A FANATICAL group of men in and around the White House use the 11 September attacks to launch a war they have wanted for over a decade. Conquering Iraq is merely one step in their plan for ongoing military operations against other states, leaving the world in awe of US power. The aim? Global domination. France, Germany, Russia, China and other major states are all to come under the thumb of the US state and the interests of its multinationals.
All that is an absurd conspiracy theory cooked up by the anti-war movement, say Tony Blair and the British warmongers. Their problem, however, is that Blair's new friends in the US have outlined precisely that imperialist scheme in speeches and conferences over the last 20 years.
The main channel is the Project for the New American Century, founded in 1997 by William Kristol, the editor of a hard right establishment magazine. Most of the Project's members were part of Ronald Reagan's regime in the US in the early 1980s. Now they are part of George Bush's government and set the course of the US state.
They include vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz. Zalmay Khalilzad also signed up to the Project. He currently plays governor general to the US-imposed colonial administration in Afghanistan and is lined up for a similar post in northern Iraq. The people now directing the US state cut their teeth in the early 1980s, revelling in the huge increase in arms spending under Ronald Reagan. Chillingly, they believe people such as Henry Kissinger, the architect of saturation bombing in Vietnam, were far too soft.
Some, such as John Negroponte and Elliot Abrams, organised the right wing death squads that murdered tens of thousands of people in Central America throughout the 1980s. They all entered the 1990s fretting that US economic power was declining relative to Europe and Japan. They had won the 'Second Cold War' against Russia, but now feared a loss of US global power.
So they organised through the Project and other outfits to rally support within the establishment for a crusade to establish total US power. Their argument was direct-the US should use its unrivalled military machine to shape the world to benefit US economic interests.
As the Project's founding statement put it in 1997, 'We are living off the capital-both military investments and the foreign policy achievements-built up by past administrations. 'It is increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world.' They agitated for a hike in arms spending. They demanded war against Iraq as a prelude to attacking other 'rogue states' to demonstrate the military power of the US state. The Project's Rebuilding America's Defenses document in September 2000 warned:
'The United States is the world's only superpower, combining pre-eminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world's largest economy... At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible. There are, however, potentially powerful states dissatisfied with the current situation and eager to change it... Up to now, they have been deterred from doing so by the capability and global presence of American military power. But, as that power declines, relatively and absolutely, the happy conditions that follow from it will be inevitably undermined.'
Top of the list of potential competitors is China. But the Project's zealots target others too. In 1997 William Kristol explained why the US should expand NATO into Eastern Europe: 'An American-led NATO prevented Moscow from accomplishing its goal. By placing Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic under NATO's security umbrella today, NATO can deter any rising power from aspiring to that goal in the future. The alternative is to leave the states of Central and Eastern Europe in a geopolitical no man's land, forcing them to plan and manoeuvre around the inevitably powerful pull of a unified Germany and a potentially resurgent Russia.'
The Bush gang today are using their 'little Warsaw Pact' in Eastern Europe against both Germany and Russia. And they have welcomed the chance to clash with France over war on Iraq. The European states' combined economy rivals the US's, but they are not fully integrated and lack a unified military.
They don't mind a European free trade area, complete with neo-liberal policies. But they don't want Europe as a counter power to the US. Rumsfeld's adviser Richard Perle attacked in February of this year the 'desire on the part of France to build the European Union as a counterweight to the United States. Counterweight is the term most frequently employed by the French, by Chris Patten in Brussels and by others. For a long time the United States and France have been allies. But a relationship that can be described by the term counterweight is not a relationship of alliance.'
The Bush gang now seem to see France rather than Germany as the main architect of a potential French-German-Russian axis. A meeting of the American Enterprise Institute last week, two days into the war, heard Richard Perle and others call for a policy of 'containment' of France and Germany. The US slaughter in Iraq was, said William Kristol, about redressing 'a lack of awe for the US'. He went on to describe replacing every Arab regime in the Middle East with ones that are as pro-US as Israel. Michael Ledeen, a co-thinker, called Iraq 'just one battle in a broader war. Iran is the mother of modern terrorism.'
William Kristol told a US congressional committee last year that Saudi Arabia, for example, 'is more part of the problem than part of the solution. Although it is still the strongest influence on oil prices, other sources-in Russia, the Caspian Basin and Mexico-can be developed and brought to market at reasonable cost. In particular, removing the regime of Saddam Hussein would be a tremendous step to reducing Saudi leverage. Bringing Iraqi oil into world markets would improve energy economics.'
Central to the Bush gang's plan for the Middle East is not merely siding with Israel, but strengthening it as it continues to expand settlements in the West Bank. They don't simply see Israel as an ally. They identify completely with the most aggressive forces in Israeli society, Ariel Sharon and even those to the right of him. They want to impose the worst possible settlement on the Palestinians and see Israeli military might as part of their strategy for 'regime change' across the Middle East.
Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz and the rest really do believe in 'The New American Century'. Seeing off any strategic rivals while enforcing free market policies abroad means giving US multinationals a great advantage in the global chase for profit. It strengthens the hands of US negotiators as they sit down to discuss trade deals and International Monetary Fund loans to the other countries.
That is the prize the Bush gang has in its sights with every advance towards Baghdad. These people now run the most powerful state on earth. They have a policy to preserve and extend US capitalism. The rest of the US establishment, despite tactical and ideological disagreements, is happy to go along with that strategy if it delivers.
And hitching themselves to its success is Tony Blair and New Labour. They once protested over murder, rape and torture in Nicaragua and other Central American states. Their newfound friends are the thugs who organised it.
Men behind the project
Their grisly record of organising torture
DONALD RUMSFELD US defence secretary
He was a favourite of US president Richard Nixon in the Vietnam War. He then became chief of staff and defence secretary in the 1970s to Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford. In the 1980s Rumsfeld was US president Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East. In 1983 he met Saddam Hussein to conclude a deal to supply US weapons to help Iraq in its war with Iran.
The US State Department admitted at the time 'available evidence indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons' in that war with Iran. The Los Angeles Times in 1991 reported that US-supplied helicopters 'were among those dropping the deadly bombs' in Saddam Hussein's 1988 poison gas attack on Kurds in the town of Halabja.
More recently Rumsfeld led the US Congress committee pushing the 'Star Wars' National Missile Defence system.
JOHN NEGROPONTE US ambassador to the UN
From 1964 Negroponte was a key aide in the US embassy in Vietnam. He was then a key adviser from 1971 to 1973 to Henry Kissinger, and was in charge of Vietnam policy on the US National Security Council. In the 1980s he was charged with 'carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua', according to the New York Times.
As US ambassador to neighbouring Honduras he oversaw an expansion of US military aid to the right wing government from $4 million to $77 million. Negroponte helped organise and train Honduras's infamous Battalion 3-16. The US Baltimore Sun paper exposed how 'The CIA and US embassy knew of numerous crimes, including murder and torture committed by Battalion 3-16, yet continued to collaborate closely with its leaders.'
PAUL WOLFOWITZ Deputy defence secretary
He was also an undersecretary for defence under George Bush Senior. In the 1980s Wolfowitz was US ambassador to Indonesia. He described the Indonesian dictator General Suharto as 'a model of moderation'. Wolfowitz ensured US military help for Suharto's regime while it was occupying East Timor in defiance of UN resolutions. Some 300,000 were killed in that occupation.
In the wake of 11 September 2001 Wolfowitz openly called for the US to use military might to 'end states' which threatened its interests. Wolfowitz argues the US must be ready to confront, with force if needed, its 'major strategic competitor and potential threat'-China. Wolfowitz is also on the board of several US corporations including Hasbro, a major investor in sweatshop factories across Asia.
RICHARD PERLE Chair of Bush's Defence Policy Board
Perle opposes any nuclear arms control agreements and enthusiastically supports the US being prepared to wage nuclear war. Perle is a director of the shadowy venture capital firm Trireme Partners. It invests in companies dealing in 'homeland security' technology and services. It has lucrative deals in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
Perle ominously declared the US 'must develop a strategy to contain France' because of its refusal to back war on Iraq.
He is the member of Bush's National Security Council responsible for the Middle East, as director of the office of 'democracy, human rights and international operations'. Abrams was found guilty of lying to Congress to cover up US organising and financing of the right wing terrorist Contra organisation in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
The Contras murdered, raped and terrorised civilians, killing up to 40,000 people, in their war against the Sandinista government. Abrams was only saved from jail by a pardon issued by George Bush Senior in his last days of office.
Abrams was also involved in US intervention in El Salvador in the 1980s which he called a 'fabulous achievement'. Between 1980 and 1989 death squads organised by the US-backed government murdered 41,048 civilians, according to an official investigation.
Abrams gave the go-ahead to an attempted coup in April last year against Venezuela's elected president, Chavez.
He was a junior member of Ronald Reagan's administration and chief of staff to Bush Senior's vice-president Dan Quayle. Kristol was also paid at least $100,000 to act as an adviser to the Enron energy corporation which collapsed amid a huge corruption scandal two years ago.
Kristol said the US government deliberately 'allowed Saddam to suppress the rebellion' of Iraqi Shias and Kurds after the 1991 Gulf War. He admitted that the US and the Saudi Arabian regime did not 'want to establish the principle that a regime should be removed by popular uprisings'. Kristol unashamedly calls himself an 'American imperialist'.