Writing in the Daily Telegraph, historian Alistair Horne, the author of Savage War of Peace, discusses a personal encounter with George W. Bush in the Oval Office, and offers this concluding observation:
Bush, deeply unpopular, goes – at least so far – without the taint of scandal. Some US historians rate him the worst President since Harding. Leaders abroad often seem more appealing than at home.
Bush, an honourable man, might have made a good President – without Iraq. His fault was to heed too often the voices of the Zionist lobby in Washington. Never before has the Israeli tail wagged the American dog quite so vigorously; the results threaten to prove as disastrous for Israel as for the Western alliance.
Darn those Jews! Clearly, Bush was destined for greatness until those sneaky Zionists got hold of him…
This isn’t the first time Horne has made such comments. In an interview with Salon, he blamed the Iraq War on “Holocaustology”:
“What about the very delicate subject, I hesitate to raise it in Washington, of the Israeli tail wagging the American dog?” asked Horne. “Have you read Tom Ricks’ book ['Fiasco']? He discusses the influence of, I don’t know what you would call it, Holocaustology. There are three people he cites in that book — [former third-ranking Pentagon civilian Doug] Feith, [former Undersecretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz and [key neocon strategist Richard] Perle. At some point in Ricks’ book, each one cites the Holocaust as being a reason for going into Iraq. ‘If we don’t go into Iraq, this is going to happen again.’
“Now, it’s a very sensitive subject; nobody’s more aware of that than me. I’ve had eight books published in Israel. I know that at least one of them helped Sharon win the ’73 war. So I think I can say fairly hard things that other people might shy away from,” Horne said. “But it seems to me that to say the Holocaust made the invasion of Iraq essential is rather like the French saying in 1940 we’re going to fight this new war with the weapons of 1918. It’s simply historically not useful. In practical terms, has it actually pushed a future Holocaust further away or has it brought it closer? I think it’s brought it closer. Look at this ghastly war with Hezbollah — the first war that Israel’s lost. Hezbollah had primitive rockets. What’s going to happen when there are rockets that can reach every single part of Israel? I think Israel is in a very dangerous position.”
What’s misleading about Horne’s implication is that Bush’s Zionist advisers pushed for war to preempt a “second Holocaust” against Israel. But, as a Tom Ricks profile of Wolfowitz reveals, it’s a rather different matter:
To understand Paul Wolfowitz and the policies he advocates, notes a friend and former colleague, it is important to understand that Wolfowitz believes there is real evil in the world, and that he is confronting it. The lesson that Wolfowitz took away from the Cold War, says Eliot Cohen, who knew him at Johns Hopkins University, where Wolfowitz was a dean before moving to the Pentagon, is “that the world really is a dangerous place, and that you have to do something about it.”
Paired with that is his belief that the United States can best respond tototalitarianism by emphasizing freedom and democracy. Wolfowitz possesses “a basic optimism about the potential of human beings for moderation and self-governance, and a belief in the universal appeal of liberty,” Cohen says.That combination of a hardheaded view of some men with an idealistic faithin mankind, Cohen concludes, adds up to “a distinctively American take on the world.”
Some observers of Wolfowitz speculate that one lesson he took from theHolocaust is that the American people need to be pushed to do the right thing, because by the time they entered World War II, it was too late for millions of Jews and other victims of the Nazis. Asked about this, Wolfowitz agrees but expands on the thought — and connects it to Iraq. “I think the world in general has a tendency to say, if somebody evil like Saddam is killing his own people, ‘That’s too bad, but that’s really not my business.’ ” That’s dangerous, he continued, because Hussein was “in a class with very few others — Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Il…People of that order of evil tend not to keep evil at home, they tend to export it in various ways and eventually it bites us.”
During the concluding phases of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, under Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Wolfowitz served in a series of posts at the State Department and the Defense Department.”We learned in the last century that democracies cannot live peacefully and undisturbed in a world where evil people control whole nations and seek to expand their bloody rule,” he said in a speech last month.
For the neocons (both Jewish and non-Jewish) the lesson of the 20th Century was that turning a blind eye to authoritarian regimes is not only immoral, but ultimately dangerous to U.S. interests. (Hence, their support for U.S. intervention in the Balkans during the 1990s.) Reasonable people can disagree on whether this is a sound basis for U.S. foreign policy –but all too often people like Horne confuse idealism with dual-loyalty.