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Posted by Tony from ? ( on Friday, October 04, 2002 at 2:02PM :

In Reply to: The president's real goal in Iraq posted by Tony from ? ( on Friday, October 04, 2002 at 1:10PM :

: The president's real goal in Iraq


: The official story on Iraq has never made sense. The
: connection that the Bush administration has tried to draw
: between Iraq and al-Qaida has always seemed
: contrived and artificial. In fact, it was hard to believe that
: smart people in the Bush administration would start a
: major war based on such flimsy evidence.

: The pieces just didn't
: fit. Something else
: had to be going on;
: something was
: missing.

: In recent days, those missing
: pieces have finally begun to fall
: into place. As it turns out, this is
: not really about Iraq. It is not about
: weapons of mass destruction, or
: terrorism, or Saddam, or U.N.
: resolutions.

: This war, should it come, is
: intended to mark the official
: emergence of the United States
: as a full-fledged global empire,
: seizing sole responsibility and
: authority as planetary policeman.
: It would be the culmination of a
: plan 10 years or more in the
: making, carried out by those who
: believe the United States must
: seize the opportunity for global
: domination, even if it means
: becoming the "American
: imperialists" that our enemies
: always claimed we were.

: Once that is understood, other
: mysteries solve themselves. For
: example, why does the
: administration seem
: unconcerned about an exit
: strategy from Iraq once Saddam
: is toppled?

: Because we won't be leaving.
: Having conquered Iraq, the
: United States will create
: permanent military bases in that
: country from which to dominate
: the Middle East, including
: neighboring Iran.

: In an interview Friday, Defense
: Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
: brushed aside that suggestion,
: noting that the United States does
: not covet other nations' territory.
: That may be true, but 57 years
: after World War II ended, we still
: have major bases in Germany
: and Japan. We will do the same
: in Iraq.

: And why has the administration
: dismissed the option of
: containing and deterring Iraq, as
: we had the Soviet Union for 45
: years? Because even if it worked,
: containment and deterrence
: would not allow the expansion of
: American power. Besides, they
: are beneath us as an empire.
: Rome did not stoop to
: containment; it conquered. And
: so should we.

: Among the architects of this
: would-be American Empire are a
: group of brilliant and powerful
: people who now hold key
: positions in the Bush
: administration: They envision the
: creation and enforcement of what
: they call a worldwide "Pax
: Americana," or American peace.
: But so far, the American people
: have not appreciated the true
: extent of that ambition.

: Part of it's laid out in the National
: Security Strategy, a document in
: which each administration
: outlines its approach to defending
: the country. The Bush
: administration plan, released
: Sept. 20, marks a significant
: departure from previous
: approaches, a change that it
: attributes largely to the attacks of
: Sept. 11.

: To address the terrorism threat,
: the president's report lays out a
: newly aggressive military and
: foreign policy, embracing
: pre-emptive attack against
: perceived enemies. It speaks in
: blunt terms of what it calls
: "American internationalism," of
: ignoring international opinion if
: that suits U.S. interests. "The best
: defense is a good offense," the
: document asserts.

: It dismisses deterrence as a Cold
: War relic and instead talks of
: "convincing or compelling states
: to accept their sovereign
: responsibilities."

: In essence, it lays out a plan for
: permanent U.S. military and
: economic domination of every
: region on the globe, unfettered by
: international treaty or concern.
: And to make that plan a reality, it
: envisions a stark expansion of
: our global military presence.

: "The United States will require bases and stations within and beyond
: Western Europe and Northeast Asia," the document warns, "as well
: as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment
: of U.S. troops."

: The report's repeated references to terrorism are misleading,
: however, because the approach of the new National Security
: Strategy was clearly not inspired by the events of Sept. 11. They can
: be found in much the same language in a report issued in
: September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a
: group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that
: the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire.

: "At no time in history has the international security order been as
: conducive to American interests and ideals," the report said. stated
: two years ago. "The challenge of this coming century is to preserve
: and enhance this 'American peace.' "

: Familiar themes

: Overall, that 2000 report reads like a blueprint for current Bush
: defense policy. Most of what it advocates, the Bush administration
: has tried to accomplish. For example, the project report urged the
: repudiation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty and a commitment to a
: global missile defense system. The administration has taken that
: course.

: It recommended that to project sufficient power worldwide to enforce
: Pax Americana, the United States would have to increase defense
: spending from 3 percent of gross domestic product to as much as
: 3.8 percent. For next year, the Bush administration has requested a
: defense budget of $379 billion, almost exactly 3.8 percent of GDP.

: It advocates the "transformation" of the U.S. military to meet its
: expanded obligations, including the cancellation of such outmoded
: defense programs as the Crusader artillery system. That's exactly the
: message being preached by Rumsfeld and others.

: It urges the development of small nuclear warheads "required in
: targeting the very deep, underground hardened bunkers that are
: being built by many of our potential adversaries." This year the
: GOP-led U.S. House gave the Pentagon the green light to develop
: such a weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, while
: the Senate has so far balked.

: That close tracking of recommendation with current policy is hardly
: surprising, given the current positions of the people who contributed
: to the 2000 report.

: Paul Wolfowitz is now deputy defense secretary. John Bolton is
: undersecretary of state. Stephen Cambone is head of the
: Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation. Eliot Cohen
: and Devon Cross are members of the Defense Policy Board, which
: advises Rumsfeld. I. Lewis Libby is chief of staff to Vice President
: Dick Cheney. Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense
: Department.

: 'Constabulary duties'

: Because they were still just private citizens in 2000, the authors of
: the project report could be more frank and less diplomatic than they
: were in drafting the National Security Strategy. Back in 2000, they
: clearly identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as primary short-term
: targets, well before President Bush tagged them as the Axis of Evil.
: In their report, they criticize the fact that in war planning against North
: Korea and Iraq, "past Pentagon wargames have given little or no
: consideration to the force requirements necessary not only to defeat
: an attack but to remove these regimes from power."

: To preserve the Pax Americana, the report says U.S. forces will be
: required to perform "constabulary duties" -- the United States acting
: as policeman of the world -- and says that such actions "demand
: American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations."

: To meet those responsibilities, and to ensure that no country dares
: to challenge the United States, the report advocates a much larger
: military presence spread over more of the globe, in addition to the
: roughly 130 nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed.

: More specifically, they argue that we need permanent military bases
: in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in
: Southeast Asia, where no such bases now exist. That helps to
: explain another of the mysteries of our post-Sept. 11 reaction, in
: which the Bush administration rushed to install U.S. troops in
: Georgia and the Philippines, as well as our eagerness to send
: military advisers to assist in the civil war in Colombia.

: The 2000 report directly acknowledges its debt to a still earlier
: document, drafted in 1992 by the Defense Department. That
: document had also envisioned the United States as a colossus
: astride the world, imposing its will and keeping world peace through
: military and economic power. When leaked in final draft form,
: however, the proposal drew so much criticism that it was hastily
: withdrawn and repudiated by the first President Bush.

: Effect on allies

: The defense secretary in 1992 was Richard Cheney; the document
: was drafted by Wolfowitz, who at the time was defense
: undersecretary for policy.

: The potential implications of a Pax Americana are immense.

: One is the effect on our allies. Once we assert the unilateral right to
: act as the world's policeman, our allies will quickly recede into the
: background. Eventually, we will be forced to spend American wealth
: and American blood protecting the peace while other nations
: redirect their wealth to such things as health care for their citizenry.

: Donald Kagan, a professor of classical Greek history at Yale and an
: influential advocate of a more aggressive foreign policy -- he served
: as co-chairman of the 2000 New Century project -- acknowledges
: that likelihood.

: "If [our allies] want a free ride, and they probably will, we can't stop
: that," he says. But he also argues that the United States, given its
: unique position, has no choice but to act anyway.

: "You saw the movie 'High Noon'? he asks. "We're Gary Cooper."

: Accepting the Cooper role would be an historic change in who we
: are as a nation, and in how we operate in the international arena.
: Candidate Bush certainly did not campaign on such a change. It is
: not something that he or others have dared to discuss honestly with
: the American people. To the contrary, in his foreign policy debate
: with Al Gore, Bush pointedly advocated a more humble foreign
: policy, a position calculated to appeal to voters leery of military
: intervention.

: For the same reason, Kagan and others shy away from terms such
: as empire, understanding its connotations. But they also argue that it
: would be naive and dangerous to reject the role that history has thrust
: upon us. Kagan, for example, willingly embraces the idea that the
: United States would establish permanent military bases in a
: post-war Iraq.

: "I think that's highly possible," he says. "We will probably need a
: major concentration of forces in the Middle East over a long period
: of time. That will come at a price, but think of the price of not having
: it. When we have economic problems, it's been caused by
: disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no
: disruption in oil supplies."

: Costly global commitment

: Rumsfeld and Kagan believe that a successful war against Iraq will
: produce other benefits, such as serving an object lesson for nations
: such as Iran and Syria. Rumsfeld, as befits his sensitive position,
: puts it rather gently. If a regime change were to take place in Iraq,
: other nations pursuing weapons of mass destruction "would get the
: message that having them . . . is attracting attention that is not
: favorable and is not helpful," he says.

: Kagan is more blunt.

: "People worry a lot about how the Arab street is going to react," he
: notes. "Well, I see that the Arab street has gotten very, very quiet
: since we started blowing things up."

: The cost of such a global commitment would be enormous. In 2000,
: we spent $281 billion on our military, which was more than the next
: 11 nations combined. By 2003, our expenditures will have risen to
: $378 billion. In other words, the increase in our defense budget from
: 1999-2003 will be more than the total amount spent annually by
: China, our next largest competitor.

: The lure of empire is ancient and powerful, and over the millennia it
: has driven men to commit terrible crimes on its behalf. But with the
: end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, a
: global empire was essentially laid at the feet of the United States. To
: the chagrin of some, we did not seize it at the time, in large part
: because the American people have never been comfortable with
: themselves as a New Rome.

: Now, more than a decade later, the events of Sept. 11 have given
: those advocates of empire a new opportunity to press their case with
: a new president. So in debating whether to invade Iraq, we are really
: debating the role that the United States will play in the years and
: decades to come.

: Are peace and security best achieved by seeking strong alliances
: and international consensus, led by the United States? Or is it
: necessary to take a more unilateral approach, accepting and
: enhancing the global dominance that, according to some, history has
: thrust upon us?

: If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that decision
: knowingly, as a democracy. The price of maintaining an empire is
: always high. Kagan and others argue that the price of rejecting it
: would be higher still.

: That's what this is about.

-- Tony
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