Writing in the New Republic (June 7), former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski characterizes the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as "justified by falsehoods, pursued with unilateral arrogance, blinded by self-delusion, and stained by sadistic excesses."
Brzezinski condemns Bush’s failed Iraq policy for aiding and abetting terrorism and for generating hardcore hatred of the US. Brzezinski points firmly to the real problem: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab world."
If any headway is to be made against terror, Brzezinski says, the Bush administration must cease supporting the Likud Party’s goal of a greater Israel while ignoring Palestinian rights. As the US has learned in Iraq, mere force cannot defeat terrorism. However, an equitable Israeli-Palestinian settlement can.
No progress can be made in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as long as neoconservatives continue to control the Bush presidency. A number of top military officers and foreign policy experts have called for the resignation of the neoconservative contingent.
Gen. Anthony Zinni recently accused top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of duty" and called for their heads to roll. Marine Gen. William Whitlow wrote recently in the Washington Post that "it is time for the president to ask those responsible for the flawed Iraqi policy to resign from public service."
Neoconservatives are opposed to any resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on any terms other than Israel’s terms. Until Bush cleans his own house of the principal opponents to an Israeli-Palestinian solution, there is no prospect of the US making headway in the war against terror.
We know who the failed policymakers are: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and their advisor Richard Perle, Vice President Richard Cheney and his chief-of-staff "Scooter" Libby. There are others, but cleaning out these notorious incompetents would permit Bush to make the course correction that Brzezinski says is urgently needed.
Many Americans believe that a Middle East course correction is impossible, because Israel controls US Middle Eastern policy and Israelis are of one mind. Americans mistakenly believe Israelis are of one mind, because the US media does not report on the fierce Israeli opposition to the Likud Party’s aggressive policy toward the Palestinians.
Most thoughtful Israelis oppose the Likud Party’s strategy, because they understand that it is suicidal for 5 million Israelis to make themselves hated by hundreds of millions of Muslims. Israelis have written that Ariel Sharon’s mistreatment of Palestinians means their country will not exist in 25 years and that their children are already planning to emigrate. Prominent Israeli newspapers, writers, politicians, and peace groups continuously lambast the Likud Party for its policy toward the Palestinians.
Here is what Shulamit Aloni has to say about Israel in an interview on the Web site of Israel’s largest circulating daily, Yediot Acharonot. Shulamit Aloni was a member of the Knesset during 1974—96. During this period she held three cabinet posts and was a member of the National Security Council during 1992—96.
"We are the violent ones; we are the cheats. Our very foundations have been undermined by our adulation of force, and all this is called a democracy. There cannot be democracy when we rule over three million people who have no voice. We do not even try to understand that what the Palestinians want is sovereignty and human rights.
"There is an absolute moral thoughtlessness . . . The moral disintegration of our society is the direct consequence of what is happening in the [occupied] Territories. . . . For the past 37 years, our Jewish paranoia has been stoked by brainwashing. We get told that they want to exterminate us. Who are u2018they’? We are at peace with Egypt and Jordan, and these two countries do not threaten us anymore. So who is going to throw us into the sea — the Palestinians? The present war is not a war of survival, but a colonial war."
Shulamit Aloni says that the Likud Party encourages Palestinian terrorism in order to cement national consensus with Jewish blood. "When terrorism is on the wane, then people feel free to ask questions, critics can be heard and the spirit of defiance grows. . . . I cannot live with the way we continually wail that we are the victim, and do not examine our own morality. We are busy destroying the vital infrastructure of three million people, and then pretend that we are the victims."
Americans could use a lot more truth as well, not only about the deceit the US government used to justify invading Iraq but also about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Policies based on lies, arrogance, delusion, and sadistic excesses will bring ruin to the US and to Israel.
Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.