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Washington, DC - March 7, 2014 8AM-5PM at the National Press Club

"..a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."

-George Washington, Farewell Address


Speaker Transcripts Audio and Video

  Neoconservatives and the Iraq war
(Video YouTube, Audio MP3)

by Stephen Sniegoski  Ph.D. earned his doctorate in American history, with a focus on American foreign policy, at the University of Maryland. His focus on the neoconservative involvement in American foreign policy is the subject of his book The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel.  The book asserts that although it is generally understood that American neoconservatives pushed hard for the war in Iraq, the neocons' goal was not the spread of democracy, but the protection of Israel's interests in the Middle East. Showing that the neocon movement has always identified closely with the interests of Israel's Likudnik right wing, the discussion contends that neocon advice on Iraq was the exact opposite of conventional United States foreign policy.

I should point out that I only have time to provide a real brief outline today,  but if you would like a pdf copy of my book [The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel]—free—please contact me at my emal address,, up here, Hector, Achille's friend, Paul ,Victor, at Comcast dot net.

The neoconservatives were the driving force for the 2003 war on Iraq. The neoconservatives have a close relationship with the Israeli Likudnik Right. And they are essentially a hard line element of the Israel lobby here in the United States. The neocons had come into existence in the early 1970s The original neocons were converts from liberalism. 

They were heavily Jewish--although there are a sizable number of gentiles in the group—and they are concerned about Jewish interests. They believed that a number of aspects of 1970s liberalism had become dangerous to Jewish interests. One of these was liberalism's de-emphasis on the threat of the Soviet Union The neoconservatives saw the Soviet Union as being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel and they took a hardline anti-Soviet position.

Now, after failing to move the Democratic Party in their direction, the neocons would switch to supporting the Republicans in 1980 party as Ronald Reagan ran for presidency.  And despite being newcomers, the neoconservatives were able to get positions—a large number of positions—in the Reagan administration. And they played a significant role in pushing Reagan's foreign policy in a hardline foreign [anti-Soviet] policy direction, and I might say they had support from traditional conservatives as well. but they did play a significant role.

Now with the demise of Soviet Communism, the neoconservatives' foremost concern became Israel and the Middle East.. In 2001 as the Bush administration began, the neoconservatives had already developed their plan to reconfigure the Middle East—according to them—this would make the Middle East more peaceful, democratic, and less a threat to the United States However this plan to reconfigure the Middle East.would entail the elimination of regimes that were hostile to Israel, beginning with Iraq, and including Iran, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia.

Now this plan had strong similarities to a geostrategy that prevailed on the Israeli Right in the 1980s and was best articulated by Likudnik Oded Yinon in an 1982 article.  In that article he maintained  that Israel’s enemies were quite fragile and only held together by harsh dictatorial regimes
This—he claimed—would make it relatively easy to bring them down—since there wasn't any natural support in these countries for them—and he hed that if these countries were disturbed by war they would fragment into ethnic and sectarian groups who would war among each other. Of course this would —by weakening Israel's enemies—this would of course enhance the security of Israel and Yinon advocated that Israel launch a war.

In 1996, neocons—Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, and David Wurmser would be part of a small group that presented a variant of this strategy—to then incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, it is sort of interesting that Americans are advising Israel, and this plan—entitled “A Clean Break”—would again have Israel begin this process of reconfiguring the Middle East by war.

But very soon after this, however, the neocons would have the US as the war initiator—presumably acting for American interests. However the neocons acknowledged that their policy would benefit Israel and held that this was simply because American and Israeli interests were identical.  But the background for many—if not most—of the neocons shows a close personal identification with the state of Israel. It's reasonable to say—I think—that the neoconservatives viewed American foreign policy in the Middle East through the lens of Israeli interest, as perceived by the Likudniks.

Now, with the onset of the George W. Bush administration in 2001, the neoconservatives had become a powerful network of think tanks, organizations, and media outlets. Vice President Dic Cheney, who had a very close connection to the neoconservatives for a number of years prior to 2001, played the major role in bringing them in to the George W. Bush administration.

The neoconservatives, however, didn't get the upper hand in shaping American Middle East foreign policy until after the 911 terror attacks.  This terrorism enabled the neocon’s bogus propaganda and militaristic agenda to resonate with the American people and with Congress the 9/11 [terror attacks] made the American people fearful, and angry, and the neocons provided a way of retaliating and of course the neocons did connect Sadaam Hussein with this terrorism along with emphasizing his alleged, extremely dangerous WMD.

 President George W. Bush was essentially a convert to the neocon agenda.

Now to achieve their war on Iraq the neocons had to overcome opposition, of one degree or another, from other parts of the executive branch—the military, the state department, the CIA and from members of the traditional foreign policy establishment who put their emphasis on America maintaining stability in the Middle East in order to facilitate the flow of oil.  Of course the neocon plan would bring about instability.

Now as  the trauma of 9/11wore off, this opposition was able to prevent the neoconservatives from continuing their Middle East war agenda to bring about regime change in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East in the same direct manner as they achieved the war on Iraq.

However the neocons have been able to move American foreign policy and the Middle East to some extent—a significant extent—in the direction that they sought, even though more indirectly than directly like the war in Iraq.  So now we know there are stringent sanctions and requirements placed on Iran—put in lieu of war but certainly harming Iran. Syria, Iran’s ally, is in a state of collapse and fragmentation. There's a regional Shiite-Sunni war spreading from Iraq.  So all of Israel’s enemies are fighting among each other.  So essentially Israel's enemies are fragmented and warring among each other just as Yinon had predicted and—of course—hoped for.  So overall, I think one could say, Israel’s geostrategic position has improved, at least from the viewpoint of the Israeli right, whereas the United States interest—if one would hold the traditional belief in the need for stability in the region, well, that has obviously worsened. 

Well thank you very much!

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