Monday, March 31, 2008

Jim Jones Plans Israeli-Palestinian Peace?

Eisenhower's feared military-industrial complex exists today in America. A retired General is helping Secretary of State Condi Rice mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinian Territories. While his name sounds similar to actor who played Darth Vader in Star Wars, it's a different James Jones, James L. Jones. Here's what the Jerusalem Post said about the General: Jones, who officially retired from active duty last year after serving as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, was appointed by Rice at the Annapolis conference as US Special Envoy for Middle East Security. Befitting his title, he is described by one source as "the big-picture guy," advising and helping Rice to place the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a larger regional context, a responsibility that includes engaging other Arab leaders. Jones, who also holds a senior position in the US Chamber of Commerce and sits on the corporate boards of Boeing and Chevron, is a real heavyweight, not only for his storied military past, but his possible future prospects. Last year the Wall Street Journal described him as one of "Washington's hottest political commodities," courted equally by both Republicans and Democrats. Hillary Clinton has talked of putting him in her cabinet, Barack Obama has consulted with him, and John McCain described Jones as one of his "closest and longtime friends." General Jones leads the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He also led a blue ribbon panel that looked at the Iraqi National Police. After the U.S. military dedicated 2006 as "the year of the police" in Iraq , significant problems remained with sectarian elements in the national police force. Congress had General Jones look into Iraq's security forces. Shortly after submitting his report, the General got his State Department appointment. At his unveiling Jim (as Condi called him) Jones said: "I look forward to forming a team and working with both the State Department and Defense Department as the need arises to complete our task." Defense Department to mediate peace? That's odd. Well, it turns out I read it wrong. Haaretz clearly stated General Jones new position is Special U.S. envoy for Middle East Security. Condi Rice had this to say about the order of things: "Building security in the Middle East is the surest path to making peace in the Middle East," Rice said, "and General Jones is the best individual to lead our efforts in this essential endeavor." So security comes first. Does that involve the use of Boeing products to stabilize the region, making it safe for Chevron to do business? We know it involves the use of private security companies to train police. Since the Iraqi police training didn't turn out so well, how will the current training of Palestinian police be any better? It's boomeranged on us before. But that leads us to another uniquely post modern concern, private corporate armies. If Eisenhower were alive, what would he think when he saw the feared elements of the military-industrial complex hamming it up on the media's front pages? Would he be horrified to see an indifferent public and politicians who treat Jim Jones like a hot commodity? Would Dwight wonder who drank the cool aid?
Update 10-19-22:  Retired General James Jones is a paid advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man who ordered the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.