Senator Kennedy’s recent rant that the president lied about the reasons to invade Iraq indicates his lack of originality if nothing else. His claim that President Bush and a secret cabal planned this war in advance has been made before – about another president and another war.
In his book The New Dealers' War, author Thomas Fleming repeats the contemporaneous claim that FDR lied to get America involved in WWII. He claims that FDR made plans to invade Europe well before Pearl Harbor. In fact, this book states that the December 4, 1941, edition of the Chicago Tribune published details of FDR’s war plans to invade Europe. This is of course very similar to Kennedy’s statement that the Iraq war was planned in Texas well before the World Trade Center was destroyed.
A variant theory of that era accused FDR of knowing about Pearl Harbor in advance and using this attack as a pretext to enter WWII. These two claims – that FDR lied to the American people and that he possessed prior knowledge of Pearl Harbor – are echoed today by the liberals' claims about the Iraq war.
The claim that Bush planned the Iraq war in advance, and that he knew in advance about the plot to destroy the WTC, are tenets of the popular, present day, conspiracy theory that the Iraq war is a “ plot “ by a cabal of Zionist (and mostly Jewish) Neoconservative imperialists. According to this theory, the Zionist Neocons are devoted to the state of Israel and are determined to establish an “American Empire” with Iraq their first stop along the way.
The similarities between today’s conspiracy theories and the conspiracy theories of World War II are nearly identical. In the 1940’s Roosevelt was accused of leading the U.S. into World War II because Jews influenced Roosevelt’s foreign policies. This is the direct antecedent of the Neocon, Zionist conspiracy theory of today. Then, FDR’s alleged Jewish Svengalis included Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau, and Felix Frankfurter. Now, Bush’s supposed Jewish cabal consists of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and William Kristol. Then, Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin and Gerald L.K. Smith were among the chief advocates of the Jewish cabal theory; now, Pat Buchanan, Georgie Anne Geyer, and Ted Kennedy are its principle proponents.
However, just as FDR’s critics had credibility problems so does Bush’s critics.
For example, Pat Buchanan wrote a column in November 2001, repeating the same claims made by Fleming in his book. However, Buchanan embellishes Fleming by remarking that British intelligence created some lies about Hitler for FDR to use to justify American entry into the war. Shades of the BBC! They reported that the Blair administration embroidered British intelligence reports to favor war with Iraq. An inquiry by the British government subsequently disproved the BBC assertion.
Senator Kennedy’s foreign policy acumen is questionable. His lack of credibility is well established. He once said deployment of Pershing missiles in Europe would lead to World War III. In fact, the deployment of the Pershings helped end the Cold War.
Georgie Anne Geyer exemplifies the fatuity of the conspiracy theorists. Appearing on the April 27, 2003, edition of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Geyer hypothesized that “the people in Washington who waged this war believe in a new American empire.” As evidence of her hypothesis Geyer said, “ We now have bases all over the world.” Somehow Geyer, the brilliant, educated, sophisticated journalist that she is, did not realize that we have had bases all over the world since the Spanish-American War. The fact, that she was unaware of this speaks volumes of the ignorance of those who believe in the Zionist/Neocon conspiracy.
Yet the ignorance of these people does not prevent them from recycling their theories or even that some media give them credence.
The Zionist Neocon conspiracy theory is not the only one borrowed from WWII. Another present day conspiracy theory recycled from World War II is that the real purpose of the Iraq war is to enrich the American plutocracy or provide an economic benefit. Groups like the Workers World Party (WWP) say the war is a conspiracy by American oil companies to annex Iraqi oil. FDR’s critics said that Hitler’s economic revolution endangered the world economic hegemony of London and New York – and that is why Hitler needed to be destroyed. For those who found that too convoluted, there was a more convenient explanation. They were told that FDR needed WWII to end the Depression.
Just as the phrase “tax cuts for the rich “ is a canard from Harry Truman’s speech at the 1952 Democratic convention, the Zionist/ Necon/ Plutocracy conspiracy theories about the Iraq war are canards recycled from an earlier era. Thankfully the American people did not believe what was said about FDR then and the world is a better place because of it. And they should not believe what is said about President George W. Bush now. The evidence is clear: the world is much safer and Iraq is a better place to live thanks to the toppling of Saddam's regime.
Despite the promulgation of these conspiracy theories by some of the mainstream media and the liberal fanatics who seem to have hijacked the Democratic Party, thus far the American people do not seem to be fooled.