Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Thursday, March 24, 2005

AIPAC Special Briefing with Dr. Keith Weissman, 'Iran: Will Diplomacy Prevail?'

Community Calendar: "March 7, 2005
7:30 PM

AIPAC Special Briefing with Dr. Keith Weissman, 'Iran: Will Diplomacy Prevail?'
RSVP by Wednesday, March 2nd to Dr. Eric Steckler at 727-726-7828. For more information, call Iris Polit at the AIPAC office at 954-382-6110"

Haaretz - Israel News - FBI probe into leaked secrets takes aim at AIPAC

Haaretz - Israel News - FBI probe into leaked secrets takes aim at AIPAC: "FBI probe into leaked secrets takes aim at AIPAC

By Nathan Guttman
WASHINGTON - Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin was reinstated a few weeks ago, after sitting at home for half a year and being barred from returning to his job on the Iranian desk in the Department of Defense's policy division. Franklin was at the center of a lengthy FBI investigation after suspicions arose that he transfered classified information about U.S. policy on Iran to members of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).




In the seven months since the affair made headlines on the CBS evening news, the investigation has been kept under tight wraps, but its ramifications are already being felt.

While Franklin is back at work, and, say well-placed sources, is expected to reach a plea bargain, the spotlight has moved to the AIPAC officials - two senior members were suspended for the duration of the case and four other senior officials were forced to testify at length before the special investigative jury in Virginia (whose proceedings are classified) appointed for the case.

Even if the investigation is nowhere near completion, it has definitely reached a crossroads, at which investigators must decide on the suspects in the case - Larry Franklin alone; Franklin and two AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman; or whether, on top of those three, the entire AIPAC organization has acted unlawfully.

Sources close to the investigation suggested recently that it would end in a plea bargain. Franklin would plead to a lesser crime of unauthorized transfer of information, Rosen and Weissman would be charged with receiving classified information unlawfully, and AIPAC would remain unstained. Franklin's lawyer, Plato Cacheris, yesterday denied the reports, stating: "We have not entered any plea of defense with the Justice Department."

AIPAC refused to say anything about the possibility of a plea bargain.

As for Franklin's reinstatement, a Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Paul Swiergrosz, confirmed that "Dr. Franklin is still a U.S. government employee," bud declined to identify his position. Haaretz has learned that Franklin has been moved to a post different from the one he held previously and kept from handling classified information.

From AIPAC's standpoint, the issue at hand is containment: can the affair be limited to Rosen and Weissman, or is the investigation directed at the lobby as a whole? It is clear that the FBI has as its objective an extensive investigation against AIPAC. Investigators have been looking into AIPAC's entire manner of operating, not just in the Franklin instance. An official questioned twice by the FBI, as a witness, was astounded by investigators' intimate familiarity with AIPAC.

The intended breadth of the investigation is also evident from the FBI's dramatic moves - raiding AIPAC offices in December and issuing subpoenas to its four top executives. Executive Director Howard Kohr, Managing Director Richard Fishman, Research Director Rafael Danziger and Communications Director Renee Rothstein appeared before the investigative jury and were questioned at length.

Investigators also reportedly tried to use Franklin, after the affair erupted, to incriminate as many senior AIPAC officials as possible. The Jerusalem Post reported four months ago that investigators informed Franklin of the suspicions against him and asked for his cooperation. In a sting operation, he received information from the FBI agents that Iran was planning to attack Israelis operating in the Kurdish region in Iraq. Franklin, on the FBI's instructions, telephoned AIPAC's Rosen and Weissman and gave them the information, and they rushed to pass it on to Israeli diplomats, thereby falling into the FBI trap.

AIPAC refuses to comment on the case, saying, "We do not comment on personnel matters." A spokesman for AIPAC, Patrick Dorton, said yesterday that "it would not be appropriate for AIPAC to comment on issues that have to do with an ongoing federal investigation."

The suspension of the two AIPAC officials, though never officially explained, is certainly a key turning point in the case. According to one assessment, AIPAC understands that regardless of whether a plea bargain is reached, it will be tough to get those two off the hook, so AIPAC is keeping its distance for now. Their lawyer refused requests from Haaretz for a comment.

A source close to the case said that since the investigation began, AIPAC's ability to maintain good ties with U.S. administration officials has suffered."

Press Release - HQ USMC - Luti and Feith Try to Cover Their Tracks

Press Release - Headquarters Marine Corps: "United States Marine Corps

Press Release
Division of Public Affairs
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
Washington, D. C. 20380-1775
Telephone: 703-614-4309 DSN 224-4309 Fax 703-695-7460
Contact: American Forces Press Service

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Release # 0609-03-0532
June 04, 2003

DoD Policy Chief Seeks to Clear Intel Record

WASHINGTON--By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

DoD officials attempted to lay to rest some media stories on intelligence information that are "not true and taking on the status of urban legends."

Douglas Feith, defense undersecretary for policy, and Bill Luti, deputy undersecretary for special plans and Near East and South Asian affairs, spoke at a Pentagon briefing today to put to rest a number of inaccurate news stories.

The men addressed an alleged intelligence cell in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and its relationship to the special plans office. Feith also addressed intelligence judgments regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. They spoke about a story alleging DoD was working to topple the Iranian regime. Finally, they addressed stories on the Mujahedin-e Khalq - a group in Iraq dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian government.

Feith discussed the intelligence "cell" that some news reports said were the Defense Department's answer to the CIA. The news reports indicated that the cell came into being because the department did not like some of the analyses coming from the intelligence community. "After the Sept. 11 attack, I identified a requirement to think through for what it means for the Defense Department to be at war with a terrorist network," Feith said.

Twentieth century wars were against nations, and a war against terrorist networks was something new. "We understood that it presents a number of peculiar conceptual challenges," he said.

Feith asked for two full-time employees to conduct a review of intelligence on terrorist networks and to examine how the various terrorist organizations relate to each other and to state sponsors of terrorism, he said. He said the two employees drew expertise from others in the office as needed.

The team began work in October 2001, and was never involved with intelligence collection, Feith said. The team examined all terrorist organizations and state sponsors. It was not confined to Iraq or al Qaeda.

The team's main conclusion "was that groups and states were willing to cooperate across philosophical, ideological lines," he said. "It came up with a number of interesting connections where Sunni and Shia (Muslim) groups cooperated. Or religious based groups cooperated with secular groups or states."

He said the reason this team has become the focus of so much attention was that in the course of reviewing the intelligence the team "came up with some interesting linkages between Iraq and al Qaeda," Feith said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asked Feith and members of the team to brief George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, on their conclusions. "My impression was that it was pretty well-received, and that was that," he said.

The team was not a part of the special plans office, nor was it ever tied to the Intelligence Collection Program - a program to debrief Iraqi defectors. The team conducted the review and presented its findings in August 2002. The project was over, so the employees returned to other duties, he said.

On intelligence judgments about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Feith said there was massive intelligence pointing to an Iraqi WMD program. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February presentation to the U.N. Security Council played intercepts of Iraqi officers discussing concealing arms from U.N. inspectors. The coalition intelligence services used U.N. facts and figures for Iraq not accounting for WMD capabilities.

Feith said the intelligence analyses of Iraq's capabilities did not change from the Clinton to the Bush administrations. What changed was the strategic situation following the attacks of Sept. 11, he said. The nexus of states with weapons of mass destruction and terrorist organizations willing to use these weapons gave states an option to use the weapons without their "fingerprints" on the attack, Feith said.

"Without regard to whether the officials of the previous administration agree or disagree with the policies of this administration on how to deal with the problem, the basic intelligence reports did not undergo any change from the previous administration," Feith said.

Correcting another record, Feith said a recent London Financial Times article "grossly misrepresented" Rumsfeld's views on Iran and the desire of the United States to topple the clerical regime in Teheran. Feith said the United States wants Iran to turn over all al Qaeda operatives and to comply with its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, "but as for the future of the Iranian government, that's a matter to be decided by the Iranian people."

Finally, Feith spoke about the U.S. policy on the Mujahedin-e Khalq. The United States has declared the group a foreign terrorist organization. The MEK has several thousand fighters scattered throughout Iraq, mostly organized in the MEK's National Liberation Army. Some of these units possess tanks, armored vehicles and heavy artillery.

U.S. forces demanded the surrender of MEK forces in Iraq. "That demand is being complied with and the MEK forces are being disarmed," he said"

2002 Transcripts: Luti at the Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy

2002 Transcripts: "Transcript

Session 2
Strategic Responses to New Security Challenges

“An Emerging Bush Doctrine: Preemption to the Forefront”

Dr. William J. Luti, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs


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Harmon: I’m delighted to be with you this afternoon. My name is Chris Harmon. I am from Marine Corps University. And our panel, this first of the afternoon is on “Strategic Responses to New Security Challenges.” That is always a good subject, especially now so quickly after the release of the Bush Administration’s new and much awaited National Security Strategy. Now our speakers are numerous and an impressive lot. And for that reason I am going to forego any comments I might make and move immediately to our first speaker.

The line-up is a little different than recorded on your program, be it original and updated. And that is because there are several Pentagon appointments that require our gents to move beyond this location after the panel. So we are going to begin with William Luti. He is going to discuss an emerging Bush doctrine of preemption. He is one of two Fletcher graduates who will be speaking to you this afternoon.

Apart from his year, 1990 degrees, in Law and Diplomacy and International Relations, William J. Luti also took another degree, a Masters from the Naval War College in National Security and Strategic Studies. Dr. Luti has been a Congressional Fellow at the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He has been also an adviser to Vice President Cheney.
It is not exactly an afterthought to say that Dr. Luti is a Naval flight officer with the rank of Captain. He has flown or held command in more than a few of the nation’s more recent crises including Dessert Storm. And from ’97 to ’98, William Luti was commanding officer of the U.S.S. Guam. Today, he is with us as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. Dr. Luti.

Luti: Thank you very much Chris for that kind introduction. What I would like to say, first of all, is thank you for inviting me. It is always good to see my friends from the Fletcher School, Richard Shultz, Bob Pfaltzgraff, Jackie Davis. It is always a delight to see you. It is also an honor to follow the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz who gave a marvelous luncheon address today.

And also, it is an honor for me to stand before you today and discuss an important topic such as our national defense. What I would like to do is spend about 10 minutes and describe how we got to where we are today with our national security strategy, how and why we treat anticipatory self-defense with great caution, and all placed in the context of the new threats posed by terrorist networks and states that sponsor them.

But first, let me describe what has changed in the world that we live in today. And that world changed on September 11th, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States murdering 3 thousand American men, women, and children. We are still a very long way from understanding the long-term effects of 9/11. But one thing is very clear. We are vulnerable. We have lost the insulation and safety that we enjoyed since the founding of our nation. In and age of globalism, easy transportation, instant bank transfers, and Internet communications, we remain at risk from those who would do us irreparable harm. Outlaw regimes and terrorist groups pursuing weapons of mass destruction are dangers we simple cannot ignore. In September, President Bush unveiled the National Security Strategy of the United States. And it is constructed on three pillars.

<>

First, we will defend the peace by opposing and preventing violence by terrorist and outlaw regimes. Second, we will preserve the peace by fostering an era of good relations among the world’s great powers. And third, we will extend the peace by seeking to extend the benefits of freedom and prosperity across the globe. Now built into this first pillar, defending the peace, is the not-so-new doctrine of anticipatory self-defense.

And I believe that it is important to point out that anticipatory self-defense is more than just preemption. Our vision is to create a balance of power that favors freedom. And as the President says in his cover letter to the Strategy, we seek to create conditions in which all nations and societies can choose for themselves the rewards and challenges of political and economic liberty.
In short, our vision combines moral clarity with extreme vigilance. We seek peace with freedom-loving countries and we hold tyrannical regime accountable for their actions and those of any proxy terrorist groups they host or support. Now before I say more about what we mean by anticipatory self-defense, I want to say a little bit about the evolution of the National Security Strategy over the past year. In other words, how did we get where we are today? Well, as Abraham Lincoln once admonished, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves.” So, too, on September 20th, 2001, the President began a series of remarkable speeches in which he wisely challenged us to disenthrall ourselves from the outmoded rules, procedures and techniques of the past and to begin to think and act anew.

He addressed the American people before a joint session of Congress and clearly articulated that the goal of terrorism is the destruction of democracy, liberty, and freedom. He said, and I quote, “On September 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against the country. Americans have known the casualties of war but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning.”

“Americans have known surprise attacks, but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day. And night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.” Now, outlining the American response, the President was clear that the United States would fight to defend liberty and uphold freedom. Our actions would neither be limited to a single terrorist group, nor single terrorist safe haven.
He said, “Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist groups of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” On January 29th, in his State of the Union address, the President said, “I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

And on June 1 at West Point, the President addressed the next generation of those on the front lines of our country’s defense. There he explained why cold doctrines of deterrence and containment were no longer valid. He said, “New threats require new thinking. Deterrence, the promise of massive retaliation against nations means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators, with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies.”

The defense of the United States and its nearly 300 million citizens cannot be predicated on the insincere words of dictators alone. Speaking for the cadets, the President said, “We cannot put our faith in the world of tyrants who solemnly sign nonproliferation treaties and then systematically break them. If we wait for the threats to fully materialize we will have waited too long.”
Indeed in a new world and dangerous world, where enemies grant safe haven to terrorists and where terrorists aim not to kill just five or 10 but 500 or 10 thousand, the United States can no longer afford to absorb the first blow. The Fletcher School’s own Michael Glennon has aptly noted that, “Modern weapons of mass destruction make the risk of a terrorist group’s first strike far more devastating than was imaginable at the formation of the U.N.” The United States must be unceasingly vigilant in our defense. As the President said at West Point, “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.” Now let me be clear, though, anticipatory self-defense is not about unrestrained use of unilateral military action. It is about heading off threats to liberty and freedom before they emerge.

And speaking before the United Nations General Assembly on the 12th of September of this year, President Bush called for the deliberations to be more than talk and resolutions to be more than wishes. He said, “If the U.N. is to remain relevant and not go the way of the feckless League of Nations, then it must be willing to enforce its own Chapter Seven resolutions.”

President Bush’s speeches over the past year have outlined the need for anticipatory self-defense crystallized in the new National Security Strategy but the concept is not new. As Condoleezza Rice said in a recent speech, “There has never been a moral or legal requirement that a country wait to be attacked before it can address existential threats.” Anticipatory self-defense is consistent with the goal of making the world more secure.

With sufficient warning of 9/11 or any other recent terrorist attacks, is there any doubt that the United States should have the right to act first in the defense of thousands of Americans in the World Trade Center and in the Pentagon or holiday makers in Bali? Anticipatory self-defense means that the United States reserves the right to break up terror networks but also to hold accountable nations that harbor terrorists and the tyrants who encourage them.

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On October 5th Babbel(?) and official Iraqi government newspaper published by Saddam’s son and alluded to today by Paul Wolfowitz at his luncheon address, urged the Iraqis to “Strike at U.S. interests wherever they may be.” Iraqi television has shown Saddam urging his nuclear mujahideen(?) to defeat the enemy. So we can no longer turn a deaf ear to the far away threats and incitement.

A few years ago we received similar pronouncement from Osama bin Laden. International law does not require that the United States absorb a nuclear, biological or chemical weapons attack before responding to an imminent threat. The risk of inaction, as Paul Wolfowitz said today, outweighs the risk of action.

Now our intelligence agencies play a very important role in warning us about looming threats. Again, as Michael Glennon has noted, “With modern methods of intelligence collection, such as satellite imagery and communications intercepts, it is now unnecessary to absorb an attack before concluding a lawless regime’s hostile intent.”

Now intelligence alone is not enough to protect us. Often times we have suffered from what we might call failure of imagination. A few years ago a well-known columnist published an essay in which he said, and noted several of these failures of the imagination. For example, three years after the first flight at Kitty Hawk, a well respected scientist at the time declared, “No possible combination of known substances, known forms of machine, and known forms of force, can be united in a practicable machine by which men shall fly long distances through the air.”

In 1922, Franklin Roosevelt said, “It is unlikely that an airplane or a fleet of them could ever successfully sink a fleet of Naval vessels under battle conditions.” In 1945, MIT’s Vanever(?) Bush told the Senate that it would not be feasible “for a very long period of time to develop an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of hitting a city.” He said, “I think we can leave that out of our thinking.”

At the fall of the Soviet Union, we saw just how much we underestimated the Soviet’s biological weapons’ capability. Its scope was nothing short of huge. In the years leading to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, international agencies certified Saddam Hussein in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Only after a defector escaped from Iraq in 1991, did the world learn that Saddam systematically had put together a nuclear weapons program and was within a few years of building a nuclear weapon.

Just four years ago both Pakistan and India surprised us when they tested nuclear weapons. India is the world’s largest democracy and Pakistan is trying to return to democracy. But in the case of tyrannies like Iraq, we have to ask whether or not we can afford to wait for proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard fitting for a western courtroom, not a standard we should apply to terrorists trying to kill Americans in very large numbers.
Now the United States will not treat the powers invested in anticipatory self-defense lightly. Condoleezza Rice has spoken recently and clearly that “It must be treated with great caution.” Earlier this month she told a New York audience that “The numbers of cases in which it might be justified will always be small. It does not give a green light to act first without exhausting other means including diplomacy.”

Preemptive action does not come at the beginning of a long chain of effort. The threat must be very grave and the risks of waiting must far outweigh the risks of action. In other words, before the United States military engages in any act of anticipatory self-defense, our diplomats will seek to ensure our safety through peaceful means. We will consult with our allies in their capitols and in the halls of the U.N. We will monitor the rhetoric of opponents and take their threats seriously.

We’ll especially focus on any statements which indicate that the country or terrorist group hosted within it considers itself at war with the United States. We’ll look at the historical record of a country’s development and use of weapons of mass destruction. We’ll also assess the country’s motive for doing great harm to the United States and our allies. We will not settle for deals based on promises alone but will judge our adversaries on the reality of their actions.

We will not differentiate between a direct attack upon the United States or its citizens and an attack made by terrorist proxy. Any country that provides safe haven, financing or facilities to terrorists who kill Americans will come under close scrutiny. Now, Iraq is one case where the United States is making these judgments. Saddam Hussein has started two wars that killed upwards of one million people.

He has systematically impoverished one of the richest countries on earth in the relentless pursuit of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. The U.N. has already passed 13 separate resolutions calling for Iraq to abide by her commitments and not obstruct U.N. weapons inspectors. He overtly funds suicide bombers that not only undermine Middle East peace but also taken American lives.

Iraq’s relation with Al Qaeda go back a decade. They have harbored Al Qaeda operatives in Baghdad and provided chemical and biological warfare training to Al Qaeda. An even more potent threat is posed by Saddam’s threat for weapons of mass destruction. And according to the dossier released by the British government, when U.N. inspectors left in 1998, they could not account for 360 tons of chemical agents including one and a half tons of BX nerve gas.

They could not account for growth media capable of producing 85 hundred liters of anthrax. They could not account for 30 thousand artillery shells and other munitions capable of delivering chemical and biological agents. Again, as the President said on 12 September at the U.N. General Assembly, “We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass destruction even when the inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that they stopped when they left?”

The history, the logic and the facts lead one to one conclusion, Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. Now we very much hope the conflict with Iraq can be avoided. But we cannot in good conscience sacrifice our liberty or safety by turning a blind eye to a grave and growing danger.

As the President said in the National Security Strategy, “We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
Now we live in a dangerous new world and we cannot turn our backs from it. In this new world with 21st-century dangers, “The purpose of our actions,” the President has said, “will always be to eliminate a specific threat to the United States or our allies and friends. We have to protect the American people from the threats that the new century brings while embracing its opportunities for increased knowledge, freedom, and prosperity. A great nation can do both things.”
Thank you.

© The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc. - All rights reserved"

The New York Times: Feith Luti and Churchill?

The New York Times: Premium Archive: "ESSAY; Winston Churchill, Neocon?
By JACOB HEILBRUNN
Published: February 27, 2005, Sunday

Correction Appended


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Douglas J. Feith was becoming excited. After spending an afternoon discussing the war in Iraq with him, I asked what books had most influenced him. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy and a prominent neoconservative, raced across his large library and began pulling down gilt-edged volumes on the British Empire. Behind his desk loomed a bust of Winston Churchill.
It was a telling moment. In England right-wing historians are portraying the last lion as a drunk, a dilettante, an incorrigible bungler who squandered the opportunity to cut a separate peace with Hitler that would have preserved the British Empire. On the American right, by contrast, Churchill idolatry has reached its finest hour. George W. Bush, who has said ''I loved Churchill's stand on principle,'' installed a bronze bust of him in the Oval Office after becoming president. On Jan. 21, 2005, Bush issued a letter with ''greetings to all those observing the 40th anniversary of the passing of Sir Winston Churchill.'' The Weekly Standard named Churchill ''Man of the Century.'' So did the columnist Charles Krauthammer, who in December 2002 delivered the third annual Churchill Dinner speech sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College; its president, Larry P. Arnn, also happens to belong to the International Churchill Society. William J. Luti, a leading neoconservative in the Pentagon, recently told me, ''Churchill was the first neocon.'' Apart from Michael Lind writing in the British magazine The Spectator, however, the Churchill phenomenon has received scant attention. Yet to a remarkable extent, the neoconservative establishment is claiming Churchill (who has just had a museum dedicated to him in London) as a founding father.


Some of this reverence has its origins in the writings of the neoconservative husband-and-wife team Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb. As the co-editor of the British monthly Encounter in the early 1950's, Kristol (who deplored imperialism in his youthful Trotskyist incarnation) began falling under the influence of Tory intellectuals and started his march to the right. Himmelfarb, a historian of England, has always championed a return to Victorian virtues, which Churchill, more than anyone else, embodied in the 20th century. Writing in The New Republic in November 2001, Himmelfarb observed: ''Among other things that we are rediscovering in the past is the idea of greatness -- great individuals, great causes, great civilizations. It is no accident that Churchill has re-emerged now, at a time when the West is again under assault.''

Another strand of Churchill piety can be traced to the political philosopher Leo Strauss, who fled Nazi Germany for England before immigrating to the United States. Strauss shaped successive generations of neoconservatives, starting with Kristol and Himmelfarb. He believed that the Western democracies needed an intellectual elite to check the dangerous passions of the lower orders, and he saw the pre-World War I British aristocracy as the closest thing to Platonic guardians. Upon Churchill's death in 1965, he declared, ''We have no higher duty, and no more pressing duty, than to remind ourselves and our students of political greatness, human greatness, of the peaks of human excellence.''

In the 1970's, a new neoconservative generation imbibed this lesson. At Harvard, William Kristol, the son of Kristol and Himmelfarb, celebrated the 100th anniversary of Churchill's birthday in the imperial manner by roasting a pig with his fellow Straussian graduate students. Other neoconservatives used the example of Churchill to warn about the perils of pursuing arms-control agreements with the Soviet Union. In ''Churchill and Us'' in the June 1977 issue of Commentary, the strategist Edward N. Luttwak, who has since decamped from the neoconservative movement, recounted the abuse showered upon Churchill for insisting upon rearmament in the 1930's.

After Ronald Reagan became president, Churchill worship became even more fervent. Commentary published several essays during the Reagan years depicting Franklin D. Roosevelt as selling out the West at Yalta even as Churchill was trying to contain Stalin. Reagan hung a Churchill portrait in the White House Situation Room and, in 1988, declared Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 ''National Sir Winston Churchill Recognition Week.'' In his June 8, 1982, address to Parliament forecasting the collapse of the Soviet Union, Reagan made a point of extolling Churchill.

Since then, Reagan himself has been elevated to the status of Churchill. Just as Churchill began the fight against Bolshevism, his admirers contend, so Reagan prosecuted the war to its finish with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Like Churchill, Reagan, the argument goes, was dismissed as a crackpot by the regnant liberal establishment, but proved a prophet. Stephen F. Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute states in the forthcoming ''Age of Reagan'' that both men ''transcended their environments as only great men can do, thereby bending history to their will.'' David Gelernter, a Yale professor and contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, explains that to ''grasp Reagan's achievement, we must understand the striking continuum of pacifism from the 1930's through the 1980's through today -- and remember, simultaneously, that Churchill had help changing Britain's mind (namely Hitler's war); Bush had help changing America's mind and his own -- 9/11.''

But is there a seamless continuum from Churchill to Reagan to Bush? Certainly Bush himself has not exactly shied away from the comparison. On Feb. 4, 2004, at the opening of the Library of Congress's ''Churchill and the Great Republic'' exhibit, Bush stated that ''our current struggles or challenges are similar to those Churchill knew. . . . One by one, we are finding and dealing with the terrorists, drawing tight what Winston Churchill called a 'closing net of doom.' ''

But after celebrating Churchill, many neoconservatives go on to champion empire, and at that point matters become trickier. Krauthammer has applauded the idea of American hegemony, which he calls ''democratic realism,'' in The National Interest. Shortly after 9/11, in an article called ''The Case for American Empire,'' published in The Weekly Standard, Max Boot wrote: ''Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.'' The former Canadian press baron Conrad Black, the chairman of the board of The National Interest, is calling for the creation of a Churchillian Anglosphere, while the historian Niall Ferguson wants the United States to quit being an ''empire in denial'' and adopt liberal imperialism.

It's hard to see why it should. What, after all, was Churchill's imperial legacy? While he was laudably eager to establish a Jewish state, his forays into Arab nation-building after World War I, including the creation of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, plague the region down to the present. Far from helping avert the collapse of the empire, Britain's machinations under Churchill accelerated it. At the same time, it's not clear how ''liberal'' Churchill's imperialism actually was. He was a rather equivocal democratizer, declaring in 1942 that he had not become ''the King's first minister in order to liquidate the British Empire.'' He bitterly fought with Roosevelt over recognizing Indian independence, and he despised Gandhi.

For many of the neoconservatives, however, the great liberal idol Franklin D. Roosevelt was a disaster. The former Bush speechwriter David Frum has hailed Churchill as the great man of the 20th century, while denouncing Roosevelt for not opposing Nazism and Stalinism vigorously enough. It seems clear that by shunting Roosevelt to the sidelines and elevating Churchill, neoconservatives are doing more than simply recovering a neoconservative hero from the past. They are, in effect, inventing a new interventionist tradition for the Republican Party that goes beyond anything Churchill or other British statesmen ever imagined.


Jacob Heilbrunn, an editorial writer for The Los Angeles Times, is completing a book on neoconservatism.

Published: 02 - 27 - 2005 , Late Edition - Final , Section 7 , Column 1 , Page 27



Correction: March 6, 2005, Sunday

An essay in the Book Review last Sunday about Winston Churchill and neoconservatives misspelled the given name of the author of ''The Age of Reagan.'' He is Steven F. Hayward, not Stephen."