In an earlier article, I documented many of the neocons, their associated think tanks and their participation in the Bush administration. They’re everywhere.
This posting is about the latest addition to the White House neocon workforce – Eliot Cohen. He just became Counselor to the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who is trying hard to fill the role of diplomat to the Middle East. Mr. Cohen will take office in April, but how supportive of Ms. Rice will he be?
According to Right Web and Source Watch, Mr. Cohen is another well know neocon. He is close friend of Paul Dundes Wolfowitz and a member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) advisory board. He, Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman, James Woolsey and William Kristol were members of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which posted this on its website after the preemptive strike on Iraq, “Following the successful liberation of Iraq, the committee has ceased its operations.” As a founding member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Cohen contributed his name to PNAC’s notorious September 20, 2001 letter to the president, which argued that even if Saddam Hussein was not connected to the terrorist attacks, “any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”
Mr. Cohen is also a member of the board for the Defense Policy Board. Some of the other members of the DPB are Newt Gingrich and James Woolsey. Members of this group are heavily connected to defense contractors like Bechtel, Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton and smaller players like Symantec Corp., Technology Strategies and Alliance Corp., and Polycom Inc. As an advisor to the Pentagon, members of the DPB have been accused of conflicts of interest. Richard Perle, another neocon and supporter of the attack on Iraq, was Chairman of the DPB who could profit from the war. Perle had to resign to quiet the suspicions.
Last December, after the Iraq Study Group report had largely been dismissed, Mr. Cohen was part of the AEI team to pitch their surge plan to the President.
Mr. Cohen first got national attention back in November 2001 when he published an article in the Wall Street Journal called World War IV. The cold war was WW III and the supposed war on terror is WW IV – us against the Middle East. Specifically, he mentions Iran and Iraq.
More recently, in an Asia Times article, Jim Lobe wrote of Mr Cohen:
If the surge should fail, however, Cohen’s preferred and “most plausible” option, which he laid out in an October Journal column titled “Plan B”, would be a coup d’etat (“which we quietly endorse”) in Iraq that would bring to power a “junta of military modernizers”, a development that, as he noted himself, would call into question the Bush administration’s and Rice’s avowed goal of democratization.
If Rice’s intent was to reassure Cheney and the neo-conservatives that she is not a captive of the ISG and the “Washington establishment”, that passage alone should do the trick.
With counsel like this, what hope is there for any real effective diplomacy?
(To find out how wrong Mr. Cohen can be, listen to his pre Iraq war commnents in the last three NPR stories below.)