April 7, 2005
You Need to Know About Michael Ledeen
By Katherine Yurica
Would you be surprised to find that a man
who was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during the
Reagan Administration, a man who is the darling of the Bush White
House and is an adviser to Karl Rove, a man who loves Machiavelli
and studies him, a neo-conservative who has close ties to one
of Americas leading Christian DominionistsPat
Robertson, and a man who called Pearl Harbor lucky
and a providentially inspired eventmay be the man who is
behind the forging of the Niger documents that convinced America
to launch a preemptive strike against Iraq?
Ian Masters, host
of Background Briefing, in Los Angeles, interviewed Vincent
Cannistraro, the former head of Counterterrorism operations at
the CIA. Cannistraro came close to naming the man who forged
the Niger documents. When Masters asked, If I said Michael
Ledeen? Vincent Cannistraro replied, Youd
be very close.
Who is Michael Ledeen? Or perhaps more importantly,
what does he believe? Here are just a few quotes from his book,
Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavellis Iron
Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago.
(Truman Talley Books (St. Martins Press), 1999.) Ledeen
Carter was president, he was so appalled by the assassinations
that had been carried out by American officers and agents that
he issued a stern executive order forbidding the practice. This
had the unanticipated consequence of favoring the forces of evil,
because we could not go after individual terrorists
his moralistic attempt to make murder less likely, Carter made
it more likely, by both our enemies and ourselves.
several circumstances in which good leaders are likely to have
to enter into evil: whenever the very existence of the nation
is threatened; when the state is first created or revolutionary
change is to be accomplished; when removing an evil tyrant; and
when the society becomes corrupt and must be restored to virtue
a state that has sunk into corruption is Machiavellis most
a new state and a new religion, which makes him one of the most
revolutionary leaders of all time
The execution of the sinners
was necessary to confirm Moses authority. (pp. 102-103)
formula is threefold: good laws, good arms, good religion. We
are back to Moses. (p. 111)
teaches men that politics is the most important enterprise in
the eyes of God. Like Moses, Machiavelli wants the law of his
state to be seen, and therefore obeyed, as divinely ordered.
The combination of fear of God and fear of punishmentduly
carried out with good armsprovides the necessary discipline
for good government.(pp. 117-118)
evangelical Christianity is the sort of good religion
Machiavelli calls for. The evangelicals do not quietly accept
their destiny, believing instead they are called upon to fight
corruption and reestablish virtue. (p. 159)
has taken hold of a free nation, it is headed toward tyranny.
Notice that in
the next quote, Ledeens presupposition is that only liberals
are corrupt. He criticized Bob Dole and Jack Kemp
in 1996 for refusing to attack Bill Clintons character
during the campaign.
to hold public officials accountable for their corrupt practices
reinforces the peoples perception that turpitude and power
are inextricably linked, and undermines even the best laws and
institutions. Inevitably, with the passage of time, liberty itself
is crushed. (p. 173)
preserving liberty may require the rule of a single leadera
dictatorwilling to use those dreaded extraordinary
measures, which few know how, or are willing, to employ.
not lost his democratic faith. His call for a brief period of
iron rule is a choice of the lesser of two evils: if the corruption
continued, a real tyranny would be just a matter of time (making
it even harder to restore free institutions), whereas freedom
can be preserved if a good man can be found to put the state
back in order. Just as it is sometimes necessary temporarily
to resort to evil actions to achieve worthy objectives, so a
period of dictatorship is sometimes the only hope for freedom.
Moses exercised dictatorial power, but that
awesome power was used to create freedom. (p. 174)
not be outraged by Machiavellis call for a temporary dictatorship
as an effective means to either revivify or restore freedom.
Speaking of Germany
following W.W. II, Ledeen wrote:
the country, hung many of the major leaders of the Third Reich,
and forced all adults to answer detailed questionnaires about
their activities and associations during Hitlers rule.
We barred from positions of power and civic influence those who
had actively participated in the Nazi regime. (p. 175)
It would be foolish
for Americas political strategists and congressional leaders
to ignore Michael Ledeen and his interpretation of Machiavelli.
Mr. Ledeen speaks from the cutting edge of a group of men and
women who desire nothing more than to reconstruct America in
their own image. This nation is in grave danger. Ledeen belongs
to a group of men, including Harry Jaffa, Pat Robertson, Willmoore
Kendall to Allan Bloom, who, according to Shadia Drury, scholar
and author of Leo Strauss and the American Right, share
the view that America is too liberal and pluralistic and
that what it needs is a single orthodoxy that governs the public
and private lives of its citizens.
The belief in a
single voice that governs the public should cause all Americans
to understand these men want to convert this nation to a permanent
dictatorship. Their inspirer was Leo Strauss, a professor who
taught Machiavellian methods to many of them at the University
of Chicago. In fact, Paul Wolfovitz earned his doctorate under
Strauss and many of the neo-cons in the White House studied under
him. Strauss believed every society needs a single public
orthodoxy. As Drury put it, a set of ideas that defines
what is true and false, right and wrong, noble and base.
Strauss believed that the role of religion was indispensable
to the political success of a nation. For a political society
had to hold together and act as a unit in lock step with the
leader. Strauss believed that religion was the means to inculcate
the desired ideas into the minds of the masses. He didnt
care what religionjust as long as it was a religion that
could link itself to the political order.
singled out the evangelicals as most like the Machiavellian
model described by Strauss. Evangelicals, while decrying the
aberrant power of a Jim Jones over his congregation, have
always had little Jim Joneses telling them what to do and how
to live from their pulpits all over America. Evangelicals thirst
for power, submit to power, and now are harnessed to a power
that is driving them toward the completion of the take over of
the USA. Our only hope is to wake up the churches and call them
to repentance. And the irony is, as Ledeen points out, if we
will stand up and attack the immorality and corruption within
the Republican Party, which has reached the lowest depths in
the history of our nation, and which the GOP supports, the bedraggled
verbally abused Democrats will sit up and notice at long last
that they are recognized as the moral leaders they have always
been. What Leo Strauss and Michael Ledeen and the other dominionists
really hate, is the loving Christian ethics that established
FDR's New Deal. You see, the great success of Christian liberalism
is that it threatens their greed and thats what the fight
is all about.
 Leo Strauss and the American Right by
Shadia Drury, St. Martins Press, 1999, New York.
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