FEATURED Article: Neo-cons’ plans for Iraq predated 9/11

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FEATURED Article: Neo-cons’ plans for Iraq predated 9/11

HASSAN MAHMOUD, Be Counted

“If we’d gone to Baghdad we would been all alone. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. Once you get to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim. They fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with a few casualties as we had. But for 146 Americans killed in action and for their families — it wasn’t cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?”

That was a statement made by Dick Cheney in 1994 about the 1991 Iraq war. It sounded like Eisenhower’s foretelling statement: “The United States had no business transforming itself into an occupying power in a seething Arab world, and if it ever did so, I am sure we would regret it.”
So, how did Cheney morph into irresponsible hawk who relied on lies manufactured by his and then Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld’s Likudnist aides to persuade an inexperienced president to plunge our country into catastrophic war against Iraq, which had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 nor threatened our security?

In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, Cheney’s under secretary of defense, and Scooter Libby were upset by Bush senior’s decision to leave Saddam Hussein’s regime in place. They wrote a draft version of the Defense Planning Guidance that became a template of the Project for the New American Century, which was formulated by administration insiders Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997, and signed by a cabal of neo-cons ideologues (including Cheney and Rumsfeld), advocating a regime change in Iraq to enhance Israel’s security. This shows that the Iraq invasion scheme was hatched four years before 9/11.
In 1996 a “Clean Break Report” authored by Richard Perle, Douglass Feith and David Wurmser — all associates of the Bush Administration — was
delivered to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arguing that it was in Israel’s interest to have Hussein removed. (Why report to a foreign government?) Wurmser, who later served as Cheney’s Mideast adviser, published a book in 1999 entitled “Tyranny’s Allay: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein.” He described Iraq as a “resource-laden territory with large proven oil reserves and it’s a threat to Israel.” Douglass Feith (who was honored by the Zionist Organization of America and his law partner, L. Mark Zell, is a spokesman for the Jewish settlers on the occupied Palestinian West Bank), along with Steve Campone, were later strategically placed, by Wolfowitz and Perle, in the defense department under Donald Rumsfeld. It’s noteworthy that Feith concocted the myth of Mohammad Atta’s meeting with an Iraqi official in Prague.

Another advocate of the Iraq war is the ardent Zionist Norman Podhoretz, whom Rudy Giuliani has picked as his foreign policy adviser. He is calling for attacking Iran. He wrote in the June issue of “Commentary”, “The truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal (deja vu WMD), there is no alternative to the use of military force. The job has to be done by a campaign of air strikes. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, it could be carried only by the United States.” You do the fighting and we hold your coat! He adds: “Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. There would be vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a love-fest. Nevertheless, the only thing worse than bombing Iran is allowing Iran to get the bomb.” Never mind America, viva Israel? No mention of Israel’s possession of 200 nuclear bombs capable of obliterating Iran and its plan to build a second nuclear plant, with no slight world protest.

Apparently, these are the people who transformed Cheney’s thinking.

“Be Counted” columnist Hassan Mahmoud is a resident of Westfield.