Palestine Papers: Admiral Michael Mullen Embraces “linkage” Concept

Admiral Michael Mullen appears to concur with General David Petraeus’ and the administration’s views on “linkage” in a document released in the “Palestine Papers” (h/t Alex Kane at Mondoweiss).

Notes from a June 16, 2009 meeting show the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, quoting what Mullen told Mahmoud Abbas:

I have 230,000 troops in Iraq & Afghanistan and I am bringing back 10 each week draped in American flags or in wheelchairs.  This is painful for America.  Because I want to bring them back home, a Palestinian state is a cardinal interest of the USA.  Washington today is different from Washington yesterday.

The implication from that statement is crystal clear: Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a vital national security interest of the U.S. While “reverse linkage” pushers will always deny this argument, the military, the realist establishment, and the administration increasingly appear to be of one mind on this issue.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. I’m a fan of Admiral Mullen, and it’s great to know he said this. Funny though that he hasn’t stated as much publicly (if he has, it hasn’t gotten much play, has it?). “Washington today [i.e., in June 2009] is different from Washington yesterday.” Really? What’s the evidence for that?

    Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict IS a vital national security interest of the U.S. I would dispute that the military as a whole feels this way, but let’s not quibble. If the military, the realist establishment, and the Obama administration all feel this way, yet we clearly see that a settlement is less likely than ever, well, what does that tell you?

  2. Jon, in case you never noticed, our soldiers are our biggest cowards when it comes to expressing their political ideals. The higher the rank the more cowardly and compromised they become. I’m glad to see they are totally fooled, but their biting their tongue is flatly TREASON. Again, I want to point to Tolstoy’s “Letter to Liberals,” if one serves the institution and, to keep that position they bite their tongue on the 15% they disagree with, they are in fact tacitly supporting that which they disagree with.

    Of course I agree with your asking, “Where’s the change?” I don’t know, and again, if Mullen believes what’s reported here, he is AWOL, and a deserter, as would be Obama, and anyone who believes and sees what we do, yet they press for decorum and the status quo.

    The same is true of those men who watched lynchings, who never spoke out against them, they were cowards. We have a long legacy of cowardice, from the 3/5ths compromise, through Jim Crow to our support of Dictators abroad. As one faithful ex-Marine put it, “God DAMN America!”

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