Latest | Recent Articles | Multimedia Page | TV | Search | Blog

Email this article | Print this article | Link to this Article

If you don't get MER, you just don't get it!
(202) 362-5266 - 25 June 2004 - MER@MiddleEast.Org
News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know
The most honest, most comprehensive, and most mobilizing news and analysis
on the Middle East always comes from MER. It is indispensable!"
Robert Silverman - Salamanca, Spain
Free

Worse Crisis Since WWII
brought on by the neocons

Few believe Bush/Cheney
can rise to the challenge

"the most foolhardy civilian leadership in the
modern history of the United States."
Newsweek

"a vacuum has opened up at the heart of world
politics where US leadership ought to be found."
Financial Times

The unpalatable truth is that the Bush administration
has failed in almost everything it has touched.

Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 25 June 2004: Much of the world sees the world far differently than the now more than ever isolated Americans. And even in the U.S. the political and social polarization has rarely been so deep and the internal tensions about the future have become startling. From the left there is now Fahrenheit 9/11. From the real conservatives there is now one critique after another lambasting the neocon right with loud public calls for 'regime change' even if that means Kerry and the democrats rather than a second Bush/Cheney/Rumseld term. This important column by veteran Middle East expert and journalist Patrick Seale has been published in a number of Middle Eastern and European newspapers, but not in the U.S. where they need reconsider everything urgently before it is too late.
As for the "worst crisis since the Second World War"...Seale is pushing things here though we know what he means. Thus we've added the "?".
Let's not forget the dangerous world we've been living in ever since World War II. General MacArthur wanted to drop nuclear bombs on China. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The 1973 war and the 'nuclear alert'. Our world has been through many very dangerous times before and since WWII; and many more now appear to be looming.
But once credibility has been squandered, once leadership is questioned, once you have exhausted the patience of your allies and assaulted the dignity and intelligence of your enemies, a new more chaotic more dangerous world emerges. That is what we think Seale meant and what he in fact argues. And indeed we all may in the future look back on these years and say that's when things began to go very wrong, that's when the 'crusade' began, that's when the seeds of this far greater devastation and chaos were planted and began to grow.


Tremors will hit the Bush camp if neocons are sacked
By Patrick Seale*

Although the Bush administration is reluctant to admit it, the United States is facing what is arguably its worst crisis since the Second World War. It is a crisis of leadership, of reputation, of military capability and of moral authority. A radical change of strategy and of high-level government personnel is urgently required, but can the embattled President George W Bush, whose qualities of mind and character leave much to be desired, bring it about?

Few observers believe he can rise to the challenge. Newsweek this week described the administration as "the most foolhardy civilian leadership in the modern history of the United States." Referring to the war in Iraq, the news magazine wrote: "American soldiers have been put in the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reasons."

Bush is coming to Europe this month in a desperate bid to boost his domestic standing and his international image, but the differences are too great to be papered over. Relations with key European countries have been strained almost to breaking point by his earlier disdain for his allies, by his cult of military power, his unilateralist policies, his dangerous doctrine of pre-emption, and his apparent indifference to basic civil rights and the Geneva Conventions.

Writing this week in Britain's Financial Times, Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King's College, London, said: "a vacuum has opened up at the heart of world politics where US leadership ought to be found."

Bush, he added, had "gambled on Iraq and lost. The US could no longer impose its will on Iraq 'because it lacks the moral authority to do so."

These remarks by a leading British commentator are significant because Freedman had been an early supporter of the war. They have been echoed by many senior Americans.

Unpalatable truth

The unpalatable truth is that the Bush administration has failed in almost everything it has touched. The war in Iraq, based on lies and incompetence, has been a catastrophe, its always doubtful legitimacy fatally undermined by the torture of Iraqi detainees. The "war on terror" has greatly increased, rather than diminished, the threat from radical political Islam, both to the US itself and to its friends, as countries like Saudi Arabia are learning to their cost.

Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at the very heart of the region's discontents, has been allowed to sink to new depths of barbarism, largely owing to Bush's irresponsible support for Israel's bull-dozing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

For all these reasons, US relations with the Arab and Muslim world have never been so bad and Americans have rarely been so hated. The terrorists, who last weekend seized hostages in the compound at Al Khobar, were reported to be looking for Americans to kill.

Having enjoyed uncritical support at home in its early years, the Bush administration is today facing a torrent of criticism. Congressional committees, investigative journalists like Seymour Hersch of The New Yorker, a phalanx of retired generals and senior officials, pundits of all sorts in dozens of new books all want to know who must be held responsible for the catalogue of failures.

The answer many are giving is that responsibility lies primarily with the neoconservatives, that is to say the pro-Israeli ideologues at the heart of the US government who set the agenda of the Bush foreign policy. Marine General Anthony Zinni, a former commander-in-chief of US forces in the Middle East, has openly called for the Pentagon's top civilian leadership to resign. As he said recently, "There is no serious political or military leader or diplomat in Washington who doesn't know about the neocon agenda and how it led America to war."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, has condemned the administration's "extremist foreign policy", whose "strategic content", he wrote, "has been manipulated by officials preoccupied more with reshaping the security landscape of the Middle East [to Israel's advantage] than with maintaining America's ability to lead globally."

This is the heart of the charge now being made against the neocons: that their desire to enhance Israel's ability to seize the West Bank and defeat the Palestinians led them to devise a US strategy to attack, invade and overthrow a number of Middle Eastern regimes.

Iraq was only the first on their list. The intention was to occupy Iraq, turn it into a US client state which would make peace with Israel, and then move on to other countries in the region, notably Iran and Syria, then perhaps even Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Condemnation by Zinni and Brzezinski are just two examples of the outrage in America's military, political and intellectual establishment at the tremendous damage caused by this now widely discredited foreign policy.

Who are the principal neocons? They are the men behind Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Ronald Rumsfeld, the two belligerent heavyweights in the administration. If he dared, Bush could sack Rumsfeld, but Cheney could not be ousted without action by Congress. But for Bush even to contemplate such radical measures he would have publicly to admit that the "war on terror" was misconceived, that the war in Iraq was a costly blunder, that he was misled by the men on whose advice he relied, and that he intended to learn from his mistakes and put things right.

Identified scores of times in the American and international press, the principal neocons are Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, numbers two and three in the Pentagon hierarchy, Richard Perle, former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Eliott Abrams, director of Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, and many others at all levels.

Perle has already been forced out, but the others are clinging to their jobs and will not go easily. If Bush were to fire them, he would be applauded by much of the world, but it would represent a political earthquake in American politics and in US-Israeli relations, almost unimaginable a mere five months from the US presidential elections in November.

Current mess

But can Bush avoid the "fundamental strategic reappraisal" which Brzezinsky and other have called for? No one really knows how he intends to extricate himself and his administration from the current mess. His meetings with European and world leaders this month will give him a chance to explain himself.

With the Middle East racked by violence, with the failure to find a solution to the problem of nuclear proliferation, with the mushrooming of militant Islamic groups determined to hit back against what they see as the arrogance and brutality of the West, we are witnessing nothing less than the failure of the American-dominated "unipolar" system in place since the Soviet Union collapsed more than a dozen years ago.

Could a "multipolar" world do better? Europeans will shortly be voting to select members of the European Parliament, a little known but increasingly powerful body.

A key question underlying these elections is whether Europe should move towards greater political union perhaps, in time, a United States of Europe strong enough to act as a counterweight to American power - or whether it should content itself with being an island of free trade, prosperity, democracy and human rights in a violent and dangerous world.

Tony Blair's Britain took, in my view, the mistaken course of opposing European political union and of aligning itself with America's failed policies in the Middle East. By so doing it has weakened Europe and silenced Britain's independent voice, and must therefore assume some part of responsibility for the current chaos.

* Patrick Seale is a senior well-known British commentator with extensive experience in the Middle East.


Please forward MER articles to others in their entirety with proper attribution.
We welcome your comments and information in the new MER FORUM.

MID-EAST REALITIES
www.MiddleEast.Org
Phone: (202) 362-5266
Fax: (815) 366-0800
Copyright 2004 Mid-East Realities, All rights reserved


If you don't get MER,
you just don't get it!

MER is free
Click here to subscribe by email


June 2004


Magazine






About the new MiddleEast.Org
(June 30, 2004)


U.S. Ordered Brits to Attack Iran - Brits Balked
(June 30, 2004)
The order was given in secret by the U.S. commander in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez, who was already scheduled to be replaced, quite likely because of his involvement in the horrendous Iraqi torture scandal. But anyone who thinks General Sanchez gave the order without checking first with his neocon bosses back at the Pentagon -- Wolfowitz and Feith, who then of course check with Rumsfeld who then tells the President, Condi, and Colin -- just doesn't understand even at this late date how the invasion/occupation of Iraq came about nor how the Pentagon planning has been progressing for Iran, Syria, North Korea, just as soon as the excuses can be managed.

Bush and U.S. Exposed - book by book by book
(June 30, 2004)
This list of books exposing the Bush presidency for what it really is all about is an essential corrective to all the propaganda and TV clips constantly bombarding the American people... In many ways though some of these books are more significant, however in a TV/Movie age even collectively they will not have the same impact though they do help set a climate for skepticism and anxiety. This particular list was compiled a few months ago by USA Today so it's hardly complete at this point. But it is a good starting place for those wanting to choose a little holiday reading, however depressive, sometimes shocking, surely politically and historically depressing.

America's Baghdad - Corruption, Barricades, Boozing, Fear and Incompetence
(June 29, 2004)
Baghdad is awash with stories of the corruption, cronyism and incompetence of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which was dissolved this week.

Brits Departed Palestine Leaving Civil War - MER FlashBack
(June 29, 2004)
"Contrary to contemporary assertions, the British and the Americans have done far more to prevent democracy in the Middle East, and to inhibit independent economic development as well, then they will ever admit."

Bremer Slinks Away; CIA Slinks Forward
(June 28, 2004)
Thus now Bremer hastily and rather shamefully slinks away without much fanfare, a few days early so they say, even as Iraq continues to seeth in hatred and a slow-simmer civil war.

Baghdad Shuffle
(June 28, 2004)
It's historic alright. A huge historic bungle that is quite literally exploding in their faces as they try to appear to go but actually stay with their carefully chosen Iraqi faces now out front. Over the weekend on ABC News one of the neocon political commentators made a little mistake and clearly called the American-appointed 'interim Iraqi Prime Minister' a "CIA agent" -- it was a rare moment of candor in public in today's confused, uptight, and secretive Washington.

Kurds on 'the return' - Palestinians into ghettos
(June 27, 2004)
Substitute "Palestinians" for Kurds, and "Israelis" for Arabs, and there is a whole different twist to 'the return' of the Kurds featured in this front-page New York Times article last Sunday. Another great irony of our times is that even as the Americans and the Israelis help facilitate what the Kurds are doing in Iraq they demand the Palestinians give up their 'right of return' even though it is enshrined in many U.N. Security Council resolutions going back to 1947...

Worst Crisis Since WWII?
(June 26, 2004)
"the most foolhardy civilian leadership in the modern history of the United States." (Newsweek) "A vacuum has opened up at the heart of world politics where US leadership ought to be found." (Financial Times) "The unpalatable truth is that the Bush administration has failed in almost everything it has touched."

The Historical Moment - MER Flashback Four Years
(June 25, 2004)
MER FLASHBACK to 25 June 2001: Months before what is now known as "9/11" MER published these articles indicating that a major strike by Osama Bin-Laden against the U.S. was imminent and that the Israelis were more determined than ever to subjugate the Palestinians. We wrote at the time: "In these conditions any spark can ignite the blaze; and sometimes such giant fires consume more than was originally anticipated, sometimes even those who start them."

BBC Hired by British Government to Broadcast TV to Middle East
(June 24, 2004)


More Readers' Comments from Around the World
(June 24, 2004)
Just some of the many Readers's Comments continually pouring in to MER from around the world.

Thank you for previewing the new MiddleEast.Org
(June 23, 2004)


Cheney and Rumseld "linked to murder" of CIA scientist in cold war years
(June 23, 2004)
Secret documents have revealed US Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld are "linked to the murder" of a senior CIA scientist.

It's Now the Second Half of 1948
(June 23, 2004)
As always Professor Tanya Reinhart from Tel Aviv University writes with extraordinary insight. "...the Israeli military and political leadership are aiming, eventually, at a total destruction of the Palestinian authority, and, with it, the process of Oslo, which is now dominantly considered by them a 'historical mistake'."

Information Warfare - Israel Wins Big
(June 22, 2004)
For 10 years Tim Llewellyn was the BBC's Middle East correspondent. In this passionately argued polemic he accuses British broadcasters, including his former employer, of systematic bias in covering the Arab-Israeli conflict, giving undue prominence to the views of the Israelis while all but disregarding the roots of the crisis and what is being done to the Palestinians.

Gearing Up for IRAN and North Korea
(June 21, 2004)
"...waiting to confront Iraq would have allowed the United States to confront more immediate dangers.... Because our military is stretched so thin in Iraq, we cannot threaten military action in Iran or North Korea." Martin Peretz and The New Republic

REVOLT in WASHINGTON
(June 20, 2004)


Nader Speaks to Buchanon
(June 15, 2004)
He's going after the real conservative vote, so he says.

Crusade II - Reagan first brought the neocons to power
(June 09, 2004)
Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, Bush...and the list goes on. Those who have recently led the crusade to invade Iraq, subjugate the Palestinians, and fight Islam, were brought to power in Washington for the first time some 23 years ago when Ronald Reagan of the once far-right was victorious over Jimmy Carter of the once mid-left in American politics. And some now forget that the man who greatly helped bring Ronald Reagan to power was none other than George Herbert Walker Bush, former head of the CIA, who now became Vice-President for the next eight years and then himself succeeded Reagan as President in 1989.

Realities of the "Reagan Plan" for the Middle East
(June 06, 2004)
The seeds for the Intifada and for Israel's increasingly aggressive escalating occupation of and dispossession of the Palestinian people were sown in the years of the Reagan Presidency. Indeed it was Ronald Reagan who first brought what we today call the "neocons" to power in Washington, and the right-wing Republicans who forged such a close alliance with the Israeli Likud of Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, and Ariel Sharon which had come to power in Israel in 1977 for the first time.




© 2004 Mid-East Realities, All rights reserved