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PNACIn a speech at Johns Hopkins University in April 2002, the National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, remarked that “an earthquake of the magnitude of 9/11 can shift the tectonic plates of international politics.”  The US now had to figure out “how… you capitalise on these opportunities”. Two months previously, Dick Cheney had let it slip that that the discovery of a new “great enemy” meant that the US role in the world had at last become “clear.” [1] America’s triumphant ousting of the Taliban was only the beginning. The leader of the free world also vowed to protect us from rogue dictators armed with weapons of mass destruction – especially the evil axis of Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The American overseas military presence expanded quietly but surely to places as diverse as Colombia and Georgia, the Philippines and Djibouti. National Missile Defence was trumpeted as the ultimate protection of the homeland and the doctrine of pre-emption emerged unashamedly. All as a consequence of 9/11, we were told.

However, what most people missed at the time (understandably so, if they got their news from any mainstream media outlet) was that the terrorist attacks provided the Bush Administration with a much sought-after pretext to implement a hawkish pre-existing agenda which had nothing to do with 9/11, but had been expounded in detail and vigorously lobbied for during the Nineties by many prominent members of the current administration as well as several journalists and academics, under the aegis of a then little known but highly influential neo-conservative lobby group named the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Since its inception in 1997, PNAC has consistently been the most hawkish of the coterie of neo-con think tanks which provide the Bush administration with its intellectual backbone. In its seminal report of 2000, ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’, the Project observed that its militaristic agenda might prove difficult to implement “absent a catastrophic and catalysing event…a new Pearl Harbor”. [2] 9/11 proved just so and the so-called “war on terrorism” has been the cover for a new projection of American power.

The full scope of the PNAC agenda and its impact on the Bush foreign policy has never been exposed at the time of writing. Its roots lie in the infamous 1992 Defense Planning Guidance report (DPG) written for Dick Cheney, who was then Secretary of Defence. It was supervised by Paul Wolfowitz, then Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, now the Deputy Defence Secretary. The DPG envisioned a world where, fresh from its victory in the Cold War, the United States would turn its ‘unipolar moment’ into a ‘unipolar era’. The leaks to the New York Times revealed that the authors’ “first objective” was to “prevent the emergence of… any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate general global power.” Potential competitors should be “discouraged… from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order” and “the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the US” rather than the UN would be decisive. The report met stinging criticism from the press and a rather more benevolent version was drafted and counter leaked by the Pentagon in an attempt to reverse the damage. [3]

There also remained amongst the Republican right a deep-seated resentment that Saddam Hussein had not been finished off during the Gulf War. This was directed particularly at Colin Powell, whose ‘dovish’ tendencies had apparently influenced the then-President Bush to stop short of Baghdad. In fact, when presidential candidate George W Bush announced his man for the State Department in July 2000, Robert Kagan, a director of PNAC, complained that “the problem with Powell is his political and strategic judgement… At this historic juncture (the Gulf War) [it] was dreadful” and not an isolated case, either. [4] Iraq’s vast oil reserves meant it was exactly the kind of country which had the potential to challenge the US as a regional power – as the DPG warned.

If the Republicans had won the 1992 election, the principles of the DPG would, in all likelihood, have formed the core of their new post-Cold War foreign policy. But their plans were spoilt when they were unexpectedly defeated by a draft-dodger from Arkansas who was more interested in the economy than the national security apparatus. So, while Americans relaxed and enjoyed the ‘peace dividend’, the interventionist wing of the Republican party languished, desperate to find a way to overcome the resurgent isolationist faction within the party and put their hawkish ideas back on the agenda in a time of relative peace and prosperity.

neocon-200x178Then, in 1996, the editors of the right-wing Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol (formerly Vice-President Dan Quayle’s chief-of-staff in the first Bush Administration), began to pick up where the DPG had left off and formulate an agenda and a movement for a “neo-Reaganite” foreign policy. In an article in the “prestigious” journal Foreign Affairs in summer 1996, they rediscovered the comforting moral clarity that had seen them through the Cold War, arguing that the US should “champion American exceptionalism” and “refuse to accept limits on American power.” Where once the nation defined itself in the face of the Soviet threat, the new “threat the US faces now and in the future is its own weakness. American hegemony is the only reliable defense against a breakdown of peace and international order.” [5]

The following year the PNAC was established to “make the case and rally support for American global leadership” and to “shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests.” [6] Its Statement of Principles was signed by Elliott Abrams, now Bush’s director for democracy and human rights and senior director for Near East and North African affairs; the president’s brother Jeb Bush, now Governor of Florida; Vice-President Dick Cheney; Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; Zalmay Khalilzad, the administration’s special envoy first to Afghanistan and now Iraq and formerly on the Bush National Security Council; Lewis Libby, the national security advisor to Dick Cheney; Peter W Rodman, the assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs and Paula Dobriansky, the under Secretary of State for Global Affairs as well as numerous members of the former Bush and Reagan administrations such as Frank C Iklé, Under Secretary of Defence for Policy under Reagan; Frank Gaffney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Nuclear Forces under Reagan and Dan Quayle, the Vice-President to Bush Snr. Signatories to subsequent letters and reports by the Project include: Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State; John Bolton, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; William Schneider Jr, the chairman of the Defence Science Board in the Pentagon; Robert Zoellick, the US Trade Representative, Richard Perle of the Defence Policy Board, Stephen Cambone, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Dov Zakheim, Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense.

project-new-american-century-members-pnacPNAC championed causes that were anathema to Clinton. Despite his adoption of the Iraq Liberation Act in October 1997 – which had been lobbied for by members of PNAC and which made it official US policy to depose of the Iraqi leader – Clinton’s policy really amounted to keeping Saddam ‘in his box.’ In 1997, the Project moaned that the U.N had “rewarded Saddam” after the collapse of the inspections – propagating the myth that the inspectors were ‘expelled’ rather than withdrawn by the US. [7] Members of Congress were “carping at the use of force” when Saddam needed to removed “with or without Security Council approval.” [8] In January 1998 PNAC sent a letter to the President urging “the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime.” There was no mention of terrorism or democracy, though, but rather that “the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel…and a significant portion of the world’s oil supply will all be put at hazard” if the US failed to oust Saddam. Another letter was sent in May to the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and the Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott, lobbying for the Iraq Liberation Act. [9] When Paul Wolfowitz testified to the House National Security Committee in September 1998, he even outlined the basics of a plan of attack. [10] Clinton’s lily-livered diplomacy meant that “it is not Saddam who is now in a box, but the United States,” complained Robert Kagan in the Weekly Standard. [11] (Coincidentally, Kagan’s wife, Victoria Nuland, deputy chief-of-staff to Dick Cheney). Moreover, in 2000, the Project underlined its commitment to American preponderance when it argued that even if Saddam “passed from the scene”, the value of US bases throughout the Middle East would endure because they are “an essential element in US security strategy given the long standing interests in the region.” [12]

East Asia was an area with two potential adversaries, North Korea and China. Madeleine Albright was lambasted for her visit to Pyongyang in October 2000. Only regime change could lead to a lasting solution there: “Cold War divisions end when the communist governments that gave rise to them collapse.” [13] And like the Middle East, even Korean unification would not mean the end of the 180 US bases on the Korean peninsula. It would mean “a change in their mission, not the termination of their mission.” [14] China’s increasing military strength was a threat to US leadership in Asia too, and instead of trying to engage with Beijing, Clinton should “stop playing by China’s rules.” [15] Searching for an enemy to fill the void left by communism, they announced that “the Soviet Union is gone and the biggest challenge to American interests in the world today comes from Beijing, not Moscow.” [16]

In the Middle East, they campaigned for a hard line with the Palestinians. Clinton’s willingness to meet with Yasser Arafat amounted to “a policy of appeasement and moral equivocation…It has only helped fuel Palestinian ambitions about statehood.” [17] Instead, the peace process should be rejected and Israel “should be allowed to fight the war [against the Palestinians] by the means it deems necessary, without American carping and with whatever American material and financial support may be required.” [18]

The emphasis on US unilateralism was underscored by the Project’s attitude to the nascent International Criminal Court. The treaty was fatally flawed because “it will inevitably complicate the exercise of American geopolitical leadership.” [19] Similarly, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was shunned because it would “hamstring American leadership by supporting new disarmament initiatives put forward by the world’s Lilliputians.” [20]

REBUILDING AMERICA'S DEFENSES

The blueprint for this leadership was outlined in PNAC’s 2000 report, ‘REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES.’ The authors stated explicitly that they saw the report as building upon the Defence Planning Guidance in the hope that it might find a more receptive audience after a decade of living in the post-Cold War world. The core missions for the US military were defined as homeland defence, including the deployment of a National Missile Defence system; retention of sufficient forces to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars (the standard example used was Iraq and North Korea at the same time); the retention of sufficient forces to undertake “constabulary duties” to preserve the peace and the current balance of power, such as continuing the no-fly zones in Iraq and establishing military bases in vital regions; and finally to transform the armed forces by exploiting advanced technology to ensure US dominance of space and cyberspace, “the key to world power in the future.” Of course, this would have to be accompanied by a massive increase in defence spending which in 2000 was less than 3% of GDP. A minimum of 3.5-3.8% was necessary and a small price to pay to “maintain American military pre-eminence [and] secure American geopolitical leadership.” [21]

In the light of which, it is difficult, if not impossible, to accept the administration’s specious claim that it was not until 9/11 that they suddenly realised overnight the virtues of an active foreign policy. The neo-conservative hawks that came to power in January 2001 did so with an agenda that was interventionist from the beginning, and in the first eight months of the Bush presidency, some of these policies were already discernible.

war on terror is a fraudAmerica’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty had caused worldwide consternation and China, the new “strategic competitor,” took issue with US arms sales to Taiwan. Saddam’s removal had been one of Bush’s campaign pledges. In January 2001 the Defense Policy Board, previously a nondescript and low-key advisory group, was reconstituted by Douglas Feith and Donald Rumsfeld into a high-profile group full of expert neo-conservative ideologues and unabashed hawks on Iraq (such as Richard Perle and Ken Adelman) to work closely with Rumsfeld. [22] Ned Walker, assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East region under Clinton who was held over for a while when Bush entered office, has claimed that at the very first meeting of the National Security team – one day after Bush became president in January 2001 – the first item on the agenda was regime change in Iraq. [23] The following month, funding to the Iraqi National Congress was re-started. There was much discussion about the reform of the UN sanctions on Iraq into ‘smart sanctions’ – coincidentally Dick Cheney had been one of the leading lobbyists for this during his tenure as CEO of Halliburton, the pipeline services vendor, claiming that existing sanctions unfairly penalised business by outlawing private trade in oil with Iraq. [24] (Cheney still receives up to $1million a year in “deferred compensation” payments after his resignation from Halliburton which has since been awarded a government contract worth up to $7 billion to put out oil fires in Iraq).

But it was 9/11 that presented the Project’s many supporters now in government with a crisis conducive to their agenda. While others were sending out messages of shock and condolence, an article in the Washington Post on 11 September by PNAC director Robert Kagan went further, implying that this was the “catastrophic and catalysing event” which could justify a major American power offensive. “We should now immediately begin building up our conventional military forces”, he wrote, and fight the new war “as we have never fought before.” Before the perpetrators of the crime had even been identified, Kagan claimed that “it will become apparent that those organizations could not have operated without the assistance of some governments… with a long record of hostility to the United States.” By immediately linking governments to terrorism Kagan was already – on 11 September – arguing for regime change of governments hostile to the US, not just the capture of the terrorists responsible. Casting his net widely, Kagan stated that the US should immediately declare war against “any nation that may have lent their support” to the attacks – perhaps even Saddam?” [25] (emphasis added).

According to exclusive national security files shown to the Washington Post (and later included in Bob Woodward’s recent book Bush At War) the Bush administration agreed on 12 September that it should pursue a general ‘war on terrorism’ wider than just Afghanistan, and there was general agreement that Iraq would be a target eventually. [26] As PNAC executive director, Gary Schmitt, and deputy director, Tom Donnelly, wrote in the Weekly Standard just 13 days after the attacks and before the bombing of Afghanistan had begun, it was not Osama bin Laden who was the priority, rather “eliminating Saddam is the key… the president has a rare opportunity to deny our enemies their strategic goals in the Middle East and to restore American pre-eminence”. [27]

On 20 September, PNAC sent a letter to the President, this time making a new claim: that “any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” [28] The signatories advised Bush that “a serious and victorious war on terrorism” would require offensives against Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, the Palestinian Authority as well as “whatever funds for defense are needed”. Gradually the Bush Administration escalated the rhetoric and Iraq was soon named in the “axis of evil” along with the other old foe, North Korea. And conveniently – despite previously being dismissed by US intelligence – forgotten ‘evidence’ about CIA created al-Qaeda‘s supposed links to Baghdad suddenly came to light. [29]

Caspian BasinThe initial phase of the new ‘war’ saw US overseas bases expand rapidly to areas of strategic interest including Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Tajikstan – all close to the energy rich Caspian Basin– and troops were sent into the Philippines, Georgia, Djibouti (which happens to have one of the world’s two most important shipping lanes for oil tankers, the Bab alMandab) and troops were expanded in Colombia (which happens to have an oil pipeline under threat from the FARC guerrillas in Colombia’s civil war). [30]

Bush’s State of the Union address of 2002 also gave new justification to NMD and a huge increase in the defence budget – which will bring it to a level 20% higher than the Cold War average by 2007 – by casting them as necessary measures against terrorism, despite the fact that even this advanced technology could do nothing to stop an asymmetric attack like 9/11. But anyone who dared question was denounced as unpatriotic and even pro-terror. This was a war in which you were either with us or against us.

As the outpouring of international sympathy that followed 9/11 continued to justify and fuel the drive for American hegemony, the Nuclear Posture Review was leaked to the Los Angeles Times in February 2002. [31] It revealed that the Pentagon had begun developing contingency plans for using nuclear weapons, not as retaliation but as a first strike, against seven mainly, though not all, non-nuclear countries including Iraq and North Korea. In June 2002 in a speech at the West Point military academy, the President announced that the US would strike at its enemies “before they emerge.” [32] This was followed by the National Security Strategy which echoed both the DPG and the PNAC report of 2000 in asserting that the US would “dissuade potential adversaries from… surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States” and that “we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defence by acting pre-emptively.” [33] The strategy was complete with the disturbing revelation that Donald Rumsfeld has proposed the establishment of a covert Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) [a U.S. intelligence agency that would employ “black world” (black operations) tactics] to provoke terrorist attacks where it deems necessary to which the US can then deliver an ‘appropriate’ response. [34]

A PNAC letter to the president of April 2002 stating its long-held position that that “it can no longer be the policy of the United States… to continue negotiating with Arafat” was followed by Colin Powell giving Ariel Sharon over a week to “immediately” withdraw his forces from Jenin before Powell arrived in Israel for peace talks. Then in June the President made his own ‘Arafat must go’ speech. [35]

Moreover, the administration’s re-newed intent on preserving the Pax Americana has meant its speaking out on issues unrelated to the war on terror. In the run up to the Copenhagen summit on EU enlargement, the US lobbied vigorously for Turkish accession to the Union – cosying up to Ankara is favourite of PNAC due to Turkey’s proximity to the Middle East. [36] The administration also flatly refused to sign up to the International Code Council (ICC) instead attempting to negotiate special exemption agreements and threatening to pull out of UN peacekeeping missions.

This neo-Reaganite foreign policy, as lobbied for by PNAC, explains why Washington was literally bursting at the seams to go to war in Iraq – the administration’s hawks have been waiting decades for the moment to come. When the non-appearance of any WMD began to turn the public against a war, the focus was carefully shifted onto spreading “democracy” as the justification. In late summer 2002, Rumsfeld even established his own ‘intelligence’ unit within the Pentagon to find ‘evidence’ against Iraq and muzzle the CIA whose recent intelligence estimates on Iraqi capabilities did not support the political choices already made. [37] The administration’s public stance that the onus was on Saddam to “avoid war” by disarming peacefully was insidious political sleight-of-language for successful inspections could never have opened up the untold riches that lie beneath Iraq’s soil, the “stupendous source of strategic power and the greatest material prize in world history”, as the State Department put it in 1944. [38]

war on terrorWhile it is not success in Iraq that has bred hubris – that was already there – it has convinced many of the neo-cons that this is their moment, that now is the time that they can finally re-fashion the Middle East according to their own designs. Before the “battle of Iraq” (one of many “battles” in the “War on Terror“) was even through, the justifications for future conflicts were already being laid out. Richard Perle has called for a Syria Liberation Act based on the old Iraq act and Iran has been warned that must stop sponsoring Hezbollah and its links with the Shia in Iraq are viewed with suspicion.

The upshot is that the real causes of 9/11 must not be addressed, for to do so would be to deny the legitimacy of the pre-existing policy preferences being implemented in its name. Under the guise of a ‘war on terror’, the administration is implementing its long-term strategy for an American preponderance of power, as envisioned by PNAC. And if the war on terror is simply an excuse for power projection, then the claim of toppling Saddam for the sake of “democracy” must also be questioned. Moreover, if the rest of the (Arab) world sees the public justifications for regime change in Baghdad as an excuse to mask an entirely different agenda, then Washington is dangerously fanning the flames of anti-Americanism and sowing the seeds of the blowback of the future.

I highly recommend this video: 9/11 Pentagon AttackBarbara Honegger: ‘Behind the Smoke Curtainin Seattle’s Town Hall Theater, January 12, 2013, on what happened and what didn’t happen at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

 

 

Resources:

Project for the New American Manifesto Destiny

Anatomy of an imperial war crime – International Socialist Review

The Project for the New American Century

George Bush & the World by Frances FitzGerald | The New York

9/11 as sequel to IranContra: Armitage, Carlucci and friends

9/11 HARD FACTS | lisaleaks

Michael Meacher: This war on terrorism is bogus | Politics

Links mentioned in this video:

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth: http://ae911truth.org

Patriots Question 9/11: http://patriotsquestion911.com

Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth: http://pl911truth.com

Aaron Russo’s offer from Nicholas Rockefeller: http://youtu.be/iSii-xWoyKM

Another version of Wesley Clarke’s statement: http://youtu.be/SXS3vW47mOE

International Conference in Malaysia, 2012, “9/11 Revisited — Seeking the Truth”:
http://youtu.be/gHBSG7Mf8T8
http://www.perdana4peace.org/events/c…

9/11 Truth Seattle: http://911ts.org
http://911truthseattle.org

Notes

1 Rice and Cheney’s thoughts on the consequences of 9/11 are contained in ‘George Bush and the World’ by Francis Fitzgerald, New York Review of Books, 26 September 2002, available at www.nybooks.com/articles/15698 [Back]
2 See the PNAC web site at www.newamericancentury.org and Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (September 2000), p51, available at www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf [Back]
3 For the most comprehensive extracts of the original DPG see ‘Keeping the US First: Pentagon Would Preclude a Rival Superpower’, Washington Post, 11 March 1992; ‘Pentagon Drops Goal of Blocking New Superpowers’, New York Times, 24 May 1992. The revised version of the DPG is available in full at www.naarpr.org/naarpr_Defense.pdf
4 See ‘The Problem with Powell’ by Robert Kagan, Washington Post, 23 July 2000. Available at www.newamericancentury.org/def_natl_sec_030.htm
5 William Kristol and Robert Kagan ‘Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy’, Foreign Affairs, July/August 1996, reprinted at www.ceip.org/files/Publications/foreignaffairs.asp?from=pubauthor
6 See www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm
7 ‘The U.N. Rewards Saddam’ by John Bolton, Weekly Standard, 15 December 1997, p14
8 ‘Congress Versus Iraq’ by John Bolton, Weekly Standard, 19 January 1998, p16
9 Letter to President Clinton available at newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.org. Letter to Lott and Gingrich available at www.newamericancentury.org/iraqletter1998.htm
10 See Wolfowitz’ testimony at www.newamericancentury.org/iraqsep1898.htm [Back]
11 ‘Saddam’s Impending Victory’ by Robert Kagan, Weekly Standard, 2 February 1998, p24
12 Rebuilding America’s Defenses, p14 and p17
13 Project Memorandum to Opinion Leaders, 25 October 2000, available at www.newamericancentury.org/chinaoct2500.htm
14 Rebuilding America’s Defenses, p18
15 ‘Stop Playing by China’s Rules’ by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, New York Times, 22 June 1998
16 ‘Free Taiwan’ by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Weekly Standard, 26 July 1999, p11
17 Project Memorandum to Opinion Leaders, 23 March 1999, available at www.newamericancentury.org/iraqmar2399.htm
18 ‘A Green Light for Israel’, by Kristol and Kagan, Weekly Standard, 3 September 2001, p9
19 Memorandum to Opinion Leaders, 14 June 2000, available at www.newamericancentury.org/globaljun1400.htm See also the summary of John Bolton’s statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of 23 July 1998, available at www.newamericancentury.org/global0201.htm
20 Memorandum to Opinion Leaders, 7 October 1999, available at www.newamericancentury.org/defoct0799.htm
21 The key findings of the report are described in pp iv-v.
22 On the Defense Policy Board see ‘Rumsfeld’s “Feith and Bum” Corps: What Is the Defense Policy Board?’, by Michele Steinberg, Executive Intelligence Review, 30 August 2002, available at www.larouchepub.com/other/2002/2933what_is_dpb.html and also ‘Advisory Board Pushing Iraq Attack’, Chicago Tribune, 18 August 2002, reprinted at www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2002/020818-iraq1.htm
23 Walker told this to journalist Robert Dreyfuss who was then interviewed in Mother Jones by reporter Chris Smith. See ‘The Misinformers’, 8 April 2003, available at www.motherjones.com/news/qa/2003/15/we_352_01.html
24 Reports on smart sanctions appeared frequently from January-September 2001. See, for example, ‘Allies repackage “smart” embargo’, Guardian, 21 February 2001. During a presentation at an energy conference in 1996, Dick Cheney commented that “We seem to be sanctions-happy as a government… The problem is that the good Lord didn’t see fit to always put oil and gas resources where there are democratic governments.” See ‘Cheney’s lies about Halliburton and Iraq’ by Jason Leopold available at www.counterpunch.org/leopold03202003.html
25 Kagan’s piece, titled ‘We Must Fight This War’, written immediately after the attacks, is available at www.newamericancentury.org/kagan-091101.htm [Back]
26 See ‘We Will Rally the World’ by Bob Woodward, Washington Post, 28 January 2002
27 ‘A War with a Purpose’ by Gary Schmitt and Tom Donnelly, Weekly Standard, 24 September 2001.
28 The claim that Saddam sponsored terror is noticeably absent from the 1998 letter. See the 2001 letter at www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter.htm<
29 The State Department’s annual Patterns of Global Terrorism reports have never mentioned a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. See the section on the Overview of State Sponsored Terrorism in the most recent report at www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/html/10249pf.htm

Daniel Benjamin, director of counter terrorism at the National Security Council in the late 1990s, oversaw a comprehensive review of Iraq and terrorism. He commented that “we went through every piece of intelligence we could find to see if there was a link [between] Iraq and al-Qaeda… We came to the conclusion… that there was no noteworthy relationship. I know that for a fact. No other issue has been as closely scrutinized as this one.” Cited in Robert Dreyfuss’ excellent summary of the politicisation of intelligence during the war on terror, ‘The Pentagon Muzzles the CIA’, American Prospect, Vol 13 (22), 16 December 2002. Available at www.prospect.org/print-friendly/print/V13/22/dreyfuss-r.html
30 For the importance of the Bab al Mandab, see the US Department of Energy factsheet on the Persian Gulf at www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/pgulf.html and on the impact of the Colombian civil war on the country’s energy infrastructure, see www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/colombia.html
31 Extensive excerpts from the Nuclear Posture Review available at www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/policy/dod/npr.htm [Back]
32 West Point speech available at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020601-3.html
33 See the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002, p30 and p6. Document available at www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.pdf
34 ‘P2OG allows Pentagon to fight dirty’, Asia Times, 5 November 2002 and ‘The Secret War’, Los Angeles Times, 27 October 2002.

35 See the letter at www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter-040302.htm That same month, amid allegations of mass killing, Bush demanded that Sharon withdraw his forces immediately from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Colin Powell was sent on an apparently urgent peace mission to diffuse the crisis but went via Morocco, Spain, Egypt and Jordan, taking an incredible eight days to get to Israel and giving Sharon enough time to get the job done and withdraw his forces from Jenin before Powell arrived.
36 In a 1997 article, Zalmay Khalilzad observed that “Turkish military facilities provide an excellent location for projecting power to both the Gulf and the Caspian basin. Much of the world’s energy resources are within 1,000 miles of [the US military base at] Incirlik.” See ‘Why the West Needs Turkey’, Wall Street Journal, 22 December 1997.

37 Under the guidance of Rumsfeld, the CIA has begun to produce ‘hypothesis driven analyses’ to incorporate what Rumsfeld terms “the unknown unknowns”. See the Jeffrey Goldberg’s outstanding ‘The Unknown’, The New Yorker, 10 February 2003, available at www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/030210fa_fact On the lack of justification in the most recent CIA reports before the switch to Rumsfeld’s approach, see Scott Lucas and Maria Ryan, ‘The Manufacture of Fear: 9-11, Intelligence and the “axis of evil”‘ available at www.nthposition.com/politics_lucas_ryan.htm

38 In May 2001, the US National Energy Report of 2001was released. The commission, chaired by Dick Cheney, recommended that the President “make energy security a priority of our trade and foreign policy.” See the final chapter on “Strengthening Global Alliances” at www.whitehouse.gov/energy/Chapter8.pdf

By November 2002 the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, had already met with executives of three US oil multinationals to discuss the carve up of oil reserves post-Saddam. See, for example, ‘Carve up of oil riches begins’, Observer, 3 November 2002.