Dossier BRussells Tribunal
 

 

THE BRUSSELLS TRIBUNAL

  

 

Questioning the New Imperial World Order

 

A Hearing on the

“Project for the New American Century”

 

 

 

 

14-17 April 2004

 

Brussel

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

I.     Platform text                                                                                          p. 4

 

II.     Charter                                                                                                  p. 12
 
III.     Procedure and mandate of the Commission                                         p. 14

 

IV.     Dossier                                                                                                   p. 16
 

A.          Officials documents

 

1.    Statements of Principles (June 1997)                                                                     p. 16

2.                 Rebuilding America’s Defense (September 2000)                                                       p. 17

3.    National Security Strategy of the United States of America (September 2002)    p. 17

 

B.          Testimonies

 

Opening night :

 

1.    Jacques Derrida : For a justice to come (a philosophical prologue)              p. 18

2.    Ramsey Clarke : Open letter to Kofi Annan (testimony on video)                           p. 25

 

Day 1 :

         

3.    Tom Barry (‘amicus curiae’) : Pax Americana : What’s the Alternative ?  p. 30

4.    Felicity Arbuthnot : Introduction by the Prosecution (no text available yet)                     

5.    Geoffrey Geuens : “All power fused” : Economic ties of the PNAC with the        p. 42

                        petrochemical industry and the military industrial complex

6.    John Saxe Fernandez : The neoconservative ideology and                         p. 52

     the Bush administration

7.    Sara Flounders : “The power complex”: The ties of PNAC

     members with the oil industry                                                                               p. 61

8.    Saul Landau : “Pre-emptive Empire”: How the United States became

      an Empire instead of a Republic                                                                           p. 66

9.    Armand Clesse : How Europe reacts to the Neocon Imperial War Policy p. 72

 

Day I1 :

 

10.     Immanuel Wallerstein : “Benevolent hegemony ?” : The neoconservative

        policy as a break  with longstanding standards of US foreign policy                  p. 76

11.     Michael Parenti : "The Rulers of the world": Geopolitical strategies

       behind the New Imperial War Policy   (text not available yet)                                    p. 81


 

12.     Michel Collon : The Global War has begun:

       The neocon blueprint of wars to come                                                                  p. 81

13.     Hans Von Sponeck : “Pre-emptive strike” : the war against Iraq,

        the UN, and international law                                                                              p. 92

14.     Haifa Zangana : Why Iraqi women aren't complaining                                           p. 97

15.     Abdul Ilal Al Bayaty : Divide et Impera : The War In Iraq in the light

        of US Middle East Policy   (text not available yet)                                                     p. 99

16.     Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar : One year later : An Iraqi speaks from Baghdad                p. 99   

17.     Karen Parker : Concluding speech of the Prosecution (text not available yet)                p. 103

18.     Jim Lobe : Concluding speech of the Defense (text not available yet)                  p. 103

 

C.          Written Testimonies

 

1.         Neil McKay : Bush planned Iraq "regime change" before becoming President   p. 104

2.         Tom Barry : The Right’s Architecture of Power                                                     p. 106

3.         Amy Bartholomew : Human Rights as Swords of Empire ?                                    p. 112

4.         Scott Ritter : Not everyone got it wrong on Iraq’s Weapons                                  p. 121

5.         Glen Rangwala : The War in three short texts                                                        p. 124

6.         Jacques Pauwels : Why America needs War                                                p. 136

7.         William Clark : Petrodollar Warfare : Macroeconomics and

       Geostrategy behind the Iraq War                                                                          p. 144

8.         Jeffrey Blankfort : A War for Isral ?                                                            p. 154

9.         Ed Blanche : Neocons at work: Israel gets its 1st slice of Iraqi pie                        p. 163

10.     Michel Chossudovsky : America’s War for Global Domination                             p. 165

11.     Michael C. Ruppert : The Bush - Cheney Drug Empire                                            p. 174

12.     Issa G Shivji : Law’s Empire and Empire’s Lawlessness :

       Beyond the Anglo-American Law                                                                          p. 184

13.     Lieven De Cauter : Giorgio Agamben on the State of Exception                          p. 189

 

D.          Appendices : post script on a possible future

      

1.         Paul Mc Geough and Barry Yeoman : The Privatisation of War                            p. 194

2.         Robert Cooper : A European counterpart to PNAC ?                                              p. 197

3.         Progressive internationalism                                                                                 p. 204

 

 

Personnal notes

 

 

    


 

                                                                                                                           I.      Platform Text

 

 
Questioning the New Imperial World Order

An international hearing on the ‘Project for the New American Century’

and its war policies put into effect under the Bush administration by the invasion of Iraq

 

 

Synopsis

 

The Brussels Tribunal will be a hearing or a commission of inquiry, composed of academics, intellectuals and artists, in the tradition of the Russell Tribunal, set up in 1967 to investigate war crimes committed during the Vietnam War. The hearing is scheduled for 15-17th April 2004 at The Beursschouwburg and Les Halles in Brussels. It will be presided over by Professor Franois Houtart, one of the founding fathers of the World Social Forum in  Porto Allegre. It is directed against the war in Iraq and the Imperial war policies of the Bush II administration. Its main focus will be the ‘Project for the New American Century’, the think tank behind this war and in particular three of the co-signatories of the mission statement: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, as they are the physical link between the discourse and the brutal practice of the New Imperial World Order as designed by PNAC.

 

 

History of the initiative

 

Just before the start of the war in Iraq, a petition was launched. It was signed by some 500 artists, writers, intellectuals and academics, including Julia Kristeva, Richard Plunz, Irving Wolfharth, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Franois Houtart. It called for moral and, if possible, legal action against the ‘Project for the New American Century’ and the authorities responsible for the war against Iraq. It was published on March 21st , 2003 in two Belgian newspapers, De Standaard and De Morgen. It was soon apparent that legal action was unlikely to succeed as the United States have consistently acted against any legal authority that would be liable to threaten them and still continue to do so.

 

Hence the idea to set up a ‘Moral Court’ or ‘Peopless Court’ to condemn the new American policy as well as the think tanks behind it (the latter always remain beyond the grasp of legal action). A broad platform composed of several Belgian cultural organizations was created to carry out the petition’s first proposal: to set up a Brussels Tribunal, after the historic example of the Russell Tribunal. At a networking conference set up by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation at the end of June 2003 in Brussels, it was decided that a series of hearings would be held at different locations all over the world, culminating in a final session in Istanbul. The Brussels Tribunal will be one of these commissions of inquiry. The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation will support the initiative. In a press release after the conference they stated: “A proposal to constitute a Commission of Inquiry culminating in a Tribunal on the war in Iraq was discussed. Working parties would be considering this proposal further in a round of consultations in Turkey, Belgium, the United States and Japan”. Many peace and lawyer organizations around the globe have since joined the network. The initiative is gaining in scale and momentum everyday.

 

 

Concise information on PNAC[1]

 

The acronym PNAC is key to the war in Iraq and to many other wars to come. In the spring of 1997, the neo-conservatives Robert Kagan and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard founded ‘The Project for the New American Century’ (PNAC). The most distinguished signatories of the mission statement are Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Jeb Bush (George W. Bush's brother), Francis Fukuyama, and last but not least Paul Wolfowitz, a former Professor of International Politics and former Dean of the Department of International Politics at Johns Hopkins University. Its current director is Gary Schmitt. It is important to note that many of its members have close ties with both the military and the oil industry. PNAC describes itself as “a non-profit, educational organization whose goal it is to promote American global leadership.”

 

Its ‘Statement of principles’ is unequivocal: “The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.” (That is the doctrine of "Pre-emptive Strike" and "Benevolent Hegemony")

 

PNAC drew up a four-point agenda to achieve its mission:

-         “we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;”

-         “we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;”

-         “we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;”

-         “we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles”.

 

In September 2000, before George W. Bush won the presidential election, PNAC published the crucial report ‘Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century’, in which they clearly stated that to attack Saddam was but an alibi for American supremacy: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” (p. 14). The report argued for a large-scale upgrade of the army and estimated that an annual budgetary increase of 15 to 20 billion dollars would be required to transform the army into something like an 'imperial super-force’, taking the lead in “the revolution in military affairs”. However, PNAC was well aware that this objective would not be easy to achieve: “The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor” (p. 51). Thomas Donnelly, main author of the report is currently working for Lockheed Martin.

 

When Bush came to power, with Dick Cheney as Vice-President, Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, and Paul Wolfowitz as Deputy Secretary of Defense, the PNAC theories became a blueprint for the American defense and international policy. This policy was officially accepted in a White House document personally signed by President Bush: ‘The National Security Strategy of the United States of America’ (September 2002). Events in the meantime have confirmed that the theory of ruthless military world dominance is currently being put into practice.

 

After 9/11, these people had in hand the necessary “catastrophic and catalyzing event” and the political credit to implement their program. They could carry out one of the four core tasks of the transformed American army: “to fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars” (p. IV). This terrible sentence perhaps requires some explanation. “Major theatre wars” is a military term for extended battlefields, but if you know that you will “decisively win” even before going to war, the effort becomes a ‘theatre war’ in the more general sense of a ‘theatrical war’. The rhetoric should be obvious to the entire planet. In the words of George W. Bush himself: “Who is not with us, is against us”. Therefore, these wars have to be “multiple and simultaneous”. As was the case in the Roman Empire, the Project for the New American Century wants to enforce a planet-wide so-called “Pax Americana”, but its means is "Full spectrum dominance". The PNAC report is a road map to a New Imperial Order, with a high-tech mega-army ruling “an increasingly chaotic world” with shock and awe interventions and slash and burn techniques.

 

 

'Accusation'

 

We believe that the PNAC program, put into practice by the Bush War Cabinet, leads directly to violations of international law, thousands of unnecessary war victims, and the destabilization of the entire planet in a social, political, and humanitarian respect. It is heading for an unheard of militarization of the world. This New American Hegemony is, in fact, a way to serve the glory of the oil industry and military industrial complex (with which many PNAC members and Bush aides are closely linked). This policy threatens world peace in a sustained and severe way. The ‘bill of indictment’ may provisionally be phrased as follows: “The Project for the New American Century and its members, especially PNAC's key figures in the Bush War Cabinet, have been preaching, planning and committing crimes against international law and against humanity.”

 

Even if PNAC has only been producing discourse and therefore could and will invoke "free speech", we believe that their speech acts are performative: it is an intention for action. Such speech acts are not merely free speech, they are the source of actions. The actions that directly followed the PNAC discourse and its translation into "The national Security Strategy of the United States”, signed by president Bush (September 2002), are inadmissible. The most important ones are listed below:

 

1) Planning a war without proof of imminent danger to the country involved is considered an ‘act of aggression’ under international law. Waging such a war of aggression is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

-         The doctrine of the “pre-emptive strike” proposed by Paul Wolfowitz in the 1991 Defense Guidelines is incompatible with international law, which restricts the use of force in self-defense to situations where a State has been subjected to an armed attack, i.e. an aggression. This doctrine, officially taken up by President Bush in his speech at West Point Military Academy (January 6, 2002) is a major threat to world peace and a violation of international law.

 

-     The invasion of Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom is a major violation of international law and of the UN Charter.

 

-         Aside from situations of self-defense, the UN Charter determines that States can only resort to armed force with the consent of the UN Security Council.  The Charter has instituted a system of collective security, which is being blatantly disregarded by the current US administration. Moreover, top administration advisers such as Richard Perle consider it irrelevant, and an obstacle to be removed.

 

-     So far no Weapons of Mass Destruction have been found, rendering the entire casus belli a fraud.

 

2) During the Iraq war international humanitarian law was breached on several occasions, and repeatedly and grossly violated:

 

-     The use of cluster bombs against civilians can be considered a war crime, as it causes unnecessary injuries, including those which occur long after combat has ceased.

 

-         The use of uranium in ammunition and bombs can be considered a completely unnecessary act and a severe war crime.

 

-     The hunt for non-embedded journalists can be seen as a war waged against the free press and, therefore, a violation of the right to free speech.

 

-     International law states clearly that it is the duty of the army at war to identify and bury the soldiers it has killed. The United States and the coalition forces have not complied with this rule.

 

3) The duties of an occupation force were not (and are still not) respected:

 

-         Not only did the massive bombing wreck the country’s infrastructures, the fact that the looting of hospitals went on for several days proves that the coalition was not interested in putting a stop to it (its forces exclusively secured the oil fields and the oil Ministry). The total lack of protection of all hospitals was a breach of the occupying forces' duty to assist the victims of war. We may consider this severe omission a breach of the laws of war, as international war legislation clearly states that it is the duty of the occupying country to establish order and security in the occupied country.

 

            -    The permissive policy regarding the looting of all Ministries proves that the coalition is not really interested in investigating the history of this hideous regime, for it tolerated the destruction of a significant part of its archives. This constitutes in a sense an attack on Iraq's collective memory.

 

-         The permissive policy of the US Army and the coalition forces regarding the looting of the National Museum of Baghdad may be considered a crime against the cultural heritage of the country, and even of humanity itself.

 

-          The reconstruction of Iraq is, and will be a profitable deal for several American companies: Halliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root, Bechtel. The revenues from Iraqi oil will flow directly back to American companies (incidentally, most of them being competitors in the oil business). This runs contrary to the most basic principles of international law, according to which the State(s) responsible of breaches of international laws or regulations may not take advantage of this fact and are required to provide compensation for damages resulting from those breaches.

 

4) The occupation of Iraq by the US and British military forces is a violation of international law.

 

The fact that the occupation powers are permanent members of the UN Security Council and will veto any resolution aimed at ending the occupation, does not change the situation of permanent violation of international law and of the UN Charter, ratified by both the US and the UK.

 

5) The ‘New American Imperial Sovereignty’ is heading for a global 'State of Exception'.

 

The war in Iraq is not an isolated event, as can be concluded from the content of the PNAC report and the case of Afghanistan, not to mention the threats against Syria and Iran or the concept of ‘punishing’ France for its opposition to this war or Belgium for its anti-genocide law. This ‘unilateral policy’, heading for a hegemony of the entire world as spelled out by the PNAC report (September 2000), then translated into the official ‘Security Report’ of President George W. Bush (September 2002) and put into practice since, will continue to destabilize the planet in a social, economical, political and humanitarian  respect and claim many unnecessary and innocent victims.

 

The rejection of all international law authorities that would be able to control or convict the citizens of the United States, notably the blatant opposition to the United Nations and the rejection of the International Criminal Court, prove that the United States are withdrawing all respect for the international legal order. It seems necessary for us to study and criticize the ‘philosophical’ (or ideological) foundations of this ‘New Imperial Order’ in the works of Robert Kaplan, Robert Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, and others. It is necessary to expose the foundations of the new concept of “full spectrum dominance”[2].

 

The change American policy has undergone is dramatic and alarming. The transition from multilateralism to unilateralism is not innocent. The “benevolent hegemony”[3] Robert Kagan and William Kristol, founding members of PNAC, were arguing for in 1996, has become ‘malevolent’. The “American exceptionalism” they were advocating is heading towards a ‘State of Exception’. Sovereignty has always been the right to declare the state of exception (according to Carl Schmitt[4]), and it seems that the new American policy is cumulating this policy of exception:

 

- Many war prisoners of the Afghan and Iraqi wars are being detained in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), a location chosen because it is outside American territory. Consequently the Bush administration claims that the American legislation on the treatment of prisoners does not apply. (The practices in Guantanamo have been criticized by several leading Human Rights organizations.)

- The already mentioned doctrine of “Pre-emptive strike”;

- The abandoning of the Kyoto agreements on climate control;

- The rejection of the International Criminal Court in The Hague;

- The rejection of the  Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;

- The Patriot acts I and II which suspend many basic civil rights;

- The expulsion since 9/11 of thousands of immigrants, who lived in the United States for years;

- The total abandoning of the poor and unemployed (in ghettos like Skid Row in L.A.) -

 

all this points clearly to the fact that the "American exceptionalism" is heading towards a dangerous 'State of Exception' (also within the United States itself).

 

 

Conclusion: Why a Brussels Tribunal?

 

It took years for the opposition to the Vietnam War to develop into a mass movement. The current situation is different. Even before the start of the Iraq War the American-British invasion was globally rejected and condemned. The sole aim of the Commission of Inquiry in Brussels, and indeed of the entire process up to the final Istanbul Tribunal, cannot actually be to bring the unlawful character of this war under public attention. It has already been largely acknowledged and debated. What then are the real goals? Why set up this tribunal?

Because it is extremely important for the future of the planet to resist the tendency to present the current situation as normal, which is exactly what is happening and what the Bush administration is trying to do.

Because it is important not to accept this “fait accompli” under the heading of “Realpolitik”, as some politicians and journalists in Europe are inclined to do.

Because it is important to make this point explicitly, even if it is already well-known, and to state “this is a crime” and “this is a violation of international law.”

Because it is important to keep up the spirit. Most governments, including the Belgian, are inclined to give in and to bow to the American pressure. We, the civil society, the people, need to raise our voice.

Because it is important to defend fundamental human dignity, justice and above all World Peace. The war in Iraq is only a step, a stage in the attempt to impose a “Pax Americana” through multiple and simultaneous wars - for more wars are bound to follow. The stronger the resistance is from the start, the bigger the chances are that we can turn this imperial tide. We are on the brink of disaster. Breaking the will to resist is the cornerstone of the Bush administration's policy. Capitulating to this course will only lead to more capricious, frantic and aggressive interventions. The treaty of Munich that paved the way for the Second World War should be kept in mind as a serious historical precedent. The most ardent interventionists have already mapped out a string of preventive interventions: Iran, Syria, North Korea, Libya and even China.

The “Pax Americana” is a New World Order designed in the interest of a handful of American corporations. Under the banner of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ the new global economy appears as a source of poverty for many countries in the developing world. It can only result in endless resistance from the have-nots.

The “Pax Americana” can only endure through discord and, hence, war. In order to mobilize the necessary political forces, the Bush administration stirs up all possible minor disagreements and contradictions in the world: the tension between the Western world and Islam, the tension between ‘New Europe’ and ‘Old Europe’, the tension between different developing countries. It also goes to work inside these countries by encouraging leanings such as nationalism, tribalism and fanaticism. The Bush administration follows more plainly than ever the imperial motto: “divide et impera” and intensifies or creates potential conflicts all over the world.

To guard the “Pax America” and impose “full spectrum dominance” the Bush administration is developing a new generation of nuclear weapons. These warheads will have the capability of penetrating the armored protection of underground command centers or weapons sites. The project threatens to blur the line between nuclear and conventional arms. In the hawks' eyes these “usable nuclear arms” will restore the credibility of US nuclear power. As a result of this policy the nuclear threshold will be lowered and the risks of a nuclear nightmare will be heightened, even beyond the most threatening episodes of the Cold War.

In a short statement written for the International Tribunal Initiative of Istanbul John Berger states: “The records have to be kept and, by definition, the perpetrators, far from keeping records, try to destroy them. They are killers of the innocent and of memory. The records are required to inspire still further the mounting opposition to the new global tyranny. The new tyrants, incomparably over-armed, can win every war - both military and economic. Yet they are losing the war (this is how they call it) of communication. They are not winning the support of world public opinion. More and more people are saying NO. Finally this will be the tyranny's undoing. But after how many more tragedies, invasions and collateral disasters? After how much more of the new poverty the tyranny engenders? Hence the urgency of keeping records, of remembering, of assembling the evidence, so that the accusations become unforgettable, and proverbial on every continent. More and more people are going to say NO, for this is the precondition today for saying YES to all we are determined to save and everything we love.” (John Berger, 18.06.2003, Paris - Mieussy)

Therefore, we conclude that there are sufficient and, in fact, urgent reasons to hold a hearing against this New Imperial policy - as a successful outcome of any legal action is highly improbable - and to

investigate both the theory and practice of this policy. That is why we have chosen ‘The Project for the New American Century’ as our focal point. We are convinced that it is the duty of the people of planet Earth to protest against this dangerous, immoral and, in fact, criminal policy: The People vs. Total War Incorporated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

                                II.      Charter of the brussells tribunal

 

 

-PREAMBLE-

 

CONSIDERING that in 1997 a Washington (D.C.) think-tank was founded, the “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC), aimed at promoting “American leadership worldwide”,

 

MINDFUL that in 2000 and 2001, reports have been adopted in the framework of PNAC, which proclaim that American hegemony should be realised by a tremendous growth in the defense budget; "by fighting and decisvely winning, multiple simultaneous major theater wars"; by deterring all potential competing powers and by permanent military presence all over the planet, particularly in the Gulf;

 

TAKING NOTE that crucial elements of the doctrine put forward in the framework of PNAC have been officially endorsed by the US administration, especially in the “National Strategy Security” approved by President George W. Bush in September 2002;

 

PREOCCUPIED by the fact that the National Security Strategy has provided the conceptual framework within which the “preventive war” fought against Iraq in 2003 has been decided and carried out, whereas there was no legal basis for this war in the United Nations Charter or Security Council Resolution 1441;

 

WORRIED by the disastrous impact of the war against Iraq on the Middle-East Region and in the Arab world, by the instability it has brought to international relations and all the disastrous implications for the entire planet;

 

ALARMED by the threats that the PNAC and National Security Strategy may hold for the future, and by the fact that other “preventive wars” may be decided and carried out in the near future against so-called “rogue States” or other States perceived to be a threat to US national security; and

 

WILLING to assess the risks and threats that the abovementioned US policies may hold for the world in the years to come in an extensive and informed manner,

 

 

The BRussells Tribunal Committee have resolved as follows :

 

ARTICLE 1. ESTABLISHMENT AND MISSION OF THE TRIBUNAL

 

It is hereby decided to establish an international Commission of inquiry, under the name “The Brussells Tribunal” (hereinafter “the Tribunal”), aiming at developing an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the PNAC and of the United States National Security Strategy, as well as assessing the risks and threats that those policies may hold for international peace and security in the future. The hearing is part of the World Tribunal on Iraq , a series of hearings and tribunals with final session in Istanbul .

 

ARTICLE 2. COMPOSITION OF THE TRIBUNAL

 

The Tribunal shall be composed of 7 members of high moral reputation. In the selection of Tribunal members, attention will be paid to an adequate representation of various parts of the world.

 

ARTICLE 3. ORGANIZATION OF THE TRIBUNAL

 

In the performance of its duties, the Tribunal will be assisted by the following organs :

 

1. A Registry. The Registry shall be responsible for the administration and servicing of the Tribunal,

 

2. Prosecutor, and two Assistant-Prosecutors,

 

3. Counsel for defense.

 

ARTICLE 4. PROCEDURE

 

1. The Tribunal shall conduct public hearings in Brussels , Belgium , between the 14th and the 17th of April, 2004.

 

2. The Tribunal shall hear witnesses who shall provide information on various aspects of PNAC and the National Security Strategy. The testimony of each witness may not exceed 30 minutes.

 

3. Witnesses shall be examined and cross-examined, in turn, by the Prosecutor and by Counsel for defense. Questions may be put to the witnesses by members of the Commission. The purpose of examination, cross-examination and questioning is to contribute to the analysis, understanding and dissemination of information concerning PNAC and NSS, and to put at the disposal of the Tribunal as comprehensive information as possible on all aspects of these policies and their consequences.

 

ARTICLE 5. FINAL CONCLUSIONS

 

After the hearing of all witnesses, the Tribunal shall recede in closed session in order to reach its final conclusions on the issues submitted to it. The Tribunal's conclusions shall be presented orally at the end of the session. The conclusions shall also be presented in writing, and publicized widely, among the media, politicians, intergovernmental organizations, NGO's, etc.

 


 

 

                                                                III.      Procedure of the hearing

and mandate of the Commission

 

 

In order to conform to the idea of a Commission of inquiry rather than to the idea of a tribunal with a real judicial task, it has been decided that the BRussells Tribunal will function in the following manner:

 

- The mandate of the members of the Commission will consist in establishing a certain number of facts and draw a certain number of conclusions following from these facts ;

- In order to do this, the members of the Tribunal will be able to draw upon, on one hand, the founding documents of the Project for the New American Century (hereafter PNAC) and the National Security Strategy that have been supplied to them by the organizers, and on the other hand, upon the different testimonies, written and oral, that will be presented to them in the course of the sessions of the hearing being held on April 15th and 16th 2004;

- In order to enable the members of the Commission to have access to all information, that should be as complete and detailed as possible, the witnesses will be questioned after their testimonies by specialists charged to underscore the positive aspects (representatives of the "defense") and the negative aspects (representatives of the "prosecution") of the policies or the issues under scrutiny; if after this first round of interrogation the members of the tribunal wish to obtain supplementary information, they themselves can address questions to the witnesses; the entire period for questionning  will however not exceed the time given to the witness for the presentation of their main testimony (being 30 minutes);

- On the basis of the collected information they will have at their disposal at the end of the hearing, the members of the Commission will have to prepare a written report, in which their findings and conclusions will be expressed; the report will be presented publicly at the end of the hearing on Saturday April 17th 2004 (at 5 pm to the press, at 10.30 pm to the general public during the closing event); the report will thereafter be published together with the documents presenting the PNAC and the testimonies of the different participants (and if possible with a summary of the witness cross-examinations);

-this report, will have at least to pronounce its  opinion on the following questions:

 

-can one conclude that the proposals of the PNAC have been endorsed, in an official or unofficial manner, by the contemporary american  [American] administration; and by doing this, has the Bush administration made it into a founding element of its foreign policy?

 

-can one see in a certain number of actions carried out by the United States in the course of recent years and in particular in the war waged against Iraq from March 2003 onwards, the concrete implementation of the principals and proposals laid out in the founding documents of the PNAC?

 

-do the principals and proposals exposed in the founding documents of the PNAC, appear, in the light of the recent developments, to reinforce stability and security in international relations or [on the contrary] are they to be considered on the contrary as containing risks for international stability and security?

 

-who are the persons and special interest groups behind the PNAC? Do the documents and the testimonies submitted to the members of the Commission confirm the presentation by the PNAC itself of its aim and structure, notably that of an "educational non-profit organization"?

 

 

The BRussells Tribunal is however not entitled to address strict judicial questions raised by - or in the frame of - the war in Iraq. This goes particularly for the question of the legality of this war in the light of international law, and more specifically of the charter of the United Nations, and also for the conformity to international humanitarian law of the diverse military actions in Iraq carried out by the States that engaged in the military intervention. These judicial questions will indeed be treated in a specific manner by other hearings held in different regions of the world, in the frame of "the World Tribunal on Iraq" which the BRussells Tribunal is part and parcel of. In that respect, the role of the defense will not consist of developing a judicial argument on these questions but rather to attempt to justify the logic that underpins the discourse of the PNAC, and its concrete consequences, notably actions like the one carried out against Iraq.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

                                                                                                                                               IV.      DOSSIER

 

 

A.    OFFICIALS DOCUMENTS

 

 

1.    THE PNAC’S STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

 

 

June 3, 1997

 

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

 

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

 

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

 

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

 

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

 

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

 

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today.

 

Here are four consequences:

 

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global

responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

 

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

 

 

Elliott Abrams    Gary Bauer    William J. Bennett    Jeb Bush

Dick Cheney    Eliot A. Cohen    Midge Decter    Paula Dobriansky    Steve Forbes

Aaron Friedberg    Francis Fukuyama    Frank Gaffney    Fred C. Ikle

Donald Kagan    Zalmay Khalilzad    I. Lewis Libby    Norman Podhoretz

Dan Quayle    Peter W. Rodman    Stephen P. Rosen    Henry S. Rowen

Donald Rumsfeld    Vin Weber    George Weigel    Paul Wolfowitz

 

 

 

 

 

2.    REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES (September 2000)

 

This text is available on the PNAC’s website : www.newamericancentury.org

 

 

3.    NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (September 2002)

 

 

This text is available on the White House’s website :  www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html

 

 


 

 

 

 

B.    TESTIMONIES

 

 

Opening Night

 

 

1.                                                                       JACQUES DERRIDA

 

For A Justice To Come

(February, 19th 2004)

 

 

Lieven De Cauter: While thanking you for your generosity—why have you decided to grant us this interview on our initiative, the “BRussells Tribunal”?

 

Jacques Derrida: First of all I wanted to salute your initiative in its principle: to resuscitate the tradition of a Russell Tribunal is symbolically an important and necessary thing to do today. I believe that, in its principle, it is a good thing for the world, even if only in that it feeds the geopolitical reflection of all citizens of the world. I am even more convinced of this necessity in light of the fact that, for a number of years now, we have witnessed an increased interest in the working, in the constitution of international institutions, institutions of international law which, beyond the sovereignty of States, judge heads of State, generals. Not yet States as such, precisely, but persons responsible for, or suspected of being responsible for, war crimes, crimes against humanity—one could mention the case of Pinochet, despite its ambiguity, or of Milosevic. At any rate, heads of State have to appear as such before an International Criminal Court, for instance, which has a recognised status in international law, despite all the difficulties you know: the American, French, Israeli reservations. Nonetheless this tribunal exists, and even if it is still faltering, weak and problematic in the execution of its sanctions, it exists as a recognised phenomenon of international law.

            Your project, if I understand it correctly, is not of the same type, even if it is inspired by the same spirit. It does not have a juridical or judicial status recognised by any State, and it consequently remains a private initiative. Citizens of different countries have agreed among each other to conduct, as honestly as possible, an inquiry into a policy, into a political project and its execution. The point is not to reach a verdict resulting in sanctions but to raise or to sharpen the vigilance of the citizens of the world, in the first place that of the responsible parties you propose to judge. That can have a symbolic weight in which I believe, an exemplary symbolic weight.

            That is why, even though I do not feel involved in the actual experience you intend to set up, I think it is very important to underscore that the case you are about to examine—which is evidently a massive and extremely serious case—is only one case among many. In the logic of your project, other policies, other political or military staff, other countries, other statesmen can also be brought to be judged in the same manner, or to be associated with this case. Personally, I have a critical attitude towards the Bush administration and its project, its attack on Iraq, and the conditions in which this has come about in a unilateral fashion, in spite of official protestations from European countries including France, in violation of the rules of the United Nations and the Security Council... But notwithstanding this criticism — which I have expressed in public, by the way — I would not wish for the United States in general to have to appear before such a tribunal. I would want to distinguish a number of forces within the United States that have opposed the policy on Iraq as firmly as in Europe. This policy does not involve the American people in general, nor even the American State, but a phase in American politics which, for that matter, is about to be questioned again in the run-up to the presidential elections. Perhaps there will be a change, at least partially, in the United States itself, so I would encourage you to be prudent as regards the target of the accusation.

 

LDC: That is why we have directed our attention not to the government in general but more particularly to the Project for the New American Century, the think tank which has issued all these extreme ideas of unilateralism, hegemony, militarisation of the world etc….

 

JD: Where there is an explicit political project which declares its hegemonic intent and proposes to put everything into place to accomplish this, there one can, in effect, level accusations, protest in the name of international law and existing institutions, in their spirit and in their letter. I am thinking as much of the United Nations as of the Security Council, which are respectable institutions, but whose structure, charter, procedures need to be reformed, especially the Security Council. The crisis that has been unfolding confirms this: these international institutions really need to be reformed. And here I would naturally plead for a radical transformation — I don’t know whether this will come about in the short run — which would call into question even the Charter, that is to say the respect for the sovereignties of the nation-states and the non-divisibility of sovereignties. There is a contradiction between the respect for human rights in general, also part of the Charter, and the respect for the sovereignty of the nation-state. The States are in effect represented as States in the United Nations and a fortiori in the Security Council, which gathers together the victors of the last war. All this calls for a profound transformation. I would insist that it should be a transformation and not a destruction, for I believe in the spirit of the United Nations…

 

LDC: So you still remain within the vision of Kant…

JD: At least in the spirit of Kant, for I also have some questions concerning the Kantian concept of cosmopolitanism.[5] It is in this perspective that I believe initiatives such as yours (or analogous initiatives) are symbolically very important to raise consciousness about these necessary transformations. This will have — at least that is what I hope — the symbolic value of a call to reflection we are in need of, and which the States are not taking care of, which not even institutions like the International Criminal Court are taking care of. . .

 

LDC: If I may allow myself one specification: we are part of a whole network called “World Tribunal on Iraq”. There will be sessions in Hiroshima, Tokyo, Mexico, New York, London, and Istambul. . .. In London, and there the link between the International Criminal Court and the moral tribunal is very strong, those in charge of the Tribunal on Iraq have, together with specialists, assembled a dossier to investigate whether Blair (who has recognised the International Criminal Court) has broken international law. By all evidence, there is a considerable consensus among specialists to say that this war is a transgression, it is an “aggressive war” in the technical sense of the term as used in the charter of the UN, since there was no imminent threat to the territory of the countries involved. The upshot of this inquiry is that they have submitted a dossier to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Similarly in Copenhagen, since Denmark is part of the coalition. So it’s possibile that our moral initiative may be transformed, in some of its components, into a juridical procedure strictly speaking.

 

JD: That would be desirable, evidently! But the probability that this would come about seems low, for there would be too many States who would oppose your initiative becoming institutional and generally judicial, and not just the United States. Yet if this doesn’t come about, that does not mean your project is destined to ineffectiveness. On the contrary. I believe in its considerable symbolic effectiveness in the public domain. The fact that it is said, published, even if it isn’t followed by a judgement in the strictly judicial sense, let alone actual sanctions, can have considerable symbolical impact on the political consciousnes of the citizens, a relayed, deferred effect, but one that raises high expectations. I would hope that you would treat those you accuse justly, that yours would be an undertaking of true integrity, devoid of preliminary positioning, without preconditions, that everything would be done in serenity and justice, that the responsible parties would be accurately identified, that you would not go over the top and that you would not exclude other procedures of the same type in the future. I would not want this procedure to serve as an excuse for not conducting other procedures that are just as necessary concerning other countries, other policies, whether they be European or not. I would even wish that the exemplary character of your initiative would lead to a lasting, if not a permanent instance.

            I believe that it would be perceived as being more just if you didn’t commit yourself to this target as if it were the only possible target, notably because, as you are aware, in this aggression against Iraq, American responsibility was naturally decisive but it didn’t come about without complex complicities from many other quarters. We are dealing with a knot of nearly inextricable co-responsibilities. I would hope that this would be clearly taken into account and that it wouldn’t be the accusation of one man only. Even if he is an ideologue, someone who has given the hegemony project a particularly readable form, he has not done it on his own, he cannot have imposed it on non-consenting people. So the contours of the accused, of the suspect or the suspects, are very hard to determine.

 

LDC: Yes, that is one of the reasons why we have abandoned the strictly juridical format. One of the disadvantages of the juridical format is that you can only target persons. Whereas we want to take aim at a system, a systemic logic. We name the accused (Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld) to show people we’re not talking about phantoms, but we take aim at the PNAC as a set of performative discourses, that is to say plans to achieve something, intentions to be translated into action. Our difficulty is also one of communication: communicating to people that PNAC exists and that it is important to spread this knowledge, is already a job in itself.

 

JD: Of course. And for that reason, it is important that matters are partly personalised and partly developed at the level of the system, of the principles, the concept, where this system, these principles, these concepts violate international laws which must be both respected and perhaps also changed. This is where you will not be able to avoid talking about sovereignty, about the crisis of sovereignty, about the necessary division or delimitation of sovereignty. Personally, when I have to take a position on this vast issue of sovereignty, of what I call its necessary deconstruction, I am very cautious. I believe it is necessary, by way of a philosophical, historical analysis, to deconstruct the political theology of sovereignty. It’s an enormous philosophical task, requiring the re-reading of everything, from Kant to Bodin, from Hobbes to Schmitt. But at the same time you shouldn’t think that you must fight for the dissolution pure and simple of all sovereignty: that is neither realistic nor desirable. There are effects of sovereignty which in my view are still politically useful in the fight against certain forces or international concentrations of forces that sneer at sovereignty.

            In the present case, we have precisely the convergence of the arrogant and hegemonic assertion of a sovereign Nation-State with a gathering of global economic forces, involving all kinds of transactions and complications in which China, Russia and many countries of the Middle East are equally mixed up. This is where matters become very hard to disentangle. I believe that sometimes the reclamation of sovereignty should not necessarily be denounced or criticised, it depends on the situation.

 

LDC: As you have clearly demonstrated in Voyous [Rogues], in deconstructing the term, there is no democracy without “cracy”: a certain power, and even force, is required.

 

JD: Absolutely. You can also talk of the sovereignty of the citizen, who votes in a sovereign fashion, so you need to be very cautious. In my view, the interesting thing about your project is in taking up or pursuing this reflection starting from an actual case which takes a specific form: military, strategic, economic, etc. It is very important to develop such reflection on a case, but this reflection requires considerable time and must accompany the entire geopolitical process in decades to come. It is not just as a Frenchman, European or citizen of the world but also as a philosopher concerned to see these questions developed that I find your attempt interesting and necessary. It will provide an opportunity for others, many others I hope, to adopt a position with regard to your efforts, to reflect, possibly to oppose you, or to join you, but this can only be beneficial for the political reflection we are in need of.

LDC: I was amazed by the definition you give in The Concept of September 11: a philosopher, you say, is someone who deals with this transition towards political and international institutions to come. That is a very political definition of the philosopher.

 

JD: What I wanted to convey is that it won’t necessarily be the professional philosophers who will deal with this. The lawyer or the politician who takes charge of these questions will be the philosopher of tomorrow. Sometimes, politicians or lawyers are more able to philosophically think these questions through than professional academic philosophers, even though there are a few within the University dealing with this. At any rate, philosophy today, or the duty of philosophy, is to think this in action, by doing something.

 

LDC: I would like to return to this notion of sovereignty. Is not the New Imperial Order which names “Rogue States” a State of exception? You speak in Voyous about the concept of the auto-immunity of democracy: democracy, at certain critical moments, believes it must suspend itself to defend democracy. This is what is happening in the United States now, both in its domestic policy and in its foreign policy. The ideology of the PNAC, and therefore of the Bush administration, is exactly that.

 

JD: The exception is the translation, the criterion of sovereignty, as was noted by Carl Schmitt (whom I have also criticised, one must be very cautious when one talks about Carl Schmitt, I have written some chapters on Carl Schmitt in The Politics of Friendship where I take him seriously and where I criticise him and I would not want my reflection on Schmitt to be seen as an endorsement of either his theses or his history). Sovereign is he who decides on the exception. Exception and sovereignty go hand in hand here. In the same way that democracy, at times, threatens or suspends itself, so sovereignty consists in giving oneself the right to suspend the law. That is the definition of the sovereign: he makes the law, he is above the law, he can suspend the law. That is what the United States has done, on the one hand when they trespassed against their own commitments with regard to the UN and the Security Council, and on the other hand, within the country itself, by threatening American democracy to a certain extent, that is to say by introducing exceptional police and judicial procedures. I am not only thinking of the Guantanamo prisoners but also of the Patriot Act: from its introduction, the FBI has carried out inquisitorial procedures of intimidation which have been denounced by the Americans themselves, notably by lawyers, as being in breach of the Constitution and of democracy.

            Having said that, to be fair, we must recall that the United States is after all a democracy. Bush, who was elected with the narrowest of margins, risks losing the next elections: he is only sovereign for four years. It is a very legalistic country rich in displays of political liberty which would not be tolerated in a good many other countries. I am not only thinking of countries known to be non-democratic but also of our own Western European democracies. In the United States, when I saw those massive marches against the imminent war in Iraq, in front of the White House, right by Bush’s offices, I said to myself that if in France protesters assembled in their thousands and marched in front of the Elyse in a similar situation, that would not be tolerated. To be fair, we must take into account this contradiction within American democracy — on the one hand, auto-immunity: democracy destroys itself in protecting itself; but on the other hand, we must take into account the fact that this hegemonic tendency is also a crisis of hegemony. The United States, to my mind, convulses upon its hegemony at a time when it is in crisis, precarious. There is no contradiction between the hegemonic drive and crisis. The United States realises all too well that within the next few years, both China and Russia will have begun to weigh in. The oil stories which have naturally determined the Iraq episode are linked to long-term forecasts notably concerning China: China’s oil supply, control over oil in the Middle East… all of this indicates that hegemony is as much under threat as it is manifest and arrogant.

            It is an extremely complex situation, which is why I am bound to say it should not be a matter of blanket accusations or denunciations levelled against the United States, but that we should take stock of all that is critical in American political life. There are forces in the United States that fight the Bush administration, alliances should be formed with these forces, their existence recognised. At times they express their criticism in ways much more radical than in Europe. But there is evidently — and I suppose you will discuss this in your commission of inquiry —the enormous problem of the media, of control of the media, of the media power which has accompanied this entire history in a decisive manner, from September 11 to the invasion of Iraq, an invasion which, by the way, in my opinion was already scheduled well before September 11.

 

LDC: Yes, as a matter of fact that is one of the things that need to be proven. The PNAC, in 2000, writes: “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” They write this in September 2000: it was already decided, all the rest was  just an alibi.

 

JD: I have had this debate in public with Baudrillard, who said that the aggression against Iraq — which was then being prepared— was a direct consequence of September 11. I opposed that thesis, I said that I thought it would take place anyway, that the premises had been in place for a long time already, and that the two sequences can be dissociated, to a certain extent. The day when this history will be written, when the documents are made public, it will become clear that September 11 was preceded by highly complicated underhand negotiations, often in Europe, on the subject of petrol pipe-line passage, at a time when the petrol clan was in power. There were intrigues and threats, and it is not impossible to think that one day it will be discovered that it was really the Bush clan that was targetted rather than the country, the America of Clinton. But we shouldn’t stop at petrol: there are numerous other strategic geopolitical stakes, among them the tensions with China, Europe, Russia. Alliances with the United States, variable as ever, since it has attacked those who they have supported for a very long time. Iraq was an ally of the United States as of France: all of this is part of  diplomatic inconstancy, hypocritical from end to end, and not only on the part of the United States. There are many more stakes than petrol alone, especially since petrol is a matter of only a few more decades: there won’t be any oil left in 50 years! We must take the petrol question into acount, but we shouldn’t devote all our attention and analysis to it. There are military questions, passing through territorial questions of occupation and control. But military power is not only a territorial power, we know that now, it also passes through non-territorialised controls, techno-communicational channels etc. All of this has to be taken into account.

 

LDC: And Israel?

JD: Many have said that the American-Israeli alliance or the support the United States give to Israel is not unrelated to this intervention in Iraq. I believe this is true to some extent. But here too matters are very complicated, because even if the current Israeli government—and here I would take the same precautions as for the United States: there are Israelis in Israel who fight Sharon — has indeed congratulated itself officially and in public on the aggression against Iraq, the freedom this may have apparently given Israel in its offensive initiatives of colonisation and repression is very ambiguous. Here too we could speak of auto-immunity: it’s very contradictory, because at the same time this has aggravated Palestinian terrorism, intensified or reawakened symptoms of anti-semitism across Europe…

            It’s very complicated, for if it is true that the Americans support Israel — just like the majority of European countries, with different political modulations - , the best American allies of Sharon’s policy, that is to say the most offensive policy of all Israeli governments, are not only the American Jewish community but also the Christian fundamentalists. These are often the most pro-Israeli of all Americans, at times even more so than certain American Jews. I’m not sure it will turn out to have been in Israel’s best interest that this form of aggression against Iraq has come about. The future will tell. Even Sharon meets with opposition in his own government nowadays, in his own majority, because he claims to withdraw from the Gaza colonies. The difficulty of a project such as yours, however just and magnificent it may be in its principle, is that it must cautiously take this complexity into account, that it must try not to be unfair to any of the parties. That is one of the reasons why I insist in confirming my solidarity in principle. Unable to participate effectively in the inquiry and in the development of the judgement, I prefer to restrict myself for now to this agreement in principle, but I will not hesitate to applaud you afterwards, if I find you have conducted matters well!

 

LDC: Your statements are limpid and will serve as drink for many who are thirsty (for justice, for instance). Thank you very much. By way of post-script: let us speak of messianism for a minute or so. That is to say of “the weak force”, which refers to Benjamin and which you evoke in the “Prire d’insrer”, the preface to Voyous. Allow me to quote from it: “This vulnerable force, this force without power exposes to what or who is coming, and coming to affect it (…) What affirms itself here would  be a messianic act of faith—irreligious and without messianism. (…) This site is neither soil nor foundation. It is nonetheless there that the call for a thought of the event to come will take root: of democracy to come, of reason to come. All hopes will put their trust in this call, certainly, but the call will remain, in itself, without hope. Not desperate but alien to teleology, to the expectancy and the benefit [salut] of salvation. Not alien to the salavation [salut] of the other, nor alien to the farewell or to justice, but still rebellious towards the economy of redemption.”… I thought this very beautiful. Almost a prayer to insert — into the everyday, into our project. What is it, this messianism without religion?

 

JD: The weak force indeed refers to the interpretation of Benjamin, but it is not exactly mine. It is what I call “messianicity without messianism”: I would say that today, one of the incarnations, one of the implementations of this messianicity, of this messianism without religion, may be found in the alter-globalisation movements. Movements that are still heterogeneous, still somewhat unformed, full of contradictions, but that gather together the weak of the earth, all those who feel themselves crushed by the economic hegemonies, by the liberal market, by sovereignism, etc. I believe it is these weak who will prove to be strongest in the end and who represent the future. Even though I am not a militant involved in these movements, I place my bet on the weak force of those alter-globalisation movements, who will have to explain themselves, to unravel their contradictions, but who march against all the hegemonic organisations of the world. Not just the United States, also the International Monetary Fund, the G8, all those organised hegemonies of the rich countries, the strong and powerful countries, of which Europe is part. It is these alter-globalisation movements that offer one of the best figures of what I would call messianicity without messianism, that is to say a messianicity that does not belong to any determined religion. The conflict with Iraq involved numerous religious elements, from all sides—from the Christian side as well as from the Muslim side. What I call messianicity without messianism is a call, a promise of an independent future for what is to come, and which comes like every messiah in the shape of peace and justice, a promise independent of religion, that is to say universal. A promise independent of the three religions when they oppose each other, since in fact it is a war between three Abrahamic religions. A promise beyond the Abrahamic religions, universal, without relation to revelations or to the history of religions. My intent here is not anti-religious, it is not a matter of waging war on the religious messianisms properly speaking, that is to say Judaic, Christian, Islamic. But it is a matter of marking a place where these messianisms are exceeded by messianicity, that is to say by that waiting without waiting, without horizon for the event to come, the democracy to come with all its contradictions. And I believe we must seek today, very cautiously, to give force and form to this messianicity, without giving in to the old concepts of politics (sovereignism, territorialised nation-state), without giving in to the Churches or to the religious powers, theologico-political or theocratic of all orders, whether they be the theocracies of the Islamic Middle East, or whether they be, disguised, the theocracies of the West. (In spite of everything, Europe, France especially, but also the United States are secular in principle in their Constiutions. I recently heard a journalist say to an American: “how do you explain that Bush always says ‘God bless America’, that the President swears on the Bible, etc.” and the American replied: “don’t lecture us on secularity for we put the separation of Church and State into our Constitution long before you did”, that the State was not under the control of any religion whatsoever, which does not stop Christian domination from exerting itself, but there too it is imperative to be very cautious). Messianicity without messianism, that is: independence in respect of religion in general. A faith without religion in some sort.

 

 

 

 

 

2.                                                                       RAMSEY CLARK

 

 

Open Letter to Kofi Annan

January, 29, 2004

 

 

Dear Secretary General Annan,

 

U.S. President George W. Bush again confirmed his intention to continue waging wars of aggression in his State of the Union message on January 20, 2004. He began his address: "As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American service men and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror.  By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure." He proclaimed: "Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people... America is on the offensive against the terrorists..."

Continuing, he said: "...our coalition is leading aggressive raids against the surviving members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.... Men who ran away from our troops in battle are now dispersed and attack from the shadows." In Iraq, he reported: "Of the top 55 officials of the former regime, we have captured or killed 45.  Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day, and conducting an average of 180 raids a week...." Explaining his aggression, President Bush stated: "...After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers.  The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States and war is what they got."

 

Forget law.  No more legal papers, or rights.  Forget truth.  The claim that either Afghanistan, or Iraq declared war on the U.S. is absurd. The U.S. chose to attack both nations, from one end to the other, violating their sovereignty and changing their "regimes", summarily executing thousands of men, women and children in the process.  At least 40,000 defenseless people in Iraq have been killed by U.S. violence since the latest aggression began in earnest in March 2003 starting with its celebrated, high tech, terrorist "Shock and Awe" and continuing until now with 25, or more, U.S. raids daily causing mounting deaths and injuries.

 

All this death-dealing aggression has occurred during a period, Mr. Bush boasts, of "over two years without an attack on American soil".  The U.S. is guilty of pure aggression, arbitrary repression and false portrayal of the nature and purpose of its violence. President Bush's brutish mentality is revealed in his condemnations of the "killers" and "thugs in Iraq" "who ran away from our troops in battle".  U.S. military expenditures and technology threaten and impoverish life on the planet.  Any army that sought to stand up against U.S. air power and weapons of mass destruction in open battle would be annihilated.  This is what President Bush seeks when he says "Bring 'em on."

 

President Bush declared his intention to change the "Middle East" by force. "As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends.  So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East.  We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends." "...America is a nation with a mission... we understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of freedom."

 

He extended his threat to any nation he may choose: "As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes that harbor and support terrorists, and could supply them with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.  The United States and our allies are determined: We refuse to live in the shadow of this ultimate danger." President Bush's utter contempt for the United Nations is revealed in his assertion that the United States and other countries "have enforced the demands of the United Nations", ignoring the refusal of the U.N. to approve a war of aggression against Iraq and implying the U.N. had neither the courage nor the capacity to pursue its own "demands". His total commitment to unilateral U.S. action, was asserted by President Bush when he sarcastically referred to the "permission slip" a school child needs to leave a classroom: "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people".

 

President Bush intends to go it alone, because his interest is American power and wealth alone, though he prefers to use the youth of NATO countries and others as cannon folder in his wars. President Bush believes might makes right and that the end justifies the means.  He declares: "...the world without Saddam Husseins regime is a better and safer place". So U.S. military technology which is omnicidal- capable of destroying all life on the planet-will be ordered by President Bush to make the world "a better and safer place" by destroying nations and individuals he designates.

 

President Bush presided over 152 executions in Texas, far more than any other U.S. governor since World War II. Included were women, minors, retarded persons, aliens in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and innocent persons.  He never acted to prevent a single execution.   He has publicly proclaimed the right to assassinate foreign leaders and repeatedly boasted of summary executions and indiscriminate killing in State of the Union messages and elsewhere.

 

The danger of Bush unilateralism is further revealed when he states: "Colonel Qaddafi correctly judged that his country would be better off, and far more secure without weapons of mass murder.  Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not."

 

Forget diplomacy, use "intense negotiations".  If President Bush believed it was "diplomacy", which maintained genocidal sanctions against Iraq for twelve years that failed, rather than an effort to crush Iraq to submission, then why didn't he use "nine months of intense negotiations" to avoid a war of aggression against Iraq?  He was President for nearly twenty seven months before the criminal assault on Iraq, he apparently intended all along.  Iraq was no threat to anyone.

 

What President Bush means by "intense negotiations" includes a threat of military aggression with the example of Iraq to show this in no bluff. The Nuremberg Judgment held Goerings threat to destroy Prague unless Czechoslovakia surrendered Bohemia and Moravia to be an act of aggression.

 

If Qaddafi "correctly judged his country would be better off, and far more secure, without weapons of mass murder", why would the United States not be better off, and far more secure, if it eliminated all its vast stores of nuclear weapons?  Is not the greatest danger from nuclear proliferation today without question President Bush's violations of the Non Proliferation (NPT), ABM and Nuclear Test Ban treaties by continuing programs for strategic nuclear weapons, failing to negotiate in good faith to achieve "nuclear disarmament" after more than thirty years and development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, small "tactical"weapons of mass murder, which he would use in a minute?  Has he not threatened to use existing strategic nuclear weapons?  The failure of the "nuclear weapon State Party(s)" to the NPT to work in good faith to achieve "nuclear disarmament these past 36 years is the reason the world is still confronted with the threat of nuclear war and proliferation.

 

None of the many and changing explanations, excuses, or evasions offered by President Bush to justify his war of aggression can erase the crimes he has committed.  Among the less invidious misleading statements, President Bush made on January 20, 2004 was: "Already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations." Three days later, Dr. Kay told Reuters he thought Iraq had illicit weapons at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but that by a combination of U.N. inspections and Iraq's own decisions, "it got rid of them".  He further said it "is correct" to say Iraq does not have any large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons in the country.  He has added that no evidence of any chemical or biological weapons have been found in Iraq.

 

Iraq did not use illicit weapons in the 1991 Gulf war.  The U.S. did - 900 tons plus of depleted uranium, fuel air explosives, super bombs,, cluster bombs with civilians and civilian facilities the "direct object of attack".  The U.S. claimed to destroy 80% of Iraq's military armor. It dropped 88,500 tons of explosives, 7 1/2 Hiroshima's, on the country in 42 days.  Iraq was essentially defenseless.  Tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians perished.  The U.S. reported 157 casualties, 1/3 from friendly fire, the remainder non combat. U.N. inspectors over more than 6 years of highly intrusive physical inspections found and destroyed 90% of the materials required to manufacture nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  U.N. sanctions imposed August 6, 1990 had caused the deaths of 567,000 children under age five by October 1996, the U.N. FAO reported.  Twenty four percent of the infants born live in Iraq in 2002 had a dangerously low birth weight below 2 kilos, symbolizing the condition of the whole population. In March 2003 Iraq was incapable of carrying out a threat against the U.S., or any other country, and would have been pulverized by U.S. forces in place in the Gulf had it tried.

 

More than thirty five nations admit the possession of nuclear, chemical and/or biological weapons.  Are these nations, caput lupinum, lawfully subject to destruction because of their mere possession of WMDs?  The U.S. possesses more of each of these impermissible weapons than all other nations combined, and infinitely greater capacity for their delivery anywhere on earth within hours.  Meanwhile the U.S. increases its military expenditures, which already exceed those of all other nations on earth combined, and its technology which is exponentially more dangerous.

 

The U.N. General Assembly Resolution on the Definition of Aggression of December 14, 1974 provides in part:

Article 1: Aggression is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State;

Article 2: The first use of armed force by a State in contravention of the Charter shall constitute prima facie evidence of an act of aggression;

Article 3: Any of the following acts ... qualify as an act of aggression:

(a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack;

(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;

(c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State;

(d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State.

 

If the U.S. assault on Iraq is not a War of Aggression under international law, then there is no longer such a crime as War of Aggression.  A huge, all powerful nation has assaulted a small prostrate, defenseless people half way around the world with "Shock and Awe" terror and destruction, occupied it and continues daily assaults. President Bush praises U.S. soldiers' "...skill and their courage in armored charges, and midnight raids." which terrorize and kill innocent Iraqis, women, children, families, nearly every day and average 180 attacks each week.

 

The first crime defined in the Constitution annexed to the Charter of the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg)  under Crimes Against Peace is War of Aggression.  II.6.a. The Nuremberg Judgment proclaimed: "The charges in the indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive war are charges of the utmost gravity.  War is essentially an evil thing.  Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world."

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime...

 

The "seizure" of Austria in March 1938 and of Bohemia and Moravia from Czechoslovakia in March 1939 following the threat to destroy Prague were judged to be acts of aggression by the Tribunal even in the absence of actual war and after Britain, France, Italy and Germany had agreed at Munich to cede Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Germany.

The first conduct judged to be a war of aggression by Nazi Germany was its invasion of Poland in September 1939.  There followed a long list, Britain, France, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Yugoslavia, Greece.  The attack on the USSR, together with Finland, Romania and Hungary, was adjudged as follows: it was contended for the defendants that the attack upon the U.S.S.R. was justified because the Soviet Union was contemplating an attack upon Germany, and making preparations to that end.  It is impossible to believe that this view was ever honestly entertained.

 

The plans for the economic exploitation of the U.S.S.R., for the removal of masses of the population, for the murder of Commissars and political leaders, were all part of the carefully prepared scheme launched on 22 June without warning of any kind, and without the shadow of legal excuses.  It was plain aggression.

 

The United Nations cannot permit U.S. power to justify its wars of aggression if it is to survive as a viable institution for ending the scourges of war, exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty. Comparatively minor acts and wars of aggression by the United States in the last 20 years, deadly enough for their victims, in Grenada, Libya, Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Yemen with many other nations threatened, sanctioned, or attacked, some with U.N. complicity and all without effective United Nations resistance, made the major deadly wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq possible.

 

Failure to condemn the massive U.S. war of aggression and illegal occupation of Iraq and any U.N. act providing colorable legitimacy to the U.S. occupation will open wide the gate to further, greater aggression.  The line must be drawn now.

 

The United Nations must recognize and declare the U.S. attack and occupation of Iraq to be the war of aggression it is.  It must refuse absolutely to justify, or condone the aggression, the illegal occupation and the continuing U.S. assaults in Iraq.  The U.N. must insist that the U.S. withdraw from Iraq as it insisted Iraq withdraw from Kuwait in 1990.

 

There must be no impunity or profit for wars of aggression. The U.S. and U.S. companies must surrender all profits and terminate all contracts involving Iraq.

 

There must be strict accountability by U.S. leaders and others for crimes they have committed against Iraq and compensation by the U.S. government for the damage its aggression has inflicted on Afghanistan and Iraq, the peoples injured there and stability and harm done to world peace.

 

This must be done with care to prevent the eruption of internal divisions, or violence and any foreign domination or exploitation in Iraq.  The governance of a united Iraq must be returned to the diverse peoples who live there, acting together  consensually in peace for their common good as soon as possible. Sincerely,

 

The identical letter has been sent to: Members of the UN Security Council The President of the UN General Assembly The Secretary General of the UN The President of the United States


 

 

Day One

 

 

 

3.                                                                       TOM BARRY (‘amicus curiae’)

 

Pax Americana : What’s the Alternative ?

 

Where are the internationalists—on the left or the right—who say that absolute deference to national sovereignty should be the baseline for multilateral relations?

 

Where are the internationalists who say that foreign and military policy should be guided by national interests and realpolitik--rather than by a strong sense of moral clarity?

 

Where are the internationalists who believe that traditional diplomacy is the only effective instrument for advancing and protecting international cooperation and peace?

 

And where are the internationalists who believe that the United Nations can and will always act expeditiously and effectively to protect our mutual security and our common rights?

 

If internationalists who hold such beliefs are among us, let them cast the first stones against PNAC. But in doing so, they should understand that PNAC is not alone in its conviction that U.S. military, economic, diplomatic, and technological dominance require that Washington exercise global leadership. Neither does PNAC stand alone in its belief that global leadership should be guided by moral clarity, or in the belief that the U.S. government should use its superior military power to ensure world order and peace. These are convictions that are widely shared in the U.S. political community and by the U.S. public.

 

Appreciation Not Aspersion

 

Instead of accusing the neoconservative internationalists of high crimes, we should be grateful that they were bold enough in the 1990s to tackle the most pressing question in international affairs—namely how to ensure that U.S. power and leadership have moral foundations and are used responsibly. PNAC stands accused by many liberals and progressives of laying out a set of principles and policy recommendations. Yet these principles and policies are based on universal values and on the reality of power relations in the post-cold war world. Rather than casting blame on PNAC, we should instead express our appreciation for its efforts to formulate a new foreign policy agenda—one that provides intellectual orientation to the new era in international relations and offers a practical roadmap to guide the international engagement of the sole superpower. Moreover, it’s an agenda that is explicitly tied to the defense and promotion of universal values.

 

In its 1997 Statement of Principles, PNAC expressed this challenge as follows: “As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades?” Across the political spectrum in the 1990s, the end of the cold war and the rapid pace of globalization combined to cast the history of U.S. foreign policy into memory hole. But PNAC’s charter signatories insisted that we not forget the lessons of history—the fundamental role played by the United States in leading the Allies to victory in two world wars and establishing the norms and institutions that finally brought political and economic order to the 20th century.

 

As PNAC declared: “The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.”

 

As a politically engaged policy institute that aimed to address the lack of a post-cold war vision for international affairs, PNAC should be commended, not condemned. Its critics should consider the neoconservative institute as a model for successful agenda-setting. Indeed, PNAC’s detractors only highlight their own failures as political analysts and actors when they attempt to defame the Project for the New American Century.

 

Getting Back on Course

 

In the 1990s, while other political sectors were floundering and unable to resolve contradictions in their own principles and policies, PNAC boldly charted a new course for U.S. international engagement. Four years into the “New American Century” heralded by PNAC, the traditional right, the liberal center, and the left have yet to formulate an international affairs agenda or ideology that approaches the cohesiveness and clarity of PNAC’s principles and policy framework. And these political pundits, 15 years after the end of the cold war, have yet to address the fundamental question about the responsible exercise of what William Kristol and other neoconservatives call “American preeminence.”[6] In keeping with the historical practices of the left, the self-righteous critics of the “New American Century” agenda are content in dishing out indignant condemnations of U.S. policy and offering their utopian dreams as a substitute for prescriptive policy analysis.

 

In their 1996 essay in Foreign Affairs, William Kristol and Robert Kagan called for a “broad, sustaining foreign policy vision” that would fill the gap left by the realists, isolationists, anti-globalizers, and “peace dividend” progressives.[7] The next year they founded the Project for the New American Century to flesh out the principles and policies of such a vision. While these neoconservatives unflinchingly set about forging the intellectual and policy framework of a new foreign and military policy for the world’s most powerful nation, traditional conservatives, progressives, and liberals floundered.

 

And what was the counterpart international affairs agenda of progressives in the 1990s? Although instinctively and historically anti-interventionist, many progressives in the 1990s advocated so-called humanitarian interventionism around the world—in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Kosovo. There was also some support for U.S. political aid to foster democratization in countries ranging from Cambodia to Mexico to the former Yugoslavia. For the most part, however, progressives ignored the conundrums and challenges of traditional foreign policy and security issues, concentrating instead on foreign economic policy. It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that in progressive circles before September 11, 2001, economic globalization was treated as a synonym for international affairs.

 

Kristol and Kagan observed that conservatives were badly “adrift” in foreign policy—swept back and forth by currents of “America First” isolationism and nationalism and by tides of a morally bankrupt Kissingeresque realism. In PNAC’s assessment, the leaders of political parties as well as Americans in general were ready to unshoulder the vast responsibilities that U.S. leadership had assumed at the end of the Second World War and instead concentrate energies either at home or in furthering U.S. economic interests abroad. PNAC aimed to wake up America from its “return to normalcy” slumber, to substitute reality for dreams about a globalized future, and to provide principles and a vision that would shape a new foreign policy while energizing the American public (and a revitalized Republican Party leadership team) behind the moral foundations of its New American Century policy.

 

However, it wasn’t until early 2002 that liberals and progressives began waking up to the fact that there were major, indeed radical, differences between the foreign and military policies of the George W. Bush administration and that of his predecessors. Despite public statements by PNAC associates, many of whom became high officials in the Bush administration, and the aggressive anti-multilateralism demonstrated during the administration’s first year, most observers failed to notice that Washington’s new national security strategy was a policy foretold.

 

Moral Clarity First

 

Some criticize PNAC’s foreign and military policy agenda as being narrowly tied to U.S. economic interests. This is not a fair criticism, at least in light of PNAC’s published analysis and policy recommendations.

 

In its Statement of Principles, PNAC calls for a foreign and military policy driven by morals and values, not by profits. The statement complained that in the post-cold war administrations, “the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations.” Moreover, PNAC observed that America and the world needed “a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.” This new foreign policy should be one defined by its “moral clarity,” declared Kristol and Kagan in 1996.

 

In marked contrast to foreign policy realists, PNAC has declared its commitment to reestablishing the United States as a “benevolent hegemon”—a global power whose leadership serves not only its own national interests but those of the entire world. Nowhere in the PNAC policy blueprints or in its statement of principles—or, for that matter, in the White House’s national security strategy document of 2002—does one find the argument that U.S. foreign and military policy should always serve the goal of securing U.S. economic dominance.

 

In their Foreign Affairs essay, Kristol and Kagan called for the “remoralization of American foreign policy,” arguing that only a morally based foreign policy could win the support of the American people. Moreover, a moral makeover of U.S. foreign policy would contribute to the “remoralization of America at home.” In public documents by PNAC and its associates, the moral fundaments guiding their foreign policy vision are those declared by America’s founding fathers. And they make the strong argument that the “principles of the Declaration of Independence are not merely the choices of a particular culture but are universal” or, as the founders themselves asserted, “self-evident” truths.

 

In its moral moorings, PNAC’s foreign policy agenda has far more in common with the international engagement principles advocated by the traditional left and progressives than it does with the tenets of the traditional rightists or foreign policy realists. Because of the moral principles on which it is based, the internationalism described by PNAC’s ideologues is eminently more defensible than the foreign policy objectives of European governments that prioritize commercial interests. If the Pax Americana envisioned by PNAC is regarded as an empire by its critics, then it is a new kind of empire, one driven at least as much by a moral mission as by national economic interests. As Kristol and Kagan advised in 1996, “The United States should not blindly ‘do business’ with every nation, no matter its regime.”

 

The virtue of American power is that it is morally anchored. Henry Luce, who coined the term “American Century,” said the purpose of U.S. power should be to establish “an international moral order.” Such an order, based on the belief of “freedom and justice for all,” would create the preconditions for global peace and prosperity. The architects of the new American century share this conviction and mission.

 

As Kristol and Kagan note, “A hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain.”[8] PNAC’s agenda is not to establish a new empire—or a “neo-imperial world order”—but only to ensure that the widely acknowledged American hegemony is not squandered by a post-cold war America turned inward, lacking a moral compass, and concerned only about markets and consumption. As PNAC’s founders correctly observe: “The United States achieved its present position of strength not by practicing a foreign policy of live and let live, nor by passively waiting for threats to arise, but by actively promoting American principles of governance abroad—democracy, free markets, and respect for liberty.”[9]

 

A Radical Break

 

Voices within the Democratic Party, from Europe, and among progressive global networks routinely charge that PNAC’s foreign policy agenda for a new world order represents a radical break with traditional frameworks. But given the sad state of those traditional frameworks and the absence of other effective global leadership, shouldn’t PNAC be commended for its effort to establish new frameworks? Should the tattered frameworks have been retained, or is a radical revisioning needed?

 

Traditionally, U.S. hegemony has entailed close association and consultation with Western European allies. But why should the world order of the 21st century remain a construct of 20th century Atlanticism? Traditionally, the world order has assumed that the Middle East would remain a region impervious to democracy and controlled by dictators aligned with Western elites. Neoconservative ideology holds that certain cherished political and religious rights should be universal. Furthermore, that until these rights take hold in the Middle East and North Africa, international peace and prosperity will remain at risk. A clean break is needed from the old frameworks in the Middle East. Who will argue authoritarian regimes in the Middle East should not be restructured? The casualties in the terrorist attacks in New York City and Madrid were victims of a traditionalism that mires the Middle East in fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, and authoritarianism.

 

Most frequently cited in critiques of PNAC’s ideological radicalism is the neoconservatives’ failure to support the post-cold war framework of multilateralism. First, it should be recognized in PNAC’s writings its founders pay homage to the visionary leadership of the liberal internationalists of the first American century—the Democratic Party statesmen who broke the back of the Republican isolationism of the 1940s and 1950s and formulated the political, military, and economic multilateralism that established global order and spurred economic progress from the devastation left by the Second World War. Chaos thus having been averted in the second half of the 20th century, improvements in the internationalist model were in order. In its efforts to craft a modern, more effective global order, PNAC cast aside the retrograde nationalism and militarism of the traditional right, and it dismissed the center-left’s knee-jerk defense of a post-WWII multilateralism that was increasingly ineffective and gutless. Instead, PNAC called for a radically new internationalism—one that refused to bow to the sanctity of failed policy frameworks and that soundly criticized those who would retreat to isolationism or an economistic foreign policy.

 

The PNAC team advanced a new policy framework in which international affairs are restructured by coalitions of the willing, inspired by U.S. leadership and fortified by U.S. might and resolve. No longer would rogue nations, obstructionist great powers like Russia and China, or outdated international rules that unduly revere national sovereignty stand in the way of groups of nations determined to protect themselves from national or subnational threats to regional and international peace. Some Western European governments condemn the neoconservative agenda and the Bush administration for advocating such a framework of international engagement. But their vision is clouded by their own naivet and hypocrisy.

 

Western Europe and the United Nations stood idly by as ethnic fratricide surged on its borders in the former Yugoslavia. Only when the United States signaled its political will to intervene did Western Europe act to secure the peace and foster the political restructuring of the Balkans. Although Western European nations often condemn the U.S. internationalists for their militarism and expansionism, they remain willing partners in a U.S.-led North Atlantic military alliance that perfunctorily acknowledges the United Nations and plays to the region’s nativist fears of Russia and other Eastern nations.

 

New political ideologies and policy frameworks are needed to address the challenges of the new century. No doubt PNAC’s agenda is a radical one, but there is no virtue in holding on to flawed and outdated processes for managing ever-evolving international affairs.

 

Radical and New, But Deeply Embedded in American Tradition

 

Too much can be made of neoconservative radicalism. If there is a vice to be found in the neoconservative vision for U.S. foreign and military policy, the dark thread runs deep in America. The genius of PNAC’s agenda for the New American Century lies less in its innovative features—such as its embrace of the politics of regime change and of preventive war against threats to Pax Americana—than in its blending of core traditional components of Americana. If one is to condemn the neoconservative vision, then one must denounce all the historical tendencies that run deep in U.S. foreign policy.

 

PNAC has produced a powerful blend of the best aspects of American nationalism, isolationism, messianism, exceptionalism, and realism. It has distilled the essence of American belief structures. In the process, PNAC helped bring together diverse constituencies behind a new ideology of American supremacism.

 

All those attempting either to understand American foreign policy or to chart a new course for America in the 21st century are indebted to PNAC for its success in synthesizing and crystallizing the historical undercurrents in U.S international affairs.

 

 

Responding to the Questions Posed by the Commission of the Brussels Tribunal

 

 

Question One: Can PNAC documents be considered a founding element of the Bush foreign policy?[10]

 

It is clear that the policy documents prepared by PNAC associates and the group’s statement of principles—including the Defense Policy Guidance of 1992, Present Dangers, and Rebuilding America’s Defenses—formed the blueprints for the national security doctrine of the George W. Bush administration. PNAC’s founders set out to “lay the groundwork for a neo-Reaganite foreign policy,” and they largely succeeded. This outcome testifies to the intellectual, strategic, and political abilities of the PNAC associates as well as to their sense of history and their grasp of the enduring beliefs of the American people.

 

There is little doubt that Washington’s foreign policy is based on the ideology and the policy vision of a small circle of neoconservative strategists and military-industrial complex advisers. However, any criticism that a cadre of visionaries unduly influenced the foreign policy apparatus of the U.S. government could also be leveled against many previous administration brain trusts. Foreign policy in the United States, as elsewhere, is historically the domain of competing elites from different sectors of the business, academic, think tank, and political community.

 

What normative judgment, then, should follow from this conclusion about PNAC influence? Certainly not one that blames PNAC associates for their political prowess, intellectual verve, and determination to grapple with the most pressing enigmas of foreign and military policy. If in the medium term it is found that PNAC’s vision did not enhance security and expand the reach of universal values, then the burden of this shortcoming must fairly be shared by competing political sectors—both in the United States and around the world—who all failed to take up the intellectual and political challenge of articulating a new foreign policy vision. History will record that the neoconservatives took up the challenge of designing a foreign policy for the world’s hegemonic power, while other political actors shirked from this task.

 

Question Two: Can the foreign and military policy operations of the Bush administration be considered the implementation of the principles and policy recommendations set forth by PNAC?

 

Again, the answer is clearly yes. However, these policies—including the support for the hardliners in Israel, the bombing campaign against the Taliban government, the invasion of Iraq, to the newly confrontational approach to relations with the rogue states of Iran, Syria, and Korea, the new emphasis on the protection of religious rights of Christians and Jews, and the expansion of NATO—have enjoyed broad bipartisan and popular support in the United States, and to some degree in the world community. If such actions prove less than helpful or are deemed violations of international law, then the blame rests with the larger community that supported the policy and ideological frameworks outlined by this small clique of neoconservatives.

 

Question Three: Have the principles and proposals set forth by PNAC associates led to decreased international stability and security?

 

There is no doubt that international affairs today are more conflictive than in the 1990s. But the implicit accusation that PNAC visionaries (and, by extension, the Bush administration policies) are responsible for this instability is politically motivated and is not an objective assessment of the causes of current instability and the threats to peace.

 

In 1996 and 1997, PNAC’s founders warned that a lack of attention to international affairs and a lack of serious consideration of the responsibilities incumbent on the world’s only superpower constituted the primary threat to international peace and stability. Let’s recall the alarm raised by PNAC’s Statement of Principles:

 

“We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital--both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements--built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world… We are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.”

 

It could well be argued that a lack of serious attention in the 1990s to the rise of Islamist militancy, the problem of entrenched Middle East/North Africa dictatorships, the buildup of weapons of mass destruction by Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, China’s militarism and political repression, the ineffectiveness of the United Nations, and the failure to guarantee Israel’s security have resulted in the instability that we now experience.

 

It’s too early to evaluate the consequences of PNAC’s agenda and the Bush Doctrine. In the medium term, we may very well come to the conclusion that these neoconservative initiatives sparked much-needed political reforms in the Middle East, obligated rogue and militarized regimes to desist from attempts to acquire WMDs much as Libya has done, and encouraged other powers to assume a more responsible role in meeting threats to peace and human rights around the world.

 

Question Four: Who are the figures and what are the special interests behind PNAC, and do they extend beyond those appropriate to a nonprofit educational organization?

 

Although overwhelmingly Republican, PNAC associates include some Democrats.[11] PNAC’s founders profoundly believe in the conservative slogan: “Ideas have consequences.” The success of PNAC in achieving bipartisan support for much of its agenda is a tribute to the power of this strategically focused educational institute. Clearly, many PNAC signatories later joined the Bush administration.[12] But this by no means disqualifies PNAC as an educational or nonprofit institution, nor does the interchange between government and a foreign policy institutes constitute a new phenomenon in the U.S. foreign policy community. In decades past, both left-wing and right-wing critics of U.S. foreign policy have cited such institutions as the Council on Foreign Relations as extensions of the liberal foreign policy establishment. Today, the Council on Foreign Relations has given way to the influence of institutes such as the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute.

 

This question should be placed in a proper context. By way of comparison, it’s worth considering the connections and influence of the liberal Progressive Policy Institute, which recently published its own foreign policy blueprint entitled Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National Security Strategy.[13] Should the Progressive Policy Institute be disqualified as a nonprofit educational organization if its members and supporters are invited to join a future Democratic Party administration? It’s also relevant to note, with respect to the larger question about PNAC accountability to the current state of world affairs, that the policy framework of this proposed “progressive internationalism” in many respects mirrors the neoconservative posture.

 

Like PNAC’s founders, the Progressive Policy Institute hails the “tough-minded internationalism” of past Democratic presidents such as Harry Truman. Like PNAC, which warned of the present danger in its documents, the Progressive Policy Institute declares that “America is threatened once again” and needs assertive individuals committed to strong leadership. Its observation that “like the cold war, the struggle we face today is likely to last not years but decades” mirrors neoconservative and administration national security assessments. The Progressive Policy Institute stands behind the invasion of Iraq, “because the previous policy of containment was failing,” and the Saddam Hussein regime was “undermining both collective security and international law.”

 

Like PNAC and the Bush administration, the Progressive Policy Institute has a vision of national security that extends to fostering democracy and freedom around the world in “the belief that America can best defend itself by building a world safe for individual liberty and democracy.” It’s likely that PNAC itself would heartily agree with the Progressive Policy Institute’s criticism of those who complain that “the Bush administration has been too radical in recasting America’s national security strategy.” Rather, quoting the Progressive Policy Institute’s assessment of the Bush foreign policy agenda, “we believe it has not been ambitious enough or imaginative enough.” Clearly, then any inquiry into the “neo-imperial world order” or Pax Americana should extend beyond the self-styled “conservative internationalists” of PNAC.

 

The Progressive Policy Institute is a center-right educational organization that boasts close ties with large numbers of Democratic Party leaders and congressional representatives.[14] The closely associated Democratic Leadership Council includes the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Senator John Kerry. The institute’s president, Will Marshall, is a member of various advocacy groups that have been closely associated with PNAC, such as the U.S. Committee on NATO and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

 

When one looks to the future, as PNAC has, care should be taken in any attempt to attribute the structure and structure of what the Brussels Tribunal calls the “neo-imperial order” solely to PNAC neoconservatives. Consider, for example, the following statement: “We aim to rebuild the moral foundation of U.S. global leadership by harnessing America’s awesome power to universal values of liberal democracy.”[15] Is this an expression of what PNAC calls “conservative internationalism,” or is it an articulation of “progressive internationalism”? And if one believes that such statements that link power, leadership, morality, and mission are trappings of a Pax Americana, then the following questions must be discussed: What’s wrong with seeking moral clarity and moral foundations for U.S. leadership? Is it arrogant to assume the responsibility for global leadership, given the many dimensions of U.S. power and given the absence of other sources of global leadership? Do critics of American leadership dispute the existence of universal values, as expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence? And aren’t these universal values best promoted by liberal democracy?

 

Finally, what are the alternatives to the benevolent hegemony of a Pax Americana? If the critique of PNAC is that its principles and policy recommendations haven’t produced the benevolent hegemony its founders intended, what principles and what policies would ensure benevolent U.S. global leadership? And if one disputes the entire notion of a Pax Americana, what are the real alternatives to the exercise of U.S. military power as the guarantor of international security? Would the European Union, Russia, China, Japan—or the General Assembly and Security Council of the United Nations—be willing to assume the burden of the “muscular internationalism” that the leading internationalists of both political parties in the United States say is a fundamental condition of international security and stability? If the history of the 20th century—the “first American century”—is our guide, then it’s unlikely that serious alternatives to Pax Americana will emerge in the near future.

 

Counterterrorism Postscript

 

Although the commissioners of the Brussels Tribunal have not raised the issue of a counterterrorism agenda as part of their charges against the Project for the New American Century, this matter deserves to be part of this inquiry. Perhaps the most striking aspect of PNAC is not its call for a renewed Pax Americana or its candid embrace of American supremacy but rather its failure to address the threat of international terrorism.

 

Aside from its focus on the threat of terrorism against the state of Israel, PNAC’s founders, associates, and signatories made only passing reference to international terrorism by nonstate actors. One can find no more than a few lines about international terrorism in PNAC’s 80-plus page blueprint for a national security strategy, Rebuilding America’s Defenses—published a year before the September 11 attacks. There is no discussion of the need for a counterterrorism offensive in PNAC’s policy volume Present Dangers or its Statement of Principles. Similarly, when Kristol and Kagan warned of the “present danger” to U.S. national security in their signature essay in Foreign Affairs, they ignored the present danger of Islamist terrorism, which has since struck the European and American heartlands. If PNAC is guilty of intellectual sloppiness and an overly ideological view of international affairs, the evidence can best be found in this stunning oversight.

 

But before one rises to throw stones at PNAC, it should be considered that arguably the only political sector that was more blinded by its ideological bearings was the transnational community of leftists and progressives. One would be hard put to find any pragmatic counterterrorism analysis in the 1990s (or even today) by the center-left foreign policy pundits that constitute PNAC’s harshest critics.


 

 

PNAC Distills the Essence of American Internationalism
Nationalism

Though many populists of both the left and the right espouse a reactionary and nativist “America First” nationalism, PNAC’s nationalism, as described by its founders, is a “uniquely American variety—not an insular, blood-and-soil nationalism but one that derived its meaning and coherence from being rooted in universal principles first enunciated in the Declaration of Independence.”1

Isolationism

PNAC’s foreign policy agenda is driven by internationalist impulses, but it is an internationalism featuring, as one of the cornerstones, traditional American isolationism that dates back to the country’s colonial and revolutionary period. At its heart, this historical isolationism harbors a deep distrust of Europe, engendered by the immigrant nation’s experience of a European proclivity for war, colonialism, and religious repression. This isolationism was manifest in the oft-repeated warning by America’s first president against “entangling alliances,” and it was reinforced by the 19th and 20th century observation of the imperial and world wars that arose in the heart of Europe. Like its nationalism, American isolationism was unique and was aptly captured by PNAC’s founders, especially Robert Kagan.2 Though exhibiting a reluctance to entangle itself in European infighting, this American isolationism retained for the United States its own extraterritorial prerogatives—especially, its exclusive right to intervene in hemispheric affairs and its early claim to predominant influence in the Pacific.

Messianism

What are the political and religious roots of America’s messianic foreign policy? Politically, there is a deep belief that the values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence—the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—and in the Pledge of Allegiance—“with liberty and justice for all”—are (or should be) universal values. The idea of a special mission has deep roots in the religious history of the New World. In the early 17th century, the Puritans believed that they had entered into a covenant to establish a domain that would be a model for the Christian world. The Puritans’ sense of mission, together with their deep conviction that daily life was a constant interplay between the forces of good and evil, has long reverberated through American society and politics. U.S. politicians, in advocating their various brands of internationalism, often describe the redemptive value of U.S. international engagement in bringing peace, prosperity, and modern value systems to less-privileged countries.

 

1 William Kristol and Robert Kagan, “National Interest and Global Responsibility,” in Kagan and Kristol, eds., Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000), p. 23.

2 See Robert Kagan, Of Power and Paradise: America and Europe in the New World Order (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003). Kagan opens his book with these lines: “It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power—the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power—American and European perspectives are diverging.” Kagan observes that the “United States remains mired in history” because of its power and sense of responsibility for maintaining the liberal world order. Meanwhile, the Europeans have opted for a Kantian “post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity,” leaving the dirty work of enforcing law and order to the Americans.

Exceptionalism

Paralleling America’s messianic internationalism is its sense of exceptionalism, which also has political and religious dimensions. The U.S. government—and the PNAC neoconservatives—have long advocated a system of international norms and rules. However, as officials of the world’s sole superpower with role of enforcing both global security and international rules and values, the political leaders of both parties have argued that U.S. global management should not be constrained by the rules that apply to powers of lesser responsibilities. In the United States there is also a deep and commonly expressed belief that U.S. power and wealth reflect a divine approval and sense of purpose. America has assumed the burden of fostering and protecting the global common good, and it needs room to maneuver to accomplish this often self-sacrificing goal.

Life magazine publisher Henry Luce believed that “no nation in history, except Israel, was so obviously designed for some special phase of God’s eternal purpose.”[1] This belief in the special civilizing role of Judeo-Christianity, as embodied in U.S. values, is one that pervades PNAC’s own arguments for American exceptionalism and is frequently articulated in President Bush’s references to “America’s special mission.”

Realism

PNAC follows a course that navigates midway between moralism and idealism. In the tradition of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, neoconservatives often hold that their political philosophy is one of “idealism without illusions.” Though they always stress the moral imperatives of their internationalism, neoconservatives recognize that ideological flexibility and selectivity are key to successful politics. With this sense of realism, neoconservatives carefully pick their priorities. Fortified by their moral foundation, PNAC associates are unapologetic in their advocacy of a political philosophy whereby common-good ends justify means. With this sense of realism, the neoconservatives carefully pick their priorities. While considering China as a strategic competitor and North Korea as a pariah state, PNAC has outlined a foreign policy agenda blends idealism and realism, targeting for regime change or intervention those nations considered the least defensible and against which there is the most political will in the broader community.

[1] Jack Kobler, Henry Luce: His Time, Life and Fortune (London: MacDonald, 1968).

 

 

 

Tom Barry is Policy Director of the Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), online at www.irc-online.org. He is the founder of Foreign Policy In Focus and directs the IRC’s Right Web project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.                                                                       FELICITY ABURTHNOT

 

Introduction by the prosecution

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5.                                                                       GEOFFREY GEUENS

 

Imperialist State, Nation of Capitalists

The Links between the PNAC  and the US

military-industrial complex

 

If European imperialism is currently in competition with its North American counterparts, via EADS (European Aeronautical Defense and Space Company) it is also true that fundamentally and, to a degree, financially, NATO is first and foremost the military wing of the USA.  Unsurprising then, that for the summit marking the 50th anniversary of NATO in Washington, a dozen companies, all of them American, each contributed around 250, 000 dollars towards the organization of the event[16]. Included in the list of these multinationals, all involved to varying degrees in the defense industry, were Ameritech, Boeing, Ford, General Motors, Honeywell, Lucent, Motorola, Nextel, SBC Communications and United Technologies.  The Washington Post[17] has indicated some of the reasons which persuaded these arms manufacturers, defense electronics and telecom firms to participate in this sponsorship.  Many of them make products highly valued in the Central and Eastern European markets, but others were particularly interested in the acquisition of telecom networks in the East.  It is also necessary to realize that some of these companies have been lobbying for a long time in the background, in order to pressurize, if necessary, the US Congress to support the integration of such countries as Poland and Hungary into NATO. These new political partners are in the process of becoming potential clients for American industries and investors. In his own manner, this was confirmed by a lead journalist from the New York Times, who gave the game away when he stated: " McDonalds can’t really prosper without McDonnell Douglas, the F-15 airplane constructor"[18].

 

Crisis and solution: the growing militarization of the economy

 

            Thus, the Americans did not wait for the European Union’s deployment before filling their defense industry’s order books.  They had only just declared, via the intermediary of an orthodox intellectual, and with a lot of commotion, the " End of History " and its corollary, the dawning of an era of peace, when they announced the setting up of a program, Revolution in Military Affairs, whose objective was then to support the development of the military-industrial complex useful to the maintenance and protection of the new world financial order.

 

            Between 1993 and 1998, nearly 40 mergers/acquisitions marked the evolution of the North American aeronautics industry which had been undergoing a complete restructuring, up until Lockheed Martin officially abandoned their project to buy Northrop Grumman.   By the end of this wave of consolidation, four multinationals dominated the market: Lockheed Martin, Boeing McDonnell, Raytheon Hughes and Northrop Grumman. The first three benefited, in 1999 alone  " from more than 50% of the 50 billion dollars worth of arms orders and the 35 billion dollars worth of credits for Research and Development in the military’s budget"[19] . Warming up for the war led by NATO against Serbia, Bill Clinton’s Democratic administration announced a increase of 110 billion dollars between 1999 et 2003 for equipment alone.  Recently, benefiting from the opportunity offered by the events of 11 September, the conflict in Afghanistan and the " holy" war against terrorism, Georges Bush Jr.’s government announced a substantial increase of the military budget, of  339 billion dollars in 2002, 379 billion in 2003 and a target of some 451 billion in 2007. In parallel with this refinancing, the Secretary of Defense also offered Lockheed Martin a contract of 200 billion dollars for the production of the Joint Strike Fighter which would henceforth replace the F16.   Boeing had to content itself with the 4 billion dollars received towards the development of the JSF 119 engine for its program of pilotless Pratt & Whitney planes[20].

           

In this context, added to the redeployment of the defense industries was the new economic crisis situation of the capitalist system.  First of all, if we recall, there was the collapse of the supposed "model" of the Asian " tigers".  Following this, was the stock market disaster of the so-called technology values, and finally, more recently, the financial crisis of the aeronautics sector, which profited from the occasion in order to deeply " restructure " itself. During each one of these crises, a number of observers feared a recession of such a degree that it would have carried Wall Street and other stock exchanges with it.   If we remember, many did not hesitate to invoke the memory of the crash of 1929.

Responding to these different crises, Pentagon chiefs chose once again, the miracle solution: the militarization of the economy via, among other things, a vertiginous increase in military orders issued by the Secretary of Defense.This solution was called for just as strongly by representatives of American high finance and pension funds, who had widely participated in the recent mergers and acquisitions in the aeronautics sector.

 

            Economists Franois Chesnais and Claude Serfati point out that "the conception and the production of weapons indeed offer high rates of return, and stocks and shares of aerospace production are a part of the core of values upon which the Dow Jones "health" is highly dependent.  In this sense, their activities depend not only on the Pentagon’s orientations,but equally under the attentive eyes of the shareholders.  In order to stay in line with Wall Street prices, the very high investments necessary for weapons production require increasing outlets in order to be amortized."[21]   When the war broke out in former Yugoslavia, the Financial Times of 12 April 1999 wrote: " It might seem a bit grim to look for beneficiaries of the Kosovo conflict, but the stock market is not emotional. " The "holy" war against Afghanistan supports this analysis. In an economically fragile context, characterized by the recent collapse of price indexes linked to new technologies and growing insecurity, the redeployment of military expenditure was responsible for increasing the value of publicly quoted defense businesses.

 

For several years then we have been witnessing a genuine militarization of the global economy driven by New York high finance and the North American military industrial complex. At the heart of this : the Information Technology and Communication sector  (ITC) of which the stunning Nasdaq index’s drop since Spring 2000 revealed , to use the phrase of Aris Roubos, "a double crisis situated on the demand and offer markets".   Describing  the economic situation at that moment, Roubos states : "On the one hand, a crisis of over-production which, latent for several years in traditional sectors such as the automotive industry,  has ,during the past year, been affecting businesses linked to the information society.   On the other hand, the new products available on the market are not themselves sufficient to replace established products"[22]. ITC and the telecoms sector thus became a major  pawn of the "new" military industrial complex, alongside defense electronics and more traditional actors such as  aeronautics, the arms industry and the chemical industry.

 

Finally, we must mention the political and geo-strategic factors influencing the regeneration of the military industrial complex. US hegemony, at times exercised with disdain in regard to other powers and international regulations, for example with regard to disarmament, is inevitably going to make medium and long term tensions increasingly visible between the different blocs.  Likewise, there is no doubt that social, ecological and economic effects created by these diverse imperialisms, will inevitably be at the origin of deep discontent and resistance to the new world economic order. At which point, the military could come into play once again to take up the central position in any other sector that it occupies in defense of industry and finance.

 

            It is true that the links between ITC and the military’s "R&D" have existed for many years. The "mathematical" theory of information, published in 1948 by engineer Claude Elwood Shannon, is to a large degree the result of the cryptological work he did during the Second World War for Bell Laboratories. John von Neumann, known for perfecting the last great electronic calculator, considered by many to be the nearest ancestor of the computer, also worked at the request of the US Army, then hoping to measure ballistic trajectories. One could also cite the case of Norbert Wiener. He founded Cybernetics, after having solved the problem of missile control for the DCA, the US anti-aircraft defense.  Here also, the contract had been made between the prestigious MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the National Defense Research Committee.  Finally, closer to home, we can recall that the  "network of networks", the Internet, has its most immediate origins in the development, by Vinton Cerf et Bob Kahn in 1973, of TCP/IP protocol for the Pentagon. The links between these two sectors are woven constantly tighter.

 

         Since its creation Alcatel also welcomed on its Board such personalities as Otto Graf Lambsdorff, Alexander Haig (former Commander in Chief of NATO) and Rand Araskog (President of ITT et Secretary of Defense member from 1954 to 1959). Another particularly revealing example is that of David Packard. Co-founder and former President of Hewlett-Packard, he left his company in 1969 to become Vice-Secretary of Defense in the first Nixon administration up until 1971. In 1985, Packard was nominated by Ronald Reagan  as President of the "Blue Ribbon" Commission on Defense Management and was a member of the Consultative Committee for Science and Technology (1990-1992)  for  President George Bush Sr. He would later become Director of Boeing and of the petrol company, Chevron.

 

         This tight interweaving between the telecom, new technology and military industries would continue with the so-called Nasdaq crisis, bringing with it some of the most fragile New Technology enterprises. The companies of these sectors and more generally of the electronics sector, would quickly reorient their activities, becoming real "weapons" industries.  Aris Roubos, specialist in defense economics, has shown how things got to that point[23]. The evident overproduction in the new technology and information industries (ITC) had led the businesses in the sector to seek other outlets. Thus these enterprises quite naturally turned towards the defense market.  For example, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), signed a contract of some 6.9 billion dollars for setting up a multimedia Intranet for the Navy and the Marines. The results of this financial operation were immediate : share prices of  EDS rose significantly after having gone through a rather moribund period.  Moreover, at the time, EDS was collaborating with other companies in the sector such as Microsoft, Dell and Cisco Systems.  The Pentagon is of course part and parcel of these recent evolutions of the electronics and computer industries. The American Department of Defense ("DoD") today defines itself  as a real partner and collaborator with national industry, the best commercial agent of Silicon Valley technologies[24].

 

Lastly, we can specify the major presence of two other sectors which seem today to be taking an increasingly important place inside this "new" military industrial complex : the chemical industry and the energy sector (oil, gas, electricity). Concerning the first of these, the Western powers’ declarations of war against "bio-terrorism" have opened potentially gigantic markets.  Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Bayer or Aventis have, in the space of the last few years, heavily invested in research and development in the field of bacterial - biological weapons. As for the second, merely evoking the real reasons for the latest military conflicts by itself  is sufficient to explain its engagement on the side of the military.

 

But the energy crisis also reinforced this alliance, as Aris Roubos again reminds us : "If the energy crisis is affecting the enterprises of the information society, it is equally touching the enterprises of the aerospace - defense sector. The latter are equally massively present in regions such as the South and in California. In addition, the development of space technology contributes to innovation in the energy sector. At the same time, George W. Bush’s energy plan is linked with the treatment of military nuclear waste for civil purposes. These phenomena contribute to the creation of a net of converging interests which, having thrown the alliance of economic and financial protagonists together with political and military actors equally interested in the revival of military sales, leads straight towards a process of militarization of the American, and indeed, the global, economy." [25]

 

            It is thus understood that the new military industrial complex is today a prime factor in the convergence of interests of sectors as diverse as those of New Technology, of Information or telecoms, with the aeronautics, pharmaco-chemical  and petro-energy. And all of this, under the central direction of the Pentagon and the American Secret Services.

           

Project for A New American Century :

the organic intellectual counterpart of the defense industries

 

This thesis could have been supported from an analysis of the interlocking of capital in these various extremely important sectors. We prefer to choose a less orthodox demonstration in presenting a detailed analysis of the composition of the Boards of Directors of certain multinationals. For this reason, you will find below the list of the major links which are being forged in the USA, between defense industries, the Republican administration of Bush Jr. (which does not exclude of course the same links with the Democratic bloc in power[26]) and its think tank, the PNAC.

 

Created in 1997, the Project for a New American Century aims very explicitly to defend and extend the global hegemony of the United States of America to the rest of the world. More precisely, it is about trying to convince the North American executive of the validity of its theses in calling for, on the one hand, a significant rise in the defense budget, and on the other hand, direct confrontation with regimes "hostile" to American interests and values - the famous "Rogue States" denounced by partisans of the  “Axis of Good”. Born out of the will of certain Republican leaders to publicly and definitively ratify a massive increase in military spending, agreed already for some time by US industry, this newcomer on the neo-conservative think tank scene has ultimately a single objective: to further at all costs the influence of the US as the world’s superpower, even to directly respond to the interests of its multinationals.  Focused on such problematic issues as national security, relations between NATO and Europe, Iraq and the Middle East and the Balkan and East Asian markets, this institution is directed by figureheads of the current administration of Bush Jr. Maintaining, as we will see below, close ties with the industries of the military industrial complex[27].

 

Directors of the  PNAC

 

William Kristol (President): Co-chair of the Advisory Committee, Govolution (Government IT Service). It is necessary to understand that Kristol, when led to justify the military intervention in Iraq several times in the Weekly Standard, recalled that he had himself lobbied for this "preventive" war since 1998, well before the September 11th attacks. For William Kristol, proving the existence of weapons of mass destruction does not matter because without doubt, the intention of Saddam Hussein’s regime was to really develop them. On what basis can he prove this ?  We are still waiting.

 

Bruce P. Jackson: Chair of the U.S. Committee think tank on NATO, Officer in charge of Military Intelligence for the US Army (1979-1990), member of the Cabinet of the Defense Secretary (1986-1990). He left the Department of Defense in 1990 and went over to the business world. He became Director of Martin Marietta Corporation in 1993, in charge of strategic plans and then of development projects. Following the merger of Martin Marietta with Lockheed in March 1995, he was responsible for, among other things, the analysis of the enterprise’s strategies for the defense sector and aeronautic markets. He was the Director of Global Development for Lockheed Martin in 1997 and Executive Vice-President in 1999. In 1996 and again in 2000, he was a delegate at the Republican National Convention. The reason for scrutinizing the role of Bruce Jackson is because he is quite probably one of the kingpins of the Iraq war, via his key position situated at the intersection of various kinds of power which include the US State machinery, the weapons industry and their think tanks. A lobbyist without equal, Jackson has done his utmost, for several years already, to find new commercial outlets for Lockheed. His first  "big deal", was the setting up of the "Project on Transitional Democracies" and of the US Committee to Expand NATO, sister-organizations sharing the same final objective, admitted by their leaders, to ensure the integration, amongst others, of the former Eastern Bloc countries into NATO. These countries thus becoming potential clients of the US weapons manufacturers[28].  But Jackson is at the core of the creation of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq within which we find other people who are also close to the US military industrial complex, such as George Shultz (former Secretary of State under the Reagan administration, on the Boards of Bechtel and Gulfstream Aerospace), Richard Perle and James Woolsey (former Director of the CIA). Finally we can usefully specify that the "Vilnius Group", which published a press release bringing together ten European Heads of State in favor of the war, is a member of the network of institutions of the Committee for the Expansion of NATO …of Jackson & Co..

 

Lewis E. Lehrman: former partner of Arbusto Energy (the Bush family’s petrol firm)

 

Randy Scheunemann: founder and President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (2002-2003), consultant for Iraq policy to the Cabinet of the Secretary of Defense (2001), member of the U.S. Committee on NATO. President of Mercury Group (1999-2000), a lobby firm with as clients, among others: BP America and Lockheed Martin.

 

The Staff of  PNAC

 

Thomas Donnelly (senior fellow) : Director Strategic Communication and Initiatives of Lockheed Martin (2002)

 

Associate members

 

William J. Bennett : former US Education Secretary, Bennett is a member of Empower America. Situated in the heart of Washington DC, close to the most radical wing of the Republican Party, this veritable ideological war machine comprises the best of North American industry. Its Directors are, among others, Jack F. Kemp (Board member of Oracle, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in 1996, member of the Atlantic Initiative and of CFR) and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (former Cabinet member of Ronald Reagan and of the National Security Council, former Ambassador to the UN, member of the Atlantic Initiative and of CFR). The President of the institute is also well known by the military industrial complex. He is Floyd Kvamme, former Executive Vice-President of Apple and on the Board of numerous US companies specializing in semi-conductors, strategic for the defense Industry.

 

Jeb Bush : brother of President George Bush Jr. : as Jean-Pierre Page reminds us, Arbusto, George Bush Jr.’s petrol company  "although in deficit, but with prestigious godfathers, benefited from the support of rich Saudis such as the petrol State of Bahrain. What is interesting to note is that among its shareholders figure a certain James Bath, an intimate friend of George W. Bush, very active in property and in the rental and sales of airplanes, in reality responsible for money laundering for personalities in the Gulf States, including Salem Bin Laden, one of the 17 brothers of Osama[29]. This company merged with Spectrum 7 in 1984 without however, being a great success. Spectrum was then bought by the petrol firm Harken Energy in 1986, and George Bush Jr. was offered a seat on the Board. More recently, the failure of the energy services company, Enron, should bring to mind the close links which existed not long ago between its President, Kenneth Lay, who for some years had subsidized electoral campaigns, and the current American Head of Government. 

 

Dick Cheney : President of Halliburton from 1995 until his nomination as Vice-President of the US. Halliburton is a Texan service company specializing in the development of gas and oil production throughout the world. With an annual turnover of over 15 billion dollars and nearly 100,000 employees dispersed in over 130 countries, Cheney has made this company the global leader in its sector. We can also add that his wife, Lynne Cheney, has been a Board member of Lockheed Martin (1994-2001).

 

Steve Forbes: the owner of Forbes magazine keeps links with the military industrial complex via the intervention of his group. The President of Forbes Inc. is Caspar Weinberger, former Defense Secretary under Reagan and former Board member of the Bechtel Group. One of the regular columnists for Forbes is George Schultz. Schultz, former US Secretary of State,  is currently on the Boards of Directors of the Bechtel Group, Gilead Sciences and Gulfstream Aerospace.

 

Fred C. Ikle: President of Telos Corp., Board of Directors of CMC Energy Services

 

Zalmay Khalilzad: nominated by President Bush as  US Ambassador in Afghanistan (2003-), former analyst for the petrol firm Unocal.

 

Vin Weber: former advisor to George Bush Jr. for presidential campaigns, Board of Directors of  ITT Educational Services.

 

Paul Wolfowitz : Joint Secretary for Defense , former consultant for Northrop Grumman.

 

Lewis Libby: Director of the Cabinet of Vice-President Dick Cheney, former advisor to Northrop Grumman.

 

Dan Quayle:  US Vice-President (1989-1993), Board of Directors of American Standard Companies, Amtran Technology, Behavior Tech Computer.

 

Donald Rumsfeld: Former Director of GD Searle & Co. (multinational pharmaceutical company), former President of General Instruments (electronics company), former member of the Boards of Gulfstream Aerospace, Rand Corporation, Metricom et Amylin Pharmaceuticals. 

 

Signatories of PNAC letters or reports

 

James Woolsey: member of the Defense Policy Board, former member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Director of the CIA (1993-1995), Board member of Fibersense Technology Corp., former Board member of Martin Marietta, Fairchild Industries, DynCorp.,British Aerospace, Aerospace Corp.

 

Frank C. Carlucci: Defense Secretary under the Reagan administration, Honorary President of the Carlyle Group, of Nortel Networks, current President of Neurogen Corp., on the Boards of directors of Encysive Pharmaceuticals, United Defense, Kaman Corp. et Pharmacia Corp.

 

Dov S. Zakheim: Under-Secretary for Defense, Auditor and Financial Director of the Department of Defense (2001-), member of the Advisory Council of Northrop Grumman, consultant for McDonnell Douglas.

 

Robert Zoellick  former Enron consultant.

 

We will complete this list with the people cited below. Particularly influential in the current Bush administration, although not members of PNAC, they also maintain strong links with defense industries.

 

Secretary of State

Colin POWELL: after the operation Desert Storm, General Colin Powell became a Board member of Gulfstream Aerospace.

 

National Security Councilor

Condoleezza RICE: former Board member of the petrol company, Chevron.

 

Head of the Cabinet of the US President

Andrew CARD: former Executive Vice-President of General Motors.

 

Trade Secretary

Donald EVANS: one of the most generous contributors to the electoral campaigns of Bush, he is the founder and former President of Tom Brown Inc., a company active in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and crude oil.

 

Under-Secretary of Trade

Kathleen COOPER: former chief economist at Exxon Mobil.

 

Transport Secretary

Norman MINETA: Executive Vice-President Lockheed Martin (1995-2000) 

 

Energy Vice-Secretary

Francis BLAKE: former Vice-President of General Electric

 

Energy Under-Secretary

Robert G. CARD: former Vice-President of CH2M Hill Companies, one of the most powerful global businesses in the sectors of, among others, engineering and construction of transport for energy materials.

 

Political Under-Secretary for Defense

Douglas J. Feith : former lawyer for Northrop Grumman

 

Former Under-Secretary for Defense

Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge: Under Secretary for Defense in charge of acquisitions until June 2003. Currently Special Assistant to the Defense Secretary - since May 2003, Board member of  Lockheed Martin, CEO Aerospace Corp. (1992-2001),  President, McDonnell Douglas Electronic Systems Co. (1988-1992), formerly at LTV Aerospace Corp.

 

Joseph W. Ralston: Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO) from May 2000 to January 2003. Member of the Boards of Lockheed Martin since April 2003 and of URS Corp. 

 

PNAC and the militarization of minds: a good lesson for Europeans ?

 

If the PNAC is incontestably, as we have just demonstrated, a key player in the US  military industrial complex, certain members of this think tank are equally at the heads of   institutions which have played key roles, for example, in the justification of the war in Afghanistan. One case is William Bennett and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). In November 2001, ACTA published a report on the "wavering patriotism" of certain intellectuals and professors of prestigious universities who saw themselves more or less accused of "academic high treason". Studying the comments of some 117 college and higher education teachers who dared to protest against the supposed " war against terrorism " led by the Bush administration, the report does not hesitate to describe certain of the most eminent professors including Noam Chomsky as "the weak link of America’s reaction to the aggression of 11th September"[30]. The North American press, joined for the occasion by some European media "under orders", at the time largely echoed this study presented by an "independent" organization which presented itself as a "nonprofit educational organization”, which claims to be “committed to academic freedom” ! Founded in 1995, a national organization whose members have come from some 400 American colleges and universities, ACTA is, in reality,  one of the most powerful US lobbies, a genuine "liaison agent" between the education sector, the administration in power and the financial and economic elite of the country.  The composition of the directing authority of the association is, in this regard, unambiguous. Its founder, who by the way, was responsible for promoting the report to the American public, was none other than Lynne Cheney, the wife of the current Vice-President of the US.   A Board member of the defense industry, at Lockheed Martin, between 1994 and January 2001, Lynne Cheney is currently Director of American Express Funds. As for the National Council of ACTA, among its Board members is Hans Mark (US Air Force Secretary between 1979 et 1981), William Tell Jr. (former Vice President of Texaco) as well as William Bennett.

It is understandable that with such links ACTA cannot be considered as a model of scientific independence and academic freedom. Its report found grace, however, with the media, which ensured its publicity and authority.  Notably, the report was commented upon and defended by Norman Podhoretz, Editor of Commentary.  Podhoretz, an intellectual, also a member of PNAC, will go down in posterity for having described the Vietnam syndrome (the rejection by the American people of the military interventions led by the US government) as "pathological inhibition of the use of force"  and "pathological dysfunction".

The militarization of minds was en route and the war in Iraq was not going to wait either. At the moment when some, condemning American imperialism for good reason, called for the construction of a strong Europe and for an "independent" army, it is not superfluous to recall; first of all, that Europe, such as it has been constructed from the beginning, has seen itself as an institution in the service of its own multinationals, secondly, that the political personnel of the Old Continent also maintains very close ties with the business world, and finally that if McDonalds needs McDonnell, Danone also needs Dassault.


 

 

6.                                                                        JOHN SAXE-FERNANDEZ

 

 

The neoconservative ideology and

the government of George W. Bush*

 

John Saxe-Fernndez[31]

 

1.      The neoconservative project

 

On September the 15th of 2002, almost one year after the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Sunday Herald carried an article about the existence of a plan drawn up by the “neo-conservative” institute - the term used in the press release- identified as the “Project for the New American Century”, which started work in 1997. This institute was orientated to boost what its founding document qualified as a Reaganian policy of military strength and moral clarity, considered as something necessary for the USA - based on the success of the last century- to consolidate our safety and our greatness in the next century. The document, of an extreme-nationalist line, raises the creation of a “Global Pax Americana”. It was created by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeff Bush and Lewis Lobby, chief of Cheney's staff, and also with the participation of political operators and ideologists such as Francis Fukuyama: The Sunday Herald emphasized that,  in keeping with the document, before Bush assumed the presidency in January of 2002, he and his cabinet were already contemplating and planning a “regime change” in Iraq, which would be achieved by a premeditated attack against that country[32]. The main proposal of the document, whose principal author is Thomas Donnelly, is that “ nowadays, the USA don't have any global rival and their overall strategy must be designed to preserve and spread out that advantageous position in the future, as much as it could be possible. The military tool is considered - as in Reagan's times- the foundation of the “defense of the mother country”, the ability to wage several wars at the same time, as well as the development of military and “paramilitary” forces, dedicated to influence in a decisive way, the foreign policy of the USA. Finally, it proposes to change the armed forces to take advantage of “the revolution in military affairs”[33]. For this to happen, the USA must keep their superiority in nuclear strategy and not restrict itself  in the balance of power with Russia; increase the military staff, and replace the military forces as an answer to the strategic realities, changing the permanent deployment towards the Southeast of Europe and Southeast Asia, whilst also modifying naval deployment to reflect the strategic self-interests of the USA in the Southeast of Asia.

 

2.      Continuities and discontinuities.

 

The outline -which is focused on Reagan's military programs and, after the end of the Cold War, on the ones set during the government of Bush Senior- implies, to the approval of the “military-industrial complex”, enlargements of the military budget and to focus on the maintenance and extension of the American supremacy, in terms of military strength. The events on September the 11th were suited to a tee[34] to promote this proposal, which involved a deepening and toughening of militarist and right wing stances and  related programs, which had already appeared during Clinton's government, in which, with nationalistic and imperialist arrogance, the USA were considered “the indispensable nation”. Bush made this more acute and took this viewpoint further, paradoxically raising doubts about the whole multilateral structure and the alliances' system of the Pax Americana: It is of extreme importance to take note that during the eight months before 9/11,th the Bush Administration seems to have made a systematic effort at dismantling all internal counter-terrorist programs while at the same time- withdrawing unilaterally from the Treaty for the global traffic control of small caliber weapons; the Kyoto Agreement; the Treaty to remove land mines; the Convention on Biological Weapons and Toxins; and the Anti-Ballistic Agreement (ABM), whilst also being against - and sabotaging in a very “proactive” way - the establishment and consolidation of the International Criminal Court[35] Also, they were to cause deeper transatlantic frictions with their stances related to the steel trade,  compensations for agriculture and high technology, increases of the military presence in several countries and restoring alliances and bases, without bothering, as it happened in Reagan's times[36], to consider issues of Human Rights, because, according to the instigators of that time (and nowadays members of Bush’s cabinet), above these there are “vital” interests and “the necessities of a global war against terrorism” taken as a central organizing principle only “after” de Sept. 11 attacks. Raising these subjects and their concretion in decisions like the ones exemplified before, a group of hard line ideologists was founded, also including journalists and opportunity academics such as William Bristol and Robert Kagan, founder members of  The Project for the New American Century; David Frum, who invented the term “axis of evil”; Richard Perle, extreme-right ideologist, well-known in Reagan's government as “the prince of darkness”, who, joining the staff of the White House, “condemned” completely the multilateralism of the members of the European Union. For years they have been thinking about the justifications needed to break out an attack on the multilateral system and reaffirm with that, USA hegemony. John Bolton, member of the extreme-right and anti-Mexican staff headed by Jesse Helms - nowadays in charge of Bush’s policy in the UN - holds that in fact, such an organization does not exist. In his opinion, there is an international community “that must be ruled by the only world power left”. That “international community”, according to Bolton, only works when it is for the USA’s interest and “when we can get other countries to follow our line”. Robert Kaplan, another one of the journalists and writers who join with the White House staff, brings up, in the Atlantic Monthly magazine a kind of “recipe book” to keep a stealth supremacy by means of strengthening the paramilitarism, clandestine operations, assassinations and counterinsurgent violence. For example, he thinks that it would be necessary to use local forces under the rule US military advisers in Arauca, Colombia, a very important city because of its hydrocarbon resources. No surprise. McNamara proposed the same In Kennedy and Johnson’s times. Kaplan thinks that now, diplomacy should be carried out by military means, developing strong ties between the local militaries and supporting relationships between the powers through the sale of weapons and training. Kaplan proposes the use of military forces to promote “democracy”, to increase the display of military bases in order to control natural resources[37] and return to former programs, such as selective assassinations[38] . Also added would be technologic development which would aim bullets at specific targets in the next decades, in a such a way that, using satellites, it could be possible to track a person’s neurobiological signatures, which makes assassinations more feasible, allowing the USA to kill leaders such as Saddam Hussein, controlling population by conventional weapons[39].

The way of moral superiority that is linked to the clandestine operations, the violation of Human Rights and the massacre of civilians - as it happened in Iraq - is set in the deep-seated conviction of George W. Bush and his cabinet ( and very rooted in the political history of the USA as well) that “God is with us”. James Hardind, journalist of the Financial Times said ironically on February  27th last ,

…with Bush in the White House, God is placed stronger than ever in the heart of the American political project[40].

Analyst Mariano Aguirre, from the Institute for Peace in Madrid realizes that, indeed, “…the president’s staff is being guided by principles that range from geopolitics…and a fundamentalist reading of religion”[41] and remembers, that the right-wing Christian Church of the USA and TV evangelists, such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Faldwell, who have millions of followers, supported both Bush in his crusade against Saddam Hussein and suuported Sharon in the brutal attacks against Palestinians, developing at the same time a strong campaign against the Moslem community in the USA. Also, it is important to remember that these fundamentalists,

            “ are the vanguard in the fight which will end up with the liberties won in the last thirty years in areas such as single mothers, the use of science in the public educational system and free sexual choices. We have to remember that after September the 11th , Jerry Faldwell, one TV preacher, was sure that the attacks were a punishment for the sins of the USA and Pat Robertson accused “pagans, women who had had an abortion, feminists, gays, lesbians, American Civil Liberties Union. I point my finger at you and say: Thou helped to make this happen”.[42]

These and other offensive remarks and the national and international positions that distinguish the “neoconservatism” of Bush and his staff, did not appear by chance. We should remember the historical antecedents and raise several political and ideological components that form part of the right-wing foundations in the USA[43]

Though the rise to central government by the right-wing’s forces - commonly known as “the new right” - resulted in Reagan's government and was extended for four more years with George Bush Senior, this is, in fact, not so recent. Analysts, sociologists, journalists and commentators of the political and social scene realized this rising long before Reagan, Bush and now, another member of the Bush Clan arrived in the Oval Office. Regarding this, we have to ask ourselves how the problem has been dealt with, how it is being continued and what kind of changes we can notice of late.

With Reagan and Bush Senior, a big number of people who identified with the more reactionary political currents were appointed to the higher positions of power. In view of this, what was previously a phenomenon usually viewed with scorn from the political point of view, started to be considered, in a more serious and systematic way. That is, the linking of several extreme-right groups that were firmly and tenaciously supported economically by big enterprises located in strategic sectors like the gas and the oil industry. This also included the petrochemical industry, as one of these groups was  headed by the Dupont group from Delaware, and companies closely linked to the military-industrial complex. In these right-wing groups supported by this corporate machine, we must mention the John Birch Society, a pressure group headed by Robert Welch, a phenomenon that was minimized by those in political science and sociology because it was considered as a “marginal” fringe in the us political spectrum. After all, it was difficult to take Welch seriously, he was someone who maintained that liberals were part of a big communist conspiracy to end freedom in the USA: “…the whole country is a big madhouse and we  have allowed some of the worst patients to run this place”. That was one of his favorite warnings.

The conspiratorial element that so vigorously contributed to Reagan’s rise to power and his huge campaign of re-armament, has strong personal and ideological roots. Firstly, Reagan’s "McCarthyian" convictions when he used to be an actor and the leader of the actor’s union in Hollywood and secondly, the Christian anti-communist crusade in which most of the characters, of both now and then, were trained.

The new American right has been mainly “anti-political”, in the sense that it has never recognized the legitimacy of its opponents, nor accepted “the rules of the game”. It had to be in the middle eighties, when its influence in the Republican Party increased significantly, during which time, those groups considered it appropriate to use the “party” to articulate and amalgamate their interests, with the powerful fragments of the leading class of high capital. During the Cold War years, the extreme-right wing was convinced that the USA had fallen into the hands of corrupted and harmful politicians who were selling out to the enemy and were  subverting the nation’s basic traditions. At that moment, their perception was so extreme that they raised that Reagan could not do anything (about this subversion) because he was surrounded by communist agents hidden in every corner of the federal government.

This crude, anti-political conception of the neoconservatives, which now has a different ideological shade with the Bush administration, contrasts with historical American conservatism. Traditional  conservatism has been analyzed by both historians and sociologists from the USA, they conceive it as the first political movement directly involved in politics. In a study published in 1977, a sociologist raised the point  that one of the most important aspects of the “classical-modern” conservatism, that is, the conservatism from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, was that, “it was the result of the political decisions of those who were directly involved in the building or destruction of nations”[44]. In order to do this, an important group of scholars contrasts the “new right” with the conservative movement which arose from the political action of paradigmatic people such as Alejandro Hamilton and John Adams.  But this is not a phenomenon which appears because it is an ideological movement with a preconceived plan to change the world, but is more the result of an effort to try to keep the status quo intact: Classical-modern conservatism was mainly preoccupied about the maintenance of the status quo, because the men identified as conservatives, were men in power, anxious about social and political chaos  that could shatter their position in the power structure[45].

It is necessary to distinguish between the traditional conservative thought and the new right because there are important contrasts. While the first was the answer for the political action in which their supporters were involved in, according to the rules to get consensus, the second seems to be the result of an alienation of political activity itself, something that arises outside of the system, something similar to how the German extreme-right was perceived and subsequently, its first demonstrations in the nazi movement during the Weimar Republic. Nazis were interpreted, in the beginning, like an extremist phenomenon focused on a conversion of the “community” into a myth, alienated and because of that, marginal[46]. In the USA, the “anti-politic” tendency of the neo-conservatives was expressed in a paradigmatic way by people such as Welch. This is what he said in the presence of an audience:

“Gentlemen, we are living in a moment in which the only certain political victories could be achieved by non-political organizations that have a more secure, positive and permanent proposal than the immediate political aims, that is, by means of organizations which have basis, cohesion, clear power and a stable leadership, which are impossible in the traditional authorities of a political party”.[47]

 


 

3. The neo-conservatives and the political establishment.

 

Virtually until the election of Ronald Reagan, the new right in the USA has acted outside of the system ’s borders. Its apolitical views and the idea that the country is invaded by the enemy has lead them to underestimate political organizations and procedures and it has even served them as a "leitmotiv" for the creation, training and technical support of paramilitary, and indeed, terrorist teams. What is radical about this group, as was well pointed out by sociologist Edward Shils, is not its opposition to the domestic or international social aid programs, or to the payment of taxes, or that evolution theory be taught but its hostility towards the political system frame and its enormous predisposition to put aside the established order. As was observed by Daniel Bells, it would not represent a major trauma for this kind of right ‘to break up with the constitutional procedures, suspend civil liberties… in its fight against communism: It is in this sense in which the right, more than any other ideology, is a threat for the American political civility’[48].

But, as I emphasized before, it is necessary to recognize that a lot of the thoughts of the new right are a central part of the cultural inheritance of the USA as well as the tendencies and ideological campaigns that, in different ways, have promoted and used the monopolistic interests of that country to achieve its goals and to increase and preserve their power: The USA, as a social system, are not an exception in connection with this issue because within it, reactionary procedures have always led up to reactionary ideas[49].

A lot of the main analysts of the political-ideological situation of the USA, like Tocqueville, don’t seem to have registered or noticed the huge persuasive power carried by the territorial, commercial, industrial and financial expansionism from the emerging and vigorous bourgeosie of the USA. For this upper class class, as Mariategui said, ‘no material or moral obstacle has get in the way of its energetic and free flowering’, not even what was called by Tocqueville ‘despotism of the majority’. That power elite (to use C. Wright Mills term) used in its favor, when it was convenient to them, the xenophobic impulses that it knew they were nested a long time ago in those majorities. It started to use those impulses as it wanted in military campaigns, genocide campaigns, campaigns against Native Americans and to conquer the continent, including, during the first period of the Manifest Destiny,  the dispossession of Mexican population with the motto ‘to the Mexicans like the Apaches’. As it is noted by John Bunzel, virtually since Lord Baltimore, in the middle of a growing paranoia, condemned the imminent take of power by the Catholics in Maryland, until the most varied and recent conspiracy nightmares of the new right, those elements strongly filled with ethnocentrism and collective hallucinations were exploited with skill in order to drive the main interests of the territorial expansionism during the first half of the 19th century and as a way of commercial consolidation and industrial and strategic control since the second half of the 20th century until the present:

Those have been the ideological basis over which the political system was legitimized and its international alliances system totally melted with the material interests of its ruling class. War is a business and it has been incorporated into the social system and the economic and cultural machine. It is natural then, that the notion of the enemy and the notion of the internal and external threat also exist as a psychological ingredient. This is a feature that is linked to the establishment, after the Second World War, of an economy in permanent military-industrial mobilization. The conception by Herbert Marcuse of Warfare State in the United States, as a State in which the Wealfare State is attained through the total mobilization of human and material resources for the eventuality of war, both internal or external, against an enemy, internal or external, real or imagined, has been expressed specifically,  from the political and ideological side, in both the ‘liberal’ and ‘neoconservative’ dimensions. If one looks at the military expenses by Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan,  it will become apparet that the main beneficiaries are the same political forces and enterprises . When Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or ‘Star Wars’, as a costly antiballistic shield, both the scientific community and the democrats showed their skepticism and rejection. In the governments of Reagan and Bush (senior), the SDI was seen as a project sponsored by the republican hawks. After assuming the presidency, Clinton cut the funding to various programs of the SDI, though the Democrat continued supporting different projects of Research and Development of the system with billions of dollars As Nicholas Guyatt[50] remembers:

Finally, in 1999, the Clinton government bowed to republican pressure and promised to build a National Antiballistic System as soon as possible: The Democrats, who previously had condemned ‘Star Wars’ as a momentary Reagan administration excess, adopted the project as their own[51].

 This way, since the arrival to the power of the ‘new right’ with Reagan, by means of the Republican Party, central parts from the neoconservatives’ agenda like the National Antiballistic System, a growing unilateralism and militarization of diplomacy and the withdrawal from multilateral schemes[52], have entered gradually but constantly in what is known as the mainstream of the American politics.

 

4. The enemy, ‘national security’, 09/11 and the Constitution.

 

During the cold war, the quality of the ‘national character’ was strongly influenced by the sense of vulnerability. After all, with the development of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons and intercontinental rockets from the Soviet side, the territory and the population of the USA started to be a part and parcel of the ‘battlefield’ of the Third World War. That meant, that because of the specific features of the State of War, to the average American ‘anybody can be my enemy at any moment’. Analyzing this topic from an anthropologic perspective, and in the middle of the cold war, Jules Henry made some remarks of great pertinence today when considering the anti-terrorist global war that is now used by the extreme right to replace anti-communism. According Henry, in the USA a remarkable anthropological fact has taken place, that is, the growing confusion between the friend and the enemy:

‘…during the Second World War, Japan was our enemy, now it is our friend; the USSR was our friend, now it is our enemy, Germany was our enemy, now a part of it is our friend and another part our enemy. France was our friend, now it is almost our enemy. Yugoslavia was our friend, now one day it is our friend and the following day it is our enemy depending on the turnarounds of our foreign policy. During the Second World War, China was our friend, now it is our enemy… Italy was our enemy and now it is our friend and so on.’[53]

The strong shifts in the definition of friend and enemy are producing cynicism and the predisposition to leave it to the important people, the experts tell us who is the friend and who is the enemy. The character gets used to accepting the premise that anyone can be my enemy at any moment. It is a condition of the national character that has not arisen with the neoconservatives. We are seeing the long term results of political-strategic and economic processes that have been being brewing since the end of the Second World War with the establishment of a wide and permanent ‘national security’ machinery built apart from the margins of the Constitution[54]. When driven by a neoconservative point of view, the attack on ‘civility’, on the juridical and politic-electoral principles and procedures, it is stressed to dangerous extents. The adoption of the ‘preventive self-defense strategy’, defined as a war crime under the law of the Nuremberg Trials, brings a strong dose of uncertainty, chaos and anarchy to the political and economic relations as it breaks with the basis of relations amongst states, established since the so called Westphalia’s Pax (1648). This strategy is being put into practice, since 9/11, with the excuse of a war against terrorism together with a systematic attack on the constitutional machinery and the civil rights in the USA. The actions of the National Security State applied by Bush question ‘two centuries of constitutional right’. This can be read in an editorial of The New York Times[55] dedicated to the trial of Zachariah Moussaoui, in which the district attorney arbitrarily suspended the rights given by the Sixth Amendment, denying the defense the access to fundamental evidence in the case. This issue is very important because the district attorney’s office tries to keep secret evidence about the links of Al Qaeda with the machinery of the State.

 

Final thoughts

 

The Neoconservatives’ profile is highly militarized. The ideologists and members from the Bush cabinet give little attention to economic issues and show clumsiness in dealing with the political-constitutional mess in the middle of which the regime is involved. James Petras has attracted attention to these deficiencies and observed that the economical pillars to sustain the supremacy of the USA are not solid. He describes them as ‘unstable and unsustainable’[56]. The first one lies on a sector highly vulnerable and speculative that tends to go to volatility and that is entering into a deep recession. The second one is the dependence of that ‘supremacy’ in a high level of transferences, benefits, rate payments and royalties from the colonized areas. Using an index made for Pablo Gonzalez Casnova and Jos Gandarilla about the transference of surpluses that includes debt service, loses due to exchanges, flight of capital, unilateral transferences, direct inversion net utilities and errors and omissions, I made an estimate with Omar Nuez about the surplus transferences from Latin America to the USA and other creditors between 1976 and 1997[57]. We used figures from the FMI, BM and CEPAL published since 1982. Adding the total amounts separated by areas and their subsequent deflation using the implicit deflator of USA’s GDP with base 100 in 1990, we obtained a conservative but very impressive figure of 2 trillion, 51 billion and 619.1 millions for surplus transferences. Other estimates by Petras and Veltneyer indicate that in Latin America only, between 1990 and 1998, more than 700 billion dollars were transfers for payments to banks and corporations in Europe and in the USA.

The third pillar of the imperial supremacy identified, is the political power, including the power to print money, to cover the deficit and the security that are offered to nationals and foreigners and the ones dedicated to illicit businesses (drug dealing). The modifications observed in the structure of power of the international monetary system with the arrival of the Euro and its adoption as a currency reserve for central banks (besides the dollar), that is, as a means sketch of Pax Americana made after the Second World War, make a very striking contrast with the neoconservative discourse that appeals to an American supremacy, based, almost exclusively on the huge conventional military power of the USA, as it was noted in the war of conquest against Iraq ( in which the control of it large reserve of oil reserve  seems to have played a key geostrategic and entrepreneurial role). But we have to remember that it is the aggression  (and troubled occupation) of a colossus with an economy 280 times bigger that the one of that Arab nation and which had a military machinery with a strength 300 times bigger than that of  Saddam Hussein regime. The aggressive unilateralism of military (and also commercial) policy practiced by Bush, along with his crusade against the authorities of International Law, have put him, according to several surveys made in Europe, as ‘a threat to world peace, bigger than Hussein’. It is the supremacy of a rogue state that acts out of the borders of the democracy, outside and inside its territory. As it was expressed by the London newspaper Guardian,

"The USA, the "indispensable nation", begins to resemble the ultimate rogue state.

Instead of leading the community of nations, Bush's America seems increasingly intent on confronting it. Instead of a shining city on a hill.... comes a devastatingly different, divisive and nationalistic jingle: we do what we want, for ourselves... And if you don't like it, well, tough."[58]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

7.                                                                       SARA FLOUNDERS

 

 

 

“The Power Complex” : the links of PNAC members to industrial interests in general and to the petroleum industry in particular

 

The International Action Center and its founder, the former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, salutes the Belgian comrades and friends and all the others working on this hearing for the work they are doing in establishing that elements in U.S. ruling circles and especially those who were to become the Bush administration established a foreign policy for the United States that led it to wage a war of aggression against Iraq in the spring of 2003.

 

A whole section of the U.S. ruling class, through its think tanks and strategists, the so-called neo-cons, had developed a plan. What is useful for a hearing like this is that they published their plan - The Plan for the New American Century - or PNAC -- in 1998, two years before George W. Bush slipped into the White House after a dubious election. This can establish premeditation on the part of the U.S. government with regard to this very serious war crime.

 

I will not focus on the PNAC itself as other will develop this point fully. I would like instead to make a presentation on two main points that continue from the discussion of the ideology of the PNAC. First, as an additional motive, one might even call it a driving force, I will show the connections between the Bush administration and the military-industrial complex, especially the so-called oil lobby, and its impact on the aggression against Iraq. Second, I will quote from a Bush administration insider to show that the Bush administration was discussing the implementation of the PNAC from the very FIRST meeting of the National Security Council, long before the attack of September 11, 2001.

 

The whole PNAC plan is based on the assumption that because U.S. ruling circles were willing to use the overwhelming force of the Pentagon that they could overwhelm ALL opposition. I will end by showing that as of now, a year after the war ended, nothing is going according to their plan. And our task in the anti-war movement should be not just to evaluate their power and their crimes, but to add to their problems in waging war.

 

The Motive of Profit

 

In the first volume of Capital, Karl Marx cites a British trade unionist, T.J. Dunning, on the greed of capitalists. It has been quoted many times since because it is so powerful and so true.

 

"With adequate profit," Dunning said, "capital is very bold. A certain 10 percent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 percent certain will produce eagerness; 50 percent, positive audacity; 100 percent will make it ready to trample all human laws; 300 percent, and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated."

 

A lot has changed since Dunning said this. But not the attitude of the capitalists. This was apparent in the period leading up to the March 20, 2003, invasion of Iraq. The Oil Lobby in the United States, the military contractors, the banks that finance them, all hoped to grow fabulously rich from the war.

 

And these same businesses were closely connected with the "neo-conservative" ideologists in the Bush administration who also hoped to grow rich from the war. They believe that their friends and associates and they themselves have the right to grow rich as much as they believe

in any more complicated ideology. Ideology and self-interest and class interest were intimately entwined and interrelated.

 

The war served a small group of very rich and powerful owners of the corporations and banks that dominate the world. It served especially the energy, construction and military industries that stood to make enormous fortunes from the conquest of Iraq. It had the almost unanimous support of the U.S. ruling class. But the oil monopolies, the energy dealers, the construction companies and the military-industrial complex, became the strongest champions for war.

 

Driven by both ideology and self-interest, the Bush administration convinced the bulk of U.S. capitalists that U.S. world domination, won and preserved using the overwhelming military superiority of the Pentagon, would guarantee that they continue to profit and expand even

if their competitors suffered and collapsed from the economic crisis.

 

Ties of individual governement members to the monopolies

 

Members of the Bush family have blatantly used their political offices--from father to sons--to increase their personal fortunes. They have also packed their administrations with other politicians whose positions and personal wealth are tied to energy and military industries. President George W. Bush himself is a Texas oilman. His company, Arbusto, merged with Spectrum 7 in 1984 as it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Spectrum was bought out by Harken Energy in 1986, giving Bush a seat on Harken's board, some stock options and a $120,000 consulting contract.

 

Vice President Dick Cheney made millions of dollars, after leaving the first Bush administration, as CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. Halliburton is the world's largest oil field services company. Cheney continues to receive as much as $1 million a year in deferred compensation.

 

National Security Council Director Condoleezza Rice was a member of the board of directors of Chevron Corporation. Chevron named a 130,000-ton oil tanker after Ms. Rice. She served as their expert on Kazakhstan. Chevron holds the largest of the oil concessions in Kazakhstan.

 

Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans spent 25 years at Tom Brown Inc., a Denver-based oil and gas company. He was chairman and CEO of the $1.2 billion company and also sat on the board of TMBR/Sharp Drilling, an oil and gas drilling operation.

Secretary of Energy Stanley Abraham was also an executive at Tom Brown Corp.

 

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among other things, was a director for Gulfstream Aerospace. His stock in the company reportedly was valued at $11 million when the company was acquired by defense contractor General Dynamics in 1999.

 

Many of the other cabinet members had connections to pharmaceutical industries, military industries and banks. Like the usual U.S. government, the Bush administration represented the interests of the richest capitalists. Indeed, the Bush grouping was even more narrow than most, representing only a narrow stratum of the very rich, mainly energy and arms corporations.

 

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was a chief executive at Alcoa, the largest aluminum manufacturer. O'Neill was a standing member of the National Security Council, a longtime friend of Vice President Dick Cheney and a protg of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the Ford administration. He met one-on-one with Bush weekly during his two years as secretary of the treasury before he was fired for objecting to Bush's tax cuts.

 

Paul O’Neill’s revelations

 

O'Neill recently gave interviews for a book by Ron Suskind about his experience in the administration, which he left in 2003. Especially important for this testimony is what O'Neill reports about how the Bush cabinet discussed war with Iraq. And when.

 

In the book itself, Suskind recounts those early NSC meetings. On Jan. 30, 2001, at the first NSC meeting of the Bush administration, which lasted less than an hour, the first topic was about how the administration was going to side with Israel and openly let Ariel Sharon have full freedom to attack the Palestinians without any restraint from Washington.

 

Then Bush turned to Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser, and says, "So, Condi, what are we going to talk about today?"

 

"How Iraq is destabilizing the region, Mr. President,' she replied in what was described as a "scripted exchange." Then CIA head George Tenet pulled out his infamous photos of an alleged chemical weapons plant and they all huddled excitedly around the photos as though they had found the smoking gun. These were the same meaningless photos of a factory with unidentified trucks standing by that Colin Powell tried unsuccessfully to sell to the UN Security Council in the final stages of war preparation.

 

Two days later, on Feb. 1, the second meeting took place. Secretary of State Colin Powell had been assigned the task of tightening up the sanctions regime at the first meeting. Says the book:

 

"Powell began by discussing the new strategy for 'targeted sanctions.' But after a moment Rumsfeld interrupted.

 

"'Sanctions are fine,' he said. 'But what we really want to think about is going after Saddam.

 

"'Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that's aligned with U.S. interests,' Rumsfeld said. 'It would demonstrate what U.S. policy is all about.'"(p.85)

 

At another point in the book, Suskind recounts that "One document, headed 'Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Con tracts,' lists companies from 30 countries--including France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom--their specialties, and in some cases their particular areas of

interest. An attached document maps Iraq with markings for 'supergiant oilfield,' 'other oilfield,' and 'earmarked for production sharing,' while demarking the largely undeveloped southwest of the country into nine 'blocks' to designate areas for future exploration." (p.96)

 

Suskind recounts that at the start of 2001, "Actual plans, to O'Neill's astonishment, were already being discussed to take over Iraq and occupy it--complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals--carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war." (p. 129)

 

Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld -- the same people whose personal interests merged with their ideology -- drove toward the war on Iraq long before September 11, 2001, and long before any proof of so-called weapons of mass destruction.

 

After September 11, they only stepped up the march toward war. Suskind writes of a briefing meeting on September 13, 2001, before a National Security Meeting.

 

"O'Neill had received a short briefing before the meeting. What was guiding the discussion thus far was whether this was a war against al-Qaeda and its host, Afghanistan's Taliban regime, or the first step in abroader struggle against worldwide terrorism and the numerous states that support terror. At an NSC meeting the day before, just as O'Neill'sC-17 was landing at Andrews Air Force Base, Rumsfeld had raised thequestion of Iraq. The Pentagon had been working for months on a military plan for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Any initiative against worldwide terrorism would surely, at some point, Rumsfeld had argued, take the United States to Baghdad." (page 184)

 

Summer of 2002 - Full speed ahead for War

 

After 9/11, the administration was able to mobilize the population for war. The assault on Afghanistan ended quickly and was apparently successful. Since then, Afghanistan has proven impossible to stabilize.

But by the spring of 2002, the administration was already preparing the assault on Iraq. By fall, this campaign was in full gear.

 

Meanwhile Exxon/Mobil Corp., Chevron/Texaco Corp., Conoco Philips, Halliburton and Bechtel lined up for the contracts to "reconstruct" Iraq. Executives from these companies met with the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney the prior October [2002] to discuss a future carve-up of oil territories in Iraq, according to the January 20, 2003, Wall Street Journal.

 

The war took place, with all its horrors for the Iraqi people. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Rice--believed they had a quick and easy victory over Iraq last May 1. They believed that military power was enough to turn Iraq back into a colony. They were arrogant enough to start looking for the next target in Bush's endless war--Syria, Iran, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Cuba was threatened with war--Zimbabwe and Venezuela targeted for subversion.

 

The financial rewards went in both directions. On October 31, 2003, the New York Times published an article stating that "executives, employees and political action committees of the 70 companies that received government contracts" adding up to $8 billion "for work in either Iraq or Afghanistan" contributed slightly more than $500,000 to President Bush's 2000 election campaign.

 

The overwhelming majority of government contracts for billions of dollars of reconstruction work in Iraq and Afghanistan went to companies run by executives who were heavy political contributors to both political parties. They gave about two-to-one to the Republicans, and more money to Bush than any other politician in the last 12 years.

 

"Nine of the 10 biggest contractors — the biggest of which were Bechtel Corporation and Halliburton, either employed former senior government officials or had close ties to government agencies and to Congress."

 

When Congress passed the additional $87 billion bill funding the Iraq occupation, it approved  an additional $20 billion for reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan this week. Much of it is going to these samecompanies.

 

You don’t always get what you want

 

Many of the administration's friends are getting rich from this government money in Iraq, despite the failure of the U.S. to turn Iraq into a compliant colony. Much to the surprise of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and company, the occupation of Iraq aroused a resistance that has continued to grow since May 1, 2003.

 

The momentum of the campaign for "endless war" has been drastically slowed by the determined resistance of the Iraqi people to the brutal colonial occupation of their country. More and more U.S. soldiers are killed and wounded on a daily basis. Hatred for the occupiers spreads throughout the country. The attempt to set up a compliant yet stable Iraqi client regime has failed utterly.

 

The Pentagon may have world's largest military machine - larger than the rest of the world combined. But occupations can only succeed if they are unchallenged. The Israeli army is finding this out in Palestine. The Pentagon in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have not heard the end of the story in Haiti or even in Yugoslavia, the four places in the past five years that the U.S. military has forcibly occupied.

 

One thing a successful prosecution needs to show is the motive for the crime. I believe that my testimony today gives some insight to the motives of those making the decisions for the U.S. government in waging aggressive war against Iraq.

 

The task of a people's tribunal, like the one we are carrying on here that has more moral authority than any of the tribunals set up in The Hague by the imperialist powers, is to preserve the truth, to bring it out before the people. This is an important task. But the struggle of the Iraqi people to free their country from colonial occupation once again is what is making people listen. Once again, on March 20, 2004, people came out in over 60 countries and close to 1,000 cities around the world to say no to occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and all over.

 

 

8.                                                                        SAUL LANDAU

 

These texts  might differ from the actual testimony, but gives an idea of the witnesses approach

 

The Empire in Denial and the Denial of Empire

 

George W. Bush, for all the jokes about his intellectual challenges, has established an unsurpassed level of imperial denial, while he blithely rejects notions that he runs an empire that has run into considerable trouble. Indeed, except for the comments of a few humorists and pundits, the media has failed to call the emperor on his political fiascoes. Instead, they have bought Bush’s own description of them as successes. “The Bush universe of eternal sunshine,” as NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd called it, amounts to a bubble of errors covered by holy-sounding rhetoric. 

 

W and his tough guys have intimidated the media -- and most nations of the world -- with relative impunity. Bush repeatedly claims to have made the world safer from terrorism. Yet, terrorist incidents have multiplied since he announced his “war against terrorism” (Not counting Israel, just look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Bali etc.). Critics credit his crude tactics with fostering the recruitment of new militants. Bush declared last May, almost a year ago, that the war in Iraq had ended. Last week, the US body count topped 610 and no one expects it to stop there.

 

Indeed, after the December 13, 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein, Bush had assured the nation that the resistance would collapse. Instead it has grown more intense. Bush insists that he will prevail in his mission to bring freedom to Iraq. The foreign terrorists responsible for the daily carnage, insist Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Colonial Governor L. Paul Bremer, operate only in the limited area of the Sunni Triangle (Baghdad-Fallujah-Tikrit). Presumably Sunnis -Hussein is a Sunni - continue to resist out of loyalty. But over the April 2-4 weekend, a Shi’ite cleric organized massive and bloody demonstrations in parts of the Sunni Triangle and in other cities as well!

 

If freedom to Bush meant only the privatization of formerly public wealth, his claims might carry more weight. Bremer’s gang has usurped the Iraqi patrimony and offered it for sale and a buyers’ market prevails. Given the violent atmosphere insurance companies are understandably reluctant to issue policies on businesses; thus, few buyers will come forth. Essentially, Bush offers the security provided by over 100,000 members of the US armed forces and tens of thousands of hired mercenaries (Blackwater, Halliburton et. al) paid for by US taxpayers - just to secure Iraq for the western way of life: business.

 

Despite daily news and photos to the contrary, Bush persists with his “Iraqis are happier” hymn. Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the out-of-tune right wing radio chorus sing along, just as Marines begin their retaliation against the perpetrators of the killing and mutilating of four US mercenaries last week in Fallujah. Hundreds of people - or more -- took part at some level in the deed and celebration that followed.

 

When I discussed with a pro-Bush colleague the difference between my pessimistic Iraqi scenario and the optimistic White House picture, he dismissed my criticism as “carping” and offered wisdom like, “you have to break eggs to make an omelet,” and “democracy doesn’t just happen.”

 

He believes that God intended Bush to bring democracy to the world. I got a more secular spin on that idea in grade school. My teachers told me that democracy and freedom stand as indelible US values at home and our nation sells our cultural offerings to the world - for them to literally buy. US culture and ideology, after all, count as our most successful exports.

 

The very repetition of this “selling freedom” mantra has elevated it to unquestioned status - despite evidence that repeatedly contradicts it. Last week, Bush again boasted of having brought freedom to the people of Iraq, seemingly oblivious to the fact that on March 28 occupation forces shut down Al-Hawza, a newspaper critical of US policies - because “it didn’t print the truth.”

 

In addition, Bush might not have read about the documents emerging from the national security classification cellar that showed the US helping to overthrow the elected Brazilian government of Joao Goulart in 1964 and supporting a military dictatorship in its place. Since Goulart’s nationalistic economic policies lacked US approval, U.S. ambassador Lincoln Gordon sent top secret cables to national security heavies in Washington pleading for "a clandestine delivery of arms" for military coup plotters.

 

On March 29, 1964, Ambassador Gordon recommended secretly "pre-positioning" the armaments to be used by "friendly military." President Johnson had authorized CIA covert operations to support anti-Goulart military and political forces.

 

This new material also contains an audio tape of President Johnson receiving a Brazil briefing by phone at his Texas ranch, as general and admirals mobilized against Brazil’s elected government. "I'd put everybody that had any imagination or ingenuity...[CIA Director John] McCone...[Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara" on ensuring the coup’s success, Johnson instructs undersecretary of State George Ball. "We just can't take this one," Johnson says. "I'd get right on top of it and stick my neck out a little."

 

Shocking? The nation of democracy and freedom, the place where revolution received its first justification - “when in the course of human events” - also became the bastion of counterrevolution, the exporter of dictatorship, the grand interventionist in the affairs of less powerful nations whose leaders refuse to abide by US dictates.

 

Few nations have borne as much US wrath over their insubordination as Cuba. Indeed, the island has become a perpetual target.

 

On March 31, with the false claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction still fresh in the public mind, John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, offered Congress 35 pages of written testimony that Cuba "remains a terrorist and [biological weapons] threat to the United States.”

 

Bolton didn’t even use discredited exile sources - like those who fed false information to the Administration on Iraq - to support his contention. Acting without fear of replicating the baseless WMD charges that became the casus belli for Bush’s war against Iraq, Bolton asserted in his fact-free belief that "the case for the existence of a developmental Cuba [biological weapons research and development] effort is strong."

 

Bolton first made these charges on May 2002, but almost two years later he has still not gathered a fact to support them.

 

The Cuban government denied the accusation and invited US scientists to inspect the labs to which Bolton referred. Just as Bolton’s boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell, has made public his unhappiness with the shoddy intelligence delivered to him on Iraq, Bolton uses imprudent charges that could become the basis for war with Cuba.

 

One of Powell’s more prudent subordinates, Assistant Secretary of State for

Intelligence and Research Carl Ford, told Congress on June 5, 2002 that the US had no evidence of a full-fledged biological weapons "program." He did say that the administration was “worried” about Havana's capabilities.

 

Cuba’s biotech industry produces medicines and vaccines, as the world knows, and therefore theoretically has the ability to create weapons as well. But Fidel Castro knows that such a move would amount to suicide and he has shown no tendency to self destruct during his 45 year rule.

 

I detect evidence, however, that Cuba may have employed some of its sophisticated biological weapons here in the United States. Observe the strange behavior of Lincoln Diaz Balart, (R-FL) - called “Low IQ Lincoln” by some of his colleagues. In March, Diaz Balart called on the President to assassinate Fidel Castro. Sources in the national security apparatus said they had not carried out any tests on Diaz-Balart’s cerebral cortex to determine whether he might have succumbed to some sophisticated bio-brain vapor that Cuban covert operatives had managed to slip into his breakfast cereal. His colleagues found it otherwise difficult to explain how a Member of Congress could otherwise be so oblivious to the law and to the implications of advocating such actions.

 

That neither the media nor Congress responded in shock to Diaz Balart’s remarks, or Bolton’s unfounded charges, attests to the state of imperial denial under Emperor Bush. On the one hand, the national security apparatus has again insinuated assassination into the foreign policy play book, thanks not only to Israel’s example of blatantly targeting Palestinians, but also because of the mystification process that has obscured the nature of the “terrorist enemy.”

 

Indeed, Bush’s rival, John Kerry, has not decried the policy and has tried to show he would act even more aggressively against Castro.

 

When declassified documents appear and show how Washington overthrew elected governments in Iran, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile etc… the media and government officials act as if this material relates only to unfortunate errors of the Cold War. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a major media source simply admit: “hey, we’re the world’s biggest empire; we offer the world our version of democracy and freedom and if rogue nations reject it, we’ll shove up it up their…”

 

The problem is that people, like Iraqis, resist conquest and occupation. Does denying the existence of empire naturally lead imperial rulers to practice denial?

 

Landau’s new film, SYRIA: BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE is distributed by Cinema Guild (800-723-5522). His new book is THE PRE-EMPTIVE EPIRE: A GUIDE TO BUSH’S KINGDOM. He teaches at Cal Poly Pomona University and is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.

 

 

 

 

The Bushies : Obsessed and Aggressive Liars ?

Kerry : A Less Dangerous Imperialist ?

 

By Saul Landau

 

It seems obvious that Bush recapturing the White House in November would make the world more dangerous. Just last week, the Bushies demonstrated their character by launching a jugular attack on former White House counter terrorism chief Richard Clarke. Clarke’s new book, Against All Enemies, like his lengthy appearance on “60 Minutes” (3/21/04) and his testimony before the 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), reveals the foremost Bush obsession: war on Iraq (a fixation stronger even than his hatred for abortion and gay marriage).

Before the attacks, Clarke maintains, the top officials had brushed aside warnings about an impending terrorist attack. After 9/11, according to Clarke, rather than focus on getting the fiends who planned the dirty deeds against the twin towers and the Pentagon, President Bush and his leading cabinet members seemed obsessed with making war on Iraq - well before 9/11. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill supports Clarke on that point. “Sour grapes,” said one Bushie of Clarke’s statements. “He’s auditioning for the Kerry campaign,” said another high official. The Bushies, however, have no proof to refute Clarke’s carefully documented accusations. Indeed, Clarke, who has thus far withstood the smears, revealed that he registered as a Republican in the 2000 election.

But Clarke obviously anticipated the retaliatory war. Previously, the Bush gang had struck back against former diplomat Joseph Wilson, who disproved the phony administration claim that Iraq was trying to buy yellow cake uranium from Niger.  Pro-Bush columnist Robert Novak published the name of Wilson’s wife, an undercover CIA operative. Valerie Plame worked for the Agency on nuclear weapons proliferation. Evidence points to the leaker as a high official in Vice President Cheney’s office.

Ironically, Bush had sworn to punish anyone who revealed the name of a protected national security employee. He has been remarkably passive in finding the culprit in this case. But the 9/11 blame issue transcends the exposing of a covert official. As the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission probes for information about lack of preparedness in the pre 9/11 period in the Clinton and Bush Administrations, I added up the factors that argue for a vote for John Kerry, presumably the Democratic presidential nominee. Bush’s unscrupulous tactics toward “disloyal” officials, critics in general and whistle blowers is minor compared to the multiple lies he told about why we had to go to war with Iraq. His vindictiveness pales before the horrendous loss of civil liberties that have ensued under the Ayatollah Ashcroft’s reign as Attorney General. Then, there’s Bush’s skewering of the public wealth, thanks to his reward the rich tax plan, his proposal for a Constitutional amendment to stop gay marriages, his wholesale destruction of the environment and his sneaky appointments of ultra reactionary judges and heads of agencies -- more than sufficient reasons to vote for Kerry.

I almost convinced myself that the gravity of the 2004 elections might compare to the momentous 1860 contest that decided whether the United States remained a union or split into a slave and a free state. So worked up had I become, that an old radical friend laughed at me. “You’re nothing but a liberal,” he said.

I spilled my latte, closed the New York Review of Books and placed it on the coffee table, pushing aside my Picasso print book and laying it atop my piles of The Nation and the New Yorker. I even turned off the CD playing Dylan’s greatest hits. “Are you crazy?” I retorted. “If Bush wins in 2004, why, we might not have another election. If his gang recaptures the White House, will any public property remain? Will government offer any services to poor and middle class people? Surely, in his three plus years Bush has validated Jim Hightower’s quip: “never have so few done so much for so few.” “True, enough,” my friend retorted, “but is Kerry any better?” “Yes,” I screamed. “This is a contest between fascism and….” I couldn’t think of the proper word. “…Old fashioned imperialism,” I weakly uttered. He chuckled triumphantly. Why couldn’t my mouth articulate what my gut was telling me? In despair I watched Dick Cheney on TV attacking John Kerry. Cheney’s smirk alone almost converted me into a Kerry fanatic.

The chutzpah-loaded Cheney, who should make medical history -- having heart attacks without possessing a heart - questioned Kerry’s fitness to be president. Cheney echoed a Bush campaign ad that charged Kerry with voting against an $87 billion war funding bill. Cheney, almost whispering, said that Kerry -- who fought courageously in Vietnam -- did not have “an impressive record for someone who aspires to become commander in chief in this time of testing for our country.”

I recall Cheney saying he didn’t serve in the military because he “had better things to do.” Did he not remember that he conspired (consulted) with Enron officials on a 2001 national energy plan just as those officials were looting the company and bilking shareholders and employees? My antipathy for the Bushies, however, might well have colored my positive feelings for Kerry. “He hasn’t said he would pull the United States out of Iraq, after all,” my friend reminded me.  “The Democrats,” he admitted, “have a clear cut issue: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Powell lied, lied and then lied some more to make a plausible case for war with Iraq. No WMDs, nor proof of  Saddam’s intention to use or them Al-Qaeda, nor any ties between Saddam and the 9/11 gang. Since there was no cause for war, Kerry should logically want to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

            But instead he proposes to add 40,000 troops to the active-duty Army. And he hasn’t said he would withdraw US troops. Kerry even phoned newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to try to persuade him not to withdraw Spain’s 1,300 troops. Zapatero refused, saying he would reconsider only if the United Nations replaced the current “coalition” in Iraq. Kerry wants to share responsibility with other countries in the military operations in Iraq, but hasn’t said he’d turn command over to the UN. No way!

            “So, who’s the bigger imperialist?” my friend asked. “Kerry wants to cover his occupation of Iraq with multinational alliances and agreements, while Bush wants to take on the world with only those he can bribe and intimidate.” The more I thought about him, the less I liked Kerry. He attacked Bush's military leadership, and then pandered to the military - saying we needed more people in the army, with new benefits and better pay to go die in Iraq and other exotic places. Kerry kissed the butt of the Miami Mafia by claiming Bush has been soft on Castro and sought additional right wing Latino votes in Florida by tossing an ignorant barb at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In the 1960 campaign, another JFK charged Richard Nixon with being soft on Castro. Kennedy knew that Nixon could not answer because he was the man in charge of the covert Bay of Pigs operation designed to overthrow Castro by force and violence. Thus, he pretended to get to the right of Nixon, who wrote in his memoirs that at that moment he knew Kennedy had made a serious inroad: he had gotten to the right of Nixon and posed as strong while portraying Nixon as weak. This strategy may work for Kerry, but it discourages people who would work hard to register others.

            Yes, I rationalize, if elected, Kerry will appoint better judges and heads of agencies. His attorney general’s policies will probably be an improvement on those of John Ashcroft and women will not worry about losing their reproductive rights. I will vote for Kerry, try not to throw up as I leave the voting booth and remember: if God had really intended us to take voting seriously he would have given us better candidates.

Both texts published in Progressive Weekly, April 2004


 

9.                                                                       ARMAND CLESSE

 

How Europe reacts to the Neo-con Imperial War Policy

 

In a recent article for the journal "Survival", John Ikenberry, who certainly cannot be suspected of any leftist leanings, predicts the imminent demise of the neo-conservative moment. Is it conceivable that at a time when many people see the so-called neo-conservatives firmly entrenched in power, the latter are in fact losing steam and most of their luster? Are they really on the defensive, a species beleaguered inside and outside of the Bush Administration or is their possible retreat just a provisional, a tactical one? It seems that the further fate of the neo-conservatives will depend on imponderables such as the evolution of the Iraqi situation or "terrorist" events around the globe, and, of course, particularly in the American homeland.

What are in fact the neo-conservatives exactly standing for and what is the difference between neo-conservatives and traditional conservatives? It seems that the distinction between the two is sometimes rather blurred. That is probably why many analysts rather than coming up with clear-cut definitions prefer to point to what are considered to be protagonists of the various movements. They enumerate as important figures of neo-conservativism Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Kagan, David Frum, Max Boot, William Kristol and of course Paul Wolfowitz whose immediate boss, Donald Rumsfeld, is considered a traditional conservative as are Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski. Positions on key matters of international affairs are certainly vacillating. Therefore a number of analysts prefer to use terms such as right or rightists, fundamentalists or new fundamentalists, hawks etc. Conservatives as well as neo-conservatives share certain key "values" and they are both convinced of the inherent superiority of the American model and the special mission of the American nation. They all tend to focus on the use of military power rather than of diplomacy, they prefer a unilateralist to a multilateralist approach and coercion to persuasion, intervention to dissuasion, preemption to negotiation.

 

A Manichean and Machiavellian approach of the world

Neo-conservatives are a kind of political and ideological "nouveaux riches" exhibiting more proudly, more aggressively their basic convictions, they are zealots showing greater contempt for international norms and rules as well as for their allies, particularly the Europeans. Traditional conservatives accept alliances at least under certain conditions, they also tend to be more aware of the limits of power and in general are more careful and restrained in the handling of that power.

In any case the neo-cons constitute the spearhead of a much wider movement, the crystallization of wider currents of the American society, the focal point of perennial aspirations, the ideological hypostasis of much broader societal strivings.

The neo-conservative precepts constitute the paroxysmal expression of political desires increasingly present in the policies of the US since the late 1940s in Republican as well as Democrat administrations.

The basic approach of the neo-cons is a Machiavellian one: all means that fit their ends are acceptable including the use of nuclear weapons. Oderint dum metuant - may the others hate us provided they are afraid of us. The neo-cons do not care much about the psychological and long-term political implications of their actions. They prefer to create a climate of fear rather than of trust. They are prepared to bully foes and friends alike. They are guided by a general attitude of suspicion towards the outside world: there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. Alliances and other engagements are just meant to suit American needs and can be modified at will. The aim of any active involvement in world affairs is to adapt those affairs to the American gusto. Any opposition, actual or potential, is to be eliminated. Neo-cons are guided by a mental friend-foe scheme, a deeply Manichean view of the world ("who is not with us is against us"). They disregard humanitarian concerns and they are seldom moved by human misery and suffering.

Neo-cons are bent on creating a highly stratified power system at a planetary scale with the US at its helm, a kind of global and total American empire where nobody would be tempted any more to challenge US primacy.

They want to establish a supercapitalist world order under American guidance in which the last remnants of alternative economic and social systems are to be eliminated. Theirs is a totalistic and totalitarian design. The ultimate ambition is total control, absolute security and invulnerability implying complete vulnerability for all the others. For those who will disagree with the US, for the dissidents, the opponents, that means the terrorists, a kind of gigantic Guantanamo Bay camp might be envisaged, a camp for the psychological annihilation of any foes, a concentration camp where through sensorial deprivation the will of the inmates is broken and their self-esteem destroyed. The ultimate obsession of some more extremist neo-cons is a world under full US control where nobody would be able to move any more without the US checking those moves, where a kind of virtual protective fence would be erected between the US and the rest of the world. Technology, they hope, especially when it comes to achievements in space, will help them to fulfill those dreams.

 

Iraq as a test case

For the neo-cons the "war" against Iraq was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the world the total superiority of the US in terms of raw military power, its will to use this power to reach its aims, to cow the world into subservience and to prevent thereby the emergence of any rival ambition, to demonstrate the enormous - and growing - discrepancy of power between the US and the rest of the world. The message to China, to Russia and also to Europe was clear: "Don't even try to think about being able to challenge our primacy, not now and not in fifty years ...."

There were of course other goals for that "war": establish a power basis in a geopolitically crucial area; preserve global American economic interests; contain Arab nationalism; spread American societal and civilizational norms.

Iraq is another test case of what the US is up to in its willingness to intervene wherever it wants, how it wants, with total impunity, its determination to eliminate any opposition and make the world free for US global empire. From this imperial perspective Islam is perceived as the single greatest obstacle to the Americanization of the world.

The "war" in Iraq reflects basic traits of the American society, the hubris and greed of a megalomaniac ruling elite, a kind of plutocracy, manipulating a profoundly pathological society. It has been launched and conducted in the usual American style characterized by self-complacency, autism, racism, brutality and cowardice.

The US behavior in Iraq, particularly after the end of the formal military operations is that of brutalized, in a sense dehumanized young men, a kind of automatic killers as described by Anthony Swofford in "Jarhead". The enemy is robbed of any human characteristics: enemies are "terrorists" bent upon taking the life of innocent American citizens and can therefore be eliminated at will, pulverized for the greater well-being of the sacred nation. The American occupiers apply this same kind of savage behavior towards Iraqi prisoners.

A Europe whole, divided and helpless

Europe has nothing meaningful to oppose to the US design, not an enlightened, liberal, progressive agenda and not a conservative one. Europe is a shattered land, without any self-confidence, without a substantive political project for this or any century. Those European countries that have tasted till quite recently a kind of national grandezza as for example Great Britain and France, exhibit the most pathetic behavior in terms of pretentiousness, hollowness and cowardice.

Europe is unable to device any significant response to the American challenge. It appears helpless in face of the frontal American strategic assault. It reacts with embarrassment yielding to American threats and blackmail, moving back before the gathering thunderstorm, buckling in front of the manifestations of overwhelming US power. Europe appears exhausted, it is hapless, dispirited and confused, aware of its impotency and of its historic failure, an amorphous entity dominated by feelings of shame and even of guilt.

This is exactly how the neo-cons perceive Europe: as a trembling, stuttering, stumbling old man, unable to control its vital functions, eager only to rest, lost in lethargy, an assisted part of the world, not capable to exist by itself and to defend its existential interests, politically and ideologically divided, without a strong will, harmless and gutless, worn out by centuries of civil strife. The European Union is seen as an anemic, soulless bureaucratic device without any sense of purpose.

Indeed, Europe was unable to come up with any strong, united political position on Iraq. The various attitudes, such as for example the Franco-German stance, were not based on fundamental philosophical, moral or legal judgement but rather on political contingencies, intra-European haggling, general misunderstandings, diplomatic opportunism and American blunders. It was above all the product of circumstances, random events, a process of diplomatic escalation and polarization, of face-saving and hurt vanity.

Therefore this Franco-German stance is highly artificial, precarious and ephemeral. It reflects the general situation of Europe, its frailty, its uncertainties, its hesitations and its vacillations. Europe seems to be stuck forever in its idle petty power games, its bureaucratic infighting, its endless quest for an elusive political order. It was partially saved politically - at least those countries that joined the Franco-German camp - by the diplomatic clumsiness and miscalculation of the Bush people: they thought that through a game of deception and promises, the smart application of a mixture of political pressure (and even blackmail) and material incentives they could induce Europe and of course the rest of the world to give in to American demands and thus get the support of the whole "international community" for the war as an extra bonus (and facilitating at the same time the political task of their European allies such as Blair, Aznar and Berlusconi, responding to some of the anxieties of their public).

The Americans got the spontaneous support of most Eastern European countries for their war plans. The leaders in those countries invoked their experience under the communist regimes, the way they were treated by the Soviet Union, their striving for freedom.

The betrayal of the "elites"

It seems however that they were rather haunted by this perspective of freedom, that they are longing for a firm hand, a combination of Soviet-style colonialism with stars and stripes imperialism. A in general politically and morally corrupt leadership got the support, in a process of betrayal and self-betrayal, of prominent "intellectuals" such as Vaclav Havel, Adam Michnik or Gyrgy Konrad proclaiming in concert with their reactionary Western European counterparts such as Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Andr Glucksmann or Bernard-Henri Lvy their support for the American imperialist undertaking. Some people in Europe, politicians as well as analysts had even expressed the naive or rather silly and perhaps also hypocritical hope that Europe would come out strengthened of this campaign.

The neo-cons and other conservatives were not surprised by the reaction of European governments such us the French and German ones and European public opinion in general nor were they disappointed. The European reaction corresponded to what they expected on the basis of their elementary analysis of European motives and aspirations and they were even elated because the European behavior allowed them to draw a clearer line between themselves and the Europeans. By the way they have, as they made clear from time to time, no deep respect for Blair's Britain, Aznar's Spain, Berlusconi's Italy, not to mention Kwasniewski's Poland or Iliescu's Romania.

Sometimes of course one could notice the dissociation between their rhetoric and their real goals when they were calling for a strong Europe while in fact Europe can't be weak enough for them.

One has to admit that no matter how intellectually primitive the credo of the neo-cons is, no matter how crude their recipes, this creed at least reflects a will and gives them a direction, offers certainties and tells them how to preserve power and how to impose their rule upon the world.

It is probably true that there exists a historical disjunction between Europe and the United States, that the two are in different phases of historic development. It is almost trivial to state that Europe appears as a tired semi-continent - spiritually, morally, politically, a terminal, an end society. After the totalitarian lapses in the first half of the twentieth century Europe seems too weak to engage in new totalitarian ventures, but there are creeping dangers nevertheless: the rampant xenophobia, the lack of self-confidence which in the European history has often set off reactionary policies and regimes, the unfinished revolutions or rather the pseudo-revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, the looming crisis of the welfare state, the general intellectual and moral disarray, the political softening, the growing strategic irrelevance. The European Union itself is shrinking, diminishing in significance while expanding, further eroding the scarce institutional achievements, losing its nerve and its last sources of inspiration.

In this respect some of the critiques of the neo-conservative analysis may be deemed appropriate but not, as the neo-cons assert, because Europe is unable to seek to impose itself upon the world by violent means, not because it has no imperial ambitions, but because it is unable to muster a civil, societal counter-project and thus constitute a non-militaristic countervailing power to the American imperial model.

Day Two

 

10.                                                                   IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN

 

"'Benevolent Hegemony?'

        The Neocons' Policy as a Break with Longstanding Standards

                                          of U.S. Foreign Policy"

 

To understand the policy of the neocons now in power in the United States government one needs to appreciate the extent to which they think of themselves as a beleaguered minority, who are morally justified in a fight with what they perceive as the naive follies of the U.S. Establishment. The opening paragraph of the Statement of Principles of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), published on June 3, 1997, sets the tone:

 

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century. We aim to change this.

 

This statement was signed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis Libby, among others. The statement calls their program a "Reaganite policy" but in fact it calls for a policy that goes far beyond anything that was known under Reagan. While they speak only of Clinton's policy as "incoherent," their statement involved an implicit critique of the real foreign policy of every U.S. president from Nixon to Clinton, including both Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and beyond that to that of Eisenhower, who presided over the acute reduction of U.S. defense spending in the 1950s.

Let us start by assuming that any U.S. government intends to defend the interests of the United States. Let us also agree that, for a very long time, at least since 1945, the governments of the United States have defined its self-interest as the maintenance of its economic superiority over all other countries, its right to be the leading force in defining the political structures of the world-system, and the need to maintain the military clout to enforce its strategic program. The only question has been how these objectives might best be achieved. We should analyze this debate at three successive time periods: 1945 to circa 1970; 1970 to 2001; since 2001.

In the first time period, that following the Second World War, the United States was the only industrial power that had not had its infrastructure severely damaged by the war. Given its already strong position before 1939, this meant that it could dominate the world market with ease. In addition, it emerged from the war with one central military advantage, the possession of nuclear weapons. It could thus assume a position of hegemony, that is, the ability to determine the basic institutional structures of the world-system.

In 1945, the United States faced only two problems. First of all, the degree of economic destruction caused by the war created a serious limit on the ability of most countries to import goods and therefore of U.S. producers to sell their products in other parts of the world. And secondly, the military power of the United States was confronted with the existence of a serious rival, the Soviet Union, which furthermore had pretensions to represent an alternative ideological vision to that of the United States. The U.S. needed to resolve both problems if it were to enjoy the benefits of its hegemony.

Within five to ten years, both problems were more or less solved. On the one hand, it made a de facto deal with the Soviet Union. The fact that the Soviet Union, as of 1949, was also a nuclear power led to the long-lasting "balance of terror" between the two countries. The arrangements which went under the label of Yalta involved an agreement by both powers to observe as political boundaries of their respective zones in Europe the military boundaries which emerged at the end of the war. The Berlin Blockade and the Korean War tested this agreement and both ended at the point where they began, confirming the agreements and extending them to include East Asia as well as Europe.

The de facto political division of the world was seconded by strong economic frontiers, which actually served the interests of the United States well. It gave the U.S. the possibility of persuading the U.S. Congress to give extensive aid for the economic reconstruction of western Europe and Japan under the label of anti-Communism. This both resolved the need of the United States to create effective demand for its production and allowed it to create strong political and military alliances with these countries which became politically dependent upon the U.S. The rhetoric of the Cold War allowed both the United States and the Soviet Union to consolidate their political control over their respective satellites.

Despite the manifestly favorable position of the United States at the time, the putative neocons of that era were most unhappy with these arrangements, constantly calling for a policy of "rollback" [of Soviet control over eastern Europe] instead of a mere "containment" of the Soviet Union. The fact is however that they were unable to obtain a serious hearing for rollback within the U.S. government. This can be seen in the acceptance, however reluctant, by the United States of the Geneva accords of 1955, the non-violent resolution of the Quemoy-Matsu dispute of 1955, and the purely verbal, non-military reaction to the 1956 uprisings in Hungary and Poland. The reason the advocates of rollback never got anywhere was that, from a U.S. point of view, all was going quite well. The U.S. was flourishing economically. It could get what it wanted politically 95% of the way 95% of the time. It did not need to risk this by an adventurous policy.

Two developments upset these cozy arrangements. On the one hand, various countries of what came to be called the Third World refused to accept the status quo - notably, China, Vietnam, Algeria, and Cuba. The United States was quite uncomfortable about the increasingly radical thrust of the forces of national liberation. But so was the Soviet Union, which saw these movements as too independent, not at all ready to be pulled fully into a disciplined subordinate relationship with the world Communist movement. Basically, these movements were calling the Yalta accords into question and undermining its legitimacy.

Secondly, the economic recovery of western Europe on the one hand and of first Japan and then of the so-called Four Dragons on the other transformed the structure of the world-economy, creating centers of capitalist accumulation which came to be fully competitive with the United States, and hence weakening the long-term hold of the United State over its political allies. The concomitant expansion of productive capacity led to a stagnation in the world-economy that began to felt at the end of the 1960s, which would result in a struggle ever since among the so-called Triad, each of them seeking to minimize the damage to its economic position by placing the burden on the other two members.

From circa 1970, the United States had to face the reality that its hegemonic dominance was slipping. The main thrust of U.S. foreign policy from that point on was to slow down this slippage and try to maintain as long as possible U.S. "leadership" in the world-system. The Establishment response within the U.S. was threefold. First, the U.S. sought to slow down Europe's temptation to move towards political autonomy by offering it (and Japan) the status of "partners" in a multilateral definition of geopolitical decision-making. In addition, the U.S. sought to remind Europe and Japan of their opposition to the Soviet Union and of their common interest with the United States in maintaining their economic advantages over the South (the now renamed Third World).

  Secondly, the U.S. sought to reinforce its military edge by launching a campaign against nuclear proliferation. By 1970 not only the Soviet Union but France and China had become nuclear powers. The U.S. hoped it could stop expansion there, as it feared that nuclear weapons, however few, in the hands of countries of the South would ensure their ability to inflict a degree of military damage in any conflict sufficient to make it difficult to intimidate them politically. Nonetheless, India, Pakistan and Israel all became nuclear powers, and clearly a number of other countries began down this path.

Thirdly, the U.S., in collaboration with western Europe and Japan, sought to use the world economic stagnation to persuade peripheral and semiperipheral countries to abandon their "developmentalist" agendas and to accept the inevitability of what was called "globalization," which involved opening their frontiers one-sidedly to the influx of imports from the North and most importantly of capital flows. This program was implemented by a combination of pressures from the U.S. Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, and later of the newly-constructed World Trade Organization.

 

This program, pursued by all U.S. governments from Nixon to Clinton, was partially successful. The policy always sought to stay within the confines of international law and maintained a constant multilateral facade, which somewhat limited U.S. ability to do everything it wished. The collapse of the Soviet Union, hailed as an ideological victory, in fact weakened the position of the United States by undermining one of the few remaining justifications for "partnership." It forced the U.S. to look for new justifications for its leadership. Saddam Hussein took advantage of the new world power situation to pursue his own policies. And while the U.S. was able to organize a coalition to push Iraq out of Kuwait, it felt that, for both political and military reasons, it could not march on Baghdad, and had to be content with a truce at the line of departure (plus U.N. sanctions).

Once again, the neocons were quite unhappy. The clearest evidence of their frustration occurred during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, serving under the then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, drafted a document entitled "Defense Planning Guidance" which asserted that the number one objective of post-Cold War political and military strategy should be "to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival." This document mentioned four regions in which such an emergence might occur: Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia. It called for a policy that would "discourage [advanced industrial nations] from challenging [U.S.] leadership" and would "maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." Note the phrase, "even aspiring."

The document spelled out seven scenarios in potential trouble spots, the primary case studies being Iraq and North Korea. It said: "If necessary, the United States must be prepared to take unilateral action," and added that "the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated." Note the word, "orchestrated."

One sees in this document the policy that came into reality under President George W. Bush. But in 1992, after circulating for several weeks in the Pentagon, the document was leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post. It created such an uproar that the White House ordered that it be rewritten to remove such phrases. One more frustration for the neocons. During the Clinton years, the PNAC sent a public letter to President Clinton on January 26, 1998 calling for a strategy that would aim "above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power." The letter said "this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing.” It said further:

We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary action, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

Four months later, on May 29, 1998, the PNAC sent another letter to the Republican leaders of the U.S. Congress complaining that Clinton had not acted on their demands. This letter said: "The American people need to be made aware of the consequences of this capitulation to Saddam: - We will have suffered an incalculable blow to leadership and credibility." The letter called once again to make Saddam Hussein's removal from power am "explicit goal" and to use the necessary political and military measures to do so. The failure to act on these proposals is what the neocons meant by Clinton's "incoherent" policies.

 

Finally, in September 2000, PNAC issued a new report, entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses." This paper spoke of:

two important truths about the current international order. One, the Cold-War standoff between America and its allies and the Soviet Union that made for caution and discouraged direct aggression against the major security interests of either side no longer exist. Two, conventional warfare remains a viable way for aggressive states to seek major changes in the international order.

It proceeded to cite Iraq's invasion of Kuwait as reflecting these two truths. It should be noted that this document acknowledges the negative consequences for U.S. policy of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The document proceeds to criticize the weak actions of the U.S. under both the first President Bush and Clinton: "As we have seen, even a small failure like that in Somalia or a halting and incomplete triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on American credibility." The report says that the U.S. must be ready not merely to resist military action by Iraq or North Korea but then "to remove these regimes from power." The U.S. needs, it claims, an air force that has "a global first-strike force." It argues that ballistic missiles in the hands of countries in the South pose a danger because, if tipped with nuclear, biological, or chemical warheads, "even weak regional powers have a credible deterrent, regardless of the balance of convectional forces." It continues: "We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself."

So, the policy advocated by the neocons has been clear and publicly avowed for a long time. It is a policy based on the fear of the loss of credible American leadership, which they see as having continuously been occurring for the last thirty years of the twentieth century. It is a policy that calls for unilateralism, not really as second-best, but as the primary thrust, because it is only by forceful intimidation that the United States can retain, really reassert, its primacy, which the neocons see as threatened not only by the so-called rogue states of the South and not only by China, but by Europe, "old Europe," as Secretary Rumsfeld scornfully termed it.

It is only with the administration of George W. Bush that the multilateral facade has been overturned, and that the U.S. could adopt in September 2002 as its official "National Security Strategy" a new definition of international law, one that goes against 500 years of the latter's slow development:

Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat - most often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack. We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today's adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means....[I]n an age where the enemies of civilization openly and actively seek the world's most destructive technologies, the United States cannot remain idle while dangers gather.

This statement legitimates "preemption" any time the United States government would determine that "dangers gather" - an incredibly loose and uncontrollable definition which renders all existing international law meaningless.

What distinguishes U.S. foreign policy of the neocons from that pursued by every U.S. administration from Nixon to Clinton is the total lack of deference to international norms, the willingness to use war for its own sake merely because it increases "credibility" and intimidates allies as well as enemies. As has now become clear, the U.S. government of George W. Bush invaded Iraq not because it had weapons of mass destruction but precisely because it didn't. It chose Iraq as an object lesson because it was an easy target. It was afraid to attack North Korea or Iran.

The neocons have come to power after 50 years of frustration. They have been determined to make the most of their opportunity and to create irreversible situations. If they feel they might lose power in the United States to the former Establishment which might once again pursue what they consider an "incoherent" policy, they might be tempted to take further irreversible action.


 

11.   MICHAEL PARENTI

 

Text not yet available

 

 

 

12.  MICHEL COLLON

 

Global War has begun

 

A geopolitical analysis by Michel Collon

(November 2001)

 

“War against Terror”? If this were the title of a film, the official script would have been discarded as utter nonsense and hiding ulterior motives.

 

The points of contention are:

 

1. In 1999, and later in 2001, the Taliban considered the presence of Bin Laden on their territory as an obstruction of their international recognition, and offered the United States his elimination or neutralization. Each time the United States refused. This was revealed by Laili Helms, the official representative of the Taliban in Washington who has not denied any of this. Why?

 

2. Not long before the attacks, Bin Laden, the actively searched for public enemy, appeared suddenly after three years in Dubai where he was taken care of for medical reasons. There he met the acting local CIA representative.

 

3. After the attacks, the Taliban again offered to deliver Bin Laden on the premise that he would be judged in a neutral country. A similar solution was applied in the case of the aerial attack over Lockerbie, resulting in the condemnation of a Libyan citizen. Bush always refused. Why?

 

4. Everyone today knows about the fact that the United States installed, financed, and armed Bin Laden in order to control Afghanistan. It is less often stated that fanatical militias have been used by them for similar objectives in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Chechnya. Why do they refuse to come into the open with the role they played in these wars and the tragic consequences that followed?

 

5. We are told that in order to guarantee democracy and women’s rights, the Taliban needed to be eliminated. And who will take their place? The Northern Alliance under commander Massoud with its bloody history of terror and criminal traffic. He who himself imposed the Islamic Sharia in Kabul in the year 1994.

 

The apparent contradiction at the root of the problem: Everyone knows that one cannot eliminate terrorism by means of bombs, but by attacking the injustice and oppression that feed it.

 

Do they attack the global hunger then, that could be eradicated with an ample 15 billion dollars? No, they increase the military budget of the US with 40 billion. And the European budgets will follow in its wake. Rather than solving the Palestinian question, Bush signs an enormous contract in November 2001 (200 billion) concerning the construction of an even more terrifying bomber; the Joint Strike Fighter. So every victim is a contribution to the already bulging pockets of the constructors Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

 

All of this brings one to wonder whether the decision to go to war was not taken long before the attacks. As confirmed by the former Pakistan Minister of Foreign Relations, Niaz Nak. As soon as the end of July, “American functionaries told him about an American plan concerning a military action in order to overthrow the Taliban regime and to install instead a government of “moderate” Afghans. All of this would take place starting from bases located at Tajikistan where US advisors were already in place. They were told that if the plan is to be carried out, it should take place before winter sets in, around the middle of October or possibly a bit later.”

 

How do we explain these contentious points?

 

Actually, the United States pursue five broad goals by waging this war:

 

Control of the oil and gas in Central Asia

Installation of military bases in the heart of Asia between China and Russia

Maintenance of the US domination in Saudi Arabia

Militarization of the economy as a solution to the current crisis

Breaking the resistance of the Third World and fighting against anti-globalization.

 

In the simultaneous pursuit of these objectives, a power may seem strong. In reality however, it also shows its weakness. Ever more contested, by the third world at the WTO, by anti-global youths on the internet and in the streets, the United States and their allies respond with war. Sooner or later however, their diverging goals will conflict. At the same time, their arrogance, their bad faith, their aggression will only stimulate revolts everywhere. The Empire is in crisis.

 

Whoever fights for progress, justice and peace, and wishes to understand what is happening around him is thus forced to ask themselves whether the proclaimed objectives are the real ones. This is even more necessary since the US instigators themselves -  who usually minimize the width of their actions - this time publicly declare that the war will take long years, and that other states will become the targets. Moreover, these same instigators take measures - abroad but also on their own territory - of extremely serious repression. These measures can be used against any political opposition, and especially against the anti-globalization movement.

 

Yes, we are entering a new form of warfare, even more serious than its predecessors. We have entered the global war.

 

Objective n 1: Control of the Oil Routes

 

Many wars that have been called incomprehensible are in fact wars about the black gold. The US oil multinationals and their government wish to control all the routes that allow them to export the huge reserves of oil and gas of Central Asia. Our geographical maps point at the unfortunate countries that find themselves at these routes to the East; Chechnya, Georgia, Kurdistan, but also Yugoslavia and Macedonia. More interferences means more wars. Also, these same maps identify the threats along the Eastern route (throughout China and Japan) as well as on the road South since the multinational corporation US Unocal, going back many years, seeks control of a future pipeline running through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

The oil industry is omnipresent, even in the very heart of the US administration. It has supplied all but two of the Ministers of Foreign Relations since WWII.

 

The current one: Colin Powell. But let’s not forget that the Bush family is one of the leading oil families in Texas. And especially the real man behind the Bush administration, the notable Dick Cheney himself, is a heavyweight in the oil industry.  On the eve of becoming vice president, he headed Halliburton for five years. A leading provider of services for the oil industry, present in over 130 countries, and employer of about one hundred thousand people. The sales in 1999 amounting to 15 billion dollars. One of the 400 biggest multinationals in the world. In order to achieve this position, Cheney did not hesitate to profit on his relationship with the dictatorship in Burma. And in Nigeria, his personal investments went though the roof after the assassination of several militant ecologists and the crushing of civil protests in the Nigerian Delta. Furthermore, according to documents discovered by the Los Angeles Times, the responsible people in the administration helped Halliburton to unhook contracts in Asia and Africa. The predicted war has thus begun. In fact, for more than twenty years, Washington maneuvered and conspired in order to seize Afghanistan, the strategic crossroads of Asia. The goal has not changed, in contrast to the tactics. This is the most enormous CIA operation in history. A US diplomat in Afghanistan revealed the following in 1996; “One can not inject billions of dollars into an anti-communist Jihad, accept participants from the entire world, and ignore the consequences. But we have done exactly that. Our goals were not the realization of peace and welfare of Afghanistan. Our goal was to kill communists and chase the Russians.”

 

Also, the mujahedins of the CIA have overthrown the only government ever that was able to emancipate the Afghan women and tried in spite of serious shortcomings to introduce some social progress. And how did these ultra-poor mujahedins pay for their American arms? By transforming their country - under the approving eye of the CIA - into the main global producer of heroin. This involved the creation of the very important Afghanistan - Turkey - Balkans - Europe drug connection, bringing on all the ensuing consequences. By the way, the oil-arms -drugs cocktail, is a classic CIA approach.

 

After the glorious victory of ‘their’ terrorism, the United States favored the Taliban in spite of the critical protests of human rights organizations. Asked about the destiny of the Afghan women, Madeleine Albright responded as follows; “Internal Affairs”! The Secretary of State thus played her role in representing commerce since Unocal invited these Taliban to Texas. Henry Kissinger also helped to establish a contract between Unocal, its Saudi partner Delta and the president of Turkmenistan. Later, Unocal and, thus, Washington decided to switch horses. The Taliban did not succeed in their attempts to bring stability to the torn country, other forces were to be relied upon in order to replace these former, embarrassing allies. This war, planned long before the attacks of 9/11 is not in the least more humanitarian than its predecessors. But Afghanistan is not the only victim of a war that is inherently about oil and gas. Iraq, Caucasus, Colombia, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, ... . In a nutshell, in any part of the world with exploitable oil or gas, the United States decide these resources are theirs, they proceed to install their military bases and provoke or entice wars they judge to be in their best interest.

 

Every sane person will then ask themselves the following question; do the United States really need this oil for their factories and cars, following the assumption that one has to preserve the contemporary absurd, suffocating and polluting economic model, wherein the price of oil- underpaid to the producers - is cheaper than water (without the taxes) ? No, the United States do not need all this oil. The reserves in their own ground are three to five times superior in regards to the reserves in Central Asia. As for natural gas, the superiority amounts to factor ten. Therefore, it is not about the usual justification that US governments claim on the eve of every war concerning “the securing of the supply of energy sources”.

 

A new logical question is thus raised; is oil the ultimate goal of the United States? No, it is not a goal in itself. It is a weapon, a possible blackmail. As we described in our book Monopoly (p. 112) “Whoever seeks to rule the world, needs to be in control of the oil supplies. All the of the oil. Wherever it is.” In the economic war that is the distinguishing feature of capitalism, the United States seek to keep a strategic card up their sleeve by controlling the energy supplies of their great rivals (Europe and Japan) and those others that risk becoming too independent. For example; if the Caucasian pipeline to the East would be Russian, and not Turkish or Macedonian, Europe would have access to oil that remains out of reach for the United States. Furthermore, concerning the installation of military bases in certain oil saturated regions, the United States are not keen on inviting their ‘best allies’.

 

All of this being said, is oil a sufficient reason to explain the war against Afghanistan? No, the United States are very familiar with the difficulties involved in conquering this particular country. Already, the British and the Soviets have been facing serious problems.

 

Objective n 2: Implanting US military bases in the heart of Asia

 

In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski, quoted before, defined the key of American foreign policy as such: control of Eurasia (Europe + Asia), comprising 75 % of the world population and 60 % of the world’s natural resources. In order to do so, one has to weaken potential rivals: Europe, Russia, China. Simultaneously precluding any alliance between them. The Asian continent is currently growing and will ultimately experience the greatest expansion. Within Asia, China in particular, incites cupidity with its formidable market potential, and its exceptional growth rate of 9,8 % in the last twenty years. Its production has almost tripled between 1990 and 1999. According to these ramifications, the part of the USA in the world GIP continues to fade away - from 50 % in 1945 to 35 % in the sixties and 28 % as we speak. The prospects are a further decline resulting in 10 % or 15 % in 2020 - and they will be caught up by China. This growing Chinese influence continues to excite the Washington dream; the degeneration of China into a neo-colony and obviously the liquidation of socialism. This is not an easy dream to realize, it has to be realized by means of dollars or force. Meanwhile, Peking remains loyal to its own strategy; the development of accelerated growth and the maintenance of the peaceful coexistence with the United States. Chinese leaders clearly understood the warning the United States sent them with the deliberative bombing of their embassy at Belgrade in 1999.

 

In fact, what just happened in Afghanistan is the strategic encirclement of this overly rebellious and powerful China. According to us, China is Washington’s major objective in this war. Why? Two other forces are also targets: Russia and Iran. True, the new Russian bourgeoisie currently plays a secondary role, its means of action are limited by the social and economic catastrophe provoked by the restoration of capitalism. Still, this bourgeoisie wants to play a more active and important role in international politics by combining two methods. Sometimes by servile alliances with the East, sometimes by playing its own card, in order to render themselves necessary and to raise the bids. Also, Moscow trades with, or forms alliances with, countries Washington considers to be ‘rogue states’: North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, ... . Furthermore, Putin opposes the missile shield, or put in another way, the restart of a new arms race. What then does Washington seek to obtain by the support of Islamic separatist militias in Chechnya? To take advantage from the brief moment of Russia at its lowest point, in order to weaken it permanently and prevent it from becoming a serious rival. The third power in this region Washington seeks to destabilize, is Iran. After having organized the overthrow of the overly independent prime minister of Iran Mossadegh, after having supported the bloody dictatorship of Shah Phalevi, Washington suffered a smarting defeat in this country with the Islamic and anti-imperialist revolution of 1979. It has also played its card in Afghanistan to worsen the contradiction between the Muslim Shi’ites (Iran) and Sunnites (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Afghanistan, Pakistan). In these countries, Washington employed the Sunnite Islamic strategy of general Zia who physically eliminated the prime minister Bhutto. Notably, through the Pakistan secret service, the CIA used the Afghan Mujahedin. The goal: to weaken the USSR, but also Iran.

 

Preventing an anti-hegemonic alliance between China - Russia - Iran:

 

Of course, the great principle of all imperial policy remains ‘divide and rule’. Brzezinski further explains the reason for United States meddling on the Asian continent: “China could be the pillar of a China - Russia - Iran anti-hegemonic alliance ”. Such an alliance portrays itself in the ‘Shanghai Group’ that unites China, Russia and four other republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The goal: cooperation against Islamic terrorist incursions and economic collaboration. Such a cooperation being welcomed by these republics, also stricken by the disaster of the restoration of capitalism and the destruction of the USSR. The industrial production of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan has fallen by 60%. According to experts of the US Army: “Such an economic failure is comparable to war in these countries”. A comment of an Australian analyst: “The new Shanghai Group could very well become the most powerful force against US influence in the region. According to the Russian agency Interfax, India and Pakistan are also showing interest in joining this organization.” . Intolerable for the United States that have never, anywhere in the world allowed for a ‘common market’ that does not grant access to them. Another great strategist, Henry Kissinger, exposes the US strategy [not a direct quotation]: “Tendencies exist, emanating from China and Japan to create a zone of free exchange within Asia. A new financial crisis of importance in Asia or in the industrial democracies will certainly accelerate the efforts of Asian countries to get a better hold on their economic and political destinies. A hostile Asian bloc that combines the world’s most populated nations with the great resources and certainly the most important industrial countries would be incompatible with American national interests. For these reasons, America needs to stay in Asia, and its geopolitical goal should aim to prevent the transformation of Asia into a hostile bloc (which is most likely to occur under the leadership of one of these great powers)”. In short: ‘divide in order to rule’.

 

‘Hostile’, according to Kissinger, means: not submissive to the interests of multinationals. Therefore, it is by no means coincidental that the United States intervened in Afghanistan. They chose to use this country, well situated in the heart of Asia to become the basis for future actions against the neighbors: Russia, Iran, or China. Washington is very interested in the old Soviet bases of Bagram in Afghanistan, but already - and this is far easier - it has converted the Uzbekistan military bases and seeks to get a hold on the airports of Turkmenistan. The goal: chasing the Russian troops out of the region. Really, a very useful war.

 

As much as the United States expect difficulties around their existing Asian bases: Korea, Taiwan, Japan. The installation of US troops in Uzbekistan has been offered as an emergency measure, decided for in the wake of the attacks. In reality, as soon as 1999 Washington has sent their green berets, as well as welcoming numerous officers in US military schools. Also in 1999, the country has integrated a military anti-Russian alliance, GUAM: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Moldavia. In fact, the United States seek to establish in every one of these strategic regions, a state that amounts to something like their Isral, their airport. After Kosovo and Greater Albania, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are the lucky ones.

 

In the Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia are entirely integrated in the US strategy. The oil republics of Central Asia however, are more reluctant, weighing the pros and cons of their economic and political approach towards China and Russia. How are they to be kept onside? Remember the maxim of the former US minister James Baker: “We must oppose Islamism only according to our interests ”.

 

Soon, if these oil republics refuse to succumb, the United States will destabilize them completely by making even more intensified use of the Islamic militias in Afghanistan. A scenario already experimented with in Kosovo: just around the corner, with the aid of the US military basis Camp Bondsteel where terrorists of the KLA attacked the south of Serbia late 2000, and Macedonia in the spring of 2001. Today, all Central Asian countries are to different degrees involved in a war against pan-Islamic militias. The most important being the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, trained in Mazer-i-Sharif that also houses militias active in Chechnya and the Chinese Xing Jiang.

 

Thanks to their war in Iraq, the United States were able to implant their military bases in the Persian Gulf. Thanks to their war in Yugoslavia, they installed them in Bosnia, in Kosovo, and Macedonia. This time, they hope to install them in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, while modernizing their Turkish base of Incirlik and those in Arabia.

 

If they manage to conquer a more advantageous position, they will be even closer - in a military respect - to Iran, Pakistan and China, encircling even more of Russia. Also an excellent starting point for new adventures in the South: the Indian Ocean, Indochina.

 

Control of Oil for China

 

Why are Unocal and other US firms associated with its consortium so interested in the Afghan oil route, risking so much themselves? Oil and gas of Central Asia have already been exported to Europe. So what? According to Bob Todor, vice president of Unocal: “ Eastern Europe is a difficult market characterized by high prices for oil products, an ageing population and a heightened competition coming from natural gas. Furthermore, the entire region is subject to ferocious competition.” Todor further explains that Unocal is  even more interested in  the Asian market since the pipeline arrives in the Indian Ocean and is even closer to the key markets of Asia: “ The US oil giants have a prospect to sell in expansionist markets. The announced profits are vastly higher than those on the European markets. But the construction can not start before an internationally recognized government is formed in Afghanistan.

 

Unocal talks about the profits it envisages. But the US administration also considers the blackmail it could use against the Chinese economy. In order to apply the strategy as described by Brzezinski and Kissinger (see above), oil is the weapon of dreams. Because of the very strong and permanent development of the Chinese industry and its consequent need for oil and gas. Once again, whoever controls the production and transport of these goods, controls the economies of whatever country is dependent on them.

 

Peking noticed the danger. Late august 2000, Xia Yishan, researcher at the Research Institute for International Affairs of China wrote: “Because of the sustained economic growth, in the last years, our country had to import big quantities of oil(...), the international capitalist monopoly, with the help of its governments, laid its hands on the greatest markets for oil and gas in the world. The Western capitalist monopoly fights ferociously for the oil resources of the former USSR countries. Of course, all attempt relentlessly to prevent Chinese companies obtaining these energy resources. We need to step up the development of our own strategy: internal production is the fundamental solution.”

 

After 9/11, Peking’s reaction followed immediately. From the 21st September on, Zhu Xingshan, vice-director of the Research Institute for the Economy and Energy Center learned his lesson: “We envisaged the installation of pipelines in order to increase our supplies departing from Central Asia and Russia, and we already have agreements with Russia. But, following the attacks of 11 September, we need to modify this strategy. The attacks objectively provided the United States with a pretext for entering Central Asia.” Also pleading for the rapid establishment of strategic reserves and the intensified study on the liquefaction of coal: “work that has been neglected because of the long years of high prices and the damage to the environment”.

 

A Hurry to find Bin Laden?

 

Why did the British Chief of the Armed Forces declare, only after two weeks of bombardments, that the conflict “could take 50 years”! In fact, they have known from the start that the war was likely to be a long one, but needed to wait some time before admitting this fact. It was important to trigger the war by manipulating public opinion and coercing their allies. Very swiftly, the US minister Rumsfeld also claimed that Bin Laden would possibly not be found. Why?

 

Because if you are a superpower and if you are determined to implant your military bases and strategy in places where you are not likely to be welcomed, you need to hide your hands. Set up a problem first by pouring oil on the flames. Bide your time and stick unflinchingly to what you decided on before. A precedent: the USA promised Kosovo multi-ethnicity and peace, but in reality they armed and excited the separatist KLA in order to destabilize the region for a long time. Therefore, they were able to install their greatest foreign military base since the Vietnam war. Washington does not seek a solution, it awaits a problem. For a long time.

 

Deliberately throwing people into suffering is not a moral problem for a superpower that seeks to dominate and exploit the world. Just another move in the great strategic game. This is the modern definition of barbarity, nothing more, nothing less.

 

Objective n3: Preserving US dominance in Saudi Arabia

 

If the current war of Bush is an offensive war about obtaining control of the black gold in Central Asia, it is at the same time a defensive war in order to save the Saudi regime which is a decisive ally in the Middle East. In fact, Bin laden, just like the majority of the presumed authors of the attacks, and just like the majority of the financial sponsors of his organization Al Qaeda, is Saudi. Heading the major blame Bush addresses towards Bin Laden is the following claim: “They seek to overthrow existing governments in numerous Arab countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan”.

 

Would it be a great loss for the Saudi Arabian people if their corrupt and tyrannical regime, the last feudal system in the world, would disappear? It does not seem so, even in the eyes of the New York Times: “As far as today, the flow of oil and Saudi money has silenced all serious American protest in spite of the complete corruption of the royal family, its contempt for democracy, and the revolting violations of human rights committed in its name.” According to the same journal: “For decades, the United States and Saudi Arabia have thrived upon the following soulless, heartless nature of their relation: America receives oil to sustain its economy in return for the protection of Saudi Arabia by American military power.” 

 

Exactly. In the year 2000, Saudi Arabia sold worth more than sixty billion dollars of oil to global markets. Half of the total of the entire Middle East. The Washington interest lies in the fact that instead of reinvesting these petrodollars locally, creating a local industry and social development, like Iraq tried to do, the Saudi dynasty spends them on insane luxury, but even more on Wall Street, and on the American treasury. Thus absorbing a considerable part of the US deficit. Kuwait and the Arab Emirates do likewise. Furthermore, control of the sheiks and emirs allows Washington to preserve the pricing of oil in dollars, and not in euro’s.

 

All goes well then? But for the fact that even a part of the rich Saudis is contesting, a great US editor recognizes that “Saudi Arabia is being attacked by the youth of the Saudi elite that, just like Bin Laden, declares itself an enemy of both America and its own leaders whom they recognize as totally corrupted.” ‘The money of the terrorists’ comes down from there as affirmed by the New York Times: “They are the elite of the Saudi society, prosperous men, respected for their global investments and characterized by a reputation of generosity. But the US government now affirms that important persona such as Yasi al-Qadi and many other influential Saudi citizens did transfer millions of dollars to Osama Bin Laden.”

 

What economic interests can explain this conflict? In fact, Bin Laden stems from an influential business family. Is it a national bourgeoisie or only another fraction of the feudal aristocracy? Anyhow, it seems like it is presently in conflict with the royal dynasty and with the United States. Because the 5,000 members of the dynasty elite did not create industry, blocking the economic development of the country, holding billions of dollars in foreign banks.

 

This is not the only part of the third world where the dominant classes, in the past privileged by the USA, end up clashing themselves about their plundering without restraints. This has been observed with the ‘tigers’ of South East Asia, in South Korea, and in Malaysia.

 

But is Saudi Arabia not one of these countries where everybody is rich and thus does not know about class conflict? In reality, the severe decline of the oil prices in the last years, brought about a decline in the earnings of ordinary citizens. From 16,000 $ at the beginning of the eighties, the yearly income per head of population has dropped to 7,000 $ today. Considering an increasing polarization between the rich and the poor, even the Financial Times points out: “the rich areas of Riyadh, with their luxurious US style shops, are in grave contrast with the poverty of the south of the city where certain women beg in the streets.” 35 % of the men are unemployed, 95 % of the women. There is no industrial war that could absorb this expanding army of the unemployed.

 

In this struggle for power, multiple Saudi clans use religion as an instrument. But also the resentment of the youth provoked by the presence of US troops in Palestine, who are considered to be occupiers. 5,000 officially, but five times more according to other sources. Already targets for several attacks such as the one in 1996 close to Dahran (19 US soldiers killed). The majority of the Saudi population wishes to see a diminishment of the US hold on the country. Bin Laden expresses this current, reinforced again after September 11. 

 

Let’s return to the main question: where does one invest these petrodollars? Do the Arab countries need to remain US pawns, or do they need to seek after their own development? This is exactly the same contradictory question raised by Saddam Hussein in February 1990. Talking to the chiefs of State of the Council for Arabian Cooperation: “If the people of the Gulf, together with all the Arabs, won’t see to it, the Gulf region will be ruled by the United States.” He proposed regional economical development agreements. A major crime! To suggest that the people of a region - and what region! - would organize themselves and function according to their own interests and not to those of US multinationals! This of course, is what provoked the terrible punishment inflicted upon Iraq. Washington wanted to put an example of total destruction in order to intimidate the entire Arab bourgeoisie tempted to follow an independent course.

 

But does Washington really risk to lose its dominant position in Saudi Arabia? “Yes” answers an expert of the Advanced Strategic and Political Studies of Washington: “In 1995, Saudi Arabia almost fell into civil war because of an internal struggle for power between the royal prince Abdullah and his rival and brother in law, the Prince Sultan. that has hardly been noticed in the West. The Prince Sultan prayed to the ultimate religious authority, the Ulema, to support his aspirations for the throne. The Ulema refused. Abdullah thus consolidated his position demanding the engagement of some quite spectacular military moves from the national Bedouin guard. 

 

The conflict did not end: “For a long time Bin Laden succeeded in escaping American bombs, reinforcing the spirit of resistance among its Saudi partisans. In this context, the hereditary Prince Abdullah could very well seek for the abdication of the King Fahd. He and his royal family are thus placed in a very peculiar position: facing Bin Laden or reaching a big compromise. It can decide on leading the Bedouin troops of the National Guard in a great battle against the supporters of Ben Laden. A great inter-Wahabit battle without precedent, in practically a civil war. Or it can ask America to retreat it’s forces from the country. Such a compromise would reduce the influence of the members of the royal family, considered to be allies of the West. A dilemma shared by Washington. It is not coincidental that Bush stopped the FBI investigations leading to certain Saudi supporters of Bin Laden.

 

In fact, Washington is faced with a grave contradiction in the whole of the Middle East: it does not want to sacrifice either Israel or Saudi Arabia. The first is its major military pawn, in fact an extension of the US army. But Israel can only maintain itself by oppressing the Palestinians and threatening its neighbors. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is its major economic pawn in securing the oil income in its own pocket. As it happens, the Saudi leaders, like any other Arabian leaders, are confronted with the pressure of the struggle of the Palestinian people. The only true mass movement, the only one that excludes every corrupt compromise of the privileged Arab - and other - classes.  Intifada is Washington’s worst nightmare. And the hope of all people.

 

Objective n 4: Militarization of the economy as a ‘solution’ to the crisis

 

In spite of certain favorable circumstances, the conjunctive crises of Western capitalism succeed each other in steadily increasing rate. Furthermore, several ‘promising regions’ collapsed one after another: the Asian ‘tigers’, Russia, Latin America. Each time, financial analysts estimate that Wall Street, and the entire global system are involved in a catastrophic recession. Many of them don’t exclude a reprint of the 1929 crash and fearfully observe the continuing slowdown of the economy since 2000.

 

Anyhow, even if it succeeds in avoiding the crash this time, Western capitalism only postpones its problem. Seeing as though one is increasingly reminded of the weight of this crisis for the third world and the poor. But this ‘solution’ creates an even greater problem: How can multinationals sell to those they impoverished themselves? This reminds us all of shooting oneself in the foot.

 

The gap between the rich and the poor is not only a moral injustice, it is also an insolvable problem for capitalism in general. On the one side we are facing an unprecedented production capacity that continues to grow as we speak, a growing deflection between those who produce and those who consume. Nine out of ten persons are currently in need, and the programs of the World Bank or the IMF do nothing but worsen this fact. This is not the way to create clients on which the global economy is dependent.

 

Even before 9/11, the US economy (the model in which it becomes obvious) lost a million jobs in one year. And the technological companies (‘the future’ of the stock exchange, as we pointed out) continue to drop in free fall.

 

How to re-launch them? For the leaders of the United States, there are not many possibilities. Throwing the gauntlet to the military commanders is the method being used each time the US economy was threatened by recession as a means of ‘leaving the crisis behind’. In the era of Vietnam, fifteen US economists of high standard wrote: “It is impossible to imagine a substitute for war in the economy. No other technique is comparable in terms of efficient control over employment, production and consumption. War is by long an essential element in the stabilization of modern societies. (The military sector) constitutes the only sector of global economic importance, subject to complete and unconditional control of governmental authorities. War, and only war, is capable of solving problems of stock exchange”.

 

Peace is thus an enemy. At the end of his term, Clinton called for an increase of 70% over six years in the US military budget, although in its own it already surpassed those of all the other great military powers taken together. Bush continued to follow this trail with the National Missile Defense, the JSF superbomber, and other military programs.

 

This militarization of the economy serves two purposes. Firstly, replacing the dying economic engine of ‘consumption’ by huge public orders for arms. One has to realize that the military-industrial complex as it is called, is in no way limited to traditional arms dealers, it encompasses classical multinationals as well: Ford, General Motors, Motorola, the technical societies. Secondly, making use of even more military power in order to sweep in the riches of the world. At the expense of certainly the third world, but also at the expense of what Washington calls its friends but are in fact its rivals in the partition of the world.

 

The missile shield (NMD) is the perfect example. First of all, it is not a ‘shield’ but an offensive weapon. It allows the United States to attack any country it pleases without fearing any retaliation. Furthermore, it guarantees plenty of benefits for the military-industrial complex. Finally, the NMD enables the United States to re-launch a new arms race, in order to keep their potential military rivals at a distance by further weakening them: Europe, Russia, China. Already, the European Union decided to follow, creating a united military industry, raising its budget in face of a European army.

 

 

End of testimony, not the end of this text.

 

 

 

 


 

 

13.  HANS VON SPONECK

 

 

The War in Iraq : America's War - America's Peace ?

 

America's present Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, went to visit Saddam Hussein in 1983 as a special envoy for the Middle East on behalf of President Ronald Reagan. The meeting was about improving relations between the USA and Iraq. Both countries were uneasy allies in the conflict with the fundamentalist Iran of Ayatollah Khomeiny. Iraq was conducting an expensive war with heavy losses against its Islamic neighbor. 

Twenty years later, in March 2003, the US Government waged a war against its former ally. Twenty five million dollars were promised by the USA for any hint that would lead to the capture or the death of Saddam Hussein, the former partner.

How can these changes in the Iraqi-American relations be explained ? Documents of the American Secret Service from the years 1985-1990 point out that Iraq had made good use of the acquired western and Russian technology in the domain of weapons of mass destruction. Competent, and often trained in the USA, Iraqi scientists were doing research in, and working on biological, chemical, nuclear and ballistic weapons.  And the Iraqi army started testing them. Chemical weapons were used for the first time in the war against Iran. Hallabja, a small village in the Kurdish north in the country, is today the historical proof for the brutal treatment of a people by its dictator. There, the poisonous gasses of the Iraqi army were used that caused the death of several thousands of people.

 

Neither the American Government nor the American Congress did more than to express their concern towards the Iraqi Government. Diplomatic relations were not put on hold and the trade between the two countries went on. Military and Intelligence cooperation were kept unchanged. In spite of a military embargo, the USA went on handing Iraq, via third parties, material for non-conventional weapons. What kept them together was the common enemy, Iran. Besides this, the reservations about the political ambitions of the dictator Saddam Hussein increased within the US administration. For the superpower USA, the regional power Iraq had become too independent and too strong, and therefore became a threat for the geostrategic interests of the USA. The USA were mainly focused on the control of the oil fields, but also on their role as protecting power of Isral.

 

Rumsfeld's visit of 1983 to Baghdad was also meant to warn the Iraqis not to attack the Iranian oil fields because this could drag Washington into the war. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990 enabled a welcome political change in the American Iraq Policies. Already, on August 6th 1990, the UN Security Council decided upon trade sanctions and a military embargo, instigated by the Americans. On January 16th 1991, the first Gulf War by the Americans against Iraq began. After six weeks, the war was won. The sanctions were kept after Iraq's retreat from Kuwait and prolonged for years, in spite of the terrible consequences for the Iraqi population, with great determination. After the war of arms, the sanctions became the new weapon of mass destruction.

 

The weakening of the population by the sanctions, as means of pressure on the Iraqi Government, and containment or isolation of the country from the world community, supplied the basis for the Iraq Policy of  President Bill Clinton‘s administration.

 

The amount of influential politicians from all parties in the US, who were unsatisfied with this Iraq Policy, viewing it as too soft,  was growing. Politicians and intellectuals, amongst them Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Francis Fukuyama, wrote on January 26th 1998 to President Clinton a very transparent "Letter of the Eighteen". They thought the containment policy of the Government would erode on an international scale, that this policy would threaten the security of the American forces in the region,  allies such as Isral and the Gulf States and as well "an important part of the oil supplies of the world".

 

A regime change in Iraq became more and more part of the discussion on Foreign Policy in Washington. On October 31st, 1998 the American Congress finally accepted the so-called Iraq Liberation Act. In this document, the liquidation of the regime of Saddam Hussein became an official goal of the American Policy. With this decision a further important, and moreover, formal step, was taken in the direction of a new Gulf War.

Mutual provocations from the side of the USA and Iraq during the work process of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the UN disarmament and weapons inspections in Iraq, led to escalating confrontations and finally, in December 1989, to the "Operation Desert Fox", the Anglo-American airstrike on Baghdad, Basra and other places in Iraq.

 

This four-day airstrike clearly signaled the more aggressive approach to Iraq that the American Foreign Policy had chosen from then on. US and British pilots got from their Governments, greater decision margins for their behavior in both no-fly zones. This was declared without the consent of the UN Security Council in 1991.

 

Terrorist actions of September 11th, 2001 on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, changed the vague plans of the US Government for regime change in Baghdad into a concrete decision towards armed actions against Iraq. America was in shock. The Nation became aware that even the sole superpower was vulnerable. For a Government deeply stunned by the devastating strike, the Pax Americana  became unthinkable without winning a war against Saddam Hussein. The link between terrorism and weapon of mass destructions appeared plausible. The request for the liquidation of Saddam Hussein as one of the "leading terrorists in the world" was raised a few days after September 11th by an influential group, the Project for the New American Century. One year later, on October 10th, 2002, the President of the Republican party in the House of Representatives, J.C. Watts, declared : "It has repeatedly been said that there were no proofs that Saddam Hussein was an immediate danger. When one looks for proofs, one has only to think of September 11th." The Bush Government did not have to be convinced. Iraq was suddenly in the sight and target range of  the President of the United States. The political priority was now to convince, with some credibility, the American people, the Governments of allied nations and the Security Council, that "containment", that is the enclosure of dictatorships who have weapons of mass destruction, was no longer an option. President Bush declared this at the Military Academy of West Point. The implementation of the new strategic doctrine of the right to self-defense by pre-emptive strike began. A war against Iraq had to be the beginning of this new hegemonic policy. The intertwining of Government and institutions with large financial funding, that does not exist in Europe but belongs to the American political tradition, was used by the Bush Government to the full. Conservative institutions, such as, for example, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and of course the "Project for the New American Century", supplied the intellectual basis for strategy and content of a new policy. In Shock and Awe about September 11th, the mighty representative of the American media decided to join this policy of aggressive unilateralism; and to support it by well-chosen reporting and comments.

 

The majority of the member states of the United Nations and the world public opinion were not prepared to accept this American war. Unambiguous evidence was requested for the immediate threat to international peace by Iraq and thereby for the fact that the dictator Saddam Hussein  and Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda had really concluded a devil's alliance. Both the League of Arab Nations and the Movement of Independent States warned on several occasions against the American war plan. Against its will, Washington appeared to bow to international pressure in autumn 2002. The Iraq intervention policy was now conducted on two levels.

 

In close cooperation with the British Government of Tony Blair, the Bush Government tried to legitimatize, in a multilateral way, the war that was already decided upon. Via fierce American lobbying, the Resolution 1441 was unanimously accepted by the UN Security Council on November 8th, 2002. In this document, vague formulations express the threat that "material breaches" on the side of Iraq would lead to "serious consequences". The Security Council left the Member States the privilege of interpretation. Here lies one of the great weaknesses of this multilateral institution that needs reform, since there will always be the temptation to use and abuse consensus decisions by power politics.

 

The fact that, under international pressure, the Government of Saddam Hussein accepted on September 16th 2002 the return of the UN weapons inspectors without conditions, does not matter anymore. The UN weapons inspectors who returned end of November 2002 to Iraq, could not, in the following month, and in spite of the newest inspections technology, confirm by any discovery  the hypothesis of the threatening danger of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

 

The USA and the UK declared afterwards that Iraq had hidden its weapons of mass destruction or had brought them to other countries. The fact that no places of re-armament were found, was considered by the USA as a proof of the  insufficient collaboration of Iraq with UNMOVIC, the UN weapons inspection team and the International Atomic Agency (IAEO) and constituted for them, in the sense of Resolution 1441, a "serious material breach". By this, a justification for "serious consequences" was given. The preparations for war continued bilaterally with the Blair Government as close ally in a in a manner suggesting there was no multilateral ground for peaceful solutions to the conflict with Iraq. Amongst these American preparations were : secret arrangements about the presence of American special forces in Jordan, the use of the Egyptian Suez Canal, the arrangement of air and logistic support basis in Eritrea and Djibouti, and a slow build-up of force units in Kuwait.

 

The negotiations with Turkey proved more difficult because of the transfer of American units to the Anglo-American air bases in Incirlik and other support bases in Turkey. The Erdogan Government and the Turkish Military were fundamentally prepared to give their consent. Pressure of public opinion, however, led ultimately to a rejection of the organization of an northern military deployment on Turkish territory, which was crucial for the American strategy. The worsening of the Saudi-American relations in the recent past, especially after September 11th, had as a consequence that the USA had no stronghold and could not use the Sultan air bases again as command center as they did in the first Gulf War of 1991. the American Government decided, on these grounds, to transfer the total planning and coordinating staff from Saudi Arabia to Qatar. There, on the edge of the Capital Doha, a major air base for the war had been undergoing a build up for quite some time.

 

These developments prove that the way to war, via the United Nations, represented for the American Government, nothing more than a political experiment, which would not however influence its decisions.

 

In October 2002, the American Congress gave the President of the USA its support for a military action against Iraq. (Note : the US House of Representatives voted with 296 for, and 133 against, the Iraq resolution 114. In the US Senate, 77 were for and 23 against the resolution). Though the Bush Government conducted a (war) "Policy without facts", it had the support of both the Representatives and the majority of the American people as polls document. Without the event of September 11th, the necessity of an American war with or without international help would have convinced neither the people nor the Parliament. The asymmetry of the military power of the USA, the belief that the world consists of a good and a bad part, and the resulting moral absolutism, but also the fear of a hard-to-define enemy, led to national consensus. In the interest of the defense of security and of American hegemony in the world, they were prepared to wage a pre-emptive war.

 

Resistance in the UN Security Council against the exception of supporting resolutions convinced the Government in Washington to go ahead in an unilateral way, with British support. That international law was breached was not a point of concern. The prospect of rising temperatures in the Middle East with the approach of summer, escalating military expenses and psychological pressure on the army that was preparing for war, explained why the American Government started the attack against Iraq on March, 20th 2003. It lasted less than a month. The outcome of this first preventive war in American history was no surprise : an American victory, the end of a dictatorship, but not however, the beginning of an Iraqi peace. The war should have created an artificial peace for the securing of American interests.

 

The Iraqi population remained far from harvesting the benefit of liberation from the yoke of Saddam Hussein. As Clausewitz said, "he who gets victory in war, has to decide what sort of peace he wants". The tragedy, that the American policy forgot to take the content of this historical word seriously, was already clear long before the war. In hearings of the American Congress in the summer of 2002, discussions were about the reasons for war, the cost and losses for the USA and the duration of the occupation. It was not about finding out what had to be done to build a true Iraqi peace after the war. This was a bad mistake.

 

Bombed Ministries for Planning, Education and Health but an intact Ministry of Oil, the taking for granted of looting of Universities, Museums, Libraries, considerable delays in the reconstruction of infrastructures and the giving away of major contracts to American firms, confirm the distrust of the Iraqi population in the motives of the victors. The trauma of dictatorship, war and sacrifice, the rapidly deteriorating security situation after the war, will determine the life conditions for a long time, especially when the war that was won leads to an American peace.

 

Here, Europe is needed. The transatlantic partner of Europe, the USA, has to be pressured, in its own interest, to turn its back on unilateralism and its striving to a USA empire, and to turn itself again towards the international community. There is need for the great potential and the possibilities of the USA, and the USA, at the time of the globalization of the world, needs the experiences and alternative attempts of the international community. Only in this manner it will be able to keep up its claim to preeminence. The alternative to military security is the fostering of a secure life via education, family care, health care, environmental protection and the struggle against poverty. The European States must have the courage to act together in order to bring these accomplishable requests for a human world onto the international political agenda.

 

The American way to peace in Iraq has failed. The American call for help, for a multilateral approach to nation building in Iraq, has to be heard. Here lies an occasion to give security to the Iraqis so that they can take into their own hands the dealing with the the past and the reconstruction of their country. Only in this way can a beginning be made to an enduring peace for Iraq.

 

Should this transatlantic collaboration in Iraq materialize, it would be a first big step towards the restoration  of an international legal order.

 

 

 

                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

14.  HAIFA ZANGANA

This text might differ from the actual testimony, but gives an idea of the witnesses approach

 

 

 

Why Iraqi women aren't complaining

                       

Their secular family law is about to be overturned and

placed under religious control. So where's the outcry?

               

               

Iraqi family law is the most progressive in the Middle East. Divorce cases are heard only in the civil courts (effectively outlawing the "repudiation" religious divorce); polygamy is outlawed unless the first wife welcomes it (and very few do); and women divorcees have an equal right to custody of their children.

The "liberators" of Iraq can take no credit for this. The secular family code was introduced in 1959. Saddam Hussein weakened its inheritance provisions but left it mostly unchanged. Now it is under threat from the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. IGC resolution 137 will, if implemented, eliminate the idea of civil marriage and place several aspects of family law - including divorce and inheritance rights - directly under the control of religious authorities.

I was in Baghdad when the resolution was issued, on my first visit home since 1975 when, fearful for my life and the safety of my family, I left the country of my birth. I noticed with amazement how little attention any of the women I met paid to resolution 137. Only 100 women demonstrated in the city's Firdose Square to condemn it. Where was the outcry?

I had been terrified that my years away would have made me a stranger. But the minute I stepped into my family's house, I was at home. Over countless cups of Turkish coffee, I asked every woman I met why she seemed not to give a damn about a resolution that is surely going to change women's lives for the worse. I was met with kind smiles and the same weary reply: it's not going to change a thing.

Ten months after their "liberation", Iraqi women have only just started to leave their houses to carry out ordinary tasks such as taking their kids to school, shopping or visiting neighbours. They do so despite the risk of kidnapping or worse. It is women and children who bear the brunt of the absence of law and order, the lack of security and the availability of weapons.

Ten months on, most women graduates are still unemployed. Seventy-two per cent of working Iraqi women were public employees, and the public sector is in tatters. Other workers are suffering too. My niece, Luma, is a biologist. She was unemployed during Saddam's era because she wasn't a member of the Ba'ath party. She is unemployed now because she refused to get a tazkia (a recommendation form) from one of the main political parties represented in the IGC.

As a housewife and a mother, her daily life, like that of most Iraqi women, follows the same tedious routine: get gas for the cooker (make sure the cylinder doesn't leak - gas explosions are not unusual); buy oil (make sure it's not mixed with water); buy petrol for the car (she will queue for three hours, but the men's queues are even longer so the task falls to her).

At the sound of special hooting many of Baghdad's women rush outdoors to pay the refuse collectors to collect the rubbish (in the heart of old Baghdad, rubbish piles as high as the buildings. Women and children search there for anything they can sell or eat).

The electricity supply hasn't improved in the past 10 months either, despite Paul Bremer's claims. In my family's house in Palestine Street, a middle-class area, the women have to deal with three different supply sources to get just 12 hours of power a day. The first source is the national grid, from which we receive electricity for two hours then are cut off for three (we're lucky - in al-Adhamia the on/off ratio is 2:4; residents there believe that they are being punished because they support the resistance). The second source is the local mosque, which acquired a generator during the looting and now supplies 100 houses with three hours of electricity per day. The third source is the house generator, which must be handled with special care. To add to the general misery, there is still no postal service in the country and no telephone services in most areas.

 

There has been no shortage of initiatives to "enlighten" Iraqi woman and encourage them to play an active role in the country's reconstruction. In one, the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office declared "the need, urgently, for a women's tent meeting in Baghdad with a declaration in compliance with 1325".

Patricia Hewitt tried to establish a high council for Iraqi women. Condoleezza Rice opened a centre for women's human rights in Diwanya. In her opening speech - delivered via satellite - she assured Iraqi women that "we are with you in spirit". It was attended by commanders and soldiers of the occupying forces, but by very few Iraqi women. Meanwhile in Diwanya itself, local farmers (many of them women) were unable to start the winter season because of unexploded cluster bombs on their land.

Iraqi political parties are also desperate to employ women to boost their own credibility. So why are Iraqi women not welcoming the chance to be a model for others in the Middle East?

Over countless coffees, the women explain. They are educated, resilient and survivors of atrocities of Saddam's regime. They replaced male workers during the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war, and set up cottage industries to support their families during 13 years of brutal sanctions. They are not about to forgive the US or British governments for strengthening Saddam's regime, imposing sanctions, and destroying their cities in two wars. Iraqi women know that the occupation forces are in the country to guard their own interests, not those of the Iraqis.

In refusing to take part in any initiative by the US-led occupation, or its Iraqi allies, women are practising passive resistance. They adopted the same technique against Saddam's despised General Union of Iraqi women. Then, they managed to cause the collapse of one of the richest, most powerful institutions for women in the Middle East. Perhaps they will do so again.

 

Thursday February 19, 2004

The Guardian            

 

 


 

15.  ABDUL ILAH AL BAYATY

 

Text not yet available

 

 

16.  GHAZWAN AL MUKHTAR

 

 

One Year Later: An Iraqi Speaks From Baghdad

 

As the bombs were falling on Baghdad a year ago, retired engineer Ghazwan al-Mukhtar told us: "UK/USA means to me United to Kill Us All." On the first anniversary of "Shock and Awe", Ghazwan joins us from Baghdad for a look back at a year under US occupation. Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a retired Iraqi engineer who finished his studies as a civil engineer in the USA, speaking from Baghdad.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Can you describe the situation in Iraq, one year after the invasion began?

 

GHAZWAN AL-MUKHTAR: Well, for twelve months I have been liberated from my water supply, liberated from electricity, liberated from my telephone; maybe soon I will be liberated from my life.

The invasion is nothing more than an extension of this sanctions - exempt it's worse. The medical system has collapsed; so has the water supply and the sewage system even deteriorated more. The security situation is atrocious. You cannot drive outside your house safely at night. The bombing is happening. Almost every day we hear a bomb. In fact, we hear more bombs than it is reported on the news media. Now that the telephone system -- we are without a telephone system for now a year. I still don't have a telephone line. The land lines have been damaged totally. The health system just collapsed. So, it is even worse than what it was a year ago. And there is no prospect of improvement within the foreseeable month or next few months or a year, even, because the attempt -- no attempt has been visible on the reconstruction of all those facilities. So, I would say a year after the invasion, life is miserable in Baghdad. It was much more -- it is a lot worse than it was in 2003.

 

AG: How’s the attitude to U.S. soldiers?

 

GAM: Well, the attitude to U.S. soldiers are becoming more hostile because the U.S. soldiers are misbehaving and mishandling the people. They are shooting more people. But yesterday they killed a photographer and a journalist for Al-Arabiyah Newspaper according to the eye-witness reports and I have seen on television. Unjustifiably, it is actually a cold-blood murder of those two journalists. So, that's bound to increase the resistance against the U.S. invasion. I was told today that the other part of Baghdad, which used to be called Saddam City, a dominantly Shiite area in Baghdad, there is a demonstration against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

So, things are not improving. They are deteriorating and deteriorating rapidly. I was just traveling on the Amman to Baghdad road two nights ago and we had to stop for two hours because it was dark and we were chased by a pickup truck which the driver. It was some people trying to hijack the car on the road. So, when we stopped about 60 kilometers or 70 kilometers from the Iraqi border inside Iraq. We stopped. We couldn't travel because it was too dangerous. We found more than 300 cars parked at a coffee shop and we have to wait until about 5:30 in the morning so we can go on a convoy together.

One can not talk about the situation in occupied Iraq without understanding the situation that existed in Iraq over the last 13 years of sanctions. The sanctions affected every aspect of life of every Iraqi. The occupation added more problems to the already overburdened Iraqis. The occupation so far is nothing more than a much more brutal extension of the sanctions.

 

In order to establish law and order, a strong "force" must take care to implement the order. The Americans having dissolved the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police have created a power vacuum. Armies are an essential element in every society. Their duty is to help restore order. They have the capability to respond quickly in case of emergency. Look what happened in Los Angeles when riots happend: they called the national guards. In Iran, they called the Army to help with the earthquake. With no army and no effective police force, the US made it impossible for the American Army to withdraw from Iraq.

They will stay in Iraq after June or July this year because they made it part of the agreement with the IGC that they will be invited to stay so as not to make them an occupying power.

My understanding is that they have no intenstion to leave soon. They say that they will stay as long as needed. They are the ones who decide that they are needed.

We were probably afraid to talk about one person, Saddam. Now we are afraid to talk about all the 25 people running the IGC as well as Bremer and the Americans.

Some weeks a go I gave a radio interview to a radio station in San Francisco over a telephone issued to my wife by UNDP. The American MCI disconnected her telephone because of the interview. UNDP asked repeatedly to have the line reconnected but failed.

 

AG: You are an engineer. In terms of reconstruction, what has happened?

 

GAM: Visibly, nothing. They painted few schools and they cleaned some of the rubble off of the buildings that have been bombed. Let me give you an example, which uses a telephone exchange which serves my area. In 1991, that building was totally demolished with all the equipment destroyed. With the engineers of Iraq managed to clear the rubble, redesign the building, building it and having it operational in three to four months. Now with a year after the occupation -- by the way, we did that despite the sanctions and we didn't have Bechtels or Halliburtons and all those highly-paid advisers. We did it in three months. Now a year after the invasion they haven't rebuilt the building. They just rerouted the cables, put a container on the floor on the ground and they are trying to fix the telephone system. I still don't have a telephone after three years. After a year. I'm talking to you by a mobile phone that may or may not work. I have a backup system and another system just in case things don't work out.

I’m a sixty year old man, but I am not going to let anybody, any foreigner tell me what to do or running my own country. This is a country I have spent all my life, trying to build something, to do something about improving the lot of the Iraqi people. Iraq is a wealthy country, Iraq has been, because of the sanctions, relegated to a third class country. You remember in 1961, that’s 42 years ago, the Iraqi government then, and it wasn’t the Ba’ath Party government, sent me to the States to study. I was a high school student. They sent me. Iraq has invested a lot of money in our education, a lot of time. The consecutive governments, all the governments of Iraq, and we are trying to build a country and you have ruined it. The US government is destroying everything. They destroyed it in ‘91 and we rebuilt it and they are destroying whatever we have rebuilt--

 

AG: The US government says it’s Saddam Hussein ruined it.

 

GAM : Well, they’re entitled to their view, but my view is that Saddam Hussein, was in 1984 was the President when Donald Rumsfeld came and shook his hand and said “he’s a nice fellow, we can work with him.” Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that you people gave commodity credits to. So what changes is the perceptions of Donald Rumsfeld of what Saddam Hussein is. Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that I have known in ’79 when he took power. So anything that changes, it’s the perception of Donald Rumsfeld. Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that dealt with Ronald Reagan and the presidents before him. It’s now Bush, he doesn’t like Saddam Hussein and they are ruining the country. Bush is entitled to say whatever he wants. But that doesn’t make him right.

If I was Paul Bremer, I would reinstate everybody that they have kicked out of his job, barring only those people who are criminals, who have committed a crime. In fact, those who are suspected of committing a crime should be even kept in the government and investigated. If they have committed a crime, they should be kicked out of the government. You don't punish a person by denying him a job because you think he is-- he might have done something wrong.

If I was Paul Bremer, I would return all those people to their previous jobs because those are experienced people. Those are people that you cannot replace. You get somebody from Bechtel, the best engineer from Bechtel, and it takes him ages to understand what the problem is with the Iraqi oil, the Iraqi factory or the Iraqi telecommunication system. Until now, after one year, we still don't have a telephone system. I'm calling you from a mobile system which has a U.S. number because the landline doesn't work. About 60% of the telephone lines in Baghdad are not working. Totally not working. Saddam Hussein repaired the telephone system in three months. While Bechtel, and all the U.S. corporations and MCI and the rest-- so you have to rehire those people. They know how to fix-- how to do the things the most expedient and most efficient way. You don't get somebody from Brooklyn or somewhere in San Francisco to fix the telephones in Baghdad. You don't know where the cables go. You cannot even communicate with these people. If I was Paul Bremer, I would bring back those people, to be reemployed in the government of Iraq, and do what they have to do. To fix the mess.

 

AG: Would he then be reconstituting a pro-Saddam force?

 

GAM: It doesn't have to be a pro-Saddam force. An engineer who does his job is an engineer irrespective whether he is a pro or against Saddam. Do you think right now that they are hiring only the pro-American engineers working for the ministry of oil? Are you going to be-- kick everybody who does not like the U.S., or does not like Chalabi? Engineers and technicians and teachers are free to believe in whatever they want-- that's freedom. You cannot impose.

Now you have deposed the dictator, which, by the way you supported, the U.S. supported. In '94-- in '84, '83 and '84, it was Donald Rumsfeld who came and shook hands with Saddam Hussein, and he knew by then that Saddam Hussein was a dictator and he-- all that. But he elected to ignore that. While I'm talking to you now, I'm watching-- I have a picture in the office on my house of Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld to remind me that there is no principle-- the U.S. does not have a principle to deal with, they have interests. They are not after democracy. They are not after human rights. They are after their economic interests.

The same people who forced Saddam Hussein in 2003, that is to say Donald Rumsfeld and his group, and it is the same people who shook hands with Saddam Hussein in '83, and we established diplomatic relations with the dictator. And they are the same people who supported Saddam Hussein throughout the war with Iran. And it was, by the way, Bechtel, that was given a huge contract in the 80's to develop the petrochemical industry, so that the-- in return for the U.S. support in Iraq and on the Iraq/Iran, and it was Bechtel also to suppress the fact that Iraq used chemical weapons against the Iranians. George Schultz was the secretary. We-- somehow we convinced him through Bechtel contract to forget about the thing. And it was the Americans who supported Saddam Hussein with the anthrax spores. It was the West who supported Saddam Hussein with the factories to develop the mass-- weapons of mass destruction.

You are penalizing us, the poor, powerless subjects of dictator for crimes they have committed. We haven't committed a crime. We, as individuals, haven't committed a crime against anybody. We are victims of ten years of-- 13 years of sanctions, and six months right now, ten months of occupation, and we are going to be punished and punished, again and again, again so that Halliburton and Bechtel and MCI and whoever can make profits. The U.S. has no intention of leaving Iraq. They're talking about how much it's going to cost them until the year 2013. That's ten years of occupation. He talks about democracy. What democracy is he talking about? Where the TV stations are subjected to harassment, where journalists are imprisoned, where people are detained for absolutely no reason? For up to 40 days, 50 days with no one knows about them. Read-- the American people should read not our-- what we say, they should read what the human rights-- Human Rights Watch was saying in that report published in-- last month. They should read what Amnesty International is writing about the human rights situation-- human rights abuses.

 

AG: Can you describe the reaction in the streets to what took place in Fallujah?

 

GAM : This incident happened in Fallujah where two days before that, the American army shot many many people, women and children, on the streets, and --- in a bizarre shooting incident that was unjustified, killing many people. Fallujah has been a place where the US Army has actually used brutal force to suppress the people there, including using the F-15s, and F-16s to attack villages and place where they think the resistances are, which is unjustified to use high explosives against individuals. This resulted in many, many casualties in the province. Added to it, they have detained, for 50 or 60 days, hundreds of people on and off, which alienated the people against the American forces and the American contractors or the American security contractors, which are really a private army, uncontrollable by the US. This is part of the privatization of the war. Two days ago, three days ago, there was a similar incident in Mosul, where two contractors were killed, under electricity. They were going to the electricity generating plant. The important -- the thing that I know is in the media says that the contractors were involved in protecting the food supply. This is the food supply for the US Army, not to be confused with providing help to the local population or anything. It's just a routine US convoy that may have food and may have on other occasions, armaments or anything. So, the resentments of the people of Fallujah are justified. What happens to them is -- it's a sad thing, but you know, brutality breeds brutality, and violence breeds violence, and he who started first should take the responsibility, and I think the US army has used an unjustified force against the people of Fallujah, and they have brutalized the people of Fallujah to the point where they had to respond with the same brutality.

 

AG: Well, some of the commercial media here in the United States are claiming that Fallujah is a hotbed of resistance, that up to 70% of the people are supporting attacks or have voiced in opinion polls support for attacks on the US forces. Is there a continuing large presence of US military within -- within the city itself, or have they largely pulled out to the outskirts of Fallujah?

 

GAM: They pulled out to the outskirts, but they keep intruding into the city. Ten days ago, I was passing through Fallujah, and in the middle of the city, they brought the main highway, and we saw inside the city a convoy of US military vehicles. So, they keep coming in and out. If they keep out, I don't think they would have that many attacks on them, but don't forget, those are an occupying force, and the people believe they have the right to resist an occupying force - a foreign occupying force. We -- the closest we come to you is eight hours difference. That's 8,000, 9,000 miles. That's between us. You people have - you came to the east 8,000 miles to run a country you have no business in occupying. After we discovered that there was no justification for the US occupation whatsoever, because there is no weapons of mass destruction. It's a weapon of mass deception that's been propagated by the US administration.

The final thing, the final thing, I think, it’s the blind leading the blind. You are blind, I mean the US government is blind, and it’s led by another blind people who were the Iraqi opposition who are telling you that we would welcome the American soldiers. And you see what’s happening in Basra, Najaf and Nassiriya. Those are the Shi’ite places where you think they should have welcomed the revolt against the government. But they did not. So it’s about time, you people open up your eyes and see what’s happening and understand the message and forget about the rhetoric.

 

 

 

17.   KAREN PARKER

 

Closing statement by the Prosecution

Text not available yet

 

 

 

18.  JIM LOBE

 

Concluding speech of the Defense

Text not available yet


 

C.    WRITTEN TESTIMONIES (absent witnesses)

 

1.            NEIL MCKAY

 

Bush planned Iraq “regime change” long before becoming President

 

A secret blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' even before he took power in January 2001.

 

The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

 

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: 'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'

 

The PNAC document supports a 'blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests'.

 

This 'American grand strategy' must be advanced for 'as far into the future as possible', the report says. It also calls for the US to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars' as a 'core mission'.

 

The report describes American armed forces abroad as 'the cavalry on the new American frontier'. The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document written by Wolfowitz and Libby that said the US must 'discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role'.

 

The PNAC report also:

 

l refers to key allies such as the UK as 'the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership';

 

l describes peace-keeping missions as 'demanding American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations';

 

l reveals worries in the administration that Europe could rival the USA;

 

l says 'even should Saddam pass from the scene' bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently -- despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops -- as 'Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has';

 

l spotlights China for 'regime change' saying 'it is time to increase the presence of American forces in southeast Asia'. This, it says, may lead to 'American and allied power providing the spur to the process of democratisation in China';

 

l calls for the creation of 'US Space Forces', to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent 'enemies' using the internet against the US;

 

l hints that, despite threatening war against Iraq for developing weapons of mass destruction, the US may consider developing biological weapons -- which the nation has banned -- in decades to come. It says: 'New methods of attack -- electronic, 'non-lethal', biological -- will be more widely available ... combat likely will take place in new dimensions, in space, cyberspace, and perhaps the world of microbes ... advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool';

 

l and pinpoints North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes and says their existence justifies the creation of a 'world-wide command-and-control system'.

 

Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP, father of the House of Commons and one of the leading rebel voices against war with Iraq, said: 'This is garbage from right-wing think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks -- men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war. Men like Cheney, who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnam war.

 

'This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing.'

 

(Sunday Herald)

 


 

2.            TOM BARRY

 

 

The Right’s Architecture of Power

 

 

Over the past three decades, the strategists and ideologues of the right wing have designed a new architecture of power. This architecture currently frames most of the country’s policy debate and has attracted the allegiance of most sectors of Corporate America. At the same time, it has mobilized a reactionary populist movement to support its anti-popular economic and undemocratic agenda. Following Bush’s 2000 election, this architecture of power also incorporated into its structure the Republican Party and the executive branch of our federal government.

 

The architecture of power is a work in progress. Its designers and planners, while loosely committed as a team to the same ideologies and political goals, work independently to bolster the structure of the right’s power and influence. Rather than operating from a single blueprint, these architects of power are constantly renovating and commissioning new additions to their web of power in the form of new institutes, front groups, media outlets, and political projects.

 

The architecture of power is a post-modern structure that has no central office or main lobby, no fixed foundation, no elevator that takes you to different levels. Instead, it is an expansive complex that closely resembles a web whose principal skeins and cross-woven filaments constitute both its foundation and frame.

 

Within the United States, liberals and progressives have similar networks but none so immense, so closely knit, or so ideologically driven and so closely tied to the agendas of the most aggressive, reactionary sectors of corporate America. When compared with the web of multidimensional movements and institutions of the right’s web of power, the other networks competing for public, corporate, and policymaker support seem more like aging cobwebs—which unless similarly invigorated by integrated ideologies and visions of the future may eventually be swept away.

 

The architects of power are not conspirators or members of a secret cabal. Rather they come from a long tradition of all leading political actors that have operated in all variegations of the broad political spectrum. They are a collection of ideologues, intellectuals, scholars, strategists, visionaries, demagogues, and political officials and political operatives that share common critiques of liberal and progressive policy paradigms and uphold the principles of a new radical conservatism. Over the last three decades, this architecture of power has, according to Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, “yanked politics to the right.”

 

Dimensions of the Right’s Power Complex

 

The most potent force in this architecture of power is the package of cultural, economic, political, and military ideologies propagated by the right’s think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, and Hoover Institution. Less prominent think tanks that advance neoconservative views on foreign policy include the Jamestown Foundation, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the Manhattan Institute. Also important on the right but outside the neoconservative family is the prominent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Other less prominent foreign policy think tanks on the right are the Lexington Institute and the Nixon Center.

 

Closely connected to these think tanks are scores of policy institutes that address the core issues of the right’s agenda in international affairs. These include a set of militarist instates such as the Center for Security Policy, National Institute for Public Policy, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Second-tier institutes focused on military policy include High Frontier, U.S. Space Foundation, and National Strategy Information Center.

 

One of the major achievements of the neoconservatives has been the integration of social conservatives, the religious right, and foreign policy hawks. Key to this success have been a small circle of interlinked neocon institutes including Empower America, Institute for Religion and Democracy, and the Institute for Religion and Public Life. Among the prominent neoconservatives associated with these institutes that promote the superiority of Judeo-Christian values and culture are Michael Novak, William Bennett, Hillel Fradkin, George Weigel, Elliott Abrams, and Richard Neuhaus.

 

Running in tandem with the right’s think tanks and policy institutes are its regionally focused advocacy groups and front groups. Some of these are permanent institutions such as the Middle East Forum and Washington Institute for Near East Affairs.  One of the newest and fastest growing policy institutes is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which like all neocon institutes and think tanks backs a right-wing Zionist agenda in the Middle East.

 

A more transient component of this architecture of power includes ad hoc citizen committees created to give the impression of broad public support for particular legislation and objectives. The latter sector includes such groups as the U.S. Committee on NATO, Project on Transitional Democracies, Americans for Peace in Chechnya, Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, and the Coalition for Democracy in Iran. Neocon operatives such as Bruce Jackson, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, and Michael Ledeen are the central figures in most of these ad hoc groups. While some of them are strictly neocon affairs, others function as front groups that aim to build bipartisan support for their objectives. Conservative Democratic Party figures such as Senator Joseph Lieberman and Progressive Policy Institute president Will Marshall are found in such neocon front groups as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

 

The right’s architecture of power extends into the infrastructure of the U.S. government. In the late 1990s, the two congressionally organized commissions on missile defense and space weapons chaired by Donald Rumsfeld were organized by legislators associated with such neoconservative institutes as the Center for Security Policy. Neoconservatives and their supporters have also been key to the establishment of several permanent government or quasi-government agencies, including U.S.-China Commission, U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

 

Getting the Message Right

 

Neoconservatives have a long tradition in publishing, dating back to the involvement of neocon forerunners in such anticommunist magazines as Encounter and right-wing Zionist magazines like Commentary.  Today, the Weekly Standard, closely associated with the ideological agendas of the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute, has established itself as the leading political voice of the neoconservatives. Commentary served until the late 1980s as the flagship publication of neoconservatism, but its influence among both neoconservatives and the Washington policy community has now been far surpassed by Weekly Standard.

 

Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Weekly Standard regularly features Project for the New American Century analysts such as Reuel Marc Gerecht, Ellen Bork (daughter of AEI scholar and prominent Federalist Society member Robert Bork), Gary Schmitt, and Thomas Donnelly in addition to founders Kristol and Kagan. According to The Nation magazine’s media critic Eric Alterman: “The magazine speaks directly to and for power. Anybody who wants to know what this administration is thinking and what they plan to do has to read this magazine.”

 

From the perspective of Old Guard conservative Paul Gottfried, neoconservatives beginning in the late 1980s took control of the “New York-Washington” media corridor. Old Guard conservatives and paleoconservatives could no longer find an outlet for their analysis, even in the letters section of National Review, which had veered toward neoconservatism as has the Wall Street Journal. As Gottfried observed in 1993, neocons not only dominated the right’s main journals and magazines, they also raised prominent voices on the editorial pages of traditionally liberal media such as Washington Post, New Republic, and Atlantic.  In syndicated columns and national radio and television programs, such neoconservative analysts as Charles Krauthammer, Ben Wattenberg, Linda Chavez, William Bennett, and Morton Kronracke have injected neoconservative thinking into the mainstream of the American body politic.

 

Other right-wing publications with a marked neoconservative perspective include Public Interest, with founder and senior editorial associate Irving Kristol, American Spectator, with chief editor R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr. and board members Richard V. Allen and Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Washington Times, owned by Reverend Moon and featuring Frank Gaffney, a prominent PNAC associate and head of the Center for Security Policy.  Also key to the neoconservative information network are publishers that cater to neoconservative authors. Encounter Books, a San Francisco publishing house run by Peter Collier, produces a steady stream of books by neoconservative authors in collaboration with such entities as the Project for the New American Century and Commentary.

 

Center of the Neocon Matrix

 

At the center of the architectureof power are two closely associated institutions: American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

 

PNAC’s offices are located in what seems to be the core of the neoconservative matrix. Entering the 12-story building in downtown Washington, you see the office directory, which includes the stellar lineup of American Enterprise Institute scholars including Irving Kristol and Robert Bork. Like many neoconservative institutes, the AEI lost many of its best and brightest hawks and ideologues to the Bush II administration.

 

One has only to examine the American Enterprise Institute to appreciate the degree to which Corporate America has aligned itself with the right’s think tanks. Its board of directors includes the CEOs of such corporations as ExxonMobil, Motorola, American Express, State Farm Insurance, and Dow Chemical. Its board of trustees is also littered with corporate representatives, although a couple of the most prominent or infamous of them have left the board, such as Halliburton’s Richard Cheney and Enron’s Kenneth Lay. Expanding upon the existing stream of donations from the nation’s leading right-wing foundations, the AEI has achieved a diversified funding base among corporations from just about every sector of the economy—ranging from General Electric and AT&T to Ford and General Motors to Amoco and Shell to Morgan Guarantee Trust and American Express.

 

Many former AEI minds now at work implementing the peace-through-war/Pax Americana strategy of the Bush administration previously worked with the PNAC coalition, including Vice President Cheney, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton, and Director of International Broadcasting Seth Cropsey. Other PNAC-AEI members have retained their ties with these neoconservative organizations while serving on administration advisory boards, including Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eliot Cohen, and the omnipresent Richard Perle. A quick scan of the list of AEI scholars and officers in the lobby’s office directory reveals at least a dozen PNAC associates, including such luminaries as Joshua Muravchik and Michael Novak. PNAC’s Middle East director Reuel Marc Gerecht and PNAC’s military analyst Thomas Donnelly number among the AEI associates who have signed PNAC’s public statements. 

 

Conveniently located in this neoconservative warren is the Philanthropy Roundtable, a right-wing association of foundations that split from the Council of Foundations in the early 1980s. Just as the Business Roundtable was created to unite Corporate America around conservative policy agendas, the Philanthropy Roundtable joined the counter-establishment matrix in the tradition of “shadow liberalism”—creating institutions and campaigns that parallel those of liberals and progressives.

 

Michael Joyce, longtime president (1986-2000) of the Bradley Foundation, served until 2003 as chair of the Roundtable’s board of directors.  Bill Kristol, like his father, has cultivated close ties with Bradley and other right-wing foundations that now exhibit a decidedly neoconservative cast.  Joyce feels it was inevitable that Bush would embrace the neoconservative agenda. “I’m not sure September 11 did more than push the timetable up,” Joyce noted.

 

Commenting on the special role of right-wing foundations, Michael Grebe, current president of the Bradley Foundation and one of the five directors of the Philanthropy Roundtable, said: “We have a role in sustaining a conservative intellectual infrastructure.” To that end, Bradley granted AEI $14 million between 1985 and 2002, and during the same period AEI received $6.5 million from the Olin Foundation.  A handful of archconservative foundations not only sustain the right-wing power complex but form part of the architecture of power through revolving door relationships. Michael Joyce, for example, beyond just providing start-up funding for Kristol’s Project for the Republican Future and PNAC, is a signatory of PNAC statements, a trustee of Freedom House, and a member or past member of various presidential and national commissions. Richard Mellon Scaife, who heads the Scaife family foundations and is a major PNAC supporter, was a member of the second Committee on the Present Danger and has been a trustee of the Hoover Institution and the Heritage Foundation.

Right-wing foundations have provided the start-up funding to get PNAC, AEI, and most other idea brokers of the right-wing’s power complex into high gear. Although early right-wing donors such as Coors and Amway have dropped off, the top tier of the right’s think tank all continue to drink from the same collective trough of right-wing foundations. The Bradley, Sarah Scaife, Olin, and Castle Rock foundations all funded the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, Hoover Institution, and Manhattan Institute in the 1997-2001 period.

 

PNAC “Set the Table” for Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy

 

With funding from the Bradley Foundation, William Kristol established the Project for the Republican Future in 1993 in anticipation of the 1994 congressional elections. Following the resounding victory of right-wing Republicans, he founded Weekly Standard in 1995 in the vacated offices of the Project for the Republican Future. The next year Kristol and Robert Kagan established the Project for the New American Century, which describes itself as a “nonprofit educational organization supporting American military, diplomatic, and moral leadership.”

 

A wide range of neoconservatives, representatives from the social conservative right, and leading national security hawks coalesced around PNAC. Its founding statement of principles, signed by several individuals who would later become high officials in Bush II’s foreign policy team (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Abrams, Dobriansky, Libby, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, Rodman, and Friedberg) was a document aimed at reinvigorating and uniting U.S. citizens around a new vision of America that brimmed with confidence and moral conviction.

 

As Kristol and Kagan apparently recognized early on, the Project for the New American Century—with its focus on American supremacy and moral clarity—had all the right ingredients of a unifying ideology for a powerful new front group that could spearhead an elite social movement for radical political change. Although intent on establishing the vision and building blocks for a bold new foreign and military policy, the PNAC 1997 statement of principles avoided the type of provocative language that was common stock in neoconservative publications and in-house think tank policy briefs. There was no mention of a proposed security strategy driven by U.S. supremacy, no allusion to empire, and no explicit suggestion that the post-World War II framework of multilateralism should be tossed in the wastebin of history. Although Wolfowitz, Cheney, Khalilzad, and Libby—the team that fashioned the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance—signed PNAC’s statement of principles, the unifying document remained within the traditional “peace through strength” framework and omitted any language that would have explicitly foreshadowed PNAC’s agenda of preemptive strikes, regime change, and other measures to block any challenges to U.S. supremacy in the next century.

 

PNAC succeeded in integrating the various tendencies and diverse expertise found within neoconservatism, uniting political intellectuals associated with neocon publications (Norman Podhoretz and William Kristol), scholars (Eliot Cohen and Francis Fukuyama), military strategists (Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad), and cultural/religious warriors (William Bennett and George Weigel). Among its 27 founding members, including cochairs Kristol and Kagan, only a handful of individuals didn’t match the neoconservative prototype although all shared in the agendas and new ideological vision of American supremacisim as articulated by the neocon political and military strategists.

 

The two most prominent in the small number of exceptions—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld—came to their right-wing internationalism more by way of their ties with multinational corporations and the globalizing military-industrial complex, high-tech industries, and energy businesses. Both Cheney and Rumsfeld were corporate CEOs when they signed the PNAC charter.

 

Albeit sparsely represented, right-wing social conservatives closely associated with the Christian Right constituted another important sector in the PNAC coalition. Among those representing the social conservative faction were Gary Bauer, former director of the Family Research Council, and former Vice President Dan Quayle, as well as two other prominent cultural warriors: cofounder of Empower America and former Representative Vin Weber and Steve Forbes. Forbes, the quintessential corporate conservative, was also a former Empower America director and is associated with other right-wing social conservative and economic libertarian institutes. In 2002 Forbes, with his neocon colleagues, was a founding director of the pro-Likud Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. As PNAC continues to issue new public declarations, it has maintained its strong neoconservative backbone while integrating top figures from other sectors of the right-wing’s power complex.

 

PNAC’s Executive Director Gary Schmitt once boasted that PNAC “helped set the table” for new policy decisions “by setting the agenda up.” Other factors that the none-too-modest Schmitt cites for PNAC’s success include: “We are articulate; we are very smart about when to say things and how to say it; and do have the advantage of an echo effect—if I write something, it may be picked up by the Weekly Standard or repeated by Bill or Bob in various media forums.”

 

Ideology of Power

 

Contrary to prevailing academic notions that hold that extreme political movements always revert to moderation, the right wing has maintained an evolving set of radical ideologies and strategies. Despite its extremist ideologies and policy agendas, the right-wing’s architecture of power does not operate on the edges of mainstream society and politics but stands at the very center of our society. Like all social/political movements, the right wing’s institutional web and its populist constituencies seek political and social power. Over the past three decades the right-wing institutions and associated populist backlash movements have succeeded in undermining liberal policy frameworks and establishing its radicalism as accepted political discourse.

 

Lately, the right-wing’s architecture of power has reformulated its concept of power—no longer merely as holding political power but now as a core ideological concept. In other words, the right-wing’s architecture of power since the late 1990s not only seeks increased political power and influence but is propagating an ideology of power that holds that U.S. supremacy—cultural, moral, military, economic, and diplomatic—is a self-evident truth and right.


 

 

3.            AMY BARTHOLOMEW

 

                        Human Rights As Swords of Empire?

                        Amy Bartholomew and Jennifer Breakspear

[shortened version]

[T]he transition from a nation-state world order to a cosmopolitan world order brings about a very significant priority shift from international law to human rights.  The principle that international law precedes human rights which held during the (nation-state) first age of modernity is being replaced by the principle of the (world society) second age of modernity, that human rights precedes international law.  As yet, the consequences have not been thought through, but they will be revolutionary.

                                                                                                Ulrich Beck[59]

It is the very universalistic core of democracy and human rights itself which forbids its universal propagation by fire and sword.

                                                                                                Jrgen Habermas[60]

The US-led war of aggression against Iraq displays, for at least the fourth time since 1990 (the first three occasions being the Gulf War, the NATO intervention in Kosovo and the American attack on Afghanistan), the ‘revolutionary’ nature of the developments afoot in the transition from the ‘first’ to the ‘second age of modernity’. Yet any transition that may be underway is neither an historical necessity nor a clean break with the past.  Rather, it is shaping up to be a contradictory and contested set of processes, since the politics of the ‘first age of modernity’ are intertwined with those emerging in its ‘second age’. In emphasizing that cosmopolitanism has brought with it the ‘military humanism of the West’, Beck saw it as ‘founded on an uninterrogated world monopoly of power and morality’. But in making this argument he seemed to run together three distinct stances toward the relationship between international law and human rights: noninterventionism, cosmopolitanism, and what can only be called imperialism (however ‘benign’) - i.e. a situation where a self-appointed hegemonic power ‘defends’ human rights abroad by engaging in ‘military humanism’.

       We wish to suggest that justifications for the most recent Gulf war fall predominantly

into the third category, resting on a predatory rhetorical commitment to a cosmopolitan conception of human rights that is, in fact, wielded in the service of an imperialist project, rather than what Jrgen Habermas calls an ‘egalitarian universalism’.[61]  The dangers people face under these conditions are, of course, ‘asymmetrical’ - who faces what dangers is deeply important.  Yet reliance on a cosmopolitan conception of human rights as ideological cover for imperialist world politics also poses universalistic risks undermining not only the norm of non-intervention so central to the international legal architecture of the ‘first age of modernity’, but also the nascent development of cosmopolitan conceptions of law and human rights of the ‘second age’.

            It is remarkable in this respect that it is not just the neo-conservative hawks in the Bush administration and right-wing think tanks who justified this war against Iraq partly with reference to liberty, democracy and human rights for all, but also liberals like Jean Bethke Elstain, Christopher Hitchens and Paul Berman among many others.[62]  These 'liberal hawks' have argued that ‘pre-emptive’ war and ‘regime change’ are legitimate insofar as the war is aimed at countering real threats to human life and liberty, and that even forceful, unilaterally pursued ‘regime change’ may be a duty for those who enjoy freedom. But they have also seen this cosmopolitan aim as a duty falling pre-eminently on the United States.

            This essay asks how is it that liberals justify military humanism in the name of protecting freedom, human rights and democracy, even when it is pursued unilaterally by a self-appointed imperialist power.  We will focus on the justifications put forward by Michael Ignatieff, the Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, whose prominent writings in the New York Times Magazine in the run-up to the war and during it exemplify the ‘military humanism’ that Beck diagnosed.[63] In self-consciously embracing both the 'military humanism' currently espoused by many advocates of human rights and American imperialist politics, Ignatieff starkly reveals the dangers that reside in liberal nationalist conceptions of world politics and human rights when these are articulated by a self-appointed hegemonic power. While cosmopolitan justifications of military intervention may have played a prominent role elsewhere (pre-eminently in Europe during the war on Kosovo, and perhaps more generally in human rights organizations), in the USA liberals have been wont to appeal to a cosmopolitan military humanism in support of an imperialist republican nationalism. This point is important, because the implications of the liberal hawks’ justification for the American-led war on Iraq, like their neo-conservative counterparts, are deeply inconsistent with cosmopolitan principles in the crucial dimensions of morality, legality, and politics; because they threaten to erode multilateral institutions like the UN, and to legitimise ‘regime change’ and 'pre-emptive war' by an imperial power. We will argue that even if  the US could accurately be viewed as a republican Empire morally motivated to spread democracy and human rights abroad it could not do so morally, without undermining the development of international law in a cosmopolitan direction, and without further entrenching imperialism, which stands as one of the greatest impediments to human rights and democracy today.

Our analysis is premised on a 'critical cosmopolitanism' that we think is required to underpin any genuinely universal respect for, and protection of, human rights and popular sovereignty. But this position is deeply suspect in the eyes of many on the Marxist Left, as seen for example in the recent writings of Tariq Ali, Perry Anderson and Peter Gowan. We endorse their criticisms of 'military humanism' undertaken by imperialist powers but [in the second part of this essay] we [shall] suggest that to develop anti-imperialist, pro-human rights and democratic politics today requires us not to dismiss international law and institutions. And in order to develop a critical cosmopolitanism of this kind we also need to avoid the ‘instrumentalism’ that is evident in Left critiques of the UN and of human rights.  Rather, human rights and transnational institutions like the UN can be crucial arenas of struggle - as Marxists used to say - made more, not less, pertinent by the emergence of an imperialist power bent on self-legitimation and unilateral assertion in every instance that suits it.

 

Interrogating Ignatieff’s ‘I Don’t Know’

 

The United Nations lay dozing like a dog before the fire, happy to ignore Saddam, until an American president seized it by the scruff of the neck and made it bark. Multilateral solutions to the world's problems are all very well, but they have no teeth unless America bares its fangs….  The 21st century imperium is a new invention in the annals of political science, an empire lite, a global hegemony whose grace notes are free markets, human rights and democracy, enforced by the most awesome military power the world has ever known.[64]

 

Who wants to live in a world where there are no stable rules for the use of force by states?  Not me.  Who wants to live in a world ruled by the military power of the strong?  Not me.  How will we oblige American military hegemony to pay ‘decent respect to the opinions of mankind’? I don’t know. When the smoke of battle lifts, those who support the war will survey a battle zone that will include the ruins of the multilateral political order created in 1945….To support the war entails a commitment to rebuild that order on new foundations.[65]

 

Long seen as a principled left-liberal, Michael Ignatieff  ‘plumped’ - a term he has borrowed from Isaiah Berlin - in favour of the attack on Iraq just prior to its commencement.  Coming out in support of the war after due anguish, and against his friends (including those ‘left-wingers who regard American imperialism as the root of all evil’),[66] he insisted that support for the war did not make him or anyone else an ‘apologist for American imperialism’, and stated what was, for him, the key principle: “The problem is not that overthrowing Saddam by force is ‘morally unjustified.’ Who seriously believes 25 million Iraqis would not be better off if Saddam were overthrown?”  The ‘consequential’ justification that 25 million Iraqis will be liberated clearly overrides, he argued, the ‘deontological’ one that ‘good consequences cannot justify killing people.’ This is how Ignatieff believes the moral issue should be answered - regime change undertaken, in effect unilaterally by the US and British administrations, is morally justified by the cosmopolitan aim of liberating the Iraqi people.[67] But as if recognizing that the moral justification for the war was not as straightforward as he initially asserted, he went on to argue that that while it was unfortunate that the debate about Iraq became a debate about American power, rather than about the human rights of oppressed peoples, the events of September 11, 2001 had fundamentally altered the security threats to which the world must respond; and that those who failed to recognize this were blindly ‘wishing they could still live in the safety and collective security of the world that existed before 9/11.’[68] Arguing against the world-wide anti-war movement and  world public opinion, he suggested that, while the fact that the world did not support the US-led war posed a problem, a principle is not wrong because people disagree with it (nor right because they agree).[69]  Having asserted, then, the moral rightness of this war, the only remaining question, he suggested, is whether the risks are worth it; whether it is a prudent move. By implication, since he supported the war, the answer must be yes. 

Much of this echoed Ignatieff’s long-standing position that human rights considerations in the contemporary period have made judgments about war and the use of force complicated, as seen in his support for the military interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and his insistence that these interventions demanded radical rethinking along cosmopolitan lines. In repeating many times the banal phrase that Saddam Hussein ‘really is awful’, and in later asserting that his regime not only had ‘just about the worst human rights record on Earth’ but was also ‘in possession of weapons of mass destruction,’[70] he also posed the cosmopolitan question: by what moral authority does a brutal regime claim unfettered sovereignty? He reiterated the case for American Empire as the best hope for installing stability, nation-building, and encouraging human rights, free markets and democracy around the world. Yet from another point of view his candid admission that the war would be fought at the price of leaving the multilateral political order in ruins did seem to fly in the face of his prewar support for military humanism on the basis of multilateralism. In 2000 he had claimed unconditionally that the Security Council ‘should remain the ultimate source of legitimacy for the use of military force’ - although this might require ‘crushing force’ by ‘combat capable warriors under robust rules of engagement’ directed by ‘a single line of command to a national government or regional alliance’; [71] and as late as 2002 he had argued that the US must respect international legal norms with regard to any military actions and ‘should accept international accountability for its actions’.[72] But Ignatieff's  ‘muscular’ conception of human rights[73] seemed to prepare the way for his unequivocal support for the war and his insistence that Iraq’s continuing violations of UN Security Council resolutions meant that the whole international community should ‘walk the walk’ with the American Empire.[74]

Ignatieff admitted well before the war that the idea of an Empire’s burden - American imperial power at work under what he views as the ‘official moral ideology of Empire - i.e. human rights’ - was far removed from that which had been sought by liberal cosmopolitan human rights activists and lawyers ‘who had hoped to see American power integrated into a transnational legal and economic order organized around the UN….[Rather] a new international order is emerging, but it is being crafted to suit American imperial objectives.’[75]  He also recognized that while Europe was more inclined toward a multilateral order that might hope to limit American power, ‘the Empire will not be tied down like Gulliver by a thousand legal strings’.[76] And yet he ‘plumped’ in favour of American Empire, showing, with each new article, greater confidence in the American imperial project, since it is, as Ignatieff put it, quoting Melville, an Empire that views itself as bearing ‘the ark of the liberties of the world’.[77]  This admittedly ‘imperial project’ will require bringing actual stability to the ‘frontier zones’ - and this must be done, Ignatieff insists, ‘without denying local peoples their rights to some degree of self-determination’.[78]  Thus Ignatieff’s realist acknowledgement that ‘empire lite’ is still empire (i.e., that ‘the real power in these [frontier] zones ...will remain in Washington’ and will involve protecting ‘vital American interests’) is married to his insistence that achieving human rights rests on republican duty which itself requires the Empire as midwife: ‘The case for empire is that it has become, in a place like Iraq, the last hope for democracy and stability alike.’[79] 

How should we evaluate this position?  On the one hand, Ignatieff recognizes the realpolitik of the situation -- the horrors visited on the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein, the fumbling, the weaknesses and the complicity of the UN system, the enormous power that the US wields, and the fact that the American invasion would be oriented to American interests. On the other hand, he has shown a stunning disregard for the lack of evidence, even before the war, of weapons of mass destruction or of any link between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda before he ‘plumped’ for war. He did not discuss, so far as we can find, the human rights issues implicit in civilian casualties. Nor did he address issues having to do with environmental contamination and the other ruthless 'side' effects that war was sure to produce. Surely a liberal human rights scholar favouring the war should have addressed these issues. The most that can be said is that he relied on his emerging philosophical position that we must act on the ‘lesser evil’.[80] But even here, he did not soberly address questions crucial to calibrating this equation, nor the requirement of  'proportionality' in the use of force in 'just war' theory, nor the enormous normative problems posed by asymmetric warfare (by which we mean the responsibility that must attend the power to produce ‘shock and awe’ or, as Ignatieff puts it, using ‘crushing force’ against an ‘enemy’ with far inferior military might).

Even months after the officially declared end of war, no weapons of mass destruction and no links with Al Qaeda have emerged. But insecurity and instability in the world have surely been increased, as clear-headed commentators across the political spectrum acknowledge, not just by increased hatred for Western (and particularly American) power and arrogance, but also by cluster bombs left over for Iraqi children to find, the pollution of Iraqi towns and drinking water, ongoing guerilla warfare, and so on. Add to this that civilian casualties produced during the ‘official’ war have been estimated by a British and US group of independent experts to range between five and ten thousand, while the US Defence Department spokesperson says the Pentagon has not looked into the question of civilian deaths because it was focused on ‘defeating enemy forces rather than aiming at civilians.’[81] And now, Paul Wolfowitz admits that the WMD justification for war was ‘settled on’ by the American administration ‘for bureaucratic reasons’, while Donald Rumsfeld concedes that WMD may never be found.[82] Finally, in a remarkable breach of his usual diplomatic demeanour, Hans Blix has admitted that the ‘bastards’ in the US administration viewed the UN as an ‘alien power’[83] and ‘leaned on’ the weapons inspectors to produce more damning reports while  initiating a smear campaign against him.[84]

But beyond all of this, which hardly needs rehearsal for any critical observer of the war and its aftermath, we need to consider the implications of the liberal hawks’ justification for war in terms of the categories of morality and legality. What are we to make of a liberal intellectual of Ignatieff’s stature recommending bypassing and potentially undermining fundamental norms of international law and resting his support so squarely on the moral case for war waged by a ‘moral’ republican Empire?  Even if we were to assume that the US actions were genuinely motivated by and aimed at achieving the liberation of the Iraqi people from oppression, the purported moral argument for unilateral intervention fails on two crucial counts. 

First, as Ignatieff recognizes, imperialism threatens republicanism.  As an imperial power takes on the role of GloboCop, emphasizing military, police and secret spying power, the more does it risk, as Habermas points out, ‘endangering its own mission of improving the world according to liberal ideas.’[85]  This is obvious from such facts as the illegal detention of ‘enemy combatants’ at Guantanamo Bay (and the US Supreme Court’s refusal to consider its unconstitutionality), the detention of ‘illegal aliens’, the ill-treatment of US citizens suspected of ties to terrorist groups, and the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan and outside Baghdad Airport. Second, as Ignatieff acknowledges, following Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, morality requires that we pay ‘decent respect to the opinions of mankind’.  Ignatieff’s moral argument - who can believe that 25 million Iraqis would not be better off without Saddam Hussein? -implies a universal right to be free from oppression, and some version of this may indeed be defensible as a universal moral principle.[86] But the problem is not just that imperialism violates it, which it does by undercutting the republic’s commitment to the rule of law both at home and abroad, but also that the basic moral principle and the universalistic core of human rights should not be ‘confused’, as it is here, with the ‘imperial demand that the political life-form and culture of a particular democracy …is to be exemplary for all other societies’.[87] Again, while Ignatieff is careful to call for an avoidance of the ‘narcissism’ of earlier empires, - i.e. the delusion of earlier empires that their colonized aspired only to be ‘versions of themselves’[88] - his support for this war under these unilateralist conditions cannot avoid ‘narcissism’ or, more forthrightly put, an imperialist imposition of a false universalism.[89]

            Paying ‘decent respect to the opinions of mankind’ requires an egalitarian universalism that breaks with a liberal nationalist conception of republicanism and an imperial vehicle for its expansion. This is so for many reasons but the core moral reason is that no 'republican' imperialism - even that of the American 'republic' - can break from its provincial, particular perspective.  An egalitarian universalism, on the other hand, as Habermas says,  ‘insists on the de-centering of each specific perspective; it requires the relativization of one’s own interpretive perspective from the point of view of the autonomous Other.’[90] It is only in this way that even a ‘good hegemon’ could know whether the actions it justifies as in the best interest of others is in fact equally 'good for all’.

            We may summarize the moral problem as follows: The problem is that one party, even a ‘good hegemon’, cannot morally assume a moral duty unilaterally. ‘Plumping’ for war without taking into account the voices of all those others who also have interests at stake is immoral. Assuming a moral duty morally requires that those affected are genuinely involved in shaping the contours of the response to oppression, mutually and reciprocally. To do so would require, at a minimum, global political public spheres aimed at formulating a response that takes into account everyone’s point of view. Second, and consequently, even a ‘good hegemon’ bases its justification (as Ignatieff admits) on the ethnocentric ground of liberal nationalism - aimed at securing US safety, possibly at the expense of others and, very importantly, spreading the US’s particular interpretation of human rights and democracy abroad. This is why unilateralism is morally unacceptable. This is also why, as Habermas says, the ‘multilateral formulation of a common purpose is not one option amongst others - especially not in international relations.’[91]

            This suggests why Ignatieff’s 'liberal hawk' position in support of unilateralism poses a moral danger. But it also poses grave dangers to international law and the future of human rights. Ignatieff implied that the war might be legal when he suggested that Iraq’s continuing violations of Security Council resolutions might legitimate war. This runs contrary to the views of the great preponderance of respected legal scholars, including the International Commission of Jurists which has condemned the invasion of Iraq as an illegal war of aggression finding there is no ‘plausible legal basis for this attack.’[92] The most recent war on Iraq has illustrated, once again, the ease with which an illegal war can be waged while threatening the legal norms by which nations previously agreed to abide. This poses significant dangers for international law, both in its non-interventionist orientation, characteristic of the ‘first age of modernity’, and in its development toward a cosmopolitan order in the ‘second age’.

            In supporting this war Ignatieff also seemed to suggest that the international legal norms of non-intervention and national sovereignty of the post-World War II era, the ‘first age of modernity’, have run their course, when he acknowledged that the war would be waged on the ‘ruins of the multilateral political order’.[93] This is a dangerous derogation from the non-intervention principle because it violates the rule that the legitimate authority to decide whether Iraq was in violation of agreements to such an extent that intervention was warranted is the Security Council, not the hegemonic power. Dispensing with the legitimating authority of the UN, Ignatieff seems to see no reasonable alternative to the sovereign power of an imperial hegemon pursuing, as he admits, liberal nationalism, self-interest and an American conception of human rights. Such a shift not only violates the principle of non-intervention, but also endorses the Bush Doctrine of the right to wage ‘pre-emptive war’ against any entity the US deems hostile to its interests - a doctrine that threatens to undermine not just the norms of nonintervention but also the further development of norms of egalitarian universalism.

            Ignatieff clearly sees the path stretched out before us but shows little concern for its perils: ‘[a] new international [legal] order is emerging, but it is being crafted to suit American imperial objectives. The empire signs on to those pieces of the transnational legal order that suit its purposes…, while ignoring or even sabotaging those parts…that do not.’[94]  He claims he is neither apologising nor rationalising but rather stating the reality of international law in an age of empire. The American Empire is not to be constrained by multilateral concerns. International institutions that can be controlled and commandeered are to be retained, those that would require an egalitarian framework and fail to guarantee American dominance are to be discarded. Ignatieff offers essentially no juridical foundations for military humanism but merely approves as obvious the burden America is said to carry - a duty to breach bothersome legal trivialities in defence of human rights and freedoms. ‘Americans are multilateral when it is to the advantage of the United States, unilateral when they can get away with it. It is a vision in which world order is guaranteed by the power and might and influence of the superpower, as opposed to the spreading influence of international law.’[95] This serves as an apt description of American foreign policy, but if Ignatieff is critical of this vision the reader may be forgiven for failing to notice.

            International law failed in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. It failed the American imperial leadership that attempted to use international legal norms to frame their intent in legally justifiable rationales. It failed the leaders of France, Germany and Russia who played by the old rules while others rewrote the rulebook. It failed the people of Iraq who were powerless to face aggressors from within and without. And it failed the international rallying cry of concerned world citizens that defiantly and peacefully marched in numbers never before seen in opposition to an unjust war. All this because the international legal norms of the ‘first age of modernity’ were unable to constrain an imperial power determined and strong enough, in Habermas’s words, to ‘break the civilizing bounds which the Charter of the United Nations placed with good reason upon the process of goal-realization.’[96]

            Habermas maintains that the neo-conservatives associated with the Bush Doctrine confront international law ‘with a quite revolutionary perspective [asserting that]… when international law fails then the politically successful hegemonic enforcement of a liberal world order is morally justifiable...’ even when it is formally illegal.[97] What is remarkable, as we have emphasized, is that this is at least as characteristic of liberal hawks like Ignatieff as it is of the American neo-conservatives.  Still, this seems perplexing.  For why would one committed to human rights and democracy, as Ignatieff surely is, but as Bush and Co. clearly are not, recognize yet fail to undertake a consideration of the ‘revolutionary consequences’ attendant to this war aimed at pre-emption and ‘regime change’ and threatening the sole, however flawed, international institution available today to deal with such challenges? With the ratification of the UN Charter after World War II, states formally agreed to ‘give up their sovereign right to go to war’. [98]  Since this war is premised on re-establishing that right perhaps it would be better to call this a ‘restoration’ rather than a ‘revolution’.The liberal hawks, not unlike the neo-conservatives, have thus supported a war that is not only unjust and illegal but one that threatens to imbricate regressive norms in international law.  Michael Glenndon has stated, regarding the Kosovo intervention by NATO, that if ‘power is used to do justice, law will follow.’[99] But this logic works equally in reverse: if power is used to do injustice, unjust law will follow.

            And need we even say that this was not likely a ‘one off’ war? Plenty of commentators have made it clear that it is the first in a series of such wars - as Ignatieff implies when he claims that ‘[i]mperial ruthlessness requires optimism as a continued act of will.’[100] The empire must remain vigilant against all that would stand in the way of its advance. Imperial ruthlessness, however, seems also to require an elusive villain (Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, take your pick) that can be stalked across borders. A well-oiled public relations machine, replete with politicians to add accountability, embedded journalists to add 'integrity' and public intellectuals to add weight, lays the groundwork for war without end. 

            We do not mean to suggest that Security Council approval for multilateral military force would have wholly addressed the lack of legitimacy of the ensuing intervention. We recognise the undemocratic, not to mention the undeliberative, nature of the Security Council and see that the bullying and bribery of the Bush administration further undermined any possibility of achieving a legitimate decision taken by equals. But in ‘plumping’ for unilateral war, Ignatieff was also plumping for future forms of unilateralism, and plumping against multilateralism under international law and international institutions, pre-eminently the UN. A hegemonic unilateralism is primed to step into the void between the discarded norms of the ‘first age of modernity’ and the (still to be conceived) cosmopolitan norms and institutions of the ‘second age’. The key question is whether an international law justification for war should be replaced with ‘empire’s law’, provided by the ‘unilateral global politics of a self-empowering hegemon’.[101] We think the answer is clear: it should not.  As Eric Hobsbawm notes: ‘few things are more dangerous than empires pushing their own interest in the belief that they are doing humanity a favour.’[102]

 

[The second part of the text on critical cosmopolitanism had to be ommitted for reasons of seize]

 

 

4.            SCOTT RITTER

 

Not everyone got it wrong on Iraq's weapons

           

 The missing WMD

 

WASHINGTON 'We were all wrong," David Kay, the Bush administration's former top weapons sleuth in Iraq, recently told members of Congress after acknowledging that there were probably no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

 

Kay insisted that the blame for the failure to find any such weapons lay with the U.S. intelligence community, which, according to Kay, provided inaccurate assessments.

 

The Kay remarks appear to be an attempt to spin potentially damaging data to the political advantage of President George W. Bush.

 

The president's decision to create an "independent commission" to investigate this intelligence failure only reinforces this suspicion, since such a commission would only be given the mandate to examine intelligence data, and not the policies and decision-making processes that made use of that data. More disturbing, the commission's findings would be delayed until late fall, after the November presidential election.

 

The fact, independent of the findings of any commission, is that not everyone was wrong.

 

I, for one, was not. I did my level best to demand facts from the Bush administration to back up their allegations regarding Iraq's WMD and, failing that, spoke out and wrote in as many forums as possible in an effort to educate the publics of the United States and the world about the danger of going to war based on a hyped-up threat.

 

In this I was not alone. Rolf Ekeus, the former head of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, has declared that under his direction, Iraq was "fundamentally disarmed" as early as 1996. Hans Blix, who headed UN weapons inspections in Iraq in the months before the invasion in March 2003, stated that his inspectors had found no evidence of either WMD or WMD-related programs in Iraq. And officials familiar with Iraq, like Ambassador Joseph Wilson and State Department intelligence analyst Greg Theilmann, both exposed the unsustained nature of the Bush claims regarding Iraq's nuclear capability.

 

The riddle surrounding Iraq's WMD was solvable without resorting to war. For all the layers of deceit and obfuscation, there existed enough basic elements of truth and substantive fact about the disposition of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programs to permit the Gordian knot to be cleaved by anyone willing to try. Sadly, it seems that there was no predisposition on the part of those assigned the task of solving the riddle to do so.

 

Bush's decision to limit the scope of any inquiry to intelligence matters, effectively blocking any critique of his administration's use - or abuse - of such intelligence, is absurd, especially when one considers that the Bush administration was already talking of war with Iraq in 2002, prior to the preparation of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) - the defining document on a particular area of the world or specified threat - by the director of Central Intelligence.

 

According to a Department of Defense after-action report on Iraq titled "Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategic Lessons Learned," a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times in September 2003, "President Bush approved the overall war strategy for Iraq in August last year." The specific date cited was Aug. 29, 2002 - eight months before the first bomb was dropped.

 

The CIA did eventually produce a National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq, but only in October 2002, after Bush had already decided on war. The title of the NIE, "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction," is reflective of a predisposition that was not supported either by the facts available at the time, or by the passage of time.

 

Stu Cohen, a 28-year veteran of the CIA, wrote in a statement published on the CIA Web site on Nov. 28, 2003, that the Oct. 2002 National Intelligence Estimate "judged with high confidence that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles in excess of the 150-kilometer limit imposed by the UN Security Council. … These judgments were essentially the same conclusions reached by the United Nations and a wide array of intelligence services - friendly and unfriendly alike."

 

Cohen said the October NIE was "policy neutral" - meaning it did not propose a policy that argued either for or against going to war. He also stated that no one who worked on the NIE had been pressured by the Bush White House.

 

Cohen is wrong in his assertions. The fact that a major policy decision like war with Iraq was made without the benefit of an NIE is, in and of itself, policy manipulation.

 

I worked with Cohen on numerous occasions during this time, and consider him a reasonable man. So I had to wonder when this intelligence professional, confronted with the totality of the failure of the CIA to accurately assess the WMD threat, wrote that he was "convinced that no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the intelligence community had at its disposal - literally millions of pages - and reached any conclusions or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached."

 

I consider myself also to be a reasonable person. Like Cohen and the intelligence professionals who prepared the October 2002 NIE, I was intimately familiar with vast quantities of intelligence data collected from around the world by numerous foreign intelligence services (including the CIA) and on the ground in Iraq by UN weapons inspectors, at least until the time of my resignation from Unscom in August 1998. Based on this experience, I was asked by Arms Control Today, the journal of the Arms Control Association, to write an article on the status of disarmament regarding Iraq's WMD.

 

The article, "The Case for Iraq's Qualitative Disarmament," was published in June 2000 and received broad coverage. Its conclusions were dismissed by the intelligence communities of the United States and Britain. But my finding - that "because of the work carried out by Unscom, it can be fairly stated that Iraq was qualitatively disarmed at the time inspectors were withdrawn [in December 1998]" - was an accurate assessment of the disarming of Iraq's WMD capabilities, much more so than the CIA's October NIE or any corresponding analysis carried out by British intelligence services.

 

I am not alone in my analysis. Ray McGovern, who heads a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, also takes umbrage at Cohen's "no reasonable person" assertion. "Had he taken the trouble to read the op-eds and other issuances of VIPs members over the past two years," McGovern told me, he would have found that "our writings consistently contained conclusions and alternative views that were indeed profoundly different - even without having had access to what Stu calls the 'totality of the information.' And Stu never indicated he thought us not 'reasonable' - at least back when many of us worked with him at CIA."

 

The fact is that McGovern and I, together with scores of intelligence professionals, retired or still in service, who studied Iraq and its WMD capabilities, are reasonable men. We got it right.

 

The Bush administration, in its rush to war, ignored our advice and the body of factual data we used, and instead relied on rumor, speculation, exaggeration and falsification to mislead the American people and their elected representatives into supporting a war that is rapidly turning into a quagmire. We knew the truth about Iraq's WMD. Sadly, no one listened.

 

 

 

 


 

5.          GLEN RANGWALA

                       

 

The thirty-six lies that launched a war

11 July 2003

 

published in part in The Independent, 13 July 2003

 

 

Weapons

 

 

1.         "the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt … that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons"

 

The Prime Minister's foreword to the dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

After over three months of inspections, the UN weapons inspectors reported on 6 March that "No proscribed activities, or the result of such activities from the period of 1998-2002 have, so far, been detected through inspections." If Britain had any intelligence to indicate that Iraq had continued to produce prohibited weapons, where was it when it could have been checked out by inspectors?

 

2.         "the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt .. that he [Saddam Hussein] continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons"

 

The Prime Minister's foreword to the dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told the Security Council on 7 March 2003 that "After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq."

 

3.         "We know that this man has got weapons of mass destruction. That sounds like a slightly abstract phrase, but what we are talking about is chemical weapons, biological weapons, viruses, bacilli and anthrax—10,000 litres of anthrax—that he has. We know that he has it, Dr. Blix points that out and he has failed to account for that."

 

Jack Straw to the House of Commons, 17 March 2003

 

The UN has never claimed that Iraq "has" these weapons, but that Iraq had certain amounts of weapons before 1991 or materials to build these weapons, and it hasn't adequately explained what happened to them. As Hans Blix said in September 2002, "this is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction. If I had solid evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction or were constructing such weapons I would take it to the Security Council."

 

 

4.         "There is no doubt about the chemical programme, the biological programme, indeed the nuclear weapons programme. All that is well documented by the United Nations."

 

Tony Blair, 30 May 2003

 

The UN has not found any evidence of any on-going programmes since the mid-1990s. Dr Blix said on 23 May that "I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction and I am beginning to suspect there possibly were not."

 

5.         "Iraq has chemical and biological agents and weapons available [..] from pre-Gulf War stocks".

 

Prime Minister's dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

The claim that Iraq has managed to retain extensive stockpiles of these weapons for 12 years is not plausible. All chemical and biological agents that Iraq produced before 1991 - with the one exception of the chemical agent of mustard gas - would have degenerated by now.

 

6.         "plants formerly associated with the chemical warfare programme have been rebuilt. These include the chlorine and phenol plant at Fallujah 2 near Habbaniyah."

 

Prime Minister's dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

All eight of the sites mentioned in the Prime Minister's dossier were visited by inspectors, who found no evidence of prohibited activities at any of them. At Fallujah II, the inspectors reported that: "The chlorine plant is currently inoperative".

 

7.         "According to intelligence, Iraq has retained up to 20 Al Hussein missiles … They could be used with conventional, chemical or biological warheads and, with a range of up to 650km, are capable of reaching a number of countries in the region including Cyprus, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel."

 

Prime Minister's dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

There has been no sign of these missiles, and the government has downplayed the risk of there being any such weapons in Iraq since the invasion began. Chemical protection equipment was removed from British bases in Cyprus soon after September, indicating that the government did not take its own claims seriously.

 

8.         "there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa".

 

Prime Minister's dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

Mr Blair asserts that this claim is still true, but even the US administration accepts that there is no reliable evidence for it. The IAEA, to whom the government has a responsibility to give any credible information about nuclear-related sales, has not received any information other than the infamous forged Niger documents.

 

9.         Saddam Hussein's "military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them."

 

The Prime Minister's foreword to the dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002

 

Mr Blair himself contradicted this claim when he said on 28 April that Iraq had begun to conceal its weapons in May 2002, and that had meant that they could not have been used. The supposed source for this claim is one individual who was in Iraq's military: he or she has not been produced to provide evidence for this claim.

 

10.       "Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."

 

President Bush, 7 October 2002

 

This claim was repeatedly rubbished by the International Atomic Energy Agency, who observed that the tubes were being used for artillery rockets, but the US administration kept making it. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, told the Security Council in January that the tubes were not even suitable for centrifuges.

 

11.       "The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure."

 

President Bush, 28 January 2003

 

The UN in fact drew the opposite conclusion. In March, UN inspectors reported: "it seems unlikely that significant undeclared quantities of botulinum toxin could have been produced, based on the quantity of media unaccounted for."

 

12.       "By 1998, UN experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological weapons programs."

 

US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council, 5 February 2003

 

Drying technology is important because only dried biological agents can be stored for years. The UN has never claimed that Iraq had perfected these techniques. In fact, in March they recorded that it "has no evidence that drying of anthrax or any other agent in bulk was conducted."

 

13.       "Saddam Hussein...has the wherewithal to develop smallpox"

 

US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council, 5 February 2003

 

The UN recorded in March 2003 that "there is no evidence that Iraq had possessed seed stocks for smallpox or had been actively engaged in smallpox research".

 

14.       "When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in northeastern Iraq. You see a picture of this camp."

 

US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council, 5 February 2003

 

This camp was found to contain no suspicious materials. A journalist from ABC who entered the camp with US forces reported, "A specialized biochemical team scoured the rubble for samples. They wore protective masks as they entered a building they suspected was a weapons lab, but found nothing."

 

15.       "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

 

President George W. Bush, address to the nation, 18 March 2003

 

The "most lethal weapons" are nuclear weapons. Unlike the US, Iraq has never possessed nuclear weapons.

 

16.       "The evidence in respect of Iraq was so strong that the Security Council on the 8th of November said unanimously that Iraq's proliferation and possession of the weapons of mass destruction and unlawful missile systems, as well as its defiance of the United Nations, pose - and I quote - 'a threat to international peace and security'."

 

Foreign secretary Jack Straw, interview of 14 May 2003

 

There have been repeated attempts by the government to claim that the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1441 demonstrated that everyone accepted that Iraq possessed prohibited weapons. This is untrue: it claims that Iraq was not complying with inspectors, but nowhere asserts that Iraq possessed these weapons. Jack Straw here is wilfully misinterpreting one clause of the resolution, which stated in the abstract that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was a threat to international peace: it did not accuse Iraq of doing this, because most countries on the Security Council did not believe that Iraq was engaged in proliferation.

 

 

Inspections and Iraq's concealment of weapons

 

17.       "We issued further intelligence over the weekend about the infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish intelligence reports"

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 3 February 2003

 

Most of this "intelligence report" turned out to be cribbed from three on-line articles which were jumbled together sometimes in an incoherent manner.

 

18.       "Escorts are trained, for example, to start long arguments with other Iraqi officials 'on behalf of UNMOVIC' while any incriminating evidence is hastily being hidden behind the scenes."

 

The dossier of February 2003

 

This claim was contradicted by the weapons inspectors. Chief UN inspector of Hans Blix told the Security Council on 14 February 2003 that "Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly ... we note that access to sites has so far been without problems".

 

19.       "Journeys are monitored by security officers stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence. Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that arrival is anticipated. The welcoming party is a give away."

 

The dossier of February 2003

 

Hans Blix told the Security Council on 14 February that "In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming."

 

20.       "Iraq did not meet its obligations under 1441 to provide a comprehensive list of scientists associated with its weapons of mass destruction programs."

 

US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council, 5 February 2003

 

Hans Blix had suggested in December that Iraq should give sets of names in stages: "Iraq may proceed in pyramid fashion, starting from the leadership in programmes, going down to management, scientists, engineers and technicians but excluding the basic layer of workers". This seems to be what Iraq did: it provided lists of 117 persons for the chemical sector, 120 for the biological sector and 156 persons for the missile sector by the end of December 2002. On the UN's request, Iraq added more names.

 

21.       "the reason why the inspectors couldn't do their job in the end was that Saddam wouldn't co-operate."

 

Tony Blair, interview on 4 April 2003

 

Hans Blix told the Security Council on 7 March 2003 that "the numerous initiatives, which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues, can be seen as 'active', or even 'proactive'".

 

Past weapons inspections

 

22.       "the UN has tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam to disarm peacefully."

 

Tony Blair, interview in the Independent on Sunday, 2 March 2003

 

In 1999, the Security Council set up a panel to assess the UN's achievements in the peaceful disarmament of Iraq. It concluded that: "Although important elements still have to be resolved, the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes has been eliminated."

 

23.       "The UN inspectors found no trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological weapons programme - which he claimed didn't exist - until his lies were revealed by his son-in-law."

 

Tony Blair, interview in the Independent on Sunday, 2 March 2003

 

This is pure fabrication, used to make the claim that weapons inspectors are ineffective. The UN had already determined that Iraq had had a biological weapons programme months before Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, defected. In the face of the evidence that the UN put to them, the Iraqi regime admitted that they had an offensive biological weapons programme on 1 July 1995. Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected on 7 August 1995.

 

24.       "Only then [after Hussein Kamel's defection] did the inspectors find over 8,000 litres of concentrated anthrax and other biological weapons, and a factory to make more."

 

Tony Blair, interview in the Independent on Sunday, 2 March 2003

 

UN inspectors have never found anthrax in Iraq. Iraq claimed that it had destroyed all its stocks of anthrax in 1991, and the dispute over anthrax since then has concerned the UN's attempts to verify these claims. The factory at which Iraq had made anthrax, al-Hakam, had been under inspection since 1991, contrary to the Prime Minister's claim.

 

Finding weapons

 

25.       "I have got absolutely no doubt that those weapons are there. … once we have the cooperation of the scientists and the experts, I have got no doubt that we will find them."

 

Tony Blair, interview on 4 April 2003

 

Almost all the scientists have been captured, but there has still been no sign of the weapons.

 

 

26.       "On weapons of mass destruction, we know that the regime has them, we know that as the regime collapses we will be led to them."

 

Tony Blair, press conference with George W. Bush, 8 April 2003

 

The regime collapsed over three months ago; still no weapons of mass destruction found.

 

27.       "we know where they [the weapons] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

 

US Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, interview on 30 March 2003

 

If Mr Rumsfeld knew where the weapons were, why haven't they been found?

 

28.       "We have already found two trailers, both of which we believe were used for the production of biological weapons"

 

Tony Blair, press conference in Poland on 30 May 2003

 

In fact, government experts believe that the trailers were used for the production of hydrogen for artillery guidance balloons, a system sold by the UK to Iraq in the 1980s.

 

Iraq and terrorism

 

29.       "there is some intelligence evidence about linkages between members of al-Qaeda and people in Iraq."

 

Tony Blair to the House of Commons Liaison Committee, 21 January 2003

 

In early February, a classified British intelligence report, written by defence intelligence staff, was passed to the BBC. Far from substantiating the charge that there were "linkages" between al-Qaeda and Iraq, the report states that there were no current links between the two, and claims that Bin Laden's "aims are in ideological conflict with present day Iraq". The report was written in mid-January, and had been presented to Tony Blair just prior to his 21 January presentation at the Liaison Committee.

 

30.       "We believe that there have been, and still are, some al-Qaeda operatives in parts of Iraq controlled by Baghdad. It is hard to imagine that they are there without the knowledge and acquiescence of the Iraqi Government."

 

Foreign Office spokesperson, 29 January 2003

 

No evidence has been presented of al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq: if such persons were in Iraq, why haven't they been found?

 

The decision to go to war

 

31.       "As the Foreign Secretary has pointed out, resolution 1441 gives the legal basis for this [war]"

 

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 12 March 2003

 

Resolution 1441 was secured on the British commitment that it did not authorise military action, even if the UK or US believed it was being violated by Iraq. Britain's UN ambassador Jeremy Greenstock told the Security Council on 8 November 2002 that "There is no 'automaticity' in this Resolution. If there is a further Iraqi breach of its disarmament obligations, the matter will return to the Council for discussion".

 

32.       "Resolution 678 which says that the international community should take all necessary means to uphold security and peace. In other words, that Saddam Hussein should disarm".

 

Gordon Brown, interview on 16 March 2003

 

Resolution 678 was about using force to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. It was not about the disarmament of Iraq, a topic that was only discussed at the Security Council for the first time some four months after Resolution 678 was passed.

 

33.       "on Monday night, France said it would veto a second Resolution whatever the circumstances."

 

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003

 

Mr Blair claimed that diplomatic solutions were impossible because of French obstructionism at the Security Council. In fact, President Chirac said that France would vote against any resolution that authorised force whilst inspections were still working. Chirac said that he "considers this evening that there are no grounds for waging war in order to ... disarm Iraq", a position borne out by UN reports on the progress of inspections.

 

Post-war Iraq

 

34.       "the oil revenues, which people falsely claim that we want to seize, should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN."

 

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003

 

Britain co-sponsored a resolution to the Security Council, which was passed in May as Resolution 1483, that gave the US and UK control over Iraq's oil revenues. There is no UN-administered trust fund.

 

35.       "The United Kingdom should seek a new Security Council Resolution that would affirm ... the use of all oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people."

 

Motion to the House of Commons for war with Iraq, moved by Tony Blair, 18 March 2003

 

Far from "all oil revenues" being used for the Iraqi people, the British co-sponsored Resolution 1483 continued to make deductions from Iraq's oil earnings to pay in compensation for the invasion of Kuwait.

 

36.       "our aim has not been regime change, our aim has been the elimination of weapons of mass destruction"

 

Tony Blair, press conference, 25 March 2003

 

This claim is looking increasingly implausible. Weapons inspectors were reporting Iraq's "proactive" cooperation, and were projecting that Iraq could be declared as fully disarmed within three months if that cooperation continued. If Mr Blair's aim was the elimination of prohibited weapons, why terminate the inspection process just when it was most effective?

 

 

 

A new type of war

(19 March 2004)

 

Published in Labour Left Briefing (April 2004)

 

On 5 March, Tony Blair offered his new doctrine on international affairs to an audience of businessmen in Sedgefield. This was a call for "a new type of war" to be directed at the prospect of terrorists possessing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister invoked the possibility of "Armageddon" to explain the scale of his fears that led him into launching an invasion of Iraq. Six days later, ten bombs in Madrid produced devastation on a scale, with over two hundred killed and a thousand injured, that many of its witnesses described in similarly apocalyptic terms. So, was Blair correct after all, then, that inaction in response to the threat from Islamist fanatics, when the evidence of the carnage they wish to cause is so palpable, would be to run the greatest risk of all?

 

In one sense, the answer is yes. Over the past few years, the nature of many radical Islamist groups has changed dramatically. From the mid-1960s through the Iranian revolution of 1979 and into the 1990s, the primary aim of most radical Islamist groups had been to capture power within predominantly Muslim countries, and so to transform the state into one that rules by (their interpretation of) Islamic law. These movements could threaten western economic interests and personnel based in those countries, but they were rarely a threat to the overwhelming majority of people in the US and UK.

 

 This has now changed: Islamist movements in much of the world, from the Latin American migr groups to the Philippines, no longer talk primarily about their desire to transform their own state; that's old hat for many of them. Instead, all the emphasis is now on the global war, seen as Bush's crusades against the Muslim world. In this understanding, the massacres caused through bombs in Europe and North America are perceived as part of a global struggle that brings about the defeat of a bitter enemy. As Mr Blair put it, to think that a few more arrests of prominent Islamists would significantly reduce the risk of further large-scale attacks would be nave and irresponsible.

 

 The problem for Mr Blair's argument is not so much with the identification of a problem as with an understanding of how this situation has been reached. The speech in Sedgefield was not only to propose a future course; it was also (maybe, primarily) to explain the past. It was a justification of why Iraq was attacked a year ago. The attack occurred when UN weapons inspections were working better than ever before in verifying the past destruction of Iraq's WMD programmes; even the prime minister does not claim that Saddam Hussein was transferring chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to Islamist terrorists.

 

 But Mr Blair gave a different form of justification for that war. "Suppose at that point we had backed away", he hypothesised. "The will to act on the issue of rogue states and WMD would have been shown to be hollow. The terrorists, watching and analysing every move in our psychology as they do, would have taken heart." This may be the most direct argument for the war that the prime minister has offered, and is worth considering. We invaded, he claims, not because Iraq was any sort of threat, but because to have not gone to war would have made the US and UK look weak.

 

 This of course is the long-standing argument of the neo-cons in the US. They proclaimed throughout the late 1990s that the US had lost its image of power worldwide because of its perceived reluctance to make large-scale displays of military force. The way for them, and now it seems for Blair, to dissuade further attacks by states or terrorist groups is to demonstrate one's military might. Terrorists strike you because they think you're weak; they respect you if they think you're strong.

 

This line of reasoning is entirely coherent in itself. It is also deeply flawed in its understanding of the world; and, if it becomes part of policy-making, it is hard to think to a more highly dangerous approach to take. The reason is that nothing has brought support for violence against civilians in Europe and America to greater levels than the aggression conducted by the US and UK against Iraq. Far from building respect, the invasion has had the effect of polarising sentiment, providing recruits and a supportive base to terrorist groups. An image of western strength only gives prestige to those groups who go about challenging the west and demonstrating its vulnerabilities.

 

A few days after the Madrid bombs, the Washington-based Pew Research Center released a report on global attitudes, conducted under the direction of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Among the pro-US countries of the Muslim world, it found that 65% of the population of nuclear-armed Pakistan had a favourable impression of Osama bin Laden (a further 26% refused to answer). 55% of Jordanians agreed with this sentiment (in Mr Blair meeting's with King Abdullah of Jordan earlier in March, he proclaimed that relations between Jordanians and the British were "excellent"), and more Moroccans voice favour for bin Laden than oppose him.

 

 These results are highly disturbing, particularly as they demonstrate a much greater level of support for bin Laden than that found two years ago. But they are hardly incomprehensible. They are not the consequence of a deranged mentality pervasive across the Arab and Islamic world. To think of them as a result of the news coverage of Arab satellite stations, as members of the US administration have claimed, is to have taken leave of all political responsibility and sense. Instead, they are the very real result of a widespread perception of a US attempt to maintain control of the Middle East in particular, a stated goal of President Bush's national security strategy.

 

 This point was made well by Graham Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. "The whole point is to make sure that the US learns that such interventionist projects are flights of dangerous folly," he wrote on the day before the carnage in Madrid in reference to another bombing. "Radicals seek to drive home the point that Americans should never contemplate for even a moment the ambition of visiting American military force against the Muslim world ever again."

 

 Voters in Spain have realised that their former prime minister's sponsorship of interventionist projects has led to a situation in which those who threaten violence against them draw support across a wide swathe of the world. The British right-wing press has howled that the Spanish electorate has given in to terrorism (as if it should be the responsibility of the Spanish to be attacked so that we might be spared). That attention would be better spent on those who have spent the past years feeding it instead, at - as yet - untold costs to all of us.

                         

 

The President and his consequences

(21 November 2003)

 

Published in Labour Left Briefing (December 2003)

 

Children in Baghdad have a new game. They go up in small groups to US soldiers, who are either on foot patrol or more usually in their tanks. The children wave and smile. At the same time, they compete with one another to call out in Arabic the most obscene insults they can think of at the soldiers. "The children here know all about the mothers of these soldiers," an Iraqi colleague joked to me during one such encounter. The soldiers don't understand a word that they hear and think the children are being friendly. They always raise their thumbs or wave back. Sometimes they give out sweets or (bizarrely) beanie baby toys. Of course, this sends the children into fits of giggles, as they try to conceive even more revolting substances to compare the soldiers and their relatives to.

 

President Bush's visit to Britain in November was not all that different from this. He listened to Tony Blair's platitudes on something Blair labelled a "real living alliance". Like the soldiers in Iraq, he will go back believing in the friendliness of the natives (though it's not known if he gave Blair a beanie baby). Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands were out in the streets throughout the country to denounce Bush's policies, his arrogance and his lies.

 

They have good reasons to this do this. At the most direct and self-interested level, Bush's invasion of Iraq produces fear of the anticipated response. One of the more striking results from a November poll of European citizens organised by the European Commission showed that fear of terrorism was greatest in those countries whose governments supported the invasion of Iraq. Indeed, the three countries most at fear are those encumbered with the three strongest allies of Bush as premiers: Britain, Spain and Italy. As Blair and Bush met, two British-linked facilities in Istanbul were devastated in what may tragically be the first step in a long and bloody cycle of violence. The message to political leaders from common sense, and at least a minimal awareness of how people behave, is clear: if you want to preserve the safety of your citizens and reduce the level of fear, you don't ally yourself with international aggressors.

 

However, the climate of hostility generated by the war on Iraq and its consequences also has the effect of encouraging some of those who are brought up to believe in the innate goodness of American power to find other targets to blame. In mid-summer, a survey conduced by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre found that more US citizens agreed that "Islam encourages violence" than disagreed. This wasn't the effect of the September 11th attacks: in the aftermath of that, in March 2002, 33% of those who had an opinion believed that there was a link between the religion and violence. This had jumped to 52% by July 2003. Iraqis are now ruled by a country in which the predominant belief is that their religion is inherently violent. It's not a recipe for an amicable relationship.

 

In general, Bush's world has become increasingly divided into bitterly antagonistic camps. An October poll in Israel conducted by the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies showed that the numbers of Israelis who supported "encouraging" the Arab population of Israel to emigrate, and who believed that the Palestinians of the occupied territories should be forcibly deported ("transferred", in the euphemism used), were at record levels - 57% and 46% respectively. Assuming that the Arab population of Israel (around 18%) opposed both propositions, a clear majority of Israeli Jews now support full-blown ethnic cleansing. If Israel takes this line of action in future, the support of the US looks increasingly likely: the Pew survey mentioned earlier  finds that now 36% of US citizens believe that "the state of Israel is a fulfillment of the biblical prophesy about the second coming of Jesus."

 

The mirror image of these results is that fewer people in the Muslim world believe that a solution is possible to the Arab-Israeli conflict that falls short of the outright victory of one side and the conquest of the other. According to surveys by the Pew Research Centre, less than a quarter in most Muslim countries believe that Palestinian rights can be upheld whilst the State of Israel continues to exist. The changes in attitudes towards the US and its policies are severe: in 2002, 25% of Jordanians had a favourable view of the US. That has fallen to only 1% by the end of the Iraq war. In Pakistan, 28% believed in 2002 that their religion was under threat from external powers. That had risen to 64% a year later.

 

When George Bush last visited the UK in April, during the first phase of the war on Iraq, Tony Blair stood alongside him and told him that "the regime is weakening, the Iraqi people are turning towards us". The truth is very different: seven months later, the US has restarted aerial bombardments in a futile endeavour to quell a violent resistance movement than can outlast and outwit them. As Blair welcomed Bush to London this time, he would have been well advised to tell him how fractured the world had become under his presidency, and how his legacy will be decades of intense, angry violence between peoples whose core values have now been pitched against each other. Instead, like the American soldier in the tank, all he did was stick his thumbs in the air, oblivious to the voices of hatred all around him.

 

 


 

6.            JACQUES PAUWELS

 

Why America needs War

March 2003

 

Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason not completed, by his father at the time of the Gulf War; others believe that Bush Junior expected a short and triumphant war which would guarantee him a second term in the White House.

I believe that we must look elsewhere for an explanation for the attitude of the American President. The fact that Bush is keen on war has little or nothing to do with his psyche, but a great deal with the American economic system. This system -- America’s brand of capitalism -- functions first and foremost to make extremely rich Americans like the Bush “money dynasty”[1] even richer. Without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright

The great strength of American capitalism is also its great weakness, namely, its extremely high productivity. In the historical development of the international economic system that we call capitalism, a number of factors have produced enormous increases in productivity, for example, the mechanization of the production process that got under way in England as early as the 18th century. In the early 20th century, then, American industrialists made a crucial contribution in the form of the automatization of work by means of new techniques such as the assembly line. The latter was an innovation introduced by Henry Ford, and those techniques have therefore become collectively known as “Fordism.” The productivity of the great American enterprises rose spectacularly; for example, already in the twenties countless vehicles rolled off the assembly lines of the automobile factories of Michigan every single day. But who was supposed to buy all those cars? Most Americans at the time did not have sufficiently robust pocket books for such a purchase. Other industrial products similarly flooded the market, and the result was the emergence of a chronic disharmony between the ever-increasing economic supply and the lagging demand. Thus arose the economic crisis generally known as the Great Depression. It was essentially a crisis of overproduction. Warehouses were bursting with unsold commodities, factories laid off workers, unemployment exploded, and so the purchasing power of the American people shrunk even more, making the crisis even worse.

It cannot be denied that in America the Great Depression only ended during, and because of, the Second World War. (Even the greatest admirers of President Roosevelt admit that his much-publicized New Deal policies brought little or no relief.) Economic demand rose spectacularly when the war which had started in Europe, and in which the USA itself was not an active participant before 1942, allowed American industry to produce unlimited amounts of war equipment. Between 1940 and 1945, the American state would spend no less than 185 billion dollar on such equipment, and the military expenditures’ share of the GNP thus rose between 1939 and 1945 from an insignificant 1,5 per cent to approximately 40 per cent. In addition, American industry also supplied gargantuan amounts of equipment to the British and even the Soviets via Lend-Lease. (In Germany, meanwhile, the subsidiaries of American corporations such as Ford, GM, and ITT produced all sorts of planes and tanks and other martial toys for the Nazi’s, also after Pearl Harbor, but that is a different story.) The key problem of the Great Depression -- the disequilibrium between supply and demand -- was thus resolved because the state “primed the pump” of economic demand by means of huge orders of a military nature

As far as ordinary Americans were concerned, Washington’s military spending orgy brought not only virtually full employment but also much higher wages than ever before; it was during the Second World War that the widespread misery associated with the Great Depression came to an end and that a majority of the American people achieved an unprecedented degree of prosperity. However, the greatest beneficiaries by far of the wartime economic boom were the country’s businesspeople and corporations, who realized extraordinary profits. Between 1942 and 1945, writes the historian Stuart D. Brandes, the net profits of America’s 2,000 biggest firms were more than 40 per cent higher than during the period 1936-1939; such a “profit boom” was possible, he explains, because the state ordered billions of dollars of military equipment, failed to institute price controls, and taxed profits little if at all. This largesse benefited the American business world in general, but in particular that relatively restricted elite of big corporations known as “big business” or “corporate America.” During the war, a total of less than 60 firms obtained 75 per cent of all lucrative military and other state orders. The big corporations -- Ford, IBM, etc. -- revealed themselves to be the “war hogs,” writes  Brandes, that gormandized at the plentiful trough of the state’s military expenditures. IBM, for example, increased its annual sales between 1940 and 1945 from 46 to 140 million dollar thanks to war-related orders, and its profits skyrocketed accordingly.  

America’s big corporations exploited their Fordist expertise to the fullest in order to boost production, but even that was not sufficient to meet the wartime needs of the American state. Much more equipment was needed, and in order to produce it, America needed new factories and even more efficient technology. These new assets were duly stamped out of the ground, and on account of this the total value of all productive facilities of the nation increased between 1939 and 1945 from 40 to 66 billion dollar. However, it was not the private sector that undertook all these new investments; on account of its disagreeable experiences with overproduction during the thirties, America’s businesspeople found this task too risky. So the state did the job by investing 17 billion dollar in more than 2,000 defense-related projects. In return for a nominal fee, privately owned corporations were permitted to rent these brand-new factories in order to produce...and to make money by selling the output back to the state. Moreover, when the war was over and Washington decided to divest itself of these investments, the nation’s big corporations purchased them for half, and in many cases only one third, of the real value.

How did America finance the war, how did Washington pay the lofty bills presented by GM, ITT, and the other corporate suppliers of war equipment? The answer is: partly by means of taxation - about 45 per cent --, but much more through loans - approximately 55 per cent. On account of this, the public debt increased dramatically, namely, from 3 billion dollar in 1939 to no less than 45 billion dollar in 1945. In theory, this debt should have been reduced, or wiped out altogether, by levying taxes on the huge profits pocketed during the war by America’s big corporations, but the reality was different. As already noted, the American state failed to meaningfully tax corporate America’s windfall profits, allowed the public debt to mushroom, and paid its bills, and the interest on its loans, with its general revenues, that is, by means of the income generated by direct and indirect taxes. Particularly on account of the regressive Revenue Act introduced in October 1942, these taxes were paid increasingly by workers and other low-income Americans, rather than by the super-rich and the corporations of which the latter were the owners, major shareholders, and/or top managers. “The burden of financing the war,” observes the American historian Sean Dennis Cashman, “[was] sloughed firmly upon the shoulders of the poorer members of society.” However, the American public, preoccupied by the war and blinded by the bright sun of full employment and high wages, failed to notice this. Affluent Americans, on the other hand, were keenly aware of the wonderful way in which the war generated money for themselves and for their corporations. Incidentally, it was also from themselves - from the businesspeople, bankers, insurers and other big investors - that Washington borrowed the money needed to finance the war; corporate America thus also profited from the war by pocketing the lion’s share of the interests generated by the purchase of the famous war bonds. In theory, at least, the rich and powerful of America are the great champions of so-called free enterprise, and they oppose any form of state intervention in the economy; during the war, however, they never raised any objections to the way in which the American state managed and financed the economy, because without this large-scale dirigist violation of the rules of free enterprise, their collective wealth could never have proliferated as it did during those years.            

During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words,  the arduous task of maximizing profits -- the key activity within the capitalist American economy -- can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required. Ever since the Second World War, the rich and powerful of America have remained keenly conscious of this. So is their man in the White House today, the scion of a “money dynasty” who was parachuted into the White House in order to promote the interests of his wealthy family members, friends, and associates in corporate America, the interests of money, privilege, and power.

In the spring of 1945 it was obvious that the war, fountainhead of fabulous profits, would soon be over. What would happen then? Among the economists, many Cassandras conjured up scenarios that loomed extremely unpleasant for America’s political and industrial leaders. During the war, Washington’s purchases of military equipment, and nothing else, had restored the economic demand and thus made possible not only full employment but also unprecedented profits. With the return of peace, the ghost of disharmony between supply and demand threatened to return to haunt America again, and the resulting crisis might well be even more acute than the GreatDepression of the “dirty thirties,” because during the war years the productive capacity of the nation had increased considerably, as we have seen. Workers would have to be laid off precisely at the moment when millions of war veterans would come home looking for a civilian job, and the resulting unemployment and decline in purchasing power would aggravate the demand deficit. Seen from the perspective of America’s rich and powerful, the coming unemployment was not a problem; what did matter was that the golden age of gargantuan profits would come to an end. Such a catastrophe had to be prevented, but how?

Military state expenditures were the source of high profits. In order to keep the profits gushing forth generously, new enemies and new war threats were urgently needed now that Germany and Japan were defeated. How fortunate that the Soviet Union existed, a country which during the war had been a particularly useful partner who had pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for the Allies in Stalingrad and elsewhere, but also a partner whose communist ideas and practices allowed it to be easily transformed into the new bogeyman of the United States. Most American historians now admit that in 1945 the Soviet Union, a country that had suffered enormously during the war, did not constitute a threat at all to the economically and militarily far superior USA, and that Washington itself did not perceive the Soviets as a threat; these historians also acknowledge that Moscow was very keen to work closely together with Washington in the postwar era. Indeed, Moscow had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from a conflict with superpower America, which was brimming with confidence thanks to its monopoly of the atom bomb. However, America -- corporate America, the America of the super-rich -- urgently needed a new enemy in order to justify the titanic expenditures for “defense” which were needed to keep the wheels of the nation’s economy spinning at full speed also after the end of the war, thus keeping profit margins at the required -- or rather, desired -- high levels, or even to increase them. It is for this reason that the Cold War was unleashed in 1945, not by the Soviets but by the American “military-industrial” complex, as President Eisenhower would call that elite of wealthy individuals and corporations that knew how to profit from the “warfare economy.” 

In this respect, the Cold War exceeded their fondest expectations. More and more martial equipment had to be cranked out, because the allies within the so-called “free world”, which actually included plenty of nasty dictatorships, had to be armed to the teeth with US equipment. In addition, America’s own armed forces never ceased demanding bigger, better, and more sophisticated tanks, planes, rockets, and, yes, chemical and bacteriological weapons and other martial tools of mass destruction. For these goods, the  Pentagon was always ready to pay huge sums without asking difficult questions. As had been the case during the Second World War, it were again primarily the large corporations who were allowed to fill the orders. The Cold War generated unprecedented profits, and they flowed into the coffers of those extremely wealthy individuals who happened to be the owners, top managers, and/or major shareholders of these corporations.  (Does it come as a surprise that in the United States newly retired Pentagon generals are routinely offered jobs as consultants by large corporations involved in military production, and that businessmen linked with those corporations are regularly appointed as high-ranking officials of the Department of Defense, as advisors of the President, etc.?)  

During the Cold War too, the American state financed its skyrocketing military expenditures by means of loans, and this caused the public debt to rise to dizzying heights. In 1945 the public debt stood at “only” 258 billion dollar, but in 1990 -- when the Cold War ground to an end -- it amounted to no less than 3.2 trillion dollar! This was a stupendous increase, also when one takes the inflation rate into account, and it caused the American state to become the world’s greatest debtor. (Incidentally, in July 2002 the American public debt had reached 6.1 trillion dollar.) Washington could and should have covered the cost of the Cold War by taxing the huge profits achieved by the corporations involved in the armament orgy, but there was never any question of such a thing. In 1945, when the Second World War come to an end and the Cold War picked up the slack, corporations still paid 50 per cent of all taxes, but during the course of the Cold War this share shrunk consistently, and today it only amounts to approximately 1 per cent. This was possible because the nation’s big corporations largely determine what the government in Washington may or may not do, also in the field of fiscal policy. In addition, lowering the tax burden of corporations was made easier because after the Second World War these corporations transformed themselves into multinationals, “at home everywhere and nowhere," as an American author has written in connection with ITT, and therefore find it easy to avoid paying meaningful taxes anywhere. Stateside, where they pocket the biggest profits, 37 per cent of all  American  multinationals -- and more than 70 per cent of all foreign multinationals -- paid not a single dollar of taxes in 1991, while the remaining multinationals remitted less than 1 per cent of their profits in taxes.

The sky-high costs of the Cold War were thus not borne by those who profited from it and who, incidentally, also continued to pocket the lion’s share of the dividends paid on government bonds, but by the American workers and the American middle class. These low- and middle-income Americans did not receive a penny from the profits yielded so profusely by the Cold War, but they did receive their share of the enormous public debt for which that conflict was largely responsible. It is they, therefore, who were really saddled with the costs of the Cold War, and it is they who continue to pay with their taxes for a disproportionate share of the burden of the public debt. In other words, while the profits generated by the Cold War were privatized to the advantage of an extremely wealthy elite, its costs were ruthlessly socialized to the great detriment of all other Americans. During the Cold War, the American economy degenerated into a gigantic swindle, into a perverse redistribution of the nation’s wealth to the advantage of the rich and to the disadvantage not only of the poor and of the working class but also of the middle class, whose members tend to subscribe to the myth that the American capitalist system serves their interests. Indeed, while the wealthy and powerful of America accumulated ever-greater riches, the prosperity achieved by many other Americans during the Second World War was gradually eroded, and the general standard of living declined slowly but steadily. During the Second World War America had witnessed a modest redistribution of the collective wealth of the nation to the advantage of the less privileged members of society; during the Cold War, however, the rich Americans became richer while the non-wealthy -- and certainly not only the poor -- became poorer. In 1989, the year the Cold War petered out, more than 13 per cent of all Americans -- approximately 31 million individuals -- were poor according to the official criteria of poverty, which definitely understate the problem. Conversely, today 1 per cent of all Americans own no less than 34 per cent of the nation’s aggregate wealth. In no major “Western” country is the wealth distributed more unevenly. 

The minuscule percentage of super-rich Americans found this development extremely satisfactory; they loved the idea of accumulating more and more wealth, of aggrandizing their already huge assets, at the expense of the less privileged. They wanted to keep things that way or, if at all possible, make this sublime scheme even more efficient. However, all good things must come to an end, and in 1989/90 the bountiful Cold War elapsed. That presented a serious problem. Ordinary Americans, who knew that they had borne the costs of this war, expected a “peace dividend;” they thought that the money the state had spent on military expenditures might now be used to produce benefits for themselves, for example in the form of a national health insurance and other social benefits which Americans in contrast to most Europeans have never enjoyed; in 1992, Bill Clinton would actually win the presidential election by dangling out the prospect of a national health plan, which of course never materialized. A “peace dividend”, then, was of no interest whatsoever to the nation’s wealthy elite, because the provision of social services by the state does not yield profits for entrepreneurs and corporations, and certainly not the lofty kind of profits generated by military state expenditures. Something had to be done, and had to be done fast, to prevent the threatening implosion of the state’s military spending. 

America, or rather, corporate America, was orphaned of its useful Soviet enemy, and urgently needed to conjure up new enemies and new threats in order to justify a high level of military spending. It is in this context that in 1990 Saddam Hussein appeared on the scene like a kind of deus ex machina. This tin-pot dictator had previously been perceived and treated by the Americans as a good friend, and he had been armed to the teeth so that he could wage a nasty war against Iran; it was the USA -- and allies such as Germany -- who originally supplied him with his infamous weapons of mass destruction. However, Washington was desperately in need of a new enemy, and suddenly fingered him as a terribly dangerous “new Hitler,” against whom war needed to be waged urgently, even though it was clear that a negotiated settlement of the issue of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait was not out of the question. George Bush Senior was the casting agent who discovered this useful new nemesis of America, and who unleashed the Gulf War, during which Baghdad was showered with bombs and Saddam’s hapless recruits were slaughtered in the desert. The road to the Iraqi capital lay wide-open, but the Marines’ triumphant entry into Baghdad was suddenly scrapped. Saddam Hussein was left in power so that the threat he was supposed to form might be invoked again in order to justify keeping America in arms. After all, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union had shown how inconvenient it can be when one loses a useful foe.

And so Mars could remain the patron saint of the American economy or, more accurately, the godfather of the corporate Mafia that manipulates this war-driven economy and reaps its huge profits without bearing its costs. The despised project of a peace dividend could thus be unceremoniously buried, and military expenditures could remain the dynamo of the economy and the wellspring of sufficiently high profits. Those expenditures increased relentlessly during the 1990s. In 1996, for example, they amounted to no less than 265 billion dollar, but when one adds the unofficial and/or indirect military expenditures, such as the interests paid on loans used to finance past wars, the 1996 total came to approximately 494 billion dollar, amounting to an outlay of 1.3 billion dollar per day! However, with only a considerably chastened Saddam as bogeyman, Washington found it expedient also to look elsewhere for new enemies and threats. Somalia temporarily looked promising, but in due course another “new Hitler” was identified in the Balkan Peninsula in the person of the Serbian leader, Milosevic. During much of the nineties, then, conflicts in the former Yugoslavia provided the required pretexts for military interventions, large-scale bombing operations, and the purchase of more and newer weapons.

 The “warfare economy” could thus continue to run on all cylinders also after the Gulf War. However, in view of occasional public pressure such as the demand for a peace dividend, it is not easy to keep this system going. (The media present no problem, as newspapers, magazines, TV stations, etc. are either owned by big corporations or rely on them for advertising revenue.) As mentioned earlier, the state has to cooperate, so in Washington one needs men and women one can count upon, preferably individuals from the very own corporate ranks, individuals totally committed to use the instrument of military expenditures in order to provide the high profits that are needed to make the very rich of America even richer. In this respect, Bill Clinton had fallen short of expectations, and corporate America could never forgive his original sin, namely, that he had managed to have himself elected by promising the American people a “peace dividend”  in the form of a system of health insurance. On account of this, in 2000 it was arranged that not the Clinton-clone Al Gore moved into the White House but a team of militarist hardliners, virtually without exception representatives of wealthy, corporate America, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, and of course George W. Bush himself, son of the man who had shown with his Gulf War how it could be done; the Pentagon, too, was directly represented in the Bush Cabinet in the person of the allegedly peace-loving Powell, in reality yet another angel of death. Rambo moved into the White House, and it did not take long for the results to show.

After Bush Junior had been catapulted into the presidency, it looked for some time as if he was going to proclaim China as the new nemesis of America. However, a conflict with that giant loomed somewhat risky; furthermore, all too many big corporations make good money by trading with the People’s Republic. Another threat, preferably less dangerous and more credible, was required to keep the military expenditures at a sufficiently high level. For this purpose, Bush and Rumsfeld and company could have wished for nothing more convenient than the events of September 11, 2001; it is extremely likely that they were aware of the preparations for these monstrous attacks, but that they did nothing to prevent them because they knew that they would be able to benefit from them. In any event, they did take full advantage of this  opportunity in order to militarize America more than ever before, to shower bombs on people who had nothing to do with 9/11, to wage war to their hearts’ content, and thus for corporations that do business with the Pentagon to ring up unprecedented sales. Bush declared war not on a country but on terrorism, an abstract concept against which one cannot really wage war and against which a definitive victory can never be achieved. However, in practice the slogan  “war against terrorism” meant that Washington now reserves the right to wage war worldwide and permanently against whomever the White House defines as a terrorist.

And so the problem of the end of the Cold War was definitively resolved, as there was henceforth a justification for ever-increasing military expenditures. The statistics speak for themselves. The 1996 total of 265 billion dollar in military expenditures had already been astronomical, but thanks to Bush Junior the Pentagon was allowed to spend 350 billion in 2002, and for 2003 the President has promised approximately 390 billion; however, it is now virtually certain that the cape of 400 billion dollar will be rounded this year. (In order to finance this military spending orgy, money has to be saved elsewhere, for example by cancelling free lunches for poor children; every little bit helps.) No wonder that George W. struts around beaming with happiness and pride, for he -- essentially a spoiled rich kid of very limited talent and intellect -- has surpassed the boldest expectations not only of his wealthy family and friends but of corporate America as a whole, to which he owes his job.

9/11 provided Bush with carte blanche to wage war wherever and against whomever he chose, and as this essay has purported to make clear, it does not matter all that much who happens to be fingered as enemy du jour. Last year, Bush showered bombs on Afghanistan, presumably because the leaders of that country sheltered Bin Laden, but recently the latter went out of fashion and it was once again Saddam Hussein who allegedly threatened America. We cannot deal here in detail with the specific reasons why Bush’s America absolutely wanted war with the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and not with the arguably much more dangerous regime of North Korea. A major reason for fighting this particular war was that Iraq’s large reserves of oil are lusted after by the US oil trusts with whom the Bushes themselves -- and Bushites such as Cheney and Rice, after whom an oil tanker happens to be named -- are so intimately linked. The war in Iraq is also useful as a lesson to other Third World countries who fail to dance to Washington’s tune, and as an instrument for emasculating domestic opposition and ramming the extreme right-wing program of an unelected president down the throats of Americans themselves. 

The America of wealth and privilege is hooked on war, without regular and ever-stronger doses of war it can no longer function properly, that is, yield the desired profits. Right now, this addiction, this craving is being satisfied by means of a conflict against Iraq, which also happens to be dear to the hearts of the oil barons. However, does anybody believe that the warmongering will stop once Saddam’ scalp will join the Taliban turbans in the trophy display case of George W. Bush? The President has already pointed his finger at those whose turn will soon come, namely, the “axis of evil” countries: Iran, Syria, Lybia, Somalia, North Korea, and of course that old thorn in the side of America, Cuba. Welcome to the 21st century, welcome to George W. Bush’s brave new era of permanent war!

 Finally this. Some experts claim that wars are actually bad for the American economy. This is partly correct, but also partly false. It all depends about which economy, about whose economy one is talking. For the economy of average Americans, the war in Iraq is definitely a catastrophe, because they will pay its huge bills. With their money, but also with their blood, since it is also the ordinary -- and preferably black and/or Hispanic -- Americans who supply the cannon fodder and who are exposed to “friendly fire” and to the carcinogenic depleted uranium and other risks associated with handling some of the more exotic weapons in the Pentagon’s arsenal, as was already the case during the Gulf War. The sons of the wealthy and privileged stay safely at home; is this not what young George W. Bush did at the time of the Vietnam War? For the military-industrial complex, for the economy of the Bushes, Cheneys, Rices, Rumsfelds, etc., for the economy of the oil trusts and weapons manufacturers, for the economy of the wealthy Americans who own the shares of these trusts and corporations, this war -- like wars in general -- is nothing less than wonderful. Because they will pocket the profits that wars generate as profusely as the death and destruction that will befall others. Their economy thrives on war, their “warfare economy” cannot function without war. This is why Bush must continue to find new enemies for America, continue to conjure up new threats, continue to wage war.  If peace might ever break out in the world, it would be nothing less than a catastrophe for the economy of Bush’s America.

 

 

From the International Press on Saturday, March 22, 2003:

 

The cost to the United States of the war in Iraq and its aftermath could easily exceed $ 100 billion... Peace-keeping in Iraq and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure could add much more...The Bush administration has stayed tightlipped about the cost of the war and reconstruction... Both the White House and the Pentagon refused to offer any definite figures.

(The International Herald Tribune, 22/03/03)

 

It is estimated that the war against Iraq will cost approximately 100 billion dollar. In contrast to the Gulf War of 1991, whose cost of 80 million was shared by the Allies, the United States is expected to pay the entire cost of the present war... For the American private sector, i.e. the big corporations, the coming reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure will represent a business of 900 million dollar; the first contracts were awarded yesterday (March 21) by the American government to two corporations.

(Guido Leboni, “Un coste de 100.000 millones de dolares,” El Mundo, Madrid, 22/03/03)

 

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[1] George W.’s grandfather Prescott Bush, a New York banker, specialized during the thirties in business with Nazi Germany, made huge profits in the process, and used that money to launch his son George, later to become head of the CIA and, later still, president of the USA, in the oil industry.

 


 

7.       WILLIAM CLARK

 

 

 

Petrodollar Warfare :

Macroeconomics and Geostrategy behind the Iraq War

March 2004

 

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be . . . The People cannot be safe without information. When the press is free, and every man is able to read, all is safe."

Those words by Thomas Jefferson embody the unfortunate state of affairs that have beset America.  It is a disturbing fact that the U.S.-led war against Iraq appears to have been waged under fraudulent premises.  It is now obvious that Saddam did not possess an imminent or viable threat to the U.S., but like his illusionary ties to Al Qaeda and 9/11, the Bush administration will not let such facts get in their way.  So, why did the US invade Iraq?  Simple: Empire - the desire to maintain US economic hegemony. 

 

Over the past year since the war began, there is much evidence to suggest the war was designed to accomplish three primary US geostrategic objectives.  Perhaps one of the original factors driving this administration to war was long-standing US geostrategy to develop several permanent U. military bases in the Persian Gulf.  Given Saudi Arabia’s domestic problems with continued US basing, Iraq became an even better geographical option. This long-standing US geostrategy regarding the Persian Gulf can be traced back to Henry Kissinger’s tenure.  Robert Dreyfuss’s wrote an excellent essay on this history, entitled, “The Thirty Year Itch.” [1] US control of the Persian Gulf oil is the stated goal.  On a related note, the French, Russian and Chinese oil exploration contracts that Saddam initiated during the 1990s now appear to be void under the post-war US/UK occupation.  The cancellation of these contracts worth a reported $1.1 trillion dollars is to be expected considering the neoconservative agenda is premised upon  a US Global Power willing to thwart any nation that “even aspires” to challenge the US’s role in the world.

 

The second factor the Bush administration is undoubtedly and acutely aware of is the recent studies by oil geologists regarding Peak Oil.  The most comprehensive analysis is probably provided by the highly regarded firm, Petroconsultants, Inc. out of Zurich.  In 1995 their ($35,000) annual report predicted world oil production would peak at the “end of the next decade,” or 2010. [2]  This date coincides with the technical analysis provided by respected oil geologists such as Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrre. [3] However, some veteran geologists such as Kenneth Deffeyes have now concluded that Peak Oil may in fact occur earlier, perhaps between 2004 and 2008. The following illustrates his sentiments:

 

"My own opinion is that the peak in world oil production may even occur before 2004. What happens if I am wrong? I would be delighted to be proved wrong. It would mean that we have a few additional years to reduce our consumption of crude oil. However, it would take a lot of unexpectedly good news to postpone the peak to 2010. [4]

 

However, the third and critical coalescing factor that led to the Iraq war is the one least understood.  It was the unexpected challenge to the dollar’s hegemonic status from the emergence of a “petroeuro” in Iraq that provided the final macroeconomic factor that necessitated Saddam’s overthrow and the installment of a pro-US puppet government.  The following is how an individual very well versed in the nuances of macroeconomics alluded to the unspoken truth for the unilateral invasion of Iraq:

"The Federal Reserve's greatest nightmare is that OPEC will switch its international transactions from a dollar standard to a euro standard. Iraq actually made this switch in Nov. 2000 (when the euro was worth around 82 cents), and has actually made off like a bandit considering the dollar's steady depreciation against the euro. (Note: the dollar declined 17% against the euro in 2002.)

"The real reason the Bush administration wants a puppet government in Iraq -- or more importantly, the reason why the corporate-military-industrial network conglomerate wants a puppet government in Iraq -- is so that it will revert back to a dollar standard and stay that way." (While also hoping to veto any wider OPEC momentum towards the euro, especially from Iran -- the 2nd largest OPEC producer who is actively discussing a switch to euros for its oil exports)."

This essay will discuss the macroeconomics of the `petrodollar' and the unpublicized but real threat to U.S. economic hegemony from the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.   The Iraq war had less to do with any threat from Saddam’s old weapons of mass destruction program and certainly less to do to do with fighting terrorism than it has to do with the almighty dollar.  Iraq was in large part an oil currency war - a war designed to keep the euro from becoming an alternative oil transaction currency. 

 

Origins of the “Petroeuro” and the 2003 Iraq War

Saddam Hussein sealed his fate when he announced on September 24, 2000 that Iraq was no longer going to accept dollars for oil being sold under the UN’s oil for food program, and decided to switch to the euro as Iraq’s oil export currency. [5] (Later Iraq’s $10 billion UN reserve fund also transitioned to euros) At that point, another manufactured Gulf War become inevitable under President George W. Bush.  As revealed in recent books by former US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and former Counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, the Bush administration intended to overthrow Saddam from their first week in office. [6][7] From the ‘Big Picture’ perspective, everything else aside from the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency and the Saudi/Iran/Iraq oil issues (i.e. domestic political issues and international criticism) is peripheral and of marginal consequence to the Bush administration.  Furthermore, the dollar-euro threat is powerful enough the neoconservatives decided to jeopardize the transatlantic relationship, which has resulted in the subsequent EU economic backlash.  The risks of war were undertaken in the short-term to stave off the long-term dollar crash of an OPEC transaction standard change from dollars to euros. 

Regarding Iraq, WMD or no WMD, it is clear the Bush administration entered office seeking to replace Saddam with a pliant regime. This information about Iraq's oil currency was not discussed by the U.S. media or the Bush administration as it would have exposed the US/UK war plans are purely imperialistic. This quasi `state secret' was briefly addressed in a Radio Free Europe article that discussed Saddam's switch for his oil sales from dollars to the euros, to be effective November 6, 2000:

"Baghdad's switch from the dollar to the euro for oil trading is intended to rebuke Washington's hard-line on sanctions and encourage Europeans to challenge it. But the political message will cost Iraq millions in lost revenue. RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel looks at what Baghdad will gain and lose, and the impact of the decision to go with the European currency." [8]

At the time of the switch many analysts were surprised that Saddam was willing to give up approximately $270 million in annual oil revenue for what appeared to be a political statement. However, contrary to one of the main points of this November 2000 article, the steady depreciation of the dollar versus the euro since late 2001 means that Iraq actually profited handsomely from the switch in their reserve and transaction currencies to the euro. Indeed, The [UK] Observer divulged these facts in an article one month before the war: `Iraq nets handsome profit by dumping dollar for euro,' (February 16, 2003).

"A bizarre political statement by Saddam Hussein has earned Iraq a windfall of hundreds of millions of euros. In October 2000 Iraq insisted upon dumping the US Dollar -- `the currency of the enemy' -- for the more multilateral euro." [9]

Although Iraq's oil currency switch appears to be completely censored by the U.S. media conglomerates, this UK article illustrates that the euro has gained about 25% against the dollar since late 2001, which also applied to the $10 billion in Iraq's UN `oil for food' fund that was previously held in dollars. In February 2003 it was reported that Iraq's oil for food reserve fund had swollen from $10 billion dollars to about € 26 billion euros. According to a former government analyst, the following scenario would occur if OPEC made an unlikely, but sudden (collective) switch to euros, as opposed to a gradual transition.

"Otherwise, the effect of an OPEC switch to the euro would be that oil-consuming nations would have to flush dollars out of their (central bank) reserve funds and replace these with euros. The dollar would crash anywhere from 20-40% in value and the consequences would be those one could expect from any currency collapse and massive inflation (think Argentina currency crisis, for example). You'd have foreign funds stream out of the U.S. stock markets and dollar denominated assets, there'd surely be a run on the banks much like the 1930s, the current account deficit would become unserviceable, the budget deficit would go into default, and so on. Your basic 3rd world economic crisis scenario.

"The United States economy is intimately tied to the dollar's role as reserve currency. This doesn't mean that the U.S. couldn't function otherwise, but that the transition would have to be gradual to avoid such dislocations (and the ultimate result of this would probably be the U.S. and the E.U. switching roles in the global economy)."

Although a collective switch by OPEC would be extremely unlikely barring a major panic on the US dollar, it would appear that a gradual transition to a “basket of currencies” or a dual-OPEC currency transaction standard including the dollar and euro is quite plausible. Unfortunately the current Bush administration has chosen a military option instead of a multilateral conference on monetary reform to resolve these issues. In the aftermath of toppling Saddam it is clear the US wants to keep a large and permanent military force in the Persian Gulf. Indeed, there is no real `exit strategy,' as the US military will be needed to protect the newly installed regime, and to send a message to other OPEC producers that they too might receive `regime change' if they convert their oil payments to euros. 

Below are excerpts from an article on www.prudentbear.com that candidly address the importance of petrodollars. Despite several logical flaws in this article such as equating a change in the oil export currency to an “Arab oil embargo,” the author does acknowledge one key issue about the Iraq war:

. . . the one factor underpinning American prosperity is keeping the dollar the World Reserve Currency. This can only be done if the oil producing states keep oil priced in dollars, and all their currency reserves in dollar assets. If anything put the final nail in Saddam Hussein's coffin, it was his move to start selling oil for Euros.

The US is the sole super power and we control and dictate to the Middle East oil producers. America has the power to change rulers if they can't follow the "straight line" the US dictates. America's prosperity depends on this.

Governments have secrets. If politicians always told the truth, there wouldn't be any secrets. So, if governments are to keep secrets, how can you fault a politician for not telling the whole truth? We would assert that the President failed to present the real case for Iraq, which is: 1) prosperity for America based on controlling Middle East oil, and on maintaining the Dollar as the World Reserve Currency, and 2) peace and stability, which the guaranteed access to oil brings to the world. [10]

The last sentence illustrates how the U.S. government uniquely defines “access” to oil as control of oil. Indeed, this definition of “access to oil” is not free market economics, but rather a military command economy.  Additionally, I find the statement about the "need" for government secrecy to be rather tautological, circular in logic, and certainly not in the spirit of what the Founding Fathers stated was imperative to a functioning democracy -- an informed citizenry. In any event, the author is quite correct that much of our prosperity has been created by artificial geopolitical arrangements, some of which are under strain from the euro and geopolitical tensions arising from overt neoconservative geostrategy.

 

Overview of structural imbalances within the U.S. economy

 

The US economy has acquired significant structural imbalances, including our record-high $486 billion trade account deficit (5 % of GDP), a $7 trillion dollar deficit (65% of GDP), and the recent return to annual budget deficits in the hundreds of billions over the last three years.  These imbalances are being exacerbated by the Bush administration’s ideologically driven tax cut and massive spending policies, which are creating enormous deficits for the rest of this decade.   Why is the dollar still predominant despite these significant structural imbalances?   While many Americans assume the strength of the U.S. dollar merely rests on our economic output (i.e. GDP), the ruling elites understand that the dollar’s strength is founded on its two fundamentally unique advantages relative to all other hard currencies.

 

The majority of Americans are not cognizant to the fact that the ‘strength’ of our current economy is founded on the dollar’s two pivotal advantages following the ’Bretton Woods Conference’ of 1944-1945.  First is the dollars role as the dominant international reserve currency, which affords the US market with its “safe harbor” international status.  The second crucial factor is the dollar’s role as the monopoly currency for global oil transactions.  While the dollar’s role as the world’s international reserve currency is well understood, the effects of “petrodollar” recycling for international oil transactions is rarely discussed.

 

Origins of the Petrodollar

 

The valuation of the US dollar was rather shaky after August 1971 when the Nixon had to “de-link” the dollar from the $35 per oz. “gold standard.”  According to Dr. David Spiro’s research on this issue, in 1973-74 the Nixon administration sought to alleviate this situation by negotiating assurances from Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia to price oil in dollars only, and to invest their surplus oil proceeds in US Treasury Bills. [11] In return the U.S. would protect the Saudi regime. These agreements created the phenomenon known as “petrodollar recycling.” The U.S. prints hundreds of billions of fiat dollars, which U.S. consumers provide to other nations via trade when we purchase their imported goods.  Hundreds of billions of these dollars then become petrodollars when used by nations to purchase oil/energy from OPEC producers. Depending upon the price of oil, approximately $600 to $800 billion petrodollars are annually re-cycled’ from OPEC sales and invested back into the U.S. via Treasury Bills or other dollar-denominated assets.

 

The fact that all buyers of oil must first buy dollars to pay for the oil supports the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and eliminates our currency risk for oil.  Oil priced in “petrodollars” and the dollar as the world’s reserve currency has supported the value of our currency which by normal economic logic, given America’s trillions of dollars in trade deficits over the past decade, should have much less purchasing power than it currently possesses.  An enlarged E.U. and a strong euro are challenging this arrangement.

 

However, as long as the dollar remains the monopoly oil transaction currency, its “storage of wealth” is theoretically derived from the simple fact that it purchases between 1.5 and 1.9 gallons of crude oil.  (Using OPEC price range of $22-$28 per barrel, and 42 gallons in a production barrel).  No other hard currency in the world can be used to directly purchase the most valuable commodity in the world - oil.   This unique geo-political agreement with Saudi Arabia has worked to our favor for the past 30 years by eliminating any fluctuation (currency risk) in our oil purchases in relation to the dollar’s valuation, raising the entire asset value of all dollar denominated assets/properties, and facilitating the Federal Reserve in creating a truly massive debt and credit expansion (or `credit bubble' in the view of some economists). In effect, global oil consumption via OPEC “petrodollar recycling” provides a subsidy to the US economy.


 

OPEC, the Euro, and EU enlargement

 

It is no secret that the Europeans created the E.U. in an effort to create a huge trading bloc and common currency that could directly compete with the large U.S. economy.  Hence, the goals of the EU include the euro becoming an alternative international reserve currency.  To facilitate that goal, the euro would have to become an alternative “storage of wealth” for oil transactions.  Obviously the EU would like their oil purchases to be priced in the euro, as that would minimize their currency risk, and stabilize their oil bill.  Moreover, in May 2004 ten additional member states are scheduled to join the European Union, which should will result in an aggregate GDP of $9.6 trillion - directly comparable to the U.S. s’ $10 trillion GDP.

Indeed, in a visit to Spain in April 2002, Mr Javad Yarjani, the Head of OPEC's Market Analysis Department, illustrated the new dynamics of the EU and the euro currency in an important speech:

 

“In the short-term, OPEC Member Countries (MCs), with possibly a few exceptions, are expected to continue to accept payment in dollars. Nevertheless, I believe that OPEC will not discount entirely the possibility of adopting euro pricing and payments in the future.” [12]

 

Based on the details of this candid speech, momentum for OPEC to consider switching to the euro will grow once the EU expands in May 2004 to 450 million people with the inclusion of 10 additional member states.  At that point, the majority of OPEC oil exports will be purchased by the E.U. Undoubtedly, the euro currency is a significant new competitor, and appears to be the primary threat to US dollar hegemony.  The Bush administration is attempting to artificially divide the EU with verbal hand grenades such as “Old Europe” vs. ‘New Europe.”  This strategy needlessly damages US/EU relations.

 

Post-war Iraq

 

Just as I hypothesized in December 2002, after toppling Saddam regime the Bush administration quickly reverted Iraq’s oil currency transactions back to the dollar.  I suspect their goals also included quickly rebuilding Iraq’s oil production capability, initiate massive Iraqi oil production in far excess of OPEC quotas, to reduce global oil prices, and dissolve the OPEC cartel’s price controls. Not surprisingly, they have not been able to succeed in the later polices. Removing Saddam was more of a victory for dollar hegemony and Bush’s re-election campaign than a victory in the fight against terrorism.  While the neoconservatives have succeeded at some levels, we are in the very early stages of the occupation of Iraq, and the increasing attacks by the Iraqis, particularity the Shi’ites, does not inspire confidence.

 

On April 28, 2003, I read the first article in the mainstream US media (msnbc.com) since the autumn of 2000 that addressed some of the issues regarding Iraqi oil exports in the euro. Apparently until the U.N. sanctions were lifted; Iraq's oil was to remain under UN control in the "oil for food" program. To reiterate, the following excerpts from this forthright msnbc.com article is the only mainstream US media reference that I could locate during 2001-2003 that discussed the Iraq war and the underlying petrodollar issues. It was entitled "In Round 2, It's the Dollar versus the Euro" (implying the Iraq war was `Round 1').

“A new world is being created. Ironically, the most troublesome clash of civilizations in it may not be the one the academics expected: not Islamic fundamentalists vs. the West in the first instance, but the United States against Europe.

To oversimplify, but only slightly, it's the dollar vs. the euro.

. . . The Europeans and the United Nations want the inspections regime to resume because as long as it is in place, the U.N. "oil-for-food" program remains in effect. Not only does France benefit directly-its banks hold the deposits and its companies have been involved in the oil sales-the entire EU does as well, if for no other reason than many of the recent sales were counted not in dollars but in euros. The United Nations benefits because it has collected more than a billion dollars in fees for administering the program. As long as the 1990 sanctions remain in effect, Iraq can't "legally" sell its oil on the world market. At least, to this point, tankers won't load it without U.N. permission, because they can't get insurance for doing so.

Sometime in the next few weeks, push will come to shove. There are storage tanks full of Iraqi crude waiting in Turkish ports…. There may come a time when the smart thing to do is turn the whole Iraq situation over to the U.N. This is not that time." Meanwhile, if the rest of the world tries to block any and all Iraq oil sales, it's possible that American companies will find a way to become the customer of first and last resort.

And we'll pay in dollars. [13]

Although the author addressed this subject somewhat obliquely, his final sentence is quite candid. Indeed, my original hypothesis from December 2002 was reinforced in a Financial Times article dated June 5th 2003 which confirmed Iraqi oil sales returning to the international markets were once again denominated in U.S. dollars, not euros. Not surprisingly, this detail was never mentioned in the US imperialist, corporate-controlled, six major media conglomerates, but confirmation of this vital fact provides insight into one of the crucial -- yet overlooked -- rationales for 2003 the Iraq war.

"The tender, for which bids are due by June 10, switches the transaction back to dollars -- the international currency of oil sales -- despite the greenback's recent fall in value. Saddam Hussein in 2000 insisted Iraq's oil be sold for euros, a political move, but one that improved Iraq's recent earnings thanks to the rise in the value of the euro against the dollar." [14]

 

Before the war some commentators attempted to dismiss my macroeconomic analysis of the war as a “conspiracy theory,” arguing the upcoming war had nothing to do with petroeuros, and everything to do with Iraq’s vast WMD program and “fighting terrorism.”  In retrospect, the facts speak form themselves.  One of the first executive orders of the Bush administration was to push through UN Resolution 1483, which passed on May 22, 2003, establishing a joint US/UK administered "Iraqi Assistance Fund."  This provided the mechanism to quietly and quickly reconvert Iraq’s oil export sales back to the dollar.  Indeed, an argument can be made the emergence of a petroeuro was perceived by Washington as a Weapon of Mass Destruction that necessitated the Iraq war.  Furthermore, despite Saudi Arabia being our `client state,' the Saudi regime appears increasingly threatened from civil unrest.  Undoubtedly, the Bush administration is aware of these risks. Hence, neoconservative framework entails a large and permanent US military presence in Iraq following the post-Saddam era.  The Iraq bases position the military to invade the oil-rich eastern region of Saudi Arabia in the event of a Saudi coup by an anti-western group.

 

The Paradox

 

The Bush administration probably believes that the occupation of Iraq and the installation of a large and permanent U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf region will stop other OPEC producers from even considering switching the denomination of their oil sales from dollars to euros. However, using the military to enforce dollar hegemony for oil transactions strikes me as a rather unwieldy and inappropriate strategy.

Paradoxically, for a variety of economic and political reasons, it appears that a growing number of OPEC producers in the Middle East and South America may wish to transition their oil pricing from dollars to euros.  Furthermore, we may be witnessing the regrettable emergence of a European-Russia-China geopolitical alliance in an effort to counter American Imperialism in the Persian Gulf region. Hence, it is plausible that Russia may re-denominate its oil exports in euros. [15]   These issues and the continued devaluation of the dollar expose why the neoconservative strategy is fundamentally flawed. One of the dirty little secrets of today's international order is that the rest of the globe could topple the United States from its hegemonic status whenever they so choose with a concerted abandonment of the dollar standard. This is America's preeminent, inescapable Achilles Heel for now and the foreseeable future.

That such a course hasn't been pursued to date bears more relation to the fact that other westernized, highly developed nations haven't any interest to undergo the great disruptions which would follow -- but it could assuredly take place in the event that the consensus view coalesces of the United States as any sort of `rogue' nation. In other words, if the dangers of American global hegemony are ever perceived as a greater liability than the dangers of toppling the international order, the industrialized nations will react with a broad movement away from the dollar.  The Bush administration and the neo-conservative movement has set out on a multiple-front course attempting to ensure this cannot take place, in brief by a graduated assertion of military hegemony atop the existent economic hegemony.

 

In conclusion, the structural imbalances in the U.S. economy, along with the Bush administration's flawed tax, economic and most principally their overtly Imperialist foreign polices could result in the dollar's world reserve currency status and/or oil transaction currency status being placed in jeopardy or at the very least radically diminished over the next 1 - 2 years. In the event that such a hypothesis materializes, the U.S. economy will require major restructuring in some manner to account for the reduction of either of these two pivotal advantages.  This will be an exceedingly painful process if it occurs in a disorderly manner, perhaps reminiscent of 1930’s Great Depression. The next U.S. administration will be greatly burdened in its attempts to mitigate these issues given the unfortunate deterioration of US international stature.

What is needed is a multilateral meeting of the G8 nations to reform the international monetary system. Given that future wars will become more likely over oil and the currency of oil, the author advocates that the global monetary system be reformed without delay. This would include the dollar and euro designated as equal international reserve currencies, and placed within an exchange band along with a dual-OPEC oil transaction currency standard.  Additionally, the G8 nations should also explore a future third reserve currency option regarding a yen/yuan bloc for East Asia.  A compromise on the euro/oil issues via a multilateral treaty with a gradual phase-in of a dual-OPEC transaction currency standard could minimize economic dislocations within the US   While these multilateral reforms may lower our over-consumption of energy and reduce our ability to project a massive global military presence, the benefits would include improving the quality of our lives and that of our children by reducing animosity towards the U.S. while we rebuild our alliances with the EU and the world community.  Creating balanced domestic fiscal polices along with global monetary reform is in the long-term national security interest of the United States. 

 

Despite the media reporting otherwise, the current wave of ‘global anti-Americanism’ is not against the American people or against American values - but against the hypocrisy of militant American Imperialism. I respectfully submit the current polices of the neoconservative movement as expressed through their PNAC documents, their manipulation of the citizenry through fear, and the application of unilateral military force is treasonous to both American Public and to the fundamental principles that founded our nation Regrettably, President Bush and his neo-conservative advisors have chosen to apply a military option to an economic problem that requires a multilateral treaty. History may not look kindly upon their actions.  

 

Saving the American Experiment

 

Only time will tell what will happen in the aftermath of the Iraq war and US occupation, but I confident my research will contribute to the historical record and help others understand one of the important but hidden reasons for why we conquered Iraq.   Until the U.S. agrees to negotiate a more balanced Global Monetary system and embarks on a viable National Energy Strategy, our nation will continue to pursue a hypocritical foreign policy that is incompatible with the ideas of the founding fathers regarding freedom and liberty.  The current neoconservative foreign policies are creating “blowback” and “anti-American” sentiments around the world, and deep divisions within nations that are traditionally strong U.S. allies.

In conclusion, the Iraq war was designed to 1) secure US/UK oil supplies before and after global Peak Oil with the installation of US military bases, and 2) to use this large military presence to "dissuade" other oil-producers from moving towards the euro as an oil transaction currency. These are the two crucial elements for maintaining U.S. hegemony over the world economy. Reconverting Iraq back to the petrodollar was not the critical issue, but preventing any further momentum towards a ‘petroeuro’ is a critical component of current US Geostrategy. While deceiving the American people into war, this administration sent a message to other OPEC-producers -- "You are either with us or against us."

However, in the end I predict the rules of economics and the laws of physics will prevail over the dreams of Global Empire. It will be increasingly logical for OPEC to re-denominate oil sales in euros once the EU expands in May 2004. Additionally, Peak Oil will usher in an era in which demand for oil will forever outstrip supply. The neoconservatives understand what this means -- the end of US Hyperpower, and thus the end of their dreams of a US Global Empire. The true test of US leadership and the citizenry will be acknowledging that our nation will soon endure economic hardship and the need to restructure our energy consumption based on reality.  Everyone on earth will be impacted by Peak Oil, and given that reality -- multilaterialism rather than unilateralism is the only way to create a peaceful outcome.

Quite frankly, in order to save the American Experiment and stop our slide towards an isolated and authoritarian state, we must elect an enlightened administration in 2004. It would appear that four difficult challenges await the next U.S. administration, including; 1) negotiating global monetary reform, 2) broadly re-organizing U.S. fiscal policies, 3) developing a National Energy Strategy, and 4) attempting to repair our damaged foreign relationships with the UN, EU, Russia, and the Middle East. Sadly, the next U.S. President will have to undertake these challenges from a weakened position both economically and diplomatically. I do not envy the arduous journey that awaits the 44th President of the United States.

 

References:

1.             Dreyfuss, Robert, ‘The Thirty Year Itch,’ Mother Jones, March/April 2003

2.             Heinberg, Richard, ‘The Party’s Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrialized Society,’ New Society Publishers, 2003

3              Laherrere, Jean, “’Can we identify limits to worldwide energy resources’ Oil & Gas Journal, June 30, 2003

4.             Dreffeyes, Kenneth H., ‘Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage,’ Princeton University Press (2001)   Sample chapter can be found here: http://pup.princeton.edu/chapters/s7121.html

5.             Block, Robert, ‘Some Muslim nations advocate dumping the dollar for the euro,’ The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2003

6.             Suskind, Ron, ‘The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill,’ Simon & Schuster, 2004

7.             Clarke, Richard, “Against All Enemies: America’s War on Terrorism.” Free Press, 2004

8.             Recknagel, Charles, "Iraq: Baghdad Moves to Euro," Radio Free Europe (November 1, 2000)
http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2000/11/01112000160846.asp

9.             Faisal Islam, Iraq nets handsome profit by dumping dollar for euro,’ [UK] Guardian, February 16, 2003
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,896344,00.html

10.          Benson, Richard, ‘Oil, the Dollar, and US Prosperity,’ prudentbear.com, August 11, 2003 http://www.prudentbear.com/archive_comm_article.asp?category=Guest+Commentary&content_idx=25491

11.           Spiro, David E., “The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets,’ Cornell University Press, 1999

12.           The Choice of Currency for the Denomination of the Oil Bill," Speech given by Javad Yarjani, Head of OPEC's Petroleum Market Analysis Dept, on The International Role of the Euro (Invited by the Spanish Minister of Economic Affairs during Spain's Presidency of the EU) (April 14, 2002, Oviedo, Spain)
http://www.opec.org/NewsInfo/Speeches/sp2002/spAraqueSpainApr14.htm

13.           ‘In Round 2, It’s the Dollar vs. Euro: U.S. will make Europeans pay for failing to back war on Iraq,” msnbc.com, April 23, 2003 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3068336/

14.           Hoyos, Carol & Morrison, Kevin, ‘Iraq returns to the International oil market,” Financial Times, June 5, 2003 http://www.thedossier.ukonline.co.uk/Web%20Pages/FINANCIAL%20TIMES_Iraq%20returns%20to%20international%20oil%20market.htm

15.           Belton, Catherine, “Putin: Why Not Price Oil in Euros?,’ Moscow Times. October 10, 2003 http://www.moscowtimes.ru/stories/2003/10/10/001.html

Copyright 2003 WIliam Clark - Reprinted for Fair Use Only
Coming out soon : Petrodollar Warfare - Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar
New Society Publishers catalog description - Available October/November 2004

Reveals the background -- and blowback from -- the first oil currency war

 

 

 

8.            JEFFREY BLANKFORT

 

 

A War for Israel?

 

[Fragment, last part (1/3) of the text: "On Wolfowitz and PNAC"]

 

 

He has been called “Wolfowitz of Arabia” in jest by the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, 70 and, with respect, “the intellectual godfather of the war…its heart and soul” by Time’s Mark Thompson. 71 If the war on Iraq is anybody’s war it is Paul Wolfowitz’s. Wolfowitz is also no stranger to Israel or to Israelis. As a teenager he lived briefly in Israel, his sister is married to an Israeli, and “he is friendly with Israel's generals and diplomats.” 72 He is also “something of a hero to the heavily Jewish neoconservative movement” and a close friend of Perle’s. 73

In 1992, as Under Secretary of Defense for policy in the Clinton administration, he supervised the drafting of the Defense Policy Guidance document. Having objected to what he considered the premature ending of the war, his new document, contained plans for further intervention in Iraq as an action necessary to assure "access to vital raw material, primarily Persian Gulf oil" and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats from terrorism. It called for preemptive attacks and since "collective action cannot be orchestrated," the U.S. should be ready to act alone. The primary goal of U.S. policy would be to prevent the rise of any nation that could challenge U.S. supremacy. The document was leaked to the New York Times, which condemned it as extreme and it was supposed to have been rewritten. As we will see, the original concepts are now part of the current National Security Strategy. 74

In 1996, as noted above, the scene shifted to Israel and we had Perle, Feith and Wurmser preparing the Clean Break paper for Netanyahu when Bush Junior was four years from arriving in office. Then in September of 2002, during the buildup to the invasion, the Glasgow Sunday Herald reported that it had discovered "A secret blueprint for U.S. global domination [which] reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure regime change even before he took power in January 2001." 75 What it was describing was the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and it even had a web site which spelled out its plans until they were subsequently removed. That it was discovered by a Scottish newspaper was another telling commentary on the state of American journalism.

Founded in June of 1997, following the Clean Break by a year, part of PNAC’s plan was for the U.S. to take control of the Gulf region with overwhelming and deadly military force. "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification," the PNAC document explains, "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." [My emphasis] 76  As information about PNAC made its way slowly into the mainstream media, ABC Nightline’s Ted Koppel could no longer avoid it. On March 5th, he told his audience, that “Back in 1997, a group of Washington heavyweights, almost all of them neo-conservatives, formed an organization called the Project for the New American Century.

 

They did what former government officials and politicians frequently do when they're out of power, they began formulating a strategy, in this case, a foreign policy strategy, that might bring influence to bear on the administration then in power, headed by President Clinton. Or failing that, on a new administration that might someday come to power.

 

They were pushing for the elimination of Saddam Hussein. And proposing the establishment of a strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, linked to a willingness to use force to protect vital American interests in the Gulf.

 

All of that might be of purely academic interest were it not for the fact that among the men behind that campaign were such names as, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. What was, back in 1997, merely a theory, is now, in 2003, U.S. policy. Hardly a conspiracy, the proposal was out there for anyone to see. But certainly an interesting case study of how columnists, commentators, and think-tank intellectuals can, with time and the election of a sympathetic president, change the course of American foreign policy.”(My emphasis)

 

There was something different about this operation, however. Politicians out of power may plot how to return to power, but this group was more than that. It had been organized and was largely being run by the Jewish neocons whose activities we have been following, plus neocon journalists and neocon think-tank members with a long history of connections to the Israeli right wing and whose faces and opinions dominate the TV screens when issues of U.S foreign policy are under discussion. And as indicated above it had the support of the leading American Jewish lobbying organizations.

Heading up PNAC was William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, the leading journal of the neocons and Robert Kagan, a columnist for the magazine as well as for the Washington Post whose columns in the Post and whose joint columns with Kristol in the Weekly Standard have maintained a steady drumbeat for Washington to send more U.S. troops to Iraq and keep to its original unilateralist position. Asked by Koppell if “part of the, larger vision that you and your colleagues had, or have to this day, is the, removal, either by force or otherwise, of the current power structure in Iran?,” Kristol replied

 

I think that would be great. I hope we can do it otherwise. And I think we can do it otherwise than by force. I think getting, rid of Saddam would help there. But, no, we will have to leave American troops in that region, I think in Iraq for quite a while… It's a good investment. I think it helps keep stability in the area. And it helps strengthen the forces of freedom in the area…

 

In February of 1998, PNAC wanted to let President Clinton and the American public know its position on Iraq, but since, despite Koppel’s statement to the contrary, the group and its plans had not yet come to the public’s attention, it used the letterhead of the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, a largely paper organization that had been put together in 1990 “to support President Bush's policy of expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.” It read, in part:

 

Seven years later, Saddam Hussein is still in power in Baghdad. And despite his defeat in the Gulf War, continuing sanctions, and the determined effort of UN inspectors to fetter out and destroy his weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has been able to develop biological and chemical munitions. To underscore the threat posed by these deadly devices, the Secretaries of State and Defense have said that these weapons could be used against our own people. And you have said that this issue is about "the challenges of the 21st Century.

          

Iraq's position is unacceptable. While Iraq is not unique in possessing these weapons, it is the only country which has used them -- not just against its enemies, but its own people as well. We must assume that Saddam is prepared to use them again. This poses a danger to our friends, our allies, and to our nation.

           

It is clear that this danger cannot be eliminated as long as our objective is simply "containment," and the means of achieving it are limited to sanctions and exhortations… Saddam must be overpowered; he will not be brought down by a coup d'etat… 77

 

The letter called on the president to “recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq” (presumably incorporated in the person of their favorite, Ahmed Chalabi)…and providing it with the “logistical support to succeed.

           

The signatories acknowledged that:

 

In the present climate in Washington, some may misunderstand and misinterpret strong American action against Iraq as having ulterior political motives. (My emphasis). We believe, on the contrary, that strong American action against Saddam is overwhelmingly in the national interest, that it must be supported, and that it must succeed… We urge you to provide the leadership necessary to save ourselves and the world from the scourge of Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to relinquish.

           

Heading the list of over 40 signatures, and were its authors, Stephen Solarz and Perle with the rest, beginning with Elliot Abrams, following alphabetically. Among the others were both Feith and Wurmser, who at the time was heading the Middle East desk at the American Enterprise Institute. It included most of the board of JINSA and Wolfowitz, as well as soon to be Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who must have become aware of the direction in which the center of power was moving and what opportunities it would provide.

For those who believe the Iraq invasion was launched in Israel’s behalf, Solarz could well compete with the Clean Break Three to be the war’s poster-boy, given his record in Congress. Representing Brooklyn in 1980, Solarz sent a newsletter to his Jewish constituents, headlined “Delivering for Israel,” in which he boasted how he was able to obtain an additional $660 million in aid for Israel under difficult circumstances.  “It is a story,” in Solarz’s own words, “of how legislative maneuvering and political persistence managed to prevail over fiscal constraints and bureaucratic resistance.” What were the “fiscal restraints?” Solarz acknowledged that it was “a time of double digit inflation, with all sorts of domestic programs facing severe cutbacks in spending.”  After describing the ins and outs of his successful maneuvering, he reminded his constituents of his devotion to Israel:

 

When I was first elected to Congress six years ago (1974) I deliberately sought an assignment on the Foreign Affairs Committee precisely because I wanted to be in a position to be helpful to Israel… it is only the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House, and the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate who are really in a position to make a difference where it counts—in the area of foreign aid upon which Israel is so dependent. 78

 

For Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, PNAC assembled a book, edited by Kristol and Kagan  which seems to have been adopted as the agenda for the Bush administration. It as entitled Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy” and among its contributors were the now familiar names of Perle, Wolfowitz, and Abrams. 79

In his chapter on the Middle East, Abrams laid out the "peace through strength" concept and argues that U.S. military  strength and its willingness to sue it will remain "a key factor in  our ability to promote peace." He called for a pre-emptive toppling of Saddam, as did other contributors. "Strengthening our major ally in the region, Israel, should be the base of U.S. Middle East policy,” wrote Abrams, “and we should not permit the establishment of a Palestinian state that does not explicitly uphold U.S. policy in the region."

In their introductory chapter, on Regime Change, Kristol and Kagan selected Iraq, Iran, North Korea as well as China countries that needed to be confronted. They concluded that the U.S. will have to intervene abroad "even when we cannot prove that a narrowly construed 'vital interest' of the U.S. is at stake."  In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, two years earlier Kristol and Kagan had argued that “Saddam Hussein must go” and to insure “that the Iraqi leader never again uses weapons of mass destruction, the only way to achieve that goal is to remove Mr. Hussein and his regime from power.” According to Kristol and Kagan, the air strikes carried out by the Clinton administration under the “Iraq Liberation Act” were not enough to protect “our interests.” 80 Whose interests they were referring to is open to question. As the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Camille Taiara put it, “These interests were defined nine months later,” when in another article in the Weekly Standard entitled “A Way to Oust Saddam”, Kagan cited those incentives: the protection of “the safety of Israel, of modern Arab states and of the energy resources on which the United States and its allies depend.” 81

Ten days after the attack on the World Trade Center, an event that conveniently met the description of a “Pearl Harbor like attack” that PNAC said was needed to launch “the New American Century,” the group issued an open letter to President Bush. What he needed to do, the letter said, was to take the anti-terror war beyond Afghanistan by removing Saddam Hussein, breaking ties with the Palestinian Authority, and to gear for action against Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The 41 signatories on that letter included were largely the same as those who signed the letter to Clinton three years earlier, minus those who were now in the government.

PNAC made no secret of its affinity for Israel. In a letter to Bush on April 3, 2002, he was commended for his:

 

strong stance in support of the Israeli government as it engages in the present campaign to fight terrorism...no one should doubt that the U.S. and Israel share a common enemy. We are both targets of what you have correctly called an 'Axis of Evil.' [a term coined by Canadian Jewish neocon David Frum] Israel is targeted in part because it is our friend, and in part because it is an island of liberal democratic principles - American principles - in a sea of tyranny, intolerance and hatred. As Secretary of State [sic] Donald Rumsfeld has pointed out, Iran, Iraq and Syria are all engaged in 'inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing' against Israel, just as they have aided campaigns of terrorism against the U.S. over the past two decades…

 

…the U.S. should lend its full support to Israel as it seeks to root out the terrorist network that daily threatens the lives of Israeli citizens.

 

The letter also urged Bush to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. It had 34 signatories including the familiar neocons such as Perle, but this time there was the name of Norman Podhoretz, one of the godfathers of the movement. Also signing were Reagan appointee Ken Adelman, Kagan, Daniel Pipes, and former CIA director Woolsey. That letter came at a particularly critical moment as the Sharon government was receiving widespread international criticism for the Israeli army’s barbarous assault on the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin and its destruction of the old city of Nablus. Under pressure from US allies, Bush was compelled to tell the Israeli prime minister, “Enough is enough” and to withdraw his troops. 82 The PNAC letter, however, combined with critical columns from long time Republican mainstays, William Safire and George Will, led the president to back down and to describe Sharon as “a man of peace” despite the prime minister’s refusal to pull out his forces. 83

The last document in the neocons theoretical armor during the pre-assault period was "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America." “Wolfowitz's influence has been felt most keenly in President Bush's report” on the security strategy wrote Murray Friedman in the Forward. The report which was released on September 17, 2002

 

in tone, specificity and gravity… echoes Wolfowitz's controversial recommendations in a 1992 "Defense Planning Guidance" draft leaked to the press and disavowed by the first Bush administration.

 

As Friedman admiringly describes it,

 

The national security strategy introduces as a primary tool and policy preemptory strikes, with international support when possible but without it when necessary. It carefully lays out the legal basis for preemption.

The document unabashedly calls for American hegemony but simultaneously has a Wilsonian flavor in seeking to make this country a resource for human freedom in the world. The document clearly pulls out all the stops on the neoconservative internationalist argument from the days when it was first formulated. 84

By then the neocons had already gone beyond putting words on paper. In the very first meeting of the Bush national-security team in January 2001 after the president took the oath of office, Wolfowitz, the newly appointed deputy secretary of Defense reportedly raised the issue of invading Iraq, and officials all the way down the line started to get the message.

In the days immediately following 9/11,as if it was preplanned, Wolfowitz quietly initiated a new operation in the Pentagon that was designated the Office of Special Plans (OSP). As exposed by Seymour Hersh, the group of policy advisers and analysts called themselves, “self-mockingly, the Cabal.” 85 Their goal was to produce “a skein of intelligence reviews that would help “to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq.” While using data gathered by other intelligence agencies they  heavily weighted information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, the  exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi, now of the leading power brokers in the American-appointed “Iraqi Governing Council”.

By the Fall of 2002, the operation rivaled the C.I.A. and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Queda. The director of the Special Plans operation is another neocon Abraham Shulsky, who Hersh describes as “a scholarly expert in the works of the political philosopher Leo Strauss.” Shulsky had spent three decades working in the government on foreign policy issues, including a stint in the early Eighties under Perle in the Reagan Administration. The overall chief of the OSP is Under-Secretary of Defense William Luti, a retired Navy captain who was also an early advocate of military action against Iraq.

Besides convincing the public that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, a critical task of the neocons was to convince the American public that there was a link between Al Queda and Saddam.  Their colleagues among the nation’s major syndicated columnists such as Safire, Will, Tom Friedman, Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby, and Paul Greenberg were all too willing accomplices. By the time, the U.S. launched its invasion, more than half of the public was convinced that Saddam had been behind the attacks. Typical was the comment of the New York Times’ Safire, who frequently brags of his close friendship with Sharon. Criticizing Powell for saying that “President Bush ‘has not worked out what he might do in later stages,’”, Safire wrote, just two weeks after 9/11, “Now is the time to work out how to strike down terrorism’s boss of all bosses. “’Later’ may be a stage too late.” 86

When they weren’t writing, these longtime supporters of Israel and the government neocons became the talking heads for warmongering pro-Israel hosts of CNN, Fox News, as well as ABC, CBS and NBC. Under this onslaught the critics would eventually be submerged. Israel’s vaunted intelligence service, meanwhile, was doing its part, according to reports that appeared in the world press in December. “Israel was a "full partner" in U.S. and British intelligence failures that exaggerated former president Saddam Hussein's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq,” the Washington Post’s Molly Moore reported from Jerusalem. 87    

"The failures of this war indicate weaknesses and inherent flaws within Israeli intelligence and among Israeli decision-makers," Brig. Gen. Shlomo Brom wrote in an analysis for Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.   Brom, a former deputy commander of the Israeli military's planning division accused Israeli intelligence services and political leaders of providing "an exaggerated assessment of Iraqi capabilities," raising "the possibility that the intelligence picture was manipulated."       

The report did not pull its punches. "A critical question to be answered is whether governmental bodies falsely manipulated the intelligence information in order to gain support for their decision to go to war in Iraq, while the real reasons for this decision were obfuscated or concealed." 88 (My emphasis). Did that report feed into the opinion of Israeli officials regarding the U.S. going to war?

On August 17, 2002, Fox News presented an example of the “big lie” that General Brom was referring to when it reported that: “Israeli intelligence officials have gathered evidence that Iraq is speeding up efforts to produce biological and chemical weapons”.

Fox News also quoted Ranaan Gissin, a long time adviser to Prime Minister Sharon who told the notoriously pro-Israel network that "Any postponement of an attack on Iraq at this stage will serve no purpose. It will only give him [Saddam] more of an opportunity to accelerate his program of weapons of mass destruction." “As evidence of Iraq's weapons building activities,” Fox reported, “Israel points to an order Saddam gave to Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission last week to speed up its work.” The network presented no evidence presented to back up what was an apparent fabrication.

 

Was this a war fought by the U.S. for Israel?

 

On March, a week before the invasion, Chemi Shalev reported in the Forward that “Most senior strategists here believe Israel would emerge in a stronger position after a war. A changed regime in Baghdad is widely expected to create new opportunities for Israel vis--vis the Palestinians… Israeli intelligence officials, in both the Mossad and Military Intelligence, believe a quick and decisive American victory against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would send positive shock-waves throughout the East, convincing hard-line and terrorist-supporting regimes to mend their ways for the better.” 89 A year later, those assessments have proved to be more accurate than were their assessments of Saddam’s inventory of WMDs. And they have paid off.

 “With the assault on Iraq,” wrote the distinguished historian, David Hirst, “ the U.S. was not merely adopting Israel’s long-established methods—of initiative, offense and pre-emption—it was also adopting Israel’s adversaries as its own...

 

To where this Israel-American, neo-conservative blueprint for the Middle East will lead is impossible to forecast. What can be said for sure is that it could easily turn out to be as calamitous in its consequences for the region, America and Israel, as it is preposterously partisan in motivation, fantastically ambitious in design and terribly risky in practice. 90

 

One immediate and invaluable benefit for Israel was to have the army of its primary benefactor become a fellow occupier of Arab land and to have turned to Israel for instructions on how to suppress the armed resistance to its presence. 91 The effect of this was predictable. As the Israel’s occupying forces escalated their attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, even the usual token slap on the wrist by U.S. officials was missing.

Well before the end of the year American forces were blowing up the homes of suspected “terrorists,” bombing some from the air and bulldozing others to obtain clear “fields of fire.” Their checkpoints in the Sunni area were identical to their Israeli counterparts and by the end of the year, the US was already holding more than 9,000 Iraqis in detention.  Moreover, following the pattern of the Israelis, they had set up assassination teams to target resistance leaders. 92

While the neocons were convinced that both the war and the occupation would be relatively risk free, it is likely that the Sharon and his military cadre were aware that with or without Saddam, segments of the Iraqi public would resist the occupation. Was getting the US mired down in Iraq one of their goals? Perhaps, and it seemed as the first anniversary of the war approached as well as the 2004 election season, that President Bush, at least, was beginning to have second thoughts.

 “It may take four or five months to take shape,” wrote Jim Lobe, “but a new scenario could be unfolding, a shifting balance of power within the Bush administration, a reconfiguration in the        interests of realism - and aimed at a Bush re-election victory.” 93

The first sign of what appeared to be a shift in Bush’s thinking was the appointment of James Baker, Secretary of State in his father’s administration and a long-time family friend, to be his personal envoy to the nations holding Iraq’s massive debt. Assigned to the goal of persuading them to forgive the tens of billions of dollars owed by Saddam’s regime, Baker immediately found himself sabotaged by Wolfowitz who declared that the allies that are owed most of that debt would not be permitted to bid on the US$18.6 billion in reconstruction contracts since they had opposed the US war effort.

That Wolfowitz’s policy was soon watered down was an indication that the neocons influence, at least for the moment, was waning. Ironically, being named the Jerusalem Post’s Man of the Year for 2003, 94 may have been his last hurrah.

How much Baker will become involved in other aspects of the administration’s agenda remains to be seen, but as Lobe pointed out, “the fact that he is now in the White House and dealing directly with all of Washington's major allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East on the future of Iraq, if not the entire region, places him in the thick of the administration's foreign policy, to put it mildly. From now on, very little is likely to be decided on anything that affects Iraq or US alliances without his input.” 95 If true, this is not good news for either the neocons or Israel. Like most of the officials of the first Bush administration, Baker opposed the present Gulf War, believing it would destabilize the oil-rich region, but more than that, his relations with Israel and the Israel lobby while Secretary of State were, at times, openly hostile.96

Even without the appointment of Baker, the neocons were taking nothing for granted. In January, Perle and former Bush speechwriter David Frum came out with a book, appropriately entitled, “An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror" 97 which calls for duplicating the Iraq experience, if necessary, anywhere on the globe but with a particular focus on Syria, Iran and Hizbollah which, as we have seen, just happens to match Israel’s enemies list. For good measure, they are against a Palestinian state. A press release for the book claims that it “will define the conservative point of view [they don’t like the term, neo-cons] on foreign policy for a new generation—and shape the agenda for the 2004 presidential-election year and beyond.”

The younger Bush has an affinity to Baker, who helped him secure Florida's electoral votes in 2000 following the state’s contested balloting, but he also is aware of what happened to his father in 1992 when, backed by Baker, the senior Bush boldly challenged Israel and the lobby over Israel’s request for $10 billion in loan guarantees, which many observers believe may have cost him the election.98  Given that background, the contest of wills within the Bush administration in the coming months may be at least as interesting, and, perhaps, as significant as the 2004 election itself.                                              

 

If the past is prologue, however, expect the lobby to come out on top.

 

[complete text to be published in Left Curve, april 2004. Courtesy Geoffrey Blkankfort]

 

Footnotes

(.../...)

 

70. New York Times, April 10, 2003

71. Time, December 31, 2003

72. Bill Keller, New York Times Magazine, Sep. 22, 2002

73. Ibid.

74. Carnegie Endowment for Peace

75. Glasgow Sunday Herald, Sep. 15, 2002

76. Ibid.

77. newamericancentury.org, Feb. 19,1998

78.        Middle East Labor Bulletin, Vol. 3/2 Summer-Fall, 1991

79.        Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2000

80.        New York Times, Jan. 30, 1998

81.        San Francisco Bay Guardian, Nov. 20, 2002

82.        Speech in the Rose Garden, April 4, 2002

83.        Washington Post, April 19, 2002

84.        Forward, Dec. 13, 2002

85.        New Yorker, May 12, 2003

86.        New York Times, 9/24/01

87.        Washington Post, Dec. 5, 2003

88.        Ibid.

89.        Forward, March 14, 2003

90.        London Observer, Sep. 21, 2003

91.        Jerusalem Post, Dec. 8, 2003

92.        Guardian, Dec. 9, 2003

93.        Interpress News Service, Dec. 16, 2003

94.        Jerusalem Post, Oct. 23, 2003.

95.       Interpress News Service, op.cit.

96. Moshe Arens, “Broken Covenant,” Simon and Shuster, 1995.

97. David Frum and Richard Perle, “An End to Evil: How to Win the    War on Terror,” Random House, 2004

98. J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power, Addison-Wesley, 1996.

 


 

 

9.            ED BLANCHE

 

 

Neocons at work: Israel gets its 1st slice of Iraqi pie

 

Some US political playmakers seem keen to help jewish state penetrate arab world

Saddam Hussein's ouster offers way around obstacles,

via business deals if necessary,for Israeli interests to be promoted

 

BEIRUT: Long before the American neoconservatives led by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Dick Cheney and others became the ideological soul of the Bush administration, their intention was to make Israel unassailable. The cataclysm of Sept. 11, 2001, allowed them to put that plan into action. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein and eliminating one of Israel's most implacable foes was a key objective. Once that was achieved, the new, US-controlled Iraq could be used to help Israel penetrate the Arab world, if not by diplomatic recognition then by other means.

So it did not come as a surprise last week when the Israeli media reported that Israel's Sonol fuel company is supplying US forces in Iraq with 25 million liters of refined fuel a month under a $70 million-$80 million contract. The contract was awarded by Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, whose dealings in Iraq under the Bush administration have stirred great controversy, not least because Cheney is its former CEO.

Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, but occupation forces have to import refined fuel because of the constant sabotage of oil installations and pipelines and because of poor maintenance of refineries over the years, particularly during the 12 years of UN sanctions that ended once Saddam was overthrown.

The deal with Sonol, one of Israel's largest oil-product marketing firms, is the first known commercial link between Israel and Iraq since US-led forces toppled Saddam in April 2003. But there may well be others, because Israeli companies have been trying to find a way around political roadblocks that prevent them from operating in Iraq under US cover.

There is a more far-reaching element involved in Israeli efforts to build ties with Iraq, which under Saddam was one of its most vociferous enemies: reaching out to the wider Arab world as it started to do after the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

The Sonol deal has emerged following months of backroom lobbying by Israeli business interests in Washington with the Bush administration for access to Iraq's multi-billion-dollar reconstruction program. For political reasons, the administration and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad have excluded Israeli firms as main contractors in the vast array of projects under way in Iraq. The Israelis have accepted that. But they have been pressing hard for subcontractor deals, and the Sonol contract could be the first.

Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman, recently gave an indication that this was the Israelis' way in. There were, he said, "very few restrictions on subcontractors."

The State Department oversees the reconstruction program, but Boucher added that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have their own rules for tenders in Iraq that might involve companies with Israeli connections. Still, Israel was absent from a December 2003 list of countries eligible to participate in tenders. Israel's exclusion was to avoid antagonizing the Arab world, which is already hostile to US policy in the Middle East.

Israel's desire to exploit US control of Iraq became abundantly clear in early 2003, when Israel's finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, annulled a long-standing prohibition on Israeli companies trading with Iraq, opening the door for possible business following Saddam's removal.

Dozens of companies began procedures to export to Iraq. In August 2003, Israel's Export Institute organized a one-day conference in Tel Aviv on how to do business in Iraq.

Since then the Israelis have been looking for loopholes. One route is to join up with foreign companies that are acceptable to both the Americans and the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

Jordanian and Turkish companies that have experience doing business with Iraq are favored, but firms from other countries which supported the US invasion of Iraq, such as Australia, Britain and Spain, are also being targeted.

Israeli companies, particularly in the field of agriculture, have made significant, albeit discreet, inroads into the Muslim republics of Central Asia since the Cold War ended in 1991. The corporate structures they have built there, particularly in relation to Caspian Sea oil, could also be useful when it comes to getting into Iraq by the back door. Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in particular are closely allied with Israeli commercial interests and Israeli military intelligence.

Some time before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Jewish lobby groups in Washington, seeing the possibility of strengthening Israel's relations with the Arab world, initiated contacts with the Iraqi National Congress (INC), the umbrella organization for a variety of groups opposed to Saddam and which was backed by the Pentagon. These contacts were encouraged by the administration's neocons.

Among the key INC people they dealt with were the organization's leader, Ahmed Chalabi, and the director of the INC's Washington office, Entifadah Qanbar. They encouraged the Jewish groups to believe that once Saddam had been eliminated, good relations with Israel were possible. In that, they were recklessly optimistic.

Iraqi hostility toward Israel pre-dated Saddam by several decades and anyway it became clear once Saddam had been ousted that Chalabi and his cohorts, most of whom had lived in exile for decades, were not popular in postwar Iraq and were unlikely to hold high office. Intelligence they provided to the Americans before, and even after, the invasion proved to be deeply flawed and often dangerously misleading.

In the meantime, Israel is more tightly involved in Iraq on the security front. A delegation from Israel's foreign intelligence service, Mossad, reportedly visited Baghdad in August 2003 to coordinate anti-terrorist efforts with the Americans.

US forces have consulted the Israelis on counterinsurgency strategies and urban warfare, and the results of this have been that US military operations have begun to look increasingly like Israeli operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip _ hardly likely to encourage Iraqis to deal with Israel.

There have been suggestions in Israel that an old oil pipeline built during the British Mandate in Palestine, from the Kirkuk oil fields in northern Iraq to the port of Haifa on the Mediterranean, could be rebuilt, opening a new export route from Iraq to Western Europe and the US as well as providing Israel with its fuel requirements. The pipeline, which ran through Jordan, was closed in 1948 when Israel became a state. The Jordanian section was sold for scrap years ago.

Politically, reviving that oil route seems to be non-starter. It would antagonize most Iraqis and the Arab world at large. It would also become a target for saboteurs, just as Iraq's other pipelines are now. But the idea continues to be kicked around in Washington and Jerusalem.

The Middle East Economic Survey, a highly respected Cyprus-based oil industry newsletter, reported as recently as July 3, 2003, that an Israeli oil delegation had held secret talks with Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to examine the possibility of reactivating the pipeline _ presumably if the Kurds establish an independent state that incorporates the Kirkuk oil fields which the Kurds have long claimed as theirs.

In the early 1970s, the Israelis, with CIA backing, supported Iraq's Kurds in their separatist war against the Baghdad regime, but abandoned them in 1975 when the Shah of Iran made peace with Iraq and the Kurds became a political liability. No doubt the Kurds have not forgotten that betrayal, but in the final analysis, getting a new state off the ground requires pragmatism rather than passion.

 

Ed Blanche, a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, is a Beirut-based journalist who has covered Middle Eastern affairs for three decades. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Star


 

 

 

 

10.       MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY

 

 

America's War for Global Domination

 

The following is the background text of Michel Chossudovsky's public lecture at the Society for the Defense of Civil Rights and Human Dignity (GBM), Berlin, 10-11 December, 2003 and Humboldt University, Berlin, 12 December 2003. On Human Rights Day, 10 December 2003, Michel Chossudovsky was awarded The 2003 Human's Rights Prize of the Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and Human Dignity (GBM).

 

We are the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history. The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are part of a broader military agenda, which was launched at the end of the Cold War. The ongoing war agenda is a continuation of the 1991 Gulf War and the NATO led wars on Yugoslavia (1991-2001). The post Cold War period has also been marked by numerous US covert intelligence operations within the former Soviet Union, which were instrumental in triggering civil wars in several of the former republics including Chechnya (within the Russian Federation), Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the latter, these covert operations were launched with a view to securing strategic control over oil and gas pipeline corridors.

US military and intelligence operations in the post Cold War era were led in close coordination with the "free market reforms" imposed under IMF guidance in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, which resulted in the destabilization of national economies and the impoverishment of millions of people. The World Bank sponsored privatization programmes in these countries enabled Western capital to acquire ownership and gain control of a large share of the economy of the former Eastern block countries. This process is also at the basis of the strategic mergers and/or takeovers of the former Soviet oil and gas industry by powerful Western conglomerates, through financial manipulation and corrupt political practices. In other words, what is at stake in the US led war is the recolonization of a vast region extending from the Balkans into Central Asia.

The deployment of America's war machine purports to enlarge America's economic sphere of influence. The U.S. has established a permanent military presence not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has military bases in several of the former Soviet republics on China's Western frontier. In turn, since 1999, there has been a military buildup in the South China Sea. War and Globalization go hand in hand. Militarization supports the conquest of new economic frontiers and the worldwide imposition of "free market" system.

 

The Next Phase of the War

 

The Bush administration has already identified Syria as the next stage of "the road map to war". The bombing of presumed 'terrorist bases' in Syria by the Israeli Air Force in October was intended to provide a justification for subsequent pre-emptive military interventions. Ariel Sharon launched the attacks with the approval of Donald Rumsfeld. (See Gordon Thomas, Global Outlook, No. 6, Winter 2004). This planned extension of the war into Syria has serious implications. It means that Israel becomes a major military actor in the US-led war, as well as an 'official' member of the Anglo-American coalition.

The Pentagon views 'territorial control' over Syria, which constitutes a land bridge between Israel and occupied Iraq, as 'strategic' from a military and economic standpoint. It also constitutes a means of controlling the Iraqi border and curbing the flow of volunteer fighters, who are traveling to Baghdad to join the Iraqi resistance movement.

This enlargement of the theater of war is consistent with Ariel Sharon's plan to build a 'Greater Israel' "on the ruins of Palestinian nationalism". While Israel seeks to extend its territorial domain towards the Euphrates River, with designated areas of Jewish settlement in the Syrian heartland, Palestinians are imprisoned in Gaza and the West Bank behind an 'Apartheid Wall'.

In the meantime, the US Congress has tightened the economic sanctions on Libya and Iran. As well, Washington is hinting at the need for a 'regime change' in Saudi Arabia. Political pressures are building up in Turkey. So, the war could indeed spill over into a much broader region extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian sub-continent and China's Western frontier.

 

The "Pre-emptive" Use of Nuclear Weapons

 

Washington has adopted a first strike "pre-emptive" nuclear policy, which has now received congressional approval. Nuclear weapons are no longer a weapon of last resort as during the cold War era. The US, Britain and Israel have a coordinated nuclear weapons policy. Israeli nuclear warheads are pointed at major cities in the Middle East. The governments of all three countries have stated quite openly, prior to the war on Iraq, that they are prepared to use nuclear weapons "if they are attacked" with so-called "weapons of mass destruction." Israel is the fifth nuclear power in the World. Its nuclear arsenal is more advanced than that of Britain.

Barely a few weeks following the entry of the US Marines into Baghdad, the US Senate Armed Services Committee gave the green light to the Pentagon to develop a new tactical nuclear bomb, to be used in conventional war theaters, "with a yield [of up to] six times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb".

Following the Senate decision, the Pentagon redefined the details of its nuclear agenda in a secret meeting with senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex held at Central Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The meeting was held on August 6, the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 58 years ago. The new nuclear policy explicitly involves the large defense contractors in decision-making. It is tantamount to the "privatization" of nuclear war. Corporations not only reap multibillion dollar profits from the production of nuclear bombs, they also have a direct voice in setting the agenda regarding the use and deployment of nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has unleashed a major propaganda and public relations campaign with a view to upholding the use nuclear weapons for the "defense of the American Homeland." Fully endorsed by the US Congress, the mini-nukes are considered to be "safe for civilians". This new generation of nuclear weapons is slated to be used in the next phase of this war, in "conventional war theatres" (e.g. in the Middle East and Central Asia) alongside conventional weapons.

In December 2003, the US Congress allocated $6.3 billion solely for 2004, to develop this new generation of "defensive" nuclear weapons. The overall annual defense budget is of the order of 400 billion dollars, roughly of the same order of magnitude as the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Russian Federation. While there is no firm evidence of the use of mini-nukes in the Iraqi and Afghan war theatres, tests conducted by Canada's Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), in Afghanistan confirm that recorded toxic radiation was not attributable to 'heavy metal' depleted uranium ammunition (DU), but to another unidentified form of uranium contamination:  "some form of uranium weapon had been used (...) The results were astounding: the donors presented concentrations of toxic and radioactive uranium isotopes between 100 and 400 times greater than in the Gulf War veterans tested in 1999."[103] 

 

The Planning of War

 

The war on Iraq has been in the planning stages at least since the mid-1990s. A 1995 National Security document of the Clinton administration stated quite clearly that the objective of the war is oil. "to protect the United States' uninterrupted, secure U.S. access to oil. In September 2000, a few months before the accession of George W. Bush to the White House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published its blueprint for global domination under the title: "Rebuilding America's Defenses." The PNAC is a neo-conservative think tank linked to the Defense-Intelligence establishment, the Republican Party and the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which plays a behind-the-scenes role in the formulation of US foreign policy.

The PNAC's declared objective is quite simple - to: "Fight and decisively win in multiple, simultaneous theater wars". This statement indicates that the US plans to be involved simultaneously in several war theaters in different regions of the World. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had commissioned the PNAC blueprint prior to the presidential elections.

The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest. It calls for "the direct imposition of U.S. "forward bases" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East "with a view to ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential "rival" or any viable alternative to America's vision of a 'free market' economy" (See Chris Floyd, Bush's Crusade for empire, Global Outlook, No. 6, 2003)

 

The Role of "Massive Casualty Producing Events"

 

The PNAC blueprint also outlines a consistent framework of war propaganda. One year before 9/11, the PNAC called for "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," which would serve to galvanize US public opinion in support of a war agenda[104]. The PNAC architects seem to have anticipated with cynical accuracy, the use of the September 11 attacks as "a war pretext incident." The PNAC's reference to a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" echoes a similar statement by David Rockefeller to the United Nations Business Council in 1994:  "We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order." 

Similarly, in the words Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard:  "…it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus [in America] on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter was one of the key architects of the Al Qaeda network, created by the CIA at the onslaught of the Soviet Afghan war (1979-1989).

The "catastrophic and catalyzing event" as stated by the PNAC is an integral part of US military-intelligence planning. General Franks, who led the military campaign into Iraq, pointed recently (October 2003) to the role of a "massive casualty-producing event" to muster support for the imposition of military rule in America[105]. Franks identifies the precise scenario whereby military rule will be established: "a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event."[106]

This statement from an individual, who was actively involved in military and intelligence planning at the highest levels, suggests that the "militarisation of our country" is an ongoing operational assumption. It is part of the broader "Washington consensus". It identifies the Bush administration's "roadmap" of war and "Homeland Defense." Needless to say, it is also an integral part of the neoliberal agenda. The "terrorist massive casualty-producing event" is presented by General Franks as a crucial political turning point. The resulting crisis and social turmoil are intended to facilitate a major shift in US political, social and institutional structures. General Franks' statement reflects a consensus within the US Military as to how events ought to unfold. The "war on terrorism" is to provide a justification for repealing the Rule of Law, ultimately with a view to "preserving civil liberties."

Franks' interview suggests that an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack will be used as a "trigger mechanism" for a military coup d'tat in America. The PNAC's "Pearl Harbor type event" would be used as a justification for declaring a State of emergency, leading to the establishment of a military government. In many regards, the militarisation of civilian State institutions in the US is already functional under the facade of a bogus democracy.

 


 

War Propaganda

 

In the wake of the September attacks on the World Trade Center, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics: “The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries -- as an effort to influence public opinion across the world”[107].

And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and "troublesome" media stories that "its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests."[108] "Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing."[109] Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon's Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: "[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war."[110]

Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the "Office's intended functions are being carried out". A number of government agencies and intelligence units -with links to the Pentagon- remain actively involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as "humanitarian interventions" geared towards "regime change" and "the restoration of democracy". Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as "peace-keeping". The derogation of civil liberties - in the context of the so-called "anti-terrorist legislation" - is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security" and upholding civil liberties.

 

The Central Role of Al Qaeda in Bush's National Security Doctrine

 

Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive "defensive war" doctrine and the "war on terrorism" against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon's propaganda campaign. The objective is to present "preemptive military action" --meaning war as an act of "self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "rogue States" and "Islamic terrorists": "The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. …America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed. …Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction (…) The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.  The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction- and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."[111]

To justify pre-emptive military actions, the National Security Doctrine requires the "fabrication" of a terrorist threat, --ie. "an outside enemy." It also needs to link these terrorist threats to "State sponsorship" by the so-called "rogue states." But it also means that the various "massive casualty-producing events" allegedly by Al Qaeda (the fabricated enemy) are part of the National Security agenda. In the months building up to the invasion of Iraq, covert 'dirty tricks' operations were launched to produce misleading intelligence pertaining to both Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Al Qaeda, which was then fed into the news chain. In the wake of the war, while the WMD threat has been toned down, Al Qaeda threats to 'the Homeland' continue to be repeated ad nauseam in official statements, commented on network TV and pasted on a daily basis across the news tabloids. And underlying these manipulated realties, "Osama bin Laden" terrorist occurrences are being upheld as a justification for the next phase of this war. The latter hinges in a very direct way:

1) the effectiveness of the Pentagon-CIA propaganda campaign, which is fed into the news chain.

2) The actual occurrence of "massive casualty producing events" as outlined in the PNAC

What this means is that actual ("massive casualty producing") terrorist events are part and parcel of military planning.

 

Actual Terrorist Attacks

 

In other words, to be "effective" the fear and disinformation campaign cannot solely rely on unsubstantiated "warnings" of future attacks, it also requires "real" terrorist occurrences or "incidents", which provide credibility to the Washington's war plans. These terrorist events are used to justify the implementation of "emergency measures" as well as "retaliatory military actions". They are required, in the present context, to create the illusion of "an outside enemy" that is threatening the American Homeland. The triggering of "war pretext incidents" is part of the Pentagon's assumptions. In fact it is an integral part of US military history[112].

In 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had envisaged a secret plan entitled "Operation Northwoods", to deliberately trigger civilian casualties to justify the invasion of Cuba: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," "We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington" "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."[113] There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks, including those in Indonesia (2002), India (2001), Turkey (2003) and Saudi Arabia (2003).

According to the reports, the attacks were undertaken by organizations (or cells of these organizations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The intelligence asset is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors. The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties? For instance, in the case of the 2002 Bali bomb attack, the alleged terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah had links to Indonesia's military intelligence (BIN), which in turn has links to the CIA and Australian intelligence.

The December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament --which contributed to pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war-- were allegedly conducted by two Pakistan-based rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure") and Jaish-e-Muhammad ("Army of Mohammed"), both of which according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are supported by Pakistan's ISI[114]. (). What the CFR fails to acknowledge is the crucial relationship between the ISI and the CIA and the fact that the ISI continues to support Lashkar, Jaish and the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM), while also collaborating with the CIA[115].

 

A 2002 classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon "calls for the creation of a so-called 'Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group'  (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to 'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces."[116]  The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This  "prodding of terrorist cells" under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.

In this regard, covert support by the US military and intelligence apparatus has been channeled to various Islamic terrorist organizations through a complex network of intermediaries and intelligence proxies. In the course of the 1990s, agencies of the US government have collaborated with Al Qaeda in a number of covert operations, as confirmed by a 1997 report of the Republican Party Committee of the US Congress[117]. In fact during the war in Bosnia US weapons inspectors were working with Al Qaeda operatives, bringing in large amounts of weapons for the Bosnian Muslim Army. In other words, the Clinton Administration was "harboring terrorists". Moreover, official statements and intelligence reports confirm links between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001)[118].

The Bush Administration and NATO had links to Al Qaeda in Macedonia. And this happened barely a few weeks before September 11, 2001, Senior U.S. military advisers from a private mercenary outfit on contract to the Pentagon, were fighting alongside Mujahideen in the terrorist attacks on the Macedonian Security forces. This is documented by the Macedonian press and statements made by the Macedonian authorities[119]. The U.S. government and the Islamic Militant Network were working hand in glove in supporting and financing the National Liberation Army (NLA), which was involved in the terrorist attacks in Macedonia. In other words, the US military was collaborating directly with Al Qaeda barely a few weeks before 9/11.

 


 

Al Qaeda and Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI)

 

It is indeed revealing that in virtually all post 9/11 terrorist occurrences, the terrorist organization is reported (by the media and in official statements) as having "ties to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda". This in itself is a crucial piece of information. Of course, the fact that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA is neither mentioned in the press reports nor is it considered relevant to an understanding of these terrorist occurrences. The ties of these terrorist organizations (particularly those in Asia) to Pakistan's military intelligence (ISI) is acknowledged in a few cases by official sources and press dispatches. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), some of these groups are said to have links to Pakistan's ISI, without identifying the nature of these links. Needless to say, this information is crucial in identifying the sponsors of these terrorist attacks. In other words, the ISI is said to support these terrorist organizations, while at same time maintaining close ties to the CIA.

 

September 11

 

While Colin Powell --without supporting evidence-pointed in his February 2003 UN address to "the sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network", official documents, press and intelligence reports confirm that successive US administrations have supported and abetted the Islamic militant network. This relationship is an established fact, corroborated by numerous studies, acknowledged by Washington's mainstream think tanks. Both Colin Powell and his Deputy Richard Armitage, who in the months leading up to the war casually accused Baghdad and other foreign governments of "harboring" Al Qaeda, played a direct role, at different points in their careers, in supporting terrorist organizations. Both men were implicated --operating behind the scenes-- in the Irangate Contra scandal during the Reagan Administration, which involved the illegal sale of weapons to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contra paramilitary army and the Afghan Mujahideen[120].

Moreover, both Richard Armitage and Colin Powell played a role in the 9/11 cover-up. The investigations and research conducted in the last two years, including official documents, testimonies and intelligence reports, indicate that September 11 was an carefully planned intelligence operation, rather than a act conducted by a terrorist organization[121].

 The FBI confirmed in a report made public late September 2001 the role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence. According to the report, the alleged 9-11 ring leader, Mohammed Atta, had been financed from sources out of Pakistan. A subsequent intelligence report confirmed that the then head of the ISI General Mahmoud Ahmad had transferred money to Mohammed Atta[122].

Moreover, press reports and official statements confirm that the head of the ISI, was an official visit to the US from the 4th to 13th of September 2001. In other words, the head of Pakistan's ISI, who allegedly transferred money to the terrorists also had a close personal relationship with a number of senior Bush Administration officials, including Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage, whom he met in the course of his visit to Washington[123].

 

The Antiwar Movement

 

A cohesive antiwar movement cannot be based solely on the mobilization of antiwar sentiment. It must ultimately unseat the war criminals and question their right to rule. A necessary condition for bringing down the rulers is to weaken and eventually dismantle their propaganda campaign. The momentum of the large anti-war rallies in the US, the European Union and around the world, should lay the foundations of a permanent network composed of tens of thousands of local level anti-war committees in neighborhoods, work places, parishes, schools, universities, etc. It is ultimately through this network that the legitimacy of those who "rule in our name" will be challenged.

To shunt the Bush Administration's war plans and disable its propaganda machine, we must reach out to our fellow citizens across the land, in the US, Europe and around the world, to the millions of ordinary people who have been misled on the causes and consequences of this war. This also implies fully uncovering the lies behind the "war on terrorism" and revealing the political complicity of the Bush administration in the events of 9/11. September 11 is a hoax. It's the biggest lie in US history.

Needless to say, the use of "massive casualty producing events" as pretext to wage war is a criminal act. In the words of Andreas van Buelow, former German Minister of Technology and author of The CIA and September 11:  "If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars." Yet it is not sufficient to remove George W. Bush or Tony Blair, who are mere puppets. We must also address the role of the global banks, corporations and financial institutions, which indelibly stand behind the military and political actors.

Increasingly, the military-intelligence establishment (rather than the State Department, the White House and the US Congress) is calling the shots on US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Texas oil giants, the defense contractors, Wall Street and the powerful media giants, operating discreetly behind the scenes, are pulling the strings. If politicians become a source of major embarrassment, they can themselves be discredited by the media, discarded and a new team of political puppets can be brought to office.

 

Criminalization of the State

 

The "Criminalization of the State", is when war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide "who are the criminals", when in fact they are criminals. In the US, both Republicans and Democrats share the same war agenda and there are war criminals in both parties. Both parties are complicit in the 9/11 cover-up and the resultant quest for world domination. All the evidence points to what is best described as "the criminalisation of the State", which includes the Judiciary and the bipartisan corridors of the US Congress. Under the war agenda, high ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military, the US Congress and the Judiciary have been granted the authority not only to commit criminal acts, but also to designate those in the antiwar movement who are opposed to these criminal acts as "enemies of the State."

More generally, the US military and security apparatus endorses and supports dominant economic and financial interests - i.e. the build-up, as well as the exercise, of military might enforces "free trade". The Pentagon is an arm of Wall Street; NATO coordinates its military operations with the World Bank and the IMF's policy interventions, and vice versa. Consistently, the security and defense bodies of the Western military alliance, together with the various civilian governmental and intergovernmental bureaucracies (e.g. IMF, World Bank, WTO) share a common understanding, ideological consensus and commitment to the New World Order.

To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems like WMDs) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled. More generally we must reverse the "free market" reforms, dismantle the institutions of global capitalism and disarm financial markets. The struggle must be broad-based and democratic encompassing all sectors of society at all levels, in all countries, uniting in a major thrust: workers, farmers, independent producers, small businesses, professionals, artists, civil servants, members of the clergy, students and intellectuals. The antiwar and anti-globalisation movements must be integrated into a single worldwide movement. People must be united across sectors, "single issue" groups must join hands in a common and collective understanding on how the New World Order destroys and impoverishes.

The globalization of this struggle is fundamental, requiring a degree of solidarity and internationalism unprecedented in world history. This global economic system feeds on social divisiveness between and within countries. Unity of purpose and worldwide coordination among diverse groups and social movements is crucial. A major thrust is required which brings together social movements in all major regions of the world in a common pursuit and commitment to the elimination of poverty and a lasting world peace.

 

 

11.       MICHAEL C. RUPPERT

 

 

The Bush-Cheney Drug Empire

The Bush family's involvement in drug-running is an open secret,

but Dick Cheney's direct link to a global drug pipeline through

a US construction company is less well known.

 

From Medellin to Moscow with Brown & Root

 

Halliburton Corporation's Brown & Root is one of the major components of the Bush-Cheney Drug Empire. The success of Bush Vice-Presidential running mate Richard Cheney at leading Halliburton, Inc. to a five-year, US$3.8 billion "pig-out" on federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans is only a partial indicator of what may happen, now that the Bush ticket has won the US presidential election.

A closer look at available research, including an August 2, 2000 report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) (http://www.public-i.org/), suggests that drug money has played a role in the successes achieved by Halliburton under Cheney's tenure as CEO from 1995 to 2000. This is especially true for Halliburton's most famous subsidiary, heavy construction and oil giant Brown & Root. A deeper look into history reveals that Brown & Root's past - as well as the past of Dick Cheney himself - connects to the international drug trade on more than one occasion and in more than one way.

Last June, the lead Washington, DC, attorney for a major Russian oil company connected in law enforcement reports to heroin smuggling, and also a beneficiary of US-backed loans to pay for Brown & Root contracts in Russia, held a $2.2 million fundraiser to fill the already bulging coffers of presidential candidate George W. Bush. This is not the first time that Brown & Root has been connected to illegal drugs, and the fact is that this "poster child" of American industry may also be a key player in Wall Street's efforts to maintain domination of the half-trillion-dollar-a-year global drug trade and its profits. And Dick Cheney, who has also come closer to illegal drugs than most suspect and who is also Halliburton's largest individual shareholder ($45.5 million), has a vested interest in seeing to it that Brown & Root's successes continue.

Of all the American companies dealing directly with the US military and providing cover for CIA operations, few firms can match the global presence of this giant construction powerhouse which employs 20,000 people in more than 100 countries. Through its sister companies or joint ventures, Brown & Root can build offshore oil rigs, drill wells and construct and operate everything from harbours and pipelines to highways and nuclear reactors. It can train and arm security forces and it can now also feed, supply and house armies. One key beacon of Brown & Root's overwhelming appeal to agencies like the CIA is that, as it proudly announces from its own corporate web page, it has received the contract to dismantle ageing Russian nuclear-tipped ICBMs in their silos. Furthermore, the relationships between key institutions, players and the Bushes themselves suggest that under a George "W" Administration the Bush family and its allies, using Brown & Root as the operational interface, may well be able to control the drug trade all the way from Medelln to Moscow.

Originally formed as a heavy construction company to build dams, Brown & Root grew its operations via shrewd political contributions to Senate candidate Lyndon Johnson in 1948. Expanding into the building of oil platforms, military bases, ports, nuclear facilities, harbours and tunnels, Brown & Root virtually underwrote LBJ's political career. It prospered as a result, making billions on US Government contracts during the Vietnam War. The Austin Chronicle, in an August 28, 2000 Op-Ed piece entitled "The Candidate from Brown & Root", labels Republican Cheney as the political dispenser of Brown & Root's largesse. According to political campaign records, during Cheney's five-year tenure at Halliburton the company's political contributions more than doubled to $1.2 million. Not surprisingly, most of that money went to Republican candidates.

Independent news service Newsmakingnews also describes how in 1998, with Cheney as Chairman, Halliburton spent $8.1 billion to purchase oil industry equipment and drilling supplier Dresser Industries. This made Halliburton a corporation that will have a presence in almost any future oil drilling operation anywhere in the world. And it also brought back into the family fold the company which had once (also in 1948) sent a plane to fetch the new Yale graduate George H.W. Bush to begin his career in the Texas oil business. Bush the elder's father, Prescott, served as a managing director for the firm that once owned Dresser: Brown Brothers Harriman.

 

Brown & Root’s Special Operations

 

It is clear that everywhere there is oil there is Brown & Root. But increasingly, everywhere there is war or insurrection there is Brown & Root also. From Bosnia and Kosovo to Chechnya, Rwanda, Burma, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Mexico and Colombia, Brown & Root's traditional operations have expanded from heavy construction to include the provision of logistical support for the US military. Now, instead of US Army quartermasters, the world is likely to see Brown & Root warehouses storing and managing everything from uniforms and rations to vehicles.

Dramatic expansion of Brown & Root's operations in Colombia also suggests Bush preparations for a war-inspired feeding frenzy as a part of "Plan Colombia". This is consistent with moves by former Bush Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady to open a joint Colombian&endash;American investment partnership called Corfinsura for the financing of major construction projects with the Colombian Antioquia Syndicate, headquartered in Medelln (see FTW, June 2000).

And expectations of a ground war in Colombia may explain why Brown & Root, in a 2000 Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, reported that in addition to owning more than 800,000 square feet of warehouse space in Colombia, it also leases another 122,000 square feet. According to the Brown & Root Energy Services Group filing, the only other places where the company maintains warehouse space are in Mexico (525,000 square feet) and the United States (38,000 square feet).

According to the website of Colombia's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency, Brown & Root had no presence in the country until 1997. What does Brown & Root - which according to Associated Press (AP) has made more than $2 billion supporting and supplying US troops - know about Colombia that the United States public does not? Why the need for almost a million square feet of warehouse space which can be transferred from one Brown & Root operation (energy services) to another (military support) with the stroke of a pen?

As described by AP, during the "Iran-Contra" era Congressman Dick Cheney of the House Intelligence Committee was a rabid supporter of Marine Lt Col. Oliver North. This was in spite of the fact that North had lied to Cheney in a private 1986 White House briefing. Oliver North's own diaries and subsequent investigations by the CIA Inspector-General have irrevocably tied him directly to cocaine smuggling during the 1980s and the opening of bank accounts for one firm moving four tons of cocaine a month. This, however, did not stop Cheney from actively supporting North's (unsuccessful) 1994 run for the US Senate from Virginia - just a year before he took over the reins at Brown & Root's parent company, Dallas-based Halliburton, Inc., in 1995.

As the Bush Secretary of Defense during Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990&endash;91), Cheney also directed special operations involving Kurdish rebels in northern Iran. The Kurds' primary source of income for more than 50 years has been heroin smuggling from Afghanistan and Pakistan through Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

Having had some personal experience with Brown & Root, I noted carefully when the Los Angeles Times observed that on March 22, 1991 a group of gunmen burst into the Ankara, Turkey, offices of joint venture Vinnell, Brown & Root and assassinated retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant John Gandy.

In March 1991, tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees, long-time assets of the CIA, were being massacred by Saddam Hussein in the wake of the Gulf War. Saddam, seeking to destroy any hopes of a successful Kurdish revolt, found it easy to kill thousands of the unwanted Kurds who had fled to the Turkish border seeking sanctuary. There, Turkish security forces - trained in part by the Vinnell, Brown & Root partnership - turned thousands of Kurds back into certain death.

Today, the Vinnell Corporation (a TRW company) is one of the three pre-eminent private mercenary corporations in the world, along with the firms MPRI and DynCorp (see FTW, June 2000). It is also the dominant entity for the training of security forces throughout the Middle East.

Not surprisingly, the Turkish border regions in question were the primary transshipment points for heroin produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan, destined for the markets of Europe.

A confidential source with intelligence experience in the region subsequently told me that the Kurds "got some payback against the folks that used to help them move their drugs". He openly acknowledged that Brown & Root and the Vinnell Corporation both routinely provided NOC (non-official cover) for CIA officers. But I already knew that.

From 1994 to 1999, during US military intervention in the Balkans - where, according to The Christian Science Monitor and Jane's Intelligence Review, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) controls 70 per cent of the heroin entering Western Europe - Cheney's Brown & Root made billions of dollars supplying US troops from vast facilities in the region. Brown & Root support operations continue in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia to this day.

Dick Cheney's footprints have come closer to drugs than one might suspect. The Center for Public Integrity's August 2000 report brought them even closer. It would be correct to say that there is a direct linkage of Brown & Root facilities - often set up in remote, hazardous regions - with every drug-producing region and every drug-consuming region in the world. These coincidences, in and of themselves, do not prove complicity in the trade. Other facts, however, lead inescapably in that direction.

 

A direct drug link to Dick Cheney

 

The CPI report entitled "Cheney Led Halliburton to Feast at Federal Trough", written by veteran journalists Knut Royce and Nathaniel Heller, describes how, under five years of Cheney's leadership, Halliburton, largely through subsidiary Brown & Root, enjoyed $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer- insured loans. The loans had been granted by the Export&endash;Import Bank (EXIM) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). According to Ralph McGehee's CIA Base, both institutions are heavily infiltrated by the CIA and routinely provide NOC to its officers.

One of those loans, to Russian financial/banking conglomerate The Alfa Group of Companies, contained $292 million to pay for Brown & Root's contract to refurbish a Siberian oil field owned by the Russian Tyumen Oil Company. The Alfa Group completed its 51 per cent acquisition of Tyumen Oil in what was allegedly a rigged bidding process in 1998. An official Russian Government report claims that The Alfa Group's top executives, oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, "allegedly participated in the transit of drugs from Southeast Asia through Russia and into Europe". These same executives, Fridman and Aven, who reportedly smuggled the heroin in connection with Russia's Solntsevo mob family, were the same ones who applied for the EXIM loans that Halliburton's lobbying later safely secured. As a result, Brown & Root's work in Alfa Tyumen oil fields could continue - and expand.

After describing how organised criminal interests in The Alfa Group had allegedly stolen the oil field by fraud, the CPI story - using official reports from the FSB (the Russian equivalent of the FBI), oil companies such as BP&endash;Amoco, former CIA and KGB officers and press accounts - then established a solid link to Alfa Tyumen and the transportation of heroin. In 1995, sacks of heroin disguised as sugar had been stolen from a rail container leased by Alfa Eko and sold in the Siberian town of Khabarovsk. A problem arose when many residents of the town became "intoxicated" or "poisoned".

The CPI story also stated: "The FSB report said that within days of the incident, Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) agents conducted raids of Alfa Eko buildings and found 'drugs and other compromising documentation'.

"Both reports claim that Alfa Bank has laundered drug funds from Russian and Colombian drug cartels.

"The FSB document claims that at the end of 1993, a top Alfa official met with Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, the now imprisoned financial mastermind of Colombia's notorious Cali cartel, 'to conclude an agreement about the transfer of money into the Alfa Bank from offshore zones such as the Bahamas, Gibraltar and others'. The plan was to insert it back into the Russian economy through the purchase of stock in Russian companies.

"...He [the former KGB agent] reported that there was evidence 'regarding [Alfa Bank's] involvement with the money laundering of...Latin American drug cartels'."

It then becomes harder for Cheney and Halliburton to assert mere coincidence in all of this, as CPI reported that Tyumen's lead Washington attorney, James C. Langdon, Jr, at the firm of Aikin Gump, "...helped coordinate a $2.2 million fundraiser for Bush this June. He then agreed to help recruit 100 lawyers and lobbyists in the capital to raise $25,000 each for W's campaign."

The heroin mentioned in the CPI story originated in Laos, where longtime Bush allies and covert warriors Richard Armitage and retired CIA ADDO (Associate Deputy Director of Operations) Ted Shackley have been repeatedly linked to the drug trade. It then made its way across Southeast Asia to Vietnam, probably the port of Haiphong. Then the heroin was shipped to Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok, from where it was subsequently bounced across Siberia by rail and then by truck or rail to Europe, passing through the hands of Russian Mafia leaders in Chechnya and Azerbaijan. Chechnya and Azerbaijan are hotbeds of both armed conflict and oil exploration, and Brown & Root has operations all along this route.

As described in previous issues of FTW, this long, expensive and tortuous path was hastily established after President George Bush's personal envoy Richard Armitage, holding the rank of Ambassador, had travelled to the former Soviet Union to assist it with its "economic development" in 1989. The obstacles, then, to a more direct, profitable and efficient route from Afghanistan and Pakistan through Turkey into Europe were a cohesive Yugoslavian/Serbian Government controlling the Balkans and continuing instability in the Golden Crescent of Pakistan/ Afghanistan. Also, there was no other way, using heroin from the Golden Triangle (Burma, Laos and Thailand), to deal with China and India but to go around them.

It is perhaps not by coincidence again that Cheney and Armitage share membership in the prestigious Aspen Institute, an exclusive bi-partisan research think-tank, and also in the US&endash; Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce. In November 1999, in what may be a portent of things to come, Armitage played the role of Secretary of Defense in a practical exercise at the Council on Foreign Relations, of which he and Cheney are both members.

Many of the longest-serving and best Bush apparatchiks like Richard Armitage and CIA veteran Ted Shackley have heavy political baggage. Since governmental power is so evenly split after the long election as to appear contrived, it is unlikely that controversial nominees for cabinet positions like Armitage or Shackley will be placed before a 50&endash;50 Senate which is unlikely to confirm them. Armitage is more likely to appear as a quasi-official adviser in troubled European regions. This is similar to the roles he performed for George Bush in 1989 in Russia and in 1992 in Albania. Armitage's travels presaged both the Chechen and Kosovar conflicts and the rampant expansion of the drug trade through those regions.

 


 

Drug Pipeline Streamlined

 

The Clinton Administration took care of all that wasted travel for heroin with the 1999 destruction of Serbia and Kosovo and the installation of the KLA as a regional power. That opened a direct line from Afghanistan to Western Europe - and Brown & Root was right in the middle of that, too.

The Clinton skill at streamlining drug operations was described in detail in the April 2000 issue of FTW in a story entitled "The Democratic Party's Presidential Drug Money Pipeline". That article has since been reprinted in three countries. The essence of the drug economic lesson was that by growing opium in Colombia and by smuggling both cocaine and heroin from Colombia to New York City through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (a virtual straight line), traditional smuggling routes could be shortened or even eliminated. This reduced both risk and cost, increased profits and eliminated competition.

FTW suspects the hand of Medelln cartel co-founder Carlos Lehder in this process, and it is interesting to note that Lehder, released from prison under Clinton in 1995, is now active in both the Bahamas and South America. Lehder was known during the 1980s as "the genius of transportation". I can well imagine Dick Cheney, having witnessed the complete restructuring of the global drug trade in the last eight years, going to George W. and saying, "Look, I know how we can make it even better".

One thing is for certain. As quoted in the CPI article, one Halliburton vice-president noted that if the Bush&endash;Cheney ticket were elected, "the company's government contracts would obviously go through the roof".

 

The Dark Part

 

In July 1977, this writer, then a Los Angeles Police officer, struggled to make sense of a world gone haywire. In a last-ditch effort to salvage a relationship with my fiance, Nordica Theodora D'Orsay (Teddy), a CIA contract agent, I had travelled to New Orleans to find her. On a hastily arranged vacation, secured with the blessing of my commanding officer, Captain Jesse Brewer of LAPD, I had gone on my own, unofficially, to avoid the scrutiny of LAPD's Organized Crime Intelligence Division (OCID).

Teddy had wanted me to join her operations from within the ranks of LAPD, starting in the late spring of 1976. I had refused to get involved with drugs in any way, and everything she mentioned seemed to involve either heroin or cocaine, along with the guns which she was always moving out of the country. The Director of the CIA then was George Herbert Walker Bush.

Although officially on staff at the LAPD Academy at the time, I had been unofficially lent to OCID since January when Teddy, announcing the start of a new operation planned in the fall of 1976, suddenly disappeared. She left many people, including me, baffled and twisting in the breeze. The OCID detectives had been pressuring me hard for information about her and what I knew of her activities. It was information I could not give them. Hoping against hope that I would find some way to understand her involvement with CIA, LAPD, the royal family of Iran, the Mafia and drugs, I set out alone into eight days of Dantean revelations which have determined the course of my life from that day to this.

Arriving in New Orleans in early July 1977, I found Teddy living in an apartment across the river in Gretna. Equipped with scrambler phones and night vision devices, and working from sealed communiqus delivered by navy and air force personnel from nearby Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, she was involved in something truly ugly. Teddy was arranging for large quantities of weapons to be loaded onto ships leaving for Iran. At the same time, she was working with Mafia associates of New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello to coordinate the movement of service boats which were bringing large quantities of heroin into the city. The boats arrived at Marcello-controlled docks, unmolested by even the New Orleans police she introduced me to, along with divers, military men, former Green Berets and CIA personnel. The service boats were retrieving the heroin from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, in international waters - oil rigs built and serviced by Brown & Root.

The guns which Teddy monitored, apparently Vietnam-era surplus AK47s and M16s, were being loaded onto ships also owned or leased by Brown & Root. And more than once during the eight days I spent in New Orleans, I met and ate at restaurants with Brown & Root employees who were boarding those ships and leaving for Iran within days. Once, while leaving a bar and apparently having asked the wrong question, I was shot at in an attempt to scare me off.

Disgusted and heartbroken at witnessing my fiance and my government smuggling drugs, I ended the relationship. Returning home to LA, I made a clean breast and reported all the activity I had seen, including the connections to Brown & Root, to LAPD intelligence officers. They promptly told me that I was crazy.

Forced out of LAPD under threat of death at the end of 1978, I made complaints to LAPD's Internal Affairs Division and to the LA office of the FBI under the command of FBI SAC Ted Gunderson. I and my attorney wrote to the politicians, the Department of Justice and the CIA, and contacted the Los Angeles Times. The FBI and the LAPD said that I was crazy.

A 1981 two-part news story in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner revealed that the FBI had taken Teddy into custody and then released her before classifying their investigation without further action. Former New Orleans Crime Commissioner Aaron Cohen told reporter Randall Sullivan that he found my description of events perfectly plausible after his 30 years of studying Louisiana's organised crime operations.

To this day, a CIA report prepared as a result of my complaint remains classified and exempt from release, pursuant to executive order of the President, in the interests of national security and because it would reveal the identities of CIA agents.

On October 26, 1981, in the basement of the West Wing of the White House, I reported on what I had seen in New Orleans to my friend and UCLA classmate, Craig Fuller. Fuller went on to become Chief of Staff to Vice- President Bush from 1981 to 1985.

In 1982, then UCLA political science professor Paul Jabber filled in many of the pieces in my quest to understand what I had seen in New Orleans. He was qualified to do so because he had served as a CIA and State Department consultant to the Carter Administration.

Paul explained that, after a 1975 treaty between the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein of Iraq, the Shah had cut off all overt military support for Kurdish rebels fighting Saddam from the north of Iraq. In exchange, the Shah had gained access to the Shatt al'Arab waterway so that he could multiply his oil exports and income. Not wanting to lose a valuable long-term asset in the Kurds, the CIA had then used Brown & Root - which operated in both countries and maintained port facilities in the Persian Gulf and near Shatt al'Arab - to rearm the Kurds. The whole operation had been financed with heroin. Paul was matter-of-fact about it.

In 1983, Paul Jabber left UCLA to become a Vice-President of Banker's Trust and Chairman of the Middle East Department of the Council on Foreign Relations.

 


 

The World’s biggest free enterprise

 

If one is courageous enough to seek an "operating system" which theoretically explains what FTW has just described for you, one need look no further than a fabulous two-part article published in Le Monde Diplomatique in April 2000. The stories, focusing heavily on drug capital, are titled "Crime, The World's Biggest Free Enterprise". The brilliant and penetrating words of authors Christian de Brie and Jean de Maillard do a better job of explaining the actual world economic and political situation than anything I have ever read.

De Brie writes: "By allowing capital to flow unchecked from one end of the world to the other, globalisation and abandonment of sovereignty have together fostered the explosive growth of an outlaw financial market...

"It is a coherent system closely linked to the expansion of modern capitalism and based on an association of three partners: governments, transnational corporations and mafias. Business is business: financial crime is first and foremost a market, thriving and structured, ruled by supply and demand.

"Big business complicity and political laissez faire is the only way that large-scale organised crime can launder and recycle the fabulous proceeds of its activities. And the transnationals need the support of governments and the neutrality of regulatory authorities in order to consolidate their positions, increase their profits, withstand and crush the competition, pull off the 'deal of the century' and finance their illicit operations. Politicians are directly involved and their ability to intervene depends on the backing and the funding that keep them in power. This collusion of interests is an essential part of the world economy, the oil that keeps the wheels of capitalism turning."

After confronting CIA Director John Deutch on world television on November 15, 1996, I was interviewed by the staff of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. I prepared written testimony for Senate Intelligence which I submitted, although I was never called to testify. In every one of those interviews and in my written testimony and every lecture since that time, I have told the story of Brown & Root.

 

In God (Gold, Oil, Drugs) we trust

 

Make no mistake about it. The United States is preparing for war. Events immediately following the 2000 US election debacle are ominous predictors for the Bush&endash;Cheney Administration. While not all of the cabinet posts are yet filled, the key posts of Treasury, Defense, Justice and National Security Advisor point to the most militarised oil-and-big-business-friendly administration in 35 years.

So thorough is the plan for control of the government that the son of Secretary of State (Designate) Colin Powell, in an appointment which has yet to receive much notice, has been appointed the new Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. This is the body which monitors and polices all commercial broadcasting in the United States.

With Colin Powell as Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense and Dick Cheney as Vice-President, the highest levels of the US Government now house two former Secretaries of Defense and the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The new National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, while African-American, has a long track record of service to Republican administrations and also sits on the board of directors of Chevron Oil, which has recently named an oil tanker after her. Her lacklustre operational credentials indicate that she will probably serve as the designated messenger between Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld and Cheney and as the African-American poster girl for coming military adventurism.

Of special interest as this story goes to press is the strongest rumour among my sources that current CIA Director George Tenet, appointed to the post by President Clinton in 1997, will remain in the new Bush Administration. Based upon this writer's study of CIA operations and history, this strongly suggests two things. Firstly, it implies that the CIA, as a non-partisan servant of Wall Street, feels that its interests have been - and will continue to be - well served by Tenet, who is well liked at Langley. Most importantly, however, it suggests that there are operations, both covert and otherwise, in motion under CIA control which are moving at a speed and with a force that will not accept a break in rhythm for a change in directors. Most critical among these would be the start of the planned conflict in Colombia.

Since the advent of the atomic bomb, the United States has always needed two kinds of enemies. On one level, it has needed a tactical enemy that it can go out and fight in the field in a shooting war. Since 1945, these enemies have been created and appeared as North Korea, North Vietnam, Grenada, El Salvador, Panama, Iraq and now Colombia. On another level, however, the US needs a strategic enemy that will justify outrageous expenditures of capital for strategic weapon systems like ICBMs, Trident submarines and "Star Wars" missile defence systems.

With the new Bush Administration already contemplating a policy change that would make Colombian rebels (as opposed to drug traffickers) the targets of US military aid, as has been reported by AP, there is no doubt where the next shooting war is going to be. And with the militarised Bush cabinet making a missile defence shield a priority, it looks as though either China or Russia will become the next big enemy of choice. In the end, profitability will decide. For the moment, the less-than-credible paper threat is from unspecified "rogue nations". We can be certain, however, that the shifting economic pressure plates around the world will reveal our next demon soon enough. Halliburton is uniquely placed to profit from either eventuality.

As it was in Vietnam, Central America and Kosovo, drugs continue to be a huge part of the financial plan for prolonged ground wars. As one cynic put it, "GOD" stands for "Gold, Oil and Drugs". We can be assured that an empire (as opposed to a republic) is emerging in the United States more quickly than many have expected. And the Bush Administration is already acting in a "godlike" manner. It is an empire that may have little need of even the pretence of democracy as American corporate fascism removes its mask in the wake of our election circus, the prostitution of our Supreme Court and the virtual destruction of American government as a servant of anything other than money, greed and power.

 

Sources:

* Aspen Institute, http://www.aspeninst.org/.

* Associated Press, "Study: US Could Save Cost in Balkans", October 10, 2000.

* Associated Press, "Cheney, North Relationship Probed", August 11, 2000.

* Austin Chronicle, August 28, 2000.

* "CIA Base" 1992, Ralph McGehee.

* CIA Inspector-General, "Report of Investigation: Allegations of Connections Between CIA and the Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States. Volume II: The Contra Story", Report 96-0143-IG.

* Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 1994.

* Council on Foreign Relations, http://www.cfr.org/.

* De Brie, Christian and Jean de Maillard, "Crime, The World's Biggest Free Enterprise", Le Monde Diplomatique, April 2000.

* Halliburton/Brown & Root, www.Halliburton.com/brs.

* Jane's Intelligence Review, February 1, 1995.

* Los Angeles Herald Examiner, October 11 & 18, 1981.

* Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1991.

* Newsmakingnews, "The Dick Cheney Data Dump", August 27, 2000, http://www.newsmakingnews.com/.

* New York Press, January 8, 2000.

* New York Times Index, http://www.nytimes.com/.

* Royce, Knut and Nathaniel Heller, "Cheney Led Halliburton to Feast at Federal Trough", Center for Public Integrity, August 2, 2000, www.public-i.org/story_01_080200.htm.

* Ruppert, Michael C., written testimony for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, dated October 1, 1997; see www.copvcia.com/ssci.htm, and From The Wilderness 4/99, 4/00, 6/00.

* Securities and Exchange Commission, "Edgar" Database, http://www.sec.gov/.

* Tarpley, Webster Griffin and Anton Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Executive Intelligence Review, Washington, DC, 1992.

* US&endash;Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, http://www.usacc.com/.

* Vinnell Corporation, http://www.vinnell.com/.

 


 

12.       ISSA G. SHIVJI

 

 

Law’s Empire and Empire’s Lawlessness:

Beyond the Anglo-American Law

 

 

Law's Empire has been irreversibly shattered by the Empire's lawlessness of which the recent invasion and occupation of Iraq was the highest and most cynical expression. The outrage created by the invasion cut across the globe as it hurt every human sensitivity. Thought was ridiculed, conscience was wounded, and traditions of humanity mocked.

 

There was a sense of despair and hopelessness. But human spirit is indomitable. Millions, of all ages, marched the streets in 650 cities, simultaneously, with one voice: ‘No Blood for Oil.’ In this the peoples of the world showed their common humanity bound by blood against imperial barbarism thirsty for oil.

 

I had originally accepted the invitation to this Conference on ‘Re-making Law in Africa’ and also one in Coimbra, Portugal on ‘Law and Justice in the XXIst Century’. After witnessing the devastating destruction in Iraq, I couldn't simply bring myself to sit and write a paper on the re-making of law and justice when all of this had been ruthlessly 'massacred' in this invasion. I declined to attend as a small, perhaps insignificant, statement of protest. Instead, from afar, I share a few thoughts with you as an expression of solidarity.

 

For those of us who come from Africa, the hypocrisy and the double standards of the Western Establishment are not new. We have got accustomed to it. Yet, barring intellectual sceptics and political opportunists, the admirers, nay believers, in values of Enlightenment and the virtues of Rule of Law have been many and not far between. The Nkrumahs and the Nyereres, the Mandelas and the Mondlanes were all steeped in Western liberal values and crafted the demands of their people's independence in the language of law and rights. When accused of liberalism by left students in the 1960s, the author of Socialism and Self-reliance, Julius Nyerere, quipped: ‘I am a bourgeois democrat at heart!’

 

The nationalist critique of the Western legal, moral and political order, which, in any case, the African leaders adopted in their countries, was from within. It was a critique, which highlighted the divergence between the ideal and the real, between theory and practice, between the desirable and the achievable. The fundamental premises of the Western legal thought and its world outlook, however, remained, by and large, unchallenged.

 

Some of us who adopted more radical approaches, albeit still within Western traditions, did not perhaps subscribe wholly to Thompson's thesis that the rule of law was an ‘unqualified good’. Yet we, too, saw in bourgeois law and legality, space for struggle to advance the social project of human liberation and emancipation. Law, we argued, was a terrain of struggle; that rule of law, while expressing and reinforcing the rule of the bourgeoisie, did also represent the achievement of the working classes; that even though bourgeois democracy was a limited class project, it was an advance over authoritarian orders and ought to be defended. The legal discourse, whether liberal or radical, thus remained rooted in Western values, exalting the Law's Empire.

 

To be sure, in my part of the world, the law faculty and students went beyond the confines of legal discourse. The sixties and seventies saw an upsurge in interdisciplinary approaches to law. We crafted new courses like ‘law and development’, read theories of imperialism and demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. Imperialism was on the defensive.

 

We studied history and political economy. We discovered and recorded the crimes of imperialism against our people. We came to know how our continent was depopulated and its social fabric devastated by the slave trade and then colonialism. We were enraged. We were equally enraged as we read how the industrial revolution in Britain was built on the backs of child labour and American development rose from the genocide of the indigenous 'Indian' population and the enslavement of our brothers and sisters. In disgust, we learnt that while the pundits of capitalism glorified competition, the textile houses of Lancashire conspired to have the hands of Indian craftsmen chopped off so as to destroy India's textile industry. Although all this was history, we were outraged because imperialism continued to be with us and showed its most brutal and ugly face as it napalmed Vietnam. Apartheid South Africa, with the connivance of imperialism, armed RENAMO creating havoc in the newly liberated Mozambique. American multinationals continued to rape the resources of the then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. In much of the rest of Africa the cold war continued to be fought by the superpowers through their proxies leaving the dead, the maimed and the malnourished in its wake.

 

Eventually the Lilliputian Vietnam demolished, morally and militarily, giant America. David defeated Goliath. The backward Portuguese empire collapsed. We were inspired. Imperialism was demoralised. Then came the restoration.

 

The Berlin wall fell. Imperialism rode on the triumphalist wave to rehabilitate itself. Douglas Hurd, the then British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, heaved a sigh of relief: ‘we are slowly putting behind us a period of history when the West was unable to express a legitimate interest in the developing world without being accused of ‘neo-colonialism’.’ The moral rehabilitation of imperialism was first and foremost ideological which in turn was constructed on neo-liberal economic precepts - ‘free’ market, privatisation, liberalisation, etc - the so-called Washington consensus. Human rights, NGOs, good governance, multiparty democracy, and rule of law were all rolled together with privatisation and liberalisation, never mind that they were utterly incompatible.

 

The ‘new’ comeback of rule of law had little to do with the original Enlightenment values, which underlay it. This time around it came as both a farce and a tragedy. Farce because the law was not being made by the representatives of the people. International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and their consultants dictated it. Tragedy because the national sovereignty won by the colonised people was all but lost except in name, and this time around, as John Pilger says somewhere, without a gunboat in sight. But guns were never out of sight. Witness Panama. Witness Sudan. Witness Somalia and Iraq and Iraq again.

 

Globalisation, through the laws of privatisation and liberalisation, struck at the heart of the democratic legislative process. Then, lo! behold, came nine-eleven. Mr Bush picked up his ‘phone to receive pre-arranged messages of support from African leaders, one after another. Everyone was told to fall in line. ‘You are either with us or with terrorists’. No African leader could dare say anything even remotely close to what the Iranian leader said: ‘We're neither with you nor with the terrorists!’. Iran was promptly included in the axis of evil.

 

One after another, African countries enacted similar anti-terrorism statutes, contrary to their own constitutions which had provided for bill of rights. The anti-terrorist laws made no pretence of rule of law. Due process, integrity and certainty of rules, open trials, principles of natural justice, right of appeal were all dispensed with. The definitions of terrorism are so wide that these laws are worse then some of the draconian statutes legislated during the one-party authoritarian rule. Opposition to anti-terrorist law was ruthlessly suppressed. In my country, the President devoted the whole of his monthly speech reprimanding the opponents of the anti-terrorist law.

 

If privatisation laws stabbed the heart of the legislative process, the anti-terrorism laws tore the artery of the judicial process. The rhetoric of the rule of law was exposed to be what it was - a rhetoric. As elsewhere, the Americans are now in the saddle training our police in anti-terrorism. They will soon establish a regional school to train spies, of course, to spy on us, the people, the supposed beneficiaries of human rights, due process, and the rule of law.

 

This is only a beginning though. The trends are clear. On the West Coast of Africa, the American multinationals are striking roots to control oil resources while on the Eastern board, from Djibouti to, eventually, perhaps, Zanzibar, the Marines are establishing military bases. Who rules Africa today?

 

One could multiply examples to prove the point. But it is not necessary. The point is that the Empire's lawlessness does not lie simply in acting against the rules of law but in violating the underlying values which constitute the legitimacy of law. So what remains of the ‘majesty’ of law?

 

The exercise of authority (coercion) without legitimacy (consensus) is part of the definition of fascism. If Iraq demonstrates anything clearly, it is that American imperialism is tending towards fascism. And when this fascism is combined with barbarism on the scale and cynicism witnessed in Iraq, the consequences for the whole of humanity are likely to be too devastating to contemplate.

 

What is then the role and responsibility of the intellectual in this situation? I want to suggest a few pointers.

 

First, I want to suggest that the Empire's lawlessness in the sense described here can no longer be explained in terms of the divergence between the ideal and the real. It is no more a question of double standards or not matching deeds with words. Rather, the very ‘word’ is wanting. The Law and its premises, the liberal values underlying law, the Law's Empire itself needs to be interrogated and overturned. In other words, fascism is not an aberration, it is the logical consequence of imperialism, and when imperialism runs amok, you get ‘Iraq’.

 

Second, whatever the achievements of Western bourgeois civilisation, these are now exhausted. We are on the threshold of reconstructing a new civilisation, a more universal, a more humane, civilisation. And that cannot be done without defeating and destroying imperialism on all fronts. On the legal front, we have to re-think law and its future rather than simply talk in terms of re-making it. I do not know how, but I do know how not. We cannot continue to accept the value-system underlying the Anglo-American law as unproblematic. The very premises of law need to be interrogated. We cannot continue accepting the Western civilisation's claim to universality. Its universalization owes much to the argument of force rather than the force of argument. We have to rediscover other civilisations and weave together a new tapestry borrowing from different cultures and peoples.

 

Third, this can only be done if we think globally and humanly. While, for a long time to come, we may still have to act locally, there is no reason why we cannot think globally, all the time. The massive anti-war demonstrations happening simultaneously on the same day is a pointer in this direction. The anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist demonstrations at the conferences of the rich is another example of re-thinking the very basis of the Western, imperial civilisation.

 

Fourthly, as always, we as intellectuals have to interrogate our own commitment. We cannot simply allow ourselves to be ‘embedded’. In a message to the World Congress of Intellectuals, Albert Einstein could say:

 

We have learned that rational thinking does not suffice to solve the problems of our social life … We scientists, whose tragic destiny it has been to help make the methods of annihilation even more gruesome and more effective, must consider it our solemn and transcendent duty to do all in our power in preventing these weapons from being used for the brutal purpose for which they were invented. What task could possibly be more important to us? What social aim could be closer to our hearts?

 

Can we say the same? Before even some intellectuals as journalists embedded themselves in the military to mis-report on the war, how many more intellectuals as scientists, as advisors and consultants and spokespersons and speech-writers, were embedded in the Establishment to produce cluster bombs and in justifying and rationalising their use? And since the invasion, how many more are getting embedded in lending legitimacy to the so-called ‘reconstruction’ - read, ‘continued occupation and exploitation’.

 

Some 40 years ago, Georg Lukcs warned his fellow intellectuals of their responsibility. It is as relevant today as it was then. Let Lucks remind us of our responsibility in the present situation and our attitude towards imperialism.

 

This new stage in the development of imperialism will quite probably not be called fascism. And concealed behind the new nomenclature lies a new ideological problem: the 'hungry' imperialism of the German brought forth a nihilistic cynicism, which openly broke with all traditions of humanity. The fascist tendencies arising today in the U.S.A. work with the method of a nihilistic hypocrisy. They carry out the suppression and exploitation of the masses in the name of humanity and culture.

 

Let us look at an example. It was necessary for Hitler, supported by Gobineau and Chamberlain, to formulate a special theory of races in order to mobilize demagogically his masses for the extermination of democracy and progress, humanism and culture. The imperialists of the U.S.A. have it easier. They need only universalize and systematize their old practices concerning the Negroes. And since these practices have up to now been 'reconcilable' with the ideology portraying the U.S.A. as a champion of democracy and humanism, there can be no reason why such a Weltanschauung of nihilist hypocrisy could not arise there, which by demagogic means, could become dominant.

 

Has Georg Lucks been proved right after 40 years?

 

It behoves upon us not to let this pass. I believe it was Eisenhower who said: What is good for General Motors is good for America. Bush is saying: What is good for America is good for the whole world. We should say: Nothing is good enough unless it is good for the entire humanity.

 

Issa G. Shivji is Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

This is a commentary published on: 30 May 2003

 

Citation: Shivji, I ‘Law’s Empire and Empire’s Lawlessness: Beyond the Anglo-American Law’, 2003 (1) Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal (LGD). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/global/issue/2003-1/shivji.html>

 


 

13.       LIEVEN DE CAUTER

 

“The Bloody Mystifications of the New World Order”

 

 

1. The Sovereign and bare life

 

Homo Sacer is a series of books about and against the new world order, the violent establishment of which we are experiencing at this very moment. The goal of the series as a whole is to expose the new world order as a state of exception. Indeed, Homo Sacer can be seen as one long commentary in line with Walter Benjamin’s thesis, which claims that the state of exception is becoming the rule. The foreword to Part I is quite clear on this point: “Now that major State structures have fallen into decline and a state of exception, as predicted by Benjamin, has become the rule, it is once more time to raise the matter of borders and the original structure of the State, and to view these issues in a new light.”  It cannot be emphasised enough that Homo Sacer is a criticism of the State. In the last paragraph, Agamben is even more explicit: “This book, which was initially intended as a response to the bloody mystification of a new world order, has been forced to examine issues -first and foremost, the sanctity of life - which were not foreseen at the outset.” The concluding lines of the introduction call for the revision of all concepts linked to the relevant social sciences - “dans l’urgence de la catastrophe” (in light of the urgency of the catastrophe). Let us review the first book and the entire series from the perspective of this hint - ultimately, what is at stake is a response to the bloody mystifications of the new world order - and from the perspective of this urgency.

            The first volume, which deals with sovereign power and bare life, is based on the distinction that the Greeks made between zoē, or life in its natural state, and bios, the qualified, cultural form of life. One pole represents ‘true’ politicised life in the polis or community, and the other stands for the factual, animal functioning of the living organism as such. One pole is the public sphere, which gives life meaning, and the other is the private sphere, interpreted here as that which does not exist for others and which bears no significance or value. Following Foucault, Agamben argues that biopolitics - that is, the intervention of authorities into citizens’ bodily, biological lives - forms the basis of modern politics. Drawing from a discerning analysis of the paradox of sovereign power in the first part of his book, Agamben concludes that, when all is said and done, sovereign power is the control of bare life: the authority over citizens’ life and death, a concept expressed in the state of exception. Hence sovereign power not only upholds the law, but also, and above all else, maintains the right to suspend the law and to declare a state of exception. (This is what the Nazis did in 1933, when they came into power, but to this day every sovereign State has the right to protect the constitution, when deemed necessary, by suspending basic rights such as freedom of speech). With this argument, Agamben reviews (from the perspective of Carl Schmitt) the core of the whole political philosophy of the West: the natural state is not a condition that precedes the social contract and the well-ordered society. It is the state of exception that lies in wait, as a potential instrument of sovereign power, at the heart of every political system and every constitution. Sovereign power, therefore, is the dark agency that generates the law and, in so doing, stands above or outside the law; it is also that to which the law returns, as it were. Sovereign power is and remains that which, as the ‘principle’ of legitimation, determines that which is a state of exception and, subsequently, whether it is necessary to repeal the law. 

            In contrast to sovereign power, which is above the law, is the exile, whose position is outside the law. And this is where, in the second part of the book, the homo sacer appears. Sacer is a name for that which is excluded from the ‘common community’ and thus has no ‘common rights’ and no significance: sacer is life that can be ended without committing murder, and that can be liquidated but not even sacrificed with dignity. Agamben shows that ‘the sacred person’ is being subjected to excommunication (an exclusion that is simultaneously an inclusion: the isolation of the exception), because he is being cast out of both human and religious legal systems. The (political) refugee is an ideal modern example of this archaic ban, a person reduced to bare life with no rights. The refugee abides in a zone where the distinction between zoē and bios, between mere life and a humane existence, has been eliminated. Illegal aliens and asylum seekers are those who can no longer claim citizenship; they have been reduced to living organisms, to bare life.

            In a third part of the book, Agamben takes a closer look at modern biopolitics. He uses the (extra)judicial structure of concentration camps as a casestudy. According to Agamben, the camp is precisely the place in which the distinction between zoē and bios, private survival and public participation, disappears. The camp exists outside the law. It is not a prison - people are imprisoned under the law and have the rights afforded a prisoner - but a sort of enclave beyond any judicial sphere. It can be compared to our enclosed asylum centres, often near airports, which are actually transit zones and not part of the national territory, given the absence of civil rights in such places. The fact that anything was possible in the camps, says Agamben, cannot be comprehended through moral indignation (aimed at Hitler’s willing executioners, for example): it is intrinsic to the nature of the camp. Since the dawn of modernity, birth has been the foundation of the nation: an individual becomes a citizen of a country through birth (natio). This process gives the nation a biopolitical basis. Before being transported to the camps, Jews were first stripped of their civil rights and, finally, of all rights: they were reduced to bare life - life that could be ‘disposed of’ without death being murder or sacrifice. 

After reflecting on the dark ‘undersides’ of justice and society, and on the boundaries of life and death, Agamben presents three bold propositions: “1. The original political relation is the ban (the state of exception as a zone within which inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion, are indistinguishable). 2. The fundamental work of sovereign power is the production of bare life as original political element and as threshold between nature and culture, between the organic and the human, between zoē and bios. 3. The camp and not the city is currently the biopolitical paradigm of the West.” These three propositions are food for thought, in the deepest sense of the expression. Reading the book changes and sharpens one’s view of the State, of human rights, of organ transplantation, of the status of outsiders (political refugees and asylum seekers) - in short, it changes one’s view of the world. Someone aptly referred to Agamben’s Homo Sacer as a contrast liquid that, having been injected into the societal body, makes things visible that were previously invisible. 

           

2. The State of Exception (Part II, 1)

 

Etat d’Exception, the second part of the cycle, is based on the conclusion that no coherent theory of the state of exception existed previously, because jurists considered such a state to be a situation outside the sphere of the law. It is indeed a paradox: the state of exception is a form of legality that can have no legal form. The state of exception is the discontinuance of legal order to preserve legality, a disintegration of the State for the purpose of defending the State. The state of exception is closely connected to civil war, because it responds to extreme domestic unrest. Nazism can be seen as a twelve-year-long state of exception, or even as a legal civil war (a potential theme for the second, or perhaps third, section of Part II). Agamben's hypothesis is the following: that “the state of exception increasingly tends to become the dominant paradigm of governing in today’s politics”. He then uses the Patriot Act and Guantanamo as examples. “The immediate biopolitical significance of the state of exception as an original structure in which the law confines the living through its own suspension appears clearly in de military order issued by the President of the United States on 13 November 2001, which permits the indefinite detention of non-nationals suspected of participation in terrorist activities.”  This order, according to Agamben, expunges the legal status of the individual and creates a “juridically ineligible and unclassifiable subject”. The Guantanamo detainees are neither prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Convention, nor defendants who fall under the jurisdiction of the American legal system. The situation of the occupants of Guantanamo can be compared only to that of the Jews in the Lager: this is bare life outside the scope of the law. With this example, Agamben combines his hypothesis of the camp as paradigm with that of the state of exception. One can presume that, in the Homo Sacer series, the hypothesis of the state of exception as a planetary paradigm will supersede that of the camp, because the former is easier than the latter to defend and to discuss in a general sense.

            ‘Martial law’ (tat de sige) is another name for the state of exception. Agamben emphasises that the modern state of exception is rooted in the democratic-revolutionary tradition and not in absolutism. He quotes from the constitution that went into effect after the French Revolution (22 Frimaire of the year VIII, art. 92): “In the case of armed revolt or riots that pose a threat to the security of the State, the law can, at places and times that it determines, repeal the constitution [suspendre l'empire de la constitution].” A basic problem concerning the state of exception is the ongoing and increasing penetration of executive power into legislative power. After a long and disconcerting excursus on the “short history of the state of exception”, in which he explains not only that since World War I a state of exception characterises fascism and National Socialism, but also that elements of the state of exception are penetrating normal forms of government in America and England, Agamben closes with the following statement: “Bush is in the process of creating a situation in which necessity is the rule, and in which the distinction between peace and war (and between external war and global civil war) becomes impossible.” Seldom does Agamben express his opinions so explicitly. Indeed, the War on Terrorism can be better understood as a state of exception declared throughout the entire world and enabled by the de facto position of the United States as global sovereign: a nation openly trying to seize power by upsetting the international world order of the United Nations and by waging pre-emptive wars against so-called rogue states. 

            Here Agamben develops a genuine archaeology of the state of exception based on historical material, primarily Roman law, and commentaries, with Carl Schmitt and Benjamin as guides. He deals first with the question of whether the state of exception is a political or a juridical phenomenon, and thus whether or not it falls within the law, and then addresses the category of need or necessity, which according to political theology and the theory of law justifies the exception (‘necessity knows no law’). In mediaeval times, the exception was outside the law, while modern theories attempt to include the state of exception within the law, thereby creating a zone of indefiniteness. Thus Agamben arrives at a rather manneristic formula: force-de-loi (hyphenated and with loi crossed out): the word of the sovereign/dictator carries the force of the law precisely because the law is not in force.

            Agamben sees the modern version of the state of exception as a situation produced by modern law and the democratic State (with its roots in Roman law). With respect to what he calls “the machine of the state of exception”, Agamben comes to the following conclusion: “What we wanted to demonstrate precisely is that it has been functioning, almost without interruption, since World War I, through fascism and National Socialism, up to the present. Today the state of exception has reached its broadest level of planetary development. As a result, the normative aspect of law can be forgotten and contradicted with impunity by governmental force that repudiates international law externally and creates a permanent state of exception internally, while still claiming to enforce the law.” Without naming names, Agamben clearly addresses the Bush Administration with respect to the illegal war against and the occupation of Iraq, as well as to the Patriot Act, which suspends numerous civil rights. With this in mind, we can sharpen our interpretation of the text: Homo Sacer is a project that opposes the new American imperial world order, which it sees as the most dangerous instigator of the planetary state of exception. As a whole, of course, the series is much more, thanks to its finely detailed microanalyses and the comprehensive nature of the focal points towards which the entire movement of the author’s thinking is directed.

            What Agamben is trying to unravel is our new political condition. According to a crystal-clear formulation recorded in his philosophical diary notes, Dans cet exil, which conclude Moyens sans Fins, the current political condition can be understood only as total confusion of the political and the private: “Life in a state of exception that has become the rule means that the distinction between our biological body and our political body disappears, that experiences once defined as political are unexpectedly diverted to our biological body and that private experiences suddenly appear outside us, as a political body. We have had to get used to thinking and writing within this confusion of bodies and places, of inside and outside, of what is mute and what has language, of what is slave and what is free, of what is need and what is desire. This means, I must admit, experiencing absolute powerlessness and repeatedly being confronted with loneliness and silence precisely where we had expected fellowship and language. . . . Today, however, it is from this uncertain terrain, this dark zone of indifference, that we must find the way back to another type of politics, another body, another language. Under no circumstances would I wish to abandon this blurred distinction between public and private, biological body and political body, zoē and bios. . . . Only politics stemming from this awareness can hold my interest.” 

 

3. A key to resistance?  

 

A hypothesis to be derived from Agamben’s books is that the Bush Administration has declared a planetary state of exception. Clearly, declaring a state of exception in instance after instance is at the heart of America’s new national-emergency policy: many prisoners of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been detained at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), a site chosen for its location outside American territory. Consequently, the Bush Administration claims that American legislation on the treatment of prisoners is not applicable in such cases. (America’s conduct at Guantanamo has already been the focus of rebuke by various human-rights organisations.) The aforementioned doctrine of ‘pre-emptive attack’, withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, rejection of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Patriot Act that suspends many basic civil rights (searching private homes without search warrants is once again possible), the post-9/11 deportation of thousands of immigrants who had lived in the United States for years, the total neglect of the poor and the unemployed (many left to fend for themselves in ghettos such as Skid Row in L.A.) and, last but not least, the refusal to participate in the International Criminal Court in The Hague (a decision reinforced by The Hague Invasion Act, which allows the United States to use military force to free American citizens detained by the ICC), and the privitisation of War via the boom of the paramilitary industry since the war in Iraq - all this: a highly alarming constellation of major and minor facts that ranges from micropolitical violations of civil rights (searches without search warrants) to macropolitical violations of international law (pre-emptive attacks on what America labels potentially dangerous ‘rogue States’) - all this clearly shows that American exceptionalism is slipping into a state of exception that includes the United States itself. 

Perhaps the Homo Sacer series would gain in clarity if one volume would delve more concretely into the present, into matters all too briefly laid out in the preceding paragraph with regard to America’s imperial policy of the exception. Particularly in need of further development and more concrete consideration as the series continues are relations among the State, individual (vassal) States and America’s new policy of imperialism (which has bowled over international law, as well as civil and human rights - completely in line with Agamben’s prediction of a planetary state of exception, traceable to his intuitive thinking of 1993; that is, shortly after the first Gulf War, as the elder Bush was establishing the new world order). New relationships, the new contours of State powers and, above all, post-state-socialist (neo-imperial?) forms of power and force receive too little attention in de Homo Sacer series - perhaps the research is still in progress, and future volumes will catch up with current events bit by bit. On the other hand, Agamben is a philosopher, not a journalist or a historian. His task is not to write political chronicles, but to provide us with tools for concrete political analysis and criticism. And it is here that the series fulfils its promise. In a certain sense, Agamben’s work has predicted the present-day situation. His rather oracular expression from 1995, “the bloody mystifications of the new world order”, has become crystal-clear only recently: today the term ‘bloody’ is certainly not a stylistic slip of the tongue or a far-fetched metaphor, and ‘mystification’ has taken on unexpected meanings and reached new heights - countless books and websites feature the ‘web of lies’ that has been spun around the illegal invasion of Iraq. Because Agamben continually points to the link that connects, on the one hand, the rise of biopolitics, the emergence of bare life as an increasingly extreme fusion of private and public, and the confusion between biological bodies and political bodies; and, on the other hand, a planetary state of exception that is no longer deniable, it goes without saying that this series is becoming his magnum opus (it will be six to seven books in all). It is already one of the more important philosophical contributions to beginning insights into the political, military and, consequently, terrorist catastrophes that we have experienced and are experiencing. For this reason, the series is an essential object of study for all who wish to understand what is happening in the world, on both micropolitical and macropolitical levels. Ultimately, perhaps, the series will also contain a strategy, no matter how philosophical or messianic, for warding off the disaster that surrounds us from all sides and renders us powerless; a key to resistance.


 

 

 

D.    APPENDICES : post scripts on a possible future

 

 

1.            PAUL MC GEOUGH AND BARRY YEOMAN

 

The Privatisation of War

 

 

Mercenaries flock to fill vacuum

By Paul McGeough (The Age, AUS)

 

Private security operators now make up the third largest armed force in Iraq. When the doors open at Level 5 of the Palestine Hotel, there's a spit-and-polished Gurkha pointing a high-powered gun into the lift. The whole floor and another above it have been taken by Kellogg Brown & Root, the construction wing of Halliburton, one of the biggest US firms working in Iraq. And though the linguists of occupation don't allow the word "mercenary", the Gurkha is part of a 15,000-strong private security operation that is the third biggest armed force in Iraq. Their numbers - and salaries as high as $US1000 ($A1300) a day - attest to the danger of this Arab version of Dodge City.

 

But when they signed up, few would have anticipated the terrible butchery of four colleagues whose bodies were dismembered and dragged through the streets of the western city of Fallujah on Wednesday. Television footage of the scene - heavily edited before going to air worldwide - showed their corpses being kicked and stoned before being broken up with blows from steel rods. At least two of them were strung up on a bridge and parts of the other bodies were stuck on poles and paraded around town. The barbarity at Fallujah provoked outrage in Washington and elsewhere - but did little to change US rhetoric on the pacification of post-war Iraq.

 

The ranks of the private armies in Iraq are growing so rapidly that US and British defence officials are at a loss to know how to counter offers to the best of their Special Operations and SAS staff. In the mayhem, Baghdad has been carved into a series of Western security bubbles. There is the Green Zone, American proconsul Paul Bremer's sprawling bunker for which the Pentagon is about to let a $100 million privatised security contract; foreign embassies are grouping and fortifying; and western business and the foreign media have all but withdrawn behind concrete, wire and guns.

 

Pity the poor Iraqis. They're outside the walls and at the other end of the guns, unprotected from bombers and criminals who have run amok, robbing and kidnapping in a security vacuum in which it is nigh on impossible for a naive new Iraqi police force to control.  And it's not just the foreigners - South Africans, who know they are breaking their country's laws on mercenary activity; skilled Gurkhas and Fijians who can't resist the dollars; or the Chileans who trained under General Pinochet - who are involved.

 

Beneath all of that is a dubious layer of Iraqi-run security - hundreds of local firms that have the capacity to become clan-based militias if, as some expect, security worsens after the June 30 hand-back of sovereignty to an Iraqi administration. This is what happens: An Iraqi working with a new foreign media or business sees the opening, recruits 30 or 50 family and friends to whom he gives guns and the ubiquitous baseball cap and then he bids for the security contract.

 

Australia is doing its bit for the privatised army. Sydney-based AKE Asia-Pacific has teams on the ground and though Australian troops ride shotgun for Australian diplomats in Baghdad, protection for the rest of the small, non-military Australian contingent has been subcontracted to Control Risk Group, whose 1100-strong private army of former British SAS, Nepalese and Fijian soldiers, also guards 500 British civil servants working here. It's a huge drain on the reconstruction budget.

 

The Fallujah deaths bring the US civilian toll in Iraq to at least 33. The military toll is three short of 600. The March toll - 50 US troops and a dozen civilians of varying nationalities - made it the second worst month of the occupation.  But despite that, US spokesman Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt refused to allow his optimism to be dented by Wednesday's killings - which including the death of five US soldiers in a separate attack near Fallujah.  "Despite an uptick in localised engagements, the overall Iraqi area of operations remains relatively stable with negligible impact on the coalition's ability to continue progress in governance, economic development and restoration of essential services," he said.

 

We have been confronted with such appalling acts of barbarity before. Remember Mogadishu in 1993 - when Bill Clinton cut and ran from Somalia after the carnage that inspired the Hollywood block-buster Black Hawk Down? And the lynching of two Israeli soldiers by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah in September 2000?  First the Americans wanted to blame the remnants of the Saddam regime and then it was associates of al-Qaeda. But it was ordinary Iraqis wielding the steel rods at Fallujah and in broad daylight.

 

 

Need an Army? Just Pick Up the Phone

By Barry Yeoman

 

 

04/02/04 "New York Times" DURHAM, N.C. -- The murderous attack on four American civilians in Falluja, Iraq, brought home gruesome images of charred bodies dangling from a bridge over the Euphrates River. It also introduced Americans to a company few had heard of: Blackwater USA, which was providing security for food delivery convoys when its employees were ambushed.

 

Blackwater, which operates from a 5,200-acre training ground in the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina, is a private military firm that provides an array of services once performed solely by military personnel. The company trains soldiers in counterterrorism and urban warfare. It also provides the American government with soldiers for hire: former Green Berets, Army Rangers and Navy Seals. In February it started training former Chilean commandos — some of whom served under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet — for future service in Iraq.

 

Business is booming at Blackwater, and the company is hardly alone. Private contractors are an invisible but growing part of how war is now fought. Some 10,000 of them are serving in Iraq — one private worker for every 10 soldiers — more than the number of soldiers from Britain, America's largest coalition partner. Some are supplied by well-known corporations like Halliburton. But for the most part, the private military industry is dominated by more obscure businesses with names that seem designed to tell as little as possible about what the company does.

 

Nor is their presence limited to Iraq. In recent years, soldiers-for-profit have served in Liberia, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia. They have guarded Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, and built the military detention facilities holding Al Qaeda suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They have been an essential part of the American war on drugs in Latin America. Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution, who wrote a book on the private military industry, says it brings in about $100 billion a year worldwide.

 

The industry rose to prominence under President George H.W. Bush — Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, received a $9 million contract to study supplementing military efforts after the Persian Gulf war. The Clinton administration sent more work to contractors, but it is under the current president, a strong believer in government privatization, that things started booming. Gary Jackson, the president of Blackwater, envisions a day when any country faced with peacekeeping duties will simply call him and place an order. "I would like to have the largest, most professional private army in the world," he told me.

 

This raises some obvious questions. Shouldn't war be a government function? Why rely on the private sector for our national defense, even if it is largely a supporting role? Part of the reason is practical: since the end of the cold war, the United States military has been shrinking, from 2.1 million in 1989 to 1.4 million today. Supporters of privatization argue that there simply aren't enough soldiers to provide a robust presence around the world, and that by drafting private contractors to fix helicopters, train recruits and cook dinner, the government frees up bona fide soldiers to fight the enemy. (Of course, in the field, the line between combatant and noncombatant roles grow fuzzier, particularly because many of the private soldiers are armed.) Private contractors are supposed to be cheaper, too, but their cost effectiveness has not been proved.

 

Low manpower and cost savings aren't the only reasons these companies appeal to the Pentagon. For one, substituting contactors for soldiers offers the government a way to avoid unpopular military forays. According to Myles Frechette, who was President Bill Clinton's ambassador to Colombia, private companies performed jobs in Latin America that would have been politically unpalatable for the armed forces. After all, if the government were shipping home soldiers' corpses from the coca fields, the public outcry would be tremendous. However, more than 20 private contractors have been killed in Colombia alone since 1998, and their deaths have barely registered.

 

This points to the biggest problem with the outsourcing of war: there is far less accountability to the American public and to international law than if real troops were performing the tasks. In the 1990's, several employees of one company, DynCorp, were implicated in a sex-trafficking scandal in Bosnia involving girls as young as 12. Had these men been soldiers, they would have faced court-martial proceedings. As private workers, they were simply put on the next plane back to America.

 

Think about it: a private military firm might decide to pack its own bags for any number of reasons, leaving American soldiers and equipment vulnerable to enemy attack. If the military really can't fight wars without contractors, it must at least come up with ironclad policies on what to do if the private soldiers break local laws or leave American forces in the lurch.

 

What happened in Falluja was a tragedy, no matter what uniform the slain men wore. Private contractors are viewed by Iraqis as part of the occupation, yet they lack the military and political backing of our combat troops. So far, the Pentagon has failed to prove it can take responsibility for either the actions or the safety of its private-sector soldiers.

 

 

2.            ROBERT COOPER : A European Counterpart to PNAC ?

 

 

Civilise or die

 

We can no longer afford to ignore weak or aggressive states.

Regime change is necessary

 

Robert Cooper

Thursday October 23, 2003

The Guardian

 

At his trial for an anarchist bomb outrage, the Texas IRS employee Albert Parsons declared: "Dynamite makes all men equal, and therefore makes them free." As it turned out, dynamite did nothing of the kind. But its successors may come closer to fulfilling the anarchist's dream. Nuclear weapons have a unique capacity for destruction and biological weapons may soon be capable of killing people in great numbers. Neither will make men free - rather the reverse - but they may make men equal. For the first time since the middle ages, individuals or groups will possess destructive power that puts them on equal terms with the state.

The same process that has brought the technology of destruction has also brought the emancipation of thought and of lives. And the process of modernisation that brings these things itself provides tension and conflict; 19th-century nationalism, the cultural revolution, fascism and communism and Islamic extremism are all responses to modernisation. Al-Qaida is both a reaction to modernism and a product of it: not just because it uses the internet or dreams of acquiring nuclear weapons, but because the belief itself that one can save the holy places from the infidel and overthrow governments by one's own actions is a part of the modern consciousness.

Put these two trends together - access for individuals to powerful weapons and the liberation of the individual from loyalty to church, state or tradition - and we have the possibility that the state's monopoly on force may be under threat. This will not (I hope) come within our lifetime, but eventually the logic of technology and society will assert itself. We must ask ourselves what we should do.

The most successful foreign policy strategy in living memory went under the name of containment. The essence of George Kennan's original concept was that you should defend yourself and wait for political change. Kennan, an American diplomat who served in Moscow for three decades, saw the cold war essentially as a political struggle - and he was right. It was a choice between two political systems, and in the end the choice was made through political rather than military means. The military battles of the cold war, all outside Europe, were not a great success for either side. Vietnam, the Horn of Africa, Korea, Nicaragua and Afghanistan were all left in a miserable condition. So we waited, according to Kennan's prescription (though 10 years longer than his guess).

"I would rather wait 30 years for the defeat of the Kremlin to be brought about by the exasperatingly slow devices of diplomacy than to see us submit to the test of arms a difference so little susceptible to any clear and happy settlement by those means."

Waiting for change was an appropriate strategy for the conflict between communism and capitalism, because each side believed that the other's system was doomed to collapse. It was relatively easy to believe political competition between two systems that were distant relatives - communism is as much a child of the enlightenment as liberal capitalism. It is less easy to understand today's enemies and be confident they will come to see the world as we do; and much less easy to know how we might defend ourselves against nuclear-armed enemies, especially if they are terrorists, not states.

It is no use waiting while terrorists prepare an attack. And if governments wait while unstable or aggressive states acquire WMD, they may find that their options for dealing with the arsenals or their owners have disappeared. The only way we shall feel secure is in a world of well-run countries governed by law at home and obeying international rules abroad. The risks from small groups of fanatics will not go away, but we will have more chance of managing them. We could live with countries not obeying the rules when that meant no more than a small war or a small outrage, but not when they concern the fundamentals of security. The domestic governance of foreign countries has now become a matter of our own security.

The world we are accustomed to - where every state minds its own business and others have no right to interfere - began to disappear with air travel, the internet, global television. With weapons of mass destruction it is gone forever. Multipolar deterrence in the Middle East would not be stable (the subcontinent is already a worry on its own). And the more such weapons proliferate, the greater the risk that terrorists will acquire them. Our only defence against such a world is the spread of civilisation.

Thus we should all be in favour of regime change. The only question is how to achieve it. Military intervention costs lives and money, and regimes imposed from the outside rarely last. The US's 19-year occupation of Haiti left little in the way of working constitutional structures. The regimes imposed by the Soviet Union at the end of the second world war disappeared when the Soviet armies went home. There are exceptions; Hashemite rule in Jordan survived the departure of British forces (though it did not do so in Iraq). But these are not many. If regime change by force is to be made secure, it will end by becoming empire.

One of the features about the 20th century was the disappearance of empire. Norway became independent in 1905; the first world war destroyed the Ottoman and Habsburg empires; America dismantled its empire in the interwar years; the second world war led to the dissolution of the British and French empires; and with the end of the cold war the Soviet empire also joined the bonfire of history.

The end of empire left many problems. Imperial powers bequeathed the nation-state system to their colonies, but it has not worked well in either Africa or the Middle East. On September 11 2001, we understood that failed states, like WMD, could represent a mortal danger. If states cannot govern themselves, it is not safe to allow them to become a haven for terrorists or criminals. Here, also, empire seems to be the obvious choice.

The difficulty is that empire does not work today. A century of emancipation, of national liberation movements and self-determination cannot be reversed. Empire has become illegitimate. But if containment does not work and empire is unacceptable, what is the alternative?

On Europe's borders, a massive effort has been made to prevent Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia from becoming failed states. If this works it will not be because a solution has been imposed by force, but because the Bosnians and others want to be part of a greater European structure.

The EU can in some respects be likened to an empire; it is a structure that sets standards of internal governance but in return offers its members a share in the decision-making, a place in the commonwealth. Across central Europe, countries have rewritten constitutions and changed laws to conform to European standards. This is a kind of regime change, but it is chosen, legitimate. This represents the spread of civilisation and good governance in lasting form.

This is not to say that the only way to deal with terrorism is to extend the EU into the Middle East. Can we imagine a regional structure in the Middle East with security guarantees from the US or Nato, and assistance and market access in the EU, traded against guarantees of good governance? There are a thousand objections: suspicion of the west in general and the US in particular is such that no one in the region would take the idea seriously. But what else might stop the conflict in Palestine for good? Would anyone have the vision to try?

It is not dynamite, nor even the fall of tyrants, that makes men free, but "good laws and good armies" (to quote Machiavelli). Foreign governments can impose neither, though they can assist in both, but only at a price. That price is high in time, risk, money and commitment. But it may be the price of our own security.

 

 

 

The New liberal Imperialism

 

Sunday April 7, 2002

 

In 1989 the political systems of three centuries came to an end in Europe: the balance-of-power and the imperial urge. That year marked not just the end of the Cold War, but also, and more significantly, the end of a state system in Europe which dated from the Thirty Years War. September 11 showed us one of the implications of the change.

To understand the present, we must first understand the past, for the past is still with us. International order used to be based either on hegemony or on balance. Hegemony came first. In the ancient world, order meant empire. Those within the empire had order, culture and civilisation. Outside it lay barbarians, chaos and disorder. The image of peace and order through a single hegemonic power centre has remained strong ever since. Empires, however, are ill-designed for promoting change. Holding the empire together - and it is the essence of empires that they are diverse - usually requires an authoritarian political style; innovation, especially in society and politics, would lead to instability. Historically, empires have generally been static.

In Europe, a middle way was found between the stasis of chaos and the stasis of empire, namely the small state. The small state succeeded in establishing sovereignty, but only within a geographically limited jurisdiction. Thus domestic order was purchased at the price of international anarchy. The competition between the small states of Europe was a source of progress, but the system was also constantly threatened by a relapse into chaos on one side and by the hegemony of a single power on the other. The solution to this was the balance-of-power, a system of counter-balancing alliances which became seen as the condition of liberty in Europe. Coalitions were successfully put together to thwart the hegemonic ambitions firstly of Spain, then of France, and finally of Germany.

But the balance-of-power system too had an inherent instability, the ever-present risk of war, and it was this that eventually caused it to collapse. German unification in 1871 created a state too powerful to be balanced by any European alliance; technological changes raised the costs of war to an unbearable level; and the development of mass society and democratic politics, rendered impossible the amoral calculating mindset necessary to make the balance of power system function. Nevertheless, in the absence of any obvious alternative it persisted, and what emerged in 1945 was not so much a new system as the culmination of the old one. The old multi-lateral balance-of-power in Europe became a bilateral balance of terror worldwide, a final simplification of the balance of power. But it was not built to last. The balance of power never suited the more universalistic, moralist spirit of the late twentieth century.

The second half of the twentieth Century has seen not just the end of the balance of power but also the waning of the imperial urge: in some degree the two go together. A world that started the century divided among European empires finishes it with all or almost all of them gone: the Ottoman, German, Austrian, French , British and finally Soviet Empires are now no more than a memory. This leaves us with two new types of state: first there are now states - often former colonies - where in some sense the state has almost ceased to exist a 'premodern' zone where the state has failed and a Hobbesian war of all against all is underway (countries such as Somalia and, until recently, Afghanistan). Second, there are the post imperial, postmodern states who no longer think of security primarily in terms of conquest. And thirdly, of course there remain the traditional "modern" states who behave as states always have, following Machiavellian principles and raison d'tat (one thinks of countries such as India, Pakistan and China).

The postmodern system in which we Europeans live does not rely on balance; nor does it emphasise sovereignty or the separation of domestic and foreign affairs. The European Union has become a highly developed system for mutual interference in each other's domestic affairs, right down to beer and sausages. The CFE Treaty, under which parties to the treaty have to notify the location of their heavy weapons and allow inspections, subjects areas close to the core of sovereignty to international constraints. It is important to realise what an extraordinary revolution this is. It mirrors the paradox of the nuclear age, that in order to defend yourself, you had to be prepared to destroy yourself. The shared interest of European countries in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe has proved enough to overcome the normal strategic logic of distrust and concealment. Mutual vulnerability has become mutual transparency.

The main characteristics of the postmodern world are as follows:

The breaking down of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs.

Mutual interference in (traditional) domestic affairs and mutual surveillance.

The rejection of force for resolving disputes and the consequent codification of self-enforced rules of behaviour.

The growing irrelevance of borders: this has come about both through the changing role of the state, but also through missiles, motor cars and satellites.

Security is based on transparency, mutual openness, interdependence and mutual vulnerability.

The conception of an International Criminal Court is a striking example of the postmodern breakdown of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs. In the postmodern world, raison d'tat and the amorality of Machiavelli's theories of statecraft, which defined international relations in the modern era, have been replaced by a moral consciousness that applies to international relations as well as to domestic affairs: hence the renewed interest in what constitutes a just war.

While such a system does deal with the problems that made the balance-of-power unworkable, it does not entail the demise of the nation state. While economy, law-making and defence may be increasingly embedded in international frameworks, and the borders of territory may be less important, identity and democratic institutions remain primarily national. Thus traditional states will remain the fundamental unit of international relations for the foreseeable future, even though some of them may have ceased to behave in traditional ways.

What is the origin of this basic change in the state system? The fundamental point is that "the world's grown honest". A large number of the most powerful states no longer want to fight or conquer. It is this that gives rise to both the pre-modern and postmodern worlds. Imperialism in the traditional sense is dead, at least among the Western powers.

If this is true, it follows that we should not think of the EU or even NATO as the root cause of the half century of peace we have enjoyed in Western Europe. The basic fact is that Western European countries no longer want to fight each other. NATO and the EU have, nevertheless, played an important role in reinforcing and sustaining this position. NATO's most valuable contribution has been the openness it has created. NATO was, and is a massive intra-western confidence-building measure. It was NATO and the EU that provided the framework within which Germany could be reunited without posing a threat to the rest of Europe as its original unification had in 1871. Both give rise to thousands of meetings of ministers and officials, so that all those concerned with decisions involving war and peace know each other well. Compared with the past, this represents a quality and stability of political relations never known before.

The EU is the most developed example of a postmodern system. It represents security through transparency, and transparency through interdependence. The EU is more a transnational than a supra-national system, a voluntary association of states rather than the subordination of states to a central power. The dream of a European state is one left from a previous age. It rests on the assumption that nation states are fundamentally dangerous and that the only way to tame the anarchy of nations is to impose hegemony on them. But if the nation-state is a problem then the super-state is certainly not a solution.

European states are not the only members of the postmodern world. Outside Europe, Canada is certainly a postmodern state; Japan is by inclination a postmodern state, but its location prevents it developing more fully in this direction. The USA is the more doubtful case since it is not clear that the US government or Congress accepts either the necessity or desirability of interdependence, or its corollaries of openness, mutual surveillance and mutual interference, to the same extent as most European governments now do. Elsewhere, what in Europe has become a reality is in many other parts of the world an aspiration. ASEAN, NAFTA, MERCOSUR and even OAU suggest at least the desire for a postmodern environment, and though this wish is unlikely to be realised quickly, imitation is undoubtedly easier than invention.

Within the postmodern world, there are no security threats in the traditional sense; that is to say, its members do not consider invading each other. Whereas in the modern world , following Clausewitz' dictum war is an instrument of policy in the postmodern world it is a sign of policy failure. But while the members of the postmodern world may not represent a danger to one another, both the modern and pre-modern zones pose threats.

The threat from the modern world is the most familiar. Here, the classical state system, from which the postmodern world has only recently emerged, remains intact, and continues to operate by the principles of empire and the supremacy of national interest. If there is to be stability it will come from a balance among the aggressive forces. It is notable how few are the areas of the world where such a balance exists. And how sharp the risk is that in some areas there may soon be a nuclear element in the equation.

The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle. In the prolonged period of peace in Europe, there has been a temptation to neglect our defences, both physical and psychological. This represents one of the great dangers of the postmodern state.

The challenge posed by the pre-modern world is a new one. The pre-modern world is a world of failed states. Here the state no longer fulfils Weber's criterion of having the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Either it has lost the legitimacy or it has lost the monopoly of the use of force; often the two go together. Examples of total collapse are relatively rare, but the number of countries at risk grows all the time. Some areas of the former Soviet Union are candidates, including Chechnya. All of the world's major drug-producing areas are part of the pre-modern world. Until recently there was no real sovereign authority in Afghanistan; nor is there in upcountry Burma or in some parts of South America, where drug barons threaten the state's monopoly on force. All over Africa countries are at risk. No area of the world is without its dangerous cases. In such areas chaos is the norm and war is a way of life. In so far as there is a government it operates in a way similar to an organised crime syndicate.

The premodern state may be too weak even to secure its home territory, let alone pose a threat internationally, but it can provide a base for non-state actors who may represent a danger to the postmodern world. If non-state actors, notably drug, crime, or terrorist syndicates take to using premodern bases for attacks on the more orderly parts of the world, then the organised states may eventually have to respond. If they become too dangerous for established states to tolerate, it is possible to imagine a defensive imperialism. It is not going too far to view the West's response to Afghanistan in this light.

How should we deal with the pre-modern chaos? To become involved in a zone of chaos is risky; if the intervention is prolonged it may become unsustainable in public opinion; if the intervention is unsuccessful it may be damaging to the government that ordered it. But the risks of letting countries rot, as the West did Afghanistan, may be even greater.

What form should intervention take? The most logical way to deal with chaos, and the one most employed in the past is colonisation. But colonisation is unacceptable to postmodern states (and, as it happens, to some modern states too). It is precisely because of the death of imperialism that we are seeing the emergence of the pre-modern world. Empire and imperialism are words that have become a form of abuse in the postmodern world. Today, there are no colonial powers willing to take on the job, though the opportunities, perhaps even the need for colonisation is as great as it ever was in the nineteenth century. Those left out of the global economy risk falling into a vicious circle. Weak government means disorder and that means falling investment. In the 1950s, South Korea had a lower GNP per head than Zambia: the one has achieved membership of the global economy, the other has not.

All the conditions for imperialism are there, but both the supply and demand for imperialism have dried up. And yet the weak still need the strong and the strong still need an orderly world. A world in which the efficient and well governed export stability and liberty, and which is open for investment and growth - all of this seems eminently desirable.

What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle.

Postmodern imperialism takes two forms. First there is the voluntary imperialism of the global economy. This is usually operated by an international consortium through International Financial Institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank - it is characteristic of the new imperialism that it is multilateral. These institutions provide help to states wishing to find their way back into the global economy and into the virtuous circle of investment and prosperity. In return they make demands which, they hope, address the political and economic failures that have contributed to the original need for assistance. Aid theology today increasingly emphasises governance. If states wish to benefit, they must open themselves up to the interference of international organisations and foreign states (just as, for different reasons, the postmodern world has also opened itself up.)

The second form of postmodern imperialism might be called the imperialism of neighbours. Instability in your neighbourhood poses threats which no state can ignore. Misgovernment, ethnic violence and crime in the Balkans poses a threat to Europe. The response has been to create something like a voluntary UN protectorate in Bosnia and Kosovo. It is no surprise that in both cases the High Representative is European. Europe provides most of the aid that keeps Bosnia and Kosovo running and most of the soldiers (though the US presence is an indispensable stabilising factor). In a further unprecedented move, the EU has offered unilateral free-market access to all the countries of the former Yugoslavia for all products including most agricultural produce. It is not just soldiers that come from the international community; it is police, judges, prison officers, central bankers and others. Elections are organised and monitored by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Local police are financed and trained by the UN. As auxiliaries to this effort - in many areas indispensable to it - are over a hundred NGOs.

One additional point needs to be made. It is dangerous if a neighbouring state is taken over in some way by organised or disorganised crime - which is what state collapse usually amounts to. But Usama bin Laden has now demonstrated for those who had not already realised, that today all the world is, potentially at least, our neighbour.

The Balkans are a special case. Elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe the EU is engaged in a programme which will eventually lead to massive enlargement. In the past empires have imposed their laws and systems of government; in this case no one is imposing anything. Instead, a voluntary movement of self-imposition is taking place. While you are a candidate for EU membership you have to accept what is given - a whole mass of laws and regulations - as subject countries once did. But the prize is that once you are inside you will have a voice in the commonwealth. If this process is a kind of voluntary imperialism, the end state might be describes as a cooperative empire. 'Commonwealth' might indeed not be a bad name.

The postmodern EU offers a vision of cooperative empire, a common liberty and a common security without the ethnic domination and centralised absolutism to which past empires have been subject, but also without the ethnic exclusiveness that is the hallmark of the nation state - inappropriate in an era without borders and unworkable in regions such as the Balkans. A cooperative empire might be the domestic political framework that best matches the altered substance of the postmodern state: a framework in which each has a share in the government, in which no single country dominates and in which the governing principles are not ethnic but legal. The lightest of touches will be required from the centre; the 'imperial bureaucracy' must be under control, accountable, and the servant, not the master, of the commonwealth. Such an institution must be as dedicated to liberty and democracy as its constituent parts. Like Rome, this commonwealth would provide its citizens with some of its laws, some coins and the occasional road.

That perhaps is the vision. Can it be realised? Only time will tell. The question is how much time there may be. In the modern world the secret race to acquire nuclear weapons goes on. In the premodern world the interests of organised crime - including international terrorism - grow greater and faster than the state. There may not be much time left.

Robert Cooper is a senior serving British diplomat, and writes in a personal capacity. This article is published as The post-modern state in the new collection Reordering the World: the long term implications of September 11, published by The Foreign Policy Centre.

 

Senior British diplomat Robert Cooper has helped to shape British Prime Minister Tony Blair's calls for a new internationalism and a new doctrine of humanitarian intervention which would place limits on state sovereignty. This article contains the full text of Cooper's essay on "the postmodern state", written in a personal capacity, an extract from which appears in the print edition of The Observer today. Cooper's call for a new liberal imperialism and admission of the need for double standards in foreign policy have outraged the left but the essay offers a rare and candid unofficial insight into the thinking behind British strategy on Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

[1] For further information on PNAC, see www.newamericancentury.org ; an excellent file on PNAC was compiled by moveon.org, see also www.pnac.info. This platform text and more links are available on our website www.brusselstribunal.org

 

[2] Key concept in “Joint Vision 2020”, the blueprint for the U.S. military for the next decades, defined as the ability of U.S. forces to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations. 

 

[3] William Kristol and Robert Kagan : Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy - Foreign Affairs July/August 1996.

[4] Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer (Paris 1997) clearly suggests that the New World Order is based on this sovereignty, being the power to declare a state of exception.

[5] Derrida alludes to his reflection on Kant and his idea of a ‘Vlkerbund’ (alliance of peoples) in Voyous [Rogues], pp. 118-25.

[6] See, for example, Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol, The War Over Iraq (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002), pp. 112-25.

[7] William Kristol and Robert Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 1976, online at: http://www.ceip.org/people/kagfaff.htm

[8] Kristol and Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy.”

[9] Kristol and Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy.”

[10] These questions are paraphrased formulations by the author of the longer questions found in the Brussels Tribunal introductory documents.

[11]“Project for the New American Century: Complete Listing of PNAC Signatories,” Right Web Analysis, Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), online at: http://rightweb.irc-online.org/charts/pnac-chart.php.

[12] “PNACers in the George W. Bush Administration,” Right Web Analysis, Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), online at: http://rightweb.irc-online.org/charts/gwb-pnac.php.

[13] Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National Security Strategy (Progressive Policy Institute, October 2003), online at: www.ppionline.org/specials/security_strategy.

[14] The Progressive Policy Institute is a project of the Third Way Foundation, which is a nonprofit educational institute enjoying a 501(c) (3) tax status with the Internal Revenue Service.

[15] Progressive Internationalism, p. 19.

[16] See COLLON Michel, Monopoly. L’OTAN la conqute du monde, Anvers, EPO, 2000, p.92.

[17] Washington Post, 1999, April 13th

[18] New York Times, 1999 March 28th

[19] CHESNAIS Franois and SERFATI Claude,  La guerre, Wall Street et les industries d’armement , in

BOVY Yannick and DELCOURT Barbara, Que nos valeurs sont universelles et que la guerre est jolie, Cuesmes, Editions du Cerisier, 1999, pp. 173-174.

 

[20] See NOCTIUMMES Tania and PAGE Jean-Pierre,  La croisade de Georges Bush Junior , in 

L’Empire en guerre, Paris-Anvers, Le Temps des Cerises/EPO, 2000, p.180.

[21] CHESNAIS Franois and SERFATI Claude, op.cit. p. 174.  

[22] ROUBOS Aris,  Une goconomie de guerre , article published on the GRIP website on June 10th, 2001

 

[23] See ROUBOS Aris, idem

[24] For more information on this subject, see MAMPAEY Luc,  Paix des marchs, permanence de la guerre , in PEETERS Anne and STOKKINK Denis, Mondialisation. Comprendre pour agir, Bruxelles, GRIP/Editions Complexe