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Top 10 Letters

Michael F. Scheuer and Thomas E. Woods Jr. respond to their critics, plus our first correspondence from a European Commissioner.

11:00 PM, Feb 23, 2005
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.

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ONCE AGAIN, I write to thank The Weekly Standard for the attention they have paid to the ideas and arguments I presented in Imperial Hubris. Of the three articles that have mentioned my work, I thought Thomas Joscelyn's was the best, although the least thoughtful and analytic. In essence, Joscelyn made my point for me. By isolating a small part of my book, as well as a small part of my Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) interview that dealt with Israel, by failing to note the combative, baiting nature of the questions asked of me at the CFR meeting, by unleashing that old, reliable, and silencing epithet "anti-Semite," and by stroking America's sympathy for the underdog with the "tiny nation of Israel" phrase, and by making my book appear a "rambling" work meant only to dispense "invective," Joscelyn engages in what could be a case study of how to shut off discussion of a sensitive issue.

The article seems to suggest that no matter how criticism of Israel is phrased, it is not to be treated seriously. Indeed, Mr. Joscelyn goes a large step farther by implying that any criticism of Israel signals disloyalty to America when he says that Mr. Goss has more cleaning up to do at CIA than thought if anyone else there would dare to criticize Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship as I have and will. Without attributing my ideas or analysis to anyone else, I would say that Mr. Goss would have vastly more work to do if most intelligence officers did not recognize the hindering role unqualified U.S. support for Israel plays not only in America's relationship with the Islamic world, but, more important, in our efforts to defend America in the war on terrorism.

--Michael F. Scheuer

Thomas Joscelyn responds: Mr. Scheuer's response to my recent article, "CIA Conspiracy Theorist," both mischaracterizes my arguments and ignores the more substantive areas of my criticism.

First, I called on Scheuer to present any evidence he had that supported his claim that Israel has covertly "influence[d] the Congress." In his response to my article, Scheuer does not present any such evidence.

Second, Scheuer argues that my "article seems to suggest that no matter how criticism of Israel is phrased, it is not to be treated seriously" and that I go "a large step farther by implying that any criticism of Israel signals disloyalty to America . . . "

Nothing could be further from the truth. Rational criticisms that weigh the costs and benefits of U.S. foreign policies, including those policies that deal with the U.S.-Israel relationship, are a vital part of the public debate.

I do not question the right to criticize Israel or to debate the U.S.-Israel relationship; I question the usefulness of Scheuer's arguments in this debate. I do not find his unsupported (to date) claims about Israel's covert influence over the U.S. Congress, or his musings on the real purpose of the Holocaust museum, or his characterizations of the United States as the "American Gulliver" and as the "the dog that's led by the tail" to be helpful in furthering public discussion.

Third, he writes that I invoke "America's sympathy for the underdog with the 'tiny nation of Israel' phrase." I was not making an attempt to somehow manipulate readers' emotions. Ironically, I was simply (and intentionally) mimicking the phrase he used to describe Israel. See, for example, page 227 of Imperial Hubris, where Mr. Scheuer refers to Israel as "the tiny Jewish state." I even quoted this passage in my article.

Finally, he accuses me of trying to "to shut off discussion of a sensitive issue" by, among other things, "unleashing that old, reliable, and silencing epithet 'anti-Semite.'" But, I never labeled him an "anti-Semite," nor was that the intended effect of the one sentence where I use any form of that word. I simply pointed out that Scheuer's remarks concerning the true purpose of the Holocaust Museum have many parallels in anti-Semitic Arab and Muslim propaganda. In fact, the purpose of that state-controlled propaganda is to silence any rational discussion of those nations' relationships with Israel and the United States.

Differences of opinion aside, I remain hopeful that we can have a more "thoughtful and analytic" debate concerning the costs and benefits of U.S. foreign policy, including the U.S.-Israel relationship.

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