What Does Zelikow Know That We Don't Know?

05/25/2011 12:00 pm ET
  • Trey Ellis Novelist, Screenwriter, and Associate Professor at Columbia University

Like the rest of the free world I breathed a sigh of relief when Democrats swept the midterms. I was convinced that the neocons had finally been beaten back and their infantile delusions of A.I.W.C. (American Imperialism without Consequence) relegated to the dustbin of history. Rummy was out, Gates, a realist, was coming in.

Philip Zelikow, Condi Rice's senior aide and one of the few non-magical thinkers in the administration, should have been the happiest man in D.C. According to the New York Times he was one of the only ones in the Administration who said that the Middle East would never be calm until we actively engage in the Arab-Israeli dispute, he's the one who called for the closing of the CIA torture farms, he's the one who advocated actually taking with Iran and North Korea.

And just as it seemed that rational thought might again play a part in American diplomacy he resigns. Why, now, does he apparently feel less influential than ever? Why, now, is he giving up trying to bring the globe back from the brink?

The reason for his disillusionment might come from Seymour Hersh's chilling report in the November 27th, New Yorker entitled, "The Next Act. Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?" Here's some of what Hersh reported:

"It's a classic case of 'failure forward," a Pentagon consultant said. "They believe that by tipping over Iran they would recover their losses in Iraq - like doubling your bet."

Hersh goes on to quote neocon Joshua Muravchik in the current issue of Foreign Policy: "Make no mistake: President Bush will have to bomb Iran's nuclear facility's before leaving office."

Does Zelikow know that the Bush Administration's next dangerous blunder is already in the works?

We can never forget nor underestimate the power of one Dick Cheney. A Democratic Congress, unless extraordinarily and constantly vigilant, is no match for him. He's the Bond villain to end all Bond villains (Rumsfeld was his Odd Job, his Jaws). As Cheney's shaky heart keeps him perpetually petrified that his own mortality lies around the next bend, he is more than capable of unleashing the end-of-times on the rest of us. The Bond villains do it by hijacking the space shuttle and training a superzapping death ray on the world's capitals. Cheney can do it just by lobbing a few bombs on Persia just to see how many hornets are living in the nest.