The Unanimous 9/11 Report

Email Print

To: Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your Unanimous 9-11 Report

As far as it goes and as much as I’ve read, your 9-11 report is
about as good as I expected, as if I had to pick a bipartisan twosome
to chair and co-chair the commission it would be the two of you.
There has been some critical comment that you steered clear of making
judgments on the war in Iraq, but I understand you could not have
done so and still have gotten a unanimous 15-to-0 vote from the
commission. Sunday’s Washington Post had an
excellent news analysis
by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus covering
this issue. Of course, I am hoping that both of you will be able
to delve into this topic now that you can speak on your own.

I don’t know you personally, Mr. Hamilton, although I have been
a long-distance admirer of your no-nonsense commentary on foreign
affairs from your days in Congress. Tom I know well, and he can
tell you that in 1998 we discussed the possibility that the same
terrorist impulse that led to the bombing of the World Trade Center
in 1993 had to be addressed, or it could lead to a return of the
terrorists to come back and finish the job of bringing down the
twin towers. Indeed, I made him aware of a letter I’d sent to Jesse
Helms in 1998 urging him to hold hearings of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee to probe the reasons for the ’93 attack. The
day after 9-11, in this space, letter
to Vice President Cheney
urging him to take my recommendation
seriously, as Senator Helms did not.

The sensitive problem with opening up this line of inquiry is that
it leads back to Israel and the struggle over Palestine, etc. I’m
appending here yet another memo I wrote on this subject a month
after 9-11, directing it to J.J. Goldberg, editor of the Jewish
weekly Forward, whose lead editorial of October 5, 2001,
squarely addressed the subject of how much blame Israel should bear
for 9-11. I suggest this as a take-off point for you as you extend
your inquiries, which I trust you will, perhaps even as leaders
of the new Cabinet level office on intelligence, if one is created.

Oct 10, 2001
Memo on the Margin
Israel and the Terrorist Attack

Memo To: J. J. Goldberg, editor, the Forward
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Depending on the U.S.

Your lead editorial in the October 5 issue, “Because of Israel,”
takes up the question of how much, if any, blame Israel should bear
for September 11. You hear on the margins people “seeking to blame
the atrocities on America’s supposedly misguided support for Israel
— and on Jewish Americans who supposedly manipulate the system to
tilt our policy the wrong way.” Let me say first, Mr. Goldberg,
that I am a subscriber to your weekly, the oldest Jewish newspaper
in America, founded in 1897, and that I have been praising the tone
and wisdom of your editorials since September 11, when other Jewish
opinion leaders in the national press have been practically advocating
total war against Islam.

What I liked most about the editorial is its straight talk to your
readers, many of whom I gather have been in denial about any connection
between U.S. support of Israel and Osama bin Laden’s declared holy
war against the United States. The party line coming out of Bill
Kristol and the kooks at the Weekly Standard has been that
the Islamic fundamentalists will not stop until they have defeated
“the West,” which means the Judeo-Christian world. If that is the
case, we should prepare for total war, but you reject that argument:

needn’t search the theology texts to divine bin Laden’s motives.
He’s spelled them out repeatedly in various public statements.
He’s on a self-declared holy war against u2018Crusaders and Jews,’
with a three-fold goal: u2018liberating’ Mecca and the rest of Arabia
from American u2018occupation,’ u2018liberating’ Al Aqsa in Jerusalem
from Jewish u2018occupation’ and lifting the Western embargo on Iraq.
They’re always stated in that three-fold form, and usually in
that order. The fact is, Israel is one of the issues, though not
the only one, driving bin Laden and his cohorts. It is foolish
to deny it; that merely undermines the credibility of Israel’s
defenders at a time when Israel sorely needs defending.
Well said, Mr.
Goldberg. My only quibble is that each of the three reasons bin
Laden gives for his jihad against America and the West are tied
to our support of Israel. If the Israeli government could make peace
with the Palestinians, including a resolution of the Muslim holy
place in Jerusalem from where they believe Mohammed went to heaven,
you surely must see that the two other issues would dissolve. If
you get right down to it, the only reason U.S. troops are in Saudi
Arabia is to protect Israel. And the reason the embargo has been
kept on Iraq for the last decade has been the insistence of the
Israeli Lobby in Washington. If the Israeli government this afternoon
quietly passed the word to the American-Israel Political Action
Committee that it would like the Iraq embargo lifted, you would
see Senator Joe Lieberman [D-CT] announcing tomorrow afternoon that
he thinks the Iraq embargo should be lifted. We know Saddam Hussein
does not have any nukes and if he had bio-chem weapons he would
only use them if threatened by Israel’s nukes. If Israel were at
peace with a friendly, neighborly Palestinian state, all of the
reasons Osama bin Laden gives for his war against America and the
West would be dissolved.

I’m not saying the Muslim extremists would embrace Israelis, only
that their hatred would first turn to mere suspicion and dislike,
which are human emotions that do not lead to suicide bombings. The
problem of the extremists like Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz,
our Deputy Defense Secretary who wants to go to war with Iraq as
soon as possible, is that they have persuaded themselves that Israel
cannot be secure even if it concluded a peace with the Palestinians.
They are now frantic because they fear Secretary of State Colin
Powell will succeed in his diplomacy and there will be a push for
a Palestinian state, with the attendant concessions required of
the Israeli state. Your editorial makes the very important point,
with which I agree wholly, that “America and Israel are allies,
not because of some cabal of Jewish lobbyists, but because their
two peoples demand it. America’s support for Israel is not misguided,
but profoundly moral.”

It is because of the reasoned opinions of the Forward and the many
Jews I know as friends and clients who share them that I am actually
encouraged to think peace is just around the corner. So far, as
you reported a few weeks back, the American Jews who want to make
a serious effort at peace with the Palestinians are still not willing
to be quoted, which leaves the field to the belligerent, blustering
hawks. Your line of reasoning is much more constructive and I congratulate
you for it. The more you can coax the doves out of their corners
with the argument that Israel’s security will depend on good relations
with its neighbors and the ultimate backing of America, the sooner
we will all be free of the threat of Osama bin Laden’s terrorism.

28, 2004

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

Wanniski Archives

Email Print