As the official rationales for the U.S. invasion of Iraq—that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction” which threatened the national security of the United States and that the Iraqi government had operational ties to al-Qaida—are now widely acknowledged to have been fabricated, and the back-up rationalization—of bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq—is also losing credibility, increasing attention is being given as to why the U.S. government, with broad bipartisan support, made such a fateful decision.
He then proposes several explanations in an effort to bat them away. One of the more interesting:
“Pro-Israel Jewish neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, and others were among the key architects of the policy of ‘preventative war’ and were the strongest advocates for a U.S. invasion of Iraq.”
This hardly seems controversial at this point. But Zunes goes out of his way to issue the following denial:
[W]hile a number of prominent neoconservative intellectuals are of Jewish background, they have tended not to be religious nor have they, despite their support for the current right-wing Israeli government, been strongly identified as Zionists.
Zunes doth protest too much. I’d prefer to take the word of Norman Podhoretz, one of the “grandpas” of the neo-conservative movement, as cited in my essay, “Beyond Incompetence: Washington’s War in Iraq.” Podhoretz rejects the idea that all neoconservatives are Jewish, but then confirms…
“it is certainly true that all neo-conservatives are strong supporters of Israel”
Those unwilling to acknowledge this simple point have little chance of understanding the neo-conservatives or their vision of post-Saddam Iraq. It is for this reason that I suggest we cut right to the chase and call the neocons by a name that actually describes their politics; they are Right Zionists. (“Right” Zionists because they are Republicans, unlike most Zionists who are Democrats–Dem Zionists who provided and continue to provide the “broad bipartisan support” for the US invasion of Iraq).
There is more to understanding this war than understanding Right Zionists. I agree with Zunes on at least one crucial point:
the most prominent backers of the U.S. invasion of Iraq—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney—are neither Jewish nor prone to put the perceived interests of Israel ahead of that of the United States.
I suspect that–my own efforts notwithstanding–we have only begun to understand the stakes for Rumsfeld and Cheney.