I realized after talking with a friend that among other things I had also scaled back on my writing in general. My book idea still sits on my desk awaiting further inspiration and this blog has been rusting in peace despite a plethora of political events happening this year. I don't know how much of this is due to writer's block or just a personal gravitation to procrastination, but last night I made a conscious decision to break it.
That decision stemmed from a piece I watched last night on The Rachel Maddow Show. On it, Maddow talked about how Romney foreign policy advisor Robert O'Brien regarded the Obama Administration focus on Romney's lack of foreign policy experience as "another distraction" from the President's economic record. While I found that quote typical of the Romney camp "born with a silver foot in his mouth" cluelessness, I was shocked to find out later in Maddow's segment who was actually briefing Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan on foreign policy today: Jamie Fly and Reuel Marc Gerecht. Fly is a former National Security staffer from the Dubya misadministration. I believe I may have come across his name while doing research on the 1st or 2nd edition of American Judas, but I definitely recall Gerecht. He was the director of the Middle East Initiative for the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
Looking back on previous blog entries over the last five years, I'm surprised I haven't written before regarding the PNAC. I think SourceWatch provides the best overview:
HistoryThe PNAC was co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997, with roots in the 1992 Pentagon. PNAC's original 25 signatories were an eclectic mix of academics and neo-conservative politicians, several of whom have subsequently found positions in the presidential administration of George Walker Bush. PNAC is noteworthy for its focus on Iraq, a preoccupation that began before Bush became president and predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 1998, the group wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (then Senate Majority Leader) and Newt Gingrich (then Speaker of the House of Representatives), demanding a harder line against Iraq. By then, the group had grown in numbers, adding individuals such as former Reagan-era U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and long-time Washington cold warrior/pro-LikudRichard N. Perle.
According to William Rivers Pitt, "Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the disputed election of George W. Bush and the attacks of September 11th. When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw, at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive policy."
Several original PNAC members, including Cheney, Khalilzad and the Bush family, have ties to the oil industry. Many other members have been long-time fixtures in the U.S. military establishment or Cold War "strategic studies," including Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney, Paula Dobriansky, Aaron Friedberg, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald H. Rumsfeld, John R. Bolton, Vin Weber, and Paul Dundes Wolfowitz. It should not be surprising, therefore, that while the group devotes inordinate attention to Iraq, its most general focus has been on a need to "re-arm America." The prospect of mining oil riches may explain part of the group's focus on Iraq, but this motivation has been buried under the rhetoric of national security and the need for strong national defense.
To justify a need to "rearm" the country, however, reasons must be found. In the more peaceable world of the late 1990s, with no rival super-power in sight, Iraq and "ballistic missile defense" against "rogue states" were the main games in town. The group's links to advocacy for ballistic missile defense came through Donald Rumsfeld, who in 1998 chaired a bi-partisan commission on the "US Ballistic Missile Threat" and Vin Weber, a registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin and other Fortune 500 companies.
According to a February 27, 2003, editorial by William Rivers Pitt, PNAC
- 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. ...
- 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.
Key positionsAmong the key conclusions of PNAC's defense strategy document (Rebuilding America's Defenses) were the following :
- "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."
- "Increase defense spending, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually."
- "Exploit the 'revolution in military affairs' [transformation to high-tech, unmanned weaponry] to insure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces."
- "Need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements" complaining that the U.S. has "virtually ceased development of safer and more effective nuclear weapons."
- "Facing up to the realities of multiple constabulary missions that will require a permanent allocation of U.S. forces."
- "America must defend its homeland" by "reconfiguring its nuclear force" and by missile defense systems that "counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction."
- "Need for a larger U.S. security perimeter" and the U.S. "should seek to establish a network of 'deployment bases' or 'forward operating bases' to increase the reach of current and future forces," citing the need to move beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia to increased permanent military presence in Southeast Asia and "other regions of East Asia." Necessary "to cope with the rise of China to great-power status."
- Redirecting the U.S. Air Force to move "toward a global first-strike force."
- End the Clinton administration's "devotion" to the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
- "North Korea, Iran, Iraq, or similar states [should not be allowed] to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies, or threaten the American homeland itself."
- "Main military missions" necessary to "preserve Pax Americana" and a "unipolar 21st century" are the following: "secure and expand zones of democratic peace, deter rise of new great-power competitor, defend key regions (Europe, East Asia, Middle East), and exploit transformation of war."
Prescient indeed, especially if you take into account the discrepancies in the official story I have documented on this blog through the research of Paul Thompson's The Terror Timeline and the evidence Michael Ruppert uncovered that PNAC signatory Dick Cheney orchestrated the 9/11 attacks in his book Crossing the Rubicon. But it concerns me that Paul Ryan, described alternately as the Tea Party darling and the intellectual policy leader of the GOP, is getting his foreign policy direction straight from Ground Zero of the neo-con war machine. Researching whether those crafty neo-cons had been as successful in co-opting the Tea Party as it seemed, I came across this article that showed how this was being done as early as 2010:
How the Neocons Are Co-opting the Tea Partyby Scott McConnell, November 12, 2010snipThis battle has not broken out, and there is little reason to think it will soon. Neoconservative tactical flexibility and ingenuity is unmatched by their rivals within the conservative movement. And they have deployed a number of familiar tactics in their efforts to blunt the Tea Party challenge.
These tactics can be grouped into several categories: strategic flattery from national media platforms; offers of technical advice (speechwriting, debate preparation); prominent placement of op-eds; appearances at Tea Party gatherings; subtle and not so subtle encouragements of anti-Muslim bigotry; and advocacy efforts such as circulating petitions to put congressmen on record as supporting a "strong America." In addition, neocons are busy influencing the congressional staffing process and networking operations on Capitol Hill — both areas they excel at — to help shape the new class of politically inexperienced Tea Party lawmakers.snip
In fact, neoconservatism accommodated itself quite well to the Christian Right — a movement that has failed to achieve any of its programmatic aims, despite being an essential part of the conservative electoral coalition.
The Tea Party movement may parallel the growth of the Christian Right, as religious conservatives now comprise its fastest growing element. In all likelihood, "religious" Tea Partiers will be more amenable to Islamophobia-derived arguments than "libertarian" Tea Party members. If that is the case, watch to see if neoconservatives accommodate themselves as easily to the Tea Party as they did to Jerry Falwell and John Hagee. But even if they don’t, the strategy of creating alliances with key Tea Party leaders — as exemplified by the neocons’ treatment of Sarah Palin — seems to be working well.
I reported on this phenomenon of the Tea Party being co-opted before. Karl Denninger, an original organizer of the Tea Party, was talking about the "bastardization of a movement" back in October 2010. Now, with the selection of Paul Ryan to round out the Romney ticket and the effective censoring of Ron Paul delegates at the RNC convention, the GOP is right back where it was under Dubya: complete neo-con dominion. It's tempting to gloat condescendingly about how this is proof that the Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt, (I can imagine the ghost of Lloyd Bentsen admonishing Paul Ryan, "Congressman, I knew William F. Buckley. Buckley was no friend of mine, but he was an intellectual. Congressman, you're no William F. Buckley.") especially considering their current floundering in the pre-election polls. But they don't have to win this election. They just need to wait. Wait until Greece poisons the Euro beyond repair, wait until the peaking of Saudi oil production forewarned in a WikiLeaks cable enters an irreversible decline. History has proven this country has an attention-deficit span as wide as the Grand Canyon. Sometime in 2016 or 2020 (or maybe this year, there are still a number of swing state legislatures desperately clinging to the phoney "voter fraud" meme to keep minorities and seniors from voting), we will collectively forget how Dubya's supply-side scam drove the economy into a ditch, just as we forgot how his father's "read my lips, I'm lying!" moment was precipitated by another supply-side scam called "Reaganomics", which came about because we forgot how this same failed economic system was employed in this country during the 1920's, which Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon from 1921-1932 called "trickle-down" economics. Worked just fine up until 1929, but most voters have forgotten all about that, the 4th time has got to be the charm! But as scary as returning to that would be, it scares me more that they're also biding their time on foreign policy, waiting to resume their pursuit of a Pax Americana. This is the essence of the military-industrial complex endgame. We can't afford to forget. We need to remember the words and vision of President John F. Kennedy's American University commencement address:
I have, therefore, chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived. And that is the most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.
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