portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

corporate dominance | imperialism & war

Bush's Plans for Iraq and World, from his own speech

"In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military
Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power
exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination
endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

- President Dwight Eisenhower, January 1961.
George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather of
conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. In
his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as part of a larger
struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the Middle East.
Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom for all, the speech
was in fact the closest articulation of the actual plan for Iraq that has
yet been heard from the administration.

In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological connections
between an extremist right-wing Washington think tank and the foreign policy
aspirations of the Bush administration were detailed.

The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group founded in 1997
that 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

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.

Who is PNAC? Its members include:

* Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served as
Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;

* I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;

* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member, along with
four of his chief aides including;

* Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the ideological
father of the group;

* Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security Council, who
was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;

* John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and
International Security in the Bush administration;

* Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present chairman
of the powerful Defense Policy Board;

* Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq,
who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as an advisor to
Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;

* Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for
years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who
also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security
and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the 2000 GOP
Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein;

* William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, a
magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative media mogul
Ruppert Murdoch.

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.

The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their foreign policy
schemes, hatched in 1997, brought into reality. They control the White
House, the Pentagon and Defense Department, by way of this the armed forces
and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a Republican-dominated
Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually everything on their wish list.

The first step towards the establishment of this Pax Americana is, and has
always been, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of an
American protectorate in Iraq. The purpose of this is threefold: 1) To
acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise; 2) To
fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle East; 3)
To establish in Iraq a military staging area for the eventual invasion and
overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including some that are allies
of the United States.

Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified this aspect of
the grand plan in the September 2002 issue of his journal, 'Commentary'. In
it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes, "that richly deserve to be overthrown
and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis
of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and
Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed
by Arafat or one of his henchmen." At bottom, for Podhoretz, this action is
about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."

This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely different

Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans to the idea of Iraqi
liberation and democratization are cynical in their inception. At the end of
the day, this is not even about oil. The drive behind this war is
ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of Islam as it
exists in both government and society within the Middle East. Once this is
accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten lanes wide and steppin'
out over the line.

At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good for bull sessions in
the board room and the bar. Something has to grease the skids, to make the
whole thing worthwhile to those involved, and entice those outside the loop
to get into the game.

Thus, the payout.

It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming Vice President,
served as chairman and chief executive of the Dallas-based petroleum
corporation Halliburton. During his tenure, according to oil industry
executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk $73 million
in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working face-to-face with
Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton were also moving into position to capitalize
upon Hussein's removal from power. In October of 1995, the same month Cheney
was made CEO of Halliburton, that company announced a deal that would put it
first in line should war break out in Iraq. Their job: To take control of
burning oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them for service.

Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in Iraq is Brown & Root,
a subsidiary of Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown & Root is in the construction
business, and thus has won a share of the $900 million government contract
for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi bridges, roads and other basic
infrastructure. This is but the tip of the financial iceberg, as the oil
wells will also have to be repaired after parent-company Halliburton puts
out the fires.

More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade: the building of permanent
American military bases. There are twelve permanent U.S. bases in Kosovo
today, all built and maintained by Brown & Root for a multi-billion dollar
profit. If anyone should wonder why the administration has not offered an
exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the presence of Brown & Root should
answer them succinctly. We do not plan on exiting. In all likelihood, Brown
& Root is in Iraq to build permanent bases there, from which attacks upon
other Middle Eastern nations can be staged and managed.

Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new light.

Being at the center of the action is nothing new for Halliburton and Brown &
Root. The two companies have worked closely with governments in Algeria,
Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia during
the worst chapters in those nation's histories. Many environmental and human
rights groups claim that Cheney, Halliburton and Brown & Root were, in fact,
centrally involved in these fiascos. More recently, Brown & Root was
contracted by the Defense Department to build cells for detainees in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that one project came to $300 million.

Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997, while still profiting
from deals between Halliburton and Hussein. One year later, Cheney and PNAC
began actively and publicly agitating for war on Iraq. They have not stopped
to this very day.

Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and massively
increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a private global
investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital under management,
was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164 companies, including
telecommunications firms and defense contractors. It is staffed at the
highest levels by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations.
Former President George H. W. Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a
senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor and former Secretary of
State James Baker III.

One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons manufacturer
based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the Defense Department with
combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support vehicle systems,
weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles, combat support
services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense manufactures the
Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M88A2
Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle,
the M6 Linebacker, the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and
Control Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and
Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.

In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in Iraq, and
a burgeoning American military empire needs.

Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's involvement in
American military buildup is the family of Osama bin Laden. The bin Laden
family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin Laden, father of Osama, who built
a multi-billion dollar construction empire through contracts with the Saudi
government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as this company is called, was heavily
invested in Carlyle for years. Specifically, they were invested in Carlyle's
Partners II Fund, which includes in that portfolio United Defense and other
weapons manufacturers.

This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001 article in the Wall
Street Journal entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit >From Jump in Defense
Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.' The 'bank' in question was the Carlyle
Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on September 28 entitled
' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With Washington - Saudi Clan Has Had
Access To Influential Republicans ' further describes the relationship. In
October of 2001, Saudi BinLaden and Carlyle severed their relationship by
mutual agreement. The timing is auspicious.

There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush
administration has claimed all along that this war with Iraq is about Saddam
Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, though
through it all they have roundly failed to establish any basis for either
accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim that the war is about
liberating the Iraqi people and bringing democracy to the Middle East. This
ignores cultural realities on the ground in Iraq and throughout the region
that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for American motives, make such a
democracy movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to

This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push for an
American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand that there is a
great difference between being the citizen of a constitutional democracy and
being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an empire requires some
significant sacrifices.

Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have to
be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards a necessary military
buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence of American
power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a torrent of
terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the final
suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus, as we
will find ourselves under martial law. In the end, however, this may be
inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome machine of a
constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled with speed and
ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way in which America
has been governed for 227 years.

And yes, of course, a great many people will die.

It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of our
leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider the incredible profit
motive behind it all. The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole
host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and
executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war.
Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum
industries will likewise profit enormously.

Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist"
when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi
stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution. This does
not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush
administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the
father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion.
"Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called corporatism,
since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand against
this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not oppose Bush because
they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence of Saddam Hussein.
France and Germany stand against the Bush administration because they intend
to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can. They have seen
militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish never to see it

Would that we Americans could be so wise.


William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books -
"War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The
Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He
teaches high school in Boston, MA.

Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.

: t r u t h o u t 2003