None Dare Call Them Neo-cons
By Ahmed Amr
Where have all the neo-cons gone? They're not visible anymore. It appears they have successfully maneuvered to avoid further detection by launching a preemptive attack against those still tracking their distinctive footprints on America's disastrous foreign policy. In a frontal assault on their detractors, they have now taken to smearing their adversaries as anti-Semites while regrouping as a new political force under a new banner. They now insist on being called 'conservative ideologues' and 'Republican hawks'. None dare call them neo-cons.
To the casual observer, it might appear that the neo-cons have been chastened by recent encounters with the FBI, their abysmal failures in Iraq and their not so secret role in corrupting intelligence to market the war. Yet, every time someone writes their obituary, they show up at the funeral as pallbearers. The day after you bury their neo-con skeletons, they are resurrected as rosy cheeked 'Republican ideologues'.
Of course, the most vulnerable among the neo-cons have gone into hibernation. Richard Perle is now embroiled in the Hollinger embezzlement scandal along with Conrad Black, the publisher of the Jerusalem Post. Perle apparently made off with a sizzling five million dollars - a pittance compared to the fortune siphoned off by Lord Black. At the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz is no longer making waves. These days, he rarely ventures out in public to threaten the Arabs, bully the Turks, warn the Russians or smear the French.
Douglas Feith is too busy warding off charges that he had a role in spying for Tel Aviv and in outing Valerie Plame. In his defense, Abe Foxman and the Jewish lobby have flexed their muscle to kill any further probing of AIPAC/neo-con/Israeli spy operations.
To those who still doubt the political supremacy of the fourth estate, the neo-con faithful at New York Times and The Washington Post have once again demonstrated that they can provide immunity even to those Likudniks implicated in acts of treason. So what have we here? Conservative Republican spies infiltrating the Pentagon and passing on state secrets to Israel. It sounds unlikely. So, who needs an investigation?
You would think that after the exposure of Judith Miller as an accomplice in propagating neo-con WMD fantasies, Sulzberger would behave himself and start reporting the biggest spy scandal since Jonathan Pollard. Contrast his indifference to the AIPAC/neo-con Pentagon spy cabal to the way The New York Times persecuted the innocent Wen Ho Lee who lost his job, was confined under threat of execution and denied bail. It seems that even when it comes to treason, ethnicity matters.
The neo-cons are strange even by the standards of the Israeli lobby. Their tiny cabal is more a cult than a political movement. Even their detractors admire their fanatical patriotism to their country - Israel. Ideologically, they align themselves with the Netenyahu wing of the Likud party. That might not mean a whole lot to most Americans. But it roughly translates into the modern day equivalent of the virulently racist segregationists that plagued the south just a generation ago.
Because of their primary allegiance to Israel, the neo-cons feel no remorse about the outcome in Iraq. For them, America's quagmire and Iraq's misery are a fabulous success story. They got most of what they wanted and their Likudnik brethren in Tel Aviv are ecstatic about the results. While many ordinary Americans are concerned about the increasing toll in blood and treasure - these Likudnik fanatics are celebrating. They have every reason to gloat, break out the champagne and hang up a 'mission accomplished' sign.
After 9/11, the Israel Firsters were alarmed by the emergence of an unprecedented international coalition that rallied around the United States. It gave them no comfort when Le Monde ran front-page headlines proclaiming that "We Are All Americans". Their fear was that their Likudnik agenda would be diluted by a comprehensive universal approach to dealing with the root causes of terrorism.
Sharon was quick to react to the emergence of this international alliance, which threatened to encroach on his expansionist fantasies. He warned that Israel would not cave in to international pressures to grant the Palestinian people their rights to an independent state. His neo-con moles in the Bush administration immediately rallied and dismantled the international coalition in favor of a more manageable 'coalition of the willing' made up of Bush, Blair and Sharon.
By far, the biggest feather in the neo-con's hat came from their incredible success in isolating the United States from her traditional European allies and the many other nations that rallied to America's cause after the catastrophe of 9/11. As a result, American and British soldiers are now standing shoulder to shoulder in Iraq with a forty-man contingent from Tonga and a few dozen Mongolian warriors.
By focusing on Iraq, the neo-cons gave Sharon plenty of elbowroom to continue battering the Palestinians. The Israeli government took full advantage of the world's distraction to confiscate more native land, routinely kill Palestinian civilians, assault foreign journalists, murder American and British peace activists, demolish thousands of homes and build a Palitentiary wall to segregate the Arab natives into open-air internment camps. All under the banner of bringing freedom and democracy to the 'Greater Middle East'.
Getting the opportunity to stoke the flames of anti-Arab racism and anti-Islamic bigotry was also considered a distinct advantage by the neo-cons. It created a favorable global environment for the continued repression and humiliation of the Palestinian people.
These neo-con operatives had few problems with the increased prospect of anti-American terrorism. Part of their Likudnik marketing program was to smear the Palestinian resistance as nothing more than a branch of Al Qaeda. On another front, they worked to bring about the demise of the United Nations, which was dismissed as a 'debating society'. For the neocons, this had the salutary effect of annulling UN resolutions calling for a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders.
The neo-cons even managed to squeeze in hundreds of millions of dollars of supplemental aid to Israel to compensate for Sharon's 'losses' from the Iraq war. If the neo-cons ever believed that Iraq had chemical weapons, they are now satisfied that Israel retains its Middle Eastern monopoly on WMDs - including an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear bombs.
Of course, Wolfowitz and his gang didn't get all the items on their wish list. Almost immediately after the fall of Baghdad, they started agitating for an assault on Syria and Iran. That wasn't going to happen - at least not immediately. Still, all in all, it is not a bad score card for the tiny Likudnik cabal that operates under the neo-con neon sign. In their estimate, when America loses a mile and Israel gains an inch, it makes for an excellent journey.
Even if the neo-cons were permanently exiled from the Pentagon and the State Department, they would forever boast of how so few of them did so much for the cause of Ariel Sharon, the patron saint of the Likudnik priesthood.
After the trauma of 9/11, many Americans instinctively understood that the terrorists did not attack us because of our lifestyle or who we are. They knew that the attacks had a lot to do with our foreign policy. But the neo-cons and their entrenched media allies managed to silence those who would engage in a rational discourse of what compelled nineteen crazed men with suicidal rage to kill so many innocent Americans.
The neo-cons had good reason to avoid a debate that might have resulted in exposing their role in formulating a ruinous foreign policy that only served the interest of giving their brethren in Tel Aviv more space to create a Greater Israel. In place of a realistic assessment of the political environment that causes the phenomenon of terrorism, the neo-cons and their mass media allies have sold America on the dangerous notion that the assailants were motivated by their culture and religion - not by their rage at our policies.
To date, no serious inquiry into the root cause of terrorism has taken place in the halls of power or the mass media. Just as the Likudniks in Israel managed to obscure the fact that a brutal military occupation is a manufacturing plant of Palestinian terror, their neo-con cousins have succeeded in divorcing anti-American terror from the foreign policy of the United States. Terrorism has been rendered into a bizarre philosophical outlook of a nihilistic religious cult that seeks nothing less than the elimination of freedom and liberty and the destruction of western democracy.
Any historian with half a brain knows that terrorism is nothing new. Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were master terrorists before Bin Laden was born. Just ask the kin of the folks they blew up in the King David Hotel. Ariel Sharon was the commander of Unit 101 - tasked with leading terror squads in missions like Qibya, where his goons massacred a whole village in 1953.
The Sikhs, the IRA, the Basques, the Red Brigades, Tamil separatists, Liberian tribal factions, the Shining Path in Peru, The ANC and the Mau Mau have all resorted to terrorism. We have all been witnesses to narco-terrorism in Colombia and Mexico and state terrorism in Saddam's Iraq and Israel. In military textbooks, terrorism and guerilla tactics are simply known as asymmetrical warfare. It is an instrument of battle employed by those with just and unjust causes in every corner of the planet.
My point is that a statistical analysis of the cultural, racial or theological causes of terrorism might yield some uncomfortable results. What if one were to compare the per-capita incidence of terrorism by Jews like Begin, Shamir and Sharon to that of Muslims like Bin Laden. If state terrorism was added to the statistical pool - which culture would appear to be more violent? If we were to take into account that Israelis have a nasty habit of electing war criminals to the highest office in the land - what if anything would that say about Jewish values? If we took a historical account of genocide against native people, Soviet gulags, Nazi concentration camps and plain old collateral damage and free fire zones - what could we conclude if anything about western culture. If we broadened our studies to the cruelties in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Bosnia, Algeria, Ceylon, Chechnya, Colombia, Cambodia, the Congo, East Timor and Darfur - what cultural lessons could we draw?
The catastrophic success of the neo-cons in escalating America's unprofitable conflicts in the Middle East to a war of civilizations should create serious questions in serious minds about the national origin of their neo-conservative ideology. Enough people have already noticed that their agenda is not an American agenda. So, it is natural that they have taken heed of the heat and retreated to other quarters to market their wares under new 'conservative Republican' labels. And if Kerry wins, they will certainly posture as 'Democratic hawks' - returning to their land of birth as 'Scoop Jackson Democrats'.
Whatever label they choose for marketing their policies will not change their basic mission to promote Israeli interests. A neo-con is a neo-con is a neo-con. And a Likudnik is a Likudnik is a Likudnik. And they are all one and the same.
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com. This article can be published at will.
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