ITWASSOOTED: Douglas Feith "ideologue with an extreme anti-Arab bias"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Douglas Feith "ideologue with an extreme anti-Arab bias"

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Portrait of a neo-con

As the United States and the world look back over the events of the past three years, events triggered by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it is worth taking a close look at the under secretary of defense for policy, one of the architects of the "war on terror" and the invasion of Iraq.

Douglas Feith is the No 3 civilian in the George W Bush administration's Department of Defense (DoD), under Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Under Secretary for Policy Feith had previously served in the administration of the late president Ronald Reagan, starting off as Middle East specialist at the National Security Council (1981-82) and then transferring to the DoD, where he spent two years as staff lawyer for assistant defense secretary Richard Perle. In 1984 Feith advanced to become deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy. Feith and Perle were among the leading advocates of a policy to build closer US military and diplomatic ties with Turkey and to increase military ties between Turkey and Israel.

Feith left the DoD in mid-1986 to found the Feith & Zell law firm, based initially in Israel, whose clients included major military contractor Northrup Grumman. In 1989, Feith established another company, International Advisors Inc, which provided lobbying services to foreign clients, including Turkey.

Feith's private business dealings raised eyebrows in Washington. In 1999, his firm Feith & Zell formed an alliance with the Israel-based Zell, Goldberg & Co, which resulted in the creation of the Fandz International Law Group. According to Fandz' website, the law group "has recently established a task force dealing with issues and opportunities relating to the recently ended war with Iraq and is assisting regional construction and logistics firms to collaborate with contractors from the United States and other coalition countries in implementing infrastructure and other reconstruction projects in Iraq." Remarked Washington Post columnist Al Kamen, "Interested parties can reach [Fandz] through its website, at Hmmm. Rings a bell. Oh, yes, that was the website of the Washington law firm of Feith & Zell, PC, as in Douglas Feith [the] under secretary of defense for policy and head of - what else? - reconstruction matters in Iraq. It would be impossible indeed to overestimate how perfect ZGC would be in 'assisting American companies in their relations with the United States government in connection with Iraqi reconstruction projects'."
A vocal advocate of US intervention in the Middle East and for the hardline policies of the Likud Party in Israel, Feith has been involved in or overseen the activities of two controversial Pentagon operations - the Defense Policy Board, whose former head Richard Perle resigned after concerns arose about conflicts of interest between his board duties and business dealings, and the Office of Special Plans (OSP), which allegedly misrepresented intelligence on Iraq to support administration policies. Feith's office not only housed the Office of Special Plans and other special intelligence operations associated with the Near East and South Asia (NESA) office and the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs but also the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, who directed military policy on interrogations of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and then arranged for the transfer of the base's commanding officer, Major-General Geoffrey Miller, to the Abu Ghraib prison in an effort to extract more information from Iraqi prisoners.
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