Saturday, June 14, 2014

Remembering the Iraq War: The war drum beat goes on......... America, WTF?

"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.

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 Solarz
Former Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Hon. Richard Perle
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

Hon. Elliot Abrams
President, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Former Assistant Secretary of State

Richard V. Allen
Former National Security Advisor

Hon. Richard Armitage
President, Armitage Associates, L.C.; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

Jeffrey T. Bergner
President, Bergner, Bockorny, Clough & Brain; Former Staff Director, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hon. John Bolton
Senior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of State

Stephen Bryen
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Hon. Richard Burt
Chairman, IEP Advisors, Inc.; Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs

Hon. Frank Carlucci
Former Secretary of Defense

Hon. Judge William Clark
Former National Security Advisor

Paula J. Dobriansky
Vice President, Director of Washington Office, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Member, National Security Council

Doug Feith
Managing Attorney, Feith & Zell P.C.; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy

Frank Gaffney
Director, Center for Security Policy; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces

Jeffrey Gedmin
Executive Director, New Atlantic Initiative; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Hon. Fred C. Ikle
Former Undersecretary of Defense

Robert Kagan
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Zalmay M. Khalilzad
Director, Strategy and Doctrine, RAND Corporation

Sven F. Kraemer
Former Director of Arms Control, National Security Council

William Kristol
Editor, The Weekly Standard

Michael Ledeen
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State

Bernard Lewis
Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Ottoman Studies, Princeton University

R. Admiral Frederick L. Lewis
U.S. Navy, Retired

Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch
U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

Hon. Robert C. McFarlane
Former National Security Advisor

Joshua Muravchik
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Robert A. Pastor
Former Special Assistant to President Carter for Inter-American Affairs

Martin Peretz
Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic

Roger Robinson
Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs, National Security Council

Peter Rodman
Director of National Security Programs, Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom; Former Director, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State

Hon. Peter Rosenblatt
Former Ambassador to the Trust Territories of the Pacific

Hon. Donald Rumsfeld
Former Secretary of Defense

Gary Schmitt
Executive Director, Project for the New American Century; Former Executive Director, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

Max Singer
President, The Potomac Organization; Former President, The Hudson Institute

Hon. Helmut Sonnenfeldt
Guest Scholar, The Brookings Institution; Former Counsellor, U.S. Department of State

Hon. Caspar Weinberger
Former Secretary of Defense

Leon Wienseltier
Literary Editor, The New Republic

Hon. Paul Wolfowitz
Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Former Undersecretary of Defense

David Wurmser
Director, Middle East Program, AEI; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Dov S. Zakheim
Former 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:


Top leadership from their about page as of June 2007:[5]
Project directors:
Other leaders:

Other PNAC members (Updated June 2007)

Non-overlapping signatories to a January 28, 2005, letter to Congress

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). [1]
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"...

America, WTF?

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....

"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 ....

As chickenhawks and neo-cons beat the drums for more war, we must remember....

And, again, I ask, America, WTF?

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