Archive for January, 2013

Israel hits target in Syria border area: sources

Israel hits target in Syria border area:

Syria warns of “surprise” response to Israel attack

Israel deliberating further strikes on Syria – reports

Israel will ‘regret’ attacks on Syria – Iranian Security Head

Israel attacked on the Syria/Lebanon border (and near Damascus as well) so is the rest of the neocon inspired ‘Clean Break’ ( in play for Syria/Lebanon!

 We know who has been behind most of it!:
Israel Lobby Pushing Syrian Regime Change to Weaken Iran!:

Obama’s Purpose for Picking Chuck Hagel



This is my new article on the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.  I point out that contrary to holding fringe views, which is the charge made by his neocon critics, his views represent those of the realist wing of the old establishment—Scowcroft, Brzezinski, Baker.  And Obama’s fundamental purpose for picking him is to keep the US out of a war with Iran, for which there is likely to be strong pressure from Israel and the Israel Lobby this year.  Hagel’s current pro-Israel and belligerent anti-Iranian statements are a ruse to obtain Senate confirmation.

My article can be found at the following websites, and others,  in some cases with a more impressive title:

Veterans News Now

My Catbird Seat

Wake Up America!



Stephen Sniegoski


Obama’s Purpose for Picking Chuck Hagel

Stephen J.  Sniegoski


A major issue in Washington pertaining to foreign policy and national security affairs is the fight over President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.   Why  is it so important?   Just before Christmas, Jackson Diehl, the deputy editor of the Washington Post’s editorial page,  had an insightful article in which he noted that although  the persistent predictions that either there would be a US (or Israeli) strike on Iran or else the Islamic state would have a nuclear bomb had so far  proven false,  “there’s a good case to be made that next year  (2013) will finally bring a break in the Iranian standoff — by means of a military confrontation, the appearance of an Iranian bomb or a diplomatic deal of some kind.”  Obama has on numerous occasions pledged that Iran will not be allowed to reach a nuclear weapons “breakout capacity”—the point where it would be too late to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  In short, Obama, by establishing this “red line,”   has painted himself in a corner from which an easy escape may no longer be possible.  2013 could likely be the year when a powerful allegation, whether true or false, that Iran is about to achieve a nuclear weapons breakout capacity is thrust upon him.

“Will 2013 see action on Iran’s nuclear program?,” Washington Post,   December 23, 2012


It seems apparent that Obama’s red line on Iran was basically a way of propitiating the war hawks rather than a policy that he actually believes in or, if he has his druthers, intends to actually carry out. Moreover, since Obama is currently riding high in the polls, and, as he expressed in his inaugural address, wants to focus on his domestic, liberal reform agenda, he has an especially strong interest in not changing the current political climate, which a war would obviously do.  No vital American interest would be endangered no matter what Iran did in its nuclear policy, whereas a war could destroy Obama’s presidency and his popular image, comparable to what befell Lyndon Johnson in the morass of Vietnam.  The military sees the war as a difficult undertaking that could not be limited to a few bombing attacks on known nuclear facilities,  but rather could lead to a regional conflagration, wreaking havoc with the world economy, which is already in a tenuous condition.  Anti-Americanism would flare up not only in the Middle East but throughout the world.  And since it is likely that no clear-cut evidence would ever be found that Iran was actually going to develop a nuclear bomb, Obama would be condemned as a murderous imperialist in the Third World, and elsewhere among more progressive elements,  where he  would like to be seen as a hero.

Getting out of this war predicament, I believe, is the major—though not the only—reason for Obama’s selection of Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to be his next Secretary of Defense.  Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, who would be the first enlisted man to head the Defense Department, served as a US Senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009.  As such, he became a friend and national security mentor to Barack Obama (who entered the Senate in 2005), despite their differences in party affiliation.  Sharing a critical view of the Iraq war, they had gotten to know each other on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and developed a close friendship after they went on a trip together to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in July 2008, where Hagel, with his combat background, took the lead in discussing military matters with the enlisted troops and officers, which very much impressed the inexperienced Obama.


Hagel, who in October 2002 voted to authorize the President to use force against Iraq,  would early on in the occupation emerge as a vociferous critic of the Iraq war, ultimately  co-sponsoring a resolution in 2007, with Joe Biden,  opposing the “surge” and calling for a transition to a much reduced  U.S. military role  in that country. Moreover, he criticized the Bush administration for not engaging in any serious negotiations with Iran.  And while he consistently supported Israel, he was unwilling to pay complete obeisance to the Israel lobby, being so irreverent to that powerful group as to quip: “I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator”—a statement regarded as outrageous in some quarters.   Taking these positions required considerable strength of character since they did not sit well with the Republican leadership, the Israel lobby, or his Nebraska constituency in which Christian Zionists loomed large.


In 2009, President Obama appointed Hagel as co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which reviews various aspects of intelligence, and he is a member of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, which does likewise for national defense.   Regarding his more recent positions, in September 2012, he signed a report by the Iran Project, “Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran”—whose other signatories included Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski,  retired Admiral William Fallon, retired General Anthony Zinni and former Ambassador Thomas Pickering—which, while professing not to offer policy recommendations, describes the consequences of an Israeli or US strike against Iran in a negative light.  It contends that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would damage but not destroy Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons and that “Serious costs to US interests would also be felt over the longer term . . . with problematic consequences for global and regional stability, including economic stability.  A dynamic of escalation, action, and counteraction could produce serious unintended consequences that would significantly increase all of these costs and lead, potentially, to all-out regional war.”

“Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran,” p. 11,


While neocons and their followers have consistently attacked Hagel’s national security positions as leftist, dovish, and on the fringe, they are actually nothing of the sort.  Rather, Hagel represents the so-called realist wing of the traditional foreign policy establishment, which bases its policy considerations on national interest and the limits of power, rather than ideology, especially eschewing alleged crusades for democracy or freedom. Prominent realists in recent times have included: Henry Kissinger, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford; Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter; and James Baker, Secretary of State and Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor, both under George H. W. Bush.  To show that he does not rule out the significance of morality in making foreign policy, Hagel describes his position as being that of “principled realism,“ which political journalist John Judis contends reflects the mindset of most realists today.  Judis writes: “Hagel and the ex-officials understand realism to mean a ‘realistic’—as opposed to ‘reckless’—foreign policy. They don’t reject the idea that the world would be better if dictatorships became democracies, but they are very cautious about how the United States could bring that about.”

In contrast to neocons, who maintain that the United States is such an overwhelmingly dominant superpower that it can, and should, unilaterally bring about regime change in “rogue nations,” realists “believe that the Cold War’s end had created a multipolar and potentially anarchic world that threatens to erupt in new kinds of wars and crises that require coordinated responses. They also think that the world has become what Brzezinski calls ‘post-imperial’— that the great powers can no longer simply impose their will upon lesser developed countries. And that particularly applies to the Middle East where resentment of Western imperialism endures.”

John Judis, “Don’t Believe What Today’s GOP Says About the Foreign Policy ‘Mainstream,’” New Republic, July 10, 2013


Hagel currently chairs the Atlantic Council,  a Washington think tank with strong connections to prestigious members of the foreign policy establishment. The council has as its mission the promotion of “constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century.”    In December 2012, it issued a major report, “Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World,” which would seem to have quasi-governmental sanction.   The report declares that it “is intended to complement the National Intelligence Council (NIC)’s much-anticipated quadrennial report Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,” and that in producing the report “the Atlantic Council has worked alongside the NIC, the US intelligence community’s mid- and long-term analysis body.” (p. 1)

[Atlantic Council, Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western, ]


While emphasizing a radically changed world environment in which non-Western countries will be far more significant, both economically and politically, the report simultaneously rejects the idea of an America in decline, holding that the US still can exercise global leadership but in a less overt manner. “Rather than  considering itself a hegemon,” the report counsels, “it would be wise for the United States to think more like chairman of the board, convener in chief, catalyzer, and 911 first responder (decreasingly so). . . . Discreet engagement, humility and knowing where your leverage starts and stops will be critical to a prudent, strategy-driven, priority focused policy.  (p. 30)

Without direct American intervention, the report sees the Middle East moving ineluctably in a democratic direction as a result of global communications, which will ultimately bring about the end of authoritarian regimes, including the Islamic Republic.  “For U.S. strategy,” the study contends, “Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region” as it had been prior to the Islamic revolution in 1979. “A post-mullah dominated government shedding Shia [Muslim] ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030.” (p. 43)  While describing nuclear proliferation as a serious danger, the study accepts the possibility that Iran, even before any shift to democracy,  might possess nuclear weapons. However, it mentions this only briefly within the context of US nuclear weapons policy, contending that such a development would not necessarily preclude a significant diminution of the US nuclear arsenal, which it supports, maintaining: “To deter and if necessary to defeat micro-nuclear powers such as North Korea, or Iran if it does cross the nuclear threshold, numbers substantially lower than those of the current U.S. nuclear arsenal may be possible.” (p. 48)


What makes Hagel especially valuable is that, because of his connections, he will have support from prominent figures in the field of national security, who can come forth and publicly defend his policies, providing an effective counterweight to the likely hostile misrepresentation and criticism from the neocons and the overall Israel lobby.  Hagel’s endorsements demonstrate this elite support, which includes: Colin Powell, Secretary of State under George W. Bush;  Frank Carlucci, National Security Advisor and Secretary of Defense under Reagan; Lawrence Korb, Assisstant Secretary of Defense under Reagan; Richard Burt, Assistant Secretary of State under Reagan; Thomas Pickering, Ambassador to Israel under Reagan; Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Obama; Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor under George H.W. Bush; Richard Haas , who held senior posts under both Bushes and is currently President of the Council of Foreign Relations; Zbigniew Brzezinski,  National Security Advisor under Carter; and William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense under Clinton.


Hagel is also supported by senior retired military leaders, including: Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as CIA director under President George W. Bush; Adm. William Fallon, former commander of U.S. Central Command; Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander, U.S. Central Command; Adm. Robert Natter, former commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Lt. Gen. Dan Christman, former superintendent, U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Gen. James Jones, former national security advisor; Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander in Afghanistan; and  Adm. William Fallon, former commander of U.S. Central Command.

To understand what Hagel might do, a quick review of the establishment realists’ reaction to the neocon-inspired Middle East agenda is in order. Realists were cool to the war on Iraq and the overall neocon agenda in the Middle East, with Scowcroft and Brzezinski being major critics of America’s going to war in 2003. In March 2006, as public opposition intensified against the Iraq War, Congress created a 10-member commission, called the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by the elder Bush’s close associate and former Secretary of State James Baker and by former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, which was charged with assessing the war situation in Iraq and offering solutions not only for the problems in Iraq but also for the broader Middle East.   Released on December 6, 2006, the Iraq Study Group report forthrightly asserted that America could not prevail militarily. Though rejecting a “precipitate withdrawal” of American troops, it advocated a gradual exit of all combat units by 2008, with some American military personnel remaining to advise Iraqi forces.

The most glaring differences between the Iraq Study Group’s report and the neocons were not on Iraq, but rather pertained to the issues of Iran and the Israeli-Palestine conflict. It was on these issues that the report offered its most radical break with neoconservative policy. On Iran, it advocated rapprochement rather than destabilization and regime change, as sought by the neocons.  Iran and Syria, diehard enemies of Israel, were to be made integral partners of an international Iraq Support Group, which would work for the stabilization of that country. Regarding Israel and Palestine, the report recognized that stability could not be established in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East without first achieving a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Iraq Study Group’s report was widely recognized as a “realist” document.   In the Washington Post, for example, Glen Kessler and Thomas E. Ricks referred to it as the “The Realist Manifesto.” “Throughout its pages,” Kessler and Ricks opined, “the report reflects the foreign policy establishment’s disdain for the ‘neoconservative’ policies long espoused by President Bush and his aides.”

“The Realists’ Repudiation Of Policies for a War, Region,” Washington Post,  December 7, 2006


No effort was ever made to implement the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations since President Bush, instead, adopted in January 2007 the almost diametrically opposed “surge” approach formulated at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), its principal developers being Frederick Kagan and General Jack Keane, which instead of winding down the war escalated it with increased troop levels.

Realists not only expressed their views on Middle East policy from outside the executive branch of the government, but also in subordinate roles within it, as would be the case for Hagel, if confirmed. Robert Gates, a realist of equal stature to that of Hagel, would replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense shortly after the 2006 Congressional election, in which Republicans suffered a serious defeat largely due to the unpopularity of the Iraq war.

In the elder Bush’s administration, Gates had served as deputy national security advisor under Scowcroft and then subsequently as director of the CIA. Like Scowcroft, Gates had publicly questioned the war on Iraq. Moreover, he also advocated a more conciliatory approach toward Iran, which was reflected in the report, “Iran: Time for a New Approach,” he co-authored with Brzezinski for the Council on Foreign Relations in 2004. The report held that the United States should abandon the idea of overthrowing the Islamic regime in Iran, described as “solidly entrenched,” and, instead, begin to deal with it, which the report held would be more cooperative if US threats should cease.  Gates also had been a member of the Iraq Study Group.

“Robert Gates, a Cautious Player From a Past Bush Team,” New York Times,  November 9, 2006


What impact did Gates have as Secretary of Defense, a post he would retain under Obama until retiring on July 1, 2011?  During the Bush administration, Gates directed the “surge” in 2007, and with violence on the decline he began the troop withdrawal from Iraq, a policy that was continued into Obama’s tenure.  And, according to Bob Woodward in his book, Obama’s Wars, Gates, in line with the thinking of the military leadership, advocated the increase in troop levels in Afghanistan that became Obama’s “surge” in 2009.  In regard to Iran, however, Gates, again along with the Pentagon military brass, firmly opposed a military strike, which, he informed the Senate Appropriations Committee in April 2009, would only delay Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear capability while “send[ing] the program deeper and more covert.” Brzezinski described Gates as “a bulwark against those who want to go to war in Iran or give the green light for Israel to go to war.”

Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe, “A new fight over the Iran ‘threat’,” Asia Times, May 13, 2009,


This review of the past statements and actions of Hagel and realists in general shows that they have been opposed to a war on Iran, though are less resistant to other aspects of the neocon Middle East war agenda. The question is whether this past will be a good indicator of the future.

To the disgust of some critics of the Israel lobby and the Middle East war agenda, Hagel is now disavowing many of the positions taken by him and his confreres in order to placate pro-Israel Democrats and thus guarantee his confirmation by the Senate. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate and a staunch supporter of Israel—and a man whose opposition to Hagel’s confirmation would be essential if the latter’s confirmation were to be stymied—was persuaded to give his endorsement as a result of Hagel’s recantations in their recent 90-minute private meeting. “In our conversation,” Schumer solemnly declared, “ Senator Hagel made a crystal-clear promise that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including the use of military force.”

“Schumer Says He’s Satisfied With Hagel on Mideast,” New York Times, January 15, 2013


What does the seeming disavowal of his past positions portend for Hagel’s actions as Secretary of Defense?  Obviously his current obeisance to the positions of the Israel lobby reflects the position of the Obama administration.  There would seem to be no other reason for him to undergo such a transmutation.  Does Obama expect him to be, and is Hagel willing to be, a toady to Israel, and perhaps focus largely on cutting the defense budget, which is a much safer task, instead of offering input on broader national security policy?  But why would Obama pick the controversial Hagel, who was certain to set off alarm bells among the Israel Firsters and their Congressional minions, if his purpose were so limited?  He could have achieved the latter goal with a much less controversial choice.  And note that this is not the first time that Obama tried to nominate someone who raised the hackles of the Israel Lobby. In 2009, Obama’s first year in office, he was willing to nominate Chas Freeman as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman, who had served as Ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia, had often denounced many of Israel’s actions and America’s tight relationship with the Jewish state.   As a result of rigid opposition, in which Chuck Schumer played a primary role, Freeman withdrew his name.


After winning re-election, Obama is in a very strong position politically, perhaps the strongest he will attain during his second term, for, if history is a guide, presidents generally suffer a decline in popularity during their second terms. On domestic matters Obama is clearly exercising his political power, opting for confrontation over compromise with Republicans on domestic issues such as the budget and gun control.  Obama is quite willing to lambaste the gun lobby and doesn’t seek compromise there.  In short, is Obama willing to be confrontational regarding other aspects of his political agenda while he acts with servility regarding everything related to Israel, including a war with Iran?   This would seem to show that he, and his political advisors, regard the Israel lobby as a far more powerful, and dangerous, adversary than other current political forces in the United States, and believe that it needs to be dealt with in a more oblique manner.


Quite likely, Obama’s intent is that, once ensconced as Secretary of Defense, Hagel would return to his previous positions—though doing so stealthily—especially in regard to avoiding war with Iran, and thus serve in an administration effort to stop the march to war.  Undoubtedly, Hagel’s recantations so far, which must be repeated in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearings, would be used against him to undercut his credibility if he reverted to his previous positions.   Nonetheless, attacks on his character might count for little compared to the actual debate on the merits and harm of initiating war.  Moreover, since the military leadership has had qualms about the wisdom of launching an attack, Hagel could do much to advance the cause of peace simply by giving them free rein to present their arguments, while staying in the background himself or pointing out that he would be simply presenting the views of his military experts.

Obama is very cautious, but like more than a few recent presidents of the post-World War II period, it is likely that he has no real love for the Israel lobby, or even Israel, and everything would seem to indicate that he is  very much opposed to a war with Iran.  And it is reasonable to assume that Hagel has been willing to prostrate himself in order to cautiously advance the goal of peace, since it is highly unlikely that he wants to become Secretary of Defense so badly that he is willing to do anything to get it. Such a debased tactic would not just be completely out of character for Hagel; it would not be worth it to him personally since if he became a toady to the Israel lobby he would lose his credibility with the establishment luminaries who have the power to provide him with important private positions and honors.  Rather, Hagel is likely doing it because Obama (with whom, as pointed out earlier, he has had a close relationship) has keyed him in to his plan.


Beyond avoiding imminent war with Iran, Obama very likely might intend to make use of Hagel to substantially reduce America’s overall Israelocentric military involvement in the Middle East, which would entail a move toward real negotiations with the Islamic Republic.  And Hagel as Secretary of Defense might be able to do this surreptitiously by his willingness to support major cuts in the defense budget.  The argument would then be that the US would need to reduce its military commitments to make them commensurate with America’s reduced military capability stemming from the necessary spending cuts.

None of this is to imply that Obama intends to completely overhaul America’s overall Middle East policy.  Most importantly, it is highly unlikely that he plans to substantially change America’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict and actually pressure Israel to allow for a viable, fully-sovereign  Palestinian state or even cease America’s backing of Israel at the UN Security Council with its vetoes. Since its support for Israel is a major cause of  hostility toward the United States in the Middle East, Obama would not achieve any radical improvement in America’s negative image in the region.  Moreover, without ceasing its all-out support for Israel, the  United States could still be dragged into Israel’s conflicts. Nonetheless, Obama and Hagel would be capable of stopping the imminent danger to the United States, which is war with Iran, and could pursue policies that would likely lessen, though certainly not eliminate, the likelihood of future American military adventurism in the region.


Hagel Nomination, Israel and the Neocons:

It Is All About Israel

It Is All About Israel

Posted By Philip Giraldi On January 16, 2013 @ 10:00 pm In Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Something curious is taking place. The nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary   of Defense came under fire from the friends of Israel even before it was certain   that President Barack Obama would name him to the post. Hagel demonstrably   has no particular animus towards Israel but he, while senator, refused to kowtow   to the Israel Lobby, failing to sign on to letters and position statements,   saying that he was first and foremost a United States Senator, not a representative   of a foreign power. He also favors negotiations with Iran to end the nuclear   standoff, which critics immediately latched onto as a sign of weakness and a   further indication that he did not have Israel’s back. Bill Kristol, head of   the Emergency Committee for Israel, quickly piled   on to the Hagel nomination, followed by the Washington Post’s Jennifer   Rubin and Charles   Krauthammer, convicted Iran contra felon Elliot   Abrams, reliably liberal Rachel   Maddow, Harvard’s own Israel   firster Alan Dershowitz, Mitt Romney adviser   Dan Senor, and Johns Hopkins’ Professor Eliot   Cohen. Several critics, including the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle   Pletka, accused   Hagel of being anti-Semitic and Islamophobe Pamela Geller described   him as a “Jew hater.” Transplanted American now-living-in-Israel   Caroline Glick somewhat more confusingly wrote   that he “hates Jews that think that Jews have rights.” Major Jewish   organizations including the Anti-Defamation League and The American Jewish Committee,   quickly followed suit, with ADL’s Abe Foxman saying   “the sentiments he’s [Hagel’s] expressed about the Jewish lobby border   on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt   and former president Jimmy Carter” while the AJC’s David Harris added “We’re   not in the opposition camp, we’re in the concerned camp. We’re going to count   on the Senate to examine, as it must, key issues of concern.”

At that point a number of prominent American Jews who normally avoid any open   criticism of the Israel Lobby became concerned and began to push back, noting   that there was nothing to be alarmed about in Hagel’s record and that the perception   that Jews as a group were blocking a qualified presidential appointment might   create an unwelcome backlash. The counter-critics included   prominent spokesmen like Thomas Friedman, Richard Haas, Joe Klein, Richard Cohen,   Nick Kristof, David Ignatius, Aaron David Miller, and Peter Beinart and their   view would appear to reflect the majority opinion of American Jews, though characteristically   not the views of the leading Jewish organizations which are closely aligned   with Israel’s right wing government and to major donors like Sheldon Adelson.   To provide some space for the counterattack and to steer it away from being   a Jewish issue, some Hagel supporters began to note   that much of the opposition to the appointment was also coming from other sources,   including disgruntled Republicans out to “get” Obama and defense contractors   fearing budget cuts. Christian Zionists, whose unflinching   support for both Israel and military spending is linked to their desire to hasten   the end of the world and bring about the battle of Armageddon preceding the   second coming of Christ, are also on the list.

While applauding the efforts of many Americans to pull out the stops in support   the Hagel nomination, I would nevertheless argue that the attempt to identify   some kind of rainbow coalition in the opposition to Hagel is pretty much a canard.   It really is all about Israel, at least in the minds of most of those who seriously   are seeking to block the nomination. Consider for a second whether Hagel would   be facing any serious opposition at all if it were not for the claim that he   is anti-Israel and not predisposed to use force against Iran. And bear in mind   that Iran is really a subset of the Israel issue since it is Benjamin Netanyahu   who is driving the belligerency even though the Iranians do not actually threaten   the United States in any serious way. Consider also who is providing the muscle   and the money to attack Hagel. It is organizations like Bill Kristol’s the Emergency   Committee for Israel that was able to place a full page ad in the New   York Times on Tuesday denouncing Hagel as the “anti-Israel nominee   for Secretary of Defense.” The ad was signed by former New York City Mayor   Ed Koch as well as two currently serving Democratic Congressmen, Shelley Berkley   of Nevada and Eliot Engel of New York.

Christian Zionists might not like the Hagel nomination but they are not to   my knowledge placing similar full page ads in leading newspapers, nor are they   appearing on television talk shows, to which they have little or no access.   Nor do they have the political pull to command the presence of hundreds of congressmen   at their annual conference, as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee   (AIPAC) is able to do. Defense contractors likewise are not attacking Hagel   because they know that it will be a collective White House decision where and   when to cut spending and Hagel will merely be the implementer of the policy.   They also understand that while budget cuts are coming no matter who is Secretary   of Defense because the government is running out of money they will continue   to benefit from large military appropriations, even if the spending will not   be growing dramatically as it has for the past eleven years.

No, the heart of the opposition to Hagel is in the hands of the ad hoc   groups pulled together by Bill Kristol and others, to include fellow travelers   in congress like Senator Mark Kirk, who explains why he will oppose Hagel while   trying to appear high minded: “I am concerned about his past record and   statements, particularly with regard to Iran and the U.S.-Israel relationship.”   Kirk’s staff assistant Richard Goldberg has meanwhile been running an email   campaign against Hagel consisting of multiple messages sent daily to fellow   congressmen   and friends in the media while Senator Lindsey Graham, who has already described   Hagel as “very antagonistic toward the state of Israel,” leads the   charge openly from the friends-of-Israel right where he is joined   by a “deeply troubled” Senator Kelly Ayotte who wants to see a “fearful”   Iran. It is Kristol and company as well as the politicians they have in their   pockets who have the ability to appear on television to tell the American people   why they should reject Chuck Hagel. They are the ones with the money, the organization,   and the media savvy to lead the fight against someone whose fealty to Israel   is not sufficiently established, not Pastor John Hagee and his mewling evangelical   flock in Texas. For Kristol and his associates it is indeed all about Israel   and it always has been. Every nominee to a senior defense, intelligence, or   security council position must be vetted and judged by whether or not they are   completely committed to support the Israeli government, no matter what it does   and no matter what the impact would be on American interests. That is what Bill   Kristol and his friends are all about.

And for those who still doubt that it is all about Israel, I would suggest   a little history lesson. In 2004 Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11   Commission, admitted   that the Iraq war was fought to protect Israel, which he described as “the   threat that dare not speak its name.” He meant that if there had not been   the connivance of the Pentagon’s friends of Israel in creating a false weapons   of mass destruction narrative coupled with the fulsome support of the Lobby   a war on behalf of Israel would never have been endorsed by the American people.   And it is also useful to review what   happened to the last brave soul who dared to put American interests ahead   of those of Israel. That was Chas Freeman who was proposed as Chairman of the   National Intelligence Council during President Obama’s first term in 2009. Freeman   had an exemplary record as a public servant and was known to be an independent   thinker willing to reconsider and challenge orthodox policies. Freeman had served   as Ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia and was regarded as something of an   Arabist, which immediately made him suspect to the usual crowd in congress and   the media. For that he was immediately   attacked by Israel’s friends, in what was described as a “thunderous,   coordinated assault.” The critics frequently pretended that they were actually   opposing Freeman’s views on China and his close personal ties to the Saudis,   just as Hagel is now being falsely pilloried because he lacks management experience   and because his wartime service in Vietnam will color his judgments. But no   one was really fooled regarding Chas Freeman – it was all about Israel. Freeman,   realizing that the debate over his views would become a distraction, asked that   his name be withdrawn.

What it comes down to is that we live in a country where nearly everyone is   willing to sell out if the price is right and, for the moment, Israel’s friends   hold many of the cards. Being openly and enthusiastically a friend of Israel   is a sine qua non on the path to power in Washington. In fact, Chuck   Hagel recognizes that reality. He has recently apologized   for his “errors” on Israel and Iran in an attempt to defuse the opposition   to him. And only last week Senator Rand Paul, who some of us had hoped might   break with the foreign policy consensus, visited Israel to burnish his presidential   credentials. While there he did everything that he was expected to do and more,   saying   that Israel’s settlement policies are “none of our business” before   adroitly backing away from cutting aid to Tel Aviv by noting that a bankrupt   America would not be a good ally. “This does mean that we have to reassess   who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries   that are burning our flag and chanting ‘Death to America.’ No one is accusing   Israel of that.” So if Rand has his way a gaggle of Muslim countries will   get the boot while aid to “good ally” Israel will be untouchable.

Far better that Senators Paul, Lindsay Graham and Ron Kirk should stop worrying   about what is good for Israel. They might instead emulate the Chuck Hagel who   once upon a time was willing to declare that he was actually an elected official   representing the United States and its people. Congress is the heart of the   problem, funding and providing political cover for Israel’s completely illegal   settlement policies as well as the iron fist apartheid-like control of the West   Bank and Gaza. As a consequence, the U.S. is widely and rightly blamed for underwriting   what Benjamin Netanyahu does and is no longer respected or considered credible,   but I guess for all politicians who want to become president real bad it’s considered   worth it. Well, I won’t be voting for any of them. The Israel Lobby wields enormous   power in Washington, but many Americans are becoming tired of having their affairs   micro-managed in Tel Aviv. Blowback is beginning and I would hate to see a bunch   of esteemed Senators finding themselves on the wrong side of history. That would   be a real shame.

Read more by Philip Giraldi


Neocons vs Chuck Hagel:

9/11 was to punish U.S. for Israel policy: Philip Zelikow 9/11 Commission Exec. Dir.

9/11 was to punish U.S. for Israel policy: Philip Zelikow 9/11 Commission Exec. Dir.

The Real 9/11 Conspiracy: Traitorous 9/11 Commissioners Served Israel Agenda

Why We Hate Them: Arabs in Western Eyes

Why We Hate Them: Arabs in Western Eyes

A new PBS documentary reveals how films and other media have shaped an anti-Muslim narrative.

Of Course AIPAC Ran The Anti-Hagel Campaign, And It Lost

The news that Sen. Chuck Schumer will support the Hagel nomination means that Hagel will almost certainly be confirmed as Secretary of Defense. It does not mean that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is not opposing the appointment. It means that, at long last, it has been defeated.
It is obvious why AIPAC is so insistent that it is not trying to prevent former senator Chuck Hagel from becoming the Secretary of Defense. As investigative journalist Max Blumenthal put it in a piece published yesterday:

AIPAC has good reasons to keep its fingerprints off the public campaign to demonize Hagel. For one, AIPAC thrives on its ability to influence lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, requiring it to avoid alienating the key congressional Democrats who rubberstamp the anti-Palestinian resolutions and Iran sanctions legislation it routinely authors. If AIPAC waded into the Republican-led crusade against Hagel in a public way, it might enrage some of its most reliable Democratic allies in Congress, generating unnecessary acrimony that might complicate future lobbying initiatives.

The other reasons Blumenthal enumerates are AIPAC’s fears of contributing to the bad feelings between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stemming from Netanyahu’s open preference for Mitt Romney in the recent U.S. election.
And then there is AIPAC’s complicated legal status stemming from the fact that, unlike other lobbies for foreign governments, it is not registered as such with the Department of Justice. If it was, its activities would be severely circumscribed. Seeming to lay low, while orchestrating events from behind a screen, makes sense.
AIPAC does not have to issue directives from its headquarters in Washington to convey its desires.
In fact, it usually doesn’t. It never likes to leave fingerprints and still manages to get what it wants because policymakers, media people, etc., know what its preferences are without public pronouncements. This even applies to what AIPAC considers its most significant annual achievement: passage of the $3.5 billion Israel aid package and making sure that there are no strings or conditions attached.
Between 1993 and 1995 I worked for a member of the House Appropriations Committee. That is the body that writes the legislation that provides the money after its Subcommittee on Foreign Operations submits its recommendations which are then quickly approved and, after adoption by the full House and Senate, go to the president for his signature.
Here is how it works. AIPAC provides each staffer on the subcommittee with legislative “language” that spells out precisely what it wants for Israel and the amount of dollars it wants for each provision. The language helpfully arrives in electronic form so the staffer does not have to do anything but drop it into a letter that each legislator writes to the chairman of the committee. Each staffer receives the same “wish list” from AIPAC ensuring that each member of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations will be requesting the same thing.
Invariably there are extra items to be requested, above and beyond the usual provisions, which AIPAC hands out as gifts to members of the committee it particularly favors. That member will be the only one asking for this “goody” for Israel and can then claim credit for it. That credit can then be cashed in the form of contributions from donors associated with the lobby for the legislator’s next campaign.
The key point is that this is all done in the dark. No member of the Appropriations Committee would ever admit that all they do in crafting the Israel aid package is drop in Israel’s request, as composed and delivered by AIPAC. If a current staffer ever made the mistake of stating publicly that this is how it is done, she would not be a staffer for long. The bottom line is that AIPAC’s direct role is kept secret. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever described this process until right now.
Achieving passage of the Israel aid package is AIPAC’s most public initiative. Nonetheless, it pretends that the aid legislation simply arises from the will of Congress and the president as a popular manifestation of admiration for Israel.
Needless to say, it does the same thing on its other signature annual achievement: piling sanction after sanction on Iran. It does the same with its lesser efforts like all those resolutions supporting Israel’s wars on Gaza, condemning Palestinian actions and commending Israeli prime ministers for their supposed efforts to achieve peace or combat terrorism. All these arise from AIPAC’s offices, are delivered to Capitol Hill and then are passed with hardly a dissenting voice, all without AIPAC claiming credit for itself. In fact, it invariably hails Congress for doing the work it itself actually did.
So don’t fall for the ridiculous idea that AIPAC is not behind the effort to defeat Chuck Hagel. It almost never operates in the daylight, why would it start now?
Remember, I was the fortunate recipient of the 1982 memo from Steve Rosen, then AIPAC’s deputy director (and subsequently fired by AIPAC after being indicted on an espionage charge) that said the following. Rosen sent it to me on my very first day working at the organization. It read, in its entirety: “A lobby is like a night flower: It thrives in the dark and dies in the light.”
That is the reason it is operating against Hagel in the dark. Would you expect it to shine a flashlight on itself?
No, AIPAC lost. Here is another sign. President Obama is now saying that Netanyahu’s conduct indicates that “Israel doesn’t know what it best interests are.” It appears that Netanyahu and AIPAC are facing a nightmare: a second term Democratic president who isn’t afraid of the lobby. Stay strong, Mr. President.


Jeffrey Blankfort wrote responded:

I don’t see AIPAC as having lost. Quite the contrary. They have forced  Hagel to recant and kiss the Jewish
establishment’s boots which was at  the base of all of its criticism. His obscene letter to Boxer was a  model of recantation and the whole episode, which will be repeated,  live for the TV cameras during the inquisition/hearings, will serve as  a deterrent to other members of
Congress not to publicly question  American Jewish power. That’s what it is all about and the Jewish establishment has won. For the moment.


Jeff Blankfort wrote: I watched this Hagel’s Senate confirmation hearing and the rest of the morning’s predictable inquisition, knowing that Hagel would cave and also knowing that thanks to the Zionist control both over the media as well as the so-called Palestine solidarity movement that Graham and the other traitorous scum that make up the US senate will get away with it with their kneecaps intact, just as their predecessors have gotten away with toadying to Israel for years. The notion that Obama’s nomination of Hagel was a defeat for the Lobby should have been put to rest. Even if Hagel gets the job, which is not guaranteed, he is damaged goods.

For those who don’t think that the Zionists exert control over the solidarity movement, I suggest you observe the silence regarding yesterday’s inquisition that will be coming from those quarters. Today, Amy Goodman on Democracy Now thought the death of the odious Israel-First ex-NY Mayor Ed Koch was more important and limited her report on the Hagel hearing to two soundbites without analysis. Ironically, one of the last pieces that Koch wrote was an attack on Hagel. Koch’s affinity for Israel went unmentioned by Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.

The Neocons vs. Chuck Hagel

The Neocons vs. Chuck Hagel

Hagel Nomination, Israel and the Neocons:

Hagel and Friends of Hamas: How a Joke Went Wrong:

Israel first neocon mouthpieces John McCain and Lindsay Graham filibuster Hagel!:

Hagel filibuster wrap:

Reid schedules vote to end debate on Hagel nomination!:–election.html

Report: Hagel Said State Department Controlled by Israel

The Hagel Hearings:

Defense Secretary nominee Hagel squares off against McCain and Lindsay Graham

Unaired SNL Rehearsal: Parody of Chuck Hagel Hearings

Leon Panetta attacks senators’ questioning of Chuck Hagel at hearing

Outgoing defense secretary ‘disappointed’ by combative questions from Republicans who focused on Israel and Iraq war

Hagel offers himself as secretary of Israel’s defense

Hagel obeyed Senate taboo against criticism of Israel– ‘our most important ally in the entire world’

Jeff Blankfort wrote: I watched this yesterday and the rest of the morning’s predictable inquisition, knowing that Hagel would cave and also knowing that thanks to the Zionist control both over the media as well as the so-called Palestine solidarity movement that Graham and the other traitorous scum that make up the US senate will get away with it with their kneecaps intact, just as their predecessors have gotten away with toadying to Israel for years. The notion that Obama’s nomination of Hagel was a defeat for the Lobby should have been put to rest. Even if Hagel gets the job, which is not guaranteed, he is damaged goods.

For those who don’t think that the Zionists exert control over the solidarity movement, I suggest you observe the silence regarding yesterday’s inquisition that will be coming from those quarters. Today, Amy Goodman on Democracy Now thought the death of the odious Israel-First ex-NY Mayor Ed Koch was more important and limited her report on the Hagel hearing to two soundbites without analysis. Ironically, one of the last pieces that Koch wrote was an attack on Hagel. Koch’s affinity for Israel went unmentioned by Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.

Its All about Israel (by Philip Giraldi)

Obama’s Purpose for Picking Hagel

Secret Donors Finance Fight Against Hagel

Israel and the nomination of Chuck Hagel (USS Liberty mentioned)

Hawks on Iraq Prepare for War Again, Against Hagel

Neocon Nightmare: The Truth Behind the Attacks on Chuck Hagel

Why the War Party Fears Hagel:

GOP Should purge Neocon warmongers and their mouthpieces like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and others!:

Read page 112 of Dr. Stephen Sniegoski’s ‘The Transparent Cabal’ book (  which conveys how John McCain told a group of Israel firsters that it was okay for US to fight wars for Israel like Iraq as he tries to get the US to fight another war for Israel vs Syria (see & for how traitors John McCain and his admiral Father betrayed USS Liberty Navy Vets for Israel as well)!:

Israel Lobby Pushing Syrian Regime Change to Weaken Iran!:

Neocon mouthpiece Lindsay Graham needs to watch the following ‘The Israel Lobby’ VPRO documentary (linked at

The Israel Lobby (even Colin Powell’s former assistant Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson called it the Jewish lobby like Hagel did):

Additional at

Listen to former CIA Bin Laden unit head Michael Scheuer on how Israel is a threat to US troops via following youtube:

9/11 Motive & Media Betrayal:

9/11 was to punish U.S. for Israel policy: Philip Zelikow 9/11 Commission Exec. Dir.

The Real 9/11 Conspiracy: Traitorous 9/11 Commissioners Served Israel Agenda


The Resiliency of the Neoconservatives: General Petraeus and the Kagans

The Resiliency of the Neoconservatives: General Petraeus and the Kagans

Friday, January 11, 2013 7:55 PM

From: “Stephen Sniegoski”


My new article, “The Resiliency of the Neoconservatives: General Petraeus and the Kagans,”  illustrates the continuing influence of the neocons on US Middle East policy despite the fact that they no longer hold high positions in the government.

Their power is also quite apparent in the current effort to prevent Chuck Hagel from becoming Secretary of Defense.

My article can be found at the following websites:




Stephen  Sniegoski


The Resiliency of the Neoconservatives: General Petraeus and the Kagans

by Stephen J. Sniegoski


The neocons seem difficult for many commentators to observe.  For example, some neocons themselves, such as David Brooks and Richard Perle, have claimed that no such thing exists. Others, such as the two antiwar luminaries of the Left, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, grant their existence, but claim they have never had any power in shaping overall American Middle East policy.  And there are many who admit the neocons did shape American foreign policy during George W. Bush’s first term, but regard this as something of a short-lived aberration and that they have since been powerless, especially in this age of Obama.

See: Abuse of Power: 9/11, War and the Neocons


One might be tempted to think that, given the policy disaster that was the neocon-led war on Iraq, the neocons would be thoroughly discredited and could not possibly return to power.  But the fact of the matter is that the neocons have demonstrated an amazing resilience. Fundamentally, while in the Bush administration they set a Middle East (and South Asia) war agenda for the United States from which President Obama, although lacking any direct connection with neoconservatives, has been unable to extricate the country.  He only recently removed American troops from Iraq, leaving a fragmented country on the verge of internecine war, and has yet to pull out completely from Afghanistan.  Under his aegis, the United States became involved in removing Gaddafi from Libya and in aiding the rebels in Syria, quite in line with the neocon agenda of eliminating Middle East dictatorships.  The US is now sending some American troops to Turkey to operate its US-built Patriot missile defense batteries to allegedly protect that country from a possible spill-over from the civil war in neighboring Syria.   All of this has exacerbated turmoil in the region portending all-out Sunni-Shiite regional warfare.   Moreover, Obama, with his repeated warnings to Iran, has painted himself in a corner over Iran, so that he might be forced by circumstances in 2013 to opt for a military strike to prevent the Islamic Republic from achieving a real, or imagined, nuclear weapons breakout capacity.

And the neocons’ influence has far exceeded just the lingering effects from their past policy decisions in the George W. Bush administration; rather they continue to energetically work to influence American policy with more than a little impact. For example, the neocons surrounding Romney, in conjunction with heavy campaign funding from ultra-Israel Firster Sheldon Adelson, pushed the Republican presidential nominee to a more aggressive stance on the Middle East, which in turn pressured President Obama to likewise tilt in that direction.  Moreover, neocons have been in the vanguard in the effort to prevent Chuck Hagel, whom they consider too moderate in his views on Middle East policy and an enemy of Israel, from becoming Secretary of Defense in Obama’s second term.  As the writer who is perhaps the pre-eminent historian of the neoconservatives, Paul Gottfried, describes it: “Leading the charge against Hagel has been the neocon press, with the Weekly Standard out in front of the pack.”

But the greatest evidence of direct neocon input in US policy during the Obama administration comes from their connection to General Petraeus. On December 18, not long after Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA as a result of the his extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, a bombshell article by Rajiv Chandrasekaran appeared in the Washington Post indicating that a neocon couple, Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, had been shaping Petraeus’ military policy from the Summer of 2010 to the Summer of 2011 when the general had been commander of US troops in Afghanistan.  Although the twosome were only private citizens, they served as Petraeus’ de facto senior advisors in that war zone.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “Civilian analysts gained Petraeus’s ear while he was commander in Afghanistan,” December 18, 2012

Frederick Kagan, who had been a major architect of the militant surge strategy for Iraq, which Petraeus implemented in 2007, is a member of the staff of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); Kimberly Kagan is the founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. The couple is part of a neocon family, with both Frederick’s father, Donald, and brother, Robert, being significant members of the neocon network. Robert Kagan serves on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, so it would seem that neocon influence is not completely shut out from top foreign policy levels of the Obama administration.  With Bill Kristol in 2009, Robert established the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a neocon organization that is considered a successor to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), likewise founded by Kagan and Kristol, which had played a significant role in the build-up for the war on Iraq.  FPI’s first event was a conference titled “Afghanistan: Planning For Success,” which sought to implement a “surge” in that country.


At Petraeus’ behest, Frederick and Kimberly Kagan were granted top-level security clearances, desks in Petraeus’ headquarters and access to classified intelligence reports.  They participated in senior-level strategy sessions, traveled throughout the war zone, and queried field officers in order to advise Petraeus how to improve the conduct of the war.  In line with collective neocon thinking on the subject, the Kagans held that the US should shift to a militant offensive strategy against the Islamist insurgents in Afghanistan, which would be similar to the surge in Iraq.  The aggressive stance they vociferously promoted differed substantially from the more moderate approaches sought by many officers in the field. But the Kagans were in a better position to influence Petraeus than any of his military advisors since they, in the words of Chandrasekaran, “were not bound by stringent rules that apply to military personnel and private contractors. They could raise concerns directly with Petraeus, instead of going through subordinate officers, and were free to speak their minds without repercussion.”


Chandrasekaran went on to report that on August 8, 2011, a month after leaving his Afghan command to become head of the CIA, Petraeus spoke at Kimberly Kagan’s Institute for the Study of War’s first “President’s Circle” dinner, where he received an award.  There he said: “What the Kagans do is they grade my work on a daily basis.” And he jested: “There’s some suspicion that there’s a hand up my back, and it makes my lips talk, and it’s operated by one of the Doctors Kagan.” Though obviously exaggerating, Petraeus was acknowledging that the Kagans were providing him information and that their relationship was close enough so that he could make such a jest.


Why would Petraeus be so favorably disposed to these two civilians?  Basically it was a case of symbiosis.  He allowed them to have a large measure of access and even a significant degree of power, while they, along with their confreres in the neocon network, presented him in a very favorable light in the media, which certainly helped to establish and solidify his once-stellar reputation, which was not tarnished until recently.


The neocons did everything possible to forge a close relationship with Petraeus.  For example, in 2010, AEI conferred upon him its highest honor, the Irving Kristol Award.  (The deceased Irving Kristol is considered one of the “godfathers” of neoconservatism along with Norman Podhoretz.)   This award is presented at the Institute’s annual gala dinner, which was attended by 2,000 guests, including leading neocon figures and financial supporters. In his acceptance speech, Petraeus would praise the institute effusively:  “In the fall of 2006, AEI scholars helped develop the concept for what came to be known as ‘the surge.’ Fred and Kim Kagan and their team, which included retired General Jack Keane, prepared a report that made the case for additional troops in Iraq. As all here know, it became one of those rare think-tank products that had a truly strategic impact.”

President Petraeus?,” by Kelley B. Vlahos, May 18, 2010


It should be noted that Kimberly Kagan had done much to promote Petraeus, writing periodic reports from Iraq in 2007 on the progress of the surge for the neocon flagship publication, The Weekly Standard.   In a September 2009 article “The Two Faces of Kimberly Kagan,” journalist Kelley Vlahos observed that, despite Kagan’s obvious conflict of interest regarding a policy developed by her own husband, “her reports were largely passed off as research, even journalism, rather than political ammunition, and she wrote a book about it last year [2008], ‘The Surge: A Military History,’ another encomium to Petraeus and Co. and the altar of COIN [counterinsurgency].”


Kimberly Kagan would advocate a comparable “surge” in Afghanistan.  As Vlahos writes:  “Kimberly Kagan has increasingly become a spear point for advancing the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. And why not? She is young, attractive in that wonky, austere Washingtonian way, and seemingly unflappable as she discharges fusillades of talking points like a machine gun. One look at her March 2007 performance on Washington Journal circa Surge I and it’s clear why Kagan has replaced the old neoconservative guard as a primary surrogate for the cause.”

“The Two Faces of Kimberly Kagan,” by Kelley B. Vlahos, September 29, 2009


Considering the prior relationship between Petraeus and the Kagans, and especially the lavish praise that Kimberly heaped upon the general, it becomes quite understandable why he would treat them in such a favorable fashion to the extent of even allowing them a role in shaping policy.  What makes this especially understandable is Petraeus’ obvious relish for popular acclaim, as illustrated by the Paula Broadwell affair.  Broadwell initially became close to Petraeus when doing research for what became her hagiographic biography of him. Of course, the Kagans, along with the other neocons, seek far more from their connection to the general  than personal fame and advancement–the apparent principal motive for Broadwell–but seek to use him as a vehicle to advance their group’s foreign policy goals.


Another neocon who has a close connection to Petraeus is author and commentator Max Boot, who happens to be the Jean J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations and is described as a military historian because of his books, though he apparently lacks a Ph.D. in any field.  Petraeus took Boot on numerous Department of Defense-funded trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Like the Kagans, Boot became a fawning supporter of Petraeus.   He co-authored an  op-ed piece, “How to Surge the Taliban,” with Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, appearing in the New York Times (March 12, 2009), that advocated a “surge” in Afghanistan.


An inside view of the Petraeus-Boot personal relationship came to light when email correspondence from March 2010 between the two was made public later that year.  It revealed that the general had relied upon Boot to maintain a cozy relationship with pro-Israeli Jewish Americans. Petraeus’ email correspondence with Boot was attached (presumably accidentally) in an email response to the indefatigable Israel lobby sleuth and critic, James Morris, which the latter later provided to Philip Weiss of the noted Mondoweiss blog.

“Petraeus emails show general scheming with journalist to get out pro-Israel storyline,” July 6, 2010,


The background for this episode was the publication, initially in the alternative media,  of part of a  prepared statement presented  by Petraeus to the Senate Armed Services Committee that focused on the negative impact of the Israel-Palestine conflict on US forces in the Middle East—a fact which should be self-evident to any objective observer. Once this information started to gain traction in the mainstream media, Petraeus sought to forestall any negative reaction from the Israel lobby by professing that his presentation had been distorted and that it did not imply that Israel was any type of liability for the United States, and he asked Boot to help him remain in the good graces of pro-Israel American Jewry.  He queried Boot: “Does it help if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his wife at our quarters last Sun night?  And that I will be the speaker at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps.”  Boot, acting as if he understood the collective mind of the pro-Zionist American Jewish community, assured Petraeus that publicizing this additional  obeisance was unnecessary, and that he would take care of any misconceptions.  Petraeus responded with a “Roger” and a smiley-face.


Very shortly thereafter, Max Boot posted an article on the neocon Commentary Magazine blog, titled, “A Lie: David Petraeus, Anti-Israel.” (March 18, 2010) In it, Boot lambasted the “misleading commentary that continues to emerge, attributing anti-Israeli sentiment to Gen. David Petraeus.” He  dismissed the prepared statements depicting Israel’s actions as harmful to US military policy as the work of “Petraeus’s staff,” not Petraeus himself. In an effort to show that Petraeus personally held a contrary view, Boot selected some of Petraeus’ oral testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in which the general  downplayed the Israel-Palestine conflict as a cause of hostility to U.S. forces in the Middle East.


It must be stressed that this correspondence indicated not only Petraeus’ close, personal tie to and political dependence on a neocon journalist, whom he referred to familiarly as “Max,” but also  that he had political aspirations and perceived the pro-Israel American Jewish community to be very powerful politically.


When Petraeus departed from the government in November 2012, Boot’s panegyrics for the general would soar to astronomical heights in a Los Angeles Times op-ed (November 13) entitled “Petraeus: the necessary man.” It began: “ ‘The graveyards are full of indispensable men,’ it’s often said, meaning that few are genuinely indispensable. David H. Petraeus was one of the few, which is why his loss for the U.S. government, after his admission of adultery, is so tragic.”


The obvious significance here is that Petraeus realized that the neocons were a group with significant power.  That Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney surrounded himself with neocon advisors also illustrates the fact that their power is recognized by those in, or seeking,  the highest levels of the political arena. And Obama, despite receiving no direct political advice from any neocon advisors, still continues a militant agenda in the Middle East and South Asia that, as indicated earlier, has the stamp of neocon thinking.  While the neocons do not possess the degree of power to shape policy that they held during the George W. Bush administration, especially during his first term, they remain major players in shaping US Middle East policy.   In short, the neocons, because of the power resulting from their interconnected and extensive network, which Janine Wedel describes at length in her book The Shadow Elite (2010), are a perennial power.  Even when outside of government, they still exert influence with those who possess political power and shape government policy.  And should the optimal situation arise in the future, they are well-prepared to once again grasp the reins of government power.

Obama signs NDAA 2013 without objecting to indefinite detention of Americans

Exclusive NDAA Coverage: Call to Action with Chris Hedges

Obama signs NDAA 2013 without objecting to indefinite detention of Americans!:

‘US government is not protecting its citizens’ civil liberties’

AIPAC/Neocon mouthpieces Levin & McCain shred Bill of Rights (via NDAA) for support of Israel

Why You Should Be Outraged About The Ruling To Keep The NDAA Indefinite  Detention Clause In Effect


The Colorado Campaign to Stop $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

The Colorado Campaign to Stop $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) at UN condemning Israel as an  apartheid state:

Roger Waters – “We Shall Overcome”

US support for Israel primary motivation for 911 (and earlier attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 as well):