September 12, 2004


US neo-cons: Kremlin is ‘morally’ to blame for the school massacre (Neil Mackay, 9/12/04, Sunday Herald)

WHY would a group of leading American neo-conservatives, dedicated to fighting Islamic terror, have climbed into bed with Chechen rebels linked to al-Qaeda? The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC), which includes Pentagon supremo Richard Perle, says the conflict between Russia and Chechnya is about Chechen nationalism, not terrorism.

The ACPC savaged Russia for the atrocities its forces have committed in the Caucuses, said President Vladimir Putin was “ridiculous”, claimed Russia was more “morally” to blame for the bloodshed than Chechen separatists and played down links between al-Qaeda and the “Chechen resistance”.

The ACPC’s support for the Chechen cause seems bizarre, as many of its members are among the most outspoken US policymakers who have made it clear that Islamist terror must be wiped out. But the organisation has tried to broker peace talks between Russia and Chechen separatists.

The ACPC includes many leaders of the neo-conservative think-tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which advocates American domination of the world.

ACPC members who are also in the pro-Israeli PNAC include Elliott Abrams, head of Middle East affairs at the National Security Council; Elliot Cohen of the Pentagon’s Defence Policy Board; Frank Gaffney, president of the conservative Centre for Security Policy; Robert Kagan and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard, the house journal of Washington neo-cons, and former CIA director James Woolsey. Former Reagan defence secretary Caspar Weinberger is also in the ACPC.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2004 3:10 PM

Perhaps the neo-conservative philosophy was a little more complex then their opponents led everyone to believe.

Posted by: Steve Martinovich at September 12, 2004 5:54 PM


Nuance? Nah, we're not capable of it. Ask the Cal-Berkely psych dep't.

Posted by: Jeff at September 12, 2004 7:46 PM

What would have happened if Bosnia had been ignored five years ago by the rest of the world in the way Chechnya has been ignored? asked Howard. They might have taken to taking over schools as well."

Yes, well what "would" have happened if most of European Jewry had been tortured and slaughtered mercilessly and in the most execrable circumstances while the world stood by and dithered? They "might" have seized many schools and tortured and killed small children all over the place.

But they didn't.

Posted by: Peter B at September 12, 2004 8:10 PM

As Wretchard of Belmont Club pointed out;sometime ago the Russian campaign in Chechnya, has been un-neccessarily brutal,from the first assault on Grozny, to his own soldiers as well as the
Chechens. We won't even go into the 19th
Century or the 1940s,

Posted by: narciso at September 12, 2004 10:38 PM


They took over a country and to some degree ethnically cleansed it.

Posted by: oj at September 12, 2004 10:47 PM

> Nuance? Nah, we're not capable of it. Ask the Cal-Berkely psych dep't.

Ha ha, I have a friend who is an editor at a newspaper at a major American newspaper who says the exact thing about conservatives.

Posted by: Steve Martinovich at September 13, 2004 12:09 AM

This is one neo-con, who went to the university of chicago, studided with known Straussians and does not agree with those guys on this issue.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 13, 2004 2:57 AM

I must say I find this article more disturbing than any I've seen in a while. For three years I've thought the moral underpinning of the war on terror was a complete rejection of root cause theory and the notion that terror against civilians could be justified (or should be "understood", which means legitimized and respected )on the basis of past grievances. Now many of the architects come along and not only start measuring the legitimacy of terror in other countries against historical oppressions, they leave the strong impression that past sufferings, if gruesome enough, are a licence to murder innocents.

What difference is there between what these guys are saying and what leftist and European apologists for Palestinian terror say?

Posted by: Peter B at September 13, 2004 6:59 AM


The entire war is an embrace of root cauise theory--that's why it's predicated on liberalization not body counts and territory.

Posted by: oj at September 13, 2004 8:40 AM


Yes, I understand what you are saying, but what has liberalization got to do with the objectives of the Chechens? I've seen several articles arguing Russia should learn the lesson France learned in Algeria and withdraw magnanamously. What lesson? Who could possible argue Algerian independence was a triumph of liberalization or hastened that cause? They would have been a lot more liberal if they were still part of France.

There is no necessary connection between liberalization and ethnically-based national independence. Not even long term.

Posted by: Peter B at September 13, 2004 8:53 AM

Algerians fight each other, not us. Palestinians and Chechens will do the same. People, including terrorists, are always only fighting over who run their countries.

Posted by: oj at September 13, 2004 9:16 AM

I recognize a lot of the names as former warriors in the Cold War. Maybe they are reflexively siding with any enemy of the Russians?

It makes no sense to me. For the risks posed by simply dropping independence in the laps of the Chechens, see the article Chechnya: Puppet State or Failed State? by Nabi Abdullaev, originally linked by Orrin Judd in a post on September 4, 2004.

The upside: If I felt inclined to put the "big-name" neoconservatives on a pedestal and subject them to less critical scrutiny than others, this will serve as a good reminder not to let down my guard.

Posted by: Eugene S. at September 13, 2004 6:06 PM