Bush Follows the Road Map
The Progressive magazine,
Long before September 11, some of the
most powerful men in the Bush Administration had been dreaming
up schemes for world domination. Blueprints have been on the drawing
boards for more than a decade now that describe the outlines of
Bush's interventionist policy. Drawn up by hawks in the waning
days of the first Bush Administration, and recirculated by William
Kristol and other leaders of the neoconservative movement in the
last several years, these blueprints are revealing for two basic
reasons. First, they show that September 11 served as pretext
for ripping up the old designs of U.S. policy. And second, they
demonstrate that the Iraq War is no aberration but merely a test
case of the new policy. More wars are on the way.
The original, profoundly influential sketch
of George W. Bush's new, radical foreign policy was written back
in 1992 by a Pentagon official working under Dick Cheney, then
the Secretary of Defense. That official was Paul Wolfowitz, who
was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Wolfowitz is now Donald
Rumsfeld's Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Wolfowitz drew up a draft document called
the Defense Policy Guidance, and it bears an eerie resemblance
to the new National Security Strategy that Bush adopted last fall.
Wolfowitz stressed the need for "deterring
potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional
or global role." Eleven years later, Bush's new strategy
says, "The President has no intention of allowing any foreign
power to catch up with the huge lead the United States has opened."
Wolfowitz also asserted the importance
of "preemptive military intervention." Ten years later,
Bush's new strategy says, "We will not hesitate to act alone,
if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting
Wolfowitz said the United States should
use military power to protect "access to vital raw materials,
primarily Persian Gulf oil." Bush's new doctrine is not that
explicit about oil; it doesn't need to be. His war against Iraq
Wolfowitz showed no interest in working
through the United Nations. Instead, he advocated unilateral action
when "collective action cannot be orchestrated." Bush
himself crudely paraphrased this policy tenet in his March 6 press
conference: "When it comes to our security, if we need to
act we will act, and we really don't need United Nations approval
to do so," he said. "We really don't need anybody's
So extreme was the Wolfowitz draft that
when it leaked out, it caused a huge stir, and Secretary of State
James Baker and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft ordered
it diluted beyond recognition.
But Wolfowitz (and his master, Cheney)
did not forget about the plan. Instead, it found a home a few
years later in a new think tank, created in 1997, called the Project
for the New American Century.
Chaired by William Kristol, editor of
The Weekly Standard, the group in its founding statement articulated
a strategy of preventive war. It talked about the need "to
challenge regimes hostile to our interests." And it urged
the President to "shape circumstances before crises emerge,
and to meet threats before they become dire." Compare those
words to Bush's statement on the eve of his invasion of Iraq:
"We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before
it can appear suddenly in our skies
The project's founding statement was signed
by Wolfowitz, along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, I. Lewis Libby (Cheney's
chief of staff, who worked with Wolfowitz on the 1992 document),
and a host of conservative bigwigs, including Gary Bauer, William
J. Bennett, Elliott Abrams (the disgraced Reagan official who
is now at the National Security Council), Steve Forbes, Midge
Decter, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Zalmay Khalilzad (Bush's
special envoy to Afghanistan and the Kurds), Francis Fukuyama,
and Frank Gaffney. There was, by the way, a Bush on the list:
On January 26, 1998, the Project for the
New American Century sent a letter to President Clinton explicitly
calling for "removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from
power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."
Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz signed this letter, as did many of the
other original signatories. Newcomers were John Bolton (now one
of Colin Powell's minders at the State Department), Richard Armitage
(Powell's deputy), former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, and Richard
Perle, who recently had to resign as head of Rumsfeld's Defense
Advisory Board in response to allegations by Seymour Hersh and
others that Perle was using his influence to lobby for foreign
clients. (Perle remains on the board, however.)
Then, in September 2000, the Project for
the New American Century put out a report -entitled "Rebuilding
America's Defenses." In its introduction, the report bowed
to Wolfowitz. "The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG), drafted
in the early months of 19-92, provided "for a blueprint for
maintaining U.S. preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power
rival.... The basic tenets of the DPG, in our judgment, remain
More than two years prior to Bush's "axis
of evil" speech, this report identified Iraq, Iran, and North
Korea as potential short-term targets, as Jay Bookman of The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution noted, and it urged the Pentagon to study
how "to remove these regimes from power.
It said the Pentagon should be "prepared
to fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater
wars." And it said the Pentagon should "perform the
'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment
in critical regions." The report humbly offered itself as
a "road map for the nation's immediate and future defense
Astonishingly, the report anticipates
the value that an attack on the United States would have in getting
its transformative agenda adopted. "The process of transformation
. . . is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and
catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor." This was a year
before September 11!
Given that this little group of neoconservatives
has captured the foreign and military policies of the United States,
it behooves us to watch what they are saying now. Their words
are not reassuring. When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned
Iran and Syria on March 28 not to help Saddam Hussein, he hinted
the United States was prepared to widen this war. Syria allegedly
was giving night-vision goggles to Iraqi forces, and Rumsfeld
said he considered "such trafficking as hostile acts and
would hold the Syrian government accountable." And he gave
what he called "a warning shot" to Iran so it would
order a unit of its Revolutionary Guard to back off from Iraqi
A White House aide notified Bush that
"his unpredictable Defense Secretary had just raised the
specter of a broader confrontation," The New York Times reported.
"Bush smiled a moment at
the latest example of Mr. Rumsfeld's brazeness, recalled the aide.
Then he said one word-'Good.'"
When Under Secretary of State John Bolton,
visiting Israel in February, left "no doubt America will
attack Iraq and that it will be necessary to deal with threats
from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterward," as reported
in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, his view received little notice
in the United States. It deserves more.
When Richard Perle, writing in The Guardian
on March 21, said, "Iraq is one, but there are others,"
we need to take heed.
When Woolsey told college students on
April 2 that the United States was engaged in a "Fourth World
War" that will last longer than World War I and World War
II and only slightly less than the Cold War, it's time to take
note. He mentioned Iran and Syria, as well as Egypt and Saudi
Arabia. And he said the United States is "on the march."
When William Kristol, in a new book co-authored
with Lawrence F. Kaplan, writes about "Baghdad and beyond"
almost as a slogan, the sign is clear.
"The mission begins in Baghdad, but
it does not end there," Kaplan and Kristol write in The War
over Iraq. "Were the United States to retreat after victory
into complacency and self-absorption, as it did the last time
it went to war in Iraq, new dangers would soon arise. Preventing
this outcome will be a burden, of which war in Iraq represents
but the first installment." (Beijing, beware: The United
States should "work for the fall of the Communist Party in
China," the authors write.)
Some hawks may be more circumspect than
others, but their true desire is unmistakable. "We don't
want to talk about a broader agenda now," one Bush aide said.
"It's not the time. The time will come.
Wolfowitz had his coming-out party on
CBS's Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, and Fox News Sunday
Bob Schieffer of CBS asked him whether
Iraq was "step one in a wider war," and he responded,"
I think the President's been clear from September 12 basically
of 2001, since the horror of the World Trade Center and the attack
on the Pentagon, that we've got to confront terrorism in a way
that we never thought about it before and particularly this danger
of the connection between terrorist networks and states that support
terrorism and have weapons of mass destruction." Wolfowitz
added that the danger cannot be addressed "on a purely military
Tim Russert of NBC asked Wolfowitz, "What
should the American people be prepared for vis-a-vis Iran, North
Korea, Syria?" Wolfowitz said each case is different, and
military force is only one means, but added, "We'd like to
see change in a lot of places."
Fox's Tony Snow pursued the same line,
with perhaps a telling emphasis on Syria. Do the Syrians understand,
asked Snow, that "they're risking much bigger trouble with
Wolfowitz: "I hope they understand
it. It's strange regime, you know, it's pretty brutal in itself.
I don't know what game they're playing, but they need to stop.
Then Snow asked, point blank, "Would
you like to see regime change in Damascus?" Wolfowitz responded,
"Our focus right now is getting rid of this regime in Baghdad."
From all of this rhetoric, it's clear
that the architects of the Iraq War are by no means satisfied.
They are intent on keeping the Bush Administration on its course
of war, which is running at a pace of one a year.
Such a policy of permanent war will take
a grim toll in innocent human lives, it will sow anti-American
resentment around the world, and it will bankrupt this nation.
(Kaplan and Kristol recommend spending "100 billion per year
above current defense budgets." That would put the Pentagon
on a $500 billion annual allowance.)
Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Perle,
Woolsey, and Kristol are determining the fate of this country.
We, as citizens, never got to vote on this radical new doctrine.
When Bush was running for President, he did not articulate this
vision. Quite the contrary: He said he wanted a more "humble"
America. But nothing could be more audacious than his current
It is incumbent upon our representatives
in Washington to call this gang on the carpet. And it's incumbent
upon us, as citizens, to do everything in our power nonviolently
to stop this gang from plunging the United States into one potential
disaster after another.
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