Inside the Middle East/JPost
11 February '10
In the past, I've demolished Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's claim that Israel and its friends drove the United States to war with Iraq. I did it when they published their article, and did it again when they published their book, The Israel Lobby. It's a conspiracy theory, pure and simple. And because Walt is a conspiracy theorist, he does what they all do: he rips evidence out of context.
Here's his latest grasp at a straw: his claim that Tony Blair has "revealed" that "Israel officials were involved in those discussions" on Iraq held between Blair and George Bush in Crawford, Texas in April 2002. Walt brings as evidence this quote from Blair's testimony to the UK commission investigating the Iraq war:
As I recall that discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this."
Walt's conclusion: "Blair is acknowledging that concerns about Israel were part of the equation, and that the Israeli government was being actively consulted in the planning for the war." Walt goes on to declare that "more evidence of their influence [of Israel and the Israel lobby] on the decision for war will leak out," and that "Blair's testimony is evidence of that process at work."
When people who don't know much about the Middle East, like Stephen Walt, pose as experts, they make basic mistakes of chronology. So let me remind him of exactly what coincided with the Crawford meeting of April 6-7, 2002.
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