In examining some of the bad thinking that caused the U.S. to invade Iraq, Time‘s Joe Klein wrote “the fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives — people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary — plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.”
This elicited a response from Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman, who accused Klein of trafficking in anti-Semitic canards, insisting that “whether or not one feels that America’s war on Iraq was justified, the charge that it is being fought by the United States on behalf of Israel is both offensive and categorically false.”
Klein responded, “I have never said that Jewish neocons were the primary reason we went to war in Iraq”:
The reason we went to war was that George Bush was foolish and uninformed, and his primary advisors were even more foolishly bellicose. But Jewish neoconservatives certainly played a subsidiary role in providing an intellectual rationale for the war. In a 2003 column, I called their arguments “the casus belli that dare not speak its name.” The notion of a “benign domino theory”–benign, that is, for the interests of Israel—was certainly abroad in the community during that time.
The “benign domino theory” is rooted in The Clean Break Strategy, a national security proposal written for Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu by a committee chaired by Richard Perle, and which also included Doug Feith and David Wurmser, along some other hardline pro-Likud think tankers.
To call the Clean Break “nutty” is to commit felony understatement. Indeed, the paper seems to have been written while on a peyote-fueled vision quest out in the middle of the Negev desert. For one example, it advocated replacing Saddam Hussein’s regime with a Hashemite monarchy. That’s right, not content with merely figuratively repeating the mistakes of the past, this gang of geniuses wanted to literally repeat the mistakes of the past.
Fortunately for Israel, Netanyahu was encouraged by the Clinton administration to ignore the Clean Break recommendations. Unfortunately for the United States — and, it turns out, for Israel — George W. Bush incorporated many of the paper’s ideas into the post-9/11 U.S. national security strategy for the Middle East. Read more