Where It All Began

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In case you
have not noticed, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal
has continued to justify its ardent support for the pre-emptive
war against Iraq even though no weapons of mass destruction have
been found and no links between Saddam and Al Qaeda have been found.
The latest rationale is that the 24 million people of Iraq are better
off for the war, although the editors do not include the tens of
thousands of Iraqi civilians and military who have died in the course
of their liberation.

Yesterday’s
editpage goes much further, with a
commentary by a senior vice president of Dow Jones & Co., L.
Gordon Crovitz
, who takes the rationale for pre-emptive war
all the way back to June 1981, when the Israeli Air Force bombed
the almost-completed billion-dollar nuclear-power plant outside
Baghdad. As you will see in his review of a new book celebrating
that event, Crovitz notes that the entire world condemned the clear
act of aggression by Israel, with even the United States casting
its vote in the United Nations against Israel. The only EXCEPTION
was the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which
praised the bombing – on the grounds that Iraq was most certainly
building an atom bomb.

In fact, for
all these years, when it comes to all issues involving national
security in general and the Middle East in particular, the Journal’s
editorial page has served as the personal fiefdom of Richard Perle
and Paul Wolfowitz. Crovitz of course knows that as well as I do,
having worked his way up to his present status at Dow Jones through
the editpage. Trained as a lawyer, he became editor of the editorial
page of the Journal’s Asian edition, which took its cues
from New York on all matters of national security. In reading his
commentary, note what he does not tell his readers:

  1. Iraq had
    signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which entitled
    it to receive assistance from the nuclear powers in building
    plants to generate electrical power. The Osiraq plant was constructed
    by the French, which had built an identical plant for Israel,
    which had not signed the NPT and provided the fissile material
    for its plant through its own sources. The difference is that
    NPT signators who received assistance had to also agree to frequent
    inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
    to make sure none of the fissile material used for power production
    was diverted to a weapons program.

  2. Just as
    we now know Iraq had no WMD when we attacked it last year, we
    now know Iraq had no nuclear weapons program at the time of
    the Osiraq bombing and that it was the bombing that led Baghdad
    to initiate a clandestine weapons program outside the purview
    of the IAEA – a program that ended in complete failure
    in any event.

  3. Although
    the U.S. officially condemned the Israeli attack on Osiraq,
    for which Iraq was never compensated financially, the Pentagon
    gave Israel what assistance it could in planning the airstrike
    through a special office established soon after Ronald Reagan’s
    inauguration in January 1981. The man assigned to the office
    was Richard Perle, who has since congratulated himself for the
    timely success of the bombing – hastily arranged so the
    plant could be destroyed before it had been fitted with nuclear
    material – or the nuclear fallout would have contaminated
    the area and caused much more loss of life than the few workers
    killed in the strike.

  4. The headline
    on his story, “Everyone now agrees it was right to attack Iraq
    pre-emptively,” is the Journal’s way of saying that it
    would have been much more difficult to subdue Iraq in the 1991
    Gulf War if its power plant had not been destroyed and Saddam
    had found a way to sneak fissile material past the IAEA inspectors
    to build an Islamic bomb. Another way of looking at it is that
    Time magazine was right in stating: “Israel has vastly
    compounded the difficulties of procuring a peaceful settlement
    of the confrontation in the Middle East.”

  5. Crovitz
    does not tell us that Israel has been seriously considering
    a pre-emptive bombing of the Iranian nuclear power plant outside
    Tehran, which the neo-cons in the Bush administration and the
    Journal’s editors would of course celebrate as well.

June
3, 2004

Jude
Wanniski [send him mail]
runs the financial/political advisory service Wanniski.com.
(If you subscribe,
and check LewRockwell.com
in the referring website pull-down,
LRC gets 10%).

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