"It all began when the Berlin Wall came down in
November 1989, effectively ending the Cold War and prompting the Pentagon to
undertake a search for a new set of principles, in part to prevent Congress,
then controlled by the Democrats, from slashing the defense budget. The key
participants were Cheney, Wolfowitz and Colin Powell – the three men worked
closely together on forestalling cutbacks." Zalmay Khalizad, a Wolfowitz aide,
authored the 12 year old Defense Planning Guidance Memo. Cheney was most
pleased with it, saying "You've discovered a new rationale for our role in the
world!" See details and more in Washington Post
Report (3/7) by James Mann's from his forthcoming book, Rise
of the Vulcans.
The original document, leaked to the New York Times, had "stressed the
need to prevent the emergence of any rival (even regional) power," the so
called, Wolfowitz Doctrine.
The document had created a furor in Japan and Europe as other nations were "less
than thrilled at the notion that the United States might try to limit their
military and economic power." (Ibid). It encouraged China (as we have since
learned) to restart its long dormant strategic missile projects. "Presidential
candidate Bill Clinton's spokesman said that the document represented an effort
by the Pentagon "to find an excuse for big budgets instead of downsizing."
Khalizad (who is now U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan) had his memo downsized
by Wolfowitz top aide, I Lewis "Scooter" Libby (now Cheney's top aide) who made
"a subtle, crucial change." (ibid). The revised draft said "America had
to be ready to protect its critical interests abroad "with only limited
additional help, or even alone, if necessary." The new version didn't mention
preemption specifically, but noted that "sometimes a measured military action
can contain or preclude a crisis." Another neocon, John Bolton,
who now is Asst. Secretary of State for International Organizations, added, "It
is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it
may seem in our short-term interest to do so – because, over the long term, the
goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those
who want to constrict the United States." Insight magazine,
However, there is a major gap in Mann's article. Let's go back to the first
Iraq war in 1991. Mann's information is the missing link from earlier strange
goings on. When Saddam first invaded Kuwait there were unexplained reports about
how U.S. Ambassador April
Glaspie had told him, "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts such
as your dispute with Kuwait" and "Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed
me to emphasize the instruction ... that Kuwait is not associated with America."
This was backed up by testimony to Congress by Assistant Secretary of State
James Kelly that Washington was not taking sides in the dispute between Kuwait
and Iraq. Could Saddam have been played a sucker? He knew little of the outside
world and had the megalomania of most dictators and didn't understand the imperialist
elements in Washington.
Then there was another big lie, that Iraqi troops were massed on the Saudi
border, ready to invade. This, we may forget, was the original rationale for
sending U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, to defend it from possible Iraqi invasion.
Well, the "evidence" was satellite photos which showed the massed Iraqi army.
Washington kept saying they would be released, but kept finding reasons not to.
Now we know it was another lie, researched by the Christian Science
Leaving Iraq festering in misery for 10 years, leaving 10,000 troops based in
Saudi Arabia to aggravate fundamentalist Muslims, and undermining the Palestine
Israel Oslo peace accords (see Pat Buchanan's "Have the Neocons Killed a
Presidency?") – it couldn't have been planned better to engender the
monstrous enemy we now have – Islamist terrorists hidden in a sea of a billion
Muslims. But it's what the War Party
wanted, a justification for massive military budgets and grounds for
establishing an American world empire to "protect" us from enemies that we
ourselves helped create. Most Americans were blithely unaware of the hatred
being generated against America by Washington's policies, nor that a million Iraqis died
from disease and starvation during the U.S. imposed blockade.
So this was the international scene when 9/11 struck. Then the move became
to transfer American animus towards Iraq. Last Sunday on 60 Minutes Richard
Clarke, former Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator, corroborated former Secretary
of Treasury Paul O'Neill's
accusations that the Administration was searching for an excuse to invade
Iraq before 9/11, fabricating evidence to justify empire in the Middle
East and air bases in Central Asia. Clarke's
book argues that "The rapid shift of focus to Saddam Hussein, launched an
unnecessary and costly war in Iraq that strengthened the fundamentalist, radical
Islamic terrorist movement worldwide." This is also the view of most Europeans.
With the collapse of Soviet communism, there were only two foreseeable
potential enemies worthy of America's might, China or the Muslim world. Most of
us forget that before 9/11 the neoconservatives were working hard to foster military confrontation
with China, to justify massive new defense spending. Even before 9/11 the neocon
flagship Weekly Standard, a major outlet for China confrontation views,
was urging a massive $100 billion increases in the Defense Budget (instead of
tax cuts, as one editorial urged).
Finally it should be noted that those who benefit from war or the threat of
war are many more than just the old military-industrial complex, warned
about by former President Eisenhower. Indeed remember that most of the uniformed
military opposed the attack on Iraq. It was pro-war neocon civilians
who took over Pentagon policy making positions. Today it encompasses most key
congressional districts (weapons sub-contracts are distributed widely into key
congressional districts). An important new group is composed of many Think Tank
intellectuals and leading elements of the Christian Right, the Armageddonites.
The media itself prospers as millions of viewers stay glued to their televisions;
whole new bureaucracies are created such as Homeland Defense. Guards, inspectors,
police, and other government officials all become more vital and are paid commensurately,
often able to retire after 20 years work with pensions reaching over a million
dollars. We call them all The Beltway Bombers.
And so we now have what they sought. Massive multi hundred billion dollar
increases in military spending and military bases all over the world. No doubt
the War Party did not seek that America be so isolated nor our interests really
be threatened as they are today, but then wars always lead in unanticipated
directions, that is a reason that real statesmen try to avoid starting them.