- Created: Sunday, 17 May 2009 16:31
- Written by Steve Palmer
FRFI 173 June / July 2003
‘Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.’
Michael Ledeen, holder of the ‘Freedom Chair’ at the American Enterprise Institute
‘At some point we may be the only ones left. That’s OK with me. We are America.’
George W Bush, President of the United States
The Iraq war is supposedly over, finished. In fact the opposite is true: the war has barely begun; Iraq was little more than a battle in a much bigger war, something far larger than Iraq, larger even than the Middle East. Iraq is the overture to a new world war. It is time for the left to get serious, because its opponents certainly are: deadly serious. James Woolsey, former head of the CIA describes the new war as ‘World War IV’:
‘ … World War III having been the Cold War. And I think that more accurately characterises the degree of commitment that we are going to have to be engaged in, and the scope of what we are going to be engaged in now for some years. This Fourth World War I think will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us, hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War.’
No ambiguity here: we are in a new world war, longer than any before it, lasting maybe decades. Woolsey is one of the gaggle of ‘NeoCons’ – the ‘Neo-Conservatives’ who infest the US Defence Department and who occupy major foreign policy positions in the Bush administration.
The NeoCons are former liberals who in the 1970s became involved with the Reagan campaign. At the same time corporations were increasingly involved in politics, funding ‘think-tanks’ (such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)), university programs, campus newspapers and generally helping tilt the culture of politics sharply to the right. The NeoCons were instrumental in organising and promoting this.
Once they had been recruited into the Reagan administration in the 1980s, they helped sharpen their ‘conservative internationalist’ analysis and programme. There these ‘thinkers’ teamed up with the shady ‘fixers’ from the murky world of the ‘arms-for-hostages’ clandestine operation, the Iran-Contra scandal – Oliver North, Richard Armitage, Elliott Abrams, Michael Ledeen and others. The Iran-Contra brigade put CIA and military experience at the NeoCons disposal.
The triangle was completed by a Republican Party revitalised by the mass support of millions of Christian Zionists. More Zionist than the Zionists, they are fervent supporters of Israel and some even practise Jewish culture. They believe that Armageddon is imminent, that it will happen in the Middle East, that it is God’s Work to defend Israel and strike down its Islamic enemies. Because, at the end of the day, they expect the world to suffer The Tribulation while they experience The Rapture for, as the bible says: ‘Christ will rise, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord’. What happens to us, to the rest of the world is irrelevant to these zealots – we are ‘the Lost’. These are the ‘Rapture-ready’ nuclear suicide bombers who expect to ascend to Heaven in a fiery chariot.
Given the affinity between Zionism and right wing ideology within the US ruling class, it is no surprise that so many of the NeoCons are pro-Israeli Jews.
NeoCon Elliott Abrams, the top policy advisor on the Middle East, is a racist: he opposes ‘mixed marriages’ with non-Jews because they are ‘immensely threatening’ to the Jewish community (imagine the uproar if a top government official opposed marriage between black and white). Abrams opposes the ‘land-for-peace’ which has been at the heart of the ‘peace process’. Richard Perle, until recently Chair of the Defence Policy Board and still a member, is a director of the Jerusalem Post. Perle and Douglas Feith joined in policy deliberations for the ultra-right wing Israeli Likud party in 1996. JINSA, which includes Ledeen, Perle and Wolsey on its advisory board, has close ties with the Israeli military, retired US military officers, US military training establishments and US armaments corporations who, via Israel, use Palestinians for live fire testing of weapons
Although the links are less direct, the NeoCons also dabble in Cuban affairs. Before resigning to take up positions in the Bush administration, NeoCons Paula Dobriansky and Paul Wolfowitz were involved with the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is a conduit for US government funds to anti-communist organisations such as the Democratic Revolutionary Directorate. NeoCon Vin Weber is currently Chairman of NED and Michael Novak and Francis ‘End of History’ Fukuyama, both leading NeoCons, are directors.
The full scope of the NeoCons plans is set out in the important book Present Dangers, a programme or manifesto for US world domination, published in 2000 before Bush was appointed president.
Organised around the idea that the US should proactively exercise a ‘benevolent hegemony’: ‘A strategy aimed at preserving American hegemony should…[be]…more rather than less inclined to weigh in when crises erupt and preferably before they erupt. This is the standard of a global superpower that intends to shape the international environment to its own advantage.’
This brings with it certain responsibilities: ‘We must be prepared to make appropriate demands and claim appropriate prerogatives for the nation – this nation, at any rate – even when others oppose or condemn them. This is what it means to be alone on top. The challenge we face is to learn how to command.’
For someone to be able to command there must be others prepared to obey. While international law may be good enough for others, the US can be more flexible: ‘foreign policy decisions cannot be subject to the kind of “rule of law” that we want for our domestic political process.’
The NeoCons can barely conceal a desire to encourage civil war in China: we ‘can either make it easier or more difficult for [China]…our policy… ought to be the latter, so that we can hasten the day when the conflicting currents of Chinese society prove beyond the capacity of its dictatorial government to manage.’
On Israel, the US should ‘avoid pressures on Israel’. Generally, ‘The next decade will present enormous opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East, but not for the most part through painstaking negotiations of documents. … Here, as elsewhere, our military strength and willingness to use it will remain a key factor in our ability to promote peace.’
The Atlantic alliance must be re-asserted, but NATO should be used to constrain Europe and prevent it from going Gaullist. ‘Efforts to create a separate European identity that is defined in opposition to the United States should be challenged and discouraged at every opportunity.’
‘American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality.’ Indeed, ‘the history of American involvement abroad has been characterised by its generosity and humane acts.’ The humanity shown by the US Government toward the people of Vietnam and the generosity showered onto the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are, of course, well known. ‘The record shows that in the overwhelming number of instances America has been a liberating force from oppression. America is not interested in territorial conquest, subjugation of others or world domination.’ This is because: ‘the United States was built on a solid moral framework of respect for the self-interest of individuals in their lives, liberties, and property.’ They forget the main prop: slavery.
This NeoCon program was developed into the National Security Strategy of the US in 2002, with its doctrine of pre-emptive attacks. The NSS promises to ignite a ‘New Era’ of global economic growth ‘through free markets and free trade’. The US will insist on ‘pro-growth’ legal and regulatory policies; capital-friendly tax policies; an end to corruption (in other countries); suitable financial systems; pro-business fiscal policies; investment in health and education (currently being cutback in the US); free trade. It babbles about capital being able to improve living standards internationally (something it has failed to do in 400 years). ‘We are committed to policies that will help emerging markets achieve access to larger capital flows at lower cost’. In other words, to find it easier for US imperialism to make profitable investments outside the US.
Doctrine, of course, is not necessarily policy. So what is the distance between policy and doctrine? The answer is: not much. The attack on Iraq was clearly the doctrine’s first serious trial. In order to close the gap, Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence, has been re-organising the military.
One of the characteristics of the NeoCons is contempt for facts. Inconvenient facts are ignored. Rumsfeld, distrustful of the intelligence he has been receiving, has created a new intelligence organisation, the Office of Special Projects whose members style themselves ‘the Cabal’. Instead of evaluating and working from known facts, this group sifts out facts which fit their preconceived ideas, using unreliable sources if they fit, ignoring reliable ones which don’t and interpolating any that are missing.
If there are not enough facts to twist, NeoCons manufacture them. For example, Richard Perle claims that UN weapons inspectors were ‘expelled from Iraq’. This is an outright lie: the State Department’s own Fact Sheet on Iraq says: ‘The inspectors were not thrown out of Iraq’. Richard Butler confirms this: ‘On November 10, 1998…the US government…advised me, as executive head of UNSCOM, to consider evacuating UNSCOM staff from Iraq…I told [acting US representative to the UN] Burleigh that I would immediately order an evacuation.’ After the inspectors had returned to Iraq, the obedient Butler received further instructions from Burleigh. ‘Repeating a familiar script, I told him that I would act on this advice’, again withdrawing the inspectors. Similarly, the attack on Iraq was justified by supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction and links with Al Qaida, for which no evidence has yet been produced.
Rumsfeld is also reshaping the military to unquestioningly do what he wants it to do. Although military discipline is necessary in any conflict, it usually accommodates disagreement and discussion about how best to achieve military objectives. Army Secretary Thomas White has resigned and Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki is on his way out. Both opposed invading Iraq. General Tommy Franks is ideal for Rumsfeld – a complete yes-man. During the planning of the attack on Afghanistan, Bush asked Franks what he thought about something Rumsfeld had said. Franks replied: ‘Sir, I think exactly what my secretary thinks, what he’s ever thought, what he will ever think, or whatever he thought he might think.’
The NeoCons have the philosophy, they have created the doctrine, and, with the ‘victory’ in Iraq and the reorganisation of the US military, the power to enforce their vision of US world domination. Onward, Christian soldiers. A new world war has begun.
Leading NeoCons in the Bush Administration
Elliott Abrams – Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the NSC for Near East and North African Affairs – the top policy adviser on the Middle East
Richard Armitage – Deputy US Secretary of State
John Bolton – US Under Secretary of State for Disarmament Affairs and International Security
Paula Dobriansky – Under Secretary for Global Affairs
Douglas Feith – Under Secretary of Defence for Policy
Zalmay Khalilzad – Special Envoy and Ambassador at Large for Free Iraqis, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Afghanistan, Free Iraqis, and outreach to the Muslim community.
Richard Perle – Defence Policy Board, Department of Defence
Peter Rodman – Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs
Donald Rumsfeld – Secretary of Defence
William Schneider – Chairman of the Defence Science Board, Department of Defence
Paul Wolfowitz – Deputy Secretary of Defence
Robert Zoellick – US Trade Representative