Reproduced for "fair use" from:
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 27 February 2003
"In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition
of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military
Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced
power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this
combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
- President Dwight Eisenhower, January 1961.
George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather
of conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise
Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as
part of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in
the Middle East. Couched in hopeful language describing peace and
freedom for all, the speech was in fact the closest articulation of the
actual plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the administration.
In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological
connections between an extremist right-wing Washington think tank
and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush administration were
The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group
founded in 1997 that has been agitating since its inception for a war
with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and passage
of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over
the ultimate designs behind such a conflict. The names of every
prominent PNAC member were on a letter delivered to President
Clinton in 1998 which castigated him for not implementing the Act by
driving troops into Baghdad.
PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein
opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's
heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was
sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31
counts of bank fraud. Chalabi and the INC have, over the years,
gathered support for their cause by promising oil contracts to anyone
that would help to put them in power in Iraq.
Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee for
the Liberation of Iraq. Staffed entirely by PNAC members, The
Committee has set out to "educate" Americans via cable news
connections about the need for war in Iraq. This group met recently
with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice regarding the ways
and means of this education.
Who is PNAC? Its members include:
* Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served
as Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;
* I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;
* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member,
along with four of his chief aides including;
* Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the
ideological father of the group;
* Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security
Council, who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;
* John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and
International Security in the Bush administration;
* Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present
chairman of the powerful Defense Policy Board;
* Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation
of Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as
an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;
* Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving
for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin,
and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for
National Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His
section of the 2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of
* William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, a
magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative
media mogul Ruppert Murdoch.
The Project for the New American Century seeks to establish what
they call 'Pax Americana' across the globe. Essentially, their goal is to
transform America, the sole remaining superpower, into a planetary
empire by force of arms. A report released by PNAC in September of
2000 entitled 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' codifies this plan, which
requires a massive increase in defense spending and the fighting of
several major theater wars in order to establish American dominance.
The first has been achieved in Bush's new budget plan, which calls for
the exact dollar amount to be spent on defense that was requested by
PNAC in 2000. Arrangements are underway for the fighting of the wars.
The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their foreign
policy schemes, hatched in 1997, brought into reality. They control the
White House, the Pentagon and Defense Department, by way of this
the armed forces and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a
Republican-dominated Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually
everything on their wish list.
The first step towards the establishment of this Pax Americana is, and
has always been, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the establishment
of an American protectorate in Iraq. The purpose of this is threefold: 1)
To acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise; 2)
To fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle
East; 3) To establish in Iraq a military staging area for the eventual
invasion and overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including
some that are allies of the United States.
Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified this
aspect of the grand plan in the September 2002 issue of his journal,
'Commentary'. In it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes, "that richly
deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three
singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should
extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America
like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the
Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his
henchmen." At bottom, for Podhoretz, this action is about "the
long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."
This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely
Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans to the idea of
Iraqi liberation and democratization are cynical in their inception. At
the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The drive behind this war
is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of Islam as it
exists in both government and society within the Middle East. Once
this is accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten lanes wide
and steppin' out over the line.
At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good for bull sessions
in the board room and the bar. Something has to grease the skids, to
make the whole thing worthwhile to those involved, and entice those
outside the loop to get into the game.
Thus, the payout.
It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming Vice
President, served as chairman and chief executive of the Dallas-based
petroleum corporation Halliburton. During his tenure, according to oil
industry executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk
$73 million in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working
face-to-face with Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton were also moving
into position to capitalize upon Hussein's removal from power. In
October of 1995, the same month Cheney was made CEO of
Halliburton, that company announced a deal that would put it first in
line should war break out in Iraq. Their job: To take control of burning
oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them for service.
Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in Iraq is Brown &
Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown & Root is in the
construction business, and thus has won a share of the $900 million
government contract for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi bridges, roads
and other basic infrastructure. This is but the tip of the financial
iceberg, as the oil wells will also have to be repaired after
parent-company Halliburton puts out the fires.
More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade: the building of
permanent American military bases. There are twelve permanent U.S.
bases in Kosovo today, all built and maintained by Brown & Root for a
multi-billion dollar profit. If anyone should wonder why the
administration has not offered an exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the
presence of Brown & Root should answer them succinctly. We do not
plan on exiting. In all likelihood, Brown & Root is in Iraq to build
permanent bases there, from which attacks upon other Middle Eastern
nations can be staged and managed.
Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new light.
Being at the center of the action is nothing new for Halliburton and
Brown & Root. The two companies have worked closely with
governments in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti,
Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia during the worst chapters in those
nation's histories. Many environmental and human rights groups claim
that Cheney, Halliburton and Brown & Root were, in fact, centrally
involved in these fiascos. More recently, Brown & Root was
contracted by the Defense Department to build cells for detainees in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that one project came to $300
Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997, while still
profiting from deals between Halliburton and Hussein. One year later,
Cheney and PNAC began actively and publicly agitating for war on
Iraq. They have not stopped to this very day.
Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and
massively increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a
private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital
under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across
164 companies, including telecommunications firms and defense
contractors. It is staffed at the highest levels by former members of the
Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W.
Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time
Bush family advisor and former Secretary of State James Baker III.
One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons
manufacturer based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the
Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat
support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault
vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically,
United Defense manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113
armored personnel carrier, the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly,
the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker, the
M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and Control
Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and
Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.
In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in
Iraq, and a burgeoning American military empire needs.
Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's involvement in
American military buildup is the family of Osama bin Laden. The bin
Laden family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin Laden, father of
Osama, who built a multi-billion dollar construction empire through
contracts with the Saudi government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as
this company is called, was heavily invested in Carlyle for years.
Specifically, they were invested in Carlyle's Partners II Fund, which
includes in that portfolio United Defense and other weapons
This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001 article in the
Wall Street Journal entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit From Jump
in Defense Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.' The 'bank' in question
was the Carlyle Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on
September 28 entitled ' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With
Washington - Saudi Clan Has Had Access To Influential Republicans '
further describes the relationship. In October of 2001, Saudi BinLaden
and Carlyle severed their relationship by mutual agreement. The timing
There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush
administration has claimed all along that this war with Iraq is about
Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of mass
destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish
any basis for either accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to
claim that the war is about liberating the Iraqi people and bringing
democracy to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the
ground in Iraq and throughout the region that, salted with decades of
deep mistrust for American motives, make such a democracy
movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to
This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push
for an American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand
that there is a great difference between being the citizen of a
constitutional democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The
establishment of an empire requires some significant sacrifices.
Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have
to be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards a necessary
military buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence of
American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a
torrent of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring
about the final suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas
corpus, as we will find ourselves under martial law. In the end,
however, this may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the
slow, cumbersome machine of a constitutional democracy on its back.
Empires must be ruled with speed and ruthlessness, in a manner utterly
antithetical to the way in which America has been governed for 227
And yes, of course, a great many people will die.
It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of
our leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider the incredible
profit motive behind it all. The President, his father, the Vice President,
a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders
and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off
this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction
and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.
Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word
"fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of
Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution.
This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush
administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed
'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion.
"Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called
corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand
against this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not oppose
Bush because they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence of
Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush
administration because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its
tracks if they can. They have seen militant fascism up close and
personal before, and wish never to see it again.
Would that we Americans could be so wise.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two
books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context
Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003
from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
|George Holland For Congress - 2012
A Reform, Populist,
Putting American Families, Jobs and Seniors First: Not War
Profit$, Oil Profit$, AIPAC, Israel or Wall $treet.
P.O. Box 751
Rushville, IN 46173