I have now been called antisemitic and intellectually unstable and a whole bunch of other silly things by the folks over at the Commentary blog. They want Time Magazine to fire or silence me. This is happening because I said something that is palpably true, but unspoken in polite society: There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who unsuccessfully tried to get Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and then successfully helped provide the intellectual rationale for George Bush to do it in 2003. Their motivations involve a confused conflation of what they think are Israel's best interests with those of the United States. They are now leading the charge for war with Iran.
Happily, these people represent a very small sliver of the Jewish population in this country. Unhappily, their views have had an impact in the highest reaches of the Bush Administration--and seem to have an influence on John McCain's campaign as well. Happily, the Bush Administration seems more interested in talking to the Iranians than in launching on them--and, according to my Israeli friends, the Israelis are not going to do anything foolish, either. I remain proud of my Jewish heritage, a strong supporter of Israel and a realist about the slim chance of finding some common ground with the Iranians. But I am not willing to grant these ideologues the anonymity they seek.
You can argue this all you want, but the neoconservative cabal, AIPAC, and Joe Lieberman are all connected to this policy in some way, and to how it was carried out long after the war should have ended.
I keep feeling like we should have settled this in 2005. I keep feeling like, if sanity had prevailed, several thousand Americans would be alive right now. One thing is certain beyond all else--we are long overdue for a discussion as to who is responsible for not ending the Iraq War (rather, the occupation) when it should have ended. It was not the people who made ill-informed votes in 2002. It was the people who propped up the policy past 2005, making apology after apology and excuse after excuse, which is when we should have withdrawn from Iraq. Yes--duh, we should never have gone in. But what Fallujah should have taught us was that you cannot destroy a city to save it, and it should have taught us that the fight was not worth fighting. No reasonable person can conclude that al Qaeda in Iraq ever had a shot at taking over Iraq. In fact, they would have been wiped out quicker if we weren't in Iraq.