Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Daniel Pipes - 6

Jihad Khazen Al-Hayat - 02/07/06

The politics of Daniel Pipes is rotten to the core and nowhere is this more evident than in Iraq.

Pipes has made comments on Iraq that invite the description heartless, callous and irresponsible. He has little pity for the civilians who would suffer in a civil war, and displays an inherent racism. Iraqi lives for him are worth so much less than Western ones.

Writing on the bombing on February 22, 2006 of the Askariya shrine in Samarra, Pipes said in his article “Civil War in Iraq?” in FrontPageMagazine on February 28 that although the bombing was a tragedy, “it was not an American or a coalition tragedy.” He asserted that Iraq’s plight is “neither a coalition responsibility nor a particular danger to the West.”

He claimed that a civil war would reduce Western casualties outside Iraq, adding: “When Sunni terrorists target Shi’ites and vice-versa, non-Muslims are less likely to be hurt. Civil war in Iraq, in short, would be a humanitarian tragedy but not a strategic one.”

Pipes said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in March that he “profoundly disagreed” with Colin Powell having told Bush about Iraq, “you break it, you fix it.”

Pipes said “I think it is possible and necessary at times to go to war without taking responsibility for the country that you make war on.”

His view is that “fixing Iraq is neither the coalition’s responsibility nor its burden.”

Pipes said the eruption of civil war in Iraq would have many implications for the West. For one thing it would be likely to invite Syrian and Iranian participation which would hasten the possibility of a US confrontation with these two states with which tensions are already high.

He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in March that “there are those who would like to see the Syrians and Iranians contained and this would be a way to do that.”

In his February 28 article in FrontPageMagazine Pipes also said a civil war in Iraq would terminate the dream of Iraq serving as a model for other Middle Eastern countries, thus delaying the push towards elections. “This will have the effect of keeping Islamists from being legitimated by the popular vote, as Hamas was.” In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on March 2, he said the imperative that the US government has been following would be shunted aside, “an imperative which I think has led to negative results, because the victors in democracy, whether it be Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have all in these cases been our most extreme enemies – the Islamists. And I think as developments in Iraq slow down the democracy process, so it will elsewhere and we will be the better for it.”

He said in his article that a civil war would also reduce coalition casualties in Iraq. As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “rather than killing American soldiers, the insurgents and foreign fighters are more focused on creating civil strife that could destabilize Iraq’s political process and possibly lead to outright ethnic and religious war.”

He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that a civil war in Iraq was a horrible prospect and he in no sense wanted it to happen. And yet he had sketched out what he saw as positive implications for the US and West from it.

It is worth noting that Pipes made no mention of Israel and the possible advantages to it of the war on Iraq and a civl war there.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation interviewer of 2 March said that while Pipes might not think it is a legal obligation to rehabilitate, actually under international law occupying forces have the legal duty to protect civilians in the country that they are occupying.

Pipes said: “I don’t believe, at this point, the coalition forces in Iraq constitute an occupation no more than say American forces in Europe are an occupation force at this point. They are there at the invitation of the government and can be told by the government to leave. So this is not an occupation any more. I say the Iraqis are adults, they are not our wards. They will define their future. We can help them but it is not our burden to re-establish, to rehabilitate Iraq on a new basis.”

Still this warmonger was nominated by President Bush in April 2003 to the board of the United States Institute of Peace USIP), an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and financed by Congress.

The goals of the Institute are “to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote post-conflict stability and democratic transformations and increase peacebuilding capacity, tools and intellectual capital worldwide.” It has a Muslim World Initiative with a number of projects which stress engagement and dialogue between the US and other Western countries and Muslims.

Given Pipes’ often expressed ultra-hawkish views on for example the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his hostility to Islam to the point of being regarded as an Islamophobe, there was astonishment and disappointment in some quarters that the US President should have nominated him of all people. It was seen as confirmation of the grip the neoconservatives had tightened on the administration, and the inroads that the extremist thinking of Pipes was making. The nomination reflected badly on the credibility of Bush and of USIP.

There was opposition from some Democratic senators, including Edward Kennedy, but Bush bypassed the Senate and gave Pipes a recess appointment. He served until the end of Congress in January 2005.

The nomination was greeted with dismay by American Muslim groups and liberal Jewish organisations. Susannah Heschel, a professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth and co-chair of the liberal Jewish group Tikkun was quoted as saying “Daniel Pipes is not a peacemaker” and that the nomination was like “appointing me to be the head of nuclear physics at Los Alamos.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called Pipes the “nation’s leading Islamophobe” and campaigned against his nomination.

Pipes was supported by groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America and the Christian Coalition.

He seems at odds with the ethos of the Institute. Not only is he harsh towards Muslims and on Palestine, but he for example denies the US has a moral obligation towards Iraq or Afghanistan after invasions.

All that comes to mind is: only in America…


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