When the Bush Administration keeps hauling out its "we-didn't-know-nothin'"
spin -- about Katrina, 9/11, Iraq, torture -- in effect they're using
incompetence as their defense. How can you try to censure or impeach us,
they're saying, when we didn't know what was happening, what to do or how
to do it?
Their incompetence by this time has been well-documented and par for the
Bush course. But, as the evidence demonstrates, in each of those cases
they knew a lot more than they let on, having received adequate warnings
of the scenarios that were about to unfold.
They knew the levees might well be breached in New Orleans and did
nothing; more than 1000 died. They knew a major al Qaida attack was coming
in late-Summer 2001, probably by air and aimed at icon American targets in
New York and Washington, and did nothing; nearly 3000 died. They knew
their own advisers had alerted them that Saddam had no WMD and no
connection to the 9/11 attacks, but they went ahead anyway and lied the
Congress and American people into Iraq; tens of thousands of U.S. troops
and Iraqi civilians have died and are continuing to do so. They knew,
because they had approved the "harsh" interrogation methods, that tortures
were being carried out on prisoners in U.S. care, but they did nothing
(until photos leaked to the press); more than 100 detainees have died, and
many thousands more have been brutalized and/or humiliated. They knew that
eavesdropping on American citizens was illegal without court-sanctioned
warrants, but they went ahead anyway, convinced nobody would ever learn of
All of that is reprehensible, and will be added to the list of charges for
the eventual impeachment hearings of Bush and Cheney, and/or to the
criminal trials of those two and their subordinates. But what I propose to
talk about here are not specifics of the high crimes, misdemeanors and
thorough-going bunglings. To do that is to focus on the trees while
ignoring the forest; we need to go deeper and find out who planted the
AN IDEOLOGY OF GREED & CONQUEST
To get a handle on how Bush&Co. took America into its current domestic and
foreign crises, one must first understand that their policies and actions
did not originate after Bush was installed in the White House in January
of 2001. The philosophy of greed and power-amassment already was in place
years prior to that.
And so it's time to re-examine The Project for The New American Century,
about which still too little is known by the American public. There were a
number of us writing about PNAC three years ago -- William Rivers Pitt,
myself, Neil Mackay, John Pilger, Tj Templeton and others -- but, after an
initial flurry of interest by the media, discussion about that neo-con
think tank mostly dissolved.
Much of the following takes off from my original 2003 essay
"How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer:"
A PNAC Primer" -- which is the most widely reprinted article I've ever
written. That piece has been updated to reflect the new evidence that has
surfaced in the past several years.
THE ORIGINS OF THE CRISIS
Most of us Americans saw the end of the Cold War as a harbinger of a more
peaceful globe, and we relaxed knowing that the Communist world was no
longer a threat to the U.S. The Soviet Union, our partner in MAD (Mutually
Assured Destruction) and Cold War rivalry around the globe, was no more.
This meant a partial vacuum in international affairs. Nature abhors a
The only major vacuum-filler still standing after the Cold War was the
United States. The U.S. could continue the so-called "soft imperialism"
approach, the kind of diplomatic, well-disguised defense of U.S. interests
(largely corporate) carried out under Bush#1, Reagan, Clinton, et al. Or
one could go the Karl Rove route of speeding up the process and
accomplishing those same domestic and foreign ends overtly -- with an
attitude of arrogance and in-your-face bullying -- within maybe one or two
Some of the ideological roots of today's Bush Administration
power-wielders could be traced back to the political philosopher Leo
Strauss (short version: act aggressively, do whatever you have to do to
win), and to GOP rightist Barry Goldwater and his rabid anti-communist
followers in the early-1960s. But, for simplicity's sake let's stick
closer to our own time.
In the early-1990s, a group of ideologues and power-politicians, most of
whom had been in positions of authority in the Reagan Administration,
found themselves on the outside looking in during the Clinton era, and
were relegated to the fringe of the Republican Party's far-right. The
members of this group in 1997 would found
Project for the New American Century (PNAC); their aim was to
prepare for the day when Republicans regained control of the White House,
and, it was hoped, the other two branches of government as well. When that
day came, their vision of how the U.S. should move in the world would be
in place and ready to go, straight off-the-shelf into official policy.
PNAC was not a rag-tag group of lightweight amateurs. The PNAC founders
were heavy hitters, with juice: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, James
Woolsey, Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, James Bolton, Zalmay
M. Khalilzad, William Bennett, Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, et al., most of whom
were movers-and-shakers in previous Administrations, savvy as to how to
exercise power to the max in Washington. But even given their reputations
and clout, the openly militarist views of this group -- attacking other
countries "pre-emptively," for example -- were regarded as too extreme to
be taken seriously by the generally mainstream, small-government,
isolationist conservatives who controlled the Republican Party.
THE EARLY DAYS OF PNAC
To prepare the ground for the PNAC-like ideas that were circulating in the
HardRight, several wealthy billionaires and corporations helped set up
far-right think-tanks, and bought up various media outlets -- newspapers,
magazines, TV networks, radio talk shows, cable channels, etc. -- in
support of that day when all the political tumblers would click into place
and the HardRight cabal and their supporters could assume control.
That moment arrived with the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush
in 2000. The temporary "outsiders" from PNAC were once again powerful
"insiders," placed in important positions from which they could exert
maximum pressure on U.S. policy: Cheney is Vice President, Rumsfeld is
Defense Secretary, Wolfowitz up until last year was Deputy Defense
Secretary (now president of the World Bank), I. Lewis Libby (now under
indictment in the Plamegate scandal) was Cheney's Chief of Staff, Elliot
Abrams was put in charge of Middle East policy at the National Security
Council (and is now a Deputy Secretary of State), Dov Zakheim was named
comptroller for the Defense Department, John Bolton (now U.S. Ambassador
to the United Nations) was Undersecretary of State, Richard Perle was
chair of the important Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon, former CIA
director James Woolsey was on that panel as well, etc. etc. PNAC's
chairman, Bill Kristol, is the editor of The Weekly Standard. In short,
PNAC had a lock on foreign/military policy-creation in the Bush
But, in order to unleash their foreign/military campaigns without taking
all sorts of flak from the traditional wing of the conservative GOP, they
needed a context that would permit them free rein. The events of 9/11 rode
to their rescue. In one of their major reports, written in 2000, PNAC
noted that "the process of [military] transformation, even if it brings
revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic
and catalyzing event --
like a new Pearl Harbor."
The Bush Administration, which came to see 9/11 as an "opportunity," used
9/11 and the fear that it generated in the general populace as their cover
for enacting all sorts of draconian measures domestically and as their
rationalization for launching military campaigns abroad. The Patriot Act,
drafted earlier, was rushed through a frightened Congress in the days
following 9/11 and the mysterious anthrax attack; few members even had
read the huge document. The Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) to
go after al Qaida in Afghanistan now is hauled out by the White House to
justify torture, domestic eavesdropping, and anything else the
"commander-in-chief" wants to authorize during "wartime."
THE DOMESTIC RAMIFICATIONS
Today, the Bush manipulators, led by Karl Rove, continue to utilize fear,
hyped-up patriotism and a permanent "war on terrorism" as the basis for
their policy agenda, just as they did in 2004 to get Bush re-elected.
This, in order to continue to fulfill their primary objectives, not the
least of which is to roll back and, where possible, decimate and eliminate
domestic social programs that the far-right has hated since the New
Deal/Great Society days, and to free corporate ambitions from government
regulation. In short, a great leap backward to turn-of-the-(20th)-century
By and large, these long-established social programs (Social Security,
Medicare, Head Start, etc.) are popular with Americans, so Bush&Co. can't
attack them frontally. However, if all the monies are tied up in wars,
defense, tax cuts, etc., they can go to the public and, in effect, say:
"We'd love to continue to fund education and environmental protection and
drugs for the elderly, but you see there's simply no extra money left over
after we go after the bad guys. It's not our fault."
Up until recently, that stealth strategy has worked. But, as Bush's
fast-falling approval ratings suggest, the public is not buying that line
so unquestioningly any more. Even so, Rove seems wedded to what's worked
so well for the White House in the past, and so continues to use fear of
terrorism as the main selling-point to the American public.
Don't get me wrong. Islamist fanatics dedicated to killing are real and
deadly and must be stopped. The question is: How to do that in ways that
enhance rather than endanger America's long-term national interests, and
in ways that protect the very liberties and freedoms the terrorists
allegedly are against, and what the neo-cons claim to be defending? The
Bush approach is to use a howitzer in hunting for gnats; after all, Bush
said, the Constitution is
just a goddamned piece of paper."
One doesn't have to guess what the PNAC guys might be thinking, since
they're quite open and proud of their theories and strategies. Indeed,
their writings lay out quite openly what they're up to, but few took such
extreme talk seriously. Now that they're in power, actually making the
policy they only dreamed about a decade or so ago, with all sorts of
scarifying consequences for America and the rest of the world, we need to
educate ourselves quickly as to how PNAC, and other HardRight think-tanks,
work and what their future plans might be.
Given the absolute mess the Bush Administration has made in Iraq, the
neo-cons, whose ideology underpinned the invasion and occupation of that
country, are somewhat in disfavor these days. But, importantly, they
haven't given up on their ultimate goal of transforming the geopolitics of
various key regions in the world, and installing U.S.-friendly
governments, by force if necessary. The policy of setting up new
"democracies," however, comes with a caveat: Your country had better elect
the right candidates, meaning those that will accommodate U.S. desires.
Look how the Bush Administration is punishing Hamas in Palestine, Prime
Minister Al-Jaafari in Iraq, President Chavez in Venezuela. All
democratically elected but not quite what the Bush White House had in
PNAC'S PROUD PAPER TRAIL
So let's take a quick, chronological look at PNAC, to see how we got from
there to here. Some of these PNAC documents and strategies, which now are
official U.S. policy, you may have heard about before, but I've expanded
and updated as much as possible.
1. In 1992, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney had a
drafted for the Pentagon, written by Paul Wolfowitz, then
Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy. (Both men would later help found
PNAC.) In the report, the U.S. government was urged, as the world's sole
remaining Superpower, to move aggressively and militarily around the
globe. The report called for pre-emptive attacks and ad hoc coalitions,
but said that the U.S. should be ready to act alone when "collective
action cannot be orchestrated." The central strategy was to "establish and
protect a new order" that accounts "sufficiently for the interests of the
advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our
leadership," while at the same time maintaining a military dominance
capable of "deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger
regional or global role." Wolfowitz outlined plans for military
intervention in Iraq as an action necessary to assure "access to vital raw
material, primarily Persian Gulf oil" and to prevent the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction and threats from terrorism.
Somehow, this report leaked to the press, whereupon the negative response
was immediate. Senator Robert Byrd led the Democratic charge: "The basic
thrust of the document seems to be this: We love being the sole remaining
superpower in the world, and we want so much to remain that way that we
are willing to put at risk the basic health of our economy and well-being
of our people to do so." Clearly, the objective political forces that
could support this policy free of major resistance hadn't yet coalesced in
the U.S. And so President Bush the Elder repudiated the paper and sent it
back to the drawing boards.
2. Various neo-con/HardRight intellectuals outside the government were
spelling out the new PNAC policy in books and influential journals. Zalmay
Khalilzad (formerly associated with big oil companies, currently U.S.
ambassador to Iraq) wrote an important volume in 1995, "From Containment
to Global Leadership: America & the World After the Cold War"; the import
of this book was to urge the U.S. to move aggressively in the world and
thus to exercise effective control over the planet's natural resources. A
year later, in 1996, neo-conservative leaders Bill Kristol and Robert
Kagan, in their Foreign Affairs article "Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign
Policy," came right out and said the goal for the U.S. had to be nothing
less than "benevolent global hegemony," a euphemism for total
U.S. domination, but "benevolently" exercised, of course.
3. In 1998, PNAC unsuccessfully lobbied President Clinton to attack Iraq
and remove Saddam Hussein from power. A
January letter from PNAC urged America to initiate that
war even if the U.S. could not muster full support from the Security
Council at the United Nations. Sound familiar? Clinton replied that he was
focusing on dealing with al-Qaida terrorist cells. But PNAC's lobbying was
able to convince a GOP-dominated Congress to pass the "Liberation of Iraq
Act," with nearly $100 million earmarked for Iraqi opposition groups.
LAYING OUT "GLOBAL HEGEMONY" PLAN
4. In September of 2000, PNAC, anticipating a GOP victory in the upcoming
presidential election, issued its white paper on
"Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for
the New Century." The PNAC report was quite
frank about why the U.S. would want to move toward imperialist militarism,
a Pax Americana, because with the Soviet Union out of the picture, now is
the time most "conducive to American interests and ideals. ... The
challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this 'American
As Neil Mackay
observed: "In its own words," he wrote, the PNAC report is a
"'blueprint for maintaining global U.S. pre-eminence, precluding the rise
of a great-power rival and shaping the international security order in
line with American principles and interests'." This 'American grand
strategy,' it says, must be advanced 'as far into the future as
And how to preserve, enhance and advance this Pax Americana? The
Rivers Pitt noted, lies in following a five-fold plan:
"Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia
and the Middle East; Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our
fighter aircraft, submarine and surface fleet capabilities; Develop and
deploy a global missile-defense system, and develop a strategic dominance
of space; Control the 'International Commons' of cyberspace; Increase
defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, up
from the 3 percent currently spent."
Most ominously, Pitt, wrote, "this PNAC document described four 'Core
Missions' for the American military. The two central requirements are for
American forces to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major
theater wars,' and to 'perform the "constabulary" duties associated with
shaping the security environment in critical regions.' Note well that PNAC
does not want America to be prepared to fight simultaneous major wars.
That is old school. In order to bring this plan to fruition, the military
must fight these wars one way or the other to establish American dominance
for all to see."
In serving as world "constable," the PNAC report went on, no other
countervailing forces will be permitted to get in the way. Such actions
"demand American political leadership rather than that of the United
Nations," for example. No country will be permitted to get close to parity
with the U.S. when it comes to weaponry or influence. Therefore, more U.S.
military bases will be established in the various regions of the globe.
Post-Saddam Iraq would serve as one of those advance military bases.
Currently, it is estimated that the U.S. now has more than 150 military
bases and deployments in different countries around the world, with the
most recent major increase being in the Caspian Sea/Afghanistan/Middle
East areas, the so-called "arc of oil" states in that area of the world.
5. George W. Bush was moved into the White House in January of 2001.
Shortly thereafter, a report,
Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century," was
commissioned from the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy -- yep,
that James Baker, the Bush consigliore. The report advocated a more
aggressive U.S. posture in the world and called for a "reassessment of the
role of energy in American foreign policy," with access to oil repeatedly
cited as a "security imperative." It's possible that inside Cheney's
secret energy-panel papers, which he refuses to release to Congress or the
American people, are references to foreign-policy plans for how to gain
military control of oilfields across the globe. We do know now that
maps were rolled out at those energy-panel meetings,
which detailed which foreign oil-companies might get a slice of the Iraq
"SWEEP IT ALL UP, RELATED OR NOT"
6. In February of 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said publicly that Iraq was contained
military threat to its neighbors or the U.S. But mere hours
after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rumsfeld ordered his aides to begin
planning for an attack on Iraq, even though his intelligence officials
told him it was an al-Qaida operation and there was no connection between
Iraq and the attacks. "Go massive," the
aides' notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up.
Things related and not." Rumsfeld leaned heavily on the FBI and CIA to
find any shred of evidence linking the Iraq government to 9/11, but they
weren't able to do so. So he set up his own fact-finding group in the
Special Plans, that would provide him with whatever shaky connections
it could find or surmise.
Paul O'Neill, Bush's Secretary of the Treasury, reported that
he was astonished that the first Cabinet meetings in January 2001 were
focusing on war with Iraq. The leaked
Downing Street Memos also supply proof of how far along the
war-plans were developed, years before the invasion began.
William Rivers Pitt offered some intriguing possibilities
about why this Bush&Co. obsession with attacking Iraq:
"The purpose of this is threefold: 1) To acquire control
of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise; 2) To fire a
warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle East; 3) To
establish in Iraq a military staging area for the eventual invasion and
overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including some that are
allies of the United States...
"At the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The drive behind
this war is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of
Islam as it exists in both government and society within the Middle
East. Once this is accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten
lanes wide and steppin' out over the line."
And, of course, inherent in all these PNAC plans is for
the U.S. to act in concert with its one surefire ally in the region,
Israel, which has to be supported and protected economically and
militarily. (Jews and non-Jews alike in PNAC worked hard to maintain U.S.
support for Israel.) The U.S. has a friend it can count on, Israel has a
protector against its Arab neighbors. A two-country backscratching system.
"PRE-EMPTIVE" WARS OF CHOICE
7. Feeling confident that all plans were on track for moving aggressively
in the world, the Bush Administration in September of 2002 published the
Security Strategy of the United States of America."
The official policy of the U.S. government, as proudly proclaimed in this
major document, is virtually identical to the policy proposals in various
PNAC white papers and similar ones from other think tanks, such as the
American Enterprise Institute, the operational hub of Washington's
Chief among these proposals are: 1) "Pre-emptive" wars should be launched,
even if there is no meaningful provocation or imminent threat, whenever
the U.S. thinks a country may be amassing too much power and/or could
provide some sort of competition in the "benevolent hegemony" region. A
later corollary rethinks the country's atomic policy: nuclear weapons
would no longer be considered defensive, but could be used offensively in
support of political/economic ends; so-called "mini-nukes" could be
employed in these regional wars. 2) International treaties and opinion are
to be ignored whenever they interfere with U.S. imperial goals. 3) The new
policies "will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe
and Northeast Asia."
In short, the Bush Administration seems to see the U.S., admiringly, as a
New Rome, an empire with its foreign legions, and threat of
"shock-and-awe" attacks, including with nuclear weapons, keeping the
outlying colonies, and potential competitors, in line. Those who aren't
fully in accord with these goals better get out of the way; "you're either
with us or against us."
"FIXING INTELLIGENCE AROUND THE POLICY"
8. Paul O'Neill's wonderment at the early emphasis on making war on Iraq
was well-placed. Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair secretly were
colluding precisely to launch that war, even while they were telling their
skeptical publics that there were no plans to do so. We now know that Bush
told some U.S. Senators in March of 2002
"Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out," and that Blair and Bush
agreed in July 2002 to
launch such a war. (Four years earlier, when talking with his
speechwriter about a possible run for President,
then-Governor Bush said of Iraq: "If I have a chance to
invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it.")
Even today, Bush hauls out his
retread lie that he did everything possible to avoid war and
was hoping to forestall it through diplomacy. In the latest
White House/Downing Street Memo, we learn that he even
considered provoking Saddam into providing a casus belli by flying a plane
low over Iraq painted with United Nations insignia on it, in hopes that
Iraq would shoot it down. Likewise, Bush continues to lie that Saddam
would not let the U.N. inspectors back in to verify that he had no WMD;
Saddam did let them in, the inspectors weren't finding anything, and Bush
quickly launched his attack.
Neither country had the proof required about Saddam's supposed caches of
WMD, so, according to the top-secret
Downing Street Memos, which were leaked to the British press
in mid-2005, it was decided to "fix the intelligence around the policy."
In other words, Bush&Co. would move the war plans forward and, in the
interim, try to cobble together some reasonable-sounding "intelligence"
that could justify the invasion. Hence, Cheney's red-hot anger that the
CIA couldn't, or wouldn't, come up with the proof required, so Rumsfeld
then established his own in-house Office of Special Plans, staffed with
PNAC political types rather than intelligence analysts. The required
"intelligence" was pasted together from unreliable raw data and rumors
from dubious exiles supplied by Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.
That "intelligence" was stove-piped directly to Cheney in the White House,
thus avoiding having to vet it through the government's professional
analysts, and the green light was turned on, with Powell delivering the
laughable pack of lies to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003. The
Council wouldn't vote for a specific authorization for war and so Bush
hastily launched "shock-and-awe" bombing and the ground-invasion of that
country before the international community could organize itself
effectively to resist.
Bush two months later, standing under a huge "Mission Accomplished"
banner, declared that the U.S. "has prevailed" over the Iraqi enemy.
Expecting to be welcomed as "liberators," and with no Plan B to rely on in
case that didn't happen, the U.S. soon became bogged down fighting a
mostly nationalist insurgency that continues until this day, one that grew
in ferocity because the U.S. was responsible not only for an enormous loss
of Iraqi civilians as "collateral damage," numbered in the tens of
thousands, but also because of lack of employment for young men and the
much-publicized torture and humiliation of thousands of detained Iraqis.
Iraq then became a magnet, and
perfect training ground, for jihadist fighters from all over
the Middle East.
SUMMARY & PNAC'S FUTURE PLANS
Everyone loves a winner, and American citizens are no different. Bush's
approval numbers were unusually high after his "Mission Accomplished"
speech. The situation is quite different today, with Bush's numbers down
into the low-30s (Cheney is at 18%!), and with a strong majority believing
the Iraq War cannot be won.
By following the PNAC precepts, the costs have been huge in troops and
treasure, and in damage to America's reputation. Bush&Co. may well be
losing the larger war around the globe: the U.S. now lacks moral stature
and standing in much of the world, is revealed as a liar for all to see
(no WMDs in Iraq, no connection to 9/11, no quick handing-over the interim
reins of government to the Iraqis as initially promised), has destroyed a
good share of the United Nation's effectiveness and prestige, is
needlessly alienating our traditional allies, is infuriating key elements
of the Muslim world (especially in the Middle East), and providing
political and emotional ammunition for anti-U.S. terrorists, etc.
Already, we're talking about half a trillion -- trillion, with a T! --
dollars in costs for the Iraq War and reconstruction. And PNAC is deeply
involved in preparing the ground for Bush's next war, which may either be
a ground invasion of Iran or, more likely, a joint Israeli/U.S. or
U.S./U.K. air assault on that country's fledgling nuclear facilities and
scientific laboratories. The propaganda assault against Iran already has
begun, and it is eerily similar to the pre-Iraq war propaganda. It would
appear that the evidence is once again being "fixed around the policy."
The consequences of such an assault on Iran -- unlike Iraq, Iran is a
formidable Mideast power -- are barely addressed.
One can believe that maybe PNAC sincerely believes its rhetoric -- that
instituting U.S.-style "free-markets" and "democratically-elected"
governments in Iraq and the other authoritarian-run countries of the
Islamic Middle East will be good both for the citizens of that region and
for American interests, but even if that were true, it's clear that these
neo-con incompetents are not operating in the world of Middle Eastern
These are armchair theoreticians, most of whom made sure not to serve in
the military in Vietnam, who truly believed, for example, that the Iraqis
would welcome the invading U.S. forces with bouquets of flowers and kisses
when they "liberated" their country from the horribleness of Saddam
Hussein's reign. Most Iraqis, especially the majority Shias, were happy to
be freed from Saddam's long reign of terror. But, as it stands now, U.S.
military forces are more likely to remain trapped in a political/religious
quagmire for years there, given that so many of the Shia population, along
with the rebellious minority Sunnis, just want the occupying soldiers to
BIG ON IDEAS, SMALL ON REAL-WORLD BRAINS
Despite the utter cockup that the Bush Administration has made of Iraq,
PNAC theorists continue to believe that remaking the political structure
of the Middle East should proceed as planned. It will be done by force if
necessary, although they hope the example of what the U.S. did to Iraq
will make war unnecessary.
These are men of big ideas who don't really think. They certainly don't
think through what takes place in the real world, when the genies of war
and religious righteousness are let out of the bottle. The military
planners did great with the actual invasion, but when the Saddam
government collapsed, and with it law and order, and much of the
population remained sullen and resentful towards the U.S., the Bush
Administration had no prepared way of dealing with this new situation on
the ground. They were dangerously slow to react, and had to change
Occupation administrators several times; many of the appointees dispatched
by the White House as political favors were young novices with no
expertise or smarts about the complexities of Iraqi cultural and political
No, friends, the PNAC boys and their AEI-type allies are dangerous
ideologues playing with matches in a region soaked in gasoline, and the
U.S. is going to get burned badly even more in years to come unless the
Bush Administration's hold on power is broken. Since censure and
impeachment at this stage are problematic (though we must continue to
agitate for them, making those topics part of the daily discourse), the
surest way to accomplish this is to defeat the Administration's party at
the polls in November 2006. That would result in Democrats taking over the
House, thus breaking the HardRight momentum that has done, and is doing,
such great damage to America's reputation abroad and to our country
internally, especially to our Constitution and the economy.
Burdened with an unpopular president and a corruption-ravaged party, the
GOP looks weak in the early run-up to the November voting. But this
election defeat of the Republicans will happen only if there is a huge
grassroots campaign to defeat them, and if there is genuine reform of the
voting process. Right now, the GOP continues effectively to control the
voting machinery and the vote-counting software, and may well have
manipulated the election results in 2002 and 2004. We must work tirelessly
to ensure electoral integrity and transparent ballot-counting.
We don't need or want an emperor in our country. We don't need huge tax
cuts for the wealthy when the economy is stagnating or tanking. We don't
need more "pre-emptive" wars, we don't need more shredding of
constitutional due process. Instead, we need opposition leaders with big
ideas who are capable of creative thinking. We need peace and justice in
the Middle East to help alter the chemistry of the soil in which Islamist
terrorism grows. We need jobs and economic growth at home, and we need
authentic and effective "homeland security" consistent with our civil
liberties. In short, we need a new Administration, which means that we
need to get on with our serious work to make all this change happen. ASAP.
Organize, organize!, ORGANIZE! The first primaries are only several months
Copyright 2006, by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international
relations, has taught at various universities, worked as a writer-editor
with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers
( www.crisispapers.org ). He is available for public speaking events. For
comments: >> firstname.lastname@example.org <<.