Rarely do I talk about politics in a public forum. There are several reasons for this. One reason is that regardless of how people feel about politicians, I believe for the most part that they dedicate their lives to public service and deserve respect for this. Another reason is that I know politics is complicated. Still another reason is that we live in a world of sound bites and often do not get the entire story before we formulate opinions.
I was browsing through a forum I where I used to post, and ran across this entry from March 23, 2003. I wrote it when Richard Perle was asked to step down as chairman from the Defense Policy Board because of a conflict of interest. The thread was titled “One down, four to go.” Since I mentioned PNAC briefly in an earlier blog, I thought some of the information presented below might be of some interest. There is a reference to “Shock and Awe” in this post. This was the war strategy proposed by our current administration before we went to Iraq. It was designed to get us ‘in and out’ of Iraq in a short period of time. I remember the damage it caused, but it’s main objective was not achieved because as you know, soldiers and civilians are still violently dying every day over there. And as you know, we are still there. My mind is boggled.
The Architects of War
Main Entry: ar·chi·tect
Etymology: Middle French architecte, from Latin architectus, from Greek architekton master builder, from archi- + tekton builder, carpenter
1 : a person who designs buildings and advises in their construction
2 : a person who designs and guides a plan or undertaking
Main Entry: war
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English werre, from Old North French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German werra strife; akin to Old High German werran to confuse
1 a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) : a period of such armed conflict (3) : STATE OF WAR b : the art or science of warfare c (1) obsolete : weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2 a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism b : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end [a class war] [a war against disease]
The Bush Administration has surrounded itself with rich and powerful men who have objectives which are in their own best interests, that do not necessarily coincide with the best interests of the American people. Of the four to go, only one was elected, the rest appointed. They are Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft. (Richard Perle is still in the running, he was only demoted from chairing the Defense Policy Board but is still on it.)
What is the Defense Policy Board, you might ask. It’s a Washington Think Tank, of which there are more than you can shake a stick at. I’ll talk about a couple others, too, that have great influence on our current administration. They are The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The Defense Policy Board includes among its members: George Schultz, Thomas Foley, Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, Jim Woolsey, Kiron Skinner, Richard Allen, James Schlessenger and Dan Quayle.
The members of the Project for a New American Century include: Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz. PNAC was formed in 1997, their mission statement can be found here.
If you read any of the articles and memorandums regarding Iraq on this website, you will see that our current war on Iraq has been in the planning since this group convened in 1997.
Let’s do some matching up here. Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, the controversial state which decided the presidency in 2000. Dick Cheney, current Vice President of the United States. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense. Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies, another influential Washington Think Tank includes on it’s illustrious board Henry Kissinger, James Woolsey, and James Schlessenger. Connect these dots to the Defense Policy Board.
But let’s take a look at this guy, Harlan Ullman, Senior Associate at CSIS.
Mr. Ullman is the author of “Shock and Awe, Achieving Rapid Dominance”, published in 1996 and now reported ‘out of print’. I corresponded with Mr. Ullman in February of 2003, asking him to verify that he was the author of the Shock and Awe concept. He replied:
“Ms Lock–Shock and awe is a complex concept and easy to distort. First and most importantly, the idea is to get the enemy to quit short of war by threatening the imposition of total impotence. The target is the mind of the enemy military and political leadership not the people and not the destruction of civilian installations.
Shock and awe may not work. Then, if it is war, it will be bloody. Hence, why not give the former a try?”
I had also asked him to verify a quote attributed to him. “A military strategist named Harlan Ullman told American television: “There will not be a safe place in Baghdad. The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before. The strategy is known as Shock and Awe and Ullman is apparently its proud inventor.”
He said: “You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes.”
He replied: “About, the quotes, that is not what I said. The Hiroshima image was to suggest a non-nuclear means of changing so many minds but without the catastrophic effects. Recall that the Japanese were prepared to fight to the last person and fire bombing raids killed many more in a night than did the atom bombs. Changing such a powerful intent but with smart targeting and great knowledge without the damage is the aim of shock and awe. If there is a better alternative should war come, I’d like to know what it is.”
Conclusion: The War in Iraq has been touted to the American people as necessary because of the events that happened on September 11, 2001. We are being asked to support our troops in carrying out a mission which requires immediate action on the part of the United States. We are being directed in the war effort by men who have had this objective in the planning since 1997. War is good business, for big business. Big business will be the winner here, whether we win or lose in Iraq. The Bush Administration is being heavily influenced by members of these think tanks, all who have interests in big business.
These are some of the reasons that I oppose the war in Iraq. If the Iraqi people are liberated with minimal loss of life and resources, then I will rethink my conclusions. The evidence presented above does not support this reasoning as the objective for this war.
Update: May, 2004
I have listened to the conservative Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity radio programs where they attempt to villify the “libruls” who oppose this war, who oppose our involvement in the middle east, and who make attempts to justify the abuse in the Iraqi prisons by saying, “But Saddam Hussein was worse. By Far!” What bullshit. I mean, I’m sorry. Your badness is not worse than my badness. Badness is badness.
In closing, I wish to say that I am no John Kerry fan. (Where’s John Edwards when you need him?) I believe, however, that it is imperative that we vote out Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ashcroft, and yes, George W. Bush. Vote for the administration, not the man. I have no beef with GWB. I think he’s made some really bad choices with the people he’s chosen to surround himself. Stupid is as stupid does, my mom used to say. I urge you to select another candidate, John Kerry, and give us, the US, a second chance.
CKS/BL Tridiot Rating: 11/02/04