Irving Kristol, reacted to Vietnam War critic Senator George McGovern. The presidential contender’s proposed cut in U.S. military expenditure would, according to the “godfather” of neoconservatism, “drive a knife in the heart of Israel.”
Laurent Guyénot • April 2, 2018
The Watergate scandal passes today as evidence of the independence of the American media as a necessary counter-power against government abuses. But in reality, it simply illustrates the increasing involvement of the media in deep political warfare.
Likewise we must go beyond the public and Spielbergian narratives on the Pentagon Papers to understand what was really at stake.
In both scandals, I believe the leadership of both the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two biggest propaganda machines in the US, were acting not only in the service of truth, but also in service of a power deeper than the deep state they were exposing.
After all, there are so many truths to choose from to make the front pages. And in matters of foreign policy, many suspect that the final choice is often determined by the ultimate question: Is it good for Israel?
In this article, I am not going to demonstrate, but simply hypothesize, that the leaking and revelation of the Pentagon Papers, and more broadly the role of the media establishment in the anti-Vietnam movement, were in the interest of Israel. At that moment Israel was starting to face a unified international front against its illegal occupation.
There was a real threat that the US would force Israel to withdraw, as required by UN Resolution 242. But I will go further and suggest that the Vietnam War itself, not just the protest against it, served the interests of Israel, regardless of other factors that motivated it.
There is, of course, no contradiction between these two theses, since the anti-Vietnam-war movement presupposes the Vietnam war. Significantly, until around 1969, the Washington Post’s editorials were unequivocally pro-war.
As I wrote in JFK-9/11 and again in From Yahweh to Zion, if John Kennedy had not been assassinated, the very expression “Vietnam War” would not exist in school textbooks. Under his presidency, US military deployment amounted officially to a mere 15,000 “military advisors.”
At the end of 1963, Kennedy had taken the decision to withdraw from Vietnam. On November 11, he signed directive NSAM-263 for the removal of “1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963,” in anticipation for withdrawing “by the end of 1965 […] the bulk of U.S. personnel.”
On November 21, the day before his fatal visit to Texas, he expressed his resolution to his assistant press secretary Malcolm Kilduff, after reading a report on the latest casualties: “After I come back from Texas, that’s going to change. There’s no reason for us to lose another man over there. Vietnam is not worth another American life.”
But on November 26, the day after Kennedy’s funeral, Johnson buried NSAM-263 and replaced it with NSAM-273, which required the military to develop a plan “for the United States to begin carrying the war north,” including “different levels of possible increased activity,” and “military operations up to a line up to 50 kilometers inside Laos”—which violated the 1962 Geneva Accords on the neutrality of Laos.
Johnson’s decision regarding Vietnam was a clear betrayal of Kennedy’s earlier policy, and the amazing expediency of his change of policy suggests premeditation. All ambiguities cleverly laid out in NSAM-273 would be lifted by another memo signed on January, 1964 by General Maxwell Taylor, which said: “National Security Action Memorandum n° 273 makes clear the resolve of the President to ensure victory over the externally directed and supported communist insurgency in South Vietnam […].
To do this, we must prepare for whatever level of activity may be required.” It is no longer a question of stopping the war, but rather winnings at any cost. Robert McNamara, continuing as Secretary of Defense, acceded to Johnson’s agenda, recommending the mobilization of 50,000 soldiers and a program of “graduated overt military pressure” against North Vietnam, a policy which Johnson rubberstamped in March 1964 by memorandum NSAM-288.
A suitable pretext was still needed for aggression. It came in Gulf of Tonkin on the 2nd and 4th of August 1964, when torpedoes were allegedly launched by the North Vietnamese against American destroyers. It is now known that the second attack, if not the first, was imaginary, made up out of falsified NSA data.
With that faked event, Johnson could announce on national television a “retaliatory” bombing of the North Vietnamese navy, and push through Congress on August 7, 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave him full powers to send up to 500,000 soldiers into North Vietnam. With that, Johnson plunged the Vietnamese people into a decade of unspeakable suffering, taking the lives of more than a million civilians.
From 1965 to 1968, as part of Operation Rolling Thunder, 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped—three times more than during the entire Second World War—on a mostly rural country, and about 500,000 American soldiers were sent to Vietnam, where 50,000 perished. 19 million gallons of toxic chemicals were sprayed from the air to destroy approximately 40 percent of the South’s forests, one-third of its valuable mangrove swamps, and large areas of prime cropland.
The chemicals are also suspected of causing widespread health problems, including cancer and birth defects. An estimated 3.5 million Vietnamese were killed directly in the war. One-third of the South’s population became “internal refugees”, their way of life destroyed, forced to live for years in the misery of refugee camps and overfull cities, with prostitution and other social problems as a result.
Since the war ended for the US in 1975, nearly 40,000 Vietnamese have been killed by residual explosives, including an estimated 3.5 million land mines. Many more have been crippled for life. A decade after the war, over 13 percent of Vietnam’s population were still suffering from some war-related injury.
It was during that period that Israel chose to launch its operation to annex Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian territories, by creating the illusion that it was acting in self-defense. Johnson had given Israel a green light in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, dated June 3: “I want to protect the territorial integrity of Israel […] and will provide as effective American support as possible to preserve the peace and freedom of your nation and of the area.” Johnson also asked the CIA to transmit to the Israeli army the precise positions of the Egyptian air bases to be destroyed.
Four days after the start of the Israeli attack, Nasser accepted the ceasefire request from the UN Security Council. It was too soon for Israel, which had not yet achieved all its objectives. It was then that, on June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, an unarmed NSA spy ship, was bombed, strafed, and torpedoed for 75 minutes by Israeli Mirage jets and torpedo boats.
The Israelis obviously intended to sink it without leaving any survivors (even the lifeboats were machine-gunned), while Johnson personally prohibited the nearby Sixth Fleet from coming to its rescue. Had the USS Liberty been successfully sunk, the attack would have been blamed on the Egyptians, and would have given Johnson the pretext to intervene militarily alongside Israel, probably forcing the USSR to go to war.
But it failed. The affair was successfully smothered by a commission of inquiry headed by Admiral John Sidney McCain II (father of Arizona Senator John McCain III). The survivors received a medal in an unadvertised ceremony, accompanied by a formal order never to mention the incident. Only recently have some broken the silence. Johnson accepted Israel’s spurious “targeting error” explanation, and rewarded the unprovoked attack by lifting the embargo on the sale of offensive military equipment to Israel.
The USS Liberty failed false flag attack is proof of Johnson’s secret complicity with Israel, and of his high treason against the country he had sworn to protect. But Johnson had in fact always been Israel’s man. As early as 1948, his campaign for a Senate seat had been financed by Abraham Feinberg, president of Americans for Haganah Incorporated and financial godfather of Israel’s atomic bomb. In 2013, the Associated Press reported on newly released tapes from Johnson’s White House office showing LBJ’s “personal and often emotional connection to Israel.”
The tapes showed that during the Johnson presidency, “the United States became Israel’s chief diplomatic ally and primary arms supplier.” An article from the 5 Towns Jewish Times “Our First Jewish President Lyndon Johnson?” recalls Johnson’s continuous support of Jews and Israel in the 1940s and 50s, and concludes: “President Johnson firmly pointed American policy in a pro-Israel direction.”
The article also mentions that, “research into Johnson’s personal history indicates that he inherited his concern for the Jewish people from his family. His aunt Jessie Johnson Hatcher, a major influence on LBJ, was a member of the Zionist Organization of America.” And, in an additional note: “The facts indicate that both of Lyndon Johnson’s great-grandparents, on the maternal side, were Jewish. […] The line of Jewish mothers can be traced back three generations in Lyndon Johnson’s family tree. There is little doubt that he was Jewish.”
LinkIt is on record, thanks to Kennedy insider Arthur Schlesinger (A Thousand Days, 1965) that it was in fact Philip Graham and Joseph Alsop, respectively publisher and columnist of the Washington Post, both strong supporters of Israel, who convinced Kennedy to take Johnson on his ticket, in a closed door conversation.
Schlesinger doesn’t reveal Graham and Alsop’s arguments, and states that Kennedy’s final decision “defies historical reconstruction”—a curious statement for a historian so well informed, which can only be explained by Schlesinger’s refusal throughout his 872 pages to come to grips with Kennedy’s Middle East policy and his battle with Zionism. Alan Hart has convincingly filled in the blanks: both Graham and Alsop were strongly pro-Israel as well as pro-Johnson, and both could exert a huge influence on public opinion. So “Kennedy was forced by Israel’s supporters to take Johnson as his vice-presidential running mate.”
Is there a connection between those two wars, each waged or supported by Lyndon Johnson? In my book JFK-9/11, I suggested that Johnson escalated the Vietnam War as a substitute for the invasion of Cuba that the CIA and Pentagon hawks involved in the plot to assassinate JFK had been led to believe that they could start by blaming the assassination on a communist plot. “In lieu of invasion,” I wrote, “Johnson offered to the generals the Vietnam War.”
That was a grossly insufficient explanation. There is little evidence that Pentagon generals, let alone CIA officers, needed a war, any war, at all cost. But I could think of no other explanation, short of the unlimited greed of war profiteers, of whom Johnson was a highly representative specimen.
(In the weeks preceding the Kennedy assassination, he had invested in the Dallas aircraft manufacturer Ling-Temco-Vought, which was to become one of the Pentagon’s biggest arms suppliers for the Vietnam War. Johnson also owned stocks in Bell Helicopter, to which he transferred illegally a contract for 220 helicopters that had been signed in 1963 with its rival Kaman Aircraft.)
Only recently did the idea come to me of a hidden link between the Vietnam War and the Six-Day War. I could not conceive it before because I had not yet taken the full measure of the perversity of the Israeli leadership, whose collective psychopathy resonated deeply with Johnson’s personal psychopathy.
Having now studied the deep thinking of those ultra-Machiavellian crypto-Likudniks whom we call neoconservatives, I have acquired the conviction that the tragedy of the world for the last hundred years is only comprehensible once we admit that Israel (before and after 1947) acts on the international scene in a biblical way, that is, with the same indifference and cruelty toward non-Jewish nations that Yahweh demanded of his people in the Bible.
In their eyes, these populations are no more worthy than livestock, and their suffering is irrelevant (unless, of course, it can be exploited). There is absolutely no moral limit to the determination of Israel to pave its way toward hegemony through the ruin of whole nations. Absolutely none. This is what I meant when calling Israel the “psychopathic nation”.
And so my hypothesis is that one of the purposes of the Vietnam War desired by Johnson and his masters was to create a diversion while Israel was engaging in the decisive stage of its expansion. Let us imagine for a moment that there had been no Vietnam War, in 1967 and thereafter, to mobilize Americans’ limited attention on world affairs, and to divert their indignation.
Could the Washington Post and the New York Times have managed to hide from the public the scandal of that war of aggression and illegal annexation? Even more importantly, Israel’s strategists surely understood that the legitimacy of the US state to condemn Israel’s crimes would be much diminished if the US could be blamed for even worse crimes.
French President Charles De Gaulle actually understood that the Vietnam War was preventing a peaceful solution in Palestine. In a press conference on November 27, 1967, after condemning Israel’s aggression and famously qualifying the Jews as “an elite people, self-confident and dominating,” he called for the four great powers to enforce an international settlement on the basis of Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories, and added:
“But one cannot see how such an agreement could be reached as long as one of the greatest among the four will not withdraw from the heinous war that they are waging elsewhere. Without the tragedy of Vietnam, the conflict between Israel and the Arabs would not have become what it has become. And if South-East Asia could experience a renewal of peace, the Middle-East would also find its way to peace, in the climate of détente which would follow such an event.”
Soon after that press conference, De Gaulle’s government became the target of a major student protest that culminated in May 1968, ultimately forcing De Gaulle to resign. These students, led by predominantly Jewish Trotskyist activists, were not protesting against the US aggression against Vietnam, nor against Israel’s aggression against its Arab neighbors, but against bourgeois society.
It is not an exaggeration to qualify the Vietnam War as a “holocaust”, as did the 2008 documentary film Vietnam: American Holocaust. In the Bible, a holocaust designates an animal offering completely consumed by fire, producing an “enjoyable smell” for Yahweh (Genesis 8:20-21; Exodus 29:25). According to the Book of Ezra, a gigantic holocaust was offered “to the God of Israel who resides in Jerusalem” by the Judeo-Babylonians who (re)colonized Palestine, in preparation for the (re)building of the Temple (7:12–15).
Strangely, it is during the Vietnam War that the term “Holocaust” became the common designation of the killing of Jews during World War II. Unless we consider that Hitler was working for the glory of Yahweh, that expression seems absurd. Surely, the anti-Zionist rabbi Moshe Shonfeld believes that “The Zionist leaders saw the spilt Jewish blood of the Holocaust as grease for the wheels of the Jewish national state.”
But the term logically applies much better to the Vietnam War if we consider that by focusing the attention of the American public, then the protests of American youths and liberal intellectuals, it left the field wide open for Israel’s conquest of Palestinian, Egyptian, and Syrian territories. After all, the Vietnamese plight was greater than the Palestinians’.
This, I believe, provides a plausible answer to the question: Why did Johnson, who did not satisfy the CIA hawks on Cuba, draw the US into the Vietnam inferno? The strongest Johnson administration advocate for a deepening commitment in Vietnam was National Security Advisor Walt Rostow, whose brother Eugene was Under-Secretary of State. They happened to be sons of Jewish immigrants. The historian David Milne has called Rostow “America’s Rasputin.”
Two months after his election in 1968, Nixon secretly and illegally expanded the war into Cambodia, ordering a massive bombardment under the codename Breakfast, followed by Lunch, Dessert, Snack, Dinner and Supper—all of which led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, an exceptionally bloody, tyrannical regime responsible for the extermination of one third of the Cambodian population. The man who pushed him in that direction was National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, also acting as Secretary of State. Like the Rostows, Kissinger happens to be Jewish.
Many of the leading figures of the anti-war movement were also Jewish. But soon after the leaking of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, with the help of Anthony Russo, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn (all Jewish by birth), other liberal Jewish intellectuals made a 180-degree turn and became leading advocate of the war: they called themselves “neoconservatives”.
We have here a fine example of dialectical engineering of history: as Jewish leftists like Noam Chomsky started to protest against the war, former Jewish leftists like Irving Kristol started to protest against the protesters. Meanwhile, Israel could be pushed out of the headlines.
Kristol wrote in the magazine of the American Jewish Congress in 1972 that it was necessary to fight against George McGovern’s proposal to reduce the military budget by 30 percent: “This is to drive a knife into the heart of Israel. […] Jews don’t like a big military budget, but it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States. […] American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel.”
Against McGovern’s demand for immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, Kristol could have added: “American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to withdraw from Vietnam, it is important to pursue the genocide of the Vietnamese, so that America’s youthful idealists will protest against their own government rather than against Israel’s violation of international law.”
On JFK Library, http://www.jfklibrary.org/
Phillip Nelson, LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination, XLibris, 2010, p. 638.
LBJ Library: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/nsams/nsam273.asp.
LBJ Library: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/nsams/nsam288.asp
Scott Shane, “Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remain Secret”, New York Times, October 31, 2005: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/31/politics/31war.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
Figures taken from “Vietnam Holocaust, 140 years of pillage, slaughter & persecution,” ã Föreningen Levande Framtid, Sweden, 2001: http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/holocaust.pdf
State Department Archive: http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/johnsonlb/xix /28057.htm.
Robert Allen, Beyond Treason: Reflections on the Cover-up of the June 1967 Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty, an American Spy Ship, CreateSpace, 2012.
Watch the 2014 Al-Jazeera documentary The Day Israel Attacked America.
Alan Hart, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, vol. 2: David Becomes Goliath, Clarity Press, 2013, p. 250.
Morris Smith, “Our First Jewish President Lyndon Johnson? – an update!!,” 5 Towns Jewish Times, April 11, 2013, on 5tjt.com.
Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days: John Kennedy in the White House (1965), Mariner Books, 2002, p. 56.
Alan Hart, Zionism, vol. 2: op. cit., p. 257.
Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice, Potomac Books, 2007.
Charles Kaman, “Politics had reared its ugly head in a very certain way,” on http://stonezone.com/article.php?id=633
Video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03if1QnA5MI ; text on http://akadem.org/medias/documents/3-conference-degaulle.pdf
On the Jewish-led student uprising in Paris in 1968, read Yair Auron, Les Juifs d’extrême gauche en Mai 68, Albin Michel, 1998.
Watch on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNb1uUlG2QI .
Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld, Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony of Jewish War Criminals, Bnei Yeshivos, 1977 (http://netureikartaru.com/Holocaust_Victims_Accuse.pdf), pp. 28, 24.
Philip Weiss, “30 Years Ago, Neocons Were More Candid About Their Israel-Centered Views,” May 23, 2007: http://mondoweiss.net/2007/05/30_years_ago_ne/.