Our Mission and the New War
After an imperial century abroad, America has suffered, on its home soil, an attack on its citizens unprecedented in its history. As so often in the past six decades, whether at Dresden or Hiroshima, Beirut or Baghdad, terror came from the sky. At this writing, the United States is once again waging an undeclared war on an ill-defined enemy. To date, our government has failed to acknowledge the stated grievances of those it considers the attackers, to clarify the underlying causes of the war, or to specify what the nation hopes to win.
We at the Institute for Historical Review shared, with hundreds of millions of Americans and friends of America around the globe, first the emotions of shock and disbelief, then those of sorrow and anger. Each of those feelings was reinforced by the terrible, surreal images of the destruction, and by the news of the great toll of lives among the helpless, and among the brave men who had gone to their rescue.
The civilian deaths from the attacks of September 11, while certainly far short of the "collateral damage" in civilian losses inflicted by U.S. forces in military operations during the past quarter century -- including those in Iran, Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, and Afghanistan -- easily outnumber all our military dead since 1975. The devastation here, among the dead, the injured, and the bereaved, recalls to us American revisionists, at least, things that we as a nation had inflicted, but until September 11, 2001, not endured.
As revisionists, we are suspicious of official explanations, and wary of appeals to patriotism. If the admonitions of America's Founding Fathers to avoid entanglements abroad, above all those arising from sentimental (or venal) attachments to foreign nations and causes, were not enough, we would need only recall how our leaders have inveigled our country into one war, "conflict," or "peacekeeping operation" after another since 1898. Today's slogans, in echo of yesteryear's "Remember the Maine!" and "Remember Pearl Harbor!," should serve not so much to summon to a vengeance that may well be largely misplaced, but to remind that our imperial victories over Germany and Japan have sent us stumbling into quagmire and defeat in Asia, and to the brink of mutual nuclear devastation with our former Soviet ally.
Crusade or Coalition?
A month after the attacks, American bombs were still falling on Afghanistan, and the alleged mastermind of the terror, erstwhile CIA protégé Osama bin Laden, was still at large. For all the frenzied jingoism directed at the shadowy Saudi -- archetype of Asiatic villainy, in the mold of Tipu Sahib and Fu Manchu, that he has become -- the vital interests of Americans hang on the nature of the larger American response, strategic and diplomatic, that continues to take shape as of this writing.
Political realities indicate two possible courses of action. The first is for the United States to lead a broad coalition, including Muslim nations, with its goals not merely to punish the specific attackers, but to impose a just and workable solution of the Palestinian question, and to scale back the massive American military presence in Arabia and the Persian Gulf. The alternative is for America to embark on an open-ended jihad against Islam, on the pretext of rooting out "terrorism," that would threaten the lives and liberties of its citizens as never before. Taking the first course would likely benefit not only the United States, but also the civilized world, including the Muslim nations. Choosing the second would serve only two kinds of fanatics: those radical Muslims who evidently seek an expanding, escalating war against the alleged enemies of Islam, and those Zionist fanatics in the West as well as in Israel and its patently illegal colonies who have already done so much to unleash armageddon on their neighbors, on themselves, and on the rest of the humanity.
Set in this stern context, President Bush's first fumbling pronouncements did not reassure. The president quickly managed to affront potential Muslim allies by calling for a "crusade" against the attackers, then seemed to usurp the Almighty by dubbing the planned retaliatory strike "Operation Infinite Justice." Omitting all mention of our long and partisan involvement on behalf of Israel, or of our numerous recent sallies against Islamic countries, Bush informed the American people that the terrorists' entire motivation had been blind hatred of our freedom and our goodness.
The president's initial ineptness, together with the general haste to legislate and to decree without debate, the strident demand for "unity," and the baying chorus of pundits and yahoos in support of instant attacks on Israel's enemies, all made it seem, in the first fortnight after September 11, that America was being rushed to war against nebulous foes, and that a government clampdown on civil liberties might follow.
Then President Bush, clearly harkening to the advice of the American wing of his administration, began to give promise of charting a measured response to the attacks. To the disgruntlement of the pro-Israel forces, the United States sought the cooperation of Muslim countries, including such "radical" states as Pakistan, Iran, Syria, as well as "moderate" Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The president scaled down his original calls for a quixotic, worldwide war against terrorists and those who "harbor" them; redubbed the military operation, somewhat less grandiosely, "Enduring Freedom"; and even expressed care to minimize civilian casualties. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who earlier in the month had ordered a U.S. delegation to exit an international conference on racism in solidarity with Israel against the world, now took steps to rein in Israel and to urge a viable statehood for the Palestinians.
This turn in American policy was abetted by the intransigeance and incompetence of such influential Israelis as Binyamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, who initially hailed the murderous attacks on New York and Washington as "very good" for Israel, and the current foreign minister, Shimon Peres, who called for the United States to lead an anti-terror crusade -- that Israel would sit out. Then it was the turn of Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, whose cumulative brutalities -- unchecked by his American patron -- have done more than anything else to bring the Middle Eastern cauldron to its present boil. When Sharon discovered that a more sensible policy seemed to be taking shape in Washington, he insultingly invoked the old "appeasement" canard, wailing that Israel was being sold out, as Czechoslovakia allegedly was at Munich in 1938. Instead of being truckled to, however, Sharon was quickly put in his place by President Bush's Jewish spokesman, Ari Fleischer.
Despite all the indications that U.S. intentions might be to limit its military action to reasonable objectives, the prognosis remained cloudy as this issue of the JHR went to press. The powerful Zionist lobby is still in place, and is bringing great pressure to widen the war to include attacking Iraq and other Israeli bugbears with no provable links to the events of September 11. And to date the United States has made no observable moves to end Israeli aggression against the current Palestinian territories, which continue to be besieged and invaded by Israeli troops with American ordnance.
The Task of Revisionism
Few longtime readers of the Journal of Historical Review can have been surprised to learn that the attacks of September 11 stemmed from America's failed policies in the Middle East, above all from its unconditional support for Israel. The revisionist critique of these policies has been a vital component of the Institute's work since its founding nearly a quarter century ago. During the past twenty-five years the IHR has welcomed such learned critics of our nation's Middle Eastern mistakes as Alfred Lilienthal, Robert John, the late Ivor Benson, former Congressman Paul McCloskey, and the Palestinian scholars Sami Hadawi, Issa Nakhleh, and Ibrahim Alloush to its conferences and the pages of the JHR.
As we of the Institute know, to understand the origins of the present Middle East quagmire requires grounding in the central object of revisionist study: an unbiased accounting of the origins, conduct, and outcome of the twentieth century's world wars. It was during the First World War that Great Britain, to enlist international Jewry's power of the purse and the press on behalf of the Entente, issued the Balfour declaration promising the Jews a homeland in (then Turkish-ruled) Palestine; among the postwar settlements was the League of Nations mandate whereby the Zionists began laying the basis for a Jewish state in Palestine, and for the dispossession of the land's Arab inhabitants.
After helping secure American entry into the Second World War on the side of England and the U.S.S.R., Jews -- many of them Zionists -- played an increasing part in charting policy, during and after that war, that began America's tilt away from its traditional Mideast policy toward one of recognition, friendship, and eventually support for Israel. Just as the Jewish "homeland" was implemented under the authority of the League of Nations, so too is Israel a creature of the United Nations (for all its subsequent defiance of UN resolutions). And when Palestine's Arab inhabitants were dispossessed in 1948, they were replaced largely by Jews who had emigrated from war-wracked Europe.
Even more striking than the diplomatic antecedents has been the Zionists' exploitation of propaganda themes developed during the world wars. Israel is an embattled "democracy" ever menaced by "aggression" from its enemies, always vulnerable to "appeasement" by its allies (as its prime minister has just sought to remind us). Above all Israel is threatened by another "Holocaust," a dubious danger which Israel's increasingly sophisticated and potent international lobby has nonetheless parlayed into a bugbear, a fundraising operation, an excuse for censorship, and a means of moral blackmail unrivaled in the annals of persuasion. Few things testify to the relatedness of Middle East and world war revisionism than the manner in which Israel's conflicts served to crystallize the obsession of Jews with the alleged "Holocaust" in the 1970s, and to subsequently inflate that to full-blown Holocaustomania among Jews and gentiles alike.
Only the IHR, among opponents of America's unconditional support for Israel, has properly grasped the nexus between that support, the Holocaust cult, and the other myths from the Second World War, or understood why the "good war" (as its Jewish chroniclers lovingly call it) must never be allowed to end, and the Holocaust never fade. Like other critics, IHR has been blacked out by the major media and the academy: in the estimation of the Israel lobby, our arguments and positions, presented to the American people, would be irrefutable. Even so, by using the new and still uncontrolled medium of the Internet, and by reaching out to new constituencies, including the Institute's rapidly multiplying contacts in the Muslim world, we can capitalize on the growing urgency of the revisionist message at speeds that round the globe in minutes.
Whatever revisionists' grasp of the past, we cannot foresee the future. What kind of war our country will eventually make this, against whom, and on behalf of whom, is hardly clear now. If, however, America wages the sort of war Israel and its American backers desire, then it is, alas, likely that many more innocent Americans will have cause for sorrow -- and the blank check on U.S. dollars that we long ago handed the Israelis will be followed by another one, on American lives. How long, in that case, will it be before the great majority of our fellow citizens are able to join Alfred Lilienthal and the IHR in asking, "What price Israel"?
For American revisionists this is a time for calm, for clarity of purpose, for strength of will, and for civic engagement to the maximum of our capabilities. We at the Institute know that our voice is small. Nonetheless we are able to speak truths that few others dare whisper -- and we are willing, as so many of our associates have been, to pay the price for speaking the truth. We revisionists possess a powerful method. With that method -- historical revisionism -- we have, despite our censors, torn the veil of deception from our enemies' holy of holies. Today it is our duty, to the nation and to humanity, to put that method, and the knowledge it has won us, to work against the hidden makers and mongers of Middle East war -- the Zionists and their accomplices -- and for the attainment of a just and lasting peace, at home and abroad.
From The Journal of Historical Review, July/August 2001 (Vol. 20, No. 4), page 3.