The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Juan Cole slams AIPAC - but where are the references?

A key element in the Likudisation of US foreign policy over the last couple of decades is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee: the sort of leverage this group manages over the elected branches of the Federal government [1] is at a level that holding company pyramid king Samuel Insull could scarcely dream of.

I have inveighed here several times before against the group's baleful influence (yet somehow they've survived!). Now, I see that the blogosphere's Middle East guru Juan Cole has been weighing in, off the back of the Lawrence Franklin spying affair.

It's useful stuff - but frustrating. For example, he quotes an August 2003 piece which relies on evidence from one
retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski

We've come across Kwiatkowski before: on March 13, I looked at an article by her modestly entitled The New Pentagon Papers. There were no papers: just a load of uncorroborated tales of Pentagon life.

I see that the London Observer on May 30 points out that the woman's
story first surfaced - with her name concealed - in a dubious outlet: the Executive Intelligence Review, a virulently anti-semitic magazine run by conspiracy theorist, Lyndon LaRouche.

Cole refers to Kwiatkowski as
an eyewitness in NESA
the DOD Near East and South Asia Office - now, eye-witness testimony of any sort is notoriously suspect, all the more so when it is uncorroborated. But I think a specific health warning about the woman is warranted.

(I had a second piece mentioning Kwiatkowski on March 14, looking at criticism of an article of Dana Priest's - by none other than Juan Cole.)

On the detail, there is a complete lack of references: it may be that Cole is writing for regular readers who would not wish to be wearied by links to relevant news stories and other evidence with which they are intimately familiar.

Thus, for example,
It was these [Washington Institute for Near East Policy] and AIPAC-linked US Likud backers in the Defense Department who had the Iraqi army dissolved as soon as Saddam was overthrown.

WINEP, being a wing of AIPAC, is enormously influential in Washington. State Department and military personnel are actually detailed there to "learn" about "the Middle East"!

Pro-Likud intellectuals established networks linking Defense and the national security advisers of Vice President Dick Cheney, gaining enormous influence over policy by cherry-picking and distorting intelligence so as to make a case for war on Saddam Hussein.

All entirely plausible - but a lack of 5 Ws, and of links to material that might help the layman in tracking them down.

The core of my frustration is that Cole's line feeds my druthers on the odious AIPAC: and I'd have liked to have something more than his ipse dixit to back it up.

Though I'd perhaps be happier to sit at the great man's feet were he not apparently making a habit of presenting Ms Kwiatkowski as a reliable witness...

  1. And, indirectly, on the judicial branch too, via nominations and confirmations of appointees to the Federal courts.

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