Whose Success? Whose Catastrophe?


Robert Higgs, editor of the Independent Review, assesses the war in Iraq, wisely recognizing that you can't judge success or failure without considering the questions: for whom, and for what purpose?

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  1. Peace and good will toward Justin Raimondo.

  2. What a crock. The only think Higgs “recognizes” is the same cast of villains (neocons, Halliburton, those evangelicals who want to hasten the end times) that everyone’s been flogging all along.

  3. About The Independent Institute
    The mission of The Independent Institute is to transcend the all-too-common politicization and superficiality of public policy research and debate, redefine the debate over public issues, and foster new and effective directions for government reform.

    Finally, some impartial, objective analysis.

    A short list of the war?s perpetrators must include the president and his close advisers;
    ‘Perpetrators’ seems a bit harsh…

    …the neoconservative intriguers who stirred up and continue to stoke elite and popular opinion in support of the war;
    Okay, “neoconservative intriguers” seems just a touch politicized. Let’s dial it back just a touch there Bobby.

    ..the members of Congress who abdicated their exclusive constitutional responsibility to declare war, authorized the president to take the nation to war if he pleased, and then financed the war by a series of enormous appropriations from the Treasury; and certain politically well-placed persons in the munitions industries and in interest groups that have chosen to support, sometimes for reasons based on religious beliefs, a war that they perceive as promoting Israel?s interests or as bringing about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
    Well at least he didn’t go all moonbat on us and blame it on the Jews… Oh wait, yeah he did.

    In view of the endless death and destruction being visited upon the hapless people of Iraq,
    The hapless people with the rockets and the mortars…

    …not to mention the great and growing number of deaths, injuries, and mental disorders being suffered by U.S. troops in the Mesopotamian killing fields,
    Wouldn’t you have a mental disorder if you were being killed by hapless people?

    …we might well describe this adventure as a catastrophic success.
    We could probably call the article the same thing. Except for the success part.

    Wouldn’t it just have saved time to have snapped a pic of Mr. Higgs in his “No War For ” shirt and posted that?

  4. R.C. Dean’s success.

    Joe’s catastrophe.

  5. don’t these people realize that whatever valid points they may have (and there are several) it will be drowned out by their irrational hatred?

  6. Wish I could find the comment thread last week were one of the Reason contributors stated that “Neocon” is not codeword for “Jew.” Here is just one more addition in the column of evidence that tends to show otherwise. Funny how whenever the Neocon conspiracy pops up mentions of Isreali interests are not far behind.


    I suppose when “Neocons” as a policy matter support the pro-democracy revolution in Ukraine that this somehow indirectly benefits their Zionist overlords also.


  7. Told u so,
    Seeing as neocons are by definition, very pro-Israel, neocon conspiracies would mention that.
    Not all pro-Israel hawks are Jews.

    Let me get this straight:
    Hollywood = Jews = hated by the right
    Neocons = Jews = hated by the left

    Interesting thought in the second most philosemetic nation in the world.

  8. I guess my point is that if you look at various parts of the political spectrum in which every named lead figure isn’t Jewish (or have a “Jewish” sounding name) you would find a correlation between support for Israel and other positions (like in favor of liberation of Iraq) – but the conspiracy theories don’t seem to follow in the same way. Maybe Neocons support Israel because it is ideologically consistent, but the theories seem to veer off into Protocols of Zion territory by ascribing such support SOLELY to allegience to another country/religion.

    I agree with you that the US is the second most Philo-semitic country in the world – as an American who is Jewish, America is my promised land. However, that doesn’t mean that prejudice/racism can’t exist amongst some far right or far left nutbags.

    Also, I don’t get your last point; are you saying that because anti-semitism and anti-semetic slurs and conspiracy theories can’t exist at the same time on the right and left, or that those theories have to be logically consistent?

    The Nazis argued that Jews both controlled international finance (the Jewish banker) and were all communists – that was logically inconsistent, does that mean that their hatred was imagined?

  9. Anyone notice the idiotic and tired cliches peppered throughout?

    Let’s just take the basic premise, which seems to be anyone who benefited in anyway shape or form not only wanted the war, but since they wanted and benefited from it, it’s successful.

    Using his logic that anyone that that benefits from an action wants the action to happen, you could say the following:

    Car companies love 100 car pileups regardless of deaths solely to sell more cars.

    NYFD loved the events of Sept 11th due to the increased funding of the department.

    Howard Dean likes the war, because without it, he would never have been a candidate, and certainly wouldn’t be in contention for the DNC chair.

    If you use the logic that anyone that gains from an action wants it to happen, without first proving actual intent – this is the idiotic conclusions you end with.

    Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily mean that some of those listed in the aritcle didn’t want the war, simply attempting to point out that a little proof instead of a littany of “bad guys” would offer more in the way of debate.

  10. Is there any way Reason can be purged of anyone willing to use the adverb “wisely” in a description of this awful conspiracy theory shit?

  11. When Higgs makes reference to “…interest groups that have chosen to support, sometimes for reasons based on religious beliefs, a war that they perceive as promoting Israel?s interests or as bringing about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy…” he is not referrring to Jews; he is referring to fundamentalist Christians who see a war over Israel as leading to the Second Coming.

    He makes clear his reference to “…Christian (dispensationalist) soldiers marching onward as to war…” in the penultimate paragraph.

    I am glad everyone who posts on Hit & Run is opposed to anti-Semitism, but you have clearly misread Mr Higgs analysis in this case.

  12. “…he is not referrring to Jews; he is referring to fundamentalist Christians who see a war over Israel as leading to the Second Coming.”
    …except for the fact that he uses the word “or”. “…they perceive as promoting Israel’s interests or as bringing about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy…” He gives fundamentalists multiple motivations for backing Israel, but ultimately assigns responsibility to Jews; otherwise why even mention Israel? “…they perceive as bringing about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy…” I don’t think anything was misread, Higgs threw it out there.

  13. Junyo –

    I think the point is this guy will use any possible correlation, no matter how small, between two ideas and place them together in order to attack one from a different point of view.

    I mean, who needs facts when the only reason for supporting Israel is one of many religious reasons? He is simply setting up assumptions that are idiotic on the face, but trying to disregard them by setting them up as fact and arguing another underlying objective.

    For instance, I’m against stem-cell research in CA from the perspective that the state of CA doesn’t have the money to be doing so. He would simply classify me as pro-life in order to first assign me to a group that others already demonize, then to argue against pro-life, instead any actual facts.

    It’s a slight of hand that politicians use all too well.

  14. The neocon’s myopic dedication to the goals of the Israeli government is well documented and goes way back. I posted this on a different thread, but it’s actually more germane to this one:

    Note the 1996 report “A Clean Break” written by prominent neocons for the Israeli government. The report advocated the elimination of Saddam Hussein as a primary goal. Baghdad was depicted as the lynch pin in the undermining of both Iran and Syria for the good of the Israeli State. After this report, they start a campaign to put forth those goals laid out for the Israeli government as something America must do in its own interest. Fabrication and exaggeration of Saddam’s WMD capacity are part of this campaign.

    “Only ground forces can remove Saddam and his regime from power and open the way for a new post-Saddam Iraq . . .” PNAC founder Kristol wrote in a 1997 report. Kristol’s Weekly Standard magazine is owned by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox News Channel


    One of PNAC’s first goals when it was founded in 1997 was to urge Congress and the Clinton administration to support regime change in Iraq. This was before Rumsfeld was approached by the group.

    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) sent this letter to President Clinton in January of 1998:


    It’s signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, James Woolsey, Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams and others. The letter argues for aggression against Iraq. They lobbied both Clinton and Gingrich to remove former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power using military force and indict him as a “war criminal.”

    Unsatisfied with Clinton’s response, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, Kristol and others from the Project for the New American Century wrote another letter on May 29, 1998, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott:

    “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power…”


    Note also that Richard Perle, the man at the nexus of so many neo-con “pro-democracy” organizations that have a long history of advocating an attack on Iraq, in 1970, while working for Sen. “Scoop” Jackson’s office was caught on a NSA wiretap giving classified information to the Israeli Embassy.



    Also, Wolfowitz, right after 9/11, actually pounded the table for going right after Iraq instead of Afghanistan!

  15. It’s not just the fact that Higgs also fingers the dispensationalist Christians that absolves him from any charges of racism.

    As with any ethno/religious group, all Jews are not guilty by reason of the bad actions by some Jews. The neocons may be disproportionately Jewish and there is certainly strong evidence that they put the interests of the Israeli government first. So? The neocons who are Jews are only an infinitesimal fraction of US Jews. There are also plenty of Jews who oppose the neocon’s agenda.

    Let’s go further. Let’s imagine that a cabal of Jews controls the whole U.S. government with its own sinister agenda. This situation would still not justify any anti-Semitism because the vast majority of Jews would not be involved. In fact, it would be quite likely that the vast majority of Jews would be among the victims of this cabal.

    When the US government withdrew from Viet Nam, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s Advisor on National Security Affairs, himself a Polish Catholic, commented that this marked the beginning of the end for the WASP ruling elite in America. Was this comment anti-WASP racism? Of course not.

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