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Philip D. Zelikow (born 1954) is an American diplomat, academic and author. He wrote the preemptive war strategy for Iraq. He has worked as the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and Counselor of the United States Department of State. He is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia and currently residing at the American Academy in Berlin as a Fall 2009 Axel Springer Fellow. Here he has been working on his newest book US Foreign Policy: An Interpretive History.
Early life and education
After studying at the University of Houston, Zelikow completed his Bachelor of Arts in history and political science at the University of Redlands in southern California. He earned his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center, where he was an editor of the law review, and a Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In the early 1980s, Zelikow practiced law.
Academic and federal government positions
In the mid-1980s, Zelikow turned toward the field of national security. He was adjunct professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 1984-1985. He joined the United States Department of State through the standard examination process as a career civil servant. As a Foreign Service Officer, he served overseas at the U.S. Mission to the conventional arms control talks in Vienna, at the State Department's 24-hour crisis center, and on the secretariat staff for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, during the second Reagan administration (1985-1989).
In 1989, in the George H. W. Bush administration, Zelikow was detailed to join the National Security Council, where he was involved as a senior White House staffer in the diplomacy surrounding the German reunification and the diplomatic settlements accompanying the end of the Cold War in Europe. During the first Gulf War he aided President Bush, National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, and Secretary of State James Baker in diplomatic affairs related to the coalition. He went on to co-author, with Condoleezza Rice, the book Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft , an academic treatment of the politics of reunification, which was published in 1995.
In 1991, Zelikow left the NSC to go to Harvard University, where from 1991 to 1998 he was Associate Professor of Public Policy and co-director of Harvard's Intelligence and Policy Program, in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In 1998, Zelikow moved to the University of Virginia, where he directed, until February 2005, the nation's largest center on the American presidency, served as director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and, as White Burkett Miller Professor of History, held an endowed chair. The Center launched a project to transcribe and annotate the previously secret tapes made during the Kennedy, Nixon and Johnson Presidencies, and a presidential oral history project, headed by James Sterling Young, that systematically gathers additional information on the presidencies of Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton.
Commissions and committees
In late 2000 and early 2001, Zelikow served on President Bush's transition team. After George W. Bush took office, Zelikow was named to a position on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board [PFIAB], and worked on other task forces and commissions as well. He directed the bipartisan National Commission on Federal Election Reform, created after the 2000 election and chaired by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, along with Lloyd Cutler and Bob Michel. This Commission's recommendations led directly to congressional consideration and enactment into law of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
In Rise of the Vulcans (Viking, 2004), James Mann reports that when Richard Haass, a senior aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell and the director of policy planning at the State Department, drafted for the administration an overview of America’s national security strategy following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dr. Rice, the national security advisor, "ordered that the document be completely rewritten. She thought the Bush administration needed something bolder, something that would represent a more dramatic break with the ideas of the past. Rice turned the writing over to her old colleague, University of Virginia Professor Philip Zelikow." This document, issued on September 17, 2002, is generally recognized as a significant document in the War on Terrorism.
At the recommendation of Lee H. Hamilton, the vice-chair, but against some opposition from the Bush White House, Zelikow was appointed executive director of the 9/11 Commission, whose work included examination of the conduct of Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush and their administrations. Although his appointment was supported by the largest 9/11 families group, his prior involvement with the administration of George W. Bush led to opposition from smaller groups including the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, citing a conflict of interest. In response to the concerns, Zelikow agreed to recuse himself from any investigation matters pertaining to the transition team.
While at Harvard he worked with Ernest May and Richard Neustadt on the use, and misuse, of history in policymaking. They observed, as Zelikow noted in his own words, that "contemporary" history is "defined functionally by those critical people and events that go into forming the public's presumptions about its immediate past. The idea of 'public presumption'," he explained, "is akin to William McNeill's notion of 'public myth' but without the negative implication sometimes invoked by the word 'myth.' Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community."
Zelikow and May have also authored and sponsored scholarship on the relationship between intelligence analysis and policy decisions. Zelikow later helped found a research project to prepare and publish annotated transcripts of presidential recordings made secretly during the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations (see WhiteHouseTapes.org) and another project to strengthen oral history work on more recent administrations, with both these projects based at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.
The idea of 'public presumption'," he explained, "is akin to [the] notion of 'public myth' but without the negative implication sometimes invoked by the word 'myth.'
Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community."
So Zelikow, the guy who wrote The 9/11 Commission Report, was an expert in how to misuse public trust and create PUBLIC MYTHS.
If 9/11 was nothing but a huge HOAX, you would naturally expect that the event itself would have to be perfectly scripted.
In 1998, Zelikow actually wrote Catastrophic Terrorism about imagining "the transformative event" three years before 9/11.
Here are Zelikow's 1998 words. Readers should imagine the possibilities for themselves, because the most serious constraint on current policy is lack of imagination.
An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people and/or disrupted the necessities of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, would be a watershed event in America's history.
It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented for peacetime and undermine Americans' fundamental sense of security within their own borders in a manner akin to the 1949 Soviet atomic bomb test, or perhaps even worse.
Constitutional liberties would be challenged as the United States sought to protect itself from further attacks by pressing against allowable limits in surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and the use of deadly force. More violence would follow, either as other terrorists seek to imitate this great "success" or as the United States strikes out at those considered responsible.
Like Pearl Harbor, such an event would divide our past and future into a "before" and "after."
The effort and resources we devote to averting or containing this threat now, in the "before" period, will seem woeful, even pathetic, when compared to what will happen "after."
Philip D. Zelikow
Philip D. Zelikow
Philip Zelikow is the executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, better known as the "9/11 Commission." He is also the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. After serving in government with the Navy, the State Department, and the National Security Council, he taught at Harvard before assuming his present post in Virginia to direct the nation's largest research center on the American presidency. He was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and served as executive director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford, as well as the executive director of the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Zelikow's books include The Kennedy Tapes (with Ernest May), Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (with Condoleezza Rice), and the rewritten Essence of Decision (with Graham Allison). Zelikow has also been the director of the Aspen Strategy Group, a policy program of the Aspen Institute.
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States
The members of the commission were:
Philip D. Zelikow, Executive Director/Chair
Thomas Kean (Chairman) - Republican, former Governor of New Jersey
Lee H. Hamilton (Vice Chairman) - Democrat, former U.S. Representative from the 9th District of Indiana
Richard Ben-Veniste - Democrat, attorney, former chief of the Watergate Task Force of the Watergate Special Prosecutor's Office
Max Cleland - Democrat, former U.S. Senator from Georgia. Resigned December 2003, stating that the "the White House has played cover-up"
Fred F. Fielding - Republican, attorney and former White House Counsel
Jamie Gorelick - Democrat, former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration
Slade Gorton - Republican, former U.S. Senator from Washington
Bob Kerrey - Democrat, President of the New School University and former U.S. Senator from Nebraska
John F. Lehman - Republican, former Secretary of the Navy
Timothy J. Roemer - Democrat, former U.S. Representative from the 3rd District of Indiana
James R. Thompson - Republican, former Governor of Illinois
The members of the commission's staff included:
Christopher Kojm, Deputy Executive Director
Daniel Marcus, General Counsel
John J. Farmer, Senior Counsel
Janice Kephart, Counsel
Alvin S. Felzenberg, Spokesman
President Bush had initially appointed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to head the commission, but he withdrew shortly afterward because he would have been obliged to disclose the clients of his private consulting business.
Philip D. Zelikow says: .."An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people and/or disrupted the necessities of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, would be a watershed event in America's history.
It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented for peacetime, and undermine Americans' fundamental sense of security within their own borders in a manner akin to the 1949 Soviet atomic bomb test, or perhaps even worse.
Constitutional liberties would be challenged, as the United States sought to protect itself from further attacks by pressing against allowable limits in surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and the use of deadly force.
More violence would follow, either as other terrorists seek to imitate this great "success" or as the United States strikes out at those considered responsible, like Pearl Harbor, such an event would divide our past and future into a "before" and "after."
The effort and resources we devote to averting or containing this threat now, in the "before" period, will seem woeful, even pathetic, when compared to what will happen "after," our leaders will be judged negligent for not addressing catastrophic terrorism more urgently."
It is interesting to note that one of the 9-11 comissioners was none other than Ben-Veniste, who defended Barry Seal, drug smuggler extraordinaire who ran coc aine into Mena AK on behalf of the famous Contras during the Bush era CIA's Iran Contra operations and was gunned down in his car with George Bush Sr. personal phone number on him. Bush actually owned Barry's plane for a while.
Graham T. Allison, Jr.
Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
William J. Perry
J. Terry Scott
Oh how I love the sound of debunker silence in the morning..