This Flimflam Bush Man

Still think you are not being flimflammed by the Bush administration? Take
heed of this: Newsweek has reported that Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking
Iraqi official ever to defect and Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, told the
United Nations, the CIA and Britain's MI-6 in 1995 that Iraq destroyed all
of its chemical and biological stocks, as well as the missiles to deliver
them, in 1991.

Yet the U.N. arms inspectors, the CIA and MI-6 chose to keep that secret. If
it's true — and there's no reason to believe it isn't — then it's pretty
hard evidence that the Bush administration is lying through its teeth when
it keeps insisting that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. It also
bolsters the credibility of former chief arms inspector Scott Ritter, who
has likewise insisted that Iraq's weapons were destroyed. For that matter,
it bolsters the credibility of the Iraqi government, which insists it no
longer has any weapons of mass destruction.

You might recall that Kamel defected to Jordan and about six months later
made the mistake of returning to Iraq, where he was killed. This coming war
with Iraq gets murkier and murkier. Let's see if we can sort it out.

First, we have a chief executive so naive about the world outside of Texas,
he probably couldn't find a lot of countries on a map. Second, he has
surrounded himself with American Likudniks — supporters of Israel's
right-wing government. Even The Washington Post reported recently what I've
been saying for months: that Bush's policy is identical to that of Ariel
Sharon's, the Israeli prime minister. I've said that Bush has been acting
like Sharon's puppet; The Washington Post story quoted a U.S. official as
saying Sharon has "played Bush like a violin."

The Israelis have long feared Iraq, Iran and North Korea (because they fear
it will sell missiles to Iran). What a coincidence that those three
countries are Bush's "axis of evil."

Before Bush's election, Dick Cheney (now vice president), John Bolton (now
undersecretary of state for arms control), Douglas Feith (now
third-highest-ranking official in the Defense Department), Richard Perle
(now chairman of the Defense Policy Board) and James Woolsey (former CIA
director) all had one thing in common: They served as advisers to the
pro-Israeli Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. This is
according to an article that appeared in the magazine The Nation. Bush
recently appointed as director of Middle Eastern affairs for the National
Security Council Elliott Abrams, a protégé of Perle and a man convicted of
lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1996, according to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Perle,
Feith and David Wurmser, now an assistant to Bolton, wrote a policy proposal
for Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel's prime minister. Included in their
advice were tips on how to manipulate the American government (OK, even the
Haaretz reporter says the report comes "dangerously close" to dual loyalty)
and advice to drop the peace plan, drop the idea of land for peace and
concentrate on toppling Saddam Hussein and eventually replacing other Middle
Eastern governments in order to create a safe environment for Israel.

There's your explanation for the war. When sons and daughters come home in
body bags or maimed, those are the people you can blame. Others in this
group — who formed an outfit called the Project for the New American Century
in 1997 that also called for toppling Saddam — include, in addition to most
of those named above, Donald Rumsfeld; William Kristol, editor of the
neoconservative Weekly Standard; Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's No. 2 guy;
William Bennett, the best the neocons can do for an intellectual; Richard
Armitage, now Colin Powell's deputy; Zalmay Khalilzad, now ambassador to
Afghanistan; and others.

If you watch the silly cable-news shows, you will recognize many of these
names as part of the parade of "experts" in favor of war with Iraq. The
American people are being played for suckers. Their sons and daughters will
be cannon fodder in a war that might benefit a foreign country but will
greatly damage the interests of our own.

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© 2003 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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Of Gods and Mortals and Empire
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 21 February 2003

"To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire;
and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace." - Tacitus

It sounded like two behemoth icebergs colliding in the North Atlantic,
but you needed the right kind of ears to hear it. Two immensely powerful
forces crashed into each other over the weekend of February 15th, and
the resulting thunder has set the world to trembling.

On one side were the people, who took to the streets all across the
world by the tens of millions to stand against George W. Bush's push for
pre-emptive war on Iraq. The numbers, and the locations, were
staggering. More than 100,000 people took to the streets of Sydney,
Australia, a nation that has been solidly in Bush's corner on this
matter. In Spain, another member of Bush's "Coalition of the Willing,"
several million protesters took over Madrid, Barcelona and 55 other
cities. Italy, another Bush ally, saw over a million citizens take to
the streets of Rome. Britain, Bush's go/no go ally of allies, saw over a
million people protesting in London. Police there said it was the
largest demonstration in that nation's long history.

The Netherlands saw one hundred thousand protesters, as did Belgium and
Ireland. There were protesters by the tens of thousands in Sweden,
Switzerland, Scotland, Denmark, Austria, Canada, South Africa, Mexico,
Greece, Russia and Japan. 500,000 protesters demonstrated in Germany,
joined by three members of Gerhard Schroder's cabinet who defied their
Chancellor by being there. It was the largest demonstration ever in
post-war Germany. Another 500,000 people marched in Paris and 60 other
French cities.

The United States of America saw protests from coast to coast in over
100 cities nationwide. New York City was paralyzed by over a million
marchers. San Francisco was taken over by well over 200,000 protesters,
and Los Angeles saw over 100,000 people take to the streets. Thousands
upon thousands joined them in Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle.

This was a gathering of ordinary citizens who came together in the
streets of the world in an organized event that has no precedent in all
of human history. They were brought together by a global word-of-mouth
activism rooted entirely in the Internet. Were it not for this planetary
connection, no such coordination could have ever taken place. Once upon
a time, the world wide web was a realm dominated by dreams of profit and
marketing. Those dreams have soured, leaving behind a marvelous network
now utilized by very average people who can, with the click of a button,
bring forth from all points on the compass a roaring deluge of humanity
to stand against craven injustice and ruinous war.

The weekend of February 15th saw this force ram headlong into the will
of men who walk in shadow, whose hands wield lightning and steel,
pestilence and famine. In their ranks stand Presidents, Prime Ministers,
corporate magnates, untouchable billionaires, and the advisors who
whisper to them of empire and domination. They are few in number, but
life and death flows from their fingertips in freshets and gouts. These
men control the armies and navies of great nations, nuclear and chemical
nightmares beyond measure, unassailable technological weapons and walls,
the financial cords which hold the package together, the water, the air,
the oil, the law, and a global media machine by which they can obscure
their designs with pleasing lies.

No mere citizen could do what these men in one moment can do with the
crooking of a little finger. With a word, they can erase cities, deprive
an entire populace of water and light, unleash disease and famine,
annihilate the economies of dozens of nations, and imprison forever
anyone who dares dissent. These men bleed, they sicken, they die, but in
their time of life they can punch holes in the sky large enough to make
Zeus wince with envy. Like the millions who marched, the gathering of
such fearful powers into the hands of so few is also without precedent
in all of human history.

There was, among the millions who stormed the planet last weekend, a
misconception that masked the true reason for their presence in the
streets. A great many people believe this looming war with Iraq is about
old grudges and oil. There is logic in this; Iraq has the second largest
proven stores of precious petroleum in the world, and there is a
definite history of malice between House Bush and House Hussein. The
truth of the matter is far more broad and deep, belittling all talk of
terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and even oil. The men who pursue
their goals by way of this war have a great many desires on their minds,
and once more, they have the will to attain these goals by whatever
means is required.

Were the protesters fully aware of whom they faced, a good many of them
may well have fled in terror to cower in their homes. One does not
lightly bait a bear with such terrible claws.

Does this all sound like some paranoid fantasy? If so, allow me to
introduce The Project for the New American Century.

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington-based
think tank created in 1997. Above all else, PNAC desires and demands one
thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of
all nations. They chafe at the idea that the United States, the last
remaining superpower, does not do more by way of economic and military
force to bring the rest of the world under the umbrella of a new
socio-economic Pax Americana.

The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper
produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines
what is required of America to create the global empire they envision.
According to PNAC, America must:

* 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, 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.

Why is this important? After all, wacky think tanks are a cottage
industry in Washington, DC. They are a dime a dozen. In what way does
PNAC stand above the other groups that would set American foreign policy
if they could?

Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the
disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September 11th.
When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the
imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense
Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men
saw, at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into
substantive policy.

Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman
Richard Perle. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the
ideological father of the group. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served
as a Pentagon official for Ronald Reagan before leaving government
service to take a leading position with the weapons manufacturer
Lockheed Martin.

PNAC is staffed by men who previously served with groups like Friends of
the Democratic Center in Central America, which supported America's
bloody gamesmanship in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and with groups like
The Committee for the Present Danger, which spent years advocating that
a nuclear war with the Soviet Union was "winnable."

PNAC has recently given birth to a new group, The Committee for the
Liberation of Iraq, which met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice in order to formulate a plan to "educate" the American populace
about the need for war in Iraq. CLI has funneled millions of taxpayer
dollars to support the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi heir
presumptive, Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a
Jordanian court in 1992 to 22 years in prison for bank fraud after the
collapse of Petra Bank, which he founded in 1977. Chalabi has not set
foot in Iraq since 1956, but his Enron-like business credentials
apparently make him a good match for the Bush administration's plans.

PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report is the
institutionalization of plans and ideologies that have been formulated
for decades by the men currently running American government. The PNAC
Statement of Principles is signed by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as
well as by Eliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan
Zalmay Khalilzad, and many others. William Kristol, famed conservative
writer for the Weekly Standard, is also a co-founder of the group. The
Weekly Standard is owned by Ruppert Murdoch, who also owns international
media giant Fox News

The desire for these freshly empowered PNAC men to extend American
hegemony by force of arms across the globe has been there since day one
of the Bush administration, and is in no small part a central reason for
the Florida electoral battle in 2000. Note that while many have said
that Gore and Bush are ideologically identical, Mr. Gore had no ties
whatsoever to the fellows at PNAC. George W. Bush had to win that
election by any means necessary, and PNAC signatory Jeb Bush was in the
perfect position to ensure the rise to prominence of his fellow
imperialists. Desire for such action, however, is by no means
translatable into workable policy. Americans enjoy their comforts, but
don't cotton to the idea of being some sort of Neo-Rome.

On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC saw a door of opportunity open
wide before them, and stormed right through it.

Bush released on September 20th 2001 the "National Security Strategy of
the United States of America." It is an ideological match to PNAC's
"Rebuilding America's Defenses" report issued a year earlier. In many
places, it uses exactly the same language to describe America's new
place in the world. Recall that PNAC demanded an increase in defense
spending to at least 3.8% of GDP. Bush's proposed budget for next year
asks for $379 billion in defense spending, almost exactly 3.8% of GDP.

In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board chairman and PNAC member Richard
Perle heard a policy briefing from a think tank associated with the Rand
Corporation. According to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final
slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi
Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in a war that
would purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's
weapons. Bush has deployed massive forces into the Mideast region, while
simultaneously engaging American forces in the Philippines and playing
nuclear chicken with North Korea. Somewhere in all this lurks at least
one of the "major theater wars" desired by the September 2000 PNAC
report.

Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict. Donald
Kagan, a central member of PNAC, sees America establishing permanent
military bases in Iraq after the war. This is purportedly a measure to
defend the peace in the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows. The
nations in that region, however, will see this for what it is: a
jump-off point for American forces to invade any nation in that region
they choose to. The American people, anxiously awaiting some sort of
exit plan after America defeats Iraq, will see too late that no exit is
planned.

All of the horses are traveling together at speed here. The defense
contractors who sup on American tax revenue will be handsomely paid for
arming this new American empire. The corporations that own the news
media will sell this eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through
the stratosphere when there is combat to be shown. Those within the
administration who believe that the defense of Israel is contingent upon
laying waste to every possible aggressor in the region will have their
dreams fulfilled. The PNAC men who wish for a global Pax Americana at
gunpoint will see their plans unfold. Through it all, the bankrollers
from the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate financial terms to the
entire planet. This last aspect of the plan is pivotal, and is best
described in the newly revised version of Greg Palast's masterpiece,
"The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

There will be adverse side effects. The siege mentality average
Americans are suffering as they smother behind yards of plastic sheeting
and duct tape will increase by orders of magnitude as our aggressions
bring forth new terrorist attacks against the homeland. These attacks
will require the implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II, an
augmentation of the previous Act that has profoundly sharper teeth. The
sun will set on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The American economy will be ravaged by the need for increased defense
spending, and by the aforementioned "constabulary" duties in Iraq,
Afghanistan and elsewhere. Former allies will turn on us. Germany,
France and the other nations resisting this Iraq war are fully aware of
this game plan. They are not acting out of cowardice or because they
love Saddam Hussein, but because they mean to resist this rising
American empire, lest they face economic and military serfdom at the
hands of George W. Bush. Richard Perle has already stated that France is
no longer an American ally. As the eagle spreads its wings, our rhetoric
and their resistance will become more agitated and dangerous.

Many people, of course, will die. They will die from war and from want,
from famine and disease. At home, the social fabric will be torn in ways
that make the Reagan nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and
AIDS seem tame by comparison.

This is the price to be paid for empire, and the men of PNAC who now
control the fate and future of America are more than willing to pay it.
For them, the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.

The plan was running smoothly until those two icebergs collided.
Millions and millions of ordinary people are making it very difficult
for Bush's international allies to keep to the script. PNAC may have
designs for the control of the "International Commons" of the internet,
but for now it is the staging ground for a movement that would see
empire take a back seat to a wise peace, human rights, equal protection
under the law, and the preponderance of a justice that will, if properly
applied, do away forever with the anger and hatred that gives birth to
terrorism in the first place.

Tommaso Palladini of Milan perhaps said it best as he marched with his
countrymen in Rome. "You fight terrorism," he said, "by creating more
justice in the world."

The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At
no point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no
point in history has the active and informed involvement of the People,
all of them, been more absolutely required. The tide can be stopped, and
the men who desire empire by the sword can be thwarted. It has already
begun, but it must not cease. These are men of will, and they do not
intend to fail.

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William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of
two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context
Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003
from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.

Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.

© : t r u t h o u t 2002