Marissa | September 14, 2003
When Aaron McGruder came to Swarthmore College last winter, he told students that there don’t need to be any conspiracy theories: Everything we want to know about the actions of our government can be learned by reading a newspaper. While I can’t say we could ever know it all (and we’d probably lose our lives in a carefully orchestrated “accident” if we did), I feel that the man spoke truthfully. If we can’t expect truth in the mainstream media, then we’re going to have to read between the lines. Take, for example, what I was turned on to by picking up a copy of July’s Adbusters: the existence of a club of Washington’s 25 staunchest conservatives by the name of “The Project for the New American Century.”
Imagine what would happen if Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle, Henry S. Rowen, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Robert Kagan and everyone’s favorite, Francis Fukuyama, among others, sat down six years ago and drafted a plan dictating America’s role in the next century. Then imagine if they actually came into power and implemented it.
All of us, liberals and conservatives alike, are compelled to see our recent actions in Iraq as inextricably connected with the events of Sept. 11, whether on account of al Qaeda–Saddam relationships or as another move in the war on terror that began as retribution for that day’s events. However, the plan might have been written and published four years prior to Sept. 11 and before any of the current “reasons” for dismantling Saddam ever materialized. If you visit the website of the Project for the New American Century, you may be appalled to see the detailed play-by-play of the motives and war plan for removal of Saddam that was written in 1997 before any evidence of his nuclear capability surfaced or, ahem, was forged. At the time, the plan seemed unfounded and improbable. However, six years later, with most of the signatories of the project in office, or at least imposing influence on those who were, it became a reality.
A quick visit to the PNAC website will show what we should have seen coming. In 1997, the members wrote: “We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.” They went on to outline four basic principles of the project which were drafted June 3, 1997:
“To increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future.”
“To strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values.”
“To promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad.”
“To accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity and our principles.”
Although these broadly defined ideas are nothing new from the conservative camp, it is only when they are used to justify and buttress actual political activities which jeopardize the lives of thousands of people that we should be concerned. In a statement printed in January of 1999 in the New York Times, PNAC members William Kristol and Robert Kagan argued that “Saddam Hussein must go” and that the air strikes carried out by the Clinton administration under the “Iraq Liberation Act” were not enough to protect “our interests.” They wrote in their op-ed “Bombing Iraq isn’t Enough” that “the only way to remove the threat of the Weapons of Mass Destruction was to remove him, and that means using air power and ground forces, and finishing the task left undone in 1991.” Pay special attention to the part about “our interests.” These interests were defined nine months later, when Robert Kagan wrote another article in the Weekly Standard entitled “A Way to Oust Saddam”, Kagan cited those incentives: the protection of “the safety of Israel, of modern Arab states and of the energy resources on which the United States and its allies depend.” Irony is dead, and so we don’t even need to look for coincidence in the fact that today we are waging this war for the “liberation” and protection of the Iraqi people, rather than these “interests.”
In addition, Kagan even published the plan of attack drafted up by his friend Paul Wolfowitz. When we attacked Iraq (and we would), we would be coming in from the south, and the effect would be a full force of air and ground invasions. The plan was already there. It was written out six years ago by current Deputy Secretary of Defense and PNAC member Paul Wolfowitz, and it spelled out the script for the show we all witnessed this past March. Maybe if we had read this six years ago, we would have known that the retribution was decided before the reason for that retribution even occurred.
1) Bush at War, by Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster, 2002.
3) The Neoconservative Persuasion, by Irving Kristol, Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003.
5) We'll Win This War, by Michael A. Ledeen, The American Enterprise Online.
6) The Future of War and the American Military, by Stephen P. Rosen, Harvard Magazine, May-June 2002, vol 104, no 5.
7) Michael A. Ledeen, quoted by Jonah Goldberg in Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two, National Review, April 23, 2002.
8) Beware of Bolton, by Ian Williams, May 30, 2002.
9) America's Imperial Ambition, by John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs, 2002.
10) Should We Evict the UN? by Patrick Buchanan, New York Post, December 27, 1997, page 15.
11) Washington Post, January 31, 2003.
12) The Guardian, March 21, 2003.
13) Why America Still Needs the United Nations, by Shashi Tharoor, Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2003
14) The End of the American Era: US Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century, by Charles A. Kupchan, Knopf, October 29, 2002.
15) The Real Crisis Over the Atlantic, by Dominique Moisi, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001.
16) Propaganda Isn't the Way: Soft Power, by Joseph S. Nye Jr., The International Herald Tribune, January 10, 2003.
17) Wolfowitz Stands Fast Amid the Antiwarriors, by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, September 22, 2003.
18) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, June 2003.
19) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, The White House, September 17, 2002.
20) But What's the Legal Case for Preemption? by Bruce Ackerman, Washington Post, August 18, 2002.
21) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, The White House, September 17, 2002.
22) Law unto Themselves, by Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, March 14, 2003.
23) UN Resolution 1441, The Security Council, November 8, 2002.
24) Selective Intelligence, by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 5, 2003.
25) The Economist, October 4, 2003.
26) A deafening silence, by Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, October 6, 2002.
27) Bush's Unreliable Intelligence, by David Corn, The Nation, November 12, 2003.
28) Rice: Iraq trained al Qaeda in chemical weapons, CNN, September 26, 2002.
29) President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, by George W. Bush, Cincinnati, October 7, 2002.
30) Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 Attacks, Washington Post Poll, September 6, 2003.
31) We're Taking Him Out, CNN, May 6, 2002.
32) May 9, 2003 interview of Paul Wolfowitz by Sam Tannenbaus, published in Vanity Fair, July 2003.
33) Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War, by James Risen, The New York Times, November 6, 2003. Original article.
34) Stumbling into War, by James P. Rubin, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003.
35) Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, by George Crile, Atlantic Monthly Press, April 2003.
36) Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban, by Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2001.
37) Iraqi Democracy Is a Pipe Dream, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
38) UN Resolution 1441, The Security Council, November 8, 2002.
39) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, July 7, 1991.
40) A War for Oil?, by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 5, 2003.
41) US Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990.
42) US Support for Iraq in the 1980s, Center for Cooperative Research.
43) The Ghosts of 1991, by Peter W. Galbraith, Washington Post, Saturday, April 12, 2003.
44) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, June 2003.
45) Making of a Monster: How the US Helped Build Iraq's War Machine, by William P. Hoar, The New American, September 1992.
46) A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions, by David Cortright, The Nation, December 3, 2001.
47) Iraq surveys show 'humanitarian emergency, Unicef Information Newsline, August 12, 1999.
48) Columbia News Video, by Prof. Richard Garfield, March 03, 2000.
49) Cool War, by Joy Gordon, Harper's Magazine, November 2002.
50) Squeezed to death, by John Pilger The Guardian, Saturday March 4, 2000.
51) Cool War, by Joy Gordon, Harper's Magazine, November 2002.
52) Iraq 'smart sanctions' derailed by Russia, by Anton La Guardia, telegraph.co.uk, April 7, 2001.
53) Pew's Global Attitudes Project, June 2003.
54) Andrew Kohut's Senate Testimony, February 27, 2003.
55) Jihad: Expansion et declin de l'Islamisme, by Gilles Kepel, Gallimard, 2003.
56) Terror and Liberalism, by Paul Berman, Norton, 2003.
57) Jerry Falwell, September 13, 2001.
58) General William Boykin, 2002-2003.
59) State of the Union Address to Congress, by President Carter, January 21, 1980.
60) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, May 4, 2003.
61) Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, by Niall Ferguson, Basic Books, 2003. Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice, by David Rennie, telegraph.co.uk, September 8, 2003.
62) Iraqi Democracy Is a Pipe Dream, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
63) Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice, by David Rennie, telegraph.co.uk, September 8, 2003.
64) A World Transformed, by Brent Scowcroft and George H. W. Bush, Knopf, September 1998.