Whatever the secondary reasons for the war, the crucial factor in President Bush’s decision to attack was to help Israel. With support from Israel and America’s Jewish-Zionist lobby, and prodded by Jewish “neo-conservatives” holding high-level positions in his administration, President Bush - who was already fervently committed to Israel - resolved to invade and subdue one of Israel’s chief regional enemies.
This is so widely understood in Washington that US Senator Ernest Hollings was moved in May 2004 to acknowledge that the US invaded Iraq “to secure Israel,” and “everybody” knows it. He also identified three of the influential pro-Israel Jews in Washington who played an important role in prodding the US into war: Richard Perle, chair of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board; Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary; and Charles Krauthammer, columnist and author.
Hollings referred to the cowardly reluctance of his Congressional colleagues to acknowledge this truth openly, saying that “nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on.” Due to “the pressures we get politically,” he added, members of Congress uncritically support Israel and its policies.
Some months before the invasion, retired four-star US Army General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark acknowledged in an interview: “Those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel.”
Six months before the attack, President Bush met in the White House with eleven members of the US House of Representatives. While the “war against terrorism is going okay,” he told the lawmakers, the United States would soon have to deal with a greater danger: “The biggest threat, however, is Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. He can blow up Israel and that would trigger an international conflict.”
Bush also spoke candidly about why the US was going to war during a White House meeting on Feb. 27, 2003, just three weeks before the invasion. In a talk with Elie Wiesel, the well-known Jewish writer, Bush said: “If we don’t disarm Saddam Hussein, he will put a weapon of mass destruction on Israel and they will do what they think they have to do, and we have to avoid that.”
President Bush’s fervent support for Israel and its hardline government is well known. He reaffirmed it, for example, in June 2002 in a major speech on the Middle East. In the view of “leading Israeli commentators,” the London Times reported, the address was “so pro-Israel that it might have been written by Ariel Sharon.” In an address to pro-Israel activists at the 2004 convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Bush said: “The United States is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state.” He also told the gathering: “By defending the freedom and prosperity and security of Israel, you’re also serving the cause of America.”
Condoleeza Rice, who served as President Bush’s National Security Advisor, and later, as his Secretary of State, echoed the President’s outlook in a May 2003 interview, saying that the “security of Israel is the key to security of the world.”
Jewish-Zionist plans for war against Iraq had been in place for years. In mid-1996, a policy paper prepared for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined a grand strategy for Israel in the Middle East. Entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” it was written under the auspices of an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Specifically, it called for an “effort [that] can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right…”
The authors of “A Clean Break” included Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser, three influential Jews who later held high-level positions in the Bush administration, 2001-2004: Perle as chair of the Defense Policy Board, Feith as Undersecretary of Defense, and Wurmser as special assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control. The role played by Bush administration officials who are associated with two major pro-Zionist “neoconservative” research centers has come under scrutiny from The Nation , the influential public affairs weekly. The author, Jason Vest, examined the close links between the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP), detailing the ties between these groups and various politicians, arms merchants, military men, wealthy pro-Israel American Jews, and Republican presidential administrations
JINSA and CSP members, notes Vest, “have ascended to powerful government posts, where… they’ve managed to weave a number of issues - support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general - into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core… On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war - not just with Iraq, but ‘total war,’ as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it… For this crew, ‘regime change’ by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative.”
Samuel Francis, author, editor and columnist, also looked into the “neo-conservative” role in fomenting war. “My own answer,” he wrote, "is that the lie was fabricated by neo-conservatives in the administration whose first loyalty is to Israel and its interests and who wanted the United States to smash Iraq because it was the biggest potential threat to Israel in the region. They are known to have been pushing for war with Iraq since at least 1996, but they could not make an effective case for it until after Sept. 11, 2001…"
In the aftermath of the 2001 Nine-Eleven terror attacks, ardently pro-Zionist “neo-conservatives” in the Bush administration - who for years had sought a Middle East war to bolster Israel’s security in the region - exploited the tragedy to press their agenda. In this they were backed by the Israeli government, which also pressured the White House to strike Iraq.
“The [Israeli] military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq,” reported a leading Israeli daily paper, Haaretz , in February 2002. The Jerusalem correspondent for the Guardian , the respected British daily, reported in August 2002: “Israel signalled its decision yesterday to put public pressure on President George Bush to go ahead with a military attack on Iraq, even though it believes Saddam Hussein may well retaliate by striking Israel.”
Three months before the US invasion, the well-informed Washington journalist Robert Novak reported that Israeli prime minister Sharon was telling American political leaders that “the greatest US assistance to Israel would be to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime.” Moreover, added Novak, “that view is widely shared inside the Bush administration, and is a major reason why US forces today are assembling for war.”
Israel’s spy agencies were a “full partner” with the US and Britain in producing greatly exaggerated prewar assessments of Iraq’s ability to wage war, a former senior Israeli military intelligence official has acknowledged. Shlomo Bron, a brigadier general in the Israel army reserves, and a senior researcher at a major Israeli think tank, said that intelligence provided by Israel played a significant role in supporting the US and British case for making war.
The role of the pro-Israel lobby in pressing for war has been carefully examined by two prominent American scholars, John J. Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, professor of international affairs at Harvard University. In an 81-page paper, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” they wrote:
“Pressure from Israel and the [pro-Israel] Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure… Within the United States, the main driving force behind the Iraq war was a small band of neoconservatives, many with close ties to Israel’s Likud Party. In addition, key leaders of the Lobby’s major organizations lent their voices to the campaign for war.”
Important members of the pro-Israel lobby carried out what professors Mearshiemer and Walt call “an unrelenting public relations campaign to win support for invading Iraq. A key part of this campaign was the manipulation of intelligence information, so as to make Saddam look like an imminent threat.”
For some Jewish leaders, the Iraq war is part of a long-range effort to install Israel-friendly regimes across the Middle East. Norman Podhoretz, a prominent Jewish writer and an ardent supporter of Israel, was for years editor of Commentary , the influential Zionist monthly. In the Sept. 2002 issue he wrote:
“The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil [Iraq, Iran, North Korea]. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as ‘friends’ of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, the well-known writer and commentator, and former White House Communications director, has been blunt in identifying those who pushed for war:
"We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging US relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity…
“Cui Bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.”
Uri Avnery - an award-winning Israeli journalist and author, and a three-time member of Israel’s parliament - sees the Iraq war as an expression of immense Jewish influence and power. In an essay written some weeks after the US invasion, he wrote:
“Who are the winners? They are the so-called neo-cons, or neo-conservatives. A compact group, almost all of whose members are Jewish. They hold the key positions in the Bush administration, as well as in the think-tanks that play an important role in formulating American policy and the ed-op pages of the influential newspapers… The immense influence of this largely Jewish group stems from its close alliance with the extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists, who nowadays control Bush’s Republican party. … Seemingly, all this is good for Israel. America controls the world, we control America. Never before have Jews exerted such an immense influence on the center of world power.”