Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and U.S. Strategy
April 28, 1997 University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
Sam Nunn, thank you very much. As Senator Nunn has indicated, he and I have worked for many years together, along with Senator Lugar. The two of these gentlemen I feel are perhaps the most “courageous and visionary” to have served in the Senate. They were largely responsible, of course, for adopting the so-called Nunn–Lugar legislation.
I’ll comment on that later during the course of the morning, but I’ve had occasion to meet with a number of Russian counterparts, and as we go through various translations of the communications that we’re having, the two words they are able to articulate very clearly, they say “Nunn/Lugar, Nunn/Lugar.” So they know exactly what that means, and that means the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act that these two gentlemen were indispensable in shepherding through the United States Congress.
It was Nunn/Lugar that dealt with the reduction of nuclear weapons between the United States and the Soviet Union in terms of trying to come to grips with how we helped the Russians dismantle hundreds of their nuclear weapons, and also helped them with their destruction of chemical weapons.
But they, of course, have looked beyond simply that particular relationship, which is very important, but also looking to the future that we face as far as the rise of terrorism – both international and domestic — and finding ways in which the Department of Defense can become involved in helping local states and local agencies to deal with the threat of terrorism which is quite likely to increase in the coming years.
(Note: This Conference on Terrorism took place on April 28, 1997, BEFORE the war with Iraq)
It’s a pleasure for me to be here. Both Senator Nunn and Senator Lugar are close friends, and I look forward to, I think, a very productive seminar. Once again demonstrating that although Senator Nunn has left public service in the Senate, he has not left public service as far as the nation is concerned. It’s a pleasure for me to be here, Sam.
SENATOR NUNN: Thank you very much, Bill. …Let me ask if there are any questions for Secretary of Defense Cohen.
Q: The dual containment policy in Iran and Iraq, do you think that’s conducive to regional stability in that region? And do you think (it) can cause further terrorism in the United States? That type of containment policy in the Middle East?
A: I think Secretary Albright articulated our policy as far as dealing with Iraq, that it’s clear that we have been unable to strike any kind of a productive relationship with Saddam Hussein, and as soon as Saddam Hussein is no longer the head of that government, that there’s (a) new regime that follows him, that we will look forward to finding ways in which we could engage them in a much more productive fashion, particularly after they comply with all of the UN sanctions.
There’s an eagerness on our part to do that. But I think as long as he remains in office as the head of that state, it’s unlikely that we could have anything but the current policy in place, with very little prospects for relief.
With respect to Iran, I think Iran continues to present a long-term threat to the region. They are acquiring and have acquired weapons of mass destruction,(Note: this has not been proven.) substantial levels of chemicals and we believe biological weapons as well. They have made an effort to acquire nuclear capability. So I think that our policy of dual containment is the right one, and we are going to encourage our allies to support that one.
(Note: This Conference on Terrorism took place on April 28, 1997, war with Iraq)
Q: What about Clinton proliferation?
A: To the extent that we see the level of communication available today, the Internet and other types of interwoven communicative skills and abilities, we’re going to see information continue to spread as to how these weapons can be, in fact, manufactured in a home-grown laboratory, as such. So it’s a serious problem as far as living in the Information Age that people who are acquiring this kind of information will not act responsibly, but rather act in a terrorist type of fashion. We’ve seen by way of example of the World Trade Center the international aspects of international terrorism coming to our home territory.
Q: How prepared is the U.S. Government?
A: I think we have to really intensify our efforts. That’s the reason for the Nunn/Lugar II program. That’s the reason why it’s a local responsibility, as such, but the Department of Defense is going to be taking the lead as far as supervising the interagency working groups, and to make the assessments as to what needs to be done. So we’re going to identify those 120 cities and work with them very closely to make sure that they can prepare themselves for what is likely to be a threat well into the future.
Q: Let me ask you specifically about last week’s scare here in Washington, and what we might have learned from how prepared we are to deal with that at B’nai Brith
(Note: B’nai B’rith has a vaunted history in American Jewish life, having started the Anti-Defamation League, the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization and what is now Hillel – The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. All three have left the parent organization and now operate independently.)
A: Well, it points out the nature of the threat. It turned out to be a false threat under the circumstances. But as we’ve learned in the intelligence community, we had something called — and we have James Woolsey here to perhaps even address this question about phantom moles.
The mere fear that there is a mole within an agency can set off a chain reaction and a hunt for that particular mole which can paralyze the agency for weeks and months and years even, in a search. The same thing is true about just the “false scare of a threat of using some kind of a chemical weapon or a biological one.”
There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least.
Alvin Toffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic-specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races; and others are designing some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy specific crops.
Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.
So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts, and that’s why this is so important.
(Note: Toeffler is refering to US “secret government,” and how about these guys??? PNAC… Project for the New American Century and HAARP chemtrails weather modification and electromagnetic weapons )
Q: What is the response?
A: We hope we will have access to the defector. In fact I was recently in South Korea and talked with various officials in South Korea. As soon as they complete their own interrogation of this defector, we will have access to that individual.
But much of what he has said to date is reflected in the writings that he prepared last year. This is prior to his defection. One would not expect a potential defector to be writing about anything other than what the official doctrine or dogma is of the North Korean government at that time.
He is saying essentially what we have known for a long, long time. Namely, that North Korea poses a very serious threat against South Korea, and potentially even Japan, by virtue of having the fourth largest army in the world, by having 600,000 or more troops poised within 100 kilometers of Seoul, of possessing many SCUD missiles, also the potential of chemically armed warheads, the attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. So we know they have this potential, and the question really is going to be what’s in their hearts and minds at this point?
Do they intend to try to launch such an attack in the immediate, foreseeable future? That, we can only speculate about, but that’s the reason why we are so well prepared to defend against such an attack to deter it and to send a message that it would be absolutely an act of suicide for the North Koreans to launch an attack.
They could do great damage in the short run, but they would be devastated in response. So we’re hoping we can find ways to bring them to the bargaining table – the Four–Party Talks — and see if we can’t put them on a path toward peace instead of threatening any kind of devastating attack upon the South.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the situation.
A: I really don’t have much more information than has been in the press at this point. The Department has not been called upon to act in this regard just yet, so I’m not at liberty to give you any more information than you already have.
The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America’s role in the world.
PNAC was founded under the Chairmanship of William Kristol, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quale during the Presidency of George Bush Snr. Kristol’s father, Irving Kristol has been described as the “Godfather of Neoconservatism.”
The organization was: “ … dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: That American leadership is good for America and the world.” Projects were devised: “ … to explain what American world leadership entails.”
Consulting “the world” about the mind-numbing concept of a US planetary take-over was not a consideration.
Little time was wasted in advancing this new world order. On 29th May 1998 PNAC sent Letter to Gingrich and Lott on Iraq. It referred to a letter sent to President Clinton four months earlier: “expressing our concern” that U.S policy of “containment of Saddam Hussein was failing.” Thus: “the vital interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East would soon be facing a threat as severe as any we had known since the end of the Cold War.”
Therefore a strategy should be implemented to: “… protect the United States and its allies from the threat of weapons of mass destruction (and) put in place policies” that would topple the Iraqi leadership.
Without a glance towards international law, the letter continued: “.U.S. policy should have as its specific goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime … Only the U.S. can (demonstrate) that his rule is not legitimate. To accomplish (this) the following political and military measures should be undertaken …”
The first “measure to be taken” was what has now become the blueprint for each planned overthrow of a sovereign government:
“We should help establish and support (with economic, political and military means) a provisional, representative and free government of Iraq in areas of Iraq not under Saddam’s control.”
That Iraq’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” was guaranteed in law and by the United Nations was not an issue for consideration. Signatories, a veritable “Whose Who” of neo-cons, included John Bolton, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan, James Wolsey, Zalmay Khalizad and PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan.
Robert Kagan is currently on Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Advisory Committee, his wife is Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the Clinton headed U.S. State Department. Kagan’s loftily entitled book “The World America Made,”, was publicly endorsed by Barack Obama. Its theme was referenced in his 2012 State of the Union address.
In March 2011 William Kristol wrote an editorial in the Weekly Standard arguing that US Military “interventions” in Muslim countries (including the decimations of the 1991 Gulf War, the Balkans, and destructions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq) should not be classified as “invasions” but as “liberations.” Needless to say, he backed US “intervention” in Libya, urging Conservative support.
A more recent piece of war mongering was on Fox News (7th August 2012) when he opined:
“I went back and looked at the speech President Obama gave in March 2011 when he announced the very mild intervention in Libya, which did help to get rid of Qaddafi. Every reason he gave for intervening in Libya is there squared, in triplicate, for intervening in Syria, including the strategic importance of getting rid of Assad and weakening Iran, and we’re sitting there talking about ‘we really hope there won’t be sectarian violence later on’, and, gee, this is kind of unfortunate.”
“If we are abdicating our role of helping to shape events in this absolutely crucial part of the world, what does that say? Are we just going to let other countries, ya know, play their games and stand back as if it doesn’t affect U.S. national security?”
On the same programme Hillary Clinton talked of: “the day after” President Assad falls. For anyone familiar with the 1983 film of that name portraying the effect of a nuclear strike on Missouri, it was a chilling phrase.
So far it is not known if Kristol and Clinton have connected their perceived threat to U.S. “national security”, the spectre of a dead Ambassador, three colleagues, ten guarding them, burning or under attack US Embassies around the world, generated by actions, provocations and invasions, exactly as they advocated again on Fox News.
Before his next appearance on Fox, Kristol could do worse than peruse Professor Hamoud Salhi’s address, presented at the Center on Contemporary Conflict, of the (U.S.) Naval Postgraduate School in June 2004.(iii pdf) It is entitled:Syria’s Threat to America’s National Interest It is arguably even more pertinent now – and another reminder of how long Syria has been in U.S. sights.
He opens: “Syria’s threat to America’s national interest in the Middle East can only be understood in the context of U.S. plans to reconfigure the Middle East. Knowing now that the motive for invading Iraq was strategic, taking over Syria would give the United States further strategic depth in the region … tipping the balance of power (even more) in favour of the United States regional allies, Israel and Turkey.”
Salhi notes that “strategic pre-emption” is long central to American policy in the Middle East, citing Rapid Deployment Forces during the Carter Administration, Dual Containment under Clinton, Pre-emptive Doctrine under George W. Bush. Polices, he holds, which: “have been instrumental in maintaining hegemony in the region”, avoiding threats to U.S interests, or to those of Israel,Turkey and the Gulf States.
After the 1998 US-UK Christmas bombing of Baghdad drew world-wide criticism, Salhi points out that the often daily (illegal) bombing of Iraq by the two countries was stepped up, with often daily sorties, “using the latest technology” destroying what minimal economic infrastructure remained: “under the pretext that they represented future threats.” It was he contends, the “quiet war”, an ongoing tragedy little noticed by the world.
The ground was – literally – being prepared for invasion, the trigger finger ever itchier, any excuse sought. George W. Bush would later explain that invading Iraq was necessary: “ … to advance freedom in the greater Middle East …” (Emphasis mine.)
11th September 2001 arguably gave the excuse to release the safety catches. On 20th September 2001 PNAC sent a letter to Bush: “ … recommending the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, even if no direct link to the 9/11 attack were found.” Time to redeem American: “supremacy in global politics (and for) regime changes in Iraq, Iran and Syria.”
Michael Ledeen, foreign policy expert, another neo-con minded Fox News commentator, alleged to be a “strong admirer” of Niccolò Machiavelli, regarded 1991’s Desert Storm attack on Iraq as a woeful missed chance states Salhi. He notes Ledeen’s view that driving Iraqi troops from Kuwait was wholly inadequate. Strategy should have been: “regime change in Baghdad” (as) “one piece in an overall mission”, which should have been: “one battle … against Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia.”
Addressing “The Syrian Threat”, Professor Salhi reminds of the U.S. Congress 2004 “Syria Accountability Act” which considerably financially weakened Syria’s fragile economy, with further aims clearly paving the way to regime change.
That achieved: “…the United States will have completed its final stage of encircling Iran. This would further tip the region’s balance of power in favour of Israel and ultimately open new doors” for the U.S. “active involvement in toppling the Iranian regime.”
PNAC’s John Bolton, as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, had testified before a Senate Sub-Committee on Syria’s threats to the U.S., which of course included terrorism and “weapons of mass destruction” reminds Salhi – pointing out that Bolton could cite no specifics. The more a Syrian danger was inflated, the more “justification” for an attack.
Conversely he reasoned, a massively threatened Syria then: “has a motive to make itself more threatening than it actually is.” (On a personal note his comment had resounding resonance. In an interview with Iraq’s then Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz prior to the invasion about the weapons of mass destruction allegations relentlessly assailing Western air waves . He side- stepped the question neatly: “We too are afraid.”
He of course knew the truth, Iraq was a sitting duck, but U.S. uncertainty was slender hope for catastrophe averted.)
In a rare moment of intemperance, President Assad stated the country had chemical weapons and would use them if invaded. As Aziz, he would hardly declare there was no way to counter an invasion’s fearsome arsenal.
Concluding, the Professor pointed out that: “Syria’s economic capabilities do not support the argument that Syria could become a threatening force in the region … “ Further, it’s technological development falls to near nil as a threat to the United States.
A “lack of interest in the sciences is reflected in patents registered in the United States, a meager ten, as against 16,328 for Korea and 7,652 for Israel (1980-2000.) Syria has a long way to go before it could reach any kind of technological development to be a threat to the United States.”
Moreover: “Syria’s leadership has pursued a principled foreign policy, built around deeply rooted philosophical orientations and molded to conform to the realities of the region.”
Whilst ideologically deeply rooted in Arab nationalism: “Syrian’s political approach has been consistently pragmatic … a scenario in which Syria acquires nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and uses them against the United States or its regional allies is unlikely.”
Further, as with Iraq, which was minutely scrutinized by US satellites since the late 1980’s (“We can see a Coca Cola can in a trash bin”, “If Saddam sneezes we can see him reach for his handkerchief”) it is surely happening with Syria, with Israel also openly admitted Drone Surveillance.
Professor Salhi’s final point is that to deter ever mounting threats, Syria might resort to acquiring WMDs, perceived as for their own protection. However: “What is certain, is that using WMDs would be inconsistent with Syria’s well established political approach.”
What is also certain is that in the event of an attack on Syria, the worldwide attacks on US and allied interests and personnel will pale in to insignificance.
Alvin Toffler (born October 3, 1928) is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communications revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity. His early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism.
He has also been described in the Financial Times as the “world’s most famous futurologist“. People’s Daily classes him among the 50 foreigners that shaped modern China.
Since the 1960s, people have been trying to make sense out of the impact of new technologies and social change. Toffler’s writings have been influential beyond the confines of scientific, economic and public policy discussions.
The development Toffler believes may go down as this era’s greatest turning point is the creation of wealth in outer space. Global positioning satellites are key to synchronising precision time and data streams for everything from cellphone calls to ATM withdrawals.
They allow just-in-time productivity because of precise tracking. GPS is also becoming central to air-traffic control. And satellites increase agricultural productivity through tracking weather, enabling more accurate forecasts.
- 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in which the complex was damaged
- September 11 attacks, in which the complex was destroyed.)
- We’ve also seen domestic terrorism with the Oklahoma bombing. So it’s a realthreat that’s here today. It’s likely to intensify in the years to come as more and more groups have access to this kind of information and the ability to produce them.
- (Note: A Noble Lie: The Oklahoma City bombing in the light of new and suppressed evidence that proves the official story to be false and that Timothy McVeigh was not the sole perpetrator on that terrible April 19th, 1995. “We were told that there were files in the building so sensitive to the government that until they were found, there would be no recovery effort.” – Don Browning – OKC Police Officer