“Here’s a puzzle, a small piece of a much larger set of nagging issues that bubbles just beneath the surface of our ordinary lives: On December 23, 2005, Lawrence Kaplan, a senior editor of The New Republic, asserted in The Wall Street Journal that ‘Israeli officials were lukewarm about the war [in Iraq] from the outset, being far more concerned with the threat from Iran.’
“Yet now we have a book by James Risen, national security correspondent for The New York Times, titled ‘State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,’ that argues the exact opposite.
“In a section on the prewar jockeying in Washington, Risen describes the role of Paul Wolfowitz, then undersecretary of defense. Wolfowitz, he writes, found the CIA ‘insufficiently hawkish,’ believed it ‘an arrogant, rogue institution…unwilling to support administration policymakers.’ Specifically, Wolfowitz insisted on examining ‘the possibility that Saddam Hussein was behind the [September 11] attacks on the United States,’ a possibility that the CIA discounted.
“Now comes the kicker: ‘Israeli intelligence played a hidden role in convincing Wolfowitz that he couldn’t trust the CIA… Israeli intelligence officials frequently travelled to Washington to brief top American officials, but CIA analysts were often sceptical of Israeli intelligence reports, knowing that Mossad had very strong – even transparent – biases about the Arab world.’ Wolfowitz, who ‘had begun meeting personally with top Israeli intelligence officials,’ preferred the Mossad’s analysis to the CIA’s.
“Now it cannot be that Israeli officials were at one and the same time ‘lukewarm about the war’ yet busy shuttling back and forth to encourage Wolfowitz’s evident eagerness for that same war. From all that we know regarding Wolfowitz and his ideological associates – Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle and others – the Risen version seems to me the more plausible.”
The full truth of the Iraq war is yet to emerge, though Israel’s key involvement is a given. Now that the Jewish state’s head of domestic security says he misses Saddam, one can be assured that the gross failure of the Iraq war is starting to bite.