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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 03:35 PM   #1
 
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From ABCnews.com, March 10, 2003
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The group, the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, was founded in 1997. Among its supporters were three Republican former officials who were sitting out the Democratic presidency of Bill Clinton: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz.

In open letters to Clinton and GOP congressional leaders the next year, the group called for "the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power" and a shift toward a more assertive U.S. policy in the Middle East, including the use of force if necessary to unseat Saddam.

And in a report just before the 2000 election that would bring Bush to power, the group predicted that the shift would come about slowly, unless there were "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor."

That event came on Sept. 11, 2001. By that time, Cheney was vice president, Rumsfeld was secretary of defense, and Wolfowitz his deputy at the Pentagon.

The next morning before it was even clear who was behind the attacks Rumsfeld insisted at a Cabinet meeting that Saddam's Iraq should be "a principal target of the first round of terrorism," according to Bob Woodward's book Bush At War.

What started as a theory in 1997 was now on its way to becoming official U.S. foreign policy.


Links to Bush Administration

Some critics of the Bush administration's foreign policy, especially in Europe, have portrayed PNAC as, in the words of Scotland's Sunday Herald, "a secret blueprint for U.S. global domination."

The group was never secret about its aims. In its 1998 open letter to Clinton, the group openly advocated unilateral U.S. action against Iraq because "we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition" to enforce the inspections regime.

"The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power," they wrote, foreshadowing the debate currently under way in the United Nations.

Of the 18 people who signed the letter, 10 are now in the Bush administration. As well as Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, they include Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; John Bolton, who is undersecretary of state for disarmament; and Zalmay Khalilzad, the White House liaison to the Iraqi opposition. Other signatories include William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, and Richard Perle, chairman of the advisory Defense Science Board.

According to Kristol, the group's thinking stemmed from the principles of Ronald Reagan: "A strong America. A morally grounded foreign policy ... that defended American security and American interests. And understanding that American leadership was key to not only world stability, but any hope for spreading democracy and freedom around the world."


Pushing for a More Assertive Foreign Policy

After the 1991 Gulf War ended with Saddam still in position as a potential threat, Kristol told Nightline, he and the others had a sense that "lots of terrible things were really being loosed upon the world because America was being too timid, and too weak, and too unassertive in the post-Cold War era." In reports, speeches, papers and books, they pushed for an aggressive foreign policy to defend U.S. interests around the globe.

Clinton did order airstrikes against Iraq in 1998, but through the rest of his presidency and the beginning of Bush's, America's "containment" policy for Saddam lay dormant until September 2001.

"Before 9/11, this group ... could not win over the president to this extravagant image of what foreign policy required," said Ian Lustick, a Middle East expert at the University of Pennsylvania. "After 9/11, it was able to benefit from the gigantic eruption of political capital, combined with the supply of military preponderance in the hands of the president. And this small group, therefore, was able to gain direct contact and even control, now, of the White House."

Like other critics, Lustick paints PNAC in conspiratorial tones: "This group, what I call the tom-tom beaters, have set an agenda and have made the president feel that he has to live up to their definitions of manliness, their definitions of success and fear, their definitions of failure."

Kristol dismisses the allegations of conspiracy, but said the group redoubled its efforts after 9/11 to get its message out. "We made it very public that we thought that one consequence the president should draw from 9/11 is that it was unacceptable to sit back and let either terrorist groups or dictators developing weapons of mass destruction strike first, at us," he said.


Predicting Vindication

Now that American bombs could soon be falling on Iraq, Kristol admits to feeling "some sense of responsibility" for pushing for a war that will cost human lives. But, he said, he would also feel responsible if "something terrible" happened because of U.S. inaction.

Kristol expressed regret that so many of America's traditional allies oppose military action against Iraq, but said the United States has no choice. "I think what we've learned over the last 10 years is that America has to lead. Other countries won't act. They will follow us, but they won't do it on their own," he said.

Kristol believes the United States will be "vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq." He predicts that many of the allies who have been reluctant to join the war effort would participate in efforts to rebuild and democratize Iraq.

This report originally aired on Nightline on March 5, 2003.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 03:48 PM   #2
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Macspectrum, a very distressing insight into how the "underside" of American politics can suddenly come to light in the form of military action (aka "vindication"). I did not see the item on ABC news (if I watch US news, it is on CBS, but I tend to watch CBC to keep a Canadian perspective in the news), but I checked out the hyperlink to the ABC web site.

Did you see the MacDonald (sp?) item on last night's CBC news about this form of "committee" behind the Bush foreign policies?
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 04:24 PM   #3
 
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Dr. G. typed out on his Dell:
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Did you see the MacDonald (sp?) item on last night's CBC news about this form of "committee" behind the Bush foreign policies? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes I did. I even called and left a message with the transcript service to order a transcript of last night's "The National", but strangely enough, have yet to receive a return call.

"Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia."
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 04:35 PM   #4
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macspectrum wrote:
"Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia."

I think you and Dr. G have been quoting from the wrong book lately. Might I suggest a different one?
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 05:00 PM   #5
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JP - umm I think Michael has it right that should be from Orwell's "1984" .

Sure sounds like fascism to me - It walks like a duck, talks like a duck............
Towing the Statue of Liberty home seems like an appropriate thing for France to do.

See the sign at the airports in the US " All vehicles subject to search" Think that won't be abused.
I mean the US has always had real police state tendencies and this terrorism situation has just given that element a reason to be abusive. Far more people will be and are being killed on the highways of the US and that has been "acceptable".
Thousands die from poor health access IN THE US - that's "acceptable".
Ingrained racism, huge numbers of minorities in jails..that's "acceptable.
But 100 billion on a remote threat...GIVE ME A BREAK
Hey this isn't "1984" ....it's Dr. Strangelove, I just wish Bush would ride one of the bombs down [img]tongue.gif[/img]



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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 05:09 PM   #6
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macdoc wrote:
Sure sounds like fascism to me

You might be interested in this book, then.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 06:57 PM   #7
 
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jfpoole,
So ABC News doesn't sit well with you?
Orwell was an idiot?

Hard to stomach? Fascism is always painful going down and causes gastric distress.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 07:31 PM   #8
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jfp, "Chicken Little" may have been wrong, but this is NOT a children's game being played, nor a personified story being told. Now, might I suggest "Animal Farm" if you like personified stories about barnyard characters?

FYI, being "lumped in" with Macspectrum and Macdoc is not problematic for me (although I cannot speak for the two of them).
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 08:17 PM   #9
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macspectrum wrote:
Orwell was an idiot?

I don't think Orwell was an idiot, I just think that you and Dr. G are wrong claiming that we've entered an era of NewSpeak, and in doing so you're diluting the value of Orwell's work (since, should such a thing ever actually happen, the two of you would be like the little boy who cried wolf).
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 08:21 PM   #10
 
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Chicken Little wrong? Never !! He was a misunderstood genius !!

Dr. G.,
I don't mind you being lumped in with me although I cannot speak for MacDoc.



As Tom Freidman, of the NY Times, said today on Oprah. "Israel won a war in 6 days and has been fighting the 7th day ever since."
Kinda' biblical, eh?

I fear history, as a bad hamburger, may repeat itself.

PS - Lawrence Eagleburger, former Sec. of State under Bush 1,upon reviewing a list of 7 senior White House "players", (including Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz,...) said today on CNN's Crossfiire, "that 3 or 4 of them were happy diplomacy failed."

Read that again; "that 3 or 4 of them were happy diplomacy failed."

So can anyone honestly believe that this administration doesn't deserve the moniker of "war monger?"

I got to give him credit for being honest, but it scared the **** out of me.
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