LING 501 Lecture Notes - Ron Suskind, Project For The New American Century, Al-Qaeda
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Once the Republicans return to the white house, Bush immediately surrounds
himself with neoconservatives drawn directly from PNAC's founding
This explains why as soon as Bush assumes presidency, he is eager to put PNAC's
worldview into action --- which is a conclusion stated by Ron Suskind, and
supported by many others.
It's really important to understand that PNAC'S worldview encourages shaping
the international security order in line with American principles and interests and strives
to launch the US as the new hegemonic leader of the international world
So Bush and his advisors saw Hussein's ongoing regime in Iraq as the perfect example
and ideal opportunity to put PNAC's plan into practice
But this was all established from the start, even before Bush's victory. Suskind
quotes O'Neill in his work, stating that they were planning to take Hussein out and
ultimately change Iraq into a new country because this would solve everything. It
was all about finding a way to do it.
This leads us into the 9/11 attack where 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four
commercial passenger jet airliners and directed two of them into the twin towers of
the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse, killing almost 3000
innocent people. The third airliner smashed into the Pentagon while the fourth
crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This caused outrage among the American
public, allowing Bush to declare a war on terrorism. Bin Laden and al-Qaeda gave
Bush and PNAC "a way to do this" and as we will see, it basically gave them
permission to turn on Iraq.
Less than a month after the attacks, the US assumes the leadership of a broad
coalition of international forces that invades Afghanistan to remove the Taliban
regime supporting al-Qaeda. Pakistan aligns itself with the US and provides military
airports and bases for the attack on the Taliban. The United Islamic Front also joins
the US-led coalition, which is also known as the Northern Alliance, and together
they drive the Taliban into the southern regions of Afghanistan. But strangely
enough, when the US could have easily stayed and finished off the Taliban,
they choose not to, and instead they redirect their attention to Iraq
the US redirects its attention to Iraq, only because it is seen as a friendly, and rather weak
territory for the US forces to conquer and prove their military strength and power,
without necessarily being committed to a war that would cost American lives.
Of course now The Bush administration tries to pursue a number of ways to
legitimately turn on Iraq --- starting with Bush's September 12, 2002 address to the
UN Security Council. NATO allies reject the notion that an invasion of Iraq is justified
and propose a UN inspection of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Yet
despite this setback, the Bush administration secures joint resolution to "authorize
the use of armed forces against Iraq"
The resolution was granted mainly due to the allegation US intelligence reports
made stating the presence of WMDs in Iraq. (WMDs, the resolution notes, states a
threat to the national security of the United States and international security
and peace of the Persian Gulf region) Finally, on March 20, 2003, the US military
launched operation Iraqi Freedom beginning a war that will last longer than World
War II at enormous human cost.
Clausewitz's philosophy on war: War should remain an instrument in political
negotiation, especially in the post-World War I era when humanity begins to
unleash the full destructive potential of industrialized warfare.
The American decision to mislead the UN and initiate an unlawful war against Iraq
destroys the multilateral unification of diplomacy and deterrence that had grown
over the post-World War II period ---all in the pursuit of PNAC's particular ideology
and self-interested objectives. Despite the fact that the invasion of Iraq, without
the support of the UN security council, would be an illegal war, the Bush
Administration still chose to proceed.
The UN serves as an international forum of negotiated settlements, and provides nation
states with structured rules and international laws. Deferring to the UN's legal authority in
matters of war and peace has prevented potentially lethal confrontations between
superpower states. And yet all of those accomplishments diminished by Bush's
decision to sacrifice UN support and invade Iraq -- a decision supported by UK
Prime minister Tony Blair.
Gwyn Prin's article in The Guardian published just before the US and UK invade Iraq
captures the cost of their decision. She states that the UN, NATO, and the EU are
being drained of their power and the driving force of this profound and rapid
change is Iraq.
The Bush administration secures tremendous Presidential control over the conduct
of American foreign policy, and more particularity, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since 1945, Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations has made it illegal for any
country to wage war against another except under two very specific circumstances.
1) Article 51 allows a nation state, if it is attacked, to
initially respond with force, however it must report its actions to the Security Council
and draw in the UN to resolve the dispute.
2) Article 42 notes that in the event that the Security Council
must resort to the use of force to end a dispute that it "may take such action by air, sea,
or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and
David Addington, the counsel to Vice-President Cheney, believes that during the
Clinton Presidency, the powers of the President significantly decreased, and one
of the Bush Administration's main objectives is to restore lost powers to the
President. He maintains that the President is the sole head of the executive
branch of government and this gives him the authority to control the conduct,
activities, and choices made in the executive branch.
The Vice-President as well as the lawyers working in the White House Counsel's
office, all had strong beliefs about the importance of executive power and
separation of power, not necessarily for the sake of George W. Bush the person,
but more so for the sake of the institution of Presidency.
Okay, so how does the idea of executive power tie into the all the terrorist attacks and the
Neoconservative agenda? Well the events of 9/11 create the perfect crisis that really
pushes for increased executive power. The book quotes Bradford Berenson a number of
times and he indicates that the weeks and months after 9/11, the need for establishing an
all-encompassing executive power in the President was made urgent, due to the
overwhelming speed and scale of events.
Despite the need for this "urgent executive power" the Bush administration was still in the wrong.
They used the 9/11 attacks as the perfect scenerio to create profit for themselves.
Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith gathered data on the war in Iraq and
found out that in the two years following 9/11, President Bush and seven of his
top officials issued at least 935 false statements about the threat Houssein and
Iraq posed to the US national security. On more than 530 occasions (interviews,
testimony, speeches etc) Bush and his advisors claimed that Iraq has WMDs or
is attempting to build or acquire them and that Iraq is linked to Al-Qaeda. When
in reality, these were all false statements and the "Duelfer report" prepared by
Charles Duelfer proved that in his study of Iraq's alleged WMD program.
PG 316 IN PRESENTATION as they
--> How was the Bush Administration able to mislead and manipulate the public so
easily in pursuit of their own self-interested objectives?
This is because our culture has trivialized the idea of reality that was once known as
news, which makes it so easy for the Bush administration to manipulate people's
understanding so easily and thoroughly.
Paul Rutherford interviews an artist named Glenna who describes the Iraq war as the
"War on Disney" saying that "this war was invented by Disney productions, full of
slogans and images, it was like production."
Once the republicans return to the white house, bush immediately surrounds himself with neoconservatives drawn directly from pnac"s founding members. This explains why as soon as bush assumes presidency, he is eager to put pnac"s worldview into action --- which is a conclusion stated by ron suskind, and supported by many others. It"s really important to understand that pnac"s worldview encourages shaping the international security order in line with american principles and interests and strives to launch the us as the new hegemonic leader of the international world. So bush and his advisors saw hussein"s ongoing regime in iraq as the perfect example and ideal opportunity to put pnac"s plan into practice. But this was all established from the start, even before bush"s victory. Suskind quotes o"neill in his work, stating that they were planning to take hussein out and ultimately change iraq into a new country because this would solve everything.