Friday, October 28, 2005

On Cheney's inner circle

Juan Cole (of Informed Comment fame) has an absolutely must-read piece called "All the Vice President's Men" at Salon, reprinted at Germany's Der Spiegel. Cole, one of academia's (and the blogosphere's) leading figures on the Middle East, unmasks the hawkish, largely neocon circle of advisors that Cheney put in place in early 2001. Here's a key early passage:

Most of the members of Cheney's inner circle were neoconservative ideologues, who combined hawkish American triumphalism with an obsession with Israel. This does not mean that the war was fought for Israel, although it is undeniable that Israeli concerns played an important role. The actual motivation behind the war was complex, and Cheney's team was not the only one in the game. The Bush administration is a coalition of disparate forces -- country club Republicans, realists, representatives of oil and other corporate interests, evangelicals, hardball political strategists, right-wing Catholics, and neoconservative Jews allied with Israel's right-wing Likud party. Each group had its own rationale for going to war with Iraq.

Make sure to read the whole thing. It's absolutely fascinating. And it explains just how we got to this point -- an increasingly unpopular war, an indictment of a top White House official, and unanswered questions about Niger, Berlusconi, and who knew what and who did what to whom before the war and during the Bush Administration's cover-up of its own incompetence.

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