- "In the counsels of Government, we must guard against
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by
the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise
of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight
of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
-- President Dwight Eisenhower, January 1961.
- George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the
Godfather of conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise
Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as part
of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the
- Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom
for all, the speech was in fact the closest articulation of the actual
plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the administration.
- In a previous truthout article from February 21, the
ideological connections between an extremist right-wing Washington think
tank and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush administration were
- The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a
group founded in 1997 that has been agitating since its inception for a
war with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and passage
of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over
the ultimate designs behind such a conflict. The names of every prominent
PNAC member were on a letter delivered to President Clinton in 1998 which
castigated him for not implementing the Act by driving troops into Baghdad.
- PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein
opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent,
Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was sentenced in absentia
by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 counts of bank fraud.
Chalabi and the INC have, over the years, gathered support for their cause
by promising oil contracts to anyone that would help to put them in power
- Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee
for the Liberation of Iraq. Staffed entirely by PNAC members, The Committee
has set out to "educate" Americans via cable news connections
about the need for war in Iraq. This group met recently with National Security
Advisor Condoleezza Rice regarding the ways and means of this education.
- Who is PNAC? Its members include:
- * Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders,
who served as Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;
- * I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;
- * Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding
member, along with four of his chief aides including;
- * Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably
the ideological father of the group;
- * Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security
Council, who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;
- * John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms
Control and International Security in the Bush administration;
- * Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official
and present chairman of the powerful Defense Policy Board;
- * Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the
Liberation of Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who
served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;
- * Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took
after serving for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin,
and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National
Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the
2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein;
- * William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the
Weekly Standard, a magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative
media mogul Ruppert Murdoch.
- The Project for the New American Century seeks to establish
what they call 'Pax Americana' across the globe. Essentially, their goal
is to transform America, the sole remaining superpower, into a planetary
empire by force of arms. A report released by PNAC in September of 2000
entitled 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' codifies this plan, which requires
a massive increase in defense spending and the fighting of several major
theater wars in order to establish American dominance. The first has been
achieved in Bush's new budget plan, which calls for the exact dollar amount
to be spent on defense that was requested by PNAC in 2000. Arrangements
are underway for the fighting of the wars.
- The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their
foreign policy schemes, hatched in 1997, brought into reality. They control
the White House, the Pentagon and Defense Department, by way of this the
armed forces and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a Republican-dominated
Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually everything on their wish list.
- The first step towards the establishment of this Pax
Americana is, and has always been, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the
establishment of an American protectorate in Iraq. The purpose of this
is threefold: 1) To acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire
enterprise; 2) To fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in
the Middle East; 3) To establish in Iraq a military staging area for the
eventual invasion and overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including
some that are allies of the United States.
- Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified
this aspect of the grand plan in the September 2002 issue of his journal,
'Commentary'. In it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes, "that richly
deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out
members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria
and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal
family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority,
whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen." At bottom, for Podhoretz,
this action is about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization
- This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely
- Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans
to the idea of Iraqi liberation and democratization are cynical in their
inception. At the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The drive
behind this war is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion
of Islam as it exists in both government and society within the Middle
East. Once this is accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten lanes
wide and steppin' out over the line.
- At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good
for bull sessions in the board room and the bar. Something has to grease
the skids, to make the whole thing worthwhile to those involved, and entice
those outside the loop to get into the game.
- Thus, the payout.
- It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming
Vice President, served as chairman and chief executive of the Dallas-based
petroleum corporation Halliburton. During his tenure, according to oil
industry executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk
$73 million in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working face-to-face
with Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton were also moving into position to
capitalize upon Hussein's removal from power. In October of 1995, the same
month Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton, that company announced a deal
that would put it first in line should war break out in Iraq. Their job:
To take control of burning oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them
- Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in
Iraq is Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown
& Root is in the construction business, and thus has won a share of
the $900 million government contract for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi
bridges, roads and other basic infrastructure. This is but the tip of the
financial iceberg, as the oil wells will also have to be repaired after
parent-company Halliburton puts out the fires.
- More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade:
the building of permanent American military bases. There are twelve permanent
U.S. bases in Kosovo today, all built and maintained by Brown & Root
for a multi-billion dollar profit. If anyone should wonder why the administration
has not offered an exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the presence of
Brown & Root should answer them succinctly. We do not plan on exiting.
In all likelihood, Brown & Root is in Iraq to build permanent bases
there, from which attacks upon other Middle Eastern nations can be staged
- Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new
- Being at the center of the action is nothing new for
Halliburton and Brown & Root. The two companies have worked closely
with governments in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Nigeria,
Rwanda, and Somalia during the worst chapters in those nation's histories.
Many environmental and human rights groups claim that Cheney, Halliburton
and Brown & Root were, in fact, centrally involved in these fiascos.
More recently, Brown & Root was contracted by the Defense Department
to build cells for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that
one project came to $300 million.
- Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997,
while still profiting from deals between Halliburton and Hussein. One year
later, Cheney and PNAC began actively and publicly agitating for war on
Iraq. They have not stopped to this very day.
- Another company with a vested interest in both war on
Iraq and massively increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle,
a private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital
under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164
companies, including telecommunications firms and defense contractors.
It is staffed at the highest levels by former members of the Reagan and
Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W. Bush is himself
employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor
and former Secretary of State James Baker III.
- One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a
weapons manufacturer based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the
Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support
vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles,
combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense
manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier,
the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored
Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker, the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4
Command and Control Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the
Crusader, and Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.
- In other words, everything a growing Defense Department,
a war in Iraq, and a burgeoning American military empire needs.
- Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's
involvement in American military buildup is the family of Osama bin Laden.
The bin Laden family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin Laden, father
of Osama, who built a multi-billion dollar construction empire through
contracts with the Saudi government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as this
company is called, was heavily invested in Carlyle for years. Specifically,
they were invested in Carlyle's Partners II Fund, which includes in that
portfolio United Defense and other weapons manufacturers.
- This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001
article in the Wall Street Journal entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit
From Jump in Defense Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.' The 'bank' in question
was the Carlyle Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on
September 28 entitled ' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With Washington
- Saudi Clan Has Had Access To Influential Republicans ' further describes
the relationship. In October of 2001, Saudi BinLaden and Carlyle severed
their relationship by mutual agreement. The timing is auspicious.
- There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of
this. The Bush administration has claimed all along that this war with
Iraq is about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of
mass destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish
any basis for either accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim
that the war is about liberating the Iraqi people and bringing democracy
to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the ground in Iraq
and throughout the region that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for
American motives, make such a democracy movement brought at the point of
the sword utterly impossible to achieve.
- This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired
push for an American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand
that there is a great difference between being the citizen of a constitutional
democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an empire
requires some significant sacrifices.
- Essential social, medical, educational and retirement
services will have to be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards
a necessary military buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence
of American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a torrent
of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the
final suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus,
as we will find ourselves under martial law. In the end, however, this
may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome
machine of a constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled
with speed and ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way
in which America has been governed for 227 years.
- And yes, of course, a great many people will die.
- It would be one thing if all of this was based purely
on the ideology of our leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider
the incredible profit motive behind it all. The President, his father,
the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along
with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to
make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense,
construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.
- Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about
the word "fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word
conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final
Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view
the Bush administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini,
dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent
fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly
be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations
who stand against this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not
oppose Bush because they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence
of Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush administration
because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can.
They have seen militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish
never to see it again.
- Would that we Americans could be so wise.
- 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.