Choose your Neo-con poison
By Ahmed Amr
"We're not going to beat George Bush by being Bush Lite. The way to beat George Bush is to give the 50% of Americans who quit voting because they can't tell the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party - give them a reason to vote again." Howard Dean.
If the polls are anywhere near the mark, George Bush has an even chance of polluting the White House for four more years. Given his record, the only reason Dubya remains a viable candidate is John Kerry.
Until a few months ago, the 'Anybody But Bush' movement was gathering enough momentum to guarantee that any randomly chosen Democrat could land Dubya on the unemployment line. It now appears that any old Republican can lick Kerry.
After 9/11, the conventional wisdom was that nothing would ever be the same again. This election proves that America is back to doing business as usual. This is certainly true of the election business. Let the record show that in the year 2004, 290 million Americans could only spare two Skulls and Bones alumni for the most important government position in the world.
One thing is certain - 9/11 didn't change the Democrats. After making their best effort, their party came up with a Gore clone. Both nominees share the same exact political DNA because they rolled off the same production line that manufactured 'electable candidates' a generation ago. The only difference these days, is that the big boys in the back room wheel and deal in smoke free environments.
Kerry was nominated because he was not Howard Dean. To be more precise, Dean was pushed aside when he assaulted the Holy of Holies and described the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) as the "Republican wing of the Democratic Party".
Dean didn't do himself any favors with DLC insiders by suggesting that the United States should pursue an 'even-handed' policy in the Middle East. After that 'gaffe', Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council noted that "For some small group in the Jewish community, Dean's appointment of David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon to his foreign policy team would still be met with scorn."
Who are these Democratic Leadership Council people? Consider them the phantom candidates who are running for co-President of the United States. The former chairman is none other than Senator Joseph Lieberman, Israel's point man in the Senate.
The DLC promotes a philosophy they call 'progressive internationalism' - a slight variation of neo-con ideology. In the run up to Iraq war, the DLC launched a campaign to enlist Democrats in Bush's march to war. Will Marshall, The President of the Progressive Policy Institute, the DLC's think tank, led the charge. In an article titled 'Making the Case On Iraq', he laid out the 'progressive internationalist' position on the war.
"For starters, Democrats need to resist the argument that only the discovery of new evidence against Saddam -- the acquisition of nuclear weapons or clear involvement in anti-U.S. terrorism -- would justify action against the dictator. That reasoning implies that a statute of limitations has expired on Saddam's long catalogue of past crimes. What we already know is bad enough: Saddam is a serial aggressor -- he's attacked no fewer than four neighboring countries -- and an implacable enemy of the United States who is desperately seeking nuclear weapons to complement his deadly arsenal of biological and chemical weapons. Democrats should make it clear to the public that the status quo is intolerable, that the old policy of containing Saddam has failed, and that leaving him free to acquire nuclear weapons is a risk that neither we nor or the civilized world can afford to take."
Marshall's article was published in Blueprint Magazine - a plagiarized edition of Commentary. Now you would think that these 'progressive internationalists' would be chastened by the turn of events in Iraq. But Marshall not only remains an adamant supporter of the war; he is now a militant proponent of escalation.
Here is what he wrote more recently in a Blueprint article published on January 8, 2004.
"What the United States needs now is not an exit strategy but a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy. The key elements of such a strategy are more supple military tactics, more money, and more allies. But that requires more troops, not fewer, and it means deploying them in ways that could raise the risk of U.S. casualties. The administration has rightly made the democratic transformation of the greater Middle East the grand American project of the 21st century. That job starts in Iraq. If we fail here, our hopes for liberalizing the region will be stillborn. To create a stable, representative government in Baghdad, we need to show total commitment to quelling a motley insurgency that includes remnants of Saddam's security and intelligence services, disgruntled Sunnis, and foreign jihadists. Yet the timing of the administration's troop cuts seems dictated by the campaign calendar, not strategy."
Notice that Will Marshall never bothers to suggest that Iraq was part of the 'war on terror'. Even though he repeats the neo-con's outlandish claims about Saddam's non-existent WMDs, he makes it clear that the DLC didn't need illicit weapons or an Al-Qaida link to justify a 'pre-emptive' war against an emaciated Iraqi army. Like other DLC fellow travelers, Marshall was certainly aware that Saddam Hussein was fully contained. But he couldn't resist the urge to indulge in a little bit of old fashioned imperialism and tinker with 'regime change' to transform the 'Greater Middle East'.
Now that his neo-con wet dreams have resulted in a tenacious native insurgency against the foreign occupation forces, Marshall proposes to up the ante. Instead of taking pause and reflecting on how much blood and treasure have already been squandered at the neo-con roulette table, he suggests we ignite other fires in the region. For Marshall, 'the job starts in Iraq'. When and where does it end? That's for the neo-cons to know and the rest of the world to find out.
Like the Bush administration, the DLC and Marshall still subscribe to the idiotic notion that Saddam loyalists and foreign jihadists are at the core of this insurgency. As the intelligence community has often pointed out, very few 'foreigners' have been found among rebels arrested by the Anglo-American occupation forces. Besides, Iraq was home to millions of immigrants from other Arab countries. They are the Iraqi equivalent of permanent residents - very much like the Green Card holders in the US military who serve their country without the benefit of citizenship. As a fully integrated part of the population, it is not surprising that some of these Arab 'foreigners' have joined the Iraqi resistance. Moreover, the insurgents are hardly Saddam loyalists. While they have often demanded the release of Iraqi prisoners - they have never once bothered to ask for Saddam Hussein. And one suspects that the deposed president would fight extradition to Fallujah or Najaf. The only part of Saddam the insurgents might want is his head.
The simple truth is that the Iraqi insurgency is a reaction to the occupation. Yet, the DLC's foreign policy 'experts' don't seem to have a clue about what is essentially a conventional and brutal liberation struggle. Because of their neo-con backgrounds, it is entirely possible that these policy wonks are deliberately misleading the same gullible public that swallowed whole the canards about WMDs.
Marshall and his merry warmongers at the DLC like to posture as 'progressive' zealots on a mission to modernize and liberate the lesser people of the Middle East. In that regard, they are just imposters imitating the diabolical Wolfowitz of Arabia. On both sides of the political divide, the neo-con actors performing this charade have a long and disgraceful history of being apologists for Israel's bloody repression of the Palestinians. So, it seems improbable that they are now possessed with a sudden passion to spread the blessings of liberty to Mesopotamia. More likely, their goal is to give Ariel Sharon a free hand in shaping the future of the whole region. These 'neo-imperialists' are not interested in American Empire; they are motivated by an obsession to fulfill their Likudnik real estate fantasies. Their one item agenda is to create a Greater Israel - not a Greater Middle East. If in the process, we end up with a Lesser America, it will not disturb their sleep patterns.
Marshall's Progressive Policy Institute functions like an imbedded think tank implanted in the heart of the Democratic Party. It is a mirror image of the American Enterprise Institute - the neo-con Likudnik bastion that served as a launching pad for Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and other weapons of mass deception.
Blueprint Magazine, The official publication of the DLC, regularly hosts articles from another think tank - The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. On its pages, one can find the stale neo-con mantras of war party hawks like Kenneth Pollack, the author of "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq". That book was credited with convincing many reluctant Democrats to join the march to war.
The DLC's web site also promotes the foul produce of Bernard Lewis, a rabid anti-Arab racist who was convicted in French courts of intellectual dishonesty on account of his denial of the Armenian Holocaust. Incidentally, Lewis has also served as a private part-time personal tutor for Dick and Lynn Cheney to bring them up to speed on the "dysfunctional Arab mindset".
Martin Indyk is the resident DLC guru on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The former AIPAC president who served as ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration is now employed as the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a fervent supporter of the Iraq war and regime change. In an article titled 'A Squandered Opportunity' that appeared in Blueprint Magazine last November, Indyk wrote "There is nothing in itself wrong with promoting a little instability." Indyk had effusive praise for Bush. "The president argued correctly that if we achieved regime change in Iraq, it could help our efforts to make Israeli-Palestinian peace, reform the Arab world, and pressure the rogue states to end their evil ways."
If the DLC's in-house think tank is the Progressive Policy Institute, their offshore operations are sub-contracted to Martin Indyk's Saban Center, which is financed by Haim Saban, an Israeli/American media tycoon who was the largest Democratic Party donor in 2002. After dropping $5 million into the party's coffers, Haim had enough change left over to pony up another $7 million for the new Democratic National Committee building.
Now, what percentage of the rank and file are aware that a right wing Likudnik neo-con think tank resides in the inner sanctums of the Democratic Party? And how many party activists have any clue that Haim Saban plays a crucial role in shaping their party's foreign policy agenda?
The sad political reality is that John Kerry is not an independent candidate. He comes with DLC strings hard wired to his soul. The Senator is fully aware that he wouldn't even be in this race if the DLC had not succeeded in crushing Howard Dean's insurgency.
As a Senator, Kerry never had the option to resist the DLC 'guidance' to vote for an invasion of Iraq. Now that he is the DLC anointed candidate, Kerry will is obliged to support escalating Bush's 'preemptive' war. If you listen carefully to his recent speeches - you will find that Kerry's views are now perfectly aligned with those of Will Marshall and Martin Indyk. Kerry is not promising an exit strategy in Iraq but 'a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy'. He is not saying this was an unnecessary war of choice - he is just promising to fight a 'tougher and smarter' war by convincing our continental allies to contribute a little European blood and treasure to the quagmire in Iraq.
Because of his liberal domestic track record, Kerry was never the DLC's first choice. That honor went to Joseph Lieberman whose piss poor performance in the primaries demonstrated that the DLC's neo-con ideology has no constituency among the party's rank and file. No matter. Neo-cons aren't particularly fussy about the democratic process. They now have a candidate they can live with in the White House. John Kerry will do just fine as a neo-con Trojan horse. Of course, the neo-cons got one hell of a ride on Dick Cheney's pony. So, they won't be entirely disappointed if Bush gets a second term.
The sad truth is that the Democratic Party's foreign policy has been auctioned off to the Israeli Lobby. There is nothing Bush Lite about the DLC. A vote for Kerry is a vote for Haim Saban and the DLC. This coming Tuesday, you will be invited to choose your neo-con poison. In the next four years, we will all discover that diluted neo-con Kool Aid is just as toxic.
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com. This article can be published at will.
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