- 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.
- 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 plan10 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- First published 9-29-02