A small group of influential right-wingers with close ties to
the offices of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld (pictured) and Vice President Dick
Cheney will this week launch a new political campaign to rally public support
for the invasion of Iraq. (AFP photo)...
Support dwindles for invasion of Iraq but neo-conservative
Jews and the Christian right continue to promote war
It is hard to tell what is going to happen with Bush's war on
Iraq now that he has control of both the U S House and the Senate.
Americans are not a eager to attack Iraq as they were a year ago; probably
because the bombings in Bali and the continued suicide bombings in Israel send a
clear message that we are not going to invade Iraq without suffering some
repercussions in America proper.
It is hard to imagine why people want to go to war. It
is even harder to understand why people want to go to war over oil. The
price of oil is going to determine who controls it. That is the way of
democratic capitalism. However, what Bush is proposing is what I would
term imperialist capitalism. This is where you invade a country and take
over its natural resources and then control their sale on the world market.
In regards to the Middle East, as no where else in the world,
there is this undeniable under current of religious fundamentalism in the
mix. The Christians and the Jews continue to look for a messiah.
They continue to expect (hope for) a manifestation of their apocalyptic vision
where the whole world fights the ultimate battle of Armageddon. All this
leads up to the return of the messiah.
I would say that without this apocalyptic vision, much of the
support for an invasion of Iraq would disappear. Without fundamental
religionists driving the war on Iraq, there may be little support if any for a
unilateral invasion of Iraq by the United States.
With yesterday's elections, the government of the United
States moved politically a notch or two the right. However, I am hoping
that this is just a reflection of the 911 terrorist attacks. When a nation is
concerned for its security, the populace tends to become more
conservative. Had 911 taken place in 2002 as opposed to 2001 it is
possible that the Republicans would have made significant gains in the election
as opposed to marginal ones; albeit ones that gave the Republicans control of
In the end, we have to hope that the people continue to lose
interest in a unilateral attack on Iraq. The fact that most of the world's
nations see the war on Iraq as just a grab for oil, it is unlikely that there
will ever be a consensus in the UN to attack Iraq.
The leaders of the nations of the world are not stupid.
Even though Iraq needs to be contained and controlled, a full blown invasion
sets a precedent for toppling other nations in the name of the United States (of
the World?). Who knows which nation Bush will focus on next.
November 6, 2002
champions of the war cause
By Jim Lobe Asia Times atimes.com
WASHINGTON - A small group of influential right-wingers with close ties
to the offices of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick
Cheney will this week launch a new political campaign to rally public
support for the invasion of Iraq.
The task may not be easy: according to a recent survey, public support
for invading Iraq has fallen from highs of close to 80 percent earlier
this year to between 52 percent and 60 percent, and less than one half
of the respondents opposed taking unilateral action if US allies were
not on board.
The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which is setting up its office
on Capitol Hill this week, plans to announce its formal launch next
week, according to its president, Randy Scheunemann, a veteran
Republican Senate foreign policy staffer who until recently worked as a
consultant to Rumsfeld on Iraq policy.
The committee appears to be a spin-off of the Project for a New American
Century (PNAC), a front group consisting mainly of neo-conservative Jews
and heavy-hitters from the Christian right, whose public recommendations
on fighting the war against terrorism and US backing for Israel in the
conflict in the occupied territories have anticipated to a remarkable
degree the administration's own policy course.
Scheunemann, who is best known for drafting the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act
that authorized US$98 million for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a
loose coalition of Iraqi dissidents that is widely distrusted by the
State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, said that he was
still putting together the group's board of advisers.
So far, Bruce P Jackson, a vice president at arms maker Lockheed Martin,
who chaired the Republican Party's subcommittee for national security
and foreign policy when George W Bush ran for president in 2000, has
signed on as chairman.
Other officers include Gary Schmitt, PNAC's executive director, and
Julie Finley, a prominent Republican fundraiser who worked with Jackson
when he served as president of the US Committee to Expand NATO, as well
as former secretary of state George Shultz, who strongly supports
ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through US unilateral action, if
Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey and retired General Wayne Downing,
a former INC lobbyist who worked on Bush's National Security Council as
its top counter-terrorism official until abruptly resigning last summer,
have also agreed to serve as advisers.
Aside from its close association with PNAC (whose website is one of only
two links featured on its website - www.liberationiraq.org), the new
committee appears to be based on a model that came to prominence before
the previous Gulf War in 1991.
The Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG), whose
membership was drawn from a similar mix of prominent neo-conservatives
and other right-wing hawks, worked closely with both Bush Senior's
administration and a second group financed by the Kuwaiti monarchy,
called Citizens for a Free Kuwait.
CPSG received a large grant from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry
Bradley Foundation, a major funder of both the PNAC and the closely
related American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
As recently as 1998, the CPSG called in an open letter to then president
Bill Clinton for Washington to adopt a "comprehensive political and
military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime",
centered on support for the INC and US air power.
That 1998 letter was signed by many of the charter members of the PNAC,
including Rumsfeld, and four of his top deputies at the Pentagon, Paul
Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakheim and Peter Rodman. Other
signatories included the current ultra-unilateralist undersecretary of
state for arms control and international strategy, John Bolton, Schmitt
and several AEI "scholars", including the current chairman of
the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle.
The PNAC's two co-founders, William Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's
The Weekly Standard, and neo-conservative commentator Robert Kagan, also
signed the letter.
In 1999, many of the same figures also created the Balkan Action
Committee (BAC) in support of NATO's Kosovo campaign against Serbia.
Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle all served on BAC's executive committee
which, like the CPSG, published open letters to the president and took
out ads in major newspapers, like the New York Times and the Washington
The new committee, according to its mission statement, "was formed
to promote regional peace, political freedom and international security
by replacing the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that
respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the
community of nations". It "will engage in educational advocacy
efforts to mobilize US and international support for policies aimed at
ending the aggression of Saddam Hussein and freeing the Iraqi people
from tyranny". Scheunemann told Inter Press Service that the group
would concentrate its efforts on the media "both in the US and in
Jackson's position as the committee's chairman is notable because senior
executives in the defense industry have generally shunned the limelight,
particularly in citizens' or lobby groups that promote wars, lest they
be painted by the media as "merchants of death". A former
military intelligence officer in the US Army, Jackson worked in the
office of both Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney when they served as
defense secretaries under former presidents Ronald Reagan and George
Bush Sr. After a brief stint as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers
in New York, he joined the defense industry, rising to his current post
as vice president for strategy and planning at Lockheed Martin.
An outspoken champion of Taiwan, Jackson came to public prominence as
head of the US Committee to Expand NATO, which lobbied Congress in favor
of the greatest possible eastward expansion of new NATO members, a
lucrative new market for major arms sales for Lockheed Martin, as well
as five other big US military contractors.
Working with him was Steve Hadley, an assistant secretary of defense
under Bush Sr and currently George W Bush's deputy national security
adviser. At the time, Hadley worked for Shea and Gardner, a law firm
that represents Lockheed Martin. More recently, the PNAC's deputy
director, Tom Donnelly, joined Lockheed Martin, but was then assigned to
the AEI, where he reportedly works with Perle.
(Inter Press Service)
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