Capitol Hill Forum Rips Middle East Policy

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Who’s responsible for getting the U.S. into this Iraqi War quagmire? Try Richard Perle for starters! This was one of the answers given at a public Forum, sponsored by the Institute for Research for Middle East Policy, (IRmep), a think tank. The affair was held in Washington, D.C., in Room 2168, (Gold Room), of the Rayburn Building, on Capitol Hill, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003.

The Forum focused on the deadly ramifications of the now infamous 1996 Middle East policy paper, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” The paper was originally prepared for Israel’s hard right Benjamin Netanyahu regime, but due to the enormous influence of Neocons, like the shadowy Perle, it became, especially after the 9/11 tragedy, a significant part of the hawkish Bush-Cheney Gang’s Middle East policy. It urged, among other things, toppling the government of Iraq, “rolling back” Syria and Iran, and Isolating Palestinian Chairman, Yassar Arafat.

Panel members included Adam Shapiro of the International Solidarity Movement; former congressional candidate and “Million Man March” leader, Dr. E. Faye Williams; Muhammad Khaddam, First Secretary of the Syrian Embassy; Khaled Dawoud, D.C. Bureau chief of “Al-Ahram”; and Adib Farha, adviser of the Lebanese Minister of Finance and also a professor at the Lebanese American U. in Beirut, Lebanon.

Three of the eight authors of the “Clean Break” document became key policy makers to the Bush-Cheney Gang. Leading that pack was the super hawkish Perle, a current member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. He also sits on the board of the “Jerusalem Post” newspaper, which is owned by the scandal-tainted Conrad Black, a media mogul.

Douglas “Chicken Hawk” Feith, an Undersecretary of Defense and protégé of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul “Dr. Strangelove” Wolfowitz; and David Wurmser, presently a Middle East advisor to V. P. Dick Cheney, were the other two prime drafters of the paper. All three Neocons are know as radical Zionists, who have endorsed Israel’s dumping the “Oslo Accords.” Perle, Feith and Wurmser have also pushed, along with Wolfowitz and Elliott “Contragate” Abrams, now a honcho with the National Security Council, the notorious “Preemptive Strike Doctrine.”

“This is a chilling document,” said Dr. Williams, speaking of Perle’s “Clean Break” paper. “It was prepared by unelected individuals” who brazenly wanted to impose U.S. and Israeli policy on “other people.” The Perle policy paper will not bring “peace and justice to the world,” it will only make the U.S. more “isolated from the world. I have seen the basic goodness of the Palestinian people and the Muslim people. I see them as human beings.” We need to “challenge” these things (Perle’s Policy Document) and the “managed media must speak out” about them.

Dr. Williams said what is happening to the Palestinians is “disgraceful.” She said that on Middle East issues, “The cowardice on the Hill is beneath contempt.” She added that as a black woman that she has “affinity for people who have been treated unfairly,” and that there is a duty “to speak out and to challenge these things.” She conceded that even presidents “find it difficult to speak out,” because of the power of the Israeli Lobby. She concluded her remarks by saying, “Unconditional support for Israel is a disaster. We need a ‘balanced’ Middle East policy.”

Professor Farha said, that although Israeli interests are presently dominating the “strategy in the Middle East, that U.S. interests are not the same as Israel’s.” He emphasized that Perle’s ‘Clean Break’ document is a “clean break with the principles found in the UN Security Council’s Resolution 242, the ‘Madrid Conference,’ and even in President Bush’s ‘Roadmap for Peace.’ Land for peace is the only strategy for a lasting peace.” He added, “Ariel Sharon isn’t sincere in his pursuit of peace.”

Farha also condemned the notion, central to Perle’s dubious document and the ravings of other Neocons like Wolfowitz, that the U.S. could “export democracy” to Iraq. All that policy has done, Farha said, is to bring “anarchy and misery to Iraq,” and to turn that distressed country “into a terrorist haven.”

Mr. Dawoud labeled Perle’s insidious document, “a prescription for war.” He said that it arrogantly called for a “restructuring of the region to suit Israel.” He also believes that the ongoing harsh Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is creating “more hatred for Israel.”

Mr. Shapiro reminded the audience of how the Israelis had killed Rachel Corrie, a peace and justice activist from Olympia, WA, on March 16, 2003, by using a bulldozer to run her over. She was at Rafah, in Gaza, at the time protesting the Israelis’ brutal collective punishment policy directed at destroying the homes and vineyards of innocent Palestinians. He said the failure of the Bush administration and the Congress to demand an “independent investigation” regarding Corrie’s death is evidence of “weakness and cowardice.” Shapiro urged Americans to “stop funding the Israeli Occupation, to support the peace makers, to bring down the ‘Wall’ and to end the Occupation.”

As for the terrible cost of the U.S. following Perle’s “Clean Break” manifesto by invading Iraq, along with the folly of attempting to “export democracy,” to that Arab country, 434 brave American military personnel are now dead, and 2,088 more have suffered serious injuries, as of Nov. 23, 2003, according to lunaville.org. The financial impact to U.S. taxpayers is at $87 billion (costofwar.com) and is rising hourly. The Pentagon’s budget for the coming fiscal year is set at a staggering $401 billion.

Finally, the panelists deserve great credit, as does IRmep, for putting on this affair. Grant Smith, a director of research at the IRmep, praised the office of Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for its assistance in securing a room in the Rayburn Building to hold this very important public service. In any event, it is clear to me that America needs to make a clean break of its own, now, rather than later, with this discredited “Clean Break” Middle East policy document. Our national interest demands it.

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