Former Iraqi Minister Names Bernard Lewis, Leo Strauss As Intellectual Authors of Iraq Disaster
April 11, 2007 (EIRNS)In terms of analysis previously seen mainly in publications associated with the name LaRouche, an Iraqi opposition figureat one time Finance Minister during the U.S. occupationidentifies British-trained orientalist Bernard Lewis and the late Leo Strauss, as the sources of the neo-Con ideas behind the Iraq invasion. This precise identification comes in the new book, "The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace," by Ali A. Allawi.
"These two scholars probably never met, writes Allawi, "but their ideas pervaded the American project to refashion Iraq and beyond."
Allawi's "outing" of Bernard Lewis follows close on the heels of journalist Bob Woodwards identification of Lewis as the most significant personality in a grouping of secret advisers to Vice President Dick Cheney, in his 2006 book "State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III" (see EIR, Feb. 2, 2007 review by Lawrence Freeman).
Of Bernard Lewis, Allawi writes that he "adopted a particular slant on Islam's encounter with modernity that ran counter to the then prevailing wisdom," which was that the social and economic problems of the Middle East stemmed mainly from the legacy of European colonialism. Instead, Lewis propagated the idea that the failure of Islamic civilization resulted from being relegated to a secondary status by the manifest political and technological superiority of the West. Muslim rage stems from its failure to accept that simple fact, Lewis said. Allawi then describes how Lewis took on the mantle of the "public intellectual," especially after 9/11, to give a scholarly sheen to the idea of using force to effect change in the Middle East. Allawi's perspective comes of having resided in the Iraqi opposition in exile for some 30 years.
Allawi describes Strauss as a "political philosopher" who "believed in the role of the wise elite, schooled in Platonic ideals, exercising power over the mass" preferably "discreetly and anonymously" through rulers "committed to the shared symbols and ideals of their societies." Allawi describes the rise of the Straussians through the 1970's and 80's until they took power in the G.W. Bush Administration. "The threat to America's national security from radical Islam fitted exactly into the Straussian construct of what constituted a mortal danger to western democratic values," Allawi writes. He adds that none of these neo-Conservative ideologies "was in any way particularly involved in the Middle East except in the narrow sense that there was a frequent overlap between their concern with American power and national security and defense of Israel."
"Lewis and Strauss were profound influences, in deep and subtle ways, on the nexus of advisors, policymakers and war-planners that pushed the USA into invading Iraq." But, "None of the proponents of the war, including the neo-conservatives, and also no one in the institutes and think tanks that provided the intellectual fodder for the war's justification, had the faintest idea of the country that they were to occupy."
Four years later, they still don't.