The American Conservative
January 17, 2005
They were originally Falangist sympathizers inside Madrid during the
Spanish Civil War, prepared to side with General Franco's four
columns that were besieging the city. By 1939, as Germany and France
were poised for war, French Fifth Columnists were busy undermining
those who preached resistance to German demands. Until now, America
has not had a Fifth Column in its midst, unless one counts the media
during the war in Vietnam. (Roosevelt unfairly and needlessly
detained Japanese-Americans during World War II as potential Fifth
Columnists, when he should have been detaining some of his cabinet.)
The first real case (Benedict Arnold aside) of Fifth Columnists
inside America working for foreign interests are the neo-
conservatives, the best known of whom include David Frum, William
Kristol, Norman and John Podhoretz, Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle,
Paul Wolfowitz, and the egregious Douglas Feith, as close to being a
foreign agent as is possible to be but still holding on to his job
at the Pentagon.
America's Fifth Columnists aim to shape United States foreign policy
to suit Israeli interests. The gruesome carnage in Iraq is proof
that this administration is ready to fight Israeli battles to the
last American marine.
We have lost more than 1,200 dead, 30,000 wounded, and have killed an
unknown number of Iraqis, not all of them insurgents or terrorists.
We have military hospitals full of blind and crippled young men and
women, while thousands of Iraqis and their children are mortared and
shot daily. Despite the bloodshed, however, victory in Iraq is still
up for grabs. Not only have the neocons not bothered to apologize,
they want more blood.
Mind you, there are no Frums dying among our troops. Instead, they
are ensconced inside the Beltway appearing on television and egging
the president on to Tehran and Demascus.
In a soundbite age, "War on Terror" has a good ring to it. Once upon
a time, Christian missionaries tried to vanquish "evil savages" by
teaching them religion. Now we try to teach them democracy.
The way America's Fifth Column operates is a simple one. It uses the
charge of anti-Semitism to smear honorable conservatives who do not
believe that Uncle Sam's and Israel's interests are one and the same.
(The most outrageous example was when Midge Decter accused the
venerable conservative Russell Kirk of anti-Semitism.) David Frum,
a sleazy self-promoter, infamously painted conservative writers like
Pat Buchanan, Paul Gottfried, Samuel Francis, Tom Fleming, and
others as unpatriotic Americans, forgetting to mention that in his
book "unpatriotic" means not serving the interests of the state of
Norman Podhoretz's "World War IV" is a blueprint for an endless
campaign to destroy all of Israel's enemies. Why are these bogus
patriots getting away with such stuff? Alas, it is a very easy
question to answer.
With 85,000 members, a staff of 165, and a $33.4 million annual
budget, AIPAC, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee, is
Washington's most influential and most feared lobby. It is forceful,
extremely aggressive, and more or less calls the tune inside the
Beltway where the Middle East is concerned. Woe to the politician
who ignores its wishes. He will be targeted, his opponents showered
with donations, his reputation immediately shredded by charges of
Neocons work closely with AIPAC and the Israeli embassy. As Philip
Giraldi wrote in this magazine, "Principal neocons have been accused
of illegally providing classified information to Israel. None was
ever prosecuted." Last I heard AIPAC was busy accusing the FBI and
CIA of pursuing a vendetta against Israel and the Pentagon, while
neocon Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute alleges
that the Franklin affair was motivated by anti-Semitism.
America's pro-Israel stand is nothing new. Israel is, after all, our
closest ally in the region, despite the spying it regularly conducts
on Uncle Sam. If there ever was a one-sided marriage, this is it. As
Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times, "there is a steadily
rising perception across the Arab-Muslim world that the great enemy
of Islam is JIA--Jews, Israel and America, all lumped together in a
single threat." Friedman goes on to say that Arab satellite
television stations show split-screen images of Israelis bashing
Palestinians and Americans beating up Iraqi insurgents. Nothing new
Arab preachers, mostly paid by our other "allies," the Saudi rulers,
explain all the world's ills by wrapping them up in JIA. But Arab
lies and outrageous anti-Western propaganda aside, the Bush regime's
total embrace of Ariel Sharon makes it impossible to know where
American policy stops and Sharon's begins.
Now, with Colin Powell gone, my fears are that Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary Douglas Feith--two of
the most bluster-prone cheerleaders of the Iraq War and of Ariel
Sharon's brutal and expansionist strategy on the West Bank--will
enjoy even more power and influence. Under normal circumstances,
Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and others would have been dismissed on
the spot, and neocon propagandists such as Frum, Kristol, Podhoretz,
Perle, and their ilk denounced as working for a foreign power.
But we are not living in normal times. This is the time of AIPAC, and
woe to those who oppose America's Fifth Column, starting with poor
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