Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why the surge in Afghanistan? Part 5 of 6

The Project for a New American Century.

In early 1997 a very controversial group established itself in Washington DC, its purported goal was to promote “American Global Leadership” this organization was a neoconservative political think tank that followed the philosophy of a very dangerous thinker, Leo Strauss. The group is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project, funded by the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation and the Bradley Foundation.

The chairman was and is William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard (Financed by Rupert Murdock FOX TV and recent owner of the Wall Street Journal) Kristol is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel. The Executive Director and chief operating officer has been Gary J. Schmitt.

In 1998, The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), developed a strategy for a series of pre-emptive wars. Those wars involved the oil rich nations of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

William Kristol, and both HW and W Bush are followers of the philosophy of Leo Strauss, 1899-1973 Strauss was a philosopher and the originator of thought relating to neo-conservatism in the United States.

Strauss’s ideas governed several republican administrations from Reagan on, particularly its foreign policy and the Bush so-called "war on terror." Yet, beyond academic circles, most people know little about the man. Its time that we did!

As far as his politics, it came out of his experience in Nazi Germany. He saw the world, basically, as made up of groups that are pitted against each other in mutual hatred and animosity. You either destroy your enemy or you’re destroyed by your enemy. He believed that political society has to be organized in a way that makes the enemy very paramount, always somehow in view. Only the prevalence of the enemy will keep people united, will keep them together, will keep them strong. According to Strauss, if you don’t have any enemies then you better follow the advice of Macchiavelli and invent some. If we paid any attention to the Bush administration we witnessed Strauss philosophy in motion.

Strauss’ thought patterns were rather dark, his solutions are that the only way you can inspire hedonistic and slothful people to fight and die for their nation is to unite the nation with god, and with justice and with the absolute. So that nationalism and religion had to be united. The closer that you allied them the more likely you were going to get the military strength and people willing to die and sacrifice themselves for their country.

We found, for example, in the Bush administration, the Neo-Conservatives who were very much influenced by Strauss. People like Paul Wolfowitz, Abraham Schulsky, William Kristol, all of these were very prominent figures within the Bush administration. We saw the language of Strauss in the speeches of George W. Bush. When Bush said something like “The Hand of God is guiding the affairs of this nation.” This is really a Straussian alliance of religion and politics that was reflected in those speeches. Or for further example, when Bush portrayed the struggle between America and her enemies as a struggle between good and evil, between civilization and terrorism, democracy and tyranny, freedom and oppression. Following Strauss the concept of the enemy is paramount.

Politics is a deadly game. At the same time, the alliance of religion with it makes it even more deadly.

It’s not just Islam that’s disastrous for politics. Christianity has been just as deadly. When Bush talked about the enemy, for example, it’s true that America has enemies. But if you become too paranoid about the enemies, you exaggerate the enemy. As we saw with the Bush administration, there was so much fear in that administration. We heard them say, “Well, let’s kill our enemies before they do anything to us.” As if to say, “Let’s kill them before they even become our enemies.” “let’s get them over there so we don’t have to fight them here”

Strauss’s view of the management of society was as an elitist, and of course he was anti-democratic. He cultivated an elite mentality that was unscrupulous, duplicitous, and one that doesn’t care about ordinary people.

But Strauss had some very true things to say about Democracy. That democracy opens itself up to tyranny; it opens itself up to the rise of demagogues.

Strauss knew that it was in the context of a democratic regime in Weimar that Hitler emerged supreme. Strauss had a fear, and a rightful fear, of democracy and the fact democracy is vulnerable to this rise of demagoguery. His solution was to create, in his own words, an aristocracy in the midst of mass society. To have an elite of supposedly wise individuals who know the truth, who know what people need, who know what kind of noble lies and pious frauds they need. To rule behind the scenes.

In 1998, members of the PNAC, including Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, wrote to President Bill Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The letter argued that Saddam would pose a threat to the United States, its Middle East allies and oil resources in the region. The letter also stated "American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council." The letter argues that an Iraq war would be justified by Hussein's defiance of UN "containment" policy and his persistent threat to US interests.

The 2000 Rebuilding America's Defenses report recommends improved planning, the report states:

"while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for US military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein" and "Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region".

The interest discussed here is OIL.

The PNAC has been the subject of considerable criticism and controversy, both among members of the left and right. Critics dispute the premise that American "world leadership" is desirable for the world or even for the United States itself.

The PNAC's harshest critics claim it represents a disturbing step towards total world subjugation by America, motivated by an imperial and globalist agenda of global US military expansionism and dominance.

Supporters of the project believe that the PNAC's goals are not fundamentally different from past conservative foreign policy assessments. American conservatives have traditionally favored a militarily strong United States, and advocated the country take “aggressive” (preemptive) positions when its interests are threatened.

A line frequently quoted by critics from Rebuilding America's Defenses famously refers to the possibility of a "catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor" (page 51). This quote appears in Chapter V, entitled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force", which discusses the perceived need for the Department of Defense to "move more aggressively to experiment with new technologies and operational concepts” (page 50). The full quote is as follows:

"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor ."

This quote can be considered, if only circumstantial evidence, supporting other direct evidence, that the US government was complicit in the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a precursor to an invasion of Iraq. The World trade Center being the “new Pearl Harbor”, which would justify war on Iraq.

The invasion of Iraq, the "bullying" of the international community into supporting the 2003 war, and the fact that the war went ahead despite much international criticism, stem from the positions of prominent conservatives in the Bush administration. The invasion of Iraq was a foregone conclusion, as the 1998 letter evidences Rumsfeld's, Wolfowitz's and Perle's opinions, this was five years prior to the Iraq invasion. Other signatories of the letter include John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad, the former United States ' ambassadors to the United Nations and Iraq , respectively.

Rory Bremner, citing the letter, said:
"that's what they want — regime change — and nothing, not Blair, not the UN, not Hans Blix, not France, Germany, Russia, China, not the threat of terrorism, or Arab reservations, or lack of evidence or the Peace March, not even our own brave Jack Straw is going to stand in their way."

George Monbiot, citing the letter, said:
"To pretend that this battle begins and ends in Iraq requires a willful denial of the context in which it occurs. That context is a blunt attempt by the superpower to reshape the world to suit itself."

After the 2000 election of George W. Bush, many of the PNAC's members were appointed to key positions within the new President's administration:
Elliott Abrams, National Security Council, Representative for Middle Eastern Affairs
Richard Armitage, Department of State, Deputy Secretary of State
John R. Bolton, Department of State, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Richard Cheney, Vice President
Seth Cropsey, Voice of America, Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau
Paula Dobriansky, Department of State, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs
Francis Fukuyama, President's Council on Bioethics, Counsel Member
Bruce Jackson, U.S. Committee on NATO, President
Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Embassy Baghdad , Iraq, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, previously served as Ambassador to Afghanistan still under W Bush
I. Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff for the Vice President
Peter W. Rodman, Department of Defense, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Randy Scheunemann, U.S. Committee on NATO, Project on Transitional Democracies, International Republican Institute, Member
Paul Wolfowitz, President, World Bank
Dov S. Zakheim, Controller, Department of Defense
Robert B. Zoellick, Department of State, Deputy Secretary of State

With so many of the PNAC members in office and the philosophy of Leo Strauss being so closely followed, war in the Middle East was inevitable.