October 15, 2003

Bush's War Plan Is Scarier Than He's Saying: The Widening Crusade

The _resident's neo-con wet dream has led to a foolish
military adventure in Iraq that has cost the lives of
several hundred young US soldiers (and uncounted
thousands of Iraqis), BUT it is just the beginning.
The Bush cabal is not going to retreat, it is going to
try to pull us al down the slippery slope into a
regional war. This story from the Village Voice is
very important. Please share it with your fellow
citizens. The courage, experience, credibility and
intelligence of Wesley Clark (D-NATO), if he does not
falter, and perhaps Sen. John Kerry (D-Mekong Delta),
if he can find the right voice, are going to be very,
very valuable in the coming months...


Bush's War Plan Is Scarier Than He's Saying: The Widening Crusade
by Sidney H. Schanberg
October 15 - 21, 2003

If some wishful Americans are still hoping President
Bush will acknowledge that his imperial foreign policy
has stumbled in Iraq and needs fixing or reining in,
they should put aside those reveries. He's going all
the way—and taking us with him.

The Israeli bombing raid on Syria October 5 was an
expansion of the Bush policy, carried out by the
Sharon government but with the implicit approval of
Washington. The government in Iran, said to be seeking
to develop a nuclear weapon, reportedly expects to be
the next target.

No one who believes in democracy need feel any empathy
toward the governments of Syria and Iran, for they
assist the terrorist movement, yet if the Bush White
House is going to use its preeminent military force to
subdue and neutralize all "evildoers" and adversaries
everywhere in the world, the American public should be
told now. Such an undertaking would be virtually
endless and would require the sacrifice of enormous
blood and treasure.

With no guarantee of success. And no precedent in
history for such a crusade having lasting effect.

People close to the president say that his conversion
to evangelical Methodism, after a life of aimless
carousing, markedly informs his policies, both foreign
and domestic. In the soon-to-be-published The Faith of
George W. Bush (Tarcher/Penguin), a sympathetic
account of this religious journey, author Stephen
Mansfield writes (in the advance proofs) that in the
election year 2000, Bush told Texas preacher James
Robison, one of his spiritual mentors: "I feel like
God wants me to run for president. I can't explain it,
but I sense my country is going to need me. . . . I
know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God
wants me to do it."

Mansfield also reports: "Aides found him face down on
the floor in prayer in the Oval Office. It became
known that he refused to eat sweets while American
troops were in Iraq, a partial fast seldom reported of
an American president. And he framed America's
challenges in nearly biblical language. Saddam Hussein
is an evildoer. He has to go." The author concludes: "
. . . the Bush administration does deeply reflect its
leader, and this means that policy, even in military
matters, will be processed in terms of the personal,
in terms of the moral, and in terms of a sense of
divine purpose that propels the present to meet the
challenges of its time."

Some who read this article may choose to view it as
the partisan perspective of a political liberal. But I
have experienced wars—in India and Indochina—and have
measured their results. And most of the men and women
who are advocating the Bush Doctrine have not. You
will find few generals among them. They are, instead,
academics and think-tank people and born-again
missionaries. One must not entertain any illusion that
they are only opportunists in search of power, for
most of them truly believe in their vision of a world
crusade under the American flag. They are serious, and
they now have power at the top.

I believe that last week's blitz of aggressive
speeches and spin by the president and his chief
counselors removed all doubt of his intentions.

"As long as George W. Bush is president of the United
States," Vice President Cheney told the friendly
Heritage Foundation, "this country will not permit
gathering threats to become certain tragedies." The
president himself must tell us now what this vow

The public relations deluge by Bush, Cheney, Secretary
of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld seemed to be aimed at denying any policy
fumbles and insisting that the liberal press was
ignoring the positive developments in Iraq.

Mr. Cheney, the president's usual attack dog, aimed
his sharpest and most sneering words at those who
offer dissent about the administration's foreign and
economic policies. Perhaps seeking to stifle such
criticism, he raised the specter of terrorists
acquiring weapons of mass destruction that "could
bring devastation to our country on a scale we have
never experienced. Instead of losing thousands of
lives, we might lose tens of thousands or even
hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day of
horror." His implication was that Saddam Hussein in
particular had presented this threat—when virtually
all the available intelligence shows that Iraq's
weapons programs had been crippled or drastically
diminished by UN inspections and economic sanctions
imposed after the first Gulf war in 1991.

But beyond all the distortions and exaggerations and
falsehoods the Bush people engaged in to rally public
support for the Iraq war, what I have never
understood, from the 9-11 day of tragedy onward, is
why this White House has not called on the American
people to be part of the war effort, to make the
sacrifices civilians have always made when this
country is at war.

There has been no call for rationing or conservation
of critical supplies, such as gasoline. There has been
no call for obligatory national service in community
aid projects or emergency services. As he sent 150,000
soldiers into battle and now asks them to remain in
harm's way longer than expected, the president never
raised even the possibility of reinstating the
military draft, perhaps the most democratizing
influence in the nation's history. Instead, he has cut
taxes hugely, mostly for affluent Americans, saying
this would put money into circulation and create jobs.
Since Bush began the tax cutting two and a half years
ago, 2.7 million jobs have disappeared.

All this I don't understand. If it's a crisis—and
global terrorism surely is—then why hasn't the
president acted accordingly? What he did do, when he
sent out those first tax rebate checks, was to tell us
to go shopping. Buy clothes for the kids, tires for
the car—this would get the economy humming. How does
that measure up as a thoughtful, farsighted fiscal

In effect, George Bush says, believe in me and I will
lead you out of darkness. But he doesn't tell us any
details. And it's in the details where the true costs
are buried—human costs and the cost to our notion of
ourselves as helpers and sharers, not slayers. No one
seems to be asking themselves: If in the end the
crusade is victorious, what is it we will have won?
The White House never asked that question in Vietnam

For those who would dispute the assertion that the
Bush Doctrine is a global military-based policy and is
not just about liberating the Iraqi people, it's
crucial to look back to the policy's origins and
examine its founding documents.

The Bush Doctrine did get its birth push from
Iraq—specifically from the outcome of the 1991 Gulf
war, when the U.S.-led military coalition forced
Saddam Hussein's troops out of Kuwait but stopped
short of toppling the dictator and his oppressive
government. The president then was a different George
Bush, the father of the current president. The father
ordered the military not to move on Baghdad, saying
that the UN resolution underpinning the allied
coalition did not authorize a regime change. Dick
Cheney was the first George Bush's Pentagon chief. He
said nothing critical at the time, but apparently he
came to regret the failure to get rid of the Baghdad

A few years later, in June 1997, a group of
neoconservatives formed an entity called the Project
for the New American Century (PNAC) and issued a
Statement of Principles. "The history of the 20th
Century," the statement said, "should have taught us
that it is important to shape circumstances before
crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become
dire." One of its formal principles called for a major
increase in defense spending "to carry out our global
responsibilities today." Others cited the "need to
strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to
challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values"
and underscored "America's unique role in preserving
and extending an international order friendly to our
security, our prosperity and our principles." This,
the statement said, constituted "a Reaganite policy of
military strength and moral clarity."

Among the 25 signatories to the PNAC founding
statement were Dick Cheney, I. Lewis Libby (Cheney's
chief of staff), Donald Rumsfeld (who was also defense
secretary under President Ford), and Paul Wolfowitz
(Rumsfeld's No. 2 at the Pentagon, who was head of the
Pentagon policy team in the first Bush presidency,
reporting to Cheney, who was then defense secretary).
Obviously, this fraternity has been marinating
together for a long time. Other signers whose names
might ring familiar were Elliot Abrams, Gary Bauer,
William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, and Norman Podhoretz.

Three years and several aggressive position papers
later—in September 2000, just two months before George
W. Bush, the son, was elected president—the PNAC put
military flesh on its statement of principles with a
detailed 81-page report, "Rebuilding America's
Defenses." The report set several "core missions" for
U.S. military forces, which included maintaining
nuclear superiority, expanding the armed forces by
200,000 active-duty personnel, and "repositioning"
those forces "to respond to 21st century strategic

The most startling mission is described as follows:
"Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major
theater wars." The report depicts these potential wars
as "large scale" and "spread across [the] globe."

Another escalation proposed for the military by the
PNAC is to "perform the 'constabulary' duties
associated with shaping the security environment in
critical regions."

As for homeland security, the PNAC report says:
"Develop and deploy global missile defenses to defend
the American homeland and American allies, and to
provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection
around the world. Control the new 'international
commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way
for the creation of a new military service—U.S. Space
Forces—with the mission of space control."

Perhaps the eeriest sentence in the report is found on
page 51: "The process of transformation, even if it
brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long
one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing
event—like a new Pearl Harbor."

Apparently for the neoconservative civilians who are
running the Iraq campaign, 9-11 was that catalyzing
event—for they are now operating at full speed toward
multiple, simultaneous wars. The PNAC documents can be
found online at newamericancentury.org.

In the end, the answers lie with this president—and
later maybe with Congress and the American voters. Is
he so committed to this imperial policy that he is
unable to consider rethinking it? In short, is his
mind closed? And if so, how many wars will he take us

These are not questions in a college debate, where the
answers have no consequences. When a president's
closest advisers and military planners are patrons of
a policy that speaks matter-of-factly of fighting
multiple, simultaneous, large-scale wars across the
globe, people have a right to be told about it.

In his new book, Winning Modern Wars, retired general
Wesley Clark, a candidate for the Democratic
presidential nomination, offered a window into the
Bush serial-war planning. He writes that serious
planning for the Iraq war had already begun only two
months after the 9-11 attack, and adds:

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001,
one of the senior military staff officers had time for
a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against
Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being
discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he
said, and there were a total of seven countries,
beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran,
Somalia and Sudan. . . . I left the Pentagon that
afternoon deeply concerned."

A five-year military campaign. Seven countries. How
far has the White House taken this plan? And how long
can the president keep the nation in the dark,
emerging from his White House cocoon only to speak to
us in slogans and the sterile language of pep rallies?

Posted by richard at October 15, 2003 07:59 PM