Paul Wolfowitz's Confidential Memo on Post-Iraq Plans
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
April 14, 2003
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From: Paul Wolfowitz
To: Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Don Rumsfeld, Bill Kristol, Jim Woolsey
In re: PNAC's next moves (**For Your Eyes Only**)
Rather than submit this memo to the entire Project for the New American Century board, I thought I'd run it by you guys first -- the front-line, so to speak, of PNAC.
OK, here goes.
I think we need to lay low for awhile, take it down a notch or two, if you know what I mean.
Given what's happening in Iraq, with the Arabs throughout the Middle East getting increasingly enraged about the U.S. wanting to "colonize" them, and finally with with ABC's Nightline doing an entire program about PNAC and our enormous influence on U.S. foreign/military policy, and even a story on PNAC in the New York Times -- given all this publicity, plus the shrill invective against us on the internet, maybe we're just too much "out there," too visible, too much of a target.
What happens in such cases is that people start paying too much attention and figuring out what we're up to, and their take on those investigations often is quite negative. And, of course, what we do affects the President, and, more than anything, we need him to be re-elected in 2004 in order for us to carry out our future plans.
It's great that we're in a position to more or less dictate U.S. policy -- after all (and ain't it fun?), we ARE the makers of U.S. policy -- but now that the military/political programs we're advocating are being implemented, maybe we should disappear from the spotlight for awhile and operate less publicly.
We needed the visibility earlier, when we were wandering alone and reviled in the desert, so to speak, and needed to get our ideas out to lure others to our cause, but we're in power now and I don't think it wise to be scrutinized so carefully these days, thus endangering our long-range goals.
So I'm suggesting at least a six-months moratorium on public appearances and statements by PNAC officials, especially the six of us, who are the ones usually called on by the media for comments. Meanwhile, we work, sub rosa, to implement more of our agreed-upon programs.
Which brings us to our strategy and the problems with being so public about it: In our papers and articles, we talked about aggressively using military and other means to establish our primacy in various regions and in the world in general; I think we should spin it so that, from now on, we throw in the term "diplomatically" as well. So it doesn't appear that the U.S. is just militarist in nature, with no other means at our disposal to impose our will.
For example, after Iraq is stabilized more, we may want to urge a move on Syria or Iran or even, some day, on Saudi Arabia -- although it might make more sense to start with a country that, as with Iraq, can't put up much of a fight: Lebanon, say-- we go after Hezbollah -- or Yemen.
Iraq, as you know, was to be our "demonstration project," as it were: i.e., we would provide an example of the kind of death and destruction we could visit on those leaders and countries that chose to oppose our desires. It looks like we might need one more demonstration project before everyone finally gets the message: mess with us, prepare for a little "shock and awe." And that's why I think it would be easier, more practical, and certainly less dangerous to our trooops to go after Hezbollah in Lebanon, or Yemen. It'll be easy as pie, with, most likely, the least number of casualties all the way around.
Now, the object is to assert our hegemonic role in the area, either occupying a nation ourselves or, even better, a la Afghanistan, making sure that we help someone to power who will do our bidding. Won't be hard to find someone willing to join the "coalition" after we've destroyed half their country.
But if our goals and motivations are bandied about too publicly, we may actually lose our influence and ability to program the future of U.S. foreign/military policy.
Now, you may be surprised by the above. After all, I'm supposed to be the giant "hawk" of the group -- well, OK, Perle's up there, too -- and here I am seeming to be urging caution and go-it-slow.
I know that some of you feel that, with the momentum generated from Iraq, we should just keep going immediately into Syria, while the Arabs are in a state of confusion and shock. But, even though I think we could fight a mop-up war on Iraq and take on Syria at the same time, and maybe even North Korea is we have to, I just don't think it makes sense to stir up the Arab hornets' nest in the Middle East one right on top of another. It could backfire on us, and blowback is never pretty.
Plus, we have a lot of rebuilding, repairing and reshaping of our military and stock of machines and weaponry after Iraq -- damn the intelligence that predicted a cakewalk and immediate high-level surrenders! (On the other hand, the defense contractors -- our financial supporters-- are quite happy that the U.S. military depleted so much of its stores in Iraq.) So a few months won't make that much difference, and would permit us to get back up to fighting speed, so that our military threat is credible and might induce Syria to give in without a fight.
Anyway, maybe it's all a moot point. Maybe things are proceeding so fast -- with Assad being provocative in Syria, harboring Iraqi
officials, making rude noises, thumbing his nose at the U.S. -- that we should consider kicking into the original plan and try to get the current government to leave peacefully or else. If it works, we democratize the place, putting in U.S.-sympathetic officials and, as with Iraq, opening the economy to U.S. corporations.
But taking on Syria frontally might be premature; I say, let's hit them in their proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon. They'll get the message.
Final note: Wherever we establish democracy in the Middle East, we have to make sure that Islamicists are not ever in a position where they could assume power. That is, we can't have democratic elections in any of these countries that turn out the wrong way; it wouldn't look good if we had to go back in there after an election and re-do the whole procedure. (Already, we're hearing too many Iraqis thanking us for freeing them from Saddam's cruel yoke and then telling us to get out and leave their country to them. Those ungrateful bastards.)
We have a lot of work to do. How long we -- I mean the Bush Administration -- will be able to get away with this kind of policy is always unknown, so let's get our act together, before our goals get unmasked and perhaps negatively impact on the 2004 election. If there is one.#
Copyright 2003 by Bernard Weiner