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24 October 2011


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Leslie Gelb's position on the Iraq war in 2003, was that he admitted he supported it, supported it 'for the sake of his career'.

Now isn't that special, supporting a war 'for the sake of his career', when Gelb's career is sitting behind an oak desk in a comfy chair, not getting his personal keester shot at in the war zone he and the NEOCONS advocated. Another arm chair general (small g) civie style, that to them the smell of war is 'sweet'. Funny how those who don't fight wars, those whose personal keesters aren't in the mud, the blood, and the beer, those who never miss a beat from their 'comforts', how war smells sweet to them. Ancient Greek and Roman pantheons in their time even noticed such a trend then.

I advocate that all those who want war so bad (like those who want to throw other people's children under an unnecessary Iran war bus), they be required to walk a mile in the boots of those they send into a battle zone 'before' they have a right to have any input in the first place. Only when they have been there and done that 'first', then and only then do they have a place at the war determination tables.

Gelb while he may be a pleasant bloke, is no different from the NEOCONs that today he is lambasting for their war drum songs.

The beaver


What do the Chinese call people like him: "two-faced gweilo"!!!!

My initial support for the war [in Iraq] was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility. We 'experts' have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we 'perfect' the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.



"His career required it?" My God! I think it is pretty clear why he did not want my in the CFR. pl


CFR's Middle East team has Elliott Abrams (husband of the you-know-who), Dan Senor, and Meghan O'Sullivan, among others. Talk about neocons and their enablers.

Babak Makkinejad


Reminds me of a line in a 1930s movie:

"Why is war always inevitable but not peace?"


Colonel, you are correct, he is dead right on this.
Perhaps he just likes Dutch masters. I often see the painting at the KHM when I go to Vienna.



I asked him if he liked Breugel generally. He looked surprised and said that the painting relaxed him. pl


I can think of a lot of other art works that would be 'relaxing.' I guess it's positive that he didn't chose "A Gloomy Day" by Breugel to put on his office wall.

judith weingarten

No, J, there is a difference. He has learnt from his mistake (and it was a big one); the other NEOCONs have learnt nothing.


Maybe the Bruegel he and his neocon ilk should constantly have in line of sight is "The Fall of Icarus"? Perhaps paired with a framed calligraphic rendering of Shelley's "Ozymandias", forming thereby a diptych with a not so veiled pedagogical intent?

Eh, the message would be lost on them. There are none so blind as those who will not see.



I think there is a serious question that needs to be broached BEFORE our nation sets its foot into wars -- 'is this war a war of national survival or not?' If it isn't, then what are the alternatives to the unnecessary spilling of blood? What defines wars on which national survival depends, and is and when does a war become a national necessity?

Just skipping some stones on the water.

stanley henning

Leslie Gelb hit it on the head. I have an uneasy feeling that we already reached the status of "rogue nation" under the younger Bush. Little thought went into our responses to 9/11(Afghanistan COIN approach) mixed with misguided Israel associated (Iraq) actions - massively wasteful flailing about which has taken us to disaster's doorstep. I have seriously been questioning the value of my vote for anyone but, as a minimum I cannot see voting for anyone in the NEOCON camp. /

William R. Cumming

Okay confession supported the Iraq invasion in 2003. WMD was certainly an issue with me. But question? What if USA had invaded and then once Saddam toppled immediately pulled out? Is that is what we will do in Libya?


Unfortunately gentlemen, the Economic Policy community also demands fealty to the similarly wrong "Austerity" and "Balanced Budget" models of financial rectitude for professional advancement.

That is why Paul Krugman doesn't get invited to The White House.

Willful blindness guarantees a re-run of the Great Depression.


For the NeoCons, perhaps "The Triumph of Death" or "The Sacrifice of Jonah" would be better for inspirational thinking.

"The Tower of Babel" would be too political and would require self-analysis, because it was destroyed by Xerxes.

Medicine Man

I suppose you could say that Leslie Gelb has "learned his lesson" and the neocons have not. I'm not so optimistic; a true lesson learned would cause him to do things differently should history repeat. Who's to say that his career won't depend on it next time too?

I don't see anything sinister about his choice in artwork though. I did a quick search for that painting and then for Bruegel the Elder and neither looks disturbing. I'm missing something?


judith weingarten,

I wish it were so. Sadly I have to disagree with you, I see Mr. Gelb as merely attempting to cover his keester, he's publicly trying to distance himself from the rest of the CFR/NEOCON crowd. Remember the Progressive Insurance Commercial where the agent confers with a potential lady client about her 'big boulder' that his insurance would make it into a pebble? Think of that particular rock in reverse form, it's growing over the heads of the CFR/NEOCON/AEI/HERITAGE ORG chicken-hawk warmonger crowds, it's just that a few of them like Mr. Gelb see that rock growing and are trying to personally dodge it. Sooner or later that pebble that becomes a large boulder is going to drop on their warmongering heads, courtesy of an awakening American public that is growing angrier at them each and every day.

It wasn't/hasn't/isn't CFR/NEOCON/AEI/HERITAGE ORG sons and daughters dying in wars, it's the sons and daughters of Mom & Pop America. CFR/NEOCON/AEI/HERITAGE ORG's attempts to 'feed them war cakes', is going to be their Antoinette undoing moment.



I didn't say there was anything sinister about it. It just struck me that this fellow had something other in his head than the usual trivial wonkishness. pl



I have banned MarkfromIreland for his repeated insults to the United States. You should all understand that I will accept criticism of my country but not the supercilious nastiness of foreigners from countries that have little reason to claim such a right. For an Irishman to criticize the US for a history of violence and a present slide into financial ruin is undeed amusing. I remember that my grandfather Frederick was accustomed to stating to Fenian fundraisers that they should get off his property because "all the Irish who are worth anythung have left." pl


mistake? error in judgement? bad choice?

weeelllll, I suppose ... if he has learned from his experience, there will be no need for a timeout.


Col: "For an Irishman to criticize the US for a history of violence and a present slide into financial ruin is undeed amusing."

I recommend you ban the following nationalities if they engage in the following narrowly defined offenses:

1. Frenchmen who accuse the US of acting cynically.
2. Englishmen who accuse the US of "dividing and conquering."
3. Israelis who accuse the US of interferring with another country's sovereignty.
4. Greeks who accuse the US of finanical mismanagement.

I'm sure others could suggest editions.


Is Mr. Gelb telling us that Irving Kristol's lad, the Gerecht person, Bolton, and a handful of others are able to sway policy by the sheer force of their arguments - or personalities?



No. It's the money. pl


That is why Bush pushed all the financial bailouts between the election and the inauguration. Truly 'mission accomplished'.


Mr. Gelb didn't mention money - only a few forceful and eloquent personalities somehow influencing decisions.

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