agree on “a new political status for Kosovo,” increase funding for Serbia’s “democratic opposition,” tighten economic sanctions in order to hasten regime change, cease diplomatic efforts to reach a compromise, and support the Hague tribunal’s investigation of Milosevic as a war criminal. Now that “the world’s newest state” (prior to Israel’s successful division of Sudan) is run by a “mafia-like” organization involved in trafficking weapons, drugs and human organs, there appears to be much less concern for the plight of the ethnic Serbian population of Kosovo.