Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: Rahm Emanuel's Pro-War
Record and Manipulations via Alex Constantine's Blacklist by Alex
Constantine on 11/6/08 The Book of Rahm (2006 article)

John Walsh
October 24, 2006

Last week in CounterPunch1, I wrote that the chair of the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Congressman Rahm Emanuel, had
worked hard to guarantee that Democratic candidates in key toss-up
House races were pro-war. In this he was largely successful, because of
the money he commands and the celebrity politicians who reliably
respond to his call, ensuring that 20 of the 22 Democratic candidates
in these districts are pro-war. So the fix is in for the coming

In 2006, no matter which party controls the House, a majority will be
committed to pursuing the war on Iraq--despite the fact that the
Democratic rank and file and the general voting public oppose the war
by large margins. (I hasten to add that this state of affairs can be
reversed even after the sham election between the two War Parties.)

What are Emanuel's views on war and peace? Emanuel has just supplied
the answer in the form of a scrawny book co-authored with Bruce Reed,
modestly entitled: The Plan: Big Ideas for America. The authors
obligingly boil each of the eight parts of "The Plan" down to a single
paragraph. The section which embraces all of foreign policy is
entitled "A New Strategy to End the War on Terror," a heading revealing
in itself since "war on terror" is the way the neocons and the Israeli
Lobby currently like to frame the discussion of foreign policy. Here is
the book's summary paragraph with my comments in parentheses:

"A New Strategy to Win the War on Terror"

("War on Terror," as George Soros points out, is a false metaphor used
by those who would drag us into military adventures not in our interest
or that of humanity.)

"We need to use all the roots of American power to make our country
safe. (He begins by playing on fear.) America must lead the world's
fight against the spread of evil and totalitarianism, but we must stop
trying to win that battle on our own. (Messianic imperialism.) We
should reform and strengthen multilateral institutions for the
twenty-first century, not walk away from them. We need to fortify the
military's "thin green line" around the world by adding to the U.S.
Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by
100,000 more troops. (An even bigger military for the world's most
powerful armed forces, a very militaristic view of the way to handle
the conflicts among nations. What uses does Emanuel have in mind for
those troops?) We should give our troops a new GI Bill to come home to.
(More material incentives to induce the financially strapped to sign up
as cannon fodder.) Finally we must protect our homeland and civil
liberties by creating a new domestic counterterrorism force like
Britain's MI5. (A new domestic spying operation is an obvious threat to
our civil liberties; MI5 holds secret files on one in 160 adults in
Britain along with files on 53,000 organizations.)"
There it is straight from the horse's mouth.2

How does Emanuel, the man who has screened and chosen the 2006
Democratic candidates for Congress, feel specifically about the war on
Iraq, the number one issue on voters' minds. Emanuel and Reed do not so
much as mention Iraq in their book except in terms of the "war on
terror." Nor does Emanuel mention Iraq on his web site as among the
important issues facing us, quite amazing omission and one shared by
Chuck Schumer who is his equivalent of the Senate side, chairing the
DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee). However a very recent
profile in Fortune (9/25/2006), "Rahm Emanuel, Pitbull Politician," by
Washington Bureau chief Nina Easton notes: "On Iraq, Emanuel has
steered clear of the withdraw-now crowd, preferring to criticize Bush
for military failures since the 2003 invasion. 'The war never had to
turn out this way,' he told me at one of his campaign stops. In January
2005, when asked by Meet the Press's Tim Russert whether he would have
voted to authorize the war-'knowing that there are no weapons of mass
destruction'-Emanuel answered yes. (He didn't take office until after
the vote.) 'I still believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the
right thing to do, okay?' he added."3

When Jack Murtha made his proposal for withdrawal from Iraq, Emanuel
quickly declared that "Jack Murtha went out and spoke for Jack Murtha."
As for Iraq policy, Emanuel added: "At the right time, we will have a
position." That was November, 2005. In June, 2006, it was obviously
time, and Emanuel finally revealed his policy in a statement on the
floor of the House during debate over Iraq, thus: "The debate today is
about whether the American people want to stay the course with an
administration and a Congress that has walked away from its obligations
or pursue a real strategy for success in the war on terror. We cannot
achieve the end of victory and continue to sit and watch, stand pat,
stay put, status quo and that is the Republican policy. Democrats are
determined to take the fight to the enemy." The refrain is familiar;
more troops are the means and victory in Iraq is the goal.

The war on Iraq benefited Israel by laying waste a country seen to be
one of its major adversaries. Emanuel's commitment to Israel 4 and his
Congressional service to it are not in doubt. The most recent evidence
was his attack on the U.S. puppet Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al
Maliki, because Maliki had labeled Israel's attack on Lebanon as an act
of "aggression." Emanuel called on Maliki to cancel his address to
Congress; and he was joined by his close friend and DSCC counterpart,
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who asked; "Which side is he (Maliki) on when it
comes to the war on terror?" In terms of retired Senator Fritz
Holling's statement that Congress is Israeli occupied territory, Rahm
Emanuel must be considered one of the occupying troops. And he
certainly is a major cog in the Israel Lobby as defined by Mearsheimer
and Walt. Nor is the idea that the Lobby exists and has tremendous
influence on Middle East policy any longer a taboo in the minds of the
general populace. According to a poll just carried out by Zogby
International for CNI 5, 39% of the American public "agree"
or "somewhat agree" that "the work of the Israel lobby on Congress and
the Bush administration has been a key factor for going to war in Iraq
and now confronting Iran." A similar number, 40%, "strongly disagreed"
or "somewhat disagreed" with this position. Some 20% of the public were
not sure.

But in some respects, Emanuel is a mysterious fellow, as evidenced by
his biography, which is readily available on Wikipedia and in the piece
in Fortune (3). But there are a few things missing or not fully
explained. First, as is often pointed out, Emanuel's physician father
was an Israeli èmigrè; but, according to Leon Hadar, he also worked
during the 1940s with the notorious Irgun, which was labeled as a
terrorist organization by the British authorities.6 Perhaps Rahm's
current interest in terrorism was first kindled at his father's Irgun

Second, during the 1991 Gulf War, Emanuel was a civilian volunteer in
Israel, "rust-proofing brakes on an army base in northern Israel."
(Wikipedia, New Republic). This is peculiar on two counts. Here the
U.S. goes to war with Iraq, but Emanuel, a U.S. citizen, volunteers not
for his country, but for Israel. Moreover, here is a well-connected
Illinois political figure with a father who had been in the Irgun, but
he is assigned to "rust-proof brakes" on "an army base." Maybe.

Third, immediately upon his return from his desert sojourn, Emanuel at
once became a major figure in the Clinton campaign "who wowed the team
from the start, opening a spigot on needed campaign funds."(3) How did
he do that after being isolated overseas, and with no experience in
national politics? Fourth, after leaving the Clinton White House, he
decided that he needed some accumulated wealth and "security" if he
were to stay in politics. So he went to work for Bruce Wasserstein, a
major Democratic donor and Wall Street financier.

According to Easton, "Over a 2 1/2-year period he helped broker
deals-often using political connections-for Wasserstein Perella.
According to congressional financial disclosures, he earned more than
$18 million during that period. His deals included Unicom's merger with
Peco Energy and venture fund GTCR Golder Rauner's purchase of SBC
subsidiary SecurityLink. But friends say his compensation also
benefited from two sales of the Wasserstein firm itself, first to
Dresdner Bank and then to Allianz AG." Again for a newcomer to haul in
$18 million in two years is almost miraculous. How did he do it? Next
Emanuel won a seat in Congress in 2002, and by 2006 he was chair of the
DCCC. Another near miraculous rise.

But Emanuel and his fellow hawks may yet fail to get their way. Major
figures among the rulers of U.S. empire, and their well-compensated
advisors, from James Baker to Jimmy Carter to Zbigniew Brzezinski to
Mearsheimer and Walt, see disaster looming unless the neocons of both
War Parties with their dual loyalties to the U.S. and Israel are
brought to heel. Second and more important, the people are fed up with
the war on Iraq and wary of other wars the hawks like Emanuel have
planned for us. The politicians who win office, whether Rove's
Republicans or Emanuel's Democrats, will have to deal with this rising
tide of anger or risk losing their sinecures. That risk is offset by
the machinations of Emanuel and others to guarantee that there is no
genuine opposition party or movement. And that lack of a real
opposition is a problem we must solve.
J. Palestine Studies, 23: 84(1994).
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