JAY BOOKMAN: “The president’s real goal in Iraq”

2002-10-01

Richard Moore

Friends,

I apologize for sending out so few mailings at this
time of global crisis, during the emergence of an
unabashed Fourth Reich.

There are many announcements circulating about
protesting the war, but I just can't get excited about
them.  So hopeless they are, so limited to totally
ineffective and out-dated methods.

And most of the critiques and analyses are so
superficial, usually framed within the Administration's
own phony perspective, or limited to "It's about oil".

It was Desert Storm, and Daddy Bush's proclamation of a
"New World Order" that first started me on my writing
quest.  Everything that's happened since was already
latent in those earlier events.  It was obvious then
that Bush's New World Order, and Desert Storm itself,
were about unilateral American hegemony 'going public'.
Here's what I wrote in 1995 ("Common Sense and the
New World Order"):

     What was the purpose of this elaborate set up?  It has
     been analyzed in terms of managing global oil supplies
     and limiting the modernization of Arab states -- points
     which are surely part of the immediate picture.  But
     from a more global perspective, the Gulf "War" may be
     seen as a carefully orchestrated _precedent_ for the
     military regime planned for the New World Order.

In any case, the article below is a very interesting
one.  It comes close to the analysis that I've been
expressing ever since 1995.  At least closer than
anything else I've seen in a major newspaper.  Here's
the article, and then below that I'll point out its
limitations, as I see them.

rkm

============================================================================
Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 16:53:28 -0700
From: "Butler Crittenden, Ph.D." <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: The president's real goal in Iraq

"You saw the movie 'High Noon'? he asks. "We're Gary Cooper."

http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html

[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 9/29/02 ]

The president's real goal in Iraq


Bookman is the deputy editorial page editor of The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


By JAY BOOKMAN

The official story on Iraq has never made sense. The
connection that the Bush administration has tried to
draw between Iraq and al-Qaida has always seemed
contrived and artificial. In fact, it was hard to
believe that smart people in the Bush administration
would start a major war based on such flimsy evidence.

The pieces just didn't fit. Something else had to be
going on; something was missing.

In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun
to fall into place. As it turns out, this is not really
about Iraq. It is not about weapons of mass
destruction, or terrorism, or Saddam, or U.N.
resolutions.

This war, should it come, is intended to mark the
official emergence of the United States as a
full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility
and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the
culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making,
carried out by those who believe the United States must
seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it
means becoming the "American imperialists" that our
enemies always claimed we were.

Once that is understood, other mysteries solve
themselves. For example, why does the administration
seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once
Saddam is toppled?

Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the
United States will create permanent military bases in
that country from which to dominate the Middle East,
including neighboring Iran.

In an interview Friday, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld brushed aside that suggestion, noting that the
United States does not covet other nations' territory.
That may be true, but 57 years after World War II
ended, we still have major bases in Germany and Japan.
We will do the same in Iraq.

And why has the administration dismissed the option of
containing and deterring Iraq, as we had the Soviet
Union for 45 years? Because even if it worked,
containment and deterrence would not allow the
expansion of American power. Besides, they are beneath
us as an empire. Rome did not stoop to containment; it
conquered. And so should we.

Among the architects of this would-be American Empire
are a group of brilliant and powerful people who now
hold key positions in the Bush administration: They
envision the creation and enforcement of what they call
a worldwide "Pax Americana," or American peace. But so
far, the American people have not appreciated the true
extent of that ambition.

Part of it's laid out in the National Security
Strategy, a document in which each administration
outlines its approach to defending the country. The
Bush administration plan, released Sept. 20, marks a
significant departure from previous approaches, a
change that it attributes largely to the attacks of
Sept. 11.

To address the terrorism threat, the president's report
lays out a newly aggressive military and foreign
policy, embracing pre-emptive attack against perceived
enemies. It speaks in blunt terms of what it calls
"American internationalism," of ignoring international
opinion if that suits U.S. interests. "The best defense
is a good offense," the document asserts.

It dismisses deterrence as a Cold War relic and instead
talks of "convincing or compelling states to accept
their sovereign responsibilities."

In essence, it lays out a plan for permanent U.S.
military and economic domination of every region on the
globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern.
And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark
expansion of our global military presence.

"The United States will require bases and stations
within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia,"
the document warns, "as well as temporary access
arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S.
troops."

The report's repeated references to terrorism are
misleading, however, because the approach of the new
National Security Strategy was clearly not inspired by
the events of Sept. 11. They can be found in much the
same language in a report issued in September 2000 by
the Project for the New American Century, a group of
conservative interventionists outraged by the thought
that the United States might be forfeiting its chance
at a global empire.

"At no time in history has the international security
order been as conducive to American interests and
ideals," the report said. stated two years ago. "The
challenge of this coming century is to preserve and
enhance this 'American peace.' "

Familiar themes

Overall, that 2000 report reads like a blueprint for
current Bush defense policy. Most of what it advocates,
the Bush administration has tried to accomplish. For
example, the project report urged the repudiation of
the anti-ballistic missile treaty and a commitment to a
global missile defense system. The administration has
taken that course.

It recommended that to project sufficient power
worldwide to enforce Pax Americana, the United States
would have to increase defense spending from 3 percent
of gross domestic product to as much as 3.8 percent.
For next year, the Bush administration has requested a
defense budget of $379 billion, almost exactly 3.8
percent of GDP.

It advocates the "transformation" of the U.S. military
to meet its expanded obligations, including the
cancellation of such outmoded defense programs as the
Crusader artillery system. That's exactly the message
being preached by Rumsfeld and others.

It urges the development of small nuclear warheads
"required in targeting the very deep, underground
hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our
potential adversaries." This year the GOP-led U.S.
House gave the Pentagon the green light to develop such
a weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator,
while the Senate has so far balked.

That close tracking of recommendation with current
policy is hardly surprising, given the current
positions of the people who contributed to the 2000
report.

Paul Wolfowitz is now deputy defense secretary. John
Bolton is undersecretary of state. Stephen Cambone is
head of the Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and
Evaluation. Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross are members of
the Defense Policy Board, which advises Rumsfeld. I.
Lewis Libby is chief of staff to Vice President Dick
Cheney. Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense
Department.

'Constabulary duties'

Because they were still just private citizens in 2000,
the authors of the project report could be more frank
and less diplomatic than they were in drafting the
National Security Strategy. Back in 2000, they clearly
identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as primary
short-term targets, well before President Bush tagged
them as the Axis of Evil. In their report, they
criticize the fact that in war planning against North
Korea and Iraq, "past Pentagon wargames have given
little or no consideration to the force requirements
necessary not only to defeat an attack but to remove
these regimes from power."

To preserve the Pax Americana, the report says U.S.
forces will be required to perform "constabulary
duties" -- the United States acting as policeman of the
world -- and says that such actions "demand American
political leadership rather than that of the United
Nations."

To meet those responsibilities, and to ensure that no
country dares to challenge the United States, the
report advocates a much larger military presence spread
over more of the globe, in addition to the roughly 130
nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed.

More specifically, they argue that we need permanent
military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe,
in Latin America and in Southeast Asia, where no such
bases now exist. That helps to explain another of the
mysteries of our post-Sept. 11 reaction, in which the
Bush administration rushed to install U.S. troops in
Georgia and the Philippines, as well as our eagerness
to send military advisers to assist in the civil war in
Colombia.

The 2000 report directly acknowledges its debt to a
still earlier document, drafted in 1992 by the Defense
Department. That document had also envisioned the
United States as a colossus astride the world, imposing
its will and keeping world peace through military and
economic power. When leaked in final draft form,
however, the proposal drew so much criticism that it
was hastily withdrawn and repudiated by the first
President Bush.

Effect on allies

The defense secretary in 1992 was Richard Cheney; the
document was drafted by Wolfowitz, who at the time was
defense undersecretary for policy.

The potential implications of a Pax Americana are
immense.

One is the effect on our allies. Once we assert the
unilateral right to act as the world's policeman, our
allies will quickly recede into the background.
Eventually, we will be forced to spend American wealth
and American blood protecting the peace while other
nations redirect their wealth to such things as health
care for their citizenry.

Donald Kagan, a professor of classical Greek history at
Yale and an influential advocate of a more aggressive
foreign policy -- he served as co-chairman of the 2000
New Century project -- acknowledges that likelihood.

"If [our allies] want a free ride, and they probably
will, we can't stop that," he says. But he also argues
that the United States, given its unique position, has
no choice but to act anyway.

"You saw the movie 'High Noon'? he asks. "We're Gary
Cooper."

Accepting the Cooper role would be an historic change
in who we are as a nation, and in how we operate in the
international arena. Candidate Bush certainly did not
campaign on such a change. It is not something that he
or others have dared to discuss honestly with the
American people. To the contrary, in his foreign policy
debate with Al Gore, Bush pointedly advocated a more
humble foreign policy, a position calculated to appeal
to voters leery of military intervention.

For the same reason, Kagan and others shy away from
terms such as empire, understanding its connotations.
But they also argue that it would be naive and
dangerous to reject the role that history has thrust
upon us. Kagan, for example, willingly embraces the
idea that the United States would establish permanent
military bases in a post-war Iraq.

"I think that's highly possible," he says. "We will
probably need a major concentration of forces in the
Middle East over a long period of time. That will come
at a price, but think of the price of not having it.
When we have economic problems, it's been caused by
disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in
Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies."

Costly global commitment

Rumsfeld and Kagan believe that a successful war
against Iraq will produce other benefits, such as
serving an object lesson for nations such as Iran and
Syria. Rumsfeld, as befits his sensitive position, puts
it rather gently. If a regime change were to take place
in Iraq, other nations pursuing weapons of mass
destruction "would get the message that having them . .
. is attracting attention that is not favorable and is
not helpful," he says.

Kagan is more blunt.

"People worry a lot about how the Arab street is going
to react," he notes. "Well, I see that the Arab street
has gotten very, very quiet since we started blowing
things up."

The cost of such a global commitment would be enormous.
In 2000, we spent $281 billion on our military, which
was more than the next 11 nations combined. By 2003,
our expenditures will have risen to $378 billion. In
other words, the increase in our defense budget from
1999-2003 will be more than the total amount spent
annually by China, our next largest competitor.

The lure of empire is ancient and powerful, and over
the millennia it has driven men to commit terrible
crimes on its behalf. But with the end of the Cold War
and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, a global
empire was essentially laid at the feet of the United
States. To the chagrin of some, we did not seize it at
the time, in large part because the American people
have never been comfortable with themselves as a New
Rome.

Now, more than a decade later, the events of Sept. 11
have given those advocates of empire a new opportunity
to press their case with a new president. So in
debating whether to invade Iraq, we are really debating
the role that the United States will play in the years
and decades to come.

Are peace and security best achieved by seeking strong
alliances and international consensus, led by the
United States? Or is it necessary to take a more
unilateral approach, accepting and enhancing the global
dominance that, according to some, history has thrust
upon us?

If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that
decision knowingly, as a democracy. The price of
maintaining an empire is always high. Kagan and others
argue that the price of rejecting it would be higher
still.

That's what this is about.

======================================

rkm>

As you can see, the article is just beginning to peek
outside the matrix. It identifies elite programs which
are several layers beyond media consensus reality, and
this is rare in mainstream media. Bookman realizes that
he is "not in Kansas anymore", but he's only just begun
to look around at Oz.  His picture has gone from black
& white to color, but only barely.

Let's fill out his picture a bit.  To begin with, let's
add some historical perspective...

   > Accepting the Cooper role would be an historic change
     in who we are as a nation, and in how we operate in the
     international arena.

In fact unilateral American hegemony has been a fact
ever since 1945.  With the Soviets effectively
contained, the USA has acted as 'global cop' throughout
the postwar period.  Perhaps the most comprehensive
documentation of this is Bill Blum's "Killing Hope".
Britain and France tried to challenge the unilateral
nature of this hegemony in the Suez War, and Washington
made it perfectly clear that any independent
imperialist initiative would not be tolerated.

And this was all planned out in detail in 1939, in a
series of sessions of the Council on Foreign Relations.
You can read about that in Sklar's "Trilateralism".
Even before the USA entered World War II, it had
already defined the postwar Bretton Woods regime, with
the UN designed to act as a cover for US imperialist
actions.

It was only in 1945 that the US finally had the power
to exert its hegemony globally.  But in the context of
"who we are as a nation", the US has always been an
expansionist imperialist aggressor. About every thirty
years (1776, 1812, 1846, 1860, 1898, 1918, 1945, 1965,
1990, 2002) US elite interests have either started a war
or jumped into a war - always (except 1812) coming out
with an expanded economic and military sphere of
influence.  And every one of those wars has been
enabled by some kind of phony incident or media
hysteria. (See: Zinn, "A People's History of the United
States".)

Baby Bush is not changing how we are as a nation, he is
only finally admitting what we have always been as a
nation, even before we were a nation. (See: Fresia,
"Toward an American Revolution".)

---

And now for a bit of political perspective...

   > If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that
     decision knowingly, as a democracy.

Democracy?  What democracy?  Ever since the
Constitution was illegally foisted on the American
people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy.  The
Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed
elite committee, and it was designed to bring three
kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and
the People.  All were to be subjugated to the interests
of a wealthy elite. That's what republics were all
about.  And that's how they have functioned ever since.

---

A bit of economic perspective would also add some color...

   > The cost of such a global commitment would be enormous.

The cost to whom?  To whom is this observation addressed?

The costs are paid by the American taxpayer (and
soldier); the benefits accrue to global capitalism.
Capitalism, as always, externalizes its costs and
internalizes its profits. And capitalism is simply the
most evolved form of elite domination, a political
doctrine masquerading as an economic mythology.

If the cost observation is intended for elite ears, a
kind of counter-argument to war, then it misses the
point.  Every dollar spent in the maintenance of empire
goes directly into the coffers of some multinational
corporation, selling either arms, explosives, or
petroleum.  To the elite, war has no costs but only
profits.  And as a result of that maintenance -- costly
only to the taxpayer -- all the rest of the
multinationals are able to reap profits from the
investment realm created.  If one wants to argue
self-interest with elites, one needs a much deeper
understanding of what elite interests are.

If the cost observation is intended for the ears of
taxpayers, then it falls on ears which are impotent,
trapped in a matrix which accepts the shallow myth of
democracy.  90% of the calls to Congress and the
President are against the war, and that will have no
effect. Indeed the war has already begun, the increased
bombings have started, the troops are assembled in the
region.  And yet people still believe in democracy.
What can one say except, "Open your bleedin' eyes, the
Emperor has no clothes!"

---

I credit Bookman for peeking at least a little bit out
of the matrix.  It's understandable that his eyes are
dazzled, and he hasn't had time to look around much.  I
suppose he remains most deeply rooted in the matrix
with this statement:

   > Are peace and security best achieved by seeking
     strong alliances and international consensus, led by
     the United States? Or is it necessary to take a more
     unilateral approach, accepting and enhancing the global
     dominance that, according to some, history has thrust
     upon us?

Another metaphor for our era, besides The Matrix, is
Orwell's 1984.  His "War is Peace" and "Freedom is
Slavery" refer to how perception can be the exact
opposite of reality.  And the Matrix is also about
reality being the opposite of perception.

By "peace", Bookman refers to war. His question is only
about who should authorize the war.  By "security", he
means the maintenance of global capitalism, which
brings insecurity to all except elites, and can never
do otherwise.

all the best,
rkm
wexford

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