The recent conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opened with an announcement that Cuba would become a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The last three hold-outs in the world are Israel, India, and Pakistan. The Arab states, led by Iraq, have proposed that Israel should sign on as part of a framework for peace in the Middle East, but the Israelis want to hold on to their weapons of mass destruction. As Ha’aretzreports:
“Gideon Frank, director-general of the Atomic Energy Commission in the Prime Minister’s Office, told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 46th General Conference in Vienna yesterday that Israel opposes Iraq’s proposal to the conference agenda that it discuss ‘Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Threat.’ Frank said that ‘many dangerous proliferation developments in our region and in other regions have occurred in recent years, none of which involve Israel. On the contrary: Israel has neither threatened any of its neighbors nor has it acted in defiance of international commitments.’ He added that the Iraqi proposal for the agenda lacks ‘factual justification’ and that ‘there is no need to single out Israel.'”
A better question is: why not single out Israel, a country that we know has nukes ï¿½ and the will to use them ï¿½ instead of Iraq, which doesn’t have fissionable material or the technology to create and deliver a nuclear warhead?
Remember the case of Pat Roush and her two daughters, supposedly “kidnapped” by their Saudi father and held “incommunicado” in the desert Kingdom? The Wall Street Journal tried to create an international incident out of what was basically a family feud, and even Congress got involved, with grandstanding lawmakers passing resolutions and neoconservative polemicists denouncing “Arabists” and “appeasers” in the State Department.
The neocons turned Ms. Roush and her daughters into the Saudi-phobic equivalent of Mumia abu Jamal and Sacco and Vanzetti all rolled into one: here was a perfect example of Saudi perfidy and medievalism. Rod Dreher screeched in National Review:
“Congress should order State to deny visas to any Saudi government official until and unless Aisha and Alia al-Gheshayan, and indeed all American citizens held illegally in Saudi Arabia, are allowed to return home.”
The State Department, however, understandably did not think that a child custody squabble ought to have been elevated into a casus belli ï¿½ and rightly so. As it turned out, Ms. Roush’s daughters can’t stand the sight of her and want to stay with their father in Saudi Arabia. Associated Press reports:
“‘I don’t want the United States or any contact with my mother,’ the 23-year-old Alia al-Gheshayan said. ‘I want her to leave us alone,’ said her 19-year-old sister, Aisha al-Gheshayan. ‘We will not rest until she dies.'”
That should be clear enough, even for Rod Dreher.
Speaking of National Review, you’ll remember that it was the editor of that once-interesting periodical, Rich Lowry, who put forward the essence of the neoconservative foreign policy stance by suggesting that we “nuke Mecca.” Now it appears that, while not specifically targeting the Saudi holy city, the Bushies have been warming to the idea that we had better damn well nuke something, because ï¿½ well, just because we can. A recent report in the [UK] Daily Mirrorreveals a secret Pentagon “hit list” of seven nations that could conceivably feel Uncle Sam’s nuclearized ire: China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Libya. Among the conditions that could trigger such unspeakable horror: a generalized Arab-Israeli conflict, or an attack by Iraq on Israel or another neighbor.
Okay, let’s see if I get this straight: the U.S. is preparing to go to war with Iraq because Saddam might, in the future, develop “weapons of mass destruction” and therefore threaten the peace of the Middle East. But the U.S. is itself prepared to use weapons of mass destruction if the Arabs and Israelis should come to blows ï¿½ no matter who starts it ï¿½ or if nuclear-armed Israel is attacked. Perhaps those UN arms inspectors, instead of picking over the ruins of Iraqi military installations, should be demanding access to American nuclear weapons sites.
A statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky that once adorned the front of KGB headquarters in Moscow was put in storage after the Great Revolution of 1989, but in a sign of the times it is being brought back, albeit not without protests from horrified Russian liberals and human rights activists. Dzerzhinsky, the first head of the Soviet secret police, was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions ï¿½ but no matter, says Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Lauding the bronze monument of 14 tons as “a flawless work of art,” Luzhkov avers that old “Iron Felix,” as they call him, “must be given credit for taking care of homeless children and helping rebuild the national economy.”
In the late 1970s, I worked in the National Office of Students for a Libertarian Society (SLS), a national libertarian youth organization founded by the progenitors of the Cato Institute, and funded by billionaire Charles Koch. We had a million-dollar annual budget, a staff of half a dozen, and a lot of enthusiasm. For a while we had some success, building chapters on campuses from coast to coast and putting out a plethora of publications, including Liberty, a monthly newspaper, SLS Action, an internal bulletin, and a variety of pamphlets (my In Praise of Outlaws: Rebuilding Gay Liberation, is today a collector’s item, noted for its artsy picture of burning police cars on the cover.) Unfortunately, SLS fell prey to the vagaries of libertarian factionalism, the opportunism of its National Director, and the fickleness of its chief funders: it was torn asunder in the factional warfare that plagued the libertarian movement of the mid-80s, and soon fell apart. A great problem for SLS was that, among other things, the era of the Carter years was not exactly conducive to building a campus movement: the sense of complacency was too great, and the Left was still ensconced as the dominant activist force. Today, however, the situation is quite different, and it looks like SLS will be reborn under far more favorable circumstances.
Now, more than ever, the nation’s campuses are ready for a national libertarian youth movement ï¿½ and the indefatigable Mike Ewens, of Washington University, in St, Louis, Missouri, has gathered an organizing committee that is even now planning to revive SLS at a national convention to be tentatively held on the weekend of March 7th– 10th.
Check out the SLS website ï¿½ it’s good and getting better by the day. And it’s only been up there for a week!
I will be speaking at Washington University on October 9, on “Iraq ï¿½ First Stop on America’s Road to Empire.” Write Mike for more info.
An article, written by me, “Larry Ellison and the Mark of the Beast,” will be published in the November 2002 issue of Chronicles.
More Good News
I have reached an agreement with Verso Books to publish my latest tome, The Terror Enigma: Unsolved Mysteries of 9/11, that is going to blow the lid off of the Israeli “art student” spy scandal. The book ï¿½ this one is going to be very controversial ï¿½ is more than half finished. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on further developments, so stay tunedï¿½.
Mr. Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com