Brownfeld Reviews Transparent Cabal in WRMEA
Monday, March 8, 2010 6:09 PM
From: “Stephen Sniegoski”
The following is a very favorable, informative review of my book, “The Transparent Cabal,” by Allan C. Brownfeld in the March 2010 issue of the “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.”
Allan C. Brownfeld is a syndicated columnist and the author of five books, the latest of which is “The Revolution Lobby” (Council for Inter-American Security). Brownfeld is editor of “Issues,” the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism, an associate editor of “The Lincoln Review,” and a contributing editor to such publications as “Human Events,” “The St. Croix Review,” and the “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.” He has been a staff aide to a U.S. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the U.S. Senate Internal Subcommittee.
A fuller biography can be found at:
The “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs” is a 100-page magazine published 9 times per year in Washington, DC, that focuses on news and analysis from and about the Middle East and U.S. policy in that region.
Transparent Cabal Website:
Amazon listing of The Transparent Cabal:
Sniegoski Book Examines Role of American Neocons in Taking the U.S. to War in Iraq
By Allan C. Brownfeld
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Israel and Judaism, Pages 42-43, 65
FOR MANY Americans, the basis for the 2003 U.S. attack on Iraq remains something of a mystery. The reasons the Bush administration cited for going to war—that Iraq had ties with al-Qaeda, that it possessed weapons of mass destruction and that, somehow, it was involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11—have all been proven to be false. It is, some argued, as if, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we declared war on Mexico.
There were, however, a group of men and women in and out of government who had been proposing such an attack on Iraq even before 9/11. These were American neoconservatives—including such leading Bush administration officials as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and L. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. What exactly motivated these supporters of war with a country that never attacked us and posed little threat to the U.S.? This is the subject of the important book The Transparent Cabal by Stephen J. Sniegoski (available from the AET Book Club; see p. 57).
Dr. Sniegoski’s focus on the neoconservative involvement in U.S. foreign policy antedates the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His first major work on the subject, The War On Iraq: Conceived in Israel, was published Feb. 10, 2003—more than a month before the U.S. launched its “Shock and Awe” campaign.
His latest book, Sniegoski points out, “examines a controversial and in some respects taboo subject: the close relationship of the American neoconservatives with the Israeli Likudnik right, and their role as the fundamental drivers of the Bush administration’s militant American policy in the Middle East—a policy which inspired both the 2003 war in Iraq and the equally militant solutions contemplated since for other Middle East policy problems…[These] have their common origin in the orientation of the neoconservative policy towards service of the interests of Israel. This orientation is at the root of the explanation for why our policy does not seem to address or correspond with the genuine security needs of the U.S….Ideology and personal ties have blinded them to what most others clearly see as the foreign policy reality.”
“The overarching goal of both the neoconservatives and the Likudniks was to create an improved strategic environment for Israel,” Sniegoski notes. “This does not necessarily mean that the neoconservatives were deliberately promoting the interests of Israel at the expense of the U.S. Instead, they maintained that an identity of interests existed between the two countries—Israel’s enemies being ipso facto America’s enemies. However, it is apparent that the neocons viewed American foreign policy in the Middle East through the lens of Israeli interest, as Israeli interest was perceived by the Likudniks.”
The difference between neoconservative policies and those developed by the traditional foreign policy establishment was stark, according to Sniegoski: “In contrast to the traditional goal of stability, the neocons called for destabilizing existing regimes. Of course, the neocons couched their policy in terms of the eventual restabilization of the region on a democratic basis…Likudnik strategy saw the benefit of regional destabilization for its own sake—creating as it would an environment of weak, disunified states or statelets involved in internal and external conflicts that could be easily dominated by Israel…Thus, unlike a true ‘cabal,’ characterized by secrecy, the neoconservatives’ was a ‘transparent cabal’—oxymoronic as that term might be.”
During the 1990s—long before the 9/11 terrorist assault upon the U.S.—the neoconservatives were quite open about their goal of war in the Middle East to destabilize Iraq and other enemies of Israel. In Sniegoski’s view, “A clear illustration of the neocon thinking on this subject—and intimate connection with Israeli security—was a 1996 paper entitled ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing The Realm,’ published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.”
Included in the study group that prepared the report for the incoming Likud government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were figures who would loom large in the George W. Bush administration’s war policy in the Middle East: Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser (who was then actually affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies). Perle was listed as head of the study group.
The “realm” that the study group sought to secure was Israel’s. The paper recommended that Netanyahu should “make a clean break” with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza, and presented a plan by which Israel would “shape its strategic environment”—beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussain and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad. Significantly, the report did not present Saddam’s Iraq as a major threat to Israel. Rather, Iraq was seen more as the weakest link among Israel’s enemies. By removing Saddam, the study argued, Israel would be in a strategic position to get at its more dangerous foes.
The elimination of Saddam was presented as a first step toward reconfiguring the entire Middle East for the benefit of Israel. “Israel can shape its strategic environment in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria,” the study maintained. “This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq—an important strategic objective in its own right-—as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”