Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_ron_full_071004_meet_the_new_shills_.htm
October 4, 2007
Meet the New Shills on Iran, Same as the old Shills on Iraq
By Ron Fullwood
THE invasion and occupation of Iraq was the invention of a banished ruling class who had enriched themselves by marketing the influence of their positions in government; who had nursed their broken ambitions in exile and had instinctively constructed their sympathetic webs of wealth to obstruct the remedies of the reformers and hatch the next generation of world capitalists who would inherit the patronage of the next conservative presidency.
One relatively unremarkable collection of neonuts committed to U.S. support of Israel emerged after the ascendancy of Bush with their own blueprint to revive and effect all of the unrealized imperious ambitions of the former Bush presidency. In September 2000, the right-wing think-tank, Project for the New American Century, drafted a report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." The conservative foundation- funded report was authored by Bill Kristol, Bruce Jackson, Gary Schmitt, John Bolton and others. Bolton was Senior Vice President of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. (Bill Kristol is chairman of PNAC and Gary Schmitt was the president of the organization. Bruce Jackson is their project director.)
The paper claimed that, "Potential rivals such as China were anxious to exploit these technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea were rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they sought to dominate. Also that, information and other new technologies – as well as widespread technological and weapons proliferation – were creating a ‘dynamic' that might threaten America's ability to exercise its ‘dominant' military power."
The authors further warned that, "U.S. nuclear force planning and related arms control policies must take account of a larger set of variables than in the past, including the growing number of small nuclear arsenals –from North Korea to Pakistan to, perhaps soon, Iran and Iraq – and a modernized and expanded Chinese nuclear force."
The 2002 PNAC document is a mirrored synopsis of the Bush administration's foreign policy today. President Bush is projecting a domineering image of the United States around the world which has provoked lesser equipped countries to desperate, unconventional defenses; or resigned them to a humiliating surrender to our rape of their lands, their resources and their communities. President Bush intends for there to be more conquest - like in Iraq - as the United States exercises its military force around the world; our mandate, our justification, presumably inherent in the mere possession of our instruments of destruction.
The PNAC ‘Rebuilding America' report was used after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks to draft the 2002 document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States," which for the first time in the nation's history advocated "preemptive" attacks to prevent the emergence of opponents the administration considered a threat to its political and economic interests.
It stated that ". . . we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country." And that, "To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."
This military industry band of executives promoted the view, in and outside of the White House that, "America must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and our allies and friends. . . We must deter and defend against the threat before it is unleashed," the strategy reads.
So their plan was/is to attack whomever, whenever they feel our security is threatened, no matter if the nature and prevalence of the threat is uncertain.
In the fall of 2002, a right-wing advocacy group, 'The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq' (Chairman of the Board, former Lockheed president and PNAC director Bruce Jackson), was established in the Washington offices of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. The CLI engaged in educational and advocacy efforts to mobilize U.S. and international support for policies aimed at ending the regime of Saddam Hussein.
This advocacy came at the same time that Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley were engaged in a series of briefings with foreign policy groups, Iraq specialists and other opinion makers that was termed as a "new phase," by a White House spokesman, who described the goal as building fresh public support for Bush administration policy vs. Iraq. Members of the CLI met in November of 2002 with President Bush's national security adviser, Condi Rice, in an effort to mount "education and advocacy efforts to mobilize U.S. and international support freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny."
Members of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq included, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, William Kristol, General Barry McCaffrey, and former CIA director James Woolsey. George Shultz, Amb. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, then-Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, and Elliot Abrams were also involved with the group. Abrams and Bolton are founding members of the CLI.
Among the other participants in the CLI were, president and executive director, Randy Scheunemann (Scheunemann eventually served as a consultant on Iraq to Donald Rumsfeld), Treasurer Julie Finley, Gary Schmitt (director of PNAC) and Richard Perle (chairman of Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board) who is also closely associated PNAC.
The CLI successfully lobbied for the installation of the so-called Iraqi National Congress to replace the Hussein dictatorship. This group was the creation of the U.S. Congress which, following testimony from Ahmed Chalabi, and defense policy executive (later ambassador to Iraq), Zalmay Khalilzad, passed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998, and sanctioned the new U.S. policy of regime change. Almost $100 million in taxpayer funds was provided to the group.
The entire Bush administration foreign policy toward the Middle East was the creation of these right-wing ideologues who took a "build it they will come" approach to their foreign policy ambitions and were on the ground when Bush ascended to office, ready to implement their manufactured policies behind a compliant new republican majority.
Many of these same think-tank operators who had been intimately involved in fleshing-out the Bush administration's response to the 9-11 attacks, insisting that invading and occupying Iraq would be a cakewalk, are now working to cover their bloody disaster by attempting to shift focus from their debacle to the next domino in their strategy to expand the U.S. military presence and influence in the Mideast to confront and intimidate Iraq's next-door neighbor, Iran.
The NYT reported this week that the AEI and their emerging right-wing splinter, 'Freedom's Watch' were soliciting $200 million to sell war on Iran. (http://www.prwatch.org/node/6498 ) Freedom's Watch is basically a PNAC front -- it's members and advisors, many of the same players from the original, right-wing think-tank cabal which led the administration into Iraq. Freedom's Watch was the group who put out those pro-administration commercials Ari Fleicher helped organize during the period of Gen. Petraeus' September testimony to Congress on Iraq.
The umbrella organization that Freedom's Watch operates under is called 'The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.' (FDD) was founded right after the September 11 attacks to exploit the nations (and the administration's) vengeful focus on adversaries in the Middle East. Its president, Clifford May, is the former director of communications for the Republican National Committee.
Although it has it's apron strings tied to the AEI, Freedom's Watch is also under the ideological umbrella of a coalition of PNAC exiles like Gary Bauer, James Woolsey, Frank Gaffney, Bill Kristol, Steve Forbes, Richard Perle, and Charles Krauthammer.
The FDD's three board members are Steve Forbes, Jack Kemp, and Jeane Kirkpatrick. Its four “distinguished advisers” are Newt Gingrich, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Louis J. Freeh (former FBI director), and James Woolsey (former CIA director). FDD also has a Board of Advisers, whose members are: Gary Bauer, Donna Brazile, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Frank Gaffney, Amb. Marc Ginsberg, Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), Charles Jacobs, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, former Gov. Richard D. Lamm, Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA), former Sen. Zell Miller, Richard Perle, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). (http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1475 )
Bill Kristol (FDD member, an original co-founder of PNAC, and one of the main instigators of the Iraq invasion) looks a lot like the culprit in this new WH plan to attack Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He called for the strikes on the IRG earlier this month and Congress responded by advancing a resolution -- with a sizable amount of Democrats voting in favor -- which would designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a 'terrorist organization'; ripe for sanctions and primed for the same type of preemptive military assault that Bush chose to prosecute in Iraq after Congress gave him the political cover of the IWR.
Freedom's Watch, under the overt influence of the PNAC-dominated advocacy group is functioning as a largely unaccountable advisory and advocacy panel outside of the offices of government, but, nonetheless, is an integral part of the administration's -- and their republican enablers in Congress' -- foreign policy formulations.
Earlier this year, right after the congressional elections which removed Bush's republican majority in Congress and replaced it with Democrats pledged to end the occupation, the AEI formulated, lobbied for, and promoted the escalation of force in Iraq which was affectionately labeled the "surge."
The DC Examiner reported that “a bunch of arm chair generals in Washington” from the American Enterprise Institute “almost single handedly convinced the White House to change its strategy” in December. The AEI escalation plan “won out over plans from the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command”:
"They banded together at AEI headquarters in downtown Washington early last December and hammered out the surge plan during a weekend session. It called for two major initiatives to defeat the insurgency: reinforcing the troops and restoring security to Iraqi neighborhoods. Then came trips to the White House by AEI military historian Frederick Kagan, retired Army Gen. John Keane and other surge proponents.
More and more officials began attending the sessions. Even Vice President Dick Cheney came. “We took the results of our planning session immediately to people in the administration,” said AEI analyst Thomas Donnelly, a surge planner. “It became sort of a magnet for movers and shakers in the White House.” Donnelly said the AEI approach won out over plans from the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command.
Now these same right-wing promoters and propagandists are mobilized for another svengali-like shepherding of our legislature toward yet another assault on yet another sovereign Mideast nation -- presumably in support of the interests of Israel -- ultimately in support of the business interests which would benefit from the disruption of Iran's economic ties to money rivals like China, Russia, and European interests which have lucrative oil deals with Iran which would compete with U.S. interests in maintaining the Saudi monopoly.
They are the exact same, pseudo-governmental operators who have managed to squander any hope our nation had of projecting influence by the example of our restraint, and by respecting the sovereignty of those nations who may not share corporatists' ambitions to forcefully expand our military and economic influence into their territory.
The Bush regime uses their Potemkin administration to present a facade of democracy to the American people -- much like with their propped-up regime in Iraq -- to mask the prime engine of their ideology; the right-wing think tanks which perpetuate their influence in the administration by constructing their own semblance of foreign policy that they expect the WH and Pentagon cabal to implement; well outside of the deliberative process that we're all led to believe is relevant and determinative.
Earlier this year, Cheney's office argued that its dual role in the federal government placed it above the reporting requirements mandated by Congress. It's as if he couldn't help acknowledge that he's been operating without any intention at all of being accountable in his autocratic reign. But, his 'shadow government' is really no secret in Washington at all. Cheney's "secure and undisclosed" locations that he operates from are more than mere bunkers filled with provisions to ride out the apocalypse. His time is spent in these ideological refuges, generating foreign policy to the tune of his think-tank benefactors.
The Iraq War has taught Americans the dangers of "secret government," author Bob Woodward said in May of this year, as if he actually believed that someone was, somewhere, actively working to dismantle the facade. But, what we haven't learned is how to address and change the extent that our legislators in Washington protect, preserve, and perpetuate those pernicious influences by accepting and furthering every contrived utterance from these foundation hacks. Their svengali reign over the Executive, evidently, continues unabated.
Authors Bio: Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price