Morning Report 8/19/05
Dual Disloyalty: Feith and the Occupations of Gaza and Iraq
During the Gaza "disengagement" saga — Jon Stewart calls it "The Jew Carry Show" — a lot of people are showing their true colors. But as the strange sight of fanatical young acidic Jews fighting other Jews proves, the color orange, for one, means different things in different contexts.
In Ukraine, orange was the color of a democratic revolution. In Israel, orange is the color of the reactionaries, the colonists who won't let go of the land they say God told them they could have.
However, in all the stories about places like Kfar Darom, as in the recounting of the current misery in Baghdead, one reactionary gets little notice. No one is mentioning Doug Feith, who has been mostly successful in hiding his true colors as a right-wing Zionist while carrying out his fanatical wing's aims in Iraq.
The erstwhile Pentagon official is a key player in not only the disastrous occupation of Iraq but in trying to make sure Israel clung to the disastrous occupation of Gaza.
Feith is such a radical that he won't even refer to the West Bank as the West Bank — he uses the biblical names Judea and Samaria. And he doesn't even like to say "occupied territories," even though they are. In fact, our own government officially refers to them as "occupied" and freely uses the term "West Bank." Just look at the CIA map of Israel above, and you'll see that Gaza and the West Bank are separate from Israel, and each carries an asterisk.
But there's no asterisk attached to Feith's version of Israel. The son of a founder of Likud, he has pursued a radical Zionist policy at the expense of Israel's own Jews, a majority of whom don't favor the settlers.
His behavior as a Pentagon official toward the Arabs in Iraq is one of the shameful legacies of our unjustified invasion. We know quite a lot — although not enough — about Feith's role in propelling the U.S. into war and beyond. As one of the most prominent neocons, he hammered away at the need for regime change. And of course, he was one of the key Pentagon officials who didn't plan for the aftermath. He was in charge, however, of figuring out how to handle our Arab prisoners.
Bad idea. He's almost as anti-Arab as the fanatical anti-Semites over in the Arab camp are anti-Jewish.
Does Feith have divided loyalties? That's a common allegation leveled against those neocons and others who seem to put Israel's interests before those of the United States. It's clear, though, that Feith doesn't. His loyalty belongs to Israel and to its extremist politicians like Bibi Netanyahu, for whom he was an adviser.
Maybe the details of Feith's loyalties will emerge in the unfolding of the AIPAC spy scandal. One of Feith's direct subordinates, Larry Franklin, has already been charged with leaking U.S. secrets to Israel, and two major AIPAC officials (fired only after the scandal broke) have also been indicted.
Dick Cheney had his business reasons—you go where the oil is—for trying to take over Iraq. No one has feasted off the 9/11 tragedy like the old cold warriors Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who wound up agreeing, for different reasons, with the aims of Feith's radical wing of Zionism, which wanted to take out Saddam Hussein, the most direct threat to Israel's security.
Before you accuse me of being a self-hating Jew, please understand that, like Larry David, I hate myself but it has nothing to do with my being Jewish.
More importantly, you can't lump all Zionists with Feith's wing, which is off the scale as a radical group.
A decade ago, Feith took his hammer and helped destroy hopes for peace — if there are any left — in Israel's occupied territories.
In the fall of 1993, for example, in the prime neocon journal The National Interest, Feith wrote "A Mandate for Israel." Blasting the recently concluded Oslo accords, Feith laid out a typically long-winded screed justifying Israel's permanent, perpetual, God-given, ultimate, and final claim to Gaza and the West Bank.
The funniest part of his argument is that Feith actually talked about the Geneva conventions. You'll recall that he was one of the leaders in the Pentagon's active flouting of those conventions when it came to the treatment of Iraqi prisoners. As Jim Lobe reminds us, Feith ran the office that ran Abu Ghraib, and even our military lawyers strenuously objected to the loosening of interrogation standards.
Here's Feith, in his own 1993 article, talking about the Geneva rules — as they apply (or don't apply) to Gaza:
- Contrary to the refrain of various United Nations resolutions, the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention does not render Jewish settlement in these territories unlawful.
By "these territories," Feith means "Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip." He goes back to the Balfour Declaration as his authority, saying:
- It can also be argued that Article 49 of the Convention, which provides that an occupying power "shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies," is not applicable to the case at hand. …
Even if one assumes Article 49's applicability to Israel's authority as military occupant, however, the Jewish people do not thereby lose their Mandate-recognized rights in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. If the Fourth Geneva Convention applies, Israel is constrained solely in its capacity as an occupying power. The Convention does not address or affect the rights or authority of the Jewish people in their capacity as beneficiaries of the Mandate. In other words, Jewish rights there do not derive from Israel's capture of the territories in 1967. So any limitations imposed by the laws of war on Israel with respect to the military occupation of the territories cannot negate those independent, pre-existing rights.
This is the radical who wound up running a large part of our war effort in Iraq. No wonder we're fucked.
Let's recall what Feith told Congress on February 11, 2003, when he was, as he put it, "pleased to have this opportunity to talk with you today about efforts underway in the Defense Department and the U.S. Government to plan for Iraq in the post-conflict period, should war become necessary."
In his testimony, called "Post-War Planning," Feith listed five "objectives." Let's run through them and see what has happened:
- First, demonstrate to the Iraqi people and the world that the United States aspires to liberate, not occupy or control them or their economic resources.
Mission not accomplished.
- Second, eliminate Iraq's chemical and biological weapons, its nuclear program, the related delivery systems, and the related research and production facilities. This will be a complex, dangerous and expensive task.
There weren't any. It wasn't.
- Third, eliminate likewise Iraq's terrorist infrastructure. A key element of U.S. strategy in the global war on terrorism is exploiting the information about terrorist networks that the coalition acquires through our military and law enforcement actions.
There was no "terrorist infrastructure" until we invaded. The "terrorist infrastructure" was in Afghanistan, from where we diverted resources and manpower so we could invade Iraq.
- Fourth, safeguard the territorial unity of Iraq. The United States does not support Iraq's disintegration or dismemberment.
How many Iraqis have been disintegrated or dismembered? Oh, I forgot. We don't do body counts.
- Fifth, begin the process of economic and political reconstruction, working to put Iraq on a path to become a prosperous and free country. The U.S. government shares with many Iraqis the hope that their country will enjoy the rule of law and other institutions of democracy under a broad-based government that represents the various parts of Iraqi society.
How about starting by turning on the fucking electricity? It's 120 degrees in Baghdad, and even hotter when buses and cars explode.