Friday, May 19, 2006

Full UN Report on Torture Criticizing Guantanamo

This link opens the full pdf version of the UN report criticizing the US for Guantanamo.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Article on Jewish Lawyers

This is an interesting article on how Jewish lawyers moved from small, Jewish law firms to large, mainstream, Protestant "white shoe" law firms representing large corporations.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Washington Institute for Near East Policy

This article gives a good background on one of the pro-Israel think tanks influencing US policy, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

I discovered this article while looking up articles written by Richard Speier, my old nemesis when I was working on missile proliferation issues. This LA Times article says he was one of the authors of the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime MTCR), which is true. However, if he had not been involved, the MTCR would have come into force sooner and probably would have been stronger. He was an acolyte of Richard Perle at the Pentagon, who held up formulating a US position on the MTCR in an effort to make it ban missiles absolutely. This, of course, is impossible, but it is a characteristic of politically right-wing, conservative approaches to arms control. In essence it means they don't like arms control (or international law) at all, because it doesn't make them feel absolutely safe. It's like saying that you should not outlaw murder because you can't be absolutely sure that no one will commit murder if you do outlaw it.

While looking to see what articles Speier has written since those bad old days when I was at the State Department feuding with him at Defense, I found that he has written for WINEP. It shows that if you are pro-Israel in Washington, somebody will look out for you. No wonder, AIPAC, WINEP and other Israeli lobbies are so successful! Interestingly, he also wrote an article on the dangers of the Iraqi al-Samoud missile in February 2003, before we found that Iraq didn't have any WMD. Another WINEP article dealt with the Israeli Arrow ABM missile which was a problem for us when I was working on the missile proliferation issue. To his credit, he continues to oppose the Arrow, which the US proposed during the Bush I administration to avoid the constraints on the US of the ABM (anti-ballistic missile) treaty, which the US has since renounced. Thus, the treaty is no longer a restraint on the US, and the US has less need of an Israeli proxy to do prohibited research.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gergen Article Follow-Up

I've now read (somewhat quickly) McCullough's description of Truman's decision process for recognizing Israel. I don't see the quotation cited by Gergen, but it might be there. McCullough treats the subject in great detail, over fifty or so pages.

Truman may well have claimed, and might even have believed, that he did not decide to recognize Israel for political purposes, but we'll never know. If politics were not important, why did he think it was so important that the US be the first to recognize Israel?

Furthermore, McCullough says one of the most important considerations was whether Secretary of State George Marshall would resign over the issue. If Marshall had resigned, Truman thought he would be doomed politically because Marshall was so highly respected. It was only after Marshall said that he would not resign over the issue that Truman felt that he could go further, pushed hard by the Jewish lobby.

Marshall told Truman that if he recognized Israel, it would be a reason for Marshall not to vote for Truman, because he felt that Truman was doing it for domestic political purposes. This was a strong rebuke to Truman, but toothless, because Marshall never voted. He felt that it would inhibit his ability to carry out his duties to his country if he chose political sides.

Unfortunately there is no one in government today with the character and stature of General George Marshall. Marshall was in large part responsible for the Allies' victory in World War II. Then he was largely responsible for the US positioning itself to eventually win the cold war in the post-war world, sponsoring the Marshall Plan for the recovery of Europe, and perhaps avoiding a shooting war with the Soviet Union.

Gergen Article on Jewish Lobby Paper

David Gergen says in a 4/3/06 web-posted US News article ( that according to David McCullough, Truman recognized Israel "in spite of pressure from Jewish groups, not because of it." I don't have McCullough's book, but I don't think history supports this claim. Truman's Secretary of State, General George Marshall, opposed the recognition of Israel, because he thought that Truman was doing it for election year politics, and not because it was the right thing to do from a foreign policy perspective. The primary advocate for recognizing Israel was Clark Clifford, who was then Truman's advisor for domestic political affairs.

One detailed reference to Truman's domestic political concerns is the following:

Perhaps a more reliable description of Marshall's position is this posting by the Truman Presidential Library. See the entry for May 12, 1948, and the subsequent entries. Note that it says Marshall had send a special envoy to the UN to prevent the entire American staff at the UN from resigning over the Israel issue:

I will have to find McCullough's Truman book to see why he thinks Truman's recognition of Israel was motivated by foreign policy considerations when his Secretaries of State and Defense both opposed it strongly. I don't think Gergen should accept McCullough's characterization without question. That he does, seems to indicate that Gergen, for whom I have much respect, is under the sway of the Israeli lobby, and may not know it. He is living proof of the allegations made by Profs. Miersheimer and Walt.