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The Transparent Cabal: The Neo-Conservative Agenda


The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East,and the National Interest of Israel
by Stephen J. Sniegoski

Reviewed by James Morris

With his PhD training his history, Stephen J. Sniegoski has provided exceptional documentation to illustrate the neocon/Israeli involvement in shaping Bush administration policy in the Middle East. He relies heavily on the very words of the neo-conservatives and Israeli officials. To illustrate their influence, he provides commentary from mainstream sources. This was no hidden conspiracy. The title is an oxymoron since the book clearly illustrates that the neo-conservative agenda was openly revealed to the public. However, few writers have had the courage to point this out, and even fewer have had the energy and diligence to connect all the dots.

One key point is how Sniegoski shows that members of the traditional foreign policy establishment and the oil interests-the preferred villains of such leftist anti-war commentators as Chomsky and Finkelstein-were hardly pushing for an aggressive Middle East policy. Prior to 9/11, the oil companies sought an end of the sanctions against the Iran and Iraq. Major opponents of the war on Iraq included Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisors. The military was anything but gung-ho towards an attack on Iraq and had to be pushed in that direction by the Bush administration neo-cons. Similarly, the CIA also had to be pressured to come up with the bogus war propaganda. To disseminate the most fallacious war propaganda, the neo-cons had to create their own hard-core propaganda agency, the Office of Special Plans, under the direction of super-neo-con Douglas Feith in the Defense Department. In 2006, the traditional foreign policy establishment dominated the congressionally-mandated "Iraq Study Group" (co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton), which sought to bring about peace in the Middle East through negotiations with such enemies of Israel as Iran and Syria. The neo-con American Enterprise Institute would counter this move by proposing the "surge" in Iraq, which Bush would adopt in early 2007.

In summarizing the fundamental geostrategic difference between the neo-conservatives and the traditional foreign policy establishment, Sniegoski provides extensive documentation to show that the neo-cons sought to destabilize Israel's enemies (not simply Iraq, but also Iran, Syria, and ultimately Saudi Arabia) purportedly to establish "democracy." However, the neo-con destabilization policy dovetailed with the long-time Likudnik policy goal of destabilizing and fragmenting Israel's enemies, with the goal of improving Israel's geo-strategic position. In contrast, the traditional American foreign policy establishment sought to maintain stability in the Middle East in order to facilitate the flow of oil. Instability would threaten the flow of oil and the economy of the industrial nations which depended on oil.

As Sniegoski points out, it was the trauma of 9/11 that gave the neo-cons the opportunity to gain upper hand in the Bush administration. With their use of bogus intelligence, the ne-ocons were able to skillfully convert a know-nothing president and a fearful and angry American public to support an attack on Iraq. As the anger and fear faded, the traditional establishment was able to reassert itself to the degree that the neo-cons and Israel have been unsuccessful in their effort to get the United States to attack Iran. But Sniegoski points out that the neo-con element was never eliminated from the Bush administration.

This book has many other things to write about, which space does not allow. However, it should be pointed out that while the book deals with the Bush administration, the issues discussed retain a relevance today in the Obama era. The successful March 2009 derailment of Chas Freeman's appointment to chair the National Intelligence Council clearly illustrates that the neo-conservatives and other elements of the Israel Lobby still hold significant power in shaping American Middle East policy. It also illustrates the opposition to the neo-con Middle East war policy from the traditional foreign policy establishment, which Freeman represents.

This book provides a good understanding of the motivation behind America's aggressive war policy in the Middle East, which is not in line with the national interests of the United States nor of the interests of humanity as a whole. It is a must read for all people concerned about the future of the globe.

Hardback. 480 pp.

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