The Project for the New American
by William Rivers Pitt
The Project for the New American Century,
or PNAC, is a Washington-based think tank created in 1997. Above
all else, PNAC desires and demands one thing: The establishment
of a global American empire to bend the will of all nations.
They chafe at the idea that the United States, the last remaining
superpower, does not do more by way of economic and military
force to bring the rest of the world under the umbrella of a new
socio-economic Pax Americana.
The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology
can be found in a White Paper produced in September of 2000 entitled
"Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources
for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines what is required
of America to create the global empire they envision. According
to PNAC, America must: * Reposition permanently based forces
to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East; * Modernize
U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft, submarine
and surface fleet capabilities; * Develop and deploy a global
missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of
space; * Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross
domestic product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.
Most ominously, this PNAC document described
four "Core Missions" for the American military. The
two central requirements are for American forces to "fight
and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars,"
and to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with
shaping the security environment in critical regions." Note
well that PNAC does not want America to be prepared to fight
simultaneous major wars. That is old school. In order to bring
this plan to fruition, the military must fight these wars one
way or the other to establish American dominance for all to see.
Why is this important? After all, wacky
think tanks are a cottage industry in Washington, DC. They are
a dime a dozen. In what way does PNAC stand above the other groups
that would set American foreign policy if they could? Two events
brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the
disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September
11th. When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and
nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the
Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House. When the
Towers came down, these men saw, at long last, their chance to
turn their White Papers into substantive policy.
Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding
member of PNAC, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle. Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the group.
Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official
for Ronald Reagan before leaving government service to take a
leading position with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
PNAC is staffed by men who previously
served with groups like Friends of the Democratic Center in Central
America, which supported America's bloody gamesmanship in Nicaragua
and El Salvador, and with groups like The Committee for the Present
Danger, which spent years advocating that a nuclear war with
the Soviet Union was "winnable."
PNAC has recently given birth to a new
group, The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which met with
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in order to formulate
a plan to "educate" the American populace about the
need for war in Iraq. CLI has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars
to support the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi heir presumptive,
Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian
court in 1992 to 22 years in prison for bank fraud after the
collapse of Petra Bank, which he founded in 1977. Chalabi has
not set foot in Iraq since 1956, but his Enron-like business
credentials apparently make him a good match for the Bush administration's
PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses"
report is the institutionalization of plans and ideologies that
have been formulated for decades by the men currently running
American government. The PNAC Statement of Principles is signed
by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as by Eliot Abrams,
Jeb Bush, Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad,
and many others. William Kristol, famed conservative writer for
the Weekly Standard, is also a co-founder of the group. The Weekly
Standard is owned by Ruppert Murdoch, who also owns international
media giant Fox News.
The desire for these freshly empowered
PNAC men to extend American hegemony by force of arms across
the globe has been there since day one of the Bush administration,
and is in no small part a central reason for the Florida electoral
battle in 2000. Note that while many have said that Gore and Bush
are ideologically identical, Mr. Gore had no ties whatsoever
to the fellows at PNAC. George W. Bush had to win that election
by any means necessary, and PNAC signatory Jeb Bush was in the
perfect position to ensure the rise to prominence of his fellow
imperialists. Desire for such action, however, is by no means
translatable into workable policy. Americans enjoy their comforts,
but don't cotton to the idea of being some sort of Neo-Rome.
On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC
saw a door of opportunity open wide before them, and stormed
right through it.
Bush released on September 20th 2001 the
"National Security Strategy of the United States of America."
It is an ideological match to PNAC's "Rebuilding America's
Defenses" report issued a year earlier. In many places, it
uses exactly the same language to describe America's new place
in the world.
Recall that PNAC demanded an increase
in defense spending to at least 3.8% of GDP. Bush's proposed
budget for next year asks for $379 billion in defense spending,
almost exactly 3.8% of GDP.
In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board
chairman and PNAC member Richard Perle heard a policy briefing
from a think tank associated with the Rand Corporation. According
to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final slide of this
presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi
Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in
a war that would purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam
Hussein's weapons. Bush has deployed massive forces into the
Mideast region, while simultaneously engaging American forces
in the Philippines and playing nuclear chicken with North Korea.
Somewhere in all this lurks at least one of the "major theater
wars" desired by the September 2000 PNAC report.
Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense
for a wider conflict. Donald Kagan, a central member of PNAC,
sees America establishing permanent military bases in Iraq after
the war. This is purportedly a measure to defend the peace in
the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows. The nations
in that region, however, will see this for what it is: a jump-off
point for American forces to invade any nation in that region
they choose to. The American people, anxiously awaiting some
sort of exit plan after America defeats Iraq, will see too late
that no exit is planned.
All of the horses are traveling together
at speed here. The defense contractors who sup on American tax
revenue will be handsomely paid for arming this new American
empire. The corporations that own the news media will sell this
eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through the stratosphere
when there is combat to be shown. Those within the administration
who believe that the defense of Israel is contingent upon laying
waste to every possible aggressor in the region will have their
dreams fulfilled. The PNAC men who wish for a global Pax Americana
at gunpoint will see their plans unfold. Through it all, the
bankrollers from the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate
financial terms to the entire planet. This last aspect of the
plan is pivotal, and is best described in the newly revised version
of Greg Palast's masterpiece, "The Best Democracy Money
There will be adverse side effects. The
siege mentality average Americans are suffering as they smother
behind yards of plastic sheeting and duct tape will increase
by orders of magnitude as our aggressions bring forth new terrorist
attacks against the homeland. These attacks will require the
implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II, an augmentation
of the previous Act that has profoundly sharper teeth. The sun
will set on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The American economy will be ravaged by
the need for increased defense spending, and by the aforementioned
"constabulary" duties in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Former allies will turn on us. Germany, France and the other
nations resisting this Iraq war are fully aware of this game
plan. They are not acting out of cowardice or because they love
Saddam Hussein, but because they mean to resist this rising American
empire, lest they face economic and military serfdom at the hands
of George W. Bush. Richard Perle has already stated that France
is no longer an American ally.
As the eagle spreads its wings, our rhetoric
and their resistance will become more agitated and dangerous.
Many people, of course, will die. They
will die from war and from want, from famine and disease. At
home, the social fabric will be torn in ways that make the Reagan
nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and AIDS seem tame
This is the price to be paid for empire,
and the men of PNAC who now control the fate and future of America
are more than willing to pay it. For them, the benefits far outweigh
The plan was running smoothly until those
two icebergs collided. Millions and millions of ordinary people
are making it very difficult for Bush's international allies
to keep to the script. PNAC may have designs for the control
of the "International Commons" of the Internet, but
for now it is the staging ground for a movement that would see
empire take a back seat to a wise peace, human rights, equal
protection under the law, and the preponderance of a justice
that will, if properly applied, do away forever with the anger
and hatred that gives birth to terrorism in the first place.
Tommaso Palladini of Milan perhaps said it best as he marched
with his countrymen in Rome. "You fight terrorism,"
he said, "by creating more justice in the world."
The People versus the Powerful is the
oldest story in human history. At no point in history have the
Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in history has
the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them,
been more absolutely required. The tide can be stopped, and the
men who desire empire by the sword can be thwarted. It has already
begun, but it must not cease. These are men of will, and they
do not intend to fail.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times
bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with
Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The
Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from
Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA. Scott Lowery
contributed research to this report.
for the New American Century