|"Operation Shock and Awe" or the bombing of Baghdad by US Military|
As one of the minority of Americans that bothered to pay attention - seeing the Bush/Cheney unholy matrimony to perpetual war for personal profit and the spread of narcissistic exceptionalism as the evil it is - I watched otherwise sane people turn into seething brats and bigoted bullies.
As far as Bush and Cheney, now there is a pair of war-mongers for the history books. From Lawrence Wilkerson (former aide to General Powell who prepared Powell's infamous U.N. speech on Iraq, only to later renounce it), in a February 6, 2013, interview with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, as they discussed the Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State General Colin Powell speech addressing the United Nations Security Council and the movement towards the War ON Iraq:
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: First of all, Amy, I don’t believe that the hype about that presentation having been the ultimate presentation, as it were, that led us to war with Iraq. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others had decided to go to war with Iraq long before Colin Powell gave that presentation. That said, that presentation was a moment in time that convinced a lot of people, in America first, in the international community, maybe even on the U.N. Security Council in one or two cases, that they had been previously wrong to doubt that he had weapons of mass destruction. And in that sense, it added to the momentum of the war. President Bush himself has written in his book, had he known that there were no WMD, he might have made a different decision. I don’t think Richard Cheney would have made a different decision. But it wasn’t the seminal moment that sent us into war; it was just one of those moments. And as one of those moments, as I’ve said before and as you quoted me, I feel like it was the lowest point in my professional and personal life that I had a hand in managing it.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you—where did the information come from? Explain how you did put this together.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: The information came from, in our intelligence system at the time, the 16 entities that compose our intelligence services, and spoken for by the then-master of that intelligence community, George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence, and vouchsafed multiple times by his deputy, the DDCI, John McLaughlin. But it came from a much wider array, Amy. It came from Israel. It came from France. It came from Jordan. It came from Germany. Indeed, it came from almost every intelligence service that, at one time or another, had fed into the U.S. process with regard to Iraq. And frankly, we were all wrong. Was the intelligence politicized in addition to being wrong at its roots? Absolutely. And the leader of that politicization was the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney.
Keep in mind, Cheney (and George Bush's baby bro, Jeb) was part of the Project For A New American Century, a "think tank" of neo-conservatives who had decided in the 1990's that we should take out Saddam Hussein and attack Iraq. From an "Open Letter to the President" written and signed by many of the principals of the PNAC:
Dear Mr. President,
Many of us were involved in organizing the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf in 1990 to support President Bush's policy of expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Seven years later, Saddam Hussein is still in power in Baghdad. And despite his defeat in the Gulf War, continuing sanctions, and the determined effort of UN inspectors to fetter out and destroy his weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has been able to develop biological and chemical munitions. To underscore the threat posed by these deadly devices, the Secretaries of State and Defense have said that these weapons could be used against our own people. And you have said that this issue is about "the challenges of the 21st Century."
Iraq's position is unacceptable. While Iraq is not unique in possessing these weapons, it is the only country which has used them -- not just against its enemies, but its own people as well. We must assume that Saddam is prepared to use them again. This poses a danger to our friends, our allies, and to our nation.
It is clear that this danger cannot be eliminated as long as our objective is simply "containment," and the means of achieving it are limited to sanctions and exhortations. As the crisis of recent weeks has demonstrated, these static policies are bound to erode, opening the way to Saddam's eventual return to a position of power and influence in the region. Only a determined program to change the regime in Baghdad will bring the Iraqi crisis to a satisfactory conclusion.
For years, the United States has tried to remove Saddam by encouraging coups and internal conspiracies. These attempts have all failed. Saddam is more wily, brutal and conspiratorial than any likely conspiracy the United States might mobilize against him. Saddam must be overpowered; he will not be brought down by a coup d'etat. But Saddam has an Achilles' heel: lacking popular support, he rules by terror. The same brutality which makes it unlikely that any coups or conspiracies can succeed, makes him hated by his own people and the rank and file of his military. Iraq today is ripe for a broad-based insurrection. We must exploit this opportunity.
Saddam's long record of treaty violations, deception, and violence shows that diplomacy and arms control will not constrain him. In the absence of a broader strategy, even extensive air strikes would be ineffective in dealing with Saddam and eliminating the threat his regime poses. We believe that the problem is not only the specifics of Saddam's actions, but the continued existence of the regime itself.
What is needed now is a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime. It will not be easy -- and the course of action we favor is not without its problems and perils. But we believe the vital national interests of our country require the United States to:
Recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq.
Restore and enhance the safe haven in northern Iraq to allow the provisional government to extend its authority there and establish a zone in southern Iraq from which Saddam's ground forces would also be excluded.
Lift sanctions in liberated areas. Sanctions are instruments of war against Saddam's regime, but they should be quickly lifted on those who have freed themselves from it. Also, the oil resources and products of the liberated areas should help fund the provisional government's insurrection and humanitarian relief for the people of liberated Iraq.
Release frozen Iraqi assets -- which amount to $1.6 billion in the United States and Britain alone -- to the control of the provisional government to fund its insurrection. This could be done gradually and so long as the provisional government continues to promote a democratic Iraq.
Facilitate broadcasts from U.S. transmitters immediately and establish a Radio Free Iraq.
Help expand liberated areas of Iraq by assisting the provisional government's offensive against Saddam Hussein's regime logistically and through other means.
Remove any vestiges of Saddam's claim to "legitimacy" by, among other things, bringing a war crimes indictment against the dictator and his lieutenants and challenging Saddam's credentials to fill the Iraqi seat at the United Nations.
Launch a systematic air campaign against the pillars of his power -- the Republican Guard divisions which prop him up and the military infrastructure that sustains him.
Position U.S. ground force equipment in the region so that, as a last resort, we have the capacity to protect and assist the anti-Saddam forces in the northern and southern parts of Iraq.
Once you make it unambiguously clear that we are serious about eliminating the threat posed by Saddam, and are not just engaged in tactical bombing attacks unrelated to a larger strategy designed to topple the regime, we believe that such countries as Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, whose cooperation would be important for the implementation of this strategy, will give us the political and logistical support to succeed.
In the present climate in Washington, some may misunderstand and misinterpret strong American action against Iraq as having ulterior political motives. We believe, on the contrary, that strong American action against Saddam is overwhelmingly in the national interest, that it must be supported, and that it must succeed. Saddam must not become the beneficiary of an American domestic political controversy.
We are confident that were you to launch an initiative along these line, the Congress and the country would see it as a timely and justifiable response to Iraq's continued intransigence. We urge you to provide the leadership necessary to save ourselves and the world from the scourge of Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to relinquish.
Hon. Stephen SolarzFormer Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House of Representatives
Hon. Richard PerleResident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
Hon. Elliot AbramsPresident, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Former Assistant Secretary of State
Richard V. AllenFormer National Security Advisor
Hon. Richard ArmitagePresident, Armitage Associates, L.C.; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
Jeffrey T. BergnerPresident, Bergner, Bockorny, Clough & Brain; Former Staff Director, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Hon. John BoltonSenior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of State
Stephen BryenFormer Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Hon. Richard BurtChairman, IEP Advisors, Inc.; Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
Hon. Frank CarlucciFormer Secretary of Defense
Hon. Judge William ClarkFormer National Security Advisor
Paula J. DobrianskyVice President, Director of Washington Office, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Member, National Security Council
Doug FeithManaging Attorney, Feith & Zell P.C.; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy
Frank GaffneyDirector, Center for Security Policy; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces
Jeffrey GedminExecutive Director, New Atlantic Initiative; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Hon. Fred C. IkleFormer Undersecretary of Defense
Robert KaganSenior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Zalmay M. KhalilzadDirector, Strategy and Doctrine, RAND Corporation
Sven F. KraemerFormer Director of Arms Control, National Security Council
William KristolEditor, The Weekly Standard
Michael LedeenResident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State
Bernard LewisProfessor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Ottoman Studies, Princeton University
R. Admiral Frederick L. LewisU.S. Navy, Retired
Maj. Gen. Jarvis LynchU.S. Marine Corps, Retired
Hon. Robert C. McFarlaneFormer National Security Advisor
Joshua MuravchikResident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Robert A. PastorFormer Special Assistant to President Carter for Inter-American Affairs
Martin PeretzEditor-in-Chief, The New Republic
Roger RobinsonFormer Senior Director of International Economic Affairs, National Security Council
Peter RodmanDirector of National Security Programs, Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom; Former Director, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State
Hon. Peter RosenblattFormer Ambassador to the Trust Territories of the Pacific
Hon. Donald RumsfeldFormer Secretary of Defense
Gary SchmittExecutive Director, Project for the New American Century; Former Executive Director, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
Max SingerPresident, The Potomac Organization; Former President, The Hudson Institute
Hon. Helmut SonnenfeldtGuest Scholar, The Brookings Institution; Former Counsellor, U.S. Department of State
Hon. Caspar WeinbergerFormer Secretary of Defense
Leon WienseltierLiterary Editor, The New Republic
Hon. Paul WolfowitzDean, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Former Undersecretary of Defense
David WurmserDirector, Middle East Program, AEI; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Dov S. ZakheimFormer Deputy Undersecretary of Defense
The PNAC membership, according to SourceWatch (the membership was posted on their website but that site has been removed from the web and their "account suspended"):
Original 25 signatories were:
- Elliott Abrams, a former Reagan-era Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. During the Iran/Contra scandal, Abrams pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of lying to Congress but was later pardoned by the first Bush administration. He subsequently became president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is currently a member of Bush's National Security Council.
- Gary Bauer, a Republican presidential candidate in 2000, who currently is president of an organization named American Values.
- William J. Bennett, who served during the Reagan and first Bush administrations as U.S. Secretary of Education and Drug Czar. Upon leaving government office, Bennett became a "distinguished fellow" at the conservative Heritage Foundation, co-founded Empower America, and established himself as a self-proclaimed expert on morality with his authorship of The Book of Virtues.
- Jeb Bush, the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and brother of current President George W. Bush. At the time of PNAC's founding, Jeb Bush was a candidate for the Florida governor's seat, a position which he currently holds.
- Dick Cheney, the former White House Chief of Staff to Gerald R. Ford, six-term Congressman, and Secretary of Defense to the first President Bush, was serving as president of the oil-services giant Halliburton Company at the time of PNAC's founding. He subsequently became U.S. vice president under George W. Bush.
- Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at John Hopkins University
- Paula Dobriansky, vice president and director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations. Currently Dobriansky serves in the Bush administration as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs.
- Steve Forbes, publisher, billionaire, and Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has also campaigned actively on behalf of the "flat tax," which would reduce the federal tax burden for wealthy individuals like himself.
- Aaron Friedberg, professor of politics and international affairs; Director, Center of International Studies; Director, Research Program in International Security, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.
- Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man; Dean of the Faculty and Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics by George W. Bush, January 2002.
- Frank Gaffney - conservative columnist; founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. Web-site: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/
- Fred C. Ikle, "distinguished scholar" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Donald Kagan, professor of history and classics at Yale University and the author of books including While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today; A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990; and The Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. Kagan is also a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and a Washington Post columnist, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Alexander Hamilton fellow in American diplomatic history at American University. Past experience includes: Deputy for Policy in the State Department's Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (1985-1988); State Department's Policy Planning Staff member (1984-1985); speechwriter to Secretary of State George P. Shultz (1984-1985); foreign policy advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp (1983); Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency (1983); Assistant Editor at the Public Interest (1981).
- Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American who was the only Muslim among the group's original signatories and the only signatory who was not a native-born U.S. citizen. Khalilzad has became the Bush administration's special envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban as well as is special envoy to the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. Khalilzad has written about information warfare, and in 1996 (in pre-Taliban days), he served as a consultant to the oil company Unocal Corporation (UNOCAL) regarding a "risk analysis" for its proposed pipeline project through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- William Kristol, PNAC's chairman, is also editor of the Weekly Standard, a Washington-based political magazine. His past involvements have included: lead of the Project for the Republican Future, chief of staff to Vice President J. Danforth Quayle, chief of staff to Secretary of Education William J. Bennett under the Reagan administration, taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
- I. Lewis Scooter Libby, who later became chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
- Norman Podhoretz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of works such as Patriotism and its Enemies.
- J. Danforth Quayle, former vice president under President George Herbert Walker Bush and a presidential candidate himself in 1996.
- Peter W. Rodman, who served in the State Department and the National Security Council under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, became the current Bush administration's Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security affairs in 2001.
- Stephen P. Rosen, Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.
- Henry S. Rowen was president of the RAND Corporation from 1967-1972. He served under former presidents Reagan and Bush as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (1981-83) and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1989-91). He currently holds the title of "senior fellow" at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
- Donald H. Rumsfeld served former President Gerald R. Ford as chief of transition after Richard M. Nixon's resignation, later becoming Ford's chief of staff and secretary of defense from 1974-75. He subsequently served from 1990-93 as CEO of General Instrument Corporation and later as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company. In 1998 he served as chairman of the bi-partisan US Ballistic Missile Threat Commission. Under President George W. Bush, he once again assumed the post of Secretary of Defense.
- Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, is now a well-connected lobbyist who has represented such firms as AT&T, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft. Weber is also vice chairman ofEmpower America and a former fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
- George Weigel, a Roman Catholic religious and political commentator, is a "senior fellow" at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
- Paul Dundes Wolfowitz, formerly Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, became Undersecretary of Defense for President George W. Bush in 2001.
Top leadership from their about page as of June 2007:
- William Kristol, Chairman
- Robert Kagan, Co-founder
- Bruce P. Jackson, bio President of the Project on Transitional Democracies. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He was on the Board of Advisors of the Center for Security Policy. He is the President of the U.S. Committee on NATO. Past experience includes: US Army intelligence (1979-1990), Office of the Secretary of Defense (1986-1990), chief strategist of proprietary trade operations at Lehman Brothers (1990-1993), high level management positions at Martin Marietta and Lockheed Corporation (1993-1999?).
- Mark Gerson, bio
- Randy Scheunemann, bio, founded the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001.
- Ellen Bork, Deputy Director
- Gary Schmitt, Senior Fellow
- Thomas Donnelly, Senior Fellow
- Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Director of the Middle East Initiative
- Timothy Lehmann, Assistant Director
- Michael Goldfarb, Research Associate
Other PNAC members (Updated June 2007)
- John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration.
- Daniel McKivergan, Deputy Director.
- Christopher Maletz, former Assistant Director.
- Richard N. Perle, an AEI associate, former Reagan administration official, and member (and former chairman) of the Defense Policy Board.
Non-overlapping signatories to a January 28, 2005, letter to Congress
Source: Letter to Congress on Increasing U.S. Ground Forces, PNAC, January 28, 2005.
- Peter Beinart
- Jeffrey Bergner
- Daniel Blumenthal
- Max Boot
- Ivo H. Daalder
- Michele Flournoy
- Buster C. Glosson
- Frederick Kagan
- Craig Kennedy
- Paul Kennedy
- Robert Killebrew
- Will Marshall
- Clifford D. May
- Barry R. McCaffrey
- Joshua Muravchik
- Steven J. Nider
- Michael O'Hanlon
- Mackubin Thomas Owens
- Ralph Peters
- Danielle Pletka
- Stephen P. Rosen
- Robert H. Scales
- Walter Slocombe
- James B. Steinberg
Those names should sound very familiar - out of the list come many of the advisors and cabinet members for both the HW Bush and GW Bush administrations.
Besides beating the drums for illegal attacks on the sovereign nation of Iraq, the PNAC was out for perpetual war for oil and for profit (many members were invested in the oil industry as well as the military defense industry)....
Again, from SourceWatch:
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was a neo-conservative think tank (1997 to 2006) that had strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. PNAC's web site said it was "established in the spring of 1997" as "a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership."
PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocated for total global military domination. Many PNAC members held highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration. The Project was an initiative of the New Citizenship Project (501c3). 
In 2009 two of PNAC's founders, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, began what some termed "PNAC 2.0," The Foreign Policy Initiative.
When GW Bush was elected, in 2000, and upon the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, I was afraid - I was afraid of the evil filling the hearts and minds of Americans; the tyrannical hate and self-absorption playing out in the public square; the fear and loathing of everyone not us growing exponentially....A nuclear explosion of demonic stupidity engulfing a nation...
And we went to war for slaughter's sake as payback on no one in particular though we called it the "Axis of Evil"...
Sadly, we are still that seething nation of payback on anyone not us - growing weary of the constant hate but not aware enough to comprehend it is our own hate of self; our own rampant immaturity; our own hedonism turned into a worship of Thanatose, as we continue to cannibalize everything we assumed was forever. We are the worst of ourselves....
From my friend, Nomad, a reminder of warnings against that hate and fear and manipulation to war; of a path to sanity through the insanity; of an appeal to reason:
"As the Republic of Iraq faces its first existential crisis since the evacuation of American troops, it is important to take a look back to the time before the invasion, to the days before the crossing of the Iraqi Rubicon.
The events of this week shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has a memory. After all, the French warned us that this would probably happen."
Part of the speech given by, French ambassador Dominique de Villepin, February 13, 2003, at the UN:
Today, this is a reminder that we are still too easily swayed to war for slaughter's sake as payback on no one in particular ....
And, again, I ask, America, WTF?