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Behind the Plan to Bomb Iran

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Likewise, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a major lobbying think tank for the military-industrial-Zionist alliance, can boast of being the metaphorical alma mater of a number of powerful members of the Bush administration. For example, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne Cheney, State Department arms control official John Bolton (now U.S. ambassador to the UN), and former chair of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle all have had long-standing ties with the Institute. The Institute played a key role in promoting Ahmed Chalabi's group of Iraqi exiles as a major Iraqi opposition force "that would be welcomed by the Iraqi people as an alternative to the regime of Saddam Hussein." The group, working closely with the AEI, played an important role in the justification of the invasion of Iraq. It served, for example, as a major source of (largely fabricated) intelligence for the militaristic chicken hawks whenever they found the intelligence gathered by the CIA and the State Department at odds with their plans of invading Iraq. [6]

Another example of the interlocking network of neoconservative forces in the Bush administration and the militaristic think tanks that are dedicated to the advancement of the military-industrial-Zionist agenda is reflected in the affiliation of a number of influential members of the administration with the Jewish Institute for the National Security Affairs (JINSA). These include, for example, Douglas Feith, assistant secretary of defense during the first term of the Bush administration, General Jay Garner, the initial head of the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq, and Michael Ladeen, who unofficially advises the Bush administration on Middle Eastern issues. JINSA "is on record in its support of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and against the Oslo Accord. . . . In its fervent support for the hard-line, pro-settlement, anti-Palestinian Likud-style policies in Israel, JINSA has essentially recommended that 'regime change' in Iraq should be just the beginning of a cascade of toppling dominoes in the Middle East." [7]

The fact that neoconservative militarists of the Bush administration are organically rooted in the military-industrial-Zionist alliance is even more clearly reflected in their incestuous relationship with the warmongering think tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Like most of its lobbying counterparts within the extensive network of neoconservative think tanks, PNAC was founded by a circle of powerful political figures a number of whom later ascended to key positions in the Bush administration. The list of signatories of PNAC's Founding Statement of Principles include Elliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Elliot Cohen, Frank Gaffney, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. Add the signature of Vice President Dick Cheney to the list of PNAC founders, "and you have the bulwarks of the neo-con network that is currently in the driver's seat of the Bush administration's war without end policies all represented in PNAC's founding document." [8]

A closer look at the professional records of the neoconservative players in the Bush administration indicates that "32 major administration appointees . . . are former executives with, consultants for, or significant shareholders of top defense contractors." For example, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is an ex-director of a General Dynamics subsidiary, and his deputy during the first term of the Bush administration, Paul Wolfowitz, acted as a paid consultant to Northrop Grumman. Today the armaments lobby "is exerting more influence over policymaking than at any time since President Dwight D. Eisenhower first warned of the dangers of the military-industrial complex over 40 years ago." [9]

This sample evidence indicates that the view that the neoconservative militarists' tendency to war and aggression is inspired by an ideological passion to spread American ideals of democracy is clearly false. Their successful militarization of US foreign policy stems largely from the fact they operate essentially on behalf of two immensely powerful special interests, the military-industrial complex and the influential Israeli lobby. Neoconservative architects of war and militarism derive their political clout and policy effectiveness primarily from the political machine and institutional infrastructure of the military-industrial-Zionist alliance.

It is necessary to note at this point that, despite its immense political influence, the Zionist lobby is ultimately a junior, not equal, partner in this unspoken, de defacto alliance. Without discounting the extremely important role of the Zionist lobby in the configuration of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, I would caution against simplifications and exaggerations of its power and influence over the U.S. policy in the region. It is true that most of the neo-conservative militarists who have been behind the recent U.S. military aggressions in the Middle East have long been active supporters of Israel's right-wing politicians and/or leaders. It is also no secret that there is a close collaboration over issues of war and militarism between militant Zionism, neoconservative forces in and around the Bush administration, and jingoistic think tanks such as AEI, PNAC, CSP, and JINSA.
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It does not follow, however, that, as some critics argue, the U.S.-Israeli relationship represents a case of "tail wagging the dog," that is, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is shaped by the Israeli/Zionist leaders. While, no doubt, the powerful Zionist lobby exerts considerable influence over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the efficacy and the extent of that influence depend, ultimately, on the real economic and geopolitical interests of U.S. foreign policy makers. In other words, U.S. policy makers in the Middle East would go along with the desires and demands of the radical Zionist lobby only if such demands also tend to serve the special interests that those policy makers represent or serve, that is, if there is a convergence of interests over those demands. [10]

Aggressive existential tendencies of the U.S. military-industrial empire to war and militarism are shaped by its own internal or intrinsic dynamics: continued need for arms production as a lucrative business whose fortunes depend on permanent war and international convulsion. Conjunctural or reinforcing factors such as the horrors of 9/11, or the Zionist lobby, or the party in power, or the resident of the White House will, no doubt, exert significant influences. But such supporting influences remain essentially contributory, not defining or determining. The decisive or central role is played, ultimately, by the military-industrial complex itself-that is, by the merchants of arms or wars.

Author Bio: Ismael Hossein-zadeh is an economics professor at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. US. This article draws upon his newly released book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism, by Palgrave-Macmillan Publishers.



1. See, for example, Seymour M. Hersh, "The military's problem with the President's Iran policy," The New Yorker (July 10, 2006): ; Evan Eland, "Military Action Against Iran?" antiwar.com (January 24, 2006): http://www.antiwar.com/eland/?articleid=8433
2. Hersh, "The military's problem with the President's Iran policy."
3. Ibid.; see also Ismael Hossein-zadeh, "U.S. Iran Policy Irks Senior Commanders: The Military vs. Militaristic Civilian Leadership," OpEdNews.com (July 24, 2006): http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_ismael_h_060724_u_s__iran_policy_irk.htm
4. A detailed discussion of this issue, and of the de facto alliance between militant Zionism and the powerful beneficiaries of war dividends, can be found, among other places, in Chapter 6 of my recently released book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2006).
5. William D. Hartung, How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy? (New York: Nation Books, 2003), P. 101; William Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, "The Military-Industrial-Think Tank Complex," Multinational Monitor 24, nos. 1 &2 (Jan/Feb 2003): .
6. Hartung, How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy? PP. 103-106.
7. Ibid., PP. 109-11.
8. Ibid., P. 113.
9. William Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, "The Military-Industrial-Think Tank Complex."
10. I have provided a longer discussion of the role of the Zionist lobby in the configuration of the U.S. policy in the Middle East in Chapter 6 of my recently published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2006).
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Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism His Web page is http://www.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh

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