'Iraq Was Invaded to Secure Israel,' Says Senator Hollings
By Mark Weber
July 16, 2004
When a prominent American political figure speaks boldly about Jewish-Zionist power, that's news. So the remarks by South Carolina's senior Senator in May 2004 that Iraq was invaded "to secure Israel," and that "everybody" in Washington knows it, are indeed remarkable.
Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, a Democrat who has represented his state in the US Senate since 1966, is now serving his final term in Washington. That fact may also help explain why he's now willing to defy the pro-Israel lobby and speak candidly about its power.
It began with an essay, headlined "Bush's Failed Mideast Policy is Creating More Terrorism," which appeared in the Charleston daily Post and Courier, May 6, 2004.
"With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country?," he wrote. "The answer: President Bush's policy to secure Israel. Led by [Paul] Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, for years there had been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee Israel's security is to spread democracy in the area."
Several Zionist organizations, as well as some prominent Jewish political figures, quickly chastised Hollings, and his remarks were denounced as anti-Semitic.
But he didn't back down. Instead, he rose in the Senate on May 20 to defend and explain his essay.
"I don't apologize for this column," he said. "I want them to apologize to me for talking about anti-Semitism." President Bush went to war in Iraq "to secure our friend, Israel" and "everybody knows it," Hollings declared.
Referring to the cowardly reluctance of his Congressional colleagues openly to acknowledge this reality, he said that "nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on." With few exceptions, members of Congress uncritically support Israel and its policies due to "the pressures that we get politically," he said. The pro-Israel lobby knows "how to make you tuck tail and run." But "not the Senator from South Carolina," he added, referring to himself. To emphasize the seriousness of his remarks, Hollings said: "I have thought this out as thoroughly as I know how, and it worries me that here we are..."
Bush's motive in going to war for Israeli interests, Hollings charged, was to get Jewish support in election campaigns. "President Bush came to office imbued with one thought: reelection. I say that advisedly. I have been up here with eight Presidents. We have had support of all eight Presidents. Yes, I supported the President on this Iraq resolution, but I was misled. There weren't any weapons, or any terrorism, or al-Qaida. This is the reason we went to war. He had one thought in mind, and that was reelection...
"That is not a conspiracy. That is the policy. I didn't like to keep it a secret, maybe; but I can tell you now, I will challenge any one of the other 99 Senators to tell us why we are in Iraq, other than what this policy is here. It is an adopted policy, a domino theory of The [Zionist] Project For The New American Century. Everybody knows it [is] because we want to secure our friend, Israel...
"Let's realize we are in real trouble. Saudi Arabia is in trouble. Israel is in trouble. The United States is in trouble. I am going to state what I believe to be the fact. In fact, I believe it very strongly. They just are whistling by on account of the pressures that we get politically. Nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on."
Hollings cited the role of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most important pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, in determining US policy in the Middle East. "You can't have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here. I have followed them mostly in the main, but I have also resisted signing certain letters from time to time, to give the poor President a chance.
"I can tell you no President takes office -- I don't care whether it is a Republican or a Democrat -- that all of a sudden AIPAC will tell him exactly what the policy is, and Senators and members of Congress ought to sign letters. I read those carefully and I have joined in most of them. On some I have held back. I have my own idea and my own policy..."
The Iraq war has been "a bad mistake," said Hollings. "Getting rid of Saddam was not worth almost 800 dead GIs and over 3,500 maimed for life..." This war is "a mistake like Vietnam," he added. "We got misled with the  Gulf of Tonkin [incident]. We got misled here, and we are in that quagmire...
"The entire thing is a mess. Don't give me 'support the troops, support the troops.' I have been with troops, about three years in combat, so don't tell me about troops. I have always supported the troops."
Source: Remarks by Ernest F. Hollings, May 20, 2004. Congressional Record - Senate, May 20, 2004, pages S5921-S5925.
See also: Iraq: A War For Israel.