The Bush-Cheney regime is America’s first neoconservative regime. In a few short years, the regime has destroyed the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, the Geneva Conventions, and the remains of America’s moral reputation along with the infrastructures of two Muslim countries and countless thousands of Islamic civilians. Plans have been prepared, and forces moved into place, for an attack on a third Islamic country, Iran, and perhaps Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.
This extraordinary aggressiveness toward the US Constitution, international law, and the Islamic world is the work, not of a vast movement, but of a handful of ideologues--principally Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Lewis Libby, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, Philip Zelikow, and Attorney General Gonzales. These are the main operatives who have controlled policy. They have been supported by their media shills at the Weekly Standard, National Review, Fox News, New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page and by “scholars” in assorted think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute.
The entirety of their success in miring the United States in what could become permanent conflict in the Middle East is based on the power of propaganda and the big lie.
Initially, the 9/11 attack was blamed on Osama bin Laden, but after an American puppet was installed in Afghanistan, the blame for 9/11 was shifted to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, who was said to have weapons of mass destruction that would be used against America. The regime sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to tell the lie to the UN that the Bush-Cheney regime had conclusive proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Having conned the UN, Congress, and the American people, the regime invaded Iraq under totally false pretenses and with totally false expectations. The regime’s occupation of Iraq has failed in a military sense, but the neoconservatives are turning their failure into a strategic advantage. At the beginning of this year President Bush began blaming Iran for America’s embarrassing defeat by a few thousand lightly armed insurgents in Iraq.
Bush accuses Iran of arming the Iraqi insurgents, a charge that experts regard as improbable. The Iraqi insurgents are Sunni. They inflict casualties on our troops, but spend most of their energy killing Iraqi Shi’ites, who are closely allied with Iran, which is Shi’ite. Bush’s accusation requires us to believe that Iran is arming the enemies of its allies.
On the basis of this absurd accusation--a pure invention--Bush has ordered a heavy concentration of aircraft carrier attack forces off Iran’s coast, and he has moved US attack planes to Turkish bases and other US bases in countries contingent to Iran.
In testimony before Congress on February 1 of this year, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said that he expected the regime to orchestrate a “head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large.” He said a plausible scenario was “a terrorist act blamed on Iran, culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran.” He said that the neoconservative propaganda machine was already articulating a “mythical historical narrative” for widening their war against Islam.
Why is the US spending one trillion dollars on wars, the reasons for which are patently false. What is going on?
There are several parts to the answer. Like their forebears among the Jacobins of the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks of the communist revolution, and the National Socialists of Hitler’s revolution, neoconservatives believe that they have a monopoly on virtue and the right to impose hegemony on the rest of the world. Neoconservative conquests began in the Middle East because oil and Israel, with which neocons are closely allied, are both in the MIddle East.
The American oil giant, UNOCAL, had plans for an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan, but the Taliban were not sufficiently cooperative. The US invasion of Afghanistan was used to install Hamid Karzai, who had been on UNOCAL’s payroll, as puppet prime minister. US neoconservative Zalmay Khalilzad, who also had been on UNOCAL’s payroll, was installed as US ambassador to Afghanistan.
Two years later Khalilzad was appointed US ambassador to Iraq. American oil companies have been given control over the exploitation of Iraq’s oil resources.
The Israeli relationship is perhaps even more important. In 1996 Richard Perle and the usual collection of neocons proposed that all of Israel’s enemies in the Middle East be overthrown. “Israel’s enemies” consist of the Muslim countries not in the hands of US puppets or allies. For decades Israel has been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians such that today there is not enough of Palestine left to comprise an independent country. The US and Israeli governments blame Iran, Iraq, and Syria for aiding and abetting Palestinian resistance to Israel’s theft of Palestine.
The Bush-Cheney regime came to power with the plans drawn to attack the remaining independent countries in the Middle East and with neoconservatives in office to implement the plans. However, an excuse was required. Neoconservatives had called for “a new Pearl Harbor,” and 9/11 provided the propaganda event needed in order to stampede the public and Congress into war. Neoconservative Philip Zelikow was put in charge of the 9/11 Commission Report to make certain no uncomfortable facts emerged.
The neoconservatives have had enormous help from the corporate media, from Christian evangelicals, particularly from the “Rapture Evangelicals,” from flag-waving superpatriots, and from the military- industrial complex whose profits have prospered. But the fact remains that the dozen men named in the second paragraph above were able to overthrow the US Constitution and launch military aggression under the guise of a preventive/preemptive “war against terrorism.”
When the American people caught on that the “war on terror” was a cloak for wars of aggression, they put Democrats in control of Congress in order to apply a brake to the regime’s warmongering. However, the Democrats have proven to be impotent to stop the neoconservative drive to wider war and, perhaps, world conflagration.
We are witnessing the triumph of a dozen evil men over American democracy and a free press.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.