The Wurmser Squirms

Helene Cooper’s article in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune Saturday could mark a decisive moment in the fight between the hawks and the realists within the administration.

That Cheney, via David Wurmser, has been shopping attack scenarios on Iran without Bush’s approval could very well bring things to a head. If Rice/Gates/Burns want to go after the Vice President’s office, this gives them a very big opening.

See Steve Clemons’ blog,, to which Cooper alludes.

Having served under John Bolton in the State Department and Douglas Feith in the Pentagon before moving to Cheney’s office in September 2003, Wurmser has been perhaps the most extreme of the “Likudist” neo-cons in the administration. I have written about him here and here. It was he who drafted the 1996 “Clean Break” paper as part of a committee chaired by Perle.

It bears emphasizing that his financial patron during the years he worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) alongside Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen was casino king, Irving Moskowitz, a profile of whom can be found here. Suffice to say that Moskowitz has also provided funding – quite generously – for the most radical elements of the Jewish settler movement. For more information about Moskowitz, readers could check out That the mainstream media – which turned against Cheney (and “Scooter” Libby, who hired Wurmser) quite a long time ago — have ignored both Wurmser and his ties to Moskowitz and his settler beneficiaries is one of the more difficult-to-explain features of press performance over the past five years.

In any event, if Wurmser is forced out in the coming days, it will both further isolate and weaken the remaining key neo-cons – notably, Elliott Abrams at the NSC, and John Hannah, Cheney’s national security adviser — and confirm that the vice president himself has been badly wounded. If he isn’t forced out, then the persistence of Cheney’s influence on Bush will be confirmed, and the possibility of an attack on Iran will increase. This is a critical moment.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.