Israel, the Iraq war, and the Lobby

At Sandstorm, I’ve performed a detailed debunking of a key claim made by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their execrable paper, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” There they assert that Israel “pressured” the United States to attack Iraq, and that Israeli pressure was a “critical element” in the Bush administration’s decision to go to war. I bring counter-evidence. We report, you decide.

By the way, Mearsheimer and Walt were not the first prominent academics to make that claim. Juan Cole takes pride of place. This is perhaps his crudest statement of the case:

In the build-up to the Iraq War, [Douglas] Feith had a phalanx of Israeli generals visiting him in the Pentagon and ignored post-9/11 requirements that they sign in. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was a vocal advocate of a US war against Iraq, who “put pressure” on Washington about it. (If Sharon wanted a war against Iraq, why didn’t he fight it himself instead of pushing it off on American boys?)

The illogic, the immoderation, the barely-concealed bigotry of this passage, show Cole at his darkest. He wants to be a Yale professor. You can spew these sorts of things after you break into the big three (e.g., Walt). But if you’ve said them before well, you’re an embarrassment just waiting to happen. Cole’s been lying low in the Mearsheimer-Walt flap. But have no doubt, Yale: he’s one of them.

Update: Since I posted this, Cole has showed himself, in a piece that exalts the Mearsheimer/Walt “study.” He’s definitely one of them.